The script writers are being fired

Ho ho ho!

Inspector General Horowitz found “reasonable grounds” for believing there has been a violation of federal criminal law in the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

The essential Democratic and Deep State illusion was that somehow they had not lost the election. That it was impossible for them to have lost it. So they concocted the Trump collusion-with-Putin story. That story is now unravelling. It looks like Obama and the Deep State conspired in many ways against the Trump campaign and swept Hillary’s misdeeds under the rug.

I predict this will eventuate in Obama being seen as the leftist villain that he is. That is to say, seen by the mass of moderate people who do not obsess with political blogs like this one.

The last time around, when George W. was President, the Democrats withdrew into the dream world of the West Wing, where wise Jeb Bartlett reigned as the alternative and very Democratic President. This time they were not content with realizing their fiction in television, and sought to achieve their fiction in reality, using the MSM and the Courts and the Special Investigator, Mueller.

Unfortunately for the scriptwriters, having tried to eliminate Trump by the two year long investigation into a fictional construct of Russian-Trump collusion, it turns out that the scriptwriters have themselves been revealed. They turn out to have been the senior levels of the FBI (James Comey) and the CIA (John Brennan). The audience is just as happy to see them dragged before the public for ritual abuse as they would have been happy to see Trump impeached.

Once you start concocting political fiction, using investigations, courts, the media and the full apparatus of US institutions, you are obliged to keep up the pace. The plot stalled. So a plot twist had to be devised to maintain public interest. Now Queen Hillary is being dragged in to save the ratings war.

To recap:

To Scott Adams, politics is an insult contest.

To the Z-man, it is a rock fight.

To Dalwhinnie, it is all a television series. When the television series stalls, the script writers are fired.

 

VDH on Conrad Black’s bio of Trump

Why Trump Is a President Like No Other

“What made Trump different from his competitors? Likely, his cunning, his almost Thucydidean reading of human nature, and his sixth sense about timing and salesmanship. In Plutarchian fashion, Black focuses on Trump’s physicality, especially his boundless energy and his impatience with nuance and self-doubt (“desperate cunning, unflagging determination, unshakeable self-confidence, ruthless Darwinian instincts of survival, and a sublime assurance that celebrity will heal all wounds”). Of course, the media and politicians were not ready for the naked applicability of these traits to the White House. But, as Black notes, the American people after decades of misgovernance were—as if to let loose Trump on their country as both avenger and deliverer.”

Trying to make sense of it all: All Trump, all the time, chapter 67, cognitive dissonance

As I sift through the political Internet, I feel like a giant whale taking in a ton of water with every mouthful, then squeezing it out through my baleen, leaving behind the tasty krill.  It is hard work. As I vacuum up the ocean of bafflegab, utterly predictable views, and outright hysteria on the subject of US politics in general and Trump in particular, I have occasion to consider that I have not seen US politics so demented since the era of President Nixon.

Only this time the MSM, the deep state and the Democratic power structure is not going to bring down the President.

Why am I convinced of this? Several reasons.

  1. There is nothing to the Trump-Russian collusion story. Even the Democratic New York Times occasionally allows this to be admitted. The analysis by Mollie Hemingway in the Federalist of the New York Times piece is very useful. She wrote:

“In paragraph 69 of the lengthy story, The New York Times takes itself to task for burying the lede in its October 31, 2016, story about the FBI not finding any proof of involvement with Russian election meddling.

The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.

It is somewhat funny, then, to read what The New York Times buries in paragraph 70 of the story:

A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts.

No evidence of collusion after two years of investigation with unlimited resources? You don’t say! What could that mean?”

Through all the brouhaha of Democratic and MSM agitation, if you read closely, the flagship voice of the MSM admits that the story is void of merit. Think about that for a moment. Two years of relentless agitation and political theatre, all predicated on something they now admit is nothing.

2. Trump keeps winning. Be it North Korea or Iran, or tax reform and putting America back to work, the decisions and actions of Trump have led away from nuclear war, they confront the wicked, confirm that the professional diplomatic class  is consistently wrong, and (I gloat) offend left wing opinion. Much could go wrong in any direction, and always can. Yet it is a relief to have someone in the White House who can deal with thugs, because the bad parts of the world are governed by them, and not by left-wing professors, or people who think the opinion of the Harvard University Faculty Club actually matters.

The deeper mystery is why the apparent insanity of Establishment opinion on the subject of Trump. By insanity I refer to the obsession with him, the assumption that he understands nothing, that he is a fascist, racist, homophobe. and so forth, menace to the Constitution, illegally in power, and so forth. The under-estimation is endless, and leads the opposition to Trump into vast errors. Why are the intelligent so stupid?

 

I have not seen such political dementia on the part of so many otherwise intelligent people. It occurred during Nixon, and it may have been present in Republican circles during the time of Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s.

Scott Adams explains this as a complete breakdown of the predictive value of their world view. “This side has been wrong about everything for two years”.

Dysfunctional and non-predictive. Nothing makes  sense to them anymore. Hence the insanity.

Adams has been making predictions since 2015 that have become true. He says his success is based on his idea of political discourse, which is that it is an insult contest. If you adopt this view, then you have no cognitive dissonance, and reality makes sense to you. Hence you are not angry. Hence you can appreciate Trump without adoring him, evaluate him without hatred or passion. I feel cool or mild toward Trump; I feel I watch him carefully, evaluate what he is doing and come to what I think are reasonable judgments. I am not excited, or offended, or adulatory.

Those on the other side of the debate cannot hear me, or you. Their picture of the world has broken down and nothing is making sense any more. For instance, they keep assuming you are saying something different when you speak. Just as Jordan Peterson kept saying to his interviewer, Cathy Newman, “no I am not saying A, I am saying B” and she could not hear him until the moment when she realized she was being absurd. But Newman was intelligent enough, and honest enough, to know that she had been fairly caught. Most anti-Trumpers are too distracted by their cognitive dissonance, too enmeshed in their outrage, to realize they are just spluttering.

Reframing, rebranding, that is the business of politics. And Trump has been a genius at it.

College degrees by sex

I do not use the word “gender”  and I counsel everyone to use the real word for it, sex.

“Gender” implies a political or grammatical construct. It is the same issue that Jordan Peterson has raised about pronouns for the inter-sexed and confused.

Now, on to the main course.

So which sex is finding that university is less appealing? Or which sex  cannot make the grades necessary in today’s pro-female education system? And which sex is falling behind in earning power as a consequence? And is either sex  allowed to observe this and remark upon it?

 

Two good pieces from Warren on the state of Canada

David Warren continues to dismay me somewhat with the quality of his writing. Here are two recent pieces on the state of Canada. I am unable to disagree with the overall assessment, though by temperament I am more hopeful. Which is to say that I disagree with his gloominess, though unable to reason why.

Tutti in coda (I)

Canadians thus find themselves in the vanguard of something happening throughout the West, and indeed, around the world. We don’t go out because it’s cold outside. The average Canadian, more than, say, the average Italian, is trapped in a centrally-heated interior. More and more, we live inside our computers. In a larger, cosmic sense we go stir-crazy.

But no revolutionary impulse follows from this. We’ve all come a long way, since 1968. Instead there is a growing disconnexion, from reality in all its known human forms. Canada may be a little more disconnected, but the direction we are travelling from our former orbit is much the same. We have the illusion of being at the front of a social revolution, when really we’re at the back of beyond, merely witnessing our own social dissolution.

Now, add in the evaporation of Christianity, and a further difficulty appears. We are without the moral or spiritual means to make a recovery.

Is it that bad? Sometimes I think so.

5 for 5

 

My subject is the astonishing level of incomprehension of and contempt for Trump by the American elites.

A perfect illustration is available from Real Clear Politics’ Monday edition of the state of incomprehension of Trump by the American elite. It is called “the End of Intelligence”, and appeared first in the Sunday New York Times. It is written by Michael Hayden, who was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009 and the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005.

His concern is with ‘post truth’ America, and what follows is Hayden’s line of argument.

He illustrates his case with some whoppers (outright lies), exaggerations and nonsense that Trump told during the election. [No discussion is made of anything from Hillary].

Hayden writes:

We in the intelligence world have dealt with obstinate and argumentative presidents through the years. But we have never served a president for whom ground truth really doesn’t matter.

The case in point is the ill-conceived Presidential directive that has come to be called ‘the Muslim-ban’. Hayden detects a pattern: something starts with a Presidential tweet, then the legions of  experts are called in to dampen, palliate, or moderate the instincts of the President.

“Sometimes, almost magically, he gets it right”, as when Trump agreed with the establishment to keep troops in Afghanistan.

But most of the time, Trump does not agree with the establishment, as on sanctions against Russia. In fact Trump disagrees with large sections of official opinion.

In this post-truth world, intelligence agencies are in the bunker with some unlikely mates: journalism, academia, the courts, law enforcement and science — all of which, like intelligence gathering, are evidence-based. Intelligence shares a broader duty with these other truth-tellers to preserve the commitment and ability of our society to base important decisions on our best judgment of what constitutes objective reality.

On how many issues is the American establishment wrong? They consist of journalists, academia, the courts, law enforcement and science.  And on how many issues are the the general consensus of the establishments in North America and Europe absolutely, completely wrong?

  1. Global warming/climate change: a concatenation of errors in false analysis, false conclusions, and wrong-headed solutions that will impoverish us, all driven by an anti-development ideology masquerading as “science”
  2. Iran deceiving us about their nuclear plans, and we being willing to be deceived
  3. Russia, seen as if it were still the Soviet Union, a confusing the thuggish Putin with the mass-muderer Stalin
  4. Islamic terrorism – you cannot be allowed to see or speak to the link between Islam the religion and Islam the political idea
  5. Korea – seen as insoluble

I would say it is five for five, on the most important issues confronting the West today. And I am not talking about the ideological mess of our universities.

Of course Hayden and his ilk believe that Trump is irrational in opposing Establishment views, because it is impossible that they could be wrong. We have all read their 60-page memoranda; we have all taken our lessons from the professors; we have all bowed our heads to the liberals in robes on the courts; and the police are busy policing thoughts and attitudes, as they ought. How can we all be wrong?

How can the establishments in law, policing, science, foreign intelligence and academia be wrong? The answer is quite simple, really. They have been animated by wrong ideas for fifty or a hundred years, and the results are now being seen.

I was once subjected to spiteful derision from a man who thought my views on global warming were utterly wrong. Without his ever having researched the subject, he found most offensive the fact that I dared to have an opinion that was not the consensus of scientists, as he saw it. How could I be so bold? [As a Protestant I am culturally accustomed to taking on Establishments and declaring them without authority, is the answer.]

The heresy or sin is in having a view that is not an establishment view. And Trump is five for five. And that, my friends, is why the Establishment thinks that Trump is irrational. Because they cannot be wrong.

Professor Pangloss, meet Dr. Doom

Image result for the grim reaper

 

 

The most important thing about prediction is the time scale over which you are measuring. The probability of the extremely rare event rises to certainty with the passage of time. For example, the history of the earth for the last two million years shows that the next ice age cannot be further away than two to five thousand years. If we extend the time scale to several tens of millions of years, it is likely that the earth will pass through epochs considerably warmer than we are in now.

So it is with historical timespans, which are far shorter . The human race has been undergoing a massive population expansion since 1800 because of science, increasing energy resources, and a feedback loop between increasing wealth and increasing resources to deal with disease.

Yet the very forces that have created the population explosion are everywhere reducing human birthrates. Why? Because as women become certain of the survival of their babies, they have fewer of them. Just as the burden of humans on the planet reaches a peak, the human species declines in numbers. These are demographic certainties: the dearth of children since the 1970s has been felt in every part of the world, including especially the Islamic parts. Within three generations human fertility has crashed from 6-8 live births to about 2 live births per woman. Read David Goldman’s It’s not the End of the World, it’s just the End of You: the Great Extinction of Nations.

It was with interest and pleasure that I have been absorbing Kyle Harper’s The Fate of Rome. Harper is the first historian of whom I am aware to have taken seriously the impacts of disease and climate change on the fate of the Roman Empire. He addresses the reader’s attention to the startling scale of death in the three waves of pestilence that not just decimated, but halved, Roman populations in the period 200AD to 550 AD. There were three near-global epidemics that swept through the Empire, each assisted by the ubiquity of trade links and safety of travel that imperial security allowed. One was probably the first exposure of humans to what we later called smallpox. The second was an Ebola-like hemorrhagic fever. 

The third, which swept through the Empire when the Emperor Justinian was trying to restore civil order and prosperity in the mid-500s, was bubonic plague, which broke out in AD 542. The population of the eastern (Byzantine) Roman Empire fell by half in one year, from 30 to 15 million, and kept on falling for several decades after as plague returned. Imagine the stink of corpses when everyone is dying and not enough people are available to bury them.

Coupled with volcanic outbursts that clouded the sun, and variations in the rainfall in central Asia, which sent the Huns westward in search pasturage, causing them to crash into the Goths who crashed into the Roman Empire, these waves of disease, worsening climate, and barbarian invasions had utterly wrecked the western Roman Empire by AD 400. Brian Fagan records in his book, The Long Summer, that the cultivation of the grape and the olive used to take place as far north in Gaul as the current French-Belgian border, but that, after the Roman Climate Optimum suddenly collapsed around 400 AD, the olive tree grows no further north than its current line in France’s Massif Central. Can you imagine what it would do to US agriculture if the climate of Saskatchewan moved south 400 miles? In the space of ten years?

Compared to scientifically literate histories like The Fate of Rome, Edward Gibbon’s attempt to blame the fall of Rome on the rise of Christianity, the personalities of Emperors, and barbarian invasions, seems more like an exercise in oratory and Latinate English than anything accurate.

Which brings me to the genial, clever Professor Steven Pinker and his Enlightenment Now. Pinker presents the best case possible that progress in the past several centuries has been real, and that catastrophists are wrong. I have every reason to believe this story; I am a rational optimist myself. Pinker and his teammate, Matt Ridley, both make the irrebuttable case that the world has been getting massively better for all. I wish there were more people who were aware of how much and how rapidly human life has improved since 1800, since 1900, since 2000. In that sense it is important to point out how much I agree with Pinker.

And yet, the pace of evolution is accelerating as population becomes denser. The pathogens that struck down the Roman Empire in repeated waves are entirely recent mutations.

As Harper explains:

The last few thousand years have been the platform for a new age of roiling evolutionary  ferment among pathogenic microbes. The Roman Empire was caught in the the turbulence of this great acceleration….

The primacy of the natural environment in the fate of this civilization draws us closer to the Romans, huddled together to cheer the ancient spectacles and unsuspecting of the next chapter, in ways we might not have imagined.

We are as grass, and while the arguments for impending catastrophe are much weaker than supposed, it is unwise to think that all will be well. The influenza epidemic of 1918 killed 3 to 5% of the world’s population, 50 to 100 million people, more than the World War that preceded it.

Civilizations and empires can end because of diseases and climate change. They have already done so several times. There is no reason to suppose we are immune, notwithstanding the cheerful and truthful news from the likes of Steve Pinker and Matt Ridley.

Professor Pangloss, meet Doctor Doom.

 

The y-axis indicates deaths per thousand

File:1918 spanish flu waves.gif