The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Chief Twit

Elon Musk has acquired Twitter, and with typical Musk wit, has decided that his title should be "Chief Twit." The Left, as only the Left can, has decided that Musk now represents a significant threat to ... well, to everything, and has launched a Tsunami of vitriol* that is intended to demonize and cancel him. Their problem, of course, if that under its previous ownership and management team, the left had staunch allies within Twitter, and as such, influenced outright censorship, deplatforming, and shadow banning that shut down opinions that differed from their narrative.

That's why the Hunter Biden laptop scandal was effectively banned in October of 2020. It conflicted with the pro-Democrat bias the pervaded Twitter's leadership and hall monitors. That's why comments on COVID policy and treatment were censored or outright banned if those opinions differed from the blue, catastrophist narrative of the time. BTW, the catastrophist narrative has now been proven to have been a disastrous mistake and/or an outright lie at virtually every level. 

Satire coming from the Right was banned. Condemnation and name calling from Leftists was allowed as "righteous indignation" while condemnation and name calling from those on the Right are quickly labeled as "dangerous incitement" and summarily banned. I could go on and on, but it's pretty hard to refute the reality of a left-biased approach to "free speech" within Twitter.

In the Leftist worldview, "free speech" is heavily qualified. Pre-Musk, Leftists argued that "privately held companies" should be allowed to violate the foundational tenets of free speech (as long as those privately held companies enforce the leftist narrative). Post Musk, Leftists take an entirely different view of the role of privately-held companies and free speech. They worry that "hate speech," "conspiracy theories," "misinformation," and "dangerous incitement" (all coming from the Right, of course) will pervade the social media platform and MUST be stopped. 

Alex Berenson is a true journalist who was repeatedly banned by Twitter for his accurate reporting on COVID related issues. He writes:

Like all social media, it’s addictive. Its format drives pointless fights and intemperate responses. And even if you learn to avoid those - and I have - it’s often frustrating.

But what people ON BOTH SIDES seem to have forgotten is that Twitter is frustrating because it works. It’s frustrating for everyone because whoever you are and whatever you think, the world is filled with people who don’t agree.

We forget this fact, because in real life, we don’t see people who disagree with us every minute of every day. And if we do, we don’t go out of our way to antagonize them by saying so unprovoked. Even politely. Doing so is bad manners (and potentially dangerous).

But on Twitter, we do. Twitter is MEANT to allow its users to offer their views, politely or not, to everyone - stranger or friend.

So, as a Twitter user, I go out and make my (hopefully) thoughtfully considered, well-researched points to the world. And some people agree. Good for me! But lots of others respond in ways making me realize they’ve entirely missed my point. Or “strawman” me by responding to an argument I haven’t made. Or just shout back, GRIFTER! Or worse.

Unlike the trained hamsters in the mainstream media, the majority of politicians in blue states, and democratic party operatives across the board, Berenson has been proven right repeatedly as he reported on COVID. His reporting was labelled by catastrophists on the Left as the stuff of conspiracy theory. He was labelled a "murderer" and dismissed as a "misinformation monger." He was banned by Twitter.

Except he was invariably correct and factually accurate, and ... They. Were. Wrong—on just about everything associated with the virus and the blue state policies applied to it.

People like Berenson on both the Right and the Left won't be banned on Post-Musk Twitter. And that's a very good thing.


Because a Twitter that encourages free speech allows those of us who disagree with the edicts, the opinions, and the policies proposed by political elites and their "expert" enablers and government functionaries to voice that disagreement. To contradict their arguments, and their presentation of "facts" (that aren't facts at all).

Will there be obnoxious tweets? Of course, and they can be contradicted and figuratively shouted down. Will there be "misinformation?" Of course, and it can be vetted and dissected to show its failings? Will there be craziness and even hate speech? Yes, but those who believe in free speech would argue that rationality and truth will ultimately prevail.

Berenson summarizes all of this when he writes:

The core of Twitter remains messaging, the written word. Its advantage, its differentiation, came from its philosophical commitment to free speech - to being a site where people could report and debate on complex topics without censorship or even too much algorithmic involvement, where ideas could rise and fall on their own.

In other words, in losing its commitment to free speech, Twitter began to destroy its business model. A public square where huge numbers of the public are not allowed to speak freely will ultimately hollow out and die. And in the last two years, Twitter was on its way to becoming a leftist monoculture, Truth Social in reverse, protected only by its first-mover advantage.

Now Elon is about to return Twitter to its roots as a First Amendment haven. That doesn’t mean no censorship. Twitter must have censorship - of child pornography, of specific incitements to violence, of doxxing and harassment and the kinds of speech the First Amendment doesn’t allow online or off.

Bottom line. You're only against this approach to free speech if your ideas, your policies, your arguments, and your philosophy are so fragile that they can't stand up to critique and debate.

Glen Greenwald summarizes nicely:

Obviously, the definition of "danger" varies dramatically between the Right and the Left, but history indicates that a centralization of government power with the resultant corruption of the powerful and the institutions that they control, an authoritarian mindset that dictates to the many based on the false "virtues" of a few, and the concurrent embrace of insanity, NEVER leads to good things.

I think Elon Musk understands this, and that's why his reset for Twitter is a very good thing.


As an example of the vitriol, we have this tweet from celebrity spokesperson for the Left, Jimmy Kimmel, a late night comedian who demonstrates repeatedly why his audience share is tanking.

Kimmel, like the vast majority of Hollywood glitterati, seems to equate a presence on TV (or the movies) with actual accomplishment. Elon Musk, on the other hand, makes things that actually matter—to the hundreds of thousands of people he directly and indirectly employs, to a cleaner planet that progressives like Kimmel tell us they care sooo much about, to real life communication (via SpaceX Starlink), to transportation (via Tesla), and now (via the acquisition of Twitter) to free speech. 

Kimmel has accomplished almost nothing that really matters, unless you think that making inane, snarky jokes late at night are somehow a 'contribution' to the human condition. As his shrinking hipster audience laughs at Kimmel's insults, we should all remember that in 20 years he will be remembered as just another has-been Hollywood type—slightly pathetic but mostly just unimportant. That will never happen to Musk, no matter how many contemptible tweets Jimmy posts. Maybe that's why Jimmy seems so angry.

Friday, October 28, 2022


I have on numerous occasions written that many within our society have embraced insanity. As a consequence, they have jettisoned hard facts, critical thinking, and common sense and relied on emotion, driven by fear. It appears that the most extreme elements of the environment movement have adopted a dark fantasy in which SUVs will lead to the apocalypse and meat eating will result in the extinction of the human race.

It's important to note that not all environmentalists think this way, but the trend does exist and has become a media cause celebre. Micheal Shellenberger comments:

Dumping milk onto floors. Hurling food onto walls. Refusing to eat. Gluing body parts. Throwing paint. Refusing to leave. Threatening to pee and poop in your pants. Screaming accusations. Are those the behaviors of a toddler’s temper tantrum? Yes. But they’re also the dominant tactics of today’s climate activists.

Consider the case of Gianluca Grimalda. On October 19, Grimalda, along with 15 other members of a climate activist group called Scientist Rebellion, glued himself to the floor of the visitors center next to a Volkswagon factory in Germany. The VW security guards brought pizza to Grimalda and the other activist scientists, but Grimalda felt disrespected and so he declared a hunger strike in retaliation.

And then there are the climate alarmists who attempt to desecrate classic works of art while gluing themselves to museum walls. Or the extremists who sit in the middle of busy roads to block commuter traffic, hoping that the police will remove them so they can scream, "brutality."

Schellenberger continues:

The activists who keep degrading precious works of art, and themselves, claim to be concerned about food and energy supplies, but in opposing oil, gas and fertilizer production they are actively reducing both. Over the last several months, I have described the demands of climate activists as fanatical and pointed to a large body of evidence suggesting that nihilism, narcissism, and feelings of personal inadequacy are the primary motives.

But nihilism, narcissism, and personal inadequacy alone do not explain why climate activists have chosen temper tantrum tactics. After all, the greatest protest movements of all time engaged in far more grown-up and dignified tactics. Think of the Salt March led by Gandhi, the Montgomery Bus Boycott led by Martin Luther King, and the anti-whaling protests of Greenpeace. 

I agree that "nihilism, narcissism, and personal inadequacy" are not necessarily the driving factors in this infantile behavior. I submit that the driver is status.

Not the kind of 'status' that is evidenced by $4000 handbags or expensive clothing, but rather the kind of status, found almost exclusively on the Left, that is projected by extreme expressions of "virtue." It is de rigour among these status seekers to loudly and repeatedly condemn those who still use gasoline to power their second-hand cars or heating oil to warm their modest homes. Making those fossil fuels more expensive is a good thing, suggest the status seekers. Even better is banning them outright. After all, there's an obvious vein of authoritarianism in the thinking of those who conflate status with virtue signalling.

Mandating behavior because a small collection of 'the virtuous' think they have a monopoly on what is right is a form of authoritarianism. Those mandates become tied to virtue signaling and that virtue signaling becomes a status symbol among 'the virtuous.' Finally, the 'virtuous' ascend to positions of power, and society begins to travel along the edge of madness (insanity).

The infantile tantrums of climate alarmists are a small thing, but they represent a far more dangerous trend. The quest for "status" among those who exhibit "nihilism, narcissism, and personal inadequacy," if uncritically supported by society's major forms of communication (the media, entertainment, and arts)" this could cause even some grounded people to tumble over the edge and into madness.

Monday, October 17, 2022

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

We all know the story of 'the boy who cried wolf'—a parable that warns against false alarms and analogous claims made by either well-meaning but misinformed catastrophists or those of malevolent intent. Yet, we live in an era that has normalized the insanity of false alarms and the consequent government actions that result in truly catastrophic outcomes. 

Whether it's the covidiocy of the past 2.5 years that resulted grave damage to lives and livelihoods, economies and culture or the apocalyptic claims of climate change alarmists who argue that any temperature rise or increase in CO2 will inevitably lead to planetary destruction, crying wolf has become accepted among those who have embraced the insanity.

Yet actual catastrophies do occur  and not every warning of their escalation is equivalent to crying wolf.

In that vein, it is true that the Russian aggression in Ukraine is a catastrophe. Vladimir Putin is an ex-KGB thug, who with the support of a small but powerful cabal within Russia is slowly destroying a neighboring country, killing tens or hundreds of thousands of civilians, and threatening a much larger population throughout Europe. Having said this, there is also a very real danger that the Russian-Ukrainian war could easily escalate. 

Statesmanship and clear-eyed diplomacy are essential, but unfortunately, the Biden administration foreign policy 'Teams of 1s' do not appear to be up to the task. Already, they have allowed (encouraged?) the conflict to become a proxy war between Russian and the United States (along with a few of its NATO allies). Oddly, many (but certainly not all) leftist Democrats have joined forces with old school Neocons to suggest tougher and tougher talk, more and more armed assistance, and greater and greater sanctions, all designed to push Russia into a corner and precipitate a cessation of hostilities. The big question, as yet unanswered by those who sponsor this approach is how that happens. At the same time, those who suggest an alternative approach are branded as Russian stooges or Putin sympathizers.

There is increasing and worrisome talk within the Biden administration and among their trained hamsters in the media about the growing likelihood of a nuclear exchange. But is this talk of nuclear just more catastrophist thinking? Is it yet another example of the normalization of insanity?

Jeremy Shapiro (read the whole thing) presents a plausible and thoughtful discussion of the likelihood of nuclear escalation:

In war, nothing is inevitable and not much is predictable. But the war in Ukraine has a direction that observers can see and that we should name. What began as a criminal Russian aggression against Ukraine has become a proxy war between Washington and Moscow. The two sides are locked in an escalatory cycle that, along current trends, will eventually bring them into direct conflict and then go nuclear, killing millions of people and destroying much of the world. This is obviously a bold prediction and certainly an unwise one to make — in part because if I’m right, I’m unlikely to be around take credit for it.

President Joe Biden has named this danger, to great criticism, apparently because he believes that acknowledging the danger increases the chances of avoiding such a terrible outcome. Indeed, much can change the current trajectory, but doing so will require purposeful action by both sides specifically intended to avoid direct confrontation. At the moment, neither side seems willing or politically able to take such steps. On the contrary, in Russia nuclear threats are a prominent part of the Russian war strategy. In the United States, commentators condemn those who even name this danger, fearing that doing so will weaken Western resolve. Any mention of such considerations on Twitter, where it is always 1938, inevitably provokes accusations of appeasement and references to Neville Chamberlain.

Is Shapiro a catastrophist in the same way that those who suffer from covidiocy or climate alarmism are catastrophists? Is he normalizing insanity in the same way? I don't think so. 

First, Shapiro's arguments are fact-based and sound; second the scenario he proposes dovetails well with the typical escalations that occur when international conflict occurs, and third, Putin is a thug who feels his grasp on power is threatened, and Biden and his Team of 1s are incompetents who appear to be way out of their depth.

Having said all of that, I do think Shapiro's scenario will not come to pass, but that doesn't mean that the United States should encourage or enable further escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. It is critical to provide Putin with an 'off-ramp' and coerce (if necessary) the Ukrainian leadership to accede to that off-ramp. 

The worrisome aspect in all of this is that Biden and NATO are not floating any proposals that might lead to an off-ramp. Why is that?

Monday, October 10, 2022

Off the Rails

Way, way, way back in 2011, I wrote a blog piece entitled, "Fancy over Fact." It began this way:

In light of the results of the November [2010] election, the looming budget crisis, and out-of-control federal spending, it would seem incomprehensible that the Obama administration would champion still more spending on a project that is doomed to become still another budget buster even before it begins. But the President never ceases to amaze ... 

My post argued that he Democrat's high speed rail fantasy was a boondoggle that allowed them to virtue signal about how much they wanted to mitigate "global warming" (the operative phrase in those days), while at the same time wasting tens of billions in taxpayer dollars.

... it won’t work. Like Amtrac [slow speed rail], high speed rail will require massive government subsidies (money we cannot afford), will do almost nothing to improve our transportation infrastructure, will do little if anything to improve the environment, and will be wildly expensive (e.g., one way from NYC to DC on Amtrac: $139.00; one way by bus: about $40.00, both originating from inner city locations.)

Fast forward 11 years to the Democrats' house organ, the New York Times in an article entitled: "How California’s Bullet Train Went Off the Rails."

Although it comes more than a half century after Asia and Europe were running successful high-speed rail systems, the bullet train project when it was first proposed in the 1980s was new to America*, larger than any single transportation project before it and more costly than even the nation’s biggest state could finance in one step.

More than a decade of waste and failure, bad planning and political posturing, and CA's vaunted "bullet train" still sits on the drawing board. 

Like most "big" projects that are proposed in blue states, this one sounded good as a concept but was never able to make the transition from fantasy to reality. 

Maybe CA should have listened to then CA resident, Elon Musk, when he proposed "Hyperloop"—faster, cheaper, and considerably more environmentally friendly than the bullet train. Like the train, Hyperloop was simply a concept, but it was specified using tech for the 21st century, not the 19th. Private sector development of the Hyperloop concept is progressing (albeit slowly).

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Three Rules

There are a few rules that those of us who are long time residents of FL, a state that is frequently in the path of hurricanes, expect to be followed: 

  1. we expect competent leadership in our state—leadership that is capable of responding intelligently once a storm hits;
  2. we expect the federal government to assist via FEMA and coordinate with our state government after the storm hits;
  3. we expect that the storm will NOT be used as an excuse to make ideological points at the expense of those who lives have been affected by the storm's fury.

Rules (1) and (2) appear to have been met in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Rule (3), on the other hand, was violated as soon as our cognitively-disabled president arrived in FL to "assess the damage." 

In his remarks as he toured the landfall of the storm, we get this:

Biden: "I think the one thing [the hurricane] has ended is the discussion about whether or not there is climate change and we should do something about it."

Reporter: "What do state and local and federal officials need to do differently to prevent future loss of life?"

Biden: "The biggest thing governors have done, and so many others have done, they've recognized there's a thing called global warming."

Poor Joe. The man was never the brightest bulb in the pack, and now that he struggles to string together three coherent sentences in a row, his handlers have him making statements that they think score political points.

According to one of the strongest climate change advocacy organizations, the UN IPCC, "no robust trends in the annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricane counts, have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin." A similar position is taken by NOAA, an government agency that is under Biden's purview.

Over the past 90 years, five storms that are equivalent to Ian's intensity have struck Florida. Even if we could reduce global temperatures by a few tenths of a degree by the year 2100—and that's a VERY big if—there is absolutely no guarantee that it would have any effect on the number or intensity of hurricanes like Ian. Such storms are rare, natural disasters. Only an ideology supported by the intense hubris of the Left could claim that draconian changes in energy use —with all of the collateral damage those changes might cause—could have sufficient impact on the earth's climate to soften the impact of hurricanes.

Joe Biden is long past being able to understand any of that, so he mouths the words his left-wing handlers feed to him, thinking he looks tough and virtuous when in reality, he is neither.