Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Megan McArdle Is The Good German

"A People that help themselves!"

I won't be around much for the next week but I will try to post if I can.

Meanwhile, let's take a quick look at McArdle's latest crime against nature. In her continuing effort to placate the masses, McArdle once again takes up arms against the elite and their dreadfully unfair treatment of the little people. McArdle begins by saying she didn't really expect it, but Britain voted to leave the EU.
It turned out my anecdata from the airport did better than the polls. And way, way better than the betting markets, which as late as 7 p.m. in the Eastern U.S. gave “Remain” a 96 percent chance of winning. Betting markets failed worse than polls, worse than a casual survey in an airport. They failed, because as the blogger Epicurean Dealmaker pointed out on Twitter, “Markets distill the biases, opinions, & convictions of elites,” which makes them “Structurally less able to predict populist movements.”
The inability of those elites to grapple with the rich world’s populist moment was in full display on social media last night. Journalists and academics seemed to feel that they had not made it sufficiently clear that people who oppose open borders are a bunch of racist rubes who couldn’t count to 20 with their shoes on, and hence will believe any daft thing they’re told. Given how badly this strategy had just failed, this seemed a strange time to be doubling down. But perhaps, like the fellow I once saw lose a packet by betting on 17 for 20 straight turns of the roulette wheel, they reasoned that the recent loss actually makes a subsequent victory more likely, since the number has to come up sometime.
Once again we see McArdle define the elite as journalists and academics, that is, liberals, the better to avoid the entire subject of the real elite, who have created a system to extract wealth for themselves and impose austerity on the poor. The elite also paid for an incredible amount of propaganda so the ire of the poor would concentrate on the powerless, not the people who stole their wealth.

It worked. Propaganda usually does. Now we have Trump and Brexit and all the other indications that inflicting unnecessary suffering on the lower classes so the upper classes can buy third homes or wives or countries is not a wise method of governance.
Or perhaps they were just unable to grasp what I noted in a column last week: that nationalism and place still matter, and that elites forget this at their peril. A lot people do not view their country the way some elites do: as though the nation were something like a rental apartment -- a nice place to live, but if there are problems, or you just fancy a change, you’ll happily swap it for a new one.
McArdle has thrown herself head first into easing the way for fascism. She is now supporting nativism and racism, the better to support the elite's repression of the poor. She is no different from a German woman writer in the 1930s, saying that one really can't blame people for hating the Jews, seeing as how the Jewish elite are victimizing the poor, oppressed German people. She is a Good German, and there is no lower creature on earth.

She would never raise a hand against anyone else. She would never quote racist phrases or words. She just tells her readers that racism and nationalism is perfectly natural and right. Any violence that might result is not her fault-her hands are clean. See, she just washed them in public!
In many ways, members of the global professional class have started to identify more with each other than they have with the fellow residents of their own countries. Witness the emotional meltdown many American journalists have been having over Brexit.
To McArdle, a journalist is a person who reports what's happening through a bias filter. Neutrality is not even a factor.
Well, here's one journalist who is not having a meltdown. I think Brexit will be somewhat costly -- if you want to understand just how complicated the separation will be, take a gander at the primer that the law firm Dechert put up for its clients -- but it’s not going to destroy the country or start a war, so if Britain wants out, then … bon voyage. I can certainly understand why my British friends who supported Remain are upset, and why people in other countries who are actually going to experience long-term effects from this decision are unhappy—if I were a Pole, I’d be worried as heck. But I don’t take it personally.
It's All About Her.
A lot of my professional colleagues seemed to, and the dominant tone framed this as a blow against the enlightened “us” and the beautiful world we are building, struck by a plague of morlocks who had crawled out of their hellish subterranean world to attack our impending utopia. You could also, I’d argue, see this sentiment in the reaction of global markets, which was grossly out of proportion to the actual economic damage that is likely to be done by Brexit. I mean, yes, the British pound took a pounding, and no surprise. But why did this so roil markets for the Mexican peso? Did traders fear that the impact on the global marmite supply was going to unsettle economies everywhere?
She will usher in fascism on a silver platter if it means striking out against her "enemies," the left. She frames everything as Good v. Evil and projects her own thoughts onto her enemies.
Well, no. This was a reflection of sudden uncertainty, not a prediction about the global economic future. But the sheer extent of the carnage made me wonder if one of the uncertainties traders were newly contemplating was when the morlocks are going to be coming for us outward-looking professional types with pitchforks.
McArdle has no idea what the results of the vote will be and can only think of losing personal power and prestige. She is also, deep down, very afraid that the poor will kill the rich; she keeps coming back to this idea. I would ease her fears but I am too busy sharpening the tines of my pitchfork.
The answer to these uncertainties, I submit, is not to simply keep doing what we’re doing. There’s a lot of appeal to the internationalist idea that building superstates will tamp down on war. But there’s a reason that the 19th century architects of superstates (now known simply as “states”) spent so much time and effort nurturing national identity in the breasts of their populace. Surrendering traditional powers and liberties to a distant state is a lot easier if you think of that state as run by “people like me,” not “strangers from another place,” and particularly if that surrender is done in the name of empowering “people who are like me” in our collective dealings with other, farther “strangers who aren’t.”
The world is divided between people who look like me and people who don't. Those who don't are my enemies. Obviously! Naturally!
The EU never did this work. When asked "Where are you from?" almost no one would answer "Europe," because after 50 years of assiduous labor by the eurocrats, Europe remains a continent, not an identity. As Matthew Yglesias points out, an EU-wide soccer team would be invincible -- but who would root for it? These sorts of tribal affiliations cause problems, obviously, which is why elites were so eager to tamp them down. Unfortunately, they are also what glues polities together, and makes people willing to sacrifice for them. Trying to build the state without the nation has led to the mess that is the current EU. And to Thursday's election results.
She's just making up shit, hoping it sounds smart. It's better for her if everyone thinks feelings, not economic reality, created all this unrest.
Elites missed this because they're the exception -- the one group that has a transnational identity. And in fact the arguments for the EU look a lot like the old arguments for national states: a project that will empower people like us against the scary people who aren’t.
Elite willfully ignore the effects of their economic exploitation because they know they have enough power to control any unrest. And McArdle is doing her best to aid those who want to whip up anti-immigrant fears, which will continue to wreak havoc and get poor people killed.
Unhappily for the elites, there is no “Transnationalprofessionalistan” to which they can move. (And who would trim the hedges, make the widgets, and staff the nursing homes if there were?) They have to live in physical places, filled with other people whose loyalties are to a particular place and way of life, not an abstract ideal, or the joys of rootless cosmopolitanism.
Bog down your reader with a discussion of the manufactured crises so that they don't see all the money disappear. Reinforce racism and nativism to protect the elite you're supposedly criticizing.
Even simple self-interest suggests that it may be time for the elites in Britain and beyond to sue for peace, rather than letting their newborn transnational identity drive them into a war they can’t win -- as happened with so many new states in the 19th and 20th centuries. Try to reforge common identities with the neighbors they have to live with, and look for treaty rules that will let them live in peace. Unfortunately, it’s not clear that transnationalism is any more capable of tempering its own excesses than the nationalism that preceded it.
Create a fake battle to cover up the real class war. Everyone will debate how the poor are suffering because the elite no longer share public spaces with them, and they'll forget all about the theft of the middle class way of life.

Meanwhile, McArdle and all the other little McArdles will go on being Good Germans, defending nationalism and racism for money, getting rich while income inequality soars, oh-so-carefully inciting violence against immigrants, and praising their own fairness and compassion the entire time.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Burden Of The Elite

I'm sorry for the lack of posting but I have been extremely busy travelling in Europe on very important economical business things. And you will not believe what I saw and did!

Oh. My. God. Those little mittle-European and backwater (or should I say backwash!) British airports are the worst. I was coming home from my very exclusive and extremely important meeting with the great Heads Of Europe, where they all listened *so* carefully to me when I told them how they should rule the world. One minute I have the finest meals delivered to me door by a suitably humble Southeast Asian flunky who kept his eyes to the floor where they belong, lest he be sent back to his cage on a fishing vessel. (That reminds me, I had a splendid salmon for lunch. I told the waiter to bring me his most expensive salt and he pointed to the salt cellar on the table. Just think: they put their finest salt on the table for your exclusive use!)

The next moment I'm suffering in silence, surrounded by little people wearing tea cozies and British flag ties, seated on a seat with NO PADDING and watching snot-nosed, red-faced little beefeaters run around kicking a paper ball. Never mind why. It is not for minds like your to know why I was in a British city, about to wing my way home to my darling caro sposo. What happens in Bilderberg, stays in Bilderberg. Elite must shoulder the heavy responsibility of decision-making on their own. Heavy is the head that wears the brains that solves the problem that saves the nation.

Despite their foreignness, everyone in the airport was like me, only with less money and worse parents and they were kinda lower class as well, not that we look down on them because now we're all supposed to CARE about what happens to the poor just because the rich have gotten so much richer.

So what? They're rich because they're better. What are we supposed to do, Harrison Bergeron? Perhaps P.J O'Rourke joke is what you want instead? For as G. K. Chesterton quote, misinterpretation of Jesus' commands.

The English folk told me all about their thoughts on Trump, my party's candidate for the President of the United States, and in revenge I asked them what they thought about Brexit.

"I dunno about them furriners, gov," one little person said to me. "'Ere I was, eating me curry, and some damn immigrant opened a Samosas and Chip shop. I wasn't half pissed, I was. I told me trouble and strife, the next excessively tall American I see in a seedy back-water airport, I'm tellin' 'er ev'ryfink!"

In Luton, I saw evidence of foreigners everywhere and you know what that means! Where there are foreigners, there is crime and degeneracy. When foreigners moved in, the good, decent British people's way of life was stolen away. The upper class shops that subsisted on the crumbs of the two wealthy families in the district moved out in horror. The manufacturing plants closed at once, certain that those foreigners would ruin everything. The British people stopped making British food, for there were no longer Brits there to eat it. Gone were the..... Deeply missed was the..... Well, there used to be British food and now there isn't and it's all those foreigners' fault.

I patted the little British person on the head and sympathized with him or her. Of course they are raving racists and would prefer to never see a non-British face. And of course they should be able to be as racist and nativist as they want! If you refused to take into account racism, you make racists very suspicious and upset. They begin to believe their elite leaders don't have their best interest in mind, and who can blame them for that either?

For instance, I am elite and I used to say that Americans had the duty to become poorer so the Chinese could become richer. That wasn't very nice of me, was it? No wonder the British are upset with their leaders; they think the leaders don't care about their racism! I explained the history of the US to the little people: how America for the first few centuries of its existence (1776-2076) had a severe labor shortage and new immigrants were easily absorbed, except for all those anti-immigration laws, customs, riots, and social upheaval. We also lacked a modern welfare state, which is fortunate because we all know that immigrants live on the "dole" and never contribute to society. (The NHS is in a death spiral and can't last longer than the sixty or so years it's been around!)

 The little people tried to tell me that services were being starved by the austerity programs of the government but I laughed and waved off their charts, figures, and news headlines. Little do they know their own system!

Some hypocrites might point out at this point that I am denouncing the American racism of Trump and his followers' anti-immigration hysteria and nodding my head thoughtfully and wisely about the British racism of their anti-immigrant hysteria, but they are obviously totally wrong because I said so.

I know absolutely nothing about Brexit but I do know this: if the government doesn't keep out those nasty, foreign-food eating, charity-grabbing, vile and violent foreigners, for whom I have so much sympathy, it will be perfectly understandable if they turn on their elite. It is also perfectly understandable that our own peasants will turn on their elite and replace them with new ones*, just as I have always predicted!

*Yes, I am elite, but for the purposes of this post let's just pretend I'm one of you, ok? And you can take away the tumbrels now.

Yastreblyansky kindly praises my writing style; like Thackeray indeed. And Roy Edroso calls my writing prize-winning.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Your Elite Wants You To Know They're On Your Side

To preserve the lies for posterity, let's go over a passage in McArdle's latest Trump post one more time:
5.Elites need a rebuke. For all my criticisms of Trump and his supporters -- and they have been many -- I find myself quite sympathetic with the folks who are angry at the establishment. Elites are smug. They are obnoxiously condescending. They have colluded to keep legitimate issues off the table.
This sort of elite collusion can certainly work, but if it becomes too disconnected from the electorate, a political reaction is inevitable. We are in the middle of that reaction. And I have to say that if I were out there in flyover country, I’d probably be pretty mad too.
McArdle's output is always poor but right now she is busy attending the Bilderberg Conference, given by the Bilderberg Group.
The Bilderberg Group, Bilderberg conference, Bilderberg meetings or Bilderberg Club is an annual private conference of 120 to 150 people of the European and North American political elite, experts from industry, finance, academia, and the media, established in 195 4.[2]
The group's original goal of promoting Atlanticism, of strengthening US-European relations and preventing another world war has grown; the Bilderberg Group's theme is to "bolster a consensus around free market Western capitalism and its interests around the globe" according to Andrew Kakabadse.[3] In 2001, Denis Healey, a Bilderberg group founder and a steering committee member for 30 years, said, "To say we were striving for a one-world government is exaggerated, but not wholly unfair. Those of us in Bilderberg felt we couldn't go on forever fighting one another for nothing and killing people and rendering millions homeless. So we felt that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing."[8]
According to former chairman Étienne Davignon in 2011, a major attraction of Bilderberg group meetings is that they provide an opportunity for participants to speak and debate candidly and to find out what major figures really think, without the risk of off-the-cuff comments becoming fodder for controversy in the media.[9] A 2008 press release from the "American Friends of Bilderberg" stated that "Bilderberg's only activity is its annual Conference and that at the meetings, no resolutions were proposed, no votes taken, and no policy statements issued."[10] However, in November 2009 the group hosted a dinner meeting at the Château of Val-Duchesse in Brussels outside its annual conference to promote the candidacy of Herman Van Rompuy for President of the European Council.[11]
McArdle is one of the elite, exclusive participates, or delegates, along with a long list of other, much more exclusive elites. She is probably there to discuss the disappearance of the middle class, god help us all.
Just check out the topics Bilderberg is focusing on – United States “economy: growth, debt, reform” as well as discussion on the impact of “technological innovation” and migration to economic and social factors. Looming largest of all is the ominous topic “precariat and middle class.”
What the hell is the precariat? And why is this term important for Bilderberg or the middle class?
In the age where even the Davos elite are preoccupied with the wealth gap and the power of the 1% over the ‘revolutionary’ masses… the term “precariat” is a modern spin on the proletariat of the next era… getting by from gig-to-gig an in an economy with no clear future and uncertain job security.
Precariat via Wikipedia:
In sociology and economics, the precariat is a social class formed by people suffering from precarity, which is a condition of existence without predictability or security, affecting material or psychological welfare. Unlike the proletariat class of industrial workers in the 20th century who lacked their own means of production and hence sold their labour to live, members of the Precariat are only partially involved in labour and must undertake extensive “unremunerated activities that are essential if they are to retain access to jobs and to decent earnings”. Specifically, it is the condition of lack of job security, including intermittent employment or underemployment and the resultant precarious existence.[1] The emergence of this class has been ascribed to the entrenchment of neoliberal capitalism.
Like the sardonic question posed by Bilderberg in 2014 – Does Privacy Exist? – the precariat is meant to poke at all the American Dream leftovers who will find themselves without direction, meaningful employment or much other hope for the coming decades of innovation under robotics and automation.
Bloomberg is positioning itself as resource for the upper classes in dealing with the unruly poors, and Megan McArdle is its tour guide. She will pretend to care about helping the poor while doing her best to perpetuate the destruction of the lower classes. She will make a lot of money tossing off half-assed propaganda for the elite. And then she'll go out for cocktails.

But she's not an elite and she totally feels your pain.

Welcome To The Circus

McArdle is nothing but Bloomberg  clickbait. She's a freak accident, a prank gone awry, a natural disaster, a see-through dress. She attracts the carnival crowd: geeks, gamers, greed-heads and gawkers. Anything Goes! as long as she brings in the clicks. Which brings us to her post supporting Donald Trump.

Now that the Republicans have firmly affixed themselves to the rump of Trump, Megan McArdle has a dilemma. She believes her tribe is by the far the superior tribe, and by virtue of having acquired all the usual advantages of her tribe, that she is superior as well. But now it is the Trump Tribe, and the Speaker Of The Trump Tribe is Paul Ryan, aforementioned libertarian besties of McArdle. Since McArdle wrote many posts explaining in great detail why Trump is a monster and his followers are no better, she must now walk back her blanket condemnation to accommodate changing times.

The problem with all of this unwelcome reality is that Trump really is a monster. He learned early that he could get away with anything, and he wanted to get away with violence and chaos. He was tamed on the outside, the better to work his con games, but inside he is still that cruel, violent, greedy, bigoted bully and he should never get his hands on power.

[People who celebrate inflicting death on their enemies, or rejoicing that their tribe inflicted that death, or joked about the ease with which they can kill others, have trained themselves to kill any empathy they once might have had for people not of their group. They are very dangerous as well but they are usually civilized on the outside. The laws of authoritarian hierarchies are strict: You can do anything you want as long as you say the right thing. Authoritarianism depends on everyone at every level of authority or submission to maintain the fiction of freedom and morality because the authoritarian leaders will stay in power only as long as nobody questions their ultimate lack of power.

If you tell me to obey and I say no and I decide I would rather die than submit to your word, you have no power over me. All you have is words. I must voluntarily submit, or you must be forced to kill me to maintain your façade of control. The leaders can't openly break their side of the pact: they pretend to give security in exchange for obedience. If they make people afraid of them, their authority weakens and maybe even dies. They must provide a scapegoat for their followers to fear. They must blame the scapegoats when they fail to provide security and when that doesn't work, they blame the victims.]
How can a decent human being support Donald Trump?
They can't. McArdle is not a decent human being. She becomes very irate when people say she is a bad person but since she truly is a bad person, too bad.  The racist, greedy core of the Republican party is on display for all to see in its naked glory, and since her job is pretending the Emperor is wearing fine new clothes, she won't directly support Trump but she'll support people who support Trump.
That’s a question that a lot of pundits have been asking in recent days, particularly as we are treated to the sight of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan calling Trump’s remarks about the Hispanic judge in his fraud case “the textbook definition of a racist comment” while still refusing to disavow his support for the Republican nominee.
The Republican party has done much worse and she doesn't care. She says all their mistakes are proof they are smarter. She's a liar.
Nonetheless, I think Ryan is a decent human being.
He isn't. He's the zombie eyed granny starver (tm Pierce) that he always has been. McArdle is also a granny-starver so she's fine with that.
And I presume that many other people supporting Trump are decent human beings. So why might they be supporting him, despite his frankly -- even joyously -- vile authoritarianism; his clear and present impulse-control problems; his staggeringly offensive treatment of female reporters, disabled reporters and senators who spent time as prisoners of war; his encyclopedic lack of knowledge on any and all policy topics; and his complete disdain for principle or the truth?
Because she is wrong and they are not decent human beings and they're trying to get the rest of us killed their actions and inactions.
Well, there is a case to be made. I confess that whenever I contemplate our nation's nuclear codes falling into Trump’s fingers (regardless of their length), I find it hard to be convinced by that case. But I like to understand a terrible argument before rejecting it. So here are the best (least-bad) reasons a person might endorse and/or vote for Trump:
McArdle's biggest regret in life is that she was born too late to justify the Magdalene Laundries on a free market basis. She is completely uninterested in being able to recognize, understand, or explain any argument fairly. She is a propagandist.
1.Republican politicians would like to get re-elected. Also, they would like there to be a Republican Party around after the Trump campaign.
Those goals might be better accomplished by opposing Trump. But some Republican loyalists have decided not to risk splitting the party down the middle: Their strategy is to offer lukewarm support to the Donald, hope he loses and try to rebuild the party for the midterms.
The Republicans were unable to counteract a racist, violent, greedy candidate without alienating their racist, violent, greedy voters. They are letting Trump run so they can reclaim those voters later. They ignore the fact that those voters have rejected their authority.
As I’ve pointed out before, Trump is a celebrity candidate, and celebrity candidates do not operate by the normal political rules. They can bring out people who don’t normally vote. But on the flip side, they do not necessarily have the normal effect that rising politicians have on their political parties. Trump brings no organization with him, no political network that will survive when he exits stage left. He has no ideological fellow-travelers who will thrive in his wake. (How could he, when he has no detectable ideology?) He has done none of the work that might render the party beholden to him in future elections: no get-out-the-vote operation, no crack team of political consultants, no mailing lists, donor networks or polling powerhouses. It’s actually pretty reasonable to think that as long as he is denied the White House -- which still looks like the most likely outcome, though by no means inevitable -- the storm will blow over with relatively little long-term change to the structure of the party.
Given that, Republican politicians who want to disavow Trump may reasonably be more afraid of further alienating the folks who are mad at the establishment. If you believe that the Republican Party is better for the country than the alternative, it’s pretty tempting to just suck it up and condemn his outrages while still refusing to say you won’t vote for him. As Jean-Paul Sartre tells us, it is impossible to participate in politics without dirty hands.
If McArdle is talking about Sartre's play, Dirty Hands, she seems to be saying that it's impossible to have elections without assassinations.

If McArdle is certain that Trump will not get the Republican Party's support, she should realize that she is in this post giving Trump her support. Then she should read this.
2.The Supreme Court. The left is getting positively giddy at the prospect of a Supreme Court with a solid block of five liberal justices who will reliably oppose conservatives on issues they consider vital, from gun rights to religious liberty to abortion. Mark Tushnet, an influential figure on the legal left, is already essentially advocating a total judicial war on conservative policies, particularly those involving social conservatives.
The regulatory disputes surrounding everything from birth control to transgender teens make a lot of religious groups feel -- not entirely unreasonably -- that they are facing an existential threat, as their rights of free association and conscience are trimmed back to “You can say it in the privacy of your own home, or at church, but don’t you dare act upon what you believe.”
If anyone accepts this line of bullshit, they are aiding and abetting the murder of gays. Anti-gay fanatics' religious beliefs are absolutely irrelevant. They deserve no respect or observation. They should receive no concessions at any time. Inciting hatred of gays should be a hate crime. But since it isn't illegal and since the right hates moral scolding from liberals almost more than gays, it is our duty to our fellow human beings to viciously repress anyone's attempt to hide behind their religion when they try to harm others.

I would rather discuss ideas than emotions but reason doesn't change people's behavior, emotion does. If we do not go on the attack we will continue to watch the American Taliban represses the population through fear, demand everyone follow their religious laws, and take over local government.

Many people do not like to fight. They don't want to be mean and don't like to hurt other people. Those people should stay out of fights altogether and not try to impose peace and civil discussions. They want them at the cost of others' lives.
Many liberals seem to believe that this is more than enough religious freedom for anyone; many religious people strenuously disagree. For religious people who feel that the next Supreme Court justice may make you choose between following your conscience and doing basic things like earning a living or educating your child, that choice becomes so important as to dwarf nearly every other consideration.
If you are imposing your religious beliefs on those who work for or with you, you are a dangerous fundamentalist. Nobody cares what your religion tells you to do-that's your problem-but there is no reason on earth why anyone else should have to follow your religious laws. The entire idea is absurd. I'm supposed to make my most important life decisions based on someone else's religion? Because they say so? It's ridiculous.

If you want to raise your child to fear and therefore hate people who are different, why should anyone accommodate you? When you send that child to school and he hears that there are many types of families, why should anyone care that you are angry someone told your child that hating others is bad? Your child is being taught to respect instead of fear. That makes you furious and now you want everyone else to teach fear and hatred too. We are supposed to buckle under to these people and do what they say? Is the world crazy?
I’m not endorsing this state of affairs, mind; I think that over the last 50 years we have become far too fond of turning everything into a judicial question, rather than leaving things to legislatures and other elected officials. However, that is the spot we are now in, and neither side looks interested in de-escalating. So people are quite rightly concerned about who will be appointing the next round of judges.
McArdle doesn't know the difference between the judiciary and legislative branches. That's not an excuse for her support for hatred, I just wanted to point out that the elite Ivy League graduate wasted her education and never uses it. Propaganda is so much easier and leaves plenty of time for shopping and giving verbal weapons to anti-gay murderers.
Ah, you will say, but why believe that Trump will appoint good judges? Fair question. However, conservatives may legitimately respond that they know, to a 100 percent certainty, that Hillary Clinton will appoint judges who are actively hostile to both their theory of constitutional jurisprudence and their personal policy preferences. Trump might do the same, but at least there’s some chance that they won’t find abortion restrictions lifted, the Heller gun rights case overturned, Hobby Lobby religious protections gutted, and gay and transgender rights expanded to the point where it becomes difficult to operate a school that teaches conservative Christian morality.
McArdle seems to be under the impression that Ted Cruz won, not Trump. Trump's voters ignored social issues to support him. Nobody knows what Trump would do, including Trump, no doubt. He might appoint his sister. He might appoint his plumber. Maybe his horse. Maybe he'd auction off the positions to the highest bidder or drop the candidates naked in the jungle and the one who stays alive longest wins. He is a monstrous child who would wish people away into the corn and only fools and knaves would support him.
3.Clinton’s e-mails. I’m sorry, Clinton supporters: The e-mail server situation is bad. It’s really bad. You can wave your hands until the sonic booms start rattling nearby china, and it will still be fundamentally disturbing, not merely for its typically Clintonian “rules are for other people” grandeur, its airy disregard for security and its obvious commitment to an utter lack of transparency, but also for the sheer incompetence and stupidity of its execution at both the technical and political levels. If you are going to set up your own e-mail server to keep your correspondence off of government systems, you should probably not let it go without an encryption certificate for months. You should also not bother to set up your own e-mail server, since any moderately bright 14-year-old could tell you that your e-mails are going to show up in others' inboxes, and then your secret server is going to become an eminently FOIA-able political disaster. The thing doesn’t just make me question Clinton’s character, but also her political acumen, and her ability to identify and hire competent staff.
Keep in mind here that McArdle is telling us decent people can support Trump, a monster. Yet we are supposed to be shocked! shocked and appalled! about an email server. The funny thing is that there are a lot of ways to discredit Clinton in people's eyes but McArdle will only reach for the easiest one, which also happens to be the easiest one to ignore. She is far too lazy to do any research.
Of course, Clinton supporters can point out that Trump has some problems in the planning, staffing and truth-telling departments. He really really does. But the e-mail server makes it hard for the Clinton backers to hit him on those things as hard as they otherwise could have.
Hahaha! Sure, Trump seems bad because he wants to make Muslims the new Jews and reenact WWII, but gosh darn it those emails keep the Democrats from attacking him back with full vigor. Better not mention Trump University or someone will bring up emails!!

God, she's lazy.
4.Immigration. Trump supporters are not wrong to say that elites of both parties have basically conspired to keep both immigration and trade off the agenda. Nor are they wrong to be annoyed when any opposition to increased immigration, or to legalizing people who are here illegally, is immediately dismissed as racist. No one who wrings their hands about gentrification can reasonably dismiss “I like my community the way it is” as an inherently racist and illegitimate sentiment.
Trump supporters have chosen to be pissed off about immigration because they are racist. Obama has deported 2.5 million illegals and shows no sign of slowing down. They should be patting him on the back. McArdle is an apologist for racism, just like Ross Douthat, and they want everyone else to let them be as racist, sexist, fascist, and authoritarian as they want, and to inflict it all on others.
Moreover, in a country with birthright voters, immigration means importing your future electorate; this, of course, sounds splendid to people on the left who think that this electorate will be more friendly to social democratic programs, but it is perfectly reasonable for people who prefer a more conservative government to oppose greater immigration for the same reason. Opposition to immigration can be racist, but it isn’t necessarily so. Trump's pledge to deport all immigrants who are illegally in the U.S. is ludicrous, but it's not ludicrous to think we should not reward people who have broken our immigration laws. Tarring these arguments as racist has not made them go away; rather, it appears to have made people less worried about being called racists. And empowered Trump, the only politician who has refused to be cowed by the epithet.
Yes, McArdle is supporting Trump's open racism by insinuating it's a also a brave stance against political correctness. She is as vile as he is. McArdle says it's perfectly natural that Republicans support Trump because immigrants will breed Democrats and conservatives want to elect people who will eliminate privacy, start wars, persecute gays, and let mentally unbalanced conservatives arm themselves in public at all times. What's wrong with that?

McArdle also insinuates that if we fight racism we embolden racism, yet another technique of persuading people to voluntarily submit to monsters. Trump's supporters aren't concerned with jobs; they are not poor and don't compete for those jobs. They are racist.

But if they don't vote for Trump, Hitlery won't let them be racist, sexist, authoritarian, or fascist anymore. But if they vote for Trump, they are voting for a racist, which of course they would never want to do because they aren't racists, they are merely strict constitutionalists and godly people. It's a terrible dilemma.
Practically, I think people who support Trump on these grounds are off base in many directions. For one thing, they’re too late; the demography of the country has probably already shifted too far to make restricting immigration, or winning elections on such a platform, possible. I doubt that Trump would find either the money or the popular support for his wall readily forthcoming, or for the kind of massive police operation that would be required to deport the people already here illegally. And I doubt that his commitment to restricting immigration is much more than skin deep, so I’d expect this issue to get dropped in the face of congressional opposition.
Even for Trump, Nobody Can Do Anything Ever.
Moreover, since nominating Trump has made it much more likely that Clinton will get elected with substantial congressional majorities in both houses, I’d say advocates of restricting immigration have scored a game-losing goal in their own net by nominating him. After the debacle of 2012, Republicans were terrified to liberalize immigration, for fear of retaliation from their base; Democrats are salivating at the prospect.
McArdle sees national issues as poker chips to be lost and won in the eternal battle of My Tribe v. Your Tribe. The fact that people's lives are affected by those chips means nothing to her.
However, given that he’s the nominee, opponents of broader immigration are now faced with a choice between a guaranteed move toward wide-scale legalization, or whatever Trump might manage. If this is the most important issue to you, it’s not crazy to prefer Trump.
This is how fascists become normalized: A lazy, greedy elite wants to keep the gravy train a-moving so she tells you that the monster isn't really all that bad and he can't do much bad anyway, so why not support his rise to power? She's always been the Good German.
5.Elites need a rebuke. For all my criticisms of Trump and his supporters -- and they have been many -- I find myself quite sympathetic with the folks who are angry at the establishment. Elites are smug. They are obnoxiously condescending. They have colluded to keep legitimate issues off the table.
This sort of elite collusion can certainly work, but if it becomes too disconnected from the electorate, a political reaction is inevitable. We are in the middle of that reaction. And I have to say that if I were out there in flyover country, I’d probably be pretty mad too.
I already had a good laugh over this. It's a wonder she didn't burst into flame when typing that, but unfortunately cartoon effects only happen in cartoons.
Are there rebuttals to all these arguments? There are. The most fundamental one is that for all of Clinton’s many flaws, she does not have the sort of impulse-control issues, petty vindictiveness and cultivated ignorance that make it actively terrifying to contemplate what she might do with America’s military and nuclear arsenal, or provoke Russia or China into doing with theirs. Most policy issues, no matter how vital, fade into insignificance compared with the possibility of a nuclear exchange between two major world powers.
Yes, the thought of Trump as president is horrifying.
The problem is that the media and the policy establishment have left themselves in a very poor place to make that argument. The leftward bias of the media has grown more pronounced.1 This means that conservative views can be excluded, or if they are included, conservative talking points can be rigorously interrogated, while dodgy left-wing statistics on things like campus rape continue to be repeated ad infinitum.
Having treated ordinary Republican politicians as if their views were beyond the pale, those institutions are now incapable of expressing why Trump really is scary and different -- why this time, when they say that a Republican politician is ignorant, racist, sexist and authoritarian, voters should actually listen, rather than dismissing this as the same old familiar rhetoric.
That reality is certainly no reason to vote for Trump. But it does relate: It drowns out many of the good reasons to vote against him.

No, it doesn't. But we are accustomed to McArdle's lies in service to power. If Trump were actually able to beat Clinton, McArdle would be the first second or third to tell us that Muslims prefer interment camps because they are Democrats and therefore moochers off of the public dime.
1.I blame the fragmentation of the media into more partisan outlets and also an active movement to eschew “false balance” -- giving equal airtime to two arguments that are not of equal merit. Needless to say, arguments that match your own policy preferences inherently seem more meritorious.
McArdle's livelihood depends on the fragmentation of the media into billionaire's propaganda outlets. And we are supposed to believe the media has become more liberal because they have rejected the Both Sides Do It narrative? The only thing that has happened is that part of the media has gone on the attack against Trump, hoping to get him out and put in someone with a better façade. Evidently this is a problem for McArdle, and she is upset that Trump is being attacked.

Many Republicans are keeping their heads down and hoping that everything goes back to normal after Trump leaves the public stage. Not McArdle. She's out there defending and supporting him. That's very brave, and we intend to never let her forget her courage.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Will The Horror I Mean The Wonders Never Cease

His zombie eyes follow you wherever you go.

It is extremely disobliging of Megan McArdle to publish her little propaganda pieces in the afternoon, often near the end of the work day. I am busy at that time. However, I shouldn't complain; since this is only her second post the week I suppose we're "lucky" to get any at all.

I will probably not be able to address her latest Trump piece until tomorrow but I couldn't wait to say one thing:

How can a decent human being support Donald Trump? That’s a question that a lot of pundits have been asking in recent days, particularly as we are treated to the sight of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan calling Trump’s remarks about the Hispanic judge in his fraud case “the textbook definition of a racist comment” while still refusing to disavow his support for the Republican nominee.
"Refusing to disavow his support"? McArdle chose the most passive way possible of saying that her econ-crush, The Hero of Janesville, The Man They Call Ayn, is now supporting the utterly insufferable Donald Trump.

It is fitting for the party of Trump to support Trump, of course. The voters have spoken. The party is merely accepting its chickens home to roost. What else are they going to do, let them be eaten by the big, bad, liberal and end up with an empty henhouse?

McArdle makes a stab at pretending she has professional standards.
Well, there is a case to be made. I confess that whenever I contemplate our nation's nuclear codes falling into Trump’s fingers (regardless of their length), I find it hard to be convinced by that case. But I like to understand a terrible argument before rejecting it. So here are the best (least-bad) reasons a person might endorse and/or vote for Trump:
As I’ve pointed out before, Trump is a celebrity candidate, and celebrity candidates do not operate by the normal political rules. They can bring out people who don’t normally vote. But on the flip side, they do not necessarily have the normal effect that rising politicians have on their political parties. Trump brings no organization with him, no political network that will survive when he exits stage left. He has no ideological fellow-travelers who will thrive in his wake. (How could he, when he has no detectable ideology?) He has done none of the work that might render the party beholden to him in future elections: no get-out-the-vote operation, no crack team of political consultants, no mailing lists, donor networks or polling powerhouses. It’s actually pretty reasonable to think that as long as he is denied the White House -- which still looks like the most likely outcome, though by no means inevitable -- the storm will blow over with relatively little long-term change to the structure of the party.
Trump's celebrity is important in revealing why he was able to step into the Republican party's leadership vacuum but he had little to do with the creation of that vacuum. That's the Republicans' fault.

(In the past she said Trump couldn't run because he, personally, didn't have enough money. Heh.)

Her boy Rubio had all that and where did it get him?

The status quo can't survive another recession, climate-related crises, or failed war. The Republicans are going to spend the next four to eight years trying to impeach and/or arrest Clinton.

Here's another amusing bit:
5.Elites need a rebuke. For all my criticisms of Trump and his supporters -- and they have been many -- I find myself quite sympathetic with the folks who are angry at the establishment. Elites are smug. They are obnoxiously condescending. They have colluded to keep legitimate issues off the table.
This sort of elite collusion can certainly work, but if it becomes too disconnected from the electorate, a political reaction is inevitable. We are in the middle of that reaction. And I have to say that if I were out there in flyover country, I’d probably be pretty mad too.
She is utterly brazen. Bold as brass. Shameless. Without a smidgen of self-respect, dignity or honor. McArdle is an elite when she is appealing to authority and she's a humble woman of the people when she wants to latch onto populism like a remora, sucking it dry to advance her career.

Taking On The Generosity Of The Welfare State: A Megan McArdle Quickie

The welfare state.

Megan McArdle's paycheck rests on coming up with three or four posts a week, so when her interest was piqued by the question of a universal basic income; she slithered into action. McArdle decided its time has not come, it is too expensive, and nobody can do anything ever anyway. Examining her argument would be utterly uninteresting but there are a few aspects of McArdle's thinking regarding the "What Shall We Do With The Poors?" question that I would like to highlight.
Well, because the UBI has some problems as a policy. The idea of a UBI is that it fixes many of the problems with the existing welfare system. The current patchwork of food stamps, health benefits and cash assistance creates a lot of economic distortions, because we’re giving people the stuff we think they ought to want (food, health care), rather than the things they actually do want. This can create problems for poor people who might, say, urgently need to cut back their food budget in order to repair their car, something that you can’t do unless you can find a repair shop that takes food stamps.
Yes, McArdle wants the poor to be able to cut back on their food budget, which is so generous they need food stamps, so they can afford to pay hundreds of dollars to repair their car. Perhaps we should agitate to increase wages so our working poor in this generous "welfare state" don't have to depend on government assistance, but McArdle told her readers that businesses will go bankrupt if they ever raise wages.

McArdle has said many times she wants to get rid of Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, and anything other than the bare minimum of aid, perhaps just enough to stave off bread riots. She's mostly lying. She does not. She does not want her father to pay for his and her mother's healthcare; she would end up with nothing to inherit but hospital bills. She says she wants to pay her medical bills out of pocket but takes government-and-employer-subsidized insurance instead.  McArdle doesn't care about Social Security either way because her father is wealthy.
I suspect this is why the advocates of a UBI have recently become so interested in the problem of robots taking our jobs. The idea is that automation will make human labor so worthless, and make humanity so fantastically wealthy, that we practically won’t notice if we siphon a considerable amount of that money into a benefit that will, effectively, allow people to be permanently unemployed without starving to death. I’m skeptical of this story for a number of reasons -- starting with the fact that “the machines are about to put us all out of work” has been a staple of science fiction for a century without coming noticeably closer to science reality. This time may be different, of course; even the boy who cried wolf eventually did come across a predator.
But even if this story eventually comes true, it isn’t true now -- and until it is true, there’s no real reason for voters to want to shuck their current welfare state for one that is either much more expensive or cuts benefits for current beneficiaries, while throwing in some possibly strong disincentives for lower-skilled people to hold jobs. After all, the government is pretty good at mailing checks. In the event that a majority of the population is thrown out of work by robots, a UBI can be set up in a trice.
McArdle denigrates the entire idea of mutual responsibility and care because her career is based on persuading the public to voluntarily lower taxes and regulations that the rich don't want. McArdle chose to achieve this goal by denigrating African-Americans, the poor in  general, women, gays, and liberals so that nobody would come to their defense when they are exploited and scapegoated by the ruling class. Nobody made her. She could have stuck to numbers and theories. But it's how she thinks so it's the weapon she gleefully* chose to use.

*These jane galt links demonstrate why she felt she had to erase her old blog. She knew they would damage her pretense at being a journalist, not a propagandist.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Death Is Her Business

I lost a car to flash flooding on this street about ten years ago. Heavy flooding in my city, 50 miles from the coast but riddled with bayous, has become much more common in the past five years.

Travel back in time with me to the age of the dinosaurs, with Megan McArdle as your tour guide. We are going to re-examine McArdle's old post on phytoplankton die-off, published on July 30, 2010. I am revisiting this post to clearly show how McArdle doesn't even try to present a coherent argument about climate change, she simply types up her propaganda and tosses it out to her reader.

It's not that McArdle is stupid. She just doesn't care if she is convincing or not. She's paid to pass out propaganda either way, and it's a bit too much to expect anyone to take any professional pride in being a rat-fucker. It's like a street hooker being proud of choosing especially nice alleys in which to give blow jobs. It's not really the point of the whole exercise, is it?
Phytoplankton, the tiny little ocean creatures that generate a massive amount of the world's oxygen, form the base of the ocean food chain, and otherwise deserve to be nominated Hero of the World Economy, First Class, are apparently dying off. The theory is that global warming is probably doing them in. Michael O'Hare brings the doom. Kevin Drum brings the gloom:
So, anyway, as temperatures rise the plankton die. As plankton die, they suck up less carbon dioxide, thus warming the earth further. Which causes more plankton to die. Rinse and repeat. Oh, and along the way, all the fish die too.
Or maybe not. But this sure seems like a risk that we should all be taking a whole lot more seriously than we are. Unfortunately, conservatives are busy pretending that misbehavior at East Anglia means that global warming is a hoax, the Chinese are too busy catching up with the Americans to take any of this seriously, and you and I are convinced that we can't possibly afford a C-note increase in our electric bills as the price of taking action. As a result, maybe the oceans will die. Sorry about that, kids, but fixing it would have cost 2% of GDP and we decided you'd rather have that than have an ocean. You can thank us later.
I actually think that Kevin misses the point a little: if this is true, 2% of GDP isn't going to cut it. We'd better get back to an emissions level around 1940, or earlier, and stay there.
As of 2010, the post-9/11 wars we waged cost 1.2% of GDP and all we got was a lot of dead and injured men and women, a vibrant terrorism industry, and a Gulf War II: To Infinity And Beyond! tee shirt. Saving the planet could be considered a necessary expense. Perhaps if we called it the War Against Terrorist Warming, McArdle might be willing to pay for it and would even be eager to mitigate the expense in dollars and lives.

But once we get past the hypocrisy, we remember that McArdle doesn't care about cost, difficulty, emission levels, or GDP. She decided to soft-pedal climate change because libertarians have a childish dislike of being told what to do, because the Virgin Islands are suing libertarian/conservative think tank CEI, and because oil and refinery money gushes to start up and provide for those think tanks, who have given her and her husband so much and constitute a part her social circle.

(via Exiled)
Being that we now have about 2.5 times as many people in the country, and the world, as we did then, that's going to be tricky. If higher emissions means the trend will continue, we're pretty much doomed, at least until the Chinese economy collapses into food riots. There's no point in waxing sarcastic about the American public; it's a nasty, nasty collective action problem that I can't see how we'd solve short of invading China.
McArdle does not think we need to invade China to reduce global warming. She does, however, think her readers are too stupid to see through her lies or are eager to hear them. She is right about her readers. They don't care about global warming either; when you read her comments you can see that they just want someone to tell them they are right, liberals are stupid and wrong, and nobody needs to change or sacrifice--when they are not fantasizing how they will profit off of human catastrophe.
Of course, this might make it easier to get consensus, since this is no longer a situation where low-lying or tropical poor countries suffer for our industrialization. A lack of oxygen in the air is going to cause problems for everyone; ditto a lack of fish. Frankly, I don't see how working women are going to survive the loss of Bumblebee Tuna.
McArdle trivializes the enormity of the disaster while saying she realizes what a disaster this is becoming. About a billion people depend on the ocean for food. McArdle doesn't mention them because they are poor and we all know the poor are entirely to blame for their own poverty.
So how much should we worry about this right now? I mean, assuming that worrying would actually do us some good, rather than just raise our bad cholesterol and drive us to drink?
The emphasis on temporary gain over long-term extinction is pure McArdle essence, as is the attempt to convince her readers that nothing can be done, therefore nothing should be done.
The die-off of most of the phytoplankton would be a huge catastrophe. However, here are some reasons that we shouldn't succumb to outright panic quite yet:
The world might be ending for us sooner than we thought. But here's three reasons why we should do nothing about it!:
1. It's one paper. I am not casting aspersions on the authors or their methodology, but the whole idea of science is that even the smartest people can be wrong. As with other attempts to reconstruct past climate, they're using a series of proxies for past events that have much weaker accuracy than the direct measurements we're now using. That doesn't mean they're wrong, but it does leave them more open to interpretation.
Once again, we see that McArdle is so corrupt that she actually is trying to convince people that science is a crap-shoot. Her contempt for her audience is remarkable. McArdle doesn't try to understand what she's talking about. She simply repeats whatever her favorite libertarians say. (Note that while McArdle says think tanks such as CEI are too ideological to trust and that she doesn't agree with CEI regarding global warming anyway, she outsources her thinking to a CEI employee.)
2. All the carbon we're burning used to be in the atmosphere. Yet the planet supported life. Indeed, the oil we're burning comes from the compressed, decayed bodies of . . . phytoplankton. This suggests that some number of phytoplankton should be able to survive high concentrations of the stuff.
This little paragraph is why I am going over this old post once again. How I laughed and laughed.... Good times.  Here is the gist:
Daniel Shore:2. All the carbon we're burning used to be in the atmosphere. Yet the planet supported life. Indeed, the oil we're burning comes from the compressed, decayed bodies of . . . phytoplankton. This suggests that some number of phytoplankton should be able to survive high concentrations of the stuff.
Isn't this a silly piece of reasoning? It's true that all that carbon used to be in the atmosphere - but not ALL AT ONCE. It was absorbed at low levels of concentration over millions of years and compressed by phytoplankton. Your argument is sort of like saying that drinking 12 liters of vodka shouldn't kill you, because you've had that much to drink over the last 5 years of your life.
As for the rest of the post, meh.
McMegan: Carbon concentrations in the jurassic were what, 4-5 times higher than they are today? To a first approximation, it was all in the atmosphere.
tinisoli: No, it wasn't.
McMegan: Sorry? Is this incorrect?
tinisoli: Relevance of that paper?
anirprof: It's not incorrect but it doesn't say what you are claiming.
That CO2 concentrations were 5x higher in the past isn't the same as saying that all the carbon currently contained in hydrocarbons in the crust were in the air then.
McMegan: Given that the 100 year projections involve carbon concentrations below 1,000 ppm, the statement that "all the stuff we're burning was in the atmosphere" is correct. Was every hydrocarbon in the ground in the atmosphere? Probably not. But every hydrocarbon in the ground is not recoverable, so that's not a very interesting question.
tinisoli: Why don't you just clarify what you meant and then we'll see if it actually meant what you're nor pretending it did?
McMegan: I wasn't unclear. You and Anirprof decided that I must have meant something else, and proceeded to argue furiously against something I didn't say.
The estimated reserve life of the major oil reserves clocks in at under 150 years. By then, we'll have figured out something else, or the economy will collapse anyway, and we won't need to worry about greenhouse gasses.
anirprof: Plus about four other commenters above and below this point who read it the same way, so I wouldn't be so quick to assert there was nothing wrong with the phrasing. Given what you say you were trying to communicate, TakuanSoho's comment below suggests a phrasing that makes a lot more sense than the original.
McMegan: In my experience, there are a number of issues where people stop reading about halfway through, and start arguing with the opponent in their head. This is one of them.
Brian Despain: That's one of the best quotes you have ever had Megan. This thread is great evidence for that.
downpuppy: And like all Megan quotes, makes more sense when you realize it's about Megan. Nobody is claiming that global warming is a threat to all life on earth, so Megan writes a post to say that everybody who claims that global warming will end life on earth is a doodyhead.
By writing it really badly & throwing in some rubbish about CO2, she gets 3 more posts to respond to people who haven't noticed that she really hasn't said anything worth reading.
double win!
 McArdle made several glaringly wrong mistakes in math and science in that comment thread and continued to insist she was right when several people explained in detail why she was wrong. She linked to material that didn't support her statements because she knows most people won't follow the link, others won't understand it, and nobody wants proof that their own ideas are wrong.

McArdle can't admit or correct her lies without undermining her propaganda. She can't propagandize without lying. She must lie and she must ignore or explain away most of others' corrections of her work. Her lies are deliberate attempts to harm others to further her career. Giving McArdle a pass on lying is giving McArdle a pass on deliberately harming others for money.

The paper she linked to was a non sequitur but McArdle is satisfied with the thinnest of pretense towards intellectual argument. Evidently her editors and employers are as well.
3. There are positive feedback effects, but also negative ones. One of the things that drives me batty about environmentalists and journalists writing about climate change is the insistence that every single side effect will be negative. This is not really very likely, unless you think that every place on earth just happens to be at the very awesomest climate equilibrium possible as of 9:17 am this morning, or that global warming is some sort of malevolent god capable only of destruction.
McArdle's excuse for lying to her readers is more feeble than most of her excuses and again McArdle's contempt for her readers is evident.  McArdle could not be bothered to come up with a plausible reason for finding a silver lining in the cloud of death, and typed out a sneering little rationalization.

This statement is award-worthy, however, so we bestow yet another "McLazy" on McArdle, who couldn't figure out that the climate is the result of an accumulation of circumstances that arose over the life of the planet, and its balance is based on those factors.

Our world, our human biology, our civilization, is based on a certain climate range. When that range changes, humans might not survive. Saying that global warming might be beneficial as well as detrimental is an extremely feeble attempt to distract her readers from the detrimental aspect.
Mind you, this is not an argument for letting it happen; I'm not a fan of tampering with large, complex systems that I don't really understand, which is why I tend not to support much direct government intervention in the economy--and why I do, nonetheless, support a hefty carbon tax.
We know her support for a carbon tax is meaningless because she told us that raising taxes on gasoline is impossible. She pretends to support it because she can then look like she supports taking action of some kind when she does not. Anyone who is overjoyed at the idea of paying lower taxi fares by squeezing poor taxis drivers and argues nobody will pay higher gasoline prices is not willing to pay a carbon tax.
But there's a certain tendency to ignore mitigating offsets, such as the fact that higher carbon concentrations make terrestrial plants grow more lushly, sucking up some of that extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. At least, as long as we don't turn them into biofuels, that is.
If McArdle had had any intention of presenting accurate information she would have done a bare minimum of research and found out that plants won't compensate for all the increased CO2 in the air. When the science is against her, science is unknowable. When she wants to peddle wrong or biased science and pseudo-science, suddenly science is useful again.
There's also a tendency to ignore mitigation rather than reduction, on the grounds that emissions reduction is "easier". Well, I suppose it is easier if you assume away the political problems. But no matter how hard I assume, I keep waking up in a world where we've made no meaningful progress on emissions reductions. At this point, I've got more faith in America's engineering talent than in her ability to conquer fierce political resistance to reductions at home and abroad.

McArdle has given her readers ample proof over the years that she knows virtually nothing about science, and most of what she thinks she knows is wrong. This is unimportant. McArdle is a propagandist.

Her readers are her marks. Her blog is her con game. Her jackpot is our children's death.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Cashing In On Death: The Megan McArdle Experience

I have been thinking very carefully about the way I cover the McArdle waterfront and I am deeply ashamed. For far too long over many, many times I have called her as dumb as a stump and now I greatly regret my insults and accusations.

I should have emphasized her corruption above all else, even to the exclusion of all else. I have been far too kind, helping alleviate McArdle's guilt by admitting that she isn't very bright, doesn't understand most of what she reads, and is too incurious and unprofessional to find out the facts. The truth is that she's a malevolent force for evil and one should never let that fact be mitigated in a misguided attempt at fairness.
Can we talk about climate change like civilized adults? Yesterday, I wrote a column asking that question. The response from the internet suggests: "no."
The only discussion we need to have is the one where we decide what we need to do immediately. Anything else is treason on a global scale. McArdle doesn't care what happens to the planet or its poor or, basically, anyone but herself. She is getting rich off of telling people that industry must be allowed to ruin the planet for short-term profits and will happily see everyone else suffer as long as she can have more money to spend.

McArdle wants the rest of the world to indulge in the greatest sin they could ever commit and sentence their descendants and planet to devastation. She wants us to sell out our grandchildren so she can continue to profit from the wingnut welfare circuit. We are hereby ordered, for McArdle's personal benefit, to watch islanders relocate, coastal cities flood, and Indians die from heat by the hundreds right now and see infinitely worse catastrophes in the future--and do next to nothing. Why?

So a spoiled rich girl can get richer.

Multiply that by thousands more spoiled rich kids, sycophants, and sell-outs, all typing their little fingers to the bone, hoping to forestall any consequences for their actions long enough to cash in on the circuit as well. And let's not forget the endless litigation from "public service" organizations, designed to stymie any attempts to save our world. They are paid by the same sources and are just as important. An Army of David Frenches, quivering to defend the Constitution from those who wish to keep it from being corrupted by racism, greed, and religious zealotry.

French pays for his children's private Christian education with that money. It keeps him from having to get a real job, where you are expected to make money for the firm and bring in new clients and spend 10 hour days at a desk pouring over paperwork, or on the phone. Wingnut welfare also extends to his wife, who can have it all by ghost-writing moral lectures for serial unwed mother Bristol Palin while staying home with her young kids. It sure beats working for a living.

Nothing else matters to them. Their world begins and ends with them and their wants and needs. People are dying now and a lot more are going to die in the future from climate change and they can't even begin to envision any circumstance in which they would give an iota of a fuck.

However, nobody on the wingnut welfare circuit can admit they are being paid to lie. They can lie forever, as long as they are not weak enough to admit they are paid ratfuckers. Because they want to preserve and increase their personal wealth, they must use every tactic at their disposal to cover up their crimes against humanity.

A common tactic that the people waging (and winning) the war on behalf of the rich often use is  demanding civility from the losing side. They have all the power, after all. The poor have none. Why should the rich have to listen to the common clay's whining and complaining? One simply tells them to shut up, in the politest way possible, of course.

The elite are envied and feted by the poor, surely the poor will obey the rich when they point out that defending yourself is very impolite. The rich have beautiful manners and everyone wants to be just like them. They don't have to raise their voices to get people to do anything, they just give a cool, quiet order. It's lower class to fight back.
I pointed out that climate activists have a lamentable tendency to slap the "denier" label on everyone who does not consider global warming to be catastrophic and urgent, even if they are completely on board with the basic argument that human CO2 emissions will warm the planet by some amount. This is a purely political attempt to delegitimize dissenters and rally supporters. It is also largely ineffective, and absolutely terrible for the public policy discourse.
McArdle actually thinks she can concern troll liberals into giving in to the oil and refinery companies, into letting people suffer and die while they do nothing but sitting on their asses watching Game of Thrones.

She thinks she can make meaningless concessions to reason and reality while undermining them into uselessness, and she thinks you are going to sit there and let her lie to your face. She thinks she can manipulate liberals' sense of fairness, acceptance of dissent, and respect for an intellectual process to get them to abandon facts, fairness, and reason.

She doesn't have to be good at her work and she usually isn't. It is in posts like this one that we see the real Megan McArdle shine through: Greedy, self-obsessed, petulant, condescending, snide and arrogant. She doesn't give a rat's ass for the public policy discourse. She's paid to pollute it. She and the rest of the propagandists don't get to pretend they are real boy and girl activists, intellectuals, and journalists, and they get no say in whether or not people trying to save their environment will listen to them. They are scum and they should be treated like scum.
I was careful to note, as I wrote, that I am not really myself a "lukewarmist" on climate change; I’m less skeptical of high warming projections than they are, and more importantly, I think that even a relatively small risk of catastrophic warming -- say 1 percent -- is worth ensuring against. It is not the conclusions of the climate activists that I disagree with, so much as their methods of advocating for them. I’d rather see fewer vilifications and more extended debate.
McArdle thinks that if she pretends to give a little, she'll get a little. She doesn't know about global warming and doesn't care. She's just doing a job, which is extending the debate into forever and leaping into action a week from never. To ensure that the gravy train never ends, she wants you to stop calling her a monster so she can get back to being one.

Then he blocked me. You will correctly infer that I was also inundated with other interlocutors on social media and e-mail. Many of them were respectful. Others were … less so. At worst, they suggested, I was a paid shill for fossil fuel interests. (Not so. I accept no pay from anyone other than Bloomberg.) At best, they said, I was a fool who was giving aid and comfort to the enemy. My editor was thusly chided for the column: “shame on you for publishing it, especially if you have children.”
McArdle doesn't care if we believe what she says about her sources of income. She has lied about her sources of income for years.

Declaring that she isn't paid by anyone else is vague enough to hide a multitude of actions. Ever? Now? This year? Pay or donate? What about all the other sources of income she's had over the years, not including her day job?

When McArdle says she "accepts no pay from anyone other than Bloomberg" she could easily mean she donates her time or efforts in the expectation of future profit or out of ideological bias. For instance, Cato hosted an appearance by McArdle to peddle her little book. She wrote the lead article for Cato's discussion on income inequality last year. (Spoiler: she's for it.)

She's scheduled to speak at the "Cato University Summer Seminar on Political Economy" in July. This year she spoke at the libertarian Niskanen Center, stuffed with ex-Cato staffers. Are we supposed to believe that she was not paid, in money or in kind, for any of her extracurricular activities?

What about the American Enterprise Institute, AEI? Here's a talk on poverty, a "book forum" on her book, a "vision talk," and a speech on the pursuit of happiness." Did she do it all for free, paying travel expenses out of her own pocket?

Although she says she does not, McArdle often references such ideological think tanks in her work; they have a symbiotic relationship. And we are not even getting into her connections to the Institute Of Humane Studies, which is related in detail here at the Shame Project.

We know that she belonged to a speaker's bureau and gave talks across the country. Her work is syndicated in multiple newspapers. She published a book (a re-hash of her columns) and went on a book signing and speaking tours to increase sales. She received money from that over the years. There are undoubtedly activities that are unpaid (for example) but it is impossible to believe McArdle's overly broad statement. It's deliberately nearly meaningless.
Look, I understand the bunker mentality that has beset many climate-change activists. Climate skeptics have their own set canards about how climate activists are all crypto-communists and authoritarians looking to force their political views on the world. Too many glibly dismiss climate models entirely because of their high degree of uncertainty, rather than grappling with the downside risks that these uncertain models suggest. In particular, Republican politicians, who have considerable policymaking power, have eschewed making the difficult case that whatever warming will occur is not worth taking radical action to prevent, and instead have resorted to throwing snowballs on the Senate floor.
McArdle carefully does not mention the millions of dollars poured into maintaining our oil-based economy and foreign policy, or the choke hold the oligarchy has on the nation. She reduces the argument to a matter of partisan preferences, the better to drown the argument in rising water.  This omission is journalistic negligence and completely dishonest.
This is understandably frustrating if you think warming is apt to be catastrophic. And the long years of hurling increasingly angry imprecations has radicalized both sides to the point where it’s hard to imagine having anything constructive to say to the folks on the other side.
One side is trying to kill both sides. The denialists should be booted out of public discourse but their masters are too powerful.
I also understand that the climate-change folks get tired of being asked to lay out, yet again, why they believe what they believe. Just yesterday, in fact, I was asked, in re my opposition to Obamacare, if I just didn’t care whether people went bankrupt and died. Since I dove into health-care writing around 2007, I have been asked that question -- well, it can’t really be a hundred million times, can it? But it sure feels like it. I’ve written the answer to that question many times. I’m tired of answering the same (stupid) question. It's a variation on the recurring "Why are you a terrible person?"
We know why she is a terrible person. She takes money to screw over everyone else.
There are stupid people in every policy argument. But I have never encountered a debate where all the stupid people are on one side. And you do not enhance your own side’s reputation for cleverness by dismissing your worst opponents' worst arguments; you win by engaging with your best opponents' best arguments.
This is why I will no longer call McArdle stupid instead of a lying propagandist. It's an excuse for dishonesty. We don't care what that simpering propagandist has to say and her reduction of this terrible situation to a game of winning the dinner party is disgusting.
The name-calling, divisive "debate" around climate change is not just bad science and bad public policy making, but as I noted yesterday, it’s not even good political tactics. If either side could point to a lot of progress and say “Yes, it’s unsavory, but it works” -- well, I still wouldn’t like it, but I’d have to concede that it was effective.
We will overcome and silence the denialists to save ourselves and our world. It's the only way to make them go away. Any half-measures will just encourage them to think they can get away with being liars.
But throughout decades of increasingly angry delegitimization of the skeptics, decades in which the vilification has actually increased in volume even as most of the skeptics have moved toward the activists on the basic scientific questions, the net result in public policy has been very little.
A scientific approach would be to acknowledge that advocates' initial hypothesis -- that name calling will advance the cause -- has failed to be borne out by the experimental evidence. And to start looking for another hypothesis for how to move forward on climate change.
We know how to move forward. Over the corrupt careers of the lying propagandists.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Ruins Of The Press Corps

It's about lack of ethics in journalism.

Let us return to Megan McArdle's defense of her honor, a difficult endeavor since she has none. Josh Marshall pointed out that McArdle's meandering Gawker/Thiel post utterly ignored the only pertinent issue, the secrecy of Thiel's presence behind the lawsuit against Gawker and how it affects the suit.

McArdle is not going to say anything definitive; she will hedge, backtrack, and qualify any statements so she weasel out of taking responsibility for her words or actions. She cherry-picks and nitpicks her target until she judges it is sufficiently damaged and then considers the entire matter settled and done in her favor.

McArdle thinks that if she doesn't actually say that she is defending Thiel, she can say anything in his defense.  McArdle used numerous methods to defend him. For instance:

1. Nothing to see here! These are not the droids you're looking for. You can go about your business. Move on.
To read the Internet as a journalist over the past 48 hours is to conclude that the media is on the verge of a holocaust. Not the boring old holocaust of falling ad revenues and clickbait-oriented business models, but a brand new holocaust, in which rogue billionaires are going to sue us all out of existence....
The proximate cause of the sky falling is the revelation that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel has been funding lawsuits against Gawker, apparently with the intention of destroying the company. ...
However, I don’t think this is an existential threat to journalism. I don’t think there’s an easy way to stop this sort of thing without stopping a lot of other stuff we’re rather fond of. ...
But I’m far more sympathetic to Gawker’s victims than to Gawker on this point, as I so often am when they self-righteously cloak repulsive clickbait in the proud trappings of First Amendment principle....
Fortunately, I also don’t think this is the End of Journalism As We Know It....
So while I can easily agree that this is an existential threat to Gawker, and may even have a chilling effect on other gossip sites, I’m not particularly worried that it’s a profound threat to the media in general. Most media do not traffic in material which has no obvious news value besides pointing and laughing at someone’s private life. Adam Smith famously remarked that there’s a lot of ruin in a nation. There’s a lot of ruin in a national press corps, too....
That's a lot of exculpation for someone who said she didn't defend Thiel.

Since McArdle is on shaky grounds when she needs to defend her work, she always tries to find a way to deflect her readers' attention from unpleasant facts. For instance:

2. Not that I did what you said I did, but if I had it wouldn't have made any difference.

Marshall's argument about secrecy is the main point, not a side note. The public identification of Hogan's backer would have been factor in the case. McArdle's idea of the legal system match her ideas of the political system: There are two teams, yours and mine, and everyone thinks their side is the best for no reason except feelings, and everyone wants to be the winner and hates the other side.

For McArdle, a trial is a contest between a right side and a wrong side and the jury picks whoever they like best based on what side they are on. Since nobody can know anything ever, one assumes making a decision in law is also like making a decision in politics: you guess and are either right or wrong.

It's not that McArdle defended Thiel, but even if she did it doesn't matter because juries hate both billionaires and the media so they would have awarded in Hogan's favor no matter who backed him. Therefore it didn't matter that Hogan's backer had an ulterior motive for going after Gawker and it didn't matter that McArdle ignored the conflict of interest. There is no way to know this--Marshall's point, of course--but McArdle is paid to bury the truth in bullshit.

3. McArdle is so eager to support the libertarian billionaire that she declares it should have been illegal for Hogan to sue Gawker. Nobody has the right to privacy because it's censorship to prevent a journalist from printing anything, even a sex tape. If anyone were to publish private information about McArdle-her sexual habits, her credit information, video of her riding a bus and discussing gentrification with an "urban" man--it would be censorship to stop them.
Journalists invade folks’ privacy all the time -- that’s sort of our job -- and drawing lines about whose privacy may be invaded, and when, is not easy for people with a strong commitment to free speech norms. Slippery slopes are real, and when they’re well-greased, you’d be amazed at the kind of acceleration you can get.
It's all about fascism, you see.
So while Hogan may indeed have the legal right of things, I don’t agree with any law that gives him this power. I want Gawker legally protected -- not because I approve of what Gawker did (I strenuously don’t), and not because I believe that the press has special rights that other people don’t, but because I want everyone to have the right to speak without fear of censorship. It doesn’t matter whether that censorship comes from the government or deep-pocketed plaintiffs using the power of the law.
4. McArdle defends Thiel's right to finance the Hogan lawsuit by ignoring the main issue, Thiel's secrecy, to defend Thiel's right to finance the Hogan lawsuit, a point not much in dispute. This tactic lets her pretend her enemies are being hypocritical, since they kicked up such a fuss about Citizen's United and since the Virgin Islands sued CEI. Even journalists are hypocritical, she says, since they only care about the case because it affects journalists.

So while I can easily agree that this is an existential threat to Gawker, and may even have a chilling effect on other gossip sites, I’m not particularly worried that it’s a profound threat to the media in general. Most media do not traffic in material which has no obvious news value besides pointing and laughing at someone’s private life. Adam Smith famously remarked that there’s a lot of ruin in a nation. There’s a lot of ruin in a national press corps, too.
Yes, we know the media is all about the news value, not pumping up traffic to increase revenue. But even if they are, it's okay because the media can absorb a lot of rotten journalists. Megan McArdle is living proof.