• Steve Brown

Outgoing San Bernardino County Supervisor Robert Lovingood Goes Cuckoo

When watching our San Bernardino County supervisors in action, ignoring pleas from rural seniors with pre-existing health conditions who live downwind of miles of a planned desert solar power project, as they tell the supervisors the blowing dust from the project will likely push their COPD to where it kills them, it's sometimes baffling as to how they could remain utterly callous to the life - or death - of their very own constituents.

That is, until you read their own thoughts on the matter. In a recent newsletter from First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood, "A note from Supervisor Lovingood: Will the cuckoos win?" it becomes clearer how detached our supervisors are from their constituents.

Lovingood, an old crank who is soon retiring, to be replaced by Representative Paul Cook, who has been detached from the reality his constituents face throughout his political career, decided to berate lockdowns, "polarized politics" (Lovingood being utterly oblivious to the irony of claiming, as a politician, that Americans are "fed up" over polarized politics while sending out a violently erratic polarizing screed of his own), and over-reach by "government and environmental activists" (again, the irony of his own actions as supervisor, ignoring his constituents, as well as existing county laws and regulations in his decision-making, escapes him).

The supervisor demonstrates an astounding lack of basic scientific knowledge, evidently influenced by author/activist Michael Shellenberger, whose book has evidently influenced his "thinking." Lovingood refers to "Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All," Shellenberger's latest tome, designed to be controversial, as most of Shellenberger's work, might be relevant to environmental issues impacting the Mojave Desert, if it wasn't so deeply flawed.

Dr. Peter H. Gleick calls "Apocalypse Never" "deeply and fatally flawed," in his review of the book for Yale Climate Connections, "Bad science and bad arguments abound in 'Apocalypse Never' by Michael Shellenberger."

"At the simplest level, it is a polemic based on a strawman argument: To Shellenberger, scientists, 'educated elite,' 'activist journalists,' and high-profile environmental activists believe incorrectly that the end of the world is coming and yet refuse to support the only solutions he thinks will work - nuclear energy and uninhibited economic growth.

"But even if the author properly understood the complexity and nature of global challenges, which he does not, and got the science right, which he did not," Gleick notes, the "fatal flaw" in his argument is an oversimplification of his solutions which rely on economic growth and "silver-bullet technology."

Gleick notes the problems with Shellenberger's book, problems which Lovingood evidently was incapable of diagnosing, or even considering, goes deeper, written haphazardly hopping topic to topic, blending personal anecdote and polemical arguments with cherry-picked data - choosing his position first, then picking only the data that supports it, rather than using anything resembling scientific methodology.

"Distressingly, this is also an angry book, riddled with ugly ad hominem attacks on scientists, environmental advocates, and the media."

- Dr. Peter H. Gleick

Shellenberger's article for Forbes this year, "On Behalf of Environmentalists I Apologize for the Climate Scare," was also panned by a panel of scientists from The Breakthrough Institute, Swansea University, UCLA, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Woods Hole Research Center, University of Illinois, and MIT. It was, to say the least, not well received (review link below).

Lovingood appears to have been ecstatically inspired by this book with its laughingly bad science and angry tone, but don't take my word for it - take his. Here is his entire newsletter, verbatim, in all its vainglorious pomp, making it entirely clear that during his entire tenure as supervisor, he has learned absolutely nothing about the geographical territory he has been purportedly representing. Links to additional information on Shellenberger's sensationalist book will be provided below.

Americans are getting fed up.

Fed up with lockdowns, polarized politics and over-reach by government and environmental activists. In his new book, “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All” environmentalist Michael Shellengerger offers interesting insights into the never-ending panic attacks of the environmental movement.

As the Wall Street Journal put it, Shellenberger “chronicles environmental progress around the world and crisply debunks myth after gloomy myth … No, whales were not saved by Greenpeace but rather by the capitalist entrepreneurs who discovered cheaper substitutes for whale oil … No, climate change has not caused an increase in the frequency or intensity of floods, droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes.”

The High Desert has its own environmental fairy tales including the mythological Mojave ground squirrel, the scientifically unsubstantiated hypothesis that the western Joshua tree is dying out due to climate change. (Even advocates can’t produce scientific data to back up their theory.)

Understand, the next time when you’re driving on Interstate 15 north of Baker, the trees on the west are the species western Joshua tree, and the trees on the other side are eastern Joshua tree. (I guess the trees in the center median must be “Central Joshua trees.)

We all need to remember that fringe environmental groups take advantage the public’s desire to protect the earth and to push for extreme regulations that ultimately harm the public. Environmental groups are behind policies against responsible forest management. Those policies are largely to blame for the alarming decline in forest health and the resulting wildfires and millions of square miles of lost forest and more tragically, the loss of hundreds of lives.

The latest enviro claim that the western yellow-billed cuckoo has allegedly been detected along the Mojave River. Although the only evidence to date is not a local photograph or video of the yellow-billed cuckoo but an audio recording, purportedly of the bird. Don’t be surprised if environmentalists try to use their cuckoo recording to convince the state to lock down more land to save cuckoo habitat.

San Bernardino County is 20,053 square miles, however only 5 percent of the land area is dedicated to housing, industrial, utilities, agriculture, transportation and parks. I urge the community to realize that environmental extremism is shutting down more and more of our desert. When the extremists come to town, I encourage every hotel, restaurant and every other employer to decline their business. Until we start standing up, the cuckoos will prevail.

That Lovingood actually goes so far as to urge hotels, restaurants, and all employers to refuse the business of those "extremists" who actually care about cuckoo things like the survival of endangered species, is a sign he should be immediately tested for dementia. His words are the rantings of a Fox News-saturated crotchety and manipulated old man shouting at his television, a man thoroughly Limbaughed and Hannitied, a sad, tragic character, on the cusp of sliding into well deserved obscurity. He has led a comfortable life, with one of the highest salaries and best benefit packages in the county, unlike the constituents he routinely ignores while pleading for their health, homes, and lives. Unlike Shellenberger, whose smug, angry diatribes are his schtick, the over-the-top posturing that gets him the attention that sells his books to gullible cretins who long to revile things like the science of climate change and those who purvey it, Lovingood's angry ramblings only reek of musty pathos.

It is a fitting rant to remember an entirely forgettable man.

More on Michael Shellenberger:

Book review: Bad science and bad arguments abound in 'Apocalypse Never' by Michael Shellenberger

Article by Michael Shellenberger mixes accurate and inaccurate claims in support of a misleading and overly simplistic argumentation about climate change

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