More from that VDH piece

September 8th, 2019

Zero:

As an undergraduate and graduate student at hotbeds of prior 1960s protests at UC Santa Cruz and Stanford, I don’t think I had a single conservative professor. Yet there were few faculty members, in Western Civilization, history, classics, or mandatory general education science and math classes, who either sought to indoctrinate us with their liberal world view or punished us for remaining conservative.

It was jarring to see old-fashioned demands for Ciceronian style in Latin prose composition classes occasionally coming from professors with jeans, long hair, and sandals, or to be introduced to artificially informal profs (“Oh, just call me Bob—no need for ‘Doctor’ or ‘Professor’”), who nonetheless insisted on grounding ancient historical arguments with precise references to Greek quotations in classical authors.

Well, we were right those many years ago in observing that the young losing touch with the past was a very bad thing. Little did we suspect then that soon the past would exist solely as something to be condemned. Whatever came before, wipe it out!

“The chance of reform?”

September 7th, 2019

According to VDH: zero.

How do you spell DUME?

September 7th, 2019

2000 words of gibberish in the WaPo:

In the middle of a winter’s night in 2017, Frank Luntz’s cellphone alerted him to a nearby wildfire. The longtime analyst of public opinion opened his bedroom curtains and saw, less than a mile away, flames chewing the dark sky over Los Angeles. Luntz — who specializes in how the public reacts to words — saw scary evidence of a threat that he once tried to neutralize with language. In 2001, he’d written a memo of environmental talking points for Republican politicians and instructed them to scrub their vocabulary of “global warming,” because it had “catastrophic connotations,” and rely on another term: “climate change,” which suggested “a more controllable and less emotional challenge.”

Last month, with a revised script, Luntz appeared before the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. “I’m here before you to say that I was wrong in 2001,” Luntz said. Nearby was a colorful chart of vocabulary, developed since his polling in 2009 showed bipartisan support for climate legislation. He went on: “I’ve changed. And I will help you with messaging, if you wish to have it.” Don’t talk about threats, he told the senators. Talk about consequences. Don’t talk about new jobs created by green energy. Talk about new careers. And sustainability? “Stop,” Luntz said. “Sustainability is about the status quo.”

Even the committee’s name had a troublesome word in it: “crisis.” It’s flabby from overuse, Luntz thought. If everything is a crisis, then nothing is. From a word standpoint, that’s true. And sometimes it feels true in the real world. The phone in your hand has become a police scanner of unfolding crises. The Kashmir crisis, the Hong Kong crisis, the border crisis, the trade crisis, the measles crisis. The crisis of mass shootings, of the national debt, of Puerto Rico, Brexit, the Amazon. And, yes, the climate crisis, formerly climate change — somehow the least tangible but most alarming of the crises, which makes it trickier to talk about.

Those who are talking about it have ratcheted up their rhetoric. In May, the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg ditched “climate change” for “climate breakdown” or “climate emergency.” The Guardian now uses “climate catastrophe” in its articles. A resistance movement born in Europe last year named itself Extinction Rebellion, partly to normalize the notion of aggressive action in a life-or-death situation.

Luntz wants defter language. “The strongest advocates for a particular issue are often the worst communicators,” he says later by phone, because “they forget that the people they need to convince are not themselves or their friends.”

The climate problem is not just scientific. It’s linguistic. If we can agree how to talk and write about an issue that affects us all, maybe we can understand and fix it together.

But words can be clumsy tools. They can be too dull to puncture ignorance, or so sharp that people flinch and turn away. Is “change” appropriately neutral, or unjustly neutered? Is an “emergency” still an “emergency” after months or years? Does “catastrophe” motivate people, or make them hide under the bed? How long before words such as “breakdown” and “extinction” lose their bite? And if we keep returning to the dictionary for new words to replace them, will there eventually be any left?

The second volume of the fourth National Climate Assessment is 1,515 pages long. The word “likely” appears 867 times, sometimes after “very” or “extremely.” Last spring, as they distilled data into text, the scientists who wrote the report spent long hours debating the usage of “likely.”

Without significant action to curb climate change, they wrote in the final chapter, “it is very likely that some physical and ecological impacts will be irreversible for thousands of years, while others will be permanent.” When translated to conversational English, “very likely” becomes “this is something really bad and totally crazy and wild,” says one author of the report, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

“Why don’t we use plain language and say, ‘Yes, this is crazy and, yes, you should be freaking out’? Because that’s not fair. That’s not the role of the National Climate Assessment,” the author says. “But then we sort of fail as a community in actually getting people to understand the severity of it.”

The science community is supposed to interpret for the rest of us, but its dialect does not always pack rhetorical oomph. “I didn’t realize that pointing to a climate graph I think is the Rosetta stone — people don’t see it the way I see it,” says Brenda Ekwurzel, director of climate science for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “We as humans don’t experience an exponential curve viscerally, in our gut.”

In the industrial age, environmentalist writers have tried to access the brain via the gut. “Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth,” Henry David Thoreau wrote in the 19th century. In the 1960s, Rachel Carson envisioned an ecosystem silenced by chemicals: “Everywhere was a shadow of death.” In the 1980s, as global warming was first debated widely, Bill McKibben pondered “the end of nature” itself.

But “there’s a point at which words like ‘climate change’ become part of your mental furniture,” McKibben says in an interview. “Like ‘urban violence’ — things that are horrible problems but you just repeat the thing so often that people’s minds kind of skip over them.”

Terms lose their power as they get used over many years, says Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, and “come to accrete their own set of connotations.” Such as: elitist, liberal, socialist. When thousands of pages of analysis become a two-word slogan, it passes from science to politics. Facts become less important than feelings. For some people, “climate change” is a wedge word synonymous with “hoax” and calls to mind former vice president Al Gore. For others, it summons the specter of ExxonMobil and is a rallying cry for restructuring the global economy.

“The facts do not speak for themselves,” says Richard Buttny, a professor in the department of communication and rhetorical studies at Syracuse University. “People make decisions based on values.” And therein lies an opportunity, according to Kim Cobb, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Tech. Scientists observe and publish findings for the public, Cobb says, but then often fail to “recognize the emotional toll this takes on the recipient and the challenge to their core values.”

Cobb refrains from using words such as “crisis” and “emergency” on Twitter, where the character limit discourages context and nuance. Instead, she elevates language about solutions, and about the emotions triggered by the science, in the hopes of widening the circle of understanding.

“We’re way behind creating these communities for shared values and shared goals,” Cobb says. “And from that comes shared language.” We are gradually building that language to talk about where we are, where we’re going and about the emotions that accompany that knowledge.

The Germans have a word for feeling guilty about flying on airplanes: “flugscham,” or “flight shame.” The biologist Edward O. Wilson has a word for a future epoch following a profound loss of species: “the Eremocine,” or “the Age of Loneliness.” Karla Brollier, founder of the Climate Justice Initiative, is listening to her fellow indigenous Alaskans as their language evolves to include loss and adaptation, without relying on words such as “climate refugee” that connote victimhood. Jennifer Atkinson’s students at the University of Washington at Bothell have used “blissonance” to describe the feeling of enjoying a record-hot day in winter — while recognizing that climate change might have something to do with it. “Solastalgia,” coined by environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht, means distress over change in one’s home environment. Atkinson phrases it as a homesickness without ever having left home.

Her students “describe how the sound of frogs has slowly disappeared over time — these changes that destabilize connections to personal memories,” says Atkinson, a senior lecturer at Bothell. “Unlike with personal bereavement, we don’t have a vocabulary for the grief people have for the loss of the natural world.”

Her course is called “Environmental Anxiety and Climate Grief.” One of the goals is to search for ways of communicating outside the bounds of science and its “value-neutral” vocabulary — all those likelys and somewhat likelys.

“We’re moving into an age of great earnestness, because we’re trying to figure out, ‘How do we show up for each other?’ ” says Sarah Myhre, a climate and ocean scientist who has studied social and ecological decision-making. “And the language that’s being used in my spaces is all about heart-centered work.”

Whereas Frank Luntz once tried to strip the climate problem of emotional resonance, Atkinson, Myhre and others are acknowledging and amplifying it. Whereas science has traditionally been guided by dispassionate, male-centric authority, women are rewording climate conversations to honor the collective, connective nature of the problem.

And how we talk about the environment affects how we think about it. In the colonial and industrial ages, Myhre says, our language reflected an idea of the natural world as an inventory of useful commodities — separate from, and subservient to, humanity.

Trees became timber. Animals became livestock. Oil and coal became fuels. And thus a cultural problem has given birth to an environmental one, says Daniel Wildcat, a professor at Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas. “Think of how our worldview changes if we shift from thinking that we live in a world full of resources,” he says, “to a world where we live among relatives.”

In June, the White House slashed its red pen through certain labels in written congressional testimony from a State Department analyst. When the analyst used “possibly catastrophic” to describe the future impacts of climate change, a member of the National Security Council typed a note in the margin: “not a science-based assessment but advocacy for the climate-alarm establishment.”

The analyst listed “tipping point processes” on a page that was entirely crossed out. A note in the margin: “?‘Tipping points’ is a propaganda slogan designed to frighten the scientifically illiterate.” Some activists believe fright is appropriate, and they’re eager to use keener language than “tipping points” to do it.

“We’ve been told for years: ‘Don’t scare people, people don’t want to know the bad news’ — and all that’s meant is nothing’s changed,” says Charlie Waterhouse, founder of the company behind Extinction Rebellion’s branding. “We know that we have to up the ante, and we have to have a more extreme position because that opens that crack that lets other people follow.”

The word “extinction” is a blunt instrument that whacks at complacency. The word “rebellion” invites enlistees and subverts established power structures.

But this “constant inflation” in terminology hampers rational discussion, says the Danish author Bjorn Lomborg, whose skeptical writings on the economics of climate action have riled scientists and activists. Words such as “catastrophe” and “extinction” imply that we should either cower and do nothing, or overreact and do everything, says Lomborg, who is president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center.

“The conversation we should have is: How do we make smart policies that cost less than the damage they reduce?” Lomborg writes in an email. “Climate policy shouldn’t be done with labels but with careful analysis.”

We don’t need labels as much as we used to, back when the effects of climate change were forecast instead of seen and felt. “In a certain sense, words are no longer as necessary as they once were,” says McKibben, author of “The End of Nature.” “Twenty or 30 years ago we were describing things that hadn’t happened yet, so you couldn’t take a picture of them. Now every single day you can take 1,000 pictures around the world of the trauma of climate change.”

Nearly two decades after Frank Luntz recommended it, “climate change” may still be the closest thing to a shared language that Americans have for describing what’s happening to the planet. But we diverge from there. Scientists speak about consequences. Activists speak about crises and catastrophes. Politicians speak about doubt and propaganda. And if you’re paying attention, you’ll hear nature speaking loudly for itself.

Or of course you could take a different perspective. Hey, don’t blame the author of the WaPo piece. He went to school being taught good things about the two greatest larceny scams in human history, communism/socialism and this “climate” nonsense. (Say, what are the Dems campaigning on this year?)

More climate wisdom

September 6th, 2019

NH:

An academic in Sweden has come up with a novel way to fight climate change – cannibalism. Magnus Söderlund of the Stockholm School of Economics suggested the macabre solution at a conference in the city earlier this week focused on foods of the future, GastroSummit. He delivered a talk titled ‘Can You Imagine Eating Human Flesh?’, the Epoch Times reports, in which he said people could be convinced to eat human flesh, but first they have to be persuaded to taste it. Dr Söderlund was asked afterwards by Sweden’s TV4 if he’d be willing to try human flesh himself. “I feel somewhat hesitant but to not appear overly conservative, I’d have to say I’d be open to at least tasting it.”

Hey, why is this guy in jail? He was just trying to save the planet.

Imagine – Not!

September 5th, 2019

Almost nothing is more bizarre than imaginary oppression, like (1) the AGW nutty freak show on CNN – hey, if you’re 4% of the world population, nothing you do can matter much, even if their nutty hypothesis were true. And how about (2) “San Francisco intends to declare the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization,” when a real and addressable problem of people, poop and pills on the streets urgently needs fixing.

Good news at least: no one watched the CNN idiocy.

Daily chuckle

September 4th, 2019

AOC:

Every coastal city to go underwater. Every Midwestern city or large swaths of the middle of the country experiencing drought on a level that we have not seen, that’s gonna be way more expensive. You think artificially having to create our food supply because the earth can no longer can stustain growing foods naturally, or the sun is scorching the earth so much that we can’t grow the food we used to be able to grow? That’s going to be a lot more expensive

No, the statement above isn’t the Daily Chuckle. That comes from reading the link, which says “The ad was meant to paint Ocasio-Cortez as vapid and ignorant. The problem? Everything she said is correct.” Chuckle while watching this country circle the drain.

Bonus nonsense: what happens if Diet Coke floods the earth?

A couple more numbers

September 3rd, 2019

FT:

Over the past 10 years, Chinese banks have been on a credit and money creation binge. They have created $21 trillion of new money since 2009, more than 2x the amount of money supply created in the US, Europe, and Japan combined over the same period. In total, China’s money supply stands at $28 trillion. It equals the size of broad money supply in the US and Europe put together, yet China’s nominal GDP is only 2/3 that of the US.

Much more at ZH. In particular, it is said that US bank assets have increased $2.1 trillion since 2008, while the comparable number in China is over $15 trillion. This is the first time we have seen these particular comparative numbers, so we’ll have to study them a bit, but they seem odd.

More of the same

September 2nd, 2019

Paglia:

She recalls a “horrifying” example from her classroom a few years ago. She was teaching “Go Down, Moses, ” the famous Negro spiritual. “The whole thing is about antiquity,” she says, “but obviously it has contemporary political references.” She passed out the lyrics and played the music, “and it suddenly hit me with horror—none of them recognized the name ‘Moses.’ And I thought: Oh my God, when Moses is erased from the West, what is left of Western civilization?”

Zip, Zero, Nada.

The consequences of “we don’t need no edumacation”

September 2nd, 2019

FB:

10% of Democratic voters below the age of 34 are backing Biden, putting him in a distant third behind Bernie Sanders’s 31% and Elizabeth Warren’s 25%. The former vice president has maintained his frontrunner status thanks to the strength of his support among older voters like the ones in this Rock Hill audience. He dominates the over-65 demographic, for example, with 48 percent support compared with Warren’s 20 percent.

50-60% of the young like socialism, which means what? This: GDP per capita in Venezuela is heading towards $4000 and lower, versus $60,000 in the US; US GDP per capita is 15x that of the socialist paradise, and will be even higher every year. (PLUS: the US actually has food!!!)

K-12, college, and grad school have ruined the young people in this country. Is there any solution?

Guess who

September 1st, 2019

Guess who, via AT: While they did not delve into details, they praised the woman’s questions and failed to rule out the consideration of a “meat tax” in the U.S. “Thank you for the question, and it’s a good question. All I can say is if we believe, as I do and you do, that climate change is real, we’re gonna have to tackle it in every area, including agriculture,” they said. “In fact, one of the things we want to do with our farmers out there is help them become more aggressive and able to help us combat climate change, rather than contribute to it,” they continued. “You’re right. We got to look at agriculture. We’ve got to look at every cause of the crisis that we face,” he added.

Answer: it could have been any one of these fools. We have a huge crisis, but it’s not the one they imagine.

Nasty Absurdity

September 1st, 2019

18 years after the film Trading Places was released, the FCOJ trading floor was destroyed. 18 years after that, the guy who planned the destruction is awaiting trial.

A couple of good reads

August 31st, 2019

(1) Ed Timperlake on Hong Kong. (2) Conrad Black on Boris.

We wish for a time when media commentators and some politicians could spontaneously laugh raucously (a) whenever someone starts speaking oh-so-seriously about Climate Change, and (b) whenever AOC says anything at all. That would be fun.

Nuke the hurricanes!!!

August 30th, 2019

We never heard of this Westerhout person, a “spy from day one,” though we did remember the secret resistance movement claimed by the NYT. Now she’s gone. We would not be surprised to learn that the hilarious and absurd Nuke The Hurricanes meme was part of a plan to identify this creature.

Hey, imagine the hilarity of the meetings in the WaPo and NYT editorial committees as they pondered their imagined real scenarios of Nuke The Hurricanes. Fantastically funny!

Some serious, some silly

August 29th, 2019

(1) On the serious side, a piece at PL on Comey that we can’t bear to read, because we are so tired of the crooks; (2) a tiny bit of hilarity from Brennan, since we know what their defense will be – Treason! or something similar; (3) a piece referring to both Frank Pentangeli and Sergeant Schultz – there’s a first!

Warren Buffett’s cash – $122 billion

August 28th, 2019

BI:

Warren Buffett’s mountain of cash may be a warning to investors that stocks are overvalued and that a crash is around the corner. The investing guru’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate held a record $122 billion in cash at the end of June, funds that could be deployed to boost its holdings in Apple, Amazon, and Bank of America or used to acquire companies.

Berkshire’s cash pile is worth nearly 60% of its $208 billion portfolio of public companies. In the past 32 years, the group held more cash as a percentage of its portfolio only in the years leading up to the financial crisis of 2008, according to Bloomberg.

One reason Buffett might prefer to keep cash in the bank is that stocks are overvalued. The so-called Oracle of Omaha’s favorite yardstick for the stock market — its capitalization as a percentage of gross domestic product — supports that claim.. That ratio reached 154% in 2017 — surpassing the 146% it notched at the height of the dot-com bubble in 2000 and the 137% it posted just before the financial crisis in 2007, Bloomberg said. Given the stock market’s gains over the past 18 months, that percentage is undoubtedly even higher today.

Berkshire Hathaway has been amassing cash for a while. The company boasted $111 billion at the end of June 2018, a record at the time. A crash didn’t immediately follow, indicating the cash pile doesn’t necessarily signal an imminent downturn. Buffett would prefer to put Berkshire Hathaway’s cash to work in acquiring companies rather than buying stock, he wrote in his latest letter to shareholders. But current valuations are prohibitively high.

“We hope to move much of our excess liquidity into businesses that Berkshire will permanently own,” he said. “The immediate prospects for that, however, are not good: Prices are sky-high for businesses possessing decent long-term prospects.” “That disappointing reality means that 2019 will likely see us again expanding our holdings of marketable equities,” he added. “We continue, nevertheless, to hope for an elephant-sized acquisition.”

Re Bloomberg above, they’ve said some nutty things about the G7 and other matters. As for the 2007 comment above, that’s when the sub-prime disaster was just starting. We don’t see anything comparable on the horizon, unless the China overleverage situation is much worse than it seems at the moment. Stay tuned.

Even more of “the skim is the scam”

August 28th, 2019

RCI:

More than three months after President Trump granted his attorney general unprecedented power to declassify intelligence files, key U.S. intelligence agencies are still withholding documents related to the Trump-Russia affair, say people with direct knowledge of White House discussions on the subject.

The source of the logjam: the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which Trump is in the process of shaking up after the resignations last month of its director, Dan Coats, and principal deputy, Sue Gordon. “Establishment” officials in that agency are still dragging their feet, say the sources, who spoke on condition that they not be further identified.

Sources who have seen the documents generally described their contents to Real Clear Investigations. They said the material still under wraps includes:

– Evidence that President Obama’s CIA, FBI, and Justice Department illegally eavesdropped on the Trump campaign – cases separate from the FBI’s disputed FISA court-approved surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

– An August 2016 briefing CIA Director John Brennan hand-delivered in a sealed envelope to Obama, containing information from what Brennan claimed was “a critical informant close to Putin.” The informant is believed to have actually been a Russian source recycled from the largely debunked dossier compiled by ex-British agent Christopher Steele for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

– An email exchange from December 2016 between Brennan and FBI Director James Comey, in which Brennan is said to have argued for using the dossier in early drafts of the task force’s much-hyped January 2017 intelligence assessment. That spread the narrative that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the alleged Clinton campaign hacking to steal the election for Trump.

– Copies of all FBI, CIA and State Department records related to Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious Maltese professor whose statements regarding Papadopoulos allegedly triggered the original Russia-collusion probe.

Transcripts of 53 closed-door interviews of FBI and Justice Department officials and other witnesses conducted by the House Intelligence Committee. The files were sent to the agency last November.

The transcripts “demonstrate who was lying and expose the bias that existed against Trump before and after his election,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) of the House Judiciary Committee. They also reportedly contain evidence of a Democratic National Committee attorney maintaining Russia-related contacts with the CIA during the 2016 campaign.

HT: PL. So we have Biden and China, the warming clowns and their allies, Deep State (Comey, Clapper, Brennan and their crews), and so many others, and all this is coming to light because of one man.

Fascinating

August 28th, 2019

Via AT:

On April 25, 2019, Joe Biden declared his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. Seven days later, on May 3, 2019, the Chinese sent a diplomatic cable to the Trump Administration blowing up a 150-page draft agreement that had taken many months to negotiate. The cable was riddled with reversals by China that undermined core U.S. demands. In each of the seven chapters of the trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: theft of intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation. A coincidence or a premeditated scenario?

Joe Biden, in his days in the Senate, was very partial to China, as he voted against revoking China’s most-favored nation status and in 2007 opposed the idea of applying any tariffs on China despite their obvious unfair trade practices. However, it was as Vice President that he became wholly enamored with the country and its leadership.

For example, while in China, Biden, in August of 2011, defended and approved of China’s one-child policy which brutally used forced abortions to implement the law. In the same year Biden was given the assignment, by Barack Obama, to be the point man on China due his close personal relationship with Xi Jinping, then Vice-President and heir apparent to the Presidency. (Xi Jinping is currently President and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, the most powerful figure in China’s political system).

Due solely to Joe Biden’s influence, in 2011, less than a year after starting Rosemont Seneca Partners, essentially a three-man investment firm with Chris Heinz (stepson of John Kerry), Biden’s son Hunter, who had no previous experience in private equity, was in China to explore business opportunities with Chinese state-owned enterprises. These meetings occurred just hours before Joe Biden met with the Chinese president in Washington. Later in the same year, Hunter had a second meeting with many of the same Chinese financial powerhouses – just two weeks after his father, the Vice President, conducted U.S.-China strategic talks in Washington with Chinese officials.

Much more at the link, including a nice picture of Biden with Xi Jinping. It sure looks like “the skim is the scam” is even bigger than we thought.

Perfect

August 28th, 2019

thelocal:

Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg is set to arrive in New York on Tuesday, after a two-week Atlantic crossing on a yacht. The Malizia II racing yacht – skippered by Pierre Casiraghi, the son of Monaco’s Princess Caroline, and German round-the-world sailor Boris Herrmann – left Plymouth in southern England on August 14th for a two-week voyage in order to enable the Swedish teen to attend a UN summit on zero emissions in September in New York.

The 16-year-old, whose school strikes have inspired children across the world to protest against global warming, refuses to fly because of the carbon emissions caused by planes. On Monday, the sailboat was nearing the US coast with strong downwinds. “Strong winds are pushing us west. We expect to arrive at North Cove Marina in Manhattan, New York, sometime Tuesday afternoon or evening,” Thunberg wrote on Twitter.

Her voyage has however sparked controversy after a spokesman for Herrmann, the yacht’s co-skipper, told Berlin newspaper TAZ that several people would fly into New York to help take the yacht back to Europe. Herrmann himself will also return by plane, according to the spokesman. Team Malizia’s manager insisted however that the young activist’s journey would be climate neutral, as the flights would “be offset”.

NYT: The long-term health effects of rising temperatures and heat waves are expected to be one of the most dangerous consequences of climate change, causing “tens of thousands of additional premature deaths per year across the United States by the end of this century,” according to the federal government’s Global Change Research Program.

Yup: the UN, a 16 year old sailing for 2 weeks, some government scam, and the NYT. These idiots deserve one another.

Seven Hours

August 27th, 2019

CNN:

the network also announced the CNN journalists and the approximate appearance times for the presidential hopefuls during the seven-hour, live event.

A CNN poll conducted in late April showed that 96% of Democrats favored taking aggressive action to slow the effects of climate change. And Democratic activists in recent weeks have sought to elevate the issue, urging candidates to make climate change a priority.

The United Nations — which projects that temperatures will rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030 — has warned that governments must take “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

Global warming would have several devastating consequences. It would cause coastal cities to disappear under water, leaving hundreds of millions of people displaced and forced to migrate to dry areas. Some plants and animals would face extinction, and drought would result in lower crop yields.

Overheard reactions: (1) “Do not pass go; do not collect $200″; (2) “Was I really that bad God that I’m damned to hell? Couldn’t I go to purgatory instead?”

Our advice: do not spend $15MM on a 1,300,000 square foot beachfront property with a 6,892 square foot house on a little island that’s bound “to disappear under water” in 10 years.

Still climbing the ladder

August 27th, 2019

SCMP:

China’s end-June ratio of debt to GDP, a widely-used parameter to measure macro leverage and economic health, rose to 249.5 per cent from 248.8 at the end of March and 243.7 at the end of 2018, according to new figures released by the Beijing-based National Institution for Finance and Development (NIFD) on Tuesday. Beijing has allowed its budget deficit to increase and authorised more local bond issuance this year to support the economy through investment, particularly in infrastructure. Even so, fixed asset investment grew only 5.7 per cent in the first seven months of the year, only slightly higher than the decades-low 5.6 per cent growth over the first five months. “Some sectors need to increase their leverage. This is defensive and would prevent a large decline in growth momentum that would have a [negative] influence on indicators like employment,” said Robin Xing, chief China economist at Morgan Stanley.

Climbing, climbing. When you get to the top of the ladder, what will you see?