Thursday, August 27, 2015

What a piece of work is Mann

Highly recommended: Mark Steyn's "A Disgrace to the Profession", to anyone interested in the genesis of Michael Mann's Hokey Stick. Steyn's book is not an attack on the idea of AGW, it's an exposé of, arguably, the biggest scientific fraud since Piltdown; and, indisputably, the most consequential.

Using the words of scientists who strongly believe AGW is true and of those who are more skeptical, it lays out a convincing case that there are differences of opinion among scientists on AGW, if not so much about Michael Mann.

If you (mistakenly) conflate Mann's agenda with the discipline of climate science, you will like the book still less than even Mann's “allies” like him. That doesn't mean you shouldn't read it: If you are concerned about erosion of public support for “doing something” about AGW, you should read it so you can help climate science regain a modicum of respectability. As long as Mann is left to hijack the discussion, threaten the careers of distinguished scientists and subvert the peer review process, it is unlikely reasonable people will find any common ground on the topic.

Mann has been able to force the entire discipline of climate science into a corner where failure to defend his work is equated with failure to defend, in Mann's words, “the cause.” A strange way for a scientist to think. If there is a single principle that distinguishes science from religion it is that scientific theories are falsifiable. Mann is pushing the religion of Mann, not the science of climate study.

The damage to science itself is profound. The damage to freedom of speech is, perhaps, even worse - which is how Steyn got involved in a lawsuit. And came to write this book. The First Amendment is as much subject to Mann's attack as is the scientific method.

I consider myself well informed on the AGW debate, but I learned quite a bit from this book. You probably will too. This book does not deny AGW, it denies Michael Mann's devious, unprincipled, ad-hominem attacks on those who dare ask a single question.

We're being asked to restructure the world economy because of a drawing based on misrepresentation, willful hyperbole and astounding arrogance. You should read "A Disgrace to the Profession" in order to understand what that means, whatever your position on AGW. You should buy "A Disgrace to the Profession" (also at Amazon) because doing so helps defend free speech. Even if Mann were right, it is long past time his bullying lawfare was stopped.

Monday, August 24, 2015


Must read Op-Ed from Ben Carson:
Ben Carson: #BlackLivesMatter misfire.
The opening paragraphs:
The idea that disrupting and protesting Bernie Sanders speeches will change what is wrong in America is lunacy. The "BlackLivesMatter" movement is focused on the wrong targets, to the detriment of blacks who would like to see real change and to the benefit of its powerful white liberal funders using the attacks on Sanders for political purposes that mean nothing for the problems that face our community.

The notion that some lives might matter less than others is meant to enrage. That anger is distracting us from what matters most. We're right to be angry, but we have to stay smart.

#BlackLivesMatter is for-profit Tribalism.

It is a blatantly racialist meme; declaring blood, tribe and territory Über Alles. Old, pale, .01 percenters like George Soros are funding it.

Can you say Plantation?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The problem with NAtionale soZIalists

Thanks to Instapundit, I was made aware of this post by Ezra Klein, whose credentials include work at The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, MSNBC and The American Prospect.

It’s from 2006, so it isn’t news. Then again, he’s writing the same sort of stuff today.
Not everything the Nazis touched was bad. Hitler was a vegetarian. Volkswagen is a perfectly good car company. Universal health care is a perfectly good idea. Indeed, the Nazis actually did a pretty good job increasing economic growth and improving standards of living (they were, many think, the first Keynesians, adopting the strategy even before Keynes had come up with it), pushing Germany out of a depression and back into expansion. Unfortunately, they also set out to conquer Europe and exterminate the Jews. People shouldn't do that.

Update Sigh. Let's try to be clearer, then. The problem with the Nazis was that they were genocidal white supremacists with an appetite for continental hegemony. To invoke them in order to tar, by association, privatization, or "appeasement," or socialist policies, or other policies that were not related to their murderous crimes is a noxious debate tactic that should be widely and rapidly condemned.
OK, let’s be clearer. Hitler was a vegetarian who, instead of cows, slaughtered people. This doesn’t reflect badly on vegetarians or cows, it just shows Mr. Klein’s thoughts on the topic he takes to hand are incoherent. Should we be more kindly disposed toward Stalin because he made a non-aggression pact with a vegetarian?

Volkswagen is a good car company. Note the Clintonian ‘is.” During World War Two, OTOH, it's believed that as many as four out of every five workers at Volkswagen's plants were slave laborers. Klein neglected to mention that Krupp makes decent coffee makers. Still, Volkswagen and Krupp subscribed to the “Arbeit macht frei” meme.

Universal health care was Bismarckian, not Hitlerian. And it’s not inarguably a good idea. The face of Hitlerian health care is Dr. Josef Mengele. His practice was quite restricted, of course, but it was based on the idea that the State owned his patients. For a more general view of Statist health care, where the State only leases patients, check out Britain’s NHS or the Veteran's Administration.

The hard-core Keynesians were the Volk running the Weimar regime. When they printed, they Printed. Hitler had to start a world war for his spending spree.

Alongside starting a world war, I think the economic boosting technique Weimar failed to grasp was starvation of slave laborers. When labor costs are zero, productivity goes up. When health care is delivered by Dr. Mengele, insurance costs become irrelevant. Neither does it immediately hurt your economy if you seize the Sudetenland and Poland. Think of all the broken windows that needed repair.

So, is invoking the NAZIs when discussing political policies other than genocide a noxious debate technique? In some cases, I’m sure. But Mr. Klein can’t name any of them.

Fascism is accurately defined as the political belief that the state is more important than the individual. “Nothing outside the state, nothing above the state, everything within the state.” You may object that that is a Mussolini quote. I’d claim Hitler wished he had said it.

This collectivist mind-set is fundamental to praising corporatist automobile companies who would avail themselves of slave labor. It’s a conviction you must hold before you force free people to accept government rationed health care. It’s necessary thinking for idealizing Keynesian economics. Collectivism is the perfect philosophical precursor to genocidal hegemony. The NAZIs were collectivists.

No matter what the leaders say, collectivist states always end this way. For evidence that the cause is not Hitler, but Nationalism and Socialism, I recommend reading The Black Book of Communism.

Of the two collectivist pillars of NAZI political thought, which do we blame more, NAtionalism or soZIalism? I’m not sure it matters. When you combine nationalism and socialism, you’re on the road to justification for "racial purification.” In fact, you’re likely to need the justification because someone like Hitler, Stalin or Mao is always lurking.

Update 4:10PM:
Here is an example where collectivist supporters of federal funding for Planned Parenthood will not engage in "noxious debate," and they condemn any such discussion "widely and rapidly." But when you cut a living baby's face open in order to extract the brain intact, I'd say a Mengele comparison is not only apt, but required. So are criminal charges.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

"A Disgrace to the Profession"

You could make many worse decisions about how to use your resources to defend free speech, promote open scientific inquiry and oppose the petty fascists in the White House and EPA, than by buying copies of Mark Steyn's latest book and giving them to the warm mongers with whose acquaintance you may be afflicted.

A review by Professor Judith Curry.

"A Disgrace To The Profession" is also available at Amazon, but buying an autographed copy directly from Steyn better helps him defray the costs of Michael Mann's lawfare.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Google's Alphabet, "A" is for amoral

Do You Trust Larry Page?

Though Mr. "Page is certainly convinced of his righteousness," I am quite sure I disagree with him about what constitutes a "better world." I make that claim from observation, not philosophical musing. Page is amoral, as reflected by his business ventures.

"Don't be evil" is only half of the amoralist's world view: The difficulty one has in peering out from a hyper-pragmatic moral vacuum is telling the difference.

What makes the author at the link above suppose that Nest (for example) won't be monetized by advertising? Spying on people to ascertain what ads to serve them is the entire basis of Google.

When your Nest thermostat is reporting directly to the EPA that you've not set it lower but you're using less gas, will they come to impose a fine if you have a Federally non-compliant woodstove? I guess that's not technically advertising, but it's certainly revenue enhancing for the Feds. If they buy the data from Google.

When your fridge is broadcasting how much ice cream, and what brand and flavor you eat, is it monetized by advertising? Only if Ben and Jerry and WeightWatchers bid on the data, I guess.

Android is not a cesspit of privacy violation and a security disaster by accident, and possibly not even by design. Larry Page just doesn't care. As the author points out, Android is a Unix derivative, just like iOS. It's how Unix was bent to corporate intent that's the difference. Android is "free." TANSTAAFL, as Robert Heinlein was wont to say.

Self driving cars are not being made for the convenience of the customer. They'll help update Google Maps and report where you are at any moment, where you've been, and predict where you'll go next. They'll record every conversation, like your up-to-date television does now.

And forget that anyway, the objective is to make everything near you report about you on Twitter: The corporate surveillance State.

Imagine the public shaming to erupt in California when your bathroom scale reports a dripping shower head on its Facebook page. I don't exaggerate: Remember, "If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down?" That was California's partial answer to the water crisis of the 70's. It's back, and soon they'll have a way to check if you're obeying. First, they gave you a toilet that must be flushed twice when it's brown, next they're going to check if you dare flush once when it's yellow. Ads to get you to purchase the required sensor will be placed on your browser by Google when you search for "bathroom remodel."

Google has several health care initiatives: Do you want them to know when you get a Viagra prescription? Start taking a cancer drug? Refill only half as often as expected because you can't afford it, and are cutting your pills in half? Do you get ads for hookers, funeral homes and Canadian pharmacies as a result? That's rhetorical.

Do the ads display on your new Nest 10 inch LCD thermostat with the microphone that not only lets you speak to it, but to Page's servers? That's an educated guess.

If you book an abortion, should the people who buy from Planned Parenthood get "Buy it now" rights on the parts supply? Google will sell that information if they are allowed to. Or even if they aren't.

I trust Page to follow his "righteousness." That is, to promote a soul sucking deconstruction of individual rights the extent of which we can't yet quite grasp.

Larry Page, of course, is not alone.
Harvard student loses Facebook internship after pointing out privacy flaws
Surveillance-based manipulation: How Facebook or Google could tilt elections
Billion Dollar Bully Trailer
Turning Humans Into Algos: The Trend Of Employees Wearing "Biosensing Wearable Devices" At Work

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Resolute intelligence

We need neither an a**hole nor a fool, nor someone who is both, to challenge the status quo.

Pointless-headed intellectuals

Howard Dean, among others, has suggested that Scott Walker is unfit to be president because his lack of a college degree renders him "unknowledgeable." It does occur to me that not having a college degree is also true of most voters.

When I think of academically certified intellectual capacity and high office, my first thought is of the Academius Prime of American politics: Woodrow Wilson was a PoliSci PhD and President of Princeton. He won a Nobel Prize. He wore his academic credentials as a badge of honor.

He was also a racist of the first water: To quote Wilson himself on this subject, "[S]elf-preservation [forced whites] to rid themselves, by fair means or foul, of the intolerable burden of governments sustained by the votes of ignorant negroes.” He was a eugenicist, because he wanted fewer of those "ignorant negroes” imposing an “intolerable burden” on the right-thinking government overclass. We had to wait for Lyndon Johnson until the Progressives "solved" this problem to their satisfaction.

Wilson presided over the re-segregation of the federal Civil Service. He told blacks, to their faces, that segregation was good for them.

Wilson was the driving force behind the trial balloon - The League of Nations - that eventually birthed the UN. He oversaw creation of the Federal Reserve, the Federal Income Tax/IRS and the Selective Service. He took an academically contrived, idealistic and completely unrealistic "14 points" to Versailles and then signed, and heavily promoted, the treaty that led directly to WWII.

He thought the Declaration of Independence was irrelevant and that the Constitution merely impeded progress. This bit of intellectual hubris was to re-surface when FDR attempted to pack the Supreme Court.

Wilson’s academic credentials drove his belief that he knew, better than anyone, how everyone ought to live. He is the prototype of American Progressivism. He was an elitist who credited himself with having good intentions.

In passing, I’ll note that Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates might disagree about the relationship of a college degree to intelligence, and more especially, to competence. None had such a degree.

This sort of attack on those of demonstrated competence means the attackers are afraid and don’t have real arguments. It echoes the laughter from MIT professor of economics Jonathan Gruber when he discusses "the stupidity of the American voter.” We’re all “ignorant negroes” to Progressives.

It encapsulates Barry Sotero’s disdain for the flyover country types “clinging to their guns and religion.” It’s like laughing at Walker's lack of diversity because he’s not 1/32 Cherokee.

Next up: Carly Fiorina. We’ll hear them laughing that she’s not a real woman because she opposes dismemberment of intact dead babies to extract contractually specified parts. The intellectually correct thing, of course, is to ridicule such beliefs; as Elizabeth Warren does in that link.

It’s worth noting that the bill to defund PP was sponsored by LtCol and US Senator Joni Ernst. A mother and grandmother: A woman Senator Warren implies is orchestrating this particular battle in the #WaronWomen.

Oh, and in revisiting Ms. Warren’s speech I’m reminded of Progressive economic ignorance. She repeats the canard that none of the Federal money paid to PP goes toward abortion. Apparently, the educational opportunities at Harvard do not include a vocabulary list containing the word “fungible."

Friday, August 07, 2015

Looking into the void

There's one star and couple of dust clouds that might become stars.
"The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre—the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
– H. L. Mencken
Huckabee, Christie and Kasich made good showings last night. Too bad. See above.

Bush comes to mind when reading "the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.”

Trump should be seen to have destroyed himself, but I’m doubting it will turn out that way.

Paul seemed pinched and sour, and it’s hard to imagine him as president.

Rubio and Cruz should pick up from their performances, but probably won’t gain enough.

Carson is such a very nice man.

Walker is unflappable. To the point of appearing passionless.

Some are complaining about the gotcha nature of the Fox questions, and that the moderators blathered for over 30% of the debate time. The latter I agree with, the former makes me ask the question, “If friendly questioning is necessary for a Republican to become president, what's the GOP nominee going to do in the actual election?”

Stop whining about Fox and check out how it's done: Carly Fiorina’s handling of Chris “tingly leg" Matthews (This is the full exchange, so even if you've seen an edited version of it already, you might find it worthwhile.)

And debate watchers are complaining that Megyn Kelly’s questioning was too aggressive?

As entertainment B-, as a debate D+.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

PP's "our protocol" is just a euphemism for "following parts orders"

Mark Steyn wrote a post today - Bakin' Baby Syndrome - which is a must read.

He destroys Planned Parenthood's latest defense for their prenatal pecuniary peccadilloes - "that it's a small part of what they do." He reveals an even more sinister reason for why PP is against OTC birth control than a reduction in their parts supply via fewer unwanted pregnancies. Plan-B might render baby parts valueless. Threatens the revenue stream. Nobody wants to buy toxic human parts.

My follow-up question to the assertion that "abortions are "only three per cent" of what Planned Parenthood does" is, "What percent of your income is based on abortion, and have you increased that revenue in exchange for modifying abortion procedures?" I'm not interested in, "How many abortions do you perform compared to, say, mammograms?"

Mark's only false step in this critique of Mengele-Inc. is in the opening paragraph,
The fifth in an apparent series of twelve Planned Parenthood undercover videos shows Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, discussing how to manipulate the abortion procedure in order to ensure the "fetus" is delivered "intact" and thus able to be cannibalized for body parts. As Ms Farrell puts it, if a client "has a specific need for a certain portion of the products of conception and we bake that into our contract, and our protocol, that we follow this. So we deviate from our standard in order to do that."
I don't think Mark meant to say “cannibalized,” I think he meant “selectively edited.”

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

So you don't have to...

Last night, I watched fourteen (no Trump, no Gilmore, no Huckabee) of the GOP presidential candidates on C-SPAN in NH for 2 hours.

It was a discussion format (not a debate) with some local radio guy asking questions of each candidate in a random (they drew numbers) sequence. Strictly timed. Questions were half change-ups, a quarter sliders, twenty percent curves and five percent fastballs. No serious follow-up, but mostly that wasn't necessary.

The audience was not moved to cheers, but they had been asked to restrain themselves: Like good NH Republicans, they did. C-SPAN's shots of the audience showed serious faces engaged in quite a bit of head nodding. No reading of the atmosphere from that. There were a few empty seats, and I'd guess there were several hundred in attendance. Demographically, they looked like NH, not NYC.

In the following short summary, I'm talking about the performance in this 'cattle call;' not about records, positions expressed in other venues or past actions. Of course, I did bring expectations.

Overall, you have to have come away with a feeling that the GOP has an embarrassment of riches in their field of presidential hopefuls.

Rubio looked and sounded most presidential by a fair margin. Very good answers. Nailed the immigration issue, which is his Achille's heel, so he'd better. If Nixon lost to JFK because he didn't shave, Rubio 'won' because he looked as if he were already speaking from the Oval Office. That impression was probably reinforced by the fact he was on satellite and looking directly into the camera. (He, Paul and Cruz were on via satellite from DC due to the Planned Parenthood defunding vote. It occurred to me later; Why wasn't Graham?)

Walker and Fiorina were just good, not great. They tied Rubio for second in the 30 seconds of free time each candidate finished up with, but both blanded out during Q&A. Maybe it seemed that way because there were many others who said similar things.

Walker lost points on a question about whether global warming climate change is anthropogenic. Didn't answer it, just called Obama's regs bad. This is one place where follow-up from the moderator would have been welcome.

Maybe my familiarity with Fiorina's message raised my expectations and my impression suffered from not hearing it with fresh ears. She is a lot better when she's under some pressure and can press an attack by flipping the premise of 'gotcha' questions from the Democrats with bylines. No opportunities for that last night. It was a target free environment.

Carson's humility, humanity and character were front and center. His final 30 was probably the best, ahead of the 3 already mentioned. He criticized Obamacare not just for its oozing sores and suppurating heart, but as something antithetical to the Founders vision.

Lindsey Graham was surprisingly good, maybe the 'winner' overall. Turned everything into National Security/Military. Engaging, and had the best one liners (there were few), and I seriously doubt they could have been rehearsed. Just proves these things are more entertainment than substance.

Perry better than expected, but outclassed by the field. Ditto Paul and Jindal.

Cruz very good, but maybe too earnest. Not fake, just earnest. He's not selling you his used car, he's trying to save the country. To me, that was a credible message. For those worried he is 'radical' it would just confirm their bias.

Bush, Pataki, Christie, Kasich, Santorum - better than any Democrat, but that's saying not much. They all whiffed on change ups about "what the Government should do." One way or another, they just have a different Big Government in mind. None of them will get my vote.

Trump's name was never spoken.