Personal Health Care

Even admitting, as I readily do, that the advent of the Internet has had an almost-magical effect on many aspects of our lives, there are things about it that I hate. The loss of privacy and, hence, the narrowing of our self-perceived – and perhaps, eventually, actual – ability to speak our minds freely is one that I have already written about. Another is its tendency to try to convince us that we are ill and need whatever product or service some part of the medical/pharmaceutical industry is trying to sell today.

No doubt The Algorithm has figured out that I am no spring chicken, and consequently concluded that I quite likely have health worries...

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UK/US Political Parallels?

Last night while the Beloved Spouse was off at a holiday-themed meeting of her book club, I was glued to the Sky News coverage of the British election. As you are no doubt aware, the Conservative party won big – bigger than it had since Thatcher’s day. That result was clear from the moment that polls closed – 5:00 PM our time – though, so it wasn’t curiosity about who won that held my attention. Rather, I was fascinated by the emergence in the constituency-by-constituency results of two facts that seem highly relevant to our own politics.

The first of these relates to a profound change in traditional party loyalties. Regions that had been the heart of Labour’s support – old mining and industrial towns – went for the Tories, many for the first time since the 1930s or before...

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Dishonest Times

In a banner headline to what is nominally a news column on the front page of this morning’s New York Times, the paper falsely asserts that “REPORT DEBUNKS ANTI-TRUMP PLOT IN RUSSIA INQUIRY.”

The Horowitz report does no such thing. The Inspector General’s conclusion that he “did not find documentary or testimonial evidence” for such a plot is not even close to being proof that it didn’t happen.

The Inspector General was in no position to disprove the possibility that senior Obama-era officials at the FBI and other ‘intelligence’ agencies conspired to kick-start an investigation into the Trump campaign, then Administration, based on illegal political and/or self-serving motivations – he lacked the authority to conduct a wide-ranging investigation, to subpoena witnesses, to com...

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The Perils of Groupthink

In a few years, I will be entitled to collect some very expensive benefits – Social Security and Medicare – by virtue of my age rather than any need. If you are still in the working world, you will be paying for them. Thanks … I guess.

Most people in my position tell themselves that others won’t really be paying for what they’ll be receiving – that they pre-paid them through payroll taxes, over many years.

One little problem with that argument: it isn’t true. The money that those of us who have been paying payroll taxes paid into a theoretical trust fund has been squandered; the government is twenty-three trillion in debt, about $8 trillion of which is to the illusory entitlement trust funds...

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Comey and Horowitz

Dear Readers: A week before the Horowitz report was issued, I wrote a post about what a disaster Jim Comey had been as head of the FBI. This was during the time when I had (temporarily) decided to stop sending out notices of new posts, so very few of you read it. As it turns out, what I wrote at that time was both too kind to Comey and too sure that he is unlikely be held accountable for his behavior.

Having since watched this https://youtu.be/tJrBdF4LZWw interview of Jeff Carlson, in which he gives a comprehensive overview of the astoundingly damning Horowitz findings, I am now convinced both that Comey should be very, very worried about his future (especially given the appropriately more oblique, but by implication deadly serious, comments made by Attorney General Barr on the same t...

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Humility

One of the things that I learned as an undergraduate in the 1970s is that I wasn’t smart enough to major in philosophy.

In those days, philosophy was one of the smaller and more self-consciously exclusive departments at Princeton. They wanted only a few undergraduate majors and, as it turned out, I wasn’t one of them. I learned this by taking a course, Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology, in which it quickly became clear to me – and I’m sure my professor – that my thinking was not as well-honed as we might have wished. I slunk off to the English department, where I found a more comfortable kind of beauty.

My most important takeaway from that unsatisfactorily-completed philosophy course in the theory of knowledge, forty-something years later, is that we should all hav...

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Corbyn’s Position on Brexit – guest post

The fundamental question seems to be – does Corbyn need to articulate a clear in / out position on Brexit?

He argues that he doesn’t, and that once he has negotiated a new deal he will act as an ‘honest broker’ who will remain neutral in a ‘Corbyn’s deal vs Remain’ referendum.

While there are certainly virtues to Corbyn’s Brexit policy (it’s inclusive, economically coherent, and in his words ‘seeks to bring the country together’) Ithink it’s also useful to recognize that there are some contradictions implicit within it too.

Firstly there is the question of democratic legitimacy. The 2016 referendum, for all its faults, produced a result: Leave.

At the time and later in run up to the 2017 election the Labour party agreed to honor the result...

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Just Do It, Nancy

Nancy:

Impeach him.

You’ve been telling us for three years that Trump is a criminal, a traitor, the worst president ever, … in short, the devil’s own spawn. Yeah, that Russian collusion thing that you touted so long and so loudly didn’t play out as you hoped, but now, you caught him red handed! If you look at the transcript of his call to Zelensky from just the right angle – and don’t read it too closely – you can claim (er, have claimed) that he was using the delayed aid to Ukraine to ‘bribe’ that country into investigating Biden. Of course, it would have been better if Zelensky had known that the aid was being delayed, or had felt coerced, or had even done what Trump asked before he got the aid, but whatevs. Intentions matter, right? And you just know Trump inte...

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The Progressive Pravda

To my frequent sorrow, I still read The New York Times. It’s an old, old habit, and one I have tried to give up – but most mornings, after the Beloved Spouse has finished the crossword puzzle, the paper stares at me from across the breakfast table and I just can’t resist picking it up. Reading The Times, I tell myself, will give me a chance to understand the way the other side looks at the world.

My efforts bear only small amounts of fruit. The paper does provide me with daily doses of progressive invective, occasionally even bolstered by carefully curated facts, but in truth, I always pretty much know what their take will be on whatever happened yesterday before I begin perusing the paper’s printed rehashes...

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The Climate Crusade

Although I am a skeptic regarding the extent of mankind’s impact on global warming, I don’t particularly like it when people describe the scare as a hoax or as a fraud on the public. Hoaxes and frauds executed on a grand scale require a concerted intent to deceive, which I think very few, if any, climate alarmists have. There is no global conspiracy to pull the wool over our eyes – the very idea is ludicrous.

Given the usual run of human foibles, however, systematic errors need only attractive theories, dramatically skewed incentives and confirmation bias to present themselves as seemingly unchallengable truths.    

Incidentally, you’ve probably already noticed that in the first paragraph I referred to the focus of climate alarmism as global warming rather than with the more...

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