Monthly Archives: November 2009
I definitely lean toward defining his presidency as “catastrophic” in more than a general sense. I read a piece by Jacob Weisberg in Salon that managed to inadvertantly define the idelogocial rift between the right and left very well (not that it is any secret, but it is interesting to see it laid out so blatantly at times) and understand how catastrophic Obama could be to our existing way of life if not vigorously opposed.
In his article, Weisberg is essentially trying to explain away Obama’s lack of accomplishment in this first 10 months in office by saying that should he pass just one of his “transformational” agenda items before his first State of the Union address, he will be the most accomplished president in the last 70 years.
If, as seems increasingly likely, Obama wins passage of a health care reform a bill by that date, he will deliver his first State of the Union address having accomplished more than any other postwar American president at a comparable point in his presidency. This isn’t an ideological point or one that depends on agreement with his policies. It’s a neutral assessment of his emerging record—how many big, transformational things Obama is likely to have made happen in his first 12 months in office.
Of course Weisberg’s “neutral assessment” isn’t at all neutral. His assertion that what Obama is trying to accomplish are “transformational” implies that they’re also positive. And that’s the difference between the right and the left as we consider these “things” Obama wants passed into law. The right, of course, wouldn’t consider passing Obama’s agenda to be an accomplishment at all. In fact, the right considers that agenda to be destructive, not transformational. If the right was to use the term “transformational”, it would do so describe the agenda as destructive to the traditions which made America’s great. Or, more succinctly, the right sees his agenda as an erosion of freedom and liberty and a huge step toward the collectivism of America.
But how does Weisberg – and the left – see them?
We are so submerged in the details of this debate—whether the bill will include a “public option,” limit coverage for abortion, or tax Botox—that it’s easy to lose sight of the magnitude of the impending change. For the federal government to take responsibility for health coverage will be a transformation of the American social contract and the single biggest change in government’s role since the New Deal.
Weisberg sees this huge expansion of government control as a feature, not a bug. This is a “good thing”, and he implies even more would be better. So there’s little doubt that he will consider such an “accomplishment” as wonderful and Obama as a “consequential” president in a most positive way. Meanwhile the right will also see him as a consequential president but in a catastrophic way – essentially changing forever the dynamic that has made America the exception in the world and instead turning it into another western European semi-socialist “paradise” destined for mediocrity and decline.
And guys like Jacob Weisberg will be standing on the sidelines applauding the whole way down. It is that applause, so to speak, that absolutely puzzles the right. We’ve yet to understand, given what this country has accomplished and done in its short history – its short exceptional history – why people like Weisberg want to so fundamentally change it and make it like the rest of the mediocre countries of the world. It’s simply unfathomable to most of us.
Interestingly, many of those who bought into the campaigning Obama’s promise to be “transformational” are finding his definition (and that of the liberal left) as put into practice to not at all be the transformation they were assuming when they supported him. They’re beginning to realize they were gulled. The problem, however, is now they’re stuck with him, can see the catastrophe on the horizon and can’t really do a whole heck of a lot about it. It’s like New Orleans with Katrina bearing down on it. Stuck in town without a bus ride and getting ready to see life become a whole lot worse than it is now.
Obama the political Katrina, about to lay waste to the exception that has been America and Weisberg and his ilk will tout the destruction as an “accomplishment” and be cheering it on the entire time.
That’s just wrong. It’s also why there can never be accommodation or compromise with the political left.
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Of course not – it’s raw politics.
The rationalization begins by those with a vested interest (don’t forget the IPCC was awarded a Nobel prize for this scientific twaddle) in the “scientific consensus”. In defense of the indefensible, the powers to be try to minimize what they can’t dismiss:
There is “virtually no possibility” of a few scientists biasing the advice given to governments by the UN’s top global warming body, its chair said today.
Rajendra Pachauri defended the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the wake of apparent suggestions in emails between climate scientists at the University of East Anglia that they had prevented work they did not agree with from being included in the panel’s fourth assessment report, which was published in 2007.
Of course not mentioned is the fact that the information given to the IPCC by these “few scientists” were the basis for the whole “the temperatures are rising!” portion of the global warming hypothesis. And I want it made clear that it was never more than a hypothesis since their findings were never, ever reproduced (the requirement for a hypothesis to move into the realm of “scientific theory” according to the scientific method).
“The processes in the IPCC are so robust, so inclusive, that even if an author or two has a particular bias it is completely unlikely that bias will find its way into the IPCC report,” he said.
“Every single comment that an expert reviewer provides has to be answered either by acceptance of the comment, or if it is not accepted, the reasons have to be clearly specified. So I think it is a very transparent, a very comprehensive process which insures that even if someone wants to leave out a piece of peer reviewed literature there is virtually no possibility of that happening.”
Except, of course, it is becoming clear that the “peer review” process was also corrupted by these “few scientists”. So why does Pachauri, with blinders apparently firmly in place, continue to contend that there’s nothing wrong with the IPCC’s findings?
Frankly it’s quite easy to discern:
“Today we have reached the point where consumption and people’s desire to consume has grown out of proportion,” said Pachauri. “The reality is that our lifestyles are unsustainable.”
You see, this isn’t about science or about AGW. AGW isn’t a reason for this action, it is an excuse. The reason. Well again, read the statement above. That’s not the reality at all. That’s as much a hypothesis as is AGW. Pachauri has decided that you need to change your lifestyle. Please understand that doesn’t mean he feels he needs to change his. Only yours. And he and the global elite intend to use this opportunity to impose it:
A new value system of “sustainable consumption” was now urgently required, he said.
Got that? This is the aim. This is a role those that are attracted to the potential of the UN have been trying to create since it’s inception. A collection of elites will decide, arbitrarily of course and without it effecting them, what “sustainable consumption” means. Think of USSR as an example – the elite decided what would be produced and available, not that they ever had to live by the same rules. This is a very crude attempt at collectivization on a global scale. It is an attempt to concentrate more power at a higher level than has ever been attempted before. It is a leftist wet-dream on the verge of coming true.
Among the proposals highlighted by Pachauri were the suggestion that hotel guests should be made responsible for their energy use. “I don’t see why you couldn’t have a meter in the room to register your energy consumption from air-conditioning or heating and you should be charged for that,” he said. “By bringing about changes of this kind, you could really ensure that people start becoming accountable for their actions.”
Pachauri also proposed that governments use taxes on aviation to provide heavy subsidies for other forms of transport. “We should make sure there is a huge difference between the cost of flying and taking the train,” he said. Despite the fact that there is often little benefit in time and convenience in short-haul flights, he said people were still making the “irrational” choice to fly. Taxation should be used to discourage them.
Oh so close – Copenhagen is just a week or so away.
And then someone dumps the scientific litter-box in the living room in front of all the guests just as the party is about to begin and the host is left trying to pretend that lumps laying on the rug aren’t cat crap.
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Speaking of thumbing their collective noses, the Honduran people thumbed theirs at Hugo Chavez and the rest of the ALBA (Alternative for the Americas – a Chavez inspired group which includes Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua as well as Venezuela) rabble in the OAS with their vote yesterday:
Provisional results in Honduras indicate that Porfirio Lobo, an opponent of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, has won presidential elections.
The poll was held five months after Mr Zelaya was forced out at gunpoint, with an interim government taking over.
Mr Lobo is seen as a unifying figure. He won 56% of the vote, with over 60% of registered voters taking part.
A clear winner and high turnout were what the interim government were hoping for to give the election legitimacy.
As you might have picked up, the BBC continues with the myth that Zelaya was “forced out”, i.e. the victim of the military coup, when, in fact, he was arrested for violating the constitution.
But the Beeb has to admit, even grudgingly, that the fact that there appears to be a clear winner and that the turnout was high do in fact speak to the legitimacy of the election – even in the face of Zelaya’s call for his supporters to boycott it.
Of course for some countries, even a legitimate and scheduled election is not enough to placate them:
But regional powers Argentina and Brazil have said they will not recognise any government installed after the election, arguing that to do so would legitimise the coup which ousted an elected president, and thus set a dangerous precedent.
However the United States, having apparently finally figured out what was going on in Honduras, has said it will recognize the results of the election. Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, the German parliament and Japan will also recognize the vote (over 400 international monitors were on hand to watch the election) with more to come, I’m sure.
What that means is Honduras has won and the Chavez cabal has lost – hopefully a turning point in the eventual demise of the “Bolivarian revolution” inspired by Venezuela (if how Hugo makes cars is any indication, it won’t be long). Of course for that to be so, Porfirio Lobo must ensure that Honduras remains on the democratic and constitutional track upon which it now rests.
A hearty “well done” to the tiny country that stood up and resisted the bullies from the OAS and the US, stood by its laws and constitution and gave the world a lesson in political courage.
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Subject(s): Why “Climaquiddick” of course. Despite the best efforts of the alarmists to wave it away and our MSM to ignore it, the proportion of the scandal gives it some pretty robust legs. And with Copenhagen in the offing what should this mean? And, what, if anything will it most likely mean?
Then there is the breaking news about Iran’s decision to build 10 new enrichment facilities in the face of the world’s condemnation concerning the recently revealed facility in Qom.
The big Afghan decision will be announced Tuesday at West Point. Word leaking out says 32,000 more troops. Enough? Not enough? How will his base react?
UPDATE: The podcast is available at BlogTalkRadio.
Well, so far this new policy of “engagement” is paying off handsomely with Iran. Here’s how they unclench their fist:
Iran’s government will build 10 new sites to enrich uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday, a dramatic expansion of the country’s nuclear program and one that is bound to fuel fears that it is attempting to produce a nuclear weapon.
Ahmadinejad told state news agency IRNA that construction of at least five nuclear facilities was to begin within two months.
This in the wake of an IAEA censure last Friday which, obviously, intimidated the heck out of the Iranians. The censure called Iran’s activities a “breach of its obligations” under UN treaties. Today’s announcement tells everyone what they think of those obligations. And if that wasn’t clear, Iran’s leaders made it so:
“We are ready to be friendly and kind toward the whole world, but at the same time we won’t allow the smallest violation of the rights of the Iranian nation,” Ahmadinejad said.
The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, standing alongside the president, told reporters that the decisions of the cabinet on Sunday are a strong response to the “unacceptable actions of world powers.”
Or, “stuff your ‘engagement’ in your pocket, we’ve got a plan and we intend to complete it – and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.”
UPDATE: Ah. The White House reacts:
But in Washington, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called the announcement “another example of Iran choosing to isolate itself.”
“The international community has made clear that Iran has rights, but with those rights come responsibilities,” Gibbs said in a written statement. “As the overwhelming IAEA board of governors vote made clear, time is running out for Iran to address the international community’s growing concerns about its nuclear program.”
Maybe Gibbs missed it but it seems to me that Iran has just finished addressing the “international community’s growing concerns about its nuclear program”.
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No, this is shocking:
Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.
It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.
The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.
The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.
The point, of course, is in the absence of the original data, other scientists have no way to reproduce CRU’s results using their methods. None.
In a statement on its website, the CRU said: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”
“Quality controlled?” Not according to the bit of code I talked about yesterday.
The CRU is the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change sceptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible.
Of course this has been rumored to be true for quite some time – now I suppose, it is “official”. Let me revise that first sentence above – “The CRU was the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures”.
Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, discovered data had been lost when he asked for original records. “The CRU is basically saying, ‘Trust us’. So much for settling questions and resolving debates with science,” he said.
So this is how science is “settled”? This is what the “consensus” bought into. It says more about the scientific rigor of those who accepted this twaddle without checking it than it does about the skeptics, doesn’t it?
Yet, as we speak, politicians are using their findings as a basis for a worldwide treaty which will cost trillions and cripple the economies of industrialized nations. To me, what they’ve done borders on criminal. They should be absolutely shunned by the real scientists of the world. More importantly, politicians should be called upon to step back and demand a credible team of scientists look into both this scam and the underlying question of climate change in such a way that real and open scientific findings and debate are the result. As should be clear to everyone but the religionists taking all this nonsense of faith, the science is no longer considered “settled” (not that it ever was by real scientists) and there is no “consensus” concerning man’s part in climate change.
Copenhagen should be called off and no other meetings like it should be scheduled until everyone is convinced that there is some real science underlying the climate change issue.
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We’ll soon be treated to the spectacle of a White House job summit in December. Yes, almost 11 months into his presidency, Barack Obama has discovered that the public is most concerned with the economy and jobs – not health care. Not the environment. Ironically, it is most likely those two things at which the administration and the Democratic Congress have been working so hard to pass into law that have caused the job situation and economic outlook to remain so bleak.
While President Obama and congressional leaders say they would like to do more to spur job creation, economists and business executives warn that their plans to impose new health care and climate-change costs on corporations would have the opposite effect.
The initiatives, according to this analysis, are likely to overwhelm any positive impact on jobs from stimulus measures by giving businesses a reason to keep laying people off.
The House’s health care bill would raise the cost of hiring in a straightforward way: by charging businesses a new payroll tax of up to 8 percent if they do not provide health insurance to workers. The Senate plan would impose smaller fines on those same employers.
The House-passed climate-change legislation would not add directly to the cost of hiring, but would raise energy prices, which are a major cost of doing business. Economists say that many companies would react by hiring fewer people.
As we’ve mentioned numerous times, businesses want, in fact usually require, a stable economy before they begin hiring or expanding. They want to see trend lines headed up and they also want a climate that is conducive to expansion and thus hiring.
With these to major bills looming and, as the Washington Times notes, major new costs a part of their passage, businesses aren’t going to
commit to doing anything until they understand how those new costs will impact them.
So don’t hold out much hope for anything major to come out of the job summit. It’s mostly for show – a way to show concern. If the administration really wanted to see jobs created, they’d kill the two monstrosities in question and provide incentives to business (tax cuts, tax incentives, etc) to spur hiring. Instead we’re much more likely to see talk about a “second stimulus” and other big government “solutions”.
Just don’t forget the promise of the last “stimulus” – it would stop unemployment at 8% and “create or save” millions of jobs.
The official unemployment rate is 10.2%.
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What an interesting week. The wheels on the AGW bus aren’t going “round and round” any more, they seem to be coming off. Unless you listen to a good portion of the alarmists who are in the middle of denying the significance of the CRU emails, that is.
But I prefer to start my examination of what has been found with a couple of quotes from Eric S. Raymond (via Reboot Congress), software engineer, open source advocate and author of the book “The Cathedral & the Bazaar“. The first:
For those of you who have been stigmatizing AGW skeptics as “deniers” and dismissing their charges that the whole enterprise is fraudulent? Hope you like the taste of crow, because I do believe there’s a buttload of it coming at you. Piping hot.
Pretty strong, no? So why do you suppose Raymond feels confident enough to make such a pronouncement? Because his review has found blatant and undeniable fraud within the programing used to “predict” the warming supposedly taking place. Or as he says:
All you apologists weakly protesting that this is research business as usual and there are plausible explanations for everything in the emails? Sackcloth and ashes time for you. This isn’t just a smoking gun, it’s a siege cannon with the barrel still hot.
Even stronger – and here’s why:
Raymond, in reaction to this bit of code, says:
This, people, is blatant data-cooking, with no pretense otherwise. It flattens a period of warm temperatures in the
1940s1930s — see those negative coefficients? Then, later on, it applies a positive multiplier so you get a nice dramatic hockey stick at the end of the century.
You have to love it, in a sick sort of way – the routine is called “a VERY ARTIFICIAL correction for the decline” and the correction is named a “fudge factor”. Blatant? Unbelievable. Again, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist, or a scientist at all to see through this garbage.
What does it all yield? Raymond plots it:
How very convenient – the “hockey stick” which began “Mann-made Global Warming”. Raymond adds an update:
Now the data is 0.75 scaled. I think I interpreted the yrloc entry incorrectly last time, introducing an off-by-one. The 1400 point (same as the 1904) is omitted as it confuses gmuplot. These are details; the basic hockey-stick shape is unaltered.
As is the basic point – “data-cooking”. Blatant data-cooking.
And yet the Alarmists want to wave it all away saying it doesn’t matter. At least those who have a political agenda which are most. But even some scientists who believe the AGW case to be valid are having difficulties reconciling what happened at CRU with what they consider to be the role of science and how science must work:
What has been noticeably absent so far in the ClimateGate discussion is a public reaffirmation by climate researchers of our basic research values: the rigors of the scientific method (including reproducibility), research integrity and ethics, open minds, and critical thinking. Under no circumstances should we ever sacrifice any of these values; the CRU emails, however, appear to violate them.
Those aren’t the words of a skeptic or a skeptical pundit. They’re the words of Dr. Judith Curry, Chair, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology. Her main message, the same message that Raymond sends, is that this should all be open source and available to other scientists. What happened at the CRU is, in Dr. Curry’s words, indicative of “circle the wagons/point guns outward” mentality which uses “ad hominem/appeal to motive attacks; appeal to authority; isolate the enemy through lack of access to data; peer review process”. That precisely describes the emails and occurrences over the last few years as skeptics tried to get the CRU data.
Speaking of transparency, Mike Hulme, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia has this to say about the scandal:
The key lesson to be learned is that not only must scientific knowledge about climate change be publicly owned — the I.P.C.C. does a fairly good job of this according to its own terms — but the very practices of scientific enquiry must also be publicly owned, in the sense of being open and trusted. From outside, and even to the neutral, the attitudes revealed in the emails do not look good.
There are two reasons I completely agree with his assessment: 1) the research is mostly publicly funded and 2) obviously public policy is being derived from their findings and conclusions. When science is used in that sort of a way, it must be doubly open and rigorous as far as I’m concerned. And, if scientists don’t like that, they can seek their funding elsewhere (which, btw, I’d prefer as this is a wonderful example of “advocacy science” if ever I’ve seen one).
Hulme goes on to say this about Copenhagen, again something I agree with completely:
This will blow its course soon in the conventional media without making too much difference to Copenhagen — after all, COP15 is about raw politics, not about the politics of science. But in the Internet worlds of deliberation and in the ‘mood’ of public debate about the trustworthiness of climate science, the reverberations of this episode will live on long beyond COP15. Climate scientists will have to work harder to earn the warranted trust of the public – and maybe that is no bad thing.
Copenhagen’s politics aren’t really about “climate change” and its dangers. Climate change is the only the excuse for an exercise in power as it relates to governments. That and a redistribution scheme to assuage the guilt of the liberal industrial states and the greed of the third world.
But Hulme’s point about “climate scientists” having to “work harder to earn the warranted trust of the public” is a sure thing given these emails.
So while the pundits using climate change and man’s contribution as a means to more power try to wave this off and given the fact that real scientists are recognizing the huge damage these emails do to the validity of the science of climate change, the pundits are now in the “denier” category, not the skeptics.
I, for one, find the irony delicious.
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As I wander the blogs and the net reading about the scandal that has gripped the “science” around the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia I continue to see defenses of the so-called “settled science” of AGW pushed by that group that center on the implication that those calling their data into question either aren’t smart enough or qualified enough (or both) to make the determination that the CRU’s data is wrong.
I’ll admit, up front, to both charges. I’ll also tell you that it isn’t necessary to be either as smart as some scientists or as qualified in their field to question their science. Why? Because as a schoolboy I was taught what the “scientific method” is and how vitally important that method is to the credibility of science. For those of you needing a refresher, have a look:
As you can see, there is a very important box outlined in blue among all the other boxes in the flow chart. The words “Reproduce (by others)” refers to other scientists, just as qualified as those who’ve produced the hypothesis, testing and attempting to reproduce the results that the original scientists claim. It is one of, if not the most critical step in validating a hypothesis and turning it into a “scientific theory”. It is that independent reproduction of the same results using the methods and data of the original scientists that provides scientific rigor and credibility necessary for it to go from hypothesis to theory.
That is the step that has been consistently missing in the AGW controversy. Other scientists have, for years, been asking for and been refused the original data on which the CRU based its hypothesis of man-made global warming. We see pundits defending the science claiming the emails don’t prove AGW to be a fraud. Maybe, maybe not – but what they do show is a consistent effort to avoid providing the data requested to others who would like to test it. That alone should raise a sea of red flags to any real scientist. The last thing those who are sure of their hypothesis and their science should be doing is actively trying to keep the data which underpins their hypothesis from being tested as demanded by the scientific method.
Another reason to be skeptical without having to be an atmospheric scientist has to do with other findings which have found to be wanting. Mann’s “hockey stick” turned into a hockey puck when the data was examined. We’ve seen cherry-picked tree ring data used to claim massive warming when, in fact, the complete data set showed nothing of the sort. And then there’s the undisputed fact that the earth has been cooling over the last 10 years in the face of predictions by this same group that it would be warming.
All of that (and more) is certainly enough for any layman to find the science involved less than acceptable and demand in very detailed look at its core methods and data. And that’s especially true since it is the basis of a world-wide attempt by governments to institute massive and economy killing restrictions on CO2 and other emissions which, if skeptics are correct, are completely useless and would be of marginal value at the very best.
There is a very simple solution to this mess – to those that are under fire and under scrutiny: show your work. That’s it – put it out there. Doing so is at the very center of the scientific method to which all real scientists supposedly adhere. Let other scientists poke and prod both your methods and data. If it is as solid and “settled” as claimed, it shouldn’t take long to verify that. And if it is correct then even we non-scientific skeptics will have to admit there is a problem. We may still disagree on the solution, but at least the claim of “settled science” will finally have some validity as the warming hypothesis will move into the realm of scientific theory.
All of that said, my guess is that will never happen – reading the emails tells me there is a real desire to avoid that. And that makes me suspicious of the “science”. In fact, it tells me quite a bit about the “science” of the hypothesis involved without having to know any of the scientific details. Given that, you certainly don’t have to be an atmospheric scientist or a genius to be skeptical. In fact, you have more reason than ever to remain so.
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It appears as the public becomes more aware of what Congress is planning with this health care monstrosity they’re calling reform, the more reason they find to like the present system.
Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters nationwide now rate the U.S. health care system as good or excellent. That marks a steady increase from 44% at the beginning of October, 35% in May and 29% a year-and-a-half ago.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 27% now say the U.S. health care system is poor.
It is interesting to note that confidence in the system has improved as the debate over health care reform has moved to center stage. The latest polling shows that only 38% favor the health care legislation currently working its way through Congress.
It also shows a marked decrease in those favoring the legislation – not that such polling will stop the Democrats from continuing to ram something through. Even Howard Dean finds the current legislation troubling and declares it does nothing to control costs – one of the supposed central tenets of reform.
I’ve been saying for months that the Democrats are going to pass something called “health care reform”. They have too. Otherwise Obama’s domestic legislative agenda will be declared a failure and, ultimately, his presidency. Now I’m not so sure, given the fact that the legislation is under fire from all sides, that passage of “something” is necessarily assured. Meanwhile the latest atrocity in a government run health care system to ponder.
Time to turn up the heat and pressure to drop this awful mess. It is nothing more than a government power grab based in generational theft that does nothing to make health care better. To quote Nancy Reagan, it’s time to “just say no”.
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