Harvey Proctor slams British police as he accepts £900,000 payout for disastrous Operation Midland sex abuse probe

It largely ruined his life.  Not only did he lose his job, home and reputation due to false accusations of paedophilia and murder, but the former Tory MP believes the authorities tried to tear apart his family. He was also left penniless. So this award is a minimum.

He is certainly right to demand the resignation of dear Cressida.  She was in charge of the operation that resulted in the police killing of an entirely innocent Brazilian electrician.  Anybody else would have been demoted over that but she was instead put in charge of the entire London police.  Why? She is an open Lesbian.  That's a huge tick in politically correct Britain.  Will she be demoted now that she is responsible for two great miscarriages of justice?  Probably not

Harvey Proctor, the former Tory MP, has accepted a payout of almost £1 million from the Scotland Yard over its disastrous handling of Operation Midland, but has still demanded that the Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick resigns.

The 72-year-old, who was investigated by the force for more than a year after being falsely accused of child murder by the fantasist, Carl Beech will receive £500,000 damages and £400,000 in legal costs.

It is believed to be the biggest ever payout by a police force over negligent behaviour which did not result in wrongful imprisonment and marks a humiliating end to the debacle for the Met.

But despite accepting the payout, Mr Proctor has refused to go quietly and has issued a withering statement blasting the Met over its numerous failings.

In the statement, Mr Proctor, who lost his home and his job as a result of the police investigation, said had refused to sign any non disclosure agreements as part of the deal and remained free to criticise Scotland Yard.

He said: "Cressida Dick failed abjectly in her duty and should resign, while Steve Rodhouse is a very stupid man who should not be the deputy in charge of the National Crime Agency."

Mr Proctor launched legal action against the Met and had been willing to take the case to trial at the High Court, where if he had won, he could have expected an even larger payout.

But he said: "I am heartily sick of these police and their mealy-mouthed apologies to me and I did not want to take a fortune from public funds. Just enough to put my innocence beyond doubt, and to warn the police not to make this same mistake with other people."

Operation Midland was launched in 2014 after Beech told detectives he had been raped and abused by politicians and high profile figures during the 1970s.

Scotland Yard declared the allegations as credible and true and launched a multi-million pound investigation which saw the homes of Mr Proctor, D-day veteran Lord Bramall and the late Lord Brittan raided and searched.

After traducing the reputations of number of highly respected figures, the investigation was eventually closed down without a single arrest being made.

Retired High Court judge, Sir Richard Henriques, published a damning report into the Met's handling of the case, highlighted 43 separate blunders by the police.

Beech, who is himself a convicted paedophile, was eventually charged with perverting the course of justice and was jailed for 18-years in July.

Earlier this month, Mr Proctor reported five former Met officers to Northumbria Police in a bid to spark a fresh criminal inquiry into the investigation.

Among the allegations he has made is that the police misled a district judge when applying for the search warrants to raid the homes of the suspects.

He is still waiting to hear if a criminal investigation will be launched. A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: "The MPS is assessing the complaint."

All of the officers involved in Operation Midland have been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).



When Green/Left dam-hatred killed dozens of people and caused billions of dollars of flood damage

Brisbane has a history of occasional big floods so a few decades ago, the conservative-led Queensland State government built a big flood-control dam at Wivenhoe that should have ended the floods.  It was completed in 1985 and even before it was finished, in 1983, it did stop a potentially disastrous flood.

But in 2011 a flood as big as any hit Brisbane.  Why?  A court has just adjudicated that.  They found that the Wivenhoe dam was mismanaged -- as it undoubtedly was.  They blamed only the dam managers, however, without looking into the deeper background of what happened.

The court decision is something of a vindication for me personally.  I said from the beginning that Brisbane's big Wivenhoe flood control dam would have protected us perfectly well if it had been properly used.  The court has found that it was not properly used. The dam engineers were indeed at fault.  They were very arrogant in fact.  They ignored warnings from experienced people who could see what was coming.  They thought they knew it all. So they did not start discharging until it was too late.

What the report below does not tell you is that the lameduck Bligh Labor government of the day was also grossly at fault for two reasons:

1).Had there been a competent minister in charge of the dam he could have put a rocket up the engineers and told them to start discharging.  In fact he was a Leftist featherbrain who knew nothing and did nothing.  He was a waste of breath

2).  The Bligh government had also compromised the dam for Greenie reasons.  Because of recent water shortages and drought fears at the time, there was a need to build more dams. But a Green/Left government cannot do that.  So they decided instead to use the flood compartment of Wivenhoe for water storage, thus risking exactly what happened.

So the conservative Bjelke-Peterson government had built us a massive protective asset in the form of the Wivenhoe dam but even that could not save us from human negligence.  The dam would have protected us had either the engineers or the government behaved responsibly.  Sadly, neither did

It is perhaps fitting that a Labor government now has to pick up the pieces for a folly by a previous Labor government

As flood victims celebrated after years pursuing a complicated class-action suit against the government and its water management agencies, the financial implications of the NSW Supreme Court decision to uphold their claim were still being assessed.

Supreme Court judge Robert Beech-Jones found the operation of Wivenhoe Dam was negligent in the lead-up to the deluge, with dam operators failing to take into account rainfall forecasts in the days leading up the flood. This failure contributed to the downstream flooding of parts of Ipswich and Brisbane.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander demanded Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk apologise for the “incompetence” of the Bligh government — in which she was a minister — and explain how her cash-strapped administration would pay for the compensation.

“The Labor government was responsible for the management of Wivenhoe Dam during the 2011 floods and they blew it,” Mr ­Mander said. “Labor’s incompetence has put lives at risk and ruined thousands of homes and businesses.”

The only official response from the government yesterday was a short statement by Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath saying it acknowledged the court’s decision. “The government will closely examine the judgment before making any comment on a possible appeal,” Ms D’Ath said.

Pine Mountain Nursery manager John Craigie, whose investigations were crucial to the spotlight being shone on the role the operators of the dam played in contributing to the magnitude of the flood, described the decision as bittersweet. Mr Craigie — denied an appearance at the year-long royal commission-style inquiry into the floods run by now Queensland Chief Justice Catherine Holmes — forced a reopening of public hearings and rewriting of its findings that initiated the class action.

Mr Craigie said it was the discovery of the documents and collaboration with The Australian’s Hedley Thomas and retired chemical engineer Mick O’Brien that laid the groundwork for the class-action win. “Had I not done the research that opened the way for a reopening of the flood inquiry there probably would not have been sufficient evidence to initiate a class action,’’ he said.

The decision is a victory for the more than 6800 claimants who sued the Queensland government, and dam managers SEQwater and SunWater over the scale of the ­disaster. Justice Beech-Jones accepted engineers tasked with managing Wivenhoe and Somerset dams in the lead-up to and during a “biblical” deluge in January 2011 failed in their duty of care. He said they did not follow the dam operating manual that they themselves had helped write.

No cost decision has been made, with the case to return to court in February for a costs hearing.

The decision follows the findings by the Floods Commission of Inquiry that Wivenhoe Dam had been operated in breach of its operational manual.

The inquiry found that the dam operators had failed to use rainfall forecasts in making decisions about dam operating strategies.

The status of an estimated $1.5bn in insurance payments distributed to victims since the flood is also unclear, with Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller saying insurers “will review today’s decision for its commercial implications”.

Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said while SunWater and SEQwater did have legal liability insurance that could cover the compensation, it could be capped to a certain monetary value.

But Mr Potts said the state government was effectively self-insured and did not take out external insurance because it was such a large entity. He said it was likely the government would have to fund any compensation through its cash reserves, borrowing more money, creating a new levy, or increasing various taxes.

Mr Potts said defeated ­parties would consider whether there were grounds to appeal. “No doubt all of the parties will consider whether there’s been any error in the judgment or evidence which has been excluded that should have been included; they effectively have 28 days to appeal to the NSW Court of Appeal,” he said.

There were tears from some victims as the ruling was delivered, almost nine years after a disaster that devastated so many families.

Goodna retiree Frank Beaumont, 77, mulled over the years of distress he suffered after his home went under. “The mental stress has been horrendous,” Mr Beaumont said in Ipswich. “We’ve had so many trodden-down moments where the insurance didn’t pay, being kicked out of a rental home and then having to rebuild an absolutely devastated house.”

After Maurice Blackburn lawyers get paid, and their litigation funders, IMF Bentham and Innsworth, take their share of the damages payout, the rest will be shared between the class-action claimants. It is unlikely to be equal, with compensation to be based on the level of damage and financial loss.

The class action was filed by Maurice Blackburn in July 2014, with the trial starting in the Supreme Court of NSW in December 2017 and running for nearly 18 months. The litigation had to be filed interstate because, at the time, class actions could not be filed in Queensland.



AG Barr on the invasions of Presidential powers by the other two branches of government

The recent speech by AG Barr has evoked much comment from Left and Right.  But I believe there is still something more to be said of it.  The body of the speech consists of an extensive range of examples showing that the courts have assumed Presidential power.  They have given themselves powers that were never envisioned for them in the constitution

This is true for SCOTUS and also true for district courts.  As Barr sets out, the role of the district courts has hugely expanded since Trump came to office. District courts have issued NATIONAL injunctions overturning almost all of Trump's major initiatives. They do this despite having no jurisdiction to do so. They have jurisdiction over their own district only.  They have suddenly invented for themselves a national power.

So why does Trump put up with it?  Why does he not simply ignore ultra vires judgments?  There is actually a good practical reason.  Given the quite crazy policies leading Leftists are proposing these days, it is clearly desirable to block such mad policies.  And if Obama-appointed judges can block Trump decisions, Trump-appointed judges can obviously block future Democrat initiatives.

That is however a modern reason.  The basic reason is a tradition of courtesy.  Administrations have always treated court decisions as binding even when they are not.  This has always applied to SCOTUS.  Section 3(2) of the constitution does not give SCOTUS the power of judicial revew but that power has been conceded ever since 1803. Theoretically, if SCOTUS reviewed a Trump initiative and disallowed it, Trump could ignore the verdict as being ultra vires of the constitution.  After a couple of centuries of a conceded and legislated power of review that would be unthinkable but it comes down to courtesy rather than a constitutional requirement.

Presuming Trump wants to rein in the assumed jurisdictional abuses of the lower courts, there IS something he could do about it.  He could simply announce that he will not apply lower court decisions beyond their jurisdiction until they are affirmed by a national court.  Since there is only one national court, however, SCOTUS, this would effectively void almost all national verdicts from the lower courts.

That would undoubtedly raise huge objections so a further step would be needed to give lower court orders some chance of a national effect.  That could be done rather simply.  A NATIONAL court of appeal could be set up on the model of the existing circuit courts of appeal.  Any judgment that was successfully appealed to such a court would have a strong case for being respected and implemented nationally.  And if Trump were to set up such a court, he would be appointing the judges!

The proposed refusal to recognize a national jurisdiction for district courts would have the  considerable side-benefit of  putting a large crimp into Greenie lawfare.  At the momrent, Greenies use a great barrage of litigation to obstruct all sorts of projects and initiatives

Barr makes a very strong case for the judiciary having placed large unconstitutional limits on the presidency so something badly needs doing about that.  I have just outlined a relatively small change that would make a considerable step in that direction -- JR


82 Days Under Water: Tide Is High, but They’re Holding On

Fall Flooding Imperils Florida Communities

This is all just NYT nonsense. What is described has little or nothing to do with the sea level or tides. The Southeastern U.S. coast has been subsiding for years and gives no sign of stopping.

The same is true of the East central English cost -- where records showing sinking and erosion go back hundreds of years.  There is no cure for it in either the USA or England and it is most unlikely to stop

All coastal land along the affected coast should be made public parks.  There is no other safe use for it. I believe that has already been done in some cases

The “King Tides” are unusually high this year, creating a maddening logistical task for people along the Blackwater Sound, a low-lying stretch of the Upper Keys. The tides have been six to 18 inches higher than expected.The “King Tides” are unusually high this year, creating a maddening logistical task for people along the Blackwater Sound, a low-lying stretch of the Upper Keys. The tides have been six to 18 inches higher than expected.

The are 215 homes in the neighborhood, whose mangrove-lined streets now look more like stagnant canals.

Life during the unusually high “king tides” in South Florida this fall has become a maddening logistical task for people along the Blackwater Sound, a scenic but low-lying stretch of the Upper Keys. For nearly three months, the residents of Stillwright Point’s 215 homes have been forced to carefully plan their outings and find temporary workarounds to deal with the smelly, stagnant water — a result not of rain, but a rising sea — that makes their mangrove-lined streets look more like canals.

Another Key Largo neighborhood, Twin Lakes, is similarly inundated. Scientists say a combination of factors, including disruptive hurricanes, have contributed to this year’s exceptionally high tides.

“King tides” take place predictably each fall, when the alignment of the moon, sun and Earth creates a stronger gravitational pull on the warm oceans. Rising sea levels caused by climate change make the flooding worse.

This year, Hurricane Dorian and other tropical storms in late August and September likely interrupted the Gulf Stream, which moves water away from southern Florida. Instead, the water backed up, said Chris Rothwell, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service in Key West. Tides from the Carolinas to Florida, and from the Florida Keys to Tampa, have been six to 18 inches higher than expected.

“This is a high anomaly,” said Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

“But as time goes on, what we think of as high anomalies will gradually become more normal. There’ll be a time at some point where what used to be our high tide becomes the mean sea level.”

The last time Miami set a record for an average monthly low tide, measured by a tidal gauge in Virginia Key, was in 2009, Mr. McNoldy said, adding that he would not be surprised if that record is never broken. In contrast, Virginia Key set average monthly records for high tide this year in March, July, August, September and October, “and in November, I have full confidence that we’ll break that monthly record too,” he said.

Longtime Florida Keys residents and officials say they have never seen tidal flooding this bad outside of a hurricane — and certainly not when they bought their properties 20 or 30 years ago. The most flooding that Stillwright Point regulars remember was for 22 days in 2015. When this year’s flooding reached biblical proportions — 40 days and 40 nights — the dramatic news made the front page of The Miami Herald.

That was more than a month ago. The water, which neighbors say reached 18 inches in some places, briefly started to recede; then, overnight during the last full moon, it swelled again, surprising residents who had thought the worst was behind them.

“You feel like a trapped rat,” said Jan Darden, 61, who is Mr. Darden’s wife, as she stood outside the couple’s house with water up to the driveway. She had postponed a trip to the mainland to pick up prescription eyeglasses.

Stillwright Point was once an enclave of fishing cottages that later drew commercial pilots craving the island life, just an hour from Miami International Airport. Now, the neighborhood has some million-dollar homes. A single road, North Blackwater Lane, leads in and out of the community.

Residents want Monroe County to elevate their roads and install pumps, similar to what Miami Beach did to mitigate its sunny-day flooding. Rhonda Haag, the county’s sustainability director, said she would ask commissioners next month to expedite road-modeling work, but any actual construction would still be far-off. Pilot elevation projects for Twin Lakes and a low-lying community in Big Pine Key that have been in the works for years are planned first.

Elevating a third of the county’s 300 miles of roads could cost $1 billion, Ms. Haag said. “We are the most vulnerable county in the state, if not the nation.”

“For sale” signs sit outside several houses. Two streets have handwritten “No wake” signs, reminding drivers to go slow to avoid splashing onto other cars, driveways and what used to be gardens.



Jason Murphy launches another attack on the elderly

This time he makes it clear that it is only home-owners who are in his sights. But he also loathes superannuants.

Some people scrimp and save to pay off their own home. It usually takes them many years.  Other spend all their spare cash on beer and cigarettes (etc.).  Which group should we encourage? Neither, seems to be Jason's answer. Yet the savers take a huge burden off the taxpayer.  They get reduced pensions and no housing allowance.  In a rational world the savers would be praised but Murphy is clearly a Leftist envier.

He is right that a small number of homeowners and superannuants live more comfortable lives in retirement than others do but that is so throughout a capitalist system.  Some people are better at using their opportunities and may be envied for it,  but the alternative -- communism -- just makes everyone poor, the nomenklatura excepted, of course.

It's the whole capitalist system that Jason dislikes.  Capitalism runs on incentives and incentives produce very uneven results. Because of that unevenness in results Jason wants to take the incentives away.  He apparently wants, for instance, to abolish the tax concessions to superannuation.

But those incentives are there for a good reason.  They were put in place to encourage more people to save for their own retirement and not depend on the pension.  And they do exactly that.  That the concessions benefit some people more than others is what Jason dislikes.  He wants a Soviet-like system for us  -- with enforced equality.  I will not be alone in saying "no thanks" to that.

Part way down page 17 in a long report released last week, Treasury boffins buried a landmine.

“Where one generation is required to fund their own retirement as well as the retirement of a previous or future generation they may view this as inequitable,” they wrote.

No kidding, Treasury. No kidding.

This line comes from the consultation paper on a retirement income review the government is doing. The review has promised to recommend no changes, lest the powerful be disturbed.

Nevertheless my former colleagues at Treasury, perched in their modernist office block on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin ought to be careful.

Last week, I wrote a story about the immense privileges being provided by our system to the boomer generation, and the backlash was strong.

People contacted me in droves to tell me they knew someone who was struggling. I called the boomers a “luxury generation” and the response I got was #NotAllBoomers.

You know what, fair enough. I should have been more specific. If you’re 65, renting a place to live and reliant on the pension, you’re having a bloody hard time. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be unkind to you.

Poverty among people aged 65 and over who don’t own their own home is extremely high. It’s a genuine issue; but, of course, they are not the only ones doing it tough. The type of household with the worst rates of poverty is the sole parent. There are more children in those households living in poverty (230,000 children) than there are people over 65 renting and living in poverty (135,000 over 65s).

Anyway, that’s beside the point. Because the point of the boomer wars is not to focus on people in poverty, it’s to focus on people who have many millions and are getting more.

The boomers I don’t mind niggling a little are the ones who point to the two million dollar home they bought for $50,000 and say “we earned this!”.

The ones who strolled out of school into a labour market with 2 per cent unemployment and found jobs with no degree.

The ones who like to chirp about how they endured 17 per cent interest rates without ever mentioning that, in 1974, average weekly ordinary time earnings rose 28 per cent in one year alone (and then rose 20 per cent the next year, and 13 per cent the year after).

The ones who feel, when they structure their financial affairs in order to maximise the tax breaks available through superannuation and home ownership, that these are the product of a universe where all is suitable, appropriate, just and correct.

People in the top 1 per cent of the income distribution get a very handy $700,000 helping hand from the government in preparing for their retirement. That compares very generously to people at the middle of the income distribution who get $250,000.

The biggest helping hand for lower income earners is the pension. That’s not available at the top. But what they lose on the swings, they gain on the roundabouts, because the superannuation earning tax concessions really start to kick in.

When your super investments earn income (eg, dividends), they are taxed. But unlike income from working and other income earned outside the super system, this income is treated differently. It gets tax concessions. Earnings inside super get taxed at 15 per cent.

Superannuation contribution tax concessions also help. Money you put into super is taxed on the way in too, at 15 per cent, which is potentially a lot lower than your marginal tax rate. These contribution tax concessions are not quite so powerful at the top of the scale thanks to some recent changes that double the tax rate on contributions for people earning more than $250,000.

It certainly causes a person to wonder if the taxes on superannuation are designed to help those that need help in getting ready for retirement. Treasury is calling for comments on its retirement income review. It is sure to be besieged by furious people calling for the benefits to be retained.

But there’s a trap here for any young person who wants to play the intergenerational equity game. Any push for fairness here will probably be introduced gradually. Which is to say that it will be staged and scheduled in such a way that it hits not the retirees currently floating off the Whitsundays, but the ones who intend to give up work in two or three decades time. That is, you and me.



Michelle Malkin on immigration

The name "America first" goes back as long way as the name of a political movement and such movements have always been critical of immigration. In modern times the name has been adopted by a variety of fringe groups. But the advent of Donald Trump has re-energized the idea.  He makes no apology for putting America first and has done all he could to slow down the stream of illegal immigration.

So that has made "America first" a mainstream attitude.  Any Trump supporter is an America firster.  That fact has tended to bring to wider attention various organizations and individuals who have always believed in America first.  They have to a degree come in from the cold that had previously enveloped immigration critics.

But some of the old hands wander far and wide in arguing for immigration limitations.  Some old-time America firsters even mention that most dreaded word: race.  And that put them right back into the cold.  At least some of the illegal immigrants are of a different race but you must not mention that -- and you certainly must not suggest that the small brown descendants of the Aztecs might have some difficulties adapting to America's dominant civilization.

So what do we do about inconvenient allies in opposition to  immigration? Do we denounce them as the Leftists would do or do we think that we need all the allies we can get in resisting the demographic transformation that America is undergoing?

Conservatives are divided on that. Some are so desperate to deflect attacks on them from the Left that they denounce their unorthodox brethren.  Others deplore such denunciations and congratulate the old-timers for the work they have done in raising awareness of what is happening.

In the speech below Michelle Malkin makes it clear that in her opinion, we need all the allies we can get in checking the immigration inflow -- so she refuses to denounce the more unorthodox immigration opponents,

Subsequent to the speech she was disavowed by the some of the more dainty immigration opponents.  They will probably do little to dent her popularity, however.  Like Trump, she speaks for many. Her critics are more likely to dent their own popularity

Good evening, young patriots.

We’ve got a lot to talk about tonight and I want to hear from as many of you as possible.

If you are a liberal in this audience, congratulations. Thanks for being here. Hope you learn something. Read my books. Read and watch all the things that the Southern Poverty Law Center tells you not to read and watch. Maybe you’ll learn something. Don’t be a sheep. Question authority. Save yourselves. If you are unwilling to do so, I can’t help you. Lost cause. Let’s move on.

I’ve done YAF events for nearly 20 years. Usually, such speeches are aimed at the left and the Democrats to show how they’re wrong or evil or have double standards or how they’re the real haters or the real racists. All those things are true and I have made these arguments in earnest many, many times over the years. But tonight is not about you, Lefties. Tonight, my remarks are directed at the young men and women of this country who identify as America First conservatives. How many proud Americans standing up for American freedom and sovereignty do we have in the room?

I know what it’s like to be in your shoes, feeling marginalized on a crazy college campus for standing up for your pro-life, pro-gun, pro-free speech, pro-Western values and fighting for your country. I also have two teenagers who have been through experiences like you have, sitting in classrooms where abject stupidity and emotionalism have replaced logic, reason, and the pursuit of truth.

That is why I will not be using my platform and my position to insult you, marginalize you, and shout you down. Just a couple of days ago here on this very campus, former Fox News hostess Kimberly Guilfoyle sneered that young conservative men in MAGA hats asking inconvenient questions were rude losers who could only get dates online and who were embarrassing their parents. Another YAF speaker, Ben Shapiro, repeatedly denigrated an entire movement of young men who watch a YouTuber named Nick Fuentes and are seeking answers to tough questions about where America is headed as masturbating losers in their basements who share memes. As a mom with brilliant right-thinking kids who, yes, live in my basement, and, yes, share memes, I found these obsessive references to young people’s dating lives and habits by prominent conservative media personalities much older than their targets to be tellingly defensive and touchy. Also: creepy.

Here’s my message to the new generation of America Firsters exposing the big lies of the anti-American open borders establishment and its controlled opposition operatives: If I was your mom, I’d be proud as hell.

I want you to know that you are not alone. It’s important for you to know that not everyone who belongs to generations older than you has sat idly by while America rotted from the inside. Not all Gen Xers and Boomers are mindlessly stupefied by the bread and circuses entertainment dished out by so-called conservative media. Not all of us have occupied ourselves solely with “owning libs” and reciting clunky MAGA rap anthems while America crumbles.

I am old enough to have lived and worked in California when it was a red state. I was here in the 1990s when America First patriots fought valiantly to protect it. This month marks the 25th anniversary of the passage of Proposition 187, the Save Our State initiative. It was spearheaded by Boomer grass-roots sovereignty activists right here in southern California like Glenn Spencer and Barbara Coe, patriots I met in 1994 when I was a 24-year-old cub journalist at the Los Angeles Daily News. The media, Big Business, Hollywood, and the Soros smear machine labeled them hate-mongers and xenophobes. I called them heroes. I reported on their movement. I proudly voted for S.O.S.

Prop. 187 passed by a whopping 59-41 margin. We old guard patriots, we upholders of the rule of law, we conservers and preservers of one nation under God were the majority back then. That same year, Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, who championed the ballot measure, won with 55 percent of the vote, including 23 percent of Latino voters who backed the measure.

The victory was illusory. A liberal federal judge struck the measure down. (The same thing happened when a similar set of Boomer-era patriots spearheaded S.B. 1070 in Arizona to turn off illegal immigration magnets in 2010). There were other noble attempts to challenge the Open Borders elites. Long before Donald Trump, America First godfather Patrick J. Buchanan ran in 1992 on the sovereignty platform and has penned prolific books and prophetic editorials and columns since he started his career in the newspaper business at the age of 23 in the early 1960s. Tom Tancredo made border security and immigration enforcement the primary focus of his presidential campaign in 2008. And many of us oldsters in the conservative blogosphere and talk radio led the battle against the Bush/Rove/Chamber of Commerce amnesties in 2006 and 2007.

These so-called conservatives in Open Borders Inc. were the ones making common cause with the radical identity politics left. Before there was Charlie Kirk there was Paul Ryan, John McCain, and Jack Kemp. The same establishment Beltway crapweasels denigrating the new generation of America Firsters now were the ones who actively obstructed and smeared the previous generations as racists, xenophobes, or anti-Semites – or who passively sat on the sidelines, at cocktail parties or in green rooms or in cruise ships, schmoozing while America burned.

But all of the efforts to beat back the tide were for naught. Math had already sealed California’s ineluctable shift to the Left by the time the Prop. 187 campaign was launched. It wasn’t a backlash to Pete Wilson that turned California blue, as Talking Points GOP stooges continue to propagandize to this day. That’s a lie and I call bullshit. And you must, too. The two numbers that matter most are 1965 and 1986. Despite Prop 187’s valiant attempt to stem the tide, Ted Kennedy’s floodgate-busting Hart-Celler Act and Ronald Reagan’s amnesty-codifying Immigration Reform and Control Act paved the way for our half-century-long demographic nightmare.

After 1986, amnesty begat amnesty begat amnesty. Mass illegal immigration was compounded by mass legal migration from the Third World and jihadist breeding grounds, supplemented by the U.N.-led refugee resettlement dump that enriched open borders religious moochers from every denomination (Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Episcopalian) and expansive guest worker pipelines, and multiplied by chain migration.

Behind closed doors, the Soros/SPLC left cackles about the grand hoodwinking of America and the success of the demographic Reconquista. In public, they attack any truth-tellers as conspiracists peddling the Great Replacement Theory – like the Soros hitmen of Media Matters who likened me to the Tree of Life synagogue shooter in September for exposing the financiers behind demographic disaster. It isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s conspiracy fact.

Who cares what the Media Matters monkeys say? I don’t. But you know who does? Conservatism Inc, the Right’s subsidiary of Open Borders Inc filled with smug and complacent coastal elites who tremble at Soros/SPLAC’s defamatory labels and who thirstily seek the approbation of leftists who will always hate them.

It used to be that conservatives were for facts and liberals were for feelings. Now it is considered “racist” or “cynical” to look at lockstep liberal voting patterns of waves of amnestied and naturalized immigrants and fear for the future. Voting patterns are malleable, we are told.
I call bullshit.

Let’s look at the exit polls on Asian-American voters who turned out for last week’s national elections.

Asian American voter ID split 51-10 Ds over Rs in Virginia; 80-16 Ds over Rs for House of Delegate votes; and 81-15 Ds over Rs for State Senate. Asian-Americans supported stricter gun control 71-20 & supported impeachment 64-17. Top presidentrial candidates for those surveyed: Biden, Warren & Sanders.

In Philadelphia, Asian American voter ID split was 65-6 Ds over Rs. They voted for the Dem mayoral candidate 74-3. Their top 3 presidential candidates: Biden, Warren Yang. Aas favored impeachment 68-7.

In Houston, AA voter ID split 33-30 Ds over Rs. Top prez candidate Trump (38), Biden (15), Warren (12). AAs in Houston SUPPORTED MORE GUN CONTROL 58-24 and were evenly split on impeachment 41-41.

Time and again, Beltway Republicans have given in on amnesty, H-1B, and identity politics appeasing initiatives. And yet, the voting numbers among Asians, Hispanics, Muslims, and blacks for that matter, have not budged and will not budge.

Do the math.

This is my gentle maternal admonition to young people involved in the movement to persuade immigrants and minorities to “exit” the Left and vote Right. Of course it’s a good thing to reach out to non-traditional constituencies. But whatever dent you make in 2020 will be inconsequential compared to the relentless influx of 80-20 immigrants – incl. the 1 million new green card holders every year on a path to citizenship and 800,000 DACA recipients hurtling toward citizenship, and 500,000 F-1 foreign student visa holders that Conservatism Inc. and Silicon Valley are itching to award green cards and citizenship to…

America First activists are now being accused of engaging in dangerous “identity politics” and “ethno-nationalism.” The hypocrisy overfloweth. It’s the detractors of America First on the Right who shamelessly indulge in identity politics tokenism promoting a rainbow of brand ambassadors who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about when it comes to the most existential issues of our time and who immediately smear critics with the same old, worn brushes used by the radical Left. America First detractors indignantly demand that we young and old sovereignty advocates disavow European nationalist groups which most have never heard of.

Conservative Inkers now have their knives out for me, recycling Media Matters oppo research uncovering things I’ve never covered up in my reporting and advocacy on sovereignty issues over the last quarter century. They want me to disavow Nick Fuentes and VDARE and Peter Brimelow and Faith Goldy and Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys and Steve King and Laura Loomer and on and on. They want to do to me what they’ve done to brilliant academics who’ve told the truth – Amy Wax at the University of Pennsylvania and Darren Beattie and Jason Richwine and Steve Sailer.

No, I do not agree with every last thing they’ve said or written or published or tweeted or thought with their inside or outside voices. But I will not disavow any of them and I will not join the de-platforming witch hunters who hypocritically call themselves free speech and culture warriors. I disavow violence. I disavow hatred of America. I disavow the systematic bipartisan betrayal of American citizens, students, and families by cynical politicians who promised for 25 years to build a wall, end the diversity visa lottery, end chain migration, and other memorized talking points. I disavow Republicans who told us to hold our noses and vote for open borders sellouts because we support the Second Amendment and are against abortion and we had no other choice.

Where are the disavowals of CPAC organizers who banned young nationalists but credentialed left-wing operatives masquerading as journalists like the Right Wing Watch henchman – and who embraced left-wing Soros-funded character assassin Van Jones?

I disavow the bullshit.

Young people, left or right, if you don’t do your homework and open your eyes and join forces, you are screwed. Fight the controlled opposition, don’t become it. The torch is being passed. The populist youth movement is global. It’s bigger than being a Trump supporter or Talking Points GOP gate-smasher. Show those willing to listen how to do the math. Rise to the occasion and save this country.



The Legacy of Archbishop Fulton Sheen

I often read articles by that wise old New York Irishman when I was a kid (Yes. I was that sort of kid) and always thought he made good points.  He was a great ornament to the church. He was the clear thinker that Pope Francis is not.

The church was however not much impressed with Sheen at the time.  He was made only an honorary archbishop -- over a diocese that did not exist.  And he never got a red hat, immensely deserving of that though he was.

That the church is now on the way to canonizing him is however fitting.  They are recognizing that they may have dishonoured a saint.  That has been the lot of many saints however. Sheen will be beatified in Peoria on December 21, 2019.

Kathryn Jean Lopez on Sheen:
“Discouragement is a form of pride; sadness is often caused by our egotism.” That sort of leaped off the page as I was recently doing a little reading of the work of the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, to mark the news that before the year is through, he will have made a big step toward being an official saint of the Catholic Church. The sentence was the linguistic equivalent of a five-alarm fire, to be perfectly honest, not just for our current culture but for my life.

As you might be aware, there was a protracted court battle involving Archbishop Sheen’s remains between his hometown diocese of Peoria, Illinois, and my hometown of New York, where he served in the role for which he is most well-known. Sheen was a communicator — on prime-time television, at that medium’s beginning — of the faith to the world. And I was downright sad about the move of his remains earlier this year to the Midwest. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, where he served and where his remains had been, happens to have the closest tabernacle to my office at National Review’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan. And rarely would I be in that church without praying above his remains — for his canonization, and for his help. Reading Sheen’s words about pride made me realize my own pride — my native pride had certainly been stung by the move to Peoria.

Why do we constantly cling to things of this world instead of thinking about the next? While I do think more people might be impacted by having Sheen’s earthly remains just steps from Rockefeller Center, what do I know? God has some kind of plan here. And God doesn’t want us to be sad or discouraged. He wants us to be living the fullest freedom in His wisdom.

Writing about happiness, Sheen goes on to say: “If you will whatever God wills, you will always have exactly what you want. When you want anything else, you are not happy before you get it, and when you do get it, you do not want it. That is why you are ‘up’ today and ‘down’ tomorrow.”

This is relevant especially during this time of year, and it’s why the timing of the Sheen beatification probably couldn’t be better. The holiday season tends to be hectic. But it should be reflective. It should be a time of self-examination and the giving not of material gifts but of more of our hearts. Sheen can help.

Here’s Sheen’s advice for making adjustments to how you think and live: “You will never be happy if your happiness depends on getting solely what you want. Change the focus. Get a new center. Will what God wills, and your joy no man shall take from you.” Be not afraid, in other words.

Sheen advises: “Think not that you could do more good if you were well, or that you could be more kind if you had more money, or that you could exercise more power for good if you had another position! What matters is not what we are, or what we are doing, but whether we are doing God’s will.”

And how’s this for a mantra for change? “It is not so much what happens in life that matters; it is rather how we react to it.” In his chapter on hope in a book reissued in the last year under the title “Remade for Happiness,” Sheen writes: “You can always tell the character of a person by the size of the things that make him mad. Because modern man lives in a world that has reference to nothing but itself, it follows that when depression, war, and death enter into his two-dimensional world, he tumbles into the most hopeless despair.” Talk about another apt comment for our lives in this time — it routinely takes but a tweet to get us worked up and angry.

Finally, I think this is key for us today, and it needs to be heard and digested, made a part of our lives: “There is another way out than suicide, frustration, and anonymity, and that is the way of hope, not natural hope, but supernatural hope that settles your soul in God, and directs your will toward Him. And for that to happen, you need to pause, you need to reflect, you need some silence in your life. Fight for a little silence. Fight for time for meditation and prayer. Give God some exclusive time and you may be pleasantly surprised how it changes your life. How it, indeed, settles your soul.”

Fulton Sheen should be most well-known for his devotion to a carving out a daily hour for divine contemplation. A little time every day with God, even simply communicating with him at a quiet spot at home or work or anywhere in the world. That could be the greatest gift you give yourself and everyone in your life as we wind down the year.



The End of Babies

The NYT article excerpted below does a good job of showing that  there is a shortage of babies in all sorts of modern countries -- from Denmark to China.  And many possible explanations are canvassed for the phenomenon. Some of them no doubt have some role to play but none of the explanations fit all the cases.  And all are highly theoretical. So we are left with a mystery.  Why is it happening?

The explanation is in fact perfectly simple if you take a long-term view.  In earlier times when mothers routinely had 8 children or more the main reason for that was very poor contraceptive strategies.  The babies kept coming because nobody knew to stop them.  The sexual urge is a strong one and very little can stop it acting out.  Even celibate Roman Catholic priests often managed to father a baby.

Then came the contraceptive pill. It was an effective baby-blocker.  And women worldwide started blocking their babies.  Childbirth became optional.

But the interesting thing is that the pill did not block all births.  It was mainly the unwanted pregnancies that were blocked.  And among the unwanted pregnancies were  pregnancies in women who were not maternally inclined.  In the past, many women were not keen on getting pregnant but got pregnant anyway. So a large part of the population was the product of unmaternal women. Even unmaternal women reproduced.  

And because of that there were very many women in the population who were born with missing or reduced maternal motivation.  They were born to unmaternal women and inherited that motivation. And after the pill, they could live as they wished -- without children. So they did.  It was largely the unmaternal women who stopped having babies.

But the maternal instinct is strong in many women so such women  were very different.  They actively sought a life with children in it. They were willing to give up a lot to have children.  So they too did what they wanted and had children.  They kept the population alive

So we are left with a situation where it is largely maternal women who are reproducing.  The unmaternal women are editing themselves out of the gene pool. In future all the women alive will be the descendants of maternal women and the rate of childbirth will recover.  The dead-weight of unmaternal women will have been removed from the statistics by their own choices.

It is true that families across the board are much smaller than they were but there is considerable variation, nonetheless.  Some women have one child, some have four (etc.) so it seems likely that if we did not count unmaternal mothers who have deliberately refrained from giving birth we probably would have a population that is reproducing itself.

So we live at the moment in a transitional phase, when unmaternal women have mostly not yet edited themselves out of existence and it is their lack of babies that is weighing down the birth statistics.  They will be gone before long and society will rejoice again in mostly child-filled homes

I may be criticized for not mentioning fathers above.  But it is another feature of the modern world that fathers have become optional.  It is the women who decide to have the babies

Fertility rates have been dropping precipitously around the world for decades — in middle-income countries, in some low-income countries, but perhaps most markedly, in rich ones.

Declining fertility typically accompanies the spread of economic development, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. At its best, it reflects better educational and career opportunities for women, increasing acceptance of the choice to be child-free, and rising standards of living.

At its worst, though, it reflects a profound failure: of employers and governments to make parenting and work compatible; of our collective ability to solve the climate crisis so that children seem a rational prospect; of our increasingly unequal global economy. In these instances, having fewer children is less a choice than the poignant consequence of a set of unsavory circumstances. Decades of survey data show that people’s stated preferences have shifted toward smaller families. But they also show that in country after country, actual fertility has fallen faster than notions of ideal family size. In the United States, the gap between how many children people want and how many they have has widened to a 40-year high. In a report covering 28 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, women reported an average desired family size of 2.3 children in 2016, and men wished for 2.2. But few hit their target. Something is stopping us from creating the families we claim to want. But what?

There are as many answers to this question as there are people choosing whether to reproduce. At the national level, what demographers call “underachieving fertility” finds explanations ranging from the glaring absence of family- friendly policies in the United States to gender inequality in South Korea to high youth unemployment across Southern Europe. It has prompted concerns about public finances and work force stability and, in some cases, contributed to rising xenophobia.

But these all miss the bigger picture.

Our current version of global capitalism — one from which few countries and individuals are able to opt out — has generated shocking wealth for some, and precarity for many more. These economic conditions generate social conditions inimical to starting families: Our workweeks are longer and our wages lower, leaving us less time and money to meet, court and fall in love. Our increasingly winner-take-all economies require that children get intensive parenting and costly educations, creating rising anxiety around what sort of life a would-be parent might provide. A lifetime of messaging directs us toward other pursuits instead: education, work, travel.

These economic and social dynamics combine with the degeneration of our environment in ways that hardly encourage childbearing: Chemicals and pollutants seep into our bodies, disrupting our endocrine systems. On any given day, it seems that some part of the inhabited world is either on fire or underwater.

To worry about falling birthrates because they threaten social security systems or future work force strength is to miss the point; they are a symptom of something much more pervasive.

Something is stopping us from creating the families we claim to want. But what?

It seems clear that what we have come to think of as “late capitalism” — that is, not just the economic system, but all its attendant inequalities, indignities, opportunities and absurdities — has become hostile to reproduction. Around the world, economic, social and environmental conditions function as a diffuse, barely perceptible contraceptive. And yes, it is even happening in Denmark.

Danes don’t face the horrors of American student debt, debilitating medical bills or lack of paid family leave. College is free. Income inequality is low. In short, many of the factors that cause young Americans to delay having families simply aren’t present.

Even so, many Danes find themselves contending with the spiritual maladies that accompany late capitalism even in wealthy, egalitarian countries. With their basic needs met and an abundance of opportunities at their fingertips, Danes instead must grapple with the promise and pressure of seemingly limitless freedom, which can combine to make children an afterthought, or an unwelcome intrusion on a life that offers rewards and satisfactions of a different kind — an engaging career, esoteric hobbies, exotic holidays.

“Parents say that ‘children are the most important thing in my life,’” said Dr. Ziebe. By contrast, those who haven’t tried it — who cannot imagine the shifts in priorities it produces, nor fathom its rewards — see parenting as an unwelcome responsibility. “Young people say, ‘Having children is the end of my life.’”

There are, to be sure, many people for whom not having children is a choice, and growing societal acceptance of voluntary childlessness is undoubtedly a step forward, especially for women. But the rising use of assisted reproductive technologies in Denmark and elsewhere (in Finland, for example, the share of children born via assisted reproduction has nearly doubled in a little more than a decade; in Denmark, it accounts for an estimated one in 10 births) suggests that the same people who see children as a hindrance often come to want them.

Kristine Marie Foss, a networking specialist and event manager, almost missed out on parenthood. A stylish woman with a warm smile, Ms. Foss, now 50, always dreamed of finding love, but none of her serious boyfriends lasted. She spent most of her 30s and 40s single; those were also the decades in which she worked as an interior designer, created several social networks (including one for singles, “before it was cool to be single”) and expanded and deepened her friendships.

It wasn’t until she was 39 that she realized it might be time to start thinking seriously about a family. A routine visit to the gynecologist prompted an unexpected revelation: “If I become 50 or 60 and I don’t have kids, I know I’m going to hate myself the rest of my life,” said Ms. Foss, now the mother of a 9-year-old and 6-yearold via a sperm donor. Ms. Foss has joined the ranks of what Danes call “solomor,” or single mothers by choice, a cohort that has been growing since 2007, when the Danish government began covering IVF for single women.

There are those who have always sought to lay the blame for declining fertility, in some way, on women — for their individual selfishness in eschewing motherhood, or for their embrace of feminism’s expansion of women’s roles. But the instinct to explore life without children is not restricted to women. In Denmark, one out of five men will never become a parent, a figure that is similar in the United States.

Trent MacNamara, an assistant professor of history at Texas A&M University, has been pondering human attitudes toward fertility and family for over a decade. Economic conditions, he notes, are only part of the picture. What may matter more are “the little moral signals we send each other,” he writes in a forthcoming essay, “based on big ideas about dignity, identity, transcendence and meaning.” Today, we have found different ways to make meaning, form identities and relate to transcendence.

In this context, he said, having children may appear to be no more than a “quixotic lifestyle choice” absent other social cues reinforcing the idea that parenting connects people “to something uniquely dignified, worthwhile and transcendent.”

In a secular world in which a capitalist ethos — extract, optimize, earn, achieve, grow — prevails, those cues are increasingly difficult to notice. Where alternative value systems exist, however, babies can be plentiful. In the United States, for example, communities of Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, Mormons and Mennonites have birthrates higher than the national average.

Lyman Stone, an economist who studies population, points to two features of modern life that correlate with low fertility: rising “workism” — a term popularized by the Atlantic writer Derek Thompson — and declining religiosity. “There is a desire for meaning-making in humans,” Mr. Stone told me. Without religion, one way people seek external validation is through work, which, when it becomes a dominant cultural value, is “inherently fertility reducing.”

Denmark, he notes, is not a workaholic culture, but is highly secular. East Asia, where fertility rates are among the lowest in the world, is often both. In South Korea, for example, the government has introduced tax incentives for childbearing and expanded access to day care. But “excessive workism” and the persistence of traditional gender roles have combined to make parenting difficult, and especially unappealing for women, who take on a second shift at home.

The difference between life in tiny Denmark, with its generous social welfare system and its high marks for gender equality, and life in China, where social assistance is spotty and women face rampant discrimination, is vast. Yet both countries face fertility rates well below replacement levels.

If Denmark illustrates the ways that capitalist values of individualism and self-actualization can nonetheless take root in a country where its harshest effects have been blunted, China is an example of how those same values can sharpen into competition so cutthroat that parents speak of “winning from the starting line,” that is, equipping their children with advantages from the earliest possible age. (One scholar told me this can even encompass timing conception to help a child in school admissions.)

After decades of restricting most families to just one child, the government announced in 2015 that all couples were permitted to have two. Despite this, fertility has barely budged. China’s fertility rate in 2018 was 1.6.



Are the Left now toning down the hate?

I believe Joe Hildebrand is right below in saying that the current level of hate in Australian Federal politics is a historical departure.

Sir Robert Menzies, Australia's most storied conservative Prime Minister, ran Australia for most of the 50s and 60s and always had a good reply to his Leftist critics.  And he kept them out of office over many elections.

In his retirement he wrote two autobiographies. I read both shortly after they came out. That is a long time ago so I remember now little of what I read then. The one thing in them that has stuck in my mind is his praise for his erstwhile opponents in the Labor party. He described them quite warmly -- as good and sincere men who honestly believed they were working for the good of the country.

So what Hildebrand says below of the Hawke era in fact goes back a long way.  Politics in Australia were for a very long time marked by real interpersonal civility

I was talking to Bob Hawke’s widow Blanche d’Alpuget.

It was the first time we had spoken since Hawke’s death – which is hardly surprising since we hardly know each other – but like anyone with a passing relationship with the Labor Party, I somehow felt that they were part of my extended family.

At any rate, I certainly felt very close to her then and as we talked about Bob’s death it was clear that she was a woman blown apart. You could see right through to her shaken soul.

But when we talked about Bob’s legacy that soul turned to steel. Hawke was, above all else, a consensus builder – a peacemaker. He took not just his party with him on his and Keating’s grand economic project but often the opposition too.

As Blanche angrily lamented, even amid all the fire and fury of political and parliamentary life, politicians always used to work together behind the scenes to get things done. They would shake hands, do deals and share jokes behind the Speaker’s chair. They would work across the aisle – bridging the often artificial divide between left and right – in pursuit of what used to be known as the common good.

This was Australian politics’ dirty little secret: The people that pretended to hate each other actually quite liked each other.

And this was the culture that prevailed in Canberra under both Labor and the Coalition for a quarter of a century – so much so that when an escalating travel rorts war resulted in a senator attempting suicide both sides immediately agreed to a ceasefire.

But a decade ago that all changed. A nasty condition known as “the NSW disease” crept into Canberra, a culture in which leaders were brutally knifed at the first whisper of discontent and which swept through both the Labor Party and the Coalition, decimating them both.

It is no coincidence that all of this took place in the new age of social media – in which politicians, activists and any member of the public could slug it out directly without the niceties of standing orders or news cycles.

And it is no coincidence that it happened amid the online news revolution, in which both old and new media outlets became more tribal than ever in an effort to hold or attract their audience.

One man who was at the centre of it all was Craig Emerson, a softly-spoken economist and academic who was an adviser to Hawke before entering parliament and becoming a minister under the fractious Rudd and Gillard governments.

Emerson’s latest thankless task for Labor was to find out how it lost the unlosable election, which he and former premier Jay Weatherill dutifully performed. Their conclusion is neatly summarised in the report as follows:

“Labor should position itself as a party of economic growth and job creation. Labor should adopt the language of inclusion, recognising the contribution of small and large businesses to economic prosperity, and abandon derogatory references to ‘the big end of town’. Labor’s policy formulation should be guided by the national interest, avoiding any perception of capture by special interest groups.”

In short, the party needed to be inclusive, not divisive. And it was a philosophy Emerson took to heart when he bravely defended Barnaby Joyce in the unbecoming shitstorm that accompanied last week’s bushfire disaster.

Emerson observed that contrary to the outrage being generated by both social and mainstream media, Joyce had not been attacking two dead bushfire victims for being Greens supporters but clumsily trying to say that he wouldn’t – albeit for reasons known only to Barnaby himself.

For this attempt at nuance Emerson was naturally crucified on social media, leading him to write a thoughtful piece for the Australian Financial Review lamenting the blind ideological tribalism that had taken hold of politics.

And of course for this he was naturally crucified by blind ideological tribalists. He was condemned for breaking a cultural embargo in his effort to bridge the divide.

But he was not alone. In the small pond of Australian politics, Emerson’s piece received a tsunami of support – not from alt-right fascists, as his extreme left accusers tried to claim – but from the leading lights at the ABC. The Germans might have brought down the Berlin Wall but it was Annabel Crabb who brought down the AFR paywall when she tweeted a picture of the whole column as a vital read for her half a million followers.

And of course Emerson joins a growing number of leaders from the moderate left who are coming to realise the extreme left poses a greater threat to their cause than the moderate right does. No less a figure than Barack Obama this month condemned “woke” cancel culture and plenty of once-woke celebrities from Sarah Silverman to Michael Leunig have found out the hard way that the hard left only loves you until they come for you.

The champions of censorship like to claim that they are on the right side of history but it is just possible that future historians may remember this November as the time when cancel culture got cancelled.

Man, I hope I live to see that.



That wicked air pollution again

The article below is a riot of statistics but one thing it sedulously avoids is any mention of effect sizes. The effect size in other studies of this topic is usually negligible so that may tell you why.

None of the previous studies of this topic are exactly comparable but some of them have been pretty powerful. For instance, a 2018 study included the entire Medicare population from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2012. And their finding that only one in a million people die from particulate air pollution is pretty decisive. If you bother about that tiny risk, you should never get out of bed.

In the present study, even a probability statistic or two would have been of some help, though the large sample size would show just about any effect as statistically significant.  The text of the article does imply that effect size statistics can be found in the supplementary material but when I clicked on the heading of the relevant table there nothing happened.  Very suspicious.

There are however some indications that the effects were very weak. The authors' reliance on inter-quartile ranges is characteristic of what you do when there is no overall significance in the data. And take the sentence below:

"PM2.5 exposure was associated with excess burden of death due to cardiovascular disease (56070.1 deaths [95% uncertainty interval {UI}, 51940.2-60318.3 deaths])"

As far as I can work out the number of deaths was just about in the middle of the uncertainty interval, again suggesting that nothing much was going on. One hopes that the authors provide some real and accessible statistics about effect size soon.

The big hole in studies of this topic is failure to take account of income.  Poor people commonly have much worse health and unless income is controlled for you may be simply seeing the effects of poverty, not what you think you are seeing.

To their credit, the authors did use an expansive demographic statistic to provide some sort of control on their results.  But their procedure there was rather brain-dead -- or perhaps the procedure of someone who doesn't really want to deal with demographics.  They created an Area Deprivation Index (ADI), which ranks geographic locations by socioeconomic status disadvantage and is composed of education, employment, housing quality, and poverty measures.

One wonder exactly what "poverty measures" were.  Nothing as simple as individual income, it would seem.  And that was it:  No attempt to control for individual poverty.

So even if the ADI index was well done, that is not the end of the story. Using the characteristics of an area as a proxy for individual characteristics is quite desperate.  Any one area will include a considerable demographic range.  A poor person living in a rich are will be characterized as rich -- which is madness.

So once again the study founders on the rock of a failure to control for income.  The illnesses observed might have been effects of poverty, not air pollution.  For a variety of reasons, poor people are more exposed to air pollution, something this study does concede

And at risk of killing a dead horse, the pollution measures were also area statistics rather than individual statistics.  That assumes that everyone living in the same area breathes in the same amount of pollution.  I hope I don't have to give reasons why that may not be so

But air pollution SHOULD be bad for you, someone will say.  It probably is -- at some level. But is the level normally encountered in American cities bad for you?  That is what no-one so far has been able to establish reliably.

Given our evolutionary history of sitting around campfires for perhaps a million years, one would expect that evolution would have given us a substantial tolerance of inhaled air pollution.  That is probably what is actually revealed in studies like the present one

Burden of Cause-Specific Mortality Associated With PM2.5 Air Pollution in the United States

Benjamin Bowe et al.


Importance:  Ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution is associated with increased risk of several causes of death. However, epidemiologic evidence suggests that current knowledge does not comprehensively capture all causes of death associated with PM2.5 exposure.

Objective:  To systematically identify causes of death associated with PM2.5 pollution and estimate the burden of death for each cause in the United States.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  In a cohort study of US veterans followed up between 2006 and 2016, ensemble modeling was used to identify and characterize morphology of the association between PM2.5 and causes of death. Burden of death associated with PM2.5 exposure in the contiguous United States and for each state was then estimated by application of estimated risk functions to county-level PM2.5 estimates from the US Environmental Protection Agency and cause-specific death rate data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Nonlinear exposure-response functions of the association between PM2.5 and causes of death and burden of death associated with PM2.5.

Exposures:  Annual mean PM2.5 levels.

Results:  A cohort of 4 522 160 US veterans (4 243 462 [93.8%] male; median [interquartile range] age, 64.1 [55.7-75.5] years; 3 702 942 [82.0%] white, 667 550 [14.8%] black, and 145 593 [3.2%] other race) was followed up for a median (interquartile range) of 10.0 (6.8-10.2) years. In the contiguous United States, PM2.5 exposure was associated with excess burden of death due to cardiovascular disease (56 070.1 deaths [95% uncertainty interval {UI}, 51 940.2-60 318.3 deaths]), cerebrovascular disease (40 466.1 deaths [95% UI, 21 770.1-46 487.9 deaths]), chronic kidney disease (7175.2 deaths [95% UI, 5910.2-8371.9 deaths]), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (645.7 deaths [95% UI, 300.2-2490.9 deaths]), dementia (19 851.5 deaths [95% UI, 14 420.6-31 621.4 deaths]), type 2 diabetes (501.3 deaths [95% UI, 447.5-561.1 deaths]), hypertension (30 696.9 deaths [95% UI, 27 518.1-33 881.9 deaths]), lung cancer (17 545.3 deaths [95% UI, 15 055.3-20 464.5 deaths]), and pneumonia (8854.9 deaths [95% UI, 7696.2-10 710.6 deaths]). Burden exhibited substantial geographic variation. Estimated burden of death due to nonaccidental causes was 197 905.1 deaths (95% UI, 183 463.3-213 644.9 deaths); mean age-standardized death rates (per 100 000) due to nonaccidental causes were higher among black individuals (55.2 [95% UI, 50.5-60.6]) than nonblack individuals (51.0 [95% UI, 46.4-56.1]) and higher among those living in counties with high (65.3 [95% UI, 56.2-75.4]) vs low (46.1 [95% UI, 42.3-50.4]) socioeconomic deprivation; 99.0% of the burden of death due to nonaccidental causes was associated with PM2.5 levels below standards set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Conclusions and Relevance:  In this study, 9 causes of death were associated with PM2.5 exposure. The burden of death associated with PM2.5 was disproportionally borne by black individuals and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. Effort toward cleaner air might reduce the burden of PM2.5-associated deaths.

JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(11):e1915834. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.15834


Ronald Bailey has gone over to the Dark side

Bailey was once a climate skeptic but claims that in 2005  new data made him into a Warmist. I commented on that "conversion" at the time. He has however upped his game since then and we see the result below. His big failing this time can be found in the rubric (red bit) below.  He is precisely wrong in what he says there.  The Climategate emails show that the major players in Warmism are outright crooks. They arbitrarily alter data sources and do their best to ensure that any articles that don't suit them never get published. How surprising that the word "climategate" does not occur once in Bailey's long and diligent aricle.

So it is difficult to ascertain the truth when the chief sources of information about the climate are untrustworthy.  This is particularly so if we realize something that Bailey himself admits:  The data is full of estimates. The climate data is woefully incomplete and all sorts of dodges have to be resorted to to fill in those gaps, with some of the estimates (terrestrial-based measures of arctic temperatures, for instance) being truly heroic.  At almost every point there is room to move estimates in the direction desired. So all the findings that Bailey relies on may or may not be true.  We cannot know. But it is the warmist claim is that we DO know

But that is not a deliberate retreat into nescience. We can still make our own observations and develop our own theories.  And that is what climate skeptics have done. And they have found much that does not support the conventional theories and findings.  Bailey attempts to debunk one by one the dissident theories and findings but he does so by relying on findings from people within the consensus.  And we know that data to be assumption-laden.  So Bailey's large project ends up with circular reasoning:  Warmism is true if you accept what warmists say.  Or putting it another way, you cannot lift yourself up by your own bootstraps.  Once crookedness has been established, it is difficult to find the truth

But vast government activity worldwide is based on Warmist claims being truth.  To use another metaphor, that is a castle built on sand.

The replication crisis

I must stress that I am not putting total reliance on the climategate revelations.  What I am stressing is the constant need for guessing when dealing with incomplete data.  And confirmation bias is well known  even without the climategate revelations. There is now a substantial literature in medical and psychological research showing that unreplicable findings will regularly be accepted until someone comes along and blows the whistle -- by attempting a close replication of the original finding.  A disastrous 60% of findings do not replicate -- indicating that most of what we thought we knew in those disciplines was frankly wrong.

So what about climate findings?  Do they replicate?  We cannot know. Climate researchers have traditionally kept all details of their data and its analyses close to their chest. They defy the basic philosophy of science dictum that your data and analyses must be available for all to check. So that basically tells you all you need to know about the research concerned. The authors know that their results will not replicate when examined by outsiders so make such examinations impossible.

And that suspicion hardens into certainty when we look at Michael Mann's influential hockeystick claim. Mann denied access to his data but inadvertently left some of it on a server where sophisticated computer users could find it.  And when Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre did a reanalyis of that data using Mann's program they found that ANY data fed into Mann's program would produce Mann's result.  Mann's findings were a total fraud.  Mann guards his data jealousy to this day.  He was even prepared to lose his lawsuit against Tim Ball rather than reveal it.  And Mann is one of those whom Bailey assumes to be "acting in good faith".

Sadly, global warming is the greatest hoax in human history, perpetrated by grant-hungry scientists with few scruples.  The future of the climate CANNOT be known or predicted but it is the contention of the Warmists that it can be.

The satellite data

I will be mentioning the satellite record of global temperatures shortly  so before I do that I need to spend a little time looking at Bailey's attempt to discredit the satellite data.

He says, rightly, that even the satellite data requires adjustments for various things and points to discrepancies in what the various versions of what the satellite data shows. In the best Leftist practice however he tells only half the story. Let me mention something he leaves out.  The two major versions of the satellite record have long been the UAH record maintained by skeptics and the RSS version by the conventional Carl Mears.

And the two produced such similar results that the RSS figures were often used by skeptics as discrediting warmism.  Even the RSS data from Carl Mears showed little warming.

As Mears himself admits, he was mightily irritated by people accusing his temperature record of supporting the climate skeptics.  He was in fact expressing irritation with that for quite some years.  He declared several times that he still supports Warmism despite what his own data show.

So in 2016 he finally devised a solution to his embarrassment.  He "adjusted" his data.  He said his old data had errors in it and he has now corrected the errors, to show some warming  -- a warming of 18 hundredths of one degree over nearly 20 years, no less!  One hundredth of a degree per annum! (If there had been errors in it, one wonders why he rode with the "erroneous" data for so long but let that be by the by).

And the explanation he gives for his adjustments is reasonable in principle, but, as always, the devil is in the details.  And the details do contain devilry, as Roy Spencer has pointed out.  Carl's adjustments were so bad in fact that the paper in which he described them was rejected as unpublishable by a major climate journal, eventually being accepted by a meteorological one.  However you look at it, however, one hundredth of a degree per annum is negligible warming. Both major versions of the satellite data continued to show no significant warming

The skeptical response

Most of the prominent climate skeptics have looked at Bailey's article and are mocking of it.  I thought I might close by reproducing a emailed comment on it from Don Easterbrook:

"The latest evidence shows that the likelihood of an apocalyptic climate change are about as close to zero as you can get. The NASA and NOAA portrayals of 'hottest  year ever' are totally fraudulent. NOAA temperatures in the US have cooled slightly over the past 20 years  and global satellite temperatures show no warming (see below).

We are now entering a Grand Solar Minimum, guaranteeing that temperatures will plunge, not warm catastrophically. The chances of cataclysmic warming are not worth worrying about!

Excerpts from Bailey

Researchers use complicated computer climate models to analyze all these data to make projections about what might happen to the climate in the future. My reporting strategy has been to take seriously what I believe to be the principal objections made by researchers who argue on scientific grounds that panic is unwarranted. I also assume that everyone is acting in good faith. What follows is based on what I hope is a fair reading of the recent scientific literature on climate change and communications with various well-known climate change researchers.

Ice Age Climate Change

To decide how worried we should be, we need to go back much further than 1992. Starting about 2.6 million years ago the Earth began experiencing ice ages lasting between 80,000 and 120,000 years. The world's most recent glacial period began about 110,000 years ago.

Most researchers believe that variations in Earth's orbital path around the Sun is the pacemaker of the great ice ages. Ice ages end when wobbles in Earth's orbit increase the sunlight heating the vast continental glaciers that form in the northern hemisphere. These orbital shifts initiate a feedback loop in which the warming oceans release of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which in turn further boosts global temperatures. Higher temperatures increase atmospheric water vapor which further boosts warming that melts more ice and snow cover. Less snow and ice enables the growth of darker vegetation which absorbs more heat and so forth.

At the height of the last glacial maximum 19,000 years ago atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide stood at only about 180 parts per million. The level of atmospheric carbon dioxide increased to around 280 parts per million by the late 18th century. This chain of feedbacks eventually produced a rise in global average surface temperature of about 4 degrees Celsius. That's the difference between the last ice age in which glaciers covered about one-third of the Earth's total land area and today when only 10 percent of the land area is icebound.

As a result of human activities, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen to about 415 parts per million now. The annual rate of increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide during the past 60 years is about 100 times faster than the rate of increase that occurred at the end of the last ice age. How much this increase is responsible for having warmed the planet over the last century, along with how much more warming will result if carbon dioxide concentrations continue to rise, is the central issue in climate change science.

Just Add Carbon Dioxide

Of course, the sun powers the Earth's climate. About 30 percent of solar energy is directly reflected back into space by bright clouds, atmospheric particles, and sea ice and snow. The remaining 70 percent is absorbed. The air and surface re-emit this energy largely as infrared rays that are invisible to us but we feel as heat.

The nitrogen and oxygen molecules that make up 99 percent of the atmosphere are transparent to both incoming sunlight and outgoing infrared rays. However, water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone are opaque to many wavelengths of infrared energy. These greenhouse gas molecules block some escaping heat and re-emit it downward toward the surface. So instead of the Earth's average temperature being 18 degrees Celsius below zero, it is 15 degrees Celsius above freezing. This extra heating is the natural greenhouse effect.

NASA climate researcher Andrew Lacis and his colleagues contend that carbon dioxide is the key to greenhouse warming on Earth. Why? Because at current temperatures carbon dioxide and other trace greenhouse gases such as ozone, nitrous oxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons do not condense out of the atmosphere. Overall, these noncondensing greenhouse gases account for about 25 percent of the Earth's greenhouse effect. They sustain temperatures that initiate water vapor and cloud feedbacks that generate the remaining 75 percent of the current greenhouse effect. Lacis and his colleagues suggest that if all atmospheric carbon dioxide were somehow removed most of the water vapor would freeze out and the Earth would plunge into an icebound state.

Princeton physicist and lately resigned Trump administration National Security Council member William Happer has long questioned the magnitude of carbon dioxide's effect with respect to warming the atmosphere. In fact, Happer is the co-founder and former president of the nonprofit CO2 Coalition established in 2015 for the "purpose of educating thought leaders, policy makers, and the public about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide to our lives and the economy."His 2014 article, "Why Has Global Warming Paused?" in the International Journal of Modern Physics A, Happer argued that climate scientists had gotten crucial spectroscopic details of how atmospheric carbon dioxide absorbs infrared energy badly wrong. As a result, he asserts, a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide would likely warm the planet by only about 1.4 degrees Celsius. If the effect of carbon dioxide on temperatures was indeed constrained to that comparatively low value man-made global warming would probably not constitute a significant problem for humanity and the biosphere.

In 2016, NASA Langley Research Center atmospheric scientist Martin Mlynczak and his colleagues analyzed Happer's claims in a Geophysical Research Letters article and found, "Overall, the spectroscopic uncertainty in present-day carbon dioxide radiative forcing is less than one percent, indicating a robust foundation in our understanding of how rising carbon dioxide warms the climate system." In other words, the details of how carbon dioxide absorbs and re-emits heat are accurately known and unfortunately imply that future temperatures will be considerably higher than Happer calculated them to be.

 Another related claim sometimes made is the effect of carbon dioxide on the climate is saturated, that is, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is already absorbing re-emitting about as much heat as it can. Consequently, increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere won't much increase the average temperature of the globe. But is this so?

This claim is based on the fact in the current climate era that, as Princeton University climatologist Syukuro Manabe in a 2019 review article "Role of greenhouse gas in climate change," notes, "surface temperature increases by approximately 1.3 degrees C in response to the doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration not only from 150 ppm [parts per million] to 300 ppm but also from 300 ppm to 600 ppm." To get a further increase of 1.3 degrees Celsius would require doubling atmospheric CO2 concentration to 1200 ppm. A metaphorical way of thinking about this issue is to visualize that the atmosphere consists of layers and as each layer fills up with enough carbon dioxide to absorb all the heat that it can, the extra heat radiates to the next layer that then absorbs it and re-emits it, and so forth. Consequently, the effect of CO2 on temperatures does decline but it does not saturate at levels relevant to future climate change.

Again, an increase of 1.3 degrees Celsius due to doubling carbon dioxide doesn't seem too alarming. "It is much smaller than 2.3 degrees C that we got in the presence of water vapour feedback," notes Manabe. Researchers find under current climate conditions that "water vapour exerts strong a positive feedback effect that magnifies the surface temperature change by a factor of ∼1.8." A warmer atmosphere evaporates and holds more water vapor which again is the chief greenhouse gas. Just as predicted, water vapor in the atmosphere is increasing as average global temperatures rise. Citing satellite data, a 2018 article in Earth and Space Science reported, "The record clearly shows that the amount of vapor in the atmosphere has been increasing at a rate of about 1.5% per decade over the last 30 years as the planet warms."

Evidence Tampering?

Researchers have devised various records to track changes in global average temperatures. These include surface records incorporating thermometer readings on land and at sea; remote sensing of atmospheric trends using satellites, and climate reanalyses to calculate temperature trends for two meters above the surface.

All temperature records must be adjusted since all have experienced changes that affect the accuracy of their raw data. For example, surface temperature records are affected by changes in thermometers, locations of weather stations, time of day shifts in measurements, urban heat island effects, shipboard versus buoy sampling and so forth. Satellite data must be adjusted for changes in sensors and sensor calibration, sensor deterioration over time, and make corrections for orbital drift and decay. Climate reanalysis combines weather computer models with vast compilations of historical weather data derived from surface thermometers, weather balloons, aircraft, ships, buoys, and satellites. The goal of assimilating and analyzing these data is to create past weather patterns in order to detect changes in climate over time. Since climate reanalyses incorporate data from a wide variety of sources they must be adjusted when biases are identified in those data.

Some skeptics allege that the official climate research groups that compile surface temperature records adjust the data to make global warming trends seem greater than they are. A recent example is the June 2019 claim by geologist Tony Heller, who runs the contrarian website Real Climate Science, that he had identified "yet another round of spectacular data tampering by NASA and NOAA. Cooling the past and warming the present." Heller focused particularly on the adjustments made to NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) global land surface temperature trends.

One general method used by climate scientists of adjust temperature records, explains Berkeley Earth climate data scientist Zeke Hausfather (now at Breakthrough Institute) is statistical homogenization. Researchers compare each weather station to all of its nearby neighbors and look for changes that are local to one station, but not found at any others in the area. A sharp sustained jump to either lower or higher temperatures at a particular station generally indicates a change such as a shift in location or a switch in instrumentation. The records of such out-of-line stations are then adjusted to bring it back in line with its neighboring stations.

In general, temperatures increase more rapidly over land compared to the oceans because of the oceans' greater capacity to absorb heat and ability to get rid of extra heat through evaporation. Heller is right that raw land station adjustments by NOAA/NASA have increased overall land warming by about 16 percent between 1880 and 2016. On the other hand, NOAA/NASA adjustments of raw sea temperature data to take account of the shift from measuring ocean temperatures using buckets and intakes aboard ships to a widely deployed network of automatic buoys reduced the amount of warming in past. The adjustments result in about 36 percent less warming since 1880 than in the raw temperature data. When taken together the NOAA/NASA adjustments to land and ocean data actually reduce, rather than increase, the trend of warming experienced globally over the past century. Adjustments that overall reduce the amount of warming seen in the past suggest that climatologists are not fiddling with temperature data in order to create or exaggerate global warming.



Children who start school later gain advantage, new study shows

The paper underlying this report does not yet appear to be online but the Centre seems very Leftist so the research is unlikely to be very rigorous.

Even the report below does however reveal a lack of rigour.  It is apparently based on the nonsensical "all men are equal" dogma.  No attempt is made to take account of student IQ. High IQ students have often been shown to thrive when enrolled early and the usual squawk about their social fitness has been shown to be a snark.  Smart kids are in general better socially as well as academically

So the study tells us nothing certain.  There were presumably a number of low IQ students in the sample who would benefit from a late start.  So the finding of an overall benefit from a late start could be entirely a product of the low IQ element in the sample.  How students of around average IQ fare is simply not addressed

Children who are held back and start school later than their peers gain an advantage that is still felt up to six decades later, a new study shows.

They are more self-confident, resilient, competitive and trusting, which tends to be associated with economic success.

The analysis of 1007 adults aged between 24 and 60 illustrates the “potential adverse effect of school entry rules,” lead author Lionel Page from the University of Technology, Sydney said.

“Our findings indicate that school entry rules influence the formation of behavioural traits, creating long-lasting disparities between individuals born on different sides of the cut-off date,” he said.

School starting ages vary between Australian states. In Victoria, children starting school must turn five by April 30 in the year they start school, whereas in Queensland and Western Australia the cut-off is June 30. In South Australia,, they must be five by May 1 and in Tasmania they must be five by January 1.

Dr Page said the study’s findings suggested the relative age at school had an impact on people’s success in adulthood.

“We find that participants who were relatively old in school exhibit higher self-confidence about their performance at an effort task compared to those who were relatively young,” he said.

“Moreover, they declare being more tolerant to risk in a range of real-life situations and trusting of other people in social interactions.

“Taken together, this set of results offers important insights on the long-term effects of relative age at school on behavioural traits.”

The new study was published by the Life Course Centre, a joint research project between the federal government and the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne and the University of Western Australia.

It involved adults from Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.

The findings come as a UNSW study found a quarter of students are held back so they start school when turning six, not when they turn five.