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Rhetological Fallacies
 Taxonomy of the Logical Fallacies

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December 15, 2018

Music for the season:

She did it -- again: Heather Anderson Completed a Calendar-Year Triple Crown.

Which brings up the point that Outdoors people have a tongue-in-cheek phrase they use to describe an adventure, called the "Fun Scale."

Type 1 Fun is fun while you're doing it. Everybody likes it.
Type 2 Fun involves struggle, but it makes you feel great. Some people like it.
Type 3 Fun was invented by Ernest Shackleton. Nobody likes it.

Type 1 Fun qualifying activities:
Golf. Picnics. A walk in the Park. Bicycling.
Type 2 Fun isn't fun the whole time, but afterwards, you are glad you did it, and you plan to do it again. Qualifying activities:
Any of the following, done strenuously, in bad weather: Mountain biking. Wilderness hiking, especially backpacking. Running unreasonable distances in the mountains. Triathalons. Backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, when it includes camping in the snow. The Lewis & Clarke Expedition.
A refinement of the scale: Type 2.5 Fun does suck the entire time, but you're still glad you did it, and you will do it again.

A further refinement: "Sporting" is when your Type 2.5 Fun experience probably should have killed you, but you survived mostly unscathed.

Type 3 Fun is defined by the need for rescue and transport to a medical facility. It leaves scars -- physical and mental. Some people mistakenly believe that Type 3 Fun gives you the pleasure of bragging rights, but talking about a truly Type 3 Fun experience leaves an audience shaken. Nobody ever plans to do Type 3 Fun on purpose, and nobody ever wants to do it again. Qualifying activities:
The Shackleton "Discovery" Expedition. Apollo 13. Being Hugh Glass, John Colter, or Aron Lee Ralston.
A refinement of the scale: Type 3.5 Fun is when not everyone got home alive. Qualifying activities:
The Titanic. The Donner Party.
A refinement of the scale: Type 4 Fun has no survivors. Qualifying activities:
The Franklin Expedition. Going camping with Alfred Packer.

And now, for the latest news.

RIP, Ricky:
... and Disorder:

October 17, 2018
Dear young people, "Don't Vote"

And here's a Halloween costume idea: how about expressing your support for the preservation of The Union? X-Large Cotton Civil War Union Blue Replica Kepi Hat.

Science and Tech:
Life In America:
Law and Disorder:

August 28, 2018

Law and Disorder:

August 5, 2018

Now I'm going to digress on this for a moment. I talked to several friends recently about how ubiquitous data collection is, and how they are giving away their life's secrets by having the FB app on their smart phone, and the response was, "I don't care."

They seemed to think that privacy is simply not important to them, or that a lack of privacy does not affect them negatively.

But that very lack of personal privacy is what allowed Cambridge Analytica to sell a presidency to Donald Trump. It's how people who hated Trump were convinced to sit out the 2016 election -- because they were targeted by ads tailor-made for their exact brains, picking exactly which weakness to exploit for telling them that Hillary was "just as bad."  It's how people who disagree with the policies of, say, the TSA, get put on a no fly list. It's how people with valid visas are being picked up by ICE. It's how people with valid citizenship are being targeted by Trump's "De-naturalization Task Force." It's how insurance companies are trying to raise your rates through the roof. It's how employers are sifting through your life to decide if you agree with their political and religious views. It's how banks determine if you are creditworthy. It's how police are conducting surveillance on you continuously, with absolutely zero reason for doing so. It's how cults track down former members and persecute them. It's how a stalker ex finds their victim. It's how political "undesirables" are being excluded from public events. It's how voices of dissent are being prosecuted, and persecuted. It's how personal beliefs are mined for rich veins of credulity ore, to be so effortlessly exploited by propaganda.

It's how you will get conned, by people who are expert at conning.
Law and Disorder:

June 15, 2018 update:

GDP vs human thriving: a "healthy" economy means debt-haunted people, desperately searching for housing.

June 14, 2018
An Alert Reader sent me this:
Bastards...as if everyone that hates them would not find out.
Bayer is taking on a big negative hit.
While the article is somewhat accurate -- with a misleading slant -- it's rather more sinister that Monsanto simply trying to hide itself behind a new name. It's yet another multinational mega-corp merger, with all of the consolidation of power, market control, political sway, and corporate feudalism that goes along with it.

The merger has been coming for months -- as all NPR readers know: "Once the merger is complete, on June 7, one of the world's largest pesticide producers will be combined with the world's largest seed company. By any name, it will be the world's largest seed and ag-chemical company."

NPR has been running articles all along about the sweeping scope of Monsanto's rape of American agriculture.

It's part of the inexorable movement toward America and the world being owned and controlled by a handful of companies, all cooperating, all complicit, all selecting the leaders, laws, and media messages for every living human on the planet. And when I say "owned," I mean that literally. When every penny you make comes from working for The Company, and every penny you spend goes right back into The Company pockets -- including the rent for where you live -- you are no longer a citizen, you are a serf.

The land grab that has dominated European and Third World ownership has also hit America, as mega corporations, now flush with billions in windfall money from the Trump Tax Cut, are gobbling up American real estate -- especially rental and residential properties -- as fast as they can.

Your housing, living conditions, wages, working conditions, and labor is decided by the Company -- as government outlawed unions and ceded the workplace in whole to the corporate lords decades ago. Your "consumer choices" are decided by The Company, as no competition is allowed -- aside from "the illusion of choice".

The education curriculum and school environment of your kids is decided by company-owned legislators, or simply provided by company-owned schools and teachers.
That same "Illusion of choice" controls your very understanding of the world around you, as all of your news, all of your entertainment, and all of the information available to you, is controlled by The Company.

And all of your access to that information is also controlled by The Company.
And finally, all of your personal communications are owned by The Company, as cable, Internet and media companies bought all of the cell phone companies, and fed the data directly into the Government -- or into the hands of international thieves.

The alarm has been sounding for over 30 years. Nobody seems to care.

I'm in a bit of a mood today, I guess.

June 4, 2018

The last three months sort of flew by, and they made an odd whistling sound as they passed.

Very few explanations, mostly just the raw headlines:

Science & Tech:   
Culture and Modern Life:

So. Why does this matter? Because foreign governments and the Trump campaign colluded to use FaceBook to swing the 2016 election, and it worked. And they'll do it again. And they used your own data against you to do it.
Law and Disorder: 
And then there are all of the wrong ways:

February 24, 2018
So, here we are again: another school shooting. A nation heartbroken, horrified, worried -- and jumping on political bandwagons.

As soon as the debate on any sort of gun control starts, people who already hold deeply entrenched positions start hurling catchphrases. The rhetoric escalates, idiotic accusations emerge, and hands are wrung.

Even the accepted language is loaded: "Gun Violence" is all lumped together, and includes shootings by police. As the police kill somewhere around 1,500 Americans a year, this rather skews things. It also includes suicide, which is a tragic problem in America, but which has nothing to do with school shootings and robberies and gang violence and drive-byes -- the things that drive the fear of guns. "Gun Control" is another way of saying "Gun ban, gun confiscation, gun ownership restriction" -- which is what "control" comes down to. Some welcome this, some do not.

This issue just might have finally reached critical mass in the USA, and people in power are now caught flat-footed and unprepared as our citizens show that they have finally, at long last, had enough: Students substitute gun control protest for active shooter drill.

Eventually, well-meaning pundits will say we need to have a "Meaningful Conversation" about Gun Control.

Please, let's not.

I'm not against "meaningful conversation" as such; it's a vitally important factor in personal relationships, in families, in therapy, and in emotional healing after trauma. It focuses on feelings and perceptions and on "being heard" and on actually listening -- all good things.

But it won't help us with legislation or policy.

For legislation and policy, how about we have a Rational Conversation?

Let's have a conversation based on reality, on hard facts, on verifiable statistics, and on the study of actual data.

Let's make some policy decisions based on the hard data from nations, states and municipalities who have tried various approaches, and from the actual results of those approaches.


Except we can't. The data on guns, shootings, and the influence of laws and policy on crimes committed with firearms is secret in America. The FBI has loads of it, but won't divulge it. Local police departments, combined, have massive piles of it, but won't release it, won't compile it, won't talk about it, and won't let anyone look at it.
We can't even find out how many people are shot by the police in America; they won't tell us.

We have to make educated guesses on such things, by extrapolating incomplete data, and by using the sorts of statistical methods that are necessary in third world dictatorships that have collapsed into chaos and violence.

Calculating US police killings using methodologies from war-crimes trials.

When we try to study how bad things have gotten, we have to compile news reports to find data. No government is willing to talk about how, for example, their own county has the most trigger-happy Law Enforcement gang in the entire nation.

The County: the story of America's deadliest police.

Why is the data secret? Because Congress wants it that way.

So let's push for Congress to mandate data collection from every law enforcement agency in the nation, from every hospital and clinic, for free and open database access, and for a well-funded study by the CDC on how firearms affect life in America, and on what sorts of policies and laws have had a verifiable, sustained, positive effect on safety and well-being.

Let's start with reality, with actual truth, with real data, and talk about that. A radical notion, I know, but at this point, what have we got to lose?

February 18, 2018


Law and Disorder:

December 17, 2017
The CDC just got a list of words forbidden by the Trump Admin: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based".

December 13, 2017

Finally cleaned up some dysfunctional links in the sidebar.

Law and Disorder:

November 15, 2017
Wow, it's been too long since my last post. But time flies when the world is going to hell.

Really, this entire post should all come down to this article:

War Clouds Gather -- track all the signs.

David Brin -- brilliant scientists and author, thinks that Trump is steering us into war with Iran. And Brin has good reasons for thinking this. There are powerful people that really, really want this, but the driving force is Putin, and Vald the Influencer can play Trump like a cheap harmonica. And it would help bring about Armageddon, which Dominionist in Chief Mike Pence prays fervently for. Bannon (who is still gleefully pulling strings from behind the curtain) and Rupert Murdock will rake in billions from this.

It would be catastrophic.


This one has me off on a rant. Better education doesn't correlate strongly to economic mobility (but union membership does). You're damn straight it does. Unless you organize, your bosses will treat you like slaves. And if you haven't noticed, your bosses have been organized for the last 6,000 years. It's called Feudalism, and it's making a big comeback.

We have Ronald Reagan to thank for dismantling America's Unions, and his dismantling of the Fairness Doctrine for the corporate narrative that now propagandizes all coverage of worker's rights:
  • Management makes "offers," and workers make "demands."
  • Rich owners are "job creators" and workers are "disgruntled."
  • Peaceful protesters are "violent" and the riot police who beat them "restore order."
  • Union reps who are just trying to hold on to a decent wage and a safe work place are "destroying the fabric of American life."
  • We can't "fix education" unless we get rid of Teacher's unions.
But it is interesting to note that Police and Sports -- which are both idolized in this same narrative -- have very strong unions.
Culture: Trying to make sense of The Trump Presidency.

First off, Four Quitters Walk Into a Bar... and talk about what it's like in the White House today.

Was there collusion?
What are they going to do about it? Nothing. Unless congress changes hands next fall.

Meanwhile, the wreckage continues: What Is 'Whataboutism,' And Why Is It Suddenly Everywhere? John Oliver can explain that very well: The Trump Presidency: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
Politics (other):
Law and Disorder:

August 15, 2017
You may have heard that a Total Solar Eclipse is coming soon to a state near you. Solar Eclipse Map: See How the Eclipse Will Look Near You. Another look from a different website: A solar eclipse is coming to America. Here’s what you’ll see where you live. If you just happen to live in the totality path, then throw a Barbecue Brunch and enjoy. If you live very close by, and figured you might just hop in the car for a short drive, think again. This Statistics: Total solar eclipse of Aug 21, 2017 website has a wonderful array of maps to show you what you are up against, and what to expect if you want to try and brave a possibly epic traffic jam. Several of the western states are expecting big traffic trouble: Trying to catch the total eclipse of the sun? (Denver Post) Plan ahead or you might be stuck in I-25 traffic.
Finnegan's Wake: the title that strikes terror into every avid reader's heart.
Why should you care?
Because it's a masterpiece, and because it stands alone as a unique monument of literary achievement.
Why should you be afraid?
Because it's damn near unreadable.
Joyce himself claimed that it is by far best that Finnegan's Wake be read -- or simply heard -- aloud, but that's a nightmare to attempt.
Thank God a brilliant Irish actor and author has done it for us, yes indeed, all twenty hours of it, in a series of MP3 recordings that you can listen to in a semi-dream-state of verbal tintinnabulation: UbuWeb Sound: James Joyce, Finnegan's Wake (1938).

I have not posted this article below before, because I was waiting for some confirmation. While quite a bit of confirmation has come, it has been buried in a landslide of Trump scandal, the width and depth of which has been so overwhelming that it will take decades to sort out just how many laws The Donald has broken. In any case, while it's a somewhat long read, it's worth looking at, and it paints a devastating picture of Trump that explains why so many of us said all along that he is utterly unfit for office.

"We All Knew About the Trafficking" - The Untold Story of Trump Model Management.

The tsunami of trash that is Trump has buried so much, that it could very well turn out that Trump, just as he said he could, might have shot someone dead in the street, on camera, and we simply haven't noticed yet.
Law And Disorder:

July 19, 2017

Law and Disorder:
Life on Mars:
The Drumphery:

The Trump / Russia scandal is moving so fast that it's pointless to try and keep up in a single post.

May 31, 2017

Some good news:

The Tesla Roof will last forever and make your house energy independent.

The Company home page: tesla.com/solarroof

The FAQ: tesla.com/support/solar-roof-faqs

They have a lifetime warranty.

Buying just for the purpose of solar power isn't terribly enticing; it takes about 25 years to produce enough electricity to pay for the roof. This is why solar electrical generation has always been such a small market; it takes too long for the electricity generated to equal the initial cost of installation. Most people can't afford to wait more than two or three years for a payout on utilities costs.

However, every house must have a roof. This changes everything, and that's the genius of this approach. As soon as you realize that a Tesla roof is actually slightly cheaper than a standard roof, and it lasts forever, and oh by the way, it produces enough electricity to run your entire house, then boy howdy do you have something there.

At the 30 year point, most roofs have started to deteriorate to the point where now you have to suffer the cost of a new roof -- again. A 30 year old Tesla roof is still in prefect shape, and it is powering your entire house, with enough electricity left over to charge your Tesla car.

If you are building a new house, or if you have to replace your current roof, why not Tesla?

Also, fusion power generation is getting closer: http://www.sci-techuniverse.com/2017/05/researchers-have-turned-on-world-first.html

May 26, 2017

A few Items Of Note: 
PTSD (President Trump Stress Disorder):

May 16, 2017

Reporter arrested for asking the Secretary of Health a question.

Then there's the latest about Fearless Leader claiming he has the right to commit treason. And the leak was far worse than is being currently reported. In a stunning, meaningless and trivial development, even Ann Coulter has called Trump "grotesque", and his administration "a disaster."

Can this get worse? Oh, yes. It can.

And it will.      


Food and Drink:
Modern life & Culture:
Business; shafting everyone:

Most management consulting is complete BS, according to a top management consultant: "The Enron story wasn’t just about bad deeds or false accounts; it was about confusing sound business practices with faddish management ideas, celebrated with gusto by the leading lights of the management world all the way to the end of the party."  The Management Myth.
The Joy of Airline Travel:

So, as you've heard,  United Airlines had airport cops beat the hell out of a passenger with a legitimate paid ticket: United Airlines traveler knocked unconscious and dragged off overbooked flight. And then they lied about it. And then the cops lied about it. And then the passenger's lawyer had some eloquent words to say about it.

You'd think that incidents like this would be somewhat rare. You'd be wrong:
Law and Disorder:

March  26, 2017

Bernie was right all along

In other news:

Are Baby Boomers A 'Generation Of Sociopaths'?

Good question.

I would have said not, but then the article got me thinking.
  • I thought my generation was the one that would search for a life of meaning rather beyond empty consumerism. But we are the most possession-oriented people in all of history.
  • I thought my generation learned hard lessons from Viet Nam, Kent State, and the Bay Of Pigs. But we voted in War Hawk after War Hawk.
  • I thought my generation admired Martin Luther King, and Mahatma Ghandi. But we just voted in the most overtly racist president in modern history.
  • I thought my generation learned hard lessons about trusting "the Man." But we side with "the Man" against the Citizen every single time.
  • When Richard Nixon said there was a "Silent Majority" of people who thought just like him, I thought he was nuts. But he was right.

Tech Today:
Modern Life and Culture:
Law and Disorder:
It's actually not all that unusual: Police fetch high-powered rifle to kill family dog at child's birthday party.
Which leads us to ask, Why Are Detroit Cops Killing So Many Dogs?
It's so common, in fact, that this Reddit group exists: PUPPYCIDE: Cops vs. Dogs.

February 18, 2017

Donald Trump Calls The Media "The Enemy Of The American People."

Donald, Donald, Donald. It's the first amendment, dude.

February 17, 2017
Yankee Doodle Went To Town and Had Himself A Press Conference.


If your are in a TL;DR mood, Colbert had a pretty good summary.

One way to fight back is using tweets In His Own Words. But it's all meaningless: words won't make a difference. Votes will. The Courts will. And Congress will -- if they care to. And as long as individual GOP Congresscritters feel that the situation is advantageous to them personally, they will do nothing but go along happily, no matter the cost.

Although Stephen Bannon fooled Trump into signing the executive order giving him a national security role, it turns out that Michael Flynn was probably the Shadow Master behind the NSC takeover --  and we only know that now because of leaks. The GOP wants heads on a platter over those leaks.

The recent news has revealed an entirely predictable mishmash of  chaosbunglingincompetencewar against the poor, (and "the poor" is almost all of us) and petty rants, but do not forget that there is also a very quiet, very effective consolidation of power happening. And it's working. And there was already a lot of power to start with.

And it is leading to stuff like this: White House Considered Mobilizing National Guard To Round Up Unauthorized Immigrants. Which they deny, even though copies of the memo are everywhere. That is, by the way, while this is already happening: Immigration Raids Are Reported Around The Country.

You got some real genuine fascist stuff going there, folks. 

I know, I know, there's no point preaching to the choir. But you may not have heard all of it: U.S. spies are withholding intelligence from Donald Trump, who has none.

Our Deteriorating Life:
Other news:
Law and Disorder: 

February 10, 2017

January 31, 2017


The move Steve Bannon made to take over the NSC is deeply disturbing.

This dismantles one of the most powerful offices in the world, and replaces it with him, alone, running the NSC. He's doing all of it without a paper trail, and he doing it with zero oversight and zero dissent allowed. The NSC is dangerously close to becoming a new Secret State Police with almost unlimited authority -- and Bannon says he doesn't believe that Federal Judges have any authority to interfere with him.
Steve Bannon Is Making Sure There’s No White House Paper Trail, Says Intel Source

‘He is running a cabal’: White House leaker says Steve Bannon runs ‘shadow NSC’ with no paper trail

NSC Officer Says 'Bannon Is Running A Cabal' - Keeps Them In The Dark

Culture: Politics:
Law and Disorder:

January 29, 2017

Trump just removed the National Intelligence Director and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff from the National Security Council.

He replaced them with white supremacist website editor Steven Bannon. COUP: Bannon takes over the National Security Council.

(See the "Archives" for previous posts -- here's the most recent)

Proud to be a "True Blue" American.

Papa Vox Archives:
September through December, 2011
April through Aug, 2011
Sept through March 2011
July through Oct, 2010
Jan through June, 2010

Old and somewhat interesting posts, stripped of their former political grousing:

Hacking yourself:

An experiment in the supposition that shoes are bad for you with reviews of various "nearly barefoot" alternatives to the evil shoe.

An experiment in lowering the set-point as a means of safe, rapid, nearly-effortless weight loss.

The miracle of medical massage.

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