Friday, December 19, 2008

Defectors from IPCC Report Speak

Defectors from IPCC Report Speak

A United Nations climate change conference in Poland got a surprise from 650 leading scientists who scoff at doomsday reports of man-made global warming – labeling them variously a lie, a hoax and part of a new religion.

Their voices will also be heard in a U.S. Senate minority report quoting the scientists, many of whom are current and former members of the U.N.'s own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

About 250 of the scientists quoted in the report have joined the dissenting scientists in the last year alone.

In fact, the total number of scientists represented in the report is 12 times the number of U.N. scientists who authored the official IPCC 2007 report.

Here are some choice excerpts from the report:

* "I am a skeptic ... . Global warming has become a new religion." -- Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.

* "Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly ... . As a scientist I remain skeptical." -- Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology and formerly of NASA who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called "among the most pre-eminent scientists of the last 100 years."

* Warming fears are the "worst scientific scandal in the history ... . When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists." -- U.N. IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning Ph.D. environmental physical chemist.

* "The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn't listen to others. It doesn't have open minds ... . I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists." -- Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the U.N.-supported International Year of the Planet.

* "The models and forecasts of the U.N. IPCC "are incorrect because they only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity." -- Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

* "It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic global warming." -- U.S. Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

* "Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapor and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will." -- Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

* "After reading [U.N. IPCC chairman] Pachauri's asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it's hard to remain quiet." -- Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee and is an associate editor of Monthly Weather Review.

* "For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" -- Geologist Dr. David Gee, the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer-reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.

* "Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp ... . Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact." -- Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch U.N. IPCC committee.

* "Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined." -- Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.

* "Creating an ideology pegged to carbon dioxide is a dangerous nonsense ... . The present alarm on climate change is an instrument of social control, a pretext for major businesses and political battle. It became an ideology, which is concerning." -- Environmental Scientist Professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, has more than 150 published articles.

* "CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another ... . Every scientist knows this, but it doesn't pay to say so ... . Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver's seat and developing nations walking barefoot." -- Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.

* "The [global warming] scaremongering has its justification in the fact that it is something that generates funds." -- Award-winning Paleontologist Dr. Eduardo Tonni, of the Committee for Scientific Research in Buenos Aires and head of the Paleontology Department at the University of La Plata.

The report also includes new peer-reviewed scientific studies and analyses refuting man-made warming fears and a climate developments that contradict the theory.

Adapted from an article on WND Scientists abandon global warming 'lie'

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Economic Maelstrom

Economic Maelstrom

The news is all around us - there is no need to reprise it here, other than to say that economic disaster seems to be right around the corner. Today it was leaked that CitiBank is advising their larger clients that massive inflation is the better of two probable scenarios that impend, the other being civil unrest accompanied by worldwide wars. Many financial pundits on the margins are foretelling hyperinflation. American Express reports that the most wealthy of their cardholders are slowing down their spending the most. And the federal government has gone on a spending bender that has never been seen before. What is a person to do to try to sort this all out? What does the future hold?

In times of unrest, first principles are the first to go, when they should be the firmament upon which any logical analysis should be based. So allow me to set a few first principles out. First, we can always assume that people in power, when threatened, have the propensity to do almost anything to keep it. Second, it is always the first reaction of humans to see impending disaster whenever the unusual threatens to occur. And third, even though it may be difficult to see it while events transpire, everything always works out for the best, as all new realities have their winners. Even the Black Death ushered in a period of exceptional wealth and learning, which we now call the Renaissance.

There is no way to know what to do right now. Many are recommending stockpiling gold and ammunition, canned goods and commodities. I say that anyone who is just beginning to do that has not been paying attention for the last decade or more. (Full disclosure - I have been following that advice since 1973.) In our (or any) urbanized and interdependent world, planning for a short period of unrest is prudent, but believing that you can put up enough of anything to provide for security in a prolonged, or even permanent realignment of economic forces is foolish. If things really change, you had better adapt to the new reality fast, since your canned goods will go off on you in a couple of years on the outside, and ammunition runs out pretty fast if baddies want what you've got.

But the first principle that must sustain us in these (apparently) dark times is the fact that crisis begets opportunity. If Paulson and his fat cat friends are about to take a tumble, that makes room for whomever has the brains, luck, and determination to ascend to power positions that succeed theirs.

So, the Zero Base Thinking approach to these troubled times is about the same as the correct approach to most everything else: stay on the balls of your feet, and be able, and willing, to move in whatever direction promises opportunity. Don't get bogged down in any prediction of what the future might hold, but stay aware of what is happening. Be ready to move quickly, but remember that people say and do things to feather their own nests, not yours. Doom and gloom may get pundits an audience, but that does not make them correct, or their predictions true. If America is akin to Weimar Republic then that would have to mean that we are a very minor participant in the world economy. That may sell papers and attract viewers, but the size of the audience is no metric of truth. Like AGW (the global warming fraud) popularity does not make for good prognostication. How many know that global climate has been cooling for years, and no warming has occurred for over a decade? Lies that feed fears move faster than truth, now and forever.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It Is Time for a Republican Renaissance

It Is Time for a Republican Renaissance

Now that the smoke of the election is clearing, it has become obvious that most of the predictions were wrong. There was no movement in favor of the young Obama, there was no great increase in the number of voters.

What happened was that many conservatives refused to vote for McCain. He was hardly a republican, and he was no conservative.

Of course there was a propaganda campaign by the media elites, but that does not tell the story. Few conservatives were swayed by Katie Couric or David Brooks. And the young new voters did not make the difference. New voters were no more of a factor than they are every four years. The negativity of the campaigns were not the problem. Even in this most negative campaign in living memory, both sides gave as good as they got.

McCain lost because very few voters voted for him. They refused to vote for a liberal who is against a few social issues the liberals usually support. They failed to support a stand against generational change. They denied victory to the candidate who was old enough to be the other guy's father, a man who stood for very little. A maverick with no mandate and no coherent idea of how to move the nation forward.

Even so, McCain could have won if he had merely voted against the bailout. Instead he voted for the most bloated power grab ever seen. He voted for government, against people. That was unforgivable. At least Obama ran on a pro-government platform, so his vote for the bailout was consistent.

For the conservative side in our national debate to get back into power, they need to get back to first principles. The republican party may be the vehicle to get us there, or it may be some other party. First principles of a winning platform include:

- A party which will stand for our unalienable rights;

- A party which will stand for what the Constitution actually says;

- A party which will stand for smaller and more limited government;

- A party which will stand for Judeo-Christian morality and which is not so cowardly that it will not take on the baby killers and sexual anarchists;

- A party which will find a way to give people the freedom to educate their kids as they see fit;

- A party which will stand for an actual border to our country, and for living within the law;

- A party which will smash our terrorist enemies;

- A party which can find a charismatic leader who can eloquently communicate its platform to the electorate.

This may be a tall order, and it may be a while in coming. The republican party may well be too bound up in recovering its power from the ashes of yesterday, and thus be unable to return to first principles. If so, it will be a long time in the wilderness for conservatives.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

The Same Old Change
By Victor Davis Hanson

We will likely see a lot of political "readjustments" come January, once President-elect Barack Obama and many new Democratic congressmen assume office, and the Republican administration leaves.

Take the filibuster. For much of the Bush administration, out-of-power Democratic senators defended it as a hallowed tradition of American politics. But as the ruling majority, they will soon probably redefine the filibuster as a sort of nihilism practiced by bitter Republicans to obstruct the Obama agenda. Of course, when in power, Republicans themselves once deplored the filibuster as fossilized obstructionism.

Remember all the trouble President Bush has had with court appointments? The Senate Democrats for the last eight years stalled confirmation hearings, denying the president the traditional prerogative of selecting qualified jurists who shared his philosophy.

Much to these same Democrats' dismay, beleaguered Senate minority Republicans may soon agree with the past use of such roadblocks and learn to impede simple up-and-down votes on judicial nominees. To them, such tactics will be reinvented as necessary to stop Obama-appointed liberal judges from flooding the courts.

Recently, Democrats called for unity and an end to the politics of personal destruction against our new, shared President-elect Obama. So let us hope that New York publishers will now refrain from publishing any more foul novels like Nicholson Baker's "Checkpoint," whose characters debate the wisdom of assassinating George W. Bush.

Let us also hope that when Barack Obama is nearing the end of his term, filmmaker Oliver Stone does not offer the electorate a damning mythic film called "H" that emphasizes the wild college days of President Barack H. Obama when, decades ago, as he freely admits, he used both hard drugs and marijuana.

Public financing of campaigns was a liberal given for over a quarter-century. Democrats argued that conservative big money and national big politics always made a toxic brew. Then the suddenly cash-rich Obama renounced that old liberal gospel, rightly betting that his Democrats could out-raise even fat-cat Republicans.

Now with Democrats enjoying the advantages of incumbency -- but fearful of wounded conservatives determined never again to be outspent -- will majority liberals become born-again supporters of public limits on fundraising in the upcoming elections of 2010 and 2012?

Most polls reveal that American voters believed that their media was biased in favor of Obama. The popular journalist Chris Matthews even bragged that it was his job responsibility to see that President-elect Obama succeeds.

So when a few disgruntled Obama administration officials leave government to cash in with tell-all memoirs about the president's shortcomings -- and some always do -- will journalists, as they did with the numerous Bush tell-all apostates, praise them for their voice-in-the-wilderness candor? Or will they, as Republicans once did to their own defectors, blast them as crass publicity-seeking turncoats?

When fickle and self-interested Europeans once opposed strutting cowboy George Bush, they were praised as sophisticates. Now if they resist renewed calls from hip and cool Barack Obama to shoulder more responsibilities -- and they will -- are they to be suddenly scolded as unappreciative and self-centered?

Abroad, we were told that it is time to change the policies of George Bush that were unilateral and offensive. For example, pushing missile defense on Eastern Europe was said to be needlessly provocative to Russia. But will that still be true if President Obama decides to support it?

There are lessons here for everyone. Polarized Republicans and Democrats justify the means by which they practice politics by their self-described exalted ends. The only constant is they'll each do anything when out of power to regain it -- and anything while in power to retain it. All candidates say almost anything to get elected and call it idealism. Then when in office, they renege on what they promised and call it realism.

The media, meanwhile, should be careful not to abandon fairness and discretion for short-term political advantage. When the wheel turns -- and it, too, always does -- what you did or said will come back to haunt you.

Obama and his giddy Democratic majority sound like they think they will now be novel exceptions to these iron laws of politics, as if they really believe their hype that they are the "change" we have been waiting for, with cosmic power to stop the planet from heating and the seas from rising.

But the only real difference from the past old politics is that the present avatars of "hope and change" apparently don't believe that the age-old adage -- "The more things change, the more they remain the same" -- will really apply to them as well.

Guest Post by Victor Davis Hansen.
Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author, most recently, of "A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War." You can reach him by e-mailing

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Obama on Obama - A Game Changer?

Obama on Obama - A Game Changer?

If your toilet is stopped up by something really big and smells really bad, you'll probably need a plumber. Joe the Plumber, as it turns out, diagnosed the trouble, and yesterday we learned what it was. It smells really bad.

The tape recording of an interview that Barack Obama gave to Radio Station WBEZ in Chicago in 2001 surfaced, and in that interview Mr. Obama, then a law professor and a state senator, lays out how he would redistribute the wealth. He sounds like a man with a plan.

The interview explains a lot, beginning with the attempt, abetted by a mainstream media that no longer tries to hide its slavish obeisance to the Democratic campaign, to destroy Joe the Plumber and shut down discussion of the implications of what the candidate said.

Mr. Obama doesn't think much of the Constitution, or even of the Supreme Court justices who have rewritten it over the years to accommodate notions of "social justice." The Warren Court, which wrote finis to public-school segregation with its unanimous Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, has been decried since as radical, but it wasn't radical enough. Earl Warren only pretended to be a soldier of the revolution.

One of the "tragedies of the civil-rights movement," Mr. Obama says, is that the Supreme Court did not address redistribution of wealth, probably because of the inherent difficulty of achieving such goals through the courts. The Supreme Court did not break from the restraints of the Constitution and "we still suffer from that." Mr. Obama is not "optimistic" that the Supreme Court can achieve redistribution of wealth - of taking from the workers to give to the deadbeats - but he obviously thinks he knows how to do it. A president with a compliant Congress, which he expects to be in January, can do it through legislation and "administration."

The Barack Obama of this interview clearly does not think much of what the Founding Fathers bequeathed to us: "The Constitution reflected the enormous blind spot in this culture that carries on to this day. The framers had that same blind spot ... the fundamental flaw of this country."

Mr. Obama is a gifted politician, with the smarts to understand that this could be the "game-changer" that leaves his campaign, almost picture-perfect until now, in ruins. He understands that he has to fly under the radar for now. That's why his campaign apparatus moves swiftly to dismiss questions about the Obama paper trail, such as it is, and to crush anyone bold and foolish enough to inquire into the real Barack Obama.

Joe the Plumber learned the hard way what happens to such questioners, and when a television reporter in Florida asked Joe Biden whether his running mate is a Marxist economist, good old Joe, usually eager to talk about everything, acted as if the interviewer had accused him of serial killing or child molesting. Some things just aren't to be talked about, not now. Not Barack Obama's radical notions about redistributing the wealth - which is, after all, the essence of Marxism. Not about how he intends to replace fundamental American values with values that most Americans, if they knew about them, would regard as alien and hostile.

If John McCain wants to change the game over the next seven days, he'll have to break through the media screen to spell out, clearly, often and in detail, the implications of what Barack Obama actually means when he talks about how to redistribute the wealth. To redistribute wealth, you first have to confiscate it from those who earned it with hard work, and the way to do that is with confiscatory taxes. Then you give it to those who didn't earn it. Such explanations, made with cool detachment, once would have been the work of the newspapers and even the television networks. But not this year. Mr. McCain can expect real grief from the media when the polls tighten.

There's nothing ambiguous about Mr. Obama's radical views, as revealed in this interview. He clearly thinks the Constitution was a "tragedy," that the men who wrote it were not the revolutionary heroes plain Americans regard them to be, and their work must be corrected by the surviving radicals of the '60s and their progeny. Anyone who listens to this interview, available on, understands why Michelle Obama was never proud of her country until she thought the opportunity was at hand to destroy the country to save it, and why Barack Obama could spend 20 years comfortably listening to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright exhort God to damn America.

Guest post by Wes Pruden of the Washington Times

Monday, October 27, 2008

Separation of God and State

Separation of God and State

McCain is a man of action and accomplishment, Obama a man of "charisma" and pretty words, whose only real accomplishment has been his remarkable self-advancement. And Obama's policy outlook, so far as it can be discerned from the usual electoral pronouncements, consists of the same snake oil the pre-Clinton Democrats had been selling continuously since they chained the Great Society to America's ankle: that is, a constantly expanding Nanny State. I am hardly reassured by Obama's last-lap rhetorical reassurances: you don't send a man to Washington with a trillion dollars of candy-shop promises on medicare, education, government job-creation, "spreading the wealth" -- especially when the economy has just tanked.

I wish that were the worst I could say about the man, who has survived nearly two years of campaigning for President without serious cross-examination from either the media or his media-chastened opponents. A man who, should he win the election and serve one term, will have been President of the United States longer than he has held any steady job.

In my world, you don't humour a politician who presents "Change," "Unity," and especially, "Hope," as hypnotic mantras, with the power of enchantment over very large crowds. And you especially don't humour such a politician at a time when both country and world are unstable, and hard decisions will have to be made.

Deeper than this: Obama has presented himself from the start as a messianic, "transformational" leader -- and thus played deceitfully with ideas that belong to religion and not politics. That he has done this so successfully is a mark of the degree to which the U.S. itself, like the rest of the western world, has lost its purchase on the Christian religion. Powerful religious impulses have been spilt, secularized.

In this climate, people tend to be maniacally opposed to the sin to which they are not tempted: to giving Christ control over the things that are Caesar's. But they are blind to the sin to which they are hugely tempted: giving Caesar control over the things that are Christ's.

"Faith, hope, and charity" are Christ's things. They apply, properly, outside time -- to a "futurity" that is not of this world. They must not be applied to any earthly utopia. A Caesar who appropriates otherworldly virtues, is riding upon very dangerous illusions. Follow him into dreamland, and you'll be lucky to wake up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why Jesse Jackson Hates Obama

Why Jesse Jackson Hates Obama

By SHELBY STEELE July 22, 2008

A few weeks ago, the Rev. Jesse Jackson made something of a fool of himself. There he was -- a historical figure in his own right -- threatening the castration of Barack Obama. It was sad to see.

If I have often criticized Mr. Jackson, I have also, reservedly, admired him. He is a late 20th century outcropping of a profoundly American archetype: the self-invented man who comes from nothing and, out of sheer force of personality, imposes himself on the American consciousness. If he never reached the greatness to which he aspired, he nevertheless did honor to the enduring American tradition of bold and unapologetic opportunism.

But now -- not looking old so much as a bit lost within the new Obama aura -- it is clear that Jesse Jackson has come to a kind of dénouement. Some force that once buoyed him up now seems spent.

Mr. Jackson was always a challenger. He confronted American institutions (especially wealthy corporations) with the shame of America's racist past and demanded redress. He could have taken up the mantle of the early Martin Luther King (he famously smeared himself with the great man's blood after King was shot), and argued for equality out of a faith in the imagination and drive of his own people. Instead -- and tragically -- he and the entire civil rights establishment pursued equality through the manipulation of white guilt.

Their faith was in the easy moral leverage over white America that the civil rights victories of the 1960s had suddenly bestowed on them. So Mr. Jackson and his generation of black leaders made keeping whites "on the hook" the most sacred article of the post-'60s black identity.

They ushered in an extortionist era of civil rights, in which they said to American institutions: Your shame must now become our advantage. To argue differently -- that black development, for example, might be a more enduring road to black equality -- took whites "off the hook" and was therefore an unpardonable heresy. For this generation, an Uncle Tom was not a black who betrayed his race; it was a black who betrayed the group's bounty of moral leverage over whites. And now comes Mr. Obama, who became the first viable black presidential candidate precisely by giving up his moral leverage over whites.

Mr. Obama's great political ingenuity was very simple: to trade moral leverage for gratitude. Give up moral leverage over whites, refuse to shame them with America's racist past, and the gratitude they show you will constitute a new form of black power. They will love you for the faith you show in them.

So it is not hard to see why Mr. Jackson might have experienced Mr. Obama's emergence as something of a stiletto in the heart. Mr. Obama is a white "race card" -- moral leverage that whites can use against the moral leverage black leaders have wielded against them for decades. He is the nullification of Jesse Jackson -- the anti-Jackson.

And Mr. Obama is so successful at winning gratitude from whites precisely because Mr. Jackson was so successful at inflaming and exploiting white guilt. Mr. Jackson must now see his own oblivion in the very features of Mr. Obama's face. Thus the on-camera threat of castration, followed by the little jab of his fist as if to deliver a stiletto of his own.

And then Mr. Obama took it further by going to the NAACP with a message of black responsibility -- this after his speech on the need for black fathers to take responsibility for the children they sire. "Talking down to black people," Mr. Jackson mumbled.

Normally, "black responsibility" is a forbidden phrase for a black leader -- not because blacks reject responsibility, but because even the idea of black responsibility weakens moral leverage over whites. When Mr. Obama uses this language, whites of course are thankful. Black leaders seethe.

Nevertheless, Mr. Obama's sacrifice of black leverage has given him a chance to actually become the president. He has captured the devotion of millions of whites in ways that black leveragers never could. And the great masses of blacks -- blacks outside today's sclerotic black leadership -- see this very clearly. Until Mr. Obama, any black with a message of black responsibility would be called a "black conservative" and thereby marginalized. After Obama's NAACP speech, blacks flooded into the hotel lobby thanking him for "reminding" them of their responsibility.

Thomas Sowell, among many others, has articulated the power of individual responsibility as an antidote to black poverty for over 40 years. Black thinkers as far back as Frederick Douglas and Booker T. Washington have done the same. Why then, all of a sudden, are blacks willing to openly embrace this truth -- and in the full knowledge that it will weaken their leverage with whites?

I think the answer is that Mr. Obama potentially offers them something far more profound than mere moral leverage. If only symbolically, he offers nothing less than an end to black inferiority. This has been an insidious spiritual torment for blacks because reality itself keeps mockingly proving the original lie. Barack Obama in the Oval Office -- a black man governing a largely white nation -- would offer blacks an undreamed-of spiritual solace far more meaningful than the petty self-importance to be gained from moral leverage.

But white Americans have also been tormented by their stigmatization as moral inferiors, as racists. An Obama presidency would give them considerable moral leverage against this stigma.

So it has to be acknowledged that, on the level of cultural and historical symbolism, an Obama presidency might nudge the culture forward a bit -- presuming of course that he would be at least a competent president. (A less-than-competent black president would likely be a step backwards.) It would be a good thing were blacks to be more open to the power of individual responsibility. And it would surely help us all if whites were less cowed by the political correctness on black issues that protects their racial innocence at the expense of the very principles that made America great. We Americans are hungry for such a cultural shift.

This, no doubt, is what Barack Obama means by "change." He promises to reconfigure our exhausted cultural arrangement.

But here lies his essential contradiction: His campaign is more cultural than political. He sells himself more as a cultural breakthrough than as a candidate for office. To be a projection screen for the cultural aspirations of both blacks and whites one must be an invisible man politically. Real world politics, in their mundanity, interrupt cultural projections. And so Mr. Obama's political invisibility -- a charm that can only derive from a lack of deep political convictions -- may well serve his cultural appeal, but it also makes him something of a political mess.

Already he has flip-flopped on campaign financing, wire-tapping, gun control, faith-based initiatives, and the terms of withdrawal from Iraq. Those enamored of his cultural potential may say these reversals are an indication of thoughtfulness, or even open-mindedness. But could it be that this is a man who trusted so much in his cultural appeal that the struggles of principle and conscience never seemed quite real to him? His flip-flops belie an almost existential callowness toward principle, as if the very idea of permanent truth is passé, a form of bad taste.

John McCain is simply a man of considerable character, poor guy. He is utterly bereft of cultural cachet. Against an animating message of cultural "change," he is retrogression itself. Worse, Mr. Obama's trick is to take politics off the table by moving so politically close to his opponent that only culture is left to separate them. And, unencumbered as he is by deep attachment to principle, he can be both far-left and center-right. He can steal much of Mr. McCain's territory.

Mr. Obama has already won a cultural mandate to the American presidency. And politically, he is now essentially in a contest with himself. His challenge is not Mr. McCain; it is the establishment of his own patriotism, trustworthiness and gravitas. He has to channel a little Colin Powell, and he no doubt hopes his trip to the Middle East and Europe will reflect him back to America with something of Mr. Powell's stature. He wants even Middle America to feel comfortable as the mantle they bestow on him settles upon his shoulders.

Mr. Steele is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the author of "A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win" (Free Press, 2007).

Monday, August 04, 2008

A Complete Transformation?

A Complete Transformation?

In yet another stupendously pompous and arrogant statement, that is what Barry O is promising now. In a speech in Michigan today, he claimed that he would preside over "a complete transformation of our economy." Clearly, this man can not stop at merely promising to bring one billion of the world's poor up to middle class status, now he will deliver us a new economy to fund it with.

It would be funny if it were not so dangerous. OK, so this guy slipped between the cracks when the Clintons tried to rig the game to get Hillary nominated, and instead rigged the game in a way that snuck this underqualified lightweight into the nomination. And the smart money says that the deal is over, no way Hillary gets into His place. But is there no adult supervision in the democrat party? Are they really gonna allow Obama to be their nominee?

Don't they realize that this means that he might actually become The President of The United States of America? For the next four years? Four years in which either SOME responsible party attacks Iran, or we all face nuclear blackmail on an international scale with more dire repercussions than we can even imagine at this point?

I am no Hillary supporter, far from it. But given that, no matter how impossible it looks like right now, Obama might actually get elected, and I fear for my nation. If Obama, Pelosi, and Reed are the ruling triumvirate during the next four years, the damage that might be done, especially internationally, might just really be terminal for our way of life. This threat against our economy is the cherry on top.

If Bush chickens out from his final responsibility, and forces Israel to attack Iran's nuclear sites alone, just imagine what the next two weeks under an indecisive Obama administration looks like. When does he commit the entire force and will of the USA to the battle? After Iran mines the Straits of Hormuz? After the first nuke goes long and explodes in the Mediterranean? Or does he wait until the loonies in Teheran finally obliterate the Hebrew presence on planet Earth in pursuit of their looney end-times prophesies? And even then, does Hussein order retaliation on his brothers? EVEN THEN??

No, yet I am certain that all of Western Civilization has a dog in this fight, and the bottom line is that Obama must be defeated. I can't have who I want in the White House, but either McCain or Clinton are far to be preferred to the untested one, who has gone so far beyond flip-flopping that he can most properly now be called what he is, LIAR, willing to say anything, anything at all, if it will please the audience he is standing in front of at that moment. At least we know that Hillary has been there for eight years, and understands the stakes and the game. Faced with a dire situation, I believe she would act. She might act a tad too slowly, but so did Golda Meir, and nobody calls HER a softie. But would Obama? How do you, how could you know?

I call on the Democrat Party to stop this thing before it is too late. Any Democrat nominee has a chance in November. Even Barry O would have a chance? Anything might happen at the last moment of a campaign that ends up electing the wrong guy. It is now up to the leadership and the super-delegates to do the statesmanlike thing, and do what is in the best interest of this country. Nominate Hillary Clinton, so that we can choose between two people who at least qualify for the job. It would be a big surprise, but I can still hope, can't I? The next few years are too critical to trust to a man who has done no thing in his life that recommends him to the White House. He did not even want the job two years ago, but now his handlers have gotten him to the very brink of success - POWER. Every voter must think it over again if he is still willing to vote for Obama.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oil Prices Are Variable

Oil Prices Are Variable

While we suffer through oil prices that are historically higher than ever, we tend to forget some basic principles. Zero Base Thinkers never forget that the common knowledge is always wrong, but we are in the minority. Pundits have taken to declaring that "gas prices will never get back to where they were," but this flies in the face of proven reality.

Petroleum, as indeed all commodity prices, have historically followed a boom and bust cycle. Historically petroleum prices tend to cluster around about twenty dollars per barrel, or a half a buck a gallon, as can be seen here. These prices vary upward during extraordinary periods of history, especially geo-political events concerning the Middle East, where much of the world's oil is produced. That describes the recent times pretty well, but is not a prediction for the future. With the prospect of a deal between Syria and Israel becoming more real by the day, that pressure on oil prices might just be moving further away. If only some resolution of the Iran situation could be found, there would be no reason that we might not see twenty dollar oil again.

It is hard to go up against such clear thinkers as Michael Medved, but believing that oil prices will never go down would make us marks ready to buy stock in the Brooklyn Bridge. Others say that oil prices might go down to $80, but that might well be not ambitious enough. History should reassert itself, as Frank Fukuyama found, to his dismay. Before you buy yourself a hybrid car or a subcompact, prudence dictates waiting for events to unfold.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Obama Admits His Lack of Experience

Obama Admits His Lack of Experience

Back a couple of years ago Barry Obama admitted the truth, that he is too young and inexperienced to run for president. In a video that his campaign wishes they could destroy, the candidate makes his painful lack of understanding and experience clear to all who would listen, available on this video on You Tube.

In the video Obama says that he has "ruled out" running for the top job, and is quite candid about his reasons. But like his pledge to abide by public financing, the minute he saw advantage in going against his own word, he did so.

It is rare that any candidate is caught in such an admission. It is the very requirement for the job of president of The United States that the person be self absorbed and power-mad, so they rarely make such candid statements about themselves. But this guy did! Check it out.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Obama: Transnational Progressive

Obama: Transnational Progressive

Barry Obama has led his life along a leftist path, ably documented at Global Labor and the Global Economy, which could bring one to the conclusion that he is being called a commie, which makes quite a few Americans yawn and lose interest. Who could really be a communist? Not a well compensated lawyer couple who have their eyes on the White House, surely? It just does not play well - it tastes sour in the psyche. It is counter-intuitive. But he is a Tranzie, undoubtedly.

Transnational Progressivism had a light shined on it a few years ago by one of my early blogging heroes Steven Den Beste, but then seemed to fade away as an explanation of the beliefs of certain leftists. It is a long, cumbersome title and seems too hard to understand. But it is really simple. What it is is a philosophy that begins with the belief that the individual can never rise above his group, and it shuns individual rights. (A fine summary of its precepts can be found here. I will not try to rewrite it, since I could do no better.)

It is pretty frightening that a Tranzie might find his way into the White House, but it is even more frightening that many conservatives are willing to allow it, as a way to teach a lesson to the American people. That is playing fast and loose with history, and our very lives. It is entirely too dangerous to allow malevolent leftists to occupy the halls of power in our great nation, and I for one am not convinced that our institutions are robust enough to withstand the onslaught.

Decision time is only a few months away, but an entire presidential campaign covers a lot of ground. This thing is setting up in a way that any opponent of Obama will be called a racist, even as it is the racists who are throwing the names around. In our society the emperor wears no clothes, and the general knowledge is always wrong. This label is likely to stick, however, so even after Obama is defeated, the racist label and the national divisions so created will long endure. Or even worse, Obama might just sneak in.

Even though Obama's opponents do not use the lingua franca of racists - we do not ever call him violent, stupid, or lazy - but that will not stop the name from being called, or even sticking. The republicans need to wage a high concept campaign, and keep it personal. That will not help much, but it will set the stage for our defense for the charge that we would not vote for their guy for the simple reason of his race.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Not So Smart, But Still Proud

Not So Smart, But Still Proud

This article from The Daily Standard follows Obama on the campaign trail, and finds a guy with precious little intellectual curiosity. As can be seen by this excerpt:

So how, pray tell, is Obama staying informed about what's going on in the world? When he's pressing the flesh at crummy rural diners and speaking before 75,000 adoring acolytes, he's talking, not listening. Don't you think a guy who might be president would be obsessed with world events? Don't you think that obsession would have driven him into the race? And don't you think as a potential wartime leader he might be using his downtime to study, just in case he wins? For instance, Barack Obama obviously knows nothing of war, but he could help himself if he opted to read some Thucydides rather than watch SportsCenter.

Obama has made a habit of coming across like a man who doesn't know what he's talking about. That's bothersome enough, but what's more worrisome still is how comfortable he is with not knowing what he's talking about, and how convinced he seems that his rhetorical flourishes will obscure his ignorance. That strategy may work on the campaign trail, but it certainly won't help him govern.

You add it all up, and you got a guy who despite his high cognitive abilities doesn't know what one needs to know to be president. Jimmy Carter was also "a bright guy," but as a president and a free-lancing ex-president, his naivete and arrogance made him a functional dunce. If Obama really thinks the lesson to be gleaned from the Cuban Missile Crisis is that a president should always sit down with our enemies, then perhaps the same could be said of him.
Just another little peek at a man who would be president, but lacks the qualifications to be one, other than as another affirmative action hire. But for this job, there must not be any affirmative action. It is just too important. Yet the democrats seem bent on making his electoral defeat a point of pride. Unless they know something I do not, which would be something else great that can be achieved by losing the election. But one thing is sure - this guy is never going to occupy the Oval Office. Carter was bad enough. We can not afford another mistake of that magnitude.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Obama in Short

Obama in Short

It is clear that Minister Farrakhan and Pastor Wright detest America and white people. It's no secret that Wright and Farrakhan embrace beliefs that white people are devils and Jews are the scum of the earth. It is not a stretch to arrive at the conclusion that since Michelle Obama also embraces these ideals, that her husband shares these beliefs. To conclude anything different is to be looking through rose colored glasses.

What is tragic, is that in white (liberal) America's quest to try to rid itself of the guilt of racism they are embracing one of the scariest African American men ever to enter American politics. It is tragic because I think there are so many more promising black Americans who could no doubt leave a great historical legacy and blaze a path for others to follow. Barack? Not quite the same story. He may leave a historic legacy... and it will not be good.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Solution to Pricey Fuel? Burn the Food!

Solution to Pricey Fuel? Burn the Food!

In an era of incredibly wrongheaded government actions, from McCain Feingold to capitulation to the Global Warming hoax, the ethanol donnybrook takes the cake. Not only is ethanol a bad answer, really no answer at all, to the supposed shortage of petroleum, the government mandated production of massive quantities of it is already causing worldwide food shortages, and we are just getting started.

Can we agree that there is an axiom that government is incapable of choosing winning technologies? The Soviet Union proved it, to those who were paying attention, but now the U.S. government has put it beyond the pale. Burning food in a recession year? How foolish can you get. If congressmen were capable of seeing themselves, they would be ashamed, but they are not.

A fair reading of where we are in this food burning fetish is available here, but there are many places one can go for the facts. In a sop to corn farmers congress made ethanol a requirement in motor fuel. Now there is a worldwide shortage of corn and wheat as a result. Meanwhile oil is well over one hundred dollars per barrel, and OPEC will not even discuss any relief. So both our side and the other side agree that oil must go even higher. In an election year, no less. If the times are not a-changin yet, they might begin to soon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Politics of Gesture

The Politics of Gesture

Hillary Clinton's new proposal to create a "Cabinet level Department of Poverty" with the mission to end poverty, once and for all, would be funny if it were not so dangerous. Before anyone tries to deny that this is her intent you need to read her own words:
“I believe we should appoint a cabinet level position that will be solely and fully devoted to ending poverty as we know it in America,” she solemnly intoned. “A position that will focus the attention of our nation on the issue and never let it go. A person who I could see being asked by the president every single day what have you done to end poverty in America? No more excuses. No more whining, but instead a concerted effort.”
No room for ambiguity there. After almost fifty years of Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" we have just as many Americans who are counted in the ranks of those who live their lives in poverty as we had when we started, in 1964. Granted that our poor often have their own homes and cars, and even cell phones and designer jeans, they are still listed as being under "the poverty line."

Politicians always want to be seen as the source of the cure to all our ills, or as Michael Medved puts it:
The entire proposal highlights the Democratic Party’s current addiction to the politics of gesture dictated by the “Do Something Disease.” Under the grip of that dread malady, public figures feel the compulsion to stage a response to any perceived problem – even if that reaction accomplishes nothing in terms of meaningful solutions.

The Do Something Disease compels posturing that shows off the compassion of politicos, rather than policies that actually improve the lives of afflicted citizens. Results don’t matter, as long as the leader manages to demonstrate concern. Good intentions—feelings-- count for everything, with no consideration of real world consequences.
This proposal of Hillary's is another example of the intellectual bankruptcy of the liberal left in this country. Do something, and we can feel good about it. Results may be unattainable, but we can congratulate ourselves for the effort. Oh, and give Hillary the credit. In fact give her credit for intending to put forth the effort by voting for her today.

That is the dirty game electoral politics has become - promise anything, with little or no regard for results. Give her an "A" for effort, and elect her to the most powerful electoral position available. After all, no pols are ever held to making their promises come true, are they? Is Obama being held to his promise to utilize public campaign financing? No, of course not, since he now sees an advantage in changing his mind. He made a pledge, which, for a politician, is no more than a feeling. After all, don't they all do it?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Caught in the Act

Caught in the Act

This kerfluffle over Obama's remarks in San Francisco is a very big deal. It may signal the end of Obama's candidacy as a viable chance for the first Black man to be nominated to be president. It has assured that he will never be President. For the record, his remarks were:

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate, and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or antitrade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

This is a classic instance where a candidate does what they all do - tailor their message to a single audience. Clearly Obama was feeling safe in the bosom of one of America's wealthiest households. But one of the attendees had the temerity to make a tape of his remarks, and then the gall to release it to the public.

Wake up Obama, this is the new world, the you-tube world, where you can no longer assume that you have any privacy at all. Now blue-collar, working class whites, a group you despise, one you feel completely separate from, but need for election, has heard you, in your own voice admit that you have no respect for them. They now know that you will be no champion for issues they can relate to. Obama, you work in the house now, and have turned your back on the field workers. But turnabout is fair play. They can not be counted upon to support you now.

As Newt Gingrich has noted elsewhere:
If you go to the most expensive private school in Hawaii and then move on to Colombia University and Harvard Law School, you may not understand normal Americans -- that's the impression created by Senator Barack Obama's recent comments.

For Obama, it seems, the beliefs of normal Americans are so alien to his leftwing viewpoint that he has to seek some psychological explanation for what he thinks are weird ideas. They can't really believe in the right to bear arms. They can't really believe in traditional marriage. They can't really believe in their faith in God. They can't really want to enforce the law on immigration. And because ordinary Americans can't really believe these things, they must just be bitter and frustrated.

This is the closest Senator Obama has come to openly sharing his wife's view that "America is a mean country." Not since 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Mike Dukakis have we seen anyone so out of touch with normal Americans. It makes perfect sense that it was at a fundraiser in San Francisco that he would have shared the views he has so carefully kept hidden for the entire campaign.

Obama has not done well with blue-collars against Hillary before. He will look back at those poor showings wistfully when he sees how badly he does in Pennsylvania.

He may have managed to lose Pennsylvania with this one. He may even have done the impossible - let the nomination get away.

He has assured himself that he can never win the general election. And it will be HIS racism, not ours, that brings him down.



We are witnessing the end of what used to be called Liberalism. As Pat Caddell, democratic strategist said during the attempted takeover of the U.S. government by Algore in 2000, the party of his grandfather was taken over by gangsters. They just want power. And current democrats have continued the tradition, as they have moved liberalism over into territory previously occupied by fascism.

Current liberals are the heirs to Fascism, as they exhibit these traits:

1. Intolerance to any opposition to the Party line.

2. Destruction of the free market.

3. Nationalization of all industry, as well as;

4. Government regulation on businesses.

5. Free health care.

Throw in a smattering of good old Nazi Socialism: organic farming, anti-smoking, pro high minimum wage, abortion, euthanasia, gun control, speech codes, racial quotas, animal rights - (Yup, the Nazis were all those), and Voila!

You have the Western Liberal.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Obama's Pastor Disaster

Obama's Pastor Disaster

[When I find stuff this good, I just have to reprint it. This guest post, by Mark Steyn, syndicated columnist of renown, now fallen on hard times by a ludicrous law suit, is a classic, and at only three weeks old, that's near-record time for attainment of classic status.]

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright thinks that, given their treatment by white America, black Americans have no reason to sing "God Bless America." "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America," he told his congregation. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human."

I'm not a believer in guilt by association, or the campaign vaudeville of rival politicians insisting this or that candidate dissociate himself from remarks by some fellow he had a 30-second grip'n'greet with a decade ago. But Jeremiah Wright is not exactly peripheral to Barack Obama's life. He married the Obamas and baptized their children. Those of us who made the mistake of buying the senator's latest book, "The Audacity Of Hope," and assumed the title was an ingeniously parodic distillation of the great sonorous banality of an entire genre of blandly uplifting political writing discovered circa page 127 that in fact the phrase comes from one of the Rev. Wright's sermons. Jeremiah Wright has been Barack Obama's pastor for 20 years – in other words, pretty much the senator's entire adult life. Did Obama consider "God Damn America" as a title for his book but it didn't focus-group so well?

Ah, well, no, the senator told ABC News. The Rev. Wright is like "an old uncle who says things I don't always agree with." So did he agree with goofy old Uncle Jeremiah on Sept. 16, 2001? That Sunday morning, Uncle told his congregation that the United States brought the death and destruction of 9/11 on itself. "We nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," said the Rev. Wright. "We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards."

Is that one of those "things I don't always agree with"? Well, Sen. Obama isn't saying, responding merely that he wasn't in church that morning. OK, fair enough, but what would he have done had he happened to have shown up on Sept. 16? Cried "Shame on you!" and stormed out? Or, if that's a little dramatic, whispered to Michelle that he didn't want their daughters hearing this kind of drivel while rescue workers were still sifting through the rubble and risen from his pew in a dignified manner and led his family to the exit? Or would he have just sat there with an inscrutable look on his face as those around him nodded?

All Sen. Obama will say is that "I don't think my church is actually particularly controversial." And in that he may be correct. There are many preachers who would be happy to tell their congregations "God damn America." But Barack Obama is not supposed to be the candidate of the America-damners: He's not the Rev. Al Sharpton or the Rev. Jesse Jackson or the rest of the racial grievance-mongers. Obama is meant to be the man who transcends the divisions of race, the candidate who doesn't damn America but "heals" it – if you believe, as many Democrats do, that America needs healing.

Yet since his early twenties he's sat week after week, listening to the ravings of just another cookie-cutter race-huckster.

What is Barack Obama for? It's not his "policies," such as they are. Rather, Sen. Obama embodies an idea: He's a symbol of redemption and renewal, and a lot of other airy-fairy abstractions that don't boil down to much except making upscale white liberals feel good about themselves and get even more of a frisson out of white liberal guilt than they usually do. I assume that's what Geraldine Ferraro was getting at when she said Obama wouldn't be where he was today (i.e., leading the race for the Democratic nomination) if he was white. For her infelicity, the first woman on a presidential ticket got bounced from the Clinton campaign and denounced by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann for her "insidious racism" indistinguishable from "the vocabulary of David Duke."

Oh, for cryin' out loud. Enjoyable as it is to watch previously expert tossers of identity-politics hand grenades blow their own fingers off, if Geraldine Ferraro's an "insidious racist", who isn't?

The song the Rev. Wright won't sing is by Irving Berlin, a contemporary of Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin and Lorenz Hart, all the sophisticated rhymesters. But only Berlin could have written without embarrassment "God Bless America." He said it directly, unaffectedly, unashamedly – in seven words:

"God Bless America

Land that I love."

Berlin was a Jew, and he suffered slights: He grew up in the poverty of New York's Lower East Side. When he made his name and fortune, his marriage to a Park Avenue heiress resulted in her expulsion from the Social Register. In the Thirties, her sister moved in with a Nazi diplomat and proudly flaunted her diamond swastika to Irving. But Berlin spent his infancy in Temun, Siberia (until the Cossacks rode in and razed his village), and he understood the great gift he'd been given:

"God Bless America

Land that I love."

The Rev. Wright can't say those words. His shtick is:

"God damn America

Land that I loathe."

I understand the Ellis Island experience of Russian Jews was denied to blacks. But not to Obama. His experience surely isn't so different to Berlin's – except that Barack got to go to Harvard. Obama's father was a Kenyan, he spent his childhood in Indonesia, and he ought to thank his lucky stars that he's running for office in Washington rather than Nairobi or Jakarta.

Instead, his whiny wife, Michelle, says that her husband's election as president would be the first reason to have "pride" in America, and complains that this country is "downright mean" and that she's having difficulty finding money for their daughters' piano lessons and summer camp. Between them, Mr. and Mrs. Obama earn $480,000 a year (not including book royalties from "The Audacity Of Hype," but they're whining about how tough they have it to couples who earn 48 grand – or less. Yes, we can. But not on a lousy half-million bucks a year.

God has blessed America, and blessed the Obamas in America, and even blessed the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose bashing of his own country would be far less lucrative anywhere else on the planet. The "racist" here is not Geraldine Ferraro but the Rev. Wright, whose appeals to racial bitterness are supposed to be everything President Obama will transcend. Right now, it sounds more like the same-old same-old.

"God Bless America

Land that I love."

Take it away, Michelle.

Guest post, ©MARK STEYN

Let's 'Surge' Some More

Let's 'Surge' Some More

April 11, 2008

[Editor's note: I have been a fan of Michael Yon's battlefield writing for years, and he has been on my blogroll since 2004. Now that he has posted this essay on the wall Street journal Online, I feel that I must reprint it here.]

It is said that generals always fight the last war. But when David Petraeus came to town it was senators – on both sides of the aisle – who battled over the Iraq war of 2004-2006. That war has little in common with the war we are fighting today.

I may well have spent more time embedded with combat units in Iraq than any other journalist alive. I have seen this war – and our part in it – at its brutal worst. And I say the transformation over the last 14 months is little short of miraculous.

The change goes far beyond the statistical decline in casualties or incidents of violence. A young Iraqi translator, wounded in battle and fearing death, asked an American commander to bury his heart in America. Iraqi special forces units took to the streets to track down terrorists who killed American soldiers. The U.S. military is the most respected institution in Iraq, and many Iraqi boys dream of becoming American soldiers. Yes, young Iraqi boys know about ""

As the outrages of Abu Ghraib faded in memory – and paled in comparison to al Qaeda's brutalities – and our soldiers under the Petraeus strategy got off their big bases and out of their tanks and deeper into the neighborhoods, American values began to win the war.

Iraqis came to respect American soldiers as warriors who would protect them from terror gangs. But Iraqis also discovered that these great warriors are even happier helping rebuild a clinic, school or a neighborhood. They learned that the American soldier is not only the most dangerous enemy in the world, but one of the best friends a neighborhood can have.

Some people charge that we have merely "rented" the Sunni tribesmen, the former insurgents who now fight by our side. This implies that because we pay these people, their loyalty must be for sale to the highest bidder. But as Gen. Petraeus demonstrated in Nineveh province in 2003 to 2004, many of the Iraqis who filled the ranks of the Sunni insurgency from 2003 into 2007 could have been working with us all along, had we treated them intelligently and respectfully. In Nineveh in 2003, under then Maj. Gen. Petraeus's leadership, these men – many of them veterans of the Iraqi army – played a crucial role in restoring civil order. Yet due to excessive de-Baathification and the administration's attempt to marginalize powerful tribal sheiks in Anbar and other provinces – including men even Saddam dared not ignore – we transformed potential partners into dreaded enemies in less than a year.

Then al Qaeda in Iraq, which helped fund and tried to control the Sunni insurgency for its own ends, raped too many women and boys, cut off too many heads, and brought drugs into too many neighborhoods. By outraging the tribes, it gave birth to the Sunni "awakening." We – and Iraq – got a second chance. Powerful tribes in Anbar province cooperate with us now because they came to see al Qaeda for what it is – and to see Americans for what we truly are.

Soldiers everywhere are paid, and good generals know it is dangerous to mess with a soldier's money. The shoeless heroes who froze at Valley Forge were paid, and when their pay did not come they threatened to leave – and some did. Soldiers have families and will not fight for a nation that allows their families to starve. But to say that the tribes who fight with us are "rented" is perhaps as vile a slander as to say that George Washington's men would have left him if the British offered a better deal.

Equally misguided were some senators' attempts to use Gen. Petraeus's statement, that there could be no purely military solution in Iraq, to dismiss our soldiers' achievements as "merely" military. In a successful counterinsurgency it is impossible to separate military and political success. The Sunni "awakening" was not primarily a military event any more than it was "bribery." It was a political event with enormous military benefits.

The huge drop in roadside bombings is also a political success – because the bombings were political events. It is not possible to bury a tank-busting 1,500-pound bomb in a neighborhood street without the neighbors noticing. Since the military cannot watch every road during every hour of the day (that would be a purely military solution), whether the bomb kills soldiers depends on whether the neighbors warn the soldiers or cover for the terrorists. Once they mostly stood silent; today they tend to pick up their cell phones and call the Americans. Even in big "kinetic" military operations like the taking of Baqubah in June 2007, politics was crucial. Casualties were a fraction of what we expected because, block-by-block, the citizens told our guys where to find the bad guys. I was there; I saw it.

The Iraqi central government is unsatisfactory at best. But the grass-roots political progress of the past year has been extraordinary – and is directly measurable in the drop in casualties.

This leads us to the most out-of-date aspect of the Senate debate: the argument about the pace of troop withdrawals. Precisely because we have made so much political progress in the past year, rather than talking about force reduction, Congress should be figuring ways and means to increase troop levels. For all our successes, we still do not have enough troops. This makes the fight longer and more lethal for the troops who are fighting. To give one example, I just returned this week from Nineveh province, where I have spent probably eight months between 2005 to 2008, and it is clear that we remain stretched very thin from the Syrian border and through Mosul. Vast swaths of Nineveh are patrolled mostly by occasional overflights.

We know now that we can pull off a successful counterinsurgency in Iraq. We know that we are working with an increasingly willing citizenry. But counterinsurgency, like community policing, requires lots of boots on the ground. You can't do it from inside a jet or a tank.

Over the past 15 months, we have proved that we can win this war. We stand now at the moment of truth. Victory – and a democracy in the Arab world – is within our grasp. But it could yet slip away if our leaders remain transfixed by the war we almost lost, rather than focusing on the war we are winning today.

Mr. Yon is author of the just-published "Moment of Truth in Iraq" (Richard Vigilante Books). He has been reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan since December 2004.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Climate Modelers May Have Got It Wrong

Climate Modelers May Have Got It Wrong

As pointed out in The National Post, from Canada, where they have to take winter cold much more seriously than down south in the U.S.A.,

"And it's not just anecdotal evidence that is piling up against the climate-change dogma.

According to Robert Toggweiler of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University and Joellen Russell, assistant professor of biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona -- two prominent climate modellers -- the computer models that show polar ice-melt cooling the oceans, stopping the circulation of warm equatorial water to northern latitudes and triggering another Ice Age (a la the movie The Day After Tomorrow) are all wrong.

"We missed what was right in front of our eyes," says Prof. Russell. It's not ice melt but rather wind circulation that drives ocean currents northward from the tropics. Climate models until now have not properly accounted for the wind's effects on ocean circulation, so researchers have compensated by over-emphasizing the role of manmade warming on polar ice melt.

But when Profs. Toggweiler and Russell rejigged their model to include the 40-year cycle of winds away from the equator (then back towards it again), the role of ocean currents bringing warm southern waters to the north was obvious in the current Arctic warming.

Last month, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off manmade climate change as "a drop in the bucket." Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to "stock up on fur coats."

He is not alone. Kenneth Tapping of our own National Research Council, who oversees a giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick up soon.

The last time the sun was this inactive, Earth suffered the Little Ice Age that lasted about five centuries and ended in 1850. Crops failed through killer frosts and drought. Famine, plague and war were widespread. Harbours froze, so did rivers, and trade ceased."

This article in the journal Nature by Toggweiler and Russell has all the details. These former Global Warming believers, and they privided some of the evidence for the IPCC report, seem to have recanted. It is not the thermohaline circulation, they say, it is the oceanic winds. Thus CO2 lags warming, because it is a result of warming, not the cause. Now that cooling has set in, CO2 will decline.

So it is not just conservative whackos who are declaiming the effect of mankind's burning of fuel that is making the world an unlivable place, the same lefty loonies who cried wolf before are taking their words back. Al Gore is in hiding, and humanity just survived a close call. And so it goes.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What About Heath?

What Happened to Heath Ledger Can't Happen To You

When the news broke about the tragic death of actor Heath Ledger, many people were shocked and saddened. But now that the news is breaking about exactly what caused Ledger’s death, many people are likely to be wondering if they could share a similar fate. And that’s making me angry.

The initial autopsy on Ledger was “inconclusive,” but now the New York City medical examiner’s office has released toxicology reports revealing that Ledger died of “acute intoxication” from a combination of prescription medicines – two kinds of sleep aids, two anti-anxiety drugs, and two different painkillers. The official cause of Ledger’s death is now listed as “accidental overdose.”

It’s sad, of course. But I’m enraged that many of the so-called “experts” who are quoted in the news stories are turning Ledger’s overdose into an object lesson on the dangers of mixing prescription medications. And how they’ve reached this conclusion is a little beyond me.

If you’re one of the many people who routinely take a combination prescription drugs under the supervision of your doctor, DON’T PANIC. While a degree of common sense is certainly required when taking multiple prescriptions, I’m here to tell you that it’s not likely that Ledger died because he mixed up his pills. But that’s exactly the spin that’s being put on this story.

A pharmacologist professor from Duke University commented on the overdose by saying, “This is not rock star wretched excess. This is a situation that could happen to plenty of people with prescriptions for these kinds of drugs.”

A medical toxicologist from the NYU School of Medicine said, “If you see one doctor for one thing and you see another doctor for another thing, neither the physician nor the patient may realize they’re getting two similar medications.” And then she followed up with this amazing statement: “Patients should be aware that this happens on a regular basis and it doesn’t just happen to celebrities.”

Stop it! Yes, Ledger’s death is tragic. Yes, he was only 28. Yes, it’s sad that he leaves behind a two-year-old daughter. I’ll even agree that he was a talented actor. But it seems that the Hollywood spin machine has gotten their hands on this story and twisted it into a case of a patient being killed because he confused his medications. And that’s not only a laughable conclusion, but also an incredibly irresponsible one for ANY doctor to imply. Heath Ledger, like many other substance abusers, imbibed a frightening combination of powerful narcotics in an attempt to get high, and it killed him. Plain and simple.

Let’s all just take a moment and review the facts here. First of all, let’s take a look at the medications in Ledger’s system: The narcotic/painkiller Oxycodone (better known as Perodan and OxyContin); the narcotic/painkiller Hydrocodone (also known as Vicodin); the anti-anxiety drug Diazepam (you know it as Valium); and the anti-anxiety drug Alprazolam (that’s Xanax). I’ll spare you the medical names for the prescription sleeping pills he took – Unisom and Restoril.

What did that professor from Duke say? That this “wasn’t rock star wretched excess?” She’s got to be kidding. All you need to do is glance at the entertainment section of any newspaper and you’ll see stories about celebrities battling with addictions to JUST ONE of the drugs that were found in Ledger’s system. But Ledger seems to have popped down a greatest hits line-up of all the most popularly abused prescription drugs.

And yet Newsweek has actually run a story with a headline that reads “A Tragic Lesson: Could Heath Ledger’s overdose have been prevented?” You don’t even have to read the article; I’ll tell you the answer right now: yes. If Ledger wasn’t abusing prescription drugs, he wouldn’t have overdosed and died. Period. And you only need to see one TV commercial for a prescription sleeping pill to realize that they must be taken with great caution. And yet Ledger took TWO KINDS of prescription sleeping pills (and who knows how many of each), and then washed them down with FOUR OTHER KINDS OF NARCOTIC.

Still, the Newsweek article focuses on consumers’ “lack of awareness” about the risks of certain drugs, and mentions that Ledger had told the press that he’d “had difficulty sleeping” last fall. So that somehow excuses taking six narcotics in one sitting? Whatever happened to a warm glass of milk?

There’s an ambiguity to the term “accidental overdose.” It implies a mistake. But the media is using it in a way where that implication puts Ledger in the same category as, say, a grandmother who dies because she somehow misunderstood the directions on her prescription bottle. It’s ridiculous. How many heroin addicts do you think overdose on purpose?

I’m not quite sure why it is that no one seems willing to call a spade a spade in the case of Ledger’s death. And it sickens me that there are people in the medical community so willing to jump on board of the party line and act as though what happened to Ledger could just as easily happen to anyone. It couldn’t. I can’t speculate on whether or not Ledger was trying to commit suicide. A head of forensic Science at John Jay College commented that “this was not a deliberate attempt to kill himself.” Maybe not. But it was definitely a deliberate attempt to get high. What’s even more amazing is that these doctors are pointing to the dangers of multiple prescriptions in spite of the reports that Ledger had been struggling with substance abuse for years.

Are Americans overmedicated? Definitely. Are there potential dangers to taking multiple prescription drugs? Of course. But if you’re patient on two or three prescription medications, should you fear that you’re about to become the next Heath Ledger? Unless you routinely abuse those medications, the answer is a resounding no.

Guest Post written by:
William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.