Brexit: Emotions Trumped Facts During UK’s Referendum

Politics isn’t what I usually write about. To me politics and preferred policy options are consequences of how you see the world and the road you want to take. It’s something personal but can be a fun topic to talk about with all the different perspectives.

To me it’s a valid option to say you don’t want to be part of the EU. It also is a valid position to say that you never want to leave the EU. Of course many folks aren’t that black and white and most pro-EU folks like me have some bones to pick with the EU and its regulations (don’t get me started on the EU Cookie Law).

So then why do I care about what happened in the UK? Well, because I’m utterly appalled by the dialogue before and after the referendum. It was more about emotions and perceptions and not a good faith dialogue about what it means to be part of the EU and if the UK should leave.

Dredging Doesn’t Prevent Floods

Maas high water mark by larsjuh

Maas high water mark by larsjuh

The floods in the UK has triggered a storm of utter nonsense about what does and doesn’t help to prevent or reduce flooding. One of these claims is that dredging rivers will help with preventing flooding or at least will make them less severe. This is wrong.

I live in The Netherlands and we’re a country with a very long history fighting against the ocean and our rivers. It’s because of our constant battle with water that we have a vast network of defences, a lot of resources to help during a crisis, and contingency plans when things do go wrong. But despite all that nature still sometimes surprises us, it has learned us to never underestimate her. We got two such lessons in 1993 and 1995 courtesy of the river the Meuse.

Watts Up With Conspiracy Ideation

Anthony WattsThe website Watts Up With That run by Anthony Watts always was a website that uses conspiracy theories to support their argument that global warming isn’t a cause for concern. They try to keep what they publish on the website somewhat scientific, but that’s just a thin layer. That they are a conspiracy theory website sometimes becomes very obvious.

Their take on the loss of Cuccinelli in the Virginia elections is a good example of this. The title of their blog post ‘The big green machine: McAuliffe, Mann, and Megadollars‘ (archived here) alone hints at what is to come:

Why The Dutch Party For Freedom (PVV) Doesn’t Support Freedom

Wilders-2010-cropped

Sometimes I’m dismayed at what happens in Dutch Politics. Especially since the founding of the Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV), which is Dutch for Party for Freedom.

This is the party that Geert Wilders founded, and is basically his response to some problems we have in our country with certain immigrant groups. These issues are a legacy of these groups not fully integrating in our culture. These issues are then worsened by the response from those of Dutch decent to these immigrant groups. What basically is happening is people from both groups are being reactionary towards each other and are creating a downward spiral.

Among the children of the immigrants (third generation) this translates in some rejecting Dutch culture and values. One expression of this is them identifying more with the faith of their parents, which then translates into things such as hatred towards gays (the children are often far more conservative than their parents are).

What Is The Heartland Institute?

The_Heartland_Institute_logoAccording to their about page their “mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.” And they’ve had their fair share of successes in politics and the media on these matters.

Recently they uploaded their 25 year anniversary video – called What Is The Heartland Institute? – to YouTube (they are now 29 years old) and in it they get congratulated for their excellent work:

What is The Heartland Institute?

However, anyone familiar with me will know I do not think they have done excellent work. Far from it, a lot of their work has actually harmed people.

Equal Pay For Unequal Work

The past few months I haven’t been releasing any new content. This is due to me working on a big project, and a few other reasons. So I didn’t expect to see the following when I read “Equal Pay Should Be For Equal Work, Not Unequal Work” by Hans Bader on the Competitive Enterprise Institute blog:

Yesterday, I criticized the assumption that people should receive equal pay for unequal work, such as requiring the average woman to be paid exactly the same amount as the average man even though the average male employee works more hours than the average female employee. (I am talking here about averages, not generalizing about every individual case; there are obviously male part-time employees, just as there are women who work 80 hours a week.)

But apparently this point was too subtle for some people. Collin Maessen of Real Sceptic tweeted my blog post, with the preface, “apparently CEI is against regulations that allow women to earn the same wages for the same work as men do.” I didn’t write about such regulations at all. To me, it’s not “the same work” if it’s not the same number of hours. Why should a full-time employee be paid as little as a part-time employee? Why should an employee who works 60 hours per week be paid the same as an employee who works 40 hours per week?

Being mentioned on the CEI blog really surprised me. As I just tweeted my impression on the argument being presented without any context as to why I got that impression. Not strange considering a tweet can be a maximum of 140 characters long.

The Not So Bad Department of Transportation Rules

Lee Doren actually gave a hat tip to me in the video “Bad Department of Transportation Rule With Good Intentions” for a link he included in the description. Although not really a meaningful reference or link to me, but still nice.

Now you might be wondering why I sent Lee a link, well technically I didn’t. I used the link in an exchange we had where I disagreed with his argument and conclusions. So I’m actually one of the critics he mentioned in the video. But lets start from the beginning.

Consumer Protection Is Apparently A Bad Idea

The U.S. Department of Transportation put into effect new rules that makes flying more convenient and hassle-free for air travelers in the U.S. The new rules include requirements that airlines refund baggage fees if bags are lost, increase compensation provided to passengers bumped from oversold flights, and provide passengers greater protections from lengthy tarmac delays.

Rules like these have been in effect for years in Europe and has made flying a lot more enjoyable for everyone. And has giving consumers the tools that they can ensure that they get what they paid for, without being left at the mercy of an airliner on an airport far from home.

Drill, Baby Drill, Revisited

Steven Crowder has released a video where he makes fun of the current petrol prices and of the policies Obama has on it. And in it he makes a case for more drilling in the United States to lower oil prices.

CELEBRITIES EVERYWHERE! (Barack for Brazil)

This does sound a lot, 163 billion barrels of oil. But lets take a look at how they got this number.

The amount of proved reserves the United States has is mostly pegged around 20.6 billion barrels of oil. Crowder got the number of 163 billion barrels from the report “U.S. Fossil Fuel Resources: Terminology, Reporting, and Summary” released by the Congressional Research Service.

HowTheWorldWorks – Epic Green Fail – a rebuttal

An interaction between me and Lee caused him to block me when I was criticising statements he made.

HowTheWorldWorks – Epic Green Fail – a rebuttal

The 10:10 campaign video is a PR nightmare if I ever saw one. This commercial is actually from the organisation 10:10 to promote their goal of voluntarily reducing 10% of your CO2 emissions each year.

The script for this commercial was written by Richard Curtis (writer of for example Blackadder, Four Weddings and Notting Hill). A very well known comedic writer. So the idea behind this commercial was trying to make a funny video about what they are trying to achieve.