The Truth About Fact-Checking Truth and Fiction

 

sorting fact fictionNoodling around the internet, searching on “truth or fiction,” I pulled out truthorfiction.com and mediabiasfactcheck.com. Opening up mediabiasfactcheck.com and reading their “about” page prompted this post. Take as true that a very small organization is dedicated to accurately sorting media sources on the independent left—right and “conspiracy-pseudoscience”—”pro-science” axes. The viewpoint of the team or the team members comprising the organization may not blind, but will at least distort their judgment. If not a blind spot, they will certainly have a cognitive astigmatism. “Fact-checking” political and other value-laden stories was dominated, almost from the beginning, by leftists, who understood the value of controlling information and public perception.

Consider this paragraph from mediabiasfactcheck.com:

The credibility of a website/media source is not determined by who owns them but rather by their track record. Everybody starts as a beginner and, through experience, becomes an authority in their field. MBFC [Media Bias Fact Check] is no different. Over the last 5+ years, we have proven to be a trusted authority on the rating of bias and the credibility of media sources. For example, MBFC is trusted by major media outlets and IFCN fact-checkers. This is evidenced by frequently being referenced by sources such as USA TodayReuters Fact CheckScience FeedbackWashington Post, and NPR, among dozens of others. We are also frequently used as a resource in libraries, high schools, and universities across the United States.

A Historian’s Search for Truth

 

My new book hits the bookstores today: The Vanished Texas Coast. (You can get it at Amazon or Arcadia Publishing if you cannot find it in your local bookstore.) It is a collection of short essays about incidents in Texas maritime history, linked by the theme that they are all largely forgotten.

But they are all linked in a different way. They all represent a historian’s search for truth.

How Long Will We Tolerate Teachers’ Unions Abusing Their Power?

 

Over the past two years, in particular, we have learned a great deal about teachers and their unions, and the picture is a grim and tragic one. Teachers only care about exerting power and controlling the education environment, and the students be damned. School superintendents, administrators can only meekly go along with the unions’ demands, and politicians aren’t willing to sacrifice the political and financial power that the unions wield over them. Everyone has something to gain.

Except our children.

Where are we now, and how did we get to this point?

Reagan’s Legacy of Ashes: Education

 

Reagan EducationWhat does it take for a Republican president to effect real, lasting change? Was President Ronald Reagan a failure beyond the Cold War and the economy? Reagan had two overwhelming Electoral College victories. He did so by assembling a coalition of three different kinds of “conservatives:” religious (social), economic, and security. In the end, Reagan’s eight years in office were marked by big substantive policy benefits to the economic and national security wings, with minimal substantive benefits to religious/social conservatives.

Consider the policy area of education. Ronald Reagan ran in 1980 on reversing the brand new elevation of a Department of Education to cabinet level. He failed in this and failed in effecting any substantive reform of education, so failed to even slow the left’s mark through the institutions and seizure of mind share. President Reagan left us a legacy of ashes in education policy.

Memorandum of Discussion at the 473d Meeting of the National Security Council

When Silicon Valley Values Meet West Texas

 

Texas ranching has been under economic siege almost since it began. It has always offered an opportunity to make a small fortune, nowadays by starting with a large one. Yet for all its flaws, ranching is addictive. So is abandoning ranching.

“The Big Empty,” a novel by Loren Steffy, steals one of the classic tropes of Texas letters: modern technology displacing ranching. The oil industry is the traditional disrupter. Set at the dawn of the 21st century, Steffy makes high tech, computers, and the internet ranching’s competitor. He adds a spin. The ranchers are rooting for high tech to win.

Conquistador is a dying West Texas cattle town. While not at the end of the world, on the flat West Texas plains it might as well be. Ranching is fading as a business. Conquistador’s residents are desperately seeking new industry to draw jobs there. They even tried getting the state to build a prison, just for the jobs, only to be turned down. Conquistador is too remote even for prisons.

Playing Political Football with Holocaust Education

 

Watching this battle transpire is both enlightening and pathetic. One of the most tragic occurrences in modern history has become the focus of groups who have decided their particular agenda for teaching in Florida about the Holocaust is the only one that counts. After researching the subject, I am sickened by the tug-of-war that is taking place and wonder how the Florida Department of Education will resolve this fight.

To be fair, I must begin with my strong bias that this topic should be covered in the schools. The evils that were perpetrated as part of Holocaust history is the source of the statement that many support, “Never Again.” The Holocaust stands as a reminder of the horrors that can be perpetrated when long-standing hatred and evil power join forces, and is a lesson that we seem to have to learn, over and over again.

And yet, there can clearly be too much of a good thing, in my opinion, and too many political agendas to satisfy in regard to the Holocaust. That Florida has decided to include the Holocaust in its school curriculum is admirable, but the way they are going about it reflects a poorly planned strategy and process for selecting the content.

Quote of the Day: For Better or for Worse

 

Marriage is an alliance entered into by a man who can’t sleep with the window shut, and a woman who can’t sleep with the window open. —George Bernard Shaw

On so many levels, this quotation calls out for recognition—and a guffaw– if you’ve been married more than one week. When we first marry, we are basking in the glow of love, dreams, possibilities, and the future. And then reality hits, and we realize that marriage isn’t as glamorous as we expected.

It’s better.

Biden Corrupt: Water Wet

 

Biden crime family Joe and HunterI have said it before, but it bears repeating: no one has ever bribed Hunter Biden. He is a poor, lost, drug-addled soul who likely would be unemployable but for the fact that his father is a well-known politician. His role was to act as a bagman, lining up and collecting bribes for his father in the form of “business deals” with the Red Chinese and operators like Carlos Slim.

John Hinderaker, Power Line Blog

This is no joke for America and the world. Joe Biden is actually compromised by a long series of “legal” bribes taken from Ukrainian/ Russian “businessmen,” Chinese businesses that are necessarily the tools of the Chinese Communist Party, and now we find that he may have been on the payroll of a Mexican citizen, one of the richest men in the world, Carlos Slim. We absolutely should start from the position that every move involving those countries, made in the name of pResident Biden, is service rendered for prior payment to the Biden crime family.

Surgery, Regulations, and the Rainbow Connection

 

Actually, the latter topic is much more pleasant than the former two, so let’s start with the Muppets. The Rainbow Connection was the theme song for The Muppet Movie, back when there was only one Muppet movie and the title could afford to be general. Kermit the Frog is sitting in a swamp playing a banjo singing that song. A hopelessly lost talent scout wanders by; Kermit corrects his path. In return, the talent scout tells this frog he may have a chance in Hollywood. And so Kermit sets out on a journey.

Why are there so many songs about rainbows? What’s on the other side?
Rainbows are visions but only illusions; rainbows have nothing to hide.

Democrats Are Courting Disaster — and Helping Republicans

 

After years of pushing a far-Left agenda, the Progressives are relishing their control of the Democratic Party. They are so enamored with their own virtue and power, that they don’t see the extreme risks they are taking in trying to manipulate government, from the Congressional processes to the state and local governments. And their efforts will ultimately benefit the Republican party in spades.

The Democrats are losing out on three major fronts: legislatively at the federal level, at the SCOTUS level, and at the state and local level. And Chuck Schumer is leading the charge in the Senate:

Schumer seems to be setting up his party for failure for a couple of reasons. Many Democrats believe—or, at least, hope—he is trying to force a gut check for some individual members, like centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). Demonstrating to Manchin that Democrats can’t succeed while the filibuster persists could produce some momentum toward ending the 60-vote threshold. And, at the very least, Schumer could be giving Democrats a political cudgel to beat Republicans in 2022 and beyond.

Railguns Fried, Fizzle Before the Fourth of July

 

U.S. Navy image of railgun prototype firing

Military.com reports the Navy has finally ended the railgun program. What caught my eye was a reference to other services’ abandoned futuristic weapons. What each had in common was strong support over many years from the military-industrial complex: a uniformed proponent, Congressional support, and defense contractors. I started my military career in the 1980s just as the Sergeant York air defense gun system collapsed under spectacularly bad testing results, so can sympathize.

Hunting Aliens and Traitors for Fun and Profit

 

Earth had been invaded by aliens from outer space, the Visitors. After a devastating war, humanity drove the invaders off. The victory was costly, but eventually the Visitors withdrew to Mars.

“The Family Business,” a science fiction novel by Mike Kupari, takes place in that invasion’s aftermath. Nathan Foster is a bounty hunter. He occasionally tracks down murderers and drug dealers, but his primary quarry are war criminals and human traitors who collaborated with the Visitors.

Located in Prescott, Arizona, it is a family business. His understudy and assistant is his fifteen-year-old teenage nephew Ben, Nathan’s only surviving relative.  Also assisting Nathan is Shadow, a genetically enhanced Doberman-Shepherd mix, a trained attack dog. His partner and office manager is Stella Rickles.

Upholding the Constitution in Hard Cases

 

ConstitutionJust as Bill Cosby was rightly freed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on solid constitutional grounds, so now two Marines have been cleared of wrongdoing in a 2011 incident, where Marine snipers recorded themselves urinating on Taliban corpses. The reason for reversal of lower adverse actions? Improper command influence from the top of the Marine Corps. 

The Acting Secretary of the Navy just cleared the record of a Marine officer who had be separated from service under a cloud, even though he was not at the scene. At the same time, the Navy has upgraded the rank of a senior noncommissioned officer, a senior sergeant, who had been forced into retirement at a lower rank.

It is a gross violation of military justice for a senior commander to make statements indicating the desired result of a supposedly fair process.

The Mob and the Banjo Player

 

The banjo player is, of course, Winston Marshall, recently of the hit band Mumford & Sons. The mob is the usual band of angry twits, the censorious harpies of Twitter and Antifa who can’t stand the thought that someone, somewhere, isn’t prostrating himself before the pile of dung that is their hateful and dishonest political ideology.

I don’t care for banjo music, and I’m at best lukewarm about Mumford & Sons. They have a few songs I like, but they’re too folksy for my tastes and so rarely come up in my playlists. Since I’m not particularly interested in music I didn’t realize that the band had become big: I stumbled across them a decade ago, thought they were a little boutique group with a few hits, and never had reason to revise my view until friends, big fans of the group, assured me that they’d achieved mega-band status. Who knew?

When the Body Falls Apart

 

When we are children, we delight in running around, making forts out of huge cardboard boxes, and playing hide-and-seek. In ourteen-age years, some of us struggle with puberty and hate the world and prefer to drive a car than ride our bicycles. And then there are all those years when we simply pursue our lives, either investing our time and energy in the routine demands of living and in staying well and healthy—or not.

But at some point, mortality sneaks up and we realize that our bodies are wearing away and falling apart. I became acutely aware in my 30’s that my body was not going to get itself in shape on its own. So I decided to take seriously the effects of the passage of time.

When did the truth of mortality’s stalking occur to me especially hard? Right now, as I recover from breast cancer. It’s been nagging at my psyche for quite a while. At 71, I have many fewer years left than I’ve used up. But six months ago, my predictable lifestyle of the joys of retirement, regular exercise and diet was interrupted. And I had no idea how challenging it would be to work my way back.

Freedom for Me but not for Thee

 
Rushmore with American flag

Image from U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota, 30 June 2021

The current administration has both encouraged Independence Day celebrations and banned fireworks over Mount Rushmore. While covered by a supposedly non-political National Park Service (NPS) administrative ruling, the decision smacks of petty vindictiveness. Beyond spite and contempt of all who dared defy their betters in Washington D.C. over the past year, there are racial grievance and environmentalist left aspects to this Democrat NPS decision. A federal district court followed federal legal precedents, correctly ruled against South Dakota and Governor Noem, who requested a court order directing NPS to issue the 2021 special use permit, so there will be no fireworks over Rushmore this year, nor should we expect a show unless a Republican is somehow able to gain the presidency in the future.

Cosby Walks Free

 

ConstitutionBill Cosby is a free man today, and cannot be prosecuted again in Pennsylvania for the same crime. That does not mean he is on track to career or reputational rehabilitation. Far from it; the Pennsylvania Supreme Court opinion that freed him from prison repeated the truly ugly facts of his admissions in the civil case, which admissions now free him from prison. Whisky Tango Foxtrot?* Here, let the judge explain in plain language [footnotes converted to endnotes, emphasis added]:

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee v. WILLIAM HENRY COSBY JR., Appellant

OPINION JUSTICE WECHT DECIDED: June 30, 2021

QotD: Socialism

 

Accepting Socialism is basically admitting you can’t compete in the real world. You’re saying “I’m willing to give up my liberty, my religion, and my dreams as long as the state will take care of me.” Accepting Socialism is accepting failure. It’s the complete opposite of America. – Quang Nguyen

Quang Nguyen is a refugee from Communism. He fled Vietnam and moved to the United States and today he is a state representative in Arizona.  If anyone knows socialism and the evil it perpetuates close up and personally, it is him. He lost most of his family to socialistic communism, and had to start over with the clothes on his back and no more. He pushed back in the Arizona legislature against those who minimized socialism’s threat.

The Latest Pandemic: Coronophobia

 

The experience of fear can be both devastating and life-saving; its intensity can range from mild anxiety to blinding dread. And all possible levels of fear are being experienced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Was this fearful reaction unavoidable? After all, early reports of the virus were frightening, with its mysterious spread and virulent effect, particularly on the elderly. In spite of the experts who were unwilling to admit they simply didn’t know what to expect, they reacted by initiating extreme rules and mandates. People were afraid to leave their homes, unwilling to mingle with other people and do some of the most basic errands that had become central to their lives.

Policies for a “What If” World

 

As I watch the very few policies and questionable actions by the Biden administration, I’m becoming convinced that they are operating to create a “what if” world: what if we had the perfect world, and if we don’t have it now, what if we take steps that would take us in that direction? In other words, they are frighteningly unmoored from reality, and our country will suffer greatly if they are not stopped.

What do I mean by a “what if” world? Here is what they believe:

The Rise of the Conquistador

 

The European discovery of the Americas and the subsequent colonization of that land by Europeans was the most consequential occurrence of the last millennia.  Two men prominent in that discovery’s opening events were Christopher Columbus and Hernando Cortés.

“Sword of Empire: The Spanish Conquest of the Americas from Columbus to Cortés, 1492-1529,” by Donald E. Chipman, tells the story of these two men. It explores the events of the first forty years of the Spanish acquisition of the American possessions.

Columbus opened the Age of Exploration. Cortés opened the Age of the Conquistador, where Spanish freebooters conquered the great empires of North and South America. Together the men form a set of bookends in the story of the Americas. Columbus departed the New World for the last time in 1504, dying in 1506. Cortés arrived at Santo Domingo, the colony founded by Columbus in the year of Columbus’s death.  This allows Chipman to follow the thread of the opening years of Spain’s American adventures using these two as his focus.

Who Killed Ashli Babbitt, and Why?

 

Greetings, Ricochetti. With apologies for my long absence from the site, I return today to bring your attention to a piece I’ve written for The Pipeline, “Who Killed Ashli Babbitt?” You’ll recall that Babbitt was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer during the so-called insurrection of Jan. 6. She was unarmed and did not appear to pose a threat to anyone at the time she was shot.

In a time when police shootings far more justifiable than this one are endlessly scrutinized in the press, how is it that Babbitt’s death has escaped even a fraction of the coverage devoted to other police killings? Here’s a sample from the piece: