A brief update: This morning, Senate Republicans set aside the rules that say that both parties must be present, with at least one member, for a committee vote to advance a Presidential nominee for a cabinet appointment.

In other words, as outlined below, our system is based not only on enforceable laws but also on rules that only work if everyone involves agrees to not be the bully on the playground who ignores the rules. The Republicans are the bully on the playground.

The system requires honest actor playing by agreed on rules. So, without the honest actor, you get this. This fits perfectly with Trump’s overall approach.

Democracy is not threatened by this sort of thing. Democracy was tossed out the window a while back when this sort of thing became possible, and normal. Whatever we see now that looks like democracy is vestigial.

Original Post:

The title of this post is based closely on the title of a statement posted by my friend Stephan Lewandowsky, representing the Psychonomic Society.

The post is the official statement by this scientific society responding to President Trump’s recent activities, and it begins,

Last Friday was Holocaust Memorial Day, which falls on the day of the liberation of the Auschwitz Death Camp by Soviet troops in 1945. U.S. President Trump marked the occasion with a statement, although it omitted any specific mention of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

On the same day, Trump also signed an executive order that banned citizens of 7 mainly Islamic countries from entering the United States.

This order—at least initially—also applied to legal permanent residents of the U.S. (“Green card” holders), thus barring them from re-entry to their country of residence after a visit abroad, as well as to dual nationals if one of their citizenships is from one of those 7 countries.

I’m going to use this as a starting point to discuss the most important thing you need to know about the situation in the United States right now.

You know most resources are limited. We can cook along ignoring this for long periods of time, ignoring a particular resource’s limitations, until one day something goes awry and that particular resource suddenly matters more and of it, we have less. So a competitive framework develops and then things happen.

It is the business of the rich and powerful to manipulate the world around them in such a way that when such a limitation occurs, they profit. Candidate Trump mentioned this a while back. A housing crisis is a good thing for a real estate developer. This is not because it is inherently good; a housing crisis can put a real estate developer out of business. But the developer who is positioned to exploit such a crisis, or any kind of economic or resource crisis, is in a good position when thing go badly for everyone else.

One of the long term goals of many powerful entities is to maintain working classes, or other lower classes of servitude, in order to have cheap labor and a market. This has been done in many ways, in many places, at many times. Much of our social history is about this. Many wars have been fought over this, and many social, cultural, and economic revolutions have occurred because of this.

And every now and then, a holocaust happens because of this. This is, in part, because of what I’ll term as Mischa’s Law. Mischa Penn is a friend and colleague who has studied race and racism across all its manifestations as represented in literature, but focusing on the Nazi Holocaust and the holocaust of Native Americans. Mishca’s Law is hard to understand, difficult to believe, enrages many when they hear it, and is often set aside as lunatic raving. Unless, of course, you take Mischa’s class on race and racism, get a few weeks into it, know enough about it. Then, he gives you the thing, the thing I call “Mischa’s Law” (he doesn’t call it that) and you go, “Oh, wait, of course, that’s totally true.” And then you get really depressed for a while, hate Mischa for a while, hate his class. Then, later, ten years later, a life time after you’ve taken the class, and you’ve graduated and moved on to other things, Misha’s Law is the only thing you remember from all the classes you took at the U, and you still know it is true.

The fundamentals are always in place for Mischa’s Law to take effect. Competition, limited resources, different social classes or groups, a limited number of individuals in power, etc. But we, in America, have lived in a society where checks and balances kept one ideology (including, sadly, my own!) from taking over for very long, and there is a certain amount of redistribution of wealth and power.

But over recent years, the rich and powerful have convinced the working class that the main way we distribute wealth, through taxes, is a bad thing, so that’s mostly over. Social welfare has become a dirty word. The rich are richer, the powerful more powerful, and those with little power now have almost no power at all. But we still had a governmental system of checks and balances, so that was good.

But then the system of checks and balances got broken. In fact, the entire system of government got broken. Did you notice this? What happened is, about half the elected officials in government stopped doing the number one thing they were supposed to do, and this ruined everything.

What was that one thing? This: play by the rules.

Playing by the rules requires both knowing the rules and then making an honest attempt to respect them. Not knowing the rules is widespread in our society. I’m sure the elected officials know the rules they are breaking, but increasingly, I think, the average person who votes for them has no clue what the rules are or how important it is that they be observed.

Imagine the following situation. You go to baseball games regularly, to see your team play. Let’s make this slightly more realistic and assume this is a Little League team.

One day a big scary kid who is a bully gets up to bat. The pitcher winds up, throws the ball. Strike one. It happens again. Strike two. One more time. Strike three.

But instead of leaving the batter’s box, the big bully kid says, “I’m not out, pitch it again.” The following several moments involve a bit of embarrassment, the coaches come out, some kids are yelling at the bully, one parent hits another parent, and finally, it settles down, but the game is ruined and everyone goes home.

Next game, same thing happens, but this time nobody wants a scene, so they let the pitcher pitch the ball until the bully hits a single. Then the game continues. But the next game, there are a few bullies, not just one, demanding that the rules be ignored for them, and some other players decide to ignore other rules as well, and pretty soon, there is nothing like baseball happening.

You see what happened here? I’m going to guess that you don’t quite see the key point yet. The reason you leave the plate and go back to the dugout when you get three strikes is NOT because of the properties of matter, gravity, magnetic attraction, the unstoppable flow of water or a strong wind. You are not blown, washed, pulled, pushed, or dropped by any force back into the dugout when you get three strikes. You go back into the dugout because you got three strikes, the rules say you are out, right?

No. Still not right. You go back into the dugout because you got three strikes, the rules say you are out, AND THEN YOU FOLLOW THE RULES.

The Republican party, about half the elected officials, have unilaterally decided, in state houses across the country and in the Federal government, to stop following the rules.

A few years ago, in the Minnesota State House, a Republican representative made the clear and bold statement that he represented only the voters in his district who voted for him, and not the other citizens. He was resoundingly condemned for doing this, and he backed off and stopped talking like that. But over time, in state houses across the country, and in congressional districts, this increasingly became the norm, for Republicans. The rule is, of course, that once elected you represent all the people of your district. But more and more Republicans decided that this rule did not apply to them. They only represent those who voted for them. Now, this is normal in the Republican Party, and the first Republican President to be elected after this change said during his first news conference after his election, prior to his inaugural, that blue states would suffer and red states would benefit from his presidency.

I’ll give you another quick example. In one of Minnesota’s legislative chambers, the chair, who is from the leading party, has the right to silence any legislature who gets up to speak if the topic being discussed is not related to the matter at hand on the floor. So, the legislature is debating a proposed law about bicycles. The Democrats are in charge. A Republican gets up and insists on talking about his horoscope. The Democratic chair of the chamber says something like, “Your remarks are not relevant to the matter at hand, sit down and be quiet.” Good rule.

Last time the Republicans were in charge in that Minnesota chamber, they did this to every single Democrat who stood to say anything about anything, including and especially the matter at hand. The Republicans disregarded the actual rule (that the chair can silence a member who is off topic) and misused the power (that the chair can silence any member) to their benefit.

Tump is not following the rules, the Republicans in Congress are not acting like a “check” on Trump, and we have seen government officials in the Executive branch, apparently, ignoring court orders.

Trump’s executive orders over the last few days have been an overreach of power. For example, in its initial and badly executed form, his “extreme vetting” plan removed the rights of green card holders. Two different court orders neutered at least parts of this executive order temporarily, but it is reported that some officials, working for the Executive branches, ignored the court order. Since these are basically cops ignoring an order from a judge, and judges don’t have a police force, there isn’t much that can be done about that. Cops are supposed to follow the orders of judges. That’s the rule. The only way the rule works is if the rule is followed. There is no other force that makes the rule work.

Trump’s apparent abrogation of previous decisions on major pipeline projects was done without reference of any kind to the regulatory process that had already been completed. Regulations are acted on by the Executive branch, but they come from laws passed by Congress, and the whole judiciary is involved whenever someone has a case that there is something amiss. Trump’s executive orders and memoranda related to the pipeline ignore all the different branches of government, departments, process, and rules of governing.

It would appear that Trump had brought together the two major changes in rule observation that have developed over the last 20 years in this country. First, like the average citizen (of all political stripes) he is ignorant of how anything works. Second, like the bully that stands by the batter’s box, he shall not observe any rule that he does happen to find out about.

You see, for a United States President to become a dictator, he has to do only one thing: Stop following the rules. The US Court System, the Congress, and the Executive exist in a system of checks and balances, and that is supposed to keep everybody, well, in check. And balanced. But the Executive is the branch of government with multiple police and security forces, an Army, a Navy, an Air Force, Marines, and a Coast Guard. There is a rule that only the Coast Guard can carry out military-esque activities on US soil. But there is a mechanism for putting that rule aside. The President puts the rule aside. That’s it.

We live in a world of limited resources, and a pre-existing system of inequity, class, and ethnic categorization that allows the powerful to exploit and control most everyone else. We live in a country in which a single individual can take over the government by getting elected president then ignoring the rules, whether or not he formally declares himself in charge of everything. There is no mechanism to stop this from happening. There are all sorts of rules in place to stop it, such as the political parties putting up qualified candidates, the electors making sure they elect a qualified candidate, the Congress certifying the election of qualified candidates. But those things did not happen, and we now have a man who by all indications intends to dictate, not lead, dictate not rule, dictate not represent. There is no indication of any kind whatsoever that we do NOT have an incipient dictatorship as our form of government right now, and there are strong indications that this is where Trump is going.

And this is where Mischa’s Law becomes a thing.

“Racism, left unchecked, will eventually lead to holocaust.”

The checks, they have been neutralized.

Comments

  1. #1 Wow
    January 30, 2017

    “That’s the rule. The only way the rule works is if the rule is followed. There is no other force that makes the rule work.”

    Read Terry Pratchett’s Nightwatch.

    The thing those breaking the rules is that their rulebreaking only lasts as long as we try to. And, from Nightwatch, without the consent of the people, the police are just a handful hiding behind a tiny tin shield. There’s no need to shoot officers. Just march in millions,unarmed, and walk right over them.

    There will be red pavement pizza left behind. And not a shot needs to be fired.

  2. #2 dean
    United States
    January 30, 2017

    Your baseball game analogy has played out here in Michigan. Republicans passed several laws – mostly to allow them to remove democratically elected mayors in cities, but some others as well – and the public was able to overturn them. So – Republicans passed a law that said anything state government enacts that has an appropriate attached is not subject to the same voter approach. Pass a emergency manager law, with a $775,000 appropriation, and it voila – they win.

    They’ve passed several things this way, including appropriations in the things they want to be permanent. The money is never used of course – it’s all to get avoid the realities of democracy while paying it lip service.

  3. #3 David Whitlock
    January 30, 2017

    There is a computer science term; Byzantine fault tolerance. It comes from the Byzantine Generals Problem.

    Generating communication protocols so that communicating actors can achieve common goals even when some of the actors “fail” with arbitrary failure modes (become traitorous and work at cross-purposes to the common goals) is the goal behind Byzantine Fault Tolerance.

    There are ways to do this, but if you have n traitorous actors, you need at least 2n + 1 faithful actors for Byzantine Fault Tolerance to work (with perfect communication structures). If you don’t have perfect communication structures, then you need more than 2n + 1 faithful actors.

  4. #4 Magma
    January 30, 2017

    I’ve never heard of Mischa’s Law before. I don’t know how sad it is that it seems like a simple matter-of-fact observation to me.

  5. #5 Magma
    January 30, 2017

    American democracy and whatever scraps remain of any belief in American exceptionalism will be put to their harshest test in living memory. McCarthyism and Woodrow Wilson’s authoritarian trial balloons are starting to look like pale shadows compared to this Trump-GOP marriage of convenience.

    But hey, it’s only been a week, right? I’m sure every new administration has those awkward Constitution-shredding baby steps.

  6. #6 t marvell
    January 30, 2017

    It might help if we use the term “Il Duce” when referring to Trump. The similarities between Trump and Benito Mussolini are scary: rule by fiat, nationalism, pushing the legislature aside, attacking the press, favoring the business elite, racism, protectionism and increasing tariffs, empowering the police, strong-man posture, cult of personality, etc.
    So far there is a major difference between Trump and Il Duce: the latter emphasized territorial expansion. However, Trump is supporting it elsewhere (e.g., by Russia).

  7. #7 Bernard J.
    January 30, 2017

    The fact is that since the collapse of feudalism the elites have fulminated about the upstart peasantry expecting equality under democracy.

    All that’s happened over the last century or so is that the political/economic eleites have used the media, technology, economic chicanery, and inherent human prejudice in (especially the uneducated) the average Joe and Jane Blow to reinstate a more subtle form of feudalism/slavery. And the (Machiavelian) beauty of it is that most of the incipient serfs/slaves voluntarily step forward to have the yokes reapplied, simply because they’ve been trained to do so in a process that Skinner would probably recognise and straightforward operant conditioning.

    Unlike the awakening Muad’dib, most of the sleepers have rolled over and settled in to hibernate. As the saying goes, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

  8. #8 RickA
    United States
    January 30, 2017

    Trump is treading well traveled ground,.

    Obama also issued executive orders that have been an overreach of power.

    The one about not enforcing the law for 2 years against 16 year old children brought here illegally springs to mind.

    The President has broad power over visas and immigration, executing the Congress’s laws related to naturalization.

    If he wanted to, he could legally order that ZERO visas be granted for some period of time.

    Could Congress pass a law allowing everybody in the world to come to America and be naturalized – yes – they could.

    Will they – no they will not.

    But make no mistake – like the Senate giving up the right to filibuster nominees – the President’s power was broadened quite a bit by Obama.

    Trump is merely benefiting from prior President’s actions and executive orders.

    I guess Presidential overreach is in the eye of the beholder.

  9. #9 Wow
    January 30, 2017

    Well, at least we know why dick has never admitted his errors: he’s been dreaming in his sleep for the last 8 years.

  10. #10 Doug Alder
    Canada
    January 30, 2017

    Magma #5 As calls for impeachment grow louder and more insistent expect Trump (Bannon) to amp up the racist etc. Executive Orders in order to to do as much damage in as short a period of time as possible. Once McConnell and Ryan feel no more can be done with that duo they will agree to impeach Trump and put Pence in his place and the war on America will continue.

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    January 30, 2017

    RickA: “Obama also issued executive orders that have been an overreach of power.”

    No, that is not true. It is, of course, a current Republican talking point, but it is incorrect.

  12. #12 dean
    January 30, 2017

    Another issue rickA is lying about? What a shock.

  13. #13 Wow
    January 30, 2017

    Doug, it also moves the overton window, even if it loses. All they have to do is proclaim “the other side” as hidebound by still having their leftist views, even though this insanity moved the rightwing waaaaay over to the right, even from teabagger norms.

    Sort of the political opinion version of war’s “Salami slicer” technique with a reboot leaving things not quite the way it used to be

  14. #14 BBD
    January 30, 2017

    Even if RickA’s claim wasn’t just another right-wing lie it would still be a tu quoque logical fallacy.

  15. #15 dean
    January 30, 2017

    Shorter rickA: “government making it harder for people to access alternative energy is good, government working to help people I believe to be the wrong color or nationality is bad.”

  16. #16 Brainstorms
    January 30, 2017

    Shortest RickA: government doing anything to enrich RickA is good, no matter how many people get hurt.

  17. #17 Doug Alder
    Canada
    January 30, 2017

    Wow #13
    Indeed it does. The GOP have been steadfastly moving that window to the right for the last 4 decades or so. What is called centrist today is well to the right of where it was in the 60’s.

    As an outsider I find it all rather hard to take in what has happened to the US. If there is a good thing to say about what has gone down in the first week of his reign it’s that when he is impeached (or otherwise removed) the outrage will be lessened by all his voters that he has betrayed (see https://twitter.com/Trump_Regrets) for examples ) and maybe the US will not descend into civil war, or massive violent rebellion (I truly hope it doesn’t but it’s not looking good from the outside – but maybe that’s just my natural pessimist nature speaking)

  18. #18 dean
    United States
    January 30, 2017

    “it’s that when he is impeached (or otherwise removed)”

    I would be amazed if he were to be impeached, given the level of Republican support.

    And it would not be good if he were impeached: Pence, the current vice president, is a far more despicable person than Trump – and that is no small feat. He may currently have a hand in calling some shots but it is a secondary hand: having him at the helm would be catastrophic.

  19. #19 Brainstorms
    January 30, 2017

    Reigns are for kings; dictators have regimes.

  20. #20 RickA
    United States
    January 30, 2017
  21. #21 skeptictmac57
    January 30, 2017

    I just spent the last day marveling at the conservative friends of mine on FB falling all over themselves to claim that Trump isn’t doing anything that Obama didn’t do, and in fact Obama did all this aggressive bombing of 7 countries, and ousted illegal aliens left and right issued bans on incoming immigrants and refugees, and here I am thinking “Wait! Isn’t this the same guy that you just spent 8 years relentlessly attacking for letting immigrants swarm in and take our jobs, and was weak in the fight against ISIS ?”. And now their ‘Great Leader’ is doing (according to them) the same thing and they are falling all over themselves in praising him for making us safer? WTF!

  22. #22 Corey
    January 30, 2017

    Defending the indefensible is RickA’s pastime, and it’s past time to shut such bullshit down. This is the warning shot before a direct assault on this country’s Muslims, and such efforts must be resisted by any means necessary.

  23. #23 dean
    United States
    January 30, 2017

    The federalist? jeezus rickA, why don’t you just cite your favorite spots, breitbart and blaze.

    What an ass.

  24. #24 RickA
    United States
    January 30, 2017

    dean #23:

    I did say it was another point of view.

    The point of view of 1/2 the country.

    But please ignore it and pretend that your point of view is unquestionably correct and the view of the other half of the country is unquestionably wrong.

    It worked so well during the election.

    And it is so very amusing.

  25. #25 dean
    United States
    January 30, 2017

    rickA, you are nothing if not consistently dishonest and a source of views that are repugnant to decent people.

  26. #26 Bernard J.
    January 30, 2017

    Doug Alder at #10 – there seems to be a growing discontent with Bannon’s access to, well, everything:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/30/steve-bannon-nsc-politics-national-security

    On Trump getting the boot and Pence taking over, it really isn’t a sane solution. As others have noted the GOP today is so far to the right of the Republicans 40 or 50 years ago as to be unrecognisable as the same party. Even Adolph would be agog. All that Trump has managed to do it to set the bar so far subterranean that any lifting is seen as an improvement, even if the bar is still below the bottom of the San Andreas fault. See comment 7 above.

    Several years ago I used to think that Australia under Tony Abbott was the worst to which a Western democracy could plumb, and that we were the laughing stock of the world. Well, Trump makes Abbott look good and GWB look positively sensible. And now I dare not suggest that it could be worse, because I wouldn’t want to tempt fate and find out…

  27. #27 Wow
    January 30, 2017

    The establishment wing of the republican party (e.g. the ones who wanted DeVos in the education post as a thank you for the donations) are unhappy with Trump for not listening to anyone.

  28. #28 Wow
    January 30, 2017

    “dean #23:

    I did say it was another point of view.”

    So is the one that says that Obama NEVER used the executive order powers.

  29. #29 RickA
    United States
    January 30, 2017

    The right has moved further right.

    But the left has moved further left.

    The center has grown larger.

    You guys seem unable to look at an issue from any point of view but your own.

    There are at least two points of view for any issue.

    You can be far right (fiscally conservative and socially conservative).

    You can be far left (fiscally liberal and socially liberal).

    But you can also have some who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

    Or fiscally liberal and socially conservative.

    It gets even more complicated if you introduce more variables.

    Most of the posters can only look at any issue from the fiscally liberal, socially liberal mindset.

    Try to look at things from other points of view and you can get outside your bubble.

  30. #30 Corey
    January 30, 2017

    This tap dancing around fascism is stunning, even for a man as demonstrably bereft of intellectual integrity as RickA.

  31. #31 Wow
    January 30, 2017

    “The right has moved further right.”

    We agree.

    “But the left has moved further left.”

    We disagree.

    So we have agreement with the first, so we can settle that one on “The right have moved right”, but since we haven’t ascertained consensus on the second, it remains unproven.

  32. #32 Kevin O'Neill
    United States
    January 30, 2017

    RickA writes: “There are at least two points of view for any issue.”

    Yes, views on shape of the earth differ. This argument of false equivalence is really rather sad. Most questions do *not* have two legitimate differing answers. That’s the whole point of the scorn heaped on Fake News or ‘alternative facts.’

    Yet you still go there. Color me unsurprised.

  33. #33 RickA
    United States
    January 30, 2017

    Kevin #32

    Yes – I imagine the world looks very black and white to you.

    Lets test that.

    Which gender is XX?

    Which gender is XY?

    Can a person change gender with cosmetic surgery?

    Can a person change sex with cosmetic surgery?

    Do you think that the issue of abortion has more than one side?

    Do you think the issue of the death penalty has more than one side?

    Do you think that affirmative action is racist?

    Do you think that suicide should be lawful for an adult of sound mind?

    Do you think that doctor assisted suicide should be lawful for an adult of sound mind?

    Do you think that it should be lawful for an adult to buy a 32 oz or larger soda?

    Do you think that it should be lawful for an adult to buy cigarettes?

    Do you think that it should be lawful for an adult to buy alcohol?

    Do you think it should be lawful to marry more than one person at a time?

    Do you think it should be lawful for an adult to purchase drugs for recreational use?

    Do you think it should be lawful for an adult to sell consenting sex for money?

    These are examples of issues which most people would find have more than one point of view.

    Or do you see only one permissible point of view for each of these issues?

  34. #34 Doug Alder
    Canada
    January 30, 2017

    Bernard J. @ 26

    Amendment 25 section 4 of the US constitution

    Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

    With the above Pence could instigate a bloodless coup and I think he will just as soon as soon as Trump and Bannon have done all the damage Pence, McConnell and Ryan think they can get away with, and you know both Ryan and McConnell will be on board with that. That way Trump takes all the blame and Pence gets to be the US’s first Dominionist president set to undo the separation of church and state.

  35. #35 Kevin O'Neill
    United States
    January 30, 2017

    RickA – how poor of a reader are you? Did I say there are *no* questions that one can’t have legitimate differing views on? No. I did not.

    You said *ANY* issue has two differing views. GHGs warm the planet. Please tell me the other legitimate view. Are you a skydragon or a slayer?

    One issue that only has one legitimate view proves you wrong. Listing 20 dozen issues (out of an infinite number of issues) doesn’t prove me wrong.

    God I have to believe you are a moron.

  36. #36 Bernard J.
    January 31, 2017

    Doug, Pence ousting Trump is something I shudder to consider. First, because if things reached that stage it would be because Trump has completely screwed the country (and quite possibly the planet), and second, for the reasons you give – the division between church and stage would surely begin to blur.

  37. #37 dean
    January 31, 2017

    It’s amazing that President Obama governed from right of center if the left has moved left.

    Oh wait, that was rickA who said the bit about the left. That’s why it is an immense piece of shit with no relation to reality.

    Kevin, you know he is a climate change denier. Of course he’ll give a nonsense answer to your question.

  38. #38 Wow
    January 31, 2017

    “RickA writes: “There are at least two points of view for any issue.”

    Yes, views on shape of the earth differ. ”

    Not merely that, dick here wants to posit that “fromage” is one view of the shape of the earth….

  39. #39 Wow
    January 31, 2017

    “RickA – how poor of a reader are you? Did I say there are *no* questions that one can’t have legitimate differing views on? No. I did not.”

    But Dick has a different point of view.

    “Dustpan”, probably.

  40. #40 RickA
    United States
    January 31, 2017

    Kevin #35 says “GHGs warm the planet. Please tell me the other legitimate view. ”

    The other legitimate point of view if that GHGs slow the rate of cooling of the planet.

  41. #41 BBD
    January 31, 2017

    Troll.

  42. #42 RickA
    United States
    January 31, 2017
  43. #43 BBD
    January 31, 2017

    I know I’m morally superior to you because you are a liar, RickA.

  44. #44 skeptictmac57
    January 31, 2017

    An important story on NPR’s Morning Edition today about why former U.S. security experts from both parties see Trump’s order as potentially dangerous in the fight against muslims extremist and terrorists:

    http://www.npr.org/2017/01/31/512592776/will-trumps-refugee-order-reduce-terror-threats-in-the-u-s

  45. #45 skeptictmac57
    January 31, 2017

    That should have read ‘muslim extremists’.

  46. #46 dean
    January 31, 2017

    Well this

    I know I’m morally superior to you because you are a liar, RickA.

    and the fact that rickA’s set of morals can be described as the empty set.

  47. #47 Brainstorms
    January 31, 2017

    No, I think RickA’s morals are centered around “anything that enriches RickA materially is good, anything that inconveniences RickA is bad”.

    We know from his own words that people have no value to him (beyond what he can squeeze out of them before throwing them away).

    His concerns for the welfare of others, the earth, our environment, etc is the empty set, yes.

  48. #48 RickA
    United States
    January 31, 2017

    BBD thinks I am a liar.

    I disagree.

    BBD is entitled to his opinion.

    dean thinks I have no morals.

    I disagree.

    dean is entitled to his opinion.

    Kevin thinks I am a moron.

    I disagree.

    Kevin is entitled to his opinion.

    My morals are to allow reasonable people to disagree, respect people’s right to have a different opinion than my own and not name call.

    I am content to allow readers to judge whether I am a liar, as BBD alleges, have no morals as dean alleges or am a moron as Kevin alleges.

    I do certainly disagree with many of the positions of quite a few posters on this blog.

    I continue to post because I think it is good for the posters here to be exposed to at least one opinion from outside your bubble.

    The executive order this post refers to is not unconstitutional.

    Not even the fired attorney general would go there.

    She said there was a credible argument it was lawful – but said it was not just or wise.

    Well, that is not her call and she got fired (a day or two early).

    I look forward to continuing to engage on legal issues, climate change issues and social issues.

  49. #49 Corey
    January 31, 2017

    Willfully ignorant Confederate trash makes weekly appeal for continued “exposure” to his long-debunked contrarian talking points, while dismissing fascism as Constitutional.

    News at eleven.

  50. #50 Christopher Winter
    January 31, 2017

    It’s amazing how RickA manages to become the subject of almost every conversation here lately. He is the online analog of Trump (and will probably be delighted to read this. Sad!)

  51. #51 BBD
    January 31, 2017

    BBD thinks I am a liar.

    I disagree.

    I caught you out lying and lying some more just days ago and here you are, claiming not be be a liar (again).

    What a stunningly dishonest little shit you are. To recap:

    A flat-out lie exacerbated by the fact that I gave examples of sensitivity being defined as purely a radiative term without CO2 as a specific.

    You are lying.

    Never claim on this blog that you aren’t a liar ever again.

    You are.

    And:

    It illustrates my point and demonstrates your error simultaneously and yet you still pretend that you weren’t wrong.

    Well you were and it is proven beyond doubt to everybody watching. It is also proven that you will resort to any mendacity, however idiotic, rather than admit error.

    You are a dishonest little shit. And we are not going to let you forget it.

    Ever.

    Amen.

  52. #52 dean
    January 31, 2017

    rickA, you don’t engage, you lie and misrepresent facts.
    Reading your “reasoned arguments” is like listening to a crappy 3 year old scream that he wants ice cream and wants it right away.

  53. #53 BBD
    January 31, 2017

    I am content to allow readers to judge whether I am a liar, as BBD alleges

    Demonstrates, RickA, not ‘alleges’. Demonstrates.

    I caught you out lying and lying some more just days ago.

    And now you are lying to us all again.

    It won’t end well, you know.

  54. #54 Wow
    January 31, 2017

    “The other legitimate point of view if that GHGs slow the rate of cooling of the planet.”

    How is it legitimate?

    Just your opinion?

  55. #55 RickA
    United States
    January 31, 2017

    christopher #50:

    I am actually saddened by the attacks I experience on this blog.

    Rather than simply disagreeing and moving on – the comments degenerate into mind reading, judging without any actual knowledge and name calling.

    The comments would be far less voluminous without the groundless attacks on my veracity, morality and intelligence.

    But many of the posters like to taunt me, call me names and judge me – rather than simply disagreeing with me.

    That is on the posters – and I hope we can just talk and not attack in the future.

  56. #56 RickA
    January 31, 2017

    Wow #54:

    No – my point of view is actually scientifically correct.

    Ask any climate scientist.

    GHGs don’t actually warm, and any climate scientist will admit that.

    What they do is take infrared radiation emitted by the ground and ocean, which would otherwise escape to space and reflect a portion of it back to the ground or ocean.

    This insulation effect slows the rate of cooling, but does not actually warm.

    Please check with any climate scientist and see what they say about my point of view versus Kevin’s.

    I think you will be surprised.

  57. #57 BBD
    January 31, 2017

    I am actually saddened by the attacks I experience on this blog.

    Endless dishonesty and refusal to admit error is not endearing, RickA.

    And nobody likes a troll either. Trolls who try to make an argument out of something that can be resolved in a single sentence, like this:

    GHGs cause the planet to warm by reducing the rate at which it cools.

    It’s just more dishonest rhetoric from you.

    That’s why everybody reviles you. If the fault were not yours, the response would not be unanimous detestation.

  58. #58 Kevin O'Neill
    United States
    January 31, 2017

    RickA – I think you’ve proved my point – and BBDs.

    You really are a pathetic excuse for a human being. And you know what, I partake in robust arguments, discussions, debates everyday and don’t resort to ad homs – but you are the epitome of those who will lie, mislead, or otherwise deceive. Satan is called the father of lies and you must be number one son.

  59. #59 Wow
    January 31, 2017

    “No – my point of view is actually scientifically correct.”

    No it isn’t.

    “Ask any climate scientist.”

    I did.

    Liar.

  60. #60 Wow
    January 31, 2017

    “I am actually saddened by the attacks I experience on this blog.”

    Because it;s all identify politics with you, there’s no actual reality.

    Only feels.

  61. #61 RickA
    United States
    January 31, 2017

    Kevin #58:

    No – actually I have shown that there are at least 3 points of view on the issue of GHGs.

    Yours, mine and BBD’s nonsensical combination of our two views.

    So your example of an issue with only one point of view was a bad example.

    I don’t engage in ad homs – you do.

    Period.

  62. #62 BBD
    January 31, 2017

    More lies!

    What exactly is ‘nonsensical’ about the statement:

    GHGs cause the planet to warm by reducing the rate at which it cools.

    What is incorrect?

    Do tell me RickA. I so enjoy our more technical discussions.

  63. #63 RickA
    United States
    January 31, 2017

    BBD #62:

    I understand your statement to mean that the thermometer reading goes up by slowing the rate at which it falls?

    To me that is nonsensical.

    No – the thermometer reading falls more slowly than without CO2. That is what slowing the rate of cooling means.

    The thermometer reading doesn’t go up.

    To me, warming means the thermometer reading goes up, not down more slowly.

    Perhaps there is more than one point of view on this issue?

  64. #64 RickA
    January 31, 2017

    Wow #59:

    Who did you ask?

    What did they say?

  65. #65 BBD
    January 31, 2017

    I understand your statement to mean that the thermometer reading goes up by slowing the rate at which it falls?

    To me that is nonsensical.

    That’s because you don’t understand the basics of physical climatology and should not be commenting about it on a science blog.

    If you reduce the rate at which energy leaves the climate system while holding solar energy input constant, the climate system will warm up.

    GHGs cause the planet to warm by reducing the rate at which it cools.

    Perhaps there is more than one point of view on this issue?

    No, you are just wrong. What I said is exactly correct, not ‘nonsensical’. Will you now admit your error?

    GHGs don’t actually warm, and any climate scientist will admit that.

    Of course it is also incorrect to claim that GHGs have no direct heating effect. It is to ignore basic physics:

    What Happens when a Greenhouse Gas Absorbs Energy?

    Once a gas molecule has absorbed radiation from the earth it has a lot more energy. But in the lower 100km of the atmosphere, the absorbed energy is transferred to kinetic energy by collisions between the absorbing molecules and others in the layer. Effectively, it heats up this layer of the atmosphere.

    The layer itself will act as a blackbody and re-radiate infrared radiation. But it re-radiates in all directions, including back down to the earth’s surface. (If it only radiated up away from the earth there would be no “greenhouse” effect from this absorption).

    Will RickA admit this error?

  66. #66 RickA
    January 31, 2017

    BBD:

    Here is my point of view.

    Every day the sun’s energy is absorbed the by ground and ocean under its rays. The ground/ocean emits some of the absorbed energy back in the form of infrared radiation.

    At night, when the sun has gone down, the surface continues to emit infrared radiation and cools until thermal equilibrium is reached. The GHGs absorb some of the infrared radiation and re-emit it in all directions, so some is sent back towards the surface.

    The surface is still emitting more than is being sent back towards the surface, so it is still cooling – but cooling more slowly.

    Hence the analogy to insulation.

    But the ground doesn’t get any warmer from the re-emitted infrared radiation – it continues to cool, but at a slower rate.

    That is how I see it anyway.

  67. #67 BBD
    January 31, 2017

    No, the dishonest little shit will NOT admit his errors. Instead tries to cover up with verbiage.

    Here is my point of view.

    Sod your POV. It’s confused garbage, as just explained.

  68. #68 BBD
    January 31, 2017

    Fact 1 – this is correct:

    GHGs cause the planet to warm by reducing the rate at which it cools.

    Fact 2 – this is incorrect:

    GHGs don’t actually warm, and any climate scientist will admit that.

    Fact 3 – RickA will not admit errors and is therefore a dishonest little shit

  69. #69 RickA
    United States
    January 31, 2017

    My #66 was not written in response to your #65 – we cross posted.

    My understanding is a bit different than yours.

    I understand that when a GHG absorbs a photon of IR, it causes it to vibrate. Eventually it re-emits a photon of IR, and the molecule stops vibrating.

    There is no requirement that I am aware of for the GHG molecule to strike another molecule and give up its extra energy kinetically. Molecules are hitting each other all the time – some without having absorbed an IR photon and some probably having absorbed an IR photon.

    I see the absorption and re-emission of the photon as separate and unconnected from molecules hitting each other (whether they have absorbed a photon or not).

    But that is based on my reading.

    I am not a climate scientist.

    But if you want to think I am a dishonest little shit – that is ok with me.

  70. #70 Wow
    January 31, 2017

    “If you reduce the rate at which energy leaves the climate system while holding solar energy input constant, the climate system will warm up.”

    Moreover, the moron-in-residence HAS NO CLUE how those gasses reduce the cooling.

    BY WARMING THE EARTH.

  71. #71 Wow
    January 31, 2017

    “My understanding is a bit different than yours.”

    No, what you pretend to “understand” is.

  72. #72 Wow
    January 31, 2017

    “Fact 1 – this is correct:

    GHGs cause the planet to warm by reducing the rate at which it cools. ”

    Moreover, the method by which it happens is:

    GHGs warm the planet.

    Direct radiation from those gasses, to the earth, warming it.

  73. #73 Bernard J.
    January 31, 2017

    But the ground doesn’t get any warmer from the re-emitted infrared radiation – it continues to cool, but at a slower rate.

    Do you hear what you’re saying?!

    According to you remitted downward radiation isn’t absorbed. If this was actually the case then it would have to be 100% reflected back to space, in which case there’d be no ‘greenhouse’ effect at all…

    Effectively what you are saying is that downward radiation from the sun can warm the planet, but downward radiation from radiatively-active gases cannot warm the planet.

    My understanding is a bit different than yours.

    Your understanding is nothing more than logically fallacious motivated reasoning.

    I am not a climate scientist.

    It shows.

  74. #74 BBD
    February 1, 2017

    Your understanding is nothing more than logically fallacious motivated reasoning.

    Admirable restraint there, Bernard J.

    * * *

    RickA continues with his argument from ignorance:

    There is no requirement that I am aware of for the GHG molecule to strike another molecule and give up its extra energy kinetically.

    Wrong yesterday; still wrong today:

    Certain gases in the atmosphere have the property of absorbing infrared radiation. Oxygen and nitrogen the major gases in the atmosphere do not have this property. The infrared radiation strikes a molecule such as carbon dioxide and causes the bonds to bend and vibrate – this is called the absorption of IR energy. The molecule gains kinetic energy by this absorption of IR radiation. This extra kinetic energy may then be transmitted to other molecules such as oxygen and nitrogen and causes a general heating of the atmosphere.

    When are you going to admit you got this wrong:

    GHGs don’t actually warm, and any climate scientist will admit that.

    Because it is wrong.

    Next up:

    At night, when the sun has gone down

    The diurnal cycle is averaged out when discussing general energy balance. Coz you know, the world, it spins all of the time. So all the verbiage above is just… wrongness.

    Since the solar flux is roughly constant but the increase in GHGs inhibits longwave radiation back out to space, a radiative imbalance develops at the top of the atmosphere. More energy enters than leaves. Energy therefore begins to accumulate in the climate system (mainly the oceans), which in turn heat the atmosphere until it is warm enough for radiative equilibrium to be re-established at TOA. So:

    GHGs cause the planet to warm by reducing the rate at which it cools.

    When are you going to admit that you were wrong to call this ‘nonsensical’?

    But if you want to think I am a dishonest little shit – that is ok with me.

    Unless and until you admit your obvious and now repeatedly-demonstrated errors you are being a dishonest little shit.

  75. #75 BBD
    February 1, 2017

    And of course Bernard J has nailed another layer of wrong in your silly claim that GHGs ‘do not warm’:

    Effectively what you are saying is that downward radiation from the sun can warm the planet, but downward radiation from radiatively-active gases cannot warm the planet.

    So you will need to acknowledge that aspect of your error too.

    The longer you persist in dishonestly refusing to admit your errors the worse it will get.

    * * *

    I have not forgotten your dishonest refusal to admit error about the definition of climate sensitivity and subsequent lying about it. It all just mounts up.

  76. #76 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    Dick’s only gotten as far as the G&T paper. Someone at WTFUWT must have passed the link to E&E for him to read to be “sciencey” with the grown ups.

    We know from his “problems” with explaining how he measures tyre pressure without a full square inch to measure that he has problems understanding maths if it turns up.Is it any wonder he doesn’t know how radiation works?

  77. #77 RickA
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    Bernard and BBD:

    Actually what I said was “The surface is still emitting more than is being sent back towards the surface, so it is still cooling – but cooling more slowly.”

    The photon emitted from the ground which is absorbed by the GHG molecule is re-emitted – but it can be re-emitted in any direction, only some of which are back down to the ground.

    So NET, less heads towards the ground than is emitted in the first place, so NET less is absorbed by the ground than emitted in the first place, so the ground continues to cool.

  78. #78 BBD
    February 1, 2017

    So NET, less heads towards the ground than is emitted in the first place, so NET less is absorbed by the ground than emitted in the first place, so the ground continues to cool.

    Except that it doesn’t. The majority of ‘the ground’ is of course ocean, and ocean heat content is RISING as the sustained energy balance at TOA causes energy to accumulate in the climate system (predominantly ocean).

    If you were correct, OHC would be falling. You are wrong, QED.

    So how much more of this shite are we going to have to go through before you stop wriggling and admit it?

  79. #79 BBD
    February 1, 2017

    The surface is still emitting more than is being sent back towards the surface, so it is still cooling – but cooling more slowly.

    Think about this.

    If solar flux is approximately constant but the rate of energy loss from the surface is reduced (as you agree that it is), then on average, over time does the surface:

    1/ Stay at the same temperature

    2/ Cool

    3/ Warm

    ?

  80. #80 skeptictmac57
    February 1, 2017

    If the ground is always cooling, then how long would it take for the ground to reach absolute zero given the same amount of Co2 and solar radiation that the earth has now?
    Constant cooling would suggest as much right?

  81. #81 Corey
    February 1, 2017

    “In four years, I can’t recall a single discussion with a ‘skeptic’ that I would regard as having been worthwhile and constructive.”

    – aTTP

    #TakeOutTheTrash

  82. #82 BBD
    February 1, 2017

    Corey

    Me neither, and I’ve been doing it longer than ATTP.

    However, bad information *never* gets a free pass. That’s how fake news begins to thrive and displace the truth. That’s how the liars and the money get a foot in the door. If bad information cannot be shut out of the public discourse then it must be challenged and shown up for what it is.

  83. #83 Corey
    February 1, 2017

    Agreed, BBD – and I am grateful for the MANY bloggers and commentators who regularly untangle the denier/lukewarmer/willfully ignorant nonsense posted ad nauseum by RickA and his ilk.

    I understand that the presence of such an imbecile on this forum implies the possibility of hundreds of comments in any given thread, but the entertainment factor died years ago.

    I urge our host to turn the silly fuck away.

  84. […] This pick seems to say a lot about how the Trump administration seems to be operating. (See: The Norms of Society and Presidential Executive Orders.) […]

  85. #85 Corey
    February 1, 2017

    Make that, “ad nauseam”…

    (Damned Latinos, amiright RickA?)

  86. #86 Brainstorms
    February 1, 2017

    RickA is not an imbecile, nor is he being silly.

    He is trying to be clever (and failing) to discredit climate science, intentionally, and for specific self-serving purposes.

    He has financial investments (and possibly career investments) in the fossil fuel industry, and he wants to protect those investments and try to increase their value as much as possible.

    Renewable energy and “keeping the carbon in the ground” costs RickA money. He’s fighting against that.

    It is no matter to RickA if doing this causes pain, suffering, financial loss, and/or loss of life to others as a consequence. What matters to RickA is RickA.

    He’s a libertarian, don’t forget: “I got mine, boo-hoo for you.” It’s a different morality. Or, abject lack thereof.

  87. #87 Corey
    February 1, 2017

    “RickA is not an imbecile, nor is he being silly.”

    Just a fuck, then? Fair enough.

  88. #88 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    “Actually what I said was “The surface is still emitting more than is being sent back towards the surface, so it is still cooling – but cooling more slowly.””

    So the surface is getting warmed by the GHG emissions reaching it.

    Is this going to be like your incapacity to realise how “per unit” works?

  89. #89 Brainstorms
    February 1, 2017

    I would say, “cravenly self-centered”.

    In the vernacular, that might be rendered in any one of the many colorful forms as used on this blog.

    But please don’t ascribe it to RickA being stupid or vexatious, or kid yourselves into thinking you can “correct” his thinking. He already knows what you’re trying to communicate.

    He just doesn’t want to agree, not does he want anyone else to agree – especially if they’re unsure about the science and the facts.

    Get between RickA and his beloved money (lifestyle) and you’ll have a never-ending fight on your hands.

    But not because he’s stupid. Unless, of, course, you look at the bigger picture that he’s also ignoring: that his short-term self-serving goals, if realized, is a Machiavellian deal with the Devil that will ultimately upend himself and cause him to lose it all and more…

    Okay, he IS stupid.

  90. #90 RickA
    United States
    February 1, 2017
  91. #91 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    No, it’s correct.

    It even is why you’re wrong, dick.

  92. #92 Kevin O'Neill
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    RickA – did I mention something above about people that choose to mislead or deceive? If not, I should have. Oh yes, it’s up there in #58.

    Obviously you have chosen not to understand the question *intentionally* to use semantics to try and prove a point to rescue a position that is completely incorrect *and* at the same time go off on a red-herring.

    I think this is typical of deniers. many people think it’s typical of deniers and fake skeptics. You are true to your pseudoskeptic credentials.

    Do we actually need to restate the question formally to avoid your *semantic* quibbling before you’ll agree that ” any question as at least two points of view” is simply incorrect?

    Here we are nearly 100 comments into the thread and all you’ve provided is incorrect thoughts and FUD. Is that your goal in life?

    From your link: “emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human activities (mostly burning fossil fuels) have begun to warm Earth’s climate”

    Now, what were you saying? Aaaack. Who cares. I’ve had more interesting conversations with ‘bots.

  93. #93 BBD
    February 1, 2017

    RickA

    Dodging the question that shows you are wrong. Failing to admit error. Dishonest.

    The surface is still emitting more than is being sent back towards the surface, so it is still cooling – but cooling more slowly.

    Think about this.

    If solar flux is approximately constant but the rate of energy loss from the surface is reduced (as you agree that it is), then on average, over time does the surface:

    1/ Stay at the same temperature

    2/ Cool

    3/ Warm

    ?

  94. #94 BBD
    February 1, 2017

    So is this post incorrect?

    It is incomplete.

    You’ve had a correct (more complete) explanation of the mechanism by which CO2 thermalises the atmosphere already.

  95. #95 RickA
    February 1, 2017

    BBD:

    I have been doing more reading, trying to understand your point.

    Let me check my understanding.

    1. If a photon is absorbed by CO2, it increases the energy of the molecule.

    2. If a photon is emitted by the CO2 molecule it decreases the energy of the molecule.

    3. If the molecule doesn’t hit anything before the absorbed photon is re-emitted than there is no temperature heating effect to the atmosphere.

    4. If the molecule does hit something before the absorbed photon is re-emitted it raises the temperature of the atmosphere over that of the molecule without the absorbed photon because of its higher energy state (it has more kinetic energy).

    5. So the warming of the atmosphere is caused by the extra CO2 molecules (compared to yesterday, for example) kinetically hitting other molecules while they have an absorbed photon.

    If this is correct than I agree I was wrong.

    I was looking only at the ground and seeing a net decrease of energy (more photons emitted than re-emitted back towards the ground).

    I wasn’t considering the atmosphere or the atmosphere + ground.

    I still think it is possible for a CO2 molecule to absorb and re-emit a photon before it hits another molecule – but obviously some fraction will hit, so I can see how the temperature of the atmosphere could be considered warmer.

    Because everyday there will be more CO2 molecules in the atmosphere to capture the photons emitted by the ground.

    I admit I was wrong.

    I withdraw my statement that your statement was nonsensical.

    It makes sense to me now, looking at it over time and considering both the ground and atmosphere.

    Even with my admission – I am not ready to admit to Kevin that some issues only have a single point of view.

    Even if we are both saying the equivalent thing (GHGs warm vs. GHGs slow the rate of cooling) – I submit that these two statement present different points of view.

    Much like Einsteins example of the person tossing the ball up on a moving train. The person on the train sees the ball go straight up and back down, while the person in the other frame of reference sees the ball describe a parabola. Same ball, two different points of view.

  96. #96 BBD
    February 1, 2017

    5. So the warming of the atmosphere is caused by the extra CO2 molecules (compared to yesterday, for example) kinetically hitting other molecules while they have an absorbed photon.

    If this is correct than I agree I was wrong.

    Thank you.

    I still think it is possible for a CO2 molecule to absorb and re-emit a photon before it hits another molecule – but obviously some fraction will hit, so I can see how the temperature of the atmosphere could be considered warmer.

    Don’t spoil it… By far the majority of CO2 molecules thermalise the surrounding atmosphere by collision. This is because the photon re-emission rate is much slower than molecular collision rates at tropospheric pressure. So *most* energy transfer from IR photon to GHG molecular vibration to atmospheric thermalisation occurs through kinetic transfer (collision) between the GHG molecule and adjacent molecules of atmospheric gasses.

    Because everyday there will be more CO2 molecules in the atmosphere to capture the photons emitted by the ground.

    I admit I was wrong.

    I withdraw my statement that your statement was nonsensical.

    Thank you.

    Even if we are both saying the equivalent thing (GHGs warm vs. GHGs slow the rate of cooling) – I submit that these two statement present different points of view.

    No, the original statement I made was correct and expresses a single point of view:

    GHGs cause the planet to warm by reducing the rate at which it cools.

  97. #97 Kevin O'Neill
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    RickA – I have already said that many questions afford multiple viewpoints.

    But some questions do not.

    You said that *any* question has at least two points of view. That is nonsensical. In what city were you born? Are you currently married? Is the earth a dish carried on the backs of giant tortoises?

    Now, you may play the semantic game – a standard tactic of anyone that finds themselves backed into a logical corner – or simply admit that some questions do not legitimately afford two different viewpoints.

    So far you’ve just doubled down on ignorance and deception.

    P.S. The Einstein example does not support your belief. Hint, ask the question, then formulate the answer(s). Is there one or more correct answer(s)? Can the question be reformulated to give one correct answer? Einstein’s whole gist here is how to arrive at the one correct answer – not your belief that there are many correct answers.

  98. #98 Kevin O'Neill
    February 1, 2017

    Question: Given a moving train and two observers, one on the train and one stationary, if a ball on the train is tossed straight up will the two observers describe the movement of the ball the same way?

    One correct answer: No. Why? See Einstein. Other views? See RickA.

  99. #99 RickA
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    Kevin #97:

    I wasn’t talking about questions or facts – but issues.

    If you reread the language you quoted from my post you will see “issues”.

    But if you think there is no issue with more than one point of view – well that is your opinion and you are entitled to it.

    It is my opinion that every issue has more than one point of view.

    Otherwise it wouldn’t be an issue.

  100. #100 Kevin O'Neill
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    RickA -“I wasn’t talking about questions or facts – but issues.”

    Then your Einstein example was irrelevant. Why did you bring it up? I just showed that your example was not a valid example, so now, in your view, it’s irrelevant.!

    My Einstein example was to show that how you phrase the question is important. Whether it be facts or issues the correct answer is often a matter of asking the correct question. My emphasis here is that you *intentionally* seek to mislead by NOT seeking to ask the correct question or use semantics to ask a answer a different question.

    The dictionary says an issue is “an important topic or problem for debate or discussion.” Relativity is not an important topic for discussion? Odd then why physics teachers spend so much time making sure students understand it properly.

    Tell us then, is whether or not an increase in GHGs effectively warm a planet an issue, a fact, or a question?

    P.S. Facts and questions can also be issues – they are not mutually exclusive. See “alternative facts” for discussion.

  101. #101 Kevin O'Neill
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    A) CO2 effectively warms the planet.
    B) Does CO2 effectively warm the planet?

    A) is a statement of fact. B) takes the same statement of fact and poses it as a question. All statements of fact can be posed as questions.

    Issues are those facts or questions that we deem important. All issues are either statements of facts or questions. Yet RickA tells us, ““I wasn’t talking about questions or facts – but issues.”

    This is clearly muddled thinking. Grok that 🙂

    A charitable reader could try to make sense of this. While RickA has lost the default privilege of being read charitably, I will make the attempt.

    As I see it the only way to make sense of RickA’s remark is to redefine ‘issue’ to mean any statement or question for which the truth or answer is subjective or not known.

    This still is problematic. There exist many questions/issues where the answer is not known, but is bounded; i.e., we know some POV are incorrect even though the correct answer isn’t known. Still, within the limits of these bounds there can exist differing legitimate POV.

    The more consistent interpretation of RickA’s statement would thus limit ‘issue’ to only referring to subjective questions. I don’t think this is actually what he meant when he used ‘issue’ in his statement, but it is the most charitable reading. Of course the fact that he went on to dispute CO2’s warming efficacy blatantly begs against this charitable interpretation.

    There is also RickA’s long history of debate style to account for (i.e., all those past discussions where he has attempted to distort, mislead, and deceive). In the end we are left with he meant ‘issue’ as subjective questions or he was simply incorrect. The latter is the more parsimonious answer.

  102. #102 RickA
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    Kevin #101:

    Lets review.

    I wrote post 29.

    You wrote post 32, quoting my post 29.

    I then wrote post 33.

    You introduced a strawman in #35 and switch my “issues” to your “questions” – and said I was a poor reader and called me a moron. This is where you introduced your example of “GHGs warm the planet”.

    Now in #101 you wax poetic on A and B – but add the word “effectively”.

    I would suggest that perhaps you are the poor reader.

    I would point out that you started calling names and offered an example which I merely answered, and which diverted the entire thread, as we followed your example down the rabbit hole.

    Perhaps you could go back and re-read 29, 32 and 33 and perhaps try to be a bit more charitable in the first instance.

  103. #103 Kevin O'Neill
    United States
    February 1, 2017

    RickA – Your #102 adds nothing. It’s a red-herring. You have no legitimate answers to the argument so you digress.

    “There are at least two points of view for any issue.”
    “I wasn’t talking about questions or facts – but issues.”

    Any fact, or question can be an issue. An issue is nothing more than a topic we deem important for debate or discussion.

    You add nonsense to nonsense.

    Your Einstein example was turned on its head and now it’s irrelevant. You play a game, rather than seek illumination, but you don’t play the game very well.

  104. #104 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    “I wasn’t talking about questions or facts – but issues.”

    But issues don’t have two answers. I have an itchy foot. That doesn’t have two answers. It’s itchy.

    Moreover, your claim DOES NOT MAKE SENSE as an “issue”.

    So you’re back to talking bollocks. No wonder you didn’t get a law job, you’d be shit at it.

  105. #105 Wow
    February 1, 2017

    “Tell us then, is whether or not an increase in GHGs effectively warm a planet an issue, a fact, or a question? ”

    In avoiding the answer, Dick here complains that Keith “started calling names and offered an example which I merely answered…”

    And note that his “merely answered” showed that he did not understand what HE HIMSELF was talking about, since the issue (see what I did?) was clarified with the question made.

    And his answer neither cleared anything up nor revealed that he had found the issue at hand.

  106. #106 MikeN
    February 2, 2017

    Was it a misuse of executive power for Obama to announce he would not deport illegal immigrants that met criteria determined by Obama? How about to give them work authorization(EAD cards)?

    Did you complain when Obama unilaterally declared the Senate was not in session and did a recess appointment? Obama had the worst record in court of any president since at least FDR. Even the Democratic appointees were ruling against him, like when he tried to declare that the government could interfere with who churches hired as ministers.

    Regarding Committee rules, if one side decides they are not going to appear at committees at all just to wreck the process, then this sort of thing will happen. Under THE RULES, there could be no work done, simply because some Senators object. They could suggest the absence of a quorum at all times and then bog it down with repeated roll calls. Yet these sort of things don’t happen because there is an informal rule that the government must operate. You might say, well then they will be thrown out of office. However, the Senate is a continuing body, and the Republicans could then under THE RULES refuse to accept a change of rules on the first day of the new Senate, refusing to accept that they have lost the seats and the new committee assignments, etc. Indeed, Congress decides on the seating of its own members, so they could even rig THE RULES to deny seats to the new members.

  107. #107 MikeN
    February 2, 2017

    Did you complain when Harry Reid ignored the rules and said you could not filibuster a Cabinet nominee or judge nomination?
    Standing rules of the Senate said you could not implement a rules change like this with less than a two-thirds vote, and yet Reid did it on majority vote. It’s a little late to complain when Republicans do the same thing(though according to Orrin Hatch what they did was within the rules.)

  108. #108 BBD
    February 2, 2017

    Any argument that claims (false) equivalence between Obama and Trump is so dishonest as to be instantly self-defeating. It only underscores just how vast the chasm between the two is.

    Those who endorse Trump now will of course be held responsible for the consequences of his actions. And since there are no brakes on this train, the future will not be bright either for Trump or his claque.

  109. #109 Wow
    February 2, 2017

    Goodness Dick has put his other socks on.

  110. #110 Corey
    February 2, 2017

    Fascism, Mikey. This is what you defend, and it’s one of many reasons why we’re better than you.

  111. #111 Bernard J.
    February 2, 2017

    Regarding today’s update, let’s call a spade a spade. The USA has in a matter of months been turned from a wobbly democracy into a fully-fledged dictatorship. And yes, people, it is a dictatorship – one man is dictating what will be, and who will be doing it, without consulting thhe traditional avenues of advice. And certainly without reflecting the will of the majority, or the international standards of human rights.

    And given the strength of the right-wing media’s hold on the proles, and the disenfranchisement of persecuted minorities from the voting process, I suspect that even with the maintenance of an ‘election’ process (if such survives…) there’s no way that the Alt-Right will be letting go of their God-gven right to rule. It seems that too many USAdians forgot the history of 1930s Europe…

    Or didn’t care… I can’t help but think of the post-WWII protests of ignorance by so many Germans of the time*, and wonder whether Trump supporters will eventually resort to a similar bleating:

    https://theconversation.com/wwii-trial-poses-uncomfortable-questions-of-guilt-and-complicity-for-germans-47965

    https://www.quora.com/Nazi-Germany-To-what-extent-were-average-German-citizens-aware-of-or-involved-in-the-Holocaust

    This is not a bad dream, but it is a nightmare.

    [*One cannot hold today’s generations culpable – Germany at least has certainly learned from history.]

  112. #112 Wow
    February 2, 2017

    [*One cannot hold today’s generations culpable – Germany at least has certainly learned from history.]

    And some of that is because they don’t accept “Free Speech Uber Alles” when it comes to Nazi propaganda.

    Meanwhile the USA in its attempt to feel yet more special (needs), use their constitutional right as if it somehow isn’t copied from European ideals and in the EU charter too. Merely because they refuse to “censor” ideas (except those they decide are criminal, natch) because it would dent their proof of specialness.

    What Germany has done with their law has ensured that, though they can teach their children about Nazi Germany, they can’t be programmed by its propaganda, and so the acts that they let themselves be complicit in before can not happen again.

    The law is an admission that they failed once. To quote the post-Great War line: Never Again.

    This time they mean it.

  113. #113 Lionel A
    February 2, 2017

    I wonder what excuses RickA will offer for this fiasco, Trump and Bannon already have blood on their hands, and its only just begun.

    US military officials say Trump approved counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence or ground support

  114. #114 MikeN
    February 2, 2017

    Mitch McConnell predicted exactly this over many years, but no one would listen. He gave speech after speech about the breakdown of Senate tradition and collegiality and no consideration being given to the minority or the proper operation of Congress. He said that Democrats would not be in charge forever, and changes made will haunt them.

  115. #115 dean
    February 2, 2017

    shorter MikeN: McConnell complained for years that the president wasn’t white.

  116. #116 Brainstorms
    February 2, 2017

    Shortest MikeN: Republicans will show you how to really wreck the system.. now that we can get away with it.

  117. #117 BBD
    February 2, 2017

    You can’t pretend it’s all the Democrats’ fault MikeN. Nobody believes you now, and when the shit truly comes down, they won’t believe you then either. You’ve dug your grave already.

  118. #118 MikeN
    February 2, 2017

    I didn’t say it’s all the Democrats’ fault. I’m asking if this same standard of ‘if you don’t follow the rules, you will get the Holocaust’ was applied by Greg Laden when Democrats were doing similar things.

  119. #119 Wow
    February 2, 2017

    Yeah, right. And you’re SUCH a reliable recounter of the past, “Mike”.

    Ever measured your car’s tyre pressure?

  120. #120 Corey
    February 2, 2017

    Mikey:

    Genocide is strictly a Conservative ideal in contemporary American politics.

  121. #121 Corey
    February 2, 2017

    (Okay, not ENTIRELY true:

    “And they all seemed to really hate my grandpa, ’cause they keep yelling ‘kill whitey’ and I’m like ‘what do you think you are, alcohol?'”

    – Kenneth Parcell, “30 Rock”

  122. #122 Corey
    February 2, 2017

    )

    🙂

  123. #123 BBD
    February 3, 2017

    when Democrats were doing similar things.

    Except that the Democrats have never done anything remotely like what Trump and his troupe have done in the last week. First, as pointed out, you are making shit up, which underlines how different Trump and Obama actually are. This makes you look silly and dishonest. Second, you are *still* engaging in tu quoque which automatically invalidates your ‘argument’.

    You need better bullshit to defend the indefensible.

  124. #124 MikeN
    February 3, 2017

    Rules of the Senate do not allow changing the rules on majority vote, yet Democrats did that to get Cabinet members and judges approved when Republicans were filibustering. How is that not remotely like what Trump and his troupe have done in the last week?

  125. #125 Wow
    February 3, 2017

    ” How is that not remotely like what Trump and his troupe have done in the last week?”

    Because

    “Democrats did that to get Cabinet members and judges approved when Republicans were filibustering”

    Trump’s picks haven’t even been properly vetted.

  126. #126 MikeN
    February 3, 2017

    >Second, you are *still* engaging in tu quoque which automatically invalidates your ‘argument’.

    No it doesn’t invalidate my argument because it is my argument. I agree the rules should be followed. I just wish he had been as adamant about it when the Democrats weren’t following the rules. Well maybe not ‘Dems are like Nazis’ adamant, but angry.

  127. #127 Andrew Dodds
    United Kingdom
    February 3, 2017

    Guys, it’s all ok. The USA has lots of Responsible Gun Owners(TM) who will soon act to protect the Constitution against any executive trying to rip it up and use as toilet paper.

    They’ve been quite vocal on this point for the last few decades. I’m sure they’ll put things to rights soon enough.

    (Some cynics may think that they only care about vaguely left wing politicians getting uppity and would let far right republican s get away with anything. Perish the thought.)

    (Even more cynical people might suggest that they wouldn’t have the faintest idea of what to do in any case. Again, perish the thought even more)

  128. #128 BBD
    February 3, 2017

    MikeN

    No it doesn’t invalidate my argument because it is my argument.

    No, you are pulling a tu quoque.

    You say:

    I agree the rules should be followed.

    But instead of criticising the Trump Troupe for behaving like escaped ferrets you are bashing the Democrats.

    Switcheroo.

  129. #129 skeptictmac57
    February 3, 2017

    Andrew Dodds- 🙂 🙂 🙂

  130. #130 MikeN
    February 3, 2017

    I’m not bashing the Democrats, I am bashing Greg Laden. I will note that had the Democrats not done what they did then, then the Republicans would not be doing what they are doing now, because there would have been no need for Democrats to boycott the committee hearings. They could have filibustered the nominees on the Senate floor. The mere existence of the filibuster would have likely prevented several of the nominations from even being made.

  131. #131 dean
    February 3, 2017

    No mikeN, you are asserting things that never happened in order to defend President Trump. Your dishonesty about history is clear, and the reason for your distortions about President Obama’s years are equally clear

  132. #132 Wow
    February 3, 2017

    I’ll say one thing for the ignoramus, their antics are making this blog a bit of a pointless read.

    When their posts could even tangentially tied to reality, there was something to work with, but now with the alternative facts and the post truth and post normal BS they’re doing, there’s nothing there to argue with, since there’s no common frame of reference.

    They may as well be speaking a different language and come from a different planet.

  133. #133 BBD
    February 3, 2017

    Not buying it, MikeN.

  134. #134 BBD
    February 3, 2017

    First:

    yet Democrats did that to get Cabinet members and judges approved when Republicans were filibustering.

    Then:

    I will note that had the Democrats not done what they did then, then the Republicans would not be doing what they are doing now,

  135. #135 Brainstorms
    February 3, 2017

    MikeN must be arguing that the Democrats must be allowed the opportunity to filibuster the nominees’ confirmation sessions.

    I’ll second that.

  136. #136 skeptictmac57
    February 3, 2017

    While Trump and his minions (or maybe he is a minion himself, because who knows who’s really in charge?) are distracting the two parties and their partisan bases with Hatfields and McCoys red meat fodder, they are deploying a plan to extract as much money and power for themselves, and in turn, they are allowing the amassing of political power for the extremist religious right in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government with the goals of striking down the separation of religion and government, and rolling back hard won social freedoms along with the laws that protect the environment and protections of all sorts from predatory financial practices to workers and citizens rights, in an attempt to turn our country into a theocracy/autocracy.
    The religious zealots will run roughshod over our laws while the rich will keep them safe and warm, allowing them power as long as they (the wealthy) can dominate pillage and control the economy to their advantage, in a sick kind of symbiotic.relationship.
    Do not pay attention to the sideshow folks! The real action is being done during the distractions (just as in a magic show) while everyone is caught up in the latest outrage.
    These people are crazy like a fox, and we (both side of the political spectrum) are being played, and we had better wake the hell up before it is too late!

  137. #137 Lionel A
    February 4, 2017

    The religious zealots will run roughshod over our laws while the rich will keep them safe and warm, allowing them power as long as they…

    Indeed skepticmac57, two markers for this are:

    1) Trump Vows to ‘Destroy’ Law Banning Political Endorsements by Churches

    2) Betsy DeVos, Pick for Secretary of Education, Is the Most Jeered

    DeVos is sure to attempt to further undermine the teaching of science and especially evolution. A brother is Erik Prince of Blackwater notoriety and money laundering charges — fine Christian principles at work there.

  138. #138 Li D
    Australia
    February 6, 2017

    I wish to congratualate you Greg on
    an articulate piece of writing.
    And from a personal perspective, I thank you
    for it.
    My one quibble is the final sentence.
    The assumation seems to be that the only
    checks are of a communally agreed nature.
    Policy, law and so forth.
    I would like to think valid checks are also personal
    in nature.
    Not because we feel policy and law imposed
    upon us, but because of who we individually are.
    Our beliefs and attitudes.
    So just as its important to monitor the
    macro checks, its important to look
    occasionally at ones own attitudes and beliefs.

    Again Greg, I thank you.

  139. […] in a very dangerous situation, wherein income inequality has reached a breaking point and our elected officials no longer play by the rules. Greg says “we now have a man who by all indications intends to dictate, not lead, dictate […]

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