Political Angst In America

Location: Pantego, Texas, United States

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

There have been a lot of shark attacks this year. Today a man was killed off of the west coast of Mexico. Someone was killed off of Smyrna Beach on the East coast of Florida yesterday. That is four who have died from shark bites this year that I recall, including one in Australia. I feel sure that blame for the agressive behavior of sharks this year will fall on George Bush and global warming.

The real GPD data for the first quarter of 2008 was released today, and it turns out the economy grew at a rate of 0.6%. That is better than the guess of 0.3% that Fox News made earlier this week. Democrats and pundits discounted the data, and said we are indeed in a recession regardless of the data, just go talk to people on the street. The problem I have with that is that people on the street don't have access to data, or even any interest in it. Instead they simply say whatever they heard from pundits on TV. (This includes the news anchors on the major networks, who pontificate rather than just reporting the news.)

When I was young it seemed to me that older people worked at destroying the self-esteem of youngsters. I can recall several older women, grandmothers of some of my relatives, who took every opportunity to tell me that I was "no 'count," ugly, stupid, and would never amount to anything. When I was in school we were pressured to learn, and there was no effort to build up our self-esteem. When my children were youg there was a shift; efforts were made to improve self esteem regardless of actual performance. In games they quit keeping score, so there were no winners and losers (though I found that the kids actually did know the score even though it wasn't recorded. The country raised a generation who had a lot of self-esteem, even though there was no basis for it. Young people thought they were terrific at math, for example, when they actually were poor at it. Here is a discussion about self-esteem:

Another hit at the self esteem myth

The absurd idea that high self-esteem is a universal good thing (contrasting with the Christian message of the importance of humility) has already been extensively debunked (See e.g. here and here and here) but the study below offers some refinements. The comments about people with fragile self-esteem seem particularly apt. I have long identified preachers of Leftism as having high but fragile self esteem -- or "large but weak egos", as I usually put it.

There's a lot more on this at dissecting leftism.


One TV I hear that Barack Obama is going to bring about real change. No example of real change was given, so I guess that is up to the individual listener as to how he interprets what real change actually means. I'm not in favor of the type of change Obama wants. For example, Fidel Castro brought real change to Cuba, and it wasn't good. (Except in the eyes of movie stars and others on the far left.)

The "radical" environmental movement has adopted the so-called precautionary principle, which can be used to oppose doing anything because it cannot be proved that there is no negative impact to any activity. I have forgotten the case, but the US Supreme Court has approved of the precationary principle.

This is from http://antigreen.blogspot.com/

The Precautionary Principle: Possibly the biggest sham of our time

Post below recycled from Depleted Cranium.

A Precautionary principle sounds logical: When you aren’t sure if something might cause harm, be careful and don’t do anything that could be dangerous, especially to anything really important like human lives, the environment and so on. It also seems like it would not be a new or revolutionary concept. However, Precautionary Principle is really a lot more extreme and a lot less common sense than one might think.

The term actually dates back to 1998, when The Wingspread Conference on the Precautionary Principle was convened by the Science and Environmental Health Network was issued the statement: ”

“When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”

And with this one statement, “Precautionary Principle” became the next big thing and was totally the “in” concept for everyone in the enviro-political movement to go to workshops on and state talking about - just to show how up to date they are.

The concept was pushed as if it were somehow amazing and should be the guiding principle behind EVERYTHING. The EU formally adopted Precautionary Principle in 2000 as the fundamental basis of environmental policy, without really ever defining what it was or how it should be applied. Not surprisingly, San Fransisco in the US has adopted the policy as well.

But there’s a problem. precautionary principle assumes that something should be considered harmful or potentially harmful until proven otherwise. Depending on your definition of “proof,” you may run into some problems here. If one goes by the principle that nothing in science is ever proven true beyond any doubt, then you automatically have a paradox where it is impossible to ever do anything on the grounds that it might possibly maybe be harmful.

In precautionary principle, no evidence is needed that something is harmful or even could be harmful. No plausible reason to believe it could be harmful is needed either. In many cases no amount of scientific evidence against the thesis that something is harmful ever seems to be reasonable to counter the argument that something is “not proven safe.” Good scientists are often reluctant to state something is “impossible” - for example, the designer of a nuclear reactor may be highly confident that the reactor will never melt down and that even if it did the containment vessel would hold the material. But despite this, the designer would understandably be reluctant to say it *cannot* happen. After all, it’s not impossible that the containment structure won’t be breached by a hit by a massive meteor, even if it is astronomically unlikely.

In this circumstance, precautionary principle moves the burden of proof, creating a ridiculous burden to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that any claim of harm, no matter how far fetched is 100% false. Since no evidence is ever needed to make a claim and no reasoning for the claim is required either, it’s possible to claim anything might be harmful in one way or another.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Central Planning has never worked out well in any country. But, politicians of all strips believe that they are clever enough to succeed where previous generations all failed. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, based on their comments, are convinced that they can improve the economy with central planning. (Of course their agenda may be more like that of many communists who had a more modest goal of simply making everyone equally bad off.) McCain is probably not going to attempt central planning himself, but will no doubt not stop Congress, who are probably even more inept than a dictator would be. Here from the blog "Greenie Watch" is a discussion of what is happening now in America as Congress trys its hand at central planning:


Another failed energy policy, courtesy of the Washington central planners

Big-government, command-and-control technocrats believe that when central-planning fails, the solution is a better plan and smarter planners. They never step back and look at whether planning makes sense in the first place. This was true of the Soviet Union, with tragic five-year plan after five-year plan. It was true of Communist China, with Mao's revolutionary upheavals. And today, here in the United States, it is true of government energy policy.

The 1970s and early 1980s saw all manner of failed energy policies - from Nixon's Project Independence price controls, to Ford's CAFE mandates, to Carter's Synthetic Fuels Corporation and windfall profits tax, to Bush and Clinton's publicly financed push for electric cars. The latest example is the 36 billion gallon biofuel mandate enacted into U.S. law last year.

U.S. dependence on imported energy continues to reach record levels while no commercially viable biofuels have been produced. At the same time, the government-subsidized burning of our food supply to create ethanol has both increased carbon dioxide emissions and driven up food prices at a startling rate. This must end.

Even environmentalists are calling for a halt to government subsidies and mandates on biofuels. Lester Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, and Jonathan Lewis, a climate specialist with the Clean Air Task Force, spoke out on Earth Day with an article titled "Ethanol's Failed Promise." They outlined the desperate need for Congress to abandon a policy that should never have been enacted. In a daze over rising fuel costs, increased dependence on foreign oil, and a fear of carbon emissions, Congress has been backing the politically favored food-to-fuel ethanol program. But "the mandates are not reducing our dependence on foreign oil," wrote Brown and Lewis. "Last year, the United States burned about a quarter of its national corn supply as fuel - and this led to only a 1 percent reduction in the country's oil consumption."

The failure to reduce oil dependence is not the only flaw in the ethanol program. It also has driven food prices disturbingly high. The World Food Program is warning that the upward pressure on food prices is likely to lead to a "silent tsunami" of hunger. Josette Sheeran, the program's executive director, warned that "The price of rice has more than doubled in the last five weeks." The World Bank estimates that food prices have increased by 83 percent in three years. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown acknowledged what many have been saying for years: "The production of biofuels needs to be urgently re-examined."

Unintended consequences are the inevitable result when politicians pick untested feel-good solutions to market-created concerns. A decade of ethanol policies has once again proven this true. But we now stand on the cusp of an even larger congressional blunder: cap-and-trade. And this time higher food prices will not be the only negative result.

The Congressional Budget Office says current cap-and-trade legislation would amount to a $1.2 trillion tax hike on the American economy over the next ten years. This tax will be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices for gasoline, electricity, heating oil, food, and any product that is transported to market. In the throes of an ethanol disaster, it would be inexcusable for politicians to ignore these hardships.

But we've seen this too many times before. Each new generation of central planners believes the previous generation wasn't smart enough. Yet central economic planning is forever doomed to failure since the approach itself limits human freedom, ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and innovation. These are the true engines of prosperity, and they will best manage all our problems, including those in the energy arena.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Today I received my share of the settlement of a class action suit against Allegheny Energy company. I got $20.45, a lot less than the over $1000 I lost. It wasn't worth the effort required to verify my claim. On the other hand, the lawyers did all right. And, if I hadn't sent in the documentation for my claim the lawyers would have gotten the $20.45 too.

Environmentalists don't like genetically modified foods. This is somewhat curious since man has modified most of the food they eat over the centuries. Here is an article from the British Observer about the need for GM food to prevent starvation in third world countries. The author, Robin McKie, appears to believe in global warming. I think that in the more likely event of the world entering a cooling phase, then GM food will be even more urgently needed.

As the world begins to starve it's time to take GM seriously
With the Earth's population continuing to soar, it will be the poor who go hungry, not the eco-warriors destroying modified crops

Robin McKie The Observer, Sunday April 27 2008

Article history

About this article This article appeared in the Observer on Sunday April 27 2008 on p27 of the Comment section. It was last updated at 00:03 on April 27 2008.

As front pages go, the cover of Nature is scarcely a stunner. It depicts two rows of trees facing each other across the page. One row is tatty, the other clean and healthy. And apart from a few grubby bushes in the background, that's your lot. It makes a gardening catalogue look exciting.

But this restrained imagery rewards closer inspection. Those trees, bearing papayas, are growing in a Hawaiian plantation and the difference between the two rows has critical importance to the world's mounting food crisis.

It transpires that the stunted trees on the right, each bearing only a handful of fruit, are victims of papaya ringspot virus, a disease that devastates yields and is endemic in Hawaii. By contrast, the papaya trees in the other row, on the left, are healthy and disease-free, because they have been genetically modified to resist ringspot.

As a demonstration of the potential of modern plant technology, the image speaks volumes. Transgenic crops may be disparaged and dug up every time scientists grow them as part of their trials in the UK, but as Nature's cover shows, the technology seems ripe to help feed a planet whose population will rise from 6.5 billion people, many of them already hungry, to around nine billion by 2040.

It is a point stressed by crop experts such as Professor Chris Pollack of the University of Wales. 'To stop widespread starvation, we will either have to plough up the planet's last wild places to grow more food or improve crop yields. GM technology allows farmers to do the latter - without digging up rainforests. It is therefore perverse to rule out that technology for no good reason. Yet it still seems some people are willing to do so. That picture of transgenic papaya plants on Nature's cover shows how wrong they are.'

The trouble is that GM crops represent everything that the environment movement has come to hate, though it was not the technology itself that originally made greenies froth at the mouth. It was its promotion and marketing by international conglomerates such as Monsanto a decade ago that raised the hackles. As a result, GM crops have become a lightning rod for protests about globalisation. 'GM technology permits companies to ensure that everything we eat is owned by them,' claimed campaigner George Monbiot.

Perhaps he is right. However, it is questionable to go one step further and insist, as some campaigners do, that because GM technology has been misused by biotechnology conglomerates, it is therefore justifiable to ignore its usefulness completely. The science can still help feed the world, particularly through the introduction of drought and disease resistance to staple crops such as potatoes and rice. 'Britain and Europe have isolated themselves from the rest of the world over transgenic crops,' says Bill McKelvey, principal of the Scottish Agricultural College, in Edinburgh. 'We have decided the technology, for no good reason, is dangerous. The rest of the world doesn't thinks so and has got on with using it. For example, GM soya is grown throughout America and Asia. It doesn't worry people there for the simple reason that no one has ever died of eating GM food. On the other hand, a lot of people could soon die because they have no food of any kind.'

Tough luck, you might say. That's not Europe's problem. It's the developing world that will get it in the neck. Why should we care? What have we got to gain by turning to GM? These are interesting questions to which there are several answers and one of the most important concerns climate change.

The world is warming and is destined to do so for decades to come as cars, factories and power plants continue to pump out carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. As a result, many grain-producing regions - in North America, Australia and parts of Africa - are expected to suffer significant changes in climate that will devastate crop production. By contrast, other regions - northern Europe and Canada, in particular - will find weather changes will boost crop growing. They will become the world's food stores, an issue highlighted by Professor Les Firbank of North Wyke Research Station in Devon.

'Our best knowledge suggests Canada and countries in Europe will have to take on an even greater share of world food production,' he says. 'It is therefore important to ask now if we have the moral right to continue to ignore technologies, including the genetic manipulation of crops, that in a few years could insure this food production reaches an absolute maximum and will help the planet provide enough food for the nine billion people who will be living on it.'

Britain and many other European countries have considerable expertise in plant and crop biology research, it should be stressed. But that work is constantly frustrated. Crop trials are dug up and funding is blocked by governments embarrassed to be seen backing such work. The effects are rarely beneficial. Consider the example of potato blight. Its prevalence rose rapidly last year, threatening a crop that is a staple foodstuff for many people round the world.

Yet scientists insist it would be relatively easy to introduce a basic gene construct into potatoes that would make them resistant to blight. Europe has the expertise but is thwarted by gangs of men and women who trash GM crop fields. As Sir Robert May, the government's former chief scientific adviser, once remarked, these individuals display 'the attitude of a privileged elite who think there will be no problem feeding tomorrow's growing population'. May was speaking, with remarkable prescience, at the turn of the century.

This is not to say that transgenic crops alone will save the world from starvation. Major improvements in transport, which will allow fresh food to be taken to market without rotting, are needed, for example. Simply bringing political stability to a country would also help. 'Zimbabwe's food problems won't be helped through GM crop technology,' admits McKelvey. 'It needs a political solution. Nevertheless, the technology has a key role to play in tackling the overall problem of global food shortages - but only if we let it.'

That is the crucial issue. Is society ready to change its attitude to GM crops? Major companies - Debenhams is the latest - still announce GM bans, no doubt under pressure from protest groups. But given the science's growing role in helping world food shortages, such decisions should really be seen as acts of shame, not pronouncements of pride. And some scientists believe they can now detect shifts in public attitudes. 'I think we are approaching a tipping point when society will start looking at this as a science that is not going to damage the planet but actually help it,' says McKelvey.

I hope he is right, though I am not so confident. Environmental campaigners, although they do great work, can often display remarkable intransigence. For example, they remain committed to the idea that nuclear energy has no role to play in helping to combat global warming. They react with equal scorn to GM crops. The latter is certainly not a panacea for the ills we will face. On other hand, it certainly has a role to play in helping to save people from starvation, a fact that is worth repeating now and again.

· Robin McKie is The Observer's science editor

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Here is a quote from a pro-American French intellectual (from the blog "Flopping Aces"):

“Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”
- Jean-Francois Revel

Most prominent Democrat politicians seem to feel guilt about America, dislike everyday Americans, and detest the economic success of the country. Barack Obama seems worse in this regard than even other recent Democrat Party candidates for President. I think he would lack the will to defend the country against Islam, and I could never support him for that reason. He also promises to damage the economy with punitively high taxes and restrictions on trade.

Osama bin Laden explained this to us: "The people naturally favor the strong horse." Most Democrats and a lot of Republicans don't understand what OBL meant. Fortunately for us Bush did. And people around the world are reacting as OBL predicted. Here is a piece on this subject I got from the blog of Amy Proctor:

Esteem for US Rises in Asia, Thanks to Iraq War

A thesis by Mike Green, who holds the Japan chair at Washington’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies. He was also the Asia director at the National Security Council and is one of America’s foremost experts on Japan and northeast Asia.

The US’s three most important Asian alliances - with Australia, Japan and South Korea - have been strengthened by the Iraq campaign. Each of these nations sent substantial numbers of troops to help the US in Iraq. They did this because they believed in what the US was doing in Iraq, and also because they wanted to use the Iraq campaign as an opportunity to strengthen their alliances with the US.

More generally, in a world supposedly awash in anti-US sentiment, pro-American leaders keep winning elections. Germany’s Angela Merkel is certainly more pro-American than Gerhard Schroeder, whom she replaced. The same is true of France’s Nicolas Sarkozy.

More importantly in terms of Green’s analysis, the same is also true of South Korea’s new President. Lee Myung-bak, elected in a landslide in December, is vastly more pro-American than his predecessor, Roh Moo-hyun.

Even in majority Islamic societies, their populations allegedly radicalised and polarised by Bush’s campaign in Iraq and the global war on terror more generally, election results don’t show any evidence of these trends. In the most recent local elections in Indonesia, and in national elections in Pakistan, the Islamist parties with anti-American rhetoric fared very poorly. Similarly Kevin Rudd was elected as a very pro-American Labor leader, unlike Mark Latham, with his traces of anti-Americanism, who was heavily defeated.

The Chinese co-operated closely with the Americans in the war on terror, especially in tackling what they alleged was extremism among some of the Muslim Uighurs in the vast Xinjiang province.

It is American values, or more accurately the universal values of democracy to which the US adheres, that are more popular and receive greater adherence in Asia than before, in the politics and civil societies of Asian nations such as Indonesia, India, Japan and many others.

Green cautions that a US failure in Iraq, a retreat and leaving chaos in Iraq behind, would gravely damage US credibility in Asia.

Environmentalists sometimes admit that their goal is to return life to a simpler time where there is much less energy used. Usually they just propose policies to achieve that end without admitting where the policies lead. Take renewable energy sources. If they are employed then massive transmission lines will be necessary, but the environmentalists don't want those either. Here is a piece about this from Cheat Seeking Missiles:

San Diego Gas & Electric, in order to meet a state mandate that 20% of its power come from alternative sources by 2010 (that's less than two years away!), proposes to convert the current power corridor to a new Sunrise Powerlink, which would carry renewable power from the sun, wind and geothermal facilities to be built in the Imperial Valley.

The environmentalists, who demand that we stop using oil and go with renewable resources, are furious, of course. Here's Elizabeth Goldstein, prez of the California Parks Foundation, quoted in the LA Times:

"The idea that we're going to sacrifice critical pieces of our environment to protect other pieces of our environment seems a little ironic. That's an irony I cannot accept. We have to find a way to do both."
I think she means "protect both," not "sacrifice both," but the sentence's structure is a little hazy. The Sierra Club makes it more clear, talking about a "powerline juggernaut:"

Fare thee well, big skies and open vistas. To feed the energy demands of the West's inland megalopolises and crowded coasts, public lands in 11 Western states may soon be crisscrossed by a web of power lines and pipelines. These "energy easements," up to three-quarters of a mile wide, are slated for every sort of public property: national forests, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holdings, state parks, even national parks. Since they'll be "preapproved," the easements will be ready to go at the energy companies' convenience.
Note that they don't say a word about these easements being required to comply with the alternative energy mandates they themselves demanded. So like a Kennedy attacking windmills, they attack the infrastructure required to make their alternative energy dream come true.

But you see, having 20% alternative energy isn't their dream, not if it means conventional power solutions. They wanted growth to stop, grids to be ripped out, and Americans to change the way they live. Nothing less will do.

So they will fight this power line, even though there really isn't a good alternative route. They would rather condemn private land than use public land for a public use. And the public, I hope, will see the Greenies for what they are: Demanding and totally inflexible, demanding the world without giving up a square inch, and self-righteous but thoroughly hypocritical.

The Religion of Perpetual Outrage, which oxymoronically calls itself the Religion of Peace, is determined to subjugate all who are not ruled by Muslims. The elites in the West are ready to surrender; maybe they don't like individual freedom so much themselves. Here is a discussion of how ineffective the leaders of the West are in resisting Shari'ia Law:


The average temperature of Earth fell about 1.25 F (0.7 C) during 2007. If that trend were to continue for 20 years civilization would be in peril, far more so than if the warming projected by the UN IPCC were to happen over the next century. A NASA Astronaut, an Australian named Carpenter, points out the danger of a cooling trend, and has suggested that it is time to investigate potential actions to slow the cooling. If the cooling trend does continue, it will be interesting to see how politicians react, as they "nuance" their positions. My guess is that policies of "rent seekers" that get enacted in the next few years will be continued long after it is apparent that they do nothing productive. At some time in the future these policies, such as "carbon trading" will be regarded in the same light as ancient societies sacrificing virgins to the gods. Both of these practices make elites "feel good" even though they produce no useful result.

There is a lot of useful information on Fox News. For example, today I learned that Republicans tend to drink Dr. Pepper and red wine while Democrats prefer either Pepsi or Sprite and white wine. That leaves me wondering who drinks all of that Coke? Independents?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Over the past 50 or 60 years American educators have tried to turn the public education system into a training ground for leftist thinking. (This started in earnest after WWII while I was still in school.) They want to teach moral relativism, political correctness, and self-esteem in students who have not achieved any real academic success. There's no need to watse time on stuff like math and science. Here are some quotes from prominent educators (I got this from Dr. Santy's blog).

...student attains ‘higher order thinking’ when he no longer believes in right or wrong“. “A large part of what we call good teaching is a teacher´s ability to obtain affective objectives by challenging the student’s fixed beliefs. …a large part of what we call teaching is that the teacher should be able to use education to reorganize a child’s thoughts, attitudes, and feelings.” - Benjamin Bloom, psychologist and educational theorist, in “Major Categories in the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives”, p. 185, 1956

“This is the idea where we drop subject matter and we drop Carnegie Unites (grading from A-F) and we just let students find their way, keeping them in school until they manifest the politically correct attitudes. You see, one of the effects of self-esteem (Values Clarification) programs is that you are no longer obliged to tell the truth if you don’t feel like it. You don’t have to tell the truth because if the truth you have to tell is about your own failure then your self-esteem will go down and that is unthinkable.”- Dr. William Coulson, explaining Outcome Based Education (OBE)-1964

“Every child in America entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well – by creating the international child of the future”- Dr. Chester M. Pierce, address to the Childhood International Education Seminar, 1973

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Electric power supplies fueled directly by the sun, such as wind power and solar cells, require significant backup capability because the wind or sun are not always available. It is argued by proponents of wind power that a widespread grid increases the availability significantly, and reduces the standby capacity required. That may be true to some degree, but it increases the capital cost of the system since billions of dollars worth of transmission lines are necessary. In any event both wind and solar require significant standby power that can be brought online rapidly. This rules out nuclear and coal fueled plants since both of these respond to load changes slowly, so gas fired turbines are indicated. Energy storage systems can be used in some places, but those require a significant increase in the primary generating capability. Where the terrain permits, water can be pumped uphill while the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, and then flowed downhill through water turbines to generate electricity when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. But, in places like the Texas Panhandle, where there is good wind and a lot of sunshine, the land is flat and water is scarce. One approach in such a place is to store compressed air in natural underground caverns. When the primary source is not available, the compressed air is mixed with natural gas, burned, and expanded through a gas turbine. This approach doesn't seem to me to have much advantage over a regular gas-fired electric generating station. At any rate, it is obvious that the "free energy" systems require substantially more capital structure than other electric generation systems. And, people seem to not appreciate that the electric conversion devices are more susceptible to weather related damage than conventional systems, require more maintenance, and have a limited useful life.

I saw Congressman Dennis Kucinich on TV today advocating a windfall profits tax on oil companies to cause a reduction in the price of gasoline. He generously agreed that the price of gasoline is not a partisan issue, though I do recall that in the 2006 Congressional elections the Democrats promised to do something about the price of gasoline if elected. (A empty promise since they are unwilling to do anything constructive, like open up more territory for drilling.) Kucinich obviously doesn't understand free markets. In 2004 Senator Kerry argued that an, and besides it wouldn't come on line for a few years (like now). Kerry doesn't understand markets either. For that matter, I saw O'Reilly on TV last night, and he doesn't understand markets either. We need more fuel. The price of oil will go up until alternatives become economical. Environmentalists don't like the viable alternatives, and oppose development of them. They like things like solar and wind power which require huge capital investment because they are not viable as the sole power sources. (This should be obvious to anyone, since the wind only blows part of the time, and the sun only shines part of the time, in any given locale.

Environmentalists often have a hard time living with their goals because, as is usually the case with liberals, they adopt "feel good" policies rather than analyzing the situation to find an optimal solution. Biofuels are an example as illustrated here, from the blog junkscience:

Friends of the Earth 2004

The Government should introduce a Biofuels Obligation, to stimulate a UK biofuels industry - as a lower carbon alternative to conventional transport fuels. The obligation would require that a proportion of all road transport fuels in the UK should be sourced from accredited renewable sources.

Friends of the Earth 2008

Friends of the Earth hopes that the Government will now put the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation on hold and demand a moratorium on EU biofuel targets. The real solution to Europe's rising transport emissions is better public transport, more provision for cyclists and higher standards for fuel efficiency in new cars

The watermelons have been trying to do as Maurice Strong states:

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” — Maurice Strong, head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and Executive Officer for Reform in the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations.

The term watermelons refers to people who are "green" on the outside and "red" on the inside. This reflects the reality that, after the failure of socialism and communism, the reds jumped into the environmental movement in their continued attempts to destroy capitalism.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

If something is not done about illegal immigration, Los Angeles will become a third world city. It will soon be a Mexican city with Spanish as the primary language. The decline will be irreversible when the Anglos and Blacks begin to leave in huge numbers. Here is an article from the blog Hot Air:

Los Angeles is becoming a "Third World city" with immigrants making up half its workforce, says a new study.

A third of immigrants have not graduated from high school and 60 per cent do not speak English fluently, the Migration Policy Institute found.

It said this left immigrants ill-equipped to fill California's fastest-growing occupations, such as computer software engineering and nursing. The organisation added that as the so-called baby boomers reach retirement age, a similar pattern will spread across the US.

Ernesto Cortes Jr, of the Industrial Areas Foundation, a think-tank that specialises on social change, claimed Los Angeles was at a crossroads.

"The question is are we going to be a 21st century city with shared prosperity, or a Third World city with an elite group on top and most on near poverty wages?" he said.

It is Earth Day, so it is appropriate to put up something about the environment. Here is a piece from Blue Crab Boulevard on how environmentalists are more about politics than science:

Published by Gaius under Energy, Environment, Junk Science, Left Wing

Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace who left the organization in 1986, explains why he has turned against Greenpeace. It's quite simple, really, it is the dearth of science in the hysterical warnings of the group. Many of those hysterical warnings are either baseless or completely self-serving.

"But I later learned that the environmental movement is not always guided by science. As we celebrate Earth Day today, this is a good lesson to keep in mind.

"At first, many of the causes we championed, such as opposition to nuclear testing and protection of whales, stemmed from our scientific knowledge of nuclear physics and marine biology. But after six years as one of five directors of Greenpeace International, I observed that none of my fellow directors had any formal science education. They were either political activists or environmental entrepreneurs. Ultimately, a trend toward abandoning scientific objectivity in favor of political agendas forced me to leave Greenpeace in 1986.

"The breaking point was a Greenpeace decision to support a world-wide ban on chlorine. Science shows that adding chlorine to drinking water was the biggest advance in the history of public health, virtually eradicating water-borne diseases such as cholera. And the majority of our pharmaceuticals are based on chlorine chemistry. Simply put, chlorine is essential for our health.

"My former colleagues ignored science and supported the ban, forcing my departure. Despite science concluding no known health risks – and ample benefits – from chlorine in drinking water, Greenpeace and other environmental groups have opposed its use for more than 20 years."

The latest hobbyhorse Greenpeace is riding is trying to force a ban on the common plasticizer diisononyl phthalate (DINP), which has been tested repeatedly, used for years and is perfectly safe. Greenpeace wants it banned and untried, unstudied compounds substituted. That and the opposition to chlorine points to more than a dearth of science. It also shows a dearth of compassion for their fellow humans.

Incidentally, I have posted about Patrick Moore in the past. He has become an eloquent advocate of nuclear power - which Greenpeace also froths unscientifically about. Greenpeace has, as Moore points out, become a politically-motivated organization more interested in its agenda than in really saving the earth. Or caring about the human beings who have to live here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Here is more about environism from the blog "Instapundit." I like the comment that EPA specializes in billion dollar solutions for million dollar problems.

It's getting better all the time

Stealing time from the completion of the second volume of his monumental Age of Reagan, my friend Steven Hayward has completed the thirteenth edition of his Index of Leading Environmental Indicators. According to Steve's 2008 report, the environmental apocalypse has receded even further into the future than when he started his series thirteen years ago; the United States remains the world's environmental leader and is likely to continue as such. I asked Steve if he would preview his report for our readers. He has graciously responded:

I was originally inspired back in 1993 by William Bennett's famous Index of Leading Cultural Indicators to do a succinct report on environmental trends, because, unlike the cultural trends Bennett looked at, I knew that most environmental trends in the U.S. are positive, though the media and the activist groups -- and the EPA -- never tell you this.

Environmental conditions in the U.S. have improved mostly because of economic growth and technological innovation, with regulation often speeding things along in the most costly and inefficient way. (I like to say that the EPA specializes in billion dollar solutions to million dollar problems.) Over the years I've kept after the subject, and expanded the annual report to note improving trends around the world that correlate chiefly with economic growth. For example, the latest UN report on global forest trends shows that Asia has reversed deforestation over the last decade and is now experiencing net forest growth -- even in China. A few highlights from this year's 13th edition include:

Air pollution is on its way to being eliminated entirely in the U.S. in about another 20 years. Levels of air pollution have fallen between 25 and 99 percent (depending on which pollutant you examine), with the nation's worst areas showing the most progress. For example, Los Angeles has gone from having nearly 200 high ozone days in the 1970s to less than 25 days a year today. Many areas of the Los Angeles basin are now smog-free year round.

Water pollution is more stubborn and harder to measure (and is being made worse in the Mississippi River basin by the government's crazy ethanol mandate), but here too there have been major improvements since the first Earth Day in 1970. The Great Lakes have been cleaned up, with many previously endangered species of birds now thriving. The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland doesn't catch fire any more. The amount of toxic chemicals used in American industry has fallen by 61 percent over the last 20 years, even as industrial output has grown. Forestland in the U.S. has been expanding at a rate of nearly 1 million acres a year over the last generation.

Steve keeps the report under 100 pages so that journalists and interested citizens can actually get through it without being overwhelmed with data. And that's all well and good, you might say, but what about global warming? Steve has also posted a seven-minute video update of his 2007 video critique of Al Gore -- "An Inconvenient Truth--or Convenient Fiction?."

Today, 21 April, is San Jacinto Day. On this day in 1836 Texans under Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna and a Mexican Army and freed Texas from Mexico. (And freed is the correct word: even today people in Mexico live under a form of tyranny.) This used to be a big Holiday in Texas, but is no longer celebrated because it would offend Mexicans. (My great-great grandfather, Josiah Taylor Childers, was in the Texas army, but apparently did not take part in the battle. He was on hand the next day when Santa Anna met with Houston under a big tree.)

A. J. Strata reports on a request by scientists that the UN IPCC either "put up" or "shut up." I'll bet that they just ignore these horrible "deniers." Why should politicians care what real scientists say when all of the Hollywood actors and politicians are telling you the truth, no matter what the data say. I couldn't copy the graph mentioned in the article that pretty well shows that there is no correlation between CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. See it at this link:


UN Told By Scientists (With Data) To Admit CO2 Levels Not Driving Global Climate

Posted by AJStrata on April 21st, 2008

As I noted recently there has been no global warming in the last ten years, and in fact we may be in what appears to be a drop off in the global temperature after a recent spike (which is not outside the typical climate ranges of Earth if you look back ten thousand years or more). In fact, if one looks at the ice extent in the Southern Hemisphere over the last 30 years it has been steadily rising with a huge jump in coverage in the last two years. Hardly the signature of run-away, man-made global warming.

Now scientists (not pols and actors and bureaucrats pretending to be scientists) are using data to demand the UN correct its erroneous claims and face the facts on global climate:

A group of scientists have challenged the IPCC to admit that there is no evidence that human activity drives climate change. Specifically, they sent a letter this month to the Chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asking those associated with the panel to:

retract support from the current IPCC position and admit that there is no observational evidence in measured data going back 22,000 years or even millions of years that CO2 levels (whether from man or nature) have driven or are driving world temperatures or climate change.

And they issue this challenge: “If you believe there is evidence of the CO2 driver theory in the available data please present a graph of it.”

The scientists assembled a graph based on actual measurements and did not find evidence that CO2 was the main driving force behind temperature. In fact, temperature increases and decreases, showing little interest in CO2 level.

The graph is quite enlightening in that it shows a constant increase in CO2 (Green Line) but varying and fairly consistent temperature measurements from various independent sources:

The fact is the global warming Chicken Littles have not made a scientifically solid case. None of their predictions have come true - not one. And all the evidence of warming is simply evidence that the Earth cycles through varying temperature ranges. Now I am all for knocking down our pollution and waste to the minimum and keeping this world beautiful for the next generation. But it has to be done based on real science and not Science Fiction from Hollywood, DC and the UN. It is time the alarmists admit they were wrong and we work on sound ways to keep Earth clean and habitable.

I have noticed for some time now that the people who identify as "environmentalists" are more interested in political power than in nature. The environmentalists seem more interested in controlling people's lives and in advancing collectivism than in careful study of how to best proceed to balance mankind with nature. I had a friend who worked for EPA. He found an error (actually a common error made in numerical analysis of plumes) in an analysis that showed a plant was in violation of clean air regulations. It turned out the plant was not actually in violation. He informed the local EPA leader, a lawyer, who was unimpressed. He said they already had a consent decree, and were shutting the plant down anyway. His view was that emissions at any level were harmful, and he didn't really care what the true situation was. Others have noticed this. Here is an article about some of the errors the environmentalists have made.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Blue Crab Boulevard points out that the Democrats are willing to abandon their own principles to oppose President Bush:

When even the Washington Post has to scold the Democrats for their anti-trade policies, you know it has to be bad. They slam the intellectual dishonesty of the Democrats over the Colombian free trade deal pretty hard this morning.

There are two important countries at the north of South America. One, Colombia, has a democratic government that, with strong support from the Clinton and Bush administrations, has bravely sought to defeat brutal militias of the left and right and to safeguard human rights. The other, Venezuela, has a repressive government that has undermined media freedoms, forcibly nationalized industries, rallied opposition to the United States and, recent evidence suggests, supported terrorist groups inside Colombia. That U.S. unions, human rights groups and now Democrats would focus their criticism and advocacy on the former, to the benefit of the latter, shows how far they have departed from their own declared principles.

The Post points out that there has been real progress in Colombia in controlling violence by President Álvaro Uribe. Things are not by any means perfect there, but they are getting better. A free trade deal would go a long way toward recognizing and rewarding that progress.

Barack Obama has stated that he would meet - without preconditions - with thugs like Hugo Chavez while the Democrat-controlled Congress stonewalls an ally. What kind of a message is the world getting from these behaviors? Simple: it's better to be an enemy of the United States than it is to be a friend. That's pretty sad.

Mark Steyn had a good column on Americans, God, and guns.


I agree with Steyn (a Canadian) that Democrats and Europeans don't understand and don't like middle Americans.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Outside of the USA there is no freedom of speech. That is true in Canada and in Europe. Those countries have sppech codes much like what liberals institute on the college campuses in the USA. In France the old movie star Brigette Bardot has run afoul of the speech code. She has been convicted several times before and is on trial now. She is an animal activist and speaks out against Muslims and homosexuality (actually those two sort of go together.) Here is a discussion about her plight.


Bardot is probably being fingered by Muslim organizations; they really are opposed to freedom of speech. This, and the recent freedom of speech hearings in Cnada, illustrate that freedom of speech is under attack around the world by socialists and liberal.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Here is a piece on how to write strong arguments. This is Graham's Heirarchy of Disagrement.


A lot of political debate I hear doesn't get above the ad hominem attack level. This is particularly true of the arguments put forward by those who support the globl warming hypothesis.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rich guys such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy, among others, support the estate tax, and claim that it is wrong to pass wealth on to your children. But most of them establish trust funds to avoid the estate tax. The Kennedy family is a good example. It is reported that they have their trust funds in Fiji. Here are some of Ted's comments on the subject.


My favorite columnist is Thomas Sowell. Here is his recent assessment of Barack Obama, which matches my assessment, but is stated better:

However inconsistent Obama's words, his behavior has been remarkably consistent over the years. He has sought out and joined with the radical, anti-Western left, whether Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers of the terrorist Weatherman underground or pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli Rashid Khalidi.[Sowell didn't mention Obama's mentor in Hawaii in his high school days, Frank Marshall Davis, the noted member of the CPUSA. Obama also worked as a "community organizer" in the Saul Alinsy operation in Chicago.]

Obama is also part of a long tradition on the left of being for the working class in the abstract, or as people potentially useful for the purposes of the left, but having disdain or contempt for them as human beings.

Karl Marx said, "The working class is revolutionary or it is nothing." In other words, they mattered only in so far as they were willing to carry out the Marxist agenda.

Fabian socialist George Bernard Shaw included the working class among the "detestable" people who "have no right to live." He added: "I should despair if I did not know that they will all die presently, and that there is no need on earth why they should be replaced by people like themselves."

Similar statements on the left go back as far as Rousseau in the 18th century and come forward into our own times.

It is understandable that young people are so strongly attracted to Obama. Youth is another name for inexperience -- and experience is what is most needed when dealing with skillful and charismatic demagogues.

Those of us old enough to have seen the type again and again over the years can no longer find them exciting. Instead, they are as tedious as they are dangerous.

Many people don't believe that the motivation of the UN's supporters of the global warming hypothesis is the destruction of Western Civilzation. Maurice Strong is a shadowy Canadian billionaire, a professed socialist, who was a senior advisor to Kofi Anan at the UN, and is part of a group that wants to create a world government lead by the UN. Here is what Strong has to say (fron Greenie Watch):

"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring about?"

Strong is a really scary guy, a buddy of Al Gore and most of the UN's leaders, who wants to take over the world. He is as scary as George Soros.

Monday, April 14, 2008

There is legislation pending that will profoundly change patent law in the US. The US has had a different policy than most of the rest of the world. Ace of Spades dicussed this:

...Yet, what may be the most dramatic change of the pending legislation is the shift from a "first-to-invent" to a "first-to-file" criterion for issuing patents. At present, even if a patent has already been filed for a particular invention, another inventor can win the patent if he can successfully demonstrate that he invented it first. Passage of the patent reform bill would award a patent to the first person to file for it, thereby eliminating a time-consuming court process...

In my experience companies liked to publish information on inventions that they don't want to spend the time or money necessary to patent to make it impossible for anyone to patent something similar at a future date. So, if this legislation passes, will there be a mad rush to file on all of that prior art? My guess is that there will be; after that there will be a lot of court cases. I doubt the patent attorney's will be put out of business.

Jimmy Carter is going to have a chat with Hamas. It is very important for Democrats to talk to our enemies to figure out how we can make things right. Of course, Hamas says they don't want anything from us, they just want to kill us. I'm sure Carter wouldn't believe that message. Here is a story from Fox News about how Hamas really feels.

Hamas Cleric Predicts 'Rome Will Be Conquered by Islam'

Monday, April 14, 2008

A sermon last Friday by a prominent Muslim cleric and Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament openly declared that "the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital," would soon be conquered by Islam.

The fiery sermon, delivered by Yunis al-Astal and aired on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV, predicted that Rome would become "an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread though Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, even Eastern Europe."

"Allah has chosen you for Himself and for His religion," al-Astal preached, "so that you will serve as the engine pulling this nation to the phase of succession, security and consolidation of power, and even to conquests through da'wa and military conquests of the capitals of the entire world.

"Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our prophet Muhammad," he added.

Al-Astal last June preached how it was the duty of Palestinian women to martyr themselves by becoming homicide bombers.

"The most exalted form of jihad is fighting for the sake of Allah, which means sacrificing one's soul by fighting the enemies head-on, even if it leads to martyrdom," he said in a June 23, 2007 interview.

"When jihad becomes an individual duty, it applies to women too, because women do not differ from men when it comes to individual duties," he said, calling Jews "the brothers of apes and pigs" who should "taste the bitterness of death."

Friday's rant repeated that theme: "Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam.

"I believe that our children, or our grandchildren, will inherit our jihad and our sacrifices, and, Allah willing, the commanders of the conquest will come from among them.

"Today, we instill these good tidings in their souls – and by means of the mosques and the Koran books, and the history of our Prophets, his companions, and the great leaders, we prepare them for the mission of saving humanity from the hellfire at whose brink they stand."

I'm not a Catholic, but I am glad to see that the Pope recognizes the threat to the West posed by Islam. It's too bad the political leaders of the West, including in the USA, do not see the threat.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Hillary and Obama campaigns insult each other by calling the other "Republican," and I saw that Obama says Hillary is part of a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

Here is an interesting article about the oil-for-food connections between Saddam's bagman al-Hanooti, the fixer Marc Rich, and the Clinton's. (Could this be why Clinton pardoned Rich during his last night in office?)


Patrick Moore, the co-founder and leader of Greenpeace for 15 years, gives his reason for leaving the organization.

That's why I left Greenpeace: I could see that my fellow directors, none of whom had any science education, were starting to deal with issues around chemicals and biology and genetics, which they had no formal training in, and they were taking the organization into what I call "pop environmentalism," which uses sensationalism, misinformation, fear tactics, etc., to deal with people on an emotional level rather than an intellectual level.

Moore identifies precisely the problem I have with the environmental movement. It appears to me that those supportting the global warming hypothesis have the problem of not wanting to deal with the issue on an intellectual level, even the ones with scientific credentials.

Moore is now an advocate of nuclear power, which is much more cost-effective than wind or solar power. It is safe, and with modern technology, produces little radioactive waste.

One recent phenomena is the editorial bias against publication of scientific papers that go against the conventional wisdom regarding the global warming hypothesis and "climate change." Scientists who are activists and ambitious politicians have conspired to prevent dissimination of information that does not support the catastrophic climate change scenario. Here is an excellent article that discusses the editorial bias situation. (Note this was written before the Earth's average suddenly dropped over the last year, and people like Kelly Emanuel changed their opinion regarding the impact of global warming, assuming it even exists.)


Saturday, April 12, 2008

I had an echocardigram stress test this week. They say my heart's ejection fraction is up to 40% now (from 20% after surgery). It needs to be 45% or more. (Normal is 55% to 75%.) For low EF, her is what a person needs to do:

Lifestyle choices that may be recommended to patients with an abnormal ejection fraction include:

Limiting physical activity until the appropriate level of activity is approved by one’s physician, and then staying as active as possible. Regular aerobic exercise may be recommended, while patients may be instructed to avoid weight training or lifting heavy objects.

Scheduling relaxation and rest periods throughout the day.

Eating a heart-healthy diet and avoiding excessive fluid intake.

Reducing salt intake.

Completely avoiding alcohol and/or tobacco use.

Keeping a daily weight diary and notifying a physician of any weight gain of three or more pounds in a single week (which may indicate fluid retention and the need for an immediate change in treatment).

A cardiac rehabilitation program may be recommended for patients with heart failure.

The upcoming Presidential election will have a lot to do with the legacy of George Bush. If McCain wins the US will "win" the Iraq war and George Bush will eventually be recognized as a great President. If a Democrat wins, the Iraq war will be "lost" and Congress will start investigating war criminal charges against Bush and others. Bush will eventually be evaluated as having failed in a noble enterprise. From American Thinker, here is an appraisal of the situation in Iraq.

The Success of Iraq Policy

By Jim Hall

Contrary to the dominant media narrative, the Iraq war is working out as a global strategic success, albeit not to a comfortable time schedule or cost. A Walter Chronkite-type surrender won't be necessary, this time. America had the strength to endure, analyze, correct and advance the mission. America will be the global can-do superpower once again. Europe and the Middle East have seen this light.

The rough edges of the Iraq war have inspired negative rhetoric and carefully considered judgments that the war has been a total loss. The critics cite the turmoil, scramble, expense and destruction that is part of any large scale military action, and conclude that even minimal amounts war chaos are unacceptable and were unnecessary; any cost is too costly; the effort has been a failure.

Rough edges there have been, all along. But the attempt to proclaim the mission a failure has been inaccurate and shortsighted. It discounts as worthless potential future benefits of a global strategy that were reasonably probable, if not certain. It discounts insurance functions that only poor management of American life and limb would neglect. It discounts the capacity of the American system to plan and build for strategic success, assuming any misstep represents conceptual failure.

The Iraq war had to be conducted in a politically acceptable manner. It was. From Saddam's broken UN resolutions, to GWB's permission slip from the UN and the U.S. Congress, to the offer for Saddam to leave and avoid conflict, to efforts to take out Saddam individually before the larger invasion became a reality, the plan covered most bases.

The problems may well have come from conducting the war with such a degree of political correctness. The administration had to consider so carefully the anticipated concerns of the United Nations and world community. Broken resolutions against that body by Saddam counted for far less than the disapproval of any forceful attempt at enforcement of the resolutions. The UN's low level of respect and perceived effectiveness is well deserved.

The administration considered the concerns of the Iraqi National Congress, a group of concerned Iraqi expatriate experts on abuses by Saddam, and the issues of high priority to most of the sectarian groups in Iraq. It considered historical precedent, including the 1991 invasion, if not matching its coalition members in quantity. It considered concerns of critics who would demand evidence nearly courtroom-tight, before taking forceful means toward resolution enforcement. It considered minimizing collateral damage to greatest extent this concept has ever been considered. The administration considered how to remove Saddam without ground forces ever having to enter the country (take him out in a strategic air strike). It considered, and instructed the Iraqi army on what to do when and if the invasion were to occur, in order to preserve the lives of Iraqi officers and soldiers, and the Iraqi military as an institution.

The administration did not, however, consider the concerns or preferences of the League of Democracies. There isn't one, yet. It didn't consider planning issues related to conquering the country in Nazi lock-down style. It didn't consider a replacement for the entire Iraqi police force in case that Iraqi force proved to be totally incompetent, or even negatively effective. It didn't consider what to do if the advice offered to the Iraqi army went further than planned, to the point of Iraqi soldiers removing their uniforms and going home. It didn't consider installing a new king, as the British had done in 1921, following their forced adoption of the territory after the loss of it by the ruling Ottomans, who joined the German and Austrian empires During WWI. No, the Bush administration did not plan fully, by any means.

With the world being the dangerous place that it is, human freedom and liberty have faced considerable threats over the course of history. Democratic countries often raise armies and elect leaders to engage them when these threats arise. George Bush decided to use the American military, along with many international allies in Iraq, because our own liberty, and western civilization itself, were under threat. It had been since the events of 9/11, since Saddam's invasion of Kuwait in 1991, and since many similar but smaller events dating back to 1983 and before.

Have we achieved results worth the effort and expense, both human and financial? Republicans are not sure; they think, probably. Democrats are very sure; they think, no. Iraqis think, yes. Europe thinks, maybe, finally. The Middle East thinks, yes, finally, but will not to say so.

The probably-maybe and yes, finally equivocal evaluations are conditional because the process has taken so long. Republican politicians have to run for election and reelection, and they got legislatively hammered and timed-out in the 2006 mid terms. Their convictions and resolve faltered.

Democrats like it when Republicans falter. They have been firm in their own resolve that the war has been, and is, a disaster. Democrats haven't figured out yet that they are in danger being hammered and timed-out of the 2008 elections due to success in the Iraq war. The Europeans are of the maybe, finally opinion because they are seeing the U.S. success, and because they realize they haven't had to, and don't have to contribute more than their political systems can bear, as determined by near term convenience. But they don't want to incur additional debt to America, even though it would likely be forgiven, anyway.

uropeans are realizing to a greater degree than before the threat imposed by a nuclear Iran. They don't like suicide bomber attacks, they would like even less a nuclear suicide attack. They think the U.S. has the resolve, now, along with the obvious capacity to prevail in the region.

The Middle East thinks yes, finally because Iranian leaders are not conventionally rational. Some Middle East countries are either conventionally rational, or can at least understand conventional rationality. The Gulf States like their new, modern airports, hotels and downtowns. They would like to keep them. This will be easier with the U.S. presence and influence in the Gulf.

Why do the Middle East and Europe think this American effort might be worth it, and probably will be worth it, although won't say so, only just now? Enough time has gone by that both Europe and the Middle East have seen the Bush Administration in action. Described as incompetent, ill-prepared and possibly criminal, the Bush-led coalition conducted a surgical military invasion that was precise, quick, competent and powerful to a degree never before seen in modern history. The Middle East and Europe evaluated the performance on a scale that ranges from imperialist self-serving Nazi style bullies on one end, to mild mannered humanitarian peace keepers at the other. They placed us in some appropriate space between these two extremes.

The United States, leading the coalition of 30 nations, plus the quiet support of 15 more, performed a task impossible under any other leadership. The costs were too great to remain uncriticized on the American home front. It made us all sick. But the U.S. military performed its job, admirably and incredibly. The administration picked and adjusted a strategy that finally worked, under conditions that had to conform to a strict checklist of disqualifiers.

We tried, and succeeded, in not performing a Germany-style take over, as both Bismarck and Hitler did in France. It may have proven cleaner if we would have used these models. But General Jay Garner's mission after the successful initial invasion was to supervise and keep order. It wasn't to conquer, occupy and impose order.

If a Saddam administrative subordinate or two had stepped forward and offered to assume the helm, they could have had the place simply by showing some credentials and cooperation. None took the step. There were none who could. If the Iraqi military would have stepped forward, they could have had the place, with a cooperative attitude and after passing a sanity test. They couldn't and didn't. If Iraqi exiles could have gotten along, gotten organized and gotten together some justification of their ability and evenhandedness, they could have had the place. But they couldn't.

If General Garner could have assumed control and supervised the functioning of existing Iraqi institutions, he would have. But all the Iraqi institutions were broken. It wasn't Jay Garner's fault. No one could have performed that management miracle. There was nothing to work with. Iraqi institutions needed Mukhabarat master mechanics -- the Iraqi Intelligence Service -- to function. Europe and the Middle East saw this.

The U.S.-led coalition had to backpedal and regroup. This job couldn't be done quickly, because there were no administrative Iraqi assets able to function. It would have been nice to have known this. But we didn't. The Iraqi National Congress expatriate experts didn't know it, and neither did anybody else. To be legitimate, the job would have to be done transparently, fairly, and quickly. We were only able to achieve transparency and fairness. We sent in Paul Bremer to establish Iraqi rule that was representative and legitimate in the eyes of Iraq and of the world.

Following WWI, Japan took over several German colonial holdings in China. Japan had permission from the greatest assemblage of world political representatives ever assembled: the Paris Peace Conference, of 1919. But the administrative handoff to Japan was not fair. Bremer would have to accomplish something more acceptable in Iraq than Woodrow Wilson and his European counterparts did at Versailles. He did. There were rough edges aplenty, and the process was brutal on Bremer and his group. They were the best we felt we had available to manage the process. Europe and the Middle East saw this.

Bremer assembled Iraqis who would organize other Iraqis, who would write a constitution, which would be ratified by all Iraqis, and then organize elections that would be voted upon throughout Iraq. The elections would be so fair, and the turnout so great, and the purple fingers and smiling faces of the Iraqi voters so prominent and happy that the world saw and judged with approval. Unbelievably, all of this occurred without the assistance of the best foreign-vote-supervision dignitary we have -- former President Jimmy Carter. The voting did not quell the violence or solve unresolved problems. There would be continued Hell to pay. We paid it. And Europe and the Middle East saw this.

The reconfiguration of Iraq was done well enough that the nature of the region is in the middle of a giant step forward. The Middle East could stumble--it has been clumsy for ever so long. But there are enough conventionally rational political players in this game that the chances of success are decent. The alternative to sure footed stability is tragedy, and on display for all to see in the Palestinian debacle of Gaza and the West Bank. There isn't enough conventional rationality available there to succeed. Rational Palestinians in numbers sufficient to realize when to come in out of the rain have long since departed that land. Its only chance is example, persuasion or pressure by neighbors who are in the position now to take a breath and realize that civilization is more than masses of people living in close proximity.

A League of Democracies might go a long way toward cooperative international efforts at worthwhile global management projects. We had hoped for this with the League of Nations and the United Nations. If John McCain is serious about national security and international communal sanity -- he certainly sounds so -- we might yet look back on Iraq and its reformation with pride, and relief.

Al Gore and his fellow travelers who support the catastrophic global warming hypothesis (now called climate change since there is no warming going on) demonize those who disagree with them, claiming they are either fools or in the pay of evil oil companies. Al Gore is now spending $300 million on the "wecansolveit" campaign. Does anyone know who is providing the $300 million for Gore's campaign? Is it possible that those providing the funding have some monetary interest in some "rent seeking" scheme such as carbon trading?

Ace of Spades has interpreted Obama's latest remarks:

Obama To Rural Pennsylvanians: Vote For Me, You Corncob-Smokin', Banjo-Strokin' Chicken-Chokin' Cousin-Pokin' Inbred Hillbilly Racist Morons
Yeah, that's about it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

One difference in the two political parties in America is that Republicans will work with a Democrat President to defeat the enimies of America. But Democrats regard a Republican President as the enemy, and cozy up to America's enemies to defeat the Republican President. That was true with Reagan, Clinton, and both Bush's. One example; Ted Kennedy providing info to Brezhnev on how to handle Reagan. There are many other examples.

I have spent a few weeks in and around hospitals recently. Based on observations I made, there are some problems with the American healthcare system. There is a lot of bureacracy and inefficiency, but in general it does get the job done. I was surprised at the high percentage of personnel who are not native Americans. In the current election healthcare appears to be a major issue. And the rhetoric of the candidates indicates that they want to overhaul the system. The Democrats want socialized medicine, though they may give it some other name. McCain claims to favor market solutions, but like the Democrats he talks about punishing drug companies. All of them talk about reducing costs, with some claims such as Obama's that are ludicrous. All claim to be able to reduce costs without restricting access. In reality that cannot be done. In the socialized systems in Europe and Canada they contain costs by restricting access. I recently had coronary bypass surgery at the time the doctors determined that I had a problem. In England a person my age might be prevented form having the surgery, and certainly would if I were a smoker. In Canada I would have had to wait for a few months.

Restricting access is a common feature of all government run systems. There is some merit in restriction to access, since over 25% of the total expense in the US is spent on people in the last few months of their life. Often, the patient's quality of life as heroic measures are made to keep him alive is poor. The patient himself may not even want the heroic measures to be taken, but usually his family insists on it. How to implement the restriction of access is a challenge that is probably too much for the government bureaucracy. In Hillarycare that was pushed in the early 90's Hillary was going to decide on the rules, which she wanted to be certain were applied to rich and poor alike. (That is fanciful thinking since the rich will always be able to get around the bureaucracy, which I'm sure she knows, but won't admit.) Rules based on age or other clearly identifiable criteria will clearly be arbitrary. Probably there would be constraints on healthcare based on whether or not a person is a smoker or an alcoholic or a drug addict. Age can be problematical since some people are healthy and have a lot of productive life at age 80 so heroic measures may be prudent, while other people are in such poor health generally at age 80 that heroic measures will provide little benefit.

These healthcare issues are difficult, and I have no confidence in politicians effectively solving them. I am certain that the healthcare situation in America is going to get worse, particularly if the government takes over healthcare. The government taking over the development of drugs, as the Presidential candidates seem to advocate, will do nothing for efficiency or safety.

Here is whatthe President of Iran has said recently:

Mashhad, 10 April (AKI) - Iran's hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday his country's objective was to destroy what he called corrupt western powers.
"Our objective is to annihilate all corrupt powers that dominate our planet today," said Ahmadinejad.

He was speaking in the holy Shia city of Mashhad, located 850 kilometres east of the Iranian capital Tehran at an event where he met Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade.

Ahmadinejad also "advised" western powers to repent or, "otherwise Iranians will hoist their flag on the roof of their buildings."...

To me it is obvious that the United States is one of the "corrupt powers" Ahmadinejad has in mind. Democrats often refer to the US as "corrupt" but for some reason they don't appear to think Ammadinejad has us in mind. Barack wants to go have a chat with Ahmadinejad to see how we can make things right. It seems to me that the trip is a waste of time since Ahmadinejad spelled out what we have to do, which is "repent," that is, become Muslims.

At the present time, the inept Jimmy Carter is planning a meeting with the terrorist group Hamas. Another waste of time since we already know that the only thing they will settle for is the destruction of Israel. It boggles the mind that Carter thinks he can get them to change their demands. My thought is that he is discussing how he can help them destroy Israel; what else could be productively discussed with Hamas?

For the first time in about 30 years new nuclear power plants are going to be built in the USA, in Georgia at an existing powwr station. The Westinghouse AP1000 is a new design descibed in the site below:


The 1156 MWe plants cost $2-3 billion each. (For comparison, the transmission lines to the electricity generating wind turbine farms in Texas are estimated to cost as much as $6 billion, and the wind power source has an availability of about 16% to [optomistically] 30% of the time.)

Here is a blog from a Norweigan about the colonization of Europe by Muslims. There is a similar coloniation of the US by Mexicans. Islamists want to rule the world. It is less clear what the goal of the Mexicans is, but it is clearly against the interests of the indigenous people of the US. This article with its condemnation of multiculturalism is worthy of thought.


Recently Harvard decided to set aside special women-only time in the gym to satisfy six Muslim women who, for religious reasons, can't work out around men. It is curious that Harvard would make special rules for Muslims when they won't allow the ROTC on their campus. The Muslim's are still in the "camel's nose under the tent" stage of their attempt to take over America and the West. Our government watches Mormons like a hawk in regard to their forcing teen-aged girls to marry old men, but do nothing about Muslims doing the same thing.

Here is a good article about the situation at Harvard.


Barack Obama bcomes scarier to me as I learn more about him. He is far more dangerous than Hillary Clinton because, at least it seems to me, she is unlikely to be able to accomplish her socialist goals due to managerial incompetence. Here is a critique of Obama titled the wizard of ooze.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Maybe we need to consider only using indoor gun ranges, considering this report from Mexico that I got from "Blue Crab Boulevard."

Sting Operation

Published by Gaius under Animals

Some Mexican police officers were the victims of a sting operation in southeastern Mexico. Seventy officers were injured, three seriously, when their taget practice was interrupted by a swarm of Africanized bees. The bees, popularly known as killer bees, drove the officers from the firing range.

"From the first shot (on the firing range), there was a loud buzzing noise and tons of bees began to appear, attacking everyone in sight," said civil guard official Miguel Serrano.

The barrage took place in the town of Tapachula, where the bees' aggressive reaction forced the police to seek refuge in their own training headquarters, with many suffering stings all over their bodies.

Three female officers were severely hurt and required hospitalization. From now on, a very large can of wasp and bee killer is going to be standard equipment in my range bag. One can never be too careful.

This is interesting. See which way the dancer appears to be turning, clock-wise or counter-clock-wise. I must be a bit different because sometimes she is going one way, and somethimes the other. Supposedly the direction you perceive her turning indicates if you are right brain or left brain dominant.


Here is a good article on why science is not about consensus, despite what Al Gore says.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The news today says an Obama delegate in Illinois had to resign because she called some black children climbing in a tree "monkeys." She was given a ticket for $75 for "disorderly conduct." Whatever happened to freedom of speech. I think it doesn't exist in areas controlled by Democrats. I've hard white children climbing in a tree called "little monkeys." Is that OK?

Frank Gaffney has reviewed the new book War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terror, by former Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith:

Particularly interesting are the many points on which earlier tomes and conventional wisdom are mistaken. For instance, Mr. Feith demonstrates that the record simply does not support claims that: “Bush and his hawkish advisors” were intent on waging war on Iraq from the get-go; Rumsfeld and his “neo-cons” failed to prepare for post-war Iraq and that the State Department had, only to have its plans spurned by the Pentagon; and Feith’s office tried to manipulate pre-war intelligence about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. Given how central many of these myths are to the current criticism of the Iraq war, the contradictory evidence deserves attention.

Even more critical to this week’s congressional testimony – and what follows on Capitol Hill, on the hustings and, not least in Iraq – are Mr. Feith’s insights into problems that continue to afflict America’s execution of the war. For example:

* On issue after issue, George W. Bush’s decisions on Iraq were undermined by subordinates who opposed the president’s policies. As Feith charitably puts it, Mr. Bush “could…justly be faulted for an excessive tolerance of indiscipline, even of disloyalty from his own officials.” This pattern continues with members of the intelligence community, senior diplomats and even, until recently, a top military officer routinely flouting presidential direction – sometimes openly, on other occasions through malicious leaks to the press.

* There has been an abject failure to address competently and comprehensively the ideological nature of our Islamofascist enemies and their enablers. “…In the fight against terrorism, the effort to counter ideological support remains a gaping deficiency. No one in the Administration…is currently developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy beyond public diplomacy.” Congress has not helped matters, by failing to confirm Jim Glassman or reconstituting a dedicated organization like the U.S. Information Agency to do this work.

* Most importantly, the costs of failures to act – or win in Iraq – continue to be underestimated. “If and when major new terrorist attacks occur in the United States, the public will reexamine the Bush Administration’s strategy for the war on terrorism. The likely criticism then will not be that the President was too tough on the jihadists, the Baathists and other state supporters of terrorism, but that the Administration might have fought the terrorist network even more intensely and comprehensively.

Much of the above has been recognized by careful observers, but Democrats and the MSM have wanted to cast everything in negative terms with regard to Bush. I fault Bush for not summarily dismissing the people who sabotaged his plans, and for not formulating a policy for engaging Islam in the long war that we are in. Should a Democrat be elected President this year, whatever gains Bush has achieved will be lost, and it is almost certain that we will sustain more severe attacks in the future. Bush has also not been able to stop the Democrats from preventing the US from implementing an effective plan for reducing our dependence on foreign oil. (If you listen carefully you can sometimes catch a Democrat saying that they would like to raise the price of energy so high that consumption is dramatically reduced; they say they will save our standard of living by funding "green" technology. Apparently there are no engineers in the Democrat camp who point out that wind power and solar power are not viable substitutes for our current energy infrastructure. They are, of course, adamently opposed to nuclear power.)

Here is something from Thomas Sowell's Random Thoughts that I agree with. (Actually, I agree with most of Sowell's thoughts.)

Senator John McCain could never convince me to vote for him. Only Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama can cause me to vote for McCain.

Here are some of Sowell's thoughts:

It is amazing to me that there are people who still take seriously claims by some candidates that they are against "special interests." All politicians are against their opponents' special interests and in favor of his own special interests.

Nothing is more fraudulent than calls for a "dialogue on race." Those who issue such calls are usually quick to cry "racism" at any frank criticism. They are almost invariably seeking a monologue on race, to which others are supposed to listen.

The same people who have gone ballistic when some prominent figure is found to belong to some all-male social club are full of excuses for why Barack Obama remained a member of a racist and anti-American church for 20 years.

Among the many wise things said by the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was that you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts. Yet an incredible number of people make up whatever "facts" are needed to support whatever they choose to believe.

Monday, April 07, 2008

John Murtha is one the the pork champions in congress. The Lobbyiests in the company I used to work for loved him for some reason. Here is a report on his antics. His party is not identified by CBS, which indicates that he is a Democrat.


Mary Katherine Ham tried to find one of the enterprises that Murtha funded with earmarks. She is a cute girl, so I like her.


(Disclosure: I got this info from a Republican site.)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

In Oregon fire fighter supervisors were let go because they couldn't speak Spanish, the native language of new recruits. It appears to me that Spanish may be becoming the language of America. I was on jury duty, and it was annpounced that you couldn't serve on a jury unless you spoke English. The swearing in ceremony was then done in Spanish.

Here is a blurb on the Oregon fire fighte case from "Cheat Seeking Missiles."

Yes indeed! The government bureaucrats did in fact fire the seasoned supervisors who couldn't speak Spanish instead of the untrained recruits who couldn't speak English.

Will this bizarre turn of events make Oregonians feel safer when the fires start burning?

Extrapolating, will you feel safer going into surgery, knowing the best surgeons were fired because they didn't speak the Spanish, Romanian, Urdu or Tagalog spoken by the scrub nurse?

My wife and I have recently spent a lot of time in the hospital. Most of the doctors are American, but not many of the nurses were. I had nurses from Kenya, Jamaica, Pakistan, Canada, and Mexico. There were some others who were obviously not from America, but I didn't get a chance to find out their native country.

Friday, April 04, 2008

I saw an article that said that Spain needs two million foreign immigrants. We could ship them two million Mexicans who can already speak the Spanish language. A win-win for everyone. But, I'll bet the mexicans would rather come to the US than go to Spain. How is that, given that according to liberals, the US is such a terrible place?

Hillary Clinton says she will have a new cabinet secretary in charge of eliminating poverty. I wonder if she knows that poverty can never be eliminated in a free market capitalist state. There is virtually no poverty in America when compared to Global standards. But, there will always be a bottom 20% or 10%, that will be deemed to be in relative poverty. The only way to eliminate "poverty" in America is to institute some sort of collectivist state in which all outcomes are equal. I suspect that is what Senator Clinton, and Senator Obama would like to see. As a practical matter they may not be able to cause it to happen, but they would like to. My guess is that the Clinton's would like to keep their $20 million per year income, and the Obama's their $1 million per year, but they would like to level out the rest of us.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I see where Chelsea Clinton made a speech in which she blamed Bush for everything she thinks is wrong, including not signing the Kyoto Treaty (actually a good thing in my view). She seems to not recall the the US Senate voted unanimously against the treaty back when her Daddy was President.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Today I read about Hillary Clinton's work on the Committee to impeach Nixon. She tried to argue that Nixon had no right to counsel, and hid records, lied, etc, and was fired. I'm surprised that people are just now talking about this. I thought it was well known, like her work defending terrorists, and working for communists. Apparently no one brought up her past work during her runs for the Senate in New York. Her record clearly shows that she is ethically deficient.

I saw Ted Turner on TV talking about global warming. He predicts that it will be 10 degrees warmer in 30 or 40 years, civilization will break down, and people will be cannibals. This is another example that a person doesn't have to be smart to get rich in America. (Turner also won a boat race, but I don't think anyone ever said you have to be smart for that.)

It appears that the government was responsible for the subprime mortgage fiasco. There was something called the Community Reinvestment Act (RCA). Under Clinton this came to be used to force banks to loan money to minority people who were poor credit risks without credit checks. The government forced the banks to provide information on the race of the people they were making loans to. This exposed the banks to the usual shakedown artists, so they had to make a lot of subprime loans. Then the Fed forced the banks to bundle the bad loans with good ones, and sell them to unsuspecting investors. Now Democrats want to blame the banks, and create more regulations. As usual their attempts to repeal the laws of economics will fail, and the taxpayers will pay. This subprime loan scheme has worked out well for Democrats as a mechanism for transfer of wealth from the "bad" people to the "good" people.

China has given the IAEA information on Iran's nuclear weapon program. So much for the US national intelligence estimate that said Iran had stopped their nuclear weapon program in 2003. We knew all along that the NIE was a partisan hack job intended to harm President Bush. It is sad that Bush's internal enemies are willing to risk harm to our national security to damage his Administration. When do they cross the line and become traitors?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Recent reports of a huge oil field in the area of North and South Dakota and Montana must be depressing to Democrats and greenies. Some are speculating that with modern horizontal drilling technology, the Bakken Trend might yield 200 billion barrels, about as much as the reserves of Saudi Arabia. There are also reports of 50 billion barrels recoverable with modern technology off the coast of Mexico. The problem there is that Mexico doesn't have the technology, and refuses to deal with American companies that have it. The Democrats and Greenies have been working hard to prevent drilling in ANWR and in coastal regions, and in limiting production from oil sands in Canada, and shale oil in Colorado. I wonder what schemes the Democrats and the Greenies are hatching to prevent future drilling inside the continental US. One plan is to get the polar bears declared and endangered species based on flawed science, after which they can sue to stop burning fossil fuels. If that fails they will need a new plan.

The Democrats have reliedon "identity politics" for quite some time now. It was inevitable that they would stop nominating white men for President, and instead nominate a member of the "victim" class. But, they have several different victim classes. So, maybe it was also inevitable that there would be a year in which members of two victim classes would contend for the nomination. And, thanks to some odd rules of procedure, it is almost certain that neither can get the majority needed to secure the nomination. That pits the victim groups against each other, and almost guarantees that one victim class or the other will be disappointed in the outcome, and some of them may sit out the general election. This war between the constituent victim classes could spell trouble for the Democrats in the future. Let us hope so, because the Democrats deserve it.