Climate Change Questions

From Watts Up With That:

The issue of climate change (aka global warming) depends on the answers to three questions being “yes”.
1) Is the planet getting warmer?
2) Is the warming due to human activity?
3) Is this warming going to lead to disaster?

It seems 96% of atmospheric scientists answer question 1 as “yes”.

In another survey, 29% of scientists surveyed say it’s entirely human activity, and 38% say “mostly” (60-80%) human activity.

In a third survey, half believe the effects will be primarily (47%) or exclusively (3%) negative over the next half century.

So, the consensus for an anthropogenic climate change disaster is
96% X 67% X 50% = 32%.

It would be interesting to see the answer to a question 2A) “Can humans significantly reverse the warming of the planet?”

Charts and details at the link up top.

Mass Shootings

John Lott has a report on mass shootings. A minority have any definite religious or political message. (Hat tip, hotair.com)

Based on this chart:

Religion: 68% have no mention of religion.

Of those with religion mentioned, 10% are Muslim.

The sum of all Christian denominations is 9%.

Buddhist, of all things, make up 1%.

Politics: 72% have no mention of politics.

Islamic extremism accounts for 10%.

“Conservative” and “Right-wing” each account for 3%, for a total of 6%.

“Liberal” and “Left-wing” account for 4%. So mass shootings due to Islamic extremism are equal to the mass shootings due to the political Left and Right, combined.

Somehow, we’re probably to infer from this that Muslims are being unfairly targeted or something.

More ADL Pieces

From HotAir.com

About Those Misleading ADL Statistics On Anti-Semitism (And Right-Wing Violence)

JOHN SEXTON
October 31, 2018

“According to the ADL, the number of anti-Semitic attacks has jumped by nearly 60% in the first year that Donald Trump was in office.” But that’s not any more accurate than her claim about ISIS, as Robby Soave at Reason pointed out yesterday.

The ADL statistic captures anti-Semitic “incidents,” which is a much broader category of behavior than “hate crimes” or “attacks.” Incidents include things like bullying in schools—which is bad, but usually not indicative of criminal conduct…

The ADL report came up with three subcategories of anti-Semitic incidents: vandalism, harassment, and assault. An increase in vandalism accounts for much of the overall increase, but Bernstein doubts that all of the included incidents were actually examples of anti-Semitism. The harassment category also saw an increase, largely due to a series of bomb threats against Jewish institutions in the U.S. made by a disturbed Israeli teen. It’s not at all clear that these threats were motivated by anti-Semitism.

Finally, the assault category saw a 47 percent decrease.

Soave also refers to this article at the Volokh Conspiracyby David Bernstein which suggests the ADL report is intentionally misleading, at least with regard to the bomb threats against Jewish Centers (something I wrote about extensively when it was happening):

There are several problems with relying on this study for Trump-bashing, however. The first is that the study includes 193 incidents of bomb threats to Jewish institutions as anti-Semitic incidents, even though by the time the ADL published the study, it had been conclusively shown that the two perpetrators of the bomb threats were not motivated by anti-Semitism. One can only guess why the ADL chose to inflate its statistics in this way, but none of the explanations speak well of it…

 

….

I could wrap this up here but I’d like to point out that the ADL also publishes an annual report titled “Murder and Extremism in the United States in 20xx.” In 2016, the ADL published this striking claim which got quoted quite a few times by people on the left: “Over the past 10 years (2007-2016), domestic extremists of all kinds have killed at least 372 people in the United States. Of those deaths, approximately 74% were at the hands of right-wing extremists, about 24% of the victims were killed by domestic Islamic extremists, and the remainder were killed by left-wing extremists.”

Last year I asked ADL if they could provide the information to back up that claim because the actual data is not available on their website and wasn’t included in the 2016 report itself. Initially, they responded and agreed they would pull together some information for me. But it never arrived. I sent 2 or 3 follow-up emails over a period of months and they never responded to those at all.

….

I guess it’s fair to say white supremacists are doubly dangerous to their immediate family, but I don’t think that’s what most people have in mind when they skim a report titled “Murder and Extremism in the United States in 20xx.”

Similar to what it is doing with its handling of anti-Semitic incidents, the ADL appears to be padding the numbers. In the case of the extremism reports, the ADL never hid the fact it was including these non-ideological murders, but I suspect most people reading a quote second hand, like the one I started this with above, aren’t fully aware what is included in the bottom line.

30

Is the ADL squandering its credibility?

From the Volokh Conspiracy…

Has There Been a Surge of Anti-Semitism Under and Because of Trump?

In short, probably not. And about that ADL study everyone is citing…

….

Those who wish to blame Trump have an ace in the hole, an Anti-Defamation League study that purports to show an almost 60 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents between 2016 and 2017, which is implicitly blamed on Trump. This study has been cited on over and over in response to Pittsburgh.

There are several problems with relying on this study for Trump-bashing, however. The first is that the study includes 193 incidents of bomb threats to Jewish institutions as anti-Semitic incidents, even though by the time the ADL published the study, it had been conclusively shown that the two perpetrators of the bomb threats were not motivated by anti-Semitism. One can only guess why the ADL chose to inflate its statistics in this way, but none of the explanations speak well of it.

….

Is this what the Democrats want to run on?

Sheryl Attkisson writes that Democrats seem determined to shoot themselves in the foot.

Here are 10 big-ticket causes that have put Democrats largely on the wrong side of most Americans ahead of the midterm elections:

  • Support of sanctuary cities. Most Americans, even Hispanics, oppose sanctuary cities.
  • Blaming “racism” for everything. Overuse of the term makes it lose its meaning. If everyone is racist, then nobody is.
  • Silencing certain views. Many people who aren’t particularly political understand the dangers of censorship and will step up to oppose it.
  • Opposing border enforcement. About 80 percent of Americans support secure borders. They also oppose “open borders” and want a border wall.
  • Backing those who kneel for the American flag. A majority of Americans say it’s “never appropriate to kneel for the flag” or to kneel for the National Anthem. Eight in 10 say it’s “never appropriate to burn an American flag.”
  • Impeaching President Trump. First, it was for Russia. Now, it’s over taxes. But most Americans oppose impeaching Trump. (It’s not even close.)
  • Abolishing ICE. Even most Democrats oppose doing away with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
  • Chasing Republicans out of restaurants. The imagery transforms people such as GOP senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas into sympathetic figures under assault from unreasonable mobs.
  • The Kavanaugh chaos. The fight over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh highlighted multiple tactics that many find objectionable: the weaponization of #MeToo, mob behavior, a guilty-until-proven-innocent mentality. It also gave Republicans the opportunity to fight back strongly (for once) and win, in a way for which their constituents had long thirsted.
  • Illegal immigration caravan. Whoever may have thought that a “caravan” of people from Central America overrunning the Mexican border, on their way to demand entry to the United States, would be anything other than a motivator for the majority of Americans who support border enforcement — that person fails to understand all of the above.

This piece also mentions the #WalkAway movement.

Even some liberals have been so turned off by radical elements that it has prompted a movement to leave the Democratic Party, called #walkaway.

Sure, Liberals are saying the movement is all Russian Bots. Well, maybe some of the entries are Russian bots, but if they are, I have a feeling they wound up seeding the area, and giving a place for people who have gotten fed up to say #metoo.

Laws and Communities

This letter appeared at Cafe Hayek, as an example of the importance of local knowledge (in contrast to dictates from a non-local authority). It’s easy for someone to decree “there ought to be a law”, and wind up causing more trouble than the law is able to solve, simply because of a lack of knowledge about the particular circumstances.

Another theme I’ve noticed has to do with the difference between law and legislation. To the extent that law is a description of what actually happens, you can’t change the laws by decree. You can write legislation, but if it violates natural law, it won’t work.

Dear Editor:

Today’s NY Times has a heart wrenching piece about how employers disregarded the needs of pregnant employees. The stories presented sound horrific. Although, I always want to fully hear the other side.

In fact, as a small business owner — who ran a warehouse — I can speak to that other side.

First and foremost, employers’ responsibility is to assure fairness to ALL employees and keep peace in the workplace. When making special accomodations for one employee, an employer must ensure she is not overly burdening other employees. Most particularly, we must avoid divisive resentment. Both of these require the assistance of the disabled employee.

Over the years two different warehouse employees were pregnant. Employee A solicited the help of her co-workers. She found ways to lessen their load to compensate for the added burden she placed on them. Employee B used the law to demand special accomodation. Employee B showed little concern for how her request impacted others.

In situation A, it was a pleasure to provide special accommodation. All happily chipped in.

In situation B, all the other employees complained about fairness to them — how they had to do the hard work for Employee B. Resent abounded, other employees claimed their own disabilities — so they also could get accommodations, etc. The workplace — despite my best efforts — became angry.

Laws do not overcome human nature. Workplaces are communities. If we want to help those with “special” needs, it is as much incumbent upon the disabled employee as it is on the employer. After all none of us want an employer to be a dictator using the law to force employees to act against their own will. Stricter and stricter laws do exactly that — force employers to dictate policies that should happen naturally in a community of workers.

[emphasis added]

Immigration I.D.E.A.L. Program

 

The Immigration Designed to Enhance American Lives (IDEAL) policy is a two-pronged approach to making America stronger while improving immigrant lives.

POLICY OVERVIEW
1) LONG-TERM VISA PROGRAM
The IDEAL policy creates a long-term visa program in which 3mm immigrants are selected to live in the U.S. per year.

The IDEAL policy is simple and includes the following details:

  • Immigrants pay $30,000 for a five-year live/work visa renewable for an additional five years at no additional cost contingent upon each IDEAL immigrant proving to be a net asset to the U.S. economy.
  • At the end of ten years, immigrants whose impact to the U.S. is net positive are eligible for citizenship. Immigrants with a net negative impact will be asked to leave the U.S. Acceptance and impact will be determined by a pre-determined scoring system.
  • IDEAL visa-holders are ineligible for any government benefits until attaining full citizenship and IDEAL visa-holders will be required to secure health insurance through an employer or through other means during those ten years.

Each applicant is given an acceptance score and ranking based on the following criteria:

  • Age;
  • Education level;
  • English language proficiency;
  • Existing job offers from one or more U.S. companies;
  • Previous successful U.S. work history; and
  • Willingness to live in a IWC (Immigrant Welcoming Community).

An Immigrant Welcoming Community meets all of the following criteria:

  • An urban or rural community in the bottom 25% of U.S. income;
  • A community that has suffered population losses over the preceding decade; and
  • A community that opts-in to the IDEAL program via local government consent.

Applicants must pass the following baseline criteria to be eligible for the program:

  • Basic health screening;
  • Extensive background check.

2) GUEST WORKER VISA PROGRAM
The IDEAL policy also creates a guest worker visa program.

  • Guest worker visas extend for one year and cost $2,500;
  • Applicants are required to have a bona fide job offer in hand to apply;
  • Guest worker visas can be renewed twice, each time for an additional year.

After three years of successful participation under the program, guest workers could:

  • Apply for the Long-Term IDEAL Visa program; or
  • Return to their country of origin for a one-year period before applying again.

Guest workers are ineligible for any government benefits and are required to secure health insurance. In addition, guest workers are required to obey all relevant employment laws in the state and locality in which they work, and must avoid any criminal convictions.

I like this.

It might need some tuning. For example, it’s tempting to make the cost of the guest worker visa comparable to what migrants typically pay a coyote to smuggle them in (still a bargain since there’s much less of dying in the middle of the desert, being assaulted by a coyote, or being caught and deported).

Voter ID

The ‘Voter ID Is Racist’ Con

[snip]
Former Vice President Joe Biden called Trump’s assertion that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election a “flat lie.” But Biden did not stop there. The Republican support for voter ID, he said, was all about suppressing minority votes: “It’s what these guys are all about, man. Republicans don’t want working-class people voting. They don’t want black folks voting.” Last year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., denounced “racist voter ID laws and voter suppression tactics (that) sprout like weeds all across the country.” In a press conference in July, CNN’s April Ryan asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders: “So, Sarah, since you keep saying that the President is very concerned about the election process … you did not mention voter suppression in that. Voter suppression has been an issue for decades and particularly in these last few elections.”

Despite these alleged racist roadblocks to the ballot box, in 2008 blacks voted at a higher percentage than whites. That same year, liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote one of the majority opinions in a 6-3 case that upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, which required voters to show a photo ID — such as a driver’s license or passport — before casting their votes. Stevens recognized “flagrant examples of (voter) fraud” throughout America’s history and wrote that “not only is the risk of voter fraud real” but “it could affect the outcome of a close election.” The additional burden on voters, Stevens argued, is more than offset by “the state’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters.”

Blacks also support voter ID. A 2016 Gallup poll found that 77 percent of non-whites support voter ID, nearly as high as the 81 percent of whites who support it.

The fact that voter ID is legal and popular does not, of course, affect the view that it “suppresses” the minority vote. The George Soros-supported website ThinkProgress ran a story last year with this menacing headline: “New Study Confirms that Voter ID Laws Are Very Racist.”

Citing research by three professors from U.C. San Diego, Michigan State and Bucknell University, the article says: “turnout among Hispanic voters is ‘7.1 percentage points lower in general elections and 5.3 points lower in primaries’ in states with strict voter ID laws. The laws also reduce turnout among African-American and Asian-American voters. White turnout, according to their study, is ‘largely unaffected.'”

Case closed? Not exactly.

A follow-up study by researchers from Yale, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania found no evidence that voter ID laws have a statistically significant impact on voter turnout. This study examined the methodology and conclusions of the previous study. Its researchers wrote: “Widespread concern that voter identification laws suppress turnout among racial and ethnic minorities has made empirical evaluations of these laws crucial. But problems with administrative records and survey data impede such evaluations. … We show that the results of the paper are a product of data inaccuracies (and) the presented evidence does not support the stated conclusion … When errors are corrected, one can recover positive, negative or null estimates of the effect of voter ID laws on turnout, precluding firm conclusions.”

In other words, the data do not support the notion that the “brown-brown” are too dumb, too lazy or otherwise incapable of obtaining the necessary identification to vote.

Medicare for All

Charles Blahous puts a price on Sanders’s proposed legislation in “The Costs of a National Single-Payer Healthcare System.” These are his key findings.

  • M4A Would Place Unprecedented Strain on the Federal Budget
    By conservative estimates, this legislation would have the following effects:
  • M4A would add approximately $32.6 trillion to federal budget commitments during the first 10 years of its implementation (2022–2031).
  • This projected increase in federal healthcare commitments would equal approximately 10.7 percent of GDP in 2022. This amount would rise to nearly 12.7 percent of GDP in 2031 and continue to rise thereafter.

These estimates are conservative because they assume the legislation achieves its sponsors’ goals of dramatically reducing payments to health providers, in addition to substantially reducing drug prices and administrative costs.