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The Public Option Rorschach Test

The group Public Option Please (POP) has had an art contest to push for the Public Option in the health care bill. The public option is the vehicle for moving America to nationalized health care. The winning entry is perfect for people on all sides. The artist behind this, and those who gave it the award, are utterly clueless that this picture is a perfect argument AGAINST the public option. (via The Corner)

To the Public Option Please folks this image demonstrates the need FOR the public option. I would say the opposite is true.

The group even attributes a quote about how a healthy society enhances liberty to Thomas Jefferson. Turns out, it was actually a quote from a British Lord. The essay the quote was taken from was apparently thought of quite highly by some one named King George III. You know, the king who inspired a little revolution in these parts. A revolution that followed a certain declaration written by Thomas Jefferson.

Memo to Haliburton: Become a Prostitution Consultant

I don’t know if the Democratic congress has specifically tried to cancel Haliburton contracts yet (they’ll probably hold off until primary season), but it seems clear the best way to mitigate the risk of that, if you are a Haliburton executive, is to have some employees get involved in prostitution consulting. ACORN did this, got caught, Congress tried to stop funding them, and ACORN actually found a judge who’d put an injunction on the very basic role of the Congress.

Judge Gershon also has a skewed understanding of how the legislative and executive branches interact, and how the Constitution separates their responsibilities. For example, she justifies her decision by stating Congress did not “order any agency of government to conduct an investigation” of ACORN’s wrongdoing. Excuse me? Congress does not have the authority to “order” executive-branch agencies like the Justice Department and HUD to “conduct an investigation.” Such agencies report to the president, who is constitutionally tasked with enforcement of the law. Congress can conduct oversight hearings or defund agencies, but it cannot “order” those agencies to conduct an investigation.

Gershon also complains that Congress did not initiate a “congressional investigation of ACORN,” nor did it apply the “comprehensive regulations that have been promulgated” by federal agencies to govern grant-making and the suspension or debarment of federal contractors. Huh? Does Judge Gershon really believe that it is unconstitutional for Congress to decide who to fund with federal tax dollars “without hearings”? Does she really believe that Congress has to abide by regulations issued by executive-branch agencies before deciding on appropriations of discretionary federal funds?

Apparently, its the judicial branch, not the House of Representatives that controls the spending.  I guess we need to update those American Government text books.

Its Inconceivably Accelerating!

The UN Secretary General today said that global warming was accelerating faster than anticipated:

He searched his vocabulary for the precise phrase to convey his deepest conviction … and you could see his eyes sparkle when he hit upon the shim-sham-inducing word, accelerating, to describe what was happening to global warming.

Good Lord! I thought to myself. This is bad! If global warming is accelerating, if it is worse than we have predicted — happening three times faster than any scientist ever feared in his worst nightmare — then, by golly, we sure ought to do something!

But as I was jumping up to write a check to the Sierra Club, I remembered. Hadn’t I heard Ban Ki-moon’s phrase somewhere else before?

I had. And often.

I turned to my trusty archives, and discovered something. At least since the late 1990s, and probably before, journalists, “activists,” and even politicians have been claiming: “It’s worse than we thought.”

Only two things can account for the constant use of these words:

(1) It really is, each and every time we turn around, getting hotter by amounts greater than we had predicted.

While this is logically possible, if this rhetoric were consistently true then by now the Earth’s fish would be swimming in water as hot as Tiger Woods is in.

(2) The politicians, etc., have forgotten the definition of accelerating.

This is plausible. It is, after all, a physical term, and most non-scientist global warming activists are demonstrably not well versed in their physics.

There is a third possibility, but knowing how earnest the Copenhagen crowd is, we can scarcely give it any weight.

It is — I hesitate when I write this — that the activists are exaggerating, even (gulp) fibbing.

For our own good, of course. To convince reluctant people to act. Let us hope this third scenario exists only in my fevered imagination.

Does anyone have any idea how they are defining “accelerating”(Because the surface temps have been flat or declining the last 10 years)? Its like in The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Really the only important thing that is accelerating is the political and media hype needed to create a regulatory regime controlled by our elites in order to address this non-accelerating “crisis.” And they need to close the deal very soon because:

  • Political will by western citizenry is starting to doubt the supposed crisis and are growing more hostile to the proposals to “solve” the problem.
  • Once you get the regulatory regime and the associated bureaucracies in place, they will be nearly impossible to remove
  • Given the global economic flameout we are experiencing, CO2 output will almost certainly decline and/or show a slowdown in its growth once the final accounting is done. The busybodies putting the regulations in place can then claim credit for this apparent decline in global warming the last 10 years.

(Yes, I know this is the 2nd time I’ve used the classic quote in a post. Its like a Seinfeld episode. There is just so much material there that applies to the real world.)

Obama is not a Muslim. He’s something much worse!

Sadly, it appears Israelis are not devoid of high percentages of people led astray by provocative wind bags. Obama is not a Muslim. He may have been as a child, I don’t know and really don’t care. What I do know is that Obama is much worse than a fundamentalist Muslim (or fundamentalist Christian for that matter). Having heard him off telepromptor enough to judge, I’m pretty sure that the president worships at the church of “The Post 1960’s Socialist Chin Scratching Ivy League Academic.” Any deference to standard fair montheism is merely for political opportunism (and he wouldn’t be the first at that).

Define a Republican Insider

Interesting poll (via the Hot Air), regarding how congressional insiders and political insiders view the political figures from their respective parties. Lots of interesting stuff, some of it surprising, some of it not. This response is particularly interesting (Hot Air focused on the Sarah Palin angle). For the question “Which political figure would you most like to mute” (i.e. shut up and disappear) the response was:

Political Insiders

1. Sarah Palin 28%
2. Michael Steele 12%
3. Rush Limbaugh 6%
3. Tom Tancredo 6%

Total votes: 85. Other top vote-getters: Dick Cheney, Far Right, Newt Gingrich, Lindsey Graham, no one, Olympia Snowe, 4%; Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, 2%.

That would be Republican insiders. So, 85 Republican insiders voted. I count that 8% of the supposed Republicans wanted the two conciliatory moderates (Graham and Snowe) to be quiet. Another 4% wanted no one to shut up (good for them). Lets agree that Michael Steele (the GOP chair who seems to be a run of the mill political hack who has had some high profile run ins with the base) is viewed poorly because of his leadership qualities and not his ideology per se. Its hard to say WHY they voted for him. Therefore, I’ll leave him out of the equation. Ditto Huckabee who passes himself off as a conservative but has no history of actually governing like one (he’s like Bush’s big government “compassionate” conservatism on steroids). So, he doesn’t really qualify as a conservative or moderate in my opinion.

Removing 8% that voted for moderates, 2% that voted for the con man from Arkansas, and 12% that voted for Steele, that leaves 78%. Of those, 24% of Republican insiders wish to mute conservative ideologues (Rush, Cheney, Far Right, Newt and I’ll put Tancredo in this mix). Then we have Bachman and Beck who can best be described as Tea Party ideologues. I also put Sarah Palin (who 28% of insiders wish to shut up) in with this crowd though she no doubt straddles the conservative and Tea Party camps. Bottom line, the conservatives and the Tea Party crowd are diametrically opposed to most of what Obama/Pelosi/Reid are selling and certainly wish for a smaller, less intrusive and decentralized government.

What is a political insider? Consultants and probably a few opinion makers (David Brooks, George Will et al, but I don’t know that these guys were specifically questioned). Regardless of how one slices it, a solid majority (56% by my count) of “Republican Insiders” wish they didn’t have actual real live small government types out there making the case for the opposition. This is just another example of how the “beltway culture” of both parties is utterly clueless about the values of fly-over country. People outside of the beltway don’t hold “make nice with the insiders” as a particular value to be held in high esteem. We had six years of that with Bush + the Corrupt Hack led GOP Congress which gave way to the euro-socialist monstrosity currently holding power. Even “Republican Insiders” lean toward a “government can fix all” proposition.

Trying to Scare the American People

First, it was those evil Republicans. Now its Obama’s own economists. Where does the scare conspiracy end? I find this surprising. I find it shocking that more government regulation and control could actually increase costs and insurance premiums.

An artificial hockey stick from down under?

Watts Up With That continues to dig through data. Someone really needs to tell him that data integrity is way overrated in climate science, what with all the settling of science and all.

Yikes again, double yikes! What on earth justifies that adjustment? How can they do that? We have five different records covering Darwin from 1941 on. They all agree almost exactly. Why adjust them at all? They’ve just added a huge artificial totally imaginary trend to the last half of the raw data! Now it looks like the IPCC diagram in Figure 1, all right … but a six degree per century trend? And in the shape of a regular stepped pyramid climbing to heaven? What’s up with that?

Follow the link and check out the graphs. Short version: the adjusted data goes in the exact opposite direction of the raw data with no discernable reason for the adjustment.

I got the link from Megan McCardle, who, as one of her commenters points out, continues to give the benefit of the doubt to the wrong side. That said, McCardle has a great breakdown on the concept of selection bias and how you don’t need a grand conspiracy or actual fakery of data to get a biased result.

That is the actual worrying question about CRU, and GISS, and the other scientists working on paleoclimate reconstruction:  that they may all be calibrating their findings to each other.  That when you get a number that looks like CRU, you don’t look so hard to figure out whether it’s incorrect as you do when you get a number that doesn’t look like CRU–and maybe you adjust the numbers you have to look more like the other “known” datasets.  There is always a way to find what you’re expecting to find if you look hard enough.

There are other issues:  selection bias in the grant process, papers with large results being much more likely to be published than papers with equivocal results, professors preferring students who agree with them, and so forth.  I doubt that could amount to faking the entire thing.  But it could amplify the magnitude.

Read her entire post as well as she quotes from another useful article that gets into the weeds of the possible biases.

A friend of mine asked me if I really thought these scientist would have faked their data (my quick answer was no) but then he went on to say that the skeptics are more likely to fake data because they are the ones who’d be impacted by the regulations. Leaving aside the fact that many of the skeptics do not actually work for Exxon and the like, I shot back that the idea that greed for money is worse than greed for power was willfully naive. I neglected to add that greed for money COULD also apply to the AGW scientists.

The fact is that many climate scientists make their living off government grants or university grants. Environment bureaucrats and university professors are overwhelmingly populated by people with agendas that are left wing, though I know that isn’t really the best adjective but I can’t think of a better one (its not merely liberalism, or marxism, but an anti-capatilist luddism at play). The bureaucrats have agendas. Let’s not kid ourselves. And they control the grant purse strings. Why is a scientists whose funding comes from Exxon less credible than a scientist whose funding comes from an agenda driver bureaucrat? Both funding sources could easily turn off the spiggot if they feel the research no longer fits their agenda. So, while I still say that I don’t THINK the scientists willfully faked data, I do think there is a very real possibility that they used their theory about what they think should happen to adjust observations that didn’t match the theory. In other words, they see the adjustments as logical because they’ve decide their theory is sound. The observations that don’t conform to that sound (or settled) theory are just inconvenient truths.

That’s “Democracy” For You. Or something.

The EPA, a federal bureacracy, plans to give itself enormous power without any democratic or legislative action. This power allows it to start blocking all sorts of economic activity. In case you are curious which pollutant they now get to regulate, here’s a hint: its the one you exhale. But, please, do not refer to the Obama administration as marxist or fascist. You’d hate to call them anything resembling an authoritarian. The real authoritarian left in January. Sleep tight.

It is not racist to want control over your own life

I know, I know, I should view Senator Reid’s comments as a sign of desperation but I am really f****** tired of being accused of being a racist because of ideas I’ve had since years before we had a black president. Its offensive. It is the message of a bully. He does not want to debate. Any Democrat, including the President, who don’t publicly chide him for this are gutless, or worse, think he’s right. It proves that the post racial future we were promised is going to be ruined by the very people who claim to be against racism. Senator Reid:

But Reid argued that Republicans are using the same stalling tactics employed in the pre-Civil War era.

“Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ’slow down, stop everything, let’s start over.’ If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right,” Reid said Monday. “When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said ’slow down, it’s too early, things aren’t bad enough.’”

He continued: “When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote, some insisted they simply, slow down, there will be a better day to do that, today isn’t quite right.

“When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today.”

Yes, he really went there. Being against the government taking over health care is the same thing as being against the freedom and equality of your fellow man.

OK, its time for some in depth analysis:

It is a perversion of politics to skewer political opponents, who are against ceding freedom to the government, as somehow similar to people who wanted the government to protect people who denied other’s their freedom.  Senator Reid is a draconian asshole of the first order who has no desire for real debate. He accuses his opponents of being against equality while he tries to prevent debate on a fascist power grab. I hope Nevada is proud. And the media will not call him on it. I predict that there will be rough 1/1,000th of the newspaper print spilled on this as compared to Trent Lott’s buffoonish admiration of the Dixiecrats.

And I’m not even going to debate the finer points (like the fact that more Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act, oh and what political party that led the abolition of slavery? Seem to remember the letter’s GOP being involved somewhere). End in depth analysis. Did I mention that Senator Reid is an asshole?

OK, back to more polite snark and more mature analysis on other topics. Apologies for the harsh language, but this has got to stop.

Wait…the climate….has alway been changin’?

Via Instapundit, we have some poor soul who tries to demonstrate that the climate has been changing long before we started appointing bureaucrats in charge of regulating climate change.

In other words, we’re pretty lucky to be here during this rare, warm period in climate history.  But the broader lesson is, climate doesn’t stand still.  It doesn’t even stand stay on the relatively constrained range of the last 10,000 years for more than about 10,000 years at a time.

Does this mean that CO2 isn’t a greenhouse gas? No.

Does it mean that it isn’t warming? No.

Does it mean that we shouldn’t develop clean, efficient technology that gets its energy elsewhere than burning fossil fuels?  Of course not.  We should do all those things for many reasons — but there’s plenty of time to do them the right way, by developing nanotech.  (There’s plenty of money, too, but it’s all going to climate science at the moment. :-) ) And that will be a very good thing to have done if we do fall back into an ice age, believe me.

For climate science it means that the Hockey Team climatologists’ insistence that human-emitted CO2 is the only thing that could account for the recent warming trend is probably poppycock.

And that, if you will allow me to return full circle, means that the Fat Fingers argument is probably poppycock too.

What he said. Read the whole thing and check out the killer graphs. Perhaps the current warming is minor, and certainly doesn’t rise to “catastrophic”, IMHO.

(note: its a nanotech site, so some of the phraseology may be go over your head, or it could just be me).

Andrew Sullivan hearts Barrack Obama

Andrew Sullivan, who thinks he’s the only true conservative on the planet (by conservative, we mean anything but), continues his wishful thinking that his saintly hero will turn it around. His latest crutch is a chart that shows that Obama’s approval ratings are similar to Reagan’s because their respective economies were in the toilet at roughly the same stage of their presidencies. This would be interesting except that their respective policies have complete opposite solutions to the economic doldrums they face. We know that Reagan’s had a positive impact. Why Obama’s policies have the same effect when they have underlying ideas that are completely counter to Reagan? Why would increasing the cost of labor, the cost of healthcare, the cost of energy, a record deficit and national debt (yes, Reagan raised the debt, but not remotely to these levels), and bailouts that encourage companies to become to big to fail, help the economy in any way? The economy will have a small bounce back. That’s the natural order of things. But it won’t happen in sort of big way. It’ll mimic western European stagnant growth mixed with high unemployment. And the media will spin it as herculean success. But the reality will be that Obama’s policies hurt economic growth. Reagan’s encouraged it. I’m betting the Obama/Reagan pole numbers will diverge as Obama’s term continues, unless the media really bails him out with their press releases disguised as news shows. And Andrew Sullivan will lead the charge.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

The word in question? Catastrophe. The global warming industry is bolder and bolder about using the term “catastrophe” to describe the predicted effects. But, none of the predictions by even the IPCC rises to that level. Oh wait, here we go:

Emissions cuts proposed by the world’s leading countries fall far short of what is needed to prevent catastrophic global warming, according to a study released on the eve of the Copenhagen climate change summit.

Even if countries adopted the most ambitious targets that each has put forward, the global average temperature would still rise by 3.5C by the end of the century and make large parts of the world uninhabitable.

Uninhabitable? Like what? Norway in the winter? Alaska? Palm Springs? Most of Russia? Nepal? Saudi Arabia? The Austrailian outback? I’d love to know what is meant by uninhabitable. This isn’t a sci-fi movie. Technology and engineering has done a whole heck of a lot to make areas that would have been thought “unihabitable” habitable. There is no proof to support such claims. Wait, whose making the claim?

Lord Stern of Brentford, the world’s leading climate change economist, has also concluded that, even assuming each country formally adopted the tightest targets in the ranges they had proposed, the temperature would still rise more than 2C.

In July, the world’s leading economies agreed to limit the increase to 2C above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Lord Stern said the world needed to cut emissions from 47 billion tonnes of CO2, the predicted figure for next year, to 44 billion tonnes by 2020.

Lord Stern said that there was a gap of up to 5 billion tonnes between the cuts that the most ambitious targets would deliver and what was needed to reach 44 billion tonnes by 2020.

That would be the same Lord Stern who wants any climate deal to make meat practically unaffordable. And his claim to fame is that he’s a “climate economist” (for the Labor party in the UK – read: socialist). Uh huh. I’d put good money that the very concept of a “Climate Economist” didn’t exist before the global warming industry created it.

Like Paul Ehrlich, Lord Stern has no concept of the vital natural resource known as human ingenuity. They have no idea how resource scarcity works, how technology adapts, and humans continue to be humans. They just want control and and policies to make us poorer. Let me be clear, if the choice is us choosing to be poorer to avert this so called catastrophe or to accept that Miami is going to have two feet of water running down its streets around 2085, then I’ll choose the latter.

How do you take back Al Gore’s Oscar?

I’m a huge fan of Instapundit and Pajamas Media, and I really don’t like Al Gore, but this “rescind Al Gore’s Oscar” meme is a bit silly (the link is not the first discussion on this on either site this week). Rescind it for what? Dishonesty? The Academy cares about honesty in documentaries? This would be a first. Look, Gore was dishonest before the ClimateGate scandal. Even his AGW allies haven’t made claims of a 20ft rise in the oceans. And there was plenty else that was patently false or radically exaggerated.

The Academy gives Oscars to Michael Moore for goodness sakes. If a movie has an anti-American, or anti-Christian slant it moves way up the list for consideration. ClimateGate does not disprove man made global warming. It merely makes the science less credible. There is a difference between an unproved theory and a falsehood. I get that rescinding Al Gore’s Oscar would be a high profile defeat of AGW, but that’s not the battle to be fighting because its not going to happen and makes our side look silly trying.

We’ve elected leaders who tell us we are all doomed

What Mark Steyn said:

“The gravest challenge that we face is climate change . . . Every one of our compatriots must feel concerned”—Nicolas Sarkozy, president of the French Republic;

“The climate crisis threatens our very survival”—Herman Van Rompuy, “president” of “Europe”;

“We cannot compromise with the catastrophe of unchecked climate change”—Gordon Brown, prime minister of the United Kingdom;

“Generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children . . . this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal”—Barack Obama, president of the United States.

The science is so settled it’s now perfectly routine for leaders of the developed world to go around sounding like apocalyptic madmen of the kind that used to wander the streets wearing sandwich boards and handing out homemade pamphlets. Governments that are incapable of—to pluck at random—enforcing their southern border, reducing waiting times for routine operations to below two years, or doing something about the nightly ritual of car-torching “youths,” are nevertheless taken seriously when they claim to be able to change the very heavens—if only they can tax and regulate us enough. As they will if they reach “consensus” at Copenhagen. And most probably even if they don’t.

As they say, read the whole thing.

A Most Predictable Bubble Popping

I had the good fortune to visit Dubai a couple of years ago. If you look at it strictly as a tourist or perhaps from an academic standpoint, Dubai is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Its an Arab Vegas, sans the gambling. When I was there, you can’t fathom the sheer volume of cranes. Think of a downtown area like Houston, Atlanta or Miami. Dubai had 5 or 6 of those under construction simultaneously. Its like the Sheik called up all the big time architecture firms and said “let’s see all of your expensive overly ambitious mothballed building plans and decide which ones we can build in the dessert.” Visually, it is a stunning place. Yes there is an underbelly with the Sharia law, the migrant worker underclass and all the busted dreams. Again, strictly from a tourist standpoint its an eye popping sight

And I told everyone I knew when I came back that I’d be shocked if they filled a third of the office and residential space they were constructing back then. Dubai was very expensive when I was there. I knew a crash would come. I just didn’t know when. Looks like it might be upon us.

The other Palm projects and The World, despite the computer-generated images in the tourist brochures and websites showing green trees and completed houses, are a collection of imported rock and dredged sand on which building work has stopped.

Even more fanciful plans — for a massive seawater canal to be dug around the city to enable waterside properties in the desert hinterland, and another vast offshore island complex called The Universe, are no longer mentioned.

Work on dozens of new skyscrapers continues but building has slowed to a crawl on others. More than 40 per cent of newly built offices are already untenanted, and the available space is expected to double by 2011.

Thousands of the migrant labourers who were bussed in from their desert camps to build Dubai have left as the construction boom faltered. The investment bank UBS thinks that the population of Dubai is shrinking.

The borrowed money has not just gone on property. A state-of-the-art metro train system, operated by Serco, opened amid much fanfare in September at a cost of $7.6 billion. At 9.30am on a Thursday the station at Dubai airport’s cavernous Terminal 3 is empty. The train into the city, capable of carrying more than 640 people, has 21 on board.

Western expats who have been here for a decade or more are still well ahead on their investments even if, as some forecasts predict, house prices dip by 70 per cent from their peaks

This was as predictable as the sun coming up. This was a pure bubble, almost entirely artificially created. Financed with oil money that counted on oil prices going through the roof for the foreseeable future and a philosophy of “if you build it, they will come.” Many did come. Its the primary business hub in the Arab world. But, not enough came. And with a global recession, that’s not going to be corrected anytime soon. With any rapidly developing nation, once your bubble pops, its damn hard to get that investor confidence back, unless there is something fundamentally sound under it all. I’m not sure Dubai has those fundamentals. That amazing stretch of sand will be the topic of many a doctoral thesis over the next couple of decades.

Hillary’s nice try

I sympathise with Secretary of State Clinton on this and she strikes mostly a proper tone.

The US and our partners will have an enduring commitment to the region. Ultimately, we recognise that only the Afghan people can decide what kind of nation they want to build for themselves. And only the Pakistani people can ensure their country’s democratic future. That is why we are working as partners in both countries. The United States has no interest in occupation — we seek partnerships based on mutual respect, mutual interest and mutual trust.

As the President said, our goal is to isolate those who destroy, to strengthen those who build, to hasten the day when our troops will leave, and to forge lasting friendships in which America is a partner, and never a patron.

But I think her expectation that success in Afghanistan is the “world’s responsibility” is nothing more than chin scratcher posturing. Would the dictator wannabe in Venezuela care two bits about our success in central Asia? Would Afghanistan’s neighbor to the west? The answer is, of course not. They do not want democracy to succeed. Its really that simple. Moreover, would the people of the Congo or Rwanda be able to do a damn thing to help (leaving aside whether they actually cared to)? Its silly. NATO is not the world, but is the one most capable of doing something and its the one most threatened, outside the local population in central Asia. Islamic fascism IS a global threat but Al Qaeda and the Taliban are not. The Taliban is quite local to the area. Al Qaeda picks its targets carefully and they can’t target as many places as the used to because of our war against them. But they can certainly cause a lot of problems in central Asia.

Unfortunately, this administration has stopped mentioning the war on terror and have started using the foolish Orwellian term “man caused disasters“, on top of that. Fighting anything with “Islam” in the title is a non-starter with these people. Besides, the Taliban won’t be coming to South America anytime soon, though Islamic terror might. Asking the world to help in Afghanistan is a naked attempt to spread the risk and everyone will see right through it. Most other countries know who their enemy is and will use whatever means they can to prevent its import in their borders. But going half-way around the world to fight in the dessert ain’t happening.

I also have a problem with this:

This week, President Barack Obama reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to our core goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and prevent their return to either country.[Italics mine]

I thought Pakistan was where Al Quaeda was. I never knew they left. In fact, that’s where then candidate Obama said we should go to get them, if need be.

It is certainly a difficult problem we face in central Asia. We’ve done a poor job in securing Afghanistan (so much for U.N. backed multi-lateralism) and Pakistan is a bit of a Pandora’s box. I thnk how to deal with Pakistan is possibly a more difficult policy question than the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. But, I know this: our stalwart belief that Islamic fascists can be negotiated with is nonsense. Its only slightly more crazy than co-existence. Until we talk more honestly about this, and stop worrying about the Arab street, we will get nowhere, while constant apology will do nothing but confirm Osama bin Laden’s bet of the strong horse.

An aside: Sadly, while I think the policy differences would be small, Hillary would have not been the type to bow to monarchs and the like (yes, I know she’d still probably wear the head scarf, maybe). I think she would have done less apologizing, partially because she backed many of the Bush policies. And having been first lady, she would have been more keenly aware of the nastiness of the world where as her boss seems to be stuck with the conventional wisdom of the Ivory tower of Harvard humanities departments. She also would have assembled a team whose professionalism would have been less likely take a back seat to arrogance. Well, I think that’s what would have happened anyway. As much as I dislike our president’s policies, its still very important to me for our president to be respected for what he represents (the good ol’ US of A) rather than who he wishes to make happy (our enemies, as well as the fawning foreign press). I could be wrong here, but I think Hillary would have struck a better tone.

A Jobs Summit Run by People with No Earthly Idea How to Create Jobs

Anti-growth marxists are having a jobs summit. This is fitting I suppose, since they think jobs are created with the wave of a magic legislated wand. What is actually a bit sad is that the people in the Obama administration are possibly unaware that the biggest proposals they’ve put forward make job creation more difficult. They are so economically ignorant that they think people create jobs via government coercion and not because they, well, need a job done. The same officials who think that rich people hoard their money now need those same rich people, who they’ve been attempting to punish for their success, to actually create jobs. Of course, they want input from organized labor to make sure the job creation is, I don’t know, unionized? I mean why are the same groups that push anti-job policies getting a seat at the table? (yes, I know, its because they paid well for their seat).

As John Stossel puts it when asking the innocent question, Who Creates Jobs?:

At least the Administration talks about the private sector:

“We want to make sure it is not just the public sector doing this in a vacuum,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama. “It’s important we engage the private sector as well.”  Administration officials, however, have excluded major trade associations from the summit… .

Some of those groups privately complain that their job creation ideas, including enactment of stalled free trade deals that they say would boost exports, are opposed by labor unions, which will be heavily represented at the forum.

The White House, which has clashed with some of the business groups over their opposition to health-care reform and other initiatives, says it has met repeatedly with those organizations and wants to hear fresh ideas.

Yes. I am sure those “fresh ideas” will come from the trade unions whom the White House just hasn’t heard from much over the past year. At the summit they will also hear from environmental groups “Green for All” and “Coalition for the Green Bank.” I’m sure they’ll have great ideas for job creation.

Will at least some free-market economists get to speak?  No.  The White House will hear from Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz, and Jeffrey Sachs. “Fresh ideas” won’t be heard from these folks.

Yeah, Paul Krugman, one of the few people less deserving of a Nobel prize than the president. Tax and Spend! That’ll work! Look how well it worked for FDR! It only took 8 years and a World War to get us out of the last economic crisis this big. And be sure to get ideas from the unions, whose primary job is to get more money, benefits and stringent work rules for labor. We’ll create jobs by making it more expensive to hire people. Brilliant!

Krauthammer:

Well, it is obviously a PR maneuver. Unemployment is high. People showed [concern] on Election Day in November that the administration and Congress are spending all their time on health care, which is not a high priority. High priority is the economy.

It is the conceit of liberals in power to imagine that the government not only should but can create jobs. Outside of world wars, it doesn’t. Generally it gets in the way.

I mean, there are things that you can do by clearing the brush:

Number one, kill health care with all of the job-killing mandates and penalties which are holding up employment.

Secondly, kill cap and trade, which will destroy what’s left of the industrial Midwest.

Kill the stimulus package, and distribute the remaining billions either to individuals or to the Treasury.

The other thing they can do is to approve the free trade agreements with Columbia and South Korea, which will create American jobs …

And lastly, and the most important here, is sort of a reprise of 2008 — lift the unbelievably absurd restrictions on drilling for gas and oil, which would create a gold rush of jobs in the country and help us in terms of national security and the economy.

Put another way, has there been a single policy put forth by the administration or the Democratic Congress put forth a policy that would actually grow the economy or jobs? Its one thing not to actually have pro-growht policies. Its quite another to have anti-growth policies which this administration seems to be especially innovative at. Borrowing $1.4 trillion is not a pro-growth policy. Getting out of the free markets way will create jobs.

I Doubt It

I don’t see the rationale that James Hansen is the ClimateGate leaker. I mean its a juicy theory, and appealing, but I don’t see the motivation. He’s a radical (unless he’s had an about face I’m unaware of). A believer that man is damaging mother earth. That’s his faith. Wanting Copenhagen to fail because its too half-hearted is not the same as making the science look fraudulent. I don’t see how that helps Hanson’s case, because it damages the credibility of the theory, not just a few professor’s with sway at the IPCC. The only way it helps is if he’s so confident in his position, he’s willing to throw some powerful like minded guys under the bus if its going to make the science more transparent.

What I mean is this: If the science of climate “change” were to become far more open and the skeptics, with access to everything, couldn’t properly shoot AGW down, then they’d be able to say, or rather they’ll say regardless, that the Science REALLY is settled. The policy makers and media backers want AGW. They need it. Gives them more power and makes everyone, except those with the power, poorer, which is a good thing to them.  So maybe Hansen wants to eliminate rivals and make the science more open, so he leaked the e-mails and code hoping the science would survive. Its possibly, but not really plausible. From what I know of Hansen, he’s really not THAT smart or lucky.

I think this is more straightforward. The leaker is almost certainly someone on the inside, an intern or maybe just someone who grew a conscience or possibly some techie sysadmin who was snooping. I don’t know. I’d be shocked if the leaker was a true hacker doing it remotely. I’d be equally surprised if it was a radical environmentalist like Hansen. I don’t see how a scorched policy makes him more credible.

Al Gore’s Ponzi Scheme?

I really like this comparison of Al Gore to Bernie Madoff. I’m not prepared to call Al a criminal (yet) but he’s definately pushing a questionable crisis and associated policies that have made him rich.

Obama’s Budget Director is Delusional

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised from the administration that brought you fiscal responsibility to the tune of a $1.4 trillion deficit and trying to pass of the silly shell game of jobs “saved or created.” Budget Director Orszag said:

“The bottom line is the bill that is currently on the Senate floor contains more cost containment and delivery system reforms in its current form than any bill that has ever been considered on the Senate floor period,” the Office of Management and Budget director told reporters during a conference organized by the publication Health Affairs.

All the nationalized health care systems on the planet have not lowered costs, though they may have, for short periods of time, slowed the cost growth. And even then, any cost containment was achieved by lowering care quality and quantity. But, one thing that will not happen is a “reform”, i.e. something to make it better, of the delivery system. You’ll get higher premiums in the short term, and lower quality care and ultimately fewer choices over the long term. Under either the House or Senate plan. I guarantee it, though it take a few years for that truth to hit home, probably sometime after Obama leaves office in January 2013. You really think that all this time, the issue of delivering better care was that not enough D.C. base bureaucrats were involved? And do you really think nationalized health care will lower costs? Just because people like Andrew Sullivan thinks the public option is fiscally conservative (I wish I were kidding), doesn’t mean its true.

Obama et al are offering make believe “reform.” Its a power grab. Real reform would involve more competition, fewer government mandated middlemen between the doctor and patient and tort reform. For starters.