Sunday, November 13, 2011

A very different perspective on various subjects . . .

Very rarely are we permitted to listen to alternative perspectives on matters of deep importance. I was reminded of that again last night when I received an email from John Tate, campaign manager for Ron Paul:
90 seconds.

That's how much of the first hour of tonight's GOP debate was given to Ron Paul. 90 measly seconds out of 3,600 seconds.

The remaining 3,510 seconds were spent with the other major candidates:

** Declaring their desire to start wars in Iran, Pakistan, and Syria;

** Rehashing their support for torture;

** Agreeing that President Obama has the right to unilaterally assassinate an American citizen without a court conviction;

** Explaining their plans to continue nation-building, policing, and occupying countries across the globe.

It literally made me sick watching the mainstream media once again silence the one sane voice in this election. The one dissenter to a decade of unchecked war. The one candidate who stands for true defense and actual constitutional government.

Ron Paul was silenced, in perhaps the most important debate of the cycle.

You have to ask yourself why.

I think I know the answer. Both parties have perpetuated the foreign policy that is bankrupting our nation and tearing apart the world.

Both parties have started wars without proper congressional authorization.

Both parties have fabricated reasons for war.

Both parties’ outrageous spending has taken us to the brink of disaster.

And if the other candidates on the stage tonight are to be believed, then there is only one candidate who would break the globalists’ stranglehold over our foreign policy, our Treasury, and the lives of our family, friends, and neighbors in the armed forces.

Ron Paul could change history. He could save our great nation from its own devastating policies of the past 10 years.

If his voice could be heard.

The media has once again BLACKED OUT Ron Paul.
But I am reminded, too, of an article I read this past summer about The Filter Bubble or "invisible sieve" that may be, sadly, slowly wrapping itself around even those of us who want to hear "the other side" and understand why people think differently than we do. As Facebook, Google, and other internet search engines and information servers come to "understand" our own predilections, they begin feeding us an ever-more-specialized subset of all the material potentially available in the world. And thus, as Eli Pariser, author of The Filter Bubble, says, they begin "indoctrinating us with our own ideas," or "autopropagandizing."

I hope not. As one commentator replied to the article I just referenced,
People already [tend to] read the newspaper that reflects their biases; TV news - especially in the USA - is entertainment almost entirely devoid of content and highly country-centric. People socialize with others who resemble them. This has been true for over a century. But . . . I can, by selecting my search terms, browse for nearly everything I want. Even if I am a life-long pacifist, typing "Hitler" into the browser search bar will return information about his life and his impact on the world. Even if I am a middle-aged white male from Arkansas, typing "Moroccan lesbian" will return something outside my normal realm of experience. And - in a more factual example - I can subscribe to the online version of Al Jazeeera, browse Le Monde (if I'm willing to pay; if not I can always find excerpts and summaries) and cast a glance at... gasp... The Economist. So basically the concern about living in a bubble seems to me to be utterly fantastical. Bubble people will always live in their bubbles.
May the rest of us continue stolidly to seek to build bridges!

. . . And now, having said all that, I thought I would call your attention to a guy who obviously thinks very differently . . . and is willing to argue his points. He goes by the name Kaz and you can find him on his website called But Now You Know.

For example, Cash for Clunkers Causes Pollution and Poverty. Of course, the post is more than two years old. Kaz wrote what he did as the program was going into effect. But it is helpful to learn from history. Our government did authorize the program. And Kaz' analysis still makes sense. Some of the faults Kaz noted:
  • Cash for Clunkers Pollutes
    This is because the older a car, the worse its gas mileage. Not only in general, but also because cars tend to perform worse as they age.

    Cash for Clunkers only rewards people for buying new cars, not for simply buying any car that got better gas mileage, regardless of its age. And it destroys the cars traded in, regardless of their own gas mileage.

    This means that only more-prosperous people, who can afford new cars, are able to use the C4C program. They are, therefore, often trading in relatively nice, fuel-efficient cars. Often, they are even buying cars only a couple of miles per gallon more efficient.

    Meanwhile, what about the people with older cars, which are much less fuel efficient?

    Simple: They are having the nicer, more efficient used cars they WOULD have bought destroyed. Leaving them in a pollutive car longer than if the C4C never happened in the first place.
    Kaz says more on the subject, but this gives the gist.
  • . . . and Causes Poverty
    As the best-off consumers buy better things, items out of favor — whether used or just old models — become less expensive, allowing poorer people to buy progressively better stuff for the same prices.

    In the case of cash for clunkers, the Obama administration broke this:
    • Nice used cars will now be in shorter supply, which will raise the relative prices of the remaining nice used cars.
    • This will make it harder for poorer people to afford to upgrade.
    • This will trickle all the way down to the very poorest, who will soon find that their ability to buy some minimal car AT ALL, is affected.
    • That can mean the difference between getting to a job, and getting out of poverty, or being trapped indefinitely.
    So aside from the many other unintended consequences of this program, and there are many, the program has actually set the scene for poor people to have an even harder time affording cars, a vital tool for earning more money.
--A lot to think about, there. Then there was this about global warming (or cooling): There is most certainly a pattern to climate change . . . but it’s not what you may think: Climate Change Timeline – 1895-2009. And that led me to his notice about Our Fifth Year of Global Cooling: Coldest Since 1996. (What!?! --I hadn't heard about that.) Sadly, that post is almost two years old, now. So I looked to see if he had updated it since. It appears not. I found his post from 2009: 4th Year of Global Cooling, NOAA Says. Good data. Well worthy of your perusal. But I wondered if the trend has continued. And he has said nothing on the subject. However, I did find this article: October 2011 NOAA Data: U.S. Temperature Cooling Trend of 15 Years Continues, -3.7 Degrees. Yipes! As the author notes,
The per century cooling trend of this [15-year --JAH] period, a minus 3.7°F, took place despite the huge warmth produced by two large El Niño events during this 15-year span: 1997-1998 and 2009-2010. For the 10-year period ending October 2011 (November 1, 2001 thru October, 2011 - 120 months), the cooling trend accelerates to a very significant minus 10.6°F per century rate - again, per the updated NOAA/NCDC temperature records.
But as Kaz notes,
Because their budgets depend on scaring people with the global warming myth, various government organizations and bureaucrats have desperately been spinning this cooling trend, even as they avoid directly mentioning it. Around 2006, there started a growing trend to refer to it as “climate change”, not global WARMING, because they wanted to re-brand it before the cooling became well-known. Now, as the global cooling trend has continued for five years, you can actually find global warming profiteers saying as crazily anti-scientific things as “global warming will probably take a break for a while”, as if it were a tired old man, not a weather phenomenon.
He continues with a discussion of what he calls The Climate Bogeyman.
Now we’re all familiar with witch-hunt logic: We throw the unpopular woman in the lake:
  • If she drowns, she was innocent.
  • If she floats and survives, she’s a witch and we burn her at the stake.
This kind of evil trick has been used by people seeking power through fear, for as long as recorded history. It is one thing that Principles of Justice, and the Scientific Method, are supposed to counteract. Sadly, this appears to be the same logic that the global warming profiteers use. If the weather is warm, it’s proof of global warming, if it’s cold, it’s proof the weather has been disrupted by global warming. The scientific method does not stop them, even though they are “climate scientists”, because they do not use it. They have long-ago abandoned the rules of hard science.
And then, finally,
[O]verall, global cooling is worse for humanity and civilization than global warming. Whether by coincidence or not, many failures of civilizations and economies have appeared to hinge around sudden cooling periods. There is no corresponding evidence of warming bringing down societies. Regardless of what the actual temperature trend is, if anything, or what actually is causing it, the motivation of people who report every year the global temperature rises, but are silent every year it falls, seems worse than suspect. These people are no more to be trusted than a tobacco scientist, and for the same reason.
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