Climate skeptic uncovers major scientific error, upends media hyped ocean warming study

“The findings of the … paper were peer-reviewed and published in the world’s premier scientific journal and were given wide coverage in the English-speaking media,” Lewis wrote. “Despite this, a quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results.” Co-author Ralph Keeling, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, took full blame and thanked Lewis for alerting him to the mistake. “When we were confronted with his insight it became immediately clear there was an issue there,” he said. “We’re grateful to have it be pointed out quickly so that we could correct it quickly.” …

“Our error margins are too big now to really weigh in on the precise amount of warming that’s going on in the ocean,” Keeling said. “We really muffed the error margins.” A correction has been submitted to the journal Nature.
‘Biased and sloppy peer review’ – Climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer on ‘The Sorry State of Climate Science Peer Review, and Kudos to Nic Lewis’

Dr. Roy Spencer: ‘For decades now those of us trying to publish papers which depart from the climate doom-and-gloom narrative have noticed a trend toward both biased and sloppy peer review of research submitted for publication in scientific journals.’

‘If the conclusions of the paper support a more alarmist narrative on the seriousness of anthropogenic global warming, the less thorough will be the peer review. I am now totally convinced of that. If the paper is skeptical in tone, it endures levels of criticism that alarmist papers do not experience. I have had at least one paper rejected based upon a single reviewer who obviously didn’t read the paper…he criticized claims not even made in the paper.’

The peer review process, presumably involving credentialed climate scientists, should have caught the error before publication.’

‘WE REALLY MUFFED’ IT – MATH ERROR: SCIENTISTS ADMIT ‘MISTAKES’ LED TO ALARMING RESULTS IN MAJOR ‘GLOBAL WARMING’ STUDY

  • Scientists behind a headline-grabbing climate study admitted they “really muffed” their paper.
  • Their study claimed to find 60 percent more warming in the oceans, but that was based on math errors.
  • The errors were initially spotted by scientist Nic Lewis, who called them “serious (but surely inadvertent) errors.”

Ocean warming paper found to have ‘major error’ – Uncritical News Media Gave Blanket Coverage To Flawed Climate Paper

A major problem in new media hyped ocean heat uptake paper: Serious ‘errors in the underlying calculations’

The findings of the Resplandy et al paper were peer-reviewed and published in the world’s premier scientific journal and were given wide coverage in the English-speaking media. Despite this, a quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results. Just a few hours of analysis and calculations, based only on published information, was sufficient to uncover apparently serious (but surely inadvertent) errors in the underlying calculations. Moreover, even if the paper’s results had been correct, they would not have justified its findings regarding an increase to 2.0°C in the lower bound of the equilibrium climate sensitivity range and a 25% reduction in the carbon budget for 2°C global warming.  Because of the wide dissemination of the paper’s results, it is extremely important that these errors are acknowledged by the authors without delay and then corrected. Of course, it is also very important that the media outlets that unquestioningly trumpeted the paper’s findings now correct the record too.

Media touts study of ocean heat claiming ‘global warming’ at ‘worst-case scenarios’ – But claims not based on actual thermometer data

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Dan Stark on Unsplash.

FLORIDA: School Punishes Teacher Who Refused To Watch Girl Change In Boys’ Locker Room

Another Florida school district is cutting parents out of the loop on transgender school kids and gagging teachers, but this time going after a male P.E. teacher who refused to observe a middle school girl who was claiming to feel like a boy and using the boys’ locker room.

Pasco County schools, a suburban county just north of Tampa, allowed a self-determined transgender female student daily access to the boys’ locker room, without providing any advanced warning to the boys’ parents or to the boys themselves.

This resulted in an embarrassing shock the first time the obvious girl entered the locker room and there were naked boys.

When the male P.E. teacher refused to watch the minor girl change clothes, a school administrator threatened the teacher with placing him on administrative leave. According to Liberty Counsel attorney Richard Mast, whose organization is involved in the situation, the threatening email said that refusing to supervise the girl would “not be tolerated.”

The Liberty Counsel is a pro-bono national law firm that protects individuals’ rights from a traditional, constitutional viewpoint.

Interestingly, a female P.E. teacher also objected to the situation, but was ignored by school administrators. She has not yet been threatened, and given the publicity now surrounding the school, probably will not be. Those are usually done quietly.

The first time the girl entered the boys’ locker room, she caught “boys (literally) with their pants down, causing them embarrassment and concern by the fact that they had been observed changing by an obvious girl,” according to the complaint letter sent to the Pasco County School District from the Liberty Counsel. Remember, these are 13- and 14-year-old boys just discovering their awkward transition into manhood.

Teachers at Chasco Middle School are banned from discussing the change in policy — not the specifics of the case, which would make sense, but the policy itself. There is no other reasonable term for that than “gag order.”

So the Liberty Counsel letter goes on to explain that the teacher refused to “knowingly place himself in a position to observe a minor female in the nude or otherwise in a state of undress.” That actually is a both moral and legally sensible move on the part of the teacher. However, school administrators shifted from the threat of administrative leave to a threat to having him “transferred to another school as discipline for ‘not doing your job in the locker room.’”

The situation arose in September, yet the Pasco County parents of 70,000 students in the district have still not been informed of the new policy by the school district, even though the female student still has full access to the male changing facilities. The Pasco School Board also is aware of it and has done nothing.

The reason is not hard to see. LGBTQI activists are organized, well-financed, powerful and intimidating. Very few politicians or even regular people want to be even perceived as going counter to their agenda.

The Pasco controversy mirrors similar transgender secrecy and heavy-handed intimidation on the part of school district officials in Sarasota County, just south of Tampa. (Both Sarasota and Pasco counties are politically red counties. Their School Boards do not seem to be reflecting that.)

At the recommendation of the Sarasota County School District’s LGBTQI Task Force, the superintendent issued “guidelines” to govern how the district’s 50 public schools handle transgender and gender questioning students — starting as young as kindergarten.

The Sarasota County school policy guidelines implement a full-blown transgender protocol allowing students to use whichever bathroom and locker room corresponds with the gender with which they “identify;” and forces everyone else to use the pronoun of the students’ choice. This sounds identical to Pasco’s policy — or perhaps guidelines is the technical terms as the Board did not take action on it.

But maybe the biggest affront is that the Sarasota guidelines also say that parents can not be informed of their child’s decision to identify as a different gender, because some trans activists claim the schools are a “safer” environment than the home. This again seems to be in line with what is going on in Pasco, which suggests that the administrative guidelines are being heavily influenced or even written by trans activists.

In Sarasota, the secrecy along with the general egregiousness of the policy, attracted a lot of controversy. A 31-year-old Sarasota father of a young child not yet in the school system, sent the superintendent a brief email criticizing the guidelines and keeping transgenderism secret from parents.

That parent found officers from the school district’s brand new police force at his door the next day. Nothing came of the officers’ visit, because they realized the letter was harmless. Nonetheless more showed up at the father’s parent’s home and neighbors’ home.

This is a shocking level of intimidation for a local school district, and certainly at least some parents must have got the message: Shut up, sit down and let us handle your children. Or else we may come knocking.

In Pasco, the message sent is similar, but directly to teachers. Shut up and do what you’re told. Or else.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

Why This California College Student Is Choosing to Stand Up for Her Beliefs on Gender

A 20-year-old student senator at the University of California Berkeley says she didn’t expect the intense opposition she received for voicing her Christian beliefs on sexual identity and gender.

Although Isabella Chow, a junior, has the support of the school’s College Republicans chapter, her own student party cut ties with her and other students and organizations are demanding that she resign from the Senate or face a recall.

“I didn’t expect it at all, I’ll just put it that way,” Chow told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Tuesday.

“I expected there to be opposition, I expected there to be disagreement,” she said, “but I didn’t expect that a place that claimed to be so inclusive and tolerant would turn its back on me so quickly.”

Her offense? Chow chose not to vote Oct. 31 on a measure decrying consideration by the Trump administration of a legal definition that says a person’s gender is what his or her sex was at birth. She was the only one of 20 senators to abstain on the measure, which also backed organizations that promote the LGBT agenda.

Student-run CalTV and school publications Chow represented also abandoned or “disaffiliated with” her, she said.

In a statement on Facebook explaining why she abstained, Chow first said discrimination “is never, ever OK.”

But, she said, “where this bill crosses the line for me is that I am asked to promote a choice of identities that I do not agree with to be right or best for an individual, and to promote certain organizations that uphold values contrary to those of my community.”

Chow, who is from Gilroy, California, about two hours outside of San Francisco, told The Daily Signal that she fears funding for Christian groups on campus is threatened. A piano recital where she was supposed to play was cancelled because professors said, “You can’t perform when we are all afraid of protesters showing up at the door.”

At a protest Wednesday, Chow said, people yelled at her for three hours, swearing and demanding that she resign.

Through that experience, she told The Daily Signal, “a big part of me was reminded that as a Christian, I needed to stand by what I said.”

That means not only standing by her beliefs about gender and sexuality, she said, but “loving the LGBTQ community and accepting all of them as valid and significant and loved.”

Chow was elected to the student Senate as a candidate running with the party Associated Students of the University of California. She had support from fellow Christian students and the “publications and media” crowd involved in journals, magazines, and CalTV, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Over 1,000 persons have signed a petition demanding that Chow resign from student government or face a recall. She also has faced pushback on social media.

Matt Ronnau, president of the Berkeley College Republicans, told The Daily Signal in an interview that his organization stands by Chow.

“We support Isabella 100 percent,” Ronnau said, calling her treatment “incredibly unfair.”

“She expressed very clearly … and decided to abstain, and then the Queer Alliance Resource Center [an LGBT rights organization] came out and basically said she was attacking them and really muddied what she said up,” he said.

The group “painted her to be this huge evil person when really she’s not,” Ronnau said.

Harini Shyamsundar, editor-in-chief and president of The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s student newspaper, told The Daily Signal in an email that the paper declined to publish an op-ed by Chow explaining her decision to abstain because it “did not meet the paper’s editorial standards.”

“We could not publish it in our opinion section, even opposite our own editorial,” Shyamsundar said.

Shyamsundar did not explain further, including what she meant by failure to meet editorial standards.

Manu Meel, CEO of BridgeUSA, a nonpartisan student club at UC Berkeley, told The Daily Signal in an email that while he and the organization did not support Chow’s stance, her opinions should still be respected.

“Millions of Americans share Senator Chow’s perspective,” Meel told The Daily Signal, adding:

Rather than silencing her perspective, we must constructively engage her perspective and create the necessary spaces for those discussions to occur on campus. A democracy cannot thrive if we silence individuals that we disagree with, even if those disagreements are based on identity. In a democracy, progress is achieved when consensus can be forged because ultimately, we are one people united by a common commitment to advancing and protecting the rights of all citizens.

Meel also said students should focus on having a productive discussion about differing viewpoints.

“As students on a campus that has a legacy of strengthening democracy, we can set an example for how difficult issues like the one being discussed here should be resolved,” Meel said. “We must take the opportunity to resolve our differences at a time when polarization and partisanship define the political landscape.”

Ryan T. Anderson, a senior research fellow in American principles and public policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that opinions based on scientific fact should not be seen as hateful or bigoted.

“The best biology, psychology, and philosophy all support an understanding of sex as a bodily reality and of gender as a social manifestation of bodily sex. Biology isn’t bigotry,” said Anderson, author of the book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.”

“How absurd that a student has become a social outcast simply because she declined to support the manifest falsehoods of transgender ideology,” he said.

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Photo courtesy of Isabella Chow.

The Space Force Is Coming. Here’s Why the U.S. Needs It.

One of the issues that will face the new Congress is the creation of a new military service: the U.S. Space Force.

Recently, Vice President Mike Pence chaired the fourth meeting of the National Space Council. The council is comprised of key elements of the U.S. government that are involved with space, and includes not only the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretaries of state and defense, but also the secretaries of commerce, transportation, and homeland security, as well as the director of national intelligence, the director of the Office of Budget and Management, the head of NASA, and the national security and homeland security advisers.

The venue was significant—Roosevelt Hall at the National War College. Established in 1946, the National War College seeks to train the next generation of senior officers and national security civilians in the ways of grand strategy, including how to balance resources available against requirements. Thus, the announcement that the National Space Council would unanimously endorse the creation of the new Space Force was intended to send a strategic signal.

To this end, the vice president in his remarks specifically noted the six recommendations that would be made to President Donald Trump:

  1. Creation of a new unified combatant command: the United States Space Command. This would elevate command of space operations to the level of U.S. Special Operations Command.
  2. Creation of a new organization, the Space Development Agency. This new agency will accelerate the development of new space capabilities.
  3. Reorganizing the resulting bureaucracy, and laying out a path for rapid fielding of that new space technology.
  4. Altering the current rules of engagement for space to allow more effective responses to potential space threats.
  5. Reviewing and revising the legal authorities associated with the employment of space forces. While this appears to simply be more legalese, in reality, establishing which organizations have what legal authorities is a massive part of how the U.S. military operates. Because of the need for U.S. forces to operate within the law—international laws and treaties as well as domestic laws and regulations—laying out the authorities is vital to ensure that military responses are smooth and unencumbered by legal challenges.
  6. All this is to lay the foundations for the creation of a new service, the United States Space Force, which the vice president made clear would be proposed in the next National Defense Authorization Act.

While late-night comedians found the whole idea of the Space Force hilarious, the reality is that the United States faces growing threats from space. These include not only anti-satellite missiles that can shatter satellites into thousands of pieces of debris, but lasers capable of “dazzling” and blinding satellite systems, as well as cyber and jammer threats. The range of potential space adversaries includes not only Russia and China, but, as the vice president noted, also Iran and North Korea.

Nor is the U.S. the first nation to create a service dedicated to space operations. In 2015, the Russians established the Russian Aerospace Forces, merging the Russian air force and the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces. This entity has control over Russia’s air force, Russian missile defense forces, and key parts of the Russian space infrastructure, such as the Plesetsk Cosmodrome (launch facility).

Meanwhile, at the end of 2015, the People’s Republic of China established the People’s Liberation Army Strategic Support Force. This new force marks a very different path than the Russian Aerospace Forces.

Under the People’s Liberation Army Strategic Support Force, the Chinese have brought together their electronic warfare, network (cyber) warfare, and space warfare forces. Thus, where the Russians see space as an extension of the air, the Chinese see space as an extension of information space. This difference explains why the Russians created a single aerospace force, while the Chinese created a single information warfare force.

Since such massive reorganizations take time, this means that both China and Russia were undertaking significant analyses and preparations long before the announcement in 2015. Thus, the United States, far from militarizing space, is in fact likely to be years behind our Russian and Chinese counterparts.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Dean Cheng

Dean Cheng

Dean Cheng brings detailed knowledge of China’s military and space capabilities to bear as The Heritage Foundation’s research fellow on Chinese political and security affairs. Read his research.


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Photo: Aubrey Gemignani/Zuma Press/Newscom.

Environmentalist Policies Are Exacerbating Wildfires. It’s Time to Rethink Forest Management.

Massive wildfires continue to rage out of control in Northern California, causing historic loss of life and billions of dollars in damage.

The images coming out of California towns, which look like bombed-out cities from World War II, are a sobering reminder of man’s occasional futility in the face of nature unleashed.

Stopping these huge blazes is, of course, a priority. The firefighters who have been battling these infernos have at times done a miraculous job under extremely difficult circumstances.

However, policymakers should also look at ways to curtail the long-term trend of growing numbers of major wildfires. While some argue that climate change is to blame for the uptick in fires, it’s also worth grappling with the drastic alterations in forest management that have occurred over the last four decades.

Many have argued that this is driving the surge in huge fires.

As a Reason Foundation study noted, the U.S. Forest Service, which is tasked with managing public wildland, once had success in minimizing widespread fires in the early 20th century.

But many of these successful methods were abandoned in large part because of efforts by environmental activists.

The Forest Service became more costly and less effective as it increasingly “rewarded forest managers for losing money on environmentally questionable practices,” wrote Randal O’Toole, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

Spending on the Forest Service has risen drastically, but these additional resources have been misused and haven’t solved the underlying issues.

“Fire expenditures have grown from less than 15 percent of the Forest Service budget in [the] early 1990s to about 50 percent today. Forest Service fire expenditures have increased from less than $1 billion in the late 1990s to $3.5 billion in 2016,” O’Toole wrote.

Perhaps now, Americans will begin to re-evaluate forest management policies.

In a May congressional hearing, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., said, “Forty-five years ago, we began imposing laws that have made the management of our forests all but impossible.”

He went on to say that federal authorities have done a poor job of implementing methods to reduce the number of deadly fires, and that this has been devastating for America’s wildlands.

“Time and again, we see vivid boundaries between the young, healthy, growing forests managed by state, local, and private landholders, and the choked, dying, or burned federal forests,” McClintock said. “The laws of the past 45 years have not only failed to protect the forest environment—they have done immeasurable harm to our forests.”

In a recent House address, McClintock pinned the blame of poor forest management on bad 1970s laws, like the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. He said these laws “have resulted in endlessly time-consuming and cost-prohibitive restrictions and requirements that have made the scientific management of our forests virtually impossible.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has promoted a change to forest management policies, calling for a more aggressive approach to reduce the excess vegetation that has made the fires worse.

Congress is also moving to address the problem.

Members of the Western Caucus have proposed legislation to dramatically change the way forests are managed. If passed, this bill would give power back to local authorities and allow for more aggressive forest thinning without subjecting them to the most onerous of environmental reviews.

While state and federal governments can take measures to enhance forest and wilderness management, private management can also get involved to improve conditions.

One idea is to adopt a policy popularized by the school choice movement: create charter forests that are publicly owned, but privately managed. This would allow forest management to move away from top-down, bureaucratic control to a decentralized and varied system that may better conform with local realities.

As professor Robert H. Nelson wrote for The Wall Street Journal, the charter forest “would be exempt from current requirements for public land-use planning and the writing of environmental impact statements. These requirements long ago ceased to perform their ostensible function of improving public land decision making.”

Similar privatizing efforts have succeeded in the past.

No measure can truly prevent all fires, but reasonable steps can be taken to reduce the incidence of huge blazes like the ones currently engulfing California.

It’s time for lawmakers to redouble their efforts to protect American lives and property from nature’s most devastating ravages.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Jarrett Stepman

Jarrett Stepman is an editor and commentary writer for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Jarrett. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLES:

Trump Is Right: Poor Land Management Is Leading to Bigger California Fires

23 Photos of the Wildfires Burning Through California

House Lawmakers Push Legislation to ‘Stop the Spread of Catastrophic Wildfires’


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images and video is republished with permission. Photo: Barbara Munker/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom.

California Wildfires are NOT due to ‘climate change’

Gov. Brown blames climate ‘deniers’ for worsening wildfires – Scientific evidence refutes him: ‘Less fire today than centuries ago’ – Wildfires are NOT due to ‘climate change’ – Book Excerpt

California Governor Jerry Brown is blaming “climate deniers” for more California’s devastating wildfires despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that wildfires are not historically worse or caused by “global warming.” See:

Jerry Brown: Climate-Change Deniers ‘Definitely Contributing’ to the ‘New Abnormal’ of Wildfires– California Gov. Jerry Brown said all climate-change deniers are “definitely contributing” to the fatal wind-whipped wildfires that have pummeled northern and southern parts of the state over the past few days, as well as blazes “in the coming years.”

JERRY BROWN BLAMES ‘THOSE WHO DENY’ GLOBAL WARMING FOR DEADLY WILDFIRES

Gov. Brown joins other high profile climate activists in blaming bad weather on “climate deniers.” Most recently, Sen. Chuck Schumer actually said on the Senate floor, “If we would do more on climate change, we’d have fewer of these hurricanes and other types of storms.” See: Sen Schumer goes full witchcraft: ‘If We Would Do More on Climate Change, We’d Have Fewer of These Hurricanes’

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from author Marc Morano’s new 2018 best-selling book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change.

(Move over Rachel Carson! – Morano’s Politically Incorrect Climate Book outselling ‘Silent Spring’ at Earth Day – Order Your Book Copy Now! ‘The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change’ By Marc Morano)

Book Excerpt:

Wildfires

The mainstream media seems to be very sure that wildfires are getting worse because of man-made global warming. ABC World News Tonight warned in 2014 that “here in America, more wildfires, intense burns” have arrived courtesy of climate change. CBS This Morning featured climate fear promoter Michio Kaku, predicting “hundred-year droughts, hundred-year
forest fires” and claiming that “something is very dangerously happening with the weather.”

Al Gore also thinks he knows all about wildfires. “All over the West we’re seeing these fires get much, much worse,” Gore said in 2017, adding, “the underlying cause is the heat.”

But the science tells a very different story. A 2016 study published by the Royal Society reported, “There is less fire in the global landscape today than centuries ago” and the “global area burned” has seen a “slight decline over past decades.” The study, by Stefan Doerr and Cristina Santín of Swansea University in Wales, noted that “many consider wildfire as an accelerating problem, with widely held perceptions both in the media and scientific papers of increasing fire occurrence, severity and resulting losses. However, important exceptions aside, the quantitative evidence available does not support these perceived overall trends.”

The study also found that the data for the western U.S. indicates “little change overall, and also that area burned at high severity has overall declined compared to pre-European settlement. Direct fatalities from fire and economic losses also show no clear trends over the past three decades.” The researchers concluded, “The data available to date do not support a general increase in area burned or in fire severity for many regions of the world. Indeed there is increasing evidence that there is overall less fire in the landscape today than there has been centuries ago, although the magnitude of this reduction still needs to be examined in more detail.”

According to the study, “fire is a fundamental natural ecological agent in many of our ecosystems and only a ‘problem’ where we choose to inhabit these fire-prone regions or we humans introduce it to non-fire-adapted ecosystems.

The ‘wildfire problem’ is essentially more a social than a natural one.” Researchers from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid found that “climate change” is not to blame for increased forest fires in the Mediterranean basin. “The change in the occurrence of fires that are recorded in the historical research cannot be explained by the gradual change in climate.” The fires instead “correspond to changes in the availability of fuel, the use of sources of energy, and the continuity of the landscape.”

In the United States, wildfires are also due in part to a failure to thin forests or remove dead and diseased trees. In 2014, forestry professor David B. South of Auburn University testified to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that “data suggest that extremely large megafires were four-times more common before 1940,” adding that “we cannot reasonably say that anthropogenic global warming causes extremely large wildfires.”

As he explained, “To attribute this human-caused increase in fire risk to carbon dioxide emissions is simply unscientific.” The evidence is so strong that even the Los Angeles Times featured an article rebuking Governor Jerry Brown for his claims that California’s 2015 wildfires were “a real wake-up call” to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which he claimed were “in many respects driving all of this.” The Times article noted, “But scientists who study climate change and fire behavior say their work does not show a link between this year’s wildfires and global warming, or support Brown’s assertion that fires are now unpredictable and unprecedented. There is not enough evidence, they say.”

Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist at the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon, has conducted research on fires in the western United States and found them declining. “If we use the historical baseline as a point in time for comparison, then we have not seen a measurable increase in the size or the severity of fires,” DellaSala said. “In fact, what we have seen is actually a deficit in forest fires compared to what early settlers were dealing with when they came through this area.”

A 2014 study found that Colorado wildfires have not become more severe since the 1900s. “The severity of recent fires is not unprecedented when we look at fire records going back before the 1900s,” said research scientist Tania Schoennagel. The study, “one of the largest of its kind ever undertaken in the western United States,” was published in the journal PLOS ONE and funded by the National Science Foundation.

Related Links:

Wildfires are not worse — despite media hype about ‘global warming’

A Geological Perspective of Wildfires: ‘Global biomass burning during past century has been lower than at any time in past 2000 years’

Wildfires are not worse — despite media hype about ‘global warming’

Plummeting Forest Fire Burn Acreage – Down 80% since 1930’s – And forest fires are down 90% since CO2 was at pre-industrial levels – when an area larger than the state of California burned every year.

California’s ‘new normal’ of winter wildfires doused by climate scientists – Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, compiled data from 1926-2017 showing that the acreage burned by U.S. wildfires has dropped fourfold since peaking in the 1930s, which was posted on the skeptics’ website Climate Depot. “The destructive fires in California are not unexpected given the wet winter last year and resultant plant growth, followed by hot and dry weather since then in which the vegetation dried out,” University of Colorado Boulder meteorologist Roger A. Pielke Sr. said. “An important issue is an extent humans have deliberately or inadvertently started the fires,” Mr. Pielke said. “If these were not started by people (including sparks from power lines), how many fires would there have been naturally? Probably none.” “As to whether this is a ‘new normal,’ it is easy (and inaccurate) to blame climate change just from added CO₂,” said Mr. Pielke, “when in reality the reasons for the fires and the damage they are causing are more complex.”

Peer-Reviewed studies, historical data reject claims California wildfires are due to man-made climate change

Fires far worse last century: Claim global warming causing wildfires goes up in — flames

Prominent forestry scientist goes from environmentalist hero to victim after his research reverses ‘old growth’ logging concepts – “Against the Grain” by Warren Cornwall in Science, 6 October 2017.

Trump Blames CA Wildfires On Forest Mismanagement, Threatens To Cut Off Federal Funding

BLAMING GLOBAL WARMING FOR NORTHWEST’S WILDFIRES IS ‘SERIOUSLY MISINFORMED,’ SAYS CLIMATE SCIENTIST

Report: Poor Management of Forests, Not Global Warming, To Blame for Widespread Wildfires

Climatologist Dr. John Christy rebuts wildfire and heatwave claims: ‘Our most serious heatwaves were in the 1930’s. We have not matched those at all’

STUDY: HUMANS, NOT GLOBAL WARMING, SPARKED ALMOST ALL OF CALIFORNIA’S WILDFIRES – Ninety-five percent of wildfires that ravaged California in the past 100 years were caused by humans, according to a forthcoming study in the International Journal of Wildland Fire. “In most of California, if we could stop ignition during extremely high winds and drought and heat spells, like now, that will be an effective approach,” lead author and U.S. Geological Survey wildfire expert Jon Keeley told The San Jose Mercury News of his soon-to-be-published study. While the public debate largely rages around global warming’s role in wildfires, Keeley’s study shows that human interaction with the landscape, no matter the climate, is causing most fires.

Environmentalists’ Plan To Solve California’s Wildfire Problem — Ban Fossil Fuels

Climate Scientist Calls Out Media (and Mann) ‘Misinformation’ On Wildfires And Global Warming

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by luke flynt on Unsplash.

Why We Need More Climate Change Skeptics

Instead of demonizing such skeptics, we need to encourage and respect such people who work hard to identify where biases have interfered with the pursuit of truth.


Climate scientists are not prophets. Those who believe them on faith provide no good service to the pursuit of truth.

Those who blame climate change for every storm or forest fire are silly. Equally silly are those who claim that a particularly cold day proves that climate change is a farce.

Fear of environmental calamity has caused human destruction before, such as when Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, led to the banning of the pesticide DDT. As a result of the “success” of the environmentalist movement in banning DDT, an estimated 30-50 million people in Africa—mostly children—died from malaria carried by the renewed growth in the mosquito population. Malaria deaths increased from tens of thousands per year pre-ban to millions per year post-ban. The story was similar in India. These were preventable deaths that resulted from stoked fears.

Now the target is carbon dioxide. We are told that 97 percent of climate scientists agree with their own scientific consensus. But that’s a misleading statement in an important way. The actual figure refers to “97 percent of climate scientists actively publishing in scientific journals.” To understand the relevance of this 97 percent figure, we need to know: what are the determiners of “actively publishing?”

Could the selection process for entry and success (“actively publishing”) in the climate profession create a bias that compromises the information we rely on to make our critical decisions about climate?

Let’s ask the question, calmly and rationally, and see where it takes us.

1. It is reasonable to consider that children raised in climate-conscious families are more likely to become interested in the environment than those raised by families who either don’t care or who deny. The climate-conscious children are more likely to undertake science fair projects and write papers about climate change. Climate work is rewarded in school, so it shouldn’t be any surprise if such children, more than others, later consider environmental science as a college major. If this occurs, which seems likely, this childhood process would be Distillation Step 1 in creating a future climate scientist. More speculatively, if sufficiently reinforced, some of these youths might even develop some neuronally hardwired (unchangeable) biases as the brain matures.

2. As is true in all fields, college climatology professors encourage the most dedicated students in introductory environmental studies classes to pursue climate science as a major. Other students—such as those who are skeptical—may never again see the inside of a climate science classroom. The selection of academic major is Distillation Step 2.

3. When students pursue their master’s degrees, the crop of future climate scientists is further distilled. Those who don’t align with their professors’ views are less successful getting into PhD programs. Then, success within a PhD program relies (in any field) on abiding by one’s dissertation committee’s wishes so as to get their PhD in as few years as possible and finally make some money. During this phase, those who best comply will be more likely to obtain their doctorate and get set up in post-doc positions working for experienced senior scientists. Distillation Step 3 has occurred, along with further psychological reinforcement to agree with those more senior. The climate liquor is getting more concentrated.

4. To succeed in academia, the newly minted PhD must apply for grants, mostly from government agencies or his own university. He chooses hypotheses and writes his grant application with care, knowing he’ll need the approval of committees populated with scientists who are invested in promoting their previously published papers and who make their living from government-funded studies of climate change. If he fails to craft his project to appeal to the needs of the reviewers on the committee, he won’t get funded. Funding failure increases the likelihood that he will wash out of academia. This selection of research grants to write is Distillation Step 4.

The process of nurturing and selection of the climate scientist starts in kindergarten and proceeds through high school and college, then to grant funding, manuscript preparation, and publication. His research is then only seen through the lens of the media’s selective presentation. The many reinforcing layers of bias create a distillate of pure concentrated climate orthodoxy, and this liquor is what we are offered to drink.

5. Successfully obtaining funding allows the young academic to perform a research project that will buttress the beliefs of the grant committee that channeled funding to him. Research studies are these days (improperly) designed to accomplish the affirmation of the hypothesized outcome as opposed to examining the truth of a hypothesis. If his project (done well or done poorly) appears to prove his hypothesis, then he tries to publish a paper to join the ranks of the “actively publishing.” He will craft the conclusion and abstract to promote his bias (again, this is true in any field). By the way, we should not underestimate the pressured academic’s skill at justifying to himself the removal of any data from his dataset that adversely affect his ability to get a publishable p value of “less than 0.05” (an arbitrary cut off in statistics that is needed for publication).

Note that if the project fails to prove his hypothesis, the young scientist probably will never write a manuscript about it, and therefore he won’t yet be “actively publishing.” Oh, and often there are multiple hypotheses in a project, and if only one of them is proven, it will be the only one written up and submitted for publication. The disproven hypotheses will not be written up and will never be seen by us. This is all part of Distillation Step 5.

6. Even if a scientist goes to the effort to write a manuscript that fails to support climate change concerns (which would be called a “negative manuscript” as it negates the hypothesis), it will be harder to get it published. Such “negative manuscripts” are, in any field, commonly rejected by the editor before going to peer review.

If a negative manuscript does get to peer review, the reviewers will be more critical because the manuscript will conflict with their prior publications. Then the scientist will have to go to the considerable effort of resubmitting the manuscript elsewhere or have to respond to the reviewers’ critiques by getting more grant money and doing more studies, which will prove difficult. And it just isn’t worth it because publishing such a paper could only hurt his career. So the young academic understandably sticks the rejected manuscript and its data in a desk drawer, never to be seen again. This is Distillation Step #6.

Selective manuscript writing, editorial bias, peer-review bias, and selective re-submission are four important biases in any field. This could be a reason—completely unrelated to scientific facts—as to why climate literature slants the way it does.

After these multiple distillation steps, almost all impurities have been distilled away. Perhaps only 3 percent remains. It should be no more surprising that 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists agree with the climate change consensus than that 97 percent of actively preaching seminary graduates believe in their religion.

7. Those who make it onto the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), are the most highly distilled, fully vetted climate scientists of all. Pure 200 proof. For this reason and others, consensus at the level of the IPCC is even less useful than “expert opinion.”

In response to climatologists’ complaints that the IPCC is biased against nuclear power, Jonathan Lynn, an IPCC spokesman, rejected the accusation, telling Axios: “We completely reject the idea we are biased about nuclear power or anything else.”

I would call Mr. Lynn’s statement psychological denial. Of course the IPCC is biased. Everyone who cares, one way or the other, is biased. To say otherwise is poppycock.

8. Now, if it bleeds it leads. The lay world only hears the most dramatic climate stories. What self-disrespecting mainstream click-baiting journalist will bother to read anything beyond a research abstract or would waste their editor’s time with anything positive (or even innocuous) regarding climate change? Answer: none. Furthermore, journalists now manage to stick a scary line about climate change in any article they can. Bees, birds, ticks, human migration… it’s all climate change. This continual exposure to unsubstantiated statements from journalists will bamboozle many readers.

What we in the lay world get to read and hear is a highly distilled climate change liquor and the most catastrophic fears of what climate change may cause. The climate-concerned lay reader is unlikely to be presented with, or click on, a climate story that opposes his worldview. Those with defensive personalities will reflexively lash out with vitriol at an author of such an article, as if the author were an infidel, often without reading past the title.

We need to get our heads around the climate in an intellectually comprehensive way. We need science to do that. Unfortunately, the politicized climate field has many reinforcing biases entrenched within it. This must lead to the dissemination of biased or incomplete facts and biased conclusions.

Yet it is important we don’t get this wrong because people suffer and die when science becomes unquestioned dogma.

We need private watchdogs who go to the effort to examine the research that the climatologists produce, looking for flaws, biases, misrepresentations, malincentives, and even manipulations. Instead of demonizing such skeptics, we need to encourage and respect such people who work hard to identify where biases have interfered with the pursuit of truth.

I recognize the importance of a healthy climate. I am not ignoring facts, and I respect the scientific method. I’m not brainwashed by oil companies nor in psychological denial. To the contrary, any skepticism I have arises because I do not deny the weaknesses of the academic process that create a scientist and the research he produces. Reinforcing layers of bias can occur in any field, but politicization exaggerates it.

Let’s remember what saved the whales. It wasn’t Greenpeace. It was, rather, the successful distillation of petroleum that replaced the demand for the renewable fuel known as whale oil. That distillation made petroleum purer and more flammable. The distillation of climate science makes it purer, too—and more incendiary.

Policymakers, teachers, journalists, environmentalists…all of us…really know nothing about climate change other than what trickles down from the climate scientists’ desks. Are the many reinforcing layered biases of the climate field sufficient to have relevant effects on the research results that are presented to us? Are the climate scientists getting some of it wrong, or maybe exaggerating it?

It has happened before—with DDT—with horrific consequences.

And the climate change field is even more politicized.

This article was reprinted from International Man.

COLUMN BY

Doug Casey

Doug Casey

Douglas R. Casey is an American writer, speculator, and the founder and chairman of Casey Research. Casey is a real estate investor, as well as an advisor on how to profit from market distortions and periods of economic turmoil.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

Could We Actually Achieve “Warp Speed”?

Everybody knows ‘the speed of light’ is fast. The only thing faster is Chuck Norris, who, the legend goes, can turn out the lights and be under the covers before the room gets dark.

But just how fast is light?

And does it always move the exact same speed? Can we use light to transmit data in a way that harnesses its speed as one of the fastest actors in the known universe? There is has always been a dream of teleportation or using wormholes to jump across time and space at warpspeed, but some scientists now believe that such technology may be more feasible than once thought.

And even if we are centuries away from transporting anything meaningful at the speed of light, the idea of lightspeed may soon jump from the realm of Star Wars to something much more tangible.

How Fast Is Light?

How Fast Is Light?

In a vacuum, light travels 299,792,458 meters per second, which translates to over 670 thousand miles per hour. Light is so fast that it’s difficult to comprehend what that even means.

The second you turn on a light switch, the entire room is flooded with light. But our universe is big. So light from the sun takes seven minutes to reach earth, while light from distant stars experiences so much latency that scientists say we can still see light from stars that burned out many years ago.

It’s a mind-bender to contemplate light covering a distance so long that we could still see it after ‘the lights go out.’ In our observable realm on earth, that idea seems impossible.

Another seemingly impossible idea?

That light might travel at different speeds depending on external factors. This goes in the face of Einstein’s theories about light, but this hypothesis has recently been posited by many modern scientists.

New theories suggest that light moved much faster in the nascent universe, when ambient temperatures were hotter and gravity was lower than it is today. There was also a theoretical phenomenon known as ‘inflation,’ in which the fledgling universe’s rapid expansion essentially bent the rules of every aspect of physics.

Scientists now say that if the speed of light is indeed variable as they now propose, everything about the inflation theory is no longer applicable.

These theories suggest something along the lines of light experiencing air resistance and gravity, much like tangible objects do. This revelation does not disprove Einstein’s theory; rather, it clarifies that while the speed of light is constant in a vacuum, outer space has not been a scientifically-perfect vacuum across history.

The updated theory proposes that different temperatures, gravities, and bodies all change the way light travels. And this means that some measurements made assuming uniform speed of light may be incorrect, thus changing scientists’ understanding of the size of the universe and distance to various celestial bodies.

Before you make your brain hurt too much thinking about measuring the size of the universe using a variable for the speed of light, let’s be clear about what lightspeed means for humanity.

Achieving Warp Speed

Achieving Warp Speed

Outside of references to warp speed in Star Wars and warp drive in Star Trek and other intergalactic sci-fi, humans have never achieved travel at anything close to the speed of light. The U.S. government has put some money and research into the idea of warp drive and other such sci-fi-sounding technology applications.

The conclusion of the study was, predictably, that traveling at or near the speed of light–or even creating warp-drive-like conditions in a strictly scientific setting–is nowhere near possible.

The theory behind warp drive is actually far crazier than simply propelling an object at the speed of light. Instead, it entails using something akin to wormholes to create an interruption in the space-time continuum that would allow whatever enters the wormhole to travel far faster than the speed of light.

However, this theory relies less on next-generation propulsion techniques and more on our ability to one day physically manipulate the fabric of space-time. The fact that this study was lumped in with UFO research should provide some color to the government’s general stance on warp drive.

With phrases like “dark energy” and “extra dimension” featured prominently in the report, it is clear that this possibility, even if it is theoretically plausible, lies squarely in the realm of science fiction.

Still, scientists have lately decided that warp drive is far more imminently possible than once thought. The largest hindrance to warp drive is the amount of energy required to interrupt the space-time continuum in any meaningful way.

Yet, recent advances in power storage and delivery technology and achievements in disrupting the natural state of being at the molecular level using CERN have renewed scientists’ belief and interest in the idea of achieving warp drive, if only at the scale of transporting a single cell via warp drive.

The Power of Fiber Optics

The Power of Fiber Optics

You may have heard the line that “fiber optics transfer data at the speed of light.” This is, strictly speaking, true, but there is a big caveat to it.

Light travels 31% slower through a perfect fiber optic cable than it does through a vacuum–and not every fiber optic cable is in perfect condition or made of the purest materials possible. So, again, we run into the idea that the speed of light is variable. It encounters resistance in the form of fiber cables just the same way scientists have theorized it does with gravity and varying temperatures in the universe.

But, thanks to technological advances in materials and power transfer, researchers have created fiber optic cables that transfer data at 99.7% of the theoretical maximum speed of light–a full 1,000 times faster than today’s average fiber optic cables. This is an application of lightspeed that is pertinent to humans immediately and in the near future.

Achieving near light speed on earth through fiber optics could allow for data transfer speeds far beyond anything we have witnessed, allowing all-but-instant transmission of signals for everything from consumer grade internet to controlling hypersensitive factory operations and robotic devices with lower latency than ever before.

These new ‘light fibers’ are made almost entirely of air and allow optic data to travel much the same way light does in a vacuum–unencumbered by physical resistance. While this technology is not yet ready to be applied in long-distance fiber optics applications, it has nearly immediate potential to provide radically increased speeds in short-distance applications.

The Speed of Light in Your Life

The Speed of Light in Your Life

While we may not achieve lightspeed travel in any of our lifetimes, the speed of light is imminently relevant to all of our lives. As internet providers bring fiber optics to more cities and technology companies sink more research into fiber optic cables themselves, there is ever more reason to believe that we may experience lightspeed internet connectivity in the not-so-distant future.

And as scientists continue to refine their understanding of the variable speed of light, we may even learn of radical new theories behind the size, age, and origin of the Universe itself.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images originally appeared in IQS Directory and is republished with permission.

Energy & Environmental News [+Video]

Here is the latest Energy and Environmental Newsletter.

Maybe due to the recent US elections, there’s a very high quantity of reports and articles in this cycle. I’ve tried to simplify this by having a special section on Nuclear Energy in this issue of the Newsletter. There are quite a few excellent (and surprising) articles in that part (like this and this), so please check them out.

In my continuous effort to make it clearer to citizens how to succeed in a local wind war, I just added a new page to my website: Winning. Let me know if you have any questions, or suggestions for improvements to that significant page.

I was asked an interesting question: what are some of the better books about the Climate Change issue? I know others have tackled this before, but I thought an update was appropriate — so I put together a list of good book related to this topic. If you have corrections and/or additions, please let me know and I will update.

Speaking of Climate Change, I’m starting the highlights of this Newsletter with a short video from Dr. Jordan Peterson — a phenomena. If you don’t know who this no-hold-barred scientist is, you’re in for a treat and a breath of fresh air.

Some of the more informative Global Warming articles are:

Short Video: Jordan Peterson on Climate Change
IPCC: Where Dictators Overrule Scientists
Report: IPCC SR15 Climate Change Report is Based on Faulty Premises
Moving The Goalposts, IPCC Secretly Redefines ‘Climate’
UN’s Solution to Climate Change: End Capitalism
The UN Admits That The Paris Climate Deal Was A Fraud
3 Surprises About Nobel Laureate Nordhaus’s Model of Climate Change
Levin TV: Dr. Pat Michaels on Global Warming, wind energy, etc.
National Association of Scholars: Making Science Reproducible
The Intrinsic Value of Nature and the Proper Stewardship of the Climate
500 Million Years of Unrelatedness between Atmospheric CO2 and Temps
Video: Is the Global Temperature Record Credible?

Some of the more interesting Energy related articles are:

Federal renewable energy subsidies reduce reliability, hinder the market
BBC Mislead Again — This Time About the Cost of Wind Power
Report: Natural Gas Economics Outshines Solar, Blows Past Wind
The Production Tax Credit: Corporate Subsidies & Renewable Energy
Green Energy Mandates Could Double Your Electric Bills
Former Wind Energy CEO Charged In Million Dollar Fraud Scheme
MA Town Board of Health Says Turbines Negatively Affecting Public Health
New Medical Research: Infrasound Negatively Impacts Heart Health!

Note 1: We recommend reading the Newsletter on your computer, not your phone. Some documents (e.g. PDFs) are easier to read on a computer. We’ve tried to use common fonts, etc. to minimize issues.

Note 2: Our intention is to put some balance into what most people see from the mainstream media about energy and environmental issues… As always, please pass this on to open-minded citizens, and link to this on your social media sites. If there are others who you think would benefit from being on our energy & environmental email list, please let me know. If at any time you’d like to be taken off this list, simply send me an email saying that.

Note 3: This Newsletter is intended to supplement the material on our website, WiseEnergy.org. The most important page there is the Winning page.

Note 4: I am not an attorney, so no material appearing in any of the Newsletters (or our WiseEnergy.org website) should be construed as giving legal advice. My recommendation has always been: consult a competent licensed attorney when you are involved with legal issues.

VIDEO Colion Noir: Exposing ’60 Minutes’ Sensationalistic Reporting

Colion Noir, host of NRATV’s NOIR, joins the program to discuss and help expose 60 Minutes piece on the AR-15 as they vilified the popular sporting rifle. Colion also shares a preview of his latest episode of NOIR where he takes a look at the public safety issues that are affecting citizens in Albany, New York.

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Judge Bans Enforcement of California Law Requiring Pro-Life Groups to Promote Abortion

A federal judge in San Diego has permanently barred enforcement of California’s Reproductive FACT Act, which requires pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to disseminate information about abortion.

The Friday order follows a June 26 Supreme Court decision that found that the FACT Act likely violates the First Amendment.

“The government has no business forcing anyone to express a message that violates their convictions, especially on deeply divisive subjects such as abortion,” said the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Michael Farris, who represented a coalition of pro-life groups challenging the law.

“California disregarded that truth when it passed its law forcing pro-life centers to advertise for the abortion industry. The district court’s order puts a permanent end to that law in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June, which rightly found that ‘the people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail.’”

“The outcome of this case affirms the freedom that all Americans have to speak—or not to speak—in accordance with their conscience,” Farris added.

There are some 200 pro-life pregnancy clinics in California, many of which have a religious orientation. The FACT Act required clinics licensed by the state to post a bulletin relaying information about abortion access in a “conspicuous place” within the facility. Unlicensed clinics—which provide various support services but do not offer advanced medical care—must disclose that they are not credentialed to practice medicine on site and in all advertisements.

The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) challenged the law on constitutional grounds, arguing it violated the First Amendment because it forces a private speaker to spread a message with which they disagree.

California countered that it has a legitimate interest in ensuring its citizens are well-informed about the range of reproductive health options available to them. The state also feared many pro-life clinics conceal their anti-abortion mission from unwitting patients.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, a five-justice majority led by Justice Clarence Thomas found the law likely violates the First Amendment. The case then returned to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, which entered final judgment against the FACT Act. The plaintiffs may also ask to recoup the cost of the litigation.

In one of his last opinions on the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a concurrence “to underscore that the apparent viewpoint discrimination here is a matter of serious constitutional concern.”

“Governments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions,” Kennedy wrote. “Freedom of speech secures freedom of thought and belief. This law imperils those liberties.”

COLUMN BY

If You Earn $32,400 Annually You Are In the Top 1% In The World

There are those who envy the top 1%. In an interview aired on ABC News on October 18, 2011, former President Obama expressed his commitment to the Occupy Wall Street protesters. “I understand the frustrations being expressed in those protests,” Obama told ABC News’ Jake Tapper.

The top 1% are the sworn enemies of the leaders of the Democratic Party and Democrat Socialists. But who really is in the 1% globally?

In an Investopedia article titled “Are You in the Top One Percent of the World?” Daniel Kurt reports:

The growth of income inequality has long been a hot topic around the globe, but it wasn’t until the “Occupy” movement that the amount of wealth concentrated in the top 1% of society received so much attention.

[ … ]

This raises an interesting question: who exactly are the 1%? The surprising answer: if you’re an American, you don’t have to even be close to being uber-rich to make the list.

Daniel Kurt notes:

Ranking by Income

According to the Global Rich List, a website that brings awareness to worldwide income disparities, an income of $32,400 a year will allow you to make the cut. $32,400 amounts to roughly:

  • 30,250 Euros
  • 2 million Indian rupees, or
  • 223,000 Chinese yuan

So if you’re an accountant, a registered nurse or even an elementary school teacher, congratulations. The average wage for any of these careers falls well within the top 1% worldwide.

Figure 1. The percentage of global wealth owned by the top 1% surpassed 50% as of 2016.

Source: Oxfam

Kurt concludes, “The term ‘top 1%’ of global income may sound like an exclusive club, but it’s one to which millions of Americans belong. It’s a reminder of just how prosperous developed countries are compared to the vast majority of other people who share our planet.”

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Florida Schools: Transgender Children’s Choice Must Be Hid From Parents

A Florida school superintendent in very conservative coastal Sarasota County is implementing a radically leftist transgender policy without public input or a vote of the School Board, a policy that among other things strips parents of their right to know what their child is doing in school and turns over a fundamental right of parenting to the government.

At the recommendation of the Sarasota County School District’s LGBTQI Task Force, School Superintendent Todd Bowden is issuing “guidelines” today to govern how the district’s more than 50 public schools handle transgender and gender questioning students — starting as young as kindergarten.

This surreptitious radicalization of local policy comes at the very moment that the Trump administration is considering rolling back the Obama administration’s baseless, un-scientific and lawless expansion of Title IX, the federal civil-rights statute that bans sex discrimination in federally funded education programs. Obama also did that very quietly in 2014, on his own, after Congress failed to get it changed to Obama’s satisfaction.

These are called “guidelines” presumably because an actual policy would have to go through the School Board and be subject to public hearings and public input. (The tactic is akin to when President Obama created a treaty with Iran over nuclear weapons, but called it an “agreement” to bypass the need for Senate ratification.)

Superintendent Bowden appears to be using the Obama playbook on the issue.

But while called guidelines in practice it is a policy, and it implements a full-blown transgender protocol allowing students to use whichever bathroom and locker room corresponds with the gender they “identify” as, forces everyone else to use the pronoun of the students’ choice — including “their” if they are just not sure— and checks the box of everything LGBTQI activists want.

The policy also says that parents must not be informed of their child’s decision to identify as a different gender. The student’s gender identity will be accommodated entirely in the school, which activists and some school leaders claim is a “safer” environment than the home.

If John wants to be known as Sue, his teachers and all staff must call him that. But the parents cannot be informed. John/Sue can use the girls’ bathroom, the girls’ locker room, and participate as a girl in extracurricular activities. But the parents cannot be informed. It’s all up to the child and school.

The just-released document obtained by The Revolutionary Act, entitled “Creating Safe Schools for All Students:  Gender Diverse Student Guidelines,” reads: “It is up to the student, and the student alone, to share her/his/their identity.” No parents allowed.

This policy was intended to be quietly rolled out Friday to principals overseeing 43,000 students, until one courageous School Board member was so outraged that she went public with it.

“That is completely stripping the rights of families, parents and/or guardians to be a part of this discussion,” said School Board Chairman Bridget Ziegler. “The district has no place in cutting out parents.”

If a student needs an aspirin, they need parental permission. If they want to sit out the Pledge of Allegiance, they need written permission of the parents. But if their son wants to change his gender and identify as a girl at school and use the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms, then the parent must not even be told.

Remember, there was no vote or discussion by the elected Board, and no public or community input — in a county where Republicans outnumber Democrats 130,000 to 93,000 as of the 2016 election and that Trump won in a landslide. It was meant to be such a quiet rollout that many parents would not even be aware of it. (Part of this is due to the peculiar breakdown of the so-called “non-partisan” Board, which is 4-1 Republican, but 3-2 puppet-like supporters of the superintendent.)

Here are the core controversial parts of the new policy. Read the language. These are not guidelines, they are policy rules.

PRONOUNS: “A transgender student shall be addressed by the name and gender requested. All relevant teachers and administrators and staff shall be informed of a transgender student’s name and gender pronoun. The student’s name and gender pronoun does not need to correspond to the student’s birth certificate and other official records. It is up to the student, and the student alone, to share her/his/their identity. In the case of elementary-age students often the student and parent are involved, however, this is on a case by case basis.”

At the elementary level, the parents are involved only if the child informs them. School leaders are blocked from doing so.

BATHROOMS: “All students, who want to use the restroom in accordance with their consistently asserted gender identity, will be provided the available accommodation that best meets the needs and privacy concerns.”

Of course, this is a serious problem all on its own. But implementation will also be problematic, because in the open-ended forms of gender identity allowed in the guidelines there is “non-binary,” which “refers to anyone who does not exclusively identify as male or female. This term can include multiple gender identities, not limited to gender fluid.”

So apparently any bathroom can be used, based on the feelings of the moment?

LOCKER ROOMS: “All students, who want to use the locker room in accordance with their consistently asserted gender identity, will be provided the available accommodation that best meets the needs and privacy concerns.

FIELD TRIPS: “Day field trips and overnight field trips are opportunities for educational endeavors and social engagements and it is important to make sure that transgender students have both components. This can require some planning to ensure affirmed name, gender pronouns, room assignments, chaperones and showers are accurate and aligned with the student’s core gender identity. School administration will directly guide the process. Administration will review case by case to determine how to work with all parties involved.”

Because the School Board elections were just completed in the Florida primary, there is little that can be done to overturn this superintendent-driven policy. But expect a strong reaction from the conservative community on the loss of parental rights with their own children.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act. It is republished with permission.

VIDEO: Why Do Millennials Like Socialism? Betsy DeVos Cites Lack of Civics Education

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos spoke to The Daily Signal this week about her efforts to restore local control of education, the Trump administration’s priorities for higher education, and the rising support of socialism among young people. An edited transcript of the interview is below. Full audio of the interview is available on The Daily Signal Podcast.

Rob Bluey: For the past five decades, we have seen the federal government’s involvement in education increase. Now, under the Trump administration, you’ve taken some steps to restore some of that control back to local communities. Can you outline some of the highlights?

Betsy DeVos: Yes, I’d be happy to.

It started with rolling back a number of regulations that were very broad overreaches on the part of the former administration. But it also goes to the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which Congress passed in the end of 2015, but it’s really only getting implemented this year.

And I think that the Democrats were counting on Hillary [Clinton] being in the White House because they, in the previous administration, wrote a whole bunch of regulations in addition to the actual statute that were going to place undue and overreach burdens on states. So that was all rescinded, rolled back, right at the start of this administration.

And we are on the proactive side of things, pointing out to states and local communities the inherent flexibilities that Congress wrote into that statute. So very important opportunities that we’re urging states and communities to take advantage of.

We’ve produced a parent guide to, again, bring the focus back to … These are parents’ decisions and parents have to be integrally involved in these discussions.

Bluey: I know one of the issues that goes alongside that is school choice and giving parents the flexibility to choose the best situation for their children. What is the Trump administration doing with regard to school choice?

DeVos: Sure, and I should have mentioned on your previous question the extension or the broadening of 529 savings plans, which, of course, provides a huge opportunity for families to take advantage of, for now, K-12 education as well. And as we are continuing to look at ways to complement what the states are doing, states really have to take the lead on this and policies within each state.

There are now over 54 different choice programs that have been implemented in states and over a half-million students taking advantage of them.

There are now over 54 different choice programs that have been implemented in states and over a half-million students taking advantage of them. But we have to look for ways not for the federal government to step in and in any way take over what states are doing, but anything the federal government does should No. 1, not be a mandate, and No. 2, complement or have the potential to complement and augment what states are doing.

Bluey: One of the reasons that parents like that flexibility is the concern about what their students, their children, are learning in schools. And we’ve seen recently some polling to indicate that socialism is on the rise in terms of a belief system that many young people seem to be clamoring for. And you even see it in some of the Democratic politicians in our country.

Do you believe this is a cause of the education system and some of the beliefs that are being taught to students? Or is there another factor why they are gravitating toward such a destructive force like socialism?

DeVos: I think it’s really a combination of things. I think, No. 1, students aren’t getting the kind of foundation in civics and government that I recall getting as a student in K-12 education. And they’re coming then into higher education without the background to even know and understand competing ideas, and then without the ability to discuss and debate them.

No. 1, students aren’t getting the kind of foundation in civics and government that I recall getting as a student in K-12 education.

I recall visiting a classroom not too long ago where one of teachers was wearing a shirt that said, “Find Your Truth,” suggesting that, of course, truth is a very fungible and mutable thing instead of focusing on the fact that there is objective truth and part of learning is actually pursuing that truth.

So roll it back, there is a very important need for students to know the foundations of our country and the ideas around which our country was formed. And to then have the ability to discuss and debate those ideas freely on their K-12 campuses and on their higher ed campuses.

Bluey: You mentioned higher ed. Under your leadership, you’ve tried a few things to make improvements in the higher ed environment. Can you outline what the Trump administration’s priorities are when it comes to higher education?

DeVos: This administration is very focused on expanding the pathways to higher education. We’ve had almost a singular focus for decades on four-year college or university as being the only path to a successful adult life. We know that not to be true.

This administration is very focused on expanding the pathways to higher education.

We know today there are 6.7 million jobs going unfilled that require that some kind of learning beyond high school, and yet there’s a mismatch. Students aren’t finding out about these opportunities, and they aren’t pursuing them because everything is very siloed when it comes to post-secondary education.

We are focused on expanding those pathways on reforming accreditation and other regulations that really have constrained higher ed across the board from innovating in the higher education arena.

I talk with those who have been innovators in higher ed, and they say the biggest impediment is the antiquated accreditation system and all of the regulations surrounding that. We’re going to be undertaking rule-making in that regard, and we’re going to continue to push and encourage the opportunities that these creative individuals have to meet students where they’re at and meet them for the needs of the 21st century.

Bluey: And on that note, final question for you today is regarding college cost because we hear about student debt and all the issues that they face once they get a degree. What is the Trump administration doing, and are there innovative things that you’ve seen in higher ed where you can address some of these issues when it comes to the high cost of a higher education?

DeVos: Well, one of the things that we’re doing is taking the framework for Federal Student Aid and modernizing it. We’re calling it Next Gen FSA. And we have taken, first of all, the FAFSA application and put in on a mobile device. You can now complete your FAFSA form on your smartphone.

And we’re going to be continuing to add more relevant information to that app so you’ll be able to know exactly what your student loan outstanding balance is. You will be reminded along the way of options you have for repayment to encourage you to take responsibility for doing so.

 You will be able to access the College Scorecard, which is going to have programmatic data for all colleges and universities so you can ahead of time determine whether you want to pursue a specific program based on what the results are for students that have pursued that program.

So that, plus a lot of other information that’s going to be at your fingertips, hopefully will help cultivate a lot more financial literacy around higher ed and the costs associated with that.

And then on the other side of things, again, opening up the opportunities for creativity and innovation in higher education is going to continue to change the cost calculations.

My visit to Georgia Tech a couple weeks ago gave a very current example of that. They have implemented a master’s of computer science program, which they were hesitant to do because they felt it was going to bring some, perhaps, negative implications to their on-campus programs.

Actually, what happened was they have several thousand students who will be graduating with their master’s in computer science. They’ve been able to take their classes and do the programming as it worked for their schedules and doing it, a master’s, all for about $7,000.

Bluey: Thank you for sharing that story. It’s the stories like that we like to highlight at The Daily Signal, and we appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today.

DeVos: Thanks, Rob, it’s a pleasure.

COLUMN BY


Doctoring the Truth about Male and Female

Dr. Miroslav Djordjevic is not your normal physician. He came to fame more than two decades ago, making a name for himself as one of the world’s premiere genital reconstruction surgeons. After years of helping men and women transition into a body they weren’t born with, he’s started to realize something: the procedure called sex reassignment surgery isn’t making patients happy. Beyond the transgender flag-waving and pride-marching are real people in real pain. And according to doctors like Djordjevic, they’re struggling, but their struggle is with something the media or LGBT activists don’t want to admit.

Over the last five years, in particular, Dr. Djordjevic says he’s been overwhelmed by the number of people who’ve approached him about reversing their procedure. The surgery that they thought would bring them the satisfaction they were looking for only plunged them into deeper despair. A growing number of them, he tells Canada’s National Post, were miserable. Six people, he says, made appointments to undo a procedure that’s not only excruciatingly painful — but expensive. “They came from countries all over the Western world, Britain included, united by an acute sense of regret.”

The majority, he points out, were men who’d undergone surgery to transition into women. When he told them that “reattaching the male genitalia” is a complex and excruciating procedure that would take several operations and thousands of dollars, they didn’t blink. They told him about “crippling levels of depression” with intense suicidal thoughts. “It can be a real disaster to hear these stories,” he says. “And yet,” the doctor points out, “they are not being heard.”

When other doctors and advocates started demanding more research into the effects of sexual reassignment surgery, they were ignored. The medical community and universities that would normally study these things were too afraid of the transgender lobby. In England, Bath Spa University turned down an application for research on the remorse Djordjevic is encountering and school officials refused to touch it. It’s “potentially politically incorrect,” they insisted. “Definitely reversal surgery and regret in transgender persons is one of the very hot topics,” Djordjevic says. But as doctors — especially as doctors — “we have to support all research in this field.”

One of his biggest concerns — and others’ — is that there’s such a rush into surgery. These days, he explains, the men and women in his field either don’t want to seem intolerant or they just want the money, but there seems to be a real lack of psychiatric evaluation and counseling. Even worse, Djordjevic points out, they’re advocating this surgery for younger and younger children. It’s a mistake, he insists. And research bears that out. Our friends at the American College of Pediatricians, who’ve labeled this ideology “child abuse,” point out just how absurd that agenda would be. “According to the DSM-5, as many as 98 percent of gender confused boys and 88 percent of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.”

FRC’s Peter Sprigg thinks it’s even more significant that a doctor who performs these surgeries has concerns.

“The rush to transition on the part of many with gender dysphoria — especially minors — and their medical enablers can only have tragic consequences. Even the American Psychiatric Association acknowledges that among children with gender dysphoria, the majority do not grow up to identify as ‘transgender’ if left to themselves. People who are wrestling with gender identity issues need to understand that ‘transition’ is not a panacea and could be disastrous, so they should not be rushed into such a radical response.”

What people need more than anything is the help that too many states want to deny them: the advice and comfort of a qualified therapist. So many of these issues are emotional and mental, argues Walt Heyer, who formerly identified as transgender. In a 2009 study by the Department of Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University, researchers found that most of the people struggling in this lifestyle — 90 percent — “had at least one other significant form of psychopathology.” Even in a liberal country like Sweden, even after receiving the surgery they seek, the suicide rate of people who identify as transgender is 19 times higher than the general population. LGBT activists want you to believe that the humane response is encouraging and affirming these feelings. But affirming dangerous and destructive ideas is not compassion. Real compassion is helping people find their way to freedom and fulfillment which comes by knowing the truth.

President Trump, meanwhile, has been maligned, criticized, and harassed for trying to move our country away from this radical ideology that keeps people who identify as transgender in bondage. When he is working to roll back Barack Obama’s radical definition of “sex” (which included “gender identity”), actor Bradley Whitford tweeted: “This is obscene. This must not stand. This is, and I use this word intentionally, what the Nazis did. Otherization, vilification, and exclusion of vulnerable minorities.” We’ve gone so far, conservative Brent Bozell fired back, that “Calling a man a man is now the Holocaust.”

In the end, the hysteria from many on the Left only proves one thing: they don’t care about people. Not really. They care about their agenda. And just like the women they nudge into abortions — without a thought to the pain or consequences — they’ll do anything to protect it. That’s not tolerance — it’s manipulation. And for the sake of human dignity, it’s time to rise up and say: “Enough!”

For more on what the Trump administration is actually doing on the issue (hint: it’s not erasing people!), check out Peter Sprigg’s op-ed in the Washington Examiner, “Trump Transgender Policy Is Simple and Scientific: ‘Sex’ Means Biological Sex.” Also, take the time to read through FRC’s publication, “Understanding and Responding to the Transgender Movement.”


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


RELATED ARTICLE: An Allowance the Left Keeps Raising

EDITORS NOTE: This column and images is republished with permission.