Apr 13 2013

Lawrence Lessig on US election corruption

Kal @ 20:53

Bipartisan equal opportunity corruption.

There is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens. That's the argument at the core of this blistering talk by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig. With rapid-fire visuals, he shows how the funding process weakens the Republic in the most fundamental way, and issues a rallying bipartisan cry that will resonate with many in the U.S. and beyond.


Category: Politics | misinformation | Morals | Climate Change

Nov 4 2012

Why Mitt Romney Lies

Kal @ 14:03

According to The Baffler Newsletter it is how Mitt gets them to see him as one of them. It is a somewhat long and interesting read. Thanks to Dan Gillmor for bringing this to attention.


In part the New York Times had it right, for as much as it’s worth: Romney’s prevarications are evidence of simple political hucksterism—“short, utterly false sound bites,” repeated“so often that millions of Americans believe them to be the truth.” But the Times misses the bigger picture. Each constituent lie is an instance pointing to a larger, elaborately constructed “truth,” the one central to the right-wing appeal for generations: that liberalism is a species of madness—an esoteric cult of out-of-touch, Europe-besotted ivory tower elites—and conservatism is the creed of regular Americans and vouchsafes the eternal prosperity, security, and moral excellence of God’s chosen nation, which was doing just fine before Bolsheviks started gumming up the works.

A Romney lie in this vein is a pure Ronald Reagan imitation—as in this utterance from 2007: “In France,” Romney announced on the campaign trail, “I’m told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up.” And just as Reagan was found to be reciting film dialogue and jump-cutting anecdotes from his on-screen career into his pseudobiographical reminiscences on the stump, so it turns out that Romney picked up the marriage canard from the Homecoming Saga, a science fiction series written by Mormon author Orson Scott Card. (Another reason for students of Romney’s intellectual development to queasily recall that he told interviewers during that same 2008 presidential run that his favorite work of fiction was Battlefield Earth, the sci-fi opus by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, a consummate shakedown artist in his own right.)

Closing the sale, after all, is mainly a question of riding out the lie: showing that you have the skill and the stones to just brazen it out, and the savvy to ratchet up the stakes higher and higher. Sneering at, or ignoring, your earnest high-minded mandarin gatekeepers—“we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,”as one Romney aide put it—is another part of closing the deal. For years now, the story in the mainstream political press has been Romney’s difficulty in convincing conservatives, finally, that he is truly one of them. For these elites, his lying—so dismaying to the opinion-makers at the New York Times, who act like this is something new—is how he has pulled it off once and for all. And at the grassroots, his fluidity with their preferred fables helps them forget why they never trusted the guy in the first place.


Category: Politics | misinformation | wingnuttery

Nov 3 2012

Are you better off now?

Kal @ 13:48

David Brin had a number of important points in this piece:  Last Minute "Big Picture" Political Snips & Snarks

== Abandoning a Sinking Ship ==

David Stockman – yes, Ronald Reagan’s budget director and top economic advisor, who now helps lead a rising movement to take back conservatism from the monstrous path it has been taken by Rupert Murdoch, shows how – from an entirely conservative perspectivePaul Ryan’s so-called budget-balancing plan, that has the backing of the entire GOP, is loopy to the point of jibbering incoherence.

I don’t agree with all of Stockman’s counter recommendations… he is, after all, a Reagan Conservative and I would argue with him over many of his proposals.

But I acknowledge them to be sane conservative proposals worth discussion by adults. Of the sort that Barry Goldwater or William F. Buckley might have made. Back when top conservatives believed in intellect, in science and facts. And negotiating like adults.


Category: Politics | misinformation

Apr 13 2010

The Mainstream Media Is Too Liberal – Boo Hoo

Kal @ 18:39

Conservatives seem to be constantly complaining that The Media is all LIBERAL. That has never made sense to me, as lots of media types are more conservative than I am, but it is such a common complaint that maybe it is true. I wish I could believe it.

Conservatives feel persecuted and left out of a lot apparently. Today in The Atlantic Megan McArdle wrote a piece about how the poor conservatives are under represented in academia, which I came across via Crooked Timber quoting Megan McArdle:

Conservatives are, not to overlabor the obvious, marginalized in the cultural elite, even though they are powerful in the political elite. (At least some of the time, anyway). Obviously there’s been an enormous amount of ink shed about why this is, but my experience of talking to people who might have liked to go to grad school or work in Hollywood, but went and did something else instead, is that it is simply hogwash when liberals earnestly assure me that the disparity exists mostly because conservatives are different, and maybe dumber. People didn’t try because they sensed that it would be both socially isolating, and professionally dangerous, to be a conservative in institutions as overwhelmingly liberal as academia and media.

There was a lot more of course and Crooked Timber pointed out how ridiculous it all is. Lots of comments mostly agreeing for a variety of reasons, but one comment really caught my eye because it is the reason that I have long thought accounted for why so few conservatives are in these professions, if it is indeed true that conservatives are under represented.

Cervantes 04.13.10 at 8:18 pm

How about the causal story is backwards? See, what happens is, if you learn a lot of true facts, and you work hard to get good at thinking about stuff and understanding how facts can be established or contradicted, and how probably true facts fit together to create productive explanatory models, you generally end up drawing conclusions that don’t correspond to conservative ideology.

So you were qualified for an academic job first, and not so conservative as a consequence. Maybe you aren’t supposed to say that because it isn’t nice or something, I dunno . . .

One of my very conservative friends accuses liberals, especially me, of “having drunk the cool aid.” Given the “cool aid” definition of “applying known facts to produce rational results”, I am happy to accept the compliment.


Category: Politics | misinformation

Feb 19 2010


Kal @ 18:51

The latest wingnut email. I am still researching this to find out what really happened, not that it would prove anything if it is exactly as quoted. Other than, I suppose, that there was a hot spell in 1922 also.

The Arctic  ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and  in some places the seals are finding the water too hot,  according to a report to the Commerce Department  yesterday from Consulit, at  Bergen ,  Norway . Reports  from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point  to a radical change in climate conditions and  hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.  Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice  has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes.  Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the  gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have  been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the  report continued, while at many points well known  glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few  seals and no white fish are found in the eastern  Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts,  which have never before ventured so far north, are  being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.  Within a few years it is predicted that due to the  ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal  cities uninhabitable.



Category: wingnuttery | Sustainability | Politics | misinformation | hoax | Climate Change

Feb 10 2010

Straw men are so easy to knock down - Free Medical for All

Kal @ 11:15

The wingnuts have been kind of quiet lately, or maybe I am just getting bored with their ridiculous content. This one at least had a cute cartoon.

Free Medical Straw Man

Nothing I saw either during the presidential campaign or the subsequent health care battle promised free medical care at all. As I recall, one of the main points is to bring medical costs under control.

But hey, why deal with reality when a lie will do?


Category: wingnuttery | Politics | misinformation

Dec 5 2009

No More Energy Worries

Kal @ 23:24

Yet another wingnut email. This one is somewhat plausible, but wrong none-the-less. I have no idea what Lowell’s comment about the environmentalist means, but the most likely outcome for “all that power” is that it stays in the ground.

Thanks to the environmentalist,  How do we get rid of all that power?

Lowell M

Read the whole report especially the end. This is real eye opener.
Subject: FW: Bakken Oil --More than the rest of the World combined



Category: Climate Change | Conventional Economics | misinformation | Peak Oil | Resource Depletion | wingnuttery

Nov 4 2009

Jesse Helms is dead and gone but the wingnuts remain alive and well in NC

Kal @ 20:33

And apparently in California as well. Wingnut e-mail of the day for November 3. 2009.

Seen on US Hwy 15-501 at  Grove intersection. (near Durham , NC )

North Carolina Sign E-mail and pass this around, keep it going, let the  country know the we can't afford Obama or his CHANGE!!! IF you don't agree, delete it! That is "one" of the rights we still have...

Another possibility if you do not agree is to laugh at it. I wonder if it is an actual sigh or just a Photoshop creation? Either way, it is clear that these e-mails are part of an organized disinformation campaign.

Thanks for the laugh, Mr. Wingnut.


Category: wingnuttery | misinformation

Oct 20 2009

Oh how they love to make up stuff about the Obamas

Kal @ 23:10

Greg took a couple of days off and even looked up the story on FactCheck where it is thoroughly debunked, but I guess he just could not resist, he forwarded it on anyway. It has been obvious for some time that wingnuts do not care about the truth, only the chance to point a finger and snigger to one another.

Fw: The First Lady solves Unemployment problem in US

The new Camelot...........lololol

Something I'm sure you'd love to forward on.  Though it is incorrect, as to the staff for prior First Lady's.



Seriously! First Lady's 22 Assistants.
First Ladies do  have assistants.  A history sampling with background story.  
Laura Bush = one  
Hillary Clinton =  three
Jackie Kennedy =  one
Michelle Obama =  twenty-two

This was followed by detailing these civil servants and their salaries, which I am not going to include because the factcheck link has it all. You can look it up if you care. But I will include the FactCheck answer:

Michelle Obama’s Staff

Q: Does First Lady Michelle Obama have an "unprecedented" number of staffers?

A: A spokeswoman for the first lady says that Michelle Obama currently has a staff of 24. That may indeed be the largest of any first lady, but Hillary Clinton, with 19 staffers, and Laura Bush with at least 18 and perhaps more, weren’t far behind.



Category: wingnuttery | Politics | Morals | misinformation | hoax

Oct 19 2009

This set of lies started about 2004 or earlier

Kal @ 17:47

I am still trying to figure out what the point of this was other than to attack Obama. The original e-mail included photos of each of the presidents, reasonable photos also, but I am going to skip that part and just try to make sense of the text.

If you jump to the end of this piece, you will see that both Snopes and FactCheck debunk it as mostly lies. However, note all the details and the colors. To the extremely gullible it might even seem plausible.



Category: wingnuttery | Politics | hoax | misinformation