O dear, confirmation bias

Twenty years after Sokal and Bricmont produced their hoax on post-modernism, we have a hoax trolling the post-structuralists – just as good, and likely just as ineffectual:

‘The androcentric scientific and meta-scientific evidence that the penis is the male reproductive organ is considered overwhelming and largely uncontroversial.’

That’s how we began. We used this preposterous sentence to open a “paper” consisting of 3,000 words of utter nonsense posing as academic scholarship. Then a peer-reviewed academic journal in the social sciences accepted and published it.

This paper should never have been published. Titled, “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct,” our paper “argues” that “The penis vis-à-vis maleness is an incoherent construct. We argue that the conceptual penis is better understood not as an anatomical organ but as a gender-performative, highly fluid social construct.” As if to prove philosopher David Hume’s claim that there is a deep gap between what is and what ought to be, our should-never-have-been-published paper waspublished in the open-access (meaning that articles are freely accessible and not behind a paywall), peer-reviewed journal Cogent Social Sciences …

In 1996, Alan Sokal, a Professor of Physics at NYU, published the bogus paper, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity,” in the preeminent cultural studies journal Social Text which is in turn published by Duke University Press. The publication of this nonsense paper, in a prestigious journal with a strong postmodernist orientation, delivered a devastating blow to postmodernism’s intellectual legitimacy.

Subsequently, Sokal and the Belgian physicist Jean Bricmont noted in their 1997 book, Fashionable Nonsense, that certain kinds of ideas can become so fashionable that the critical faculties required for the peer-review process are compromised, allowing outright nonsense to be published, so long as it looks or sounds a certain way, or promotes certain values. It was standing upon Sokal’s shoulders that we proceeded with our hoax, though we perceived a slightly different need.

Sokal’s aim was to demonstrate that fashionable linguistic abuses (especially relying upon puns and wordplay related to scientific terms), apparent scientific authority, conformity with certain leftist political norms, and flattery of the academic preconceptions of an editorial board would be sufficient to secure publication and thus expose shoddy academic rigor on the part of postmodernist scholarship and social commentary.

A primary target of Sokal’s hoax was the appropriation of mathematical and scientific terminology that postmodernist “scholars” didn’t understand and didn’t use correctly. (We included “isomorphism” and “vector” in our paper in subtle homage to Sokal.) Fashionable Nonsense pays particular attention to postmodernists’ abuses of mathematical and scientific terminology. That is, Sokal took aim at an academic abuse by postmodernists and hit his target dead-center. His paper could only have been published if the postmodernists who approved it exhibited overwhelming political motivations and a staggering lack of understanding of basic mathematics and physics terminology.

The scientific community was exuberant that Sokal burst the postmodern bubble because they were fed up with postmodernists misusing scientific and mathematical terms to produce jargon-laden nonsense and bizarre social commentary carrying the apparent gravitas of scientific terminology. It appears that Social Text accepted Sokal’s paper specifically because Sokal was a recognized scientist who appeared to have seen the light.

Our hoax was similar, of course, but it aimed to expose a more troubling bias. The most potent among the human susceptibilities to corruption by fashionable nonsense is the temptation to uncritically endorse morally fashionable nonsense. That is, we assumed we could publish outright nonsense provided it looked the part and portrayed a moralizing attitude that comported with the editors’ moral convictions. Like any impostor, ours had to dress the part, though we made our disguise as ridiculous and caricatured as possible—not so much affixing an obviously fake mustache to mask its true identity as donning two of them as false eyebrows.

Sokal exposed an infatuation with academic puffery that characterizes the entire project of academic postmodernism. Our aim was smaller yet more pointed. We intended to test the hypothesis that flattery of the academic Left’s moral architecture in general, and of the moral orthodoxy in gender studies in particular, is the overwhelming determiner of publication in an academic journal in the field. That is, we sought to demonstrate that a desire for a certain moral view of the world to be validated could overcome the critical assessment required for legitimate scholarship. Particularly, we suspected that gender studies is crippled academically by an overriding almost-religious belief that maleness is the root of all evil. On the evidence, our suspicion was justified.3

As a matter of deeper concern, there is unfortunately some reason to believe that our hoax will not break the relevant spell. First, Alan Sokal’s hoax, now more than 20 years old, did not prevent the continuation of bizarre postmodernist “scholarship.” In particular, it did not lead to a general tightening of standards that would have blocked our own hoax. Second, people rarely give up on their moral attachments and ideological commitments just because they’re shown to be out of alignment with reality.

The problem may be that the post-structuralists and post-modernists, having relied on slogans and verbal posturing for so long in their work, simply don’t have the critical faculties to interrogate the sentences and paragraphs that they are reading. They simply react emotionally to the words in front of them, and make decisions about approbation or disapproval on that basis.

Posted in Groupthink, Mind-sets and Logic-Bubbles, Motivated Reasoning | Leave a comment

An inability to learn

From a review of Lynne Olson’s Last Hope Island that I found in the Fin this weekend:

In the early evening of March 6, 1942, Lauwers sat in an apartment in The Hague, waiting to begin his scheduled biweekly transmission to London, which was always broadcast at the same time and on one of two predetermined frequencies. Just then, the apartment’s leaseholder, a Dutch lawyer who had been secretly sheltering him, flung open the front door and announced that four police vans were parked outside.

Stuffing his codes into his pocket, Lauwers hurriedly left the building and, trying to appear as calm as possible, strolled down the snow-covered street. In seconds, he was cornered by a dozen men waving pistols. “I cursed my stupidity,” he later wrote. “The game was up.”

On the sidewalk, a tall man with penetrating blue eyes, a sharp nose, and a thin moustache watched as Lauwers was quickly hustled into a car. Major Hermann Giskes, the 45 year-old head of Abwehr counterintelligence in the Netherlands, had been on Lauwers’s trail for weeks. Contrary to what SOE thought of Giskes and his colleagues, they were, in the words of the Dutch historian Louis de Jong, “extremely skilled and dangerous opponents”.

In his interrogation techniques, Giskes preferred using a rapier approach – quiet, intense verbal pressure – rather than the SD’s (the SS’s intelligence arm) and Gestapo’s bludgeon, which usually involved torture. Promising Lauwers he would not be harmed, Giskes pressed the exhausted, frightened agent to agree to “play back” his wireless set – that is, to continue to send messages to London as if he were still free. At first Lauwers adamantly refused, but after many hours of interrogation, he finally gave in, confident that when he left out his security check, as he had been repeatedly told to do, SOE would realise he had been captured.

He and his fellow Dutch agents, Lauwers later wrote, had two things in common: “a deep love of our country and a blind trust in our superiors. The long-standing reputation of the British Secret Service throughout the world and the training which the agents received brought our trust . . . to the heights of almost mystical belief.”

Secure in that conviction, he resumed his transmissions to London under Giskes’s watchful eye. In four successive messages, he left out his security check, but SOE gave no indication it understood his warnings. Increasingly desperate, he began inserting the letters “CAU” and “GHT” in his transmissions. Again no reaction. Many years later, Leo Marks would remark that “no agent in my experience tried harder than [Lauwers] to let us know he was caught. . . . Poor devil, he did his damnedest.”

In fact, Lauwer’s missing check had been noted by SOE signals operators and brought to the attention of Blizzard and his N Section subordinates. They concluded it was insufficient evidence to prove that Lauwers was in custody. Not long afterward, they informed him that another agent would be parachuted in to join him and Taconis. When the new operative landed in late March, Giskes and his men were on hand to greet him.

Thus began das Englandspiel (“the England Game”), an extraordinary two-year Abwehr operation that netted more than 50 London-sent Dutch agents, not to mention hundreds of tons of arms and explosives. The worst disaster in SOE history, it would virtually decapitate the Dutch resistance movement.

From March 1942 onward, a steady flood of operatives and weapons was dropped into the waiting arms of the Abwehr and Gestapo. Like Lauwers, the agents who were wireless operators agreed to “play back” their sets, believing that SOE would instantly notice their lack of a security check. And once again, the omitted checks were ignored. To a man, the newcomers’ reaction to “this continuous negligence of the grossest kind” was “stupefying bewilderment,” as Lauwers put it.

By June 1942, 15 agents had been dispatched to Holland, all of them, in N Section’s deluded view, doing a fine job of organising Dutch resistance. The next man to be parachuted into Holland was George Jambroes, a former resistance leader who had escaped to Britain in late 1941 and who had close connections with the Dutch government in exile. His mission was to take command of all resistance groups in the Netherlands and form them into an underground army of saboteurs that would begin readying itself for its role in the Allied invasion of Europe.

On June 26, 1942, Jambroes was parachuted into Holland, with a wireless operator and several tons of weapons and explosives. They were met, of course, by a large German reception party, including Giskes. If its successes continued, das Englandspiel might well produce clues to the exact timing and location of the Allied invasion of Europe.

In the summer and fall of 1942, SOE received a series of rosy reports from Giskes/Jambroes. London responded in “conveyor-belt” fashion, Giskes later wrote, dispatching 27 more agents and hundreds of additional tons of equipment and supplies. By December 1942, 43 operatives were in German custody.

By early 1943, das Englandspiel had ballooned into such a huge scam – complete with faked-up sabotage campaigns, supposedly organised by the SOE agents – that Giskes was forced to cut it back. “I was faced with the problem of keeping London . . . supplied with information about the multifarious activities of nearly 50 agents,” he wrote, “and it seemed impossible that we could keep this up for long.”

His solution was to inform SOE that, regrettably, several of the agents had suffered fatal accidents or had been captured and killed by the Germans.

Though N section never seemed to doubt Giskes’s self-described “fairy tales”, an increasing number of outsiders began expressing scepticism about the entire Dutch operation including Prince Bernhard, Queen Wilhelmina’s son-in-law in exile. One officer in SOE’s signals department was so insistent in his warnings that he was told by his superiors if he mentioned the matter again, he would be drafted into the British Army for frontline service.

Also suspicious were a number of RAF pilots who transported the Dutch agents to their drop zones. The pilots noted that they never had any problems in their flights to Holland or in making the drops. The difficulties would begin on the return trip home.

But of all the sceptics of SOE activities in Holland, none was more insistent than Leo Marks. To test his theory that the enemy was controlling Dutch radio traffic, he sent a message to Holland that ended with the common German sign-off “HH,” standing for “Heil Hitler”. When he received an apparently reflexive reply that also ended with “HH”, Marks knew it had come from a German. (As das Englandspiel progressed, German radio operators had begun taking over from the captive SOE agents.)

Marks described later trying to imagine how it felt “to be in a prison cell in Holland hoping that someone in London was awake”. SOE’s chief of codes had finally had enough. In January 1943, he shut himself away for three days to study every message that had been exchanged between Holland and London. When he finished, he wrote a blistering four-page report that could have been summarised, he said, in just four words: “God help these agents.”

[Marks’ report had little effect as SOE’s top brass protected the agency instead. Of the 54 agents sent in by London, only four – including Lauwers – survived. Most were machine-gunned at Mauthausen concentration camp. Hundreds of key resistance figures died as well. After the war, SOE documents, including lengthy reports by Marks, were destroyed by a mysterious fire in early 1946, foiling an attempt in 1949 by a Dutch parliamentary commission to get at the truth behind das Englandspiel. “I’d worked too long for SOE to believe the fire was accidental,” Marks said years later.]

Was this simply abject, bone-headed stupidity on the part of the British? Or was there, as Marks’ obit in The Telegraph indicates, a ‘longer game’ being played, for the success of which these men’s lives were deemed to be acceptable sacrifices?

I can’t see how. I can’t see how it could possibly have benefitted the British to have lost so many agents, for nothing in return (that I can see, anyway).

The aim of this post isn’t to point and shame the British for stupidity. It is to point out how easy it is, even for those who rely on their brains for making life-and-death analysis and decisions, to dumb things – especially in bureaucracies.

Think of your own office, now, or your workplace. Now imagine those people who make the dumb decisions, and who do the stupid things, over and over, having control over the lives of others.

We recognise it, because we want to improve the situation.

Posted in Decision-making, Mind-sets and Logic-Bubbles, Poor reasoning, Principal-Agent Problems, Problem Solving, Problems with perception intuition and judgement, Strat. Assumptions v. Tac. Indicators, Thinking Course, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Narrative and Taboo

Trump’s backing away from the positions that got him elected continues apace:

Trump frequently used the phrase “radical Islamic terror” on the campaign trail to describe Islamist extremists and militant groups, but the term has historically been avoided by presidents, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  In fact, McMaster himself has urged the president to refrain from using the phrase, arguing that violent extremists, such as ISIS militants, push a perverse view of Islam and that the phrase “radical Islamic terror” ultimately hinders U.S. goals, according to CNN.

McMaster said on ABC’s “This Week”…

“The president will call it whatever he wants to call it. But I think it’s important that, whatever we call it, we recognize that [extremists] are not religious people. And, in fact, these enemies of all civilizations, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under this false idea of some kind of religious war.”

But I think what the president will point out is the vast majority  – the vast majority of victims from these people are Muslims. And of course the Muslim world is very cognizant of that, having born witness to and experienced directly this humanitarian catastrophe that’s going on across the greater Middle East and beyond.”

The nonsense is stupefying.

Why can’t a religious person be an extremist? Why is religious war a false idea – has he not heard of jihad, or the crusades? Why can’t a religious war be consistent with criminal behaviour – has this man never heard of ‘war criminals’? Why can’t muslims inflicting murder and crime on other muslims be consistent with a religious war waged by muslims against other muslims – has he not heard of the wars of religion in the muslim and christian worlds?

Whatever the reason for this sort of nonsense, it only strengthens my belief that there is a tremendously strong force exerting pressure on western world elites and executives to fall in line with the muslim worldview. It might not be from within the muslim world, but I think it exists. And it must be sufficiently powerful to exert enough pressure on western leaders to get them to say things that alienate their electorates.

UPDATE: O dear, just as I thought:

“This is a battle between good and evil,” he said. “Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.”

“Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death,” Trump continued, delivering the speech during his first foreign trip as president.  “If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing, then not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, but we will be judged by God,” Trump said.

“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sexts or different civilizations, this is battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people all in the name of religion, people that want to protect life and want to protect their religion,” he continued.

“When we see the scenes of destruction in the wake of terror, we see no signs that those murdered were Jewish, were Christian, Shia or Sunni. When we look upon the strains of innocent blood soaked into the ancient ground, we cannot see the faith or sect or tribe of the victims, we see only that they were children of God,” he said.

And so, yet another opportunity to call out islam for the injunctions and exhortations that allah explicitly makes to his followers goes begging. And the rest of us face the prospect of having more of our blood shed, in our wait for the western world’s elite to wake up and toughen up.

Posted in Epistemic Rationality, Narrative and Taboo, Poor reasoning, Principal-Agent Problems, The Suicide of the West | Leave a comment

A really big week

What an extraordinary day.

Turns out Bigmouth did exactly what bigmouths do and opened his big mouth to the Russians about secret intelligence that wasn’t to be shared. Other bigmouths then leaked this to the Bigmouth Press who big-mouthed it all over their front pages. Now Bigmouth’s office is scrambling to undo the damage, wheeling out McMaster to lay down covering fire for the Bigmouth in Chief.

McMaster said Trump could not have endangered national security because he did not even know the source of the information he discussed. “The president wasn’t even aware of where this information came from” as “he wasn’t briefed on the source.”

Bullshit. That’s not how it works. All secret intelligence is covered with caveats. And it is delivered to the president by one agency or another. The press are despicable, and the leakers are despicable, but Trump is a plain big-mouthed idiot. Let’s hope he learned his lesson and won’t mess up like this again. Lives depend on keeping some secrets secret.

Following on from this nonsense, we have the Europeans getting all prissy. ‘We won’t share information with the US if we can’t guarantee that Bigmouth will keep it safe’, say the Europeans.

Where were they when Hillary was selling Special Access Programme information to, among others, the Saudis? What she did was infinitely more damaging, and more deadly to sources, than Bigmouth’s bigmouthing. And yet … silence.

Further east, we have the Eretz Israel crowd piping up again. Their plan to overthrow Assad and balkanise Syria into nice, controllable Bantustans looking like a fizzer, but not willing to call it a day, they’ve briefed – would you believe – the Housing and Construction minister, one Mr Galant, to shoot off at the mouth over what is clearly some contrived photographic intelligence purportedly showing Assad to be running mass murder camps, ending with a call to assassinate Assad.

I don’t know what’s worse: that they are so stupid that they think this sort of garbage propagandising works, or that they think we are so stupid that it will work on us.

Lastly, now that James ‘Clown’ Comey is gone from the FBI, we have all sorts of intel leaks springing up about various nasty occurrences. One of these leaks concerns what happened to poor Seth Rich. It wasn’t the Russians wot hacked the Dems, as Assange said all along, it was a leak, and it appears Seth was one of the leakers. And he paid for it with his life.

Let’s hope those responsible are brought to justice.

What. A. Week. And it has only just started.

UPDATE: perhaps this explains the IQ 85 media-Housing Minister chimp-out. Well, that, and the need to run interference on the Seth Rich story.


The Stupidity intensifies – Comey leaks one of his memos to the New York Times indicating that Trump sought to pervert the course of justice with regard to the investigation of Michael Flynn (Trump really should have made sacking Comey the first thing he did when entering the Oval Office); the press and the cult-marxists are going nuts; virtue signalling morons falling over themselves to be the first to call for Big-mouth’s impeachment.

Do they not realise that, if this memo is published, ALL of Comey’s memos can then be requested – concerning Obama, Clinton, Loretta Lynch, Eric Holder, und so weiter? The lid comes off all of the games of the Obama White House, if Comey goes through with this – everyone gets a view of the swamp with the water drained.

One small voice of calm, amazed at the parade of nonsense on stilts that is the outrage over Trump, tries to speak reason but is drowned out by the wall-to-wall screeching and hooting that passes for political commentary these days:

Steven Cohen, Professor of Russian studies at Princeton and NYU (an obvious Russian spy) was besides himself tonight, in sheer disbelief over the with hunt of gigantic nothing-burgers that are being used to assault the Presidency of Donald Trump.

He declared, “today, I would say (the greatest threat to national security) is this assault on President Trump. Let’s be clear what he’s being accused of is treason. This has never happened in America, that we had a Russian agent in the White House. Cohen believes Flynn did nothing wrong by talking to the Russian ambassador, describing it as ‘his job’ to do so.

Another small voice of calm, this one belonging to the Judo Tsar:

Complaining about what he said were signs of “political schizophrenia” in the United States, Putin said Trump was not being allowed to do his job properly.

“It’s hard to imagine what else can these people who generate such nonsense and rubbish can dream up next,” said Putin.

Not just for you, Vlad.

“What surprises me is that they are shaking up the domestic political situation using anti-Russian slogans. Either they don’t understand the damage they’re doing to their own country, in which case they are simply stupid, or they understand everything, in which case they are dangerous and corrupt.”

‘Political schizophrenia’ indeed. These people are beside themselves with frenzy over Trump. What more insanity will tomorrow bring?

Another small voice of calm:

I saw this quote on CNN.com today: “The episode is the latest woe for Trump, whose administration is engulfed in a series of scandals linked to Russia.”

A “series of scandals linked to Russia”? Would it be equally accurate to characterize it as a series of stories manufactured by the media, none of which have been confirmed to be a big deal?


NBC reported late on Friday that according to two US officials, an unnamed current White House official is under FBI investigation related to Russia collusion.

Yes two anonymous people told someone that some unnamed person in the White House is under investigation. This passes for news? For information?

And, as I had both hoped and expected, FBI Anon made another appearance, in doing so confirming all of my suspicions with enormous dollops of juicy, insider goss:

The “ally” not being named is Israel, and they are mad as hell at Trump.  Israel is furious because they got caught with their pants down. Lets get to the point. Isis was created by Israel and the US to weaken Iran and topple Assad. Billions in profits at stake. Israel has developed the technology to remote control airlines via laptops. A false flag was being prepared. Trump discussed it with Russian officials,exposing the “plot” McMaster pitched, and now all hell has broken loose. Trump did a wonderful thing in my opinion.  We do not need anymore Isis false flags.

If Isis is eradicated, it will decrease CIA and DOD budgets, limit the amount of “support” Israel receives, and cause disruptions in the grand scheme to build a massive pipeline through Syria and ultimately cause the downfall of Iran and Russia. This is why “Isis” is being kept alive by the NWO. This is why such “bold” and “frightening” plots must be continually fed to the people. To justify larger budgets, and bigger hegemony.

Russia is actually our only hope, along with Trump, that this diabolical system can be broken, shattered, as JFK once said, into a thousand pieces and scattered to the wind.

The technology to remotely control and crash commercial airliners was developed by Unit 8200, the Israeli cyber command. Does any thinking person actually believe rag tag militants would have the know how and resources to develop this technology? Give me a break. While we are at it, you may want to see how close the Russian MetroJet 9268 was to Unit 8200 when it went down. Tensions between Israel and Russia continue to grow by the day. Putin knows every trick in the Israeli arsenal and he just happens to be a much better chess player than Netanyahu …

… if HRC is facing serious prison time, and she can reduce her sentence by playing ball, we expect this will be the most profound thing Trump can do to drain the swamp. HRC has the goods on Schumer, and McCain, Graham, Blumenthal, and so much more. Imagine the most powerful mafia Don snitching on 30 years of tangled and corrupt relationships. Then triple the effect. HRC could effectively put 200 people currently in power behind bars.  This may be Trump’s chess move, however he needs to get rid of Kushner right away. As I indicated, Kushner is playing in an occult sandbox and there are recordings of this HRC is fully aware.  It could get ugly …

… the Israeli lobby, when fully exposed, with show how the alphabets have been compromised by a foreign nation. I believe Steele indicated that our “truest ally” is actually our national extortionist, and it’s true.  Imagine the public’s reaction when they find 80% of our senators and congressmen are on the take, allowing espionage, extortion and pedophilia to become the norm. We have a saying around here. If something dirty comes up regarding a politician, we refer to it as “New Babylon“ …

We are truly in danger of becoming the United States of Israel.  They own 80% of our politicians. They have infiltrated our media, our tech companies, our banking systems.  The average Jew in Israel or America is not a problem, they are regular people. But, the ones who either serve Zionism, or work on the so called “Greater Israel” manifest destiny pose a serious risk, both foreign and nationally.

If we can move forward with a full investigation into the CF, Wiener, and HRC, it will eventually lead to exposing the vast reach of the Israeli lobby. The best thing we can do as a nation is to continue to bring this stuff into the light. That’s why platforms like /Pol/ on 4chan, and so called “truth” channels provide the people with some kernel of truth.

Although I simply can’t understand why, if she has all this information and it has the ability to save the Republic, she just doesn’t release it. En masse. How much worse can things get? How much better would the world be for its release?

And, over at the industrial-scale deep-state loon pond. Has to be seen to be believed.

It’s hard to keep up with it all. For all the noise about Trump’s Russian connections over the past six months, there has been zero evidence presented to support such assertions. It seems to me that what is driving the story is a combination of: cult-marx disappointment at having been defeated in an election that really was there’s for the taking; deep-state intelligence and political agents terrified that Trump, an outsider, is going to uncover all of the money-making, power-aggrandising games that they’ve hidden from the American public since Kennedy got the bullet; and a left-biased legacy media undergoing a slow, agonising death and rolling the dice for one last shot at relevance, aimed at an America that they simply cannot understand.


The NYT just dropped its latest deep-state scoop, and boy is it a doozy.

But instead of using the information as more leverage to attack President Trump, the leaks reveal allegedly extreme incompetence at the highest levels of the CIA, what NYT’s “current and former government sources” characterized as the worst intelligence breach in decades.

These officials revealed that “the Chinese government systematically dismantled CIA spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward.”

The sheer number of U.S. assets lost rivaled those lost to the Soviet Union and Russia during the betrayals of both Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen during the 1980s and 1990s, the NYT noted.

The US intelligence and political elite are in a mess. The Israelis, Chinese, Russians, Pakistanis, and Saudis – and possibly many others – are running intel, hacking, compromise-control and disruption operations at will. Most of the decision-makers in both communities are hopelessly owned – bought, blackmailed, ideologically enthralled. National security is deteriorating as a result. And the one man who might be able to do anything about this – and who cannot be compromised, because he has more money, gets more diamond-level, industrial-strength sex, and has more belief in America than any other major actor – is under 24-hour attack by the compromised midgets whose games he threatens to expose and up-end.

Fascinating stuff. We haven’t seen anything like the end of all this. I hope Trump comes out a winner: if this goes wrong, and the deep state gets the upper hand, I sincerely believe we are at risk of the US beginning a nuclear war. The US position is that far gone, and the stakes are that high. We are talking about the biggest, meanest, richest player at the global chessboard at risk of civil disorder.

And we’re not the only one’s who’ve noticed.

Just a point on ‘he said, she said’ controversies. When I worked in my own insignificant country’s insignificant intelligence analysis agency, at every important meeting we brought along a scribe – someone trained to take detailed, accurate notes of a conversation. With the scribe in the room writing everything down, there was little risk that meetings could be misremembered, or details argued over. Why don’t these people bring scribes into their meetings, or simply record the conversations? They make their own problems.

Posted in Flotsam and Jetsam | Leave a comment

Leftist’s Action, Liberty’s Reaction

I’ve been observing developments on the left-side fringes of US politics with a growing sense of anxiety, driven in equal parts by bewilderment and deep concern. The most recent election has removed the masking slogans of tolerance, harmony and diversity, and revealed motivating sentiments of anger and hatred held by a broad range of social groups towards a single group – white males. The justification for this hatred – which is immensely powerful, visceral and far beyond reason – is a broad belief that these white males, both historically and now, have held members of these groups back, pushed them down, oppressed them, enslaved them, objectified them, committed violence against them, held together.

The continuous feeding of this hatred with stories of abuse and oppression, aired without counter-stories or questions, has turned the politicised left – the social movements, whose members and leaders are populated with highly-motivated, highly aggrieved and not too bright people – into frenzied shock-troops for the leftist cause. They are vocal in their condemnations of all they don’t like, and willing to do violence to those who displease them or whom they perceive are their enemies.

I can’t say where this latest movement has come from. My guess is that whatever intellectual content it has is the latest excrescence of the cultural marxism that has had control over the universities since the 1970s. The emotional content is I think a combination of this rubbish being fed to young, idealistic, generally well-meaning but gullible young people, and the fact that forty-or-so years of equal opportunity programmes not having created equality of outcomes, and in some cases having them become worse despite these programmes. The left, which championed these equal opportunity programmes, is left with the choice of either

  1. acknowledging that differences in outcomes are the result of differences between groups which are exacerbated, rather than reduced, by equality of opportunity; or
  2. attributing inequality of outcomes to enduring racism, sexism, hatred of homosexuals, etc, and bypassing equality of opportunity for equality of outcomes – something which has been happening anyway (ask Scott Adams how he came to be a cartoonist), but which will now be made a direct aim of government and corporate policy.

The resources financing the teaching of this nonsense theory and the activism that it has created come from the ongoing fiat-funded welfare state, which hands out money to whatever social group can organise the most convincing and fashionable sob story (think I’m wrong? what has been done for the homeless or unemployed lately?).

No surprise that the leftists cannot acknowledge 1 – that would be to acknowledge that you and your like can’t compete in the open market, and that the people with the wealth and the power have that wealth and power because they built and earnt it. And so they go to 2, and the rest of us get the racket of ‘unconscious bias’ training and schemes which openly hire and promote non-white females at the expense of white males.

But for the young, university-age activists, training programmes for white men in unconscious bias and rape culture, and positive discrimination in enrollment, recruitment and promotion, aren’t enough. They don’t just want to remove white males from positions of power. They, at best, want to relieve them of their wealth, tax them to subsidise desired social programmes, silence them in the public space, and do violence against them, possibly to the point of genocide.

I never thought I would see this.  Least of all in the United States, a leading developed country. I don’t know that it’s possible to talk to the radicals at this point. Their frenzy and prejudice is so strong now. This is an old tale, and not just in the history of social groups. I remember reading, many years ago on an internet forum for discussing the work of David Stove, a story from someone who had worked in a psychiatric ward. He said there was one patient there, a large, middle-aged man, who occasionally while walking around would start saying ‘Jesus came to save the sinners!’ After repeating this a few times and building himself up into a frenzy, he would begin head-butting anyone within range, before he was restrained. I can’t help but see parallels with the behaviour of the radical left: after building themselves up into a frenzy by repeating the phrases ‘Diversity is our Strength!’ or ‘Black Lives Matter!’ or some other slogan, they are now out doing violence against anyone in range who doesn’t, physically, fit their idea of a ‘safe’ person.

You see it in the protests against men’s rights demonstrations, and films such as ‘The Red Pill’ which show those demonstrations and counter-demonstrations. The violence against free-speech supporters. Against Trump supporters. Against Republicans of all kind – recently, a rose parade in Portland, Oregan was cancelled after Antifa threatened to disrupt it because the local Republican group was part of the show.

The western world is the wealthiest it has ever been, and yet the nuttiness and frenzy and hatred are at levels I’ve never seen before. I don’t have a solution. Sadly, as much as I would like to, I can’t get away from these people. They always seem to be everywhere, whingeing and moaning and demanding and curtailing others’ rights and striking out against others, never letting them have a moment’s peace. I can’t see any alternative but to raise the flag for freedom, invite discussion where possible, and argue against nonsense wherever I can.

Some interesting links:

Lots more out there. It’s time to hoist the black flag and join the fight for freedom.

Posted in Cult-Marx Inversion, Democracy and freedom of mind, Epistemic Rationality, Freedom of speech, Good Thinking, Groupthink, Narrative and Taboo, The Mind & Society, The Suicide of the West | 1 Comment

The spy network in your backyard – known unknown, unknown unknown, or unknown known?

Was just this evening reading an FT review of Henry Hemming’s new book M: Maxwell Knight, MI5’s Greatest Spymaster. These sentences got me thinking:

He was also, at least during the second world war, one of the most successful spies of his day. His section at MI5 exposed a network of London fascists responsible for passing US secrets to the Germans.

The most famous British spy story from World War II is about Masterman and the Double-Cross method, whereby German spies and their networks were rounded up, and then used first for counter-espionage and then for deception. Apparently, the British learnt after the war that all of the spies sent by the Germans to Britain were either captured, or gave themselves up, or committed suicide.

The quotation sparked the memory of the double-cross method in my mind, which then prompted the question: how could you possibly know that you’d collected up all the spies in the country, both during the war, and after, when you had confirmation from German documents and officials? I doubt you could ever be sure, and being confident of your success is, for a spy, both unwise [because it leads to complacency] and out of character [because spies, by their nature, are suspicious, sometimes to the point of debilitating paranoia].

So, for the spymaster who can never rest, and who knows that the enemy is continually landing agents on your soil, the number of enemy agents are out there is, during wartime, a known unknown which you are forever trying to resolve [although it helps when the other guy’s people give themselves up]. Having rolled up a significant number of networks, should you lapse into complacency, break out the prosecco and re-assign your staff to coast-watching, the problem becomes an unknown unknown.

And should you, the spymaster, happen, yourself, to have been turned by the enemy [money? ideology? compromise? ego?], then the problem becomes that thing simultaneously most rare and most common, an unknown known.

A wilderness of mirrors. No wonder Angleton lost the plot.


Posted in Epistemic Rationality | Leave a comment

‘Gertrude, do not drink’: First step

September last year:

What Congress’ actions do is place pressure on the Saudis to ‘fess up. The Saudis are weak, and completely reliant on the US for their existence. If the US turns on them – as Congress is doing, and the population did long ago – then they disappear in a sandstorm of blood-soaked violence. Their only allies are whoever is in the White House. But the White House can’t protect them without compromising the US government. The White House is being forced to choose to protect the Saudis, because if it doesn’t, the Saudis will spill the beans in the interests of self-preservation, and that will break the official cover story wide open.

But the White House can’t keep protecting the Saudis, because Congress can overturn the White House’s veto of  JASTA. How should the White House react? Most likely, it will do everything it can to sway as many Congressional representatives as it needs to in order to maintain the veto. And that will mean leaning on them to protect the Saudis ‘in the interests of national security’. With the Saudis so on the nose, more persuasion is likely to be needed, and that may include the White House’s telling people, in confidence, about the joint US-Saudi operation that went wrong. It’s a Hail Mary pass, and one that could backfire, because it would mean that, for the first time in 15 years, the White House had let slip the truth. And once it’s out, it’s explosive.

And if the White House can’t protect the Saudis, no matter what it does, then the Saudis spill the beans.

And the whole of September 11 is revised in the light of this new information …

The dilemma facing the White House is similar to that which faced Claudius. They have engaged in a dark plot, which went wrong, and which now, through a combination of its own self-serving deceits and the naivety of those who believe those deceits, is coming unstuck. They need to protect the secrecy of the plot, but to do so, they must also protect the Saudis, their co-conspirators, an action which risks uncovering the plot.

And today:

U.S. Insurers Sue Saudis for $4.2 Billion Over 9/11

Last year’s Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), a bill which allowed Americans to sue Saudi Arabia in US court over their involvement in 9/11, has yielded another major lawsuit yesterday, a $4.2 billion suit filed by over two dozen US insurers related to losses sustained because of the 2001 attack.

The lawsuit is targeting a pair of Saudi banks, and a number of Saudi companies with ties to the bin Laden family, accusing them of various activities in support of al-Qaeda in the years ahead of 9/11, and subsequently having “aided and abetted” the attack.

The biggest target is the Saudi National Commercial Bank, which is majority state-owned. The Saudi government heavily pressured the Obama Administration to block the JASTA last year, threatening to crash the US treasury market if it led to lawsuits, but overwhelming Congressional support still got it passed into law.

While there were more than a few lawsuits already filed in the past several weeks related to JASTA, this is by far the biggest, and most previous lawsuits are still in limbo as the court and lawyers try to combine them into various class action groups.

Historically, US sovereign immunity laws have prevented suits against the Saudi government related to overseas terrorism. With the release of the Saudi-related portions of the 9/11 Report last year, however, such suits were inevitable, and the federal government could no longer protect the Saudis from litigation.

Posted in Flotsam and Jetsam, Hypotheses, Nullius in verba, Sound Reasoning, The Suicide of the West | Leave a comment

The end of Kita Cho-sen

My guess is that Trump has realised that, at some time, he or his successor will have to do something, and that it only gets worse with every day that passes, so he might as well go as soon as possible.

I’ve never seen a President like this. I don’t think the world has. This is quite terrifying.

Posted in Flotsam and Jetsam, Instrumental Rationality | 2 Comments

The Strategic Consequences of Donald Trump’s Limbic System

Syrian air force bombs a munitions dump belonging to insurgents.

Aerosol anti-personnel chemicals are released into the surrounding atmosphere, and drift towards a town in which people, including numerous children, reside.

The chemicals adversely affect the people’s health. A camera-team is nearby and captures the horror on film, including the treatment of children as medical staff try desperately to save them and reduce the damage to them.

President Trump sees the footage, talks to his advisers, asks for military retaliation against the Syrian military, and releases the following message to the public:  Continue reading

Posted in Decision-making, Epistemic Rationality, Esau Problem, Instrumental Rationality, Poor reasoning, The Suicide of the West | Leave a comment

Multiple intelligences, multiple competencies

About two months into the new job, and getting to know my colleagues, tasks, managers and obligations.

One thing I’ve had presented to me in this role is senior managers and executives who are capable in one area, or one competency, but incompetent in everything else. It’s quite confronting to have to sit in meetings with these people and spend considerable amounts of time taking them back to first principles, and asking basic questions, in order to get them to understand essentials and prevent them from asking me to do dumb things and from misunderstanding circumstances.

Obviously, they must be competent in one area, and to achieve competence at a level that allows promotion to executive office requires above-average intelligence. But that intelligence doesn’t appear to be easily transferable to other activities.

I’d known this in my head that this was how intelligence and competence works. But to actually see it in front of me, and to have to grapple with it and its adverse consequences, that’s a whole other, and very trying, thing.

Posted in Good Thinking, intuition and judgment, Mind-sets and Logic-Bubbles, Poor reasoning | Leave a comment