Archive for January, 2010

No twentieth century warming

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

The global warming blogs have done an analysis of the surface temperature readings, from which noconsensus quotes:

leading meteorological institutions in the USA and around the world have so systematically tampered with instrumental temperature data that it cannot be safely said that there has been any significant net “global warming” in the 20th century.

Temperature readings have had “value added” to their data, with the “raw” surface station histories mysteriously changing from one download to the next, and surface stations that reported cooler readings have been mysteriously dropped.

The science is scuttled

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Nasa, as evidence that we are doomed unless we make sufficient sacrifice to Gaia and tithe to Gaia’s high priesthood, has long had on its web page

Mountain Glaciers and snow cover have declined on average in both hemispheres and may disappear altogether in certain regions of the planet, such as the Himalayas, by 2030

Which web page has silently changed

So was it a lie, or an error?

I knew data hadn’t been verified … we thought if we can highlight it, it will impact policy makers and politicians and encourage them to take concrete action.

In other words, a lie. And if one lie, all lies.

As Patrick Archibald told us of an earlier scandal with the same lesson, the science is scuttled

How left is Obama?

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Obama was surrounded by the lunatic death-to-Americans left, his friends and social circle all come from those crazies, which led to widespread suspicion he was and is one of them – that he is a crazed commie nazi muslim who seeks to destroy America and reduce Americans to poverty and slavery.  Birds of a feather flock together.  On the other hand, a lot of people believe he is a moderate centrist.

He is now surrounded by the pillars of the Harvard Goldman Wall Street establishment, leavened with a fair few death-to-Americans crazies whom he helicoptered into top positions, but invariably positions where their actual ability to bring death to Americans is rather limited, which positions have been resentfully described by their demented denizens as “policy Siberia”, a disappointed complaint that implies they see Obama as really the moderate centrist, rather than really the crazed commie nazi muslim.

Those who think that Obama is lunatic left think that Bush was a left winger, and those who think that Obama is centrist think that Bush was far right, so there is evidently broad agreement that Obama policies are not all that different from Bush’s policies.

Bush’s big spending becomes much bigger spending, Bush’s heavy handed regulation becomes regulation considerably more heavy handed and much more hostile to business.  Bush’s disastrous affirmative action has not much changed, foreign war becomes foreign war with somewhat more cringing before our enemies – the bowing is uniquely Obama, but the Hasan debacle was unchanged Bush policy. Politically correct warfare in Afghanistan has become even more politically correct warfare in Afghanistan.

Politicians always tend towards compromise, and politically correct warfare is a compromise between making war and making peace, but of course, such a compromise is unviable – it was unviable for Bush, and even less viable for Obama.  You either have to annihilate the enemy with ruthless disregard for the women and children, or else cut and run.  There is no middle road.  The Bush disease has infected west point, which now upholds the politically correct position that slaying our enemies is so last century, a transformation that represents a victory for the State Department over the Pentagon.

If one considers these Bush policies to be left wing, as I do, then Obama’s policies are lunatic left, his crazy pals hanging out in “policy Siberia” are looming threat of cataclysm, and the fact that he is surrounded by pillars of the Harvard Goldman Wall Street establishment just shows how corrupt, decadent, incompetent, and out of touch with reality our establishment has become.

To synthesize these conflicting views of Obama, it is necessary to realize he is just not very bright.  People overestimate Obama’s intelligence, because he presents as one of the Harvard elite, which he culturally belongs to.  Therefore, he sincerely believes progressivism is moderate, humane, centrist, and good for America, and the swift implementation of these policies will make himself and democrats popular, while his brighter fellow believers (seething bitterly in policy Siberia) believe that Americans are evil sinners, and deserve to suffer progressivism every bit.

Obama delusively believes himself fairly moderate, but fears that if he was entirely frank, others would not see him so.

Global warming science in action

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

The “Air Vent” follows the money:

The IPCC makes a hyperbolic claim about retreating glaciers, which claim originates from a for profit company owned by the chairman of the IPCC.  Millions of dollars are then granted to this company to investigate this purported disaster, to the personal profit of the chairman of the IPCC.

Obama lashes out at the innocent to protect the guilty

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Immediately after losing a senate seat to a Republican populist, Obama the next day proceeded to go populist.  He, is, he tells us, going to punish those unregulated wall street fat cats who caused the crisis.

He is going to tax the banks, and restrict proprietary trading by banks.  But proprietary trading had little to do with the crisis.

All the things that caused the crisis are still going:  the continuing misbehavior of Fannie, Freddie, and the FHA, the continuing regulatory pressure on banks to lower credit standards for non Asian minorities, and the continuing government created opportunity for banks to unload dud mortgages on the taxpayer.

Past private misbehavior was facilitated by the hedge fund activities of  too-big-to-fail AIG selling naked CDSs, and too-big-to-be-defaulted-on Goldman and Sach, purchasing naked CDSs.  These activities enabled banks to unload the dud politically correct loans that they made.

The misbehavior of AIG and Goldman was downstream of the center of the problem ? banks made dud loans, and then unloaded them thanks to the hedge fund activities of too-big-to-fail businesses, primarily AIG.  The problem was that the government wanted, and still wants, banks to make dud loans, and will do whatever it takes to get them to make dud loans.  When too-big-to-fail hedge funds ceased to facilitate dud loans, this was a crisis, which crisis the government has swiftly acted to remedy.

Today banks get to unload their dud loans directly on the government. The taxpayer is “stabilizing” the market for unwanted mortgages, which is a huge off the books housing subsidy to minorities, irresponsible borrowers, irresponsible lenders, and bums with no credit rating.

Precisely because AIG and Goldman have stopped their bad conduct, bad conduct that the government needed and wanted, government stepped in, and is now doing exactly the stuff that AIG and Goldman were doing.

The lesser hedge funds did the right thing throughout, and the smaller they were, the more right they were – naturally so, because if a smaller hedge fund screws up, no one bails them out.

The one populist intervention against fat cats that would be both effectual and popular is a special tax or special restrictions on businesses that are too big to fail, and this one populist and popular intervention is not proposed, and is highly unlikely.

What the election of Scott Brown means

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Notice Scott Brown’s old pick up truck.

Partly, of course, it is simply a massive swing against the Democrats.  The economy is collapsing, people blame the party in power.

But it also means more important and more interesting things:  Scott Brown was campaigning as the anti elitist candidate, brandishing a working class and underclass identity, such as his old truck and his conviction for shoplifting.  The elite is unpopular, not just one party of the elite.

This was a populist landslide.  People think that those running our country, Democrat and Republican, are evil, stupid, and insane.

Normally a populist movement is anti libertarian, but the massive crony capitalism of the last few years, Obama and Bush, has put populists on the libertarian side.  They want real capitalism, not crony capitalism where the losses are socialized but the profits are privatized.  They want capitalists to be free to take risks with their own money, and not free to take risks with the taxpayers money.

I would like to say that democracy is self correcting, and the populist masses will get what they want.  But they probably will not.  The elite is just too entrenched at every level of society, and the politicians are just their public relations officers.  Some politicians will be thrown overboard to appease the masses, some perfectly innocent businessmen will be falsely accused of crony capitalism, and punished to appease the masses, but then the elite will continue with business as usual.

To get the reforms the Tea Party wants, it would probably be necessary to proscribe Harvard, every organization with “environment” in its name, and everyone involved in “diversity”, in the way Nazis were proscribed in postwar Germany.

Observe what happened when various states passed plebiscites declaring affirmative action illegal.

Absolutely nothing happened, and that is the likely outcome of a thorough Teaparty victory in the US.  The elite will just continue doing what it does.  Reagan had a vision for ending Soviet power.  I do not see anyone with a vision for ending elite power and privilege.

This raises the interesting question:  Is the elite evil, stupid and insane?

Yes it is, and the disease is bound to get worse.  It is an inherent problem with theocracies.  The official priesthood tends to become more and more religious, while the masses become less and less religious.  The official religion gets sillier, tending to select silly people for priests.  To be part of the elite, you have to believe in an ever growing list of stupid stuff, such as “diversity” and global warming.  This selects for people who apply their smarts to deluding themselves, rather than connecting to reality.

Google censors Google censorship

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Recursive censorship:

Typing climategate booker into bing four of the first five hits are about Google censoring Booker’s climategate article.

Typing climategate booker into google, none the first four hits are about Google censoring Booker’s climategate article – the same hits are all there, one of them at rank five, and they have fairly high page rank, but a markedly lower page rank than bing gives them.  Further, the rank is better for the ones most favorable to google.

This of course, reflects page rank at this instant, and will no doubt be different soon, but that is what I saw.

Despite its utterly villainous and richly deserved reputation, Microsoft, unlike Google, has an impressive record of defending freedom.  Of course, they recently came under new management, and if we are dependent on Microsoft to protect liberty, we are in trouble.

Mencius and Kling agree

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Mencius Moldbug has long argued, in an exceedingly long winded fashion, that we live in a theocracy.  The priesthood teach that the state deserves authority, the schools teach the official religion, and the state funds the schools and the priesthood.

Now Arnold Kling gives the same analysis, calling it market failure, rather than theocracy

Suppose that we have a group that wants enormous political power. The group rewards people who justify its power by calling them “experts.” It punishes those who question its power by dismissing them as “hacks.” If you want money and status, you want to be labeled as an expert. In order to be labeled as an expert, you produce analysis that justifies concentrated political power for the elite group.

This process is self-reinforcing. It is like the Harvard-Goldman filter. That filter says that only “reliable” people are allowed to be bank CEO’s or policymakers. A requirement for being “reliable” is sharing the views of other “reliable” people as to what constitutes reliability.

It is like the tenure system in academia. Who gets tenure? Above all, it is people who support the existing tenure system

Mencius’s proposed cure for this problem is a “strong” sensible state, where “strong” means something very like fascist, or despotic. However, strong states have a poor record for sanity.  Power tends to isolate the possessor from reality.

Another solution for this problem, something that Kling would probably find more congenial, is Mencius’s “antiuniversity”

After all, the previous theocracy bit the dust thanks to protestantism and the reformation, which held one could do religion without a hierarchy. If religion can be done without a hierarchy, so can science.  The priesthood is the most vulnerable part of a theocracy.

Google still evil

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Despite an announcement that it has stopped censoring in China, still censored

Correction: A commentor points out that if we search for Tiananmen+Square+massacre instead of just Tiananmen+Square, we get uncensored results. Nonetheless, there is something smelly about that page rank.

Also, google continues to censor right here:  Type “Christianity is” into the search box, and it will drop down the following suggestions

  • wrong
  • a lie
  • bullshit
  • not a religion
  • a cult
  • a joke

Type “Islam is” and see what you get.

Google’s free blogging service yanks politically incorrect blogs, and while its search engine found Climategate web pages, Google participated in the blackout by censoring its suggestion box and counts.  Search results are not obviously censored, but everything else is.

What the Tea Party stands for

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

There is a risk that the Tea Party movement is  sufficiently vague and unspecific to enable everyone to read into what they want, so that people with fundamentally irreconcilable views believe they’re part of the same movement, which is a good way to get people into power so that they can start scooping up some of the gravy, and a bad way to accomplish any political objective.

The original Tea Party was a violent eruption against British Mercantilism.  They threw legal tea on which tax had been paid by a privileged monopoly into the harbor, thus ensuring that everyone used illegal smuggled tea, thus ensuring that everyone resisted big government allied with big business.

Today, we see Obama’s big government alarmingly cozy with big business, both the too big to fail bailouts, and a health care program that pays off every special interest except the voters.  The Tea Partiers are pissed with this.  Like the original Tea Party, they support capitalism, but oppose big capitalists who are in bed with the government, they oppose Wall Street financiers who bet big because winnings are privatized and losses are socialized.

The country is run by a bunch of very smart people, who look down on the ignorant masses from their private jets.   There are some smart people among the Tea Parties, but not a lot.  The difference, however, between the smart people among the Tea Parties, and the smart people flying at forty thousand feet, is that the smart people among the tea partiers know that the smarter you are, the easier it is to make things more complicated than you can handle.

This is a classic problem in programming, the cause of many project disasters run by very smart people, and a classic problem in government, the cause of many economic disasters run by government experts.

As Hayek explained, the more government intervention you get, the harder it is to intervene correctly, the more there will be unintended consequences, the more complicated intervention gets.  And as Hayek also explained, the less those intervening understand what they are doing, the more arrogant they will become, the more smugly confident of their ability to manage the unmanageable, the more confident they become that they comprehend the incomprehensible. Krugman is a classic and extreme example of this smug blindness.

The economy is dominated by a mass of government interventions far more complex than the tax code.  This was a disaster waiting to happen.  Now it has happened.  The tea partiers understand this, some because they are very smart people who read their Hayek, most because they are not so smart but read their bibles.  The very smart elite flying at forty thousand feet in their private jets do not understand it.