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I am now running my annual July fund-raising campaign to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of the establishment of Behind the Black. For many reasons, mostly political but partly ethical, I do not use Google, Facebook, Twitter. These companies practice corrupt business policies, while targeting conservative websites for censoring, facts repeatedly confirmed by news stories and by my sense that Facebook has taken action to prevent my readers from recommending Behind the Black to their friends.

 

Thus, I must have your direct support to keep this webpage alive. Not only does the money pay the bills, it gives me the freedom to speak honestly about science and culture, instead of being forced to write it as others demand.

 

Please consider donating by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below.

 

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You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage or shown in the menu above. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.


Lying for Politicians

With the recently passed debt ceiling deal, there are going to be a lot of news reports talking about how that deal is going to force cuts and reductions in government spending. Everyone one of these stories will be a lie.

Take for example this story today in Nature, discussing the fate of science research under the deal. Here is how they describe what will happen if the Congressional “super-committee” cannot come up with an agreement and across-the-board “cuts” are triggered:

“Then there will be extraordinary pain,” says Michael Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society in Washington DC. “And it will get worse in 2014.”

The two-stage structure of the debt deal explains both the short-term reprieve and the long-term worry. The first set of agreed cuts, totalling US$917 billion, will be spread over 10 years, but two factors mitigate their effect. First, reductions to defence spending will account for a significant share of the cuts — meaning that other US agencies won’t bear the entire burden. Second, the cuts are heavily loaded forward onto the 2014 fiscal year and beyond, in an apparent effort to shelter the current fragile economy. Only minimal cuts will be implemented in fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

The trouble with this is that it is simply not true. There will be no cuts at all, under any condition, according the debt deal.

All that is happening is that the rate of increase in spending is going to be slowed by $917 billion dollars over ten years. As an illustration, instead of increasing its spending by let’s say $300 billion a year, the government will only spend an additional $200 billion more each year. Either way, at the end of ten years, the government budget will still be $2 trillion larger and we will be $2 trillion more in debt.

The actual numbers are different, but not significantly so. The bottom line is that these science agencies will end up having more money to spend over the next decade under this debt deal than they have ever had before. To let them get away with calling that “extraordinary pain” is downright laughable.

While I could argue here about the madness of all this spending, I want to instead focus on the willing complicity of Nature and its journalist, Eric Hand, in this fraud. Just because Congress and the executive branch of the federal government want to use the lie of base-line budgeting, where any reductions in budget growth is called a cut, does not require a journalist to do so.

The federal budget is still growing at an out-of-control rate. If the present budget deal doesn’t bring that growth under control, reporters need to say so. Most of all, they need to stop calling these reduced increases in spending “cuts.” It is a lie, and a despicable one at that.

Let me close by embedding this wonderful short video produced by Mary Katherine Ham. Unlike most mainstream journalists, Ham is willing to honestly describe the government way of “cutting spending.”

Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

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