Friday, September 28, 2007

Turn Out the Lights on John Edwards in Iowa, Clinton Inc Also In Trouble

John-boy Edwards may have to slink back to his forest mansion after '08, as his campaign founders on his own zany silliness & his wife's outspoken aggressiveness.

But now Clinton Inc is also in trouble as Chelsea works for a high-powered NY firm kicking people out of mortgages[h/t:Mickey Kaus].

I'm waiting for Billary to come out declaiming about the "politics of personal destruction," a card which lie-under-oath-on-camera Billy Jeff already played this week defending

Oh what a tangled web we weave.... eh, Bill?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

John Edwards and Rielle Hunter an Item?

Mickey Kaus has linked to the HuffPuff brigade which is becoming legit to the extent that they are actually sleuthing ultra-left Democrat candidates [or serving as a Hillary's Cat's Paw undermining the Silk Pony John-boy].

Now we all know that John the Hair-and-Makeup Man is cute, right? And his hyperbusy wife Elizabeth is going through all sorts of metamorphoses, right? So last year, an aspiring actress named Rielle Hunter & John's people did a few "webisodes" or in HP:
the videos were made with the apparent goal of bringing transparency to the political process. "I've come to the conclusion I just want the country to see who I really am," Edwards declared in the one webisode still public, "not based on some plastic Ken doll you put up in front of audiences."

So now the Huffington Post writer, Sam Stein, has been given the complete runaround as he tries to find out how the "webisodes" completely vanished and the company that made them denies all knowledge of anything at all, as does the Edwards campaign. Read the HP link to see how the plot thickens. On a site Sam Stein did unearth, Rielle is
"formerly hard-partying girl who claims that she found enlightenment."

and the strange obstacles thrown in Sam Stein's way have in themselves a sort of bizarre strangeness that belies the original rave reviews that the "webisodes" originally garnered in 2005:
Within political circles, the videos were regarded as innovative, having successfully painted Edwards in a sympathetic, down-to-earth light.

Now, however, nearly all traces of the webisodes - as they became known - are gone. Links to them on the Internet no longer work. The Edwards campaign won't release the videos, and the production company behind the films is citing confidentiality agreements in refusing to talk.

This closed-off approach naturally aroused my interest. In the world of politics, rare is the candidate who passes on a chance for publicity. The campaign's explanation for stonewalling, moreover, struck me as dubious and at times evasive.

I had come to the Edwards' videos in a haphazard way: the byproduct of a story I was writing on new technology and politics. The webisodes were not, in any regard, a secret. Edwards' "behind the scenes" portrait had earned rave reviews in the blogosphere and even a small feature in Newsweek. But nothing had been written about the films since Edwards announced his presidential aspirations, and I wanted to know how the footage would play on the campaign trail.

What followed was a lesson in the profound irritations of political reporting. A call to Edwards' press shop led to an email to his One America Committee representative, which led, in turn, to a mind-bending exchange about campaign finance law, which culminated in a separate conversation with Edwards' deputy campaign manager Jonathan Prince. Each time I was told that the One America Committee could not use "material that could be considered promoting the presidential campaign," and that Edwards' camp "no longer had access to most of the content."

Thwarted, I tried my hand with the movie's producers. A search for the filmmaker, Rielle Hunter, proved that Google does, in fact, have its limitations. No hits. The same held true with Facebook and Myspace - a bizarre level of anonymity for someone in the movie business.

The production company responsible for the webisodes, Midline Groove Productions, had a minimalist website. Through it, however, I was able to email Mimi Hockman, Rielle Hunter's partner, to ask if I could screen the tapes. She directed me to a Business Week website where the last remaining webisode link still functioned. But beyond that, I was rebuffed. Once again, the reasons seemed strangely artificial.

"Our contract expired last year," Hockman emailed, "and the Edwards camp owns all of the webisodes and footage."

(Hmmm.... The campaign had said it couldn't access the footage.) Could we at least talk off the record about the filming process?

"Nope," she wrote. "Not a chance."

My reportorial curiosity thoroughly piqued, I decided to dig further.

Who is Rielle Hunter? The Newsweek item said Edwards met the aspiring actress and filmmaker in a New York City bar. A call to the Screen Actors Guild elicited the following exchange:

Screen Actors Guild: "This performer chooses not to list her contact information in the membership database."

HuffPost: "So if I wanted to contact her about her work with web video?"

SAG: "Well, I don't know what to tell you. It's up to the performer to choose whether they are listed or not."

A check of the movie database listed her as a director and actor in the short Billy Bob and Them. And an Internet write up of a 2005 interview she apparently gave to Breathe Magazine described her as a "formerly hard-partying girl who claims that she found enlightenment."

How much did the videos cost? According to campaign finance reports, the One America Committee made four payments of $12,500 and two of $25,000, for a total of $100,000 to Midline Groove Productions in the second half of 2006.

Who else was involved? Credits from the webisode still on the Business Week site listed three additional production assistants. One of them, Sam Cullman, said he could not talk to me but lauded Edwards for his openness. Another assistant, Nick Chatfield, said on the first call to my editor that he wished the movies were available because he could use the publicity. On the second call (having evidently checked back with Hunter or the Edwards campaign), Chatfield said, "Don't call me again."

Most important of all: Was there, in fact, a legal reason that prohibited Edwards from showing the webisodes? One campaign finance expert told me that, "if used by the presidential campaign, the videos are considered an in-kind contribution, which is limited at $5,000 in value... Still," he added, "this is an abundance of caution." Others didn't tread as lightly. "Bullshit", "baloney", and "malarkey" were the words used by three eminent experts in the field to describe Edwards' stance.

Presented with this record, the Edwards campaign finally relented. But even then they proved surprisingly guarded.

Jonathan Prince offered to let me and my editor, Tom Edsall, watch the videos - apparently unaware that at one point his campaign claimed not to have access to them. But there was a proviso: we could only view the videos in Prince's presence.

We accepted the offer. But oh, how the story and my interests have changed. No longer am I working on a piece about new media and politics - boring! Now, I just want to know why these webisodes are shrouded in such mystery.

I don't think this story is going to roll over and play dead. Perhaps it is simply a "misunderstanding" of the sort that roiled the Kerry Campaign over an alleged affair.

But it would be interesting to see where all that money went, wouldn't it?

And discover who the mysterious anonymity-seeking "actress" Rielle Hunter really is.

I wonder if Ron Burkle has anything to do with the uncovering of this mystery of the disappearing "webisodes?"

Dowd Knocks Gutfeld for Calling Ahmadinnerjacket a "Fruitbat."

With her customary dishonesty, Maureen Dowd quotes Greg Gutfeld at RedEye as "FoxNews." That's like calling failed sportscaster Keith Olberman a "journalist."

Gutfeld is rapidly becoming the funniest guy on TV as an impresario of insanity every night at 2AM. I've been peeking at it since March and an addict since sometime in late April as the show gets funnier & funnier. Only Steve Colbert is arguably funnier, and Jon Stewart got passed by as he became addicted to sniffing his own farts. That self-congratulatory trap all liberals seem to fall into.

Between regulars, Gutfeld, Schulz and Andy Levy, the show simply works as great hilarious rib-tickling guffaw-producing humor. Pretty soon the Orcs & other forces of Mordor will be recording each evening as they already do Bill O'Reilly to turn Greg & Co. over to the Thought Police

Already, Dowd seems to watch & that is a signal for the ultra-left loo-zers to start their two-minute hates, ala 1984. Once they start ridiculing & trying their pitiful anorexic smackdown moves, RedEye will certainly take another jump in the ratings and hopefully get funnier than ever.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Constitution in Exile" Equals Turkey's "Third Army?"i

Volokh notes that ultra-liberal Jeffrey Toobin mentions the so-called "Constitution-in-Exile" movement as some sort of underground Conservative mole in the legal profession. Cass Sunstein posited this theory & Toobin laps it up like the lap puppy he is for every liberal trope.

Liberal paranoia keeps these phantom Constitution-in-Exile hordes [the Greeks insisted that a Turkish Aegean force was actually the Third Army mysteriously transported from the Soviet border to the balmy Aegean shores.] as a specter haunting the liberal imagination, just like the Turkish Third Army was a figment of the frequently perfervid Greek political imagination.

Like the Truthers & Greek hyper-nationalists, Toobin doesn't use any references to support his allegations.

Just the hysterical paranoid nonsense that pervades the left side of the blogosphere & its dead-tree annex.

Reuel Gerecht on GWOT & Its Nay-sayers

Reuel Gerecht was National Intelligence Officer for the Middle East while I was working for an intelligence firm named Jefferson-Waterman International back in the day. Charlie Waterman & I had lunch with RG and he was a supremely articulate intelligent expositor of American interests in the region. Here are a couple of excerpts from his response to Philip Gordon, author of Winning the Right War. Read the whole link above for a terrific analysis of the overarching strategic & tactical importance of what we are doing in Iraq:
Since you've read The Threatening Storm, the seminal, pro-war book by Ken Pollack, your Brookings colleague and a former Clinton NSCer, I don't think we need to spend much time on why people who didn't put "too much emphasis on military force, tough talk, and unilateral action" could see the second Iraq campaign as a necessary war and a legitimate part of the "war on terror." And another colleague at Brookings, Peter Rodman, might strongly dissent from your Islamic-radicalism-is-the-new-Cold-War analysis that belittles the many battlefields where the Soviet empire was strained and demoralized, if not broken. Rodman's More Precious than Peace, a history of the Cold War in the Third World--which I think is more pertinent to our current struggle with Islamic militancy than your use of European Cold War history to teach us how to confront Islamic holy warriors--is an excellent guide to why force mattered a lot in America's victory in the Cold War. Islamic radicalism, like communism, may one day die from its internal contradictions and excesses, and I would definitely agree with you that there are some hopeful signs on the horizon (the Second Iraq War--where Sunni holy warriors and insurgents unleashed hell against Iraqi Shiites, and Shiite militias, after watching their community get pounded for nearly two years, struck back with an awful vengeance--has actually produced some soul-searching in the larger Sunni Arab world about jihadism, probably more, regrettably, than what has been produced by 9/11 and other recent terrorist atrocities in Europe and Israel).

Modernity is the cause and probably the cure for rabid Islamic militancy, and as it marches on one can hope that Muslims will develop (rediscover) the ethics and the political machinery that will allow them to extirpate holy warriors from their midst. However, in an age of WMD terrorism, and we have probably only just entered this era, the regular use of overt and covert force--a constant for the United States throughout the Cold War in the Third World--will likely be essential. The United States needs to be good--and ugly events like Abu Ghraib do scar (though I'm skeptical about the depth and lasting effect of such things among the denizens of the Middle East and Europeans who don't think we're damned from birth). But the United States needs to be strong and, yes, often quite tough. When your enemies believe in terrorism, then the United States may have to be considerably more aggressive than what you are obviously comfortable with. If the clerical regime in Tehran were to do a Khobar Towers II, which is not at all unthinkable (the people who authorized the first attack are still in power, and the Bush administration now may rival the Clinton administration in projecting an "image" of weakness), how would you respond, Phil? Would you ignore it, as the Clinton administration did Khobar I in 1996, or as it ignored, most calamitously, Al Qaeda in Aden in 2000 when the USS Cole almost sank? You seem to suggest in WRW that not militarily responding to terrorism might be a good thing since we might not want to deal with the consequences of an American reprisal.

It seems to me you are trying to take us back to a pre-9/11 world where we add up the body count from terrorist attacks and if the death toll is lower than, say, the number of people who die from "lightning, or by accident-causing deer, or by severe allergic reactions to peanuts," then we should just calm down and avoid the use of force since we never know what the baleful collateral effects might be. Do you remember the famous Larry Johnson op-ed in The New York Times the summer before 9/11 that used such reasoning? Take a look at that astonishing op-ed and then go to page 81 of WRW where I found the above line. Dealing with terrorism--dealing with rogue states that use terrorism and are developing nuclear weapons --will surely require us in the future to prepare for war, and may actually require us to bomb, perhaps even invade another country. Obviously, no one should want to do this, but to walk away from the challenge of terrorism by downplaying its potential to wreak havoc and by playing up the fear of unforeseen consequences from American military action is to invite our enemies to escalate. If the ruling mullahs in Tehran know that we know that they allowed members of Al Qaeda to traverse their country before and after 9/11, and if they believe we are no longer willing to punish them militarily for doing so, do you think the mullahs will be more or less likely to again aid Sunni holy warriors? Do you think not responding again, or feebly responding to terrorism, as we did in 1996 after Khobar, in 1998 after the embassy bombings, and in 2000 after the Cole, makes America look in our enemies' eyes "patient and restrained" or a "paper tiger?" If you review Islamic radical literature, particularly the products coming from the holy-warrior set, it's America's defeats--especially the potential for one great and glorious defeat in Iraq--that whet the appetite the most, since they give the most hope. I don't know if it would have been possible to separate the Taliban's Mullah Omar from Osama bin Ladin, but it certainly would have been worth the effort to clusterbomb the Taliban's front lines against the Northern Alliance in 1998. We did not do so in part because of fear of the consequences of US military action.

You ask me whether I agree with the former Justice Department official John Yoo when he questions, "What president would put America's image in the United Nations above the protection of innocent civilian lives?" Yoo is right, Phil. I don't think anyone who has imbibed the experience and writings of former Democratic senator and UN ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan could possibly pose that question any other way. I actually don't believe you or Senator Obama, or for that matter, Senator Hillary Clinton, her husband, Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke, or even Anthony Lake believes that America's image in the United Nations is more important than the "protection of innocent civilian lives." I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt here, and allow you to repose that question, that entire paragraph, in the second exchange.

Of course, appeasers and multiculturalists like Gordon will continue to insist that all we need to do is demonstrate more kumbayeh-style understanding. Then the rabid violent reactionaries will be soothed out of their hostility and the lion will lie down with the lamb. Reuel Gerecht has his doubts:
If I understand you correctly, if we'd been more "moral"--no Abu Ghraib, no Guantanamo, no Patriot Act, no intercept within the United States outside of the espionage-centered Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, no rendition (Do you think rendition is unacceptable, Phil? I always ask Clinton NSC officials since your former boss, Sandy Berger, obviously thought it was a good idea, not at all morally beyond the pale?), no violation of the Geneva Conventions for Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and his friends, more consideration for the French and the Germans, and more censure of the Israelis for their bellicosity in Lebanon and intemperate behavior on the West Bank--the "war on terror," six years out, would be much more effective? If we'd been more "moral," the terrorist acts that have occurred outside of the United States since 9/11 probably would not have happened or, at least, would have been far fewer? With a greater regard for ethical behavior, we would have had Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri either behind bars or dead? Add up all your criticisms of the Bush administration and reverse them and we in six years time would have done much better in the "war on terror"?

Perhaps we judge the Islamist Jihadists harshly and our distaste for their public hanging of homosexuals and 16-year old feminists and self-exploding in pizza parlors filled with teenagers are hurtful and judgmental western bigotry against foibles indigenous to a society where honor-killing girls who date bad companions outside the approved circle of extended family are perfectly acceptable. Gerecht has other questions he wants to ask Mr. Gordon:
Do you really think King Abdullah of Jordan and his internal-security and intelligence services have had a harder time cooperating with us because of Abu Ghraib? The same folks who often had intimate dealings with the worst elements in the Iraqi Baathist elite? Somehow, I think they can get over the photos. American intelligence and military liaison relationships with the Middle East's "pro-American" autocracies have a life of their own. This isn't often for the good. Indeed, Phil, I have to say your book is remarkably free of any criticism of the region's dictators and kings. You scorch the Bush administration for its supposedly bad behavior, and you make many slippery-slope, dark allusions to where the Bushies are leading American society ("a garrison state"), and constantly worry and assert that this immoral comportment and the Iraq war are creating a legion of anti-American Muslim holy warriors, and yet you remain virtually silent on our profound liaison and military relationships with many unsavory regimes in the Middle East. You are more worried about Israel and its holy-warrior causation than you are about the internal dynamics in Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Yet it is surely the social and religious evolution inside of these societies, things which have little to nothing to do with Israel and a lot to do with increasing dysfunctional, autocratic, corrupt political systems, that contribute the lion's share of the component parts that make holy warriors.

If I read you correctly, you actually want to stay close, maybe even draw closer, to these regimes. I assume this is what you mean when you say that the "struggle against Islamic terrorism. ... will require resolve, patience ... and sometimes uncomfortable moral compromises." Okay, I used to work in the CIA. I can understand and appreciate moral compromises. However, since much of your book is premised on the assertion that America's immorality under President Bush is generating Islamic terrorists, losing our allies, and creating a bad taste in the mouth of millions of Muslims in the Middle East, I have a problem with you wanting to maintain close relationships with regimes who torture by reflex. You don't think average Middle Eastern Muslims--I won't even mention the fundamentalist set who are the most likely to mutate into holy warriors--are morally repelled by this, perhaps even more acutely than they are by Guantanamo Bay? If you are so concerned about our ethics and our "image" (granted, being intimate with autocrats never hurts you at the United Nations), why don't you apply the same indignation and policy resolve to this issue as you do to whether the CIA "water-boarded" Khalid Sheikh Muhammad in a not-so-secret prison? This is a rather big incongruity in your book.

Methinks Gordon might skitter sideways and elide over those slight incongruities in his response which predictably will blame the US & Israel for prodding Muslim terrorists into a holy froth-mouthed frenzy. Gerecht has more questions about the strange mutation of Western Europeans into a more enthusiastic approach to confronting terror [France & Germany come to mind]:
And one last incongruity closer to home: Do you really think the "war on terror" and the Iraq campaign has damaged our security and intelligence relationships with the Europeans? Isn't it just the contrary? Our security and intelligence cooperation with the French, during Chirac and Villepin, blossomed. We didn't put headquarters for US-European counterterrorist intelligence cooperation in Paris because things were going poorly. My colleague at AEI, Gary Schmitt, and I have been meeting a wide variety of Western European security and intel types during the last year, and we certainly haven't been able to see growing distance between our oldest allies and us. The "war on terror" is a European phenomenon, too, and many Europeans have responded with tactics and approaches more severe than ours. (Phil: Are the French, of whom you and I are both fond, slipping and sliding into the moral abyss since their counterterrorist prosecutorial practices are, to put it politely, intrusive?) The French and other Europeans may be concerned that the Second Iraq War has produced a "third wave" of violently-inclined Islamic radicals, but they seem to have no paralyzing concerns at all about America's operational ethics. I might add that the two European officials whom I know who've participated in interrogations at Guantanamo found the American treatment of detainees to be humane; they questioned, however, the cultural competence and linguistic skills of some of the American interrogators. I live in Europe most of the time, and I don't find greater anti-Americanism now than when I lived here when Ronald Reagan was president. Less, actually. I just don't see the deterioration that you see.

Gerecht lives in Paris, I believe, and the French are more sophisticated and more brutal in the application of extreme prejudice toward enemies of their state. Back when De Gaulle was swanning about leaving NATO, the French kept their top-secret codes unchanged---Le Grand Charles was showboating without real side-switching. Ditto Chiraq/Villepin when it came down to real national security issues.

Don't pay attention to that man behind the curtain. He's simply doing what Phil Gordon and appeasers hate so much---opposing a real threat to innocent civilians and while Phil responds to the klieg lights & fancy two-steps, the real dance takes place backstage.

Emperor of Ice Cream? Policy Planning? Fuhgeddabouddit.b

Edge has a great series of sessions by Danny Kahnemann, whom Steve Pinker calls the greatest psychologist in the world. Anyway, Danny won a Nobel Prize in 2003 for some out-of-the-box thinking that he explores on this thread:
The word "utility" that was mentioned this morning has a very interesting history – and has had two very different meanings. As it was used by Jeremy Bentham, it was pain and pleasure—the sovereign masters that govern what we do and what we should do – that was one concept of utility. In economics in the twentieth century, and that's closely related to the idea of the rational agent model, the meaning of utility changed completely to become what people want. Utility is inferred from watching what people choose, and it's used to explain what they choose. Some columnist called it "wantability". It's a very different concept.

One of the things I did some 15 years ago was draw a distinction, which obviously needed drawing. between them just to give them names. So "decision utility" is the weight that you assign to something when you're choosing it, and "experience utility", which is what Bentham wanted, is the experience. Once you start doing that, a lot of additional things happen, because it turns out that experience utility can be defined in at least two very different ways. One way is when a dentist asks you, does it hurt? That's one question that's got to do with your experience of right now. But what about when the dentist asks you, Did it hurt? and he's asking about a past session. Or it can be Did you have a good vacation? You have experience utility, which is everything that happens moment by moment by moment, and you have remembered utility, which is how you score the experience once it's over.

And some fifteen years ago or so, I started studying whether people remembered correctly what had happened to them. It turned out that they don't. And I also began to study whether people can predict how well they will enjoy what will happen to them in future. I used to call that "predictive utility", but Dan Gilbert has given it a much better name; he calls it "affective forecasting". This predicts what your emotional reactions will be. It turns out people don't do that very well, either.

Just to give you a sense of how little people know, my first experiment with predictive utility asked whether people knew how their taste for ice cream would change. We ran an experiment at Berkeley when we arrived, and advertised that you would get paid to eat ice cream. We were not short of volunteers. People at the first session were asked to list their favorite ice cream and were asked to come back. In the first experimental session they were given a regular helping of their favorite ice cream, while listening to a piece of music—Canadian rock music—that I had actually chosen. That took about ten-fifteen minutes, and then they were asked to rate their experience.

Afterward, they were also told, because they had undertaken to do so, that they would be coming to the lab every day at the same hour for I think eight working days, and every day they would have the same ice cream, the same music, and rate it. And they were asked to predict their rating tomorrow and their rating on the last day.

It turns out that people can't do this. Most people get tired of the ice cream, but some of them get kind of addicted to the ice cream, and people do not know in advance which category they will belong to. The correlation between what the change that actually happened in their tastes and the change that they predicted was absolutely zero.

It turns out—this I think is now generally accepted—that people are not good at affective forecasting. We have no problem predicting whether we'll enjoy the soup we're going to have now if it's a familiar soup, but we are not good if it's an unfamiliar experience, or a frequently repeated familiar experience. Another trivial case: we ran an experiment with plain yogurt, which students at Berkeley really didn't like at all, we had them eat yogurt for eight days, and after eight days they kind of liked it. But they really had no idea that that was going to happen. ...

Just a sample of a guy who reminds me of Richard Feynman, a delight on many levels. Here's another that fits my experience of Amoco in Entry Strategy & Economic Planning:
The question I'd like to raise is something that I'm deeply curious about, which is what should organizations do to improve the quality of their decision-making? And I'll tell you what it looks like, from my point of view.

I have never tried very hard, but I am in a way surprised by the ambivalence about it that you encounter in organizations. My sense is that by and large there isn't a huge wish to improve decision-making—there is a lot of talk about doing so, but it is a topic that is considered dangerous by the people in the organization and by the leadership of the organization. I'll give you a couple of examples. I taught a seminar to the top executives of a very large corporation that I cannot name and asked them, would you invest one percent of your annual profits into improving your decision-making? They looked at me as if I was crazy; it was too much.

I'll give you another example. There is an intelligence agency, and the CIA, and a lot of activity, and there are academics involved, and there is a CIA university. I was approached by someone there who said, will you come and help us out, we need help to improve our analysis. I said, I will come, but on one condition, and I know it will not be met. The condition is: if you can get a workshop where you get one of the ten top people in the organization to spend an entire day, I will come. If you can't, I won't. I never heard from them again.

What you can do is have them organize a conference where some really important people will come for three-quarters of an hour and give a talk about how important it is to improve the analysis. But when it comes to, are you willing to invest time in doing this, the seriousness just vanishes. That's been my experience, and I'm puzzled by it.

Since I'm in the right place to raise that question, with the right people to raise the question, I will. What do you think? Where did this come from; can it be fixed; can it be changed; should it be changed? What is your view, after we have talked about these things?

One of my slides concerned why decision analysis didn't catch on. And it's actually a talk I prepared because 30 years ago we all thought that decision analysis was going to conquer the world. It was clearly the best way of doing things—you took Bayesian logic and utility theory, a consistent thing, and—you had beliefs to be separated from values, and you would elicit the values of the organization, the beliefs of the organization, and pull them together. It looked obviously like the way to go, and basically it's a flop. Some organizations are still doing it, but it really isn't what it was intended to be 30 years ago. ...

Easy to see why if you've worked in a huge organization like the State Dept or Amoco Corp. The top decision-makers are so jealous of their prerogatives that any such exercise would be taken seriously if they themselves personally took part in the process. Then the outcome, whatever it was, would somehow have their own accountability written into the template or code that emerged from the DA process.

Their lawyers probably advised them not to participate, or they may be liable!!!

PINR Assessment of Petraeus Report

Power and Interest Report is a free intelligence report I get on occasion through my e-mail. Here is their assessment of the Iraq sitrep by General Petraeus:
"The bottom line is that a withdrawal of the majority of U.S. forces from Iraq has become inevitable for both military and political reasons. Yet, as PINR stated in March 2007, "withdrawing the majority of U.S. forces from Iraq will not necessarily be a disaster for U.S. interests. The failure to achieve the original mission in Iraq has already occurred. Upon withdrawal, the United States can begin to pursue operations more in line with its capabilities, using technology to eliminate potential Islamist threats and using its overt and covert elements to work toward a stable government in Baghdad. As for Iran, it is already benefiting from the situation, and a withdrawal of U.S. troops will not suddenly tilt the chessboard in Iran's favor provided that Washington takes adequate steps to contain the country in the region. Regardless of what happens in Iraq, the United States can be expected to maintain its dominance in the Middle East and work to prevent Iraq's instability from spreading outward."

Of course, the dry language masks the psychological and political damage that an incomplete US victory in Iraq will inflict on our own ascendancy in the region.

One problem that PINR overlooks is the boundless grandiosity and self-delusion the Iranians and other players in the region, particularly Syria, are susceptible to.

Time and again, people like the Iranian Grand Ayatollah make statements simply beyond human comprehension, a lot like Ahmadodojihad when he said homosexuality doesn't exist in Iran. Ah....had is a lot like Hitler in that everyone before 1939 regarded him as an overblown clown....contemporary articles are dismissive and condescending while saying he posed no real threat. An Islamic bomb in the hands of Islamists would pose a threat, because delusionals such as Usama bin Laden actually regard themselves as capable of defeating the US.

PINR does reflect the way that the military view the region, as a chessboard of sorts. Even run-of-the-mill diplomats look on it as a three-dimensional chess game.

But experts such as Fouad Ajami and Bernard Lewis know that the way the Arab and Muslim mind approaches the West is a thousand years old, and a tactical retreat by the US will be regarded as a gigantic victory by the regional nutjobs, and they will redouble and triple their efforts to undermine our influence with our allies, who in turn will look elsewhere for assistance.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Heather MacDonald on Black Victim Ranting

Black Crime is off the charts, as MacDonald notes:
No one in the Jena stampede dares whisper a word about black crime, because it undercuts the portrait of a victimized race. You can listen to every protest across the country glorifying the “Jena Six” and you will never hear an acknowledgement of the massive social breakdown that is the black crime rate: no mention of the violence in inner-city schools that black students commit overwhelmingly; no mention of the rising homicides in midsize cities that young black males commit when they feel “disrespected.” It is not racism that is putting black men in jail; it’s their own behavior.

She does chapter and verse:
In New York, any given violent crime is 13 times more likely to have been committed by a black person than by a white person, according to the reports of victims and witnesses. Though they are only 24 percent of the city’s population, blacks committed 68.5 percent of all murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults in New York last year. Whites, who make up 34.5 percent of New Yorkers, committed only 5.3 percent of violent crimes. These ratios are similar across the country. In Los Angeles, blacks committed 41 percent of all robberies in 2001, according to victims’ descriptions, though they constitute only 11 percent of the city’s population. Robbery victims identified whites, who make up 30 percent of the Los Angeles population, just 4 percent of the time.

Gee, wonder why you don't get these statistics over on the limp-wristed side of the blogosphere, the southpaw sinister side? Here's more:
When attacking the justice system, racial agitators work mightily to change the subject from violence to drugs, using their flimsy argument that crack cocaine penalties are too high. But the vast preponderance of prisoners are in the pen for violence and property crime. In 2003, 52 percent of inmates in state prisons were serving time for violent offenses, 21 percent for property offenses, and only 20 percent for drug offenses. To be sure, black incarceration rates are off the charts. Black men were 41 percent of the more than 2 million men in federal, state, and local prisons at midyear 2006. At the end of 2005, there were 3,145 prison inmates per 100,000 black males in the United States, compared with 1,244 inmates per 100,000 Hispanic males and 471 inmates per 100,000 white males. Is that because violent and property crime is overpenalized, as race advocates sometimes argue? No. Despite the advocates’ constant complaints about three-strikes laws, the criminal justice system actually underpenalizes crime because of inadequate prison space. Prosecutors cut deals to lessen sentences; sheriffs overseeing local jails regularly devise new schemes for dumping offenders back on the street to make room for the next batch. And in any case, even if penalties for particular offenses were too draconian, the punishments affect all offenders the same.

When a pathetic token rabble-rousing NYT Op-Ed writer does his usual rant, perhaps the Party most responsible for Herbert's ignorance and shallowness should be examined more closely, as writers like Thomas Sowell & a lot of very smart young blacks, as opposed to stupid hacks like Herbert, have realized for a long time now.

Herbert plucks at the hem of his White Master Pinch Sulzberger's robe to flaunt what a compliant house n-word he continues to be.

Think they'd keep this specimen around if he suddenly started thinking and stopped playing that ole-time victim muzak?

Australian Top Cop says Global Warming Nat Security Threat

Australia's Federal Police Commissioner, a fellow named John Keelty, may be running for higher office. Here is an excerpt from a speech:
The police chief's comments were seen as diplomatically-sensitive by some local media, with a reference to the possibility of China being unable to feed its population viewed as particularly provocative.

"For China to feed its predicted 2030 population, it needs to increase its food production by about 50 percent above today's levels," Keelty said.

"How does it achieve this, if its available land is dramatically shrinking and millions of people are on the move because of land and water.

"In their millions, people could begin to look for new land and they'll cross oceans and borders to do it."

The mass displacement of people "particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, could create a great deal of social uncertainty and unrest in the region," Keelty said.

"The potential security issues are enormous and should not be underestimated."

Sound familiar? We used to call this "The Yellow Peril" in the USA.

Actually, if John puts on his thinking cap, he'd realize that the effects of global warming will make Siberia a much warmer habitat for those teeming hordes he speaks of.

With Russia's population actually shrinking rapidly due to emigration, illness, and general low morale, it has been noted that China's overflow would just have to elbow north a few hundred miles rather than swim various straits south to get to the Land of Oz.

China versus Russia. Who wouldda thunk-it?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Big Nurse Wants You in Her Cuckoo's Nest

Hillary Clinton is well spanked in Mark Steyn's observations on her "health care plan" that makes health insurance compulsory or you can't have a job. I quote Mark in full and hope you enjoy the snide.
Our theme for today comes from George W Bush: “Freedom is the desire of every human heart.”
When the president uses the phrase, he’s invariably applying it to various benighted parts of the Muslim world. There would seem to be quite a bit of evidence to suggest that freedom is not the principal desire of every human heart in, say, Gaza or Waziristan. But why start there? If you look in, say, Brussels or London or New Orleans, do you come away with the overwhelming impression that “freedom is the desire of every human heart”? A year ago, I wrote that “the story of the Western world since 1945 is that, invited to choose between freedom and government ‘security,’ large numbers of people vote to dump freedom – the freedom to make your own decisions about health care, education, property rights, seat belts and a ton of other stuff.”
Last week freedom took another hit. Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled her new health care plan. Unlike her old health care plan, which took longer to read than most cancers take to kill you, this one’s instant and painless – just a spoonful of government sugar to help the medicine go down. From now on, everyone in America will have to have health insurance.
And, if you don’t, it will be illegal for you to hold a job.
Er, hang on, where’s that in the Constitution? It’s perfectly fine to employ legions of the undocumented from Mexico, but if you employ a fit 26-year-old American with no health insurance either you or he or both of you will be breaking the law?
That’s a major surrender of freedom from the citizen to the state. “So what?” says the caring crowd. “We’ve got to do something about those 40 million uninsured! Whoops, I mean 45 million uninsured. Maybe 50 by now.” This figure is always spoken of as if it’s a club you can join but never leave: The very first Uninsured-American was ol’ Bud who came back from the Spanish-American War and found he was uninsured and so was first on the list, and then Mabel put her back out doing the Black Bottom at a tea dance in 1926 and she became the second, and so on and so forth, until things really began to snowball under the Bush junta. And, by the time you read this, the number of uninsured may be up to 75 million.
Nobody really knows how many “uninsured” there are: Two different Census Bureau surveys conducted in the same year identify the number of uninsured as A) 45 million or B) 19 million. The first figure is the one you hear about, the second figure apparently entered the Witness Protection Program. Of those 45 million “uninsured Americans,” the Census Bureau itself says over 9 million aren’t Americans at all, but foreign nationals. They have various health care back-ups: If you’re an uninsured Canadian in Detroit, and you get an expensive chronic disease, you can go over the border to Windsor, Ontario, and re-embrace the delights of socialized health care; if you’re an uninsured Uzbek, it might be more complicated. Of the remaining 36 million, a 2005 Actuarial Research analysis for the Department of Health and Human Services says that another 9 million did, in fact, have health coverage through Medicare.
Where are we now? 27 million? So who are they? Bud and Mabel and a vast mountain of emaciated husks of twisted limbs and shriveled skin covered in boils and pustules? No, it’s a rotating population: People who had health insurance but changed jobs, people who are between jobs, young guys who feel they’re fit and healthy and at this stage of their lives would rather put a monthly health-insurance tab towards buying a home or starting a business or blowing it on booze ’n’ chicks.
That last category is the one to watch: Americans 18-34 account for 18 million of the army of the “uninsured.” Look, there’s a 22-year-old, and he doesn’t have health insurance! Oh, the horror and the shame! What an indictment of America!
Well, he doesn’t have life insurance, either, or homeowner’s insurance. He lives a life blessedly free of the tedious bet-hedging paperwork of middle age. He’s 22, and he thinks he’s immortal – and any day now Hillary will propose garnishing his wages for her new affordable mandatory life-insurance plan.
So, out of 45 million uninsured Americans, 9 million aren’t American, 9 million are insured, 18 million are young and healthy. And the rest of these poor helpless waifs trapped in Uninsured Hell waiting for Hillary to rescue them are, in fact, wealthier than the general population. According to the Census Bureau’s August 2006 report on “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage,” 37 percent of those without health insurance – that’s 17 million people – come from households earning more than $50,000. Nineteen percent – 8.7 million people – of those downtrodden paupers crushed by the brutal inequities of capitalism come from households earning more than $75,000.
In other words, if they fall off the roof, they can write a check. Indeed, the so-called “explosion” of the uninsured has been driven entirely by wealthy households opting out of health insurance. In the decade after 1995 – i.e., since the last round of coercive health reform – the proportion of the uninsured earning less than $25,000 has fallen by 20 percent, and the proportion earning more than 75 grand has increased by 155 percent. The story of the past decade is that the poor are getting sucked into the maw of “coverage,” and the rich are fleeing it. And, given that the cost of health “insurance” bears increasingly little relationship to either the cost of treatment or the actuarial reality of you ever getting any particular illness, it’s entirely rational to say: “You know what? I’ll worry about that when it happens. In the meantime, I want to start a business and send my kid to school.” Freedom is the desire of my human heart even if my arteries get all clogged and hardened.
I was glad, at the end of Hillary Health Week, to see that my radio pal Laura Ingraham’s excellent new book, “Power To The People,” has shot into the New York Times bestseller list at No. 1. It takes a fraudulent leftist catchphrase (the only thing you can guarantee about a “people’s republic” is that the people are the least of it) and returns it to those who mean it – to those who believe in a nation of free citizens exercising individual liberty to make responsible choices.
Do you remember the so-called “government surplus” of a few years ago? Bill Clinton gave a speech in which he said, yes, sure, he could return the money to taxpayers but that we “might not spend it the right way.” The American political class has decided that they know better than you the “right way” to make health care decisions. Oh, don’t worry, you’re still fully competent to make decisions on what car you drive and what movie you want to rent at Blockbuster.
For the moment.
But when it comes to the grownup stuff, best to leave that to Nurse Hillary
Doesn't her warm caring personality and compassionate demeanor remind you of Ken Kesey's novel and the excellent movie for which the Big Nurse in charge was a perfect symbol of big government and the humanism of the "caring professions?"

Hillary should audition for a remake.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Old Post Article Quotes NASA Chief Predicting Global Cooling

I made a promise to myself recently not to blog about Anthropogenic Global Warming, but this evening I watched an excellent two-hour History Channel science special on How the Earth was Made.

I was pleasantly surprised when the brand new program ended with a short half-minute on Global Warming, which I then expected to segue into the usual Sky is Falling manifesto, but instead noted that the Earth may be warming, but we are in a warm interval between Ice Ages and that NYC would be under a glacier 15,000 years from now, no matter what we did.

Evidently, that is what James Hansen at NASA believed before he went into his current Cargo Cult Science mode.
On July 9, 1971, the Post published a story headlined "U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming." It told of a prediction by NASA and Columbia University scientist S.I. Rasool. The culprit: man's use of fossil fuels.

The Post reported that Rasool, writing in Science, argued that in "the next 50 years" fine dust that humans discharge into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuel will screen out so much of the sun's rays that the Earth's average temperature could fall by six degrees.

Sustained emissions over five to 10 years, Rasool claimed, "could be sufficient to trigger an ice age."

Aiding Rasool's research, the Post reported, was a "computer program developed by Dr. James Hansen," who was, according to his resume, a Columbia University research associate at the time.

So what about those greenhouse gases that man pumps into the skies? Weren't they worried about them causing a greenhouse effect that would heat the planet, as Hansen, Al Gore and a host of others so fervently believe today?

"They found no need to worry about the carbon dioxide fuel-burning puts in the atmosphere."

Hmmm.... Did the scales fall from Hansen's eyes, or did he and a Stanford perfesser cook up a scheme to promote Global Warming [I can't find original reference to a 1987 communication between Hansen & his Stanford friend effectively plotting to cook the stats & conclusions to effect the desired goal of a warming trend.]? Investor's Daily:
Hansen has some explaining to do. The public deserves to know how he was converted from an apparent believer in a coming ice age who had no worries about greenhouse gas emissions to a global warming fear monger.

This is a man, as Lockwood noted in his message to the Times' John McCaslin, who has called those skeptical of his global warming theory "court jesters." We wonder: What choice words did he have for those who were skeptical of the ice age theory in 1971?

People can change their positions based on new information or by taking a closer or more open-minded look at what is already known. There's nothing wrong with a reversal or modification of views as long as it is arrived at honestly.

But what about political hypocrisy? It's clear that Hansen is as much a political animal as he is a scientist. Did he switch from one approaching cataclysm to another because he thought it would be easier to sell to the public? Was it a career advancement move or an honest change of heart on science, based on empirical evidence?

The IRCC has already "disappeared the Middle Age Warm period." Cargo Cult Science would dictate that Hansen keep fiddling with the data to get his required conclusion. The Investor's Business Daily link above ends with a pregnant question:
If Hansen wants to change positions again, the time is now. With NASA having recently revised historical temperature data that Hansen himself compiled, the door has been opened for him to embrace the ice age projections of the early 1970s.

Could be he's feeling a little chill in the air again.

The consensus among geologists is that with the position of the continents & the present ocean currents, an Ice Age will recur in the next dozen thousand years.
But geologists are scientists, whereas Hansen is a climatologist. And everyone knows what Mark Twain said about the weather. They just ignore melting ice caps on Mars.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sean Penn Sucks [Smoke] & HIs Films are Dishonest

Slate has a review of Sean Penn's latest movie, which like his career is half-cocked [and if All the King's Men is any indication, in need of resuscitation.]

Jon Krakauer's book Into the Wild is a wonderful exploration of one young man's earnest quest to avoid Holden Caulfield's ultimate trap, being a "phony." But unfortunately, Sean Penn is a rip-roaring phony in the one overwhelmingly dishonest Big Lie which is the iron bar in an otherwise sturdy house-of-cards flick. As Slate puts it:
Penn performs one bit of sleight-of-hand on the book that's borderline unforgivable. In an attempt, perhaps, to justify Chris' decision not to communicate with his parents for more than two years (he failed to notify them before he hit the road, and they never saw him alive again), Penn inserts a flashback back story that shows the McCandless' relationship as abusive and violent. In grainy Super 8-style scenes, the parents (William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden) drink and push each other around as the young Chris and Carine look on. It's a Lifetime TV rule that this movie should have risen above: Every questionable moral action must be explained by an equal and opposite childhood trauma. In Krakauer's account, McCandless's father, Walt, was something of a remote perfectionist but certainly no wife-beater. As for Billie McCandless, she sewed the sleeping bag in which her son would eventually meet his end (a heartbreaking detail that, had Penn left it in, might have cast his proudly self-sufficient hero in a less idealizing light). If I were a member of the McCandless family, I'd be furious at this insertion, but Penn waited years for the parents' permission—presumably, they allowed him the license to fictionalize as he saw fit.

Of course, Charlie Rose neglected to bring this up with the smirking Penn through the billows of cancerous crud this chain-smoking creep exhaled along with his phony bromides and BDS cliches.

Penn will be predictably bailed out by friendly Hollyweird critics and the flick will sell because of the inherent strength of the story.

But once again, the lying Hollyweird narrative line must conform to PC unreality, rather than life as it is really lived.

Friday, September 21, 2007

UPDATE on Clinton Camp Throws Sex Charges From Own Glass House!

The Clinton camp is seriously trying to deflect attention from her vote for MoveOn today by opening an offensive against Rudy Giuliani on his personal life! Ignoring the old adage that People in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones may get Hillary in trouble, just as her two-timin' hubby starts a high-profile book tour on TV that could generate questions to Bill about what HE thinks about Giuliani's marital irregularities.

Not on Clinton Inc. subsidiaries like NBC or CBS, but on CNN or Fox, for instance, though Billy Jeff is probably way too scared to go on Fox after young Wallace asked him a tough question.

Billy Jeff is a coward who conned his way into a draft deferment, unlike GWB, who got Dan Rather fired for intimating as much.

UPDATE: And of course, there's more about Hillary's own sexual proclivities that might be examined more closely.

[For the record, a wealthy Chicago socialite informed me a while back that she personally knew Hillary's "significant other," a female physician in NYC.]

Thursday, September 20, 2007

MoveOn Ad Fact-Checked & Found Very Untruthful

The Fact Checker frisks MoveOn for actual weapons and finds the usual ultra-left pinhead blather, half-truths, and occasional outright lies.

The Washington Post "Fact-Checker" goes sentence by sentence through the text of the obnoxious ad and points out the various mis-statements, exaggerations, and other departures from the facts.

Out of one to four Pinocchio rating-system, with four being "Whoppers," MoveOn is charitably given THREE PINOCCHIOS, or
Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.

As the ad ran in the New York Times, which will print any leftist tract verbatim, this would be around average for any fact-checker.

But since the ad DID run in the NYT, it should be rated in Durantys rather than Pinocchios. Not the big-nosed Jimmy Durante, but the Stalin-loving Walter Duranty who won a Pulitzer Prize from the Stalin-loving Columbia School of Journalism back in the nineteen-thirties for covering Stalin's infamous brutal Purge Trials as a Crusade for Justice.

MoveOn is probably equally Marxist, but must watch its back as the Cold War didn't turn out the way a lot of its member/followers wanted it to end.

But, as Dr. Sanity notes, that doesn't stop MoveOn and the ultra-left from pursuing the overarching agenda Dr. Sanity outlines on her blog, with the attendant mass psychosis necessary to con the American people to elect a socialist-manque as POTUS.

But as always with the ultra-left, the truth of their agenda doesn't lie in the details, nor in the big picture, nor even in the endgame.

Indeed, Truth, as Dr. Sanity's chart graphically demonstrates, has nothing to do with it.

UPDATE on Germans Help Spread Wahhabi Islam

Bernard Lewis gave a talk a few months ago and expatiated on Muslims in the West, or as he says occasionally, Christendom:
Regarding the Muslim populations of the Western world, I spoke a few moments ago about the Wahhabi menace. This is particularly strong among the Muslim communities in Europe and America. And just think, for example, for a Muslim living in Hamburg, Birmingham, Los Angeles, or whatever it may be, it is very natural that he should want to give his children some sort of grounding in his religion and culture. So he looks around for evening classes, weekend schools, holiday camps and the like. These are now almost entirely controlled, financed, funded by the Wahhabis, so that you get, among the Muslims in the Diaspora more than among the Muslims in Muslim countries, an intense indoctrination from the most radical, the most violent, the most extreme and fanatical version of Islam.

Bad enough, but remember that there are gradations of bad, and as usual in Western Europe, among nations that count [this leaves Belgium out], the Germans suck the most:
I'll give you a specific example. In the German constitution there is strict separation of church and state, but Germany, unlike the United States, allows time in the school curriculum for religious instruction. The way they do it is this: Time is provided in the curriculum of the German schools for religious instruction. Attendance at these classes is entirely optional, and the state provides neither teachers nor textbooks. The religious communities said, if they want this, provide the teachers and the textbooks.

Fair enough, and so far the Germans have not demonstrated the pig-headed brutish stupidity for which they are renowned, but read on:
The Muslim community in Germany is largely Turkish, and when they reached sufficient numbers they went to the German authorities and asked if they could have religious instruction in Islam in the German school curriculum. The Germans said, yes, you're entitled to that, according to the law, but you will have to provide the textbooks. And the Turks said, no problem, we have excellent textbooks, which are used in Turkish schools and we can use those. And the German authorities said, no, that you cannot do. These are government-controlled textbooks. We cannot have government textbooks on religion. You have to produce them from your own community, with the result that Islam, as taught in Turkish schools, is a sort of modernized, semi-secularized version of Islam, and Islam as taught in German schools is the full Wahhabi blast. The last time I looked, 12 Turks had been arrested as members of al Qaeda. All 12 of them were born and educated in Germany, not in Turkey. Does that answer your question?

This is mindlessness on the level of Jerry Bremer and Donald Rumsfeld, the two eff-ups responsible for turning a military victory in Iraq into an embarrassing civil conflict.

I forgot to mention Cheney, but unlike Bremer & Rumsfeld, he is not of German ancestry.

UPDATE: Here is another indication of how befuddled the erstwhile Third Reich citizens are concerning whether or not they face a terrorist threat.

Saudi Move From Dollar Could Have Chain Reaction

Since World War II ended, the U.S. dollar has effectively been the world's reserve currency, which has conferred countless benefits most Americans are unaware of.Saudi Arabia now may have to defend its immense investments in dollar-based bonds and financial instruments by diversifying into other currencies because of the interest rate decrease in the USA. The Daily Mail link above notes:
"Saudi Arabia has $800bn (£400bn) in their future generation fund, and the entire region has $3,500bn under management. They face an inflationary threat and do not want to import an interest rate policy set for the recessionary conditions in the United States," he said.

The Saudi central bank said today that it would take "appropriate measures" to halt huge capital inflows into the country, but analysts say this policy is unsustainable and will inevitably lead to the collapse of the dollar peg.

As a close ally of the US, Riyadh has so far tried to stick to the peg, but the link is now destabilising its own economy.

The Saudi Finance Ministry was a friend while he was on the board of the IMF in DC & he will argue strongly, I'm sure, for defending the dollar. I still get Holiday notes from him each Christmas. But he is among several players making the decision.

The Oil Minister might have a say. All OPEC crude oil purchases are denominated in dollars and thus this gigantic slice of the world economy is a lever that gives the dollar strength vis-a-vis the Euro & Yen. The Minister Naimi may get tremendous pressure from other OPEC members, including Kuwait which has already decoupled from the dollar, to join them and make a complete decoupling. The head of SAMA is a monetarist, and may also urge for a dollar decouple.

I am no economist, but my years in the oil industry gave me a new appreciation of the dollar. And the effects of US foreign trade if the dollar craters would actually be beneficial, though it would more than offset by diminished spending due to lower housing prices.

It turns out that the housing boom has triggered a housing bust. Driving on I-95 to the University of Miami the other day, I passed dozens of buildings on Brickell & other spots in downtown Miami in mid-construction. Ironically, the cranes and gantrys reminded me of the Saudi building boom decades before.

If the Saudis back out of the dollar, a lot of those buildings will remain vertical skeletons for a long time.

And the sustained post-WWII economic boom, punctuated by occasional hiccups, might end if the US dollar loses its status as the world's de facto reserve currency.

Monday, September 17, 2007

No Fault On The Left Says Marxist FiredOgswamp

Soros-cide is the word I employ to describe the kamikaze tactics the ultra-left MoveOn self-exploding agitpreppies use in their intemperate rants whipping the regular Dems into the Party Line---the line peddled by a long line of leftist going back to Saul Alinsky, Hillary's hero at Wellesley, and crazies like Mark Rudd, whom I once hosted in my student apartment during a brief fling with SDS. Rudd was smoking my ganga and sharing some of his insights that got him on the cover of Time magazine the year before.

Rudd said that the first principle of radical Democratic strategy is never admit error. Like the Kremlin Politburo, Communist organizations never make mistakes. And James Taranto describes in today's Wall Street Journal the newest avatar of NFOTL:
Surprisingly enough, one of the few Democrats to criticize the McCarthyite tactics of has been Elizabeth Edwards, wife of the lovely and talented John Edwards. As the Des Moines Register reports: should not have labeled Gen. David Petraeus "General Betray Us" in a controversial newspaper ad, Elizabeth Edwards said in Des Moines Friday.
"Someone who's spent their life in the military doesn't deserve 'General Betray Us,' " said [Mrs.] Edwards. . . .

Elizabeth Edwards said the group could have made its point by simply using Petraeus' own previous words about purported good news in Iraq without insulting him personally.

This rather tepid rebuke drew criticism from Jane Hamsher of the Angry Left blog (last seen posting racist photos at the Puffington Host):
So here's the rule. You never repeat right wing talking points to attack your own, ever. You never enter that echo chamber as a participant. Ever. You never give them a hammer to beat the left with. Just. Don't. Do. It.....
When offered the opportunity to cudgel your own side, you pivot and attack. How about, "glad you mentioned that. . .I think an ad is about as relevant to George Bush's growing collection of toe tags as a haircut is to the problems facing this country." Or, "thanks for the opportunity to discuss this, Chris. I personally would not choose the word "betrayal" to characterize General Petraeus's lack of judgment or skewing of the facts to perpetuate the war, but I do think we should be looking at the fact that this was the bloodiest summer ever in Iraq and asking ourselves if the assessment we're being given about the situation is realistic. . ."
There are any number of ways you can answer that question well and none of them involve attacking MoveOn. They're out there on the left so you can look "moderate." They're saying what needs to be said, opening the conversation up so John Edwards isn't considered the left-wing fringe loon that nobody should listen to.

Now wait a minute, has Hamsher just characterized as a bunch of left-wing fringe loons that nobody should listen to? And didn't she earlier describe said loons as being on the Edwardses' "own side"? Mrs. Edwards's criticism of is perfectly consistent with the dynamic Hamsher describes, portraying herself (and by implication her husband) as moderate by contrast. She's just doing the Hamsher dance.

Elizabeth Edwards' father was an Army colonel and she was raised in Japan, Germany, and various posts stateside, so she respects the military and has a personal interest in how it is employed and how it is portrayed.

Hamsher is a drugged up screenwriter holed up somewhere doing a story on methamphetamines and from the tone of her blogs, using while writing. Her movies are violent and her little coterie has as much humanism as any cell in any dedicated outside-the-box political hit-squad.

But as Taranto notes, the whole flaming rad schtick could be a student-body left move that opens ground for less loony political psychobabble of the Edwards variety. He and his wife already have been playing a sort of dynamic duet when his excesses are pointed out, including a spectacular Fight-Poverty crusade that ended with the revelation that John Po-boy had made $500K as a "consultant" to a subprime mortgage gouge-and-grab hedge fund scam that evicted Katrina victims, and then subsequently revealed that he had sunk $18 million chump change into the Fortress Fund described above. Can you imagine what a Republican would face in investigative journalists on his doorstep like a cheap suit if that had happened to a conservative.

But even venal conservative are nowhere near the charlatan and mountebank that John Edwards is being exposed as. The layers of his onion are peeled away and yet the pious MSM question him as though he were a viable candidate.

Which brings me back to Mark Rudd, who after bogarting my joints and basically toking away half a bag, told me: "Dave, the basic thing is, dare to cheat, dare to win."

Looks like John Edwards dug into the left side of the Dem gene pool and pulled that same vibe out of the ether.

Publish or Perish Spreads to Science

The Wall Street Journal has a piece on the shoddy standards that the avalanche of "scientific" studies has engendered.
Statistically speaking, science suffers from an excess of significance. Overeager researchers often tinker too much with the statistical variables of their analysis to coax any meaningful insight from their data sets. "People are messing around with the data to find anything that seems significant, to show they have found something that is new and unusual," Dr. Ioannidis said.

Why this is so becomes immediately clear. Follow the money.
In the U. S., research is a $55-billion-a-year enterprise that stakes its credibility on the reliability of evidence and the work of Dr. Ioannidis strikes a raw nerve. In fact, his 2005 essay "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False" remains the most downloaded technical paper that the journal PLoS Medicine has ever published.

Perhaps Dr. Ioannidis is a new Richard Feynman who in his prescient message to CalTech grads about "Cargo Cult Science," predicted the very quandry of second-rate "scientists" trying to tease cash out of huge government and NGOs, many of whom have an agenda. Feynman:
Nature's phenomena will agree or they'll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven't tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And it's this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in cargo cult science.

Feynman had predicted catastrophic failure in one out of fifty Shuttle missions, contrasting with NASA's prediction of one in a million. Two catastrophes in little over one hundred missions. Just who was closer to being right?
Of course, NASA's "chief climatologist" has been on a crusade for two decades against what his "research," flawed even more than the spurious NASA numbers on catastrophic Shuttle Missions, indicates is Anthropogenic Global Warming. His chief missionaries are media and political hucksters like Al Gore and Leonardo Di Caprio, both lacking in academicide credentials---though that is not unusual nowadays with sententious public posturing over subjects that are trendy and PC, but lacking in substantial credence, including the UN cattle call IRCC pronunciamento last Spring.Dr. Ioannides:
Every new fact discovered through experiment represents a foothold in the unknown. In a wilderness of knowledge, it can be difficult to distinguish error from fraud, sloppiness from deception, eagerness from greed or, increasingly, scientific conviction from partisan passion. As scientific findings become fodder for political policy wars over matters from stem-cell research to global warming, even trivial errors and corrections can have larger consequences.

And a bit later, the article notes that peer-review can't catch all the errors:
To root out mistakes, scientists rely on each other to be vigilant. Even so, findings too rarely are checked by others or independently replicated. Retractions, while more common, are still relatively infrequent. Findings that have been refuted can linger in the scientific literature for years to be cited unwittingly by other researchers, compounding the errors.

Stung by frauds in physics, biology and medicine, research journals recently adopted more stringent safeguards to protect at least against deliberate fabrication of data. But it is hard to admit even honest error. Last month, the Chinese government proposed a new law to allow its scientists to admit failures without penalty. Next week, the first world conference on research integrity convenes in Lisbon.

Overall, technical reviewers are hard-pressed to detect every anomaly. On average, researchers submit about 12,000 papers annually just to the weekly peer-reviewed journal Science. Last year, four papers in Science were retracted. A dozen others were corrected.

The Korean scientist's controversy subsides from memory and the deluge continues with dozens of scientists probably cooking up experiments and tweaking stats to arrive at a Cargo Cult Moment. In the end, Global Warming may go the way of Global Cooling, all of thirty years ago. Back when Al Gore claims he had an epiphany about Global Warming [I wonder what that magic moment was really about. Maybe Barnum & Bailey?]
The punchline of Dr. Ioannidis' research is not pleasant.
No one actually knows how many incorrect research reports remain unchallenged.

Earlier this year, informatics expert Murat Cokol and his colleagues at Columbia University sorted through 9.4 million research papers at the U.S. National Library of Medicine published from 1950 through 2004 in 4,000 journals. By raw count, just 596 had been formally retracted, Dr. Cokol reported.

Informatics is a new field floating into my ken. But finally, the ultimate last word from the science community and then I will drift into salutary quotes from one of my all time favorite reads even more apropos in this time of feverish overstatement.
"The correction isn't the ultimate truth either," Prof. Kevles said.

Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is online in its entirety, and I would commend the gentle reader if he simply clicks the link. Here's the first line in English:
"In reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first."

Yes, it does read a bit like Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. But come to think of it, the delirious supporters of Global Warming hysteria have much the same agenda [Decline and Fall] for the United States economic system. And once again, it may be religion, this time the new religion of science Feynman warned us against, snowe-balling us into Global Warming legislative gymnastics.

Fat Farm Candidate Gore Tells another Whopper

Al Gore characterized his below-the-radar Current TV as "the fastest growing cable network in TV history." Serial Confabulator Al forgets Fox News which waxed CNN in record time, despite drunk Ted Turner's prediction that "we'll [CNN] squash them [Fox]like a bug."

Oh well, Al also claimed to have "invented" the internet, although Alex Trebek keeps saying on Jeopardy that he didn't. Alex is catching a bit of the Lyin' Al gene. Or maybe it's just chromosomal transference?

Judging by Al's multiple chins on the video link above, he's not running in '08. For POTUS, that is. He's still running for Savior of the Planet.

Hiss Vampire Refuses to Die

Accuracy in Media was spurred into action by an obsequious Washington Post magazine article in April, 2007, called "Out of the Shadows" concerning Alger Hiss, whom the Post supported through his long journey to being exposed as a traitor and Soviet spy.

My only interest nowadays is that while at CSIS I wrote articles in The Washington Quarterly edited by Allen Weinstein who famously started to write a book intending to exonerate Hiss and ended up with the inevitable and unavoidable conclusion that Alger Hiss was a lying traitor in his book Perjury. I met Allen once and was impressed by his integrity and intellectual range.

Of course, Weinstein was hounded out of academicide for committing the sin of truth as opposed to the Party Line that Hiss was hounded out of his job by crazy right wingers. Soviet outsource enabler Victor Navasky, editor of Nation, has badgered several of Weinstein's sources into recanting their original views as stated to Weinstein, probably by threatening excommunication from MSM benificence.

Since the opening of Soviet files, the usual shell-game the Soviets and ex-Sovs play has been continued. Hiss was an agent of GRU, Soviet military intelligence, and so after an inspection of KGB files revealed nothing on Hiss, the traitor's supporters went to the presses prematurely expressing triumph and glee. No one has seriously inspected GRU files.

However, Hungarian files have revealed that Hiss tried to recruit a fellow American already working for the KGB! And after much insane too-ing and fro-ing, a Soviet spymaster told NOVA on PBS of all places, that
"The Rosenbergs, Theodore Hall and Alger Hiss did spy for the Soviets, and I saw their real names in the documents, their code names... How you judge them is up to you. To me, they're heroes."

I had a crazy aunt who lived in Greenwich Village who used to start every conversation, usually raising a glass of Scotch while doing so, with a declamation that Alger Hiss was not guilty and Richard Nixon was [expletive deleted].

About Nixon, I have some reservations, but Alger Hiss was definitely guilty.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

French Preparing Mindset for Tough Line on Iran

Bernard Kouchner is taking a tough stance towards Iran, for multiple reasons. First, Iran's Shi'ite state is abhorred by French Muslims, almost all Sunni, almost as much as Israel is abhorred. Also, both Sarkozy and Kouchner have partly Jewish ancestry, so they are not willing to submit to a regime constantly calling for Israel's disappearance.

Kouchner would not have said this, I believe, without some sort of a wink and a nod from Angela Merkel, whose Germany cannot be completely neutral to someone calling for the extermination of Jews, even if it is ONLY a Jewish state! Germany's backpages are well-known. And other EU members are now getting fed up with Islamist rads. The Netherlands is beginning to find a backbone in all that Teutonic flesh. And Brit PM Brown continues Blair's strong policies on the Middle East.

Ahmedinejad and a Thousand Clowns are descending on the UN GenAss cattle call next week. He should know that NATO & the EU are no longer buying the BS that Iran's stooge at IAEA, Mohammed Baradei seems to gulp down on a monthly basis.

And as I noted in an earlier effort, North Korea may be considering rescinding its under-the-table assistance to Iran on developing nukes. AQ Khan is still out there like OJ Simpson, peddling his mendacious corrupt poison.

Good to see the French returning to their ideals and not the pocketbook sub rosa assistance Chiraq used to give nasty regimes, although Le-notso-Grand Jacques did have a pocket of lucidity concerning Syria. Again it was venal, as Hariri was his friend and he may have gotten Napoleon d'Or from Rafiq as well, but whatever puts France on the right side is good enough.

Israeli Attack Destroys Syrian Nuke Bomb Materials?

The Timesonline has an intriguing story about the Israeli air raid last month on Syria.
The Times was rife with skullduggery as it quoted a US State Dept official:
"There are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that.” He said a network run by AQ Khan, the disgraced creator of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, could be involved.

But why would nuclear material be in Syria? Known to have chemical weapons, was it seeking to bolster its arsenal with something even more deadly?

Alternatively, could it be hiding equipment for North Korea, enabling Kim Jong-il to pretend to be giving up his nuclear programme in exchange for economic aid? Or was the material bound for Iran, as some authorities in America suggest?

Excuse a slight digression: In his book Prisoners, Jeffrey Goldberg ran into AQ Khan while in Pakistan in 1999 just after the "Islamic Bomb" was exploded and Khan made no bones about the ultimate goal of the Muslims with the bomb:
"All the West is an enemy of Islam. The West has been leading a crusade against Muslims for a thousand years. Israel is the leader of the crusade. The West will have Israel use its bomb against the Muslims. The crusades have not ended. The war against our religion has not stopped....[AQ Khan's companion then asked Goldberg "Why do the Americans want to destroy Islam?][p.248]"
The Times article goes on to mention the Syrian's possession of chemical/bio warheads on their long-range Scud missiles [possibly derived from Saddam's cached WMD sent to Syria shortly before the Iraq War?].

Of course, the Middle East would look much different today had not Israel destroyed Osirak in 1981, the French effort through Saddam's nicer half Chiraq to supply a nuke to an enemy of Israel. But the beat goes on:
here is no doubt, however, that North Korea is accused of nuclear cooperation with Syria, helped by AQ Khan’s network. John Bolton, who was undersecretary for arms control at the State Department, told the United Nations in 2004 the Pakistani nuclear scientist had “several other” customers besides Iran, Libya and North Korea.

After several paragraphs on how broad & secretive the Syrian-DearLeader relationship is, there is evidence that the triangular Syria/Iran/NK network could crumble due to NK's edging toward the Libyan solution of sucking it up and taking the money. But in the end, as the article says, one thing is very clear:
By its actions, Israel showed it is not interested in waiting for diplomacy to work where nuclear weapons are at stake. As a bonus, the Israelis proved they could penetrate the Syrian air defence system, which is stronger than the one protecting Iranian nuclear sites.
And the bad guys are clearly worried.
This weekend President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran sent Ali Akbar Mehrabian, his nephew, to Syria to assess the damage. The new “axis of evil” may have lost one of its spokes.

But AQ Khan may have more spokes in his wheel than just the "Axis of Evil."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Red Sox Snatch Defeat From Jaws of Victory

Baseball is not my favorite sport, though this summer is a bit of a renaissance in what has been a lapse in my attention to this long and sometimes interminable sport. But I have been a Red Sox fan, part of what is now called "Red Sox Nation," since the early fifties when I used to hitchhike down to Chicago to see Ted Williams play the White Sox. I do not remember a time when I did not hate the Yankees, though the fall of 911, I put a temporary hold on this negative obsession.

I've been to Fenway many times, and I must say that the vibe there is more intense than it is in Packer games, which I attended when they played in Milwaukee, or Cubs games at Wrigley when the Cubbies suddenly became contenders. Though I love NBA & support the Heat [Dwyane Wade went to Marquette U, my alma mater, & Shaq is uniquely lovable] and the Packers in the NFL, for some reason I find Red Sox/Yankee games incredibly absorbing---and tonight, incredibly frustrating. Dusty Baker, manager of the Cubs & before that, a player for the Dodgers, did the color and background for ESPN & he says that Red Sox/Yankee mano-a-mano are much more intense [and much longer] than any other major league games [or any other sport for that matter.]

I am writing this an hour after the eighth inning when the Yankees crushed Okajima & Papelbon for six runs, erasing a 7-2 Bosox lead. During the game, Bobby Valentine came in live from Osaka in the early morning glare and went into detail on the differences between US & Japanese baseball. [I had heard long ago that Japanese players overtrained, the pitchers throwing their arms out early in their careers because they did their version of Spring Training until their arms were sore. A bit analagous to the wonderfully overtrained carrier pilots who pulled off the spectacular Pearl Harbor, but drowned when three of their carriers were sunk six months later at Midway & they had to ditch---the Japanese carrier force projection never was the same]. Valentine mentioned many differences & Baker astutely noted that Japan did not have vast travel distances and four time zones to contend with. But Baker/Sutcliffe might have commented that Japanese pitchers [Daisuke & Okajima both threw tonight & Dice-K wore out in the fifth inning, Okajima didn't get a put-out & threw two yard balls] tend to lack endurance during the punishingly long US baseball season with its playoffs & "World Series." Could this be true, as Valentine mentioned that the Japanese season was different & that most teams in the Japanese leagues were rest-stops, sort of like the NL Central or Triple-A franchises.

Tomorrow Wang pitches for the Yankees & he is Taiwanese & has 18 wins. I wonder if the Chinese & Korean pitcher suffer any endurance problems, or if this is an urban myth bad-mouthing Japanese pitchers.

And now I will retire after midnight to my quarters & read The Looming Tower just to raise my spirits.

Friday, September 14, 2007

OJ World's Biggest Media Whore?

What Happens in Vegas is often criminal activity, and OJ Simpson is reportedly being questioned for participating in a "sting," [with weapons] on Ron Goldman's memorabilia hawker, or whatever. Either OJ Simpson is:

---Exercising a clever media dust-up to increase sales of his ghost-written book [the proceeds of which will go to the Goldman family] or

---A Complete Media Whore who will do anything to draw attention to himself, even if, as in this case, it is self-destructive, [another] or

---A Menace to Society.

The thought that this Miami-Dade resident is stark raving mad beneath that media-honed exterior also occurred to me.

Any other theories out there?

Serial Earthquake Binge in Sumatra

Blogging always means sharing, and here is a couple of recent e-mails from my brother who runs a large USAID project at Banda Aceh in Sumatra. My daughter is taking Geology 101 in college and we both watched a Nova PBS show on "super-volcanoes," one of which is Lake Toba in Sumatra about 400 miles south of Banda & not too far from the earthquakes my brother recounts with his first e-mail:
Just so no one worries needlessly, the 8.4 quake off the west coast of
Bengkulu province last night was maybe 500 miles from here and I did not
even feel it. I did feel the "aftershock" of 7.9 this morning from an
epicenter north of the original quake. It was kind of a queezy, woozy quake
which caused the chandelier in our house (they like those here) to swing in
a circle very slowly about 6 inches of arc outside of hanging still. But
many people did not feel it at all. Anyway, no damage, no tsunami here.

There's a quake that you can feel about every four months. Sometimes
there's a deep, nearby quake rather close. Sometimes its a more powerful,
far away quake like this one. Each has its own sort of feel-from abrupt,
repeated rythms like one I felt last year, to almost imperceptible swaying
like this one. My house made it through the 9.1 quake in 2004 that produced
the tsunami, so it should do OK in most other quakes. Makes life

A quake every four months is one thing. Two days later, he sent another e-mail:
Yesterday had earthquakes of 8.4. 7.9, and 7.1 in the same general region
off West Sumatra and Bengkulu, about 500 or 600 miles from here. Today
there was another, reported to be 6.4 on the Richter scale. I've never
heard of anywhere such a thing has happened before. What they are counting
as aftershocks are actually in the major quake range.

Of course, the Richter scale is a measure only of the total energy expended,
and tells you nothing of how that energy was focused. I heard, for example,
that the 8.4 quake lasted 3 minutes, so all that release of energy was
spread out over a long time, making it far less destructive than it it had
all been released within 30 seconds. Also, both the depth of the epicenter
and the nature of the fault network arouond there affect the nature of the
waves and hence the destructiveness of the quake. I myself felt a quake at
about 1.00am six months or so ago which started with about five or six quick
jerks, then nothing, then five or six jerks again, then nothing, then the
jerks again--as it these waves were coming in bursts. That was from a 6.5
quake on the North Sumatra-West Sumatra border. Yesterday, I did not feel
the 8.4 at all but did feel a gentle rolling, dizzy kind of movement during
the 7.9 quake (remember I am about 500 miles away). Every one of them is

This place is a seismologist's paradise. Most active place on earth. I
myself have seen (not too close) 3 major eruptions, the aftermath of a major
quake, and the results of history's most destructive tsunami while here.
Of course, where you are there are tornados. All these events make life
more interesting--I suppose because of the risk?

Of course, there is that old Chinese curse, "may you live in interesting times."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"No Fault on The Left" Prevails on Duke Rape Case, & Duke has a Course on "Hooking up at Duke"

Stuart Taylor is still occasionally commenting on legal issues on TV, despite his rock-ribbed defense of traditional values in the American legal system. "No Fault on the Left" was what a rad named Mark Rudd told me in Ann Arbor while he was a "house-guest" during a long-ago SDS Conference---through clouds of cannabis smoke [my dope] MR explained that "dare to cheat, dare to win" is the mantra of the ultra-left.

Some things never change.

Flash forward forty years and a joke of a program hosted by a contemptible liar named Nancy Grace still inflicts itself on mindless ears nightly on CNN, despite months of lies by the porcine eponymous nutjob accusing the three indicted lacrosse players of even more crimes than they committed. No apologies and no mention of the fact that the DA she so arduously defended ended up going to jail and being kicked out of the bar. While this sow hides behind the First Amendment, CNN refuses to yank her, proving that an Eason Jordan fantasy world still leaves remnants of insanity and dishonesty on-air while A. Cooper and Beck bring a tad of reality back into the CNN playlist. [Larry King is in a parallel universe!]

Stuart's book is named Until Proved Innocent, and the review in the Economist is linked above. Below is the Economist's summary [the magazine actually joined the witch hunt for a short while] of the despicable collection of frauds and impostors laughingly called the Duke "faculty:"
The case also provides a vivid example of the evils of political correctness, which is rampant in the media. One writer noted that “You couldn't invent a story so precisely tuned to the outrage frequency of the modern, metropolitan, bien pensant journalist.”

A striking number of professors were willing to trample all over legal process in their rush to declare the lacrosse players guilty before charge, let along trial. And they did so solely on the basis of the players' race and gender. One professor, Houston Baker, denounced the lacrosse players as “young white, violent, drunken men veritably given licence to rape, maraud, deploy hate speech”. Duke's politically-correct faculty thus produced a mirror image of the worst racism of the South in the 1950s, when people were pronounced guilty—and denied their legal rights—solely because they were black. While all this was going on Duke's president, Richard Brodhead, did little, if anything, to defend the lacrosse players or to criticise the faculty for its lynch-mob mentality. A university that charges students over $40,000 per year essentially abandoned three of them to the bullying of an out-of-control prosecutor.

Some people have at least learned from the disaster at Duke. Mr Nifong has been sacked and stripped of his law licence. Last week he was sent to jail, though only for a day, for his numerous misdemeanours. The press has struggled to put the record straight—and several people have written their own mea culpas.

The only people who, it seems, have learned nothing from all this are Mr Nifong's enablers in the Duke faculty. Even after it was clear that the athletes were innocent, 87 faculty members published a letter categorically rejecting calls to recant their condemnation. And one professor, proving that some academics are as far beyond parody as they are beneath contempt, offered a course called “Hooking up at Duke” that purported to illustrate what the lacrosse scandals tell us about “power, difference and raced, classed, gendered and sexed normativity in the US.”

Bien pensant journalists like the vacuous Evan Thomas of Newsweak are one thing, they jump on a story, if they're wrong they retract it.

But the Duke faculty resembles maggots in a dead Nancy Grace and they never need to retract anything---they have tenure, you see, and there is no fault on the left.

Bjorn Lomborg Talks Common Sense on Global Warming; Scientists Agree

Cool it is the name of Bjorn Lomborg's new book. But Lomborg is just one of many recent books and publications on Anthropogenic Global Warming. Many agree that the earth is warming but that such variations in temperature are cyclical and that much of the Kyoto & Al Gore reactions are empty exercises, or in Gore's case, Lomborg considers him "hysterical." [Whether AG is hysterically funny or clinically deranged is uncertain.] In any case, much evidence, such as icecaps melting on Mars, indicates that we are dealing with a solar phenomenon. Here is the gist of a new Hudson book:
A new analysis of peer-reviewed literature reveals that more than 500 scientists have published evidence refuting at least one element of current man-made global warming scares. More than 300 of the scientists found evidence that 1) a natural moderate 1,500-year climate cycle has produced more than a dozen global warmings similar to ours since the last Ice Age and/or that 2) our Modern Warming is linked strongly to variations in the sun's irradiance. "This data and the list of scientists make a mockery of recent claims that a scientific consensus blames humans as the primary cause of global temperature increases since 1850," said Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Dennis Avery.

Other researchers found evidence that 3) sea levels are failing to rise importantly; 4) that our storms and droughts are becoming fewer and milder with this warming as they did during previous global warmings; 5) that human deaths will be reduced with warming because cold kills twice as many people as heat; and 6) that corals, trees, birds, mammals, and butterflies are adapting well to the routine reality of changing climate.

Despite being published in such journals such as Science, Nature and Geophysical Review Letters, these scientists have gotten little media attention. "Not all of these researchers would describe themselves as global warming skeptics," said Avery, "but the evidence in their studies is there for all to see."

The names were compiled by Avery and climate physicist S. Fred Singer, the co-authors of the new book Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, mainly from the peer-reviewed studies cited in their book. The researchers' specialties include tree rings, sea levels, stalagmites, lichens, pollen, plankton, insects, public health, Chinese history and astrophysics.

"We have had a Greenhouse Theory with no evidence to support it-except a moderate warming turned into a scare by computer models whose results have never been verified with real-world events," said co-author Singer. "On the other hand, we have compelling evidence of a real-world climate cycle averaging 1470 years (plus or minus 500) running through the last million years of history. The climate cycle has above all been moderate, and the trees, bears, birds, and humans have quietly adapted."

"Two thousand years of published human histories say that the warm periods were good for people," says Avery. "It was the harsh, unstable Dark Ages and Little Ice Age that brought bigger storms, untimely frost, widespread famine and plagues of disease." "There may have been a consensus of guesses among climate model-builders," says Singer. "However, the models only reflect the warming, not its cause." He noted that about 70 percent of the earth's post-1850 warming came before 1940, and thus was probably not caused by human-emitted greenhouse gases. The net post-1940 warming totals only a tiny 0.2 degrees C.

The historic evidence of the natural cycle includes the 5000-year record of Nile floods, 1st-century Roman wine production in Britain, and thousands of museum paintings that portrayed sunnier skies during the Medieval Warming and more cloudiness during the Little Ice Age. The physical evidence comes from oxygen isotopes, beryllium ions, tiny sea and pollen fossils, and ancient tree rings. The evidence recovered from ice cores, sea and lake sediments, cave stalagmites and glaciers has been analyzed by electron microscopes, satellites, and computers. Temperatures during the Medieval Warming Period on California's Whitewing Mountain must have been 3.2 degrees warmer than today, says Constance Millar of the U.S. Forest Service, based on her study of seven species of relict trees that grew above today's tree line.

Singer emphasized, "Humans have known since the invention of the telescope that the earth's climate variations were linked to the sunspot cycle, but we had not understood how. Recent experiments have demonstrated that more or fewer cosmic rays hitting the earth create more or fewer of the low, cooling clouds that deflect solar heat back into space-amplifying small variations in the intensity of the sun.

Avery and Singer noted that there are hundreds of additional peer-reviewed studies that have found cycle evidence, and that they will publish additional researchers' names and studies. They also noted that their book was funded by Wallace O. Sellers, a Hudson board member, without any corporate contributions.

Dr. Sanity notes in her eminently sane and sound analysis of intense hyperventilating over AGW that it may be a result of a psychological phenomenon known as "displacement." Displacement occurs when deep emotions about a subject cannot be assimilated and are switched onto another subject, in this case fear of Islamofascism resulting from 911 cannot be assimilated because the left hates Bush & his GWOT & Islamic terror goes against every anodyne and bromide the left has been peddling about kumbayeh cosmopolitanism of the Kwame Appiah variety. Here's the good doctor:
What we are witnessing is a regressive psycholgoical defensive maneuver that has become perhaps, the most common response to the worldwide threat of Islamofascism, with all its attendant barbarism and frightening committment to death and destruction. A very specific kind of psychological denial has become the "opt out of reality" ticket for the West and it is referred to as displacement (also see here, here and here).

I have discussed this phenomenon multiple times because displacement is the same psychological strategy that is at the root of Bush Derangement Syndrome and the widespread leftist belief that Christianity is iminently going to impose a theocratic state in the US, even as Shar'ia is welcomed with open arms, tolerant hearts, and closed eyes.

And it is also happens to be the dynamic behind the current rise of anti-semitism and anti-American sentiment right here in the USA--even among relatively normal individuals otherwise.

You can think of psychological displacement as a process analogous to how attenuated viruses work when a person is immunized with them to prevent the catastrophic consequences of an otherwise life-threatening virus.

Psychotherapy itself revolves around, and works because of the temporary displacement of the patient's psychopathology onto the therapist--which is called transference. Let's say, that the patient has a conflict with his father. For all intents and purposes, the therapist becomes the psychological brother and the therapeutic relationship plays out the drama in a less threatening, and more manageable setting.

The entire purpose of displacement is to gain control over the conflict. By focusing on something you have some control over, the psyche is much less threatened. You can fire your therapist; you can express your hatred unreservedly and there will not be the consequences if that hatred were directed toward the real object of conflict. You can even pretend, that if it weren't for the therapist, everything in your life would be perfect.

Displacement can be thought of as an slightly more mature type of projection. In projection, the individual remains oblivious to the fact that he owns and is responsible for the emotions that he imagines are in the person or group into which he is projecting. In other words, ownership of the idea and/or affect is banished from the self.

In displacement, the idea or emotion is deflected from one object to another, less threatening one, but the ownership of the negative emotion or idea (e.g. animosity, anger) is retained--and is often raised to a virtue. A common example is the person who is angry at a loved one, but settles for kicking the dog. The anger is evident in the action and is still owned by the person experiencing it.

Sorry for the slight digression, but the cardinal point is that Anthropogenic Global Warming is a convenient holding pen of denial, displacement and infantile dog kicking when the emotions caused by Islamofascism and the girding of western loins the West may be required to do to oppose this threat to its very way of life. Instead of manning up and facing the difficult task requiring backbone and courage of confronting violent reactionary religious fanatics, the left and Democrats do their usual combination of appeasement, digression, displacement [the oceans are going to boil any century now!] and convince themselves that AGW is more important than GWOT---nay, that GWOT is unnecessary.

Lomborg breathes common sense into a scientific debate which is suffused with what Richard Feynman called "Cargo Cult Science." If another hurricane season goes by without a major landfall in the USA, perhaps the hysterical screeching & posturing by airheads like Leonardo Di Caprio and political scam artists like Al Gore will slowly fade, or lower their decibel levels.

And let a real scientific debate proceed without hype and hysterics.