The science is settled, er, a settlement

We’re asked daily to accept a lot of ideas based on the recommendations of “experts.”  It’s important to realize that “experts” — and the people who offer them data — are still fallible human beings, susceptible to error… or deliberate misconduct:

Duke University is paying the U.S. government $112.5 million to settle accusations that it submitted bogus data to win federal research grants. The settlement will also bring a $33.75 million payment to Joseph Thomas, the whistleblower who drew attention to the fraud when he worked for Duke.

The dozens of grants in question covered the study of the lung function of mice. The Justice Department says Thomas’ lawsuit alleged that “between 2006 and 2018, Duke knowingly submitted and caused to be submitted” claims to federal agencies that were unknowingly paying grant money for falsified research data.

In a letter to the university’s community, Price said, “This is a difficult moment for Duke. Citing the “devastating impact of research fraud,” he also said the school had taken numerous steps to encourage scientific integrity, improve training and archive research data.

Because Thomas brought the original lawsuit under the False Claims Act’s qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions, he stood to share in any money that was recovered from Duke. For pursuing the case on the U.S. government’s behalf, he will now receive $33,750,000 from the settlement, the Justice Department said.

Thomas’ attorneys say he stuck with the case after the government opted not to mount its own investigation after he reported his allegations and filed suit.

“In many meritorious cases, the government decides to ‘intervene’ at that stage of the proceedings, basically taking over the lead of the case,” lawyers for Thomas said. “But here, that never happened. This left Mr. Thomas and his lawyers at the point of the spear – going against a venerated academic institution with enormous resources.”

Note it was a private citizen, not the government, that ultimately forced the issue and brought accountability.  That’s the problem with most government spending: too little incentive to ensure it’s doing any good.  As we’ve seen with Federal funding of many “green technologies” under the past administration, Uncle Sam is often a lousy judge of potential.  Is it harder to get private money?  Sure.  But if someone like the late Paul Allen is funding your project, you can expect to be asked regularly what their money is accomplishing.  That gets better results.

Accountability: the standard of winning societies.

(Oh, and remember this anytime global warming alarmists smugly tell you “the science is settled.”  Is it really?)

Be grateful or be gone

The depths of ingratitude some people possess is simply astonishing:

(Congresswoman) Ilhan Omar’s country collapsed as a child. She lived for years in Kenya in that refugee camp. She may have died there without outside help. But help came, from where? From here, America. And this country didn’t just welcome Ilhan Omar to America, we paid to relocate her family and many others from a foreign continent purely for the sake of being good people, for altruism. Because no country in history has been as generous as we are. To places we have no ties to and no obligation to, we have been kind anyway because that’s who we are. Despite her humble and foreign birth, Omar has been elected to our national law-making body. And good for her. So how does she repay her adopted country, the one that may literally have saved her life? She attacks it as hateful and racist, and for that she is applauded by the Democratic Party because they view this country as hateful and racist too.

It should be noted that among the many freedoms enjoyed here is the freedom to leave at will.  Unlike the old Soviet Union or today’s Communist China, there is nothing preventing any resident of the United States from picking up and relocating to a country they believe suits them better.

So why don’t we see millennials migrating to Venezuela, or Cuba, or some other alleged “workers’ paradise?”  It’s because no matter how strongly they rail against America in public, they know full well how good they have it here.  In Omar’s case, she knows first hand what conditions can be like outside of a stable, representative, capitalist country.  She simply chooses to ignore that because her preferred rhetoric, sad to say, helps her accrue power via today’s ignorant masses.

Our country is not, and never has been, perfect.  But I defy anyone to name any country, anywhere, that has provided a better standard of living and greater freedoms than has the United States.  And yet so many of our people listen to the siren songs of these pied pipers that we need to throw out all of the social and legal foundations upon which those successes rest.  Arrogance, ignorance and ingratitude are a toxic cocktail.  That’s how we end up with freshmen in Congress who believe socialism simply hasn’t ever been implemented correctly, or that somehow Islamic Sharia law is to be preferred to secular self-governance guided by Christian principles.

We have such representatives because we’ve allowed ourselves to be invaded and colonized.  An enclave of Somali refugees is the base of Omar’s political ascent.  Immigrants who fail to understand the fabric of how our system works, along with Americans who’ve failed to learn about it, are the constituency of people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (also known appropriately as “occasional cortex.”)

The Musketeers’ Mom isn’t known for being publicly political very often.  She made a good point yesterday, however.  In response to an online story about Hollywood celebs threatening not to make films in Georgia if the State passes a heartbeat bill protecting the unborn, she posted “aren’t ya’ll supposed to be in Canada already?”  It’s time we extend that sort of dismissive shunning to everyone who takes routine potshots at our country without acknowledging the many things it gets right — particularly those who come here from abroad, then disparage the country that’s taken them in.  They act like spoiled children throwing temper tantrums, so I don’t see why anyone needs to take them seriously.

It’s time that when these ingrates bite the hand that sustains them, that hand smacks some sense into them.  Don’t like it here?  Get out… there’s over 190 other countries you can choose to call home.  So stop tearing down the one I live in and gave two dozen years of my life in uniform to defend.  I have no sympathy for it.  Neither do many, many other Americans.  So don’t be surprised when there’s broad public support for keeping people out and sending people home.  America’s not a flop house, people.

 

Such lovely expressions of civic virtue… let’s adopt them.  (Not)

Middle-Finger

Barbarians inside the gates

There’s a general attitude today that society was far too uptight in the past.  But given where what we currently tolerate is leading, I have a feeling it won’t be long before we see those more button-downed days as being the last gasp of civilization before the fall:

Almost everyone that goes out to visit one of our major cities on the west coast has a similar reaction. Those that must live among the escalating decay are often numb to it, but most of those that are just in town for a visit are absolutely shocked by all of the trash, human defecation, crime and public drug use that they encounter. Once upon a time, our beautiful western cities were the envy of the rest of the world, but now they serve as shining examples of America’s accelerating decline. The worst parts of our major western cities literally look like post-apocalyptic wastelands, and the hordes of zombified homeless people that live in those areas are too drugged-out to care. The ironic thing is that these cities are not poor. In fact, San Francisco and Seattle are among the wealthiest cities in the entire nation.

So if things are falling apart this dramatically now, how bad will things get when economic conditions really start to deteriorate?

Very bad, I suspect.   For a preview of coming conditions, read the whole piece, and remember that a functioning civilization is not the default state of humanity.  Creating and maintaining one takes not only work, but discipline.  We no longer encourage self-discipline, and our society increasingly frowns on those who would impose discipline from without.  Once anything goes, eventually everything will.

Life and death in America

The battle lines are being drawn ever more starkly in this country, between those who believe in the sanctity of life, and those who believe it to be just another disposable commodity.

Pro-abortion activists believe Ruth Bader Ginsburg is their last hope of protecting the travesty known as Roe v. Wade.  And perhaps they’re right.  Interestingly, the “Notorious RBG” hasn’t been seen in public in over a month, having missed several oral arguments at the Supreme Court due to health issues (out of character for her).  Has anyone done a wellness check on her lately?  Some thought Tuesday’s State of the Union address might confirm whether she’s still an active Supreme Court Justice or we’re seeing a Democrat reenactment of the movie “Weekend at Bernie’s.”  But now we’re told she’ll be skipping it due to a schedule conflict.  How… convenient.

Sensing their time is short, abortionists are moving quickly to emplace laws at the State level that would allow the slaughter of the unborn to continue regardless the fate of the Roe precedent.  In their haste, they are dropping any pretense this is somehow about making abortion “safe, legal and rare,” as the tagline used to go.  No, this flurry of activity is about making abortion available on demand at any time, for any reason…

…including just after birth:

Virginia’s governor has drawn backlash after suggesting that a pregnancy could be terminated after the baby’s birth, as the state debates a bill relaxing restrictions on third trimester abortions.  Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, made the shocking remarks in an interview with WTOP-FM on Wednesday, as he attempted to explain a Democrat delegate’s earlier remarks.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist(!), described a hypothetical situation where a severely deformed newborn infant could be left to die.  He said that if a woman were to desire an abortion as she’s going into labor, the baby would be delivered and then ‘resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue’ between doctors and the mother.

So does this mean that for a period of time after a clump of cells fetus baby leaves the womb and draws breath it is still fair game for abandonment and death?  How long is that period?  Hours?  Days?  Weeks?  What if an impaired child affects a mother’s “mental health” when it reaches two years old?  The current crush of new laws go to great lengths to remove criminal penalties for killing an unborn child while assaulting the mother.  Activists correctly realized the contradiction in charging “fetal homicide” while still permitting abortion.  Their solution is to completely dehumanize the unborn in the eyes of the law, so they only become a “person” when born to a woman who wants them.  “Women’s rights” do not include being allowed to play God.

We’re constantly berated that nobody has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body. But an unborn child is not the woman’s body. It is a distinct individual, with its own DNA, fingerprints, and futureAny person’s choices are limited by society to the extent they impact others, and this, above all, should be no exception.  Aside from rape, every woman exercises her ‘choice’ in this matter by choosing to abstain from, or engage in, sexual activity.  Abortionists like to “what if” all manner of horrific but statistically insignificant scenarios, but the conclusion is inescapable the overwhelming majority of abortions are simply birth control after the fact, at the cost of a human life.

It’s only a small step, not a slope, from this point to arguing that any inconvenient life can be terminated.  The concept of “assisted suicide” already allows people to end their own life if they find it “too painful.”  But last year the Netherlands began an investigation into a doctor who allegedly had family hold a patient down while he inserted a fatal IV drip against her will.

I commented recently on the willingness of political opponents now to say things that would have been considered beyond the pale just a generation ago: “Put the MAGA hat kids in the woodchipper,” “Burn their school down,” and of course an alleged comedian holding a simulated severed head of the president.  Add this to the general devaluation of life that abortion and euthanasia represent, and we have an explosive cocktail indeed.  Earlier generations of Marxists had no qualms about “breaking a few eggs” in the quest for their socialist paradise.  Given the opportunity, I suspect their ideological descendants today would feel the same way.

Still wonder why many of us are determined to protect the right to bear arms?  In a culture of death, the means of self-defense are essential.

Do you know what direction your State is headed on this issue?  Will it protect the first heartbeat, or enable the murder of a person on the verge of birth?  How will you help ensure your State chooses life?

Satan’s scribes

 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  John 8:44

Trump’s rallying cry of “fake news!” doesn’t resonate with Middle America because of any personal charisma.  It resonates because Middle America figured it out long before a person running for office was willing to say it out loud, repeatedly.  Traditionalists have known for some time that reporters will go to great lengths to cast them as villains, dangerous throwbacks who are out of touch with the present.  It stands to reason, then, that anyone who appears to speak for them on the national stage will be excoriated for it.

Despite presenting an opportunity for sobriety and excellence, the election of President Donald Trump has been an unmitigated disaster for the political media, which have never reckoned with their role in Trump’s elevation and eventual selection, and which have subsequently treated his presidency as a rolling opportunity for high-octane drama, smug self-aggrandizement, and habitual sloth. I did not go to journalism school, but I find it hard to believe that even the least prestigious among those institutions teaches that the correct way to respond to explosive, unsourced reports that just happen to match your political priors is to shout “Boom” or “Bombshell” or “Big if true” and then to set about spreading those reports around the world without so much as a cursory investigation into the details. And yet, in the Trump era, this has become the modus operandi of all but the hardest-nosed scribblers…

When a headline reads “Lawmaker Involved in Scandal,” one can immediately deduce that the lawmaker is a Democrat. Why? Because if he were a Republican, the story would make that clear in the headline. Without fail, stories that begin with “Republicans pounce” are actually about bad things that Democrats have done or said, while stories about bad things that Republicans have done or said begin with “Republican does or says a bad thing” and proceed to a dry recitation of the facts…

Which brings us to the press’s most infuriating habit: its selective defense of American institutions… Institutions matter until the Supreme Court rules in a way that annoys the editors of the Huffington Post, who immediately cast the same judges who yesterday were beyond reproach as “illegitimate” or “corrupt” or too male or too white or too Catholic or too rich or too mean. Institutions matter until the economy produces results that irritate Paul Krugman, at which point the system is held to be “rigged.” Institutions matter until Barack Obama wants to change the law without Congress, at which point the story becomes what the president wants and not whether what he is doing is legal. Institutions matter until Donald Trump wins an election, and then the entire system needs junking and is probably being run by the Russians anyway.

Read the entire piece excerpted above.  Nowhere has this consistent slant of the press been more visible than in the propaganda “coverage” of the Mueller investigation…

Continue reading

How we became unthinking mobs

The recent rush to judgment over the Covington Catholic High School group’s actions after the March for Life in D.C. is merely the latest in a string of events, including the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, that demonstrate far too many of our citizens react to events via emotion and bias rather than reason.  One only needs to spend a brief time on Twitter to realize our national discourse has largely descended to the level of junior high school taunting back and forth.  Insults, rather than insight, is the currency there.

The danger is that these “two minutes’ hate” events have become so regular, that people who should certainly know better–like Disney producers–begin tweeting things like this:

woodchipper tweet

Sure, he “apologized” as the original narrative about what happened utterly collapsed.   That’s irrelevant — the fact many adults thought it appropriate to say such vile things shows how close we are to actual violence breaking out in our country.  These public utterances simply show what is in the heart of far too many people.

I’ve often noted how close we are to violence now, or the need to defend our freedoms by force.  And while I’ll admit to occasionally thinking like Han Solo, the truth is I’m well aware of what such circumstances would mean.  As a military veteran of multiple deployments, I’ve seen firsthand what happens when the last veneer of civility is ripped away.  And it’s the last thing I want for the country I love and pledged my life to defend.

How did we get here?  Not by accident, that’s for certain:

In terms of communication, people will say what they think. The problem with the sad state of civil discourse today occurs because people are mostly really bad at thinking. The dismal failure of the education system is what created our poisonous public discourse.

This degeneration of the public’s ability to think did not occur instantaneously. The destruction of reason and logic was a gradual process, spearheaded by the adoption of postmodernist subjectivity in the late 1960s and pushed into the American schools since then.

Those of us who are partial to objectivity are instinctively aware that classroom methods of encouraging feelings and emotion are fundamentally problematic. Children are encouraged to express what they feel when it comes to understand the world around them. For example; climate change feels bad because humans are destroying the planet. Capitalism feels bad because we are exploiting the poor. Masculinity feels bad because males oppress women. Environmentalism feels good because we are saving the planet. Socialism feels great because we take care of the poor in society. Feminism feels wonderful because girls are empowered against male oppression.

The method of teaching students to “feel” (i.e. perception from senses) instead of to “think” (i.e. conception from judgement) is the problem with education. It is the reason why Johnny can’t think. Johnny’s mind hasn’t been trained to think in integrated concepts because he has always been taught to rely on his feelings. Johnny’s world is presented to him in a fragmented chaos of sensory perceptions.

It is quite an interesting exercise to note how most people are unable to think in concepts. Take for example, when a criminal kills with a gun, someone who is incapable of thinking in concepts can only see the instrument of murder and thus mobilize against banning guns because they think that it is the gun itself that is responsible of the crime.  The same lack of conceptual thinking applies to those who are incapable of seeing a successful white male for his character, skills and habit as the factors shaping his success because their thinking capacity only allows them to see his gender and race as the factor which determines his success.

The American schools has succeeded in reducing the public’s intellect to the level of the perceptual beast. …they do not know how to put together the data they observed into structured logical thoughts. And like a lost animal incapable of making sense of the world around it, that person lashes out like a beast because the world is unintelligible around them.

These are excerpts from a much lengthier piece I encourage you to read in its entirety.  It goes far to explain how a sitting member of Congress can wonder aloud why people might be more concerned about “being precisely, factually and semantically correct than about being morally right.”  This is not a new development.  Back in 2004 the New York Times actually ran a story about alleged records (proven to be forgeries) of then-President Bush’s service in the Guard that had the headline “Memos on Bush are Fake but Accurate, Typist Says.”  (But whatever you do, don’t call the New York Times “failing” or “fake news!”)

Emotions have their place.  But they must be kept in their place.  That place is not the drivers seat of law and policy.  Our compromised public schools, though, have taught multiple generations to “follow your heart” regardless of any inconvenient facts (example: the 100 million body count Marxist ideology racked up in the 20th century).  So now we have a body politic where one side thinks the other is stupid for ignoring reality, and the other responds by thinking the rationalists are uncaring and evil.

That kind of divide is not likely to end well.

Constructing controversy

Pardon the long post as I parse the issue du jour.  Given the wide reach of Outrage, Inc., you may have heard how a group of MAGA-hat-wearing Catholic high school boys surrounded and intimidated a Native American elder in Washington D.C. Saturday, treating him with utter disrespect.

What you probably didn’t hear was:

  1. The young men were waiting for their charter bus as instructed by their teachers, and passing the time laughing and socializing as high-spirited young men do.
  2. They were harassed and insulted for about half an hour by a small group of radical “Black Hebrews,” who accused whites (and Donald Trump) of being pro-homosexual, and who called a black teen in the group “nigger” and urged him to abandon his white friends.
  3. The Native American elder, Nathan Phillips, who appears to be a professional grievancemonger, walked into the group of kids and began beating his drum inches from the face of one of them.

How do I know these things?  Because I sought out and viewed longer film clips than the carefully selected 90-second vignettes and still photos curated by the liberal legacy press, including a nearly 2-hour one filmed by the “Black Hebrews” themselves:

 

Timestamps (please note: the “Hebrew” cameraman is very liberal with his profanity):

Beginning: notice the “Hebrews” are first yelling at the Native Americans, telling them they “lost their land” because they “worshipped creation rather than the Creator.”  One can only imagine the coverage had this been a group of white Christians saying that to the Native protestors.  They go on to claim that “native Americans, Hispanics and blacks” are the “real” children of Israel, and the Jews of today are “imposters.” (44:00)  This is the thrust of the first 45 minutes of the video.

At 44:30, the cameraman notices a few students standing by with “MAGA” sweaters and hats.  “These are the people who are going to f*** your country up, Mr. White Man” the cameraman says.

At 46:18 the speaker refers to a nearby priest (who was probably part of the March for Life) as a “faggot” and “Father Hands.”  By this point more students are showing up (remember: they’d been told to gather at the Jefferson Memorial to be picked up by their bus).  The speaker refers to all of them (Catholics) as “child-molesting faggots” like “your president, Donald Trump.”

At 49:00, while arguing with a black man who’s calling them out for their hateful speech, the cameraman asks why he wants to fight with his “brothers” with “all these dirty-a** crackers behind you, with their red Make America Great Again hats on… racist b*stards…”

This is what these kids unknowingly went into, following their instructions on where to assemble at the end of the March for Life and visiting D.C.  I’m reasonably sure they had never encountered anything quite like it back in Kentucky.

The speaker begins to address the kids directly (50:00), saying it’s only whites “who shoot up schools.”  When the kids turn away from him, he begins to ridicule them.  At 53:00 he notes some of the kids had come back, after taking their hats off.  (Remember – they were where they’d been told to go… could it be they were trying to diffuse the situation?)  At 59:00, seeing more and more kids show up, “look at all these demons… vicious crowd.”

By 1:07:00, the speaker is focused solely on the kids, calling them “incest babies” and such.  The kids (all but one on a skateboard — not clear if he’s part of the school group) keep their distance.  They begin chanting school spirit cheers, to drown out and mock the abuse being hurled their way.

Only at the one hour, 12-minute mark do we finally first see Nathan Phillips, the “Native Elder.”  He and a group with cameras behind him, walks up to the group of kids.  He moves to them… not the other way around.  Note: the kids were already chanting school spirit chants in response to the insults of the Black Hebrews.  They did NOT start in response to Phillips and his drum. As one kid later wrote to a local TV station, from their perspective, it was like Phillips wanted to join in with them or something.

Over the next couple minutes, Phillips continues to work his way into the group of teens.  This is how he became “surrounded.”  He is the instigator of confrontation, not the teens.  He stops in front of one bewildered young man and continues to beat on his drum.  Frankly the kid shows admirable restraint at this invasion of his personal space.  He also seems to be quite aware of the number of cameras being shoved in his face.  What would most adults do in such a situation?

At 1:17:00, as the groups have converged, an adult’s voice can be heard telling the kids “back it up.”  The kids move back from the “Hebrews.”  Just before 1:19:00, the Hebrews start insulting a black student for associating with the rest of the group.

Sadly, the school has already issued a condemnation of the kids based on initial reporting.  (Feel free to let them know they made a mistake.)  Meanwhile various reporters are looking to identify the teens, with one even asking on Twitter that people with copies of the school’s yearbook contact her!  This is completely unacceptable.

The school’s objective was to have their kids participate in the March for Life protest against the continuing scourge of abortion.  But it’s safe to say these kids learned some unintentional, yet valuable lessons about the condition of their country and the mendacity of the press.  It remains to be seen, however, how much they’ll pay for those lessons at the hands of people who hate them simply because of who they are.  And yet the kids are supposed to be the racists?