Henny-Penny, Phone Home!

Winter Fundraiser 2015, Day Two

Ah, who can resist the sweet smell of a Quarterly Fund Raiser? “Not I”, says the generous reader, dipping into his coffee can of mad money…

Here we are at Day Two of our Friends and Neighbors Week (subtitled: “Some of What We Like to Read When Not Whimsically Redacting Comments”) Anyone taking bets on how long it takes before I wander away from the theme?

Tip jarAs you know if you were around last week, we had to delay this one because of the slaughter in France the week before. Another group killing by The Religion of Leave ’Em in Tiny Pieces. Except it’s not a religion to anyone but those who know nothing about religion. Like jornolists. Or jihadists.

So not being a non-profit org, we can’t offer our donors a receipt for their tax records. As if. Obviously those of you who send cash in the mail (no, none of it has ever gone astray) aren’t worried about such things. I admire your faith in the post office — though I have to admit despite the strangely differing arrival times, everything gets to the box eventually. It’s just that sometimes an envelope from New York will arrive before one mailed a week earlier from West Virginia. The postmaster merely does his Gallic shrug when I wonder why.

By the way, I almost got side-tracked on this first post, which will be about one of my favorite websites.(The B and I share some common interests but that Venn diagram does have areas of non-inclusion. For instance I doubt he reads recipe sites.) What distracted me momentarily was getting on Google to look something up and happening upon the brouhaha about Steve Emerson’s appearance on Fox News offering his opinion about “no-go zones”. I also ignored the usual creepy Leftist-all-together-now denial by the toilet bowl MSM of the existence of these zones. Who cares what they get paid to think?? But guess what? Daniel Pipes has walked back his nine years of record-keeping on this phenomenon of places where Muslims live and don’t want anyone else there, including first responders like police and firefighters. In case you didn’t know before about these numerous no go zones YOU-KNOW-WHAT places, now you do. (And if you didn’t know, what rock were you under?)

Well, here ya go: the newest truth is, there ain’t no sucha thing as any dumb no-go zone. Who ever hearda sucha thing?? Some #Crazy RightWingExtremistCrackerTalk is all that is.

There. A pluperfect example of why we have to do this fundraiser: push back against the ever-increasing linguistic no-go zones they’re trying to impose on the vulnerable. The goal is to build such a long tall Wall of Silence, ain’t no way you’ll know what is and what isn’t until they tell you. Complete silence. Now write on the blackboard fifty times [choose two]:

  • Oh, and most important: make yourself feel good — donate to Gates of Vienna.

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Not all our favorite websites deal with the ills of Islam. Even though all of us counterjihadists are concerned about the immediate future, that’s not all we think of or talk about. And many of us think that while Islam is a clear and present danger, we don’t think it will prevail in the long run. We’re here to push back for the current victims of horror.

Some of the best websites focus instead on the hocus pocus of progressive dystopia, which is far more widespread. Fortunately, not everyone sings the prescribed tune put out by the Mandarins. Instead, a few brave souls poke holes in that pernicious songsheet of received wisdom. The Greek chorus emanating from our overpaid, underworked leading lights spreads out into the larger world deafening the intellectual class in any field you care to name. Those misdirections, prevarications and paid lobbying have made all “experts” suspect.

So what is an average person trying to understand a given subject to do?

Well, that’s the joy of riding the intertubes. You can investigate for yourself; no one has to rely on received wisdom anymore. No more hierarchical “because we said so” or — my favorite bit of dissembling — “the settled science has decided…” For heaven’s sake, science is never settled. If it can be investigated, it’s worth looking at all sides.

“We have reached a consensus” means “Shut up”.

Another dimension is the credentials of the expert. This is not an absolute — again with the internet, we are re-entering an age of secular science where amateurs investigate and pursue ideas outside the confines (and I use that word advisedly) of academia and government-sponsored research. Always keep a sharp nose for any taint of government largesse: they can and do buy “expert” opinion, as do mega-corporations.

One of my favorite examples of this chicanery is the two diagnoses of mass murderer Breivik. The first team of government psychiatrists came to the conclusion he was bonkers. Uh-oh. Not the outcome the political elite needed; they hired another two, this time rather more pliant ‘experts’ to give the go-ahead for a trial with a long prison sentence. They knew what the public wanted. A diagnosis of incompetence would have deprived the country of the circus they so badly wanted and their elites were determined to give them.

Another aspect to look for is tone. Does the person presenting the data seem moderate and sensible or is he or she supercilious toward those who disagree? Avoid dogma, especially in science, even if it’s dressed up in charts and statistics — but especially if it’s buttressed with vitriol thrown at those who disagree.

Another ‘tell’ is whether or not an expert is predicting fairly precise calamity based on widely diffused data. If you’re grabbed by the lapels and told the world is going to end because of your evil actions…back off slowly, or hit the delete button. For example, if you run into that climate expert Al Gore, change the channel. Yeah, that one — he failed to finish graduate school, but is sure we should immediately eliminate the internal combustion engine in order to save humanity. Put him in the same SUV with the Club of Rome folks who told you we’d be out of oil by the end of the 20th century and there would be global famine and besides there are limits to growth and we’d soon reach them — all gospel circa 1970?

If that SUV should fall over a cliff, one of the occupants can show how the Laws of Gravity don’t hold for experts.

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Which brings me to one of my favorite global warming sites: a reasonable fellow, a retired meteorologist, Anthony Watts. A man with an obvious sense of humor since he calls his site “Watts Up With That” (WUWT), subtitled The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change. I believe he cites his page views as proof of that but it’s certainly the global warming site most viewed by me. I like a calm man with experience and a good sense of humor; Mr. Watts possesses all those qualities.

Today’s essay concerns a worrywart claim by a government university about the carbon released by melting glaciers. It’s at the top of the page at the moment, but it’s the usual gloom ’n’ (implied) doom in search of a government grant. Not much to see there besides some of the amusing comments.

No, my decision the other day to write about WUWT was due to a brief meta-essay exploration of “oversold calamities”. Think about it: how often do you see a calamitous headline and decide not to click the ‘read-further’ button because all it will do is depress you while offering no solutions.

We are numbed out from the relentless faux apocalyptic warnings. You could probably bestir me with a closely-reasoned article on why the irrational turbanned ones in charge of Iran could start a dangerous conflagration long-distance, like in Duluth. That’s because Iran and NoKo hold our attention for the same reason Nazi Germany finally did: we realized that crazies are/were running things. At least with the USSR and the US and their respective nuclear piles, we were fairly certain that we had rational actors in charge and so The Cold War rattled on down the road of history with only occasional side shows about Nuclear Winters. Notice that those sideshows were mostly attended and paid for by the Left. With Iran and North Korea, being as how they’re poor and nuts, it’s harder to carry off with 20th century sang froid. Oh for the good old days when Khrushchev banged his shoe on his desk at the UN. Despite his prediction, we still ain’t been buried yet.

Perhaps our climate alarmists miss the “edge-of-your-seat” adrenalin rush. If they can’t find their fix any other way, then Climate Armageddon will have to do. Remember, that’s one of the warning signs: is the expert predicting end-times with hopelessness built in as a feature, not a bug?

WUWT guest essayist Bob Tisdale says:

The overselling of calamities in environmental sciences has reached unseemly proportions…so much so in one field that in 2014 a team of marine researchers exposed the problems in a journal article. The paper is Duarte et al. (2014) Reconsidering Ocean Calamities. The abstract reads (my boldface):

The proliferation of a number of pressures affecting the ocean is leading to a growing concern that the state of the ocean is compromised, which is driving society into pessimism. Ocean calamities are disruptive changes to ocean ecosystems that have profound impacts and that are widespread or global in scope. However, scrutiny of ocean calamities to ensure that they can be confidently attributed to human drivers, operate at widespread or global scales, and cause severe disruptions of marine social-ecosystems shows that some of the problems fail to meet these requirements or that the evidence is equivocal. A number of biases internal and external to the scientific community contribute to perpetuating the perception of ocean calamities in the absence of robust evidence. An organized auditing of ocean calamities may deliver a more precise diagnosis of the status of the oceans, which may help to identify the most pressing problems that need be addressed to conserve a healthy ocean.

As Mr. Tisdale notes: These problems run rampant in climate science.

Then he has a screen capped New York Times headline and image. Since the image has a Getty imprint, I’ll let you look at the thing on Watt’s Up for yourself.

The post ends with this (I haven’t included his embedded links):

NYTimes Headline

A brand new example of attempted overselling of calamities is the article in The New York Times Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says. The article is based on the McCauley et al (2015) paper Marine defaunation: Animal loss in the global ocean.

How can you resist a horror headline which includes a new term? New to me, anyway: marine defaunation. Is she any kin to Marine LePen? [Sorry…couldn’t resist. Now you know where I hang out, eh?]

The mindset for oversold calamities is what I’ve long termed “Henny-Penny-the-sky-is-falling” journalism. You don’t often get to see an epiphany for a tried-and-true Leftist but I had that pleasure once.

An employer of mine was watching the television news. She was one of those sadly secular Jews who had a Palestine bumper sticker on her car. [No, we didn’t engage in political conversations but I did notice.] It must have been a slow news day, since one of the headlines “when we return after these messages” promised to discuss the dangers of toast. Sure enough, following the commercials the “news anchor” intoned the results of a government study (what else?) proclaiming the carcinogenic risk associated with eating toasted bread.

The worm turned. My employer, thoroughly disgusted, found her remote thingamajib and turned off the ‘news’. But those belief sets are so very hard to let go. A few months later she came to me in tears. She’d just returned from a lecture by a well-credentialed epidemiologist who warned his educated university audience that if they had children they’d better be prepared for the early death of some of them, especially the boys. His knowledgeable estimate for the coming decade was a “conservative 25%”.

So what contagious disease was going to carry off her sons? Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, that’s what. Her lovely intelligent and heterosexual sons were likely to die of AIDS? Fortunately, I recalled for her the toast-equals-cancer story and reminded her how she’d reacted. I suggested she give this fairy story the same credence. But it was hard to assuage her fears; after all this fellow was an expert. Today both her boys are still alive and well. One is even a jornolist.

And my former boss? She’s still a pro-Palestinian secular Jewish atheist who has a deep abiding faith in whatever scientific doom ’n’ gloom is currently in fashion; she keeps up with all of them. Or at least the ones passing through Academia, which is where those government tradewinds blow.

The moral of my story is this: the less you know outside your field the more credulous you tend to be when you wander away from its confines. This is especially true if you’re among the huge herd of deeply politicized and polarized secular atheists. Nihilism undermines basic human wonder. All of us need what the Greeks recognized so long ago: Beauty, Goodness, and Truth. But when what you believe is essentially a negation, when you see little evidence of benignity in the frantic ambitions of your colleagues, and when you watch “beauty” become deeply distorted by Fame?…

…well, what then, fellow wanderer? I don’t have any answers for you but I’ll let you in on a secret: if the Karma Dude smiles on you, you’ll know it for sure. Not because that smile provides any answers but because you’ll find that your questions mercifully change. Rather like a kaleidoscope.

And guess what? There isn’t any Final Exam! We all already done passed with colors flying. Isn’t that something?! I’ll beat ya to the dance floor.

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Yesterday’s donors came from this amazing list of places:

Stateside: California, Colorado, Florida, Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia

Near Abroad: Canada

Far Abroad: Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, Germany, India, Israel, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK

See you tomorrow. Or later today.

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16 thoughts on “Henny-Penny, Phone Home!

  1. Wunderbar! What a great read! You put your mind to work on this one! Well done to you Dymphna and I just laughed my way through it!

  2. Nice one D, remember Mad Cow? I remember sitting in a BK on the day it broke in UK, I was the only customer, and in the middle of the City of London. If you remember we were all go’ner die with rotted brains.

    They invented a new pathogen especially for it – the prion if I remember correctly.

    Well I suppose a ‘lefty’ would think my brain rotted anyway; after all, I sometimes use it to think for myself, which is such a weird sensation, and thoroughly forbidden in collective hysteria circles.

    This particular fairy story wiped out all the small beef farmers in the country, and there are still those who won’t eat English beef (isn’t that waycist btw) many years later.

    • American food is beginning to be exposed as something other countries don’t want to eat due to our farming practices, including what we feed animals and what we inject into plant matter. All in aid of being able to grow more, and grow it more quickly. The EU, Brazil – I can’t remember the others who’ve said no thanks – but the list is growing.

      The things we fail to understand about the herding and raising of animals are many. Reading an egg carton describing the wonderful diet of those factory caged birds is enough to make one decide to eat a vegan diet…until you find out what agribusiness does to vegetables to get the most yield with the least outlay of money.

      I don’t want to eat eggs from hens fed solely a diet of “organic soy” – where are the bugs and insects hens need for their protein?? Where is the sunshine they need to flourish?? Turns out you need to know the chicken farmer if you want to find a truly safe egg.

      I agree with you that ignorant panic wiped out the work of many small farmers in England. But there was no way to know which of the farmers had been sold cheap commercial grain with god-knows-what kinds of ground bone meal mixed into it. Turns out that those who’d unknowingly fed their ruminant animals the flesh and bones of their own kind were passing on to the public the *potential* for developing BSE.

      IOW, inadvertent cannibalism. And kuru can lie dormant for 50 years after ingestion of the original material.

      Here’s a good overview of kuru and other related disorders…it helps to have some science background to understand it completely:


      Here’s a fascinating essay on one of the original researchers who lived among the Fore people in Papua New Guinea:


      Of the two articles, the emed piece is more informative and ranges more widely into the variants of these disorders. Just graze lightly in the heavier underbrush of the science…

      I do think prions are ‘real’ but there is so much we don’t yet understand about this strange little protein. The work leading to the discovery of the prion allowed medical anthropologists to understand the transmission of kuru and that whole class of related neurodegenerative disorders. But much work remains to be done, of course, and it will be slowed down by pushback from Big Agriculture.

      Back here in the land of poisoned food, “organic” beef is supposed to designate animals who were pastured on land not sprayed with pesticides. But that label is often fraudulently used with the nudge-nudge winking complicity of our regulatory FDA. For those of us who want to eat, the key is to think small and local: small farms, small orchards, etc.

      Even the simple act of eating has been comprised by the greed and cupidity of our modern agricultural robber barons …aided by government, of course.

  3. Dymphna, someday please explain your name but in the meantime you made me smile when I read this.

    Thank you!

    • You need to return to the main page, gatesofvienna.net. The sidebar is not available on individual posts.

      If that doesn’t work, then presumably WordPress sends a reduced version of the site to iPads. Which would be unfortunate and annoying.

      • I checked my iPad after this post and indeed there is no sidebar, even from the main site, so no donate button.

        • You can use our PayPal email address directly, if you want: natintel (at) chromatism (dot) net. I don’t know if that will suffice, but some people do it that way.

    • Never fear, the Netherlands is here.

      Don’t forget this whole quarterly fundraiser thing is an octave* long. Thus, today, Holland did indeed show up with a most generous fistful of… well, whatever denominated currency Holland uses that PayPal translates into American money.
      *we learned over the years that “a week” translates to eight full days for the fundraiser. Last minute donations need to be mentioned so it slides over to the extra day. Others are a fortnight late because they were out somewhere having a life and didn’t see the Quarterly until they opened the GoV page to catch up on the news. But we have to stop somewhere.

      Oh, and then there are those who donate randomly, sure that they’ve missed the last Fundraiser boat when in actuality it is us who are late because it’s damnably difficult to gird one’s loins for a whole week of polite begging. Hmm…perhaps we ought to throw aways those girds and go with the flow.

    • Yes, we had at least one from Netherlands. But it didn’t get put in the database and processed before post time last night. It will show up in the next list.

  4. “She was one of those sadly secular Jews who had a Palestine bumper sticker on her car.”

    A very pathetic and disturbingly common species. I once briefly had an (obviously-from-her-physical-appearance) Jewish girlfriend who wanted myself and my three pre-teen children to attend a “Arab Food Fair” in Lakemba, Sydney. Lakemba is the epicentre of Australian jihadist activity. (see GoV posts mentioning Lakemba). “Are you nuts?” I replied. “It’ll be great so multicultural. Your raising your kids to be racists” she, a childless woman beyond child-bearing years, countered. “No, I’m raising them to be discriminating, in the traditional sense of the word.”

    So I called her bluff. “We’ll go if you wear a tee-shirt with a Star of David on the front and ‘Israel has a right to exist’ on the back – I’ll pay for it. We’ll remain in the car whilst you walk 200m down Haldon St [through the fair]. If and when you return without a knife in your back, we’ll get out of the car.” We didn’t go.

    In London she had had two married Pakistani boyfriends in succession. “Educated, English born – really nice guys!” And both imported first cousins to England from Pakistan to marry. “Don’t you understand that they would have regarded you as nothing more than a gullible freebie wh***?” (I told a Russian-Jewish friend of my question and he interjected ” No, a JEWISH wh***!”). And when the father of one died, he thought nothing wrong that he and his brother received double the inheritance their sisters did. My girlfriend did think that a bit sexist.

    • Oh heavens, Mr. O’Malley. Don’t you find walking, talking, breathing real-life caricatures fascinating in a strange way. Well, maybe “real-life” is pushing it. For some of us, self-examination would not be a good idea. And I don’t mean her BSE.

      • Dymphna,

        Once fascinating now just depressing. Her semi-secular mother (born in Breslau Germany, now Wroclaw Poland) had migrated to Mandatory Palestine as a young child and had endured being besieged and cut off in Jerusalem as a teenager in 1947-48, surviving on a half litre of drinking water and little food per day and no water for washing. She escorted primary school children to school each day under sniper fire. She became a Hebrew teacher in Australia.

        Her daughter had been thoroughly brainwashed by a pernicious education system and media, despite having participated in the Zionist Betar youth group and a once adored much older brother volunteering to serve in the IDF in 1973. He married the young widow of a comrade who had burned alive in a hit tank.

        Needless to say at family dinners and gatherings (the initial deep wariness of me evaporated quickly) my girlfriend became the odd man out in every discussion.

        I put her worldview down also to a desire to be liked and accepted by non-Jews in a very PC occupation. I have seen this phenomenon many times.

  5. ” the less you know outside your field the more credulous you tend to be when you wander away from its confines. This is especially true if you’re among the huge herd of deeply politicized and polarized secular atheists.”

    But it never seems to stop them from pontificating on things they know nothing about.

    • Have you ever noticed that people with genuine expertise are less likely to talk about it until asked? Al-gore proves that point rather too well.

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