Sunday, November 29, 2009

Inconvenient results

Director of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, Doctor Phil Jones, has apologized for the content of emails leaked last week.
My colleagues and I accept that some of the published emails do not read well. I regret any upset or confusion caused as a result. Some were clearly written in the heat of the moment, others use colloquialisms frequently used between close colleagues.
I had not realized that emails "not reading well" was significant. I had not realized these particular clearly and precisely written emails were confusing. I had not realized that "beat the crap out of him," as one American Anthropogenic Global Warming promoter scientist emailed about skeptic Pat Michaels, was some sort of arcane scientific expression used among close colleagues in the heat of scientific debate. And, of course, none of that is the case.

That such email might be "upsetting or confusing" isn't relevant. Dr. Jones is apologizing for insider political language that is antithetical to scientific debate. He isn't apologizing for what was done, only for what was said about the doing of it.

I suspect what Dr. Jones really regrets is that the language, taken in context and from a broad scope, is revealing. While I am certain Dr. Jones is sorry he and his accomplices have had their insularity, lack of integrity and pettiness revealed, his apology is more about changing the subject than acknowledging serious ethical and professional failure.

The problem is not that the language was intemperate, it's that Dr. Jones and his co-conspirators have not been practicing what we know, colloquially, as "science." The problem is that when data proved not to be 'temperate,' he felt free - even compelled - to hide it, ignore it, delete it, or manipulate it to reinforce his prejudice. He ought to apologize for the deeds, not the discussion of them.

Science means following where the data leads, not jamming them by main force into the shredder if they fail to confirm your preconception. Science means changing your theory to explain new information, not changing your programs to produce the same conclusion for each new dataset. What the leaked emails show is, as scientists, these guys make rather below average politicians. Their agenda is to secure funding for proving AGW, not to do science. Living on the proceeds of the prostitution of science is another thing Dr. Jones ought to apologize for.

The peer review process Dr. Jones' supporters continue (against all logic) to cite as the reason the East Anglia models are to be believed has been destroyed at their hands. Evidence of intent to corrupt the peer review process - coupled with an established practice of scurrilous, personal political attacks - is liberally scattered throughout the emails. Dr. Jones ought to apologize for overt attempts to destroy the careers of others.

It is malfeasance he should apologize for. Instead, he portrays his colleagues as guilty of no more than socially inept over enthusiasm - only to be expected of uber-geeks trying to save the planet. He won't even admit misfeasance: Which is proved beyond reasonable doubt by comments in East Anglia's computer programs about lack of documentation, bug ridden code, and missing and/or worthless data. No scientist would have trusted the data or conclusions.

Dr. Jones assures us that those computer programs, which include comments like "Specify period over which to compute the regressions (stop in 1960 to avoid the decline," can produce a public-policy model fully robust enough to risk crippling the world economy. How can he continue this charade? He says IT'S BEEN REPLICATED at other climate research centers.
Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for NASA and the National Climate Data Centre in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them.
This is sad news indeed for the expanded list of co-conspirators those independent groups of "scientists." Dr. Jones has just broadly hinted that other AGW researchers appear to have the same crappy systems, methods and data he does: All backed up by a similar commitment to the scientific method?

If no one needed to manipulate the data, Dr, Jones, then why did they?

You do owe us an apology, but not for incivility.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Piltdown Man

I see the term "Piltdown Man" being raised in relation to the leak of information from the East Anglia AGW proponents' web servers. I agree that what's been revealed thus far strongly suggests a similar hoax, and that the revelation similarly damages the reputation of science. It is a violation of a social contract. There is at least one gargantuan difference, however.

The Piltdown hoax may have been intended to increase the fame and fortune of the perpetrators, but unlike the AGW puffery was not concocted in order to force the redirection of trillions of dollars and the reorganization of human society.

The strategy of AGW proponents has been to challenge the credentials, ethics and integrity of their critics - in synergy with with a continuing refusal to submit AGW evidence to scrutiny. AGW proponents regularly call skeptics "deniers" in order to connect them with those who deny the Holocaust; certainly suggesting that the "deniers" are willing to let millions die to defend not just the indefensible, but evil.

AGW proponents practiced a coordinated ad hominem effort to suppress debate. They pushed to define allowable debate as about integrity, not science. They are hoist on their own petard. These East Anglia narcissists and their fellow travelers put their own theories before their Muse, and serious doubt has now been cast on their character for:
  • manipulating data - directly and through compromised computer programming
  • subverting the peer review process - both to deny their opponents access to any debate and to denigrate them for lacking such access
  • refusing to comply with Freedom of Information requests for the data and algorithms they used, and conspiring to delete material covered under such requests
Today's worthwhile read on this topic:
ClimateGate: The Fix is In

PS - Phil Jones comment, in the above link, that "the warmest year currently on record, [is] 1998!" is known to be untrue. He was repeting an error by NASA's James Hansen that has since been admitted. See James Hansen.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving

I am a grandfather for the second time.

Madelyn Grace was born at approximately 4:30PM EST. 6 pounds 11 ounces. 20 inches. Dark hair & eyes.

Mother and baby are doing fine.

East Anglia AGW, the heat goes on

-Never comment your code. It was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.

-
At least we know why the NYT didn't publish any of the emails.

-
And I want one of these.
From the comments:

This illegal act of cyber-terrorism against a climate scientist (and I don’t think that’s too strong a word) is ominous and frightening. What next? Deliberate monkeying with data on servers? Insertion of bugs into climate models?
Too late, the guys at East Anglia already did all that.

-
How the Science Gets Settled [Mark Steyn]
It's about the environment in just the same way Pelosi/Obama/ReidCare is about people's health.

-
Viscount Monckton on Climategate: ‘They Are Criminals’
If they "shredded" FOIA'd data, yes, they should be charged. The worse crime, however, is the damage to science as a concept.

-
And finally, one of those "rabid deniers" spoke at Hillsdale college in 2007:
Global Warming: Man-Made or Natural?
S. Fred Singer
Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who's a "denier" now?

Even the New York Times finds the leak of emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit impossible to ignore. I do not think this rises fully to being "coverage," however, and I note some of the reasons below.

I have included the full text of the Times article below because it usually disappears behind a subscription firewall in a short time.

The Times - "...skeptics, ... say [the emails] they show that climate scientists conspired to overstate the case for a human influence on climate change."
One must wonder if the NYT would be as sanguine if something similar had been revealed about the "deniers," itself a revealing term about the mindset of planet Gore. The Times does not provide any of the actual email content so one might form one's own opinion about what the emails show. You'll have to go elsewhere for that coverage.

The Times - "Some of the correspondence portrays the scientists as feeling under siege by the skeptics’ camp..."
If the gates were open, if the data were available, as they would be in the spirit and practice of science as it has hitherto been defined, no siege would have been necessary - or possible.

The Times - "The evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so widely accepted that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument."
Widely accepted by conspirators who've been lying. This is not "coverage" except in the sense of CYA. If anybody is in denial, it is not the skeptics.

The Times - ""The cache of e-mail messages also includes references to journalists, including this reporter, ..."
This reporter, whose ox has been Gored. Big mistake.

The Times - "He [Dr. Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research] said that he thought that the messages showed “the integrity of scientists. Still, some of the comments might lend themselves to being interpreted as sinister."
Yep, it goes to integrity of these "scientists" all right. And, yep, it's sinister.

The Times - "Through the last century, tree rings and thermometers show a consistent rise in temperature until 1960, when some tree rings, for unknown reasons, no longer show that rise, while the thermometers continue to do so until the present."
Uh, no the thermometers don't show that. They show the opposite for the last decade. Not to mention that we know another climate guru, Dr. James Hansen, has used bad temperature data purporting to prove 1998 to be the warmest year on record. NASA had to withdraw this claim when it was discovered. The best one can say about Dr. Hansen is that he's very sloppy. This did not stop him from calling for
the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming...
Maybe he needs to consider calling for the same for his East Anglia colleagues.

The Times - "[those who wrote the emails say they] ...did nothing to undercut the body of research on global warming."
What would then? Nothing. This is a claim that the theory is not falsifiable and therefore IT IS NOT SCIENCE.

The Times - "“Newton may have been an ass, but the theory of gravity still works.”"
Newton released his methods and calculations and risked being proved wrong. These guys didn't.

It is not about personality, it is about character. Newton wasn't looking to preserve his gravity research grant status. Newton did not falsify data, or risk the reputation of science for personal gain. Newton spent a great deal of his career searching for evidence that would demonstrate alchemists were right about turning lead into gold. He could not find that evidence and did not claim he had.

One might say the NYT deigned to notice an elephant had materialized in their refrigerator, but calling this coverage is a stretch.

The full article:

Hacked E-Mail Is New Fodder for Climate Dispute

By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: November 20, 2009

Hundreds of private e-mail messages and documents hacked from a computer server at a British university are causing a stir among global warming skeptics, who say they show that climate scientists conspired to overstate the case for a human influence on climate change.

The e-mail messages, attributed to prominent American and British climate researchers, include discussions of scientific data and whether it should be released, exchanges about how best to combat the arguments of skeptics, and casual comments — in some cases derisive — about specific people known for their skeptical views. Drafts of scientific papers and a photo collage that portrays climate skeptics on an ice floe were also among the hacked data, some of which dates back 13 years.

In one e-mail exchange, a scientist writes of using a statistical “trick” in a chart illustrating a recent sharp warming trend. In another, a scientist refers to climate skeptics as “idiots.”

Some skeptics asserted Friday that the correspondence revealed an effort to withhold scientific information. “This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud,” said Patrick J. Michaels, a climatologist who has long faulted evidence pointing to human-driven warming and is criticized in the documents.

Some of the correspondence portrays the scientists as feeling under siege by the skeptics’ camp and worried that any stray comment or data glitch could be turned against them.

The evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so widely accepted that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument. However, the documents will undoubtedly raise questions about the quality of research on some specific questions and the actions of some scientists.

In several e-mail exchanges, Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and other scientists discuss gaps in understanding of recent variations in temperature. Skeptic Web sites pointed out one line in particular: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t,” Dr. Trenberth wrote.

The cache of e-mail messages also includes references to journalists, including this reporter, and queries from journalists related to articles they were reporting.

Officials at the University of East Anglia confirmed in a statement on Friday that files had been stolen from a university server and that the police had been brought in to investigate the breach. They added, however, that they could not confirm that all the material circulating on the Internet was authentic.

But several scientists and others contacted by The New York Times confirmed that they were the authors or recipients of specific e-mail messages included in the file. The revelations are bound to inflame the public debate as hundreds of negotiators prepare to negotiate an international climate accord at meetings in Copenhagen next month, and at least one scientist speculated that the timing was not coincidental.

Dr. Trenberth said Friday that he was appalled at the release of the e-mail messages.

But he added that he thought the revelations might backfire against climate skeptics. He said that he thought that the messages showed “the integrity of scientists.” Still, some of the comments might lend themselves to being interpreted as sinister.

In a 1999 e-mail exchange about charts showing climate patterns over the last two millenniums, Phil Jones, a longtime climate researcher at the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, said he had used a “trick” employed by another scientist, Michael Mann, to “hide the decline” in temperatures.

Dr. Mann, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, confirmed in an interview that the e-mail message was real. He said the choice of words by his colleague was poor but noted that scientists often used the word “trick” to refer to a good way to solve a problem, “and not something secret.”

At issue were sets of data, both employed in two studies. One data set showed long-term temperature effects on tree rings; the other, thermometer readings for the past 100 years.

Through the last century, tree rings and thermometers show a consistent rise in temperature until 1960, when some tree rings, for unknown reasons, no longer show that rise, while the thermometers continue to do so until the present.

Dr. Mann explained that the reliability of the tree-ring data was called into question, so they were no longer used to track temperature fluctuations. But he said dropping the use of the tree rings was never something that was hidden, and had been in the scientific literature for more than a decade. “It sounds incriminating, but when you look at what you’re talking about, there’s nothing there,” Dr. Mann said.

In addition, other independent but indirect measurements of temperature fluctuations in the studies broadly agreed with the thermometer data showing rising temperatures.

Dr. Jones, writing in an e-mail message, declined to be interviewed.

Stephen McIntyre, a blogger who on his Web site, climateaudit.org, has for years been challenging data used to chart climate patterns, and who came in for heated criticism in some e-mail messages, called the revelations “quite breathtaking.”

But several scientists whose names appear in the e-mail messages said they merely revealed that scientists were human, and did nothing to undercut the body of research on global warming. “Science doesn’t work because we’re all nice,” said Gavin A. Schmidt, a climatologist at NASA whose e-mail exchanges with colleagues over a variety of climate studies were in the cache. “Newton may have been an ass, but the theory of gravity still works.”

He said the breach at the University of East Anglia was discovered after hackers who had gained access to the correspondence sought Tuesday to hack into a different server supporting realclimate.org, a blog unrelated to NASA that he runs with several other scientists pressing the case that global warming is true.

The intruders sought to create a mock blog post there and to upload the full batch of files from Britain. That effort was thwarted, Dr. Schmidt said, and scientists immediately notified colleagues at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. The first posts that revealed details from the files appeared Thursday at The Air Vent, a Web site devoted to skeptics’ arguments.

At first, said Dr. Michaels, the climatologist who has faulted some of the science of the global warming consensus, his instinct was to ignore the correspondence as “just the way scientists talk.”

But on Friday, he said that after reading more deeply, he felt that some exchanges reflected an effort to block the release of data for independent review.

He said some messages mused about discrediting him by challenging the veracity of his doctoral dissertation at the University of Wisconsin by claiming he knew his research was wrong. “This shows these are people willing to bend rules and go after other people’s reputations in very serious ways,” he said.

Spencer R. Weart, a physicist and historian who is charting the course of research on global warming, said the hacked material would serve as “great material for historians.”
Scroll down to the next 3 posts to see actual "coverage," with the actual content the Times neglected to provide.

Update: 2:16PM
The WaPo is doing a NYT on the story. They are "covering" it in damage control mode.

They think the story is "Stolen e-mails reveal venomous feelings toward skeptics." ROTFLMAO

Update: 2:51PM
Now you can search the emails yourself.
Alleged CRU Emails - Searchable

Candid conversations of co-religionists

Get your Global Warming junk scientist updates here.

Climate cuttings 33

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Hide the decline"

Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of 'Anthropogenic Global Warming'?

The University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit server has been hacked (this has been acknowledged) and the 61 megabytes of information extracted seem to indicate scientists there were conspiring to protect the theory that humans are causing the atmosphere to warm. I say conspiring because the emails indicate:
Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more.
Accuracy of all the leaked information must stand the test of further scrutiny. But, if it all turns out to be legitimate (we know some of it is), it is a heavy blow to Al Gore and the AGW faithful everywhere.

On the "this is believable" side of the equation we have the past practice of major environmental-panic industry grant recipients and US government employees financed by George Soros. For example, the consistent resistance of Michael Mann, Keith Briffa and James Hansen to provide the data and methods which would allow others to replicate their results.

The folks at East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit may well have boosted skepticism about the personal character of professional Anthropogenic Global Warming advocates to a whole new level. "To defend the 'science,' we had to hide the data."

Check these links for more comment in the next few days. Particularly Climate Audit and Watt's Up with That?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Show Trial

United States Attorney General Eric Holder, insofar as he's said anything comprehensible on the subject, indicates we have to try the man who plotted the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in New York to prove to the world that our justice system lives up to World standards. According to Holder this can only be accomplished in a civilian court and by granting full Constitutional rights to a confessed terrorist.

Some Americans are offended by this.

President Obama today told NBC “I don't think it will be offensive at all when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him."

So which is it? We need to prove to the rest of the world that our Justice system is without peer, or we are having a show trial the verdict of which is predetermined?

RGN1 virus airborne?

RGN1 is Robert Gibbs' personal mutation of H1N1.

Solely from the transcript you'd think it had infected State Department spokesman Ian Kelly as Obama administration talking points get the better him because of some persistent questioning.

You have to watch the video to get the full flavor of Mr. Kelly's responses. He tries the talking points, but clearly does not buy them himself. He does his best, but he just can't say such silly things with a straight face. (Go to about 14:50)



If Mr. Kelly has contracted RGN1, the virus has definitely attenuated. He has the decency to be embarrassed. If only he had not said, "...we are less than a year into this Administration, and I think we’ve accomplished more over the last year than the previous administration did in eight years."

It would be nice to know who asked the questions that cornered Mr. Kelly. CSPAN does not provide this information, but the man should be asking questions in the White House.

H/T Commonsense & Wonder

Friday, November 13, 2009

Swindlers and looters and their allies

Ally Bank is probably as well known for paying overmarket interest rates on CDs with no early withdrawal penalties as it is for its commercials featuring cute children who are cruelly deceived by a smarmy adult. The commercials are very good, here is one example.


"Even kids know it's wrong to hold out on somebody. Why don't banks?"

Good question. Here's what Ally Bank is holding out on you in those commercials: Ally Bank used to be GMAC Bank. It is still owned by GMAC, an institution in which the Federal government owns a controlling interest - via the TARP bailout. GMAC has already received government bailout funds totaling over $12 billion and Federal loan guarantees for about $8 billion more.

At the end of October GMAC asked the Obama administration for another TARP bailout installment of $5.6 billion.

At Ally Bank's website they do acknowledge their GMAC heritage: "We are Ally Bank, built on the foundation of GMAC Financial Services."

The foundation of GMAC Financial Services?!? The ruins, maybe. If they'd said, "We are Ally Bank, rising Pheonix-like from the ashes of GMAC Financial Services through the beneficence, hard work and forebearance of US taxpayers," I would give them credit for honesty. They do not make any such acknowledgment. I think all taxpayers' names should be required by law to appear in the credits following any future Ally Bank commercials. This requirement would stop the commercials.

The Ally Bank website goes on to say:
We're a bank that values integrity as much as deposits. A bank that will always be open, accountable, and honest. Yes, honest. We won't deal in half-truths, kindatruths, or truths only buried in fine print. That's because we don't have anything to hide. We're always going to give it to you straight.
Apparently, they forgot the last lines, "We need another $5 billion. Ignore that GMAC guy behind the curtain with his hand in your pocket."

Ally Bank is willing and able to take on excessive risk because Uncle Sugar the Federal Government owns a controlling interest. Ally Bank is using your money to pay for the commercials and for high CD interest rates. But hey, the government-owner is regulating GMAC precisely, right down to the salaries of its employees. What could go wrong?

We have seen the benefits of this kind of "regulation" before. To recapitulate: Interest rates were held artificially low by the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were supported by Barney Frank in their complicity with the "collateralized securities" market, and ACORN intimidated private banks under the aegis of the Community Reinvestment Act - all of which resulted in the risky loans that created the real estate bubble. Now that GMAC is absolutely regulated via Federal ownership, they feel quite free to take on more risk than the market will bear. Why not? They're using your money. They can behave like they're Fannie or Freddie.

The American Bankers Association has an idea about problems that might arise:
"This aggressive deposit strategy is particularly egregious when it is used by a troubled bank in which the government holds a controlling interest," said ABA president and CEO Edward Yingling in a May 27 letter to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chief Sheila Bair. "Such a bank is significantly shielded from investor and market influences that might otherwise act as a brake on risky financial strategies."
[The FDIC, BTW, is getting close to asking for its own bailout. -DH]
"Even kids know it's wrong to hold out on somebody. Why don't banks?" What kind of bank runs deceptive ads on your dime and then runs to the Fed for several billion more taxpayer dollars? A government owned and run bank, that's what kind of bank.

Shun Ally Bank. And complain to your Congressclunkers that as regulators they are incompetent corporatist cronies. They should shun bailouts. And re-election.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remember and be Thankful

It is Veteran's Day. In Canada, today is Remembrance Day. Please observe a moment of silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.



In Flanders Fields
Canadian Army Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Obama/Berlin redux

I thought President Obama's "too busy to attend" stance on the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall had quite plumbed his ahistorical depths and fully explored the psyches of his advisers. I considered it the final word, the last polished insult. I thought his refusal to grace the proceedings, contrasted with his daytrip to Denmark to lobby for the Chicago Olympics and combined with his upcoming journey to arrogate a Nobel Peace Prize, had settled the matter of "what is important." I was wrong.

The President did not think the message had been made quite clear enough. He appeared at the Berlin ceremony, larger than life, via a video. In the accompanying sound track he failed to mention Khrushchev, Gorbachev, Stalin, the Soviet Union or even East Germany. He made no mention of Presidents Truman or Reagan. He similarly neglected British Prime Minister Thatcher, Polish President Walesa and Pope John Paul.

In a speech on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of a signature moment in the history of free men, the din of those omissions is hard to top; but he did manage it. Reflecting on world changing historical events, he said,
Few would have foreseen on that day that a united Germany would be led by a woman from Brandenburg or that their American ally would be led by a man of African descent. But human destiny is what human beings make of it.
Few could have envisaged an American President so self-regarding as to bring himself up in the same context as the fall of the Berlin Wall after 10 months in office on the basis of his melanin content. Besides which, the assumption of such general ignorance and prejudice in those "long ago" days is not credible. I'm quite certain that if you had asked 1000 random Americans and Germans whether a woman from Brandenburg might ever lead Germany or whether a man of African descent would ever lead the United States, more than half of them would have been able to see both. Almost every one of them would have predicted a united Germany. Hell, the WALL JUST CAME DOWN.

A more pertinent question would have been how many people could have imagined the fall of the Berlin Wall from the perspective of 1969. There you have a hook from which to mention the leaders who most contributed to that fall; should you want to acknowledge this achievement.

Or how about this question? If you had asked 1000 Americans on the day after the Berlin Wall fell whether an American President would refuse to show up in person at the 20th Anniversary, how many would have said "yes"?

P. S. "Human destiny is what human beings make of it."

I like it. So did Obama. In a 3 minute speech he used the line twice. It's nearly soaring, but its biggest advantage is that it's clearly contentless. One could use it as an argument against Pelosicare and stimulus packages - or in favor of them.

The President neglects to specify which human beings are empowered to choose human destiny. On the evidence, he is not thinking of you or me. It's Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama.

Happy 234th birthday, Marines.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Wall

TOC has mentioned Professor Paul Rahe before. Here is a must read analysis of President Obama's gestures.

Yesterday, I mentioned the President's midnight call to the Poles announcing his unilateral abandonment of the missile defense shield they, and the Czechs, had risked much to achieve. I forgot that insult was trebled because it came on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's invasion of Poland. This could not have been accidental. It was certainly petty.

Poland has 2,000 troops on the ground with us in Afghanistan. Unlike France and Germany, their mission is to fight. Poland has seen 15 of its soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Professor Rahe's point today is that President Obama's refusal to go to Berlin on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is a rejection of an achievement unequaled in the history of free men. Rahe's list of American leaders who fought to bring down that Wall constitutes a lesson in bi-partisanship, and is a catalog of mistakes from which the West learned hard lessons. The Wall was a powerful symbol of totalitarian thuggery. Fallen, it is an even more powerful symbol of freedom.

In 1963, President John Kennedy speaking in Berlin at the Rathaus Schönebergand said, "Ich bin ein Berliner."


In 1987, President Ronald Reagan, at the Brandenburg Gate, demanded of Mikhail Gorbachev, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"


In 2008, then Presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke at the Tiergarten, a few kilometers from his preferred location (the Brandenburg Gate, but his presumption was blocked by German Chancellor Angela Merkel). As a mere candidate, the plan to speak at the Brandenburg Gate was widely regarded as unseemly overreach.

During that Tiergarten speech Presidential candidate Obama said this, "I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions." An uttering so bland and general that it need not have been said of any democracy, much less of one's own on foreign soil.

Today is the 20th anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, and President Barack Obama, who wanted to speak at the Brandenburg Gate in 2008 as a candidate, will not attend the ceremony.

This is the same President Barack Obama who found time late last month to take a day trip to Copenhagen to lobby for the 2016 Olympic games in Chicago. He had sent his close adviser, Valerie Jarrett, to lobby for a Chicago Olympics as early as June.

The contrast seems to say something about his priorities.

The fall of the Berlin Wall was the culmination of a decades long defense of liberty against tyranny. The fall of the Berlin Wall represented American leadership and determination in support of free nations' insistence on the dignity of man in the face of totalitarian butchers. The anniversary is no small thing to us and it is no small thing to our allies in Germany or Europe. Especially Eastern Europe. It's only a small thing to a small President.

All I can say is, "We're sorry."

Caution is as caution does

The Associated Press quotes President Obama about the Fort Hood massacre.
"We don't know all the answers yet, And I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts."
Would that he had followed his own advice regarding Professor Gates and Officer Crowley.

The View from Dromore - Rule # 1: Tell them what they want to hear

Following is a letter received from Ontario which, I suspect, tells us more about our own stimulus packages than we'd like to know.

Duane,

An opinion on all this “jobs created / jobs saved” nonsense.

We have the same “stimulus” spending issues here in Canada, although we handle it a little differently. Up here, the Feds contribute 1/3rd, the Province 1/3rd and the local municipality 1/3rd. Even though these are 33¢ dollars from the perspective of our local municipality, we still have “skin” in the game – it’s not “free” money, just relatively cheap.

Last summer I wrote several stimulus grant applications (batted about .800) including one for the paving of a parking lot on behalf of my Township.

I won’t bore you with the details of our local Township politics, other than to say that there is a serious east / west split politically. The east has an urban centre which is relatively easy to qualify for stimulus funding and received considerable monies (I wrote some of the grant apps for those projects as well). The west is rural (although politically powerful), but has little (nothing?) that qualified. I was charged with “dreaming something up” for the west so that it didn’t look like the east was getting it all from a political perspective. I hit upon “recreation” as a defined use under stimulus funding guidelines and there is a parking lot beside a kid’s soccer field that needed paving. Was it a high priority (or even wise) use of stimulus funds? – I leave that conjecture to your readers.

When it came to the “jobs created” section of the application, I wildly guessed that 10 people might be involved in paving the parking lot. First, I had no idea how many people (nor did I ask – it seemed like a “reasonable” number) and second, I had no idea whether any or all of these people might have already been employed by the paving contactor or if their jobs were in some jeopardy if this two day project did not occur (nor did I ask).

Having spent about 20 years in municipal politics and administration, I am keenly aware of how to slant grant applications towards success - Rule # 1: Tell them what they want to hear.

We got the stimulus money for the parking lot and, no doubt, our Prime Minister (analogous to your President), our Provincial Premier (analogous to your State Governor) and their bureaucratic minions have included my “10 jobs” in their tallies and are delighted about how well their stimulus spending is working.

I realize that this makes me some kind of “K Street whore”, but we now have a paved parking lot. In my own “whore” defence, it gets a lot more use than Murtha’s airport in PA. I see he’s putting in a backup runway in case the barely used primary runways fail. Good thinking Jack! Is that pork I smell?

Ours was a tiny tiny project in the overall scheme of things, but I write to warn you (although I doubt you or your TOC readers need to be warned) to be very sceptical of any “jobs created / jobs saved” numbers coming from your Administration. It’s largely smoke and mirrors.

I know. I’m part of the smoke up here and I doubt it’s much different down there.

Don Seim

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Just Words

Our President has subjected us to a wearing parade of oversights, sleights, and pettiness - at once vacuous and calculating – a tendency that seems to lay close beneath his intellectual patina. I say calculating rather than accidental because it has become impossible to imagine these blunders are not deliberate. This is insensitivity masquerading as cluelessness.

Large policy errors can be understood within the overarching sweep of an ambition to “remake this country,” but when the tiny things at the edges, the easy to avoid slips and smallness, continuously suggest that the clothes have no emperor, it is disquieting.

Some examples:
  • The DVD package, for the wrong region, he gave to Prime Minister Brown after returning a bust of Winston Churchill which had been in the Oval Office on loan from the UK.
  • The picture of the soles of the President's shoes while he's speaking to the Israeli Prime Minister.
  • Flipping the bird to Hillary. It's the childish “I'm clever” grin and the crowd reaction that makes the case the gesture was no accident.
  • Calling the Poles and the Czechs in the middle of the night to tell them he was scrapping anti-missile deployment the next morning.
Sometimes he even acknowledges mistakes. President Obama actually apologized for jokes about Nancy Reagan “speaking with the dead” and comparing his terrible bowling skills with the Special Olympics. He “clarified” remarks about his grandmother being a “typical white person,” and tried to recast a comment about his opponents bitterly “clinging to their guns and religion.”

Most of these cannot be written off as accidental cluelessness. The most recent one surely resulted from a plan. You might argue the planning itself was uninformed by reality or responsibility, but it was premeditated: Our President's first remarks on the shootings at Fort Hood.



All of TV breaks to cover his words, and he speaks for 2 minutes before mentioning the murders of American soldiers on a US Army post in what, at that time, had to be considered a possible terrorist conspiracy (and it was a terrorist attack, even if not an al-Qaeda conspiracy). Before even a nod of reassurance to Americans, who were only watching because of that attack, and before acknowledging the sacrifice of those American soldiers, President Obama thanks the conference organizers and Department of Interior staff. He gives a "shout out" to some Tribal Nations Conference delegate as a winner of a Congressional Medal of Honor (false, the President confused a military award with the Medal of Freedom, a civilian award). (Applause) Then he thanks the attendees and assures them, "[I]t's not the end of a process, but the beginning of a process" (Applause) “...every single member of my team understands this is a top priority for us."

At this point the President mentions himself in a clumsy segue from the cozy repartee; "...[B]eyond that, I had planned to make some broader remarks about the challenges that lay ahead, ...but as some of you might have heard, there's been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army base [sic] ...my immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and the fallen" Well, yeah, "immediate"ly after the implied apology for failing to deliver his "broader" wisdom on the "top priority" conference items. And all of you "might have heard" about it 2 minutes earlier if our Commander in Chief had had the sense to make that tragedy his immediate priority.

This is one more demonstration of tone-deafness on the part of the man himself, and it is an indictment of his advisers, by whose character and skill he invited us to judge him. None of them apparently thought the sole focus should be on murdered American soldiers.

Skipping the folksy, campaign style preamble is what a CinC would have done. A CinC would not have been seen to regard the death of American soldiers as a contretemps.

When our President did get to the shooting the words were right, but delivered in the trademark boring, affectless tones and cadence so in contrast to the soaring rhetoric on things he cares about.

Apparently, being a Community Organizer teaches one the square root of zero about leadership. The leadership qualities required at ACORN seem to be quite different from those required to lead America's Armed Forces. Or the free world.

It's what he's tone-deaf about that's worrisome.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Kimberly Munley - hero

If a beer in the Rose Garden were a collegial sort of thing, where you need not consort with your assailant, I'd say Kimberly Munley is a cop who deserves one.

The woman who stopped a mass murderer

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Clunker

Congressman Mike Rogers wants me to know he is opposed to the Pelosi health care bill. More power to him. I applaud his opposition to it. Here's what the Congressman sent me today:
I write to update you on recent developments in the health care reform debate in Washington, D.C. I appreciate the opportunity to contact you.

As you may know, House Democrat leaders recently introduced another massive health reform bill. This legislation (H.R. 3962) clocks in at 2,000 pages, $1.2 trillion in new spending, and over $400 billion in cuts to Medicare services for seniors. The bill also includes over $700 billion in new tax increases, clearly violating President Obama's pledge to not raise taxes on middle-class families. I wanted to share with you a list of the tax increases found in H.R. 3962:

Small business surtax (Sec. 551, p. 336)- $460.5 billion
Employer mandate tax (Secs. 511-512, p. 308)- $135 billion
Individual mandate tax (Sec. 501, p. 296)- $33 billion
Medical device tax (Sec. 552, p. 339)- $20 billion
Annual cap on tax-free FSAs (Sec. 532, p. 325)- $13.3 billion
New taxes on HSAs (Sec. 531, p. 324 and Sec. 533, p. 326)- $6.3 billion
Tax on health insurance policies (Sec. 1802, p. 1162)- $2 billion
Other tax hikes on U.S. job creators (Secs. 553-562)- $56.4 billion
Other "revenue raising" provisions- $3 billion

TOTAL TAX INCREASES $729.5 BILLION

To read more about the Democrat health legislation, please visit my website at mikerogers.house.gov and click on "Health Reform Update."

Rest assured, I will continue to oppose plans to raise taxes and put the federal government in charge of America's health care. Instead, I will continue to work on bipartisan solutions that will enact real health reform - lowering costs, expanding access and improving care for all American families.

Again, I appreciate the opportunity to contact you. You can also follow my efforts on YouTube (RepMikeRogers) and Facebook (Mike J. Rogers). Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call on me.

Sincerely,

Mike Rogers
Member of Congress
Well and good. However, opposition to the health care fiasco is pretty easy. Opposition to the cash-for-clunkers program, on the other hand, was impossible for Congressman Rogers. He wrote me earlier extolling the virtues of that program. So, here is my response to today's email:

Dear Congressman Rogers,

Thank you for your steadfast opposition to the Democrat plan to nationalize the health care industry, raising health care costs and taxes, and reducing the quality and availibility of health care. The principles of small government and a commitment to liberty are clear in your position on this.

I wish I could have written "your principled position." I could not, however, because of an earlier email wherein you took credit for the cash-for-clunkers program. What difference is there in principle between health care takeover dollars the money dumped into cash-for-clunkers?

Your eager support for cash-for-clunkers has two unfortunate consequences. 1) It makes you seem like a Jack Murtha, but lacking the gravitas to obtain really district-focused pork and, 2) it makes your opposition to spending and taxation on health care seem shallow, partisan and cynical.

Principles, Congressman, principles. There is no difference between cash-for-clunkers and health care spending except for the number of dollars.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

23 Skidoo

I have more thoughts on the New York 23rd District House election to be settled tonight than I have time to put into a post.

However, Dede Scozzafava's endorsement of her putative Democrat opponent tells us the opposition to her candidacy was correct and that the GOP establishment which nominated her is not merely tone deaf, but possibly terminally stupid.

Yes in Dede, they should have realized the tea party and town hall protests meant people are fed up with those who support union thuggery (card check), massive deficits (the stimulus), higher taxes, and pork barrel cynicism (a la Jack Murtha). These were all Scozzafava positions. She was endorsed by ACORN and The Daily Kos.

The zombie Republicans will still vote for Dede, they won't even know she's withdrawn. They do not know that she is a DIMWIT (Democrat In Matters Which Impact Them). Lots of voters do, however.

When you hear the talking heads bemoan the loss of the "moderate" wing of the GOP, the coming disaster for Republican electoral prospects because they are being captured by right wing nuts, and the evil intolerance for dissent in the GOP, remember that none of them said anything similar regarding Joe Lieberman in 2006 when he was kicked out of the Democrat Party.

I have repeatedly said I would not bemoan, but cheer, the loss of the GOP as it is presently constituted. If the left, or pseudo-left, think losing that GOP is a problem for libertarians or conservatives, they just don't get it. They, and by "they" I do not mean simply the Democrats, delude themselves into thinking that seizing control of a morally corrupt system in order to maintain it is "serving the people." Let them then preside over its decline. I think I'll decline to participate.

Vicarious self-esteem

Posting has been relatively slow of late and will continue to be for awhile. I'm looking for a new career direction and the fall house and yard maintenance impinge.

However, here's a thought about a recent (Oct. 16-18, 2009) CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll.

"As you may know, the Norwegian Nobel Committee recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama. Do you approve or disapprove of that committee's decision to award the prize to Obama?"
Approve 42, Disapprove 56, Unsure 2

"Do you think Obama has accomplished enough so far to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, or don't you think so?"
Enough 32, Don't Think So 67, Unsure 1

"Regardless of how you feel about Obama, do you feel proud that a U.S. president won the Nobel Peace Prize, or don't you feel that way?"
Feel Proud 70, Don't Feel Proud 29, Unsure 1
On average 61.5% of those Americans surveyed think the President did not deserve/should not have received a Nobel Peace Prize. Nonetheless, 70% of those same Americans take pride in the accomplishment. How can you be proud of an award you've identified as undeserved? How proud are these people that Dhimmi Carter received it?

Seems like Americans have been well steeped in the leftwing political view of affirmative action narcissistic pride individualistic jingoism unwarranted self-esteem "exceptionalism."