Monday, October 16, 2017

The Method To The Moron’s Madness

Of course there is a plan and it becomes steadily more apparent. However he is never going to disclose any of it until accomplished and he is perfect in his role of chief smoke screen. What is astonishing is how well it is working.

He puts the right folks in place, makes sure they understand the mission and then runs interferance while they execute.  It is no accident and it is the preferred modis operandi.  Also everything is disturbed and deemed to be in play.  That sets up a deal.  It even works in foreign affairs.

This is how you get things done while at the same time wrestling control of the government back into the hands of the Executive branch.

There are still many major things to come down here that will often be startling.  Yet he is on the road to assert GOP control during next year's midterms.  Thus what heis doing now is themsot possible prior to establishing legistlative control.  We will then see a barrage of legistlation. 


The Method To The Moron’s Madness

The powers that be are underestimating Trump -- again.


WASHINGTON ― The conventional wisdom about President Donald Trump is clear enough: He’s an infantile, ignorant moron surrounded by a shrinking political base, a phalanx of enemies who used to be friends, and more investigators than the FBI Academy.

Washington reacts with alarm to his inflammatory tweets, and lately has made a parlor game out of chronicling his outbursts of anger, dismay and ignorance, as news organizations offer a cascade of vivid in-the-room portrayals of an out-of-control boy king.

Democrats hope against hope that he will be impeached over Russia. His approval rating is lower at this point in his term than any previous modern president’s. His former consigliere Steve Bannon has reportedly said Trump has only a 30 percent chance of lasting a full term.

But by the end of this week, it was clearer than ever that if Trump is a moron, he is a moron on a mission ― and with more method to his madness than his enemies understand or want to consider. The tweets are a useful distraction ― a kind of air cover for his carpet bombing of federal policy and programs.

In quick succession, the president and his small but focused dead-end gang have used administrative diktats to wreak havoc on clean air rules, immigration procedures, Obamacare and the Iran deal.

Each of these moves ― whether designed to serve the interests of big business, Tea Party xenophobes or the new Sunni-neocon alliance ― is unpopular. Trump doesn’t seem to mind. He knows what he wants.

Outraged critics immediately turned to Congress and the courts for help, but it isn’t clear whether they will get it.

Republican majorities in Congress are fairly thin, but they’re probably big enough to prevent legislative reversals of these and other Trump moves. On Iran, for example, Trump’s newest GOP enemy, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), is working on a measure that includes some features of the president’s new, harsher approach, and Corker was opposed to the Iran deal when it was approved initially.

The president’s foes are going to court ― or have already gone to court ― over his attacks on Obama-era immigration, clean air and Affordable Care Act measures. But the critics face two potential problems.

First, many of the Obama-era rules are based on administrative actions, and are not armored by having been enacted by Congress and signed into law. That makes Trump’s own use of the bureaucracy, and his contempt for proper administrative procedure, somewhat easier to defend for anyone inclined to do so.

Second, Trump is fast filling vacancies in federal courts that will review these and other actions. He is doing so at a speedier clip than his predecessors. Names are fed to the White House in assembly-line fashion by Leonard Leo, the leader of the conservative Federalist Society and one of the least-known most powerful people in D.C.

The Senate is only in GOP hands by a margin of 52 of 48. But it’s rare for a Republican to waste a confrontation with Trump over a judicial nominee.

And Democrats’ efforts to delay or kill the president’s picks are at risk of being undercut further by the Republican leadership. After having been repeatedly humiliated in public and private by Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) now says he personally favors getting rid of a custom that allows any senator, even one in the minority, to scotch a nominee from his or her own state.

By the time challenges to ACA, the Environmental Protection Agency and other rules reach trial, the complexion of the court may well have changed in Trump’s favor.

Do Trump’s moves jeopardize the GOP’s control of the House or Senate (or both)? Maybe ― especially when it comes to health care, where premiums may rise and Democrats can blame it on Republicans and the president. But does he care? Not clear. He’s already at war with his own party, and his renegade buddy Bannon is preparing the ground for the next stage of the nihilistic anti-everything revolution. If the Democrats take control of Congress, there will at least be some partisan consistency in Trump’s attacks on it.

Just because Trump tweets furiously and seems easily distracted doesn’t mean that he and the die-hards around him ― like Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, speechwriter/foreign policy agitator Stephen Miller and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt ― aren’t playing a long game.

One of the top minds on the mainstream left predicted confidently to me ― and somewhat dismissively ― that Trump would not seek a second term, should he not be impeached and convicted.

Maybe. But Trump’s father, who belittled him while repeatedly demanding that he grow up to be a “killer” and a “king,” died at the age of 93. Donald will be 74 in 2020. And he already thinks he is a king.

Does God Exist?

 if ~ GOD then ~ ( if *** then ***)

This item nicely summarizes current philosophical thinking on this subject.  Read it carefully.

I have already posted on this subject, but a review is worthwhile.  Where i diverge is that i understand the essential underlying structure of creation itself and that implies that a uniform logic applies.  Our error regarding GOD has been to limit ourselves with a five operator logic internal to that creation and not understanding the need for a sixth operator that asserts the validity of each transition from domain to range and in fact naturally questions it.  I note that time is experienced as flipping pages from particle creation to particle creation

Asking if the present universe is good is the natural task of the universe and this has been anthropomorphized as GOD.  The rest follows. Thus the universe exists implies GOD exists.  Time itself does not exist outside the Universe.  Thus 'I exist' is sufficient to create it all and be the alpha and the omega.

Does God Exist?

William Lane Craig says there are good reasons for thinking that He does.

On April 8, 1966, Time magazine carried a lead story for which the cover was completely black except for three words emblazoned in bright, red letters against the dark background: “IS GOD DEAD?” The story described the so-called ‘Death of God’ movement then current in American theology. But, to paraphrase Mark Twain, it seemed that the news of God’s demise was “greatly exaggerated.” For at the same time that theologians were writing God’s obituary, a new generation of young philosophers was re-discovering His vitality.

Back in the 1940s and ’50s it was widely believed among philosophers that any talk about God is meaningless, since it is not verifiable by the five senses. The collapse of this Verificationism was perhaps the most important philosophical event of the twentieth century. Its downfall meant a resurgence of metaphysics, along with other traditional problems of philosophy which Verificationism had suppressed. Accompanying this resurgence came something altogether unanticipated: a renaissance of Christian philosophy.

The turning point probably came in 1967 with the publication of Alvin Plantinga’s God and Other Minds, which applied the tools of analytic philosophy to questions in the philosophy of religion with an unprecedented rigor and creativity. In Plantinga’s train has followed a host of Christian philosophers, writing in professional journals and participating in professional conferences and publishing with the finest academic presses. The face of Anglo-American philosophy has been transformed as a result. Atheism, although perhaps still the dominant viewpoint in Western universities, is a philosophy in retreat. In a recent article, University of Western Michigan philosopher Quentin Smith laments what he calls “the desecularization of academia that evolved in philosophy departments since the late 1960s.” (‘The Metaphilosophy of Naturalism’, Philo, Vol 4, #2, at Complaining of naturalists’ passivity in the face of the wave of “intelligent and talented theists entering academia today,” Smith concludes, “God is not ‘dead’ in academia; he returned to life in the late 1960s and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments.”

The renaissance of Christian philosophy has been accompanied by a resurgence of interest in natural theology – that branch of theology which seeks to prove God’s existence without appeal to the resources of authoritative divine revelation – for instance, through philosophical argument. All of the traditional philosophical arguments for God’s existence, such as the cosmological, teleological, moral, and ontological arguments, not to mention creative, new arguments, find intelligent and articulate defenders on the contemporary philosophical scene.

But what about the so-called ‘New Atheism’ exemplified by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens? Doesn’t it herald a reversal of this trend? Not really. As is evident from the authors it interacts with – or rather, doesn’t interact with – the New Atheism is, in fact, a pop-cultural phenomenon lacking in intellectual muscle and blissfully ignorant of the revolution that has taken place in Anglo-American philosophy. It tends to reflect the scientism of a bygone generation, rather than the contemporary intellectual scene.
Eight Reasons in Support of God’s Existence

I believe that God’s existence best explains a wide range of the data of human experience. Let me briefly mention eight such cases.

(I) God is the best explanation why anything at all exists.

Suppose you were hiking through the forest and came upon a ball lying on the ground. You would naturally wonder how it came to be there. If your hiking buddy said to you, “Forget about it! It just exists!” you would think he was either joking or just wanted you to keep moving. No one would take seriously the idea that the ball just exists without any explanation. Now notice than merely increasing the size of the ball until it becomes coextensive with the universe does nothing to either provide, or remove the need for, an explanation of its existence.

So what is the explanation of the existence of the universe (by ‘the universe’ I mean all of spacetime reality)? The explanation of the universe can lie only in a transcendent reality beyond it – beyond space and time – the existence of which transcendent reality is metaphysically necessary (otherwise its existence would also need explaining). Now there is only one way I can think of to get a contingent entity like the universe from a necessarily existing cause, and that is if the cause is an agent who can freely choose to create the contingent reality. It therefore follows that the best explanation of the existence of the contingent universe is a transcendent personal being – which is what everybody means by ‘God’.

We can summarize this reasoning as follows:

1. Every contingent thing has an explanation of its existence.

2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is a transcendent, personal being.

3. The universe is a contingent thing.

4. Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence.

5. Therefore, the explanation of the universe is a transcendent, personal being.

– which is what everybody means by ‘God’.

(II) God is the best explanation of the origin of the universe.

We have pretty strong evidence that the universe has not existed eternally into the past, but had a beginning a finite time ago. In 2003, the mathematician Arvind Borde, and physicists Alan Guth and Alexander Vilenkin were able to prove that any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past, but must have a past spacetime boundary (i.e., a beginning). What makes their proof so powerful is that it holds so long as time and causality hold, regardless of the physical description of the very early universe. Because we don’t yet have a quantum theory of gravity, we can’t yet provide a physical description of the first split-second of the universe; but the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem is independent of one’s theory of gravitation. For instance, their theorem implies that the quantum vacuum state which may have characterized the early universe cannot have existed eternally into the past, but must itself have had a beginning. Even if our universe is just a tiny part of a so-called ‘multiverse’, composed of many universes, their theorem requires that the multiverse itself must have had a beginning.

Of course, highly speculative physical scenarios, such as loop quantum gravity models, string models, even closed timelike curves, have been proposed to try to avoid this absolute beginning. These models are fraught with problems, but the bottom line is that none of these theories, even if true, succeeds in restoring an eternal past for the universe. Last year, at a conference in Cambridge celebrating the seventieth birthday of Stephen Hawking, Vilenkin delivered a paper entitled ‘Did the Universe Have a Beginning?’, which surveyed current cosmology with respect to that question. He argued that “none of these scenarios can actually be past-eternal.” Specifically, Vilenkin closed the door on three models attempting to avert the implication of his theorem: eternal inflation, a cyclic universe, and an ‘emergent’ universe which exists for eternity as a static seed before expanding. Vilenkin concluded, “ All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.”

But then the inevitable question arises: Why did the universe come into being? What brought the universe into existence? There must have been a transcendent cause which brought the universe into being – a cause outside the universe itself.

We can summarize this argument thus far as follows:

1. The universe began to exist.

2. If the universe began to exist, then the universe has a transcendent cause.

3. Therefore, the universe has a transcendent cause.

By the very nature of the case, that cause of the physical universe must be an immaterial (i.e., non-physical) being. Now there are only two types of things that could possibly fit that description: either an abstract object like a number, or an unembodied mind/consciousness. But abstract objects don’t stand in causal relations to physical things. The number 7, for example, has no effect on anything. Therefore the cause of the universe is an unembodied mind. Thus again we are brought, not merely to a transcendent cause of the universe, but to its Personal Creator.

(III) God is the best explanation of the applicability of mathematics to the physical world.

Philosophers and scientists have puzzled over what physicist Eugene Wigner called “the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics.” How is it that a mathematical theorist like Peter Higgs can sit down at his desk and, by pouring over mathematical equations, predict the existence of a fundamental particle which, thirty years later, after investing millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours, experimentalists are finally able to detect? Mathematics is the language of nature. But how is this to be explained? If mathematical objects like numbers and mathematical theorems are abstract entities causally isolated from the physical universe, then the applicability of mathematics is, in the words of philosopher of mathematics Mary Leng, “a happy coincidence.” On the other hand, if mathematical objects are just useful fictions, how is it that nature is written in the language of these fictions? The naturalist has no explanation for the uncanny applicability of mathematics to the physical world. By contrast, the theist has a ready explanation: When God created the physical universe He designed it in terms of the mathematical structure which He had in mind.

We can summarize this argument as follows:

1. If God did not exist, the applicability of mathematics would be just a happy coincidence.

2. The applicability of mathematics is not just a happy coincidence.

3. Therefore, God exists.

(IV) God is the best explanation of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life.

Looking for intelligent life

In recent decades scientists have been stunned by the discovery that the initial conditions of the Big Bang were fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent life with a precision and delicacy that literally defy human comprehension. This fine-tuning is of two sorts. First, when the laws of nature are expressed as equations, you find appearing in them certain constants, such as the gravitational constant. The values of these constants are independent of the laws of nature. Second, in addition to these constants, there are certain arbitrary quantities which define the initial conditions on which the laws of nature operate – for example, the amount of entropy (disorder) in the universe. Now these constants and quantities fall into an extraordinarily narrow range of life-permitting values. Were these constants or quantities to be altered by less than a hair’s breadth, the life-permitting balance of nature would be destroyed, and life would not exist.

There are three live explanatory options for this extraordinary fine-tuning: physical necessity, chance, or design.

Physical necessity is not, however, a plausible explanation, because the finely-tuned constants and quantities are independent of the laws of nature. Therefore, they are notphysically necessary.

So could this fine-tuning be due to chance? The problem with this explanation is that the odds of all the constants and quantities’ randomly falling into the incomprehensibly narrow life-permitting range are just so infinitesimal that they cannot be reasonably accepted. Therefore the proponents of the chance explanation have been forced to postulate the existence of a ‘World Ensemble’ of other universes, preferably infinite in number and randomly ordered, so that life-permitting universes like ours would appear by chance somewhere in the Ensemble. Not only is this hypothesis, to borrow Richard Dawkins’ phrase, “an unparsimonious extravagance,” it faces an insuperable objection. By far, the most probable observable universes in a World Ensemble would be worlds in which a single brain fluctuated into existence out of the vacuum and observed its otherwise empty world. So, if our world were just a random member of the World Ensemble, by all probability we ought to be having observations like that. Since we don’t, that strongly disconfirms the World Ensemble hypothesis. So chance is also not a good explanation. Thus,

1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.

2. The fine-tuning of the universe is not due to physical necessity or chance.

3. Therefore, the fine-tuning of the universe is due to design.

Thus, the fine-tuning of the universe constitutes evidence for a cosmic Designer.

(V) God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness.

Philosophers are puzzled by states of intentionality. Intentionality is the property of being about something or of something. It signifies the object-directedness of our thoughts. For example, I can think about my summer vacation, or I can think of my wife. No physical object has intentionality in this sense. A chair or a stone or a glob of tissue like the brain is not about or of something else. Only mental states or states of consciousness are about other things. In The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions (2011), the materialist Alex Rosenberg recognizes this fact, and concludes that for atheists, there really are no intentional states. Rosenberg boldly claims that we never really think about anything. But this seems incredible. Obviously, I am thinking about Rosenberg’s argument – and so are you! This seems to me to be a reductio ad absurdum of his atheism. By contrast, for theists, because God is a mind, it’s hardly surprising that there should be other, finite minds, with intentional states. Thus intentional states fit comfortably into a theistic worldview.

So we may argue:

1. If God did not exist, intentional states of consciousness would not exist.

2. But intentional states of consciousness do exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.

(VI) God is the best explanation of objective moral values and duties.

In our experience we apprehend moral values and duties which impose themselves as objectively binding and true. For example, we recognize that it’s wrong to walk into an elementary school with an automatic weapon and shoot little boys and girls and their teachers. On a naturalistic view, however, there is nothing really wrong with this: moral values are just the subjective by-products of biological evolution and social conditioning, and have no objective validity.

Alex Rosenberg is brutally honest about the implications of his atheism here too. He declares, “there is no such thing as… morally right or wrong.” (The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, p.145); “Individual human life is meaningless… and without ultimate moral value.” (p.17); “We need to face the fact that nihilism is true.” (p.95). By contrast, the theist grounds objective moral values in God, and our moral duties in His commands. The theist thus has the explanatory resources to ground objective moral values and duties which the atheist lacks.

Hence we may argue:

1. Objective moral values and duties exist.

2. But if God did not exist, objective moral values and duties would not exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.

(VII) The very possibility of God’s existence implies that God exists.

In order to understand this argument, you need to understand what philosophers mean by ‘possible worlds’. A possible world is just a way the world might have been. It is a description of a possible reality. So a possible world is not a planet or a universe or any kind of concrete object, it is a world-description. The actual world is the description that is true. Other possible worlds are descriptions that are not in fact true but which might have been true. To say that something exists in some possible world is to say that there is some consistent description of reality which includes that entity. To say that something exists in every possible world means that no matter which description is true, that entity will be included in the description. For example, unicorns do not in fact exist, but there are some possible worlds in which unicorns exist. On the other hand, many mathematicians think that numbers exist in every possible world.

Now with that in mind, consider the ontological argument, which was discovered in the year 1011 by the monk Anselm of Canterbury. God, Anselm observes, is by definition the greatest being conceivable. If you could conceive of anything greater than God, then that would be God. Thus, God is the greatest conceivable being – a maximally great being. So what would such a being be like? He would be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, and He would exist in every logically possible world. A being which lacked any of those properties would not be maximally great: we could conceive of something greater – a being which did have all these properties.

But this implies that if God’s existence is even possible, then God must exist. For if a maximally great being exists in any possible world, He exists in all of them. That’s part of what it means to be maximally great – to be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good in every logically possible world. So if God’s existence is even possible, then He exists in every logically possible world – and therefore in the actual world.

We can summarize this argument as follows:

1. It is possible that a maximally great being (God) exists.

2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.

3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

5. Therefore, a maximally great being exists in the actual world.

6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

7. Therefore, God exists.

It might surprise you to learn that steps 2-7 of this argument are relatively uncontroversial. Most philosophers would agree that if God’s existence is even possible, then He must exist.

So the question is, is God’s existence possible? Well, what do you think? The atheist has to maintain that it’s impossible that God exists. That is, he has to maintain that the concept of God is logically incoherent, like the concept of a married bachelor or a round square. The problem is that the concept of God just doesn’t appear to be incoherent in that way. The idea of a being who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good in every possible world seems perfectly coherent. Moreover, as we’ve seen, there are other arguments for God’s existence which at least suggest that it’s possible that God exists. So I’ll just leave it with you. Do you think, as I do, that it’s at least possible that God exists? If so, then it follows logically that He does exist.

(VIII) God can be personally known and experienced.

This isn’t really an argument for God’s existence; rather it’s the claim that you can know God exists wholly apart from arguments, by personally experiencing him. Philosophers call beliefs grasped in this way ‘properly basic beliefs’. They aren’t based on some other beliefs; rather they’re part of the foundation of a person’s system of beliefs. Other properly basic beliefs would be the belief in the reality of the past or the existence of the external world. When you think about it, neither of these beliefs can be proved by argument. How could you prove that the world was not created five minutes ago with built-in appearances of age like food in our stomachs from the breakfasts we never really ate and memory traces in our brains of events we never really experienced? How could you prove that you are not a brain in a vat of chemicals being stimulated with electrodes by some mad scientist to believe that you are reading this article? We don’t base such beliefs on argument; rather they’re part of the foundations of our system of beliefs.

But although these sorts of beliefs are basic for us, that doesn’t mean that they’re arbitrary. Rather they’re grounded in the sense that they’re formed in the context of certain experiences. In the experiential context of seeing and feeling and hearing things, I naturally form the belief that there are certain physical objects which I am sensing. Thus, my basic beliefs are not arbitrary, but appropriately grounded in experience. There may be no way to prove such beliefs, and yet it’s perfectly rational to hold them. Such beliefs are thus not merely basic, but properly basic. In the same way, belief in God is for those who seek Him a properly basic belief grounded in their experience of God.

Now if this is so, then there’s a danger that philosophical arguments for God could actually distract your attention from God Himself. The Bible promises, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) We mustn’t so concentrate on the external arguments that we fail to hear the inner voice of God speaking to our hearts. For those who listen, God becomes a personal reality in their lives.


In summary, we’ve seen eight respects in which God provides a better account of the world than naturalism: God is the best explanation of

(I) Why anything at all exists.

(II) The origin of the universe.

(III) The applicability of mathematics to the physical world.

(IV) The fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life.

(V) Intentional states of consciousness.

(VI) Objective moral values and duties.


(VII) The very possibility of God’s existence implies that God exists.

(VIII) God can be personally experienced and known.

© Prof. William Lane Craig, 2013

William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at the Talbot Scho

Canadians might have accepted tax reforms with Kelly McParland

The liberal party rode into power on public enthusiasm for Boy leader Justin Trudeau and some nostalgia among liberals for PET.  Since then we have been waiting for the other shoe to drop and it has.
That both the PM and his finance minister are paid up members of the Tax Avoidance industry set up for the lucky few who inherited vast wealth should have made them shy of evoking making it an issue.
After all the problem been addressed is that the Hoi Polloi have discovered a pressing need for shelters to convert a good income stream safely into investment capital able to support the creation of real wealth  without owing more in taxes than any such wealth may ever be worth.  Blocking those readily available tools immediately attacks the successful young entrepreneurial class as it has always done.
And few are rich yet.  Likely they are deep in debt and have drained family equity to boot.  Thus they will get very angry and it is fully justified. These are the folks who most need to be staked just as we provide student loans to the unlendable.  Some are meant to fail but success returns wealth ten fold and then a steady stream of taxable income for a vast number.
They also foolishly jacked up the marginal rate for those earning over 90,000 and got little in return.  What is now fifty years of empirical application should have told them as much, but then they are still reading 1930's economic dogma.  Now they have incensed the folks they desperately need to support them in the next election representing almost a third of the population.  Not all of them were conservatives either.
A lot of damage has now been done to the liberal brand and their direction is now downward.  Reversing it will be difficult.......
Kelly McParland: Canadians might have accepted tax reforms if Liberals hadn't ignited a class war 

Canadians could have accepted the rule changes, if they'd been explained in honest terms. But someone in Ottawa decided it was better to take another whack at the rich 

Prime Minister Trudeau takes part in a roundtable in Toronto as Minister of Finance Bill Morneau looks on. 

September 28, 2017

10:07 AM EDT 

There’s talk that Bill Morneau is less than thrilled with political life, that after just two years in Ottawa he’s wondering what could have possessed him to quit the private sector for a seat on Justin Trudeau’s front bench.

Maybe it’s just talk. It could be the finance minister loves his job and the challenges it presents, and even now is planning to relocate permanently to the capital, where he could move in next door to Mike Duffy and both could pretend they actually live in Prince Edward Island. 

It would be hard to blame the man if he is indeed having doubts, though. His first 24 months must have come as something of an eye-opener. Elected office is supposed to be about giving back to society via a life of “public service,” one in which, as finance minister, he could contribute directly to the betterment of Canadians by strengthening the economy, supporting job creation and reforming an unwieldy and often unfair tax regime. 

It hasn’t worked out that way. Instead, Morneau has spent his rookie years abandoning pledges and implementing policies that have no hope of achieving the promised results. The $10 billion cap on borrowing was jettisoned almost immediately. The promise of a balanced budget by 2019 has been shelved. The “middle class tax cut” proved to be a windfall for people earning up to $90,000 a year. A new top tax rate, intended to soak the rich, hasn’t produced anywhere near the promised billions. 

And now the finance minister finds himself faced with a full-scale revolt against his plan to increase taxes on some small business operators. Everyone from farmers to dentists, shop owners to ranchers — not to mention doctors, lawyers and provincial premiers — is up in arms, accusing him of persecuting “hard-working” entrepreneurs. His personal wealth is being thrown in his face, even though he’d probably be a whole lot richer if he hadn’t taken leave from the family firm to devote four years of his life to public employment at a fraction of his usual stipend. Even his wife is being dragged into it, seeing as how she’s a member of the super-rich McCain family. 

It’s no doubt discouraging, though it shouldn’t be entirely unexpected. Politics is politics, and it doesn’t change its nature for the well-intentioned. But what’s striking about the conflagration confronting Morneau is the degree to which it’s due largely to the ineptitude of the sales job they used to roll out his tax plan, rather than the content of the plan itself. For a government and party as fixated on image as the Trudeau Liberals, it’s astonishing how amateurishly they’ve handled the whole affair. It’s nearly as badly as how they handled the bungled electoral reform initiative, or are now mishandling the inquiry into missing and murdered women. 

The approach fit snugly with the Trudeau team belief that you never lose by stoking class resentment
From the start, the Liberal strategy has been yet another righteous crusade to make “the rich” pay “their fair share.” Canadians were assured the plan was to close “loopholes” that had somehow crept into the tax regime, and which were being exploited by “wealthy folk” who use “fancy accounting schemes.” Anyone who dared challenge the proposal wasn’t just an honest taxpayer seeking to raise reasonable concerns, but part of the moneyed elite, feeding “misinformation” to credulous Canadians too dim to understand the issue for themselves. 

The approach fit snugly with the Trudeau team’s belief that you never lose by stoking class resentment. Disparaging “the rich” has been an integral strategy of Trudeau’s handlers since his ascension to the leadership. It must have seemed a slam-dunk in this case. Salaried workers don’t incorporate. Civil servants don’t incorporate. Union members don’t incorporate. Only rich people incorporate, because they have the means to put aside some assets (and what else does “rich” mean if not the ability to live beyond the next paycheque?). Progressives certainly don’t incorporate. 

Except, as it turns out, they do. And plenty of them aren’t “rich,” as Canadians understand the term. Trudeau is rich; Morneau is rich. The family doctor may drive a decent car, but that doesn’t make her a tax-dodging plutocrat. 

By playing the class resentment card, the prime minister and his finance minister opened themselves up to legitimate questions about their personal wealth, their privileged backgrounds, their use of tax avoidance measures, and their reliance on accountants to sort it all out. The fact that Morneau has had no ready answer to questions in the House of Commons about his use of measures that he condemns when used by others suggests Trudeau’s top aides didn’t anticipate the storm that’s now arisen. If so, it’s mighty peculiar. How could such cocky political operatives be caught so flat-footed? When you build your government on a foundation of imagery, shouldn’t you be more sensitive to the image being projected? 

If Morneau had stuck to the substance of his plan, he might have run into less trouble. It appears very likely that existing tax measures are being abused by a relatively small group. It’s probably not unreasonable to change the rules to stop the abuse. Canadians could understand that, if it had been explained to them in honest terms. But someone in Ottawa decided it was better to take another whack at the rich, on the assumption that Canadians are so riddled with resentment they can be sold almost anything if it’s positioned as another cheap effort at envy politics.

The West should support Kurdish desire for independence

This is a touchy subject never welcome to outsiders who rarely have anything to gain worth the  abuse earned.  So we have a natural tendency to remain aloof.

However it must be observed, and i have said it before that an independent kurdistan provide a buffer between Turkey, Iran, Syria and Shite Iraq and acts as a natural staalizer and anchor in the region.  It is also a natural home for a massive force in place if that were truly needed.

This still must be combined with an international boundary commission with the power to remove peoples to new areas or at least assign citizenship over the new boundaries.  The same hold true in the Russian Marches were soviet dispensations have become thorny..


The West should support Kurdish desire for independence

: Shuvaloy Majumdar in the National Post

Every secession movement should be considered on its own merits, writes Shuvaloy Majumdar. The Kurdish desire for sovereignty is logical and necessary.
By Shuvaloy Majumdar, Sept. 27, 2017

The cause of Kurdish independence is one of the great taboos of western diplomacy. Regardless of where one’s sympathies lie, it’s a topic more consistently avoided than engaged. Yet, Monday’s historic referendum saw three quarters of the population participate. Early results suggest more than 90 per cent voted for an independent Kurdistan. This expression of the democratic will cannot be ignored.

On some level, global reluctance to accept an independent Kurdistan—which is also opposed by the Iraqi government in Baghdad—is a natural outgrowth of the anxiety many of us feel about the broader prospect of nations breaking up. This apprehension is informed by memories of civil war in the Balkans, genocide in Sudan, the partition of India, and countless other bloody battlefields of contested borders. Many western nations, including Canada, have active separatist movements of their own, which only feeds nervousness about equipping overseas secessionists with rhetoric and precedents that may someday be used against us.

Yet any nation that seeks to dissolve political bonds between itself and another is proposing a unique idea. Every secession movement occurs in a context particular to itself, bearing its own particular challenges and opportunities, and deserves to be considered on its own merits.
The West can add resolve to the Kurds’ efforts by fully endorsing their long-delayed dream of a free Kurdish state.
An objective analysis of present conditions in Iraq makes clear that the Kurdish desire for sovereignty is not an arbitrary or ill-considered fancy, but the logical and appropriate conclusion to an unsustainable, eight-decade status quo of political failure. The West can add resolve to the Kurds’ efforts by fully endorsing their long-delayed dream of a free Kurdish state.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq has faced unimaginable challenges in crafting a workable, federal democracy from a society left broken and demoralized by one of the most hideous dictatorships of the 20th century. Current Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi is more independent of Tehran than was his predecessor, Nouri al Maliki, yet the political environment that al Abadi must navigate remains heavily controlled by Iran’s sectarian influence. Iraq’s character as a free nation was destined to take many difficult years to solidify, and the conversation regarding what sort of constitution is best suited to its complex and diverse population remains ongoing, and led — appropriately — by the Iraqis themselves.

A Kurdistan operating as a self-governing “region” within an Iraqi system of federalism could never hope to be more than an interim solution to a dilemma dating back generations. For the Kurds, the compromise to participate within a federal Iraq had been brokered in good faith. Stability in the near term would lead to long term independence. Baghdad has broken with that faith, most recently by failing to ensure the expeditious supply of weapons to Kurdish forces confronting ISIS, and attempting to starve the Kurdish treasury by stalling oil revenue transfers.

Since the end of the first Gulf War, Kurdistan has managed its own largely autonomous government — originally protected by a US/UK-enforced no-fly zone — and in 2005, this authority was incorporated into Iraq’s first democratic constitution. Under the longtime leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani, Kurds have used their quarter-century of self-governance to build an inspiring success story in a part of the world where such things are too rarely seen.

Economic prosperity has flowed to the region through the Kirkuk-to-Ceyhan pipeline, a testament to the leaders’ ability to overcome historic animosities with neighbouring Turkey in favour of mutually beneficial trade. Intelligent investments of the ensuing wealth, in turn, have provided Kurds with a society equipped with impressively modern social and physical infrastructure, and a safe standard of living that in many cases exceeds that of their neighbours.

Though their contentious political ambitions have proven a persistent obstacle to completely normal diplomacy, the Kurdish government has nevertheless established mature, respectful, peaceful relationships with key regional powers, including Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports Kurdish independence. Though not yet a perfect democracy, Kurdistan aspires to be a tolerant, pluralistic society with laws and traditions guaranteeing protection for its Christian population and other ethnic and religious minorities. Staffed by some of the world’s bravest soldiers, the Kurdish army, or Peshmerga, has played a decisive role in the war against ISIS, defending disputed areas even when Iraqi soldiers proved unwilling.
A strong Kurdistan has always been in Iraq’s national interest, and an independent Kurdistan will only strengthen Iraqi sovereignty.
Sadly, none of these achievements is yet fully recognized. As part of Iraq, Kurdistan lacks full legitimacy to exercise the economic, diplomatic, cultural, and military powers it has strenuously negotiated to use on a de facto basis for its very survival.

A strong Kurdistan has always been in Iraq’s national interest, and an independent Kurdistan will only strengthen Iraqi sovereignty. Yet Baghdad clings to the Kurdistan region, largely because of its oil wealth, even while post-Saddam era policies have often sought to limit Kurdish success rather than accelerate it. Liberated from each other’s domestic issues, and the endless distraction of negotiating the terms of a perfect political marriage, both states would be free to function as a mature alliance of equals — a relationship that, to some extent, they already enjoy today.

Even as the world lines up against Kurdish aspirations for sovereignty following Monday’s referendum, President Barzani has already indicated a vote to secede does not imply a unilateral declaration of independence, but will rather begin a process to afford Kurdish leaders a democratic mandate to enter into peaceful negotiations with Baghdad. As a practical matter, an independent Kurdistan bedecked in the full rights and symbols of sovereign statehood is likely to still be many years away.

At the moment, however, we must lack no moral clarity in affirming where our allegiances lie. The West should support the mandate the Kurdish people are bestowing upon their leaders: to guide the peaceful emergence of a confident Kurdistan, rather than the reinforcement of a bad marriage destined to fail. The cause of Kurdish freedom is right and just, and it is overdue that the West should say so.

Shuvaloy Majumdar is a Munk Senior Fellow at the Macdonald Laurier Institute, and former policy director in the office of the foreign minister. He lived in Iraq in 2006/7 and 2009/10, leading US democracy assistance initiatives.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Harvard Study on Police Shootings and Race Offers Shocking Conclusion

The facts are always welcome simply because they prevent real errors in execution which can become catastrophically expensive.  The mere fact that we do not like them is as nothing.

The good news is that we have been fed a false hysterical narrative aimed at delegitimizing the police when this shows us that police training is holding up surprisingly well. 

We still want the problems to go away, but targeting the police is simply stupid by this measure.  Otherwise i have plenty of issues in regards to trigger happy cops and the gross over arming of the police.  All training needs to emphasize a backing off unless a victim life is in serious danger.  This allows a well trained response team to arrive at the resolve the problem..

Have cops running around in faux combat gear without the two years of intensive combat training is a recipe for bad acts.

Harvard Study on Police Shootings and Race Offers Shocking Conclusion

By Tribunist Staff on July 12, 2016

If you ever need an argument settled, once and for all, just ask a Harvard professor to conduct a study. They do it right. And, to their credit, they report on the results–even when those results don’t support their own agendas. Check out the bomb they’ve just dropped on Black Lives Matter and all of the armchair pundits.

Roland G. Fryer Jr. is an economics professor at Harvard. Distressed by what he was seeing in the treatment of black men like Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, Fryer commissioned a study on how the role race play in the use of lethal force by police.

The study examined more than 1,000 police shootings from 10 large police departments in California, Florida and Texas.

The results? Not what Black Lives Matter would have you believe. The study found no indication of racial bias associated with incidents in which cops fired their guns.

The study concluded that police officers who had not been attacked were more likely to shoot white suspects. This goes completly against the mythology.

It also found that an equal number of blacks and whites were carrying weapons when the police shot them. This doesn’t help those who claim the cops are shooting unarmed blacks more frequently.

“It is the most surprising result of my career,” Fryer said in an interview with the New York Times. He hadn’t expected to find such balance.

“You know, protesting is not my thing. But data is my thing,” Fryer said. And the anger he’d felt at the media’s portrayl of racial injustice drove him to do the study. “So I decided that I was going to collect a bunch of data and try to understand what really is going on when it comes to racial differences in police use of force.”

Fryer’s conclusions aren’t the only ones challenging the racist cop narrative. The Washington Post studied shooting deaths by law enforcement officials in 2015. 494 white suspects were killed. That number is almost double the number of black suspects killed: 258.

While the study can’t look at the motivations of individual officers and some of the more notorious incidents, it does give credence to what many cops have been saying for a long time. There’s much more to these situations than race.

Fossils From Animals And Plants Are Not Necessary For Crude Oil And Natural Gas

 Soon enough we will no longer use oil at all except as a convenience, mostly to produce heat or as legacy installations.

This work pretty well polices up the underlying reactions necessary to produce deep oil.  It is surely real enough.

Certainly the amount of oil in place inside the sediments is vast by any measure and those sediments are best looked at in terms of natural depletion.

Fossils From Animals And Plants Are Not Necessary For Crude Oil And Natural Gas, Swedish Researchers Find

What would happen if it were proven that "fossil fuels" weren't the result of decaying plant and animal matter, were actually created within the Earth due to simple chemistry and you could not be scared into believing that we were "running out" of oil and natural gas?

Estimates of how much crude oil we have extracted from the planet vary wildly. As late as May of 2009 a report published in the International Journal of Oil, Gas and Coal Technology suggested that we may have used more than we think.

The idea that we are running out of oil is not a new one. Scientists have told us that oil is a limited resource which was formed millions of years ago by the decaying vegetation and biomass of extinct species of plants and animals. With an estimated 1- trillion barrels of oil already extracted from deep wells since commercial drilling began around 1870, many predict that we are nearing the mid-point of remaining oil on the planet.

But there have always been those who claim that oil is a natural substance that forms automatically in the Earth's mantle. They say that it is virtually everywhere, if you can drill deep enough to tap it.
Proponents of so-called "abiotic oil" claim that the proof is found in the fact that many capped wells, which were formerly dry of oil, are found to be plentiful again after many years, They claim that the replenished oil is manufactured by natural forces in the Earth's mantle.

Critics of the abiotic theory disagree. They claim that capped wells may appear to refill after a few years, but they are not regenerating. It is simply an effect of oil slowly migrating through pore spaces from areas of high pressure to the low-pressure area of the drill hole. If this oil is drawn out, it will take even longer for the hole to refill again. They hold that oil is a non-renewable resource generated and deposited under special biological and geological conditions.

Until now these believers in "abiotic oil" have been dismissed as professing "bad science" but -- alas -- a new study has proven them correct!

Reported in ScienceDaily, researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm have managed to prove that fossils from animals and plants are not necessary for crude oil and natural gas to be generated. The findings are revolutionary since this means, on the one hand, that it will be much easier to find these sources of energy and, on the other hand, that they can be found all over the globe.

"Using our research we can even say where oil could be found in Sweden," says Vladimir Kutcherov, a professor at the Division of Energy Technology at KTH.

Together with two research colleagues, Vladimir Kutcherov has simulated the process involving pressure and heat that occurs naturally in the inner layers of the earth, the process that generates hydrocarbon, the primary component in oil and natural gas.

According to Vladimir Kutcherov, the findings are a clear indication that the oil supply is not about to end, which researchers and experts in the field have long feared.

Abiotic Oil

The abiotic oil formation theory suggests that crude oil is the result of naturally occurring and possibly ongoing geological processes. This theory was developed in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, as the Union needed to be self sufficient in terms of producing its own energy. The science behind the theory is sound and is based on experimental evidence in both the laboratory and in the field. This theory has helped to identify and therefore develop large numbers of gas and oil deposits. Examples of such fields are the South Khylchuyu field and the controversial Sakhalin II field.

In its simplest form, the theory is that carbon present in the magma beneath the crust reacts with hydrogen to form methane as well as a raft of other mainly alkane hydrocarbons. The reactions are more complicated than this, with several intermediate stages. Particular mineral rocks such as granite and other silicon based rocks act as catalysts, which speed up the reaction without actually becoming involved or consumed in the process.

Experiments have shown that under extreme conditions of heat and pressure it is possible to convert iron oxide, calcium carbonate and water into methane, with hydrocarbons containing up to 10 carbon atoms being produced by Russian scientists last century and confirmed in recent US experiments. The absence of large quantities of free gaseous oxygen in the magma prevents the hydrocarbons from burning and therefore forming the lower energy state molecule carbon dioxide. The conditions present in the Earth's mantle would easily be sufficient for these small hydrocarbon chains to polymerise into the longer chain molecules found in crude oil.

Vladimir Kutcherov adds that there is no way that fossil oil, with the help of gravity or other forces, could have seeped down to a depth of 10.5 kilometers in the state of Texas, for example, which is rich in oil deposits. As Vladimir Kutcherov sees it, this is further proof, alongside his own research findings, of the genesis of these energy sources -- that they can be created in other ways than via fossils. This has long been a matter of lively discussion among scientists.

"There is no doubt that our research proves that crude oil and natural gas are generated without the involvement of fossils. All types of bedrock can serve as reservoirs of oil," says Vladimir Kutcherov, who adds that this is true of land areas that have not yet been prospected for these energy sources.

But the discovery has more benefits. The degree of accuracy in finding oil is enhanced dramatically -- from 20 to 70 percent. Since drilling for oil and natural gas is a very expensive process, the cost picture will be radically altered for petroleum companies, and in the end probably for consumers as well.

"The savings will be in the many billions," says Vladimir Kutcherov.

To identify where it is worthwhile to drill for natural gas and oil, Vladimir Kutcherov has used his research to arrive at a new method. It involves dividing the globe into a finely meshed grid. The grid corresponds to fissures, so-called 'migration channels,' through underlying layers under the surface of the earth. Wherever these fissures meet, it is suitable to drill.

According to Vladimir Kutcherov, these research findings are extremely important, not least as 61 percent of the world's energy consumption derives from crude oil and natural gas.

The next step in this research work will involve more experiments, but above all refining the method will make it easier to find places where it is suitable to drill for oil and natural gas.

Vladimir Kutcherov, Anton Kolesnikov, and Alexander Goncharov's research work was recently published in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.

Methane-derived hydrocarbons produced under upper-mantle conditions

Anton Kolesnikov1,2, Vladimir G. Kutcherov2,3 & Alexander F. Goncharov1


There is widespread evidence that petroleum originates from biological processes1, 2, 3. Whether hydrocarbons can also be produced from abiogenic precursor molecules under the high-pressure, high-temperature conditions characteristic of the upper mantle remains an open question. It has been proposed that hydrocarbons generated in the upper mantle could be transported through deep faults to shallower regions in the Earth's crust, and contribute to petroleum reserves4, 5. Here we use in situ Raman spectroscopy in laser-heated diamond anvil cells to monitor the chemical reactivity of methane and ethane under upper-mantle conditions. We show that when methane is exposed to pressures higher than 2 GPa, and to temperatures in the range of 1,000-1,500 K, it partially reacts to form saturated hydrocarbons containing 2-4 carbons (ethane, propane and butane) and molecular hydrogen and graphite. Conversely, exposure of ethane to similar conditions results in the production of methane, suggesting that the synthesis of saturated hydrocarbons is reversible. Our results support the suggestion that hydrocarbons heavier than methane can be produced by abiogenic processes in the upper mantle.

Other relevant studies:

1. Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, District of Columbia 20015, USA
2. Lomonosov Moscow State Academy of Fine Chemical Technology, 117571 Moscow, Russia
3. Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Diet Soda’s Worst Fear Coming True: Massive Study links Aspartame to Major Problems

There is nothing more compelling than a huge sample because it becomes easy to winkle out secondary issues and correct for them, providing a high confidence in the conclusions.

Add in similar results for sugar and the case for ending aspartame and sugar based beverages becomes compelling.  Even more so when you understand that we have an excellent replacement available in the form of stevia based sweeteners in combination with glucose when energy is desired. 

The purported occasional off taste of Stevia is easily adjusted for with even a few grains of sugar.. 

The actual change over may well be happening as beverage companies move to protect their markets. All it takes is a new line up in addition to the present choices.  Then the market can sort all this out and human debate establish preferences.

Diet Soda’s Worst Fear Coming True: Massive Study links Aspartame to Major Problems

As concerns about health epidemics plague the nation, demand and sales of diet soda have plunged as consumers try to make better choices. As we reported, aspartame (the main sweetener for diet soda) is one of the most dangerous ingredients used in our food supply, causing seizures and a host of other health issues.

In a new study done over ten years and sampling 60,000 women, it was shown that women who drink two or more diet drinks a day have much higher cardiovascular disease rates and are more likely to die from the disease.

30 percent more likely to have a heart problems…

In the largest study done of it’s kind, The University of Iowa concluded:

Compared to women who never or only rarely consume diet drinks, those who consume two or more a day are 30 percent more likely to have a cardiovascular event [heart attack or stroke] and 50 percent more likely to die from related disease.

This is one of the largest studies on this topic, and our findings are consistent with some previous data, especially those linking diet drinks to the metabolic syndrome, says Dr. Ankur Vyas, the lead investigator of the study.

The association persisted even after researchers adjusted the data to account for demographic characteristics and other cardiovascular risk factors, including body mass index, smoking, hormone therapy use, physical activity, energy intake, salt intake, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and sugar-sweetened beverage intake.

On average, women who consumed two or more diet drinks a day were younger, more likely to be smokers, and had a higher prevalence of diabetes, high blood pressure, and higher body mass index.

Soda sales slipping…

Thankfully this study comes on the heels of reports of already slipping sales of diet soda, one of the largest aspartame markets.

According to Time Magazine:

One reason for the decline could be a growing awareness of the obesity epidemic in the US and growing health concerns surrounding sugar-sweetened beverages. According to Reuters, industry experts say the beverage industry is shrinking under the scrutiny. Even diet-branded drinks have suffered a loss of sales with concerns over artificial sweeteners.Whatever the reason for the decline, this new study should only add fuel to the movement away from artificial sweeteners. There are plenty of natural sweeteners that people can choose that are much healthier than aspartame. Click here for a practical guide to natural sweeteners.

Another important note is that the overall sales of soda going down also means that less people are being exposed to (mostly GM) high fructose corn syrup which carries a whole host of health risks as well.


 This is not the only such sunken major landmass out there but may well be the largest.  Actual subsidence here appears to be most of those 80 millions of years although i am inclined to think in terms of a gradual process in this locale.

There is no nearby major event taking place to speed things up as with the  mid Atlantic ridge where the northern half of the North American plate has been rebounding.

Yet all these pieces of Gondwanaland have been pulling apart and that will induce local subsidence as it moves over an expanding crustal layer which brought about subsidence in the Indian ocean..
Zealandia drilling reveals secrets of sunken lost continent

South Pacific landmass may have been closer to land level than once thought, providing pathways for animals and plants

Lord Howe Island is part of Zealandia, the Earth’s newest continent. Photograph: Patrick Keneally for the Guardian

Wednesday 27 September 2017 02.01 BSTLast modified on Wednesday 27 September 2017 22.00 BST

The mostly submerged continent of Zealandia may have been much closer to land level than previously thought, providing pathways for animals and plants to cross continents from 80m years ago, an expedition has revealed.

Zealandia, a for the most part underwater landmass in the South Pacific, was declared the Earth’s newest continent this year in a paper in the journal of the Geological Society of America. It includes Lord Howe Island off the east coast of Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand.

Zealandia – pieces finally falling together for continent we didn't know we had

On Wednesday researchers shared findings from their two-month-long expedition, one of the first extensive surveys of the region, announcing fossil discoveries and evidence of large-scale tectonic movements.

“The discovery of microscopic shells of organisms that lived in warm shallow seas, and spores and pollen from land plants, reveal that the geography and climate of Zealandia was dramatically different in the past,” said Prof Gerald Dickens of Rice University.

Researchers drilled more than 860 metres below the sea floor in six different sites across Zealandia. The sediment cores collected showed evidence of tectonic and ecological change across millions of years.

“The cores acted as time machines for us, allowing us to reach further and further back in time,” said Stephen Pekar, a researcher on board the scientific drilling vessel, in August. “As one scientist put it: ‘We are rewriting the geologic and tectonic history of Zealandia at this drill site.’”

The 5 million sq km continent, roughly the size of the Indian subcontinent, is believed to have separated from Australia and Antarctica, as part of Gondwana, about 80m years ago.
On Wednesday Prof Rupert Sutherland from New Zealand’s Victoria University said the expedition had discovered “big geographic changes”.

Humans arrived in Australian interior 49,000 years ago, archaeologists believe

“[The research] has big implications for understanding big scientific questions, such as how did plants and animals disperse and evolve in the South Pacific? The discovery of past land and shallow seas now provides an explanation: there were pathways for animals and plants to move along.”

Geologists and academics have intermittently argued for Zealandia’s recognition as a continent for the past 20 years. The name was coined by the geophysicist and oceanographer Bruce Luyendyk in 1995.

But this year’s paper in GSA Today was “when the penny dropped” in terms of Zealandia’s growing recognition, said one of its co-authors, Nick Mortimer.

Mortimer told Guardian Australia in February that his was the first peer-reviewed scientific paper on Zealandia but that it was “nothing new” to many other geologists.

FacebookTwitterPinterest Zealandia shown on a map of the continents. Photograph: GNS Science
The paper contends that Zealandia, in terms of elevation of continental shelf, distinct geology and thickness of crust, qualifies as a continent.

“Zealandia is everywhere substantially elevated above the surrounding oceanic crust,” it says. 

“Whereas most of Zealandia’s crust is thinner than the 30–46km that is typical of most continents, studies show that it is everywhere thicker than the 7km-thick crust of the ocean basins. “Currently used conventions and definitions of continental crust, continents and microcontinents require no modification to accommodate Zealandia …

This is not a sudden discovery but a gradual realisation. The 4.9m sq km area of continental crust is large and separate enough to be considered not just as a continental fragment or a microcontinent, but as an actual continent.”

Further study of the 2,500 metres of sediment core extracted during the expedition is expected to provide insight into climate change and Zealandia’s climate history. The drilling ship is scheduled to conduct further expeditions around New Zealand, Australia and Antarctica next year.


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