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I have to say, in my 40 years on this planet I have never seen a more openly transparent and agreeable administration, determined to unite both sides of the political aisle and bond together every view across the ideological spectrum in an amalgam of peace, love, and hope and change.  Am I right?

What?  Oh… um… never mind.

“The White House has told Congress it will reject calls for many of President Obama’s policy czars to testify before Congress – a decision senators said goes against the president’s promises of transparency and openness and treads on Congress’ constitutional mandate to investigate the administration’s actions.”

What I mean to say is, in my 40 years on this planet I have never seen a more secretive and petty administration, determined to divide both sides of the political aisle and rend asunder every view across the ideological spectrum in an amalgam of disharmony, scorn, and hope and change (couldn’t really alter the last part as ‘hope n’ change’ has really become synonymous with insignificance.)

Now let’s take a look at this graphic from the Washington Post a little over a month ago…

GR2009091600074

Before anyone gets bent out of shape screaming, “Well, the evil Bush had over 40 czars, blar, blar, blar, Bush evil, blar, blar, blar,” take a close look at the above graphic.  Bush appointed 5 non-confirmed czar positions in his 8 years (which I still think should’ve been senate confirmed even if they didn’t enforce regulation, unlike the recently appointed Pay czar and Auto Recovery czar, each who did enforce regulation. And Van Jones, should he have floated under the radar, would’ve had tens of billions of dollars to spend while having no accountability to congress.) All the other czar positions during the Bush years were carry-overs from previous administrations.

Obama on the other hand has personally created 16 non-confirmed czars over the past sever or eight months who have no congressional accountability. They simply do what Obama wants. That’s a pretty significant disparity between Bush and Obama.  It does seems like an executive branch overreach and an apparent abuse of the checks and balances of our system.

Obama needs to stop being so secretive and divisive and start being what he promised: transparent and a reasonably cooperative uniter.

W.H. to Congress: Policy ‘czars’ won’t testify

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Little Green Footballs is fantastic. Hot Air is a revelation. Daily Kos is shame incarnate.

 

Old, but I’m late to the game anyway (even thought I’d been familiarized with the “screw you” incident for awhile now… Okay, so I didn’t find out about it day and date.) From Markos Moulitsas Zúniga commenting on Blackwater to his disgustingness’ exposition on Michelle Malkin (one of the coolest people to live in the northern hemisphere) to his sickening note on the death of four American compatriots.

Pathetic…

Hi! I’m Kos. I’m loved by several thousand useful idiots! I’m the star of this particular blog entry. To everyone who’s reading this, I hate you!

Kos on Blackwater: Still “screw them” after all these years

posted at 4:10 pm on October 6, 2007 by Allahpundit
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He doesn’t have the stones to clearly reiterate what he said three years ago, just like he didn’t have the stones earlier this year to say outright that he hoped Michelle would be killed during her trip to Iraq even while gleefully imagining the conditions under which that scenario would surely come to pass. The face of the new center of the Democratic Party can’t be seen wishing death on people, no matter how apparent it is that he wishes death on people. So he has to stick to oblique nonsense like this, which tacitly reaffirms the “screw them” comment by spinning it as a defense of the troops instead of the ghoulish callousness towards an atrocity perpetrated upon four of his countrymen that it actually is.

Given the choice, the wingnuts always choose Blackwater over our own troops. They’re not on the same side, and haven’t been ever.

“It was obviously excessive, it was obviously wrong,” said the U.S. military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the incident remains the subject of several investigations. “The civilians that were fired upon, they didn’t have any weapons to fire back at them. And none of the IP (Iraqi Police) or any of the local security forces fired back at them.”

The whole “screw them” thing four [sic] years ago was exactly that — the wingers were more outraged over four Blackwater mercenaries killed than they were about the five Marines that had died that very same day.

He doesn’t believe that — there’s no sane reason why anyone, left, right, or center, would feel worse about the death of a contractor than an American soldier — but the recent Blackwater shooting gives him an opportunity to do damage control on his most notorious political gaffe and he’s taking advantage. At the risk of stating the obvious, the reason the Fallujah incident got so much press was because of the gruesomeness of the attack and the relish that was taken by the enemy in perpetrating it; the same is true for the atrocity committed against Tucker and Menchaca last year. Only a nutroots reptile could be so cold-blooded as not to feel affronted by the scene of four Americans being burned and hung from a bridge while local insurgents celebrated for the cameras, but that’s what this cretin is so that’s how he responds. According to iCasualties, fully 1,001 contractors had been killed in Iraq as of June 30. I’ve been reading blogs since 2002 and while I’ve seen plenty of tributes to fallen soldiers, the only mentions I’ve ever seen of dead contractors have to do with the four killed in the atrocity at Fallujah. Which, needless to say, is an odd quirk for “wingers” allegedly obsessed with protecting their precious heroes from Blackwater.

Update: So much do the Kossacks love our troops that they take steaming dumps on Bronze Star winners.

 

Here’s one of the aforementioned useful idiots now! And ME of course! YAY!

Kos: It’d be “splendid” if Malkin had no security in Iraq Update: More reaction

posted at 4:57 pm on December 14, 2006 by Ian
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“Screw them” Kos thinks it would be a “splendid idea” if Michelle leaves the Green Zone without security in her possible upcoming trip to Iraq.

Because only that way will her reporting be fully informed.

Why? Did you think he had another reason in mind?

Greg Sargent has a problem with Eason Jordan going to Iraq with Michelle Malkin. I think it’s a splendid idea. So long as they leave the Green Zone, and without security detail that puts a single US soldier in harm’s way. I mean, things are so splendid and it’s just like Philly and there’s all those great new schools! They’ll be perfectly safe, I’m sure.

This comes from the “man” who said “screw them” to a group of contractors who were savagely beaten and murdered in Iraq in 2004.

The Political Pitbull has posted reaction from other liberals blogs, including our friends at Crooks & Liars.

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One of the most despicable websites ever birthed from the deepest, darkest depths of internet.

Daily Kos Gloats Over Fallujah
Thu, Apr 1, 2004 at 8:45:19 pm PST

Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, also known as “Daily Kos,” couldn’t restrain his joy over the gruesome deaths of four of his fellow citizens yesterday, and expressed one of the ugliest sentiments I’ve seen yet on the lefty blogs (and that’s really saying something). His foul pronouncement is in the topic: Corpses on the Cover.

Let the people see what war is like. This isn’t an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush’s folly.

That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.

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Kos. Daily Kos. I’m here to save you from yourself because you don’t know any better.

Every death should be on the front page (2.70 / 40)

Let the people see what war is like. This isn’t an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush’s folly. That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.

by kos on Thu Apr 01, 2004 at 12:08:56 PM PDT

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Muslim on Muslim violence does not divert the hypocritical gaze of the jihadist. Only imagined conflict pitting the west and modernity against Islam and tradition draws their ire.

While our foreign policy–that being the west in general–does play a role in stoking the naked hatred and aggression of terror groups such as al-Qaida, Abu Sayyaf, Hezbollah, and Hamas, it by no means consists as the primary make-up of the whole, and to claim as much is disingenuous. It is the Islamist ideology that stands at the center of their philosophical, religious, and political ideologies that exists as their principal rationalization behind their actions; all stemming from the Qur’an and the Hadith and a desire to emulate in all things their prophet, Muhammad.

Whether it be lying (taqqiya), plural marriage, spousal abuse, pedophilia, or murder, all is justifiable in the pages of the Muslim holy text with Muhammad setting the proper example for all good followers of Islam.

So while suicide and car bomb attacks will likely persist for decades, while the west continues to embrace such concepts as political correctness, multiculturalism, one-world governments, and unbridled, reckless equality, those who wish us harm will continue to exploit those weaknesses until, under our very noses, sharia law rules the land–overly dramatic yes, but a point that cries out for continued repetition rather than an absurd impossibility. Until our leaders can fully understand a concept of life within Dar al-Islam, we will only trudge ever on toward that possibility.

The Islamic world needs more moderate Muslim voices like M. Zuhdi Jasser and Asim Siddiqui below.

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Not in our name

Blaming UK foreign policy is not the answer. Where are the Muslim marches in revulsion against acts of terror in Islam’s name?

Asim Siddiqui

July 3, 2007 12:00 PM

Asim Siddiqui

The events of the last few days have been sobering for us all. The response from some UK Muslim groups (influenced by Islamist thinking) is still largely to blame foreign policy (undoubtedly an exacerbating influence but not the cause), rather than marching “not in my name” in revulsion against terrorist acts committed in Islam’s name. By blaming foreign policy they try to divert pressure off themselves from the real need to tackle extremism being peddled within. Diverting attention away from the problems within Muslim communities and blaming others – especially the west – is always more popular than the difficult task of self-scrutiny. And what part of foreign policy do the Islamists want us to change to tackle terrorism? Withdrawal from Iraq?

The UK presence on the ground in Iraq is minuscule compared to the US. We currently have 5,500 troops from 40,000 at the start of the invasion. We will reduce them further to 5,000 by the end of the summer. The bulk of which will be located near Basra airport in a supporting role. Next year will likely see the numbers dwindle even further. Our troop presence is far more symbolic than military. It provides the Americans with their “coalition of the willing”. The US, by contrast, is the only serious occupier in the country with over 160,000 troops. The government will not (and cannot) admit it, but we have been in withdrawal mode since the end of the war.

And once we’ve left Iraq, will they be satisfied? Of course not. Their list of grievances is endless: Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine, Burma … so long as the world is presented as one where the west is forever at war with Islam and Muslims there is nothing we can do to appease the terrorists and those who share their world view. Instead it is this extremist world view that must change.

Take for example the idea that radical Islamists are concerned about Muslim life (let’s ignore human life in general for a moment). Where is their outrage at the 400,000 Muslims slaughtered in Darfur? Where are the marches and calls for action against this ongoing genocide? Where is the “Muslim anger” boiling up amongst British Islamists? It is nowhere to be seen because the Darfurians have been massacred by fellow Muslims, not by the west. Hence it does not appear on the Islamist radar screen as a “grievance”. Such is the moral bankruptcy of this ideology.

No, it’s not foreign policy that’s the main driver in combating the terrorists; it is their mindset. The radical Islamist ideology needs to be exposed to young Muslims for what it really is. A tool for the introduction of a medieval form of governance that describes itself as an “Islamic state” that is violent, retrogressive, discriminatory, a perversion of the sacred texts and a totalitarian dictatorship.

When the IRA was busy blowing up London, there would have been little point in Irish “community leaders” urging “all” citizens to cooperate with the police equally when it was obvious the problem lay specifically within Irish communities. Likewise for Muslim “community leaders” to condemn terrorism is a no-brainer. What is required is for those that claim to represent and have influence among young British Muslims to proactively counter the extremist Islamist narrative. That is the biggest challenge for British Muslim leadership over the next five to 10 years. It is because they are failing to rise to this challenge that the government feels it needs to act by further eroding our civil liberties with anti-terror legislation to get the state to do what Muslims should be doing themselves. If British Muslim groups focus on grassroots de-radicalisation then this will provide civil liberty groups the space they need to argue against any further anti-terror legislation.

Of course I would like to see changes in our foreign policy and have marched on the streets (with thousands of non-Muslims) in protest on many occasions. But blaming foreign policy in the face of suicide attacks is not only tactless but a cop-out that fails to tackle extremism, fails to promote an ethical foreign policy and fails to protect our civil liberties.

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Simply, chalk one up for the good guys.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., called the vote “a victory for fear- mongering and obstruction over a bipartisan commitment to fix our broken immigration system.”

Yeah, Kerry would say that. It all comes down to fear-mongering. That’s it. And should we feel comfortable when something as controversial as amnesty becomes greatly bi-partisan? Of course not. When a few senators secretly scheme behind closed doors in order to concoct something as dangerous and damaging as was this immigration reform bill, then personally attack those who are against it while rigorously rushing to move it through the legislative process as quickly as possible, shoving it down our throats, we should suspect that perhaps something else could be cooking behind the scenes.

Regardless, thanks to millions of Americans who actually care for the sovereignty of their country by committed pestering of their elected officials, this bill will not go through, and Bush’s arrogant statement, “I’ll see you at the signing ceremony” will not come to pass. His legacy is dead. Thank God.

Border security first!

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Hardly

Senate Blocks Immigration Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush’s plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.

The bill’s supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation, which critics assailed as offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. The vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.

Senators in both parties said the issue is so volatile that Congress is highly unlikely to revisit it this fall or next year, when the presidential election will increasingly dominate American politics.

A similar effort collapsed in the Congress last year, and the House has not bothered with an immigration bill this year, awaiting Senate action.

The vote was a stinging setback for Bush, who advocated the bill as an imperfect but necessary fix of current immigration practices in which many illegal immigrants use forged documents or lapsed visas to live and work in the United States.

It was a victory for Republican conservatives who strongly criticized the bill’s provisions that would have established pathways to lawful status for many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. They were aided by talk radio and TV hosts who repeatedly attacked the bill and urged listeners to flood Congress with calls, faxes and e-mails.

Voting to allow the bill to proceed by ending debate were 33 Democrats, 12 Republicans and independent Joe Lieberman, Conn. Voting to block the bill by not limiting debate were 37 Republicans, 15 Democrats and independent Bernard Sanders, Vt. Tim Johnson, D-S.C., did not vote.

The bill would have toughened border security and instituted a new system for weeding out illegal immigrants from workplaces. It would have created a new guest worker program and allowed millions of illegal immigrants to obtain legal status if they briefly returned home.

Bush, making a last-ditch bid to salvage the bill, called senators early Thursday morning to urge their support. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez approached senators as they entered and left the chamber shortly before the vote.

“We have been in contact with members of Congress over the past couple of days and the president has made it clear that this is important to him,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said before the vote.

But conservatives from Bush’s own party led the opposition. They repeatedly said the government must secure the borders before allowing millions of illegal aliens a path to legal status.

“Americans feel that they are losing their country … to a government that has seemed to not have the competence or the ability to carry out the things that it says it will do,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

Sen. Elizabeth H. Dole, R-N.C., said many Americans “don’t have confidence” that borders, especially with Mexico, will be significantly tightened. “It’s not just promises but proof that the American people want,” Dole said.

But the bill’s backers said border security and accommodations to illegal immigrants must go hand in hand.

“Year after year, we’ve had the broken borders,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. “Year after year, we’ve seen the exploitation of workers.”

After the vote, he said: “It is now clear that we are not going to complete our work on immigration reform. That is enormously disappointing for Congress and for the country.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told colleagues that if the bill faltered, the political climate almost surely would not allow a serious reconsideration until 2009 or later. It would be highly unlikely, she said, “in the next few years to fix the existing system … . We are so close.”

From the beginning, the bill’s most forceful opponents were southern Republicans. GOP Sens. David Vitter of Louisiana, Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Jeff Sessions of Alabama led the charge, often backed by Texan John Cornyn.

Two southern Republicans—Lindsey Graham, S.C., and Mel Martinez, Fla., who was born in Cuba—supported it.

Also crucial to the bill’s demise was opposition from three Democrats recently elected from GOP-leaning states. They were Jon Tester of Montana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jim Webb of Virginia.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., called the vote “a victory for fear- mongering and obstruction over a bipartisan commitment to fix our broken immigration system.”

 

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Thank you for your demand. Unfortunately for you, it isn’t happening.

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 110th Congress – 1st Session

as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate

Vote Summary

Question: On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on S.1639 )
Vote Number: 235 Vote Date: June 28, 2007, 11:04 AM
Required For Majority: 3/5 Vote Result: Cloture Motion Rejected
Measure Number: S. 1639
Measure Title: A bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes.
Vote Counts: YEAs 46
  NAYs 53
  Not Voting 1
Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Alphabetical by Senator Name

Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Allard (R-CO), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Nay
Bayh (D-IN), Nay
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Byrd (D-WV), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Clinton (D-NY), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Coleman (R-MN), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Nay
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Craig (R-ID), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dole (R-NC), Nay
Domenici (R-NM), Nay
Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagel (R-NE), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Not Voting
Kennedy (D-MA), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Nay
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lott (R-MS), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Yea
McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Nay
Obama (D-IL), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Nay
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Smith (R-OR), Nay
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Sununu (R-NH), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Nay
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Warner (R-VA), Nay
Webb (D-VA), Nay
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Grouped By Vote Position

YEAs —46
NAYs —53
Not Voting – 1
Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Grouped by Home State

Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Nay Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Alaska: Murkowski (R-AK), Nay Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Arizona: Kyl (R-AZ), Yea McCain (R-AZ), Yea
Arkansas: Lincoln (D-AR), Yea Pryor (D-AR), Nay
California: Boxer (D-CA), Yea Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Colorado: Allard (R-CO), Nay Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Connecticut: Dodd (D-CT), Yea Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Delaware: Biden (D-DE), Yea Carper (D-DE), Yea
Florida: Martinez (R-FL), Yea Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Nay Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Yea Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Idaho: Craig (R-ID), Yea Crapo (R-ID), Nay
Illinois: Durbin (D-IL), Yea Obama (D-IL), Yea
Indiana: Bayh (D-IN), Nay Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Nay Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Kansas: Brownback (R-KS), Nay Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Kentucky: Bunning (R-KY), Nay McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Nay Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Maine: Collins (R-ME), Nay Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Maryland: Cardin (D-MD), Yea Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Massachusetts: Kennedy (D-MA), Yea Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Yea Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Minnesota: Coleman (R-MN), Nay Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Nay Lott (R-MS), Yea
Missouri: Bond (R-MO), Nay McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Nay Tester (D-MT), Nay
Nebraska: Hagel (R-NE), Yea Nelson (D-NE), Nay
Nevada: Ensign (R-NV), Nay Reid (D-NV), Yea
New Hampshire: Gregg (R-NH), Yea Sununu (R-NH), Nay
New Jersey: Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Nay Domenici (R-NM), Nay
New York: Clinton (D-NY), Yea Schumer (D-NY), Yea
North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Nay Dole (R-NC), Nay
North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Yea Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Ohio: Brown (D-OH), Nay Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Nay Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Oregon: Smith (R-OR), Nay Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Pennsylvania: Casey (D-PA), Yea Specter (R-PA), Yea
Rhode Island: Reed (D-RI), Yea Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Nay Graham (R-SC), Yea
South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Not Voting Thune (R-SD), Nay
Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Nay Corker (R-TN), Nay
Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Nay Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Utah: Bennett (R-UT), Yea Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Vermont: Leahy (D-VT), Yea Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Virginia: Warner (R-VA), Nay Webb (D-VA), Nay
Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Yea Murray (D-WA), Yea
West Virginia: Byrd (D-WV), Nay Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Wisconsin: Feingold (D-WI), Yea Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Wyoming: Barrasso (R-WY), Nay Enzi (R-WY), Na

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When nutroot pundits can’t see the forest for the trees, it comes as no surprise when left-wing dilettante’s frantically politicize tragic events for their own ignominious ends. Indeed, it is tragic when seven oblivious children acting as human sacrifices are strategically placed to assure their deaths in order to demonstrate the supposed barbarity of U.S. led forces. Unfortunately, once the children have been killed, the grim incident becomes a soapbox upon which al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the far-left can beat their chests and accuse Bush (again, can’t stand the man) of child murder, shamefully glamorizing it as a reason to unilaterally pull-out of the Middle East.

While I have heard much from the left on the above incident that transpired last week in eastern Afghanistan–a grievous misfortune for which our military officials should be held accountable–I have seen little mention of the abhorrent story reproduced below. To me it often seems liberals, with forethought, ignore palpable and real-life nightmares (intentionally and deceptively placed at the feet of children in this instance) by those the left feels the need to humanize–namely Islamic jihadists who are doing nothing more than following in the footsteps of the prophet, Muhammad.

The below Associated Press story is potent enough to bring a tear to your eye, unless perhaps it does nothing to foment disgust in the United States military. If that’s the case, then there is no hope for you and your own humanity. Way to be a good dhimmi.

Photo

Afghan boy Juma Gul, 6, sits on a table surrounded by elders during a gathering at a joint U.S.-Afghan military command center in Andar district of Ghazni province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, June 23, 2007. The story of Juma Gul, who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into carrying out a suicide bombing against U.S. troops provoked tears and anger at a weekend meeting of tribal leaders. Though the Taliban dismissed the story as propaganda, at a time when U.S. and NATO forces are under increasing criticism over civilian casualties, both Afghan tribal elders and U.S. military officers said they were convinced by his dramatic account. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

Boy: Taliban recruited me to bomb troops

By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer

FORWARD OPERATING BASE THUNDER, Afghanistan – The story of a 6-year-old Afghan boy who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into being a suicide bomber provoked tears and anger at a meeting of tribal leaders.

The account from Juma Gul, a dirt-caked child who collects scrap metal for money, left American soldiers dumbfounded that a youngster could be sent on such a mission. Afghan troops crowded around the boy to call him a hero.

Though the Taliban dismissed the story as propaganda, at a time when U.S. and NATO forces are under increasing criticism over civilian casualties, both Afghan tribal elders and U.S. military officers said they were convinced by his dramatic account.

Juma said that sometime last month Taliban fighters forced him to wear a vest they said would spray out flowers when he touched a button. He said they told him that when he saw American soldiers, “throw your body at them.”

The militants cornered Juma in a Taliban-controlled district in southern Afghanistan’s Ghazni province. Their target was an impoverished youngster being raised by an older sister — but also one who proved too street-smart for their plan.

“When they first put the vest on my body I didn’t know what to think, but then I felt the bomb,” Juma told The Associated Press as he ate lamb and rice after being introduced to the elders at this joint U.S.-Afghan base in Ghazni. “After I figured out it was a bomb, I went to the Afghan soldiers for help.”

While Juma’s story could not be independently verified, local government leaders backed his account and the U.S. and NATO military missions said they believed his story.

Abdul Rahim Deciwal, the chief administrator for Juma’s village of Athul, brought the boy and an older brother, Dad Gul, to a weekend meeting between Afghan elders and U.S. Army Col. Martin P. Schweitzer.

Schweitzer called the Taliban’s attempt “a cowardly act.”

As Deciwal told Juma’s story, 20 Afghan elders repeatedly clicked their tongues in sadness and disapproval. When the boy and his brother were brought in, several of the turban-wearing men welled up, wiping their eyes with handkerchiefs.

“If anybody has a heart, then how can you control yourself (before) these kids?” Deciwal said in broken English.

Wallets quickly opened, and the boys were handed $60 in American and Afghan currency — a good chunk of money in a country where teachers and police earn $70 a month.

Afghan officials described the boys as extremely poor, and Juma said he is being raised by his sister because his father works in a bakery in Pakistan and his mother lives and does domestic work in another village.

“I think the boy is intelligent,” Deciwal said. “When he comes from the enemy he found a checkpoint of the ANA (Afghan National Army), and he asked the ANA: ‘Hey, can you help me? Somebody gave me this jacket and I don’t know what’s inside but maybe something bad.'”

Lt. Col. George Graff, a father of five who attended the meeting, also teared up.

“Relating to them as a father and trying to fathom somebody using one of my children for that kind of a purpose, jeez, it just tore me up,” said Graff, a National Guard soldier from St. George, Utah. “The depths that these people will go to get what they want, which is power for themselves — it’s just disgusting.”

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, denied the militant group uses child fighters, saying it has hundreds of adults ready for suicide missions.

“We don’t need to use a child,” Ahmadi told the AP by satellite phone. “It’s against Islamic law, it’s against humanitarian law. This is just propaganda against the Taliban.”

However, a gory Taliban video that surfaced in April showed militants instructing a boy of about 12 as he beheaded an alleged traitor with a large knife. U.N. officials condemned the act as a war crime.

Fidgety but smiling during all the attention, Juma told the AP that he had been scared when he was surrounded by Taliban fighters. He cupped his hands together to show the size of the bomb, then ran his hands along his waist to show where it was on his body.

A fan of soccer, Juma said his favorite subject in school is Pashto, his native language, but he also showed off a little English, shyly counting “1, 2, 3” before breaking out in an oversize smile.

Raised in a country where birthdays are not always carefully tracked, Juma said he is 4. But he looks older and Afghan officials said he is about 6. His brother appears to be a year or so older.

Their village lies in Ghazni province’s Andar district, a Taliban stronghold targeted this month in a joint Afghan-U.S. operation. The region remains dangerous and Afghan elders worry for Juma’s safety.

Maj. John Thomas, a spokesman for NATO‘s International Security Assistance Force, said he was “a bit skeptical” about Juma’s story at first, “but everything I’ve heard makes me more and more comfortable.”

Thomas said the case would force soldiers to think twice before assuming children are safe.

“This is one incident. We hope it doesn’t repeat itself. But it gives us reason to pause, to be extra careful,” he said. “We want to publicize this as much as we can to the Afghan people so that they can protect their children from these killers.”

Col. Sayed Waqef Shah, a religious and cultural affairs officer for the Afghan army, wiped away tears after seeing Juma. “Whenever I see this kind of action from the Taliban, if I am able to arrest them, I’ll kill them on the spot,” he said.

Haji Niaz Mohammad, one of the elders at the gathering, said he hoped “God makes the Afghan government strong” so it can defeat the Taliban.

“They are the enemy of Muslims and the enemy of the children,” he said, shaking his fists in anger.

Photo

Afghan boy Juma Gul 6, drinks during lunch at a joint US-Afghan military command center in Andar district of Ghazni province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, June 23, 2007. The story of Juma Gul, who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into carrying out a suicide bombing against U.S. troops provoked tears and anger at a weekend meeting of tribal leaders. Though the Taliban dismissed the story as propaganda, at a time when U.S. and NATO forces are under increasing criticism over civilian casualties, both Afghan tribal elders and U.S. military officers said they were convinced by his dramatic account. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

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UPDATED BELOW!!

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I certainly hope so (but more importantly, why the hell is there a picture of Paris Hilton on this blog?)

The central question I have here is, “why has no one inspected these stations before?” I suppose everyone takes for granted that, at the very least, the instrumentation used to measure global temperatures would exist in a sort of vacuum–sensibly placed, with intelligent forethought into the environments wherein they were to abide while undergoing regular and reasonable maintenance.

According to a recently launched study by Anthony Watts at his site Surface Stations (currently offline understandably due to excessive traffic), anthropogenic global warming may in large part simply be due to human error, and possibly stupidity, when placing weather stations, and specifically global temperature measuring thermometers.

Mr. Watts is still in the beginning stages of his study (50 stations out of around 1200 in the United States) and drawing serious conclusions at this point might be a tad hasty. If his early inspections are anything to go by though, the pro-anthropogenic global warming camp may have to dream up a new way to bamboozle the public into believing that man is primarily responsible for the inevitable world-wide catastrophe due to our meddlings in the ways of mother nature (for crying out loud, the United Nations has just claimed that global warming is responsible for the genocide in Darfur–it looks as if U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is turning out a greater kook than was Kofi Annan.

Who knows? Perhaps the inconvenient truth is that Paris Hilton is more pertinent than global warming.

 

Helping along global warming

By Bill Steigerwald
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, June 17, 2007

Remember in January when the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its good friends in media trumpeted that 2006 was the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States? NOAA based that finding – which allegedly capped a nine-year warming streak “unprecedented in the historical record” – on the daily temperature data that its National Climatic Data Center gathers from about 1,221 mostly rural weather observation stations around the country.

Few people have ever seen or even heard of these small, simple-but-reliable weather stations, which quietly make up what NOAA calls its United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN).

But the stations play an important role in detecting and analyzing regional climate change. More ominously, they provide the official baseline historical temperature data that politically motivated global-warming alarmists like James Hansen of NASA plug into their computer climate models to predict various apocalypses.

NOAA says it uses these 1,221 weather stations — which like the ones in Uniontown and New Castle are overseen by local National Weather Service offices and usually tended to by volunteers — because they have been providing reliable temperature data since at least 1900.

But Anthony Watts of Chico, Calif., suspects NOAA temperature readings are not all they’re cracked up to be. As the former TV meteorologist explains on his sophisticated, newly hatched Web site surfacestations.org, he has set out to do what big-time armchair-climate modelers like Hansen and no one else has ever done – physically quality-check each weather station to see if it’s being operated properly.

To assure accuracy, stations (essentially older thermometers in little four-legged wooden sheds or digital thermometers mounted on poles) should be 100 feet from buildings, not placed on hot concrete, etc. But as photos on Watts’ site show, the station in Forest Grove, Ore., stands 10 feet from an air-conditioning exhaust vent. In Roseburg, Ore., it’s on a rooftop near an AC unit. In Tahoe, Calif., it’s next to a drum where trash is burned.

Watts, who says he’s a man of facts and science, isn’t jumping to any rash conclusions based on the 40-some weather stations his volunteers have checked so far. But he said Tuesday that what he’s finding raises doubts about NOAA’s past and current temperature reports.

“I believe we will be able to demonstrate that some of the global warming increase is not from CO2 but from localized changes in the temperature-measurement environment.”

Meanwhile, you probably missed the latest about 2006. As NOAA reported on May 1 – with minimum mainstream-media fanfare – 2006 actually was the second- warmest year ever recorded in America, not the first. At an annual average of 54.9 degrees F, it was a whopping 0.08 degrees cooler than 1998, still the hottest year.

NOAA explained that it had updated its 2006 report “to reflect revised statistics” and “better address uncertainties in the instrumental record.” This tinkering is standard procedure. NOAA always scientifically tweaks temperature readings for various reasons — weather stations are moved to different locations, modernized, affected by increased urbanization, etc.

NOAA didn’t say whether it had adjusted for uncertainties caused by nearby burn barrels.

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Here’s a notable excerpt from Anthony Watts, Surface Stations website, courtesy of Newsbusters

Will Media Ever Investigate Accuracy of Weather Stations?

Posted by Noel Sheppard on June 18, 2007 – 15:30.

Assume for a moment there was evidence some weather stations around the country were underestimating mean temperatures. Would a media fixated on expanding climate change alarmism investigate and report this phenomenon to demonstrate that the planet was actually warmer than people think?

“60 Minutes,” “20/20,” and “Dateline” would have all done rather lengthy exposés into the matter, correct?

Well, a former meteorologist for the CBS-TV affiliate KHSL in Redding, California, by the name of Anthony Watts has examined 48 of the 1221 weather stations in the 48 lower states, and found irregularities that could be skewing the data upward.

Watts reported his first startling finding on this subject at his “Watts Up With That?” website on May 9, 2007 (emphasis added throughout):

To get an idea of the measurement environment that exists today at stations used to gather climate data, I visited the Chico State University Fram on Hegan Lane, south of the city, to do a site survey in the format done by Dr. Roger Pielke of Colorado State University. This station is part of the US Historical Climate Network of weather stations that have been used as the source for surface temperature data in many climate models and studies. There were some interesting discoveries.

[…]

1. There are missing louvers on the north side of the [Cotton Region Shelter] containing the automated data logger and temp/dp sensor

2. There is clear evidence that both shelters have been repainted with latex paint, including brush marks and drip marks.

3. There is an asphalt road that curves around the site, from the southwest to the southeast

4. The surface at the site is mixture of gravel, soil, and debris. There is no grass.

5. There is a water filled evapo-transpiration pan within 10 feet of each CRS, its lineage seems to indicate it goes back to the establishment of the site in 1963

6. The fiberglass composite NEMA electronics enclosure containing the data logger, radio modem, and solar battery charger are placed inside the CRS within 6-8 inches of the temperature/dp sensor. The 12 volt gel cel battery is also inside the CRS. These items may introduce a heat bias from the operating electronics.

Watts was kind enough to include pictures of the site surveyed.

Since this point, Watts has visited many other weather stations (please visit www.surfacestations.org for all of his observations) with findings such as the following in Marysville, California:

Today I visited Marysville’s Fire Station, just off Hwy 70 at 9th and B Street, where they have the station of record for the city using the MMTS electronic sensor installed by the National Weather Service. The data from this station is part of the USHCN (US Historical Climatological Network) and is used in the computer modeling used to predict climate change.

The Marysville station is located behind the fire department building on a patio and is probably the worst site visited so far. In addition to the sensor being surrounded by asphalt and concrete, its also within 10 feet of buildings, and within 8 feet of a large metal cell tower that could be felt reflecting sunlight/heat. And worst of all, air conditioning units on the cell tower electronics buildings vent warm air within 10 feet of the sensor. Oh and lets not forget the portable BBQ the firefighters use a “couple times a week.” The area has been constantly added to, what was once a grass rear yard was turned to a parking lot, then more buildings added, then a cell tower with one, then two electronics buildings and the air conditioners…no report on how long the firefighters were BBQ’ing back there, when they figured out why I was asking all the questions they clammed up.

I can tell you with certainty, the temperature data from this station is useless.

To give you an idea of just how useless, take a look at the picture of this weather station:

Here are the mean temperature recorded by the Marysville station since the early 1900s:

Yet, as Watts pointed out, there’s another station 50 miles away in Orland, California, which is not surrounded by buildings, air conditioners, asphalt, a parking lot, or a cell tower. Take a look at a picture of how a weather station should be set up, and the insert of mean temperatures reported from said station which are quite different than from the Marysville station just 50 miles away:

As Watts correctly pointed out, “Its [sic] obvious that Marysville is measuring UHI (Urban Heat Island) effects.”

What this means is that the Marysville station is defeating the purpose of placing a temperature recorder outside of a major metropolitan area by creating an environment that looks nothing like a rural one. As a result, it is quite likely that the temperature readings at Marysville are being upwardly skewed by the environs.

As you might imagine, these are but two examples of sites visited by Watts, and the reader is encouraged to go here and here for more of his research.

Yet, the bigger question is why haven’t journalists looked into this matter? Isn’t this considered newsworthy?

Bill Steigerwald of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review certainly believes so given his Sunday article on this subject (emphasis added):

To assure accuracy, stations (essentially older thermometers in little four-legged wooden sheds or digital thermometers mounted on poles) should be 100 feet from buildings, not placed on hot concrete, etc. But as photos on Watts’ site show, the station in Forest Grove, Ore., stands 10 feet from an air-conditioning exhaust vent. In Roseburg, Ore., it’s on a rooftop near an AC unit. In Tahoe, Calif., it’s next to a drum where trash is burned.

Watts, who says he’s a man of facts and science, isn’t jumping to any rash conclusions based on the 40-some weather stations his volunteers have checked so far. But he said Tuesday that what he’s finding raises doubts about NOAA’s past and current temperature reports.

I believe we will be able to demonstrate that some of the global warming increase is not from CO2 but from localized changes in the temperature-measurement environment.”

Any questions as to why major media outlets are not at all concerned with the accuracy of America’s weather stations?

NEW UPDATE (6/19/07) COURTESY OF NEWSBUSTERS

Chris Horner Identifies More Weather Station Problems

Posted by Noel Sheppard on June 19, 2007 – 14:29.

On Monday, NewsBusters exposed some serious problems at a number of temperature data-collection facilities around the country.

On Tuesday, Christopher C. Horner, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of the New York Times bestseller “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism,” shared information with NewsBusters concerning two additional problematic weather stations:

Jim Manzi [of National Review’s Planet Gore] recently posted on the problems encountered when experts undertook even a cursory examination of the U.S.’s surface temperature measuring stations, which are the world’s most reliable…a sobering thought for reasons we all shall soon see.

Horner continued:

Consider the below exemplar of those wonders of science and technology in the field of obtaining surface temperature measurements, from Hopkinsville, KY, where the instrument: a) abuts a brick house: b) actually abuts the chimney of a brick house; c) hovers just above a black asphalt pad, and; d) what’s that directly underneath it, but a Weber grill!

Absolutely brilliant.

There is a large green garbage receptacle just off to the left, in the photo, which is where I suggest the instrument might better lie.

Next time you hear of a heat wave in Hopkinsville, KY, you might wander over to grab a burger. More likely than not the boys are just having a cookout.

This is not yet up on SurfaceStations, but based on other station photos which I’ve seen this isn’t all that aberrant, or rather is so only as a matter of degree

Horner wasn’t done, for the following picture is of a weather station somewhere in Colorado:

Horner pointed out:

Here, the weather station was placed 2 feet off of a building, but conveniently next to a large air conditioning unit. Any thoughts on the localized ambient temperature when that baby kicks on?

Horner concluded:

The folks at ClimateAudit have detected that our alarmist friends are aware, and already preparing for this story to get some legs. Our schools may be in pretty rough shape, but not that rough that this corruption of the surface data will go unnoticed.

Of course, the question still remains: When will the mainstream media investigate and report this, or will this issue continue to be one only examined in the blogosphere?

Stay tuned.

 

 

High price for load of hot air

 

June 18, 2007 12:00am

WITH understandable reluctance, Prime Minister John Howard recently donned the political hair-shirt of a carbon trading system.

On the same day, NASA chief Michael Griffin commented in a US radio interview that “I am not sure that it is fair to say that (global warming) is a problem that we must wrestle with”.

NASA is an agency that knows a thing or two about climate change. As Griffin added: “We study global climate change, that is in our authorisation, we think we do it rather well.

“I’m proud of that, but NASA is not an agency chartered to, quote, battle climate change.”

Such a clear statement that science accomplishment should carry primacy over policy advice is both welcome and overdue.

Nonetheless, there is something worrying about one of Griffin’s other statements, which said that “I have no doubt . . . that a trend of global warming exists”.

Griffin seems to be referring to human-caused global warming, but irrespective of that his opinion is unsupported by the evidence.

The salient facts are these. First, the accepted global average temperature statistics used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998. Oddly, this eight-year-long temperature stasis has occurred despite an increase over the same period of 15 parts per million (or 4 per cent) in atmospheric CO2.

Second, lower atmosphere satellite-based temperature measurements, if corrected for non-greenhouse influences such as El Nino events and large volcanic eruptions, show little if any global warming since 1979, a period over which atmospheric CO2 has increased by 55 ppm (17 per cent).

Third, there are strong indications from solar studies that Earth’s current temperature stasis will be followed by climatic cooling over the next few decades.

How then is it possible for Griffin to assert so boldly that human-caused global warming is happening?

Well, he is in good company for similar statements have been made recently by several Western heads of state at the G8 summit meeting. For instance, German Chancellor Angela Merkel asserts climate change (i.e. global warming) “is also essentially caused by humankind”.

In fact, there is every doubt whether any global warming at all is occurring at the moment, let alone human-caused warming.

For leading politicians to be asserting to the contrary indicates something is very wrong with their chain of scientific advice, for they are clearly being deceived. That this should be the case is an international political scandal of high order which, in turn, raises the question of where their advice is coming from.

In Australia, the advice trail leads from government agencies such as the CSIRO and the Australian Greenhouse Office through to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations.

As leading economist David Henderson has pointed out, it is extremely dangerous for an unelected and unaccountable body like the IPCC to have a monopoly on climate policy advice to governments. And even more so because, at heart, the IPCC is a political and not a scientific agency.

Australia does not ask the World Bank to set its annual budget and neither should it allow the notoriously alarmist IPCC to set its climate policy.

It is past time for those who have deceived governments and misled the public regarding dangerous human-caused global warming to be called to account. Aided by hysterical posturing by green NGOs, their actions have led to the cornering of government on the issue and the likely implementation of futile emission policies that will impose direct extra costs on every household and enterprise in Australia to no identifiable benefit.

Not only do humans not dominate Earth’s current temperature trend but the likelihood is that further large sums of public money are shortly going to be committed to, theoretically, combat warming when cooling is the more likely short-term climatic eventuality.

In one of the more expensive ironies of history, the expenditure of more than $US50 billion ($60 billion) on research into global warming since 1990 has failed to demonstrate any human-caused climate trend, let alone a dangerous one.

Yet that expenditure will pale into insignificance compared with the squandering of money that is going to accompany the introduction of a carbon trading or taxation system.

The costs of thus expiating comfortable middle class angst are, of course, going to be imposed preferentially upon the poor and underprivileged.

  • Professor Bob Carter is an environmental scientist at James Cook University who studies ancient climate change

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UPDATED BELOW!!!

Ah, Summer (actually, late Spring) has begun and the hot weather has invaded us this past week here in Southern California, and specifically Los Angeles where I reside, with temperatures peaking upwards of the high 90’s. It’s hot, and while it will cool down again this weekend, I can certainly look forward to even warmer days in the weeks and months ahead. Damn the global warming that has all of the alarmists in a frenzied uproar.

Yet, despite the fact that “renowned” scientists around the nation and the world, including distinguished NASA climatologists, predicted the 2006-2007 winter season to be unseasonably wet and warm, the previous winter period in question proved much colder (records were broken here in L.A. and elsewhere) and drier than anyone anticipated (or hoped for.) Yet, these are the very same people, many of whom are members of the biased U.N. scientific propaganda machine, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who expect us to believe their predictions that the earth is warming due primarily to anthropogenic interference.

These are the same people who concocted the hockey stick graph, deceitfully eradicating the medieval era warming period in order to convince politicians and the public that global warming is human induced (while the IPCC was shamed into discarding that deceptive graph in favor of a diagram that did include the medieval warming period, the Al Goracle is not as progressive as liberals would like to believe–he stands stolid with his sophistry by maintaining a firm grasp on the outdated fallacious hockey stick graph when no one else will, further perpetuating that lie in his Academy Award winning slide-show, An Inconvenient Truth.) These are the same people who decry melting glaciers, while ignoring growing glaciers only miles apart.

But let’s suppose man knows best, and the earth is warming at an exagerated rate (well, except for the southern hemisphere which rather negates the concept of “global warming”), and instituting laws and regulations limiting people’s freedoms is the best for all of humanity (like the Kyoto protocols adopted by Europe which has seen a marked increase in green house gasses, or GHG’s, since ratification, while the U.S. has managed to reduce GHG’s without instituting Kyoto), and producing dubious studies, such as this nonsense, designed to make us believe that paying taxes feels as good mentally as getting laid, preparing the mindless masses for huge tax increases in order to save mankind from our own foolish, global warming ways. Let’s all jump on the global warming bandwagon and step up to the tectonic plate, so to speak, and put our money where our mouth is. Tax it all.

Now, I’m not one for new taxes, but the below piece by Ross McKitrick from the Financial Post posits a tax plan that’s so simple it just might work, pleasing everyone on both sides of the polarized global warming fence. Basically, those who supposedly contribute to warming will be taxed as the global temperature rises based on their carbon dioxide emissions. As the heat increases, so would the cost of the tax, allowing funds gained through said tax contributing towards methods of environmental assistance, humanitarian needs (increased hurricane activity for example), and overall planet-saving, global warming pocket money. How could a green not like this? They would finally be allowed to punish all of us skeptics.

Now here’s the part that should please all of the heretical dissenters, such as myself, wildly producing earth-killing C02 willy-nilly (but I own a Prius), requiring more than anecdotal evidence as to man-made global warming. If all of the predictions by the greens turn out false, if anthropogenic GHG’s are not causing a global climate crisis, “and if the sun actually controls the climate,” that tax would then be converted into a tax credit. This would certainly encourage everyone involved–from large, polluting multi-billion dollar corporations all the way down the chain to the individual–to think progressively and creatively as to how they might avoid such a tax by becoming more environmentally friendly. This would almost entirely result in personal choice, whether business or individually mandated, avoiding the troublesome legislative meddling of socialist green lobbies who desire nothing more than containment through governance of the people, limiting personal freedoms.

If the global warming alarmists truly believe their own hype, how could they not clamber for such a beneficial plan, especially considering they quickly embrace anything involved with raising taxes. The only thing they might lose is a little dignity, while hopefully gaining a significant amount of humility, especially when the next ice age alarmists start coming out of the woodwork in a decade or so (I guess there’s a reason why many now prefer the always relevant “global climate change” to the passe “global warming.”)

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The original hockey stick graph that Al Gore erroneously uses in his slideshow, An Inconvenient Truth

Call their tax

Why not tie carbon taxes to actual levels of warming? Both skeptics and alarmists should expect their wishes to be answered

 
Ross McKitrick
Financial Post

Global-warming policy is stuck in a permanent stalemate for very basic reasons. Important divisions of opinion still exist on the extent of humanity’s influence on climate, whether or not the situation is a crisis, whether and how much greenhouse-gas emissions should be cut, if so how to do it, and what is the most we should be prepared to pay in the process.

With this stalemate in mind, I would like to propose a thought experiment about a climate policy that could, in principle, get equal support from all sides.

The approach is based on two points of expert consensus. First, most economists who have written on carbon-dioxide emissions have concluded that an emissions tax is preferable to a cap-and-trade system. The reason is that, while emission-abatement costs vary a lot, based on the target, the social damages from a tonne of carbon-dioxide emissions are roughly constant. The first ton of carbon dioxide imposes the same social cost as the last ton.

In this case, it is better for policy-makers to guess the right price for emissions rather than the right cap. Most studies that have looked at that the global cost per tonne of carbon dioxide have found it is likely to be rather low, less than US$10 per tonne. We don’t know what the right emissions cap is, but, if we put a low charge on each unit of emissions, the market will find the (roughly) correct emissions cap.

Second, climate models predict that, if greenhouse gases are driving climate change, there will be a unique fingerprint in the form of a strong warming trend in the tropical troposphere, the region of the atmosphere up to 15 kilometres in altitude, over the tropics, from 20? North to 20? South. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that this will be an early and strong signal of anthropogenic warming. Climate changes due to solar variability or other natural factors will not yield this pattern: only sustained greenhouse warming will do it.

Temperatures in the tropical troposphere are measured every day using weather satellites. The data are analyzed by several teams, including one at the University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) and one at Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) in California. According to the UAH team, the mean tropical tropospheric temperature anomaly (its departure from the 1979-98 average) over the past three years is 0.18C. The corresponding ing RSS estimate is 0.29C.

Now put those two ideas together. Suppose each country implements something called the T3 tax, whose U.S. dollar rate is set equal to 20 times the three-year moving average of the RSS and UAH estimates of the mean tropical tropospheric temperature anomaly, assessed per tonne of carbon dioxide, updated annually. Based on current data, the tax would be US$4.70 per ton, which is about the median mainstream carbon-dioxide-damage estimate from a major survey published in 2005 by economist Richard Tol. The tax would be implemented on all domestic carbon-dioxide emissions, all the revenues would be recycled into domestic income tax cuts to maintain fiscal neutrality, and there would be no cap on total emissions.

This tax rate is low, and would yield very little emissions abatement. Global-warming skeptics and opponents of greenhouse-abatement policy will like that. But would global-warming activists? They should — because according to them, the tax will climb rapidly in the years ahead.

The IPCC predicts a warming rate in the tropical troposphere of about double that at the surface, implying about 0.2C to 1.2C per decade in the tropical troposphere under greenhouse-forcing scenarios. That implies the tax will climb by $4 to $24 per tonne per decade, a much more aggressive schedule of emission fee increases than most current proposals. At the upper end of warming forecasts, the tax could reach $200 per tonne of CO2 by 2100, forcing major carbon-emission reductions and a global shift to non-carbon energy sources.

Global-warming activists would like this. But so would skeptics, because they believe the models are exaggerating the warming forecasts. After all, the averaged UAH/ RSS tropical troposphere series went up only about 0.08C over the past decade, and has been going down since 2002. Some solar scientists even expect pronounced cooling to begin in a decade. If they are right, the T3 tax will fall below zero within two decades, turning into a subsidy for carbon emissions.

At this point the global-warming alarmists would leap up to slam the proposal. But not so fast, Mr. Gore: The tax would only become a carbon subsidy if all the climate models are wrong, if greenhouse gases are not warming the atmosphere, and if the sun actually controls the climate. Alarmists sneeringly denounce such claims as “denialism,” so they can hardly reject the policy on the belief that they are true.

Under the T3 tax, the regulator gets to call everyone’s bluff at once, without gambling in advance on who is right. If the tax goes up, it ought to have. If it doesn’t go up, it shouldn’t have. Either way we get a sensible outcome.

But the benefits don’t stop there. The T3 tax will induce forward-looking behaviour. Alarmists worry that conventional policy operates with too long a lag to prevent damaging climate change. Under the T3 tax, investors planning major industrial projects will need to forecast the tax rate many years ahead, thereby taking into account the most likely path of global warming a decade or more in advance.

And best of all, the T3 tax will encourage private-sector climate forecasting. Firms will need good estimates of future tax rates, which will force them to look deeply, and objectively, into the question of whether existing climate forecasts have an alarmist bias. The financial incentives will lead to independent reassessments of global climate modelling, without regard to what politicians, the IPCC or climatology professors want to hear.

Policymaking in the real world is messy, and ideas that sound good in theory can come out hopelessly gummed up with extraneous provisions that dilute or contradict the original purpose. But as a thought experiment, I find the T3 tax clarifies a lot of issues.

In my view, the ideal global-warming policy is a carbon tax, and the optimal rate is zero. I like the T3 tax in part because I think it would result in this outcome over time. Yet those whose fears of rapid warming lead them to demand stronger policy measures, including an emissions cap, should, in principle, be able to support the same mechanism. Especially in light of the long stalemates over carbon-dioxide emissions policy, I doubt any other policy could command equal support from such polarized camps.

— – Ross McKitrick is an economist at University of Guelph.

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The corrected, and accurate, global climate graph.

 

Carbon trade scheme ‘is failing’

 

By Julian O’ Halloran
BBC File On 4


Power station

The government’s own figures show an increase in greenhouse gases

The EU’s carbon trading scheme has increased electricity bills, given a windfall to power companies and failed to cut greenhouse gases, it is claimed. An investigation by BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 programme has found that after two and half years the scheme has yet to cut in carbon dioxide emissions.

The consumer body Energywatch said customers are getting a raw deal.

But a government minister has promised that the scheme’s next phase will be a big improvement.

The EU’s Emission Trading Scheme – a key part of the UK Government’s drive to combat climate change – began in 2005 and created a trade in carbon allowances.

It is essentially a permit to pollute.

Power generators received their allowances free of charge but were allowed to reflect the value of those in increased prices to customers, as if the companies had actually had to buy the allowances.

Energywatch believes this increased electricity bills by about 7% in 2005.

‘Windfall profits’

And according to one government estimate, that delivered windfall profits of up to £1.3bn to the generators in that year – higher than environmental campaigners had claimed last year.

However, so far the carbon scheme has brought no clear payback in terms of cutting emissions.

Provisional government figures from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) suggest CO2 output in Britain actually went up, by 1.25% last year wiping out a slight drop of 0.01% in 2005.

It is also reckoned that CO2 emissions across the EU also rose by between 1 and 1.5% over the last two years.

Carbon reduction

The chief executive of Energywatch, Allan Asher, said , “Consumers increasingly accept the need for reductions in carbon.

“However they are paying the price and not seeing the benefits. The big generators are banking huge amounts of money and consumers aren’t benefiting.”

But the Minister for Climate Change, Ian Pearson, told File on 4 that the carbon trading scheme has been an administrative success yet concedes there have been problems in the first three year phase to the end of 2007.

“If you are saying to me it hasn’t achieved a massive amount so far when it comes to CO2 reductions, well I agree with you and I think Phase Two will be a big, big improvement…and a key instrument in helping us all to achieve our carbon reduction targets across Europe.”

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Freedom, not climate, is at risk

By Vaclav Klaus

Published: June 13 2007 17:44

We are living in strange times. One exceptionally warm winter is enough – irrespective of the fact that in the course of the 20th century the global temperature increased only by 0.6 per cent – for the environmentalists and their followers to suggest radical measures to do something about the weather, and to do it right now.

In the past year, Al Gore’s so-called “documentary” film was shown in cinemas worldwide, Britain’s – more or less Tony Blair’s – Stern report was published, the fourth report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was put together and the Group of Eight summit announced ambitions to do something about the weather. Rational and freedom-loving people have to respond. The dictates of political correctness are strict and only one permitted truth, not for the first time in human history, is imposed on us. Everything else is denounced.

The author Michael Crichton stated it clearly: “the greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda”. I feel the same way, because global warming hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. It requires courage to oppose the “established” truth, although a lot of people – including top-class scientists – see the issue of climate change entirely differently. They protest against the arrogance of those who advocate the global warming hypothesis and relate it to human activities.

As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.

The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

The scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions. They have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions and how much they have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence.

Does it make any sense to speak about warming of the Earth when we see it in the context of the evolution of our planet over hundreds of millions of years? Every child is taught at school about temperature variations, about the ice ages, about the much warmer climate in the Middle Ages. All of us have noticed that even during our life-time temperature changes occur (in both directions).

Due to advances in technology, increases in disposable wealth, the rationality of institutions and the ability of countries to organise themselves, the adaptability of human society has been radically increased. It will continue to increase and will solve any potential consequences of mild climate changes.

I agree with Professor Richard Lindzen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who said: “future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age”.

The issue of global warming is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.

As a witness to today’s worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:
■Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures
■Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided
■Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants
■Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term “scientific consensus”, which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority
■Instead of speaking about “the environment”, let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour
■Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction
■Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.

The writer is President of the Czech Republic

UPDATED!!! (6/21/07) – President Vaclav Klaus responds to comments from his above piece in the Financial Times

 

Global warming: truth or propaganda?

Published: June 13 2007 17:09 | Last updated: June 21 2007 13:01

Vaclav Klaus Q&A

Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, argues in the Financial Times that ambitious environmentalism is the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity.

Mr Klaus writes that “global warming hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem” and the issue “is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.”

Do you agree? Or do small climate changes demand far-reaching restrictive measures?

Following an overwhelming response from readers, Mr Klaus has answered a selection of questions from the hundreds that were submitted.

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Does President Klaus really believe that it is a good risk management strategy to ignore the summary report on climate change science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, approved by the Czech Republic and other countries in February, concluding that continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century?
Bob Ward, London, UK

Vaclav Klaus: I think it is a very bad risk management strategy to follow the summary report on climate change of the IPCC. To do it would be a giving up of risk management rules and of standard cost-benefit analysis techniques in favour of environmentalists’ “precautionary principle” which totally discredits risk management and comparison of costs and benefits. I suppose that you don’t insure your house (or car) when the danger is small and the insurance is too expensive. That’s all.

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Mr. Klaus, I believe, has asked the wrong question, and in doing so, is in danger of under-cutting his main point, which is the danger to personal freedom of a top-down, single-government approach to managing the problem of global warming. Instead of trying to ask, is global warming a REAL problem?, Mr Klaus should ask – and then provide his answer – the question: Assuming global warming is a REAL, global issue, how can we manage this problem on a global scale while also expanding personal freedom and economic welfare? I would be very interested in hearing his response to this question.
Robert Bruegel, Denver, Colorado

Vaclav Klaus: I ask myself several questions. Let’s put them in the proper sequence:

• Is global warming a reality?

If it is a reality, is it man-made?

• If it is a reality, is it a problem? Will the people in the world, and now I have to say “globally”, better-off or worse-off due to small increases of global temperature?

• If it is a reality, and if it is a problem, can men prevent it or stop it? Can any reasonable cost-benefit analysis justify anything – within the range of current proposals – to be done just now?

Surprisingly, we can say yes – with some degree of probability – only to the first question. To the remaining three my answer is no. And I am not alone in saying that. We are, however, still more or less the silent or silenced majority.

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Because of the incredible complexity of variables controlling climate, programs based on empirical data cannot predict weather for a fortnight; so how can programs based on far less finite information accurately predict global warming?
William Bluhm, Bella Vista, AR

Vaclav Klaus: This is exactly my argument. It is impossible to seriously predict global weather, not to speak about climate. But my argument is less about eventual variations in global climate. My doubts are mostly about the impact of human activities on global climate. This connection seems to me – after having read hundreds of books, articles and studies – very weak. This weakness is a problem. Because of this weakness, we should not make drastic, far-reaching measures.

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Why do you disbelieve the science when every serious national scientific establishment appears to support it? And why do you suppose it to be a threat to freedom when both EU and UK essentially support market mechanisms as the primary policy instrument to deal with it?
John Rhys, UK

Vaclav Klaus: I do not disbelieve the science, but I see a big difference between science and “national scientific establishments”. To believe in scientific establishment is impossible, this is just another powerful rent-seeking group. Seeking rent for themselves, not for the mankind.

You suggest that both the EU and the UK support market mechanisms as the primary policy instrument to deal with climate change. We probably live on a different planet. I don’t see it happening.

At a somewhat deeper methodological level, I have to say that market mechanism is nobody’s policy instrument. It reminds me of the old communist days again. The issue was: market or central planning. The central planners, however, wanted to have market – in their hands – as a policy instrument. Do we have to live under communism to understand that?

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My assumption would be that the costs to implement the initial phases of the 50 per cent reduction idea would be measured in trillions of dollars to just the US. My question to you is what would it cost a country such as the Czech Republic, and what about opportunity costs associated with such reductions? That never seems to be discussed.
William Danielson, Hayward, Wisconsin US

Vaclav Klaus: As an economist (Professor of Finance at the Prague School of Economics) and as a former Minister of Finance I have to admit that I don’t know the answer to your question. I am not ashamed of this ignorance of mine. On the contrary, I am ashamed of the confidence of those who claim to know the answer.

At least two points should be made:

• the costs will not be only financial ones because the main costs will be the negative impact upon human beings, their lives, their welfare, their freedom, their opportunities, their behaviour;

• to calculate “the costs” for the next fifty years is ridiculous. We do not know the prices in the year 2050 and we do not know how important one million dollars (or euros) will be in the year 2050. Therefore, any “calculation” is meaningless. The more absurd it is, the easier it is to make such an announcement at the G8 summit.

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All that environmentalists demand is responsibility. Responsibility of those who cause damage to others to pay for that damage, and to do their utmost to stop inflicting it. I had the impression that responsibility was supposed to be a conservative virtue, and a necessary complement to the great freedom we have in our open market economies. But more and more I see the supporters of capitalism demand that they be free to dump their waste on their neighbours lawns without consequence. What happened?
Nanne Zwagerman

Vaclav Klaus: Environmentalists do not demand responsibility. Responsibility is not their idea, it is a basic, elementary aspect of human behaviour – on condition government policies do not give wrong incentives. The idea of responsibility for damage done to others is not the environmentalists’ copyright. It is a standard of human behaviour. Environmentalists – especially in the case of global warming – artificially created “a damage” (higher temperature) and made all of us responsible for it. I don’t believe in this “damage” and I am not ready to pay for it. The role of men in slightly higher global temperature (0.6°C in the last century) is only marginal, if any.

To say that “the supporters of capitalism demand that they are free to dump their waste on their neighbours lawns without consequence” has the beauty of communist propaganda I had a chance to “enjoy” during the first 48 years of my life.

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With the Czech Republic being a mid-sized European country, do you see a threat to your people and land from the climate change decisions and limitations being made by larger world powers? If so, what can the majority of the world do to mitigate harmful policies being forced by these powers?
William A. Warner, Tacoma, WA, US

Vaclav Klaus: It is very popular but cheap to blame “large world powers”. I don’t do it. I know many, very small European “powers” which are more environmentalist than most “large world powers”. The problem is that some politicians – of both large and small countries – are victims of environmentalism and use it for their own personal benefits.

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Years ago I heard people talking about how environmentalism would be used as the lever to usher in global (socialistic) government, because the environment affects everyone. Do you think this is what we are now seeing with the climate issue?
Mark, Lake Charles, US

Vaclav Klaus: Environmentalism is indeed a vehicle for bringing us socialist government at the global level. Again, my life in communism makes me oversensitive in this respect. The argumentation of various environmentalists is very similar to what we used to know in the past.

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Do you feel that the global warming is being used as a rallying point for the forces of globalisation? It is much like the Avian flu propaganda don’t you agree? Problem, reaction, solution. The trillionaires, that want to rule the world, are going to save us… that’s what I’m getting. What is your view?
Mark Lemmon

Vaclav Klaus: I don’t think that the environmentalists are “the trillionaires who want to rule the world”. I am afraid the environmentalists want to rule the world without being capable to earn those trillions because it requires to work very hard. The global warming propaganda is, I agree, similar to the Avian flu propaganda, the Y2K propaganda, the end of resources propaganda, the overpopulation propaganda, etc. Their proposals will not increase the globalisation of human activities, they are in favour of global governance only. This is something very different. I am in favour of the first globalisation, not of the second one.

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President Klaus, I agree with you but how can we stop the argument being seen as one of the “Right” versus the “Left”? It seems to me that this one issue brings more confusion to the debate.
Anon, London

Vaclav Klaus: I am not afraid of right-left argument, even if I know that some people innocently hope that the right-left dilemma is over. It is not. Without going into nuances, we can say that the “right” people are in favour of individual freedom, whereas the “left” people believe in collectivist wisdom. Environmentalism, not preservation of nature (and of environment), is a leftist ideology. Some people, who pretend to be on the right, bought into it as well – to my great regret.

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What is the financial and/or economic incentive for those governments and organisations who go along with, and even support environmentalism?
Justin Kelly

Vaclav Klaus: There are huge material (very pecuniary) and even bigger psychological incentives for politicians and their bureaucratic fellow-travellers to support environmentalism. It gives them power. This is exactly what they are searching for. It gives them power to organise, regulate, manipulate the rest of us. There is nothing altruistic in their environmentalist stances.

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While I applaud your commitment to freedom, I ask you this: Will we live in freedom if the decisions of a portion of the globe’s population (the government and corporate leaders who refuse to halt the increase of greenhouse gas emissions) condemn the rest of us to face whatever consequences global climate change eventually wreaks?
Respectfully, Arielle K. Botter

Vaclav Klaus: I don’t believe that there is a world-wide conspiracy of government and corporate leaders to halt the increase of greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, I am not convinced about the strong connection between greenhouse gas emissions and the global climate. This connection can’t be taken for granted.

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President Klaus, I agree, so how do rational libertarians prevent the destruction of our culture by environmentalists? What’s the answer?
Nicholas Horvath

Vaclav Klaus: The “rational libertarians” (I don’t mind being called classical liberal) should stop being just a silent majority. They should speak out, as well as speak up. They should reveal the real dangers connected with environmentalism. As the subtitle of my recent book “What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?” suggests, I believe that it is freedom which is endangered. And freedom is more than eventual, relatively mild climate changes.

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Why are so many people willing to embrace junk science and its dire predictions? What can each of us do to inspire people to think critically, and rationally? Is there a way to assemble multitudes of clear-thinkers, to push back against irrational, over-wrought fear-mongering?
Larry Jordan, US

Vaclav Klaus: Some people believe in irrational things and events – some of them in UFOs, some in witches, some in fairy-tales, some in omnipotent governments, some in global warming.

Some people believe in themselves, not in others. They suppose they know better than the rest of us what is good for us.

Some people are sufficiently motivated to spread the global warming hysteria. It gives them funding (especially for science connected with this issue), it gives them jobs in well-paid government positions, it gives them government subsidies for producing products which are – supposedly – in favour of global cooling, etc.

What to do? I take my positions on global warming as normal. It surprises me how many people tell me how courageous I am for taking them. Let’s all of us speak out.

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Why view conservation of energy as an attack on freedom? Do you believe wasting energy strengthens freedom? The US, with only 6 per cent of world population, produces 25 per cent of world CO2 emissions because of government programs encouraging high energy use. Excessive tax subsidies for road building and oil production push energy waste, not the free market. The US political process is dominated by road building and oil interests. I pray that doesn’t happen to the Czech Republic.
John Norquist, Chicago, US

Vaclav Klaus: Let’s be fair. Attacking environmentalism and its mythology is not attacking nature, the environment we live in, the conservation of energy. It’s a classical spin to do it.

To save energy (as anything else) is the only rational behaviour. The more we save, the better. The economy of energy consumption is a must, not to save energy is irrational. The problem is who should make the decision about energy saving or conservation? Free individuals or omnipotent governments? That is the only problem. Free individuals in a free market climate (and only this “climate” is crucial) behave much more rationally than their governments.

To say that government programs encourage high energy use in the US is ridiculous. To say that “the US political process is dominated by road building and oil interests” is ridiculous as well. High energy use in the US is caused not by the US government but by the enormous wealth of US citizens (together with specific US natural endowments). The other, abundance-approaching countries will do the same. Wealth is – at the beginning – a problem but when it grows, it is a solution. The so-called Environmental Kuznets Curves demonstrate that quite clearly and convincingly.

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The relatively small changes in global temperature in the last forty years have set in motion some deeply worrying trends, such rapid growth in deserts, falls in agricultural productivity in some parts of the world and increased flow rates of Greenland glaciers. Would the president please tell us just how much of a rise in sea level, a fall in agricultural production and a displacement of migrants he thinks we should accept before taking action to reduce GHG emissions? It would be good to see some numbers.
Chris Goodall, Oxford

Vaclav Klaus: I can’t go into details, I suggest that you read the book by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery with the title Unstoppable Global Warming, every 1,500 years and the book by J. P. Michaels called Meltdown: the Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media. Or many others.

To give one example: the very debatable 2007 IPCC report suggests a rise in sea level between 14–43 centimetres for the whole 21st century. Is it a scary size? Not to me.

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It strikes me as puzzling that you place your weight behind the projection of a long-term positive impact of the economy, compared to your rejection of Stern’s projection of long-term negative impact on the economy. Favouring one truth above another is, as you might say, a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. Your bet that positive economic impact will renounce us of any possible climatic change is as singularly unconvincing as the stock-broker who is whistling on his way to Wall Street on the morning of October 29, 1929.
B. Dankert, Johannesburg

Vaclav Klaus: My criticism of Stern Report’s conclusions – and I am not alone in it – is based on serious economic arguments, not on aprioristic statements. I will give just one example. When you mention Wall Street in your question, you probably understand the concept of the discount rate. It is one of the crucial variables of any economy and its importance grows the more we go into inter-temporal analysis. Analysing the whole 21st century, as Mr Stern does, suggests that the significance of the proper level of chosen discount rate is fatal. Many economists strongly oppose the very low level of discount rate Mr Stern uses for his modelling simulations.

The low level of discount rate means that the future is as big as the present or that anything existing now will be as big in the year 2100 as now. This is ridiculous. Will the banknote of 1000 nomination (in your South African rands or in US dollars) be as big, as relevant, as important in the year 2100 as it is now? I am sorry to say that Mr Stern assumes exactly that.

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There is no doubt that modern human society can adversely impact our living environment. This manifests itself from city air quality and industrial spills to deforestation and overfishing. Overwhelming evidence points to that when human beings find the condition too unpleasant to tolerate, the opportunity to stop or reverse the trend requires extreme action. How much evidence for environmental damage do you need to see before you are willing to advocate collective action in order to prevent the need for later extreme action?
Oddi Aasheim, London

Vaclav Klaus: You ask how much environmental damage I need to see before I am willing to do anything? My problem is that I do not “see” sufficient and persuasive evidence for environmental damage you have – probably – in mind, and I wonder whether you see it yourself, or whether you just read about it.

Do you really “see” any damage caused by current warming? I do not. I would prefer more snow for skiing during this winter but we are – in Central Europe – enjoying warm evenings this May and June, which is very pleasant. Do you see meltdown of glaciers and icebergs? You may see some retreating of continental glaciers, but they represent only 0.6 per cent of the planet’s ice. There is no meltdown either in Greenland or the Antarctic just now.

When I study and analyse environmental indicators concerning my own country and when I compare them with the situation in the communist era, there is an incredible improvement. The improvement is not because of “collective action” you advocate (it existed in the communist era), but because of freedom and of free markets. That’s my main message.

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