Thursday, June 23, 2011

NASA Global Warming Hoaxer Caught Scamming for Prizes

Scammer-in-Chief Hansen Blowing More Smoke

James Hansen famously conspired in the mid-eighties with a Stanford professor to start a cascade of organizations, aided and abetted by long-time Communist Maurice Strong in the UN, which spread the doctrine of Global Warming due to Man-made greenhouse gases.

No one denies that SOME of the warming of the planet over the last thirty years [remember that in the seventies, the media was agog with stories of global cooling!] is due to industrialization across the planet in the economic development of huge-population countries such as China, India, and Indonesia. However, the IRCC of the UN and other subsequent organizations have overlooked the immense pollution of brown-coal burning in China and other primitive methods of electricity generation to concentrate on highly evolved ecoinomies in Europe and the United States as far as any environmental punitive measures are concerned.

Along with NGOs, academic institutions have been accorded lavish amounts of funding to "investigate" the global warming, always with a bias towards anthropogenic global warming as the chief culprit. Other sources of energy, such as the sun which actually provides 99.9% of the warmth on this planet, have been studiously ignored by this cabal of greedy academics, who under the guidance of Strong and Hansen and the Essex group exposed by an e-mail whistleblower last year have exerted a series of "peer-group" approved fixed scientific studies which all conclude that human, rather than solar, energy has been the chief culprit in global warming.

Nobel Laureate physicist Richard Feynman warned of scientific hucksters like Hansen and Strong in his famous CalTech speech on "cargo cult science."

Here's some of the scams that charlatan Hansen has pulled off recently, according to Fox News:
-- A shared $1 million prize from the Dan David Foundation for his "profound contribution to humanity." Hansen's cut ranged from $333,000 to $500,000, Horner said, adding that the precise amount is not known because Hansen's publicly available financial disclosure form only shows the prize was "an amount in excess of $5,000."
-- The 2010 Blue Planet prize worth $550,000 from the Asahi Glass Foundation, which recognizes efforts to solve environmental issues.
-- The Sophie Prize for his "political activism," worth $100,000. The Sophie Prize is meant to "inspire people working towards a sustainable future."
-- Speaking fees totaling $48,164 from a range of mostly environmental organizations.
-- A $15,000 participation fee, waived by the W.J. Clinton Foundation for its 2009 Waterkeeper Conference.
-- $720,000 in legal advice and media consulting services provided by The George Soros Open Society Institute. Hansen said he did not take "direct" support from Soros but accepted "pro bono legal advice."
Hansen did not respond to Fox News' request for comment.

Some of the above payoffs to grifter Hansen may be illegal, and Fox promises to follow up bringing this shifty schemer to justice.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hitchens Attacks Pakistan

Christopher is an old drinking pal of mine from way back when he first skipped across the pond thirty years ago. Back then he was disturbingly brilliant and also prone to launch into occasional Gingrich-type straw-man arguments or exaggerations for rhetorical emphasis. This Wall Street Journal piece shows that Hitch still occasionally lurches over the line, although in this case, his target is Pakistan, a country with so many disturbing problems that some are hard to exaggerate.

When Christopher made a scathing attack on Pakistan in Vanity Fair, many of his accusations were true, but others crossed the line and diminished the overall credibility of the piece. Still, some of Hitch's best lines are basically true, and emphasize the loathsome and vile nature of the creepy paraphiliacs running the country:
...our blatant manipulation by Pakistan is the most diseased and rotten thing in which the United States has ever involved itself. And it is also, in the grossest way, a violation of our sovereignty. Pakistan routinely—by the dispatch of barely deniable death squads across its borders, to such locations as the Taj Hotel in Mumbai—injures the sovereignty of India as well as Afghanistan. But you might call that a traditional form of violation. In our case, Pakistan ingratiatingly and silkily invites young Americans to one of the vilest and most dangerous regions on earth, there to fight and die as its allies, all the while sharpening a blade for their backs. “The smiler with the knife under the cloak,” as Chaucer phrased it so frigidly. (At our feet, and at our throat: Perfectly symbolic of the underhanded duality between the mercenary and the sycophant was the decision of the Pakistani intelligence services, in revenge for the Abbottabad raid, to disclose the name of the C.I.A. station chief in Islamabad.
I have to admit that I visited Pakistan several times in the eighties and nineties and did have both good and bad experiences, actually having a meeting with a man described as the Number Two in ISI, the notorious intelligence apparatus guilty for many of the duplicitous excesses that the Paks commit in their ceaseless veering and swerving across the political and legal landscape to avoid being found out. At least that's the way an elderly minister of the Northwest Frontier Province described Pakistan's plight to me, when in a late-night colloquy. he claimed that the NWFP and Baluchistan were actually going to eventually end up part of Iran and the rump remainder revert back to India. Chris goes on:
This is well beyond humiliation. It makes us a prisoner of the shame, and co-responsible for it. The United States was shamed when it became the Cold War armorer of the Ayub Khan dictatorship in the 1950s and 1960s. It was shamed even more when it supported General Yahya Khan’s mass murder in Bangladesh in 1971: a Muslim-on-Muslim genocide that crashingly demonstrated the utter failure of a state based on a single religion. We were then played for suckers by yet another military boss in the form of General Zia-ul-Haq, who leveraged anti-Communism in Afghanistan into a free pass for the acquisition of nuclear weapons and the open mockery of the nonproliferation treaty. By the start of the millennium, Pakistan had become home to a Walmart of fissile material, traded as far away as Libya and North Korea by the state-subsidized nuclear entrepreneur A. Q. Khan, the country’s nearest approach (which in itself tells you something) to a national hero. Among the scientists working on the project were three named sympathizers of the Taliban. And that gigantic betrayal, too, was uncovered only by chance.

North Korea and Iran both benefited from AQ Khan's Walmartization of nuclear weaponry. But Pakistan has so many unsolved mysteries that stain its historical path from nationhood in 1947 to the virtually pariah status that it has today, as the launching pad for terrorism and, more damningly, its inability to find the murderers of General Zia and Benazir Bhutto in the last quarter century. What kind of country allows the decapitation of a senior politician go by without some cover story? Hitch puts it well:
If we ever ceased to swallow our pride, so I am incessantly told in Washington, then the Pakistani oligarchy might behave even more abysmally than it already does, and the situation deteriorate even further. This stale and superficial argument ignores the awful historical fact that, each time the Pakistani leadership did get worse, or behave worse, it was handsomely rewarded by the United States. We have been the enablers of every stage of that wretched state’s counter-evolution, to the point where it is a serious regional menace and an undisguised ally of our worst enemy, as well as the sworn enemy of some of our best allies. How could it be “worse” if we shifted our alliance and instead embraced India, our only rival in scale as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy, and a nation that contains nearly as many Muslims as Pakistan? How could it be “worse” if we listened to the brave Afghans, like their former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh, who have been telling us for years that we are fighting the war in the wrong country?

If we continue to deny or avoid this inescapable fact, then we really are dishonoring, as well as further endangering, our exemplary young volunteers. Why was the raid on Abbottabad so rightly called “daring”? Because it had to be conducted under the radar of the Pakistani Air Force, which “scrambled” its jets and would have brought the Black Hawks down if it could. That this is true is bad enough in all conscience. That we should still be submitting ourselves to lectures and admonitions from General Kayani is beyond shameful.

All in all, a pretty damning and well-written condemnation of a country which continues to devolve into an Islamic terror state.
The Wall Street Journal blog piece does include Christine Fair's rebuttal to the Hitch piece. However, note that the following:
His piece commences with a dramatic reference to rape -- not as a crime but as a punishment -- and honor killing. The former refers to the rare, horrific instances where women and girls are subject to sexual assault by, in the words of the author, "tribal and religious kangaroo courts." The latter refers to killing women (and sometimes men) in the name of honor. In this paragraph a complex polity of 180 million -- most of whom condemn both practices -- are essentialized as a barbarous people who embrace the notion that "moral courage consists of the willingness to butcher your own daughter." This literary amuse bouche foretells the absurdities, fallacies and dubious assertions in the rest of his troubling account of Pakistan's malaise.

does not deny that the above absurd punishments to women almost exclusively, something Ms. Fair omits to mention, often go unpunished. Her use of "amuse bouche" instead of "amuse gueule" can symbolize her avoidance of the vernacular nastiness of Pakistan back to the stable inside-the-beltway politesse that passes for diplomacy nowadays. And Ms. Fair reveals her disingenuous take
According to the USAID Green Book, in 2009, total economic assistance to Pakistan came to $1.35 billion and military assistance totaled $0.429 (for a grand sum of $1.78 billion). In 2009, Pakistan's gross domestic product was $162 billion. Calling this is a dependency is an obvious stretch. (In fairness, I too have been guilty of lapsing into this idiom until I crunched the numbers.)
on the totality of US Aid to Pakistan in a single year. I myself helped get the Paks $450 million in military assistance while working at Denis Neill's shop in 1986, by delivering a large six-figure check to John Kerry's office who happened to be the Chairman of the Dem Senatorial Campaign Committee that year. He and buddy Chris Dodd voted along with the GOP minority on the Sen Forn Rel Cte to give the Paks the aid shortly thereafter, and Charlie Wilson thanked me personally for the favor.

I won't go on except to note Ms. Fair's cheap shot at Israel, which reveals her alliance with Islamic lizards against our only true ally in the Middle East. But in the end, Ms. Fair is unable to answer the total subjection of Pak women [I was edified last night by the daughter of an assassinated Pak governor Tahseer who appeared on Rachel Maddow's show. RM commended the daughter for her "bravery" in appearing on US TV because of retaliation back home. I wonder if Ms. Fair has an answer to the Governor's daughter or to the young Christian woman being railroaded to a death sentence by a kangaroo court in Pakistan.]

And it is, knowing him as I do, a bit odd to have Christopher as a moral arbiter, but he is less of a moral leper than Zardari, Bhutto's hapless husband, or the egregious oaf Musharraf. Much as I liked many of the Paki gentlemen I met during my visits there in the late last-century, their country is a virtual hellhole of conflicting and self-destructive elements who are paranoid and a critical mass of potential nuclear disaster at the present moment.

Prospect of Perry Run Reminds GOP of GWB's Bozo "Compassionate Conservatism"

Rich Lowry has a few thoughts on what the prospect of Gov. Perry's forthcoming [?] bid for the POTUS job might mean to the GWB legacy, such as it is.
The backlash against Bush has long been brewing. Compassionate conservatism was a product of the moment when Bush began to run for president in the late 1990s. The congressional wing of the party had immolated itself in the government-shutdown fights and then the impeachment of Bill Clinton. A rebranding was in order, and Bush wanted to signal to general-election voters that they needn’t fear him.

Bush-style conservatism never really took with the broader party, although it gained acquiescence. The president usually gets his way with his congressional majority, so Bush could push through No Child Left Behind and the prescription-drug benefit. The war on terror and the Left’s hatred for him bonded conservatives to Bush whatever their misgivings. The nomination of John McCain — himself no down-the-line conservative — obscured the anti-Bush feeling.

Now, it’s in full flower and evident on all fronts, from spending and immigration to foreign policy, as Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns point out in Politico. Running on his message circa 1999, George W. Bush would be hard-pressed to gain traction in the current Republican party. Running on his record circa 2008 — the spending programs, the bailouts, the attempted amnesty and the two ongoing “hearts and minds” wars of counterinsurgency — he’d be booed from the stage. If Michele Bachmann didn’t drop-kick him off it first.

But Lowry then notes that we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
The Bush Republican party had grown flaccid and deserved to be trounced and built anew. But Bush had two insights. He realized that the party had to win over the center as well as the right, and that unadulterated doctrine would appeal most only to the doctrinaire. If Rick Perry thinks the 10th Amendment is going to have cachet with voters worried about their jobs, their wages, and the value of their homes, he’s been spending too much time at Federalist Society seminars.

On top of everything else, compassionate conservatism reflected the prosperity of the 1990s. As a candidate, Bush sometimes seemed to forget that economic self-interest trumps all else. In this economy, Republicans would be suicidal ever to forget that. Even as he preaches the old-time religion, Perry in his proto–stump speech returns again and again to a highly practical theme: his success in fostering a pro-jobs environment in Texas. Republicans may feel no need to be “compassionate” in the Bush sense — defensively vouching for their own good intentions — but they need to connect their agenda to their solicitude for the livelihoods of voters.

The GOP should remember that the incredibly obtuse moronic Gore-bot threw out his almost insurmountable advantages in the 2000 election by NOT concentrating on the Clinton economic feat of no deficits and a thriving economy---though the deficit diminishment was forced on the big-spending Clinton by a Republican Congress & Senate. The second-term Obama, uninspiring though he may be, is not an obtuse fool like the Gore-bot. The lamestream MSM will react predictably, Lowry notes, by trying to tout GWB's record as POTUS, just as they touted John McCain as a possible GOP nominee in 2008 before trying to destroy him like the NYT did with a smutty innuendo about an affair with a woman named Iseman just after his nomination was assured. The Gray Lady is still a slut with nary a journalistic bone in her ancient body:
As the press clues into the new anti-Bush drift of the GOP, we can expect a revival in Bush’s reputation. He will be portrayed as more reasonable, more internationalist, and altogether more statesmanlike than his benighted compatriots. If only it were still the party of George W. Bush will be the lament. And it will make the party even more glad that it’s not.

GWB was a busted flsh, as was BJ Clinton & to a lesser extent GHWB before Clinton. Reagan was the ONLY authentic POTUS since Eisenhower and America's dearth of leadership has made our great country suffer in the era after the two greatest wars in human history.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Assad Another MacBeth?

David Gardner of the FT has a Shakespearean take on Assad's ridiculous speech on June 20th, which I watched as the stick-insect moron stumbled pver his silly text:
...after more than 1,300 deaths, in his third address to the nation since the crisis erupted in mid-March, he said on Monday that Syrians “have showed great love and amity toward me I have never felt before”.

Whether or not Mr Assad is personally inclined to resolve the crisis by violence, he is beginning to appear like Macbeth – albeit without the imputed nobility of Shakespeare’s cadences – when he muses wearily (Act III, Scene IV) that: “I am in blood stepp’d in so far, that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.”

Gardner goes on to outline how Assad and his cronies may continue to wade in gore.
The Assads’ power base is far from unassailable. There are fissures within their minority Alawite community, a heterodox tributary of Shia Islam, through which they control the army and its elite units and the security services. Maher al-Assad’s 4th division is now so overstretched that the regime is having to use less reliable units it has kept starved of everything, from munitions to petrol, as a matter of policy. That implies risks in an army made up, if not commanded by, the majority Sunni population. The security forces’ casualties earlier this month at Jisr al-Shughour near the Turkish border followed a mutiny by about 50 soldiers and mid-ranking officers, Damascus-based diplomats say.

The chutzpah of the Syrian leadership is such that the photos and video of dead Syrian soldiers in Jisr al-Shughour [formerly Edessa, a famous Crusader redoubt in the early Middle Ages] is of soldiers murdered by Syria's brutal intelligence agencies who serve as political commissars with AK-47s aping Stalin's murderous goons by shooting soldiers less enthusiastic in their killing of innocent civilians. The vivid pictures are accompanied by plaintive commentary by the hypocritical RELIGION OF PEACE murderers. The likelihood of many of the citizens' being Christians is high in that part of Syria.

Gideon Rachman also isn't exactly optimistic:
A few weeks ago, I heard a senior person in the Obama administration talk about the situation in Syria. One of the problems with Bashar al-Assad, he said, was that the Syrian leader was still surrounded by his father’s old cronies. But one positive development, he mused, was that it was no longer possible simply to kill 10,000 protesters in a single city, as Hafez al-Assad once did.

I wonder whether that may be too optimistic?

The reports from Syria are certainly alarming. Refugees flooding across the Turkish border. And the citizens of the rebellious town of Jisr al-Shugour, bracing themselves for a full-scale assault by the army.

I think the idea that the Syrian army could not simply kill thousands of their fellow citizens was based on two assumptions – or, perhaps, hopes. First, that in the internet age, it would be impossible to carry out bloody repression on this scale, without immediately provoking a paralysing international outcry. Second, that the development of the international doctrine of a “responsibility to protect” brutalised civilians – even within the boundaries of a sovereign state – would make Assad junior stay his hand.

But, in fact, the Syrian control of international coverage of the unrest inside their country has been remarkably effective. A few smuggled out photos taken on mobile phones and some hasty phone interviews, on crackly lines, simply do not provide the depth of coverage and therefore the international pressure, generated by the hundreds of foreign reporters and cameras in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. So much, for all that guff about the irresistible power of Facebook and Twitter. Television cameras and foreign reporters on the ground still matter more.

As for the “responsibility to protect” – the Libyan intervention is the most dramatic example of the doctrine in action, yet recorded. But the problems and controversy surrounding Libya, have actually demonstrated how hard it will be to replicate. Even at the time of the Libyan resolution, it was pretty clear that the West was unlikely to have the stomach or the manpower to stage a similar operation in Syria.

The fact that China, Russia, South Africa and others feel that the UK, France and the US have gone well beyond the mandate to “protect civilians” in Libya – and are now clearly engaged in attempted regime change - is also making it much harder to get a new resolution on Syria approved.

So, all in all, I fear that the idea that the Syrian government will not be able to get away with mass murder may prove too optimistic. In the long run, I suspect a really savage crackdown will seal the fate of the Assad regime. But, in the short run, I think they could well get away with it. Let’s hope that, even now, they pull back.

ECB & Dutch Want EU Union to Support Euro

The Financial Times Gideon Rachman has a good article on the crisis that the Greek default poses for Europe.
As the Greek crisis worsens, so voices are being raised demanding new and more radical approaches. Forget the sticking plaster bail-outs and slice-by-slice austerity packages. The ultimate solution to the eurozone debt crisis is “political union”.

Last week Nout Wellink, the Dutch central bank governor, became the latest senior figure to float this idea, when he argued that the eurozone needs “an institutional set-up that has characteristics of a political union”. According to Mr Wellink, “a European finance ministry would be an important step in the right direction”. Jean-Claude Trichet, the head of the European Central Bank, has also backed the creation of a European finance ministry – which in turn implies a much larger central budget and more decisions on spending and taxation taken in Brussels, rather than in national capitals.

Those who argue that “political union” is the solution to the current crisis seem to believe that Europe’s problem is institutional. Unlike the US, the eurozone does not have the political institutions to back up a common currency. But if Europe was just equipped with a finance ministry or the facility to issue eurozone bonds or to tax citizens directly, everything could be fixed.

This is a profound misdiagnosis of the crisis. The real problem is political and cultural. There is not a strong enough common political identity in Europe to support the single currency. That is why German, Dutch and Finnish voters are revolting against the idea of bailing out Greece again – while Greeks riot against what they see as a new colonialism imposed from Brussels and Frankfurt.

To argue that even deeper political integration is the solution to this mess, is like recommending that a man with alcohol poisoning should treat himself with a more powerful brand of vodka.

For what it's worth, historian Niall Ferguson pointed out on CNN that Greece in the past has hardly been a satisfactory place to rely on for investments. In 1870, a horrific total bankruptcy threw the country into fiscal chaos for years. A hopeless recidivist? But the arrogant socialist elitists defy history and claim it's a brand new day and "morning in Old Europe."
It is important to understand that the origins of the current crisis lie precisely in the dream of political union in Europe. For the true believers, currency union was always just a means to that greater end. It was a way of “building Europe”. If bits of the construction were missing – such as a European finance ministry – they could be added later. Helmut Kohl, the chancellor of Germany in the early 1990s, was so convinced of the need to bind a united Germany into the European Union that he was prepared to press ahead with the euro, in the face of 80 per cent opposition from the German public.

At a seminar in London last week, Joschka Fischer, a former German foreign minister, who is one of the boldest advocates of deeper European unity, was unrepentant in defending this elitist model of politics. He insisted that most important foreign policy decisions in postwar Germany had been made in the teeth of public opposition. “It’s called leadership,” he explained.

Such leadership is all very well, if it is vindicated by events. However, if elite decisions go wrong, they create a backlash – which is exactly what is happening in Europe now. German voters were told repeatedly that the euro would be a stable currency and that they would not have to bail out southern Europe. They now feel betrayed and angry. Greek, Irish, Spanish and Portuguese voters were told repeatedly that the euro was the route to wealth on a par with that of northern Europe. They now associate the single currency with lost jobs, falling wages and slashed pensions. They too feel betrayed and angry.

So Kohl drank the Kool-Aid despite an 80% political polling opposition. The old Prussian autocratic gene lived on and cloud-cuckoo-land reformist elites knew better, as they always do. And now Angela has to suffer the spiked Kool-Aid's aftereffects.
As a result, the space for political manoeuvre is narrowing on either side of Europe’s creditor-debtor divide. The Greek government can barely muster a majority to force through its latest austerity package. The German government of Angela Merkel is losing support and is facing an increasingly Eurosceptic public. Meanwhile, radical anti-European parties are on the rise in other creditor nations, such as Finland and the Netherlands. Most European leaders still blithely assert that they will do whatever it takes to save the euro. But these leaders operate in democracies. If they take decisions that voters simply cannot accept, they will lose their jobs.

The relations between the peoples of the EU are cracking under the strain of the euro crisis. In Athens, demonstrators wave EU flags with the swastika imposed upon it. In Germany, the euro crisis has made it permissible to denounce profligate and corrupt southern Europeans. A single currency that was meant to bring Europeans together is instead driving them apart.

Insufferable arrogance and elitist autocratic habits die hard even though the effects of two World Wars and the forced imposition of democracy on some countries evidently has still not sunk in. How can the Gordian Knot be sliced if so many other places in Europe are still having problems gaining even national cohesion---let alone an international tour de force like a United Europe?
The politics of fiscal transfer are tricky, even in long-established nation states. Think of the strains between northern and southern Italy; or between Flanders and Wallonia in Belgium. But the tensions are far worse in a newly created eurozone of 17 nations with different histories, cultures and levels of economic development. Simply ignoring this – and trying to press ahead with a deeper political union – would invite an even more dangerous backlash in the future.

But if political union is not the answer to Europe’s problems, what is? There are two possible solutions. The eurozone leaders might somehow patch the current system up. Or the weaker members of the currency union – above all, Greece – could leave. That process would be chaotic and dangerous. But Greece, as it stands, is a demoralised country that has lost the sense that it controls its own government. Leaving the euro might just be the beginning of a national regeneration.

Long ago in DC, I had a long dinner with Nikos Papadopoulos, brother of the current beleaguered PM George Papadopoulos. Nikos was getting his PhD in Poli Sci from Princeton and spent the evening one-on-one telling me of how Greece and the Greek economy really worked, with a system of kickbacks and crony capitalism and local village podestas or regional czars and other special interests who had a say in just about everything. Add to that, the fact that in Greece, nobody pays their taxes and one-third of the employment is connected to government or is directly employed by the govt., and the Greeks have been walking on sunshine for the past few years, after having its own Treasury submitting falsified data, to this date with no retribution, in order to get into the EU and the Eurozone in the first place.

Michael Lewis summed up the entire Greek conundrum in a brilliant piece in Vanity Fair last October. What Nikos Papadopoulos told me almost thirty years ago still holds true today.

And Niall Ferguson may echo Gideon Rachmann's call for a Greek default and retreat to the drachma as the only sensible solution for a people simply too corrupt to be part of a true European polity.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Syria lnsurrection Seen by Obama as "Reform Possibility"

Obungler simply doesn't want another Libya, period.
Of all the depredations to suppress the Arab spring, the worst by far appear to be taking place in Syria. We say "appear" because President Bashar Assad's regime continues to ban foreign journalists, so what we know arrives piecemeal from phone calls, Internet messages and accounts from refugees.

The latest reports of horror come from Bdama in the northeast not far from the border with Turkey. Syrian troops entered the town on Saturday, backed by six tanks and more armored vehicles, firing at and burning homes and closing down the one shop that supplied bread for neighboring villages. Yesterday, the military and security forces blocked roads leading to the border, a blockade that is creating a humanitarian crisis as refugees run out of food and water.

Human rights monitors estimate that some 1,400 people have been killed, and 11,000 are missing or detained, since the Syrian uprising began more than three months ago. Mr. Assad is scheduled to address Syrians today, his first such remarks in two months. If history is any guide, he'll blame foreigners (and especially Israel) for the revolt, while combining threats with some kind of proposal for political reform and dialogue in an attempt to stop the uprising.

We doubt Syrians will fall for it, but the West may be another story. It's hard to believe, but President Obama is still holding out rhetorical hope that Mr. Assad could be a force for reform. What he ought to do instead is drop the illusions, denounce the regime's continuing assaults, and work with Turkey to assist the suffering Syrian people.

Euro and Dollar on "Race to the Bottom...!"

Today's WSJ has the bad news. Despite the turmoil in Greece [& all the PIGS], the dollar's fiscal weakness makes them neck and neck in the foot in a bucket race.
Rather than being considered a refuge, the dollar has increasingly been seen as a troubled currency, thanks in part to the poor U.S. fiscal outlook.

But many factors went into the wrong calls on the euro against the dollar. For starters, analysts underestimated the degree to which the European Central Bank would support the bond markets and banks of Greece, Portugal and Ireland. The rest of Europe's economy, meanwhile, proved much more resilient than expected, in large part thanks to strong export growth out of Germany and other so-called core euro-zone countries. At the same time, Spain, whose large economy many worried would tip the euro zone into free fall, has taken steps to shore up its finances.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy has turned out to be much weaker than expected, last year flirting with a double-dip recession. This time last year, expectations were that the Federal Reserve would likely raise rates long before the ECB. Instead, the Fed launched an unprecedented second round of quantitative easing, pumping money into the financial system through large purchases of bonds and pledging to keep interest rates low for an extended period. Then, earlier this year, the ECB raised rates, and it is expected to tighten again this summer.

The euro has also picked up support from China, which, as officials there did last week, repeatedly pledged to continue buying euro-zone debt. Moreover, in addition to China, managers of other countries' foreign reserves were adding to euro holdings as part of a gradual diversification away from the dollar, analysts said.

The result was that, for all of the euro zone's problems, the dollar was in worse shape. "It was a race to the bottom," says Deutsche Bank's Mr. Ruskin. While working at a different bank last May, Mr. Ruskin predicted the euro would fall to $1.1650 by the end of 2010; instead it finished at $1.33. "So far, the dollar has been winning that race," he says.

And as for Quantitative Easing, one Euro analyst :
was arguing the euro needed to fall to parity with the dollar in order to make peripheral economies like Greece more competitive.

Mr. Galy recently joked that he had been told by a student in a class he teaches that the parity call had been a contrarian signal to buy euros. "We made one fundamental mistake in judgment, which was basically Fed policy," Mr. Galy says.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Left Turn" by Tim Groseclose

USNews & World Report has a book review of a tome that won't be reviewed by Liberal Death Star NYT. Tim Groseclose is a UCLA professor---hope he's got tenure---so is this a solitary bleat from the barren pastures of academicide?
The liberal bias of the mainstream media tilts so far left that any outlets not in that political lane, like the Drudge Report and Fox News Channel, look far more conservative than they really are, according to a UCLA professor's new book out next month.

In a crushing body blow to the pushers of the so-called "Fox Effect," which claims the conservative media is dragging the left into the center, UCLA political science professor Tim Groseclose in Left Turn claims that "all" mainstream news outlets have a liberal bias in their reporting that makes even moderate organizations appear out of the mainstream and decidedly right-wing to news consumers who are influenced by the slant. [Read Fox's Huckabee slams MSNBC's Matthews, Scarborough over bias.]

"Fox News is clearly more conservative than ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and National Public Radio. Some will conclude that 'therefore, this means that Fox News has a conservative bias,'" he writes in an advance copy provided to Washington Whispers. "Instead, maybe it is centrist, and possibly even left-leaning, while all the others are far left. It's like concluding that six-three is short just because it is short compared to professional basketball players."

What's more, he says, "this point illustrates a common misconception about the Drudge Report. According to my analysis, the Drudge Report is approximately the most fair, balanced, and centrist news outlet in the United States. Yet, the overwhelming majority of media commentators claim that it has a conservative bias. The problem, I believe, is that such commentators mistake relative bias for absolute bias. Yes, the Drudge Report is more conservative than the average U.S. news outlet. But it is a logical mistake to use that to infer that it is based on an absolute scale."

And in further analysis sure to enrage critics of conservative media, Groseclose determines that Drudge, on a conservative to liberal scale of 0-100, with 50 being centrist, actually leans a bit left of center with a score of 60.4. The reason: Drudge mostly links to the sites of the mainstream media, with just a few written by Matt Drudge himself. "Since these links come from a broad mix of media outlets, and since the news in general is left-leaning, it should not be surprising that the slant quotient of the Drudge Report leans left," he writes. [Read Poll: Fox, O'Reilly most trusted news sources.]

The author developed a calculation to figure out the "political quotient" to find the bias of media outlets and the average slant of an organization.

Groseclose opens his book quoting a well-known poll in which Washington correspondents declared that they vote Democratic 93 percent to 7 percent, while the nation is split about 50-50. As a result, he says, most reporters write with a liberal filter. "Using objective, social-scientific methods, the filtering prevents us from seeing the world as it actually is. Instead, we see only a distorted version of it. It is as if we see the world through a glass—a glass that magnifies the facts that liberals want us to see and shrinks the facts that conservatives want us to see." [Check out political cartoons about the Democratic Party.]

He adds: "That bias makes us more liberal, which makes us less able to detect the bias, which allows the media to get away with more bias, which makes us even more liberal."

Some key points:

"Every mainstream national news outlet in the United States has a liberal bias."

"Supposedly conservative news outlets are not far right. For instance, the conservative bias of [Fox's] Special Report is significantly less than the liberal bias of CBS Evening News."

"Media bias aids Democratic candidates by about 8 to 10 percentage points in a typical election. I find, for instance, that if media bias didn't exist, John McCain would have defeated Barack Obama 56 percent to 42 percent, instead of losing 53-46." [See editorial cartoons about Barack Obama.]

Perhaps the most useful part of his book is the slant ratings of the media. The numbers are based on a conservative-to-liberal 0-100 rating, with 50 being centrist:

New York Times-73.7.
CBS Evening News-73.7.
NPR Morning Edition-66.3.
U.S. News & World Report-65.8.
Drudge Report-60.4.
ABC Good Morning America-56.1.
Washington Times-35.4.

Groseclose is not breaking new ground with this book. Back in 2005, a UCLA?UofMissouri Journalism School study of over TWENTY YEARS of media slanting of the news as measured by the Americans for Democratic Action index: the libtard bible of ideological purity among Congresscritters:
"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."

"Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left," said co‑author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.

The results appear in the latest issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, which will become available in mid-December.

Groseclose and Milyo based their research on a standard gauge of a lawmaker's support for liberal causes. Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) tracks the percentage of times that each lawmaker votes on the liberal side of an issue. Based on these votes, the ADA assigns a numerical score to each lawmaker, where "100" is the most liberal and "0" is the most conservative. After adjustments to compensate for disproportionate representation that the Senate gives to low‑population states and the lack of representation for the District of Columbia, the average ADA score in Congress (50.1) was assumed to represent the political position of the average U.S. voter.

Groseclose and Milyo then directed 21 research assistants — most of them college students — to scour U.S. media coverage of the past 10 years. They tallied the number of times each media outlet referred to think tanks and policy groups, such as the left-leaning NAACP or the right-leaning Heritage Foundation.

Next, they did the same exercise with speeches of U.S. lawmakers. If a media outlet displayed a citation pattern similar to that of a lawmaker, then Groseclose and Milyo's method assigned both a similar ADA score.

"A media person would have never done this study," said Groseclose, a UCLA political science professor, whose research and teaching focuses on the U.S. Congress. "It takes a Congress scholar even to think of using ADA scores as a measure. And I don't think many media scholars would have considered comparing news stories to congressional speeches."

Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS' "Evening News," The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Only Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.

The most centrist outlet proved to be the "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer." CNN's "NewsNight With Aaron Brown" and ABC's "Good Morning America" were a close second and third.

Tim Groseclose will be on The O'Reilly Factor and other conservative outlets, for sure. I wonder whether retarded Tweety-bird Matthews might beg for him to be on the pussy program Hardball, which plays with actual baseballs only when conservatives.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Progressives 'Break Up' With Obama

Not that the proglodyte­s pay attention to reality in any way, shape or form, but the fact is that despite many polls that show a much higher pct., the percentage of LBGT varieties is between one and two percent of the population­, far lower than other minorities and special interest groups [such as black, e.g.] who not only support Obama, but consider LGBT's as paraphilia­cs, to be very polite about the situation.

The proglodyte­s always soil their underwear in these situations in spectacula­r fashion. I recall working in Paris in the mid-nineti­es when a student group allied with the CGT proclaimed­, "no matter how much you will deign to give us, it will never be enough." I'm pretty sure that people who are congenital­ly on the far fringe of accepted human behavior are never going to be satisfied until their aberrant behavior is not only "accepted,­" but deemed the pre-eminen­t way to behave. It's in their nature to push boundaries­, sort of their imaginativ­e projection of themselves as "artistes,­" that really does not permit them to allow themselves to be just an average person.

As long as they act like elitists, without having somehow earned the respect of the community at large, they are not going to achieve their political and social goals. Something in their nature does not allow them to enjoy being completely accepted, and their outsider status is a key ingredient in their own self-imagi­ning as being somehow "special."
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How Partition Succeeded in 1947---Fouad Ajami

Fouad Ajami takes us back in time and explains the Middle East "Problem" succinctly and clearly.
"It had been quite a scramble, the prelude to the vote on Nov. 29, 1947, on the question of the partition of Palestine. The United Nations itself was only two years old and had just 56 member states; the Cold War was gathering force, and no one was exactly sure how the two pre-eminent powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, would vote. The Arab and Muslim states were of course unalterably opposed, for partition was a warrant for a Jewish state.

In the end, the vote broke for partition, the U.S. backed the resolution, and two days later the Soviet Union followed suit. It was a close call: 10 states had abstained, 13 had voted against, 33 were in favor, only two votes over the required two-thirds majority.

Now, some six decades later, the Palestinians are calling for a vote in the next session of the General Assembly, in September, to ratify a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. In part, this is an appropriation by the Palestinians of the narrative of Zionism. The vote in 1947 was viewed as Israel's basic title to independence and statehood. The Palestinians and the Arab powers had rejected partition and chosen the path of war. Their choice was to prove calamitous.

By the time the guns had fallen silent, the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Palestine, had held its ground against the combined armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. Its forces stood on the shores of the Red Sea in the south, and at the foot of the Golan Heights in the north. Palestinian society had collapsed under the pressure of war. The elites had made their way to neighboring lands. Rural communities had been left atomized and leaderless. The cities had fought, and fallen, alone.

Palestine had become a great Arab shame. Few Arabs were willing to tell the story truthfully, to face its harsh verdict. Henceforth the Palestinians would live on a vague idea of restoration and return. No leader had the courage to tell the refugees who had left Acre and Jaffa and Haifa that they could not recover the homes and orchards of their imagination.

Some had taken the keys to their houses with them to Syria and Lebanon and across the river to Jordan. They were no more likely to find political satisfaction than the Jews who had been banished from Baghdad and Beirut and Cairo, and Casablanca and Fez, but the idea of return, enshrined into a "right of return," would persist. (Wadi Abu Jamil, the Jewish quarter of the Beirut of my boyhood, is now a Hezbollah stronghold, and no narrative exalts or recalls that old presence.)

History hadn't stood still. The world was remade. In 1947-48, when the Zionists had secured their statehood, empires were coming apart, borders were fluid, the international system of states as we know it quite new. India and Pakistan had emerged as independent, hostile states out of the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, and Israel had secured its place in the order of nations a year later. Many of the Arab states were still in their infancy.

But the world is a vastly different place today. The odds might favor the Palestinians in the General Assembly, but any victory would be hollow.

The Palestinians have misread what transpired at the General Assembly in 1947. True, the cause of Jewish statehood had been served by the vote on partition, but the Zionist project had already prevailed on the ground. Jewish statehood was a fait accompli perhaps a decade before that vote. All the ingredients had been secured by Labor Zionism. There was a military formation powerful enough to defeat the Arab armies, there were political institutions in place, and there were gifted leaders, David Ben-Gurion pre-eminent among them, who knew what can be had in the world of nations.

The vote at the General Assembly was of immense help, but it wasn't the decisive factor in the founding of the Jewish state. The hard work had been done in the three decades between the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the vote on partition. Realism had guided the Zionist project. We will take a state even if it is the size of a tablecloth, said Chaim Weizmann, one of the founding fathers of the Zionist endeavor.

Sadly, the Palestinian national movement has known a different kind of leadership, unique in its mix of maximalism and sense of entitlement, in its refusal to accept what can and can't be had in the world of nations. Leadership is often about luck, the kind of individuals a people's history brings forth. It was the distinct misfortune of the Palestinians that when it truly mattered, and for nearly four decades, they were led by a juggler, Yasser Arafat, a man fated to waste his people's chances.

Arafat was neither a Ben-Gurion leading his people to statehood, nor an Anwar Sadat accepting the logic of peace and compromise. He had been an enemy of Israel, but Israel had reached an accord with him in 1993, made room for him, and for a regime of his choice in Gaza. He had warred against the United States, but American diplomacy had fallen under his spell, and the years of the Clinton presidency were devoted to the delusion that the man could summon the courage to accept a practical peace.

But Arafat would do nothing of the kind. Until his death in 2004, he refrained from telling the Palestinians the harsh truths they needed to hear about the urgency of practicality and compromise. Instead, he held out the illusion that the Palestinians can have it all, from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean. His real constituents were in the refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria and Jordan, and among the Palestinians in Kuwait. So he peddled the dream that history's verdict could be overturned, that the "right of return" was theirs.

There was hope that the Arafat legacy would go with him to the grave.The new Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas had been a lieutenant of Arafat's, but there were hints of a break with the Arafat legacy. The alliance between Fatah and Hamas that Mr. Abbas has opted for put these hopes to rest. And the illusion that the U.N. can break the stalemate in the Holy Land is vintage Arafat. It was Arafat who turned up at the General Assembly in 1974 with a holster on his hip, and who proclaimed that he had come bearing a freedom fighter's gun and an olive branch, and that it was up to the U.N. not to let the olive branch fall from his hand.

For the Palestinians there can be no escape from negotiations with Israel. The other Arabs shall not redeem Palestinian rights. They have their own burdens to bear. In this Arab Spring, this season of popular uprisings, little has been said in Tunis and Cairo and Damascus and Sanaa about Palestine.

The General Assembly may, in September, vote to ratify a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. But true Palestinian statehood requires convincing a decisive Israeli majority that statehood is a herald for normalcy in that contested land, for Arabs and Jews alike."

Newt Keeps Topping His Previous Eff-Ups---Just can't Help Himself?

Ho ho ho, I'm a laugh a minute!

Michael Isikoff rightly skewers Newt Gingrich for continuing to disgrace himself, committing error after error and digging an ever deeper hole, just like Demonrat nincompoop Anthony Weiner.

This pompous egomaniac is demonstrating again and again that he is the GOP analog to Weiner, not as smutty, but just as clueless and unaware and undisciplined as ever. He struts and frets his hour upon the stage expecting plaudits for past accomplishments while he actually comes across as very much like another silly dude [Al Gore], and slightly-less of a cad than John Edwards, [both Newt & JE left their wives when they were dealing with cancer....!] How can he expect the American people to feel sympathy with a third-wife kewpie doll whose account at Tiffany's was going to be paid by the movies she made on "American Exceptionalism" which were sold at Newt's NH & other centers as DVDs? Is she a sort of Republican version of Rielle Hunter, after all the dust has settled from Newt's long-ago displays of overweening self-regard and personal/political mistakes that would finish off a less self-absorbed fighter.

I really think he's a prime example of what happens to moral character after living inside the Beltway for three decades. It disappears, along with any sense of how the people out in Flyover Country feel about a fellow who keeps shilling himself as a "candidate of ideas" who apparently can't even think of a reason why people think he's strange to compare himself to Reagan. Remember that Nancy only got involved in her husband's politics a couple of YEARS AFTER HE WAS ELECTED POTUS.
To have some sort of former aide hijack his campaign strategy and expect the professionals to sit by and watch him cruising in the Aegean with her to "clear his head" shows just how totally self-absorbed Newt is----he'd make an AWFUL president.

Finally, he flails around so badly on TV that he says that the top staffers he hired are no good and he's glad to see them go! A few months after he used horrible judgment to HIRE THEM!

The guy is Rodney Dangerfield without even realizing why or how he achieves that total lack of respect from his peers and the voters.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Koch Brothers, Grover Norquist Split On Ethanol Subsidies

Ethanol is one of those dodges to give farmers a higher price for corn----et­hanol is so environmen­tally absurd that it actually costs far more to make a gallon of ethanol than it costs for a BTU equivalent in any fossil fuel----ga­s, oil, you name it. When Bob Dole was Sen Majority Ldr, the joke in DC was that Bob was the "Senator from Archer Daniels Midland."

I actually admire the Koch brothers, much maligned by the usual suspects on the left, for opposing these subsidies, as a matter of principle, because they would make more money from the subsidized ethanol than without it. Since Soros has zero principles whatsoever [except his long-term goal of destroying the dollar as he did the pound in the early '90s], the Koch family comes out on top in this tug of war.

Norquist is starting to make more enemies than is wise or necessary. His Palestinia­n wife has caused him to rag on Israel to the extent that he's starting to sound a bit shrill. Calling a sitting GOP senator a liar is an impolitic way to conduct yourself up on Capitol Hill. Even if he were a Dem, that language would have been considered over the top.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Idiots wearing white coats predict Solar sunspot minimum "Won't offset AGW caused by greenhouse emissions"

Frank Hill, National Solar Observatory, actually NOTan "idiot"

Science and scientists are falling into what the greatest physicist produced by the USA, Richard Feynman, called "Cargo Cult Science." To wit:
The term cargo cult science was first used by the physicist Richard Feynman during his commencement address at the California Institute of Technology, United States, in 1974, to negatively characterize research in the soft sciences (psychology and psychiatry in particular) - arguing that they have the semblance of being scientific, but are missing "a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty". Feynman used the allegory of a cargo-cultist to argue against an inductive approach to scientific theory whereby the previous behavior of a system is taken in isolation to predict its future performance, rather than a deductive approach in developing theory based on an understanding of the principles of operation of the system, informed and confirmed by previous behavior.....Just as cargo cultists create mock airports that fail to produce airplanes, cargo cult scientists conduct flawed research that superficially resembles the scientific method, but which fails to produce scientifically useful results.
Feynman cautioned that to avoid becoming cargo cult scientists, researchers must first of all avoid fooling themselves, be willing to question and doubt their own theories and their own results, and investigate possible flaws in a theory or an experiment. He recommended that researchers adopt an unusually high level of honesty which is rarely encountered in everyday life, and gives examples from advertising, politics, and behavioral psychology to illustrate the everyday dishonesty which should be unacceptable in science. Feynman cautions that "We've learned from experience that the truth will come out. Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. 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."

The idiots in question who evidently exhibit a quasi-religious belief in AGW are Germans, always a bit loony when it comes to voodoo religious phenomena and subject to "St. Vitus' Dance" collective mythologies in times of distress and general fearfulness, such as during the Black Death, when the collective misbehavior of the Germans was noted by historians of other nationalities.
A new Maunder-type solar activity minimum cannot offset the global warming caused by human greenhouse gas emissions," wrote authors Georg Feulner and Stefan Rahmstorf, noting that forecasts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have found a range of 3.7 Celsius to 4.5 Celsius rise by this century's end compared to the latter half of the 20th century.
"Moreover, any offset of global warming due to a grand minimum of solar activity would be merely a temporary effect, since the distinct solar minima during the last millennium typically lasted for only several decades or a century at most."

Only several decades or a century at most? Thank you, Georg & Stefan.
UPDATE: A non-idiot named Frank Hill, at the National Solar Observatory noted:
"The solar cycle may be going into a hiatus....This is highly unusual and unexpected....but the fact that three completely different views of the sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation."

Here are explanations and the conclusions that Hill derived from his team's research:
Sunspots are temporary patches on the surface of the sun that are caused by intense magnetic activity. These structures sometimes erupt into energetic solar storms that send streams of charged particles into space.
Since powerful charged particles from solar storms can occasionally wreak havoc on Earth's magnetic field by knocking out power grids or disrupting satellites in orbit, a calmer solar cycle could have its advantages.
Astronomers study mysterious sunspots because their number and frequency act as indicators of the sun's activity, which ebbs and flows in an 11-year cycle. Typically, a cycle takes roughly 5.5 years to move from a solar minimum, when there are few sunspots, to the solar maximum, during which sunspot activity is amplified.
Currently, the sun is in the midst of the period designated as Cycle 24 and is ramping up toward the cycle's period of maximum activity. However, the recent findings indicate that the activity in the next 11-year solar cycle, Cycle 25, could be greatly reduced. In fact, some scientists are questioning whether this drop in activity could lead to a second Maunder Minimum, which was a 70-year period from 1645 to 1715 when the sun showed virtually no sunspots. [Video: Rivers of Fire Inflame Sunspots]
Hill is the lead author of one of the studies that used data from the Global Oscillation Network Group to look at characteristics of the solar interior. (The group includes six observing stations around the world.) The astronomers examined an east-west zonal wind flow inside the sun, called torsional oscillation. The latitude of this jet stream matches the new sunspot formation in each cycle, and models successfully predicted the late onset of the current Cycle 24.
"We expected to see the start of the zonal flow for Cycle 25 by now, but we see no sign of it," Hill said. "The flow for Cycle 25 should have appeared in 2008 or 2009. This leads us to believe that the next cycle will be very much delayed, with a minimum longer than the one we just went through."
Hill estimated that the start of Cycle 25 could be delayed to 2021 or 2022 and will be very weak, if it even happens at all.

The second study's conclusions use different methodologies, but come to essentially the same conclusion that a long-term period of solar cooling [as happened in the sixties & seventies in the northern hemisphere] might be in store for our planet after three decades of GW.
In the second study, researchers tracked a long-term weakening trend in the strength of sunspots, and predict that by the next solar cycle, magnetic fields erupting on the sun will be so weak that few, if any, sunspots will be formed.
With more than 13 years of sunspot data collected at the McMath-Pierce Telescope at Kitt Peak in Arizona, Matt Penn and William Livingston observed that the average magnetic field strength declined significantly during Cycle 23 and now into Cycle 24. Consequently, sunspot temperatures have risen, they observed.
If the trend continues, the sun's magnetic field strength will drop below a certain threshold and sunspots will largely disappear; the field no longer will be strong enough to overcome such convective forces on the solar surface.

In a separate study, Richard Altrock, manager of the Air Force's coronal research program at NSO's facility in New Mexico, examined the sun's corona and observed a slowdown of the magnetic activity's usual "rush to the poles."
"A key thing to understand is that those wonderful, delicate coronal features are actually powerful, robust magnetic structures rooted in the interior of the sun," Altrock said. "Changes we see in the corona reflect changes deep inside the sun."
Altrock sifted through 40 years of observations from NSO's 16-inch (40 centimeters) coronagraphic telescope.
New solar activity typically emerges at a latitude of about 70 degrees at the start of the solar cycle, then moves toward the equator. The new magnetic field simultaneously pushes remnants of the past cycle as far as 85 degrees toward the poles. The current cycle, however, is showing some different behavior.
"Cycle 24 started out late and slow and may not be strong enough to create a rush to the poles, indicating we'll see a very weak solar maximum in 2013, if at all," Altrock said. "If the rush to the poles fails to complete, this creates a tremendous dilemma for the theorists, as it would mean that Cycle 23's magnetic field will not completely disappear from the polar regions. … No one knows what the sun will do in that case."
If the models prove accurate and the trends continue, the implications could be far-reaching.
"If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we'll see for a few decades," Hill said. "That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth's climate."

No one knows what the sun will do in that case except Georg & Stefan, and they ain't talking.....!
"Live Science has a piece published June 6th reviewing some of the past sunspot histories and what scientists who actually don't jump to conclusions like Georg & Stefan theorize what may be going on.
A dearth of bright spots on the sun might have contributed to a frigid period known as the "little ice age" in the middle of the past millennium, researchers suggest.
From the 1500s to the 1800s, much of Europe and North America were plunged into what came to be called the little ice age. The coolest part of this cold spell coincided with a 75-year period beginning in 1645 when astronomers detected almost no sunspots on the sun, a time now referred to as the Maunder Minimum.
Past studies had mulled over whether the decreased solar activity seen during the Maunder Minimum might have helped cause the little ice age. Although sunspots are cool, dark regions on the sun, their absence suggests there was less solar activity in general. Now scientists suggest there might have been fewer intensely bright spots known as faculae on the sun as well during that time, potentially reducing its brightness enough to cool the Earth.
The dip in the number of faculae in the 17th century might have dimmed the sun by just 0.2 percent, which may have been enough to help trigger a brief, radical climate shift on Earth, researcher Peter Foukal, a solar physicist at research company Heliophysics in Nahant, Mass., told LiveScience.
"The sun may have dimmed more than we thought," Foukal said.
Foukal emphasized this dimming might not have been the only or even main cause of the cooling seen during the little ice age. "There were also strong volcanic effects involved — something like 17 huge volcanic eruptions then," he said.
Foukal also cautioned these findings regarding the sun did not apply to modern-day global warming. "Increased solar activity would not have anything to do with the global warming seen in the last 100 years," he explained.

Caution is always better than religious certainty.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ObamaCare Unconstitutional? Looks like it so far.

The Atlanta Fourth Circuit of Appeals may be where ObamaCare gets its comeuppance.
Three U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals are poised to render decisions on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the coming months. Despite hundreds of briefing pages and numerous oral arguments, government lawyers have yet to address the law's most basic constitutional infirmity. Only a "general police power"—the right to enact laws alleged to be in the public interest without regard to interstate commerce or some other federal legislative authority—can support the law's centerpiece, the "individual mandate" that all Americans purchase health insurance. The Constitution denies that power to the federal government, reserving it to the states alone.

The Atlanta Court is going to decide whether ObamaCare is an illegal usurpation of the rights of states, who will be required in the Law to administer the 2700 pages of garbage and lies in the ridiculous piece of sh*t this doofus of a POTUS has foisted on the body politic. Government lawyers are flailing away trying to show that the silly language of the law actually doesn't mean what it says:
Requiring individuals to act simply because they exist is the defining aspect of the general police power that Congress lacks. The government's lawyers, recognizing this fundamental constitutional reality, have tried to rewrite the law so that it can withstand judicial scrutiny. They have claimed that the individual mandate is a tax, despite common sense, judicial precedent, and numerous statements to the contrary by the law's sponsors and President Obama. They have also argued that ObamaCare does not actually impose a mandate on inactive citizens, but rather regulates how individuals will pay for their health care. As Solicitor General Neal Katyal recently put it, the mandate is "about failure to pay, not failure to buy." This is plainly wrong. The law requires that everyone have health insurance—without regard to whether or how they buy or pay for medical services.

At least the government realizes now that it has a serious problem on its hands. They could have followed a different path and grasped the political nettle, but being Demonrat cowards and craven con-artist congresspersons, they copped out:
Congress, of course, could regulate how actual, not hypothetical, health care is bought or paid for. There are also ways in which Congress could, constitutionally, achieve the near-universal health-care coverage it sought by passing ObamaCare. Most directly, it could raise taxes to pay for universal coverage. But this option would carry far higher political costs than the scheme Congress actually adopted, which effectively shifts the costs (and ultimately the inevitable need to raise taxes) to the states.

That's why ObamaCare is so constitutionally pernicious. Our Framers adopted a dual-sovereignty architecture, dividing powers between the national government and the states. As Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy explained in United States v. Lopez (1995), this division achieves two goals. It protects individual liberty, and it ensures that voters can identify which level of government is responsible for what policies so that a proper accounting can be made at the ballot box.

Consistent with the fundamental principle that the federal government is one of limited, enumerated powers, more than 220 years of case law requires that exercises of the commerce power be grounded in a meaningful, judicially enforceable, limiting principle. ObamaCare's defenders can't articulate such a principle.

This is probably the key issue which will sink the ObamaCare Leviathan before its official launch after next year's elections---another political dodge by a cowardly craven POTUS and a collection of con-congresspeople lacking even the basic honesty and personal principle to stand by the silly law they intend to be the camel's nose under the tent of a complete statist socialist nanny-society where everything is illegal unless the bureaucrats at their DC desks deem it permissable---in other words, the European model which has led to a meltdown in the old centrally-run economic states with the [partial] exceptions of Germany, France & the UK, all three of which are balanced precariously near falling over the precipice into hopeless economic and political stagnation. But I digress:
They began with the claim that there was no difference between activity and inactivity, since both involved decisions, and thus could be reached under the commerce power. Having largely abandoned this unwinnable argument, they now claim that the mandate does not really compel individuals to buy insurance, but merely regulates their inevitable future health-care consumption.

But because the future consumption of nearly all existing goods and services is inevitable across the entire population, this argument means that Americans can then be compelled to purchase an infinite variety of goods and services chosen by Washington. Far from limiting what government can do, this is the ultimate enabling principle. Even Soviet apparatchiks, who told producers what to make, did not dare tell people what to buy.

ObamaCare's defenders have sought to manufacture another limiting principle. They claim that health care is unique because everyone will use medical services, health-care costs can be financially ruinous for uninsured individuals, and others will then have to pick up the slack by subsidizing consumers who do not pay their medical bills. Yet any number of national markets, including the housing market, share these same characteristics.

Thus the administration's position comes to this: What is one unconstitutional law, more or less, among friends? Health care is simply more important than any other issue. And Congress can be trusted to act responsibly, imposing purchase mandates only when they are essential. That's why Congress can mandate medical insurance but would never require Americans to buy broccoli. The courts have always found such promises constitutionally insufficient.

When will this be decided in Atlanta? And if negatively, when does it go before SCOTUS? No one knows yet. But this is what the court will remind itself is at stake:
Both before and after the Supreme Court accepted the constitutionality of federal economic regulations in the late 1930s, it has consistently stated that there are limits on federal power and, in particular, on Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce. It has upheld those limits in a number of cases, making clear that federal regulation cannot reach into areas too remote from legitimate federal concerns.

If ObamaCare is to be upheld, then the Supreme Court will have to abandon these precedents, along with the plain meaning of the Constitution. It will also have to concede that our federal system is in fact not one of divided authority between federal and state governments, but one in which the states merely act as Washington's administrative enforcers. There is every reason to believe the court would never entertain such a notion.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Vietnam Calls for US Help vis-a-vis China

Once again, the Vietnamese government is fighting the Chinese attempt to dominate the resource rich South China Sea. As in 1979 with the border clashes between the two countries, nationalist feelings are running high.

When I was learning Vietnamese language skills at the Vietnam Training Center in Arlington in 1970-71, I read a lot about the previous history of Vietnam, and their intense nationalist drive for freedom from the Chinese. I came across the famous meeting between Sun Yat Sen, the initiator of Chinese freedom in 1912, and Ho Chi Minh. Sun was of Viet ethnic origin, and congratulated Ho for his people's 16th century migration southward to free themselves from the Chinese tyrannical Han dictatorship. Vietnam actually means "The South Viet People" as opposed to the North Viet who stayed in S. China and were conquered and assimilated into the Chinese mainstream.

When the foolish simpleton Dean Rusk preached that the Vietnamese Communists were just the cat's paw of the PRC, he was lying.

Perhaps I digress when I note that Dean was the most colossally dishonest diplomat in US history, and arguably also among the most stupid. Rusk was the Asst. SecState for E. Asia in 1950 when he wrote the speech Dean Acheson gave naming the countries that the US would go to war to save. Inexplicably, S. Korea was left off the list and when Stalin heard this, he thought it was a symptom of US "softness." It was only Rusk's stupidity and Acheson's carelessness not to vet the speech and see the glaring omission. Fifty thousand Americans died because Demonrats are stupid traitors. Obama hasn't reached that level of perfidy yet, but we can't give him four more years to mess up.

You won't read this in American histories of that era, as historians are mostly of the left and don't want their icons tarnished beyond repair.

Hopefully, this time the US & Vietnam can work in tandem to oppose the real menace to Asia & the rest of the planet. Stopping Chinese expansionism is just the beginning of a long struggle to keep Asia in some sort of economic equilibrium.
The Financial Times reports that US naval basing privileges are now being considered by the Vietnamese government in Cam Ranh Bay [built by the USA back in the day].
The FT notes that Russia has sold Vietnam six Sukhoi-class subs which may mean that Russian ships will be allowed some basing and docking privileges in Cam Ranh....
...changing dynamics of global security mean that, in a twist of fate, American and Russian ships may soon be back at Cam Ranh Bay, this time working alongside each other and the Vietnamese to counterbalance an ever stronger China.

Isn't foreign policy aptly named "The Great Game?"

Politico Buries The Lede in Paragraph Eight

POLITICO continues its shameless flacking for Obama. It buries a significant story on para 8 of its piece on Obama's 2012 strategy:
Moreover, local organizers have been given the authority to pitch Stewart and other officials on getting involved in local Democratic races and other fights to help build relationships and give their operatives valuable live-fire experience.

They played just such a cameo role in Rep. Kathy Hochul’s come-from-behind victory in New York’s 26th congressional district. Obama aides say they are also likely to be involved in efforts to recall GOP state legislators in Wisconsin and in pushing for the rollback of SB-5, the Ohio law curtailing some collective bargaining rights of state employees.

This indicates just how far the Obamanomics is in hock to the unions.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Drill Deeper and You Will Be Rewarded

Exxon Mobil hit the jackpot 7000 feet under the earth's surface and 230 miles offshore.
Exxon Mobil Corp.'s huge new oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico is good news for domestic energy production, but it's even better news as a sign that last year's panic over the BP spill won't continue to cripple American offshore oil exploration. Every so often, reality triumphs over politics.

Exxon had been ready to drill on the site last year before the Obama Administration shut down all deepwater drilling in the wake of the BP spill. The Interior Department is still issuing very few permits, only 15 for new wells since it lifted its moratorium in October, but Exxon received one of them and struck black gold at 7,000 feet below sea level and some 230 miles at sea.

That's nearly 3,000 feet deeper than BP's Macondo well and shows how technology and innovation have opened up oil and gas resources that were impossible to detect, much less reach and develop, only a few years ago. Exxon estimates the field contains some 700 million barrels of oil equivalent, one of the largest finds of the last decade.

The great energy irony of recent years is that governments have thrown hundreds of billions of dollars at wind, solar, ethanol and other alternative fuels, yet the major breakthroughs have taken place in the traditional oil and natural gas business. Hydraulic fracturing in shale, horizontal drilling and new seismic techniques are only the best known examples.

Of course, politics still trumps economics when you're dealing with marxist maniacs doing a Chicken Little imitation on AGW. The strong indication that sunspots might affect the planet's weather far more than burning forests in the Amazon or even the ridiculously filthy brown coal electricity hellpots in Communist China doesn't keep the NEW RELIGION and its HIGH PRIESTS from issuing ex cathedra nonsense from science journals. The efforts to make any deviance from the Lysenko type of APPROVED SCIENTIFIC DOCTRINE of the USSR under Stalin mutatis mutandis Stateside HERESY are hopelessly laughable, but ridiculing pious fools like NASA chief-chimp Hansen & the East Anglia Synod of True Believers can't stop crooked politicians of the Left trying to tax us all for exhaling Carbon Dioxide. Here's more from the WSJ:
The risk of oil spills has not vanished. But one lesson of the BP debacle is that better management and practices could have prevented it. The Obama Administration is making it harder to obtain permits, which will eliminate all but the biggest companies from deepwater drilling and (unfortunately) raise the cost of production.

Far more important for safety is the effort that the oil industry is taking to contain future deepwater spills. ConocoPhillips, Exxon, Shell and Chevron have led an effort, since joined by other companies, to form the Marine Well Containment Co. to build a spill containment system that will be permanently placed in the Gulf starting next year.

The companies are attempting to apply the lessons from the BP fiasco, and their expectation is that the system would be able to handle a blowout as if it were a contained well at depths of up to 10,000 feet. The companies have committed $1 billion to the project, and we're told the cost could reach $1.5 billion. If you believe Big Oil companies are inherently evil, you'll think this is one more confidence trick. But no rational company or CEO wants to endure the reputational damage that accompanied the BP spill.

Frantic hysteric hand-flailing imbecility and sanctimonious homilies from the New York Times to the contrary notwithstanding, it appears that the US economy will not sink under the weight of government bureaucrats' attempts to curb every new project to develop new oil field discoveries.

Dowager crone Elizabeth Warren may inflict crone-barren restrictions on the financial community, but it looks like the EPA can't keep new offshore projects that far away from our shores under control---not when the EPA's allies in the PRC are drilling off Cuba much closer to US shores.

Brewers, Phillies, Bosox All Playing Red Hot

Three of my five fave teams are playing red hot. When Colin Cowherd said he thought the Brewers would win the World Series last March, I thought his Kool-Aid was, well, cool, but that his British heritage might have got him confused vis-a-vis cricket.
With their 23rd victory in their last 31 games, the Brewers drew even in the loss column with the first-place Cards, who will take a half-game lead in the NL Central into the series finale Sunday. In taking their second game in a row from the leaders, the Brewers moved nine games over .500 for the first time this season.

That 23-8 surge began on May 9, which just happened to be the day Zack Greinke won his first game for the Brewers. He is 6-0 since that day, and his team is 7-0 in his starts over that span.

Just coincidence that Greinke's winning streak coincides with the Brewers putting together the best record in the majors over that stretch? Not hardly.

"He's an exciting player," said Corey Hart, who capped the decisive four-run, sixth-inning outburst against Cards starter Chris Carpenter with a two-run double.

"We play good behind him. I don't know if that's coincidence. We all know since he got here we've been a really good team."

Greinke, who likes to talk about his hitting, had plenty to brag about after starting the winning rally with a leadoff single against Carpenter. Even with that hit, however, he paid tribute to his mound opponent.

"Zack came back in and said, 'His cutter's nasty,'" said Roenicke. "I said, 'How did you hit it?' He said, 'It didn't cut as much.'

"I thought we were in trouble, the way he came out throwing."

Greinke switched to the National League, as did Cliff Lee, because he is an all-purpose athlete and wanted his at-bats, which neither could get in the DH American League. Both Greinke & Lee are pitching much better than they hit, but they're still hitting quite well, as is fellow-Phillie Cole Hamels.

The Bosox are also clambering higher in the AL East after a dismal start---usually they start fast and do a September fade-to-black.

I wanted to make it to the Brewers/Marlins matchup the night Def Leppard & Heart played after the game last Saturday, but Niki was in finals mode on taking her LSATs, so no go.... I like the Marlins and the Cubs, but Chicago is in full tailspin even before the All-Star break and the Marlins have lost 7 one-run games, despite some good hitting from Logan Morrison. The absence of Josh Johnson & Hanley Ramirez hurts badly. I just don't know what we can do for the Cubs, who might try to outbid the Yankees for Prince Fielder at the end of the year....Milwaukee won't trade him & will try to stay in a bidding war, but as with Sabathia, it's small market versus the Colossus of The East Coast.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Canada Assimilates to Immigrants Rather than Vice Versa

Canada's inferiority complex is well-deserved. It is the only country which tries to assimilate to the standards of its immigrants, which shows an underweening lack of confidence in its own wobbly constitution---such as it is---and its own institutions:
For Canada as a whole, 437 more incidents were reported in 2009 than in 2008. In 2008, there was also a large 35 per cent increase in reported crimes.
Statistics Canada says that 54 per cent of the crimes were motivated by race or ethnicity, 29 per cent by religion and 13 per cent by sexual orientation.
Out of the religion-motivated offenses, those against the Jewish faith accounted for 71 per cent of the crimes.

But who can blame the inferior race of losers, it's them Joooooos that made'em that way, don't you see, eh?

ABC/WaPo Poll Duplicates CBS/Gallup: Romney 49-46 over Obungler

Romney is looking better and better. I don't understand why he isn't pushing himself in the Ames straw poll next week. He is already making RINO noises on the climate so as to get the lamestream MSM, whose mendacious habits are useful in getting a gullible American public the "vibe" that someone has credibility. Might as well go with the flow.

That will work until and unless a REAL Republican like Rick Perry or Paul Ryan or Chris Christie starts to run. Then the lamestream MSM will hop in against them and the independents may finally see the losers in the L-MSM for what they are. Liars and cheats and traitors, not to mention mendacious zit-heads.

LA Times Refuses to Publish Obama Dining with Ayers, Khalidi

Obama is a fool as is becoming more apparent daily. Ayers is a criminal who should have been behind bars, not dining with a goofball from Hawaii, or Djakarta, or Kenya. But Khalidi is not a "PLO Operative."

I've met both Ayers when I was in SDS in Ann Arbor for a very short time, and his gorgeous girl-friend Diana Oughton, who he managed to blow up by giving her lousy instructions on how to make a bomb. Ayers is a cunning criminal as is Kathy Boudin, who managed to escape the blast badly injured, yet was not arrested.

Rashid was an advisor to the PLO when I knew him [I was a FSO diplomat assigned to the Middle East] at the behest of the State Department, which wanted the PLO to be minimally responsive to Israeli demarches instread of intractably stupid, which is the Arab default mode.

A simple-minded fool like Obama is way over his head on these matters, and should be summarily dismissed in November, 2012.

Bye bye, Newt

Fee Fi Fo Fum, Etcetera

My Two Bits on Newt's Many Monster Flubs.
The three deal-breakers. As Fred Barnes noted @ The Weekly Standard, it was the wife. Jewelry & amateur weirdness.

Second, Newt seems to have a hidden sloth gene or at least an aversion to plodding day-by-day building an infrastructure. Instead, he believes in "L'audace, toujours l'audace."

Third, the guy is very full of himself---his coup in '94 filled his head with much more ambition than mere mortals could manage and, as with the govt. shutdown in '96, he kept stepping on his own feet trying to get ahead. For every good accomplishment, he seemed to acquire a political tone deafness which began to transfer into his personal life. In '98, he got into a love triangle or quadrangle or whatever so nasty he walked out on a wife suffereing from cancer. By 2000, he was on his third and present wife, with a whole new perspective.

Personal note: Right after Newt was whining about leaving Air Force One via the rear exit, something the BJ man made him do, I saw him in Amman Jordan pull up to a hotel in a huge limo-SUV big enough for two dozen people. Five minutes later up comes Dick Gephardt, the minority leader, in a tiny sedan barely larger than a VW beetle. The guy is simply a nasty egomaniac.

He may know more second and third tier stuff than any Republican, but the Chinese vote in Iowa?----he's an undisciplined eccentric.

This year, it's the Economy Stupid, all over again. And with the economy, jobs. Let's forget about abolishing the EPA until AFTER you're elected.

Quantitative Easing Running out of String

Don't Worry, I won't DOUBLE DIP on you, Liberty

QE2 is printing money to avert a default.
In November 2010, the Federal Reserve announced a second round of economic stimulus commonly referred to as Quantitative Easing (QE2). The reason, according to the Fed, was “progress toward its objectives has been disappointingly slow.” So, to try and turn the economy around, the Fed said, “. . . the Committee intends to purchase a further $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by the end of the second quarter (June) of 2011, a pace of about $75 billion per month.” (Click here to read the complete announcement from the Fed.) QE means the Fed basically creates money out of thin air to buy debt. The current money printing orgy is financing more than half of U.S. government right now. The first round of QE bought toxic mortgage debt and bailed out the bankers.

What was not said in the press release was much more important and may go down as one of the biggest turning points in the history of America. Bringing on QE2 meant QE1 ($1.75 trillion) failed to provide a sustained recovery. It also exposed the $12.3 trillion total spent or loaned by the Fed since the meltdown of 2008 failed to give the economy a lasting boost. The Fed did save some businesses and all the big Wall Street Banks from bankruptcy, but we now know nothing has really been fixed.

Here's part of an AFP article in which the Chinese version of S&P & Moody"s & Fitch says the US is already defaulting:
The US government will run out of room to spend more on August 2 unless Congress bumps up the borrowing limit beyond $14.29 trillion -- but Republicans are refusing to support such a move until a deficit cutting deal is reached.
Ratings agency Fitch on Wednesday joined Moody's and Standard & Poor's to warn the United States could lose its first-class credit rating if it fails to raise its debt ceiling to avoid defaulting on loans.
A downgrade could sharply raise US borrowing costs, worsening the country's already dire fiscal position, and send shock waves through the financial world, which has long considered US debt a benchmark among safe-haven investments.
China is by far the top holder of US debt and has in the past raised worries that the massive US stimulus effort launched to revive the economy would lead to mushrooming debt that erodes the value of the dollar and its Treasury holdings.
Beijing cut its holdings of US Treasury securities for the fifth month in a row to $1.145 trillion in March, down $9.2 billion from February and 2.6 percent less than October's peak of $1.175 trillion, US data showed last month.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Thursday urged the United States to adopt "effective measures to improve its fiscal situation".

But maybe an accounting tweak might allow us to extend our debt liability splurge beyond the end of the second Quarter [June]. We'll see in three weeks.

But rest assured because Obama has promised that we will not have a double dip recession. Ha ha ha [through my tears.]

Thatcher Foundation Chief Blasts Guardian's "Minimal Credibility."

The Guardian has a blog by a pair of disreputable scumbags who've perpetrated the lie that Margaret Thatcher evinced no desire to meet with Sarah Palin. Here is an official statement from the Thatcher Foundation putting paid to that lie by the Guardian:
I have no inside knowledge of this business to offer I am afraid and certainly am not in a position to make any kind of statement on Lady Thatcher’s behalf. I’m happy though to give you my personal view.

The Guardian, of course, is not a newspaper at all sympathetic to Lady Thatcher (or to Mrs. Palin), so reports on this topic, from that source, have minimal credibility. If nothing else, would Lady Thatcher have ever described a prominent US conservative politician as ‘nuts’, or approved an ‘ally’ who used the description? I would hope that question answers itself.

Of course, sadly, Lady Thatcher’s health is not good these days and such considerations naturally dominate her schedule. That much is true. Someone once said that if you plaster together the true and the false you thereby manufacture the plausible, but in this case I don’t think even that much has been achieved by the Guardian.

On the ‘Malvinas’, the OAS never learns and the State Department endlessly seeks to curry favour with it for the sake of the a quiet life. The question is a closed one as far as we in Britain are concerned, as it is in the Falklands themselves where opinion is undivided.

Best wishes,
Christopher Collins
Margaret Thatcher Foundation

It's hardly news that the Guardian and its phalanx of leftist rubbish liners and fishwrap such as the Independent are congenitally dishonest---the BBC I watch every night here in Florida is a lying and biased outlet, but the BBC does have news from all around the world, which the lamestream MSM assiduously avoids for budget and comprehension reasons. So it does have its uses and as a former diplomat and political officer, I can read between the lines and discern what's actually going on.

Wintour & Watt are a pair of pond scum suitable for vacuuming by insects and reptiles and other higher forms of life than they are.