Saturday, August 16, 2008


As I write this, I have just read a short account -- an admirable piece by a BBC correspondent in the Black Sea port of Poti, Georgia, writing without their permission right under their noses -- of the Russians “in control and on the move.” Together with many other short reports from around Georgia, it makes clear that the Russians are not observing the ceasefire agreement that President Sarkozy of France brought to Moscow, and induced the President of Georgia to sign; and that their purpose from the start was not to “free South Ossetia” (easily accomplished, given its tiny size), but rather to make an example of Georgia.
These things are happening on undisputed Georgian territory, after the Georgians have ceased to fight, and after Russian troops have fully occupied both Abkhasia and South Ossetia. They confirm that the word of the Russian government is worthless.
We should not forget this
when listening to Russian assurances on other topics

Why Wasn't It?

The story is a remarkable indictment of the corruption and cynicism that is rife among climate scientists, and I’m going to try to tell it in layman’s language so that the average blog reader can understand it.

In response to the Bishop Hill piece McIntyre writes:

There’s a definite foolhardiness and contemptuousness of the public by the IPCC and, in particular, the core of the Hockey Team. . . Every step of the process has been publicly documented. You’d think that they’d have been extra diligent in their reviewing. Instead, what we see is one thing botched after another and one sly manouevre after another.

If this is representative of how climate articles are written and how climate peer reviewing is done, what a pathetic performance. They might say - well, this is a bad example. To which I’d say, well, you knew that it was in the public eye, it should have been a good example, why wasn’t it?

The (Unintended) Advantage

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With the Russian Bear deciding the 'Great Game ' is back on and steady growth of the Chinese military--History and big geopolitics is, as Robert Kagan says , making a comeback.

Geopolitics and History invariably lead to the Clauswitzian politics by other means--war.

And in those other means, the United States has a distinct advantage over all others--not just in machines and materials--but where it counts the most:  NCO and Officer Leadership.

On March 20th, 2003, when the U.S. led coaltion crossed from Kuwait into Iraq, very few officers and non-commissioned officers of any rank had actual combat experience.

Five years and several months later--the United States military is one of the most combat-experienced militaries in history.

Virtually every U.S. Rifle Platoon has something the Russian and Chinese military do not--experience in a gun fight.

In A Rusty Russian Tank Shell

Michael Ramirez brings together two of the central issues of our time in this cartoon; click to enlarge:

Friday, August 15, 2008

What Went Wrong?

For a few brief years, the East no longer believed the tale of its political and ideological bosses.  Hong Kong, not Beijing, was the future of China.  Bricks of the Berlin Wall were solid souvenirs of Marx's folly.  Russians dreamed of a joyful future.  Reagan had been Washington again, and when Madison and Jefferson did their work, the world would be well, so it seemed.
Then nothing happened.  When Reagan left office, it was like when Lincoln was shot.
The Presidency in eight short years went from being occupied by a moral colossus to a moral dwarf.  Clinton sold national security secrets for something as banal as campaign contributions.  Although Yeltsin was President of Russia during all of Clinton's administration, our clever Clinton was unable to prevent on August 19, 1998 - one decade ago - the collapse of Russian financial markets and the destruction of the hope of a Russian middle class.

The Crucial Car

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — General Motors said Thursday that it had “essentially finished” designing its first plug-in hybrid car, the Chevrolet Volt, and would have production-ready prototypes within 10 days.

The automaker still has considerable work to do on the car’s lithium-ion battery and other technology in the two years before the Volt is scheduled to go on sale, but completing the design is a milestone for what is arguably the most crucial car in decades for G.M.

The Volt would be able to travel at least 40 miles on battery power alone, G.M. said. The battery is recharged by plugging a cord into a household outlet.

As of Thursday afternoon, 35,750 people from all 50 states and 63 countries had signed up on an unofficial waiting list for the car at, a Web site run by a neurologist in New Jersey who is not affiliated with G.M. The doctor, Lyle Dennis, started the site as a fan when G.M. announced the car.

"Special Interests"

We take it for granted that a vote means a secret ballot but it was not always that way. Moreover, it will not remain that way for workers who vote on whether or not they want a labor union, if legislation sponsored by Congressional Democrats and endorsed by Senator Barack Obama becomes law.

Before there were secret ballots, voters dared not express their true preferences if those who watched them vote could retaliate-- whether by firing them, beating them up or in other ways.

Anyone who is serious about people being free to express themselves with their votes wants a secret ballot.

Senator Obama has also said many times that he is against "special interests." But, like most politicians who say that, he means that he is against other politicians' special interests. His own special interests are never called special interests.

Carpet Or Paint

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Big arrays of mirrors that concentrate sunlight to run turbines, which first emerged in the early 1980s, are resurgent in sun-baked places like the American Southwest, Spain and Australia. Some developers say this solar thermal technology is competitive now with power generated by natural gas when demand, and prices, hit periodic peaks.

With more research, the solar thermal method might allow for storing energy. Currently, all solar power is hampered by a lack of storage capability.

“The scale on which things actually have to happen on energy is not fully either appreciated or transmitted to the public,” said Dr. Lewis of Caltech. “You have to find a really cheap way to capture that light, for the price of carpet or paint, and also convert it efficiently into something humans can use for energy.”

The Godfather Today

In addition to the measures that have been announced over the last couple of days — our military's humanitarian mission to Georgia, a missile-defense agreement with Poland, etc. — the administration should immediately withdraw its submission of the nuclear cooperation pact and make clear that a mafia family dressed up as a regime cannot be a strategic partner of the United States.  We must also acknowledge that what passes for our Iran policy — which depends critically on the fantasy that Russia is a cooperative friend rather than a sneaky, proliferating enemy — is a failure and must be rethought.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Jesus Paper

There has been the most extraordinary series of postings at Climate Audit over the last week. As is usual at CA, there is a heavy mathematics burden for the casual reader, which, with a bit of research I think I can now just about follow. The story is a remarkable indictment of the corruption and cyncism that is rife among climate scientists, and I'm going to try to tell it in layman's language so that the average blog reader can understand it. As far as I know it's the first time the whole story has been set out in a single posting. It's a long tale - and the longest posting I think I've ever written and piecing it together from the individual CA postings has been a long, hard but fascinating struggle. You may want to get a long drink before starting, and those who suffer from heart disorders may wish to take their beta blockers first.

A Great New Base

The Russian Black Sea fleet is based at Sevastopol (as it has been for eons) under a 20-year lease that expires on 2017.  The Ukrainian government has made it clear that Russia can forget about renewing the lease.
But there is another dimension to this — the balance of power.  Russia knows that its invasion of a democratic U.S. ally and forcible alteration of its borders is a heavy strategic blow to the United States: it makes a mockery of the value of an alliance with us.  Russia must be made to see that its action will be answered by an even more grievous strategic blow.  The loss of Sevastopol — Russia's equivalent of Norfolk — is the perfect punishment.  And what a great new base it would make for the U.S. Sixth Fleet. 

Blinking And (Hood)Winking

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This is a pretty big change for Obamanomics. Economic advisers Austan Goolsbee and Jason Furman, in today's Wall Street Journal, now say that Barack Obama's tax plan will do the following:

1) It will increase capital gains and dividend tax rates, to 20 percent, only for families making over $250,000. Before, Obama was hinting at rates as high as 28 percent for everyone.

2) On the issue of the Social Security income cap, he's now considering a plan that would make folks earning over $250,000 pay in the range of 2 to 4 percentage points more in total (combined employer and employee) payroll taxes. Previously, there were hints at increases of from 6 percent to 12 percentage points.

recent research shows that tax hikes may be less harmful if accompanied by spending cuts. Yet Obama is planning huge and specific spending increases matched by often vague spending reductions. Clintonomics was all about balancing the budget. This is not a priority for Obama.

1864 Update

A nation enduring hard times. A frustrating war, a doubtful president. Public turmoil, political disagreement, future prospects uncertain as best. Then a figure appears from nowhere, a secular messiah from the heartland -- unique, appealing, promising solutions that are effective, fast, and easy. He stirs up an immediate and vastly excited following across the country, though many share quiet doubts.

I'm well aware what this sounds like. But in fact the year is 1861, and we're speaking of George B. McClellan.
McClellan did not sit still. In the 1864 presidential election, after insisting he wouldn't run, he accepted the Democratic nomination at the behest of the Copperheads, a pro-slavery and anti-war group in effective control of the party.
Under a McClellan presidency, the South would have been allowed to go its way, slavery would have prevailed for further decades, and a second civil war, perhaps fought with the techniques and pure viciousness of WW I, would have been inevitable.

The Lesson

Thousands of  Obama's foreign donations ended in cents. The  "cents" did not make sense. And we compared McCain donation documentss  to Obama's. McCain's records are nothing like Obama's. McCain's are so clean. No cents, all even dollar amounts.  But Obama's contained thousands of strange, odd amounts -- evidence of foreign contributors, since Americans living overseas would almost uniformly be able to contribute dollars. Still no media.
So here an intrepid blogger finds a keg of dynamite of dirty dollar donations to Obama and what does the media do? They ignore it. And when forced to confront it by the sheer newsworthiness of the story, what happens? They go after McCain. They punish McCain.

And that is meant to be a lesson to all of us,  Whatever you find, whatever you discover about the Candidate of Mystery, they will blow it back in your face. And they did. Almost immediately.

Political, Not Geological

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The media constantly repeat the claim that it would take a decade to get the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) into oil production and about as long for offshore continental oil to start flowing. Most accounts promote the views of extreme environmentalists to make the issue appear so hopeless that we must instead "change our way of life" rather than tap into proven oil reserves. In July, CNN repeatedly reported that offshore drilling would take "seven to 10 years" to get into production. Yet Brazil's Petrobras expects its new finds in extraordinarily deep waters to already be producing 100,000 barrels per day in just two years. What is wrong with American oil companies that they would take so long?

In fact, the world oil shortage is political, not geological. In the U.S., the government prohibits drilling offshore.

Lightening Strike

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Boeing announced today the first ever test firing of a real-life ray gun that could become US special forces' way to carry out covert strikes with "plausible deniability."

In tests earlier this month at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Boeing's Advanced Tactical Laser -- a modified C-130H aircraft -- "fired its high-energy chemical laser
through its beam control system. The beam control system acquired a
ground target and guided the laser beam to the target, as directed by
ATL's battle management system."


The claim that a laser strike could be carried out without attribution appears in two separate briefing documents by Air Force personnel, describing the benefits of the new directed energy weapon.

any previous cases to go on, no pathologist could definitely say that a
laser was involved. The injury might resemble a lightning strike more
than anything else.

The Unbelievable NYeT!

Yesterday the New York Times ran a story on a study by the General Accounting Office that was commissioned by Democratic Senators Carl Levin and Byron Dorgan. The study found that from 1998 to 2005, two out of three American corporations didn't pay any corporate income taxes. Levin and Dorgan trumpeted this finding as though it meant something.

As usual, the Democrats were preying on ignorance.

Today, a red-faced New York Times issued this correction:

An article on Wednesday about a Government Accountability Office study reporting on the percentage of corporations that paid no federal income taxes from 1998 through 2005 gave an incorrect figure for the estimated tax liability of the 1.3 million companies covered by the study. It is not $875 billion. The correct amount cannot be calculated because it would be based on the companies paying the standard rate of 35 percent on their net income, a figure that is not available.

Welcome To ANWR

On Pedagogy

Russia has long been a very pedagogical country. She likes to teach lessons to her neighbours. The smaller the neighbours, the more lessons they can expect to receive.

Through most of the 20th century, Russia was at her most expansive. Thanks to the Yalta settlements, and the miracle of nuclear weapons technology, the whole world became Russia’s “near abroad,” and various little countries of eastern and central Europe became her disciplined pupils. She taught us all lessons in dialectical materialism and scientific socialism, until she collapsed under the strain of it.

Vladimir Putin -- the strongman of Russia, regardless of passing titles -- is, in addition to being an old KGB officer thoroughly schooled in the ruthless barbarism of Communist power politics
The notion that Russia -- whose land area makes her by far the planet’s largest single state -- could be threatened by a neighbour 1/245th her size, should not be confused with paranoia.

The "Resistance"

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In fact, under “classroom strategies” in the Norton instructor’s manual, teachers are told that they are likely to encounter the problem of students accepting the “truth” of what Solzhenitsyn has to say: “Because the story answers to most of the myths and preconceptions Westerners already have about Soviet life, the problem will be to make sure that students read it with the same degree of resistance with which they would normally confront any other piece of fiction.” Here we have the apologists for communism directing teachers: All that you’ve heard about the brutality of communism is merely part of our “myths and preconceptions.” Students must be reeducated to “resist” the testimony of Solzhenitsyn
It is this kind of sophistry that Solzhenitsyn had in mind when he said in his commencement speech at Harvard in 1978, “Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable

A Yawning Memory Hole For Alexander

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Alexander Solzhenitsyn died on August 3, but if reigning English professors and textbook editors have their way, his writing will soon be disappeared.

The murder of 100 million by communist regimes during the twentieth century is a fact ignored or rationalized by leftists everywhere, of course. In political science and history, a few like Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes fight such prevailing revisionism with fact.

But in literary studies, the propagandizing comes under the clever cover of theories that purportedly embrace multiplicity and openness.

Professor Yaeger intones, “As category confusion accelerates, we gravitate toward interstices and traces rather than clean causalities, binaries, or arrays.”


Seeping California

For oil, California is the quickest relief. Existing platforms there would allow access to some of the leases companies paid $1.1 billion for in 1981, but have been precluded from developing for 26 years. California is the nation's largest consumer of gasoline, so it could go directly to their extensive refinery network, also. The estimates are that 10 billion barrels exist off the coast of California, and tankers full of imported oil and Alaska North Slope oil go through those protected waters every day.

Santa Barbara is also home to one of the largest oil seep trends ever observed, and in one small area 100 bbls per day seep to the surface, except around an existing producing platform that releases the pressure causing the seeps. 100% of the oil on the beaches in Santa Barbara county, and 50% of the oil on the beaches of LA County are caused by Santa Barbara's seeps. The local group Stop Oil Seeps advocates drilling there to improve the environment.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Of Cucumbers And Nutjobs

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Al-Qa'eda has lost credibility for enforcing a
series of rules imposing their way of thought on the most mundane aspects of
everyday life.

They include a ban on women buying suggestively-shaped vegetables, according
to one tribal leader in the western province of Anbar.

Sheikh Hameed al-Hayyes, a Sunni elder, told Reuters: "They even killed
female goats because their private parts were not covered and their tails
were pointed upward, which they said was haram.

"They regarded the cucumber as male and tomato as female. Women were not
allowed to buy cucumbers, only men."

Other farcical stipulations include an edict not to buy or sell ice-cream,
because it did not exist in the time of the Prophet, while hair salons and
shops selling cosmetics have also been bombed.

Most seriously, Sheikh al-Hayyes said: "I saw them slaughter a nine-year
old boy like a sheep because his family didn't pledge allegiance to them."

Monday, August 11, 2008

On Justification

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So, yes, major combat operations appear to be over, and to that extent one can belatedly say, "Mission accomplished." If there is any Iraqi nostalgia for the old party and the old army, it is remarkably well-concealed. Iraq no longer plays deceptive games with weapons of mass destruction or plays host to international terrorist groups. It is no longer subject to sanctions that punish its people and enrich its rulers. Its religious and ethnic minorities—together a majority—are no longer treated like disposable trash. Its most bitter internal argument is about the timing of the next provincial and national elections. Surely it is those who opposed every step of this emancipation, rather than those who advocated it, who should be asked to explain and justify themselves.

God Bless Them, They'll Need It...

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The answer to what the Russians plan to do with Georgia has been given. They plan to conquer it. Russian troops took the key town of Gori after the Georgians fell back on Mtskheta, a town only 10 miles east of Tbilisi. Reuters reported that “Russian forces had captured the Georgian town of Gori, 60 km (35 miles) from the capital Tbilisi, but Russia denied it and Reuters witnesses saw no troops in the town.”

Georgia — under its old borders — has effectively been lost to Russia. Moscow now sits aside the transportation links joining Tbilisi to the Georgia’s Black Sea ports. A Russian column has also reached the Senaki, at the western end of Georgia’s main flatland, the Kolkhida Lowland. The heartland of Georgia is now split in two. But the Georgian army remains apparently intact.

God bless each of us. God bless the freedom of Georgia. God bless our soldiers, our heroes. Long live Georgia.

Rot In Hell

As an alternative, won't you please consider making a donation of __$40, 6 BEAN SALAD, 48 PACK OF LEINENKUGEL___ to Accountable America? Together we can get this country back to grassroots progressive ideals like clean politics and civil rights. Bump it to __$200, 30 BEAN SALAD, 240 PACK OF LEINENKUGEL___ and we'll take care of that ugly database of yours. And as a non-partisan 501(c)4, your thoughtful donation to Accountable America will be completely anonymous! 

Rot in Hell,

Tom Matzzie
Accountable America

O Kill Them

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This was no academic debate.  The issue arose when, as Freddoso notes. Christ Hospital in the Chicago area got outed for leaving these infants to die after a nurse blew the whistle on the hospital.  An investigation determined the truth of the allegations, and the Illinois legislature debated on whether infants born alive during abortions should be considered persons and require practitioners to provide care for them.  Obama, even with the redundant “neutrality clause” attached to the bill, said no.

Clearly, Obama lied about his position.  It’s no small rhetorical matter, either.  His vote puts him on the extreme of the pro-abortion camp, so extreme in fact that not a single member of Congress would follow his example.  Obama voted to allow Christ Hospital and other facilities performing abortions to allow live children to die.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I Lost My Senior OThesis!

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1. Occidental College records — Not released
2. Columbia College records — Not released
3. Columbia Thesis paper — “not available”
4. Harvard College records — Not released
5. Selective Service Registration — Not released
6. Medical records — Not released
7. Illinois State Senate schedule — “not available”
8. Law practice client list — Not released
9. Certified Copy of original Birth certificate — Not released
10. Embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth — Not released
11. Harvard Law Review articles published — None
12. University of Chicago scholarly articles — None

On Designer Drugs

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Best titled of the lot is probably John McCain is ready to lead—drunk, overweight, nude bikers, because, face it, that’s really gross, whereas this sort of thing? Slender urban sophisticates on designer drugs speaking truth to power.

Creamy Goodness

Got that? German growth at a 1.5% annual rate is considered blazing. Any
American rate below 2.75% is sluggish. Any rate below 1% is a recession.

I'm glad to know the new definitions. I wonder what the financial arbiters
will be calling the Italian contraction? I think the term most common will be
"minor correction". Why? Because Europe is creamy goodness and America is evil
incarnate where the moguls of finance are bleeding the poor for their own
personal gain where as the Europeans have just made a few minor mistakes.


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McCain obviously took time to determine first that Russia had indeed attacked
Georgia before demanding restraint from the victim.  It’s apparent
that McCain has a better grasp of the situation and understood its ramifications
as events unfolded.  Obama issued a boilerplate statement that generically
demanded that everyone start getting along, and had to modify his stance as his
300 foreign-policy advisers had a chance to tutor him on the conflict.

I’d rather vote for the man who gets it right and has spent years studying
foreign affairs, warfare, and American strategic needs than the man who makes it
up as he goes along.  McCain is right; this was a 3 AM moment, and Obama
proved himself unprepared and unsuited to answer the call.