Friday, May 31, 2013

Judge Shopping

Shopping for Justice

Seems the New Yorker has uncovered the fact that when seeking a warrant for James Rosen's emails,  our Attorney General went judge shopping until he got the one he wanted... third time's the charm eh?

Kind of Defeats the Purpose

If the state can shop judges until they get one that gives them the answer they are looking for, it kind of defeats the purpose of an impartial judiciary, doesn't it?

Two judges separately declared that the Justice Department was required to notify Rosen of the search warrant, even if the notification came after a delay, and NBC News reported that the warrant to search Rosen’s e-mail account was personally approved by Holder.

Rosen found out that his emails had been seized after it was reported in the Washington Post

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Federal Government: Criminally Insane or Dangerously Incompetent?

So, is Uncle Sam a fat, ugly bully who enjoys fear and intimidation and knows exactly what he is doing? Or is he a lumbering oaf too stupid to get out of his own way, crashing into things and causing serial mishaps because of his clumsy stupidity?
Catherine Engelbrecht—a nice woman, a citizen, an American. She and her husband live in Richmond, Texas. They have a small manufacturing business. In the past few years she became interested in public policy and founded two groups, King Street Patriots and True the Vote.

In July 2010 she sent applications to the IRS for tax-exempt status. What followed was not the harassment, intrusiveness and delay we're now used to hearing of. The U.S. government came down on her with full force.

In December 2010 the FBI came to ask about a person who'd attended a King Street Patriots function.

In January 2011 the FBI had more questions. The same month the IRS audited her business tax returns. 

In May 2011 the FBI called again for a general inquiry about King Street Patriots. 

In June 2011 Engelbrecht's personal tax returns were audited and the FBI called again. 

In October 2011 a round of questions on True the Vote. 

In November 2011 another call from the FBI. The next month, more questions from the FBI. 

In February 2012 a third round of IRS questions on True the Vote. In February 2012 a first round of questions on King Street Patriots. The same month the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms did an unscheduled audit of her business. (It had a license to make firearms but didn't make them.) 

In July 2012 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration did an unscheduled audit.
In November 2012 more IRS questions on True the Vote.
In March 2013, more questions. In April 2013 a second ATF audit. 
Source:  WSJ - A Battering Ram becomes a Stonewall

Nice company ya got here...  Hate to see anything happen to it...

Need more information?  Ask the owner of Gibson guitars, who contributed to GOP candidates and had his factory raided and materials confiscated by Obama's jackboots.  Or maybe you could ask the owner of Martin guitars, who used the same wood products from the same sources, but avoided a similar fate by contributing generously to the Obama campaign.  

Our putridly obese government can spy on citizens and intimidate them, but it cannot perform its primary functions of maintaining infrastructure and securing us from enemies.

Either federal agencies are being used as tools of revenge by powerful people who hold the reins of government, or our government is so unwieldy that it is spilling over with unanswerable zealots run amok, and even a brilliant philosopher king like President Obama cannot do anything about it other than watch it all on the news and shake his head.  Which is it?

It has taken a the United States having a liberal hero at the helm of the ship of state for liberals to finally admit that government may be too big. Liberal Jonathan Turley gets it. His WaPo article takes dead aim at the dictatorial progressive state:
However, the suggestion that someone, even the president, is in control of today’s government may be an illusion.

The growing dominance of the federal government over the states has obscured more fundamental changes within the federal government itself: It is not just bigger, it is dangerously off kilter. Our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch, an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency.
The entire piece reads like that. It is a damning indictment of our bloated feral government, and it flows from the pen of an honest liberal who gets it.  As David Harsanyi writes, Liberalism is in Trouble.  The implosion of the progressive state will fall principally on progressive Democrat heads, since they have so aligned themselves with the overweening state.

See also:  Gallup: Majority of Americans believe Federal Government too Powerful

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

More John Smeaton, Less Lady Talking

Much has been made of the woman who talked to the Islamic peace ambassador who ran down a British soldier with an automobile and then butchered him in the street. We have also read stories about other women who covered his body as he lay dead.

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett is a brave woman. She wasn't caught in the middle of it, she was riding by in a bus, and jumped off when she saw someone needed help. For that alone we should honor her. But the larger tableau was a sad scene of Western decline.

People stood and watched. Where were the men? In the video, you can see the subservient Muslim woman pass by the scene as thought nothing is going on, properly averting her eyes downward as her Muslim man stands shouting and holding his bloody instruments.

"I kicked him so hard in the balls that I tore a tendon!" *

The incident reminded me of the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack, where two Muslim scumbags, apparently offended by the British Isles' hospitality, rammed a vehicle filled with propane tanks into the front of the airport terminal in Glasgow. (One of the terrorists was a British-born doctor of Iraqi descent. There's a lesson or two there...)

So Bilal and Kafeel crashed through the front of the terminal, people are injured, they cause three explosions, and the terrorists have exited the vehicle, injured.

Baggage handler John Smeaton demonstrated how a man responds:

He ran to the scene of destruction thinking "...I'm not letting these guys get away with this." So he partially kicked an already burning man to death. Before shouting "WELCOME TAE GLESGAE!" **

Smeaton then ...aimed a kick in the testicles at Kafeel Ahmed, who later died from his 90% burns following the attack.[2][6]
During the incident Smeaton also helped drag Michael Kerr to safety after Kerr, another person to intervene in the event, had been left lying with a broken leg beside the burning jeep after kicking Mr Ahmed himself.[4]
Smeaton's message to terrorists?
"Glasgow doesn't accept this. This is Glasgow; we'll set aboot ye."***
* - Probably attributed to Alex McIlveen, another civilian who attacked the jihadis
** For those of you who've never had Scottish friends, Glesgea = Glasgow
*** Set aboot ye = Set about you. Set upon you, attack you. Kick your ass.

This is why I never write about Scotland. Too many footnotes!

In other totally and completely unrelated news ...

Police Fear Losing Control of Stockholm

I got news for them. They lost control a long time ago. Invite in people whose culture is vastly different than yours, and who have a track record of not assimilating, and this is the result. But the government is taking firm measure by issuing strong statements such as this one:
'It is important to remember, burning your neighbour's car is not an example of freedom of expression, it is hooliganism,' Fredrik Reinfeldt said yesterday.
That'll get 'em back in line!

I'll give you the UN-approved, politically correct propaganda on Sweden, to save you from reading it yourself:

It is the fault of the Swedes for not being more accommodating and culturally sensitive. The Euro-wussies are already blaming it on "inequality" and, of course, austerity.

Anyone attempting to make a cultural argument is shouted down as a dangerous racist, Any questions?

So what is the Swedish government doing about it?
Local media have reported that police officers have used racist slurs, like “monkey” and “pig” while policing the unrest. Swedish police say they are investigating the matter. “If anybody would be insulted or be called racist words they should make a formal report,” said a police spokesman.
See also: Mark Steyn - To the Slaughter

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Fracture Critical

A term meaning that if a single, vital component of the bridge is compromised, it is at risk of collapse.

There are 66,749 structurally deficient bridges and 84,748 functionally obsolete bridges in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, according to the Federal Highway Administration. 

Spending by states and local government on bridge construction adjusted for inflation has more than doubled since 1998, from $12.3 billion to $28.5 billion last year.

Shovel Ready

Transportation got 48 Billion in stimulus funding:

$27.5 billion for highway and bridge construction projects

$8 billion for intercity passenger rail projects and rail congestion grants, with priority for high-speed rail

$6.9 billion for new equipment for public transportation projects (Federal Transit Administration)

$1.5 billion for national surface transportation discretionary grants

$1.3 billion for Amtrak

$1.1 billion in grants for airport improvements

$750 million for the construction of new public rail transportation systems and other fixed guideway systems.

$750 million for the maintenance of existing public transportation systems

$200 million for FAA upgrades to air traffic control centers and towers, facilities, and equipment

Was it money well spent?  "Shovel Ready"  was well intended to spend money quickly to reinvigorate the economy, but perhaps in the long term it wasn't the best objective.  Unfortunately the vast majority of the projects that were shovel ready weren't the necessary infrastructure repairs we thought they were.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Honored Dead

From Arlington in the east

To Golden Gate in the west


From Normandy


To Manila


 We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie...

John McCrae, In Flanders Fields

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day Music

Finntann the First ;)

This is a picture of my Uncle Jim, who served in the cavalry in the Pancho Villa expedition and in WWI.  Gassed by the Germans he was left for dead on the side of the road,  recognized by someone in a passing troop who went to collect his personal effects for the family, he was discovered to be alive.  Although he suffered from lung problems the remainder of his life he lived to the age of 66.

The Yorktown Fife & Drums, The Revolution


Hail Columbia, War of 1812

Remember that Francis Scott Key hadn't penned the Defense of Fort McHenry until 1814

The Battle Cry of Freedom,  US Civil War


Over There, WWI

Coming In On a Wing and A Prayer, WWII


 Ballad of the Green Beret, Vietnam War

Little Consensus has Emerged

There seems to be no particular songs that have emerged as typifying the Gulf War or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  What are your thoughts as to the music of these wars?

I'll leave you with this:




Friday, May 24, 2013

Legislating Common Sense

New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan (R-59th District) New York State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D-140th District) are sponsoring a bill that would cover bowling shoes.  It would require alley owners to post signs, warning people not to wear bowling shoes outside, lest they become wet and increase the likelihood that a bowler could slip and fall when they come inside.

"Constituents come in all shapes and sizes, and every one of them have their own particular issues," said Gallivan. "I think it's their representative's role to speak up for them and, if it's appropriate, to  provide a legislative solution. That's what we're here for," he said.

 Needed Legislation

What we really need is legislation banning bullshit legislation!

Any stupid laws in your neck of the woods?  

Here, I'll get you started: It is unlawful for any person to exhibit any freak of nature within the City of Cripple Creek. (Ord. 1986 - 9 §1-2-106)  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lower the Portcullis


We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you


The gates are open and the barbarians are among us, yesterday they hacked a British soldier to death yards from Woolrich Barracks.   How long are we going to put up with this and continue to allow immigration from these countries?

"We swear by Almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you," the attacker said. "The only reasons we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day. This British soldier is an eye for an eye a tooth for tooth. We apologize that women had to see this today but in our lands our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe."


The Muslim Council of Britain released the following statement:

"This is a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly. Our thoughts are with the victim and his family. We understand the victim is a serving member of the Armed Forces, Muslims have long served in this country's Armed Forces, proudly and with honor. This attack on a member of the Armed Forces is dishonorable, and no cause justifies this murder,"

Regrettably, we are getting to the point were words are not enough. 


While most likely too little, too late, it is beyond the time to tell our politicians to close the doors to immigration from the Muslim world.  Until you get your house in order you are not welcome to come to ours. 

Reports are that the victim was wearing a Help for Heroes t-shirt, a UK charity whose mission is to provide support to wounded British soldiers and their families... I think an appropriate response would be to donate.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Malfeasance in Office

Criteria for Potential Political Cases

Tea Party
Government Spending
Government Debt
Government Taxes
"Making America a Better Place to Live"
"Critical of How the Country is Being Run" 

The TIGTA Findings

"The criteria focused narrowly on the names and policy positions of organizations instead of tax-exempt laws and Treasury regulations."
81% of organizations with "Tea Party", "Patriots", or "9/12" were delayed for more than one year.

Requests for information with no basis in law

Names of donors
List of issues and position on those issues
Roles/activities of audience and participants other than members
Will officer/director run for public office
Political affiliation of director, officers, speakers, etc
Information regarding employment
Information on activities of other organizations

The Hatch Act of 1939

"An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activity" is federal law that prohibits government employees from engaging in partisan political activity. So the question is now:  Is singling out a political party or organization for additional scrutiny and delay, partisan?

Malfeasance in Office

Malfeasance has been defined as a wrongful act which the actor has no legal right to do; as any wrongful conduct which affects, interrupts or interferes with the performance of official duty; as an act for which there is no authority or warrant of law; as an act which a person ought not to do; as an act which is wholly wrongful and unlawful; as that which an officer has no authority to do and is positively wrong or unlawful; and as the unjust performance of some act which the party performing it has no right, or has contracted not, to do.  

 "malfeasance is the doing of an act which an officer had no legal right to do at all and that when an officer, through ignorance, inattention, or malice, does that which they have no legal right to do at all, or acts without any authority whatsoever, or exceeds, ignores, or abuses their powers, they are guilty of malfeasance." ~ Daugherty v. Ellis

Tuesday, May 21, 2013



These are some of the keywords used in headlines describing the latest puzzle facing scientists in the climate change arena.

    " Scientists are struggling to explain a slowdown in climate change that has exposed gaps in their understanding and defies a rise in global greenhouse gas emissions."


    " The rate of global mean warming has been lower over the past decade than previously. It has been argued that this observation might require a downwards revision of estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity "


What's Up?

First, I am not a climate change denier, nor am I an advocate.  With a passing familiarity with modeling and simulation, I have always been somewhat skeptical of gospel-like pronouncements in the press of an X degree rise in temperature without a corresponding explanation of the models used, assumptions, estimates, variance, multicollinearity, etc. This is a problem with the press, not the scientists who tend to scrupulously document this sort of thing.  The problem is, no one will read a newspaper or magazine article that is incomprehensible to them.

You won't find a statement like this in the New York Times:

" An ensemble of temperature realizations preserves the correlation structure of different time steps. Hence decadal averages and their associated uncertainties can be calculated which are consistent with the covariance matrix of  observational uncertainty. "

 Models are only as good as the assumptions and data that go into them.

" To estimate the difference in total earth system heat uptake  between the last decades and the 1860-1879 reference period, we first derive annual total heat system content anomaly estimates for 1970-2009 by combining data based estimates for all the major earth system components: ocean, continent, ice, and atmosphere."

So, in a five-page explanation of a small subset of climate modeling, "Energy Budget Constraints", there are some 43 estimates made.  We find estimates of decade internal variability, estimates in total system heat uptake, estimates of upper ocean heat uptake, estimates of abyssal ocean heat uptake, estimates of continental heat uptake, ice melt estimates, estimates of atmospheric heat uptake, and so on and so forth.

These estimates don't necessarily make a model incorrect, but when output no longer matches observations they call it seriously into question.

We don't really need the models

We don't need a model to tell us that there will be a 2 degree rise in temperature to tell us that the less carbon dioxide, chlorinated fluorocarbons, or poly-chlorinated biphenyls we dump into the environment is a good thing.  Yet we must balance actions with consequences both environmental and economic and take a common sense approach.  Ideally what would make environmentally practical solutions the most appealing to consumers would be economic practicality.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Smoke and Mirrors

Things are not always what they appear to be...

President Obama took decisive action when he announced that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had demanded the resignation of acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller amid the growing scandal over targeting conservative groups...

Or Did He?

Steven Miller had been acting commissioner since only this past November and was due to leave in three weeks anyway.

Sarah Hall Ingram who led the tax-exempt division from 2009-2012 now leads the IRS' Affordable Care Act office.

Joseph Grant, who took over from Ms. Ingram two days before the scandal broke is also leaving... retiring in June.   Joseph Grant was the deputy in the tax-exempt office since 2007.

So why so far has Ms. Ingram gotten off scot-free ?


 Because the hope is you're not keeping your eye on the ball amid all the patter.


Curiously, although many think the term Scot-Free orginated with the Dred Scott decision it actually is closer to the story line here.  'Scot' in Old English meant royal tax and the term was originally "scotfreo" or free from royal tax.

So, on behalf of the administration, an important question

Is it a duck? Or a rabbit? 


Sunday, May 19, 2013


Secret Agent Man

Russian Federal Security Service says US embassy official was expelled because CIA persisted in trying to recruit Russians for espionage. Humiliates him with cheap blond wig...


Are we really this stupid?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Music of WW2

Chatanooga Choo Choo - Glen Miller Orchestra

This song was the number 1 single on December 7, 1941

Blues in the Night - Woody Herman

Recognized by many as 'Momma Done Told Me' this song hit number 1 the week of February 14, 1942  

Pistol Packing Mama - Al Dexter

Number 1 single the week of October 30, 1943

Swinging on a Star - Bing Crosby

Stayed at number 1 from August 5th until September 30, 1944

Sentimental Journey - Les Brown

Between VE day and VJ Day this song dominated the charts, and yes folks... that's Doris Day singing.



Friday, May 17, 2013

Perhaps the Cardinals should wear white...


...and the Pope Red!

We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old (cf. Ex 32:15-34) has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.
 In circumstances like these, solidarity, which is the treasure of the poor, is often considered counterproductive, opposed to the logic of finance and the economy. While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good. A new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny is established, one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rules. Moreover, indebtedness and credit distance countries from their real economy and citizens from their real buying power.
These financiers, economists and politicians consider God to be unmanageable, unmanageable even dangerous, because he calls man to his full realization and to independence from any kind of slavery.  In this sense, I encourage the financial experts and the political leaders of your countries to consider the words of Saint John Chrysostom: “Not to share one’s goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs”

The Capitalist reply

Wholly missing from the papal argument is the fact that business expansion, and the attraction of investment therein, is based on profits. Greater profits don’t necessarily guarantee more jobs in existing business and businesses of the future, but you can’t expect those jobs to materialize absent profit.  Profit isn’t what drives poverty, profit is what overcomes poverty.

The short of the matter is that capitalism is the engine of the general betterment of the human condition and profits its essential tool.

George Pieler, Jens Laurson - Forbes

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The bloom it seems, is off the rose.

Tom Freeman

"it's a lot, especially when you begin with Benghazi, move on into the IRS, and now AP/FBI," said NBC anchor Brian Williams.
"this is a trifecta that really goes to the president's trust, that goes to the question of incompetence within the administration," said NBC's David Gregory.
"The Obama administration is doing a far better job making the case for conservatism than Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, or John Boehner ever did. Showing is always better than telling, and when the government overreaches in so many ways it gives support to the conservative argument about the inherently rapacious nature of government." John Dickerson, Slate Magazine
“You have to understand and hear how it sounds like the administration might be hiding something, can you just say plainly, does the president believe they’re being truthful? And does he think that the leadership there needs to change?” Jessica Yellin, CNN
"President Obama could have acted like Richard Nixon, but if he wasn’t directly involved, it’s still bad because that makes him Mr. Magoo." Jon Stewart
"Obama and Holder must stop this before this Oval Office is stained forever. In fretting about the Tea Party and leaks to the press, the Obama who promised us unprecedented transparency is rendering an unprecedented display of paranoia and abridgement of freedom." Derrick Jackson, Boston Globe.
 "My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing." Barrack Obama

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why AP?

Reporters across The Associated Press are outraged over the Justice Department’s sweeping seizure of staff phone records — and they say such an intrusion could chill their relationships with confidential sources.

“People are pretty mad — mad that government has not taken what we do seriously,” one reporter said on Tuesday.



The Obama administration has aggressively investigated disclosures of classified information to the media and has brought six cases against people suspected of providing classified information, more than under all previous presidents combined.

The U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have provided information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot.  

The May 7 story was written by reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman with contributions from reporters Kimberly Dozier, Eileen Sullivan and Alan Fram. They and their editor, Ted Bridis, were among the journalists whose April-May 2012 phone records were seized by the government.  


Too Far?

The purpose of the subpoena was to allegedly track the leak, the "confidential sources", not to go after the reporters.  So now the question remains, was the Justice Department within it's legal purview in subpoenaing these records in the investigation into the illegal release of classified information. or... have they gone too far?  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Day In The Life

Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up, I noticed I was late
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the Oval Office in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
And somebody spoke and I went into a dream 

About an IRS man who... 

To paraphrase Hilary Clinton who was obviously way off base on that phone thing...

"It's 8 a.m. and your children are at school, but there's a TV in the White House and it's on. Something is happening in the world. Your vote will decide who watches that show. Whether it's someone who already knows a couple of people, knows community activism. Someone tested and ready to watch in a dangerous world. It's 8 a.m. and your children are at school. Who do you want watching that TV?" 

Is it just me?

Or are the rest of you as annoyed as I am at the President acting clueless and repeatedly claiming, "I heard this on the news the same time you did".

Honestly, I don't believe there is a conspiracy or that there is organized malicious intent in any of these administration gaffes... they are simply indicative of the complete lack of any significant executive experience on the part of our Chief Executive, and that you can't learn to be an executive as leader of the free worldFault lies not solely with the President but also with his staff. 

It basically boils down to one of two things... he's not listening (he allegedly misses half his daily briefs), or his staff isn't adequately briefing (The IRS thing was brought to the attention of the WH counsel's office a month ago).

How do I know this? 

  Been there, done that.

Anybody else out there remember transparencies?


Monday, May 13, 2013

What's with the IRS?


The Revenuers are coming!

At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials targeted nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general. Washington Post.

IRS staffers held a briefing with senior agency official Lois G. Lerner in which they described giving special attention to instances where “statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.”

The investigation also revealed that a high-ranking IRS official knew as early as mid-2011 that conservative groups were being inappropriately targeted—nearly a year before then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told a congressional committee the agency wasn't targeting conservative groups. Wall Street Journal.

The pro-Israel organization Z STREET filed a lawsuit against the IRS, claiming it had been told by an IRS agent that because the organization was “connected to Israel,” its application for tax-exempt status would receive additional scrutiny.  In addition, the IRS agent told a Z STREET representative that the applications of some of those Israel-related organizations have been assigned to “a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.” National Review.

Trust Government?

Currently, 41% of Democrats say they have a favorable opinion of the federal government, compared with 27% of independents and just 13% of Republicans. Positive opinions of the government declined through the remainder of George W. Bush’s presidency and have continued to fall during the Obama administration.               Pew Research.

As the saying goes, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get you.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

It's not what you do...



From Benghazi to Lance Armstrong

Are we as Americans a dishonest culture?  In sports, academics, politics, and business, from Lance Armstrong to Bernie Madoff, we are continually confronted with examples of dishonesty.

Someone recently pointed towards Japan as an example of how stringent gun laws, to the point of a practical ban, reduce crime.  Yet that analysis falls apart when you look at non-gun crime, which in Japan is also virtually non-existent.  Leave your purse or wallet on a Japanese train and chances are very high that whoever finds it will return it to you, most likely personally.  Try that in New York, Philadelphia, or Washington DC.

The Honest Truth About Dishonesty

Dan Ariely teaches behavioral economics at Duke University and recently published a book on the subject and observes:

We lie. We cheat. We bend the rules. We break the rules. And sometimes, as we’ve seen in Greece, it all adds up. But, remarkably, this doesn’t stop us from thinking we’re wonderful, honest people. We’ve become very good at justifying our dishonest behaviors so that, at the end of the day, we feel good about who we are. This tendency is only getting worse, and, as innocent as it may seem, the consequences are becoming more apparent and more serious.  

 He also found that:

Three days after publication of my new book , The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, I was able to find electronic copies on a few websites that specialize in illegal content. These were high quality versions of the book, including the images of the cover, the references, and—my favorite part—the copyright notice. 


"the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true"

Stephen Colbert is usually credited with if not inventing, popularizing the term, but it is nothing new. Orwell used the term doublethink to describe the same concept:

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them... To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. 

 So what do you think?

Are we more dishonest? Less?  About the same? 

It certainly seems that we are more tolerant of it,  especially when it's our team that's getting away with it.  Mark Sanford's recent election post-scandal seems to illustrate the fact that we are willing to either overlook or at least rationalize dishonesty... if not for ourselves then at least for the team.

More importantly, are we dishonest with ourselves?