Posted by: Dark Defender | January 6, 2009

More Panetta news

From the corner we get some reminders of Panetta’s past.

First he called his political opponents terrorists in 1995.  Speaking of the government shut down (and apparently unaware of Congress’s Constitutional role of controlling the purse strings) he said:

“Don’t put a gun to the head of the President and the head of the country,” said Mr. Panetta. “That’s a form of terrorism.”

Can you imagine if a Republican called a tactic of the democrats a form of terrorism.  Yeah…just imagine a Bush administration official giving a press conference where he describes the democrats talking down the economy or filibustering conservative judges as a “form of terrorism”.  It would lead to actual Armageddon, the head of every reporter in the country would explode at the same time.  The outrage would know no end, for years he would be held up as an example of Republican intolerance and hatred.

But the second most powerful person in the Clinton administration (after Hillary jk) came out and claimed Republicans were practicing a form of terrorism and not only was he not reprimanded, or fired he is being given a new job in which he goes after actual terrorists.  Does this make sense?

Can I be forgiven for not feeling terribly safe with a political hack who calls his political opponents terrorists involved in counter terrorism? Are we sure he can distinguish between actual terrorists and people he just doesn’t like?

And the second item, that Pentta was for more wiretapping of terrorists during the 90s is somewhat reassuring.  Except that it shows how hypocritical the democrats are, seeing how they were for wiretapping before 9/11 but against it after.  I think the only conclusion is they are for wiretapping when they are the ones doing the listening, just not when its the other side.  Ill admit though, Being reminded of filegate and how 900 FBI files on political opponents were appropriated by the Clinton Administration, makes it tempting to adopt the same position in reverse.

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Posted by: Dark Defender | January 6, 2009

Pelosi being reelected speaker isnt cool but this list is

Pelosi just got reelected speaker how depressing.

So to cheer you up Greg Gutfeld wrote a list of the top conservative bands of all time enjoy!

Sample:

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE.For many years, RATM had been known for their subtle parody of academic culture, applying deconstructionist rants from Marxist professors to a metal rap formula lifted directly from the first Beastie Boys album. No surprise, they were often lumped into the comedy category of the Grammys. But what a surprise for the music world when they released, “Killing in the Name,” an indictment of radical Islam, and its ceaseless desire to kill anyone not bending to their will. And well done fellas, for openly repudiating cop killers like Mumia Abu-Jamal!

THE BEATLES. What is “Let it Be” but nothing more than the blueprint behind any successful economy! Free markets? “Let it be,” indeed. If only President Bush had listened to this song before he agreed to the bail outs, we’d be in a different place. And that makes him, in my opinion, a war criminal who should probably be impeached. FYI: “Hey Jude” was about Jude Wanniski. Look it up.

THE DIXIE CHICKS. Without question, the most ardent supporters of the policies of George W. Bush, they boldly released a romantic tribute to the man, called “Cowboy Take Me Away” – knowing it would reduce them to playing small venues. When they followed that up with “Wide Open Spaces,” a sexually-charged song describing how their bodies felt after making love to the commander in chief, perhaps it was “too much information.” Sometimes, certain things are better left unsaid, ladies.

Posted by: Dark Defender | January 6, 2009

The story of India and my first bleg

Try to ignore the hosts Tony Blair like uniquley English dorkyness.

Try to ignore the host's Tony Blair like uniquley English dorkyness.

A really good series on the history of India started on PBS last night.  Despite a generous helping of  the sort of biased of multiculturalism so prominent among the left today; that would be uncritically accepting all the values and norms of non-western societies while condemning the west.  For example the Indian caste system which by most any standard is pretty ugly, is examined without exploring the negative impact on individuals throughout time and indeed trying to extenuate the positive about it (everyone knows their place in society, how nice!).  Meanwhile all mentions of colonialism or the west are couched in value laden terms like “breaking the chains of slavery” or “the struggle for freedom”.  If we are good multiculturalists how can we criticize Europeans of the era for colonizing? It was just part of their culture to try to expand their power by violence, sure it may have been unpleasant for the people being conquered, but all cultures are equally valid and its wrong to make values judgements on culture.  So really how can we condemn the caste system or colonialism? Logically we cant if we believe all cultures are equally valid, of course being logical and consistent is not the point of multiculturalism for the left, attacking their own culture is. 

Anywho despite the above which frankly you ought to expect in most historical productions today..its a really well done and interesting show.  I highly recommend everyone watch it, tonight was the 2 hour premiere and over the next 2 weeks they will show the other 2, 2 hour parts.  Ive no doubt they will replay the premier at some point this week, find it! watch it!

Now for my bleg, wait do you have to give a spoiler warning when discussing history? Hmm, inspired by the ethical example of Ashoka I will give one Spoiler alert!

Ok so a part which I found especially interesting was Ashoka the Great.  In a very brief nutshell he was the grandson of the first (near) univeral Indian Emperor.  After some infighting he took the throne and set about conquering his neighbors, eventually after touring a battlefield he thinks “man slaughtering whole kingdoms isn’t nearly as fun as it sounded, its actually pretty upsetting, who knew?” and thus becomes a serious Buddhist and begins trying to convert the country and spread buddhist views. 

I should say spread Buddhist views in a pretty fraking serious way, building of pillars with humane laws all over the place, assuming the title “He who is the beloved of the Gods and who regards everyone amiably”, sending missionaries all over (even to the post Alexander Greeks).  He even set up animal hospitals and declared the first laws that protected animals from cruelty, which in a time where animal sacrifice was still practiced in most of the world, and human sacrifice in many areas..that blows me away really.

Writings commissioned by him (sadly our primary source of info on him) even claim he renounced violence.  I don’t believe this though so im not giving him credit for it.  He may have stopped his external wars but there is no way he renounced all violence.  He declared laws after all and without the use of force I just don’t see how you can enforce the law over such a large area with so many people. 

So here’s what I find interesting (and im getting to the bleg I swear).  He spread Buddhist ideas, but the means, a sort of enlightened philosopher Emperor is totally foreign to Buddhism at his time (indeed my understanding is his kingdom is basically the model for all future Buddhist kingdoms).   Also recall that the Buddha himself as well as Ashoka’s grandfather both renounced their thrones to become basically monks.  The idea of combing Indian spiritual values with secular authority just doesn’t seem to exist at the time. 

So where did he get this idea?  Its a pretty big intellectual leap from, I feel unfulfilled thus ill give up my Kingdom and become a monk to, I feel unfulfilled therefore I will spread my views on ethics and spirituality throughout my kingdom. 

Well I have a theory on this, Ashoka was Emperor shortly after Alexander’s conquests brought Greece and India into contact for the first time.  I think that Plato’s ideas on Philosopher Kings was transmitted through either Alexander’s army (Alexander’s teacher was Plato’s student, Aristotle after all)itself or the Indo-Greeks which evolved in the region.

I find this fascinating that ideas from half way across the world could travel could be so easily transmitted and adopted in such a different area so quickly. 

Which is my bleg, can anyone recommend a good book on the history of Indo-Greek cultural exchange? Im sure this isn’t the only example and there are many going both directions (Knowing there were Buddhist missionaries in the region at least (if not at the time) in the centuries prior to Jesus, I find it hard to believe he wasn’t influenced by Buddhism for example) and Id like to read more about it.  So hopefully someone has a recommendation and will be kind enough to share it.

Posted by: Dark Defender | January 5, 2009

Panetta for DCIA? Really???? wtf? UPDATED x3!

Here comes change, meet the new CIA chief.

Here comes change, meet the new CIA chief.

Soooo The One is going to be nominating former member of Congress and Clinton chief of Staff Leon Panetta to head the CIA.  This raises three questions first, WTF? Second, WTF? Third, huh?

Panetta has no experience in intelligence matters none.  Hes never been in the military, hes never worked for an intelligence agency, as a member of congress he never served on an intelligence committee and his after government private work centered on environmentalism.  

Ok he was part of the Iraq study group, but seeing how they recommend fleeing Iraq in disgrace, a position which given the success of the surge seems ill considered and panicky, probably shouldn’t be using that on his resume huh?

So again WTF? Why cant I be DCIA? I don’t have any experience either, but at least im interested in intelligence matters.

Lets compare his experience to other recent DCIAs:

Currently we have Michael Hayden a 4 star general and 46 year military veteran who was also the longest serving head of the national security agency (appointed by Clinton kept by Bush) in the job.

Prior to Hayden we had Peter J. Goss.  He was actually a CIA agent himself for more than a decade, even being involved in the Cuban missile crisis.  Later he was a congressmen where he served as head of the intelligence committee for the better part of a decade.

Before Goss (our first post 9/11 selection) Clinton had named George Tenet to the job.  Prior to the job he held various staff positions on the Senate select committee for intelligence for more than a decade, before joining the Clinton transition team as national security advisor and then serving on the national security council until being appointed DCI (as it was called at the time) by Clinton.

Before Tenat Clinton appointed Deutch who was indeed as woefully unqualified as Panetta.  His background was in academia and focused on energy issues.  His agenda as DCI mostly consisted of trying to make the CIA more diverse, yes you heard that right as Al-Qaida was gathering strength in the mid 90s the head of the CIA’s primary concern was the diversity of his agents.  If that wasn’t bad enough it later came out that Deutch had regularly compromised security by keeping classified material on an unsecured unclassified laptop.  This was the Clinton administration so naturally Attorney General Janet Reno refused to investigate, but Clinton himself demonstrates how serious the matter is by the fact that he felt the need to issue a pardon for Deutch on his (Clinton’s) last day in office.

So clearly Panetta is nowhere near the caliber of any of our post 9/11 DCIA’s,  he has zero military experience, has no real intelligence experience and frankly has never really shown a real interest in either.

This is definitely change.  It would appear to me that rather than naming a qualified (and potentially independent) DCIA, Obama wants a loyal partisan running the agency.  It would seem competence at this stage is less important to him than loyalty.  Very Bush like really.  If the CIA screws up I wonder if we will get a “your doing a heck of a job Panetty” speech from The One?

Anyways the signal this sends to me is that Obama is going to be exercising political control over the CIA and I expect that political correctness, not protecting America is going to be the priority.  Why else would you appoint a political hack to the job, unless you wanted to exercise political control over the agency?

This is to me a very troubling development and the first substantive (hes not in office yet after all) decision of Obama’s which I think is actually dangerous to the country.

Btw if your interested in the bios of the rest of the DCIs you can find them here.

UPDATE: DiFi  has come out to agree with me..well ok criticize the appointment.

“I was not informed about the selection of Leon Panetta to be the CIA Director.  I know nothing about this, other than what I’ve read,” said Senator Feinstein, who will chair the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in the 111th Congress.

“My position has consistently been that I believe the Agency is best-served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time.”

Go Difi!  I hope she kills this stupid appointment.  And how about that Obama is making major decisions without consulting Congress..even members of his own party who will have to approve the appointment.  Wow unilateral much?

UPDATE 2: Even Chris Matthews has critcized this pick, at the end of Hardball today he referenced the appointment and after both his liberal and conservative guests expressed doubts he said something to the effect of “Id like to be a police commissioner in a big city, but I dont think im qualified.”

This is encouraging, with the dems controlling the entire federal government it is up to them to keep themselves in check.  It seems they are aware of how bad this appointment is, now we will have to see if they have the courage to act on this knowledge to block it.

UPDATE 3: It seems Penetta actually was in the army for two years in the 60s.  My bad.

Posted by: Dark Defender | January 5, 2009

Will 2009 be the end of climate change hysteria? UPDATED

No Al, the debate isnt over.

No Al, the debate isnt over.

 

There have been a number of articles in the past few months about people questioning the non-existent “consensus” on global warming.  At first I wasn’t paying them much mind, but as they keep coming im starting to wonder if maybe this is the start of a real trend towards a “return to reality” (I’m stealing this phrase from an article Camille Paglia wrote about Sarah Palin’s post election image).

Shockingly enough there is an articlein the ultra liberal Huffington Post today in which the author (an admitted Obama voter) demands that Al Gore apologize for the lies he has been peddling about climate change.  You really ought to read the entire thing yourself but here’s a little sample:

You are probably wondering whether President-elect Obama owes the world an apology for his actions regarding global warming. The answer is, not yet. There is one person, however, who does. You have probably guessed his name: Al Gore.

Mr. Gore has stated, regarding climate change, that “the science is in.” Well, he is absolutely right about that, except for one tiny thing. It is the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind.

This is pretty heavy stuff considering we have been told by the liberals, the EU (ok redundant) and the UN bureaucrats for years that there is no debate that this is settled science.  Clearly that claim is not true, and you always have to question the motives of those who want to cut off debate on a topic.

Other recent happy global warming news:

A duo of Irish filmmakers are making a movie titled “not evil, just wrong” about Al Gore and his followers claims about climate change.  Naturally enough the governments gatekeepers in the “Irish film board” have refused to fund this un-pc project.  So they have been forced to raise money online Obama stye and have already raised almost 2 million in donations in the past few months.

A Cornell study while the studies authors cling to Orthodoxy and don’t deny global warming itself, it does prove that previous models for climate change drastically miscalculated soil carbon (aka the primary source of carbon the alleged main culprit of global warming, in fact according to the study itself soil produces 10x as much carbon as humans.)  Hmm so we don’t even properly understand the primary source of carbon on earth, but we should change our entire society based on these flawed studies? Do we look stupid?

An international poll conducted by the world’s largest bank (HSBC) in cooperation with a number of enviromental  groups found that the public around the world is starting to wake up to the global warming lie.  A sample of the results:

Less than half of those surveyed, or 47 per cent, said they were prepared to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions, down from 58 per cent last year.

Only 37 per cent said they were willing to spend “extra time” on the effort, an eight-point drop.

And only one in five respondents – or 20 per cent – said they’d spend extra money to reduce climate change. That’s down from 28 per cent a year ago.

The 11 countries surveyed were Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. There were 2,000 respondents surveyed in China, including 1,000 in Hong Kong.

Even CNN meterologists are starting to question the Orthodoxy.  Sample:

“We have 100 years worth of data, not millions of years that the world’s been around (try billions -dd),” Myers continued.

 

Dr. Jay Lehr, an expert on environmental policy, told “Lou Dobbs Tonight” viewers you can detect subtle patterns over recorded history, but that dates back to the 13th Century.

 

“If we go back really, in recorded human history, in the 13thCentury, we were probably 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than we are now and it was a very prosperous time for mankind,” Lehr said. “If go back to the Revolutionary War 300 years ago, it was very, very cold. We’ve been warming out of that cold spell from the Revolutionary War period and now we’re back into a cooling cycle.”

And finally the EUs new “Maverick”  President (why cant we  have one of those? The young pretty one with the record, not the old one who hasn’t run anything other than a campaign since the 60’s) Vaclav Klaus outright calls global warming a myth.  Granted he is getting the Sarah Palin treatment from the EU elites, but the fact there is now a prominent voice at the heart of the EU to speak against the bogus consensus is a big stride forward for reality in my opinion.

 

Now this isn’tto say that the scare mongers are going to give up and accept reality.  No the idea of saving the world by adopting socialist economic policies is just to attractive to give up that easily. 

 

Indeed the fact the global warming is an unproven theory which is coming under increasing criticism hasn’t stopped a cabal of British attorneys is proposing (and PM Brown is apparently supporting) a plan to create an international criminal court to punish companies and nations for not adopting faith based climate policy.

 

Facts also haven’t gotten in the way of the UN redeclaring the debate to be over and global warming unquestionable or The One from warning the threat from this unproven theory is “urgent”.

 

So clearly the battle isn’tover, but it seems reality is launching a counter offensive against the faith based, “the debate is over” crowd.

 

UPDATE: A study came out which finds that sea ice levels are ending 2008 at the same level as 1979 (the first year in which date was gathered).  This flies in the face of predictions from fear mongers.

Posted by: Dark Defender | January 3, 2009

But what is the political goal of defending yourself?

Ive been bad on updating lately, if anyone cares I apologize.  I was inspired by Megan Mcardle’s xmas gift guide and got Railroad Tycoon 3. 

Ah the time in the last week I’ve wasted on that.  If I could manage to convert screen shots to jpgs Id post a picture of the in game newspaper proclaiming “Boom times ahead- Government economists proclaim perpetual growth!!” and down the page “Today’s youth more rebellious than ever?”. 

So yeah RT cynicism was very enjoyable and helpful in putting events of the last year in prospective.  I think all members of congress should be required to play this game, cause it might make them more aware of reality, and business cycles and the fact that bad times don’t require sacrificing your national values on the altar of political expediency.  

Good times happen, bad times happen, its not the end of the world.  Get over yourselves, government types, the economy will recover with or without you, the only question is whether you pull an FDR and prolong the downturn with your do-gooding and self importance.

Anyways what I actually wanted to talk about is the conflict in Gaza.  I was watching a blogging heads ep with Drezner and Mcardle.  The main question on their (and seemingly most pundit’s) mind’s is: what the hell is Israel thinking? What can they possibly hope to achieve politically?

I find this logic strange and happenstance like that of a troll.  The most basic function of a state is to provide for the safety of its citizens.  If it is incapable of doing this it wont last long, either it will devolve into a kleptocracy which no longer tries to fullfill the funcitons of a state or it will collapse into chaos.  This is really basic, if a state cannot protect its citizens, if it cant monopolize the use of force within its own territory it isn’t a viable state.  This isn’t rocket science, this is the very basics of what a state is going back intellectually at least to Hobbes and the leviathan but in reality it goes back to the dawn of civilization and the creation of law.

To put it simply, Israel’s political goal is continued survival.  How can any government sit idly by while a neighbor fires off rockets at its citizens with impunity?  How could Israeli citizens have confidence in their government? How could Jews continue to live in the middle east knowing that they are surrounded by people who want nothing so bad as to kill them and even their own government wont defend them.  It would be the end of Israel, either the government would be overthrown by its people, it would stand idly by while the Palestinians took over Israel or Jews would simply flee to the safety of the west leaving the land and those who remain to the mercies of Hamas.

Obviously no government is going to do this, no one can accept a certain number of its citizens being killed by enemies with no response.  Israel has no choice but to respond with force, as much force as is necessary.  They have no diplomatic option, the Palestinians have proven again and again their goal is the destruction of Israel not the creation of a Palestinian state. 

So Israel is taking the only option open to them.  Sure its not playing well in Europe, ill concede it creates international image problems.  But so what? The alternative is the destruction of Israel, sure not tomorrow not the next week or even next year, but if Israel goes down a “turn the other cheek road”, there is no other destination than oblivion.

Why wont Israel just negotiate with Hamas? They just want normal families like everyone else.

Why wont Israel just negotiate with Hamas? They just want normal families like everyone else.

Posted by: Dark Defender | December 22, 2008

I liked Jerry Brown once..

I am (former) Governor Jerry Brown my army smiles and never frowns!

I am (former) Governor Jerry Brown My aura smiles And never frowns! Zen Facists will control you! 100% natural, you will jog for the master race! and always wear the happy face. Close your eyes, can't happen here, Big Bro' on white horse is near, The hippies won't come back you say...Mellow out or you will pay, Mellow out or you will pay!!

Im not a big social issues person, not being religious or independently obnoxious enough to think I ought to be using coercion to enforce my morality on others I just don’t have a lot of use for them.  I am a fairly tradition person though and for that reason voted for Proposition 8.  I just don’t see the urgency in changing a Milena old definition of marriage because we some new fangled notion of fairness.  I’m not aware of any culture (even among those who have tolerated or even encouraged homosexual sex) that felt the need to institutionalize homosexual relationships by making them legally equivalent to heterosexual ones.  Why should we be the first? What benefit does society gain from redefining marriage? Indeed other than a warm glowy feeling what benefit does the homosexual couple derive from having the government recognizing their relationship as a “marriage” vs simply being given equivalent rights to straight couples (married and unmarried) via civil unions? I just don’t see one.  The government doesn’t need to be in the business of defining marriage period, people are perfectly capable of forming and maintaining healthy, loving and stable relationships without a government license.

Ok all of that being said why am I writing about this today? Because our illustrious Attorney General Jerry Brown has broke his promise to defend prop 8 (aka the will of the voters) before the State Supreme Court.   Despite not agreeing with him on many things I’ve always respected Jerry Brown and even thought I might be able to vote for him if he tries to reclaim the governors office. 

However he has decided to allow his personal beliefs to interefere with his official duties.

In a December 19 press release, the attorney general said: “Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification.” He thus endorsed the idea that marriage, as it has always been understood, is so grossly contrary to California’s constitutional principles that an amendment protecting that understanding cannot be allowed into the constitution even if duly enacted by voters.

To understand the depth of the betrayal here it is necessary to remember how we got to this point. In May 2008, the California supreme court announced that the state’s constitution contained a hitherto unseen mandate redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. In response, pro-family groups had gathered the requisite signatures to put Proposition 8 on the ballot. This measure would add a definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman to the California constitution, thus correcting the state court’s misunderstanding of that document.

The California supreme court decided not to wait for the people of the state to weigh in on marriage and allowed licenses to issue to same-sex couples beginning in June. The attorney general also did his part in opposing the amendment by changing the official ballot description from a neutral description (that the amendment would define marriage) to say that Proposition 8 “eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry.”

On November 4, it became clear that despite every effort by the judicial and political classes of the state to prevent their doing so, California voters had affirmed the principle that our inherited understanding of marriage as the union of a husband and wife deserved constitutional protection.

This is just obnoxious, it isn’t his job to decide which Constitutional Amendments approved by the people he likes, its his job to enforce the will of the people.  This move is undemocratic and smacks of elitism.  If he truly believes that the people are so morally wrong on this issue that he cannot in good conscience execute his duty to defend the people approved amendment, he ought to have the courage of his convictions and resign.  That is what you do when your conscience and your duty conflict, you cite your issue and you resign.  At least that is what honorable people do, dishonorable politicians simply disregard their duty and substitute their personal opinion for the democratically expressed will of the people.

Posted by: Dark Defender | December 20, 2008

Yawn.. great victory for the Arab people..yawn.

So the shoe thing.  I know old news, which I haven’t talked about so far.  Why? Because I didn’t find it especially interesting.  But now with the story refusing to die and the Iraq reporter guy being turned into the new Saladin I feel I have to weigh in.

First the obvious point, if he did this to Saddam he would be dead.  Of course that wouldn’t be a problem for shoe guy since he apparently was a Baathist.  He was head of the student union under Saddam and as we all know Saddam didn’t really let people who weren’t “his” have decent jobs.  So yeah the guy was a Baathist.  Interesting how that isn’t the headline huh? Ex-Saddam loyalist assaults Bush! or Baathist attempts to attack Bush..no its all Iraqi Journalist throws shoes at Bush, or Iraqi throws shoe at Bush.  Interesting isn’t it? Bias or laziness you be the judge.

Anyways none of that is really what I wanted to comment on.  What I wanted to comment on is the ongoing hero worship in the Arab world.  From the Tripoli post:

Many Arab TV commentators compared the impact of throwing Al-Zaidi’s shoes at the American President by being as powerful, in terms of the balance of power with the USA and Israel, as bombing Washington D. C. in the same way President Bush bombed and destroyed Baghdad in his illegal invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Yet President Bush seemed not to comprehend the supreme insult as he laughed off the incident, saying: “It doesn’t bother me. If you want the facts, it was a size 10 shoe that he threw”. He later played down the incident. “I don’t know what the guy’s cause is… I didn’t feel the least bit threatened by it,” Bush said as quoted by AFP.

Soles of shoes are considered the ultimate insult in Arab culture. After Saddam Hussein’s statue was toppled in Baghdad in April 2003, many onlookers beat the statue’s face with their soles. Showing the sole of your shoe to someone is a sign of extreme disrespect, and throwing your shoes is even worse.

Others consider it a revenge for the killing of more than 1.5 million Iraqis by George W. Bush as a result of his invasion and then occupation of Iraq until now, and most important of all is to revenge what they call Bush’s decision to kill the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussain by hanging him on the day of the Muslim celebration of Eid Al-Adha, on 30 December 2006.

Moreover, the great majority of Arabs have been celebrating the unprecedented humiliation of the United States and its president on the hands of an Arab hero.

This rather expected reaction to the incident derives from a long-felt sense of humiliation by the Arabs on the hands of the United States for the last 60 years as a result of its unqualified support of Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Wow, did you get all that? Shoe guy struck a blow equivalent to bombing Washington DC and has single handily redeemed 60 years of Arab humiliation! He is like the Arab Captain America and Rambo all rolled into one. 

Minor problem though…its really meaningless.  They are celebrating this clown because they have no power, that they have to turn this guy into a hero is a sign of how impotent they really are.  If they were actually capable of dealing with the US on equal terms, they would, they wouldn’t be reduced to turning a former Baathist into some kind of folk hero for throwing his shoes.

Posted by: Dark Defender | December 19, 2008

Russian vessels arrive in Caribbean, Pentagon yawns.

Yahoo has a story about Russia’s naval maneuvers in the Caribbean.  Seems the Pentagon doesn’t really care:

Navy Rear Adm. Tom Meek, the deputy director for security and intelligence at Southern Command, said in a telephone interview Tuesday that he sees little chance of Russia teaming up with Venezuela in a militarily meaningful way.

“I don’t think that Russia and Venezuela are really serious about putting together a military coalition that would give them any kind of aggregate military capability to oppose anybody,” Meek said. “Frankly, the maneuvers they conducted down here were so basic and rudimentary that they did not amount to anything, in my opinion.”

Interesting, yes? Who’d have thought that such an over-covered media story could be much ado about nothing? Oh right me.  Ive posted on how this was a symbolic political move rather than a military one, not once, but twice.

Posted by: Dark Defender | December 19, 2008

Massacre of Indians to blame for little ice age?

A painting from during the little ice age.

A painting from during the little ice age.

There an article in science daily in which the authors argue that “the little ice age” was caused by the Colombian exchange of diseases and subsequent die off of native Americans which led to reforestation, which decreased the amount of carbon in the air which lowered global temps.

Im not buying it.  Why? The dates don’t seem to match up right.  The little ice age is usually dated as starting during the 1300s, for example using wikipedia’s table dating the start of it:

  • 1250 for when Atlantic pack ice began to grow
  • 1300 for when warm summers stopped being dependable in Northern Europe
  • 1315 for the rains and Great Famine of 1315-1317
  • 1550 for theorized beginning of worldwide glacial expansion
  • 1650 for the first climatic minimum

So it would appear that one can date the start of the phenomenon before the start of the cause identified by the scientists.  That doesn’t really speak well of the theory. 

Also if  reforestation is the cause  why didn’t the black death which killed off a good third to a half of more heavily populated Europe’s population in the early 1300’s have a similar affect?  I suppose you could argue that it did and that’s why you are getting signs of cooling before the Colombian kill off (though curiously the authors of the study don’t make this argument and can I trade mark the term “Colombian kill off”?).

But if thats the case why does the cooling persist for centuries into the 1800s when Europe and indeed the world’s population is on an upswing and one can assume deforestation especially in the America’s is going strong again and the industrial revolution is beginning?

This study just doesn’t make sense to me, im going to stick with the traditional explanations of the little ice age decreased solar output and increased volcanic activity.  Those seem much more likely explanations. 

I think people find it comforting to lay the blame for major events outside of our control at humanities feet, and that’s whats going on here.  If we accept that it was just nature there is nothing to be done, we are just at nature’s mercy.   Not very pleasant thoughts, it leaves us weak and dependent on nature.  Its much more comforting to think that we have control over nature and if only we behaved more ethically nature wouldn’t have turned on us and all would be well.

World population graph

World population graph. Note increase of population between 1500-1800. Are we to assume that reforestation caused by the temporarily reduced population of the Americas was not offset by deforestation in the rest of the world by their growing populations?

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