Why Republican Governors Are More Popular

The explanation offered below is that they make fewer promises that they have no way of keeping.  That is certainly part of the story.  It is an entirely political explanation. But, as ever,  the psychological level of explanation is powerful too.  As all the polls show, conservatives are simply happier people and that makes a much more pleasant and attractive personality.  As the proverb goes: "Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Cry and you cry alone"

The classic example of a pleasant conservative personality  was the Gipper. With his sunny personality he got amazing stuff -- including vast tax cuts -- through a Democrat-controlled Congress.  He made them feel good and they wanted to laugh with him.  And you will note that even Trump, who must have the most unlovable personality of any President ever, constantly uses feelgood talk. And he is loved for that, to the total incomprehension of Leftists.

Just two days ago, I put up the following quote from Trump:  "Our movement is built on love… We love our family. We love our faith. We love our flag and we love our freedom, and that’s what it’s about… We love our neighbors and we love our country."  Beat that for positivity!  People can overlook a lot in a man with that attitude.  Among his followers, he has a depth of popularity that other politicians can only envy

WHEN the pollster Morning Consult published its latest round of approval ratings for the nation’s 50 governors in July, it revealed a couple of interesting findings: Eight of the ten least popular governors were Democrats, while the ten most popular governors were all Republicans.

What explains this phenomenon? Clearly it’s not random chance. Does that mean conservative governance is really so much more popular than liberal governance at the state level? There’s something to that, but a closer look reveals the answer is not quite that simple. The ten most popular Republican governors can be separated into three categories: red states, blue states, and purple states. There are five red-state governors whose approval ratings of 57 percent to 59 percent and low disapproval ratings land them spots on Morning Consult’s top-ten list: Greg Abbott of Texas, Doug Burgum of North Dakota, Mark Gordon of Wyoming, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, and Bill Lee of Tennessee. They are all conservative governors working with conservative legislatures to give conservative voters what they want on fiscal and social issues.

The blue-state GOP governors succeed not so much by advancing conservatism as by tapping the brakes on their Democratic legislatures.

You might discount the popularity of Republican governors in red states: Is it really a big deal that Republican voters are happy with Republican governors? But then you must also ask: Why aren’t Democratic governors just as popular in blue states? One answer is that states are subject to greater fiscal constraints than the federal government, and those constraints mean that Democratic governors can’t really satisfy their voters the way that Republican governors can. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, “49 states must balance their budgets, with Vermont being the exception.” Even without a balancedbudget requirement, progressive dreams have been shattered in Vermont by cold, hard math. The state’s former Democratic governor signed into law a singlepayer health-care plan in 2011, but he had to abandon it in 2014 when he couldn’t figure out a way to come close to paying for it. The state has had a Republican governor since 2017.

Budget gimmicks are still possible at the state level, but states can’t simply rack up debt the way the federal government can. If schools can’t be funded and roads can’t be built with existing revenues, taxpayers are going to feel it very soon and blame their governors accordingly.

Republicans can also become unpopular by taking their own ideology too far: For example, steep tax cuts in Kansas resulted in budget shortfalls; those tax cuts were repealed by a bipartisan supermajority in the legislature in 2017, and the state elected a Democratic governor in 2018.

But overspending is much more typically the cause of a state’s budget woes. “Some states have consistently performed poorly, such as Connecticut, Illinois, and New Jersey,” the Mercatus Center reports in its latest ranking of state fiscal health. “They have experienced ongoing structural deficits, a growing reliance on debt to fund spending, underfunded pensions and other postemployment benefit liabilities, or some combination of these problems.” And, sure enough, the Democratic governors of Connecticut, Illinois, and New Jersey all showed up in Morning Consult’s bottom ten list.

It is, of course, possible to govern a state that is a fiscal mess and still be a very popular chief executive. And that brings us to the three deep-blue states where Republican governors have skyhigh approval ratings: Charlie Baker of Massachusetts (73 percent approval), Larry Hogan of Maryland (70 percent approval), and Phil Scott of Vermont (60 percent approval). These governors have a few things in common. Hillary Clinton won each of these states by 26 to 27 percentage points in 2016. Each governor is a social liberal or, in the case of Hogan, has promised not to alter the status quo on social issues. None of them support the sitting Republican president (Hogan publicly toyed with primarying Trump).

The blue-state GOP governors succeed not so much by advancing conservatism as by tapping the brakes on their Democratic legislatures. In Massachusetts, for example, spending has grown at 3.7 percent per year (down from about 4.5 percent under Baker’s Democratic predecessor), according to Boston Herald columnist Michael Graham. Baker, first elected in 2014, also vetoed a bill providing driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. Other than that, Graham contends, Baker has pretty much governed as a Democrat. Baker signed an $800 million– a–year payroll-tax hike to fund a paid-family-leave benefit in 2018, and Massachusetts still ranks 47th in terms of fiscal health, according to the Mercatus Center. But Baker’s approach has been good enough to win the support of Democratic and Republican voters.

In Maryland, Hogan described his approach as that of a “goalie” before he was first elected in 2014. “Right now it’s an open net. It’s just every single crazy thing that they want to get in just gets done,” Hogan told the Washington Times. “One major thing we can do is play goalie. There’s not going to be a huge offensive game. We’re going to be able to score here and there and we’re going to stop bad things from happening and continuing to drive our state into the ground.” As governor, Hogan has balanced the budget and used his executive authority to cut tolls, but his plan to cut taxes was blocked by the legislature in 2016. Earlier this year, Hogan vetoed a bill to create a minimum wage of $15 (more than double that of neighboring Virginia). Hogan offered a compromise at $12.10, but Democrats overrode the veto to pass the $15 minimum wage. Playing goalie is a difficult job when the opposing team has the ability to pull you.

In Vermont, Scott was first elected in 2016 and had some success playing goalie during his first two-year term. He issued 14 vetoes, according to the Burlington Free Press. Scott stopped bills to raise property taxes, establish a $15 minimum wage, and raise taxes to enact a paid-family-leave program. In 2018, the same electorate that sent Bernie Sanders back to the U.S. Senate by a 40-point margin reelected Scott by a 15-point margin. The bad news for Scott is that in 2018 Democrats and progressives achieved the supermajority necessary to override Scott’s vetoes.

Perhaps the most interesting popular Republican governors are the ones who have found success in the purple states. In New Hampshire, Chris Sununu’s 65 percent approval rating made him the third most popular governor, according to Morning Consult. The state voted for Hillary Clinton by three-tenths of a percentage point in 2016, when Sununu won his first two-year term by 2.3 points. In 2018, New Hampshire’s legislature flipped to the Democrats, but Sununu was reelected to a second two-year term by a seven-point margin. Sununu’s popularity can be attributed in part to the state’s economic success and his fiscal restraint. “We are the most probusiness state in the Northeast and we brag about that a lot,” Sununu tells NATIONAL REVIEW. “We’re lowering business taxes, we have no sales tax, we have no income tax.”

He says he vetoed the recent Democratic budget because it was structurally imbalanced and would have raised business taxes. He also vetoed a paid-family-leave bill that would have raised taxes and has instead proposed a public–private partnership. New Hampshire’s 2.5 percent unemployment rate is the fourth lowest in the country. Beyond the economy and the budget, another key to Sununu’s success is his accessibility. “I give my cell phone to everybody,” he says. Surely this is some gimmick, right? He must have two cell phones and hands off one to a staffer? Nope. “I have one phone, one number,” he says. “People are actually very respectful of it. Very rarely do I have people who are constantly calling me.”

New Hampshire’s geography and small population (with 1.3 million residents, it has about as many people as the city of Dallas) allows Sununu to operate more like a mayor than a governor. “We’re like the tax-free suburb of Boston,” he says. If Sununu were not pro-choice on abortion, he’d be a plausible GOP presidential candidate. He says the thought of running for president hasn’t crossed his mind.

Florida’s Ron Desantis’s popularity has surprised many observers. He won a bitterly fought first term in 2018 by less than half of one percentage point, but he is the tenth most popular governor on Morning Consult’s list, with 57 percent of Floridians approving and only 20 percent disapproving. “He’s recognized a lot of the challenges Florida takes on the environmental front. I think it surprised a lot of folks from the environmental left,” says Sal Nuzzo of the James Madison Institute, a conservative think tank in Florida. Desantis has taken climate change seriously but also focused on issues unique to Florida, such as blue-green algae and red tide. He’s also appealed to voters by enacting a large expansion of school choice.

Arizona’s Doug Ducey (with a 53 percent approval–29 percent disapproval rating) didn’t make the top-ten list, but given the political aphorism that “the only poll that matters is on Election Day,” his popularity also deserves mention. In 2018, Ducey won a second term when he defeated Democrat David Garcia by 14 percentage points at the same time that Republican Martha Mcsally lost the Arizona Senate race to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema by 2.4 points. “He’s been extremely good on dismantling the administrative state, particularly when it comes to occupational licensing,” says Victor Riches of the conservative Goldwater Institute in Arizona (Riches formerly served on Ducey’s staff). Ducey turned a billion-dollar deficit into a surplus with across-the-board cuts and has benefited from welcoming an influx of tech companies fleeing California’s high taxes and cost of living. He has taken a tough approach on border security but has also developed strong relationships with Mexican-government officials. He won 44 percent of Hispanic voters in 2018, according to exit polls.

All the popular Republican governors are worth watching to see what conservative reforms they can actually accomplish. With gridlock dominating Washington for the foreseeable future, the states are where real innovation may occur. But Ducey, Desantis of Florida, and Abbott of Texas deserve special attention because they are governing states that will be key battlegrounds in future presidential elections and are themselves the sitting governors who are the most plausible future Republican presidential nominees.


French waiter shot dead over slow sandwich service, witnesses say

This is a curious story.  It sounds like something out of Chicago rather than suburban Paris.  So what do we make of it?  I can think of only one explanation: The shooter was a Muslim.  The shop is in a rough multicultural area so that could be. From what I have seen, many Muslims are sensitive about their "honour".  They fly off the handle if they think you are "disrespecting" them.  They have very fragile egos.

But who knows what the unfortunate waiter said or did? French waiters have a sometimes deserved reputation for rudeness and arrogance so it could be that the waiter was just being his normal self when he offended the Muslim.  Will French waiters up their game after this?  Unlikely.

The offender has now been arrested  but all we have so far been told about him is that he is a 34-year-old man, described as a "small local bully" ("petite frappe locale").  He is known to the courts for drug trafficking and gun violence, according to a source close to the investigation.  His religion is so far unknown

Police in France are hunting for a customer accused of fatally shooting a waiter at a restaurant near Paris because, witnesses said, he was upset over the wait for his sandwich.

The killing took place Friday around 9:15 p.m. at a pizza and sandwich restaurant named Le Mistral in Noisy-Le-Grand, east of Paris, police said. The customer, who has not been identified, had been waiting several minutes for a sandwich — it was unclear what kind — and became angry because he thought it had not been prepared quickly enough, restaurant employees and other witnesses told the local news media.

The man insulted the 28-year-old waiter before producing a 9mm handgun, shooting and seriously wounding him in the shoulder, according to the news network BFMTV. Colleagues who witnessed the shooting called the police. Paramedics arrived quickly, but were unable to revive the waiter. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The gunman fled the restaurant and was still on the run as of Sunday. A police spokesman, Raphaël Biron from the Paris Police Prefecture, confirmed the events, but declined to provide further details because the investigation was continuing.

Paris’s suburbs are replete with many fast-food restaurants, and waiters often work under pressure to deliver customers’ orders quickly and efficiently. But most killings in restaurants have been tied to score-settling and feuds, the authorities said.

On Saturday, stunned residents and shopkeepers gathered outside the pizza and sandwich restaurant after the killing. One woman told reporters that the restaurant, which opened a few months ago, had been quiet and previously had no problems.

Amid growing competition from other global tourist destinations, France over the years has started campaigns to burnish its image, including improving its reputation for gruff dining experiences. Paris’s tourism board, for example, had begun a charm offensive by handing out thousands of pamphlets to cafes, hotels, shops, and taxi ranks titled “Do You Speak Touriste?” in a bid to make travelers feel more welcome.

But the shooting in Noisy-Le-Grand had all the markings of a singular burst of violence. It is part of the Seine-Saint-Denis department, on the outskirts of Paris, where poor social conditions have often led to crimes and social unrest.

News of the killing drew angry reactions on Twitter, including from Jean Messiha, a top member of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, who linked the shooting to “mass immigration.”

But Sylvain Thézard, chief of staff of Noisy-Le-Grand’s mayor, pushed back at any link between the killing and immigration.

“We are shocked by the comments on social networks that make a lot of confusion,” he said. “Crime rates are declining in our city. This murder is by no means the result of a deeper problem. It’s nothing but sad news.”


What would  the Gloria Steinem Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University have to say about the Amazon fires?

Quite a lot, sort of.  The person comfortably ensconced in that chair is Naomi Klein, negative Naomi for short. Bad happenings are meat and drink to her.  Her headline reads: "The Amazon is on fire — indigenous rights can help put it out".  A strange claim indeed. So we read on hoping to find what the mechanism for that might be.  Despite her headline, however,  she says almost  nothing about the fires.  It is all about Mr Bolsonaro and Western civilization generally -- plus a plea for more locking up of land occupied by indigenous people. 

Why does native land matter? Only in her last paragraph do we get a clue.  She says: "colonialism is setting the world on fire. Taking leadership from the people who have been resisting its violence for centuries, while protecting non-extractive ways of life, is our best hope of putting out the flames."

So "colonialism" has started the fires and fires don't burn native lands?  So at the very end we get the actual proposition underlying her article:   Fires don't burn native lands. That is simply not true.  The fact, of course, is that fire does not ask permission for where it goes so native land is burning too.  It always has. Much of the  land that is NOT burning is that part taken over by the "colonialists" -- who have cleared the forest and planted crops. Reality is the reverse of Naomi's fairy-tale world.

I can't call Naomi a liar. Her claim is too patently absurd for that.  As usual, her article is a spray of hate and nothing more.

Put simply, a great deal of the coal, oil, and gas that we must leave in the ground if we want a habitable climate lies under land to which indigenous people have an ancestral and legal claim. The willingness by governments around the globe to violate those international protected rights with impunity is a central reason why our planet is in a climate emergency.

This is not just about Bolsonaro. Recall that one of Trump’s first acts as president was to sign executive orders pushing through the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, two fossil fuel projects fiercely opposed by indigenous people in their path. And now there’s Trump’s new obsession with purchasing Greenland, an indigenous-controlled territory alluring to his administration mainly because melting ice linked to climate breakdown is freeing up trade routes and newly accessible stores of fossil fuels. From within his own colonial mindset, Trump feels it’s his right grab the island, much like everything else he feels entitled to grab.

The violation of indigenous rights, in other words, is central to the violation of our collective right to a liveable planet. The flip side of this is that a revolution in respect for indigenous rights and knowledge could be the key to ushering in a new age of ecological equilibrium. Not only would it mean that huge amounts of dangerous carbon would be kept in the ground, it would also vastly increase our chances of drawing down carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in well cared-for forests, wetlands, and other dense vegetation.

There is a growing body of scientific research showing that lands under indigenous control are far better protected (and therefore better at storing carbon) than those managed by settler governments and corporations. Of course, indigenous leaders have been telling us about this link between their rights and the planet’s health for centuries, including the late Secwepemc intellectual and organizer Arthur Manuel (particularly in his posthumously published book, “The Reconciliation Manifesto”). Now we are hearing this message directly from the people who make their home in our planet’s burning lungs. “We feel the climate changing and the world needs the forest,” Handerch Wakana Mura, an Amazonian tribal leader, told a reporter.

Earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change issued a Special Report on Climate Change and Land, which stressed the importance of strengthening indigenous and community land rights as a key climate change solution. A broad coalition of indigenous organizations greeted the findings with a statement that began, “Finally, the world’s top scientists recognize what we have always known . . . We have cared for our lands and forests — and the biodiversity they contain — for generations. With the right support we can continue to do so for generations to come.”

As the various candidates vying to lead the Democratic Party prepare for CNN’s climate crisis town hall on Sept. 4 — a first in any presidential electoral cycle — we are sure to hear about the need for a rebooted Civilian Conservation Corps to expand forested land and rehabilitate wetlands. It will be interesting to hear whether any of the candidates highlight the central role of indigenous rights in the success of that vast undertaking.

Because colonialism is setting the world on fire. Taking leadership from the people who have been resisting its violence for centuries, while protecting non-extractive ways of life, is our best hope of putting out the flames.


Has a grid-scale battery been invented?

The intermittency of wind and solar power  is its great weakness.  Matching supply and demand is little more than luck.  Only if "renewable" energy could be stored would it be much more than a curiosity.  But devising a big enough storage battery has stumped everyone so far.

But there is a technology that could in theory do the job and some keen beans have been working on it for 13 years now.  See the video below. And it has been ready for use "soon" for a while.  They even have a demonstration plant running so could it all happen soon? 

We will see I guess, but the technology looks like being tricky stuff.  It uses liquid air and temperatures have to be close to zero degrees Kelvin for air to liquefy.  But liquid nitrogen is already used widely for a variety of purposes so where's the problem?

The problem seems to be managing the temperatures used.  The liquid seems to "go off" rather rapidly when you do things with it.  So your stored air loses a lot of its usability after 24 hours.  It is only a short-term battery.  It steadily goes "flat" without recharging. So that is a large limitation.  It's not a lot better than windmills and solar panels

So the Holy Grail of hi-tech energy storage has still to be reached.

But does it really matter?  The LORD has given us something that will store all the energy you want for as long as you want it -- using no technology at all: a lump of coal.

Australian sunshine could soon be farmed to power an Asian nation

Setting one thing aside, this is one Greenie scheme that could work.  Australia is mostly desert so uninterrupted sunshine will happen most of the time.  So Singapore could get cheap daytime power from Australia and turn on its gas-fired generators at night.  And if there was any interruption to the Australian power supply they could just turn on their gas generators during the day as well.  Perfect. Cheap uninterruptible power.  The Holy Grail

So where is the African person in the woodpile? Cost. Particularly with the undersea cable, there would be a huge capital cost before startup, a cost borne by banks who will want their usual 4% pa on funds invested.  Generating the power may not cost much but paying the huge bills needed to get the generating going will be another matter.  Just about all big projects cost at least twice the initial estimate so to pay the banks the operators will have to charge big for what they supply.  Will it be so big that the Singaporeans will simply say "No thanks"?  Could be.

And let me mention another nettle: Solar farms actually require a lot of maintenance and with so many panels that will be a big cost too.  

If the project goes ahead, it is my prophecy that all investors, including the banks, will lose their shirts.  And in a capitalist society destruction of capital is a big issue.  It means that money which could have been used productively was in fact wasted.  But that's standard Greenie form, of course

An Australian entrepreneur wants the Northern Territory desert to become home to the world’s biggest solar farm, with the electricity generated sent along undersea cables to Singapore.

David Griffin is an entrepreneur and leader in the development of Australia's renewable energy industry and his ambitious new plan to power Singapore from a 15,000-hectare solar farm in the Northern Territory has investors taking interest worldwide.

“It is first and foremost the largest solar farm under development in the world,” the Sun Cable CEO told SBS's Small Business Secrets from Singapore.

The Sun Cable project will be the first of its kind to try and export clean energy internationally.

A former GM Development at Infigen Energy, David has been developing solar and wind farms in Australia and South Africa for nearly 20 years.

His Sun Cable project would send electricity to Darwin, then along a 3,800-kilometre undersea cable to Singapore.

“It’s an extremely complex problem that we are solving. There are risks associated with that [undersea cable] and that’s why it’ll take a long time to go through the entire design process,” he said.

“It is the longest proposed project on the table at the moment but it’s certainly not the deepest.”

The solar farm would sprawl over 15,000 kilometres, backed by a 10-gigawatt plant.

The Northern Territory Government recently granted ‘major project’ status with construction expected to start in 2023. Environmental approvals are pending.

“If we look at Asia, no-one wants to see forests cleared,” Mr Griffin said.

“In order to truly see an electrification of global economy and to see it done in a way that doesn’t lead to climate catastrophe, we need to be able to move huge volumes of renewable electricity over vast distances and this is the technology that’ll allow it to happen.”


UK: Surge in electric car sales could crash the National Grid by 2040, energy expert warns

This is only the latest problem for mass use of electric cars. People all seem to be closing their eyes to the limited practicality of electric cars in general.  Something nobody is mentioning is what happens if you arrive at a charging station and all the charging points aready have other electric vehicles plugged into them? You might have to wait hours until one of them is charged enough to be unplugged.

So you will not only have to wait for your own car to charge up but also wait until someone else's car is charged up.  That could be a very long wait during which you would just be twiddling your thumbs

And you thought that having to line up for 5 minutes at a petrol/gasoline station during busy periods was a drag!   Clearly, electric cars will never be practical for anything but commuter round trips.  They will only be practical if you can do all your charging at home.

And what about winter?  Heating is a huge drain on batteries so if you heat your car in severe weather you can kiss most of your range goodbye!  So electric cars will only be practical for short trips in summer -- and almost never in Canada!  Conventional vehicles will always be in big demand. How Greenies manage to blind so many people to these huge problems is a mystery

A spike in demand for electricity to power the growing network of plug-in cars could cripple the National Grid by 2040, an energy expert has warned today.

Mark Sait, chief executive of SaveMoneyCutCarbon believes that if UK electric car sales rise at the same rate as they have across the rest of Europe, it could result in blackouts and the grid crashing due to insufficient power supplies, similar to those experienced last week.

He warned: 'A rapid upsurge in hybrid and full electric vehicles could create real concerns.'

The uptake of electric cars in Britain is currently way behind other markets across the EU, the energy expert pointed out.

This is down to a number of factors, though the most significant centre around more enticing financial subsidies for the purchase of electric cars and a better charging infrastructure than what's on offer in the UK.

A report from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association shows the sale of hybrid and full electric vehicles in Britain in the first quarter of 2019 increased by a modest 2.9 per cent in the last year. This compared to the EU average of 40 per cent.

Sait describes Britain as being at 'the starting blocks' of battery vehicle uptake, while in countries like Norway - which is one of the leading nations for electric car adoption - almost half of new models registered in 2018 were plug-in models.

But he warned that if Britain caught up with the rest of Europe in terms of electric car adoption, the National Grid would not be able to cope by 2040.

'The spike in demand from EVs could very well cause blackouts in certain areas of the UK, with there not being enough power generated, or particularly if the technology generating that power had not been upgraded,' he explained.

The National Grid has come under scrutiny in the last week following power cuts that caused travel chaos and left more than a million homes without electricity on Friday evening.

Operators blamed issues with two generators for the blackouts, with Ofgem demanding a full investigation for the cause of the power cuts.

Previous reports from the National Grid have said it would require an additional 20 per cent energy capacity by 2050 in preparation for an increased number of vehicles plugging into the mains.

However, Sait said these estimations were made without factoring in a significant rise in potential EV uptake in the UK similar to the rest of the EU.

The chances of more drivers being convinced to make the switch to electric vehicles is a real possibility in the coming years.

Models like the Volkswagen I.D. range are due to hit the market soon, offering genuine alternatives to combustion-engine models thanks to longer ranges, more performance, shorter charging times and - hopefully - more affordable prices.

Higher taxes on diesel cars in particular, restrictions from Ultra Low Emission Zones and Clean Air Zones and the impending ban on the sale of new vehicles with traditional engines will also see appetite for plug-in motors increase.

But Sait warned that the cost to improve the nation's electrical grid to cope with such increases in demand would be 'significant'.


Bald faced lies from two leading Democrats -- for political gain

Leftists normally have an uneasy relationship with the truth but this was egregious.  Leftist commentators argue that the lies from Warren and Harris were simply a matter of unimportant linguistics.  They were not.

The word "murderer" applied to an innocent man was wrong, not because of linguistics but because the action concerned was not a murder. Words differ because what they describe differs.  By using the word murder for a particular event that was not a murder, the Democrat lovelies accused an an innocent man of a grievous act that he did not do and which they know he did not do

The big stink this week, "largely ignored" by the Mainstream Media, is over false claims by United States senators and Democratic presidential contenders Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris that Michael Brown was "murdered" by a white policeman five years ago.

The legal definition of murder is "the killing of a human being by a sane person, with intent, malice aforethought (prior intention to kill the particular victim or anyone who gets in the way) and with no legal excuse or authority." Or murder in the second degree, which "is such a killing without premeditation."

Brown, a young black man shot to death by Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson, was not murdered. Wilson, as the facts eventually made plain, fired in self-defense while under attack by Brown. That's a legally justified killing, which is pretty much the exact opposite of murder.

You'd think that for a fact-checking organization, this would be an open-and-shut case. And for at least two lefty publications, it was.

But apparently all that's not good enough for PolitiFact's Louis Jacobson, who chose instead to muddy the waters with his so-called "fact check."

Now if it were me running a fact-check site, I'd look at the claim ("he was murdered") and the facts ("the law says that a legally justified shooting isn't murder"), and tell my readers whether the claim stood up to the facts. Which seems to me not-at-all-unreasonable for a fact-checker.

But here's Jacobson's not-quite just-the-facts-ma'am take:

"In discussing the case with legal experts, however, we found broad consensus that "murder" was the wrong word to use — a legal point likely familiar to Harris, a longtime prosecutor, and Warren, a law professor.

In fact, two other Democratic senators with law degrees now running for president — Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand — more accurately referred to it as a killing.

That said, experts who have studied police-related deaths and race relations said that focusing too much on the linguistics in controversial cases comes with its own set of problems."

Let me parse that for you. Jacobson admits that Brown was not murdered, but then goes on to argue that "murder" might be a good word to use anyway, because doing so fits a particular agenda.

Jacobson then quotes Jean Brown, a communications instructor (not a legal scholar) at Texas Christian University arguing, "I don’t know if the legalistic distinction intensifies the anger, but it does feel like an attempt to shift the debate from a discussion about the killing of black and brown people by police." Which is a fancy way of saying, "Brown wasn't murdered, but it suits my agenda to say that he was." And that's a fancy way of saying, "I'm not going to let the facts get in the way of stoking racial hatred."

"Quite frankly," she says, "it’s a distraction that doesn’t help the discussion."

Precisely, although perhaps Brown admitted more than she meant to.

Muddying the waters further, Jacobson says that "some legal experts argued that there’s a difference between being legally precise and using language more informally."


Experts link diet soft drinks to ‘increase risk of heart attack, stroke and dementia’

As always, I looked up the original research report. It is: "Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Stroke, Coronary Heart Disease, and All-Cause Mortality in the Women’s Health Initiative"

It is junk research.  It was a study of old ladies only and the big drinkers of fizz were fatter, more idle, had lower diet quality and were probably poorer. I'm betting on low IQ as well.  So the small effects the researchers saw could be due to many factors other than the amount of fizz people drank

Drinking soft drinks like Diet Coke might seem healthier, but experts have revealed damage just two cans does to your body.

For those with a sweet tooth, diet fizzy drinks are generally thought of as a better alternative than the sugar-laden versions.

But while they are lower in calories, sipping on artificially sweetened beverages could come at another cost.

Experts have warned that diet drinks — such as Diet Coke — can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and even dementia, The Sun reports.

Research this year revealed that drinking two or more cans a day ups the risk of stroke by a quarter and heart disease by a third.

And compared with people who never touch them, the risk of early death is 16 per cent higher for diet drink consumers.

The findings, published in the journal Stroke, were based on a big study of women and showed being obese and downing diet drinks more than doubled the risk of stroke.

Dr Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, lead author of the study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, did stress while their findings suggested a link, they couldn’t prove diet drinks caused stroke and heart problems.


Trump Used Ching-Chong Accent to Mock Asian Allies

This was once a common way for people to amuse themselves and others -- with no harm intended.  It is an example of how Trump routinely ignores demands from do-gooders.  He keeps alive natural ways of speaking without the constant self-monitoring that political correctness requires.  He comes from a more relaxed era and reminds us of lost freedoms

The implicit asssumption behind political correctness is that speech can do harm all by itself.  Some possibly can but much must surely depend on the speech concerned.  If we want speech that offends nobody, we are facing a Sisyphean task. Evidence should really be demanded before some word or words are branded as harmful -- with the assumption being "no harm" unless shown otherwise

I would like to see evidence that ching-chong pronunciation does harm. It may upset some thin-skinned Asians but does it actually harm them in any way?  As we know from the political correcters, people can be offended by all sorts of utterances.  So let the criterion for suppressing speech be actual harm rather than mere offence.  Offended people will always be with us

In the old days we were always taught that "sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me".  That still seems to me to be a healthy attitude.  If it is not, I would like to hear why

At the controversial Hamptons fundraiser hosted at the home of SoulCycle and Equinox majority owner Stephen Ross this week, President Donald Trump stirred up even more controversy by mimicking an Asian accent and mocking South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, the New York Post reported.

Trump also discussed the U.S. relationship with South Korea and complained, “So why are we paying for their defense?” Trump said, likely referring to the U.S.-South Korea joint exercises at the border with North Korea. “They’ve got to pay,” he added.

Then, Trump mocked the South Korean president’s accent while talking about how he “caved in to Trump’s tough negotiations,” the Post wrote.

But the president wasn’t done being politically incorrect and offensive. Speaking about when he asked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe whether kamikaze pilots in World War II were drunk or on drugs. Trump said, “Imagine they get in a plane with a half a tank of gas and fly into steel ships just for the love of their country!”

Trump has mimicked Asian accents before. In February, he used an Asian accent when talking about Xi Jinping, the president of China, which also provoked outrage. And in 2015, he used a similar accent talking about dealing with Asian business partners.


Shocking Nasa images reveal how enormous Iceland glacier Okjokull has VANISHED in three decades thanks to soaring temperatures in the Arctic

Note the dog that didn't bark.  And it didn't bark for a good reason.  Iceland has huge amounts of volcanic heat that periodically bursts through to the surface. So that is why the people below did not claim that the glacial melting decribed was due to global warming.  It was most probably a result of Iceland's huge subterranean heat warming the land surface

Leftist writing routinely leaves pertinent information out so I hear another dog that didn't bark in the report below:  Any attempt at giving temperature statistics. From what I often see about the Arctic, the temperature changes there are often greatly at variance with global temperatures, indicating that Arctic and sub-Arctic temperatures are under substantial local rather than global influences. So did the temperatures that melted the subject glacier have anything in common with global temperatures?  Probably not

Shocking images released by NASA show how soaring temperatures in the Arctic have caused an enormous glacier in Iceland to melt - in just three decades.

The Okjökull glacier, which once measured six square miles (16 km²) and is known as Ok, has now completely vanished.

Images taken in 1986 show the glacier covering a huge mountainside in the west of Iceland but, in the latest photo, a tiny patch of ice is all that remains.

Icelanders call their nation the 'Land of Fire and Ice' for its other-worldly landscape of volcanoes and glaciers but warming global temperatures threaten the existence of the latter. OK  disappeared in 2014


'No red hair': Milka chocolate advert sparks outrage after casting call bans redheads and fat children

The announcement was in fact a considerate one.  If it had not been made, people in unwanted categories -- fatties and redheads -- might have wasted their time applying.

It was however rather crassly put.  They could have got their  message out much more politely by saying: "With apologies, we are not looking for large or red-headed girls at the moment".  Among fatties, "large" is code for "fat" so the message would have been understood

A casting call for a Milka advert has sparked outrage after appealing for a prepubescent girl who is not overweight or has red hair.

The actors' agency Spotlight UK was advertising the role of 'Mia' for the chocolate bar's Christmas advert.

The casting call specified it wanted 'no children over 4ft 4ins', 'no overweight children', 'she must NOT have reached puberty' and she must be 'beautiful and angelic'.

It specified further: 'She can be aged 9-12. If she is 12 she must be very small and still be childlike.'

The advert also said 'eye colour and hair colour are not important but no red hair'.

It was shared on Twitter by outraged performer Helen Raw and celebrities including comedian Kathy Burke and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson have heavily criticised the advert.

Kathy Burke said: 'Imagine being the kids that don't get the job - you're just not beautiful enough I'm afraid, my darling, now off you pop and be riddled with insecurities for the rest of your life.'


The Latin American dictators

In the late 20th century, it was a common rhetorical ploy of the more "revolutionary" Left in the "Western" world simply to ignore democracy as an alternative to Communism. Instead they would excuse the brutalities of Communism by pointing to the brutalities of the then numerous military dictatorships of Southern Europe and Latin America and pretend that such regimes were the only alternative to Communism. These regimes were led by military men who might in various ways be seen as conservative, though Peron was undisputably Leftist.

Only Pinochet in Chile could realistically be described as conservative, however. His market-based economic reforms and his reduction of the Chilean bureaucracy by half were certainly cheered by American conservatives. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming.

That Pinochet used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Perhaps the main point to note here is that the Hispanic dictatorships of the 20th century were very often created as a response to a perceived threat of a Communist takeover. This is particularly clear in the case of Spain, Chile and Argentina. They were an attempt to fight fire with fire. In Argentina of the 60s and 70s, for instance, Leftist "urban guerillas" were very active -- blowing up anyone they disapproved of. The nice, mild, moderate Anglo-Saxon response to such depredations would have been to endure the deaths and disruptions concerned and use police methods to trace the perpetrators and bring them to trial. Much of the world is more fiery than that, however, and the Argentine generals certainly were. They became impatient with the slow-grinding wheels of democracy and its apparent impotence in the face of the Leftist revolutionaries. They therefore seized power and instituted a reign of terror against the Leftist revolutionaries that was as bloody, arbitrary and indiscriminate as what the Leftists had inflicted. In a word, they used military methods to deal with the Leftist attackers. So the nature of these regimes was only incidentally conservative. What they were was essentially military.

It might also be noted that the Hispanic generals were operating within a very different tradition. The abiding hero of Latin America is Simon Bolivar, the great liberator. But the ideas about government put forward by Bolivar were very authoritarian -- ideas about how the masses need to be "educated" and generally dominated by a self-chosen elite -- ideas that put Bolivar in the company of men like Mussolini and Lenin -- ideas that are totally outside the democratic traditions of Anglo-Saxon conservatism. Excerpt:
"Education was also touched upon by Simon Bolivar, especially in his Essay on Public Education, as a tool for governments to re-educate their citizens to the responsibilities and duties of participation in public life. Bolivar also commented on the weaknesses and limits of liberal democracy when writing to explain the necesity of a strong, republican form of government.... Spanish American people required that their new states be organized in such a way as to maintain order by checking the popular forces until they could be trained in the civic virtues. Bolivarism emphasizes the common good over the individual"
The Hispanic generals were doing very little more than putting Bolivarism into practice and Bolivarism was certainly not conservatism.  It was however a pretty close precursor of Fascism. Bolivar emphasized the importance of a strong ruler and the constitution he wrote aimed to establish a lifelong presidency and an hereditary senate. He explicitly rejected the liberal ideas of the U.S. founders. Fascist enough? 

In the 21st century, Hugo Chavez claimed inspiration from Bolivar for his reforms in Venezuela, though Communism would be a better name for them.

In the end, however, the Latin American dictators seem to have made such a bad name for themselves that most of them eventually relinquished power in favour of a transition to some form of democracy. Even Venezuela has had some episodes of democracy. Corruption remains endemic throughout Central and South America, however, so upheavals and uprisings of various sorts seem likely to continue

Another false rape allegation that put an innocent man in jail

In amazing ingratitude, the evil woman targeted someone who  helped her.  She is pretty plain-looking so maybe she was just embittered by her failure with men generally.

The police and prosecutors were very much at fault for accepting uncorroborated allegations as grounds to deny bail.  They were no doubt influenced by the "believe the woman" chant coming from feminists.  But they should not have accepted such a non-judicial policy

A young woman, whose actions led to a good Samaritan being locked up in a maximum-security jail for a week after she lied and claimed he had stalked and sexually assaulted her, has made another accusation.

Caitlyn Gray, 19 at the time of the offence, fronted Bankstown Local Court yesterday accused of lying for days over the way Sydney dad Kenan Basic behaved after he spent more than two hours helping her get her damaged car back on the road at a local BP petrol station.

Mr Basic, 36, lost his job, was served with divorce papers from his wife and spent a week in Silverwater Jail in Sydney’s west after he was accused of the horrific crime on November 22 last year.

Gray initially claimed the father-of-one lunged at her and grabbed her breast and vagina after she refused his advances as “payment” for helping with her car. She then claimed he stalked her through the streets of western Sydney before she called her boyfriend, who reported it to police.

Seven days later, Gray admitted to making the whole thing up.

In sentencing submissions, the prosecution said Gray’s lie was “an offence that strikes at the heart of the judicial system.”

“If not for CCTV footage and the follow-up investigation, Basic would’ve spent months in custody,” the prosecutor said. “There is no alternative other than a full-time custodial sentence.”

Gray’s defence lawyer Peter Kondich instead asked for the 20-year-old to be put on an intensive correction’s order.

Mr Kondich told the court Gray had been in counselling at the time of the incident and was on medication for depression. He also brought up her mental state, reminding the court the then 19-year-old had been in a car crash minutes before Mr Basic assisted her and was not in a “normal frame of mind”.

Mr Kondich also briefly touched on why Gray had made up the allegation, levelling another accusation at Mr Basic.

“The version of the accusation provided is because of a slight that was provided by Mr Basic by way of sexual innuendo,” Mr Kondich told the court. “She has taken offence to that and by that reason she has made the false and misleading statement to police.”

Magistrate Glenn Walsh adjourned Gray’s sentencing to August 9 where he said he expects to give a lengthy sentencing submission.

Following Gray’s sentence, Mr Basic plans to pursue the 20-year-old for the ordeal she put him through.

Mr Basic’s lawyer Mona Elbaba has always maintained the 36-year-old will sue Gray and NSW Police for his week in jail telling reporters in June her client “of course hoping for a jail sentence in the matter he was jailed”.

Today, Ms Elbaba doubled down, speaking about how Mr Basic was still struggling almost nine months after the accusation.

She said she expected higher damages to be laid against NSW Police considering Gray is only 20 years old and may not have many assets.

Mr Basic spent close to $20,000 on legal fees to fight the false charges, which is expected to form part of his lawsuit. He has also been unable to return to work as a handyman due to the psychological damage from his week in jail.

When asked why she lied, Gray said she “just wanted (Mr Basic) to go to jail”.

“He shouldn’t have said that to me. He was disgusting.”

Court documents did not explain what had been said to Gray.

Police then urgently worked into the late hours of November 29, calling senior police, lawyers and Parramatta court “informing them of Gray’s lies”, the statement of facts said.

An urgent bail application was scheduled for Mr Basic the next day, when he was released from custody after seven days behind bars.


Political values

At first sight, the general population survey below is very old hat.  They find that Leftists want people to be equal and conservatives want people to work for what they get.  Ho Hum!

But there was an interesting quirk.  Leftists tended to like people to work for what they get nearly as much as conservatives did.  So there is some hope for the Left.  The ratbags who are at present vying for the Democrat presidential nomination may be very unrepresentative. Democrat voters are much more reasonable

All Things Being Equal: Distinguishing Proportionality and Equity in Moral Reasoning

Chris Skurka et al.


Moral foundations theory (MFT) has been a useful framework for understanding moral judgment and its relationship to political leaning. However, some have argued that MFT omits key domains of moral reasoning. We explored the utility of two candidate foundations (Proportionality and Equity) with a national sample of U.S. adults recruited through Nielsen’s Harris Panel, randomly split into calibration (n = 1,499) and replication samples (n = 1,499). We find that Proportionality and Equity are conceptually distinct from the original foundations (as measured in the Moral Foundations Questionnaire [MFQ]) but relate to them in predictable ways. Equity consistently predicted political leaning above and beyond covariates and the original foundations, but Proportionality only distinguished conservatives from liberals in the calibration sample, which suggests Proportionality may be highly relevant to moral judgments regardless of political ideology. Our findings also indicate potential bias when using one of the MFQ’s screener items to filter out unengaged participants.


'The loss of dignity - and friends': Elderly woman reveals her tragic story of life on the dole - amid claims Australia's welfare system is an 'embarrassment for our nation'

Judging by her shape, Ms Bartels eats well so what else is at issue?  It appears that being on the dole has "cost her dignity and friends".  It has not been good for her social life, in short.

But is the dole supposed to be good for that? Should the taxpayer be financing a good social life for everyone?  It would perhaps be desirable but I think there are too many other calls on taxpayer funds to make that a reasonable possibility

Note that she is only a few years away from going on the pension, which is similar to the dole, so she is just undergoing a bit early what would be an inevitable transition

The lady seems to think that the government should provide some avenue for getting her a job but that is absurd.  The number of employers who would take on an overweight elderly woman is vanishingly small.  We may deplore that but it is reality.  It is hard to see what any government could do about it

An elderly woman has told the Q&A panel about how living on Newstart has been the 'worst time of her life' - costing her dignity and friends.

Ricci Bartels became emotional on Monday night's program as she revealed she was forced on to unemployment benefits three years ago after being made redundant.

'I have paid taxes for 46 years… I've worked 20 years in the private sector and 26 years in the public sector for a not-for-profit community service,' Mrs Bartels said.

'I was forced on to Newstart at the age of 62 through change of management and subsequent retrenchment. I've experienced Newstart for three years, JobActive left me to my own devices. I could not find a job no matter how hard I tried.'

Mrs Bartels said the experience of being on welfare after so many years of dedicated work had been the 'worst of her life'.

The Newstart allowance of $555.70 a fortnight hasn't risen in real terms, adjusted for inflation, since 1994.

It is also more than two-and-a-half times less than the minimum, full-time wage.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ruled out calls for an increase, despite calls from former PM John Howard and ex-Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.

'To put it in a nutshell it (being on Newstart) is the worst time of my life, the loss of dignity, the loss of friends because you can't go out, you can't socialise, not eating proper foods even though I suffer various ailments, looking for a job applying for a job, not getting the job,' Mrs Bartels said fighting back tears.

Referencing a quote from Mr Morrison, she said: 'So my question to you wonderful panellists is this, what would you or how would you suggest people like me have a go to get a go?'

Mrs Bartels posed the question to the panel before host Tony Jones gave the Liberal member for Mackellar Jason Falinski an opportunity to speak.

'We have done a number of things in the government to try and make sure that our system, which is a $172billion welfare system per-annum, is as bespoke as possible in response to the needs of individuals as much as possible,' the backbencher from Sydney's northern beaches said.

'It may be in your particular case we haven't been as accessible as we need to be but we keep trying.'

Mr Falinski then touted Australia's existing welfare system Australia, evoking audible moans of disagreement from the studio audience.

'Australia has a very successful welfare and tax and transfer system … it's one of the reasons that we have very high income mobility levels and very low levels of income inequality especially compared to other nations,' he said.

Mrs Bartels addressed the question to the panel before host Tony Jones gave Liberal MP for Mackellar Jason Falinski (pictured) a chance to answer but he left Mrs Bartels disappointed

Mrs Bartels continued her line of questioning to Mr Falinski and quickly called him out for dodging the crux of her question.

'Jason, with respect, you haven't answered my question, what do you suggest people like me, at my age or at a young age for that matter, how do they have a go to get a go, this is so important, have a go to get a go, it is so divisive,' Mrs Bartels said.

Mr Falinski doubled down on his comments that without knowing all of Mrs Bartels's circumstances he couldn't tell her what path she needed to take.

'If the system has failed you personally, in your particular circumstances, I can only apologise for that, I'd love to know more and create a system to make sure what happens to you doesn't happen to others,' he said.


Climate change threatens the world’s food supply, United Nations warns

Hang on! Aren't we always told that eating our food is bad for the planet?  Don't we need to cut back our food consumption to save the planet?  There have been many Warmist articles to that effect. But now we hear that we are running out of food and that is bad.  I would have thought that running low on food would save the planet!  Shouldn't Greenies be cheering about the "news" below?

Sounds like the Warmists are having their cake and eating it too. Or is that not having their cake?

Realistically, however, the guff below is typical Leftist tunnel vision stuff.  They see only the things they want to see -- not the full picture.  What they ignore is that global warming would open up vast areas of Northern Canada and Southern Siberia to farming and food production.

The climate there would not only be warmer but it would also be wetter.  And with high levels of atmospheric CO2, the crops would need less water anyway.  Canadian farmers would love to get their combines onto another million acres of wheatland. Most grains are already in chronic glut and global warming would worsen it.  A downpour of food, not a shortage, would follow global warming

The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” a new United Nations report warns, which combined with climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself.

The report, prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and released in summary form in Geneva on Thursday, found that the window to address the threat is closing rapidly. A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, according to the report.

Climate change will make those threats even worse, as floods, drought, storms, and other types of extreme weather threaten to disrupt, and over time shrink, the global food supply. Already, more than 10 percent of the world’s population remains undernourished, and some authors of the report warned in interviews that food shortages could lead to an increase in cross-border migration.

A particular danger is that food crises could develop on several continents at once, said Cynthia Rosenzweig, a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the lead authors of the report. “The potential risk of multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” she said. “All of these things are happening at the same time.”

The report also offered a measure of hope, laying out pathways to addressing the looming food crisis, though they would require a major reevaluation of land use and agriculture worldwide as well as consumer behavior. Proposals include increasing the productivity of land, wasting less food, and persuading more people to shift their diets away from cattle and other types of meat.

“One of the important findings of our work is that there are a lot of actions that we can take now. They’re available to us,” Rosenzweig said. “But what some of these solutions do require is attention, financial support, enabling environments.”

The summary was released Thursday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international group of scientists convened by the United Nations that pulls together a wide range of existing research to help governments understand climate change and make policy decisions. The IPCC is writing a series of climate reports, including one last year on the disastrous consequences if the planet’s temperature rises just 1.5 degrees Celsius above its preindustrial levels, as well as an upcoming report on the state of the world’s oceans.

Some authors also suggested that food shortages are likely to affect poorer parts of the world far more than richer ones. That could increase a flow of immigration that is already redefining politics in North America, Europe and other parts of the world.

“People’s lives will be affected by a massive pressure for migration,” said Pete Smith, a professor of plant and soil science at the University of Aberdeen and one of the report’s lead authors. “People don’t stay and die where they are. People migrate.”

Between 2010 and 2015 the number of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras showing up at the United States’ border with Mexico increased fivefold, coinciding with a dry period that left many with not enough food and was so unusual that scientists suggested it bears the signal of climate change.

Barring action on a sweeping scale, the report said, climate change will accelerate the danger of severe food shortages. As a warming atmosphere intensifies the world’s droughts, flooding, heat waves, wildfires, and other weather patterns, it is speeding up the rate of soil loss and land degradation, the report concludes.

Higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — a greenhouse gas put there mainly by the burning of fossil fuels — will also reduce food’s nutritional quality, even as rising temperatures cut crop yields and harm livestock.

Those changes threaten to exceed the ability of the agriculture industry to adapt.

In some cases, the report says, a changing climate is boosting food production because, for example, warmer temperatures will mean greater yields of some crops at higher latitudes. But on the whole, the report finds that climate change is already hurting the availability of food because of decreased yields and lost land from erosion, desertification and rising seas, among other things.

Overall, if emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise, so will food costs, according to the report, affecting people around the world.


White Supremacists are LEFTISTS

That's true historically and it's true right now

Leftists and the media (but I repeat myself) always assume that white supremacists belong on the conservative side of the aisle --  because white supremacism seems a lot like patriotism and it is undoubted that conservatives are the patriots.  Leftists tend to despise the society they live in.

But there is in fact a great gulf between thinking well of your own country and despising other people and countries.  The despising is the key. Leftists are the despisers and the haters.  They despise everyone -- including people different from themselves.

History makes the matter crystal clear.  The two great aggressive nationalists of the 20th century were Hitler and Mussolini.  Both regarded themselves as entitled to invade and conquer "lesser" races and nations.  But Mussolini was a prominent Marxist and Hitler named his political party as: The National Socialist German Worker's party, the Nazi party for short.  There is absolutely no doubt that the two were well and truly on the Left of their day. Many Leftists in their era were antisemitic and believers in eugenics -- FDR for one.  Hitler just applied German thoroughness to such ideas.  It's just Soviet disinformation that Hitler and Mussolini were "Right wing"

And nothing much has changed.  Just about all the mass shooters over the last few decades were Leftists.  The moment news of such shooters came out, the media labelled them all as conservative or "right wing" and blamed the GOP for their ravages.  In recent times you would think it was Donald Trump who pulled the trigger. 

But, after people had time to look into it, it almost always emerged that the shooter had Leftist sympathies and ideas.  Not all shooters had supremacist ideas but most seemed to have ideas  not far from that.  They certainly had big egos.

Conservatives are not supremacists.  It is Leftists who want to rule everybody.  Conservatives just want to get on with their own lives in peace.  It is only to resist the authoritarianism of the Left that conservatives get into politics.  It's just necessary self-protection.

I studied this matter for many years during my academic research career and I always found the same thing:  There was no correlation between patriotism and negative views about racial and other outgroups.  Being patriotic didn't make you a racist or any other "ist". See here and here and here and here

Girls and boys are taught science differently, new study finds

The predictable assumption below is that males and females have equal aptitude in science-related abilities such as methematics.

But all the tests reveal that they do not. There are some good female mathematicians but they are rare. Only one woman, an Iranian, has ever won the Fields medal. So people who assumed that science would be more difficult for girls were simply being realistic.

That was a common (stereotypical) belief but Gordon Allport pointed out back in the '30 that stereotypes tend to have a "kernel of truth".  See also here and here on that

Educators may treat girls differently in science and subconsciously rate them less academically capable than boys in physics, a newly published paper by Macquarie researcher Dr Carol Newall and colleagues suggests.

Unconscious bias: Eight-year-old Ava, Dr Newall's daughter, likes science but faces challenges pursuing a career in this field.

Her work underscores how societal stereotypes hamper more girls from studying science and perhaps partially explains why the Nobel Prize for Physics – awarded in October 2018 to Donna Strickland, Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada – has been won by only three women in its 117-year history.

Dr Newall’s research published in Contemporary Educational Psychology investigated what happened when the gender of a fictitious eight-year-old child was manipulated experimentally, and how this affected adults’ perceptions of the child's ability and enjoyment of science.

“We discovered that adults are already biased against girls by the time children are eight years old,” Newall says. “Even at that age, adults already have low expectations of girls’ potential in physics.”

In the experiment, Dr Newall and her colleagues asked 80 trainee teachers and psychology undergraduates to rate children’s academic capability based on common but fictional profiles of eight-year olds – girls who played with dolls; boys who played cricket and non-gender stereotyped children who liked swimming.

When a child was labelled a girl, most participants said she was less likely to be good at physics - and less likely to be interested in it. If she was stereotypically feminine, they also thought she would be less likely to be interested in any science.

Participants were also required to teach the fictional child a science lesson over Skype, but researchers manipulated the experiment so that the video connection was lost just as the trainees believed they were about to teach the child.

“They were asked to continue teaching the child and we just recorded them - and got some really interesting results,” says Dr Newall, lead author of the study. “When they knew they were teaching a girl, they used less scientific talk.”

She says it is likely the participants were unaware of their bias, and had they known they had taught girls and boys differently, they would be surprised.

“Actually we are all affected by societal subconscious biases. The only way we can change this is by a cultural gender shift.”

The numbers of girls who study HSC physics illustrates this. In the final year of high school, seven percent of girls and 23.5 percent of boys study physics, according to Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) figures.

In university, female enrolment in physics undergraduate degrees has dropped to 21 percent today from 27.6 percent in 2002. The figures are similar in American and British universities.

Women are also underrepresented as physics teachers in schools and universities, and researchers in public and private laboratories. Women physicists usually have lower seniority and earn less, the AIP says.

Dr Newall’s research may also explain why companies are struggling to hire more women for roles requiring Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills.




With their usual kneejerk reactions, the media were quick to blame the largely mythical white supremacists, people who don't even exist as any sort of identifiable group, as being the shooters.  But as usual, both shooters were in fact Leftists.  And a little digging soon revealed that truth.  But you had to get in quickly as Leftists rapidly changed the original sources to conceal the truth. Leftists lie as easily as they breathe

Connor Betts, the Dayton, Ohio mass shooter, was a self-described “leftist,” who wrote that he would happily vote for Democrat Elizabeth Warren, praised Satan, was upset about the 2016 presidential election results, and added, “I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.”

Betts’ Twitter profile read, “he/him / anime fan / metalhead / leftist / i’m going to hell and i’m not coming back.” One tweet on his page read, “Off to Midnight Mass. At least the songs are good. #athiestsonchristmas.” The page handle? I am the spookster. On one selfie, he included the hashtags, “#selfie4satan #HailSatan @SatanTweeting.” On the date of Republican Sen. John McCain’s death, he wrote, “F*ck John McCain.” He also liked tweets referencing the El Paso mass shooting in the hours before Dayton. The Twitter page contains multiple selfies of Betts.

On Nov. 2, 2018, he wrote: “Vote blue for gods sake.”

Twitter has now suspended the Twitter page, removing it. It was up for several hours after the mass shooting.

SOURCEBreitbart has more


MyLife is an American information brokerage founded in 2002 as Reunion.com. MyLife gathers personal information through public records and other sources to automatically generate a “MyLife Public Page” for each person, described by MyLife as a “complete Wikipedia-like biography on every American.”

At 2:50 PM leftists changed his political affiliation from Democrat to Republican. Screenshot of the original:

President Trump allowed himself to be bullied by the media into condemning white supremcists but he shouldn't have bothered. He should have attributed the shootings to the seething anger that underlies Leftism. History has shown us that murder does not trouble Leftists at all -- as we see from the mass murders they carry out when they get untrammeled power -- in Russia, China etc

The problem with Jordan Peterson

Andrea Seaman says he’s not nearly as pro-freedom and pro-reason as he thinks he is. But her criticisms are amazingly poorly informed.  Libel has never been protected free speech so when Peterson sues for libel, that tells you NOTHING about his attitude to free speech.

And his tracing of morality to evolution is a perfectly respectable idea in moral philosophy, indeed the increasingly dominant one.

And the fact that he has certain religious and spiritual ideas is again common among people with  scientific interests. That religion is incompatible with science is an old canard that religious people routinely reject.

So Andrea is using some very cheap shots indeed

Jordan Peterson, formerly an obscure professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, has become famous throughout the West. His popularity began with his opposition to oppressive legislation in Canada, which he argues can force people to use certain gender pronouns, and it peaked with the now famous Channel 4 News interview and the release of his book 12 Rules for Life. Peterson presents himself as a defender of science and reason against so-called social-justice warriors and the postmodern left, people who refuse to accept biological realities and the principle of free speech.

His rhetoric is certainly very powerful. His refusal to bow down before a torrent of criticism, from those attempting unjustly to paint him as a right-wing extremist, is inspiring. Combine this with his passionate entreaties towards men to ‘grow the hell up’, take on responsibility for their own lives, and stand straight with their shoulders back, and you can sense why he receives massive support from many young white men who feel besieged by a left that routinely labels them racist, homophobic and pillars of ‘the patriarchy’. This is Peterson’s positive side. Who can disagree with telling men – steeped in our modern culture of snowflakery, low ambitions and self-pity – to man up?

But there are two major problems with Peterson. First, his commitment to free speech is not nearly as strong as he thinks it is. Although he fiercely opposes hate-speech legislation and campus censorship, he has also launched a $1.5million defamation suit against Wilfrid Laurier University because some of its staff compared him to Hitler. Lindsay Shepherd, then a graduate student and teaching assistant at the university, recorded the comments, which were made in a private meeting, and then released them online. Peterson says his lawsuit is intended to ‘convince careless university professors and administrators… to be much more circumspect in their actions and their words’. So watch what you say, professors and administrators of Canada, or Peterson will set the law upon you!

He has since filed a second defamation suit for $1.75million against Wilfrid Laurier University. He argues that the university’s statement about his first lawsuit was libellous: the university claims that his original suit was unjustified because the publicity achieved by the exposés of the unfounded allegations against Peterson boosted his reputation. It also points out that his motivation in pursuing the suit is authoritarian, as demonstrated by his warning that professors and administrators should be more ‘circumspect’ in their words, and that, if anything, Peterson should be suing Shepherd, given she is the one who released the recording.

Peterson also allegedly threatened to sue Kate Manne, an associate professor at Cornell University in the US, the online news platform Vox and Cornell University, all for an interview Manne gave to Vox. In it, she described Peterson’s ideas as misogynistic, among other unflattering epithets. Given Peterson earns millions through his YouTube channel and his book deals, it seems unlikely he is pursuing these cases for the money. Maybe he, who likes to lament the thin-skinned nature of our society, just can’t handle criticism?

The second problem with Peterson is the weakness of his commitment to science and reason. He may continuously talk of ‘the scientific literature’ and the realities of our biological condition, but his understanding of (if not commitment to) science is fundamentally flawed.

Take his discussion of rats. He can’t stop referring to something apparently discovered by the neuroscientist and psychobiologist Jaak Panksepp – that in rats’ brains there is a ‘play circuit’. So, if one little rat play-wrestles with a bigger rat, relays Peterson, then the little rat will stop playing with the big one if the latter does not allow the former to win a certain number of times. This, he claims, is evidence of how ethics emerges out of nature. Ethics, he proposes, is something natural in our brains, as in those of rats. Morality, he suggests, is a product of our neural activity, which tells us how to act.

Peterson here is blurring the line between science and morality. It may well be that the small rat stops playing if the big rat beats it every time. But that is simply how it is, not how it should be. The former is the domain of science, the latter is the domain of ethics. To see ethics in the mechanical workings of nature and unfree beasts is as unscientific as discovering the hand of God in His supposed creation. Morality is simply not an object of scientific investigation. Its existence and properties cannot be proven or disproven by empirical methods.

In this, Peterson reveals that he is mired in scientism, rather than science – and a particularly strange form of scientism at that. He mixes investigation of the material world with investigation of the non-material world, to the detriment of both. He has suggested that ancient depictions of entwined snakes foreshadowed the discovery of the DNA double helix. Here spiritual experiences apparently offer insight into the real nature of fundamental parts of our biological being, and vice versa. It’s almost Deepak Chopra.

For a man so fixated on being academically rigorous, fact-based and reasoned, Peterson talks a lot about spirits, gods, dreams and mysticism. He has suggested that psychedelics can bring on ‘transcendent’ and ‘metaphysical’ experiences. This type of superstition was the very thing the Age of Reason tried to extinguish. Peterson fatally combines science with mysticism. Often when he talks about science he becomes mystical, and then tries to back it up with deep evolutionary or scientific ‘truths’.

It is invigorating to see Peterson fill up stadiums with many people of my generation, capturing their positive spirit of rebellion against PC orthodoxy. But we should be sceptical next time he presents himself as a warrior for free speech, or cites ‘the scientific literature’, or some primeval spirit or other. He’s not nearly as pro-freedom and pro-reason as he thinks he is.


Censored! Climate skepticism "violates community standards", says Facebook

How do I know?  I found out when I tried to put up the post immediately below on my Facebook page. In the post I originally gave a link to a previous post of mine on Greenie Watch seven years ago.  That was when I was instantly told that the post violated community standards.  It was only when I deleted the link to Greenie Watch that I was allowed to put up the post.

As it happened, it didn't hold me up for long.  I had the same post up on another site. So I just used the link to the second site in the post below.  If you open the link you will see that site.  The "banned" link is here

This should be concerning to all climate skeptics.  Can we be heard?

The terrible truth of climate change

The author excerpted below, Joëlle Gergis, is a r*tbag. Only that colloquial Australian expression about rodents serves to describe her adequately.  She trusts models rather than the facts.  So she is of course highly regarded and highly awarded. She is in the elite of Australian climate scientists.  She is a High Priest among them.

The hysterical rave below is entirely based on the output of models, models with no known predictive skill.  And if you want to see how she deals with facts, see here

The only fact she mentions below is the CO2 concentration. She assumes that CO2 levels are a proxy for temperature when they clearly are not  The two very rarely track one another, so an assumption that they will do so this time is heroic, to put it politely

As one of the dozen or so Australian lead authors on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) sixth assessment report, currently underway, I have a deep appreciation of the speed and severity of climate change unfolding across the planet. Last year I was also appointed as one of the scientific advisers to the Climate Council, Australia’s leading independent body providing expert advice to the public on climate science and policy. In short, I am in the confronting position of being one of the few Australians who sees the terrifying reality of the climate crisis.

One common metric used to investigate the effects of global warming is known as “equilibrium climate sensitivity”, defined as the full amount of global surface warming that will eventually occur in response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations compared to pre-industrial times. It’s sometimes referred to as the holy grail of climate science because it helps quantify the specific risks posed to human society as the planet continues to warm.

We know that CO2 concentrations have risen from pre-industrial levels of 280 parts per million (ppm) to approximately 410 ppm today, the highest recorded in at least three million years. Without major mitigation efforts, we are likely to reach 560 ppm by around 2060.

When the IPCC’s fifth assessment report was published in 2013, it estimated that such a doubling of CO2 was likely to produce warming within the range of 1.5 to 4.5°C as the Earth reaches a new equilibrium. However, preliminary estimates calculated from the latest global climate models (being used in the current IPCC assessment, due out in 2021) are far higher than with the previous generation of models. Early reports are predicting that a doubling of CO2 may in fact produce between 2.8 and 5.8°C of warming. Incredibly, at least eight of the latest models produced by leading research centres in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and France are showing climate sensitivity of 5°C or warmer.

The model runs aren’t all available yet, but when many of the most advanced models in the world are independently reproducing the same disturbing results, it’s hard not to worry.
To restrict warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, the world needs to triple its current emission reduction pledges. If that’s not bad enough, to restrict global warming to 1.5°C, global ambition needs to increase fivefold.

But these days my grief is rapidly being superseded by rage. Volcanically explosive rage. Because in the very same IPCC report that outlines the details of the impending apocalypse, the climate science community clearly stated that limiting warming to 1.5°C is geophysically possible.

Although the very foundation of human civilisation is at stake, the world is on track to seriously overshoot our UN targets. Worse still, global carbon emissions are still rising. In response, scientists are prioritising research on how the planet has responded during other warm periods in the Earth’s history.


The Asian Century Is Over

Beset by conflicts, stagnating economies, and political troubles, the region no longer looks set to rule the world -- says Michael Auslin.  It is a most iconoclastic article but clearly makes some important points.

I am inclined to take a middle road on the matter.  Auslin is clearly right that cultural rigidities could hold China back and the failure of Japan to make much progress in the 21st century is a clear warning sign that Asian economies are far from miracle economies once they pass a certain point.  They approach an economic asymptote

The arrival of President Xi in China could well strangle China.  He represents the end of the Dengist era and a return to traditional Chinese authoritarian government.  He is getting close to becoming Emperor Xi.  My Sinophilic friends despair of him.  He is a definite roadblock to China's progress towards becoming a modern developed nation. And, sadly for China, there seems to be an iron law that an authoritarian nation will never be a rich one.  Even the DDR only ever approached midddle-income status, with its GDP per capita being only half the West German figure

ON THE OTHER HAND:  If Maoism ended, might not the same be true of Xi-ism?  How fragile is Xi's position?  He strives mightily to strengthen it but who knows how well he will last?  Could it be that the experience of prosperity and the taste of freedom might make enough forces in China bold enough to overthrow him in favour of a return to Dengism?

Though even Dengism had its limits.  Large State-owned businesses continued and were never very efficient.  And the party never looked even close to relinquishing control.  It could be that even Dengism cannot break the asymptote; it perhaps cannot support the final stages of modernization.

My take on China has been influenced by a positive "law" that is at least as strong as the negative law that authoritarian nations do not prosper economically.  I am referring to the stark correlation between national wealth and national average IQ.  And China has a VERY high national average IQ.  We always thought that once China threw off the dead weight of socialism it would prosper.  And exactly that happened up until recently. But is a high national IQ sufficient to rein in authoritarian rule?  The auguries are not good -- UNLESS China undergoes a significant FALL in living standards.  That would undoubtedly be energizing  -- JR.

The air forces of four of Asia’s leading powers nearly came to blows in the skies over the Sea of Japan, or East Sea, last week. As Russia and China conducted their first joint aerial patrol, South Korean fighters fired more than 300 warning shots at a Russian command and control aircraft that crossed into South Korea’s air defense identification zone. Meanwhile, Japanese fighters scrambled in case Japanese territory came under fire.

The unprecedented encounter was just one more reminder of the risks that threaten peace in the Indo-Pacific—and that the “Asian Century,” once heralded by writers such as Kishore Mahbubani and Martin Jacques, is ending far faster than anyone could have predicted. From a dramatically slowing Chinese economy to showdowns over democracy in Hong Kong and a new cold war between Japan and South Korea, the dynamism that was supposed to propel the region into a glorious future seems to be falling apart.

Asia’s geopolitical turbulence has been long in the making. In fact, the region’s weaknesses were for decades ignored by those certain that China would dominate the world, that the region would begin to manifest a shared sense of “Asian values,” that the United States’ influence was on the wane, and that the global future would be determined more in Beijing and New Delhi than in Washington. But underneath the region’s glittering new cities, the foundations of its rise were already beginning to crack.

Enter an earthquake. U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing, including 25 percent tariffs on nearly half of China’s exports to the United States, accelerated China’s economic decline. The country’s growth rate last quarter was the slowest in nearly three decades, since its economy took off in the early 1990s. Even if the 6.2 percent growth figure can be trusted, it reveals not only the effect of Trump’s trade actions but the general weakness of an economy in which meaningful reform has stalled and inefficiencies are as prevalent as ever.

Chinese exports to America have collapsed. Its exports to the rest of the world have shrunk, too. Meanwhile, dozens of major companies, from Google to Dell, are reducing or eliminating their production in China, exacerbating the slowdown and reshaping global supply chains. Worse for China’s economic future, perhaps, is a recent report that the country’s total debt, from corporations, households, and the government, now tops 300 percent of GDP—and much of it is caught up in opaque and complicated transactions that could become a ticking time bomb.

It isn’t only China that faces economic travails.It isn’t only China that faces economic travails. In developed nations, such as South Korea and Japan, sluggishness continues despite years of reform, while India’s once red-hot growth has halved in recent years, raising questions about how much further it can develop a middle class. Such fears are prevalent throughout Southeast Asia, as well.
Economics are just part of the problem. China’s ongoing attempts to squeeze Hong Kong and Taiwan’s democracies reveal just how tenuous political stability in the region really is. In Hong Kong, seven weeks of anti-China, pro-democracy protests are coming dangerously close to forcing Beijing to decide whether or not to intervene. If it deploys troops to restore order, it could lead to the bloodiest clashes since Tiananmen Square 30 years ago.

Even democracies in Asia are sailing in dangerous waters. Japan and South Korea are perilously close to a complete rupture in relations, thanks to Seoul’s continued pressing of World War II claims through its courts. Tokyo has responded by cutting the supply of chemicals critical for Korea’s electronics industry. In late 2018, Japan claimed that a South Korean naval vessel turned its fire-control radar on a Japanese patrol aircraft, nearly precipitating a military crisis. Meanwhile, Vietnam is facing off against China over oil exploration in the South China Sea, with maritime vessels shadowing and intimidating each other.

Conflicts in the region are also threatening security around the world. Despite three rounds of presidential summits, North Korea remains a nuclear-capable state that is also engaged in online offensives around the world. The global battle over civil liberties is also tilting toward greater state control, in part through China’s perfection of high-tech surveillance systems that it is keen to export, even to Western democracies. Many believe that Huawei, among other Chinese companies, is a security risk for any nation adopting its technology. And the FBI has warned that China is the greatest espionage threat to the United States, on campuses, in Washington, and in major corporations.

U.S. policymakers bet that China’s economic modernization and peaceful rise would lead to an era of global prosperity and cooperation. That was wrong.

U.S. policymakers bet that China’s economic modernization and peaceful rise would lead to an era of global prosperity and cooperation, linking advanced economies in Asia with consumers in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. That was wrong. Similarly, years of attempts to bring U.S. allies Japan and South Korea closer together have foundered. It is time for a reconsideration of Asia’s future.