Friday, July 16, 2010

We Still Need Higher Quality Outrage

[An essay I wrote for English class.]

A clear majority of Americans voted for “change” in the 2008 presidential election; why haven't we gotten it yet? The wars/occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan are still going, military spending has increased, “Gitmo” has not been shut down, the criminals who created the financial crisis/recession are not being prosecuted. Perhaps it is related to an idea put forth by Deborah Tannen (author of The Argument Culture) in the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, in “We Need Higher Quality Outrage.” Indeed, we do; however, the examples she gave in her piece were weak, and sometimes even examples of what she was criticizing. I will now correct that error.

Tannen opines “one can decry the fact that many of the contracts for rebuilding Iraq were awarded to Halliburton without claiming that the war was undertaken in order to enrich the company the vice president once led.” Well, sort of. Claiming that is the reason for the war may be unjustified, but criticizing (then V.P.) Dick Cheney for profiting from rebuilding a country he oversaw the destruction of is valid. Her statement that “one can argue that having received medals for heroic deeds in the Vietnam war does not equip John Kerry to execute the war in Iraq without seeking to discredit not only his, but all, Purple Hearts” is unarguably true. However, Tannen then fantasizes that “one can validly defend the way the war was conducted without accusing one's critics of undermining the war efforts.” No. Criticizing the way the Iraq war was conducted does undermine the war effort, and it should.

She really fails to engage in “higher quality outrage” with regard to 9/11, saying “one can argue that the president [then-president Bush] is using the Sept. 11 attacks to bolster his public profile without going so far as to claim (as does a message circulating on the internet) that he played a role in authorizing those attacks.” Well, even in 2004 there was a whole lot more than “a message” on the internet about that. In fact, even a cursory investigation makes it blindingly obvious that 9/11 could not have happened – the way it did actually happen – without top-level U.S. Government foreknowledge and co-operation. If you need a jump to get you going, try “Did 9/11 Justify the War in Afghanistan? Using the McChrystal Moment to Raise a Forbidden Question” by David Ray Griffin, and “Revealing new aerial photos of 9/11 attack released” by James Fetzer (be sure to watch the five-minute video by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth at the end of the article). Then, after you're done “being sick,” go to the website of Partnership for a New American Century. This NPO was created by the aforementioned Dick Cheney along with Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Judith Miller (then a reporter for the New York Times) and some others. They released a White Paper (“Rebuilding America's Defenses”) describing their plan for world domination via the U.S. Military controlling the global oil supply. Acknowledging that this would require a huge increase in military spending and that the American people had no appetite for that, they said they would need “a new Pearl Harbor” (p. 51); and, regarding invading Iraq and establishing permanent military bases there to use as a staging area for conducting attacks throughout the Middle East and Asia, they said Saddam Hussein's regime “provides the immediate justification” (p.14). They put these things in writing one year before 9/11.

On the issue of journalistic balance, Tannen also fails to achieve the desired quality in her outrage. The balanced approach in news coverage comes from our legal system, called the “adversarial system,” in which two opposing sides each state their case, presided over by a judge. This goes back to medieval times, which used “trial by combat” with the winner assumed to have been picked by God (</a><img src="" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important; padding: 0px !important" /><a target="_blank" href="">Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us</a><img src="" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important; padding: 0px !important" />DeBarba). So now the TV audience plays the role of God, and the news media offers up opposing views for us to pick from. Using Global Warming as an example, Tannen wails that “balance” requires one of “the few greenhouse skeptics” be given equal time, when “the vast majority agree” that it is true. Unfortunately for her and those “scientists,” agreement has nothing to do with science; it's what the evidence proves, and the evidence does not prove the “greenhouse effect.” As I put it in a paper I wrote on this subject, the greenhouse believers “duplicated an amount of energy from one stage of the process to the next, when in reality there is energy lost each time it is transferred from one place to another or from one form to another; this is eerily similar to the mechanism of hiding debt the Wall Street scammers engaged in that caused the financial crisis of 2008."

Tannen then calls for “peaceful yet passionate outrage.” Why that magical combination? “The challenges we face are monumental. Among them are the spread of nuclear weapons, the burgeoning number of individuals and groups who see the United States as a threat, and the question of how far to compromise our liberties and protections in the interest of security.” Again, no. There are monumental challenges we face, but those aren't them.

The first elephant in the room is the subject of the psychopaths: people whose brain defect makes them unable to feel they've done anything wrong. They know what society considers wrong, but they feel that's an unjust limit on their freedom. According to Canadian Ph.D. Psychologist Robert Hare, who has spent over three decades studying them, although psychopaths make up only one percent of the population, they are responsible for 50% of all crime. The complete failure of the mainstream media to acknowledge this huge factor in our society means most people know nothing about the great science that's been done on the subject. This allows the psychopaths to have an influence far outside their numbers, leading to a “culture of lying”; every year there are more stories of widespread cheating in schools, and the exposure of yet more fraud in both business and science.

The other elephant in the room is another one percent of the population: the richest one percent. In “Power in America: Wealth, Income, and Power,” hosted on the web by the sociology department of the University of California, Santa Cruz, William Domhoff reports that the share of the nation's wealth owned by the richest one percent has increased from 30% ten years ago to 35% today. Also, the top ten percent have 70% of the wealth and the top 20% have 85% of the wealth. To look at that from the other side, it means the bottom 80% have only 15% of the nation's wealth spread out among them, and even the bottom 90% have only 30% of the nation's wealth. So, when you are told we have a “representative system of government,” whose interests do you think they're going to represent? The president, senators, and governors have carte blanche to ignore 90% of the citizens (and maybe even 99%), because there are zero consequences for them when they do.

So, what can you do? Well, you have three options: one, mindless obedience while the government protects the right of the corporations to profit from poisoning you and your children; two, try to change the world – but you can't because the richest one percent have all the power and they are not going to let you change the world, so you will just waste your energy; or three, follow the clues and connect the dots with a willingness to find out what the truth is no matter what it turns out to be (and a willingness to allow that discovery to transform you into who you really are) which will grow your awareness like unto a shield, thereby significantly reducing the effect of the attack so you can recover from the attack even while still under attack. Then, if an opportunity generated from outside the system should occur in your lifetime, you will be able to take advantage of it by acting in favor of a better, more human, world.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Actually, Virginia, There Isn't a Greenhouse Effect

Energy prices through the roof, food shortages killing millions (billions?), and a drastic decrease in living standards; are these going to be the result of man-made Global Warming (Anthropogenic Global Warming, or AGW)? Or the result of a belief in a lie? There is no such thing as a greenhouse gas, and the Greenhouse Model of Global Warming has never been scientific.

The vast majority of climate scientists agree that AGW has been proven. As recently as January 2009, reported on a survey in which 97% of climatologists said they believed not only that the earth is warming, but that humans are contributing to the warming. Even a cursory perusal of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Wildlife Federation, and the Environmental Defense Fund immediately makes it clear that the science is settled. The world's scientific authorities insist AGW is real. Which is to say, carbon dioxide emissions from human industrialization are causing an increase in the greenhouse effect. Unfortunately for all these esteemed and well-funded authorities, the scientific method cares not for authority, agreement, or belief; it's what the evidence proves.

Those who promote belief in AGW like to trot out the planet Venus as “proof” of the greenhouse model. The atmosphere on Venus is full of carbon dioxide, and it's over 400 degrees C there. Pretty convincing, right? Actually no; that this has been so well received not only by the public but – alarmingly – also by many scientists shows the truly deplorable state of science education in the U.S. (and, apparently, other countries). As Steve Goddard explains in “Hyperventilating on Venus”, “...why is Venus hot? Because it has an extremely high atmospheric pressure. The atmospheric pressure on Venus is 92x greater than Earth.” He goes on to say:

Wikipedia typifies the illogical “runaway greenhouse” argument with this statement:

Without the greenhouse effect caused by the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the temperature at the surface of Venus would be quite similar to that on Earth.

No it wouldn’t. 9000 kPa atmospheric pressure would occur on earth at an altitude many miles below sea level. No such place exists, but if it did – it would be extremely hot, like Venus. A back of the envelope estimate – temperatures on earth increase by about 80C going from 20 to 100 kPa, so at 9,000 kPa we would expect temperatures to be in the ballpark of :

20C + ln(9000/(100-20)) *80C = 400C

This is very close to what we see on Venus. The high temperatures there can be almost completely explained by atmospheric pressure – not composition. If 90% of the CO2 in Venus atmosphere was replaced by Nitrogen, it would change temperatures there by only a few tens of degrees.

Al Gore – Mr. Inconvenient Truth himself – has been promoting environmentalism for decades. Who has more credibility than him? That makes him ideal to front a scam called “cap and trade,” in which a market for carbon credits has been created, and in the land of cowboy-capitalism that inevitably means of course also speculation on carbon futures – expected to be a $2 Trillion market by 2014. OK, so here's an example of how the scam works, in three easy steps: first, the venture capital firm where Al is a partner invests $75 Million in a “smart grid” start-up called Silver Spring Networks; then, Al flies all over the country and world scaring the bejeezus out of everyone about “Global Warming,” for example testifying before Congress that we must “put a price on carbon”; finally, the U.S. Energy Dept. announces $3.4 Billion dollars in “smart grid” grants (now where have I heard that term before?), of which over $500 Million goes to companies that have contracts with... wait for it... Silver Spring Networks! Ohmigod! What a great investment that turned out to be. Al also recently bought a mansion in California (for nearly nine million dollars), which has “six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms” as reported by the Los Angeles Times; that's not exactly walkin' the talk. He likes to indignantly insist that all the profits from his “green” investments go to his non-profit organization to promote environmental causes. Therefore, it's a mystery how his net worth went from under $2 Million in the year 2000 to over $100 Million just seven years later. I love the environment; wish I was worth a hundred mill.

If you research AGW in the mainstream media, you will undoubtedly come across the name of Svante Arrhenius. He allegedly proved the “Greenhouse Effect” on which all these prognostications that are being made today depend. However, as geologist Timothy Casey pointed out:

...Arrhenius' 'Greenhouse Effect' must be driven by recycling radiation from the surface to the atmosphere and back again. Thus, radiation heating the surface is re-emitted to heat the atmosphere and then re-emitted by the atmosphere backto accumulate yet more heat at the earth's surface. Physicists such as Gerlich & Tscheuschner (2007 and 2009) are quick to point out that this is a perpetuum mobile of the second kind - a type of mechanism that creates energy from nothing.

Basically, Arrhenius duplicated an amount of energy from one stage of the process to the next, when in reality there is energy lost each time it is transferred from one place to another or from one form to another; this is eerily similar to the mechanism of hiding debt the Wall Street scammers engaged in that caused the financial crisis of 2008.

So, if the Greenhouse Effect is not in effect on a global scale, then why is the earth warming? Or, is it warming? In November of 2009, someone released to the world over 1000 e-mails from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU); the IPCC relies on the CRU for key datasets in its research on Global Warming. Andrew Bolt of the Melbourne (Aus) Herald Sun wrote that the e-mails suggested “...conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more”. So much for consensus. Damage control from those involved was to call the leaker a “hacker”, but Bolt dismissed this, saying the leak was “... clearly not the work of some hacker, but of an insider who’s now blown the whistle”.

We appear to be at the end of an approximately 10,000 year period of relative stability of our climate on this big blue marble; at the point of transition of a system from one state to another, the system becomes unstable. Or perhaps the Standard Model is wrong, and we really do live in an Electric Universe, and that is what is causing the warming – or is it cooling? Maybe the human race is caught in a cycle we do not comprehend, and we are destined to be the basis for the next legend of a lost civilization (the United States of Atlantis?). Or, maybe, we just don't know what is happening or why.

But no one likes that answer.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Obamacare Catastro-Fudge: Worse Than You Think

You are a victim of psychological warfare. After many months of debate in Congress, President Barack Obama's major reform of our health care system was finally enacted. Do you remember that? It didn't happen. There was no “health care” debate, and no “health care” legislation was passed. The “debate” was only about insurance. The “health care system” in the U.S. is so expensive ($2.39T in 2008, $2.5T in 2009; “Introduction to the Health Care Industry”) because we don't have a health care system; instead, we have the Medical Business.

The business model of the “health care” industry – doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies – is the treatment of diseased conditions via drugs and surgery. If you die, that ends the revenue stream. So, they are trying to prevent that outcome. However, if you get healthy – healthy people are , by definition, not sick – that also ends the revenue stream. So, they are trying to prevent that outcome too. They need you to be somewhere between: alive, but sick. Therefore, anything that actually makes you healthy is a threat to them. Instead of the popular term “health care providers”, doctors should be called “practitioners of the Medical Business.” That's the business they're in. Perhaps, by providing the proper context, that would clear up some confusion.

Much in the same way as your car runs on gas, the Medical Business runs on fraud. A couple recent examples:
As reported in Scientific American magazine in 2009, "Over the past 12 years, anesthesiologist Scott Reuben” fabricated “at least 21” studies, which “led to the sale of billions of dollars worth of ... COX2 inhibitors” (Borrell). He's now on leave.
Then, over the winter of 2009-10, we had the swine flu/H1N1 “pandemic”... or did we? According to Gerd Gigerenzer (“director of the Centre for Adaptive Behaviour and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute in Germany”), "The problem is not so much that communicating uncertainty is difficult, but that uncertainty was not communicated. There was no scientific basis for the WHO’s estimate of 2 billion for likely H1N1 cases, and we knew little about the benefits and harms of the vaccination” (qtd. in Cohen). [Emphasis added.] But wait, it gets even worse! “Key scientists advising the World Health Organization on planning for an influenza pandemic had done paid work for pharmaceutical firms that stood to gain from the guidance they were preparing. These conflicts of interest have never been publicly disclosed by WHO, and WHO has dismissed inquiries into its handling of the A/H1N1 pandemic as 'conspiracy theories'.” (Cohen)

What we have a real epidemic of is obesity. Not just an issue of appearance or comfort, the fact of being obese significantly increases the probability of developing a wide range of other diseases, or makes them worse, warns an editorial in the American Heart Association journal Circulation (Matter and Handschin). But the million dollar question is, what is causing this obesity epidemic? The conventional wisdom is “overeating”; the Medical Business would have us believe we're fat because of an increase in calories, especially fat. Logically, then, we should all cut calories by cutting fat from our diet; and this is indeed what most doctors – pardon me, practitioners of the Medical Business – recommend. However, in 2007 science writer Gary Taubes published the results of his investigation of this issue, Good Calories, Bad Calories. In it, he documents the evidence that the vast majority of the increase in calories over the past four decades was from two sources: refined grains and sugar (neither of which is fat.) So the practitioners of the Medical Business are recommending a diet which has been proven to make most people fat and sick! “Ask your doctor if blah blah blah is right for you...”

What if we could significantly reduce costs and improve health, all without the “socialized medicine” that the conservatives are so deathly afraid of? Well, as Gary Taubes work indicates, cutting the grains and sugar instead of dietary fat could tame the obesity monster. Also, a study by Creighton University found that simply getting a little over 1,000 IU's of vitamin D3 per day (about three times the RDA) cut the incidence of all cancers in half. And then there's sleep. The National Sleep Foundation has claimed that the average American got 10 hours of sleep per night before the invention of the light bulb, compared to seven today (Sleep: part 2). Telling a chronically sleep-deprived nation to “eat less and exercise more” isn't just stupid and insane, it's evil.

So you tell the hard-charging go-getters who pretend America is so magically delicious that we can leave people to fend for themselves and it's still their fault when they're not successful, “We can't afford it!”, and then go take a nap in the early afternoon sun. Just don't burn.