Tag Archives: left-wing

Jeb Bush speaks to us about climate change. Is he a denier?

Summary:  American political campaigns are the longest and most expensive in the world, but consist largely of both sides kicking sand into our eyes. The result leaves us less informed and more divided, and gives the victor no mandate. Campaign 2016 has begun. The reaction to Jeb Bush’s remarks about climate shows that we’ve learned nothing from the spectacle of past campaigns.

Jeb Bush logo

Contents

  1. Jeb Bush talks about the climate. The Left smears.
  2. What do climate scientists say?
  3. What does the American public say?
  4. Do we need more innovation?
  5. For More Information.

See tomorrow’s post, where eminent climate scientist Roger Pielke Sr. answering your questions about climate models.

(1) Jeb Bush talks about the climate. The Left smears.

The Left warms up for the 2016 election with smears to arouse the dwindling faithful…

Two stories are the most often cited to support these statements. Neither remotely justifies them. First there is this…

“It is not unanimous among scientists that it is disproportionately manmade. What I get a little tired of on the left is this idea that somehow science has decided all this so you can’t have a view.” {Fox News, August 2011}

And this, more recently…

“The climate is changing. I don’t think the science is clear on what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It’s convoluted. For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you. … It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation about it, even.”

Bush said that climate change should be just “part of, a small part of prioritization of our foreign policy.” He suggested that the United States should encourage countries that have higher carbon emissions rates to reduce them. “We’ve had a pretty significant decrease and we’ll continue on, not because of Barack Obama, but because of the energy revolution.” He credited hydraulic fracking, horizontal drilling and an increased use of natural gas for helping cut American carbon emissions.

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Dreams of apocalypses show the brotherhood of America’s Left & Right

Summary: Left and Right in America are in many ways mirror images of each other, as many posts here have shown. No surprise, since we’re all Americans. If we recognize this, perhaps we can better communicate with each other, and perhaps even work together better.  {1st of 2 posts today.}Apocalypse

 

Left and Right share a belief in the coming apocalypse, although they differ in the nature of the end times. Is it Cultural collapse or resource exhaustion? National bankruptcy and currency collapse or climate catastrophe? Mass social disruption or … they both agree on that.

These nightmares seem to be gaining an increasing grip on the American imagination, as fear becomes the major marketing tool in our politics — across our political spectrum. Does this provide a basis for communication, and perhaps working together?

Here are excerpts from two books I recommend that give deep insights into our culture. The first is by one of the top social critics of our generation. The second is deep and complex but brilliant,  well-worth the effort to carefully read it (his description of us is imo dead on target).

 

An excerpt from Christopher Lasch’s
The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations (1991)

The Waning of the Sense of Historical Time

As the twentieth century approaches its end, the conviction grows that many other things are ending too. Storm warnings, portents, hints of catastrophe haunt our times. The “sense of an ending,” which has given shape to so much of twentieth-century literature, now pervades the popular imagination as well. The Nazi holocaust, the threat of nuclear annihilation, the depletion of natural resources, well-founded predictions of ecological disaster have fulfilled poetic prophecy, giving concrete historical substance to the nightmare, or death wish, that avant-garde artists were the first to express. The question of whether the world will end in fire or in ice, with a bang or a whimper, no longer interests artists alone.

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Obama made the trains run on time, & other accomplishments

Summary:  Nothing reveals our values like what we applaud. The Left’s love for Obama, and the things for which they applaud him, reveal their corruption and why they’ve become trivial political force in America.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

“Mussolini may have done many brutal and tyrannical things; he may have destroyed human freedom in Italy; he may have murdered and tortured citizens whose only crime was to oppose Mussolini; but ‘one had to admit’ one thing about the Dictator: he ‘made the trains run on time.’

— From The Prevalence of Nonsense by Edward Darling and Ashley Montagu (1967).

Obama's accomplishments

This shows a common form of applause for Obama. How many ways can this graphic astonish us?

Myopia about anti-liberal actions

First, it displays myopia on a fantastic scale, ignoring Obama’s anti-liberal actions. His illegal surveillance programs (& advocacy for broad NSA power), most aggressive-ever use of the Espionage Act of 1917, persecution of whistle blowers, mockery of his pledge to run the “most transparent administration ever“, continued use of Guantanamo Bay, and his assassination programs (including US citizens). He has done many of the same things Liberals condemned Bush Jr for doing, and done things Bush did not even imagine — such as the gift to the world’s mega-corps called the Trans Pacific Partnership (so awesome we’re not allowed to see the text).

Blindness to his wars

Second, it shows blindness to Obama’s wars, breaking with the Left’s anti-war tradition. He executed Bush’s plan for withdrawal from Iraq, deepened our wars in Afghanistan and Yemen, waged an illegal war in Libya (of the sort he specifically promised not to do) — with terrible results — and laid the foundation for future ways by expanding Africom.

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Nine years after Katrina, climate activists have earned their reward. We might pay dearly for it.

Summary: We rely on warnings about threats from our watchmen, experts or amateurs, who see danger before we can. Our ability to respond depends on the clarity of their warnings. Sometimes we don’t listen; sometimes they’re wrong. Sometimes we suffer because they minimize the danger or exaggerate the time until it arrives. Climate activists have practiced another form of alarm: exaggerating the certainty of the danger and minimizing the time until it hits. That works well, unless they’re wrong about both the timing and scale. Now all we can do is hope that the threat is small and distant, since we’re doing little to prepare.

Extreme Weather

Troubles lies ahead

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“Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson, perhaps apocryphal

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Art Horn (meteorologist) set the background for this sad story in his 9 October 2010 post:

Four hurricanes made landfall on the United States during the 2004 season. All of them hit Florida. … Then there was 2005. The hurricane season of 2005 was one for the record books. The long term average number of named tropical storms in the Atlantic basin is 11. In 2005 there were an amazing 27. The long term average number of hurricanes is 6. In 2005 there were a record 15. Actually the hurricane seasons of 1933 and 1887 were probably very similar in the number of tropical storms and hurricanes. There were no satellites to see all the storms back … This was also the year of hurricane Katrina. …

Making the most of this moment was Al Gore, as in this speech at Sierra Club’s National Environmental Convention and Expo in San Francisco on 9 September 2005. Excerpt:

Winston Churchill, when the storm was gathering on continental Europe, provided warnings of what was at stake. And he said this about the government then in power in England — which wasn’t sure that the threat was real — he said, “They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.” He continued, “The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences.

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Krugman shows us why the Left loses, despite its advantages

Summary: This is the fourth in a series about why the Left loses. America’s drift to the Right since 1980 has not only become impossible to ignore, but has accelerated despite the many fundamentals favoring the Left. Such as demographics and the increasing acceptance of behaviors an anathema on the Right (e.g., gay marriage, abortion). Increased concentration of wealth and income by the 1% explains much of the Right’s success. As this series will show, weakness of the Left explains much of the rest.

Closed Mind

Contents

  1. A symptom of the problem
  2. Diagnosis
  3. Significance
  4. Other posts in this series
  5. More evidence

(1)  A symptom of the problem

Triumph of the Wrong“, Paul Krugman, op-ed in the New York Times, 6 November 2014 — Excerpt:

The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet midterms to men of understanding. Or as I put it on the eve of another Republican Party sweep, politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth. Still, it’s not often that a party that is so wrong about so much does as well as Republicans did on Tuesday. … So now is a good time to remember just how wrong the new rulers of Congress have been about, well, everything.

First, there’s economic policy. … In short, the story of conservative economics these past six years and more has been one of intellectual debacle — made worse by the striking inability of many on the right to admit error under any circumstances.

Then there’s health reform, where Republicans were very clear about what was supposed to happen: minimal enrollments, more people losing insurance than gaining it, soaring costs. Reality, so far, has begged to differ, delivering above-predicted sign-ups, a sharp drop in the number of Americans without health insurance, premiums well below expectations, and a sharp slowdown in overall health spending.

And we shouldn’t forget the most important wrongness of all, on climate change. As late as 2008, some Republicans were willing to admit that the problem is real, and even advocate serious policies to limit emissions — Senator John McCain proposed a cap-and-trade system similar to Democratic proposals. But these days the party is dominated by climate denialists, and to some extent by conspiracy theorists who insist that the whole issue is a hoax concocted by a cabal of left-wing scientists. Now these people will be in a position to block action for years to come, quite possibly pushing us past the point of no return.

One of these three things is not like the others. For the first two Krugman clearly identifies the GOP view and provides rebuttals, all supported by links (I agree 100%). The third asserts that the GOP is dominated by climate extremists — and implies that the Democrats represent the consensus of climate scientists. He provides no evidence for either claim; there are reasons to doubt both. Certainly the public does, with climate change near the bottom of major threats (See Gallup polls, other polls, other evidence).

Is the Republican Party “dominated by denialists?” In Leftist usage, “denialist” has no fixed meaning beyond “people who disagree with me about climate change”. Much like “terrorist” to the Right, it’s a political tool rather than a category. It includes prominent climate scientists skeptical of some aspects of the IPCC’s views (e.g., Judith Curry and Roger Pielke Sr) — or critical of the Left’s exaggerations of the IPCC’s views, and have supported their view with studies in the peer-reviewed literature (e.g., Roger Pielke Jr).

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Proof pointing to the people guilty of weakening America

Summary: We, Americans, delight in creative explanations blaming others for our problems. “It’s not my fault” is our mantra. Here are two examples suggesting that we can find the guilty parties can be found in the mirror. We can do better.

Einstein about problems

He didn’t say it, but should have

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In these pages I’ve attempted to convey some of the astonishing aspects of 21st century America. None are more astonishing than our disinterest in learning from our experiences (both Left and Right), and the parallel behavior of Left and Right (about which they’re oblivious). I’ve written scores of posts documenting these phenomena.

The conclusion drawn about these posts by many readers: they accurately describe foolish behavior of the other side (the bad guys), but say I show bias and politicization by pointing out similar behavior by the good guys (which is so obviously different). How sad to see such willful blindness. It’s one of the reasons I wonder about our capacity for self-government. The blind need guides. Perhaps that’s how the 1% see their relationship with us.

Here is an example for each.

Bush = Hitler

The Day of Action protest, 18 March 2006

(1) Bush is Hitler. So is Obama

Many at the Left said that President Bush Jr was like Hitler. Zomblog and Ringo’s Pictures have collected examples. Lied us into wars, illegal government surveillance, indefinite detention at Guantanamo Bay without charges or trials. The Right laughed.

Now the Left applauds Obama, with his illegal surveillance programs, most aggressive-ever use of the Espionage Act of 1917. continued use of Guantanamo Bay, expanded assassination programs (including US citizens). Most of the same things they condemned Bush Jr for doing, plus more that Bush Jr did not dare do.

And now the Right condemns Obama as — Hitler. David Neiwert at Orcinus has a few examples. Google Images points to hundreds more.

This suggests that both Left and Right love authoritarians, so long as they are on the correct side of the political aisle. Both are oblivious to the similarity of their behaviors to the behavior of those they despise. No wonder our politics have become so dysfunctional.

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Facts are the enemy of both Left and Right in our America

Summary: Another in a long series of studies illustrating America’s inability to process information, and our collapse into tribes incapable (or unwilling) to communicate with one another. Today we look at reactions to posts on the FM website. These attacks from both Left and Right test its accuracy and fairness. You judge the result.

Here’s a hors d’oeuvre. Yes, they’re both talking about me:

“The North Pole is a frickin’ LAKE, you ass. You are either being paid well for these posts, or you are off your meds. I swear, these Baghdad Bobs are going to be crowing about the earth cooling right up until their proteins start congealing from the heat.”  {by Lidia; link}

“Perhaps a step back on your global warming doom nonsense is in order as well.” {by climate change skeptic Jeff Condon, aka Jeff Id, of The Air Vent; link}

Truth Will Make You Free

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Contents

  1. Journalism
  2. Examples of attacks by the alarmists
  3. Examples of attacks by the skeptics
  4. Conclusions
  5. For More Information

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(1)  Journalism

Most of what we do at the FM website is journalism, citing data and experts in ways that attempt to illuminate trends in America and the world. In a society become madly tribal, how you tell if the reporting is accurate and fair?  Here are some answers to these questions for the FM website.

Accuracy

Hindsight — applying the test of time to old posts — provides the acid test of accuracy. For the FM website posts you can see the pages on the top menu bar recording past successes and mistakes (Smackdowns) going back to 2003. I believe you’ll find it an impressive record.

Fairness

Subjective evaluation of balance and fairness is more difficult. Fortunately others do this for us. For examples see Politics of the FM site: radical leftist reformer or right-wing iconoclast? I’m the former to the latter, and the latter to the former.

For a more recent example see the post 184 posts about climate change. Straight journalism: excerpts from reports of the IPCC, the major climate agencies, and the peer-reviewed literature (plus analysis of the politics, which is mostly ignored). I thought these would be useful and uncontroversial. As I should have known, these have received attacks from both sides — with few substantive rebuttals.

It’s an indicator of fairness and balance, perhaps the best available in mad 21st C America.

We can draw wider inferences from this data, and the similar results on thousands of other websites. In America truth is tribal. Wearing blinders is mandatory. Heterodox thought is condemned. Evidence follows (mostly from other websites; the comments to the posts themselves sizzle with outrage).

(2) Examples of attacks by the alarmists

(a)  Comment by Robert Marston Fanney (fantasy writer; bio here), at his blog RobertScribbler: “Scribbling for economic, social, and environmental justice”, 27 January 2014. In reply to a comment citing my post about the pause and a post contrasting hysterical statements about climate doom with an exchange of views between two climate scientists.

“This is classic poor representation of the science from a blog that appears to have been wrapped up in right-wing misinformation, at least in this case.”

He follow with a series of simple factual errors. Details here.

(b)  From a comment thread at Naked Capitalism, in a post where Yves Smith cites two of my posts.

“The fact that he’s a climate denialist also doesn’t do much for his case.” {By Joe; link}

Joe’s reasons were frivolous (my posts steadfastly defend the IPCC consensus), but steadfastly held. Next, a fun rebuttal:

“The North Pole is a frickin’ LAKE, you ass. You are either being paid well for these posts, or you are off your meds. I swear, these Baghdad Bobs are going to be crowing about the earth cooling right up until their proteins start congealing from the heat.”  {by Lidia; link}

The story about a lake at the North Pole was denied as bogus by the science group it was attributed to. The bit about global cooling is tribalism. I’m called a denier, therefore I must believe in global cooling. QED!  In fact I’ve written 4 posts debunking the subject. No admission of error from Lidia, of course.

(c)  Roger Pielke Jr (Prof Environmental Studies, U CO-Boulder) published “Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change” at 538, provoking a two-minute hate by the Left. I had the temerity to cite the peer-reviewed literature supporting his view (and the lack of offsetting articles in rebuttal). See the responses; feel the hate flow.

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