h/t OpenCarry.org - Discussion Forum
The following letter can be found on the website of:
JEWS FOR THE PRESERVATION OF FIREARMS OWNERSHIP
Setting a "LEO" Straight
by L. Neil Smith
I am in receipt of your May 17 letter to Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, in response to my column about the National Rifle Association and its collusion with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. (See "With Friends Like The NRA ..." http://www.jpfo.org/smith/smith-friends-like-nra.htm ). I thank you for taking the time and going to the effort of expressing your concerns, but I'm afraid you have some misconceptions about the nature of individual rights in general and the individual right to own and carry weapons in particular.
You begin by complaining that the article in question is "too radical even for me". "Radical" comes from the Greek, from their word for "root" ("radish" is a related word). In English, it means getting to the root of whatever you're talking about, to the fundamentals, the basics, which is, indeed, what I try to do with all my writing.
I'm sure you meant that what I said is too extreme, a word that depends on context: extreme compared to what? In this case it seems that it's extreme compared, not to what the Second Amendment actually provides, but what you'd rather believe it does. A firm believer in the strict interpretation of the Second Amendment would not go on to say the other things you do about the rights it was written to preserve. But perhaps I can help.
"I don't feel the need," you inform us, "for law-abiding and honest citizens to own and carry fully automatic weapons, especially those capable of concealment, along with sawed-off shotguns." Pardon me if I point out that it couldn't possibly be less important what you do or don't "feel the need" for. I don't care what you "feel", nor would James Madison who wrote the Bill of Rights, nor would Thomas Jefferson whom it was written to satisfy.
Clearly, you fail to understand why the Second Amendment was written. While it's become popular to say it has nothing to do with duck hunting -- and that's true as far as it goes -- very few people understand that it has nothing to do with defending yourself from muggers, burglars, or rapists, either, although that's a surely welcome side-benefit.
The Second Amendment was written specifically to ensure that the people would always possess the physical means to intimidate the government, to keep it in line, or, failing that, to overthrow it at need and, as Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, "provide new guards for their future security".
In its time, the Pennsylvania (or Kentucky) rifle represented the leading edge of technology, and those who possessed it could shoot three times as far, with much greater accuracy, than those stuck with, say, the British Army's "Brown Bess" smoothbore musket. Jefferson, an inventor and a technophile himself, would recognize the need today for the average citizen to be equipped with weapons that are the equal of, or superior to, whatever the government supplies its troops with.
Now if that doesn't include "automatic weapons, especially those capable of concealment, along with sawed-off shotguns," I don't know what it does include. You can't make the government behave itself with bolt action rifles, pump shotguns, and revolvers. You also say, "We don't need to have explosives and other weapons of war readily available to anyone that wants them or the U.S. would be like the countries in the middle east we are attempting to defend."
Yet "weapons of war" (a term often used as propaganda by the likes of Sarah Brady and Dianne Feinstein) are precisely why the Second Amendment was written, and, once again, what you feel "we" do or don't need is completely unimportant. You have no legitimate say in the matter. The police are the standing army that the Founding Fathers worried about, and, as such, they're the very people the Second Amendment was ratified to protect us from.
If 200 years of American history have anything to teach us, it's that so-called "public servants" are neither. Their loyalty is not to the public, but to the politically powerful. All too soon they come to see themselves as the public's masters, not servants. Maybe that's part of their strange transformation over the years from keepers of the peace into "law enforcement officers". We've gotten to a point where they'll enforce any damn law -- no matter how evil or idiotic it is -- without regard to whether it serves the public and the peace or damages them.
To quote you further, "I guess what I am trying to say is the United States is a country of laws to safeguard the population from the criminal element of our society." Wrong again: how can this be a country of laws if the Bill of Rights -- especially the Second Amendment -- can be ignored or reinterpreted into meaninglessness by the government?
That's how the Canadian "Charter of Rights and Freedoms" works. Nothing in it is absolute, it fails to protect the right to property in any way, and it can be suspended whenever the government feels like it.
Are we Canadians?
The "criminal element of our society" we should worry about are elected and appointed officials who've decided that either the Founding Fathers didn't really mean what they said, that it somehow doesn't apply today (interestingly, even the Left hasn't made that claim much over the past seven years of the Bush Administration), or that we're all too stupid to read some kind of secret code they wrote into the law, empowering tyrants to take our rights away whenever they "feel the need".
"I can only imagine if all the current gun laws were abolished how the crime rate would [soar]." Given the incontrovertible fact that the better armed people are, the less crime there is, a soaring crime rate would indeed be totally imaginary. Liberals whimper about just such an imaginary soaring crime rate whenever it gets easier for individuals to own and carry weapons. I suggest that you read More Guns, Less Crime by Professor John Lott if you have any doubts on the subject.
I have to add that your phrase "legally purchased firearm" is offensive to anyone who believes that begging the government for permission to own a gun, or informing it that you have one, defeats the purpose of the Second Amendment. Any individual should be free to walk into any store, gun show, or yard sale and buy a gun for cash, without signing a paper or even giving anyone their name. That's what the Founders intended; that's how it was most places until 1968; that's what we must strive for. To paraphrase the great Alphonso Bedoya, in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, "We don' need no stinkin' legalized!"
Not too much later on, you assert that, " ... if you get rid of the [BATFE] their duties and personnel would be absorbed by other Federal agencies. Getting rid of a name does not help anyone. Federal law enforcement agencies have their place ..."
On the contrary, we seek not only to abolish the BATFE, but all of its functions, as well, since not one is legal under the Constitution. Alcohol and tobacco (however much some people may disapprove of their use) are subject to religiously-based punitive "sin taxes" that are completely out of place in a nation with a First Amendment in its Constitution. They violate the letter and spirit of the Fourteenth Amendment, as well, since it guarantees equal protection under the law -- protection that smokers, drinkers, and gun people never actually receive.
Furthermore, there's no Constitutional justification for the existence of any of the agencies you think might pick up BATFE's workload. (See Article 1, Section 8, a short, extremely explicit list of powers permissable to the government -- a list that does not include creating anything even remotely like the EPA, OSHA, FBI, NSA, DHS, or CIA.) If you wish to live in a "country of laws" it must be a country of all the laws, especially highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights.
You begin again, "I believe that all law-abiding citizens should be allowed to carry a firearm and -- "
Please get this through your head once and for all: regarding the individual right to own and carry weapons, there is no "allowed". Government has nothing to say about it. This basic human right predates the Second Amendment (which only offers to protect it). It predates the Constitution. It predates the United States. It predates the British and the Roman empires. It predates civilization itself.
Undaunted by the laws you profess to respect, you trudge onward: "Concealed weapons permits should be good throughout the United States, however, I do believe there should be some type of proficiency qualification requirement ... every 3 to 5 years if not annually." Apparently I missed the part of the Second Amendment that says, "the right of the people who have permits and pass some type of proficiency qualification to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
"I understand JPFO's positions on firearms given the history of the Jewish people and what has happened to them ... This will never happen in this country unless the government is willing to kill those of us that will fight to the death before giving up our guns and for this reason, I do not feel they will try."
Maybe this is a little harsh, but exactly whose fantasy world are you living in? This is the age of Waco, of Ruby Ridge, of the Texas FLDS child kidnappings. It's an age in which a United States Senator, Thomas Dodd, can get the Library of Congress to translate Nazi gun laws -- written to satisfy Hitler the way the Bill of Rights was written to satisfy Jefferson -- so he could turn them into the Gun Control Act of 1968.
It's the age of secret detention centers -- concentration camps -- the seizure of private weapons as part of "helping" disaster victims, and the imposition of a North American Union that would circumvent and destroy the Bill of Rights, erase the borders between this country and Mexico and Canada, and force Americans to use "Ameros" for money instead of dollars.
The government now snatches people off the street and out of their homes, ships them without due process to Guantanamo Bay and other places for unlimited periods of time, and tortures them. Your bland assurances that "it can't happen here" ring a bit hollow, since it is happening here, right now. Only this time, everybody gets to be a Jew.
See the following:
http://search.freefind.com/ ................ =r&mode=ALL&query=nau&SUBMIT=+Find%21+&t=s
http://search.freefind.com/ .......................... =Search&mode=ALL&search=all
You say: "We must continue the watchdog approach on all new legislation and be very vocal on bills that attempt to further constrict our 'Right to Keep and Bear Arms' along with any legislation that constricts other Constitutional rights," you tell us. "Our best hope is return conservatives to the House, Senate, and Presidency."
You go on at considerable length about "conservative principles" and a need to elect and appoint conservatives anywhere and everywhere. You seem to have missed the fact that it's your precious conservatives and their so-called "principles" that have brought us to the end of the American dream of peace, freedom, prosperity, and progress. It's interesting to me that novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand predicted developments like these over forty years ago.
It's your precious conservatives who wage unconstitutional wars, lock up individuals who are supposed to be presumed innocent until they're proven guilty, deprive them of legal representation, and treat them in ways it's illegal to treat animals.
It's your precious conservatives who rammed the fascistic Patriot Act through Congress, who conduct illegal, warrantless wiretaps, who continue the medieval practice of Eminent Domain, and champion the mass invasion of privacy at airports.
It's your precious conservatives' irrational insistence on gun control -- victim disarmament -- at any cost that prevents passengers from shooting hijackers before they can crash planes into buildings. Your precious conservatives would rather shoot down a hijacked plane loaded with innocent people, than let those people exercise their basic human right to self-defense.
In short, it's your precious conservatives -- right wing socialists who have turned out to be no better than the left wing socialists who call themselves liberals -- who are leading the government's campaign to destroy the Bill of Rights.
When German "law enforcement officers" did this to their own people they protested that they were "only following orders" -- but we hanged them anyway, at Nuremberg. In my experience most cops' highest loyalty is to their pensions, rather than the people they claim to serve, an attitude that makes all kinds of oppression -- including genocide -- possible. See JPFO's gun control/genocide chart at:
I urge you to read Melissa Marsh's review of Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher R. Browning, then obtain and read the book itself: "If the men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 could become killers under such circumstances, what group of men cannot?" says Browning, trying to understand and explain why people can be led to do anything, no matter how depraved.
"Human responsibility is ultimately an individual matter."
I am speaking to you, now, of your individual responsibility. I truly wonder what Second Amendment -- and what Constitution -- you believe in. It certainly isn't the one that I know and love, that the colonists and veterans after them fought and bled and died for. It's time to look straight into the ugly face of history and acquaint yourself unflinchingly with the truth.
A cop should not cop out.
L. Neil Smith
"Men cannot be governed and remain men. Domesticate the wolf and he changes both physically and mentally. His muzzle shrinks, his teeth diminish, he loses size, speed, and strength. He grows spots. His ears flop. His brain withers. He becomes a dog. Men are on the verge of becoming dogs -- the changes are underway already -- unless we do something to stop it."
-- The Ceo Lia Wheeler, Phoebus Krumm, forthcoming
Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been writing about guns and gun ownership for more than 30 years. He is the author of 27 books, the most widely-published and prolific libertarian novelist in the world, and is considered an expert on the ethics of self-defense.
His writings may be seen on the following sites:
The Webley Page: http://www.lneilsmith.org
The Libertarian Enterprise: http://www.ncc-1776.org
The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel, Roswell, Texas, and TimePeeper (August 2007): http://www.bigheadpress.com
LNS at Random (blog): http://www.bigheadpress.com/lneilsmith/
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
America is at war within it's own borders. Anyone who doubts the veracity of this statement would do well to look at our US Constitution and The Bill of Rights. Then look around and observe who is trying, desperately, to subvert the foundation upon which America was founded.
As to Ted Kennedy, I'm glad God is calling him back, because he has been at the forefront of the liberal, elitist effort to destroy that foundation which our forefathers lovingly, and tenaciously built upon Reason and devotion to God. In the next world, Ted Kennedy will enter the crucible of remembrance, where he will he look back and lament on the evil he perpetuated, and the barrier he placed between himself and God.
h/t to Angel - Woman Honor Thyself
REAPING THE WHIRLWIND
By David J. Stoddard
October 2, 2007
In 1965, thanks largely to Sen. Ted Kennedy; an immigration act was passed that opened the United States to third world poverty and third world social norms. Instead of our laws focusing on immigrants who are good for America, (that is: immigrants who have a skill or expertise to add to the American melting pot), America began focusing on what America can do for the immigrant. Family unification without regard to societal costs became the norm. For the first time in American history, immigrants (because of their lack of skills) became a burden on American society. We began importing uneducated, unskilled, low wage workers. Those workers in turn began importing their friends and relatives without conforming to the inconvenience of doing it legally.
Today for the first time in American history, America has more illegal aliens coming to this country than legal aliens. They are not coming to add to or strengthen U.S. society, but to take advantage of the hospitality and the fruits of hard work by the American middle class.
For forty years there has been unfettered immigration (legal and illegal) into the United States. The social costs and detriment to U.S. culture has been enormous. Today there is great media play on the illegal “immigrants” who have come to America and opened businesses, became “successful” and raised children. There has been no mention of the vast majority who have bankrupted hospitals, knocked-up underage girls, joined gangs, killed others while driving drunk, formed drug cartels, smuggled other aliens and drugs across the border, and generally wrecked havoc in American society. For the first time in American history you can go for emergency medical treatment and have to wait behind a line of illegal aliens receiving treatment for free. For the first time in the history of the USA, our prisons have 30% illegal aliens.
You can go to practically any park in almost any city in the USA and see derelicts, drunks, drug addicted, diseased, insane, homeless and hopeless people. Some are U.S. Veterans, brothers and sisters whose plight is ignored while illegal aliens are given free medical treatment, welfare, government subsidized housing, taxpayer subsidized education and other special privileges.
The world community has come to regard America as an “International Park” where other nations, (particularly Mexico) can dump its hopeless, diseased, insane, criminal, uneducated and undesirable people.
For the first time in American history, we have millions of illegal aliens and their anchor babies demonstrating on America’s streets demanding “rights” and other benefits set aside for lawful residents. We are reaping the whirlwind of foreigners and their supporters demanding open borders and rights never earned nor deserved. They are aided and abetted by the Catholic Church, LULAC, MALDEF, NCLR, MeCHA, Communists, Marxists, Socialists and the Mexican Government. These groups and politicians such as (you guessed it) Sen. Ted Kennedy, Senator Specter, President Bush and Luis Gutierrez (D Ill) spout mantras and propaganda in an attempt to minimize the great damage to this country by giving those who sneaked into America a legal status. They even attempt to deceive us through slogans like “family values,” “economic necessity,” “wanting a better life,” “nation of immigrants” and other half truths and outright lies.
For the first time in American history we have powerful politicians bowing to the wants of powerful corporations and ethnic identity groups who are demanding a free flow of unskilled cheap laborers whose expenses and social costs are being borne by America’s middle class.
If this situation is allowed to continue we as a nation will literally become the “International Park’ for the third world exporters of humanity. We, as a nation of hard working middle class Americans, are reaping the whirlwind created by the failure of our government to act in our best interests.
How will you be voting in 2008 and 2010? There is a general individual perception in this country that, “Sure, my representatives and senators are corrupt globalists and nutballs... But, they are MY nutballs and globalists. I want YOU to vote your nutball out but I want to keep mine.”
Today the U.S. Government, under pressure from the masses has taken steps to curtail mass illegal immigration through using the “No Match” letters of the Social Security Administration. As expected, the ACLU, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO has stepped up to the plate in behalf of our illegally imported Marxists, Communists and the dregs of other societies, while ignoring the needs and wishes of real Americans.
Some states, like Arizona, have enacted state laws to preserve national integrity and the many benefits that hard working Americans have fought and died to keep for those who have earned them.
In keeping with prior practices, the same players have come out in opposition to these state laws preserving America. To wit: The ACLU, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, LULAC, MALDEF, PRLDEF, the U.S. Contractors Association, the Catholic Church and many others. All are globalists, communists, socialists, anarchists or poverty pimps wanting their particular groups to suck on the national mammary at the expense of lawful, patriotic Americans who have paid the price with their blood, sweat and taxes.
The Bolshevik revolution was brought about by less than 1% of the population while 99% of the people stood by and watched. What are you doing? Will you sit by and watch while we turn into a huge global “International Park”?
© 2007 David J. Stoddard - All Rights Reserved
Monday, May 26, 2008
h/t Debbie Schlussel
The way I see it, radical, Wahabbi Islam is a disease, an omoeba, which must be stamped out. The Saudi royal family, that collection of out-of-control perverts, have financed Wahabbiism for years. What if we took away their oil, then what? I'm just asking.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
[Ah, yes - the evil Gringos are the cause, so we must be sure not to step on anyone's civil rights here. Truly, liberalism is a mental disorder.]
Democrats Unaware of US Warning About Border Violence
By Penny Starr
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
May 22, 2008
(CNSNews.com) - Three Democratic lawmakers who spoke Wednesday about alleged anti-immigrant coverage by conservative media outlets were not aware of a recent State Department travel alert warning Americans about military-like "combat" along the southern U.S. border in Mexico, where Americans are being kidnapped and murdered.
"The situation in northern Mexico remains very fluid; the location and timing of future armed engagements there cannot be predicted," said the State Department alert. "Armed robberies and carjackings, apparently unconnected to the narcotics-related violence, have increased in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez. Dozens of U.S. citizens were kidnapped and/or murdered in Tijuana in 2007."
When asked about the alert after the briefing, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) told Cybercast News Service: "I haven't heard about the report specifically, but certainly one of the reasons we are looking at the Merida Initiative is to work with Mexico to have them meet their challenges of the drug traffickers and the violence that takes place along our border. It's in our common interest and obviously this is a challenge of security." (The U.S. Merida Initiative provides equipment and training to help Mexican law enforcement confront criminal activity that spills over into the United States.)
The State Department's alert was posted in April and dated as current as of May 21.
Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) both spoke to Cybercast News Service after the briefing and said they had no knowledge of the travel alert but were aware of the volatility along the U.S. southern border.
"I've read different reports of the violence in Mexico, and I am a strong advocate for cracking down on the violence, and I'm very concerned about the murder of women," Solis said. "But I'm more concerned about people having their civil rights violated here."
"I haven't seen the travel alert, but I'm going to take a look at it," Gutierrez said. "But does it surprise me? It doesn't surprise me."
Gutierrez blamed drug use in the United States for some of the violence.
"We are the consumers," he said. "We are the cause."
Speakers at the briefing said that CNN and Fox News Channel should be held accountable for television personalities who have "played major roles in creating this anti-immigrant hysteria," specifically Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck on CNN and Bill O'Reilly on Fox.
Anti-immigrant hysteria? No. They are simply informing the public, you and me, about what is happening. Opportunistic thugs, murderers, rapists, criminals of all stripe are pouring over the US/Mexican border into the US. The liberals know this, but excuse it under the flag of misplaced compassion.
Posted by No Apology at 6:39 PM
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Comprehending the decline of rational thought within the academic community into "cultural and scientific relativism" is essential to an understanding of the intellectual dishonesty which led to the politicization of science, as exemplified by, for example, the totalitarian mindset of "consensus science".
The following is a book review of Beyond The Hoax by Alan Sokal (a scientist).
Michael Shermer gives us the historical setting for understanding how within the various disciplines, the scientific community has rejected the scientific rigor maintained by dispassionate exploration, in favor of the advancement of Leftist political ideas and agendas. Partly by dishonest misapplication of statistical models, research once guided by the scientific method has largely been displaced by agendas set by political goals.
Fight for the Life Of the Mind
Review of: Beyond the Hoax by Alan Sokal
By MICHAEL SHERMER
May 21, 2008
The beauty and power of a well-executed hoax is that it demonstrates deeper truths not only about both the victims of the hoax and the hoaxers themselves, but about human nature and the foibles of our belief systems.
Decades of careful and extensive research into cognition and the psychology of how beliefs are formed show that none of us simply gather facts and draw conclusions from them in an inductive process. Most of us, most of the time, arrive at our beliefs for a host of psychological and social reasons that have little or nothing to do with logic, reason, empiricism, or data. Most of our beliefs are shaped by our parents, our siblings, our peer groups, our teachers, our mentors, our professional colleagues, and by the culture at large. We form and hold those beliefs because they provide emotional comfort, because they fit well with our lifestyles or career choices, or because they work within the larger context of our family dynamics or social network. Then we build back into those beliefs reasons for why we hold them. This process is driven by two well-known cognitive biases: the hindsight bias, where once an event has happened or a belief is formed it is easy to look back and reconstruct not only how it happened or was formed, but also why it had to be that way and not some other way; and the confirmation bias, in which we seek and find confirmatory evidence in support of already existing beliefs and ignore or reinterpret disconfirmatory evidence.
By the 1980s, American academics had become infatuated with an approach to intellectual inquiry — reflected in the schools of thought known as postmodernism, deconstructionism, and cognitive relativism — as skeptical of our ability to know the world as cognitive psychology suggests we should be of our ability to know ourselves. Going far beyond psychology, and leaning heavily on Marxist notions of cultural and class determinism, those in this academic movement came to believe that there is no privileged truth, no objective reality to be discovered, not even any belief, idea, hypothesis, or theory that is closer to the truth than any other. In time, the movement spilled out of lit-crit English departments into the history and philosophy of science, as professional philosophers and historians, swept up in a paroxysm of postmodern deconstruction, proffered a view of science as a relativistic game played by European white males in a reductionistic frenzy of hermeneutical hegemony, hell-bent on suppressing the masses beneath the thumb of dialectical scientism and technocracy. Yes, some of them actually talk like that, and one really did call Newton's "Principia" a "rape manual."
In 1996, the New York University physicist and mathematician Alan Sokal put an end to this intellectual masturbation by performing one of the greatest hoaxes in academic history. Mr. Sokal penned a nonsensical article entitled "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," chockablock full of postmodern phrases and deconstructionist tropes interspersed with scientific jargon, and submitted it to the journal Social Text, one of two leading publications frequented by fashionably obtuse academics. One sentence from the article, plucked randomly from the text, reads as follows: It has thus become increasingly apparent that physical "reality", no less than social "reality", is at bottom a social and linguistic construct; that scientific "knowledge", far from being objective, reflects and encodes the dominant ideologies and power relations of the culture that produced it; that the truth claims of science are inherently theory-laden and self-referential; and consequently, that the discourse of the scientific community, for all its undeniable value, cannot assert a privileged epistemological status with respect to counter-hegemonic narratives emanating from dissident or marginalized communities.
Mr. Sokal's article was accepted for publication (as "real," whatever that means in postmodernism) and, upon release, Mr. Sokal announced it was all a hoax — and did so, deliciously, in the chief competitor of Social Text, the journal Dissent. Mr. Sokal called it a nonsense parody, but because most of what passes for postmodernism is nonsense and indistinguishable from parody, the editors of Social Text could not tell the difference. Q.E.D.
Now Mr. Sokal has produced a comprehensive explanation, Beyond the Hoax (Oxford University Press, 448 pages, $39.95), that provides readers with an annotated edition of the original article (explaining how he came up with each and every meaningless phrase), the subsequent article in Dissent in which he explained himself to the disgruntled readers of Social Text, and a number of subsequent articles and essays he wrote in the decade since the hoax, in which he elaborated on the problems inherent in postmodern philosophy of science. The golden nugget within this longish book — worth the price of admission by itself — is the annotated parody. For example, explaining the above passage, Sokal writes:
This assertion is a commonplace (dare I say a cliché) in radical-social-constructivist writing about science. Like most clichés, it contains a grain of truth but greatly exaggerates the case. Above all, it fails to make the crucial distinction between actual knowledge (i.e. rationally justified true belief) and purported knowledge.
"Beyond the Hoax" is an essential text for anyone interested in the history and philosophy of science, or for that matter science itself. Thankfully, such intellectual trends and social movements have a tendency to cause their own extinction by going too far, and in this case, Mr. Sokal helped along the process with his meteor explosion of a hoax.
Why did academics fall for it? The hindsight bias and the confirmation bias. Once you believe that science holds no privileged position in the search for truth, and that it is just another way of knowing, it is easy to pull out of an article like Mr. Sokal's additional evidence that supports your belief.
It is a very human process, and since science is conducted by very real humans, shouldn't it be subject to these same cognitive biases? Yes, except for one thing: the built-in defense known as the scientific method.
There is progress in science, and some views really are superior to others, regardless of the color, gender, or country of origin of the scientist holding that view. Despite the fact that scientific data are "theory laden," science is truly different than art, music, religion, and other forms of human expression because it has a self-correcting mechanism built into it. If you don't catch the flaws in your theory, the slant in your bias, or the distortion in your preferences, someone else will, usually with great glee and in a public forum — for example, a competing journal! Scientists may be biased, but science itself, for all its flaws, is still the best system ever devised for understanding how the world works.
Mr. Shermer is the publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and the author of "Why People Believe Weird Things," "The Science of Good and Evil," and "Why Darwin Matters." His latest book is "The Mind of the Market."
Posted by No Apology at 3:16 PM
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
How the Government Spends Taxpayers' Money
by Phyllis Schlafly April 23, 2008
Are you having a hard time paying your bills, making your mortgage payments, or putting your kids through college? You need to know how much of your hard-earned income the government is skimming off and diverting into handouts to immigrants and illegal aliens.
You can read the depressing details in the new 70-page document called "The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Immigration" written by Edwin S. Rubenstein. A Manhattan Institute adjunct fellow with a mile-long scholarly resume, he has been doing financial analysis ever since he directed the studies of government waste for the prestigious Grace Commission of 1984.
The bottom line, which you need to know for your own bottom line, is that U.S. taxpayers are giving more than $9,000 a year in cash or benefits to each immigrant, a third of whom are illegal aliens. That's $36,000 for each immigrant household of four.
Since the U.S. has 37 million immigrants, legal and illegal, the national cost was more than $346 billion last year, which was twice our fiscal deficit. The cost of immigrants is so high because, as Rubenstein writes, "Immigrants are poorer, pay less tax and are more likely to receive public benefits than natives."
Big Brother hasn't told you this bad news, perhaps because the government doesn't want you to know why your paychecks are shortchanged. Even the huge amnesty bill that was defeated last year didn't contain one word about its budgetary consequences.
The financial burden that immigrants impose on education starts with the 3.8 million K-to-12 students enrolled in more-expensive classes for the non-English-speaking. When we add up the costs of hiring specialized teachers, training regular teachers, student identification and assessment, and administration costs, the total amounts to an estimated $1,030 per pupil, or $3.9 billion.
Of the 48.4 million pre-K through 12 public school children, 9.2 million or 19 percent are immigrants or the children of immigrants. In the next few years, immigration will account for virtually all the increase in public school spending.
Look at the $1.5 billion cost of incarcerating 267,000 criminal aliens in federal prisons. That's not the worst of it; prison capacity is limited, so 80,000 to 100,000 other criminal aliens have been prematurely released to prowl our streets.
Criminals also impose heavy private costs on their victims. Rubenstein estimates the losses of income and property, hospital bills, and emotional suffering at $1.6 million per assault- or property-crime offender.
Rubenstein's report includes all sorts of costs that other observers conveniently ignore, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. EITC gives an average cash payment of $1,700 per year to 1 in 4 immigrant households.
The emergency medical treatment given free to illegal aliens is another enormous cost, causing some hospitals and emergency rooms to close. Emergency means any complaint from hangovers to hangnails, gunshot wounds to AIDS.
Even after some restrictions were imposed in 1996, 24.2 percent of immigrant households receive Medicaid, whereas the figure for native-born Americans is 14.8 percent. Rubenstein calculates that Hispanics account for 19.2 percent of Medicaid enrollment, while they are 13.7 percent of the U.S. population.
The FHA has had a policy of increasing home ownership among low-income immigrants and therefore approved FHA mortgages on homes with a down payment of only $200 to $300 and marginal income. Since mortgagors have so little invested in the house, they can walk away from it when they can't meet the payments, and this has resulted in neighborhoods of abandoned, boarded-up housing.
Refugees are a large and growing fiscal burden because they become immediately eligible for generous taxpayer-paid benefits. Evidence shows they stay dependent on these programs and start chain-migrating relatives under the "family reunification" law.
The Interior Department spends millions of dollars to clean up the mountains of trash discarded by illegal aliens crossing into California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
Some immigration advocates peddle the notion that immigration will solve the future financial burdens of Social Security. Rubenstein shows how foolish is this prediction because today's low-wage workers will surely become tomorrow's expensive retirees.
Another cost that few talk about is that immigrant workers depress the wages received by native-born Americans, and that causes a $100 billion shortfall in federal tax revenue. Harvard University Professor George Borjas found that each 10 percent increase in the U.S. labor force from immigration reduces wages of native-born Americans by 5.25 percent.
Some liberals are trying to tell us to fight a recession by bringing in more immigrants, but that would only raid the pockets of U.S. taxpayers to support more millions of non-taxpayers. It's hard to say which is more outrageous: the diversion of Americans' personal income into cash handouts to foreigners, or the federal government's policy of concealing the fiscal impact of immigration.
Posted by No Apology at 6:23 PM
Friday, May 02, 2008
Canada Free Press (CFP)
"Unless we announce disasters no one will listen"
How UN structures were designed to prove human CO2 was causing global warming
By Dr. Tim Ball Wednesday, April 30, 2008
In previous related articles -
Historical and philosophical context of the climate change debate
How the world was misled about global warming and now climate change,
- we examined how environmentalism and particularly climate was hijacked to achieve the political goals of Maurice Strong, primarily to cause the demise of industrialized nations. We saw how he established the political vehicle the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the scientific vehicle, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for his purpose. He brought them together at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. The fruits of his efforts and the policies they engendered are now emerging and are hurting the poor and middle-income people of all countries, with rising food and energy costs. They’re hurting the people they were ostensibly designed to help, but more on that later.
Sir John Houghton, first co-chair of the IPCC and lead editor of the first three Reports, signaled the objectives were political and not scientific. He said, “Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.” The IPCC has done this with ruthless efficiency while pretending what they are doing is
science not politics. Houghton gave an example of a disastrous statement when he announced “...the impacts of global warming are like a weapon of mass destruction”, which is followed by the claim that it kills more people than terrorism. Trouble is more people die of cold each year than heat.
Also, notice the word “impact” because that, not science, dominates the work of the IPCC. Two thirds of the people involved in the IPCC (1900 of 2500) are not climate experts and study what might happen, not will happen. So the entire process was established to achieve the goal of announcing (potential) disasters.
Bert Bolin, who Al Gore credits with creating the IPCC, was Houghton’s co-chair. Bolin had a history of involvement in the politics of the environment. Both he and Houghton signed the 1992 warning to humanity essentially blaming the developed nations. It was more of the Club of Rome approach with no clear measures or evidence, simply a list of possible disasters if we didn’t do things their way. (Guardian.com)
Science creates theories based on assumptions that are then tested by other scientists performing as skeptics. The structure and mandate of the IPCC was in direct contradiction to this scientific method. They set out to prove the theory rather than disprove it. Maurice Strong and his UN committees’ objectives, especially the IPCC made sure the focus was on human caused change and CO2 as the particular culprit. They’d already biased the research by using a very narrow definition of climate change in article 1 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a treaty produced at that infamous “Earth Summit” in Rio in 1992. Climate Change was defined as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over considerable time periods. This makes the human impact the primary purpose of the research. The problem is you cannot determine that unless you know the amount and cause of natural climate change.
Properly, a scientific definition would put natural climate variability first, but at no point does the UN mandate require an advance of climate science. The definition used by UNFCCC predetermined how the research and results would be political and pre-determined the result. It made discovering a clear ‘human signal’ mandatory, but meaningless. As noted it thwarted the scientific method.
Other parts of their mandate illustrate the political nature of the entire exercise. Its own principles require the IPCC “shall concentrate its activities on the tasks allotted to it by the relevant WMO Executive Council and UNEP Governing Council resolutions and decisions as well as on actions in support of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.” (From Principles Governing IPCC work, approved at the 14th Session, Vienna 1-3 October 1998 and amended at the 21st Session, Vienna 6-7 November, 2003.) The role is also to “...assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy...” The process has been anything but “comprehensive, objective, open and transparent” as we will see later. However, the cynicism of the last sentence was exposed when they made the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) the most important part of IPCC reports and these have been anything but ‘neutral’ as we will see.
The IPCC is a political organization and yet it is the sole basis of the claim of a scientific consensus on climate change. Consensus is neither a scientific fact nor important in science, but it is very important in politics. There are 2500 members in the IPCC divided between 600 in Working Group I (WGI), who examine the actual climate science, and 1900 in working Groups II and III (WG II and III), who study “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” and “Mitigation of Climate Change” respectively. Of the 600 in WGI, 308 were independent reviewers, but only 32 reviewers commented on more than three chapters and only five reviewers commented on all 11 chapters of the report. They accept without question the findings of WGI and assume warming due to humans is a certainty. In a circular argument typical of so much climate politics the work of the 1900 is listed as ‘proof’ of human caused global warming. Through this they established the IPCC as the only credible authority thus further isolating those who raised questions.
The manipulation and politics didn’t stop there. The Technical Reports of the three Working Groups are set aside and another group prepares the SPM. A few scientists prepare a first draft, which is then reviewed by governments and a second draft is produced. Then a final report is hammered out as a compromise between the scientists and the individual government representatives. It is claimed the scientists set the final summary content, but in reality governments set the form. The SPM is then released at least three months before the science report. Most of the scientists involved in the technical or science report see the Summary for the first time when it is released to the public. The time between its release to the public and the release of the Technical Report is taken up with making sure it aligns with what the politicians/scientists have concluded. Here is the instruction in the IPCC procedures. “Changes (other than grammatical or minor editorial changes) made after acceptance by the Working Group or the Panel shall be those necessary to ensure consistency with the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) or the Overview Chapter.” Yes, you read that correctly. This is like an Executive writing a summary and then having employees write a report that agrees with the summary.
When you accept an hypothesis before it is proven you step on the treadmill of maintaining the hypothesis. This leads to selective and even biased research and publications. As evidence appears to show problems with the hypothesis the natural tendency is to become more virulent in defending the increasingly indefensible. This tendency is underlined by John Maynard Keynes sardonic question; “If the facts change, I’ll change my opinion. What do you do, Sir.” The IPCC and those who were chosen or chose to participate were locked in to a conclusion by the rules, regulations and procedures carefully crafted by Maurice Strong. These predetermined the outcome - a situation in complete contradiction to the objectives and methods of science.
As evidence grew that the hypothesis was scientifically unsupportable adherents began defending rather than accepting and adjusting. The trail they made is marked by the search for a clear human signal, identified in modern parlance as ‘smoking guns.’ They also became trapped in what Russian writer and philosopher Leo Tolstoi identified many years ago, namely, “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.” Next we will examine how the political system that Strong and the UN set up allowed perpetuation of incorrect science and falsely identified smoking guns.
- For more on the politics of the UN and global warming, go to CFP.
Posted by No Apology at 9:24 AM
Thursday, May 01, 2008
On March 21, 2007 I posted a short blog, Problems With Ethanol As Energy Source -
Then I posted another blog, How Bio Fuels Could Starve the Poor, which is a longer piece on the machinations of the various Socialists over the last 100 years. And it includes, of course, the usual admonition to "follow the money".
Now suddenly, even the likes of Ted Kennedy woke up and said: (I'm paraphrasing, of course) - "WTF?!!" Other esteemed Congress Critters, afraid of getting caught in the BIG LIE of the biofuel clusterfuck called Ethanol Subsidies, are screeching (also paraphrasing) "AKK!! OMIGOD..., the spector of 'UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES' has wrapped it's diabolical tentacles around our 'Good Intentions'. Those friggin' biofuel lobbyists never told us THIS could happen!"
"THIS", of course was so obvious a child could have made the prediction that the idiots in Congress, having listened to the idiots in the CFR, would manage to screw-up the cycle of food production so badly, that world-wide famine is likely to be the end result of the ethanol subsidies. And biofuels play environmental havoc. Who knew? Well, it turns out, lots of people knew. Read the March 21st blog, which includes a Christian Science Monitor piece on how this debacle is ruining farming opportunities for young farmers in the heartland.
The Washington Times
Congress' ethanol affair is cooling
By Stephen Dinan
May 1, 2008
'UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES': House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said ethanol subsidies will be reduced in the farm bill.
Members of Congress say they overreached by pushing ethanol on consumers and will move to roll back federal supports for it — the latest sure signal that Congress' appetite for corn-based ethanol has collapsed as food and gas prices have shot up.
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Democrats will use the pending farm bill to reduce the subsidy, while Republicans are looking to go further, rolling back government rules passed just four months ago that require blending ethanol into gasoline.
"The view was to look to alternatives and try to become more dependent on the Midwest than the Middle East. I mean, that was the theory. Obviously, sometimes there are unforeseen or unintended consequences of actions," Mr. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, told reporters yesterday.
Only a year ago, Congress and President Bush seemed to view ethanol as a near-magic solution to the nation's dependence on oil and counted on it to make a dent in greenhouse gas emissions. Republicans and Democrats together piled up the incentives and mandates that pushed farmers into planting corn for ethanol and consumers into buying gasoline blended with it.
But as farmers switched crops, they left a dearth in other foods — which, coupled with higher worldwide living standards and higher demand — has caused food shortages. Food riots have erupted in some nations, while even in the U.S., some stores have said they will ration sales of staples such as rice.
Now the most common phrase when lawmakers talk about ethanol is "unintended consequences."
"This is a classic case of the law of unintended consequences," said Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, who introduced a bill this week to end the entire slate of federal supports, including the mandates for blended gasoline, the tax credits for ethanol producers, and tariffs that keep out cheaper foreign ethanol.
"Congress surely did not intend to raise food prices by incentivizing ethanol, but that's precisely what's happened. A jump in food prices is the last thing our economy needs right now," Mr. Flake said.
I believe it is safe to assume that whenever "The Hill" has a stab at fixing things, a more mundane law will be manifesting: Murphy's Law.
Posted by No Apology at 7:55 PM