Monday, March 31, 2014

Orwell vs Huxley

The ongoing debate between the futures described by Orwell and Huxley continues. Here's a graphic that shows the main differences.

The associated article makes some good points as well.

The most striking parallel of course is that both men foresaw the future as totalitarian rather than democratic and free.
Both Big Brother’s world and the Brave New World are ruled by authoritarian elites of a basically socialist/communist nature, whose only real purpose is the maintenance of their own power and privileges.

"Interpretive tension"

A case before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals challenges the part of Obamacare that limits subsidies to Exchanges established by the State. The IRS ignored the law and allowed subsidies for Exchanges established by the federal government.

From a WSJ editorial:

Arguing before a three-judge panel, Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery pointed up "interpretive tension" among various complex provisions. But he also suggested that reading the text literally would undermine ObamaCare's purpose and structure of a nationwide system of subsidized health care. Try to parse that one: This is a law that its defenders argue will self-destruct if implemented as drafted by its architects.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Science is "settled"

So far as I remember, even George Orwell didn't think of using the claim that "the science is settled" as a pretext for suppressing skepticism and alternative interpretations of data. But now, on a daily basis, politicians and the media insist the science of climate change is "settled." That is NEWSPEAK on a par with "WAR IS PEACE."

Below I have links to a variety of articles that refute the Orwellian notion that we have to stop looking at the facts because the scientists have already reached conclusions that cannot be challenged.

First, though, I came across this excellent examination of the state of science in today's society. Here are some key quotations:

Science has become a substitute religion for secularists who imagine that they are more intelligent than religious people because they are more skeptical, when in reality the things that they are skeptical about are the ones that don't touch on their own unexamined and unquestioned beliefs.

Like the old joke about the Communist who boasts that like the American he too can shout, "America is worthless!", challenging someone else's dogma is not skepticism, it's antagonism.


The science of the "Science is settled" crowd isn't an open system of skeptical inquiry, but a closed system of centralized authority funded and controlled by special interests, beholden to political agendas and intolerant of dissent. It has the same relationship to science that the various People's Democracies had to democracy.

The response of the science settlers to the serious questions that have been raised about their unscientific advocacy has been to demand a more closed system, to hide more data, to urge newspapers to stop printing letters from anyone who questions Global Warming and to even propose the imprisonment of Warming critics.

This isn't the confident attitude of a field that believes it has the facts on its side.It's the authoritarian response of panicked overlords who have become too comfortable with their routine of morning show alarmist appearances and the rushing flow of grant money paid to stave off the apocalypse.

Other resources:

same article, more accessible:

And of course, my own blog:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Spending increases = cuts

When the federal government announces it is "cutting spending," it really means it is INCREASING SPENDING, just not as much as it would have without the "cuts." This example of Newspeak has been around long enough that the media doesn't even bother commenting on it any longer.

From syndicated columnist Scott Rasmussen's commentary on President Obama's budget proposal released Tuesday by the White House:
The standard media coverage of President Barack Obama's new budget claimed the proposals included $600 billion of budget cuts over the next decade.
It was just about impossible, though, to find any media story mentioning some basic numbers that belong in any story about a new federal budget. How much money is the federal government spending this year? How does that compare to what it spent last year, or expects to spend next year?
Perhaps the reason for this failure is because the real numbers don't match up with the storyline. For example, in the current year, the federal government is expected to spend $3,651 billion. With all the spending cuts being talked about, a reasonable person might assume that spending next year will be down a bit. But it's not. In fact, the president's budget calls for spending $3,901 billion in 2015. That's $250 billion more than this year. It's not a one-year aberration either. Spending increases are projected every single year for the next decade and beyond.
It's hard to write that the president's budget is cutting spending by $600 billion while also reporting numbers showing spending going in the opposite direction. . . .
The basic problem is simple and should be easy for a reporter to explain. In the 1970s, Congress tortured the English language by requiring that if federal spending grows less than expected, it should officially be called a spending cut. Outside of the beltway bubble, nobody talks like that. Reporters are letting the public down by accepting the word games of politicians and not reporting the real numbers in the language of ordinary Americans.
This is more than just a theoretical discussion about journalistic standards. The failure of reporters to provide real numbers presents a false image to the American public about the state of the budget. Spending is not being cut but going up.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Read ThinkProgress for classic NEWSPEAK

(cross posted at

Sometimes my students and liberal friends cite articles from ThinkProgress, which is a leading source of NEWSPEAK. Here I assess some of the typical misleading information in ClimateProgress, part of the ThinkProgress web page.

ThinkProgress last year published an article by Matt Kasper, Center for American Progress.

How Climate Change Is Damaging The Great Lakes, With Implications For The Environment And The Economy
He wrote this:

Great Lakes Michigan and Huron set a new record low water level for the month of December, and in the coming weeks they could experience their lowest water levels everIt’s becoming certain that, like the rest of the country, the Great Lakes are feeling the effects of climate change.
Last year was officially the warmest year on record for the lower-48 states. The hot summer air has been causing the surface water of the Great Lakes to increase in temperature. One might think this causes more precipitation around the lakes, but the warmer winter air is causing a shorter duration of ice cover. In fact, the amount of ice covering the lakes has declined about 71 percent over the past 40 years. Last year, only 5 percent of the lakes froze over –- compared to 1979 when ice coverage was as much as 94 percent.

It's difficult to imagine a more deceitful piece of writing (unless you click on any other article in ThinkProgress). Here is the reality.  In 2001, the ice coverage was even less than in 2012--so 2012 was actually an increase of about 20% from 2001. The dupes who read this would never suspect that Kasper was misleading them so thoroughly because readers of ThinkProgress seek one thing: confirmation of their biases.

This year (2014), the ice coverage is nearly as high as it was in 1979 (which was the highest in 33 years).

Most of the climate alarmists I know will accuse me of "lying" or "making things up" because they don't like the facts. Take it up with the Canadian Ice Service, where Kasper got his data:

Kasper also claims "Furthermore, the continuing effect of the historic drought in the Midwest is causing increased levels of evaporation. This combination of climate change side-effects results in low water levels for the Great Lakes....As climate change continues, fueling more frequent and more extreme droughts, we will continue to see more reductions in the extent and duration of winter ice cover."

Now, "Federal officials Wednesday marveled at the size of the ice sheet that as of this week covered 91 percent of the Great Lakes. That ice cover could produce problems long into the spring."Lake Superior is expected to rise 9.5 inches.

I hope everyone reading this now recognizes that the facts demonstrate the duplicity of ThinkProgress.

ThinkProgress is typical of "progressive" media, including the NYTimes.

How about this article that completely (and dishonestly) ignores Pielke's rebuttal?

Or how about this article on Chipotle that Chipotle itself said was overblown?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Less Employment Is More

Now, according to the federal government Newspeak, unemployment is an advantage


In February 2014, the CBO released a study showing that ObamaCare will result in the loss of the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time jobs. In response, the Administration explained this was a fantastic benefit for the American people. 

Under Obamacare, "individuals will be empowered to make choices about their own lives and livelihoods, like retiring on time rather than working into their elderly years or choosing to spend more time with their families,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid explains that ObamaCare reduces "job lock."

Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY, explained the benefits of job loss: "The single mom who is raising three kids [who] has to keep a job because of health care can now spend some time raising those kids. That's a family value."

Nancy Pelosi described the advantages of taxpayers subsidizing the unemployed this way: "We want people to have the freedom to be a writer, to be a photographer, to make music, to paint, to start a business, to unleash the entrepreneurship of America." 

Or, as Steve Forbes put it, 


Forbes invoked Orwell directly in his headline:

Obama's Corruption of the English Language Comes Right From Orwell's "1984"


The late, famed English author of 1984 and Animal Farm would be astonished that the 1984 phenomenon of Newspeak–freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength–is thriving today, not only in authoritarian/totalitarian regimes, which is what he expected, but also in the world’s leading democracy, the U.S.
Politicians are always trying to put the best face on unpleasant occurrences–what we call spin. But nothing comes close to the White House response to a study from the Congressional Budget Office that by 2024 ObamaCare will cost the economy the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs.
Hallelujah!, proclaimed White House mouthpiece Jay Carney. This is great news because it means people won’t be in jobs they don’t really like. Now they can dream of better things and, possessing health insurance that’s being paid for by working taxpayers, can search for something better without having to worry about access to medical care.

No wonder President Obama is so proud of his record. He's managed to reduce the unemployment rate by getting people to stop even looking for work. The labor force participation rate is at 63.2%, the lowest level since 1978. That means that the percentage of people working in the United States is the lowest it has been in 35 years--since Jimmy Carter was President. And many of those employed have low-wage and part-time jobs.