Cliff Mass Lies Again

Published at 13:10 on 25 June 2021

In a recent post of his, he claims, regarding extreme heat waves:

There is no evidence that such a wave pattern is anything other than natural variability (I have done research on this issue and published in the peer-reviewed literature on this exact topic).

This is a recurring pattern with Mass: passing off a topic on which there is debate in the scientific community, as something that is settled, with his own personal opinion in the debate as the settled truth. Actually, there is some evidence of the sort Mass denies:

“This is a weather system that can be very persistent, it can last for many days,” said Dim Coumou, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “It brings clear skies, very high temperature[s].”

While climate change has already warmed the planet about 1.2C since pre-industrial times, scientists such as Coumou believe it has also shifted atmospheric patterns.

His research shows that a gradual weakening of the jet stream during summer makes these high-pressure systems more persistent, resulting in longer heatwaves. The jet stream, a band of fast-moving wind high in the atmosphere, greatly influences weather patterns in the northern hemisphere


Edit: And his grasp of statistics is all wrong, too.

Pelosi Slowly Wakes Up

Published at 10:48 on 24 June 2021

Mind you, this is distinctly a positive development, but contrary to Pelosi’s assertion, Congress does not have “as long as it takes.” It is imperative that a substantial part of the truth be uncovered and released to the voting public in advance of the November 2022 elections. Voters must be informed as to just how institutionally complicit the GOP was in the insurrection. Failure to do so would be a gross disservice to the Republic and its Constitution that Pelosi has sworn an oath to defend.

Also, it must be understood that the goal of having the investigation be bipartisan is in tension with the one of having it be thorough. At this stage, not many House Republicans can be trusted to act in good faith. Ones who, like Peter Meijer and Adam Kinzinger, have demonstrated their faith to Constitutional norms, are acceptable. The vast majority, however, have demonstrated by their own words and actions that they are fascists loyal to to their führer Trump and nothing or nobody else. As such, it is absolutely unacceptable to place such individuals in positions of power sufficient to sabotage the necessary work of the Committee.

Garland Disappoints

Published at 17:04 on 23 June 2021

Really, this is simply terrible. There are only two choices: uphold standards, or set precedents that the old standards do not apply anymore, and it appears Garland is choosing the latter option. This will only compound the Democrats’ coming loss in 2022, as it creates yet another reason for left-leaning voters to be cynical and apathetic about electoral politics.

Not much else to say but to repeat two bleak observations I have made before:

  1. When the historians of the future write about the USA’s transition to fascism, they will fault the Democrats almost as much (for failing to oppose it) as they do the Republicans (for pursuing it).
  2. It’s almost bad enough to make one seriously wonder if the Establishment “left” isn’t all just a deliberate charade to promote right-wing dominance.

Why the Dems Will Lose in 2022

Published at 23:14 on 22 June 2021

Earlier I offered one particular reason why the Democrats are likely to lose in 2022. Here are some additional, more general ones:

The political cycle. Remember when I started getting bullish about the Democrats’ chances in 2018? A lot of it was based on the normal political cycle: a party that’s in power tends to lose a big chunk of it during the midterms. It’s been a very persistent trend in American politics for many decades now, and this time that trend is not in the Democrats’ favor.

Redistricting. The Democrats have continued their record of not doing as well at state and local levels as they have at the Federal one. The result is that most states are under Republican control. Republicans have never been shy about using their control of the redistricting process in their favor, and their rhetoric in this direction is getting increasingly bold. They are almost certain to pick up a half-dozen or more seats due to this one reason alone.

Voter suppression. Scores of state laws are being passed to make it disproportionately harder for Democrats to vote. It is reasonable to expect that such laws will bear fruit, particularly because (with a few exceptions, like in Texas), Democrats have generally been afraid to fully confront such tactics. The latter gross political malpractice brings up the final reason…

General incompetence. The post mentioned at the start of this entry was but a specific example of this. Not only won’t Democrats play hardball with legislative maneuvers, they won’t play hardball on the campaign trail, either: they are generally too timid to go negative. It goes beyond an unwillingness to play hardball, however. Democrats tend to labor under the delusion that voters are well-informed, care about the issues, and will automatically reward them for their positions. These assumptions are hilariously wrong, and bear little if any resemblance to the actual reality of the voting public. The Republicans understand this, base their campaigns on simple, repetitive messaging, and as such tend to reap the natural and expected rewards of doing so.

Conclusion. None of this proves the Democrats will do poorly next year, but it sure makes such an outcome likely.

Retire, Breyer!

Published at 11:39 on 21 June 2021

No right-wing judge would have the least hesitancy about doing so. In fact, most in a comparable situation would have probably done so already (or very soon).

Only the judges on the Establishment “left” are so totally situationally unaware as to fall for the selfish temptation to serve as many years as possible. This is huge part of why institutions tend to lean right. If one side always brings knives to gun fights, the side that brings guns will tend to win.

It is part of the reason why I couldn’t join the great RBG Admiration and Eulogy Society when she passed away. If she had not selfishly clung to the desire to serve until age ninety (despite not only a cancer diagnosis, but a pancreatic cancer diagnosis), she could have retired during Obama’s second term.

At times, it’s almost bad enough to make one seriously wonder if the Establishment “left” isn’t all just a deliberate charade to promote right-wing dominance.

This Is Fucking Stupid

Published at 16:54 on 20 June 2021

Mere advocacy of anarchism may not actually be a crime. How reassuring.

Really, now, this should be Exhibit A in any argument made by an Establishment type of how radicals are needlessly divisive and impractical.

At a time when the country is undergoing a transition to fascism that desperately needs to be interrupted, the DHS wants… not to drag the putschists and discredit them, but to seek common cause with them by demonizing anarchists as well as fascists.

Listen, you fucking morons: Anarchists did not violently invade the Capitol. Anarchists are not phoning in death threats to election officials who won’t ignore the vote totals and declare the fascists the winners no matter what. Fascists are doing those things. The fascist party wants to destroy you. It is not interested in allying with you!

Maybe act a bit more strategically, for once? Listen, I get it: I don’t expect you people to have any love for radical left politics. I don’t expect praise for anarchism from you. But you don’t have to: all you have to do is shut the fuck up about anarchism and focus on fascism. Fascism is Priority No. 1.

Churchill even managed to shut the fuck up about his many disagreements with Stalin and ally with him. Stalin! Surely you can STFU about anarchists, can you not?

Original document here.


Published at 19:03 on 19 June 2021

I might (finally) be (almost) done with this blog upgrade. We shall see.

I will say that WordPress does not make it easy to move a blog to a new server. There is a defined processs for purportedly doing this. Pity it does not work very well:

  1. It has a rather silly 2 megabyte limit, one for which the recommended process does not remove. I eventually found a post from another user who had fought the same battle that explained how to do it, but wait, there’s more.
  2. The pathetic P.O.S. does not preserve permalinks! Congratulations, every internal link to another blog post is now broken.
  3. For some reason, it gratuitously replaces paragraph breaks with line breaks. WTF?

This is more than a little bit disappointing, because one would expect WordPress to be able to properly import from another site running the exact same software. I’m lucky, because I’m a computer geek. My solution was to go into the MySQL command prompt and do some database surgery:

  1. Make sure the two blogs are running the exact same version of WordPress.
  2. Drop all existing tables.
  3. Restore from a database dump taken on the old system.
  4. Go into the wp_options table and set siteurl and home to reflect the blog URL on the new host.

The average user, however, would be S.O.L. Most people don’t even know what SQL is, let alone know enough of both it and general database design principles to be able to engage in the sort of hackery I just did. They would be stuck not being able to move their blog, stuck with a broken, damaged new blog, or stuck with the lengthy and painful job of repairing their damaged new blog completely by hand.

Of Course, the Dems Are Likely to Lose

Published at 11:19 on 17 June 2021

Earlier I wrote (emphasis added):

The Republic is basically dead already. Most don’t know it yet because the corpse has not started stinking yet, but it is dead. Nobody much believes in (or abides by) its core professed principles, and this goes for the Democrats about as much as it does for the GOP. The lack of any meaningful, substantial outrage over 1/6 proves it.

Many people realize that emphasized point on some level. Many pundits do, too, but refuse to say it aloud because of the fear that it will demoralize left-leaning voters. If I were a prominent pundit, I would have that fear, too. It is only because I am a random nobody with a blog of approximately zero national political import that I feel comfortable saying it.

But whether it is said or not, a non-trivial number of people feel it, and it does not take a whole lot of demoralized voters abstaining to change the outcome in a system where power is as balanced between two parties as ours is.

The remedy, of course, is for the Democrats to grow a pair and start using what power they do have to pursue accountability. Conveniently, this will be an exercise in basic law-and-order which will appeal to Never Trump moderates and conservatives approximately as much as it will appeal to liberals and leftists. The logical effect will be to inspire and energize a Big Tent base of support in the coming elections.

In other words, that which is best for world as a whole is also best for the short-term political fortunes of the Democratic Party. The question is: are enough Democrats capable of realizing this, and escaping the comfort zone of their timeworn battered wife role, always blaming themselves for the fact that the opposition never loves them?

My money is solidly on this particular old dog being unable to learn any new tricks, but I certainly hope I am wrong.

The Republic is Basically Dead

Published at 08:52 on 16 June 2021

Almost three weeks on from the filibuster of the 1/6 commission and there are no signs of the House or the Executive Branch lifting so much as a pinky finger to pursue accountability for instigating the coup attempt.

By any reasonable and objective measure that I can conceive, today’s USA has less commitment to the basic principles of democracy and the rule of law than the Weimar Republic did. Remember, within two days of the Beer Hall Putsch, a putsch that failed to take over a defense ministry because the ministry was so well-defended, the top instigators were in detention awaiting trial. By contrast, it has now been over six months since 1/6, yet nothing.

The Republic is basically dead already. Most don’t know it yet because the corpse has not started stinking yet, but it is dead. Nobody much believes in (or abides by) its core professed principles, and this goes for the Democrats about as much as it does for the GOP. The lack of any meaningful, substantial outrage over 1/6 proves it.

Late last year, I had an estimate that the USA was within a dozen years of completing a transition to an authoritarian fascist state. The lack of meaningful response to 1/6 indicates I was being overoptimistic in that estimate. A far more realistic estimate is that the USA will become fully fascist within five years.

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS: Installing MySQL

Published at 17:56 on 15 June 2021

This is probably going to be part of a series about the curve balls Ubuntu 20.04 LTS throws at the veteran Ubuntu Linux user.

When you install MySQL with:

apt-get install mysql-client mysql-server

You will get an oddly-configured MySQL server that uses a newfangled thing called auth_socket authentication for the root user. The upshot is that you will not be able to log in to mysql as root unless you are already the root Linux user, and in the latter case you will always be able to log in, regardless of what password you supply, or even if you supply a password at all.

If, like me, you are logged in as the root Linux user (and why wouldn’t you be, if you are doing a system install), then it appears as if authentication is completely disabled, and your mysql server’s root account is wide-open. At that point, you will try doing Internet searches to uncover the cause of the problem, and if you are like me, you will spend hours trying different keyword variations and finding exactly nothing pertinent.

The fix is to change the root user to use caching_sha2_password authentication and set a password for it, e.g.:

ALTER USER 'root'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED WITH 'caching_sha2_password' BY 'iSpQ7U9c8kGz';

(And no, that is not my actual root password.)