Cognitive Bias: Bad Thinking and Bad Decision Making

Two things which fascinate me are the ways in which we logically or illogically argue and how our observations can succumb to certain biases. If you routinely study the styles of argumentation which people reason from and then reverse engineer their language, you start finding the fallacious thinking and bias that drives their outlooks. The best examples of when this is on parade are discussions concerning politics or religion, however, they also permeate the minutiae our daily conversations as well.

What inspired this post was a very interesting article that appeared in the statistics blog written by Christie Aschwanden on cognitive bias.  Specifically the “illusion of causality” and how it pertains to the anti-vaccination movement.

Paul Offit likes to tell a story about how his wife, pediatrician Bonnie Offit, was about to give a child a vaccination when the kid was struck by a seizure. Had she given the injection a minute sooner, Paul Offit says, it would surely have appeared as though the vaccine had caused the seizure and probably no study in the world would have convinced the parent otherwise. (The Offits have such studies at the ready — Paul is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and author of“Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All.”) Indeed, famous anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy has said her son’s autism and seizures are linked to “so many shots” because vaccinations preceded his symptoms…

Before we move on to some examples of how cognitive bias affects our daily lives let’s look at a quick definition and how it is different from fallacious argumentation.

Cognitive bias describes the inherent thinking errors that humans make in processing information. Some of these have been verified empirically in the field of psychology, while others are considered general categories of bias. These thinking errors prevent one from accurately understanding reality, even when confronted with all the needed data and evidence to form an accurate view. Many conflicts between science and religion are due to cognitive biases preventing people from coming to the same conclusions with the same evidence. Cognitive bias is intrinsic to human thought, and therefore any systematic system of acquiring knowledge that attempts to describe reality must include mechanisms to control for bias or it is inherently invalid.

People sometimes confuse cognitive biases with logical fallacies, but the two are not the same. A logical fallacy stems from and error in a logical argument, while a cognitive bias is rooted in thought processing errors often arising from problems with memory, attention, attribution, and other mental mistakes.

As indicated cognitive bias and logical fallacies are not the same. However, I am personally “biased” towards the outlook that the two are related, in that one is our view and another is how we argue our view. This opinion is a personal reflection, not necessarily something which has been ostensibly proven or supported empirically. Subsequently you can consider this estimation “a priori.”  

Further investigation into cognitive bias reveals there are upwards of fifty-eight different examples of cognitive bias…perhaps more. With all of that in mind here are a few examples of some which you might find familiar but have been completely unaware of.

Here are three which I see fairly routinely.

The first is what I like to call the “Facebook High-Life.” This is when someone enhances the quality of their life on their FB pages, or other digital mediums, without regards to the realities they are truly facing. This is known as the ‘Self-Enhancing Transmission Bias.’

Another one that is a particular favorite of mine is “Selective Perception” or when one views the world in accordance with their frame of reference. Two great examples of this are sports and at work. In the sports arena we might notice the referee’s penalizing our team but gaff off penalties for the opposing team. At work have you ever had a fellow employee who in your eyes as well as many others, is a total screw-up, but irrespective of this fact they remain the boss’s go to guy or gal? You are left to wonder why everyone else can see your fellow employee’s problems but not management. Well your boss may be suffering from the aforementioned bias.

Projection Bias is the assumption that everyone around you shares your beliefs, outlooks, and viewpoints. This is common in political geographies when it is assumed by someone that everyone in their particular location is politically wired just as they are. Or in other words you are unconsciously projecting your values and positions on the population you live around.

I could go on and on…but I think we get the idea. Bias of any sort is difficult to avoid especially since most of it is unconscious. We are hardly aware of the glitches in our thinking and it is therefore difficult to compensate for. However, this doesn't mean it is impossible to overcome. Awareness is the first step to clear thinking and better decision making habits.  
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Italy is worried about ISIS invasion.

~History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Whether this little nugget comes to fruition or not it is mind-boggling that in the 21st century, Italy is worried about a mainland invasion from ISIS. This is not exactly a historically correct statement but its seems the Moors might be knocking on Italy's door once again. 

From the Daily Beast,

ROME — Last weekend in Italy, as the threat of ISIS in Libya hit home with a new video addressed to “the nation signed with the blood of the cross” and the warning, “we are south of Rome,” Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi shuttered the Italian embassy in Tripoli and raised his fist with the threat of impending military action. Never mind that Italy has only 5,000 troops available that are even close to deployable, according to the defense ministry. Or that the military budget was cut by 40 percent two years ago, which has kept the acquisition of 90 F-35 fighter jets hanging in the balance and left the country combat-challenged to lead any mission—especially one against an enemy like the Islamic State. 
In fact, Renzi didn’t specify exactly who would wield that military might, and, two days later, when no one volunteered to lead the charge, he backtracked. “It’s not the time for a military intervention,” Renzi told an Italian television station Monday night and said the United Nations had to lead the way. “Our proposal is to wait for the U.N. Security Council. The strength of the U.N. is decidedly superior to that of the radical militias....
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John Podesta tweets about UFO files.

Ok...admittedly this is from the land of kooky and obscure but John Podesta, former Bill Clinton Chief of Staff and present Hillary Clinton campaign manager, yesterday sent out a strange tweet concerning UFO's.! 

But I must admit....I share Podesta's infatuation with ET. This isn't to say that I go around chasing UFO reports or that I think the History Channel's Giorgio Tsoukalos--contributor to Ancient Aliens--is some sort of misunderstood genius. Just that this is something I am fascinated by and really, really really, hope is true! (Don't judge me damn it!)

Also, and of course, the little tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist in me does think it's strange when a former CoS to a President of the United States starts mentioning stuff about "disclosure of UFO files." But those kind of thoughts are best...ahem!...not mentioned any further. 

Sometimes it's just nice knowing that even people in positions of authority and distinction are just as strange and eccentric as the rest of us. And that obscure fascinations tend to more often than not transcend things like political differences. 

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The Contradiction of Leftist Opinion: Scott Walker, Tom Cotton, et al

The liberal media complex is usually singular in its vision--agitprop. Push the meme, secure the front against argument, then debilitate opposing viewpoints with ridicule. A very to the point mechanical process that has been honed through years of practice and study. 

But sometimes the meme's get tangled and the realism of their untruth reveal the true intentions of its propagators.

One one side, Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker is a blooming idiot and doesn't deserve to even be thought of as Presidential material since he doesn't possess...gasp!...a college degree!

What a snob! On today's Morning Joe, Howard Dean, a product of fancy prep schools and Yale, suggested that Scott Walker was unfit to be president because his lack of a college degree rendered him "unknowledgeable." 
Dean's disdain for the un-diplomaed came during a discussion of Walker having declined, during his recent trip to the UK, to state whether he believes in evolution. Joe Scarborough was incredulous at Dean's diss, pointing out that people such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg never finished college. To which list could be added super-successful and knowledgeable people from Rush Limbaugh to Steve Jobs, among many others...

On the other side of the coin is Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

Here is the latest from the National Inquirer of Liberal political rags, Salon, by a useless opinionator whose scribble is perfectly suited for such an environment, Heather Digby.

Tom Cotton is Ted Cruz with a war record, Sarah Palin with a Harvard degree, Chris Christie with a Southern accent — a force to be reckoned with. He may sound like he’s speaking gibberish to you or to me when he asks why there were no prisoners in Guantánamo before the prison existed, but to the Republican base he’s speaking their language as clear as day and it will fit nicely on a bumper sticker: “Let ‘em rot.”
The utter hilarity of the Left's dualistic  thought processes and contradicting dumbfuckery is on full parade here. One man is to "unknowlegable" to arrive to any station higher than the one he has already achieved. The other, educated in one of the highest bastions of Liberal thought, Harvard Law--the same law program which our President graduated from--and a successful member of the US armed force and he speaks "gibberish."  

Their high crime? Both are real time threats to the Liberal power base. Moreover, either they are in the process of developing a more in depth and meaningful record or they have already succeeded. Additionally and more importantly, they are both Republicans.

As you wade through the ridiculousness you can see that either you are to dumb, because of a lack of a college degree, or you are to stupid, even if you attended a Liberal institute of higher education. However, I might add the real issue here  isn't education or the lack of; the main problem is not following the Leftist orthodoxy and/or successfully combating it. For that you must be punished, minimized, and thus eradicated. 
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The Post-Truth Perception of the Political Liberal

Sometimes you have to question contemporary knowledge about our history and past. When we get so wrapped around ideology and start to warp historical facts and truth in order to sustain our own context and perspective of our world, the truth becomes non-existent. From then on we live in a world that is simply pure abstraction and no longer real.

Case in point a few days ago,  Lawyer, Guns, and Money contributor, Eric Loomis's observed that Fox News contributor, Tucker Carlson, is either "the dumbest person in the United States" or "maybe he is just dishonest."

The reason Loomis is so upset? Because Tucker Carlson--while hosting a Fox News show recently--said this, “Christianity is the reason we don’t have slavery in the world today,” he added. “I mean, talk about ahistorical.” Carlson's commentary was in reference to the President's controversial statements he made at this year's National Prayer Breakfast.

Now I am not a particularly religious person, but I have respect for the good, the bad, and the ugly which religions of all denominations have provided society with. History is wrought with religion's successes and altruism's as well as its abysmal failures and inhumanity. However, religion, particularly Christianity, seems to be the favored target of the secular Left. Many of their attacks are usually based in ignorance and hyperbole that has become so entrenched in stereotyping it becomes reality. Despite facts stating otherwise.

But why? Well...a good bit of it is political and some philosophical. Since the 70's the so-called Religious Right has become a formidable political bloc and by its philosophical design, a natural enemy to the Left's shallow interpretations of the world. Mainly on two points,  abortion and more recently, gay marriage. Therefore for these reasons Christianity is not only to be opposed...but destroyed, at any opportunity.

The greatest absurdity that the modern American Left suffers from is that their progressive influences, in part, stem from the social gospel movement of the late 19th century. People such as Walter Rauschenbusch and Washington Gladden--Protestant ministers --advocated for such items as the unionization of American workers, minimum wages, child labor laws, etc. Even the stalwart Progressive hero, William Jennings Bryan was a devout Presbyter whose religiosity greatly influenced his social outlook versus some of the modernist progressives of his day.

Another paradoxical point to ponder is the Left's collective thought that Christianity was causative in the rise of the slavery epidemic which infected the American South. When in fact, opposition to slavery and the Abolitionist movement had its roots to the "Second Great Awakening" (SGA). In short many people in the late 1700's America, contrary to popular belief, rarely attended church. They instead replaced traditional worship with revivals which served as not only ritual devotions but "social meetings" between neighbors.

Subsequently,these revival movements were causal in the formation of Christian reform groups whom opposed slavery on theological and moral grounds.  See the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. Now...this isn't to say there weren't others who opposed slavery on more than just Christian values, however, there is no doubt that religiosity played a pertinent role for many abolitionists and anti-slavery movements of the early and mid 1800's.

Finally, revisionism is a hallmark of the the modern American Left. This is induced by the  Liberal's world of anxiety in which they perceive their political legitimacy under constant threat from any oppositional thought they face.Their media and marketing constructs are selling a bill of goods which is sadly distorted and designed to produce an outcome that will ensure their authority to which they feel entitled.

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Tu quoque, Barack, tu quoque?!?!?!

Within the world of politics, especially in Presidential politics, every move, every word, every action is a setup for scrutiny or condemnation from detractors. The significant amount of the opinions expressed by critics of Presidents are usually mundane low-brow expressions which are made more for personal gain or as an attempt to validate the critic’s existence than legitimate fault finding. So is the case with the examination of the President’s commentary at the annual National Prayer Breakfast this week.

Here are the President’s remarks which got so many noses out of joints.   

And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

What the President is referencing here is that American’s shouldn't judge the Muslim community as a whole because of the deplorable violence wrought by ISIS. And that as a nation we should remember that our own majority faith, Christianity, has its own long dark history of violence and appalling actions to contend with. Accordingly it is not only wrong, it is factually incorrect to refer to ISIS as "Muslim Extremists."

Now before you think that this is a defense of the President’s commentary or that I am in agreement please…think again. His sophomoric and banal attempt to remind us about ethical standards of judgment is anything but coherent or lucid. On the historical front most of the “facts” as presented by Mr. Obama are anything but actualities. My problem is that most of the criticism of the President's remarks have been in the wrong vein, elucidate the critic's lack of  knowledge on historical events and their context, and they combat the Left's sophistry with crude rhetoric.  

But why worry about all of this and these inane and fallacious comments? Is it really that surprising that Mr. Obama would make comments like these considering his background and the philosophy he admittedly adheres to? The answer is no, I am not worried nor upset about anything he has said. However, this is a truly teachable moment and provides great insight to the style of argumentation which the Left tends to employ in its overall strategy. And why I am highlighting it. 

What The President is doing is invoking the informal logical fallacy of 'Tu quoque' or translated as 'you too'. In other words you discredit your opponent's argument by asserting they have engaged in the same behavior or acted inconsistently in reference to the point which they are defending or making. Subsequently, this method does nothing to address your opponent's position except reject it, not argue against it in logical practice.  For you visual learners here is the argumentative structure provided by RationalWiki.

1.       Person A makes claim X about Person B.
2.       Person B points out that claim X is also true of Person A.
3.       Therefore, X is irrelevant/false and A is a hypocrite.

To combat this you have one of two choices. The first is showing that the argument is unsound or that the two premise don’t lead to the conclusion being drawn. The second is that one of the premise being presented is patently false. Meaning if a premise is shown to be inaccurate then invariably the deduction is incorrect.

Take the Crusades for example. Anyone who has a modicum of knowledge about this time understands that there were two centuries worth of historical context which led to the Church launching its forces into the Middle East. Islamic expansionism against Western Europe and the Byzantine Empire, see the Seljuk Turks, made this necessary and unavoidable.

Do I fault the Muslim states for trying to conquer Western Europe? No…I do not. They were doing what empires do and the Western Church—the only unifying agent in Europe at the time--was doing what it had to do to ensure its survival and expansion. Certainly both sides were as much victims as they were perpetrators. However, this doesn’t fit into Mr. Obama’s narrative. You could also go on about the Inquisition, slavery, and Jim Crow and show these premises to be faulty and hollow as well.

The takeaway here is once you understand the structure of the argument being used against you, then you can combat it effectively. 
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Rand Paul and Anti-Vaccinations

You can color me astounded! Never in million years would I have believed that the “Anti-Vaxer” movement might gain a life of its own and actually be something that could shape the political landscape of the 2016 Presidential contest. looks like that might be what is happening.

Senator Rand Paul has weighed in on the issue of compulsory vaccinations. From his viewpoint vaccinations can leave children with  "profound mental disorders" and that mandatory immunization is an example of “government overreach.” New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie also stated that parents should ““have a "choice" in the matter but that ultimately "there is no question kids should be vaccinated."”

Back in October of last year I followed up a report appearing in Real Clear Science about the anti-vaxxer’s political composite. In terms of this philosophies origins, it can be rudimentarily established it’s beginnings lie in the Western US with far-left liberals and libertarians. Some of the anti-vaxxer states, as indicated in the RCS article, appear in red territories known for their libertarian bent and the more hyper-liberal fever swamps on the Left Coast. On the other end of the spectrum the predominantly better vaccinated states are more traditionally Conservative enclaves and with some East Coast liberal bastions thrown in there.

On the political end though I guess it shouldn’t surprise anyone that vaccinating your kids is a growing issue since measles, a disease once thought damn near eradicated,  is making a comeback. All through the due diligence of some irresponsible pseudo-science loving conspiracy nuts.  The issue is rightfully gaining political traction and demanding that politicians and candidates weigh in on it.

My personal prediction is this donkey will soundly be  hung around Paul’s neck as an indicator of his "libertarian induced insanity." Much like his father...he has you in his grasp, making perfect sense, until that one little issue pops up that makes him go off the deep end. Losing you forever...

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USA Absent in Paris--World Unleashes Hashtag Hell


President Obama (and his administration) is facing establishment backlash for not attending Paris's unity  or solidarity or whatever rally. I have my own thoughts on the matter, which I will share later in this post. 

The Mainstream Establishment Point of View

As for Obama, being the president of the United States, which by default makes him the leader of the free world (whatever the hell that means today), I suppose he should have attended the march of hugs and kisses (I just came up with that) or at the least sent Sec. of State Kerry or Vice President Joe Biden. After all, when one Western democracy marches I suppose the rest have to follow suit. I mean, those are the rule, right?

For reasons unknown, President Obama decided not to attend nor send anyone in his stead. Bad PR move on Barry's part. The world took notice and the world said the US doesn't care and launched hashtag hell. 

See what the "world" had to say
Bottom line, "Look man, he should have been there. I mean he had to. It was about solidarity and you can't have solidarity without being solid and stuff."

Now hear comes my favorite part. 

The Dissident Reactionary Right Point of View

The march is as useless as it is pathetic. What exactly this proves as point to terrorism is over this dissident's head. The bad guys kill a few here and there, have a lot of fun doing it, watch the news coverage as if it were the Super Bowl and get back to work finding more Westerners in need of kill'in.

Meanwhile, we are supposed to show solidarity in this?

This march is nothing more than an orchestrated and calculated ploy to reinforce the Narrative. The narrative being "hey move along, turn your eyes away from your slain brethren, we really can live together. Multiculturalism and mass third world Islamic immigration will work. Trust us."

And the free speech line? Paalease. European states routinely (Great Britain, especially so) throw in jail any native who even whispers something insensitive against homosexuality or Islam. True to Western ways, free speech is only a right when it is directed toward the West itself. The more hateful and venomous, the more of a right it becomes.  

You see, if one was paying attention one would know the elite were in danger of losing this Narrative. After the mayhem the only thing our Western leaders considered as a consequence from the killings was how Marine Le Pen's National Front party would benefit. That should tell you all you need to know about the sincerity behind this march. 

Never mind the fact that Le Pen was already ahead of her challengers in France before the attacks. In fact, her party's ideas are increasingly mainstream in France. The media hasn't accepted that fact and so continue to label her and her party "extremist" and "far right." That you can expect to reach fever pitch as panic sets in. 

And so, by sticking to the Narrative, Le Pen was not invited to the solidarity march. Somehow, in spite of her popularity, in spite of her willingness (more like the cause of) to speak out against the very thing that had all these Western silly hearts marching in the first place, that being imported Islamic terrorism; she and her party have no role to play in the Narrative. So much for solidarity. 

And this is how the Narrative is won. The elites act quickly. Smear the blood of the victims on their face, hold hands, walk shoulder to shoulder, and promise solidarity, unity or something. This manufactured outburst and compassion clouds the mind for judgement and makes people reluctant to point fingers. The Western mind is captured by a feel good, guilt stricken Narrative that has paralyzed the entire damn population. 

The enforcers, the progressive sociopaths in constant attention-seeking form who want to get the same sympathy as the victims, (best illustrated in the #illridewithyou lie) will make sure no detractor dare raise his head.

The state organs supply the feel good ointment of diversity. The tropes of so-called Western ideals and convince them to rally in defense of the thing that is killing them! 

Whatever is left of Western Civilization, even the sewer that we call our pop culture, is all that we have. At least that is worth defending rather than having a Narrative, determined by the elite class, provide meaning to our lives and relegate us to a resource to be used in a system that is opposed to our Identity and existence. 
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Was Marx Wrong About Communism But Right About Capitalism?


Gilpin’s useful and readable piece on the “Three Ideologies of Political Economy” describes the Marxist view (385 and 398) as:

[In the overall corpus of Marxist writings, there are four essential elements.] The first element is the dialectical approach to knowledge and society that defines the nature of reality as dynamic and conflictual . . . The second element is a material approach to history; the development of productive forces and economic activities is central to historical change . . . The third is a general view of capitalist development; the capitalist mode of production and its destiny are governed by a set of “economic laws of motion of modern society.” The fourth is a normative commitment to socialism . . . [Yet the] principal weakness of Marxism as a theory of international political economy results from its failure to appreciate the role of political and strategic factors in international relations.
It is in this context above that the further refines the idea of radicalism and how dependency theory is a natural extension of the original economic and socio-economic ideas of Marx grow. 

To summarize, for Marxists the international system is economically determined and hasn’t been changed by the end of the cold war. Think of three concentric circles: core, semi-periphery, and periphery. At the core are the post-industrialized nations, the subjugators; at the semi-periphery and periphery are the emerging states, sometimes called the developing world, and the perpetual “basket cases” or failed and failing states—these regions and identities constitute the subjugated. 

What we have then is an economically determined hierarchy. Is this a useful way to view the structure of the international system? For Marxist analysts, the divide between core and periphery is the fault line of the international system. 

As Cassidy suggests, is Marx indeed “The Next Thinker”? Why would an investment banker say that “The longer I spend on Wall Street, the more convinced I am that Marx was right”? 

Was Marx right? Should we continue to take Marx and Marxism/neo-Marxism seriously? Is “economics the driving force in human history”? Is history the history of class struggle? Is the fundamental divide in society between those who own the means of production and those “whose only asset is their capacity for work”? What does class struggle look like on the international level? Is it possible that Marx was wrong about communism but right about capitalism? Has anyone since better understood the dynamics of capitalism? Does capitalism always tend toward monopoly, as Marx argued? Where does power lie in a capitalist society? 

Consider this provocative statement by Marx: “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the bourgeoisie.” 

The financialization of capitalism—the shift in gravity of economic activity from production to finance—raises the question: has capitalism entered a new stage? Financialization has resulted in a new monopoly stage of capitalism where capital is trapped or pin balled between stagnation, booms and financial meltdowns.

In an age of corporate scandals, Wall Street "deals" and "fixes"  and real power is held by only a few, Marxists would only confirm their long-held views.
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GDP Uber Alles & the Unsustainability Factor, Part II


Globalist and free traders often assume as set of facts exists and then proselytize those assumed facts to first world economies that unfettered trade in goods and services and free movement of capital, technology and ideas are givens in the world’s globalized economy. The failure to assume these facts they warn, will lead to less production, less prosperity, and overall socioeconomic decline. It is here in part II that an economic alterative is proven as plausible. In fact, we will see how first world economies are indeed exploring economic alternative to unfettered trade and economic outsourcing. This reversal will have profound implications for the global economy.

It was in part I (here) that I expounded on and criticized America’s existing suicidal free trade policies. 

A summary of part I: American businesses outsource Americans jobs to save a few dollars on the cost of production over a period of time. They can send the parts to India, China, or any other country overseas and get labor rates that reflect the level of success in that country, which allows them to then save more money and put more in their pockets. Moreover, companies aren’t outsourcing to help the business. They’re doing it to increase their own profits and make more money for themselves.

Outsourcing is nothing new. It has been around for centuries, and has always allowed for businesses to save money while helping to create jobs. However, it was never intended to completely replace the jobs of people who were already getting things done, and has had a detrimental impact on the domestic, micro-level economy because of its use in this manner.
In a time when jobs are already scarce, the economy shaky, many companies will immediately find a way to run their business smarter, faster, or cheaper. 

All of these three things eventually lead to outsourcing, because someone else, somewhere in the world, is willing to work harder for less money than the American employee. This is great for business because it saves money and helps businesses succeed, but it is terrible for the American citizens who rely on these jobs to live their daily lives in peace and security. 

A similar Wall Street Journal report last April found that America’s largest multinational corporations outsourced more than 2.4 million jobs over the last decade, even as they cut their overall workforces by 2.9 million.

The top reason for companies to outsource was to “reduce operating costs” (46 percent of respondents). Only 12 percent of respondents said their reason for outsourcing was “access to world class capabilities.” This means companies are outsourcing to save themselves money, not make better products.

In Search of a (New) New Trade Theory

Almost all new groundbreaking products and designs were initially made in America. Because the size of the American market it was worth producers to find ways to lower costs and produce more of the product. We once had a monopoly on everything from cars, steel, and computers, to now high-tech design software and products (with commercial and military application) As a result, America has been the most self-sufficient republic in history.

So why has the US been sheading jobs, closing factories and putting to pasture entire industries? (As it stands now, American car manufactures are fighting for their lives). The answer is ideology and free traders decided to “fix” what wasn’t broken.

Over time it was decided by the gurus of trade that it would be beneficial to outsource production to other countries and import the products once made here, back to the US. This doesn't mean that the US lost its ability to produce the product; rather it was stripped of its ability to do so.

The reasoning behind this was that in the meantime, US producers would find newer products to introduce into the American market. Those who lost their jobs from outsourcing could simply pick up and become a cog in the production of newer products.

Then after they have successfully done this, the rug would be jerked out from under the poor peasants again…then the product life cycle is repeated. Of course this is not what at all happened. Entire communities were decimated. Old steel towns and mining communities are faded memories; nothing now but Norman Rockwell paintings. The people? American employment has suffered a net loss since the 1970s.

Instead we have received “diminishing returns.” That’s economic-speak for someone got screwed. The outsourcing did not produce a net gain for the American worker. It has lowered real rage rates, and mass illegal immigration and other kinds, has accelerated income inequality. Most American jobs now go to immigrants.

Specifically mentioned is the phenomenon of outsourcing tech-savvy jobs that were once secure in America. The ease of flow of information and communications along with a growing number of educated and technically skilled populations in countries like China and India, could pose a threat to high skilled workers.
That's right. Even the the top earners, the ground breakers are not safe from the "fix'n.

If the labor market expands in India and more American businesses seek out the abundance of labor at lower costs, the labor market in American contracts.

In other words, rapid advances in productivity of foreign labor due to better education lowers wages in the US, and raises sector unemployment. These factors are enough to outweigh the positive benefits of international trade for America.

Free traders and the globalist who finance them have never denied there will be losers and hardships. However, the gains made by free trade outweigh the losses. They’ll point to rising GDP as a result, yet never consider falling wages, a stubborn unemployment rate and growing welfare numbers.

They presume the jobs lost for the low skilled workers are inefficient for producers in the first place. Therefore, the low skilled will have to discover a new trade. Smith, Ricardo, and Heckscher-Ohlin would argue the low skilled would move to another sector in the new economy. They must assume the invisible hand will help get them there.

Toward Splendid Self Sustainment 

Autarky is not a realistic option. Should America, however, hypothetically speaking, exist under autarky, she would do just fine. Already with this point we are at disagreement with the existing dogma on free trade.

Starting in 2008, the growth in cross border capital flows has fallen substantially compared to the 20 previous years. As a result, free movement of capital, at least compared to the era before 2008, has tightened if not become restricted. For a better explanation, consider globally what happened to Cyprus when explicit capital controls were implemented to prevent capital flight. These pressures on capital movement are a significant departure from recent historical policy. In fact, even the IMF has accepted controls to limit volatile cross-border capital flows.

Despite the negatives from the preceding section, America still produces nearly 20 percent of the world's output with roughly 5 percent of the world’s total population. Considering that China is mostly a poverty-ridden, backward country with over a billion mouths to feed, America is in far better shape than its chief competitor.

For the reasons opposite of China, America’s economy has access to a large domestic market. Because of widespread affluence, and a large (if not shrinking middle class) she is less exposed (read less dependent on other markets) to trade (around 15% of GDP) than other large economies. Even after the financial crisis, American households still hold a substantial net worth in excess of US$70 trillion.

Her fertile plains feeds a land of over 300 million people; and yet, its surplus crops is enough to remain the world’s leading food producer. In grain alone, she exports half of the world’s supply.

She rich is minerals, natural gas and even oil. Considering her technology and industrial know-how, it is an embarrassment of riches. Consider that America is shackled with draconian regulations against mining, drilling, and exploration and yet she still is a world’s leader in energy in spite of her government.

The dollar, though weakening greatly, is still the world’s reserve currency. Some 60 percent of global-wide investments are held by the dollar.

America’s antagonists may threaten to bail on this system, even kill the dollar in the process. All the US has to do is threaten to let it die and the nonsense talk ends abruptly. That is because there is no other reserve currency, and no other market or economy big enough to replace the dollar. Who will guarantee to those countries that hold US debt, securities, etc? Most of the world’s global trade is denominated in US dollars. Not even China, all of Asia, even with the help of Russia, can change that anytime soon.

She knows this, too. In fact, Nixon’s floating currency idea was premised on this outcome. She can retreat from cluttered or chaotic global issues at anytime she desires. Afterward, she can still maintain low interest rates to reduce the cost of servicing debt. This allows for higher levels of borrowing, meaning it creates wealth and churns out multipliers from thin air.

If the dollar devalues (by devaluing I only mean internationally or in foreign holdings. Because of America’s large domestic market and near guarantee of foreign or foreign backing, a devaluing of the dollar would have little impact on the American citizen) that fact also reduces the level of government debt, by decreasing its value in foreign currency terms. A weaker US dollar boosts exports and potentially erase or ease trade imbalances.

A weaker dollar can also boost domestic production while encouraging a shift of production bringing manufacturing and assembly work back into the US. The effect would be job growth, more revenue for the government to pay down the large US budget deficit. A healthy shift to a more closed/or self sufficient economy is historically and politically consistent with America’s natural inclination toward isolationism. However American isolationism has always had another side to the coin. She has, at least since 1898, simultaneously focused on protecting the nation’s economic self-interest and expanding and defending US power and influence. The tightrope act has looked schizophrenic at times, however that is a different subject.

Might we be seeing growing evidence and reason end this blind obsession to globalization? Greater integration is as dangerous is it is beneficial. Perhaps that is why we are seeing growth in trade and cross-border investment being reversed.

Along with the economic benefits of global free trade, it is just as acceptable to consider the cost and simply asks: Is it worth it?
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War on Terror: Partisan Revisionism is not Debate


The legal authorization for military force in the wake of the September terrorist attacks came from the language of S.J.Res. 23: “Authorization for Use of Military Force” (S.J.Res. 23--107th Congress: Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001). Section 2(a) of the joint resolution authorized the President “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

Though the authorization to attack “organizations or persons” is new or at least without exact precedent, so was the threat to national security facing the United States. Nevertheless, the authorization of use of force has been given against states or persons not specifically mentioned by name but were aggressors or posed a threat against the United States. Furthermore, the political branches determined authorization and those branches were in agreement as indicated, in the AUMF, that the terrorist attacks on September 11 required a full military response by the President. 

It is from this legal perspective that this paper will defend the actions of executive authority after September 11, 2001. 

This paper examines presidential authority for the use of military action after September 11, 2001. To do this, each point will include both statutory and constitutional authority as the basis for each executive decision. Part I will discuss the authority from which President Bush ordered the overthrow of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Part II will discuss the authority from which President Bush, and his successor, President Obama, ordered the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists. Part III will discuss the authority from which President Bush and his successor, President Obama, have used drones to kill suspected terrorists inside Pakistan. 

Three actions since 2001
  1. Overthrow the Taliban government in Afghanistan
  2. Detain suspected terrorists indefinitely, either in the United States or abroad
  3. Use unmanned drones to destroy suspected terrorists in Pakistan
I. The Overthrow the Taliban government in Afghanistan

During the weeks following the attack on September 11, President Bush requested the Taliban to turn over al Qaeda chief, bin Laden. When this was met with silence, President Bush called upon Congress for action. In response, Congress agreed in Joint Resolution “To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces (2001 AUMF) against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”  

In accordance to this resolution the United States set up Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) to seek and destroy terrorists, and the lead organizations, Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The operational scope of OEF was formally launched in October 2001 with the objectives outlined in the Global War on Terror. The objectives for OEF were clearly stated: 1) the defeat of terrorism, and 2) remain within the legal guidelines of the 2001 AUMF.  Those objectives not only applied to the terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda and the Taliban but included terrorist members who had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks; and most importantly, was far-reaching enough to target any individual who joined al Qaeda or the Taliban after September 11.

Therefore, the intervention in Afghanistan and the targeting of terrorist activities, directly or indirectly associated with September 11, was approved by Congress and given legitimate Constitutional authority.  Once past the political threshold, namely the full consent of Congress, the president’s executive authority is at its maximum. The conclusion is clear that the president acted under authorization of Congress, even without an outright declaration to war, and prosecuted the invasion of Afghanistan covered by the 2001 AUMF. 

Moreover, the actions carried out by the president were also pursuant with international law, as recognized in the UN Charter (Article 51), which is written “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.”

II. Authorization to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely, either in the United States or abroad

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, one of the United States most important counterterrorism strategies has been the detention of suspected terrorists. However, this has not come without controversy. In the decade-plus since the attacks in September 2001, Congress, the US Supreme Court, and the President have debated the legalities on detention. The issue is thoroughly discussed and debated in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. Most notably are sections 1021 and 1022 that affirmed and expanded the President’s detention powers. However, the point of criticism of the NDAA, with some members of Congress, the press, and pundits is the vague provisions that potentially authorize the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens. 

The major issues related to detention policies is the use of military commissions, the transfer of detainees, the legal basis of trying terrorists in United States federal courts and the unlimited detention of some terrorists. Domestic and international critics argue these issues fail to have legal merit because the authority to do so is not defined according to the any statute. However, there exists a historical precedent of detention in United States legal history. During the conflict with France (1798-1800) Congress passed a law that ‘required’ the President to retaliate against France for imprisoning American citizens on French ships. Congress passed legislation again in 1834 on humane treatment of Native Americans and such Congressional regulations of the treatment of military detainees continue today.

The 2001 AUMF authorizes the President to use all necessary actions against those nations, organizations, and persons involved in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Additionally, the president has express authorization to prevent any future terrorist attacks by nations, organizations or persons against the United States. Part of the 2001 AUMF statute that allows use of necessary actions does not mention the authorization of detention. Though, courts have agreed detention serves as an indispensible strategy to disrupt and prevent terrorists groups from waging war against the United States, and Congress, as earlier cited, has deemed it necessary in the war on terror.  Lastly, Congress agreed on the Detainee Treatment Act, which prevented habeas claims by detainees and any appeals to federal court jurisdiction. However, Congress ordered military commissions must operate in accordance with the laws of war. 

III. Use unmanned drones to destroy suspected terrorists in Pakistan

Drone strikes have become a major part of U.S. military strategy and counter terrorism operations. However, the use of drones raises several troubling legal questions. One of those questions is the obvious one: Can drone strikes in a country’s territory be considered an act of aggression? 

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have argued there are no boundaries or geographic safe havens in the war on terror. However, violating the sovereignty of any nation by crossing into its territory to conduct military operations violates international law.  Conversely, the right for United States government, and the clear authorization of the 2001 AUMF, to pursue and kill suspected terrorists became a necessity from the existent threats from terrorists and organizations.  The United States exercised its right to “self-defense,” within the legal framework of the 2001 AUMF, against these individuals and organizations, which are not a party of any country, nor are they protected under any laws. 

The unlawful combatants in the “war on terror” are, therefore, not entitled to the protections of human rights law nor are the countries who harbor them protected against the United State’s authorization to “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations…[ that] aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” 

For example, in April 2012, President Obama authorized what is known as ‘signature attacks’ against suspected terrorists in Yemen (and Pakistan but in Pakistan’s case, the topic is far more sensitive). This meant that drone attacks were authorized not necessarily against known terrorists, but rather against anonymous targets based on their ‘intelligence signatures’ or according to their pattern-of-life behavioral patterns. Furthermore, under Article 51 of the UN Charter, the United States has a right to pursue non-state actors associated with terrorist activities wherever they are located, and the sovereignty of states is not recognized for those who harbor, intentionally or not intentionally, terrorists within its borders. 


The legality for the war on terror is complex for sure. However, for better or for worse, it was legally authorized, legally examined, and rigorously debated among the branches of government. The three points of debate cited in this paper happen to be the most critical points for executive authorization against terrorism. In all three cases it was established that the presidents, Bush and Obama, carried out his unique role as the commander in chief with the full consent of Congress. 

Partisan revisionism (from Republicans and Democrats alike, depending on which man at the time happened to be sitting in the White House) is without much basis, either historically or legally. And so, is useless political rhetoric in the end. If the Executive position during the war on terror exceeded its constitutional limits, than the Legislative and Judicial branch should right the wrong. It is, after all, within each branch’s scope of Constitutional authority to do so. Otherwise, a lack of strength in conviction is on full display from all dissenting parties regardless on which side of the aisle they sit. 

Since the Supreme Court has historically been the locus in the system for checking the separation of powers, yet has not seen fit to do so (after three rulings), might speak louder than the political pundits, lowly congressmen, or any senator routinely seen on the popular news networks. 

Specifically, the Supreme Court is aware of United States vs. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp (United States v. Curtiss-Wright, 299 U.S. 304 (1936). The case prevented US manufactures from arming both warring countries, Bolivia and Chaco, fighting in in South America. Congress granted the president authority to make arms sales to South America’s warring sides illegal. The legal basis upon which the decision to grant executive authority against private US corporations was made was similar to the decisions in the 2001 AUMF; the clear and obvious difference between foreign policy and domestic law.  

Justice Sutherland wrote the majority opinion for United States v. Curtiss-Wright (7 to 1) for the Court:
The two classes of power are different, both in respect of their origin and their nature. The broad statement that the federal government can exercise no powers except those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and such implied powers as necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, is categorically true only in respect of our internal affairs.
Justice Sutherland made clear in another section for the majority, "the President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation." In other words, the president has far more legal discretion when it comes to foreign affairs than he does in internal affairs. Lastly, determination coincides legally with the language of S.J.Res. 23: “Authorization for Use of Military Force.” The language and authorized authority is written for all to see: “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.”
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Liberal Hypocrisy: Deaths caused by EIT's 0...deaths caused by drone strikes...3,674.

Since last year's ambush report released by Senator Dianne Feinstein,  accused the CIA of committing some fairly odious acts against terrorist operatives, the fallout that was supposed to follow has  generally been an empty nothing. Call it the 'thud of silence'. Nevertheless, the protesting malcontent crowd was pretty ginned up and raucous in their usual slacktivist ways. (For further situational awareness may I recommend going on Twitter and typing in  #TortureReport to observe the rabidity. If there observations don't make you laugh they sure as hell will make you cry laughing.)

Ironically though this little nugget below doesn't seemed to have done much in the way of motivation for the brain deficient lemmings on the American Left. 

The most consistent and era-defining tactic of America’s post-9/11 counterterrorism strategies has been the targeted killing of suspected terrorists and militants outside of defined battlefields. As one senior Bush administration official explained in October 2001, “The president has given the [CIA] the green light to do whatever is necessary. Lethal operations that were unthinkable pre-September 11 are now underway.” Shortly thereafter, a former CIA official told the New Yorker, “There are five hundred guys out there you have to kill.” It is quaint to recall that such a position was considered extremist and even morally unthinkable. Today, these strikes are broadly popular with the public and totally uncontroversial in Washington, both within the executive branch and on Capitol Hill. Therefore, it is easy to forget that this tactic, envisioned to be rare and used exclusively for senior al-Qaeda leaders thirteen years ago, has become a completely accepted and routine foreign policy activity. 
Thus, just as you probably missed the tenth anniversary—November 3, 2012—of what I labeled the Third War, it’s unlikely you will hear or read that the United States just launched its 500th non-battlefield targeted killing. 
As of today, the United States has now conducted 500 targeted killings (approximately 98 percent of them with drones), which have killed an estimated 3,674 people, including 473 civilians. Fifty of these were authorized by President George W. Bush, 450 and counting by President Obama. Noticeably, these targeted killings have not diminished the size of the targeted groups according to the State Department’s own numbers.

No outrage, nor gnashing of teeth, no nothing...just hypocrisy. 

Maybe we should drop another $40 million and investigate this administration and see how heinous and insidious this program really is, because it sure as hell has killed a lot more people than any recently used EIT has. 

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