A fun bit of Warmism

A rather attractive woman at a British regional university that was originally a school of art has put out an article (below) in which she compares the arguments put out by climate skeptics to the self-justifications used by criminals. So the intent is clearly derogatory.  

She offers no numerical estimate of how similar the two types of statement are, however, so the article lapses into pointlessness or at best arbitrariness.  

She classifies skeptical arguments quite well and clearly regards them all as illegitimate in some way -- but she offers no evidence or argument -- not even a reference -- for that opinion. 

She appears to rely on the old "97% consenus" tale but has obviously not read the foundational paper for that claim  -- by John Cook et al.  I will quote her just one sentence from that paper: "66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW".  In other words only ONE THIRD of climate scientists could be shown to support global warming.  That's  a long way from 97%.  Richard Tol has more on that.

I will resist blonde jokes and simply observe that there are certainly some dim bulbs among Warmists

Ruth E. McKie


The Climate Change Counter Movement has been a topic of interest for social scientists and environmentalists for the past 25 years (Dunlap and McCright, 2015). This research uses the sociology of crime and deviance to analyze the numerous arguments used by climate change counter movement organizations.

Content analysis of 805 statements made by climate change counter movement organizations reveals that the theory "Techniques of Neutralization" (Sykes and Matza, American Sociological Review 22(6):664, 1957) can help us better understand the arguments adopted by these organizations.

Taking two observations from two time points, the author examine not only the composition of the messaging adopted by Climate Change Counter Movement (CCCM)organization, but how these messages have changed over time. In all, there were 1,435 examples of CCCM neutralization techniques adopted by CCCM organizations across these two points in time. This examination of the movement provides valuable insight into the CCCM and the subsequent environmental harm that is partly facilitated by theiractions.


The latest global warming fraud

There a lot of versions of the graph below online but I could find none that included calibrations. It's a thoroughly dishonest piece of work as, for any graph to be interpretable, it has to include calibrations.  I have in fact never before seen a graph without calibrations.

It would ruin the Warmist story if calibrations were included because what is not mentioned is that the differences in temperature between the time periods illustrated are in mostly in hundredths of one degree only, which is practically meaningless.

There HAS been overall warming over the last century or so but it has been only in isolated spurts and is in total less than one degree Celsius. IF such warming continues it would cause as little trouble as the warming we have had so far. It is trivial

IS IT a work of art in a gallery? A chart? It’s neither and both, and it shows a big change in Australia.

IT LOOKS like a piece of art. Or maybe a very brightly coloured barcode. Or even a duvet cover. But the striped image is a visual representation of Australia’s average temperature each year over the last century.

A climate scientist from the UK has released a series of images that depict the warmest and coldest temperatures since records began places all over the globe.

University of Reading climate scientist Professor Ed Hawkins calls the pieces “warming stripes”. He has created them for parts of England, Germany, Toronto, Australia and the world as a whole.

“Each stripe represents the temperature of a single year, ordered from the earliest available data to now,” Prof Hawkins on the website Climate Lab Book.

The coldest years recorded are a dark blue and the hottest a deep red with everything in between a different shade depending on whether it’s over or under the long-term average.

If the average temperatures regularly fluctuated from hot to cold, you could expect to see red and blue stripes relatively evenly distributed.

In the graph for Vienna, for example, which covers a period from 1775 — 2017, the first half of the image seems to be fairly random with lots of reds and blues. But in recent years, the Vienna chart is mostly red denoting hot years.

For the stripes showing the annual global average temperatures, it’s a smooth transition from dark blue to dark red; from record cold years to record hot years.

There’s less data to go on for Australia as records only go so far back. But there’s still a century or so to compare.

Prof Hawkins took Bureau of Meteorology data from 1910 — 2017: “The colour scale goes from 20.7°C (dark blue) to 23.0°C (dark red),” he said.

The lowest annual temperature was recorded in 1917. The highset, more than 1C above the overall average, was in 2013.

In the last 20 years in Australia, only three years have seen annual temperatures dip below average. And during those years it’s dipped only slightly below the line.

But many of the most recent years that have seen above average temperatures that have soared over the line.



We have heard of Islamophobia and homophobia but those are not phobias.  They are not indicative of mental illness. But Russophobia seems to be.  The Left and to some extent the Right never stop talking about the Russian "danger" when Russia is absolutely no danger to the United States.  NOBODY in his right mind attacks a major nuclear power.  Even the Soviets did not do that. Yet in both Congress and in the media there is this obsession with Russia. Such an obsession does appear to me to identify Russophobia as a true phobia.

Let Vladimir Vladimirovich detail some of that irrationlity.  The video below starts with a long-winded "question" from an American woman in which she asks why Vladimir Vladimirovich does not speak more warmly of the USA.  After a couple of minutes of that we hear from Vladimir Vladimirovich.

The hook on which American commentators hang their hostility to Russia is his acceptance of the request from the democratically elected Crimean parliament for Crimea to become part of Russia.  Since Crimea is and always has been populated overwhelmingly by Russians, that made perfect sense.

It is customary among Russia's critics to criticize the elections for the Crimean parliament but all sorts of international observers were present -- including the ineffable Jimmy Carter -- and found no significant irregularities.  There are probably more irregularities in American elections -- with illegals voting.

Crimea became a problem in the aftermath of the Soviet implosion.  Hastily drawn lines were put on the map which did not always take proper account of the ethnicity of the people affected.  So adjustments were inevitable.

How would Americans feel if in the aftermath of some political problem, Florida were hived off and assigned to be part of Mexico?  That was exactly the sort of problem that Russia faced in Crimea and in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. Vladimir Vladimirovich simply legalized a people's movement and won wide praise for it in Russia.

Particularly during the reign of King Obama, many conservatives liked a lot of what they heard about post-Soviet Russia.  Russians generally are intolerant of political correctness and that is reflected in the policies of their government.  It is certainly refreshing that Russians don't idolize sexual abnormality. Fortunately Mr Trump has come along to bring also to America critical thinking on many issues of political correctness.

Russia is a great country -- the largest country on earth by a long chalk.  And it has a vivid cultural life that we all to some extent can enjoy.  Below are two songs that are very popular in Russia,  Both are simple sentimental songs -- nothing warlike or aggressive about them

The first (Cranes) is sung by Dmitry Hvorostovsky, an excellent bass baritone who seems to be little known in the West. Spelling his name could be the problem! In the second Hvorostovsky combines with renowned Russian soprano Anna Netrebko to act out "Moscow nights".  Netrebko is a rather shy person when she is not belting out one of the great operatic arias and Hvorostovsky brought that out at the beginning by saying she was the girl he wanted.

Look at the audience.  They could be Americans if we did not know otherwise.  All Northern European peoples are essentially identical genetically. Any differences are tiny. Almost all differences are cultural.  Russians too are our people. They are not our enemies.

Finally, I am putting up a video of "Volga Boatmen" sung by the magnificent Russian bass Leonid Kharitonov.  Again there is  nothing aggressive about it.  It is basically a very simple sea shanty.  It does however remind us of the strength of Russia.  It basically tells of determination and endurance, essential Russian qualities, and Kharitonov conveys that very well

So that is my toe-dip into Russian culture -- in the hope that it may make some tiny contribution to friendly relations with a great country and a great people.

Working mums are being sold an impossible dream about work/life balance - and how to set the record straight

Glossy portrayals of super-organised working mothers do not reflect Christine Armstrong's experience, nor that of other mums she meets. Families are damaged by these big little lies, she argues

The feminist push to get women into the workforce was sold as liberating them.  It did nothing of the sort.  It enslaved them to work.

My mother was a traditional wife. She never worked.  She brought up four children mostly on her own as my father was a manual worker who always came home tired. But she had time to chat with the neighbors over the fence of a morning. And of an afternoon she would read a book and doze off into a refreshing nap.  She had nothing like the stresses in her life described below.  We lived a rather humble life but better that than impossible ambitions.

Society today is much richer than it was back in the '40s and 50's so it should be even easier to live on one income now than it was back then. Sticking to the essentials is all that is needed.  Keep up with the Smiths instead of the Joneses.  The Smiths are probably much more relaxed and have more time for friendship.  And if you can't afford to send your kid to a private school, why does that matter?  As a stay-at-home mother, you can homeschool him/her and they will get a better education than they would in most government schools -- JR.

My friend had called at 7.40am to say she couldn't cope. "I got up at 3.30am, my mind was on fire, I couldn't stop worrying, so I got out of bed and cleared my email backlog for the first time in months. Then the kids got up and I chased and shouted to get them ready and now I'm charging into a long day of meetings that run into each other and I feel like I never see my kids and I never get through the work and when I get home tonight my email will be full of more stuff I need to do. I'm at full capacity. Beyond full capacity. I can't do anything more than I do. And yet people keep telling me I should do yoga. Of course I should bloody do yoga. But when? Oh God, when will this end, what do I do?" She had dropped her kids at nursery and was walking ("Got to get some steps in") to the station to get the train to her sales job in town.

If history is told by the winning men, I worry that the story of equality at work is too often being told by the winning women, the ones with the board seats and big pay packets, most notably Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, whose 2013 book advised ambitious women to Lean In. Sometimes they have a nanny (or two), and sometimes an at-home husband as well. Either way, they are the exceptions. I remember reading an interview with Karren Brady in which she said she split her time between her kids in the country and her job in town, and that it worked really well for her. Which I'm sure it did; it just didn't much help me - or my friend in sales, who has a full-time working husband and is currently confronting the bitter reality that modern working life doesn't combine very well at all with having a family.

This mother, like most of us, doesn't have her sights on a board-level job and is just working to get to the end of the month and pay the bills. She says her children are "the love and light" of her life and yet sometimes she feels they don't even respond to her because she's away from them too much and is ready to cry with tiredness when she finally gets back home.

When I was working full-time with two small children, I also tried hard to make it work, but couldn't. There were some memorable lows. Like a work trip to America when my breast pump broke and, after seeking help from the concierge, I had to take a taxi in the middle of the night around Austin, Texas, to buy a new one, before spending the dawn hours crying and pumping milk down the drain of the hotel shower. Feeling desolate, I started to seek advice. I read a lot and went to talks and events about what women need to do to "get ahead". High-profile female business leaders spoke at many of these. They inspired. But very often I found that the advice boiled down to "you have to work really hard, get great childcare and be super-well-organised". This all made sense, but didn't seem to help.

Some of these superwomen talked about "flexibility". It took me a while to realise that what they often meant was the flexibility to leave at the end of their contracted hours - say 5pm - to pick up, feed, bath, read to and settle their kids before working online again later to catch up. One mum-of-three, describing this in practical terms, told me: "I start eating my dinner and catching up on work at 10pm, just as everyone else is going to bed. It's completely normal for me to finish at 1am or later." The underlying message seemed to be that modern jobs are fine - as long as you're willing to work all the waking and non-waking hours of the day.

Which means that it mostly doesn't work well. Not only does it not work, it's getting worse. Twenty years ago, the average working day was about seven hours and many mothers didn't have a job outside the home. In the years since, the working day has grown by an average of about two hours and a million more mums have jobs. This is partly because house prices have quadrupled in that time (a change attributed, ironically, to the rise in women's incomes). Most households now need to have two parents out of the house working for long periods of the day. But, in that time, the needs of our children and the structure of childcare and the school day haven't changed at all - as every parent of a school-age child is finding out right now, with more than two weeks of the summer holidays still left to go, their own leave used up, their finances spent and the kids going bananas with the need for our involvement, our undivided attention.

We've all got so used to accepting that it has to be this way that we keep at it. But my mum and my mother-in-law seemed so perplexed by my experience that I started to ask their friends and women of previous generations about their experiences, so I could shed some light on how we got here, trying to be superhuman and feeling like we're failing ourselves and our kids.

I found that women in their fifties and sixties are often highly conscious of how working life has changed for the worse. There was a time, they explain, when you left work - probably frantic - at about 5pm and went home to your kids. But then came the laptops, mobiles and BlackBerrys that mean you still leave work frantic at about the same time, but then are expected to answer a call later or edit a document. Now, even when we are home, we aren't really able to be present with our children and partners. Now, all over the country, we have parents wrestling their kids away from TVs and iPads to get them into bed without for one second letting go of their own mobile phones as they continue to field messages from work or dial into a conference call hoping no one can hear the kids splashing in the bath.

I realised we needed better answers to these questions on a freezing January night when I met a friend in a pub. Between us, we had four children under three and two full-time jobs and, as the wine flowed, we let rip about how hopeless we were. Our lives were shit. She was leaving work by the fire escape in the desperate hope of seeing her kids awake once a day without annoying her colleagues. I was crying before work because I didn't want to go in. We felt remote from our kids and our partners. We both wondered how we'd screwed up so badly and become such disasters. But then we began to question whether the world of work was set up for both parents to be in it full-time. Maybe there was a different story to tell where, however hard you work, there are very tough choices along the way and just being well organised doesn't fix it.

Hungry for better advice, I set out to find it myself. I persuaded the magazine Management Today to let me interview women, and some men, who were managing to combine work and family life to see what they had found out. We had great conversations. People read their words diligently and responded.

As the interviews went on, though, I was increasingly niggled by gaps in the stories I was telling. I would, for example, interview a wonderful, witty, smart woman and she would tell me about her family's life. She would describe some manageable challenges and how she was tackling them. But then there were the things they told me but begged me not to write up, like the woman who'd put on a vast amount of weight immediately after giving birth and suffered terrible depression but didn't want her colleagues to know. Other times, I was asked to tone down a light joke about their partner not doing their fair share of the household jobs, or an admission that sometimes they ended up screaming blue murder at their kids, or maybe to take out one too many references to needing a few glasses (or bottles) of wine to get through the week.

It didn't bother me too much and I would still finish the interviews thinking we had got somewhere. But then a week, a month, six months later, I might run into some of these women and something more complex might emerge. Perhaps she was no longer with "the rock" partner who made it all work. Or her boss was a bully. Or her daughter was anorexic. Or her son was struggling at school. Maybe she'd been signed off work with stress or depression. Or she expressed regret at not being around enough during her children's early years. Others said they didn't have time for many friends. Another revealed she was saving for a hayloft in the Hebrides so she could escape her life.

A psychologist explained to me that the couples who have spent years being in control of their decisions - living in a nice place, choosing everything they do - can find the shift to parenting especially hard. A nanny told me the mums she worries most about are those who are desperate to keep up appearances. It matters to them that they drive a decent car and that the house looks neat. But they are, she says, often also the parents who come through the door glued to their phones and wave hello before hiding somewhere to work more.

The airbrushing hit me hardest when I was asked to interview a senior woman onstage at a corporate event so she could inspire her colleagues with her progression. I called her in advance and we had a brilliant chat about some difficult "time vampire" bosses she'd had when her children were young and how she had to change jobs to escape them. We talked about the battle to find the right nanny in the early years - which at the time she could barely afford - and the total crisis when the nanny left. We talked about the pressure her job put on her relationship. So far, so familiar. But on stage, fearful of being judged by the audience for being a bad or lazy mum or too negative, she said none of this. She sat up straight, smiled and told me a completely different story. All her bosses had been on side. She'd never had a nanny, let alone one upon whom she wholly depended to keep the household working. Her husband was her biggest supporter. I left the stage furious with myself for not cutting through it.

I started to wonder why this clean-up routine was happening. She, like many others, didn't want to conceal these things one-to-one; she wanted the catharsis of talking about it. But in public she feared everyone would judge her harshly if she was honest. As my articles about work/life were published, I could see the judgment pouring in and realised her instincts were right. In response to one piece I wrote about a high-powered woman with four children who said that the nanny cooked the family dinner, someone commented: "She might be powerful, but she is no mother." Ouch.

I was starting to understand that social expectations of mothers have not moved much in the past few decades. We still tend to see mothers as linked to homes, small children and domesticity. Despite the fact that 80% of all mothers now work outside the home - and 25% of those in professional jobs - expectations about maternal roles have not changed. However much we might fight it, being found wanting as a mother, being judged by other parents in this way, really hurts. Especially when your boss, team, competitors, partner and older kids will read what you say. And the wound is even deeper if those critical comments compound your own sense of unease about decisions you have made or are making.


52.1% of American Kids Live in Households Getting Means-Tested Government Assistance

This is not far off a Communist economy.  Those needing government assistance should be a small minority.  I am not even happy about school lunches.  In my childhood all kids brought their lunches in a a brown bag from home.  A school was a school, not a diner.  Nobody starved then even though most of the households  were quite poor by today's standards.

And we had a lot of minorities there too -- though they were minorities of European origin, mostly Italians.  And an Italian mother would have been deeply ashamed to send her kid to school with anything less that a magnificent and very tasty lunch.  The motto of every Italian mother is "Mangiare, mangiare"! (Eat, eat!).  I am very pleased to have grown up among Italians, heirs of one of the great European civilizations, but also very warm and sentimental people, with a great love of family

But not all  minorities are like Italians

Will they be called The Welfare Generation?

Today, they are Americans under 18 years of age growing up in a country where the majority of their peers live in households that take "means-tested assistance" from the government.

In 2016, according to the most recent data from the Census Bureau, there were approximately 73,586,000 people under 18 in the United States, and 38,365,000 of them — or 52.1 percent — resided in households in which one or more persons received benefits from a means-tested government program.

These included the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), Medicaid, public housing, Supplemental Security Income, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the National School Lunch Program.

The Census Bureau published its data on the number and percentage of persons living in households that received means-tested government assistance in its Current Population Survey Detailed Tables for Poverty.

Table POV-26 indicates there were approximately 319,911,000 people in the United States in 2016. Of these, 114,793,000 — 35.9 percent — lived "in a household that received means-tested assistance."

That does not mean every person in the household received the aid themselves, only that one or more persons living in the household did.

When examined by age bracket, persons under 18 were the most likely to live in a household receiving means-tested government assistance (52.1 percent), while those 75 and older were least likely (18.8 percent).

But Americans in all the age brackets up to age 44 analyzed by the Census Bureau were more likely to be living in a household that received means-tested government assistance than the overall national rate of 35.9 percent.

But even when the Census Bureau excluded the school lunch program from its calculations, the percentage of those under 18 who lived in a household receiving means-tested assistance (44.8 percent) exceeded the percentage in any other age bracket.

Twenty years ago, in 1998, according to Census Bureau data, only 36.9 percent of Americans under 18 lived in a household receiving means-tested government assistance. In 2008, the percentage broke 40 percent for the first time. In 2013, it broke 50 percent for the first time.

America has now seen four straight years — 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 — during which a majority of those under 18 lived in a household taking means-tested benefits.

The Census Bureau data indicate that people living in intact families are less likely to be on government assistance than people living in broken families. Nonetheless, the government-dependency rate is still high for intact families that have children under 18.


My comment on the recent ructions in the Liberal party

Everybody except those involved seems to think that the dumping of Mr Turnbull as PM was a great mistake. Turnbull presented very well and he would have soon restored his lead over Shorten.  But his party was very divided over climate policy so there was great restlessness among them.  So Turnbull's slight backdown in deciding not to set a specific CO2 target set off a furore which became an excuse to unseat him.

Scott Morrison is a good man but he has no charisma.  Something good could have come of it all if Julie Bishop had been elected PM.  She is very popular and would undoubtedly have taken the party to a victory over Shorten.  But it would appear that she did not have enough friends in the party to make that happen.  The good of the party was clearly not at the forefront of the minds of its politicians

Turnbull gave an excellent farewell speech. It is worth listening to.  There is a substantial excerpt from it below -- JR

Explaining Trump Hatred
The article below offers some reasonable thoughts but I think the reason behind the Trump hatred is rather simple.  In a "slowly, slowly" manner, the Left had got all of America to acquiesce to their ideas.  Even the GOP offered just a watered down version of Leftism.  Any shadow of patriotism, for instance was likely to be branded as "racism". And the Left insisted that America had a lot of problems needing big money to fix -- black education, for instance.  So Leftist hatred of their own country was well on the way to crippling America and reducing respect for it worldwide.  America as a punching bag was their aim and they were well on the way to achieving it.

Trump instantly overturned those hard-won "gains".  It was once again OK to celebrate America and remove the regulatory shackles that the Left had imposed on American business.  Trump revived real, traditional conservatism and insisted on a fair shake for America in trade, defense and much else.  No wonder the Left were outraged!  He had instantly undone decades of their work.

The cauldron of hate towards their own country that they always had in them now had one outlet and one focus, Donald J. Trump.  And we see daily what a cauldron of hate spills out of them.  The mask is off.  These people are not compassionate or tolerant.  That was always just a mask. They are vicious beasts, the children of the Devil

On May 22, 1856, South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks entered the Senate chamber and approached Charles Sumner, who was sitting at his desk applying a postal frank to copies of his “Crime Against Kansas” speech, in which he excoriated Sen. Andrew Butler for embracing “the harlot, Slavery.” Brooks beat the unsuspecting Sumner senseless with a dog-whip cane, sending him into convalescence for the next three years and ending what remained of “reasoned discourse” in the Senate. A half-decade later, the nation plunged into the Civil War, settling disputes on the battlefield that could not be addressed by a civilized exchange of views, which had been crushed by passions of the time.

Today’s passions explode from elites embracing harlots of hatred and denunciation sufficient to shock the sensibilities of any antebellum orator: Fake severed heads, assassination threats, enough F-bombs to obliterate America’s enemies, along with endless verbal assaults against President Trump saturate progressive bellowing. All of which is insane, of course: If only H. P. Lovecraft (Mountains of Madness) were around to help us cope. Absent that, we always have the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, though its entries apply to individual cases and not to entire categories of people losing their minds. What, then, can be said? What explains such unbridled hatred of President Trump? Here are a few suggestions.

* Trump is an outsider. Trump is not a normal Republican, or a normal Democrat, or a normal anything. He burst into the political scene late in his life, with few political obligations to anyone, least of all to entrenched elites in both political parties. Progressives have been accustomed to milquetoast Republicans for many decades; even Ronald Reagan didn’t depart from the script in ways that threatened the established order. And both Bushes, regardless of their occasionally bellicose policies, were eminently manageable; Bush I reneged on his No New Taxes pledge in a heartbeat and Bush II even expanded Medicare. Of course, both were still vilified, but, hey, that’s the leftist script. Plus, like most Republicans, they didn’t complain too much. Heck, they’re almost one of us! Trump isn’t.

* Trump fights back. The last thing leftist mudslingers expected was a Republican who would bring a cannon to a gunfight. In fact, President Trump’s loose twitter lips have punctured enough egos among his opponents to prod battalions of leftist potty-mouths to sue for copyright infringement. Donald Trump’s intemperate (and often ill-advised) responses to filthy onslaughts against him has had the effect of tarnishing his opponents’ brand names — especially in the media — by triggering even more extreme attacks. Before Trump, ideological hemophiliacs on the Left bled fashionable resentment with every minor cut, every perceived slight; now, here comes a guy who declares elite media as the “enemy of the people.” His denouncers are in full Keith Olbermann mode, now competing for an award that celebrates obscenity-screeching madness. Would be entertaining if it were not so sickening, so pathetic. And dangerous.

* Trump loves America. He loves the country, that’s it. No apologies, no equivocations, no “on the other hands” — he stands up for America, for ordinary citizens, for every skin color, from sea to shining sea. He stiffs welfare-state-besotted Euro-weenies, demands a level playing field in trade, and insists that government’s main concern should be for American citizens and not foreign lawbreakers either in China or across the Rio Grande. Progressives have contempt for America. They spit on the flag, despise at least half of our citizens, trash our history, sneer at capitalism, denounce our founders, the Declaration, the Constitution, and dismiss most Americans with a blizzard of acronyms. And then they wonder why Trump won. Go figure.

* Lib-Progs are spoiled rotten. They’ve had their way for the past half-century without serious interruption and still fully expect to transform the rest of the country to conform to the one-party systems they’ve clamped onto academia. A transformed America has no guns, no free speech, no boundaries, no conservatives, no Christians, a strictly controlled economic system, and a monstrous government in thrall to Lib-Progs’ lunatic climate cult and its grotesque commitment to infanticide. In short, totalitarianism. And then along came Trump.

* Lib-Progs’ entitlement complex. Nothing in life is a matter of merit, achievement, or individual responsibility; everything is a matter of administratively determined entitlement, with an arc of history thrown in. Both ensure that the country rumbles along in a direction culminating in rule by an elite corps of platonic guardians — liberal progressives controlling government, media, entertainment, academia, everything. In short, the country, history, owes them. And then along came Trump.

Although these suggestions offer hints to solving the Trump-hatred puzzle, one may still be left with a sense of incompletion, that something else still needs to be understood, an overlooked variable. Unfortunately, we may never understand such hatred completely, and even if we did, this knowledge may not thwart leftist plans for America. Normal cycles of politics will return liberals to government eventually; perhaps then, greater numbers of Americans besides the “deplorables” will more fully grasp what their self-described betters have in mind for them.

The only question is whether such a realization will arrive in time to save the country from those who despise Donald Trump and everything he stands for.


Leftist hate speech

Leftists are by far the main users of hate speech.  The torrent of hate speech pouring out at Trump and his supporters is totally unambiguous.  It cannot be mistaken as anything but hate.  Yet the accusations of hate speech that are normally directed by Leftists at others are rarely directed at utterances that  express hate.  A sincere Christian who opposes homosexual marriage is not acting out of hate but rather out of faith in the unambiguous teachings of his holy book.  It is simply a libel to say that the Christian is acting out of hate.

But what is wrong with hate speech anyway?  U.S. courts have decreed that hate speech is  constitutionally protected free speech.  And most people give at least lip service to the desirability of free speech.  The basic answer coming from the Left is that hate speech  leads to hate crimes.  But no evidence is normally quoted for that assertion.  The only scientific study of the theory that I could find I have previously noted here.  The finding was that there was a weak tendency of hate speech against immigrants to go with attacks on immigrants -- but even there it was not at all clear that the speech was the cause of the attacks.

Occasionally a report emerges about a political conservative attacking someone in conjunction with pro-Trump speech -- as here -- but they are exceedingly rare.

And what about the (say) 100 million other people who heard Trump's alleged hate speech  and did not assault anybody?  Doesn't that prove that Trump's speech is wonderfully safe and that hate speech does not cause  hate crime?  If hate speech does not lead to hate crime in 100 million cases, what more evidence do we need to conclude that hate speech does not cause hate crimes?

We do have to look at ALL the evidence, of course.  Not that any Leftist ever does.  Reality is so far inconsistent with  Leftist beliefs that they would become conservatives if they let themselves consider all the evidence.

And what evidence do we have that the men would have behaved differently if they had not heard Trump?  There is none.   It is just a claim. Trump could be just an excuse for an inclination to violence.

And how can we base any generalization on one instance?  It's because we can't that we have statistics. If lots of people had gone out and bashed illegals after hearing The Donald, the Left   might have a case.  But as it is, one swallow doesn't make a summer.

Collective hate speech

There is however one sort of hate speech that undoubtedly leads to violence: Not hate speech by one individual but collective hate speech.  History has many examples of that:  The Nazi condemnation of Jews and the Holocaust; the Ku Klux Klan hatred of blacks and the lynching of some of them etc.  If there is a widespread campaign of hate directed at one subset of people, that can generate physical attacks on that group.  And note that both the Ku Klux Klan and Hitler were on the Left.  Hitler was a socialist and the  1924 Democratic National Convention was so dominated by the Klan that it was referred to as the "Klanbake" convention.

And history is repeating itself right now.  There is a concerted campaign of hate pouring out of most of the media directed at Donald Trump and his supporters.  And violence in response is already happening.  The violence is so far mostly trivial, with the major effect being discrimination against conservatives in many ways -- refusing to serve them in restaurants etc.  But such is the volume of hate that history tells us to expect more serious attacks in due course.  Some leading Democrats, such as Maxine Waters, have gone very close to urging it.

Another current form of collective hate speech is hatred of the police, as  encouraged by Obama --  "If I had a son he would look like Trayvon" -- and very recently  continued by Elizabeth Warren.  Clashes with police by blacks are now routinely blamed by blacks on the police -- not on black thugs.  Hate speech against the police is now epidemic among blacks.  And the result?  Several police have been shot and killed.  Collective hate against the police has indisputably led to real violence there.

And to some extent whites generally have been subjected to hate from the Left -- with claims of "white privilege" etc.  There is no clear example of that so far leading to attacks on whites but, again, history leads us to expect that they will come.  Many attacks on whites by blacks in connection with mugging, home-invasions etc. are probably in part motivated by hate but such attacks were going on long before the current campaign condemning whites emanating from the Left.

Where whites do suffer from Leftist anger is in discrimination:  Being knocked back from a job or college enrolment because a less qualified black must  be given preference.  Leftists condemn discrimination but they are by far the biggest practitioners of it  -- JR

Bid to limit commercial fishing in marine parks defeated by Coalition

The last Labor government locked up vast areas of Australian waters into marine parks where commercial fishing was banned.  The whole thing was just Green/Left bastardry -- the usual Green/Left desire to  hurt people rather than help nature.

Commercial fisheries in developed countries are normally sustainably managed.  Throughout the world -- for instance in the Mediterranean -- many fisheries have continued in productive  use for hundreds of years or more.  And there is no reason why Australia could not do the same.

As it is, despite the huge area of Australian waters, we have had to import fish, some of it from New Zealand but a lot from third world countries where uncontrolled fishing practices are very destructive of fish stocks.  So the allegedly Green policy has in fact greatly damaged fish stocks overall.  And yet the wreckers want to lock away yet more of a wonderful food source that we have inherited

A push by the Greens and Labor to attempt to force greater protection of fisheries in Australia’s marine parks has failed for the second time.

The parties had vowed to reject controversial management plans for the parks proposed by the Turnbull government. But on Thursday the Senate crossbench combined with the Coalition to defeat disallowance motions on the basis that the parks would then be left with no plans in place and no limits on fishing.

In March the environment minister Josh Frydenberg issued management plans for 44 marine parks to replace Gillard-era plans that were suspended when the Abbott government was elected in 2013.

Frydenberg said the plans were a “more balanced and scientific evidence-based approach to ocean protection” but most environmental groups opposed them warning they would strip more than 35m hectares of “no-take” ocean from the parks, allowing commercial fishing activities in 37 of the 44 parks.

Labor introduced a disallowance motion, supported by the Greens, but it was defeated on 27 March when the government called it on for a sudden vote before the opposition had time to convince four more crossbench senators to support it.

The Greens and Labor this month proposed a series of new disallowance motions for the south-west, north, north-west, temperate east and Coral Sea marine park plans.

On Thursday the disallowance motions were defeated 36 votes to 29, with One Nation, Centre Alliance, and senators Tim Storer, Derryn Hinch, Cory Bernardi and Fraser Anning siding with the Coalition.

Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson, the co-sponsor of the disallowances, told the Senate the choice was to “reject or reward” the government’s attempts to gut plans put in place by the fishing industry, environmental campaigners and community.

Whish-Wilson said the government had “ignored the advice of their own scientific panel” and 1,400 scientists who signed a petition urging that marine protections not be reduced. He said claims the plans were “balanced” meant the Coalition “giving their stakeholders they represent here, the big end of the fish industry and oil and gas, what they want”.

Labor senator Louise Pratt, the co-sponsor of the disallowances, accused the government of “decimating the original plans worked on for so long by putting their vastly weakened plans forward”.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson warned if the Greens got their way on disallowance the marine parks would “go back to no protection, nothing”. “Why throw the baby out with the bath water? There are protections in place now and if you’re not happy with it, work on it in the next parliament.”

The Liberals and Hanson cited the Pew Charitable Trusts - the one major environmental charity that opposes the disallowance - in their reasons for backing the current marine plans.

Bodies representing recreational fishers and the commercial fishing industry welcomed the result. Seafood Industry Australia chief executive Jane Lovell said it meant the “uncertainty that has plagued much of our wild-catch sector is now gone”.


Are Australia's private schools worth the price tag?

There are private schools everywhere in Australia, so they are a very popular and widely used educational option -- particularly for High School. The Federal government subsidizes them so they are affordable to many.

The article below covers a fair range of the factors that influence judgments of schools but it only hints at the big factor.  The single largest factor in educational achievement is without a doubt IQ.  It correlates about .7 with educational attainment.  Nothing else comes close. And it is student IQ that makes a school.

High IQ goes with a lot of other favourable things so high IQ kids will have fewer behavior problems and the greater ease of teaching them will attract teachers.  And that means that private schools usually have many applicants for a teaching position. So they can pick and choose the best. My son's private High School had two keen mathematics teachers of the male persuasion, a great rarity. So in a typical example of the injustice in all life, the best students get the best teachers.  How can such a school go wrong?

So the important question is where is a school in the IQ stakes?  The lower the average IQ of the students, the lower will be the outcomes that the school produces. Ideally, you should send your kid to the school with the highest average IQ that he can cope with.

But IQ is a generally forbidden topic. In my time long ago schools did IQ tests regularly in order to stream their students -- but there would be a huge outcry if that were done today.  I went to a large State school in a regional city and clearly benefited from streaming.  There was only a small "academic" stream but I was placed in it.  And I got an education that suited my interests and teachers who knew how to teach the subjects concerned. I also had friends with whom I could have wide-ranging conversations.

But because of the lack of IQ testing these days, we have a harder time making choices.  In some States, particularly NSW. there are still a number of selective school, where admission to the High school depends on final overall marks in grade school.  Only high achievers get in. And because school marks and IQ are correlated, those schools have a student body with substantially higher average IQs than the norm,

And how good are their results?  Very good.  Some of them even produce higher marks than top private schools. James Ruse Agricultural High School is a legendary example of that.  Their very severe selection procedures ensure that most of their students are of Chinese or Indian heritage so they have a double advantage.  They get Asian diligence as well as high IQ in their students.  So they produce a large number of the top students in the State.

And it is these selective schools that Leftists talk about when they make comparisons with the results from private schools.  They pretend that ALL state schools have such high potential.  But they do not. I hate the cliche, but I have got to say that they are comparing apples and oranges.  A true comparison would be to compare AVERAGE state and private school results.  That would show private schooling in a very favourable light.

Private schools do of course have selection criteria but just the ability to pay is the main criterion.  And it is a good academic criterion as well as a financial one. That is because, as Charles Murray showed decades ago, income and IQ are strongly correlated. Income is not a bad proxy for IQ. Smart people tend to do better at getting rich than dim people do.

So private schools will almost always have a student body that is smarter than average, though not as smart as a highly selective State school.  Which brings us to the question, is there ANYTHING ELSE that private schools do which contributes to pupil achievement?  We don't know for certain.  To answer that, we would have to find a State selective school where the student IQ was at the same average level as a private school and compare the results.  To my knowledge, that comparison has not been done.  The horror of talking about IQ probably forbids it.

There is however one result which ALL schools tend to produce:  The friends you make at school tend to be the main body of your friends for the rest of your life.  And their sisters are the ones you will most likely marry.  So attending a private school should be TREMENDOUSLY helpful in that regard. If the kids you went to school with were the progeny of judges and lawyers, for instance, your entry to lucrative employment in the legal profession would undoubtedly be greatly eased.  And marrying one of their sisters would get you a wife who was a social asset in your life.  Is it any wonder that "The people you associate with" is one of the most common reasons people give for sending their kids to private schools?

Broadly speaking, choosing a school is not a process you can use trial and error to improve on. Most families don’t want to move their kids around a lot of different schools. So how do you get a sense of how good a school is from the outside? University entrance results are one obvious place to start, and high-fee schools tend to sell hard on their high marks.

But if you’re only interested in academic achievement, the results from most of the 30-odd Australian studies since 2000 suggest that private schools are no better at progressing students’ learning than state schools, once you’ve controlled for socioeconomic background. That’s also been the case for Australia’s results in the past three Pisa tests, the OECD’s international comparison test for student learning.

“On average private schools superficially appear to achieve higher student outcomes,” concedes education researcher and public schools advocate Trevor Cobbold. “But public schools enrol the vast majority of disadvantaged students … and this is what largely accounts for differences in school outcomes.”

The Grattan Institute’s yet-to-be released study of five years of Naplan results contrasted students’ progress between Naplan tests rather than the raw scores, because it says that is the best measure of what value a school is adding. Comparing like with like schools by socioeconomic background across sectors, it found there is no significant learning advantage conferred by private schools.

Researcher Peter Goss says, “it’s a pretty clear finding that the differences in progress between the three sectors are just not there, on Naplan. So if parents are choosing their sector based on Naplan results, then they kind of miss the point.”

The academic excellence of high-fee schools might owe more to a virtuous circle or feedback loop, rather than anything particularly unique to the school’s teaching and learning. Those schools are also in a position to lure bright students with scholarships. It’s like the (probably apocryphal) comment a senior figure at Harvard University in the US reportedly made to a private audience of overseas educators, in explaining the secret to the university’s global prestige. “It’s simple. We choose the best people, we don’t fuck them up, and we take all the credit.”

Naplan is a narrow benchmark, and data available for research comparing school outcomes is very limited. There is, for example, some research to suggest that public school kids do better at university than private school kids with the same Atar. The researchers say this may reflect the ability of some private schools to maximise tertiary entrance scores for their students, who revert to “underlying ability” once they’ve left.

But none of it can answer the question for an individual child: is your child going to do better at one school or another?

The old school tie

Don’t look to the dismal science for help. Whatever it is, paying high fees for private school is not an economically rational decision, says Sean Leaver, a behavioural economist specialising in education choices. He compares it to a luxury consumption decision, like buying a top-end BMW over a good cheap Toyota. Both will get you there.

“As an investment? Clearly no,” he says. “There’s no real benefit from attending a private school compared to a public school once you take into account that private schools skim the best kids and screen the worst kids out.”

“The big question for me, with my parent hat on,” says the Grattan Institute’s Peter Goss, “is what is the school going to contribute to helping my children grow up healthy, happy, having choices in life and being prepared and set up to succeed in those choices? … I just don’t think we gather that data. So … everything else is a bit of a proxy.”

So why are so many families – more than 50% of students in Sydney and Melbourne attend non-government schools – choosing to pay for private schools? In a measure of the sensitivity around the issue, Guardian Australia found it difficult to find parents willing to speak publicly about why they chose private schooling for their children. It might be a mark of status within private school communities, but in the public arena, very few want to articulate the reasons.

Many talk in private about the stress of paying high fees, but don’t want to go on the record about their private financial decisions. Likewise, most private school principals approached by Guardian Australia declined the invitation to talk about what private schools offer in exchange for their fees.

“I talk to people a lot about this,” says Philip Heath, the principal of Barker College in Sydney’s north-west. “A lot of kids come here at year 10 having been in very good government schools before they come here. So it’s a discretionary spend; so what’s driving that decision?”

Barker is a co-ed independent Anglican day and boarding school that was founded in 1890. Year 12 costs $32,000. Including its Indigenous school, Darkinjung Barker, near Wyong, it has about 2,200 students.

“I reckon there are probably four key things,” Heath says. “[The first is] broadly cultural and spiritual allegiances … that’s ethics and values; where their families are from.

“The second would be they are seeking an individualisation of experience … so teacher connection, discipline, access to opportunities, flexibility of the structure to adapt to that child’s interests or needs.

“Third would be the ability to influence school policy and practice at a local level … and to participate more in decision making.

“The fourth one, that’s not popular to talk about, would be aspirations for academic and social engagement, lifelong friendships … Improperly expressed it would be ‘the old school tie’. Put more generously, you’re building friendships that last a long time.”

Choices driven by anxiety

“If I was paying $40,000 a year, I would want two swimming pools!” jokes the former NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli, who now heads the Gonski Institute for Education at UNSW. “No one should resent a school like Kings for that, people are spending 40k a year to send their kids there.”

Associate Professor Piccoli, who was a leading advocate for needs-based funding while he was minister from 2011 to 2017 is also a supporter of school choice, with his own kids in the Catholic system. But he says the key difference between school sectors is “the ability of the non-government sector to choose who their students are.”

Public schools have to take all comers, but through fees, entrance exams, targeted scholarships, interviews, discretion and discipline proceedings, private schools can pick and choose. He believes many parents make a high school decision based on perceptions of student behaviour, or of a school’s level of discipline.

The extensive disclosure and reporting requirements about critical incidents or teacher dismissals for government schools can impact badly on the public sector’s reputation, he says.

“I don’t think the playing field is even,” he says. “If Catholic and independent schools were also subject to freedom of information applications, that would make it a bit more equal. Public schools are much more publicly accountable. Catholic and independent schools don’t have to provide that kind of information, and that gives them in a sense a marketing advantage.

“You only hear about it in independent schools if a parent complains about or it goes to court,” Piccoli says.

Leaver, the economist, says parental choices are typically driven more by anxiety than reason but it could be a rational choice to go private if your local public high school is small and does not offer the range of subjects your child wants.

“[However], in most cases you’re probably better off buying a house in a suburb with a nice public school than actually paying the fees to go to a private school,” he says. “It’s more of a consumption choice. They’re paying for all the extras. The nice facilities, the segregation effects, the screening out of the ‘undesirables’.”

Are private schools really stricter, better at instilling discipline or shaping the good character of children? That is certainly conveyed in the rhetoric and marketing of many private schools. But it might be simply that such schools have easier raw material to work with – and, as Piccoli pointed out in a public brawl with Trinity College in 2014, the fact they can just expel problem kids.

“The idea independent schools might be somehow morally superior – I don’t buy that at all,” says Dr Mark Merry, principal of Yarra Valley Grammar in Victoria, a private co-ed school in Melbourne with fees up to $27,000 a year.

“I think that parents who choose to send their children to our school choose to do so subscribing to the values of the school, so we perhaps don’t have the diversity of viewpoints ... It’s far more – not monocultural – but it’s more homogeneous.”

Better teachers?

Independent school advocates argue that the concentration of private resources is not the key point to private schools. What they offer is choice: giving parents options to fit their own values, faith or beliefs, or their kids’ special needs.

“There’s probably more differences within the sectors than there would be between them,” says Carolyn Bladden, the principal of the independent, no-fee Warakirri College in Sydney’s Fairfield and Blacktown, which helps disadvantaged young adults finish high school.

Bladden, who has previously worked at high-fee private schools in Sydney including Knox and Meriden, says sprawling grounds and gleaming facilities aren’t what makes the difference to a child. “The most important thing is the relationship between the teachers and the students, and their engagement. It can happen or not happen within either sector.”

So where are the teachers better? Even those working in the public sector admit underperforming teachers in public schools are harder to get rid of. Accordingly, principal autonomy in hiring and firing is a key factor many parents cite for going private, believing they will get better teaching quality as a result.

Yarra Valley’s Merry says: “A key difference [between sectors] is the autonomy of the head of the school to make decisions pertaining to that school. It comes out in lots and lots of different ways. Certainly it comes out in hiring colleagues. You’re able to really work out who you need, whether the person fits the specific school environment.”

A NSW public school principal who requested anonymity because of the Department of Education’s restrictions on talking to the media, says the process for dismissing an underperforming teacher is so onerous and drawn out that most principals just don’t have the time to do it. The easier option is to wait out the bad teacher, or get them transferred.

“Bureaucracy is the worst thing about public schools – it’s a huge employer, with creaky systems; one size must fit all. It is very hard to get rid of teachers who are not performing well,” the principal says.

But the Grattan Institute’s Goss says, while the freedom to fire the worst teachers may be attractive to parents with a business mindset, it’s importance may be overstated.

“No good international research says you can lift the system by getting rid of the worst teachers,” he says. “Lots of international research says you can lift outcome at scale by providing appropriate support to all teachers.”

The somewhat maddening conclusion from talking to principals and researchers is that schools cannot be judged by sector – it is rationally meaningless to argue private schools are better. There is too much diversity between schools, and the research points to individual school cultures being the most important factor. That comes down to the teaching and learning culture cultivated by the principal.

“Some parents just like the uniforms, talk more about the grounds and the nice jackets than the quality of teaching and learning,” the public school principal says.

“The question I always tell parents to ask is what professional development are the teachers doing? Unless there’s a continuous investment in that happening, go somewhere else.”


More attribution baloney

I have reproduced below just the first part of a large article splashed across NBCnews.  I give the link for anybody who is masochistic enough to read the whole thing. The title of the article is "Global warming can make extreme weather worse. Now scientists can say by how much. Researchers no longer hesitate to blame climate change for floods, fires and heat waves. Here's how the science works."

The intellectual level of the article is apparent in the first sentence: "When the heat waves, droughts, wildfires and deluges come — as they *seem to* with increasing regularity these days — the question inevitably arises: Did climate change play a role?"

What sort of scientific statement is "seem to"?  Where are the statistics that would confirm that key statement? There are plenty of statistics available from NOAA and elsewhere.  Skeptics point gleefully to them all the time -- because they all show that extreme weather events are no more frequent now than they were in the past. In other words, James Rainey, the author of the article has not got even to first base. He has not established even the starting point of his article -- because it is baloney. "Seem to", indeed!

And there is not one thing new in what he reports.  It's just more modelling, that reliable generator of false prophecies.  You get out of modelling what you put in, nothing more.  Modelling is like putting clothes into a washing machine. They come out wet but they are still the same clothes.  In other words there is no way modelling can be checked against reality at the time the modelling is done.  All you can do is hope that it is right.

Most Greenie modelling is done for the purposes of prediction and that has the virtue that it can EVENTUALLY be tested against reality.  The prophecies are always way out, however, because they are based on the fiction that tiny amounts of CO2 have big effects.

But the modelling below is COMPLETELY untestable. It makes no prophecies so can NEVER be shown as true or false. It is just a computer game.  It is science only in that modelling has a place in science but it is NOT science in that science deals with testable propositions.

So why the baloney?  It is just another way of amping up the hysteria about the tired old scare of global warming

When the heat waves, droughts, wildfires and deluges come — as they seem to with increasing regularity these days — the question inevitably arises: Did climate change play a role?

The answer scientists gave for years was that greenhouse gases created by humans likely contributed to extreme weather, but it was hard to definitively tie the warming atmosphere to any single episode.

But that cautious approach, repeated in thousands of news reports for more than a decade, has been changing in recent months. Now, scientists say that they will increasingly be able to link extreme weather events to human-caused global warming and to make such determinations quickly, sometimes within days.

So when a heat wave beset Northern Europe early this summer, bringing temperatures in Scandinavia into the 90s, a consortium of researchers operating under the name World Weather Attribution whipped together a series of computer simulations. Within three days, the scientists issued a finding that the hot spell had been made at least twice as likely because of human-driven climate change.

In less frequent instances, scientists taking more time have reached even bolder conclusions — finding that some extreme events would not have happened at all in a pre-industrial era, when Earth's atmosphere had not been pumped full of carbon dioxide.

The trend promises to become even more pronounced in the coming years, because national weather agencies in countries like Germany and Australia, and the weather service for the European Union, expect to begin issuing regular findings on whether unusual weather events grew out of climate change.

“Usually scientists have been quiet or said only that ‘This is the kind of event that we would expect to happen more often,'" said Friederike Otto, deputy director of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University in England. "But now we can, and will, be able to say more."


Otto is one of the leading scientists in the rapidly evolving field of extreme events attribution. The discipline is being driven by an increasing focus among academics, by better data collection worldwide and by open-source computer models that allow researchers ready access to complex climate simulations, particularly of what Earth’s temperatures likely would have looked like without the profusion of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases over the last century.

Many of the researchers in the field are determined to ensure that experts, not amateurs, drive the discussion of unusual weather. “If the answer is not given by scientists, it will be given by politicians or someone with an agenda,” Otto said. “We want to make sure there is scientific evidence in this debate.”

Martin Hoerling, a scientist at a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab in Boulder, Colorado, said another factor is influencing the more definitive statements about the impact of global warming. “That signal from climate change is becoming larger, large enough to be detected in the data itself," Hoerling said, "and also in the computer models” that extrapolate on that data.

But scientists say they remain uncomfortable with more definitive statements, such as the question of whether global warming caused a string of wildfires, or a deluge of rain or a particular heat wave.

“The thing we are trying to do is not to give you a binary ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer,” said Stephanie Herring, a NOAA scientist who edits a report on attribution studies that has been published annually since 2012. “We are trying to show how much of an impact climate change is having now and to suggest how much of an impact it might have in the future.”


The values of the British political elite

There is a rather naive article from the LSE here which purports to present scientific evidence about the personal values of British politicians.  In its way, it is a careful piece of research and its conclusions are anodyne. Author James Weinberg tells us:

"Focusing on the two main parties in British politics, Labour and Conservative, we can observe significant differences on two higher order values (Self-Transcendence and Conservation) and three lower order values (Conformity, Tradition, Universalism), suggesting that Labour MPs are far more driven by a desire for justice and equality but also less motivated than Conservatives to sustain traditional ways of life."

These conclusions will surprise no-one with any knowledge of politics but they may be false.  They are all based on self-reports. The data behind the findings comes from asking politicians how much they value certain things.  In psychometric jargon it is a type of  Likert scale. But self-reports from Leftists cannot be trusted. As psychopaths do, they say whatever they think suits the moment.

One of the most amusing examples of that was during John Kerry's presidential campaign.  He was critical of George Bush invading Iraq.  And he justified that by an appeal to the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia.  Talk about desperation!  Appealing to a centuries-old European treaty -- America didn't exist as a nation then -- would have to be one of the most unlikely things ever for a Leftist to do in justifying his policies.  But he obviously felt that it might get him some kudos. The treaty said that nations should not interfere in the internal politics of other nations.

America has of course never stuck by the Treaty of Westphalia. Theodore Roosevelt's invasion of Cuba in 1898 set the ball rolling on a whole series of conquests of the old Spanish empire by American Progressives: The Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico.  And in more recent times one thinks of Reagan's invasion of Grenada and Bill Clinton's bombing of Serbia -- etc.

But to me the most stark Leftist "flexibility" arose during my extensive survey research into authoritarianism.  Given their love of telling other people what to do, Leftists would have to be the quintessential authoritarians, starting from Napoleon with his police State and foreign wars.  And nothing could be more authoritarian than the various Communist regimes that besmirched the 20th century.  So when I asked Leftists in my surveys what they thought about various instances of authoritarianism, I was surprised to find great caution in the answers.  According to what they said of themselves, they were usually no more authoritarian than anyone else.

And perhaps most revealing of all, I made great efforts to get Communists to answer my questionnaires.  On a couple of occasions, their leadership authorized it but the comrades just would not do the task.  They knew how dismal their motivations were and did not want to reveal it.

So, in summary Leftists lie systematically and their responses to surveys tell you nothing real. James Weinberg's hard work was for naught.  You can guess the real motives of Leftists only from what they actually do.  And their policies uniformly have "unexpected" destructive effects.  Obamacare has destroyed or degraded health insurance for many Americans, for instance.  And the uniform destructiveness of Leftist policy outcomes can surely only be intended. They want to destroy anything they can in the world around them.

More on Leftist dissimulation here -- JR

THIS IS CNN: Leftist Guest Agrees 100% With Andrew Cuomo: ‘America Has Never Been Great'

A curious thing about the Left is that they are not patriotic but may be nationalist. The "Progressives" of just over a century ago certainly were (Croly, TR etc.). A patriot is simply pleased to be a citizen of his country. He likes his country. A nationalist, on the other hand, wants his country to dominate or rule other countries. The old American "Progressives", for instance, grabbed Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. So a nationalist is ready to go to war at the drop of a hat whereas the patriot needs a lot of persuading before he will go to war.

The two attitudes can however be mistaken for one another and that can cause considerable confusion. American Leftists these days clearly loathe their country. In the schools they teach the kids a whole lot of bad things (slavery etc.) about America but nothing that would make the kids proud to be American. And that is in fact basic to Leftism. A Leftist is someone who wants to "fundamentally transform" his country (In Mr Obama's words -- words which elicited an enormous cheer from his Leftist audience). The Leftist is fundamentally at odds with the realities of his country. So how COULD he be patriotic?

And yet the Left do appear to have been patriotic once.  People recall JFK exhorting young Americans with "Ask not what your  country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country:.  That seems pretty patriotic, does it not?

But it is not really.  It is just the usual exhortation of Fascists to subjugate the individual to the herd.  As Hitler put it: "Und wir wissen, vor uns liegt Deutschland, in uns marschiert Deutschland und hinter uns kommt Deutschland!". Or as Mussolini put it: "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato" (Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State).  Troops to march willingly into the Left's wars of conquest is what the nationalist wants.  JFK's speech was a survival of nationalism, not patriotism.  And he did kick off a war: Vietnam.

On Wednesday, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo said that America was “never that great”, and liberals are agreeing with him in droves. On CNN last night, we saw the scope of just how much that statement resonated with the left as political commentator Angela Rye agreed wholeheartedly with Cuomo.

Rye was in the middle of a debate with Trump campaign adviser Gina Loudon about diversity in the White House and things got off the rails pretty quickly.

Rye then addressed Cuomo’s comments and said she backs them 100%.

“America has never been great, and it’s not great because people like you come on and lie for the president of the United States and then tout, bring out your son as an example, you’ve got to be completely ashamed of yourself,” Rye said.

After the heated back and forth, Erin Burnett needed to end the segment before things got too ugly.

Right after the controversy, Cuomo’s office quickly backtracked and said that he “does” think America is great (lol)

“The Governor believes America is great and that her full greatness will be fully realized when every man, woman, and child has full equality. America has not yet reached its maximum potential,” Cuomo’s office said in response to the backlash.

Honestly, does anyone actually believe his garbage response?


Unexpected effects of climate change: worse food safety, more car wrecks

I hate to be cliche but this study is comparing apples and oranges.  It compares unusually hot days with permanently hot weather.

I grew up in tropical Australia where our normal temperature range for most of the year was way higher than what Greenies fear for the rest of the world.

Our tempertures were often in the 90s F.  So were we lazybones who had lots of car crashes?  We would have heard all about it if it were so but we did not and when I moved to more temperate climes people's behaviour seemed no different from what I had been accustomed to. Though I suspect that we drank a bit more cold beer.  And here's the rub:  People MOVE there for the less stressful environment.  Lots of people like it hot.  So it cannot be too bad there can it!

What the Solons below overlook is that the human body has a considerable range of heat adaptation and if you are PERMANENTLY in a hot climate, you will adapt to it and the heat will become hardly noticed. 

We always laughed at news of fatal "heat waves" in Britain.  Our WINTER temperatures were similar to British "heatwaves" yet we just went about our business with no accounts of "heatwave" deaths at all.

So the prophecies below can be dismissed as ignorant of human diversity

On excessively hot days, there are more likely to be fatal car accidents and food safety problems, and police officers and government food inspectors tend to do less of their duties, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists, who analyzed data from across the United States, suggest that if the climate continues to change, by 2050 -- and in another 50 or so years beyond that -- our world may be less safe than it is today.

"The crux of the idea -- which is that weather affects how we perform our duties and how we go about our daily lives and the risks that we experience -- is indeed simplistic," said Nick Obradovich, co-author of the study and a research scientist at MIT's Media Lab.

What is not at all simple is that he and his colleagues used a "massive amount of data" to understand how temperature affects crucial government work, and this is the "first time, to our knowledge, that's been done."

"Hot temperatures are basically bad for human functioning," Obradovich said. This is the case across "a broad suite of things" that scientists have studied: Sleep quality, mood, mental health, risk of suicide and work productivity are all "harmed by hot temperatures."

So, do hot temperatures harm government workers' ability to do their jobs?

Obradovich and his colleagues analyzed data from more than 70 million police stops between 2000 and 2017 and more than 500,000 fatal motor vehicle crashes between 2001 and 2015. They also looked at nearly 13 million food safety violations (for restaurants and food production facilities) recorded across more than 4 million inspections between 2012 and 2016.

The researchers established the usual range of temperatures for cities and states and then examined "what happens if you have, all else equal, just an unusually warm day in that range?" Obradovich explained.

"So, let's say it's summer in Columbus, Ohio, and usually that day is, say, 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but today it is 92 degrees Fahrenheit."

Next, the research team asked, "on any given day, is this facility -- is this restaurant or food production facility -- inspected or not? And the probability that a facility is inspected goes down in hot temperatures," Obradovich said. "That's one of the main findings."

A similar picture emerged when the researchers examined traffic accidents and policing.

"What you see is that fatal crash incidence goes up in hot temperatures," Obradovich said. Here, an average temperature range of 30° C to 40° C (or 86° F to 104° F) produces an amplified risk of fatal car crashes of half a percentage point, the study finds.

"It also goes up in particularly cold temperatures, but you see a sharper increase in the hot temperature range," he said.
"So people are more likely to have a fatal crash in hot temperatures, but also, the probability of traffic stops -- the number of traffic stops that are conducted in a county on a given day when it is hot -- goes down," Obradovich said.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Church of Trump?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Alex (Alexandra?) Wagner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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