Thursday, July 18, 2013

You Can't Handle The Truth !!!

 Laurie made the following idea comment on G2A Affirmative Action:
"Here is a new topic for you, John, if you are interested; Should or will Reid pursue Filibuster reform in the senate.

Mitch McConnell’s problem: How can he threaten to obstruct the Senate even more? 
I am finding what I is most interesting to me in reading your blog are attempts to deny or defend conservatism and the GOP in every instance. In this case I expect denial that the current GOP has been the most obstructionist senate in modern history (or ever.)

If you don't like that topic you could try your hand at defending conservative media with some weak claim that mainstream liberal media is no different (without any comparable examples of course).

How the Conservative Media Are Eating Up the Zimmerman Trial" Laurie
 To which I replied:
"I think you would only feel folks were in the middle if they capitulated and did what you believe is correct. It seems anyone that disagrees with you is "Conservative"."
To give some perspective and history, browse these:
G2A Eulogy Exercise
G2A Beliefs, Environment and Choices
G2A Snopes and Relativity
G2A Could I Be Mistaken?

Now with this in mind:
  • What is the TRUTH?
  • Where can one get the TRUTH?
  • How would one prove it is the TRUTH?
  • What is a FACT?
  • Where can one get the FACTS?
  • How would one know it is a FACT?
  • How would evaluate BIAS?
  • How would one balance the bias of different sources?
See my hard Left Liberal friends think Mother Jones, The Progressive, Daily Kos, Mn Prog Project, etc are news sources that tell the TRUTH, and all others are suspect or despicable liars out to serve some nefarious agenda... 

My hard Right Conservative friends think Rush, FOX News, Daily Caller, True North, etc are news sources that tell the TRUTH, and all others are suspect or despicable liars out to serve some nefarious agenda.

Then there are other "main stream" news sources like CNN, the Star Tribune, etc who get pummelled by both sides for conspiring with the enemy...  They just can't get no respect...

So if you were an alien who is new to Earth, one actually from outer space this time, where would you go to get the TRUTH and FACTS regarding our politics, economics, social issues, etc?

For extra credit, what about international issues, etc?  Or do the US news sources have the only truth regarding our planets reality?



jerrye92002 said...

Any time Republicans are in the minority, it is their absolute and near-holy responsibility to gum things up as thoroughly as possible, because DFL/Democrat governance is ALWAYS the wrong way to go. Need evidence? Look at the last session of the MN legislature.

As for truth, I've always said that Truth is where you find it, but to find it you have to look. I have found, over many years, that Rush and Fox give me the information I need to pull the facts out of even such biased stories as the AP and Star Tribune regularly put out. What you have to do is to not accept ANY source as "truth," but take competing accounts of the same event until you see a consistency of the underlying facts, and something that makes objective, logical sense. For example, we hear that Obamanomics has "created or saved millions of jobs," but the raw facts are there are still fewer people working than when he took office, and his "cure"-- the stimulus-- did not even begin to meet his promises for it; things got (and remain) far worse than promised. That's the truth, but you have to rub a lot of sticks and stones together to light it up.

John said...

So TRUTH and FACTS are based on the perceptions beliefs and logic of the beholder. That explains a lot about our disagreements.

jerrye92002 said...

Hmmm, to some degree you are correct. I prefer to believe, however, that facts and truth exist, but we are limited in our ability to perceive (by information, logic and experience) them. Opinions, on the other hand, can be formed without any foundation in fact and logic. They can be created from selective fact-finding (quite typical, actually) and/or faulty logic, or plain emotion (e.g. I feel that government should provide health care for everybody) but they are only true for the person whose opinion it is.

Unfortunately, we often tend to state our opinions as fact, regardless of the underpinnings, and the rest of us cannot distinguish it from the most thoughtfully-derived truth. That's why we discuss, and why we are sometimes skeptical of one another.

John said...

I was giving blood during my last comment... Typing on a phone with my left hand is not a skill I have.... Having 2 thumbs available is much better.

Regarding your Obama fact... What would you reply if someone said that of course we are not back to where we were because Obama was not able to implement the whole recipe because of the above mentioned grid lock. A cake with only half the ingredients doesn't work out very well. And that's a fact jack...

Laurie said...

Here is my second link:

How the Conservative Media Are Eating Up the Zimmerman Trial

Here is a list of conservative media informing their readers of a story about how "Justice Department Facilitated Anti-Zimmerman Protests."

Daily Caller
Fox News
Rush Limbaugh

Here is a list of news sources I peruse:

Mother Jones
American Prospect
The New Republic
The Atlantic
Washington Post
New York Times
Star Tribune
Pioneer Press

Are all these news sources unreliably liberal? Do they ever publish a story that is even the tiniest bit ridiculous? I'd really like to add more conservative leaning media/columnists to my news surfing if I could find any I like.

G2A is really the only independent blog I read. I used to read Daily Kos some times and even the thousands of diaries posted were rarely on topics as ridiculous as my example.

Laurie said...

Much of the reading I do is news with a point of view (mostly liberal of course.) I find the facts on which opinions are based are from sources I consider reliable. Sometimes my sources include a graph such as of the number of filibusters of cloture votes in the senate. This is public record so why would their counting be wrong.

Other times the msm affiliated bloggers I read cite the work of academics, such as one who has developed and applied a complicated formula to rate how conservative or liberal each congress is. I rate the outcomes of this work as more reliable then my vague impressions.

Mostly I am disappointed in how rarely conservative comments here include a link to a source which challenges my understanding of the facts related to an issue.

Laurie said...

This topic is intriguing me a bit as I do by daily reading of liberal blogger filtered news.

Here is a post where the bottom lineis there is nothing partisan to the IRS scandal in which only conservative leaning groups were unfairly targeted. It includes some ridiculing of conservatives Darrell Issa and Peggy Noonan.

Is my take away main idea wrong?

When a 'bombshell' is a dud

Laurie said...

This is my last comment for now, I promise, as I have finished my 4th cup of coffee. I think the IRS scandal is a great topic to consider fact, opinion, news sources, reliability etc., as there seems to be significant disagreement of the facts, based on one's ideological perspective.

Here is a posting from Fox news this morning.

Will IRS scandal lead all the way to Obama?

According to liberal bloggers this scandal was dis-proven some time in June (my estimate based on a quick scan of liberal blogger postings)

jerrye92002 said...

"What would you reply if someone said that of course we are not back to where we were because Obama was not able to implement the whole recipe because of the above mentioned grid lock. A cake with only half the ingredients doesn't work out very well. And that's a fact jack..."

John, my reply would be that Barack Obama had complete control of Congress for two years, and has had complete control of the Senate for his entire time in office. If there was anything to be done for the economy and he could get Democrats to go along with him, he would have done it. They did, but instead of unemployment staying below 8% as promised, it skyrocketed to something like 11% (I have the chart here somewhere) and, instead of falling to 5% as promised, by 2012, to 5%, it remained ABOVE 8% until enough people gave up looking for work to bring it down to its current still-awful number-- 7.6 or so. Remember, Bush average was 5.1%? Worse than that, the "labor force participation rate" and the "underemployment" add up to a real number closer to 16%. Now more people are losing jobs or hours because of Obamacare. When are "you" (those asking for a reply) going to admit that this guy is the worst President ever?

jerrye92002 said...


"Much of the reading I do is news with a point of view (mostly liberal of course.) I find the facts on which opinions are based are from sources I consider reliable."

That's exactly what you are supposed to be doing-- reading through/past the opinion to the underlying facts, and then verifying those facts, if possible, from a source with the opposite bias. I guess I'm lucky in that I start with what I consider reliable sources of fact-- Rush, Fox, conservative blogs-- and can easily find the opposite bias anywhere-- AP, Star Tribune, CNN, or ANY of the reliably liberal sources you cite as your daily reading. If the underlying facts agree I can start reasoning from there. If different sources report different facts on the same incident, you must do some synthesis before you "know what's going on." It's that selective fact-finding thing which, as I say, is pretty common.

"Sometimes my sources include a graph such as of the number of filibusters of cloture votes in the senate. This is public record so why would their counting be wrong."

There is most likely nothing wrong with your fact, but the conclusion/opinion you draw FROM that fact may be (almost certainly will be :-) different from mine. There are probably other facts that should be considered in your analysis, or were in mine. That is why we have the discussion here. Thanks, Give.

"Mostly I am disappointed in how rarely conservative comments here include a link to a source which challenges my understanding of the facts related to an issue."

You have the same frustration as our moderator. Unfortunately, I remember most of what I read but never WHERE. I somewhat depend on, when I state what I believe to be a fact, someone challenging me if it is not correct. More often, though, others will simply dismiss that fact-based opinion in favor of their own opinion, based on a different factual aspect of the same issue. And.... we're back to sometimes frustrating discussion. I've found it nearly impossible to even get people to agree on the facts of a matter, let alone what opinion is the proper one to hold.

jerrye92002 said...

"Is my take away main idea wrong?

When a 'bombshell' is a dud"
-- Laurie

I'm not sure what your takeaway main idea is. If you mean that the liberal bias (on Rachel Maddow's blog, imagine!) is so thick as to be laughable, consisting mostly of ad hominem and snark, yes. In this case, the established facts support the notion of a partisan scandal. Whether that scandal traces back to Obama himself may never be known and I'm not that sure I care. But all this scurrying about trying to hide the obvious gets pretty tiring and a true leader would step up and clear it up, rather than cover it up.

jerrye92002 said...


I recommend the Powerline Blog

John said...

I am at the lake so my comments will likely be short and sporadic.

I guess I would go back to basics...

What is a FACT?

What is TRUTH?

What is OPINION?

How do these relate to beliefs, correlation, causation, learning, etc?

Do you think our space alien friend has learned anything from us yet? If he came with a belief system that insisted we are crazy and must be eradicated for the good of the planet. Would he consciously or subconsciously look for Facts/Truths that supported his belief system??? Or should he do something different? I am guessing we are still going to disintegrated...

A flash from the past, yes read the whole thing. It is not that long. Reticular Activating System

jerrye92002 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jerrye92002 said...

One other thing to throw in your mix: it is said that "in politics, perception is reality." And another, from comic Flip Wilson: "A lie is as good as the truth if you can get somebody to believe it." And finally, how can you tell when a politician is lying?

jerrye92002 said...

"The Censor won't allow us to hold two contradictory pictures of ourselves or reality. To experience two contradictory beliefs, pictures, or feelings is called "Cognitive Dissonance". The Censor always works to resolve Cognitive Dissonance."

This quote from your otherwise-informative article just doesn't ring true. I have known for years that the mark of a good liberal is their ability to hold and espouse two totally conflicting ideas simultaneously. If I can remember a good example I will post it. The rest is also more true of liberals than of conservatives, IMHO. For example: Knowing that global warming "stopped" 15 years ago, they continue to insist that manmade CO2 (which has continued to rise unabated) must be radically curbed to prevent global warming. Those who are so "blind" should not be "behind the wheel" of government.

John said...

Not global warming again.

I am pretty sure there is a whole group of people who are not convinced that it stopped... Remember they truly believe you are a "cherry picker"...

Laurie said...

I think one has the best chance of getting the truth through news papers and news magazines. Often news papers write a story that only relates the contradictory claims of two opposing parties, without doing independent analysis of what is fact/truth. Here is an example:

House Democrats, GOP press competing views before another hearing on IRS controversy

I find I do not have the knowledge or time to research every issue so, as I mentioned, I prefer to take in opinionated news. In my experience my favorite msm affiliated bloggers take pride in getting the facts right and will correct mistakes they make. Here is an example:

"Stand Your Ground" Did Indeed Play a Role in the Zimmerman Trial

My other way of checking the accuracy of my information is the weakness in my system, as I can't find many sources I like with a contradictory information and pt of view. I prefer msm affiliated bloggers or columnists and sometimes read those with WAPO, but usually they write something so dumb I quit reading for awhile. Here is an example:

President Obama’s sad view of America

I also use this blog to consider another pt of view and to see where I might be mistaken. I can think of two issues where my thinking has evolved at least slightly; education and buy American. Really, I am a little disappointed in how rarely you kinds prove me wrong :)
Here is an example for Jerry about global warming:

What to Make of a Warming Plateau

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, kudos to WaPo for a fairly even-handed, all-factual (though I believe a few have been omitted, benefiting the leftist position) piece. What I find hilarious is the comment claiming that right-wing tax-exempt groups put more money into elections than left-wing groups do. To which I offer two words: Alida Messinger.

The Mother Jones article is more of a classic biased item. What is said is a fact. However, the context is completely ignored, leading one who has only these facts before her and believing she has a complete picture to agree with the author and be wrong. The "rest of the story" is more complicated. For instance, SYG was NOT brought up by the defense prior to trial, as was its right, and which would have led to immediate dismissal of the charges. That did not prevent the valid legal issue, rather from statue or "natural law," from being considered by the jury, as it must have been. I still liken it to Nebraska's "last clear chance" law on traffic accidents. Whoever had the last chance to avoid the confrontation and failed to take it would be guilty of the crash. In this case, it HAD to be Martin. He could have walked away. In this case the comments are ALSO very enlightening, and demonstrate how different people process information, just as described in the article that started this discussion. In this case, there are a lot of (solid leftist) folks conjuring up all sorts of scenarios based on "cherry picking" the information available and drawing their own conclusions. I would call it faulty reasoning from questionable premises, but that's just my opinion.

The New York Times article on global warming is classic liberal fluff. While giving a nod to the skeptics, acknowledging that "climate scientists" cannot explain the current or past cooling cycles, they nonetheless insist that the world is still warming according to now-discredited statistics (notice they are not cited). The rest of the article is all claims without substantiation-- conjecture, basically. You might as well listen to ME on the subject, except that I also have the evidence, charts, graphs, math, etc.

Thanks for all the insight.

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie said...

That was an interesting video and the kind of thing that I hope to see to add another pt of view to my understanding of the news/issues. I don't think, however, that it really changes my opinions much. I still think that Zimmerman deserved to be charged, that acquittal was the right verdict, and stand your ground laws need to be changed. After reporting his suspicions to the police Zimmerman should have stayed in his car. Citizens should not act as law enforcement, especially when they carry a weapon. Maybe that is a law that should be passed.

About finding the facts I guess if your alien is highly intelligent he could read MSM and decipher the truth on his own. He might also read news with a point of view, such as what Jerry and I mostly consume and determine for himself which is more accurate or which interpretation is more consistent with his values. As for me I will continue to trust the msm bloggers/reporters/columnists who have values consistent with my own and who are more knowledgeable about the facts to give me a spin on the news each day. Here is an example:

The Great Detroit Betrayal

I learned from MSM headlines that Detroit has declared bankruptcy. From the essay from the liberal perspective I learned that it is due to the decline of the auto industry (partially due to trade deals) and also from racial polarization. No doubt if Jerry is interested in this story he will learn that there are other causes such as unions. In this case our take away main ideas are different opinions that are a result of our beliefs/world view. The alien could do much research into the underlying facts or just develop a world view over time.

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, I found an AP story (a left-biased source, IMHO) that agrees almost exactly with what you said.

Notice that it comes from, something akin to Slate but very conservative. In other words, I trust them to include the relevant facts in support of their opinion, and I find most of these pieces interesting and well-written. Your Mileage May Vary.

I have been more inclined to the more partisan view that "this is what happens under 60 years of Democrat control," but if you think about it, BOTH viewpoints could be true. Many large cities, as the article points out, had similar problems, but found ways around them. Detroit's Democrats did not; whether Republican governance could have done better we'll never know, I suspect. Hopefully, we will all learn something positive from this fiasco.

"I still think that Zimmerman deserved to be charged, that acquittal was the right verdict, and stand your ground laws need to be changed."

I mostly agree with your viewpoint. I think Zimmerman should have been INVESTIGATED, like anyone else that causes a death, but I do not think he should have been charged. There were no grounds for charges, as the police and local prosecutors had already concluded. Only an uproar from agitators caused a special prosecutor to be brought in and charges filed, and those did not hold up; we could have saved a lot of trouble just by not bringing charges at all. Clamoring mobs rarely bring justice, just as a rule of thumb. I'm also going to have to disagree on SYG laws. Nothing against a review of them, because exact wording can be tricky, but I claim that there exists an inherent human right-- natural law, if you will-- that says if I have a right to be someplace nobody has the right to threaten me or attack me for being there. By extension, I have the right of self-defense for protecting that right. Much is being made of Zimmerman's choice to "follow" Martin rather than staying in his car, but that denies the very right of any citizen to be in a public place and not be attacked, as well as the right of every citizen to cooperate and even act as law enforcement, via "citizen's arrest." There is no doubt in my mind, based on all the evidence I know of, that Martin made the fatal mistake of attacking an "innocent civilian" who happened to be armed.

Laurie said...

It seems that your theory that democratic city leaders are inherently inept does not apply to Pittsburg, where they survived similar challenges, such as the shutdown of the steel mills, in much better shape than Detroit. They have been under the leadership of a democratic mayor for the last 80 years.

jerrye92002 said...

I think that was my point-- that other cities survived nicely where Detroit did not. So it's not Democrats governing badly, but rather Democrats (or Whigs, for that matter) pursuing LIBERAL government policies destined to fail every time they're tried. Imagine if the Detroit city employees had been denied pensions vastly out of proportion to their working wages, or if Detroit schools had become charters or choice schools, with rewards for performance? Suppose Detroit had instituted "enterprise zones" to bring in industries that could replace the automakers? Not all Democrats are incompetent, it's just that their ideology tends to blind them to real-world solutions. Again, my opinion, but let's remember whose opinion it is. :-)

Laurie said...

For some more debate on on whose failings are responsible for the Detroit bankruptcy and what it means for Detroit and other cities here is another liberal blogger's take. This time responding to comments made by Krauthammer.

Bankruptcy and moral leprosy

about your argument, Jerry, about the failure of liberal government policies, aren't most cities and their govts liberal? are most of them failing?

I have never objected to lga to mpls and st paul because I believe healthy central cities are good for the whole region. I like a safe place in which to work and I very frequently visit the cities for recreation and entertainment.

Laurie said...

Here is another link that I found interesting that may be a better test case of the stand your ground law:

The other Fla. murder case that everyone is talking about

So the shooter was afraid of 4 young men in a parking lot, says they threatened him, and thought he saw a gun (though no gun was found.) Does this justify him shooting 8 shots that resulted in the death of one of the young men.

Does the stand your ground law protect someone who is afraid?

jerrye92002 said...

"about your argument, Jerry, about the failure of liberal government policies, aren't most cities and their govts liberal? are most of them failing?"

Most large cities are Democrat, "non-partisan" or liberal Republican (e.g. Nanny Bloomberg in NYC). Only some of them are economic liberals, and even some of those are only modestly so. Most of these large cities are "failing" to some degree. Their schools are abysmal, their regulations on business onerous, taxes and spending too high and public services weak. They are pockets of poverty where private enterprise is discouraged and disparaged. Minneapolis and St. Paul are no exceptions, and the fact they need "LGA" simply proves it.

Now, pertinent to the topic at hand, does the above ring of "truth" in your worldview? Would statistical facts--i.e. "proof"-- matter, if presented?

jerrye92002 said...

Very interesting. My personal belief is that this should be a test of the SYG law, or at least an opportunity to review it. If this guy gets off based on it, I think there's something wrong. Again, with my "last clear chance" standard, it was the shooter, in this case, who could have avoided the confrontation by simply driving off. If pursued he would have had an excellent case of self-defense.

People who own guns need to have more self-control than was exhibited here. 8 shots? Now really, wouldn't simply brandishing the weapon (as something like 99% of defensive gun uses are) have accomplished the same result, without bloodshed? No, based on what I know just from this article, I'm afraid the guy is guilty of 2nd degree murder. He clearly aimed to kill somebody, even though his aim was terrible.

Here's another question, back on topic. Do you think courts of law find the truth in most cases?

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, from your cite: "And among the greatest sufferers will be the municipal employees and retirees, now unsecured creditors against the city, and low-income residents, who are supposedly to blame for their excessive demands for a middle-class standard of living."

so is it some sort of liberal blindness to the truth that allows them to utter it yet believe it proves the opposite? OF COURSE those who /demand/ "a middle-class standard of living" without doing anything to earn it are, in fact, to blame for their situation. Likewise the unions who demanded more than they returned in productive output. At some point, there is simply not enough of "other people's money" to demand for yourself. That is why I say liberal policies are destined to failure every time they're tried. The "economic Darwinism" that is the free market insures not only the survival of the fittest, but survival, period.

Laurie said...

about "proof" of failing cities- I am not interested. I read the both the star tribune and pioneer press each day and and go into both cities just about every day as well. While they have some challenges in terms of crime they are far from failing.

about the criminal justice system-I think most law enforcement, prosecutors and juries do the best that they can. I think racism is a factor in our far from perfect justice system

about low income residents- maybe they want decent city services -police, fire, roads, parks etc.- just like everyone else.

jerrye92002 said...

I suppose a great deal depends upon your definition of "failing." In my definition, a public school system that graduates less than half of its students from high school is failing. Likewise, school systems in which less than half of the students perform at grade level on a "basic skills" examination is failing abominably. Any city that requires state aid is not properly managing its expenditures to match income. It doesn't help when they add additional taxes that they then give away to millionaires and billionaires for plush playgrounds for themselves. Yet when it comes time to put in a $50,000 drinking fountain or piece of art, they decide to cut back on police and fire protection to pay for it. It all adds up to criminal malfeasance in my book, but because they are Democrats and liberals they are never held responsible.

I, too, enjoy the entertainment opportunities of the city but, like almost anybody else with the means to do so, I refused to live there. That leaves the people who cannot afford something better to stay behind, and that is the continuing tragedy of the liberal government.

Laurie said...

sorry to post one more comment on the Zimmerman issue, as it has been hashed over pretty well, but I found this comment interesting and persuasive:

"The jury could have convicted Zimmerman of involuntary manslaughter. According to Florida Law:

To establish involuntary manslaughter, the prosecutor must show that the defendant acted with “culpable negligence.” Florida statutes define culpable negligence as a disregard for human life while engaging in wanton or reckless behavior. The state may be able to prove involuntary manslaughter by showing the defendant’s recklessness or lack of care when handling a dangerous instrument or weapon, or while engaging in a range of other activities that could lead to death if performed recklessly. []

How is it NOT a dangerous and reckless activity for an armed man with no legal authority to pursue what he considers to be a dangerous criminal, by himself, through a residential area at night? Is a man carrying a gun NOT handling a dangerous instrument or weapon? A civilian with a gun chasing people through a neighborhood at night contrary to police advice is inherently dangerous and reckless with predictably BAD outcomes; yet this was not judged to be Culpable Negligence resulting in Manslaughter. Why?"

Maybe the prosecution should have focused exclusively on an involuntary manslaughter charge and had a better chance of getting a conviction.

jerrye92002 said...

I think the answers to your questions are wholly contained in that first sentence, in the words "culpable negligence." The prosecution would have had to prove that Zimmerman it absolutely no idea that the person whom he was following might be dangerous, or that a gun might kill somebody, or that he used that gun "recklessly." None of those even remotely resembled the truth. Zimmerman obviously suspected the man was a criminal, deliberately set out to pursue him in what he saw was a civic duty,, and then did not fire his gun until he was facing "grave bodily harm" according to the self-defense statute. He used the gun for EXACTLY its proper and lawful purpose – no negligence whatsoever.

Two asides, here: I want to know: have the burglaries of which Zimmerman suspected Martin stopped? Did you see where George Zimmerman helped rescue four people from their overturned car yesterday? I wonder what race they were?

jerrye92002 said...

I think my point is that the fact that this much lesser, but still totally unprovable charge was not made proves that this was an entirely trumped-up political prosecution – a show trial.

I have to ask: which side of this trial – before, during and after – is displaying a wanton and total disregard for the truth, the jury or the prosecution, Obama, Holder, Sharpton and the Black Panthers?