Why We Love Scary News Stories

By Larry Kummer – Re-Blogged From Fabius Maximus

Summary: A new chapter has begun in the climate wars. The reason why reveals something about America – about us – that we must know if we are to steer America to a safe and prosperous future.

“I want doomster news stories in this newspaper, and plenty of them!”

pexels-photo-1586996

In 2017 a new phase in the “debate” about the public policy response to climate change began with publication of “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells in New York magazine – “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak – sooner than you think.” It is typical alarmist propaganda – exaggerations, misrepresentations, with little context about the odds of these horrific things happening.

This has been the Left’s primary method of influencing Americans since the early 1970s. They have predicted the end times from pollution, resources running out, global famine, and other dooms long forgotten. The Right also uses this tool, with their scary stories about crime, national bankruptcy, evil minority groups, and terrorism. Why do they do it? This new chapter of the climate wars shows the answer. NYMag published a follow-up article that opens with what is most important to journalists, and explains why they love doomster stories.

“We published ‘The Uninhabitable Earth‘ on Sunday night, and the response since has been extraordinary — both in volume (it is already the most-read article in New York Magazine’s history) and in kind.”

So they expanded it into a book: The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. This was followed by many others. The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink by journalists Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank (2018). “The five ways the human race could be WIPED OUT because of global warming” by Rod Ardehali at the Daily Mail, a promo for Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben. “Planet Earth Is Doomed. How Do I Go On?” by Liza Featherstone at The Nation. “Where our New World Begins: Power, politics, and the Green New Deal“ by Kevin Baker in Harper’s, May 2019 (debunked here). The latest is “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency” in Bioscience (a friendly outlet for climate doomsters).

These are weakly sourced, and have only a slight resemblance to anything published by NOAA or the IPCC. But science be damned. Fear sells. What counts in the real world are clicks, and the advertising dollars and political power that flow from them. Today editors across America are banging on desks, demanding that their reporters write stories about the very certain death to everybody coming very soon. Special interest groups from coast to coast are preparing press releases about the looming disasters requiring that we give them money and power.

Today climate activists are popping Champaign corks, convinced that the public’s interest in climate doomster stories means more support for their political agenda. Are they right?

Janet Leigh in "Psycho"

Why we love doomster stories

“The key to a great story is not who, what, or when, but Why?”
— Eliot Carver, media magnate in Tomorrow Never Dies.

These stories have seldom succeeded in changing US public policy (see Focusing on worst case climate futures doesn’t work. It shouldn’t work). But why do we love alarmists propaganda, yet not act upon them? Peter Moore gave a clue in the March 1987 issue of Playboy (yes, it also had great pictures): “The Crisis Crisis”. The opening tells the tale.

“America today is suffering an epidemic of nation-sweeping events unseen since the Biblical plagues in Egypt. In the attack of the killer trends, we are terrified on Monday by a crisis we scarcely knew existed the previous Friday, and Monday’s dark portent, in turn, gives way to the next week’s hysteria.

“In horrific succession, herpes anxiety is overtaken by the plague of AIDS, which is followed by the shocking specter of Third World debt. After a brief but chilly nuclear winter, we are threatened by our own national-debt crisis and devastated by starvation in Ethiopia; then it’s back to our leaky ozone layer. Terrorists are suddenly in our midst, then the homeless – until all is swept away by crack mania.

“The problems appear, the alarms sound, the cover stories and the special reports proliferate. Then the media lose interest, and it’s on to the next disaster. The phenomenon is so pernicious, it’s worthy of a cover story all its own. Call it the Crisis Crisis.”

This shows the key to understanding these outbreaks of fear: we don’t change our behavior in response to these crises because they are entertainment to us.

This explains American’s odd disinterest in experts’ past record of failed predictions and bad advice (e.g., Paul Ehrlich on the Left, Larry Kudlow on the Right). We do not care if what we read about the world is accurate, since we have no intention of using this information. A collector of maps doesn’t ask if the maps are correct; they want pretty old maps – with colorful dragons on edges. Only those navigating to a destination demand accurate charts.

Most media firms target America’s outer party – the large body of Americans interested in current events and with the income to attract advertisers (e.g., professionals, managers, business owners). They understand what we want, and so provide a mirror in which we can see ourselves. We want simple exciting stories that provide entertainment and catharsis. Horror stories does this well, whether about natural disasters, man-made disasters, or disasters caused by supernatural evil. We love them all!

So special interest groups manufacture visions of doom, hoping to gain attention to their cause. Journalists turn them into exciting stories for our entertainment. The 1% watch and laugh. Politically ineffectual, we want to believe ourselves engaged. So we read this “news” to become well-informed and write posts or comments (21st C letters to the editor) — fun, easy citizenship! See details about this process here. Look to the past to clearly see it how it works.

Visions from 1971 about the wrecked world of today

"Los Angeles: AD 2017" by Philip WylieAvailable at Amazon.

On 15 January 1971 Americans watched the TV show “L.A. 2017”, an episode of The Name of the Game. Directed by the 24-year old Steven Spielberg, it described a horrific world 46 years in the future (2017), after pollution destroyed the Earth’s ecology and forced the remnants of humanity underground. For more about the plot see this. It was written by Philip Wylie, who novelized it as Los Angeles: A.D. 2017. See a review here.

In 1971 we read about our horrific future of 2000 AD in a serious journal, the New Scientist: “In Praise of Prophets” by Bernard Dixon.

“If current trends continue by the year 2000 the United Kingdom will simply be a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people, of little or no concern to the other 5-7 billion inhabitants of a sick world. …If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

— Paul R. Ehrlich speaking in London at the Institute of Biology.

Ehrlich also predicted worldwide plague, thermonuclear war, death of the seas, “rocketing” death rates, and ecological catastrophe. Dixon reported that “the audience loved it and gasped for more”. Just like today, as we applaud and cry for more doomster stories about the climate armageddon.

These scare tactics accomplished nothing. The first of great laws regulating air and water pollution were enacted in the 1960s, before these tactics became widespread. The EPA was created in 1970. These stories seemed powerful because they extrapolated past trends into the future, ignoring countermeasures that had already begun. Just as today’s climate doomsters ignore the replacement of coal by cleaner sources and the even better sources under development (details here).

Then and now, scary stories are fun. But a people who take them seriously, even as guides to public policy, are to be pitied.

No Fear

Conclusion

Special interest groups manufacture propaganda to fool us. We fool them by enjoying it, furiously debating it amongst ourselves, crying in fear – but not acting upon it. This is a pitiful story. It is the behavior of peons, not citizens. The solution lies in our hands, becoming citizens interested in truth and assuming responsibility for America. Rationally assessing threats and acting on them as boldly and decisively as needed.

  1. Important advice: Learning skepticism, an essential skill for citizenship in 21st century America. About “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”.
  2. We live in an age of ignorance, but can decide to fix this – today.
  3. Remembering is the first step to learning. Living in the now is ignorance.
  4. We face too many threats. Let’s respond rationally! – A simple first step.

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Gold And Silver Prices To Head Dramatically Higher

By Mike Gleason – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Mike Gleason: David, we had you back on at the beginning of the year and you shared some amazing insights on palladium, and we’ll get to that in a bit because that market is still very interesting. But first off, you’ve been watching the Fed balance sheet closely here and I wanted to get your comments about that to begin with. Now, after the extraordinary expansion, which followed the 2008 financial crisis and a few rounds of QE, the Fed began contracting the money supply in 2017. You’ve been making the case that the withdrawal of liquidity could trigger another catastrophe.

So, let’s start with the basics here. If you would, please explain the history of the Fed’s balance sheet, and why it is something investors should be carefully watching.

David Jensen: Yeah, I think that the root of it all, the reason we’re watching so closely is the tremendous imbalance between the amount of cash, liquid cash that’s in the system versus the amount of debt. And the Fed has run interest rates from around 20% in 1980 down to 0% or 0.25% here a couple of years ago. And what they’ve done is expanded the greatest debt bubble in history. The total debt in the U.S., now on all levels according to the Fed’s flow of funds report is about $72 trillion. And to serve as that $72 trillion of debt that’s in extent, there’s only $14 trillion of liquid currency in deposits and in physical cash. So, what we’re seeing now is that the Fed needs to continually to expand the money stock with the money supply. The money supply is the annual change or the addition to the outstanding money stocked addition to the $14 trillion that’s out every year. And they need to add a substantial amount so that the debt can be serviced and so that the economy can continue to move forward.

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Asians Better Hope It’s A Trump Win In 2020

By Tilak Doshi , originally posted at Forbes – Re-Blogged From WUWT

On my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that puts a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases for drilling offshore and on public lands. And I will ban fracking—everywhere.” So tweeted Elizabeth Warren, the likely Democratic presidential nominee. (Fracking combines horizontal drilling and hydraulically-fracturing shale rock with high-pressure liquids to force open existing fissures and extract “unconventional” oil and gas.) In the intention to ban all fracking in the US, she joins Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, her fellow presidential candidate hopefuls. In the demonization of fossil fuels and support for some variant of the multi-trillion dollar “Green New Deal”, Warren is not alone among the candidates running in the Democratic presidential primary. Nearly every nominee for the Democratic primary, including the other leading contender Joe Biden, has signed on to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s grand plan to save the planet from a 12-year deadline to global extinction.

What the fracking revolution wrought for Asia

The rapid growth in U.S. unconventional oil and gas production is unprecedented in the history of the industry. According to Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, “The remarkable ability of [US] producers to unlock new resources cost-effectively pushes the combined United States oil and gas output in 2040 to a level 50% higher than any other country has ever managed. This is an impressive feat, which cannot be overstated. This makes the United States the undisputed oil and gas producer in the world over the next several decades.” The phenomenal surge in US oil and gas production has been transformational in its impact on global markets. It has probably brought about the biggest transfer of wealth in history.

US crude oil production has more than doubled in a decade. By mid-2019, US production was rated at over 12 million b/d, surpassing Russian and Saudi Arabian output as the world’s largest. Academic models suggest that oil prices are up to $40 – $50 per barrel lower than they would have been were it not for the US fracking revolution. Benefits have primarily flowed to China, India, Japan and South Korea which constitute four of the world’s five largest oil importers (the US itself being one of the top five), largely at the cost of reduced oil revenues to OPEC and Russia. Given Asia’s oil consumption of almost 36 million barrel per day in 2018, the region’s consumers would have saved over $325 billion dollars annually if crude oil prices were lower by just $25 per barrel due to the US production boom.

According to consultants IHS Markit, the shale gas revolution in the U.S. “will drive prices down to a level not seen in 40 years and open wider the world of energy export possibilities”. As the US emerges as a major exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG) over the next few years, competing with the world’s leading suppliers Qatar and Australia , it is helping to integrate what were previously regionally disparate markets in Europe, Asia and North America. Benefits to Asian markets for natural gas will also be substantial, not only via lower prices but also in their aims to diversify their sources of energy imports and reduce their dependence on the Middle East suppliers.

Impossible Promises by Democratic contenders in the US Primary

Fanciful policy promises by politicians in the election trial are nothing new. The Democratic Party presidential primary debates to date have more than lived up to such billings. The one-upmanship in issues of climate and energy policy, for instance, has been nothing short of incredulous to any objective observer not fully convinced of an impending planetary apocalypse. But Warren is anything but shy: “Taking bold action to confront the climate crisis is as important – and as urgent – as anything else the next president will face. We cannot wait

Outlawing fracking and imposing a complete moratorium on oil and gas drilling offshore and on public lands, to be sure, will require contentious legislation at various levels of government. They will also spur litigation challenges from investors, oil and gas companies and state governments heavily dependent on oil and gas activity for their revenues and hence votes.

Constitutional limits on the US president’s power are real and binding. For instance, outlawing an entire technology (fracking) might require an act of Congress. If the Republicans retain majority control of the Senate, anti-fossil fuel legislation such as those proposed by Warren would not be passed. But even if the Democrats manage to flip the Senate, moderates in oil and gas states such as Colorado, New Mexico and Texas would find it difficult to knee-cap their own vibrant jobs-providing and tax-paying industries.

Yet, the promises by Warren are spooking investors in the US oil and gas patch. A President Warren could take executive and regulatory actions aimed at ending fracking and all oil and gas activity in federal lands for example. A weaponized Environmental Protection Agency – taking President Obama’s playbook – could discourage the fossil fuels sector in countless ways through administrative and regulatory choke-holds. A climate change-impelled president could “vaporize the oil and gas boom in the United States”, as succinctly put by Bob McNally, head of the Rapidan Energy consultancy.

Asians can only wait and see

A left-wing Warren presidency would curtail US fracking and oil and gas output from federal lands, leading to higher global oil and gas prices. Energy imports are among the largest components in the balance of trade of most Asian economies. Already afflicted by a global economy in the throes of a “synchronized slowdown”, they can ill-afford higher oil and gas prices.

The IMF recently downgraded its growth forecast for 2019 to 3 percent, its slowest pace since the global financial crisis. In this context, significantly higher oil prices would hit vulnerable Asian economies with weak current account balances such as India, Indonesia and the Philippines with inflation, weakening currencies and lower growth outlooks. Even China, with its slowest growth rate in nearly 30 years and an “evaporated” current account surplus, would not be spared from the knock-on effects of higher energy import prices.

It might be argued that a Trump loss in 2020 would help Asia. This outcome, as the reasoning goes, would lead to a more “normal” world without the travails of a transactional US foreign policy and an “America First” approach to international economic relations that have characterized the current administration. Yet, given Asia’s voracious appetite for imported oil and gas, its leaders know full well that it is President Tump alone that stands for a world of energy abundance. The evermore extreme leftward lurch of the current crop of Democrat presidential hopefuls attests to this. Asian leaders should be careful what they wish for.

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Big US Stocks’ Q3’19 Fundamentals

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

The US stock markets have surged to all-time-record highs, fueled by extreme Fed easing. It jawboned about rate cutting, slashed rates, and birthed a new large-scale Treasury monetization campaign! All this has left traders hyper-complacent, assuming the upside will continue indefinitely. But are these lofty stock levels fundamentally-justified? The big US stocks’ just-reported Q3’19 results illuminate this key question.

Four times a year publicly-traded companies release treasure troves of valuable information in the form of quarterly reports. Required by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, these 10-Qs and 10-Ks contain the best fundamental data available to traders. They dispel all the sentiment distortions inevitably surrounding prevailing stock-price levels, revealing corporations’ underlying hard fundamental realities.

The deadline for filing 10-Qs for “large accelerated filers” is 40 days after fiscal quarter-ends. The SEC defines this as companies with market capitalizations over $700m. That easily includes every stock in the flagship S&P 500 stock index (SPX), which contains the biggest and best American companies. The middle of this week marked 37 days since the end of Q3, so almost all the big US stocks have reported.

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Republicans Flee Unhinged California En Masse, Seeking ‘Redder Pastures’

‘We’re getting with people who believe in the same political agenda that we do: America first, Americans first, law and order…’

Republicans Leaving California En Masse In Search of 'Redder Pastures'

California state line into Arizona / IMAGE: Roslars via Youtube

(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) While much of the focus on California‘s mass exodus has been on left-wingers in Silicon Valley fleeing to tax-friendly areas like Lake Tahoe, Republicans are also leaving the unhinged blue state en masse, according to the Los Angeles Times. Continue reading

Plans for a Global Dystopia

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From GoldMoney

Global policy planners intend to deliver replacements for both dollar hegemony and fossil fuels. Plans may appear uncoordinated and in their early stages, but these issues are becoming increasingly linked.

A monetary reset incorporating state-sponsored cryptocurrencies will enable exchange controls to be introduced between nations by separating cross-border trade payments from domestic money circulation. The purpose will be to gain greater control over money and to direct its investment into green projects.

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The Borderline Bar and Grill: A Tale of Men and Masculinity

On November 7, 2018, a gunman opened fire inside a crowded bar in Thousand Oaks, California. Lives were lost that night, but lives were also saved. Who saved them? How? What can these heroes teach us? Journalist Abigail Shrier answers these questions in this powerful video.

Please watch the video.

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