#safeschools

I’ll stick with my instincts rather than fall for a Harvard study because it is from Harvard

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Harvard University is without question one of the top schools globally. It has an enviable reputation and having that on one’s CV is hardly a hinderance. It is a status symbol.  In a discussion over global warming an individual was trying to legitimize climate alarmism by citing a Harvard University study. Harvard by the way is ranked top 5 worldwide in Environmental Science. The study as it turns out had been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), a US government agency responsible for allocating 24% of science funding that had been raked over the coals by the US Senate for gross mismanagement, fraud and waste. The National Science Foundation: Under the Microscope” paper from 2011 documented some of the misappropriation of funds as follows,

An $80,000 study on why the same teams always dominate March Madness”, a “$315,000 study suggesting playing FarmVille on Facebook helps adults develop and maintain relationships”, a study costing “$1 million for an analysis of how quickly parents respond to trendy baby names”, a study costing “$50,000 to produce and publicize amateur songs about science, including a rap called “Money 4 Drugz,” and a misleading song titled “Biogas is a Gas, Gas, Gas”;” a study costing”$2 million to figure out that people who often post pictures on the internet from the same location at the same time are usually friends”; and “$581,000 on whether online dating site users are racist”.Ineffective management examples, cited in the report, included “ineffective contracting”, “$1.7 billion in unspent funds sitting in expired, undisbursed grant accounts”, “at least $3 million in excessive travel funds”, “a lack of accountability or program metrics to evaluate expenditures” and “inappropriate staff behavior including porn surfing and Jello wrestling and skinny-dipping at NSF-operated facilities in Antarctica”.

It is often a tactic to cite supposedly credible bodies to legitimize and seek to win an argument. However at what point do we view Harvard’s stance on climate change as balanced? On Harvard’s own climate change page it is littered with a predetermined view. It is not to doubt the intelligence of the professors and scientists within the university but intelligence and ethics do not have to be mutually inclusive especially when it comes to procuring funds.

One has to wonder that the  NSF, which dispenses 24% of all university grants (some $7bn) is best positioned to fulfill this role given its past. As the Harvard climate page reveals there does not seem to be much attention paid to the alternate view. The offshoot of that is if the NSF wants to get ‘green policy’ outcomes, best pour funds into those schools that will help give the results they’re after.

In 2015 a claim was made against Harvard for not disclosing financial conflicts of interest. A press release entitled ‘Clean air and health benefits of clean power plan hinge on key policy decisions’ constituted a gushing praise of a commentary entitled ‘US power plant carbon standards and clean air and health co-benefits’ by Charles T. Driscoll, Jonathan J. Buonocore, Jonathan I. Levy, Kathleen F. Lambert, Dallas Burtraw, Stephen B. Reid, Habibollah Fakhraei & Joel Schwartz, published on May 4, 2015, in Nature Climate Change

The claim (a letter to the Dean) suggested that “two of the co-authors of the commentary, Buonocore and Schwartz, are researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Your press release quotes Buonocore thus: “If EPA sets strong carbon standards, we can expect large public health benefits from cleaner air almost immediately after the standards are implemented.” Indeed, the commentary and the press release constitute little more than thinly-disguised partisan political advocacy for costly proposed EPA regulations supported by the “Democrat” administration but opposed by the Republicans. Harvard has apparently elected to adopt a narrowly partisan, anti-scientific stance…The commentary concludes with the words “Competing financial interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests”. Yet its co-authors have received these grants from the EPA: Driscoll $3,654,609; Levy $9,514,391; Burtraw $1,991,346; and Schwartz (Harvard) $31,176,575. The total is not far shy of $50 million…Would the School please explain why its press release described the commentary in Nature Climate Change by co-authors including these lavishly-funded four as “the first independent, peer-reviewed paper of its kind”? Would the School please explain why Mr Schwartz, a participant in projects grant-funded by the EPA in excess of $31 million, failed to disclose this material financial conflict of interest in the commentary?Would the School please explain the double standard by which Harvard institutions have joined a chorus of public condemnation of Dr Soon, a climate skeptic, for having failed to disclose a conflict of interest that he did not in fact possess, while not only indulging Mr Schwartz, a climate-extremist, when he fails to declare a direct and substantial conflict of interest but also stating that the commentary he co-authored was “independent”?”

While I do not pretend to be a climate scientist by trade or study, fraud is fraud. The supposed beacons of virtue such as NOAA, IPCC, the CRU of the UEA have all been busted for manipulation of data to fit an end cause. The lack of ethics in certain cases has been so profound that had many of these scientists been in financial services they’d have lost licenses, paid multi billion in fines and served jail time. One person commented that too few in financial services have been locked up. I replied name me one scientist busted for fraud and misuse of public funds has seen the inside of a jail cell, much less fined or barred from teaching? The answer – NONE

I don’t need to possess a degree in astrophysics or science to determine poor ethics generally mean the science papers put forward should be viewed with deep skepticism. Yet we’re constantly told that the science is settled. How so? If one has to lie and deceive in order to scare us into action, how can one say that it is legitimate work? In fact I have been at pains to mention that the scrupulous acts of a few only ends up undermining potentially credible work conducted by others. Yet climate change has become a purely political issue and there is no question that sourcing funding dollars is easiest met when supporting alarmism. After all why would people want to throw dollars at skeptics who may come out with an alternative view? Don’t debate it. Some have suggested sceptics are like pedophiles and even more extreme views have suggested jail sentences. When people think that the only way to win the argument is to jail non believers you can be absolutely sure that the data is completely flawed in that it can’t stand on its own as an argument. Hence the manipulation to try to bully the movement onwards. Some Aussie universities (state funded mind you) are refusing a climate think tank being established on their campus for possessing an alternative view. You have to worry if universities, the bedrock of free thinking, are trying to ban it. Then again if kindergarten schools are being taught they are gender fluid and cross dressing is acceptable then you know there is a more sinister movement at work.

It was no surprise that Hurricane Irma has become Trump’s fault. Alarmists drew any data possible to connect Global Warming and hurricane activity despite the IPCC claiming several years back it  has little supportive data to prove it. So expediency is put before principle. Hopefully if no one has seen the IPCC climb down perhaps we can still convince them we can save the planet. All the meantime the IATA forecasts air travel will double in terms of passenger numbers between now and 2030 and SUVs top most vehicle sales in major markets.

To add to the farcical care factor for climate change by the masses The Australian noted, “On June 30 2017, after 12 years of “advancing climate change solutions”, the Climate Institute is closing its doors in Australia, a victim of the “I’ll ride with you but won’t pay” industry. You would think that Cate Blanchett, so happy to appear in the institute’s ads, could have taken the hat around her Hollywood A-list mates, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Bono, Emma Watson and Brad Pitt, to tip in a few hundred thousand a year for the cause….But alas, the caravan has moved on and the greatest moral challenge of our time is now the Trump White House. For celebrities who fly eyebrow groomers to the Oscars, climate change is kinda yesterday. Still, to humour the faithful and to keep the dream alive, the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour was celebrated last Saturday night. You didn’t notice?”

When I was a staunch opponent of Greenspan’s reckless monetary policy in 2001 and said his actions would lead to a financial calamity in 6-7 years, many laughed at me. I bought gold at under $300. People thought I was mad as did the Bank of England. Barbs were frequent – “how could you possibly possess the intelligence of Greenspan? Back in your box!” I was told. Of course as a contrarian by nature, speaking out against pervading group think was met with a constant wave of ever increasing vitriolic criticism. Of course the simplest thing would have been to roll over and join the band wagon but I stuck to my guns. GFC was the result. In all that time, people used to shame my thinking by citing Harvard or other Ivy League studies on new paradigms. Indeed many of the brains behind the CDOs which eventually brought the financial sector to its knees were brainiacs from the Ivy League. In the end my instincts were bang on. Nothing to do with education levels.

The same arguments were hurled at me during Trump’s presidential campaign. Many people defriended me because my data kept showing to me he’d win. I am not American, I can’t vote but casting my own instincts ended up being a no brainer. Not once were credible arguments made to counter why Trump could win. People would post NY Times polls, CNN polls and so forth to legitimize the argument. Then say I was blind, stupid, bigoted, racist and the usual leftist identikit used to demonise a view. Group think is so dangerous. What it is doing is suppressing real views which show up in the polling booth.

Everywhere I read, the media wants to throw Trump to the wolves and run the lunatic, racist white nationalist card. For 9 months now. To be honest I think he will comfortably do two terms because the media has learned nothing and anything he does is vilified. Most Americans aren’t looking to him for spiritual guidance. He is vulgar and his manner is far from conventional and sometimes not very fitting of the office he serves. However he gets no credit for anything. The latest UN sanctions on North Korea are in large part because Trump has told China to get on with it. Trump said on national TV that he wants “China to sort it out and to stop delaying otherwise we’ll do it for you”. Yet the media is drumming WW3 rhetoric.

Same goes for the Paris Accord. What a stroke of genius. Let France, Germany and other nations pick up the tab for their ‘green policy’ madness and make up America’s renewable shortfall. It is kind of ironic that none of these nations ever pick on China, India or Russia which make up 50% of CO2 emissions for their lack of adherence to actually doing meaningful things to abate climate change albeit signatories to the UN accord. I argue it is like NATO in reverse. US pays a way bigger share into NATO, why not collect a refund via other nation’s virtue signalling which actually helps America First by making other nations less competitive. Brilliant.

DACA – many Americans, including 41mn on food stamps, will welcome the removal of illegal immigrants from their country who in their view are siphoning their ability to get out of poverty. DACA to them isn’t about not being compassionate but realizing that a $20 trillion deficit and loading more onto an overcrowded system isn’t helping. Once again regardless of what people think of Trump he had the fewest white voters and largest share of black and Hispanic voters than Romney or McCain. Hardly the result for a white nationalist, racist bigot. At the current rate if the Democrats run Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren or any other identity politician against him in 2020 they’ll lose. The mid terms won’t be as bad as many calling. The one midterm already returned a Republican despite massive Hollywood support even ferrying voters to booths.

Transgender in the military. I spoke to two dozen US military personnel last month to ask their opinions. The 100% response was, “we think it is inappropriate for the taxpayer to fund sexual reassignment surgery while serving including several years of rehab and ongoing drug therapy…it is taking the p*ss…we serve our country because we love it and we don’t have room to support social experiments to protect freedom!” There was no real issue of transgender per se rather a problem of providing funds in n already tightly allocated budget for such medical expenditure. Several even spoke of the stupidity of LGBT pride day in the armed forces. What has the ability to fight got to do with what goes on in the bedroom? One said “if we had a heterosexual pride day” we’d never hear the end of it.

So when you communicate with the real people you find the truth if you are prepared to listen. The beauty of social media and indeed Google (which happily acts as a Big Brother on what it considers acceptable) is that many people reach for articles they probably haven’t read properly and use them as ways to ram home an argument because they carry a brand name. Harvard is a wonderful institution but as we’ve seen it has run into questions of conflicts of interest.

I happen to think that social media is having the opposite effect on brainwashing to tell the truth. 99.9% of what I see posted has little thought to it. The more people I speak to the more they are ignoring noise. Many people share articles without putting some basis of why they post it. In many cases people are too afraid to face a doxxing or backlash. Bring it on. To me if you post things in the public domain then be prepared to invite criticism. On my site I do not censor, cut off or delete readers. They are free to come and go as they please. I only request they keep profanity to a minimum.

So in summary, the idea that we bow down to venerable institutions to seek guidance is as flawed today as it ever was. I’ll gladly stick to gut instincts because to date they have worked so far. Having said that I should put a disclaimer that was always plastered on financial services product, “Past results are no guarantee of future performance”

Lynching the lightbulb

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“Remove one freedom per generation and soon you will have no freedom – and no one will have noticed”

It is time for conservatives around the world to stand up to the totalitarian tsunami. From local councils stacking polls to ram through their own sanctimony to reckless destruction of public property there is an ugly tide of intolerance. The ‘your opinion doesn’t matter because we know better’ brigade will not learn. Their only aim is to shut up dissenting voices and push through their agenda with no respect for free speech and open debate. What is worse is that the longer libertarians turn a blind eye for fear of being labeled bigots, racists and nationalists, the more we will see these demands, sold under banners of political correctness, grow bolder. Why wouldn’t they? The funny thing is that voters are actually becoming tired of identity politics. If they weren’t we wouldn’t have Trump in the White House nor the Brits leaving the EU.

Tearing down monuments seems the topic of the month. These Confederate statues have caused such hostility, despite representing history. These statues of Robert E. Lee and the Civil War are supposedly causing such angst that yesterday someone decided extend the grievance remit by taking a sledge hammer to the oldest memorial of Christopher Columbus. In the fight for victimology, this makes as much sense as obese people taking umbrage at a statue of Ronald McDonald or Colonel Sanders for pushing their BMIs above 35.

In Australia we have an indigenous TV presenter who thinks that memorials to Captain James Cook, who discovered Terra Australis two and a half centuries ago, should be torn down because of the atrocities committed to the locals. Have the Jews, Gypsies and Roma demanded that memorials at Auschwitz, Birkenau, Sobibor, Treblinka, Majdanek and so on be razed to the ground to erase the memories of the millions of them that were gassed and systematically murdered? Not a chance. They view these monuments as a reminder of atrocities that happened in recent history. It isn’t about grievance. One sign in Auschwitz 1 reads, “the one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again.”

The one group that stands above all else in favour of destroying monuments is ISIS. Think of their narrow minded actions to flatten the 2000 year history of Palmyra in Syria. Because of their own narrow minded corrupted fear of theological inferiority they want to rid the world of anything that challenges societies superior to their own. Even civilizations before Islam was even around.

However erasing history by removing monuments and pushing grievance based identity politics is the blood sport of the radical left. Take the two councils (Yarra and Darebin) in Melbourne who went out of their way to ask their own activist groups to rig polls to cancel Australia Day. Forgetting the 220,000 residents across the two cities, a handful of people who were bound to give the desired response were targeted. Even then it wasn’t a slam dunk. One mayor said they made the decision because their constituents are too ignorant of history so they were going to educate them without their opinion. When breaking down the composition of the councillors in these two cities we can’t be surprised. Both Greens led with a smattering of Labor, Socialist and left leaning independents. The perfect cocktail for the totalitarian.

Where local council remits are really to take care of rubbish collection and maintain parking meters, Yarra and Darebin told 99% of their rate payers to take a hike. The irony is that many Aboriginal leaders are pro Australia Day as a way to celebrate ‘inclusiveness’. Yarra and Darebin want to push for exclusiveness.

It begs the question, if the indigenous community is so outraged at the day the British invaded Australia in 1788 why haven’t the cities in the northern part of the country which have a far higher incidence of indigenous residents pushed for this? The reality is most embrace Australia Day. Many are more annoyed that people try to use their history as a political tool. Yet the identity politics brigade led by the Greens and other left wing radicals want Australians to feel ashamed of events they had no hand in, much less were around for, to fuel the victimology that no doubt supports their dwindling voter base. Pathetic.

What is disturbing is the wish to silence debate. We see it with same sex marriage (SSM). The lobbyists and activists are in full flight. The push to silence and vilify those who oppose it is disturbing. Whether one regards those in the ‘No’ camp as bigoted or homophobic is beside the point. They should be free to debate their arguments and beliefs without being physically attacked and threatened. Should hotels be forced to surrender business because activists want to bully them to deny groups from discussing opposing views? Did the pro-SSM groups look to compensate the hotel for the lost revenues suffered? Not on your life.

Do people have right to be concerned that putting SSM in the Marriage Act breaks down the idea of ‘traditional’ marriage which could lead to a similar sort of push for polygamy and acceptance of child brides down the line? Even if such views are overreactions does it warrant the Australia Post union refusing to post anti-SSM materials? If the anti-SSM groups wish to expend millions on a mail out (most likely to wind up in the bin) why does a deeply loss making government run service have any say in what they deliver provided it doesn’t endanger their physical health?

Indeed if people wish to back the rights of posties, then Qantas CEO Alan Joyce should refrain from using shareholder funds to ram his pro-SSM agenda down staff and passenger’s throats. To suggest ‘equality’ in a plebiscite over ‘equality’ only highlights how there is no intention from the pro camp to practice what it preaches.

It is not about the principle but the side. Alan Joyce fails to recognize that the ‘acceptance ring’ stunt earlier in the year was a terrible breach of free speech in the workplace. Some staff may support SSM but not wish to openly express their feelings by wearing the ring. Yet failure to visibly show one’s support could end in ostracism. An exemplary employee may face censure and see career progression stifled because they don’t wish to be overt in the causes they support. If these employees feel pressured to wear it they effectively become slaves of the bosses who force the agenda.

Switching to Canada, it was disappointing to see new Conservative leader Andrew Scheer bow down to the idea that it was acceptable for government run universities to decide on who could speak. The idea of a school that receives taxpayer funding be able to control ‘free speech’ shows the exact type of spineless surrender to identity politics. When universities go out of their way to shut down the very foundation of their existence – free thought – what hope have we got? Scheer should be a great comfort for Trudeau. Whereas former interim leader Rona Ambrose had the PM’s measure at every turn, Scheer looks like another Turnbull-esque liberal-lite conservative. To glibly submit to such an embarrassing affront to free speech what hope have the youth got to openly express their opinions?

Sadly the activists are winning the culture wars. Bit by bit, people are having their freedoms yanked from beneath them because governments are too afraid to ruffle the feathers of those that scream the loudest. This unilateral decisions making their way into schools which push sexual indoctrination, cross dressing and all manner of shaming masked as anti-bullying programs is further evidence of submission.

Is it any wonder why Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party continues to grow in popularity. While many abhor her brand of politics and stunts, her rise in the polls is simply down to saying what the conservatives won’t. Voters don’t want soft alternatives. No matter how much one might detest the constant shenanigans of the Trump administration, he won his ticket because Clinton was more of the same old brand of identity politics that failed to give a growing number of people hope. He was always an experiment but one more were willing to take.

The culture of victimhood needs to end. Most of what we are seeing is on the fringe. One wonders why politicians fear it as the norm. This interview was great food for thought on the subject of debunking senseless liberal virtue signaling.

Victorian government wants to take control of parenting

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It shouldn’t surprise coming from the Marxist Victorian government but the idea for girls as young as 11 to get access to the contraceptive pill without consent from the parents is plain irresponsible. Most parents worry about their kids. What they eat and what they put in their bodies. It isn’t they turn a blind eye to their kids potentially engaging in underage intercourse. Some kids may only want it to reduce pain during their menstrual cycle but to have a government provide a service which deliberately allows kids to bypass parental approval is downright wrong. Why does the state have a role giving kids who clearly aren’t of a sufficient mental maturity to fully comprehend what they are taking and then enable them to hide it from their guardians? It is hard enough tying to get kids to listen and become model citizens.

Allowing the government to effectively endorse actions that effectively suggest to kids they don’t need their parents consent opens a whole new can of worms about disobedience.

Why not just give kids the vote at age 11 if they’re of sufficient mental faculty, pay their taxes and contribute to society?

On the bright side at least it isn’t as bad as Bill  89 in Ottawa which allows the state to take custody of children from parents who don’t accept their kids gender identity.