Monday, April 5

Be Skeptical

This post will be a bit political. If you would prefer a bit of weirdly subtle  humiliation kink, try out my Friend Tanky's newly-posted story STRICT JULIE HUMILIATED BY HUSBAND.

I haven't posted anything political since Jan 4 as I thought tensions had become way too high, and I thought it would not be constructive at all to do so. However, I feel that tensions have calmed down quite a bit so I thought I would dip my toes back into those waters, because, really, what else do you want from your spanking blogger other than political commentary, amiright?

I we look back on the four years of Trump, one thing that definitely came out is the extent to which most of us have realized we are being lied to.

I suppose it was always there. The people were lied to about all sorts of things during Vietnam (e.g., the Pentagon Papers). J. Edgar Hoover, one of the founding figures of the FBI, a figure of whom the FBI headquarters is named after, maintained blackmail files on influential US persons and wielded immense power as a result. McCarthy trumped up charges. Churchill refused multiple peace overtures from Germany and kept that hidden. Pearl Harbor could have been avoided. We were lied to about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq. We were lied to about the NSA routinely monitoring the communications of US citizens. We were lied to about Iran-Contra. We were lied to about Fast and Furious Mexican gun-running. We were lied to about nutrition, opiates, Volkswagen diesel engines, and so on, and so on, and so on. In the Trump era, the lies accelerated greatly (both by him and about him).

If we haven't figured it out yet, we are just being obtuse at this point. We care about what the mainstream media and social media tell us to care about. We accept whatever narrative we are fed (if it happens to be true, it's purely accidental). Political and business/financial forces manipulate the media for their own purposes. How about let's not be puppets?

President Eisenhower warned us in his famous 1961 farewell speech. That speech was two years in the making and was heavily worked and reworked by Eisenhower himself. It is well worth a listen today in its entirety.

You can find the full transcript here: TRANSCRIPT

Ike, first and foremost, calls for balance in all things (5:40):

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs – balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage – balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between action of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

Arguably, the vast programs now being pushed by the government, what is it, about $10T being spent by the US government now for all manner of things under the guise of COVID-19 response and Infrastructure, are what Ike may deem a lack of balance?

Ike admits that given the geo-political climate there was now a need for a vast, professional, standing military unlike anything seen in the past, however he warns against the dangers (8:00):

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Was he seeing what was developing in Vietnam and not liking it? What would he have said about the Iraq war, and the endless wars now in the Middle East? What would he have said about the Patriot Act and its ongoing spying on the American people  "for their own good". What would he have said to the presence of barbed wire and 30,000 troops occupying the US capital?

He also warns about a second potential calamity. While indicating that scientific research has needed to become much more ambitious and costly, he warns of the dangers (9:47):

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been over shadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system-ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

I see echoes of drug companies, covid response, and climate change at least in part driven by these forces, not for the betterment of mankind, but for profit. We have government that has abdicated its responsibilities and is almost universally "on the take" to these special interest groups, aided and abetted by we in the public only too eager to be fed pablum from the media and take it for truth.

We must be critical. We must be skeptical. I quote the words of the famous scientist, Richard Feynman.

He presented at the fifteenth annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, 1966 in New York City, (click for full transcript):

As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

When someone says, "Science teaches such and such," he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, "Science has shown such and such," you might ask, "How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?"

It should not be "science has shown" but "this experiment, this effect, has shown." And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments – but be patient and listen to all the evidence – to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.

In a field which is so complicated [as education] that true science is not yet able to get anywhere, we have to rely on a kind of old-fashioned wisdom, a kind of definite straightforwardness. I am trying to inspire the teacher at the bottom to have some hope and some self-confidence in common sense and natural intelligence. The experts who are leading you may be wrong.

I have probably ruined the system, and the students that are coming into Caltech no longer will be any good. I think we live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television – words, books, and so on – are unscientific. As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science.

Amen to that.

If you hear an anecdote on the news being used to make a broader point: be skeptical!

If you hear a single statistic being used to justify a thing: be skeptical!

If you don't see a thing being compared to another thing: be skeptical!

If you don't see both benefits and costs being presented: be skeptical!

Be aware that us being lied to is no longer the exception, it is now business as usual.

Be skeptical.

89 comments:

  1. We were being lied to. "The Washington Post" had a feature called "Fact Checker." This feature researched statements by the previous president. No, it wasn't biased or fake. It was real, documented research. Donald Trump had 33,000 proven lies documented by that column. The damage his lies caused is being felt to this day.

    This isn't just political.It's social too. During Eisenhower's time, the Republican party was the party of the rich. Blue collar people were Democrats. Over the last 20 years, the left wing became more populist and put out candidates that felt like socialists to many Americans. The Republicans stressed smaller government with less regulation. Enough middle-class Americans moved to the right due to the extreme progressive flavor on the left.

    Trump hid the capital gains tax cutting behind a tissue of lies about jobs fleeing the US. The jobs were fleeing (and still are) but not because of capital gains taxes. Primarily it is because of lower wages in Asia. I can't even begin listing the other lies.

    Eisenhower was a general and a visionary. His politics were definitely elitist and slanted toward the rich. However, back then there was still a middle class where a guy working in a factory could afford a nice house and his wife could stay home and raise the kids.

    In those days, fingers were pointed at South American banana republics where the gap between have's and have-not's was so great that working people barely earned enough to buy food. Democracy was supposed to narrow the gap and give working people a fair share.

    In 2020, many full-time workers earn less than the poverty line. Trump chose to ignore this. That's not surprising. What amazes me is how talk radio and Fox News convinced high-school educated Americans to believe outlandish lies.

    Julie, the only thing that's calmed down is the hateful rhetoric. The gun-toting blue collar Americans are still sure that Trump and his ilk are right and those of us with a bit more education are wrong.

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    1. Thanks for the one side. Now do the other side. What were lies about Trump that you noticed?

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    2. Good question. Off the top of my head here are a few:
      1. He is a self-made billionaire -- His father left him $444 million. He managed to grow that to less than $2 billion. He would have made twice that by conservative investment in the stock market.

      2.He reported murder rates the highest in years. In fact he said the rate of increase in murders went up 47%. It was a rare case where he was actually mostly telling the truth.

      I tried researching your interesting question. I could only find the second one. The first was reported at length by "The New York Times." We aren't all crazy commies trying to destroy a true patriot.The guy is a buffoon who played on the insecurities of a seriously under-represented portion of our population.

      I recently heard an interesting observation. It was that if the US is to find the kind of balance it had in the past, we need a third political party that is more centerist. I agree. There has to be something between Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz.

      2.

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    3. Ha ha! No, I meant lies told about Trump by his opponents. Just checking if you are paying attention to lies from both sides.

      I find the "30,000" lie talking point one of those things to be skeptical about. Without at all doubting that Trump told many lies, and used lots of hyperbole, the "30,000" thing smells like propaganda. Was it produced by a neutral source? What was the methodology for deciding something is a lie? Do they distinguish hyperbole and sarcasm from outright lies? How many of those do pro-Trump people refute as being lies? By comparison, using the same methodology, how many lies did other Presidents utter per 4 years? Is the same group compiling this lie list continuing the tally against the current President? What is his tally so far? Do Republicans agree? Without this, be skeptical about a manufactured talking point we've all heard countless times by now.

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    4. Seriously look it up Julie. They documented and provided proof for every one. It was a four year long project. Now, some were repeats because that’s one of his tactics. Repeat something enough or just say “people are saying XYZ.” The Washington Post is an established respected newspaper and they provide the receipts. They also fact check the other side, as they just recently called out Biden on some comments he made about the new Georgia voting laws.

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    5. I did look up, long ago. I found many of the judgments to be suspect. Be skeptical. WaPo was one of the main newspapers to push anonymous single-sourced reporting that turned out to be false regarding Russian Collusion. Then their national security reporter, Entous, was caught on camera admitting there was no basis, contradicting the headlines and reporting of his own newspaper. https://youtu.be/pIm9zNItYq8 They have not earned our trust.

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    6. Good post, Julie and good points.
      Here's some about the Washington Posts 'factchecker' from Jack Marshall our favorite ethicist over at Ethics Alarms:https://ethicsalarms.com/2021/04/03/the-washington-post-factchecker-wants-us-to-know-that-president-biden-lying-about-the-georgia-voting-law-isnt-so-bad-because-president-trump-lied-all-the-time/ and https://ethicsalarms.com/2021/03/31/president-biden-lies-outright-regarding-the-georgia-voting-reform-lawwhats-going-on-here/ and https://ethicsalarms.com/2019/08/01/hello-august-ethics-warm-up-a-cheating-ex-marine-an-athlete-who-cheats-by-being-naturally-superior-the-cheating-media-and-more/ Incidentally, he came up with the same conclusion you did about the Trump '300 lies" spreadsheet as well: that it was cherry picked, relied on interpreting ambiguous statements in the least charitable way possible, in a few cases told lies about things that weren't lies, and etc. And he has over a hundred more instances of "fact checkers" either lying or applying different standards depending on political party at his site including over a dozen more posts on Kessler alone. Kessler is NOT a reliable fact checker, in fact he is a partisan hack.

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    7. 2nd part:
      As someone who gets their news from multiple sources and has always been a skeptical person I started noticing that even Snopes slipped starting about 5 or 6 years ago. Now it's endemic and everywhere and I often find myself having to 'fact check' the 'fact checkers'. You'd be surprised how often they downright lie. Their favorite tactics are : Omission of information that would provide context and applying their scales differently for the exact same behavior depending on who does it. Anyway, after nearly 40 years of reading them, I no longer trust the 'mainstream press'. They've (as a whole) become little more than corporatist Democratic shills, whose underpaid and underskilled workforce leans massively 'woke' and thinks it is their duty to not just report the news but define what IS news and then to shape the story. Increasingly over time (the process seems to have been completed with the rise of the outsider aka Trump) what with media consolidation, slashed budgets for investigative reporting (due to the internet) the rise of 'activist' journalism programs in the colleges, and the hiring of the Young and Cheap over the older and wiser and more experienced, Regular US news to include the networks (even Fox to an extent though it relies on being the only mainstream alternative voice or Republicans would have NONE) but esp the Washington Post and New York Times are now little more than Pravda. Anyone who doesn't believe me should try 'fact checking' them for a month or so. And don't rely on other big organs (they love to play games of quoting each other or all taking the exact same anonymous sources for confirmation creating circular 'news' that is fake, not real) : instead listen to the speeches yourself, get primary documents , go to people like Glenn Greenwald or Tim Pool (Youtube) for alternative takes and then tell me I'm wrong. Crap, look at the mainstream reporting of the Derek Chauvin trial and all the stuff that favors the defense you never hear about on CBS or the New York Times. You can check out the coverage at Legal Insurrection (live blogging the trial with clips of all testimony!) for that and be informed and not shocked when you find out almost everything you think you know about the case is wrong. Or you can be like our anonymous person here or Lion and think the media network is as reliable as it was say 20 years ago when you could count on some semblance of real fact checking, some actual investigative reporting and you could adjust for bias between say Fox and CBS or the Washington Post and the Washington Examiner. I remember when we used to have real robust debates (esp the early days to around 2008 on the internet) and half the country wasn't called Nazis or "White Supremacists" for disagreeing. Ahh for those days again...but I fear it's too late.

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    8. Great points Clarence. Thanks for the backup!

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    9. It's kind of funny how quickly this has become about which side is telling more lies, and who is lying about lying, when really we should be concerned that we're being lied to constantly, which I think was Ms Julie's original point. If you tell me someone's taken a shit in my cereal I don't ask you how big the shit is.

      Even if the Post is exaggerating by tripling the number of lies he told, which seems like it would be a bold, disputable move, then Trump told over 10,000 lies, or roughly 7 a day over the four years he was President. This seems like it should be concerning.

      On the other hand, there have definitely been periods in my life when I've lied several times a day for a matter of months, if not years. If you broaden your definition, I am lying to you about my name right now. I believe The Washington Post is one of the more reliable newspapers, but at the end of the day they are still a business, bound by the rules of capitalism, interested primarily in making a profit. I 100% believe they would juice up the numbers in order to sell more papers. I believe they'd stop printing news and start printing rap lyrics if that was a more sustainable and profitable business model.

      Not having a go at anyone in particular, just a reminder to keep your eye on the prize and look out for your own interests rather than supporting your political team.

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    10. I actually think the "counting of lies" is a strange obsession. I'd rather want to evaluate claimed important lies one at a time and assess how damaging. E.g., being lied to re weapons of mass destruction, or lied to re Russian collusion conspiracy, or lied to re NSA spying, or lied to re fine people hoax. These are all big, consequential, damaging lies.

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    11. Exactly... Trump's whole shtick was hyperbole and bluster; he's a salesman and a showman so of course everything's the biggest and the best, the fastest and the shiniest. If you're worried about those kinds of lies then there are real problems that you should maybe deal with first.

      I actually think it was kind of clever for Trump to lie about everything all the time because you become inoculated and let the big lies pass. You get tired of arguing about how many people showed up at his inauguration or whether or not he won the popular vote, and then when a ridiculous like like "Mexico will pay for the border wall" comes along you don't have the energy to fight it, it's just business as usual. If Obama or even Bush had insisted the same thing you'd have thought they had lost their marbles, but for Trump it was business as usual.

      The Post would be better focusing on ten of his most damaging lies and what the fallout from those lies was, rather than cataloguing every little fib he told like the teacher's pet reporting on who said what about whom when the teacher was out of the room.

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    12. Your intuition is correct. The whole 30,000 lies thing is b.s. It's mostly differences of opinion, salesman hyperbole, sarcasm, honest inconsequential mistakes, etc. Remember, the same people counting Trump's "lies" are the same people who keep "fact checking" the Babylon Bee.

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    13. Tanky: yes - I think I guffawed when I heard Trump, with his mischievous smile, first say, ... "and Mexico will pay for it!". He claimed they paid for it by supplying 10's of 1000's soldiers down on the Guatemala border to stop migrants there rather than transiting Mexico and then gumming up the immigration system at the US border (as is happening now). Or paying for it via the USMCA trade agreement bringing jobs formerly that made sense to be in Mexico into the US. Regardless, it was a funny line and we all knew that it was a combination of hyperbole and stuff like the above. Only the super-serious lefties call it a "lie".

      Anony: yes, that was my experiencing reading down the list of even what they chose as the top 100 "lies".

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    14. Julie, that's not a legitimate question. The answer to bad behavior by one party is not that the other party behaves badly, too.

      And Trump's lies are not the real problem, anyway. His attack on democracy and the rule of law is the problem. He sent a group of thugs to try to stop his opponent from being declared President of the United States. That's sedition and treason.

      Caged Lion doesn't owe us any lies about Trump. If you want to be skeptical about something, you can start by being skeptical that Trump won the presidential election last fall. Where's the proof? In every case where a real authority has looked into this, they've seen that he has no evidence to back up his claim.

      And Trump used that lie to defraud his supporters out of millions of dollars. He owes that money back to them.

      It's easy to be skeptical of everything when almost every piece of information comes to us from someone else, typically over the Internet or a cable news network or a radio program. But at some point, it's important for people to step back and decide what they actually believe.

      Trump was bad for the United States and bad for the world. At a minimum, he was a waste of four years, at a critical time when we can't afford to waste four years. But it's worse than that. He intentionally or through ineptitude bungled the coronavirus response, which cost thousands of people their lives.

      At some point, it's important to acknowledge mistakes. Electing Trump was a mistake. At first, I was hopeful that he was so craven that he'd do what the majority of people wanted. But it turns out he wanted to hurt our society, and just being popular was not enough.

      It's time to move on from Trump. He's now the past, not the future. The majority of people in the U.S. have moved on. It's time for his supporters to let him go.

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    15. I think there's no evidence whatsoever that Trump "sent a group of thugs to stop...". All evidence points to a peaceful protest that got a bit out of hand, but way less so than the previous 9 months of BLM/Antifa inspired violent protest.

      I also think there are many questions around the integrity of US elections. Without chain of custody, signature verification, and ID requirements, things most developed countries have but oddly the US does not, one cannot reasonably prove or disprove fraud.

      Trump played a major role in encouraging and clearing the way for vaccine R&D, so credit where credit is due.

      The US is almost 50-50 divided. Biden has done nothing to even try to unify. I would say the destructive force comes from the left.

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  2. Ooh, I fucking love Richard Feynman! He truly tried to teach knowledge and understanding rather than information. His autobiographies are well written and full of great anecdotes. There's also a lot to learn from them about rejecting authority and getting away with mischief!

    As for the lies, you'll probably not be surprised to hear that I've long been jaded by politicians. One of the good things he did by becoming president was to moan about the ridiculous system in place and all the hurdles you have to clear to find yourself in office, and that's coming from a man with decades worth of ludicrous accumulated wealth and powerful contacts. Having a broken political system, and I'm not just talking about the US here, means that everyone near the top has been compromised in some way, and to be honest I don't want to vote for someone who isn't smart enough to use every loophole and advantage the same way Trump did.

    You're right about people being too willing to accept that they're being lied to as well. A few years ago in the UK we found out that a lot of convenience food, the kind mainly sold to the lower classes, was horse meat being sold as beef by certain supermarkets and frozen food companies. I thought there'd be protests, looting and damage done to the companies that had lied about the food we were feeding our kids. But we just took it, made a few dumb jokes and got on with business as usual.

    On a more positive note, thank you very much for your referral right at the top of your post! Carry on like this and I may have to think of a way of making you happy besides teasing you endlessly!

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    1. Thanks Tanky. It was convenient that you published a hot blog just as I was publishing this to give those less interested in these matters a place to go!

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    2. Hot, convenient, a good place to send bored guests... You make my blog sound like your twat!

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  3. Part of the problem with Trump's hyperbole is that so many of his followers are unable to tell that is what it is. Think of all the times when Trump said that something was a joke after the fact, but in real time, it certainly didn't seem that way, it's a similar phenomenon. Was he joking at the time he suggested a dose of bleach might do us good? Is he serious when he claims he's done more for African Americans than any President since Lincoln? The Trade War was said to be "easy to win" but then what happened?

    He lied and/or exaggerated so often that when truth was important, you didn't know what or who to believe, at least I didn't. When Iran allegedly attacked a ship in the Gulf, Trump said it was Iran behind it. Iran denied it. Neither source is known for their honesty. It was a sad day for me when in my mind our Presidents credibility was so low that I didn't know whether to believe him or the Iranians.

    I certainly agree that a healthy dose of skepticism is important though. The government lies, and it didnt start with DJT.

    Now back to work :)
    roger

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    1. There are multiple points of view on all those things.

      The bleach thing is just nonsense. It was clear from the full context he was talking new UV light treatments.

      He was proud that he had lowered black unemployment to historically low levels. What President does not claim they did better than any other?

      I thought he was doing well on trade, actually, and decoupling from a Communist Chinese supply chain would have been a good outcome IMO.

      When he said Iran was behind it, yes I believed him because I had come to believe he was not interested in entangling the US in foreign wars, unlike his predecessors.

      And it's not just the govt lying anymore, it's clear that major corporations and the media lie as bad or worse.

      Do plan on reporting on a sexy scene next, though!

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  4. Wow Julie. You're not just another pretty woman who creates dynamite real life spanking scenes, this post demonstrates that you are a seriously intelligent human being who can be creative about trying to wake people up without triggering their prejudicial biases. Or at least I hope that's how ythis post will work -- to help people take a closer look at the narratives we are being fed even now. - Frank

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    1. So far, not so good. TDS is hitting hard despite Trump being not at all what the blog post was about. It's a blog post about govt, industry, military unelected functionaries grabbing more and more for themselves. The "swamp" that Trump warned about also. But because Trump was the enemy of it, and being so programmed, they find themselves in the unenviable position of not being able to agree and then bringing Trump up as a misdirection justification. They find themselves to be big govt, swampy Biden supporters despite themselves, and it's killing them. They know deep down.

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  5. Yawn. Boring.

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  6. The leftist media doesn't even try to hide their agenda and bias anymore. They despised President Trump because he pulled back the veil on how incredibly corrupt the DC insiders are.

    Now they give complete pass to the Biden Family corruption and how America is being destroyed, liberty stolen, Constitution trampled, corporations being rewarded as small businesses crushed.

    The media now trying to damage any other Constitutional Conservative that may consider running, Ted Cruz, Ron Desantis.

    The crushing debt that is about to descend on future generations of Americans, while enemy nations are allowed to grow stronger, this will not end well.

    Eat, drink and read sensuous blogs and be merry for soon we have surrendered our country and freedom.

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    1. I agree, but my biggest disappointment with Trump was around the debt as well. But then who'd have thunk that Biden's debt would have surpassed all of the Trump debt many times over in just the first 3 months!

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    2. Debt is not an inherently bad thing; if you're spending the money you get wisely then it's fine. If the government borrows money to create jobs and industry that create revenue via taxes and exports then this is good; if it borrows money to line the pockets of the powerful then it is bad.

      I'm not exactly a fan, but Trump himself is a master of getting into debt and building from it. He has owed billions, he has had six businesses go bankrupt over a twenty year period, but they never took his name off Trump Tower. Future generations are not going to become indentured servants, don't believe the propaganda.

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    3. Housing bubble bursting will cause real hardship for many. Me, looking to pick up some cheap ass real estate! :-)

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    4. Ooh, you could build me a guest house so I can come and visit! And then build yourself a kennel outside!

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    5. Biden and the Democrats are not spending money in a way that pays back later in real money just political dividends. The US has had a debt problem for a while, but Congress downplays it and the media doesn't cover it, not in earnest since the 90s. What debt problem? The percentage of the budget that is considered mandatory - Medicare, Medicaid, social security - plus interest on the debt has been increasing steadily. I think it's now around 65%. That leaves 35% for discretionary spending like defense, national parks, CDC, etc. But we typically hold defense around 20% of the total budget. So everything else is getting squeezed. The National Park Service already has a foundation set up for pubic donations because it's budget and park entrance fees no longer cover expenses. The US is only about 10 years or less from having to take drastic measures like reducing mandatory spending. If you do it now, it's political suicide. If you wait until you can't hide it anymore, it's too late. As Margaret Thatcher used to say, the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples' money. And with an aging population that happens faster than you think. We are victims of our own success in a way. The more education women get the fewer children they have. But spending habits have to change, too, and they haven't. And if you think we have a taxation problem not a spending problem, you could tax the rich at 100% and only generate an extra $800B in revenue. But the annual budget deficit is measured in trillions with a T.

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    6. Yes, I find it troubling as well.

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  7. Thanks Julie .That was my best read today and restores my faith in the good sense and basic decency of your(our)oft maligned ilk.Just would point out that Herbert Hoover was,IMHO,perhaps the best US president whose Quaker values led him to help millions of starving Belgians and Russians from his own wealth (drawn from Burmese silver ).J Edgar Hoover was the FBI director you were thinking of I believe.

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    1. Oopsy! Thank you and corrected. I am blushing to my roots!

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  8. I'm old enough to remember all my leftist friends walking around with their "Question Authority" t-shirts on...
    Now they are the authority and questions aren't allowed...
    I'm repeatedly lied to by academia, media, government and people who should just know better...
    How many of Trump's lies were really lies and how many of Biden's lies are really lies....we'll never know I guess because one was called on every instance and one isn't...
    Ike was more honest about the state of this country and the future he saw coming than many would allow today...surely he'd have been censored by the social media of today...
    I used to laugh at them years ago but the new totalitarians aren't that funny anymore....
    Thanks for posting this....and like another commenter I also love Richard Feynman.....a brilliant man who would surely find himself cancelled today!!!
    Love
    Kaaren

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    1. Yes, I am shocked how much the left wish to silence opposing points of view under the name of something or other. How about the days when the ACLU (lots of Jewish membership) fought for the rights of Illinois Nazis to free speech. They understood free speech.

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  9. try to make an effort to listen to president Eisenhower or Feynman but it drives me crazy to think that girls, in their bed, at night, can do whatever they want with their butts, their pussies, their tits and their holes. They can really do whatever they want with their own bodies.
    Every woman has the right to choose what she does with her own body. It drives me crazy to imagine all these moans, fingerings, caresses.

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    1. It's so true. We can also do whatever we want with most mens' cocks as well, so... win win!

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  10. Jennifer,

    Your insight, analysis and research skills never cease to amaze me.

    I agree the media over time, has became so competitive, it is similar to the frog in the boiling water.

    They kept pushing the edge for differentiation, until it became all about spin and not about reality. And then they compete with themselves, over who could spin something more negative than the rest or point out someone else's deficiencies. How about just some truth.

    Trump's MAGA campaign, saw the people's need to feel good about something rather than constantly being told how inferior and closed-minded they were.

    His great utility and what made him dangerous, was his lack of concern for the established power structure and the media.

    Unfortunately, the media to protect their own self-interest continues fighting to the death to prove Trump a liar. He was a liar, no one cared.

    Honest and trustworthy people assume everyone is honest and trustworthy until proven otherwise. Whereas, deceitful and dishonest people assume everyone is lying until proven otherwise.

    Although I believe people are basically good, I still assume everyone is lying, Trump did not do that the reckless media did. A sad world to live in.


    If I move to Toronto, will you marry me. :-).

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    1. Good post. Except for the incorrect salutation, which should earn you the hairbrush at a minimum.

      roger

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    2. Yes, I will marry you! If only you don't keep calling me "Jennifer" ;-)

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    3. Julie,

      OMG, I am so sorry, I can't believe i did that.

      I still appreciate your insight and analysis. I'm good with facts and situations but not good with names as you can see.

      Thanks

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    4. Ha ha! No problem. With auto-correct we now sometimes even misspell our own names!

      Delete
  11. Ms. SJ:

    Nice post. I lean further left than do you, but always appreciate a caution to think carefully about the information we are fed. (Maybe a trip across your knee of those of some of the women on Fox News would cure me of my snowflake ways - lol.)

    I have heard people say - "data is not the plural of anecdote". How true.

    Very often people find one idiot on the other side and extrapolate to "that's how these people think".

    Even though I lean left as noted above, I spend more time reining in people who lean yet further left because they make me and my ideology look bad. But I pick my battles to those where I think I can move people an inch or two rather than castigate, alienate and drive people back to their corner. (Speaking of which, I could use a little corner time.)

    I have been enjoying Bill Maher (getting past his pompous attitude) and the Cato Institute podcasts lately since they don't seem to pick the red team or the blue team but have independent thoughts.

    Best,

    Rosco

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    1. I tend to like. Bill Maher as well. He's the best of the lot.
      And keep up the good fight against extremism!

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  12. What do you think of Transparency International Canada (Paul Lalonde is its chair and president) ? Do you trust them ?

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    1. Hard to tell from the outside. I am inherently distrustful of groups of powerful men's aging they are one thing, but have no info

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  13. WC here

    I am a proud Democrat and I disagree with almost every thing republicans believe in. Climate change. Gays rights. Voting rights. Women’s rights. The stimulus package. The infrastructure package. Tax cuts for corporations. Minimum wage. Health care. Etc. Near as I can tell the last time republicans were right was............well I can’t remember!

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    1. I think you are being fed lies about Republicans from your media sources. Realize that the intent of the media and politics is to polarize.

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  14. It's a shame that the mainstream media has turned into a total propaganda mouthpiece for the Left. Every now and then I scope out Russia Times, a mouthpiece for Putin. It's less biased than CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post! It used to be that opinions were reserved for the editorial page of a newspaper. No more. And now science itself is being perverted to serve the interests of the Woke Mob and the Marxist Left.

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    1. Yes - When RT does not even have to lie to sow division, they can sow division by speaking truth, they have an easy day at the office.

      The funny thing is that with the amount of neuro-linguistic programming going on amongst the left, they do not even realize the extent to which they are being assigned their opinions. It's why always going back to facts and reason, original evidence, withholding judgment until verified facts are in, is so critical nowadays. The science by which we are being played is well advanced and we are all subject to it unless we consciously use our brains to counteract.

      It's why I love Scott Adams podcast so much - he shows you how the magician does his tricks.

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    2. The Left correctly discerns that going back to the evidence would destroy their talking point (really, propaganda point). We're told that "vaccinated people must continue to wear masks." Is there even a single case in a world of 6 billion people where it can be confirmed that a vaccinated person not wearing a mask gave Covid to an unvaccinated person? If there is, I haven't heard of it. It's nothing but conjecture, there is no science behind it. We're back to "shut up and OBEY!" Also, I am dismayed by all the nasty comments you get. You have far more patience with these cruel people than I would have.

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    3. The endgame of COVID is now clear. Normal flu vaccine prices are like $150 each. Governments are getting a "pandemic special" of $20-$30 for the COVID-19 vaccination for now. Say half the US/Canada/Europe gets vaccinated twice. That's about 1B vaccinations, or $25 billion dollars. Do you now know why the powers that be, and the pharma lobby, the same people who peddled opioids on a massive scale, want this to go on and on and on?

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    4. As far as I'm concerned, they can take their damn masks and stick them where the sun don't shine.

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  15. I do not need someone who bought every bit of nonsense pushed by the greatest conman of the 21st century to tell me to be skeptical. Look in the mirror.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Apparently you do need it, as your comment indicates a complete lack of independent critical thought.

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  16. Replies
    1. If you are referring to my reply to the last comment (hard to tell!), the chain of reasoning is as follows. The comment implies everything Trump has said and done is a con. That is of course the pablum that the mainstream media feeds him. Swallowing that pablum without questioning it indicates he does need me to tell him to be skeptical. QED

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  17. I am a contemporary of Trump and worked in the construction industry in NY. Cheated contractors and architects, unpaid undocumented workers - he was well known in NY. Later Trump University, phony not-for-profits - the list is endless. My father had a sixth grade education but was as stereet smart as anyone I ever met. I imagine him laughing himself silly at people, particularly educated people falling for hios con. Trump is neither a Republican nor a conservative. He simply identified an easy mark.

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    1. For sure he was a tough businessman, bordering on the unethical. He gives his side in "Art of the Deal". Manhattan real estate in the 80s was no doubt a dog-eat-dog world.

      Where your narrative falls apart is why run for President? He certainly did not come out personally ahead, and has subjected himself and his family to great dangers.

      But I don't judge the man. I judged his actions and his policies and found them to be sensible.

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    2. He was not a tough business man. He was and is a con man. He found a republican party, after a generation of Newt Gingrich, Roger Ailes etal., rip for the picking. It was about power, not money.

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    3. You could say that "power attainment" is the goal of every President, so in saying this about Trump, you are in the end saying nothing. In the end we can only judge based on accomplishments, and I believe his attained accomplishments as President speak for themselves.

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    4. Actually, it is his lack of accomplishments, or even real purpose that speaks for itself.

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    5. I dunno... seems like a decent list to me: Trump Administration Accomplishments, but I don't suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome so YMMV.

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    6. Actually you do. That is my point.

      Let look at the big ticket items

      repeal and replace Obama care No
      Infrastructure plan No
      Raise revenue by cutting taxes Please
      Our standing in the world
      Comprehensive immigration reform NO (Agreed to a bill until he was intimidated by Laura Ingraham
      Laughed at Yes
      Intimidated by Turkey into abandoning the curds Yes
      Stand up to China Only a tweet
      North Korea Nice Photo and letter

      He got nowhere because he was not really trying. Everything was about a news cycle

      Helluva Job Donnie

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    7. Your inability to dispassionately look at the list of accomplishments I linked to and say anything positive at all about 45 speaks to the degree you've been programmed by the media. Introspect.

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    8. Back to my original point He is a con man and you have been conned. I believe there have been studies about people being conned and being unable to acknowledge it. That is Trump Derangement Syndrome. I believe that some of the insurrectionists have come to understand they have been duped. Hopefully, you will too. Good Luck.

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    9. My argument is literally "be skeptical" - you are not at all, buying everything you are told. Fail.

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    10. Buying nothing that I am told. Buying what I can see and figure out. Back to my father. My brother and I went to a very good Catholic school - one that accepted a small percentage of applicants. My friendes were smart some very smart. Pop would play cards with us. Some of them were quite full of themselves. Pop would eat ther lunch (and take their moneywhich he ususally give back.) His point was that people with a big ego and sure of themselves make the best marks. He would have loved to play cards with you. You are a mark.

      Delete
    11. Well that describes you and your total media-induced certainty way better than me (I wrote the be skeptical article, after all).

      Delete
    12. You continue to misstate my position. I do not have a meia induced certainty. I have areal life experience based position.

      Delete
    13. You said be skeptical. He is being skeptical about what you say. Fair game!

      Delete
  18. The only thing you have me convinced, and I am in disagreement with almost all of your other views is this ridiculous covid response shutdown in Ontario we are currently being subjected to. How fucking arbitrary and dumb is this? Christ. What is the difference between grey lockdown, shut down, emergency brake, statewide emergency, full lockdown etc? I bet even dougie boy doesnt know. By the way why does he always look like its his last day whenever he gets up to speak?

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    1. Media-induced fear response. Truly the enemy of the people.

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    2. Ontario the worlds largest prison

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    3. Yup. Pretty bad here, but most of it is show. So many people were out yesterday, enjoying the weather, maskless, despite their dumb-ass stay at home order.

      Fact is, Ontario is only in trouble because our socialized medical system is so badly managed. One of the most expensive in the world, but with 3rd world levels of ICU beds. They routinely fill to 100% capacity in regular flu season, with no overflow capacity whatsoever. Prompts ineffective knee jerk overreactions.

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  19. Trump wins and becomes president.

    Julie: "Trump this, Trump that, Leftists this, Leftists that"

    Trump loses.

    Julie" "Be sKePtIcAl"

    Oh how times change.

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    1. Trump was the anti-establishment candidate. What you have now is all the entrenched forces that Eisenhower warned us about in power. So odd having entire generations of people cheering on entrenched govt interests, military interests, and corporate interests and thinking that are being "progressive". So gullible.

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    2. Obama as President.

      Julie: "I will reluctantly spank my husband if he cajoles me and twists my arm, but nobody has better lay a finger on my delicate little bottom, no sirree, not ever!"

      Trump is President.

      Julie: "oOh DaDdY, pUnIsH mY nAuGhTy LiTtLe BuNs, I'm A nAuGhTy, KiNkY sLuT, pAiNt EvErY iNcH rEd ThEn PuLl Me ApArT aNd StIcK yOuR cOcK dEeP iNsIdE mE! i CaN tAkE iT! I NEED tO tAkE iT!"

      I think she's just doing her part to reinstate traditional values!

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    3. Its the same with the republican party. Case in point recently during CPAC they brought in Trump and regurgitated all the populist talking points they knew voters loved to hear. And then the next day voted against Biden's $1400 stimulus check. Trump infact proposed $2000 and McConnell rejected it even then. He was making a big deal over 600 bucks.

      Trump and the republicans are dishonest and dont give 2 hoots about anybody. Biden and the democrats are purely performative and will never actually create any change.

      Its the same racket.

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    4. Tanky: yes, President Trump does fire my subby instincts! SPANK me, Daddy! ;-)

      Anon: it's not about the stimulus checks. The price tag for that was a small fraction of the entire bill. Most of it went towards bailing out Dem states who ran up their debt! I think that's what the Reps were objecting to, no?



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    5. Even if that is the case, why did they reject Trump'$2000 then? The republicans are playing a double game - say populist stuff and support populist leaders to get elected, but vote establishment in the senate. Its right wingers that are more gullible.

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    6. They're all mostly pond-scum, the entrenched interests on both sides of the aisle and high-level govt and military. And it's generally people who are gullible, try not to be one of them.

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  20. " Be skeptical... "
    I agree : )
    BUT, I would also add in the list " Be skeptical of yourself ".

    It's good to be aware of our own needs to see conspiracy therories everywhere and everytime. It is the new trend on social medias and I feel it is dangerous for science, rationality, and our fragile democraties

    (apart from that, I hope Spring has already hit Toronto nicely and wish you a good weekeend!! : )

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    1. Yes of course. Being skeptical has no boundaries. Get originally sourced data. Trust but verify. Use your brain. Educate yourself on the persuasion tactics deployed against you. Learn how to think. Don't be a pawn.

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