Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pissed off Pelosi punches up pedantic President


Sources close to Congressional House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, have confirmed a rumour that President Barack Obama recently received executive “emotive training” in Hawaii from one of America’s top professionals in the field, Edward Cunningham, of the First and Best Chance management communications consulting firm, headquartered in Houston, Texas. Cunningham was dispatched by the Democratic Party on an emergency basis to assist Obama to overcome his devotion to the “cool image” form of Presidential persona.

Pelosi, who is also vacationing in Hawaii, was reported to be incensed at Obama’s detachment from the terrifying incident on Christmas Day when a Muslim terrorist nearly blew up a Northwest Airlines airplane with nearly 300 hundred passengers on board. Obama left it to his Homeland Security head, Janet Napolitano, to walk point and handle the public relations, while he continued to golf and play tennis.

After public blowback to Napolitano’s assurances that “the system worked” and still no word from Obama, Pelosi blew up and reportedly said,
“Doesn’t that self-absorbed pedantic prick understand or care how many Democratic seats will be contested in 2010? Doesn’t he understand that the American voters want to know that he cares about these things?"
It was Pelosi who authorized dispatching Cunningham to Hawaii.

Cunningham specializes in coaching senior corporate management to appear concerned and empathetic during contract negotiations with their unions. His clientele is a who’s who of American blue chip corporations. He was recently most active in the auto makers’ contracts, being credited with gaining wage and benefit roll-backs that would unlikely be achieved without his Sincerity™ training package.

One senior negotiator with GM, who declined to be identified for this story, credited Cunningham with at least 50% of the gains by management that led to the company coming out of bankruptcy earlier than expected.

“Until I grasped the concept of always looking sincere, whether I mean it or not, I doubt I could have had the traction I had at the negotiating table. Cunningham even taught me how to ‘tear up” on cue when listening to a union patented sad story. It worked like a charm,” said the negotiator. “I think Obama will get a lot out of this training.”

Obama has recently been portrayed in the media as "sounding angry” about America’s security lapse.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Obama has his "classroom moment" without Michael Moore's twit comments


It appears that U.S. President Barack Obama has had his epiphany and discovered at last what it means to hold this job.

It is not about letting “no crisis go to waste”, about transforming the United States into a mini-me European state, about propping up banks, or telling the car industry how to do its business, or even helping Big Pharma remain Big Pharma. The single most important job of the President is to keep America safe and Americans secure. Because, if you can’t do that, the rest doesn’t really matter very much.

I think that lesson has now sunk in.

Film maker Michael Moore made much mockery of a video of former President George W. Bush appearing stunned in a children’s classroom for about seven minutes after being told of the 9/11 attacks. He further made cracks about Bush always seeming to be on vacation.

Now his favourite President waits three days on his golfing vacation before commenting directly on the near catastrophe at Detroit airport and the complete catastrophe in the world-wide anti-terrorist net. Then Obama comes out sounding very much like Bush, talking about tracking down those responsible. And for the second day in a row he has now spoken publicly about fixing the security mess and actually sounding as if he were really angry about it – like it might matter to him.

I checked Michael Moore’s website this morning before writing this. He has a big open letter to the President telling him not to send more troops to Afghanistan and to fire his generals. He was some silly twitter comments about the Detroit incident, saying how the troop surge didn’t prevent the terrorist boarding the airplane. But he has nothing to say about Obama being on vacation and taking nearly 72 hours to show a public reaction to the terrorist threat.

Hey Michael, how about some even-handedness? Why don’t you comment on how Obama is handling this failure in American security the way you were so ready to do with GWB?

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Bronx Cheer for the big guy at the end of the aughts

It is customary at the end of a year to reflect on the events of that year and what we might have learned from them, for better or for worse. The same sort of exercise applies to the end of a decade. Often media writes these reflections up as the most “newsworthy” stories, etc. Since media claims to be the gatekeeper of news, this is kind of a poor man’s Academy Award show, where industry insiders pat themselves on the back for their picks.

I am a blogger, so screw MSM. I’ll sort my way through the decade.

With respect to the past year, I would say that climate science gets the top billing.

First, we had the Copenhagen conference, two years in the planning, which was supposed to set the stage for an embryonic world government to deal with planetary resources. By any measure it completely failed. It was probably the last gasp of something Maurice Strong put in motion 30 years ago.

Many of the same sad bunch will meet in Mexico City next year, but it won’t hold a candle to the promise that was to be Copenhagen.

Second, we had the leaked or hacked e-mails from the climate science top dogs who admitted to themselves, if not to us, that the science is anything but settled. Leaving aside the career jealousies and the attempts to control the peer review process that were evident in these 2,000 pages of e-mails, they puzzled over the hiatus in warming for the past decade, had no explanation for it, admitted it did not fit the theory, and began to doubt their own analysis and the data behind it. They clearly demonstrated that they had really no idea why the world of the past warmed or cooled, having dismissed ice core samples as being imprecise and having trouble making tree ring data fit the theory as well.

I am told relentlessly by fans of AGW that the medieval warm period is irrelevant, and in any case, we don’t know enough about it, and that all that matters is the dramatic rise in the past century of CO2. This is unprecedented they tell me.

How do we know, I say, when we don’t anything reliable about the past? Logic fails here for reasons I get into later.

What also fails to knock these folks off their game is that the temperature and the CO2 have not been consistent. For periods in the past century, including the last decade, the temperature has not been inexorably rising as the AGW says it should since the CO2 has been unalterably rising.

I would say that many more people believed the AGW hypothesis than disbelieved it at the beginning of this decade and, at the end of the decade, these numbers have reversed, with more disbelieving it than believing it. This will have political consequences.

During this decade, I would say religion was the most important driver in world affairs. And by that I mean religion in its broadest sense, including the religion of global warming.

We started the decade believing a new era of reason, science and rationalism would prevail. Not more than a year passed and we saw religious zealots of Islamic persuasion carry out audacious suicide attacks on the cities of New York and Washington.

One of the fallouts from these attacks was the new stringent security rules that air travelers were subjected to before they could board airplanes. At the end of the decade, yet another in a long line of Islamic attempts at murder by aircraft in Detroit has led to even more onerous impositions on air travelers.

So, on behalf of all civilian aviation, let’s give Mohammed a big Bronx cheer.

One of the things that began to dawn on western societies during this decade was the impact of Islam, not just in Islamic countries, but in the heart of western civilization. We have not yet found a way to effectively deal with this foreign political-religio philosophy and I expect the next decade will see us increasingly absorbed by that issue.

One of the things that has become clearer near the end of the decade, however, is that, like the doubts that have begun to permeate over the certainty of climate science, the rose-coloured lenses that viewed Islam as “one of the world’s great religions” and a “religion of peace” have cracked and fallen away.

In Europe, the people are either voting with their feet, leaving for non-European western nations, or are organizing populist political parties that take aim at Islam as a menace. The political establishment in Europe is on shaky ground having spent its political capital during the decade appeasing and propping up Muslims while simultaneously suppressing nascent European nationalism. Its cupboard is nearly bare and I would expect to see the old guard swept away in future elections by those who do not wish to see the Islamification of Europe. After all, there are still many more Europeans who vote than Islamists and they know they will have to act politically soon while they still can.

The outcome will not be pretty.

Australia has shown some muscle in dealing with the issue, but Canada appears to be still very much asleep at the switch.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the Americans have elected an anachronism to the highest office. Just as the rest of the world begins to march down a different path opposing Islam, President Obama runs around the planet praising the religion to the skies, misrepresenting it in the process, and promising to defend the right of Muslim women to wear the hijab, ignoring the right of Muslim women not to wear the hijab.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that his efforts are viewed by the Islamic world as weakness, and by even some of the jellyfish European politicians as foolish, and by the American public as misguided.

The day after the Fort Hood massacre, Obama cautioned the public not to jump to conclusions. Three days after the attempt to blow up the airplane in Detroit he has not said anything to the American public. Air travel in the United States is in complete turmoil, but not a word directly from the President. Perhaps if the news stories had been framed, not as another Muslim terrorist at it again, but as white people arresting a black man on board an airplane, he would be inclined to be more loquacious.

Unless he shifts ground within the next year, he will probably suffer the worst fate a President can endure; he will lose his moral authority to govern.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Police thinking. Hypocritical newspapers.


In Ontario, a rash of traffic accidents and fatalities from mostly young drivers racing each other on the highway resulted in the provincial nanny state recently enacting a draconian “stunt driving” law that has some serious penalties attached to it: $10,000 fine, jail time, loss of driver’s license, etc., if you are caught going 50 kilometers an hour over the posted speed limit.

While it has been used to prosecute the people the law was intended to affect, in typical police fashion, foolish charges have been laid against those who are speeding for other reasons; such as, trying to pass a big transport truck on the highway to get to a safe lane. After a couple of these showed up in court, the judges ruled the law unconstitutional and those rulings await the appeal of a higher court.

Meanwhile an auto mechanic was charge with speeding on the express highway on his motorcycle. He was going 243 kph in 100 kph zone on a multi-lane expressway. There was no evidence of racing and the prosecutor chose not to proceed with the stunt driving charge. The man was convicted and fined about $1,400.

Accrding to a story in today's Toronto Sun, Mr. Julian Fantino, the Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner, a strong supporter of Ontario's stunt driving law, said in an e-mail: "I am disappointed that the sentence did not also include a psychiatric assessment before the individual is allowed the privilege of driving in Ontario."

If you are ever in doubt about the wisdom of letting the police mind set the public agenda, that statement should do it for you.

Anybody who has ever ridden a motorcycle knows that they cry out to be let loose on a good open road. There is no thrill to compare to cranking one of these things up to its high end to see how it can fly. That may be careless, or even reckless, behaviour, but it is certainly not abnormal.

What is abnormal is having a top police official who thinks that anybody who wants to experience the thrill of riding a motorcycle at a speed beyond the humdrum one permitted by law needs a psychiatric evaluation.

And Another Thing

There are four daily newspapers in the Toronto area market that duke it out for circulation honours and advertising revenue. The one in that regional market with the largest circulation is the Toronto Star.

In my mind, it is unique in another way. I find its rivals generally consistent in political bias. The Star, however, has no shame.

In a recent op-piece, penned by one of their editorial editors, Martin Regg Cohn, the writer pretends to be former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, chastising the current PM, Stephen Harper, for how he is handling his international profile, particularly his relations with the American President, and comparing Harper’s allegedly dismal performance with Mulroney’s stellar one.

I am old enough to recall how the Star treated Mulroney and his government for the eight years when he was in power. I cannot recall them ever praising him for anything. This attitude was not just in the editorials, it infected every single columnist in the newspaper. Even the humour guy, the late Gary Lautens, who I thought was a genteel person who would never say the word “shit” if his mouth were full of it, wrote a serious, nasty rant against Mulroney to my complete surprise.

I recall that the government did some polling during the public discussion of the free trade agreement with the United States, then in the offing. The pollsters determined that 47% of the country’s opposition to the Mulroney-sponsored deal came from the Toronto Star.

The Star vilified Mulroney for having a close relationship with Ronald Reagan. Now they are pretending that was a good thing.

What a nest of hypocrites!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lockerbie bombing revisted


In August of this year an international flap arose over the release on alleged compassionate grounds of convicted Lockerbie aircraft bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi to his home country of Libya. Supposedly he was due to die within three months from cancer.

As of this past Wednesday he was still alive.

At the time, I did not buy into the compassion part of the story. There was some scuttlebutt that it was done because of some commercial deal in the offing between the U.K. and Libya, but I thought the truth lay more in that fact that al-Megrahi was appealing his conviction, that the case against him at trial was shaky, that he might well have succeeded on the appeal and it would embarrass the government.

When he arrived in Tripoli he was greeted as a conquering hero.

During his trial the defense portrayed him as a lowly airline employee.

New information has now been revealed that was not available at his trial.

Al-Megrahi was sitting on a Swiss bank account containing nearly three million U.S. dollars in today’s currency. Furthermore, he was involved in the purchase of development of chemical weapons for Libya and he attempted to purchase 1,000 letter bombs from Greek arms dealers, while he employed as a Libyan intelligence officer.

So far, the Scottish government has declined to make his medical records available for public scrutiny.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that he was the Lockerbie bomber, but it does suggest he was anything but a lowly airline worker, and in terms of international terror activities, certainly not an innocent man.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Margolis should sit on a minaret and rotate


Muslim countries have been threatening to take economic action against Switzerland for the recent plebiscite that resulted in a ban on the construction of future minarets. The hypocrisy of these countries that do not permit the construction of churches or synagogues, or the open and free worship of religions other than Islam, is monumental.

The Swiss vote did not result in the destruction of existing minarets or in any restriction on the building of mosques or the free and open worship of Islam in Switzerland.

It would be nice if leftist writers in the free world would write something about the lack of religious freedoms in the Islamic world, but they cannot break out of their self-imposed ideology of guilt and blame against the West for its supposed transgressions.

A case in point is a recent column by Eric Margolis, in the Winnipeg Sun, who says he has a “deep love” of Switzerland where he spent some time as a youth, but goes on to say he has no use for the Swiss who are “xenophobic” and “racist”. They are also “fiercely nationalistic”, as if that were a fault for which they should be embarrassed.

It is interesting to compare this alleged xenophobic, racist and very nationalistic European country with Canada, which is not particularly nationalistic, and is not generally considered xenophobic or racist. About 19.8% of our population is made up of immigrants compared to 25% of the Swiss population. Odd that a nationalist, racist and xenophobic country would have such a high percentage. Canada takes in nearly 300,000 new immigrants a year, yet we still lag Switzerland.

Margolis claims that the persecution of the Muslims is exactly like that of the Jews under the Nazis.

What utter nonsense.

The closer parallel would be how Muslim countries treat Jews and Christians and Infidels.

The 20th century accusation against Jews being a threat to Europe was entirely fictional and the case against them being a “race” of people who were sub-human, rather than simply adherents of a religion, was equally concocted out of thin air. The Jews made the effort to integrate with the European society, and as Naill Ferguson has pointed out, there was a great deal of inter-religious marriage. Furthermore, the authorities, the elites and the establishment in Europe all collaborated in this fiction to suppress and eventually to nearly destroy European Jewry.

In contrast, European elites treat Muslims with kid gloves. Muslims are reluctant to integrate, they do not intermarry and prefer spouses from their old countries to Muslims that have been Europeanized, and yet they are not treated as if they are sub-human the way the Jews were. In Europe, as in Canada and the United States, the majority of reported hate crimes still continue to be directed against Jews, not Muslims.

It is the politically dispossessed European nationalists who are threatened by these European political elites who decry nationalism in the name of multiculturalism.

Margolis says he admires the Swiss plebiscite system, but prays that the organs of the state in the hands of the right-headed people will overturn the will of the electorate. It doesn’t occur to Margolis that if that is how the people feel about this subject perhaps the elites should be doing something to address the concerns of the general public rather than branding them all as unthinking racists.

This is typical leftist-elitist thinking – it is fine to have an appearance of democracy as long as the rabble don’t take it too seriously and prevent their betters doing the necessary things that are for their own best interests which the proletariart are incapable of determining for themselves. It is a strange sentiment coming from a guy who claims he is a Republican conservative.

It may well be that the Muslims in Switzerland are all pussycats, as Margolis claims they are, but the Swiss have television sets, the Internet, and newspapers, just as the rest of us do, and they can read the writing on the wall of what will eventually happen to European culture in an Islamic-dominated Europe.

Nonie Darwish, the expatriate Egyptian, makes the point that the rich culture of ancient Egypt was left to be buried in the sands of the desert by the Muslims for whom history starts with Mohammed. It was the European invaders from France and England who took an interest in Egypt and saved and resurrected its glorious past.

The Swiss have started down the road of saving their culture, despite their elites, not with their assistance. This is a cultural battle, not a racist one.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The irrelevance of Copenhagen and the relevance of the burka


If you ever wondered whether the world-wide meeting in Copenhagen this week has any relevance to the real world, this news story from Politico.com should sort that out for you pretty quickly.

COPENHAGEN –Iranian Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe plan to address negotiators at international climate talks in Copenhagen next week.


The three leaders are listed in a line-up of more than 180 government officials published in a United Nations schedule of speakers. Each head of state will have up to three minutes to address roughly 700 delegates, reporter, observers and civil society groups.


The assistant president of Sudan, Nafie Ali Nafie kicks off the speeches at noon on Wednesday.


Nafie chairs the G-77 group, a block of developing nations pushing hard for more money and stricter emissions cuts from rich countries.


Mostapha Zaher, director-general of Afghanistan's Environmental Protection Agency, is listed as the final speaker. He’ll take the podium slightly before 2 a.m. next Friday.


Other leaders addressing the conference include everyone from Saad Hariri, the prime minister of Lebanon, to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.


Roughly 110 world leaders plan to attend the talks, an unprecedented number for a climate conference. Typically, only a handful of top leaders attend the negotiations. President Barack Obama is expected at the meeting on Friday.


Note that the speakers are limited to 3 minutes each. The Iranian leader was limited to 15 minutes at the United Nations and went on and on and on for 40 minutes without interference from the Chair. With Mugabe and Chavez scheduled as well, look for more CO2 to be spewed into the atmosphere than is produced in this country in one year. I would like to see any of these three limit themselves to 3 minutes.

You may be wondering why I led off with the picture. It is a woman in the U.S. midwest who is dressed to deal with the deep freeze that is currently setting new temperature lows in North America as a result of global warming. I included the picture because I have been opposed to the Burka, but I think I may have discovered a practical use for this garment in combatting the intense cold caused by global warming.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Protocols of Obama

Obama arrives in Norway for his Peace Prize


There is a story in the Guardian about President Obama pissing off the Norwegians because he won't participate, as Peace Prize winners usually do, in a series of planned public events. The most serious accusation is that he will not have lunch with the King of Norway.

Now, if ever there was evidence that Obama doesn't like Europeans this has to be it. A man who loves to bow to royalty passing up an opportunity to get his picture taken doing it again, what's with that?

Oh yes, the King is a white man.

UPDATE

Apparently, even though he did not have lunch with the Norwegian King, Obama met him and this is how he greeted him. Compare with the Saudi and Japanese bows below. I could be wrong -- it could have nothing to do with Obama's distate for the history of the white race, it could be because Arabia and Japan own so much of America, and Norway was foolish enough to buy American toxic derivatives.


Norway

Arabia

Japan

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quote of the day


This one comes to us from Rajendra Pachauri, the jet-setting head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He once flew from New York to Delhi, over a weekend, to take in a cricket match.

He defended climate research in the face of a controversy over e-mails pilfered from a British university, which global warming skeptics say show scientists have been conspiring to hide evidence that doesn't fit their theories.

"The recent incident of stealing the emails of scientists at the University of East Anglia shows that some would go to the extent of carrying out illegal acts perhaps in an attempt to discredit the IPCC," he told the conference.


Pachauri seems unconcerned that the scientists on whom his panel relies have lost the original data, so fudged the data they have that it is incomprehenisble, and that they conspired to defeat freedom of information laws and corrupted the peer review process to hide their incompetence. The fact that these same folks beat themselves up because they could not explain the last decade of static or cooling temperatures with the AGW theory to which they cling (like religion and guns), seems not worth considering to our globe-trotting Chairman.

The next time somebody tells you what we need is a world government, keep this quote in mind.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Montreal massacre redux

Since this is the 20th anniversary of an iconic mass murder in Canada, it seems obligatory for bloggers and media types to say something about it.

On December 6, 1989 a young man, called Marc Lepine, entered a post secondary institution in Montreal, separated an engineering class into males and females, sent the males out of the room and proceeded to gun down the women. He then wandered through the school shooting other people at random, but mainly targeting women. Eventually, after killing 14 women and wounding 14 others, including four men, he killed himself. He left a suicide note indicating that he wanted to kill feminists.

Over the years, a lot of explanations have been given for his behaviour, all of it centering on a psychological explanations.

His actions spurred feminists to use the anniversary of the event as a kind of a club to draw attention to violence against women. It also led to tightening of gun ownership laws.

One of the things almost never mentioned, however, is the role religion might have played in this. This is interesting because it is common to find that feminists ignore the plight of their fellow women who suffer injustice at the hands of religion, especially Islam.

Marc Lepine was a name that he adopted when he was 14 years of age. Up to that point, he had been known as Gamil Gharbi. His mother was French Canadian, a professional nurse. His father was an Algerian immigrant, a Muslim Arab. By all accounts, the father was not a “regular go to the mosque” Muslim, but he certainly grew up in a Muslim household and culture in Algeria. He despised women and treated his wife and children abysmally, making sure that the children also were deprived of a close relationship with the mother.

He eventually abandoned the family and the mother went back to work as a nurse to support the family. That is when Gamil changed his name to Marc and adopted his mother’s maiden name as his last name.

Twenty years ago it is not surprising to find that nobody would have considered the religious influence in this matter. Yet, even today, accounts of the events fail to offer any religious angle.

This is what Nonie Darwish has to say in her latest book, Cruel and Usual Punishment about the impact of Sharia law on the role of Muslim males.

According to the rules a man is not to take his wife into matters of any importance, he must not reveal his secrets, he is not to tell her the amount of his property, in case she exercises her built in bad judgment to influence him and cause him ruin. He is also not to give her an excess of affection lest she gain power over him. Simply put, a husband is not to trust his wife nor ever show her much love.

A man’s role in the home has been narrowed down to that of the feared disciplinarian and controller. According to codified Islamic Law: The Prophet said, “Hang up the whip where the members of the household can see it.”

It may well be that Lepine’s father didn’t attend the mosque, but his behaviour in the home would suggest that he well understood the law of Islam.

To what extent did his “role model” activities shape Lepine’s attitude to women?

Perhaps feminists would care to dwell on that.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Two steeples good, four minarets bad


I have been pondering the meaning of the Swiss vote on banning further construction of minarets, a proposition which passed by 57.5% of those who voted. The website, Gates of Vienna, has an excellent summary of official reaction to it, both in Europe and in Muslim countries.

One thing that has struck me observing the European scene for the past couple of years is how out of touch the ruling elites, political and media, are with the sympathies of the European people they are supposed to represent or understand. The rising election fortunes of political parties whose mandate is to stop further Islamization of Europe in several EU countries is one sign. Now this direct and unfiltered vote from what is normally considered Europe's best example of a peaceable state puts another nail in the coffin of disconnect.

Each time something that might upset Muslims happens the elites fall all over themselves rushing to ensure Muslims that they are still valued. This is followed sometimes by the condemnation of "the people" for being xenophobic.

Given the chance to express themselves by a direct vote like this or by a representative vote for an extremist party the proletariat is telling the elites that they do not wish to see their European heritage and culture replaced by an Asian one. Moreover, the more the elites push multiculuralism on the people as a policy which allows the Asian culture to grow, the more the Europeans push back. There is evidence that many pockets of Islam in Europe do not desire to integrate and accept European norms. Likewise, there are many Europeans who do not wish them to integrate. The multicultural experimentation of the European elites is running into serious trouble.

Seventy years ago the Europeans turned their backs on another religio-culture, the Jews. Nobody had done more to try to integrate themselves into European culture and society, and to make themselves visibly indistinguishable from the majority, than the Jews. In no sense did they represent a competing culture and religion. Yet, they were rejected by Europeans when the political atmosphere became charged and extremist and European identity was in play.

Here you have a competing religion and culture that, to a large extent, does not waste its time trying to become European in the sense of embracing European values, customs or clothing.

The elites need to do more to ensure the proles that they have an answer to the perceived threat from the morlocks, and worry less about assuring the morlocks that the proles are under control.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets


I saw an interview on television last night with George Monbiot. He is a columnist in the British newspaper, The Guardian, and the author of a climate change book, Heat: How to stop the planet burning. The title pretty much tells you which side of the climate debate he is on, although he would object to that statement, since he firmly believes there is no real debate, as all the so-called deniers are just poseurs arguing bad science or non science.

I read through some of his archived columns and the Wikipedia description of him this morning and he has quite the curriculum vitae. He seems to me to be an anti-establishment activist. Monbiot is an advocate of the “consume less” society. Naturally, supporting the conventional wisdom on climate change fits that political agenda to a tee.

I was interested to see him because the news of the leaked e-mails from the British Climate Research Unit shook him up. He called for the head of that institute, Phil Jones, to step down.

But he seems to have recovered his cool, if last night’s interview was an indication. He was smooth, poised, polished and definitely in command. He was here to accomplish two things: to participate in a climate change debate and to beat up on Canada for foot -dragging on climate change and interfering with the rest of the world that is rushing to get on with the program at Copenhagen.

Of course, he was asked about the leaked e-mails and he was in full defense mode, characterizing it as maybe evidence of some bad behaviour by 3 or 4 people, but in no way derailing the accepted science of climate change. According to him there are “hundreds” of “lines” of evidence in the scientific community, from across many disciplines, which support the IPCC view of the world’s coming climate.

I found that statement interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, the usual accusation against the climate deniers is that they are not “climatologists”, even if they have other scientific credentials. This ignores the fact that there are climatologists who dispute the AGW theory, some of whom used to be “go to” people for the IPCC, who have since dissociated themselves from it. Leaving that point aside, here we have a pro-IPCC supporter flogging the fact that non climatologists support AGW as proof of the theory.

Hmmm.

A little hypocrisy at play there.

Secondly, it is more than 3 or 4 scientists at the heart of this initial scandal. As well, similar accusations have cropped up in Australia and New Zealand regarding the accuracy of the temperature records around the globe.

What Monbiot didn’t say is as important as what he did say. These so-called “3 or 4” that he went to lengths to dismiss as irrelevant are not your backroom, white-coated lab geeks, with plastic pocket protectors and Scotch Tape holding their outsized eyeglasses together. These scientists are the rock stars of the IPCC and the face of the public shilling for AGW. It would be like collusion amongst Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Bobby Hull, or any other high scoring hockey players who might have played at the same time, to limit their goal output to influence the outcome of the games their teams play.

Monbiot failed to address the most distressing point of all (which the interviewer should have asked him). The CRU lost all the original temperature data records, so nobody can be sure what the base measurements were. It is also clear from the e-mails that the data base they do have, which was manipulated and massaged from the original data, is seriously corrupted to the point that the complier gave up in frustration trying to make sense of it.

Now you can say what you like, as Monbiot did, that biology, chemistry, physics, etc., all support the AGW theory, but in the end, it is the temperature that matters. If you can’t rely on a verifiable base of accurate temperature, how can you predict how that has changed? You have built a theory on sand, not concrete.

Monbiot dismissed the idea of a world-wide conspiracy to fabricate global warming, indicating that not only would thousands of competitive scientists have to stop being competitive to make it happen, but also politicians and media.

Yes, but only if you think of conspiracy as a planning exercise, like a bunch of crooks getting together to plan a break into a bank vault after hours.

There is another sense of conspiracy in the form of the Zeitgeist (spirit of the time). It is not planned, it is simply embraced. It is a mass movement, not unlike a religious movement. In one of his columns on his blog, Monbiot dismisses climate deniers as belonging to a religious movement.

But the same could be said for AGW supporters.

Climate “science” is based on computer algorithms, which depend for their reliability on a good base of information (which we have just discovered through these e-mails that we do not have) and the ability to compute huge swaths of measureable data accurately. The climate models all fail in one fashion or another to take account of all the chaotic nature of the relevant climate inputs. In short, their reliability as accurate predictors is suspect.

In the normal course, one would have to say this is a stupid basis on which to reorganize our global societies.

So what accounts for Copenhagen, if it is not reason?

The answer is simply that it is a mass movement, not really any different from the South Sea Bubble or the Tulip Bubble or any of the other historical parallels where multitudes of people bought into the theory of the rising tide and jumped on board before the ship sailed and stranded them on shore. People want to believe that they can change the planet to something better. It is utopia in all its glory at play.

Here is a paragraph from Eric Hoffer’s excellent little book on mass movements, The True Believer:

For men to plunge headlong into an undertaking of vast change, they must be intensely discontented yet not destitute, and they must have the feeling that by the possession of some potent doctrine, infallible leader or some new technique they have access to a source of irresistible power. They must also have an extravagant conception of the prospects and the potentialities of the future. Finally, they must be wholly ignorant of the difficulties involved in their vast undertaking.


George Monbiot’s personal history reveals a person who is a malcontent and wants to change the world. His pathology is shared by millions in the developed world who feel guilty about the consumerism and waste they have embraced, the unsustainable globe. The AGW theory is just the wedge they need to bring about the utopian world of which they dream.

And here is what Hoffer had to say about that:

When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lie low until the wrath has passed. For there is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the action which follows them.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nothing to see here, move along

Since we live in a busy world and there is only so much time a person can devote to the “news of the day”, it behooves us to ration our time carefully. Many people, in my opinion, glance at headlines and the first paragraph in a newspaper, form their opinions from that, and move on. Similarly, many people still get their impressions of the world from television news, a highly manipulative medium, which assaults us, simultaneously, with pictures (some of which are merely archived video), speech and headlines crawling across the bottom of the screen. I do not understand why anybody would subject themselves to this barrage – it produces shell shock in me. At the end of a broadcast I am never certain what I have learned or how I feel about it.

My preference is to search for news sources and opinion makers I generally trust on-line on the Internet. They could be found in on-line newspapers or blogs or occasionally broadcast outlets. You can take as much time as you need or is available to you. You can drill down to get the depth of material needed to understand a story and you can quickly link to other sites to give more background or different perspectives. You can bookmark them for easy access and you can save their output for future reference.

The difference between lazy reporting and thoughtful journalism shows up in today’s Toronto Sun.

Both items refer to the current scandal that has been dubbed "Climategate".

In a news story, a reporter tries to tell us that the leaked e-mails from the CRU are essentially irrelevant in the matter of climate debate. He quotes one global warming skeptic, a climatologist, with the Friends of Science organization, who thinks they are important because they show that the data on which the whole edifice of global warming is based may be false or distorted, and then immediately dismisses that person’s opinion with this sentence:

But most mainstream media and serious science groups have dismissed this interpretation of the e-mails as mischief.


Full points for identifying the MSM as a protector of the conventional wisdom, but “serious science groups”, who would they be? This reporter seems to think they include the Sierra Club and the Pembina Institute, because he cites quotations from their spokespeople. These are not scientific organizations, they are environmental advocacy groups.

What are we getting from this reporter? Is he displaying his bias by putting down the skeptics in favour of the pro global warming crowd? Or is he just ignorant?

One clue that he might not know what he is writing about is this sentence:

The e-mails, between top climate change scientists, appear to reveal top scientists were suppressing information that contradicted the widely held theory, backed up by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, that climate change is man-made.


Wrong, Mr. Reporter. It is the work of these climate scientists that back up IPCC report, not the other way around.

This is why it is dangerous to rely solely on headlines and reporters for reliable information.

Much better, in the same newspaper, to go to a regular columnist like Lorrie Goldstein who has immersed himself in the climate change file for the better part of the past year and has written numerous columns on the subject. He thinks this e-mail disclosure is far from being merely mischievous.

He has examined a set of exchanges that I have not seen covered in other media that shows the entire data base of weather information used by CRU was corrupted beyond repair. That is no small thing.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dr. Curry's honest assessment


I picked the following up from a posting on Stephen McIntyre's award winning blog, Climate Audit. It is written by a climate scientist, Judy Curry. Although it suffers from unqualified conventional wisdom that all AGW skeptics are diresputable or dishonourable people, it is still a thoughtful piece. Apparently, publishing it on McIntyre's site is not without some political consequences for Dr. Curry.

In fact, McIntyre invited the beseiged climate folks to post responses to the climategate scandal on his blog and was refused. He has reproduced the correspondence on his site. It fits right in with Curry's criticisms of the climate science cultish mentality.

Curry writes:

Having been riveted for the last few days by posts in the blogosphere on the HADCRU hack and the increasing attention being given to this by the mainstream media, I would like to provide an “external but insider” assessment and perspective. My perspective is as a climate researcher that is not involved directly in any of the controversies and issues in the purloined HADCRU emails, but as one that is familiar with this research, the surrounding controversies, and many of the individuals who sent these emails. While the blogosphere has identified many emails that allegedly indicate malfeasance, clarifications especially from Gavin Schmidt have been very helpful in providing explanations and the appropriate context for these emails. However, even if the hacked emails from HADCRU end up to be much ado about nothing in the context of any actual misfeasance that impacts the climate data records, the damage to the public credibility of climate research is likely to be significant. In my opinion, there are two broader issues raised by these emails that are impeding the public credibility of climate research: lack of transparency in climate data, and “tribalism” in some segments of the climate research community that is impeding peer review and the assessment process.

1. Transparency. Climate data needs to be publicly available and well documented. This includes metadata that explains how the data were treated and manipulated, what assumptions were made in assembling the data sets, and what data was omitted and why. This would seem to be an obvious and simple requirement, but the need for such transparency has only been voiced recently as the policy relevance of climate data has increased. The HADCRU surface climate dataset and the paleoclimate dataset that has gone into the various “hockeystick” analyses stand out as lacking such transparency. Much of the paleoclimate data and metadata has become available only because of continued public pressure from Steve McIntyre. Datasets that were processed and developed decades ago and that are now regarded as essential elements of the climate data record often contain elements whose raw data or metadata were not preserved (this appears to be the case with HADCRUT). The HADCRU surface climate dataset needs public documentation that details the time period and location of individual station measurements used in the data set, statistical adjustments to the data, how the data were analyzed to produce the climatology, and what measurements were omitted and why. If these data and metadata are unavailable, I would argue that the data set needs to be reprocessed (presumably the original raw data is available from the original sources). Climate data sets should be regularly reprocessed as new data becomes available and analysis methods improve. There are a number of aspects of the surface climate record that need to be understood better. For example, the surface temperature bump ca. 1940 needs to be sorted out, and I am personally lacking confidence in how this period is being treated in the HADCRUT analysis. In summary, given the growing policy relevance of climate data, increasingly higher standards must be applied to the transparency and availability of climate data and metadata. These standards should be clarified, applied and enforced by the relevant national funding agencies and professional societies that publish scientific journals.

2. Climate tribalism. Tribalism is defined here as a strong identity that separates one’s group from members of another group, characterized by strong in-group loyalty and regarding other groups differing from the tribe’s defining characteristics as inferior. In the context of scientific research, tribes differ from groups of colleagues that collaborate and otherwise associate with each other professionally. As a result of the politicization of climate science, climate tribes (consisting of a small number of climate researchers) were established in response to the politically motivated climate disinformation machine that was associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc. The reaction of the climate tribes to the political assault has been to circle the wagons and point the guns outward in an attempt to discredit misinformation from politicized advocacy groups. The motivation of scientists in the pro AGW tribes appears to be less about politics and more about professional ego and scientific integrity as their research was under assault for nonscientific reasons (I’m sure there are individual exceptions, but this is my overall perception). I became adopted into a “tribe” during Autumn 2005 after publication of the Webster et al. hurricane and global warming paper. I and my colleagues were totally bewildered and overwhelmed by the assault we found ourselves under, and associating with a tribe where others were more experienced and savvy about how to deal with this was a relief and very helpful at the time.

After becoming more knowledgeable about the politics of climate change (both the external politics and the internal politics within the climate field), I became concerned about some of the tribes pointing their guns inward at other climate researchers who question their research or don’t pass various loyalty tests. I even started spending time at climateaudit, and my public congratulations to Steve McIntyre when climateaudit won the “best science blog award” was greeted with a rather unpleasant email from one of the tribal members. While the “hurricane wars” fizzled out in less than a year as the scientists recovered from the external assault and got back to business as usual in terms of arguing science with their colleagues, the “hockey wars” have continued apparently unabated. With the publication of the IPCC 4th Assessment report, the Nobel Peace Prize, and energy legislation near the top of the national legislative agenda, the “denialists” were becoming increasingly irrelevant (the Heartland Conference and NIPCC are not exactly household words). Hence it is difficult to understand the continued circling of the wagons by some climate researchers with guns pointed at skeptical researchers by apparently trying to withhold data and other information of relevance to published research, thwart the peer review process, and keep papers out of assessment reports. Scientists are of course human, and short-term emotional responses to attacks and adversity are to be expected, but I am particularly concerned by this apparent systematic and continuing behavior from scientists that hold editorial positions, serve on important boards and committees and participate in the major assessment reports. It is these issues revealed in the HADCRU emails that concern me the most, and it seems difficult to spin many of the emails related to FOIA, peer review, and the assessment process. I sincerely hope that these emails do not in actuality reflect what they appear to, and I encourage Gavin Schmidt et al. to continue explaining the individual emails and the broader issues of concern.

In summary, the problem seems to be that the circling of the wagons strategy developed by small groups of climate researchers in response to the politically motivated attacks against climate science are now being used against other climate researchers and the more technical blogs (e.g. Climateaudit, Lucia, etc). Particularly on a topic of such great public relevance, scientists need to consider carefully skeptical arguments and either rebut them or learn from them. Trying to suppress them or discredit the skeptical researcher or blogger is not an ethical strategy and one that will backfire in the long run. I have some sympathy for Phil Jones’ concern of not wanting to lose control of his personal research agenda by having to take the time to respond to all the queries and requests regarding his dataset, but the receipt of large amounts of public funding pretty much obligates CRU to respond to these requests. The number of such requests would be drastically diminished if all relevant and available data and metadata were made publicly accessible, and if requests from Steve McIntyre were honored (I assume that many spurious requests have been made to support Steve McIntyre’s request, and these would all disappear).

The HADCRU hack has substantially increased the relevance of Climateaudit, WUWT, etc. The quickest way for HADCRU et al. to put Climateaudit and the rest of this tribe out of business is make all climate data and metadata public and make every effort to improve the datasets based on all feedback that you receive. Do this and they will quickly run out of steam and become irrelevant ☺. Gavin Schmidt’s current efforts at realclimate are a good step in the right direction of increasing transparency.

But the broader issue is the need to increase the public credibility of climate science. This requires publicly available data and metadata, a rigorous peer review process, and responding to arguments raised by skeptics. The integrity of individual scientists that are in positions of responsibility (e.g. administrators at major research institutions, editorial boards, major committees, and assessments) is particularly important for the public credibility of climate science. The need for public credibility and transparency has dramatically increased in recent years as the policy relevance of climate research has increased. The climate research enterprise has not yet adapted to this need, and our institutions need to strategize to respond to this need.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Who are the deniers now?


PROFESSOR ROSS McKITRICK

UPDATE: Here are a couple of the more interesting takes on this scandal, one from the Wall Street Journal which agrees with my view that the most serious charge to be laid against Jones and Mann, et al. is the manipulation of the peer review process to deny an opportunity for contrary research to be published, and one from a statistician in the National Post who plows the same soil previously tilled by McKitrick and thinks that the only international agreement that is required from Cophenhagen is an agreement that compels scientists to reveal their data for review by others.

The reverberations from the disclosure of e-mails obtained by a hacker and published on the Internet of the doings of the top AGW climate scientists still continue to reverberate around the globe.

The allegation that they cooked the global warming data to fit the AGW theory is not new and doesn’t require confirmation from these e-mails. It was first exposed about six years ago in the book: Taken By Storm: The Troubled Science, Policy and Politics of Global Warming by Ross McKitrick and Christopher Essex. That exposé was followed up by official investigations and other research that confirmed the conclusions of McKitrick and Essex.

The real devastation to the catastrophic climate change side comes in under the rubric of “integrity”.

I once made a statement to a friend who is a robust advocate for drastic measures to combat climate change and a committed believer in human caused global warming that environmentalists (i.e., people like him) can do harm. He was astonished that anyone would think that a “right-minded, altruistic” environmentalist could cause harm.

Right now, over a 100 countries are meeting in Denmark to plot a course that will ultimately result in shocks to the economies of many developed countries. This is all based on a 15-year successful campaign by global warm mongers to scare the snot out of politicians and to mobilize public opinion to further cause them angst.

Other scientists and researchers have been casting doubt on the entire premise on which this is based; i.e. that humans are largely responsible for climate change. Those dissenters have been vilified as dishonest because they are allegedly being paid off by energy industries who want to derail public policy based on global warming, and they are characterized as being irrelevant for the sin of being retired, and, in the final insult, they are dismissed as unimportant because they have not contributed research papers to respected scientific journals to be “peer reviewed”. In short, unlike the pro global warming crowd, the others lack integrity.

I am always suspicious of people whose first, and seemingly only, line of defence is ad hominem attacks on their critics.

There is a special label the AGW crowd has attached to the dissenting group, which, in normal science parlance (i.e. science unpolluted by politics) would be called skeptics. They are called deniers in the hope that the opprobrium that attaches to Holocaust deniers will trickle down and discredit these people. Consistent with that below the belt tactic are statements made by a number of AGWers that such deniers should receive criminal consequences and jail terms.

Now we find that the AGW group conspired to try to prevent research that did not conform to their published views from being “peer reviewed” in scientific journals.

They have become the deniers and perhaps they should be the ones looking at criminal consequences. Their integrity is shot, even if the science of climate change muddles on.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New acronym: PWW (Policing When White)


I love new acronyms, like LOL (laughing out loud) and FYI (for your information).

As a result of series of stories a few years ago in one of Toronto’s major newspapers, the Toronto police were caught in racial profiling. The acronym that was popularized by that scandal was BWD (black while driving).

As a result of two recent decisions of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal – no, really, it is actually called that – we can add a new one: PWW (policing when white).

In the summer, the tribunal adjudicated the complaint of a black man who was stopped by a police officer while he was delivering mail in high class neighbourhood. We have community policing here, and the white officer in question did not recognize the man who was wearing a postal service jacket and who was substituting for the regular postie who was off sick. He noticed the man return to a house he had already visited, so he asked him for some identification, which was produced, without incident, and the postie was thanked by the policeman for his co-operation and everybody went about their own business.

It would appear that the postal worker went back to the shop and told his fellow workers about the incident. They proceeded to tease him about it to the point that he decided to complain to the human rights police about racial discrimination, because he was made to feel bad about being black (not by the police, mind you, but by his fellow workers). The tribunal found there was no racial discrimination involved on the part of the policeman, but that he had “racially profiled” the postie, and an award of $10,000 was given to the black man.

In a similar award, $5,000 was given to a black woman who was ticketed by a white police officer for a number of offences related to her operation of a motor vehicle. In the wee small hours of the morning the officer observed her driving erratically and confronted her. She was uncooperative and matters escalated, as they tend to do when people do not cooperate with the police when they are simply doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Apparently, she had not viewed Chris Rock’s sensitivity training video.

Again, the tribunal could find no evidence of racial discrimination on the part of the officer, but fined the police anyway, claiming there was racial profiling involved.

Would these outcomes have applied if a black police officer was involved? Can black policemen be accused of “racially profiling”?

Stand by.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Truth melts like April snow



TYPICAL 9/11 TRUTHER


A year ago I was having heated arguments with 9/11 Truthers, the folks who believe the conspiracy theory that the attacks on that day were not carried out by Islamic extremists, but by operatives of the Bush administration.

Now that Bush is no longer in power these sorts of accusations have melted away like April snow.

The current President has spent a good portion of his political capital making nice to the Muslims. What a political feather in his cap it would be if he could tell the Muslims how George Bush’s government was really responsible for 9/11 and how the Muslims were unfairly maligned.

It is easy for him to do this. He has made many mentions of the mess he has been left to clear up from the Bush years. He has all the agencies that Bush used to control now reporting to him. He could get any information he needs to back up the “Bush did it” theory on 9/11 and add it to his “to do” list.

Instead, he chose in his Cairo speech to tell the conspiracy people to take a hike.

What is with that?

Oh, after he looked into it he found there was no conspiracy. It actually was carried out by Muslims performing religiously mandated jihad. Who knew?

I sort of miss those arguments though. They were great fun.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NATO dhimmis -- time to go home


The traditional relationship between Muslims, when they controlled a territory, and the non-Muslims, was that the latter could continue to live and go about their business provided they openly acknowledged their dhimmi status (second class citizenship) and they paid protection money to the Muslims for the privilege of being permitted to stay alive.

If you were any doubt about the waste of time that has become the war in Afghanistan it has to be the news that has surfaced that money is being paid to the Taliban not to kill NATO troops. Canada has denied it does this, as do the French and the Italians. But the British are doing it and it appears the Americans may be doing it also. Here and here and here and here.

Paying Muslims so they won’t kill you. How Islamic can it get?

Time to get out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The value, or otherwise, of trying Islamist murderers in Western courtrooms

In today's Toronto Sun, legendary journalist, Peter Worthington, who is about 80 years old and who usually pulls no punches, writes about the value of having a trial for Major Hasan. Unfortunately, like so many mainstream media types who really don't know anything about Islam, he purveys the concept that Major Hasan's actions were a "perversion" of his religion.

This is the equivalent of writing a story about Major Hasan, if he were a Christian and had been caught distributing blankets and food packages to the homeless, claiming that this was of perversion the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Why do they invent this stuff? if you know something about the religion you would not say this. If you don't know about the religion then you should just shut up and not mislead the public.

There are something like 123 suras in the Koran that talk about fighting and killing non-Muslims in the name of Allah. Major Hasan believed these commandments from God. How is that a perversion? Here is a discussion of those suras.

Speaking of trials, Pat Buchanan asks some strong and searching questions about the value of a trial in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dr. Phil, the Islamists' answer to Lenin's "useful idiot"


If you want to know why we are losing the struggle with radical Islam you don’t have to go very much further than this little piece of national television fare.

It is a segment from CNN’s Larry King Live Show featuring an interview a few days after the Fort Hood event with Dr.Phil, a woman in the Veteran’s Affairs Administration, and a JAG lawyer.

Philip McGraw gets the head start, which means he gets to frame the discussion that follows. For him, this is a mental/emotional issue, full stop.

You can’t blame him for that, it is his field, it is the prism through which he views the world, and it is the thing he is most comfortable talking about.

I would venture to say he knows diddly-squat about Islam, from at least one comment he made.

Next up are two other split screen guests, Shoshana Johnson, who served in Iraq and was, for a brief period, a POW, and Tom Kenif (not sure of the spelling) a JAG officer and criminal lawyer who also served in Iraq.

Kenif disputes the mental explanation, believing the truth may lie in Islamic extremism. However, both McGraw and Johnson jump down his throat, accusing him of saying dangerous things that are simply untrue and ridiculous. It is also pretty clear from King’s interjections that he finds Kenif’s explanation suspect.

At various times, Dr. Phil says things like, “You can’t make sense out of nonsense” and “Well (mentally healthy) people don’t pick up a gun and kill their friends.”

Unfortunately for Kenif, in the ensuing argument he falls into Dr. Phil’s trap, agreeing that a person who murders people for religious reasons is mentally ill. At that point he loses the argument.

Wrong, Dr. Phil. That is music to the Islamists’ ears.

Go on spouting about mental illness and believing that the military should focus on stress and not religion. This was a one-off, an isolated incident, completely explained away by westernized notions of mental illness. It has nothing to do with Islam. Move along now, nothing to see here.

The Islamic Project will give you a big medal for that one.

There is no reason to think whatsoever that an Islamic radical who kills the perceived enemies of Allah, with the full knowledge that if he dies in that battle he will be guaranteed eternal life in Paradise -- the only guaranteed path in the Koran -- is mentally ill. There is nothing nonsensical about this if the religion makes sense.

The only way that could be true is if you were to say that all people who believe religious doctrine must be mentally ill. No American is going to say that, certainly not Dr. Phil.

You could possibly refine that last statement and say that only people who believe the religious dogma of Islam are mentally ill because of the violence it spawns. Again, no American in the mainstream media and establishment is going to say that.

If Major Hasan was acting out of purely religious motivation then the soldiers he killed or tried to kill were not his friends, Dr. Phil. They were his enemies. There is nothing irrational about that. Soldiers are supposed to kill their enemies.

And if you knew anything at all about Islam, Mr. McGraw, you would know that Muslims are not permitted to make friends with non-believers.

Mr. Kenif had the right idea even if he couldn’t follow it up properly on the King show.

The safest way to proceed after Fort Hood is to assume an Islamic influence and act accordingly, and revise your judgment only if subsequent evidence emerges that mental factors unrelated to religion are prevalent. This would be called an application of the precautionary principle, or, as we used to say, doing something simply out of an abundance of caution.

Unfortunately, the Dr. Phils in America control the high ground and more Fort Hood disasters can be expected in the future.

On a related note, here is a Washington Post story of the first post-Fort Hood interview with Hasan’s jihadist mentor.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New York trial pushes Pentagon agenda


In a race against time the Pentagon has shifted some of its vast resources to step up the program to develop the H2O Follicle Enhancer and bring it to market early in the New Year, in an effort to roll it out six months earlier than originally scheduled.

“At least 200 additional specialists have been reassigned to this work in the past week as well as an additional $10 million dollars injected into its budget”, said a Pentagon spokesperson, who requested anonymity.

The HFE has been a “hush-hush” project in the basement labs at the “Pent” for the past year, administered by PROFITS, the acronym for the Program Research Office for Investigating Technology Spinoffs.

PROFITS was initially set up under the Eisenhower administration in the mid-1950s because the U.S. government was embarrassed by the amount of money it was devoting to scientific research for military and warfare purposes.

“Eisenhower, who always had a concern about the industrial – military hegemony in the economy, believed if some of the research could be turned to useful consumer use there would be a morally defensible way of supporting such expenditures and that it would have the added benefit of recouping some of the taxpayers dollars through volume sales of the spinoffs”, said the source.

It is the announcement by the Obama administration that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attack, will be brought to New York and put on trial that has the Pentagon in such a dither. The defence will discredit evidence of information obtained from waterboarding and attempt to have that evidence thrown out.

The Pentagon is concerned that public disclosure of its waterboarding techniques will harm its commercial opportunities.

“One of the exciting things we learned at Guantanamo”, said the source, “is that waterboarding can produce prodigious hair growth. You only have to look at the before and after pictures of Khalid (shown above) to see the results. In the first photo, taken at the time of his capture, you see a depressed man, losing his hair, and in the after shot is the same person -- no really -- sporting a luxuriant beard.”

“Also note the bright-eyed twinkle in the second photograph. This man has been fully restored to health and he owes it all to waterboarding.”

“You know", said the spokesperson, "We got all the 9/11 information from this guy in the first waterboarding session, within about three minutes, but the next day the guards noticed that his face fuzz had grown more than inch overnight. When that news got back to Washington, it was decided to continue the waterboarding to see if more growth would be stimulated. That was what accounted for the other 79 dunkings Khalid received. The outcome was both stunning and undeniable. The PROFITS folks at the Pentagon were very excited.”

When asked about the market possibilities for the H2O Follicle Enhancer, the source said it would likely be an export market that would drive sales, particularly in the Middle East and South Asia amongst Muslim men, and in India amongst Sikhs.

“The market for a beard growing product is just so-so in the Western Hemisphere, but face beavers are all the rage in the Islamic world. The women like them too, for obvious reasons I need not go into right now and that will not be a direct selling point in the marketing campaign, but will be understood nonetheless”, said the spokesperson. "The demographics favor strong market demand, as well, with so many of the potential buyers being under the age of 24 and unattractive to women because of difficulties in growing full beards."

Pentagon researchers have been working overtime to find the right ratio of uric acid to water that they believe is one of the keys to the stimulation of hair follicles. Uric acid is produced by human urine. They are also interested in knowing whether the cultural/racial make-up of the soldiers who emptied their bladders into the water used on Khalid is important.

“It could be a diet thing. If the soldier was Hispanic and had just consumed a burrito within the hour before he appeared at the waterboarding site the density or purity of the acid may be different from a Caucasian soldier who had a tuna sandwich.”

PROFITS has also engaged a highly-respected boutique New York marketing consulting agency to assist it in developing a marketing program, but has not made the agreement public as yet. However, it has been confirmed that the Ron Jon Surf Shop has been contracted to develop a commercially appealing waterboard.

“Something colorful and comfortable that conveys more laid back Beach Boys and less Torquemada is the goal”, said the spokesperson. "After all, who would want to be uncomfortable while they are choking?"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In praise of bigots


Carrie Prejean, Famous California Bigot

What follows is one of the more interesting responses to my recent blog postings that I have received in a while. I have set it out in italics and my reaction to it is posted below in normal font.

Anonymous writes:

This blogger (a Canadian?) is a closet Islamic bigot, hiding behind a facade of social consciousness (women's rights/homosexual rights, and protecting apostates, etc.)...substituting 'Muslim' for 'Nazi' (in his whimsical retelling of the Ft. Hood new story) really betrays this fact.

Islam is not Nazism, not even close (the write has never met a Nazi, I believe, and very few real followers of Islam). If one is calculating body counts, Christianity (which has also historically encouraged a "holy war' mentality) is at least as murderous as Islam, taken as a whole. Christianity is also anti-female, anti-homosexual (though the church has been a haven for homosexuals for centuries), and, of course, intolerant of apostates and dissenters (remember the Holy Inquisition?)---until the present age, at least (but I note the current Pope's declaration that the "true enemy" of monotheism is "secularism"--perpetuating the martial mentality towards the perceived "other").

While I do agree with people like David Brooks (recent op-ed about choice and evil)...I temper my "conditioned prejudice reflex" with (what I hope is) a deeper sense of cultural understanding. The non-judgmental "reaction" by leaders following the shooting is a sign of how far we have come as a nation from the days of instantaneous scapegoating (of the "other)...the blog writer would seem to prefer (under the guise of a word substitution exercise) that we mentally replace the foreigner term (Muslim or mole) with the modern era's most evil label (Nazi).

Here's my "whimsical" response to the "dead reckoning" blogger's post:

Yes, that's right, let's stop giving people with foreign names and beliefs the benefit of the doubt anymore...Let's encourage out political leaders to "shoot first, ask questions later"...let's foster public cries for retaliation (a slippery slope once you use the term "Nazi")...let's return to the 19th Century!...and then go through the bloody socio- evolutionary process once again...until maybe we wake up and learn and truly progress...

The blog writer routinely generalizes Islam and makes statements like "Islam is the only religion that preaches destruction of Western civilization" etc....Not distinguishing between Islamic teaching and Koranic teaching, and, in the context of discussing what the Koran preaches, he conflates the two...leaving the reader with the impression that the Koran says these things.

Here is a quote from the Koran (Sura 5, verse 13, I believe): "Be ye steadfast witnesses for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of other people blind you, that ye deal not justly."

As Dick Cheney has shown us, it is simple (minded) to "cherry pick" this or that passage to justify this or that prejudice (the bible was used to justify slavery; "All are welcome at my father's table...master and slave...." etc.)

Like most monotheistic, religious holy books, there is much content that is a reflection of the historical epoch in which the writing came about...often containing prejudices and misunderstandings...but also, admonitions like the foregoing Koranic quote (it's rough equivalent in the West: "do unto others as you would have them do unto you")...

Again, the blog writer, in my opinion is a bigot. His efforts seem little different from when Laura Bush noted the oppression of women in Afghanistan (as an additional moral justification for occupying the land)...as if she were a defender of women's rights (!)

...By the way, the FBI investigation into Hasan’s communication with al-Awlaki (American born, Yemeni cleric) was deemed to be related to Hasan's PTSD research (professional duties), and did not exhibit any "warning signs" or pose any threat...thus the investigation did not lead to any termination or suspension of Hasan's duties.

The recent admonition by Obama (and others) not to rush to judgment...was the ethically and socially correct thing to do.

I agree that there is such a thing as evil in the world (though I disagree with its commonly judged causes) ...but also, that we should not rush to judgment of someone based upon his/her cultural practices and beliefs. WE ALL KNOW THIS ALREADY. It is possible to believe both, despite what the pundits amongst us try to argue in favor of (this way or that, never both).

The war 'over there" has hit home once again...did you think that we were immune? Apart from the geo-political strategic reasons for occupying two Islamic nations (and a third being Saudi Arabia, with 20 K US troops stationed there)...we are fighting against extremism in all its forms (religious, social, political, economic)...our side has equally as many religious fanatics willing to kill or cry "holy war" (or "culture war")....this is the only enemy (same as it ever was)...let's find some concrete ways to combat it.....hmmm, maybe starting with
"love thy neighbor as thyself"....?


Navigator (aka bigot) replies:

Normally I am not one to dwell on the ideological language employed by the left wing and the right wing. I am more interested in the actual arguments advanced by the parties, but this piece is chock-a-block full of such leftist politico-babble that I simply could not resist commenting on that aspect of it. Is there a school somewhere that teaches the correct form for the articulation of leftist conceits 101, because they all seem to follow a common format?

We have the obligatory accusation of racism or Islamophobia; take your pick, which must always appear at the beginning of such a piece so that there is no shadow of a doubt that the subject of the accusation has no legitimacy. In this case the accusation is that I am an Islamic bigot, but not an ordinary Islamic bigot, I am a closet Islamic bigot (almost like a secret society bigot).

But the writer (who I shall hereafter designate in the masculine gender) has unmasked me, ripping away my guise of being concerned about such leftist-owned causes as women’s rights, homosexual rights and concern for apostates, to show that none of these really matter to me because I am just an Islamophobe and therefore have nothing useful or reliable to offer on any of those subjects.

We have the usual accusations of false argument, which the writer immediately employs on his own behalf with no shame of hypocrisy. For example, Anonymous wags a finger at me for the evil of “cherry picking” to bolster my argument (without identifying the example, mind you) and then proceeds to do exactly that by quoting some single sura from the Koran that fits his theme.

Likewise, it seems to Anonymous that I ought to know a Nazi or a Muslim before I write about them. He does not offer us his credentials in that respect, but is quite comfortable launching into a discussion of these matters anyway. Why do leftists feel that they command the public stage and they can play on it without abiding by the rules they seek to impose on others. The arrogance of that posture is breathtaking.

Anonymous fallaciously sets up a straw man that he attributes to me and then proceeds to knock him down (the body count thing).

The babble part is the business about the “other”. If only we didn’t think in terms of the “other” then there would be no “other” and we would have no problems, it all comes down to us to stop thinking there is an “other”. I have always thought this line is claptrap. Just because I don’t want to think there is a wolf at my door is not going to determine whether or not there is one.

But enough on the structure of Anonymous’ attack. Let me deal with the substance.

Anonymous seems to have missed the point of my satire. It was not driven by a desire to compare Islamism with Nazism. It was to compare the current climate of political correctness in speech and thought with that which prevailed amongst the military and government authorities in my father’s generation. The key to the piece was that the statements were taken as if they had occurred in the early 1940s, during a war with Germany, and, fairly looked at in that historical sense, they seem ludicrous.

I am not, by any measure, a “closet Islamic bigot”. I make no bones about the fact that I do not like Islam. Read my blog, I have almost nothing positive to say about it. If I am in a closet on that subject, it is one with three walls and a door all made of glass. Nor does the appellation of bigot stick, since by definition a bigot is an unreasonably intolerant person. I a reasonably intolerant person, or, put another way, a person who is intolerant for good reasons.

I am an atheist. I have acknowledged that fact repeatedly on my blog. I do not hide my bias. I don’t like any religion: a pox on all your holy books, as it were. But I have deep concerns about Islam above the others and for good reasons, which I will elaborate hereafter.

I don’t think it is sufficient for Anonymous to simply assert, as if it were an obvious fact, that Islamism and Nazism are “not even close”. He should at least be intellectually honest and make the case for that proposition. Otherwise it is merely a conclusion in search of a premise.

Anonymous should explain why he thinks that Islam and German National Socialism differ on the key issues – just the ones that would concern us in a pluralistic, liberal democracy. I am referring to matters such as triumphalism, the will to power, racism, treatment of Jews, treatment of non-Nazis and non-Muslims and so on. I would be curious to see how Anonymous parses the differences, if he can actually identify them.

Anonymous failed to mention that I credited Geert Wilders with the proposition that there are similarities between Nazism and Islamism, but I won’t hide behind that because I do believe there are some disturbing similarities: the hatred of Jews being one, the claim to super status in the world being another, and the idea that women are primarily breeders for the perpetuation of the race, being just another example. The list goes on.

Ah, then we have the old “Christianity is just as bad or worse” moral relativism argument. I have heard better arguments: Stalin and Mao were atheists and they killed a lot more people than all the mainline Abrahamic religious people ever did.

So what? How does that excuse Islam’s atrocities? Just because Al Capone killed more people than John Dillinger doesn’t exonerate Dillinger from his crimes or cause us to think more highly of him.

I am no apologizer for Christianity, as I have made clear in the foregoing, but it is not Christians who are blowing up and shooting non-Christians in the name of their religion. That might have been the case long ago, or perhaps not so long ago, if one considers Northern Ireland, but in the 21st century that activity is now a near monopoly of the Muslims, and it is the here and now that concerns me, not the long history of this activity.

And it also concerns me that it is not confined to only Muslim lands; would that it were, because that would be an easy out, but it is worldwide. Neither the IRA nor the Tamil Tigers ever threatened my safety and security in Canada. The same cannot be said for some of the followers of Islam.

When I must run a gauntlet of oppressive security measures at airports, have my passport checked 5 times between the checked-luggage kiosk and stepping aboard the airplane, having my ass and balls grabbed by some bored security agent, and have to partially disrobe in public, it is not because Christians have been previously caught with weapons or bombs hidden in their Bibles or shoes.

Rest assured, Anonymous, that if Christians start down this same road, I will be as equally concerned and as equally harsh about them. At my core, you will be able to say with confidence and pride that you know me to be an equal opportunity bigot.

I don’t think Anonymous’s case is helped much by laying the distinction at my door that I failed to make; i.e., what the Koran says versus Islamic teaching. This accusation would make sense if the Koran contained nothing but verses of love and kisses for all, and Islamic teaching was something quite different.

In fact, the Koran contains many suras that talk about fighting and killing non-Muslims. Additionally, the Hadith (the best example of the Muslim life as referenced by the way Mohammed lived his and what he had to say about it) is another source of Islamic religious duty, law and precedence. The world is not a better place as a result of the massacre Mohammed visited upon the Jews who rejected him as a prophet of God.

These are the sources Islamic leaders cite when they pronounce death sentences against novelists, cartoonists, publishers, movie makers, screen writers, translators, and even duly elected members of legislatures, none of whom live in Muslim lands, authorizing any Muslim in the world to kill these people. It is the source material for the justifications cited by al Qaeda leaders and their acolytes for their murderous activities and the source of justification offered by ordinary Muslims who take it upon themselves to visit death and destruction on non-Muslims.

These violent suras are no less authentic and authoritative than the sweetness and light one that Anonymous cherry-picked.

Anonymous betrays his own faulty reading skills. At no time did I make the claim, direct or implied, that the Koran teaches the destruction of western civilization.

In fact, the idea that Islam is the only religion at war with western civilization was not my proposition at all. It came from a Pakistani-born, Canadian Muslim, Tarek Fatah, who has written a book about Islam, which was the subject of another one of my blog postings.

Now I am beginning to get a sense of what Mark Steyn must have felt when he faced human rights complaints about what he had written and the Muslims were, in reality, not complaining about his viewpoint, but the fact that he merely reported what other Muslims had said.

Anonymous seems to assume I am a war-monger with respect to Islam. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

I have stated previously on my blog that I think the Afghanistan effort is wasted, that we should bring our army home when our commitment expires in 2011, and we should avoid mucking around militarily in Muslim lands in the future. I was opposed from the outset to the American invasion of Iraq. So I don’t really know how I got “conflated”, to borrow his word, with the likes of Dick Cheney and Laura Bush.

I don’t want to fight Islam; I just wish to protect my liberal-democracy society from that ideology. I am looking for an effective shield, not a sword. Is there a problem with that?

Well, there is when the top soldier in the United States professes to be more concerned about backlashes against Muslims than the future safety and security of non-Muslims. If the military cannot protect its own, perhaps it should take a leaf out of the playbook of one of the Scandinavian police forces that hired a private security firm to protect the police. And if the military cannot even safe-keep its own, then what hope is there for the rest of us on civvy street?

I am aware of the public details of the investigation by the FBI of Major Hasan’s communications with the radical Islamist in Yemen and that the investigation was suspended because the investigator concluded it was not terrorist related. It is interesting to note the response of that al Qaeda recruiter to Major Hasan’s 10 minutes of mayhem:
Anwar al-Awlakid posted a blog entry titled 'Nidal Hassan Did the Right Thing' on his web site. In the post, Awlaki calls Hasan a 'hero’, and writes:

"[Hasan] is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people. This is a contradiction that many Muslims brush aside and just pretend that it doesn’t exist. Any decent Muslim cannot live, understanding properly his duties towards his Creator and his fellow Muslims, and yet serve as a US soldier. The US is leading the war against terrorism which in reality is a war against Islam. Its army is directly invading two Muslim countries and indirectly occupying the rest through its stooges. Nidal opened fire on soldiers who were on their way to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. How can there be any dispute about the virtue of what he has done? In fact the only way a Muslim could Islamically justify serving as a soldier in the US army is if his intention is to follow the footsteps of men like Nidal."


President Obama referred to Hasan’s “twisted logic”. So much for the non-judgmental leaders Anonymous so admires.

There is nothing twisted about Hasan’s understanding of his religious duty. In fact, Major Hasan had suggested early on that all Muslim soldiers in the U.S. military should be granted conscientious objector status as long as U.S. soldiers were being deployed for combat in Muslim countries. That was a most sensible and logical solution to this problem. It is unfortunate that nobody took him seriously enough to follow through with it.

I make no claims about the existence of good and evil as some sort of cosmic force, I will leave the proof of that one for Anonymous. I can only distinguish actions that I would be inclined to call good from those that I would likely brand as evil. What Major Hasan did was evil, and praising what he did is evil.

Finally, a word about love thy neighbour.

In Christianity this is supposed to apply to everybody. In Islam it is restricted to only Muslims. This is a distinction Mr. Obama failed to note in his Cairo speech.