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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

A Free Press Failing

For John, BLUFYes, the media played a big role the outcome of the Presidential Election.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Mr Tyler O'Neil, 24 November 2020.

Here is the lede plus two:

According to an explosive new study the Media Research Center (MRC) released on Tuesday, the legacy media’s suppression of eight key election-related news stories effectively handed the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.  According to a poll conducted by The Polling Company on behalf of MRC, a whopping 17 percent of Americans who voted for Joe Biden would not have done so had they been aware of just one of these stories.

Had the legacy media not buried these stories, Trump would have won 311 electoral votes, the study claims.

“The national news media stole this election, as far as I’m concerned, they deliberately stole it from President Trump,” MRC President Brent Bozell said in a call with reporters.  “It is absolutely unequivocal” that the biased media coverage “cost Donald Trump the election.”

News is curated for an objective.  The objective depends upon who is in charge.  To resist curation it helps to identify what goals the various media are pursuing.

The way to fight back is to read (and listen) widely and to share.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Securing John Durham

For John, BLUFThe US Attorney General took action, back in October, to ensure the Durham Probe would continue, regardless of who was Sworn in on 20 January.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Mr Matt Margolis, 1 December 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Attorney General Bill Barr appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as special counsel to continue investigating Obamagate and the illicit origins of the Russia probe.  “On May 13, 2019, I directed John Durham, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, to investigate certain intelligence and law-enforcement activities surrounding the 2016 presidential election,”  Barr wrote in a letter to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.  “Although I had expected Mr. Durham to complete his work by the summer of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as additional information he uncovered, prevented him from doing so.”

Barr reveals in his letter that he appointed Durham as a special counsel prior to the election, on October 19, to ensure that regardless of the outcome, that the investigation would be able to continue.  “In advance of the presidential election, I decided to appoint Mr. Durham as a Special Counsel to provide him and his team with the assurance that they could complete their work, without regard to the outcome of the election,” Barr continued.  Durham has had “the powers and authority of a Special Counsel” since that time.

This is a status different from being a Prosecutor or a Special Prosecutor.  Mr John Durham is now a "Special Counsel".  The removal of a Special Counsel has certain special safeguards.

The letter from Attorney General Barr to the Senate and House Committee Leadership is here.  The lettere farom Attorney General Barr, to Mr John Durham, appointing him, is here.

I like this move by Attorney General Bill Barr.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, November 30, 2020

Is The First Amendment Passé?

For John, BLUFThis is about that difficult Right, the Right to Free Sppech.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Wanderer, by Deacon Mike Manno, JD, 30 November 2020.

Here is the lede plus six:

The In the wake of the election, which still isn’t over, there is obviously concern by conservatives about the future, not so much about the country but about the rights that we enjoy; rights we have received from God that the Bill of Rights is enshrined to protect.

But what has bothered me in the last few weeks is how the activists of the Left-Wing Party, including many Joe Biden staffers, have reacted.  There were calls to ban Trump supporters from future government positions while others wanted them banned from life itself.  There is talk of blacklists and banning others from speaking at public universities.  Social media is already practicing shadow banning and closing accounts of people too outspoken in their conservative or religious beliefs.

And the darlings of the Left-Wing Party are now trying to expand their blacklists:  Delaware Sen. Chris Coons is urging Facebook and others to take another look at climate change deniers.

So how did we get to this point?  How did the proposition of curbing free speech apparently go mainstream?

I think much of it started, as all bad ideas often do, on college campuses.  You know, those places where tenured left-wing professors have four years to shape and mold the young minds entrusted to their care by unwitting parents who have scrimped and saved to give their little ones an education that will allow them to lift themselves above the fray to a comfortable lifestyle.

And I hear the complaints from parents.  One parishioner told me about his daughter, raised a devout Catholic, who after only two years away at college is now a committed atheist who is unwilling to engage in any sort of dialogue about it.  You see, dad’s beliefs are out of touch with today’s reality and need not be considered any longer.

Our friends at FIRE, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, issued a report earlier this year that casts some light on the problem.  FIRE, along with College Pulse, and RealClearEducation, surveyed some 20,000 students and made some interesting findings.  First and foremost, not all colleges are the same.  FIRE publishes a list on its website listing good and bad schools for free speech and thought, which should be an aid to parents and families looking for appropriate educational opportunities for their offspring.  According to the report, “Seven of the top 10 colleges for free speech are public, and only one of the top 10 is in the Northeast, while the bottom 10 include many schools that repeatedly make headlines for campus censorship.

I see censurship in two forms these days.  There are the limit on the words we can use.  I have always engaged in self-censorship.  I avoid use of the "N-word" and other belittling terms.  However, I am resistent to taking commonwords and declaring them wrong, which is what I believe the "woke" crowd does.  Over does.

The other issue is curation of speech, where some institution tries to control and direct what I put our, or others putout, on the Internet.  This is especially pernicious when it results in the stiffling of information flow.  It is like Holy Mother the Church silencing Galileo.  Good and sufficient reasons, but the truth made faith and science stronger.

One of the things the First Amendment gives us is the right to be wrong, free from Government interference.  Not the right to be evil, but the right to read the facts differently.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Why So Negative?

For John, BLUFThe Media has, after it overcame its aversion to President Trump's initial COVID-19 efforts, turned negative on the virus.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Power Line Blog, by Blogger John Hinderaker, 29 November 2020.

Here is the lede plus one plus two:

Three professors, two from Dartmouth and one from Brown, have produced a paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research titled, “Why Is All COVID-19 News Bad News?”  It focuses on the U.S. press, and its findings are disturbing . . .

Why are “major” U.S. news sources so massively more negative than their international counterparts?  I think the widespread hostility toward President Trump is the obvious answer.  The fact that Fox isn’t much different from its left-wing competitors probably tells us more about Fox than about the American press in general.

But that isn’t the whole story.  This NBER article suggests that the pessimism of major news outlets is a response to reader demand.

Quoting from the original paper:  "Ninety one percent of stories by U.S. major media outlets are negative in tone versus fifty four percent for non-U.S. major sources and sixty five percent for scientific journals."  That is a lot of negativity.

The NBER post notes that Fox News, once a major mainstay of the Conservatives movement, is now the same as other press outlets.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Sorting Truth From Opinion

For John, BLUFAn expert is someone with a brief case away from his own office.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

What happens when the most respected authorities get it wrong and ruin lives and economies? Not much

From The Wall Street Journal, by Playwrite David Mamet, 27 November 2020.

Here is the lede plus three:

The wealthy and powerful must constantly expand their operations.  But even if they let their capital sit, they will need accountants, auditors, stockbrokers and consultants.  How will they choose these subordinates?  According to the opinions of other advisers.  Those closest to the boss will have the most influence—and they can keep it, even in failure, by flattery and deference.

This is the case with governmental power.  We are all, in a sense, fools, since no one person can know everything.  We all have to trust others for their expertise, and we all make mistakes.  The horror of a command economy is not that officials will make mistakes, but that those mistakes will never be acknowledged or corrected.

What about our allegedly market economy? Who will be held accountable for destroying it?  No doubt the destruction was carried out in good faith, but the shutdown didn’t accomplish what it was supposed to accomplish.

We have seen shameless incompetence rewarded before.

Here is how the author sums it up, after givinig us some examples from history:
The virus here is government—or at least the incompetents who advise our rulers and cannot admit the legitimacy of dissension.  Absent intervention, this virus may eventually kill the host organism
I am willing to do a small wager that, whoever wins the Presidency, a year (or so) from now people will be saying that President Trump overracted to Winnie the Flu and we didn't need to bar the Chinese or the lockdown or all of that Public Health Kabuki Dance.  If we had just followed then Candidate Joe Biden's advice and not gone overboard we would not be in the pickle that followed.  A very small wager, for the fun of it.

One of the questions we face is the role of the media in reinforcing the rule of the experts.  As a consumer we have to be shopping around, comparing sources.  Unfortunately, we can't be experts on everything, so we rely on the media to provide us access to the facts and to the experts.

But, we will always have experts.  Those who get the work done and those who think about it and provide advice from the edge.  It is the way of the world.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Never Forget

For John, BLUFI am glad to see the Trump Administation joining with the Holy See to remind us of that terrible evil, the Holocaust.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Cardinal Parolin:  ‘The Holy See Condemns All Forms of Anti-Semitism, Recalling That Such Acts Are Neither Christian Nor Human’

From Zenit, by Reporter Deborah Castellano Lubov, 24 November 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Condemning any form of anti-Semitism is fundamental … As we see its resurgence, we must say ‘Never Again!’

This was at the forefront of a Nov. 19 virtual Symposium organized by U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Callista Gingrich, and her embassy in Rome, titled “Never Again:  Confronting the Global Rise of Anti-Semitism.”

As we move further in time from the Eugenics thinking that led to "The Holocaust" it is important to remind ourselves that "Never Again" is still an important watchword.

Awareness is important.  From a Wikipedia article on the Holocaust we have:

In September 2018 an online CNN–ComRes poll of 7,092 adults in seven European countries—Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Poland, and Sweden—found that one in 20 had never heard of the Holocaust. The figure included one in five people in France aged 18–34.  Four in 10 Austrians said they knew "just a little" about it; 12 percent of young people there said they had never heard of it.  A 2018 survey in the United States found that 22 percent of 1,350 adults said they had never heard of it, while 41 percent of Americans and 66 percent of millennials did not know what Auschwitz was.  In 2019 a survey of 1,100 Canadians found that 49 percent could not name any of the concentration camps
Those aare, to me, very disturbing numbers.

Where are the History teachers?  Where are our school systems?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The COVID Kabuki Dance

For John, BLUFI continue to think that there is still a lot to learn about COVID-19 and much of what we do to protect ourselves is a Kabuki Dance.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Behind the Black Blog, by Mr Robert Zimmerman, 22 November 2020.

Here is the lede plus two:

A new study published in the journal Nature has found that people who are either asymptomatic or undergoing a secondary illness of COVID-19 are simply not infectious, and don’t give the virus to others.

In other words, it appears that the only time people can infect others is when they have the virus for the first time, and only when they are symptomatic.  Lock downs and the use of masks by the healthy accomplish nothing.  All you need to do is quarantine the symptomatic patient, as human societies have been doing for centuries and centuries.

To once again emphasize this point, wearing masks if you are healthy and not sick protects no one.  Social distancing if you are not sick protects no one.  Shutting down businesses, such as reducing capacities at restaurants so they can’t make a profit, protects no one.  Curfews protect no one.

I look forward to clarity on this issue.  I got the first article from Science Fiction Author Sarah Hoyt (Via InstaPundit), who also sent along this item, from The Critic, a UK web site, "The Covid Physician’s true coronavirus timeline:  'My experience is no one but the government and mainstream media are sharing apocalyptic Covid-19 death experiences with me'”.

I am still dancing the dance, because one never knows which steps are of high value.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff