A Study in Fake News

A friend and former colleague sent me a link to the following brief article: A Strong Start to Sierra Snowpack. It purports to be a factual report of the water situation in California. Such stories are always interesting for the things they leave out: the dog that didn’t bark.

Start with the title. Since the snowpack is already above the normal peak, which is referenced to April (seasonal peak), it would be more accurate to say that the snowpack is already well above average for the whole season though it’s still only February. That’s more than a strong start. Furthermore, though the 2017-2018 year was below average, the prior year was well above average. Together, they were about average.It is in the nature of snowfall to fluctuate from year to year.

Next, the article states that “…most of the reservoirs are already more than half-full, and several have water levels that are above the historical average for the middle of February.” It would be more accurate to write that all the reservoirs but one are at or above the historical average for February. The exception is Oroville, which is low because of a major structural failure two years ago. Furthermore, all of the reservoirs are more than half full, which is also misleading because it’s not normal for them to ever be full. Should they ever be almost full, the headline would be “Reservoirs Nearly Full: Flooding Crisis Looms” since they would need to release large amounts of water, which could raise downstream rivers to flood stage.

This 300-word article manages to pack in a tremendous amount of misinformation, brought to you by NASA. This brings to mind the Gell-Mann amnesia effect, or in more modern parlance, fake news. Also relevant is Mencken’s observation  that

Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.

I would only change the last half to read “…the whole aim of practical media is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

Snow is forecast for tomorrow and Thursday in the Sierra.

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Punch, Counter Punch

For those of you who view the seven month omnibus bill a disaster, I suggest you read the signing statement from Whitehouse.gov.

Signing Statement

He has a Senate who is owned by the Chamber of Commerce and Democrats who ae owned by Big Tech who want outsourcing of all skilled jobs.

This fight is nowhere near over. We have Trump and they have trillions of dollars at stake. If this fails, it will be civil war or submission for most of us.

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The 2020 Campaign – Wealth and Freedom for The Working People

This video is quite telling on where the Trump campaign sees the winning issues.

It is long and you can fast forward over the music intervals. If you just want to see Trump- go to 1:19 time and see the best use of Melania yet.

Trump is going for a coalition of working people with real jobs and families , all races who want America to be the place they can build wealth in freedom.

I do believe he has positioned the Democrats to be coming down on the opposite side of that.

Hanging Venezuela around the necks of his opponents is a nice touch.

If you watch the whole thing, you will see Marco Rubio once again changing sides.

This will put the GOP Donors in a complete quandry…Hillary was available for purchase, but the current crop of Dems may not be worth the money to buy them. Where to go… I hope they choke on it.

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Richard Epstein on the Green New Deal

Richard A. Epstein is not usually very excitable, speaking, albeit quickly and at great length, in the form of a legal argument. Fair enough: he is one of the most cited legal scholars in the United States. In the most recent episode of his Hoover Institution podcast, “The Libertarian”, however, he goes into a full-on rant about the “Green New Deal”. The first part, where he discusses the bogus connection between carbon dioxide and climate, is especially valuable. It’s only twenty-six minutes and well worth your time.


Continue reading “Richard Epstein on the Green New Deal”

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The Border Bill

The “bipartisan conference” has laboured mightily and brought forth the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019” [PDF], “Making further continuing appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2019, and for other purposes”.  It is—wait for it—one thousand, one hundred and fifty-nine pages long.  As Byron York notes,  congressreptiles will have only 40 hours to try to figure out what’s in it before voting on it.

“The wall”, such as it is, is on page 33 (Sec. 230), with a total of US$ $2,370,222,000, or which US$ “1,375,000,000 is for the construction of primary pedestrian fencing, including levee pedestrian fencing, in the Rio Grande Valley Sector”.  Sec. 231, immediately following, lists specific places in which no fencing will be built.

What’s in the other 1157 pages?  Who knows?  I just scrolled to a page (110) at random and came across “to study how mangroves, kelp forests, tidal marshes, and seagrass meadows could help deacidify the oceans”.  Then on page 112,

Sec. 771. Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall submit to Congress a report describing the ways in which conservation programs administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service may be better used for the conservation of ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) and any action taken by the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service relating to the conservation of ocelots.

Dealing with the pressing problems of the nation!

Post any gems you find in the comments.

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Miracles Do Occur

In spite of my personal and likely short-sighted low opinion of poetry, I found a piece that resonated with me.  There’s hope for me, Hypatia?  What follows is a cut from an American Thinker blog post by Patricia McCarthy.

“Over at American Mirror, a commenter to a column by Kyle Olson about all this, Roy_Bean, cited a poem by Sir Walter Scott (1805) that perfectly describes people like Beto, Obama, Hillary Clinton, Schumer, Harry Reid , Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of the Left:

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d,
As home his footsteps he hath turn’d,
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud be his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.

The poem is entitled “The Lay of the Last Minstrel.”  Has there ever been a more apt description of the recent past and current crop of Democrats in Congress?”

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Farmlands

Lauren Southern,* a Canadian independent journalist and activist, made the documentary film Farmlands about the attacks on white farmers in South Africa and the movement to expropriate their land. The film was released on YouTube and is free to watch. It has over 2 million views.

Southern traveled to South Africa to investigate. Even though she has strong political views, she made an effort to be as objective as possible.

The film begins with a review of South African history beginning with the arrival of Europeans in 1652 to the present. Unsurprisingly, it is a history of violence. It provides a useful context to understand the current political situation and the land claims.

Upon arriving in South Africa, she summarizes the current state of affairs, including a significant amount of political violence and destruction of property. She interviews a group that specializes in crime scene cleanup, some of the victims’ families, an official of the ruling party (ANC), and an official of the more radical Black First Land First party, unapologetic communists.

It’s a well-produced, professional documentary. That’s a testament to her crew’s skill and to the capabilities that current technology brings to independent creators given that the project’s budget was probably small. The leftist press characterizes Southern as “far right” and her film as “white nationalist agitprop.” When it comes to agitprop, the Left are certainly the experts.


*Southern also appears in the film Hoaxed, reviewed here. She was interviewed by Dave Rubin two years ago. For a 23-year-old, she’s accomplished a lot.

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