Showing posts with label ThinkTank-osphere. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ThinkTank-osphere. Show all posts

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The ThinkTank-ospere Goes Post-Modern?

This came from: Dylan Otto Krider (aka Memekiller - on facebook)




Authors of conservative alternative to the biased, crowd-sourced Wikipedia are still removing the liberal parts of the Bible - like the not casting the first stone bit.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Newtown Anniversary Evokes fear that "They're Coming to Get Our Guns"

On the day that Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot point blank in the head, and 19 people were shot and 6 died, the ThinkTank-ocracy's rapid response spin team laid groundwork for the three years that have followed, of preemptive strikes against anyone who might claim any connection between guns and killing. I observed some of this rapid response brainstorming myself.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

On Smart Division of Labour in a Propaganda Enterprise

 Here is an email I wrote to a historian friend in February 2012 concerning the current (back then) "last nail in the coffin of the AGW Hoax"

I've never seen a time when so many normal seeming people readily swallow so much totally unjustified and worthless nonsense.  My mother showed me a letter to the editor of her newspaper which started out characterizing Obama as a Marxist ex-street hustler and was telling me it had some good points, and not blinking at the crazy characterization.

I had one insight the other day when my wife passed me an article which seemed to say that a credible climatologist had shown there was no increase in carbon dioxide in the last 150 years.  Ever heard of this? At the time, it was hard to miss in popular "conservative" blogs, where the followup discussions were full of language like "final nail in the coffin of climategate".

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Where to Begin (a "Truth Project" worthy of the name)? (#5)

Over the years, my thinking on why I should bother have developed and gotten clearer.

Theoretically,  with the Internet, we have immediate access to almost infinitely more "information" than was at our fingertips even 30 years ago.  But most people will probably agree that "most people" (but a different "most people" from themselves) are systematically mislead by information sources they trust.

Friday, August 12, 2011

On the "Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism"

An opinion piece that just came out in Forbes recently  "New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism" cites an article published in "the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing" by "Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA's Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA's Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models."

The editorial is written by  "James M. Taylor,  senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute" and the implication is that it summarizes Spencer's 15 page article.

Problems I have in accepting this:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Making Sense of "Liberal Fascism" Part 1

Jonah Goldberg is right on one important count.  Liberals (along with most human beings, though he doesn't point that out) tend to use ideological labels without any real clarity about what they mean, simply as pejoratives.  The one thing that seems to never change is the bipolar nature of our politics.  Republicans may shift from being the party of "America First" (meaning, in the late 30s and very early 40s, "Leave Hitler and the problems of Europe alone) to being the most hawkish and interventionist party, ever since some time around 1950.  Democrats may go from being the party of states rights to being the most prone to promote federal projects and universal national social policies.

It is as old as our nation.  John C. Calhoun made a radical switch from national centralist to the most extreme of states righters as abolitionism began to grow in the North.

Goldberg declares in his introduction "Angry left-wingers shout that all those to their right ... are fascists.  Meanwhile besieged conservatives sit dumbfounded by the nastiness of the slander."  He then writes a 487 page specious argument to "prove" that everyone to his left is a fascist.

The book is published in 2007 when the idea of "besieged conservatives" dumbfounded by nastiness seemed and still seems comically inappropriate.  To me, it appears that movement conservatives have mined the history of the left in America for tactics, both to scold the left for using them (even if it was mostly decades ago) and to make energetic use of them for the right.  For example, the victimhood pose - those poor innocent besieged and dumbfounded conservatives.

The Mises Review of the Ludwig von Mises Institute is surely more hostile to government interventionism (which is almost synonymous with "fascism" as Goldberg used the word). But they do seem to have higher standards of intellectual rigour.

Their review, at  http://mises.org/misesreview_detail.aspx?control=326
starts with "Jonah Goldberg has ruined what could have been a valuable book" and concludes "Although Liberal Fascism contains much important information, its many mistakes require that it be used with extreme caution. Jonah Goldberg should acquire a more accurate knowledge of history before he presumes to instruct others." (after several specific examples of what the reviewer calls "howlers").

Goldberg has stretched the word "fascist" so it seems to include any vision of nationwide improvement that might involve the government.  For consistency he should probably include public education as a fascist institution, but since the belief in public education isn't limited to liberals that would be inconvenient.  He does however give broad hints that vegetarianism and movements against cruelty to animals might be fascist -- at least they were favored by certain Nazis.

No wonder he can speak of "smiley face" fascism, and put a cute smiley button on the cover with a Hitler moustache.  He seems not to understand what has made fascism (and Nazism and Stalinism which he coyly stays away from) seem like an abomination to most people.  The fact that some liberals have also been too loose in their use of words like "fascist" should not excuse this.

 I should make it clear that I am not in the business of determining the true definition of fascism, or essence of fascism.  We tend (due, I think, to the structure of our minds) to think that where there is a word, there must be a true meaning of that word.  This does not serve us well in the overwhelmingly complex and open-ended world that we live in.

At least if we want to understand what people are saying, we have to accept, for the moment at least, what they mean by words they use -- even, perhaps, how they use a word in a particular context.  When the Marines are "looking for a few good men", they don't mean five or six.

Ultimately, if there is any point in talking about, or listening to someone talk about Fascism, aside from trying to describe and analyze some historical events, then we must try to understand what they mean by it.  I said "talking about, or listening" but in fact I seen no reason to talk about fascism, because it means too many different things to too many people.  And when I hear someone else talking about Fascism, I at best take it with a grain of salt, as their definition of, or more likely their associations with the word are likely to be fuzzy, so generally the use of the word "Fascist" makes me doubt the clarity of the speaker's thinking, or worse, makes me suspect the speaker just uses labels to paint somebody else's philosophy or actions as evil.

What you will do, by calling someone or something Fascist, if the namecalling sticks, is to associate the person or entity with whatever the listener thinks of as fascism".  In that spirit, I would like to explore the "meanings" of fascism in the people's minds.

What Goldberg does, basically, is to give "Fascism" a much broader meaning that what people think of when they hear the word, then announce that liberals are fascists, without any attempt to change what people think of when they hear the word.

I want to examine the qualities of fascism neglected by Goldberg, but which will affect what people hear when they hear that "Liberals are Fascists".  Maybe few people can articulate these qualities (which is why Goldberg's book is effective) but if they were to analyze all the impressions they have gotten from books and movies, these things would show up
  • Ideological absolutism:
  • National or Racial Exclusivity: and a messianic sense of the nation's mission or fate which excludes, or may include the conquering /exterminating of other states, ethnicities, classes, or other excluded groupings.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Unreported Soros Event Aims to Remake Entire Global Economy" says Media Research Center

The Media Research Center (MRC) article titled "Unreported Soros Event Aims to Remake Entire Global Economy" starts off with:

Two years ago, George Soros said he wanted to reorganize the entire global economic system. In two short weeks, he is going to start - and no one seems to have noticed.

On April 8, a group he's funded with $50 million is holding a major economic conference and Soros's goal for such an event is to "establish new international rules" and "reform the currency system." It's all according to a plan laid out in a Nov. 4, 2009, Soros op-ed calling for "a grand bargain that rearranges the entire financial order."

 The MRC provides a pointer to the event website:
http://ineteconomics.org/initiatives/conferences/bretton-woods
 where INET (the Soros organization in charge of it) bills it as simply one in a series of international conferences.

The MRC describes its purpose as "to bring balance to the news media... and neutralize [the impact of "liberal bias"] on the American political scene.

Why then does the MRC deliberately present a yearly conference as the launching of the New World Order?

Soros gave his opinion, in strong terms granted, that the worst worldwide recession in several decades revealed a need for a reorganization of the global financial system.

But it goes way beyond spin to say, as MRC does that he "wanted to reorganize the entire global economic system." and "In two short weeks, he is going to start and no one seems to have noticed."

Why is this event "unreported"?  Because it is a conference of 200 mostly academic economists, with no apparent representation by actual world leaders, which is going to generate a lot of presentations world leaders, if they take the time, may or may not find persuasive.

George Soros has taken some bold actions, but to spread the fear that he can "reorganize the global financial system" goes way way beyond bias.  It is systematic misrepresentation.

In the 1980s, the supposedly "left wing" Soros set up organizations in the ex Warsaw pact countries to assist them in making the transition to personal freedom and free trade.  He named the central organization of all those he set up after Karl Popper's book title "The Open Society and its Enemies".  Soros is deeply indebted to Popper, who in the 1940s joined with Friedrich Hayek and other intellectuals in warning against totalitarian systems -- explicitly naming the Soviet Union in this class, as well as Nazi Germany.


Soros believes the financial system, like our highway system needs a system of rules to avoid spinning out of control.  After the great Ponzi scheme-like bubble that ended in the 2008 crash, why do so many people start yelling "Marxist" whenever they hear this?


If the financial system can be reformed in a useful way the reform would have to be international in scope.  Otherwise those who want to profit from financial bubbles can simply shop for the country with the loosest regulations.  We can go crazy when an international group talks about trying to harmonize the various currencies and have some rules to keep speculation from turning into con-artistry, but the financial system is international and there's no escaping that.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"We Will Shoot More Police in Arizona" and Other Email Idiocy

Have you seen this picture, accompanied with a caption somewhat like the following?


It has been circulated via chain emails.  Is the picture real or photoshopped?  There hasn't been a conclusive answer as far as I can tell.  One thing that has been demonstrated is that the the caption ("Picture taken by one of my friends in Phoenix yesterday ...") is untrue because the background is the LA Times complex, so whoever added "Picture taken by one of my friends in Phoenix yesterday ..." was lying.  This is a pattern I've often noticed with anonymous chain emails.  If a picture, or story gets wide circulation, and succeeds in working a lot of people up, then it will get reused, with whatever changes are necessary, the next time there is a news event which it can be fitted to.

It is part of a very big phenomenon I described in My Not-really-right-wing Mom and her adventures in Email-Land.  There is also a web site called "My Right Wing Dad" devoted to simply collecting thousands of such emails.

The picture by itself means little or nothing.  The signholder could be as uniquely crazy as Jared Loughton (see "Crosshairs, Blood Libel, and Rabid Partisans");  for that matter, it could be a liberal-baiter who wrote the sign himself.  The sign-holder looks like he's talking with someone, maybe the photographer ("OK you want me to hold it a little higher?").  The sign itself reads like a parody in my opinion, but consider this: if the sign holder was truly one of the protesters, and spent any amount of time displaying it (as opposed to posing once for the picture), why haven't multiple pictures of this outrageous sign appeared?.  If the sign represents the views of the marchers, are there pictures of any others with similar messages?

Why does is matter? Why are millions of people passing this stuff around?  As to what motivates it, I believe the philosophy goes back at least 30 years to what Terry Dolan, one of the founders of NCPAC, said of their strategy:
"A group like ours could lie through its teeth, and the candidate it helps stays clean.". Washington Post, August 10, 1980 (quoted by Wikipedia).
The power of PACs, and of skunkworks of "dirty tricksters" is truly wondrous.

An indispensable element of these emails, which I've been studying for a couple of years, is the phony folksy lead-in which gives the impression this was just passed along by a "concerned" friend of a friend, not from some junior Machiavelli in a boiler room somewhere.

Various tricks are used to "prove" authenticity, not the least of which is the manufactured outrage -- as in another of the variations cited by http://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/azprotest.asp:

 I know john personally! THIS IS LEGIT!
The photo was taken at a protest 5/1/10 in Phoenix!

                       (as noted, the backdrop is the LA Times bldg which is NOT in Phoenix)

I for one am OUTRAGED by this photo, taken the next day after a Pinal County Sheriffs Deputy was shot by Mexican Drug Runners with an AK-47 just a few miles from my home.  THIS CRAP IS TAKING PLACE "IN MY BACKYARD"! YOU PEOPLE in other states Need to shut the hell up, and actually READ THE PROPOSED LAW for yourselves, and NOT LISTEN TO THE RACEBAITERS like Sharpton and OBAMA!
READ IT FOR YOURSELF THEN DECIDE IF IT IS RIGHT OR WRONG!!!!

I have about had enough.
Why do I say "manufactured" outrage?  In this case, there is the lie of personal knowledge that the photo was taken in Phoenix when in fact the scene is Los Angeles.

If you are not one of the people who swallows this sort of thing whole, let me just say that these things are effective.  They get past peoples skepticism because they seem so amateurish, like somebody just got fed up and in impotent rage, put it all together and sent it out to his or her little informal club of people who exchange interesting emails.  But when most of the emails like this I've seen contain elaborate deceptions (See "My Not-really-right-wing Mom and her adventures in Email-Land") it makes more sense to think the composer was interested in changing public opinion for a certain political result, not in sharing their genuine personal outrage as they claim.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement by Eric Heubeck


The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement 
(http://jmisc.net/essays/IntegrationOfTheoryAndPractice.html)

by Eric Heubeck


This seems to have been basically Paul Weyrich's vision for movement conservativism from around 2000. It was written with the guidance of Weyrich by Eric Heubeck.  It used to be posted on the Free Congress Foundation / Center for Cultural Conservativism website till they decided not to give it so much exposure, so now we must get it from a snapshot archived at http://web.archive.org/ on 7/13/01.

Let me just throw out a few quotes to whet your appetite:

This essay is based on the belief that the truth of an idea is not the primary reason for its acceptance. Far more important is the energy and dedication of the idea's promoters--in other words, the individuals composing a social or political movement

... conservatives have failed to devote the proper amount of energy to developing an alternative cultural world-view opposed to the dominant leftist one... (well, that's no longer true)


Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive. We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them.