Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cannae, not Cana

Pat Archibald at the National Catholic Register:

Marriage Is Dead And The Church Is Next

DOMA is dead. 
And, technicalities aside, Prop 8. in California is dead, paving the way for same-sex marriage there.

While many people will try to dissect these opinions and look for legal silver linings based on the narrowness of this or that part of the rulings, make no mistake, as a practical matter marriage as we knew it is over. The dam has burst even if all the water has not yet traversed the breach. 
Marriage, as the union of a man and woman for the purposes of raising children and for mutual support as recognized in culture and law, has ceased to exist. The only reason that marriage needs be recognized by law is that previous generations understood its value and wished to confer certain legal and societal privileges to it so as to encourage it. They rightly understood that marriage is the cornerstone of a society. 
Advocates have used those legal and societal privileges to beat, twist, and deform the very meaning and purpose of marriage. We now view the purpose of marriage solely as the conferring of these legal and societal privileges, and thus they can be granted to anyone and anything. 
While many states have sought to forestall the redefinition of marriage in their states by statute or constitution, today's ruling basically invalidates their efforts and has opened the floodgate to approval of same sex marriage across the nation with no reasonable recourse. Marriage as we knew it is dead. 
With the universal legal recognition of same-sex marriage a fait accompli, the next fight will on the Church doorstep. The next battle will be to force Churches, most particularly the Catholic Church, to recognize and conduct same-sex marriage. The refusal to do so will result in a series of escalating legal and financial ramifications. 
Eventually, becuase of its refusal to recognize immoral unions as marriage, the state will refuse to recognize Church marriages. As a result, more and more people will bypass Church marriage altogether, further marginalizing faith in this country. This effort is and has always been a war against religion and in particular a war against the Catholic Church. Right now, it is a war we are losing and after today, perhaps it is fair to say that we lost. 
Yes, the Church has the guarantee that it will ultimately prevail, but that does not mean it will prevail in the United States. The failure to see the real target of this war and frankly the weak response to the threat by Church leaders and rank and file have doomed marriage and put the target squarely on the sanctuary. 
I don't know if religious liberty can be saved in this country, but it is worth fighting for. I for one will continue to fight, but at least now everyone should understand that the battle is real and we are losing. I just hope that we haven't already lost.

The succinct truth.

We are well into this cultural war. The rout is next, and is probably inevitable.

Of course, we Christians are just visitors on this battlefield, and our final victory will be total. But our culture is in a collapsing vortex, and it's going to get much much uglier for us. 

I believe in teleology. There are ends in things. There is goal-directeness in nature, and I believe that human affairs hew to ends, even though few of the protagonists really understand the ends for which they work. This is certainly true in the gay marriage debate.

The gay marriage movement-- tsunami really-- has nothing to do with marriage. Since homosexual unions aren't marriage, and we heterosexuals have made a pretty big mess of real marriage all by ourselves, the "marriage" aspect of this debate is a chimera.

The gay marriage movement, like the contraception mandate, is a devastating attack on Christianity. It is a brilliant application of Saul Alinsky's fourth rule for radicals:

4) Make the enemy live up to his own book of rules.  

That's precisely what they're doing. Christians are the guests of honor in gay weddings-- the only guests that matter, really. Attendance is mandatory. Non-compliance is homophobia. We will be forced to either abandon our faith or live in accordance with Christian teaching, which will result in our legal and cultural annihilation. Christians who refuse to collaborate with gay marriage or comply with the contraception mandate will be isolated and systematically reduced to penury or silence. Don't count on the courts to save us. Our victories will be small and brief. Our defeats will be massive and lasting.

For Christians this is Cannae, not Cana. We have been out-flanked by modern Carthaginians. We have been enveloped by brilliant ideological and political maneuvers, and we will likely share the fate of the Romans. Our enemies aren't Hannibal. They're totalitarians, who are much worse-- "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state."

Have no illusions about what they plan for us.

So whence this unholy, albeit brilliant, attack on Christians? It's worth noting that Alinsky, who was a dark genius, dedicated his book "Rules for Radicals" thusly:

“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history... the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”

There are ends at work in this.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Zimmerman trial

Here's my take on the Zimmerman trial, for what it's worth:

There will be no "winners" here, no matter what the verdict. The fact is that Trayvon Martin is dead, and that is a tragedy.

There is no evidence that Martin was doing anything wrong when Zimmerman set out after him. Martin was visiting his father's fiancee with his father, and he was doing nothing wrong by being in the gated community.

There have been stories about Martin's misbehavior (he had been suspended from school, etc), but there is no reason to believe that had anything to do with his actions the night he was shot.

Zimmerman was part of a neighborhood watch, which was a good thing. He left his car to follow Martin, and carried his gun. Those are bad things. He should have just called the cops.

There was an altercation. If Zimmerman was winning the fight, or at least not in great personal danger, then shooting Martin was a serious crime-- second degree murder or manslaughter.

If Martin was winning the fight, and Zimmerman had reason to believe his own life was in danger, the shooting was in self-defense.

Zimmerman must have a fair trial, and the trial should be about the facts. There is no place here for fanning racial fires, supporting one side or the other based on race, grievances, etc. Again: this trial should be about the facts.

This tragedy has been a heyday for hate-mongers.

There are people on the Right who denigrate the life of Trayvon Martin and imply somehow that Martin "had it coming" because of his history or behavior or whatever. That is despicable. Martin's death is an unmitigated tragedy. He was doing no wrong when Zimmerman set out after him. His killing is perhaps murder, or perhaps justifiable homicide following an altercation that was clearly incited by Zimmerman's reckless behavior. Zimmerman was a reckless fool, at least.

Martin didn't deserve any of this. He was just walking home. Even if there was an altercation, and Martin behaved aggressively, it is clear that Zimmerman was the original aggressor. Armed private citizens should not be taking after "suspects". That is what police are for.

There are people on the Left who cynically use Martin's death to stoke racial fear and hate. There is no question that the Left used this killing to gin up the Democrat vote for the November 2012 elections, while they were assaulting the Tea Parties with the IRS to suppress the Republican vote.

Efforts to fan racial hatred here are beneath contempt. The fact is that an innocent young man is dead, and an overzealous man is on trial for his freedom and is forever burdened with this horrible killing.

We need to pray for all-- Martin and his family and Zimmerman and his family, and pray for justice, and pray for peace.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Another filibuster, another Democrat

State Senator Wendy Davis, during her 13-hour filibuster

Melinda Henneberger has a thoughtful take on Democrat Texas State Senator Wendy Davis' thirteen-hour filibuster of a bill banning late-term abortions.

I have a bit different take.

If we can look for a moment beyond a politician abusing the political process to guarantee the killing of children in the womb, a pattern emerges that is quite remarkable.

A half-century ago, Democrats used the filibuster incessantly. They used it to protect segregation-- the Progressive Democrat ideology that there were different classes of human beings with different degrees of humanity and with different rights. The whole point of Democrats' incessant filibusters against civil rights was to maintain the power of the privileged at the expense of the weak.

Racists and abortion advocates share this fundamental assertion: there are human beings who are less than fully human, and who do not share the rights of others.

That legacy is alive and well in the Democrat Party. Senator Davis' thirteen hour filibuster of a bill protecting the lives of children in the third trimester is of a piece with the fifty-seven hour filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by her fellow Democrats. She and her forebearers filibustered in order to deny basic human rights to a class of human beings deemed unworthy of legal protection.

Children in the womb face a bleaker future than did blacks in the segregation era. Democrats shifted on segregation not because of enlightenment but because blacks had gained enough political power that their votes could be used to advantage. Children in the womb will never vote, and will never (while they are alive) serve the political interests of Democrats.

Democrats defend two interest groups: elites, and those who are of use to elites. Live unborn children are of no use to Democrats (although dead ones have a constituency). From the perspective of the Democrat Party, unborn children are now and will be in perpetuity just what blacks were during segregation: less-than-human, to be denied basic human rights when it fits the interests of the elites. 

And note that abortion, like segregation, targets blacks. A thread runs through this. Senator Davis' little show in Texas is just another filibuster by another Democrat against people who are of no use to them.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The morality of capital punishment

My friend Ilion has a post about my statement of opposition to the death penalty. I wrote, in a comment about the Spanish Civil War,

[Franco's] methods were wrong, in many cases (I oppose the death penalty under all circumstances), but the people he was fighting were ruthless monsters, and most deserved worse than they got.
Ilion replies:
Michael Egnor: "... I oppose the death penalty under all circumstances. ..."
Just to start, what you have truly said is that you oppose any laws under all circumstances. For, all law which commands, "Do this" or "Don't do that", is always at least implicitly backed up by the threat of sudden and violent death at the hands of State agents. Moreover, the death meted out in those circumstances tends to be far less judicious than the capital punishment sometimes handed out by a justly functioning court. I have written about this here, and earlier here, so in this post I'll only touch upon my reasoning. Those interested in understanding are free to read the earlier posts.

To say, "I oppose the death penalty under all circumstances", is to say, "I will not concern myself that my policy preferences would make an ordered civil society impossible." I could put the meaning of this much less charitably.

But, there is an even worse thing you have said -- which is that the criminal, the one who deserves death for, as an example, viciously murdering a member of our society, has the moral right and the legal ability to expel his victim from our society, such that we can hold ourselves to be not duty-bound to seek and apply justice on behalf of his victim. I have written about this here.

To say, "I oppose the death penalty under all circumstances", is to say, "I will not concern myself that my policy preferences would make a just civil society impossible." Likewise, this can be stated in even more stark terms.
 
To say, "I oppose the death penalty under all circumstances", is to say, "I will not concern myself that my policy preferences would make an ordered civil society impossible." I could put the meaning of this much less charitably. 
But, there is an even worse thing you have said -- which is that the criminal, the one who deserves death for, as an example, viciously murdering a member of our society, has the moral right and the legal ability to expel his victim from our society, such that we can hold ourselves to be not duty-bound to seek and apply justice on behalf of his victim. I have written about this here. 
To say, "I oppose the death penalty under all circumstances", is to say, "I will not concern myself that my policy preferences would make a just civil society impossible." Likewise, this can be stated in even more stark terms.
Ilion is right.

The death penalty is a completely moral option in some circumstances, specifically the circumstances he points out. It is morally licit to take the life of a convicted criminal if it is necessary to preserve public safety and civil society. That is very clear in Catholic moral teaching.

There is no equivalence between abortion, for example, and capital punishment. Abortion is always and everywhere wrong. Capital punishment can be either right or wrong, depending on the circumstances.

The applicable moral standard is the principle of double effect (pde). Executing a convicted criminal has two effects-- the bad effect of taking a human life and the good effect of enacting justice and protecting society. According to the pde, capital punishment is a moral good if:

1) The intention is to do justice and protect society. Intending to make the criminal suffer simply out of sadistic lust, for example, would be immoral.

2) The good (protecting society and administering justice) outweighs the bad (killing a human being). Capital punishment for shoplifting would violate this requirement.

3) The good (protecting society and justice) is not the direct result of the bad. This principle is the reason that Robin Hood was wrong to steal, even if it was to help the poor. One may not use an intrinsically bad act (theft) as the means to a good act (giving money to the poor).

So does capital punishment violate the third precept? Aren't we accomplishing the good by doing the bad?

Not necessarily. The licit goal is to incapacitate the criminal-- to stop the criminal from offending and to impose a just punishment. This can commonly be accomplished without killing. But in some situations, indeed through most of history, lifelong incarceration was not available or practical. Prisons are a relatively modern invention of affluent societies. Where there are secure prisons capable of incarcerating murderers for life, one can protect the public and apply substantial justice without killing. I believe that that is the moral choice for societies who have such an option.

In some situations, the third precept is not violated, because the licit goal is to incapacitate the criminal, and capital punishment is the only option.

There are situations in which secure lifelong incarceration is not an option. In those situations, capital punishment is licit. Examples would include poor countries in which secure prisons do not exist, or countries in which government is so corrupt or weak that security of the prisons cannot be assured, or in situations involving terrorists in which it is likely that hostages would be taken by the terrorist's allies to secure release. It is on this basis that I believe that capital punishment for some terrorists may be a moral option.

When I wrote that "I oppose the death penalty under all circumstances", I misspoke. I do oppose capital punishment under nearly all circumstances in stable modern affluent societies, with the possible exception of some terrorists, because justice and protection can be accomplished without killing. I believe that killing a human being is a major wrong, and can only be justified under exceptional circumstances.

But Ilion is right, in my view. There are circumstances in which capital punishment is moral, and administration of justice and protection of society is paramount.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Jerry Coyne finally admits that his attack on professor at Ball State was a publicity stunt for movie Expelled

Ben Stein: "We needed an atheist jerk to make a really stupid futile obnoxious gesture
that vindicates the core thesis of Expelled. Coyne was the answer to our prayers."


[Dissociated Press] Darwinist fundamentalist Jerry Coyne, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Chicago, has finally admitted that his bizarre effort to silence Ball State professor Eric Hedin for teaching a course that contains content with which Coyne disagrees is actually a publicity stunt for the pro-academic freedom film Expelled.

Coyne spoke with a DP reporter yesterday in his office at the University of Chicago.

Coyne:
Actually, a couple of months ago I was just sitting in my office perusing magazines on fruit fly evolution when I got a call from Ben Stein, who starred in the ID film Expelled
Of course I don't like Stein. He asks questions about evolution. I thought to myself "why would this guy be calling me? 
But actually Stein was very polite to me. He said: "Jerry, we know you don't like our movie, but we're really in a financial bind. We've sold quite a few DVD's, but lately the market's been slumping, and we figured we have to do something to get Expelled back in the public eye." 
So I asked him what that has to do with me. 
"What we need, Jerry, is some atheist loon to prove that everything we said in Expelled about Darwinist supression and thuggery is true. We couldn't find an atheist asshole who was crazy enough-- stupid enough actually-- to publicly vindicate the movie. Then one of our producers said he had the solution to our marketing problem-- two words: 'Jerry Coyne'.

Keep talking, I said.

"So here's the deal, Jerry. We need you to pick some modest little university-- perhaps a public university in which students and faculty actually have constitutionally guaranteed free speech rights. Find a little course, preferably in a science department, that discusses the philosophical implications of science in a way that Darwinists hate. It has to be an elective course-- not required-- that critiques some aspect of Darwinism and maybe even mentions God. It has to be a course that adult students choose voluntarily, out of a desire to broaden their understanding of the philosophy of science. It has to be a course that no one in their right mind would say was illegal or unconstitutional. What we need, Jerry, is for you to embark on a crusade that is so stupid and so offensive that it completely validates the core thesis of Expelled-- that scientists who dare question atheism and Darwinism are subject to horrendous personal, professional and even legal attacks. It would be great for sales of our DVD."

I was hesitant. What's in it for me, I asked. 
"Here's the part you'll like, Jerry. We'll give you a special package we've put together just for you. A copy of Origin of Species, with Darwin's words in red. Autographed first editions of each of Richard Dawkins' best sellers, and an adorable Richard Dawkins bobble-head doll that when you put it on a shelf it always looks down on you, and an inflatable life-sized Madalyn Murray-O'Hair doll that says "I'll take you to court" when you tickle it in a special spot. It's all yours, just for doing us this one little marketing favor."

I don't normally consort with creationists, and I already had a Dawkins bobble-head. But they were offering me an inflatable Madalyn Murray-O'Hair doll... 
This was irresistable.

So Coyne searched the catalogues of hundreds of public universities until he found the perfect course-- Hedin's course in the astronomy department at Ball State.

In just a month, Expelled sales have skyrocketed. People see that the core thesis of the movie is true: any professor who dares to challenge Darwinian atheist dogma gets attacked relentlessly. Threats of professional destruction, denial of tenure, letters from atheist legal groups threatening lawsuits in federal court, letters to the chairman and to university administration.

Straight out of Expelled. It's like they scripted it.

Stein and the Expelled producers have expressed gratitude to Coyne. Stein gave Coyne a special gift-- a gold-plated Expelled DVD-- with the inscription:

To Dr. Coyne: With deepest gratitude from the producers and cast of Expelled
Thank you for vindicating our message.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gosnell's blunders



An essay by Susan Berry about the three thousand people in the United States who have survived abortion:

Not much has been known or mentioned, even within the pro-life community, about abortion survivors--individuals who survived “botched” abortions. According to one abortion survivor, however, the Gosnell trial details have caused the “floodgates” to open for those who were meant to be dead.
According to Melissa Ohden, founder of the Abortion Survivor Network and survivor of a “failed” saline abortion in 1977, medical research, the increased power of ultrasound, and the painful experiences of women and men who have gone through abortion have all “made it very difficult for abortion advocates to deny the humanity of the unborn.” 
In her work for National Right to Life, Ohden discusses how the lives of abortion survivors are a “living testament to the humanity of the unborn.”...

Ohden says that many abortion survivors “live their lives in fear of what the culture of death we live in says about what happened to us (it was simply a choice, we didn’t have any rights, we were not yet human).” She adds that survivors of abortion also believe that they are alone, with no one to turn to for understanding. The reality that one is alive merely because of a “failure” of a procedure that was meant to take one’s life can be a daunting notion.

A "botched" abortion is when no one dies.

Can you imagine knowing that you're alive merely because the hack your mother hired to kill you didn't do the job right?

May God forgive us.

Monday, June 24, 2013

On Snowden

 Glenn Greenwald from the UK Guardian:


On the Espionage Act charges against Edward Snowden

Who is actually bringing 'injury to America': those who are secretly building a massive surveillance system or those who inform citizens that it's being done?


... The Obama administration leaks classified information continuously. They do it to glorify the President, or manipulate public opinion, or even to help produce a pre-election propaganda film about the Osama bin Laden raid. The Obama administration does not hate unauthorized leaks of classified information. They are more responsible for such leaks than anyone.

What they hate are leaks that embarrass them or expose their wrongdoing. Those are the only kinds of leaks that are prosecuted. It's a completely one-sided and manipulative abuse of secrecy laws. It's all designed to ensure that the only information we as citizens can learn is what they want us to learn because it makes them look good. The only leaks they're interested in severely punishing are those that undermine them politically. The "enemy" they're seeking to keep ignorant with selective and excessive leak prosecutions are not The Terrorists or The Chinese Communists. It's the American people.

The Terrorists already knew, and have long known, that the US government is doing everything possible to surveil their telephonic and internet communications. The Chinese have long known, and have repeatedly said, that the US is hacking into both their governmental and civilian systems (just as the Chinese are doing to the US). The Russians have long known that the US and UK try to intercept the conversations of their leaders just as the Russians do to the US and the UK.

They haven't learned anything from these disclosures that they didn't already well know. The people who have learned things they didn't already know are American citizens who have no connection to terrorism or foreign intelligence, as well as hundreds of millions of citizens around the world about whom the same is true. What they have learned is that the vast bulk of this surveillance apparatus is directed not at the Chinese or Russian governments or the Terrorists, but at them.

And that is precisely why the US government is so furious and will bring its full weight to bear against these disclosures. What has been "harmed" is not the national security of the US but the ability of its political leaders to work against their own citizens and citizens around the world in the dark, with zero transparency or real accountability. If anything is a crime, it's that secret, unaccountable and deceitful behavior: not the shining of light on it. 

Bottom line:
The "enemy" they're seeking to keep ignorant with selective and excessive leak prosecutions are not The Terrorists or The Chinese Communists. It's the American people.

I didn't understand before the IRS scandal and the NSA scandal. I am beginning to understand now. The enemy the U.S. government is most concerned about is the American people.

Pardon Snowden. Pardon Assange. Pardon Manning. They broke the law, but they did it to tell us the truth. They are whistle-blowers and they have done an extraordinary service to the American people.

The government has been breaking the law, on a much more massive scale, and they've broken the law to tell us a lie. I never thought I'd be saying this, but right now I fear our government much more than I fear any leaker. I am, in fact, grateful to the leakers.

What we are dealing with now is serious stuff. We fought a revolution for less.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hmmm...

From NBC News Science:
The genetic lineage of Europe mysteriously transformed about 4,500 years ago, new research suggests. 
The findings, detailed Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, were drawn from several skeletons unearthed in central Europe that were up to 7,500 years old. 
"What is intriguing is that the genetic markers of this first pan-European culture, which was clearly very successful, were then suddenly replaced around 4,500 years ago, and we don't know why," study co-author Alan Cooper of the University of Adelaide Australian Center for Ancient DNA said in a statement. "Something major happened, and the hunt is now on to find out what that was."
What could have happened?

 Hmmm...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Popular tourist destinations before and after global warming

Popular Science website has a wonderful graphic showing famous tourist destinations-- the Jefferson Memorial, Boston Harbor, the Statue of Liberty before and after inundation by twenty five feet of rising sea levels caused by global warming. It's impressive.

Please take a look at the link.

Here's a picture of the U.S. Capitol, before and after global warming hysteria.

Before global warming hysteria:





After global warming hysteria:
 



The Capitol is now inundated by twenty five feet of global warming bullshit.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Gun control and Emmanuel Goldstein



The core problem with the argument over gun control is that there's not a shred of evidence that gun control actually reduces gun crime. Nada. If anything, increasing gun ownership seems to correlate with reducing crime. Since 1992, gun ownership in the U.S. has skyrocketed, helped recently in no small part by the most effective gun salesman in American history. And gun crimes have plummeted:

Gun crime has plunged in the United States since its peak in the middle of the 1990s, including gun killings, assaults, robberies and other crimes, two new studies of government data show... 
In less than two decades, the gun murder rate has been nearly cut in half. Other gun crimes fell even more sharply, paralleling a broader drop in violent crimes committed with or without guns. Violent crime dropped steeply during the 1990s and has fallen less dramatically since the turn of the millennium. 
The number of gun killings dropped 39% between 1993 and 2011, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in a separate report released Tuesday. Gun crimes that weren’t fatal fell by 69%.
You would think that the fact that gun crime has plummeted while gun ownership has skyrocketed would have some bearing on the gun control debate, but you would be wrong. Go figure.

Around the world, high gun ownership doesn't seem to correlate with high homicide rates, either. If anything, the opposite seems to be the case. And gun ownership correlates highly with political freedom.

As Seinfeld would say, what's the gun control debate about? It's about nothing.

Well, not quite nothing. Fact-free gun control advocacy is (in addition to the inevitable liberal moral preening) an effort by liberal Democrats to draw attention away from the fact that nearly all gun crime in the United States is committed by Democrats in municipalities governed by Democrats.

When thoughtful people look at the blood-soaked streets-- the Democrat-governed streets-- of Chicago and Detroit and New Orleans, Democrats say "Look over there-- there's the NRA!"

The NRA is the Democrat Party's Emmanuel Goldstein. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

"We rarely do confrontational interviews..."

Steven Novella, on his podcast interview with a Texas educator who has challenged Darwinian dogma:

We rarely do confrontational interviews on the SGU...

What, you may ask, is the "SGU"?   The SGU is a podcast ("Skeptics Guide to the Universe") run by Novella and is the official podcast of the New England Skeptical Society.

They're devoted to... skepticism.

So why wouldn't "skeptics" routinely do confrontational interviews?

Novella:
The risk is that the tone of the interview will go sour. I have only done such interviews when I feel that the person being interviewed will be able to stay calm and professional even as we dismantle their position. Another risk is that the interviewee, who likely is a passionate and eloquent defender of their fringe position, will make it difficult to get a word in edgewise, resulting in a Gish Gallop.

Heh. Skeptical Society skeptics avoid confrontational interviews, because... their opponent may be "passionate and eloquent".

If skeptics avoid public interviews with passionate and eloquent opponents, what do dogmatists do?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Steven Novella: skeptic brains are different

Novella:
Mind and Morality

One of the themes of this blog, reflecting my skeptical philosophy, is that our brains construct reality – meaning that our perceptions, memories, internal model of reality, narrative of events, and emotions are all constructed artifacts of our neurological processing. This is, in my opinion, an undeniable fact revealed by neuroscience.

For those readers who haven't already fallen from their chairs laughing, I'll clarify.

How, pray tell, can there be any "undeniable facts revealed by neuroscience" if "all of our thoughts are constructed artifacts"?

Does Novella claim that his skeptic brain is exempt from constructing artifacts, and uniquely has access to undeniable neuroscience facts?

You may have noticed that a very effective way to refute Novella is to begin a sentence with "How...", quote him, write "if", then quote him again. He refutes himself. If all of our thoughts are constructed artifacts, then "undeniable facts revealed by neuroscience" are... constructed artifacts, and they are not undeniable facts, and whatever they actually are is revealed by our neurological processing, not by neuroscience.

Either we have access to undeniable facts revealed by neuroscience, or all of our thoughts are constructed artifacts of our neurological processing.

Not both.





Why it's impossible to parody Tom Friedman

Friedman gets to heart of what Egyptians really need:

Egypt's Perilous Drift

... What is different about Egypt, though, is that it is bursting with talented young people who understand that Egypt needs an inclusive, long-term, sustainable plan for national renewal. And what they also understand is that those who say that the Arabs have tried everything — Nasserism, socialism, Communism, Baathism, liberalism and Islamism — but that nothing has worked, are wrong. There is one ism they haven’t tried: environmentalism. The only way Egypt and the other Awakening states will have sustainable democracies with sustainable economies is to elevate an environmental ethic to the center of political thinking.

Heh. Just what the Muslim Brotherhood needs. Get the spittle-flecked Jew-baiting clitoris-snipping crazies to join Greenpeace, and nirvana (Muslim-style) ensues.

Egypt's Islamists are already trying to craft effective solutions to global warming, by eliminating the CO2 exhaled by Jews. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

As we contemplate Orwell, we must not forget Huxley

Stuart McMillen:

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Huxley vs Orwell


Orwell feared the truth would be concealed from us.


Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.


McMillen nails it.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Guess which one NYU hired, and which one NYU fired




   




Two NYU stories, related.


First story:
COLUMBIA, NYU OPEN CLASSROOMS TO FORMER AMERICAN TERRORIST

Kathy Boudin, a 1960s radical and former Weather Underground member who participated in a robbery that left two police officers and a security guard dead, now has the prestige of academia behind her. 
The New York Post broke the story that Boudin, who spent 22 years in prison for driving the getaway car in the Brinks armed robbery, has been named the Sheinberg Scholar-in-Residence at NYU Law School, along with enjoying an adjunct professorship at Columbia University’s School of Social Work...“Of all the people in the world to find to speak on the issue of what women face coming out of parole and reentry, Columbia and NYU had to find a former far-left extremist who has been convicted for the death of three people,” said the Wall Street Journal’s Sohrab Ahmari on Opinion Journal Live. 
Boudin’s students may not realize that the Weather Underground was an infamous radical leftist student organization that split with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in the late 1960s to join ranks with black liberationists and other self-identifying revolutionaries. Their goal was nothing short of overthrowing the United States government. 
Boudin survived the 1970 Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, when a bomb intended for the Fort Dix, New Jersey Army base prematurely detonated and killed Weather Underground activists Theodore Gold, Diana Oughton and Terry Robbins. At the time of the explosion, Boudin was out on bail, awaiting trial for her role in the “Days of Rage” demonstrations in Chicago the year before. 
Still living in hiding as a fugitive in 1981, Boudin played a central role in the Brinks heist, which was supposed to usher in a new American revolution but instead ended with three dead. At the time of the robbery, Boudin was 38, married, and the mother of a toddler.

Second story:

NYU tells Chinese dissident that he has two weeks to move out

NYU brass grudgingly gave blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng an extra two weeks to move off campus — but warned he’ll have to find a hotel if he misses the deadline, The Post has learned. 
The school this week told Chen — who came to New York last year after making a dramatic escape to the US Embassy in China — that he and his family must vacate NYU housing by July 15 “at the latest,” according to a source briefed on the situation. 
NYU has prodded the human-rights hero to move quickly, according to insiders, telling Chen that another faculty member is slated to move into the Greenwich Village pad where Chen has stayed with his family for more than a year, according to a source.

“They told him, ‘The sooner, the better.’ ” 
The move-out mandate comes as Chen plans a trip to Taiwan later this month, and grapples with worries that members of his family in China are being beaten and denied urgent medical care by authorities. 
NYU’s extension of its out-by-June-30 eviction notice comes on heels of an exclusive Post report that the university, which is building a new Shanghai campus, was ousting Chen under pressure from China. 
Concerned about his finances and where he will go next, Chen has balked as the deadline nears, sources said. 
In response, frustrated NYU officials told him his indecision could land his family in a hotel within a month. 
“They lectured him about not making up his mind, and told him living in a hotel isn’t going to be fun,” said a source close to the situation. 
NYU says Chen from the outset was aware that he would be accommodated for only a year, with his NYU sponsor, Jerry Cohen, saying, “No political refugee, even Albert Einstein, has received better treatment by an American academic institution than that received by Chen from NYU.” 
The school “has scouted more than two dozen apartments [and] recently shown him three very nice ones, none of which he has embraced,” said NYU spokesman John Beckman.
Chen has declined comment on his ouster. But he didn’t sound as if his days were so scarcely numbered in an interview last month, when he told Business Insider, “I’ll probably leave NYU by the end of this year.” 
Chen was candid with his speculation about the reasons for his ouster. “NYU is actually receiving a lot of pressure from the CPC [Communist Party of China], and I think that they do fear this kind of pressure,” he said. 
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) said this week he may call for a Capitol Hill hearing on the matter.

You no doubt know about Boudin. She's no stranger to this blog. Aside from her years of commie-terrorist-serial-bomber-stuff, she murdered three policemen by setting them up for an ambush-- she asked them to lower their guns when they apprehended her, so her Weathermen/Black Panther buddies could shoot them dead in an ambush out of the back of her van.

Perhaps you don't know a lot about Chen.

From John Thompson:

[Chinese] guards routinely stole into Chen Guangcheng's house, wrapped him in a blanket, beat him bloody, broke his wife's bones. The blanket seemed especially gratuitous: Chen is blind. This went on for a year and a half, all because the self-taught lawyer had sued the Chinese government to stop forced abortions in his village. So one dark April night, he left it all behind. He scrambled over the wall of his courtyard, shattering his foot in the fall. Still, he eluded over sixty thugs patrolling his town by hiding in the rank filth of a pigsty. He alerted a team of sympathizers collaborators with coded messages from a smuggled cell phone; they picked him up and began the long drive to Beijing, where Chen shuttled among apartments, never spending two nights in the same place.
Chen, a blind lawyer from China, fought for decades against China's brutal One Child Policy, systematic forced abortions, and the ubiquitous abandonment and murder of baby girls. After years of imprisonment and torture, he was able to escape the the United States.

After a year at NYU, he is being unceremoniously booted out on the street. It seems that the Communist Party of China is displeased with Chen's persistent existence, and has threatened to gum up plans for NYU expansion in China.

Meanwhile, Professor Kathy Boudin will begin teaching classes at NYU, as well as at Columbia.

It's like an answered rhetorical question. When I read about Boudin's appointment at NYU (my oldest daughter's alma mater), I asked myself "can it get any worse?"

It can.

Here's the email for NYU president John Sexton (john.sexton@nyu.edu). I always liked the guy.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Heh

Note the resemblance in the eyes:



Descendant of Charles Darwin becomes a Catholic apologist

A direct descendant of Charles Darwin has become a Catholic apologist. 
Laura Keynes, a great-great-great-granddaughter of the English naturalist, has joined Catholic Voices, the project set up to speak up for the Church in the media. 
When she began studying for a doctorate in philosophy at Oxford she started to “reassess those values. Relationships, feminism, moral relativism, the sanctity and dignity of human life”. 
The debate sparked by Richard Dawkins’s book The God Delusion inspired her to read more about the subject, and she concluded that “New Atheism seemed to harbour a germ of intolerance and contempt for people that could only undermine secular Humanist claims to liberalism”. 
She writes: “If atheism’s claim to the intellectual high ground is bolstered by my ancestor’s characteristic ability to explore and analyse inconsistencies in the evidence, that same family characteristic led me towards a sceptical assessment of what can and can’t be known absolutely.”

From darkness to light.

Bless her.

Fathers matter

A fine reflection on the importance of fathers by Kyle Pruett.

One of the great tragedies of the leviathan state is that in America it has replaced the father for many families. Single parenthood (almost always female) is always a struggle, and has become an epidemic. For black kids, 80% are born out of wedlock. For whites, it's 30% and growing.

Sometimes single moms succeed, but that is despite the absence of a father, which always weighs heavily on kids (and moms).

We need to protect the poor without driving men out of families. There are no easy answers, but those on the left who genuinely want to help struggling families need to realize that government largesse too often replaces, rather than supplements, the father. They should also come to grips and admit the incalculable damage that the welfare state has already done to millions of children.

Growing up without a father is usually a very bad thing for all concerned. It breeds generations of sorrow and anger. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The honorable thing

CBS:
Before the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, some service members were subjected to dishonorable discharges because they were gay.

And as WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported Saturday, Long Island U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) announced legislation Saturday to repeal those dishonorable discharges, and make sure the veterans get the recognition and benefits they deserve.


Servicemen and women who were dishonorably discharged simply because they were gay were treated horrendously. Their discharges should be upgraded immediately to honorable, and they should recieve full benefits, as is appropriate for men and women who risked their lives for our country.

Full compensation for the time that they were unfairly denied benefits would be appropriate as well.

I abhor the gay agenda-- I think that it is a real locus of evil in our society. But I do not in any way abhor gay people. Gay heroes rest in all American military cemeteries. Gay Americans have served our country with honor and courage for over two centuries. Being gay per se is not reason for discharge from the military, let alone dishonorable discharge.  Gay conduct that harms military preparedness is reason for dismissal. Being gay or living a gay life in a way that does not impact the soldier's military responsibilities is not reason for dismissal.

Don't Ask Don't Tell was the wisest and most just policy. The military needs to be protected from a destructive sexual agenda, but people have a right to their private lives.

We need to tell gay Americans who served our nation and who were discharged simply for being gay that we were wrong and that we are sorry, and we need to make amends for it.

And we should thank them for their service.



Bill Maher: Five year-old Trig Palin is a "retard".

Trig with his sister Piper

Why I heckled Bill Maher
by Ron Futrell 
I’ve seen many leftist comedians perform over the years. Usually they are fun and enjoyable, and they can even be entertaining. I enjoy listening to all sides. It was in this spirit that I joined friends to see Bill Maher perform at the Las Vegas Palms Casino Resort on Saturday night. I went in with low expectations. But I didn’t realize how low Maher would go. 
I have a special-needs son named Troy. He’s 27. Every day, I drop him off at Las Vegas’s Opportunity Village, a workplace for adults with special needs. Helping people with special needs is something I’m passionate about. 
As you may recall, Sarah Palin has a special-needs son, too. During his performance, Maher chose to make a joke about Palin’s five-year-old son, Trig, who he described as a “retard.” The audience of supposedly compassionate liberals roared with laughter. The crowd’s reaction was even more disturbing than the joke itself.

I was sitting in the back of the room with my friends (who paid for my ticket) when Maher made his Trig Palin joke. I decided to move in closer to the stage, though I was still sitting a ways back. At that point, Maher made a joke about Halliburton. Still disgusted, I blurted out, “It’s 2013, Bill. You might want to update your material.” It was as much a comment on his use of the “r” word as it was on his use of old material. Maher heard me and responded. I also got some flak from some of the other audience members. Then the security guards asked me to leave. I gladly did.

There are different rules for connected leftie elites like Maher. Mocking handicapped five-year olds-- actually calling a specific child by name a "retard" in public during a comedy routine-- is, well, I'm too angry to use the words Maher deserves.

Bravo to Mr. Futrell for standing up and calling Maher out. Maher is lucky he only got heckled.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if Maher repeated the joke in person to Todd Palin. Or to Sarah, for that matter.   

Friday, June 14, 2013

The show-down

David Pryce-Jones on the British people's (as opposed to the British government's) response to the barbarous murder of a British soldier by Islamists:
In the immediate aftermath of the Woolwich barbarity, the [English Defense League] has attracted 60,000 new subscribers and could easily develop into a quasi-patriotic, quasi-fascist mass-movement. Refusing to admit that Islam is more ideology than faith, the authorities are unwittingly bringing about the show-down that so greatly scares them.

 Of course Britain already has a fascist mass-movement, which is Islam.

They certainly don't need another one. The most likely outcome of Islamic fascism in Europe is the rise of anti-Islamic fascism, setting the stage for horror from both sides.

That is not to say that the vast majority of EDL folks aren't peaceful decent folks who are simply defending their nation from monsters. The British people have a right to defend themselves, especially when their government has been criminally negligent in defending them-- through political cowardice and suicidal immigration policies and political correctness in law enforcement and by idiot gun control that disarms law-abiding people.

But I expect, tragically, that we'll see fascist responses to fascist Islam. The right and moral response-- a resurgence of genuine Christian belief and culture-- seems a long shot.

So expect the blood to flow, as it always has-- from the Jacobians to the Bolsheviks to the Nazis to the Islamists-- when Christianity loses influence over culture. 

Where's... Holly?


There's a version of "Where's Waldo" going on in Washington.
An IRS source says that the Internal Revenue Service has fired Holly Paz, the director of the agency’s Rulings and Agreements office. The source says Paz was fired last Friday, and a second IRS source tells National Review Online that Paz “dropped of the edge of the world” that day, and that her agency-issued computer, phone, and Blackberry show no activity since then. The IRS would not confirm or deny reports of Paz’s firing, citing her right to privacy as protected by federal law.

As of Thursday, the voice mail on Paz’s work phone remains active and callers are asked to leave a message for Paz, though nobody answered repeated calls placed to that number. Calls to the mobile phone number listed under Paz’s name in the IRS’s internal directory are sent straight to voice mail, and indicate her mailbox has not yet been set up.

Who is Ms. Paz?

As the director of Rulings and Agreements, Paz served as the first line of management in Washington, D.C., that oversaw both the tax-law specialists who provided guidance to agents in Cincinnati reviewing tea-party applications and the Determinations Unit in Cincinnati charged with processing those applications. Paz has served in that position since January 2011, reporting directly to Lois Lerner...
Oh. Ms. Paz was the IRS hack in Washington who did Lois "The Fifth" Lerner's dirty work in the suppression of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

It gets better. Here's the hoot:

Lawmakers have also raised eyebrows at the fact that Paz was present when members of the inspector general’s team interviewed her subordinates during the course of their investigation. In a May 23 Oversight Committee hearing, chairman Darrell Issa expressed his astonishment, saying he was ”shocked” to find that Paz “participated in virtually every one of the interrogations or interviews with her own subordinates.” He added, “In those, of course, one of the questions the IG had to ask was, ‘Did anyone tell you to do this?’ If that question was asked, their own superior was in the room.” 
Even the ranking member of the committee, Democrat Elijah Cummings, no fan of Issa’s investigations into the administration’s misconduct, had harsh words for Paz. “It sounded like Ms. Paz felt like she needed to be in the room because she wanted to be able to defend herself – or the agency, I don’t know – based on what may have been said or the information gathered in that interview,” Cummings told inspector general J. Russell George. “Usually when you are conducting an investigation . . . you want to keep your witnesses separate because you’re in search of the truth and you are trying to make sure there’s no advantage of a person hearing what somebody else said.”

According to Issa, Paz told the committee that either she or Lois Lerner requested to listen in on the interviews. He read from the committee’s interview transcript, quoting Paz: “I can’t remember if I made the request or Lois Lerner made the request, but we discussed that in order for the IRS to be able respond to the report we had to understand what information [the inspector general] had and what they were being told.”
Heh. During the Treasury Inspector General's investigation of the attack on conservative groups, interviews by "investigators" with the little pawns were always carried out with their supervisors in the room. 

So you can imagine how the question "who told you to do this?" was answered.

If this were a movie, at this point we'd complain that the plot was ridiculous.

But there's more.

Treasury inspector general J. Russell George-- the apparatchik in charge of the "investigation" of Barack Obama's IRS in which subordinates were asked about crimes committed by supervisors who were in the room with them-- dated Michelle Robinson when they were students together in Harvard Law School.

Michelle Robinson Obama, that is.

It would be nice if we could walk out of this movie. The plot is absurd-- nobody could be this corrupt. But we can't walk out, because this movie is about us. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

FBI director: What IRS investigation?



Asshole. 

The IRS scandal is an extraordinarily serious systematic violation of the Constitutional rights of American citizens. It is a coordinated effort by federal officials to influence the outcome of a federal election, under color of law, by depriving thousands of Americans of their constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, due process, and equal protection of the law. 

Muller obviously doesn't give a shit about it. 

Maybe he's been too busy protecting us from underwear bombers and Times Square bombers and Fort Hood shooters and Chechens who maim hundreds of people in Boston despite being on the FBI radar screen and who were the subject of two letters from the Russian government informing us that they were terrorists. 

Oh... wait... he didn't do anything at all to protect us from those things.

The appropriate follow-up question from the congressman: 

"Mr. Muller, why do you still have a job?"

MSNBC: George Wallace was a Republican.



One is tempted to attribute this idiocy to an intentional lie on the part of the loon left at BSNBC, but I suspect abject stupidity is at work here. I have liberal friends who have been shocked-- shocked-- to hear that the KKK was the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party (a position currently occupied by the IRS). They didn't have a clue that the race-baiting bigots who brought us segregation and lynchings hated Republicans (and Catholics) almost as much as they hated blacks.

Wallace, like virtually all segregationists, was a lifelong Democrat (for you liberal readers who are still in a state of denial), and he embodied the opportunistic race-baiting venom that has always been the hallmark of the Democrat Party.

Segregation was the ultimate progressive Democrat project-- the perfect amalgam of race-mongering and government control of the most intimate aspects of people's lives. Wallace was a big-government Democrat, who used racial fear and hate to advance himself.

Wallace was, you might say, the political mentor of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, Democrat race-baiters who were also Democrat presidential candidates.

Richard Dawkins named intellectual world's "Top Thinker"


[Dissociated Press] Pundits and intellectuals today applauded the announcement by Prospect Magazine that outspoken atheist and former Oxford professor Richard Dawkins has been voted "The World's Top Thinker" (not a parody).

We here at Dissociated Press had the pleasure of interviewing Sam Shelton, publisher and CEO of Prospect Magazine, about this remarkable public intellectual.

DP: Mr. Shelton, it must be a real thrill to have this opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of Professor Dawkins, who has contributed so much over the past couple of decades to public debate on such issues as evolution, morality, and God's existence.

Shelton: Indeed. We are honored to confer the award. 

DP: Sir, how was the poll conducted?

Seldon: Well we athked 1000 people, including thcientithtth, academicth, journalithtth, and otherth who follow the intellectual world. We athked:  "Among public intellectualth, which ith the biggetht thtinker?" 

DP: Umm, well, did Professor Dawkins win by a large margin?

Seldon: Oh, yeth. By a huge margin-- by over 900 voteth. No other public figure wath clothe. The biggetht thtinker? It wath Richard Dawkinth by a landthlide.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

This is hard to watch...


Video: Court marshal allegedly sexually assaults woman — then has her arrested for objecting




Of course all of the evidence isn't on the tape, but I believe the woman. The behavior of the court marshals was arrogant and suspicious-- why would they arrest her for making the accusation? It seemed like sexual assault, under color of law, followed by crude intimidation to make her shut up. All of this in front of her little daughter, while the judge/arbitrator sat and did nothing.

We need to keep an eye on government. There are many good honest people serving in government, but there are really bad people too, and we need to keep an eye on them, rather than the other way around. 
From Nerdcore

Instapundit:
FBI requests for records under Patriot Act have increased 1,000% in just four years; Update: Data-mining goes deeper than thought? 
It’s not just the number of requests, it’s the scope of them. They’re not demanding records related to particular investigations anymore, they’re demanding huge troves of records on random Americans for data-mining purposes...

June 6th was the 64th birthday of the publication of Orwell's 1984.

A tale of two criminals

It's worth considering two criminals who stepped into the public spotlight this week, both involved in the NSA telephone and internet scandal.

Consider first Edward Snowden, 29, a systems analyst who worked for the CIA. Snowden illegally released a trove of information documenting herethefore secret federal government surveillance of phone and internet activity of hundreds of millions of Americans. He says he has a horror of the danger that the growing security state poses to our privacy and liberty. He said : "I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things".

Consider next James Clapper, 72, Director of National Intelligence. He is a retired Air Force lieutenant general, and has held many senior intelligence jobs. Clapper lied under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 12, 2013. Senator Ron Wyden asked Director Clapper "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" Clapper replied "No sir".  On June 6, 2013 Director Clapper admitted that the NSA collects telephone data on hundreds of millions of Americans. Clapper called Mr. Snowden's revelation of the truth about NSA spying on Americans "gut wrenching" (he was referring to the revelation, not to the spying). Clapper referred to his own perjury as telling the Senate "the least untruthful answer". At a black-tie banquet last Friday night, Clapper quipped “Some of you expressed surprise that I showed up. So many e-mails to read!”

Both men committed felonies. One will likely face severe legal consequences. The other seems to be in considerably less jeopardy.

One man broke the law to tell the truth. The other man broke the law to tell a lie.

Can you guess which one had to flee the country?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jerry Coyne is still upset that people are talking when he told them not to



A lesson on how to talk to sleazy reporters, and more on the Hedin case

Why is the reporter "sleazy"? She asked him for an interview about his effort to censor Ball State University, and then she published his refusal to talk about it.

Jerry gets no satisfaction.

'Probably nobody's going to jail'

Aaron Blake, at the Washington Post, on the IRS crimes, with my commentary:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wants to know “who’s going to jail” over the IRS scandal. 
But ousted acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller says no laws were violated when the agency targeted conservative groups. 
So who’s right? Did the IRS’s conduct take a step beyond mere “wrongdoing” and venture into criminal territory? 
They committed crimes. Obviously. I mean, violating the Constitutional rights of thousands of Americans, using the government as a campaign office, and lying under oath are at least as serious as posting a YouTube video, and that guy's still in jail.
In short: We don’t know yet. But it’s also quite possible that nobody will ever be convicted of breaking the law in the IRS scandal. 
They won't be convicted if the fix is in.
“I am not aware of any statute that prohibits IRS targeting of applicants,” said Republican lawyer Jan Baran, who served as general counsel to George H.W. Bush and the RNC. Other politically inclined lawyers agree. 
Right. Conspiracy by government officials to violate Constitutional rights, to use government resources for politicking, and to lie about it under oath aren't really against the law. Just a silly misunderstanding.
Essentially, there are three types of laws that might conceivably have been broken, as Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged in his testimony before a House committee Wednesday: 
1) Civil rights laws that protect people from being discriminated against by the government 
2) The Hatch Act, which prevents civil servants from engaging in partisan political activity 
3) Perjury laws, which prevent people from lying to Congress 
All three are laws, and all three were broken, probably by many criminals at the IRS, and perhaps by co-conspirators at other agencies.
For the third law to have been broken, Republicans would have to prove that IRS officials knew of improper targeting of conservatives and testified to the opposite effect. They have noted that then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman testified in March 2012 that there was no such targeting going on. 
But for that to be perjury, Shulman would have had to know that he was lying. Miller admitted Friday that Shulman was wrong but suggested he wasn’t aware of the targeting.As for the first two laws, it likely would have to be proved that the staff members involved in targeting the conservative groups were deliberately doing so for political purposes. 
“It was incorrect, but whether it was untruthful or not … ” Miller said, tailing off. He later added: “To my knowledge, I don’t believe he knew at the time.” 
“You would want some direct evidence of intent, that people knew what they were doing was wrong and they decided to do it anyway,” Nathan Hochman, a former assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s tax division, told Bloomberg News.
Miller and other top IRS officials contend that’s not the case, and that it’s simply happenstance that conservative-sounding organizations were prominent among those who were inappropriately singled out. 
Gee, I wonder how you can get evidence that the bigwigs did something illegal in a crime syndicate? Oh-- I know! You do what prosecutors have been doing to gangsters for a couple of centuries. You find some low level thugs on whom you have straightforward evidence (the two 'low-level' bureaucrats in Cincinnati will do). You introduce them to the grand jury, and you tell them that you are indicting them for felonies that will land them in jail until 2500 A.D. Or, they could cooperate and tell the grand jury who told them to single out conservatives to get a lighter sentence. Then you take the thugs who told them, and you introduce them to the grand jury, and you tell them that you are indicting them for felonies that will land them in jail until 2500 A.D.  ... and you keep going. In fact, it's exactly how Judge "Maximum John Sirica" got the Watergate burglars to implicate higher-ups in the Nixon administrations. He sentenced them to 40 years in prison for burglary, unless they talked. They talked.

It's not that hard to get little guys to implicate big guys. It's routine in prosecuting gangsters, which is what these people are.
(Side note: Despite making this point, the IRS officials haven’t done a good job of explaining exactly how these conservative groups were targeted — and liberal ones weren’t — if it wasn’t political.) 
Duh.
It may seem self-evident that the motivation was political, but proving that in a court of law is another matter entirely. And until that political motivation is proven, it will be tough to land convictions under the first two laws mentioned above.
Actually, self-evident goes by another name-- "beyond reasonable doubt". If the guilt of these IRS gangsters is "self-evident"-- and it is, for the supervisors-- the trial should be a slam-dunk.

That’s also why we’re seeing such a concerted effort from the IRS to emphasize that it was about incompetence rather than politics. 
Incompetence is random. One is not incompetent only with conservative applications for tax exemption, but highly competent with liberal applications. Self evident.
Apart from what’s mentioned above, you could make a case that the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups violates the Constitution. The 1st Amendment could have been violated if the extra scrutiny is deemed to have hindered these groups’ freedom of speech; the 14th Amendment could come into play if the practice violated the equal protection clause, which prevents the government from discriminating against its people; and the 4th Amendment’s could be applied if the scrutiny is seen as “unreasonable search and seizure.” 
But violating the Constitution isn’t technically a crime. 
Of course it is.

Here, from the Department of Justice:

DEPRIVATION OF RIGHTS UNDER COLOR OF LAW 
Summary:Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. 
For the purpose of Section 242, acts under "color of law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official's lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim. 
The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any. 
TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242 
Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, ... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both...

At least 75 groups were denied Constitutional rights, probably more. Each group contained dozens or more members, each of whom had rights denied. Adds up. Could be several hundred years in Federal prison for each IRS thug if the sentences run consecutively.

Denying Constitutional rights under color of law is most definitely a federal crime.


Back to Blake:
“It is possible for a taxpayer to sue individual employees for allegedly denying them constitutional rights. This usually arises in the context of searches or seizures in violation of the 4th Amendment,” Baran said. “In any case, such suits are private civil suits, not criminal suits, and are very difficult to succeed in.” 
Give it a try. Imagine how sympathetic the jury will be to the IRS.
And in fact, the inspector general responsible for investigating the IRS, Russell George, agreed with Miller that no laws were broken when the conservative groups were targeted.
“It is not illegal, sir, but it was unusual,” George said.
The Treasury Department inspector general says no crime was committed. The IRS is part of the Treasury Department, both run by Obamahacks. How surprising.

The investigation should include the Treasury Department.
Which means that, in the end, it’s quite possible nobody will go to jail for what happened at the IRS.
If this is not investigated, prosecuted and punished fully and fairly, there will be a massive backlash from millions of Americans. We are enraged.

Maybe that's why the alphabet agencies have been stocking up with billions of bullets, knowing they were gonna get caught eventually.

But conspiracies like that never actually happen. Thinking that the government is scheming to massively violate our rights is just crazy talk. It never actually happens.

Oh... wait!

Junk science, with a purpose

I spit my coffee:

Disputed signs of consciousness seen in babies’ brains 

Infants display neural responses linked to visual awareness by 5 months of age

By Bruce Bower
Web edition: April 18, 2013


Babies’ brains emit electrical bursts that signal a budding awareness of the visual world by the time they are 5 months old, a new study concludes. But some researchers are skeptical that these neural surges correspond to conscious experience. 
From age 5 months to 15 months, the brain begins to develop the ability to register and remember sights, according to the research by cognitive neuroscientist Sid Kouider of École Normale SupĂ©rieure in Paris and his colleagues. The researchers showed babies images that included faces flashed increasingly slowly on a screen. They started at a speed so fast that even adults wouldn’t consciously notice the images, and then the researchers increased the amount of time each image appeared. Infants displayed a sequence of rapid brain responses that first signaled unconscious and then conscious perception of faces, Kouider’s team reports April 18 in Science. 
“We weren’t expecting to see any evidence of a neural marker for consciousness in 5-month-olds,” Kouider says. Babies at that age exhibited a weak, delayed version of a brain response that occurs when adults report seeing a face flashed just long enough to be consciously perceived, Kouider asserts. 
Stronger and faster brain responses corresponding to visual awareness emerged in 12- and 15-month-olds, Kouider found, although older infants still fell well short of the adult pattern. 
If further research confirms the existence of a neural marker of consciousness in babies, scientists could adapt their visual task to evaluate whether infants show brain indications of feeling pain during medical procedures or after receiving numbing drugs, he suggests.
But cognitive neuroscientist Charles Nelson of Harvard Medical School sees no clear connection between the findings in infants and the electrical responses in adults’ brains. “I would be reluctant to attribute the same mental operation, such as consciousness, to infants and adults simply because of similar patterns of brain activity,” Nelson cautions. 
Electrical responses in the brain linked to sensations, thoughts and behaviors change dramatically over the first few years of life, Nelson says. The brain responses proposed by Kouider’s group as underlying infant consciousness don’t clearly correspond to those linked to visual awareness in adults, Nelson holds. 
In the new study, 5-month-olds, 12-month-olds and 15-month-olds sat on their mothers’ laps while wearing an electrode-studded cap that measured electrical activity on the brain’s surface. The babies saw three scrambled images and a woman’s face, flashed on a computer screen for various amounts of time, accompanied by bell sounds for each image that created a simple melody to attract the infants’ attention. 
In the same setup, adults don’t report seeing a face and don’t display a neural marker of consciousness until each image appears for nearly one-third of a second. For 12- and 15-month-olds, each image had to be presented for about three-quarters of a second — and for almost one second for 5-month-olds — for the children to indicate conscious perception by looking toward the faces and generating the proposed brain signature of visual awareness. 
No one has yet confirmed that a string of electrical responses in the brains of either adults or children reflects a transition from unconscious to conscious perception, remarks cognitive neuroscientist Teodora Gliga of the University of London’s Birkbeck College. But Kouider’s team has designed a way to investigate conditions under which infants, and possibly nonhuman animals, respond to and learn from their environments, an important achievement in itself, Gliga holds. 
That’s not to say that babies can’t be aware of their surroundings, as some researchers have argued. “Five-month-olds and even younger infants probably have many real-life opportunities to consciously process information,” Gliga says.

Disputed signs of consciousness? Disputed? What malicious crap. 

Of course babies are conscious. Fetuses are conscious, at least at a certain age. They do purposeful things, they learn (even in the womb), they respond to pain and pleasure. Babies-- even premature babies-- are obviously conscious. Such consciousness is part of the routine neuro exam that I do on young children, even on premature infants at 25 weeks of gestation. I evaluate consciousness in children professionally. Babies are conscious. 

You don't need to be a brain surgeon to know that babies are conscious. No parent denies that babies are conscious. Obviously babies are cognitively immature, but they are obviously conscious. 

Why would crap like this-- disputed signs of consciousness in babies-- make it into the scientific literature? What editor in his right mind would accept a paper like this for publication?

The reason for this garbage is obvious. It is making straight the path for "post-natal abortions". Expect to see a lot more of this evil. Peter Singer has famously said that it should be legal to kill babies up to three months or even a year of age if parents don't want them. 

But first we have to dehumanize them. That's where the junk science comes in. "Research" that denies consciousness in infants is an effort to provide a scientific basis for "post-natal abortions"-- our next holocaust.