Tag Archives: News

Top 10 Corrupt Politicians of 2009

Tax cheat Charlie Rangel

The government watchdog group Judicial Watch has released their Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians for 2009.  The results are not terribly surprising to people who pay attention.  They provide clear and detailed reasons for each, but I will only provide their list in condensed form.  Check out their full list here.  Note that the list is in alphabetical order, or Charlie Rangel would certainly not be #10!

  1. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT).  The Senator from CountryWide.
  2. Senator John Ensign (R-NV).  Philandering and bribery for associated coverups.
  3. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).  Incredibly corrupt, and a key player in the economic crash.
  4. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner.  Tax cheat.
  5. Attorney General Eric Holder.  Dropped charges against already-convicted Black Panthers, refuses to investigate ACORN.
  6. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-IL).  The purchase of Obama’s vacant Senate seat.
  7. President Barack Obama. “Government-run healthcare and car companies, White House coercion, uninvestigated ACORN corruption, debasing his office to help Chicago cronies, attacks on conservative media and the private sector, unprecedented and dangerous new rights for terrorists, perks for campaign donors – this is Obama’s “ethics” record — and we haven’t even gotten through the first year of his presidency.”
  8. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).  Lying about what she knew about waterboarding, among other things.
  9. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA).  “Murtha reported receiving contributions from three former PMA clients for whom he requested earmarks in the pending appropriations bills.”
  10. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY).  Tax cheat and abuse of power.

As you can see, nine out of ten are Democrats.  Can you say Culture of Corruption?  One wonders how much coverage this corruption would get if the politicians were Republicans.

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The Scientists Who Cried Wolf

I have always had a deep respect for science and the work of devoted scientists.  My late father was a PhD biochemist who taught biochemistry and microbiology at a couple of universities in the south.  When I was a kid he had a large and fully stocked lab that allowed me to experiment and learn the wonders of scientific discoveries with resources and freedom that very few children enjoy.  Though my chosen career path ended up being software engineering, I have never lost my healthy fascination with science of any kind.  At the moment I am reading Jerry Coyne’s excellent Why Evolution Is True, though I have never had any doubt about Darwin’s theory.  In fact I have never been exposed to any scientific theory that seemed so immediately clear and obviously true as evolution.  In a myriad of disciplines, there is enough science out there for a few lifetimes of exploration.

But this whole anthropogenic climate change thing never sat right with me.  In fact I have never subscribed to the theory that the earth is getting warmer because of man-made (anthropogenic) causes.  Though some exceptionally bright friends of mine were willing to accept the conclusions of some of these scientists, I have remained a skeptic.  The recent ClimateGate scandal, with which you may be unfamiliar if you get your news from the Big Three networks, has only strengthened my skepticism.  In a recent post titled Not So Skeptical Skeptics, I blogged about the failure of skeptics to be properly skeptical on this subject .

But one other aspect of what I think to be bogus, grant-and-politics based “science” has troubled me for a while, though I have not seen many others look at it from this perspective.

We are all likely familiar with the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  In that fable, usually attributed to Aesop, a shepherd boy entertained himself by falsely shouting “Wolf!”, causing nearby villagers to come to his aid.  Then one day a wolf did come along and the villagers understandably ignored the boy’s cries.  The wolf then ate the flock, and in some versions of the story it even ate the boy.  I see bothersome similarities between this basic story and the “cries” of the climate change alarmists.

It concerns me that a legitimate warning by scientists in the future may well be ignored because of conclusions drawn from the dogmatic politization of science that we have seen in the anthropogenic climate change debate as well as the evidence coming out in the recent ClimateGate scandal.

Daniel Henninger has very similar thoughts in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, titled ClimateGate: Science is Dying.

Global warming enlisted the collective reputation of science. Because “science” said so, all the world was about to undertake a vast reordering of human behavior at almost unimaginable financial cost. Not every day does the work of scientists lead to galactic events simply called Kyoto or Copenhagen. At least not since the Manhattan Project.

What is happening at East Anglia is an epochal event. As the hard sciences—physics, biology, chemistry, electrical engineering—came to dominate intellectual life in the last century, some academics in the humanities devised the theory of postmodernism, which liberated them from their colleagues in the sciences. Postmodernism, a self-consciously “unprovable” theory, replaced formal structures with subjectivity. With the revelations of East Anglia, this slippery and variable intellectual world has crossed into the hard sciences.

This has harsh implications for the credibility of science generally. Hard science, alongside medicine, was one of the few things left accorded automatic stature and respect by most untrained lay persons. But the average person reading accounts of the East Anglia emails will conclude that hard science has become just another faction, as politicized and “messy” as, say, gender studies. The New England Journal of Medicine has turned into a weird weekly amalgam of straight medical-research and propaganda for the Obama redesign of U.S. medicine.

Henninger takes it one step further in equating the shout-down fascism of scientists like Mann, Hanson, and Jones with the religious persecution that hindered science in the distant past:

The East Anglians’ mistreatment of scientists who challenged global warming’s claims—plotting to shut them up and shut down their ability to publish—evokes the attempt to silence Galileo. The exchanges between Penn State’s Michael Mann and East Anglia CRU director Phil Jones sound like Father Firenzuola, the Commissary-General of the Inquisition.

For three centuries Galileo has symbolized dissent in science. In our time, most scientists outside this circle have kept silent as their climatologist fellows, helped by the cardinals of the press, mocked and ostracized scientists who questioned this grand theory of global doom. Even a doubter as eminent as Princeton’s Freeman Dyson was dismissed as an aging crank.

Indeed.  Read Henninger’s article here.

Obama’s asinine rules of engagement

Hat tip to Dan Riehl.

Writing over at Riehl World View, Dan has some thoughts on the president’s feel-good but asinine rules of engagement for Afghanistan:

*No night or surprise searches.

*Villagers have to be warned prior to searches.

*ANA or ANP must accompany U.S. units on searches.

*U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.

*U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present.

*Only women can search women.

*Troops can fire at an insurgent if they catch him placing an IED but not if insurgents are walking away from an area where explosives have been laid.

Not only is it obvious that Mr Obama’s understanding of military doctrine and strategy is not even up to playing a good game of Risk, it is also pretty clear that like most liberals the president does not have a loved one serving in the military.  It’s all abstract to him, little toy soldiers on a map.

Do these fine Americans in his photo-op backdrop look a little skeptical to you?

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin had another great picture of a cadet sending a message to the commander in chief:

Several readers note the active service campaign ribbons and medals on the man’s chest and identify one of them as the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, showing he has been an Infantry Soldier under Combat. D. O’Brien writes: “The Cadet pictured in your piece on President Obama’s speech at West Point (December 1, 2009) is not a ‘traditional’ cadet. He is a former enlisted man – and an Infantryman who wears the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. This award is given only to Infantrymen who have participated in direct-fire engagements against the enemy.”

Watch This Heated ClimateGate Debate

Hat tip to Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters.

Mr. Sheppard links to a 10 minute long heated debate between a British climate change skeptic (he would call himself a sceptic) and a Russian UN IPCC contributor.  Watch the video, but I have also included some key quotes from the skeptic that Sheppard listed.

Sheppard’s bullet points:

  • The case [for anthropogenic global warming] is blown to smithereens [by this scandal], and this whole theory should be destroyed and discarded and Copenhagen conference should be closed.
  • The world is cooling and has been cooling for seven years, and the leading scientists, so-called “scientists,” have been trying to hide that evidence.
  • The data, real data, over the last one thousand, ten thousand or million years, shows there is no relationship between carbon dioxide and world temperatures or climate extremes. Now we can see that actually the people in charge of data have been fiddling it, and they have been hiding the real decline in world temperatures in an attempt to keep their so called moral high ground.
  • The Copenhagen jamboree is a scandal and it must be stopped.
  • There is a gigantic bandwagon run by governments who want to control world energy supplies and hold back development in the third world. This thing they are doing now is just the same as they are doing in the banking crisis, it is creating a whole bubble of false values.
  • Their claims are false, I repeat, they are false, and this theory they’ve got is like the Titanic and it will crash. I would suggest that honest green campaigners who want to preserve biodiversity should get off this [man-made global warming] bandwagon before it sinks.
  • Carbon dioxide levels are driven by temps, not the other way around. There have been big peaks in CO2 in past…carbon dioxide is actually a good thing for the world…More CO2 makes plants and animals more efficient.

Think you’ll see that kind of debate on non-Fox television any time soon?

Yes, that was a rhetorical question.

I highly recommend following @NoelSheppard on Twitter.  Additionally, if you are a conservative and you are not on Twitter yet, you are missing out on the best vehicle for information dissemination that exists today.  Please sign up and follow Mr. Sheppard, and you can follow me as well at @RobWaterson and @WarOnSocialism.

Three Key Points About ClimateGate

[Hat tip to the always spot-on Hot Air]

Writing over at Pajamas Media, Iain Murray points out the three most important things to know about what is now being called ClimateGate:

First, the scientists discuss manipulating data to get their preferred results. The most prominently featured scientists are paleoclimatologists, who reconstruct historical temperatures and who were responsible for a series of reconstructions that seemed to show a sharp rise in temperatures well above historical variation in recent decades.

So when people mock you about being a denier, remember that their entire Climate Change belief system was largely constructed by these same dishonest, “proper result”-driven scientists.

Secondly, scientists on several occasions discussed methods of subverting the scientific peer review process to ensure that skeptical papers had no access to publication. In 2003, Tom Wigley of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, complained that paleoclimatologist Hans von Storch was responsible for “the publication of crap science ‘in order to stimulate debate’” and that they “must get rid of von Storch” (1051190249) as an editor of the journal Climate Research (he indeed subsequently resigned).

So they are big about calling for peer review, but they attack peers who review things in ways that they do not like.  Real science requires letting people attempt to poke holes in your theory, but these High Priests of the Church of Climate Change fight back when people do just that.

Finally, the scientists worked to circumvent the Freedom of Information process of the United Kingdom.

They discuss hiding data and deleting emails in order to evade FOIA requests.  Unbelievable.

Showing that the True Believers are circling the wagons, Newsbusters is reporting that the only TV news outlet reporting on this historic scandal is Fox News:

The Obama administration has another reason to hate Fox: it appears to be the only national television news outlet in America interested in the growing ClimateGate scandal.Despite last Friday morning’s bombshell that hacked e-mail messages from a British university suggested a conspiracy by some of the world’s leading global warming alarmists — many with direct ties to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — to manipulate temperature data, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and NBC through Monday evening have completely ignored the subject.

LexisNexis searches indicate that NPR appears to also be part of this news boycott.

Having never believed in this junk science hoax, one of my main concerns has always been the long term effects of this political “science”.  When something legitimate comes along that does warrant a warning from [more legitimate] scientists, people will remember this bogus, political Global Warming hoax and will ignore the scientists.

The Climate Change Scam

As you have likely heard, an inside whistleblower at the UK’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) has released an immense amount of data containing emails and documents on to the internet.  Some reports say 60 megabytes and some say 160, but the result is the same.

The believers in the Church of Anthropogenic Climate Change are circling their wagons in an attempt to mitigate the damage, with Michael “discredited hockey stick graph” Mann even trying to go Clintonion with his redefinition of the word “trick”, but they are not convincing anyone.

A Washington Times editorial lays the truth bare:

Professor Phil Jones, the head of the Climate Research Unit, and professor Michael E. Mann at Pennsylvania State University, who has been an important scientist in the climate debate, have come under particular scrutiny. Among his e-mails, Mr. Jones talked to Mr. Mann about the “trick of adding in the real temps to each series … to hide the decline [in temperature].”

Mr. Mann admitted that he was party to this conversation and lamely explained to the New York Times that “scientists often used the word ‘trick’ to refer to a good way to solve a problem ‘and not something secret.’ ” Though the liberal New York newspaper apparently buys this explanation, we have seen no benign explanation that justifies efforts by researchers to skew data on so-called global-warming “to hide the decline.” Given the controversies over the accuracy of Mr. Mann’s past research, it is surprising his current explanations are accepted so readily.

The Believers are trying to spin this as an innocuous misunderstanding, but as I discussed in a previous post, that spin is viciously undercut by their discussions about hiding data from Freedom of Information Requests:

There is a lot of damning evidence about these researchers concealing information that counters their bias. In another exchange, Mr. Jones told Mr. Mann: “If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone” and, “We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.” Mr. Jones further urged Mr. Mann to join him in deleting e-mail exchanges about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) controversial assessment report (ARA): “Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re [the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report]?”

In another e-mail, Mr. Jones told Mr. Mann, professor Malcolm K. Hughes of the University of Arizona and professor Raymond S. Bradley of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst: “I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data. Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act!”

At one point, Mr. Jones complained to another academic, “I did get an email from the [Freedom of Information] person here early yesterday to tell me I shouldn’t be deleting emails.” He also offered up more dubious tricks of his trade, specifically that “IPCC is an international organization, so is above any national FOI. Even if UEA holds anything about IPCC, we are not obliged to pass it on.” Another professor at the Climate Research Unit, Tim Osborn, discussed in e-mails how truncating a data series can hide a cooling trend that otherwise would be seen in the results. Mr. Mann sent Mr. Osborn an e-mail saying that the results he was sending shouldn’t be shown to others because the data support critics of global warming.

Repeatedly throughout the e-mails that have been made public, proponents of global-warming theories refer to data that has been hidden or destroyed. Only e-mails from Mr. Jones’ institution have been made public, and with his obvious approach to deleting sensitive files, it’s difficult to determine exactly how much more information has been lost that could be damaging to the global-warming theocracy and its doomsday forecasts.

An independent observer would have to agree that people with nothing to hide are not likely to be running around conspiring about ways to hide data from FOIA requests.

Like Al Gore, these guys are getting money based upon the “sky is falling” results of their questionable research.  Like Al Gore, it would seem that they are not at all concerned with truth if it stands in the way of their propaganda and their political goals.

One side story here: the initial response by the New York Times involved a typical spin, claiming that they should not print the data since the emails were potentially illegally obtained.  Can you smell the hypocrisy from a “news” outlet that never hesitates to publish classified information if it hurts national security?  Does anyone still doubt that the NYT is simply a newsletter for the social democrats?

ClimateGate

ClimateGate.  That has a nice ring to it.

Writing over at The American, Jay Richards has some thoughts on the continuing story of the leaked documents from the Climate Change crowd.

Several troubling themes have emerged so far (h/t to “Jeff C” in comments at the Air Vent):

1. Data manipulation: Several times the scientists discuss ways to massage and cherry-pick data and spin presentations to give the strongest impression of warming, and to downplay contrary evidence—just as they have been suspected of doing.

2. Evading Freedom of Information inquiries: In many emails the scientists are clearly colluding to avoid releasing correspondence and data that they are legally obligated to release. They discuss deleting emails after being directed by officials not to do so.

3. Manipulating peer review: They discuss how to blackball scientists who don’t tow the orthodox line, get journal editors fired who allow “skeptical” papers to be published, how to destroy the reputation of journals that allow such papers to be published, and how to prevent “contrarian” research from being included in UN reports. Since the catastrophist crowd speaks so loudly and insistently about “peer-reviewed” research, it’s stunning to find out what this really means in the scandal of contemporary climate research.

Though it is not mentioned in this discussion, one aspect of the debate has always bothered me.  Proponents of anthrogenic climate change like to point out that some skeptics receive funding from energy companies, accusing the skeptics of skewing their research in order to please their benefactors.  However, isn’t that a two-way street?  Given that the believers also get funding based upon their results, and that Al Gore stands to make millions from Cap and Trade, should that same logic not apply to the Michael Mann’s and Al Gore’s in this debate?

I submit that they cannot have it both ways.

These leaked emails, which now look to be the result of an insider whistleblower, are the smoking gun that skeptics have been looking for.  The True Believers are not likely to be swayed.