Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.


He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
 

Are health agencies changing criteria to fake higher COVID-19 infection numbers?

This link provides evidence that Texas health officials have changed how they determine the number of people infected with the Wuhan flu by loosening that definition to include anyone who has had any contact with a proven infected person, without bothering with any tests.

In the example the health department itself gives to describe how the definition changes things, the number of infected goes from only one person to seventeen. There have been other stories suggesting the same kind of manipulation in the causes of death is occurring in other states, in New York and New Jersey, as well as Colorado, to name just three.

Covid daily U.S. deaths through July 3, 2020

The press and many politicians are now using the new higher infection rates to warn that a second wave of deaths is about to descend upon us. Since the actual number of daily deaths from the Wuhan flu is actually not rising significantly, as shown in the graph to the right, and has not been rising even though the increase in cases started several weeks ago, these cries by them that the sky is falling are obviously not true. (Note that the sudden spikes of deaths on May 7 and June 25 are because New York and New Jersey suddenly added a whole slew of new deaths, under suspicious circumstances.)

I myself am glad they are widening the definition so that it includes so many more people. I say, widen that definition even more, so that it will quickly include practically everyone in the nation. At that point we shall finally realize maybe that this epidemic is not the threat these dishonest health officials, the lying leftist press, and our corrupt politicians have been making it.

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


 

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

37 comments

  • Andrew _W

    “. . So that it will quickly include everyone in the nation”.
    Well it’s been my contention that you’re only interested in data that supports your preconceptions, irrespective of it’s accuracy.

    So thanks for confirming.

  • Andrew_W: You really do lack a sense of humor, don’t you? Maybe I should I put a sarcasm hint there for you.

  • Andrew _W

    That’s the problem with fanatics, their sarcasm is often indistinguishable from their true beliefs.

  • Andrew_W: You know, you like to call me names. Recently I’ve either been a fanatic or paranoid. Sometimes I am simply close-minded. And if you don’t do that, you only come here to do one other thing, to nitpick and find error. Based on all your recent comments, it really does appear that you sit home waiting for another post by me, to quickly scan through (not read it) and find some minor point you can use to point out an error that you can then use to justify calling me names.

    What you have practically never done recently is focus on the substance of my posts, for the purpose of discussing the topic reasonably.

    I am losing patience. The name-calling especially is beginning to push my limits, and it certainly is beginning to border on breaking my rules. I wonder if I should ban you. I’d be curious what other regular readers here think about such an action.

    And before you call me close-minded again about considering such a move, please note that you have posted more than a thousand comments here, and have been doing so since 2016. Most have not only challenged my positions, a large majority (especially in the last year) have done so in sometime petty and ugly ways. If I was equally as petty I would have banished you long ago, and done so without even mentioning it. No one else would have known you were banned.

    I don’t do such things. But I have just about reached my limits. What do my other readers think?

  • Rose

    Bob, can you clarify what you are stating in this post?

    * Are you claiming that the “Positive” numbers reported by the COVID Tracking Project (which you have previously linked, and from who’s data I believe you generate your graphs) are not all actually positive tests, despite the columns being labeled “New Tests, Positive, Negative, Pos + Neg, Pending”?

    “Pos + Neg” does equal the sum of “Positive” & “Negative”, and “New Tests” is equal to daily increase in “Pos + Neg”, so if you are claiming this, then the columns are falsely (“misleadingly” is too weak a work here) labeled.

    * Or are you claiming that the media when talking about record reported case numbers are not using those figures, but are rolling in Texas untested “probable case” seventeen-fold greater numbers as well?

    It sure looks to me that the daily increases in the Tracking Project’s “Positive” column of 52,982, 53,684, & 57,562 over the last three days are what is being reported.

  • Rose: I actually wasn’t referencing the COVID tracking project at all. At the moment I assume their “Positive” numbers are only for those who have been tested.

    The article I linked to suggested that the total cases/infections that will be reported out of Texas might become inflated because health officials have widened the criteria somewhat arbitrarily. Then again, it might be that the story I linked to got the facts wrong and that the change will not effect the case totals and might instead be related to an attempt to trace contact infections.

    My post was prompted by the strange change in reporting about the virus in the past few weeks. Previously, it was the death count that was all important. Politicians and media sources focused on those horrible numbers repeatedly.

    Then, about three weeks ago, reporting the death counts stopped (even as they were definitely dropping to very unworrisome numbers). Now suddenly, all that mattered and required reporting was the sudden rise in case numbers.

    The change strikes me as running a narrative, instead of reporting what’s happening. The story at the link added weight to my sense.

  • Edward

    Robert,
    You commented: “I’d be curious what other regular readers here think about such an action.

    I stopped paying attention to Andrew _W’s comments a couple of months ago. I have since been sorry for you that you have to read his drivel to search for any bad language, and I am surprised that his argument technique has devolved into insults rather than mere emotion, bogus “facts,” and illogic. Just out of curiosity, whatever happened to his Wuhan flu predictions? Has he wisened up and stopped making predictions? On second thought, if I cared, I would have continued reading his comments.

    I am not a fan of banning anyone. Perhaps I should reconsider this position, because you certainly do not deserve to have some ignorant, closed-minded, [cough]ing troll spewing insults at you. On the other hand, freedom of speech is freedom of speech, even for bad people.

  • commodude

    Robert, in re. Andrew W. Like Edward I stopped paying attention to his comments a while ago, as they never offered any substantive opposing viewpoints. His arguments are those of someone parroting what is in the media, and he steadfastly retains a willful ignorance when it comes to American political structures and realities.

    His comments have become noise on the board.

    I never support banning anyone, however, given the constant puerile insults directed at you, whose workplace this board is, I would completely understand the banning of this obvious troll.

  • wodun

    “Then, about three weeks ago, reporting the death counts stopped”

    The reporting sucks, just like the “science” does. Both are all over the place.

    I can’t speak to the rest of the country and the national numbers lose all context because Wyoming isn’t the same as Alabama or NYC. I go to my state and county websites and monitor the testing, positive cases, hospitalization, and deaths. Where I live, cases and hospitalizations are going up sharply.

    Why would death rates be dropping nationally? Because so many people died in NY old folks homes. Where I live, hospitalizations and fatalities for people over 60 are far higher than is comfortable. People keep talking about the flu but 30% of people who get the flu over the age of 60 don’t get hospitalized.

    What I see is a serious illness and people should take steps to mitigate risk and cut down on exposure. There is a balance we need to strike between people who are not willing to do anything and people who think you shouldn’t leave the house.

    I often disagree with Andrew_W but his manner of writing is incredibly mild in the back and forth over things. This site would suffer in his absence.

  • wodun

    I am a big supporter of the 1A, which is a principle, a recognition that we innately have that right, and not just a restriction on the government. I think people who profit off the 1A should also be vigorous defenders of it. We live in a censorious society. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Reddit and other internet companies have become increasingly censorious. I have read posts here criticizing their actions. A lot of commenters here have said how horrible this is.

    This website is a business but so are banks, bars, stores, ect. What language would you accept banning someone from a bank or a store? Physical businesses have also become more censorious.

    This is an issue our society is grappling with right now. Companies are free to act like tyrants but when they do, does that comport with our American values?

    Andrew_W can be called names but not the other way around? Does Andrew_W not present his arguments in good faith of what he believes? Trolls are not people who disagree with you on some issue. It’s like when Democrats call everyone Russian bots.

    “Increasingly people who don’t like what they read are blatantly acting to blackball sites like mine.”

    I think everyone who visits this site should take some time to contemplate American values and what is going on in society today.

  • commodude

    Wodun, I respectfully disagree.

    Robert has made his rules clear, and Andrew _W continues to skirt the edges of them, probing just to the edge until he is warned, then pulls back a little for a while.

    I’m not namecalling by referring to him as a troll, it’s a well known and used internet description for someone who is present not to engage in honest discussion, but to disrupt.

    I have been an officer in organizations with very broad allowances for free speech. Even in those liberal organizations, when one crosses a line, your mic is cut off, or you’re barred from speaking, or any number of other sanctions are imposed.

    The First Amendment applies to governmental banning of speech, not to the conduct of privately owned sites like this. There’s a difference between squelching dissent and maintaining a civil discussion.

  • Edward

    The document described in the video at Robert’s link ends with a description of a new definition for Wuhan flu deaths, in which deaths are currently considered to be Wuhan flu related only when the death certificate is accompanied by a positive PCR result. The new definition no longer requires a positive PCR result. This allows for the ability to completely fudge the Wuhan flu related deaths and the number of them reported to the CDC. Not only are the cases of Wuhan flu questionable, but so are the reported deaths.

    Good bye science. Hello Lysenkoism.

    wodun wrote: “Trolls are not people who disagree with you on some issue.

    Correct. Trolls throw bombs into a discussion with the intent of wreaking havoc. Wy back when, Andrew_W had been unable to support his points when discussing them with me, and it sounds as though he is down to using argumentum ad hominem rather than make any actual points, bogus or not.

    So the question seems to be: is character assassination protected by the First Amendment? Perhaps the question is: should a blogger put up with character assassination on his own site? Or maybe the question is: if this is Andrew_W’s new style, then would this site really suffer with his absence?

  • Gary

    Your site/your rules.

    At least with regards to the first amendment, it protects us from an abusive government, but doesn’t provide any of us with the unfettered right to write anything that we want on this site.

    So, your site, your rules.

    If you are unsure of your best response, maybe put Andrew in timeout and see how it sits with you.

  • Rose

    Re the Texas definitions:
    * This is old news (or old not-news). The revision to the TX DSHS Surveillance Case Definitions was issued 11 May. See: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/docs/DSHS-COVID19CaseDefinitionandInvestigationPrioritizationGuidance.pdf
    * Confirmed cases still require a positive PCR test.
    * A new class of “Probable Case” is introduced which does not simply “include anyone who has had any contact with a proven infected person” as Bob wrote. It includes people on the basis of such an epidemiologic linkage ONLY IF they have developed COVID-19 symptoms AND those symptoms don’t have a more likely diagnosis.
    * Confirmed COVID-19 related deaths still require a positive PCR test, but death certificates which list COVID-19 as a cause of death are classified as Probable Cases.
    * The stated purpose of the definitions is the prioritization of epidemiologic case investigations.

    All this looks to be sound epidemiologic practice.

    If Texas was conflating Probable Cases with Confirmed Cases, or even presenting them in a way encouraging the media to do so, then that would be problematic, but the TX DSHS COVID-19 Data page explicitly states, “Probable cases are not included in the total case numbers.”

    That “EXPLOSIVE” Conservative Tree House article is based on a short video by Fog City Midge which is in turn based on a deck of 17 slides from Collin County, critical of the 3 page revised Case Definitions document. It is misleading in that it omits the Probable Case requirement that clinical criteria not have an alternative more likely diagnosis. Without that, the 1-case-becomes-17 slide seems to imply that anyone with epidemiologic linkage who coughs from dust kicked up on a dirt road gets counted. It is also false in stating the 11 May revision redefined COVID-19 related death. The revision does include as a Probable Case those whose death certificate lists COVID-19 as a cause, but that alone does not redefine the COVID-19 related death count.

    The Conservative Tree House article’s thesis is “that new guidance for the definition of COVID-19 positive infections is likely the biggest background cause in a dramatic upswing in positive test results”. First off, the guidance is not new. But better targeted testing would increase the positive rate, and this would be an indication of a successful epidemiologic strategy, and it is possible that this does have a role in the increasing case count. However that is not where the article is going. It explicitly states, “According to the new guidance anyone who comes into contact with a person who tests positive is now also considered positive.” That is false.

    The article is garbage and should be below your standards for inclusion, Bob.

  • Andrew_W

    1. I stand by my opening comment that “it’s been my contention that you’re only interested in data that supports your preconceptions, irrespective of it’s accuracy.”

    2. A troll is usually defined as someone who makes claims that they don’t genuinely believe in order to irritate people. On that score my second comment was up to about 1/2 trollish. I apologize to Mr. Zimmerman for it’s tone, I’ve already made myself clear in my opinions on Mr. Zimmerman’s objectivity, or lack there of, and his willingness to leap on material of dubious value to bolster his beliefs.

    3. Given that using the descriptors Mr. Zimmerman objects to adds nothing material to my arguments, I will no longer use them. Other readers are perfectly capable of making their own assessments about whether or not Mr. Zimmerman’s use of sources that I consider junk reflects on his ability to reasonably evaluate the reality of the Covid-19 disease and whether or not the political responses are appropriate.

    Certainly I have been the target of more trolling than I have dispensed on this site, but I’m of the view that trollish comments reflect on the trolls, not their targets. A good reason to lift my standards in that respect

    I contend that my medium term predictions (the only ones that can be evaluated this early) have been far more accurate than Mr. Zimmerman’s, though in terms of deaths still on the low side. I revised my longer term predictions down from over 2 million US deaths over the next 3 years to under 1 million a few days ago (with the caveat of there being no vaccine in that period) , based on the evidence that treatment has improved and isolation of the most vulnerable has reduced the IFR.

    Mr. Zimmerman makes several claims above:
    . . .it really does appear that you sit home waiting for another post by me, to quickly scan through (not read it) and find some minor point you can use to point out an error that you can then use to justify calling me names.
    Untrue, I read the posts and I contend my criticisms are largely on target.

    What you have practically never done recently is focus on the substance of my posts, for the purpose of discussing the topic reasonably.
    Also untrue, I’ve been on the road all of today so hadn’t had the opportunity to dissect Mr. Zimmerman’s post as I usually would, but Rose has done the job, and her conclusion is not a surprise, as usual Mr. Zimmerman is again: “only interested in data that supports [his] preconceptions, irrespective of it’s accuracy.” That’s been the case from the very beginning of his posts on this topic.

    Most [of MY comments] have not only challenged my positions, a large majority (especially in the last year) have done so in sometime petty and ugly ways.
    The challenging comes with the material in question and the lack of depth of your research, do your research and I won’t have material in front of me that begs to be challenged. I deny the “petty and ugly” more likely accurate and relevant – which is the type of criticism that really hurts. Petty and ugly is R7 Rocket’s attacks on me – which hurt not at all – because they’re petty and ugly.

  • Cotour

    “But I have just about reached my limits. What do my other readers think?”

    This is neither the floor of the Congress nor the Senate, nor a street corner with someone standing on a box where an individual might be protesting and redressing the government. If Andrew W is getting on your nerves and you reasonably think he is just being unreasonably disruptive, then take him out.

    If someone is a disruptive entity in my place of business they are unceremoniously invited to remove themselves. Some are allowed to come back when they learn to behave, and then there are others who are just banned. (I honestly can objectively forget most (But not all) offences given an appropriate time frame. But I never forget)

    The problem with asking for feedback like this is that the potential action has become an ask for permission to do so, a squishy reaction and not a firm and clear and definitive action. IMO never ask permission to do something reasonable on or within in your own property / entity. And this is not based on my personal likes or dislikes, I do not like everyone, but there must be reasonable behavior by my reasonable standards. (And this is the point that someone like Andrew W from a Socialist oriented “More equal” country will not understand. In his world the government should be the arbiter of what you can and can not do on or within your own property.)

    Everyone in time here and on other formats seeks their own level and brings what they bring, some are very worthwhile and informative and even reflective, and then some are disrupters and pot stirrers. Andrew W is a bit of a pot stirrer, I personally do not mind him and like every else once in a while he brings value. There is something in a persons drive to prove they are correct on any particular subject that is very interesting and that tendency is very clearly expressed in these kinds of formats. It is a walk through human psychology for me in many ways.

    I think that one of the measures or the line for me would be if I saw kind of development or evolution over time that might make me more tolerant of a pot stirrer. A pot stirrer does not necessarily qualify IMO for banishment, but pot stirrer / radical who is disruptive for the sake of being disruptive and is a constant pain in the buttocks may well come under that heading.

    Someone who is unable to gain any perspective and make adjustments in a positive direction in their communications might well come under the heading of a troll or just someone who is not worthwhile putting up with.

    But that is your call.

  • pzatchok

    Here in Ohio they found out one major problem with all the testing.They have been including all types of tests.

    So if a person gets tested with a swab at work ,tests positive, and then later ends up in the hospital and gets a blood test BOTH tests are entered as positives and counted to the total.

    The real problem I have with tests is that they are NOT doing what they are supposed to do.
    They are supposed to be a snap shot of the current populations current infection rate.
    But they neither cover the whole of the population or keep track of those tested. That’s like taking a picture of one tree and trying to extrapolate it across the whole of the forest. The whole time ignoring that trees are being planted or cut down daily.

    I know of one person who has gone out of their way to get tested and has been tested 4 times so far.

    Plus all these testing counts are not taking into account the increased ability to take the tests. So in the fists months we could only count a set number we can now test a hundred times that number. The raw test number is never translated into a population percentage with any real accuracy.

    You can not miss count hospitalizations or deaths.

  • pzatchok

    As for the banning talk.

    Yes his attacks have been childish and as an adult he should know better than to act like a 6 year old.

    I say that if he keeps up the childish insults then yes a time out is in order eventually leading to a ban.

    Your site your rules.

  • Rose: Your points are valid and well taken. I should have looked more closely. This particular website usually covers its topics with care and detail. I assumed (dangerous word) it had done so this time. My bad.

  • Trent Castanaveras

    re: Banning Andrew_W
    Robert: It’s your site, your rules. If you see a clear breakage of those rules, it is your right to act on them.

    My thinking leads me to question everything, especially myself. The data is never complete, and not likely to ever be, many things happen simultaneously, people cherry pick supporting data and brush aside the rest, people lie when their agenda or belief set suits them, and people seek out the company of people that share their beliefs.

    And that really is the crux of it: people don’t like to have their cherished beliefs challenged. They view such attacks as personal, and tend to shy away towards more supportive material, opinions, etc, seeking to reinforce their belief by finding an audience that echoes their beliefs. In discussions with my friends on recent issues I often feel that we are talking past each other, almost as though we are living in different realities.

    Tim Urban and crew at waitbutwhy.com do an excellent job describing this phenomena in great detail in the recent series The Story of Us (https://waitbutwhy.com/2019/08/story-of-us.html – warning! occasional strong language).

    With the “Us vs Them” mentality gaining momentum in America and elsewhere, and competing groups militantly (and sometimes violently) defending their beliefs at all costs and no holds barred, it is more important than ever to cultivate an attitude that is open to skepticism. Our belief does not make our beliefs true; as Musk said earlier this year, “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.” Take the criticism of others. Look at their point(s) honestly and objectively. They may have thought of something you have not or have access to data that you don’t. A free thinking person should seek out truth, no matter how personally uncomfortable or painful.

    With this is mind, I welcome dissenting opinions. I welcome them even more when they can be backed up with data. Conversations and debates are an opportunity! Together we have the possibility of arriving at truth.

  • Trent Castanaveras

    Andrew_W: Thank you for the link you provided a week or so ago! Good stuff; there were several more recent studies referenced that I had not read yet.
    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31142-9/fulltext

    The paper suggests some heartening results. It is not, however, peer reviewed science.

    Some things your comment left out:
    – This paper is a meta review conducted to inform policy makers. The studies it draws data from include observational, retrospective cohort, non-peer reviewed and as yet unpublished (or “pre-published”) papers.
    – This paper was funded by the WHO, who also had some control over it. “Data were interpreted and the report drafted and submitted without funder input, but according to contractual agreement, the funder provided review at the time of final publication.”
    – The source data is massaged. “We harmonised these findings with Bayesian approaches, using indirect data from randomised trials to inform posterior estimates.” Granted the methods used are valid and widely used, however see below…
    – It appears that previously performed meta reviews provided some of the data points.
    – While the meta review results are suggestive, the quality is not reliable, because the underlying data is unreliable. “Face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection (n=2647; aOR 0·15, 95% CI 0·07 to 0·34, RD −14·3%, −15·9 to −10·7; low certainty), with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar (eg, reusable 12–16-layer cotton masks; pinteraction=0·090; posterior probability >95%, low certainty).”
    – The actual data referenced is admitted to be extremely sparse, or in some cases simply does not exist, as in this quote regarding SARS-CoV-2 specifically: “At present, there is no data to support viable virus in the air outside of aerosol generating procedures from available hospital studies.”

    When reading the referenced individual studies, the picture gets even more clouded:
    Retrospective cohort studies with questionnaires filled out weeks or more after the period referenced, no control groups, no baseline set prior to the study period (although there are good reasons for that in some of the cases). Statistically minuscule study populations, which causes large error bars of the result sets. No effort to separate the study points from each other to limit cross influence. Few data points collected outside of a hospital environment, of the average person in the average environment.

    And every study pointed out a variant of these limitations: The data is not complete, is brought together from unreliable sources, etc, therefore the results are Low Certainty. More studies need to be made.

    On the positive side, efforts were made throughout to provide widespread and as complete as possible testing with the best methods available at the time. Also each paper made pains to point out limitations as well as strengths to provide as honest a report as possible. All invariably called for more and better quality studies.

    In conclusion, this meta review is flawed at its heart. The BEST of what can be said regarding the effectiveness of mask use in the public environment continues to be simply, We don’t know.

    I look forward to the results of what i hope are hundreds of rigorous scientific studies being performed right now to get to the truth of this matter. The paucity of data, or even of the desire/effort to solidly ascertain the veracity of the competing claims by this time strikes me as appalling. We have a flu season every single year, for the last few thousands of years at least; the opportunities for widespread studies abound. Why are we not swimming in them?

  • Ok I’m chiming in late here, but I’ve been meaning to say this for a while:

    Andrew_W, I appreciate your input. I enjoy seeing your point of view from outside the US. And I think your dissenting viewpoints are generally well-put.

    Occasionally I agree with you, mostly I disagree with you, and I think you’ve been particularly grumpy lately, but please keep it up.

  • wodun

    “The First Amendment applies to governmental banning of speech, not to the conduct of privately owned sites like this. There’s a difference between squelching dissent and maintaining a civil discussion.”

    Wrong. Our rights are not granted by the government but inalienable. The Bill of Rights is a recognition of the rights we are all born with and not a granting of those rights.

    “So the question seems to be: is character assassination protected by the First Amendment?”

    Like you do to Andrew_W? I disagree with Andrew_W nearly ALL the time, sometimes heatedly, but I’ve never thought that he wasn’t making a point that he didn’t have a good faith agreement with. Thinking someone is wrong, nor their refusal to agree, mean that they are a troll or acting out of line.

    Can I express my disgust for the behavior of our host and fellow commentators without expletives? Yes, but it would be much easier if I didn’t. Instead, I must engage in linguistic gamesmanship that carries the same invective but presented in much more flowery prose than those I criticize. Why is it that people here engage in the gamesmanship but ignore the hypocrisy of their accusations and actions? Is saying a swear or insult worse than using a synonym couched in passive language? Does a clever turn of phrase and a smile disguise the dagger? Does an insult directed against someone our host disagrees with mean less than the sometimes accurate adjectives that Andrew_W uses?

    I am just a common man and it isn’t that I get upset at the how dare yous but rather that I am incredibly disappointed by people who claim to be acting out of principle acting without any.

    Your site your rules. Our country allows for people to act at odds with our founding principles, just like the progressive Marxists do. There are many immoral acts that are legal and many legal acts are immoral. We each have a choice what our ideals are and how to live up to them. But for the love of God, don’t write about morality and principle when not living up to your own standards. That goes for everyone.

    Personally, I’d save the bannings for really serious offenses and not petty disagreements and mild insults. I’m rather shocked that there wasn’t unanimous push back against the notion and disappointed that the topic was even introduced.

    I like our cranky cantankerous host and how he creates content from public information along with links and analysis about what is going on. I like the different points of view from the commenters. I don’t mind a contentious back and forth, especially as mild as it is on this site. But if someone should be banned for being much more gentle in discussing the topics of the day than the host is in his commentary directed at those topics? You gotta be kidding me.

  • commodude

    Wodun, the First Amendment bars the government from making laws barring free speech.

    It has nothing to do with governing conduct on a private site. Rules and standards of conduct exist throughout society, both written and unwritten. Even the government, through SCOTUS rulings, can govern speech to some extent. It is not absolute.

  • Cotour

    “The First Amendment applies to governmental banning of speech, not to the conduct of privately owned sites like this. There’s a difference between squelching dissent and maintaining a civil discussion.”

    The above statement is exactly correct. So “wrong” is in fact wrong.

    And while the below statement is technically correct, your Rights to free speech exist within a certain context that is structured by the Constitution and they are not unlimited and without consequence. We exist within the parameters of the Constitution and are “free” lower case “f” type of freedom, we do not exist within that Constitutional context and are FREE, capital “F” type of freedom and can say and do anything that we please.

    “Our rights are not granted by the government but inalienable. The Bill of Rights is a recognition of the rights we are all born with and not a granting of those rights.”

    Our freedom’s as Americans is not unlimited whether it be in speech or behavior, our freedom’s are identified and enumerated for the express purpose of limiting government and its proclivity to abuse the power that it wields that will without doubt in time become abusive to those freedom’s and Rights of the people.

    A clear distinction must be made here.

  • Wodun: I just wish to point out a very minor detail. Andrew_W. has not yet been banned, or even suspended. To coin a phrase, put that in your pipe and smoke it. :)

  • Andrew_W

    What’s the difference between banning and black balling?

  • commodude

    Blackballing is a group unofficially preventing a person from doing something, for instance, if one is blackballed by a Union, then one can communicate with that body all you want, they just won’t answer. There’s no OFFICIAL list and no official ban to communications or activity, but the group prevents the individual from an activity. Ref Hollywood blackballing conservative actors….there’s no OFFICIAL list in place, but everyone knows it’s there.

  • Cotour

    Example: I don’t think that Lois Learner had someone tell her what to do, she knew what to do and who wanted it that way. Just a good soldier doing her duty Black balling any Conservative organization that wanted to get to the next level and become more effective.

    Her jail sentence should only be half over.

    But alas, she got a pass.

  • Andrew_W: Blackballing, a term that arises from the voting system of private clubs where the placement of a single black ball in a ballot box by a single member could prevent someone from being approved to join the club, became a more general term during the McCarthy era, when people were fired and refused work in Hollywood merely because of the political beliefs. Nowadays it means exactly that, banning someone for their political beliefs.

    Banning on this website occurs not because of someone’s political positions or because of what they believe or express on any issue, but because they failed to follow two simple rules that I have detailed very clearly, and try to apply equally to everyone, regardless of their beliefs.

    1. Don’t post obscenities. Find a civilized and thoughtful way of expressing yourself.
    2. Don’t insult people. Treat everyone with respect.

    From my perspective, I have been more than kind in my treatment of you. I really have had full justification to suspend you for a week more than a few times. I have not, because you do a very good job of just skirting the edge of rule #2. If I eventually do so, it will not because I disagree with you, but because you simply too often failed to treat others gracefully and with respect.

    I do not claim I am perfect in this. I have already noted how I regret allowing myself to respond to you in kind a few times. I should not have done so. That you refuse to recognize your own error however is your problem. Eventually that failure with come back to bite you.

  • Andrew_W

    Mr. Zimmerman, I have been the subject of more insults than anyone else on this site – because I don’t run with popular views (I’m actually closer to people on most issues here than most would think, but I see no point in just repeating the popular narrative, it’s usually when I disagree with an offered opinion that I have something to say), you’ve never (almost never?) objected to insults directed at me (though you’ve drawn the line at expletives), indeed, on occasion you’ve endorsed those insults.

    Wodun raises the point of free speech, my use of “blackballing” was a reference to your own use of the word. We have many sites on the internet today; Youtube, Google, that will censor views they disagree with, legally they probably have the right to do so, but is such censorship justice?

    I have acknowledged that I should not have continued to use a couple of adjectives that I directed at you when that continued use served no function, and I apologized for that, and as I earlier stated, I will not use them again.

    You will claim and believe that your objections are entirely about insults, but if you use a word that you believe is an accurate description of someones nature or behaviour is it an insult? When you use terms like “fascist” to describe democrats or their policies, are you using it to insult them, or because in your opinion it accurately describes them?

    As I’ve said, I won’t apply to you the two adjectives that recently annoyed you again, so I hope we can consider this closed till the next time I upset you.

  • commodude

    Andrew_W, he’s not using the term fascist to describe Democrats, he’s using the term to describe fascists, both Republicrat and Democan.

    Gov. Baker is every bit the fascist that Gov. Cuomo is.

  • Andrew _W

    Commodude, I know that in your opinion that’s an accurate adjective. But those policies that you think justify it are being used across most of the world, I guess Sweden (and now New Zealand) are about the only countries in the world not at the mercy of fascists, even Israel has fallen to fascism.

  • commodude

    Andrew_W, it goes far, far beyond mandating the wear of a useless bit of virtue signaling.

  • Andrew _W

    People throwing the word around are often criticized as reducing the significance of the suffering of those who were the victims of true fascism in the WW2 period, I’ve some sympathy for that perspective.

  • commodude

    So we can’t call a fascist a fascist until there are 40 Million+ Dead?

    Got it.

    Does that mean we can’t call a Communist a Communist until the body count is over 100 Million?

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *