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Total abandonment of science by the Congressional Left

The professional Warmists at DeSmog Blog have put up here a number of pages from the Congressional Record that report testimony on climate change by Harry Reid, Elizabeth Warren and other well-known scientists.  The testimony by Harry Reid is a particular hoot.  He has repeated for the umpteenth time his sweeping condemnation of the Koch Bros.  They are a worm in Harry's brain. He can't get past  them.  According to him they are responsible for all climate skepticism.

And Pocohontas is not much better.  She aims her spray rather more widely, with Lord Monckton coming in for a big blast.  She claims that he is not a scientist and seems to think that what he says is therefore worthless  -- quite overlooking the fact that she is not a scientist either.  Is her opinion worthless?  I think so but I'm betting that she does not.

But  in the end the whole session is just "ad hominem" argument, argument which is of zero logical force.  The pages concerned are awash with sweeping and unreferenced  personal vilification. When Pocohontas says that a Monckton claim has been disproved, we might have expected the name or names of the person/s who did the disproving.  But no such luck. And nowhere is there any mention of a single climate datum, fact or figure.

It's all rather Satanic, actually: An unending flow of hate and nothing but hate.

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Hoddox

What are "hoddox"?  I have encountered hoddox only once. It was on my first trip to South Africa in 1979. I was in the Hillbrow area of Johannesburg, then a rather "vibrant" (in a good way.  I don't like some vibrations) area.  It was a safe area to walk around in then, unlike in the "rainbow" South Africa of today.

Anyway, I wanted some food so walked into a small cafe and asked the proprietor what he was selling.  He listed a number of things, one of which was "hoddox".  It sounded interesting so I  ordered it.  It was a hot dog.  The proprietor was Greek -- and a Greek version of a South African accent had foxed me.

I very rarely eat hot dogs because I don't like frankfurts, which are their usual filling.  Although there is something about franks that I don't like, I have never been quite able to pin down what it is.  I think I may have found out, however.  I think the following information from a food chemist might put a lot of people off:

"One thing about hot dogs, they're in a category called emulsified sausages and they're a bit more complex than, say, your typical sausage. In summer sausage, meat and fat are ground up into small chunks, and them mixed with spices. You can still see those chunks and tell the meat apart from the fat though. In an emulsified sausage like hot dogs, the meat and fat are ground into much tinier chunks, until it forms a uniform paste. The paste then mixed in powerful, high speed mixers together with spices, additives, water, and air. If regular sausage is like pesto, emulsified sausage is like vinaigrette. There's a lot of things going on in there that you just can't see without a microscope"

I am very keen on sausages generally so it must just be the texture of franks that I dislike. A jocular name for sausages is "mystery bags".  I think the mystery is most pronounced with franks.

I acquired the information above in pursuit of something I encountered on one of my trips to L.A.  I was living in a cheap motel and had the radio on a fair bit.  I mostly had a station called KFWB on, as it was an all-news station then and I wanted to keep abreast of what was going on in America at that time.

And they did of course have advertisements, very frequent advertisements.  And a much repeated advertisement was for "Ball Park" franks.  Below is what Wikipedia says about them:

"A Livonia, Michigan meat-packing company called Hygrade Food Products won a competition in 1959 to be the exclusive supplier of hot dogs to the Detroit Tigers and Tiger Stadium. Hygrade Food Products launched a contest to its employees in order to come up with the best brand name for their Detroit Tigers stadium hot dogs. Mary Ann Kurk, one of Hygrade Food Products sales people at the time, won the contest with the name "Ball Park Franks". She won a leather living room chair and a cash prize of $25 (equivalent to $203 in 2015). It was from this venue that Ball Park Franks gained popularity and became known in American pop-culture. Sara Lee acquired Hygrades from Hanson Industries in 1989"

And the great slogan advertising Ballpark franks was:

"They plump when you cook em".

That seemed very strange to me.  It sounded like an apology for their franks being small.  It seemed a strange thing to focus your advertising on.  And, perhaps because that seemed odd to me, it has remained in my memory to a most unfortunate degree.  Often, when I see sausages of any kind, that stupid slogan runs through my head.  My mind has been infected by a virus that I most deplore and cannot get rid of.  I guess I must regard that  as just one of the many injuries we suffer as we slide down the razorblade of life.  (Hats off to Tom Lehrer).



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On MIT blog, black students complain about racism

The discussion below is very shallow.  Nobody seems to ask WHY whites are wary about blacks.  Perhaps the answer is too obvious:  The high rate of criminality among blacks.  On some estimates, one third of black males will have spent time in jail during their lives, and they are only the worst offenders.  So whites have very good reasons to minimize their contact with blacks.  And that is mainly what is complained about below: not persecution but social reserve.  It was once much worse.  

White society has made great efforts -- with affirmative action and otherwise -- to improve the lot of blacks but many blacks have not picked up the ball.  And while blacks by their own behaviour alienate whites, there will be very little real acceptance of them.  It is racism of a sort but it is racism born of realistic caution.

For decent blacks, the situation is of course galling but getting angry about it will achieve nothing at the best and will deepen racial division at the worst.  The recent shootings of police show how disastrous black anger can be.  If there is much more of police shootings, it is not hard to see that many police will refuse to go into black-majority areas -- thus leaving innocent blacks to the black thugs.  Police refusing to go into black areas is relatively rare today but we may not be far off from it becoming an epidemic.

We all at times have to "swallow" slights and blacks need to swallow the fact that whites will always be wary of them.  There is no other healthy way forward.  Blacks have to accept the reality that their very faces are faces of fear

And police feel that too.  When they pull up a black, they are on hair-trigger alert for black aggression towards them. And sometimes the trigger gets pulled on the basis of a mistake.  An innocent action by a black can look like pulling a gun.  And in that case an innocent man may die from a police bullet -- as a result of what it essentially a mistake or an accident.  That is how Philando Castile died.  If blacks became generally co-operative rather than hostile to police, far fewer would die of police bullets.

But who can see that happening?  I can't.  So the time when many black areas will become no-go areas for police cannot be far off.  And the big losers from that will be blacks


Just before he took a dinner break at work earlier this month, MIT senior Vincent Anioke scanned the Web for news and stopped on the graphic video of the July 6 shooting of Philando Castile by a Minnesota police officer.

As he read comments below the video, Anioke grew angry. He forgot about his dinner. Instead, he sat at his desk at Google in Kendall Square and in 45 minutes, pounded out a strongly worded essay about his own struggle as a black man in the United States.

“There is no nuance, there is no complication,” he wrote. “There is no subtlety. There is a problem. We feel like dogs. We feel like we don’t matter.”

His words went viral, among the MIT community and beyond — part of an uncommonly open discussion being fostered at MIT about the racial tension gripping the country.

Anioke’s post — like others that poured out after the spate of violence — appears not on Facebook or Medium, but on MIT’s official admissions website, a resource for prospective students. His became the most viewed in the past six months.

“We want to let our students speak, because we know that’s the best way to tell the story about MIT,” said Kirk Kolenbrander, an MIT vice president. “There is no decision by the institution, by MIT, about what gets printed.”

In the wake of the shootings in Minnesota, Louisiana, and Texas, the university has also encouraged other types of discussion about racial tension.

MIT’s president, L. Rafael Reif, wrote a letter in the days after the shootings, urging people at MIT to talk with each other about the violence, and then use their smarts to “help right the ship of our society.”

MIT held a lunch at which more than 600 students, professors, staff, and alumni sat around tables, ate chicken sandwiches, and talked. They talked about feeling anxious, sad, helpless, angry, guilty, and frustrated that they can’t change systems that seem broken, said DiOnetta Jones Crayton, associate dean for undergraduate education and director of the MIT office of minority education, who spoke at the event.

And of course, being scientists, people talked about experiments, and hypotheses, and solutions Jones Crayton said. Could technology help end racism, they wondered?

“We have expertise that we can lend to this dialogue,” she said in a phone interview after the event. Another student blogger wrote about the lunch.

Many colleges have student bloggers, but those at MIT are unusually candid. The school encourages the bloggers it selects each year to write what they want, so among entries about cooking, dormitory drama, and math problems are posts about depression and suicide, about sexual assault, and recently, about racism.

When Anioke’s post went live July 8, he was nervous about the response. He had written about his struggle to find community at MIT because, as someone from Nigeria, he didn’t totally identify with African-American culture.

“Because we’re mostly black [in Nigeria,] ‘being black’ was never a term that was part of my daily vocabulary. You were tall or short or fat or skinny or intelligent or a complete and utter idiot, but you weren’t black. It was as weird as saying ‘you’re human.’ ”

Then one day, he wrote, he was walking home from the Central Square post office in Cambridge and a white man grabbed him, accused him of stealing someone’s wallet, and hurled a racial slur.

“I can’t hide under some fancy little idea that there’s a barrier between black and African, because what matters to these people — you know who these people are — is that they can take one look at the color of your skin, and populate their minds with the entire back story of you,” he wrote.

“They can take one look at you, and before they’re even looking away, they’ve put you — they’ve put us — in this mental catalogue.”

As his post went live, he watched as the social media tickers at the bottom of the page spun. Five thousand, then 10,000, then 26,000 likes, and 1,320 tweets. His post is the blog’s seventh-most-viewed in the past six years, MIT said.

Other posts also have students talking. Sophomore Ben Oberlton’s July 11 post, “Life of a Black Person,” generated lots of conversation. In January, in response to other race-related events on other campuses, rising junior Selam Jie Gano wrote about training the eye to see color, and training people to respect each other. She followed up last week with a post called “Alien in America.”

“The difference between seeing and not seeing incidents of discrimination that happen to others is also about practice,” wrote Jie Gano in the earlier post, which even generated a comment from Reif.

For Anioke, the best part of writing was reading the comments. Unlike the shallow reactions on Facebook that had prompted him to write — comments that implied Castile was somehow partly to blame for being shot — these were thoughtful, filled with people sharing personal stories and messages of understanding.

“I sort of just kept writing and writing until I was done writing,” Anioke said in a phone interview last week. “I felt like I had spoken honesty.”

“Sometimes I wonder, can things change? Can things ever change?” Anioke said. “I do think things can change, we just need enough people to come together.”

SOURCE

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A new Leftist horror coming to Australian education

The press release below is fairly bland and cautious but the Australian organization concerned is an acknowledged branch of the "Ashoka" organization. And if you read here you will see what that is all about. Ashoka is a movement to turn universities away from being mere educational institutions and making them into centres of agitation for "change". No particular change is called for, just change for the sake of change apparently. That rather makes it change as entertainment.

But neophilia is indeed a major Leftist motive, as I showed long ago.  Conservatives by contrast want there to be good reasons for change.  They don't need to abuse the whole society for childish entertainment

One therefore rather wonders whether the taxpayer should be paying for Leftist entertainment.  The taxpasyer already pays for a lot of Leftist propaganda in the universities. Is that not enough?

Given the vast expense of the Australian university system, one would hope for it to be used for serious purposes -- such as transmitting and developing knowledge.  Taking energies away from that can hardly be a right use of university facilities


 A visitor from Glasgow Caledonian University, Julie Adair is keen to expand her ‘Common Good First’ project into Australia, capturing stories of community social impact across a wide range of areas.

 Ms Adair is Director, Digital Collaboration for GCU and also has an extensive background in broadcasting with the BBC and the Walt Disney Company, with experience across several continents.

 Common Good First is a digital exchange of grassroots solutions to pressing social problems, both in the UK and around the world. The Common Good First team has worked with a range of community projects to, first, promote their objectives online and then to investigate how cross-disciplinary academic networks could input innovative approaches to social change in response to the challenges the projects are facing.

 “Stories take us beyond our own limited experiences and allow us to walk in the shoes of others, building knowledge of unknown places and understanding of diverse peoples,” Ms Adair says.

 As her home institution is registered as an ‘Ashoka U Changemaker Campus’, Ms Adair is this week visiting the Melbourne Campus of CQUniversity, which has recently become Australia’s first approved Ashoka U institution.

 She will talk about the project she started in 2015 with two small teams in Scotland and South Africa, each focusing on identifying and capturing stories of community social impact.

 The project focused on individuals within communities who had found innovative ways to solve problems in their community.

 “These activities ranged from re-educating prisoners to raising aspirations for young people in areas of high deprivation; from tackling dementia to supporting orphans and vulnerable children,” Ms Adair says.  “Now in Australia I’m keen to express the importance of storytelling and its role in driving social innovation and also why I’m keen to gather and curate stories from around the world.

 “I’m keen to let people know how they can become part of our exciting project.

More via this

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An amusing example of superficial analysis from the Left

The author below makes a mistake very common among even academic Leftist writers:  Assuming that correlation is causation and that they "know" in which direction the causal arrow points.  One of the first things you learn in Statistics 101 is that correlation is NOT causation and cannot determine causation.

The finding concerned below is a correlation between anti-Muslim sentiment among the host population and pro-ISIS sentiment among the local Muslim population. Inferred from that is that anti-Muslim sentiment drives Muslims into the arms of ISIS. And indeed it may do.  But let's look a bit further back along the causal chain.  Could it be that anti-Muslim sentiment is high in some areas because Muslims seem particularly obnoxious in certain areas?  So the causal chain runs:  Obnoxious Muslim behaviour ==> Anti-Muslim sentiment ==> ISIS-liking Muslims.  Or maybe ISIS-liking Muslims ==> Obnoxious Muslim behaviour ==> anti-Muslim sentiment.

It could be any or all of those things.  The case is indeterminant without proper before-and-after research.  I append to the article below the academic journal abstract and I note that the author there quietly admits towards the end of the abstract that the results are largely driven by "reverse causation", which I take to mean the sort of causal chains I have outlined.  But it's all just opinion, of course.

Finally, let me flesh out out briefly what I suspect really underlay the findings.  Anti-Muslim sentiment is huge in the old East Germany.  Why would that be?  Because the East retains at some level the values drummed into them by their old Communist regime: which are values of brotherhood and solidarity between people.  And Muslims breach that.  By holding themselves apart in so many ways, they destroy social solidarity.  They offend against basic East German values.  So even if they are not in fact unusually obnoxious in the East Muslims will be seen as unusually obnoxious there

So the East German case is pretty clear.  In other countries other or similar influences may be at work.  In Britain, for instance, anti-immigrant sentiment is by far the strongest in the North, as we saw in the Brexit vote.  And where is the North ideologically?  Solidly socialist.  They are the great redoubt of the British Labour party.  And as such they too have strong values of brotherhood and social solidarity.  So we see again that anti-Muslim sentiment is in fact associated with LEFTISM.  Not the Leftism of the elites, of course, but the Leftism of the people. The gulf between the Leftism of the elites and the Leftism of the people has of course been much discussed in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

And who in history was by far the greatest hater of minorities?  The socialist Hitler.  Hitler united socialist and nationalist thinking in the propaganda placard below -- a Wochenspruch for the Gau Weser/Ems. The saying is, "Es gibt keinen Sozialismus, der nicht aufgeht im eigenen Volk" -- which I translate as "There is no socialism except what arises within its own people". You need social solidarity to have real socialism, in other words. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.




MANY PEOPLE WANT their political leaders to take a harder line with immigrants and Muslims, but new research suggests that this approach may, as President Obama has repeatedly asserted, make us less safe.

A political scientist (who “worked four years as a counterterrorism research officer in the Israeli Directorate of Military Intelligence”) scoured about 15,000 accounts of ISIS activists and their social networks on Twitter. She “matched users’ location data to local-level administrative data” and found that “local-level vote share for far-right, anti-Muslim parties in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Belgium is a significant predictor of online radicalization.

In substantive terms, an increase of one percentage point in the local-level vote share for far-right parties is associated with a 6 percent, and 3 percent increase, respectively, in the probability of a user being flagged as ISIS-affiliated and being among the top 1 percent posters of radical content.”

Local unemployment or immigration were not associated with pro-ISIS Twitter activity; in fact, “the proportion of asylum seekers and/or asylum seeker centers in a location is negatively linked to these radicalization outcomes.”

The fact that pro-ISIS Twitter activity increased right after anti-Muslim protests across Europe on Feb. 6, 2016 — but only in those areas with high levels of far-right, anti-Muslim voting — suggests that local voter attitudes are driving local radicalization, not the other way around.

SOURCE

From Isolation to Radicalization: The Socioeconomic Predictors of Support for ISIS in the West

Tamar Mitts

Abstract:    

The steady stream of foreign fighters from Western countries to join the Islamic State has gripped the attention of scholars and policymakers around the world. In this paper, I provide the first systematic micro-level study of the socioeconomic predictors of online radicalization and support for ISIS in Europe. I argue that lack of integration in Western countries, coupled with anti-Muslim discrimination and hostility, drives individuals to support ISIS on social media. From December 2015 to May 2016, I collected real-time data on the activity of thousands of ISIS activists and the full social network of their followers on Twitter, a central platform for the organization’s recruitment efforts. I captured and analyzed the online activity and textual content produced by ISIS supporters before their accounts were deleted from the Internet. Using data on the geographic location of ISIS supporters, I matched online radicalization indicators with offline data on voteshare for far-right, anti-Muslim parties in Europe to examine whether the intensity of anti-Muslim hostility at the local level predicts support for ISIS on Twitter. Results show that local-level support for far-right parties is a significant and substantively meaningful determinant of pro-ISIS radicalization online, including posting tweets sympathizing with ISIS, describing life in ISIS-controlled territories, discussing foreign fighters, and expressing anti-West sentiment. An event study of the marches organized by the anti-Muslim movement PEGIDA in 2016 suggests that the results are not entirely driven by reverse causality. Of particular relevance to the current debate over refugee policy, I also find that the number of foreigners or asylum seekers in a locality are not significant predictors of radicalization.

SOURCE

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Australia's First Modern Decline In Life Expectancy Due To Obesity

The headline above is as it appeared in the Puffington Host.  It is a crock.  You would think from it that Australian lifespans HAVE decreased.  They have not.  It is just another stupid Leftist theory that they might decrease -- even though they never have in recent decades.  There are many influences on lifespan, with obesity being only a minor one.

And a supreme piece of idiocy in the article below is that it takes no account of the TREND in obesity.  It takes no account of the fact that in many populations, obesity has stopped rising, and has even been declining in some populations over the last 10 years.  So even if we treat every word below as gospel, we don't know WHEN it refers to.  It may simply be a description of how things WERE.

Saying that lifespans will be reduced on the basis of a questionable assumption that obesity levels will increase is therefore an unsupported extrapolation and is very likely a wrong one for at least some groups -- a false prophecy.

I append the underlying journal article.  There is much of interest in it.  It is for a start a meta-analysis and it is amazing what people can get and do get out of a meta-analysis -- by selecting what you decide to include or exclude. Authors are very good at excluding from their analysis articles whose conclusions they dislike.

The original article appeared in the "Lancet", which was once a rightly respected journal.  Sad to say, the "Lancet" these days is Left-led. It even involved itself in propaganda about the Iraq war.  So biased meta-analyses in service of a "good cause" can be expected from it.  The obesity "war" is definitely a "good cause".

Secondly, there is much dispute now over whether BMI is a good index of obesity.  Very fit people can sometimes have a high BMI even though they have virtually no fat on them.

Thirdly, all the effects were very small, with Hazard Ratios below 2.0 except for the grossly obese.  The Federal Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Second Edition says (p. 384): "the threshold for concluding that an agent was more likely than not the cause of an individual's disease is a relative risk greater than 2.0."

So the only real concern is for the GROSSLY obese. That is in line with much previous research so the whole article below is just puffery. There are no substantial grounds to be concerned for the health of anybody over nearly all of the weight range


Australia has experienced an unprecedented collective weight gain over the last three decades and it could lead to the first modern decline in life expectancy.

A new mega-study on four million adults proved for the first time that an unhealthy Body Mass Index had a direct correlation with premature death.

The study published in British medical journal The Lancet found that for every increase in BMI unit after the overweight range, there was an increase in the risk of premature death by around one third.
This increased risk related to coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes complications and cancer.

Deakin University's World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention professor Anna Peeters said the study pointed to a population-wide catastrophe in Australia.

"With two thirds of Australian adults overweight or obese this underscores the seriousness of current obesity rates for future life expectancy in Australia," Peeters said.

"If we needed yet another reason to step up our efforts to prevent obesity, this is it."

Cancer Council Australia chief executive Sanchia Aranda said cancer was one of the ways morbidity increased the risk of mortality.

"Given the unprecedented population weight gain in Australia over the last 30 years, we can expect to see the number of cancers and cancer deaths related to obesity and overweight increase in the future unless we take action," Aranda said.

SOURCE

Body-mass index and all-cause mortality: individual-participant-data meta-analysis of 239 prospective studies in four continents

Summary

Background

Overweight and obesity are increasing worldwide. To help assess their relevance to mortality in different populations we conducted individual-participant data meta-analyses of prospective studies of body-mass index (BMI), limiting confounding and reverse causality by restricting analyses to never-smokers and excluding pre-existing disease and the first 5 years of follow-up.

Methods

Of 10 625 411 participants in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, and North America from 239 prospective studies (median follow-up 13·7 years, IQR 11·4–14·7), 3 951 455 people in 189 studies were never-smokers without chronic diseases at recruitment who survived 5 years, of whom 385 879 died. The primary analyses are of these deaths, and study, age, and sex adjusted hazard ratios (HRs), relative to BMI 22·5–<25·0 kg/m2.

All-cause mortality was minimal at 20·0–25·0 kg/m2 (HR 1·00, 95% CI 0·98–1·02 for BMI 20·0–<22·5 kg/m2; 1·00, 0·99–1·01 for BMI 22·5–<25·0 kg/m2), and increased significantly both just below this range (1·13, 1·09–1·17 for BMI 18·5–<20·0 kg/m2; 1·51, 1·43–1·59 for BMI 15·0–<18·5) and throughout the overweight range (1·07, 1·07–1·08 for BMI 25·0–<27·5 kg/m2; 1·20, 1·18–1·22 for BMI 27·5–<30·0 kg/m2). The HR for obesity grade 1 (BMI 30·0–<35·0 kg/m2) was 1·45, 95% CI 1·41–1·48; the HR for obesity grade 2 (35·0–<40·0 kg/m2) was 1·94, 1·87–2·01; and the HR for obesity grade 3 (40·0–<60·0 kg/m2) was 2·76, 2·60–2·92. For BMI over 25·0 kg/m2, mortality increased approximately log-linearly with BMI; the HR per 5 kg/m2 units higher BMI was 1·39 (1·34–1·43) in Europe, 1·29 (1·26–1·32) in North America, 1·39 (1·34–1·44) in east Asia, and 1·31 (1·27–1·35) in Australia and New Zealand. This HR per 5 kg/m2 units higher BMI (for BMI over 25 kg/m2) was greater in younger than older people (1·52, 95% CI 1·47–1·56, for BMI measured at 35–49 years vs 1·21, 1·17–1·25, for BMI measured at 70–89 years; pheterogeneity<0·0001), greater in men than women (1·51, 1·46–1·56, vs 1·30, 1·26–1·33; pheterogeneity<0·0001), but similar in studies with self-reported and measured BMI.
Interpretation

The associations of both overweight and obesity with higher all-cause mortality were broadly consistent in four continents. This finding supports strategies to combat the entire spectrum of excess adiposity in many populations.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30175-1


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South Australian "green" energy faltering

When they shut down their last coal-fired electricity generator, S.A. crowed about how their electricity was now wholly "green". That was a typical Greenie lie from the beginning. They rely on importing electricity from Victoria when the wind isn't blowing. And that electricity is generated by burning "dirty" LaTrobe brown coal, the most polluting form of coal.

They thought they could get away with that but now they are hitting problems.  The interconnector from Victoria can only supply so much power and that is often not enough.  So they jack up the prices of their electricity when the wind is not blowing.  They equalize supply and demand by penalizing and hence restricting demand from big users -- businesses.

That's such an attack on business that they have begun to backtrack.  They are now asking for more output from a big private generator, powered by  -- guess -- a "fossil" fuel -- natural gas.  The Green is now pretty brown at the edges and it will get browner as the folly of "sustainable" power makes itself felt. Blackouts are waiting in the wings


A private power station in Adelaide has been asked to boost its output because some of South Australia's biggest businesses have been struggling to cope with a huge jump in their electricity prices at times of peak demand.

The owner of Pelican Point Power Station in Adelaide's north-west, Engie, has been asked by the SA Government to provide an extra 239 megawatts of supply.

The Government said a planned outage of the Heywood power interconnector with Victoria, higher gas prices and severe cold weather were to blame for price volatility in the local energy market.

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said there was little the Government could do reduce price fluctuations because of past privatisation of the state's electricity assets.

But Opposition frontbencher Rob Lucas blamed the SA Government's reliance on renewable energy for the surge in electricity prices at times of peak demand.

    "The massive rush into wind energy and alternative energy in South Australia, without ensuring the continuation of base load power, is the major problem that we've got here in South Australia," he said.

SOURCE



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Earth's clouds are shifting towards its poles

LOL!  By applying heavy "corrections" to their data they got a story that would correspond to global warming theory.  I don't know where to start here, it's such a hoot.  Could there have been some bias in the "corrections"?  One would have to be naive to dismiss it.

And why did they not segregate their data into the 20th and 21st centuries?  If their theories are right that would have been a splendid way to test them. If the clouds kept moving polewards in C21, that would disprove their theory -- as there was no statistically significant warming in C21 until last year.  They obviously did NOT want to test their theory.

And what they say is wrong anyway. They found "growing dry regions" as rain-bearing clouds move polewards.  But what about the Sahel?  The Sahel is actually in the tropics so should be very strongly affected by what they claim.  And it is a very large dry region so would seem an excellent test of their theory.  So has the Sahel got any drier?  To the contrary, it has shrunk in recent years.  Much that was once desert is now green.   That's one test of their junk theory that they could not fudge -- and the theory fails its test abjectly

Journal article appended


Bands of cloud cover that swirl around the globe are slowly creeping towards the poles, causing dry regions to expand around the equator, climate scientists have warned.

Using satellite data captured between the 1980s and 2000s, researchers found that channels of cloud cover which carry storms around the globe have shifted closer to the poles over time.

As well as poleward shift in cover and expanding dry regions, they findings show the height of cloud tops have increased at all latitudes, all of which impacts on the global climate and agree with predictions for the impact of climate change.

Cloud cover is a key factor in regulating the planet's temperature, with cover reflecting solar radiation back into space or acting as a blanket to keep surface heat from escaping, depending on the type and thickness of clouds.

But while the effects of such a variable system are almost impossible to decipher in the short term, over a period of decades long-term trends begin to emerge.

Led by climate scientists at the University of California, the team was able to correct the satellite data from several sources to show such long term trends, removing errors and inaccuracies from satellite sensors and erroneous trends.

They found that dry bands over the subtropical regions are expanded – a belt which covers regions including the Southern United States, North Africa and Central Australia – and the height of cloud tops at all latitudes has increased.

Climate scientists in the US looked at several datasets going back to the early 1980s.

By removing errors caused by satellite sensors, incorrectly calibrated systems and countering for erroneous trends, they were able to show long-term trends in cloud coverage.

They found the band of clouds which carries tropical storms around the planet have moved from the subtropical regions towards the poles.

But in their wake, they have further opened up dry areas in subtropical regions – in a belt which covers regions including the Southern United States, North Africa and Central Australia.

What's more, they found the height of cloud tops at all latitudes has increased.

The researchers have said that their observations align with predictions previously made in complex climate models.

They say the findings agree with climate models, which predict a warming climate will be accompanied with less cloud coverage in the tropics and growing dry regions.

'What this paper brings to the table is the first credible demonstration that the cloud changes we expect from climate models and theory are currently happening,' said Professor Joel Norris, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institute for Oceanography in California, who led the research.

According to the researchers, the effect on cloud cover has been caused by a combination of greenhouse gases from human activity over several decades.

But compounding this warming effect is the bounce back from two large volcanic eruptions – the El Chichón eruption in Mexico in 1982 and the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines – which had a far reaching cooling effect on the climate.

When combined, these two factors result in a positive feedback loop, warming the climate.

SOURCE

Evidence for climate change in the satellite  cloud record

Joel R. Norris et al

Summary

Clouds substantially affect Earth’s energy budget by reflecting solar radiation back to space and by restricting emission of thermal radiation to space. They are perhaps the largest uncertainty in our understanding of climate change, owing to disagreement among climate models and observational datasets over what cloud changes have occurred during recent decades and will occur in response to global warming. This is because observational systems originally designed for monitoring weather have lacked sufficient stability to detect cloud changes reliably over decades unless they have been corrected to remove artefacts.

Here we show that several independent, empirically corrected satellite records exhibit large-scale patterns of cloud change between the 1980s and the 2000s that are similar to those produced by model simulations of climate with recent historical external radiative forcing. Observed and simulated cloud change patterns are consistent with poleward retreat of mid-latitude storm tracks, expansion of subtropical dry zones, and increasing height of the highest cloud tops at all latitudes. The primary drivers of these cloud changes appear to be increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and a recovery from volcanic radiative cooling. These results indicate that the cloud changes most consistently predicted by global climate models are currently occurring in nature.

SOURCE.  [doi:10.1038/nature18273]

2 comments
When and Why Nationalism Beats Globalism: And how moral psychology can help explain and reduce tensions between the two

JONATHAN HAIDT is, as usual, the soul of moderation below and I agree with much of his analysis. He makes a point few Leftists make:  That "racists" are not usually objecting to the race or skin color of another group but rather to things that go with that race or skin color.  So he sees most ascriptions of "racism" to non-Leftists as missing the point.  It is an avoidance of the real issues.

Where I think Haidt goes wrong is in his trust of the work of Karen Stenner and her odd concept of "authoritarianism".  The scale she uses to measure that concept may not measure anything at all.  For a start, its internal reliability is disastrously low.  Where a coefficient alpha of .70 is normally required in a research instrument, the Stenner scale has shown alphas of less than .30.  In normal psychometric practice, that indicates that a scale does not measure ANYTHING.

But that is not the only fault of the Stenner intrument. The questions they used to assess authoritarianism were "forced-choice" questions.  A typical question was:

"Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: to be considerate or to be well-behaved?".

The option you chose was supposed to indicate whether you are authoritarian or not.  But what if you thought that BOTH attributes are important?  What if you wanted a kid who was BOTH considerate AND well-behaved?  The form of the question prevents you from saying that.  So the answers given might not well represent what the person actually thinks.

So is that naive form of question construction actually misleading?  It is. If the people don't like the choices they are offered, what is likely to happen is that a "Donkey vote" effect will result: If the choices in a forced-choice scale are labelled "a" and "b", the Donkey voter will, at the extreme, simply tick all the "a"s.  And I showed in my own survey research years ago that forced choice questions can push the results in a direction more or less opposite to what occurs with more straightforward questions

So Stenner's "findings" do not show what she thinks they do.  If her findings show anything at all, it may arise from the fact that she in fact asks about child-rearing attitudes in her scale of "authoritarianism". But scales measuring child-rearing attitudes correlate very highly with fundamentalist Christian beliefs. By Stenner's measures, most Republicans look like “authoritarians” because so many are conservative Christians who advocate strict child-rearing practices. This is also why Bernie Sanders’s supporters are so much less "authoritarian" than Hillary Clinton’s — “Berners” are much less religious than other Democrats.

So I respectfully suggest to Prof. Haidt that the "authoritarians" he talks about may in fact just be Christians. That surely requires a re-think.  Although Leftists customarily assume the opposite, I list here 16 studies -- with references -- that show that child rearing attitudes and experiences do NOT predict authoritarianism.

So I think  Haidt is right in saying that conservatives have good and rational reasons for objecting to mass immigration of incompatible people.

Curiously, however, he looks at the psychology of conservatives only.  When it comes to the internationalists he eschews any psychological enquiry at all. He gives sociological reasons only to explain why internationalists think what they do.  Although he is a psychologist, he makes no attempt to look into their minds.

But their behaviour reveals clearly what is in their minds.  They are very hostile and angry people, as Yancey documents in his book. And the thing they hate most is their own society.  They want to "fundamentally transform" it, in Mr Obama's words.  And what better way to attack the existing society than to bring into it large numbers of people who will disrupt it in various ways?  The very lax attitude to immigration during the Blair regime in Britain was eventually admitted to be a conscious attack on British "complacency".  The big immigration problems both the UK and the USA have at the moment are entirely traceable to the haters of the Left.

Finally, let me suggest that it is fitting that the first decisive break with the internationalists, Brexit, should have come from Britain.  Britain has much to be proud of and no other country  retains and displays her national traditions so opulently and to such popular acclaim.  See below for one sketch of it:




What on earth is going on in the Western democracies? From the rise of Donald Trump in the United States and an assortment of right-wing parties across Europe through the June 23 Brexit vote, many on the Left have the sense that something dangerous and ugly is spreading: right-wing populism, seen as the Zika virus of politics. Something has gotten into “those people” that makes them vote in ways that seem—to their critics—likely to harm their own material interests, at least if their leaders follow through in implementing isolationist policies that slow economic growth.

Most analyses published since the Brexit vote focus on economic factors and some version of the “left behind” thesis—globalization has raised prosperity all over the world, with the striking exception of the working classes in Western societies. These less educated members of the richest countries lost access to well-paid but relatively low-skilled jobs, which were shipped overseas or given to immigrants willing to work for less. In communities where wages have stagnated or declined, the ever-rising opulence, rents, and confidence of London and other super-cities has bred resentment.

A smaller set of analyses, particularly in the United States, has focused on the psychological trait of authoritarianism to explain why these populist movements are often so hostile to immigration, and why they usually have an outright racist fringe.

Globalization and authoritarianism are both essential parts of the story, but in this essay I will put them together in a new way. I’ll tell a story with four chapters that begins by endorsing the distinction made by the intellectual historian Michael Lind, and other commentators, between globalists and nationalists—these are good descriptions of the two teams of combatants emerging in so many Western nations. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French National Front, pointed to the same dividing line last December when she portrayed the battle in France as one between “globalists” and “patriots.”

But rather than focusing on the nationalists as the people who need to be explained by experts, I’ll begin the story with the globalists. I’ll show how globalization and rising prosperity have changed the values and behavior of the urban elite, leading them to talk and act in ways that unwittingly activate authoritarian tendencies in a subset of the nationalists. I’ll show why immigration has been so central in nearly all right-wing populist movements. It’s not just the spark, it’s the explosive material, and those who dismiss anti-immigrant sentiment as mere racism have missed several important aspects of moral psychology related to the general human need to live in a stable and coherent moral order. Once moral psychology is brought into the story and added on to the economic and authoritarianism explanations, it becomes possible to offer some advice for reducing the intensity of the recent wave of conflicts.

Chapter One: The Rise of the Globalists

As nations grow prosperous, their values change in predictable ways. The most detailed longitudinal research on these changes comes from the World Values Survey, which asks representative samples of people in dozens of countries about their values and beliefs. The WVS has now collected and published data in six “waves” since the early 1980s; the most recent survey included sixty countries. Nearly all of the countries are now far wealthier than they were in the 1980s, and many made a transition from communism to capitalism and from dictatorship to democracy in the interim. How did these momentous changes affect their values?

Each country has followed a unique trajectory, but if we zoom out far enough some general trends emerge from the WVS data. Countries seem to move in two directions, along two axes: first, as they industrialize, they move away from “traditional values” in which religion, ritual, and deference to authorities are important, and toward “secular rational” values that are more open to change, progress, and social engineering based on rational considerations. Second, as they grow wealthier and more citizens move into the service sector, nations move away from “survival values” emphasizing the economic and physical security found in one’s family, tribe, and other parochial groups, toward “self-expression” or “emancipative values” that emphasize individual rights and protections—not just for oneself, but as a matter of principle, for everyone. Here is a summary of those changes from the introduction to Christian Welzel’s enlightening book Freedom Rising:

…fading existential pressures [i.e., threats and challenges to survival] open people’s minds, making them prioritize freedom over security, autonomy over authority, diversity over uniformity, and creativity over discipline. By the same token, persistent existential pressures keep people’s minds closed, in which case they emphasize the opposite priorities…the existentially relieved state of mind is the source of tolerance and solidarity beyond one’s in-group; the existentially stressed state of mind is the source of discrimination and hostility against out-groups.

Democratic capitalism—in societies with good rule of law and non-corrupt institutions—has generated steady increases in living standards and existential security for many decades now. As societies become more prosperous and safe, they generally become more open and tolerant. Combined with vastly greater access to the food, movies, and consumer products of other cultures brought to us by globalization and the internet, this openness leads almost inevitably to the rise of a cosmopolitan attitude, usually most visible in the young urban elite. Local ties weaken, parochialism becomes a dirty word, and people begin to think of their fellow human beings as fellow “citizens of the world” (to quote candidate Barack Obama in Berlin in 2008). The word “cosmopolitan” comes from Greek roots meaning, literally, “citizen of the world.” Cosmopolitans embrace diversity and welcome immigration, often turning those topics into litmus tests for moral respectability.

For example, in 2012, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave a speech that included the phrase, “British jobs for British workers.” The phrase provoked anger and scorn from many of Brown’s colleagues in the Labour party. In an essay in Prospect, David Goodhart described the scene at a British center-left social event a few days after Brown’s remark:

The people around me entered a bidding war to express their outrage at Brown’s slogan which was finally triumphantly closed by one who declared, to general approval, that it was “racism, pure and simple.” I remember thinking afterwards how odd the conversation would have sounded to most other people in this country. Gordon Brown’s phrase may have been clumsy and cynical but he didn’t actually say British jobs for white British workers. In most other places in the world today, and indeed probably in Britain itself until about 25 years ago, such a statement about a job preference for national citizens would have seemed so banal as to be hardly worth uttering. Now the language of liberal universalism has ruled it beyond the pale.

The shift that Goodhart notes among the Left-leaning British elite is related to the shift toward “emancipative” values described by Welzel. Parochialism is bad and universalism is good. Goodhart quotes George Monbiot, a leading figure of the British Left:

Internationalism…tells us that someone living in Kinshasa is of no less worth than someone living in Kensington…. Patriotism, if it means anything, tells us we should favour the interests of British people [before the Congolese]. How do you reconcile this choice with liberalism? How…do you distinguish it from racism?

Monbiot’s claim that patriotism is indistinguishable from racism illustrates the universalism that has characterized elements of the globalist Left in many Western nations for several decades. John Lennon wrote the globalist anthem in 1971. After asking us to imagine that there’s no heaven, and before asking us to imagine no possessions, Lennon asks us to:

"Imagine there’s no countries; it isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will be one"

This is a vision of heaven for multicultural globalists. But it’s naiveté, sacrilege, and treason for nationalists.

Chapter Two: Globalists and Nationalists Grow Further Apart on Immigration

Nationalists see patriotism as a virtue; they think their country and its culture are unique and worth preserving. This is a real moral commitment, not a pose to cover up racist bigotry. Some nationalists do believe that their country is better than all others, and some nationalisms are plainly illiberal and overtly racist. But as many defenders of patriotism have pointed out, you love your spouse because she or he is yours, not because you think your spouse is superior to all others. Nationalists feel a bond with their country, and they believe that this bond imposes moral obligations both ways: Citizens have a duty to love and serve their country, and governments are duty bound to protect their own people. Governments should place their citizens interests above the interests of people in other countries.

There is nothing necessarily racist or base about this arrangement or social contract. Having a shared sense of identity, norms, and history generally promotes trust. Having no such shared sense leads to the condition that the sociologist Émile Durkheim described as “anomie” or normlessness. Societies with high trust, or high social capital, produce many beneficial outcomes for their citizens: lower crime rates, lower transaction costs for businesses, higher levels of prosperity, and a propensity toward generosity, among others. A liberal nationalist can reasonably argue that the debate over immigration policy in Europe is not a case of what is moral versus what is base, but a case of two clashing moral visions, incommensurate (à la Isaiah Berlin). The trick, from this point of view, is figuring out how to balance reasonable concerns about the integrity of one’s own community with the obligation to welcome strangers, particularly strangers in dire need.

So how have nationalists and globalists responded to the European immigration crisis? For the past year or two we’ve all seen shocking images of refugees washing up alive and dead on European beaches, marching in long lines across south eastern Europe, scaling fences, filling train stations, and hiding and dying in trucks and train tunnels. If you’re a European globalist, you were probably thrilled in August 2015 when Angela Merkel announced Germany’s open-door policy to refugees and asylum seekers. There are millions of people in need, and (according to some globalists) national borders are arbitrary and immoral.

But the globalists are concentrated in the capital cities, commercial hubs, and university towns—the places that are furthest along on the values shift found in the World Values Survey data. Figure 1 shows this geographic disjunction in the UK, using data collected in 2014. Positive sentiment toward immigrants is plotted on the Y axis, and desire for Britain to leave the EU on the X axis. Residents of Inner London are extreme outliers on both dimensions when compared to other cities and regions of the UK, and even when compared to residents of outer London.

But if you are a European nationalist, watching the nightly news may have felt like watching the spread of the Zika virus, moving steadily northward from the chaos zones of southwest Asia and north Africa. Only a few right-wing nationalist leaders tried to stop it, such as Victor Orban in Hungary. The globalist elite seemed to be cheering the human tidal wave onward, welcoming it into the heart of Europe, and then demanding that every country accept and resettle a large number of refugees.

And these demands, epicentered in Brussels, came after decades of debate in which nationalists had been arguing that Europe has already been too open and had already taken in so many Muslim immigrants that the cultures and traditions of European societies were threatened. Long before the flow of Syrian asylum seekers arrived in Europe there were initiatives to ban minarets in Switzerland and burkas in France. There were riots in Arab neighborhoods of Paris and Marseilles, and attacks on Jews and synagogues throughout Europe. There were hidden terrorist cells that planned and executed the attacks of September 11 in the United States, attacks on trains and buses in Madrid and London, and the slaughter of the Charlie Hebdo staff in Paris.

By the summer of 2015 the nationalist side was already at the boiling point, shouting “enough is enough, close the tap,” when the globalists proclaimed, “let us open the floodgates, it’s the compassionate thing to do, and if you oppose us you are a racist.” Might that not provoke even fairly reasonable people to rage? Might that not make many of them more receptive to arguments, ideas, and political parties that lean toward the illiberal side of nationalism and that were considered taboo just a few years earlier?

Chapter Three: Muslim Immigration Triggers the Authoritarian Alarm

Nationalists in Europe have been objecting to mass immigration for decades, so the gigantic surge of asylum seekers in 2015 was bound to increase their anger and their support for right-wing nationalist parties. Globalists tend to explain these reactions as “racism, pure and simple,” or as the small-minded small-town selfishness of people who don’t want to lose either jobs or benefits to foreigners.

Racism is clearly evident in some of the things that some nationalists say in interviews, chant at soccer matches, or write on the Internet with the protection of anonymity. But “racism” is a shallow term when used as an explanation. It asserts that there are some people who just don’t like anyone different from themselves—particularly if they have darker skin. They have no valid reason for this dislike; they just dislike difference, and that’s all we need to know to understand their rage.

But that is not all we need to know. On closer inspection, racism usually turns out to be deeply bound up with moral concerns. (I use the term “moral” here in a purely descriptive sense to mean concerns that seem—for the people we are discussing—to be matters of good and evil; I am not saying that racism is in fact morally good or morally correct.) People don’t hate others just because they have darker skin or differently shaped noses; they hate people whom they perceive as having values that are incompatible with their own, or who (they believe) engage in behaviors they find abhorrent, or whom they perceive to be a threat to something they hold dear. These moral concerns may be out of touch with reality, and they are routinely amplified by demagogues. But if we want to understand the recent rise of right-wing populist movements, then “racism” can’t be the stopping point; it must be the beginning of the inquiry.

Among the most important guides in this inquiry is the political scientist Karen Stenner. In 2005 Stenner published a book called The Authoritarian Dynamic, an academic work full of graphs, descriptions of regression analyses, and discussions of scholarly disputes over the nature of authoritarianism. (It therefore has not had a wide readership.) Her core finding is that authoritarianism is not a stable personality trait. It is rather a psychological predisposition to become intolerant when the person perceives a certain kind of threat. It’s as though some people have a button on their foreheads, and when the button is pushed, they suddenly become intensely focused on defending their in-group, kicking out foreigners and non-conformists, and stamping out dissent within the group. At those times they are more attracted to strongmen and the use of force. At other times, when they perceive no such threat, they are not unusually intolerant. So the key is to understand what pushes that button.
The answer, Stenner suggests, is what she calls “normative threat,” which basically means a threat to the integrity of the moral order (as they perceive it). It is the perception that “we” are coming apart:

"The experience or perception of disobedience to group authorities or authorities unworthy of respect, nonconformity to group norms or norms proving questionable, lack of consensus in group values and beliefs and, in general, diversity and freedom ‘run amok’ should activate the predisposition and increase the manifestation of these characteristic attitudes and behaviors"

So authoritarians are not being selfish. They are not trying to protect their wallets or even their families. They are trying to protect their group or society. Some authoritarians see their race or bloodline as the thing to be protected, and these people make up the deeply racist subset of right-wing populist movements, including the fringe that is sometimes attracted to neo-Nazism. They would not even accept immigrants who fully assimilated to the culture. But more typically, in modern Europe and America, it is the nation and its culture that nationalists want to preserve.

Stenner identifies authoritarians in her many studies by the degree to which they endorse a few items about the most important values children should learn at home, for example, “obedience” (vs. “independence” and “tolerance and respect for other people”). She then describes a series of studies she did using a variety of methods and cross-national datasets. In one set of experiments she asked Americans to read fabricated news stories about how their nation is changing. When they read that Americans are changing in ways that make them more similar to each other, authoritarians were no more racist and intolerant than others.

But when Stenner gave them a news story suggesting that Americans are becoming more morally diverse, the button got pushed, the “authoritarian dynamic” kicked in, and they became more racist and intolerant. For example, “maintaining order in the nation” became a higher national priority while “protecting freedom of speech” became a lower priority. They became more critical of homosexuality, abortion, and divorce.

One of Stenner’s most helpful contributions is her finding that authoritarians are psychologically distinct from “status quo conservatives” who are the more prototypical conservatives—cautious about radical change. Status quo conservatives compose the long and distinguished lineage from Edmund Burke’s prescient reflections and fears about the early years of the French revolution through William F. Buckley’s statement that his conservative magazine National Review would “stand athwart history yelling ‘Stop!’”

Status quo conservatives are not natural allies of authoritarians, who often favor radical change and are willing to take big risks to implement untested policies. This is why so many Republicans—and nearly all conservative intellectuals—oppose Donald Trump; he is simply not a conservative by the test of temperament or values. But status quo conservatives can be drawn into alliance with authoritarians when they perceive that progressives have subverted the country’s traditions and identity so badly that dramatic political actions (such as Brexit, or banning Muslim immigration to the United States) are seen as the only remaining way of yelling “Stop!” Brexit can seem less radical than the prospect of absorption into the “ever closer union” of the EU.

So now we can see why immigration—particularly the recent surge in Muslim immigration from Syria—has caused such powerfully polarized reactions in so many European countries, and even in the United States where the number of Muslim immigrants is low. Muslim Middle Eastern immigrants are seen by nationalists as posing a far greater threat of terrorism than are immigrants from any other region or religion. But Stenner invites us to look past the security threat and examine the normative threat. Islam asks adherents to live in ways that can make assimilation into secular egalitarian Western societies more difficult compared to other groups. (The same can be said for Orthodox Jews, and Stenner’s authoritarian dynamic can help explain why we are seeing a resurgence of right-wing anti-Semitism in the United States.)

Muslims don’t just observe different customs in their private lives; they often request and receive accommodations in law and policy from their host countries, particularly in matters related to gender. Some of the most pitched battles of recent decades in France and other European countries have been fought over the veiling and covering of women, and the related need for privacy and gender segregation. For example, some public swimming pools in Sweden now offer times of day when only women are allowed to swim. This runs contrary to strong Swedish values regarding gender equality and non-differentiation.

So whether you are a status quo conservative concerned about rapid change or an authoritarian who is hypersensitive to normative threat, high levels of Muslim immigration into your Western nation are likely to threaten your core moral concerns.

But as soon as you speak up to voice those concerns, globalists will scorn you as a racist and a rube. When the globalists—even those who run the center-right parties in your country—come down on you like that, where can you turn? The answer, increasingly, is to the far right-wing nationalist parties in Europe, and to Donald Trump, who just engineered a hostile takeover of the Republican Party in America.

The Authoritarian Dynamic was published in 2005 and the word “Muslim” occurs just six times (in contrast to 100 appearances of the word “black”). But Stenner’s book offers a kind of Rosetta stone for interpreting the rise of right-wing populism and its focus on Muslims in 2016. Stenner notes that her theory “explains the kind of intolerance that seems to ‘come out of nowhere,’ that can spring up in tolerant and intolerant cultures alike, producing sudden changes in behavior that cannot be accounted for by slowly changing cultural traditions.”

She contrasts her theory with those who see an unstoppable tide of history moving away from traditions and “toward greater respect for individual freedom and difference,” and who expect people to continue evolving “into more perfect liberal democratic citizens.“ She does not say which theorists she has in mind, but Welzel and his World Values Survey collaborators, as well as Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history” thesis, seem to be likely candidates. Stenner does not share the optimism of those theorists about the future of Western liberal democracies. She acknowledges the general trends toward tolerance, but she predicts that these very trends create conditions that hyper-activate authoritarians and produce a powerful backlash. She offered this prophecy:

"[T]he increasing license allowed by those evolving cultures generates the very conditions guaranteed to goad latent authoritarians to sudden and intense, perhaps violent, and almost certainly unexpected, expressions of intolerance. Likewise, then, if intolerance is more a product of individual psychology than of cultural norms…we get a different vision of the future, and a different understanding of whose problem this is and will be, than if intolerance is an almost accidental by-product of simple attachment to tradition. The kind of intolerance that springs from aberrant individual psychology, rather than the disinterested absorption of pervasive cultural norms, is bound to be more passionate and irrational, less predictable, less amenable to persuasion, and more aggravated than educated by the cultural promotion of tolerance"

Writing in 2004, Stenner predicted that “intolerance is not a thing of the past, it is very much a thing of the future.”

Chapter Four: What Now?

The upshot of all this is that the answer to the question we began with—What on Earth is going on?—cannot be found just by looking at the nationalists and pointing to their economic conditions and the racism that some of them do indeed display.

One must first look at the globalists, and at how their changing values may drive many of their fellow citizens to support right-wing political leaders. In particular, globalists often support high levels of immigration and reductions in national sovereignty; they tend to see transnational entities such as the European Union as being morally superior to nation-states; and they vilify the nationalists and their patriotism as “racism pure and simple.” These actions press the “normative threat” button in the minds of those who are predisposed to authoritarianism, and these actions can drive status quo conservatives to join authoritarians in fighting back against the globalists and their universalistic projects.

If this argument is correct, then it leads to a clear set of policy prescriptions for globalists. First and foremost: Think carefully about the way your country handles immigration and try to manage it in a way that is less likely to provoke an authoritarian reaction. Pay attention to three key variables: the percentage of foreign-born residents at any given time, the degree of moral difference of each incoming group, and the degree of assimilation being achieved by each group’s children.

Legal immigration from morally different cultures is not problematic even with low levels of assimilation if the numbers are kept low; small ethnic enclaves are not a normative threat to any sizable body politic. Moderate levels of immigration by morally different ethnic groups are fine, too, as long as the immigrants are seen as successfully assimilating to the host culture. When immigrants seem eager to embrace the language, values, and customs of their new land, it affirms nationalists’ sense of pride that their nation is good, valuable, and attractive to foreigners. But whenever a country has historically high levels of immigration, from countries with very different moralities, and without a strong and successful assimilationist program, it is virtually certain that there will be an authoritarian counter-reaction, and you can expect many status quo conservatives to support it.

Stenner ends The Authoritarian Dynamic with some specific and constructive advice:

"[A]ll the available evidence indicates that exposure to difference, talking about difference, and applauding difference—the hallmarks of liberal democracy—are the surest ways to aggravate those who are innately intolerant, and to guarantee the increased expression of their predispositions in manifestly intolerant attitudes and behaviors. Paradoxically, then, it would seem that we can best limit intolerance of difference by parading, talking about, and applauding our sameness….

Ultimately, nothing inspires greater tolerance from the intolerant than an abundance of common and unifying beliefs, practices, rituals, institutions, and processes. And regrettably, nothing is more certain to provoke increased expression of their latent predispositions than the likes of “multicultural education,” bilingual policies, and nonassimilation"

If Stenner is correct, then her work has profound implications, not just for America, which was the focus of her book, but perhaps even more so for Europe. Donald Tusk, the current president of the European Council, recently gave a speech to a conclave of center-right Christian Democratic leaders (who, as members of the educated elite, are still generally globalists). Painfully aware of the new authoritarian supremacy in his native Poland, he chastised himself and his colleagues for pushing a “utopia of Europe without nation-states.” This, he said, has caused the recent Euroskeptic backlash: “Obsessed with the idea of instant and total integration, we failed to notice that ordinary people, the citizens of Europe, do not share our Euro-enthusiasm.”

Democracy requires letting ordinary citizens speak. The majority spoke in Britain on June 23, and majorities of similar mien may soon make themselves heard in other European countries, and possibly in the United States in November. The year 2016 will likely be remembered as a major turning point in the trajectory of Western democracies. Those who truly want to understand what is happening should carefully consider the complex interplay of globalization, immigration, and changing values.

If the story I have told here is correct, then the globalists could easily speak, act, and legislate in ways that drain passions and votes away from nationalist parties, but this would require some deep rethinking about the value of national identities and cohesive moral communities. It would require abandoning the multicultural approach to immigration and embracing assimilation.

The great question for Western nations after 2016 may be this: How do we reap the gains of global cooperation in trade, culture, education, human rights, and environmental protection while respecting—rather than diluting or crushing—the world’s many local, national, and other “parochial” identities, each with its own traditions and moral order? In what kind of world can globalists and nationalists live together in peace?

SOURCE

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Boy, eight, who died of SCURVY was ‘denied basic human rights’ by his parents who refused to let him see a doctor

What most readers will find in the story below is an account of fanatical or unbalanced parents trusting their own weird ideas right up until they unintentionally kill their child.  But more context is needed.

The important context is the vicious social services of Britain and the fact that all doctors are obliged to report to them all instances of unexplained harm inflicted on a child.

Resulting from that have been many instances of innocent parents being accused of child abuse.  Just the accusation is devastating enough but a substantial number of cases do result in the child being taken away from its family.  So any family with unconventional beliefs or practices -- even belonging to a minor political party -- will rightly fear what will happen when they present an unwell child to a doctor.  That would almost certainly have been involved below.

What is needed is strict judicial supervision of the social workers with full normal legal safeguards -- presumption of innocence, verdict beyond reasonable doubt, trial open to public scrutiny, and competent legal and medical representation for the parents.  At present very little of that applies and some of it is expressly forbidden.  Taking a child from its family is a most serious decision that should have all possible legal protections

Had such protections been in place already, the child below might have been presented to the doctors earlier -- and still be alive today.  Vicious social workers can kill


An eight-year-old boy who died of scurvy was 'invisible' to the authorities after his parents refused to allow officials to see him from the age of 13 months.

Dylan Seabridge died aged eight at his family's isolated farmhouse in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and had no direct contact with doctors, nurses or teachers for seven years.

His parents Glynn, 47, and Julie, 46, who home-schooled him, initially believed he was suffering from growing pains but the true cause was revealed after he collapsed in December 2011 and later died in hospital.

Scurvy is caused by a deficiency of vitamin C and was once common among sailors due to a lack of access to fruits and vegetables, but is almost unheard of now in modern society.

An independent report into his death commissioned by the Welsh Government found that he may have been denied 'basic human rights' by being withheld from mainstream services and was 'not given the right to appropriate health care'.

The report accepts parents have the right to educate their child at home rather than at school - and that home education was not in itself a risk factor for abuse or neglect - but recommended creating a register of home-schooled children to keep tabs on them.

Author Gladys Rhodes White said that the current legislation is in 'stark contrast' to the Welsh Government's commitment to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

In the report, she said: 'He was not routinely having access to play, leisure, sporting and cultural activities along with friendships and age appropriate socialisation.

'When he encountered health problems he was not given the right to appropriate health care.'

The review said it appeared that the child's emotional and physical well-being had been compromised.

It stated: 'His parents had parental responsibility and a duty to provide appropriate care, including the need to seek medical attention for his health needs. This did not happen.'

Ms Rhodes White added: 'It is particularly poignant that in conducting this review we have no sense whatsoever of this child. Who was he, what did he like, what were his thoughts and aspirations?.

'There is a total lack of information on him other than very limited glimpses gleaned from the information presented by the family. 'It is tragic that there are many references that the child was 'invisible'.'

Mr and Mrs Seabridge were charged with neglect after Dylan's death but the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case in 2014, and not guilty verdicts were entered.

The parents also disputed an inquest ruling that their son died from scurvy, a rare condition caused by lack of vitamin C.

It emerged earlier this year that concerns were raised about Dylan more than a year before he died. Education officials visited the Seabridges but they were not allowed access to the home, and they had no power to see Dylan.

Welsh Government officials said the findings would be carefully considered. 'This is a very sad case and it is vital everyone working with children and adults learn lessons from the review,' a spokesman said.

'This will include us looking at our guidance across the public services and the third sector to see if there are areas we can change and improve.'

A previous inquest in Milford Haven heard how Mr Seabridge called 999 after his son collapsed and paramedics were rushed to the family home. They found Dylan unconscious and not breathing with bruising to his ankle and knee along with swollen legs.

He was rushed to hospital but suffered a heart attack and doctors were unable to save him.

Home Office pathologist Dr Deryck Simon Jones, who carried out the post mortem examination, concluded that Dylan's death was due to a vitamin C deficiency, commonly known as scurvy but the family reject this finding.

Their lawyer Katie Hanson told the inquest: 'The parents don't accept that Dylan died of scurvy.'

A specialist from Belgium, professor Joris Dlanghe, also questioned whether Dylan had scurvy claiming that other deficiencies such as folic acid would have been present too but were not.

SOURCE

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Now it's mangroves (persongroves?)

All bad things are caused by global warming.  That seems to be the orthodoxy. Evidence be damned. Warmists are like the people who see UFO's ..... every light in the sky is a UFO.  So coral bleaching in 2015 was due to global warming; kelp dieback was due to global warming and now dieback among some mangroves in Northern Australia is due to global warming.  And, as we all surely know, global warming is caused by increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.  As CO2 increases, so we get hotter.  So if all these diebacks were caused by a warming globe, CO2 levels should have been shooting up, right?

Fortunately the guy below can pinpoint the time when the mangroves died off.  He says it happened "in September-October 2015".  So CO2 levels should have shot up around that time, right?  In fact, 2015 was the one year in which CO2 levels stagnated. 2015 CO2 levels at Mauna Loa just fluctuated up and down from month to month around the 400ppm mark.  See the record below, a screen grab from Mauna Loa.



The 4th column is the actual average CO2 level in ppm. So, far from shooting up, CO2 was in stasis.  So any warming CANNOT be attributed to a CO2 rise. Dr Norm Duke is talking through his anus.  There WAS warming in 2015 but that was due to El Nino. It cannot have been due to a CO2 rise, because there wasn't any


Close to 10,000 hectares of mangroves have died across a stretch of coastline reaching from Queensland to the Northern Territory.

International mangroves expert Dr Norm Duke said he had no doubt the "dieback" was related to climate change.

"It's a world-first in terms of the scale of mangrove that have died," he told the ABC.

Dr Duke flew 200 kilometres between the mouths of the Roper and McArthur Rivers in the Northern Territory last month to survey the extent of the dieback.

He described the scene as the most "dramatic, pronounced extreme level of dieback that I've ever observed".

Dr Duke is a world expert in mangrove classification and ecosystems, based at James Cook University, and in May received photographs showing vast areas of dead mangroves in the Northern Territory section of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Until that time he and other scientists had been focused on mangrove dieback around Karmuba, Queensland, at the opposite end of the Gulf.

"The images were compelling. They were really dramatic, showing severe dieback of mangrove shoreline fringing — areas just extending off into infinity," Dr Duke said.

"Certainly nothing in my experience had prepared me to see images like that."

Dr Duke said he wanted to discover if the dieback in the two states was related. "We're talking about 700 kilometres of distance between incidences at that early time," he said.

The area the Northern Territory photos were taken in was so remote the only way to confirm the extent and timing of the mangrove dieback was with specialist satellite imagery.

With careful analysis the imagery confirmed the mangrove dieback in both states had happened in the space of a month late last year, coincident with coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.

"We're talking about 10,000 hectares of mangroves were lost across this whole 700 kilometre span," Dr Duke said.     "It's not only unprecedented, it's extensive, it's severe and it's noticeable.

"I have not seen such imagery anywhere before, from all over the world. I work in many places around the world and I look at damaged mangroves as part of my work all the time. These are the most shocking images of dieback I've ever seen."

Dr Duke flew to the Northern Territory in June to judge the physical extent of the mangroves' damage. With the support of the NT Parks and Wildlife Commission he flew in a helicopter between the mouths of the Roper and McArthur Rivers.
What is causing the 'dieback'?

Dr Duke said the cause of such extensive damage was not immediately evident.

"Like a large oil spill, like a cyclone or severe storm — none of those things had occurred in the region in recent times," he said.

"But in that mix of things that were going on at the same time we're starting to hear about coral bleaching ... [and] hot water on the east coast."

The coincident timing of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef and the dieback of mangroves in the north led Dr Duke to look at climatic factors.

"I started hearing that the wet season was missing from the Northern Territory over that time period," he said. "The wet season was only one-month-long in the year before. Usually the wet season in the Northern Territory in that area is three or four months long," Dr Duke said.

He said he was convinced unusually low rainfall in the 2014 wet season and elevated temperatures led to the massive mangrove dieback. He said a deadly lack of fresh water and increased water and atmospheric temperatures stressed the plants beyond their tolerance.

Satellite imagery pinpoints the damage to a period of around four weeks in September-October 2015.

SOURCE


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Vanity Fair calls Australians 'throwback people'

The article below from the London Telegraph says that Australians were incensed by what was said about Australia.  So I checked what various Australian writers said about it.  I found no outrage.  The predominant tone was one of amusement. The Telegraph writer is behind the times too.  Australians are more self-confident than he expected.

 The Vanity Fair writer was totally inaccurate about so many things in Australia that it would be tedious to ennumerate them.  He was obviously relying on fleeting impressions he had got over a number of years.  But there was nothing wrong with that.  He was not writing a travelog or an academic disquisition.  He was just waxing dreamy and poetic.  Such writing has a place

I was something of a literary critic in my early days and I recognized it immediately as falling well within the conventions of poetry.  It is a form of fantasy poetry.

And the description of Australia as "throwback" people is an allusion to a common view of Australia in America -- that  Australians are a less corrupted people, like America in an idealized past.  It is a complimentary description.

The thing that REALLY steamed up a lot of people -- both in Australia and elsewhere -- was that the article was sexist.  But that is a lot of nonsense.  Why should a man not be dreamy about a pretty girl?  It is the politically correct brigade who are abnormal and perverted




They pride themselves on being a youthful, vigorous nation who have thrown off their colonial past to embrace the modern world.

So it comes as little surprise that Australians have bristled at being referred to as “throwback people” living in a country 50 years behind America.

Particularly when the description comes in a Vanity Fair article supposed to be praising one of the country’s most successful exports – Margot Robbie, the actress.

The cover profile of the Australian star of The Wolf of Wall Street and the latest Tarzan movie by Rich Cohen, a contributing editor at the magazine, remarked that to appreciate Miss Robbie fully, readers had to remember where she hailed from.

“She is from Australia,” Mr Cohen wrote. “To understand her, you should think about what that means.

“Australia is America 50 years ago, sunny and slow, a throwback, which is why you go there for throwback people. They still live and die with the plot turns of soap operas.”

“Perhaps it’s time you got in your time machine and flitted over the Pacific to Australia to have a good look at a normal society,” she wrote in The Courier Mail. “Your piece has only shown that you, instead of Australians, are from another era, because your writing deserves to be published 50 years ago instead of today.”

Mr Cohen was also taken to task for apparent sexism in his article. In the opening paragraph Robbie is described as “blonde but dark at the roots. She is tall but only with the help of certain shoes. She can be sexy and composed even while naked but only in character.”

The article has caused outrage on social media, where it was condemned as creepy, voyeuristic, sexist and the “worst writing ever”. “That is the biggest piece of sexist c--- introductory paragraph I’ve ever seen,” said a comment on Twitter.

SOURCE

Here is the "offensive" text:

"She is 26 and beautiful, not in that otherworldly, catwalk way but in a minor knock-around key, a blue mood, a slow dance."

"She is blonde but dark at the roots. She is tall but only with the help of certain shoes. She can be sexy and composed even while naked but only in character."

"She wandered through the room like a second-semester freshman, finally at ease with the system. She stopped at tables along the way to talk to friends. I don’t remember what she was wearing, but it was simple, her hair combed around those painfully blue eyes."

"It was Wolf that defined her. It put her up with Sharon Stone in Casino and Cathy Moriarty in Raging Bull — one of Scorsese’s women."

"Robbie grew up in Gold Coast, a city on Australia’s Pacific shore, 500 miles north of Sydney. In an old movie, you might have seen a crossroad sign demonstrating just how isolated it was, just how far from the known capitals."

"Now and then, she stayed with cousins who lived in the hinterland of the hinterland, where there really were kangaroos and a dingo really will eat your baby."


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Be it due to subdued economic conditions or high cost of living pressures, or other factors, migration levels to Australia are falling fast

This is VERY good news. Immigration levels have long been very high.  And many of the immigrants will be in a car of a morning helping to create the peak-hour traffic jams we all know about.  Authorities have not been able to build the wider roads and  extra tunnels that are needed to keep pace with the influx.

And immigrants are big users of the public hospitals, meaning that EVERYONE has to endure long waits just to get an appointment if they have anything seriously wrong with them.  Older people remember the time when hospital staff were always waiting to take charge the minute an ambulance rolled up.  Now the ambulance will often have to wait hours to unload -- "ramping" it is called.  And while the ambulance is waiting to unload, it can't be sent to help another patient.  So everybody waits, even urgent cases.

We need a radical slowdown in immigration if public services are to catch up


According to Commsec, citing overseas arrivals and departures data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier today, net migration — simply arrivals less departures — fell to 263,920 in the year to May, the lowest annual total since March 2007.

That equates to around 1.1% of Australia’s total population.

SOURCE


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A prize example of Leftist argument

Australian writer Xavier Toby offers below a stream of abuse with not the slightest attempt to put forward any balanced and rational argument about anything.  There is no exploration of any argument that any conservative has ever made  -- only demonization and misrepresentation of conservative people. One wonders if he has ever read any argument put forward by a conservative.  It's classic closed-mindedness. 

He just assumes that his readers will share his rage at views he does not share. Yet his screed was published in a Murdoch newspaper, which has a large conservative readership. So his approach is not even clever, which it is presumably intended to be.  It's just offensive.

The amusing thing is that he argues for "debating the complicated problems faced by our society and reaching an intelligent solution" -- something that he himself shows absolutely no ability at.  He really has a superb lack of self-insight


THERE is one positive to be found in the words and actions of people like Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson and that positive is it’s now far harder to ignore all the other morons.

The fact that a fat rich white guy surrounded by yes-men and a blatantly racist woman who hasn’t been relevant for 18 years are saying crazy stuff is not that surprising. Visit any snowfield, racing club, golfing superstore, footy match or pokies den and you’ll see what I mean.

What is surprising, though, is that Trump’s simple and blatantly racist, sexist, anti-environment, homophobic and horrible message has been so popular. Given the Trump effect globally, it’s not at all surprising Hanson has made such a strong comeback in this election.

And it’s all our fault.

For too long now, too many of us have ignored sexist Uncle Keith; or the climate change denying taxi driver, Phil; or the racist football supporter, Pete; or Sandra, the Christian fundamentalist who believes gay marriage will lead to people marrying their pets – leaving them free to spread their hateful ideas without being adequately challenged. So now sexist Uncle Donald is in the running to be the next president of the USA and in Australia racist Aunty Pauline holds part of the balance of power.

A lot of Republicans in the US haven’t called out Trump for his most shocking statements and that’s because most party members agree with him. The only thing they object to is how blatant he’s being. They prefer a more subtle brand of racism and sexism because, otherwise, the masses might just work out that the whole system is screwing them over.

But their message, which is Trump’s message, is the exact same one peddled by many in the Liberal National Coalition in Australia, the Tories and UKIP in the UK and many other right wing politicians around the planet.

The difference is that, unlike Trump, Hanson, Nigel Farage and their ilk, most other politicians hide behind complicated policies, fancy words and boring speeches and hope we continue ignoring them because it’s so complicated and boring and, by the way, it’s footy season.

But do you see that “Build a wall” is just a different way of saying “Stop the boats”? And instead of debating the complicated problems faced by our society and reaching an intelligent solution, what each new Trump and Hanson-ism really says is: “I’m going to solve everything with hate and fear, slogans and slurs. Are you okay with that?”

Now if you object to what comes out of Trump’s and Hanson’s mouths, it’s time to reject that same message no matter where it comes from – other politicians, your Facebook feed, the workplace, your dinner table. For too long that hasn’t been happening. Otherwise, how did we get here?

These conversations are hard and awkward, but if we all just gave up, then all that’s left is Trump and Hanson.

SOURCE