In 13 states, it’s legal for governments to steal your home equity.

I compiled this post from a variety of sources: Foundation for Economic Education (FEE.org), Pacific Legal Foundation (Pacificlegal.org), Greatfallstribune.com (Mt.), Detroitnews.com and SSRN.COM.

Uri Rafaeli’s story is heartbreaking to read: Uri is a retired 83-year-old Michigan engineer, and in 2014 he accidentally underpaid, by $8.41, the property taxes on a home he rented out. But instead of notifying him of the issue and helping him, his county government seized the home and sold it at auction for $24,500. The county (Wayne) then kept all the proceeds—leaving Rafaeli with nothing.

There is a word for this practice: theft. And Wayne County is not the only one winning big on the minuscule mistakes of the little guy: it’s every county in Michigan and in a dozen other states, as well. In the case of Erica Perez, whose home was taken and sold for $108,000 to satisfy a debt of $144, the notice was mailed to the wrong address—even though the county had the correct address on file.

In Alabama, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wisconsin, governments not only keep the value of unpaid property taxes and interest from the sale of a seized home—they also keep the surplus value rather than returning it to the property owner. In Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Nebraska, private investors often reap the gains of home equity theft.

The situation in Michigan, where Uri Rafaeli lost his property, illustrates the scope of the abuse. Between 2013 and 2018, local government entities in Michigan foreclosed on more than 150,000 properties for unpaid taxes. In Massachusetts, municipalities took more than $56 million in home equity from property owners in a single year, according to a study by University of Massachusetts School of Law Professor Ralph D. Clifford, which is summarized here:

The predominant method for collecting delinquent real estate taxes in Massachusetts is the use of the “tax deed” as authorized by Chapter 60, Sections 53-54. Under the authorized procedures, each municipality’s tax collector can execute and record a deed that transfers fee simple title to the real estate to the municipality subject to the taxpayer’s statutorily created redemption right. If the redemption right is or cannot be exercised, all of the taxpayer’s rights in the property, as well as other’s rights created by encumbrances such as mortgages, are terminated by the foreclosure process provided for in the statute. Importantly, the municipality does not obtain title to the taxpayer’s land by foreclosure; instead, it merely frees itself of any remaining claim by the taxpayer.

The problem with the tax deed procedure is that it fails to provide both procedural and substantive due process to the taxpayer. Procedurally, although adequate notice is given, title to the taxpayer’s real estate is taken by the government without a hearing. Based on an unreviewed decision by a municipal tax collector, the taxpayer immediately loses title to the land. Substantively, by using a tax deed, the municipality engages in the taking of property without providing reasonable compensation. The value of the land taken for payment of the tax debt is not evaluated in the context of the debt owed. Empirical evidence shows that the property’s value significantly exceeds the debt owed, giving the municipality the ability to collect almost fifty dollars for every dollar of delinquent real estate tax owed, on average. Each year, approximately $56,000,000 is unconstitutionally appropriated from taxpayers. 

Why would governments do this? Pacific Legal Foundation found two reasons:

  • Local governments can pad their budgets with stolen equity. In Detroit, there’s a budget line every year for expected windfalls from home foreclosures.
  • Some politicians use the system to reward their friends and family with homes priced below market. In Michigan, local officials funnel auctioned properties to their family and connected businesses at a discount.

Thousands of bargain hunters who register to buy foreclosed homes from the Wayne County Treasurer each year recently have been competing against family members of the official who runs the auction, in violation of county rules. As chief tax collector, Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree leads one of the largest government foreclosure auctions in the nation. It has transferred ownership of more than a quarter of Detroit properties since Sabree started as deputy treasurer in 2011. Treasurer’s office rules ban family members from participating in the auction, which seizes properties from homeowners with late taxes and sells them to the highest bidder.  

  • In Montana, before the practice was banned, local treasurers sold foreclosed homes to preferred private investors.

In Montana, property tax lien assignments become available after the taxes have gone delinquent for no fewer than two months. At that point, anyone with an interest in the property; be it a neighbor, rival or property investment company, can come in, pay the back taxes and obtain a lien on the property attached to them.

Once a tax lien has been sold, state law guarantees the holder of that lien a 10 percent annual return on their investment – plus an additional two-percent per annum that goes to the county to cover administrative costs. If the owner of the property does not reimburse the lien holder for the entire amount of the accumulating debt within three years, then a tax deed is issued turning ownership of the property over to the lien holder. Property tax collection in Montana is unique in that it relies upon the profit motive of private individuals to enforce compliance.

According to the National Consumer Law Center, every state in the country has laws authorizing the creation of a lien against residential property when the taxes don’t get paid. The laws are not uniform, but their most punitive outcomes can be devastating. We can hardly blame President Trump for these thefts, though I imagine the mediated reality establishment will find a way. But all the guilty states, with the exception of North Dakota, are very blue, having gone for the Democrat presidential candidate in 3 (3 states) or 4 (the rest) elections since 2000. Shocking!

The intersection of envy and injustice.

Used to be sins, now just another viewpoint

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, un-spiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:1-3

James, the apostle who wrote those passages, was the brother of John, another apostle. Jesus called them the “sons of thunder”, because in the early days of following Jesus Christ, they were intolerant of anyone who did not follow Jesus, or who was not a Jew. They were quick to criticize and threaten, even to destroy a Samaritan village. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Luke 9:53-55.

One day James and John asked Jesus for favoritism in the kingdom of heaven, and this did not go down well with the other apostles. And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:41-45.

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.This concept, taught by the Master, matured all the apostles. Maturity is only achieved by stewardship of people and property. Greatness, according to the Lord, is measured by servanthood, not striving to be in charge. As you can see from those first two passages from the book of James, he grew up, as did his brother John. James was eventually executed by Herod, and John was exiled to the barren island of Patmos, where he was inspired to write the final book of the Bible, Revelation. James and John were simple but emotional fishermen, as was Peter. All three confounded the wise, the pundits and sages of their day, as the Lord gave them an eloquence well beyond their lowly status and lack of education. They were lowly: Jews, fishermen, poor, uneducated, intemperate, emotional, looked down upon by the conquerors and occupiers of their land—the Romans. So they developed the first known example of intersectionality theory to explain away their status and to guilt Rome into sharing the empire’s goodies with them. As a result, the Roman Empire got woke and became a beacon of social justice…. Nope, as a result, the notoriously unsympathetic Romans crucified the lot of them… More likely, but still not accurate.

Peter, James, John, and all the apostles and followers of Jesus, all of Judea, the Roman Empire, and the entire known world of that day didn’t, and would not have, developed intersectionality theory, simply because everyone lived at the intersection of envy and injustice, even the Roman emperors, who had absolute power but were more likely to be assassinated for their position than die of old age. Freedom, “consent of the governed”, equality, fairness, “social justice” and other artifacts of a Judeo-Christian worldview and the principles embraced by our nation’s founders, which we moderns take for granted….did not exist. Kings and emperors ruled, succession by battle or assassination was the norm, ruthless conquest and subjugation was the fate of weaker nations. In that world, prior to the ascendancy of Judeo-Christian ideals (the foundation of the Declaration of Independence and many principles of the U.S. Constitution), military power was strictly for conquest and empire building of the most powerful, NOT for defending other nations from aggression nor promulgating the idea of freedom.

I have previously written about Critical theory and it’s handmaiden, Intersectionality theory. Look them up if you want to know about them. Such foolish and inane ideas could only flourish in a world where freedom and justice is taken for granted, and emotion rules reason and truth, and where the “seven deadly sins”, pride atop the list, reign. In the USA, our former ideals have been thoroughly corrupted by mutating Biblical justice into “social justice”, which is the suicide bomb of Critical/Intersectional theories. Academia has been the main culprit in this mutation, spreading the virus of “social justice” through the media and politics. The result politically has been replacing the Constitutional responsibilities of the federal (central) government-defense of our homeland, protection of our currency and international trade-with transferism, the ceaseless efforts to transfer government power and tax revenue to politically favored groups (i.e. “under-represented minorities”as defined by intersectionality theory).

True justice considers the consequences of freely chosen individual acts, but “social justice” tries to align the distribution of economic and social benefits among social groups according to critical theory, justifying the exercise of the state’s coercive power to distribute “fairly” goods that include education, employment, housing, income, health care, leisure, a pleasant environment, political power, property, social recognition, and wealth. According to a recent report by the National Association of Scholars, NAS.org, called Social Justice Education in America: What we may call radical social justice theory, which dominates higher education, adds to broader social justice theory the belief that society is divided into social identity groups defined by categories such as class, race, and gender; that any “unfair distribution” of goods among these groups is oppression; and that oppression can only—and must—be removed by a coalition of “marginalized” identity groups working to radically. This is how envy works to create true injustice–theft, transfer by government coercion. It looks like the whiners are winning, but God is sovereign.

Some super sappy ideas to begin 2020.

It’s January 12, 2020, and with only 353 days left until 2021, we have to cram as much sappiness as we can into every day to make 2020 as sappy as 2019. So let’s kick off the New Year with some super sappy snippets of secular silliness.

Reminding us why it was fortunate our founding fathers threw off the yoke of “Great” Britain, lecturers in the journalism department at Leeds Trinity University in the United Kingdom were warned not to use ALL CAPS when communicating with students because it might make them too scared to do the assignment. “Despite our best attempts to explain assessment tasks, any lack of clarity can generate anxiety and even discourage students from attempting the assessment at all,” states a memo that the lecturers received, according to The Express. “Generally, avoid using capital letters for emphasis and the overuse of ‘do’, and, especially, ‘DON’T.’”

At Leeds Trinity University we support our students to be the very best they can be,” Professor Margaret A. House OBE, vice chancellor at Leeds Trinity University, told Mirror Online. “We’re proud to offer a personal and inclusive university experience that gives every student the support to realize their potential. We follow national best practice teaching guidelines, and the memo cited in the press is guidance from a course leader to academic staff, sharing best practice from the latest teaching research to inform their teaching,” (someone give this woman a course in plain speaking) she continued. I want to know, what’s so great about “inclusive”? I also wonder how does avoiding CAPITALIZED LETTERS support students to be the “very best” they can be? If students are awash in bad habits, how does “overuse of ‘do’ and eliminating ‘DON’T’ make them better?

A new survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center found that economic inequality is a big issue with voters, and not just liberals. Some 61% of adult Americans told Pew that there is “too much” income inequality in the U.S., and 42% said reducing income inequality should be a “major priority” for the federal government — three percentage points more than those who said the same thing about reducing illegal immigration. (The figure rose to 78% when only accounting for those who lean politically to the left.) How, pray tell, can the federal government “reduce income inequality?” How about a campaign “just say no to income inequality”? Even better “just say no to envy”.

David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, says, “income inequality, and wealth inequality, is most pronounced when the stock market is doing well.” “Life Experiences and Income Inequality in the United States,” a report from Harvard’s Chan school, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and National Public Radio, is based on a survey of 1,885 adults in July and August of last year. It found that households in the top 1% of the income distribution— essentially, those earning more than $500,000—are leading completely different lives than the other 99%. This entire paragraph can go in the round file labeled “no shit Sherlock”! Gee, since “wealth inequality” is primarily the result of stock prices rising or stock splits, might it be that those who own more stock will get wealthier when the stock market is doing well? As for the top 1% of earners living “different lives”, well duhhhh! And so what? Your income reflects the cost to replace you, more than anything else. Want more income? Make yourself harder to replace, or as Booker T. Washington put it, “make yourself indispensable.”

On par with income inequality in buzzword brouhaha land is climate change. As we all know, Australia is experiencing wide ranging, but nowhere near the worst they’ve ever had, wildfires. The actual causes are too much dead brush on the ground (mainly due to protests against controlled burns), the Indian Ocean dipole (raising temperatures and wind velocity), and arson (yeah, actually), but that reality, and the fact that the government has no control over wind and temperatures, has no effect on protests. Teacher Denise Lavell said she attended the protests in Sydney because “Our country is burning, our planet is dying and we need to show up,” she told Reuters.

In Melbourne, huge crowds braved heavy rain and a sharp drop in temperature to come out with placards, shouting “Phase Out Fossil Fools”, “Fire ScoMo” and “Make Fossil Fuels History.” Climate scientists have warned the frequency and intensity of the fires will surge as Australia becomes hotter and drier. Australia has warmed by about 1 degree Celsius since records began in 1910, NASA climate scientist Kate Marvel said this week. “This makes heat waves and fires more likely,” she said on Twitter. “There is no explanation for this – none – that makes sense, besides emissions of heat-trapping gases.” There’s no better venue for knowledgeable, scientific debate than Twitter!

It isn’t just emotionally overwrought adults who are panicking over wildfires, which in fact are not the worst ever, neither in Australia nor California. Kids will be at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, protesting en masse. Young climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, will be attending Davos this year to put pressure on world leaders to end the fossil fuel economy. “Anything less than immediately ceasing these investments in the fossil fuel industry would be a betrayal of life itself,” writes Greta. climate activists and school strikers from around the world will be present to put pressure on these leaders. “We demand that at this year’s Forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels. We don’t want these things done by 2050, 2030 or even 2021, we want this done now – as in right now.” So say the sad young sages, but that’s kids for you, everything must be done right now, as in immediately, and no one gets to argue, because kids know best. At the end of the WEForum credits appear, as if it were a movie.

Greta Thunberg is a 17-year-old environmental campaigner from Stockholm, Sweden. This article was co-written with youth climate activists Jean Hinchliffe, Australia; Danielle Ferreira de Assis, Brazil; Joel Enrique Peña Panichine, Chile; Robin Jullian, France; Luisa Neubauer, Germany; Licipriya Kangujam, India; David Wicker, Italy; Julia Haddad, Lebanon; Oladosu Adenike, Nigeria; Iqbal Badruddin, Pakistan; Arshak Makichyan, Russia; Holly Gillibrand, Scotland; Alejandro Martínez, Spain; Isabelle Axelsson, Sweden; Sophia Axelsson, Sweden; Ell Jarl, Sweden; Mina Pohankova, Sweden; Linus Dolder, Switzerland; Vanessa Nakate, Uganda; Tokata Iron Eyes, USA.

Bottom line here: Roll up every environmental fear and scary phenomena into a single buzz phrase—climate change—which they don’t even understand, and use this magnified fear to justify measures which would destroy modern economies, undermine the very technological progress most capable of fortifying the environment. Such measures as they “demand” will have unintended consequences that they will be even angrier about if they get their way. Honestly, some people, you just can’t please’em!

Hey Libs and Leftists, I know the REAL reasons you hate Donald Trump!

Greatest job security concept: Screw something up with bad policies (brushfire management, for example), then get paid by the taxpayers for trying to fix it, while blaming the problem on anything but your policies (climate change?). It certainly helps to have a polarizing figure you can hold up as the root of all evil. Reason #1 the libs and leftists, whom I have dubbed the “perfectionist progressives, or in the arena of “climate change” the “hypocritical hyperbole-makers”, hate Donald Trump is that their policies and ideas simply screw up anything good, and Mr. Trump makes a fabulous scapegoat. For reason #2, first read this sample of celeb venom and ask yourself, “which specific action, policy or statement are they criticizing?”

Remember Peter Fonda’s tweet: “We should rip Barron Trump from his mother’s arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles and see if mother will stand up against the giant asshole she is married to. 90 million people in the streets on the same weekend in the country. F*ck.” (For those not familiar with the Trump family, Barron, Donald Trump’s son, is 11 years old.)

It’s kind of great to have a person like that represent everything that’s wrong in the world. It’s always a good thing to look at somebody and say, ’That’s the worst thing that could happen.’ Chelsea Handler.

“Trump makes me nervous… There’s no way we can let this guy be the president. To let that dude have the nuclear football, are you kidding me? That’s dangerous. He’s impulsive and rash, and doesn’t seem to think deeply about too many things.” Matt Damon.

“Just the nastiest. @realDonaldTrump, you literally have no moral fiber. You’re like no ply toilet paper. Just trash.” Margaret Cho.

He’s just an opportunist. Now he’s a fascist; a xenophobic fascist.” George Clooney in an interview with British newspaper The Guardian. LOOK AT HIM, AMERICA. HEAR HIS WORDS.

We are at DefCon Level Check Yo’self Before You Wreck Yo’self.” Shonda Rhimes in one of many tweets.

Trump is a cancer on our democracy. He must be rejected by all patriots, for the good of our national identity and values.” George Takei on Twitter where he’s frequently tweets about Trump or, in Takei’s words, “your uninformed, drunk relative who never, ever shuts up.

“This is a national disaster. An illiterate, bigoted, misogynistic, racist, rapist has become president. I have no words.” Kate Walsh in a tweet, who later called Trump a “fool.

If Donald Trump becomes president, that will be the end of the world.” Jennifer Lawrence, who a few months later on The Graham Norton Show said that the only words she’d want to say to Trump when she meets him are “Fuck you.

He lies with a kind of cavalier frequency. He’s spread bigotry and hatred and division on a regular basis. He shows no interest or understanding for any sort of policy depth, and I feel like he’s uniquely unqualified to be president.” John Legend in an interview with CNN, an appropriate venue for discussing lies, bigotry, hatred and division.

“This is an embarrassing night for America. We’ve let a hatemonger lead our great nation. We’ve let a bully set our course. I’m devastated.” Chris Evans.

If Donald Trump is elected president of the United States in a kind of historical way, it’s exciting because we will see the actual last president of the United States. It just won’t work after that.” Johnny Depp, just a few months after he called the Republican candidate a “brat” who works through “bullydom.”

I actually feel sick listening to [Trump] speak. The way I used to feel when a kid was having a tantrum when babysitting. Jessica Chastain on Twitter, where she’s also called Trump “a bully” and “a child.”

Didn’t think I was capable of feeling hatred like this. The biggest insult to our country is this snorting piece of garbage.” Amanda Seyfriend in a tweet during the second presidential debate. A few days before that, Seyfried asked the Twitterverse, “Why are we still watching a delusional, racist man-child run for dictator?”

“He’s so blatantly stupid. He’s a punk, he’s a dog, he’s a pig, he’s a con — a bullshit artist. A mutt who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, doesn’t do his homework, doesn’t care, thinks he’s gaming society, doesn’t pay his taxes. He’s an idiot.” Robert De Niro in a video released through Anonymous Content and their voteyourfuture.us campaign. The actor continues, referring to Trump as “this fool,” “this bozo,” and saying, ““He talks about how he wants to punch people in the face. Well, I’d like to punch him in the face.”

“Please stop it with voting for Trump. It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s. Do you think they saw the shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.” Louis C.K.

“Trump was the least qualified candidate ever nominated by a major party for the presidency. Come January, he will become the worst president in American history, and a dangerously unstable player on the world stage.” George R.R. Martin in a personal blog post.

Okay, either your view of the President has been validated, or your view of the rationality and intelligence of celebrities has been validated. However, I will forebear from criticizing those celebrities, because there’s no glory or honor in plucking low hanging fruit that’s so overripe that it’s about to fall off the tree and get squashed underfoot. I am sure that my readers realize my opinion of them without my getting any more explicit.

Remember I asked, “which specific action, policy or statement are they criticizing?” These same people would say they hate Trump’s rudeness, his self aggrandizement, his exaggerations and lies, his trenchant criticism of the sacred cows of liberalism/leftism, in promoting or defending his narrative. But it can’t be his style or rhetoric that they hate, since it is of the same type as their own in promoting their narrative. No, what they really hate is that so many voters are buying his narrative, because they might agree. They hate him, his narrative, and more important, everyone who believes a similar narrative.

False Dichotomies and Red Herrings

Definition of a ‘Fallacy’: A misconception resulting from flawed reasoning, or a trick or illusion in thinking that often obfuscates facts/truth, usually from poor habits of language and logic.

From logicalfallacies.org: A formal fallacy is an error that can be seen within the argument’s form. Every formal fallacy is a non sequitur (or, an argument where the conclusion does not follow from the premise.) An informal fallacy refers to an argument whose proposed conclusion is not supported by the premises. There are four formal, and 46 informal fallacies listed on the website. Sharply biased and partisan websites and publications are rife with logical fallacies. We see and hear the same ones repeatedly, until we are practically numb to the piss poor arguments. I have selected as an example a website, WEForum.org, that attempts to be objective, non-partisan, and rational, yet is awash in (probably) unconscious logical fallacies. The following logical fallacies are in bold print.

From the report of The World Economic Forum: “At the same time, the main addressee of these messages, the political arena, is split between those who continue to deny man-made climate change and those who present ambitious plans like the EU’s new ‘Green Deal’ to make Europe the first ever climate-neutral continent.” The main fallacy in this sentence is an informal one called the false dichotomy, fallacy of bifurcation, or black-or-white fallacy. It presents two alternative states—climate change denial vs. ambitious plans—as the only possibilities when many more possibilities and gradations exist. The same sentence also contains two other logical fallacies: The fallacy of composition and division assumes that one part of something will apply to the whole, or that the whole must apply to all the parts, in lumping the spectrum of climate change objections into “those who continue to deny man-made climate change.” The fallacy of the Burden of Proof occurs when someone who is making a claim, puts the burden of proof on another party to disprove what they are claiming. In this sentence the fallacy is implicit, because the ambitious climate change planners and fear mongers make dramatic announcements and then challenge their opponents to disprove their claims.

“Cynics speak of a dead-end situation and might dismiss such initiatives (European Green Deal) as utopia.” The ad hominem attack is a logical fallacy trying to undermine the opponent’s arguments by personal attacks, through attacking their character or skill level, despite the lack of causal connection between the two parts of the argument. In this case, those who object to what they perceive as dead-end plans are dismissed as “cynics”. Cynics they might also be, but if so, there is no causal connection between their cynicism and their objections to the sweeping E.G.D. type proposals. The fallacy of appeal to authority makes the argument that if a credible source believes something, that it must be true. Also known as ‘appealing to the people‘, this fallacy presumes that a proposition is true because most/many believe it to be true. In this case, using the label “cynics” implies that non-cynics—the majority of people—believe in such initiatives. Similarly, I could say The fallacy of the bandwagon also applies. This fallacy says, ‘But everyone is doing it’, and appeals to the popularity of something as a means of validating it. For instance, if a large number of schoolchildren, politicians, celebrities and educators are “protesting” global warming, they must be right. If they believe the world will end in 12 years, shouldn’t the rest of us be convinced?

While I acknowledge that human-caused “greenhouse gases” pose the danger of an increasingly warming atmosphere, I firmly believe that human ingenuity and capitalism are capable of sharply reducing the danger, and constitute a much more practical solution than the hysteria, demonstrations and apocalyptic prognostications of the “climate change fear mongers.” The true question is, “how can we best deal with human-caused greenhouse gases to protect our planet’s atmosphere?” I don’t read or hear that question being asked. Instead, we are bombarded with dire predictions (“we have only 12 years left”), blame-shifting (“Trump is to blame”. “Capitalism is to blame”), and ineffectual “agreements” (Paris Accords), all of which are red herrings, or attempting to redirect the argument to another issue to which the person doing the redirecting can better respond. While it is similar to the avoiding the issue fallacy, the red herring is a deliberate diversion of attention with the intention of trying to abandon the original argument.

I mentioned ingenuity and capitalism as providing better solutions: 1- What if we did something with CO2, instead of continuing to try and contain it on a massive scale? One promising pathway is using this climate destroyer as a useful raw material, to provide the valuable carbon that the chemical industry so heavily relies on.

2-Created by tech company Watergen, the water-from-air system taps into atmospheric water using patented heat-exchange technology, producing up to 30 liters of potable water for a home or office every day – significantly reducing plastic usage and disposal by eliminating the waste caused by drinking bottled water.

3-Scientists have invented a new method for turning carbon dioxide into a liquid fuel that can efficiently store energy in fuel cells. The fuel could one day be the future of green transport, cramming more energy into the tank than the same volume of hydrogen while also serving as a building block for a whole chemical production industry.

Capitalism harnesses a “crisis” to stimulate creative solutions. Alarmism confuses, frightens and stampedes people into unproductive and counter productive behavior. Capitalism produces innovation, alarmism produces logical fallacies.

Never let a crisis go to waste. Australian brushfires and big lies.

Fake ABC map makes fake news

We’ve all seen the fire maps and the headlines, “Australia is going up in flames.” ABC-TV in the USA showed a map that made it appear that over 30% of Australia was burning. The map was off a bit, since 1% of Australia is burning, and that’s bad enough without exaggerating. ABC refused to alter the map even when challenged. So where’d the map come from? ABC News editor Matt Zarrell “Appears [to have] used Himawari-8 🛰️ thermal anomalies (‘hotspots’) from Jan 2 … so anything hot (cars in full sun, industry)+ fire used in land mgmt.” In other words, that’s not a map of stuff on fire, but a map of virtually anything in Australia that gets hot enough in direct sunlight to get picked up by a very sensitive Japanese weather satellite.

But the mass media, the global warming (I refuse to say “climate change” since warming is the concern) fanatics and those who profit from the hysteria (automobile battery makers, for example) hate to let any disaster go to waste when they can exaggerate it to drum up sympathy for their cause. In descending order, the actual causes of the Australian brush fires are: too much fuel (dead wood and brush) buildup; the Indian Ocean dipole; arson; lightning and wind, not counting the hot air from media.

These fires are not new. The 1851 Black Thursday bushfires burnt a quarter of Victoria, killed 12 humans and over a million sheep. Blue Mountains (another hard hit area today) facing a tragedy where a million hectares were burnt in 1968. Or the more recent 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria which resulted in 173 deaths and more than 2,000 homes destroyed. Many of these and many others occurred before global warming was a thing.

Fires need fuel. Bushfire scientist David Packham warned in this prescient article in 2015 that unless fuel reduction burns were increased, Victoria and New South Wales were facing potential disaster.The Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (VFFA) issued a statement asking people not to blame either the fire crews or climate change, but rather the fuel loads – the amount of dry combustible material that has been allowed to build up.

So why has this happened? The irony is that Greens/environmentalist activism has greatly hindered effective management of the bush. In NSW, fire trails were abandoned in order to keep out campers and four wheel drives. The trouble is that these trails both acted as fire breaks and provided access for fire crews into remote areas. In Gippsland – the area in Victoria most devastated by the latest fires – some of the load reduction burning was stopped because of the ignorance and short-sightedness of the same kind of people who are now crazed by the effects of their “policies”. Like the Democrats in our country, “environmentalist wackos” (thank you Rush Limbaugh for the appellation) all over the world help create the problems that they protest. Talk about job security! Protesters held signs saying “stop burning nesting birds”. The burns were cut back from 370 hectares to nine. Nowa Nowa was evacuated in the latest fires.

The Indian Ocean Dipole is the main reason for both the extreme heat and drought in Australia. This is an effect where the western half of the ocean is warmer than that of the eastern. Added to this is the problem of the winds. Normally the strong southerlies blow several hundred kilometres to the south but for some unknown reason they are much closer to Australia. The combination of heat, drought and wind is devastating. In reality, there is not much that the Australian government can do to control the wind, waves and heat. If Australia were to destroy its own economy (and impoverish many poor people even more) by reducing its emissions from 1.3% to 1% of global emissions, the new power stations being planned in China would make up for that within a year.

Arson – It seems incredible but one of the major causes of the bushfires is arson. As the Sydney Morning Herald stated in this informative report, 13% of bushfires are natural; 87% are human and of these at least 40% are believed to be arson. The situation is so serious that today it was reported that NSW police are to set up a taskforce to investigate how many of the fires were caused deliberately and to seek to bring the culprits to justice. As of this writing, 24 people have been charged with arson, 53 are facing legal action for ignoring fire bans, 47 have been charged with discarding lighted matches on dry tinder (separate from the arsonists, who probably used accelerants).

While we should cut down on carbon emissions (huge progress is being made), we should not feed hysteria or incite the mobs. We should not use tragedy for political ends and we should not deny science for the sake of politics. Then there is the hypocrisy. For example, the Sydney Morning Herald seeks to make political capital out of this by using it to attack the Prime Minister and claiming that climate change is the real reason. Yet in the weekend SMH, there are pages of adverts for wealthy readers to jet off to exotic holidays all over the world. To complain about climate change that you say is caused largely by air travel, and then to take the 30 pieces of silver in order to promote that travel is as hypocritical as those who fly to conferences which seek to discuss how to stop people flying!

Bernie Sanders, as usual, was a fount of hyperbole and exaggeration. “I say to those who are delaying action on climate change: Look at the blood red-sky and unbreathable air in Australia because of raging forest fires.” Nope Bernie, try Dipole, arson, poor fuel management. Liz Warren, “The catastrophic scenes from Australia’s wildfires should alarm all of us. Climate change is driving even more dangerous and destructive fires across the world, from California to New South Wales…” Nope Pocahontas, the biggest cause of these destructive fires is fuel buildup. The cause of fuel buildup? Policies restricting brush-thinning controlled burns. Whose dumb ideas are those? Liberals and environmentalists. Hmm, maybe some are arsonists.

How lies are taught as truth.

I have written a number of post about the New York Times 1619 Project: The New York Times 1619 Project protects its vested interests —undoing Trump, endearing themselves to their anti-Trump readers and the Democrats—the same way. Distorting and rewriting our history to make it all about racism and slavery. The purpose of this project is, as Dean Baquet, executive editor the the paper declared in a staff meeting is to “teach our readers how to think about racism and slavery.” https://curmudgeon550.blog/2019/08/20/groupthink-part-2-youtube-censors-1619-project-lies-about-usa/

According to the National Association of Scholars, NAS.ORG, from their 1/5/2020 Countercurent newsletter, “The 1619 Project is not a stand-alone campaign presenting a historical perspective with which we disagree. It is put forth by one of the nation’s foremost publications as the objective truth about American history. What’s more, the ‘1619 Project view’ of history is already being implemented into public school curricula on a national scale. Partnering with the Pulitzer Center, The New York Times provides ready-made lesson plans for teachers of all grades. According to the organization,

“Teachers across all 50 states have accessed the Pulitzer Center educational resources since the project’s launch…Educators from hundreds of schools and administrators from six school districts have also reached out to the Center for class sets of the magazine. Teachers are using the magazine in their classes to teach subjects ranging from English to History and Social Studies…”

“Countless students will be taught this view of history in the coming years, learning to hate their own country and distrust its foundational ideals. It is our hope that The 1620 Project (NAS’ truthful antidote to 1619 lies) will stem this tidal wave of misinformation and help restore integrity and honesty to American historical education.”