I’ve opted for plain and simple for my format and layout. The default presentation gives you the last few articles I’ve written in a long, scrollable format. Sometimes I add a “more” tag, which takes you to the individual post, showing the remainder of what I wrote for that article, but usually you must click the heading (to the left of the primary text blocks) to get to the specific article, since I usually just write it all, letting all show on the scrolling composite. The basic reading format doesn’t include a comment box. If you click the heading and go to the specific posting, there is a reply box at the end, after the share buttons and the tags and categories. You can also click the quote-button comment link just below the title.

So, if you happen to read something you want to reply to, please do. I will almost certainly post your comment and reply to you. I’m not into censoring.

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It’s a tough world. We need to be tough.

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

SPOTLIGHT: Fixated on sexism and racism, we’re lost in the fog.

BIG PICTURE: In 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Canadian psychology professor Jordan Peterson reminds us that the 20th century was “defined by the bottomless horrors of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.” We all know about the six million who perished in Nazi concentration camps. Visitors to present-day Auschwitz find the scale of the evil perpetrated there overwhelming. The rows of prisoner barracks go on and on.

But the atrocities didn’t begin or end with the Nazis. During the 1930s, four to 10 million Ukrainians starved to death in a famine deliberately orchestrated by the Soviet government. Crops were confiscated, and peasants who scavenged in the fields were shot.

During his 30-year reign of terror, Joseph Stalin established a monstrous network of slave labour camps, known as the gulag. Families were shattered, existence was reduced to shivering…

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My high school age son is not impressed with calls for gun controls.

The World According to a Teen Boy

Imagine you’re at your house and you’re getting ready for bed. (And pretend you’re single with no kids). You come out of the bathroom when you hear something bump downstairs. You go down to see what it is. Do you bring anything with you? Well, you don’t have a gun so you grab your heavy flashlight. You walk down the stairs to find that someone is in your house. What do you do?

a) Do you tell them to get out? They hear you and pull their gun out. If you’re lucky, they wore gloves and a mask and are fine with telling you to stay quiet as they leave. If not, they shoot you because they left behind evidence (fingerprints or you saw them) and need to get rid of you. Or they panic and shoot. ~1-in-3 chance you live.

b) Ask what they’re doing? They hear you and pull their gun out. If you’re lucky, they wore gloves and a mask and are fine with telling you to stay quiet as they leave. If not, they shoot you because they left behind evidence (fingerprints or you saw them) and need to get rid of you. Or they panic and shoot. ~1-in-3 chance you live.

c)…

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There is a disappointment and anticlimax after all beginnings. “In every department of life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing. The Enemy takes this risk because He has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin into what He calls His ‘free’ lovers and servants–‘sons’ is the word he uses…. Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them…”

Screwtape

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Important. Useful.

Watts Up With That?

People send me stuff. Today in my inbox, WUWT regular Michael Palmer sends this note:

My wife Shenhui Lang found and translated an interesting article from 1973 that attempts the reconstruction of a climate record for China through several millennia (see attached).  The author is long dead (he died in 1974), and “China Daily” is now the name of an English language newspaper established only in 1981. I think it would be very difficult to even locate anyone holding the rights to the original, and very unlikely for anyone to take [copyright] issue with the publication of the English translation.

The paper is interesting in that it shows a correlation between height of the Norwegian snow line and temperature in China for the last 5000 years.


A Preliminary Study on the Climatic Fluctuation during the last 5000 years in China

Zhu Kezhen

Published in China Daily, June 19th, 1973 / translated by Shenhui Lang, PhD

Chairman Mao…

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There is a problem with facts: There are just so many!

This page, https://www.justfacts.com/pollution.asp, is “Just Facts” pollution page.

Pollution is much less problem than most people believe. It was worth worrying about in 1970, but by the early 1980s, not so much. We are past silly now.

Did you know caffeine is toxic in high doses? You probably know that. It will take something like the caffeine in 300 cups of coffee, all at once to kill about half the adults who took so much. (In other words, coffee is quite safe.) Here is the kicker, you’d need more than 300 gallons worth (not cups) of glyphosate (ya know, Roundup) to have the same fatal effect. Yet, we worry about glyphosate use to keep us from starving to death.

Facts are important. People mostly ignore them anyway.

Here is another tidbit: Peanut butter has a very small, but definable potential to cause cancer. We all know peanut butter is safe; we eat mountains of it. Yet, PCBs are about a hundred times less dangerous than peanut butter. 😮 What? PCBs aren’t dangerous? No. PCBs are not worth worrying about at all, not at all. Still, we waste money and fear on it daily.

Honestly, EPA is the most dangerous thing in all the world, at least when it comes to pollution. The world will be a better place without EPA, and we could be rid of it tomorrow if we just had the gumption.

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Good ol’ Okie common sense and gumption.

Watts Up With That?

Scott Pruitt EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. By Eric Vance, Photographer, United States Environmental Protection Agencyhttps://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-07/scottpruitt16x20.jpg, Public Domain, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

President Trump’s EPA Director Scott Pruitt has upset greens by suggesting that since humans have historically flourished during warm periods, global warming might be beneficial.

Pruitt suggests warming can help humans

Scott Waldman and Niina Heikkinen, E&E News reporters
Published: Wednesday, February 7, 2018

U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt questioned yesterday if rising global temperatures are harmful to humans, a claim that adds new insight to his alternative views on climate change.

In an interview with KSNV television in Nevada, Pruitt suggested that global warming could be seen as a good thing for people. He said civilizations tend to flourish when it’s warm.

“I think there’s assumptions made that because the climate is warming, that that necessarily is a bad thing,” Pruitt said.

Recently, Pruitt has…

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Too long ago to try to imagine, we humans took our most important step of existence; we became human. It is mind boggling to consider all that had to fall into place to get us that far, and so far still.

Somewhere around 10,000 years ago, we turned a corner that had more to do with climate change than our accomplishment. We benefited from global warming to such extent that not every waking moment need be expended in exertion or contriving to provide for the bare necessities of life for self and family.

With only a modicum of leisure, we started accomplishing remarkable things. We built monuments. We organized. We developed society and governance. Somewhere in there, we gained consciousness and the knowledge of good and evil, we internalized our limitations, our finitude, and in inexplicable ways, God breathed into us.

Sadly, we ignored that divine infilling, rudely, knowing both good and evil, we spent more effort in selfishness and evil than most anything else.

Still, we built.

We innovated and developed.

Somehow, some, only a few, grew beyond selfish spite and malice, and we advanced, sometimes with the help of selfless individuals, sometimes without regard to them.

Tragically, the world simply was a world of haves, and have-nots. The haves had things primarily as a function of power, power and status managed by social structure and supported on the backs of slaves. The situation held for millennia through countless circumstances, cultures, and peoples, held together by what may, though usually with violence underpinning. There are very few exceptions to point out.

Violence was our way. Subjugation of the majority by the powerful was simply the way civilization grew. Prosperity meant toil and misery for most, and a life of ease for the few.

Nearly 3,000 years ago, a spark of truth ignited in more than just a few individuals. It made little difference, and grew in only the hearts of a very few here and there. Regardless, it was seeping into culture. About 2,000 years ago, history turned. Truth took hold, and individuals began to value each other as having the breath of God within, and having some potential spark of truth in all. Everyone was considered of worth, not just the nobles or powerful.

Still, little changed. Though slavery was technically abolished for a while in most of the known world, it was still a situation of the haves and the have-nots, and the have-nots were the essential, subservient support of the haves. Of course, slavery returned with a vengeance, to sufferings untold.

Not long ago, in the mid-1700s, something changed. We developed technology that would replace the slaves and allow all to be free, and this development would facilitate the possibility that all could at least aspire to join the ranks of the haves.

We call that change the industrial revolution, but really, what is was, we learned to burn fuel and harness the energy of the burning to replace the burning of food in the bodies of the subjugated.

Here is the most important fact since: Readily available energy, electrical energy now-a-days, and transportation fuels are the key to the have-nots having enough. Poverty and slavery can certainly be lain at the feet of dictatorial monsters, but for most, it is directly resultant from lack of electricity and transportation fuel.

To be clear, I am equating fossil fuels with freedom. Conversely, I’m equating opposition to fossil fuels with homicide and enslavement.

Though our technological prowess will likely keep fossil fuels dominant in our quest for freedom and prosperity for all, we are running out, and it is getting harder and more energy intensive to extract these resources. We are already seeing diminishing returns. We must develop more efficient energy systems.

We have an alternative that we must pursue immediately while grave suffering can be avoided. Nuclear fission.

Eventually, we will use nuclear fusion, but that is not in our lifetimes. We will be suffering from lack of energy before fusion can fill the gap. Fission is today, uranium, plutonium, and thorium.

We can. We will. It is not a prediction. It is unrelenting reality.

We will suffer in blood and slavery if we wait too long.

I don’t appeal to the pipe dream of renewables. Solar power simply is inadequate. Wind turbines are a grievous atrocity, causing harm in all.

Biomass burning, likewise, is harming far more than is admitted. Filth is the only word appropriate for most of it.

I cannot overemphasize how paramount is the importance of readily available energy, affordable to all and reliable.

While it is inarguable that Greco-Roman thought, and the life of Christ, changed the world to truth, one simply cannot argue that the associated culture and religion(s) are of critical importance. In less than four centuries, the Christian faith affected the lives of over half of the earth’s total population, but within a few more decades, the numbers that could be called Christian dropped to roughly one-third of all humans, and it has been between 20% and 40% for the several centuries since. The Greco-Roman culture cannot be attributed either. It mattered, but it was not essential, not the key.

Truth mattered. Truth was the key. Greece, Rome, and Christians had no monopoly. They simply managed to make it a priority of the powerful. Thus, truth prevailed, but Christian theology gave rise to what Nietzsche so astutely foresaw. We had killed God. We had forgotten our divine attribute, and we were adrift. The blood of hundreds of millions attests to it. Our suffering for it is greatly diminished, but not concluded.

So, what?

What next?

We must stay focused on truth. We must individually take responsibility and not lose sight of our connectedness. We must not overemphasize individuality and individualism. Yet, we are individuals. Our identities do not reside in any group. Each individual’s identity can never be distilled to any externally quantifiable characteristic. It is a hard thing, a hard balance.

Still, the important part for humanity is energy. We are eliminating abject poverty and slavery with energy. We must have reliable electricity and available transportation fuel. Pushing for unreliable, unpredictable sources based on wind and sunshine is no better than trusting unicorns.

We are what we are. We fall, we resort to selfishness and violence when we don’t have better options. Our better options are afforded by readily available energy. Energy is the basis of freedom and incentives that allow cooperation and respect to flourish.

Energy, and freedom. It is the only possible means of advancement. The alternative is suffering, and eventually extinction.

 

Ever notice that for the most part politicians and lawmakers do whatever the heck they want?

They pretend to speak for the people. They pretend to represent our interests, but they just play their power games and do whatever the heck they want. I know there are a few exceptions, but the portion is too small to matter. Even the ones I’m not mad at still play the games; they still just stick it to us any old way that helps them achieve their priorities, priorities that change with the political winds.

On the drive home, I heard some snippets on the radio and composed the following to my legislators. I’ll be surprised if I even get an acknowledgement.

First, I heard on the radio a Democratic congressman blaming everything on the Republicans. Can we stop the childish name calling and blame casting, please? There is plenty of blame to go round, and the problem is spending, not revenue. Focus on the problem and reducing it, not on some preferred band-aid.

I heard on the radio someone claiming “the voters” want higher taxes on oil. Well, no. No, I don’t think they do. I know I don’t.

I really don’t think anyone wants more taxes. Put a volunteer option on the tax forms, and see if anyone donates extra. (I doubt even the outspoken Democratic politicians will.)

Honestly, there are no such things as corporate taxes; there are no such things as taxes on oil. There are only costs to operations, to extraction, and to production. We voters pay for all that no matter what caused the cost. If the oil folks have more taxes, the costs simply go up, and our prices go up to cover it.

I find it disingenuous and deceitful to pretend the gross production tax is simply on the oil companies. No, it is simply on you and me, and we pay it with every tank-full and every heating bill.

I’m good with getting rid of specialty tax laws and exemptions. The leveler the field the better, but let’s be realistic about it. All state taxes come out of the pockets of every Oklahoma citizen, no matter how a given tax is assessed.

We need less spending. We need fewer state programs. We need consolidation in the things we spend on. Mostly, we need the budget reduced.

Figure it out. Do the hard work. Don’t just pass the buck on to me and the rest of Oklahoma’s tax payers and residents.

You can start by repealing the prohibitions. That will lower some budget requirements.

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Excellent insight.

Regarding Jordan Peterson and young men, I think Dr. Peterson has no intention of targeting young men. Dr. P calls out truth. He calls out reality. There are differences between the fundamentals of males and females that make it, generally, intuitive for females to grasp reality and to realize the need to take responsibility. I suspect males need it spelled out.

No one has been doing that for a long time. It doesn’t surprise me that the majority of those who find Dr. Peterson’s explanations enlightening are male and younger.

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

SPOTLIGHT: Young men are in crisis. Responding with compassion is apparently a bad thing.

BIG PICTURE: The Internet is awash with Jordan Peterson videos. He’s the mild-mannered Canadian psychology professor whose just-released book, 12 Rules for Life, is a best seller across the English-speaking world.

Enthusiasts snip YouTube videos into pieces and splice those pieces together again. Here’s an example titled All the times Jordon Peterson broke down talking about the state of young men. Posted 10 days ago, this 8.5-minute video provides a marvellous introduction to Peterson’s empathy and humanity.

Whenever he speaks in public, young men are a large part of his audience. They frequently remain behind afterward to shake his hand and thank him for helping them get back on track.

On the video, after a radio interviewer mentions that suicide is a leading cause of death for men, Peterson says of those who attend…

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Here is a hard thing. “The only way to grow out of the state is to not treat it as an alien “other” but as a reflection of a violence-addicted culture.”

We, you and I, commit violence against others with our laws, with our regulations, with our prisons.

You and I have blood on our hands. Our lawmakers ensure it.

For every evil a state-enforced regulation alleviates, it perpetrates more, maybe many more, maybe many times worse. You and I are responsible.

When one causes suffering, that one is responsible. When our government, our state, our laws, our police cause suffering, we are all responsible. All of us have the blood on our hands.

“Don’t be evil,” the saying goes. What is evil? It is at least the causing of suffering unnecessarily. Do our prohibitions cause suffering? Yes. You know our drug laws, our prostitution laws, our petty prohibitions of this and that, our requirement of this or that, they all cause suffering. They all result in harming people and families in prisons and other obvious harms. Why continue?

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.” Thomas Jefferson, Philadelphia Dec. 23. 1791.

If we live to “protect,” how? How can we protect anyone older than about six years? We can only protect people by imposing on them. Coercion is evil. Coercion is always evil. Why commit evil to protect? There is one reasonable justification: when the evil prevented is obviously worse than the evil imposed by the coercion, when that evil prevented was clear, present, and imminent.

Coercion, imposition of law, needs to be stripped of its layers and accoutrements, especially the pretty ones. We pretend our laws are for the good, but what good? Strip the law down to its ultimate: Every law has you, ultimately, holding a gun to someone’s head and saying, “Comply or else!”

You scoff. You recoil. You would never do that. Heck,  you may even protest you own no gun, you may even claim you’ve never held a gun, but did you vote? Did you pay taxes? Don’t you sanction the police, at least when you need them? Did you cheer when the law passed? “No more texting and driving,” you cried in triumph. Yet, what of the young person who does so anyway, who is seen, caught red-handed, by an officer of the law? Who, when the siren sounds and the lights flash, refuses to submit? What then? High speed chase? Property damage, injury, loss of life? All because you insisted on assigning enforcement, the guys with the guns, to enforce your coercive, self-serving, even narcissistic and egotistical, will.

You! You supported that. You are responsible. There is blood on your hands.

We must change our ways. We must change our laws. We must abandon punishment in our civic culture. We all know what harm is. When there is a responsible party, intentional, negligent, or something similar, we understand justice. We understand the harm, the wrong, must be set right in some way. Punishing the responsible party is seldom warranted. Locking the person in a cage, how have we remained so evil so long?

When someone is harmed, we must find ways to set it right, ways that may involve substantial hardship for the responsible party. We can be reasonable, merciful, and still see justice done.

The old rule of eye-for-eye and life-for-life may need to be applied on rare occasions, but we normally have much more rational, even more effective, options.

Imposing harm willingly is the height of evil. Yet, we do it every day.

We harm those who violate our laws daily, and we harm those who love them or depend on them. We cause the harm, and we know it! That is the evil of our society, not supposed slights and unconscious bias.

Our laws need to focus on harm done and reparation. We must abandon punishment in most civil and criminal matters. We must figure out how to stop locking up all but our most dangerous fellow humans.

Here is another idea we must internalize, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

I am the monster. You are the monster. Our society, our laws, our enforcement, our systems! We are the monster! “There is none righteous, no not one!

Think, are you not frightened whenever you think of doing something out of the ordinary? Don’t you wonder if it is illegal, if someone might call the police, if the police just might show up for you? Oh, what evil we have wrought! We live in a society where the sensitive among us live in fear of the police, the state. Why?

When we impose regulation on children, on parents, on education, we are restricting, coercing, demanding what is not rightfully ours.

For many thousands of years, we have made do just fine with no imposition of regulations on parents. How can our hubris reach so high as to think this or that rule improves the human lot? Nemesis visits us already. Her reminders to return to humility, to minding our own business, are not usually extreme, but they will become so if we continue our imposing, coercive ways. It is simply the nature of existence. TANSTAAFL and “Mind own business.” That is the existence we have. It is what we should celebrate. We can only have the best when we all trust one another to the good, to be honest, to accomplish our own necessities. Our meddling only, almost always, increases suffering more than necessary.

I allow for the needs, for the necessities, because nothing is ever perfect, at least not in the existence we live.

I want less government, less law, less meddling, less imposition, less coercion. I’m not advocating for overthrow. No! What we have works pretty well. Let’s not blow it up. But, we can start restricting it. We can start repealing laws. We can start lowering budgets and eliminating programs. Such is the road to less harm and more general welfare.

There are no government programs that don’t cause harm. Get it? All government programs, all government action, causes harm. Government programs and actions harm some, some individuals. In many instances, the government action is causing more harm, more human suffering, than it alleviates, even when the best of intentions are legitimate and even when well supervised.

Government causes harm. It is inarguable. Freedom is better. Of course, there are those who will take advantage when opportunity arises, and that is why we need the sanctioned violence, the enforcement, the police, the guys with the guns. Yes, we need them. (We also need to be able to defend ourselves from them.)

However, we need less than we have.

Our needs our meager when it comes to government, yet we surfeit! Why?

Why is government excess the one excess we revel in. Is revelling in excess not sin, simply by definition! Of course, it is. Let us stop insisting on continuing this sin.

Less government, and let’s start with less laws.

 

 

 

An unrelated article brought this to mind.

Argue all you want, complicate all you want, but God is, or God is not. If you prefer, there is a divine ultimate, or there is nothing.

If we acknowledge the divine, then we are eternal, it seems a certain consequence.

I assert free will. “Good heavens, gentlemen, what sort of free will is left when we come to tabulation and arithmetic, when it will all be a case of twice two make four? Twice two makes four without my will. As if free will meant that!” (Fyodor Dostoevsky [c8p2, c8p3])

There is no free will if one may not choose eternity to at least the extent of with-God or without-God.

I assert the good. I assert that choosing to add harm to life is the evil.

We have before us life or death, good or evil. Therefore, choose life.

I aver that Martin Luther King Jr. was a pretty good example of a husband and father, and it seems fitting on the day we honor him to note that for the most part, we’ve solved the problems for women of not having husbands.

That is, in most of our circumstances, we support single mothers. We don’t shun them. We typically work with them in personal and public ways.

For the most part, a single mother’s life is hard, but it is not life-threatening as it used to be.

Thus, we have many single mothers. That is, while there are still problems, the biggest problem, the problem that made women fear being a single mother, has been mitigated. While we have improved the lot of women, we have not improved the overall lot.

Fatherlessness, lack of a husband in the family, is a problem for society. It is a serious problem for children. Fatherlessness of families results in harm.

How do we fix that? I think it is obvious money and government programs cannot fix it.

How do we fix it?

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Excellent.

Science Matters

On January 8, 2018 Ross Pomeroy published  at RealClearScience an interesting article The Six Stages of a Failed Psychological Theory

The Pomeroy essay focuses on theories in the field of psychology and describes stages through which they rise, become accepted, challenged and discarded. It has long seemed to me that global warming/climate change theory properly belongs in the field of social studies and thus should demonstrate a similar cycle.

Formerly known as CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming), the notion of “climate change” is logically a subject of social science rather than physical science. “Climate Change” is a double abstraction: it refers to the derivative (change) in our expectations (patterns) of weather. Thus studies of “Climate Change” are properly a branch of Environmental Sociology.

As a social psychology theory, CAGW/climate change bundles together three interdependent assertions.

From the beginning the claimed science, impacts and policies were bundled, which makes CAGW theory…

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Keep in mind that Pointman is viewing from across the pond. (He always seems to have a very clear view, too.)

Pointman's

Barring any unforeseen accidents and a fair breeze behind him, Trump will be sailing into the 2020 election to win it most probably by a greater margin than he won in 2016. Trump has delivered more in one year than Obama did in eight, and you have to remember under the latter’s administration, everything was either in decline or simply going nowhere.

In that year, new jobs were actually created, unemployment among both black and Hispanic Americans has hit historic lows, the flight abroad of manufacturing from America was stopped, swathes of choking regulatory nonsense has been culled ruthlessly, the stock market keeps hitting new record highs, the dumping of cheap foreign subsidised goods into America was stopped, the foreign policy disasters left behind to him by Messrs Obama, Clinton and Kerry have been unfucked one by one, the Arabic states were told to stop covertly financing terrorism in the…

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