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Arizona Monkeys, American Leftists, and Trump’s Warsaw Speech

Northern Pigtail Macaque
Northern pigtail macaque picture by skeeze/Pixabay
Posted: July 14, 2017 at 6:15 am   /   by

Recently the website of the ABC TV affiliate in Phoenix, www.abc15.com, had a story about a monkey mystery in the desert.  There was an assertion in that article attributed to Tina Mankowski, a spokeswoman for the University of Washington, that piqued my curiosity.  The University of Washington leases the Mesa, AZ facility, and is responsible for running it.  The University of Washington breeds pigtail macaques at the facility for research purposes.  The ABC-15 article states (emphasis mine):

Mankowski said the animals were kept in very good conditions. They had both inside and outside enclosures. The inside enclosures were air-conditioned. They chose Arizona for the climate and the availability of the facility on tribal land. Mankowski said the monkeys were suited for this weather.

This caught my eye because it struck me as possibly self-serving:  I asked myself, “are pigtail macaques really suited for desert climates?”  A little internet sleuthing leads me to believe no.  Pigtail macaques are native to Southeast Asia, not the American Southwest.  You know, native to hot and humid climates rather than hot and arid ones.  See for yourself.  More internet sleuthing uncovered another curious thing:  a different news outlet’s story about the Mesa facility omits the part I emphasized in the excerpt above.  In that azcentral.com story we read:

Mankowski said the university chose the site because infrastructure was already in place and the weather was desirable. The facility is both outdoor and indoor and has air-conditioning for the monkeys, she said.

We now have another mystery:  what is the truth?  Is what you find at various websites when you use your search engine to search for “pigtail macaques” the truth?  Or, is Tina Mankowski statement I emphasized above?  Also, which news outlet provides the (more) accurate report?  ABC-15 or azcentral.com?

And, more to the point, what does any of this have to do with Left-leaning individuals across America…or President Trump’s Warsaw speech?

With respect to the pigtail macaques in the Arizona desert, the fact that Tina Mankowski is a spokesperson for the University of Washington certainly comes into play.  Any attempt to ferret out the truth must acknowledge conflicts of interest that those who purport to tell us the truth may have.  In this present case, we can be excused for casting a skeptical eye at any favorable statement Ms. Mankowski may assert on behalf of the organization that employs her.  (Assuming, of course, that Ms. Mankowski even asserted what I emphasized in bold above.)

Further, this skepticism cuts both ways.  That is, can we take at face value and without any skepticism the information about pigtail macaques we may find at websites like the Primate Rescue Center?  Not necessarily.  After all, what axe(s) may these websites have to grind?  What is their agenda?  Might they not also have conflicts of interest which may affect the information they choose to publish?  Sure they do.

Then there’s this:  the preceding questions about who’s right about the climate for which pigtail macaques are suited is predicated upon whether Ms. Mankowski even made the assertion in the first place!  That is, the question of which news outlet is (more) accurate is wholly independent of the question about the climate for which pigtail macaques are suited.  (Do note that what ABC 15 attributes to Ms. Mankowski is not in quotation marks.  Is that absence of quotation marks telling?  Or merely trivial?)

Isn’t it fascinating that a few news reports about a Mesa monkey facility can raise so many vexing questions in so short a time?

Here’s the bottom line:  just how, exactly, do you know when you are watching/listening to/reading actual, unbiased information rather than self-serving spin?  Just how do you know when what you see on the TV, read in the newspapers, or yes, find even here on Western Free Press is actual (and accurate) news rather than another instance of selective reporting?

More succinctly:  how do you discern when you are being informed rather than being misled—or even duped?

Let’s consider the reaction to President Trump’s Warsaw speech by a large portion of the Left:  that this speech was chock full of dog whistles to white supremacists.   For news consumers who devote no more time ferreting out facts than watching ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, etc., this is probably the interpretation they now have.  But is that interpretation of the speech accurate?  After all, some people characterize President Trump’s speech as an articulation of the inherent worthiness of Western Civilization, and why it is worth defending.  (Full disclosure:  I am in that group.)

Before I continue, please examine the following image.  (Cylinder and shadows image by Jean-Christophe Benoist [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons.)

Dualite

The talking heads on the Left vociferously assert that President Trump’s Warsaw speech is a square.  And when only viewed from a particular angle, and/or using a particular light, what they assert may be construed as true.  But is it Truth?  Is the speech a square—is it dog whistles to white supremacists—or is it actually something else?  That is, if you take the time to dig deeper (e.g. take the time to listen to the speech), will you learn what is, in fact, the actual and underlying truth?  As opposed to what the Left-leaning folks’ impassioned and emotional surface interpretation of the speech is?

Passions are not proof.  Emotions are not evidence.

Consider that the Tina Mankowski’s assertion (in the ABC-15 article) that the pigtail macaques “were suited for this weather” is, on the surface, close to the truth.  But is it close enough?  Or, is it only close enough to make for a more effective lie?  And, what if Ms. Mankowski never made that assertion in the first place?

My intent here is not to pillory Tina Mankowski.  Nor do I want to cast dispersion on ABC-15.  My intent is only to use this monkeys-in-the-Arizona-desert story as a springboard for a more important point:  if we must be wary of biases, conflicts of interest, and people playing “fast and loose” with facts regarding an issue as pedestrian as monkeys in the desert, how much more care must we use when we watch, listen to, or read what The Ruling Class Media states about things like a President’s speech?

I think the vociferous assertions by Left-leaning individuals about President Trump’s speech in Warsaw contain just enough semblance to truth to make for far more effective lies.  The fact that the cylinder in the image above casts a shadow in the shape of a square does allow those of a particular (closed-minded) point of view to assert that the object casting the shadow is a square.  It’s obvious, isn’t it?  The shadow is a square.  Case closed.   In a similar fashion, a closed-minded interpretation of President Trump’s Warsaw speech allows Leftists to mischaracterize his speech as “dog whistles to white supremacists.”

This mischaracterization is bad enough.  But let’s consider another aspect of such mischaracterizations.  Thomas Jefferson once eloquently opined, “Error of opinion may be tolerated so long as reason is left free to combat it.”  What he left unsaid was this:  some error of opinions are more dangerous than others.  Consider the impact of an error of opinion about the pigtail macaques in the Arizona desert.  If I believed that these monkeys were well treated, but I was in error and they actually were being harmed, my erroneous belief would no doubt lead me to do nothing.  Even though my intervention would be a more appropriate response.  Alternatively, what if I thought these pigtail macaques were in danger (but the truth was that they were not):  what defense would I have if I chose to do something outlandish or even criminal based upon my erroneous belief?

This is just another way of stating that some errors of opinion are essentially harmless, whereas other errors of opinion are downright dangerous.  Consider the error of opinion of a Left-leaning individual like James Hodgkinson.  He apparently believed that Republicans were not just his political Party’s opponents, but that Republicans were instead utterly depraved, utterly evil, and completely irredeemable.  So, he committed a decidedly criminal act by attempting to assassinate Congressional Republicans in Alexandria, VA.

This is precisely why the Leftist talking heads who malign President Trump’s speech as “dog whistles to white supremacists” expound and promulgate a very dangerous error of opinion.  White supremacists are just plain wrong to believe what they espouse.  No thinking person can say otherwise.  But fomenting anger against Trump by exploiting righteous anger against white supremacists through the mischaracterization of President Trump’s Warsaw speech is not only wrong, it is heinously irresponsible and downright dangerous.  In my opinion, it borders on criminal:  it could possibly provoke another James Hodgkinson to take aim, not at Republican members of the House of Representatives, but at the President himself.

Monkeys screeching in the desert is one thing.  Leftists frothing at the mouth about “dog whistles” is quite another.  And this is all the more true when Left-leaning individuals deliberately abandon the reason to which Thomas Jefferson appealed; and instead of reason, rely entirely on fomenting heaping helpings of frothing falsehoods in its place.  Falsehoods which many Left-leaning individuals all over America apparently just cannot get enough of.  Just take a casual glance at social media sites these days.  There are a whole lot of James Hodgkinson-type profiles on Facebook alone.

There just is no Truth to be found in Leftist spin about President Trump’s Warsaw speech.  How can there be?  How can any truth be found in what is predicated entirely upon lies?

And, if such Leftist spin is what you choose to believe as your “truth” then I really rather pity you.  That you cling, and perhaps even bitterly cling, to your closed-minded Leftist interpretations is a very sad thing.  In fact, I think I could be excused for comparing your choices and your actions to that of a pack of howling monkeys flinging poo.

© 2017 Douglas D. Goode. All rights not previously surrendered are retained by the author.

Title image (Northern Pigtail Macaque) source:  skeeze/Pixabay
License:  CC0 Public Domain

Douglas Goode
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Douglas Goode

Douglas Goode (pronounced “good”) is a happily married middle-aged man who served for six years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear-trained Machinist’s Mate during the peacetime years from the mid-1980s into 1990. He re-entered civilian life before seeing any combat in the First Gulf War. In civilian life he enjoyed a varied career, culminating with serving as a computing support technician at the University of Virginia. Mr. Goode got his first taste for writing political commentary by posting comments on American Thinker and The American Spectator sites via the Disqus user name "TwoShoes." On occasion he continues to post on those sites using that moniker.
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Arizona Monkeys, American Leftists, and Trump's Warsaw Speech