An amusing bit of Warmist "research"
Warmists regularly attribute any flood or any drought to global warming. But you can't have it both ways. Does global warming produce more or less precipitation? The scientific answer, of course, is that it would produce more rain, as warmer oceans evaporated off more. So are we having more rain these days? No. A recent paper which seems to have all the world's hydrologists as co-authors tells us that. We did NOT have any increase in floods across the last 50 years. Here is the abstract below. I will resume my comments once you have had a look at it. The first sentence is all you need to know. Another prophecy has failed!
Changing climate shifts timing of European floods
Günter Blöschl et al.
A warming climate is expected to have an impact on the magnitude and timing of river floods; however, no consistent large-scale climate change signal in observed flood magnitudes has been identified so far. We analyzed the timing of river floods in Europe over the past five decades, using a pan-European database from 4262 observational hydrometric stations, and found clear patterns of change in flood timing. Warmer temperatures have led to earlier spring snowmelt floods throughout northeastern Europe; delayed winter storms associated with polar warming have led to later winter floods around the North Sea and some sectors of the Mediterranean coast; and earlier soil moisture maxima have led to earlier winter floods in western Europe. Our results highlight the existence of a clear climate signal in flood observations at the continental scale.
Science, 11 Aug 2017: Vol. 357, Issue 6351, pp. 588-590
As we know, however, Warmism cannot be allowed to die. So the authors have made a last desperate attempt to save something from the wreckage of their theory. They now say that global warming is making floods come SOONER. Not a big comfort, one would think but beggars can't be choosers. But is the claim right? It is the product of some torturous statistics and there's many a slip between cup and lip in that sort of thing. And it does not look good. Climate bulldog Paul Homewood has pulled out the official British flood statistics and shows that there is no trend anywhere in Britain. There are changes from year to year but they are random, not pointing in any particular direction. If I believed in God I would think he had a sense of humor. He certainly seems to enjoy upsetting Warmist applecarts.
A Warmist resorts to blatant lies
Below is the start of a recent article headed "How To Explain Climate Science To That Person Who Just Won't Listen" in the Puffington Host. One expects unadulterated Leftism from HuffPo but their usual modus operandi is selective attention to the facts -- not outright and blatant lies.
There are many problems with the article but this is the key lie: "97 percent of climate scientists agree". And he explicitly claims that John Cook, an Australian psychologist, said that. But John Cook said no such thing. Cook found that only ONE THIRD (32.6%) of the climate papers he examined took a position on global warming. That is a long way from 97%. The 97% figure refers only to that one third: 97% of one third supported global warming
Even Cook saw that one third was less than a ringing endorsement and hypothesized that the pesky two thirds might have been secret supporters of global warming but were just too shy to say so. He therefore sent them a questionnaire which gave them an opportunity to state their position. But only 14% replied. So that was an actual REFUSAL by the vast majority to state a position on global warming. Again a long way from 97% endorsement. It was in fact 98% of 14% who endorsed global warming the second time around. Pathetic!
So the whole foundation of the article below is missing. The writer has a relaxed relationship with the truth and cannot be relied upon. He misrepresents a scientific paper. If you doubt that, read Cook's paper here. It's not difficult. You only need to read the abstract to see what it says. Cook himself is normally cautious in stating exactly what he found but some people hear and report only what they want to hear.
We all know someone who is dismissive of climate science. We all have friends or family members who think they know more about global warming than trained climate scientists. So how to talk about climate change with those people?
John Cook can help. Cook is the person behind the famous 2013 paper which found that 97 percent of climate scientists agree with the theory of human-caused climate change.
That paper has been peer-reviewed, and reviewed again, in numerous studies since it was published. Always the results hold true. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists still agree that humans are causing global warming.
That's despite the fact that there's very little money in researching warming. You should also know that scientists tend to advance their careers by discovering new stuff no one else has discovered -- and human-caused climate change hardly fits that category.
The science is real, the science is not conspiratorial, and the science is almost universally accepted (97 percent of scientists rarely agree on ANYTHING!). Yet some people still won't have a word of it. So then. What to do next?
A mental experiment: Would blowing up Charlotte St. create any problem?
In my burg there is a skyscraper in Charlotte St which houses most of the State government bureaucracy. So what would happen is some Muslim blew the whole thing up, killing all the bureaucrats in it?
There would be much wringing of hands of course but what would change in the lives of my fellow citizens?
The supermarkets would still be open; the trains would still be running; the traffic lights would still work; the farmers would still bring their produce to market; the abbatoirs would still be slaughtering and selling carcases to butchers, bakers would still be baking; dentists would still be fixing teeth; the great turbines in our coal-fired power stations would still be spinning; the police would still be attending crimes about an hour late; and doctors would still be handing out prescriptions.
And so it goes. I cannot see that the inhabitants of the Charlotte St. tower would be missed. Are they any use to us at all? Why not dismiss them all and leave the tower empty? I cannot see anything that we need them for.
The vanishing underwater forests: Researchers say climate change is killing off huge amounts of kelp across the globe
There may have been some kelp die-off in the last 30-50 years but it is only assertion that links it to global warming. Global warming causes everything adverse according to Greenies. Sea surface temperatures have changed little globally so the cause of any dieoff is most likely some disease or predator. Several such are mentioned below
The report below seems to be a synthesis of two studies so it is amusing to read those two studies. From Global patterns of kelp forest change over the past half-century we read:
"Our analysis identified declines in 38% of ecoregions for which there are data, increases in 27% of ecoregions, and no detectable change in 35% of ecoregions".
So there has been no overall die-off at all, just local variations. There was nothing like the global effect we would expect from global warming
And from Invasive seaweeds transform habitat structure and increase biodiversity of associated species we read:
"These introduced seaweeds harbour greater biodiversity of species found at the base of the food web than seaweeds with simpler forms such as the native kelp species."
Which is the exact opposite of what they would have you believe below. Far from kelp providing "critical food and shelter to myriad fish and other creatures", kelp is not critical at all. The invasive seaweeds do it better. The new species are providing MORE food for marine life, not less. The article below is solid deception. I noted similar dishonesty about kelp in Australian waters just over a year ago
I feel quite safe in saying that there is NO truth in anything Warmists say about kelp or anything else
When diving in the Gulf of Maine a few years back, Jennifer Dijkstra expected to be swimming through a flowing kelp forest that had long served as a nursery and food for juvenile fish and lobster.
But Dijkstra, a University of New Hampshire marine biologist, saw only a patchy seafloor before her.
The sugar kelp had declined dramatically and been replaced by invasive, shrub-like seaweed that looked like a giant shag rug.
Kelp is critical to coastal economies, providing billions of dollars in tourism and fishing.
Kelp losses on Australia's Great Southern Reef threaten tourism and fishing industries worth $10 billion.
Die-offs contributed to a 60 percent drop in species richness in the Mediterranean and were blamed for the collapse of the abalone fishery in Japan.
'I remember going to some dive sites and honestly being shocked at how few kelp blades we saw,' she said.
The Gulf of Maine, stretching from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia, is the latest in a growing list of global hotspots losing their kelp, including hundreds of miles in the Mediterranean Sea, off southern Japan and Australia, and parts of the California coast.
Among the world's most diverse marine ecosystems, kelp forests are found on all continental coastlines except for Antarctica and provide critical food and shelter to myriad fish and other creatures.
Kelp also is critical to coastal economies, providing billions of dollars in tourism and fishing.
The likely culprit, according to several scientific studies, is warming oceans from climate change, coupled with the arrival of invasive species.
In Maine, the invaders are other seaweeds.
In Australia, the Mediterranean and Japan, tropical fish are feasting on the kelp.
Most kelp are replaced by small, tightly packed, bushy seaweeds that collect sediment and prevent kelp from growing back, said the University of Western Australia's Thomas Wernberg.
'Collectively these changes are part of a recent and increasing global trend of flattening of the world's kelp forests,' said Wernberg, co-author of a 2016 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which found that 38 percent of kelp forest declined over the past 50 years in regions that had data.
'You are losing habitat. You are losing food. You are losing shoreline protection,' said University of Massachusetts Boston's Jarrett Byrnes, who leads a working group on kelp and climate change. 'They provide real value to humans.'
The Pacific Coast from northern California to the Oregon border is one place that suffered dramatic kelp loss, according to Cynthia Catton, a research associate at the Bodega Marine Laboratory at the University of California, Davis.
Since 2014, aerial surveys have shown that bull kelp declined by over 90 percent, something Catton blamed on a marine heat wave along with a rapid increase in kelp-eating sea urchins.
Without the kelp to eat, Northern California's abalone fishery has been harmed. 'It's pretty devastating to the ecosystem as a whole,' Catton said. 'It's like a redwood forest that has been completely clear-cut. If you lose the trees, you don't have a forest.'
Kelp is incredibly resilient and has been known to bounce back from storms and heat waves.
But in Maine, it has struggled to recover following an explosion of voracious sea urchins in the 1980s that wiped out many kelp beds. Now, it must survive in waters that are warming faster than the vast majority of the world's oceans - most likely forcing kelp to migrate northward or into deeper waters.
'What the future holds is more complicated,' Byrnes said. 'If the Gulf of Maine warms sufficiently, we know kelp will have a hard time holding on.'
On their dives around Maine's Appledore Island, a craggy island off New Hampshire that's home to nesting seagulls, Dijkstra and colleague Larry Harris have witnessed dramatic changes.
Their study, published by the Journal of Ecology in April, examined photos of seaweed populations and dive logs going back 30 years in the Gulf of Maine.
They found introduced species from as far away as Asia, such as the filamentous red seaweed, had increased by as much 90 percent and were covering 50 to 90 percent of the gulf's seafloor.
They are seeing far fewer ocean pout, wolf eel and pollock that once were commonplace in these kelp beds.
But they also are finding that the half-dozen invasive seaweeds replacing kelp are harboring up to three times more tiny shrimp, snails and other invertebrates.
'We're not really sure how this new seascape will affect higher species in the food web, especially commercially important ones like fish, crabs and lobster,' said Dijkstra, following a dive in which bags of invasive seaweed were collected and the invertebrates painstakingly counted.
'What we do think is that fish are using these seascapes differently.'
"Trump’s transgender ban is based on hate" (?)
The above headline and the article that follows are by Michael A. Cohen, a columnist with the Boston Globe. It is the sort of hate-filled argument that we have come to expect from the Left. Cohen projects his own hate onto Trump. But it's not a convincing projection. Can anyone reading his words doubt how consumingly Mr. Cohen hates Mr. Trump?
And his argument is a typically Leftist one in another way: its extreme selectivity. Of all the things that Trump and his many military advisers might have had in mind when they decided to limit sexually disturbed people in the military, Cohen considers only one: Medical costs. But anyone who knows anything about the argument knows that the main costs are psychological -- part of what Trump referred to as "disruption".
It is many years since I was an army psychologist but I am still confident that I can tell you what is involved. In "Vom Kriege", Clausewitz stresses the importance of morale in a military unit and that is the basic issue. High morale often means the difference between defeat and victory. And closely linked to morale is unit cohesion. Morale is highest when all the members of a unit have strong brotherly feelings towards one another. That is so much so that psychologists generally conclude that it is most unusual for a man to fight for "King and country". Instead he fights for his brothers -- the men in his unit whom he has trained with and with whom he has experienced stresses of various sorts. Australia's most admired military hero Ben Roberts-Smith has tattooed across his broad chest: "I will not fail my brothers".
And all that is seriously disrupted even with normal women in a unit -- let alone a sexually confused woman. Units that are normally well away from the frontline have long included women. They are not under the frontline stresses where morale and unit cohesion make all the difference. But, even so, women in any unit create problems. Sexual intercourse will always take place within mixed units. -- with varying degrees of consent. Army personnel tend to be vigorously healthy and their sex-drive will be too. And rivalry for the "affections" of the woman will tear "brothers" apart, which is why women were historically barred from battlefield roles even in the Israel Defence Force, though that has been watered down in recent times in Israel. Mixed units will substantially damage frontline cohesion.
I was for a time married to a woman who had spent 9 years in the army transport corps. Fortunately, she was a big strong woman (though pleasingly shaped) and she needed to be. She repeatedly had to fight off approaches from both males and females. She remembers kicking a lesbian across the room to get her off herself and she once expelled a male officer from her tent at the point of a pistol. Since she and I had a very pleasing heterosexual marriage, I can vouch that she was not herself a lesbian but she says that most of her fellow female troops were.
Do you begin to get the issues once you introduce complexity into a simple all-male environment? Mr Cohen can probably not even imagine them but we can be sure that the many generals Trump has advising him know those issues very well. Trump's decision was a sound military one based on military realities and requirements. The hate comes not from Mr Trump but from Mr Cohen
Tuesday night, President Trump traveled to Phoenix and delivered perhaps the most unhinged speech of his presidency, which for Trump is no small accomplishment. The nation’s 45th president spent most of the time focused on the only person who truly matters to him — Donald Trump. Indeed, much of his speech was spent airing his abundant grievances about how the reporters he calls un-American truthfully cover the things he says. But one section of his remarks stands out.
In praising his supporters and contrasting them with the D.C. establishment, Trump said, “You always understood what Washington, D.C., did not. Our movement is a movement built on love. It’s love for fellow citizens.
“We believe that every American has the right to live with dignity. Respect for America demands respect for all of its people. Loyalty to our nation requires loyalty to each other. We all share the same home, the same dreams, and the same hopes for a better future. A wound inflicted upon one member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all.”
These are lovely words that bear no relation to the policies endorsed by the man who uttered them or the audience who applauded them.
Indeed, less than 24 hours after Trump’s speech, a proposed White House directive on the transgender ban was leaked to The Wall Street Journal.
The ban, which reverses the Obama administration’s decision last year to allow transgender troops to serve openly, would instruct the military to stop admitting transgender Americans. It lays out criteria for expelling them and would even force the Pentagon to stop paying for transition medical regimes already underway.
When Trump first announced this ban on Twitter, he claimed that allowing transgender individuals to serve would lead to “tremendous medical costs and disruption” to the military.
I know this will come as a shock, but there is no evidence to back up Trump’s claims. In fact, according to a study by the Rand Corporation, approximately 10 to 130 members of the active force could have “reduced deployability as a result of gender transition-related treatments” each year. Considering there are more 100,000 nondeployable soldiers in the Army alone this is hardly a major burden.
In addition, health care costs for transgender service members would be around $6 million a year — or approximately 14 times less than the amount of money spent by the Pentagon on Viagra.
Trump’s transgender ban is policy in search of a point. In fact, the real reason Trump initially announced it is that he thought it would help him get congressional Republican support for a bill appropriating money for his border wall. Hate begetting more hate.
However, even if allowing transgender Americans to openly serve was a burden, shouldn’t that be a small price to pay for a political movement built on love and the belief that every American has a right to live with dignity?
To be sure, politicians resort to these kinds of platitudes all the time, even as they implement policies that operate in direct contradiction. But the chasm between Trump’s words and the policies he endorses is a mile wide. Rare is it in American history when actual rights are taken away from Americans. Trump’s ban is the rankest form of prejudice — imposing discriminatory policies that are born solely out of intolerance and hatred.
Ideally, court challenges will block Trump’s transgender ban, but it shouldn’t block the reality of what this effort says about Trump and his political “movement.” The president and his supporters can talk all they want about love and unity but the truth is evident: their agenda is one born out of hate.
The sun or not the sun?
I reproduce below part of a curious article from Germany's generally scholarly Max Planck Society. The author, Helmut Hornung, admits that fluctuations in solar output can impact the earth's climate but says: "Not this time". Recent warming is not caused by solar change. He is right. It was caused by El Nino.
But he is not talking about the 2015/2016 El Nino period. For an unexplained reason he cherrypicks the 2001 to 2010 period. And he says that the temperature of that period was 0.2 degrees warmer than the previous decade. And since the sun did not change during 2001-2010, the sun could not have caused that inter-decadal warming.
That sounds logical at first but the devil is in the detail. He pays no attention to the temperature fluctuations during those two periods. There was something of a temperature step-change around 1998, when the temperature rose by about 0.2 degrees but there was no change thereafter. The temperature just moved to a slightly higher plateau at that time. It reached a new level and stayed there. It was NOT continuously warming during that decade. So temperature and the sun actually mirrored one-another. The sun did not change during 2000-2010 and nor did the temperature. So if we look at the temperature details, they would seem to prove exactly what he wanted them to disprove.
That was the only attempt by him to prove his case. For the rest he just asserts that temperatures have gone up long term and CO2 has gone up long term. But that proves nothing. It is an asserted causal relationship, not a proven relationship. And it ignores the lack of a smooth relationship that you would expect of a causal relationship. Both temperatures and CO2 went up in fits and starts but they were not the same fits and starts. The precise effects on temperature that CO2 levels are supposed to produce were not produced.
CO2 molecules don't have a little brain in them that says "I will stop reflecting heat down for a few years and then start up again". Their action (if any) is entirely passive. Yet temperature can stay plateaued for many years (e.g. 1945 to 1975) while CO2 levels climb. So there is clearly no causal link between the two. One could argue that there are one or two things -- mainly volcanoes and the Ninos -- that upset the relationship but there are not exceptions ALL the time. Most of the time a precise 1 to 1 connection should be visible. It isn't, far from it. You should be able to read one from the other. You can't.
Another oddity: He puts the increase in CO2 back to 1750: "the carbon dioxide concentration has increased by 30 percent since industrialization began in the mid-18th century." He may be right but most Warmists say 1950 or thereabouts
Interesting that he admits that the sun CAN have an influence though. Warmists normally pooh pooh that altogether
It’s becoming warmer on Earth. Temperatures during the period spanning 2001 to 2010, for example, were around 0.2 degrees Celsius higher than the previous decade. No serious scientist doubts that humans play a decisive role here. Nevertheless, other factors also influence the global climate, for example the geometry of Earth's orbit and volcanic eruptions. But what role does the Sun play?
By way of its energy input, the Sun can directly influence the climate of our planet. However, the atmosphere only allows radiation to pass through in specific wavelengths, predominantly in visible light; the remainder is, in a manner of speaking, absorbed by molecules. Only part of the radiation therefore reaches Earth's surface and can heat it up. The irradiated surface, in turn, emits infra-red light, which is then held back by clouds or aerosols. This effect, without which the Earth would be around 32 degrees Celsius colder, warms the atmosphere. These processes resemble the conditions in a greenhouse.
To investigate the influence of the Sun on the climate, researchers look to the past. Here, they focus on the star's magnetic activity, from which the radiation intensity can be reconstructed. It is then apparent that the Sun produces more intense radiation during active periods – apparent thanks to numerous spots and flares – than during its quiescent phases.
The Sun had just such a break in activity during the second half of the 17th century, for example: between 1645 and 1715 its engine began to falter. During this period, referred to as the Maunder Minimum, Europe, North America and China recorded much colder winters. And even the summer was substantially cooler in some regions during this “Little Ice Age”. Paintings were made at the time, showing ice skaters on the frozen Thames, for example.
When looking back at the past the scientists work with both old records of observational sunspot data (beginning in 1610) and using the C14 method, which can be particularly well applied to wood, as Carbon-14 input at the ground (trees) is not constant, but also changes with solar activity. This radioactive isotope is created when what are known as cosmic rays meet an air molecule in the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere.
The solar magnetic field extends throughout the entire solar system and partially screens off cosmic rays. If the magnetic field fluctuates, so does C14 production. In this manner, the deviation between tree ring age and C14 age represents a measure of magnetic activity and consequently for the radiant power of the Sun.
So, how strongly does the Sun currently influence the climate? What is known is that Earth has become warmer by around one degree Celsius over the past 100 years. In the last 30 years alone, temperatures have increased at a rate not seen during the last 1000 years. It is another fact that the carbon dioxide concentration has increased by 30 percent since industrialization began in the mid-18th century.
During this entire period, the Sun has been subject to periodic fluctuations in activity. And there has certainly been no increase in the brightness of the Sun over the past 30 or 40 years, rather a slight decrease. This means that the Sun cannot have contributed to global warming. In fact, the temperature increase noted in recent decades cannot be reproduced in models if only the influence of the Sun or other natural sources are taken into account (for example volcanic eruptions). Only when anthropogenic, that is human-driven, factors are incorporated in the climate data, do they agree with the observational and measured data.
The researchers thus arrive at the conclusion that the increase in global temperatures since the 1970s cannot be explained by the Sun. The observed temperature trend over the past three decades is linear – if it is a result of the increasing greenhouse gas concentration. In brief: the human influence on the climate is orders of magnitude greater than that of the Sun.
On the other hand, the opinion of some scientists that the current decrease in solar activity will counteract global warming, does not stand up to a close examination, as global warming is a fact - and continues to advance. In contrast, it does appear possible that the Sun influences the climate in the long term. The exact extent and precise mechanisms remain unclear, however.
Asia’s rivers send more plastic into the ocean than all other continents combined
I have been making this point for a long time. Plastic waste pollution in the ocean is huge in some places and it is invariably blamed by Greenies on the West. But Western waste disposal is normally strict. Stupid individuals can and do throw empty drink bottles into rivers and the ocean but almost everything else goes into landfills -- INCLUDING PLASTIC BAGS.
It is the third World where waste disposal is often slap-dash and it is they who originate most flotsam. Cracking down in various ways on Western use of plastics is aiming at the wrong target and will therefore fail to achieve anything positive. It satisfies Greenie hatred of their neighbours to claim that it is they who are behind the pollution but it does virtually no real good. Bans on plastic bags, in particular, are mindless
Every year, millions of tonnes of plastics are produced and trashed, with some ending up in the sea, and gobbled up by tiny fish. Even though countries don’t report on how much plastic they are flushing, a recent study suggests that around 86% of the plastic running through rivers was coming from a single continent—Asia.
An estimated 1.15 to 2.41 million tonnes (1.27 to 2.66 million metric tons) of plastic waste enters rivers every year, around one-fifth of the total plastic in the sea from coastal populations worldwide, according to a study published in Nature on June 7. (Other plastic ends up in landfills which can also “leak” into the oceans.) The researchers from Ocean Cleanup, a Netherland-based foundation working to extract plastic from the sea, found that a majority of the inputs are from Asian countries like China, Indonesia, and Myanmar.
Seven of the top 20 rivers from all continents, which originate or pass through China’s major cities, are contributing around two thirds (67%) of plastic released through rivers into the oceans. The Yangtze River that runs through Shanghai, one of China’s most populous areas, tops the list, followed by Ganges, a trans-boundary river that runs through northern India and Bangladesh. Next is Xi River, the western tributary of the Pearl River, a major water source for the 100 million people residing in Guangdong Province, China’s most populous province.
The Dutch researchers found that the Yangtze river’s mouth, where the conduit meets the sea, had a plastic concentration of 4,137 particles per cubic meter—and contributed 20,000 tonnes (22,046 metric tons) of plastic every year to the oceans. In December, two ships dumped more than 100 tonnes (110 metric tons) of waste such as needles and plastic tubes into the Yangtze river.
Asia has contributed the most plastic pollution into the marine environment every year.
The study echoes earlier research on how plastic enters the ocean, says professor Daniel Hoornweg, an energy systems professor at University of Ontario Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the study. Ocean plastic levels depend on the amount of waste production, wind or rivers carrying plastic into the oceans, and the quality of urban waste collections.
Although Asia generates relatively little waste per person, especially compared to the consumer-oriented West, the total waste generated by the continent adds up.
China, for example, manufactured the most plastic products—around 74.7 metric tons—in 2015, according to the 2016 report by Plastics Europe, a trade association that tracks the plastics industry. It’s followed by 49.8 metric tons from Canada, Mexico, and the US combined. China began charging consumers (link in Chinese) for plastic usage in 2008 to fight against pollution. The country’s booming delivery industry, fueled by e-commerce, is often not recyclable. For example, last year delivery companies used 12 billion plastic bags (link in Chinese).
AP Style Update to Include Xenophobia, Homophobia, Islamophobia
Interesting that the AP appears to accept the dictionary definition of Islamophobia and homophobia as IRRATIONAL fears. I doubt that journalists will restrict their usage in that way, however.
Further, I would say that regarding homosexuality as an abomination does not usually denote fear of any sort, rational or irrational. What is it that I should fear about one guy sticking his dick into some other guy's butt? To me it's disgusting but I don't fear it. And I don't know anybody who does fear it. So I think that "homophobic" is almost always a misnomer. "Show me one!", I am tempted to say.
If a single word is needed for people who disapprove of homosexuality, maybe "homocritic" could be used. In the light of what the scriptures repeatedly say, a real Christian is obliged to be a homocritic (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1: 8-10, Romans 1:27, Leviticus 20:13).
Islamophobia, on the other hand need not be irrational. Muslim bombers and shooters strike at random and repeatedly at any place and at any time. If you can't fear that, what can you fear? You certainly don't have to be mad to fear it.
And xenophobia is also poorly defined. As far as I can tell, it is perfectly natural for most people to prefer their own kind. What is mad about that?
The word "phobia" is a Greek word meaning fear and in clinical usage does indicate an irrational fear but it seems clear that you can dislike foreigners without fearing them. And the old fear that a foreigner could take your job could be perfectly realistic in some cases. So that word is very often used quite inappropriately too. If I were defining the word, I would say: "A term from clinical psychology denoting an irrational fear or obsession which is commonly used inappropriately to denote a dislike of foreigners"
The Associated Press has updated its Stylebook, an official industry’s guideline for journalists, writers and editors, on Thursday to include the words homophobia, xenophobia and Islamophobia.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, then-candidate Hillary Clinton called then-candidate Donald Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables” because of their “homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic” views.
These words are defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the official dictionary for the American Psychological Association, as followed:
Xenophobia: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign
Homophobia: irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.
Islamophobia: irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against Islam or people who practice Islam
AP has not released its own definition of these words, but stated that they are “acceptable in broad references or in quotations to the concept of fear or hatred in political or social contexts.”
The online Stylebook also specified that usage of these words must outline “observable actions” and not assert personal assumptions on the motives that led to such events.
What is a white supremacist?
In the aftermath of Charlottesville, where a varied group of marchers were set upon and halted by violent Leftist attackers, the media were unanimous in describing the marchers as "white supremacists". When President Trump disagreed with that description, he was mightily abused.
But what is a white supremacist? How do we define that and how do we tell that there were any white supremicists among the Charlottesville marchers? The Left neither define "white supremacist" nor prove that there were any at Charlottesville. We are apparently required to take them at their word and not question any part of it. But what if it was fake news?
Let us then attempt a definition so that we can go on and sanely discuss the matter. Let us say that a white supremacist is someone who believes that whites are supreme in the world. Would the Left like that definition? I suspect that they would. But what student of history could think otherwise? From the industrial revolution of a couple of hundred years or so ago whites have dominated everything. From steam trains to nuclear reactors, practically every innovation has come from whites. And whites have used those innovations to assist their mastery of what was happening in the world. Other races tagged along and imitated whites to various degrees but it is white civilization that has made the running. It has been and still is dominant.
So in mentioning that plain truth am I a white supremacist? I have been called it but what alternative account of the last 200 years could I give? I cannot see that I am doing any more than describing reality. But Leftists never do seem to like reality. So, OK. I have outed myself as a white supremacist.
The only problem is that I don't think I am one. I think that white supremacy is a passing phase. I think that by the end of this century China will be supreme in most ways. I may be wrong but that is what I see as the trend. So I guess that I am a pretty funny white supremacist.
Which brings me to another possible definition of a white supremacist-- someone who thinks that whites SHOULD be supreme. But why would anybody bother to think that? "Should" implies that what should happen has not yet happened. But it has happened. Whites are already supreme.
But I suppose there are some people who think that whites should fight to remain supreme -- attack China maybe. Good luck with that. That would be insanity.
So who or where are these white supremacists that the media talk about? There were about two marchers who carried swastika flags so are they the ones? As it happens, I know a bit about neo-Nazis so maybe I can help there. I did an extensive study of them some years ago, the results of which appeared in Jewish academic journals. See here and here. So I have a very good idea of what modern-day Nazis think.
And they know very well that whites are already supreme. So what they want is to preserve that from attack and undermining. They want it acknowledged and defended. They also don't like Jews of course.
But take away the antisemitism and what you have is actually a form of patriotism. But instead of being supportive of one nation, they are supportive of a group of (white) nations: Rather like what the EU aims at.
So the extent to which they are aggressive, they want to DEFEND traditional white civilization. They don't want to impose it. It exists already. The one door you cannot open is one that is open already.
And as far as I can tell, the Charlottesville marchers were also defensive. They didn't want part of their culture attacked and subjugated to a new "politically correct" ideology. The Left are undisputably on the attack to erase much about existing society that they disapprove of so the perception of having much that they regard as right and good as being under attack was a perfectly realistic one among the marchers.
For most Americans, political correctness only nibbles at the edges of their lives so they feel no need to go out and march against it but we must expect that some people will resent the nibbling and see a need to protest against it. And that is what we saw at Charlottesville as far as I can tell. There were NO white supremacists there. But there were there people who wanted their traditions, customs and beliefs respected and defended -- JR.
Recycled sewerage water will be used to irrigate agriculture and horticulture on the Adelaide Plains
S.A. is a dry State so this has intuitive appeal. And recycled sewerage water has been used for cropping in Israel with great success.
But I am suspicious about no mention of a cost/benefit study. There are all sorts of areas in Australia suitable for irrigated crops -- dare I mention the Ord? -- but few of them are economically feasible, partly due to transport and marketing costs but also due to the chronic wordwide glut of agricultural products.
But this development will be in close proximity to a major market for its product so it may work at some level. Recovery of the capital costs or much return to capital are most unlikely, however. Neither eventuated at the Ord. Governments are dumb investors. But water is something of a sacred icon in "the dry continent"
AN irrigation project that could create up to 3700 jobs in northern Adelaide will go ahead after the Federal Government promised to contribute $46 million towards building costs.
Despite facing a political crisis after it was revealed he held New Zealand citizenship, Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce has agreed to spend $45.6 million from the National Water Infrastructure Development on the irrigation scheme.
The project will pump recycled water from the Bolivar sewage treatment works to the Adelaide Plains for use in irrigated agriculture and horticulture.
Mr Joyce and Assistant Water Minister Anne Ruston will on Thursday announce the Federal Government’s financial support for the scheme.
"We’re investing in the infrastructure of tomorrow so we can expand our production to meet global food demand that is set to rise by 75 per cent between 2007 and 2050," the Deputy Prime Minister said.
"This project will be key to developing greater market access for South Australian producers to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Singapore. [That didn't work for the Ord and Adelaide is even farther away from those markets than is the Ord]
"This project is a great example of the kind of infrastructure we are delivering across the country.”
Senator Ruston said the irrigation scheme would help unlock the potential of undeveloped land.
"Having already delivered funding of $2.5 million for the feasibility study, I am pleased the Government is continuing our support into the construction stage of this valuable project," she said.
Senator Ruston said access to additional water would create new opportunities for farmers to capture the potential of higher-value crops.
Groundwater in the region is currently over-allocated.
The State Government has already promised $110 million towards the irrigation scheme and had been seeking a federal contribution.
The project is designed to create new job opportunities in the northern Adelaide region after the Holden factory closes in October.
Waste water from the Bolivar plant is currently pumped out to sea. The irrigation project will help SA Water to meet its obligation to reduce nitrogen discharges into the ocean.
The irrigation scheme is expected to operational by early 2019 and will initially deliver 12 gigalitres of water each year. It could eventually be expanded to deliver up to 20 gigalitres per year.
A new water treatment plant, a pump station, bore field and 50km of pipes will supply a new irrigation area.
Irrigated agriculture is worth more than $1.8 billion South Australia’s agricultural production. Vegetables are the most valuable irrigated agricultural commodity in SA and were worth $446 million in 2014-15.
The Federal Government is spending $2.5 billion water infrastructure through loans and grant programs.
Dangerous air pollution from coal-fired power stations in Australia?
I am interested in the following claim made below: "People who live within 50km of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away."
I have read the large and glossy report from which that statistic is allegedly taken but can find no mention of it there. It must be a very fleeting mention if it is there at all. There was certainly nothing like the formal research report that one would expect to underlie such a claim: No details of sampling or control for demographic statistics, no table of results etc.
With all Green/Left writing the thing to identify is what they do NOT say. They regularly just leave out information that would damage their case. As it happens I have some research background in this field so I know what they have left out. They did not do an attitude study. They did not try to find out how bothered people were by the alleged pollution. They put up a few anecdotes about that but anecdotes prove nothing. You can always find people dissatisfied with anything if you look hard for them.
My survey of the effect of living near a coal mine showed that people did NOT have elevated environmental concerns as a result of that proximity. And my study was an orthodox and fully described one. So there is no doubt in existence a degree of pollution associated with Australia's coal mines but it is at a level that is only a minor irritant to those affected by it. My study was of coal mines in 1980 but, as the report below mentions, the power stations at the time were generally located just about on top of the mines
The report is a beat up. Just more Greenie deception. It was put out by Environmental Justice Australia so I had no real expectation that it would be a work of objective science. It is just propaganda
AUSTRALIA is trailing behind places like China when it comes to pollution standards and those living near coal-fired power stations are three times more likely to die a premature death, according to a new report.
Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) found Australian power stations are allowed to emit far more pollution than those in the US, China and parts of the European Union, and they are not being regulated well enough to protect human health or the environment.
The toxins produced by coal-fired power stations can have a deadly impact on those living nearby. People who live within 50km are about three to four times more likely to die a premature death as those living further away.
The report looked at four pollutants that are extremely harmful to health and have been linked to asthma, respiratory problems, stroke, angina, heart attack and cancer.
It found coal-fired power stations emitted more than 30 toxic substances and are the biggest sources of fine particles PM2.5, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.
“The mercury limits for some NSW power stations are 666 times higher than the US limits. This is unacceptable,” the report said.
“In almost all cases the emissions limits applied to Australian power stations are significantly less stringent than the standards in the European Union, United States and China.”
What controls that are in place are also not well monitored and rarely enforced.
The EJA has made eight recommendations including that the Federal Government commission an independent assessment of health impacts, develop national emission standards, ask for better monitoring and commit to not building, financing or approving any new coal-fired power stations.
When it comes to air pollution, the report suggested “ultra-supercritical” or “high efficiency low emission” (HELE) power stations were not very effective at reducing pollution.
“The best improvement ultra-supercritical technology can offer over subcritical is about a 14 per cent reduction in pollution emissions,” the report said.
NSW Central Coast resident Gary Blaschke OAM said a lot of the downside of living close to coal-fired power stations had been swept under the carpet.
“If pollution was purple, people would be up in arms. Because we often can’t see it — whether it’s in the air on in the ground — many people don’t even think about it.”
THE INVISIBLE KILLER
The report Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities mainly looks at four pollutants. They are coarse particles called PM10, fine particles known as PM2.5, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.
In particular PM2.5 has been linked directly to health risks including asthma, bronchitis, acute and chronic respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and painful breathing, and premature deaths.
It’s been estimated that PM2.5 exposure has led to 1590 premature deaths each year in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
These particles can travel long distances so Sydney residents may feel the impacts of pollution produced by Hunter Valley power stations, but local communities are the most at risk.
People who live within 50km of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away.
It’s been estimated that 18 people living near the now-closed Hazelwood power station in Victoria died premature death due to air pollution in one year.
“The annual health costs of coal-fired power stations across Australia has been estimated at about $2.6 billion a year,” the report said.
“These costs are not factored into wholesale electricity prices or licence fees, and are therefore borne by the community rather than affecting the profits of the power station owners.”
I received the following email from a reader:
I am a follower of your blog. I saw that you picked up on the outrageous false claims made recently by Environmental Justice Australia.
You may be interested in the results of the Upper Hunter Valley Fine Particulate Matter Characterisation Study undertaken in 2012/2013 by the EPA and CSIRO.
The EPA found (much to their disappointment) the following things:
1. The dominant source of fine particulate pollution in Muswellbrook is household wood heaters. Other significant sources are sea salt and biomass smoke.
2. There is no detectable sulphate particulate pollution from the power stations
3. There is no detectable unique fingerprint for coal dust in the Upper Hunter Valley.
Indeed, the PM2.5 levels for the Upper Hunter are not too much different from those found in Antarctica (annual average of 4.3ug/m3) when adjusted for factors like wood smoke and biomass burning. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25167815)
Engagement rings -- in Britain and Australia
There is an article here which comments on an English woman who was disappointed that her high-earning fiance gave her an engagement ring that he paid only £1,300 ($2600.00) for.
It got a lot of comments from readers, with not a few of them telling the man he has had a lucky escape and that he should dump her forthwith. That is certainly my view.
A lot of Australian women went online to say that their ring had cost very little and they liked it that way. They said the love they had between them and their partner was the thing that mattered. And that is hard to argue with.
The man in the matter has not yet been heard from so I thought I might mention some of the reasons he might have had. For a small sum, I bought my lady in one of my four marriages a secondhand zirconia that would have been worth thousands had it been a real diamond. And the lady was happy with that. Without using special equipment you cannot tell a zirconia from a diamond so she was happy with the social appearance of the ring. She had an evasive answer ready if anyone asked her directly what it was. And it is in general crude and boastful to proclaim the cost of a ring anyway. So unless you are tasteless, it is pointless to buy an expensive ring.
But what about the value of the ring as an investment? The huge point about that is that what you get on resale will be only a fraction of what it cost. It is just about the worst imagineable investment. So wise advice would be to buy a pretty ring with semi-precious stones that you can happily show around -- and use the rest of your left-over cash on a real investment -- or just throw a bigger party.
A young couple I know bought a pretty secondhand ring for $500 -- because both wanted to save all they could to buy their own home. I wonder that everyone does not do that.
Scientists uncover Earth's largest volcanic region two kilometres below Antarctic ice sheet
Well, well, well! For some years now Warmists have been agonizing about bits of melting in West Antarctica. And equally routinely, I have pointed out that there is evidence of vulcanism in West Antarctica so the melting was most probably the work of volcanoes rather than of Anthropogenic global warming. So I now stand amply vindicated. There are not only some volcanoes underneath the ice there, there are BIG ones there. It is actually Earth's largest volcanic region
Their explanation for the vulcanism is rather pathetic, though. They appear not to know that the earth is not spherical. It is flattened at the poles. So the earth's molten core is closest to the surface at the poles. So magma is more apt to break through there. Which is why there is also huge subsurface volcanic activity in the region of the North pole -- particularly along the Gakkel ridge
A team of scientists unearthed a volcanic region previously hidden under ice sheets, with the geologist who led the team warning of destabilising consequences.
Edinburgh University researchers uncovered almost 100 volcanoes – with the highest almost as tall as Switzerland's 3,970-metre Eiger.
Geologists think the region, which sits two kilometres below ice in west Antarctica, will dwarf east Africa’s volcanic ridge, which is rated as the world's densest concentration of volcanoes.
Glacier expert Robert Bingham, who helped author the paper, warned The Guardian the range could have worrying consequences. 'If one of these volcanoes were to erupt it could further destabilise west Antarctica’s ice sheets. 'Anything that causes the melting of ice – which an eruption certainly would – is likely to speed up the flow of ice into the sea.
'The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible.'
The Edinburgh volcano survey, featured in the Geological Society’s special publications series, examined the underside of the ice sheet for hidden peaks of basalt rock similar to those produced by the region’s other volcanoes.
Over the past century, explorers have reported sightings of their tips, which reach above the ice.
The survey team's youngest member, Max Van Wyk de Vries, is a volcano fanatic who wouldn't stop wondering how many tips lie below the ice.
An undergraduate at the university's school of geosciences, he set up the project with Dr Bingham.
They used ice-penetrating radar carried by planes and land vehicles to analyse measurements made by previous surveys and survey strips of west Antarctic ice.
Dr Bingham explained the results were compared with satellite and database records and geological information from aerial surveys.
'Essentially, we were looking for evidence of volcanic cones sticking up into the ice.'
After collating the results, the team reported 91 previously unknown volcanoes, adding to 47 others discovered over the previous century by explorers.
These newly discovered volcanoes range from 100 to 3,850 metres high. All are covered in ice, sometimes in layers that are more than 4km thick.
Dr Bingham was shocked to find the active peaks concentrated in the west Antarctic rift system, which stretches 3,500km from Antarctica’s Ross ice shelf to the Antarctic peninsula.
'We were amazed. We had not expected to find anything like that number. 'We have almost trebled the number of volcanoes known to exist in west Antarctica.
'We also suspect there are even more on the bed of the sea that lies under the Ross ice shelf, so that I think it is very likely this region will turn out to be the densest region of volcanoes in the world, greater even than east Africa, where mounts Nyiragongo, Kilimanjaro, Longonot and all the other active volcanoes are concentrated.'
The volcanic activity could have crucial implications for Earth. If one erupts, it could further destabilise ice sheets in the region, where global warming has already had an impact.
Dr Bingham's fear is that the Antarctic ocean's meltwater outflows will cause sea levels to rise.
'We just don’t know about how active these volcanoes have been in the past.
'The most volcanism that is going in the world at present is in regions that have only recently lost their glacier covering – after the end of the last ice age. These places include Iceland and Alaska.
'Theory suggests that this is occurring because, without ice sheets on top of them, there is a release of pressure on the regions’ volcanoes and they become more active.'
Significant warming caused by climate change in west Antarctica has already affected its ice sheets.
If they reduce significantly, this could release pressure on volcanoes lying below.
This would lead to eruptions that could further destabilise ice sheets and enhance sea level rises, something Dr Bingham is keen to monitor. 'It is something we will have to watch closely.'
What does Richard Muller think of the US withdrawing from the Paris Agreement?
Muller is an unusual character. He was initially a critic of global warming and set up his own climate record to check whether there had in fact been any warming over the last century or so. He found that there had been both some long term warming and some long term CO2 rise and concluded that that was enough for him to endorse the anthropogenic global warming theory. As he says below: "That is a scientific judgement that I will stand behind"
It is also an illogical judgment. There are plenty of instances of correlations that do not indicate causation. It is in fact a first principle of statistics that correlation is not causation.
Furthermore the observed correlation is not as it should be if the theory were correct. Theoretically, the effect of added CO2 in the atmosphere should be instant. It allegedly works by bouncing electromagnetic radiation around and electromagnetic radiation moves at the speed of light. But there has been no instant effect. There have been long periods (e.g. 1945 to 1975, referred to by some as "the long hiatus") when the temperature did not rise at all, even though CO2 rose markedly over that period.
So there is only a broad long-term sense in which you can say that both CO2 and temperature rose. And that rough similarity is a long way away from what the theory demands.
So it is clearly to keep his peace with the orthodoxy that he has gone over to the dark side. He seems to be a good and kindly man so he probably just did not have the stomach for a fight. You can't blame him for wanting a quiet life.
Anyway, there is still a bit of the skeptic in him, as you will read below
When Trump announced our withdrawal from the Paris Accords, I felt that he had done the right thing.
Global warming is real, about 1.5 C in the last 250 years, and it is caused by human emission of greenhouse gases. That is a scientific judgement that I will stand behind, based on my own work and on that of my colleagues in the non-profit BerkeleyEarth.org.
But the Paris accords did almost nothing to stop the increase. Alas, most of that increase will come from China, India, and the developing world, not from the US or Western Europe. To be effective, anything we rich nations do must set an example that the developing world can follow. That means it must not be expensive; if it isn’t profitable, it isn’t sustainable.
There are three things we need to do to slow and stop global warming:
More extensive energy conservation.
Encourage nuclear power. (For the last decade we are effectively telling the world that nuclear power is unsafe and has no reasonable way to dispose of waste.)
Shale gas as an alternative to coal. A gas plant emits ½ to ⅓ the CO2 of coal.
Everything else is just frosting. We tend to do fashionable things without caring if it makes sense for the developing world. For example, electric cars, if used in China, would increase their CO2 pollution (since 70% of their electricity derives from coal). And they can’t afford lithium ion autos; the $7500 subsidy for electric cars is for show only; it does not address global warming.
The problem with the Paris treaty is that it was a political show with no teeth. Countries set their own limits; there is no outside verification. The developing world was enthusiastic in large part because the US had pledged to put $3 billion dollars per year in the sustainable development fund. (China had already indicated that it wanted some of this money to build coal power plants. Their argument was that with the funds they would build more efficient coal plants than they would otherwise build.)
My fundamental argument against the Paris treaty is that it gave the illusion of progress, and such an illusion can be detrimental to real progress. Others say it was a small step in the right direction, but it was generally not portrayed that way. And the step was (in my opinion) exceedingly small, too small.
The US needs to have truly workable programs to help the developing world take advantage of concepts in energy efficiency, and to make progress on shale gas and nuclear. On shale gas, at least we are setting a good example, but we need to help China develop its own resources (which are greater than those in the US). We need to set the right example in nuclear by showing that we consider it to be a clean and safe technology. Among other things, we need to make it possible to license 4th generation nuclear plants in the US; they cannot be currently licensed! And we need to make it known to the outside world that disposal of nuclear waste is not a challenge, but is a solved problem.
Anti-immigration protesters attacked by hundreds of far-Leftists as they march through the streets of Barcelona just one day after deadly terror attack in the city
The anti-immigration protesters are described by the sensationalist media as members of the Falange, the Fascist organization that kept dictator Franco in power for many decades, though Franco himself was not a member of it. The Falange does still exist in Spain -- getting about 1% of the vote in national elections -- but we have no means of knowing the party connections of the protesters. It could all be just media beatup. There are just not many Falangists left and you would not have to be a member of the Falange to be angry about Muslim immigration to Spain after the recent terrorist attacks there.
But even if we do assume that the protesters were Falangists, that does NOT of itself indicate that they were racists. From the Roman empire to this day, Southern Europeans have been little concerned about race. Italian dictator Mussolini did for quite a time have Jews prominent in the Fascist party for instance. Mussolini eventually proclaimed some widely-ignored anti-Jewish laws only after Hitler pushed him into it. And there is great sympathy for Israel in Italy to this day.
And the Falange of Franco's day were not concerned about race either. Their primary foci were anti-comumunism and pro-Catholicism. So to procalim that these anti-immigration protesters were racists would be ipso facto unfounded, though the media will no doubt say otherwise
The one thing we can conclude is that, like Hitler's Brownshirts, Leftist thugs will emerge to attack those they disagree with wherever that might be. It is they who are the Nazis, not the critics of Islam
Far-right activists were met by a huge crowd of anti-fascist protesters as they marched in Barcelona one day after a terror attack killed 13 people in the city.
Members of the extreme Falange group congregated on Las Ramblas boulevard this afternoon before being met by hundreds of counter-demonstrators waving flags and banners.
Tensions were so high that armed riot police were called in to separate the groups as violence broke out.
Pictures show demonstrators shouting in each other's faces and fighting in the streets as tempers boiled over.
One photograph shows an anti-fascist punching a Falange supporter in the face amid a scuffle in the crowd. The punched man, who was wearing a T-Shirt emblazoned with the far-right slogan, 'Do not stop until you conquer', was later seen with a black eye.
He was later seen with a fellow protester whose face and hands were covered in blood after he had been hit in the nose.
The chaotic scenes took place near the scene where yesterday a van ploughed into pedestrians in an attack that also left more than 100 injured.
Falange took to the streets to 'protest Islam' and blame Spain's immigration policy for the attack.
A post on the group's website said: 'No one was fooled into thinking that the policies of multiculturalism and #RefugeesWelcome wouldn’t end like they did in Las Ramblas in Barcelona.'
Falange abandoned the demonstration after it was stormed by counter-demonstrators and had to be escorted away from Las Ramblas by police.
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?
The article excerpted below does raise a real concern. Children are moving even further away from the hunter-gatherer life that they are genetically programmed for. So the indications that smartphones have increased various sorts of mental illness are credible.
So the only question is what to do about it. And the answer is fairly clear. Parents have to step up to the plate and do active things with their children: Hiking, camping, sports etc. Even taking them on to the rifle range would probably work well
We must however be careful about causes. The upsurge in touchfone usage seems to have coincided roughly with an incredible upsurge of only marginally sane advice from influential Leftist sources.
For instance, we hear a lot these days about people being "cis" this or that. To be "cis" means to be happy in your own skin but there is apparently nothing worse than a "cis" male. That awful creature is the source of all the world's woes. And in most ways boys have to become like girls to be approved of. And the real heroes of society are the sexual deviants. With young people on the receiving end of messages as addled as that, is it any wonder that anxiety and depression proliferate among the young?
So simple outdoor activities may not help greatly with that. Close parental involvement with their children's education may be the only remedy. I will never understand why conservative parents pay good money to send their kids to the Leftist madrassas that the major universities have become
I’ve been researching generational differences for 25 years, starting when I was a 22-year-old doctoral student in psychology. Typically, the characteristics that come to define a generation appear gradually, and along a continuum. Beliefs and behaviors that were already rising simply continue to do so. Millennials, for instance, are a highly individualistic generation, but individualism had been increasing since the Baby Boomers turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. I had grown accustomed to line graphs of trends that looked like modest hills and valleys.
Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.
At first I presumed these might be blips, but the trends persisted, across several years and a series of national surveys. The changes weren’t just in degree, but in kind. The biggest difference between the Millennials and their predecessors was in how they viewed the world; teens today differ from the Millennials not just in their views but in how they spend their time. The experiences they have every day are radically different from those of the generation that came of age just a few years before them.
What happened in 2012 to cause such dramatic shifts in behavior? It was after the Great Recession, which officially lasted from 2007 to 2009 and had a starker effect on Millennials trying to find a place in a sputtering economy. But it was exactly the moment when the proportion of Americans who owned a smartphone surpassed 50 percent.
The more I pored over yearly surveys of teen attitudes and behaviors, and the more I talked with young people like Athena, the clearer it became that theirs is a generation shaped by the smartphone and by the concomitant rise of social media. I call them iGen. Born between 1995 and 2012, members of this generation are growing up with smartphones, have an Instagram account before they start high school, and do not remember a time before the internet. The Millennials grew up with the web as well, but it wasn’t ever-present in their lives, at hand at all times, day and night. iGen’s oldest members were early adolescents when the iPhone was introduced, in 2007, and high-school students when the iPad entered the scene, in 2010. A 2017 survey of more than 5,000 American teens found that three out of four owned an iPhone.
The advent of the smartphone and its cousin the tablet was followed quickly by hand-wringing about the deleterious effects of “screen time.” But the impact of these devices has not been fully appreciated, and goes far beyond the usual concerns about curtailed attention spans. The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household. The trends appear among teens poor and rich; of every ethnic background; in cities, suburbs, and small towns. Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone.
To those of us who fondly recall a more analog adolescence, this may seem foreign and troubling. The aim of generational study, however, is not to succumb to nostalgia for the way things used to be; it’s to understand how they are now. Some generational changes are positive, some are negative, and many are both. More comfortable in their bedrooms than in a car or at a party, today’s teens are physically safer than teens have ever been. They’re markedly less likely to get into a car accident and, having less of a taste for alcohol than their predecessors, are less susceptible to drinking’s attendant ills.
Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.
Even when a seismic event—a war, a technological leap, a free concert in the mud—plays an outsize role in shaping a group of young people, no single factor ever defines a generation. Parenting styles continue to change, as do school curricula and culture, and these things matter. But the twin rise of the smartphone and social media has caused an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever. There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy.
You might expect that teens spend so much time in these new spaces because it makes them happy, but most data suggest that it does not. The Monitoring the Future survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and designed to be nationally representative, has asked 12th-graders more than 1,000 questions every year since 1975 and queried eighth- and 10th-graders since 1991. The survey asks teens how happy they are and also how much of their leisure time they spend on various activities, including nonscreen activities such as in-person social interaction and exercise, and, in recent years, screen activities such as using social media, texting, and browsing the web. The results could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy.
There’s not a single exception. All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all nonscreen activities are linked to more happiness. Eighth-graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56 percent more likely to say they’re unhappy than those who devote less time to social media. Admittedly, 10 hours a week is a lot. But those who spend six to nine hours a week on social media are still 47 percent more likely to say they are unhappy than those who use social media even less. The opposite is true of in-person interactions. Those who spend an above-average amount of time with their friends in person are 20 percent less likely to say they’re unhappy than those who hang out for a below-average amount of time.
There are none so blind as those who will not see
A typical bit of obtuseness from the Leftist media below. They refuse to see that Trump was commenting on the diverse makeup of the Charlotteville marchers and pretend that he was calling the extremist minority "good people". There were among the marchers a small minority who displayed swastika and KKK symbols but the great majority did not. They were there simply to protest the escalating attack on historic statues. Trump has consistently commented on that mix but the media simply ignore it, misleading many Republicans as a result.
But it suits the Leftist media to pretend that all the marchers were white supremacists. Given that assumption, what they say has some force. But it is an unproven assumption. None of the marchers interviewed made any supremacist claims. Instead they complained that traditional American culture was being suppressed by Leftist political correctness. They simply wanted liberty from oppression.
So Trump was right. There were sincere and reasonable people on both sides and he refused to tar them all with the "supremacist" brush. It is a legitimate area of disagreement over whether symbols from an unhappy past should be preserved but that disagreement was grievously amplified by a small number of extremists on both sides
After President Trump’s defiant and roundly criticized remarks about a violent rally by white nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., Americans are confronting profoundly uncomfortable questions.
Was he giving a sign that he subscribes to the ideology of white supremacy? Or was he attempting to enable the movement because it feeds his political base?
At an angry press conference Tuesday, Trump blamed “both sides’’ — white nationalists and their counterprotesters — for the violence that left one protester dead. He called those who were marching to Nazi chants “very fine people.” And he pulled a page from the white supremacist playbook when he referred to the removal of Confederate monuments as a changing of American “history” and “culture.”
Beyond the immediate shock his statements caused, an intensifying chorus of academics, politicians, and a biographer said years of accumulating evidence indicates that the Trump on display Tuesday was indeed the real Donald Trump, someone who is at the very least accepting of ethnic hatred and white bigotry.
President Trump Again makes himself perfectly clear
He again defies the abusive and unproven media assertion that all the marchers were "white supremacists". Sad that it takes the president to correct a crazed media
Ignoring the outcry over his response to the Charlottesville protests, President Trump on Thursday further waded into the controversy, calling it "foolish" to remove "our beautiful statues and monuments."
In three mid-morning tweets, the president wrote:
"Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You.....
"...can't change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also...
"...the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!"
While Trump sees them as objects of beauty and history, some other Americans view the statues as monuments to traitors and symbols of hatred, racism, etc.
The newly ignited, not-so-civil war of words has dominated the headlines since Saturday, when critics say Trump failed to properly denounce the white supremacists who rallied against the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from a public park in Charlottesville.
In later comments, Trump said not everyone who rallied against the removal of the statue was "bad."
“If you look, they were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee," Trump said on Tuesday. "I'm sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day, it looked like they had some rough, bad people -- neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them.
"But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know -- I don't know if you know, they had a permit. The other group didn't have a permit.
"So, I only tell you this, there are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country, a horrible moment. But there are two sides to the country,” Trump said.
Why Does Trump Still Refuse to Criticize Putin?
The article below from "The Atlantic" does establish their case that Trump goes out of his way to stay friendly with Russia but they have no answer to the "Why" in their heading. They even acknowledge that his attitude probably does him political harm.
It seems not to have occurred to them that it is very much in America's self-interest to be on friendly terms with Russia and that Trump is in fact being statesmanlike in his attitude. Consider if there is serious trouble over North Korea. Russia could in various ways seriously hamper what Trump could do if it wanted to. Given Trump's friendliness, however, Putin will almost certainly do nothing -- leaving all options open for Trump.
The Left, on the other hand, seem to want a return to the Cold War, which seems to me to be borderline insane. Didn't we have enough of that last century?
Note that I said above something that will grind a few Leftist mental gears if it ever gets into their heads: "Trump statesmanlike"! Heresy! But it fits
The president not only won’t denounce Russia, but he goes out of his way to avoid it—like when he thanked the Kremlin on Thursday for expelling U.S. diplomats.
President Trump is most comfortable when he’s on the verbal offensive. He loves a good war of words, whether his target is a foreign adversary, a foreign ally, a Republican rival, or Rosie O’Donnell. According to a New York Times tally, Trump has attacked 351 separate people, places, and things on Twitter alone since July 2015.
The president has demonstrated that tendency this week, with his escalating, improvised threats against North Korea and his parallel assault on Mitch McConnell, his most important ally in Washington.
Those feuds make Trump’s refusal to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin all the more conspicuous.
On July 30, Putin announced that Russia was forcing the U.S. State Department to reduce its staff in Russia by 755 people. (For the most part, those who were laid off were Russians working for the embassy, not American diplomats.) Trump, who often can’t let a provocation on cable news go unanswered for more than a few hours, was uncharacteristically quiet.
He finally broke his silence, after a fashion, on August 3, the day he signed a bill increasing sanctions on Russia in retaliation for interfering in the 2016 election. Trump had opposed the legislation, but it passed Congress with veto-proof majorities, leaving him little choice but to sign it. There are many reasons Russo-American relations are strained: Russian anger at expansion of NATO, longstanding global rivalries, the Russian annexation of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine, years of Russian human-rights abuses, and Russian tampering with the election. Trump chose to place blame for the rocky state of the relationship not on any of those issues, and certainly not on Putin, but squarely on Congress. Just for good measure, he tossed in an unrelated jab at the failure of an Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan:
"Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can't even give us HCare!"
There was still not a word about Putin’s forced cuts at the U.S. embassy. Finally, on Thursday, Trump weighed in. His comments were surprising—not only did he not criticize Putin, but he thanked him:
I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down our payroll, and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. There's no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’re going to save a lot of money.
Was Trump speaking with tongue in cheek? It’s possible, but he didn’t smile when he said it. (The president has often tried to pass off apparently serious comments as jokes after the fact, in order to defuse situations.) The remark fits with his attempt to cut costs at the State Department and his disdain for traditional diplomacy.
But even if the whole thing was a joke, it’s still astonishing that Trump’s response to Russian retaliation was to thank the retaliators. This doesn’t mean the only option is an eye for an eye; a simple public complaint is standard in cases of diplomatic retaliation like this. (Part of the problem is that Trump seems to have two modes: conciliation and escalation. The idea of criticizing without raising the stakes is foreign to him.)
The strange thing about Trump’s comments about Putin is not merely that he won’t criticize him, but that he goes out of his way to avoid it. The tweet about Russian relations and his remarks on Thursday were hardly the only times this has happened. And that’s even leaving aside Trump’s repeated praise for the Russian leader during the campaign, when he praised Putin’s leadership, suggested he’d allow the annexation of Crimea, and publicly called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Let’s draw a line between what Trump said on the campaign trail and what he’s said since the election. Although he had been briefed before November 8, it was after the election that he began getting full intelligence briefings on Russian interference. Since then, there has also been an increasing focus on interference among members of the public, press, and Congress. In other words, Trump has had many more incentives to distance himself from Russia. Instead, he’s continued to hold his fire.
On February 4, Trump told Bill O’Reilly, “I do respect [Putin]. Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get along with them.” O’Reilly pressed Trump on Putin’s murders of dissidents and journalists. Trump wouldn’t criticize Putin for those crimes, and suggested the United States was no better. “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers,” Trump said. “Well, you think our country is so innocent?”
He has also repeatedly declined to accept the idea that Russia meddled in the election, even though it is the conclusion of all the major intelligence agencies, and even though many of his top aides have said they blame Russia for hacking attacks. In June, he called the attacks “a big Dem HOAX.”
In early July, during a trip to Poland, he halfway accepted that Russia might have been behind them, then backed off the statement and worked to muddy the waters:
"I think it was Russia, and I think it could have been other people in other countries. It could have been a lot of people. I said it very simply. I think it could very well have been Russia, but I think it could well have been other countries. I won’t be specific. I think a lot of people interfere. I think it’s been happening for a long time, it’s been happening for many, many years."
Yet he added: “Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.”
Later that week, Trump had his first face-to-face meeting with Putin, at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. U.S. and Russian accounts of the meeting initially diverged, with the United States saying Trump had pressed Putin forcefully on the hacking, and Russia saying Trump had accepted Putin’s denials.
Two days later, Trump cleared things up with a pair of tweets that basically confirmed the Russian account:
Given that Trump had already said he was dubious of Russian interference, that tweet reads as an acknowledgment that he accepted their denial.
The question is why Trump has worked so hard to avoid criticizing Putin—especially when there’s a clear political downside to appearing cozy with the Russian bear.
There is little obvious foreign-policy advantage. During the campaign and early in his presidency, Trump argued that the United States ought to launch a charm offensive in order to improve relations with Russia. Whether that was right or wrong, and whether Congress or someone else is to blame, that approach is obsolete today. As Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Russia have all admitted, relations are now at a low ebb.
Even if Trump fully believes that Putin is a spotless, admirable leader falsely accused of various crimes, it would be to his benefit to create some separation, and a matter as simple as expulsion of diplomats offers a good chance for Trump to stand up for his country. Putin, like any foreign leader, understands that sometimes a head of state has to shore himself up domestically and would surely interpret a few hostile words from Trump in that light. (Alternatively, even if one believes Trump is a bought-and-paid-for puppet of the Kremlin, why wouldn’t he publicly denounce Putin to buy himself some maneuvering room?)
Given Trump’s affection for authoritarian leaders and fixation on projecting strength, the simplest explanation for Trump’s refusal to criticize Putin might be that he doesn’t want to give the impression that he has been cowed into changing his view. Perhaps he’s thinking that if he allows his critics to troll him into offering harsh words, it would show that they are stronger than him—and if he acknowledges Russian interference in the election, it undermines the legitimacy of his victory in 2016.
In fact, his actions are making him look weak, but not in the way he thinks. His refusal to criticize Putin even in the case of diplomatic retaliation gives the impression that he is intimidated by the Kremlin and doesn’t have it in him to be tough. The president has cut off his nose to spite his face, and is now willing to cut off an ear or a lip if he must.
During his only press conference between the election and inauguration, on January 11, Trump fielded questions about his affection for the Russian leader.
“If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks, that’s called an asset, not a liability,” he said. “Now, I don’t know that I’m going to get along with Vladimir Putin. I hope I do. But there’s a good chance I won’t. And if I don’t, do you honestly believe that Hillary would be tougher on Putin than me? Does anybody in this room really believe that?”
Seven months later, it seems clear that she couldn’t have been any less tough.
What is a Leftist to do when his opponents are NOT white supremacists?
Easy. Interpret what the opponent does say to mean what the Leftist wants it to mean. See below. His opponents all speak in code, apparently.
There may have been a few actual white supremacists at the Charlotteville rally but all the actual protests heard were about the preservation of an historic statue and the subjugation of American cultural traditions to political correctness. The marchers were seeking only liberty, not to subjugate anybody -- but Leftists refuse to see that.
It just gives them a huge thrill to think that they are opposing white supremacists. That would make them the good guys. They in fact are the supremacists -- Leftist supremacists. They want to put us all into a regulatory straitjacket of their devising -- as the Obama period showed.
Note below that they do not even attempt to show that their opponents are white supremacists. They just assert it. If there really were white supremacists at the rally, how come that they can't quote anybody there saying clearly one single white supremacist thing?
The coded language of the white supremacist playbook has been displayed in abundance since the Charlottesville, Va., rally exploded in violence Saturday, sowing confusion for the public and masking the sentiment behind some of the responses.
Trump’s initial, vague statement — and even some elements of his more specific denunciation Monday, two days after the protests horrified the nation — heartened extremist groups, who are adept at weaponizing ambiguous language and who cited Trump’s language as vindication.
A prime example of the groups’ rhetorical tactics: a “Free Speech Rally” that may take place Saturday on Boston Common with scheduled speakers who have espoused white supremacist views.
The feel-good title of the rally is intended to divert attention from its purpose of sowing racial discord, said Ian Haney Lopez, a racial justice professor at University of California Berkeley’s law school who has written a book on racial “dog whistles.”
“When you use a phrase like ‘free speech’ to mobilize those who are racially fearful, it switches the conversation. It pretends that the conversation is about the right to express unpopular views — which is a quintessential American value that is enshrined in our Constitution — when in fact, the dynamic is about the expression of ugly views of racial prejudice,’’ Lopez said.
Trump has previously been criticized for repeatedly talking about violence in “inner cities” and his multiple warnings about “thugs,” coded words often used to invoke stereotypical images of black men.
On Saturday, when he first addressed Americans in response to the Charlottesville rallies, he told the country to “cherish our history,” which some took as code that he was weighing in on the side of preserving Confederate memorials.
“That was a very interesting comment,” white nationalist Richard Spencer, a founder of the “alt-right’’ movement told the Times of Israel. “I think there is reason to believe he wants an America where we can look back upon the Civil War as a deeply tragic event, but we can honor great men, like Robert E. Lee.”
Spencer told reporters Monday, after the president’s recent round of remarks, that he did not believe Trump had repudiated white nationalists or the “alt-right’’ movement, which combines elements of nationalism, racism, and populism.
“I don’t think he condemned it, no,” Spencer said. “Did he say white nationalist? ‘Racist’ means an irrational hatred of people. I don’t think he meant any of us.”
Hate groups have long worked to mask their views behind traditionally accepted language, in an attempt to make them more palatable to the public. Instead of denouncing America’s increasing ethnic diversity, they created the phrase “reverse-racism.” The term “alt-right” was born to rebrand white supremacist ideology as Internet friendly and cutting-edge.
The use of dog whistles — a cloaked political message that can only be understood by a particular group, much as dogs can hear whistles of certain frequencies that humans cannot — has become more common.
American politicians have a bipartisan history of deploying coded words to dance around the topic of race. Lee Atwater, the Republican political consultant and former confidant to Ronald Reagan, had his infamous “Southern Strategy,” which he explicitly said was created to disenfranchise black Americans without being called racist.
Reagan, during his presidential campaign of 1976, pushed a narrative that some black women were lazy and manipulating government aid. Hillary Clinton blasted youths in gangs as “super-predators.”
Where Trump stands out, however, is the specific way he emboldens white nationalists, said specialists who study racism in America. Trump “eradicates distinctions” by being uniquely obtuse and coded about his racial messaging, said Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguistics professor at the University of California Berkeley’s School of Information.
Instead of overtly criticizing then-President Barack Obama’s race, Nunberg said, Trump peddled the myth that the first black president was born in Kenya. On Saturday, Trump embraced a false equivalence between the bigots and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, condemning violence on “many sides.”
“There’s a cultural battle that’s going on that Trump is engaged in — and part of that is a redefinition of what is factual,” said Sam Fulwood, a fellow on race at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington. “If they can redefine racism as what’s against white men . . . then they’re able to impose their will on society.”
Even in his stronger statement Monday, Trump denounced the Klu Klux Klan along with neo-Nazis and “other hate groups,” which he did not define. Combined with the fact that it took him days to address the criticism, experts said, this is the type of ambiguity that the extremist groups rely upon.
Many people posting in online forums, which often serve as testing grounds for the white nationalist ideology, said they saw hope in Trump’s statements. They pointed to his phrase “other hate groups,” which they interpreted as a nod to their main targets: civil rights organizations who advocate for nonwhites.
“He left the door open,” wrote one user on Reddit.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the civil rights organization based in Alabama that has tracked extremists groups for years through its blog “Hatewatch,” said extremists groups see Trump as a “champion.”
Part of this is the language he and his close advisers used on the campaign trail and on Twitter, including the sharing of popular white nationalist memes and using phrases such as “cuckservative,” a term combining cuckold and conservative that is used to describe Republicans seen as traitors.
In a post on its home page, the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Richard Cohen, said Trump’s responses to Charlottesville will be interpreted by the “alt-right” as a nod of approval, a license that allows them to become more emboldened.
This also happened when Trump, during the 2016 campaign, took days to denounce the endorsements of David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, and the Klan at large.
Cohen said extremist groups saw that and took heart. And he said they would be encouraged again, after the president’s response to Charlottesville.
“I’m sure white supremacists remain reassured,’’ he wrote, “that they have a friend in the White House.”