Tag Archives: Washington Post

WHAT, ME WORRY?

The man—and I use that word only in its most general sense—pictured above has proven to be startlingly incompetent throughout his life. Yet he constantly brags about his superiority in all manner of things. Sad.

Actor Stephen Fry (yes, I, too, have barely heard of him) was voted the most intelligent person on TV in the U.K according to this article in HuffPo wherein he provides an explanation of why the man pictured above has so many supporters who believe everything he says, even when it is obviously pure twaddle and outright lies.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/stephen-fry-explains-lies_us_591550ebe4b00f308cf4323c

Fry believes a psychological lesson helps explain this effect.

 

For example, researchers found students who were least proficient often overestimated their own abilities.

“The skills they lacked were the same skills required to recognize their incompetence,” Fry said. “The incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.”

That’s now known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

The Dunning-Kruger effect was developed by psychologists at Cornell. It considers that incompetent people

fail to recognize their own lack of skill

fail to recognize the extent of their inadequacy

fail to accurately gauge skill in others

recognize and acknowledge their own lack of skill only after they are exposed to training for that skill

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

Both Fry and Wikipedia offer oversimplifications of Dunning-Kruger, but the entire Dunning-Kruger paper can be found here:

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.64.2655&rep=rep1&type=pdf

We focus on the metacognitive skills of the incompetent to explain, in part, the fact that people seem to be so imperfect in appraising themselves and their abilities.1 Perhaps the best illustration of this tendency is the “above-average effect,” or the tendency of the average person to believe he or she is above average…

That, the man pictured does to the max. Indeed, the Washington Post compiled a litany of such claims last October. Among them

“I understand the tax laws better than almost anyone, which is why I’m the one who can truly fix them,”

“I think nobody knows the system better than I do.” (on government)

“Nobody knows more about trade than me.”

“There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am.”

“So a general gets on, sent obviously by Obama, and he said, ‘Mr. Drumpf doesn’t understand. He knows nothing about defense.’ I know more about offense and defense than they will ever understand, believe me. Believe me. Than they will ever understand. Than they will ever understand.”

“Because nobody knows the system better than me. I know the H1B. I know the H2B. Nobody knows it better than me.”

And, of course, there is his constant bragging about his negotiating skills.

He understands the tax laws but insists he can’t release his tax returns because he is under IRS audit. The IRS tells him he can, though whether he is under audit is a private matter.

He “knows the system” but yet many appointed positions remain unfilled that are vital to the workings even he wishes to occur.

As to the military and the generals, he also promised to have a plan to defeat ISIS “within 30 days” Still not done.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/trumpometer/promise/1375/develop-plan-defeat-isis-30-days/

And when the Seals mission in Yemen went awry did he take responsibility because he knows the military? Hell no.

On Visas he knows more than anybody? Several federal judges have told him he does not. And that is compounded by his utter lack of understanding of how the federal courts work—or else it reveals that he doesn’t care that federal courts exist, he wants to be a dictator.

On trade he’s an expert? He’s gone from totalling condemning NAFTA to a willingness to renegotiate with Canada and Mexico on some of its terms. All the while he ignores mountains of evidence that NAFTA is not a disaster, but at worst only a lukewarm success for the United States

And negotiating skills? Gee, where were those demonstrated when Republicans were forced to give up ACA repeal and all the program cuts he wanted in order to keep the government financed for the remainder of this fiscal year? He got NOTHING he wanted.

This piece provides a more recent perspective on Dunning-Kruger.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2016/11/revisiting-why-incompetents-think-theyre-awesome/

Unfortunately, in those places ruled by the smug and complacent, a classic paper has become a weapon. The findings of Dunning and Kruger are being reduced to “Stupid people are so stupid that they don’t know they are stupid.” Rather bluntly, Dunning himself said, “The presence of the Dunning-Kruger effect, as it’s been come to be called, is that one should pause to worry about one’s own certainty, not the certainty of others.” And that humorously suggests the Dunning-Kruger effect is now a candidate to become a second Godwin’s law.

Like Dunning, I do not take such a dim view of humanity. In fact, Dunning-Kruger and follow-up papers give us cause for hope. They show that people are not usually irredeemably stupid. You can teach people to accurately self-evaluate—though, in their specific examples, this also involved teaching them the very skill they were trying to evaluate.

(Godwin’s law, incidentally, is the proposition that in any comment thread, if long enough, some comparison to Hitler will emerge.)

But remember the fourth point of D-K

recognize and acknowledge their own lack of skill only after they are exposed to training for that skill

While that may be true, that presupposes that the person demonstrates a desire to cure their lack of skill. In our present case, do not hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

What, ME worry? Damned right I worry.

 

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IS THAT A NUKE IN YOUR POCKET OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME?

treaty

On the heels of the just announced agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, negotiated by China, Russia, Germany, France, England, and, of course, the United States, comes praise for the diplomatic efforts of President Barack Obama.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/02/iran-deal-obama-legacy_n_6996586.html

In that framework of a final agreement, which is to be reduced to its legal language by June, Iran is to scale back its nuclear program signficantly and a series of inspections and safeguards will be implemented to ensure compliance.

Earlier this year Obama took major steps to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than a half century of rancorous discourse, travel taboos, economic sanctions, and assassination plots.

In the ongoing battle against climate change—the most difficult part being the intransigence of conservatives to even acknowledge the problem as something to seek resolutions to—last November Obama announced a bilateral agreement with China in which that nation works to reduce emissions.

This triumvirate of accomplishments… an Axis of Non-Evil?… certainly is more worthy of Nobel Peace Prize scrutiny than anything Obama did prior to being honored with that award in 2009, the year he entered office.

Of course the praise for this feat is near universal in this country as Congress rejoices that, with the threat of Iran nukes eliminated, it can finally pare the Defense budget to a reasonable level that will still allow for our security as a nation.

Oh, I wish. Republicans right and righter (no left in that Party) are vociferous in their condemnation of the pact and issuing vague threats…well, not so vague…to attempt to dismantle it. They seem to be in utter defiance of the Benjamin Franklin adage

There has never been a good war, nor a bad peace.

They seem determined to commit war on Iran no matter the cost.

One can reasonably express skepticism that Iran will fail to keep its bargain or that the inspection process will somehow fail or that, just maybe, instead of nukes Iran has the largest garage in the world with a battalion of Ted Kaczynskis producing pipe bombs to be mailed to each American household.

But, it does not matter what the terms of the agreement are nor how staunchly they can be enforced. Were Iran simply to surrender all nuclear materials it possesses, with Geraldo Rivera hosting the biggest live TV event since the opening of Al Capone’s vault so the world can bear witness, these critics speak and act as if nothing will satisfy their concerns short of bombing Iran into submission.

Will there be strict compliance with this agreement should it go into effect? How the hell do I or anyone know that. And strict compliance means Iran builds no nuclear weapons. But, absent strict compliance, is there some basis for forecasting whether it’s true and clear goal…preventing Iran from raining nukes down on Israel, the U.S. or any other nation..is achieved?

Well look at this list of treaties dealing with limiting nuclear arms.

  • Treaty of Tlatelolcol           1967
  • Treaty of Rarotonga          1985
  • Treaty of Bangkok             1995
  • Treaty of Pelindaba           1996
  • Treaty of Semipalatinski    2006
  • START I                             1991
  • SALT I                                1972
  • ABM Treaty                        1972

Some of these treaties have expired of their own accord. Others experienced the withdrawal of at least one of the signatories including the United States.

From a technical viewpoint, have all these treaties been upheld while in effect? I don’t know and I don’t care. The principal purpose of each and every one of these diplomatic coups was to avoid mushroom clouds that were killing people.

Since there have been none of these mushroom clouds appearing with the intent of killing large numbers of humans since August 9, 1945, I look at them as a success. Not unequivocably so, but the expiration and/or violation of any of them has not resulted in catastrophe.

But we all know that prior to this basic agreement’s inception, there was  a wide call among the neocons to just go ahead and bomb Iran as the primary preferred pre-emptive action to be taken.

Here on Moyers and Company Robert Perry scores the pre-agreement commentary by such as John Bolton, Thomas Friedman, and Joshua Muravchik that appeared in either the Washingtton Post or the New York Times. Friedman actually advocated for arming ISIS to help thwart Iran while the other two were all in for the U.S. to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities.

http://billmoyers.com/2015/03/30/nyt-publishes-call-bomb-iran/

Bolton continued the contrived warmongering of the Bush Administration of which he was a part (also getting paychecks from Reagan and Bush I as part of his resume) by ignoring or lying about some basic facts. Here  he is taken to task for doing so by Jon  Schwarz.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/04/factual-errors-john-boltons-bomb-iran-op-ed-new-york-times-care/

And there are even commenters on a Post-Gazette editorial who extend their record of inane insanity by urging us to have war with Iran now rather than waiting until later.

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/2015/04/05/Iran-s-framework-Negotiators-deserve-a-chance-to-finish-the-details/stories/201504040026

Iranians seem to be pretty damned happy.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/02/iranians-celebrate-nuclear-deal-tehran

Surprisingly that grumpy old red state conservative Pope Francis not only spoke favorably of the deal but had the temerity and audacity to do so during his annual Easter address. According to many folks in this country promoting peace is not very Christian.

Alas, no matter the outcome of this deal, thwarted by Congress or not, observed fully by Iran or not, unilateral destructive action by Israel or not, this small step towards peace will remain that. Just one small step for man, but forever leaping into war for mankind.

Because, indeed, because they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is nopeace—and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with untempered mortar

Ezekiel 13:10

HAIL HAIL THE CONSTITUTION

          One of the oddities of recent political rhetoric, particularly from Conservatives and especially the Tea Party, is it is replete with cries that the Obama administration has either already stripped the American people of their core Constitutional rights, or plans to do so as it implements the socialist/communist takeover of the government that is the focal point of its anti_American agenda.

        These claims are not odd simply because there is no substantiated or substantial evidence of their truth. They are also odd in light of their campaign to foil the federal government’s tyranny by advocating measures and actions which, if instituted, are themselves unconstitutional and most assuredly anti=American.

      An example of an unsubstantiated claim recently appeared in the Morgantown Dominion Post. The Reverend Terry Hagedorn, pastor of a local church, is a frequent letter writer to the paper. Of course that is all within his rights, no quarrel with that. However, he must be possessed of a particular brand of paranoia which interprets any action or remark by anyone which is contrary to his narrow 12th Century viewpoint to be a lethal threat to his religion and faith.

       This link will let you read his letter:

       http:/http://ee.dominionpost.com/Olive/ODE/DominionPost/Default.aspx?href=DPost%2F2010%2F07%2F28&pageno=4&view=document

            His claim that using the term Freedom of Worship instead of Freedom of Religion portends dire consequences for all our Christian friends is way out in left field, as I noted in another way in my letter of response.

       http://ee.dominionpost.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=RFBvc3QvMjAxMC8wOC8wNSNBcjAwNDAw&Mode=Gif&Locale=english-skin-custom

            Note that while my letter refers to him as Carl Hagedorn rather than Terry, I did not use any first name in the letter I submitted. Someone at the paper chose to insert Carl, for some unknown reason.

              An excellent example of the oddity of using unconstitutional means to support a pet cause of the right is the very recent controversy of the widespread opposition to building a mosque in Manhattan a few blocks from Ground Zero.

            The irrational arguments made in trying to forestall the construction of that mosque are contemptuous of the very nature of the First Amendment’s protection of ALL religions which the most outspoken of the mosque’s opponents otherwise heartily endorse.

           One of these folks is the “esteemed” former Speaker of the House of representatives, Newt Gingrich. (And I have always pondered how someone named after a tiny amphibian could achieve such status. Next thing you know, Clarence “Frog Man” Henry will receive the Nobel Peace Prize). Gingrich has rarely met a high profile issue on which he could not be fairly termed the epitome of hypocrisy.

          Exhibit Number 1 in that regard is, of course, the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton. I’m still upset at the huge waste of taxpayer money and public energy to persecute someone for getting a blowjob, oval office or not. But, natch, while Newt was leading this battle, his own sex life was not on the up and up. Or more correctly for a man, on the up and down.

         I’m not certain of the exact sequence but apparently while his first wife was in the hospital for cancer treatments, he informed her he was leaving for another woman. Then, while married to THAT woman, he began an affair with a staffer and left the second wife. i guess he believed more in his Contract with America than he did in his contracts with his wives.

         Now, into the mosque fray he steps, prepared as ever to go not where no man has gone before, but rather to go where no self-respecting, honest defender of the Constitution of the United States of America should go.

       Read William Saletan’s take on this in Slate.

              http://www.slate.com/id/2263208/

             Surprisingly, some in the resistence  movement to prevent or reverse the “government takeover of our lives” as Tea Partiers like to put it, has encompassed and embraced the ultimate unconstitutional ………….. secession. I can think of at least 600,00 reasons why this is an untenable and unthinkable notion, that number of men who died fighting a civil war over that very issue.

         While I personally doubt the belief that “nothing secedes like secession” will gain enough traction to become an actual threat, its proponents miss no opportunity to express their demagoguery. Note this Washington Post article.

         http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/index.html?referrer=emailarticle

            One of the more notable aspects of this rhetorical phenomenon is that it is not confined to the fringes and spouted by fifteen minutes of fame wanna-bes. Most of the citations in Saletan’s article are well-known and in many cases thought of as mainstream politicians.

         It has been common since many of the aggressive military decisions of George W. Bush to label opposition voices as treasonous. Perhaps we are reaching a point where the application of such epithets is justified.