Monday, April 26, 2010

Political Digest April 26, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Book Recommendation
Kicking the Sacred Cow, by James P. Hogan is a book about controversies and suppression of evidence in science, which I have just re-read and think is a “must read.” I doubt all the heretics and suppressed claims are true, but find it very interesting that in supposedly “fact based” science, too often scientists who don’t agree with the current orthodoxy are vilified, attacked and suppressed. Climategate wasn’t the only “gate” in science.

Hogan’s website has a section on “heretic book” which challenge the conventional wisdom.
A correspondent reported a bad link yesterday. Sorry. Try this one.

The Settled Science by James P. Hogan
Excerpt: Science is concerned with objective reality: the way things are, that lie beyond the power of human desires or action to change. The purpose is to discover what's true, which means accepting that the answers will remain what they are regardless of how passionately we might wish them to be otherwise or how many others we might persuade to share our convictions. Preconceptions are discarded as far as is humanly possible. Facts alone determine what is believed, and whether the consequences are considered socially, politically, ethically, or otherwise good or bad falls where it may. Science of itself has no judgment to pass on such aspects. Politics is concerned with affairs that human activities determine and influence. Beliefs are encouraged that advance political agendas, and perceptions are manipulated in ways that foster beliefs conducive to such ends. In this case, all too often, truth is left to fall where it may.
And in politics, the preconception is everything. To be able to move an agenda toward a goal, you first have to know what the goal is. It has only been realized comparatively recently in the history of human thought that such phenomena as how the planets move or why lighting strikes are indifferent to the antics of humans and not the whims of gods that be angered or placated. Hence, it isn't so surprising that the kind of thinking that serves political ends goes back a lot further in our cultural development and comes more naturally to most people. In the day-to-day business of life, the object is to close the sale, win the election, get a favorable verdict. The slant is set from the beginning, and information and arguments are amassed that will persuade in that direction. Finding information and arguments against is the other side's problem. With those as the ground rules, bending or stretching the story to the extent that opportunism allows, or burying the other side's version if they'll let you get away with it, all becomes part of the game. It's how the visions were inspired that built empires, the rages provoked that won wars, and the fanaticisms born that created religions and swept mass movements into power. But it won't change the law of gravity or the speed of light by an iota. Or the dynamics of the Earth's climate. When beliefs that are normally regarded as the province of science become subject to an ideology that decides in advance what answers are required and censors the evidence in ways that steer beliefs toward them, then, regardless of what incidental use might be made of computers, satellites, and other kinds of advanced engineering and technology, what's going on isn't science. But most of the world has never learned to tell the difference – or maybe cared that much. And that's serious in a society where scientists have come to occupy the position previously enjoyed by the high priesthood, of being revered as the source of true knowledge and providing the justifications for the policies that the governing authority pursues. The danger is that pronouncements made in the name of science will continue to be unquestioned and used as pretexts for controversial or oppressive rulings long after any grounds on a scientific basis have ceased to exist. I'm writing this at Christmas time, 2009. We've just witnessed a circus of deception and foolishness in Copenhagen that marks a new high in the attempted foisting of a politically motivated ideology upon the world in the guise of bogus science. Fortunately – for the time being at any rate – the canniness of the developing nations in demanding that the supposedly rational West literally put its money where its mouth was by playing out a lemming-like stampede to economic self-destruction brought home the absurdity to a degree that even our scientifically clueless best and brightest couldn't buy, and the whole thing largely came to nothing. Claims that human activity was – or was even capable of – measurably affecting the Earth's climate made little sense to begin with. For as far back as patterns can be reconstructed, the climate has always cycled between being warmer or cooler, wetter or drier, stormy or settled, and the changes observed during the industrial era have been well inside the swings that have taken place in the past. So there's no reason to suppose that anything, human-induced or otherwise, is affecting the climate abnormally. Compared to water vapor and the activity of the Sun, carbon dioxide plays a minor role in determining temperature, and the amount generated by Nature dwarfs anything that humans add. In any case, the times of rising temperature recorded over the ages have all happened first, not the other way around, so increases in CO2 levels are a consequence not a cause.

Nuclear No-Contest by James P. Hogan
Excerpt: Before the 1950s, the future confronting the human race was bleak. With the global population increasing and becoming more dependent on energy-dense technologies to sustain its food supplies and rising living standards, there seemed no escape from the catastrophe that would come eventually when the coal and the oil ran out. But few worried unduly. It was only after an escape from the nightmare presented itself with the harnessing of nuclear processes and the prospect of unlimited energy that people began to worry. People can be very strange.

Seattle cartoonist launches "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day"
She has more courage than our government and the Leftstream media put together. Excerpt: After Comedy Central cut a portion of a South Park episode following a death threat from a radical Muslim group, Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris wanted to counter the fear. She has declared May 20th "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day." Norris told KIRO Radio's Dave Ross that cartoonists are meant to challenge the lines of political correctness. "That's a cartoonist's job, to be non-PC."

Road to Radicalism: The Man Behind the ‘South Park’ Threats
Excerpt: By all appearances, Zachary Adam Chesser was the boy next door. He played football and was on the crew team at one of the best high schools in the country. He even studied Japanese. He was hardly the sort of boy you’d expect would suggest on a radical Islamic website that the creators of the edgy cartoon series “South Park” will be targeted for death. But Chesser also had a dark side. He was a “loner,” a former classmate said, one who frequently drew pictures of Satanic figures in his notebooks and had just a few friends, most of them male. “He was definitely sort of weird,” the classmate told “He was very into violent industrial music, borderline Satanic bands and stuff like that. He had dark undertones in his interests.” Two years later, Chesser is literally a changed man. He now uses an alias and has a new set of hobbies. He now likes to be called Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee, and his primary interest in this world appears to be Islamic radicalism. Last week, Chesser, 20, posted a warning on the website following the 200th episode of “South Park,” which included a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad disguised in a bear suit. The young man, who just two years ago was studying foreign languages at George Mason University, wrote on the site that Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the cartoon’s creators, “will probably end up” like Theo van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who was murdered in 2004 after making a film critical of Islamic society.

'Last and best shot' at climate change bill hangs by a thread
Cut the thread. Excerpt: President Barack Obama’s hopes for winning climate change legislation in this Congress appeared to be hanging by a thread on Saturday. The key Republican senator negotiating on the bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), threatened to abandon his work out of fury that Democratic leaders may take up immigration legislation before a global warming bill. Hours later, the principal Democrat working the issue, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), announced that a press conference to unveil the legislation on Monday was being “temporarily” postponed due to “external issues.”

Immigration Decision Endangers Climate Change Bill
Excerpt: Sen. Lindsey Graham, the lead Republican sponsor of the climate bill, sent a letter Saturday to supporters of the measure threatening to abandon the effort without assurances from President Obama that climate change, and not immigration reform, will be his highest legislative priority. After hearing this, Sen. John Kerry said that, "regrettably," he would postpone the long-awaited unveiling of a comprehensive energy and climate bill that he had hoped to introduce Monday with Graham's support, the AP reported. He tried to assure environmentalists the delay was only temporary.

Benny Peiser: Political Climate Change
Excerpt: Whatever the outcome of the forthcoming election, Britain's extravagant climate policies are unlikely to survive intact. The coming battle over the cost of unilateral CO2 targets and utopian decarbonisation will be overshadowed by the next government's desperate attempt to revive the UK economy, raise its competitiveness and radically reduce the rising debt burden. In short, the economic crisis has rendered costly and unilateral climate policies unsustainable, both financially and politically. The climate agenda has become unpopular among voters and businesses who are increasingly hostile to any climate taxes that are amplifying their energy, petrol and heating bills. In many ways, carbon and climate taxes have turned into considerable political liabilities. While the Australian government has been forced to shelf its controversial emissions trading scheme, President Obama's administration is struggling to push its cap-and-trade bill through the US Senate because senators of his own party, the Blue Dog Democrats, are opposed to proposals they fear as being too costly and too risky. After suffering a crushing electoral defeat, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been forced to scrap his unpopular carbon tax. The French government made clear that its climate tax has been postponed indefinitely "in order not to damage the competitiveness of French companies", fearing that it would be too risky for France to go it alone without the rest of the EU. Similar concerns over the economic risks of unilateral climate policies are likely to ascend in Britain after the general election. What is more, concern among the British public about the potential threat of climate change has declined sharply after months of Climategate controversies and growing disillusionment with costly Government schemes.

Earth Day? No thanks, I already have a religion
Excerpt: This bizarre holiday was started in the 70’s, when everyone was worried that our exhaust fumes and hair spray were bringing on the next ice age. As reality collided with propaganda, and the earth actually started warming up, believers jumped on the global warming bandwagon. Now that truth has inconveniently reared its head again, revealing that the earth is once again in a cooling cycle, and sustainability devotees have decided to admit that “climate change,” happens, and simply focus on trying to seize control the fact that it causes populations to migrate. Whether the earth is warming or cooling, and whether or not this is a good or bad thing, we are assured that it is a crisis, and that we must demonstrate our reverence for the scientific consensus of the day, and faithfully teach our children to unquestioningly cooperate and comply with the latest eco-chic trends – whatever they are this week.

Predictions Of Global Mean Temperatures & IPCC Projections
Girma Orssengo, B. Tech, MASc, PhD
Excerpt: The data required to establish the effect of CO2 emission on global mean temperature already exist. The global mean temperature data are available from the Climate Research Unit of the Hadley Centre shown in Figure 3, and the CO2 emission data are available from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre [8]. For the period from 1880 to 1940, the average emission of CO2 was about 0.8 G-ton, and the increase in the GMTA was 0.13+0.22=0.35 deg C. For the period from 1940 to 2000, the average emission of CO2 was about 4 G-ton, but the increase in GMTA was the same 0.48-0.13=0.35 deg C. This means that an increase in CO2 emission by 4/0.8=5-fold has no effect in the increase in the GMTA. This conclusively proves that the effect of 20th century human emission of CO2 on global mean temperature is nil.

It worked so well for Bush
Excerpt: Whenever President Bush talked about immigration, his approval ratings went down. It was like clockwork: liberals never understood that the fatal decline in Bush’s popularity during his second term had at least as much to do with his advocacy of “comprehensive immigration reform” as with war-weariness. Now President Obama has entered the lists, urging Congress to take up immigration. One can only wonder what Congressional Democrats make of this. Maybe they figure their own approval ratings can’t possibly get any lower. But Obama’s can, and they will if he keeps talking about immigration. In Arizona, frustrated by ongoing lack of enforcement of immigration laws by the federal government, the legislature has taken matters into its own hands, adopting legislation to try to crack down on illegals. This is how the Associated Press summarizes the Arizona statute……Barack Obama thinks Arizona’s effort to sustain the rule of law is “irresponsible.”

Saturday Night Card Game (The Arizona Immigration Bill Is Not Racist)
Excerpt: William A. Jacobson, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY This is the latest in a series on the use of the race card for political gain: The Governor of Arizona just signed a bill which, in the words of opponents, is the equivalent of the Japanese internment during WWII, the Nazi Nuremberg laws, and a host of other racist or allegedly racist wrongs which have been committed since the dawn of mankind. Cassy Fiano has a good roundup of the reaction. I then did something almost no one else has done. Certainly not the people claiming the bill is racist. I actually read the bill, not just the news reports. The bill does raise public policy issues as to whether we really want to enforce the immigration laws, but it is not racist.

Google backs Yahoo in privacy fight with DOJ
Excerpt: Google and an alliance of privacy groups have come to Yahoo's aid by helping the Web portal fend off a broad request from the U.S. Department of Justice for e-mail messages, CNET has learned. In a brief filed Tuesday afternoon, the coalition says a search warrant signed by a judge is necessary before the FBI or other police agencies can read the contents of Yahoo Mail messages--a position that puts those companies directly at odds with the Obama administration. Yahoo has been quietly fighting prosecutors' requests in front of a federal judge in Colorado, with many documents filed under seal. Tuesday's brief from Google and the other groups aims to buttress Yahoo's position by saying users who store their e-mail in the cloud enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy that is protected by the U.S. Constitution. "Society expects and relies on the privacy of e-mail messages just as it relies on the privacy of the telephone system," the friend-of-the-court brief says. "Indeed, the largest e-mail services are popular precisely because they offer users huge amounts of computer disk space in the Internet 'cloud' within which users can warehouse their e-mails for perpetual storage." (Interesting, the same kind of protest against the warrantless searches under Bush to look for Al Qaeda communications to and from the US (which were restricted specifically to traffic coming to or going from this country to other countries) now has to be raised against the present Administration who want to see any and all e-mails freely. The law has always hinged on the "expectation of privacy" concept, which means if you broadcast your message by open radio waves it's the same as yelling out your door, and you cannot have such expectation. (So cell phone calls and calls from portable handsets can be listened to without a warrant.) But when you send messages that are on the Net through a service like Yahoo and allow them to be stored for your own later consideration, you do expect privacy (at least everybody I know does). Telling the agency that has such message storage to open up the files is like telling the bank where you have letters in a safe deposit box to open them up. So where is the screaming about privacy that arose about the Bush policy on international phone calls, when a very parallel situation (in fact, somewhat more extensive) has arisen today? --Del)

A New Sheriff in the Strait
Excerpt: In the flurry of mildly interesting disclosures from the Iranian military exercise this week, one is likely to be overlooked. Iranian state media report that on Friday, April 23, the Revolutionary Guard’s naval arm stopped two ships for inspection in the Strait of Hormuz. The ships, according to Iran’s Press TV, were French and Italian. The photo accompanying the story depicts a Kaman-class guided-missile patrol boat on which the boxy, Chinese-designed C802 anti-ship-missile launchers can be seen amidships. The stated purpose of the inspections was to verify “environmental compliance.” The names of the foreign ships were not provided; sketchy details make it difficult to be certain exactly where in the strait they were stopped. But European ships — even private yachts — rarely venture outside the recognized navigation corridors in the Strait of Hormuz. If this news report is valid, it almost certainly means that Iran detained ships that were transiting those corridors. That, as our vice president might say, is a big effing deal.

Iran strikes secret nuclear mining deal with Zimbabwe's Mugabe regime
Delicious irony. The regimes in Iran and Zimbabwe were birthed with the assistant of American liberalism, to the never ending grief of their people and the world. Excerpt: In return for supplying oil, which Zimbabwe desperately needs to keep its faltering economy moving, Iran has been promised access to potentially huge deposits of uranium ore – which can be converted into the basic fuel for nuclear power or enriched to make a nuclear bomb.... The revelation came after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, visited Zimbabwe last week to show his support for Mr Mugabe. At a lavish official dinner in his honour on Thursday evening, Mr Ahmadinejad blasted what he termed "expansionist countries" for exerting "satanic pressures on the people of Zimbabwe", adding: "We believe victory is ours, and humiliation and defeat is for our enemies."

The Scud Saga Continues
Excerpt: Michael Young, the opinion editor of the Beirut Daily Star, has a fine column parsing the latest developments on Syria, Lebanon, and the Obama administration. He confirms the interpretation I made recently on this blog, that the administration is puzzled at the failure of its opening gambits and unsure of what to do next.... Young’s worry is confirmed by this remarkable report from Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin: As for why Syria seems to be playing such an unhelpful role, “that’s the million-dollar question,” the [Obama administration] official said….”We do not understand Syrian intentions. No one does, and until we get to that question we can never get to the root of the problem,” the official said. “Until then it’s all damage control.” This is quite simply amazing. The Assads, father and now son, have run the same foreign policy for decades. It is a very simple model, and one that gets discussed in detail on a regular basis: They are the arsonists who sell water to the fire department.

In Praise of Cheerful Men
Excerpt: Hearing about a shortage of farm laborers in California, the couple who would become Susumu Ito's parents moved from Hiroshima to become sharecroppers near Stockton. Thus began a saga that recently brought Ito, 91, to the Holocaust Memorial Museum here, where he and 119 former comrades in arms were honored, during the annual Days of Remembrance, as liberators of Nazi concentration camps. While his Japanese-American Army unit was succoring survivors of Dachau, near Munich, his parents and two sisters were interned in a camp in Arkansas. Ito attended one-room schools, graduated from high school at 16 and was accepted at Berkeley. His parents, however, believed Japanese-Americans could not rise in the professions -- even the civil service -- for which the university would prepare him. So he attended community college, studying auto mechanics, although he could not join the mechanics union.

Ray Stevens - Throw the Bums Out


  1. Having read "Kicking The Sacred Cow," I heartily concur in recommending it. Hogan has also written several novels. If you enjoy science fiction, you may want to try one.

    Ron Pittenger

  2. AMEN to your article "I'm tired".

    So many of us out there agree with you, but we feel as if the tide is just taking us in a certain do we stop this madness?

    Someone out there has to rally the troops (meaning us everyday hardworking Americans) or I'm afraid this mighty country of ours is going to go down the tubes.

    Don't be afraid to be "politically correct" anymore. SPEAK your mind, regardless of where you are...home, work or the supermarket.

    Otherwise, our children will have nothing left of a country our grandparents built on blood, sweat and tears...