Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Allyagottado Folks and the Sleep-Inducing Speed Limits

In the space of five hours, one day in March 2015, one single radar of the Danish police on a tiny part of the Copenhagen highway earned (sic) so much money that it made headlines in the press of Denmark. But what was telling was not that the authorities had earned two million Danish Crowns ($290,000!) in less than a quarter of a day, it was that — although Ekstrabladet was of course oblivious to this — there had not been a single traffic fatality at that point that day, let alone a single accident.

There cannot be 35 different ways of interpreting that piece of news. If it doesn't suggest that speed limits are a scam — or at the very least that they are (far) too low — you can call me King Alfred the Great.
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Not only is there a clear racket associated with the radar scheme — if this does not fit the definition of the word extortion, than what meaning does that word have? —  but governments of all states and countries and on all territorial levels could be charged with going against their raison d'être (the protection of the populace) and making the road more dangerous for all.

What is the first cause of mortality on highways throughout the world, and certainly throughout the West? Contrary to what Kim du Toit and many of his readers seem to believe, it ain't speed (speed kills, right?). It is drowsiness. It is sleepiness.

What causes sleepiness, or drowsiness, if it's not a sleep-inducing speed limit (or, rather a sleep-inducing slowness limit)?

How old are these speed slowness limits, anyway? In many parts of the world, they haven't changed, or barely, since their introduction in the early 1970s — almost a half-century ago. Indeed, one can speculate whether the 55-mile-an-hour limit would not have remained the same in America if some states had not led a revolt against the federal limit in until it was overturned the 1990s. (You don't believe that cars are much different from 44 years ago? Okay. Do you know what a telephone from the 1970s looks like? Try comparing it — turn that dial! — with the cel phone that you use today and see if you can spot any differences.)

Why were speed limits introduced in the first place? For safety reasons? No, they were introduced on purely economic grounds — in response to the OPEC-created oil crisis of 1972 and 1973. Throughout the West, the measure came with promises that it would be dismantled within a year or so — certainly one of the most egregious example of bureaucratic creep in the history of the world. (Why would Americans agree to so low, to so ridiculous, a limit as 55 mph unless it was because it was believed to be a temporary measure?).

Now, a word for Kim du Toit and all the people who reflexively defend the authorities — I am speaking of those I call the Allyagottado folks — who, normally (apparently, with this exception), are people on the political left (Allyagottado is respect the speed limit, Allyagottado is never pass 55 [or whatever] mph, Allyagottado is spend two to three hours more on the road (while increasing the number of vehicles on said roads and therefore the risks of a bottleneck and therefore those of an accident), Allyagottado is not fall asleep at the wheel, Allyagottado is not be (never be) late, Allyagottado is — humbly — pay your (well-deserved) fines, etc):

The basic thought of the Allyagottado folks, the true wish and desire of the Allyagottado folks — whether they are among our leaders or among the population —is that citizens are, or that they should become, automatons, robots.

With airbags, ABS brakes, and other modernities, shouldn't the speed limit be raised (albeit only on highways, of course)? On Germany's Autobahn (no speed limit at all on most of the network), after all, driving up to, and past, 100 mph is a lark, and the Germans have lower death-per-million fatalities than many other neighboring EU countries.

What people do not realize is that the vast majority of people who get tickets for speeding don't do so because they have been careless or unconscious or dangerous or scofflaws. On the contrary, most of the time they have been perfectly responsible.

Indeed, the very reason that the vast majority of drivers are ticketed is PRECISELY because they are acting responsibly, conscious of the environment and concentrated, with their eyes are fixed on… the road.

Think about it.

Responsible driving for any person using his brains and common sense, is 1) looking primarily at the road and 2) watching out for moving entities (other vehicles, pedestrians, animals, etc…) — which signal the presence of humans or other living beings.

What the Allyagottado folks demand is for us to 1) look primarily at the interior of the vehicle (the dashboard and its various tachometers) and 2) watch out for fixed objects (traffic signs, etc), lifeless objects with no soul.
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Which way of driving is the most intelligent?

Which of the two drivers is more caring for his fellow beings?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Danish girl who volunteered to fight against Isis terrorists in Syria and Iraq faces prison for violating a travel ban meant to hamstring supporters of Isis terrorists


A Danish woman who volunteered in Syria and Iraq to fight against Isis faces six months in prison for violating a travel ban 
reports the Independent's Lizzie Dearden.
Joanna Palani has been taken into custody while Copenhagen City Court hears her case, which has divided Denmark.

The 23-year-old insists she poses no security risk and had been fighting with Kurdish groups aligned with the US-led coalition, which includes Denmark.

But she has fallen foul of laws allowing the imposition of travel bans and seizing of passports for Danes planning to join foreign conflicts – on whatever side.

Palani’s lawyer, Erbil Kaya, told the Berlingske newspaper his client admitted violating a one-year travel ban imposed by Danish authorities.

 … Palani, whose father and grandfather were Peshmerga fighters, is of Iranian Kurdish ancestry and moved to Copenhagen as a toddler after being born in an UN refugee camp in Ramadi, Iraq, during the Gulf War.

She told Vice she left university in autumn 2014 to join the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, wanting to defeat Isis, President Bashar al-Assad and “fight for human rights for all people”.

Palani fought for the YPG for six months before moving to Iraq to fight for the Kurdish Peshmerga. Both groups have been supported by the US and allies in the battle against Isis, being given military and air support as the ground arm of the international coalition’s bombing campaign.

As well as fighting on the front line against Isis militants, she claimed to have been part of a battalion that freed women and children held as sex slaves by the so-called Islamic State near its stronghold of Mosul.

Palani was active on social media and news of her role spread in Denmark. When she was given a fortnight off by the Peshmerga to visit her family in 2015, the Danish authorities cracked down.

A police notice warned Palani her passport had was not valid and would be revoked if she left the country, an offence punishable with a jail sentence.

The former student has criticised the Danish authorities for pursuing her under laws targeting Isis militants and other extremists.

Denmark’s Security and Intelligence Service (PET) said at least 115 Danes have travelled to fight in Syria and Iraq in the past five years, with most believed to have joined Isis.

“How can I pose a threat to Denmark and other countries by being a soldier in an official army that Denmark trains and supports directly in the fight against the Islamic State?” she wrote on Facebook when she lost her passport, according to a translation by The Local.

Monday, April 24, 2017

"The entire machinery of the French state did everything in its power to undermine the competitors of Macron, Hollande's successor"

From Moscow and San Francisco, Isabelle Mandraud and Corine Lesnes have been reporting for Le Monde on the first round of French elections as seen from abroad. If anybody shouldn't be trusted outright, it's the Russians, but here they seem to have nailed it outright:
Dmitri Kissilev, présentateur vedette de la grande émission d’actualité du dimanche soir sur Perviy Kanal, la première chaîne russe, a lancé : « Au cours de la campagne, toute la machine de l’Etat français a fait tout son possible pour compromettre les concurrents de Macron, le successeur de Hollande… » Plus tôt dans la journée, la chaîne de télévision de l’armée, Zvezda, annonçait « Macron et Le Pen en tête » sur la foi d’estimations annoncées depuis la Belgique, avec cet ajout, sans détour et en français dans le texte : #JeVoteMarine.

Cité sur cette même chaîne, le politologue Alexeï Moukhine expliquait : « Marine Le Pen a reçu un soutien évident de la Russie (…) un soutien purement politique, pas technique. En ce qui concerne Macron, c’est l’establishment américain qui le soutient, en partie démocrate. » Une vision binaire partagée. « L’élite », peu importe qu’elle soit française ou américaine, a fait barrage aux yeux de Moscou. Le sénateur Alexeï Pouchkov, parfaitement francophone, résumait ainsi sur Twitter : « L’élite française a tenté d’écarter Fillon de la course (…) et elle y est parvenue. »
According to Perviy Kanal, therefore, "the French élite attempted to derail François Fillon, and it was successful." Indeed, "the entire machinery of the French state did everything in its power to undermine the competitors of Emmanuel Macron, the successor to François Hollande."

While everybody is talking about the demise of the Socialist Party (a dismal 6.3%), it seems quite evident that the Socialists, having no illusions that they would crash, put in a sacrificial candidate (Benoît Hamon, which explains why President Hollande refused to run and why Prime Minister Manuel Valls "lost" the primary), while more or less stealthily supporting a plant in an "independent" party. In this, it was vital that the rightist candidate also be a loser, which was taken care of with the irruption of "scandals" regarding practices that are in fact quite common throughout the French political spectrum.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Quelle ironie du sort: sur 11 candidats à l'élection présidentielle, 9 affichent clairement leurs penchants léninistes et leurs programmes marxisants. Sommes-nous en 2017 ou en 1917?

Alors qu'en Amérique, le Communist Party USA compte de plus en plus d'adhérents, Bogdan Calinescu (alias l'essayiste Nicolas Lecaussin, merci à Carine) qui a connu la dictature de Ceausescu en Roumanie, met en garde contre les candidats d'extrême gauche avant le premier tour de l'élection présidentielle en France et l'état marxisant qu'ils souhaitent mettre en place.
Quand je suis arrivé en France au début des années 1990, je pensais avoir laissé derrière moi le cauchemar de l'idéologie communiste. Je pensais ne plus revivre l'atmosphère sombre et pesante de l'époque, la tension et la peur permanentes, les files interminables devant les magasins vides et les pénuries - de la boîte d'allumettes jusqu'au papier hygiénique - et cette sensation terrible qu'on ne s'en sortirait jamais. Je croyais que c'en était fini des deux heures de télé par jour sur la seule chaîne, deux heures consacrées en grande partie au «Conducator bien aimé», le dictateur Ceausescu.

Enfant, je voyais mon père, intellectuel, enseignant la littérature française, prendre d'énormes risques en critiquant le régime et je me rappelle très bien comment, lors d'une perquisition de la police politique chez nous, à 6 heures du matin, il avait réussi à glisser dans mon cartable, avant que je ne parte à l'école, quelques documents «compromettants» qui auraient pu lui coûter cher… En les déposant chez un ami de la famille qui les a brûlés tout de suite, j'avais - déjà, à 13 ans - la satisfaction d'avoir accompli l'acte d'un véritable résistant au régime. Malgré l'ubuesque et l'impitoyable dictature de Ceausescu, j'ai eu la chance de grandir dans une atmosphère francophile, j'ai eu la chance de pouvoir déchiffrer le monde libre, sa littérature, son actualité.

Plus de 25 ans après la chute du communisme, je suis en train de vivre une expérience que je n'aurais jamais pensé retrouver: la France, mon pays de cœur et d'adoption, manifeste une sympathie incorrigible pour les idées communistes que je n'ai cessé de combattre depuis mon enfance! Quelle ironie du sort: en 2017, sur onze candidats à l'élection présidentielle, neuf affichent clairement leurs penchants léninistes et leurs programmes marxisants. Sommes-nous en 2017 ou en 1917?

Je me souviens très bien du moment où la France est devenue pour moi l'objectif à atteindre, l'endroit où je devais absolument vivre. Adolescent, je suis tombé sur ce texte de Rudyard Kipling qui, en 1878, à l'âge de 12 ans, visite Paris avec son père. Il a l'occasion de grimper dans la statue de la Liberté qui n'avait pas encore été envoyée à New York. En regardant de l'intérieur à travers ses yeux, il comprend: «C'était par les yeux de la France que je commençais à voir»… Des années plus tard, en 1922, lors d'un discours à la Royal Society of St. George, ce grand amoureux de la France affirmait: «Les Français représentent le seul autre (avec les Anglais) peuple dans le monde qui compte.»

Néanmoins, l'Angleterre devrait suivre l'exemple de la France… Et Kipling d'énumérer les atouts de notre pays: l'éthique du travail, son économie, la simplicité, l'autodiscipline et la discipline extérieure ainsi que «la vie rude qui fortifie l'être moral». «La France est un exemple pour le monde entier»!

Quel décalage avec la France d'aujourd'hui! Un pays qui fait la couverture des magazines pour son taux de chômage qui bat des records ou pour sa bureaucratie sans équivalent dans les grands pays riches et démocratiques. Un pays dont l'économie étouffe sous la pression d'un État omniprésent et qui voit ses jeunes partir en masse à l'étranger. Un pays qui a envoyé aux oubliettes les vraies valeurs de l'école et les a remplacées par le pédagogisme et la sociologie égalitariste de Pierre Bourdieu ; une école phagocytée par les syndicats de gauche qui n'acceptent aucune réforme et par des enseignants complètement éloignés du monde de l'entreprise. Un pays qui chasse les jeunes, les chefs d'entreprise, les riches et qui n'attire plus les élites. Un pays dirigé par une classe politique en très grande partie déconsidérée et biberonnée à l'étatisme. Un pays où un parti dit d'extrême droite puise son programme dans les idées marxistes et obtient des scores électoraux impressionnants, un pays où plusieurs autres partis et candidats, enfin, se déclarent ouvertement communistes.

Quel est ce pays qui renie ses racines chrétiennes et ses valeurs historiques? Qui a transformé l'antilibéralisme et l'antiaméricanisme en repères moraux? Qui passe son temps à insulter l'Europe et les présidents américains, parfaits boucs émissaires, et dresse des lauriers à des criminels comme Mao, Castro ou Che Guevara? Je me souviendrai toujours de ce que m'avait dit l'intellectuel Philippe Sollers lorsque je lui avais demandé pourquoi il avait été maoïste: «C'était de la poésie», m'avait-il répondu en balayant d'un revers de main sa sympathie pour le plus grand criminel de l'Histoire. Alors, les admirateurs d'Hitler, c'était aussi de la poésie? En France, le socialisme a toujours baigné dans la bienveillance, alors que le libéralisme a toujours souffert d'une présomption d'injustice et de culpabilité.

L'étatisme marxisant bénéficie de la clause de l'idéologie la plus favorisée et c'est ce qui tue la France encore aujourd'hui. D'autres pays s'en sont sortis, en saisissant toutes les bouées de sauvetage que nous, nous repoussons. Souffririons-nous du syndrome de Stockholm à l'échelle nationale? D'une inconscience infantile qui pourrait se révéler lourde de conséquences? Où est la France de mon enfance?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Had the Founders selected direct popular vote as the means for electing a President, the residents of one state (California) would have dictated the choice to the other 49

In the third of twenty-five weekly articles in The Tennessee Star’s Constitution Series (thanks to Instapundit), the Tennessee Star addresses The Electoral College and the Selection of the President.
In recent years, a number of political figures and commentators have criticized the Electoral College and want the President selected by direct popular vote.

Four times since 1868, the first year in which all states selected Electors by some form of popular vote, the candidate who received the most popular vote did not win the Electoral College, and therefore was not elected President.

 … In our most recent Presidential Election of 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton received 48 percent of the popular vote to Republican Donald Trump’s 46 percent. But Trump was elected President because he won the majority of the Electoral College votes, 304 to 227 (7 Electoral College votes were split between other candidates).

Clinton’s popular vote margin of 2.8 million was the highest of any Presidential candidate who won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College vote (though her 2 percent margin was less than Samuel Tilden’s 3 percent margin in 1876), and therefore the Presidency.

A closer look at the state by state breakdown of the 2016 Presidential Election results reveals the wisdom of the Founding Fathers in establishing an Electoral College method for selecting a President.

Hillary Clinton won the state of California resoundingly, beating Donald Trump there by more than 4.2 million votes – a 61 percent to 31 percent thumping.

Had the Founders selected direct popular vote as the means for electing a President, the residents of California would have dictated to the other 49 states who would have served as our President.

Looking at the total combined vote in the other 49 states, Donald Trump won 1.4 more million votes than Hillary Clinton, taking 58.5 million votes to her 57.1 million votes.

But because of the Electoral College, Hillary Clinton’s huge vote margin in California earned her the state’s 55 Electoral College votes, and no more.

The Founding Fathers had an idea that the Electors would be of a high personal character, wisdom, and intelligence, and would exercise those qualities in their selection.

They also hoped against the development of factions and competing political powers, a hope in retrospect was inevitably bound to be disappointed, given the foibles of human nature.
Related to the Electoral College: The 2016 Vote and the Electoral College System Explained — With Help from the European Union

Friday, April 21, 2017

Each time a Muslim terror attack occurs, journalists attempt to lead the public through what can only be called a coping ritual; a ritual divided into four stages


Two horrific suicide bombings, in two different cities, two hours apart—this is how Egyptian Christians began Holy Week. 
Thus writes Benny Huang, as he seemed to be predicting the Thursday terrorist attack in Paris.
In the cities of Tawra and Alexandria, Muslim terrorists stormed Coptic churches where they proceeded to blow themselves to a fine pink mist while taking 44 worshippers with them. These two attacks followed last December’s horrific suicide bombing at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Cairo that killed 29.

Does Egypt have a problem with Islamic violence? Not according to Egypt’s most prominent clergyman, Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb, who holds the prestigious title of Grand Imam of al-Azhar. At a conference in Cairo last month, al-Tayeb said that the incidence of Muslim violence around the world is rather unremarkable:
“There is an obvious double standard in the world’s judgment of Islam on the one hand, and [its judgment of] Christianity and Judaism on the other, despite the fact that all are guilty of one and the same thing, that is, religious violence and terrorism.”
The point al-Tayeb is trying to make is pretty straightforward: that people are quick to chide Muslims for terrorism when in fact the terror problem cuts across religious lines. Clearly all of this talk about terrorism must be a cloak for bigotry. If people were truly concerned with eradicating terrorism they would condemn it wherever it’s found. The fact that they don’t exposes their hypocrisy.

 … The “double standard” accusation is a serious one that was likely intended to disarm Westerners who are notoriously sensitive about treating others with bias. But is there really a double standard in the way we perceive Muslim violence compared to other kinds? Yes, there is—just not in the way that the Grand Imam suggests. Each time a Muslim terror attack occurs, journalists attempt to lead the public through what can only be called a coping ritual. The ritual has four stages.
  
The first of these is the “let’s not jump to conclusions” stage in which reporters take great pains not to assume that the attacker is a Muslim just because his name happens to be Abdul or Muhammad or even because he yelled “Allahu Akbar” moments before his killing spree began. Then, when it turns out that he is a Muslim, reporters wonder if his religious affiliation might have been incidental to the attack—which it rarely ever is. In the second stage, the shortest of the four, reporters actually acknowledge the attack and its motive before quickly moving on to the third stage. I’ll call this the “Muslims fear backlash” stage, and it’s characterized by stories about hijab-snatchings (that usually turn out to be hoaxes) or Muslims getting dirty looks in the street. It isn’t even necessary to find any actual incidents of backlash after an attack because the fear of a backlash, not the backlash itself, is the real story. The fourth and final stage is when reporters begin to ask how the right-wing might “exploit” the story. This serves as a warning that taking action to stave off civilizational demise is somehow letting the terrorists win.

So yes, there’s a double standard. No other kind of terrorist attack is reported this way.

But that’s not what Ahmed al-Tayeb meant by a “double standard.” What he meant was that Muslims, Christians, and Jews commit proportional amounts of terrorism but Westerners seem only to notice or care about the Muslim variety. This is a truly extraordinary theory and one that I have often tried to test. Every time there is a Muslim terrorist attack anywhere in the world—and they’re happening now at a rate of several per month—I ask myself if there were other attacks committed in the name of other faiths that the media failed to report or I failed to notice.

Let’s start with the Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt. Have there been any comparable attacks carried out by Christians against mosques? Nope. The only one that I could find occurred this January not in Egypt but in Canada. The alleged perpetrator, Alexandre Bissonnette, appears to be an anti-immigrant nationalist and a fan of Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen but not particularly religious.

To be sure, the Canadian mosque attack was terrorism but it was also anomalous and not religiously inspired. There is no equivalence between Bissonnette and the suicide bombers who attacked two churches on Palm Sunday, and even if there were it wouldn’t begin to balance out the countless other terror attacks that have occurred in recent weeks.

 … Presumably all of these attacks have proportional counterparts committed in the name of other faiths, right? No, they don’t. Though Lutherans represent the largest religious group in Sweden, there has never to my knowledge been a Lutheran terrorist attack in that country or any other. Likewise there are no Russian Orthodox suicide bombers. There is no Anglican approximation of ISIS. If the Muslims don’t have a complete monopoly on religious terror, they’re pretty darned close.
  
Yet terror-deniers never tire of trying to draw some kind of false equivalence between Muslim terrorism and other kinds, no matter how much of a stretch it is. They often deny or downplay Muslim terrorism, or they assume that every white terrorist is both Christian and religiously motivated, or they blame Christians for Muslim terrorism.

 … The cliché that “Terror Knows No Religion” sums up [the leftists'] vapid sentiment pretty well.

Yes it’s true that not all Muslims are terrorists. And yes it’s true that not all terrorists are Muslim, though an absurdly high proportion of the religious variety are. What cannot be denied, however, is that the overlapping between these two groups—Muslims on the one hand and terrorists on the other—is very real. Those who choose not to see it are willfully blind, which isn’t a virtue. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

BREAKING! Paris Hit by a Terrorist Attack, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées Is Evacuated and Sealed Off

Two days before the first round in the 2017 presidential election, a terrorist attack hit Paris on its most famous avenue, leading to the death of one policeman, the wounding of two colleagues, and the complete evacuation of the Champs-Élysées.

The terrorist, who (surprise) was known to the police, is dead as well, gunned down when the fellow cops in the police van he tried emptying his Kalashnikov on returned fire. Islamic State (IS) said that one of its "fighters" had carried out the attack.

Only days ago, Abu-Yusuf al-Baljiki had been interrogated by the police, in response to rumors that he was known to have voiced a desire to buy weapons to kill police officers with. Due to the fact that he was not thought to be a real threat, he had been released.

DEVELOPING: One police officer was killed and another was wounded [actually, two others were — severely — wounded] when a gunman opened fire late Thursday on the famed Champs-Élysées shopping district in Paris, officials said.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press that the attacker, who is believed to have acted alone, targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station at the center of the avenue popular with tourists.
The French Interior Ministry said the shooting attack "deliberately targeted" police officers guarding the area. Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a car and opened fire on the police vehicle.
The attacker was known by secret service in France, officials confirmed to Fox News. Police sources told France 24 searches are currently ongoing at the home of the gunman killed in the attack.
 

Turning science into a narrative: For decades, the Left has been attempting to equate its political goals with Science Itself

Although is, and has been, a Carl Sagan fan "from way back", he cannot avert his eyes from How Carl Sagan Ruined Science.
 … we’ve had nearly forty years to assess the long-term impact and see how Sagan unwittingly contributed to a trend that has served to muddle public understanding of science.

 … that’s the problem. The “March for Science” is an attempt to equate the political goals of the left with Science Itself, claiming the intellectual and moral authority of science for the left’s agenda.

 … Science has its own unique language and methods: the language of mathematics and a method of systematic observation and experimentation. The reason science tends to be opaque to the public is because it ultimately requires that they understand its language and learn to use its methods. But how do you communicate the history and meaning of science to those who don’t yet speak its language? You turn science into something they can understand. You make into a narrative, a story.

In Sagan’s case, he mostly turned it into a story about brave and honest scientific pioneers fighting against the forces of superstition and obscurantism. He made it into a narrative of good guys versus bad guys, of the forces of light and progress against closed-minded reactionaries. This was sometimes oversimplified, but it wasn’t entirely wrong; the religious authorities who persecuted Galileo definitely weren’t the good guys. But Sagan fell into the temptation to make this narrative about science fit just a little too closely with the agenda of conventional late-20th-century liberalism, so he used “Cosmos” as a platform for the Cold-War-era moral equivalence of the “anti-nuclear” movement and for homilies about environmentalism.

“Cosmos” is an interesting intellectual time capsule, because it was broadcast just at the point when predictions of global environmental catastrophe were tipping between global cooling and global warming. So he presented the two as equally likely scenarios that required further study (and, of course, massive government funding). But this is the point at which he dropped his guard, forgot his own admonitions about following the evidence wherever it leads, and indulged the conceit that science would just happen to line up neatly with his own political preferences. Because what he didn’t do was to entertain the possibility that human being aren’t destroying the planet and we aren’t cruising toward planetary catastrophe. He literally does not even consider this null hypothesis as a possibility.

It was a glaring hole in scientific objectivity, but it set the path for the popularizers of science who would follow in his footsteps. He had fixed the narrative in place, and they followed it.

… If you don’t really need science and all you need is the narrative, then what you get is our own era’s official replacement for Carl Sagan: Neil deGrasse Tyson. As the decades pass by, Sagan’s imitators become less thoughtful and more propagandistic, less interested in conveying the actual scientific method and more concerned with just telling the public what to think. It’s also about making those who accept the approved “pro-science” political agenda feel that they are superior to all of those ignorant, knuckle-dragging bigots who disagree with them. It equates science, not just with the politics of the left, but with the left’s attitude of smug condescension. That’s how you get Tyson’s fake-but-accurate narratives or the meme-swapping superficiality of the IFL Science crowd.

That’s also how we get things like the March for Science, in which it is naturally assumed that defending science dovetails perfectly with the left’s “resistance” against the current administration and every part of its agenda. It reduces science to a narrow political pose and blinds people to its big questions and radically different method of inquiry.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Democrats only believe that inappropriate Holocaust references are bad when it comes out of a Republican mouth


Sean Spicer the President’s press secretary … made inappropriate Holocaust statements twice during the same press briefing … neither [of which] was made out of maliciousness
writes Jeff Dunetz.
Both were atrocious. … Almost immediately Sean Spicer realized what he said, issued an apology, and went on more than one news network making televised apologies,
“I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad had made against his own people last week, using chemical weapons and gas. Frankly, I mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison. And for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that.”
He made a mistake, but he didn’t obfuscate, instead owned up to it and apologized. However, the apology didn’t matter– throughout that day and the next one also, the pile-on continued despite the fact they’ve always ignored inappropriate holocaust references by Democratic Party politicians and their colleagues in the mainstream media.

Despite his many mea culpas Eric Wemple of the Washington Post blasted Sean Spicer in his column today;
“it’s not all just a verbal tic. The halting, hard-to-follow speech patterns reflect an unflattering truth about the top spokesperson at the White House: He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. A press secretary needs to have command of a vast topical landscape. Spicer has mastered bluster, and not much else.”
Yet in the month of September when his own paper ran two different opinion pieces inappropriately comparing then-candidate Trump to Hitler, Wemple was silent.  I suppose Wemple only believes that inappropriate Holocaust references are bad when it comes out of a Republican mouth.

Wemple and the other media liberals weren’t only silent when the Washington Post made stupid Holocaust references, they ignored Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the Huffington Post, Comedian Louis C.K, and Rachel Maddow. They also ignored when Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown compared Republican governors John Kasich, Scott Walker and Chris Christie to the Nazis. Even the Holocaust Center in Washington was so very quick to blast Sean Spicer but they never complained when President Carter rejected a Presbyterian Christian  for a position on the board of the Holocaust Memorial because the guy’s name was too Jewish.
 
Where were Democrats like  Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ) and David Cicilline (D-RI) both of whom who called for Spicer to be fired,  when Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC)  compared conservative bloggers (like me) to Hitler? The celebrities like Barbara Streisand or Debra Messing who think they know better than those of us who have to struggle for a living and called for Spicer to be fired–why  were they silent when Hillary Clinton said Republicans who wanted want the law enforced, and illegal immigrants deported, wanted to “round them up” and “put them in box cars?”

Why aren’t any of the members of the media bashing Nancy Pelosi for calling Sean Spicer to be fired, when she twice supported Barack Obama, the most anti-Semitic president since Franklyn Roosevelt refused to allow Jews fleeing Hitler into the country, not because he saw them as a threat, but because he believed America already had enough Jews.

And there is never an outcry that Al Sharpton, advisor to Obama, and MSNBC host, only has to burp to get front page coverage in the MSM despite the fact that he led two anti-Semitic pogroms in NYC, one in Crown Heights, the other in front of Freddy’s Fashion Mart in Harlem.

There are hundreds of other examples but the point is there was not one iota of criticism about the examples above. None of it excuses what Sean Spicer said yesterday, and my liberal friends will say the case of Spicer is much different– I agree. You see, not once in the cases above, did the person or media involved apologize.  But Sean Spicer immediately “manned up’ acknowledged his mistake and said he was sorry.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Understanding climate means understanding maths, physics, and statistics: Those who ascribe the word ‘denier’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people

Who’s The Denier Now?
asks National Review's Oren Cass.
The epithet “climate denier,” intended to invoke Holocaust denial, has always been tasteless and inapt. Climate change is not like the Holocaust, nor is questioning the
accuracy and predictive power of a scientific model like questioning the historical fact of a genocide that murdered 6 million Jews. But climate activists delighted in defining their opposition this way, with help from prominent figures such as Barack Obama, who in 2014 used Twitter to condemn “climate change deniers” and promote a website, run by Organizing for Action (formerly Obama for America), that featured large black-and-white pictures of then–House speaker John Boehner and Senator Marco Rubio atop a green “Climate Change Deniers” banner. “On climate,” asked the site’s headline, “whose side are you on?”

For a while, this seemed to work. Framing the climate debate as one between noble keepers of the scientific flame and people akin to Nazis gave the former group license to say almost anything. To the casual observer, even the most egregious exaggeration about climate science could seem reasonable compared with its outright rejection. Thus, Obama’s assertion in his 2015 State of the Union address that “no challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change” became widely accepted. When Senator Bernie Sanders warned during a presidential debate that “the scientific community is telling us that if we do not address the global crisis of climate change . . . the planet that we’re going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable,” he was not laughed off the stage. …
Related: Unexpected! The Puzzling Reason Why So Many People
Remain Skeptical of Global Warming and Climate Change


While Jonah Goldberg points out that liberals
claim that their opinions are facts and anyone who disagrees isn’t merely voicing a bad opinion but it somehow living in alternative reality or “denying” science,
a post entitled The Holocaust, Climate Science, and Proof, over at The Science of Doom (Evaluating and Explaining Climate Science), concludes with these words:
I can’t find words to describe how I feel about the apologists for the Nazi regime, and those who deny that the holocaust took place. The evidence for the genocide is overwhelming and everyone can understand it.

On the other hand, those who ascribe the word ‘denier’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people. Everyone knows what this word means. It means people who are apologists for those evil jackbooted thugs who carried the swastika and cheered as they sent six million people to their execution.

By comparison, understanding climate means understanding maths, physics and statistics. This is hard, very hard. It’s time consuming, requires some training (although people can be self-taught), actually requires academic access to be able to follow the thread of an argument through papers over a few decades – and lots and lots of dedication.

The worst you could say is people who don’t accept ‘consensus climate science’ are likely finding basic – or advanced – thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and statistics a little difficult and might have misunderstood, or missed, a step somewhere.

The best you could say is with such a complex subject straddling so many different disciplines, they might be entitled to have a point.

If you have no soul and no empathy for the suffering of millions under the Third Reich, keep calling people who don’t accept consensus climate science ‘deniers’.

Otherwise, just stop.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Unexpected! The Puzzling Reason Why So Many People Remain Skeptical of Global Warming and Climate Change


As Spring came to Europe not so many weeks ago, the sunny weather in Paris turned chilly again while Denmark got another snowfall.

Meanwhile, in North America, it was even worse (even better?). A huge snow storm hammered the East Coast (no, not only that part of the continent) and led to the cancellation of more than 4,000 flights while a Newfoundland town (cheers to Lorraine) was buried under an unprecedented 8 feet (240 cm, video and photos at link) of snow — all of which may have helped to prod Michael Mann to adjust his climate turning point to 2020.

A common (a deliberate?) misconception on the left is that rightists are dogmatic extremists who fly in the face of reality by cherry-picking their date to advance false and, indeed, deceitful and harmful narratives.

(Related: Secret Science Vs. the Devil's Work: According to environmentalists, if members of the EPA can’t hide their data and refuse to show their calculations they’ll be “crippled”)

But ain't it true that conservatives are anything but activists, let alone extremists? They are simply regular folks who don't want to pressure any of their neighbors into doing anything but simply want to be left alone and who, on the contrary, keep their eyes, their ears, and indeed their brains, open?

Some cases in point:

I'm so old, I can remember that in 2014 and 2015, the New York Times and the Independent wondered whether snowfalls were now nothing but a thing of the past (see also the Washington Post).

I'm so old, I can remember when, year after year after year, Britain's winters have proved to be among the coldest in a century.

I'm so old, I can remember that in 2008 Al Gore predicted that the Earth's ice caps would have melted by 2013 (don't the poles, four years later, still seem to be around (while the polar bear population seems to be thriving)?).

I'm so old, I can remember that in 2009, NASA's climate change guru, Jim Hansen, said that Obama had only four years to save the earth

I'm so old, I can remember that in 2007, United Nations scientists and other climatistas warned that "There could be as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more"

I'm so old, I can remember (actually, I can't, but let's not ruin a perfectly good meme) that in 1989 the United Nations issued the first of these 10-year-or-so global warming tipping points.

• Finally, I'm so old, I can remember that climate change used to be called global warming and that, during the movement's first days, what the drama queens were worrying about was global cooling, with the very first Earth Day in 1970, devoted to… the coming… ice age!

Related: 13 Most Ridiculous Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970 and
18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of first Earth Day
in 1970, expect more this year
(via Sarah Hoyt and Ed Driscoll, who asks:
How can you continually believe the world is coming to end for a half century?)

As for the rising sea levels that we keep being warned about, I addressed that in a post last year:
think of New York City, of Miami, of Galveston, of San Francisco, of Tokyo, of Sydney, of Goa, of Alexandria, of Saint Tropez, of Copenhagen.

Correct me if I am wrong, but [in the past 5 weeks, in the past 5 months,] in the past 5 years, in the past 50 years, even offhand in the past 500 years (?), has the sea level in any of those places risen by even one inch, by even one centimeter?
Stories of California's unending drought, along with the above examples, may help explain distrust of the government and the establishment of such theories as Betteridge's Law of Headlines along with the reason why conservatives — again: no activists, they — are wont to pen columns with titles such as 5 Reasons It's Dumb To Panic Over Global Warming.

Let Larry Kummer have the last word:
Remember all those predictions of a “permanent drought” in California? Those were examples of why three decades of climate alarmism has not convinced the American people to take severe measures to fight anthropogenic climate change: alarmists exaggerate the science, and are proven wrong — repeatedly. 
Update: Understanding climate means understanding maths, physics, and statistics:
Those who ascribe the word ‘denier’ to people not in agreement with consensus
climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Secret Science Vs. the Devil's Work: According to environmentalists, if members of the EPA can’t hide their data and refuse to show their calculations they’ll be “crippled”


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may soon be required by federal law to base its policies on actual science
writes Benny Huang on the Constitution website
—and of course environmentalists are livid about it. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) reintroduced a bill known as the Secret Science Reform Act that would prohibit the EPA from “proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based on science that is not transparent or reproducible.” The bill was originally introduced in 2014 though it did not clear all congressional hurdles. Barack Obama—our most super-sciencey president ever—vowed to veto it if ever reached his desk.

I’ve honestly tried to understand what kind of objection any sane human being could possibly have to this bill and I think I’ve discovered what it is. Are you ready? If the EPA has to be transparent it can’t operate. That’s it.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the opening sentence from an oppositional op-ed by Dianna Wray of Houston Press: “A lot Republicans hate the Environmental Protection Agency, but have left it to San Antonio Republican Representative Lamar Smith to come up with a bill that, if passed, could actually stop the agency from doing just about anything.”

Oh, I see—if it weren’t for secret science, the EPA wouldn’t have any science at all. According to Wray, if they can’t hide their data and refuse to show their calculations they’ll be “crippled.” There’s just one problem with this idea—secret science is a contradiction in terms. Science isn’t science if its results can’t be held up for inspection, judged worthy or unworthy, and accepted, refined, or rejected. If a theory is too delicate to withstand the heat and pressure of scrutiny, it doesn’t deserve anyone’s acceptance.

Legally speaking, the word “science” was defined in McLean v. Arkansas (1982), a famous court case that exiled creation science from public schools. Judge William Overton found that creation science was not science at all because it failed a five-prong test. According to his decision genuine science must:
1)    be guided by natural law;
2)    be explanatory by reference to natural law;
3)    be testable against the empirical world;
4)    have conclusions that are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word; and
5)    be falsifiable.

Anything that fails even one of these prongs cannot rightly be called science. That’s a high standard. Some might call it too high, though that would depend on whose theory is being put to the test. Nonetheless, the McLean test has value. Ideas that don’t live up it cannot legitimately be called scientific. Whether they’re true or not is another question entirely.

The McLean test is so valuable in fact that I see no reason why it shouldn’t be applied at all levels of government and to all ideas deemed scientific. After all, if a particular idea is considered junk science in the classroom, what good is it for policy-making?

Requiring the EPA and the rest of the federal government to adhere to the McLean test would yield some interesting results. For example, would the theory of global warming be able to pass the McLean test? Not by a long shot.

Global warming fails at least the third, fourth, and fifth prongs. It fails the third because its data sets are closely guarded secrets and it appears to have absolutely no predicative capability. It fails the fourth because “the science is settled”—that is, it is beyond discussion. It fails the fifth because it cannot be proven wrong—everything proves global warming, including cold snaps and blizzards.

And when you get down to it, global warming is what this whole EPA controversy is really about. Though the EPA deals in other realms as well—water pollutants, etc—global warming is really the environmental movement’s touchstone. Within that movement there seems to be a certain uneasiness that their theory might crumble like a house of cards if it weren’t constantly shielded from scrutiny. Though fanatically dedicated to the idea that man-made carbon emissions are causing the earth to warm, these true believers evince a telltale insecurity that it might not be true after all.

One such true believer is Dr. Phil Jones, formerly of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in England. He’s an all-around hack who does his work under cover of darkness then just expects everyone to accept his findings as unvarnished truth. For a period of years Jones was engaged in an ongoing feud with two Canadians named Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick who offered to check the calculations behind the now disgraced “hockey stick” graph that purported to show a rapid spike in global temperatures during the 20th Century. Jones did everything in his power to resist McIntyre’s and McKitrick’s requests for data.  “[McIntyre and McKitrick] have been after the CRU station data for years,” wrote Jones in a 2005 email to a friend. “If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”

That would be a crime of course, but that’s how far Jones was willing to go to keep his data secret. And when I say “his data” I don’t mean to imply that they’re his personal property. Actually, British and American taxpayers paid for them but we aren’t allowed to see them because Jones worries what those evil science-haters might do with them—such as proving him wrong, for example.

This seems to be a pattern with Jones and some of his colleagues. When Jones was asked by science researcher Warwick Hughes to provide his data, Jones refused, claiming that some of the data were deemed confidential by their source, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Why temperature data should be locked up like the recipe for Coca-Cola is truly baffling but apparently that’s just how pervasive secret science has become. Hughes then inquired directly with the WMO and was given the cold shoulder, after which he returned to Jones. Jones curtly replied to Hughes’s request: “Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it[?]” (Emphasis added.)

Hearing those words from the mouth a scientist makes me wonder if science is dead. If all Hughes was trying to do was to “find something wrong” with Jones’s pet theory, he was in fact doing Jones a favor. And it is Jones’s pet theory. His comment about having “25 or so years invested” gives us a clue as to his prejudices. His life’s work is at stake here. Though science demands that he try to disprove his own theory, and invite others to try their hand as well, he just can’t bring himself to do it. He’s “invested” too much to allow that to happen.
 
Now I’m sure that Jones would say that he doesn’t want to allow people of bad faith to take a whack at his theory. For example, Steve McIntyre is—gasp!—a mining consultant. Surely he has an agenda.

Sure, he probably does. But even if his “agenda” is to debunk the theory, that’s actually an essential part of the scientific process. Dr. Jones doesn’t see it that way of course because his own agenda—protecting the theory at all costs—clouds his judgement. Jones sees McIntyre, McKitrick et al as people who are doing the devil’s work when they try poke holes in his theory. He doesn’t want to allow them the opportunity to do so. In such cases he considers it permissible to operate in secret and treat skeptical review—an essential ingredient of science—like heresy. Isn’t that the way science is supposed to work?

Actually, no. The demands that science makes upon a theory are not waived just because a scientist suspects that those who disagree with him have ill motives. That’s a horrible precedent. It can only lead to a situation in which only people who already subscribe to the theory are allowed to test it. This necessarily corrupts the peer-review process, transforming it into buddy-review—a very poor substitute indeed.

I should stress here there was once a time when I too believed in the theory of global warming, though only because I was not aware of the controversy. Even at this late stage in the game I could still be sold on it, but it will require evidence—plus a satisfactory explanation for why the scientific process was betrayed in the first place. I’m not taking this theory on faith, and that is exactly what defenders of secret science demand.
Related: Unexpected! The Puzzling Reason Why So Many People Remain Skeptical of Global Warming and Climate Change