Facts Do Matter:
Why Facts Should Always Trump Politics
Facts are stubborn things; and what ever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they can not alter the state of facts, and evidence. -- John Adams (1770)
...Ancient religious texts shouldn't form the basis of social policy in the 21st century. The Bible was written at a time when people thought the Earth was flat, when the wheelbarrow was high tech. -- Sam Harris, LA Times, "Holy Terror" (2004)
(Also see Harris's analysis of why fanatics like Sarah Palin should not be vice president (or president, for that matter))
America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength -- tested, but not weary -- we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom. -- George Bush (2005)
And when you combine limited government with incompetent
government, lethal stuff happens. -- Maureen Dowd (2005)
2/13/2012 - I was hopeful when America elected Barack Obama,
who seems to be a very smart man and who usually made decisions based
on facts. Sadly, this made the Republicans become even more of a fact-free party. The Daily
Kos examines the Republicans' ignorance of facts. While Obama hasn't always
dealt with facts as much as I'd hope, he's generally more reality-oriented than
the Republicans are.
Despite the elections of Obama in 2008 and 2012, the country seems on the
verge of sliding back into a "Know Nothing" period again, pushed down the
slippery slope by Republicans.
Early 2007: Interesting how a government with checks and balances works. As people like Cheney, Bush, Delay, Gonzales and Lott have proven, absolute power corrupts absolutely. The nation is discovering more Republican lies on an almost daily basis.
- The Whoppers of 2006, a report on lying and distorting by candidates in their advertising.
Yes, Democrats are guilty of these practices, too. (11/5/06)
- 1999 War Iraqi Simulation Pointed Out Invasion Problems The neocons had to be aware of this simulation, but plowed ahead with their invasion plans anyway. (11/4/06)
- A Country Ruled by Faith, a great article by Garry Wills detailing delusional activity by
many in the Bush administration, done in the name of "faith." I've complained about many of these things in this Web site for a while, but I hadn't
heard the story about the National Park Service being forced to sell a coloring book suggesting that the Grand Canyon was
created by Noah's Flood... (10/29/2006)
- Keith Olbermann continues to write brilliant essays
that describe the lies and partisanship Bush has been attempting to "govern" by. (Fall 2006)
- Why the abortion rate continues to go up under Republicans. Plan B, which, despite the raving of the right wing is not
an abortifacient, is severely restricted due to Republican machinations on the state and federal level. Here are two recent horror stories about what happens when
women need to get Plan B and
can't get it.
- Commentator Keith Olbermann wrote a brilliant piece This Hole in the Ground about the site of where the Twin Towers stood. Meanwhile, Bush used the 5th anniversary of 9/11 to try (yet again) to connect al Queda to Iraq pre 9/11...despite the fact that
some members of his own party no
longer believe this blatant lie. So much for not turning 9/11 into a "political event."
I guess it's "only politcizing 9/11"
when someone other than a Republican says something about it. (9/12/06)
- Stabbed in the Back -- a fascinating view of the rise and fall and rise of the right in America and the lies they've used to
rewrite history. (7/14/06)
- Scientific McCarthyism at NASA Our admininistration once again indicates they have more in common with the mullahs of Iran than modern human beings ought to. Theocracies believe that science doesn't matter. We are not a theocracy (yet) though some people
in the Bush administration seem to think that we are. (2/5/2006)
- A majority of Americans no longer believe in the administration's lies on Iraq: Harris poll shows only 22% of U.S. adults believe Mr. Hussein helped plan 9/11. The percentage who believe Iraq played a roll in 9/11 continues to decline. (12/29/2005)
- "It's just a goddam piece
of paper" says Bush. What is he talking about? His latest poll results? Nope. The Constitution of
the United States. Anyone else see a problem with that? Remember, this is the same man who put his hand on a Bible at least twice and swore to uphold the Constitution. If gross incompetence, political cronyism
lying about going to war aren't impeachable, shouldn't this be an impeachable offense? (12/13/05)
- "We do not torture" says Bush. With
a straight face, one assumes. If the United States does not torture, then why can't the Red Cross visit all detainees? Why does the CIA want the torture option left legally open?
Why have a number of people died in US custody in Iraq? Why isn't there a full accounting of all prisoners?
And what about Abu Ghraib? Did Bush forget that already? (11/7/05)
- Bush, in touch with technology as always:
"I had an interesting opportunity to go see some research and development being done on solar energy. I'm convinced, someday in the relative near future we'll be able to have units on our houses that will be able to power electronics within our houses, and hopefully, with excess energy, be able to feed them back in the system. That's possible. We're not there yet, but it's coming." (Press Conference Transcript, 10/4/05)
- Harriet Miers...I won't even go there. At least she let herself get pushed out of the nomination
before it hit the Senate.
- Alan Dershowitz on Chief Justice Rehnquist (9/4/05)
- Homeland Security Department and National Guard Prevent Red Cross from Coming into New Orleans! -yet another in a series
of things that demonstrate the utter incompetence of the Bush Administration- (9/3/05)
- Here's a timeline that outlines the fate of both FEMA and flood control projects from Washington Monthly (and also how Bush's cronies have run FEMA into the ground) (9/2/05)
- The Bush Administration's Role in the New Orleans Levee Failure
- During a period of unprecedented hurricanes, the Bush Administration is dismantling the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Quotes from the Ayatollah Robertson
- Angry e-mail follows fetal pain article - Abortion opponents target JAMA editor -- yes, please, please don't let
scientific information interfere with anti-abortion beliefs! I am completely pro-birth control and
pro-choice (for the first three months for any reason, to preserve the mother's life at any time, or if the
child is going to be born with a fatal condition at any time). If a person is truly "pro-life" (an oxymoron
for the war-mongering Republicans out there) and believes science is
completely irrelevant, then why attack the JAMA editor for printing a peer-reviewed article?
It's completely illogical to attack the editor for refuting scientifically
the oft-repeated religious fallacy that a fetus feels pain.
- America by the Numbers - #1? by Michael Ventura, basically points out that America is only #1 in delusional thinking
- Ignorance is Bliss (to Bush 'n' Buddies anyway):
How Cheney Fooled Himself About Iraq, Bullish on Boulton, FBI Won't Mandate Terror Expertise
- Bush and Cheney Knock Amnesty International for Telling the Truth About American Gulag(s)
- CounterBias: The Difference Between Decent Politicians and Republicans
- Kansas - Where Medical Privacy Is a Joke - haven't heard the "less government" people speaking out about this one...
- A Victim of US Torture Speaks Out
- Scientists Feel Stifled by the Bush Administration
- White House Cuts Hubble Servicing Mission from 2006 Budget - funding unprovoked warfare is clearly more important!
- FDA to Delay Making the Morning-after Pill Non-Presription
- Social Security - What's Really Going On
- Bush Campaign Workers
Threaten Kerry-T-Shirt Wearers with Arrest at Rallys
- At Least 51 Newspapers That Endorsed Bush in 2000 are Not Endorsing Him in 2004
- New York Times Editorial: Subverting Science
- The Godly Must Be Crazy: Christian-right Views Are Swaying Politicians and Threatening the Environment
- Molly Ivins' We're Flung to the Wolves - Bush's Supporters Still Clinging to the Lies He Keeps
- Hey, thoughtful conservatives still exist! The American Conservative Endorses Kerry!
- Scientists Estimate 100,000 Iraqi Deaths
- Why We Don't Have Enough Arabic Translators
- More Newspapers Endorse Kerry Than Bush, including most major Florida papers!
- The Unfeeing President, E. L. Doctorow
- Many Thanks, Ron Reagan:
The Case Against George W. Bush - Esquire, July 29, 2004
- Fear Shapes Voters' Views, 7/2004
- Outsourcing The Defense Budget - Defense contractors are writing the president's defense budget
- 100 Reasons Not to Vote for Bush in 2004
- "Values" Seen as Most Important Characteristic of Presidential Candidates
- Facts Don't Matter: An Ongoing Record of the Lies of the George W. Bush Administration
- A Review of Fahrenheit 911
- Why Start Another Anti-Bush Web Site?
- No Longer the World's Slowest Blog
Equal Time for Bush's Military "Service?"
At a time when the Bushies are doing their best to trash Kerry's military service
(and anti-war activities after he returned from Viet Nam), it's instructive
to review recorded information about Bush's military "service."
Why Facts Matter
Trofim Denisovich Lysenko rose to be the manager of the Genetics Institute in Odessa (Soviet Union) in the late 1930s. His "scientific research" inevitably supported Communist and Stalinst principles.
On the basis of rather crude and unsubstantiated experiments, Lysenko promised greater, more rapid, and less costly increases in crop yields than other biologists believed possible. Under Stalin, Lysenko became director of the Institute of Genetics of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. (1940-65) and president of the then powerful V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences. By 1948, when education and research in standard genetics were virtually outlawed, some geneticists had suffered secret arrest and death of undisclosed causes.
Lysenko's doctrines and claims varied with the amount of power that he held. Between 1948 and 1953, when he was the total autocrat of Soviet biology, he claimed that wheat plants raised in the appropriate environment produce seeds of rye, which is equivalent to saying that dogs living in the wild give birth to foxes. His fundamental, continuing argument was that theoretical biology must be fused with Soviet agricultural practice. -- Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2003
Lysenko's methods led to the deaths of millions of people in the Soviet
Union because crop yields fell under his administration. Theories of genetics and
agriculture were rewritten to please Communist ideology rather than conform
with scientific experimentation and facts. Farmers used seeds and crop rotation techniques that failed to yield adequate crops for nearly twenty years.
It wasn't until Khrushchev's death in the mid-60s that Lysenko began to be discredited.
Gradually, Russian farms started to use seeds that yielded more crops, improved
crop rotation and more modern methods of cultivation.
Like the old (and now dead) Soviet Union,
the Bush administration ignored facts whenever it interfered with its ideology.
From the mess in Iraq to gagging public health professionals to severely limiting stem cell
research, our government behaved more like a theocracy than like a modern democracy.
When the rest of the scientific world were pursuing the ideas of Mendel and developing the new science of genetics, Russia led the way in the effort to prevent the new science from being developed in the Soviet Union. Thus, while the rest of the scientific world could not conceive of understanding evolution without genetics, the Soviet Union used its political power to make sure that none of their scientists would advocate a genetic role in evolution....
Under Lysenko's guidance, science was guided not by the most likely theories, backed by appropriately controlled experiments, but by the desired ideology. Science was practiced in the service of the State, or more precisely, in the service of ideology. The results were predictable: the steady deterioration of Soviet biology. Lysenko's methods were not condemned by the Soviet scientific community until 1965, more than a decade after Stalin's death. -- Skeptic's Dictionary.
The Bush administration's insistance promoting ideology over scientific fact meant:
- We didn't do the kind of research on embryonic stem cells that we should have been doing. There's so
much we do not know about stem cells - and our government is impeded progress on curing/treating
a myriad of diseases during the '00s.
- AIDS spread because a frank discussion of condom use was offensive to the Republican administrations.
- Global warming wasn't treated with the seriousness it deserved, and this continued
to be a problem due to Republican obstructionists in Congress.
Review of Fahrenheit 911
Michael Moore is a rabble-rouser, and usually
I find him a little annoying. However, I was very impressed
by Fahrenheit 911. It's very good.
I think it will win the Best
Feature Documentary Oscar next year (while not nominated for an Oscar, it won
a number of other awards).
I've been trying to figure out where Michael Moore might
be lying in this movie, and I can't find anyplace. As you can
tell from the title of this Web site, the facts do
matter to me. Now, there are one or two places where
he doesn't say something he should have (the pipeline thing, for example,
which is still in limbo, or that Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq were and
are all dictatorships). But I really couldn't catch him on much.
From a movie-making point of view, he's constructed
a pretty tight film that makes all the right points. A few scenes run
on a little long, but the editing is generally pretty good.
I only had a couple of problems with it.
- While he doesn't hesitate to show badly injured
Iraqis (and, at least once, an American soldier),
he made a point of not showing anything of the
towers coming down - only dust and paper - or
any injured Americans. As a result, Fahrenheit 911
has a funny National Geographic feel - we can show
the awful physical suffering of "natives" but
not Americans - it would be too offensive.
The movie should have been a little less graphic,
because a few of the scenes of injured Iraqis
are quite horrific. That said, he doesn't talk specifically about
the prisoner abuse scandal, but does show some
Americans playing with a corpse and having their
pictures taken with captured, hooded Iraqis.
- At one point, an injured soldier does say
that the war changed him from a Republican to
a Democrat. However, Moore then fails to say that it's not
just poor people who wind up joining the Army - it's
the politically disenfranchised. A shocking number
of people do not vote.
What Michael Moore does particularly well is "connecting
the dots." I don't think I learned anything new from
Fahrenheit 911, I was reminded of many things that I'd
foregotten. He's also grown as a filmmaker - as he makes
more complicated movies, he takes himself out of the movie.
He only shows up in about five shots during the
whole thing, and he really doesn't narrate as much
of the film as you might expect. Instead, he lets the
interviewees make most of the points.
When I got back to the Internet after the movie, one of the first
things I saw was this:
U.S. Mulling How to Delay Nov Vote in Case of Attack
*sigh* Michael Moore is sounding more like Paul Revere all the time. And
the danger is from our own government rather than from an outside source.
Sites Promoting Facts Over Ideology
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