"News that's not known, or not known enough." Helen & Harry Highwater's cranky weblog of news and opinion.
A few words about global climate change
From time to time we receive notes from readers, telling us that we're wrong to fall for the hoax of global warming. After responding a few times, we now just sigh quietly and direct these readers to this page, because life is too short. We're not going to put our brains in reverse and debate the facts again and again every time another fool or liar wanders into our in-box.
Helen & Harry, publishers of the Unknown News weblog
For several years, I worked as a science abstracter, reading peer-reviewed scientific journals and translating ("abstracting", it's called) academic studies and jargon-laced articles into ordinary English for Biology Digest and Physical Sciences Digest. In that job I read and abstracted thousands of studies, and of these, several hundred were related to various aspects of global climate change everything from the ability of freshwater fish to survive as more topsoil is washed into streams and rivers, to the dwindling natural habitat that supports polar bears.
It will be a few more years before the problems are obvious to the un-informed, and addressing the issues behind global climate change will cost money, so it is in the short-term self-interest of unprincipled wealthy and powerful parties to pretend that the facts are in dispute.
They air lying commercials, publish 'greenwashing' ads, send spokespeople to spew manure on talk shows, lying to an audience that doesn't know better.
I'm not in that audience. Are you?
The articles' conclusions varied, of course. Some studies considered what humans could do to lessen our impact, and some studies estimated that a certain species of plant or animal would last a few more decades. Some of these studies disputed other studies, reaching differing conclusions on the severity of the problem or the timeline of accumulating effects, but all the these studies agreed on the basics, and the facts were always ugly: Human activity is adversely affecting the weather, and hampering the planet's ability to sustain life.
So shall we believe these hundreds of studies (that I've read, and thousands more that I haven't) in peer-reviewed journals written by men and women with scientific credentials, virtually none of which dispute the central facts of global climate change? Or shall we believe articles by local weathermen, bloggers, conspiracy theorists, and the very rare credentialed scientist who thinks global climate change isn't real (but whose articles can't meet the minimum requirements to be published in a genuine scientific journal)?
You can probably guess our answer: We side with the scientists, not the doubters, corporate-sponsored naysayers, conspiracy theorists, and Bible-thumpers. The facts are in, the evidence is overwhelming, and there's little that's unclear or ambiguous or in dispute about it.
I'm not going to address detailed or myriad aspects of global climate change point by point. I'm not a scientist, and the scientists have explained it far better than I could, and it's just a
The people who claim climate change is bunk are liars and propagandists, people like Glenn Beck, Jonah Goldberg, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Michael Savage ... These are the people you're standing with, if you're standing against the science of global climate change.
These are people who lie for a living, and they're believed only by the gullible, the stubborn, and the simple-minded, which is quite a substantial segment of American society.
The gullible, the stubborn, and the simple-minded are not open to evidence or rational conversation, and they aren't going to be convinced they're wrong, ever.
So I won't make any further effort to get through to them, for the same reason I won't argue at length if you tell me that Santa's reindeer can fly.
waste of time to go over it all again when addressing someone who's decided that science is wrong and he or she knows better.
The gist of it is, human technology smokestacks, automobiles, and other machinery has altered the earth's climate and atmosphere bit by bit over the past century or so. These changes are accumulating toward a point of no return, a point where, even if humans took drastic action, it would be too late to reverse much of the damage already done. Our civilization hangs in the balance.
Very nearly every reputable scientist working in these fields understands this, and by "very nearly" I mean it's virtually unanimous at least among experts who aren't on the payroll of an oil company or an arch-rightwing think tank underwritten by ExxonMobil. But it will be a few more years before the problems are obvious to the un-informed, and addressing the issues behind global climate change will cost money, so it is in the short-term self-interest of unprincipled wealthy and powerful parties to pretend that the facts are in dispute. They air lying commercials, publish 'greenwashing' ads, send spokespeople to spew manure on talk shows, lying to an audience that doesn't know better. I'm not in that audience. Are you?
So let's cut through the crap, shall we? The people who claim climate change is bunk are liars and propagandists, people like Glenn Beck, Jonah Goldberg, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Michael Savage ... These are the people you're standing with, if you're standing against the science of global climate change. These are people who lie for a living, and they're believed only by the gullible, the stubborn, and the simple-minded. Sadly, that's a substantial segment of American society.
The gullible, the stubborn, and the simple-minded are not open to evidence or rational conversation, and they aren't going to be convinced they're wrong, ever. So I won't make any further effort to get through to them, for the same reason I won't argue at length if you tell me that Santa's reindeer can fly.
My time is limited, and in publishing this website we're seeking to address an audience of people who are concerned about not hiding from the major issues of our time.
Like the URL says, this website is about unknown news.
Our news comes only from mainstream, professional journalists or (rarely) other sources we trust entirely, with no nuttiness and no interest in the same news you see everywhere else.
What we believe
We believe in liberty and justice for all, so of course, we oppose many US government policies. This doesn't mean we're anti-American, redneck scum, pinko commies, militia members, or terrorist-sympathizers. It means we believe in freedom, as more than merely a cliché.
We believe you have the right to live your own life as you choose, and others have the equal right to live their lives as they choose. It's not complicated.
We believe freedom leads to peace, progress, and prosperity, while its opposite -- oppression -- leads to war, terrorism, poverty, and misery.
We believe it's preposterously stupid to hate people because of their appearance, their race or nationality, their religion or lack of religion, how they have sex with other consenting adults, etc. There are far more apropos reasons to hate most people.
We believe in questioning ourselves, our assumptions, each other -- and we especially believe in questioning authority (the more authority, the more questions). We believe obedience is a fine quality in dogs and young children, but not in adults.
Like America's right-wingers, we believe in
hard work to get ahead,
and stern punishment for serious crimes.
We believe big government should not be blindly trusted.
But unlike most right-wing leaders, we mean it.
Like America's left-wingers, we believe in
equal treatment under law,
war as a last (not first) resort,
and sensible stewardship of natural resources.
We believe big business should not be blindly trusted.
But unlike most left-wing leaders, we mean it.
Like libertarians, we believe it's wrong and reprehensible to arrest people for what they think, believe, look like, wear, eat, smoke, drink, inhale, inject, or otherwise do to themselves.
But unlike many libertarians, we're not obsessed with the gold standard, we don't believe incorporation is humanity's highest achievement, and we don't believe everything in life comes down to dollars and cents. We've read and enjoyed Ayn Rand's novels, but we understand that they're works of fiction.
We're skeptical, and we're sick of so-called 'journalists' who aren't skeptical at all.
A reader asks, what are our solutions?
We propose no solutions except common sense, which is never common. We like the principles of democracy, and the ideals broadly described as 'American'. The US Constitution is a fine and workable framework for solutions, when it's actually read and thoughtfully understood by intelligent statesmen and women. So, no manifestos from us. We don't dream that big, and if there's one thing the world doesn't need it's yet another manifesto.
Our suggestion is: think.
A fact-based instead of faith-based approach leads to solutions for most of the recurring issues of our time, from abortion to global climate change, pollution to universal health care, careful but real regulation of industry and economy, hunger, war, terror, human rights for humans not for corporations, science not religious doctrine in public schools, equal protection and prosecution under law, etc. Approach problems without glorifying stupidity, without demonizing intelligence, and answers usually come into focus.
These pages are published by Harry and Helen Highwater, happily married low-income nom de plumes and rabble-rousers from Madison, Wisconsin (with a few friends scattered around the world helping out).
We try to spotlight news that hasn't gotten enough (or appropriate) attention in American media, along with our opinions and yours.
We bang our keyboards against the wall, because it doesn't hurt as much as banging our heads.
We assume our readers are well-informed before they click here, so we focus on news that's generally unknown or under-reported. We're generally disinterested in such non-news as reports on what politicians might do, may do, or should do, and we don't usually mention the murders, kidnappings, house fires, auto wrecks, celebrity crap, wacky fluff, and other nonsense that's pushed real news right out of the newscasts.
Disclaimer for dummies: Our front page is free from nudity, but we make no promise on profanity. If your surfing is monitored this site might not be safe for work, and you may be shocked, offended, or in trouble with your boss. A link doesn't imply that we agree with every sentence and every sentiment on every site we link to. We use our noggins, and suggest you use yours.
We always welcome comments from readers, and we're especially interested in hearing and considering different perspectives, so please don't be shy. All we ask is that you conduct yourself sanely and civilly, so consider yourself invited to speak your mind. Our email address and other info is on our contact page.
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