Sydney rock oysters getting smaller as oceans become more acidic due to climate change

EVERYTHING is caused by climate change!  The study behind the article below does not yet appear to be online. None of my usual search techniques located it anyway.  So I am a bit handicapped in commenting on it.  

I would for instance like to know details of the survey technique they used to arrive at their conclusion that Sydney oysters are are shrinking.  Without representative sampling no generalizations are possible.  My bet is that they did not do comprehensive and representative sampling. 

But in the absence of that information, we can still detect some dubious conclusions.  If there has been a decline, how do we know it is due to global warming?  We do not know.  There could be many other causes of the effect.  The most obvious alternative cause would be disease.  Oysters are prone to all sorts of disease stressors: QX disease, POMS disease and many more.  And given the frequency of such attacks there are probably some as yet undetected diseases at work.

Oyster farmers believe that acidic runoff from the land adversely affect oysters.  Susan Fitzer says that has recently been reduced but again I would like details of that assertion and the surveys on which it is based.

And sewage runoff is known to affect oysters.  And there seems little doubt that the breakneck expansion of the Sydney population is putting a lot more sewage into the ocean. (Yes. Sydney does do that).  Could that adversely affect oysters?

And the alleged acidity is in fact reduced alkalinity. Does any level of alkalinity affect oysters?  I can't see why it should.

And the "acidity" is said to be a result of increased global warming.  But, according to the satellites,  global temperatures have been  falling for the last couple of years.  

Furthermore the entire prediction that acidity will increase in the oceans is deliberately dishonest. If, as Warmists predict, the world will warm, that will make the oceans warmer too. And as water warms it OUTGASES CO2, as every drinker of coca cola can observe. Those bubbles in your coke are outgassed bubbles of CO2, outgassed as the drink warms. And less CO2 means less carbonic acid. So a warming ocean will become more ALKALINE. 

The Warmists try to have it both ways, saying the oceans will be both warmer and more acidic.  But that flies in the face of basic and easily demonstrable physics.  But they are only pretend scientists so I guess that is OK

And we read here that  ancient planktonic foraminifer shells were still going strong at CO2 levels 5 times higher than today. That sounds like a good augury for oyster shells. 

So I think we can say with some confidence that the causal chain suggested by Susan Fitzer is rubbish on a number of counts

The famous Sydney rock oyster is shrinking as oceans become more acidic, new research has found.

In news that will rock seafood lovers, a study released overnight by academics in the UK found oysters in New South Wales have become smaller and fewer in number because of coastal acidification.

It’s part of what researchers fear is a worldwide trend driven by climate change and coastal runoff.

Headed by University of Stirling academic Susan Fitzer, the study looked at oyster leases at Wallis Lake and Port Stephens, both on the NSW coast north of Sydney.

They make up the two largest Sydney rock oyster production areas in NSW.

The study found the oysters’ diminishing size and falling population is due to acidification from land and sea sources, part of a global trend.

“Sydney rock oysters are becoming smaller and their population is decreasing as a result of coastal acidification,” Fitzer said.

“The first thing consumers will notice is smaller oysters, mussels and other molluscs on their plates, but if ocean acidification and coastal acidification are exacerbated by future climate change and sea level rise, this could have a huge impact on commercial aquaculture and populations around the world.”

The risk to oyster populations around the globe from soil runoff has long been recognised.

In 2014 oyster farmers in Port Stephens released an industry-driven environmental management policy which recognised that damage to oyster leases from the drainage from acid-sulphate soils was both “likely” to occur and “severe” in consequence.

But Fitzer’s research argues that run-off is not caused by agricultural activity and is rather the consequence of the impacts of climate change.

“A lot of work has been done near to Australia’s oyster fisheries to mitigate the impact of sulphate soils causing acidification, and there has been a marked decline in levels,” she said.

“The run-off from sulfate soils aren’t produced by agricultural activity, they occur as a natural result of climate change-driven increases in rainfall and sea-level rise.

“But the trend persists and small changes in pH are having a huge impact on these molluscs.”

Increased acidification affects oyster growth by limiting the amount of carbonate in the water.

“Acidic water is damaging oysters’ ability to grow their shells. We see lots of disorder in the calcite layers, because there isn’t enough carbonate in the water for the oysters to draw on for optimal shell formation and growth,” Fitzer said.

“This is the first time that the Sydney rock oysters’ shell crystallography has been studied, and we now know disruption to this process could have a significant impact on Australian aquaculture,” she said.

Fitzer’s research was published in the Journal of Ecology and Environment.



The Church of Trump?

I am not entirely sure whether it is a vice or a virtue but I often enjoy reading Leftist writing.  They are so blind that they regularly give me a laugh.  I suppose it is the psychologist in me.  I want to see how their strange minds work.

And the most amusing thing about their response to Donald Trump is their total inability even to consider that he might have got some things right. That's just not an available explanation for them. So what do they do? They find something psychologically wrong with either Trump or his supporters. Leftists have been making such claims about conservatives at least since 1950 and have succeeded in convincing only themselves -- so they are like a dog returning to its vomit in trying the same strategy with Trump.

The first label they tried to stick on Trump and his supporters was the old 1950's claim that he is "authoritarian". But, since it is in fact they who constantly try to confine Americans within a straitjacket of endless regulations, that label had no adhesive power at all and seems now to have been abandoned. See here and here

So it is interesting that the latest explanation for Trump's success below has finally made some attempts to address reality.

She starts out with a litany of Trump's failures and scandals as she sees them and wonders why none of those failures seem to dent his popularity. That most of the failures are simply Trump's impatience with detail she does not consider.  She certainly does not consider that not being a policy wonk might actually be an element in his popularity.  Do policy wonks make attractive political candidates? Few of his voters are likely to be policy wonks so are probably happy with getting it broadly right in their own lives.

In fact, the little lady asserts below that Trump supporters like Trump's simple slogans.

And then of course we see the typically Leftist malicious misattributions.  No matter what Trump does, it is a product of racism, not some practical reason. And anything Trump does is wrong anyhow, even if Obama also did it.

Then she gets on to her big discovery:  Trump makes his voters happy!  Could it be that they enjoy his puncturing of the great Obama/Clinton balloon of Leftist pomposity and self-righteousnesss? Could it be relief at Trump's attacks on the Leftist straitjacket of regulations and are relieved to hear common sense coming from the White House instead of hectoring? 

No way! It's because of "tribalism" and because they don't go to church any more.  Pesky that Trump supporters come from all races and all walks of life!  Pesky that Trump has very broad church support and is himself openly Christian.  Herman Cain tells us that 29% of blacks now support Trump.  I wonder what tribe they belong to?

What the lady is doing is a familiar sleight of hand that any analytical philosopher can tell you about. "Tribalism" sounds like an explanation but is in fact a definition:  To like Trump MAKES you part of a tribe, the Trump tribe. It is at best an observation. It explains nothing.

And the idea that lots of people are alienated from moralistic churches is surely true.  But it is true mainly of the old mainstream churches.  More evangelical churches are forgiving and make a big effort at outreach.  Americans who are religious at all can usually find a church to suit them.  The claim that Trump supporters are worshiping at some sort of new Trumpian religion -- when the religion at his rallies is plainly evangelical Christian -- is just a desperate attempt to look at what his real appeal is -- relief from Leftist tyranny and joy at having a President who makes sense to ordinary people

By Alex (Alexandra?) Wagner

Two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, in late January 2016, the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced to an audience in Sioux City: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.”

Trump, who has always been prone to fantastical overstatement, was derided at the time, but here and now—more than two and a half years later—the statement seems prescient.

You could list the scandals—from Robert Mueller’s probe to Michael Cohen to Stormy Daniels, from Tom Price to Scott Pruitt to Ben Carson, from Bill Shine to Ronny Jackson to Jared Kushner, from the Trump Hotel to the Trump label, from Charlottesville to Ukraine—and while it would be very long, it would not (at least in the eyes of Trump’s supporters) be disqualifying. Politically speaking, the president is standing with his guns blazing in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and he’s not losing anyone. Miraculously, Trump remains on top; so far this year, Gallup has registered an approval rating among the members of his own party ranging from 81 to 90 percent. Despite it all, those numbers have barely budged.

How is such a thing possible? In part, it’s a symptom of contemporary politics—Barack Obama enjoyed similarly high approval ratings from Democratic partisans during his terms in office. And there’s some evidence that Republicans disaffected with Trump are ceasing to identify with their party, leaving only the president’s supporters behind. But Obama never endured a comparable string of scandals; the erosion of the GOP’s ranks doesn’t explain the fervency of those who remain.

Is it Trump—or something larger than Trump? Possibly, it’s both. Last spring, my colleague Peter Beinart looked at the increasing secularization of American society and how it had contributed to the rise of political tribalism:

As Americans have left organized religion, they haven’t stopped viewing politics as a struggle between “us” and “them.” Many have come to define us and them in even more primal and irreconcilable ways.

This tribalism has infected both the right and the left—but in particular, Beinart cited the work of W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia who has concluded that “rates of religious attendance have fallen more than twice as much among whites without a college degree as among those who graduated college.”

Non-college-educated whites are the Trump base, now set adrift:

Establishing causation is difficult, but we know that culturally conservative white Americans who are disengaged from church experience less economic success and more family breakdown than those who remain connected, and they grow more pessimistic and resentful.

You could draw a straight line from a disenfranchised, pessimistic, resentful audience to Trump’s brand of fear-driven, divisive politics, but this would leave out an equally important part of the Trump phenomenon, and something critical to its success: the elation. Go to a Trump rally, speak to Trump supporters, and the devotion is nearly evangelical. Their party line is less a talking point than a sermon: His voters have talked to me about the “bad deal” with Iran, the “drug mules” crossing the border, the Mueller “witch hunt.” The language is uniform, as they quote chapter and verse. Here are the true believers: It is no surprise that Trump’s numbers won’t move.

In his research, Wilcox noted the particular isolation of the white working class in the institutional church:

Moderately educated Americans may feel less attracted to churches that uphold the bourgeois virtues—delayed gratification, a focus on education, self-control, etc.—that undergird this lifestyle. As importantly, working class whites may also feel uncomfortable socializing with the middle and upper class whites who have increasingly come to dominate the life of religious congregations in the U.S. since the 1970s, especially as they see their own economic fortunes fall.

The declining economic position of white working class Americans may have made the bourgeois moral logic embodied in many churches both less attractive and attainable.

Trumpism proposes a system of worship formed in direct opposition to bourgeois moral logic, with values that are anti-intellectual and anti–politically correct. If mainline Protestantism is a bastion of the educated, upper-middle class, the Church of Trump is a gathering place for its castoffs. Trump’s rhetoric about the “silent majority” is indeed a racial dog whistle, but it is also a call to his supporters to unmask themselves. He offers a public embrace of a worldview that has been, at least until this point, a mark of shame. There is belonging in this—but there is also relief.

That part of the Trump phenomenon remains mostly unnoticed, except by those who have witnessed it firsthand. Reporting from a rally in South Carolina in 2015, Molly Ball observed:

Despite all the negativity and fear, the energy in this room does not feel dark and aggressive and threatening. It doesn’t feel like a powder keg about to blow, a lynch mob about to rampage. It feels joyous.

“There is so much love in every room I go to,” Trump says, near the end of nearly an hour and a half of free-associative bombast, silly and sometimes offensive impressions, and insane pronouncements. “We want our country to be great again, and we know it can be done!”

At a rally in South Bend, Indiana, that I attended earlier this year, there were offensive T-shirts (hillary sucks … but not like monica) and angry chants, but there were also goofy costumes and free sandwiches. There was name calling, but there were also group selfies.

I spoke to Wilcox about this aspect of Trumpism—the strange joy inherent in the shouts of self-designated “deplorable” status—and whether that might signal a substitute for the rapture of the church. “The Trump rallies have collective effervescence,” Wilcox said. “Émile Durkheim wrote about the power of collective effervescence—of engaging in common rituals that give them meaning and power and strength. And those things can be wonderful, or they can be dangerous.”

Durkheim’s theory—that a gathering of the tribe can create a certain energy that renders particular people or objects sacred—goes a long way toward explaining Trump’s infallibility among his supporters. But it also brings to the fore something that Trump critics have missed so far when focusing on his (not insignificant) negatives: Trumpism, like many forms of non-secular worship, makes its believers feel good.

“Among the poor and the working class,” Wilcox told me,“when it comes to both marriage and religion, there has been a real erosion. And that has hit them harder than the upper classes.”

He continued: “These two important sources of solidarity and meaning are now much less a part of working-class American’s lives—and leaves them that much more disenchanted and disenfranchised.”

If Trumpism is endowing certain Americans with a sense of solidarity and support that were once found in institutions like the church (or marriage), the implications for the Republican Party—to say nothing of American society writ large—are consequential.

At its core, the Church of Trump is irreconcilable with a society that values equal protection, free speech, and the separation of powers. And yet strident efforts to convince the faithful of a prophet’s fallacy may backfire, producing redoubled faith. To deconstruct the complicated and visceral relationship between Trump and his supporters, those on the outside must begin to grapple with the oddness of the proposition itself: Trump, in all his baseness, offers his believers something that is, strangely, spiritually elevated.



Sweden: Fascism in slow motion (Latest update)

The "folkhemmet" (people's home) gradually became a version of the Fascist "corporate State"

By John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.)

Sweden remained a fully functioning democracy throughout the 20th century so in that sense has never been Fascist. In important other ways, however, the Swedish system has much in common with Fascism.

Although it is a commonplace that Hitler got good co-operation from Sweden both before and during WW2, the idea that Sweden was itself in any sense Fascist must seem like one of the most absurd suggestions ever made. Has not Sweden been the great icon of the Democratic Left in the postwar period? It has indeed, though these days conservatives have better reasons for mentioning the Swedish experience than Leftists do. Nonetheless, little-recognized though it might be, there are substantial reasons for seeing interwar Sweden as Fascist. Like all Fascisms, however, Swedish Fascism had its own unique national characteristics and its most unusual characteristic was how slowly it developed, with much of its development taking place AFTER WW2 rather than before.

Some historical background about WW2 may be appropriate at this point:

"Sweden's role in the Second World War had its darker side. It continued exporting vital iron ore to the German armaments industry and allowed the Germans to transit troops, supplies and communications through the country.

Unlike Denmark, its southern occupied neighbor, which won the "Righteous Amongst Nations" award for saving nearly all its Jews, official Sweden played the role of a "bystander amongst nations", turning a blind eye to what was happening in Europe and looking after its own interests.

An exhibition on Sweden and the Holocaust, opening in Lund, not far from where Chavka Folman-Raban enjoyed her first weeks of freedom, aims to shed light on this darker side of Sweden's relationship to Nazism. The exhibition, accompanied by seminars and publication of new research, shows how Swedish industry benefited from the war and how Swedish scientific institutions were leaders in the fields of race biology and eugenic research.

The exhibition also shows how Nazi ideals found Swedish sympathizers and how Sweden limited freedom of speech, and introduced immigration laws which turned away asylum seekers from Germany, many of whom were later murdered in concentration camps.

The Lund project is one of a number to tackle the question of Sweden's relationship with racial ideologies. Another recent exhibition, in Dalarna, deals with Sweden being the first country in the world to establish a National Institute for Race Biology in the twenties.

The exhibition renewed the debate on local racism, anti-Semitism and historical programmes of forced sterilization and race strengthening. Other recent studies show how during the Second World War, pro-Nazi Swedes took part in German propaganda broadcasts and how Swedish priests and courts applied Nazi race rules to marriages between Swedes and Germans."


Hopefully, the idea of Sweden as being substantially Fascist seems a little less absurd already at this point.

I have set out at considerable length elsewhere the historical details which show that Fascism was nothing more than a particularly authoritarian and nationalist form of Leftism so we only have to ask here whether Sweden in the interwar years was nationalist, authoritarian and Leftist. And the answer to all three questions is undoubtedly: Yes.

And that answer does not depend on the various small explicitly Fascist and pro-Nazi movements that arose in Sweden in the 1930s. It flows from a look at the dominant political party in Sweden from 1932 on: The Social Democratic Party. The program and policy of the Social Democrats centred around transforming Sweden into a folkhemmet (Volksheimat in German). This became the dominant Swedish concept of Sweden in 1932 with the accession to power of the Social Democrats but was well in evidence before that. The concept is usually traced to a book, The State as a Live Form ( Staten som livsform ), written by Rudolf Kjellen in 1910. Like all versions of the word Volk it is not exactly translatable into English as Volk means both "people" and "race" even though there are separate words for people (Leute) and race (Rasse). So folkhemmet is probably best translated as "a home for the Swedish people". And this idea of what Sweden should be was what the Swedish Social Democratic Party preached. The concept is the core of the "Swedish model" and what it brought about was essentially just another version of the characteristic Fascist "corporate" or "collectivist" State. So, like Fascism generally, the Swedish model was seen as a Third Way between Communism and Capitalism.

The Swedish corporate State really got going only in 1938, however, with the Saltsjobaden Agreement between the unions and the employers. This agreement outlawed strikes and created a central wage-fixing system for the whole country.

And the ideology of the Social Democrats did originally include racial elements. The folkhemmet was seen as including only a racially defined folkgemenskap (Volksgemeinschaft, people's community) with members being only people belonging to den Svenska folkstammen (Volkstum, Swedish racial group) with minorities such as the Tornedal Finns being excluded.

And Sweden did have a charismatic leader, in the form of Prime Minister Per Albin Hansson from 1932 to 1946 -- which rather neatly brackets Hitler's years in power (1933 to 1945).

My Swedish is virtually non-existent but I think the slogan means "Sweden for the Swedes and Swedes for Sweden". Rather reminiscent of the climax of a famous speech: "Und wir wissen, vor uns liegt Deutschland, in uns marschiert Deutschland und hinter uns kommt Deutschland!"

And Sweden has been essentially a socialist one-party State since 1932, with the socialists being out of power for brief interludes only. But what exactly the folkhemmet should consist of evolved and developed only very slowly and gradually. Change in Sweden is glacial even in the hands of Leftists so the fundamentally paternalist folkhemmet took many years to develop a sweeping dominance of Swedish life. Bit by bit taxes were raised, business was regulated and taken over and welfare programs were expanded. It was not in fact until the early 1990s that the whole edifice came crashing down. So the concept of a fatherly government was there from the beginning, the one-party State was there and a quiet conviction of Swedish superiority and unique wisdom was also there.

Like all Fascist ideologies, however, folkhemmet had its own unique national character. Sweden experienced nothing remotely like the huge interwar disruptions that took place in Germany and Italy -- for the excellent reason that Sweden stayed out of WW1. So Swedish nationalism was much calmer and less excitable. Which led to it being neither strident nor expansionist. Swedes felt perfectly comfortable with the burgeoning wealth being produced by their own country and so felt no need for foreign adventures or huge and sudden changes. It should perhaps be noted, however, that there is nothing intrinsic to the Swedish character that is opposed to foreign adventures. That should be obvious both from the Viking age and the perambulations around Europe of Gustavus Adolphus in the 17th century.

One thing that was NOT greatly different, however, was that the power of the Swedish Social Democratic party was founded on its popularity and was achieved by constitutional rather than revolutionary means. Mussolini and Hitler too were very popular and achieved power legally rather than via revolution. Mussolini's famous march on Rome was only superficially revolutionary. The King of Italy and the army approved of him because of his pragmatic policies so did not oppose the march and he was promptly thereafter appointed Prime Minister according to Italy's established democratic forms. Mussolini did not even take part in the march, in fact. It was just good Italian opera. And Hitler's path to power was via democratic elections. See here for a fuller consideration of that. Unlike Mussolini and Hitler, however, the Swedish party had no hesitation in renewing its mandate by way of regular and properly conducted elections. And, like the Franco regime in Spain, it kept out of WW2 and thus stayed in power much longer than the Hitler and Mussolini regimes.

So the Swedish folkhemmet State was welfarist, nationalist, paternalist and essentially all-powerful. Because it used its power very sparingly and cautiously, however, and respected civil liberties, it was undoubtedly the mildest of the Fascist States. Fascism varied greatly from country to country (to take a rather striking example, Sir Oswald Mosley initially used to expel from the British Union of Fascists anyone who made antisemitic remarks!) and the distinguishing feature of the Swedish version was undoubtedly that it was the least authoritarian. And after the war the Swedish Social Democrats did as all Leftists did and abandoned overt nationalism -- though a sense of Swedish superiority undoubtedly continued and discreetly made itself apparent from time to time.

Perhaps the most notable paralled between Swedish socialism and Hitler's national Socialism lies in the field of eugenics, one of the most widely condemned features of Nazism. It turns out that Sweden was at least as bad. Below is a quote from a 1997 article:

The Swedish government could face thousands of legal claims for compensation because of a Nazi-style campaign of forced sterilisation of women that historians say has been hushed up for years.

Swedes have been shocked over past days by revelations from Maciej Zaremba, a journalist, that Swedish governments sterilised 60,000 women to rid Swedish society of "inferior" racial types and to encourage Aryan features.

"What happened was nothing but barbaric," Margot Wallstrom, the social affairs minister, said on Saturday, adding that she was prepared to review legislation which said the sterilisations were written into law and that damages could not be paid.

Maciej Zaremba, whose revelations have been published by the liberal newspaper Dagens Nyheter, said that Sweden, Norway and Denmark pioneered racial cleansing "sciences" after the First World War.

In Sweden, the sterilisations began in 1935, peaking in 1946 and were not stopped until 1976. Officially voluntary, victims say that they were ordered to sign permission slips or risk losing any other children they had and all benefits.

Most of the victims were "inferior" or of "poor or mixed racial quality", meaning people with learning difficulties, those from poor families or those not of Nordic blood stock.

Sweden today

What would American conservatives say of a country that NOT ONLY has an extensive system of government-paid vouchers for private schooling but also has an extensive system of government-paid vouchers for private hospitalization? And what if the same country had ALREADY made big cutbacks in the size of government? A dream for the distant future? Not quite. That country does already exist. It is Sweden. Probably because the mainstream media turn a blind eye to it, most people seem totally unaware that Sweden is moving steadily AWAY FROM the "Swedish model". In the early 90s, the Swedish government was spending nearly three quarters of the national income. That is now down to about half.

Sweden still has a long way to go of course. After their big economic meltdown in the early 90's (huge unemployment and welfare benefits that could no longer be paid for) they undertook an exemplary program of privatizations and made big cuts to both taxes and welfare benefits but there are still huge disincentives to work in Sweden. Incomes are kept pretty uniform regardless of what you do -- meaning that there is little incentive either to improve one's skills or to work hard -- and the sickness benefit side of the welfare system is still a huge racket. People on sickness benefits no longer get a higher income than they would by working but the benefits are still close to wages and access to the system is very easy. So huge numbers of Swedes have declared themselves too ill to work.

As a consequence, average Swedish incomes have fallen well behind American standards -- as indexed by the most objective criterion we have: GDP per capita. When purchasing power is taken into account, the picture is even worse. A cup of coffee, for instance, is likely to cost you three times as much in Sweden as in the USA. Individual Swedes do however manage their money well so there is little visible sign in Sweden of their lower incomes. Visible poverty in any modern society mainly reflects bad decisions rather than lack of income. Money now buys options rather than survival.

So Leftists who advocate high taxes and pervasive welfare need to be told that the country that went furthest in that direction hit a rock years ago and has been paddling in reverse ever since.

All the above is of course a very sweeping and simplified treatment of a large subject but those wishing to read further could start with a vastly more detailed treatment of Swedish economic and political history over the last 200 years here (PDF).

Brief historical note on the Fascist "corporate State":

Mussolini's economic system (his "corporate State") was a version of syndicalism -- having workers, bosses and the party allegedly united in several big happy families -- and syndicalism is precisely what had been recommended in the then recent (1891) "radical" encyclical De rerum novarum of Pope Leo XIII. So that helped enormously to reconcile Mussolini to the church. Economically, Fascism was more Papal than capitalist (though in the Papal version of syndicalism the church naturally had a bigger role).

Syndicalism was of course a far-Leftist idea (with Sorel as a major prophet) long before it was a Papal one but the Holy Father presented a much more humanized and practical version of it and thus seems in the end to have been more influential than his Leftist rivals. Mussolini was of course acutely aware of both streams of syndicalist thinking and it was a great convenience to him to be able to present himself as both a modern Leftist and as a supporter of the church.

2007 update:

Some interesting comments from Gates of Vienna:

Marcos Cantera Carlomagno in 1995 published a PhD thesis at Lund University describing a series of letters sent by Per Albin Hansson, leader of the Social Democrats and Prime Minister between 1932 and 1946, who worked for the establishment of "Folkhemmet," the People's Home, as the Swedish welfare state model became known as. Hansson was a dear pen pal with Italy's Fascist leader Mussolini and praised the corporate, Fascist system where the entire economy and each individual were intimately tied to and subordinate to the state. Hansson was positively disposed to Fascism and saw his welfare state as a related concept. After mentioning his work in a local newspaper, Carlomagno was called by his supervisor who stated in anger that his scholarship would be cut off. Carlomagno's work was totally ignored by the entire media and political establishment in Sweden when it appeared in the 1990s.

Why did this information meet with such repression? Because the power of the political and cultural establishment is not based on reasoned discussion but on shaming opponents and branding them as evil with words loaded with emotions and taboo. Terms such as "racist", "Fascist", and "Nazi" automatically shut down any rational discussion of a subject. The irony is that a similar strategy was employed with great success by.....the Nazis.

Adolf Hitler described how to use "spiritual terror" to intimidate and silence opponents, a technique he learned from watching the Socialists and the Social Democrats. He understood "the infamous spiritual terror which this movement exerts, particularly on the bourgeoisie, which is neither morally nor mentally equal to such attacks; at a given sign it unleashes a veritable barrage of lies and slanders against whatever adversary seems most dangerous, until the nerves of the attacked persons break down and, just to have peace again, they sacrifice the hated individual. Conversely, they praise every weakling on the opposing side, sometimes cautiously, sometimes loudly, depending on the real or supposed quality of his intelligence."

In 2006, the newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that following recommendations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, priests in the Swedish Church applied German race laws from 1937 onwards. According to Lund University's Professor Anders Jarlert, who led the research, any Swede who wanted to marry an Aryan German was forced to sign an affirmation stating that none of the German's grandparents were Jewish. History Professor Stig Ekman told DN that Sweden's culture of silence and secrecy is one reason why this is appearing only now, generations later. In 1937, the Swedish government was controlled by the Social Democrats, yet despite this evidence that they applied Nazi race laws, party members still get away with denouncing critics of their immigration policies as neo-Nazis, racists or Fascists.

In the book The New Totalitarians, the British historian Roland Huntford in the early 1970s pointed out that Socialist professor Gunnar Myrdal and his wife Alva, both highly influential ideologists in developing the Swedish welfare state, had intimate connections with the German academic world during the Nazi age. Gunnar Myrdal served as both a member of parliament and later as a government minister for the Social Democrats during this period. According to Huntford: "The professor was then a Nazi sympathizer, publicly describing Nazism as the movement of youth and the movement of the future. In Myrdal's defence, it must be pointed out that, whatever his other propensities, Hitler did have advanced ideas on social welfare, and that the social ideology of the German Nazis and the Swedish Social Democrats had much in common. Until the mid 1930s, Nazism had considerable attractions for those who favoured a benevolent and authoritarian state."

Gunnar and Alva Myrdal promoted the idea of positive eugenics and forced sterilization programs against those with "weak genes." This started in Sweden even before Nazi Germany, and it continued longer.

The Nazis called themselves national Socialists, and they took the Socialist component of their ideology quite seriously. They never nationalized all assets of production as the Communists did. They left nominal ownership in private hands, but production was in reality controlled by the state. The Nazis were thus to the left, economically, compared to many of the labor parties in Western Europe today. As Adolf Hitler stated in 1927: "We are Socialists, enemies, mortal enemies of the present capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, with its injustice in wages, with its immoral evaluation of individuals according to wealth and money instead of responsibility and achievement, and we are determined under all circumstances to abolish this system!"

2009 update

There is an assumption that the welfare states of Scandinavia were high-tax regimes which tried to redistribute wealth from rich businessmen to the average person. This is not the case at all. On the whole the Scandinavian systems are not meant to be redistributive states. Nor are businessmen the targets. Business is relatively lightly taxed compared to many developed nations. It is not the earnings of businesses that the bureaucrats want to control but people.

The Swedish welfare state, in particular, was designed so that the average individual was highly taxed. There was even the well-known case of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, of Pippi Longstocking fame, who discovered that her tax bill was 102% of her earnings. Consumers are highly taxed, while business itself is not so highly taxed.

The reason for this is simple. Taxation is a means of control. The object of control in the Swedish system is not business, they produce the golden eggs after all. The object of control is the individual. The Swedish system doesn't so much redistribute your wealth but confiscate it and return it to you provided you spend it in ways approved of by the political elite.

Consider how this system works. Say you are taxed $100 on earnings of $150. The state may now say that can have $20 back in education vouchers for your children, $30 in health "benefits" and so on. If you choose to spend in other ways you will not receive the money back. In essence the Swedish system was created to take control of the individual Swedish consumer, not redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor. While some redistribution is inevitable that is not the reason why the system was created.

Swedish business is more lightly taxed because the government wants business to provide jobs for workers. Once the workers are employed the state can tax them and control their spending. Approved spending is subsidized with the tax money that consumers pay in, unapproved spending is not subsidized or may be heavily taxed. This system of coercive incentives is meant to regulate how people act.

While many in the world think that the "third way" of Sweden was a "socialistic" policy of helping the needy, the reality is closer to a "fascistic" policy of manipulating the consumers into behaving in ways that politicians want.

More HERE. (Note: I have straightened out some mangled grammar above. I assume that the author is not a native speaker of English)

2012 Update: More detail on the co-operation between Nazi Germany and Fascist Sweden

Neutral Sweden allowed Nazis to use their railways to occupy Norway... and transfer Jews to death camps, a new book claims

Relations between Norway and Sweden are being strained with the publication of a new book, which details how Stockholm aided the Nazis during WW2 as their neighbours fought and lost a decisive battle against the German invaders. Sweden stayed neutral in the war but Norway was among the first conquests of Hitler.

Now a new book shows how Sweden let the Germans use its efficient rail network to transport men and materials to the battle of Narvik, where British troops were deployed in a bid to stave off the Nazi hordes.

Narvik-based journalist Espen Eidum spent three years sifting through Norwegian, Swedish and German archives to discover how the Nazis had managed to get troops and supplies to the front lines in Narvik in 1940, enabling them to turn a losing battle into a decisive victory that led to the conquest and brutal occupation of the whole country.

Sweden, although neutral, had in fact gone out of its way to aid the Germans, who would rely on the country for much of its iron ore during the war.

After the publication of his book Blodsporet - The Blood Track - Mr Eidum said: 'The Germans used the Swedish rail network on a large scale during the fighting. The operation was much more extensive than historians have previously realised.'

The book details how, in October 1940 - four months after Narvik had turned into a crushing defeat for both the Norwegians and Winston Churchill, who had sent British forces there - Swedish diplomats in London lied to Norwegian government-in-exile representatives that it had not allowed any Nazi soldiers or weaponry to use its railway network to get to the front.

'A report sent by a Swedish representative in Berlin, who watched the officers board the train, left little doubt that the Swedes knew the trains were being used for troop movements.' In addition, according to the book, the trains carried heavy artillery, anti-aircraft guns, ammo and a plethora of communications and supply equipment.

And, once the swastika flew over Narvik, Sweden allowed German trains to run to the port - taking Swedish iron ore back to Germany, where it was used to fuel the war machine.

Norway's wartime prime minister, Johan Nygaardsvold, wrote about Swedish prime minister Per Albin Hansson: 'There is nothing, nothing, nothing I hate with such passion and wild abandon as Sweden - and it is his fault'

Mr Eidum said: 'Sweden's railway network was used extensively to aid the German occupation of Norway. This included sending Norwegians to Germany, many of them bound for concentration camps.

'And hundreds of thousands of Germans passed through Sweden on their way to the eastern front. This made a great deal of money for Swedish rail operator SJ over a three year period.'

In all, close to 100,000 railroad cars transported 1,004,158 military personnel on leave to Germany and 1,037,158 to Norway through Sweden by the time the transit agreement between the two nations was disbanded on August 15, 1943.

Norway lost around 10,000 people in the war, two thirds of them civilians.



Fresh blood: Australia is still lucky, thanks to our young migrants

Ross Gittins is perfectly right in what he says below but he ignores two elephants.  The first issue he ignores is the RATE of immigration and its effect on our infrastructure.  Immigration driven population growth is outrunning our capacity to provide the infrastructure needed for a civilized existence.  We spend longer and longer unproductive time in our cars due to ever worsening traffic jams and already stretched public hospitals become overstretched.  And overstretched hospitals mean diagnostic mistakes and longer and longer waits for service.  Those things matter.

And the second elephant is the assumption that all immigrants are the same.  For their own strange purposes, Leftists pretend that all men are equal when that is not remotely true.  Fortunately, most of our immigrants come from Britain, India and China -- people who are no problem to anyone.  But there are two minorities that create big problems:  Muslims and Africans, who are both heavily welfare dependent and hence do little or none of the useful things Gittins extols.

And it is amazing the amount of problems such small groups can cause -- through Jihad and violent crime.  It is those groups who are making many Australians critical of immigration generally. There are options to send problem migrants back to whence they came but such options are rarely used.  A minimum approach to the problems they cause would be to accept no more migrants from those sources

Reserve Bank governor Dr  Philip Lowe thinks Australia’s strong population growth in recent years is a wonderful thing, and he sings its praises in a speech this week.

I’m not sure he’s right. Like most economists and business people, Lowe is a lot more conscious of the economic benefits of population growth than the economic costs. As for the social and environmental costs, they’re for someone else to worry about.

But whatever your views, you’ll be heaps better informed after you’ve seen what he says about our changing “population dynamics” and absorbed his tutorial on demography.

Over the past decade, our population has grown at an average rate of about 1.6 per cent a year. This is faster than in previous decades. It’s also faster than every advanced economy bar Singapore.

Most other rich countries – including the US and Britain – grew by well under 1 per cent a year over the period. The populations of Italy, Russia and Germany were stagnant, and fell in Japan and Greece. China’s annual growth averaged only 0.5 per cent.

What’s driving our growth is increased immigration, of course. Over recent times, net overseas migration has added about 1 per cent a year to the population, with “natural increase” (births minus deaths) adding only about 0.7 per cent.

Our rate of natural increase is pretty steady. It perked up a bit a decade ago, but quickly resumed its slow decline, as more couples have smaller families and some have none.

Net migration, by contrast, goes through a lot of peaks and troughs – which, not by chance, correlate well with the ups and downs of the business cycle.

We think of the government controlling immigration with a big lever (making it “exogenous” or coming from outside the system, as economists say, pinching the word from medicos) but many demographers see immigration as “endogenous” or determined within the system.

This has become truer as permanent migration becomes dominated by workers with skills we need, rather than by family reunion, and there’s more temporary migration by overseas students and skilled workers brought in by employers to fill a temporary shortage.

The resources boom showed temporary skilled migration was great at helping us control (wage-driven) inflation, one of Lowe’s primary concerns as boss of the central bank.

But I worry our young people are paying the price for this greater macro-economic flexibility. We’re schooling our employers not to bother training plenty of apprentices ready for the next shortage because it’s easier to wait until the shortage emerges and then pull in a tradesperson or three from overseas.

Sorry, back to Lowe’s speech. He notes that growth in the number of people here on temporary visas adds to the size of our population. For instance, there are now more than half a million overseas students studying in Australia.

Here’s a stat you probably didn’t know: about a sixth of foreign students are permitted to stay and work here after finishing their studies. This boosts our population. Always a man to look on the bright side, Lowe reminds us it also boosts the nation’s “human capital”.

Plus, he’s too polite to say, it does so free of charge. It’s a neat trick: we charge foreign parents in developing countries full freight to educate their children, then allow the best of 'em to stay on.

But wait, there’s more: we also benefit from our stronger overseas connections when foreign students return home, Lowe says.

Now for his big reveal. Particularly because of our emphasis on skilled workers and students (as opposed to bringing out nonna and nonno), the median age of new migrants is between 20 and 25, more than 10 years younger than the median age of the rest of us.

At the time of Treasury’s first intergenerational report in 2002, our present median age of 37 was expected to rise rapidly to more than 45 by 2040. But after the past decade of increased immigration of young people, the latest estimate is that the median age will be only about 40 by then.

“This is a big change in a relatively short period of time, and reminds us that demographic trends are not set in stone,” Lowe says.

This means that, on the question of population ageing, and looking at the latest projections over the next quarter of a century, we compare well with other advanced economies, he says.

First, our median age of 37 makes Australia one of the youngest countries. We are ageing more slowly than most of the others, meaning we’re projected to stay relatively young. This is better than earlier projections suggesting we’d move to the middle of the pack.

Second, we have a higher fertility rate than most rich countries. Australians tend to have larger families than those in many other countries. (Note, not large, but larger than the others.)

Third, our average life expectancy is at the higher end of the range, and is expected to keep rising.

Fourth, our old-age dependency ratio – people 65 and older, compared to people of working age, 15 to 64 – is rising, but less quickly than in most other countries.

And our relative youth and higher fertility rate means our dependency ratio is expect to stay lower than other countries’ for the next 25 years or so. Only then is it projected to rise rapidly.

The first intergenerational report expected that the disproportionate bulge of baby boomers reaching normal retirement age would lead to a steady decline in the rate at which people are participating in the labour force.

It hasn’t happened. The reverse, in fact – for fascinating reasons I’ll save for another day.

To economists, this slower rate of population ageing – that is, slower rise in the old-age dependency ratio – is great news. It means the economy’s growth in coming years won’t slow as much as they were expecting (see point above about the participation rate).

It also means ageing will put less pressure on future federal and state budgets. But let me give you a tip: there are so many other pressures we probably won’t notice its absence.



Angry People Think They’re Smarter Than They Are

The study below is a rather good picture of Leftists.  If you doubt that they are chronically angry, listen to any one of them for just 5 minutes when talking about President Trump:  You will hear an explosion of anger to the point of mindlessness and irrationality.

And they CERTAINLY have an unrealistically high opinion of their own ideas and wisdom.  "Just pass a law" is the usual limit of their profundity -- not for a moment foreseeing that such a law might have a lot of bad "unintended" consequences

The study below is not authoritative but it is certainly suggestive

If you know someone who's generally ill-tempered, it might please you to know that they're probably not as smart as they think they are. That's because, unlike other negative emotions, anger seems to make people overconfident about their intelligence, a new study suggests.

"Anger differs significantly from other negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety or depression," Marcin Zajenkowski, study author and psychologist at the University of Warsaw in Poland, told PsyPost.

Previous research has shown that anger is an unusual negative emotion in that it's often associated with positive traits, like optimism. But how anger affects perceived intelligence was unclear. Zajenkowski and his colleague suspected that angry people might be more likely to overestimate how smart they are.

To test this, the researchers surveyed more than 520 undergraduate students attending schools in Warsaw. The students answered survey questions to gauge how easily and how often they get angry. Then, the students took a survey to assess their own intelligence before taking an objective intelligence test.

In general, the students with a higher tendency to get angry also overestimated their cognitive abilities, the study found. On the other hand, the students who were more neurotic, a trait that's often associated with anger, generally underestimated their intelligence. Neuroticism refers to negative traits including irrational anxiety and overwhelming distress.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the researchers found that narcissism was a key factor in how people judged how smart they were. The more ill-tempered personalities were associated with "narcissistic illusions," Zajenkowski told PsyPost.

It's important to note that while the study found that angry people tend to be more narcissistic and overestimate their brilliance, anger was unrelated to actual intelligence level. And, although the researchers found an association between the two traits, it's unclear if there's a cause and effect relationship between anger and overestimating intelligence. More research is needed to explore that link.

What the study didn't test was how anger affects perceived intelligence in the heat of the moment. The study assessed anger as a personality trait, but anger is often a temporary emotion. Additional research is needed to find out if people who don't anger easily might be overly confident in their abilities only in the moment that they're upset.



The Planet Is Dangerously Close to the Tipping Point for a 'Hothouse Earth'

An opinion about what will happen in 300 years time is worthless.

Interesting that tipping points are back, though.  A tipping point was integral to the first generation of global warming theory.  Increasing clouds were said to arrive at a tipping point where they would greatly accelerate warming.

Once it became clear that clouds actually had a cooling effect, that one faded out, however, to be replaced by modelled steady increases.

Now we have a claim that all sorts of things can reach tipping points.  If one doesn't work maybe another will, seems to be the hope

Since the whole prophecy is founded  on the demonstrably false claim that higher levels of atmospheric CO2 lead to higher global temperatures, none of it will come true

It's the year 2300. Extreme weather events such as building-flattening hurricanes, years-long droughts and wildfires are so common that they no longer make headlines. The last groups of humans left near the sizzling equator pack their bags and move toward the now densely populated poles.

This so-called "hothouse Earth," where global temperatures will be 7 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 5 degrees Celsius) higher than preindustrial temperatures and sea levels will be 33 to 200 feet (10 to 60 meters) higher than today, is hard to imagine — but easy to fall into, said a new perspective article published today (Aug. 6) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [Top 9 Ways the World Could End]

In the article, a group of scientists argued that there is a threshold temperature above which natural feedback systems that currently keep the Earth cool will unravel. At that point, a cascade of climate events will thrust the planet into a "hothouse" state. Though the scientists don't know exactly what this threshold is, they said it could be as slight as 2 degrees C (around 4 degrees F) of warming above preindustrial levels.

Sound familiar? The 2 degrees C mark plays a big role in the Paris Agreement, the landmark 2016 agreement signed by 179 countries to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions (the same one that the U.S. announced it would withdraw from last year). In that accord, countries agreed to work to keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees C, and ideally below 1.5 degrees C, above preindustrial levels this century.

"This paper gives very strong scientific support … that we should avoid coming too close or even reaching 2 degrees Celsius warming," article co-author Johan Rockström, director of the Stockholm Resilience Center and a professor of water systems and global sustainability at Stockholm University in Sweden, told Live Science.

Changing Earth's rhythm

For the last million years, Earth has naturally cycled in and out of an ice age every 100,000 years or so. The planet left the last ice age around 12,000 years ago and is currently in an interglacial cycle called the Holocene epoch. In this cycle, Earth has natural systems that help keep it cool, even during the warmer interglacial periods.

But many scientists argue that due to the immense impact of humans on climate and the environment, the current geological age should be called the Anthropocene (from anthropogenic, which means originating with human activity). Temperatures are almost as hot as the maximum historical temperature  during an interglacial cycle, Rockström said.

If carbon emissions continue unabated, the planet might leave the glacial-interglacial cycle and be thrust into a new age of the "hothouse Earth."

Today, we emit 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year from burning fossil fuels, Rockström said. But roughly half of those emissions are taken up and stored by the oceans, trees and soil, he said.

However, we are now seeing signs that we are pushing the system too far — cutting down too many trees, degrading too much soil, taking out too much fresh water and pumping too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, Rockström said.

Scientists fear that if we reach a certain temperature threshold, some of these natural processes will reverse and the planet "will become a self-heater,"Rockström said. That means, forests, soil and water will release the carbon they're storing.

"The moment the planet becomes a source of greenhouse gas emissions together with us humans, then as you can imagine, things are accelerating very fast in the wrong direction," he said. [Doom and Gloom: Top 10 Postapocalyptic Worlds]

Many tipping points

In their perspective paper, Rockström and his team corroborated existing literature on various natural feedback processes and concluded that many of them can serve as "tipping elements." When one tips, many of the others follow.

Nature has feedback mechanisms, such as a rainforest's capability to create its own humidity and rain, that keep ecosystems in equilibrium. If the rainforest is subject to increasing warming and deforestation, however, the mechanism slowly gets weaker, Rockström said.

"When it crosses a tipping point, the feedback mechanism changes direction," Rockström said, and the rainforest morphs from a moisture engine into a self-dryer. Eventually, the rainforest turns into a savanna and, in the process, releases carbon, he said.

This, in turn, can become part of a cascade that would influence other processes around the world, such as ocean circulation and El Niño events. Other tipping points include the thawing of permafrost, loss of Arctic summer sea ice and the loss of coral reefs.

A global call for help

The first big goal should be to completely stop carbon emissions by 2050, Rockström said. But that won't be enough, he added.

In order to stay away from these tipping points, the "whole world [needs to] embark on a major project to become sustainable across all sectors," he said.

That could be a challenge, as countries around the world grow increasingly nationalistic, he said. Instead of focusing on narrow national goals, the world should collectively work to reduce carbon emissions — for instance by creating investment funds that can support poorer nations that don't have as much capacity to reduce emissions as richer countries do, he said.

All of this means "that it's, scientifically speaking, completely unacceptable that a country like the U.S. leaves the Paris Agreement, because now more than ever, we need every country in the world to collectively decarbonize … in order to secure a stable planet," Rockström said.

The new paper is an opinion article that includes no new research but rather draws on the existing literature, Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University who was not part of the study, told Live Science in an email.

"That having been said, the authors do, in my view, make a credible case that we could, in the absence of aggressive near-term efforts to reduce carbon emissions, commit to truly dangerous and irreversible climate change in a matter of decades," Mann said.



Why are America’s poor people so patriotic?

A researcher with evidently Leftist thinking was puzzled by the fact that poor Americans tend to be very patriotic.  He thought they should be rebellious. So he went out and did a bunch of interviews with poor people and asked them why they were patriotic.  Below is the gist of what he found.  Following his findings, I offer some comments:

Why are America’s poor so patriotic? Specifically, what attributes do they ascribe to the United States? How do they think those attributes shape their lives? What are the limitations that they see in other countries that make the United States superior to those countries? And, crucially, how do these Americans reconcile—if they in fact do—their own difficult situation with their positive view of the country? This is a book about what sociologists would call the “narratives” of patriotism among the poor: the conceptual threads, images, stories, and visions that the economically worst-off Americans articulate about their country. It is about their stories and perspectives. It is an effort to investigate, hear, and understand firsthand the logic and reasoning of this particular segment of the American population—a segment that our wealthy and extremely powerful society seems to have forgotten in many ways or to have left behind with little consideration.

Two questions: Why do America’s poor think so highly of their country? How do they reconcile their economic difficulties with their appreciation of their country?

Why are poor Americans so patriotic? The interviews yielded three overarching narratives. First, the people I met shared a firm belief in their country’s promise of hope for every one of its citizens and, indeed, every human being on earth. The American social contract offers to each person deliverance from the ills that have plagued humanity throughout history to this very day. There is something universal and even transcendental about the United States, even if its own history has had troubled moments, with race above all. America’s spirit thus brims with generosity and a readiness to do the right thing in the world. It is an optimistic place, always oriented toward a better future. It is, not coincidentally, also God’s country: from its inception, it has been thought to hold a special place in God’s plans. One need only look at other countries to appreciate the greatness of the United States: most of the interviewees felt that even in the most advanced countries on earth ruthless and arbitrary punishment reigns, and backwardness and poverty deprive their citizens of the essentials for life. America, then, offers incredible hope and, with that, a sense of dignity that no other country can offer. To someone who struggles to end the day fed, clothed, and sheltered, this sense of hope has extraordinary importance.

The second narrative depicted America as the land of milk and honey. The interviewees saw in the United States great wealth, much of it accessible in the form of public goods and services. There are parks, public libraries with free Internet access, electricity, and potable water everywhere. America’s roads, I was told, are paved in gold. The availability of government benefits and private charities helps a great deal. One does not starve in America unless one chooses to. Such abundance of riches makes suffering from very limited resources more bearable. Inequality is not a problem, for anyone can still make it in America: all one has to do is try. Someone is always ready to help, if one is determined to succeed. Indeed, everyone from all over the world wishes to come to this wealthy and beautiful country. With these beliefs in mind, many of the interviewees expressed a sense of contentment. Again, as they told me countless times, all one has to do is look at the deprivations afflicting the poor in other countries. Opportunities are much more limited, people are barely surviving, and economies are depressed. America, then, is the place to be, especially if one has no money.

The third narrative was about freedom. Only in the United States can one truly determine one’s physical and mental existence. This is the basis of the country—its origins and history. One may not have money, but in America one has freedom—and this is the most precious of things. The ability to own guns is central: Guns represent liberty, for the country began with a violent revolution against tyranny. Guns are needed for hunting, too, which is key for feeding oneself and one’s family—something again of great importance if one lacks other resources. We should always remember that such liberty has come at great cost. Generations have served in the military, and this must be honored. In Alabama, the civil rights struggle was especially present in the interviewees’ minds. No other country on earth, I was told, can boast such commitment to freedom. Deprived of much else, such freedom is of the utmost importance to America’s poor. I encountered a fierce and almost instinctive attachment to it. This narrative took on Confederate flavors in Alabama and libertarian tones in Montana.

These were three grand narratives. In many conversations, after discussing these ideas, I pressed the interviewees to reflect on their own situation and life trajectories and asked them directly if they saw no tension between their steadfast belief in America and their own personal situations. Surely, America may be a great, unique country, but did this not contradict their own life experiences? How did they reconcile their love of country with their poverty—their struggles and difficulties?

I discovered that, in a sense, there is no contradiction or puzzle. The interviewees listed four separate reasons. First, everyone deserves what he or she gets: failure is one’s fault, not society’s. Why blame America for one’s bad choices? Second, the future looks brighter already: better things are coming soon, and there is no reason to lose faith in the country. Third, America is founded on the principle that we are all worth the same. Money is only one, and not the most important, metric: in the most fundamental of ways, because of the American social contract, a homeless person is worth as much as the president. There is nothing, in fact, to reconcile. Finally, some of the interviewees recognized that they indeed lack accurate knowledge of other countries: America is all they know, and it is impossible to entertain alternative possibilities.

Upon reflection, after returning from my travels and spending time analyzing what I heard, it became clear to me that all these themes are tied together by one underlying idea: a belief that while one belongs to America, America also belongs to each American. The Americans I met saw themselves reflected in their country: their images, and those of their ancestors who built the country, are reflected in the Pledge of Allegiance, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the American flag. America is a country of, for, and by the people. Struggling and facing innumerable personal challenges do not diminish one’s faith in the United States; in fact, in the case of the interviewees, they provide grounds for further strength and commitment to the country.


Those findings are perfectly sound but they lack psychological sophistication. The process he overlooks is that identifying with your country makes your country's characteristics yours.  Your country's successes are your successes.  "We" have done great things.  And the more the individual is having an undistinguished life, the more it is a comfort for the individual to feel that he and his fellow citizens collectively have done great things.

Humans are group animals to a significant degree so identifying with your group and feeling part of a collective is an entirely normal and natural thing to do. And that is why most people worldwide are patriotic.  The American Left are not patriotic but that is because they have anger issues.  Just listen to them talk about President Trump.  They are boiling over with anger and Trump causes it all to spill out, often in highly irrational ways. -- JR


Oxford Study Finds Conservatives Are ‘Right To Be Skeptical’ of Scientists

An initial note:  The leading author in the paper mentioned below is Nathan Cofnas, not Confas.  It is of course an unusual name so confusion is understood. It is a Lithuanian Jewish name.

I have read the original academic journal article and rather admire the way Nathan has minimized his upsetting of applecarts.  Most social psychological research is utter bilge (examples here and here) but Nathan quotes a lot of it with a straight face. He establishes his point about biased scientists even while not criticizing a lot of biased science.

So his paper is a very scholarly and thorough discussion of three areas where the positions of the scientific establishment are unreasonably liberal. And he doesn't even mention global warming!  Conservatives have long been acutely aware of the liberal bias in academe but Cofnas gives detailed chapter and verse coverage of how that affects scientific findings.

I myself worked for ten years in a sociology department of a highly rated Australian university and rapidly became aware that all of the other teaching staff were Marxists of one stripe or another -- so it was clear from that that conservative ideas would not get fair consideration, if they were considered at all.

Cofnas mentions the difficulty that conservatives have in getting results of their research published in the academic journals.  I experienced that and had to go to great lengths to overcome it.  I overcame it by doing much higher quality work than Leftist authors were presenting  -- which was not actually that hard.

By that I am referring to the virtually universal practice among psychologists of carrying out their research using either white rats or available groups of freshman students.  Such studies are no more than childish games.  To arrive at any sort of generalizable conclusion, you have to base your research on  a representative sample of the population you wish to discuss. Normal psychological research, however, does nor use representative samples of anything.  They do not even attempt to use representative samples of freshman students!  Yet such totally useless research results are routinely presented as if they were generalizable to all humanity!  That is just about as far away from real science as you can get.  It's about as authoritative as medieval theology.

So I used that to my advantage.  I did my research using real random samples of specifiable populations. I went out and doorknocked, for instance -- something that would give almost any leftist academic the horrors. So when my papers came up for evaluation, editors and referees would have looked absurd  even to themselves if they rejected the only bit of generalizable research that they had ever seen.  Even then, however, if I questioned liberal dogma too sharply or sweepingly, my papers were rejected.  Like Cofnas I had to stick to a careful consideration of just a few detailed points.

So conservatives do well to be skeptical of conclusions from liberal social scientists. Their conclusions are not only biased, they are in general just rubbish by normal scientific standards, and blatant rubbish at that.

Wisely, Cofnas did not extend his critique to global warming. But that allegedly "scientific" theory was obviously wrong from its first formulation in the 80s.  The theory is that the worldwide expansion of industrialization after WWII led to a great increase in atmospheric CO2 and that that rise in turn caused a rise in the global temperature.

And they were half right. CO2 levels did shoot up steadily in that timeframe.  But here is the catch:  Temperature levels did not.  They plateaued. Over a 30 year period from 1945 to 1975 there was no rise in the global temperature.  Temperatures just bobbed up and down around a static average.  Temperatures at the end of the period were essentially the same as at the beginning.  It would be hard to think of a clearer disproof of the temperature effects of CO2.  When Warmists are confronted by that fact they mumble something about "special factors".  Special factors that exactly  cancelled out rising CO2 effects for 30 years?

Conservatives have long been skeptical of certain scientific claims, especially in regard to the science behind man-made global warming.

However, a study by the University of Oxford suggests that there may be a reason for that. In fact, they go as far as to say that conservatives have a “right” to be skeptical of scientists.

The study “Does activism in the Social Sciences Explain Conservatives’ Distrust of Scientists?” was led by Professor of Biology for the University of Oxford Nathan Confas and was first published online back in 2017. However, the study was brought to light again when it was republished this month in the recent issue of the American Sociologist.

While conservatives’ distrust in scientists has increasingly decreased every year since 1974, there has been little understanding as to why.

The research hits the well-repeated claim that conservatives often dismiss scientific claims because they contradict their religious beliefs. There are some who believe that conservatives throw out these scientific claims because, as Confas and his team note, it “threatens their worldview.”

However, Confas told Campus Reform that this was a “misguided approach.” Additionally, he said that “liberals and conservatives are equally likely to discredit science if it conflicts with their world-view.”

Confas proposed that the reason so many conservatives are skeptical is that there is an increase of liberalism within the scientific community.

He cited a recent study to prove his point. The study surveyed 479 sociology professors, and only 4 percent identified as conservative or libertarian. Compare this with the 86 percent who identify themselves as liberal or left-radical.

Additionally, Confas suggests that goal of sociology “involves reorganizing society to fight inequality, oppression, poverty, hierarchy, and the like. Its ideological orientation arose out of … civil rights, feminism, Marxism, and other progressive movements.”

But it’s not just the area of sociology where this bias is creeping in. UNT professor George Yancy published a piece titled, “Yes Academic Bias is a Problem and We Need to Address It.”

“Given the reality that academics are much more politically progressive and irreligious than the general population, one should be concerned about the potential of liberal and secular bias,” he wrote. “Those like myself are also concerned about academic bias simply because such bias can lead to bad science.”

It’s this “bias” that leads to “bad science” that is concerning to Confas. He told Campus Reform, “Taking the easy route isn’t something that I or my coauthors are tempted to do. We want to do our part to help correct the science.”

He added, “Conservatives are right to be skeptical. Take any politicized issue that is connected to some disagreement about scientific fact. I do not believe there is a single case in the last couple decades where a major scientific organization took a position that went against the platform of the Democratic Party.”



A Novel Defense of Bad Social Psychology Studies

They may not be true, but they feel true (!).  It's very similar in climate studies.  They WANT their consensus to be true

ANDREW FERGUSON below points out that scientific studies that go against the accepted narrative in that science risk abuse and various attacks on the author from champions of the mainstream view.  That certainly happens in climate science.

Another much more common strategy to deal with attacks on the consensus is simply to ignore the discordant writer and his findings.  That is what happened to my work. I had over 200 papers in print that attacked the dominant Leftist explanation of racism but they were all ignored.  They were seldom even referred to let alone generating any doubts about the consensus

Normally a mini-essay by a journeyman reporter for the New York Times would not be worth rebutting with another mini-essay. We can all agree that the world has quite enough mini-essays as it is. But the recent piece by science writer Benedict Carey is a landmark in its own small way. It demonstrates two related cultural dilemmas—a crisis in social science, usually called “the replication crisis,” and a crisis in the news business, as yet unnamed. And it shows how our “thought leaders” hope to evade both of them.

The crisis in the social sciences has grown so obvious that even mainstream social scientists have begun to acknowledge it. In the past five years or so, disinterested researchers have reexamined many of the most crucial experiments and findings in social psychology and related fields. A very large percentage of them—as many as two-thirds, by some counts—crumble on close examination. These include such supposedly settled science as “implicit bias,” “stereotype threat,” “priming,” “ego depletion” and many others known to every student of introductory psychology. At the root of the failure are errors of methodology and execution that should have been obvious from the start. Sample sizes are small and poorly selected; statistical manipulations are misunderstood and ill-performed; experiments lack control groups and are poorly designed; data are cherry-picked; and safeguards against researcher bias are ignored. It’s a long list.

The second dilemma has to do with the first, though it is less often discussed. The great bulk of journalism—what used to constitute the stuff of a large metropolitan daily newspaper—involves only a handful of general subjects. We read sports, politics, weather, celebrity doings, and pop science. Without them the trade would collapse. Readers and editors alike especially love stories that begin “A new study finds . . . ” or “Scientists have discovered . . . ” This last sort of news—easily digested findings that scientifically explain the mysteries of human behavior—is fed and constantly replenished by the same social science whose elemental assumptions are withering before our eyes. This is bad news for the news.

The circle is vicious indeed. Journalism craves pop-science stories from researchers, who like publicity and must get their work into print, according to the pitiless mandate of publish or perish. The researchers’ urgency encourages corner-cutting and conclusion-jumping, which conveniently tend to produce flashy findings, which are inhaled by news outlets, which publish them under the headline “Researchers find!” and then turn back to the researchers to demand more, more, more.

The growing realization of this unhealthy co-dependency is the kind of thing that can ruin a science writer’s day—his livelihood, too. For Benedict Carey, the Times science writer, the collapse of social psychology is an understandably painful subject. The tone of his mini-essay is mournful, as if he’s watching an old friend walk to the electric chair.

He opens his article by mentioning the 50-year-old Stanford Prison Experiment, a simulation designed to prove that people in positions of power are more likely to behave cruelly than the Dorothy Gales among us, the small and meek. The prison experiment, which required psychology students to play-act as prisoners and prison guards, launched a thousand other experiments that used its findings as an unquestioned premise. The unique dangers of power disparities—as found, for example, in capitalist societies—became a theme of social science, confirming the leftish, class-based politics of social psychologists.

In the last 10 years, thanks to several whistle-blowing researchers working independently, the prison experiment and its findings have been largely discredited. The editor of at least one popular textbook has removed mentions of it. It turns out that the behavior of college students in role-playing exercises under the watchful eye of their professors doesn’t tell us much about the behavior of ordinary people in the real world, no matter how powerful or powerless they are. This has surprised social psychologists. Many of them still refuse to believe it.

Carey also mentions another famous, and much cuter, experiment called the Marshmallow Test. It, too, he notes glumly, has been subverted by further examination. In the marshmallow test, young and adorable children were filmed as they tried not to eat marshmallows. The researchers concluded that children who were taught the ability to delay gratification would, thanks to this single trait, grow up to have happier and more successful lives. On the basis of the marshmallow experiment, policymakers over the next generation developed character-building programs that became all the rage in the fad factories of public education. Teach a kid self-control when he’s 5, went the thinking, and 20 years later you’ll have a college graduate on your hands.

Anyone uncontaminated by social science would understand this proposition to be laughably mechanical and simplistic. And even social scientists are now seeing that the study was severely limited in application. Almost all the kids in the test were white and well-to-do; the results didn’t take into account family stability, the level of parents’ education, the behavior of peers, or any of the other infinite factors that form a child’s character. For nearly 30 years the “marshmallow effect” was science. Now it’s folklore.

Carey could have picked dozens of other examples. Every few weeks, it seems, another established truth of social science comes a cropper. But Carey is a man of faith, as believers in social science must be. He doesn’t want to let go. He is wounded by critics who think the replication crisis somehow undermines social psychology’s standing as science. “On the contrary,” he writes. The crisis proves social science is self-correcting, just the way real sciences are.

“Housecleaning is a crucial corrective in science,” Carey writes. This is true. He also says “psychology has led by example.” This is not true. A science cannot correct itself unless its findings are subjected to replication, but even now such self-examination is rare in social science—indeed, it is often deemed seditious. Reformers and revisionists who question famous findings are subjected to personal and professional abuse from colleagues online and elsewhere.

Still, Carey insists, psychology is a science. It’s just not a science in the way that other, fussier sciences are science. “The study of human behavior will never be as clean as physics or cardiology,” he writes. “How could it be?” And of course those farfetched experiments aren’t like real experiments. “Psychology’s elaborate simulations are just that.”

These are large concessions, but Carey doesn’t seem to realize how subversive they are. Those “elaborate simulations” are held up by social scientists as experiments on a par with the controlled experiments of real science. We are told they re­-create the various circumstances that human beings find themselves in and react to. The only reason anyone pays attention to social psychology is that its findings are supposed to be widely, even universally, applicable, as the findings of the physical sciences are. Otherwise it’s unlikely news outlets would hire reporters to write about social science.

Carey’s defense of social psychology fits the current age. It is post-truth, as our public intellectuals like to say. “[Social psychology’s] findings are far more accessible and personally relevant to the public than those in most other scientific fields,” Carey writes. “The public’s judgments matter to the field, too.”

Okay, but are the findings true? Carey’s answer is: Who cares? The headline over his piece summarizes the point. “Many famous studies of human behavior cannot be reproduced. Even so, they revealed aspects of our inner lives that feel true.”

Feeling true is what’s important. “It is one thing,” Carey goes on, “to frisk the studies appearing almost daily in journals that form the current back-and-forth of behavior research. It is somewhat different to call out experiments that became classics—and world-famous outside of psychology—because they dramatized something people recognized in themselves and in others.”

The public likes them. They’re famous. They’re classics! And they feel true.

Or true-ish, anyway. This is good enough for the New York Times and its guardians of science. They have adapted the scientific method to the Trump era.



Hysteria reminiscent of Hitler from Jerry Brown.  Says: "Since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven’t had this kind of heat condition"

The facts as advised by Meterorologist Joe Bastardi: 

Statewide most recently  2006, 2005, 2003 were all warmer. Here are my previous links on this:

This  May 17 on wildfires

Then May 19 on heat

And again June 1! showing the changes are natural

Climate historian Tony Heller notes that California has always had massive forest fires.  One in 1868 burned up much of the Santa Cruz mountains. (https://www.newspapers.com/image/50915615/?terms=forest%2Bfires) 

With more than 20 active fires small and very large tearing across the state, California Gov. Jerry Brown warned today that “nature is powerful, and we’re not on the side of nature,” and that devastating blazes are "the new normal."

The Carr Fire in Shasta and Trinity counties, which was sparked July 23 by a non-criminal vehicle fire at Highway 299 and Carr Powerhouse Road west of Redding, Calif., has burned more than 115,000 acres and was 35 percent contained as of this morning. It's now ranked as the sixth most destructive wildfire in the state's history after killing six and destroying more than a thousand homes.

Cal Fire said that "steep terrain, erratic winds, and previously unburned fuels are contributing to spot fire potential." More than 4,100 firefighters are battling the blaze.

Along with a bulldozer contract employee and a Redding firefighter killed in the Carr Fire, the captain of a wildland hotshots team and a Cal Fire heavy equipment operator have been killed in the Ferguson fire burning near Yosemite in Mariposa County. The more than 62,000-acre blaze was 39 percent contained this afternoon.

Dreaming of Three Californias

At a state Office of Emergency Services press conference today, Brown said firefighters would have to adapt to increasingly severe wildfires in the years to come because of climate change.

“We’re fighting nature with the amount of material we’re putting in the environment, and that material traps heat, and the heat fosters fires, and the fires keep burning," he said.

The governor added that "since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven’t had this kind of heat condition, and it’s going to continue getting worse and that’s the way it is."

“Some people don’t want to accept that, some just outright deny it," Brown continued. "I don’t say it with any great joy here – we’re in for a very rough ride. It’s going to get expensive. It’s going to get dangerous, and we have to apply all our creativity to make the best of what is going to be an increasingly bad situation, not just for California, but for people all over America and all over the world.”

Brown said the state's budget would also have to figure in the cost of increased fire fury in the upcoming years. “So far, this fire activity is a small part of our very large budget, but it is growing and it will continue to grow as we adapt to the changing weather,” he said.

The governor said that steps to combat global warming can still, eventually, “shift the weather back to where it historically was.”



Deadly heatwaves that can kill people in SIX HOURS could leave a large area of China uninhabitable by 2070

You wonder if some scientists ever set foot outside their own front door. The "MIT scientists" below are forecasting disaster if temperatures reach 31°C in humid areas of China.

Do they know nothing of the tropics? I was born there, and lived in the coastal city of Cairns until I was 19. And it sure was humid there. And it was not unusual to have summer daytime temperatures of 100°F (38°C).

And strange to say, we flourished. We were actually rather advantaged. We had zero problems in winter time. No snowplows, no shovelling snow, no chains on our tires, no burst pipes, no need for any heating. So we had year-round convenience for work or anything else we wanted to do. I wish it on China

Vast swathes of China could be left uninhabitable to humans towards the end of the century due to blistering climate change-driven heatwaves, scientists warn.

China's north plain is the most densely populated region of the country, and serves as a key agricultural region to provide food for the country's 1.4 billion residents.

According to new research, the 1,500 square mile region (4,000 square kilometres) will become a wasteland if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate.

Climate change will result in a fatal combination of both heat and humidity, which can cause healthy individuals to drop dead in a matter of hours.

The scientists behind the study warned that unless China – the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the world – curbs its pollution levels, it could trigger serious consequences for its population.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists predicted the devastating effect climate change will have on the densely-populated region of China, which stretches the length of the Yellow River.

For the study, which was published in Nature Communications, the researchers looked into the 'business-as-usual' situation and modelled the effects of current greenhouse gas emission levels over the next several decades.

According to the models, fatally humid heatwaves — known as 'wet bulb temperatures' (WBT) — are set to become more common in the north plain region.

Humidity dramatically exacerbates the effects of heatwaves for humans, as it stops them being able to shed excess heat from their bodies by sweating.

Without the use of this natural cooling mechanism, even fit and healthy humans sat in the shade can be overwhelmed and die in less than six hours.

A WBT above 31°C (87.8°F) is classed by the US National Weather Service as an 'extreme danger', warning people that 'if you don’t take precautions immediately, you may become seriously ill or even die.'

Low rainfall across the region in China makes irrigation networks necessary to effectively plant in the highly fertile soil.

However, as temperatures increase these systems will cause high levels of water evaporation, making the air in the north plain incredibly humid.

The researchers found fatal WBTs of 35°C (95°F) would strike the north China plain repeatedly between 2070 and 2100, unless carbon emissions are cut.

MIT scientists found that Shanghai, for example, would exceed the fatal threshold five times and the 'extreme danger' WBTs would occur hundreds of times.

Even if China makes significant carbon cuts, the models still showed the 'extreme danger' WBT would be exceeded many times between 2070 and 2100. 

'This spot is going to be the hottest spot for deadly heatwaves in the future,' said Professor Elfatih Eltahir, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientist who led the study.

'The projections are particularly worrying because many of the region's 400 million people are farmers and have little alternative to working outside.

'China is currently the largest contributor to the emissions of greenhouse gases, with potentially serious implications to its own population.

'Continuation of current global emissions may limit the habitability of the most populous region of the most populous country on Earth.'