By Any Other Name

In reference to a $600,000 spending initiative by Alberta’s NDP government to educate people about climate change, a commentary in The Edmonton Journal asks: “Propaganda or education?”

The question is a false alternative.

The long-standing definition of propaganda involves the wide spreading of information or ideas to promote a particular view. Education, according to the commentary, is being employed to “counter the spin” of those who have opposing views on the issue of anthropogenic global warming. No difference.

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The journalist, a Mr. Thomson, refers to carbon tax legislation which is being promoted by a $9 million campaign. Thomson concurs that this may be called propaganda because: “It’s the government promoting one of its own policies.” But the additional spending to educate people is different he says: ” . . .this is the government trying to educate the public about the basic realities of the science behind man-made climate change.”

Mr.Thomson introduces a few issues of contention among political leaders and politically funded organizations and then condescendingly adds that ” . . .this just confuses the public.” Overlooking the blatant paternalism in that statement, he continues by indicating that the reason the government has launched this education initiative is ” . . .to counter the spin by those who deny the science behind global warming and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” (Did you notice his switch between “climate change” and “global warming”?)

The implication is that the “science is settled” on the issue of anthropogenic global warming and of the political need to forcibly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Richard Feynman once stated: “If you thought that science was certain–well, that is just an error on your part.”

In the instance of anthropogenic global warming the evidence is simply unconvincing, based as it is on computer models that have been consistently wrong in their predictions. Instead of rejecting the hypothesis, the models have been repeatedly reconfigured in an apparent effort to produce the desired results. From Feynman again: “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”

So what’s going on with all the “climate change” and “global warming” fear-mongering? In a word: politics. Politics and faith, faith rather than reason and the validity of the individual mind. Faith in government spending. Faith in the premise that man must be subordinated to nature.

It’s an environmentalist’s dream to have his particular political view enforced by the coercion of the state. If people understood that the consequences of global warming would likely be slightly warmer and shorter winters, they might be, particularly in Edmonton, more interested in hearing more than one view on global warming.

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© Copyright 2017 Edward Podritske

A Bid of “No Trump”

donald-trumpConrad Black writes in the National Post that Donald Trump will be popular and that Canada will adapt.

Donald Trump will be popular? He already is, among those whose worst prejudices he has appealed to: bigots, nationalists, mercantilists, corporatists, isolationists and collectivists of many other stripes. He represents the epitome of demagogues.

Trump’s presidential legacy is most likely to be a disastrous, historical turning point with capitalism getting the blame for the intellectual, political and economic failures of the future. The shameful conduct of both Canadian and American media, politicians, academics and ignorant entertainers will hasten the misconception.

It will be regrettable for Canada to “adapt”. Principled politics has rarely guided Canadian politicians and voters. Witness the example of Justin Trudeau’s election: our own version of the “hope and change” candidate.

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Canadians followed the era of the Obama administration as a sort of desired Canadian-style development. Contrary to the view of Mr. Obama and the Air Canada advertising motto, the world does not need more Canada. Collectivism and the trending to Marxism while suppressing free speech through so-called human rights tribunals and “anti-Islamophobia” (whatever the hell that is) legislation is not something of which the world needs more.

There may be some short-term good to come from the Trump era but what it will be is difficult to imagine. The man is clearly dependent on the opinions of others for his self-esteem and little good can come from that. Any resistance he encounters as a consequence of the separation of powers and system of checks and balances may be taken as a personal affront. His hostile temperament and anti-intellectualism will result in much serious conflict, domestically and perhaps internationally.

I am reminded of Theodore Roosevelt and his “walk softly but carry a big stick” approach to international diplomacy, as well as his cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s domestic blunders that prolonged the Great Depression. Both were manifestations of how political power corrupts. Where the proper scope of government is violated, corruption is the rule rather than the exception.

©2017 Edward Podritske

Independence

Happy Independence Day to Americans, wherever they may be found today. I wonder how many remain who understand the significance of the concept of independence? Discuss.

Related concepts include life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.

Beer, picnics, fireworks, hot dogs and holidays from work just don’t seem to be enough anymore, as tasty and fun as those fine things may be. Is there more?

Quick And Dirty Election Campaign

Canadians will elect a national government on October 19th.

While the country does not go in for the protracted campaigning of its US neighbor nor directly elect its top executive, it emulates the US in other ways politically.

All partisan politics is dirty business but it seems that Canadians have lowered themselves culturally over several decades to simply copy the Americans at their worst.

After Barack Obama was anointed in 2008 in a populist campaign that appealed to both the old radical socialists and the young left on a platform of “hope and change” the Democrats replaced George W. Bush and the Republicans.

Canadians actually celebrated along with the American left on the joyous occasion of electing the first President from the so-called black minority. Nearly everyone completely overlooked the fact that the man had no clue about an assertive foreign policy nor any understanding of simple economics.

The kind of destruction wrought on America by the policies of a principled socialist who hates the America represented by its Constitution is emerging into full view, if Americans still have the sense of life to look at it.

Canadians are poised to make a similar mistake. There is a loathing in this country for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, fomented in part by the publicly funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and a conventional media that has institutionalized superficial news coverage. There is little information for the independent consumer of it. Alternative sources must be searched for to combat mainstream bias, subtle though it often may be.

The primary challengers to Harper and the Conservatives are Thomas Mulcair, New Democratic Party and Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party. Elizabeth May of the Green Party is granted far more attention than is justified.

Mulcair is a socialist. Many of us are growing weary of vilifying the rich and successful in life while simultaneously bleeding them with coercive taxation to pay for needless social programs demanded by lobbyists of every stripe. Mulcair will raise taxes rather than lowering them and this will affect more people than his targets of the richest one percent and the corporate tax rate.

Trudeau is a Trudeau. This is as close as Canadians come to considering dynasties in politics. More importantly, Justin Trudeau is a neophyte in so many ways. He speaks of investing in jobs, manufacturing, public transit and blah, blah, blah. Governments don’t invest. They spend. When they spend too much the tax revenue is not sufficient and deficits result. Trudeau is okay with that and rather than aiming at reducing deficits his naïve economic solution is to run them as long as possible.

Harper is an economist and has successfully been Prime Minister since 2006 with a minority government and then winning a majority in 2008 following a dissolution of the government on a vote of non-confidence. He has focussed on balancing budgets, negotiating freer trade relations and improving national defense. His government has been affected by several political scandals, which Harper has always tried to resolve as expeditiously as possible, distancing himself from the particulars.

The campaign appears to be stripped down to a simplistic assumption. There is a need for change according to the leaders of the three parties not in control. The Conservatives under Stephen Harper disagree.

“Hope and Change”. So simple. So similar. So nothing.

What Difference Does Syria Make?

Syrians killed in the ongoing civil war will be just as dead tomorrow whether their lives were extinguished by beheading, bombing, shooting, stabbing, defenestration or gassing with chemical weapons.

“What difference does it make?” is to borrow an infamous question from one of the New Left’s most prominent of sacred cows, Hillary Clinton. Of course she was referring to the circumstances surrounding the Benghazi affair in which four Americans were killed nearly one year ago. Today still there are no reasonable answers to the embarrassing questions some were asking and which led to her hectoring outburst.

Was the US secretly using Libya as a base for smuggling arms to the Syrian rebels as some have suggested? That hardly matters much either until you contrast the closed lips regarding the Benghazi affair with the loose lips concerning the question of whether a military strike should be initiated against the Syrian regime. Suddenly, Obama and his supporters are gung-ho with respect to providing details to the media of all aspects of a possible strike even listing the probable targets.

There is no legitimate moral reason for striking Syria. As horrendous as the situation is for Syrian citizens the US and the rest of the world essentially turn a blind eye to all of the atrocities which are committed daily in other Islamist countries, in China, in North Korea and in several African nations. What makes Syria a special case? What is the US national security interest?

The alleged chemical weapon attack in Syria is just the most conspicuous recent atrocity to have captured the eye of cynical politicians like Barack Obama. The only purpose of a military strike of several days duration is to bolster the political status of the Administration and the Democratic Party in the minds of a very altruistic, emotional and sentimental population.

The desired impact for the Obama legacy—ill-conceived though I think it will prove to be—cannot be underestimated.

©Copyright 2013 Edward Podritske

Dyslogistic Comment on Hugo Chavez

As the eulogies and kind, sensitive language from movie stars and political leaders over the death of the Leftist dictator Hugo Chavez finally start fading into history, it is worth noting again the consistency and fortitude of his ideological opposite, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada. His remarks on Chavez’ s death were deemed “insensitive” by some of Venezuela’s well-connected. In brief, Harper expressed the view and hope that the political economy of Venezuela might now improve (my paraphrasing).

Hugo Chavez was a power luster and violator of the rights of individuals, including property rights, due process and life itself. One need only look at the low standard of living of most Venezuelans and the dearth of political rights to judge the life of the entity that was Hugo Chavez.

©Copyright 2013 Edward Podritske

Dig Hole; Insert Head

After Rand Paul’s marathon filibuster received such notice it seems those at the center of power think it is better to avoid generating news about drone strikes.

Accordingly, the US Air Force will no longer report drone strikes. The public be damned, for there is a war going on.

©Copyright 2013 Edward Podritske