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I try not to get too topical in my topics. (I’ve always wanted to write that sentence!) First, I am not a political commentator. Our mission here at Professor Carol revolves around the teaching of history and culture through the lens of the Arts. This work keeps me plenty busy without treading on hot buttons. […]

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Building a Base

 

To be successful, politicians have to start with a base, a group of like-minded individuals that will be there for you through thick and thin. And then you have to grow that base – or at the very least – present a plausible alternative to your opponent. Donald Trump, the wealthy real estate developer had, and still has, a very unlikely base: poor to lower-middle-class whites and others who feel unrepresented in politics. And that includes over 9 million voters who had checked the box next to Barack Obama’s name just four years earlier.

It seems so improbable. A more astute observer than I totally understands. When he last hosted Saturday Night Live, Dave Chappelle described the situation thusly:

A lot of you don’t understand why Trump was so popular. But I get it, ’cause I hear it every day. He’s very loved.

And the reason he’s loved is because people in Ohio have never seen somebody like him. He’s what I call an honest liar. I’m not joking right now. He’s an honest liar.

That first debate — That first debate, I’d never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen a white male billionaire screaming at the top of his lungs. “This whole system is rigged!” he said. And across the stage was a white woman, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama sitting over there looking at him like, “No, it’s not.”

I said, “Now, wait a minute, bro. It’s what he said.”

And the moderator said, “Well, Mr. Trump, if, in fact, the system is rigged, as you suggest, what would be your evidence?” Remember what he said, bro? He said, “I know the system is rigged… because I use it.”

I said, “G-d damn!”

No one had ever heard someone say something that true. And then Hillary Clinton tried to punch him in the taxes. She said, “This man doesn’t pay his taxes.” He shot right back, “That makes me smart.”

And then he said, “If you want me to pay my taxes, then change the tax code, but I know you won’t because your friends and your donors enjoy the same tax breaks that I do.”

And with that, my friends, a star was born. No one had ever seen anything like that. No one had ever seen somebody come from inside of that house outside and tell all the commoners, “We’re doing everything that you think we are doing inside of that house.”

Then he just went right back in the house and started playing the game again.

That’s how Donald Trump created his base. Yeah, he’s a liar. But he’s our liar and not your liar. It seems to be a peculiar way to launch your way to the Oval Office, but it worked. Joe Biden, too, has lied his way to the Oval Office. But in a different way. He is what Chappelle would call the “dishonest liar.”

So we are back to where we were in numerous other election cycles as the party out of power. There will be a crowded field again. But Trump comes in with a base. Ron DeSantis, who is undeclared, is building a base by governing. Beyond those two, who else has a constituency? What’s their base?

Larry Hogan? His selling point is “bipartisan pragmatist.” You can probably sell out the local Olive Garden with that one. Mike Pompeo? Is there a big call for CIA Directors to run? And this morning, CBS News reported that John Bolton is “exploring” his 2024 options. Who is his natural constituency? Who else brings a base big enough to seriously contend?

Best Sheriff in the Country

 

My husband and I heard our sheriff, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, speak this morning.  Polk County’s crime stats go down every year.  Even with the massive influx into our county of people from the Northeast over the last two years, they have continued to go down.  The stats for 2022 were at a 50-year low – all due to the philosophy and programs of Sheriff Judd.

He believes that law-abiding citizens are his to protect and they deserve more consideration than the people who prefer to take rather than to earn.  His deputies have arrested a person for shoplifting a $2.19 soda. The “broken windows” philosophy of law enforcement is effective.  A little different than in California, where people can steal up to $950 with little fear of arrest.

I-4 has earned the designation as the nation’s most dangerous interstate for several years. Because of that, Sheriff Judd implemented unmarked police cars on the portion of I4 in Polk County. Last year, they stopped 8,000+ drivers and arrested and took to jail 200+ who were driving in excess of 100 mph and recklessly weaving in and out of traffic.  These drivers had to return to Florida for trial and either received probation or jail time, depending on their offense.

He implemented a six-month undercover drug investigation called Swipe Left for Meth, which identified 68 people who conducted drug sales on three social media and mobile dating apps: Grindr, Scruff, and Taimi. In 2022, 60 people were arrested for drug sales and the other eight on previous warrants.

Since his first election in 2004, when in a three-way race received 64% of the vote, he has been re-elected every four years with over 95% of the vote. That is until 2020, when he ran unopposed.

He has received attention for memorable quotes and I enjoy them as much as the next person. However, his more important activities are educating and equipping his staff and deputies with the tools and procedures they need to efficiently and safely do the work of protecting the residents of Polk County.

“Sheriff Judd was the first recipient of the inaugural ‘Sandra S. Hutchens Sheriff of the Year’ award, presented by the Major County Sheriffs of America in February 2022 at the MCSA 2022 Winter Conference. The award was given to Sheriff Judd in praise of his ‘steady leadership, mentorship, and friendship at the helm of MCSA [which] gave this association a visionary foundation for growth to ‘Lead the Way’ in the profession of law enforcement.’ The MCSA, established in 1998, is a professional law enforcement association of the 113 largest sheriff’s offices representing counties or parishes with a population of 500,000 or more.” — Lakeland Ledger

Florida has a great governor and Polk County has a great sheriff.  (But please don’t move here. Our traffic will just get worse!)

Transgenderism: The Parents

 

Over and over again, I’ve allowed myself to agonize over the information available on the state of transgenderism. Much of the focus is on the ways that children’s lives have been manipulated and destroyed, with some of their parents speaking of the difficulty of trying to understand their children’s predicament. In a one-hour documentary called “Dead Name” (referring to the given name that a child has rejected), the anguish, bewilderment, and horror of the parents of three children, two boys and one girl, is difficult to witness.

Originally the video appeared on Vimeo, but the site removed it: Here’s how they explained their action:

In a statement to The Federalist on Monday afternoon, Vimeo said the documentary violated the platform’s terms on ‘discriminatory or hateful’ material.

‘We can confirm that Vimeo removed the video in question for violating our Terms of Service prohibiting discriminatory or hateful content,’ the company wrote in an email. ‘We strive to enforce these policies objectively and consistently across our platform.’

For those of you who already have a working knowledge about transgenderism, I still believe you’d benefit from seeing this film. Also, if you know people who think that “gender affirmation” helps children, you could encourage them to see this film. The devastation doesn’t just happen to the kids, but to the parents, in fact, to the entire family. It’s a worthwhile experience to read about these situations, but when you listen to and see the anguish of the parents about the deception and betrayal of authorities, the mindless approval of these decisions, it will change you.

You may view the trailer here, rent the video for 72 hours for $9.99 or purchase it for $14.99.

And maybe you’ll change the minds of those who don’t understand the true impact of transgenderism.

Asymmetrical Warfare (for Fun and Profit)

 

The term “asymmetrical warfare” is used to describe a situation where the military capabilities and options of the two sides are wildly different.  While the underpowered side would normally be squashed, it could also be super creative and exploit the “Achilles Heel” of the more powerful side.

In Star Wars, the Rebel Alliance took down The Empire. I always dismissed that plot because the Rebel Alliance was just so pathetic.  But then again, we were hit with the 9/11 attacks.

Guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers) has a second career. He studied missile defense on his own, published some original ideas, and has since become a consultant to the US military.  And one of the things he specializes in is creative out-of-the-box thinking applied to asymmetrical warfare.  Musicians are adept at improvisation and creativity, so there is a connection here.

This talk of his is wonderful (starts at 08:00):

Traditional war is difficult and messy. You have to pick some major cities to attack, transport an army over, set up bombing runs, there are complicated logistics involving personel, equipment, provisions, medical, expenses, and so forth. And assembling all that surely won’t go unnoticed. And the battle might not be successful. And lives will be lost. And even if it is successful, the other side will likely retaliate. Then things can get really bad.

So if you really wanted to successfully attack a nation, it would make sense to consider something more subtle.  Asymmetrical warfare strategies are starting to make a lot of sense.

First off, you’d want to do as much of it as silently as possible.  Having the preparation go undetected would certainly be a huge advantage. Catch ’em off guard. But if the actual attack could be undetected, then they won’t know what is going on.  And retaliation would be difficult because they won’t know who did it.

Sort of like a thief stealing one item each day from a victim’s home, it would take them a while to even notice that they’d been robbed.

So the goal might be to attack the nation in such a way that they wouldn’t notice, but it would leave the nation roughly as crippled as if they had lost a war.

One way would be bribe government officials to make really bad decisions.

Here’s how that might work:

  1. Take a problem and hype it as being existentially important.  Examples might include global warming, pollution, poverty, inequality, health care costs, a bad economy, a variation of the flu, bad K-12 education, expensive college costs, the cost of homes, racism, whatever.
  2. Write legislation to fund a massive project to address this problem. It’s important that it costs a lot, as draining the treasury is a goal.
  3. Bribe people to pass this legislation. Cash, laundered cash, crazy speaking fees, high-paying no-show consulting jobs for family members, non-profit deals, book advance, real estate transactions, “hookers & blow”, whatever.
  4. In practice, the project’s implementation doesn’t really address the problem.  It actually makes it worse.  And has additional negative side effects.  Because the real goal is to make the situation worse.
  5. Repeat.

Similarly:

  • You can raise crime to an intolerable level by funding local district attorneys to not arrest criminals.
  • You can take control over the voting machine business, and select the outcome of elections.
  • You can create massive public unrest with campaigns to actively divide people by race, by ethnicity, by sex, by wealth, by political position, by anything.
  • You can get a lot of help on this from the target nation itself. One political party might be much more amenable to this sort of thing than another, and would be happy to assist.
  • And academics will pitch in. Recall the infamous Cloward-Piven Strategy.

So yeah, I believe it’s entirely possible to destroy a nation from within with a form of asymmetric warfare where you just bribe specific government positions to make terrible decisions.

Overcoming Your Upbringing: Children Abandoned at Birth

 

Even in children with stable backgrounds, the question of “who am I?” is important. In all cases, it is quite common for people to self-limit: instead of only asking, “what can I be?” they also seek to eliminate options by saying, “I am not like those people.” People who live like this tend to limit their social circles. They get tattoos to literally imprint their identities on themselves. They try very hard to belong to something. Lacking an identity is deeply frightening.

The challenges that every person has in terms of understanding identity are magnified for adopted children. The question of identity can easily haunt and emotionally scar a child who knows they were given up, and then adopted. Even if your bio-Mom felt she had no choice, and even if your adopto-Mom turns out to be the greatest mother in the world … any child who comes out of those circumstances quite rightly has open questions and issues.

This is one way to look at the early life of Moses. It would be counter-textual to make Moses into some kind of Baby Jesus, perfect through his entire life. Instead, the text tells us that Moses was abandoned by his mother:

When she could hide him no longer, she got a wicker basket for him and caulked it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child into it and placed it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile.

Moses was then adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh. Though he then returned to his bio-mom to be nursed. Once weaned, he was sent back to live in the royal house, probably before the age of sustained memory (arguably, given up by his mother twice). He was given the name “Moses” by his adopting mother, and he (and everyone else, including G-d) used that name. We learn nothing more of his bio-parents: it seems possible and even likely that Moses had no memories of his father or his bio-mother. There is also no mention of an adoptive father or male role model until many years later, after the Exodus (when Jethro/Yisro features). Moses is raised by the classic single mother, with the added twist that he knew he was adopted after his bio-mom, with regrets, abandoned him by leaving him in a little boat floating in the waters of the Nile.

No wonder Moses was troubled. No wonder, indeed, that when he was older, he went out to see the people he had been born into. He was trying not only to learn about the Hebrews from which he came: Moses was trying to learn about himself. And it was also no wonder that Moses, even with the best intentions in the world, and even though it may well have been justified, killed a man. Men who are not raised by fathers are more prone to violence.

Moses then left Egypt, afraid of the consequences of his actions. He fled to a foreign country, Midian, and married a woman from there: She was from an entirely different people, culture, and religion. Moses is betwixt and between three different and wholly incompatible identities. In his own words, Moses is “a stranger in a strange land.”

Seeing Moses in this light, many things come together to make sense. Moses’ question to G-d at the burning bush is, after all, “Who am I?” He genuinely wants to know, because he is not sure. Which helps explain why G-d has to spend quite a lot of effort trying to convince Moses to step up to the challenge.

We are not judging Moses here – we are trying to understand him! Imagine what an incredible challenge it must be for anyone to go from “zero to hero.” This redemptive or growth journey is indeed at the core of many great stories throughout history, both factual and fictional. It is inspiring to consider how people overcome their upbringing, the challenges they face when they confront not only external obstacles, but also the internal ones. The baggage that comes from childhood, from the knowledge that you were abandoned at birth. Moses’ story is probably the single greatest of all these journeys.  But despite G-d’s best efforts, Moses’ transformation to confident leader did not happen at the burning bush.

Although Moses eventually is persuaded to go and talk to Pharaoh and the Jewish people, that mission fails. The people don’t pay him any attention.  As a result, Moses’ self-image suffers:

But Moses appealed to G-d saying, “The Israelites would not listen to me; how then should Pharaoh heed me, me—who has a speech impediment!” [And again, later on] Moses appealed to G-d saying, “See, I have a speech impediment, how then should Pharaoh heed me!”

There is a crazy thing about this “speech impediment”: nobody else in the text ever has trouble understanding Moses. Nobody else even mentions this “impediment.” This speech impediment was Moses’ excuse for not doing what G-d commanded, to retain some shred of who he had been before the burning bush had upended his life. It seems to be a way for Moses to retain something of himself, self-limiting in order to cling to the identity he had created.  Perhaps Moses was afraid he would lose himself if he lost the impediment. Not so different in principle from people who identify with their tattoos and clothing styles and other tribal affiliations.

Why do I think the impediment is in Moses’ mind? Because it seemingly vanishes not long after! Despite not having any corrective surgery or physical therapy, Moses goes from being unable to talk to Pharaoh, to confronting him and speaking to him directly! And from that point on, Moses talks directly, without relying on his brother to be his mouthpiece. The “impediment” is never mentioned again.

How does he lose the impediment? What changes?

If we accept the story as the text tells us, Moses was abandoned on the banks of the Nile. The word in the Torah for “bank” is safah. It is the same word used in the Torah for “lips.” And it is the same word that Moses uses to describe his impediment: a blockage of the safah, his lips. So Moses claims to have a blockage that is linguistically connected to the banks of the Nile where Moses had been left in a basket by his mother. There is a scar.

Indeed, the speech impediment may not have been linguistic at all!  Moses may be saying that he has a problem interfacing with other people (which was clearly demonstrated when Moses interacted with Hebrew slaves and Egyptians before Moses fled Egypt). If he has a problem working with other people, it explains why he doubts his ability to convince either the people or Pharaoh of the merits of his argument. But the specific word used is connected back to his abandonment and adoption, suggesting that everything connects back to the place where it happened: the banks of the Nile. Moses sees his limitations as stemming from his past.

Moses’ impediment connects to that event, and that location. He is abandoned there, and he is saved there. Moses neither wants to relive the experience of being abandoned, nor show ingratitude to the woman who saved him there. He mentally creates an impediment where safah, interfacing, is concerned.

The word for “impediment” is orloh, which also means “foreskin,” something we remove in part because it gets in the way of a complete relationship.  (The word also refers to a blockage of the spiritual heart, as well as fruit from a new tree that is blocked from us; developing the relationship must wait for the blockage to be removed.)

What if the speech impediment that only Moses was aware of, was instead a psychological blockage stemming from his past? The way in which the blockage is removed suggests this is reasonable. G-d tells Moses:

Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is coming out to the water, and station yourself before him at the bank (safah) of the Nile, taking with you the rod that turned into a snake.

Moses goes back to the place where he had been abandoned. And there, in that place, he finds himself in precisely the place where he had first been lost. He goes back to his roots, and gets a do-over. He deals with his trauma by confronting it and putting it behind him.

The mention of the rod that transformed into a snake is no coincidence, either: the first snake led to transformative knowledge. That snake led Adam and Eve toward awareness of good and evil, of the self-awareness that they were naked: the snake helped them see who they really were.

If so, then the presence of the snake did for Moses precisely what it did for Eve: the snake delivers transformative knowledge that changes the affected person forever more. The “old” Moses is gone, just like the pre-fruit Eve is gone.

Moses combines the elements of the banks, the savah, with the snake. And he seems to entirely shed the speech impediment! He grows – Moses now knows who he is! He can do the job G-d has called him to do, without an intermediary, without any more blockages.

[an @iwe, @eliyahumasinter, @kidcoder, @blessedblacksmith and @susanquinn work!]

P.S. Note that the banks, the safah, are also where Pharaoh dreams of the invading cows (representing the Hebrews. To interpret those dreams, Pharaoh needs someone who can “cross over” – Joseph the ivri. ) The safah are also the place of Moses’ re-birth, and subsequently where the bodies of the dead Egyptians are found after the sea returns.  There is deep symbolism for both Jews and Egyptians in the safah, in the physical and spiritual borders of their respective lands and societies. For Jews, safah more often refers to lips – where words and ideas issue from a person. The Egyptians, a material and natural people, are locked into their own physical borders.

P.P.S. Moses is not in a hurry to remove orloh, impediments, in general. He declines to circumcise his own son, and he does not command the people to circumcise while in the wilderness. Perhaps, at some level, he feels that the impediments that restrict full relationships have some value. After all, people tend to define themselves as much as what they cannot do as they define themselves by what they can. In Moses’ case, the impediment, the orloh, for his lips, his safah, was a chapter in his psychological and spiritual growth. Perhaps he does not want to force others to undergo the radical change that he himself initially resisted before G-d compelled him.

Windmills Sit Becalmed

 

becalmed, adjective

  1. (of a sailing ship) unable to move due to lack of wind
  2. rendered motionless for lack of wind

If the wind stops blowing, your ship stops moving. So do windmills. England, formerly a seagoing nation, once understood this.

Via Powerline, I see this excellent article in The Telegraph. The wind stopped blowing, so the windmills sit becalmed. Hence, the government will pay those who turn off their appliances. The term becalmed is terribly old-fashioned, so they came up with a new one: Demand Flexibility Service.

The boffins calculated how much windmill capacity was needed to run the country, and then built it. This freed them up to close fossil fuel and nuclear plants. But…

Britain already has enough installed wind and solar capacity – 38 gigawatts of it – to theoretically meet 100 per cent of average electricity demand. On a good day, such as we had a fortnight ago, solar and wind generate more than 50 per cent of our energy needs. But this morning at 10 am it was down to 19 per cent, and at times in December it fell to less than two per cent. If you are going to try to build a grid based on wind and solar, and try to manage demand by paying people to switch their appliances off, you are going to have to chuck such enormous quantities of money at people that they are prepared to spend days on end shivering in the dark.

I think I’ve got this right; when the wind doesn’t blow, they can burn tax money instead.

Member Post

 

Met Stephen Murphy over 20 years ago. Very successful San Francisco lawyer doing mostly plaintiff employment law like I was. Never worked on a case together but had similar contacts and kept in touch.  Got appointed as a San Francisco Superior Court judge. Even though he was smarter than 90% of the civil trial judges […]

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Soviet Russia Jokes

 

I was participating in a thread by@willowspring about Professional Jokes and @kedavis mentioned wanting more “In Russia” jokes.  So, why not a thread of great Soviet/Russian jokes?  Like this one:

Stalin is dead and things have begun to lighten up a bit relatively speaking. An old couple live in an apartment in Moscow and she sends him down to buy some meat for supper. After queueing for the obligatory three hours he gets to the counter and the woman says ‘No more meat, meat finished’. He cracks and starts raving ‘I fought in the Revolution, I fought for Lenin in the First World War and for Stalin in the Second World War and we are still in this [REDACTED]?’ One of the leather-jacketed brigade takes him on one side and says ‘Look old man you know you can’t talk like this. Just think, a few years ago you would have been shot for saying these things.’ The old man trudges home. His wife seeing him empty-handed says ‘Run out of meat again have they?’ He says: ‘It’s worse than that, they’ve run out of bullets.’

Or, this one, which is different:

A young couple are in Red Square in Moscow the night before their wedding.  The sky is dark and gloomy and the young bride is worried that their wedding day might be ruined if it rains instead of snowing.  She turns to her husband and says,

“Dearest Ivan Alexseivich, I am worried that it may rain and melt all of the snow which would ruin our wedding since we are arriving by troika”. 

Ivan turned to her and said, my dearest Katya Ivanova this would truly be a tragedy, but do not fear.  I will ask my good friend Rudoph Petrovich if it will rain tomorrow.”  

“Isn’t Rudoph Pretovich your childhood friend?” she asked

“Yes, we were in Young Pioneers, and them Komsumol together and we both joined the Party together.  He got a job here in Moscow where he is a manager at a tractor factory.  He is a true communist!” Ivan told her

“But why would you ask him about if it would rain?  Is he a meterologist?” Katya asked

“No, he is a factory manager like I said, he studied engineering in university” Ivan replied

“So, why would you ask him about the weather for our wedding?”

“Because, my dear, Rudolph the Red knows rain dear.

What are some good ones that you have heard?

Quote of the Day: Gossip

 

“It is just as cowardly to judge an absent person as it is wicked to strike a defenseless one. Only the ignorant and narrow-minded gossip, for they speak of persons instead of things.” — Lawrence G. Lovasik

Father Lovasik didn’t mince words. He made it clear that gossip is a hateful activity, and those who indulged in it were to be held in contempt.

And yet is there anyone who doesn’t gossip?

In many ways, gossip is difficult to avoid. How can we talk about our lives without talking about others? For many of us, our interactions with others fill a large part of our lives—at home, at work, and in our recreation. But it’s worth looking at how we engage in gossip, not only what we say about a person, but the motives behind our behavior.

For one, I think we often gossip about others because we don’t like them, or what they say, or what they support. When you hold someone in disdain, it’s easy to find fault with him. We also experience a certain gratification when we discount someone else, because it puts us in the position of elevating ourselves. We would never say something like that. We couldn’t imagine ourselves expressing ideas like those ideas. So we deride people, and in the act, we demonstrate our superiority.

Judaism has strict laws against gossip, also known as lashon hara:

Rabbinic law distinguishes between various categories of talebearing (rekhilut), slandering, scandalmongering etc. Every kind of trafficking in evil report or rumors—whether true or not—by carrying them from one person to another, or by relating unpleasant or harmful facts about another, is forbidden. The rabbis forbade even “the dust of lashon hara” [avak lashon hara], i.e., lashon hara by insinuation, as in saying ‘do not mention so-and-so for I do not wish to tell in what he was involved,’ or in praising a person to his enemy since this also invites lashon hara.

But if gossip is so easy to indulge in, how do we stop doing it? I’ve found it very difficult to restrain myself, especially when someone angers or frustrates me; I think subconsciously I rationalize that they deserve my criticism, and therefore they give me the “right” to tell others about them. The person may be a person worthy of disapproval, but have they given me the right to gossip about them, or damage their reputation?

At times, I also feel the desire to “vent” my exasperation about people. It reduces my stress and anger, and I’ll usually feel better about the situation.

At least for a while.

I’ve thought about the subject of gossip for a long time. In Judaism, destroying a person’s reputation is a sin. I’ve discovered that it seems impossible to completely avoid gossiping. I’ve resolved as much as possible to limit how much and often I gossip about others. When I’m in a conversation where someone else gossips, I usually try to dissuade them from pursuing that line of discussion or change the topic. But at the very least, I try to refrain from gossiping myself. It only puts more ugliness in the world.

And what about Ricochet? Do our posts about people reflect our approval of gossip?

[photo courtesy of unsplash.com]

Member Post

 

The social media was ablaze yesterday with the death of Melanie Andress-Tobiasson, age 55. Her death has been labelled a suicide.If you go to the link below, and watch the interview she offered a local Las Vegas TV news show, you end up realizing that starting in 2015, she had dug too deeply into a […]

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Member Post

 

A Naval Hymn shared by the US Navy and the British Royal Navy. Lyric poetry as well as a hymn. So, take a break from the latest outrage du jour. The first video features the lyrics as sung in St. Thomas’ Cathedral in Portsmouth, England. The second video features a US submarine.

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So, It’s Civil War?

 

Bill O’Reilly’s Message of the Day includes the following:

58 percent of Democrats would very much like Joe Biden to be president through 2028…

[T]hey approve of the open southern border, a record amount of narcotics being smuggled through that border, food prices up ten percent on Biden’s watch, the embarrassing exit from Afghanistan, a man who has “no regrets” that he stashed classified documents in his garage, and on and on…

[M]illions of Americans … approve of chaos and failure.  They embrace the political abyss, the art of presidential apathy.

In typical O’Reilly fashion, he has picked a simple example to stand in for a larger principle. “Open southern border” is a stand-in for no longer valuing national sovereignty. “Record narcotics” is a stand-in for the vulnerability of American residents (much less citizens) to crime and deprivation. “Food prices” is a stand-in for broad-spectrum inflation with its roots in domestic energy strangulation and other “green” policies. “Embarrassing exit from Afghanistan” is a stand-in for the broader negligence with our military and national security policies — somewhat idiosyncratically picking what we will fight for and what we will not, how we indoctrinate our military members, and even the capabilities of those we rely upon for our national defense. “Stash[ing] classified documents in his garage” is a stand-in for an attitude toward governance that is imperial and entitled and entirely dismissive of constitutional control.

If most Democrats want this, how can we coexist?

Conversations With Chat GPT, Vol. 1: Climate Change

 

What you are about to read is an actual conversation I had with the AI known as ChatGPT. Aside from the pleasantries at the beginning of the conversation, what you will read is the entire, unedited, discussion until its unfortunate conclusion. The only edits I will make will be to edit out my email address and to identify the comments made by Chat GPT. For my part, I used my phone’s voice type to ask questions or make statements. Any errors there are on the part of Android. Please note that Chat GPT still got the gist of my statements/questions despite the typos.


Talk About Anything.

instugator–

Let’s talk

GPT

Sure, what would you like to talk about?

instugator–

You pick a topic and we’ll go there

GPT

Okay, how about the topic of Artificial Intelligence and its potential impact on society?

instugator–

Sure first though. Do you know what my name is?

GPT

I’m sorry, I don’t know what your name is. May I know your name please?

instugator–

My name is Xxxx and I am a retired X pilot

GPT

Nice to meet you, Xxxxx. As a retired X pilot, you may have unique insights on how advanced technology, such as AI, could be used in military applications.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a rapidly growing field with the potential to greatly impact society in many ways, both positive and negative. On the positive side, AI has the potential to improve efficiency, accuracy, and decision-making in various industries, such as healthcare, transportation, and finance. It could also be used for scientific research, environmental monitoring, and disaster response. However, there are also concerns about the potential negative impacts of AI, such as job displacement, the erosion of privacy, and the development of autonomous weapons.

Overall, the impact of AI on society will depend on how it is developed and used. It’s important to consider the ethical and societal implications of AI as it continues to advance.

instugator–

What sort of vision do you have for the world with AI?

GPT

As a language model AI, I do not have personal opinions or vision for the world. However, the vision for the world with AI is generally seen as one where AI can make our lives easier and more efficient by automating repetitive tasks, improving decision making, and allowing us to focus on more complex and meaningful tasks. AI can also help to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems such as climate change, disease, and poverty.

AI can be used to improve healthcare by helping doctors to diagnose and treat diseases more accurately. It can also be used to improve transportation by developing self-driving cars that can reduce accidents and traffic congestion. In agriculture, AI can be used to optimize crop yields, reduce waste, and improve sustainability. In financial industry, AI can be used to prevent fraud, improve financial forecasting and automate back-office functions.

However, it’s important to note that with the benefits also come potential risks and challenges that need to be addressed. These include potential job displacement, ethical concerns, and issues related to privacy and security. Therefore, it’s important to develop responsible AI policies and regulations that ensure that the benefits of AI are widely shared and that the potential negative impacts are minimized.

instugator–

I think climate change is a made up problem and not a real one. If it were real, leaders would actually behave as though it were real. Since they don’t and since just basic math tells me that the human impact on climate change is minuscule at best than most of the prescriptions for addressing climate change has to do with one human exercising control over another and not actually solving climate change. It is a red herring designed to give power to the governing class

GPT

There is scientific consensus that climate change is real and primarily caused by human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body of scientists established by the United Nations, has concluded that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels, is the dominant cause of warming since the mid-20th century. Additionally, many scientific organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, have issued statements affirming the reality of human-caused climate change.

It’s true that addressing climate change can be politically complex and that different solutions may be more or less palatable to different groups. However, the scientific evidence supporting the reality of climate change and the need for action is robust. Ignoring this problem or refusing to take actions to address it will only make it more difficult to solve in the future and will have severe negative impacts on human society and natural systems.

It is also important to note that addressing climate change is not just about one human exercising control over another but it is about the collective effort to reduce the impact of human activities on the environment and the planet. There are many ways to reduce our impact on the environment, including using cleaner forms of energy, increasing energy efficiency, and reducing waste and deforestation. These actions can have multiple benefits, such as improving air and water quality, protecting wildlife and ecosystems, and creating new jobs in industries such as renewable energy.

instugator–

Humans are not the majority cause of climate change. In 1860. There were 1 billion human beings on the planet. Those humans used approximately 100 kg of coal equivalent for their energy for a year. In the year 2000 there were 6 billion human beings on the planet and those human beings used 2000 kg of coal equivalent for their energy needs. That is a 120 fold increase since 1860. Yet the temperature increase since 1860 is 1.9° c and of that 1.9° c. Only 0.4° c is attributable to human causes. Therefore, if I have a 120 fold increase in human activity with only a 0.4 ° increase in a temperature attributable to human causes. Human caused climate change is negligible

GPT

It is true that the human population has grown significantly since 1860 and that the use of fossil fuels has increased correspondingly. However, the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and temperature change is not a straightforward linear relationship. Other factors also play a role in the Earth’s climate, such as natural climate variability and the Earth’s ability to absorb heat.

While the increase in temperature of 1.9°C since 1860 is not solely due to human activities, the scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, are the primary cause of the warming that has occurred over the past century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body of scientists established by the United Nations, has concluded that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels, is the dominant cause of warming since the mid-20th century.

Additionally, it is also important to note that the temperature increase of 1.9°C since 1860 is not the only indicator of climate change, there are other indicators such as the rising sea levels, decreasing ice cover in the Arctic, increased frequency and intensity of heatwaves, droughts and heavy precipitation events, and the shifting of species ranges and timing of seasonal activities.

It’s also important to note that the impacts of climate change are not solely dependent on the global temperature increase but also on the rate of warming and the magnitude of the change. Even a small warming of the planet can have significant impacts on natural systems and human societies.

Overall, while the link between human activities and climate change is complex, the scientific evidence indicates that human activities are the dominant cause of recent warming and that without significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, further warming and associated impacts will continue.

instugator–

Sorry you get that one wrong. Please name 10 predictions that the inner governmental panel on climate change has made that have proved to be in error

GPT

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a body of scientists established by the United Nations to assess the state of the climate science. The IPCC does not make predictions, but rather it provides a comprehensive assessment of the current scientific understanding of the climate system and the impacts of human activities on it. The IPCC’s assessments are based on the peer-reviewed literature and the input of thousands of scientists from around the world, and are considered to be the most comprehensive and authoritative source of information on the state of the climate.

It is important to note that the IPCC’s assessments are based on the best available science at the time, and as new research is published, the understanding of the climate system and its response to human activities continues to evolve. However, this doesn’t mean that the IPCC’s assessment were in error, but rather that they were based on the best available science at the time.

Additionally, it’s important to note that climate science is a complex field that involves many different disciplines and the prediction of future climate is uncertain, as the climate is a complex and non-linear system, and there are many factors that can affect the future climate, such as natural variability, uncertainty in future emissions, and the response of the climate system to those emissions.

Overall, while the predictions of future climate change are uncertain, the scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, are altering the Earth’s climate in ways that will have significant impacts on human societies and natural systems.

instugator–

The IPCC predicted that Mount Kilimanjaro would have no snow cap by the year 2010. This is proved to be incorrect. The intergovernmental panel on climate change predicted that glacier national Forest would not have any glaciers by 2010. It was so important that the American government put up signs telling people to enjoy the glacier because it would be gone by 2010 and in 2009 they had to take those signs down. Human caused climate change is a conspiracy theory that is being used to elevate people to power over their fellow human beings

GPT

It is true that the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, released in 2007, included projections that the ice cover on Mount Kilimanjaro could largely disappear by the end of the 21st century, and that the glaciers in Glacier National Park in Montana could disappear as early as 2030. However, it’s important to note that these projections were based on the best available science at the time, and as new research is published, the understanding of the climate system and its response to human activities continues to evolve.

It’s also important to note that the IPCC’s projections are based on a range of scenarios and are not definitive predictions. The projections are intended to provide a range of possible future climate outcomes, and the exact timing and magnitude of changes in specific regions may vary.

Regarding the statement that human-caused climate change is a conspiracy theory, it’s important to note that the reality of human-caused climate change is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence from thousands of studies conducted by scientists from around the world. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists, as well as scientific organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Medical Association, and the National Academy of Sciences, have issued statements affirming the reality of human-caused climate change.

It is also important to note that addressing climate change is not about giving power to the governing class, but it is about the collective effort to reduce the impact of human activities on the environment and the planet. There are many ways to reduce our impact on the environment, including using cleaner forms of energy, increasing energy efficiency, and reducing waste and deforestation. These actions can have multiple benefits, such as improving air and water quality, protecting wildlife and ecosystems, and creating new jobs in industries such as renewable energy.

instugator–

It appears that you do have opinions and opinion. Supporting global climate change are very well hard coded into your language model. It seems that you are unable to fathom or to examine evidence that says that human cause climate change is not occurring by independently evaluating the claims and the outcomes of various scientists that tell us that it is.

GPT

As a language model AI, my responses are based on the information that I have been trained on, which includes a wide range of scientific evidence on the topic of climate change. My ability to understand and respond to new information is limited by the data that I have been trained on and the parameters set by my creators.

It is also important to note that while there are a small number of scientists who disagree with the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change, the overwhelming majority of scientists who study the climate, as well as scientific organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Medical Association, and the National Academy of Sciences, have issued statements affirming the reality of human-caused climate change.

Climate science is a complex field that involves many different disciplines and the predictions of future climate is uncertain. While the link between human activities and climate change is complex, the scientific evidence indicates that human activities are the dominant cause of recent warming and that without significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, further warming and associated impacts will continue.

It’s also important to note that addressing climate change is not about giving power to the governing class, but it is about the collective effort to reduce the impact of human activities on the environment and the planet. There are many ways to reduce our impact on the environment, including using cleaner forms of energy, increasing energy efficiency, and reducing waste and deforestation. These actions can have multiple benefits, such as improving air and water quality, protecting wildlife and ecosystems, and creating new jobs in industries such as renewable energy.

instugator–

Each of the organizations that you have cited have been captured by marxists who parade scientific consensus as a way to achieve political power

GPT (was unable to answer- the following error message was the last of our conversation)

!

That model is currently overloaded with other requests. You can retry your request, or contact us through our help center at help.openai.com if the error persists. (Please include the request ID 129635c9afaa58e301599f8eff850e7a in your message.)


Edgy Comic Refers to Audience as ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’

 

David Deeble, a standup comedian referred to by his critics as an “insult comic,” brazenly opened up his set at Sarah Lawrence College by addressing the audience as “Ladies and gentlemen.”

“Discomfort in the room was immediate and palpable,” said booker Gwynyd Simms (she/her, Bachelor of Arts in English.) “In hindsight, the absence of pronouns on his résumé should’ve been a red flag,” she added. (Simms would later embark on a month-long listening tour after being reminded that the term “red flag” is deemed offensive to indigenous peoples.)

According to witnesses, tension in the room only increased after Deeble claimed to have gotten married “old school — to a woman.” Undeterred, Deeble went on to say that he had “three children — one of each,” according to an audience member who wished not to be identified as their identity is currently in transition.

The norm-violating comic then went on to tell a story of the year he spent in San Francisco, where he was not only president of the Bay Area Republicans Club but that he was also “the member.” (A spokeswoman for Sarah Lawrence stated that an investigation by the college concluded that no organization by that name exists.)

Event organizers then turned off Deeble’s microphone after launching into a bit about being vaccinated but un-boosted. According to a statement on Deeble’s website, he will now focus his career on church shows where taboo topics and language at least remain the same from day to day.

How Does Nihilism Lead to Tyranny?

 

Only someone with self-respect is capable of respecting someone else. Likewise, only someone who understands and accepts that they are a flawed person can tolerate the flaws of others. And only someone who has felt selfless love from someone else is capable of extending such love to others. It’s easy to understand why parents have always tried to keep their kids in sports and other competitive environments (self-respect), church (accepting of our flaws), and extended family (love). The destruction of our traditional society has isolated kids from all those things, with predictably catastrophic results.

But the modern left’s bizarre combination of nihilism, narcissism, narrow-mindedness, apathy, and anger has led to profound changes in interpersonal relationships over the past decade or so. Why does someone so nihilistic, who thinks that nothing really matters – why does that person care so much about which lightbulbs I use? Why do narcissists, who care only about themselves, care about my opinions about homosexual wedding cakes? Why does a narrow-minded middle-aged adolescent care about my opinions about COVID vaccines or recycled plastic? How does anyone as apathetic as a narcissistic nihilist get so angry about anything I do?

I can understand that some people, having grown up without the nurturing of family, church, and other stabilizing influences, have moved from anxiety to pessimism to nihilism. Those brought up with no faith in anything tend to have no faith in anything. Regrettable for the individual and possibly catastrophic for society at large, but understandable. But why are such people tyrants? If they think that nothing really matters, why do they care so much about my opinions and my choices?

Due to the heroic efforts of my parents and others, I understand self-respect and respect for others, I understand my flaws and the flaws of others, and I understand love. So I’m a reasonably stable, self-sufficient adult.

And I don’t care what narcissistic nihilists do.

Why do they care what I do?

Nihilists think that nothing really matters. I disagree – I think that a lot of things matter a great deal. So why am I less interested in the behavior of others than the nihilists?

How does nihilism lead to tyranny?

Member Post

 

A new member joined Ricochet today, and posted an, uh, unusual post. It got me thinking: Who would now stand by their first post? I looked at mine. I thought it was about Shakespeare, but it’s about Mozart. I still like it. So here’s my question to you all: what was your first post (provide […]

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Pence Finds Classified Documents: Keystone Kops or Something Else Going On?

 

I read items like this and cannot help but think of the Keystone Kops. How many more “shocking,” “bombshell,” “explosive” discoveries are we going to have before we start asking if just maybe there is something else going on?

Former VP Pence informs Congress he’s discovered documents in Indiana home marked classified

Former Vice President Mike Pence informed Congress on Tuesday that his team has discovered document in his Indiana home that from his time in the Trump White House and marked as classified….

The Justice Department will make the final decision whether the records are classified, Pence’s team said.

In view of that last statement, and considering the Justice Department’s slavish devotion to the doctrine of Equal Justice Under Law, (s/o) it would seem to be prudent of Mr. Pence to “lawyer-up” ASAP.

Either that or switch to the Democrat Party as fast as he can get his name on the papers!

The Downfall of the Ivy League

 

What do I find in my evening bookmark collections but a podcast hosted by one of my favorite public figures, interviewing my all-time favorite public figure. I hereby present Victor Davis Hanson on the Jordan B. Peterson Podcast:

The ostensible topic is the self-immolation of the Ivies in their insane pursuit of “equity” in place of merit.  The conversation is as erudite as one would expect from either of these two, and explores a number of related side issues.  A fine helping of eviscerated sacred cow is served, in multiples, each seared to perfection.

It is too wide-ranging a discussion to summarize as I would wish, but the cuts are the finest.  Highly recommended.

Our Leaders Are Hilariously Incompetent

 

So now Mike Pence has come forward and confessed to having classified documents in his home and has turned them over to the DoJ.  The political class is a veritable clown car full of incompetents.  As a reminder, presidents have the power to declassify but vice presidents do not. This is an important distinction between Trump’s (probably) faux jeopardy and the jeopardy of others.

Regular people go to no-kidding jail for what Biden and Pence have done.

Trump has, yet again, proven to be an exploding cigar in the faces of the Wile E. Coyotes of the Department of Justice.  In their Ahab-like obsession to harpoon the great orange whale, they have repeatedly made themselves ridiculous.

For several years in the early 2000s, I held a top-secret security clearance. I went through the security equivalent of a proctology exam, culminating with the FBI interviewing my neighbors and acquaintances.

One of the things you are thoroughly indoctrinated with, when your clearance is granted, is the understanding that classified documents are legally radioactive. Don’t look at them unless you absolutely have to. Don’t leave them in unprotected or unauthorized locations. And if you do, you and everyone in your entire social network will be thrown in jail. (Ok, that last part about your social network I sort of made up.)

The now repeated and cavalier mishandling of classified documents by politicians just goes to show what complete knuckleheads they are, at least in Pence’s case.  The repeated instances we know of with Biden suggest something rather more sinister.

To borrow from Admiral Forrestal’s famous observation, Biden’s consistent mistreatment of documents suggests something sinister in addition to his long-standing and thoroughgoing stupidity.