The Media Manipulation Miscalculation – Steven Menking


With 16 days – and about 160 news cycles – remaining until the presidential election, if you look at the news and data coming out of establishment media outlets you get the sense that the election of Hillary Clinton is a foregone conclusion. Yet, if you look at polling data on alternative outlets or even look at social media traffic you get the sense that Donald Trump will win in a landslide. The discrepancies in the information trends dictate that someone must be wrong. Unfortunately, without the tendency or the wherewithal to investigate, potential voters are being bombarded with headline numbers that are rapidly absorbed as indisputable fact due to repetition.

We should never forget the effect that confirmation bias has on this process. Whatever you want to believe, there is a way to manipulate data in order to justify your belief. I participated in a version of this ‘goal seeking’ back when I was an investment banking analyst. Rather than build up the assumptions and properly model out the most likely outcomes based on fundamentals and probabilities, a range of numbers would be deemed acceptable and then the calculations would be performed in a way to justify those numbers. The objective was to win clients. A valuation figure presented to the company needed to be as high as possible without being perceived as unreasonable. Once we won the business and as reality set in more and more, the valuation numbers invariably came down because they didn’t meet the rosy forecasts we had advertised in order to gain the business in the first place.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Imagination of God: Art, Creativity and Truth in the Bible by Brian Godawa


Brian Godawa is a prolific writer in the Christian supernatural fiction genre. His series Chronicles of the Nephilim, Chronicles of the Apocalypse, and his latest series Chronicles of the Watchers are superb examples of what Godawa attempts to convey in his The Imagination of God: Art, Creativity and Truth in the Bible.

The opening chapter makes a simply assertion but one that is commonly misunderstood and sometimes denied; namely that reason, logic and imagination are not mutually exclusive gifts. Modern people tend to gravitate toward one of two extremes and dismiss the other. Godawa argues that this should not be the case. One example of the polarizing effect of focusing on reason and logic over and against imagination is that modern people lose the ability to both use and benefit from image, metaphor, and parable/allegory in understanding the Bible and in evangelism.

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Around The Bend – Steven Menking


With the eyes of the country on whatever the trending trending propaganda is today – most likely accusations of Russia presented without evidence and how Donald Trump is the destroyer of American democracy based on his unwillingness to rule out conceding the election should Hillary Clinton win – I can’t help but express my weariness with all of the nonsense and how many still give any credibility to people and institutions that incessantly lie right to their faces.

I didn’t watch the debate on Wednesday, but I was a bit taken aback to hear Hillary Clinton revealing to the entire world the previously top secret timeline from nuclear launch order to actual nuclear launch. However, I was much less surprised to see that nothing immediately happened as a result even though something certainly should have.

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Wag the Dog 2016: Is Trouble Imminent Between the United States and Russia? – Sgt. Tim


I had trouble sleeping night before last. I had a sick dog that began throwing up around 12:30 at night and after getting her settled down, it took me a while to get settled in for sleep myself. Once I got to sleep, I had a dream that left me a bit shaken when I awoke yesterday morning. It had the look and feel of one of those old WWII movies, down to the colorization and everything (I know that supposedly we don’t dream in color, but I remember colors in my dreams, so I don’t know…). I was in a foxhole, strapped with gear, with some of the guys I have worked with over the years and others. While everything felt like a WWII movie, we never referenced the Germans, but instead were talking about the Russians in the tree-line across from us. When I woke up, I saw that several veterans I follow through social media have been having similar dreams over the past few weeks. Certainly, the case could be made that it is simply the anxiety and stress of the current world situation, one that the media either ignores or looks to score propaganda points over. But it is those that served and in particular capacities that see the true danger of the current situation, and whether they realize it or not, perhaps this is seeping into their subconscious and affecting their dreams. Whatever the case may be, I awoke with a weight pressing on me, something weighing on my heart that told me that it is more likely than not that in the coming 4 days, when the news cycle typically scales down and following the debate, something big could happen in Syria that will have a profound effect on US – Russian relations.

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Standing at the Precipice : How We Got Here and How Cold War 2.0 Will Play Out – Outlaw Patriot


Over the past month as tensions have mounted between the United States and Russia, one thing has stood out in my mind. I conducted more than 20 arms control inspections across the former Soviet Union, Central Asia, and Europe, working alongside NATO partner military members as well as members from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. At the conclusion of all those missions, there was always a dinner between the two teams, usually with a spread fit for a king and plenty of toasts (the people of the former Soviet states love to make toasts, and they are masters of putting together words for such events; we had to train for this practice, both in building up our alcohol tolerance, but also in order to pronounce our own toasts, as one side will make a toast, then the next, beginning with the highest ranking and proceeding to the lowest ranking). The first toast would usually be to the conclusion of the mission, and in good Soviet fashion, the second would be announced with a quick statement of “between the first and second, a bullet should not pass”. The third, depending on the company, would either be to the fallen or to women. And eventually, before the night was done, a toast would be made that those collected at the table should never meet one another on opposite sides of the battlefield. Often times, this toast would be preceded by words of how there is a brotherhood of military men. No matter what country we serve, we have in common that we have all taken on the duty to serve the people of our country. That we have put aside our own lives in order to answer the call of service, and that takes a special kind of person – that no matter what uniform or flag we wear, we are all cut from the same cloth, and therefore are a part of this brotherhood. And that is what comes to mind as our two nations stand on the precipice of war – all of those toasts done that we might not end up on opposite sides of the battlefield.

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