Archive for science

1/18/2017: Bullies with vitriol and where’s the Truth?

Just a few more days and the pessimist wonders what these folks will turn to, then.

The bullies at the gate ahead of the Trump inauguration – “Hollywood, liberals and the political establishment descend into panic.” By Tammy Bruce – – Wednesday, January 18, 2017

As Jan. 20 approaches, the bullies are at the gate. Hollywood, liberals and the political establishment are panicking because they have no idea what to expect when Donald Trump officially becomes the president of the United States.

What Hollywood does know is that anyone in their industry who does not conform to the standard Trump Derangement Syndrome will be bullied until they submit.

The civil war we’re experiencing is not limited to the political parties and Washington, D.C., it’s throughout a culture within which a select few have cultivated an “us vs. them” mentality in order to benefit from government largesse and the power and influence that it provides.

The bullying isn’t only about performers. The Woodmont Country Club is also getting the treatment. Jazz Shaw:

“But the mayor – one Jeffrey Slavin, who I’m just going to assume is a Democrat – seems to be milking this for all he can get out of it. Rather than simply disagreeing with his fellow golfers, he’s chosen to quit and put out a statement describing the potential decision as intolerance. It doesn’t take much ability to read between the lines to know what that means. He’s accusing the members of being racists and the press is picking up the ball and running with it.”

On that civil war thing, consider the mercenaries. Record protest crowds expected to greet Donald Trump at his inauguration – “Take President-elect Donald Trump, add the rise of the professional protest class, and you’ve got a recipe for a record-shattering inauguration protest.” By Valerie Richardson – The Washington Times – Tuesday, January 17, 2017. The professional protest class has become prominent enough to attract scammers. Hoax ads in two dozen cities offered protesters up to $2,500 to agitate at Trump inaugural – “‘Dominic Tullipso’ prompts Fox host to laugh, say ‘this is performance art’.” Meanwhile, O’Keefe drops another video (DisruptJ20 Dramatically Scales Back Plans to Sabotage Inauguration After Project Veritas Sting) …

On the climate front, there is the ying and the yang. Richard W. Rahn describes the Bias, ignorance and reality in climate science – and why “Refusal to own up to the distortions of climate science is a costly mistake.” Then Seth Borenstein illustrates what Rahn was talking about by asserting Global warming could steal postcard-perfect weather days.

Trump Gores a Sacred Cow, and Liberals Lament – “The great Broom of Time recently swept away another failed ideology and political movement.” By Daniel L. Mallock

That the reaction of the Utopian Progressive Left is based upon anger, resentment, hatred, intolerance, and pique rather than logic is not important to them; it is a point that remains always unaddressed. Every political “dirty trick” that seems obviously a sham is accepted at face value, and bitter attacks built upon these false accusations immediately begin. The dizzying speed of the reactions, the overwhelmingly standardized nature of the talking points and commonly invoked yet faulty arguments, suggests a uniformity of thought more typical of an ideological movement or cult than of reasoned, cogent advocacy for a political candidate within a democratic open society.

Roger L Simon: The Real Reason John Lewis and Company Boycott the Inauguration – “When people “act out,” it’s often because a particularly raw nerve has been touched, some basic fear triggered.”

But that’s the surface of what’s really upsetting them, what the shrinks call the “presenting complaint.” Deep down it’s something else, something far more potent.

They’re afraid Donald Trump might actually succeed.

In a world where we often talk of disruptors in business, Trump is the ultimate political disruptor.

But the wound is too severe. Even devoid of a viable ideology, they fight on tooth and nail. Power itself has always been more important than what it stands for. The battle, as is clearly evident, is far from over.

To illustrate that point, John Merline: The Washington Post Takes Anti-Trump Bias To A New Level — 

The mainstream press loves to tell readers that it can be trusted because it employs professional journalists backed by layers of editors. Oh, and they’re all unbiased.

So how to explain a recent Washington Post headline, which manages both to misrepresent its own poll and expose the ridiculous extent to which its reporters and editors will go to bash President-elect Donald Trump?

Or, there’s this by John Kass: Trump, the media and a cure for hysteria.

So how about gigantic, five-gallon jugs chock-full of Prozac, or other such antidepressants, placed in every newsroom?

Because it should be clear by now that something is needed, since much of journalism leans to the political left, and that many of the left are beyond fear and hysterics over Trump.

And so, here’s the Democratic game: Delegitimize Trump even before his term begins, use outrage and media anger toward Trump to shovel it out to America, and shame anyone who dares say otherwise, to save those 10 senators running in the pro-Trump states.

So what do you do if your voters are getting itchy? You bind them with fear and anger.

Ace provides another example citing Mollie Hemingway and the Generals Leading the Intelligence Community’s War on a Duly Elected President. “A plausible answer, it seems to me, is that the media is protecting the sources it knows damn well are the leakers.”

Regarding the Manning commutation, see Jazz Shaw on The aftermath of the disgraceful Chelsea Manning commutation – “What’s of greater interest to me is the proper level of outrage being expressed over this blatant insult to the military, the intelligence community and the citizens of the nation. The New York Post provided a fairly good roundup of some of the initial reactions last night. Speaker Ryan was one of the first out of the gate.” Even Allahpundit picks up on this: “Sean Davis extracts the lesson here: “Giving classified info to Wikileaks is good as long as it only endangers national security and not Democrat careers.”

This isn’t the only one and the release of Gitmo terrorists is just another part of this story of Obama’s thinking about terrorism and treason. Consider also the commuting of the sentence of Oscar López Rivera, a former Chicago community organizer turned FALN terrorist. Andrew C. McCarthy explains The Damage Done to America by Manning … and Obama

Third, the degree to which Obama has wielded executive power in favor of America’s enemies and against his own political opponents and scapegoats is breathtaking.

But if you are Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative Obama critic, the Justice Department inflates an administrative violation into multiple felonies and aggressively advocates (thankfully, without success) for a stiff prison sentence. If you are a tea party group gearing up to fight Obama’s re-election, here comes the IRS. If you are “anti-Muslim video producer” Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and Obama needs a scapegoat for his derelictions in Benghazi, you end up in the slammer. If you are a deep-pocketed financial institution that Obama wants to make the culprit for the government-driven financial meltdown, or to raid so the radical left’s legion of “community organizers” can be funded, prepare to pony up a 9- or 10-figure “settlement.” If you are a police department, be ready to be scandalized as a practitioner of racially malicious enforcement. If you are Israel, brace for the “international outlaw” smear.

A standard defense for the current crop of Barack Obama’s pardon and commutation binge is that it is only about folks incarcerated for inoffensive drug possession or, perhaps, the awful racist U.S. injustice system. Jazz Shaw says The clemency train is ready to pull out from the station again and cites Heather Mac Donald at National Review [who] covered this [nonviolent criminal] problem last year.

For an example of the TDS vitriol, consider Rachel and her Truth in the Age of Trump – and this from a self professed ‘conservative’:

Quite apart from the security headaches, the road closures, and the not-inconsiderable prospect of violent demonstrations the day of, or the days after the event, the prospect of it filled me with disgust. I wanted to be far away from the pleasant city that is our national capital. Donald J. Trump has repeatedly revealed himself as a lying, crooked, narcissistic ignoramus, incapable of generous thoughts or deeds, indeed, incapable of seeing beyond himself at all. The idea of that man living in Lincoln’s house is nauseating.

But he is the President, so what is one to do? More particularly, what are conservative intellectuals to do?

The most important thing is to speak the truth, indeed, to become somewhat fanatical on the subject.

Perhaps a first step towards finding truth is to examine the basis of one’s own perceptions? The nausea is a clue that there is a problem in this area. You cannot speak truth until you find it. Blinded by hatred is no way to find the pathway to truth.

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1/13/2017: Greenwashing, Depths of depravity; Landmines; Bear Feed

Hank Campbell: ‘Local Control’ Is A Beard For Environmentalists Blocking Energy Progress – tactics of the left are getting better understood.

Lobbying for centralized control has clearly worked well for activists yet now those anti-science groups have taken to co-opting the local control concept too, knowing they defuse objection from a giant chunk of the public that believes in a more decentralized approach. Yet its intent is still nefarious, not beneficial, to those local citizens. Instead of wanting real local input, these groups seek to create a bureaucratic “patchwork” of local laws and incite demonstrations that will bog down any company doing business in individual communities because of cost-prohibitive customization.

That poor people invariably suffer the burden of higher costs for such ideology doesn’t factor into their equation.

These critics of energy are not really fans of local control, they are instead the opposite, they believe in absolute central control; the fewer politicians they have to lobby, the better. The last thing they want is the public thinking for themselves. And so local control is just a beard for their real agenda, which is raising money by scaring people – and denying the poor an affordable basic need so that they need to ask big centralized groups for help.

Landmines and Feeding the Russians: they go together. First up is an observation about landmines:

Krauthammer said, “I don’t want to impute a general conspiracy here, but it looks as if the Democrats, on their way out the door, are trying to leave behind as many landmines as they can to at least cast doubts on the legitimacy of the Trump victory. All of a sudden, as we have seen, they’ve gotten interested in Russian cyberwarfare, which the administration appeared to be extremely nonchalant about until they lost the November election. And now we’re going to have new investigations, meaning days and days of headlines about the other thing that Democrats attribute their loss to, meaning Comey’s action with 11 days to go, in which he reopened, as he said, the investigation. Many Democrats think that’s why they lost. Now, that would have faded into history. This is a way to say that it’s not going to, and it will remain there. I’m not sure this is the best way to ensure a good transition, one where you transfer not just the authority of office, but the legitimacy. But that seems to be what the Democrats want to do as they get out of power.”

Then there’s an observation.

During his confirmation hearing, Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) said he would observe the proper laws forbidding enhanced interrogation of terror suspects and affirmed that he believes Russia is a threat to the United States. He also noted, however, that attempts to undermine President-elect Donald Trump plays right into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But, of course, everybody does it – think the other side is delusional, that is. NYT: Allowing Guns for Self-Defense in Unsecured Airport Areas Is ‘Delusional’ – they use a “debunked Harvard researcher David Hemenway” but Fake News™ goes along with manufactured research.

On January 12, nearly one week after a suspect gunned down unarmed, defenseless travelers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, the New York Times argues that allowing law-abiding citizens to be armed for self-defense in unsecured areas of airports is “delusional.”

In other words, the contention that concealed carry permit holders would shoot back and stop the attack rather than collapse in fear and cry like children is crazy.

For a contrast to the view of the NYT, consider AWR Hawkins report: Armed Citizen Intervenes, Kills Suspect Beating AZ State Trooper on Roadside – “On January 12, an armed citizen stopped and killed a man who was beating an Arizona State Trooper on the side of I-10.”

Californicated Nevada is chipping in on the police pigs painting brouhaha. Andrew Craft: Dem reps want senator statue removed from Capitol over ‘xenophobia’ claims – This is rather ‘special’ as the statue was a project of Harry Reid. But who cares? That was then but now there’s a war on – for Democrats, at least. What they tear down is of little concern no matter what it is as long as it’s fodder for the current campaign against the evil opposition. Depths of depravity, anyone?

Nevada Reps. Dina Titus, Ruben Kihuen and Jacky Rosen raised their objections in a letter to Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval. The request amounts to the latest battle over artwork on Capitol grounds, amid an ongoing and separate dispute over a student painting that portrays police officers as pigs.

McCarran served as a Democratic senator from 1933–1954 and was influential in promoting the advancement of aviation. Las Vegas’s international airport is named after him. He also was an ardent anti-communist and sponsored legislation enacting a quota on immigrants and was one of a few Democrats to oppose FDR’s New Deal program.

On the pauper president front is the report Chaffetz calls on ethics head to testify day after chief criticized Trump – ““I want to talk about the whole department,” Chaffetz said in an interview. “Mr. Shaub has taken a very aggressive stance on issues he’s never looked at. He’s raised a bunch of eyebrows.” Republican eyebrows, maybe, but that’s because a supposedly non-partisan bureaucrat is pushing a party line without any rationale or even any inspection of the issues. In this particular case we also have the usual behaviors:  “the congressman said Shaub refused to meet”; the ‘never enough from a Republican; silence on blatant issues of a Democrat; blaming revenge and evil Republicans (“political retaliation”).

Valerie Richardson picks up on what can be expected based on what has been put on the stage so far: Democrats hunker down for ‘permanent opposition’ to Donald Trump presidency – “For those stunned to see Tuesday’s Senate confirmation hearing disrupted by shouts, chants and protesters dressed as Ku Klux Klan members: Get used to it.”

“You’re going to have a permanent opposition, sort of a combination of the news media and the Elizabeth Warren hard left, and they’re going to attack every single day and they’re going to find something to attack all the time,” Mr. Gingrich said on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Nobody expects the losing party to celebrate after a presidential race, but political analysts say the postelection frenzy of fundraising, war rooms, protests and social media hysteria represents an alarming departure from the traditional stoic acceptance of years past.

“A democracy only works if the factions, the divisions are done peacefully and resolved peacefully, and compromises are made,” Mr. Horowitz said. “There’s a honeymoon after the election in which the losing party defends the legitimacy of the election result. That’s why we’ve had peace since the Civil War in this country.”

“The longer they go without coming to grips about what has happened over the last eight years with respect to the dissolution of the Democrat Party as a national party,” Mr. McKenna said, “that’s not good for anyone.”

Fixating on Mr. Trump also prevents Democrats from promoting a positive message for voters, especially if he winds up scoring policy victories early on in his administration.

“His job is to produce for the American people,” Mr. Gingrich said, “and frankly, to the degree that the Democrats decay into just being the anti-Trump party, they will keep themselves in the minority a long time.”

On that ‘civil war’ meme, read Thomas Lifson on Why the left hates Trump so intensely.

The intensity of the hatred for a newly elected president faced by Donald Trump is equaled only by the reaction of the Confederacy to the election of Abraham Lincoln. That ended up in civil war, a precedent that one hopes will not be equaled. But there has been a remarkable fury at people who do not shun Trump:

A useful perspective is to regard this as a religious conflict. Cults behave exactly the way the left is behaving when a member leaves the fold.

The real racists are showing that bending over backwards to accommodate them is fruitless. Seth McLaughlin: Congressional Black Caucus prepares for new role as ultimate Capitol Hill outsider – it’s called self segregation by irrational ideology that defies reality. It is condemned in that it is such a homogeneous racial group that 90% vote the same way. Going after Sessions with false allegations and stunning breaches of custom does not help their cause. Neither does insistence on choosing the police as antagonists despite the witness of reality.

Founded in 1971 by 13 members of the House, the caucus now has 49 members, including two in the Senate: Mr. Booker and Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California.

The organization is perhaps the most powerful force within House Democrats, with its members holding an outsized share of ranking posts on committees.

That is partly because of seniority. The districts of many black lawmakers are protected under civil rights laws.

It is a protected and coddled minority. Just watch TV advertisements. You’d think more than half the country was a part of this racial group and they were all solid middle class families. That’s propaganda as well as coddling. Or consider this: Lady Liberty Portrayed as Woman of Color for 1st Time on US Currency. ‘Never far enough’ is typical for the Left.

As for the Senate Cabinet Nomination hearings, There is Corey Booker busting Senate custom with inane and racist bias, Kamala Harris working on climate and LGBT issues as priorities for the CIA, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s obsessing about anything HUD could do that might possibly benefit anything tainted by Trump in any way. By comparison with these senators, the nominees are looking like adults in a room full of children.

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1/4/2017: Media noose, Trump tactics, Democrat behavior, Techie moral preening, and Adieu to academia

Ken Blackwell: A media noose for Jeff Sessions – “He’s a white son of the South and that’s enough to justify a lynching.”

There’s only one reason why large news organizations invest so much time, energy and money — they sent reporters to Alabama, each of whom spent a week there — to do these biased stories, and it’s time someone said what it is. The reason is because someone, somewhere, deep down doesn’t believe a white man from Alabama should be the attorney general of the United States.

That’s every bit as racist as saying a black man from Chicago shouldn’t be president of the United States.

The anti-white, anti-southern racist obsession with which media organizations have pursued Mr. Sessions is a sign they have learned nothing from the presidential campaign, where we all witnessed their all-out opposition to Donald Trump.

Ace has more on this citing several other columns: This Is How the Media Dies: Not With a Bang But a Whine.

And he’s of course definitely right. The media are acting viciously and defensively precisely because they are defending the territory they’ve claimed for themselves by pissing all over the outskirts of it. They will not abide a challenge nor a chastening; they intend to “win” the argument they’ve been having for 40 years with 300 million Americans.

They won’t, but no one accepts a downward change in status gracefully and without embarrassing spectacle.

Thomas Lifson: House GOP capitulation to Trump ethics tweet is a really big deal – the key here is how direct outreach created influence that could not be ignored.

A Trump tweet was sufficient to generate thousands off outraged calls to members’ offices, an avalanche so potent that no politician would dare ignore it. In short order, like burglars caught in a powerful searchlight, they scuttled the plan and hoped that the whole thing would go away.

This is a reality that makes a good comparison and contrast with Jason Willick at A Leftist Who Gets It – (beware that American Interest is greedy and disrespectful of readers). This might also be considered projection in light of the manner of operation of the Obama administration.

The sophisticated case for optimism about a Trump presidency is that his unconventional political style and force of personality can break the cycle of stagnation and decay. But there is also a real danger that Trump’s hard-to-deny authoritarian impulses, operating against an exhausted political establishment and decaying political institutions, could pave the way for something much worse: A more personalistic style of politics, in which elites negotiate with one another for power and wealth unconstrained by the rule of law. This type of competitive authoritarianism seems to be on the rise all over the world.

Kurt Schlichter: For Democrats, 2017 Will Be The Year of Living Stupidly – predicting the future is usually an indicator of someone gone off the edge. That is when the prediction is based on questionable perception rather than a short extrapolation of current reality. Schlichter’s prediction shows both. It takes the current ‘off the edge’ predictions of the left and makes its own predictions extrapolating from there.

As 2016 ends, progressives enter the new year terrified that Donald Trump will continue to run circles around them, and their epic meltdown is only going to get more epically meltdownier. They’ve been shrill, stupid, and annoying for the last two months, but brace yourself for the next 12. Fear is going to make them go nuts – not the fear that Trump will be a failure, but the gut-wrenching, mind-numbing fear that Donald Trump will be a success.

The left is going to keep freaking out, and it may take well beyond the next 12 months for these losers to realize that it’s just not working, that they have hit bottom yet continued to dig.

We can expect more nonsense along these lines. Everything Trump does will draw howls of anguish. Courageous hashtags like #TheResistance will spread across Twitter. The traditional media will whine all the way down as it falls towards irrelevance. And Trump will march on, heedless of his critics. 2017 has the potential to be awesome.

Gerald K. McOscar: Let Democrats be Democrats – “The two camps are divided as much by opposing worldviews as by opposing political views.”

It is liberals, Ivy League-credentialed, sophisticated, tolerant, open-minded stewards of received wisdom and “settled” science, who are most impervious to facts and resistant to change. Ironically, these putative descendants of Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason function in a world distorted, like a funhouse mirror, by emotion at the expense of reason.

With these respective worlds, so far apart, there is little room for critical thought or intelligent discourse. Mr. Trump will never reach détente with his critics. Thus, he has nothing to lose by doing precisely what he promised if elected.

Cooler heads in the liberal camp have suggested that Democrats stop pointing fingers. They have suggested several ways for their allies to tack closer to reality: stop being insufferable know-it-alls, venture beyond the east coast-west coast liberal echo chambers and extend a hand to folks in flyover country, attempt to give opponents the benefit of the doubt.

Napoleon said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

Republicans should pray without ceasing that Democrats continue to be Democrats.

More on this line by Ed Morrissey: Schumer: Trump better pick a mainstream Supreme Court nominee, or else. As Morrissey notes, the Democrats have made their bed with the Biden principles of 1992 and the Reid assaults on minority protections. They are now facing having to lie in the bed they made.

Then there’s Tyler O’Neil on 7 Desperate Liberal Lies About Trump’s Education Pick Betsy DeVos – the Senate Majority Leader is pointing out the contrast to how Republicans treated Obama’s nominees, too. And that doesn’t even get into the ‘dead wrong’ which so often typifies the Democrat’s attacks (Think Reid on the Senate Floor and his comments about Romney).

Every time President-elect Donald Trump names a cabinet pick, liberals have a field day— how can they paint a Trump pick as racist, elitist, extremist, and all-around evil? These attacks reached a fever pitch against Trump’s selection for secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. … Here are seven attacks liberals launched against her, and explanations of why they are dead wrong.

How about Fake News™ with motive? From an IBT editorial: The Russian Election Hacking Case Is Getting Murkier.

Jeffrey Carr, writing for the liberal site The Intercept, also blasted the DHS/FBI report, saying that it “adds nothing to the call for evidence that the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC.”

He goes on to say that “this entire assignment of blame against the Russian government is looking more and more like a domestic political operation run by the White House that relied heavily on questionable intelligence generated by a for-profit cybersecurity firm with a vested interest.”

Added to these concerns is the fact that the mainstream press has been incredibly irresponsible in reporting on Russian actions during the election campaign.

All we do know is that Democrats — from President Obama on down — have an obvious vested interest in blaming Russia, even if there’s little actual evidence to support those accusations.

Jazz Shaw: Facebook’s fight against court issued warrants – he picks up on the moral preening absurdities in the techie community.

What Facebook is doing here is not protecting the privacy of their customers. It’s obstruction of justice. And their insistence on telling the suspects that the government was interested in their postings goes a step further since it could easily be considered aiding and abetting them in escaping prosecution if they immediately went back and deleted any old posts which might have related to Social Security fraud.

Between this and the fight with Apple over phone encryption, the modern tech sector has gotten completely out of hand. Simply owning control of the access to user data doesn’t make one exempt from the law and the government should be asking questions about Facebook at this point, not just the alleged criminals they may be providing cover for.

Steven Hayward: Judith Curry Bids Adieu To Academia – Why? She says: “The deeper reasons have to do with my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists.” It’s time for another venue, one that isn’t so hidebound, bigoted, and leftist.

Betsy McCaughey: Why Medicare isn’t actually going bankrupt – some interesting factoids with implications on future planning.

Medicare spending on end-of-life care is dropping rapidly, down from 19 percent to 13 percent of the Medicare budget since 2000. … in truth, disability and chronic illness are declining among the elderly. … Scientists call this overall improvement in aging “compression of morbidity.” The elderly live longer, stay healthier and have shorter illnesses at the end of life.

The US Preventive Services Task Force … guidelines alarmingly resemble those of Britain, where patients over 75 are routinely denied knee replacements, mastectomies and other surgeries. It’s a slippery slope.

Medicaid spending now is nearing $8,000 per recipient. That’s thousands more than is spent on people in private plans. And for all that money, studies show Medicaid isn’t improving patients’ health.

By contrast, Medicare is a success story. It has transformed aging, enabling older Americans to lead longer, more independent lives than our grandparents did. The average man turning 65 today will live five years longer than in 1970. Not just more years. Quality years. What a gift.

And reports are that Obama has started putting troops in position facing Russia – yet it is Trump they worry about? It is going to be an interesting year.

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PotPourri Thursday 29 December 2016

Too many air passengers fly with phony support pets, critics say  by Jennifer Dixon , Detroit Free Press

How do airlines know whether these pets are true service animals and not impostors wearing an official-looking vest bought online for $39.99? The answer is, they don’t. Critics say many travelers claim their pets are service or emotional support animals because they don’t want to pay for them to travel.

“The law is so ambiguous the airlines don’t know what side to come down on. Everyone is afraid of the ramifications of not allowing someone equal access,” Haneline said.

He said blind people fought hard to get public access for their dogs, and that right is “diluted” by a proliferation of questionable service and support pets.

“It’s the Wild West,” Haneline said. “Animals are much more connected to our daily lives, and the last thing people want to do is put their dog into a pet carrier and put them in the hold of an airplane. This is kind of an easy way to (avoid that) without paying.”

13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful

”Somebody once told me the definition of hell: “On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” — Anonymous

“Sometimes, to become successful, and get closer to the person we can become, we don’t need to add more things, we need to give up on some of them.

“There are certain things that are universal, which, if you give up on them, you will be successful, even though each one of us could have a different definition of success.”

The photograph at the top of the essay looks like it might have come out of SierraNevadaAirstreams.org

Fact Checking John Kerry, the Man who Knows Everything but Understands Nothing by David Israel

“There’s something almost religious in Kerry’s repetition of the 2-state mantra, in the face of so much failure. It reminds one of the devout Communists of years past, who rejected the examples of Communism’s path of repression, violence and economic failure, arguing that in a place like the Soviet Union it wasn’t done right. If only its principles were applied the way Marx and Engels had intended them to be, you’d see…

“There are, in fact, many competing ideas, with their strengths and weaknesses, which claim to achieve the goal of resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict in an equitable manner – ideas John Kerry rejected out of hand Wednesday night, like a true believer.”

You can apply this observation to a whole raft of issues such as climate alarmism, too.

Fury as Charlie Sheen says Trump should be the next celebrity to die prompting backlash from web users calling him a ‘scumbag’ and a ‘useless cockroach’

It appears that a lot of folks are taking note of hypocritical depravity. The DailyMail.co.uk also has a list of celebrity deaths in 2016, almost fifty of them.

Ace notes another Obama goodbye: On Way Out the Door, Obama Administration Changes Rule So That Now Those Who Receive SSI Payments Will be Categorized Officially as “Mental Defectives” and Thus Flagged on Gun-Purchase Background Checks as Ineligible to Buy Guns – need to check into that to make sure it’s not Fake News™ but it does fit patterns. Jazz Shaw also notes Another 1.5M acre federal land grab: “These eleventh hour moves are becoming tedious and repetitive at this point … There was a time when we didn’t need to worry about “undoing” these sorts of actions. That’s because previous presidents acted on the honor system, exercising restraint and not attempting to bend the rules in order to advance their own agenda. Sadly, those days are gone.” Allahpundit adds a few more: “Obama has tried to “permanently” ban offshore drilling in certain parts of the Arctic and Atlantic and he ordered the dismantling of the NSEERS registry for visitors from terror countries, which Trump has talked of reviving. The biggest box-in, of course, is the review Obama has commissioned of Russian hacking operations during the election and the reprisals he’s planning (or has already ordered), both of which will make it harder for Trump politically to make nice with Putin next year. For all the nice-nice talk between the outgoing administration and the incoming one, Team O is doing what it can to screw Team Trump.” And, of course, Allahpundit has to show his TDS with an everyone does it logical fallacy: “But it goes both ways, too.”

John Sexton takes on a new idea for what Obama is leaving behind and notes the denial and tactics of the Democrats in Hey, maybe Obama should use recess appointments to pack the courts before leaving office

“What’s interesting about this article is that it seems to perfectly encapsulate a common line of thinking on the left these days. It goes like this: Republicans have violated all the norms and Democrats have held back and played by the rules. And this, some add, is why Democrats always lose.

“Needless to say, this is not quite how things have gone. The passage of Obamacare via reconciliation, the decision to use the nuclear option, the Senate Majority leaders lies about Mitt Romney’s taxes, the aforementioned “recess appointments” to the Labor Relations Board, the President’s unprecedented expansion of prosecutorial discretion under DACA, his kill list and use of drones against U.S. citizens, the payment of subsidies to insurers despite a requirement to make payments to the Treasury. Not to mention the Democrat-led attempts to request a blanket pardon for “dreamers,” to rally faithless electors to attempt to change the outcome of the election and to demand a special classified briefing for electors—all of which took place in the last month. Granted those last three didn’t work out but not for lack of trying.”

Roger Kimball takes a look at The Wages of Trump Derangement Syndrome:

“By now we have a bulging dossier of absurdity, a folder that would put a frown on the face of any mental-health professional. The incontinent displays of anger, anguish, and apocalyptic melodrama are evidence of a serious derangement. And the fact that the entire performance takes place in an unctuous jelly of narcissistic self-absorption makes one fear for the sanity of a large swathe of the privileged class.

“More and more, we doubt not just the explanations and rationalizations and imprecations and animadversions directed at the phenomenon of Donald Trump’s election. The scales have fallen from our eyes and we find that we don’t care about almost anything they have to say about any subject. That subtle unspoken contract of implicit trust — between news providers and news consumers, between pedagogues and students, between experts and the rest of us — that bond has been broken, that trust shattered.”

At Climate Depot is How To Tell Who’s Lying To You in Climate Debate: ‘Same method used by judges & juries’:

“If you are a reasonably intelligent person, and you are willing to spend a few hours on an issue, there is a very workable method to discern which side of a debate is not playing straight with you. This method is the same method generally used by judges and juries in deciding which side is going to win a trial. The method is this: look to which side has and provides the best answers to the hard questions posed by the other side. If one side refuses to answer hard questions, or is evasive, or refuses to provide the underlying methodology by which it came up with its answers, then that side has a problem. And rightfully so.

“I’ll give just a few examples of this phenomenon relevant to the climate change issue.”

“Real, honest scientists would gladly provide the full, unedited computer code that made the adjustments, and would answer any questions that would help an independent researcher to replicate the results.”

Victor Davis Hanson describes Fifteen Easy Ways to Ruin the Middle East :

President Obama had lots of choices in Middle East. Unfortunately he made all the wrong ones, guided by pop ideology rather than unwelcome facts on the ground. The result is chaos at best and millions dead or displaced at worst. It didn’t have to be this way. Here are 15 turning points since 2009. There is one common theme: bombastic self-serving declarations coupled with weak or nonexistent concrete follow-ups — all in a weird landscape of punishing friends and empowering enemies.

We do live in interesting times!

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Climate Conspiracy: bonkers? or may you’re not paranoid if they are really after you

This is a guest essay by Leo Goldstein at WWUT: The Command & Control Center of Climate Alarmism.

As one environmental activist explained it to me, “climate change isn’t just an issue anymore, it’s the issue, a meta-issue for everything we work on” (Interview, Danish 92 Group, 2009).

Starting in 1989, these organizations came together to form a coalition: the Climate Action Network (CAN). CAN was founded as a vehicle for transnational coordination among sixty-three organizations. … Much of CAN’s efforts promoted the work of the IPCC and helped establish its centrality in the international climate regime. … In fact, CAN consolidated its coalition structure during this period [1990’s] by creating a high-level political group to facilitate policy and strategic coordination among member groups.

Central to CAN’s advocacy has been the idea that member organizations must “speak with one voice” to influence the international negotiations.

… the members are organized in a top-down fashion, like military units, not volunteer organizations.

America is specifically targeted, and the new enemy perceives our Constitutional political system with its “separation of powers and weak political parties” as a weakness to be exploited, apparently repeating mistakes of America’s past enemies.

… explains its ability to forcibly spread a perfectly synchronized message, despite its internal inconsistencies, disagreements with high school science, and frequent flip-flops in response to shifting international alliances and focus group research results.

… The presence of front groups, which often pop up from nowhere and catapult to the focus of media attention, is another telltale sign.

… CAN was founded in 1989, but it took about a decade and a half for climate alarmism to become the main ideological glue for multiple transnational and international groups. Accordingly, the consolidation of power into the hands of a few has been happening gradually.

… Centralized financing of climate alarmism goes hand-in-hand with centralized command & control. Today, most climate alarmism money comes from the public sectors of the US and EU. In the past, the EGA was a large factor. Money from the primary sources is laundered and transferred between climate alarmism units in various ways. The following tables are from an official legal complaint in 5:16-cv-211-C, verified under penalty of perjury.

Interesting that after reading a WW II battle story centered on the Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (OODA) loop, I see a similar analysis about climate alarmism. Goldsteing offers Observation in response to a propaganda campaign. He is up against ‘the incredible claim needs incredible evidence’ axiom. That particular axiom tends to be used as a weapong by the propagandists and alarmists yet Goldstein appears to be up to the challenge no matter how ridiculous it gets.

This should also be considered in light of the Steyn v Mann free speech court case and how that is being twisted. One of the factors in that case was the email message leak that did show collusion if not outright conspiracy.

The facts about the Emporer’s New Clothes are becoming known. That may produce results.

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The Apollo Astronauts on Christmas

It’s Instapundit as the source is behind a Wall Street Journal obnoxious wall.

It happened on Christmas Eve, 48 years ago. Three men took turns reading from the first 10 verses of the Book of Genesis. They were nearly 250,000 miles away from Bethlehem, but since it was the night before Christmas, and there was no chimney from which to hang their stockings, the three astronauts inside the Apollo 8 capsule orbiting the moon thought it would be appropriate. So as Jim Lovell,Frank Borman and Bill Anders looked at the faraway Earth through the small window of the spacecraft, they read the verses: “In the beginning, God made the heavens and the Earth.”

Their distant-sounding voices from far beyond our atmosphere were broadcast live to the whole planet that night over radio and television. It was one of those moments that brought the world together, that helped us to see our common humanity as children of God whom he loves equally, and whom he placed on the beautiful planet that he made.

Seven months after this extraordinary event, in July 1969, another NASA spacecraft, Apollo 11, carried two astronauts to the surface of the moon itself. One of them, Commander Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, thought he might do something similar to mark what was certainly an epochal moment in the history of our race.

After the Eagle had landed and he and Neil Armstrong sat in the Lunar Module, Mr. Aldrin said this over the radio:

“This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.”

He then ended radio communication and there, on the silent surface of the moon, read a Bible verse, and took communion. For reasons he explains in his own account, none of this was made public until Mr. Aldrin wrote about it in Guideposts magazine the following year:

“In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup.”

Then Mr. Aldrin read Jesus’ words from the Gospel of John: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.” He explained that he had wanted to read this over the radio back to Earth, but at the last minute NASA asked him not to because the agency was in a legal battle with the outspoken atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair. As it happened, she was suing over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis on Christmas Eve. And that of course is why so few people have heard of this amazing story.

I sometimes wonder what’s more amazing, this story—or the fact that so few people know about it.

Even back then, the effort was to quash Christians and everything they stand for. This year, there is a bit of pushback. Merry Christmas is back in vogue and those who want to silence such words and what they represent are getting heat. A stolen Nativity scene was replace by people placing empty cribs in its place.  The spirit and message of Christ is still in hearts and minds and expression.

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Free Speech vs Climate Alarmists

Jonathan H. Adler provides a good overview of the situation as Making Defamation Law Great Again: Michael Mann’s suit may continue.

While a direct accusation of scientific fraud may be actionable — particularly when made against a non-public figure — challenges to scientific conclusions and interpretations of scientific studies are clearly protected by the First Amendment. So are erroneous interpretations of scientific conclusions and — particularly relevant here — criticisms of the conclusions of investigatory bodies.

In refusing to dismiss claims against Steyn and Simberg, the D.C. Court of Appeals placed tremendous weight on the fact that Penn State and other institutions investigated Mann and did not find evidence of academic misconduct. Yet it is the alleged inadequacy of Penn State’s investigation that was the focus of the very posts at issue.

It cannot be that once some official body has conducted an investigation of an individual’s conduct, that further criticism of that individual, including criticism that expressly questions the thoroughness or accuracy of the investigatory body, is off limits. … The court’s approach is particularly problematic here because both Simberg and Steyn offered reasoned (if also intemperate) explanations for why they did not credit the investigations and why they believed that these investigations failed to uncover the misconduct they believe occurred. Yet according to the court, the existence of these investigations could be sufficient for a jury to find, by “clear and convincing evidence,” that they acted with actual malice.

Mark Steyn calls it a Walking in a Legal Wonderland.

Santa has come early and left a lump of coal in my stocking

I was not a party to the appeal, mainly because I’d concluded – after spending the autumn of 2013 listening to two trial judges issuing competing rulings on the same case – that the DC courts were a proceduralist swamp and we might as well move straight to trial. That view of DC’s dysfunction was subsequently confirmed by the lethargy of the Court of Appeals. A month before the appeal’s third anniversary, the court has now issued a very belated ruling as a Christmas Eve news dump. You can read the full order here.

The takeaway is that Mann’s suit against National Review editor (and my old boss) Rich Lowry has been dismissed, but those against me and Rand Simberg will proceed

You won’t be surprised to hear that I disagree with their ladyships. The “sufficient evidence” Dr Mann has supplied are a series of mendacious claims to have been “investigated” and “exonerated” by multiple Anglo-American bodies that did, in fact, do neither.

So I was right not to bother with this proceduralist bollocks

The purpose of the whole sclerotic racket of American jurisprudence is to obstruct up-and-down trials with a nice clean guilty/not-guilty final score, and instead bury the thing in proceduralist flimflammery only the experts can follow.

Then there’s this in another Mark Stetn post

Spot on. It reminds me of the old joke about the procedure for separating the sane from the insane, back when there were “mental asylums” and society tried to keep crazy people inside them instead of running the country.

The intake assessment involved giving each patient a mop and bucket, then locking them in a room and slowly flooding it with water.

As the water level rose, the insane went to work with the mop and bucket.

The sane located the valve and turned off the water.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Rick Darby

Then there’s Greg Laden: Michael Mann Wins Court Decision (Updated with statement by Mann)

The brief version is this: Mann sued the National Review and others over defamation. That’s a good suit and he’ll probably eventually win it. Climate science deniers have been trying to paint that as a frivolous suit for years, but it isn’t.

This is the sixth out of six decisions that have come down in favor of science

What gets interesting in that is the idea that using the logical fallacies of appeal to authority and ‘vox populi’ (many voices) are good science. The authority is the one that was subject to questioning by Steyn that prompted the lawsuit and the many voices is the “decisions” referenced.

This history condemns both the judicial system and the science establishment by illustrating how a lawsuit can be used to bully opposition and how reason and intellectual integrity can be tossed aside for political ideology.

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Understanding idolatry in science

Thomas P. Sheahen picks up on Idolatry in Science. He starts with a previous Pope (the current one is not helpful in these matters).

One of the enduring controversies over the years has been the purported conflict between science and religion. An alternate view is that religion and science are complimentary paths to knowledge, not opponents at all.

Pope John Paul II, circa 1987: “Science can purify religion from error and superstition; Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.”

there is a remarkably concise definition of idolatry: “confusing your own concept (or model or image) with the actual reality.”

Whether in Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism or any other religion, that’s a pretty clear warning not to think that your own understanding of God is fully accurate.

The factor that saved physics is the predominance of observational data over theory. Richard Feynman’s famous quote is taught to every grad student: “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”

Sheahen gets stuck on “A large majority are convinced that this model represents nature perfectly” when talking about scientists and accepted theories. He brings in physicists on classical mechanics and biologists as evolution as his foil. In doing this, he weakens his argument. He would do better to after the quacks who don’t understand quantum mechanics and the creationists who don’t understand evolution. Both of these theories do adhere to “actual reality” within a scope that a proper scientist understands and the engineer or technician that creates innovations based on these theories accommodates. 

The key here is idolatry and climate alarmism is one effort to rationalize an idol with a science brand. It is too bad that the author weakens his argument by trying to impugn actual science with religious dissonance. John Paul II describes how science and religion can hold each other to account and that is a fundamental reason why Western Cultures were able to build on both. The message goes both ways: if you disdain science because of religion or disdain religion because of science, you also disdain the accountability needed for human intellectual growth.

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Tactics

Exposure and analysis is a good way to learn. That is why it is good to see tactics, especially dishonest tactics, being discussed. Francis Menton provides an example in The Impending Collapse Of The Global Warming Scare.

If you want fundraising in the billions rather than the thousands, you need a good end-of-days, sin-and-redemption scare. Human-caused global warming is your answer!

Even as this scare has advanced, a few lonely voices have warned that the radical environmentalists were taking the movement out onto a precarious limb.

Now, enter President-elect Trump. During the campaign, as with many issues, it was hard to know definitively where Trump stood.

So, was he proposing business-as-usual with a few tweaks, or would we see a thorough-going reversal of Obama’s extreme efforts to control the climate by fossil fuel restrictions?

With the recently announced appointments, this is starting to come very much into focus.

So what can we predict about where the climate scare is going? Among members of the environmental movement, when their heads stop exploding, there are plenty of predictions that this will be terrible for the United States: … I see it differently. I predict a high likelihood of substantial collapse of the global warming movement, both domestically and internationally, over the course of the next couple of years.

EPA is supposedly where that science is vetted and approved on behalf of the public before being turned into policy. In fact, under Obama, EPA’s principal role on the “science” has been to prevent and stifle any debate or challenge to global warming orthodoxy.

essentially all prominent global warming alarmists refuse to debate anyone who challenges any aspect of their orthodoxy. Well, that has worked as long as they and their allies have controlled all of the agencies and all of the money. Now, it will suddenly be put up or shut up.

Now the backers of the global warming alarm will not only be called upon to debate, but will face the likelihood of being called before a highly skeptical if not hostile EPA to answer all of the hard questions that they have avoided answering for the last eight years.

If the multi-tens-of-billions per year funding gusher for global warming alarmism quickly dries up, the large majority of the people living on these handouts will have no choice but to go and find something productive to do.

Avoidance of debate is a tactic. Failing to show cause when called upon to do so by proper authority is a tactic. Calling those who disagree with you names is a tactic. 

It appears that these tactics are being exposed and the parties involved are being called to account. Let the debate, the actual debate, begin!

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A proper defense is being requested

There were two items in the blogs this morning regarding the inspection of methods and practice in governmental science. One was about a legal aid society formed to assist climatologists with harrassment, especially in regards to FOIA requests. That was worded in a neutral way but it was clear that the focus was on establishment, government funded, scientists being harrassed by idiots. It did provide good advice about keeping records, separating personal and public records properly, and following laws regarding disclosure and transparency.

The second item illustrates the fact gathering approach of the Trump transition team. Kate cites The Trump transition team has issued a list of 74 questions for the Energy Department

The questionnaire requests a list of those individuals who have taken part in international climate talks over the past five years and “which programs within DOE are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.”

[…] The document spanned a broad area of Energy Department activities, including its loan program, its technology research program, responses to Congress, estimates of offshore wind and cleanup of uranium at a site once used by the military for weapons research.

One question zeroed in on the issue of the “social cost of carbon,” a way of calculating the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions. The transition team asked for a list of department employees or contractors who attended interagency meetings, the dates of the meetings, and e-mails and other materials associated with them.

Another question appeared to delve deeply into the mechanisms behind scientific tools called “integrated assessment models,” which scientists use to forecast future changes to the climate and energy system. It also asked what the Energy Department considers to be “the proper equilibrium climate sensitivity,” which is a way researchers calculate how much the planet will eventually warm, depending upon the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

“My guess is that they’re trying to undermine the credibility of the science that DOE has produced, particularly in the field of climate science,” said Rob Jackson, a Stanford climate and energy researcher.

“With physics.”

A fundamental responsibility of a scientist is to teach. That is different from preach. A good teacher explains why something is the way it is, how the understanding developed, what assumptions are involved, the accuracy and precision of the measures and their influence on conclusions, and the logic and reasoning chains behind conclusions. This is what science is all about: learning through rigorous means that can be passed on to others who will test its credibility and strength by building on that learning.

Both of these items are asking for proper teaching. Both illustrate that there has been a lot of resistance to this scientific responsibility. A change is in the wind and a proper defense of ideas is being requested. It is time for establishment, government funded, scientists to step up to their responsibilities.

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Creating reality by innuendo and allegation: Russian Spies!

More on the Fake News(tm) in efforts to build a reality to rationalize, excuse, and explain: Glenn Greenwald describes that the Anonymous Leaks to the WashPost About the CIA’s Russia Beliefs Are No Substitute for Evidence.

(1) Nobody has ever opposed investigations to determine if Russia hacked these emails, nor has anyone ever denied the possibility that Russia did that. The source of contention has been quite simple: No accusations should be accepted until there is actual convincing evidence to substantiate those accusations.

There is still no such evidence for any of these claims. What we have instead are assertions, disseminated by anonymous people, completely unaccompanied by any evidence, let alone proof. As a result, none of the purported evidence — still — can be publicly seen, reviewed, or discussed. Anonymous claims leaked to newspapers about what the CIA believes do not constitute proof, and certainly do not constitute reliable evidence that substitutes for actual evidence that can be reviewed. Have we really not learned this lesson yet?

(2) The reasons no rational person should blindly believe anonymous claims of this sort — even if it is pleasing to believe such claims — should be obvious by now.

Many of those incidents demonstrate, as hurtful as it is to accept, that these agencies even lie when there’s a Democrat overseeing the executive branch. Even in those cases when they are not deliberately lying, they are often gravely mistaken. Intelligence is not a science, and attributing hacks to specific sources is a particularly difficult task, almost impossible to carry out with precision and certainty.

Beyond that, what makes claims from anonymous sources so especially dubious is that their motives cannot be assessed.

Most important of all, the more serious the claim is — and accusing a nuclear-armed power of directly and deliberately interfering in the U.S. election in order to help the winning candidate is about as serious as a claim can get — the more important it is to demand evidence before believing it.

This last is fundamental: The more significant the finding the stronger its support needs to be. Whether it is Reid’s claims about Romney’s taxes or the claims of climate alarmists or even the “irredeemable basket of deplorables” or the idea that money alone will buy an election or a politician, the support needs to match the claim. That is why “no rational person” should buy into claims such as ‘the Russians did it.’

Did the Russians hack into Democrats computer systems to feed Wikileaks? Did the Russians hack into voting machines to tilt the election? Did either of these phenomena change the outcome? We know that Podesta was ‘hacked’ by a common social engineering trick. We know that Clinton bypassed established security protocols in communications. We know that there are many thousands of voting machines of many different types that are not susceptible to a common point of attack and also that the voting results do not show any anomalies to support distortions in the vote. 

But it is easy to borrow from the Cold War fears and say “The Russians Did It!” and feel comfortable that a loss was not due to a failed candidate despite sinking massive campaign spending on trying to prove otherwise. Finding blame doesn’t solve problems and the outcome of the election appears to be, more than anything else, an expression of frustration that problems were not being solved or even properly addressed. It is rational to try something different when one approach isn’t working and that is what the electorate did, Russians or no.

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psychology of belief

The context is a Canadian Journal and LGBT activism and the topic is free speech. ‘We’re teaching university students lies’ – An interview with Dr Jordan Peterson by Jason Tucker and Jason VandenBeukel on December 1, 2016. There are many ideas and they are rather scattered as in the nature of a conversation. Another celebrity case concerning free speech in Canada is that of Mark Stein’s. While the U.S. is in the bullying stage on this, Canada appears to be one step further along. Dr. Peterson is on the receiving end, too, and here is a sampler of some of his thoughts.

My primary interest has always been the psychology of belief. … I was particularly interested in what led people to commit atrocities in service of their belief.

what I was learning in economics and political science was just not correct. There was too much emphasis placed on the idea that economic interests were the prime motivators for human beings, and that was not obvious to me at all. I was spending a lot of time thinking about the Cold War, and the Cold War was not primarily an economic issue.

One of Jung’s propositions was that whatever a person values most highly is their god. If people think they are atheistic, it means is they are unconscious of their gods.

I’ve learned that you cannot remember what you don’t understand. People don’t understand the Holocaust, and they don’t understand what happened in Russia.

Part of the reason I got embroiled in this [gender identity] controversy was because of what I know about how things went wrong in the Soviet Union. Many of the doctrines that underlie the legislation that I’ve been objecting to share structural similarities with the Marxist ideas that drove Soviet Communism.

The thing is if you replace compassion with resentment, then you understand the authoritarian left. They don’t have compassion, there is no compassion there. There’s no compassion at all. There is resentment, fundamentally.

If you stop talking to people, you either submit to them, or you go to war with them. Those are your options and those aren’t good options. It’s better to have a talk. If you put restrictions on speech, then you can’t actually talk about the difficult things that need to be talked about. I have about 20,000 hours of clinical practice and all I do for 20 hours a week is talk to people about difficult things – the worst things that are going on in their lives. These are hard conversations all the time. The conversations that are the most curative are simultaneously the ones that are most difficult and most dangerous.

There’s also this idea that you shouldn’t say things that hurt people’s feelings – that’s the philosophy of the compassionate left. It’s so childish it’s beyond comprehension. What did Nietzsche say: ‘you can judge a man’s spirit by the amount of truth he can tolerate.’

Now groups that were discriminated against. What are you going to do about it? The only societies that are not slave societies are western enlightenment democracies. That’s it. Compared to utopia, it sucks. But compared to everywhere else – people don’t emigrate to the Middle East to live there, and there’s good reason for that.

He can see what is in front of him. Much of what passes for academic pursuit now sounds like Radio Moscow back in the 70’s. That prompted his interest in what it is that drives humans to such a committed investment in false and destructive paradigms. As this sampler indicates, he is synthesizing many observations and ideas of others. There is a lot of truth to be contemplated.

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Why did he get elected? Climate alarmists show why.

There is a lot of talk that it was hubris, a contempt for fly-over country, and that “basket of deplorables” mentality had something to do with the Trump victory. Eric Worrall says the Climate Establishment Hopeful Trump will Betray the Trust of the American People and his sources illustrate the point.

The climate establishment is expressing hope that President Trump will treat the wishes of the American people, and the promises he made to the voters who supported him, with the same contempt and disregard which they themselves feel for the needs of ordinary people.

I suspect we’re seeing the beginning of a global attempt to pressure President Trump into watering down his electoral commitments, but I also think they have chosen the wrong President to try to bully – President Trump is not an unprincipled professional sellout like some of his predecessors.

A part of setting the stage was in establishing Trump as a ‘Hitler’ and this is also being discussed, both in terms of it being a tactic that is getting stale and in terms of its driving fear and anxiety in some social circles – particularly in higher education.

Worrall also provides a copy of Trump’s Contract with America to show what it is that has the left up in arms. It provides a solid refutation of the meme that nobody was working issues in the campaign – but then, if the issues are not those that fit your world view, denying they exist is one way to deal with your angst. But they continue to exist and now reality is meeting desire. What that dissonance does is to up the ante and that is why we see riots one the one end and hubris and scheming on the other.

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Quackery: QM edition and warrior despair

Luboš Motl comments on a popular YouTube video. It is just another of many that engage in quackery. Weinberg’s new calls for an overhaul of quantum mechanics.

But I have largely surrendered. It makes no sense to write new explanations why oil droplets are nothing like quantum mechanics because a few thousand people read my texts, only a fraction understands it, while millions of stupid people want to hear something else than the correct physical proofs of the truth. They want something that confirms their stupid prejudices and their fundamental misunderstandings of modern science.

And it’s not just this basket of one million of morons who have watched the aforementioned bogus video. As they are getting senile, numerous star physicists are helping to amplify this idiocy as well.

It’s always risky to evaluate any scientific theory in terms of any philosophical prejudices. But it’s even more hopeless to evaluate a 20th century physical theory in terms of 17th, 18th, or 19th century philosophical prejudices – which is exactly what Weinberg is doing. Your philosophical prejudices have nothing to do with the bulk of the 20th century. They’ve been known to be wrong since 1925. Fifty years ago, you knew that but due to some saddening process, you ceased to know that. Now you can very well watch the video saying “quantum mechanics is oil droplets” and upvote it.

Classic rant. It’s what happens when reason, reality and logic encounter the mass of stupidity and ignorance and human cognition. Motl explains the nature of QM very well for the ‘layman’ in illustrating why he feels defeated. So this rant has a bonus if you are looking for scientific literacy. 

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The nature of knowledge, the temptations of the devil.

Sarah Hoyt says the first effect of not believing in God, is to believe in anything. She refers to David French on how Our Post-Christian Culture Often Replaces Faith with Nonsense.

use extreme caution when applying even the most popular psychological concepts to your personal life, to the corporate world, and to public policy. Even the most confidently stated assumptions can be wrong.

So why tie this phenomenon back to faith? Why bring Christianity into the equation? It’s simple. For generations Americans have been taught by word and deed that there is a better way, that the lessons of the Judeo-Christian tradition should be discarded as so much oppressive hocus-pocus. Ancient moral teachings aren’t just false, they’re destructive. With my own eyes I’ve seen Christians — even pastors — refuse to make cultural and moral arguments based on scripture alone. Unless science is also on their side, they’ll keep quiet. Science, after all, is the universal language. Faith is divisive. In reality, “science” is often leading us astray — and for reasons that the biblically literate can easily predict. It turns out that human beings are self-interested, that we’re drawn to quick fixes and splashy results. It turns out that we’re mistake-prone and often make entirely arbitrary judgments. And it turns out that we really, really like to see results that confirm our own righteousness and virtue. In other words, scientists don’t offer an escape from the fallen world; they’re part of the fallen world.

A stimulus for this thinking is recent discoveries that ‘ego depletion’ experiments were not reliable and that led to realizing that many studies in psychology and sociology were also rather difficult to support with consistent experimental results. That realization has put these fields in question that ties into the suspicion and dissonance that results from investigations that disrupt fantasies. There is no discrimination between ‘soft’ results as often is the case in psychology and sociology and ‘hard’ results as is often the case in engineering and physics. This pressure is particularly evident and important in medicine where the ‘hard’ evidence encounters the softer stuff and that leaves room for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) that has no founding in reality but consumes attention and effort and funds to the detriment of healing. 

In religious terms, this is the commandment about false witness. In science, this witness is the truth of God as witnessed by observation and measurement. Critical to this witness is accepting the frailties of humans and that means understanding the limits of observation and measurement. That is why classes in science dwell on accuracy and precision in measurement and why the tools used for aggregate measures (e.g. statistics) emphasize error probabilities and why matters of bias and procedure are important. A proper scientist is one who pays attention to the temptations of false witness and is aware that Truth is only partially visible. That awareness guides the skepticism of a religious scientist.

There are many examples of people who succumb to the temptation of the devil. The creationism ‘debate’ is one example where God’s word laid down in the world around us is contested with an interpretation of human words. The anthropogenic climate alarmism is another topic where underlying fears, political power, and income streams undermine integrity. Even Heisenberg’s observations about quantum mechanics gets twisted in extrapolations to Newtonian scale mechanics. “The first effect of not believing in God, is to believe in anything” is on display. Will we learn?

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Are people parasites on the planet?

Chet Richards lays it out: Why Environmentalism Became Both a Religion and a Con Game. What has happened to us? When? How? Chet provides clues for insight and inspection.

John Muir was a Conservationist, not an Environmentalist. He saw the wilderness as a “primary source for understanding God: The Book of Nature.” Muir did not worship Nature, as modern environmentalists do. Muir worshiped God, the Judeo-Christian God. So, here is the difference: Conservation derives from the Hebrew Bible. Mankind is to be Stewards of the Land. We are charged to husband God’s creation.

Environmentalists, for the most part, believe that the Earth’s biosphere is God. And, that human beings are destructive parasites, eating away at the life of their deity. In effect, most environmentalists are atheists searching for something larger than themselves to worship.

This notion that people are parasites really got started in the 1960’s.

The high priests: Rachel Carson, Paul Ehrlich, James Lovelock.

This eminent scientist was scathing in his comments — particularly about the sheer ignorance of the movement’s devoted followers. … The true believers still believe without understanding. Environmentalism is a religion after all.

Long established religions have traditionally provided a framework for ordering one’s life and for reducing this natural sense of insecurity. As we have discovered, there is something about the post World War Two world that has, at least in the West, broken these traditional religious frameworks. Something happened during the war to cause people to no longer trust religious authority.

A skilled confidence man knows that the best way to hook a victim is through the victim’s vanity. The environmental movement is a con. Its leadership preys on the ignorance, insecurity, and hubris of its followers.

But there is always another con, and each new con means further loss of freedom. For half a century the environmental movement has been the primary tool of those leaders who wish to suppress individual freedom and individual initiative. The erosion has been slow, but it has been steady.

True care for the environment, true care for nature, is a rich man’s game. Only the prosperous have the resources to protect the natural world. Only those living in comfort believe that it matters.

Poor people care little for Nature. Poor people struggle just to live. They don’t have time for environmental diversions. The environmentalist con takes away freedom and replaces it with diminished prosperity. Carried far enough, political environmentalism ultimately will drive people into impoverished serfdom and, with the greatest irony of all, it will wreck the environment.

Post WW II, the sixties when the baby boom that was an immediate aftermath of the war gained majority, that is when the tide turned. Carson’s notable works from the fifties culminated with Silent Spring, out in 1962. That made 1962 a marker for the turning point where conservationists spawned environmentalists, where religion and belief turned from God to Gaia, and the idea of humans as parasites on the planet became mainstream. 

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A malaise in science, a failure in culture

Dr. Tim Ball thinks that the Credibility Loss in Climate Science is Part of a Wider Malaise in Science.

There are a widespread malaise and loss of direction in western society promulgated by bizarre ideas and theories produced by completely unaccountable academics. How can anyone promote ideas that were so wrong and did so much damage, like Paul Ehrlich, yet continue to practice?

Lack of accountability is endemic among the financial, political, and academic elite trio. It is no wonder that the modern attitude, especially among the young, is that you only broke the law if you got caught. Even then, it is most likely nothing will happen to you or anyone who benefits from your absolution if you are in the elite trio. So the malfeasance expands as the practices and false rewards continue.

One of many incorrect assumptions made in education is that it can increase a person’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ). The difference is between nature (IQ) and nurture (education). Aristotle defined the issue when he pointed out that you can have a mathematical genius of five years old, but you will never have a five-year-old philosophical genius. Aristotle’s point was that most of the subjects’ students study in school require life experience, which they don’t and can’t have.

The give away in the entire climate debacle were the actions taken before and after the emails were leaked. The resort to denial of freedom of information requests for data, use of intellectual property claims to prevent other scientists replicating results. The examples in climate science appear to be extreme.

There is worry about a lack of accountability and differing rules and standards for different cohorts. Why is it fostered and allowed to stand? That is the puzzle.

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False prophets

Luboš lets loose every now and then about false prophets in science. This time he thinks: Pesticides needed against anti-physics pests — “Their activity got too high in the summer.”

There’s absolutely nothing new about this particular rant – it’s the 5000th repetition of the anti-string delusions repeated by dozens of other mental cripples and fraudsters in the recent decade. To make things “cooler”, he says that many string theorists would agree with him and to make sure what they would agree with, he promotes both Šmoits’ crackpot books at the end as the “recommended reading”.

This particular rant has been read by more than 45,000 readers. The number of people indoctrinated with this junk is so high that one should almost start to be afraid to call the string critics vermin on the street (my fear is not this far, however). I am sure that most of them have been gullible imbeciles since the rant was upvoted a whopping 477 times. Every Quora commenter who has had something to do with high brow physics disagrees with Muller but it’s only Muller’s rant that is visible. Quora labels this Muller as the “most viewed writer in physics”. Quora is an anti-civilization force that deserves to be liquidated.

A more accurate formulation is that Mr Siegel doesn’t want to see any arguments in favor of grand unification because he is a dishonest and/or totally stupid prejudiced and demagogic crackpot. But I guess that Siegel’s own formulation, while totally untrue, sounds fancier to his brainwashed readers.

The number of individuals just like him has grown astronomical and they produce their lies on a daily basis without facing almost any genuine enemies.

It’s not only in string theory that you have the ignorant posing as experts pontificating nonsense. It is not only in arcane fields of study or science or technology that such people are doing their thing, either. String theory, climatology, genetics and farming, vaccinations, nutrition, criminal violence, and even the law all have false prophets garnering followings of the gullible. 

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was all nonsense but money gets spent, people suffer and die, and the followers waste so much. It does seem that the activity is rather high this summer.

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Flawed inflammatory: the GMO argument

Sarah Hartley seems a bit confused in an Opinion: Why scientists’ failure to understand GM opposition is stifling debate and halting progress.

Genetically modified crops are safe for human consumption and have the potential to feed the world and improve human health, scientists have been telling us for years. On June 30, 110 Nobel laureates from around the world signed a letter demanding that the environmental pressure group Greenpeace stop its campaign against GM crops. How many people must die before we consider this a “crime against humanity”? the letter asks.

Note the selection from the letter and remember that this is an opinion about scientists that fail to understand. Also note that the question is factually accurate and reasonable although it is a confrontation to denial.

Our research has identified five requirements for advancing a responsible debate about GM crops. These are a commitment to honesty; recognition of the values underlying the practice of science; involvement of a broad range of people; consideration of a range of alternatives; and a preparedness to respond.

This is nice, but such advice should start at home. How can there be “a commitment to honesty” when a whole litany of dubious allegations and logical fallacies are presented in support of the opinion? How is calling the letter “inflammatory” be considered honest? How are these “requirements” considered relevant when they appear more to be accusation by innuendo and presented that way because the accusations have no merit?

It is clear that the scientists accusing Greenpeace of crimes against humanity feel deeply frustrated about what they see as shackles on a technology that for them has clear benefits for the world’s poor. However, by signing the inflammatory letter, they reveal a flawed and naïve understanding of the debate. This approach is likely to result in further agitating and polarising the debate rather than achieving the desired outcome. Indeed, some may even see these scientists as using their privilege and authority to promote a particular technological solution to a political problem.

The quote provided refutes the accusation here showing that the opinion is based on flawed perceptions chosen to support a bias. That is supported by labeling and judging the Nobel laureates with words such as “flawed and naïve” and asserting that it is they who are “agitating and polarising” and using “privilege and authority.” The opinion also describes health and nutrition as a political problem and maligns technological solutions.

The fact is that the opposition to GMO is based on promulgating fear, uncertainty, and doubt and shows no consideration for the damage its efforts do to integrity or even the physical human condition. Hartley’s concerns about the scientists are misdirected. She chooses the easy target and, in doing so, demonstrates that she is a part of the problem and not a part of the solution.

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More death from the left

One side effect of the environmentalists’s movements has been death, especially in the population of the poor and disadvantaged. Since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and the termination of the use of DDT to control vector born diseases, the health and welfare of the silent classes seem to be of little concern. This is generating some pushback. See Scientists Scorn Greenpeace’s Deadly GMO Scare Tactics

A group of 107 Nobel laureates signed onto a letter calling out the environmental group Greenpeace for its longstanding opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The letter pays particular attention to Golden Rice, a GMO that, the letter states, “has the potential to reduce or eliminate much of the death and disease caused by a vitamin A deficiency (VAD), which has the greatest impact on the poorest people in Africa and Southeast Asia.”

And yet, and yet…Greenpeace doesn’t approve. Worse than that, the group’s eco-activists have actively mobilized against its cultivation in the developing world (where it’s needed most), spreading fear and misinformation that’s lead to incidences of targeted vandalism against Golden Rice field trials.
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The Nobel laureates’ letter concludes with a question: “How many poor people in the world must die before we consider this a “crime against humanity”?” From where we’re sitting, consigning hundreds of thousands of poor children to blindness and contributing to millions of otherwise preventable deaths every year certainly seems to cross that line.

The issue is one of ‘responsible use’ but the debate is plagued by binary position of yes or no. Yes, Carson had a point but no, total banning of all pesticides was not the most effective choice. Tugging on heartstrings with scary anecdote and hyperbolic exaggeration is not a proper way to present a point of view either. 

You can take the Malthusian approach, figure that all resources are limited so the human population must be limited, too- by force if necessary. An alternative is  to look at history and see that human ingenuity tends to solve problems if allowed to do so and human population is self limiting when fears of starvation and impoverishment are reduced. 

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