December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

Best Wishes for a happy and healthy 2019.

December 29, 2018

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Lebanon)

The geography and some history of the country of Lebanon.

And the flag of Lebanon:

December 27, 2018

ABC News caught lying about president Trump's position on the shutdown and wall

ABC News, like CNN, is fake news.  By fake news I am using it as shorthand for not factual, just the way the media malformed the term alt-right to equate to Nazis (who by nature are socialists, therefore anathema to conservative positions). 

Watch this video and tell me truthfully that you don't see any ill-intent in the news piece discussed.  And if you truly believe that, then you have to admit at least, that these journalists are really, really incompetent.  If you the believe the latter, that too should raise alarm bells for you.

How can you make smart decisions when you are badly (and in all likelihood, deliberately) misinformed?

December 26, 2018

Game theory being applied by president Trump on global trade to disrupt the trade imbalance:

December 25, 2018

December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas music

Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.  

Merry Christmas wishes to one and all.

Happening Now: Global Cooling

Nothing ever goes straight up, especially temperature.  Here's why:

December 23, 2018

December 22, 2018

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Latvia)

A former Soviet conquest/colony/occupied territory, Latvia gets discussed in these videos.

The Latvian flag:

December 20, 2018

Parsing the president on the border wall

A lot of conservatives are distraught that the president is sounding like he's caving on the border wall.  There has been indication that he might cave.  Last time he caved on something he said he would never sign bad legislation again.  But he's seemingly been very bi-partisan in lame duck legislation signing so far this year. He's even been conciliatory, at times.  But seemingly he's going to capitulate now.

But less than an hour ago the president tweeted this:

Seems like even though Mitch McConnell caved in the senate, the president will not sign a continuing resolution to keep the partial government shut down from happening until at least February (when the Democrats will control congress).  I don't get McConnell except to say that clearly border security is not a priority for him.  But you'd think since he's supposedly a shrewd political tactician he'd understand the value of a win, the value of the base and the value of using the lame duck session to maximize what Republicans can achieve over the next two years.  Apparently not.

But look back at what the president just tweeted.  It seems when he says "sign any of their legislation" he is referring yo Democrat legislation, not what Mitch McConnell just passed.  That's a possible interpretation.

If that's the case, the president could be gearing up for 2020 as a referendum on the feckless, fake border security stance of Democrats.  It's a good issue for him.  But it relies on border security voters not caring or forgetting that he did not stand up to feckless, fake border security Republicans this year.  That might turn out to be a political miscalculation by the president, not his first, but by far his most egregious. 

It could be some other calculus, but if that's the case, I cannot see the angle.  Then again, perhaps the president will indeed veto the legislation.  That would be a sign to his supporters that he has not given up the fight, and what we are seeing is just tactics with some design.

Time will tell.

December 19, 2018

The Culture War going on around you

You may not be aware of this, but conservatives for a few years now have been getting shadow banned on Twitter by some secretive oversight team, their websites and pages being de-emphasized on Google, their posts treated as fake news on Facebook and slowly but surely the cultural de-platforming of conservative ideas has spread, most recently to Patreon, where Sargon of Akkad said something (albeit recklessly and in poor taste), not recently and not even on their platform and his account was closed.

This is a logical extension of public shaming of conservatives that has gone on for years.

But there is hope in the making, via Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson, two heavy load-bearers on the free speech and anti-progressive side of the aisle.  Just as I mentioned before on a related issue - this is something that deserves your support.

Is ESPN no longer woke?

Let's hope so, but more evidence needs to compile.  Nevertheless, check this out:

December 18, 2018

You must Do This!!!

A GoFundMe page to Build the Wall? THAT is awesome! That is exactly what America needs.

In less than a day it's already got over 200,000 in donations!

Just brilliant!  Someone is stepping up in a way I was call for earlier today (see 2nd link above) but in a way that I had not considered, proving that more people trying to solve a problem is a better way to do things than a centralized government dictating solutions.

Please consider donating.

A rationale for restricting government - please share

Government is an absolute necessity, but absolute government is necessarily evil.  

If perception is reality and no two people perceive things the same way, then what two different people need - in addition to the basic necessities of life - will necessarily be different.  Consequently, if government's purpose is to fill unfulfilled needs for the governed, in doing so government manifestly cannot fulfill different needs, arising from different perceptions and realities, in equal measure in each and every circumstance.  Government is therefore an imperfect vessel for social responsibility.  At best.

At it's worst, government can skew not only the delivery of the means to fulfill social and societal needs, but also it's own multi-faceted, compartmentalized, departmental understanding of what those needs even are.  If the government does not have an absolutely flawless perception of every individual and every circumstance, it cannot possibly fulfill every need equally. Moreover it  certainly cannot deliver for some without it being done at the expense of others.

Governments absolutely create an imbalance in what they deliver and in order to fund their fulfillment, also in what they take.  Governments are not creators of wealth, they are merely redistributors of it.  If they are flawed in their analysis, they are then also flawed in that redistribution.

But if governments are absolutely necessary to some degree, then what's to be done to ensure that society does not exist at the unbearable expense of an individual or vast swaths of individuals?

It seems that the further away from something we are, the less we understand of it.  That's common sense - we are not close to the stars of the universe so we are forced to infer things about them and build our knowledge of them.  But closer to home we have been able to explore Mars and understand it more than before we could touch the surface with explorer vehicles. And still closer to home we have yet to fully understand the oceans.  But we understand our farmland better than our understanding of oceans and likewise we understand oceans better than Mars and Mars better than stars in distant galaxies.

Using that logic, it makes sense that local government would be more understanding and knowledgeable of proximal problems than state governments, and they in turn more than federal governments and in turn again more than some United Nations panel.   Not only would proximal governors better understand a specific problem, that may differ than that in some other locality, they would consequently be able to better devise and assess potential solutions.  They would further be able to deliver a response in an infinitely more timely fashion.

Secondarily, if the problems were similar to those in other localities, there would be similar attempts to address the same issue, across these localities, likely with different outcomes. One of the greatest benefits of a non-homogeneous suite of ideas (forget non-homogeneous physical identifiers, that's a red herring),  is that with multiple attempts at solutions you immediately have improved your odds of finding a solution that can be extrapolated to those who have tried and failed with different approaches.  

If you are playing baseball and you only get one swing at a pitch, odds are you are going to miss.  If you have 50 swings, you probably are going to get at least one hit in there somewhere.  That one (or more) hit is an opportunity to learn.  So too are all the misses.  Non-homogeneity of ideas is what ensures success.  More specifically, non-homogeneity of ideas combined with multiple real-world attempts to enact them

This is why free market capitalism outperforms command economies every single time - individuals try and succeed or fail thousands of times where in a central command structure you get one shot, that's it.  Yes, if it fails you can try again, but what if it fails catastrophically?  You've put all your eggs in one basket and if it drops, eggs will break.  And even if it is not a catastrophic failure, you have wasted time and have to start over.  If it takes 3 or 4 tries to get it right you have spent three or four times as long to get to a solution that a free society has long since moved on to other problem-solving issues: you have fallen behind.

This is why central control is doomed to fail over time.  It cannot compete in the long run.  That is to say nothing of the fact that in order to prop itself up and mitigate the frustration and unrest resulting from its failures, it has to control speech, and ultimately, thinking. That further restricts ideas and ensures the implosion it someday faces.  This is how societies fail.  This is why communism, no matter when or where it has been tried or wherever it may be tried in the future, has always and will always fail.   The same is true for socialism.  These are varying degrees of fatal governments, the only difference being the speed of the death.

How do we avoid falling into that trap, when governments set the rules and therefore are subject only to their own regulation (assuming they even bother to comply with them)?  Society must devise a system where the government delegates as much power as possible to those outside of itself and keeps the minimal amount required to serve its base purpose. That means the states, municipalities, non-governmental institutions such as private companies and organizations like churches or charities, and ultimately, individuals are those who need to be empowered to act.  The United States Constitution was set out to do exactly that.  It's such a brilliant masterpiece of design.  Indeed, where its intent has been perverted is where we see unintended consequences and failures.  It's precisely where we see creeping avoidance of its imperatives and a resulting bloated state.  

Whether you believe America has a deep state or not, it is inarguable that it is a bloated behemoth of a beaurocracy bent on self-preservation at the expense of many (if not most) of those it was designed to serve. At it's core, individual liberty and the creative spark that alone enables are no longer it's primary purpose. The institutions of the American government, set out to foster individual liberty, are now being misused to specifically thwart that noble aim, and in the process are becoming like the dictatorial states America was designed to not become.  And sadly generations since the Baby Boomers have become increasingly enamored with a nostalgia for something that has never existed and cannot exist - a socialist Utopia.

I'm sure many of those who long for socialism simply do not understand what it is they seek and seek to replace.  Their ignorance does not excuse them from the inevitable harsh judgement of future generations forced to live under the yoke of a statist or globalist hegemony.  More importantly it does not excuse those of us in the know of not educating our brethren of the cliff they are hurling us towards unabated.  Upon us it is the most incumbent, not ironically at an individual level, to spread the word of individualism and liberty while we still can.  The failure to do so means the failed future of that liberty and free society will ours to own.

I deleted my Patreon Account today, here's why

Just like Twitter, Patreon has set up some sort of Trust and Safety Counsel.  That counsel is really a policing free speech counsel.  Look what happened to Sargon of Akkad.  I'm not saying I support the language he used, but the policing being done is clearly, CLEARLY, selective and targeted at conservatives whom they are holding to a much higher standard than they are with progressives. How can I stick around on the platform in the face of this?

Here's what Dave Rubin had to say as he mulled over a response to Patreon himself.

Me leaving Patreon is singularly, pointless.  But if we leave en masse then it possibly makes a difference. I urge you to do the same. Except - where do we go?  What's obviously lacking is a conservative platform that encompasses the functionalities of Patreon, Twitter, Facebook and Google. Why don't we have that? No one has stepped up because it is a massive undertaking requiring huge funding and it has a slow growth path before becoming financially viable. But it is so necessary because what conservatives are facing is a slow virtual silencing in an era when virtual presence is what matters.

Nevertheless we only have two options at the crux of the situation - capitulate and meekly die off as a voice, or fight back.  If a company takes enough of a hit then maybe it reconsiders its Gestapo tactics against the right.  And maybe, just maybe an alternative might, in light of the obvious opportunity, emerge.

December 16, 2018

December 15, 2018

Saturday Learning Series - What you don't know about stoicism

Stoicism is probably not what you think it is.  It's actually an interesting philosophy to live by and definitely interesting.   Here are a few videos on it that explain it and it's possible application today.

December 14, 2018

Do Not Use Google, try Duck Duck Go instead

Despite Google's recently repeated insistence that they do not have a bias (they do), that they do not manipulate search results (they do - their business model is based on ranking results - there is an algorithm built into the ranking, which automatically will favor one site over another.  Not sharing that algorithm obscures whether they are playing fairly) and that they do not track you unless they are given permission (they do), you are not anchored to the search engine.  There are many options.

Duck Duck Go, despite the awful name, is a great alternative\, especially for conservatives.

Friday Musical Interlude - Christmas music

More Christmas music for the month of December. This time some Christmas pop.

December 12, 2018

Well, Theresa May survived

British Prime Minister Theresa May has just survived a no-confidence vote among conservatives to remain Prime Minister.  This despite delivering such a weak-tea effete deal for Great Britain that those who voted to exit the European Union are probably having second thoughts now.

I'm not sure she will survive politically though, and she seems to realize that too.

December 7, 2018

Friday Musical Interlude - Christmas Music

It's December.  How about some Rush Limbaugh inspired Christmas music? Mannheim Steamroller - Christmas (full album).

December 5, 2018

Also while you weren't looking: trying to foil Brexit

British establishment is trying to sign a deal so bad for Britain to leave the European Union, that it destroys the Brexit movement.  Why else would this deal, destined to fail in parliament, be proposed for ratification?  OMG it's so bad:
I’ve said some hard things on this page about the 45th president, but credit where it’s due: He’d never have come back with the miserable deal that Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to sell to an incredulous British public. The famous dealmaker saw right away what had happened. “It sounds like a good deal — for the European Union,” he told reporters as details emerged.

For once, Donald Trump was guilty of understatement. This is the sort of deal that a country signs when it has lost a war. Under its terms, Britain will remain subject to all the costs and obligations of EU membership, but will give up its vote, its voice and its veto. In Brussels, they crow that the sole change, for at least two and probably four years, will be that the U.K. loses its Commissioner, its Members of the European Parliament and its vote when the EU makes decisions. If the remaining 27 members now pass a measure deliberately designed to harm British interests — to shift business from London to Frankfurt, say — the U.K. will have to apply it.

And at the end of that “implementation period”? The original idea, as the name “implementation period” suggests, was that the U.K. and the EU would use it implement a comprehensive trade relationship. In practice, they haven’t begun work on such a relationship, and the EU now has no incentive even to start.

Why? Because of the so-called “Northern Ireland backstop.” Unbelievably, British negotiators have agreed that they will remain within the EU’s tariff walls, and contract out their trade policy to Brussels, unless and until the EU side is satisfied that there don’t need to be physical checks at the Irish border.
The thing is, this is not going to turn out to be Brexit supporters turning on the idea. This deal is so blatantly bad for Great Britain, that it is actually the British establishment shooting itself in the foot. Nobody is buying that this is a good deal. No one is falling for it. So to put this to a vote, not only will it fail, it might actually topple the conservative majority in parliament. That's a bad thing. But with Theresa May on board with this deal, perhaps the party really needs a shake-up and a return to a Thatcher-like leader, just as the Republican establishment in America is undergoing a shake-up.

While you weren't looking (or being told) France caves

Remember that Paris Agreement on climate change that president Trump withdrew from on behalf of the United States?  Turns out people in France are not so keen on the imposition of more taxes on gasoline either.  As a result France's leader Macron has backed down, for 6 now at least:

Populism it turns out, is not strictly an American phenomenon.

December 1, 2018

Saturday Learning Series - Fake News Exposed (indisputably and for real)

Taking a break this week from the recent Saturday Learning Series focus on geography to take a look at two recent scientific items in the news that are in all truth, fake news and clickbait.

Anton Petrov's "What Da Math" looks at these two instances of hyperbole and brilliantly puts some truth to them. Firstly let's look at the giant asteroid expected to destroy life on earth in 2023.

Here's the other fake science news being exposed. A gamma ray burst from Apep.

When you watch the media, always, ALWAYS question what they tell you.  They might be right, but there are facts, there are distortions, there are opinions and there is often hyperbole.  It's up to you to sift through what they say and discern for yourself what part is fact.  That's because they do not limit themselves to to facts, more and more they are about the rest of that list.  Fake news is a strong term but it is a necessary term as so much of what the media shares is bias-filled, clickbait focused tripe.

Ask yourself:  If the media can lie about our imminent doom, why can't they do it for immigration, politics and climate change (formerly known as global warming)?

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