Monthly Archives: January 2020

Understanding a Golf Cheat

Donald Trump Golfing

Knowing that Donald J. Trump is a well known and notorious cheat at the game of golf can help us understand just what can happen once he is not convicted by the Senate. As I have said in an earlier post here golf is one of the easiest, if not the easiest, game to cheat at. I shan’t go into the details here. Here I will address one of the questions I have been hearing, time after time, in the Senate Trial. Even if Pres. Trump did everything he is accused of why shouldn’t we leave it up to the voters in November?

The simple answer is that it is a total certainty that he will CHEAT. He will cheat where he has to and he will cheat where he doesn’t have to. This is what people who cheat at golf do. Why do they do this? I can really answer as I’m not a psychologist but I do have one or two ideas. First and foremost it is just an exercise in power. They are saying “See, I can do it and you can’t. See how powerless you are? You won’t even try to keep me from cheating. Your my bitch.” Another reason is I think they don’t know how to not cheat. It is so ingrained in their character they default to cheating.

I closing don’t get depressed. It is not inevitable that Pres. Trump is going to win re-election come November. Even though we know he is going to be cheating. We have 50 state governments who actually run the election. An even though many of them are run in Toto by the Republicans not all, I dare say even a majority, are so corrupt that they will be willing to go along with his cheating schemes to win the election. Also Trump and his MAGA maybe a majority of the elected GOP they are not a majority of the electorate. An one way to keep the cheating from mattering is to get out the largest vote, in both numbers and percentage of the electorate, ever seen in the history of the Republic.

The Age of Newspeak

Big Broghrt

One of the mistakes made by people who read George Orwell’s 1984 is that he was just righting about the threat of Soviet Communism. He wasn’t. 1984 was published in 1948 and this numeric relationship is not unintentional. George Orwell was a Socialist but a rabbit anti Communist. He also knew how people will use words to hide what they really mean. That is why NewSpeak is so important. That is why Oceania and EngSoc bear so little resemblance to any kind of Socialist state. When looked at closely Oceania looks more like a National Socialist sate (that is Nazi Germany) or a Stalinist Communist state. An just what does this have to do with NewSpeak? Just this.

Both states used what Orwell called Newspeak to the maximum extent possible. When I was studying Russian in the late 70’s my Russian teacher told the class a Russian saying. “There is no truth in News and no news in Truth”. The two major newspapers in the USSR were Pravda (the Truth) and Izvestia (News). It is quite telling when the two major sources of information are so characterize. The same could be said about all of the news sources coming out of the Nazi Germany although the Nazi’s were content with just seating up a ministry of Propaganda. In both cases it was up to the individual to understand just what the ‘leaders’ were actually saying and what should be done. That is the leaders were speaking using ‘code’ words.

This kind of speaking by leaders, or anyone for that mater is not new, it has been going on ever sense humans started to speak. It is quit often used by leaders to get someone to do something while giving the leader ‘plausible denial’ if it what is done comes to like. What’s new now is the general acceptance in the United States of the use of NewSpeak not just occasionally, but every day. Not just by some of our leaders, our mover & shakers, or anyone who want’s to influence the populous. It has gotten so bad it is both blatant and obvious to even the most casual observer.

For me, as an Amateur Historian, it reminds me more of the situation in the USA in the 1850’s. Every movement, religious, political, or what not, had it’s own newspaper. None of these newspapers even attempted to pretend any kind of objectivity but they often did speak in code words. Some of the code words were old, like “Peculiar Institution” for Slavery. Or “Manifest Destiny” for stealing Indian lands. But unlike today they were not hypocritical about their bias, they openly admitted it. Now we don’t.

I think this is a hold over from the dawn of electronic mss communication with the advent of Radio. (Interesting point it still has not been 100 years since the first commercial radio station went on the air.). At this same time a new ideal was taken hold in news reporting. The idea of objectivity. This was a very radical idea and was fought tough an nail for many years. It seems to have lost. Starting with the end of the ‘Fairness Doctrine” for Radio/TV in the Reagan administration the idea of objective reporting as been disappearing. The ideal still exists but it is in the ICU in the age of the internet. We need to do something NOW to resurrect it.

This is not impossible. What we need is one or more of our Techno-Genus’s to start working on a way to quickly, effortlessly, and reliably fact check what we see on the interned and in Social Media. I propose this effort start with some way to identify the “point of origin” of any and all posting. Next is a way to block on any social media postings from a source. Next we need a way of identifying just who is who. I mean do you really know just who is funding and/or running “the Good Guys Group”? Right now you may not even find out that they are a corporate entity based somewhere in the Federated States of Micronesia, on an island with a listed population of 0 (zero).

None of this is anymore impossible than what we take for granted today. Look around you, every person you see walking around you with a Cell Phone is walking around with a portable computer more powerful than ALL of the computers used to land men on the moon 50 years ago. Almost none of the software running on you cell phone was even dreamed of 50 years ago, some wasn’t even an idea 10 years ago. So what you and I need to do is start asking for, no demanding, technology that will take away the Antonymy of people who post on the internet and Social Media. It looked like a good idea, but it wasn’t.

Orange KoolAid IV

Orange Koolaid

After it is all over.

While we are only three days into the Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump I think it is time to start thinking about were we, as a nation, will be when it is over. This is going to be more questions that answers so Please jump in with an answers you have.

My first question is just how is the GOP going to convince most Americans that our elections are open, fair, and honest. That is, how can we trust our elections to really be the will of the people? Why didn’t I include the Democrats? It is because it is the Republicans who are being shown to not be willing to do anything to prevent foreign intervention. It is the GOP who seem to be more concerned with unlawful voters than hacked/stuffed voting systems.

Given the documented (look at Senates own website for all bills passed by the Senate in the current Congress) poor work performance of the GOP controlled Senate? Yes, I know this is wonkie, but I am a bit of a wonk. It is true that the Current Senate has confirmed more federal judges than almost ever before. It is also true that this class of new judges has one of the largest number of person who are considered “Unqualified” to hold the office by their peers.

Given the above, just how will the GOP get the majority of Americans to believe that we are all equal before the law. Be with MAGA, RINO, Democrat or undeclared. If the judge is hearing the case is just a political hack appointed because he/she is “right” on abortion and immigration what faith can we give him/her we will get a hearing?

Given the lackluster effort to even address the issue of incorrect information floating around the internet by the GOP/MAGA what faith can anyone give to any News? Will not the next four years be the age of All News is Fake News if I don’t agree with it? Is there nothing we, as individuals, can do? Is there nothing we techno-geeks do? (More on this soon.)

That’s all for now. I look forward to getting lots of comments with answers to my question. The best will be shared!

Senate in Wonderland

Knave of Harts Trial

Today is the start of the Senate Trial of the Impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States. An the American people have fallen down the rabbit hole into the trial of the Knave of Harts where we have the Verdict first then the trial. I say this because of the trail rules initially proposed by the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last night. With some thought and consideration given to quick mods made just before things got started.

Like Alice I expect most Americans who follow the Trial will be quite perplexed by what they see and hear. First because the Senate method of operations is often arcane in the extreme. This is especially true when many of the Senators are worried about their electorate and just what they will think. It is a grand old Senate tradition obfuscate in hope the people back home will not notice what just happened. The rules for the trial, as they currently stand, go a good way towards this goal. An just like Alice the American people just get to watch and wonder.

I do not envy Senator McConnell the job he is facing. He has to, first, keep Pres. Trump happy/pleased. If he doesn’t there is no telling what Pres. Trump might do but a roaring tirade is not off the table. Next he must insure that Pres. Trump is not only not convicted by 67 votes but that it is done in such away that Pres. Trump can say he was 1) exonerated and 2) found innocent. All the time making the trial look fair and honest. The one thing the GOP does not need is to go into the election year tarred with a trial seen as rigged and/or unfair. When you start a trial with the verdict already decided by the jury it is often quite hard to look fair, even when it is.

I wait with baited breath to see how this plays out.

Orange KoolAid III

Orange Koolaid

This week I had posted on my Facebook page the image seen below.

I could not ask for a better example of the danger facing readers of Facebook. It is a great piece of rhetoric. None of the first five statements are wrong, that is all were made and all were based on some kind of science. All are also not really accurate. The last and final statement is also incorrect, both in it’s assertion that nothing happened and the assertion that there is some relationship with taxes. Let’s look at each statement in turn and see what is being done.

Yes, in the early 1960’s there were projections that all ‘known’ oil reserves would be exhausted. An, yes it was in fact true. All of the oil reserves known before 1960’s are exHausted by the early 1970’s. The key thing is that they were talking about all known oil reserves and it assumes no new sources of oil would be found and that no new oil extraction technologies would be developed. Finally I have not been able to find a single knowledgeable person in the 1960’s who accepted this idea. Indeed, in the early 70’s I heard this being said as a justification for more oil exploration. (BTW: I was working with my Dad’s oil exploration company at the time.)

In the 1970’s there were people sayings and papers being published predicting a coming ice age. Unfortunately a great many more people saying and papers were being published talking about the global warming. One of the problems with science is you can always find people exposing theories that go against the accepted view. What is worse, sometimes these people are right. That is why science has ‘pier’ reviews of all papers and every theory is, or should be, carefully and completely look at.

In the 1980’s, just like now, acidic rain, or acid rain, is being talked about and some people are making dire predictions. (See above about theories) The difference between now and then is that then it was sulfur oxides not carbon oxides that was the worry. The burning of coal burns some sulfur creating two oxides. Both sulfur dioxide (SO2) and sulfur trioxide (SO3). The first makes the weak acid Sulfurous acid (H2SO3) and the other Sulfuric acid (H2SO4). It was soon seen that it was sulfurous acid that was being made, but sulfuric acid was present in significant amounts. In any case the changing of the pH of the rain would and does have a significant effect on crops. (Please note that there are a great many compounds created by burning hydrocarbons such as CO, CO2, NO2, and NO3 to name a few.) Al that said, we did do something, we developed technology to ‘scrub’ (precipitate) the sulfur oxides out of the smoke of coal (and any other high sulfur content hydrocarbons).

In the 1990s, actually even before, the depletion of the Ozone Lay was becoming a concern. The connection with the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)and the depletion was soon shown in many scientific papers, an yes, there were papers challenging this (see about). The chemical reaction(s) between CFCs has been shown in the lab many times. This is not odd as ozone is quite reactive chemical. Once the world stoped using chlorofluorocarbons the ozone lay has been recovering (it’s still not back to where is was when it was first discovered but it is not getting weaker.)

Finally, yes there are ‘doom’ sayers out there who have published paper’s projecting the total melting of the two icecaps by 2010. Once again these papers were outliers, often based on either poor data and/or poor analysis. The vast majority of the work done is talking about the loss of the two ice caps with in 50-100 years BUT this is all based on incomplete data.

So what does this show us? First that it is true that the statements were made. Next all were incorrect. Most just citing outlier science and two forgetting to note that action was taken to prevent it from happening. It is the last and final statement that is wrong on all counts. That ‘None of this Happened’ is a true statement but implies all were taken seriously and that nothing was done. The second part is more insidious, it implies a connection between the earlier statements and taxes. With out any demonstration of causality. It is a classic use of correlation without causality. Using this same reasoning we should ban ice cream as it has been shown for over a century now that when there is a rise in the sale of ice cream there is a corresponding rise in Homicides. (This last is based on the classic example used in intro to statistics on correlation and causality.)

So beware, what ever the side you are on, of postings like this one. I would recommend if you see something like this that are tempted to say “Yes! Exactly right!” To take a step back and ask your self “What are they Selling?”

The Orange KoolAid II

Orange Koolaid

Well, it looks like the Senate Trial of the Impeachment of Donald John Trump is moving again with the vote to name the House Managers and to send the Impeachment Articles to the Senate scheduled for Tomorrow (15 Jan 2020). I can’t wait to see what will happen in the Senate. While I’ve been reluctant since 2016 to make any predictions in politics I’m going to make some now.

First an easy one: What every happens in the Senate in the coming weeks it is going to be historic. Yeah, I know, it is kind of a given but I don’t mean historic in the since of this being only the third trial of an Impeached President in our history. It is going to be historic because of the actions taken by Majority Leader McConnell. So on to my second prediction.

The use of Republican Newspeak is going to be on display before the general public like never before. Weather you support or oppose Pres. Trump it is very important to pay attention to what is being said and how it is being said. Unlike Pres. Trump and those around him most of the Senators do care about being caught in an out right lie. Especially on camera. Even those Senators in safe states and who aren’t up for re-election for four years from now care. This trial has a very long half-life and everything they say and every vote they cast will be fodder for campaign aids.

Majority Leader McConnell will do everything in his power to minimize the damage done to him and the Republicans in the Senate. An most if not all of his actions will be off camera and out of sight. Yes, I know there will be no way to check this for years to come but I like making it anyway.

My last prediction: No mater the outcome of the Trial every Senator, Republican or Democrat is going to have unholy hell rain down on them from Trump and his people. An not just the people in the US, I’m including in this everyone he, Trump, can convince to take action. This is because Donald J Trump is know not only for being a Golf Cheat, and lier, he is also know for someone who seeks retribution on any and everyone who he thinks wronged him. He even brags about it.

So that’s my predictions.

May you live in interesting times.

An people in high places know your name.

We’re not Visigoths

Visigoths Sack Rome

With his Terrible Tweets this weekend threatening to target historical and cultural sites in Iran President Donald J. Trump has shown just what kind of deplorable person he is. I use the word ‘deplorable’ here advisedly. Anyone who wants to take exception and say I shouldn’t call them deplorable, in most case I am not. I am, thought, calling Donald J. Trump a Deplorable person and disavowing this kind of action.

Unlink the people in history like the Huns, Vandals, or Goths who were, in fact, uncivilized barbarians, we, Americans, are not. We do not have the excuse of not reconnecting just what we would be destroying if we do target such sites. These historical/cultural places are not just Iranian, they belong to all the people of the word. An while people like Pres. Trump can not understand this, these sites can not be monetized. They are, literally beyond price. To be responsible for any kind of damage to them is horrible. To do it deliberately is a true crime against humanity.

So lets not forget that the United States has said it would not, not ever, deliberately harm, in any way historical/cultural sites, EVER. That we, the Unites States call out any action that would deliberately target, much less damage, historical/cultural sites as a “War Crime”. Yes, we have done it in the past, and every time we have had to pay a price in reputation much higher than anything we gained in doing it. It is time for the People of the United States to remember just who we are and what we stand for. We must face the question “Are we Americans or are we Vandals?”

In closing I will state this very clearly. Any one, American or not, who supports President Trump in targeting any Historical/Cultural site is just as responsible and just as Deplorable as he is.