Charles W. Moore

Occasional thoughts and deeds of an Engineer
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  • Amy 2020

    Posted on October 18th, 2019 cwmoore No comments

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  • I am so, so sorry

    Posted on October 17th, 2019 cwmoore No comments

    This blog has been going on for a long, long time with limited readership but I think it necessary to give future constituents a view of this era and our “Boomer” state of affairs.

    I will add to this thread. Thanks

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  • Another Idiocy?

    Posted on October 17th, 2019 cwmoore No comments

    To start this is yet another post from The New Yorker with whom I agree:

    Speaking at the University of Notre Dame last Friday, Barr took “religious liberty” as his subject, and he portrayed his fellow-believers as a beleaguered and oppressed minority. He was addressing, he said, “the force, fervor, and comprehensiveness of the assault on religion we are experiencing today. This is not decay; this is organized destruction.”

    Historically illiterate, morally obtuse, and willfully misleading, the speech portrays religious people in the United States as beset by a hostile band of “secularists.” Actually, religion is thriving here (as it should be in a free society), but Barr claims the mantle of victimhood in order to press for a right-wing political agenda. In a potted history of the founding of the Republic, Barr said, “In the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people—a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order.” Not so. The Framers believed that free government was suitable for believers and nonbelievers alike. As Justice Hugo Black put it in 1961, “Neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against nonbelievers, and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs.” But the real harm of Barr’s speech is not what it means for historical debates but what it portends for contemporary government policy.

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  • Opening-Statement Ambassador Sondland October 17

    Posted on October 17th, 2019 cwmoore No comments

    Today I read all the 18 pages of opening testimony by Ambassador to EU Sondland. I can see why he is an ambassador. The published testimony was so convincing you just have to believe it, in spite of the fact that I do not believe that is actually how it really went down. I guess I am just one piece of the court of American opinion that will be decided in November of 2020. Who knows what the impeachment process will bring? I do know that a bully who is in your face everyday deserves a little come-up’ns now and again so I guess this is one way too.

    Later in the day:

    When the impeachment inquiry started, a little more than three weeks ago, there were only an anonymous whistle-blower’s complaint and the summary that Trump released of his July 25th phone call with the Ukrainian President. Because the investigation has moved so quickly, it is easy to lose sight of how much has been learned since then. Day after day, in fact, the House’s impeachment inquiry has produced significant revelations that point directly to Presidential culpability. The revelations come from inside the Trump Administration, from professional diplomats and experts who were dismayed that the President and his private attorney, Rudy Giuliani, would conduct a shadow foreign policy toward Ukraine that seemed to have, as its sole motive, personal political benefit. Even those who participated in the scheme, such as the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, who testified on Thursday, placed the blame squarely with Trump and Giuliani in his written testimony.

    Ever since Democrats took control of the House in January, Trump has sought to block them from conducting investigations and oversight of his Administration, defying subpoenas, refusing to send officials to Capitol Hill, and fighting Congress in court. The impeachment inquiry, however, has finally breached the Administration’s blockade. Just this past week, the fired U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch; the former National Security Council senior director in charge of Ukraine policy, Fiona Hill; the current State Department deputy assistant secretary in charge of Ukraine policy, George Kent; the Secretary of State’s senior adviser, who quit in protest over the Ukraine affair, last week, Michael McKinley; and Sondland, a wealthy Trump donor turned Ambassador to the E.U., all testified, defying Trump in order to do so, and at considerable risk to their careers. McKinley ended nearly forty years at the State Department to have his say. Kent, Sondland, and Yovanovitch remain U.S. government officials, and could be fired. Both Kent and Yovanovitch are professional diplomats who have given decades of service to their country at the State Department. This is bravery of a sort that has become so rare in our public life as to be almost unimaginable. Denny Heck, another Democrat who sits on the impeachment panel, called Kent and Hill “true American heroes” after listening to their closed-door testimony. According to the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Adam Schiff, those depositions will eventually be made public. The history books that Cummings invoked at the start of the investigation will very likely take note of his final week on this earth.

    Partway through her gruelling ten-and-a-half hours of testimony on Monday, Fiona Hill was asked how she came to understand that, despite her formal duties as the top National Security Council adviser on Russia and Ukraine, she was not only not in charge of the policy but no longer being kept in the loop about it. Neither, she would learn, was her boss, John Bolton, who was then the national-security adviser. According to a source present for her deposition, Hill described a meeting in her White House office with Gordon Sondland, whose murky role in Ukraine had alarmed her since an earlier meeting they’d attended in May. Now she asked Sondlond directly: Why was the American Ambassador to Brussels inserting himself in the affairs of a country that fell outside of his diplomatic portfolio and wasn’t even a member of the E.U.? “She challenged him on who gave him her portfolio, and he said the President,” the source told me. “It was news to her, and it was news to Bolton.”

    Trump himself, in other words, was putting together a rogue foreign-policy team, run by Giuliani, the President’s private attorney, that would go outside normal N.S.C. and State Department channels to pressure Ukraine. The effort would eventually result in Trump abruptly firing Yovanovitch, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, at Giuliani’s behest, and withholding a White House meeting from Volodymyr Zelensky, the new Ukrainian President, until he agreed to investigate unsubstantiated allegations involving Biden’s son, and also discredited conspiracy theories involving Ukraine working against Trump in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. At the same time, Trump was refusing to release hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, although it had been legally authorized by Congress.

    The basic outlines of the plot have been known since the start of the impeachment inquiry, but the testimony by Hill and others this week both confirms key details and adds important information that shows how much the President was directly implicated. Trump ordered Sondland, a million-dollar contributor to his Inauguration; Kurt Volker, his Ukraine special envoy; and Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take control of Ukraine policy. (Kent, the State diplomat who was, like Hill, cut out of the loop, said that they called themselves “the three amigos.”) Trump personally ordered Yovanovitch’s firing. Trump personally ordered the withholding of military aid. The scandal, as this week showed, is about a lot more than saying “do us a favor though” in a phone call.

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  • Ashamed

    Posted on October 11th, 2019 cwmoore No comments

    For a while in the 80’s I lived in Scotland near Kirkcaldy. One night I went to a nice place in an old, elegant place to eat dinner. While waiting for my food I was blessed with a diatribe by an obviously America mid-20’s youth telling whomsoever was in this posh place how how bad it was. Ostensibly, he was talking with his mother or much older guardian. It sort of spoiled my whole evening while costing lots of quids.

    I now feel the same way about the USA and our leaders. Hopefully, 20 years from now we will look back on this and shake our heads. At least I hope we will as what we have is fragile in a resilient sort of way.

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  • This explains it

    Posted on September 30th, 2019 cwmoore No comments

    McCain is the word of death in the current Executive Branch of government. In my Vietnam growing up period, I always admired McCain but I do not think the White House shares my opinion.

    The U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, reportedly stepped down from his position on Friday. An official at Arizona State University, where Kurt Volker serves as executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership, reportedly confirmed Kurt Volker’s resignation from the State Department to the State Press

    Who is a patriot these days? Lots of people claim that title but few are worthy. I am sad and disillusioned these days. And, I suppose, many are happy that I am sad.

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  • Impeachment: A path fought with perils

    Posted on September 28th, 2019 cwmoore No comments

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  • Cartoon: Li’l Don Trump and how the cookie crumbles

    Posted on September 28th, 2019 cwmoore No comments

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  • 500 generations to Us

    Posted on September 28th, 2019 cwmoore No comments

    500 generations isn’t enough time for evolution to do too much. So the Primitive Mind—a hardwired part of us—is still stuck in the world of 11,000 BC. Which means we’re all like computers running on the highly unimpressive Windows 11000 BC operating system, and there’s no way to do a software update.

    But humans have something else going on as well—cognitive superpowers that combine together into an enhanced center of consciousness we’re calling the Higher Mind.

    The Higher Mind and his magical thinking abilities helped the human species transform their typical animal hunter-gatherer world into undoubtedly the strangest of all animal habitats: an advanced civilization. The Higher Mind’s heightened awareness allows him to see the world with clear eyes, behave rationally in any environment, and adjust to changes in real time.

    So while our Primitive Minds are still somewhere in 11,000 BC, our Higher Minds are living right here with us in 2019. Which is why, even though both minds are just trying to do their jobs, they’re in a fight most of the time.

    Sometimes, the fights are about what’s best for us—a practical conflict.

    The full story can be found here

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  • What does this mean??

    Posted on September 25th, 2019 cwmoore No comments

    Gaslighting is a term often used by mental health professionals (I am not one) to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they’re crazy.

    The term comes from the 1944 MGM film, Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman. Bergman’s husband in the film, played by Charles Boyer, wants to get his hands on her jewelry. He realizes he can accomplish this by having her certified as insane and hauled off to a mental institution. To pull off this task, he intentionally sets the gaslights in their home to flicker off and on, and every time Bergman’s character reacts to it, he tells her she’s just seeing things. In this setting, a gaslighter is someone who presents false information to alter the victim’s perception of him or herself.

    Whataboutism gives a clue to its meaning in its name. It is not merely the changing of a subject (“What about the economy?”) to deflect away from an earlier subject as a political strategy; it’s essentially a reversal of accusation, arguing that an opponent is guilty of an offense just as egregious or worse than what the original party was accused of doing, however unconnected the offenses may be.

    The tactic behind whataboutism has been around for a long time. Rhetoricians generally consider it to be a form of tu quoque, which means “you too” in Latin and involves charging your accuser with whatever it is you’ve just been accused of rather than refuting the truth of the accusation made against you. Tu quoque is considered to be a logical fallacy, because whether or not the original accuser is likewise guilty of an offense has no bearing on the truth value of the original accusation.

    Whataboutism adds a twist to tu quoque by directing its energies into establishing an equivalence between two or more disparate actions, thereby defaming the accuser with the insinuation that their priorities are backward.

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