Use DuckDuckGo or Bing, not Google search

In light of Google’s just revealed complicity in steering votes leftward last election, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s involvement with the Hillary Clinton campaign, and Google’s refusal to send a representative to the recent Congressional hearings, should we not use a different search engine?

Bing from Microsoft has a business model similar to Google’s, but not it’s not as noxious.  DuckDuckGo.com is a relatively unknown search engine with a business model clean as  a whistle.  Enter a search for “Trump hurricane” in each search engine and judge for yourself about left-wing bias. For more on DuckDuckGo’s policies, click here.

To plead innocence by reason of algorithm, as Google has, holds no water. Algorithms can of course be biased. When choosing subjects for scientific experiments, it is very difficult to include a sample that is not biased.   I suspect Google is not trying very hard to find unbiased algorithms. Nor would Google be willing or able to spot bias where it exists; just ask  James Damore.

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)   Troglo

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Alice Johnson and tons of non-violent cocaine

Alice Johnson is the little old grandmother recently pardoned by President Trump. The pardon was widely praised as redressing a miscarriage of justice. Even my favorite commentators at the PowerLIne blog thought this was well done. See here.

However,  I have several problems with this. One is the incessant meme that drug offenses are non-violent. Even President Trump has often stated that drugs are responsible for many deaths and personal tragedies, including in my family. Perhaps not directly violent, but deadly violent  in consequences. Another problem is simply listening pleas from people famous for being famous like Kim Kardashian West. Accrediting celebrity pleas without consulting the Justice Department is another.  Finally the truth seems to be that Alice Johnson, hardly an innocent grandmother gulled into something she was unaware of,  was deeply and criminally involved in the trafficking of tons of cocaine. Her sentence was no more or less just or unjust than those convicted with her. Should they be pardoned as well? Read about this at The Federalist: The Characterization of Alice Johnson’s crimes is wrong. She deserved punishment.

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)

The Male Pay Gap

Demagogues and the bien pensants of all stripes mindlessly repeat the myth of  the “gender pay gap,” the slogan that women are only paid seventy-odd cents on the dollar as compared with men. The truth, as usual, is very different and has nothing to do with male oppression.

…according to a new analysis of 2,000 communities by a market research company, in 147 out of 150 of the biggest cities in the U.S., the median full-time salaries of young women are 8% higher than those of the guys in their peer group. In two cities, Atlanta and Memphis, those women are making about 20% more. This squares with earlier research from Queens College, New York, that had suggested that this was happening in major metropolises. But the new study suggests that the gap is bigger than previously thought, with young women in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego making 17%, 12% and 15% more than their male peers, respectively. And it also holds true even in reasonably small areas like the Raleigh-Durham region and Charlotte in North Carolina (both 14% more), and Jacksonville, Fla. (6%).

The above quotation is from a post by Tyler Cowen, one of the outstanding economics gurus of our time.  For a broader perspective on the feminist claim, see the last two paragraphs here. Economists have long attempted to debunk this myth, as here and here. A very interesting bonus is  here. The longstanding war on boys and the outcry against ‘toxic masculinity’ have borne bitter fruit. The explanation for the success of young women is the well known and little heralded lack of success in school and higher education of boys relative to girls. This disparity or ‘gap’ has been going on for decades. Christina Hoff Summers has been writing about it for decades. Her YouTube channel is well worth perusal.

The proper reaction to this disparity or ‘gap’ is not to bemoan it. We are not Robin-Hood levelers signaling our virtue by taking from the advantaged to give to the rest, deserving or not. The young women who earn more than the men in their cohort clearly deserve their success. They are to be congratulated. But when men are hurting, so are their families and the culture and country as a whole. Pace George W. Bush, when people are hurting, government should beware of jumping in to the rescue. This usually backfires. Government normally can only take from one to give to another. The women pay gap myth has been a ceaseless government-promoted  drumbeat for decades. The best way to raise all boats is to dissipate radical shibboleths by the light of day, a difficult task when minds are willfully clouded in darkness.   

Troglo  (L. H. Kevil)

Manipulation by vocabulary: the gun-control lobby

Many of the terms used by the gun-control lobby are incorrect, loaded, abusive, or proffered in bad faith. Efforts to ban rifles like the AR-15 make broad use of manipulative terminology, ignoring the usefulness of these rifles for home defense as well as recreation and hunting.

The choice of the terms used in a policy debate or political issue can have a large, even determining effect on the outcome. For example, the sudden flip in public attitudes towards marriage of homosexuals has, I believe, much to do with the terminology used, such as the near universal “gay marriage ban.” The word “ban’ suggests that somehow state and Federal law singled out homosexuals by not recognizing their marriages. Singling them out would be discriminatory, which then brings the issue under the argument-closing umbrella of civil rights. But of course there was no “gay marriage ban.” Marriage was understood and legally defined as between a man and a woman. If the issue had been framed as expanding marriage beyond what it had been for millennia and not restricted to homosexual couples, as opposed to triads of different kinds or other arrangements, the issue might well have been viewed differently. The same could be said for the phrase, “marriage equality.” All marriages were and are equal. By assuming the existence of the goal to be attained, the terminology universally and reflexively used by the media and politicians helped frame the debate in ways that promoted their goals.

The term “gun control” is itself a bit of a misnomer, as if there are no controls whatsoever or something is so out of control that government needs somehow to “do something” to clamp down on firearms. In fact over the decades there have been increasing restrictions (controls) on the type of firearm permitted and on the number of people eligible. When I was younger, purchasing a rifle was simple and did not involve getting government permission. Now buying even a single-shot .22 rifle is restricted by Federal law.

But the cake has to go to the term “assault rifle.” A true assault rifle is select fire, meaning it is capable of firing a single round with one trigger pull or many rounds automatically with that pull. Assault rifles are already illegal and have been for a very long time. The gun control lobby abetted by Big Media claims that AR-15 style rifles are assault rifles, suggesting that the AR in AR-15 stands for Assault Rifle. In fact AR stands for ArmaLite, the U.S. manufacturer that started the style in 1954. ARs cannot be converted to select fire. The first or original assault rifle was used by Nazi troops in the latter years of World War II. It was called Sturmgewehr 44, meaning Sturm, storm as in storming the enemy and Gewehr, rifle. In automatic mode it could fire at the rate of 500 rounds/minute. Similar versions were called Machinenpistolen, machine pistols. The Soviet version is the AK-47. These weapons had the now familiar and distinctive curved magazines holding up to 30 rounds. They were deadly combat weapons. But the only commonality of the AR rifles sold today with true assault rifles is the appearance. To use visual similarity and the AR letters to confuse the public to get ARs banned is of course dishonest, though effective. Thus the ineffective Federal “Assault Weapons ban” of 1994-2004 was based on appearance, cosmetics, not on functionality.

Are AR-15s weapons of war as claimed? Contemporary combat troops use the many varieties of true assault rifles, nothing like the semi-auto ARs except appearance. No self-respecting terrorist would want anything less than an AK. That so many started talking about banning “weapons of war” right after the Parkland Florida shooting suggests school indoctrination or coordination (collusion.). As a teenager I had a reworked German Mauser rifle, prized because of its high-quality steel. It had a bolt-action and a small magazine, so that rapid multi-round fire was not possible. I believe it was very similar to the Spanish Mauser used quite effectively against our troops in the Spanish-American War. So as a teenager did I have a true “weapon of war” in my bedroom?   

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)

 

Swamp Times headline: tax reform hurts Federal employees

The evil Republicans have deliberately targeted Federal employees. Among the wealthiest of taxpayers, Federal swamp denizens often are situated in the highest tax bracket. But the new tax reform law reduces the top tax bracket less than the lower brackets. This is clearly discriminatory.

As proof that this targets the most deserving Federal employees, we will just cite this story from reliable CBS News proving that many Federal employees are in the top bracket. Click here. Below are some highlights, proving that Federal employees are exceedingly deserving.

  • The five richest counties in the United States border the Washington, D.C. area. The median family income exceeds $100,000.
  • 9 of the top 20 richest counties are in the D.C. area.

Another report proves that the most productive Federal employees have been unfairly targeted. Click here. Some of the key points from the linked report are below.

  • More than 30,000 of D.C.’s best earn more than any state governor.
  • According to the report, the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more increased by 165 percent between fiscal 2010 and 2016. Federal employees making $150,000 or more grew by 60 percent, with the number making more than $100,000 increasing by 37 percent in the same time period.
  • A total of 406,960 federal employees made six-figure incomes in fiscal 2016 – that’s roughly one in five federal employees.
  • There is a new ‘minimum wage’ for federal bureaucrats – at 78 departments and independent agencies, the average employee made $100,000 or more.

Further proof comes from a Wall Street Journal article by the wicked Kimberley Strassel (link here, alas, for subscribers only.) Her basic points are cited below. Study them carefully so you can refute her claims. The basic problem, she says, is:

a federal workforce whose pay and benefits are completely out of whack with the private sector. A 2011 American Enterprise Institute study  found federal employees receive wages 14% higher than what similar workers in the private sector earn. Factor in benefits and the compensation premium leaps to 61%.

These huge payouts are the result of automatic increases, bonuses, seniority rules and gold-plated pensions that are all but extinct in the private sector. The federal workforce is also shielded by rules that make it practically impossible to fire or discipline bad employees, to relocate talent, or to reassign duties. These protections embolden bureaucrats to violate rules. Why was Ms. Lerner allowed to retire with full benefits? Because denying them would have cost far more—and required years of effort. It’s been nearly 40 years since the last civil-service overhaul.

Next time you hear the clamor to move most Federal departments out of the swamp of D.C. and distribute them among the states they are supposed to serve, you will know what to say.   

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)

From napalm to the manger: a Christmas message

Many of us will never forget the Pulitzer-prize winning photograph of 1972 from the Vietnam War: the little nine year old girl, naked, terrified, running with others away from the napalm bombs in the smoky background. That single photo helped carry the antiwar movement to victory. Little did we know then that she had horrible burns all over her back and would have died but for the efforts of the photojournalist. Napalm had been perfected for the bombings of Japanese cities near the end of World War II. It was used because the weather over Japan made precision high-altitude bombing ineffective and because the wooden Japanese houses would catch fire very easily. The American public saw no photos of the collateral damage.

To see the photo and gain a little background from the photographer, click here. The little girl, Kim Phuc, survived and, married with two children, is now living in the Toronto area. The Wall Street Journal a few days ago ran a brief article she wrote for Christmas. A link to it is here. I do not know if it is available to non-subscribers. Let me quote a few passages for those who cannot access it.

Those bombs have caused me immeasurable pain over the course of my life. …But even worse than the physical pain was the emotional and spiritual pain….I had so much hatred and bitterness in my heart.

Ten years after the bombing she attended a Christmas Eve service at a small Vietnamese church. The Pastor talked about God’s gift of himself for us, in the form of the child Jesus, born to die. She explains:

I knew in my heart that something was shifting inside of me….After years in the spiritual wilderness, I felt the kind of healing that can only come from God. I had spent so much of my life running – first from the bombs and the war, then from communist Vietnam .I had always assumed that to flee was my only choice. Looking back, I understand the path I had been racing along led me straight to God….my heart is 100% healed.

Kim concludes with a Christmas prayer for us:

No matter what type of pain or sorrow you may be experiencing, as Christmas approaches, I encourage you not to give up. Hold fast to hope. It is hope that will see you through. This peace I have found can be yours as well. I pray that it finds you this Christmas.   

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)

Prominent lawyer sought donor cash for two Trump accusers: Hmmmm


California lawyer Lisa Bloom’s efforts included offering to sell alleged victims’ stories to TV outlets in return for a commission for herself, arranging a donor to pay off one Trump accuser’s mortgage and attempting to secure a six-figure payment for another woman who ultimately declined to come forward after being offered as much as $750,000, the clients told The Hill.

The women’s accounts were chronicled in contemporaneous contractual documents, emails and text messages reviewed by The Hill, including an exchange of texts between one woman and Bloom that suggested political action committees supporting Hillary Clinton were contacted during the effort.

Bloom, who has assisted dozens of women in prominent harassment cases and also defended film executive Harvey Weinstein earlier this year, represented four women considering making accusations against Trump last year. Two went public, and two declined.

In a statement to The Hill, Bloom acknowledged she engaged in discussions to secure donations for women who made or considered making accusations against Trump before last year’s election.

From Instapundit. The full article in The Hill is available here.   

Troglo  (L. H. Kevil)