Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What I learned in 2015

I should post every year what I have learned in the year. Here is where I have changed my mind in 2015.

I have wasted time chasing down accusations of anti-semitism and racism, and discovered that these terms are used almost entirely by people who hate white Christians.

White Christian Americans are the least racist people in the world, by far.

After fighting nationalist wars for millennia, I did not think that Europe would be so easily invaded. Or that Germany would ban criticism of immigration policy on Facebook.

More than ever, the USA is ruled by elites who are selling out the interests of the American people. It appears that Donald J. Trump is the only one who can save us.

The biggest threats to modern civilization are social justice warriors and Mohammedans.

Most people will happily submit to robot overlords. I used to think that the threat of AI bots running our lives was grossly exaggerated.

It is usually counter-productive to give people benefit for having good intentions or empathy. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

It is useful to categorize people with conspiracy theories, even if there is no literal conspiracy.

The public cares very little about the privacy issues raised by Snowden and leftist civil libertarians.

The Earth really does have overpopulation problem.

Six months ago I thought that Donald Trump was a buffoon. Now I think that he is a genius.

Colleges no longer stand for free speech and individual rights. They will punish innocent people if it suits their political ends.

Empathy does more harm than good. It is not good to teach your kids to be empathetic.

Climate change is mainly a leftist term for various political objectives, most of which are harmful.

The Psychology profession is even worse than I thought.

Humans are much more social than any other animals, except possibly for some insects.

Frequentism and Bayesianism are widely misunderstood.

Google created a bot to automatically classify hate sites on the web, but abandoned the project when the top hate site turned out to be the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Professional sports leagues have really lost their way.

I did not expect the new Star Wars movie to be just a remake of the 1977. The major media reviews did not tell me either. How was this kept such a secret? The LA Times now admits:
The simple answer is that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," is not very good. It's professionally made in the sense that it displays an industrial level of Quality Control. But it's depressingly unimaginative and dull in long stretches, and -- crucially -- reproduces George Lucas' original 1977 movie slavishly almost to the point of plagiarism.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Gay hero shrink dies

From the AP obituary of Robert Spitzer:
Dr. Allen Frances, a professor emeritus of psychiatry at Duke University and editor of a later edition of the manual, told the Times that Spitzer "was by far the most influential psychiatrist of his time."

Gay-rights activists credit Dr. Spitzer with removing homosexuality from the list of mental disorders in the D.S.M. in 1973. He decided to push for the change after he met with gay activists and determined that homosexuality could not be a disorder if gay people were comfortable with their sexuality.
So I guess also that narcissism is not a disorder if narcissists are comfortable being narcissists.
At the time of the psychiatric profession's debate over homosexuality, Dr. Spitzer told the Washington Post: "A medical disorder either had to be associated with subjective distress — pain — or general impairment in social function."
And no one has any distress about sexual orientation?
Dr. Jack Drescher, a gay psychoanalyst in New York, told the Times that Spitzer's successful push to remove homosexuality from the list of disorders was a major advance for gay rights. "The fact that gay marriage is allowed today is in part owed to Bob Spitzer," he said.
Ah yes, there is no science here. Just a political advance for gay rights.
In 2012, Dr. Spitzer publicly apologized for a 2001 study that found so-called reparative therapy on gay people can turn them straight if they really want to do so.
Why were they even getting the therapy in the first place? Because they had distress.

If you want the story about how some closeted gay psychiatrists schemes to get a political vote to drop homosexuality as a disorder, see 81 Words, an NPR Radio broadcast.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Animals do not know to make babies

Science articles are frequently stressing news that animals have human capabilities, like using tools, and refusing to recognize differences between humans and animals. Here is a paywalled SciAm article to remind us of the huge differences.

What Animals Know about Where Babies Come From
In fact, there is no literature on whether animals understand reproduction. ...

To comprehend unobservable phenomena such as gravity or impregnation, a creature has to be capable of abstract reasoning, the ability to mentally form representations of unseen underlying causes or forces. Humans use abstract reasoning to transfer knowledge from one situation to another, which allows us to solve problems we have never encountered before and to even invent new diversions for ourselves. Although animals such as chimpanzees are far cleverer than scientists have traditionally acknowledged, they do not appear to have this particular cognitive skill. I'm reminded of the time an astute sixth grader answered my question about “Why don't chimps play baseball?” not with their anatomical incompatibilities but with “Because you can't explain the rules to them.” ...

Koko can, as a result of years of training, name hundreds of objects when prompted, but she does not engage in discussion. ...

Indeed, limited verbal skills are the norm among wild primates. Vervet monkeys have what is perhaps the closest thing to human language, and it does not begin to measure up in its complexity. As Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth of the University of Pennsylvania have observed from their extensive studies of these animals in East Africa, the vervets make distinct predator alarm calls for “eagle,” “snake” and “leopard.” These buzzy shrieks or “words” are not learned like human words but are innate. Although the alarm calls are arbitrary, like our words, they are never used to gab about a snake they saw yesterday or to fear-monger about a leopard they may encounter tomorrow. Even if one argued convincingly that these calls are monkey words, it is difficult to get from that rudimentary “language” to one in which the speaker can explain, “When we have sex, that's what starts a baby growing.”
Animals just do not have the communication skills or the future planning or the cognitive development that would indicate understanding.

There are lots of studies claiming to show how smart animals are, but usually the researchers are fooled into a richer interpretation of the data, when a leaner one will suffice.

If animals lack the abstract reasoning, language and future planning capabilities needed to intentionally procreate, then they must know what to do (have sex) even if they do not know why (that having sex is what allows them to produce offspring and perpetuate their species). Indeed, animals may carry out all kinds of seemingly complex behaviors without actually anticipating the outcomes. Cognitive scientist Sara Shettleworth of the University of Toronto points to the example of crows that drop walnuts on hard surfaces and thereby break the nuts open. Many observers assume that the crows consciously perform this behavior with the aim of obtaining food. But a more scientific approach to understanding the nut cracking, Shettleworth notes, is to assume the cause is “proximate”: the bird's internal physiological state — hunger — is linked to the presence of walnuts and hard surfaces. That is, physiology that encourages conditioned food-procurement behavior based on past success is what causes a crow to fly above hard surfaces and drop nuts, not the crow's logic about how to best satiate its hunger.

Looking to proximate causes for animal behavior is a difficult concept for humans to accept. We assume that because we know why we do things, other animals doing something similar must also know, and we anthropomorphize their behavior. But that kind of reasoning lacks the rigor needed to truly understand animal cognition.

It is more logical to explain gorilla behavior, and indeed most of the things that animals do, without attributing to them any of our powers of imagination, especially where baby making and biological paternity are concerned.
This principle is particularly difficult for dog owners and other animal lovers to accept. They typically insist that their pets are conscious, and experience all sorts of human emotions.

I previously criticized rich explanations for monkey morality, when a lean explanation suffices. I am beginning to think that a lot of rich explanations of human behavior are also unwarranted.

Update: From Bizarro:


Here is an Economist mag essay on how smart animals are.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Freedom means permitting Islam criticism

I keep seeing people make the argument that we must not criticize Islam, or blame Islam for terrorism and other problems, because doing so just helps ISIS or Al Qaeda recruit more jihadists.

The argument says that ISIS et al must convince their followers that Islam and Christendom are locked in a long-term war for Earth domination. Maybe if we are nicer to them, they will stop attacking us.

Many high officials have give variations of this argument, including Hillary Clinton. I would vote against her just for that.

The problem with the argument is that it takes two sides to make peace, but only one side to make war. ISIS et al can be at war with us, whether we like it or not.

The opportunity for pacifism is long gone anyway. The USA has already taken sides in Islamic wars in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Libya, Syria, and probably a few other countries where we have sent drone missions.

Western countries have started to suppress free speech, in order to try to placate Islamic enemies. It will not work.

Some say that we need to persuade Islam to reform itself, as maybe only 20% of the billion or so Moslems believe in killing infidels. I do not know whether this can work, but it has not worked for the last millennium.

At any rate, saying that we must not criticize Islam is anti-American and offensive. We cannot be free if we are not even free to criticize those who are trying to kill us.

Update: Here is George Soros arguing that support Trump and Cruz is somehow siding with the terrorists.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Ethics of telling lies

Gerald Dworkin has a list of lies that he says are all justified:
1. A man lies to his wife about where they are going in order to get her to a place where a surprise birthday party has been organized.

2. A young child is rescued from a plane crash in a very weakened state. His parents have been killed in the crash but he is unaware of this. He asks about his parents and the attending physician says they are O.K. He intends to tell the truth once the child is stronger.

3. Your father suffers from severe dementia and is in a nursing home. When it is time for you to leave he becomes extremely agitated and often has to be restrained. On the occasions when you have said you would be back tomorrow he was quite peaceful about your leaving. You tell him now every time you leave that you will be back tomorrow knowing that in a very short time after you leave he will have forgotten what you said.

4. A woman’s husband drowned in a car accident when the car plunged off a bridge into a body of water. It was clear from the physical evidence that he desperately tried to get out of the car and died a dreadful death. At the hospital where his body was brought his wife asked the physician in attendance what kind of death her husband suffered. He replied, “He died immediately from the impact of the crash. He did not suffer.”

5. In an effort to enforce rules against racial discrimination “testers” were sent out to rent a house. First, an African-American couple claiming to be married with two children and an income that was sufficient to pay the rent would try to rent a house. If they were told that the house was not available, a white tester couple with the same family and economic profile would be sent. If they were offered the rental there would be persuasive evidence of racial discrimination.

6. In November of 1962, during the Cuban Missile crisis, President Kennedy gave a conference. When asked whether he had discussed any matters other than Cuban missiles with the Soviets he absolutely denied it. In fact, he had promised that the United States would remove missiles from Turkey.

7. A woman interviewing for a job in a small philosophy department is asked if she intends to have children. Believing that if she says (politely) it’s none of their business she will not get the job, she lies and says she does not intend to have a family.

8. In order to test whether arthroscopic surgery improved the conditions of patients’ knees a study was done in which half the patients were told the procedure was being done but it was not. Little cuts were made in the knees, the doctors talked as if it were being done, sounds were produced as if the operation were being done. The patients were under light anesthesia. It turned out that the same percentage of patients reported pain relief and increased mobility in the real and sham operations. The patients were informed in advance that they either would receive a real or a sham operation.

9. I am negotiating for a car with a salesperson. He asks me what the maximum I am prepared to pay is. I say $15,000. It is actually $20,000.

10. We heap exaggerated praise on our children all the time about their earliest attempts to sing or dance or paint or write poems. For some children this encouragement leads to future practice, which in turn promotes the development–in some — of genuine achievement.
I thought that I would be more likely to justify lying that some philosophy columnist showing off his ethics, but I found the opposite.

(2) and (4) are cruel, and ought to be contrary to medical ethics.

(5) is entrapment, and it ought to be illegal to build a case against someone this way.

(6) is treasonous, and ought to be grounds for impeachment. I could understand keeping a secret from the public if there is a national security purpose in keeping from the Russians. But here, the enemy knows the info, and the American citizens do not. No excuse.

(7) involves an illegal question.

(8) is also a violation of medical ethics, if it involves a lie. If proper protocols are followed, then there is no need to lie.

(10) is harmful to the kid.

Update: The philosopher tries to justify the lies.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

NPR Xmas story

I was just listening to NPR world news, and it had a long "uplifting" Christmas story about an American Christian girl from Arkansas who was determined to expand her horizons. So she lived in China for 4 years, and met a Muslim man at an "interfaith dinner" and married him. She said that she married him because she wanted a religiously mixed marriage. After 9-11, she wanted to make a statement against Islamophobia. The segment ended with him badmouthing Donald Trump.

I never hear anyone on NPR radio who supports Trump. NPR host Neal Conan said something in 2011 that had some linguistic similarity to something Trump recently said, so now Conan is apologizing! I guess he does not want anyone to think that he used a time machine to support Trump.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Social meda will control political speech

Infowars reports:
China’s largest social networks have partnered with the country’s Communist government to create a credit score system that will measure how obedient its citizens are, a chilling prospect that could one day arrive in America if social justice warriors get their way.

Entitled ‘Sesame Credit’, the program, “Aims to create a docile, compliant citizenry who are fiscally and morally responsible by employing a game-like format to create self-imposed, group social control. In other words, China gamified peer pressure to control its citizenry; and, though the scheme hasn’t been fully implemented yet, it’s already working — insidiously well,” reports Zero Hedge.

Sesame Credit is operated by Alibaba and Tencent, two companies that run all the top social networks in China, including Weibo, which has over 200 million users. It works by measuring not only purchase and bill paying history but also “political compliance.”

“Among the things that will hurt a citizen’s score are posting political opinions without prior permission, or posting information that the regime does not like, such as about the Tiananmen Square massacre that the government carried out to hold on to power, or the Shanghai stock market collapse. It will hurt your score not only if you do these things, but if any of your friends do them,” warns the ACLU.

In other words, people will face the threat of not only becoming a target of state surveillance, but also losing their friends if they express political views frowned upon by the state. This social pressure would obviously make individuals far less likely to criticize the government or to counter a dominant social narrative. The credit scores can also be seen by anyone, adding the further burden of potential public shaming for controversial opinions.
I would not be surprised if Facebook and Twitter do something similar soon. They are already complying with Germany to suppress criticism of immigration policy.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Office jargon

Good list of office jargon:

1. Blue sky thinking (freedom to think without influence or preconception)
2. Think outside the box (think creatively)
3. Touch base offline (let’s actually meet IRL and talk)
4. Close of play (by the end of the day)
5. Going forward (in future, from now on)
6. No brainer (it’s so obvious)
7. Action that (put into practice)
8. Drill down (investigate thoroughly)
9. Thought shower (fancy new word for a brainstorm)
what are you talking about
10. Flogging a dead horse (wasting your efforts)
11. Hot desking (sharing several desks with colleagues and their germs)
12. Heads up (a notification, forewarning)
13. It’s on my radar (I’m aware of it, I’m considering it)
14. Joined up thinking (thinking about all the facts as a whole)
15. Bring to the table (the contribution offered to the group)
16. Punch a puppy (to do something detestable but good for the business)
17. Run this up the flagpole (try something out)
18. Cracking the whip (to use your authority to make someone work better)
19. Moving the goalposts (changing the criteria)
20. EOP (end of play)
21. Working fingers to the bone (working very hard)
22. Game changer (something that causes a fundamental shift)
23. It’s not rocket science (it’s not difficult)
24. Hit the ground running (start work quickly
25. Ping (get back to, send, as in email)
26. Low hanging fruit (easy win business)
27. Singing from the same hymn sheet (all on the same page, all in agreement as to what the plan is)
28. Strategic staircase (business plan)
29. Park something (hold an idea, potentially for later use)
30. Benchmark (point of reference)
31. COB (close of business)
32. Reach out (contact)
33. Re-inventing the wheel (spending time developing something that already exists)
34. Dot the Is and cross the Ts (pay attention)
35. Best practice (most effective way)
36. Al Desko (lunch at the desk)
37. Backburner (de-prioritise)
38. Pick it up and run with it (move ahead with an idea)
39. Play hardball (act forcefully)
40. This idea has legs (it’s a good idea that has lasting appeal)
41. Synergy (these things will work well together and complement one another)
42. I’m swamped (you’re just busy, ok?)
43. It’s a win / win (it’s good for both sides)
44. Look under the bonnet (analyse the situation)
45. Quick and dirty (rapid solution that might not be the most well-developed or elegant but will do the trick)
46. Peel the onion (examine the problem later by layer)
47. Out of the loop (not involved in the decision-making process, not up to date with developments)
48. Wow factor (amazing, eye-catching appeal)
49. Helicopter view (broad view of the business)
50. Elevator pitch (brief presentation, the broad idea distilled into a 30 second to one-minute pitch, as if you were pitching int he time it took your lift to ascend/descend.)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

New form of climate denialism

I have come to the conclusion, along with many other experts, that if global warming is really a serious problem, then nuclear power is the only practical way to provide the necessary large-scale energy without carbon.

Another possibility might be to start World War III in order to de-populate big Third World countries like China and India, or to otherwise cripple their ability to build coal-fired power plants.

Now I learn that this makes me a climate denialist.

Naomi Oreskes writes in the London Guardian:
There is a new form of climate denialism to look out for – so don't celebrate yet

At the exact moment in which we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel, we’re being told that renewable sources can’t meet our energy needs

After the signing of a historic climate pact in Paris, we might now hope that the merchants of doubt – who for two decades have denied the science and dismissed the threat – are officially irrelevant.

But not so fast. There is also a new, strange form of denial that has appeared on the landscape of late, one that says that renewable sources can’t meet our energy needs.

Oddly, some of these voices include climate scientists, who insist that we must now turn to wholesale expansion of nuclear power. Just this past week, as negotiators were closing in on the Paris agreement, four climate scientists held an off-site session insisting that the only way we can solve the coupled climate/energy problem is with a massive and immediate expansion of nuclear power. More than that, they are blaming environmentalists, suggesting that the opposition to nuclear power stands between all of us and a two-degree world.

That would have troubling consequences for climate change if it were true, but it is not.
Note how she uses the term "climate change" to mean the leftist energy agenda. That is, a nuclear shift might solve the global warming problem, but that would be troubling because that is not the energy plan that the leftists want.
Even in the US, where nuclear power is generated in the private sector, it has been hugely subsidized by the federal government, which invested billions in its development in order to prove that the destructive power unleashed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be put to good use. The government also indemnified the industry from accidents, and took on the task of waste disposal – a task it has yet to complete.
This is not true. The nuclear waste problem is mostly created by govt regulations, and the industry has been taxed maybe $50B to build a waste disposal site. The Nevada site was then killed for Democrat political reasons.

Oreskes was also on Science Friday yesterday arguing that scientists were systematically understating the threat of global warming, and urging a carbon tax.

The host suggested that scientists do not want the public to get too alarmed, or they might panic.

She quoted Ashley Montagu: "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

If it is really so essential that the OPEC oil stay in the ground, then somebody should be proposing a war or embargo to stop the export of that oil. The countries do not have the navies to protect their ships on the oceans. And yet no one proposes this. So I guess it is not that big of a problem.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Reasons to accept conspiracy theories

It is useful to believe in certain conspiracy theories, even if they are false. Eg, from 1985 to 2010, Intel and Microsoft appeared to be in a conspiracy where Intel made faster chips and Microsoft made more bloated software to run on them. They both profited from this arrangement because users had to frequently upgrade.

I very much doubt that this was a conspiracy in the literal sense of the CEOs making a secret and nefarious deal. No such explicit deal was needed. But you could explain the business decisions of the companies based on assuming such a deal, and get correct predictions about their business decisions.

I find that most of the time, it is not that useful to worry about whether there is a real conspiracy. I only care whether the conspiracy theory predicts behavior reliably.

For a political example, a lot of campaign donations come from business interests that are pro-immigration. Most voters are anti-immigration, and no politician admits to any influence by bribery. The conspiracy theory would say that the elite donors have conspired with the politicians to promote immigration.

I cannot test this theory by following the politicians into the secret meetings. But I can test it by looking at predictions. The most obvious one is that the anti-immigration candidates would be the ones independent of big donor money. Sure enuf, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the most anti-immigration candidates, even tho they have very little else in common.

Theory confirmed.

For another example, there are web sites that complain about White Genocide, and act as if there is a world-wide conspiracy to exterminate white Christian culture. Often Jews are blamed, altho a majority of the alleged conspirators are non-Jews.

I cannot see how any such conspiracy could exist, or how that many Jews could ever agree on anything. But that is the wrong way to look at it. What does the theory predict, and how can those predictions be tested?

The theory predicts that Europe would be flooded with Moslem migrants, and that white Christians would be blamed for all sorts of things that defy reason.

The web sites that talk about white genocide have some wacky stuff. I found one that calls Taylor Swift a Nazi! The author meant it as a compliment, I guess, but then found that others called her a Nazi for other reasons. It is hard to tell, as many of these opinions appear tongue-in-cheek.

Of course Swift is not a Nazi. But does saying that fit into a useful theory?

Consider an ant colony. The ants all appear to be cooperating in some master plan for the good of the colony. But they do not seem capable of a conspiracy, as they only have minimal intelligence and communication abilities. Even lower life forms, such as plants and bacteria, appear to act with a coordinated purpose sometimes. The conspiracy theory is a useful metaphor for explaining the behavior.

Likewise it is a useful metaphor for human groups. Lot of human groups act as if they are part of a conspiracy in their behavior, voting, and political actions.

The obvious response to this is that there is no document detailing how the group is getting its orders, and that there are individuals in the group who do not appear to be on board with the program.

But you could say the same about ants. There is no master plan, and if you watch carefully, you can find individual ants who are not doing what they are supposed to do.

People object to any group comment anyway, such as this NY Times op-ed:
The word “Muslim,” without any further qualification, and the word “person,” are, for practical purposes, synonymous.
Is the NY Times really so stupid as to think that the word Muslim has no meaning?

No, it makes more sense to say that the NY Times is part of a conspiracy. They want to defend Muslims and attack Trump, but that does not explain it, because they almost surely like Trump better than Muslims. No, they hate the Americanism that Trump stands for, and so do the Muslims. The NY Times and the Muslims behave as if they are in a conspiracy to undermine America.

Stefan Molyneux made a video on How to Destroy the World. It sounds like a complete crazy conspiracy theory, until you compare it to what is actually happening in the world. Then it seems like a documentary. The only implausible part is that people are really intending to destroy the world this way. But do the intentions matter? We cannot be sure of the intentions of others, so it is better to focus on results, and on theories that explain results.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Islam is not a religion

A WSJ letter says:
Islam isn’t a religion in the Western sense of the word. It is in fact an all-encompassing religious-political-legal system. Muhammad wasn’t only a prophet, he was chief of state, supreme judge and top general of the army of conquest. He presided over an entire system of law called Shariah. While a relatively small percentage of Muslims embrace terrorism, a much larger number support this Islamic worldview.

Until we recognize that we are engaged in a war of ideas (freedom and democracy versus theocracy) rather than a war of methods (i.e., terrorism), we are doomed to lose.
Opposition to Islam has very little to do with what is usually called religion.

A lot of people seem to think that Islam can be reformed by teaching the next generation that killing infidels is a good way to get to heaven, or by teaching girls to attend college or wear more revealing clothes. If they could only reduce their religion to praying at the mosque, they no one would care about them. But Islam cannot be separated this way.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The discontinuous distinction fallacy

Whenever someone wants to make a distinction, there is often some fool arguing that distinctions are impossible. Maybe this is one of Zeno's paradoxes, but it is probably too stupid.

So people argue that you cannot distinguish day and night, innocent and guilty, white and black.

Here is the latest example, from a NY Times op-ed:
Donald J. Trump’s scandalous proposal that the United States bar entry to all Muslims — though he later clarified his view that American citizens and a few others might be allowed in — raises two fundamental but largely unaddressed questions: Who and what is a “Muslim”?

Mr. Trump presupposes that the government could create an immigration policy that discriminates against Muslims. But implementing such a policy would be completely impossible under the current circumstances.

How would consular or immigration officials determine who is, and is not, a Muslim? This is the most obvious question, but almost no one is asking it. Instead, the debate churns on as if this problem does not exist. ...

While my father was a devout Sunni Muslim, my mother remains a devout Anglican Christian. ...

Seen in this light, the range of Muslim beliefs and behaviors is more or less indistinguishable from that of the rest of humanity. The word “Muslim,” without any further qualification, and the word “person,” are, for practical purposes, synonymous. One doesn’t actually tell you anything meaningful beyond what is already suggested by the other.
The USA does have to decide whom to let in, and often religion is a factor. If his devout Muslim father makes him a security risk, then that is a good reason to deny him a visa.

Mathematically, it is obviously possible to have a discontinuous function of a continuous parameter.

If it turns out to be truly impossible to figure out whether someone from Lebanon is likely to plant pipe bombs, then maybe we should not let anyone in from Lebanon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Feds refuse to look at terrorist Facebook pages

I posted below about academic leftists pretending to take a great and good moral stance by opposing govt surveillance. Now we have a good example of how such stances are killing people. ABC News reports:
Fearing a civil liberties backlash and “bad public relations” for the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused in early 2014 to end the secret U.S. policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing the social media messages of all foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, according to a former senior department official.

“During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process,” John Cohen, a former acting under-secretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis. Cohen is now a national security consultant for ABC News.
I am all in favor of privacy and civil liberties, but we have jihadi Ialamic terrorists applying for visas to come to the USA, and declaring their allegiance to ISIS on their Facebook pages, and our immigration officials are not allowed to check it out!

This is really sick. People are saying that it is against common sense, but that understates the problem. We have shitlibs, cuckservatives, and leftist elites who are doing everything to destroy this country. I hate to think what electing Hillary Clinton in 2016 could do.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cryptology professor has moral crisis

Bruce Schneier reports:
Phil Rogaway has written an excellent paper titled "The Moral Character of Cryptography Work." In it, he exhorts cryptographers to consider the morality of their research, and to build systems that enhance privacy rather than diminish it.
Rogaway's 46-page essay explains that he conducts his own personal inquisition:
Nowadays I ask computer-science faculty candidates to explain their view on the ethical responsibilities of computer scientists. Some respond like a deer in headlights, unsure what such a question could even mean. One recent faculty candidate, a data-mining researcher whose work seemed a compendium of DoD funded projects for socially reprehensible aims, admitted that she felt no social responsibility. “I am a body without a soul,” she earnestly explained. It was sincere — and creepy.
Rogaway is the creepy one here. It is more likely that she sensed his knee-jerk leftist disapproval, and chose not to give a political defense of her work in a job interview that is supposed to ignore such matters.

Here is his justification:
Mass surveillance has motivated the contents of this essay, but is it so serious a thing? Before the Snowden revelations, I myself didn’t really think so. Environmental problems seemed more threatening to man’s future, and my country’s endless wars seemed more deserving of moral consternation. It wasn’t until Snowden that I finally internalized that the surveillance issue was grave, was closely tied to our values and our profession, and was being quite misleadingly framed.

This essay was set in motion by the courage of Edward Snowden.
This is hard to take. What Snowden revelations tipped him over?

I doubt that any of those revelations was any great surprise. Rogaway is at the center of the cryptology community, and those issues have always been discussed a lot. His essay show a lot of desire to take a moral stand on something, but he doesn't really say anything about any specific Snowden or NSA issue.
The Russell–Einstein manifesto galvanized the peace movement. It launched the Pugwash Movement, for which Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences themselves would eventually share the Nobel Peace Prize (1995). Rotblat credits the manifesto for helping to create the conditions that gave rise to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT,1970).
Did it make the world safer? I doubt it.

The pacifist academics might feel better after announcing that they are in favor of world peace, but their Doomsday Clock is in nearly its most precarious position. Go figure. The physicists who helped build better bombs have prevented another world war. With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that the threat of nuclear war kept the Cold War cold, and the military programs that brought down the Soviet empire were precisely the ones that the leftist pacifists opposed the most.
But a creeping surveillance that grows organically in the public and private sectors, that becomes increasingly comprehensive, entwined, and predictive, that becomes an instrument for assassination, political control, and the maintenance of power — well, this vision doesn’t merely seem possible, it seems to be happening before our eyes.
Yes, it is happening, and it is being led by Google, Facebook, Apple, banks, IRS, Obamacare, credit agencies, and data resellers. These are all vastly more invasive than the NSA, but Rogaway is strangely silent about them.

As explained here, the surveillance state is essential to Leftism and Leftism is essential to the surveillance state. The only way to oppose the surveillance state is to oppose Leftism.

The cypherpunks are libertarians, but most of the professors like Rogaway are leftists. There is nothing moral about his stance unless he is willing to address what Leftism is doing to the world.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Trump is the last free man

The mainstream news media is really starting to disgust me.

Complaining that Justice Scalia is a racist, because he asked a lawyer to respond to an argument in an amicus brief during oral argument.

Attacking Donald Trump for wanting to expel all Muslims, when what he said was that he wanted a "shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on." The only way to disagree with this is to argue that we should let Muslims enter while we do not know what is going on.

Constant name-calling of Trump as a fascist, nazi, or new Hitler. You only see this from people who have no coherent arguments.

These are just the latest examples. Almost everything they say, from global warming to politics, can be explained by a hatred for American values.

Trump is the last free man. He can say that the emperor has no clothes because no one owns him. For that, he is both admired and hated.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Car bot snitches to cops

I am convinced that robots are taking over modern life, and people will voluntarily become slaves to them.

Here is the latest:
Car calls 911 after alleged hit-and-run, driver arrested

A Ford safety feature has also turned out to be a way to track badly-behaved drivers. ...

57-year-old woman Cathy Bernstein allegedly hit a truck before ploughing into a van on Prima Vista Boulevard, fleeing the scene after each collision. While Bernstein allegedly ran for the hills, her car had already recorded the crash and automatically contacted 911 after recording the time and date of the collision.

The car's safety features, used by by Ford, BMW and other automakers, make use of sensors and Internet connectivity to shave down the time emergency responders take to get to the scene of an accident. ...< By 2018, every new vehicle sold within the grasp of the European Union must have this kind of emergency responder technology installed.

The technology will not stop there. Soon the police will not have to drive to her to arrest her. A command will be sent to her car to lock the doors and windows, and drive her to the local jail.

Dilbert thinks we are all moist robots.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Diversity threatens free speech

NPR reports on a new US Supreme Court case:
Abigail Fisher's lawyers contend that, in any event, holistic review is unnecessary because the Top 10 Percent law creates enough diversity. Moreover, for the first time in this case, the Fisher legal forces seem to challenge the idea, previously accepted by the Court, that universities have a compelling interest in admitting a diverse student body in the first place.

Justice Kennedy, likely the key vote in Wednesday's case, has long agreed that having a diverse student body is sufficiently important to justify consideration of race in admissions, but only if all other race-neutral systems have been tried and failed — like consideration of economic status.
I thought that the main argument for diversity in colleges was to encourage a broader range of opinion and discussion. But events of this fall have proved just the opposite. A diverse student body is the biggest barrier to free speech, because of complaints that some views are offensive or insensitive to certain groups.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How Moslems blame America for terrorism

Pres. Obama and others keep telling us that Moslems are really peaceful, and the vast majority reject terrorism. If that is true, why don't I see them condemning the terrorism?

The usual answer is that American Moslems are represented by CAIR, which regularly condemns terrorist incidents.

No, CAIR is founded by terrorists, and here is their their latest condemnation of terrorism:
Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Hussam Ayloush appeared on CNN following the attacks in San Bernardino, California, and said that America bears part of the blame for terror attacks in the country (video below).

Ayloush spoke with "New Day" host Chris Cuomo, condemning the killings in California at the hands of a Muslim couple believed to be ISIS supporters.

“Let’s not forget that some of our own foreign policy, as Americans, as the west, have fueled that extremism,” he said. The United States’ support for regimes in the Middle East like Egypt “push people over the edge.”

“Then they become extremists,” Ayloush said. “We are partly responsible. Terrorism is a global problem, not a Muslim problem. And the solution has to be global. Everyone has a role in it.”

The San Bernardino attacks were carried out by Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, and took the lives of 14 people at a holiday party.

Malik allegedly pledged her allegiance to ISIS prior to the attacks, Fox News reported.
So CAIR condemns terrorism by blaming America for it.

To me, this just means that CAIR is justifying the Moslem terrorism.

NPR reports that many American Moslems are irritated by Obama's distinction between true Islam and violent extremists. They deny any responsibility to disavow the extremists.

Polls have shown that 20-30% of American Muslims endorse violent, extremist, and anti-American views. There are similar percentages in Europe, and higher percentages in the Arab world.

Leftist Vox writes:
100 years ago, Americans talked about Catholics the way they talk about Muslims today ... the fears led to serious violence: Lynch mobs killed Catholic Italians, arsonists burned down Catholic churches, and there were anti-Catholic riots. It was a similar sentiment to the kind of Islamophobia today
So today Muslims are killing people, and a century ago people were killing Catholics. And that makes Muslims like Catholics? No, these analogies are really bad. There are no Catholic groups plotting war against non-Catholics.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Merkel is Time man of the year

Time mag announces:
The blowback has come fast and from all sides. Donald Trump called Merkel “insane” and called the refugees “one of the great Trojan horses.” German protesters called her a traitor, a whore; her allies warned of a popular revolt, and her opponents warned of economic collapse and cultural suicide. The conservative Die Welt published a leaked intelligence report warning about the challenge of assimilating a million migrants: “We are importing Islamic extremism, Arab anti-Semitism, national and ethnic conflicts of other people as well as a different understanding of society and law.” Her approval ratings dropped more than 20 points, even as she broadcast her faith in her people: “Wir schaffen das,” she has said over and over. “We can do this.” ...

At a moment when much of the world is once more engaged in a furious debate about the balance between safety and freedom, the Chancellor is asking a great deal of the German people, and by their example, the rest of us as well. To be welcoming. To be unafraid. ... and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply, Angela Merkel is TIME’s Person of the Year.
I predicted this, as she is just what the Hatrix wanted to destroy Europe. She may even get the Nobel Peace Prize next year.

Trump will be next year's Time man of the year.

When columnists influenced voters

Joseph Epstein writes in the WSJ:
Like many Jews, my father was an ardent supporter of Franklin Roosevelt. So much so that in the 1930s he wouldn’t allow the then-isolationist Chicago Tribune in the house. My father’s dislike of the paper was so fierce that once, when he had a flat tire in a snowstorm and the driver of a Tribune delivery truck pulled over to help, my father told him to bugger off. “That,” he used to say when telling the story, “shows you how stupid politics can make you.”

In 1952, during the first Eisenhower-Stevenson election campaign, I asked my father for whom he was going to vote, fairly certain of the answer ( Adlai Stevenson). He surprised me by saying that before making a decision he was waiting to see which way the columnist Walter Lippmann was going. Lippmann, though he would have much preferred to lunch with Stevenson, went for Eisenhower. He did so because he thought the great war hero had a better chance than Stevenson of closing down Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s Communist witch hunt.
Lippmann coined the term "stereotype".

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Suppressing info on accuracy of stereotypes

Quillette reports:
It was Lee Jussim. He had come to the Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology to talk about left-wing bias in social psychology.

Left-wing bias, he said, was undermining his field. Graduate students were entering the field in order to change the world rather than discover truths1. Because of this, he said, the field was riddled with flaky research and questionable theories.

Jussim’s talk began with one of the most egregious examples of bias in recent years. He drew the audience’s attention to the paper: “NASA faked the moon landing – therefore (climate) science is a hoax.” ...

Reactions to Jussim’s findings about the accuracy of stereotypes have varied on the scale between lukewarm and ice cold. At Stanford this year after giving a talk, an audience member articulated a position reflected by many within his field:

“Social psychologists should be not be studying whether people are accurate in perceiving groups! They should be studying how situations create disadvantage.” ...

It is not uncommon for social psychologists to list “the promotion of social justice” as a research topic on their CVs, or on their university homepages.
The whole field is corrupt to the core. They publish 1000s of papers on stereotypes, but they will not tell you about the accuracy of stereotypes.

Speaking of stereotypes, Max Berger calls himself a "Jewish socialist" publishes a rant against white Christians in The Nation. See this for criticism.

Yes, I know The Nation is an extreme leftist magazine and this sort of hatred is expected, but it appears that these folks are becoming more and more overt about their hatred for white Christians. Much of what they say and do can be explained by this hatred.

The racist left is increasingly intolerant of free speech:
Colorado College has suspended and banned a student from campus for nearly two years in response to a comment intended as a joke on the anonymous social media application Yik Yak.

In November 2015, Thaddeus Pryor sent an anonymous reply to the comment “#blackwomenmatter” on Yik Yak. Pryor’s response read, “They matter, they’re just not hot.” On November 20, Colorado College found that Pryor’s post violated its “Abusive Behavior” and “Disruption of College Activities” policies and suspended him from the college until August 28, 2017. In the meantime, the college has banned Pryor from setting foot on campus and has forbidden him from taking classes at other institutions for academic credit. Pryor has appealed his suspension.
This is pretty crazy. The kid should have every right to express that opinion, as it is probably the opinion of the great majority of the population.

Meanwhile Yale U has ousted a couple of teachers just for saying it was okay Halloween costumes from another culture. This is just more leftist anti-white hatred.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Why nothing will reduce poverty

Liberal blogger (and Jewish social justice warrior, in spite of the name) Matthew Yglesias writes on Vox:
One consequence of this is that we have massively improved the educational credentials of people living below the poverty line, ...

During this time, the overall poverty rate has risen by 1.1 percentage points. This ought to cast some doubt on the idea that further increases in educational attainment are going to cure poverty over time. ...

To reduce poverty, you either need to address those barriers or you need to just hand over some money.
He is a little confused about how the poverty rate is measured. It is based on comparing earned income to the cost of food in 1963, with various inflation adjustments. A man can have all of his food paid by food stamps, and it will not affect whether he is below the poverty rate.

The poverty rate is kept alive by people who believe that relative poverty is more important than absolute poverty. So the rate is calculated so that about 15% of the American population will always be below the poverty line. They could be living like kings on welfare benefits, but the poverty industry will still say that there is an inequality that ought to be addressed.

So poverty will not be reduced by education or anything else, as it is measured. It is just something for social justice warriors to whine about.

How the lawyer party forces us into court

Here is an explanation for why we are overlawyered:
The United States is already the most litigious society in the world. We spend about 2.2 percent of gross domestic product, roughly $310 billion a year, or about $1,000 for each person in the country on tort litigation, much higher than any other country. This includes the costs of tort litigation and damages paid to victims. About half of this total is for transactions costs — mostly legal fees. ...

Law is the profession that’s best represented in the US Congress. ...

The theoretical consideration is that lawyer-legislators can, by deciding on statutory law, affect the very basis of their business and that this is particularly the case for tort law. A look at the raw data (figure below) indicates that lawyer-legislators are less likely to support reforms that restrict tort law than legislators with a different professional background. ...

Overall, the findings are consistent with the hypothesis that lawyer-legislators, at least in part, pursue their private interests when voting on tort issues. From a broader perspective, the results highlight the relevance of legislators’ identities and individual professional interests for economic policy making. ...

Though fewer than one in 200 Americans has a law licence, the profession can lay claim to a third of the current House of Representatives and to more than half the seats in the Senate.

For comparison, in both Britain’s House of Commons and its Canadian counterpart just one in seven members is a lawyer, and one in 15 deputies in the French AssemblĂ©e Nationale.
The article does not mention that the Democrat Party has become the lawyer party. The great majority of Democrat leaders, presidential candidates, cabinet secretaries, and advisors have been lawyers in recent years. Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and the others are lawyers and primarily associate with lawyers. Most major Republicans have not been lawyers.

Being a lawyer if very corrupting to one's worldview. Obama and the Clintons have attitudes that they can do whatever they can get away with, and give very legalistic and evasive justifications when pressed.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Illuminating the Hatrix

While most of the world is concern about Moslem hatred for infidels, Pres. Barack Obama's Attorney General says:
Since 9/11, we’ve had over a thousand investigations into acts of anti-Muslim hatred, including rhetoric and bigoted actions, with over 45 prosecutions arising out of that….
45 prosecutions for anti-Islam opinions? I hope not, as I thought we had free speech.

I enjoyed this CH rant, where he uses his own jargon:
Although the subject of this post won’t be a surprise to those plugged into the Hatrix, it bears repeating, and hopefully I will have added some clarity to help dread pill newbs grope their way to illumination.

The overwhelming majority of the major media outlets are owned, operated, and staffed by equalist leftoids practiced in the art of sophistry and antiWhite propaganda. You can search on DuckDuckGo for the relevant data; it’s easy to find. A ballpark figure: 85-90% of journo grads are registered Democrats.

The media – aka the Hivemind – hasn’t always been this moodily affiliated. Maybe it leaned liberal sixty years ago, but that lean has turned into a pipeline funneling the entire industry into the dankest leftie sewage tank.

The public, though, hasn’t “progressed” nearly as far as the media has. The result is a growing disconnect between the media and the public; a disconnect that has widened so much that the media no longer feel any emotional resonance with the reading and viewing public they are supposed to serve. Worse, the leftoids running the media industrial complex feel a powerful antagonism to the public, which manifests as an unrepentant, almost giddy, compulsion to force feed the public whatever race creationist nonsense and lies the media wants the public to imbibe.
I think that "Hatrix" is a clever play on Hate and Matrix. It suggests that our news media and public institutions are programmed to hate Americanism.

Just look at their hatred of Donald Trump, and of the whole idea of making America great. Look at how they make heroes out of anti-American frauds like the clock boy. The hatred extends to our highest levels of government.

Update: Tomorrow's NY Times says:
The New York Times is running an editorial on its front page on Saturday, the first time the paper has done so since 1920, calling for greater regulation on guns in the aftermath of a spate of mass shootings.
The editorial starts:
All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the latest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are searching for motivations, including the vital question of how the murderers might have been connected to international terrorism. That is right and proper.

But motives do not matter to the dead in California, ...
The NY Times is at the center of the Hatrix, and it has argued for decades that the USA have policies that result in importing America-hating terrorists, like the California killers. The Hatrix wants a war against white Christian cis-gendered males.

I expect law-abiding Americans to buy more guns to protect themselves from the war the Hatrix is pushing.

Update: The Sunday NY Times Magazine has an article favoring hating white Christian people:
Whiteness is not a kinship or a culture. White people are no more closely related to one another, genetically, than we are to black people. ... Whiteness is not who you are. Which is why it is entirely possible to despise whiteness without disliking yourself.
This is nonsense, of course. White people are genetically distinct from black people, and you can easily have your genes analyzed to find your ancestral groups.

Update: The NY Times posted its list of the 10 best books of the year, and it includes a couple of books about hating white people.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Some future benefit they will never see

NY Times columnist David Brooks writes about global warming deals:
You’re asking people to impose costs on themselves today for some future benefit they will never see. You’re asking developing countries to forswear growth now to compensate for a legacy of pollution from richer countries that they didn’t benefit from. You’re asking richer countries that are facing severe economic strain to pay hundreds of billions of dollars in “reparations” to India and such places that can go on and burn mountains of coal and take away American jobs. And you’re asking for all this top-down coercion to last a century, without any enforcement mechanism.
No one should agree to any of those things.

Developing countries only have economic growth because they are benefiting from Western industrialization. If they really think that they did not benefit from CO2 emissions, then maybe we should withdraw modern technology and free them from our influence.

He put his finger on what liberals really want: "top-down coercion to last a century". They just need an enforcement mechanism.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Inciting stochastic terrorism

Here is an attack from Christian-hating leftists:
Here’s how far-right Christians incited stochastic terrorism at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood ...

Republican members of the Religious Right incited violence as predictably as if they had issued a call for Christian abortion foes to take up arms. Inciting violence this way is called stochastic terrorism:
“Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.”
In an incident of stochastic terrorism, the person who pulls the trigger gets the blame. He — I use the male pronoun deliberately because the triggerman is almost always male — may go to jail or even be killed during his act of violence. Meanwhile, the person or persons who have triggered the triggerman, in other words, the actual stochastic terrorists, often go free, protected by plausible deniability. ...

The triggerman is in custody. But the real perpetrators likely will continue to have access to pulpits, radio stations, town halls, and television, where they will express carefully crafted dismay about the carnage, hoping we all won’t notice that the hands clutching the podium are covered in blood.
The "far-right Christians" are claimed to be people like Marco Rubio.

The word "stochastic" is a fancy word for "random". I suppose a rant about "random terrorism" would sound too stupid.

This was not much of a remote-control murder, as no Planned Parenthood workers or patients were harmed in the incident. The attacker has no known connection to any Christian or right-wing group. And no such group supports what he did.

But Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, the NY Times, MSNBC, and others are regularly inciting black criminals to kill white cops. The violent crime rate is way up in cities with large black populations.

And according to polls, millions of Moslems support terrorist murders of infidels.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Philosophers and utilitarians are psychopaths

There are philosophers are ethics who come to conclusions that most people reject as being obviously wrong. Here is a popular example:
You probably know the drill: there is an out of control trolley about to kill five people on the tracks, but you have nearby a lever that you can pull to divert the trolley on a different track, where it will kill only one person. Would you do it? What if instead of the lever you have to personally push a large man off a bridge and onto the tracks in order to stop the trolley? ...

The standard understanding is that if one is a utilitarian, bent on maximizing happiness and minimizing pain regardless of who benefits or suffer, then you’d both pull the lever and push the man. If you are a Kantian deontologist you will do neither, since in both cases you would be using someone else as a means to your ends, and not as an end in itself, thus violating the categorical imperative.

Funny thing is, empirically it turns out that most people would pull the lever but also refrain from pushing the man, thus indicating an inconsistent view of morality, at the least from the point of view of the two major traditions. ...

Interestingly, there is a minority of people who always make the “utilitarian” decision: they pull the lever, but also push the large man. These subjects, a number of cognitive and social scientists have rushed to tell us on the basis of follow-up personality tests, have the psychological characteristics of sub-clinical psychopathy. The stunning conclusion, then, seems to be that utilitarians are psychopaths!
The term "psychopath" is not the best term for these people, but neither is "utilitarian".

A philosopher would have to be some sort of psychopath to advocate actively murdering a man in order to maximize happiness of the entire society. Many leftists also have strange views about causing harm to people for the supposed good of society.

Self-driving cars may soon be programmed with their own algorithms to the trolley problem. They may even be programmed to kill you, if it avoids killing a couple of pedestrians.

Someday we may all be at the mercy of artificially intelligent robots, and their rules may make you expendable.

Paul Bloom tweets:
Should utilitarians devote their lives to creating sentient artificial beings who are incredibly happy? (ht: @MaxMbloom18)
Yes, that is the logical conclusion of the philosopher-utilitarians.