Archive for October, 2015

It’s up to you

Helen Krieble: The responsibilities of citizenship — “American exceptionalism relies on the energy of individuals.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

This means that citizens are the sovereign power in the United States, and the government is accountable to us, not the other way around. Our form of government, designed to protect our rights, has been allowed to become an ever-more powerful and despotic entity. Instead of holding the government accountable for its trespasses, most citizens no longer understand our Founding documents, as our education system has failed us. They have no idea what their responsibilities are as citizens. Of those that do, most shrug their shoulders and think, “I am only one person; what can I do?”

One activist summed up the problem: “The biggest enemy I battle is people thinking they can’t make a difference.”

Our exceptional form of government is an endangered species. If we do not stand up for the Founding principles and re-assert the duty of citizenship, it could become extinct.

Goal #1 in the propaganda from the left is to make followers rather than leaders. This is done by instilling the view that any one of us can’t make a difference. Krieble cites several examples where an individual has made a difference. Small steps by very many responsible citizens can add up. Stand up. Lead. Make a difference no matter how small in bringing back the idea of governance by the people rather than over the people. It’s up to you (and me, and him, and her …).

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PC BLM and why no solution is in sight

Colin Flaherty provides examples of Cops Fired For Telling the Truth about Black Violence.

“President Obama is proud of his support for Black Lives Matter. He calls stories of elevated black crime and violence “anecdotal” and says a history of racism in America justifies whatever Black Lives Matter says or does.

It matters to Chief Halstead.

After he was fired this month, Chief Halstead broke it down on Fox and Friends: Black Lives Matter is “a terrorist group if you can march down the streets and call for the deaths of police officers,” he said, pointing to videos showing protesters chanting, “pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon” and chanting about “dead cops.”

Both of those officers knew the risks to themselves their careers before speaking out about the threat of black violence and Black Lives Matter. Both knew the people they were sworn to serve needed to know what reporters and public officials most often try to ignore, deny, condone, excuse, encourage and even lie about: that black crime is wildly out of proportion.

They took the risk. They paid the price. That is what heroes do.

Why are blacks over-represented in jail populations? They are arrested, tried, and convicted more often than other racial groups. Why is that? Perhaps the reason is related to why inner city violence tends to be concentrated in black communities. But, for the left, reality doesn’t matter. The presumption is ‘white privilege’ so blacks become a ‘protected minority’ – isn’t protected a form of privilege? – and jails are emptied because it is obvious to the left that that is the only way to correct an injustice.

Meanwhile, crime rates go up with repeat offenders, black on white crime escalates, and denial runs rampant trying to pretend that what they eye sees isn’t what is really there. Problems get worse, not better. How long will that continue? Why are lessons from history ignored?

Update: HEATHER MAC DONALD Heather Mac Donald in Testimony before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, October 19, 2015 regarding The Myth of Criminal-Justice Racism.

The most dangerous misconception about our criminal justice system is that it is pervaded by racial bias. For decades, criminologists have tried to find evidence proving that the overrepresentation of blacks in prison is due to systemic racial inequity. That effort has always come up short. In fact, racial differences in offending account for the disproportionate representation of blacks in prison. A 1994 Justice Department survey of felony cases from the country’s 75 largest urban areas found that blacks actually had a lower chance of prosecution following a felony than whites. Following conviction, blacks were more likely to be sentenced to prison, however, due to their more extensive criminal histories and the gravity of their current offense.

Violent crime is currently shooting up again in cities across the country. Police officers are backing away from proactive enforcement in response to the yearlong campaign that holds that police are the greatest threat facing young black men today. Officers encounter increasing hostility and resistance when they make a lawful arrest.

Some are taking note, others look away. Same ol’ story. What will it take for reality to intrude such that it can’t be ignored?

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Expressing an opinion if you publish?

The question is a troublesome one. One the one hand, companies like Facebook are getting sued because some page on their service offended someone. On the other hand, Facebook censors pages that offend it politically. Tom Gresham explains How Web giants wage war against guns  — “Ignoring Second Amendment rights assaults the free market.”

Blocking the flow of information on the Web is the newest form of book burning.

A question to be asked: When do the restrictive actions of a small handful of companies controlling much of the information on the Web become a legitimate area for review by government?

It’s the ultimate irony that these attacks on legal and highly regulated commerce in firearms come just as we see government reports that over the last 20 years, murders are down by huge numbers, so-called “gun crime” is down by more than 40 percent, and accidental firearms deaths of adults and children are at an all-time low. During this same time tens of millions of Americans have become new gun owners, tens of millions of guns have been purchased, and more than 10 million people have been licensed to carry loaded guns for their own protection. More guns, less crime, to coin a phrase.

Another story is about how Police Chiefs are pushing for universal background checks. This means they want any transfer of a gun, whether a private individual sale, a gift, or an estate, will require FBI permission to proceed. Yet another story was about a study that showed that states with gun control laws had reductions in violent crimes which ignored the fact that violent crimes are decreasing in most states no matter their obsession about gun control.

It is the ongoing battle where reality doesn’t matter much that is depressing. Honesty doesn’t matter much in pushing these efforts, either. Gun control is one of the oldest of these issues. Human Caused Catastrophic Climate Change has been around a while. Only Black Lives Matter is another post-Kennedy issue that comes up now and again. Then there is the effort to reduce the prison population and you can see what that does in noting California’s double digit increase in crime post proposition 47.

Then there’s the Ole’ Miss effort to re-write history by banning any flag with anything that might look like a Confederate symbol. 

The price has been paid before. Why yet again? And again? Is reality, reason, and intellectual integrity that difficult to incorporate into one’s base?

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Banana Republic: respect for law perhaps biggest casualty

As IDB reports it:

Lerner was caught red-handed targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups, wrote partisan emails to prove it, then engaged in a massive cover-up effort — with a suspiciously crashed server, an oddly missing BlackBerry and plenty of excuses.

She evaded even more accountability by shielding herself with the Fifth Amendment in Congress. The consequences to her have been . .. retirement on a full pension with all her bonuses to a multimillion-dollar mansion in the deep D.C. suburbs.
As for her victims — and they were many — there is no justice. Now everyone, no matter what their political leanings, will wonder if they too are a political target by an out-of-control agency protected by the Justice Department.
Because that’s the real consequence of this failure to hold Lerner accountable: A precedent has been set.

Remember the case against the Black Panthers regarding voter intimidation? But, of course, the Lerner episode is put down as just ‘managerial incompetence’ with Democrats railing about how much money was spent investigating IRS corruption – conducting hearings where Lerner plead the fifth.

Jazz Shaw describes the result as The Banana Republic of America.

But what if the case never even makes it into the system? If a crime is perceived by the public to have been committed but the government fails to even attempt the prosecution a new problem emerges. Kevin D. Williamson at National Review has looked over the Justice Department’s decision not to pursue a case against Lois Lerner (or anyone at the IRS) and determined that we may be approaching Banana Republic status.

Then look at the Bengahzi hearings. People cheered when Clinton laughed at the efforts of an Ambassador to prevent himself from being dragged through the streets, abused, and killed. Banana Republic, indeed.

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Yet another target: farmers

Baylen Linnekin reports on a progressive attack front you might not have hear about. Right-to-Farm Debate Heats Up — Controversies over laws in all 50 states that protect the rights of farmers to actually farm. Keep in mind that farming is one of the most direct and concrete examples of the production of value. Farming and ranching take a renewable resource, manages it, and produces food and other goods for the public.

Right-to-Farm laws are on the books in all fifty states. They are enshrined into some state constitutions, including in Missouri, where the state constitution now guarantees, in perpetuity, “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices” in the state.

Right-to-Farm laws like Missouri’s generally serve two key purposes. First, they protect farm owners from state and local regulations that might restrict farming. …

Second, Right-to-Farm laws also protect farmers against the real specter of nuisance lawsuits. In particular, they help protect farmers against lawsuits by neighbors who—in legal parlance—come to the nuisance.

But don’t Right-to-Farm laws preclude lawsuits like Himsel’s? Not exactly. The fact they serve as an affirmative defense doesn’t prevent (and hasn’t prevented) people like Himsel from filing lawsuits against farming operations. It just makes such lawsuits far less likely to succeed than non-agricultural nuisance lawsuits.

From animal rights activists to the EPA’s water grab, there is an assault on the food needed to feed the poor. Current activity may be a bit below the radar – the notice of the left’s propaganda machine – right now but that may change.

The issue goes back to land use and property rights issues. Consider, for example, a subdivision built near an airport where people move in and then start complaining about the noise. Or consider Dr. Sowell’s recent column about housing prices in the Bay Area and the implication of all of the vacant land near I280 between San Francisco and Palo Alto.

It’s nice if you can afford it. It’s suffering and death if you can’t. The example of communism in Eastern Europe illustrates that. See Bruce Walker on The Ultra-Reactionary Left. Why is that history denied by the Left?

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Protect, Defend, Toe the line, no matter the cost

You’d think it can’t happen here. The authors of the fourth amendment to the Constitution said it shouldn’t. Wisconsin Democrats disagree.

Even Steineke was left stunned after the votes were tallied: “As much as I hate to admit it, every member of the Democrat party in the WI Assembly voted against these reforms that would protect their constituencies from unwarranted searches and abuse from their government.”

The vote to reform the John Doe laws, to protect our citizens and ensure people are safe in their own homes is not part of the Democrats agenda here in Wisconsin. Their agenda is partisan politics at their worst.

Jennifer Jacques tells the story: Wisconsin Democrats not particularly interested in protecting citizens’ rights. The same story is evident in the Benghazi hearings.

Every citizen in Wisconsin, and even across the United States, needs to know that Assembly Bill 68 was crafted to ensure that no one, regardless of color, creed, or political party, would be awoken to early morning raids by paramilitary teams, held at gunpoint while their homes are ransacked and property seized, simply for engaging in a constitutional right of free speech. And every single citizen needs to be acutely aware that every Representative from the Democrat party refused to vote in favor of protecting the constitutional rights of Wisconsinites.

The agenda of the new Democratic party is not to protect citizens’ rights, but instead to preserve and push their own progressive wishes. And may God have mercy on anyone who gets in their way.

The John Doe raids provide an example of just how far one party is willing to go and how solid a block they are in pursuing the assault on those that oppose them. The RICO allegations against those who question catastrophic human caused climate change provide another example. The recent 2nd Circuit attempt to under-read the Supreme Court on gun control is another.

Worried, yet?

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Perfect storm for solar

David Bergeron explaines: Why I’m Still Not a Member of the Solar Energy Industries Association even though he runs a solar oriented business in Arizona.

The more I learned about this new artificial solar industry, the more disturbing I found it to be. On-grid solar is nowhere near a break-even economic proposition. It is a very expensive and futile means of reducing CO2. Its job-creation argument is hollow in terms of opportunity cost given that there is no free lunch in the real world of economic scarcity.

Solar is a great field. Many hardworking entrepreneurs have and will continue to strive in free markets to make products that meet real needs. My own company is on a high-growth mode from niche off-grid applications; we have no rooftop business that will inevitably go through a boom/bust cycle according to political favors or a retrenchment thereof.

On-grid solar is a perfect storm for taxpayers: concentrated benefits for the industry, diffuse cost for ratepayers and taxpayers, and, yet, a strong positive public sentiment for solar created by energy Malthusians.

The fact is, when you figure out the total cost of a typical residential on-grid solar plant before subsidies, rebates, incentives and other ‘crony capitalist’ artifacts, the rate of return on the money spent usually exceeds the normal power bills. And that doesn’t include maintenance and repair costs over the lifetime of the solar plant.

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Biting the hand that feeds

Robert Knight reacts to the Columbus Day hate with rundown on the Rewriting of American history keeps guilt alive over slavery, segregation.

It turns out that the hated Western civilization that Columbus brought to the New World in 1492 is entirely responsible for painless dentistry, electricity, indoor plumbing, surgery, life-saving drugs, air conditioning, computers, air travel, non-stick frying pans, pogo sticks, automobiles, ever-increasing life spans, plus private property and the freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, voting and all the other individual rights secured by a written Constitution.

One wonders where those Think Progress folks would rather live. If they pine for an undeveloped paradise in Africa, South America or Asia, why don’t they pack up their bicycles and take off for the nearest cruise line or airport?

Multiculturalism’s proponents seem less animated by appreciation for native cultures than hatred of America as an extension of Christianity and Western civilization. Someday, perhaps they will discover why America attracts people from all over the world.

When all that one can see, will see, is darkness, then one lives in darkness. It is such a tragedy.

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Get a life. Think about pros and cons. Consider the context. How unusual an idea!

Jon Evans has an interesting post on a modern delemma: Is Uber The Root Of All Evil? There is a lot of nuance in the ride share business ranging from ideas about employment and workers to impacts of technology to the encrusted regulation as a means to protect business classes to matters of relativism and choice making based on evaluation of risk versus benefit.

Allow me to humbly propose that the pendulum has perhaps swung too far into backlash. Allow me to suggest that “Uber is evil / represents the worst of capitalism!” is not just wrong, but actually dangerous. Allow me to submit that perhaps Uber is the lesser of two evils.

It may be too soon to say that “the full-time job is dead,” but I think it’s clear that a growing fraction of workers will find themselves working a fragmented panoply of gigs and contracts, rather than pursuing a full-time career with benefits. Yes, this isn’t near as stable and secure. Yes, many-to-most of these people may find themselves living in the precariat for much of their lives, barring the hoped-for eventual introduction of a basic income.

Consider the concern for Uber’s “exploited” drivers today; will we be quite as concerned for them when they are no longer being exploited, because they have been replaced by self-driving cars? Somehow I doubt it.

Whenever defenders of the status quo object to a new idea on the hallowed grounds of security, you can be pretty confident that they are lying. So it is with Uber.

Does Uber knowingly violate local law in cities they enter? They sure do. Is knowingly violating the law always an evil thing to do? …No. Not if the law itself is manipulative, exploitative, and written only to benefit a small class of rentiers — which, alas, is all too often the case.
,,,
But just because Uber’s evils are front, center, and spotlit, doesn’t mean that they are the worst of all possible alternatives. I still counsel to ride Lyft instead, when you can. But when your choice is between Uber and the local taxi cartels, please think at least twice, hard, about which is actually the lesser evil. The answer may not be as obvious as it seems.

Think about the context? What a novel idea in this era of absolute ideologies that ban and even deny anything not in line with desires and fantasies! Note how much the propaganda machine has infiltrated the language and biased the discussion. precariat, renters, exploited, — where’s Marx when you need him?

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What happens to heretics

It is fairly well known that many media meteorologists are a bit reserved in their views on climate alarmism. Anthony Watts is one such individual who has a popular blog on the topic. Another example has ‘come out’ with a book: France’s top weatherman sparks storm over book questioning climate change – “Philippe Verdier, weather chief at France Télévisions, the country’s state broadcaster, reportedly sent on “forced holiday” for releasing book accusing top climatologists of “taking the world hostage

In a promotional video, Mr Verdier said: “Every night I address five million French people to talk to you about the wind, the clouds and the sun. And yet there is something important, very important that I haven’t been able to tell you, because it’s neither the time nor the place to do so.”

He added: “We are hostage to a planetary scandal over climate change – a war machine whose aim is to keep us in fear.”

His outspoken views led France 2 to take him off the air starting this Monday. “I received a letter telling me not to come. I’m in shock,” he told RTL radio. “This is a direct extension of what I say in my book, namely that any contrary views must be eliminated.”

Of course it is fear mongering as that is a useful tactic for all sorts of things where the evidence just doesn’t quite have the desired impact. Expulsion and censorship should not cause shock, either, as the RICO allegations for “deniers” illustrates (not to mention the Steyn vs Mann lawsuit).

There is dissonance here and it is causing behavioral anomalies in the alarmist and accommodation-at-any-cost crowds.  

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Income Inequality Insight

A request from a student doing research for an assignment got Patricia L. Dickson thinking: Liberals’ income inequality concerns built on false premise. The conclusion should not be surprising considering where all the noise about the issue is sourced.

I now realize that the issue of income inequality is based on a false premise. A premise is a proposition upon which an argument is based or from which a conclusion is drawn. A false premise is an incorrect proposition that forms the basis of an argument – since the premise (proposition or assumption) is not correct, the conclusion drawn may be in error.

The false premise behind income inequality complaints is that income is distributed instead of earned.

In other words, employment and income is something like an entitlement such as a poverty program provides to the left. Income inequality allegations are really just about the idea that some people are cheating the system. Instead of looking to the government for their ‘income’ they use their own skills, education, and capabilities to get their own income and that is what is considered cheating by the left because the government has no control over what they get.

Another perspective on this is that the state of Nevada has now decided that fantasy football is gambling despite a federal court ruling. That means the state wants to control the income anyone might get by being sharp in building a fantasy football team. The battle that Uber and Lyft are fighting is also about government control over income. 

A false premise is a straw man and, it seems, easy to dress up so as to disappear in the background. Building an argument based on such a foundation lacks intellectual integrity and will result in collapse when the weight of the issue gets to be too much for the straw man to bear.

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The nature of argument

John Hinderaker provides an example of one of the differences quite evident between sides in current political arguments. A Liberal Scrapes the Bottom of the Barrel.

Liberals pursue many policies that cause people to die. They release felons from prison, or never incarcerate them in the first place; they make war on the police, causing murder rates to spike; they impede the ability of pharmaceutical companies to bring life-saving drugs to market; they drive up the cost of energy, exposing the poor to dangerous temperature extremes; they promote gun-free zones that turn innocent people into sitting ducks; they pursue weak foreign policies that cause many thousands to be killed by tyrants and terrorists.

These are just a few obvious examples. Yet conservatives don’t call liberals murderers. We extend them the presumption of good faith. We debate policy, we don’t assert that liberals are pro-death. But liberals are not similarly fair-minded. The latest case in point is Josh Marshall, proprietor of TPM, who tweeted:

The example provided is a Tweet from Josh Marshall that proclaims that anyone against gun control is “pro-massacre.” This is right in line with anyone questioning climate change alarmism as being a science denier or nearly any of the accusations about being a racist. It is ad hominem and it cannot be excused as “both sides do it” because the pattern in its use is quite lopsided. The question is: how can you solve any social issue when up against such a lack of intellectual integrity?

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Is government on your side? For how long?

Jeffrey T. Brown says ‘Gun Control’ Is Actually Conservative Control and, in the process, explains a bit about the differing points of view of the role of government in society.

The casual taking of lives is a uniquely liberal phenomena. When people are trained to be victims, and that their “right” to take from others is both fair and commendable, it is only a matter of time before they take everything that belongs to another, including his life.

The fact is that liberals have already not only surrendered to servitude, they have embraced it. They have bought the lie that government is the solution, rather than the cause of nearly every problem which besets this country. They are fine with fewer rights, because they seem to think that the government they worship and depend upon would never turn on them when the money dries up or the issue becomes which priority a totalitarian regime will indulge: freebies to its supporters or its own self-preservation at the barrel of a gun. They see that same paternal government targeting their philosophical enemies, conservatives, and think that because they are politically aligned, it is perfectly fine that government targets some of its citizens. They don’t understand that a time will come when such a government doesn’t need liberals, either.

Gun control is purely and simply a political tool to achieve the disarmament of that portion of the populace that will not surrender to Marxists and fascists. The president wishes to politicize the deaths brought about by his culture, and that of his followers, to achieve total political domination through manipulation of the weak-minded. The left has no intention of being forever checked by those who preserve the America he has sought to overwhelm. The last breath of that America will occur when citizens can no longer forcefully resist the malfeasance of their own government. No one knows that better than a fundamentally transformative tyrant.

Of course, this view sees government as its own separate entity and that may be a question. The history and current experience with despotic regimes does tend to support the view, though.

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Overstep. And stumble? Alarmists misstep

When someone doesn’t realize a high profile is probably not a good idea, it lends credence to the hypothesis that maybe they don’t know that what they are doing is not so good an idea either. The IGES RICO allegations provide An Instance of Warmist Corruption.

We have often written about the fact that the world’s governments pour billions of dollars annually into the global warming project, the object of which is to increase the powers of government. And yet governments, the main parties that stand to benefit from the warmists’ campaign, pretend that their money is somehow innocent, while any private entity that supports climate research is suspect.

Alarmist scientists have gone so far as to urge the Obama administration to prosecute criminally scientists who disagree with them. The premise for this proposed RICO investigation was that “corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters”–i.e., scientists who don’t buy the global warming hype–are deceiving the public for financial gain. This despicable effort, which we wrote about here, is led by Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University and several of his colleagues.

That inspired curiosity about Shukla’s own funding. The results, while incomplete, are striking. Shukla is remarkably well paid by George Mason, for a professor. His salary is currently around $314,000 a year. But that isn’t the half of it. Steve McIntyre writes that Shukla set up a “non-profit” entity, the Institute for Global Environment and Security, Inc. (IGES), to which the federal government has funneled millions of dollars. IGES operates as a slush fund for Shukla and his family; not only is Shukla on the payroll, apparently double-dipping in violation of university regulations, but his wife and daughter also draw substantial income from the “non-profit.”

Generally, when you know that bringing attention to yourself might reveal problems, you avoid doing doing things that spark attention. The climate alarmists appear to be beyond this. That leads to wonder about just what blinds them so.

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A look at causes for mass murder

The NFL is crowing about an entire month without the arrest of one of its players — but games this month are dressed in pink. And then there’s the NYT on 27 ways to be a modern man that David L. Burkhead fisks. From what Milo Yiannopoulos says, these ideas might be related to mass murders.

I might be a raging homo, but I still innately understand the male need to conquer, crush and win. Men need to express that dark, powerful part of themselves, or it can abruptly overflow. If it is suppressed, derided and ridiculed, it can show up without warning and with horrible consequences.

That’s why I’m so distressed that heterosexual men are being told, constantly, by the media and even in schools, that what they are is bad. This, I submit, is at least in part what’s driving the recent spate of shootings.

That doesn’t mean masculinity is “toxic.” What’s toxic is society’s attitudes towards men. Masculinity only becomes “toxic” when it is beaten down and suppressed and when men are told that what and who they are is defective. It becomes toxic when young boys are drugged in school because they don’t conform to feminine standards of behaviour.

In a sense, what happened yesterday was also a suicide. A spectacularly melodramatic suicide from a man in pain who wanted to hurt the world that had hurt him.

Denying essential human nature — that men can be powerful and dangerous and this should be harnessed for good — is a recipe for tragedy.

Or take a look at the Boy Scout Law and see which items have been weakened or eliminated.

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Prosecute the deniers!

Russell Cook provides an example for comparison and contrast in methods of ‘debate’ when concluding that Those scientists who want to use RICO to prosecute AGW ‘deniers’ have a big problem. Names are listed with specific behaviors and citations. Detail is provided sufficient to make your eyes water.

At least it can be said I’ve never been accused of begging anyone to trust the assertions I make. Legions of pro-global warming people, including Pope Francis, President Obama, and nearly all of the mainstream media essentially beg us to trust them about the settled science, despite the existence of highly detailed climate assessments compiled by skeptic climate scientists. The egregious tragedy of this situation is that so many pro-global warming people have been blatantly misled about immoral “corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change” when no such evidence proving it exists, and when evidence is so easily found on how the accusation stems from one highly questionable source.

Begging for ‘trust me’ or an implicit assumption of a false reality abound on the other side of the argument. See for example Smart Grid Technology and Applications by Ekanayake et al that cites “Electric power systems throughout the world are facing radical change stimulated by the pressing need to decarbonise electricity supply” and uses a “consensus” to support its views. When alleging criminal activity, as in the RICO charges raises it to a whole ‘nother level.

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