Saturday, June 30, 2007

"What Country Is Oceania At War..."

As is well known, working in The Ministry of Truth is quite confusing at times for those of us who have not yet mastered "Doublethink," for instance, just this morning Comrade Julia asked me:

"What country is Oceania at war with today, Euraisa or Eastasia?"

So I don't always like it when articles in my blog are proven right by events—especially when they are about ominous trends toward civilizational self-destruction—but I just came across two such examples. Today, Charles Krauthammer's column cites an excellent new example:

The senator was vexed. The US auto companies were resisting attempts by her and other Senate well-meaners to impose a radical rise in fuel efficiency by 2017. Why can't they be more like the Chinese, she complained. Or, to quote Sen. Dianne Feinstein precisely: "What the China situation, or the other countries' situation, shows is that these automakers, in all of these countries, build the automobile that the requirements for mileage state. And they don't fight it, they just do it."

Yes. That is how things work in Oceania.

But the article below is a particularly sweet example of being proven right—and in this case, I think it's perfectly acceptable to have no sympathy for the victims.

As is well known, Environmentalists have systematically turned against every form of "renewable energy" they once touted as an alternative to coal, oil, and nuclear power. They pushed for hydro-electric dams—and then campaigned to breach them. They championed wind power—and now they tilt at windmills.

According to the article below, that trend it beginning to claim its next victim: "bio-fuels."

While Congress is preparing more subsidies for ethanol—which is why I feel no sympathy for the hawkers of bio-fuels—environmentalists are beginning to complain that all of the corn that has to be planted to produce that ethanol is ravaging the environment. This is yet another piece of evidence that the real agenda of the environmentalists is to oppose industrial civilization as such, by seeking to cut off any supply of fuel that can be used to power it.

"Biofuels Stamped 'Damaging the Environment'," Paul Eccleston, Daily Telegraph, June 29 The rush for biofuels is causing massive environmental damage and must be halted, a campaign group claims.

Whole ecosystems are being destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people are being thrown off their land to make way for the crops needed to make biofuel, it alleges.

The charity Grain says there has been a stampede towards biofuels—an alcohol-based fuel made from crops and trees planted on a large scale—as a "greener" alternative to fossil fuels….

For its hard-hitting report Grain claims it has gathered material from around the world and concluded that the rush to biofuels is causing enormous environmental and social damage, "The numbers involved are mind-boggling. The Indian government is talking of planting 14 million hectares of land with jatropha.

"The Inter-American Development Bank says that Brazil has 120 million hectares that could be cultivated with agrofuel crops; and an agrofuel lobby is speaking of 379 million hectares being available in 15 African countries. We are talking about expropriation on an unprecedented scale," the report states.

Grain claims even the term biofuel is wrong and misleading and should instead be called agrofuel in that it is being taken over by big business and exploited as another commodity.

"The Way To Stop Discrimination Based On Race..."

Well, we're now getting a feel for the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court, which ended its latest term with a bang, issuing a ruling that blocks government schools from overtly attempting to assign students positions in public schools on the basis of their race.

This followed another one of those "split decisions"—decisions that are split, not just in the vote, but in their reasoning. The conservative majority struck down an anti-trust rule that barred manufacturers from setting minimum retail prices for their products. But it did so in a way that arguably makes the law less objective, not more.

The ruling leaves in place the whole structure of the antitrust laws, which ban "restraint of trade" by restraining the trading practices of private businesses. More important, the antitrust laws provide no objective standard to determine what is or is not "anti-competitive," and for more than a century such decisions have been made by the courts ad hoc and after the fact.

The new ruling won't change that. In the words of Justice Kennedy's decision for the majority, "Vertical agreements establishing minimum resale prices can have either pro-competitive or anticompetitive effects, depending upon the circumstances in which they are formed." So we're back where the Sherman Act put us in the first place: no businessman can know if his actions are legal or not until after he is prosecuted.

The court seems to have done rather better with its last decision, whose essence was summed up in another memorable one-liner from Chief Justice Roberts: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

"Justices Limit the Use of Race in School Plans for Integration," Linda Greenhouse, New York Times, June 29 With competing blocs of justices claiming the mantle of Brown v. Board of Education, a bitterly divided Supreme Court declared Thursday that public school systems cannot seek to achieve or maintain integration through measures that take explicit account of a student’s race.

Voting 5 to 4, the court, in an opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., invalidated programs in Seattle and metropolitan Louisville, Ky., that sought to maintain school-by-school diversity by limiting transfers on the basis of race or using race as a “tiebreaker” for admission to particular schools….

“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” he said. His side of the debate, the chief justice said, was “more faithful to the heritage of Brown,” the landmark 1954 decision that declared school segregation unconstitutional….

In a separate opinion that could shape the practical implications of the decision and provide school districts with guidelines for how to create systems that can pass muster with the court, Justice Kennedy said achieving racial diversity, “avoiding racial isolation” and addressing “the problem of de facto resegregation in schooling” were “compelling interests” that a school district could constitutionally pursue as long as it did so through programs that were sufficiently “narrowly tailored.”…

As a matter of constitutional doctrine and practical impact, Justice Kennedy’s opinion thus placed a significant limitation on the full reach of the other four justices’ embrace of a “colorblind Constitution” under which all racially conscious government action, no matter how benign or invidious its goal, is equally suspect….

“If our history has taught us anything,” Justice Thomas said, “it has taught us to beware of elites bearing racial theories.”

The Revolt of The Right On Immigration

The Senate has killed the immigration bill, and there will not be a second try—not until we have a new president. It won't happen because the anti-immigration activists are the right's answer to the "angry left": a wing of the right that has become irrational and unhinged on a single issue.

Although the immigration bill was a normal, god-awful Washington compromise, I have no sympathy for the anti-immigration advocates who demanded that it be killed, not improved. As I have argued before—and as some of them have admitted—every argument they make against illegal immigration is an argument against immigration as such.

Below, pro-immigration conservative Linda Chavez offers bitter congratulations to the angry right for their victory.

Note, also, how much energy and grassroots mobilization the right has poured into this issue, while we are facing crucial deadlines in the demands for withdrawal and surrender in Iraq—a fact nicely captured in a new cartoon by Cox & Forkum.

"A Pyrrhic Victory," Linda Chavez, Jewish World Review, June 29 Immigration reform is dead. But before conservatives who killed this bill start popping champagne corks, they ought to consider the following.

Our borders will be less secure, not more. Employers who want to do the right thing and only hire legal workers won't have the tools to do so. The 12 million illegal aliens who are here now will continue to live in the shadows, making them less likely to cooperate with law enforcement to report crimes and less likely to pay their full share of taxes. In other words, the mess we created by an outdated and ill-conceived immigration policy 20 years ago will just get worse.

But you won't hear this if you tune in to talk radio over the next few days or read conservative blogs. There will be lots of gloating over having killed "amnesty." There will be claims that senators finally "listened to the people." And, no doubt, some conservatives will be emboldened to consider the next step in their war against illegal immigration, namely to deport those now here illegally….

The United States creates 1.5 to 2 million jobs every year, but without immigrants—legal and illegal—we'd have a hard time filling all those jobs…. Not enough young Americans are studying engineering, science and mathematics to fill all the jobs that require those skills. And Americans are over-educated to fill the jobs at the lowest end of the skills spectrum.

But none of this matters to the radio talk show hosts who encouraged their millions of listeners to shut down the congressional phone system with calls protesting "amnesty."…

Meanwhile, the real majority of Americans will have to wait for genuine immigration reform. And Republicans who believe this is going to help them at the polls in 2008 may well find themselves sitting on the back benches for years to come.

Britain Cannot Withdraw From WW III

Tony Blair's successor, Gordon Brown, took office Wednesday and subsequently reshuffled the British cabinet. Disturbingly, Brown pointedly signaled an impending cutoff in British support for the Iraq war by appointing David Miliband, an opponent of the war and an advocate of appeasement of Hezbollah and Hamas, as his foreign secretary.

(In Miliband's previous office, Denis Boyles points out, he was too politically correct to cull badgers. If the man can't stand up to the badger lobby, how is he supposed to stand up to Iran?)
The switch turns out to have been bad timing, because the new cabinet was greeted by reminders of the same old war: a new terrorist plot targeting London's night life with not just one but two car bombs discovered and defused—so far.

I believe it was George Orwell who said, "You may not be interested in war—but war is interested in you." Gordon Brown's new government may contemplate withdrawing from the war against radical Islam in Iraq—but it cannot withdraw from the war radical Islam has declared against Britain.

"Britain's Brown Picks a War Critic for New Cabinet," Al Webb, Washington Times, June 29 New Prime Minister Gordon Brown named a Cabinet yesterday that included a critic of the Iraq war as foreign secretary—a clear signal of a shift in British policy toward the unpopular conflict….

[T]he most eye-catching new name was rising political star David Miliband, who at 41 becomes the youngest British foreign secretary in 30 years, and potentially one of the most controversial, given his discomfort over the Blair government's policy on Iraq.

Mr. Miliband voted along with much of Parliament to go to war in Iraq four years ago, but he is reported to have later become quite skeptical about the decision to send in British troops….
Mr. Miliband also expressed dismay over Mr. Blair's refusal to call for an immediate truce during last summer's war between Israel and the Hezbollah militia in southern Lebanon.

That decision provoked a party revolt against Mr. Blair and helped drive him to his decision to step down as prime minister.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Frank Amodeo And Mirabilis: "Don't Panic!"



Perhaps The Feds do not want to mess up their main case against Frankie & his Pirates...To go forward with the civil action would require calling the same people to court and would tip the opposition to the government's criminal case.

THE ARTICLE:

Back-tax lawsuit against Mirabilis quietly dismissed
The government has not dropped 4 other actions against the Orlando company.
Jim Leusner

Sentinel Staff Writer

June 27, 2007

A Justice Department lawsuit filed last month against embattled Mirabilis Ventures Inc. of Orlando seeking $1.6 million in back taxes was quietly dismissed last week.

In a one-paragraph "notice of voluntary dismissal," Justice Department tax attorney Philip Doyle offered no explanation for dropping the case. U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp in Orlando approved it June 20.

The lawsuit was one of five filed last month against the Orlando equity fund and four defunct payroll companies with ties to Mirabilis, founder and chief strategist Frank L. Amodeo and other related entities.

The suits sought up to $223 million in overdue employment, unemployment or corporate taxes dating back to 2001.

The Mirabilis suit sought corporate taxes, penalties and interest for the 2005 tax year through May 15.

After the suit was filed, Amodeo's attorney, Harrison "Butch" Slaughter of Orlando, insisted that Mirabilis paid the taxes and produced a canceled check, bank statements and receipts showing that nearly $1.1 million had been paid to the Internal Revenue Service through SunTrust bank in Orlando in September 2006.

"The taxes were paid, including the penalties," said Slaughter, who attributed the mistake to one government agency not sharing information with another.

Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller would not comment on the matter Tuesday.

No such dismissals were filed in the other four Justice Department suits in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale federal courts.

The lawsuits came while a federal grand jury, the U.S. Attorney's Office, Internal Revenue Service and FBI investigate Amodeo, Mirabilis and related companies on allegations of financial and tax irregularities, especially among payroll-outsourcing companies once controlled by Mirabilis, Amodeo or related firms.

Amodeo, 46, a Georgia bankruptcy lawyer disbarred in 1994 who later served two years in federal prison for defrauding a client, was the founder and chief strategist for Mirabilis.

The company once had interests in as many as 70 firms, before shutting down most of its operations and laying off scores of employees earlier this year -- while creditor lawsuits piled up against Mirabilis.

The grand jury, according to several witnesses, is investigating the disappearance of more than $100 million in payroll taxes collected from client companies and not paid to the government.

Jim Leusner can be reached at jleusner@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5411.

"The Orlando Sentinel" Links

The New Communism Is Environmentalism

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, drawing on his memories of Soviet oppression, recently declared that the global warming hysteria had replaced Communism as "the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy, and prosperity."

The environmentalists continue to do their best to prove him right.

In making the parallel to Communism, President Klaus cited the use of environmentalism as a justification for global central planning. But it is not just the vast scale of the controls proposed by environmentalists that is so revealing; it is also the detail. There is no aspect of life too trivial or intimate (as Sheryl Crow infamously reminded us) to fall outside of this new ideological regimentation.

A bit of the flavor of the coming environmentalist police state is provided by a new Australian television show titled "Carbon Cops." In a bizarre inversion of the typical American home improvement show, the experts in this show descend on the hapless homeowners to measure their "carbon footprint," the amount of fossil fuels involved in the manufacture and use of every item in their house. The "carbon cops" are shown rummaging through a family's smallest household items, searching for global warming contraband—and then scolding them for "polluting" the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Each week they don their orange monogrammed shirts to cordon off the toxic home of an Australian family. They arrive with energy-auditing gadgetry, sobering statistics, and lips and eyebrows curled in withering admonishment. They rate these people, shame them, then challenge them to do better.

And what sort of things are these people supposed to be ashamed of? One family, the Barries, are scolded for their overuse of light bulbs, "Dad's overseas business travel, their swimming pool and boat," while the Lane family is taken to task for their "six TVs, three DVD players, five or six computers, 12 freshly laundered towels a day."

In case you don't get the message, the author of this report sums it up for you: "Taken together, the case studies are not about individual scapegoats as much as an indictment of Western affluence, negligence, and self-obsession." Ah yes, the inexcusable self-indulgence of wanting to bathe with freshly laundered towels. How can we live with ourselves?

The victims on this television show are voluntary, the only weapon used against them is social disapproval, and the whole thing could be laughed off—if not for the fact that our political leaders are preparing the way for the real carbon cops who will enforce the "carbon taxes" and impose the "cap and trade" rationing scheme needed to meet the environmentalists' goal of constricting the world's energy use. Australia's "carbon cops" may be fictional, but they are the harbinger of a real attempt to use the power of the state to strip us of the accoutrements of prosperity: our light bulbs, our cars, our televisions, our freshly laundered towels.

Part of what Vaclav Klaus was sensing—what gives this all the faint whiff of totalitarianism—is the global warming alarmists' eagerness to reach into the smallest details of our private existence and re-arrange our lifestyle to fit the austere requirements of their political ideology. A recent article in the Sacramento Bee captures the paternalistic fervor in the California statehouse:

Besides the light bulb bill [a de facto ban on the sale of incandescent light bulbs], the Assembly voted this month to require toilets that use less water, ban restaurants from using trans fats, and to create a $250 million program to subsidize sales of solar water heaters costing $6,000 apiece. The Assembly considered, but rejected under pressure from the auto industry, legislation designed to benefit the environment by assessing a $2,500 surcharge on the sale of gas-guzzling vehicles to fund rebates for fuel-efficient models.

But those with a lust to control every detail of human life are not content merely to control what we do. They also want to control what we think.

We have seen in recent decades the largest peacetime outpouring of government propaganda, all devoted to convincing us that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing a global warming catastrophe. The German government, for example, has begun paying authors to inundate Wikipedia with articles boosting "renewable resources." So much for the Internet as the ultimate free marketplace for ideas: now one cartel will be supported by government subsidies.

Along with the campaign to subsidize government-approved speech, there always comes an attempt to suppress speech that challenges the official line. The designation of those who challenge the global warming scare stories as global warming "deniers"—smearing them as the equivalent of Holocaust deniers—has introduced the hard edge of dogmatism and character assassination to the public debate. The implications of this phrase were made clear by another Australian. (Apparently Australia, like Britain, is a few steps ahead of America in how seriously it takes its global warming dogma.) Referring to a British historian who was jailed for denying the existence of the Holocaust, leftist Australian journalist Margo Kingston growled: "David Irving is under arrest in Austria for Holocaust denial. Perhaps there is a case for making climate change denial an offense—it is a crime against humanity after all." (This quote appears at Kingston's former blog; see item #8.)

Kingston is a leftist provocateur and has gone beyond what the mainstream of the left has so far contemplated—but only a little beyond. Back in the United States, the left is still gingerly working to prepare the ground for green censorship, with Al Gore branding right-wing dissent an "assault on reason" that has "broken" the marketplace of ideas—which requires government intervention to fix. The fix is now being prepared in the form of a regulatory assault on right-leaning talk radio, among other initiatives.

For those seeking to justify this kind of all-encompassing government control, global warming is the best candidate to come along since the collapse of Marxism. Like Marxism, environmentalism steals the "scientific" aura of an established field—but in this case it has invaded the "hard sciences," which carry greater prestige than economics. And unlike previous environmentalist crusades, global warming is a threat that is global in scope and total and all-encompassing in its detailed application to human life. Other pollution scares—DDT, acid rain, the ozone layer—required only the banning of a single product or control over a single industry. None was big enough to require control of the entire economy over the period of a century, nor could any claim to be so urgent as to make dissent an "irresponsible" act that is not to be tolerated.

Global warming provides a basis for all of these claims: urgent action is needed, we are told, or the catastrophic effects will be irreversible. But to reverse global warming will require massive reductions in our use of power, requiring a total restructuring of the economy—and the deployment of the "carbon cops" to police every parsimonious detail of our everyday lives.

And this global warming police state has one big advantage over Marxism: it makes a virtue of the chronic shortages and privation that were such a mortal embarrassment to Communism. This time, the left won't have to explain away the lines at the stores, the decade-long waiting lists for tin-can automobiles, even the scarcity of decent toilet paper. These are not failures of the system: they are the goal of the system. They are all necessary to reduce our "carbon footprint."

A perceptive reader suggested to me recently that when left claims that "the science is settled" in the global warming controversy, what they really mean is that the political science of the issue is settled. The global warming hysteria reinforces all of their settled anti-capitalist prejudices—and it provides an open-ended justification for the central, dominant, overpowering role they think government ought to play in the individual's life.

No, we haven't arrived at a green dictatorship—we're nowhere near it. But with all of the environmentalists' talk about the long-term consequences of our actions decades or centuries from now, we should subject their agenda to the same scrutiny. What ideological direction are they taking us, what kind of political and economic system are they seeking to impose—and what will happen to our liberty and prosperity, the day after tomorrow?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Fascists on the Left Are At It Again

On Fox News Sunday night we were distressed to hear Senator Feinstein aver that she "would be looking into the 'Fairness Doctrine'", the most misnamed of the all the liberal, thought-control ideas we have to fend off constantly. Unfortunately, at her side was the normally conservative, but not always perceptive, Senator Lott. Lott was smarting from the reception he received the previous week for suggesting that talk radio listeners were misinformed about the amnesty-immigration bill, and that something should be done. Actually his exact words were 'Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem'...

Apparently, the fears we have been expressing about this threat are well-founded. Here is an excellent article by Rich Lowry that brings some light to this issue:

Balancing Act
Rush to control the airwaves.

By Rich Lowry, June 26, 2007, National Review

Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk-radio pioneer, has been called many nasty things before, but never a “structural imbalance.” That’s the fancy term a liberal think tank uses to characterize his success — and to dress up its proposal for counteracting that success through new government regulation.

The report of the Center for American Progress on “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio” marks the latest phase in liberaldom’s grappling with conservative talk radio. First came the attempts to create a liberal Limbaugh — Mario Cuomo, Jim Hightower, et al. — that fell flat. Then an entire left-wing network, Air America, was founded, and foundered. So there’s only one option left — if you can’t beat them, and you won’t join them, you can agitate for government to regulate them.

The report looks at a slice of 257 talk stations and concludes that more than 90 percent of total weekday talk programming is conservative. The supposed reason for this is, essentially, that media companies are conspiring to shove conservative radio down the throats of listeners in a way they couldn’t if, among other things, government required broadcasters “to regularly show that they are operating on behalf of the public interest.”

This is a pinched view of radio. There are upwards of 2,000 talk stations in the country that deal with news and issues, according to Michael Harrison of Talkers magazine, and they encompass all sorts of formats from National Public Radio to urban radio to shock jocks, none of which are dominated by right wingers. Conservative talk radio is a vibrant niche within that market, but there are many other places to go for news and opinion.

What is hard to find are liberal replicas of Rush Limbaugh, and that is due to the deepest structural imbalance of all — talent. Limbaugh and other top conservative talkers are silver-tongued, informative, and — importantly — entertaining. These are qualities that can’t be conjured out of nowhere, and designated liberal-radio saviors have tended not to have the requisite talent “on loan from God” (as Limbaugh puts it).

There have been conservative failures at talk radio for the same reason. Without the right mix of substance and entertainment, a host will fail to get ratings, and, with that, be yanked from the air. “Ratings” is a word that appears only once in passing in the Center for American Progress report, because then it would have to acknowledge that conservative radio is successful exactly because it gets listeners.

Broadcasters go where the money is. If a liberal could draw the kind of listeners — and hence the kind of advertising dollars — as Limbaugh, he too would be on more than 600 stations. This is why Spanish-language radio is such a growth commodity. Not because broadcasters have an agenda to Hispanicize America, or because there’s a structural imbalance that favors Spanish-language over German- or French-language programming, but because there’s an audience for it.

The Center for American Progress wants to short-circuit the market. Having bureaucrats determine whether radio stations are serving the public interest is inherently dangerous. There are times — like now, in the debate about the immigration bill — when Democrats and Republicans in Washington will agree that conservative talk radio is not serving the public interest, because it brings to the table public sentiment that the establishment prefers to ignore.

The report avoids directly calling for a renewal of the constitutionally dubious Fairness Doctrine that mandated equal time for conservative and liberal opinions, although some Democratic lawmakers aren’t so circumspect. After five years of opposing most assertions of government power to fight terrorism, these liberals are ready to wield it to fight conservative talk radio. After maintaining that the First Amendment protects nude dancing, they are ready to argue that it doesn’t quite apply to people broadcasting conservative views over the airwaves.

In our toxic contemporary politics, it’s a sign of success if you drive your opponents batty. Rush Limbaugh might be a structural imbalance, but his critics appear simply imbalanced.

The Senator Rages On Hannity


WASHINGTON – Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, misunderstood the results of a vote on an amendment to the "comprehensive immigration reform" bill being debated in the upper house today.

He also is apparently unfamiliar with efforts to re-impose the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters operating on the public airwaves.

But it was nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Sean Hannity's persistent grilling about the senator's intentions on key cloture votes leading to a showdown on what is characterized as an "amnesty" bill that caused Voinovich to melt down before millions of listeners today.

MORE

Communism Held In Contempt By Chinese Students

While we fight a new struggle against Islamism, it's nice to take a break for one of those articles that provides a little victory lap celebrating the defeat of Communism. This article looks at the still-mandatory classes on Marxism in Chinese schools—and the boredom and contempt they evoke in students.

On a more serious note, observe that everyone admits that the collapse of Marxism leaves the Chinese state with no ideological foundation. And on a more ominous note, observe the attempts to adopt environmentalism as a replacement for Communism—following the lead of the Western left.

But a more hopeful note comes, inadvertently, from an education ministry official who says of China's young people, "They don't believe in God or communism. They're practical. They only worship the money." Unfortunately, too few young Chinese know that capitalism, properly understood, represents a philosophy and a benevolent moral code—and that this is the new ideological foundation China needs.

"Marx Loses Currency in New China," Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times, June 26 Professor Tao Xiuao cracked jokes, told stories, projected a Power Point presentation on a large video screen. But his students at Beijing Foreign Studies University didn't even try to hide their boredom.

Young men spread newspapers out on their desks and pored over the sports news. A couple of students listened to iPods; others sent text messages on their cellphones. One young woman with chic red-framed glasses spent the entire two hours engrossed in "Jane Eyre," in the original English. Some drifted out of class, ate lunch and returned. Some just lay their heads on their desktops and went to sleep.

It isn't easy teaching Marxism in China these days….

"It's not the teacher," said sophomore Liu Di, a finance major whose shaggy auburn hair hangs, John Lennon-style, along either side of his wire-rim glasses. "No matter who teaches this class, it's always boring. Philosophy is useful and interesting, but I think that in philosophy education in China, they just teach the boring parts."

Classes in Marxist philosophy have been compulsory in Chinese schools since not long after the 1949 communist revolution….

It seems an understatement to say that there's a disconnect between reality and what the students are learning about Marx and Mao, who held that capitalism would inevitably and naturally give way to communism.

"Compared to my normal opinions about the world…it's something like fiction," said Du Zimu, one of Liu's classmates….

Daniel A. Bell, a Canadian who is the first Westerner in the modern era to teach politics at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China's most elite educational institution, wrote in the spring issue of Dissent magazine of his surprise at how little Marxism is actually discussed in China, even among Communist Party intellectuals.

"The main reason Chinese officials and scholars do not talk about communism is that hardly anybody really believes that Marxism should provide guidelines for thinking about China's political future," he wrote. "The ideology has been so discredited by its misuses that it has lost almost all legitimacy in society…. To the extent there's a need for a moral foundation for political rule in China, it almost certainly won't come from Karl Marx."…

"The students I know generally don't accept Marx as the best ideological foundation for modern China," said one student at a prestigious Chinese university. "Marx in China is only a flag used by different kinds of persons. Then, what is the ideological foundation for modern China? I think no one can give a satisfied answer."…

[At] a model junior high school in Beijing,…students are participating in a pilot program to learn the fundamentals of environmentalism, as part of a "values" class that used to contain a strong dose of Marxist ideology.

American British Friend Is Gone

Alas Tony Blair stepped down today as prime minister of Britain. He leaves office as widely loved in America as he is widely hated in Britain, and for the same reason: because he has been America's best friend among foreign leaders—alas.

As much as I appreciate Blair's support for the war in Iraq and the political price he paid for it, Blair's support has also given him the influence to ask for key concessions from the US, such as the long, drawn-out charade of seeking UN support for the invasion of Iraq.

Unfortunately, I suspect that this aspect of Blair's role will be emphasized in his new job as a special envoy working to help create a Palestinian state—through the hopeless method of trying to bring freedom, prosperity, and the rule of law to a society run by terrorists.

Though he is known in America mostly for his foreign policy, any mention of Blair's legacy should include his economic policy, reviewed here, which largely consisted of a ratification from the left of Margaret Thatcher's pro-free-market reforms—the source of Britain's current economic vitality.

"Mediators Appoint Blair Mideast Envoy," Christine Hauser and Taghreed El-Khodary, New York Times, June 27 Tony Blair, who stepped down today as the prime minister of Britain, has been appointed a new senior peace envoy for the Middle East, working on building the framework for a Palestinian state, officials said today….

Mr. Blair, who handed his office over to Gordon Brown in London, becomes a senior envoy for the “quartet,” diplomatic shorthand for the four leading outside forces working on peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians—the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

A State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, said Mr. Blair would spend significant time in the region “working with the parties and others to help viable and lasting government institutions representing all Palestinians, a robust economy and a climate of law and order for the Palestinian people.”…

President Bush welcomed the appointment today.

“Tony will help Palestinians develop the political and economic institutions they will need for a democratic, sovereign state able to provide for its people and live in peace and security with Israel,” he said in a statement.

Fred Thompson Ahead In Presidential Polls

Fred Fits Despite not having officially entered the race, actor and former Senator Fred Thompson has just made his first appearance at the top of one of the polls for the Republican presidential nomination, beating Rudy Giuliani for the first time. Look for the Rasmussen poll results, and note in the graph on this page the strong recent surge in Thompson's poll numbers, which has come at the expense of every other candidate.

There are a number of reasons for this, including Thompson's appealing personality. I was struck by the audience reaction to him in a recent appearance on Jay Leno's show: people like and trust Thompson, regarding him as a serious and honest man (this reputation for sincerity may explain why he is trouncing Hillary Clinton in a general election match-up).

There is also another reason for these results. I have backed Rudy Giuliani because I like the idea of Republicans choosing the war as their top priority, while subordinating the agenda of the religious right. But Thompson—who is by no means a holy roller, but who opposes abortion and is more "conservative" on a number of issues, like immigration—does not ask Republicans to make this choice.

He allows them to choose a candidate who is relatively strong and forceful when speaking about the war, but who is also a better "fit" for the party's conservative base. But that doesn't mean that Thompson is a shoo-in for the nomination. With less experience, particularly in an executive position, he has not been extensively tested for the stamina, quick decision-making, and management skills required to win a campaign—and to fulfill the responsibilities of the presidency.

"Rudy Amid the Evangelicals," Alex Koppelman, Salon.com, June 27 The conventional wisdom is that Rudy Giuliani's bid for the Republican presidential nomination will be in serious trouble without the support of evangelicals and social conservatives. It is still early in a wide-open race. But with his campaign appearance on Tuesday at Regent University, the school founded by conservative televangelist Pat Robertson, the former mayor of New York City showed that he was still struggling with a strategy for social issues important to the party's conservative base.

When the first question from an audience member came in two parts, Giuliani embraced the chance to avoid dealing with social issues altogether. He was asked how to appeal to Muslims who are not religious extremists and how to "get Judeo-Christian values back in our government"—conservative code for issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. Giuliani went off on a rambling answer about Islam that took him to the streets of Saudi Arabia and into the politics of the Soviet Union, before skipping on to the next question from an audience member.

When pushed for clarification at a press conference later in the day, Giuliani said he had simply forgotten to answer the latter half of the audience member's question. "You can't possibly describe Judeo-Christian values in one lesson or two or three, but if there was one, it would probably be Jesus' admonition that you would be judged based on how you treat others, and I would try to exemplify that in the way that I governed as president," Giuliani explained. "I think that Judeo-Christian values are so much a part of America that if you run a government responsibly and honestly and peacefully, you're reaffirming Judeo-Christian values." He never mentioned abortion or same-sex marriage, intelligent design or prayer in schools….

Rather than pander to the base and risk looking like a flip-flopper, he implicitly acknowledges the differences between him and evangelical voters on social issues and moves on—while continuing to emphasize his image as "America's mayor," the one many Americans remember from 9/11 as a strong, decisive leader. That, the campaign wants voters to think, is the most important quality to look for in a president this time around, because of Islamic extremism and the war in Iraq….

"Don't expect you're going to agree with me on everything," he had told the audience, "because that would be unreasonable. Even I don't agree with myself on everything," he said. "It's not about one issue -- it's about many issues."

Nevertheless, he added that if the election did come down to a single issue for voters, then it should be about the one thing that the former mayor has made a signature issue: the fight against terrorism….

"I wouldn't even consider voting for him," [Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention] said in an interview Tuesday…. Land, who has recently made supportive statements about Thompson, says he believes Giuliani's support among evangelicals has mostly come out of a sense of pragmatism, a fear of Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton becoming the next president and a desire to see the most electable candidate become the Republican nominee….

Charles Dunn, the dean of Regent's Robertson School of Government, thinks otherwise. He divides the evangelical leadership into two camps, "purists" like Dobson and Land, and "pragmatists" like Robertson. And he thinks the pragmatists will win this fight. "What I'm sensing in the rank and file on this," Dunn says, "in the evangelical Christian and conservative Catholic audiences, is that you have a high percentage of pragmatists among them, and they're willing to give Giuliani a serious look."

Republican Senator Stabs Military In The Back

While our soldiers fight in the field, they can always depend on the politicians back home to watch their back—and look for an opportunity to stick a knife in it. In an ominous sign, these congressional advocates of defeat and surrender now include a growing number of "centrist" Republicans.

The most influential to join that list is Senator Richard Lugar, who has pronounced the "surge" a failure, even though it has only barely begun. Historically, this is bad news: we did not retreat from Vietnam until Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the war.

"Key GOP Senator Says Iraq Plan Is Not Working," AP via New York Times, June 27 Sen. Richard Lugar, a senior Republican and a reliable vote for President Bush on the war, said that Bush's Iraq strategy was not working and that the US should downsize the military's role.

The unusually blunt assessment Monday deals a political blow to Bush, who has relied heavily on GOP support to stave off anti-war legislation.

It also comes as a surprise. Most Republicans have said they were willing to wait until September to see if Bush's recently ordered troop buildup in Iraq was working.

''In my judgment, the costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved,'' Lugar, R-Ind., said in a Senate floor speech. ''Persisting indefinitely with the surge strategy will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests over the long term.''

Only a few Republicans have broken ranks and called for a change in course or embraced Democratic proposals ordering troops home by a certain date. As the top Republican and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lugar's critique could provide political cover for more Republicans wanting to challenge Bush on the war….

However, [Lugar spokesman Andy] Fisher said the speech does not mean Lugar would switch his vote on the war or embrace Democratic measures setting a deadline for troop withdrawals.

American Offensive Rolls In Iraq

As I observed last week, all previous commentary about the "surge" in Iraq and any evaluations of whether it was working yet were grossly premature. The US was merely building its forces and preparing the ground up to now—and the current massive operation is the real surge that we have only just begun to launch.

Ronbo sent me a link to an excellent, must-read overview of the new counter-insurgency strategy by one of General Petraeus's advisors. I won't excerpt this article, because it is too good and too informative to condense into a few quotes. But if you want to understand the "big picture" of what we are doing now in Iraq, and the reasoning behind it, go read this article.

For my excerpts, I chose a Los Angeles Times article that offers much less analysis but gives an on-the-ground "feel" for the nature of the campaign. Note particularly the anecdote about the young widow of an insurgent sniper who describes how she begged her husband to quit the fight because "doing the things he was doing can only end in death." That is precisely what we want the enemy's supporters to conclude.

The New York Times also has an interesting report that gives a feel for the scale and house-flattening destructiveness of the new campaign.

Unfortunately, al-Qaeda has also mounted one successful counter-attack: a bomb attack that killed Sunni tribal leaders who had allied themselves with the Iraqi government against al-Qaeda. We'll see whether this makes the sheiks afraid to oppose al-Qaeda—or whether this hardens their opposition to the terrorists.

"Militants' Baqubah Fiefdom Is Liberated," Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times, June 26 For more than a year, hundreds of masked gunmen loyal to Al Qaeda cruised this capital of their self-declared state, hauling Shiite Muslims from their homes and leaving bodies in the dusty, trash-strewn streets.

They set up a religious court and prisons, aid stations and food stores. And they imposed their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam on a population that was mostly too poor to flee and too terrified to resist.

US and Iraqi soldiers last week pushed into this city that has been the heart of the Sunni Arab militants' fiefdom, in a campaign to bring three lawless neighborhoods under government control. What they found was a chilling indication of the ability of Sunni Arab insurgents to run a rival state, even as US troops prepared to wipe them out….

US Army Col. Stephen Townsend, who commands the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, based in Ft. Lewis, Wash., said the assault had denied the insurgents a major bastion and helped secure this city of about 300,000 residents.

"There ain't no capital of the Islamic State of Iraq anymore," Townsend told reporters Monday at a base on the city's northern outskirts….

Among the dead was a suspected sniper believed to have killed at least one US soldier. When the Americans visited his house, the man's aging father said he had disowned his son and persuaded two younger sons to quit the movement. The man's young wife said she had pleaded with her husband to do the same.

"I told him he has a family now," she said, trembling slightly as she sat on the kitchen floor, cradling a baby boy and answering the soldiers' questions. "Doing the things he was doing can only end in death, and that is what happened."

The Coming Collapse of The Iranian Economy

Americans are understandably fed up with the "incompetence" of the Bush administration—though I attribute Bush's failures, not to incompetence, but to his mixed premises: his desire to stand up for liberty against the threat of totalitarian Islam, on the one hand, versus his conventional pragmatism and altruism on the other.

But whatever George Bush's failings, we can take comfort in the fact that they are nothing compared to the failings of our chief enemy in the War on Terrorism: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Since coming into office on a promise to spread Iran's oil wealth to the masses, Ahmadinejad has instead nearly collapsed the Iranian economy.

Now one of the world's largest producers of oil has begun to ration gasoline—an extraordinarily unpopular decision that has led to rioting in the very same poor neighborhoods where Ahmadinejad claims to have his base of support. See the story linked to below, and also another report at CNN.

This highlights the glaring weak spot of the Iranian regime and points the way for a very effective strategy to further collapse our enemy's economy by blockading its gasoline imports (a strategy recently recommended in USA Today and also hinted at by presidential hopeful Fred Thompson).

Unfortunately, the Bush administration shows few signs of moving against Iran, and now John Bolton is openly criticizing the administration for clinging to diplomacy in dealing with Iran and evading the need to topple the regime.

Still, it is good to have a reminder of how weak our enemy is. Victor Davis Hanson puts it nicely in a somewhat rambling NRO article that is worthwhile just for this one observation: "Theocratic Iran is not exactly as 'empowered' as is generally alleged, but [is] in the greatest crisis of its miserable existence."

"Iran Fuel Rations Spark Anger, Rioting," Reuters via MSNBC, June 27 Angry Iranian motorists lined up for gasoline for hours on Wednesday after the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter imposed fuel rationing, sparking chaotic scenes and the torching of at least two pump stations.

One Iranian news agency, Fars, said 12 gasoline stations were set ablaze in Tehran after the government’s announcement late on Tuesday, but only two could be independently confirmed.

Some drivers had scuffled while waiting to fill up their tanks before the rationing started at midnight. Others openly criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government, which came to power vowing to share out Iran’s oil wealth more fairly.

“We are swimming in oil and all they do is just put pressure on people,” said taxi driver Hasan Mohammadi.

Despite its huge energy reserves, Iran lacks refining capacity and must import about 40 percent of its gasoline….

One fuel station in Pounak, a poorer area of the capital, was set alight while another in eastern Tehran was partially burnt, two of its pumps destroyed by fire, witnesses said….
“I cannot tolerate more economic pressure,” said teacher Hasan Sanjari. “My monthly salary is $300. I have three sons.”…

But he said Iran had no choice but to curb consumption because of the burden on state coffers. All fuel, whether imported or domestically produced, is sold at heavily subsidized prices, encouraging waste and smuggling.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bush Embraces The Dark Side


Two urgent matters need your help.

First, your phone call or fax to the White House first thing in the morning will help limit the damage from President Bush's new "inclusive" approach to radical Islamists. Bush is addressing the Washington Islamic Center today (Wednesday, June 27) in Washington DC at 11:30 a.m., and possibly starting a major initiative to INCLUDE Islamist groups like CAIR, the Muslim American Society and Muslim Student Association in an even closer relationship with the White House and executive agencies. He will be speaking at the most important, Saudi-funded, extremist, Wahhabist mosque in the country.

It's bad enough that he is helping celebrate the entry of Wahhabi extremism into the USA. But if he must commemorate this mosque, let's tell him what we think needs to be said - today and every day in the future...

Please contact the White House - here are some talking points to put in your own words:

An Open Letter to President George Bush

Rick Vs. The Godfather


Guest Editorial By Edward Cline

What a difference sixty-five years makes – in the culture. When Warner Brothers released Casablanca near the end of 1942, America had been at war for a year. Everyone knew we were at war, and knew also that complete victory over Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan was an absolute necessity. Casablanca echoed that knowledge.

There was no thought of compromise, of negotiating a “peace,” or of “reaching out” to the American Nazi Bund for its help in reaching a trilateral rapprochement with Germany, Japan and Italy. There was not an ounce of angst over collateral casualties among the enemy population. When the U.S recovered from being attacked at Pearl Harbor, it eventually took the war to the enemy, and when it was victorious, and while the enemy’s citizens struggled to survive amid the rubble and ashes of their folly, the U.S proceeded to root out that enemy’s ideology of tyranny and conquest.

The U.S. is at war again. The culture, however, has not produced anything like Casablanca. (An exception is 300, an allegory on the war, which our enemies immediately protested as “insulting.”) It will not, cannot. The dramatization of moral values remains in the hands of Hollywood’s nihilists and subjectivists. What we get instead are insipid comedies, computer animated cartoons, the occasional “war” movie that denigrates our military, and a steady parade of forgettable movies. This is because while the U.S. rooted out the enemy’s ideology over half a century ago, it failed to eradicate the underlying philosophy that drove that ideology.

A philosophy that remains uneradicated, or is left submerged but intact, will resurrect itself, and take unexpected forms of expression. This is true of a rational philosophy as well of an irrational one. With the collapse of the Roman Empire, reason all but vanished from men’s lives as a norm. It began to rise again a thousand years later during the Renaissance. In the ensuing Enlightenment it gradually displaced faith and other forms of irrationality as a philosophical guide for living on earth.

But not entirely. Irrationality in its many forms remained on the periphery of especially 19th century Western culture and its political and intellectual life. It received a boost of energy to re-insinuate itself into men’s thinking and lives and policies because reason had no consistent advocates and defenders. The irrational gained more and more ground in Western culture in the 20th century and has certainly infected the 21st.

It has reached its ultimate absurdity: we are at war with Islamism – a political/theological ideology that seeks to either destroy or conquer the West, its proponents have made that abundantly clear – but the West’s political and moral energies are focused on irrelevancies elevated to global and domestic crises: AIDS, world hunger and poverty, global warming, the absence of universal health care, and so on.

One might think that our political leaders are in denial about the peril of Islamism, or Islamofascism, or Islamic imperialism. But denial is a conscious action – a refusal to acknowledge the reality of a thing. No, they are oblivious or indifferent to the peril. They are obsessed with other fish to fry other than our enemies. They wish to compel men to submit, not to Allah, but to their own brands of collectivism and tyranny.

Our leaders are paragons of compromise, they wring their hands over real, imagined or projected collateral casualties among the enemy’s population, and have no qualms about “reaching out” to organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Fatah to attain some kind of rapprochement with the enemies of the West – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, North Korea, to name but the larger enemies – in the pursuit of the Kantian ideal of “peace” for its own sake. 9/11 has not been forgotten by our leadership; it has been demoted to irrelevancy.

The irrationalism of President George W. Bush – his refusal to acknowledge the existence and nature of our enemies, because altruism has corrupted his grasp of reality – has played no little role in the creation of the absurdity. His political enemies in this country probably feel grateful that he has made a mess of the war; he has given them an excuse to demote it and abandon it.

But his enemies are also corrupted by altruism. It is through altruism that they wish to acquire and impose freedom-destroying power. Lord Acton identified that fact, and the fact will not go away.

What inspired this commentary was the release last week of the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 “greatest” American films, which is apparently compiled every ten years. Casablanca was number 3 on the list, Citizen Kane number 1, and The Godfather number 2. I could not help but note the significance of Casablanca’s ranking, which dropped from second place in 1998 to third this year. According to the Daily Telegraph (London) article on the list of June 22, the list “is determined by a jury of 1,500 filmmakers, critics and movie historians.”

Of course, a vote of hands cannot establish the greatness of anything, least of all the esthetic value of art. Greatness is something that can only be recognized and established by individual minds, not by consensus. But, one can deduce from the rankings of 100 “greatest” American films that some positive esthetic measurement remained in some of the balloters.

I won’t attempt here to second-guess the motives of the AFI balloters. Casablanca could have been appreciated by a large block of voters who valued its story and style. It is not the greatest American film, but it has an integrity to it that is effective and memorable. It is a war film, but the thing most absent in it is the war. The Godfather is virutally unparalleled in depicting the gradual corruption of an otherwise decent man. “It’s not me, Kay,” Michael Corleone tells his fiancé early in the film, when she wonders if many of the men at the wedding party are really gangsters. “It’s my family.”

In the end, however, it was him; he had no argument against the family-tribal loyalty that passed as a moral code among the gangsters and which demanded his action. By the end of Godfather II (number 32 on the AFI list), he has betrayed or destroyed everything that ever mattered to him. In the poignant last scene of the sequel, he sits alone in a lawn chair, a shell of his former self, contemplating the desolation of his life, yet still in denial of the fact that he was in any way responsible for it.

Rick, the night club/casino owner in Casablanca, by the end of the story rediscovers the values he thought he had lost, a blow that had turned him into a pragmatic cynic who tolerated the corruption around him. It is in his power to destroy them – Ilsa, his former romantic interest, and Victor Laszlo, the Czech patriot on the run from the Nazis – but his old character reasserts itself and he acts to preserve them. He gives the couple the transit papers to freedom.

About Casablanca, Ralph J. Gleason wrote in 1973, “those were times where things were so much simpler; the good guys and the bad guys were so much more clearly defined and the struggle itself, the moral imperative for man, so much more easily seen.” (From the Introductory Note in Casablanca: Script and Legend, The Overlook Press, 1973.) That “imperative,” writes Gleason, “is rarer now and in the whole visible world has a kind of institutionalized concrete dimness.”

But, it was not a moral imperative that in the end moved Rick Blaine to action. It was a moral choice.

Americans, betrayed by their political and intellectual leadership over the current war, face the choice of becoming a Rick or a Michael Corleone. They can rediscover what it is to be an American, or they can surrender that identity and blame the world for their misery and just drift towards tragedy and an ignominious end. They can redeem themselves, or resign themselves to a logical and merciless fate.

The choice is: liberty, or the lawn chair.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

IPCC Falsifying Global Warming Data?

Now let's see: we've had the fraudulent "hockey stick" graph, the foundation of the manmade global warming theory, exposed; we've had the admission that almost all of the reputed global warming took place BEFORE 1940; we've had it pointed out that Al Gore wildly overstated the IPCC's prediction of sea rise; we've seen evidence that CO2 emissions rise occurs AFTER, not BEFORE, an increase in global warming and we see scientists by the tens of thousands sign on to the thesis that any global warming that is occurring is a natural event that has happened in cycles many times before.

Now we have some more evidence of fraud committed in the cause of destroying the technologies that doubled man's lfespan and brought him prosperity over the last 100 years or so:

Swedish Scientist Accuses UN's IPCC of Falsifying Data and Destroying Evidence

Posted by Noel Sheppard on June 24, 2007, Newsbusters.org

If you listen to the global warming alarmists working for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or folks like soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore, sea levels across the globe are rising at a rate that will eventually doom us all.

According to Swedish paleogeophysicist Nils-Axel Mörner, who’s been studying and writing about sea levels for four decades, the scientists working for the IPCC have falsified data and destroyed evidence to incorrectly prove their point.

Mörner was recently interviewed by Gregory Murphy of Executive Intelligence Review, and began by making it clear that the sea level claims made by the IPCC are a lot of nonsense (emphasis added throughout, h/t Eduardo Ferreyra):

[W]e can see that the sea level was indeed rising, from, let us say, 1850 to 1930-40. And that rise had a rate in the order of 1 millimeter per year. Not more. 1.1 is the exact figure. And we can check that, because Holland is a subsiding area; it has been subsiding for many millions of years; and Sweden, after the last Ice Age, was uplifted. So if you balance those, there is only one solution, and it will be this figure.

That ended in 1940, and there had been no rise until 1970; and then we can come into the debate here on what is going on, and we have to go to satellite altimetry, and I will return to that. But before doing that: There’s another way of checking it, because if the radius of the Earth increases, because sea level is rising, then immediately the Earth’s rate of rotation would slow down. That is a physical law, right? You have it in figure-skating: when they rotate very fast, the arms are close to the body; and then when they increase the radius, by putting out their arms, they stop by themselves. So you can look at the rotation and the same comes up: Yes, it might be 1.1 mm per year, but absolutely not more.

1.1 mm per year? That means that if this were to continue for 1000 years, sea levels would be 1.1 meters higher. Doesn’t sound very catastrophic, does it?

Mörner then addressed what in his view was a ridiculous error by the IPCC:
Another way of looking at what is going on is the tide gauge. Tide gauging is very complicated, because it gives different answers for wherever you are in the world.

But we have to rely on geology when we interpret it. So, for example, those people in the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], choose Hong Kong, which has six tide gauges, and they choose the record of one, which gives 2.3 mm per year rise of sea level. Every geologist knows that that is a subsiding area. It’s the compaction of sediment; it is the only record which you shouldn’t use. And if that figure is correct, then Holland would not be subsiding, it would be uplifting. And that is just ridiculous. Not even ignorance could be responsible for a thing like that.

But that was just the beginning of Mörner’s problems with the IPCC:

Now, back to satellite altimetry, which shows the water, not just the coasts, but in the whole of the ocean. And you measure it by satellite. From 1992 to 2002, [the graph of the sea level] was a straight line, variability along a straight line, but absolutely no trend whatsoever. We could see those spikes: a very rapid rise, but then in half a year, they fall back again. But absolutely no trend, and to have a sea-level rise, you need a trend.

Then, in 2003, the same data set, which in their [IPCC's] publications, in their website, was a straight line—suddenly it changed, and showed a very strong line of uplift, 2.3 mm per year, the same as from the tide gauge. And that didn't look so nice. It looked as though they had recorded something; but they hadn't recorded anything. It was the original one which they had suddenly twisted up, because they entered a “correction factor,” which they took from the tide gauge. So it was not a measured thing, but a figure introduced from outside. I accused them of this at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow —I said you have introduced factors from outside; it's not a measurement. It looks like it is measured from the satellite, but you don't say what really happened. And they answered, that we had to do it, because otherwise we would not have gotten any trend!

That is terrible! As a matter of fact, it is a falsification of the data set. Why? Because they know the answer. And there you come to the point: They “know” the answer; the rest of us, we are searching for the answer. Because we are field geologists; they are computer scientists. So all this talk that sea level is rising, this stems from the computer modeling, not from observations. The observations don't find it!

Pretty extraordinary, wouldn’t you agree? A "correction factor." Honestly, the way these folks manipulate data is nothing less than astounding.

Yet, Mörner wasn’t finished, as he later detailed an incident when IPCC scientists actually destroyed evidence which refuted their rising sea level claims:

This tree, which I showed in the documentary, is interesting. This is a prison island, and when people left the island, from the '50s, it was a marker for them, when they saw this tree alone out there, they said, “Ah, freedom!” They were allowed back. And there have been writings and talks about this. I knew that this tree was in that terrible position already in the 1950s. So the slightest rise, and it would have been gone. I used it in my writings and for television. You know what happened? There came an Australian sea-level team, which was for the IPCC and against me. Then the students pulled down the tree by hand! They destroyed the evidence. What kind of people are those? And we came to launch this film, “Doomsday Called Off,” right after, and the tree was still green. And I heard from the locals that they had seen the people who had pulled it down. So I put it up again, by hand, and made my TV program. I haven't told anybody else, but this was the story.

They call themselves scientists, and they're destroying evidence! A scientist should always be open for reinterpretation, but you can never destroy evidence. And they were being watched, thinking they were clever.

Think Katie, Charlie, or Brian will be interviewing Mörner any time soon?

No, I don’t either.

Deja Vu at the Beeb

The BBC has just conducted another study reaching a conclusion that its reporters are biased, displaying anti-Americanism, partiality towards Islam, and advocating on other pet issues. ("BBC report finds bias within corporation ")

Yes, we've been here before. Previous slanderous statements against Tony Blair's government about "sexing up" intelligence to justify the decision to go to war in Iraq were thoroughly demolished by two independent inquires in the UK, first by Lord Hutton, ("Davies threatens to sue Campbell for libel"), and then by Lord Butler. ("Biters Bit").

The Lord Hutton report led to the resignation in disgrace of the chairman of the BBC. The Butler report settled once and for all that the infamous sixteen words about Iraq's effort to buy uranium from Africa were "well-founded," and not lies at all. "In the resulting furor, Gavyn Davies, the chairman of the BBC, and Greg Dyke, the BBC director general, along with the journalist responsible for the report, Andrew Gilligan, resigned."

The latest report finds that "The BBC has failed to promote proper debate on major political issues because of the inherent liberal culture of its staff."

The report further states, “There is a tendency to 'group think’ with too many staff inhabiting a shared space and comfort zone.

A staff impartiality seminar held last year is also documented in the report, at which executives admitted they would broadcast images of the Bible being thrown away but not the Koran, in case Muslims were offended. "

In September 2005 Tony Blair attacked the BBC over its coverage of Hurricane Katrina, which he characterized as "'full of hatred of America' and 'gloating' at the country's plight." ("Blair attacks BBC for 'anti-US bias'"). Even Bill Clinton agreed, attacking the tone of the BBC's coverage of Katrina at a media seminar he was hosting, "He said it had been 'stacked up' to criticise the federal government's slow response."

(Which is nothing, really, to what the American press has done with Katrina, that is to turn it into a myth of racial genocide only slightly worse than Stalin's forced starvation of the Ukraine).

Yet it is the right that is forever being accused of being out of touch with reality, and it was George Bush whom Newseek portrayed on its cover inside a bubble, and called "the most isolated president in modern history." ("Newsweek’s Bush-In-The-Bubble Cover").

As we have been told for six years now, the President listens to no one (except in his worst moments, according to the more bilious and hysterical commentators, to Jesus), and consequently never hears a word that doesn't conform to his own hidebound policies. On the other hand, we have also been told for six years that a large minority of the President's closest advisers, generals, intelligence chiefs, and foreign policy experts, (a minority that somehow is always "growing"), are soundly contradicting him all day long on every point of policy, but to no avail.

There's a minor historico-critical controversy over whether or not the famous New Yorker movie critic Pauline Kael ever actually said, of the 1972 landslide victory of Richard Nixon, that she was amazed by it, as she didn't know anyone who voted for Nixon. The revisionist version of this remark is that she didn't express amazement at Dick Nixon's election, but merely abstained from commenting on him, replying "I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don't know. They're outside my ken. But sometimes when I'm in a theater I can feel them."

I don't see how this version makes her look any better, as the latter comment is a frank admission that she lacked a single personal acquaintance amongst any of the 60% plus of the American electorate who voted for Nixon over George McGovern, (including New York state)--except she felt some kind of bad-vibe shudder when forced to occupy the same movie theater with one. This was the whole point of the jibe: liberals simply don't come outside their cliques to show any interest in the townies or the kitchen help--the great unwashed who are simply outside the ken of the progressives and the know-it-alls.

I really don't think even Bush's most vicious attackers could ever put words in his mouth to the effect that "I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who wants us to withdraw from Iraq, who frets over the US's popularity level abroad, or who thinks my tax cuts are a bad idea. I can just feel them out there."

Nor do the rest of us enjoy the protection of bubbles, as we are absolutely forced to confront, day in and day out, people who disagree, disrespect, and seem vowed to destroy everything that we hold valuable and worth saving.

But I digress. It is the liberal press, of which the BBC, CNN, and the New York Times, are only the most notorious examples, that once again find themselves on the hot seat for showing bias, sympathy for our enemies, and for letting themselves out cheap as spokesmen for our worst enemies. (E.g., Eason Jordan's refusal to report bad news from Saddam's Iraq, the New York Times and the Washington Post providing platforms for Hamas to justify their bloody coup in Gaza, and now the BBC, for the second time since 9/11, being caught out "sexing up" its news coverage of the war on terror to fit in with the personal biases of "too many staff inhabiting a shared space and comfort zone.")

It is a tried and true tactic of the Left to always accuse opponents of the very faults and failing with which the Left themselves are most beset, from bigotry to intolerance, and not least with refusal to consider other points of view. Clearly they're the the ones in a bubble.

So anybody got a pin?

Council of Ex-Muslims Launches Manifesto

Maryam Namazie may be a communist, but she is also one of the most effective activists for women’s rights under Islam in the world. An escapee from the repression of Iran, she now lives in Great Britain. The following statement by her explains the driving force behind her activism:

The situation of women living in Islam-stricken societies and under Islamic laws is the outrage of the 21st century. Burqa-clad and veiled women and girls, beheadings, stoning to death, floggings, child sexual abuse in the name of marriage and sexual apartheid are only the most brutal and visible aspects of women's rightlessness and third class citizen status in the Middle East.”

- Maryam Namazie

I received this e-mail from Maryam this morning that I wish to pass on:

“Launch of the Council of ex-Muslims of Britain

A British branch of a new Europe-wide phenomenon is to be launched on Thursday 21 June in London. The Council of ex-Muslims of Britain is building on the stunning success of other branches already operating in Germany, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The British Humanist Association and National Secular Society are sponsoring the launch and support the new organisation.

The Council will provide a voice for those labelled Muslim but who have renounced religion and do not want to be identified by religion.

“Manifesto of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

We, non-believers, atheists, and ex-Muslims, are establishing or joining the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain to insist that no one be pigeonholed as Muslims with culturally relative rights nor deemed to be represented by regressive Islamic organisations and 'Muslim community leaders'.

Those of us who have come forward with our names and photographs represent countless others who are unable or unwilling to do so because of the threats faced by those considered 'apostates' - punishable by death in countries under Islamic law.

By doing so, we are breaking the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam but also taking a stand for reason, universal rights and values, and secularism.

Whilst religion or the lack thereof is a private affair, the increasing
intervention of and devastation caused by religion and particularly Islam in contemporary society has necessitated our public renunciation and declaration. We represent a majority in Europe and a vast secular and humanist protest movement in countries like Iran.

Taking the lead from the Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany, we demand:

1. Universal rights and equal citizenship for all. We are opposed to
cultural relativism and the tolerance of inhuman beliefs, discrimination and abuse in the name of respecting religion or culture.

2. Freedom to criticise religion. Prohibition of restrictions on
unconditional freedom of criticism and expression using so-called religious 'sanctities'.

3. Freedom of religion and atheism.

4. Separation of religion from the state and legal and educational system.

5. Prohibition of religious customs, rules, ceremonies or activities that are incompatible with or infringe people's rights and freedoms.

6. Abolition of all restrictive and repressive cultural and religious
customs which hinder and contradict woman's independence, free will and equality. Prohibition of segregation of sexes.

7. Prohibition of interference by any authority, family members or
relatives, or official authorities in the private lives of women and men and their personal, emotional and sexual relationships and sexuality.

8. Protection of children from manipulation and abuse by religion and
religious institutions.

9. Prohibition of any kind of financial, material or moral support by the state or state institutions to religion and religious activities and institutions.

10. Prohibition of all forms of religious intimidation and threats.”"

Maryam Namazie
BM Box 1919
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731

Frank Amodeo and Mirabilis: "Stratis Owned by Amodeo"


Mdi, Inc. possible “incriminating” remarks today appear to confirm Citron Research concerns back in May that STratis Authority is owned by Frank Amodeo:

Citron’s concerns in May 2007 about Frank Amodeo ties to Stratis Authority:

Note that this is the first time that I could find this “business description” on LearnSafe admitting about PEO’s. I could not even find this description on their website.

Do not forget that Stratis is the largest shareholder of Mdi, Inc.

Press Release today:

LearnSafe offers a unique funding model, where school districts essentially get the security systems for free, in exchange for outsourcing certain payroll, insurance and benefit duties to a professional employer organization, or PEO. The profit the PEO makes in handling those duties for the school districts allows LearnSafe to provide the security systems and other security services.

The Complete Article

Day By Day Today


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When Will War Be Declared On Iran?

The same thing said since...when?...1979..off and on.

Wake me up when we finally nuke them....

ILL WINDS

Winds of War
Iran is making a mistake that may lead the Middle East into a broader conflict.

BY JOSHUA MURAVCHIK
Monday, June 25, 2007

Several conflicts of various intensities are raging in the Middle East. But a bigger war, involving more states--Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and perhaps the United States and others--is growing more likely every day, beckoned by the sense that America and Israel are in retreat and that radical Islam is ascending.

Consider the pell-mell events of recent weeks. Iran imprisons four Americans on absurd charges only weeks after seizing 15 British sailors on the high seas. Iran's Revolutionary Guard is caught delivering weapons to the Taliban and explosives to Iraqi terrorists. A car bomb in Lebanon is used to assassinate parliament member Walid Eido, killing nine others and wounding 11 more.

At the same time, Fatah al-Islam, a shady group linked to Syria, launches an attack on the Lebanese army from within a Palestinian refugee area, beheading several soldiers. Tehran trumpets further progress on nuclear enrichment as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeats his call for annihilating Israel, crowing that "the countdown to the destruction of this regime has begun." Hamas seizes control militarily in Gaza. Katyusha rockets are launched from Lebanon into northern Israel for the first time since the end of last summer's Israel-Hezbollah war.

Two important inferences can be distilled from this list. One is that the Tehran regime takes its slogan, "death to America," quite seriously, even if we do not. It is arming the Taliban, with which it was at sword's point when the Taliban were in power. It seems to be supplying explosives not only to Shiite, but also Sunni terrorists in Iraq. It reportedly is sheltering high-level al Qaeda figures despite the Sunni-Shiite divide. All of these surprising actions are for the sake of bleeding the U.S. However hateful this behavior may be to us, it has a certain strategic logic: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

What is even more worrisome about the events enumerated above is that most of them are devoid of any such strategic logic. For example, the Hamas "putsch" in Gaza--as Marwan Barghouti, the hero of the Palestinian intifada, labeled it from his prison cell--was an enormous blunder.

Hamas already mostly controlled Gaza. It is hard to imagine what gains it can reap from its "victory." But it is easy to see the losses. Fatah, and the government of its leader Mahmoud Abbas, will be able to restore their strength in the West Bank with the eager assistance of virtually the whole outside world, while Gaza will be shut off and denied outside aid far more strictly than during the past year. Israel will retaliate against shelling with a freer hand. Egypt will tighten its border. And Hamas has in one swoop negated its own supreme achievement, namely winning a majority in Palestine's 2006 parliamentary elections. Until now, Hamas had a powerful argument: how can the West demand democracy and then boycott the winners? But now it is Hamas itself that has destroyed Palestinian democracy by staging an armed coup. Its democratic credentials have gone up in the smoke of its own arson.

Syria's actions in Lebanon scarcely make more sense. The murder of parliamentarian Eido will solidify and energize the majority that opposes Syria. Some suppose that, having now bumped off two Lebanese MPs (Pierre Gemayel was the other one), Syria plans to shave away the anti-Syrian majority in Lebanon's parliament by committing another five murders. But if so, this is a crazy gambit. Such a campaign would invite international intervention. It might well fracture the pro-Syrian forces: More Shiites will abandon Hezbollah and more Maronites will turn against Hezbollah's cat's-paw, Michel Aoun. And the murders might be for naught anyway: By-elections are already being planned that are likely to replace the martyred legislators with others of the same mind. As for the attack on the Lebanese army, Fatah al-Islam is on the brink of being crushed, leaving behind only more hatred of Syria and a better-armed, more confident Lebanese army.

As for Iran's actions, while arming the Taliban and Iraqi terrorists may make sense, what is the point of seizing British sailors or locking up the four Iranian-Americans, including the beloved 67-year-old scholar, Haleh Esfandieri, none of whom are involved even in political activity, much less in the exercise of hard power?

The apparent meaning of all of this pointless provocation and bullying is that the axis of radicals--Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah--is feeling its oats. In part its aim is to intimidate the rest of us, in part it is merely enjoying flexing its muscles. It believes that its side has defeated America in Iraq, and Israel in Gaza and Lebanon. Mr. Ahmadinejad recently claimed that the West has already begun to "surrender," and he gloated that " final victory . . . is near." It is this bravado that bodes war.

A large portion of modern wars erupted because aggressive tyrannies believed that their democratic opponents were soft and weak. Often democracies have fed such beliefs by their own flaccid behavior. Hitler's contempt for America, stoked by the policy of appeasement, is a familiar story. But there are many others. North Korea invaded South Korea after Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared that Korea lay beyond our "defense perimeter." Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait after our ambassador assured him that America does not intervene in quarrels among Arabs. Imperial Germany launched World War I, encouraged by Great Britain's open reluctance to get involved. Nasser brought on the 1967 Six Day War, thinking that he could extort some concessions from Israel by rattling his sword.

Democracies, it is now well established, do not go to war with each other. But they often get into wars with non-democracies. Overwhelmingly the non-democracy starts the war; nonetheless, in the vast majority of cases, it is the democratic side that wins. In other words, dictators consistently underestimate the strength of democracies, and democracies provoke war through their love of peace, which the dictators mistake for weakness.

Today, this same dynamic is creating a moment of great danger. The radicals are becoming reckless, asserting themselves for little reason beyond the conviction that they can. They are very likely to overreach. It is not hard to imagine scenarios in which a single match--say a terrible terror attack from Gaza--could ignite a chain reaction. Israel could handle Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria, albeit with painful losses all around, but if Iran intervened rather than see its regional assets eliminated, could the U.S. stay out?

With the Bush administration's policies having failed to pacify Iraq, it is natural that the public has lost patience and that the opposition party is hurling brickbats. But the demands of congressional Democrats that we throw in the towel in Iraq, their attempts to constrain the president's freedom to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons program, the proposal of the Baker-Hamilton commission that we appeal to Iran to help extricate us from Iraq--all of these may be read by the radicals as signs of our imminent collapse. In the name of peace, they are hastening the advent of the next war.

Mr. Muravchik is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Complete Article

Leftists Attack Critics of Global Warming

The global warming juggernaut has just begun to start moving, and the ground is being cleared for it by a smear campaign against global warming "deniers." But those "deniers" are proving hard to get rid of. In fact, as the global warming hysteria builds, more and more such "deniers" are beginning to raise their voices.

In today's Times of London, a prominent oil executive points out the sheer mathematical and scientific absurdity of the claim that "renewable energy" will be able to replace oil and coal without requiring a massive sacrifice of human prosperity, especially in the emerging industrial economies of what used to be the Third World.

Ronbo directed my attention to an interesting article about a Swedish scientist who is a distinguished expert on measurement of sea levels—who denounces as a "falsification of the data" the claim that global warming will cause rising sea levels.

Below, I link to yet another article by a scientist claiming that the data actually shows—unsurpisingly—that global temperatures are determined by the intensity of radiation coming in from the sun. Note that this article also has a list with links to a long series in Canada's Financial Post showcasing the views of scientific opponents of the global warming hysteria.

All of this leads a commentator in the Washington Post to wonder whether the global warming scare campaign has over-reached and will be "brought low" by the failure of reality to live up to its over-hyped predictions. If we do win the global warming battle, I expect that this is how we will win it. Just as Communism collapsed when it lost all pretense to economic credibility, so environmentalism will collapse when it loses its pretense to scientific credibility.

"Read the Sunspots," R. Timothy Patterson, Financial Post, June 20 Politicians and environmentalists these days convey the impression that climate-change research is an exceptionally dull field with little left to discover. We are assured by everyone from David Suzuki to Al Gore to Prime Minister Stephen Harper that "the science is settled."…

The fact that science is many years away from properly understanding global climate doesn't seem to bother our leaders at all. Inviting testimony only from those who don't question political orthodoxy on the issue, parliamentarians are charging ahead with the impossible and expensive goal of "stopping global climate change."…

Climate-change research is now literally exploding with new findings. Since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the field has had more research than in all previous years combined and the discoveries are completely shattering the myths. For example, I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of all energy on the planet….

My research team began to collect and analyze core samples from the bottom of deep Western Canadian fjords….

Using various coring technologies, we have been able to collect more than 5,000 years' worth of mud in these basins, with the oldest layers coming from a depth of about 11 metres below the fjord floor. Clearly visible in our mud cores are annual changes that record the different seasons: corresponding to the cool, rainy winter seasons, we see dark layers composed mostly of dirt washed into the fjord from the land; in the warm summer months we see abundant fossilized fish scales and diatoms (the most common form of phytoplankton, or single-celled ocean plants) that have fallen to the fjord floor from nutrient-rich surface waters. In years when warm summers dominated climate in the region, we clearly see far thicker layers of diatoms and fish scales than we do in cooler years. Ours is one of the highest-quality climate records available anywhere today….

Using computers to conduct what is referred to as a "time series analysis" on the colouration and thickness of the annual layers, we have discovered repeated cycles in marine productivity in this, a region larger than Europe. Specifically, we find a very strong and consistent 11-year cycle throughout the whole record in the sediments and diatom remains. This correlates closely to the well-known 11-year "Schwabe" sunspot cycle, during which the output of the sun varies by about 0.1%. Sunspots, violent storms on the surface of the sun, have the effect of increasing solar output, so, by counting the spots visible on the surface of our star, we have an indirect measure of its varying brightness. Such records have been kept for many centuries and match very well with the changes in marine productivity we are observing.

In the sediment, diatom and fish-scale records, we also see longer period cycles, all correlating closely with other well-known regular solar variations. In particular, we see marine productivity cycles that match well with the sun's 75-90-year "Gleissberg Cycle," the 200-500-year "Suess Cycle" and the 1,100-1,500-year "Bond Cycle."

Our finding of a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called "proxies") is not unique. Hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia's Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: The sun appears to drive climate change….

Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada.