the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Anticipating Failure

Posted by Jeff Id on January 13, 2011

Guest post by John Pittman, but  before that I have something to add.

I accepted this post on John’s  past reputation without even looking at the content.  John doesn’t share my political views on many things so this post was a surprise.  Without a doubt I’m getting older, so it is not often that the perspective of my own opinion is changed, John has done exactly that.

—-

Anticipating Failure

I think the failures of Copenhagen and Cancun are going to be the start of a series of failures, though, hopefully not expensive ones. There will be two main classes of failure, but the root cause will be the same. The two failures will be first, ineffectual, expensive “feel-good” or moral “rent-seeking” projects, and the other will be continued failure to reach a binding substantive agreement. Over at Dr. Curry’s blog , they are looking at the issue of defining the relevance of practitioner and other forms of knowledge. There is an error by some on either side with equating problems as part of good versus bad on a singular aspect of the issue. I will make the argument it is systemic, and pervading, and such discussions will not be fruitful since they are misidentifying the problem.

I am including some definitions. Not that I want you to think that my definitions are noteworthy or even correct. But rather, so we can spend time on analysis and not talking past one another. They may be thought as differencing definitions. The first is to put ecologists and other environmental professionals in a group of people concerned with the science, and business. The other group, I label as environmental activists who are concerned with the science, and preservation of nature. To show the difference, the professionals’ response to the activist point of “it” being manmade and therefore not natural is to ask “Do you mean that man is some kind of god, being supernatural?” This is an important distinction often missed in the hurly burly of the political process.

Though some may think this distinction unnecessary or even unnatural, it is necessary to understand the distinction to understand the methodology of what I present. I am going to start with a study I did on a paper on a very long time ago, and some recent events to demonstrate why I think we should be anticipating failure, and thus prepare ourselves to limit the expense of the failure.

The paper, I can’t remember the name, was back in the paper library world, was about how the estimates of cost-benefit analysis from environmental professionals employed by business differed from estimates from environmental activists that produced estimates for NGO organizations such as the Sierra Club. The authors used projects that had been completed, and run for a number of years, so that the validity of the cost benefit ratio could be computed or estimated reasonably. It was found that the difference was about an order of magnitude. In particular, it was found that environmental professionals tended to underestimate benefits by a factor of two and/or overestimate costs by a factor of two, the activists the opposite, such that the average was about an order of magnitude different.

The authors maintained that they thought that the professionals should be more liberal with their estimates such that they started with an estimate closer to what should be realizable. I used a simple (perhaps, simplistic is more accurate) game theory model to show that the professionals should not. The reason and model were based on negotiation. The assumption is that if the professionals achieve a “victory”, then a non-ideal realization occurs that rewards preservation of capital at a cost to the environment; whereas, a “victory” by the activists means wasting capital that could benefit society for little or no measurable environmental good. Thus, if both started equally away from the true point and negotiated correctly, the ideal was more likely to occur than either of the two scenarios which yielded inefficiencies.

Later, a colleague obtained his doctorate showing efficiency in environmental disputes through conflict (advocacy). He agreed that an unfair advantage typically resulted in inefficiency. One of the interesting factoids of both works was the role of the regulated, business and the actual practitioner, engineers on one side about what could be done, the regulators in the middle, and the science by scientists, and the environmental activists, on the other side advocating. With the regulators taking a neutral position, neutral means sticking to a typically strict reading of the regulations or law, an efficient compromise was usually obtained.

As our host has pointed out before, there is a political element involved in the UN; and its approach here, has changed this balance. The precautionary principle errs on the side of inefficiency towards the environment. As we have witnessed as individuals, and on blogs, is that the environmental activists have been using this and the preemptive push for climate change legislation to try to bludgeon the West into signing an accord. So, far it has failed. I maintain it should fail, since we can reasonably predict that based on past working human endeavors, efficient allotment occurs when there are equal seats at the table.

Who has not been seated at their normal place? It is engineers that represent business and the conservation of capital. The gist of the precautionary principle is to use uncertainty, not as a stop point, as is typical in high risk, high uncertainty in order to preserve capital, but to force the expenditure and err on the side of environmental safety. But this is not how the systems were developed. Nor does it allow for an efficient allotment of capital. This is why JeffID is correct and has always been correct in pointing out the problem is political. The political forces at the UN threw out the system that had shown it worked, and has tried to replace it with command down authoritarianism.

I do not find it surprising that we are at this point of failure and stalemate. One of the first similarities I noted among the skeptics was just how many were either “boots on ground professionals”, engineers, or both. I find it amusing when climate scientists complain that they are not being listened too. The actual system that has provided so much in terms of advancement, value, and efficiency was thrown out with the Rio agreement. It is a statement before the problem, as has been pointed out. It contains a socialistic based wealth redistribution described as being the responsibility of the advanced nations without acknowledging that the program that is being mandated for implementation is the opposite of what has worked.

One of the dirty little secrets, about environmental crime on the mass scale, is that it has been committed by the poor and the communists. Yet, armed with the Rio Declaration, the UN, lawyers, and NGO’s are trying to convict the governments and people whom the evidence shows have been the best stewards of the environment, as the criminals using the meme of climate justice. Even worse, the model they us to use, is one that failed, while de-legitimizing the model that has worked.

For a convincing take on the worth of the argument, I will steal one of the arguments that the climate change advocacy groups make. Their argument, would you go to a cab driver for medical advice. My question is why are you climate change advocates going to politicians and failed communists for solutions that are business and engineering problems? Yes, they will try to conserve capital, which is part of their job. Put it on its head: why insist in spending too much money, or spending money incorrectly?

JeffID is correct; the real problem is about politics. Not in the normal sense, but the post Rio Declaration sense. Why have we gone backwards to a failed system, when we had a working system? Why are we talking about advanced nations being tried and convicted of crimes in the name of climate justice, while we turn our eyes away from the economic crimes that were visited on the Chinese, the Cambodians, most of Africa, and most especially North Korea? Do not the starvation, the deaths and premature deaths caused by these ineffective and corrupt governments in their past, and many still in the present not also count?

There is an argument that skeptics are often scientifically naïve. Let’s agree to it for argument sake. Do not the Rio Declaration, and Chavez at Copenhagen show just how economically naïve the UN and the NGO advocates are? Further, with all the graft, underutilization, and cost overruns of solar and wind, do these not show how naïve this same group is about engineering. Their solutions don’t work. They seem oblivious what an anathema “don’t work” is to an engineer. But what did you expect when you took two of the most proven segments of our society out of the equation that is in their area of expertise?


41 Responses to “Anticipating Failure”

  1. Brian H said

    Edit: 4th sentence last para needs a question mark.

    Interesting that the “compromise” suggestion (that would result from equal seats at the table) would be halfway between “works” and “fails”. That would mean “semi-works”, as in “close enough for government work”?

    No way should regulators have any say in adjudicating this dispute, btw. Their impulse and motivation is to maximize their own purview. The EPA is the current Raging Bull example, but all ‘cracies share this fundamental characteristic.

  2. Brendan R said

    I think I read in the comments at Curry’s site the term “watermelon”, which was used to describe some activists as “green on the outside and red on the inside.” I think that quite neatly sums up the political views of most hardcore environmentalists.

    The firmly committed left who appeared to “lose” with the fall of the Soviet Union never went away… they just slunk into the shadows until they found a new wedge to exploit in trying to weasel their way back into political power. Viewed through this prism, Hansen’s musing about the suspension of democracy, the 10:10 video, etc., all make perfect sense.

    Were we ever so foolish as to give these people any real political power I have no doubt it would not take long for us to find ourselves in the green version of marching back to year zero as fast as they could make it happen.

  3. Mark T said

    Communism is patient.

    Mark

  4. Mark T said

    And most people in the world do not truly grasp what “patient” means to a communist.

    Mark

  5. Persistent said

    Thanks the article…Mr..

  6. Geoff Sherrington said

    The problem started when my generation went into retirement and the rest of the community allowed activism to link with decision-making. As for negotiations with other Parties meeting in the middle, I have never seen it happen in many, many attempts. If you think you are winning, the goalposts will be shifted. If they think you are winning, the goalposts will be shifted. In dealing with such people, keep at the back of your mind that the ratchet is designed to turn only one way. There is no fairness in this one-sided argument, because the other side takes a lower moral stance to cheat and lie its way out of problems.

    The solution for the aforesaid engineers and scientists who are grounded in correct conduct is to regain the main decision-making positions. You younger generations should never have lost them in the first place. I blame you for believing Timothy Leary en masse. If you do not know that name, you are part of the problem. Who is John Galt? Again, if you do not know, you are part of the problem.

  7. John F. Pittman said

    Brian H, I put the new activism of the Obama administration in the Rio camp. The EPA issued a finding of harm, but many professionals contest the use of the precautionary principle in what the EPA did. There is little or no evidence that CO2 has harmed the environment, yet. In fact, it was modeled that it would actually better the environment for the first emissions. This is a fundamental change from past EPA initiatives.

  8. M. Simon said

    Geoff,

    I’m a big fan of Timothy Leary. But then I actually studied his work in theory and practice rather than buying the press reports. The same thing I do for climate science. And you know Leary’s findings about set and setting are still a valuable insights. Tim’s failings were in politics, not in understanding the nexus between the brain and drugs.

    And his political failure may in part be attributed to the political attacks on him. His political support came from the “outs” while the attacks on him came from the “ins”. Now a days much of what he did in the field of drugs is accepted wisdom. But they acceptors prefer to forget the origins of their wisdom.

    Oh. Yeah. I’m an aerospace engineer. Self taught. I worked my way up from bench technician – without benefit of degree. A sceptic about everything to be sure.

    Any one who accepts the big press accounts on any subject……

  9. M. Simon said

    BTW I’m a John Gault fan too. Go figure.

  10. M. Simon said

    Here is a bit I wrote about genetics and drugs that may have some relevance to the topic at hand (science vs advocacy):

    Maybe It Isn’t All In Your Genes. The whole field of mind altering drugs has been over run by ignorant advocates. And flat out liars. Exhibit A – the Prison Guards Union in California.

  11. M. Simon said

    And on a socio-political note. Both the Right and the Left are overrun by ignorant advocates. Which is why like a plurality if not a majority of engineers I’m a small “l” libertarian.

  12. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    John Pittman,

    Interesting post. I agree with most of what you say. I would point out that the change from a reasonable balance between cost (capital) and results to an unreasonable imbalance that fails to consider economic/financial costs coincides with the gradual placement of individual with strong “environmental credentials” in positions that in the past were held by more-or-less neutral “regulators in the middle” as you describe them.

    For a good example, we need look no further than the appointment of Lisa Jackson by President Obama. While for certain Ms. Jackson is smart and dedicated, it is important to note that she has never run a business, nor even worked in industry, and so has never in her life been in a situation were preserving capital was important. Her entire career has involved instituting ever growing environmental regulations. Someone with Ms. Jackson’s background most likely lacks a balance in perspective when considering capital costs and potential environmental benefits…. and she calls the shots at EPA.

  13. Mark T said

    These inexperineced advocates in positions of power is not accidental. We (they) are intentionally advancing an agenda, and doing so more openly than ever. Yet we (us) are still called conspiracy theorists or wackos when pointing this fact out. The hypocrisy is stunning, you couldn’t imagine it on your own.
    Mark

  14. John said

    The problem lies in the fact too many people who have reached positions of influence and authority, accept the Marxist doctrine in principle (although may not consider themselves Marxists – they talk about social justice or social democracy which is just re-branding) that Mankind, is selfish, should become entirely altruistic, eschew concern for the self in favour of the collective and only needs to be shepherded and prodded towards that.

    The individual/Mankind must be sacrificed so the collective/the Planet can survive.

    It translates into people in all areas, in positions to influence, who believe they are the keepers of the truth and have a moral responsibility to be the shepherds of Mankind and have become convinced the Human Spirit and the natural World can be controlled.

    They cannot be wrong or do wrong. It is the same justification used by the Inquisition – doing God’s work cannot be wrong; doing what is required in order to do God’s work therefore cannot be wrong, no matter what it takes.

    Unfortunately neither the Human Spirit nor the natural World can be controlled, so it is out with the cattle prods and inevitably a drive to the slaughterhouses.

  15. Pascvaks said

    Why is “everything” regarding weather and climate today happening as AGW has predicted? If it’s too warm it’s AGW. If it’s too cold, it’s AGW. If it’s too wet, or too dry, it’s all AGW. The reason is that the science doesn’t matter one bit. The issue is purely political, ergo – AGW means: anything is possible and the end is certain, and the science is locked in a safe deposit box that anyone can plainly see behind a protective laser barrier. Why?

    Truth is the first victim in political wars. The truth of the science is immaterial. We are witnissing a ‘Revolution’ (some might say a Civil or Class War).

    (SarcOn)Oh, yes! And about the idiots who have no clue regarding what’s happening and how they fit in to the World Wide Web of all this, that’s the way they’re suppose to be. It’s all part of the plan. The less people think, and the more they use their base, animal-nature, viseral ‘instincts’, the better for the Revolution.

    Engineers and business people as part of the discussion? As part of the solution? What insane nonsense! You sir are a danger to all you come in contact with! You must be tried and ‘reeducated’, you are a danger to society, to science, to absolutely everything!(SarcOff)

    An that’s the way the World is, January 13th, 2011.

    People don’t change; just their excuses do.

  16. Tufty said

    An excellent piece. Yes, the problem is political in the sense described, but is rarely posed that way. The narrative is corrupt and we are not adept at rebuilding a corrupt narrative, especially a transnational one.

  17. Mark T said

    So what is different than your original opinion, Jeff? Nothing here seems contrary to anything you have said… or maybe i’ve misinterpreted?

    As an advocate of the concept of individual rights, in the truest sense, this is, in my opinion, the biggest scam, a theft of wealth, ever hoisted upon the public. Oddly, the very entity the progressives are using to bring about the change, the banking industry, is anathema to their core values. Either they are doing it unwitttingly, playing into the hands of power brokers as pawns, or they are beating us at our own game. In either case the result, if John’s expected failure does not come to pass, will be a failure of even bigger proportions than any of us could ever imagine. Climate change will be the least of our problems.

    Mark

  18. Jeff Id said

    Mark,

    The post is subtly different in its view of my posts. Sometimes seeing the situation a different way both in referencing the problem as naive and tying that culpability for failure to the systems involved. Perhaps it is Johns writing which did it but I spent a long time thinking about this one.

  19. Layman Lurker said

    I believe the frame of reference for John’s article lies within the theory of the political economy – not in the marxist sense, but rather as a model (analagous to the market) describing the political competition of diverse “interests” for economic and political power. Economists turn to this model (or used to in my day) to understand situations where economics and politics overlap or are inseparable.

  20. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Politics has always been about reaction to real, imagined or staged crises, but of late, in my view,it has become even more so. As far as practical politics goes, generating a crisis for initiating a movement towards AGW mitigation is what the game of advocacy is all about. The mixing of politics and science is easy to see when one reads a climate science paper that makes some claim of urgency to the problems it has attempted to show evidence for. In these circumstances, it is also easier to suspect the “true” science that went into such papers.

    The crisis psychology of recent times has been used to initiate such government initiatives as military actions, huge interventions in the economic and financial activities vis a vis the financial crisis, and major interventionist changes in the US health care system. There are also stepwise crises which start of late with children crises given that the appeal to crises with a person more helpless in their own right has more public appeal for government intervention. The education “crisis” initiated the Bush federal evaluations and grading of education(which, in my view, avoids putting the responsibility where it belongs: on the parents). We had a government in IL here that has had years to (attempt) correct the financial situation yet a lame duck legislature did it at the last minute under the cover of a crises.

    Crises also can help a politicians falling popularity like 911 did for Bush and Oklahoma City for Clinton and now what the shootings in Arizona will probably do for Obama. The voting constituents appear to be susceptible to persuasion and/or at least sympathy through crises.

    Another aspect of crises management that appears to work in favor of those using it to initiate government action is that no matter the success of the crises action without it the protagonists will claim that the crises would have been much worse without – knowing full well that they can never be directly proven wrong.

    If want to look for where the initiatives for AGW mitigations is coming look for crises real, imagined or staged. By the way, Judith Curry’s earlier pronouncements on the looming threat of more and more powerful hurricanes was an example of what I mean here.

  21. Kan said

    “The political forces at the UN threw out the system that had shown it worked, and has tried to replace it with command down authoritarianism.”

    The vast majority of the participants at the U.N. only understand governance by command and control. To expect them to allocate “equal seats” at the table would be exceptional.

  22. John F. Pittman said

    Yes, Laymen, both papers were economics as affected by politics. Most people know that the advocates tend to be political animals, not science. Environmental engineers such as myself represent business concerns for preservation of capital. However, our job is to make sure business complies with law and regulations. This means that we have to know what works and make sure that is what the agreement reaches. It has to work.

    With our host’s kind permission, I will work on part 2 which is where I try to demonstrate that recent events do fit the model I described above, and that we should seek failure for the present AGW paradigm.

  23. Brian H said

    John;
    The lines between politics and marketing are blurred generally, and here in particular. One might say that anyone trying to influence the behavior of others is a politician; or alternatively that they’re trying to sell a product/policy. One major difference is that government by definition permits or exists to exercise coercion.

    Democracy, on that dimension, is then the requirement that a government sell to the populace the need for the coercions it wishes to exercise. The environmentalists are attempting to elevate “It’s for the Environment’s good” above the time-honored “It’s for your own good” as a justification for said coercion.

    And guess who gets to define what said Environment needs and wants?

  24. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Kenneth Fritsch (Jan 13 13:30),

    Politics has always been about reaction to real, imagined or staged crises,

    Indeed. Thomas Sowell in his book The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy describes the process in detail.

    Stage 1 The Crisis

    Stage 2 The Solution

    Policies to end the crisis are proposed that are claimed to lead to beneficial result A. Critics claim that detrimental result Z will happen instead. Critics are dismissed as incompetent if not outright dishonest

    Stage 3 The Results

    Detrimental result Z happens.

    Stage 4 The Response

    Move the goalposts with responses like: It would have been even worse if we had done nothing or we should have done more.

    Why not treat policy implementation like a drug trial. If the patients get worse instead of better, you don’t up the dosage, you end the trial.

    Advocates either ignore cost/benefit analysis entirely or only look at the cost/benefit of the policy while minimizing costs and inflating benefits of implementing the policy and maximizing the costs and minimizing the benefits of doing nothing. There is no analysis of the opportunity cost of the things you didn’t do because finite resources were committed to a particular policy at the expense of other problems.

  25. Mark T said

    Ther are many that claim these crises are actually created with the sole intent of implementing the solutions, solutions that were planned from the beginning. The public is vulnerable in times of crisis and, in general, accepts the solutions offered by government without thought of the consequences. The collectivist ideology counts on this fact.

    Mark

  26. BDAABAT said

    Well, yes, it IS politics. It (the actions of “environmentalists”) is not about science… it never was. It was/is always about politics. The language of the Rio declaration makes that clear.

    I’d argue that that even prior to the UN approach, the process had spectacularly failed. The unintended consequences of environmental actions were far worse that the intended consequences for situations such as the EPA’s decision on DDT and implementation of the endangered species act.

    Bruce

  27. BDAABAT said

    BTW: This is nothing new…

    See H. L. Mencken:

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. ”

    The current users of practical politics are the “environmentalists”.

    Bruce

  28. GregO said

    John,

    Thank you for your informative post written from your perspective of being a practicing environmental engineer.

    If I understand this post correctly, then at it’s heart is a comparison of two methods of deriving a cost-benefit analysis from a given environmental regulation; one performed by environmental professionals and one by environmental activists and that the two analyses would typically differ by an order of magnitude. Further, that the politicization of CO2 induced AGW has pushed the environmental professionals out of the process or at least marginalized their input. This will lead to the two failures you mention at the opening of your post; failure of feel-good rent-seeking projects and failure to reach a binding agreement on CO2 emissions.

    If man-made CO2 emissions are shown to be harmful, then it is a political problem because great masses of humanity will have to (somehow) be compelled or coerced to produce less CO2 in order to relieve said problem. But what if man-made CO2 emissions are never shown to be harmful or are shown to be positively harmless?

  29. John F. Pittman said

    The required fields are messed up, JeffID, at least on my screen.

    Grego, one of the claims of those opposing the EPA ruling is not that they found harm, but have pursued CO2 regulation by way of the precautionary principle. I am waiting for the legal arguments and review on that issue. But in terms of environmental projects, the study showed that there was a reason that the activists versus the professionals came to the conclusions that they did. Neither party was evil, or pejorative term of your choice; their estimates reflected what they were trying to conserve.

    Your question of CO2 being harmless or beneficial is why the EPA has to find harm in order to regulate. That is why I plan on following the legal battle closely.

  30. BarryW said

    Socialist/Progressives are much like doctors who practiced bleeding. Throw money or regulation at something. If it doesn’t work it’s not because it was wrong, it was because you didn’t apply enough of the prescription. Result? Patient bleeds to death, or problem becomes worse. Rinse and repeat.

    With CAGW the eco-activists have raised the ante. Instead of their usual factor of two they’ve tried to create the crisis by invoking the most extreme disasters they can come up with without becoming total laughing stocks (they’re close though).

  31. Roger Caiazza said

    Mr. Pittman,
    I think you described the situation perfectly. I would like to add a couple of supporting points.

    The engineers that represent business are not only being kept away from the table are not even being allowed to suggest there are potential issues. The public relations folks see no reason for their company to be labeled as the same as the tobacco companies denying the link to cancer. As a result, not only is participation in anything limited but negative comments are not allowed to be submitted.

    To follow up on the “environmental credentials” point I think we are starting to see regulators who not only have no business background but also don’t have hard science or engineering backgrounds. We are seeing graduates from Environmental Science programs at universities which don’t require an extensive background in any particular science and certainly not more than a smattering of engineering. Instead they have general classes in different disciplines and are typically taught by professors with no experience outside of academia.

  32. Roger Caiazza said

    PS I don’t think many people realize how different this EPA decision was vis-a-vis the way business has been done in the past. You did a particularly good job raising that point.

  33. stevenmosher said

    Thanks John very interesting perspective.

  34. Geoff Sherrington said

    at 29, John, “Grego, one of the claims of those opposing the EPA ruling is not that they found harm, but have pursued CO2 regulation by way of the precautionary principle.”

    In the early 1970s when we started finding large uranium deposits in the Northern Territory, the Federal Government issued Mining Leases in response to our applications for them. A condition of each lease was that we spend stipulated monies on bringing mines into production, or face a penalty.

    Meanwhile, our Foreign Affairs Minister was binding Australia to international treaties, one of which was World Heritage. This arm of the Federal Government (eventually) decreed that if we undertook any mining-related activity, including exploration, on land they had nominated for World Heritage status, we would be breaking the law, even on leases and licences already granted by them.

    It did not matter if fairness, morality, economics or any other theory of conduct was available to analyse the problem, because there was no solution except the amendment of one of the pieces of legislation. Or Solomon’s sword down the middle. Eventually, there was another solution, which was the expiry of the 21-year leases whose status was held in doubt by successive slight regulatory adjustments.

    There was no requirement to show harm. Australia was (and still is) deprived of the potential for economic development of minerals in these huge areas by administrative fiat, applied when we appeared to be winning the legal battle based on denial of legitimate expectations.

    This led to some precedents such as are discussed in Federal Law Review http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/FedLRev/2002/9.html The introduction is “The non-justiciability of certain executive decisions is based upon a number of notions including that of ‘polycentricity’, the unsuitability of certain types of power for review, deference to executive judgment, and the question of the judicially enforceable limits to power. In this article, it is argued that the concept is redundant. It is sufficient to consider whether a ground of review, invoked with an appropriate regard for the legalities merits distinction, is available. There is no further question of ‘justiciability’.”

    You might find it an interesting read. It has some parallels with your USA EPA activity.

  35. George said

    “Yes, the problem is political in the sense described, but is rarely posed that way.”

    Well, I believe I have been hearing people say it just that way for a long time. That they have been using things such as AGW as an emotional hook in order to get the masses to support what amounts to global redistribution of wealth projects has been talked about for a while. Only recently has it been admitted to in frank terms by the practitioners.

    But it may be too late. We have a generation of children coming out of high school who have been indoctrinated since they were in kindergarten that AGW is real and is a clear and present danger. They are actually quite afraid of it. The believe it is their duty to sacrifice to “save the planet”. They have no clue that “the scientists” really have no clue if the recent changes in temperature changes are completely natural or not. They actually do believe “the science is settled” an have been taught exactly that for as long as they can remember. They have heard it, not from just one teacher here and there, but from all of them. And it has been incorporated in the curriculum, in their libraries, in the activities, in the field trips they take, an in the cultural indoctrination via television and movies. To them it “just is”. It is a “known fact”. It is just about too late to do anything about that.

  36. Geoff Sherrington said

    George said “It is just about too late to do anything about that.”

    Remember that on 6th August 1981 President Reagan sacked all USA air traffic controllers. Are we too timid to even think about sacking all recalcitrant teachers? Or even training them again?. You are conceding that retraining has been done already, by another group whose definition of recalcitrance is the opposite.

  37. Mark T said

    Most teachers don’t work for the federal goverment in the US. Air traffic controllers do (the FAA.)

    Mark

  38. kim said

    Mother Nature just called about the ‘non-justiciability of certain executive decisions’. She said no one asked her before deciding, and also wants to let us all know she has Judge Gaia in her pocket. And I think I need a new cell phone. This one has a new odour.
    ==================

  39. DeWitt Payne said

    Talk about poetic justice. Jerry Brown was the governor who allowed CA state employees to form unions and bargain collectively. Now he’s governor again and reaping the whirlwind.

  40. Geoff Sherrington said

    Kim,

    When talking with Mother Nature, did she explain what the quoted message actually meant? For mere mortals, it is an increasing attempt to exempt government officials from the view of Courts and Tribunals, so that Government officials can make decisions that cannot be challenged.

    In previous times we have seen this power applied rarely – such as a decision to engage in war with another country.

    Many countries seem to need to return to the intentions of their Constitutions and to avoid dodges around them.

  41. [...] http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/354/#more-11259   Commenters who threaten anyone while here because they are not smart enough to come up with a better answer will have some due diligence done on them. Foul mouthed lefty posters beware. [...]

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