dune grass wallpaper, dystopian visions and original states of perfection, tattoo collage

beach landscape

dune grass wallpaper

Real Climate shreds the latest attacks on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – IPCC errors: facts and spin. There is one small error in the IPCC report. Who found and reported that error? A climate scietist with the IPCC. Now on with our daily recitation – the media is liberal, the media is liberal, except when it appears to be in the bag for the flat earthers, Is the New York Times ignoring “Climategate”?

Exhibit A is this story in the Daily Mail, a British tabloid well known in the UK for its carelessness with facts, headlined, “Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995.” The Daily Mail headline badly distorts an interview Jones gave to the BBC, in which he says the following:

Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

There’s nothing new here; Jones is simply being careful in sticking to what he knows. He later goes on to say explicitly “I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 – there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity,” which the Daily Mail conveniently neglects to note.

It is hard not to notice that everyone from the NYT ( the NYT’s “science” reporter John Tierney continues to be a blight on that paper’s reputation) to Fox to the rightwing blogs are pulling quotes from some U.K. papers that have more in common with the adolescent pandering of The National Enquirer than actual journalism.

Not the first or last word on the subject, but some insights into why, like bullet proof vets some people have fact proof minds, The key to understanding the populist right’s accusations that Obama is a socialist

American political culture was British before it was American. During the English civil war of the 17th century, two themes crystallized — and have influenced American public discourse to this day. One was the idea of the Ancient Constitution. The other was the idea of the True Religion.

Many British opponents of the Stuart monarchs claimed that they were defending an ancient, unwritten English constitution against corruption in the service of tyranny. Sometimes this ancient constitution was identified with the laws of the Anglo-Saxon King Alfred, and contrasted with the “Norman yoke” imposed on freedom-loving English people by William the Conqueror and his despotic successors after the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066. As history, this was nonsense, but as political mythology this narrative had enormous appeal. History was viewed as a gradual decline into tyranny, a long fall following a golden age of English liberty in the distant past.

Lind’s observations are not small enough to fit on a bumper sticker so remain ignored by the media. Which also ignores the context of conservatism’s well worn themes of xenophobia linked with dreams of a Utopian America. One defined by xenophobia and very illiberal ideas about democracy. Democracy is literally held in contempt by the Right. Their love/hate follows a predictable pattern. There is disturbing schizophrenia in which they appear to love democracy, but when and only when they hold the reins of power.White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement

Allan Lichtman, a veteran journalist and political historian at American University, takes his readers on an in-depth tour of the American conservative movement in White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement. Starting with the Roaring Twenties, Lichtman traces the twists and turns of the movement’s organizations and leaders through the present day. An important aspect of Lichtman’s book is its focus on the centrality of anti-pluralism to the movement, from anti-immigrant xenophobia and racism in the early parts of the century to anti-gay beliefs today. His basic thesis is that at the heart of American conservatism is “an antipluralistic ideal of America as a unified, white Protestant nation.”

Lichtman argues that the conservative movement arose in the 1920s “out of a widespread concern that pluralistic, cosmopolitan forces threatened America’s national identity.” The movement was multifaceted but extremely biased, with some sectors specializing in racism or anti-Catholic xenophobia (especially the 1920s Ku Klux Klan) while others were anti-Semitic, attacking Hollywood. Other parts of the movement were entirely focused on economic issues, but willing to work with anti-pluralist groups in exchange for financial benefits.

Lichtman claims that early conservatism was rooted in what today would be called a white nationalist vision: “Both religion and race have mattered for conservatives who view nationhood as anchored in white, native-stock peoples and their distinctive culture.” This vision has repeatedly resulted in prejudicial treatment of non-whites or given rise to extreme antigovernment movements. “Since World War I, conservatives have been cultural, religious and at times racial nationalists, dedicated to protecting America’s superior civilization from racially or culturally inferior peoples, foreign ideologies, sexual deviance, ecumenical religion, or the encroachment of a so-called one-world government,” writes Lichtman.

Especially useful for readers of the Intelligence Report, Lichtman provides a tremendous amount of information on what would now be seen as the disreputable right: thinkers such as Willis Carto, whose anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby had several hundred thousand subscribers until Carto began to push Holocaust denial in the late 1970s, and Lawrence Dennis, a supporter of fascism who was the preeminent political strategist behind opposition to the New Deal (and a hero to the radical right today). Lichtman also delves deeply into the role of the John Birch Society in building up conservative ranks during the Goldwater era and afterwards.

Lind also addresses that murky notion of national identity( I think we have a national identity, but its one composed of many facets, including tolerance, and is one of the reasons we have survived long enough to be the world’s oldest democracy),

Put the myths of the ancient constitution and the early church together, and you have a view of history as decline from an original state of perfection, in politics and also in religion. Innovation is equated with tyranny in politics and heresy in religion. Virtue consists of defending what is left of the old, more perfect system and, if possible, restoring the original government or church. Progress is redefined as regress — movement away from the wicked present toward the pure and uncorrupted past.

Every generation tends to become nostalgic, but that is not what we’re taking about when examining the Right’s agenda. They’re generally of the mindset that if we could only roll back the repeal of slavery, of voting rights for women, do away with the national park and monument systems, trash anything that had to do with the New Deal – Social Security, the FDIC, if only we could burn down the EPA so they could dump their toxic waste like god intended – we’d be back to the divine and perfect vision of the Founder’s dreams. Dreams they never had, except maybe in a drunken stupor.

tattoo collage.

Making Faces: Tattooed Women and Colonial Regimes

The article then analyzes the links between the body politics of tattooed women in Britain and Burma in the aftermath of the Chisholm case. From the 1880s to the 1920s, a period of severe economic and political strain for the British aristocracy, upper-class women of the metropole began to adopt the tattoo. This fad greatly disturbed continental scholars such as Cesare Lombroso, who associated tattoos with savage or criminal populations. Late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century British interpretations focused instead on the tattoo as a gendered marker of aristocratic crisis, a material sign of whether British aristocrats were fundamentally ‘primitive’ or ‘modern’. The ‘problem’ of tattooed women, articulated both in the unstable territories of Upper Burma and in London’s fashionable circles, underscored the complex (and uniquely British) historical connection between the downward spirals of aristocracy and empire.

As odd as trying to make a connection between aristocratic women getting tattoos and the fall of British imperialism, leave it to the 700 Club’s Pat Robertson to go a step further. One day he claimed the British Empire fail apart because the upper classes had too much sex.

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