Swedes, Petitions, Climate & Trump

The Washington Times, that august organ of the Unification Church, has a breathless headline: Hundreds of Scientists Urge Trump To Withdraw from UN Climate Treaty: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/23/hundreds-scientists-urge-trump-withdraw-un-climate/

Climate change contrarian Richard Lindzen has sent a petition to Donald Trump saying

“PETITION
We urge the United States government, and others, to withdraw from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We support reasonable and cost-effective environmental protection. But carbon dioxide, the target of the UNFCCC is not a pollutant but a major benefit to agriculture and other life on Earth. Observations since the UNFCCC was written 25 years ago show that warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign — much less than initial model predictions.”

Interestingly (presumably because Lindzen accepts a lot of the basic science) it doesn’t claim zero warming but rather that the warming will be ‘benign’. And Lindzen has 300 scientists to back him up! Including this guy:

RØMCKE Nils Håkon Swedish emailer who wished to sign the petition

I’m not joking. That is the literal entry. Many of the entries have no particular qualification listed (although ‘Nils’ is the only one with ’emailer’ listed as a qualification gawd bless ‘im).

Twenty of the signatories are from Sweden and another 19 are from Norway. Which is odd, given that otherwise, the petition is mainly an anglophone thing. There six French signatories (I believe – there are some people whose nationality is unclear) and three from Germany. There don’t seem to be any Danes. This disproportionate number of Swedes and Norwegians seem to be centred on a group calling itself clumsily ‘CLEXIT’ – that is ‘climate legislation exit’. Perhaps the petition started life in Sweden/Norway or perhaps it found its way there and one passionate Swede made an extra effort. I only counted eight people with obvious UK ties – and one of those was the infamous Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.

Australia manages to still maintain its own cadre of climate contrarians – 17 by my count, so still outnumbered by Swedes. One of whom is a senator for the far right, anti-immigrant party One Nation. Malcolm Roberts’s UN climate conspiracy theory was once described by rightwing commentator (and fellow climate contrarian) Andrew Bolt as ‘utterly stupid’.

Having said that, the bulk of the signatories are probably Americans. I count 200 who are either clearly from the US or at leats not obviously from somewhere else. Not that there is a problem with non-Americans petitioning the US President (e.g. I’m happy to suggest to him that he resigns) – it’s just that this petition neither does ‘US scientists’ well nor ‘World scientists well’ but is just what you might expect: the usual names and lots, and lots, and lots of padding. Even with Niles-the-Swedish-emailer, it struggles to get to 300.

Yet, be prepared for various people to cite this as evidence that scientists are rebelling or whatever against what we already know to be true: the Earth is warming, it’s because of us, and that’s bad news.

Keyboard politics

After the advent of the krypto-fascist synonym ‘alt-right’, some conservatives have taken to using the term ‘cntrl-left’. By this, they just mean ‘left’. However, I feel other keyboard options could be handy.

  • Tab-left: like normal left but every so often suddenly lurches to the right.
  • Apple-key left: hates multinational corporations except when they make shiny shiny tech products (mea culpa)
  • Option-left: left but with extra choices of hats.
  • Window-key left: same as the apple key left but somehow more sad.
  • Backspace-left: lurches leftward and magically disappears.
  • Caps-lock left: really shouty – handy on demonstrations.
  • Shift-left: quiet but ready to get shouty at a moments notice 
  • Esc left: present in every gathering of the left but nobody knows what they do or why they are there.
  • Fn-left: look like ‘fun’ but actually just functional.

No, but just one more thing and then I’ll shut up

The thing with the Evan McMullin killed Milo’s Career theory from our Puppy pals that really is bugging me is that it is just really, really, poor story telling. It’s too elaborate as a factual piece (unless, as I noted, moderate conservatives are pathetic at skullduggery) but worse, it’s just really bad as fiction.

No, if we are going to do fiction let us do it properly.

Who benefits specifically, with the timing and the events leading up to Milo’s fall from grace? I’ll credit the Puppies with at least getting you need a specific villain in a fictional story – the story can’t just be ‘people who don’t like nazi punks in general’.

Plotwise, for fiction rather than fact:

  1. You need a bad guy.
  2. It can’t be who you immediately expect.
  3. They have to directly benefit from both Milo’s rise & fall.
  4. When it is revealed, it all has to make sense in retrospect.

Ergo, Steve Bannon did it. I mean not really because we live in a real world where Ockham’s razor cuts such a story to shreds.

Bannon- Breitbart – Milo. Milo was great for Breitbart – stirring up shit, pulling in some angry young men and generally running interference for the alt-Right. But that was then. Bannon is next to the centre of power. Breitbart, which was once on the out fringes of conservatism is now accepted. CPAC will be Bannon’s chance to seal the deal – an alliance between wider conservatism and his own reactionary-nihilism.

Breitbart has a big presence at CPAC this year (in truth as well as in our fiction) and Bannon will appear with Reince Priebus. Donald Trump will give a keynote speech and…well some idiot invites Milo Yiannopolus. Can Bannon ensure Milo behaves? Probably not – after all he’s never needed Milo to behave, he has only ever needed Milo to stir shit. Worse, even Milo does behave at CPAC, everybody knows he has said some crazy shit which would alienate the still sceptical social conservative wing.

Solution (in fictional land): explode the scandal bomb early before it can do any collateral damage to CPAC, Trump, Breitbart or Bannon (that’s in reverse priority order).

Note only three things have actually happened to Milo:

  1. He got disinvited to a conference held by people he doesn’t like.
  2. He lost a book deal with a publisher he doesn’t like
  3. He ‘resigned’ from Breitbart.

Only one of those things looks like a betrayal…

Yeah, but in reality…nope. Events don’t need secret plots or sinister villains.

The plot, the puppy, and the provocateur

Short of something else happening, this should be the last Yiannopoulos post for the time being. Just to tie up the mini-kerfuffle in Puppydom, who is getting all the blame for this?

In general, there is a undiscriminating mix of complaints against the left and conservatives (apparently scared of the left) for the events. Notably, a common theme was that Milo’s destruction (as it is portrayed) must have been terribly well planned. The notion here is that great effort must have gone into attacking the guy.

Even a cursory look at events (an anti-Trump website tweets out an edited copy of a genuine video) does not look like it required much organisation. This article from vox.com http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/24/14715774/milo-yiannopoulos-cpac-pedophile-video-canada suggests it was a 16-year-old in Canada who prompted the website ‘The Reagan Battalion’ to post out the video. (I’m a little unclear whether she pointed them to the edited version or the longer version).

From that point, the story goes into a patch of cross-partisan-consensus reality. Reagan Battallion is ostensibly a conservative anti-Trump website and it used social media to highlight Milo’s under-aged sex comments in the video and this is what led CPAC to disinvite him etc.

So why, you might ask, is Brad Torgersen attacking somebody else? Specifically Utah libertarian and former presidential candidate Evan McMullin: https://www.facebook.com/brad.torgersen/posts/1803443563015202?pnref=story

Just to be clear about it, and speaking as someone who not only voted for Evan McMullin in November, but encouraged many others to also vote for Evan McMullin too . . . the man has sacrificed my good will and support. What he did was dirty. It doesn’t matter if he thinks his target deserved it, nor how righteous he thinks his cause is. It was dirty. It was cheap. Lying by omission. Perhaps also, false witness? It made me feel like I’d been sold a fraudulent bill of goods, back in October and November. I don’t forget stuff like that. I don’t forget it when somebody fools me in this manner. Especially not someone who claims to walk beneath my church’s banner with me. Go to the Lord, brother. He will probably be more forgiving of you than I will be. And I am not alone. You’re not getting my vote back. Ever.

The root of the Evan McMullin claim lies with an article on The Daily Caller here: http://dailycaller.com/2017/02/21/notorious-never-trump-org-funded-group-behind-milo-controversy/

That article tied The Reagan Battalion to McMullin in two ways: firstly the site supported McMullin over Trump and secondly, the group appears to have been funded by a pro-McMullin political action committee (PAC). Now, you might think that is not only very slim evidence for McMullin’s involvement but also exactly the kind of guilt-by-association that Brad likes to complain about but really we should all be used to this level of double-think now.

The clincher for the pups was not just the Daily Caller article but a tweet by McMullin in reply to a tweet claiming a plot against Milo.

Posobiec Source: $250,000 spent on opposition research on Milo. Hired PI’s and video editors. Evan McMuffin involvement confirmed

McMullin: Never cared much for Nazi punks.

https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/833765197202481152
Jack Posobiec‏@JackPosobiec

Evan McMullinVerified account‏@Evan_McMullin

My main reaction is “$250,000!”. Gosh with all the fictional Soros money for protesting or posting anti-Trump comments, plus $250,000 for pointing at a video that’s been circulating for a year, I feel like my current $0 return on saying mean things about Trump is a very poor return on investment.

Anyhoo, the snark from McMullin is, apparently, confirmation that it was him! Yes, yes, it just looks like somebody replying snarkily but that’s sufficient to make the leap from ‘supporters of McMullin posted the video’ to ‘Evan McMullin directly brought about the fall of Milo’. McMullin probably isn’t going to push back to hard against this considering that it makes him appear relatively dangerous and effective.

Still, why attack McMullin when  The Reagan Battalion clearly were the main characters in this pseudo-tragedy? Partly because The Reagan Battalion is somewhat shadowy – it isn’t clear who runs the site or what their overall aims are. This article suggest other odd connections http://www.dailydot.com/layer8/reagan-battalion-milo-yiannopoulos-never-trump/ but this article pours some cold water on some of those findings https://mic.com/articles/169118/exclusive-meet-reagan-battalion-the-anonymous-squadron-that-destroyed-milo-s-career#.L6JmuheMx

Either way around, we know that Milo is not short of enemies, everybody to the left of him because the guy is a nasty bully, anti-Trump conservatives because of his associations with the alt-Right & Breitbart, and also other factions of the alt-Right (e.g. the punchable Richard Spencer) for interfactional reasons. Given his schtick is to upset people, this isn’t surprising. To his supporters, such as Brad, this means that the solution to the non-mystery must be The Murder on the Orient Express solution, [SPOLIER] they all did it! Somehow masterminded by Evan McMullin.

So was McMullin involved? For all I know, he could have been. There is no particular evidence that he was and no reason to speculate that he was because the events were quite simple. A publically available video that had been circulating for months is posted in edited form. The edits are not some kind of technological wizardry but a minor task on a laptop. The cost of editing and posting the video would be minimal. The key element was the video coming from a platform that the right audience would see it. Even the vox.com article above feels like it over complicates the story.

So, no, we can’t eliminate the possibility of a wider more complicated plot – it is just that Ockham’s razor suggests we don’t need one to explain events. Perhaps anti-Trump conservatives really are that incompetent at oppo-research (after all they seem to have missed a lot about Trump)? Even the level-head story about the 16-year-old Canadian suggests that the Reagan Battalion had to be led to the story rather than them just doing some very basic leg-work.

 

 

The cosplay of oppression: yet another milo post

Kate Paulk has now written a post at Sarah Hoyt’s blog which, well is not a shining example of coherent argument https://accordingtohoyt.com/2017/02/24/je-suis-milo-yanno-by-kate-paulk/

The ‘je suis’ bit isn’t the most OTT bit, that’s just the first mangled reference.

Because people like them doing everything from looking the other way from the thick smoke rising from crematoriums near the “work camps” with the skeletal workers to joining in the “kick ‘em in the goolies while they’re down” party are the people evil regimes like the Nazis and the Communists need to stay in power. As long as the self-styled good people will look the other way when the fuckers target someone, they can consolidate their hold until they’ve got control of all the levers of power – the media, education, bureaucracy, government…

I’m torn between the absurdity of that paragraph and the mix of horror & outrage. The absurdity is clear and while the readership here don’t need reminding, in the US right now there is a spate of anti-semitic violence, continuing far-right terrorism, anti-semitic dog-whistles (and worse) from the Whitehouse, draconian action from the government targeting Muslims and immigrants, attacks against the independence of the judiciary. ‘When the fuckers target someone’ the fuckers are targeting people – literally with all the power of the state with nary a word of objection from puppy-quarters and a ‘guardedly optimistic‘ from the supposedly anti-state-power Hoyt.

Note: I don’t want to highlight Kate Paulk as an individual here, so much as the broader group whose ideas she is voicing.

But we get to see the mechanics of self-deception at work here. A successful white man loses a speaking gig and a book contract and this is what causes Paulk to bring out the Holocaust references. Not the militarised round-ups of immigrants, not the terror attacks from rightwing nationalists, not an increasingly authoritarian federal government. No, on these topics we get a ‘guardedly optimistic’.

Of course, we’ve seen this before in Puppydom – a predilection to clothe themselves in a theatre of horrors from Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany or Mao’s China, when faced with people simply disagreeing with them. And as always it has both been absurd to the point of being laughable AND horrific in the way they basically steal other people’s suffering and claim that is what is happening to them because…, well usually because somebody disagreed with them.

Paulk gets one aspect right: there are people who evil regimes need to stay in power. They are people who not only ignore what those regimes are doing but shout loudly about other things. They are the people who not only look the other way when the fuckers target someone but demand everybody pay attention to something else and demand that everybody acknowledge that they, because of some small or imagined slight, are the real victims while around them thuggery goes on ignored.

There is a point where Kate Paulk wanders near the truth but by this point, she is so turned around that she doesn’t see how her words apply:

I don’t care whether the target is a nice person or not. I don’t care if the target is the fucking Grand Poo-Bah of the KKK, the Big Wahoonie of the Black Panthers, or the fucking Biggest Bag of the Daeshbags. If you lie to destroy him, you are worse than he is. If you accept those lies, knowing that they are lies, because you disapprove of him, you are worse than he is.

It’s not just lies – it is disdain for the truth. If you accept what you are told and repeat what you are told JUST OUT OF PARTISANSHIP then you are no different than a liar. People have longer memories than a week, we KNOW how Sad Puppies would react if it had been a non-ingroup SF author who had said a fraction of what Milo said.

We saw the pile on of hate against individuals from Puppyland – including attempts to get individuals sacked – simply for the crime of NOT AGREEING with the Puppies or for political comments about them.

No. I can recognise an element of injustice in Milo’s current troubles but it is tiny and essentially the professional hazard that comes with being a professional controversialist. Even in the world of public-figures getting a hard time because of what they said, he’s got off lightly. And even that element of injustice that can be seen is instantly overshadowed by Milo’s own modus-operandi: this kind of shame and humiliation by manipulating public and social media IS WHAT MILO DOES – except his targets are often not people with the same kinds of support systems (or money) that Milo has. You can’t take a principled stand against those who deceive to destroy AND support Milo because HE IS the epitome of those who deceive to destroy.

In the meantime, but I regret to say not the last time, no dear conservatives, you are not somehow the modern day equivalent of the people who died in the Holocaust or the Holdomor or the Cultural Revolution or Cambodia’s Killing Fields. That isn’t the question of the day or the question of the year. The question is are you going to be the people who not only stood by while Jewish cemeteries were vandalised & white supremacists murdered people & while your government militarised your law enforcement, but cried ‘we are the real victims here!’ because the guy you wanted to speak at a conference didn’t get to go? Or, are you going to be the people who when asked afterwards ‘Did you fight this evil’ can say ‘yes’?

I’ll borrow Kate Paulk’s words to end: If you are truly conservative and you care at all about Western civilisation, the United States, or even looking at your festering vile mug in the mirror every morning, why in the fuck are you helping to destroy what you care about? Are you that much of a useless drongo?