Putin’s New Russian Empire?

It appears that Vladimir Putin has decided Ukraine belongs to Russia, and if they don’t like it, too bad.

My bet would be that Putin wins this little gamble. Obama will indeed blink first, and so will the rest of the NATO powers. No one will use military force to counter Putin, and not much else will deter him either. A de facto Russian Empire will slowly become a reality.

This will serve to demonstrate, for some observers, why you can’t reason with dictators; what they ultimately understand and respect is force. This is how they rule, and the only thing that stops them is the same. Criticism, condemnation, and protests are merely an irritant to them.

Putin is a genuine dictator, and we are foolish not to recognize this.

The New Dean’s World

In case you haven’t noticed, the look of this blog has changed. After wrestling endlessly with trying to get the old archives working properly with proper author attributions and properly indexed and all that I threw in the towel, made a new blog, imported the last year or so’s content, and called it a wash. I’ve got an archive of all the old content, even if it is in somewhat mangled form, so that someday, hopefully for posterity, I can go through and salvage some of the better writing on it. But rather tha look to the past and keep endlessly trying to tinker with and repair something fundamentally broken, a clean start seemed like the best idea for now.

As a bonus you should find the site working faster now, plus, we’re using Disqus for comments, which is pretty cool I think.

I still probably won’t be writing here as regularly as I used to since most of my energy these days is focused on A Voice for Men, however, I’ll continue to post here now and then when I have something unrelated I feel an urge to write about (here and on The Moderate Voice, and any of you old-timers hanging around who’d still like working author account should let me know. :-)

One day I’d love to write the history of this place. It would be a hell of a story.

Self-driving cars to be held up by regulators?

As the reality of self-driving cars on our roads becomes imminent, the U.S. Department of Transportation is making noises about trying to slow up or stall their entry into the market, calling them “frightening.” The Wall Street Journal looks at why this is misguided.

This is a technology that is not only an inevitability, but will save money, reduce pollution, reduce energy consumption, and save countless lives, so of course Washington wants to slow it down. :-P

Dishonesty by the “Encyclopedia of American Loons”

I recently discovered that in random Google searches on my name, some obscure blog called the “Encyclopedia of American Loons” comes up with a posting about me full of half-truths and distortions and irrational ad hominems about public positions I’ve taken in years past.

There was a period 5-10 years ago where I was getting pretty incoherent in my blogging, while in the depths of a bad marriage and trying to soothe it with alcohol, and therefore occasionally ranting hyperbolically more than I should have. I was also regularly getting gang-slammed and trolled by people on the internet, mostly on other blogs, saying nasty things about me that probably (no, definitely) exacerbated my temper. Nevertheless almost none of those assertions in the “Encyclopedia of American Loons” are really true–and if the “Encyclopedia of American Loons” were linking the original articles I wrote, quoting me directly instead of what other people were saying about me, or what other people were quote-mining me on, or what other people were imputing to be my positions instead of just asking me what they were, it would be at least a lot more honest. I know I’ve said things in the past that embarrassed me, especially when speaking or writing in haste, but anyone who asked me to clarify my positions would know where I really stand.

In any case, yes 1) it’s true that I respect Peter Duesberg, Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology at the University of California at Berkeley, and believe he has been sorely mistreated by the scientific establishment, and that many (not all) so-called “AIDS Denialists” deserve more respect than they get, 2) I did at one time argue that running to court to throw silly Creationist literature and idiotic Creationist stickers out of the schools was more destructive than allowing their nonsense to be discussed in science classes–because banning it by force just feeds the Creationist paranoia that scientists are censoring them and leads to more parents pulling their kids out of the public schools and/or telling their children that their science teachers are lying to them (and that this essay by Michael Baltar is spot on, and 3) yes, I do indeed believe that in many (not all) areas of the sciences, the peer review process (which I know a great deal about actually) has been terribly corrupted by money. This, apparently, makes me a “loon” and a “crackpot” and a “conspiracy theorist.”

The fact that on #1 I talked to multiple fully credentialed scientists and mainstream journalists who supported Duesberg in whole or in part is not of course mentioned, the fact that on #2 I made it repeatedly clear that I think Creationism is stupid and that “Intelligent Design” is not a science, and the fact that on #3 my criticism about money polluting the peer review process merely echoes what a lot of other working scientists will tell you isn’t mentioned either. Neither do they mention my regular writing about how toxic conspiracy theories are, and my repeat explanation that “corruption” is not a “conspiracy,” it’s corruption.

But it’s clear that the “Encyclopedia of American Loons” isn’t really interested in being truthful. It’s interested in well-poisoning. I guess if you’re going to take public iconoclastic positions on the internet, you should get used to it. So in a way, I’m honored to be so important to them. I just wanted to mention, for the record, this “encyclopedia” entry is dishonest, and it would make me question anything written by or about anyone else on it. But hey, at least I’m honored to be noticeable and prominent enough in their eyes to merit an article.

*Update* You know, upon reflection, I’m a little surprised that the “Encyclopedia of American Loons” editors did not also note my frequent assertion that the overwhelming evidence from the peer reviewed scientific literature is that eating fewer calories and exercising more is not an effective cure for obesity — maybe because they know that’s not really refutable — or that I think Bjorn Lomborg has the most sensible attitude about Global Warming and that Watt’s Up With That and that Climate Audit are both important sites if you’re actually interested in rational skepticism about the subject of Global Warming. I imagine on the latter, they also almost certainly consider all of the above “crackpots” and “conspiracy theorists” too.

How the MRM gets it so right on Nicholas Alahverdian (and how feminists are too caught in ideology to respect civil rights or even facts)

A woman named “HeatherN” wrote a blog here:


…about Nicholas Alahverdian, a man I’ve been honored to work with and try to help as he deals with gross violations of his fundamental civil rights. HeatherN is obviously an ideological feminist (she calls herself “an evil feminizi from space”) and thus looks upon everything that is published at AVFM with doubt. She refuses to analyze the facts, look at the court transcript (which I have done), speak to the employers of Nicholas including current and former state legislators in Rhode Island who are also high ranking police officers (which I have done), speak to his former classmates at Harvard (which I have done) and conduct even the most rudimentary investigation into this case. Instead, she casts broad, inept legal arguments and wails about a blog that she purports “doxxs” Mary Grebinski, Alahverdian’s accuser. Apparently blogging about a person who has severe credibility issues (after review of hundreds and hundreds of court documents) is cause for castrating anyone who would dare do so, at least to HeatherN.

Her unscholarly and incoherent drivel is enough to make me puke. She speaks authoritatively about the U.S. Constitution even though she admits she is not a lawyer, and is destroyed in the comments section of that article when an actual lawyer does confront her on her ineptitude.

In this 21st century world, blogging or responding to someone as plainly stupid as HeatherN boosts their credibility and makes them appear as if they matter. They do not. But for the sake of Nicholas Alahverdian’s name and verified good character based on multiple interviews from people across the span of Alahverdian’s life, I want to make a brief statement about how bombastic blog posts from this incredibly single-minded individual are ridiculous, unfounded, and incorrect.

And I don’t even have to make an argument because one of the commenters already did it for me:

“Brad” writes:

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in State versus Williams that sex offender registration is a penalty. That is 15 years of an additional penalty attached to the misdemeanor offense. Because this misdemeanor is a serious and not a petty offense, it is mandated that the defendant be tried by a jury as per rule 23 of the Ohio rules of criminal procedure.

It is retroactively applicable because his case was pending on appeal when the Ohio supremes made its decision in the Williams case.

As far as I can surmise, in the trial transcript it shows the public defender did not present any witnesses or evidence and did not seem familiar with the case. The judge did not heed the jury demand (there is no waiver in the online docket) that was automatic and needed to be waived (because it is a serious crime). The judge also seems to prevent the defendant from speaking or firing his public defender.

That is probably the source for resorting to allegations of misconduct: the denial of an automatic jury trial without a waiver of the same as well as an attorney who did not adequately represent his or her client and was not allowed to be dismissed.

Your point about a traffic ticket jury trial is well taken. That would be frivolous and unnecessary. But SCOTUS has precedent that instructs lower courts to weigh the severity of a crime (eg, moral turpitude) when considering an automatic or “right of” jury trial. Because the penalty is extensive, the court which the defendant was tried in had to defer to the legislature as to whether or not a penalty was sufficiently severe for a crime to be considered serious. Because the crime is serious based on the penalties the legislature has attached, it is not frivolous and unnecessary to have a jury trial for an alleged crime that the Supreme Court and the legislature considers serious. A fine for a traffic ticket (or even jail for assault) for misdemeanors do not require jury trials. But the excruciating consequences of the sex offender registration, as held by the OH Supremes, shatter the “petty crime” glass due to the effects of the penalty, and a jury is required lest a waiver is submitted.

Clearly, Nicholas Alahverdian was charged with a serious crime. In my opinion, Mary Grebinski is a false accuser and should be publicly known as such. If you don’t like it, too bad. Indeed, Nicholas deserves a jury trial because:

1) He never waived his right to a jury trial after he was charged with a serious crime;
2) He and his defense counsel (a public defender who never interviewed him or Grebinski prior to the case) were not provided with important pages of the police report and Grebinski’s handwritten statement (another man was recently granted a new trial for that very problem: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/12/anthony_lemons_gets_new_trial.html);
3) Nicholas Alahverdian was never read his Miranda rights;
4) Nicholas was never informed of the police officer (Ken M. Quatman) having a significant disciplinary history with honesty deficits.

There are many other issues with the case, including gross inconsistencies in Mary Grebinski’s story, that need warrant a new trial. HeatherN’s incoherent drivel wears horse blinders that impede upon her ability to see why this is an important case, where the misconduct comes into play, and why Nicholas was and is entitled to a jury trial. She has no credibility and is incredibly bombastic with her claims, not being trained legally and not understanding precedent in the slightest.

If you have any doubt, feel free to read what Alahverdian’s actual attorney wrote. And if you ask me, that’s some pretty great legal argument right there. Let’s see how the courts respond: I guarantee that within five years he will be innocent.


We’re back

Technical glitch over the holidays had this site down. Sorry ’bout that.

In the next few weeks I’ll be announcing an overhaul of this site, which will continue, although probably in the much-less-busy way than it was years ago.

Stay tuned, and have a happy new year!

To our Veterans: you honored us and you deserve better

Unlike my good friend Paul Elam, who is himself a US Army veteran, I do not believe the majority of wars America has fought in the last 75 or so years (the real ones, not the phony ones like the War On Drugs) have been fought for commerce or imperialism or any of those other things we commonly hear asserted in “liberal” and libertarian circles. Indeed, I find it incredibly naive to believe that any dictatorship anywhere in the world will not seize the first opportunity it has to create far more bloodshed than the US ever has if we cease most of our overseas operations. The world is filled with mass graves in places where great powers had the ability to do something and washed their hands and sighed and said these things were bad but did nothing but talk, and it is filled with hundreds of millions of people who lived because the USA acted instead of refusing to act.

There are those who disagree with me and draw a moral equivalence between what we do and what the likes of North Korea or Iran or China do and have done. They’ll tell you that World Communism was going to fix itself due to natural economic collapse–to which I can only say: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Right, and National Socialism would have also ended itself due to its own economic inefficiencies if no one had bothered to try to stop Hitler.

I will not argue this point further here, although I believe such beliefs dishonor those who actually have fought. The notion that the average American GI is an automaton indiscriminately slaughtering is misandrist garbage, and the notion that he has done no good with his service also dishonors him and his fellows, whether he says it of himself or not. There are hundreds of millions alive today who would not be thanks to GI Joe (the real one, not that goofy cartoon).

As a veteran on A Voice for Men recently commented:

I am not a warrior of imperialism nor were the family members who literally DID die in a war over freedom and evil in Europe and Asia.

I will simply celebrate the memory and wash the head stones of my sacred bretheren today.

Of course there are veterans who disagree with this. There are others who agree strongly, nowhere near as often heard from in our maintsream media, but many of them are men (and let’s face it, it’s virtually all men we’re talking about here, although some women have served with honor) who are rightly proud of their work. The right to such disagreement and debate as to the causes and justifications for war are woven into the fabric of a free society, which we still are–although at times I wonder how much longer that will be, as enemies domestic not foreign eat away at the civil and human rights that should be the very core of our nation’s values.

In any case, today we have reached an unprecedented level of suicide among America’s veterans. As Paul Elam notes and Forbes Magazine confirms, America’s veterans are now killing themselves at a rate of 22 per day. This is a horror we seem not to wish to face as a nation: at no time in our history has such an epidemic of suicides (virtually all of them male, as suicide in general is primarily a male problem, especially in the military) among those who have fought for their country. Yet there are fewer veterans in total number than previous generations of veterans and they have frequently never experienced horrors as great as seen in conflicts such as World War II or Korea; indeed, they are generally better educated, better housed, receive better medical care, and are less likely to be killed in action than any generation of veterans ever has been.

These suicides of our veterans cannot be due to “the horrors of combat.” To be blunt, not only is that a horrific and sexist stereotype about men who have served in combat, but most combat veterans of previous generations saw far more carnage that the vast majority of our Soldiers today ever will. They are killing themselves because they come home to find lives of devastation, not because the horrors of war are particularly worse today than ever.

The numbers tell the tale: 22 a day at home, 1 a day abroad. Something’s wrong when they get back here, and that is one of our great national failings.

IF you are a veteran who is homeless, destitute, despondent, alone, and/or being crushed by our horribly misandrist “criminal justice” and our sexist, abusive, civil-rights-trashing family court system, and our deeply male-hostile economy and male-hostile social safety net, please know I honor you for your service, and I am sorry for what has been done to you when you returned home.

And regardless of your situation, whether desperate or good, and regardless of whether we agree politically or not, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service and your sacrifice. And I pledge to continue to work to try to make it better for those of you who have been so ill-treated when you returned.

Obama about as unpopular as Bush

In fact, Bush did a little better (but not in a statistically significant way).

As someone who voted for both men (although I did not vote Obama in 2008, I did in 2012) I can only snicker. Most Presidents have sucky second terms. I will just enjoy watching the smug come off of some of the faces of the rabid Bush-haters. It will remain to be seen in the legacy of history of course; anyone who thinks they can really evaluate a President until he’s been out of office at least a few terms is fooling himself.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

—Rudyard Kipling

Defending the liberal tradition in history, science, and philosophy