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Frank the Hippie Pope gets “corrected”

by Greg Krehbiel on 25 September 2017

62 scholars correct Pope Francis for ‘propagating heresies’

I’m not terribly interested in this topic, except for one observation. There’s a certain kind of person (often its liberals, but not all liberals are this way) who doesn’t do very well in situations where there are fixed standards. Even when those fixed standards can be amended, like with the constitution. It’s as if the idea of having to follow a fixed standard doesn’t resonate. It bores and frustrates them. (Remember Nancy Pelosi’s famous “are you serious” comment.)

You gotta go with the flow, man. Get real. Quit being such a stick in the mud. The world isn’t that way any more.

3 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-09-25  ::  Greg Krehbiel

To kneel or not to kneel

by Greg Krehbiel on 25 September 2017

The whole thing is dumb. Yes, people have a right to free expression, but the NFL also has a right to impose a code of conduct. What they require and what they prohibit says a lot about the NFL, IMO. But no, the president should not be involved, and he most certainly should not be calling people SOBs.

The larger issue to me is whether (1) Trump is simply incapable of controlling himself, and has to mouth off in his crude way, or whether (2) he is crazy like a fox, manipulating everyone into these periodic spasms of outrage as a distraction.

I can imagine him sitting in the White House thinking, “these people. All I have to do is tweet something and the whole world explodes into outrage about this irrelevant stuff. And while they’re distracted ….”

The thing is, it takes a lot of imagination. He doesn’t strike me as that diabolically clever, and I don’t see any amazing things getting done behind the scenes while we’re all distracted about who kneels at a football game.

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-09-25  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Enough is enough, Donald. Grow the Hell up!

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 September 2017

I kinda like Donald Trump. He wasn’t my first choice, by any means, but he has done some fun stuff. I like the way he puts two fingers in the eyes of the politically correct. I love the way he goads and plays the sissies in the media, and forces them to show their true colors. I like the way he speaks hard truths directly, even when it shocks the mincing, over-polite ways of the diplomats. And, generally speaking, I like his policies.

There are also things to dislike about him. He’s got some very childish ego problems. And while he does speak hard truths, he also lies with the best of them. His speech patterns are confusing, and while I feel as if I understand him decently well, he makes it way too easy for people to misunderstand and misinterpret him. Being non-conventional is fine, but it means the conventional people aren’t going to understand.

Having said all that, enough is enough, Donald. This childish “war of words” with KJU has gone way too far. It’s gone past funny and silly into dangerous, and it’s time for him to cut it out. And if he won’t, it’s time for some adults to step in and keep him quiet.

We can’t have someone with Donald’s temper and speech problems in charge of the most deadly military on the planet. Something has to be done to rein him in.

10 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-09-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Trump’s stunning success greeted with scorn about his tone

by Greg Krehbiel on 22 September 2017

Trump scored a major victory yesterday in getting China to clamp down financially on N. Korea, but some people seem to think the more important story is the escalating war of words between Trump and Rocket Man. Have these people considered that maybe it’s because of Trump’s strong language that he’s getting what he wants?

1 comment  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-09-22  ::  Greg Krehbiel

An uninformed thought about the South China Sea

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 September 2017

I grew up thinking of China as a potential bad guy — right after the Soviet Union in importance and level of threat. So I admit to some bias about China.

But just now I was reading a story about the growing tension over the South China Sea, and a strange thought occurred to me.

One reason the U.S. spends a ridiculous amount of money on defense is that we defend large parts of the world. Like the shipping lanes. From what I understand, the U.S. Navy does most of the work keeping the shipping lanes open.

While I generally like the idea of the U.S. being the dominant power in the world, why is that our responsibility? And it would be really nice if we could use some of the money we spend on defense for other things (or better yet, for nothing at all).

At some point that would mean ceding some of that “guard the shipping lanes” responsibility to other countries.

Is there a way to do that — without being stupid chumps? Is there a way that we can tell China, “Hey, this is cool. How about you guys make sure things are free and open in that part of the ocean so we don’t have to worry so much about it?”

As I said, without being stupid chumps. We can’t simply cede control of that part of the world to the Chinese. But it seems there might be options for partnerships, or cooperation, or something. What do you think?

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-09-21  ::  Greg Krehbiel

No time for dialog, I have an appointment with a conclusion

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 September 2017

People who say they trust their gut are more likely to fall for fake news, according to a new study.

The researchers examined data from three nationally representative surveys that asked 12 questions including, “I trust my gut to tell me what’s true and what’s not,” “Evidence is more important than whether something feels true” and “Facts are dictated by those in power.”

As with most surveys, I don’t think a simple answer to any of these questions means that much, since people can interpret them very differently. For example, I don’t see any contradiction between answering yes to all three questions, but I’ll bet many people do. To me, it comes down to what you mean by the question — and the answer.

“I trust my gut” does not mean “I refuse to listen to evidence.” People might apply different rules in different circumstances. And while “fact” ordinarily means something that is objectively true, it can also mean “a piece of information presented as having objective reality, e.g., These are the hard facts of the case.” (Source.) It’s not unreasonable to say that the people in power determine “facts” in that sense.

Some people answer questions literally. If you ask “whether human activity affects climate change” (one of the questions in the survey), these literal-minded people might reason like this: Well, if I pour a cup of water in the swimming pool, the water level in the pool will rise. Maybe not measurably, but it will rise. So there’s no possible way human activity does not affect climate change. Therefore, yes, human activity affects climate change.

Other people answer questions emotionally. “What you’re really asking is whether I’m one of those climate alarmist people who blames everything on SUVs, so I have to say no.”

We like to take mental short cuts. If somebody says “facts are dictated by the people in power,” a lot of people will assume all sorts of things, like that the person who said that doesn’t believe in objective reality. Often that’s not the case. They’re just saying that the people in power control the “facts” we’re presented, which is true to some extent, and seems to be true for people in North Korea.

My impression is that a lot of these surveys suffer from this sort of problem. When we hear that X% of people believe Y, I’m skeptical. I’m pretty certain that if you probed a little deeper you’d find that the person’s position has more nuance to it.

Take almost any survey question you like and it’s relatively easy to see how squishiness in the question and answer can distort the results. E.g.,

Q: Do you believe in God?
A: No. (By which I mean I don’t believe in some grandfatherly figure on a chair up in the sky ruling the cosmos.)

Q: Do you believe in God?
A: Yes. (By which I mean I believe in love, and God is love, so I believe in God.)

Q: Do you believe in God?
A: No. (Actually I do believe in God, but I don’t like the way religious people are influencing society right now so I think it’s important that people believe there are more non-believers out there.)

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-09-21  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Here’s a good short story for you

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 September 2017

It starts off slow, but stick with it. It’s a really good story.

And please pardon the offensive language. It’s a reference to the work of “art” by Andres Serrano.

Piss Christ? Piss Koran

Thanks to Pigweed for forwarding it to me.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-09-21  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Which war was short and decisive?

by Greg Krehbiel on 20 September 2017

This is a very good article.

The real danger to U.S. national security: Why President Trump must not apply ‘prophylactic offense’ to North Korea

History teaches that political and military leaders who argue for military action are always convinced that the resulting war will be short and decisive.

And they rarely are.

3 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-09-20  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Why is “America first” controversial?

by Greg Krehbiel on 20 September 2017

In his (very good) U.N. speech yesterday, Trump made it quite plain that the U.S. will put the U.S. first. I liked this quote from the paper this morning.

President Obama ended his first speech to the United Nations with a call to respect universal rights and the U.N. itself, saying all nations owed an obligation to the international body.

Eight years later, President Trump took a sledgehammer to that framework, saying Tuesday that it is the United Nations that needs to be reformed and declaring that sovereignty of individual nations must be a guiding principle.

What kind of weird perspective do you have to have to think that the president of the United States should not put the U.S. first? In the ordinary humdrum of international relations, every country should act in its own best interests. That seems obvious to me.

I can, of course, imagine situations where a president would not put his country first. If Earth was invaded by aliens, and only the U.S. could save humanity, but only by sacrificing the interests of the U.S., then … okay, yes, in that situation you’d put humanity first.

Some people think we are in that sort of situation, e.g., with the climate. Humanity is in peril, so the U.S. has to put humanity first — at its own cost.

This is one of the reasons many people see environmentalism as a stalking horse for internationalism.

7 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-09-20  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Doesn’t this feel like a scam?

by Greg Krehbiel on 19 September 2017

Climate change not as threatening to planet as previously thought, new research suggests

“The sky is falling! It hit me on the head! We must act now! Before it’s too late. Hurry, hurry, hurry. We only have two or three years.”

Oh, well, that didn’t work. So let’s try the new approach.

“Our predictions were off. We still have time. But not too much time. We have to start preparing.”

8 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-09-19  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2017-09-17 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Antarctica is larger than Europe