Thursday, April 13, 2017

 

A New Definition of Insanity

Although Albert Einstein was genius class, particularly about physics, he was no genius in psychiatry. He wasn't even Freud in that field.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is not a good definition of insanity. There are billions of examples of repeated behavior where it was not insane to keep trying the same thing and expect a different result. Here is a simple one: Asking a woman to have sex with you. A thousand nos and one yes and you get to have sex. Not insane at all to keep asking.

You can come up with an example too, probably many more.

I'm not offering a new definition of insanity; the legal one is perfectly adequate and DSM 5 has some good medical definitions too.

But I want to point out what I now believe is a serious mental problem with many of the Democrats. Now, it's common for us humans to be mistaken. We get false reports or incomplete reports or real reports which we don't analyze properly, and because of those we're wrong about the subject of the reports. Same thing for actual observation. Making a mistake is not a symptom of insanity, it is a symptom of normality. It's the failure to be able to recognize a mistake and change one's mind on something about which one was formerly mistaken, that is a possible symptom of insanity, or at least a mental disorder.

The Democrats have suffered a humiliating series of defeats in elections starting in 2010 and most recently in losing (so unexpectedly) to Donald Trump. Their super terrific candidate lost to Donald Trump! What could be more humiliating? So it is pretty normal not to want to think that this rejection by voters is because the Democrats are doing something wrong or are not popular. Everyone wants to believe he or she is popular. But to create irrational excuses, that ain't so good. That's a personality disorder. (301.89) And clinging to irrational excuses when the evidence becomes overwhelming that the excuse is crap is a sign of something more serious. (297.1)

It's like they need Cher in Moonstruck.

I won't identify what deranged thought the Democrats seem to be clinging to, because it's not necessary for those on the right who already recognize it, and it won't make any difference to the few lefties who read this.

 

Anti-Conventional Sayings

The ever-shrinking-in-my-view Colin Powell made famous his version of the warning statement from Pottery Barn, "You break it, you bought it" transferring its meaning to military incursions into foreign countries. I've always thought he was wrong on that.

I just want to set the record straight. I was in Pottery Barn just last week and someone bumped into a tray of champagne flutes and the whole lot crashed to the floor and most of the flutes broke. The manager rushed over and immediately informed the guy who knocked them over that it was all OK and he shouldn't worry about it. He walked out a few minutes later and never had to pay a thing.

The Japanese made the mistake of starting a war to get oil (Dutch East Indies) etc. by sneak attacking our base at Pearl Harbor. Hardly anything short of that would have gotten us into the by then long-ongoing world war. And it made us pretty mad, so mad that we firebombed all the Japanese cities and even nuked two of them. Japan was a pretty countryside with ash fields for cities in August 1945. I don't think we paid any reparations or anything.

Neither in war, nor in the store, do you own what you break.

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Saturday, April 08, 2017

 

Oxymoron of the Day

I don't believe the Russians had any effect on our voting for President 5 months ago and I don't believe that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians in any way regarding the election. But I'm willing to change my mind and I follow from time to time lefty leaning writers who insist that both things actually happened.

Like today here, titled: Of Course there's Evidence Trump Colluded with Russian Intelligence.

There are three authors of the article but the only one with a bio near the article is Jordan Brunner, a summa cum grad of ASU now a second year law student there (and that's a problem. Second years at most have about 40% of a complete legal education but they generally think they know everything at least based on my personal history). Anyway he promises evidence of collusion and I dived in.

But then I hit this partial sentence:

There is, in fact, copious evidence of at least tacit collaboration between the Russians and the Trump campaign....


Tacit collaboration? Wouldn't that be collaboration with only one side doing anything? That is not collaboration at all as that word is used by rational people?

And the evidence of this "tacit collaboration"?

It included open encouragement of the Russians to hack Democratic targets; denial that they had done so; encouragement of Wikileaks, which was publicly known to be effectively a publishing arm of the Russian operation, in publishing the fruits of the hacks; and publicly trumpeting the contents of stolen emails.


Not collaboration. If talking about and repeating the leaked e-mails etc. is collaboration then all the news networks collaborated with the Russians; all the ordinary people who talked about or repeated the leaked e-mails, etc. collaborated with the Russians. Indeed, Mr. Brunner collaborated with the Russians here. Of course, merely repeating leaked material is not collaboration as that word is used by rational people. But according to Mr. Brunner, a large portion of the American people collaborated with the Russians. Tacitly. What a maroon!

Let me use a simple example from outside the political sphere. I don't collaborate with Pink Floyd every time I play a cut from Dark Side of the Moon. I'm merely a consumer of Pink Floyd's artistic output. They don't know me from Adam.

Most notoriously, on July 27, Trump stated during a news conference: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
I know most lefties are completely humorless, but even some of them are savvy enough to know that this was humor from the President. He was making a joke at Hillary Clinton's expense not actually encouraging the Russians to hack accounts or reveal past collections of hacked accounts. Not the best evidence of "tacit collaboration" whatever that term actually means.


And the rest of the supporting "evidence" is Trump talking about the Wikileaks document dumps. That's it.


There is no such thing as tacit collaboration. Indeed, since mutual active (read verbal) commitment is the sine qua non for collaboration, that term is an oxymoron, emphasis here on the moron.

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Thursday, April 06, 2017

 

Blind Hog/Acorn Day

Although he's almost always wrong about politics, hell, he's almost always wrong about linguistics, his field of expertise, Noam Chomsky said an absolutely true thing recently.

Money quote:

So, you know, yeah, maybe the Russians tried to interfere in the election. That’s not a major issue. Maybe the people in the Trump campaign were talking to the Russians. Well, OK, not a major point, certainly less than is being done constantly. And it is a kind of a paradox, I think, that the one issue that seems to inflame the Democratic opposition is the one thing that has some justification and reasonable aspects to it.
So there's that.

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Vox Clamantis in Deserto

My second least favorite NYT regular columnist actually says something today that could be helpful to the Democrats at this low point in their party's existence. They'll ignore Nick Kristof, as they usually do.

The short version is: If we want to get more Democrats elected, we can't constantly insult those who aren't voting for us

Of course, Kristof backhand compliments us deplorable bigots left and right through the piece. When your Weltanshauung is that the people who don't vote for Democrats are indeed deplorable, evil, stupid, bigots, sometimes that underlying judgment leaks out. Like here.

Sure, there were racists and misogynists in their ranks, but that doesn't mean that every Trump voter was a white supremacist.
Wow, what a generous admission, and so not condescending at all! Of course the black people who voted for trump aren't white supremacists, and probably not the Hispanics, but everyone else, well...

To win over Trump voters isn't normalizing extremism but a strategy to counter it.


So Kristof does believe that everyone who voted for Trump is an extremist and that the left must use everything in their power (short of name-calling, of course) to reverse the recent voter trends.

[Trump] at least faked empathy for struggling workers.


And the imbeciles who voted for him were duped by his fake empathy, which deceit the wonderful, smart, good, Democrats could easily detect

So by all means stand up to Trump, point out that he's a charlatan...
Because of course Trump is just that and how he took in so many voters is a plain mystery to the elite, other than thinking the Trump voters were easily taken in, of course.

...and resist his initiatives. But remember that social progress means winning over voters in flyover country, and that it's difficult to recruit voters whom you simultaneously castigate as despicable, bigoted imbeciles.


Even though they clearly are just that.

Is there any concept out there that adding the word 'social' before it doesn't reduce to incoherence?

UPDATE: Steven Hayward at Powerline writes about the same opinion piece. He's enjoying the Democrats' plight way too much.

He quotes this 3 paragraph gem of a rebuttal from a Texas commenter on Kristof's piece:

A lot of people who voted for Trump didn’t like him. I am one of them. We considered the alternative, the Clintons, and disliked them more.
But it is now clear who the bigots are in this country. When you start referring to yourselves as “The Resistance,” the implication is clear. You view the other side as Nazis. It’s the same with calling those who reject the faith-based belief in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming “deniers.”
Democrats are verging on psychosis because they have been roundly rejected across the nation to an unprecedented degree. They need to get over themselves and start acting like loyal citizens again and respect the process. Power is not an entitlement. You have to earn it.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

 

Happy, Highly Unlikely Photos

Here is the British version of "He who laughs last..."


And here is the American version.



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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

 

My Thoughts On Failing to Repeal Obamacare

Lately, there's been a lot of breaking the 11th Amendment, which isn't necessarily bad, but is pretty bad right now. Here's what I think.

I thought the whole idea regarding repealing Obamacare was to get the Government out of health care and health care insurance (two distinct things) as much as possible. I thought the idea was to allow choice of what sort of coverage people could buy (a cafeteria style option rather than one size fits all) and remove anything impeding the selling of such insurance so that competition would start to reduce the extreme uptick in the cost of most plans.

To do that, merely repealing the only-supported-by-Democrats legislation, and reducing statutory and regulatory impediments to competition, was all that was needed.

But the brainiacs decided to keep government involved and not fully remove the ACA and impediments to competition. Worse, they decided to keep what they thought were "popular" parts of Obamacare; namely, keeping 26 year old children on their parents healthcare plan and preventing health care insurance plans from refusing to cover medical treatment for conditions that pre-existed the purchase of the plan.

I could live with the 26 year old children, but not allowing pre-existing condition exclusions is the death knell for private health insurance. People will get the minimum catastrophic coverage or no coverage at all and then upgrade to plans offering greater coverage if they get sick or hurt.

The Freedom Caucus saw all this and said, we can't let our party pass what amounts to Obamacare lite which will suffer the same fate as real Obamacare.

They are getting a lot of abuse, but I see them as principled and smart people who properly opposed a terrible decision by the Republican leadership. I also think history will be ever kinder to them than the likes of Prager and Hewitt are being now. And I say that knowing those two people are much smarter than I am. They are human, though, and capable of making a mistake. They're mistaken here.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

 

Stating the Bleedin' Obvious

OK. The Democrats selected Vital Lie of the past 6 months is that the Russians magically changed voters' minds against the wonderful Hillary Clinton in return for some treasonous promise by then candidate, now President, Trump to help the comrades out. It's a really stupid Vital Lie, talismanic of a desperation engendered by the party's incredibly shrinking political fortunes; but just for grins and giggles, let's look at what help the Russians would have clearly wanted from the President replacing Obama.

What is Russia's main problem today? It's the huge loss of revenue from a lower world price for oil. You know things are bad when Russia has to cut its military budget, which I believe they just did, substantially.

So the best help that Trump could give his good buddy Vlad would be to cut production of American oil to help prices climb and Russia get more money into its semi-fascist coffers.

So what has Trump done to help out the Russians? Anyone, Bueller, anyone?

Did he declare huge areas of government land and sea areas off limits to oil and gas development? No, President Obama did that.

Did he try to slow down or stop fracking by executive order and bureaucratic red tape so that oil production would go down? No, President Obama did that.

Did he stop the movement of oil into and around the country so we can efficiently refine it in order to sell finished products to other countries in competition with Russia? No, President Obama did that.

Has he lifted the economic sanctions imposed by us for Russia's invasion of Georgia and the Crimea and elsewhere in the Ukraine? Nope.

And regarding things not economic...

Has he continued the dismantling and wussifying of the American armed forces? No, just the opposite. Trump has announced plans to increase the American military budget substantially.

Has he continued to ignore that the armed forces of our NATO allies continue to shrink to insignificance? No, just the opposite. His new secretary of defense is warning the free riders to do their required share of defending their countries.

Has he continued to unilaterally disarm our nuclear forces as Obama did? No, Trump has talked a lot about increasing and modernizing our missiles, etc.

Has Trump ever asserted to a Russian President that he will have greater flexibility to help Putin out after he wins his second term? No, that's what President Obama did.

Has he brought out a stupid, and mistranslated, red button to symbolize a "reset" of Russian relations with America, after the long dark night of near illogical hatred of the former Commies that occurred during the Reagan and Bush Administrations? No, the smartest and most talented woman in the world, Hillary Clinton, did that when she was secretary of state.

In fact, Trump is doing the opposite of what it would take to help the Russians out (by causing the world price of oil to rise or allowing them to gain military superiority). He's approved the pipelines. He's gutting President Obama's anti-oil-and-gas-development executive orders, starting with the stupid global warming orders. Trump has not yet opened up federal land for oil and gas drilling but the White House web site says he plans to do just that.

The Democrats could have blamed space aliens' mind control for the surprise loss of their exceedingly brilliant candidate for President and not been much more stupid than going with what they've actually chosen.

If I had greater faith in the average Americans' ability to detect bullshit, I would just ignore this idiocy, but.....

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

 

Ignorance Is No Excuse

Here is a recent article in The Week by a political science professor at a college I had never heard of before. His name is David Faris. It's about soon to be Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. I just wanted to point out a few of the legal errors it contains. First up:

Gorsuch is by all accounts a respected jurist with an unimpeachable pedigree...

Good start. Very true. But then the sentence veers into a ditch:

...albeit one characterized by a lunatic judicial philosophy that treats the Constitution as a divine revelation whose words should be interpreted with Biblical literalism.

It's hardly lunatic to use standard rules of statutory construction on the Constitution. It would be lunatic to do anything else. The Originalists say we ought to try to find the contemporary meaning the authors of the Constitution put on the words they used, that is, what the words meant in 1788. It's a completely sound tool for discovering in a writing what the intent of the writer was. Judges in America use it constantly. There's more, the big whopper:

Had Senate Republicans fulfilled their unambiguous constitutional duty by confirming the centrist Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court last year, Gorsuch could likely have filled the seat of a retiring conservative like Clarence Thomas or Anthony Kennedy more or less without incident.


The only only thing unambiguous about the "advise and consent" clause in the Constitution is that there is no duty to give consent (or even to advise). There's absolutely nothing mandatory about how the Senate reacts to a nomination, and there is no case law that would interpret anything in the clause to be required as Professor Faris imagines.

Notice too that the less than law-learned professor seems to contemplate that there are seats on the Supreme Court reserved for Originalists and seats reserved for the lefty free-wheeling justices. So Scalia would have been replaced by a slightly less looney lefty judge (thus bucking the "reservation" system, but its a Democrat choice so the rule wouldn't apply) but Gorsuch and those like him can only replace other Originalists like Thomas and Kennedy (who is not actually an Originalist). That's not how it works. And indeed Kennedy and Thomas might retire or die within the next 7 years, but the odds on favorite to vacate the premises is Justice Ginsburg, who just turned 84 and has been looking really frail lately. Both Kennedy and Breyer are a decade or so older than Thomas. So Faris is doing a little whistling past the graveyard to put Thomas in line for retirement from the bench before Breyer or Ginsburg. Nice try, Dave. He then veers into the ditch of the absurd, again:

Had Garland been confirmed and someone like Ruth Bader Ginsburg retired sometime in the next four years, Trump could probably have had Gorsuch confirmed to replace her, too, although the vote might have been close.


Right. No problem whatsoever with a Republican president replacing a lefty justice with an Originalist. None whatsoever. The stupid continues:

Gorsuch's seat was stolen by a craven act of democratic sabotage, and he will always be sitting in a chair reserved for the nominee of a Democratic president. He is illegitimate today, and he will be illegitimate 20 years from now.


Craven? Sabotage? Harsh words for the rule clearly stated and championed by recent Vice President Biden. Yeah, the Republicans were cowardly saboteurs of democracy when they used the Democrat's Biden rule. Does Dave not know about YouTube and the internet memory caches? Here is the Biden rule spelled out by Joe himself. The professor dreams on:

It is impossible to know when Democrats might regain total control of the U.S. government.


If this article is the caliber of Democrat thinking, my money is more on the never side of the bet. He continues in full fantasy mode.

But assuming that American democracy survives the high-stakes stress test of a Trump presidency, they will at some point find themselves in the commanding position the Republicans are in now. And when they do, they should be prepared to pass a law expanding the number of seats on the Court from nine to 11 and to fill the two extra seats with the most divisive, outrageous liberals in the federal judiciary.


So there are only a few things wrong with this article: The legal ignorance and the fatuous narrative. But otherwise it is solid, man. Viva la Resistance!

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