Monday, June 30, 2008

Jesus and Mo

Reproduced with the permission of the author.

Discrimination at work

Steve has been looking at the proposed Equality Bill. There's more to it than discrimination against white men:

Potentially more damaging, though less extensively reported, are the proposals on religious equality.

The Equality Bill will contain a new streamlined Equality Duty to replace the race, disability and gender equality duties, which will also cover gender reassignment, age, sexual orientation and religion or belief.

There is not much detail about what this actually means but it will probably give more legal force to religious groups making demands on their employers and on public bodies. Religion and belief are largely matters of choice, unlike skin-colour, gender of disability. Beliefs also conflict with each other. This has already caused problems in workplaces where religious disputes have occurred or where the right to express religious views has conflicted with the right of gays not to be harassed because of their sexuality.

Should employers respect religious right to the point that they accommodate a Christian's request not to share an office with a lesbian, or a BNP supporter's refusal to work with a Muslim?
The right of an employer to maintain a harmonious workplace, focussed on the job in hand rather than on the sectarian differences between members of staff, is not a part of this Bill.

Quote of the day

Why, asks Tim Worstall:

are we going ahead with wind? It doesn’t seem to solve any problems at great cost.

It’s even (in theory at least) possible that it will raise carbon emissions.
The answer is supplied in the comments, by John A:
"a catastrophic failure of leadership in the face of junk science and a reconstituted Marxism hiding behind environmentalism"

Normalising child sex

A very good point from Trooper Thompson:

... new regulations for vetting adults with regard to child protection. One of the most pernicious aspects of the modern, 'all-are-suspect' approach is that it normalises something that is utterly unthinkable to the average person... Ordinary human feelings, wishing to protect and correct a child - as I was, growing up thirty years ago - become internalised and suppressed...
There is also, surely, the possibility that this normalisation will have the opposite to the intended effect, that it will increase, and not help decrease, child abuse.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Disliking Islam

Here's one to savour:

THE Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a league of 57 Muslim nations, said a Danish court's rejection of a suit against a paper for printing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad could provoke "Islamophobia".
A court's judgement, in other words, should not be based on the merits of any particular case, but rather on the broader reaction that might result from it. Picture yourself, standing in a dock, while that gets argued around you.

That's actually happened in the past: "Weeeaall, maybe this nigger didn't rape no white woman, but if we let him go they'll all get to thinking it's fine to talk to your daughters".

As a matter of fact, it still happens. Any time a politician talks about the criminal law 'sending a message', that's what they're talking about.
Last Thursday the High Court for western Denmark rejected a suit against Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that first published cartoons of Islam's prophet, leading to deadly protests in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The court said the editors had not meant to depict Muslims as criminals or terrorists, the cartoons had not broken the law, and there was a relationship between acts of violence and Islam - comments that provoked outcry among Muslim groups in Denmark.

"It is a known fact that acts of terror have been carried out in the name of Islam and it is not illegal to make satire out of this relationship," the court said.
(emphasis added)

Again - yet again - we see Muslim groups reacting furiously not to violence, not to violence in the name of Islam, but to the fact that this has been remarked upon.
The Saudi-based OIC, the largest grouping of Muslim countries, said the ruling could encourage "Islamophobia", a fear or dislike of Islam, which the group has identified as existing in the West.
The last emphasis was added by me. I dislike Islam. Whether or not I dislike any other religions isn't going to enter into this post as a sort of "some of my best friends are Jewish" qualification. I dislike Islam. Not Islamism, though I also dislike that. Not terrorism in the name of Islam, though I also dislike that. I dislike Islam. That's my prerogative. I can dislike anything I damn well dislike. That's a fact for everyone, we all have dislikes and this isn't about that, it's about suppressing one particular dislike through the use of strident and dishonest threats (I'm not a violent man, but I can't speak for my lumpy friend here), violence, bogus front groups, absurd generalisations about "1,5 billion Muslims" and all the other arrows in the OIC's quiver.

This has nothing at all to do with Muslims, nor with the things they have made of their religion, many of which I do like. In fact, I like some aspects of Islam itself: the injunction to give to the poor, the fasting that means every Muslim has shared the experience of the poor. I understand the rationale behind the ideal of polygamy in the seventh century - providing support to widows. But the support for slavery, the creationism, the intellectual stasis, the economic torpor, the permission to rape female slaves, the subjugation of women, the anti-Semitism, the violence, the horrific architecture of supremacism in the past, which a large minority of Muslims want to perpetuate (forcible conquest, second class status for non-Muslims, death for apostates) - these things outweigh the things I like.

Let's reverse things for a moment. Many Muslims hate the West - let's call this Westernophobia. This doesn't seem to stop them wearing baseball caps and sweatshirts, or wanting to emigrate here (which they are welcome to do, in my book - it's up to us to enforce our laws), but they hate the West, many of them. Those who don't hate the West have something, at least, of an ambivalent attitude towards countries like the USA and Britain. And they are entitled to feel like that. In fact, given their history, it's completely unsurprising that they do. They do have good reason, nobody likes the legacy of the wrong end of colonialism. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded on a hatred of the West. In this case, there wasn't a good reason, but they are still entitled to feel like that, just as I am entitled to feel as I do.

If we're going to reach the point where we can sit in a cafe drinking coffee together, and even starting to like each other, we need honest, frank dialogue, not the shouting down, accompanied by threats, of one side of the equation by the other.
"The Danish ruling came as a surprise to the OIC at a time when almost all Western governments including the USA had made categorical statements rejecting any linkage between Islam and terrorism," the OIC said.
Yes, Western governments have made those statements. They were dishonest. The Danish court was honest.
"The linkage drawn by the Danish court ... could create a precedent for exacerbation of Islamophobia."
No, the Danish court was right. The only useful meaning of the word Islamophobia is an irrational hatred of Muslims, a hatred that has no rationale, no reasons. It is reasonable to hate some things - National Socialism, for example. The irrational form of Islamophobia - something beyond, divorced from, reason - does exist. It's a bad thing, but this isn't that. The OIC need to learn to live in a world in which people say what they think, even if that includes a dislike of their religion. First, though, they have to start letting Muslims say what they think in the failed states and totalitarian nightmares that make up the OIC.
Many Muslims regard depictions of the Prophet as blasphemous.
So what? Some don't, and all non-Muslims don't. The OIC is the aggressor here, trying to impose their view on others.
The Islamic Faith Society, one of the groups that brought the lawsuit against the Danish newspaper, said it might take its case to the European Court of Human Rights.
If they do, they should be given the most dusty of responses, and be made to pay all costs.

A happier world

I like my spell checker. It knows the word Gurkha, but not burkha.


What I want to know about the "Big Sex" lobby, is what are they afraid of? There are a lot of problems with sex theory - and it's only a theory! Why not let schoolchildren hear about stork theory?


Quote of the day

Well, of a few days ago - and a great neologism to boot: "de-evolution". From the impeccable Zombie:

Living in the trees, throwing feces at predators, howling in fear — was I witnessing de-evolution in action? Could humankind return to the trees?

Best in show

This made me laugh:

Ain't but one bullet here

Big Mama Thornton died in a boarding house in 1984. She improvised a lot of the hit Hound Dog - "So I started to sing the words and join in some of my own. All that talkin' and hollerin'--that's my own." - after Lieber and Stoller wrote it for her. Her income from that song, a big hit record for her that sold two million copies? "I got one check for $500 and I never seen another."

She lived the archetypal life of a blues singer, learning her music as a child in church, dying before she was sixty after years of alcohol and other excess. Here's an anecdote:

I interviewed Big Mama at her Los Angeles home in 1978. She drank a milky liquid from a gin bottle and told me how Johnny Ace shot himself in the head in their dressing room. Johnny was sitting with girlfriend Olivia on his lap, waving his pistol around, pointing it at Willie Mae. "Don't snap that on me," she told him. Johnny grinned and put the gun to Olivia's head. "Stop that, Johnny, you'll git someone killed," Willie Mae shouted at him. "Nothin' to worry about," Johnny replied, coolly, "ain't but one bullet here and I know exactly where it is." He turned the gun on himself, put it to his temple and pulled the trigger. And that was that. It was Christmas Eve, 1954, in Houston, Texas.

Comment is excellent

Shuggy absolutely nails this one, first comment down.


Yup, Bob "Dirty Tricks" Ayling isn't an ideal consultant.

Darfur petition

I just signed the following petition, being organised by Human Rights First:


Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada
President Nicolas Sarkozy, France
Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Italy
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, Japan
President Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Federation
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
President George W. Bush, United States of America

Your Excellencies,

This year's G8 Summit in Hokkaido Japan comes at a particularly perilous moment for both the people of Darfur and the whole of Sudan. Intensified violence in Darfur has resulted in more death and displacement. Recent fighting in Abyei suggests that the fragile Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between North and South Sudan is at risk as well.

Mindful of this, we urgently call on you and your fellow leaders of G8 countries to issue a strong public statement on Sudan/Darfur at the Hokkaido Summit that -- at a minimum -- addresses the following five areas:

*An immediate cessation of the violence. The statement should strongly condemn the renewed violence in Darfur and call on all parties to adhere to previous ceasefire agreements. Likewise, the statement should condemn the recent fighting in Abyei and call on the Government of Sudan and Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army to adhere to the ceasefire agreed upon as part of the CPA.

*Halting the transfers of arms. The statement should condemn ongoing violations of the arms embargo articulated in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1591. It should urge all states to stop all arms transfers that go, directly or indirectly, to Darfur in violation of Resolution 1591.

*Deployment of UNAMID. The statement should offer specific assistance from G8 members to ensure that UNAMID has the technical assistance and equipment necessary to fully deploy as quickly as possible.

*A reinvigorated peace process in Darfur and a recommitment to the CPA. The statement also should lay out a specific plan for how G8 governments will support efforts to establish a sustainable peace in Darfur and the full implementation of the CPA.

*Justice and accountability for atrocities committed. The statement should support existing and future efforts to pursue accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by all parties to the conflict in Darfur.

The Government of Sudan will be watching closely to see how the G8 reacts to the intensified violence in Darfur and the unraveling of the tenuous peace between the North and South. We urge the G8 to issue a strongly worded statement on Sudan/Darfur that clearly articulates the steps its members will take to help resolve the growing crisis. Anything less risks further emboldening the Government of Sudan.
If you feel inclined to sign it too, or to spread the word, you can access it at this link.

Militant atheists

Reproduced with the permission of the author.


From comment # 64 on a thread at Little Green Footballs:

I wish conservatives would examine their belief in god with the same skepticism they have toward global warming. And I wish liberals would approach GW with the same skepticism they have toward God.
Charles Johnson has been posting almost remorselessly about evolution. He must feel that creationism discredits his conservative allies. He's right, it does, and this challenge from him is a very good thing.

Enjoy cat photos?

Sniffer mog.

Sweet Sex

J.F. Beck, reports on a report.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Breast power

"The idea of an energy-generating bra isn't as crazy as it might sound."

Disorientating times

The Daily Mail suggests undercover police might have instigated violence at an anti-Bush demonstration. I agree completely with lefty bloggers.

Has the world turned upside down?

Daily Mash nailing it




This word has come to mean a quirky or pithy, or otherwise temporarily engaging, idea that gets passed round the internet, like naming the music you most recently played, stating why you are or are not an atheist or Marxist, or opening a book at random and copying out a paragraph.

In other usages, it has come to be used disparagingly as a synonym for received wisdom or for the ideas of one's opponents. Dismissing something as a "right-wing meme", for example, helps avoid the tiresome task of constructing arguments powerful enough to overcome those of your opponents; it suggests that a meme is a lesser thing than an idea.

Of course, both usages are wrong. Memes aren't particular types of ideas. Memetics is the study of human culture - thought, ideas, behaviours - using analysis derived from the study of evolutionary biology. Memes are the basic units into which culture can be, arbitrarily, divided. In broad terms, it's illuminating, in detail it gets into difficulty - the units into which culture can be divided are arbitrary in a way that cells, or the body of a complex animal, are not. In short, it's a metaphor, but a very useful one.

For example, Richard Dawkins, the originator of the idea of memetics, has used it as an approach to analysing religion. Religions are complex organisms. Most have failed and are not even remembered, let alone followed; the ones that have survived have developed something comparable to an immune system. Religious belief and the power structures that have developed within religions are very vulnerable to analysis and criticism. Religions have therefore developed mechanisms for suppressing criticism.

A recent, and illuminating, misuse of the word meme can be found in this Chris Dillow post:

In many ways, it is the right’s preconceptions that are still hegemonic - for example, its use of “middle class” to mean rich, or its stigmatizing of single parents, welfare claimants, trades unionists or public sector workers.
Which raises the question. Shouldn’t we try to start an alternative hegemony?
This would not consist in more than just challenging the above preconceptions. Indeed, merely to challenge them is to lend them credence. To say “welfare claimants are not scroungers” is like a man saying “I don’t beat my wife.” It doesn‘t establish his innocence, but draws attention to suspicions.
No. What we need is something bolder, alternative memes.
I offer this as a mere start. We can never tell which memes will take and which won’t, so it’s best to spread a load of them and see what grows.
The point of these, though, is not to be explicitly “radical“ or “transgressive.” Instead, it‘s to claim that we should take for granted certain things, which only idiots or extremists would challenge; this is how the right regards the above-mentioned claims.
And don’t be hung up by the “truth.” After all, the right wasn’t when it began those successful hegemonic memes.
The point about hegemonic memes is not that they are “true“: no simple statement about people or society is ever wholly true, a fact which usually only the most fatuous pedant points out. Instead, they act as default positions - things that are believed as a matter of course by many people, and whose challengers are regarded as marginal or eccentric.
So, what will be the new hegemonic positions?
Chris does touch on the true situation with memes when he wrote, above, "We can never tell which memes will take and which won’t, so it’s best to spread a load of them and see what grows." But he's missing the broader point with the ideas he advocates. They have been around for a while. People have tried to establish cultural hegemony for them. But these attempts have failed, not because there's a vast right wing conspiracy, deliberately hatching baby memes and shooing them out into the world, but because these ideas, when viewed using the metaphor of memetics, can be seen to have been evolutionary dead ends. They haven't succeeded because they are wrong.

Not all wrong ideas fail, of course. But these ones, the particular ones mentioned by Chris, face the "your lying eyes" problem. Take the case of welfare scroungers.

I don't often regret not having thumped someone, but an exception was a bleach-blond beach bum living on the dole in Brighton, topped up by a monthly bung from his wealthy parents, who told me during a conversation about the conditions I was seeing in Glasgow's estates in the 1980s - 80% unemployment in some of these deserts of hopelessness - that things were tough down south too. Is there any way in which that twat could not be seen as a scrounger? What Chris misses, I think, is that "welfare claimants are scroungers" is not shorthand, for most people, including conservatives, for "all welfare claimants are scroungers" but rather for "some welfare claimants are scroungers" (that is, it is right to take action against those who abuse the welfare system). And some are.

Today, there are big Portuguese and Polish populations in the part of England where I live. That's great, I choose to socialise as much with them as with the English residents and they give a lot to their adopted home. But what about the English here who are on the dole? There's clearly work for many of them. I've made a point of asking questions about these issues of people in those circumstances, for a couple of decades now. During the 1980s things were different, and in Glasgow's Easterhouse estate I expect they still are, but today there's a cheerful admission from most that they are scrounging. That's not quite how it's put. It's more that if there's free money on offer they'd be mad not to take it.

Nor, incidentally, is this attitude limited to people on benefits. In a group of people here with whom I most recently had such a conversation, one person was fronting a business for his father, who declared himself bankrupt. The approach to being able to write off loads of debt yet carry on as before was much the same. Businessmen are just as prone to scrounging as anyone else. That's why we have the concept of corporate welfare.

But the point is that Dillow's "meme", which is shorthand for "no welfare claimants are scroungers" (that is, it is wrong to suggest action against those who abuse the welfare system), isn't going to take off if not even the claimants of benefits believe it. The meme is unsuccessful not because it has been pressed with insufficient enthusiasm, but because it is wrong enough of the time to be unconvincing as a generalisation.

But, as I mentioned earlier, not all wrong ideas are unsuccessful. Given enough power behind the message, given sufficiently robust suppression of dissent, wrong ideas can come to dominate a society.

That's really the problem with Chris Dillow' post. He's saying, in effect, we've lost the argument, so let's try to steamroll society into acceptance of our ideas by other means. Indeed, let's refuse all debate in the most uncompromising and dismissive terms.

That's the immune response being manifested at the moment by Islamic countries in the UN. Does socialism need an immune system? From the point of view of its supporters it does, for the same reasons as do religions.

To that extent, we can see the suggestion of Marxist memes not as a confident assertion of a view, but rather as a dying gasp.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Newish blog

I hadn't realised JuliaM had started her own blog. One for the feed reader.

Legal update

It's a short post, but a sobering one.

Police Five

The reality of modern policing in Britain:

In many cases the police actually facilitate the operation of these gangs, not defend people against them.
Two of the wounded doormen came out of the nightclub covered in blood, there were at this point already lots of police officers outside the building. One of the lads demanded that the police go in to stop more people getting hurt and arrest the people involved. The police refused. The doorlad then said “you’re all fucking useless”. They then arrested him for a public order offence. Meanwhile the knife attacker somehow managed to escape the building.
Read it all.


Fitna remade

I posted Fitna The Movie here when it was released, because such efforts had been made to suppress it. I don't think it was at all balanced, though, and it made no attempt at analysis.

Here's a remake by an Iranian Communist, Reza Moradi. I don't agree with his communism, but he's making some necessary and good points. The main victims of Islamic governments and ghettos are, of course, Moslems:

Website is here, also see Moradi's other YouTube uploads, and the UK Council of ex-Moslems.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Gay Democrats for McCain

I guess hanging out with homophobic preachers has some blowback.

Real intentions

Tim Worstall points to a green energy report that advocates the installation of rooftop wind turbines on domestic houses, and comments:

In most urban locations those windmills do not even generate, over their lifetimes, enough energy to cover their own manufacture. So their subsidy is a really, really, silly thing to do. It actually makes the problem worse, not better.
Tim is right, this is a well understood problem with micro-generation. Assuming the people behind this plan are numerate and informed, which - partisan (and fun) sniping aside - is a reasonable assumption, then it's also reasonable to suppose they know this.

Their intention, therefore, cannot be to reduce energy use and, thereby, carbon emissions. It has long been plain that many carbon crusaders have ulterior agendas. George Monbiot, for example, is basically an anti-capitalism campaigner. But there is a suggestion in this case that while some environmentalists are not just trying to reduce carbon emission, others are not even trying to do this.

Leaving aside the merits of their, anti-capitalism, anti-globalisation, case, there is some reason to suppose that they don't really think carbon emissions are such a pressing problem.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rugby tackles

The blurry blue streak that enters from the left of the frame is Brian Lima, who was nicknamed "the chiropractor", because he rearranges your spine for you. The ball goes back a full ten metres from this hit, and the Fijians aren't a soft touch, ever:

Lima, who played in an incredible five world cups, has put in a few hits in his time.

Tackles aren't violence, somehow. I'm not quite sure how that works, but it does. England's Josh Lewsey showed the difference, with ex-League man Matt Rogers a few years ago. Rogers punched Lewsey, then Lewsey replied with a tackle. Rogers is a tough man, as is every League player, but he didn't get up.

I think Rogers had a broken rib. I've broken a few ribs playing rugby but the worst, that left me with a bump on my chest, was when I was stupid enough to play prop because my team didn't have one that day. I'm six foot seven, which is a disadvantage in that position. My opposite number was 23 stone and experienced. Second scrum down, ten minutes in, and there was an audible cracking sound - audible enough for the ref to blow his whistle. It hurt, and made breathing a bit difficult. But Doc, a Cambridge medical researcher and one of our wingers, told me it wouldn't get any worse, we had no substitutes, so I played on, on the wing. Not the best hour of my life, though tackling the same 23 stone gent sometime in the second half blacked me out for a moment, just from the rib pain, and that was interesting. I'd been knocked out before once, playing rugby, from a spear tackle (being dumped on my head), but this was different. The other time there was a slow motion thing, when the world and I parted company for a moment, but this time it was a cocoon, nice and cosy, from which I reluctantly returned to a cold, rainy rugby pitch.

Dammit, why do we have to get old?

Not only, but also

If you're too busy to blog, you can always copy and paste some YouTube clips.

Here's Big Mama Thornton in her pomp, singing Hound Dog (with Buddy Guy on guitar):

And here she is in her last show, from 1984, singing Hound Dog:

By way of contrast, here's Etta James singing At Last:

And here's a different version:

(If you haven't seen him before, Terry can be a bit conventional, but he's fun. He's also paid his dues.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A man of principle

David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, has resigned from Parliament in protest at the rise in the period a person can be held in custody without charge, from 28 to 42 days. He proposes to fight a by election on this single issue, and I heard a few moments ago on Radio 4 that Conservative Central Office have said he will have to do so without funding from the central party.

I hope he will welcome volunteers from outside the Conservative Party to his campaign. This could turn into an event similar to the Tatton by election of 1997.

I just emailed Mr Davis to thank him for defending my liberty. If you want to do the same, click here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Israel as pantomime villain

There's a good piece in the Telegraph today by the Israeli Ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, Britain is a hotbed of anti-Israeli sentiment. Prosor is right, and it's a disgrace for us all.

The inevitable anti-Israeli voices can be seen in the comments and that makes this piece a good opportunity to contrast it with the Guardian's commentators. Bad as some of the comments are, the Guardian leaves them standing for malice, malevolence and bile. Perhaps the Telegraph operates a stricter moderation policy. Perhaps the left is the spiritual home of anti-Semitism. Perhaps both are true.

While I dislike seeing some of the Telegraph's comments, the overall experience doesn't leave one feeling like a cleansing bath is needed, unlike the Guardian experience.

Rugby, the movie

[Matt] Damon will allegedly star as Francois Pienaar, the captain of South Africa's 1995 World Cup-winning rugby team in a film to be directed by Clint Eastwood, about Nelson Mandela, and the effect the sporting win had on the country.
Interesting. It would be good if this raises the profile of rugby in the USA and Canada, where the far less interesting sport of soccer has taken root.

The evil of religion

It does this sort of thing to people's minds:

So, Ibn Taymiya, the intellectual godfather of many Wahhabis and many Salafis, wrote a book that said Logic was un-Islamic. Modern day Salafi kids use that book as a permission to be completely contradictory — or just to insult someone who tries to reason with them.

But as we see here, Ibn Taymiya’s book is critiqued within the tradition. The basic argument Shaykh Sa’id Fawda makes...
And so on. The Shaykh's argument follows the sort of 'If a duck floats, would it weigh the same as a witch?' line of reasoning you find in religious debate.

We all lose from this: the fanatics who might have led reasonable lives without this poison; those who engage in debate with them to draw the poison from the wound, and in doing so demean their own minds; the rest of us who have to live with the erratic passions of the insane.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Tory MEP expenses

I haven't blogged about this because I don't have anything to say - except perhaps sack them all. I have been enjoying the show, though. Don't miss Guido's chat with Nadine Dorries.

Fariba Marzban

My stats tell me there's a bit of interest around the world in Fariba Marzban, an Iranian dissident. Quite right too. If you haven't already read my post from last year, it gives some insight into the courage of these extraordinary women and men, fighting for the freedoms we take for granted.

Stork Theory


Yasmin's racism

Dissected by James Cleverly:

The truth is that I and the other black and Asian Britons now working with Boris were part of the process and have been working with other Conservatives whether black, white, male, female, straight, gay etc. etc. for years to get where we are now. That Yasmin feels that we should be limited in our political options makes me sick.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Looting Iran

If you use a feed reader, I suggest adding Azarmehr. Here he translates a piece about the way Iranian clerics are enriching themselves. It's reminiscent of the worst type of African kleptocracy:

1- One of the clerics came and said he has a disabled son and he wants to build a rehabilitation centre where he can treat his son there. We registered the centre for him. Then he asked for financial support, demanding the Fars Marble stone mines, one of the best in the world, and after a while he said this is not enough and asked for another mine in Zanjan. He now has ownership of four mines to his name as an excuse to support his rehabilitation centre. At this point the students demand to know the cleric's name, Palizar answers 'Ayatollah Emami Kashani', member of the Guardian Council and one of the four Friday Prayer sermon Imams of Tehran.

2- Another Ayatollah came to the Supreme Leader and said he wants to build a law faculty in Qom for women. He got the permission and asked for the ownership of Dena Tyre making factory for financial backing of the faculty. Nematzadeh said they can have the factory for 126 Billion, the real value was 600 Billion. But they kept writing letters saying they want further discount, at the end a factory which was worth 600 Billion, was sold for 10 Billion. Even then they said we don't have all the money to pay now and will pay 80% of it by installments. It was agreed to but this wasn't enough discount for them either and after all that, they said we don't have the 20% to pay now either, we will pay it after we have sold the factory buildings.
'So as easy as that, the Ayatollah took ownership of the factory and then sold it on the stock market. '
Again the students demand for Palizar to name the cleric. Palizar replies 'Ayatollah Yazdi, the previous head of the judiciary and the present secretary of the Clerical Association of Qom Seminaries. Responsible for the closure of so many publications during Khatami's era.

3- Carrying on with the same Ayatollah Yazdi, Palizar continues, 'Again Ayatollah Yazdi writes a letter to Foroozesh, the Minister of Industries, saying my son, Hamid, is out of work at the moment. Can you facilitate things so my son can have part in the export of timber made from Caspian forests. At the time Hamid Yazdi was a director at the judiciary, in other words he wasn't out of work. Thus he plundered the Caspian forests. Then they went and arrested the local people who had perhaps stored only enough wood for their fire logs, which led to the protests outside the prisons.'

4- Car making factory, Iran Khodro, was forced to give new Persia cars to judiciary judges at half price, in instalments, and most didn't even bother pay their instalments. But this made many more to also want a piece of the cake. For example the Nahjolbalagheh Foundation, came and said why shouldn't we get 500 vehicles with the same facilities. Now who do you think this Nahjolbalaghe Foundation belongs to? It belongs to Nategh Nouri (Supreme Leader's former favourite candidate for presidency, Rafighdoost (Former revolutionary Guards commander and head of the Dispossessed Foundation, Asgaroladi (member of the super wealthy Bazaar Merchant Coalition Society), Hossein Dinparvar and Moezi.

5- Then the Persepolis football club run by Abedini and another Foundation also said we want half price cars. The said Foundation is owned by Hojjat-ol_Islam Fallahain, previous intelligence minister during the extra judicial killings of dissidents like Daryoush and Parvaneh Forouhar, and Ayatollah Alam Al-Hoda, who recently made the remark that 'Women who are not observing the Hejab properly are foot soldiers of America'

6- Twelve mines in Khorrasan province are owned by Ayatollah Vaeze Tabassi, whose own son is involved in what has become known as Al-Mokaseb case. A corruption case which was investigated by the Islamic judiciary for two years and all the accused including Ayatollah Tabassi's son were all acquitted.

7- Then Palizar mentions the big time smuggler at Payam airport who has over 1100 cases of smuggling goods being investigated by the judiciary. Palizar continues with frustration 'but we are still unable to arrest him, because he is under the protection of Ayatollah Nateq Nuri.'

8- Palizar talks about tobacco and cigarette smuggling and how this large scale smuggling has grounded Iran's tobacco industry to a halt and forced thousands of its workers out of employment. Without naming names, Palizar also talks about the extent of narcotics use in the Islamic Republic, and implicity talks about high ranking clerics also being involved in the distribution of narcotics in the country.

9- Palizar then talks about two aviation crashes, which led to the deaths of war veterans Dadman and Kazemi. Dadman's revolutionary credentials were impeccable. He had taken part in the Tabriz riots against the Shah, taken part in the US embassy hostage taking, served in the front line against Iraqi invasion, even in the Islamic Republic led Mecca pilgrims protests which led to the Saudis killing 400 protesters as just a few points to mention in Dadman's revolutionary CV.

Palizar says unequivocally that Dadman's crash was deliberate. He claims there is a 1000 page case held with the judiciary about the crash. (He does not however mention who was behind the crash). Regarding the crash that led to Commander Kazemi's death however, Palizar said Martyr Kazemi had closed down the Hormoz mines for irregularities and although he says in this case he has no clear evidence, it was after the closure of the mine that his plane crashed. The Hormoz mines are owned by Ayatollah Khazaeli.

Palizar also talks about the corruption of Rafsanjani's family, and mentions their interests in one third of the Kish island but more notably their interest in an oil company - owned by Rafsanjani's family including his sister who resides in Canada.
These are the unelected rulers of what John Simpson and the BBC describe as a valid form of democracy.

Laying claim

Back to Norman Geras. He wrote:

As an atheist, I think religious belief is particularly open to criticism on several counts, among them these: its adherents appeal to softer standards for establishing truth in its own sphere than we habitually apply to other matters; some of them arrogantly lay claim to a monopoly on certain standard human achievements - morality, appreciation of nature, art, wonder, humility, fortitude in the face of adversity - that non-believers are perfectly capable of participating in; and, as Dale says, religions have often underwritten, as ordained by God, practices that are morally indefensible, and they continue to do this.
I'd like to re-write that:
As an advocate of economic freedom, I think socialism is particularly open to criticism on several counts, among them these: its adherents appeal to softer standards for establishing truth in its own sphere than we habitually apply to other matters; some of them arrogantly lay claim to a monopoly on certain standard human achievements - morality, compassion, concern for the poor, fairness, social responsibility, the achievements of the past such as female suffrage and the abolition of slavery - that non-socialists are perfectly capable of participating in and in some cases were responsible for; and, as many people have pointed out, socialists have often underwritten practices that are morally indefensible, and they continue to do this.

Climate massage

I just get the feeling that these people are trying to justify their previously reached conclusions rather than examining the data.

So the idea is that instead of proving global warming, you prove global blowing :-) and then you argue that blowing and warming sound similar, especially according to your model that links the two. This strategy has the advantage that when the climate begins to cool down, you can also say that global blowing is the same thing as global cooling and the cataclysmic warming can continuously "rotate" into a new kind of catastrophic cooling. :-)

The problems with the particular conclusions by Sherwood and Allen have been discussed by

Roger Pielke Sr,

too. He is preparing a technical manuscript on that issue. The main drawback of their approach is circular reasoning. They want to demonstrate that the models are consistent with reality but what they actually call "reality" is extracted from the models, too.

More precisely, the relationship between the winds and the temperature is derived from the very same models that are shown to disagree with the actual temperature measurements by the balloons and satellites. So the arguments they show only support the compatibility of one particular theoretical prediction with the observations - namely the quantity describing winds as predicted by the very same models.

But a correct model should agree not only with one but with all observed quantities - especially with the temperature if this quantity is the main focus of your models. ;-)

Barak Obama's supporters

You can't reasonably criticise someone for the supporters they attract. Barak Obama's website has a blog section. It was a nice idea, but it's backfiring a bit. For those who don't read Little Green Footballs, there are some real horrors being uncovered there. 9/11 was Mossad, radical Islamists, anti-Semitism that stays online for months until pointed out by an opponent.

I don't want Obama to be elected President, but I don't think I want him to be rejected for this reason. The idea of allowing blogging was a mistake, but I can't see any sign these are his views.

Nevertheless, the fact that some of these posts have stayed online for so long shows a worrying lack of (blog post) moderation. And leads to thoughts like this: I hope it shows a worrying lack of blog moderation, and not something else.

With these blogs, the suspicion must exist that Obama is willing to appear amenable to extremists in order to get their vote. With Pastor Wright, it was plain he was willing to ally, over a long period, with extremists to get their votes.

None of this is reassuring.

Creating the world

Norman Geras raises a question about this question, that was raised here:

Do we create the world just by looking at it?
The context is quantum mechanics, and whether or not a certain principle that many physicists hold to be true at that scale is also true at a larger scale: the idea that a photon, say, doesn't actually possess a given quality, let's say polarisation, until you actually measure it, which is to say until you observe that quality. Until then, the photon possesses the possibilities of a great many variations of that quality. Things only become definite in the act of measurement or observation, which itself affects the subject of the measurement in a concrete and testable way.

Does that principle apply, the article Geras links to (and the second link above) asks, on the scale of the universe we inhabit? Does it apply, for instance, to your sofa?

Some of the people interviewed thinks it does, but that we're unaware of that because the particular senses we possess are too crude to notice.

Geras poses this problem:
Either (1) we are part of the world we create by observing it, or (2) we are not. If (1) we are part of that world, then we do not exist till we've created it by our observation, and therefore either can't create it or must create it from a situation of not ourselves existing. In either case, there's something remaining to be explained. If, on the other hand, (2) we aren't part of the world we create by observing it, then there is a reality - call it the not-world - which escapes the finding being relayed to us here; and that is not the spirit in which the finding is set out.
I think this particular problem arises out of a misunderstanding caused by a use of language, rather than out of the issue itself, so have a comment to make. The question is posed in a particular language, journalese, that seeks to provide both clarity and memorability. This is a worthwhile ambition, but memorable (and necessarily brief) phrases don't always provide clarity. By 'create the world', the original question does not mean "bring into existence", but rather "determine the properties of". Measuring the polarisation of a photon does not "create" the photon, but it does "create" a particular polarisation - using the language of the question itself.

Therefore looking at a sofa does not, to use a metaphor in the piece, create the sofa, but it does affect the properties of the sofa - this last idea being one of the more novel ideas expressed in the article (which is worth reading). Geras's question, therefore, arises out of a misunderstanding of the sense in this context of the word 'create'. In this context, it does not mean "bring into existence", it means "determine some of the qualities of an object".

At any rate, that's how I understand it.

This reminds me of an analogy I once heard, and liked, about the problems of measurement at a very small scale. It's not an issue of quantum mechanics. We often measure things by throwing other things at them. For example, if I want to measure what's in a dark room I can shine a torch in, which involves hurling huge numbers of photons into the room. Some bounce off objects and pass through my pupils to hit the retinas of my eyes, which measure their properties.

If I want to measure the properties of a bus that's passing by me, I could throw a tennis ball at it. By measuring the direction and speed at which I throw it, and then the point the ball returns to and the speed with which it returns, I could figure out some of the properties of the bus. If I did this a few times at different angles, I ought to be able to figure out how fast the bus is travelling, how much friction there is at its surface, and so on.

It gets much harder to gather meaningful results, though, if a tennis ball is passing by, and you throw a bus at it.

Knights Templars and the Grail

This is very funny:

Then he went outside and started drawing what he saw. There is a minaret which sits on top of many civilizations worth of building works. There is also an arch. Roger drew a line from the top of the minaret to the arch, then from the base of the arch back to the base of the building the minaret stood on and then back up to the top of the minaret. “A perfect triangle”, he announced in triumph. I hadn’t the heart to tell him that joining any three lines would give him a triangle and that the minaret was not crusader.
Roger had a lion and a triangle. A symbol of the crusaders and geometry, he was a happy man. Insane but happy.
Roger took me aside. “I have discovered that there are ancient tunnels under the Temple Mount. I was talking to a guy in the hotel bar who told me he could take me there. I am supposed to meet him here in ten minutes.” I pointed to a sign saying Tunnels tour, just above his head”.
There's more, click through.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The EU

Two posts from EU Referendum blog. The truth about MEP's pay and expenses, and how the Conservatives will not honour their promise of a referendum if Labour have signed the Lisbon Treaty by the time they come to office. In the latter, Cameron's language is revealing:

He was, apparently, speaking to an audience in Harlow, Essex (part of his programme of touring marginal constituencies) when he was asked the dreaded "R" question. Then he admitted it would be "almost impossible" to have a referendum if it was already law in the UK and the rest of the EU. "We may have to say, well look, we're not happy with this situation, here are some of the powers we'd like to have back," he said, "But we can't give you that referendum on the Lisbon Treaty because it's already been put in place across the rest of Europe."
It's quite an admission - that an elected government would be unable to do as it wished, whatever majority it possessed, because it had been bound by a decision of an earlier government.

Or, to look at it another way, it's an admission that the UK government is no longer the government of the UK.

UPDATE: That's not quite right. The Conservatives acquiesce to this situation. It's still the case that they could do as they please. Belgium isn't going to send the tanks in and France isn't going to ban its own exports to us by banning our imports. It's simple acquiescence. But the process of annexation is proceeding so slowly, by such degrees, that nobody is willing to turn out into the streets, or block traffic, over this issue.

We need to reach that point.

But I also notice this. Nobody is trying to organise it. Nothing else will work.

Gender and climate change

It was inevitable, wasn't it?

The Third Global Congress of Women in Politics and Governance

Focus on Gender in Climate Change and

Disaster Risk Reduction

October 19-22, 2008

Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati City

Metro Manila, Philippines
Perhaps it's a parody:
Women are most vulnerable to the bad effects of climate change and yet women are absent in the decision-making process, the discourse and the debate on climate change, a global mainstream issue that is affecting the entire world.
Most vulnerable? How? Who on earth is paying for this garbage?
It is in this spirit that the Center for Asia Pacific Women in Politics (CAPWIP) in partnership with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UN/ISDR) is organizing the Third Global Congress of Women in Politics and Governance in October 19-22, 2008. The focus of the Congress is on gender in climate change and disaster risk reduction.
Oh, yes. Of course. The UN. Well, not entirely:
Congress Cost Per Participant with Single Room Accommodation: One Thousand Nine Hundred Fifty US Dollars (US$ 1,950)
Not including travel. How would a delegate raise that?
You are encouraged to seek your own funding from various donor/funding agencies or your own institutions.
Ah yes. I'm paying for it. But it's nice to see the spirit of Greenham Common living on:
A knowledge fair/Exhibition on Gender and Climate Change will be organized at the venue of the Congress: The Dusit Hotel. Participating organizations are invited to exhibit their materials for display or for sale. Those who are interested should contact the Secretariat to make their booth reservations. There will be minimal charges for the rental of the booth.
Climate change handicrafts. I want some to put next to my Greenham Common songbook.


I don't mind Google's contextual ads at all, in fact I hardly see them most of the time. But in my spam folder in Gmail they always bring up recipes for things made of spam. "Tasty Spam goulash", for example.

Dammit all, I had to eat spam when I was a child. Can't you let it rest?


It's official. I'm included in the Heretic Press feed at DisbeliefNet.

I'm so proud.

And thanks for the, not insignificant, traffic.

By the way, they have some fun e-cards.

Metaphor of the day

The Indian bicycle market.

Jake and Dino Chapman

I've only just noticed this, but they are hypocritical cowards:

Desperate to flaunt their "bravery" with their controversial depictions of Jews suffering in concentration camps and highly sexualised images of children, the artists Jake and Dinos Chapman have admitted to Mandrake that there is one subject area that remains off-limits.

Jake says they would not be prepared to touch Islam.
Via Laban Tall

Move along now

Gay bashing in, of all places, the Netherlands. But nothing about it in the mainstream media. Why was that, do you think?

At a fashion show to promote tolerance of gay people on April 30, a national holiday in Holland, celebrating the birthday of the late Queen Juliana, a group of ten Muslim youths dragged gay model Mike Du Pree down from the catwalk, beating him up and breaking his nose. A second model who tried to help out was also attacked.

Bush declares he will attack Iran!

Or perhaps he doesn't. J. F. Beck traces the making of a, well, let's be polite - of a myth.

Female circumcision

Do not click on this link without thinking first. I found this deeply disturbing, it haunted me for days, and I've seen a few things.

It isn't a violent scene, as such. But it does show a completely naked adult woman being held spreadeagled by a group of men, while one hacks away parts of her genitalia with a knife, and others stand around watching. It's a picture of a female circumcision... what? Operation? Atrocity? It's from the Congo, and has been going the rounds on some Arabic blogs. Female circumcision is, in the words of the blogger I'm linking to, "Egypt's main disaster". He posts against this revolting and inhumane practice. We've let it be introduced to our country.

The link is here, or you can view a machine translation of it into English here.

Climate fraud allegations

Doug Keenan is an independent mathematician, formerly a financial analyst, based in London. After I re-published a list of peer-reviewed papers that question the received wisdom on climate science - received wisdom, it should be said, only in the political and media worlds, not the scientific - I received an email from Dr Keenan drawing my attention to two peer-reviewed papers he had written that are relevant. I have added them to the first post, but want to draw attention to them here. Both are very accessible to a lay reader. Both are absolutely gobsmacking, to use a technical word.

The first is titled: Grape harvest dates are poor indicators of summer warmth. A pdf of the full paper can be downloaded here (pdf) and an introduction can be read here. The following is an abridged version of that introduction (emphasis added). It casts a disturbing light on the process of peer review:

On 18 November 2004, Isabelle Chuine and co-workers published a research paper on global warming. The paper appeared in Nature, the world's most highly-regarded scientific journal. And it gathered some publicity. Chuine et al. claimed to have developed a method for estimating the summer temperature in Burgundy, France, in any given year back to 1370 (based on the harvest dates of grapes). Using their method, the authors asserted that the summer of 2003 was by far the warmest summer since 1370, in Burgundy.

I had been following global warming studies only as a disinterested outside spectator (and only occasionally). Someone sent me the paper of Chuine et al., though, and wondered what I thought of it from a mathematical perspective. So I had a look.

To study the paper properly, I needed to have the authors' data. So I e-mailed Dr. Chuine, asking for this. The authors, though, were very reluctant to let me have the data. It took me eight months, tens of e-mails exchanged with the authors, and two formal complaints to Nature, to get the data. (Some data was purchased from Météo France.) It is obviously inappropriate that such a large effort was necessary.

Looking at the data made it manifest that there are serious problems with the work of Chuine et al...
That is, the authors had developed a method that gave a falsely-high estimate of temperature in 2003 and falsely-low estimates of temperatures in other very warm years. They then used those false estimates to proclaim that 2003 was much hotter than other years.

The above is easy enough to understand. It does not even require any specialist scientific training. So how could the peer reviewers of the paper not have seen it? (Peer reviewers are the scientists who check a paper prior to its publication.) I asked Dr. Chuine what data was sent to Nature, when the paper was submitted to the journal. Dr. Chuine replied, “We never sent data to Nature”.

I have since published a short note that details the above problem (reference below). There are several other problems with the paper of Chuine et al. as well. I have written a brief survey of those (for people with an undergraduate-level background in science). As described in that survey, problems would be obvious to anyone with an appropriate scientific background, even without the data. In other words, the peer reviewers could not have had appropriate background.

What is important here is not the truth or falsity of the assertion of Chuine et al. about Burgundy temperatures. Rather, what is important is that a paper on what is arguably the world's most important scientific topic (global warming) was published in the world's most prestigious scientific journal with essentially no checking of the work prior to publication.

Finally, it is worth noting that Chuine et al. had the data; so they must have known that their conclusions were unfounded. In other words, there is prima facie evidence of scientific fraud. What will happen to the researchers as a result of this? Probably nothing. That is another systemic problem with the scientific publication process.
In this case Dr Keenan took no further action. But this experience led him to look more closely at some of the evidence on which the ideas about human-caused global warming were based. In the process, he uncovered something that he felt demanded further action. He has published a report about this, which can be downloaded here (pdf) and a brief timeline of events, still being updated, that can be read here. The paper is titled: The fraud allegation against some climatic research of Wei-Chyung Wang. Here's the abstract from the pdf:
Wei-Chyung Wang has been a respected researcher in global warming studies for decades. I have formally alleged that he committed fraud in some of his research, including research cited by the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC (2007) on “urban heat islands” (a critical issue). Herein, the allegation is reviewed, and some of its implications are explicated.
On the 20th February this year the University of Albany wrote to Dr Keenan confirming that they were going to investigate his allegation.

Here are some brief excerpts from the same pdf report (abridged, emphasis added):
The work of Jones et al. (1990) is a significant paper in global warming studies (see below for details). In February 2007, Stephen McIntyre blogged about evidence he had found showing that it was “impossible” for Jones et al. to have carried out their work as they had claimed.1 An anonymous comment on the blog then indicated potential issues with the closely-related work of Wang et al. (1990).2 Further study by myself found additional evidence of problems. The evidence particularly implicates Wei-Chyung Wang—the lead author of Wang et al. and a co-author of Jones et al.

Wang is a professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York.
He has been doing research on climate for over 30 years...
Meteorological stations sometimes move, and this can affect the temperature measurements of the stations.
It is clear that when a station moves, the temperature data from before the move is not, in general, directly comparable to the data from after the move.
In global warming studies, an important issue concerns the integrity of temperature measurements from meteorological stations. The latest assessment report from the IPCC indicates that the global average temperature rose by roughly 0.3 °C over the period 1954–1983. Thus, if errors in temperature measurements were of similar size to, or larger than, 0.3 °C, there could be a serious problem for global warming studies. The papers of Jones et al. and Wang et al. both consider this issue. The paper of Jones et al. is one of the main works cited by the IPCC to support its contention that measurement errors arising from urbanization are tiny, and therefore are not a serious problem.
Regarding station movements over time, the papers of Jones et al. and Wang et al. make the following statements.
The stations were selected on the basis of station history: we chose those with few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times. [Jones et al.]
They were chosen based on station histories: selected stations have relatively few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location, or observation times.... [Wang et al.]
Those statements are essential for the papers.
Jones et al. and Wang et al. consider the same 84 meteorological stations in China. Regarding 49 of those stations, the DOE/CAS report says, “station histories are not currently available” and “details regarding instrumentation, collection methods, changes in station location or observing times ... are not known” (sect. 5). For those 49 stations, then, the above-quoted statements from the two papers are impossible.

Regarding the remaining 35 stations that were analyzed by the two papers, I have prepared a summary of the relevant information from the DOE/CAS report. The summary is available at As an example from the summary, one station had five different locations during 1954–1983, with the locations as much as 41 km apart. Two other stations each had four different locations. At least half the stations had substantial moves (two other examples, of 25 km and 15 km, were given above). Moreover, several stations have histories that are inconsistent, making reliable analysis unattainable.
The essential point here is that the quoted statements from Jones et al. and Wang et al. cannot be true and could not be in error by accident. The statements are fabricated.
I thoroughly recommend Doug Keenan's website in general. There are other relevant papers, all written with great clarity, generally accessible to a lay reader. (There's also a Knuth cheque to ogle).

Thanks for the nudge, anonymous - UPDATED here.

William Herschel, Adam Smith and climate

Five years ago, I accepted the IPCC line of global warming without demur. I can't honestly see how anyone who is following the issue could adhere to this line in the light of the information that has become available since then. Here's a very thorough summary from Quadrant, an Australian magazine:

The Europeans, unaccustomed to such intransigence on the part of the so-called developing world, are threatening trade sanctions against recalcitrant nations who will not impose the carbon tax regimes which the Europeans require. If they proceed down this path they will destroy the WTO, whose predecessor, the GATT, was founded on the sovereignty of the member states to conduct their internal affairs as they saw fit. The WTO is not travelling well; it may be that its use-by date has passed, and new international trade arrangements will have to be called into being.

But that is another story. What matters here is that the EU is threatening other nations with measures that in the past were seen as a precursor to armed conflict.

BUT THESE CONSIDERATIONS are not as important as the inconvenient facts which are finally coming into public view. The first is the contradiction between what the climate models predict and what temperature measurements of the troposphere are telling us. There are more than twenty climate models around the world. Every one predicts some degree of warming from increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations (although estimates vary greatly) and every one requires significant warming to take place in the troposphere in tropical latitudes, at altitudes of about ten kilometres. This phenomenon is known as the “greenhouse signature”.

There has been intensive investigation into the actual temperatures at these latitudes and altitudes using radiosonde balloons and satellites. The results are now beyond dispute. There is no warming. None.

This result poses a huge crisis for the IPCC and all those whose reputations and livelihoods depend upon it. Do you stick with the climate models, or do you believe the temperature data? This quandary has been kept pretty quiet and it hasn’t yet reached the mainstream press. But it will be impossible to keep it under wraps indefinitely; those who are in the know and appreciate the implications are re-positioning themselves. When it finally breaks out, many people will be searching for new careers.

The second is much better known; the failure of the planet to warm, despite steadily rising carbon dioxide concentrations, since 1998. The third is the record-breaking fall in global temperature in 2007.

The fourth, and most serious, is the failure of solar cycle 24 to become manifest. Until belief in the IPCC theory of anthropogenic carbon dioxide climate control became mandatory, the study of solar influences on the world’s climate had occupied scientists for at least two centuries. In 1800 William Herschel, the Astronomer Royal, published his famous paper in which he took the wheat prices recorded by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, and found they correlated extremely well with the sunspot record as it was then known. He was probably spurred into this investigation because the Thames had frozen in London for the first time for nearly a century, an early manifestation of the Dalton Minimum. This period, which began about 1795 and persisted until 1820, had begun its grim passage throughout Europe, where the combination of bad harvests followed by the Napoleonic Wars caused great distress. It was coincident with solar cycles 5 and 6, which were of very low intensity. But of greater significance was that solar cycle 4 had been of high intensity and long duration, thirteen years, and a period of warmer temperatures and excellent harvests.


I normally criticise this (must make time to do the same with conservatism more often), but I was just reading something or other that referred to Mugabe as a socialist. I know that's what he calls himself, and I know there's a particularly unconvincing line of argument that sometimes comes from the left to the effect that the Soviet Union, say, was "right wing". I know that, but in the case of Mugabe, in fairness, in what sense, exactly, is he a socialist?

If he started describing himself as a duck, would we start calling him a duck?

That nice Mr Major

Can we have him back, please?

Canadian Human Rights

There was an extraordinary ruling from Alberta's Human Rights Commission recently, in the case of a complaint brought against a bigoted Christian preacher called Stephen Boission. The case was brought by an "anti-Christian activist" - a description that doesn't make me feel ill-disposed to the man, though his use of the HRC does - named Darren Lund. These lines are excerpted from the ruling:

In this case, there is no specific individual who can be compensated as there is no direct victim who has come forward...
Dr. Lund, although not a direct victim, did expend considerable time and energy and suffered ridicule and harassment as a result of his complaint. The Panel finds therefore that he is entitled to some compensation.
So the tribunal found that nobody was a 'direct victim' of the complained-about speech. Obviously, that should have been the end of the process even with respect to the oppressive and censorial terms of reference the HRCs operate by.

But no, the complainant was made fun of for bringing the action and that warranted compensation from the object of the complaint, rather than from those who did the mocking. The complainant spent some money bringing the complaint and, although his complaint was without merit, the object of his complaint should compensate him for this.

Such grounds for compensation grow greater the more absurd any given complaint might be. By this logic, I could make a baseless and laughable complaint against you. If someone else, unconnected to you, does laugh about it, you have to compensate me. And you have to compensate me anyway, because I spent some money bringing this absurd and laughable complaint.

Missile defence

There has always been a strange illogic in arguments against America's missile defence program. When it was first announced as a research project by Reagan in the 1980s, the most frequent objection I heard was that it didn't work, and this was true. Had such a technology existed and worked well, there would have been no need for Reagan to commit funds for research. The program was started precisely because the technology did not at that time exist. This aspect of debate at the time could be summarised as follows:

Pro: We can't do this yet, so we should start some research.

Anti: But we can't do this yet!
The same objection still exists, in a mutated form. Now that the technology has got to the stage of trials, it has become characterised as "unproven". The new dialogue runs as follows:
Pro: OK, we've got some stuff but we need to test it.

Anti: But you haven't finished testing it!
Obama is a carrier of this argument. It's getting a bit strained, though.


Incidentally, in the 1980s another form of argument against the program was a bit convoluted, but suggested it would cause a new arms race and "destabilise" relations with the Soviet Union, and I guess this was right. Less clear is what might have been wrong with destabilising the Soviet empire. Today, the whole of Eastern Europe is free, and the missile defence program played a small part in winning this freedom.

That's a good thing, unless you're the sort of person who felt the fall of the Soviet Union was "the worst day of my life".

Peace activism

This article at the BBC's website asks:

What do you know about Charles Lindbergh?

You probably know he was an American aviator. He achieved overnight world stardom when he became the first person to fly non-stop across the Atlantic, solo, in 1927.

You might also know that Lindbergh was strongly opposed to American involvement in World War II - until Pearl Harbor, after which he volunteered to fly combat missions in the Pacific.

And you might know that in later life he became a prolific author, an explorer and an environmentalist.
It was quoted in part earlier by General Theory of Rubbish as follows (emphasis added):
You might also know that Lindbergh was a peace activist who opposed American involvement in World War II ...
Stealth edit?

Lindbergh was a Nazi sympathiser, as Gen Theory points out. If there was a stealth edit, this blog post might very well have prompted it. We can read more about Lindbergh at Wikipedia, which also goes on to comment:
Lindbergh's anti-Communism resonated deeply with many Americans while eugenics and Nordicism enjoyed social acceptance,[52] with enthusiasts such as Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and George S. Patton.
Well, perhaps. But eugenics was championed, far more notoriously and energetically, by
H.G. Wells, Emile Zola, George Bernard Shaw, John Maynard Keynes, William Keith Kellogg and Margaret Sanger.
This is made clear by the Wiki entry on eugenics itself. The main characteristic of the latter list is that it includes well known left-wingers.

Let's recap: it looks like the BBC initially characterised Nazi sympathies as "peace activism". The Wiki entry for Lindbergh gives a distorted list of eugenics supporters to make it look like a conservative phenomenon.

Why am I surprised by neither of these things?


Church and State

The report, commissioned for the Church of England and to be published on Monday, accuses the Government of discriminating against the Christian Churches in favour of other faiths, including Islam. It calls for the appointment of a “Minister for Religion”, who would act as the Prime Minister’s personal “faith envoy” and who would recognise the contribution of faith communities to Britain across every government department.
The Church of England really is trying to roll us back to the priest-ridden nightmare of the Middle Ages.
The report comes only days after Dr Sentamu accused Mr Brown of sacrificing liberty for misguided notions of equality and of betraying new Labour’s mantra of “rights and responsibilities”. It shows the extent to which church leaders feel betrayed by the Government’s embrace of a secular agenda.
Liberty depends on the removal of religion from any direct involvement with government. Dr Sentamu is part of a new clerical activism that seeks to destroy liberty, not safeguard it. The government has not embraced a secular agenda; we have seen a faith-driven Prime Minister, who appointed religious cultists to the cabinet, replaced by a faith-on-his-sleeve "son of the manse".

In fact, the Christian church has become radicalised by the eruption into our society of the extremist practice of immigrant religions, principally Islam but also Sikhism.

Human progress depends on the disconnection between religion and state. Western progress in the past half millennium has only been possible because the Catholic Church was undermined by the Reformation, and has been weakened by growing rationalism ever since. This can happen in any culture; the Golden Age of Islam happened for the same reason, Islam was very weak. It's actually a complete misnomer, like calling the 19th and 20th centuries the Golden Age of Christianity. This earlier age of reason - the Golden Age of the people now smothered by Islam - was snuffed out by an absolutist Islamic resurgence and that part of the world dominated by this religion has spent half a millennium in darkness, ignorance and poverty.

We are not immune just because we are Westerners. It happened here before and could happen again. These old tyrannies - religion and monarchy - never go away, they just keep re-appearing in new forms. It falls to some generations to fight old battles yet again, and we have the misfortune to be such a generation. The Church must be fought.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Praise the Lard

At last!

Climate change

Anthony Watts suggests this is worth posting elsewhere. As a member of that large constituency, I agree:


House of Representatives - May 14, 2008

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Space). Under the Speaker’s announced policy of January 18, 2007, the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher) is recognized for 60 minutes.

Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I preface my remarks with a personal statement that, while I am opposed to the advocates of man-made global warming theories, I am committed to a clean and healthy environment, to purifying our air, our water, and our soil; all of this for the sake of the people of this planet, including my three children, Anika, Tristan and Christian. I do this not because of some paranoid theory that humans are changing the climate of the world, but instead, I am very concerned about the health of the people of the world and, thus, committed to clean air, clean soil, and clean water.

Thus, we have, today, to take a look at the issues of global warming and pollution that confront our society because there are enormous implications to this whole discussion of what has been called “man-made global warming.”

Only 18 months ago the refrain “Case closed: Global warming is real,” was repeated as if the mantra from some religious zealots. It was pounded into the public consciousness over the airwaves, in print, and even at congressional hearings, “Case closed.” Well, this was obviously a brazen attempt to end open discussion and to silence differing views by dismissing the need for seriously contrary arguments and seriously listening to both sides of an argument. And rather than hearing both sides of the argument, this was an attempt to dismiss arguments even though the person making the arguments might have a very impressive credential or might be a very educated scientist or someone else who should be listened to.

And yes, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of prominent scientists and meteorologists, the heads of science departments at major universities, and others, who are highly critical of the man-made global warming theory. There is Dr. Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been adamant in his opposition, as has a Bjarne Andresen of the University of Copenhagen, Adreas Prokoph, a professor of earth sciences at the University of Ottawa, Dr. William Gray, a famous hurricane expert and former President of the American Meteorological Association, and Dr. Kevin Trenberth, the head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center of Atmospheric Research. All of these are respected scholars, all skeptical of the unwarranted alarmism that we are being pressured to accept.

But their views and those of so many more prominent scholars and scientists don’t matter. The debate is over. Al Gore has his Nobel Prize, and the film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” its Academy Award. So shut up and get your mind in lockstep with the politically correct prevailing wisdom, or at least what the media tells us is the prevailing wisdom. And no questions, please, the case is closed. We heard that dozens and dozens of times.

So what is this theory that now is so accepted that no more debate is needed or even tolerated? The man-made global warming theory may be presented as scientific truism, but it is not. It is a disturbing theory that the Earth began a warming cycle 150 years ago that differed greatly from all the other warming and cooling cycles in the Earth’s past. This warming cycle of 150 years ago, we keep being told, is tied directly to mankind’s use of fossil fuels, basically oil and coal, which, of course, oil and coal and these fuels, these so-called fossil fuels, have powered our industries and made modern civilization possible.

Fossil fuels, we are told, puts an ever-increasing so-called level of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and the most prevalent of these gases, of course, being carbon dioxide, CO2. This increase in CO2 causes the warming that we are supposedly experiencing today. This man-made warming cycle, according to the theory, is rapidly approaching a tipping point when the world’s temperatures will abruptly jump and accelerate with dire and perhaps apocalyptic consequences for the entire planet.

For skeptics of this hypothesis, the consequence of accepting this theory, the consequences are far more dire than any of the consequences we’re supposed to be suffering out of a predicted rise in temperature. And by the way, that rise in temperature, of course, isn’t really happening, which we will discuss a little bit later.

If one accepts this as fact rather than theory, this idea that man-made global warming is overwhelming our planet, then one would be expected to also accept controls, regulations, taxation, international planning and enforcement, mandated lifestyle changes, lowering expectations, limiting consumer choice, as well as

personal and family sacrifices that are all going to be necessary for us to save the planet from–well, from us.

It really takes a lot to frighten people into accepting such personally restrictive mandates that would result from implementing a global warming-based agenda. People’s lives will change if we decide to implement a global warming-based agenda. Yes, people’s lives will change, but not for the better if we have to end, for example, discount airline tickets and cheap travel.

Most people who listen to the global warming advocates don’t understand that the global warming advocates believe that jet planes are some of the worst CO2 polluters, and thus they have to be restricted, according to the theory. So how many people really do want to end the cheap airline tickets that can be had over the Internet?

Obviously one of the goals will be to severely restrict the use of private automobiles. Sure. Now, we know that. The fact that the automobile has been targeted for the last 20 years certainly suggests that automobiles are on the hit list. But don’t worry, we may have to give up our automobiles, but the rich and the government officials will still have their private jets, their Suburbans, and even their limousines. But the rest of us, of course, will be relegated to public transportation. And we will have very limited travel rights unless we can, of course, afford the higher and higher prices.

Global warming predictions appear designed to strike fear into the heart of those malcontents who just won’t willingly accept the mandates in their lifestyle changes that are needed in order to save the planet. These people, of course, won’t accept things like higher food prices, which will come with an implementation of global warming mandates. And of course they certainly won’t accept less meat in their diet. That’s right, part of the manmade global warming theory and how we’re going to solve this is to wean mankind away from meat.

A 2006 report entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” to the United Nations mentions livestock emissions and grazing, and it places the blame for global warming squarely on the hind parts of cows. Livestock, the report claims, accounts for 18 percent of the gases that supposedly cause the global warming of our climate. Cows are greenhouse-emitting machines. Fuel for fertilizer and meat production and transportation, as well as clearing the fields for grazing, produce 9 percent of the global CO2 emissions, according to the report. And also, cows produce ammonia, causing acid rain, of course.

Now, if that’s not bad enough, all of these numbers are projected in this report to double by the year 2050. Well, not only are we then going to have to cut personal transportation, which will keep us at home, but when we stay at home, we can’t even have a bbq. And heck, they won’t even let us have a hamburger.

I would like to point out that before the introduction of cattle, millions upon millions of buffalo dominated the Great Plains of America. They were so thick you could not see where the herd started and where it ended. I can only assume that the anti-meat, manmade global warming crowd must believe that buffalo farts have more socially redeeming value than the same flatulence emitted by cattle. Yes, this is absurd, but the deeper one looks into this global warming juggernaut, the weirder this movement becomes and the more denial is evident.

Ten years ago, for example, the alarmists predicted that by now we would be clearly plagued by surging temperatures. In testimony before Congress 20 years ago, now, says James Hansen, a man who has repeatedly challenged people who simply want to make sure that his views are balanced off at NASA, but NASA’s James Hansen 20 years ago predicted CO2 would shoot up and global temperatures would shoot up by more than one-third of a degree Celsius during the 1990s.

So a rise in temperature was predicted, and it would lead to what? Rising sea levels. In the end, we’ll have rising sea levels, perhaps even cities under water, droughts and famines, and of course an increase in tropical diseases. Yes, tropical diseases. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to hear it when certain environmentalists use that as an example, considering the fact that tropical diseases, namely malaria, has killed millions of children in the Third World because the environmentalists have been successful in banning DDT. But that’s another issue.

But the point is there are serious consequences, perhaps unintended consequences to following nonsensical extremism in the arena of the environment.

So were the predictions of global heating correct? Forget “case closed.” The question needs to be answered. Were all of these predictions correct? Mr. Hansen said it would rise by a third of a degree just a little over a decade ago. And the answer is that the predictions of a decade ago have turned out to be dramatically wrong. Temperatures during that decade rose only one-third of the jump predicted by Hansen, a modest 0.11, one-third of what he had predicted.

Furthermore, numerous and powerful hurricanes that were forecast by the National Hurricane Center, for example, at NOAA and others, well, by now we haven’t seen such a trend, and by now we were led to believe there would be a drought and a melting of the ice caps would be clearly upon us. My beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains in California were due to heat up, dry up, brown up, and burn, burn, burn. Yep, during the entire Clinton administration, we heard these predictions over and over again. During the Clinton administration, we saw scientists produce study after study predicting the horrific impact of the unstoppable onslaught of man-made global warming, which we were led to believe would be overwhelming us right now. Right now. Of course, if there was even a hint that the conclusion of their research wouldn’t back up the theory of man-made global warming, these scientists wouldn’t have seen one red cent from the Federal research pool during the Clinton administration.

In a September, 2005, article from Discovery Magazine, Dr. William Gray, now an emeritus professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University and a former president of the American Meteorological Association, was asked if funding problems that he was experiencing and has been experiencing could be traced to his skepticism of man-made global warming. His response: “I had NOAA money for 30 years, and then when the Clinton administration came in and Gore started directing some of the environmental stuff, I was cut off. I couldn’t get any money from NOAA. They turned down 13 straight proposals from me.” This man is one of the most prominent hurricane experts in the world, cut off during the Clinton-Gore administration because he had been skeptical of global warming.

In fact, Al Gore’s first act as Vice President was to insist that William Harper be fired as the Chief Scientist at the Department of Energy. Now, why was that? Well, that’s because William Harper had uttered words indicating that he was open minded to the issue of global warming. So off with his head. They didn’t want someone who was open minded. They wanted someone who was going to provide grants based on people who would verify this man-made global warming theory. Now, that was 1993 when Mr. Harper was relieved, the first year of the Clinton-Gore administration. So for over a decade, all we got was a drumbeat of one-sided research, setting the stage for the false claim that there is a scientific consensus about whether or not man-made global warming is real.

Unfortunately, for all those scientists who went along with the scheme, now, over a decade later, there is a big problem. Contrary to what all those scientists living on their Federal research grants predicted, the world hasn’t been getting warmer. In fact, for the last 7 years, there has been no warming at all, which has been verified even by, for example, Michel Jarraud of the World Meteorological Organization. He’s their Secretary General. He reluctantly admitted that global temperatures have not risen since 1998, according to a BBC article. Global snowfall is at record levels and there are fewer, not more, hurricanes.

Furthermore, there is some melting in the Arctic. We all know that there is some melting in the Arctic because we hear about it over and over again. In fact, NBC did some special on the melting of the Arctic and how bad it is and showed the pictures of penguins sitting on a diminishing piece of ice in the Arctic. Except there was a problem with that story. You see, penguins don’t live in the Arctic; they live in the Antarctic. There are no penguins in the Arctic. So NBC had it wrong. Somebody must have told them that the penguins from the Arctic were being victimized by global warming. In fact, in the Antarctic, where the penguins are, there is a buildup of ice. It is getting cooler. And in the Arctic, of course, we do recognize there has been a warming in the Arctic, likely due to ocean currents that have changed in the last few years and not due to CO2 that comes from somebody’s SUV.

After hearing about the extinction of the polar bear, which has been drummed into our heads, we now hear that–and by the way, just today the polar bear was put on an endangered species list. But are the polar bears really disappearing? We now hear from Dr. Mitchell Taylor from the Department of the Environment under the Canadian territory of Nunavut and other experts, I might add, who suggest, yes, all but one or two species of the polar bears are flourishing. Yes, of the twenty-odd species, there are perhaps one or two that are suffering and not doing well, but all the rest of the species of polar bear are expanding. In fact, we don’t have a situation with fewer polar bears; we’ve got more polar bears. Yet our government is putting the polar bear on an endangered species list, saying that if the ice cap melts, the polar bears will all be going away because their habitat has been destroyed.

Unfortunately, the debate on this case is not closed. So explaining emerging obvious differences between the reality and the theory needs to be addressed by the people who have been advocating global warming. The case is not closed. The gnomes of climate theory now have to come up with explanations for us of why it was predicted that the weather would be this way at this time and it is not. Why is it that basically we’ve had stable weather, if not a little cooler weather, for the last 8 years?

The first attempt to basically cover their tracks about this noticeable dichotomy in what they predicted and what was happening happened a few years ago, and it went very slowly but very cleverly. The words “climate change” have now replaced the words “global warming.” Get that? Every time you hear it now, half the time they are going to be using the words “climate change” where those very same people were so adamant about “global warming” only 4 or 5 years ago. So no matter what happens now, now that they’ve changed it to “climate change” rather than global warming, whatever happens to the weather pattern, whether it’s hotter or cooler, it can be presented as further verification of human-caused change. If you just had “human-caused warming,” it would have to be at least warming for them to actually have any verification of what they were trying to say. But right now by using “climate change,” they can bolster their right to be taken seriously upon recommending policies, even though no matter what direction the climate goes, it is justified by how they are labeling themselves.

I’m sorry, fellows. Do you really think the world is filled with morons? When it comes to bait and switch, used car salesmen are paragons of virtue compared to this global warming crowd. Excuse me. It’s not the “global warming” crowd now; it’s the “climate change” crowd. Of course, they don’t want any of us to own automobiles; so

what the heck. They can act like used car salesmen because there will be more jobs for them as being advocates in the climate change arena.

We just need to ask ourselves, if a salesman gives a strong pitch and claims something that is later found to be wrong, totally wrong, when does one stop trusting that salesman? Then if he starts playing word games, changing the actual words that he’s using about the same product rather than just admitting an error, isn’t it reasonable to stop trusting him?

Yes, Al Gore and company, we have noticed that you are now saying “climate change” rather than “global warming.” I know that people tried to slip it in, but we have noticed, and there is something behind this that the American people should take note of. Why has that changed? Well, that’s because the world has not been getting warmer in these last 7 years, as they predicted it would be.

So instead of word games, what these advocates need to explain is what is happening in the real world today and why it doesn’t match what they said was going to happen based on their “case closed, man-made global warming is real.” They must realize that someone is bound to notice that last winter was unusually cold and that chilly weather seems to be the trend. It actually snowed in Denver just less than a month ago, and people have commented on the chilliness of the weather this year.

So now we see a beehive of activity going on. Those federally funded scientists are trying to save some modicum of credibility by adjusting their computers and coming up with some explanations that keep man-made global warming as a theory but explains away the current dichotomy between what they said would happen and what is actually happening. Of course, computer models were used to justify their hysteria and their hysteric warming predictions to begin with. So now the computer’s information input is readjusted and we can see all these things coming out of it.

Well, there’s a lot of questions that need to be answered and a lot of things that were told to us that obviously are not true and are not consistent with what’s been going on and what we see happening around us today.

And why is this of such concern to us? Why are we concerned that global warming as a theory has been presented and that it’s false, and why should we be so concerned that it’s being accepted? What could be the negative results of just accepting it from some people who might be very sincere, very sincere and concerned about the planet?

Well, what happens in such cases as this is that we have situations that occur and people then actually come to the point where they are focused on aspects of what’s going on in the world that will not make it better but instead have terrible consequences in and of themselves.

For example, a deadly cyclone just brought death and destruction to Burma, and it was a horrible thing. Burma is a country that is run by a vicious dictatorship, and after the cyclone went through Burma, the dictatorship wouldn’t even permit our supplies to be given to those people of Burma. Well, Al Gore is so committed to this idea of global warming, which, of course, most people call “climate change,” that when commenting on Burma, instead of talking about the monstrous nature of the Burmese regime, instead he had to say, “The trend toward more category five storms–the larger ones and the trend toward stronger and more destructive storms appears to be linked to global warming and specifically to the impact of global warming on higher ocean temperatures in the top couple of hundred feet of the ocean, which drives convection energy and moisture into these storms and makes them more powerful.”

What should Al Gore’s reaction have been? Well, what it should have been was “The Burmese regime is despicable. The Burmese people are suffering. They are dying by the hundreds of thousands. It is despicable for this dictatorship not to permit our aid in.” But instead that was ignored, and what Al Gore did focus on “This is a chance for me to explain global warming,” as the quote I just gave suggested.

Well, the Burmese cyclone hit Burma. If you take a look at what Al Gore’s words were, he is trying to say that it is because of the warming of the water. I have in front of me, which I will submit as part of the Record, a satellite image of ocean temperatures taken by NOAA on May 5 which suggests the ocean in the area of the Burmese cyclone is one of the coldest water areas on Earth.

So what the heck is Mr. Gore talking about? What is all this mumbo jumbo? Again, he is warning about global warming because he is grasping at an attempt to try to verify in some way his predictions that have been all wrong for the last 5 years.

Dr. William Gray, for example, as I mentioned, the former chairman of the American Meteorological Association, a pre-eminent hurricane expert, has noted “there is no reliable data available to indicate increased hurricane frequency or intensity in any of the globe’s seven tropical cyclone basins.” So hurricanes and cyclones are not a product of global warming. Dr. Gray, I think, has more credentials than Mr. Gore. But most convincingly, the most convincing part of this is that no matter what Al Gore says about the warming of this water, that is not what we are hearing from other sources.

I will now submit for the Record indications that actually the water temperature is not warming and is expected to cool, especially in the northern areas of the world.

So what is really important here is that we take a look and we see that the world is not warming and that those people who have been advocating this are grasping to try to find a way out of the fact that they are telling us that we need to adopt the policies that they want for our country, yet their predictions on the weather were wrong.

What is happening is, and the articles that I will submit for the Record show, is that some of the organizations that were predicting that we would be in global warming now are telling us that, yes, there will be global warming. We are not giving it up. But it is going to be 10 to 15 years from now and not in the last 10 years, as was predicted.

In fact, as I said, we actually have this article that suggests that the sea around Europe and North America will cool slightly during the next decade, and the Pacific will be about the same. And the article suggests that it will be a “10-year time-out for global warming.” This is based on studies that were conducted by organizations that only a few years ago were predicting that global warming would be so evident to us today. Well, they have to say something I guess.

To understand all of this nonsense, you have to go back and look at the basic assumptions that are being used by global warming alarmists. They believe that excessive amounts of manmade CO2 are being deposited into the air which causes a greenhouse effect that warms the atmosphere. They call this the “carbon footprint.” That is what we are led to look for. We don’t want to look in Burma for this vicious dictatorship causing the death of hundreds of thousands of people because of the repression. They won’t even let our supplies in. We have to blame it on global warming causing a cyclone which hit Burma. No. I don’t think so. But carbon footprinting is now what we should look at.

The global warming analysts want us to judge everything by its carbon footprint. What that means is how much CO2 is being released because of that activity, because they believe it is CO2 that causes the planet to warm.

This concept, just like these other extrapolations that we get from computers, is wrong. It is dead wrong. A rise in CO2 comes after global temperature increases, not before. This has been observed in ice cores by prominent scientists, yet ignored by those screaming their warnings at us. That’s right. Ice cores indicate that there have been periods, many periods, of warming and cooling in the history of the world. But the warming that has happened preceded the increase in the level of CO2 in the world. That is why we have warming. That is why we can’t say that if we control CO2 that it is going to prevent the climate from warming.

Obviously, if the CO2 increase comes as a result of the warming, by changing that, the warming is still going to be with us. Well, that is getting things to the core. And I don’t mean a pun by that in terms of the ice core, but the fact is that this evidence is confirmed by ice cores.

So take note that the very argument upon which global warming is built has been proven to be false and that manmade global warming advocates will not address that issue. I have been in hearing after hearing. I have been involved with debates on this thing. When you tell them “no,” and you name several scientists, and I will be happy to do that for the Record, who are indicating that the CO2 increases come after the warming of the planet, well, that issue just isn’t addressed.

After all, the case is closed. We don’t need to discuss any of those type of details. To cite one example of experts’ findings on this, by the way, is Tom Scheffelin of the California Air Resources Board who stated on November 5, 2007, that “CO2 levels track temperature changes between 300 to 1,000 years after the temperature has changed. CO2 has no direct role in global warming; rather, it responds to biological activity, which responds to climate changes.”

The fact is that the global warming community is jumping through hoops and bending over backwards struggling to find one little glint of new information to cover their arrogant attempt to stampede humankind into draconian policies and to cut off the debate and dismiss the debate without addressing the issues. The government-financed propaganda campaign to convince us that manmade global warming has been and continues to be a major threat, this propaganda is a cacophony of gibberish presented as a scientific explanation.

Go back and look at what Mr. Gore’s words were about that cyclone. That same sort of putting together of pseudoscience wording in order to impress people is seen time and again. There are facts now evident, of course, that this can’t be ignored. And Mr. Gore’s mumbo jumbo notwithstanding, the predictions have been wrong. And the CO2 premise is wrong. The methodology that has been used has been wrong. The observations have been wrong. And the attempt to shut up those people who disagree has been wrong.

I remember Al Gore labeling me a Stalinist because when I chaired the subcommittee on Research and Science Education, I insisted that both sides be presented. There was a study on research and the environment, a subcommittee of the Science Committee. And I insisted when I was chairman of the committee that expert witnesses on both sides be present at hearings and that they address each other’s contentions. Well, to him, that is Stalinism. Well, I would suggest that the propaganda campaign of the manmade global warming alarmists has far more in common with Stalinism than does insisting that both sides of an argument be heard.

One has to really believe that he or she has a corner on the truth to make such a complaint as the one that he was making against me. He must feel really safe in saying that he knows the truth and that is in order to justify not having both sides of an argument presented at a hearing. Of course, Mr. Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” by its own title suggests that it should be taken as the truth. And I won’t go into the numerous debatable points and outright errors that are presented in the film. Something far worse has recently emerged concerning the fundamental veracity and truthfulness of Vice President Gore’s film.

In the film, there are numerous film segments of climate and environmental incidents to add credibility to the alleged scientific points that were being documented in the film. However, what we see is not necessarily what we are getting. The audience is being given questionable information and questionable views because what they are seeing is not necessarily a documentary view but, instead it is a special effects creation in an attempt to convince the viewers that they are watching an actual occurrence of something.

Specifically, let me note that the film portrays a huge cracking and breaking away of a large portion of the polar ice cap. I have not seen the film, but I am told the scene is awesome and somewhat overwhelming, leaving the audience feeling that they are witnessing a massive occurrence, and this massive occurrence, of course, Mr. Gore conveniently ties to human activity, the human activity he wants to regulate and of course the human activity that he will profit from if we have this carbon credit scheme instituted by the various governments of the world.

Unfortunately, that view of the breakaway of the ice there in the Arctic is a total fake. It is not National Geographic footage of a huge breaking away of a portion of the ice cap. It is not firsthand, grand photographic evidence of the ice breaking. Instead, what the audience is looking at is an example of special effects. It was not the ice cap that was being looked at. It was Styrofoam. That’s right. Styrofoam.

And the real sin of all of this was not only the sin of presenting Styrofoam and trying to trick people into thinking they are watching something real, the ice breaking away, but that we haven’t heard about it. I have only seen this in one or two publications. We haven’t heard about it.

If such a trick and attempt to deceive was done by a conservative, I could tell you that that conservative would be tarred and feathered in the media. In fact, if there is anything wrong, I am sure that one or two points that I have in this speech are debatable, and I am sure that those will be looked at with a microscope. And if I am wrong, even a little bit, they will try to use that to just say “don’t listen to anything he says.” But Mr. Gore can present the breaking away of Styrofoam and present it to us as if it is really happening. And he doesn’t even apologize or comment on it when it is found out. Al Gore has no comment on this deception.

Maybe it is inconvenient for him to comment because, yes, it might hurt his credibility. And after all, the world is getting warmer in these last 7 years, which is just the opposite of what he predicted. And of course, maybe his predictions were based on a Styrofoam computer model. But we will go into that later.

Well, the first time I met President Gore was during my first term in Congress back in 1989 and 1990. Al Gore then was a United States Senator. And he marched into the Science Committee room followed by a platoon of cameras and reporters. He sat in front of the Science Committee, and he demanded that President Bush, that is George W.’s father, declare an ozone emergency. And he waved in his hand a report of evidence that an ozone hole was opening up over the Northeast United States.

A few days later, the report touted by the Senator was found to have been based on faulty data, data collected by one so-called researcher flying a single-engine Piper Cub with limited technology and not much expertise. Senator Gore was demanding emergency shutdowns of factories and manufacturing plants in the Northeast. It would have had dire consequences for the American economy and for those people who worked in those plants. But they be damned, because we are out to save the planet.

Now does anyone here see any type of a pattern here, the ozone hole that wasn’t there and then we are going to have this drastic action in order to save the planet? The scare tactics, the Chicken Little-ism and all the rest of these types of things that are trying to create hysteria, this isn’t a new tactic.

Let’s look at some of the past examples of the nonsense being portrayed as science.

Cranberries, yes, cranberries, shield your children from Ocean Spray. That’s right, the cranberry industry suffered a loss of nearly $20 million back in 1957 when it was determined that perhaps cranberries, there was something wrong with the cranberries. In fact, later on it was admitted to be just a mistake.

But the cranberry industry went to hell for 2 or 3 years. But if you are not growing cranberries, what do you care about cranberry farmers? No, you care about people. Many peoples’ lives were destroyed because over a 2- or 3-year period, cranberries were basically labeled as something that they should not have been labeled, and it was a catastrophe for them, just like perhaps those people that worked in factories that would have been closed up had we taken that ozone scare seriously.

Then there was the scare over cyclamate. Cyclamate was used in everyday items like soda, jams, ice cream. It was a sweetening element, it’s very low in calories, that industry, it was a very fine product and generated an enormous profit. In the early 1970s, the FDA banned cyclamates. I remember very well.

People spent billions of dollars building this industry. It was a great industry, but it was labeled as a cancer hazard after someone, some kind of a researcher, force-fed rats the equivalent of 350 cans of soda a day. By giving these rats the equivalent of 350 soda cans a day, 8 out of 240 got sick.

Well, even that was a faulty test, and eventually the truth prevailed and cyclamates were labeled okay, they were given an okay. That was after about 10 years. Canada, by the way, never banned cyclamates, but in order to protect us and save us, and it was a terrible situation, yes, the cyclamate industry never recovered.

The damage, however, was done. This episode has had serious consequences, because when the cyclamates were banned, that led to the introduction of what, high fructose corn syrup, so, yes, and with all of the obesity and problems that come with high fructose corn syrup. That first got its hold in the food business at a time when cyclamates were thought to be the answer, but they were banned.

So we have had examples of this over and over again, another American industry that was decimated by a rotten theory that had hazardous consequences for implementing.

The next example of fear mongering, of pseudoscience, happened in 1989. February 26, 1989, that evening thousands of Americans tuned into “60 Minutes” and heard Ed Bradley say the most potent cancer-causing agent in our food supply is a substance sprayed on apples to keep them on the trees longer and make them look better. That’s the conclusion of a number of scientific experts. And who is at risk? Children who may someday develop cancer.

That one story, by the way, snowballed into a media blitz, a feeding frenzy, Meryl Streep testified before Congress, spouting off, again, pseudoscientific nonsense. Parents tossed apples out the window, schools removed applesauce from the cafeteria and, of course, replaced that with much safer nutritious substances like ice cream and pudding.

Of course, there was only one problem, the Alar didn’t cause cancer, the apples definitely didn’t and even the Alar didn’t. The study was based on bad science, and 20,000 apple growers in the United States suffered major financial harm.

Okay, so by now such alarmism has become a political tool that scares people to try to get them to do things. That’s what we are facing with global warming, excuse me, climate change.

The Three Mile Island incident is another example of this. You remember Three Mile Island, a near disaster in Pennsylvania which, basically, coupled with the movie “The China Syndrome” led to a total halt in the development of nuclear energy as a means for producing energy in the United States.

The Jane Fonda movie, “The China Syndrome,” coupled with a mishap at a nuclear power plant, that was, I might add, a mishap that no one suffered any health consequences, no one died, no one was hurt. Yet it was presented to the public as this catastrophe, and that led to a shutdown of the efforts of building any new nuclear power plants.

Ironically, of course, nuclear power is the most effective means of producing power with no carbon footprint. Again, it was a total con job on the nuclear energy industry.

What about the ozone hole over the Antarctic? We are told that it would grow and grow for decades, and it was totally out of control.

Well, Boyce Rensberger, Director of the Knight Fellowship of Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that ozone depletion is a cyclical event, expanding and contracting throughout the eons of history. Here is a scientist from MIT telling us that the current ozone depression has been simply part of a reoccurring cycle, not as a result of the use of chlorofluorocarbons, meaning your aerosol cans.

So, what we have got is a situation where at a gigantic shift of expense, of shifting away from aerosol, we have basically accomplished nothing because the ozone hole opens and closes on its own. I might add, we know now, of course, there have been many cycles of warming and cooling, and is this a natural thing? Well, if you consider the sun being natural, yes.

Instead of saying that CO2 that’s coming out of the use of fossil fuels is causing our climate to change now, as compared to all the other times it changed in the past, maybe these people should look at the sun, and maybe there are natural cycles where you have sunspots and it causes warming and cooling on the Earth.

Could that be an explanation? Well, let’s think about it. Otherwise, how do we explain the fact that on Jupiter and Mars we have cooling and warming cycles that seem to be matching some of the cycles here on Earth. Well, maybe there are some SUVs up there on Mars.

Well, the last example, one of the last examples, of course, that I have in my memory of people trying to be frightened into supporting policy with this kind of alarmism has been acid rain. The acid rain was supposed to decimate our forests, destroy our fresh water bodies and roads, our buildings and sidewalks, and, what happened? That was just an onslaught that was going on, I worked for Ronald Reagan at the time, he was just beaten without mercy for his unwillingness to take costly action aimed at thwarting acid rain. He insisted on waiting for an in-depth study to be completed.

While he waited, of course, he was vilified as if he doesn’t care about the environment, he doesn’t really care about whether or not our environment is being destroyed by acid rain which is being caused by us. Well, a 10-year study was going on, Reagan knew about it. He waited, as he well should have, and there was a study by the Nation Acid Precipitation Assessment Project and was submitted to Congress in the 1990s. It minimized the human impact on the acidity on the water and especially the rain in America’s northeast. The issue died quickly after that report, and it just went away.

After all of the intense attacks on Ronald Reagan, once that report was in, it just sort of went away. Well, one reason it went away, maybe there was another alarmist scheme to go to.

Yes, there was, one was emerging about this time, and it was on the cover of Time Magazine 30 years ago.

This was probably the most pitiful of all of these alarmist attempts. It was, three decades ago, the scientists were warning us about global cooling. We were told early that we were on the edge of another ice age.

Well, unfortunately, that one went away very quickly because the temperatures immediately didn’t do what they said it was going to do, and the temperatures actually did not go down dramatically or freeze. It did get a little bit warmer during those days. It was one of those warming cycles, it went up for a few years and it went down.

It was getting warmer, so even as those predictions of frozen gloom and doom, they just changed the words, those same people were making the predictions of frozen gloom and doom now were sort of talking about global warming gloom and doom. You guessed it, so global cooling became global warming almost overnight. Now, after global warming, climate change comes almost overnight.

So the scare tactics are nothing new. It is tied to a tried-and-true method of how to try to manipulate people to accept things they wouldn’t otherwise accept. Unfortunately, there are long-term negative consequences that will be very clear to our future generations. Of course, they are being lied to all the time.

I often asked students from my district, who are here visiting in Washington, whether they believe the air in southern California is better now or worse now than when I went to high school in southern California 40 years ago. A huge percentage, maybe 80 percent of these students, believe that the air quality of 40 years ago was dramatically better than today. Of course, that’s not just a lie, that’s a big lie.

This generation has every reason to be optimistic about the future, and they are being lied to, being told that they are poisoned, and things are getting worse and worse. In fact, man-made global warming is going to devastate the whole planet any way. No, these kids now, when I tell them that, no, when I went to high school, the air pollution in southern California was much worse than it is today, they are incredulous.

What is all this lying about? Why are all these children being lied to? Why are we all being lied to?

I remember as a college student, the first Earth Day–I am quoting someone here–“I remember as a college student at the first Earth Day being told that it was a certainty that by the year 2000, the world would be starving and out of energy,” writes Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at University of Alabama.

Dr. Christy goes on to say “Similar pronouncements today about catastrophes due to human-induced climate change sound all too familiar and all too exaggerated to me as someone who actually produces and analyzes climate information.”

So, we are told that polar bears are dying, but they aren’t. As we have known that we have all of these other predictions, we are told that the polar ice caps are melting, but now we know that the polar ice caps are melting yes, only in the Arctic, but in the Antarctic, ice is actually growing.

Hurricane Katrina, we were told would only be the first of many horrendous hurricanes to hit the United States in the next few years but, of course, no hurricane equal or close to has been on the horizon. In fact, a hurricane that was just as strong as Katrina hit the United States 100 years earlier, long before this effective “global warming.” So when you look at facts like this, an honest debate is long overdue but yet we see an attempt to shut down an honest debate.

I will submit an advertisement, the Hill newspaper from the Environmental Defense Action Fund, and it says “What’s next? The Bond-Voinovich Cigarettes Aren’t Addictive Act?” What they are saying, it’s a cute way of saying, anybody who questions global warning, it is the equivalent of saying that cigarettes aren’t addictive. Well, that’s a great way to dismiss someone’s arguments without addressing them. It says here, “Some senators,” this is in the add, “are asking you to ignore. . . an international scientific consensus.”

Well, let’s put it this way, we hear that, there is a consensus over and over again. There is no consensus. The world is not getting warmer, and I would submit a list of 400 members of the scientific community who do not agree with a man-made global warming theory and, I might add, I quoted numerous very prestigious members of the scientific community already in this speech. So what we have is alarmism at its worst, and the consequences will be very, very severe if we let these people get away with this.

Now, what we have done is we have, again, permitted people to make their case without having to defend their case. This is never more evident than in the dealings with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is the United Nations panel.

I will submit several statements that indicate that the IPCC was wrong in its approach, in its entire methodology in trying to determine whether or not global warming, whether there is global warming and whether or not it is caused by man-made activity.

So with this said, we need to look and say, What is the negative impact of all of this lack of truthful information? What could possibly happen? If someone says well, aren’t we all against pollution? So what if someone is making a claim that global warming exists and it is caused by humankind and in reality it is just the pollution that we are both trying to get it at. Well, that just doesn’t work.

The fact is if we accept this theory of man-made global warming, we will be focusing our activities on trying to eliminate CO2 rather than eliminate toxic substances from our air. If I am concerned about my children, my three triplets, Christian, Anika and Tristan, I am concerned about their health, that is something that I think I share with every parent. Their health is not in any way threatened by CO2. CO2 is nontoxic. It is threatened by NOX and other toxin materials that come out of engines in cars and other sources. So if we only focus on CO2, we will end up focusing on the wrong target.

What we need to do is make sure that we develop clean energy sources, not because of global warming but because of the health of our children. And also, we need to be independent of foreign sources. The fact is that foreign sources of oil, because we are not developing our own oil resources as a result of the dynamics created by the global warming juggernaut that we have been experiencing, the fact is that we have not drilled for our own oil. We have not focused on real alternatives to energy like nuclear energy. The fact is that we need to make sure right now that we do our very best not to be captured by this, what I consider to be one of the greatest hoaxes that I have seen in my lifetime, but instead focus our efforts on accomplishing something that is real and positive for the people of the world and the people of the United States of America. We should be drilling for oil so that the terrorists overseas are denied the revenue when we are forced to buy oil from countries that are allied with these terrorists.

We need to make sure that we develop better engines, and make sure that those engines are not putting pollutants into the air and forget about the CO2, go to the pollutants.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you and I will submit these articles for the Record.