An election is not a popularity contest, or an award for showmanship. If you want to fulfill your duty as a citizen, then you need to become an informed voter. And if you are not informed, then the most patriotic thing you can do on election day is stay home. Otherwise your vote, based on whims or emotions, is playing Russian roulette with the fate of this nation. [my underlines]\ This has been my sentiment about elections for years now. I have noticed that since the dawn of television, US elections have gone from serious to "Dancing with the Candidates". No, I really do not give a damn if Bill Clinton can play the Sax or if Hillary can Nay-Nay. Both are irrelevant to the office they are seeking to hold. Yet of late the entire political arena seems to be about likability rather than ability, decision making ability. Delegation decision ability. Understanding of the Constitution and making sure its adhered to.
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Here is something that Thomas Sowell and I can agree upon:
I was pressing the usual black press in which black people are basically agency-less in the things that "happen to them" when I was struck by a parallel situation: Alcoholics Anonymous. Imagine this scenario if you will: Imagine a drunkard who ends up in a AA session. the moderator (or whatever they are called) asks who is an alcoholic. Everybody raises their hands except the drunkard. Everybody in the room would know that the drunkard is in denial. Indeed one of the first steps is to admit you have a problem. Then imagine that during this session the drunkard is asked who is responsible for their state and the drunkard were to reply that it was the fault of Coors, Amstel, Budweiser, etc. Because had they not ever produced the beverages in question he could not have gotten drunk in the first place. Again everyone would agree that the drunkard is in denial. No on comes out of AA with the idea that the fault of their addiction lies with the product they abused. Imagine again if the drunkard continued on to say that it was also the fault of the stores that sold the alcohol as well as the bars that serve alcohol. Would that kind of attitude fly in AA? Say if that drunkard went even further and said that the people who arrested him for disorderly conduct as a result of his drunkeness were really the problem. And furthermore the fault of the person he killed while driving drunk actually lied with all the producers of alcohol and the stores that sell it. No one would take this guy seriously. Why? Because in AA you are not allowed to externalize blame for your own behavior Now lets go back to the Black Lives Matter movement. They blame guns (alcohol). They blame gun stores and sellers (the bars). When the police come to apprehend a black person who has committed a crime and somebody gets hurt or killed because they failed to cooperate it isn't their fault. It is the police's fault. And here's the thing, like alcoholism, most black people are NOT victims of these things. MOst people fall into these camps: 1) totally abstain. There could be alcohol in every store and a bar with free alcohol and abstainers would never get drunk. 2) Drink occasionally. These folks drink whenever they feel like it. Most of the time they don't feel like it so they don't drink most of the time. 3) Party drinkers: They may drink to the point of drunk at a party and need a ride home but other than that they don't have a problem. Very few people fall into this last category: Drunk: Cannot go without a drink for x amount of hours and plan their lives around drinking. The mere fact that the vast majority of people have no problems with alcohol proves that it is not the presence of alcohol or bars that is the problem. Similarly the simple fact that millions and millions of black folks have encounters with police that do not go badly shows that police are not the problem. Does that mean that there are no police who are bad actors? Of course not, but when the majority of black deaths by assaults are committed by other blacks and this happens at a rate 7X the white population and God only knows the rate of the Asian population, you gotta wonder what exactly is the real deal behind the Black Lives Matter movement. 'Cause if the BLM was assigned to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and did all that "it's the store's fault" type of talk, no one would take them seriously. There would be 100%B consensus that they were in denial. Yet nobody in the mainstream press will treat them like the grown ups that would be expected of a recovering alcoholic.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Russian vetoes are putting UN security council's legitimacy at risk, says US Because of course If you go against the US you cannot possibly have a legitimate reason to do so.
The United States has warned that Russia’s continued blanket use of its UN veto will jeopardise the security council’s long-term legitimacy and could lead the US and like-minded countries to bypass it as a decision-making body.Let me offer a better view of the UN and it's "Security" council. It is already an illegitimate body. Why? US Invades a sovereign country that poses no imminent risk of invasion, Iraq because Colin Powell says there's a good reason for it. Never mind the UN Charter and that pesky "no nation shall invade another" proclamation. UN does nothing. US in cooperation with France and England arm people in Libya, operate a no fly zone and aid in deposing the internationally recognized government in Libya. All with the UN's resolution and blessing and in disregard to the "no nation shall invade another" proclamation. US is currently attempting to topple another government, Assad in Syria, though it poses no immediate threat to the US. The only nation in the security council, as far as I know, that is calling bullshit on the blatantly illegitimate attempt to oust the internationally recognized government of Syria is Russia. You have to believe that right is wrong, left is right and up is down and Bruce Jenner is a woman to believe that it is the actions of Russia that makes the UN and it's Security [sic] Council illegitimate.
Monday, September 21, 2015
While Ben Carson is catching heat for stating his personal position that he would not support a Muslim for US President, as if he isn't constitutionally guaranteed his right to hold his position and to speak on it in public, little is being said about the fact that among both Republicans ANDDemocrats, if you simply do not believe in God at all, nearly half to more than half of them won't vote for you either:
Sunday, September 20, 2015
In his piece for the Huffington Post Christopher Brauchli concludes:
Dr. Carson's description of evolution makes it fairly obvious that working on other people's brains has had little effect on his. His attitude towards the struggling immigrant makes it obvious he spent no time working on hearts. It is hard to imagine what a wonderful country this would be if from the outset we had only admitted immigrants who met his criteria.Because if someone is struggling you must feel the "right" attitude and do the "right" thing. And of course if you have the "right" attitude about evolution then you'll have the "right" attitude about everything else. Of course it couldn't possibly be the case that one could say that since Carson is clearly in the top 10 or 5 percent of intelligence, that his attitude towards "struggling immigrants" may be the result of thinking deeply on the subject rather than emoting about it like so many do. But lest the reader gets the impression that this is a defense of Carson, it is not. While I object to the flip conclusion, the rest of the article is an example of the usual mis-statements on the Big Bang and evolution. Let's take this for example:
Mr. Boze asked Dr. Carson: "What things come to mind when people ask you, why do you question the theory of materialist evolution?" Dr. Carson responded: "Well, the first thing is, how does something come out of nothing. And the second thing is, how does life evolve from non-life? Which, if you want to talk about fairy tales, those are incredible fairy tales."Here Carson co-mingles two different things. The Big Bang theory and the theory of evolution. Though they are linked, it is quite possible to unhook one from the other. In my early days as a Christian (the author is no longer a Christian) I got to a point where I could reasonably explain that the Big Bang theory was how God created the known universe. That would be the entire "let there be light" first action in Genesis. This is also a reflection of the primary establishment of order (Ma'at) over the primordial stuff by Amen-Ra (the sun God) in the Egyptian universal origins story. Evolution was either the means for which diversity of already created life exploded (particularly after the flood) or at the most extreme the means of Genesis creation which could not be understood by the writers of the Pentateuch. Personally I think anyone who is a Christian and has any in depth exposure to science ought to come to this conclusion as it best sits with the religion without looking like a total ass on the science. I'm not saying that the question as to how you get matter and energy from literal nothingness is not a valid question, particularly given the rules about non-creation or destruction of matter and energy. What I am saying is that no scientist is saying that beyond a doubt THIS is what happened. Carson knows this. This is the difference between religious explanations and scientific ones. Religion presupposes the answer is (God) while science presupposes the answer of "we don't know but this is the best data we have as of right now." Per the issue of life from non-life the theory of evolution is on far more solid ground. Carson can be forgiven for neglecting to remember his early biology and organic chemistry classes, but we have many experimentations that show that the right conditions will cause Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen to form various organic compounds. The same compounds that are found in our bodies, Take water for example, Humans are mostly water. water is necessary for most of the functions of life. Once you have that, a lot of possibilities open up and we know water can be "spontaneously" formed. When you escape the idea that everything had to be done in 6 days so that God could get it's rest on and think in terms of millions of years you realize that you only need the one time that the conditions are right for water to first form and then the other necessary building blocks of life to form. It's not that hard. Remember that a human being at it's base biology is simply a collection of single cells all cooperating to stay alive by doing things for each other. I would have thought Ben Carson figured this out by now. But Carson says more:
"And to say that that [evolution] just came about sort of randomly by various mutations over the course of time, when as I just said mutations tend to lead to degeneration rather than improvement, just doesn't make any sense. So, the very things that they claim are evidence for evolution are the very things that damn the theory."This statement underlines why there are fields of science called Evolutionary Biology, Neuroscience and surgery. Those in one field are not, nor are expected to be experts in the other fields. Thank goodness. Carson would probably be insulted if a Doctor of Evolutionary Biology walked into one of his surgeries and started telling Carson how he should proceed. It wouldn't be because the other person was not smart. It would be because their expertise is irrelevant to the issue at hand. So lets explain why Carson is full of it with his comment. Firstly nothing in the theory of evolution says that ALL mutations are beneficial. What the theory states is that mutations happen. Out of all the mutations that happen a very small number gives those who posses them some advantage. Lets take running for example. Say that you are an early human and you have to chase down your food. Clearly the faster you can run, the more likely you can catch your prey. Thus a mutation that imparts greater speed by "creating" fast twitch muscle fibres gives an advantage to the owner. Those without the fast twitch fibres cannot catch food and end up dying off. The remaining population all gets the fast twitch fibres and that is passed onto future generations until or unless having that gene becomes problematic. Meanwhile in some other population, rather than develop fast twitch muscle fibres, they develop a skin mutation that allows them to remain unseen by their prey. In this way they can sneak up on them and strike at close distance rather than run them down. Of that group, those that have this mutation tend to do better and eventually outbreed the ones who can be seen coming a mile away. So you have two populations trying to get at the same thing: food, with two very different means of doing so. this is mutation and evolution at work. Both fictional examples I gave can be found in nature. Now let me address a mutation that is both degenerate and beneficial: skin pigmentation. Humans in Africa were black. Why? Because melanin protects the human from ultraviolet radiation from the sun. This is why skin cancer incidences in BLACK people (not the one drop rule ones) are orders of magnitude lower than it is for scandinavian white people. But the human needs to have some amount of ultraviolet radiation get into their skin in order to produce vitamin D which is crucial for bone development as well as immune system health. So melanin is not a total blocker. Albinism in Africa can be deadly. Albinos in Africa often get skin cancers and other growths and have a shorter life expectancy than those of normal pigmentation. So we have an example of "degenerative" mutation right? Well not so fast. When the African moved out of Africa and into Europe, the situation was not so good. Northern Europe has infamously low levels of direct sunlight hours. Not only that, but this thing called winter where the temps drop! In this environment having heavily pigmented skin is not good. Due to the lesser amounts and intensity of ultraviolet radiation, those Africans had less vitamin D ion their bodies, leading to all manner of bone diseases and shortened life expectancies. Also since highly melanated skin is more dense than that with lesser melanin, it is more susceptible to frostbite. In this environment the albino was better equipped to survive and thrive. Black people produce a rather large number of albinos, so no doubt in short order there were a number of them in the population. And lets not forget the Neandertals who had already been living in Europe with those same environmental pressures who no doubt also produced albinos No doubt nature made a point of making albinism a natural state for humans in that part of the world. This is why we see Europeans of varied hair colors and eye colors, to match the levels of recessiveness in their gene pool for pigmentation. Blonde hair and blue eyes being the MOST recessive and possibly BEST adaptation to the environment of northern Europe. Oh did I mention that it's probably easier to pick out a black skinned person in the snow than it is a very white one? Happy hunting! *snicker* So clearly Carson really doesn't know what he's talking about when he talks about mutations as it concerns evolution. Now lets deal with his other comment:
He explained that: "General Motors, same basic chassis as Chevrolet, a Buick, a Pontiac, or a Cadillac. And yet, they're different. And one did not evolve from the other. And why would you have to go and completely change the motor, the chassis, and all the other infrastructure because you're creating a different model. That doesn't make any sense to me."Yes, it is clear that there a few things that have actually escaped Carson's great intellect. The comparison of different makes of automobile is a silly argument. The way to view the automobile is to look at it as a mode of transportation. You had to make a wheel. There are many wheels. The common ancestor, if you will, of the modern automobile wheel is the cut out of stone wheel. Yet the two are VERY different with the automobile wheel being highly evolved. Similarly the automobile is also about the means of propulsion. From steam engines (and crude electric ones) to internal combustion engines. Again the latter with direct fuel injection, variable valve lift and timing, spark advance, etc. are highly evolved from the crude examples from yesteryear. Of course we also have the diesel engine which doesn't use a spark to ignite fuel that's a mutation no? And what about the Wankel rotory engine? Isn't that a mutation? What about the beam rear suspension vs a fully independent rear suspension? Wouldn't that be evolution via mutation? Oh and to be perfectly technical, up until Pontiac went to the car crusher in the sky, all Buicks were Pontiacs were Cadillacs. yet if you put a 1988 Cadillac next to a 1988 BMW 535i, the differences would shock you in terms of technology even though they share the same basic design. I'm not entirely surprised that the Seventh Day Adventist Carson would be saying what he was saying. These ideas are shared by many in that community as well as other Christian denominations. My favorite is the comment that they have never seen an ape in a zoo (or elsewhere I suppose) give birth to a human. 0.o Just like Donald Trump who ignores the comments of the ignorant, I no longer even respond to that nonsense. Carson is entitled to his religious beliefs. I certainly defend his right to that 100%, but that doesn't mean he can't be taken to task when he mis-states the actual points of the theory of evolution.
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Monday, September 14, 2015
I was going to write on the matter but saw a post on Counterpunch that sums up my issues rather well:
If tennis great James Blake had done the obvious thing and resisted being tackled by an apparent thug on a New York sidewalk who didn’t identify himself as a cop before attacking him, he would probably be dead today like Eric Garner, or at least seriously injured or tased.This is also what I thought. There is no way I'm going to be standing and minding my own business and allow someone to run up on me with no resistance on my part. It is very clear that had Blake defended himself as he had a right to, he would be either dead or seriously harmed. No person has to tolerate any other citizen putting their hands on them. If police want to effect an arrest of a person who has been pointed out as a thief or whatever, then they must present themselves as police.
There was, in other words, absolutely no reason for the officers not to simply identify themselves and ask politely to see his identification. Even then, if at that point they still suspected him, they could have taken him peacefully to the station for questioning, as they would ordinarily do had he been a well-dressed white guy, instead of a well-dressed black guy.Absolutely! Mind you I don't cosign the obligatory "jail for minor or non-violent crimes" rant Lindorff goes on but in the case of Blake, Lindorff is certainly on point. Police, particularly those in plain clothes ought NEVER approach a citizen in a threatening manner because that citizen may rightfully and lawfully assume that his or her life in in danger from a stranger and use any means to protect themselves.
It's pretty sad, and probably why I'm taking this quasi break from writing to see politicians from all over say dumb things in regards to Syria and ISIS. John Corbyn says that Assad should be removed. McCain Says Assad should be removed. When you see so called "progressives" and "conservatives" saying the same thing, you really have to wonder whom they are working for. Anyone who paid attention when Libya was being destroyed knew full well that Ghaddafi, like him or not, kept a lid on the rival groups that were in his country and was keeping people from trying to cross the Mediterranean rickety (and some not so rickety) boats. Never mind Ghadaffi's about face in regards to the West and all the sanction lifting. As soon as it became expedient, Europeans knifed him in the back and now Libya has some Jihadis and people smuggler's galore. But yay! Ghaddifi is dead. Syria's Assad was like Gaddafi, you may not have liked his particular style of rule but folks were kept in line and in check. No ISIS. No Al-Qaeda. But the same idiots who sold Ukraine on messing up relations with Russia, convinced some idiots in Syria that life without Assad would be the best thing since Manna from heaven. Now we have millions of people displaced and trying their luck on what may as well be inflatable rafts to reach Germany. ISIS has taken control of half the country and has people from all over Europe trying to get themselves to the Caliphate. Apparently these so called "bright" people haven't figured out that Assad is and was a better choice than ISIS. It's that whole "lesser of evils" thing. I'd rather have a person who is capable of keeping order, even if it means a couple of "dissidents" have to go missing from time to time, than have a government run by people who think mass executions, beheadings and killing as many infidels as possible is good foreign policy. But what do I know? Nobody has elected me to office and I'm not asked to share my opinion on news programs. By the way. How is it the US people's obligation or the people of Europe's obligation to take all these 'refugees" when there are Arab states far closer who are so rich, they pay their citizens stipends and have real estate sitting empty? That are building billion dollar stadiums and the like? It's interesting that the masses of people who were and are against their countries being involved in any of the civil wars going on the Middle East are being told they have to bear the brunt of the fallout, while their so called leaders live in the lap of security luxury. You know, I read a lot about how the Great White Race (tm) is known for it's ability to plan ahead. Seems that is not so true anymore. The Germans, those paragons of whiteness seem to not have been able to force what advertising a very liberal asylum policy would do. So NOW they want to close their borders. No way we could have seen that coming.
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
So finally finished reading Rise Of The Robots and wanted to comment on one of the statistics found therein. It is one that is seen often particularly with the rise of the BLM movement:
The United States has a staggering 2.4 million people locked up in it's jails and prisons- a per capita incarceration rate more than three times that of any other country and more than ten times that of advanced nations like Denmark, Finland, and Japan. As of 2008, about 60 percent of these people were nonviolent offenders, and the annual per capita cost of housing them was about $26,000There's a lot to unpack in this quotation but lets start with the 60%. Is the author implying that those who commit 'non-violent offenses" should not be incarcerated for their crimes? For example, should Bernie Madoff be free? His was as non-violent a crime as you can get. Does the author think that the person who breaks into his home while he is away and takes everything not be incarcerated? That's a non-violent crime too. What about the guy who breaks into his car and drives it away? That's a non-violent crime. I'm almost certain that Martin Ford has things like "a little bit of weed" on his mind with his "non-violent crime" comment. But most "little bit of weed" charges are civil offenses that do not involve jail time. If you have enough to "warrant" jail time you probably did not have "a little bit of weed." That said, lets engage in a little math. If we were to take Martin Ford at his word that people who have not committed violent crimes ought not be imprisoned and removed them from the population you would still have 960,000 people in jail or prison in the US. Ford told us that Denmark has an order of magnitude less people in prison (presumably for violent offenses, since they are so enlightened as to not jail non-violent offenders right?) That would mean that Denmark, Finland and Japan would have 240,000 people in jail. So even if we only considered violent offenders the US would still have four times as many people in jail. So the US is still far more violent than any of the other "advanced nations" that Ford mentions. Why didn't he bother to tell us this? Lets take it further. Even though African-Americans (you saw that coming didn't you?) make up a mere 13% of the US population, they make up a staggering 50% of those in jail or prison. Now lets look at this report about Denmark (you'll probably need to translate): Wikipedia:
Moreover, according to the figures from Danmarks Statistik, crime rate among refugees and their descendants is 73% higher than for the male population average, even when taking into account their socioeconomic background. A report from Teori- og Metodecentret from 2006 found that seven out of ten young people placed on the secured youth institutions in Denmark are immigrants (with 40 percent of them being refugees)And what percent of Denmark are non-native? 10.4% 330,000 of which are "non-western" in origins. So just like the US a small population of non-western people commit a hugely disproportionate amount of crimes that feeds the prison systems. The hard truth here, particularly for the BLM folks is that the issue really isn't the criminal justice system as much as it is about the criminal proclivities of too many of our population. And discussions about the amount of people in jail or prison in the US that does not take into account who is doing what crimes in the first place is not a serious discussion.