I attended the one-night-only showing of the new movie "Climate Hustle" last evening. I must confess it was disappointing. I had hoped for a large crowd and that they would be exposed to the overwhelming scientific evidence that this "catastrophic anthropogenic (man-made) global warming" (CAGW) was a fraud, a great pseudoscientific hoax. Instead I got sort of a Sesame-Street, short-attention-span flurry of images followed by several rounds of talking-head discussion. The arguments in favor boil down to three rather questionably useful precepts: 1) a trend will continue until it changes, 2) correlation is proof of causation, and 3) that we can reliably predict the future AND we can change it (mostly by wishing it so). All of these, quite reasonably, were shown by simple logic and observed data to be false. There was enough real science to completely disprove the CAGW theory, but mostly the message was that this is a religious and political movement with ZERO scientific evidence in support of it. I guess "hustle" was the correct title, but didn't we already know that?
No, I'm not talking about the old Hymn. I'm talking about the current silly season of GOP endorsing conventions. Everywhere you turn you see Party activists asking, or even demanding, that candidates "abide by the endorsement" (rather than run in a primary), as if issue positions and electability were not important. And you see candidates either promising it and criticizing those who promise not, waffling on the subject, or honestly saying they are going to the primary. That last seems to really matter most to the delegates, and they often push to forcing such a pledge on every candidate. Really, that is backwards.
What it amounts to is an attempt to make the endorsement have value, by fiat, when what we should be doing is making the endorsement have REAL value! That is, the endorsement should carry with it financial support, volunteer hours, publicity and media exposure, and vigorous support. This means that 100%-- every single one— of the delegates must go out and somehow convince, literally, 1000 general election voters that their endorsed candidate is the best one! Endorsement, in short, should almost guarantee victory in November. That is the only value endorsement can have.
But that is not what actually happens. When the 60% of votes required to gain endorsement is reached, those 60% essentially say, "Well, I got him the endorsement, so I'm done." And the 40% that wanted somebody else essentially say, "He's not my guy, so I'm done." Therefore, almost 100% of the delegates, instead of doing everything they can and must do to win the election, go home and open a bag of Cheetos. Such an endorsement has almost no value and it's our fault. Maybe WE are the ones that need to take responsibility for and abide by the endorsement?
So, Donald Trump is running all over complaining about how Colorado Republicans "cheated" him of victory, "denied people a vote," or that the system was "rigged" against him. Balderdash. As usual, the Powerline guys are right on, with a historic cartoon labeled, "Colorado 1912: Caucus system adopted to screw Trump out of delegates."
I hope people catch on that Trump is simply a whining loser who won't even take the time to learn the rules of the game, let alone play fairly within them. It should be most obvious to Minnesotans, who have the same system as Colorado. We (and they) have always had a caucus and convention system to eventually choose delegates to the National Convention, where delegates vote their choice for the Presidential nominee of the Party. Nobody is "denied a vote" because caucuses have always been open to everybody, it's just that most people do not make the "effort" of a few hours every two years, and the world belongs to those who show up.
Both Minnesota and Colorado have, for the last several cycles, added a "Presidential straw poll" feature to their caucuses. It increased turnout and garnered us some small bit of attention from the Presidential campaigns. Last year, however, the Republican National Committee, in its role of controlling the Presidential primary calendar (Iowa first, New Hampshire second, etc) ruled that states had two choices: Have their caucus at their assigned time in the calendar (both MN and CO were March 1) WITHOUT a straw poll, or have it at the same time and make the straw poll "binding" on National Delegates, essentially turning the straw poll into a primary. Colorado wisely chose the former, continuing as they always have but without the straw poll. Minnesota chose the latter and, indeed, more people—almost double—turned out to vote, overwhelming the caucus facilities and facilitators, but that is ALL they did. They didn't stay and actually become involved in the Party or in choosing state and local candidates or discussing platform issues. Not only that, but Marco Rubio won the State, his only state win, and Donald Trump still came in third! Why isn't Trump complaining about US? A little attention from his campaign might be nice, since surely we did something wrong if he didn't win. :-/
No, I am not going to talk about those crowds that attend Trump's rallies or vote for him in "winning" numbers in the primary process. I don't feel the need to psychoanalyze them as some sort of fool, groupie, racist or revolutionary. I think they have a righteous anger against the tyranny of political correctness, the corruption of our news media and of our government, and against the "stupidity" of the current administration's outrages and the Republican fecklessness at curbing it. Leave them be; they have the right message but a poor messenger.
The supporters I am talking about are those who are angry just because they are ALWAYS angry at anyone who dares to speak the truth and makes no apologies for it. These are the PC Nazis and their tactics are straight out of the Leftist playbook. They riot, they shout down, they intimidate, they spout lies at every opportunity, and the media gives them extensive coverage and a head-pat. With every riot, though, sympathy and support for Trump goes UP. And in this odd campaign, the would-be powers that be in the GOP have the same problem. Every time some GOP "establishment" type makes some statement about "stopping Trump" or talking about what a problem he is, THAT adds to Trump's appeal as an "anti-establishment" candidate. A man can be known by the enemies he makes, perhaps even better than by his friends. If the GOP really wanted to stop Trump, they should shut up about him. Getting on the same side as the leftist rioters isn't a winning strategy; it just makes Trump stronger.
It is said that every man's dream is to have a three-way, but the current Republican Presidential contest looks a lot more like a nightmare, with too many of the possible combinations leading to an unpleasant outcome. First, of course, you have the much-ballyhooed competition between Donald Trump and the not-Trumps, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Because of "the Donald's" long history of saying and doing things NOT conservative, this is perhaps the most important and worrisome combination.
But you also have the anti-establishment – Trump and Cruz – vs. (unfairly or not) establishment darling Rubio. This could also be called the Angry vs. the Docile, again perhaps unfair, but "The Young and the Restless" was already taken for a different soap opera and besides, that would better apply to Cruz and Rubio against the more elderly Trump. Lastly, you have the Leader vs. the Dealmakers, which is Cruz against Trump and Rubio. Never mind that Trump claims he will make "such good deals you won't believe it," they are still deals, and Rubio still believes he can work with Democrats. Now whether Cruz can deliver on his clear policy objectives without making deals and compromises, even assuming Republicans maintain control of Congress, isn't an unreasonable question. I know how I would vote, but unfortunately I don't get to vote for everybody else. There is such a thing as too many in a three-way.
It is difficult to disagree with the Alliance for Better Minnesota (ABM) and their aims, when they state them as they do, but how many of us really recognize the issues when described this way? For those not familiar with how the English language can be twisted for propaganda purposes, I offer a translation and comment.
"Continue Minnesota’s push to create clean energy jobs and protecting our natural resources from extreme Republican legislation." This means government should continue to favor energy that costs 3 times more than conventional sources, "creating" jobs at $250,000 each while eliminating two other jobs, while doing almost zero (less than one part in 100 million reduction in CO2, if that even matters) for the environment. That "extreme Republican" stuff is just boilerplate for when Republicans are right on an issue. You see it a lot.
"Fight back against Republican efforts to make it hard for legal voters to vote." What this really means is that the DFL favors making it easy for ILLEGAL voters to vote, thereby corrupting the integrity of Minnesota elections. From what I know about our current Secretary of State, I would be amazed if any election was fair. The only reason for hope is Hugh Hewitt's book title "If It Ain't Close They Can't Cheat."
"Holding corporations using profits to buy elections accountable to their customers." That means we want to completely excuse unions and other liberal special interests from using FORCED dues and forced taxpayer dollars to buy elections. I know when I saw Target stand up to these liberal bullies, I doubled my shopping there. Too bad I can't choose to withhold the "profits" of the teachers union.
"Preventing Republicans from stripping rights away from LGBT Minnesotans, and helping advance anti-bullying legislation." This would first require that LBGT Minnesotans be granted some new special rights and privileges that they have never had, which is what ABM wants. "Anti-bullying legislation" is just a way of forcing everyone, starting with children, to accept that which they do not want to accept. It's bullying.
"Preventing the most vulnerable from being cut from health insurance coverage, driving up costs for everyone." The flaw in this formulation is that cuts to government health insurance-- if there are ever true cuts-- always start, as perhaps they should, with those LEAST vulnerable-- those who could afford some form of coverage if government wasn't so quick and willing to provide it. The cost of health coverage could be reduced drastically if government would simply get OUT of the health care business.
"Protecting eduction [sic] funding, keeping class sizes low, and paying our teachers what they're worth." We can't spell education, but the underqualified (based on results)and overpaid union teachers need more money to be less effective with fewer students. Education funding is, after all, DFL funding.
"Push to fund a jobs bill before tax cuts for big business." We believe that the legislature should repeal the laws of economics, whereby business income and expansion creates jobs. Being 47th best of the 50 states in business climate isn't enough; we need to be 49th, next to last.
"Restore tax fairness to Minnesota." We should further punish success and reward failure in the economy. Being the 4th highest taxing state in the nation isn't good enough; we want to be number 1!
"Stop Republican attempts to gerrymander new districts to their advantage." Unlike the other items, it is difficult to see how this particular language is going to appeal to the general public. It would not be any more palatable if they said they would stop DFL attempts to gerrymander new districts. Including this as their last point simply lets slip the truth that all of these items are on the DFL's hyper-partisan wish list, not some unbiased listing of desirable public policy.
The political left and their media allies have long used language to elude rather than to elucidate. When they traduce, we must translate.
Say what you will about Donald Trump as a candidate for president. It seems the mainstream media cannot say enough about him; it's like he's a celebrity or something. Say what you will about Donald Trump as a conservative. Just about everybody saying they themselves are a conservative for fun or profit, including most recently the whole crowd at National Review, are saying that Trump is not. Say what you will, but Trump's gift seems to be saying what YOU will about the contentious issues in a contentious way. And say what you will about Trump supporters, but you must concede that their righteous but unfocused anger and frustration are reasonable given the circumstances. I am not convinced that this anger necessarily translates into votes for Mr. Trump, nor if it does, how that translates into desirable and effective public policy. We will know about the first question tomorrow, in Iowa. I really wish I had more faith in the second.
Oh, hooray! The folks in Paris have ironed out all the "details" of a Climate agreement and the planet is saved! There are unfortunately a few minor details still not resolved in this Great Deal. They concern the fundamental problem to which this agreement is supposedly the solution, namely, the Theory of Catastrophic Anthropogenic (i.e. manmade) Global Warming (CAGW).
-- First, it is not a Theory, but a hypothesis, scientifically speaking. It doesn't become a theory until predictions from the hypothesis are tested and match real observation, 85 years from now. Twenty years in, it ain't lookin' too good.
-- Second, it's not Catastrophic. This agreement is supposed to hold temperature rise to a totally arbitrary number of 1.5 degrees C (which NO climate model predicts possible under the most extreme change to manmade CO2) while most scientists believe the Earth could warm at least 2.5 degrees and actually be beneficial.
-- Third, it's not Anthropogenic. Human activity creates only about 4% of the CO2 added to the atmosphere; Mother Nature creates the rest. (And by Al Gore's admission, Nature does so only centuries AFTER Earth is warmed from some other cause.)
-- Fourth, it isn't Global. Antarctic and Greenland ice is growing. Surface temperature readings come from a very limited set of unreliable surface stations and colder ones are sometimes discarded by NOAA, and then the data is "adjusted," making the data essentially fraudulent. Satellite measurements are un-falsified and truly global.
-- Fifth and finally, it isn't Warming. The satellite data shows no significant warming in the last 19 years, while the climate models on which this agreement lies for its sense of urgency predicted a (mathematically significant) higher temperature.
The best thing for the people of this planet would be if this agreement and its leaders were summarily rejected, and a stop put to this cruel hoax. The best thing for the people of the planet AND the planet itself would be if this agreement were simply ignored while the leaders crowed about having applied a "historic" non-solution to a non-problem, and saw no need to ever meet again on the subject. That alone would save more hot air than this agreement ever will.
I'm not Catholic and so have no idea whether the Pope's supposed infallibility matters or not. To me, it only matters because some people are going to believe that he is when clearly he is not, on the issue of "climate change." I suppose some of it could be blamed on bad advice from his advisors, but his more recent remarks make it clear that he actually believes that Man can destroy what God has made. I'm sorry, but that is a stretch of faith too far and too wide.
First of all, just calling it "climate change" is a lie, because every piece of scientific "evidence" mustered by the True Believers only applies to Global Warming, not "change." And that lie is BASED on a lie, according to a number of scientists who have examined the data. When you consistently "correct" the raw data to show each year "the warmest on record," the data is worthless as evidence of anything other than "evidence tampering." Meanwhile, the satellite data—unfudged and truly "global"-- shows almost 19 years now of essentially no global warming and the computer modelers themselves admit that 20 years of that would "cause them to question the accuracy of the models." Those significantly erroneous models, meanwhile, absent some Divine Revelation we lack, are the ONLY "evidence" of coming catastrophe. And even if they were right, according to the US EPA in trying to justify Obama's new "Clean Power Plan" regulations, a radical reduction in US CO2 would reduce global temperatures by a negligible 0.02 degrees! So, if the acolytes of the great Church of Global Warming are right, they are wrong by their own confession! You can chalk all this up to a hoax, or a scam (billions of dollars are involved), or just a grossly misguided and irrational cult, but infallible it is not. Hopefully there will be an epiphany in Paris.
Gov. Bobby Jindal gives a brilliant speech, saying we should, “…grow our economy faster, improve our health care system, explore new sources of energy, and put more Americans back to work” and then completely blows it by calling these ideas "conservative." Rand Paul, in the recent Republican debate, attacked Marco Rubio because his ideas were "not conservative." To all this, I say, "WHO CARES?" An idea or issue position is either a good idea or a bad idea. Sure, most good ideas about public policy are those that "conservatives" would agree with, but saying so is just a distraction, and an overall negative. Over the years, the word "conservative" has become almost as demonized (and misused) as the word "liberal" and we don't have an alternative like "progressive" to fall back on. I wish our candidates would simply drop the word "conservative," quit trying to "out-conservative" one another, and substitute the word "commonsense." Wouldn't it be great to elect a bunch of folks with common sense ideas, for a change?
That’s the trouble with being a caucus-convention-primary state. There are so few around that it is hard to know how best to “operate” within it, and it is quite obvious that Minnesota Republicans do not. How else to explain this intense concern over pledges or promises by candidates to “abide by the endorsement”? Think about it. If the pledge is mandatory, you have just closed the endorsement process, while the primary is OPEN. If the pledge is voluntary, most candidates will not sign on until they are reasonably certain of the outcome of the Convention, which usually happens during, or just before, convention. And any candidate who believes he/she is still the best choice (often the reality) will STILL go to the primary.
Either way, the GOP organization is trying to force the candidates to value (and seek) endorsement, when all that is accomplished is to DE-value it, with some of the best candidates skipping endorsement entirely. The way to make the endorsement have value, so that candidates WANT it, is to make it a valuable part of a winning strategy. If the endorsement carried with it a huge outpouring of volunteer hours, financing, enthusiasm and communication opportunities, candidates would be far more likely to compete for the chance to be endorsed rather than bypassing it. Right now, though, after granting a 60% endorsement, the remaining 40% of delegates usually say, essentially, “He’s not my guy, so I’m done,” while the other 60% say, essentially, “Well, I did my job as delegate and got him the endorsement, so I’m done.” This means the endorsement has almost no real value.
Here’s the reality: Even if the delegates managed to endorse unanimously, there is still one more thing required of them, to guarantee victory in November. Each and every one of them must then go out and somehow convince ONE THOUSAND more voters that this candidate is their best choice. No candidate pledge can ever make that happen, and it would be unnecessary if the delegates brought that value to the endorsement.