Featured Post

WELCOME TO FACTMISSILE.COM

Our goal is to inject facts into debates that are too often dominated by opinion and feelings. These natural human traits get in the way of ...

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

BEING RIGHT IS NOT THE SAME AS GETTING IT RIGHT

Arguments can be difficult. They can cause hurt feelings and in many cases can muddy the waters on what is and is not correct about the topic being argued. Of particular concern can be the motivation of the participants of the argument. Are we debating the point to come up with the correct solution to a problem or are we in it to win it? The latter is more and more often becoming the case, we are not out to get things right, but to be right and this is causing huge problems in all aspects of life now, but nowhere as much as it is in politics and governing.

Being right and getting it right can be the same thing, though it depends on the motives of the person involved. Getting it right can often be objectively assessed, where being right can just as often be a feeling of victory as opposed to being correct about the substance of the issue. The tactics are different for sure. Trying to be right can involve a tactic to shut down the debate, to conclude it, to plan a move to win. Trying to get it right, involves listening to opposing points and factoring them into your thinking and making a legitimate attempt to get facts on the issue or problem to be addressed. This is where we have often gone off the rails in government and the reason is not just as simple as we might think. There are 2 main areas that people in government manage to get solutions wrong, excluding simple corruption and nepotism.

1.    Inexperience.
We don't, and can't know everything. If a person running for office is a lawyer by trade they come in with a background in law. This is a healthy place to start when having to draft laws and regulations etc. It creates problems when the individual is called on to make decisions in areas where they lack training and experience. They may also be operating with "some" knowledge on the subject. We've all heard the saying: "a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing". Lacking experience can go in about three directions. a. The person, understanding their limits seeks out people recognized in the area of expertise and consults, takes advice and makes decisions based on that advice. or b. Driven by ego and perhaps feelings of inadequacy the person takes an interpretation that comes from their own thinking and runs with it, afraid to ask questions or entertain thoughts offered by colleagues for fear of being seen as dumb or weak and being pushed out of their position. c. Being weak in the subject matter is pulled in a bad direction by someone who suffers from the same lack of experience, but is a forceful personality. This person may be pulling, trying to do the right thing but is unable to grasp the issue any better than our hero, or might be maliciously trying to lead the decisions in a particular way.


2.   Entrenched Ideology.
We have all met up with a person in our careers or home life that has a strong personality. They have a way of doing things and they aren't open to too many options on changing it. It can be as simple as the way they do it has always worked, so why change. Sometimes though, it is not that simple, sometimes it does not work and they simply don't accept it. In political circles, this is a huge issue. These strong personalities, often called Ideologues have an idea or a notion of how something is supposed to work and will not sway, It takes a lot of energy to maintain an appearance that things are working when they are not. Whether puritan far-right or puritan far-left there is no one system with all the answers.

At either end of the political spectrum, there is little debate, only argument. There is little room for getting the issue right, it's about being right, having the win and having the power that goes with the win. The power to continue pushing the single answer that has been the answer all along. When the system put in place does not solve the issue, it's not "our fault", there is always someone else to blame and the answer is simple, keep doing what we have always done, just be a little more extreme.

So open up your social circles and your minds people. Spend time with people from different backgrounds and views and listen to them. Let what they have to say swirl around in your thinking. We may find out that the world's problems are solvable if we just take a little bit of everyone's experience and find a happy medium. Take the time to know the issues we are dealing with and what the possibilities are, then commit yourself to worry less about being right and more about getting it right.

WAS THIS WORTH SHARING?

Friday, October 25, 2019

IS THIS BLOG GOING THE DIRECTION IT STARTED

Taking a moment to question how things are going can be hard, but if you don't you end up often being what you thought you were here to combat. When this was started it was a direct counter to things like FOXNEWS and INFOWARS. Well patronized and produced propaganda whose factual content seemingly relied as much on accidental coincidence as it did on good investigation. It was certainly never our thought to be countering propaganda with propaganda, but putting facts back into the conversation.

Rand Paul was recently on The View and presented the facts on taxes. Lower income earners in the United States pay little to no income tax and the top 1% pay approx 40%. I say this like I know it, but it was Politifact that did the fact check for Mr. Paul in this case. It would have been easy to sit in that audience and jeer at the facts because it doesn't fit the popular narrative.  It's too easy to assume that a person is not being factual just because they have a history of being misinformed.  It's also easy to sit on the couch and tap pearls of wisdom into a smartphone and click publish. Trying to do an in-depth analysis of the amount lower-income earners pay in consumption taxes is for a different post.

We started off trying to be a fact checking site  but soon decided that thumbing through the established fact checking sites every time a fact needed to be checked was not really being honest about what this was supposed to be. (There are links on the sidebar to visit them.) A slight change in direction now sees us trying to put things in perspective in very short posts, usually around 3 paragraphs, to match the attention span of people online, but still more thorough than a tweet. Trying to keep it simple for those that need a little help crossing the "information " superhighway.

Our intention is not just to stand by crying; "Liar liar pants on fire", but to give people some skills to sort out for themselves if the piece they are reading, or listening to is trying to inform or if it is simply trying to make them feel a particular way. Giving people the tools to sort out what they are being fed is the most important thing we can do in the medium and longer term. In the short term we have to take on these forces directly. FOXNEWS needs to be held to account for intentionally providing false information. Not "misinformation" not "erroneous information", but intentionally FALSE information, hiding behind it being opinion. It has to stop and one way it can is for people to understand it and see it for what it is. We hope to help with that.

IS THIS MESSAGE WORTH SHARING?

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE OF RUSSIAN INVOLVEMENT IN AMERICAN POLITICS?

If you look past the incredible number of occurrences in the past two and a half years that have been of clear benefit to the ambitions of Vladimir Putin, what evidence is there of direct Russian involvement in the American election process?

Let's be honest, this little internet rag is not resourced like the news sites attached to the major networks or newspapers.  So what can we possibly know? That depends on how many places we are willing to look and how committed we are to sort out the facts from the efforts to elicit our feelings. We also have to draw a clear distinction between the question of Russian involvement and collusion, which are not the same thing.

It is possible that a person gullible enough could be pulled into a plot and receiving huge benefit from behind the scenes operations, be unaware of their participation. This person may in good faith say "NO COLLUSION", even as they are steered through their participation. We're going to set this aside as well to just look at the information in the public realm that makes the case for Russia steering the 2016 American election process.

The Mueller Report:
Robert Mueller's report was less than powerful in his conclusion on Trump's direct involvement or cooperation with Russian government interference with the 2016 presidential election. It was not cloudy or foggy in the conclusion that Russian government assets and internet companies waged a sophisticated campaign on social media sowing discord, spreading rumours, and baiting racial tensions.

Facebook And Twitter Accounts:
Facebook and Twitter both indicated they have found accounts that were run by Russians or Russian backed entities that were(are) producing and spreading memes and other propaganda material stoking fear and anger around immigration and terrorism.

There is evidence now that the same organizations have begun, never stopped really, working on the disruptions to the current election cycle. Facebook has said they have shut down Russian accounts spreading misinformation currently. Without going into things I have no qualifications or resources to look up, we know the evidence exists that proves Russia has and is working to disrupt and control the 2020 election in the United States.

IS THIS WORTH SHARING?

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

CULTIST CONSERVATISM WON'T CARRY IN CANADA

After a tight election, Canada moves forward toward a minority government after an election that was only decisive in one way. Just shy of 65% of Canadian voters rejected conservative platforms.  With the exception of the anti-immigration stance of the Bloc Quebecois, the traditional drumbeat of conservative talking points was turned down.

The obvious exception to the generality is the oil-producing provinces in the west. The economic reality of oil jobs and revenue and their unwavering support of it, sways the vote to the conservative based parties very reliably, but it's on the basis of long term promises they can't possibly keep. There is a small conservative religious base in Canada, but it doesn't have near the power of the Evangelical presence in the United States. Canada is, by and large, a socially progressive country with a tolerant ideology. Canadians are far less likely to look south of the border and think  "I want that...", than used to be the case. 
The circus in the White House and failure of conservative politicians to uphold the law and live out the religious platitudes they preach does not go unnoticed by the majority of Canadians.

If Conservatives want to be more than the Bloc Quebecois of the Prairies they are going to have to move, kicking and screaming if necessary, toward a more realistic and factual platform, and mean it. The blind rejection of science, the coddling of religious extremism and business leaders that works so well in the United States does not play as well in Canada's generally more pluralistic and literate society. If conservatism can't evolve with a changing climate, it faces extinction.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

IN SYRIA, TRUMP VS. PUTIN IS A PEEWEE VS. A PRO GAME.

With the pull out of American forces from Syria and the emerging catastrophe for the Kurdish people a clear void is being left that the Russians under Putin are rapidly filling. This is indisputably a loss for the Kurds, being hung out to dry by Trump after many years toting a heavy load in the fight against ISIS, eroding ISIS' control in that region and keeping them unable to mount attacks in North America. This is a huge win for ISIS and it remains to be seen what it means for their ability mount attacks against targets on the American homeland.

Emerging in this is an uptick of Russian influence in the region. There is a huge downside to this for America and the west as we watch to see what Putin's end game is.  Of particular concern is what goal Putin has and the obvious differences between Trump and Putin.  Trump is clueless on most government issues where Putin, in this scope, very much knows what he is doing. It really is a peewee vs. a pro game going on and that is not good for America.

With the utter chaos underway in Washington and the starburst of focus that America's intelligence services have on issues in and outside the American capital Putin has a pretty much open field in the middle east. America's president has chosen to put his country on the bleachers. We can only hope that Putin's plan will be complete in a short time period with merciful speed. With the void left by Trump's uninformed impulsive move, we are likely to see horrific consequences for our once allies, the Kurds, and negative implications for America and the west for years to come.

THE ARGUMENT FOR OIL IN THE NEAR TERM

There is an argument for oil in the near term and we need to hear it and heed it.

Oil, in western society, has become a very integral part of what gets us through the day, That and electricity keeps our society moving. Like wildlife that gets fed by humans visiting a wild area, we have become dependent on oil and electricity to simply survive. People in North America for sure, and many places in western Europe and other industrialized nations, for the most part, do not have the skills to survive without them. Does this mean we can not alter the system?; no not at all. The issue is the need for a transition.

The transition is going to take time, and many argue that we don't have the time, but sorry there is not a scenario where this can happen overnight. The task is huge and needs to be taken on, with or without the participation of those that resist for personal and business reasons. Governments need to take bold action based on the best advice from the best people. So what about the argument for oil in the near term? Survival. We need to keep society together during the transition.

We live in a huge apartment complex, that when we started was amazing, but time has taken a tole and our complex is, frankly due to be condemned. We are all being told we have to get out of the complex, but there is nowhere for us to go. We can't just drop the system we have, we don't know how to do it outside of the complex we are in. We must begin, with haste, building the new complex, but until we are in a position to move into somewhere new, beating the drum that we are doomed and must leave is going to be met with resistance from not only those with business interests, but those that simply have to make it through the day.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

BEST CANDIDATE? GETS VOTERS OUT TO THE POLLS.

No matter how thirsty some of us may be for the all encompassing and substantive candidate, the fact remains that the most important issue in the 2020 election is electability.  No other issue takes precedence over the ability to motivate reasonable people to get up, get out and vote.

That means the candidate has to withstand the blistering attacks that are coming, and those attacks are going to be coming from a fictional databank already being built.  The candidate and the Democrats as a party have to be able to keep their stride and momentum because the goal is not going to be to turn voters on to Trump, the attacks will be to turn  democratic voters off.

You only have to look at what the Russians and others are gaining with Trump and the equally hapless GOP in place, to know for a fact they will be playing an active role in all aspects of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Who is chosen as the candidate and the willingness of voters to wrap themselves around that person is not only vital to the future of the United States,  but this time, to its continued existence as a democracy.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

NO, MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS NOT BIASED ON TRUMP

"The mainstream media is biased against Trump. "

It's a refrain from supporters of Donald Trump that the mainstream media has a negative bias, only reporting on negative things going on. The issue here is the role the media is to play in a constitutional democracy is one of the checks on the power of government.

It is well proved that Donald J. Trump has lied to the extreme while in office. Lied on an astonishing number of subjects, often requiring very little effort to debunk. Many of the lies swirl around efforts to interfere with investigations of conduct of his family, businesses and campaign with direct links to his role as President Of The United States. There is considerable evidence of criminal activity around the president. This is not a conviction in court, Donald Trump remains innocent until proven guilty of any crime.

With all of this going on what is expected of the journalistic community? Putting it in a smaller, easier to understand bite, think of your family. Think of someone saying they were going to help, saying they were going to fix complicated issues, telling you bad things about your friends and other that have helped you in the past. All the while it appears he has been taking advantage of your family on many levels, maybe it's money, maybe it's with the women in the family, whatever it is he appears to be doing very serious wrongs to the family. Who in the family is required to remind you that he did a great job grooming the yard?

If there was a balance between the questionable and the positive there would be an argument for balancing coverage, but there is not. The negative and the false are the primary items on the menu and no one is obliged to make it softer for the president who is incapable of doing it himself.

Monday, October 14, 2019

LIFE OUTSIDE EARTH

Intelligence is an open question, but it is the height of hubris, to spin and whirl around our little sun, on our little wet rock, and assume no other of the infinite rocks and stars in what we understand as our universe can support even mold. Reports in a number of outlets indicate that the U.S. space agency NASA is preparing to make a statement regarding life on Mars.

Some quotes and teasers are signaling that we may not be ready for such a historic announcement. To this we say, bring it on because unless they are going to announce they have found a Martian couple sipping wine reading a copy of Harry Potter, it's not that big of a deal. Granted it will be cool to have the question answered.

As special a place as Earth is, it is a planet and to restrict our thinking on what it takes to support life on a planet to our planet and nothing else, well, it's just silly. Looking forward beyond the announcement to important discussions on what we can expect in the future of space exploration.

Friday, October 11, 2019

EVIDENCE DOESN'T SUPPORT ATHEISM

Atheists follow a belief that there is no god  or creative entity to explain our existence. It all just simply happened. Objective evidence can't support this position. On the other hand there is clearly no objective evidence for God, in any form that organized religion has offered.

Where atheism falls short is the absolutism that no creator can be involved. Even fully accepting that the big bang was the beginning of the known universe, where did the pinhead size infinitely dense ball of matter come from? That will never be anything but speculation. Did it happen as a chain reaction to something else,  or is it a cycle of expansion and contraction that goes on infinitely? Or did an experiment lead to our universe? Either way we are here and there is no way to know for sure where the start point came from.

The objective evidence in favor of an overseeing entity is equally scarce. There is in fact no evidence whatsoever of any management at all, at least in the realm of human activity. A system of checks and balances exists in the natural world, but was that by intelligent design or just a matter of ebb and flow falling into place? Whether there was intelligence behind the design or not is immaterial, at this point it is what it is.

As for human endeavors the evidence does not support an overseeing entity,  period. An all powerful entity could, be able to oversee and control the workings of human society with little effort and without subletting power to humans with whom power is easily and observably abused. Why should an entity with as strong a need for adulation as is taught in most religions allow the abuse by religious leaders that causes so many to question the existence of God? They wouldn't.

Sorry Bill Maher, we can't disprove the possibility of an entity above us starting the chain of events leading to our existence. It is clear though, if a genesis entity does exist, it either does not know, or does not care about the humans on planet Earth.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

WHY DON'T WE CONSIDER INTENT ANYMORE?

Is the real question, why aren't people allowed to learn from past mistakes. Politics are probably the extreme example of this phenomenon where we need people with experience to deal with the issues we face, but they are somehow supposed to get their experience without the most important tool for developing experience; error.

There is no lapse in judgment tolerated in a politician's past, no matter how informative it is to their current situation. Whether it's a poor choice in costume in the past or membership in an organization when they were younger, but now see as reprehensible, good people, of all political stripes need to be allowed to grow. Grow intellectually and grow emotionally to develop the balance of knowledge and experience that will allow them to understand and solve extremely difficult problems.

If we are going to insist on leaders with the innocence of a baby we are going to get leaders with the judgment of a baby.

HAS THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC BEEN LOST?


A lot has happened since this original post.  There was a previous update focusing on the impeachment, but all of that means little now. COVID-19 has stormed on to the scene and left bare the ridiculous ineptitude of DONALD JOHN TRUMP, the first NONPRESIDENT to be in office and the worst crisis manager in United States History.

HAS THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC BEEN LOST?

The question seems to ask itself.  Why is there nothing happening to try and stop what appears to be such overwhelmingly obvious corruption in the United States Government?

By every measure the Republican Party appears to be aiding and abetting Donald Trump in making money off of his presidency, obstructing investigations into his conduct, before and after the election, in getting assistance from foreign powers in getting elected, tearing down the systems that are meant to keep things in check. So what is the situation?

What are we to expect from the Democratic House Leadership? It seems that a line of some kind has finaly been crossed.  Since the revelations about the contacts between Donald Trump and the president of the Ukraine in which Trump asked for an investigation to dig up dirt on Democratic candidate Joe Biden, the House of Representatives has now begun a formal impeachment enquiry.

Trump's propaganda machine has been trying to undermine the investigation,  as they worked at doing during the Mueller investigation, but seem out of practice, having released a summary transcript of the call which clearly shows Trump asking for an investigation of his political opponent and his son.

If the mainstream media is accurate in their reporting and they do all seem to have gotten the same release from the White House, then we have finally arrived to where America just may be able to save itself.  Powerful Trump defenders like Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell need to come around. If these men are being blackmailed, and it really seems possible; a deal and protection may be in order for the good of the American nation.

Whether Trump is a puppet of a foreign power, or has managed to install a mafia style system on his own the problem is the same.  The political machine in place right now is intent on seizing power and dismantling the government institutions that keep at least some balance between those who seek unlimited power and those who have the least power.

For the record this is not just an American issue. A destabilized America is an open door for nations, not all with good human rights records, to spread influence and perhaps their boundaries. So step up, get informed and get involved and help ensure the answer to the question " Has the American Republic been lost?"; is a firm and resounding; NO!