Thursday, November 30, 2006

Let’s Not Negotiate With Iran

Andrew C. McCarthy writing at National Review Online nails a problem with the United States approach to the war on terrorism. This is religious war and the west will be much more successful when this fact is openly acknowledged.

Can We Talk?: Islamic countries, moreover, are not rejecting Western democracy because they haven’t experienced it. They reject it on principle. For them, the president’s euphonious rhetoric about democratic empowerment is offensive. They believe, sincerely, that authority to rule comes not from the people but from Allah; that there is no separation of religion and politics; that free people do not have authority to legislate contrary to Islamic law; that Muslims are superior to non-Muslims, and men to women; and that violent jihad is a duty whenever Muslims deem themselves under attack … no matter how speciously.

These people are not morons. They adhere to a highly developed belief system that is centuries old, wildly successful, and for which many are willing to die. They haven’t refused to democratize because the Federalist Papers are not yet out in Arabic. They decline because their leaders have freely chosen to decline. They see us as the mortal enemy of the life they believe Allah commands. Their demurral is wrong, but it is principled, not ignorant. And we insult them by suggesting otherwise. …

For our own sake, we need to respect the enemy. That means grasping that he’s implacable, that he means us only harm, and that he must be subdued, not appeased. Negotiating with such evil is always a mistake, for any accommodation with evil is, by definition, evil.

It is a waste of effort to try and negotiate with Iran and Syria. There is no common ground with these direct adversaries. This is not to say the effort undertaken in Afghanistan and Iraq is the wrong course as many clearly believe.

The Recess Supervisor: So Bush can keep trying to play house in Iraq, setting them up with puppet governments that have no credible authority without a level of military support than most Americans don't care to give them. We're not going to conquer the Arab world, we're not going to democratize it in a generation, and we're not going to increase our security by being the handmaidens of terrorist nations.

To claim that ancient cultures can not change dramatically in a generation is deny the reality of Japan and Korea and China and even the United States. Islam is extremely susceptible to logical criticism. Knowledge of the wider world is a force working on the minds of the cultural believers in Islamic societies, and if the youth and if the women come to believe there is a better way to live, then there is potential for reformation within the faith. Breaking the grip of tyranny and allowing the possibility for internal transformation was and still is the hope for the region.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Newt Hits A Nerve

Captain Ed is usually the epitome of sane rationalism, but in this instance he falls victim to the leftist predisposition of jumping to emotional conclusions based on emotionally written press reports. In our current age of faux journalism it is wise to remember: fact checking before fact reacting.

Gingrich: First Amendment Is Dispensable: However, if Gingrich believes that we can win the war by silencing American citizens, then he is fighting the wrong war on behalf of the wrong principles. All he is doing is replacing one bogeyman (political corruption) for another (terrorism); in essence, he's no different from McCain.

Newt Gingrich gives a speech at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications in New Hampshire and directly addresses the fact that the war with Islamic Jihad has a propaganda component we must take seriously. A newspaper story interprets his remarks as an attack on First Amendment free speech and a great howl of predictable revulsion spews forth. Even Real Clear Politics feels shivers down the spine.

The Limits of Free Speech: The newspaper article didn't give much context to Gingrich's remarks, but I suppose you can conjure up scenarios where the public good would be served by abridging some free speech rights in certain instances. Still, the libertarian in me recoils at talk of "re-examining" the boundaries of freedom of speech.

Manipulation of emotion is the raison d'être of the mass media. If the defenders of liberty want to win the battle of public opinion they first need to understand the rules of the game, and then be willing to seriously compete against the combined forces of socialism and Islamic theocracy.

What did Newt really say? When the British this summer arrested people who were planning to blow up ten airliners in one day, they arrested a couple who were going to use their six month old baby in order to hide the bomb as baby milk.

Now, if I come to you tonight and said that there are people on the planet who hate you, and they are 15-25 year old males who are willing to die as long as they get to kill you, I’ve simply described the warrior culture which is ... true for 6 or 7 thousand years. But, if I come to you and say that there is a couple that hates you so much that they will kill their six month old baby in order to kill you, I am describing a level of ferocity, and a level of savagery beyond anything we have tried to handle. …

This is a serious long term war, and it will enviably lead us to want to know what is said in every suspect place in the country, that will lead us to learn how to close down every website that is dangerous, and it will lead us to a very severe approach to people who advocate the killing of Americans and advocate the use of nuclear of biological weapons.

And, my prediction to you is that ether before we lose a city, or if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us.

This is a serious problem that will lead to a serious debate about the first amendment, but I think that the national security threat of losing an American city to a nuclear weapon, or losing several million Americans to a biological attack is so real that we need to proactively, now, develop the appropriate rules of engagement.

Newt is correct. The challenge before us is not ending free speech, but rather “to break up their capacity to use free speech” against us. How to achieve this goal is a debate that adults need to pursue with logic and not histrionics.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Failed Plans in Portland

Judging by the number of tributes to Portland, Oregon on the City of Madison website, it appears Mayor Dave Cieslewicz simply adores their municipal planners and lusts after implementing those left coast ideas here in the Midwest. Whether the idea is streetcars or urban rail or biking or green energy, if Portland does it, then Madison should too. This much love tends to blind the infatuated to the flaws of the desired so it is worth keeping an eye on what the locals have to say about themselves.

Commuter Conundrum: Metro, the regional government charged with managing growth in most of the tricounty area, is trying to make commutes such as Durgan’s less necessary. Its 2040 Concept calls for new development to occur in clusters that include housing and employment. The plan relies on a simple but radical new way of thinking about congestion: Instead of building or widening roads to reduce bottlenecks, why not also bring destinations closer together?

Fighting a losing battle. The Metro approach is based in part on a 1991 state regulation called the Transportation Planning Rule, according to Sy Adler, a Portland State University urban studies professor. That rule requires urban areas to reduce the number of miles traveled by the average resident by 20 percent over time. “Metro has embraced the rule with both arms,” Adler said.

While he likes the idea of compact urban areas, Burton said the notion of living near where you work has limits. “It’s a little too simplistic to think that’s going to solve things,” he said. “I think these ideas were built on the concept of what a city was in the ’60s, ’50s and ’40s.” Today, he added, “People change jobs, what, seven times in their lives?”

Indeed, data from WorkSource Oregon, the official name of the state employment department, show that despite the agency’s efforts to curb sprawl, people like Loftus may remain in the minority. “People decide where they want to live based on their values, where their friends live, where they go to church. Then they figure out how to get to work,” Durgan said.

Indeed, the New Urbanist ideal of loud and crowded living guiding the City of Madison Comprehensive Plan is simply not being embraced by the free citizens of Oregon.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Global Warming Court Date

Reading this the thought crossed my mind that the people who truly want power to rule the lives of others are simply relentless. Individuals who desire power work at it constantly, while people who simply want to be left alone to live their lives react only when necessary.

Supreme Court To Hear Global Warming Case November 29: The burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, into the air. The build up of these gases traps heat in the atmosphere and, as a result, is increasing the Earth’s surface air temperature and altering weather patterns worldwide. If greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, the magnitude of the impacts of climate change to our citizen’s health and welfare, our beaches and other precious coastal resources, our forests and wildlife, our agricultural activities, and our state and local economies will become greater and more dire. The longer we wait to act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the worse the problem will become and the harder it will be to mitigate.

That is the horror story. I don't believe any of it. The case is Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, 05-1120. As I noted last July, this is an overt attempt by the Attorney General of Massachusetts, eleven other states and multiple environmentalist groups to use the Environmental Protection Agency to grab regulatory control of the economy. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) said at the time: “Unfortunately, those who have failed to impose their draconian ideology through legislation are now trying to use the courts to overturn the will of Congress.” That sounds correct to me.

The Sierra Club, Greenpeace and the Environmental Defense Fund are major non-profit organizations supporting this move by elected Democrats. The goal is to define carbon dioxide as a pollutant, thus opening the door to government regulation of any source bureaucrats define as excessive. Well if the air is polluted with CO2, then it is also polluted with oxygen and water vapor. Always read Wikipedia with skepticism but it has more background on the case.

Treehugger: But lets not get too carried away; even if Massachusetts wins, the EPA will not start to regulate CO2 emissions from cars immediately: "Agency scientists would merely have to determine formally whether greenhouse gases are likely to endanger public health. If they decide this is the case, the agency may begin hammering out regulations. But all this would take years to unfold."

Human caused catastrophic global warming is a false myth being sold to the public in order to achieve political power over the land and resources of the planet. Life on Earth is not in danger from the internal combustion engine and the modern industrial society. I hope there is enough wisdom on the Supreme Court to tell the difference between what is truly natural and what are manipulations of skillful and relentless propagandists.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Extinction News Update

Consider this headline from an environmentalist website: "Worst mass extinction shifted entire ecology of the world's oceans." Well duh, ya think?

Mongabay: The study, published in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science, found that "ecologically simple marine communities were largely displaced by complex communities", a shift that continues has continue since. "It reflects the current dominance of higher-metabolism, mobile organisms (such as snails, clams and crabs) that actually go out and find their own food and the decreased diversity of older groups of low-metabolism, stationary organisms (such as lamp shells and sea lilies) that filter nutrients from the water," according to a news release from the Field Museum, an institution involved in the research.

The story is about how analysis of the Paleobiology Database demonstrates more ecologically complex communities forming after the Permian-Triassic extinction event kills off most forms of life on earth 251 million years ago. This appears to be good work on actual fossil data. Of course, with research dollars flowing to politically correct academics, it is no surprise the environmentalist movement desperately want to find a way to show the near annihilation of life on earth was do to global warming.

Global warming: A dramatic rise in carbon dioxide 250 million years ago may have caused global temperatures to soar and result in Earth's greatest mass extinction, according to a study published in the September issue of Geology. … The modeling presented unique challenges because of limited data and significant geographic differences between the Permian and present-day Earth. The researchers had to estimate such variables as the chemical composition of the atmosphere, the amount of sunlight reflected by Earth's surface back into the atmosphere, and the movement of heat and salinity in the oceans at a time when all the continents were consolidated into the giant land mass known as Pangaea.

Just to compare and contrast, if you study real world data you find life became much more complex after an unprecedented global tragedy. If you assume values for all the data you don’t know, you can program a computer to show CO2 was responsible for the kill off that allowed higher life to emerge on the planet. Since I am not a fan a fictional data analysis, I am more inclined to believe what actual evidence indicates.

Largest Ever Killer Crater: Planetary scientists have found evidence of a meteor impact much larger and earlier than the one that killed the dinosaurs -- an impact that they believe caused the biggest mass extinction in Earth's history. The 300-mile-wide crater lies hidden more than a mile beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. And the gravity measurements that reveal its existence suggest that it could date back about 250 million years -- the time of the Permian-Triassic extinction, when almost all animal life on Earth died out.

I guess I’m just inclined to believe damage from a high speed projectile is probably a more likely explanation than a series of warm summer days.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Evolutions Playground

The press release for a study being published in the journal Nature essentially says the genetic instructions for making a human being are a jumbled mess that research is just beginning to unravel. The Human Genome Project has a brief overview of what we've learned so far. The surprising finding of this most recent analysis of human DNA how much of the total composition consists of copies.

Genetic variation: Genes usually occur in two copies, one inherited from each parent. Scherer and colleagues found approximately 2,900 genes--more than 10 percent of the genes in the human genome--with variations in the number of copies of specific DNA segments. These differences in copy number can influence gene activity and ultimately an organism's function.

Copy Number Variations Imagine DNA as a book that is being photocopied; the desired outcome is an exact duplicate of the book with all pages arranged in the correct order. If an individual page is accidentally copied two or three or 10 times, there is no change to the text itself, but there is a change in the number of copies of that page. Alternatively, a page might not get copied at all, or a page might be copied once but then get inserted into the wrong chapter. These same mistakes happen in DNA replication as well, with whole segments of DNA being copied a wrong number of times or being copied once but inserted into the wrong location.

Scientists are still theorizing why there is so much redundancy in the informational portions of the chromosomes. It may provide the ability to ramp up production of the product encoded or it may be the reservoir of information available for experimentation with mutation.

The More the Merrier: When genes duplicate, the selective pressure to keep them from mutating may no longer be present. Over time, copies may be rendered nonfunctional, or they may take on a new function. "There are going to be cases where additional copies themselves might have a phenotypic effect, and therefore might confer a selective advantage or disadvantage,"

I personally like the idea that nature has a way to play around without killing off the organism. What is being discovered may be the areas where evolution can work slowing over millions of years on organisms expected to be functional for only a few thousand days.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Coup d'État in Venezuela?

Venezuela is, for the moment, still a democracy and while it is widely believed socialist strong man Hugo Chavez will be reelected in voting December 3rd, the opposition is united behind consensus candidate Manuel Rosales who has a realistic chance at victory.

AcademicElephant: The presidential election in Venezuela is just a fortnight away. As I have mentioned before, this contest originally wasn't about whether or not sitting "president" Hugo Chavez would win. The question was by how much, and six months ago Mr. Chavez projected 10 million votes, at which point he proposed abolishing the obviously useless democratic system of Venezuela and declaring himself dictator for life. Times have changed.

It seems Mr. Chavez is still widely popular, but not universally popular among voters as the consequences of seven and a half years under his administration manifest themselves in society.

Venezuela Presidential Race Tightens: "When 50% of the people think that you are doing a bad job and almost 50% of the people say that the country is moving in the wrong direction, that is a real cause for alarm for any incumbent. Simply put, many Venezuelans are clearly unhappy with how things are going under Hugo Chavez."

Aware of the opposition, the socialists are preparing for the possibility of defeat by establishing the story that an election shortfall will be the result of U.S. interference.

Coup d'État in Venezuela: Made in the USA: Basically, it comes in three parts. First, they need to build up popular support for the opposition candidate, Manuel Rosales, by designing an attractive campaign. … The second step has been to use the mass media to create the perception that the elections are fraudulent. … Finally, they must get enough people out into the streets in order to create a situation in which a transition of power could take place.

The Latin America left sees through the manipulations of the Bush Presidency. Imperial America arranged the election of Ukraine President Victor Yushchenko in 2004, Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia in 2003 and the electoral defeat of Slobodan Milosovic in 1999, (wait – that last one was during the Clinton Presidency). Still, the point remains the United States attempts to advance its interests by backing candidates with modern campaign techniques to gain voter support in a country. The horror that is Coup d'État by free election.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Another Daylight Murder

The broad daylight street murder of Lebanese Christian politician Pierre Gemayel is a reminder to our new Democratic congress that the little humanitarian ceasefire in Lebanon last summer only prolongs the regional suffering. Flush with excitement in the hours after the mid-term victories, Nancy Pelosi declares Iraq is a problem to solve, thus demonstrating she has no understanding of the correct problem. The problem is the religion of Islam reacting badly as globalization unites the knowledge of world.

Theodore Dalrymple: Personally, I believe that all forms of Islam are very vulnerable in the modern world to rational criticism, which is why the Islamists are so ferocious in trying to suppress such criticism. They have instinctively understood that Islam itself, while strong, is exceedingly brittle, as communism once was. They understand that, at the present time in human history, it is all or nothing.

Rick Moran is covering the deteriorating situation in Lebanon in a number of posts, but takes time today to remind everyone this is only one front in the broader arc of conflict across the Muslim world. By the way, as bad the Main Stream Media are painting the position of the free world, the lands of tyranny have their problems too.

Rick Moran: Not so fast, my dejected countrymen. In a surprising number of conflicts and crisis where it appears the enemy has a singular advantage, the fact is that any “victory” they might achieve at our expense will almost certainly come with enormous problems for them as well. And given that their legitimacy is not based on popular sovereignty but rather comes from the barrel of a gun, this makes any domestic problems that may crop up as a result of an American “defeat” a threat to their very existence.

Writing for the Brussels Journal, Norwegian blogger Fjordman reviews multiple lines of thought saying all is not lost. Indeed, the creative appropriation of western technology by Jihadists is better understood as evidence of the weakness in the societies obeying the Prophet and the avenue by which the populations are learning exactly their place on the planet.

Why the Future May Not Belong to Islam: Islamic countries are parasitical. Even the massive population growth is only an advantage as long as Muslims are allowed to export it to infidel lands. Deprived of this opportunity, and of Western aid, the Islamic world would quickly sink into a quagmire of overpopulation. This is a long-term solution, to demonstrate to Muslims the failure of Islam.

Democrats are good at understanding quid pro quo but it remains to be seen how well they understand yin and yang. No matter what steps the United States chooses these next couple years, the millions of oppressed and obedient individuals trapped within Islam are going to react back and the world will judge by the results of the actions, not the good intention of the plan.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Beware the DNR Wish List

On one hand there is merit to the use of government to preserve undeveloped land for public use, clean up damaged areas, and regulate the dispersal of waste products. This is a long way, however, from ceding total control of the environment to a ruling class. American settlers fled Europe in part to be free from the restrictive obligations nobility exercised upon all resources of the realm. Yet now, with ever increasing speed the descendents of pioneers are rushing to reestablish themselves as tenants on the Kings land.

Democratic Senate could make life easier for DNR: When the Legislature reconvenes in January, the Senate Natural Resources Committee will be controlled by Democrats. That means the committee can do away with any initiatives from its counterpart committee in the GOP-controlled Assembly. … On the DNR's plate this session is a $215,000 proposal to station wardens at boat landings to encourage people to clean their boats to slow the spread of aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels and a plan to offer farmers a financial incentive to grow sawgrass that can be used as a biofuel.

Personally, the idea of authorities hovering around to “encourage” politically correct behavior is not comforting. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin believes in land use planning with all their hearts and their environmentalist membership believes the needs of nature are at least equal to the needs of people. The DNR already has the right of unrestrained trespass on private land and they will be pressing for increasing control of the composition and use of private holdings. So while it is melodramatic, it is still correct to say a major civil rights issue of our time is the right of individuals to resist being pushed back in the direction of serfdom.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nursery Rhyme Police

I must agree with our fine Canadian neighbor Lisa: “When I first read this, I seriously thought it was a spoof on the welfare state, but like Billy Beck, I guess I haven’t been paying enough attention to what’s going on in Britain.” I love it when nanny state liberals are upfront honest.

The Nursery Rhyme Police: Parents could be forced to go to special classes to learn to sing their children nursery rhymes, a minister said. Those who fail to read stories or sing to their youngsters threaten their children's future and the state must put them right, Children's Minister Beverley Hughes said. Their children's well-being is at risk 'unless we act', she declared.

Mrs. Hughes condemned the way governments before 1997 thought they had no role in the upbringing of children, which it 'regarded as the entirely private arrangements families make.' She praised the Government's record of pouring billions into state benefits for single parents, into providing subsidies for childcare, into pushing mothers into work, and into the 'Sure Start' children's centres.

Since this is the First Annual talk like a yooper day, all I can say is believe you me, dem folk up nort are upside right on this one. Ya eh, da nanny state fully intends to be an actual nanny state doncha know. Well whoopee fuzz! If dat Brit brings dat kitty wampus thinkin around here, Aunt Lena be kickin her up da road, you betcha.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

All Battles Are Perpetual

As the anti-socialist movement in America pauses to reassess both the progress and failures of the recent past, the passing of Milton Friedman earlier this week is a reminder it is worthwhile to review the thoughts of those who formulated this most recent push to restore the primacy of individual rights over the power of government. There are many worthy tributes covering the immense impact of his extensive work, but the most concise summation of his philosophy may be this quote.

Milton Friedman: "There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you're doing, and you try to get the most for your money.

Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I'm not so careful about the content of the present, but I'm very careful about the cost.

Then, I can spend somebody else's money on myself. And if I spend somebody else's money on myself, then I'm sure going to have a good lunch!

Finally, I can spend somebody else's money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else's money on somebody else, I'm not concerned about how much it is, and I'm not concerned about what I get. And that's government. And that's close to 40% of our national income."

A more detailed overview of Friedman’s personal review of his life, work, philosophy and impact upon both America and the world is found in his 1995 Reason Interview. One phrase that caught my attention is a seemingly tossed off comment that “All battles are perpetual”. It is the understanding of a wise old man that life is always a dynamic struggle and the values we believe will always find opposition.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Ségolène and François

As much as the Clinton’s desire to emulate the way Europe is governed, there has to be some irony in the fact the French socialists want to install a Royal couple in the Presidency, with the lovely Ms. Royal taking the first shot at landing the prize. I bet Hillary is thinking; in retrospect, that is how I should have done it.

French Socialists Nominate Royal: Ms Royal's victory makes her the first woman presidential candidate for a major party in France. It also cements the 53-year-old mother of four as the senior partner of France's ultimate power couple: her partner is party leader François Hollande.

The power couple has four children and no marriage license. I bet Bill is thinking; that is how I would have preferred to climb to power. All in all, this is an interesting example of how the generational youth rebellion of the 1960’s matures into adults seeking political power.

Ségolène Royal: She is a mass of contradictions. She came from a right-wing, ultra-Catholic, military family and became a left-wing rebel. She presents herself as political outsider who's close to the people, but she has been to all the best finishing schools of the French political élite, including the mocked, detested, but still influential Ecole Nationale d'Administration.

Perhaps the greatest contradiction of all - and the one that may yet sink her - is that Ségolène is a pro-European, pragmatic, moderate. She seeks to represent a party, and a wider French left, which is entranced by anti-capitalist, anti-European, anti-globalist, abstract ideology.

France is an unusual place. In other countries, politicians lie to the people. In France, they do so too. But the people also lie to the politicians. They say that they want change but they are terrified by it. The mass of middling voters in France are scared of any change that might threaten the relative job security and state provisions of those who are " inside" the French system. The system's many outsiders - from third-generation immigrant kids of Arab or African origin to jobless white students - are paid lip service but no more.

Thus Ségolène's greatest political strength may be her apparent greatest weakness: the fact that she is a woman. She is different because she is not a man, but she threatens no real change. Something different that will, fundamentally, change nothing? That matches exactly the exasperated, and perverse, mood of the French electorate.

Hillary’s problem was she really, really wanted to change America when she reached Washington over a decade ago. Maybe Ségolène will be content simply rearranging the furniture rather than planning on demolishing and rebuilding the social structure.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bipartisan Concerns with China

Holy Bipartisanship Batman! The six Republicans and six Democrats unanimously approve the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission 2006 Annual Report to Congress. Five years after accepting membership into the World Trade Organization, Chinese behavior is still a cause for concern.

Republican Chair Press Release: China has demonstrated that it understands many of its obligations to the 149 other members of the World Trade Organization. China has made considerable progress in writing the internal legislation and regulations to comply with the agreements it made nearly five years ago to join the WTO. But China is falling short on its implementation of those new laws and regulations and is failing to adequately enforce laws already on its books. One glaring example: China’s obligation under the WTO to combat the illegal piracy of intellectual property.

Democrat Vice Chair Press Release: While China's economic reformation has brought its population considerable material benefits, the nation has serious and growing economic disparities between rich and poor. It has also lagged in creating full opportunities for its citizens to reach their full potential by continuing to violate basic human rights, workers rights, basic political freedoms, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press.

China Confidential: "The commission hopes that China will use its position on the United Nations Security Council and its growing influence in Asia and Africa and elsewhere to address a range of serious problems, including the threats of terrorism, weapons proliferation and ethnic conflict," he said. "But it hasn't really happened yet."

One of the last actions of the Clinton administration is granting China normal trade status on a permanent basis. China responds by writing all the necessary rules and regulations into their legal system. Much like immigration in this country, however, there is a meaningful difference between the existence of law and the enforcement of law. Again from the press release:

Yet, during the Commission's trip to China last June, amid the excuses from Chinese authorities about their inability to control counterfeiting, a stark contradiction presented itself: Chinese authorities had somehow managed to prevent any counterfeiting of the 2008 Beijing Olympics logos.

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, bribe, bribe, beat, jail, kill. Having laws does not mean society is governed by the rule of law. Absent the principle of individual liberty as the true source of the common good there are only rulers with laws, and thus only rulers with power.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Plausible Prediction Fiction

I hereby announce I am completely out of step with the mind of Kofi Annan. Indeed, I am proudly out of step with all individuals preaching people should live in fear of modern life. From the UN global warming conference in Nairobi:

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: "This is not science fiction. These are plausible scenarios, based on clear and rigorous scientific modelling. A few diehard skeptics continue trying to sow doubt. They should be seen for what they are: out of step, out of arguments and out of time."

Let me be absolutely clear that “rigorous scientific modelling” is not science. Science is the testing of measured real world data against a hypothesis to determine true or false. Modeling is computer programming and computer programming is garbage in, garbage out. Computer modeling is playing games and special effects, and predictions derived from speculative computing are the very definition of science fiction.

David Ridenour: Plausible scenarios? Plausible scenarios? The entire world is being asked to take immediate, economically-devastating energy-use reductions for something that’s merely plausible?

It is also plausible the first world nations have done the best at easing poverty and protecting the environment. The world is afflicted with two political diseases. The acute threat is apocalyptic Islam armed with conventional, nuclear and economic weapons. The chronic threat is authoritarian socialism being advanced on many fronts including the demonization of modern western society.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

More Trees for Tree Huggers

All of a sudden the Main Stream Media is giddy with delight about the “news” the environment may not be collapsing. When you take the time to look - (like out the window) - the world is still full of trees. Amazing.

Forests begin to revive: By measuring the density of trees rather than simply the area on which they grow, scientists have calculated that forests are increasing in almost half of the world’s 50 most wooded nations.

Of course leftist spin is that Mother Nature still needs help from the caring humans in government to protect her from the selfish private sector.

Thanks to government policy: In China, reforestation and afforestation efforts, spurred by government policy, allowed forest areas to increase from 96 to 143 million hectares.

But it also helps to have a thriving oil based economy so millions of poor people aren’t burning wood for fuel or clear cutting patches for individual food gardens.

End of Deforestation in View? Fears of a “Skinhead Earth” not borne out by data. … In countries where per capita Gross Domestic Product exceeds US $4,600 (roughly equal to the GDP of Chile), richer is greener.

This link goes to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences where a PDF version of the actual paper is available. The history in America is described as follows:

Before 1800, European settlers cleared a comparatively modest area. The number of settlers then increased and expanded farming by clearing forests. In the 60 years from 1850 to 1910, American farmers cleared 77 million ha, more forest than the total cleared in the previous 250 years of settlement. Although the total area of American forests changed modestly after 1920, regional transitions occurred in more and more states, diffusing transitions across the nation and continent.

Just to be clear, once mass production of the Model T Ford initiated the ascendancy of the internal combustion engine and the oil based economy, the deforestation of the continent essentially stopped. I suppose all the carbon dioxide emitted from those gas burners went into the air until photosynthesis pulled those atoms back out to make trees. I wonder why none of the press picked up this story line.

Monday, November 13, 2006

How Democrats View Power

In the middle of the August heat of 2003 a massive blackout engulfs heavily populated areas of the United States and Canada. The North American Electric Reliability Council is formed in response to widespread system failure on the power grid and Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute discusses their findings.

What will we do when America’s lights go out? Soon after the widespread blackouts of 2003, the Electric Reliability Organization was established, and it recently issued its first report. That report makes for grim reading because the nation’s electric power infrastructure is on the brink of collapse. Misguided environmental regulations, green obstructionism and the NIMBY (Not-in-my-backyard) syndrome have combined to delay the construction of desperately needed new power plants and transmission lines.

Wisconsin based American Transmission Company reports today that extensive infrastructure work is needed to keep lights on and computers running.

Transmission System Assessment: ATC identifies an estimated $3.1 billion in work needed over the next 10 years to ensure that the transmission grid can reliably meet the electric needs of people and businesses throughout most of Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This is the first time in six years that ATC’s estimated dollar amount for the 10 year plan has gone down and it’s due to a decrease in the number of projects needed to improve reliability and modernize aging equipment.

Williamson identified southwestern Wisconsin as the portion of ATC’s service area with the greatest need for system upgrades and expansions because low voltages and overloaded facilities threaten the future reliability of the electric system. Low voltages can cause lights to dim or harm to computers or industrial processes. New infrastructure also is needed to accommodate load growth, particularly in and around fast-growing Dane County.

Adequate power is essential for a good quality of life and ample power is necessary for any job and economic growth so, of course, there is massive organized and well funded opposition. Remember it took a WI Supreme Court Decision to allow Wisconsin Electric Corporation to build a new coal burning electric plant next to the existing plant in Oak Creek, and every transmission line runs into fierce resistance from environmentalist groups. The Capital Times cheerleads for the NIMBY no growth left.

Vote 'yes' For Power Study: A study was conducted two years ago, and it concluded that new power lines are needed. Unfortunately, the study was funded by ATC. … On so contentious an issue as whether Dane County residents should accept $200 million in new and upgraded high-voltage power lines in their neighborhoods, this scenario does not work.

Make ATC Show Power Lines Needed: The American Transmission Co. has been executing a skillfully crafted multimillion-dollar public relations campaign to convince the public and our elected officials that we need to build $200 million transmission lines in Dane County. But are new power lines really needed? Do they serve the public interest?

Power Study Passes: The vote on the transmission line study was 152,765 in favor and 48,934 against.

In the same election giving the state cash register back to Jim Doyle, a three to one margin of Dane County Democrats insist another study is needed because ATC is “for profit” and the Public Services Commission can’t be trusted. Apparently there is no rush to get anything done because the lights are on and any problem would be visible.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Little Hope

"At least for another week it gives us a little hope," said Favre. It has been a disturbing week so today I am just going to enjoy the fact the Packers Beat Vikings In Minnesota!!! I am coming to believe the Green and Gold are not a bad team having a bad year, but rather a young group learning how to play as a team. I am, however, not quite as optimistic as the coach.

Mike McCarthy: (Do you feel like you are in the mix for the postseason?)
Absolutely, I mean these seasons are so long, you really have to take it one game at a time. You have to stay off that rollercoaster that you people try to put us on each week. That's part of the journey, a part of playing in the NFL.

Well ... coach says anything is possible and why believe the Bears can beat us three times the same season so: Super Bowl XLI -- Indianapolis vs. Green Bay -- Feb. 4, 2007 in Miami. Oh yeah, I’ll be ready to get out of winter by then, and as long as I’m in the neighborhood I might as well hang around and watch Matt Kenseth win the Daytona 500. Living life in a fantasy universe sure is fun.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Value of the Dollar

The central bank of China announces they are going to “diversify” their holdings meaning they are going to dump lots of US dollars on the global market.

Reserve Diversification Continues To Lead Dollar Down: For those who missed out, yesterday afternoon the central bank head of China Zhou Xiaochuan stated that the country’s reserve plan continues to include further diversification away from US dollar based assets and into other assets carrying a higher rate of “safety, efficiency and liquidity”. The announcement becomes a notable concern for the world’s largest economy as the Chinese country holds $1 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, with a whopping 72 percent being sectioned for US dollar denominations. As a result, the sheer weight of positioning holds negative for the dollar as the statement coincides with recently similar announcements by the Russian central bank this year and the South Korean central bank last year.

Supply and demand works with money as well as with products and services so it is prudent to expect to pay more dollars for foreign stuff purchased with dollars.

The Weak Dollar and You: Let me simplify -- or oversimplify -- the economic effects of a weak American dollar to you: As the dollar gets weaker, it costs more to buy foreign goods, including oil. Thus, the price of everything America imports increases, as does the cost of shipping and energy. That means the raw materials and supplies for your business get more expensive. Because the dollar isn't as attractive as other currencies to foreign investors, and America depends on such investors, banks have to offer higher interest rates. That means upward pressure on interest rates for all loans, including loans to small businesses.

The timing of the Chinese action within days of a power shift in Washington is probably simple coincidence, but people who strategize economic warfare are clearly aware of the utility of currency manipulation.

America's Acupuncture Points: One of the pillars propping up US superpower status and worldwide economic dominance is the dollar being accepted as the predominant reserve currency. … What is frightening for the US is the fact that China, Russia and Iran possess the power to cause a run on the US dollar and force its collapse.

Economic globalization has happened. Period. Done Deal. All the traditional maneuvers national governments use to control national economies, protect industries, salaries and jobs are increasingly ineffective. Politicians with nostalgia for a lost past are going to be worse than useless. America needs smart leadership developing adaptations to the new reality. Business Week spells it out in detail.

Can Anyone Steer This Economy? Because for the past 70 years, Washington has been the 800-pound gorilla, more powerful by far than any other force in the U.S. economy. That's not true anymore. The federal government remains plenty influential, but the global economy is more so. This will come as a rude shock to Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the presumptive Speaker of the House, Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), the likely chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, and other newly enfranchised leaders in the Democratic Party.

China, Russia and Iran have common ground in wanting a weakened United States. The cost of military action is more than even the Mullahs probably want to pay, but there are other ways to sap the strength of the mighty. Clip the hair of Samson or nick the heel of Achilles for example.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Deep Breath

To paraphrase something I read somewhere today - Republicans: We may be bad but the Democrats would be worse. --- Public: OK, let’s call your bluff.

(*) “I believe the House and Senate Republicans and the White House need to take a deep breath and think very seriously about this election result because I think we’re at a very important turning point. This is either a temporary interruption of what has been a gradually consolidating center-right majority, or this is a breakdown of that center-right majority leading to a significant effort to establish a center-left government majority.”

I am a Republican because I value individual freedom more than the partial security of required subservience to human authority, yet I am under no illusion this desire for autonomy is a populist sentiment shared by millions yearning first for safety and comfort. America is unique, due to circumstances of history, in the degree individual liberty is believed to be the source of good in society, but fear and pain make liberty easy to trade back to authority.

Audio Link: “I think America is in more danger of loosing two or three cities now than any time during the cold war.”

The events of time are going to force more hard decisions upon this country. Because I do not trust politicians who believe it is the purpose of the State to bind citizens together, it is imperative we insure this election is only a temporary step back towards the flaws of socialism.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The New Task

One: Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Dems have to actually do something now: Whether Dems like it or not, they have taken ownership of Iraq. … And as we've been told by the experts and Democrats, this election was apparently all about Iraq. As the Democrats are becoming fond of saying, "the American people have spoken". The rest of that statement though is they expect Democrats to make good on their promise. That's why they gave them the ball.

Two: It is the job of the Party to be partisan.

Nancy Pelosi: "This isn't a war to win, this is a situation to be solved. You can define winning anyway you want too, but you must solve the problem".

So what exactly is the problem, Ms. Speaker? The Main Stream Media will not force the Democrats to be specific or accurate, so this vital task now belongs to those of us in opposition. The isolationist tendencies which have always existed in America are now completely contained in the party against free trade, market solutions and any foreign intervention. Their 'leave us alone so we can educate our children' mentality is simply not suited to deal with a world where salvation through homicidal martyrdom has trendy appeal and atomic weapon technology is no longer secret knowledge.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Going Negative Works

When you witness the plane fly into the building, you don’t need to hypothesize the damage is from an internal implosion. The Republicans have been beaten by an air attack. The Democrats make this election a national referendum on Iraq and this time they win the battle. It is an effective strategy using television, newspapers and magazines to instill the belief in the public that Iraq is a separate issue from the war on terrorism, and that Iraq is a failing venture. The cumulative effect of relentless negativity succeeds as Americans respond by calling for an end. You are the weakest link, goodbye.

Babalu: These elections were won by the MSM. It has been their coverage of the news - whether it's been about the economy, domestic policies, immigration, or, their favorite horse to beat: the War In Iraq - that has shaped public opinion. And it's through this shaping of public opinion and creation of "the issues" - brought about by distorted and slanted reportage from those esteemed members of the press who are overwhelmingly liberal in the views and opinions - that policy will now be set.

There were other contributing factors, but it was not immigration or Medicaid prescription drug coverage or irresponsible spending defeating the Republicans. Pop culture got schooled by the left. The Wall Street Journal is correct in the details.

The Press at War: The mainstream media's adversarial stance, both here and abroad, means that whenever a foreign enemy challenges us, he will know that his objective will be to win the battle not on some faraway bit of land but among the people who determine what we read and watch. We won the Second World War in Europe and Japan, but we lost in Vietnam and are in danger of losing in Iraq and Lebanon in the newspapers, magazines and television programs we enjoy.

The partisan media blitzed over and over and over and Bush never made a sustained effort to block the attacks. Football coaches that don’t adjust on defense get fired.

The Captain: Republicans have to go back to the basics -- and I don't mean the base. They need to settle on some First Principles before they calculate how to convince voters to trust them with governance again. Republicans have traditionally stood for fiscal discipline and a strong defense above all other issues. The GOP needs to return to those values first and keep them foremost when creating their strategies for 2008.

The talk of principles and values is all well and good, but this is grown up power politics and some enemies of freedom have explosives and some enemies of freedom have a lust for power. Bush tried to play nice with the opposition party and it has failed him. The lesson of 2006 is that any strategic plan to achieve peace can not leave the shaping of public opinion to enemy enablers.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Eve 2006

Lola and I are at fine concert Saturday night when near the end, the singer bursts into Bush Derangement Syndrome. From out of nowhere some self perceived need to express the hatred. I know enough history that emotional contempt for the opposition is a constant in American politics; still it is nice to daydream about rational people working in cooperation to resolve problems. The election tomorrow is not going to get us anywhere closer to that pleasant fantasy.

For those of us in Madison, Paul Soglin is a kind of prototype social liberal. He is a person with a social conscious who was effective on the local political level but is clearly more a progressive thinker than a careerist politician. He says Democrats must produce actual change if they win power, if they want to widen their base. If they do win, I don’t doubt the Dems will a work a great deal harder pursuing their goals than the comfortably entrenched Republicans have been working at pursuing theirs.

I will vote against the progressives because while I recognize the validity of their concerns I am convinced they are wrong in their approaches to the problems. Earlier this evening I drafted a point by point dissection of Soglin’s liberal wish list, but this is not the time. The people reading blogs know how they are going to vote. I am optimistic the results tomorrow will maintain the slight tilt of the nation away from the socialists who covet the power of confiscation to pursue justice as they conceive it. Knock on wood.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Apocalypse Cancelled

British politicians have been in front of the microphones recently trying to scare the public. In response Christopher Monckton writes Climate chaos? Don't believe it and posts a 40 page PDF file with documented rebuttals to the fear mongering.

Apocalypse Cancelled: ALL TEN of the propositions listed below must be proven true if the climate-change “consensus” is to be proven true.

1. That the debate is over and all credible climate scientists are agreed.
2. That temperature has risen above millennial variability and is exceptional.
Very unlikely
3. That changes in solar irradiance are an insignificant forcing mechanism.
4. That the last century’s increases in temperature are correctly measured.
5. That greenhouse-gas increase is the main forcing agent of temperature.
Not proven
6. That temperature will rise far enough to do more harm than good.
Very unlikely
7. That continuing greenhouse-gas emissions will be very harmful to life.
8. That proposed carbon-emission limits would make a definite difference.
Very unlikely
9. That the environmental benefits of remediation will be cost-effective.
Very unlikely
10. That taking precautions, just in case, would be the responsible course.

The rhetoric about "danger" with climate change is so out of control even a true believer that there is a significant human contribution like Mike Hulme, Director Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, informs the Chicken Little activists to drop the unmerited and inaccurate hyperbole.

Chaotic world of climate truth: I have found myself increasingly chastised by climate change campaigners when my public statements and lectures on climate change have not satisfied their thirst for environmental drama and exaggerated rhetoric. It seems that it is we, the professional climate scientists, who are now the (catastrophe) sceptics. How the wheel turns.

Raked any leaves this autumn? Atmospheric carbon dioxide is the most desirable molecule in nature if you happen to be a plant, and it is pulled from the air with great hunger. The end of the world scenarios are creations of computer programming and not scientific observation, and even grant funded researchers are becoming disinclined to make public policy solely based on sophisticated computer games.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Decision Time Approaches

In the middle of last century Christian civilizations developed, tested, and deployed nuclear weapons, and aside from two initial war ending blasts in Japan never used them against humans again. God loving or godless, the leadership understood no good comes from nuclear war. Now the world watches to see if Islam reaches the same conclusion.

Six Arab states join rush to go nuclear: THE SPECTRE of a nuclear race in the Middle East was raised yesterday when six Arab states announced that they were embarking on programmes to master atomic technology. The move, which follows the failure by the West to curb Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, could see a rapid spread of nuclear reactors in one of the world’s most unstable regions, stretching from the Gulf to the Levant and into North Africa. The countries involved were named by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Tunisia and the UAE have also shown interest.

The timing of the announcement in the middle of Iran’s dress rehearsal for total warfare in not a coincidence. Everyone in the region understands the religion of the sword.

Iran Tests New Weaponry: The games, called Great Prophet Two, are to run for 10 days. Iranian officials say they are intended to display Iran's defense capabilities and achievements in its missile industry. The regime has already tested naval missiles with a range of about 170 kilometers, giving them capability to hit vessels in the Gulf. Saturday, the Iranian military said it successfully tested new armor-piercing weaponry and an anti-helicopter missile system.

During the Iranian proxy war in Lebanon last summer, the Strategy Page points out the potential for war within Islam and how control of the holy sites comes into play.

The War With Iran: But most Arabs fear Iran, not because most Iranians are Shia, but because Iranians are not Arabs. Iran has been the regional superpower for over three thousand years. Iran is building nuclear weapons. Iran is backing Shia Arab factions in Iraq that would support turning Iraq into an Iranian ally. Also scary is the fact that Iran is currently run by a religious dictatorship. Most Arabs have noted how that worked in Iran, Sudan and Afghanistan and want no part of it. Worse, the Iranian religious leadership believes that they would do a better job running the Hejaz (the region of Saudi Arabia containing Mecca and Medina and the most holy places in Islam). For centuries, the Turks kept the Iranians out of the Hejaz. But who would keep nuclear armed Iranians out?

The failure of the world community to adequately confront Iranian behavior since the theocracy seized power 27 years ago has placed all of us in danger. Next Tuesday we have the chance to vote on the direction America proceeds. In my mind there is a very real difference between the party which would have us concerned about the danger of garlic mustard and the party concerned about the danger of cesium-137. Every vote will be important this Tuesday.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Mosquitoes. Midwest Climate Watch says October was significantly cooler than normal this year so the mosquitoes buzzed out early, but even so there was very little hysteria about the West Nile Virus this summer. Way up north on the other side of Lake Superior a Canadian Court rules that the government can not be sued for failing to protect citizens from mosquito bites.

Ontario can't be sued over West Nile virus: Toronto — Family and victims of West Nile virus cannot sue the Ontario government for failing to prevent its spread, the province's highest court ruled Friday. In its ruling, the Ontario Court of Appeal said the provincial government could not have been expected to prevent an individual from contracting the disease. … The ruling scuttles plans for a class-action suit launched by more than 40 families and victims of West Nile against the province.

What were those Canadian trial lawyers thinking? I suppose individuals completely convinced of their dependence on government expect government to shield them from any and all unusual harm. Still someone should clue those victims of nature that the lawsuit should go after private business money. A commenter on the story points out the fact Canadian authorities banned high concentrations of a proven effective mosquito repellant, so the logical thing would have been to sue the “bug juice” companies.

Dust My Broom: Well my beef would be the govt has stopped deet from being 99-95% like in the good days now the most bug juice can be is 28% something lame like that. So if the nice benevolent government decided that you can’t use high concentrations of deet to keep the bugs away then sue the taxpayers ass off. oops. I go to the earths bastion of freedom and took one stores stock of bug juice last summer, [in the USA] : ) My family is safe from the Government. For now.

As Wisconsin under Jim Doyle’s leadership moves steadily towards becoming America's Litigation Capital, a West Nile Victim class action lawsuit against manufactures and distributors of a safe and effective product like DEET would not surprise me. ''Sniffle, sniff … the bottle said it would protect me from the bite … sob". Backed by reasoning from UW Law Professors that essentially says, suffering is by definition a non-economic factor but some suffering can be defined as worth more money than other suffering, why wouldn’t trial lawyers try and find emotion prone cheesehead juries?

Selling bonds for operating expenses, selling contacts for contributions, selling the court system to trial lawyers and selling Wisconsin down the river. Some of the many reasons I am voting to retire Jim Doyle.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

WI AG Race Decided

It is over! It is a rout! An overwhelming defeat and a disastrous rebuke for J.B. Van Hollen in the Wisconsin Attorney General’s race --- according to Channel 3000.

WISC-TV Paid For Poll: MADISON, Wis. -- Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk has a 7-point lead over Republican rival J.B. Van Hollen in the attorney general race, according to the latest WISC-TV poll. The results showed that Falk has slightly widened her lead against Van Hollen. Last month, she had a 5-point lead, which has increased to 7 points with just days to go until the election.

Despite the support of 46 Sheriffs and 55 District Attorneys there is no way Van Hollen can overcome the universal love and affection the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has for Kathleen Falk. Since Mr. Van Hollen’s self esteem will be utterly crushed there is no reason to pile on the defeat. Therefore, in the spirit of Democratic compassion, I urge voters not to cast unnecessary and hurtful additional votes for Kathleen Falk. Please be assured that any unforeseen vote shortfall can be corrected in Milwaukee.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ethanol Steps Back From Perfect

WKOW reports a crack in the blue sky optimism over Wisconsin’s favorite alternative energy. Too much ethanol in gasoline is prone to problems.

E-85 Gas Pumps Lose Certification: An Illinois-based branch of Underwriters Laboratories, an organization that tests the safety of thousands of products, pulled its certification off many of the parts inside E-85 pumps last month.

Like when Harry met Sally, when an oxidizer meets a metal its pure chemistry.

Ethanol's Corrosive Little Secret: The infrastructure for transporting oil or fuel is through the use of metal pipelines, tanker truck or railway tanker. But there's just one slight problem. High concentrations of ethanol are corrosive to the metal pipelines. When you stop to think about it, that's actually a major problem.

The U.S. may have large supplies of corn or biomass to convert to ethanol, but without using pipelines, how will the massive quantities of ethanol be transported to gas stations and the end consumer? In the short term, the transportation of ethanol will be handled by railway or tanker truck. But in the long term, a whole new infrastructure of pipelines may need to be built to transport ethanol. That's not going to happen over night and it will certainly add to the costs of using ethanol as an alternative fuel.

Environmentalists demonize “fossil fuels” because they want to dismantle and re-construct American society. If we allow politicians to mandate adoption of alternative energy, redesign will be required on everything from dispensing pumps to personal transportation equipment. The oil industry is large and profitable because oil chemistry is the optimal source for liquid fuels, and liquids are much easier to transport than solids or gasses.

Personally, I don’t want an alternative economy with energy limits, restrictions and barriers. I have no desire for some fantasy America withdrawn from the world in pursuit of guilt driven self imposed energy independence. What would be nice is a world without authoritarian rulers enriching themselves skimming unearned wealth from good energy sources.