J’Accuse

(Cross post from legacy Ricochet.com)

There was a time in which I was absolutely convinced that every Ricochet member, like most Americans, signed on to the general formulation: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!” (Crafted by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in her biography of Voltaire.) That is we hold the First Amendment and allof our fundamental rights to be sacrosanct to all Americans. To do otherwise is to deny the concept of citizen self-government at the foundation of our Republic. I believed this to be fundamental to everyone parting with the proverbial Starbuck’s cup of coffee to join in Ricochet.

It is becoming more evident daily that the fundamental civil rights of one Donald J Trump have been seriously abridged. And those rights have been abridged by instruments of government under the direction and control of Barak Hussein Obama initially and thereafter by rogue elements of our current Administration with the aid and support of those seeking partisan advantage in the Congress. They call themselves #theResistance, but they are in support of a criminal conspiracy to deny one particular American — Donald J Trump — his civil rights, and uncaring or “extremely careless” about the civil rights of those who committed the crime of supporting his election.... [Read More]

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Government-inspired Dehumanization

I am incensed and may be hard put to find the right words to describe the precipitating event. A friend and colleague phoned me yesterday to tell me he was suicidally depressed and had admitted himself to a psych hospital. He asked me to come and visit him. I told him I would come in the early evening. For me, such a promise become an irrevocable duty, especially when my friend is likely already feeling lonely and abandoned as he is recently divorced (acrimoniously).

I arrived at the lobby of the hospital to find 3 armed guards milling about, inside a security area which looked just like the ones at an airport. A young woman in front of me eventually had a conversation with one of them, which I could not hear. She handed over all her personal belongings, including her phone, at a window and went in. I then told the guard the name of the person I was there to visit. He asked for the unit number. I did not know it. He said, then, I can’t come in and suggested I call a family member of my friend. I told him that to my knowledge, none lived nearby and I have no contact with them. He said I should call my friend. Of course, his cell phone had been confiscated and the one patient phone on the unit in which he is imprisoned is constantly busy!... [Read More]

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Book Review: Schrödinger’s Gat

“Schrödinger's Gat” by Robert KroeseIt was pure coincidence (or was it?) that caused me to pick up this book immediately after finishing Dean Radin’s Real Magic, but it is a perfect fictional companion to that work. Robert Kroese, whose Starship Grifters is the funniest science fiction novel I’ve read in the last several years, here delivers a tour de force grounded in quantum theory, multiple worlds, free will, the nature of consciousness, determinism versus uncertainty, the nature of genius, and the madness which can result from thinking too long and deeply about these enigmatic matters. This is a novel, not a work of philosophy or physics, and the story moves along smartly with interesting characters including a full-on villain and an off-stage…well, we’re not really sure. In a postscript, the author explicitly lists the “cheats” he used to make the plot work but notes, “The remarkable thing about writing this book was how few liberties I actually had to take.”

The story is narrated by Paul Bayes (whose name should be a clue we’re about to ponder what we can know in an uncertain world), who we meet as he is ready to take his life by jumping under a BART train at a Bay Area station. Paul considers himself a failure: failed crime writer, failed father whose wife divorced him and took the kids, and undistinguished high school English teacher with little hope of advancement. Perhaps contributing to his career problems, Paul is indecisive. Kill himself or just walk away—why not flip a coin? Paul’s life is spared through the intervention of a mysterious woman who he impulsively follows on a madcap adventure which ends up averting a potential mass murder on San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Only after, does he learn her name, Tali. She agrees to meet him for dinner the next day and explain everything.... [Read More]

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New Rule: Nothing Said Before Marriage *Actually* Counts

It’s been said that marriage begins when the honeymoon ends.  I would submit that history begins at that time as well.  My guess is that married couples would get along a lot better if everything from before the marriage was off-limits.

Let’s call it an enhanced sense of appreciation for what happens in a marriage.  Yes, let’s.  And face it — everything said before marriage was meant to achieve marriage anyway.  Clear the slate.... [Read More]

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TOTD 2018-5-16: Best Comedian of All Time

Who is your go to person for laughs? (I will give my answer in a spoiler with my reason.) The person can be a writer, stand-up comic, or a media star. Being that this is so open ended of a question there can’t be a right answer.

I miss good comedy. I do remember how good the comedy sketches of SNL were. They took simple things and made them jokes. It was not heavy handed and unfunny then. Samurai whatever can still make me laugh. Generalissimo Francisco Franco outlived his death it seems. “Jane, you ignorant …”... [Read More]

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Media v Evangelicals, 2018 part 5

In my previous post in this series I concluded by noting anti-traditionalist media coverage of a gathering at Wheaton University.  It was a group of “concerned” “Evangelical leaders.”  It included some theological conservatives, though most of the attendees tilted theologically liberal.  Since then, some sound bites by liberal Evangelicals made the rounds, mostly because they were bitterly critical of Christians who support President Trump.  Media continues to love quotes from NeverTrump clerics and pundits who have Christian or conservative credentials.

 ... [Read More]

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In the beginning was the Word: The importance of language

John 1:1  -In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Andrew Klavan is always going on about how the left disbelieves in objective reality. Thusly, they are obsessed with telling stories because if they can get other people to believe in their stories then what people believe becomes real. This always sounded farfetched to me and a little self-serving, but awhile ago in a bar I had a talk with this guy about words.... [Read More]

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Moments of Misunderstanding

This should be filed under history.

The beginning of this site was an e-mail exchange with John Walker and myself. He was very kind in suggesting things and was even willing to get some basic interface up and running. I had no idea how basic or how steep “the hill” to be climbed was so responded tepidly. ... [Read More]

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TOTD 2018/5/15: The Ideal and the Real

Why is it that so many of President Trump’s critics seem to have trouble comprehending that the real world does not operate or conform to abstract ideological principles?

Perhaps, as James Day Hodgson observes in American Senryu, what is fundamentally at issue is the inability of the innocent to understand evil:... [Read More]

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Book Review: Real Magic

“Real Magic” by Dean RadinFrom its beginnings in the 19th century as “psychical research”, there has always been something dodgy and disreputable about parapsychology: the scientific study of phenomena, frequently reported across all human cultures and history, such as clairvoyance, precognition, telepathy, communication with the dead or non-material beings, and psychokinesis (mental influence on physical processes). All of these disparate phenomena have in common that there is no known physical theory which can explain how they might work. In the 19th century, science was much more willing to proceed from observations and evidence, then try to study them under controlled conditions, and finally propose and test theories about how they might work. Today, many scientists are inclined to put theory first, rejecting any evidence of phenomena for which no theory exists to explain it.

In such an intellectual environment, those who study such things, now called parapsychologists, have been, for the most part, very modest in their claims, careful to distinguish their laboratory investigations, mostly involving ordinary subjects, from extravagant reports of shamans and psychics, whether contemporary or historical, and scrupulous in the design and statistical analysis of their experiments. One leader in the field is Dean Radin, author of the present book, and four times president of the Parapsychological Association, a professional society which is an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Radin is chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, California, where he pursues laboratory research in parapsychology. In his previous books, including Entangled Minds, he presents the evidence for various forms of human perception which seem to defy conventional explanation. He refrains from suggesting mechanisms or concluding whether what is measured is causation or correlation. Rather, he argues that the body of accumulated evidence from his work and that of others, in recent experiments conducted under the strictest protocols to eliminate possible fraud, post-selection of data, and with blinding and statistical rigour which often exceed those of clinical trials of pharmaceuticals, provides evidence that “something is going on” which we don’t understand that would be considered discovery of a new phenomenon if it originated in a “hard science” field such as particle physics.... [Read More]

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Simon Sinek on how the millennials were programmed to be how they are

The millennials were brought up inside a cultural parenting style that allowed them to have “participation medals” even if all they did was show up. Where social media has offered the young so much  instant gratification, with “likes” and “swipes” offering what chores, jobs, friends and outdoor activities once provided. Earlier generations were forced to endure a  lifestyle that usually taught individuals the concept that to impact anything and anyone, including one’s self, much time and patience are needed.

But the lifestyle of  instant gratification now teaches individuals very little. Millennials are being impacted by frequent depression, and high suicide levels, as they aren’t receiving the rewards that they were programmed to think life would offer them. After eight months at a company, the millennial asks, why haven’t I made an impact? This is a total shift from the way people thought and the expectations that they held even just one generation ago.... [Read More]

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