Tag Archives: fake news

Facebook Follies

I live in the country in western New York about 5 miles from a small town. There has been some controversy over the Facebook pages for this town. It got so bad that the mayor and others set up a new Facebook page.

What seems to happen on Facebook is that people get progressively ruder and ruder. Folks who would give you the shirt off their backs turn into folks who would shoot you in the back. People who would gladly buy you a drink turn into folks who would poison your coffee. Now why is that?

As in all things, I have my theories. Not original by any means.

One idea is the fact that Facebook is largely anonymous. But that’s not really the case here. Most folks use their real names (I think). I use mine. So, anonymity cannot be the reason.

Another idea is that communication is much more than words. But Facebook, except for the lame emojis, is all words. Words. And not spoken words, but written words. Now, psychologists will tell us that 70-93% of all communication is “non-verbal”. That is, body language. Voice inflection. What a person looks like. Tone of voice. Etc. (Although that number has been challenged as too high by some researchers).

So, if that is true it would mean that the written word is only 30% of what is being communicated. The rest you have to figure out. This may be where the problem rests.

My friends know that I tend to be sarcastic (Tend?) So, when I SPEAK my tone will tell them that. Even when I write my blog or posts people who know me know that I may be ironic or intentionally dramatic. Hyperbolic. Not totally serious. But, someone who only reads the words I write may come away with an entirely different perception. They don’t get the humor. No subtlety.

I mean, just today someone responded to one of my rather feeble attempts at sarcastic humor by calling me (or I should say, “writing to me”) a “fu…ing idiot.”

To be clear. I am not now, nor ever have, claimed I am NOT a “fu…ing idiot.” I could very well be a “fu…ing idiot.” God knows, if you took a poll of the people who know me best, the results may be conclusive in a way that I would not prefer. But whether I am or am not a “fu….ing idiot” is not the point.

The point is that IN PERSON I doubt that anyone would call me a “fu…ing idiot” right to my face. At least not until they got to know me. On Facebook and other discussion sites people often make assumptions beyond the words. And base their responses on preconceived notions, based on , well, “baseless” assumptions.

I will be the first to admit that I am not immune. As a liberal who believes in the necessity of social programs I have a particular point of view. I start from a place based on my own life experiences and analysis of the systems within which we live. I try to use research and information from good sources.

For example, when I worked as a poll watcher I worked with Republicans. We have very different ideas about government, society and the role of government in that society. Yet, we were able to be pleasant, even joking, with each other for a day at the polls. As human beings, face to face, we did not devolve into name-calling “fu…ing idiots”.

Yet, when I get on some of these posts I morph . Dr Jeckel and Mr Hyde. Or is it Heckel and Jeckel? I confuse the two. Reading someone else’s post can immediately put me into antagonistic mode. Arguments ensue. When that happens I notice that each side tries to cherry-pick a point or two that they see as the weakness in the other’s position. A little information is a dangerous thing. Taking a word or brief quote or statistic out of context can be a sword, but not a very useful one. Unless the only goal is to stab.

And that sometimes devolves into insults, open or veiled. Now, I don’t mind if someone IMPLIES that I am stupid. Or uninformed. As long as they can demonstrate they have evidence from a legitimate source to educate me. And as long as they are open to my evidence to the contrary.

This is where a breakdown occurs. A matter of sources. When people are getting their “information” from biased or questionable sources it means communication of other viewpoints becomes near impossible. I admit my main sources of information are the old stand bys. The New York Times. The Washington Post. The New Yorker. The Atlantic. Why these? Because all these sources have strong reputations for properly vetting information before they print it. That doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes. But it means that as sources go you can be assured that there was no rush to print. And you can assume multiple sources for stories.

I had an online argument with a lady who simply said that she would not read the New York Times since they were not trustworthy. OK. Then we really can’t talk, because there is no common ground of evidence to discuss. (I want to make a distinction between the NY Times news and the NY Times EDITORIAL board. The editorial board tends to be liberal, no doubt. But the editorial board has no influence on the news sections).

So, can we discuss important issues on Facebook in a civil manner? I don’t know. But I do know that Facebook has a handy feature called “blocking”. I have blocked a couple people recently. Not because I disagree with them. Not because I don’t like their ideas. Not because they are always wrong and I am always right. I blocked them because they personally attacked me and one called me a “fu…ing idiot”.

And calling me a “fu…ing idiot” is reserved for family and friends.

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Filed under debates, Democrat, GOP, government, liberals, logic, news, Politics, Republicans, Society, United States

Fake Numbers

News flash:

“A new report claims President Trump and members of his coronavirus task force are pushing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to modify its coronavirus death-toll methodology in a way that could lead to fewer deaths being counted.

The report from The Daily Beast Wednesday cited five anonymous administration officials working on the federal government’s response to the pandemic. The outlet reports Trump has privately questioned the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States, which topped 80,000 this week, and suggested they may be incorrect or inflated by the current methodology. ”

Over the past weeks we see members of the “real news” (right wing ) questioning the reporting of Covid-19 deaths. On one hand, most experts are convinced that the numbers, as reported are low.  Probably a lot more than the 85,000 reported deaths. People have died at home or people died before the the virus deaths were being counted. Nebraska has solved this problem by refusing to release the actual numbers of deaths. A truly Trumpian solution.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/12/nebraska-coronavirus-case-numbers-meatpacking/

But the Trump position is that the numbers of deaths have been inflated. Trump’s political opponents have been using the death numbers to make him look bad. Many of these people who are reported as victims of Covid-19 are actually victims of other illnesses. It’s all a plot !

Based on this new interpretation of data it is time to look at other statistics and see if they have also been misinterpreted by the so-called experts. To investigate this I called my good friend Barney Flopbottom. Barney is a self-educated statistician who has never been tainted by a college education. He does have a degree in Statistical Science from Trump University. It cost him $25,000. But Barney says it was money well spent. Where else can you get a degree without attending a class?

So, I called Barney to discuss the nature of statistical data.

Me: Hi ,Barney, how you doing?

Barney: Well, I have a temperature of 105 and have been coughing up blood for 3 days. But those are just numbers. I’m ok.

Me: So, Barney, you have said in the past that gun death statistics, put out by the federal government, are wrong. Can you explain?

Barney: Well, not only are they wrong, they do not exist. We have no gun deaths in the US.Never did, never will. Same is true of the coronavirus. No one has died form the virus. Zero.

Me: Well, what about the murders of little children at Sandy Hook, or the shootings at Columbine or the Las Vegas shootings?

Barney: What about them? None of these were caused by guns. It is a hoax. A Democratic hoax. A libtard hoax.

Me: Well, we saw pictures of the deaths. We saw the children being murdered. In fact about 30,000-35,000 Americans die each years from gun violence. That means since the terror attacks on 9/11, over 600,000 American men, women and children are now dead because they have been shot with a gun.

Barney: HA! What a bunch of nonsense. Just like the fake numbers of Covid-19 deaths. The fact is , not a single man, woman or child has been killed by a gun or by the virus. It’s all fake news. Put out by people who hate Trump.

Me: Are you saying that 600,000 Americans were not killed by guns? Or 85,000 Americans have not been killed by the virus?

Barney: Exactly. Let me explain. Let’s say you were a 7 year old at Sandy Hook. going to school. Happy to be with your friends and teachers. A sweet little 7 year old. Now, some guy comes in with an AR-15 and shoots a bunch of kids and one or maybe 17 of the bullets hits you. Did the gun kill you? NO Did the bullet kill you? NO. What happens is this. The bullet enters, let’s say, your little beating heart. Now, the heart stops pumping blood so you die. It was the HEART that killed you, not the bullet. Or if the bullet hits your brain it is the brain damage that kills you, not the bullet!

Same with the coronavirus. The virus does not kill anyone. Use grandma as an example. Let’s say the virus enters grandma’s lungs and she stops breathing. It is the ABSENCE of air in the lungs that kills grandma.  So, stop blaming guns and the virus. Stop blaming Trump.

Me: So all the data on coronavirus deaths is wrong?

Barney: Amen. We need to redo all the statistics. Not a single death of the 85,000 has been caused by the virus. The cause of death should be: “Lung disease” or “heart failure” or “unknown” or “act of God”.  It’s all a plot to make Trump look bad. Time for the CDC to put out new, accurate numbers. ZERO.

Me: Well, Barney, I have to admit. It is hard to argue with that type of logic. I guess the numbers are all wrong. So, does this mean, what I think it means? We need to go back and change some of our historical misconceptions? For example, does this mean that the Holocaust deniers are all correct? That the Nazis did not kill 6,000,000 people?

Barney: Yep. Exactly. We need to rewrite the history books. The Nazis did not kill millions of Jews. That is just another example of fake news. It was a lack of food that killed some of them. Starvation. For others it was because they were breathing Zyklon B gas. Lung failure. Others died from exposure to the cold. Hypothermia. Isn’t it time we stopped trying to make Hitler look bad?

https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/longevity/497602-trump-administration-pushing-cdc-to-change-how-it

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Filed under Democrats, Economy, GOP, healthcare, logic, nazi, news, Politics, Society, Trump, Trump University, United States

The Cryin’ Shutdown

We hear from the right wing media and our mentally ill president that the country must “reopen”. The shutdown of the states must end. Based on that we see hair-brained gun toting “patriots” take to the Michigan capital because their “freedoms” have been taken away. We see protests in other states because people are asked to wear masks or do social distancing. Open up America !!

On my planet, called Earth, there has never been a “shutdown”of America. There has been a “Stay at Home Please” order by New York and other states. Stay at home except for essential travel. But not a complete shutdown. Not even close.

You want to see a “shutdown’? I refer you to the Warsaw Ghetto. Or the London blitz. Or the concentration camps of Pol Pot. Those were shutdowns.

Since early March life has changed drastically. But we have never been deprived of essential services. Only the extras. we have never been completely “shutdown” as some might suggest.

We go to Aldis once every couple weeks and stock up on groceries. We wear our masks and Aldis practices social distancing in their store. We buy 2 weeks worth of food and go on our merry way. No shutdown.

This week I had to have my snow tires taken off and summer tires put on my car, along with an oil change.  Made an appointment. Wore my mask, as did MOST, but not all of the dealership personnel. No shutdown.

Next week I am taking another car in for the annual state mandated inspection. No shutdown.

The local grocer is open. As is the liquor store. Garbage pick up continues.  No shutdown.

When we are too lazy to cook Luigis  pizza and the Main Moon restaurants are open for take outs. No shutdown.

Need a prescription filled or some Pepcid AC? The Naples pharmacy is open. No shutdown.

If the weather ever warms up I can golf. As long as I maintain social distancing.  When I golf alone I notice my scores improve. No one to correct memory . No shutdown.

Next month my annual urology appointment with Dr. Joseph is going to be by phone. OK, I admit having a large finger stuck up my ass may be the highlight of my year, but I can do that myself at home. So, nothing missed there. No shutdown.

And even many non-essentials are readily available, delivered efficiently by our Postal Service, which for some reason, the GOP is trying to destroy. No shutdown.

So, what IS shutdown? Nail salons. Tattoo parlors. Seating in restaurants. Bars. Gun shops.  Beaches. And parades. No Memorial Day parades. And sporting events. And visiting relatives in nursing homes.

All essential and many non-essential services are and always have been available.

So, why the whining?  Because I am supposed to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of Covid-19? Because my “freedom” to sit at the end of the bar and drunkenly philosophize about the liberals trying to take away my freedom has been curtailed? Because I can’t add another AR-15 to my collection of manly toys? Because I need a new “Live Free or Die” tattoo?

Much of our economy, it seems, is based on non-essentials. On extras. Toys.

Feed a three year old and she is happy. Wash her. Take care of her and she will be healthy. But take away her favorite toy and she will whine and cry and blubber.

Welcome to the “shutdown” in America. A few children can’t have their toys. WAAAAHHHH.

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Filed under Economy, entertainment, GOP, government, Politics, Society, United States

Herd Immunity

“What is herd immunity?

When most of a population is immune to an infectious disease, this provides indirect protection—or herd immunity (also called herd protection)—to those who are not immune to the disease.

For example, if 80% of a population is immune to a virus, four out of every five people who encounter someone with the disease won’t get sick (and won’t spread the disease any further). In this way, the spread of infectious diseases is kept under control. Depending how contagious an infection is, usually 70% to 90% of a population needs immunity to achieve herd immunity.” (from the John Hopkins School of Public Health website).

So, being exposed to a virus and surviving tends to give a person immunity from further problems caused by that same virus. And when enough people are immune, they stay immune. The population is no longer affected by the disease. That is the key point. They can be exposed over and over and the disease will have no effect on them.

Now, let’s take that principle and apply it to evidence and facts.

I was struck by the few hundred Michiganders who intimidated the Michigan legislature this week. They were carrying guns and screaming. Some had masks. Most did not. They were mad because the Michigan governor told them to engage in reasonable behavior in the midst of a pandemic.

It was a herd. A herd of ignorance. A herd threatening violence. A herd immune from reason.

We have seen over the past 20 years or so a development of herd immunity in the area of facts and evidence. Fox news  and right wing websites, along with help from Russian agents, have spread the idea that evidence and facts are not evidence and facts. Real evidence is “fake news”.

I have relatives who have inoculated themselves from facts and evidence. They watch a steady stream of Fox news, filled with distortion and misinformation. Over time, this steady stream of distortion has made them immune from contracting the “virus” of evidence and facts. It has made them immune from reality.

Like immunity from smallpox or the flu, Fox news has prevented real facts or evidence from taking hold in their bodies. If some real news does seep through it is quickly attacked by anti-bodies. So, we can quantify the evidence  that the US government has failed miserably to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, but that evidence is quickly dispelled. Since the facts cannot be refuted, the information is attacked  as fake and sent out of the body. The anti-bodies do their job. They destroy reality.

So, according to Fox news, the crisis is the fault of the Democrats, the press, the Chinese, the liberals. And when that does not work, the claim is made that it’s not so bad, etc.  While over 1,000,000 Americans are infected with the virus, that fact is attacked and minimized. So what? What is a 1,000,000 compared to the need to keep our economy going. We have 325,000,0000 people, we can afford to  lose a few million. Etc.

Looking at the few hundred gun toting imbeciles attacking the Michigan governor, it is clear that they are immune from reality. Herd immunity. In their herd facts and evidence are attacked and destroyed. The inoculation of Fox news and other right wing media has destroyed the capacity of evidence and facts to enter their worldview.

Which is why no amount of facts, evidence or common sense will ever get through to these folks. They are beyond facing reality. They have constructed a safe place in which to live. In their minds. Try as much as you want to use reason or facts. It will do you no good. These people are beyond hope.  They will continue to reject evidence and facts from their bodies. They are immune. They have joined the Fox herd and from that herd there is no return.

Herd immunity.

 

https://www.jhsph.edu/covid-19/articles/achieving-herd-immunity-with-covid19.html

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Filed under Economy, government, governor, healthcare, Politics, Republicans, Rubio, Society, Trump, United States

Oh Captain, My Captain

Captain Don was steadfast and strong. He was the man in charge. He was the man in control. He was given control of the Titanic and he was doing it his way. The best way.

He inherited a crew of tried and true sailors. He fired them. Then he  hired the best crew and the best mates. Well. A whole bunch of them left so he hired some more. They left. So he hired more of the best men.

And off he sailed.

One day his first mate came to him and said. “Captain, my, captain, the best captain in the world. One of our crew has spotted an iceberg. On a collision course with the Titanic”

Captain Don replied. “Fake news. A hoax. There is no iceberg. Stay the course.”

A few hours later, the same mate came to Captain Don. ” Captain, my captain. The captain with the biggest brain in the world. The iceberg is closer now and we still have time to steer the ship to a different course. See, look to the north, you can see it in the distance.”

Captain Don peers to the north. His gaze is steady. His jaw juts out in defiance.

Captain Don speaks. ” That is no iceberg. It is an ice cube. See how tiny it is? How foolish you are. A hoax. Fake news. Such a tiny ice cube can do us no harm. Stay the course.”

A few hours later, the iceberg looms closer and closer.

The first mate. “Captain, my captain. The smartest, bravest captain  with the biggest brain. And best brain. The iceberg is going to hit us. We can not get out of the way. What should we do?”

Captain Don. ” Well, why didn’t we see the iceberg sooner? Where was the man in the crow’s nest. He must have been one of Barry’s men. A member of the Deep state. Out to get me.”

First mate. ” Oh captain, my captain. The sexiest, smartest most brilliant captain in the world. Actually it was your budget cuts that eliminated the man in the crow’s nest. The early warning system we used to have. What should we do?”

Captain Don. ” Put everyone in lifeboats. Time to evacuate.”

First mate. “We only have 20 lifeboats for 20,000 people. What shall we do?”

Captain Don. “What? Why so few boats. The former captain Barry refused to buy more boats? It is Barry’s fault. Damn him. Well, put me in a boat and find my friends. Get them in boats.”

First mate. “Captain my captain. The truth is that Captain Barry left you with plenty of boats. Actually  it was you who sold the lifeboats, cheap, to your friends in the boating industry. We had enough lifeboats. No longer.”

Captain Don. ” Lies. All lies. Fake news. Fake iceberg. I take no responsibility. Not my fault. Not my fault. Where is my lifeboat? I’m out of here. You’re in charge”

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Filed under government, gun control, Politics, POTUS, Society, Trump, United States

Fake Facebook News. Exciting!

Facebook is a nice place to visit. I, myself, joined the human race and added Facebook to my daily routine. I have kept in contact with relatives and old friends, some of whom I had not seen in 40 or 50 years. So, as a social platform I like it.

Facebook is like sitting around a bar shooting the breeze. Sharing half-baked opinions and full baked photos. Take another drink and get even more emotional. Yell. Scream.

Facebook is like Thanksgiving dinner without the fights and turkey. Sharing photos of vacations. Happy birthday greetings. Reminiscing.

However, like so many things, Facebook has fallen victim to political shenanigans and financial shenanigans. So beware.

Mr . Zuckerberg, who evidently needs the money, will take ads from anyone. He has publicly rejected the idea that Facebook has any responsibility for vetting political ads. Just pay the dough. Claim what you want.

Facebook has become, in effect, the new tabloid of the internet. From this day forward, only a fool would believe anything Facebook posts.  Facebook is now in the same category as some of the great tabloids, The National Enquirer and Weekly World News. Two of America’s great supermarket rags.  In that spirit, here are some of the previous headlines from these tabloids…

“Abraham Lincoln was a Woman…shocking pix found in White House basement”  (The first Polaroids.)

“Christmas Miracle: Severed leg hops to Hospital…accident victims runaway limb reattached in 7 hour operation” (But what happened to the shoe?)

“Gordon Ramsay sex dwarf eaten by badger” (Big badger or small dwarf?)

“Alien Bible found…they worship Oprah”  (Not only aliens worship Oprah, but Oprah worships Oprah.)

“Shocking CIA leak reveal: Dick Cheney a robot” (OK. Well that one makes sense.)

“LA quake opens gates of hell…. Demons escape from crack in California highway” (Devon Nunes?)

“Chimp’s head put on human body….half man , half ape doing fine after operation” (Trey Gowdy explained.)

“Jesus Action Figure Heals the sick…move over GI Joe” (Rubby Ducky also walks on water.)

“Titanic Survivors found on board…shocking story of how they survived under water.” (Just hold your breath.)

Those were REAL HEADLINES. Really. They were. Soon, we will see the same kinds of headlines on Facebook…perhaps….

“Zuckerberg sex tapes with chipmunks exposed”

“Trump secret military mission…he singlehandedly caught Saddam”

“Joe Biden found dead 3 years ago… all his appearances are holograms”

“Detroit Lions win Super Bowl… secret game held outside of public view”

…and so on…Facebook is just another receptacle for Fake News. So, have a beer, talk to your friends and ignore the ads. Unless you can’t find a copy of the National Enquirer.

 

 

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Filed under Politics, Society, United States

Fake Bias

It’s the next thing. The next attempt to confuse, confound and discombobulate the American voter. It is what I call “Fake Bias”.

It goes like this.

All news is biased. Everyone is biased. Everything is biased. So, you cannot believe anything. Anywhere. Ever. It’s all just someone’s opinion. One source is just as good as another source.

Like the wife who is caught in “flagrante delicto ” with the neighbor in bed. Her husband walks  in. The evidence (so to speak)is staring him in the face. He accuses her of infidelity. The neighbor is right there beside her. “There is no one here,” she says. “Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?”

When I taught school I noticed that in the last 15 years or so a new attitude had developed about “experts”. During discussions some students often fell back on the attitude that all opinions are equal. All hold equal weight. “It’s just an opinion”.

According to the Oxford dictionary definition: a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

So, to some extent the kids were correct. Everyone’s opinion may be based on , well, just nothing at all.

But some opinions are based on more than thin air or preconceived notions. Some opinions are based on evidence, data and experience. The danger occurs when ALL opinions are lumped together as equally valid. They are not.

Over the last 30 years, intensifying recently, is the attitude that there is something negative about “expertise”. Experts are know-it-alls. They think they are smarter than other people. Obama thought he was the smartest guy in the room. (He usually was). Experts are smartypants and should be put in their place. Aha! The so-called experts were wrong.

This is a sea change from when I was growing up. Back in the 1950s and 1960s we were encouraged to go to school. To become educated. To become an expert in some field.That was the road to respect. The idea that you SHOULD be an educated person with a degree of expertise was encouraged. And respected.

When my students would take the position that “all opinions” are equally valid I would give them some examples to think about.

You feel a pain in your side. You ask your grandmother’s opinion. You ask the opinion of the bagboy at the grocery store. You pay for your gas and ask the gas station attendant what he thinks is wrong. You ask your family doctor  They all have opinions.Do you think all those opinions are equally valid? Do you follow the advice of grandma and eat some chicken soup or do you follow the advice of your doctor and get an X-ray?

Some people have opinions based on evidence and facts. Shall we take a survey of passengers on JetBlue and ask the best way to land the plane? Or should we defer to the pilot in this area? And while this pilot may be a genius in how to fly a plane, he may know nothing about growing corn. Expertise is limited. And specific.

Which brings me back to “Fake Bias”.

There is an attempt by the far right wing to destroy the very idea that news can be “unbiased”. That facts exist. It goes beyond claiming that certain networks have editorial policies that are biased. They do. MSNBC has been anti-Trump and Fox News has been pro-Trump. The bias is clear.

But that does not mean that both sides don’t use facts, even if selectively. And it does not change the fact that news can be factual. The idea that all news is biased is the argument of those who do not want honest, evidence based reporting. Because they cannot justify gun violence, for example, they call reporting of gun violence “biased”. They cannot justify putting children in cages, so they claim that other presidents put children in cages. Bias. Fake.

The end game of the attacks on “lugenpresse” (covered in another post linked below) is to deny the existence of objective reality. If everything is biased then nothing can be believed. A most dangerous attitude. Putin must be as happy a pig in doo-doo. He is getting exactly what he paid for. Fake bias.

https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/lugenpresse-testing-the-waters/

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Filed under Conservatives, government, liberals, logic, neoconservatives, obama, Politics, Republicans, Trump, United States

The Barr Reports

I won’t go into the current Barr Report which proves without a doubt that the Mueller probe was a witch hunt. After all, the 440 pages show conclusively that there was no Russian interference and Trump is without blemish. So, I don’t even need to read the report. Barr has done that for me. I suggest you don’t read the report either. It is long and there aren’t any pictures. It will just confuse you.

So, that led me to do some research into previous Barr reports which many folks don’t know about. Here are a few I found that were authored by William Barr over the years..

Commission of Pearl Harbor Attack. 

“There is some evidence that an attack occurred on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. We cannot be certain who attacked the US forces or if, in fact, the attack rises to the level of an “act of war”. The most holy Emperor of Japan has rejected any responsibility for this act and the Japanese navy has likewise stated they have no idea about what happened. Some have even questioned whether such an attack ever took place. So, at this time I must conclude that Japan has been totally exonerated of any criminal activity.”

Moses and the Ten Commandments.

” I have investigated the stone carvings brought down the mountain by Moses. Evidence suggests these were given to Moses (a JEW) by god (aka Yahweh) himself. We cannot report to the public the entire Ten Commandments due to matters of national security. Also, it might hurt some people’s reputations. After months of review I am releasing the redacted version .

“I am the Lord thy god, thou shalt not have other gods before me

Thou shalt (redacted) kill.

Thou shalt ( redacted) commit adultery.

Honor thy father and (redacted).

Thou shalt (redacted) covet they neighbor’s wife.”

The Nazi Death Camps.

“There have been unconfirmed reports that Hitler and the Nazis engaged in the mass extermination of Jews in Germany. We have investigated these charges thoroughly and have come to the following conclusions.

First, Hitler, in his written responses to our questions, has said that he cannot recall any such death camps. He was asked a variety of questions about this and 36 times his memory failed him.He was not available for an actual interview because he was busy vacationing on the Polish border.

Second. There have been no victims coming forth claiming they were exterminated. A basic point of law is called corpus delicti.  If there is no body there can be no crime. It is true that there were a whole lot of ashes, but Hitler says he was just having bar-b-ques and we have no reason to doubt him.

Third. Even if there are death camps we have nothing tying them to Hitler. Just because a few of his underlings may or may not have engaged in wholesale murder that does not implicate the man who gave the orders. Especially since we have no emails from Hitler specifically calling for the death on any particular Jew.

Our conclusion. The Death Camp claims are fake news, A witch hunt by those trying to undermine der Fuhrer.”

The 9/11 Attacks.

“On September 11, 2001 two planes flew into the Twin Towers. That is an indisputable fact. Those planes were flown by citizens of Saudi Arabia. Some claim this was a “terrorist ” attack. Our investigation reaches a different conclusion.

We have concluded that planes were flown into the WTC by accident. First, at no time did the Saudi government claim they were behind the attack. In fact, they were so upset by the attack that members of the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia flew out of the US despite the grounding of all other commercial and private aircraft.

Also, since we were not allowed to interview the ALLEGED terrorists we have no way of knowing their “state of mind”. And “state of mind” is essential for proving a criminal act.

Furthermore , since these pilots had no experience flying big commercial jets it is quite probable that they simply lost control of the aircraft and had no intention of flying into the buildings. Some accounts suggest that thousands of Muslims were in New Jersey watching the planes as part of a planned airshow and actually cheered when they hit the buildings. This leads us to consider that the entire situation may have been one big mistake. No, there is no evidence of collusion. ”

Obama Born in Kenya.

“We have investigated the claim that Obama may have been born in Kenya and so was an illegitimate president.

Consider, two newspapers reported his birth in Hawaii. Also, a hospital and doctor documented his birth. His mother was in Hawaii and is registered as the birth mother. There is no evidence of him being born anywhere else. The Hawaiian government has released certified copies of his birth certificate. Members of the press have visited Hawaii and viewed the original documents.

On the other hand, someone put out an email and claimed Obama was born in Kenya.

Our conclusion: Based on the evidence we conclude that Obama, was, in fact, born in Kenya. we come to this conclusion based on two factors. He is black, as are many Kenyans. Also, President Trump has said Obama was born in Kenya. That’s good enough for me.”

 

 

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Filed under Elections, GOP, government, nazi, obama, Politics, POTUS, Religion, Society, Terror, Trump, United States

I Did Not Say Not Didn’t I?

Mr Trump has faced a lot of criticism for saying that there was no Russian interference in our election when the facts say otherwise. So, according to a news article today:

“…Speaking from the White HouseTrump said that after reviewing a transcript of the press conference he realized that “in a key sentence I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’”

“Just to repeat it, I said the word would instead of wouldn’t,” Trump said, referring to his answer at the press conference, in response to a question about whether Russia had tried to influence the American election: “All I can do is ask the question — my people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump had said, in a remark that stunned listeners and provoked outrage, even from many Republicans….”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/fire-trump-says-misspoke-russian-interference-u-s-election-192113980.html

Whew. Glad he cleared that up. But just to keep the record straight his spokesman who was thrown out of a restaurant on “All You Can Eat” night had an impromptu news conference to further clarify.

Yes, Sarah Huckster Sanders brought in select members of the press to explain some of Mr Trump’s past remarks. Luckily, being a favorite of the White House, I was called in to observe. It went like this.

Huckster: OK. Sit down and shut up.Thank you. We need to clarify a few comments made by the best president ever. Some of the fake news outlets have misreported his remarks in the past and I am here to set the record straight.

Let’s see. OK. When the best president met with Kim Jong -un he made a slight slip of the tongue. Mr Trump stated that Kim had promised to give up all his nuclear weapons and that Americans can now sleep easily. On reviewing the transcript what the best president meant to say was that Kim had NOT agreed to give up his nukes and that citizens should NOT sleep easily. This was a minor correction in the official statement.

I am sure the  FAILING New York Times will make a big deal out of that little word.

Also, immediately after the best inauguration ever Mr Trump stated that the crowds paying homage to him were the biggest ever. The FAKE NEWS jumped all over that one. They showed pictures of the Negro’s inauguration and tried to make the best president ever look like a liar. What he meant to say was that the crowds were NOT the biggest ever. A simple vocal error, but the FAKE NEWS tried to make him seem like a liar. Awful.

Talking about Obama. Mr Trump is quoted as saying that the Negro was born in Africa, even though his birth certificate shows he was born in Hawaii. Mr Trump MEANT to say the Obama was NOT born in Africa. But, the failing Washington Post made a BIG DEAL out of a little word. Anything to oppose the best president ever.

Ok. Well. One more. There was a phony tape called the Access Hollywood tape. Mr Trump allegedly says he can just grab a woman by the pussy and he kisses women whenever he wants. I can tell you from personal experience that the president has never tried to grab me or kiss me. At least not when Hope Hicks was living with him in the White House. At any rate, what Mr Trump MEANT to say in that tape was that he would NOT grab a woman by the pussy and he would NOT kiss a woman even if she looked like Ivanka. Of course, the FAKE NEWS made a big deal out of this simple misunderstanding.

Ok. OK. One more slight misunderstanding. During the campaign the best candidate ever encouraged his supporters to make a chant. “Lock Her Up. Lock Her Up”. On reviewing a number of tapes, the best president ever realizes that this was not what he meant to say. He left out a word . A small word which I am sure the FAILING MSNBC will not report on that correction. He was thinking “Don’t Lock Her Up, Don’t Lock Her Up”. A slip of the tongue. So, we have cleared that up.

Just to clarify further. In his wedding vows Mr Trump ALLEGEDLY said he would “love, honor and obey” his Russian wife..oh, what is she? Slovakian? Slovenian? Croatian? anyway, his foreign wife, Melanie. What he mean to say (and this is ONLY for Melanie’s lawyers ears) what he meant to say is that he would NOT “love, honor and obey”. Just to clarify.

So, in the future let us hope the FAKE NEWS stops reporting EXACTLY what President Trump actually says. Instead, show some class and report what he should have said or could have said.

I couldn’t have been more clear to you about what the best president ever says. When he says he didn’t mean to say what he said he said it should be clear that he didn’t say what you think he said even though he said it.

So, stop reporting on his WORDS. That is just not fair. Report on what he thinks he maybe should have said if he had not said what he said.

That is all. Get the hell out of here.

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Trump Dictionary…F is for

Fake News.  Wow. So much fake news. No collusion. None . Zero. No Russian contacts. Never met Russians. Never heard of Putin. Comey is a crook. Fake Comey book. Fake Pruitt spending. Why not travel first class? Wow. All fake news. Flynn? Who is Flynn? Never met him. All fake. Manafort? Never heard of him. Everything is fake. Fake. Lock her up. Lock her up. Horrible Hillary. Cohen. Who is Michael Cohen? I don’t know him. All fake.

Fantastic. My administration has been the most fantastic ever. I did more in the first year than any other president. Ever. People love me. People say I am fantastic. Many people.

FBI.  Most corrupt organization in Earth. Believe me. Awful. They break down doors. False charges. Lock them up.

Fifth. Take the fifth. Only criminals take the fifth. The mob takes the fifth. …Cohen took the fifth? I may have to take the fifth? A wonderful part of the Constitution. Love the fifth. Best fifth ever.

Florida. Great state. Everyone says so. Mar-A-Lago is the best golf course. Magnificent golf. Love Florida. Many billionaires in Florida.

Flynn. Great man. Fantastic patriot. Not a criminal. He pleaded guilty? …oh…I hardly know him. Never met him. Flynn who?

Fox News.  Tremendous . Fantastic. Awesome. Believe me, Fox is true journalism. Always tell the truth. Unlike the failing New York Times. Great people at Fox. I know them. Super people. The best people. Only the truth. Fair and balanced!!

Franken. Al Frankenstein. Liberal. Communist. Sex abuser. Horrible. If I did half of what he did the liberals would be calling for impeachment. Awful man. Very disrespectful to women. I respect women. I love women. Some of my favorite people are women. Like Ivanka. Tremendous woman! Fantastic.

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Words, Part 1

“In the beginning was the word…” so begins the Bible followed by both Christians and Jews.  In Hindu mythology, the word “Om or Aum” is the first sound of creation. The Qu’ran is thought to be the word of Allah by Muslims. Members of the Church of Later Day Saints believe that Joseph Smith of upstate New York was given the words of god on golden tablets.

Words are important. Of all the species still on Earth, it is homo sapiens alone that uses speech to communicate sophisticated ideas. Other animals use sounds to express fear and danger and affection and contentment. Chimps use signs and sounds. Bonobos have been taught to use symbolic language to express complete ideas. Some other primates even use sign language to communicate when hunting in groups. There is something in the DNA of primates that demands communication. We are all social animals.

Words are important.

Primates use body language and words to communicate. The key word is “communicate”. Communication does not necessarily mean that a human or other primate is interested in communicating the truth.

For example, we have evidence that when some Rhesus monkeys see food they call out to others and share it. Once in awhile, however, a monkey will keep quiet or even give a false predator warning cry to distract from the food source. They lie. They communicate something which is false. Then they sneak the food for themselves.

We depend on words. When someone lies to us it becomes very difficult to trust them again. When someone misuses words (that is lies) under oath, we consider them criminals. Even presidents. Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican Congress for lying.

He was not impeached for having an affair. He was not impeached for any illegal financial dealings. The 4 year long investigation of Bill Clinton and his wife’s finances (Whitewater) found nothing illegal. The Starr investigation after spending mllions of dollars  found no criminal behavior based on the original mandate, which was to look at the Clinton land deals.

Both articles of impeachment against Clinton dealt not with any financial wrongdoing, but the fact that he lied about his sex life when under oath.  You may wonder why the Starr investigation was expanded into his sex life, but that is another matter. A corruption charge was never supported, but his lies about his sex life were considered important enough to expel him from the presidency. So, he was impeached for words he said.

Our current president has , according to the factchecker at the Washington Post, told over 2,000 lies and misstatements in less than his first year in office. Over 2,000 documented examples of intentional miscommunication. Since he is not under oath, none of those lies are actionable under the law. But that degree of miscommunication may be one reason why he has an approval rating below 40% in most polls.

When words are used for miscommunication then the very idea of language becomes damaged. Language is supposed to be a positive force through which we convey ideas and beliefs and emotions in an honest way. When language is exploited regularly to miscommunicate it leads to a general distrust of any communication. When words are used as weapons, rather than tools of honest communication, all language becomes suspect.

We see attacks on the press, attempting to delegitimize the one institution which is based on words. Honest words. ( I deal with this in another post a year ago: https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/lugenpresse-testing-the-waters/)

Politicians, of course, depend completely on words. When they lie by misstatements or omission to intentionally deceive people it is especially disturbing. We see them lie most often when the facts and evidence do not support their assertions. A good example is the reemergence of the supply side economics which failed miserably under Mr Bush. Tax breaks for the wealthy to boost jobs. It just does not happen, but that does not stop the lying.

My own Congressman, Tom Reed, NY 29 is especially adept at the half truth and miscommunication. He miscommunicated not only his own views (as seen by his actions) but impugns his political opponents by lying about their views as well. And he is very good at it. So he gets re-elected.

So, while “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is true on the playground, it is not true in politics. Words are the core of politics because they are used to convince others to act.

We currently live in an era where those with the most political power are determined to stay in power through miscommunication. Not by the power of their ideas.  Not by the benefits to the people derived by their actions. But by miscommunicating to such an extent that even 2,000 lies a year does not bother them.

Next time I will look at the variety and scope of the miscommunication, the misuse of words, by those currently in power.

 

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090615-monkeys-lie-food.html

https://books.google.com/books?id=pEuVe5zT-4cC&pg=PA74&lpg=PA74&dq=rhesus+monkeys+food+lies&source=bl&ots=-A5bfEwk2c&sig=O1nv-XXYhQ78i5HQpx2hrNFXrzc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwimo8G74tzYAhWDUd8KHYalBlgQ6AEIUDAL#v=onepage&q=rhesus%20monkeys%20food%20lies&f=false

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/articles122098.htm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/01/10/president-trump-has-made-more-than-2000-false-or-misleading-claims-over-355-days/?utm_term=.dc90a42256a8

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No Surprises Here

Over the last month I have watched various talking heads discuss the travesty that is the Trump presidency. They feign shock and horror at his false tweets. They are shocked by his lack of respect for the separation of powers. They are amazed that the GOP sits by while he fires a man investigating him and admits to obstruction of justice on a TV interview.

Hello.

What did you expect? What is new?

President Obama  said: “I have to tell you, this office, it’s about who you are and what you are and it doesn’t change after you occupy the office – it just magnifies it.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2104523/barack-obama-says-donald-trump-is-not-fit-to-become-the-next-us-president/

We all knew who and what Donald Trump is before he was elected. Did anyone expect that a 70 year old man, who has spent his entire life surrounded by sycophants, was going to become “presidential”? Really?

This is a man who has the following history:

Refuses to rent to black folks and is sued for discrimination (and loses) by the federal government. Had to pay a multi-million dollar settlement.

Inherited a multi-million dollar real estate empire and inside political connections with mob bosses in NYC, without lifting a finger.

Somehow managed to mismanage a casino and actually go bankrupt.

Multiple times failed to pay contractors for work done, driving some of them to the brink of bankruptcy.

Bragged about sexually abusing women.

Forced to pay over $20,000,000 damages to students he fleeced at “Trump University”.

Refused to divulge any Russia dealings in his tax returns.

Had a number of campaign advisers with strong ties to Putin. Flynn, Tillerson, Manafort, Stone, Page, Sessions, etc.

Then, of course, there are his multiple, regular false statements. A serial liar:

Obama was born in Kenya.

Clinton broke the law.

Insisted that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination.

He knew Putin. Then he did not know Putin. Then he met Putin. Then he did not meet Putin.

Obama illegally wiretapped his phones.

Supported a health bill that did the opposite of what he promised in the campaign.

Fired Comey because Comey was mean to Clinton. Because he was asked to do so by the assistant to Sessions. Because he was tired of the “fake” Russia investigation. Take your pick.

So, what’s the big deal. The talking heads KNEW this. Why are they surprised? The GOP rank and file KNEW this when they went into those voting booths and voted for this person. He did not get 60,000,000 votes without overwhelming support from the GOP. We all knew what he was and is. The GOP voters did not care.

And , as President Obama opined in North Carolina as the election was drawing to a close:

“This guy is temperamentally unfair to be commander in chief, and he is not equipped to be president.”

“It’s strange how over time what is crazy gets normalised, and we just kinda assume, ‘Well, he’s said a hundred crazy things, so the hundred-and-first thing we don’t even notice.”

So, let’s stop pretending that this is somehow a surprise. The question is: What does the GOP do about it? You brought us to this point. Surprise us.

 

 

 

 

 

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Something Deeper

Let me start by clarifying. I am not a conspiracy nut.

Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Bigfoot does not exist. The “government” did not take down the Twin Towers on 9/11 as an “inside job”. Millions of illegals do not vote in US elections. There is no  secret cabal of Jewish bankers running the world. The UN is not trying to destroy freedom in America. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I am a fact guy. A pragmatist. Show me the evidence and I will consider your case. But evidence is a must.

Which brings me to the latest, ongoing attacks by Mr Trump on the free press. Over and over he has been slamming any news organization that does not pay him proper homage as “the enemy of the people”. All news that is not completely positive is FAKE news.

Why keep harping on FAKE news? Why continue to try to undermine faith in such news organizations as the New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, The LA Times and others? News organizations that once in awhile make mistakes  but have spent years cultivating processes that lead to accurate reporting. News organizations that vet sources and double check  facts before putting ink to paper.

Mr. Trump is a stupid man. Yes. He is. He knows virtually nothing except how to put together real estate deals. How to manipulate  (or rather HIRE accountants to  manipulate) the tax code. He is singularly UNCURIOUS about the world. He has demonstrated no understanding of basic science, literature, history, sociology or any other field. Since he was given $13,000,000 by his father as a young man his existence has been one of self-promotion. Period.

But, Mr Trump is also a clever man. A con man. A manipulator of his supporters. A cult figure. He sees himself as larger than life. And so do the Trumpsters and Trumpettes who follow him. He knows how to use the media for free publicity, as he showed us in his  campaign for president. He hates any media that does not adore him. And he encourages his followers to do  the same.

But he WON the election in the electoral college. He is the president of the United States. So, why continue to attack the press? He won. He beat them, at least in his way of thinking.

As I said, I am not a conspiracy nut. But there is something deeper going on here.

The “leaks”, which every president hates, have gotten to Trump. He even had Sean Spicer take away the phones of his (Spicer’s) staff and had them checked for possible news leaks. Trump calls the leaks FAKE news, yet he seems to be giving credence to the validity of the information. Otherwise, why try to find the source?  If these negative reports are really “made up”, as he says, then why suspect his own inner circle?

I suspect something deeper is going on.  There are skeletons, probably Russian ones, in Mr Trump’s closet. There are connections, financial  and political, with Russian oligarchs. Perhaps with Putin himself. Connections that may be illegal or at least very damaging .

By trying to destroy the public confidence in the press, Mr Trump is staging a Pearl Harbor attack. Destroy the credibility of the press. then, when the stories come out about his corruption people may say it is simply the press out to “get him”. Mr Trump likes to control the agenda and he seeks to marginalize legitimate investigative journalism by preemptive strike. The press LIES. All the time. Don’t believe them.

Something is deeper here. Not just the rantings of our first  (and god help us, our LAST) twitter president. He is the master of distraction. He has called the New York  Times and Washington Post losers and his enemy.They did not  crumble.  When distraction  does not work he goes for destruction. Exactly the same way he did business in his real estate shenanigans.

There is something deeper here. And the press will discover it. Sooner or later. After all, Pearl Harbor was not a total defeat, it was a setback. Eventually the US won the war. The free press will not  be governed or destroyed by Mr Trump, no matter how hard he tries. But he is trying to set the stage for the inevitable investigations into his financial and political  chicanery. He hope to destroy the confidence of the citizenry in the free press. In the end, they will find him out. And publish.

The is something deeper here. Wait for it.  It will happen.

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