Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

David Sirota adopts creationists tactics to bend the truth.

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Twitter commenter David Sirota, a zealous promoter of Bernie Sanders, has posted several graphics containing what he reports to be representative of Hillary Clinton’s views about concepts near and dear to the hearts of Progressives in the US.

Just to be clear, I’m Canadian, I don’t have a preference between Clinton or Sanders as the US president, my only concern is that the US will react against the Democratic Socialist ideas espoused by Sanders and vote in either Trump or Cruz. I do not want to see either of the Republicans get in because they will likely kill all of the progressive social advances made in the US since Obama’s election. If Sanders becomes the president, and I consider that as good a choice as Clinton, possibly even better, it will depend on how well he is able to implement his ideas. My question is whether he would be electable.

What bugs me about Sirota and the rest of the zealous ideologues supporting Sanders and posting hatred and bull shit on Twitter, are the dishonest tactics they use. Sirota is just a proxy for all the extremism Sander’s supporters are expressing.

One of those tactics is one that is common among Young Earth Creationists (YEC) called quote mining. As I’ll show later, Sirota also tried to use another YEC tactic known as the Gish Gallup.

Quote mining is an attempt to misrepresent the meaning of a speaker’s words by only quoting a part of the comment made by the speaker.  The misrepresentation can be anything from implying the speaker meant the opposite of what they actually meant, and what is obvious if the full comment is considered, to simply leaving out a qualifying statement such as what usually comes after a ‘but’. Many comments are not simple statements, but an explanation of views. Quote mining removes part or all of that explanation. It really is a dishonest way of manipulating the emotions of people reading or listening to the quote.

One thing I’ve noticed from people using this tactic is to ask the question “Well, did s/he actually say those words?”, as if the words themselves are the only source of meaning. The words are only part of the message being conveyed, and in fact because words frequently have multiple meanings, context is absolutely necessary to derive meaning from any comment. I’m not going to go into the intricacies of how we understand meaning from spoken/written communication, but the fact remains that a sequence of words placed in a specific order do not give enough information about meaning, especially when they don’t encompass the entire meaning, to be taken as indicative of anything.

Here is one of the graphics used by Sirota.

sirota-bs

Notice if you will that there are eight points. This is where the Gish Gallup as employed by Sirota comes in.

I’ve included screenshots of the Tweets just in case Sirota deletes them. I’m sure he won’t but just in case.

sirota1

Of course he assumes his points can’t be refuted & complains that I wasn’t able to do so within a few minutes of his original tweet. Note the time on that tweet – 12:05 PM

Here’s his second response when I wasn’t able to dispute his quote mines immediately. Again, note the time stamp: 12:07 PM. Just two minutes later.

sirota3

And one minute later:

sirota2

By putting pressure on me to answer eight points that will take research time within three minutes, he’s using the time tested YEC tactic of claiming there exist no responses to his points because the answers weren’t simple and immediate.

Back to the quote mines.

sirota-bs2

The first quote is from here: Townterview with NDTV’s Barkha Dutt on “We The People”  (http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2012/05/189385.htm)

Here’s the money quote.

“And I think that there are advantages with it that have certainly benefited many parts of our country”

There is nothing here to tell the viewer that there was more to the quote. The part Sirota quoted was not even a full sentence, it was just a part. The implication of the quote given by Sirota is that Hillary viewed outsourcing as a good thing, however if you look at the whole quote you see that isn’t true.

“Outsourcing from the United States to India. Well, it’s been going on for many years now, and it’s part of our economic relationship with India. And I think that there are advantages with it that have certainly benefitted many parts of our country, and there are disadvantages that go to the need to improve the job skills of our own people and create a better economic environment. So it – like anything, it’s about pluses and minuses.”

This certainly isn’t Clinton claiming outsourcing is a good thing, it’s Clinton acknowledging the reality of outsourcing and the relationship that was built between India and the US. By saying it wasn’t purely a negative process, she’s reflecting the reality of global commerce, that there is a balance that has to be considered & all countries can benefit from economic relationships. Clinton was also very clear that it caused conditions in the US that have to be considered and improved.

Although Sirota wants you to think Clinton was making a positive value statement about outsources, she wasn’t. She was commenting on the reality of what happened and the impacts of it.

I’m not going to go through the entire list of eight points Sirota made, I think just addressing the first two will clearly expose Sirota’s intent and use of dishonest tactics.

The next quote given on Sirota’s graphic is taken from a video made at a New Hampshire Town Hall.

“I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in, [and I do think that you have to control your borders.]”

Again, there is nothing in this Sirota quote that indicates this is from a larger question. It also ignores part of the original sentence, although including it doesn’t change the implied meaning of the comment. I added the missing part back in and surrounded it in square brackets.

The answer she gave was in response to a question about Trump’s plans for a wall and to deport 11 million people.

“But I think that it’s also true that we need to do more to try to number one, deal with the people who are already here, many of whom have been here for decades. It is just never going to happen that we’re going to round up and deport 11 or 12 million people.

“I don’t care how tall the wall is or how big the door is, that is never going to happen. And I think that’s an unnecessarily provocative thing to say.”

“We need to do more to try and put some resources into those countries to try to deal with some of the conditions particularly the violence, the drug dealers and the like.”

Sirota would like you to assume that Hillary is all about shutting down immigration, increasing deportation and ignoring the plight of those who cross the border illegally. That isn’t what this says. What is being said is that she does not agree with Trump, but that she thinks illegal immigration needs to be dealt with on several fronts, including helping the people in the countries they are fleeing.

Unless Sirota & Bernie support completely open borders, they too support a form of illegal immigration restriction.

I suggest you listen to the video. The video is set to start at the quote.

Even if the rest of the quotes weren’t missing context, the two that I addressed and have shown to be quote mines, are enough to see how Sirota, as a proxy for too many Sander’s supporters, is willing to employ dishonest tactics traditionally limited to YECs and the right wing.

Despite Recent Claims by the Right, Noting Racism Exists is Not Racist

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

There is a belief among many on the right that equates bringing up a charge of racism, or most recently, simply recognizing the existence of it, to an act of racism. They believe it’s a racially motivated division pitting whites against blacks. This belief is predicated on a definition of racism that holds any recognition of race identity in an interaction subverts the concept of colour blindness. Buried not so deep within this idea is an exceedingly poor understanding of racism, its effects on people and even how to recognize it.

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UK Atheists Go All Anti-Sharia

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

I walked into a beehive of UK atheists looking for support of an anti-Sharia petition. I have no problem signing a petition if it is realistic and focused on a real problem, so I took a look at it. What I found was that much of the petition makes sense when it speaks to limiting the influence of external laws in the UK law system, but the focus of the petition is based on a paranoid fear of conditions simply not likely to happen.

To:
David Cameron
I demand that you take action to stop the ingress of Sharia Law into the UK. If Sharia Law and Sharia courts are allowed to spread throughout our country, the whole system will become undermined. The United Kingdom is an amazing, multicultural society and we must all strive to keep it this way. We should welcome people from all cultures. However in order to maintain a fair and equal society we MUST have one set of laws applied to every single resident of the country, regardless of race, religion or anything else.
I demand action, steps must be taken to ensure a level and fair legal system. Religious beliefs have no place in a country’s legal system, except for providing protection to innocent people from being abused or attacked because of those beliefs. If you really are a “man of the people”, you will ensure that all people have the same rights and protection from ONE system of Justice. This must be stopped now before it is too late. Legislation must be put in place NOW to prevent contradictory systems of law from being implemented within the UK. Put an end to Sharia Law in the UK now.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

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The Canadian Right Believes Combating Terrorism is Sport Hunting

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

In a recent interview, Justin Trudeau spoke about looking for the root causes of home grown terrorism when asked what he would do if an event like the Boston Marathon bombing happened in Canada. Apparently that was a mistake. So the Canadian right tells us.

They went ballistic after his comments and are now using his response as validation of their previous claim that Trudeau isn’t mature enough to lead the country. What they really mean is Trudeau isn’t violently right wing enough to lead the country. In their eyes, to be right wing enough means to shoot without asking questions because asking questions about root causes precludes the ability to shoot. The PM of Canada, Stephen Harper, went so far as to condemn the act of  ‘committing sociology’ when it comes to terrorist attacks.

A blog comment by a Canadian conservative that equated terrorists with rabid wolves to be shot without worrying about what made them rabid gives us insight into how they would have us deal with home grown terrorism.

Let’s take a trip to ConservaLand and join our friend the conservative inside his well protected, thickly walled compound. Watch while he walks the ramparts with his brand new AR-15 pretending to be officer John McClane  joyously picking off every rabid wolf that wanders into his line of sight. Unfortunately, unknown to him, there are rabid wolves out of his range that are busy spreading their disease to not only other wolves but to skunks, raccoons and even squirrels. The forest around his compound is rapidly filling up with rabid animals, some he would never recognize as dangerous.

Meanwhile, in the next valley over, his liberal neighbour is having a similar problem, except that while he too is protected by walls preventing the rabid wolves from entering his compound he’s busy capturing and quarantining any that come close, so he can determine the root cause of their illness. He’s using that knowledge to develop a vaccine that can be used to inoculate healthy wolves against becoming rabid.

If we skip a few months ahead, we see our friend the conservative still walking the ramparts blasting everything  that moves while yelling “yippee ki-yay mother fucker” and his exhausted family working hard to prevent rabid wolves, skunks, raccoons and squirrels from entering the compound through holes in its deteriorating walls.

Our friend the liberal on the other hand has inoculated all of the local wolves and destroyed what remained of the rabid animals so now has only to deal with the occasional rabid animal that wanders over from ConservaLand. In between those times, he enjoys venturing out of his compound to study the wildlife around him, and sitting in his study reading books.

Which method do you think is the most effective and efficient in dealing with rabid wolves?