Mar 13

The Politics of hate for 3/13

2008 was a rough election. Not just in that it was so long and so close, but that it was loaded with hate and hate-filled attacks on people based on their race, patriotism, gender or other things. Few, if any, of these attacks had any legitimacy or were based upon anything remotely like evidence. Conservatives recognize that this happened, but they say it was done equally by both sides. Complete nonsense, this was an overwhelmingly one-sided affair. Since the election, things have gotten significantly worse, as the Republican party has devolved into the party of hate. These posts will catalog the hate-filled rhetoric of the Republican Party and its conservative allies on a daily basis.

Attacks on Poor or Working Class People

Comparison of Liberals or Democrats to Bad Guys

Disruption of Legitimate Events

False Attacks on People’s Patriotism or Americanism

Falsely Calling Liberals Socialist or Communist

Fearmongering

Homophobia

Racism

Religious Hatred

Sexism

Violence or Threats of Violence

See the full archive

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Mar 12

The Politics of Hate for 3/12

2008 was a rough election. Not just in that it was so long and so close, but that it was loaded with hate and hate-filled attacks on people based on their race, patriotism, gender or other things. Few, if any, of these attacks had any legitimacy or were based upon anything remotely like evidence. Conservatives recognize that this happened, but they say it was done equally by both sides. Complete nonsense, this was an overwhelmingly one-sided affair. Since the election, things have gotten significantly worse, as the Republican party has devolved into the party of hate. These posts will catalog the hate-filled rhetoric of the Republican Party and its conservative allies on a daily basis.

Attacks on People With Disabilities

Attacks on Poor People

Calling for American Failure

Comparison of Liberals or Democrats to Bad Guys

Defense of Bad Guys

False Attacks on People’s Patriotism or Americanism

Falsely Calling Liberals Socialist or Communist

Fearmongering

Homophobia

Racism

Religious Hatred

Sexism

Violence or Threats of Violence

See the full archive

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Mar 12

The Day in Gun News for 3/12

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Mar 07

The Politics of Hate for 3/7

2008 was a rough election. Not just in that it was so long and so close, but that it was loaded with hate and hate-filled attacks on people based on their race, patriotism, gender or other things. Few, if any, of these attacks had any legitimacy or were based upon anything remotely like evidence. Conservatives recognize that this happened, but they say it was done equally by both sides. Complete nonsense, this was an overwhelmingly one-sided affair. Since the election, things have gotten significantly worse, as the Republican party has devolved into the party of hate. These posts will catalog the hate-filled rhetoric of the Republican Party and its conservative allies on a daily basis.

Attacks on Poor People

Comparison of Liberals or Democrats to Bad Guys

Defense of Bad Guys

Fearmongering

Homophobia

Racism

Religious Hatred

Sexism

Violence or Threats of Violence

See the full archive

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Mar 07

The Day in Gun News for 3/7

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Mar 06

The Politics of Hate for 3/6

2008 was a rough election. Not just in that it was so long and so close, but that it was loaded with hate and hate-filled attacks on people based on their race, patriotism, gender or other things. Few, if any, of these attacks had any legitimacy or were based upon anything remotely like evidence. Conservatives recognize that this happened, but they say it was done equally by both sides. Complete nonsense, this was an overwhelmingly one-sided affair. Since the election, things have gotten significantly worse, as the Republican party has devolved into the party of hate. These posts will catalog the hate-filled rhetoric of the Republican Party and its conservative allies on a daily basis.

Attacks on Poor People

Comparison of Liberals or Democrats to Bad Guys

Disruption of Legitimate Events

Falsely Calling Liberals Socialist or Communist

Fearmongering

Homophobia

Racism

Religious Hatred

Sexism

Violence or Threats of Violence

See the full archive

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Mar 06

The Day in Gun News for 3/6

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Mar 05

More Changes

Media Matters has created a great new site, Mythopedia that accomplishes the same goal that I was trying to get at with the daily “The Facts” posts, and they have funding, so I’m going to abandon that series. It will be replaced with “The Day in Guns,” since gun control is one of my key issues and there is always a good flood of relevant news.

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Mar 05

The Politics of Hate for 3/5

2008 was a rough election. Not just in that it was so long and so close, but that it was loaded with hate and hate-filled attacks on people based on their race, patriotism, gender or other things. Few, if any, of these attacks had any legitimacy or were based upon anything remotely like evidence. Conservatives recognize that this happened, but they say it was done equally by both sides. Complete nonsense, this was an overwhelmingly one-sided affair. Since the election, things have gotten significantly worse, as the Republican party has devolved into the party of hate. These posts will catalog the hate-filled rhetoric of the Republican Party and its conservative allies on a daily basis.

Attacks on People With Disabilities

Attacks on Poor People

Comparison of Liberals or Democrats to Bad Guys

Defense of Bad Guys

False Attacks on People’s Patriotism or Americanism

Fearmongering

Homophobia

Racism

Religious Hatred

Sexism

See the full archive

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Feb 28

The Facts for 2/28

  • With just 41 votes, Republican senators block veterans benefits bill
  • National Academy Of Sciences Delivers Highly Readable Climate Change Warning | ThinkProgress
  • Income Inequality Hurts Economic Growth, But Fixing It Doesn’t
  • Indiana House Votes To End An Innovative Energy Efficiency Program | ThinkProgress
  • PolitiFact Finds NRA’s Ted Nugent Greatly Exaggerated His Law Enforcement Credentials | Blog | Media Matters for America
  • 5 Tea Party Myths Debunked As Movement Marks 5 Years Of Dysfunction | Right Wing Watch
  • Christie aides joked about causing ‘traffic problems’ at rabbi’s home
  • New Documentary Exposes Sinister Judge Who Sent Thousands of Innocent Youths to Jail for Money | Crooks and Liars
  • Eight Charts That Prove Obama’s Right About Young Black Men’s Chances In The Economy | ThinkProgress
  • South Carolina Cop Shoots 70-Year-Old Reaching For His Cane During Traffic Stop | ThinkProgress
  • 6 Steps The President And Congress Can Take To Help Young Men Of Color | ThinkProgress
  • Nature Stunner: As Climate Change Speeds Up, The Number Of Extremely Hot Days Is Soaring | ThinkProgress
  • Exonerated Inmate: No One, No Matter The Crime, Can Endure Solitary Confinement For Very Long | ThinkProgress
  • State Department Watchdog Finds No Problem With Oil Industry Contractor Writing Keystone XL Report | ThinkProgress
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    Feb 28

    The Politics of hate for 2/28

    2008 was a rough election. Not just in that it was so long and so close, but that it was loaded with hate and hate-filled attacks on people based on their race, patriotism, gender or other things. Few, if any, of these attacks had any legitimacy or were based upon anything remotely like evidence. Conservatives recognize that this happened, but they say it was done equally by both sides. Complete nonsense, this was an overwhelmingly one-sided affair. Since the election, things have gotten significantly worse, as the Republican party has devolved into the party of hate. These posts will catalog the hate-filled rhetoric of the Republican Party and its conservative allies on a daily basis.

    Attacks on Poor People

    Disruption of Legitimate Events

    Fearmongering

    Homophobia

    Racism

    Religious Hatred

    Sexism

    Violence or Threats of Violence

    See the full archive

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    Feb 27

    The Politics of Hate for 2/27

    2008 was a rough election. Not just in that it was so long and so close, but that it was loaded with hate and hate-filled attacks on people based on their race, patriotism, gender or other things. Few, if any, of these attacks had any legitimacy or were based upon anything remotely like evidence. Conservatives recognize that this happened, but they say it was done equally by both sides. Complete nonsense, this was an overwhelmingly one-sided affair. Since the election, things have gotten significantly worse, as the Republican party has devolved into the party of hate. These posts will catalog the hate-filled rhetoric of the Republican Party and its conservative allies on a daily basis.

    Attacks on Poor People

    Comparison of Liberals or Democrats to Bad Guys

    Disruption of Legitimate Events

    False Attacks on People’s Patriotism or Americanism

    Fearmongering

    Homophobia

    Racism

    Religious Hatred

    Sexism

    See the full archive

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    Feb 27

    The Facts for 2/27

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    Feb 26

    The Facts for 2/26

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    Feb 26

    The Politics of Hate for 2/26

    2008 was a rough election. Not just in that it was so long and so close, but that it was loaded with hate and hate-filled attacks on people based on their race, patriotism, gender or other things. Few, if any, of these attacks had any legitimacy or were based upon anything remotely like evidence. Conservatives recognize that this happened, but they say it was done equally by both sides. Complete nonsense, this was an overwhelmingly one-sided affair. Since the election, things have gotten significantly worse, as the Republican party has devolved into the party of hate. These posts will catalog the hate-filled rhetoric of the Republican Party and its conservative allies on a daily basis.

    Comparison of Liberals or Democrats to Bad Guys

    Defense of Bad Guys

    False Attacks on People’s Patriotism or Americanism

    Fearmongering

    Homophobia

    Racism

    Religious Hatred

    Sexism

    Violence or Threats of Violence

    See the full archive

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    Feb 25

    Changes

    Okay, I know this blog has become dormant, but I’m about to change that. From this point, it’ll be an aggregator for several key issues that I think are of vital importance–dispelling the myth of false equivalence between left and right, and showing that the supporters of right-wing issues are extremists who are engaged in hate speech and activity at a level unprecedented since the civil rights movement. Expect a daily round-up of links to stories on these issues. The last one, which will be in a separate round-up will involve setting the story straight and giving the facts about specific political issues. That is all.

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    May 14

    Nope You’re Stupid

    Two of the biggest things that bother me are people who say that the two parties (or worse when they say the two ideologies) are the same and engage in the same practices and politics AND the idea that people, particularly the media, treat people on the right who are insane as if they were serious people. Towards rectifying those misconceptions, I’m going to post a daily quote/action/etc. (on Facebook) from a mainstream conservative (no Fred Phelps’ here) who says something ridiculously inaccurate/hateful/wrong. I challenge any Republicans or Independents who think the things I’m arguing against up there to try to keep up with me. I will literally have no problem ever finding something from a mainstream conservative to post every day. So, by mainstream, I mean an elected official, a major member of the Republican party, or a media professional (or regular guest) who appears on television, non public-access radio or on the Internet in a big enough forum that they would have a similar audience size to television and radio. So these aren’t the kooks. These are the people driving opinion, politics and policy on the right. And to reinforce that the media shouldn’t be taking these people seriously, I will offer no further comment than a simple “Nope, you’re stupid.” These things aren’t worth further responses than that, they’re saying things that are crazy and/or evil.

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    May 10

    Your Handy Guide To -Isms (Racism, Sexism, etc.)

    So on a daily basis, I find myself interacting with people (mostly on Facebook) who don’t understand racism, sexism, homophobia and other similar concepts. They aren’t really that difficult to understand, I don’t think, but I’ve made it a career choice and a personal interest to understand people who are different from me and the history that has led to the present state of discrimination, prejudice and negativity that affects those groups. I know not everyone has the time to minor in women’s studies or learn the material sufficient to teach black history classes like I did, so I’m going to give you a handy guide to how to avoid being racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and other things that you might want to avoid being if you want to have a productive life in a modern society.

    So here you go, if you do any of these things below in connection with your interactions with or discussion of a particular group of people based on their demographic characteristics (race, gender, age, religion, sexual identity, ethnicity, national origin, etc.), then you are entering into territory where you are being offensive and morally wrong. This doesn’t make you a racist, sexist, etc., automatically, but it does push you in that direction and you should examine your actions, words, etc.

    1. Directing physical or emotional harm or wishing harm upon the group

    2. Saying or acting as if you hate, dislike or fear the group

    3. Denying rights to members of the group

    4. Refusing to hire, associate with or otherwise interact with members of the group, including segregating the group in society

    5. Opposing government programs that disproportionately help a group that faces a history or present marked by discrimination or mistreatment

    6. Treating members of the group differently than you treat members of your group

    7. Treating everyone in the group the same–even if the treatment is positive

    8. Saying you know better than the group does what is happening to them or what is best for them

    9. Denying real-life experiences or statistically-proven challenges that the group disproportionately faces

    10. Use of language that is derogatory towards the group, even if you don’t agree that it is derogatory or that you didn’t know was derogatory

    11. Ignorance of the history, challenges, language and culture that causes the group problems

    12. Being blind to the differences between the group and other groups

    13. Stating that your group faces the same problems as a group that statistically faces more of the problem or more intense versions of the problem

    14. Telling members of the group that they shouldn’t be “sensitive” about problems that they face

    15. Using the term “politically correct” (or some variation) to dismiss complaints from the group about discrimination or prejudice directed at them

    16. Use of words that specifically or through implication imply that the group is inferior or disfavored

    17. Failure to include members of the group in your media portrayals (unless warranted), focus groups, advertising targets, voter outreach, etc.

    This list is probably not complete and I’m more than open to suggestions of things to add to it. Contact me on Facebook or at quinnelk@hotmail.com for additions or leave them in comments.

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    Apr 26

    Jennifer Rubin Is Disqualified

    Our first source to be disqualified is Jennifer Rubin, who writes a column for the Washington Post. She is not particularly secretive about being a conservative, but, more importantly, she’s really bad at her job. I will never accept her as a source on anything. Here are the 10 examples of violation of the source rules:

    1. Lies: “Rubin invented the idea that State Department personnel in Washington, D.C., watched real-time video of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, a claim later debunked by Washington Post media writer Erik Wemple.”

    2. Lies: “Rubin claimed in September 2012 that President Obama had not released a corporate tax plan. Obama released his corporate tax plan in February of that year, and Rubin criticized it at the time.”

    3. Lies: “Rubin lied about President Obama’s remarks in the Rose Garden the day after the Benghazi attack, saying the president did not use the term ‘acts of terror’ in ‘the same paragraph with Benghazi.’ Obama’s next sentence after saying ‘acts of terror’ was about the four Americans killed in the attack.”

    4. Hypocrisy: “Rubin wrote that the Tax Policy Center’s critique of Mitt Romney’s tax plan couldn’t be trusted because the group is “left-leaning” and “very partisan.” Ten months earlier she’d hyped the group as “independent” when it critiqued one of Romney’s primary opponents.”

    5. Lies: Rubin claimed that the 2009 stimulus package contained no funding for ‘shovel-ready defense jobs.’ The stimulus allocated several billion dollars for military ‘construction’ projects and ‘operations and maintenance.’

    6. Lies: “She invented criticisms of Obama’s second-term Cabinet nominees.”

    7. Hypocrisy: “She alternated between describing Romney’s tax proposals as highly detailed and lacking detail, depending on which would better allow her to flack for them.”

    8. Lies: “During the campaign she railed against Obama for not having an immigration plan: ‘Where is Obama’s solution?’ That plan was readily available on the White House website.”

    9. Lies: She “fabricated the existence of a real-time video feed of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.”

    10. Lies: “She falsely wrote that the Obama White House had conspired to shield the New Black Panther Party, a buffoonish black separatist group, from being brought up on voter intimidation charges during the 2008 election.”

    Keep in mind, this was all found in a one-minute search on Rubin’s name. She has many, many other examples that could be included here as to why she is not a valid source.

    I also want to take a closer look at one of her recent columns that is a really, really bad attempt at anything related to the word “journalism.” It’s basically a love letter to George W. Bush and it is very, very wrong. Renaissance man:

    One of the favorite, entirely false nostrums of the left was that President George W. Bush was an ignorant rube. In fact, he was and is a voracious reader.

    I know a lot of people who joked about this, but there is little to no evidence this was one of the “favorite” nostrums of the left, but that’s nether here nor there. The logic of the two sentences here is terrible. One can easily be a reader and still be ignorant. If all you read, say, was TMZ and Us Magazine, chances are ignorant would be a great word to describe you. Also, the idea that “Bush is ignorant” is an “entirely false” notion is a ridiculous claim. Watch this video. At a minimum, this compilation, which only touches the surface, shows that Bush had a real ignorance of the English language and/or public speaking. Possibly of basic facts as well. Rubin said that the ignorance claim was “entirely false.” “Entirely” means 100%. Even if this were the only evidence of Bush being less than perfectly smart (which is far from the case), this would be enough to invalidate her claim.

    And unlike the current Oval Office inhabitant, Bush has an essential humility that never changed. ( “Look, the signature is more valuable than the painting.”)

    Not only is there literally nothing to back up her claim that Bush shows humility and Obama shows arrogant, these talking points come directly from conservative media and fly in the face of known evidence about both men.

    Media elites are cultural snobs, but they are narrow-minded and to a large degree prejudiced. They mock, even now, his accent.

    First off, Rubin is a media elite. Second off, there is no evidence to back up the claim that media elites are “cultural snobs,” “narrow-minded” or “prejudiced.” She’s completely making all of these claims up. Bush’s accent wasn’t mocked out of “elitism,” it was mocked for the fact that his accent was adopted in order to make him seem more “folksy,” he was born in Connecticut and grew up there and went to Ivy League schools. He also uses a lot of words that don’t exist or messes them up, so much show that there’s a massive website devoted to it.

    They roll their eyes at his sincere expressions of faith. (Recall when he said Jesus was his favorite philosopher.)

    Not in the slightest. We don’t believe it’s sincere and his expressions of faith seem shallow and totally calculated to win votes. For one, his policies were highly inconsistent with the teachings of his self-professed favorite philosopher. Also, his knowledge of religious topics (as noted by Al Franken) falls far short of his professions of faith. If the media believed him, they wouldn’t roll their eyes.

    They can’t quite get their minds around the notion that Bush gobbles up history books. Yet they are taken in by the pose of intellectualism by a president who continually mangles history and whose worldview and economic views are straight out of discredited leftist scripts.

    No, we understand that he reads history books. But, based on his words and policies, we aren’t sure that he understands them. The most important basic thing to know about the Middle East is that there are different strains of Islam that have conflict with each other. When he was preparing the invasion of Iraq, Bush didn’t seem to know this basic fact, something that any reading of relevant history books would point out in the very beginning. And nothing in Rubin’s commentary here about Obama is valid. Where are there examples of Obama mangling history? I’m not aware of any. And his economic views (as noted by authors like Bob Kuttner) are most decidedly NOT leftist. Leftist economics does not focus on deficit reduction in time of slow growth. Most leftist economists think that is crazy. We could go on and on, but the area that Obama is MOST conservative is his economics.

    The media’s off-kilter assessment is in large part the bias of cultural familiarity: People who sound like them, went to top schools and hold their beliefs are sophisticates. Pomposity is confused with wisdom. Directness is misdiagnosed as simplistic.

    Except that the aforementioned George W. Bush went to those same top schools. So how is that the media hates people who didn’t go to elite schools and they hate Bush who went to those elite schools. And none of us confuse “pomposity” with wisdom. We do, however, frequently confuse higher education with wisdom. We particularly think that people who have higher levels of education know more than people who don’t. We think this because it’s a basic fact of life. And we don’t think directness is simplistic, we don’t think people like Rubin or Bush are direct at all. We think they lie a lot. And we think that their outlook on the world is simplistic because it is (“you’re either with us or you’re against us” is a logical fallacy, the either/or fallacy to be specific).

    Political karma is quite rich. In his retirement Bush is now well regarded for his artistic sensibility.

    Really? By whom? Name one person who isn’t a fan of Bush’s politics that is a fan of his “artistic sensibility.” Again, I’m guessing Rubin just made this one up.

    If the media were more honest they might even concede he is deep and philosophical.

    We’d concede this if there were any evidence of it. I’ve seen none.

    Well, he certainly is more intellectually curious and endearing than the current president.

    Similarly, no evidence exists that I am aware of that even remotely suggests that Bush is more intellectually curious than Obama. This is ad hominem attack piled upon uninformed hero worship on Rubin’s part. She doesn’t even attempt to back this up with facts, she just asserts it. That’s not something anyone who is a journalist should ever do, especially a journalist who works for the Washington Post.

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    Apr 26

    Sources

    One of the key things that Political Moneyball will be doing is examining and testing the reliability of sources.  Obviously, most of us don’t have the ability to gather information for ourselves, so we rely upon others to do that for us.  There is a tendency for people to look for sources that agree with their pre-conceived notions and ideology and not adhere to any basic principles of what is a valid source.  I will attempt to remedy this.  First up is a list of principles for what makes a good source or a bad one.  The principles here are, obviously, up for debate, but you’ll have to make a strong argument to get me to change one of these.  Later, I will start examining specific sources to determine if sources are reliable or not and I will track which sources are bad from here forward.

    But first, general principles of good and bad sources:

    1. Scientific sources are better than journalistic sources.  Journalistic sources are better than non-journalistic sources.  All other things being equal, that is.

    2. All sources should show their sources.

    3. Footnotes along do not make a source valid or scientific.  They have to be used properly and not, as Ann Coulter uses them, to obscure the truth.

    4. Experts actually do know more about topics than non-experts and that should count for something.  It is also not the be-all, end-all of the discussion, as experts are humans and make mistakes, too.  Experts have to prove their point, too.

    5. Ideology alone does not invalidate a source.  The source has to lie, distort, or somehow otherwise obscure the truth because of the ideology the hold.  The fact that they did this can’t be assumed, it has to be proven.

    6. Potential bias does not equal actual bias.  You can’t just say a source is biased and reject it, you have to use evidence to establish said bias influenced the source to be inaccurate or dishonest.

    7. Out-of-date sources are invalid if it is obvious that newer data is different than the referenced data.

    8. If you make a claim on my blog or my social media, the burden of proof is on you to back it up, not for me to disprove it.  No exceptions.  If you want further sourcing on something I say, ask me, without insults or pre-rejecting what I say.

    9. Wikipedia isn’t acceptable.  Nor is any encyclopedia, almanac or the like.

    10. Words have meanings and they will be adhered to based on common dictionary definitions, not your own personal definition.

    11. Attacking a source as invalid is not acceptable unless you prove that they are wrong.  An attempt to prove something is wrong doesn’t mean you were successful.  You actually have to convince me in the context of this list and the Principles list.

    12. Bad sources will be ignored and deleted.

    13. I don’t care if you think your source is valid or awesome or whatever.  My blog, my social media, my conversation.  Follow the source guidelines or don’t waste your time, your comments will be deleted.

    Like I said, I will start evaluating sources here, particularly bad sources.  If I discover that a source, on more than one occasion, has violated the below principles more than 10 times, I will label them a bad source and will never accept them as evidence for any claim.  An organization who has at least three different people make a combined total of 20 or more violations will get the same label.  Here are the principles that make me distrust a source and will make me label it as a bad source:

    a. Lies: Deliberately saying something that is false.  I will consider it a deliberate lie if someone says something that has been widely reported as false (i.e. Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction at the time we invaded Iraq).

    b. Bad logic: I’ll write more about logic later, but there is a pretty clear system that exists for using logic to build arguments.  Violating those rules is not legit unless you prove that the rule itself is invalid.  (i.e. The Boston bombers were Muslims, so all Muslims are terrorists).

    c. Insults: Reporting news and providing opinions on the news is not a realm where insults are helpful or appropriate.  I use the word “insult” very broadly.  Whenever your comments are about the person and not about what they have said or done, your comments probably constitute an insult. (i.e. Barack Obama is a nazi, or You have no idea what you are talking about).

    d. Hate speech: Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and the like are not things said by serious people (i.e. fag, bitch, illegal immigrant, macaca).

    e. Conflict of interest: While an apparent bias is not alone sufficient to disqualify a source, quid-pro quo arguments are.  If a source says that “oil is awesome” and they are fully funded by the oil industry, that will count as a violation of the good source guidelines.

    f. Frequent citation of disqualified sources: A source that bases its conclusions and evidence on bad sources will be cited as being a bad source.

    g. Hypocrisy: Sources that are hypocritical and make varying claims not based on evidence, but based on ideology and party will also be labeled bad sources.  (i.e. someone criticizes Obama for something they said was okay when Bush did a similar thing).

    Like I said before, this list is open to discussion and reform, but this is where we are at the start of this conversation…

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    Apr 25

    Principles

    In order to start from a place of clear understanding before I delve more into the lack of knowledge and understanding of logic and science that I mentioned in the previous post, I wanted to get a few assumptions out of the way that I will be constantly using in my posts on this and related topics.  Theoretically, these are up for debate, but only in the context of this post, not in the context of day-to-day posts that are not about these topics.

    1. Objective truth exists.

    2. We may not be able to fully understand it, but the more facts we gather, the closer we can get.

    3. Any claims I make are up for debate, but if they are factual claims, only scientifically-valid research that says they are false will be accepted.  Your belief that something is true or not true is irrelevant.

    4. Logic works and will be adhered to.

    5. The scientific method works and will be adhered to as much as possible.

    6. Ideology and morality are relative.

    7. Facts are not.

    8. Accuracy and truth are important, “balance” is not.  Something is either true or it isn’t (or we don’t know), both sides cannot have their own opinion about a fact.

    9. Saying something is true or not true does not make that thing true or not true, no matter how often or how strongly you say it.  If you make a claim and I refute it with evidence, only evidence will suffice as a response.  I will delete comments that violate this principle or get into circular arguments where you are repeating yourself.

    10. Journalism, while more valid than the average person on the street’s word or ideas, is not science and cannot substitute for science.  That being said, journalists from non-partisan/non-ideological sources will be given the benefit of the doubt that what they are saying is accurate unless they have been proven to be dishonest or incompetent or what they are saying clearly flies in the face of available evidence.

    11. There are no universals, no situations of “all or nothing,” and no factual litmus tests.

    12. Strategy does not equal ideology.

    13. Hearsay is not valid.

    14. Motives are internal things that are hidden and are difficult to discover.  I have no interest in discussing why you think someone did something unless you have clear evidence for that claim.  I’m not interested in your speculation.

    15. Insults, of any kind, implied or direct, are forbidden and will be deleted.

    16. Sources matter.  More on this in the next post.

    17. These rules are open to changes or additions, based on evidence and/or valid logic.

    18. If you can’t abide by these principles, then move along, you are in the wrong place.

    19. You do not have the right to free speech on my blog or social media networks.  I will delete comments that do not add to the discussion or are offensive.  Multiple violations will lead to people being blocked.

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    Apr 25

    Update

    This blog is not dead, was just on hiatus. Announcing the new direction I’ll be going in for now.

    It seems that the majority of the people (on and off Facebook) need some serious coursework in logic, evaluating evidence, coming to conclusions, and making arguments. That and how to evaluate sources, a basic understanding of constitutional law, and a significant study of history. If only there were a system in place to accomplish this. And if only that system were immune to manipulation by conservatives, businesses, extreme religious influences and the like. Since we don’t have that, I guess I’ll have to do it.

    So I will. Starting now.

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    Dec 21

    Understanding the Real World

    Just a quick note:

    We don’t have to guess as to whether or not most things will work in the real world. The world isn’t nearly as mysterious as people think. We can look into things like “more guns make people safer,” and find, though research of the real world using the scientific method, what the answer is. And the answer is clearly “no,” but people who have already chosen guns, like any other humans, hate to be wrong, and so they defend their pre-chosen position against all facts and logic to the contrary. I was relatively pro-gun when I was younger. Then I learned the facts. I’m not pro-gun anymore.

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    Dec 06

    Critical Thinking Reading List

    In order to get to where I am in terms of my thinking process when it comes to politics and science and the like, I’ve read a ton of things over the years. I am hardcore when it comes to making sure that when someone says something, that it be factually accurate and logically sound. Below is a list of the key books that I read along the way that got me to where I am.

    Critical Thinking

    • Curses! Broiled Again! (1989) – Jan Harold Brunvand
    • Did Adam and Eve Have Navels? (2000) – Martin Gardner
    • Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate (2004) – George Lakoff
    • Evolution and the Myth of Creationism (1990) – Tim M. Berra
    • How We Believe (2000) – Michael Shermer
    • I Love Paul Revere, Whether He Rode or Not – Richard Shenkman (1991)
    • Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of American History – Richard Shenkman (1988)
    • Lies My Teacher Told Me – James W. Loewen (1995)
    • Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric, Seventh Edition (1995) – Howard Kahane
    • The Baby Train and Other Lusty Urban Legends – Jan Harold Brunvand (1993)
    • The Borderlands of Science (2001) – Michael Shermer
    • The Choking Doberman and Other “New” Urban Legends (1984) – Jan Harold Brunvand
    • The Demon-Haunted World (1996) – Carl Sagan
    • Thinking Points (2006) – George Lakoff
    • Voodoo Science (2000) – Robert L. Park
    • Why People Believe Weird Things (1997) – Michael Shermer

    Philosophy

    • Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do (1996) – Peter McWilliams
    • Brain Droppings (1997) – George Carlin
    • How Democratic Is the American Constitution, Second Edition (2003) – Robert A. Dahl
    • Political Control of the Economy – Edward R. Tufte (1978)
    • Politics and Markets – Charles E. Lindblom (1977)
    • Politics and the Bureacracy – Kenneth J. Meier (2000)
    • The Dark Side of Christian History (1995) – Helen Ellerbe
    • The Politics of Sin (1994) – Kenneth J. Meier
    • The Semisovereign People – E.E. Schattschneider (1975)
    • The Sometime Connection – Elaine B. Sharp (1999)
    • Understanding the Constitution (1994) – J.W. Peltason & Edward Samuel Corwin

    Ideology and Party

    • 449 Stupid Things Republicans Have Said (2004) – Ted Rueter
    • Big Lies (2003) – Joe Conason
    • Decline of American Political Parties 1952-1996 – Martin P. Wattenberg (1998)
    • Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them (2003) – Al Franken
    • Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot (1996) – Al Franken
    • Secrets, Lies and Democracy – Noam Chomsky & David Barsamian (1994)
    • Stupid White Men…and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation! (2002) – Michael Moore
    • Take Them At Their Words (2004) – Bruce J. Miller and Diana Maio
    • Tell Newt To Shut Up – David Maraniss & Michael Weisskopf (1996)
    • The Common Good (1998) – Noam Chomsky & David Barsamian
    • The Emerging Democratic Majority (2002) – by John B. Judis & Ruy Teixeira
    • The Rants (1996) – Dennis Miller
    • The Truth (With Jokes) (2005) – Al Franken
    • Up From Conservatism – Michael Lind (1996)
    • Wait! Don’t Move To Canada! (2006) – Bill Scher
    • We’re Right, They’re Wrong – James Carville (1996)

    Issue-Specific

    • 50 Facts That Should Change the World (2004) – Jessica Williams
    • Acts of Aggression (1999) – Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark & Edward W. Said
    • Downsize This (1996) – Michael Moore
    • Drugs In American Society, Sixth Edition (2005) – Erich Goode
    • Fast Food Nation (2002) – Eric Schlosser
    • Take the Rich Off Welfare (1996) – Mark Zepezauer & Arthur Naiman
    • The Government Racket – Martin L. Gross (1992)
    • The Political Racket – Martin L. Gross (1996)
    • The Politics of Gun Control – Robert J. Spitzer (1995)
    • The Umbrella of U.S. Power (1999) – Noam Chomsky
    • The War On the Poor: A Defense Manual – Randy Albelda, Nancy Folbre (1996)
    • Understanding Politics: Ideas, Institutions and Issues, Fifth Edition (1999) – Thomas M. Magstadt & Peter M. Schotten
    • Why Marijuana Should Be Legal – Ed Rosenthal & Steve Kubby (1996)

    Media

    • It’s the Media, Stupid (2000) – John Nichols & Robert W. McChesney
    • Mediaspeak (1983) – Donna Woolfolk Cross
    • The Way Things Aren’t: Rush Limbaugh’s Reign of Error (1995) – FAIR
    • Virtuous Reality – Jon Katz (1997)
    • What Liberal Media? (2002) – Eric Alterman

     

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