Saturday, 31 March 2007

Rosie O'Donnell really is representative of the modern day Left

You will by now have seen Rosie O'Donnell's latest insane rant in which she outs herself as a 9/11 Nutjob on her TV show The View. In case you've missed it here's the video:

Popular Mechanics profoundly debunked all of the major claims that the Nutjobs make about 9/11 last year and took the time to respond to O'Donnell on their website.

Here's another clip of Rosie commenting on the State of the Union, which shows that in the kitchen drawer of life she is, at best, an intellectual butter knife.

The modern day Left would be quite unrecognisable to JFK, as it has been lurching leftwards since the McGovern days of the mid-1970s. Its members would have trouble recognising themselves as such but it has become the natural home for those who reject reason in favour of emotion, demonstrate remarkable fascistic instincts, are disturbingly racist and, as long as they're attacking the Right, or society's exceptional achievers, don't care that they don't have facts to support their arguments.

Have a look at those in control of the Democratic Party and you see that O'Donnell is very well represented by the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Dennis Kucinich and Howard Dean etc, not to forget the most prominent of the Left's opinion-as-truth crowd, Michael Moore. Then have a look through the diaries at DailyKos, including the tone of the comments, or go over and check out what passes as truth at Huffington Post. These are the people that the leading Democratic presidential candidates are taking their cues from. They all spout exactly the same rubbish as Rosie O'Donnell.

I have commented before that on the Right we look on in bewilderment at the hate-filled vitriol spewing forth from the Left and their spectacular inability to articulate their positions using hard facts. Who isn't bewildered watching O'Donnell rant on in the way she does? She's completely unhinged.

There is nobody on the Right that mirrors the Rosie O'Donnells of this world. When Ann Coulter uses the word 'faggot' in a bad taste joke about the Edward's campaign the whole world drops out of the sky to criticise her - including a huge number on the Right! Where are those on the Left pointing out that O'Donnell does not represent them? Nowhere. Let me tell you something for free. Supporters of the great Democratic Presidents of years gone by would be quick to condemn her lunatic statements. The modern day Left truly is a far cry from its classical liberal predecessor.

The Kerplunk List of Climate Fascists

Just as the enviro-socialists use the term Denier to refer to climate skeptics, and in the same spirit, I am applying the term Climate Fascist to those individuals that either exaggerate the science or outright lie about the consequences of climate change. They can be scientists, politicians, bloggers or anyone else whose gives their opinion to the public and who refer to their opponents as Deniers.

I've decided to keep a list of notable Climate Fascists. Feel free to send me candidates, including links to what they've stated that supports the nomination and the organisation they work for or their blog. Here's a list to start building upon:
  • Al Gore - Inconvenient Truth ignorer
  • Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger - Introducing his own carbon trading scheme
  • Brenda Ekwurzel - Concerned Scientist not concerned with truth
  • Climate Models - Never been right before and won't be right in the future until they work out hot to factor in water vapour and solar activity (How can models be included? By being a collection of its Climate Fascist creators)
  • David Miliband - Bus conducting wannabe now UK Environment Secretary of State
  • Ellen Goodman - Boston Globe non-science reporter credited with coming up with the term Denier to describe the skeptics
  • Gavin Schmidt - Climate modelling Nostradamus
  • George Monbiot - The Guardian's own Climate Goebbels
  • George Negus - Dateline presenter and socialist ninny
  • Dr James Hansen - NASA's apparently silenced but hugely noisy flip-flopper
  • James Lovelock - Gaia loving environmentalist
  • Professor John Quiggin - Australian economist who thinks Kyoto is a "sensible policy response"
  • Kevin Rudd - Australia's opposition leader and purveyor of a 60% reduction in CO2 by 2050
  • Leonard Di Caprio - apparently credible climate spokesman
  • Michael Mann & The Team - Creators of the now discredited Hockey Stick
  • Nicholas Stern - Overestimate impact, underestimate cost
  • Peter Garrett - Former Midnight Oil frontman turned Australian Labor Party Environment Spokesman
  • Richard Littlemore - DeSmogBlog's Unapologetic Climate Fascist
  • Richard Somerville - Scripps Institution of Oceanography's public teat parasite
  • Steven H Schnieder - "...we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have"
  • Dr Tim Flannery - Australian of the Year and serial exaggerator
  • Professor Tony McMichael - ANU's IPCC near-term catastrophist

Iran hostage crisis demonstrates that national self interest trumps European solidarity

Two articles from the UK's loopy left The Guardian newspaper caught my eye today. One is surprisingly moderate while the other demonstrates the cultural malaise that has descended upon Western Europe and the depths to which intellectual honesty have fallen.

Timothy Garton Ash has a piece Europe must show real solidarity in which he begins:
Last week, while the European Union celebrated 50 years of peace, freedom and solidarity, 15 Europeans were kidnapped from Iraqi territorial waters by Iranian Revolutionary Guards. As I write, those 14 European men and one European woman have been held at an undisclosed location for nearly a week, interrogated, denied consular access, but shown on Iranian television, with one of them making a staged "confession", clearly under duress. So if Europe is as it claims to be, what's it going to do about it? Where's the solidarity? Where's the action?
That's exactly the point. Why aren't Germany and France as a minimum condemning in the strongest possible language what Iran has done and letting the world know that it stands alongside its European partner even to the point of saying they're prepared to join them in whatever military action needs to be taken?
Even if you regard the Anglo-American presence in Iraq as foolish and illegitimate, and the American seizure of Iranians in Iraq as an escalation of this illegitimate folly, that would not for a moment excuse the Iranian action. The British forces were operating as part of a multinational force under an explicit UN mandate, to protect oil installations and prevent the smuggling of guns into Iraq - guns with which more Iraqis would otherwise be killed. According to the sophisticated GPS instruments which the British service personnel had with them, they were more than three kilometres inside Iraqi territorial waters when they went to search a suspect vessel.
That's right, folks, they were part of a multinational force operating under an explicit United Nations mandate. The anti-West Left will be tying itself in knots trying to work out how to blame firstly the UK and then the US and maybe even Israel for Iran's provocative act of war.
But there is something Europe should do: flex its economic muscles. The EU is by far Iran's biggest trading partner. More than 40% of its imports come from, and more than a quarter of its exports go to, the EU. Remarkably, this trade has grown strongly in the last years of looming crisis. Much of it is underpinned by export credit guarantees given by European governments, notably those of Germany, France and Italy. According to the most recent figures available from the German economics ministry, Iran is Germany's third-largest beneficiary of export credit guarantees, outdone only by Russia and China. Iran comes second to none in terms of the proportion of German exports - in recent years up to 65% - underwritten by the German government.
Ahhhhhhhh, there's the reason those countries are silent. See? At the end of the day, national self interest trumps European Union solidarity. One would expect nothing else from the world's worst country, France, but from Germany and Italy it is somewhat disappointing.
So here's a challenge for the German presidency of the European Union: will you put your money where your mouth is? Or are all your Sunday speeches about European solidarity in the cause of peace and freedom not even worth the paper they are written on?
Is that a rhetorical question? Seriously. Is it?

On the other hand, Robert Tait has a truly disgusting blame Britain first piece A Bitter Legacy, the intro to which is:
The seizure of 15 British sailors by Iran is only the latest incident in a long and troubled history between the two countries. As Robert Tait reports from Tehran, most Iranians see Britain as an old colonial power that's still meddling in their affairs
And he begins:
If the 15 British sailors currently held by Iran's revolutionary guards are shocked by the hostility to Britain shown by their captors, it will be less surprising to British diplomats engaged in the delicate process of securing their release. Hostility to all things British is, as every foreign office mandarin knows, the default mode of Iran's staunchly anti-western political leadership. From its perspective, Britain - along with America - is in the vanguard of "global arrogance", Iranian political shorthand for the contemporary western interventionism whose alleged goal is to dominate and control the resources of developing nations such as Iran.

But this is not just President Ahmadinejad. The antipathy goes back to colonial times, and the long and tortured history of British intervention in Iran.
It has been many years since the 1979 Iranian Revolution that ushered in one of the world's most despicable regimes and, in the process, erased the political positioning of every country hitherto involved with it. For Tait to make a connection between colonial antipathy and modern Iran is an incredible failure of logic and reality.
This anti-British sentiment is shared by ordinary Iranians. Its resonance defies boundaries of age, education, social class or political affiliation. In the eyes of a broad cross-section of the population, Britain - as much, or even more than, the US - is the real enemy. Four decades after the sun set on its imperial might, the Machiavellian instincts of the "old coloniser" are believed to be alive, well and still acting against the interests of Iran. For every mishap - whether a bombing, rising living costs or simply the advent of an unpopular government - a hidden British hand is often thought to be at work.

I first became aware of this conviction 18 months ago on a visit to Ahvaz, capital of the south-western province of Khuzestan. A bomb attack - the latest in a series - had killed six people in the city's main street. The incident seemed to be linked to Arab separatists in the mainly Arabic-speaking province, but the Iranian authorities blamed Britain, pointing to the British military presence across the border in southern Iraq. Eulogists at public mourning ceremonies organised by the revolutionary guards railed against "criminal England".

When I visited Ali Narimousayi, whose 20-year-old daughter, Ghazaleh, had been blown up in the blast, it became clear that the message carried a wider currency. "We know they want to come here and take our oil for free and we won't let them," he said. "Why is Britain so against our nuclear programme? Have we ever mistreated their ambassador or their people? What have we ever done to them? Go back to Britain and tell [the politicians] to be in good relations with Iran."
Did Tait discuss the reality of the supposed oil theft or does it comport so strongly with his own belief that he accepted it as reality? Did he ask about why Iran needed nuclear weapons and about Ahmadinejad's threat to blow Israel off the map?

So Iran's taking of 15 hostages is rooted in some colonial humiliation, is it? That's what Tait has written if you boil it all down.

Do people in Britain actually believe this stuff? Is there so little truth telling in the media now that Tait can write such rubbish and not get called on it by anyone? For a society that supposedly believes in freedom of expression there seems to be remarkably little free political debate going on at all in Europe.

Friday, 30 March 2007

How Modern Liberals Think

Former leftie Evan Sayet's presentation to the Heritage Foundation titled How Modern Liberals Think is must see viewing. Make sure that you show it to at least one of your leftie friends and see whether they recognise any of their own positions in what Evan is saying.

You'll notice quite a few similarities to what I've been saying even though I haven't read the books he refers to. The opening few minutes, in which he refers to himself as being a "9/13 Republican" are quite powerful.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

The answer to Iran's capture of 15 British sailors

1. Crew boards merchant ship 1.7NM inside Iraqi waters
2. HMS Cornwall was south-east of this, and inside Iraqi waters
3. Iran tells UK that merchant ship was at a different point, still within Iraqi waters
4. After UK points this out, Iran provides corrected position, now within Iranian waters

Britain has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that Iran's capture of 15 sailors occurred in Iraqi waters, a point that Iran mistakenly confirmed initially as shown in the diagram above.

The capture was undertaken by Iranian Revolutionary Guards and, thus, were operating under the direct instruction of Supreme Leader Khatemi.

There has been much discussion about what should be done and the British government seems to be using the hitherto untried (in my memory) political tactic of embarrassing the Iranians into returning the sailors because they can prove they were taken in Iraqi waters.

Iran, and her supporters, aren't that nuanced. They knew what they were doing and they allowed for the charge that Britain has made. Their response has been predictable - denial - the standard response to any accusation in the Middle East.

There is, though, a very simple way to achieve a positive outcome - start sinking Iranian naval vessels until they're all gone and tell the Iranians that once they run out of boats Britain will start destroying Iran's oilfields.

Iran's economy has been run into the ground by the regime. There is a theory that by creating a major incident such as they have that Britain will over-react and the increased tension will force up the price of oil, filling the coffers of an empty treasury. Be that as it may, a threat by Britain to blow up the oilfields and deny Iran access to any benefit derived from a higher price kills that idea quick smart.

Olmert undeniably did a poor job in his overall management of the recent conflict in Lebanon. He was accused by all of the usual suspects of using disproportionate force. However, Hezbollah is now nowhere near the threat it was before it attacked Israel at that time so there's a strong argument to be made for a speedy and forceful response to any provocation.

Britain's tepid response to Iran's act of war will be seen as proof in the Middle East of the West's weakness when provoked. I hope that those wiser heads in Whitehall see the error of their ways sooner rather than later and respond in the sort of cold, calculated manner that will make everyone in the region think twice before doing the same sort of thing again.

The International Organization for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination

Here's a crowd that I reckon most of you will never have heard of - The International Organization for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination; EOFORD by way of acronym. If all you heard was the name then you'd think that it was probably an organisation with a broad focus on ending racial discrimination, and maybe somewhat left-leaning. EOFORD is an organisation that makes many submissions to the United Nations with most being to the Human Rights Council.

Here's the text of their latest submission:
Terrorism, Mr Chairman, in the minds of many is manifested by acts of violence. But that is not the only case. Foreign occupation is a major and illegal act of terrorism. And it becomes total terrorism when it creates suffocating situations that make all the rights of the people under occupation at the whim of the occupier, with the intention of killing all means of resisting occupation and regaining freedom.

Resistance to foreign occupation is a natural and legal right, recognized throughout history. This resistance expresses the right of self-defense, and it is not terrorism. It is natural and lawful for the Palestinians and Iraqis to resist foreign occupation of their countries, and the terrorism is the presence of the occupiers. Therefore, there should be no confusion between resistance and terrorism.

Terrorism is an act, which has no moral or legal justification. Its aim is just to cause harm to others who have not caused harm to the perpetrator of terrorism. Some states seem to think that they have a God-given right to occupy the homelands of others, and resistance to that is utterly unacceptable and condemnable. Such states should ask themselves the question: why have they been the targets of acts of terrorism, and why other countries have not been targeted! This in no way is intended to justify or condone the killing of innocent civilians. But it is a question very relevant to the issue of terrorism.
You can call me slow, but what does that have to do with ending racial discrimination? It seems to me that they're saying Israel and the United States are terrorists while those that get on crowded buses and blow themselves up are simply practising legitimate resistance. Methinks that perhaps there is more to EOFORD than meets the eye. And I'd be right. At their website they have a handy list of their submissions to the UN, which I list below in reverse date order from September 2006 back to the start of 2004:
  • Comments on Pope’s Speech at the University of Regensburg
  • Israeli Attack on Lebanon Violates International Humanitarian Law
  • The Only Solution for the Future of Israel is the One Reached by Ending Apartheid in South Africa
  • The Need to Activate the General Assembly And International Criminal System, First: The Crime of Aggression on Lebanon
  • Standards of a Negotiated Settlement to End the Israeli Occupation; Third: Commitments of Other Countries and the United Nations
  • Standards of a Negotiated Settlement to End the Israeli Occupation; Second: Legitimacy of a Negotiated Settlement
  • Standards of a Negotiated Settlement to End the Israeli Occupation; First: Exchange of Prisoners
  • People will triumph over the racist leaderships that show total ignorance of human history
  • Racist Trends have nothing to do with Democracy and Freedom of Speech
  • Lessons From Palestinian History
  • Contemporary Forms of Slavery
  • The Fort of the People -- Now and in the Future -- is the United Nations
  • The 1st Anniversary of the Ruling of the International Court of Justice
  • Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change
  • Is it Apartheid?
  • There is a Way to Peace: The International Court of Justice
  • The Problem of the American Veto
  • Peace Through Justice in Palestine
  • The Crucial Condition for Global Justice: The Independence of the International Criminal Court
  • "Palestine Reconsidered"
  • The Roles of the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court
  • The Influence of the Media
  • The Policy of Double-Standards
  • Violation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Palestine
  • The Apartheid Wall in Palestine
  • The violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine
For an international organisation concerned with ending racial discrimination they sure do bang on a lot about Israel and Palestine. I wonder if that would indicate some sort of bias? Seems to be the case; 21 of those 26 submissions are anti-Israel, anti-Zionism, anti-US and/or pro-Palestine. They manage to weave 'racism' into them every so often but it's hardly ever the main theme. I encourage you to read the one on the influence of the media; it is completely deranged. Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change is simply a bash America hit piece and seems to be remarkably disconnected with ending racial discrimination.

So, who are the authors of these racial discrimination ending papers?
Dr. Abdelaziz Nouaydi
Dr. Anis Al-Qasem
Prof. Dr. Turkkaya Ataov
The rat I started smelling earlier is putrefying under my very nose.

Far from being concerned with ending racial discrimination, the grandly titled International Organization for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination is, in fact, one of the most rabidly racist organisations on the face of the earth. If they called themselves 'Arab Doctors for an end to Israel' and published the drivel that they do then nobody could care less but to use the cloak of racial discrimination is a bit much.

If you take the time to read through some of their submissions then you'll discover what a truly fact-challenged group they are. Their piece Is it Apartheid is typical of the Arab world's inability to separate truth from fiction; a reality that will prevent them from integrating into a globalised economy any time soon. If people want to compare Israel to South Africa then how do they explain the presence of Arabs in Israel's parliament, and an Arab Deputy President, and the complete absence of blacks in the parliament of apartheid South Africa?

Unfortunately, EOFORD is the type of organisation whose submissions align well with that most morally bankrupt piece of the United Nations' - the Human Rights Council - which since changing from its old name a year ago has only condemned one country - Israel. People are being slaughtered in Sudan and Somalia and nary a peep from the HRC; Robert Mugabe sends Zimbabwe down the toilet, kidnapping and murdering his opponents along the way and the HRC says nothing; Hugo Chavez removes people's right to free speech, association and ownership of assets in a Latin American attempt to replay Zimbabwe and the HRC could care less. In fact, he's their new favourite dictator.

Can you imagine how the Human Rights Council would react to a submission from, say, the American Jewish Congress condemning suicide attacks by terrorists? There'd be a resolution condemning Israel quicker than you could blink. In fact, you don't have to just imagine how they'd react to criticism, you can watch for yourself:

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Stern wants Australia to destroy its economy

This is the 91st post since Kerplunk began and in that time I'm reasonably sure that I haven't used a swear word. I might have, but can't remember.

However, after listening to Cimate Fascist and British 'economist' Nicholas Stern's prescription for Australia today I am sorely tempted to try and outdo not only those previous 90 posts but the entire swear count of the Pulp Fiction script, as well.

As reported by Reuters:
Australia needs to urgently ratify the Kyoto Protocol and slash its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60 percent by 2050 to help fight global warming, says British climate economist Nicholas Stern.

The former World Bank chief economist, speaking in Canberra, said the cost of inaction could be catastrophic, but rich countries were recognising the problem of global warming with firm emissions targets now set by Britain, France, California and the European Union.
As I pointed out a few days ago, setting 1990 as the base date significantly advantages Britain and France, as they were in the process of moving away from coal at that time and it was the worst year on record in Europe for all sorts of pollution. California has been signing a number of death warrants for itself in recent years, which have seen business flee the state in search of less burdensome tax and regulatory environments. The EU is simply a rule-making body that recently announced it intended to set a vehicle carbon emission limit somewhere only slightly above that of a Toyota Prius - a move that, if ratified, would kill 90% of European car manufacturers and take motor racing with it along the way.
Australia, though, alongside the United States, has refused to ratify the Kyoto pact, which sets goals for lowering the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warning, and has refused to impose binding targets on carbon emissions.

"What Australia can do now ... is set a target for reductions by 2050 of at least 60 percent as part of a rich world responsibility," Stern told Australia's National Press Club.

Canberra's refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol had held up international collaboration on climate change, he said.
Australia's gross CO2 output is globally insignificant. How is it that we're holding up 'international collaboration'? They could simply treat Australia like India or China. Doesn't hold up anything. If 'international collaboration' was the goal then why not press for every country in the world to sign up? The argument is as retarded as his own Review.
If Australia ratified the Kyoto protocol, the country would be put at a competitive disadvantage compared to countries which lacked a strong resources sector, Howard added.
And that's the problem with Kyoto - the end-user should pay the cost of the production of CO2 but that would damage Europe so they put the kibosh on that when we raised that issue some years ago.
During his visit to Australia, Stern has met Howard and centre-left Labor opposition leader Kevin Rudd, who has promised to ratify Kyoto if he wins elections due late this year.
There is no greater reason to vote against Labor than its feverish desire to rush, lemming-like, into the economic abyss of the Kyoto Protocol.
After six years of drought across much of Australia, and with water shortages in the country's major cities, climate change is shaping up as a key election issue.
If people think that drought and water shortages are caused by climate change then that shouldn't be the key election issue - education should - so that people can understand that an El Nino causes the droughts we experience and that it's unaffected by climate change. Our current water crisis has been caused by hopelessly incompetent state government management of water that has seen no new capacity added to the system in over 30 years, a time in which populations have risen by more than 50%.
Stern said rich nations needed to commit to curb greenhouse emissions by between 60 and 90 percent by 2050, with many countries starting to recognise the need for urgent action.
Seriously? 60-90 percent? How is that going to happen? All of our power will be nuclear. We'll have no cars and everyone will go to what jobs are still available in mass transport. Note that I say 'still available' because the unavailability of personal transport will kill off many businesses. Aircraft will run on what? Nuclear power? How will the greenies feel about that? Or are we all meant to go by boat, shackled to the oars like the days of old?
The U.S. state of California has set an 80 percent reduction target by 2050, Britain has agreed to cut its emissions by at least 60 percent, while the European Union will cut emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020.
Everyone agrees to targets but the fact is that nearly everyone is missing them. The terribly onerous penalty imposed has been to allow the targets to be reworked.
"There's starting to be a realistic judgment on the kinds of ambitions that the rich countries have to set themselves," Stern said. "And I think there is a growing recognition in the poor countries as well."
There certainly is a growing recognition in poor countries - that the world's Leftist elites are very happy for them to wallow in their existing turgid economic condition for the rest of eternity.

In a far-ranging report released last year, Stern said that stabilising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would cost about 1 percent of global output by 2050, but failure to act could cost 20 times that amount.
We need to cut CO2 emission by 60-90% and that's only going to cost 1% of GDP? No wonder the economics of the Stern Report have been so profoundly debunked. It's hard to understand why anyone listens to the man anymore.

I can understand that he's cranky about the English cricket team losing The Ashes 5-0 last summer but consigning Australia to economic calamity by signing Kyoto seems a somewhat cruel and unjust punishment.
No wonder I want to let go with a bit of colourful language.

What is the UN doing about Iran?

One has to wonder why the United Nations has taken such a soft approach to Iran

After being blind-sided for years and unaware of Iran's nuclear weapons program, the UN's response has been tepid at best.

After repeated threats by Iran against Israel and the US that, effectively, there'll be a day of reckoning once Iran is nuclear armed why does the UN sit back and let it happen?

After even Russia and China start to get concerned about Iran's nuclear weapons program why are the sanctions imposed so meaningless?

After Iran captures 15 British sailors from Iraqi waters - a provocative act of war - why does the UN say absolutely nothing?

If the United Nations is meant to be an organisation that promotes peace and stability then why does it do everything it can to antagonise the United States, the greatest provider of peace and freedom the world has ever known, and Israel, a state of which it was the founding father?

The United Nations has shown yet again that it is a morally bankrupt and ineffective organisation. The sooner it is overhauled or, better still, replaced by an organisation in which only democracies may participate the better the world will be.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Even More Inconvenient Truth from Iraq

The Left must be getting pretty concerned about the amount of positive news coming out of Iraq since the Surge was announced.

I commented in a previous post that even people like NBC's Brian Williams, who went to Iraq recently, could see the good that was going on and that the number of attacks was reducing dramatically.

Today we have two good news stories to report. From the always informative bloggers at Iraqthemodel comes their piece on the capture of Ahmed Farhan Hassan, a senior aide to Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of al-Qaeda’s so-called Islamic State in Iraq.

And from Azamiyah comes the news that the members of a car bombing ring responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people have been captured including Haitham al-Shimari who was suspected in the "planning and execution of the majority of car bombs which have killed hundreds of Iraqi citizens in Sadr City."

"...the majority of car bombs..." - that really is going to make a big difference.

It should occur to people that things are looking up for the Coalition effort in Iraq. The government has become much more serious about dealing with sectarian violence, tribal chiefs have turned against Al Qaeda in the Anbar province and the rules of engagement have changed so that Iranian Quds forces operating inside Iraq can be captured and held instead of being released as they were previously.

Has the Surge caused this sudden turnaround in attitude? To some extent that appears to be the case but I think that the Surge, when combined with the shenanigans of the Democrats in Congress and the Senate, has meant that people in Iraq realise they only have a limited amount of time to get their act together. In that sense, one has to agree with some of the Democrats' position that we need to be tougher on the Iraqi government, and that certainly seems to have been the case over recent months.

Kyoto Protocol already a killer

Here's something that the Kyoto Protocol proponents won't want you to know. Consider the following key dates:

1997 Kyoto Protocol negotiated
2002 UK ratifies Kyoto Protocol
2005 Kyoto goes into force
2005 European carbon trading begins
2006 Energy prices rise by 40-60%
2007 Millions in 'fuel poverty' gap

I quoted from Bjorn Lomborg's testimony to the 'Al Gore Committee' last week as follows:
Much has been made of the heat wave in Europe in early August 2003, which killed 35,000 people, with 2,000 deaths in the UK. Yet, each year more than 25,000 people die in the UK from cold. It can be estimated that every year more than 200,000 people die from excess heat in Europe. It is reasonable to estimate that each year about 1.5 million people die from excess cold in Europe. This is more than seven times the total number of heat deaths. Just in this millennium Europe have lost more than 10 million people to the cold, 300 times the iconic 35,000 heat deaths from 2003.
People need to get it into their heads that cold weather is a much more pervasive killer than is hot weather.

From the fuel poverty article, which refers to just the United Kingdom:
The number of households facing a choice between heating and eating has almost doubled in the past two years.

Spiralling gas and electricity bills have left nearly 4m having to spend at least 10% of their disposable income on heating and lighting - the definition of 'fuel poverty'.

This is an increase of more than 1.7m, according to an independent study. The research was commissioned by the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes - a group of 700 industry bodies concerned with domestic energy efficiency.

...The research pointed out that electricity prices surged by 39% and gas prices by 61% between 2003 and 2006.

...Charities have drawn a clear link between rising power bills, fuel poverty and deaths of pensioners. The number of deaths between December 2005 and March 2006 exceeded the non-winter average by 25,700. Age Concern believes a significant number were hastened by cold, with elderly people worried about the cost of using their heating.
So there you go. The real costs of Kyoto are already being felt by those in society least able to afford the burden. If people in our rich societies can't handle the cost then how do we expect those in the developing world to do so? What do those wanting us to sign up to a totally ineffective, multi-trillion dollar agreement say to people who can't afford to heat their homes anymore? For environmentalists symbolism trumps reality one hundred percent of the time. The sooner Kyoto is consigned to the dust bin of history as a noble, but awful scheme the better off we'll all be.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Poll: Al Gore no climate expert

Funniest news of the day comes from the Rasmussen Reports; complete article as follows:

"Former Vice President Al Gore (D) received a warm welcome on Capitol Hill last week for his testimony on the environment and Global Warming. However, while he is now an Academy Award winner and celebrity activist, just 24% of Americans consider Gore an expert on Global Warming. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 1,000 adults found that 47% say he is not an expert on the topic.

In fact, just 36% of Americans say that Gore knows what he is talking about when it comes to the environment and Global Warming. Thirty-one percent (31%) say he does not know what he is talking about while 33% are not sure. Women, by a 2-to-1 margin, say Gore knows what he is talking about. Men, by a similar margin, say he does not.

Appearing before a Congressional Committee, Gore said that Global Warming is “not a partisan issue; it’s a moral issue.” However, polling data suggests that among the general public it’s a very partisan issue. By a 65% to 9% margin, Democrats say that Gore knows what he’s talking about. By a 57% to 11%, Republicans say he does not. Those not affiliated with either party are evenly divided.

A survey conducted in December found that 45% of Americans consider Global Warming a Very Serious issue. But, there are partisan divisions visible throughout the data. Fifty-six percent (56%) of Democrats say human activity is the cause while 51% of Republicans identify long-term planetary trends as the culprit. Overall, 47% see a conflict between environmental protection and economic growth. Twenty-nine percent (29%) do not. Earlier surveys by Rasmussen Reports have found that Americans strongly prefer development of alternative energy sources rather than conservation efforts. Most also support development of new nuclear power plants.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of Americans say that Gore is likely to run for President in 2008. Fifty-four percent (54%) say he is not likely to run."

10 Lies About Iraq and the War

1. Iraqis were better off under Saddam - The first sentence of the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office report into crimes and human rights in Saddam's Iraq starts:

"Iraq is a terrifying place to live. People are in constant fear of being denounced as opponents of the
regime. They are encouraged to report on the activities of family and neighbours. The security services can strike at any time. Arbitrary arrests and killings are commonplace" and continues "These grave violations of human rights are not the work of a number of overzealous individuals but the deliberate policy of the regime. Fear is Saddam’s chosen method for staying in power."

Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in the most brutal way by Saddam's regime. Those who opposed the war were not concerned with the welfare of the Iraqi people; they are only every concerned with their own well-being. The 'stability' option pursued so assiduously by governments around the world, and advanced as the answer to current problems in the Middle East by the Baker-Hamilton Commission, has resulted in the international community turning a blind eye to the truly gruesome actions of dictatorships and thugs not only in that region but in other problematic areas, as well, such as in Africa - in the name of stability. You need to have an irreparably broken moral compass to believe that Iraqis were better off under Saddam than they are now.

2. Abu Ghraib shows we're just as bad as Saddam - There is no excusing the ridiculous and degrading things that went on at Abu Ghraib when the US used it to house captured fighters. In those circumstances where crimes were committed the culprits were brought to justice and punished heavily, a point always overlooked by those trying to make a moral equivalence argument between the Saddam regime and the US. One of the problems with the Left today is that it has not been taught how to think and that it's wrong to make judgements about others which leaves them with no capacity to understand that in every issue of life there are grades of good and bad, and that things simply can't be cast as either black or white. Ask yourself this question - would you have rather been tortured at Abu Ghraib by Saddam or by the US forces stationed there? I do not consider the following to be torture: sleep deprivation, bright lights, being forced to stand on a box with my arms outstretched and wires connected to me (as in the iconic photo), having excrement thrown at me, being forced to make a naked human pyramid or being humiliated by standing naked in front of women. That is not torture. That is degrading and stupid, and is certainly counter-productive from an intelligence gathering point of view. I definitely consider the following to be torture: gouging out of eyes, using electric drills on various parts of the body, high voltage electric shocks to various parts of the body and especially the genitals, beating the soles of a victim's feet until they lose consciousness, and being slowly lowered into an acid bath. All of those were standard fare for the Saddam regime, as documented in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office report. The Iraqi intelligence documents released last year also showed that people were being fed feet first into wood chippers while their captors looked on and laughed. Wood chippers. Can you imagine? On one side we have stupidity and on the other barbarity. If you're not prepared to recognise the difference then I'm afraid you're part of the problem and not part of the solution.

3. The war has caused a million refugees - Again, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's report "Between 3 and 4 million Muslim Iraqis have abandoned their homes and sought refuge outside Iraq" and "Many hundreds of thousands of Iraq’s Muslims have been displaced internally. Estimates of 900,000 may be conservative." The war clearly did not cause the refugee problem, though it certainly may have changed the refugees from Shites to Sunnis.

4. We went to war on a lie - "Bush lied, people died" goes the popular chant from the anti-war Left. The 'lie' being referred to was that we went to war because of WMD and because they weren't found they never existed therefore it was a lie. David Kay led the CIA's Iraq Survey Group and was interviewed by the NYT for an article that appeared on January 26, 2004, from which I extract the following (my bold):

'I'm personally convinced that there were not large stockpiles of newly produced weapons of mass destruction,' Dr. Kay said. 'We don't find the people, the documents or the physical plants that you would expect to find if the production was going on. I think they gradually reduced stockpiles throughout the 1990s. Somewhere in the mid-1990s, the large chemical overhang of existing stockpiles was eliminated.' Regarding biological weapons, he said there was evidence that the Iraqis continued research and development 'right up until the end' to improve their ability to produce ricin. 'They were mostly researching better methods for weaponization,' Dr. Kay said.

There have been more than 700 chemical shells discovered since the invasion, supporting Kay's assertion that Saddam was looking to weaponize his chemical capability.

...As a result, virtually everyone in the United States intelligence community during both the Clinton and the current Bush administrations thought Iraq still had the illicit weapons, he said.

If you look at this list of quotes from politicians from both sides of the aisle in the US then you'll find that it's actually the Democrats that hold the strongest pro-WMD opinions. See if you can guess which senior Democrat made the following statements:

"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." - December 16, 1998

"Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons. There's no question about that." - November 17, 2002

"I come to this debate, Mr. Speaker, as one at the end of 10 years in office on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was one of my top priorities. I applaud the President on focusing on this issue and on taking the lead to disarm Saddam Hussein. ... Others have talked about this threat that is posed by Saddam Hussein. Yes, he has chemical weapons, he has biological weapons, he is trying to get nuclear weapons." - October 10, 2002.
These quotes, all made well before the 2003 invasion and dating back to when Bill Clinton was in office were made by none other than - Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

...And the government became a victim of its own certainty. Dr. Kay said he was convinced that the analysts were not pressed by the Bush administration to make certain their prewar intelligence reports conformed to a White House agenda on Iraq. 'All the analysts I have talked to said they never felt pressured on WMD,' he said. 'Everyone believed that they had WMD' 'The only comment I ever had from the president was to find the truth,' Dr. Kay said. 'I never got any pressure to find a certain outcome.'

Why would analysts need to be pressed by the Bush administration when it's clear that the Clinton administration held the same view? Add into the mix the reality that Iraq held meetings with Niger in order to procure uranium yellow cake, as reported by British intelligence (Joseph Wilson's false claims otherwise have been so totally discredited that even the NYT and Democratic Party don't quote him any more) and you have a situation where any thinking person would assess that Iraq either had, or was procuring, WMD. And that was how it was. If you can't tell the difference between being wrong and telling lies then you're beyond help.

5. The war was illegal - This is one of those issues that tend to split down party lines. However, even the most cursory reading of UN Resolution 1441 (and its many predecessors that Saddam ignored) spells out the things that Iraq was meant to comply with and the consequences of not doing so. People will argue back and forth for years about the legality of the war and unless it's ever tested in an impartial courtroom somewhere that will continue to be the case. To me it's a complete no-brainer and non-issue. Saddam did not comply with this last chance Resolution and suffered the consequences. The US did not need Security Council approval to act unilaterally, as it is incumbent upon all UN members to enforce UN Resolutions.

6. We supported Saddam by supplying him with all of his weapons - US and British companies certainly sold weapons to Iraq. To the moonbat Left that means that we (the Coalition) are responsible for helping keep him in power and, by implication, the brutality of his regime. The fact is that combined US and UK arms sales to Iraq totalled less than 10% of Saddam's arsenal. The 90%+ came from Russia, China and France. As an aside, would anyone like to guess which three nations Saddam had signed criminally profitable agreements with to develop his oil fields once the UN sanctions were lifted? The same three. How uncanny. Which UN Security Council members were agitating the hardest for the removal of the sanctions? China and France? Surely not! The US and UK are not countries that had traditionally strong links with Iraq in the way that countries like Germany did. Thus, it is not surprising to find that they are not the source of Saddam's weapons.

7. The war was all about oil - This one makes it into my famous 10 Signs that you're a Moral Idiot list but it's worth repeating here. "Here's a fact that people don't know - 80% of the United States oil supply comes from itself, Canada and Mexico. Hmmmm. Bet you didn't know that, did you? Now, here's a really big question. I want you to concentrate really hard. Put on your tin foil hat if you think it'll help. If the United States wanted Iraq's oil then...why didn't it just buy it? Would have been much cheaper. Because they're warmongers and wanted it for free, you cry, thus demonstrating the terrific double standard you have that also supports socialist confiscation of western companies' assets such as happened in Chile and Cuba, and is going on in Venezuela today particularly with foreign owned oil companies. If the US wanted the oil then they would have simply taken over the refineries and pipelines, rolled up the oil tankers and pumped away. Would have been much easier. Did that happen?" No it didn't and that's because the war was never about the oil. For France, Russia and China, though, who stood to lose lucrative oil contracts if Saddam was toppled, and senior UN officials that were making millions from the Oil For Food Program, it certainly was all about the oil.

8. Saddam was not involved in terrorism - How it is possible for people to not understand the link between Saddam and terrorism boggles the mind. I guess that the NYT, Guardian, BBC and CNN haven't exactly given the matter much air time. Former Iraqi military officers have described a highly secret terrorist training facility in Iraq known as Salman Pak, where both Iraqis and non-Iraqi Arabs receive training on hijacking planes and trains, planting explosives in cities, sabotage, and assassinations. Iraq provided shelter to many terrorist organisations including the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization, the Palestine Liberation Front and the Abu Nidal Organization. In 2002 Saddam upped from $10,000 to $25,000 the payments to be made to the families of suicide bombers 'martyred' in Palestine whether they be from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Fatah. You can work out for yourself how many suicide bombers Saddam's $9 million bought. The links to Al Qaeda are very clear and were exposed in the November 16, 2002, edition of Babil, the official paper of the Iraq government, when it identified one Abd-al-Karim Muhammad Aswad as an "intelligence officer," describing him as the "official in charge of regime's contacts with Osama bin Laden's group and currently the regime's representative in Pakistan." A man of this name was indeed the Iraqi ambassador to Pakistan from 1999 until the fall of the regime. In September, 2006, a deputy prime minister of Iraq offered a sharp contradiction of the conventional wisdom that Saddam and Al Qaeda had no connection before the 2003 war, flatly contradicting a recent report from the US Senate's intelligence committee. In a speech in which he challenged the belief of war critics that Iraqis' lives are now worse than under Saddam Hussein, Barham Salih said, "The alliance between the Baathists and jihadists which sustains Al Qaeda in Iraq is not new, contrary to what you may have been told." He went on to say, "I know this at first hand. Some of my friends were murdered by jihadists, by Al Qaeda-affiliated operatives who had been sheltered and assisted by Saddam's regime." Iraq has been on the US list of terrorist supporting nations for over 20 years so it's hardly a new idea made up by the Bush administration to justify the war.

9. More than 650,000 Iraqis have been killed - This lunatic piece of fiction from The Lancet did have one positive side effect - it separated those that have a grip on reality from the barking moonbats who'll believe any rubbish as long as it's anti-US/UK/Australia. I have noticed that those who quote The Lancet as being true also tend to be strong global warming advocates. No surprise there, I guess. Iraq Body Count is a left wing site that, to its credit, is calculating the civilian cost in Iraq using valid means. It's response to The Lancet was devastating:

A new study has been released by the Lancet medical journal estimating over 650,000 excess deaths in Iraq. The Iraqi mortality estimates published in the Lancet in October 2006 imply, among other things, that:
  1. On average, a thousand Iraqis have been violently killed every single day in the first half of 2006, with less than a tenth of them being noticed by any public surveillance mechanisms;
  2. Some 800,000 or more Iraqis suffered blast wounds and other serious conflict-related injuries in the past two years, but less than a tenth of them received any kind of hospital treatment;
  3. Over 7% of the entire adult male population of Iraq has already been killed in violence, with no less than 10% in the worst affected areas covering most of central Iraq;
  4. Half a million death certificates were received by families which were never officially recorded as having been issued;
  5. The Coalition has killed far more Iraqis in the last year than in earlier years containing the initial massive "Shock and Awe" invasion and the major assaults on Falluja.
I regularly point out that for The Lancet's study to be correct then the number killed exceed those killed in the Stalingrad campaign in WW2. For those familiar with what went on in that bloody battle it defies credibility that The Lancet is correct, even allowing for the shorter timeline of Stalingrad.

10. Democracy won't work and can't be imposed - I am always surprised by the Left's assertion that democracy won't work in Iraq because it's not in the Arabs' nature or culture. Do they not understand how profoundly racist this position is? It's like saying that slaves weren't ready for freedom or women couldn't handle emancipation. If democracy is not natural for them then how does it come about that the northern, Kurdish region of Iraq (protected from Saddam since Gulf War 1.0 by the US Air Force) is such a terrific success story? The mainstream media provides little coverage of what's going on in northern Iraq because it demonstrates that Iraqis are fully able to prosper when they get the opportunity to do so, and that doesn't fit with the Iraq-as-failure narrative of the media. It is a given that authoritarian states don't abandon power voluntarily so there must have been force used at some point to give us the democracies we have today. This force rarely comes from inside a nation and, thus, it must be imposed by external powers. In just the 20th century we saw democracy imposed in Japan (where it had never existed), South Korea (ditto), Italy and Germany not to mention Panama, Granada, Serbia or Afghanistan. It is a complete lie to say that democracy won't work in Iraq and can't be imposed.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Sunday night Aussie rock

I've been working on some longer than usual posts so been a bit slow over the last couple of days. Never too busy to do my Sunday night duty and bring another selection of Aussie rock 'n' roll for your listening pleasure, though.

The Angels were a terrific band and their Liveline live double album is the one to get if you want to hear good, old Aussie rockers going at it in front of a very involved audience. First up we have Am I Ever Going To See Your Face Again? This became a favourite with audiences, as they would respond to lead singer Doc Neeson's "Am I ever going to see your face again?" with "No way. Get f*cked. F*ck off." Completely in tune, too, which was always funny.

Take A Long Line
was another of their classics that I loved.

Now, there should be a law against the following. It's not from Australia. I'm not actually sure it's from Earth. What I am sure is that it's possibly the worst cover version by any band not trying to parody the original. Don't say I didn't warn you...

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Now what will the "Bring David Hicks Home" moral idiots say?

Supporters of Australian terrorist, child abandoner and piece of human excrement, Mohammed Dawood (aka David Hicks), have been clamouring for years to have him released from Guantanamo Bay and returned to Australia for either trial or, preferably, freedom.

I have often wondered whether Dawood actually understands the support he is getting back home from those morally malnourished useful idiots that don't believe he did anything wrong, that he's being unbearably tortured at Gitmo, he's been there long enough and that the US administration is deliberately keeping him locked up on fallacious charges.

What, then, do they say when Dawood's own legal team attempts to delay his appearance before a military commission?

From AAP:
Australian terrorist suspect David Hicks has lost an eleventh hour bid to halt Monday's appearance in a Guantanamo Bay courtroom. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, sitting in the US District Court in Washington DC, rejected the bid by Hicks' legal team to delay his long-awaited military commission trial.
His supporters will undoubtedly find some way to blame the military or the Bush administration. It doesn't fit into their Hicks-as-victim narrative if they accept that his own defence team has sought a delay. Good on the judge for denying the application.

NineMSN had this image accompanying the story. For those that aren't keeping up with things one might think it's a photo from Guantanamo Bay however the sign in the background shows that it's actually from an inane protest held in Sydney the other day by Dawood's supporters.

Channel 9 seems to have a thing for Dawood, even running a story on him on 60 Minutes a few weeks ago. Imagine their surprise when viewer feedback, which was read out the next week, was overwhelmingly against him and expressed disgust at what he did and those that defend him. It's good to know that Aussies' moral compasses are still pointing in the right direction.

Having followed the case since he was captured - on the battlefield, it should be remembered - and looked at the charges against him along with letters he's written home expressing his joy and delight at the thought of knocking off the enemies of Islam I can only hope that he is found guilty and, with life in prison being the maximum sentence available, spends the rest of his days locked up in a small cell with Bubba Goldstein,
a 400 pound child-molester.

Unfortunately, it's a true story

The climate change non-debate following general public is completely unaware of the controversy surrounding the Hockey Team's history of not releasing data from their publicly funded research, obfuscating for as long as possible or providing incomplete information when requested. Followers of Steve McIntyre's at Climate Audit are completely across the methodology employed by 'the Team' to avoid full and frank disclosure of their data. For those not aware, the Hockey Team are those individuals, led by Michael Mann, that created the IPCC's iconic Hockey Stick graph that featured so prominently in the IPCC's 2001 Third Assessment Report.

Orson Scott Card has a terrific piece on the state of the climate change non-debate, which starts off with what at first reading looks like a hypothetical story of a breakdown in the normal process of scientific peer review. I've got a piece coming along on peer review and its surprising derogation in climate change science, which every right thinking person should be extremely concerned about.

Here's something to whet your appetite from Orson's article (I've reformatted a bit):

Here's a story you haven't heard, and you should have. An intelligence source, working for a government agency. He's not a spy, he's an analyst. He uses computers to crunch numbers and at the end of his work, out pops the truth that was hiding in the original data. Let's call him "Mann." The trouble with Mann is, he has an ideology. He knows what he wants his results to be. And the original numbers aren't giving him that data. So the agency he works for won't be able to persuade people to fight the war he wants to fight.

He starts with his software. There are certain procedures that are normal and accepted in his line of work. But if he makes just one little mistake, his program does a weird little recursion and if there's any data at all that shows the pattern he wants it to show, it will be magnified 139 times, so it far overshadows all the other data. He can run it on random numbers and it gives him the shape he wants. Unfortunately, the real-world numbers aren't random -- they have a very different shape. All the numbers. Even his jimmied program won't give the results he wants. All he needs is any data shaped the right way. And so he looks a little farther, and ... here it is. It looks, on the surface, like all the other data that he's been working with. Other researchers working in his field, just glancing at it, will assume it is, too. But it isn't. Because the source that gathered this batch of data had some other key information that takes it all away. The numbers don't mean what they normally mean. In fact, this number set is absolutely false. If you use these numbers along with all the other data, however, the clever little program will pick them up, magnify them radically, and voilá! The final report shows exactly the shape he needs the numbers to have.
Here's the amazing thing about Mann's original report: He's not the only researcher working in this field. In fact, it's the job of many hundreds of researchers to refuse to accept his data at face value. After all, his findings disagree with everyone else's. Before they accept his results, they have a duty to look at his software, look at his data, and try to duplicate his results.

But nobody does it. Not a soul. Nor, when it goes public, does anyone in the press check the results -- because they want him to be right, too.
Not until a Canadian businessman -- let's call him "Steve" -- took a look at the stats and got curious. Now, it happens that Steve is in the mining business; he also happened to be a prize-winning math student in college. He knows how to read number sets. He knows what good analysis looks like. He also knows what cooked figures look like. He has seen the phoney projections that companies use when they're trying to swindle people. Their results are too perfect. Mann's report looks too perfect, too.

So Steve starts digging. First, he reads Mann's original report. He finds it an exercise in obscurity. From what he published, it's very, very hard to tell just what statistical methods Mann used, or even what data he operated on. This is wrong -- it's not supposed to be that way. Scientists are supposed to leave a clear path so other people can follow them up and replicate their research. The fact that it's so obscure suggests that Mann does not want anyone checking his work. But Mann used government grants in his research. Which means he has an obligation to disclose. Steve contacts him, asks for the information. He gets a runaround. He gets pointed to a website that does not have the information. He tries again, and again gets a runaround -- in fact, Mann sends him a very rude letter saying that he will no longer communicate with him. Why should he? Steve isn't a legitimate researcher in that field. He's just a businessman.

But Steve is now sure there's something fishy going on, and he doesn't give up. He gets other people to help him. Finally they are pointed to a different website, where, to their surprise, they find that someone has accidentally left a copy of the FORTRAN program that was used to crunch the numbers. It wasn't supposed to be where Steve found it -- which is why it hadn't been deleted. Also, there was a little more carelessness -- there is a set of data labeled "censored." Steve can't see, right away, what's significant about it, except that a score or so of data sets are left out of the censored data. Steve looks at the program. He finds the glitch rather easily. He tries the program on random numbers and realizes that it always yields the distinctive shape that has caused all the stir.

Sorting out the data sets is much harder. He contacts a lot of people. He does what anyone checking these figures would have to do, and he realizes: If anyone had tried to check, a lot of this information would already have been put together.
He realizes: I am the first person ever to attempt to verify these astonishing, anomalous, politically hot results. Out of all the researchers in this field who had a responsibility to do "due diligence" before accepting the data, none of them has done it.

Steve McIntyre (along with Ross McKitrick) was the first person to query the validity of the Hockey Stick. The lay person would not understand that in any analysis of science in which numbers are involved it's statistics that verify the results. Numbers are numbers, which is why he recognised the Hockey Stick results as being highly suspicious. He was heavily criticised by everyone in climate science, suffering through the normal Big Oil accusation through to being told that he didn't understand the statistical methodology being used (which it later turned out they'd made up to suit themselves). In testimony to a Congressional committee last year, America's leading statistician, Dr Edward Wegman (who voted for Al Gore in 2000), confirmed the results McIntyre obtained, which really was the point at which the the Hockey Stick lost prominence and the credibility of climate science in general started to be queried more closely.

I've followed Steve McIntyre's odyssey of trying to get the real data for as long as it's been going on. Whether it's Mann or Jones or Briffa or any of the others that make up 'the Team' the response has been the same - hide the data at all costs from outside inspection. What sort of field of science is it in which the vast majority of its leaders don't follow fundamental validation processes? This is a field that has billions of dollars of public money poured into it annually! It's completely scandalous and indefensible regardless of your position on climate change.

For those of us deeply skeptical of what the IPCC is saying the fact that the non-peer reviewed Hockey Stick could be the prominent feature of the Third Assessment Report calls into question the validity of all of the science being presented as fact. If it was correct in 2001 then why is it not correct in 2007 in the Fourth Assessment Report? As I've pointed out before, the damage done to the public's opinion of science by these self-interested charlatans will be serious and result in legitimate scientific work not being funded by much more skeptical governments. Add Al Gore's insane ranting into the fray and it's a recipe for public confidence disaster.

Read the whole thing.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Bjorn Lomborg's testimony to the 'Gore' climate committee

Bjorn Lomborg is a rare creature, a leftie and environmentalist that seems to be able to deal with reality and prioritise issues with some semblance of common sense. His testimony to the Congressional hearing into climate change that featured as its star attraction Al Gore is truly inconvenient for the former VP and his hysterical supporters. Lomborg, of course, heads up the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, amongst other things. Check out the list of environmental priorities that are developed when those who are least well off in the world get their say.

In Lomborg's testimony he agrees that man is the cause of recent global warming and then indicates that it's no big deal. I encourage you to spend 20 minutes of your life reading his submission. He opens his testimony thus (I've reformatted a little for readability and bolded significant statements):

I will make 4 basic points.

1. Global warming is real and man-made. This point has been made in many places, but perhaps most strongly and convincingly by the IPCC (2007a).
2. Statements about the strong, ominous and immediate consequences of global warming are often wildly exaggerated, as I will show below.
3. We need a stronger focus on smart solutions rather than excessive if well-intentioned efforts.
4. We need – as this hearing asks for – to put global warming in perspective. Climate change is not the only issue on the global agenda, and actually one of the issues where we can do the least good first.Let us be frank. Al Gore and the many people he has inspired have good will and great intentions. However, he has got carried away and come to show only worst-case scenarios. This is unlikely to form the basis for a sound policy judgment. The problem is compounded in that if we follow Al Gore’s recommendations, we will likely end up choosing very bad policies to solve the many problems, we agree need attention. In short, following Gore’s logic, with its good will and fine intentions, will actually end up costing millions of lives.

When the issue of sulphur was dealt with it was recognised for what it was - a pollutant that needed to be managed, which was done through a successful cap-and-trade scheme. There were no hysterics, no doomsday predictions and no need for massive government involvement. The presentation of worst-case scenarios of CO2 increase and their associated trillion dollar remedies is not a valid way to frame public debate or government policy.

One of the pieces of scaremongering by Climate Fascists is that increased heat will lead to an increase in the number of heat-related deaths. I have pointed out the one-sided nature of this statement before and that they never highlight any of the positives of higher temperature. Lomborg deals with it well:

Very often, we only hear about the heat deaths but not the cold deaths – and sometimes this is even repeated in the official literature, as in the US 2005 Climate Change and Human Health Impacts report, where heat is mentioned 54 times and cold just once. We need to know just how much more heat deaths we can expect compared to how many fewer cold deaths.

Much has been made of the heat wave in Europe in early August 2003, which killed 35,000 people, with 2,000 deaths in the UK. Yet, each year more than 25,000 people die in the UK from cold. It can be estimated that every year more than 200,000 people die from excess heat in Europe. It is reasonable to estimate that each year about 1.5 million people die from excess cold in Europe. This is more than seven times the total number of heat deaths.
Just in this millennium Europe have lost more than 10 million people to the cold, 300 times the iconic 35,000 heat deaths from 2003.

That we so easily forget these deaths and so easily embrace the exclusive worry about global warming
tells us of a breakdown in our sense of proportion. The important fact, of course, is what will happen with future temperature increases. Let us for the moment assume – very unrealistically – that we will not adapt to towards the future heat. Still, the largest European study conclude that for at least for 2 degrees Celsius, “Our data suggest that any increases in mortality due to increased temperatures would be outweighed by much larger short term declines in cold related mortalities.” For Britain it is estimated that a 2C increase will mean 2,000 more heat deaths but 20,000 fewer cold deaths. A paper trying to incorporate all studies on this issue (a socalled meta-study) and apply it to a broad variety of settings both developed and developing around the world found that “global warming may cause a decrease in mortality rates, especially of cardiovascular diseases.” For the US, the net lower death count from global warming in 2050 is estimated at 174,000 per year.

The fact that environmentalists take the one-sided approach to climate alarm that they do proves the dishonesty of their position. Why wouldn't they look at the good as well as the bad? That's what any assessment of policy is all about.

Lomborg dispatches the sea level rise argument in one paragraph:

In its 2007 report, the UN estimate that
sea levels will rise about 34.5cm over the rest of the century. While this is not a trivial amount, it is also important to realize that it is certainly not outside the historical experience. Since 1850 we have experienced a sea level rise of about 29cm, yet this has clearly not caused major disruptions. Sea level rise is a problem, but not a catastrophe. Ask a very old person about the most important issues that took place in the 20th century. She will likely mention the two world wars, the cold war, the internal combustion engine and perhaps the IT revolution. But it is very unlikely that she will add: ‘oh, and sea levels rose.’

Lomborg then looks at the hurricane argument, which is weak, and does what the Gore crowd doesn't and assesses the cost of past hurricanes if they hit the US today, which really puts things in perspective:A rise in malaria in warmer regions is given as part of the case for implementing Kyoto. Lomborg compares the effect of Kyoto on malaria with the impact of a specific campaign aimed at reducing it.

The cost and impact of implementing Kyoto are never brought to the public's attention. I wonder why that is? Lomborg presents the following graph, which might provide the answer:

The cost of Kyoto runs into trillions of dollars. The effect is marginal. Nothing highlights the fact that the Left is more concerned with symbolism over actual results than its feverish desire that all countries sign on to Kyoto. Lomborg then deals with a number of other issues before finishing off with:

To put it very bluntly, the Kyoto Protocol would likely cost at least $180 billion a year and do little good. UNICEF estimates that just $70-80 billion a year could give all Third World inhabitants access to the basics like health, education, water and sanitation. More important still is the fact that if we could muster such a massive investment in the present-day developing countries this would also give them a much better future position in terms of resources and infrastructure from which to manage a future global warming. What would we rather do first?

What would I rather do first? How about shutting down the United Nations, spinning off a non-corrupt UNICEF successor and spending the money on dealing with those things listed above? Sounds like a good first step to me.