Author Archives: Brandon Shollenberger

A Relevant Quote

“Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.”

The Impeachment Worked

I've been seeing a lot of people talk about how the impeachment of Donald Trump is a waste of time and money. I've long heard people say it would never work, and it appears they are correct... in a way. However, I think this impeachment has done exactly what it was supposed to do.

The Democratic leadership didn't pursue impeachment for many previous offenses, even as many Democrats called for them to do so. The reason is they never expected Donald Trump to be ousted by any impeachment trial. The purpose of this impeachment trial was to make a case for the public to see how craven the Republican defenders of Donald Trump are. This was ultimately just a way of saying, "We (probably) can't stop Trump because his sycophants are in control. If you vote for them again, this is what you'll get."

Republican defenders of Trump don't want to see evidence. They don't want to hear from witnesses. They don't want to have any discussion of Trump's behavior at all. They will do practically everything in their power to stop any examination of Trump's behavior because their view is Donald Trump is their party, therefore no opposition to him can be tolerated. Note, I said he *is* their party, not he is *of* their party.

You cannot be a Republican and oppose Trump in any meaningful way, You will be driven out of the party. Many people already have been. That level of willful polarization in the party is a depressing state of affairs, but it is also the best state of affairs Democrats could hope for. Their message is becoming, "If you think it is bad to have a king as president, with no checks on his power, don't vote Republican."

I wouldn't care to predict if this approach will pay dividends in terms of election results, but it has certainly worked in terms of messaging. I'd wager almost nobody believes Trump and his supporters are acting with any integrity at this point. Even the people who defend him largely recognize it's purely for partisan reasons. Ask some of them, and they'll all say basically the same thing, "It's 'us' versus 'them,' and any member of 'us' is better than 'them.'"

Hot Take on MLK

Martin Luther King Jr. cheated his way through college, relying on numerous and massive cases of plagiarism, to the point his doctoral thesis is utterly without value. When this was discovered, his university, his family and many others went to great lengths to try to cover this up. When that failed, they did everything they could in order to downplay it, to the point society at large doesn't know about it, and those who do usually don't know how significant it was.

During the Civil Rights Movement, King intentionally had youths engage in dangerous protests so pictures would be taken of children being assaulted, which he felt would generate better publicity than if it were adults who were assaulted. There is significant reason to question whether this tactic actually helped his cause. Many of King's contemporaries were adamantly opposed to King's practice of intentionally creating violence, especially when those who would get hurt were children.

There's much more that could be said, but my point isn't to say King was a terrible person. My point is this, King was not a great man. He's celebrated today not for the person he was. King is celebrated for a person he never was. Today we celebrate a figure created out of ignorance, self-delusion and outright lies.

Here's my hot take, we would not have this holiday if King had not been assassinated by a white man when he was. His death created a symbol of a black man people could use to signal their opposition to racism.

Trump Impeachment?

I've been wanting to talk about the latest impeachment craze for President Donald Trump because the reactions are fascinating, but the story is complicated and developing quickly. It's difficult to figure out how to give an introduction to the topic while explaining just why what Trump did is so wrong. After three half-written posts, a person I was talking to about them suggested I watch this video:

It does a much better job than I could hope to. I think comparing what that video says to what you'll see elsewhere is fascinating. I challenge anyone to start here and not laugh. Trump famously boasted during his presidential campaign

I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters,

People's reactions to Trump's recent call with Ukraine make me suspect that might be true now.

I Did Something

I did something today I've debated doing for a while. I don't know if it'll have any effect, but I'm happy to have finally decided to go ahead and do it. It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, comes from it over the next couple weeks.

Sorry for being vague. I just wanted to make a note of this for timing purposes.

A Slow Burn on IPCC Coral Misrepresentation

One of my latest posts discussed how, after nearly a year's delay, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released material for its latest report. There's a lot of interesting things to be found in it. Today, I'd like to add to a previous post I've written, which you can find here. You don't need to read the post to understand what I'll discuss today, but I'd recommend it if you have the time.

As a quick summary of what I said before, the IPCC wrote about the supposed dangers faced by coral reefs if the world were to warm by 1.5°C or 2.0°C. That discussion took place in several parts of the report, with the different parts making inconsistent statements. On top of this, it was difficult to figure out where the numbers they used came from, and they seemed to misrepresent at least one source they cited. With the release of these materials, we can see how these inconsistencies happened and confirm the IPCC did in fact misrepresent sources to exaggerate the perceived threats of climate change.
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How Blatant Can Fabrications Get?

I'm about 2,000 words into a post I'm working on to follow-up on my latest, but I just saw something via Twitter I have to comment on. I saw this tweet after it was retweeted by Glenn Kessler, Fact Checker for the Washington Post:

Curious, I looked at the article. I wanted to see what sort of factual basis there was for this idea. Aside from ex-employee remarks, the first cited piece of evidence I came across was:

A draft of his testimony was obtained by the New York Times last month, with tracked comments and edits from White House officials. One comment from the National Security Council on the document suggests striking an entire section of his testimony titled “Scientific Baseline,” with the comment: “A consensus of peer reviewed literature has nothing to do with truth.”

This is a remarkable claim. Quite frankly, I find it unbelievable. And with good reason. It is a fabrication. Continue reading

IPCC Releases Supporting Material After Ten Month Delay

Readers of this blog may remember I've written a about how it is difficult to discuss the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report due to the fact the IPCC did not release supporting material for it even though they were supposed to release nearly a year ago. I'm happy to announce that material is now available: I discovered this earlier today when the IPCC responded to a tweet of mine about the material:

Which led to me observing they put this material online quietly about a month ago, ten months after the IPCC launched a major PR campaign telling the world about the latest report it had published. I couldn't find any statement about this release, much less an explanation of why it took them ten months to make it, but hey, at least we have it now.

Of course, having it almost a year late means the contents of the material is largely irrelevant. The media talked about this report for a couple months. They're done with it. So is the public at large. By delaying its release of the material, the IPCC made sure anything that might be embarrassing in it will likely be ignored.

Even if there is nothing embarrassing in this material, the IPCC said it would publish this material when it published the report. Instead, it delayed the release of the material for ten months, without notification, explanation or apology. That is bad. One, the potential for malfeasance can easily do as much damage as actual malfeasance. Two, it's dishonest. It is not okay to tell the world you'll do one thing at a certain time then... just not do it and not tell people.

Why You Shouldn't Trust "Experts"

Approximately 20 years ago Michael Mann was the lead author of a paper which purported to reconstruct historical temperatures back to 1400 AD, with a follow-up paper extending his work back to 1000 AD. To test the validity of his results, Mann calculated a number of verification statistics. He published a number which were favorable but hid some which were abysmal. He then helped write a chapter for an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in which he said his reconstruction "had significant skill in independent cross-validation tests" even though he knew his reconstruction failed one of the tests miserably, something nobody could know because he had hidden that fact. Because of his deception, his reconstruction went on to become the most impactful graphic in the global warming movement, making him famous. Two decades later, the climate science community still defends him, his work and his behavior.

Today I"m going to discuss an exchange I had with a oceanographer who promoted himself as an "expert," often ridiculing me for daring to disagree with him even though he was wrong about everything he said. The falsehoods, often blatant ones, the arrogance and the rudeness we'll see from this "expert" is a hallmark of people who defend Michael Mann, which unfortunately, still makes up a significant portion of the climate science community. As for the rest, those who don't actively defend Mann, they will studiously avoid looking at or caring about Mann's blatant falsehoods. In doing so, they enable Mann and his scientific fraud to go unanswered. Because of this, I feel justified in saying there is no integrity within the climate science community.
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