Author: Bill Turner

The Week in Bullshit March 27, 2014

The Week in Bullshit March 27, 2014: Nickelodeon, Normandy and Empirical Evidence Edition

By The Digger

Nickelodeon Taken Seriously

Nick Cannon is a former Nickelodeon star. As far as I can decipher, this is his claim to fame (I don’t consider riding the Nickelodeon gig to a variety show host position a great leap forward). This former Nickelodeon star painted himself in white face and made some music. Many people are upset by this.

I have to say that I am disappointed that we live in a nation that is even emotionally moved by the hijinks of a former Nickelodeon star. I’m doubly disappointed that anyone would take a former Nickelodeon star seriously. The fact that both of those statements were necessary to make my point is a sad indictment of the bullshit that encapsulates many of the troubles in the United States today.

This Just In: Amphibious Warfare Obsolete

Talk about not burying the lead, this article sums up the entire piece in the first sentence. “The head of U.S. Pacific Command believes America does not possess the capacity to conduct amphibious assaults in the wake of a crisis, as it did during World War II.” This is either great or terrible news based on one’s perspective.

In the great column, it means that the United States has one less option to use in military adventurism. In the terrible column, it means that underpaid, abused and overworked members of the old-fashioned, non-mercenary military can no longer have decent tropical vacations pretending to invade Bora Bora, or whatever. Somewhere, a Republican Senator is issuing warnings about our lack of military preparedness. It says here, many strong arguments prove that nonsense wrong.

Another fact worth considering is that amphibious warfare is obsolete and expensive. Conventional warfare is no longer the preferred method of fighting worldwide. We don’t need a giant force of guys sitting on boats waiting for the chance to storm ashore in a hail of gunfire. To argue otherwise is bullshit.

And Now, EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE That Proves Some Science Groupies Are Idiots

This shit here is religion, not science.

This shit here is religion, not science.

I will respond to this stupidity in kind:

GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE A PACKAGE DEAL

Don’t believe in unlimited warfare, bombing civilians and corruption?

BAD NEWS, FRIEND

We’re out of welfare, social security and food stamps.

That one to one comparison makes the sloganeering above look like complete bullshit to me (and before you begin your rant, you should consider that just like government, there are competing interests in science – outside of the creation/evolution tomfoolery). I’ll be writing a complete post in defense of my position soon, because the last thing I want to see is the rational thought for which I left religion reduced to bullshit slogans and moronic group-think.

Sandy Survivors Tell the American Story?

By The Digger

Do Hurricane Sandy survivors tell the American Story? I believe the answer is both yes and no. In defense of the yes answer, I believe that these “survivors” illustrate just how deranged our language has become with its descriptors. In defense of the answer no, I believe that many of us are still just tethered enough to reality to recognize that we are observing bullshit disguised as a lexicon of victimization.

Check out this story about two “survivors” of Hurricane Sandy, and ask yourself if you would want to be mentioned as a “survivor” in the context that Joe Frystock and his son Matthew find themselves mentioned.

First, I offer full disclosure. I am a “survivor” of multiple hurricanes. The first memorable brush I experienced with counter clockwise cyclonic devastation was Hurricane Elena in the 1980’s. I was forced to spend the night in an evacuation shelter on the campus of the University of South Florida. My neighborhood emerged from the night with minimal damage thanks to Elena charting a more preferred course of obliterating Louisiana. Note to casual observers: strong anecdotal evidence exists to suggest that Louisiana is a terrible place to remain when a major hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico.

If you see this on your local weather forecast you should definitely haul ass in the other direction.

If you see this on your local weather forecast you should definitely haul ass in the other direction.

My second memorable engagement was with Hurricane Georges in 1998. That storm caused me to suffer. I was living in Isabella, Puerto Rico at the time. My little cottage was on a hillside, only fifty paces from a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. I had a mango tree, 2 coconut palms and an avocado tree in my yard, as well as a majestic flamboyant tree to frame my idyllic little slice of heaven.

Alas my tree!

The storm windows were fine against coconuts travelling at eighty or ninety miles per hour at short distances, and the husks around the windward windows the next day bore testimony to the truth in that advertising. Those same windows on the leeward side were no match for the roof of my neighbor’s gazebo, which became a fixture of my bedroom during what appeared to be the work of a tornado. My flamboyant tree was destroyed. The place had gone from my refuge of rest to a post apocalyptic vision of Caribbean living.

A year and a half later, I was living on another island working at a job that, as it turns out, remains categorized as the best paying job I have ever landed. Ironically, it was a job in the non-profit sector. More than surviving, I had learned the art of thriving. I believe that happened because I didn’t have other acceptable options, and it turns out that disaster creates a thriving sector in society.

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

I don’t know anything about Joe and Matthew Frystock, except that they are prominently mentioned as “survivors” of Hurricane Sandy who were living in a motel almost a year and a half after the storm had passed, and as a result of their FEMA benefits expiring. FEMA benefits? I’d never known such a thing existed when I was air drying my bed on the porch after it had become waterlogged. I only knew I needed to borrow a friend’s hammock to prevent me having to sleep with the centipedes.

At this point, many would assume that I am preparing a tirade on the narcissism that a person exhibits when leading with a label like “victim” or “survivor.” I have no way to judge the character of Joe or Matthew along those lines, other than that they are listed in the newspaper as Hurricane Sandy survivors. If they’re comfortable with those labels, I feel great sympathy for them because they not only lost their house; they lost the human dignity that is requisite to recover from tragedy. I didn’t get a new house and job because I was a paragon of virtue; I got them because the idea of being a bum was so frightening to me that I couldn’t bear it. I acted through fear, not fortitude, and was able to keep my dignity intact.

Conspiracy Alert: What follows is a conspiracy theory. The lexicon of victimization was created by a thriving industry that NEEDS victims. Non-profits can be profitable enterprises that pay people on par with the profit earning sector. Getting a job in the non-profit sector used to mean that a person was forgoing the wages and prestige of the business world to make a difference. Now, backed by grants from both the public and private sector, many of these organizations and agencies pay on par with comparable work in the for-profit world.

The government loves the non-profit sector. That’s an industry that exists at the leisure of its funding sources, and the government is happy to pump money taken under duress from private companies and individuals to keep those funding levels high. The non-profits also provide another layer of liability and “deniability” protection for the government that funds them.

The non-profits need victims to exist. In a better world, non-profits would have less people to feed, clothe, retrain in new jobs and the list could stretch for paragraphs. Basic human nature is to seek the easiest route to comfort. Why on earth would I go to work every day if I could sit at home and collect food, money and all of life’s other necessities at little or no cost other than wearing a label? Make me a victim, help me to believe that I am enough for my conscience to be soothed, and then give me basic needs and I might be tempted to wear that label proudly. That’s what non-profits are happy to do.

I believe that a conspiracy to create victims is the reason we have so goddamned many of them now. Those victims feed an industry. According to the Urban Institute, “The growth rate of the nonprofit sector has surpassed the rate of both the business and government sectors.” (See the report here.) Sure, some victims are narcissistic parasites who thrive on the attention their “victimization” draws.

But many “victims” and “survivors” are nothing more than statistical reference points in a grant cycle. They feed an industry that siphons money away from actual production and growth, and re-channels it into an industry that serves at the leisure of a small and privileged class that enjoys playing god with society. And that’s bullshit.

The Week in Bullshit, March 20, 2014 Edition

By The Digger

The Week in Bullshit, March 20, 2014 Edition – Because there’s too much bullshit to analyze one issue at a time.

Welcome to the inaugural edition of what I hope becomes a weekly feature here at Paradox Polemics, The Week in Bullshit. Often I encounter bullshit that is either too trivial, or fringe, to seriously treat with a complete rebuttal. But this bullshit still captivates people, and shouldn’t be left steaming without a cool hosing from the spigot of reality.

Item 1 The internet has been hijacked by a global secret government, and we’ll all soon be publicly praising fascism, or lose our internet privileges (Bullshit courtesy of Infowars.com).

I'm PISSED!

Alex Jones courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Kurt Nimmo, a shill for Alex Jones’ Infowars website, has a new piece up on the doom of the internet. Before I have a little fun at the expense of a group whose medications are waiting at the state hospital, I should point out that everything on the Infowars website follows the Alex Jones Theorem. That theorem projects as follows: All information intrinsically points to horrifying conclusions. When I read that the U.S. Commerce Department was going to release its dominating grip around the throat of ICANN, my first thought was to head over to Infowars to see what the most irrational and overheated reaction would be, so that I could properly regulate my own concerns in context.

Disclosure: I’m not a fan of international governing bodies. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of any U.S. governing body either, which means that governance is a problem for me when it comes to speech, not the people doing the governing. True to form, the boys over at Infowars have this painted as the end of free speech on the internet, and the Obama Administration’s collusion with the Illuminati. Here’s the summary for those who have had breakfast and want to keep it down:

The UN and EU have sketched out how the future internet will work. Now that ICANN has relinquished control of the medium, globalist institutions can move forward with plans to scrub the internet of all content unacceptable to the global elite and their apparatchiks at the United Nations and, as well, turn it into a revenue generating cash cow.

Yeah, that German fisting porn, pages of “cute cat pics,” TMZ and most corporate online news sources all serve as bastions of freedom for us lowly commoners. And it’s a damned good thing that none of those sites are in it for the money. The internet should be about freedom for all and an outlet for the truth about secret moon bases, which it is now.

So they’re just going to pretend that the Federal Bureau of Investigation hasn’t closed a site or two down. And they’re also now, after railing against the U.S. Government ad nauseum, going to argue that we can’t let this thing go, or we’ll all be goose stepping with the Euro-trash. Why aren’t the boys down in the secret bunker in Austin doing cartwheels of joy that the Evil Empire has relinquished the command and control of the internet, given a history of intimidation of free market exchanges, revelations of spying, and even killing Americans in “false flag” attacks on 9/11? Because you can give an ignorant redneck bully a bullhorn, but you can’t make him think. Hey Alex, wake up! That bullshit you’re preaching didn’t work for the John Birch Society and Jim Crow proponents, and it sure as hell won’t work for you.

Item 2You can’t say bossy because I said so, and you’ll like it. (Bullshit Courtesy of the Twats at Banbossy.com).

Gloria Steinem is a Twat, not a Cunt.

Image of a Twat courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I have a serious issue to consider when I look over the banbossy.com website. Do I refer to these people as cunts, or twats? For me, cunt is a gender neutral word, best employed when I encounter a loud, close-minded and obnoxious parrot who hasn’t bothered to read anything from an opposing point of view, but is more than happy to beat me about the head and upper torso with a copy of the talking points they downloaded from a “trusted” source. A twat is feminine in my lexicon, and applies broadly to women who apply the “sexist” charge to anyone who isn’t “sensitive” enough to her beliefs and is not willing to throw some whipped cream on her bullshit and indulge with her.

We can dismiss the following statement from page one of the twats’ website as a prima facie example of bullshit based solely on the fact that it advocates for banning a disagreeable word:

When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead.”

We can see in the example above that a strain of cuntiness flows through the false dichotomy presented. It paints all oppressive behavior as “assertiveness” and demands absolute acceptance, unless you’re a pig who never wants to see little girls grow up to be leaders. Is a little kid being assertive by demanding that everyone sit at a certain spot and do certain things at a fake tea party, or is the kid just an asshat control freak who wants to lord over her friends?

Here’s a tip: little boys don’t become leaders by being cunts to everyone else and telling them what to do all of the time. Those boys who try that tactic become universally despised as bullies, or end up getting a shit ton of wedgies, indian burns and wet willies as their friends outgrow them later on. Boys learn early on that to get cooperation, it is far more desirable to be perceived as cool and affable. A cunt would have no experience with affable behavior or social acceptance outside an extraordinarily narrow peer group, and would blindly walk around parroting bullshit that says people who disagree are sexist pigs.

Don’t be a bossy cunt if you want to succeed.

You don’t find any successful fathers running around telling their boys to push everybody around and be a complete cunt so he can get to the top. Check that, you do have to be a cunt from time to time to get to the top of some fields, but you can’t be a bossy cunt. It’s hard to stab someone in the back if you are in his face giving him orders he’ll ignore anyway. Cunts wouldn’t be savvy enough to comprehend the subtlety I just covered, but you get the idea.

I finally decided that the content quoted was the work of twats because it indicates a complete misunderstanding of leadership, adheres to a unisex view of human nature and melds those two failures into an illogical, yet cohesive, doctrinal position. I realized that I was looking at the work of misinformed twats, not malicious cunts. It’s still bullshit, but it is bullshit that is the result of ignorance, not malice. I hope this clears things up for the people who were on the fence.

Wait, you didn’t expect me to reply to the idea presented by the neo thought police in a serious way, did you?

Item 3Fucking with seven Russians is a serious imposition of sanctions that will prevent overt aggression. (Bullshit courtesy of President Barack H. Obama).

So we’re in the middle of a high stakes poker game with potential global conflict as the ante and World War III as a potential chip in the final stack. Each side has chosen their representative at the table. Only two countries could muster an entry fee. The United States has a community organizer named Barack Obama playing heads up against the Russian player and former KGB chief Vladimir Putin. Opening hand is dealt and Putin gets 2-7 off suit, while Obama gets pocket aces.

Obama bets half of his chips and Putin re-raises by half.  A trickle of sweat eases down Obama’s brow, and he flinches as he calls. The flop comes up Ace-King-King. Obama has a full house. Putin has nothing but a pair of kings with a 7 kicker. Obama checks the bet. Putin goes all in. Has Obama laid a clever trap to catch Putin coming over the top, or does he suspect that on the wildest odds of all time Putin has pocket kings? The world hangs in the balance. What can Americans expect from such an advantageous position?

The tells.

We’re proper fucked.

I don’t give a damn about Ukraine. It’s complete bullshit that we’re even involved. It’s more humiliating that we’re involved with the bearded capon running things now. Governor Bush was a warmonger, but at least there was no left wing endorsing his bullshit. There was a large swath of the population clamoring against him. Drone boy is a warmonger as well, but his midnight bombings of “terror groups” that include women and children seem to be less offensive to the former anti-war protesters.

While the subject of war isn’t trivial, the skill set of the president is. Now we have to deal with humiliation as well as the guilt of paying taxes to kill people we’ve never met and likely never would have with a constitutionally bound government. It’s not fun. It’s not good for the old self-esteem. And as I mentioned above, we’re proper fucked.

Stopping “Gun Violence” With Background Checks?

By The Digger

Stopping “gun violence” with background checks; it’s a noble idea worthy of serious consideration. Or, it could be a steaming Pamplin pile* of bullshit served up by the disarmament sector (incorrectly labelled as “gun control advocates”). Josie Henderson, executive director of the Oregon Public Health Alliance, and Dr. James P. Scott, president of the National Physicians Alliance, argue that background checks can and will reduce “gun violence” in Oregon. Be advised that the use of the word “argue” should be taken in its broadest sense here. And, I call bullshit.

Without the aid of an internet search, can anyone name a single victim of the Clackamas Town Center shooting? I can’t, and I’m not ashamed. I’m human. Humans can’t mourn everyone who meets a tragic demise. We’d be clinically insane within a week if we bore strong emotional ties to every single human on Earth. Henderson and Scott begin their essay Block gun violence with background checks with the rhetorical flourish that all of us still mourn this event. Waving the bloody shirt is always a tactic best employed when facts don’t support one’s argument. In this instance, that tactic is a symptom of a much deeper problem.

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The problem to which I refer is America’s, and Oregon’s, inability to have an honest discussion about reality. The background check debate is useless, and Oregon already has background checks on gun purchases. I know; it costs me an extra fifteen dollars every time I add to my collection. Henderson and Scott pinpoint the reality in Oregon, and brush it aside in favor of the pursuit of a political orthodoxy that accomplishes little.

The report that they cite uses flawed data that attempts to correlate gun fatalities with gun laws. That data, partly provided by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, shows that New York, California, and Illinois are all theoretically better off than Oregon where gun violence is concerned. Is anyone convinced that the streets of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are safer than Portland’s? Using a mind-numbing formula similar to the climate change “Hockey Stick,” the report attempts to show that more gun laws lead to less “gun violence.” For those wondering, I place “gun violence” within the parameters of quotation here not because I believe that gun violence does not exist, but because I do not believe that suicide should count as “gun violence,” as the disarmament sector does.

The report relies entirely on correlation of faulty numbers, and if we were to assume that simple correlation is a valid scientific support for policy, is it safe to assume that the Oregon Public Health Association will be advocating against vaccines, since there is an indisputable simple correlation between increased inoculations and the growth of autism diagnoses in the last ten years? Of course they’ll never make a moronic argument like that against vaccines, because it makes no sense. But they are more than willing to make such an argument in favor of steps toward disarmament because it’s convenient, and many people will buy it based on a limited knowledge of scientific rigor as applied to statistics, which is almost an oxymoron in itself. Remove the suicides from the statistical models, and not even correlation exists to support the ludicrous assertions of the report.

The most offensive statement that Henderson and Scott make is a rhetorical flourish of the “us versus them” variety. “Pundits may debate the efficacy of background checks, but research shows that background checks work.” As I’ve just outlined, the “research” shows no such thing. But those kooky pundits can be so misleading. This sentence is the soul – using that word in the most contorted context possible – of this Pamplin pile. It is nearly as intellectually offensive as “the science is settled.”

Sadly, however, that is not the furthest extent of the intellectual dishonesty in Henderson and Scott’s essay. In the paragraph prior to the citation of the spurious report, they demonstrate that eighty-two percent of Oregon’s “gun violence” is suicide. Suicide is usually the direct result of an acute mental health crisis. The fact is that mental health crises have a causal relationship with “gun violence,” not a correlation. If background checks were effective in preventing suicidal people from obtaining firearms, the background check would only insure that morphine, razor blades, or rope stand to have a precipitous decline in public approval ratings. That’s the problem with reality that Henderson and Scott blithely skim and ignore.

Why didn’t Henderson and Scott raise the alarm about a mental health issue responsible for eighty-two percent of “gun violence” in Oregon? The best answer to that question is that mental health is a far more complex and difficult discussion than guns. Guns, in the hands of law abiding citizens are tools. A butter knife in the hands of a person suffering from severe mental illness can be a lethal weapon. It’s easier to advocate against guns than it is to advocate for a person cursing, screaming, and defecating on the sidewalk.

Also, mental health crises delve into complex arguments about societal responsibility, liberty and involuntary incarceration. At what point is it necessary to deprive someone of his or her freedom in the interest of protecting his or her health? Should society even concern itself with the notion of preventing someone who wants to die from committing suicide? After all, euthanasia is legal in Oregon. Perhaps we should provide a more humane, thoughtful and much less messy way for a person to willingly terminate his or her status as a consumer/human resource.

I won’t be holding my breath in anticipation of that debate. Gun laws are a much more convenient discussion. And they’re all the rage among the hip these days. That’s usually the story with bullshit.

*A Pamplin Pile – Named in honor of Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. – An offensive pile of bullshit that is published, archived and then allowed to remain unchallenged by any other rational arguments or divergent points of view. A phenomena previously reserved for the likes of Pravda, et. al.