Wednesday, May 21, 2008


News Blackouts

Ralph Peters, writing in the NY Post, slams the mainstream media (MSM) for conspiring to impose an almost total blackout on success in Iraq:

DO we still have troops in Iraq? Is there still a conflict over there?

If you rely on the so-called mainstream media, you may have difficulty answering those questions these days. As Iraqi and Coalition forces pile up one success after another, Iraq has magically vanished from the headlines.

Want a real "inconvenient truth?" Progress in Iraq is powerful and accelerating.

But that fact isn't helpful to elite media commissars and cadres determined to decide the presidential race over our heads. How dare our troops win? Even worse, Iraqi troops are winning. Daily.

Peters is right, this has nothing to do with an absence of blood in non-newsworthy stories. There could be no more bigger news story in the past 5 years, then the revelation that Iraqis and their US and coalition allies have soundly defeated Al Qaeda, neutralized Sunni resistance to the government, and severely constrained the violence and influence of sectarian militias, both Sunni and Shia.

The reason the MSM chooses not to report on our stunning (and widely unexpected) success in Iraq is because they disapprove. They’re profoundly dsiappointed, and they fear the political implications for their preferred candidate in this year’s Presidential election.

Peters concludes his indictment by noting some contrasts, in terms of Legislative accomplishment, media preferences, and ulterior motives:

The surge worked. Incontestably. Iraqis grew disenchanted with extremism. Our military performed magnificently. More and more Iraqis have stepped up to fight for their own country. The Iraqi economy's taking off. And, for all its faults, the Iraqi legislature has accomplished far more than our own lobbyist-run Congress over the last 18 months.

When Iraq seemed destined to become a huge American embarrassment, our media couldn't get enough of it. Now that Iraq looks like a success in the making, there's a virtual news blackout.

Of course, the front pages need copy. So you can read all you want about the heroic efforts of the Chinese People's Army in the wake of the earthquake.

Tells you all you really need to know about our media: American soldiers bad, Red Chinese troops good.

Is Jane Fonda on her way to the earthquake zone yet?

Ralph must listen to National Peoples Republic -- I mean, Public Radio (NPR) -- which must have some official policy that reporting on China must always be upbeat and reflect positively on China’s communist government. Talk about a news blackout.

Apparently, NPR staff were present in rural China, working on a series of reports when the recent earthquakes struck. These reports give every impression on focusing on the hopeful and impressive strides China has made, in transforming their largely rural and agricultural heartland into a burgeoning industrial and economic powerhouse.

Their presence provided them immediate and proximate on scene access to the quake and recovery efforts, on which they’re reporting with gusto. All of a piece, unfortunately, with their gushing coverage for the past several years.

For the earthquake, NPR is awash in heroic stories of the Chinese Army, the Chinese Government, and the Chinese people recovering in the aftermath of the quakes. But they don’t just stop there. An analysis piece the other day suggested that the Chinese central planners have “learned” from bad public relations from previous disasters, and now allow and even encourage international and Chinese press coverage of the earthquakes and relief efforts.

No doubt this is true for China, with MSM fawning friends like NPR, natural disasters and their aftermath can have a positive impact on international public opinion in advance of their awaited Olympic Games. You have to wonder if the conscientious and full-of-good-intentions worshippers of Government supported public media don’t view this situation as a mission: how to make China more appealing. (NPR to the Communists: “Stand back, comrades, and we’ll have this cleaned up for you in no time, at all. Don’t you worry about a thing.”)

If you think this is outrageous exaggeration, listen closely the next time NPR reports from China. In recent stories, even the slight negatives they include are enveloped in excuses for Chinese misbehavior. Admiration and envy are palpable in the reports.

NPR reports that the Chinese have constructed too many dams, now damaged or threatened by earthquakes, but distressingly notes how critical these dams are for energy production. The Army units conducting rescue and recovery operations would be able to reach distressed communities more quickly by water if they there weren’t all these dams.

Darned central planning! There’s always an unanticipated consequence. For which, of course, new regulations and directives need to be formulated. The NPR reporting gives the overwhelming impression that their reporters greatly sympathize with the difficulties of, rather than resent, totalitarian control of everything. (If you want a glimpse of what a Democratic vision for what a Total Government future looks like, stay tuned.)

How great in contrast to how dreadfully George W. Bush’s FEMA handled Katrina, you have to know they, and their majority audience, are thinking. This despite volumes of evidence of New Orleans and Louisiana incompetence and corruption, and the remarkable and nearly unreported heroics in responding to Katrina, of the Army and Air National Guard, who provided critical, life saving services within hours of disaster.

An offhand tidbit shows the supreme irony of the implicit subtext of NPR’s China reporting. NPR reports that the Government will relocate entire villages to new locations less vulnerable to earthquake, or where services can be restored more quickly.

A government can no doubt be very effective when all the means of a totalitarian state, capable of complete disregard of the life and humanity of its people, are directed at a single mission or task. Chinese political and other prisoners can testify about live harvesting of organs for internal use and international export, for profit. Absolute and total control can look mighty attractive, when state control eclipses and renders meaningless or invisible, the price a society pays for that efficiency.

Hitler did indeed make the trains run on time, particularly those carrying his victims to death camps.

Can anyone imagine how NPR would be reporting on a US Government program to “resettle” New Orleanians to higher ground?

The NPR reporter suggested, “The Government has realized, that in disasters, a free press can hardly have any downside,” or words entirely to that effect. The same feature acknowledged that if remains to be seen if this same “openness” will apply to Chinese political reporting. Are they kidding? I hope they’re not holding their breath.

But with NPR, when it comes to China, it might be hard to tell the difference between them holding their breath, or merely struck breathless in adoration.

(Via Instapundit)

Labels: ,

Monday, May 19, 2008


Not Okay

Yuval Levin writing at The Corner spotlights a very curious assertion by Sen. Barack Obama, as reported by AFP:

“We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK,” Obama.

Levin retorts:

We can’t?  So at what temperature would other countries like me to keep my home, then, and how much should I eat?

But it’s really, really worse than that. Obama made the statement in the context of claiming that, as President, he would ensure that the US set the example on Global Warming.

So should we expect an Obama Administration to outlaw SUVs?

Would Obama’s EPA Director set Federal policy guidelines on how much we eat, enforceable by the EPA? Or would Obama advocate laws to limit dietary intake? Would prosecution involve jail time on reduced rations, or a mandatory attendance at Fat Camp?

Will Obama insist on strict energy monitoring and rationing, whereby home thermostats transmit readings to US Dept. of Energy, resulting in automatic shutoff of energy until room temperatures fall back to an environmentally sustainable 68 degrees?

Even if Obama intends only to use the bully pulpit to encourage the behavior he sees as more of a proper example for the world, does he really want to be both President and First Nag? (Maybe this is part of his campaign readjustments post-nomination, and he wants to incorporate essential qualities of Al Gore and Hillary Clinton.)

I remember a firestorm when a Democrat suggested that the US needed to have the International Community approve foreign policy decisions that we make based on our own National Security. I also vividly recall all the suggestions from the Left that the US should surrender sovereignty to the UN, the International Court, or other international bodies, many of the members of which notably lack any quaint traditions like freedom, justice, or equality.

We need to have other countries give their okay for the individual behavior in matters of personal conscience and liberty of US citizens? Why do I get the feeling that there’s a lot more involved with this man’s choice of wearing or not wearing a US flag on his lapel?

There isn’t any way to escape the conclusion this man’s a born Socialist. If he means what he says, and he seems awfully sincere to me, he means to assert control over every means of production, energy source and consumption, every lifestyle choice at all susceptible to Government interference. I thought Communism was dead.

As an observation, it might be nice if Obama treated the relations between internal US communities with the same deference he shows foreigners. If he did, he would easily avoid gaffes like calling a female journalist “sweetie,” refer to rural Pennsylvanians as “clinging to guns and religion,” or talk about “typical white people,” or suggesting we need to worry about whether foreigners think our personal choices are “okay.”

Labels: ,

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Winter Soldier Stories

(UPDATE: I had originally incorrectly attributed a story to SGT Goldsmith in the post below, as pointed out by a commenter. Now corrected.)

The malcontents and miscreants of Iraqi Veterans Against the War (IVAW) are at it again, invited to testify before a Congressional “Progressives Caucus” this week.

In perfect accord with their previous efforts, their “Winter Soldier” circus this time was a mix of pretenders with phony or hyped up resumes, exaggerated stories fuzzy of facts but overstuffed with fabulisms, or outright falsehoods.

As reported in foreign and alternative progressive media, it seems as if IVAW needed to retire several of their former speakers and bring in some new blood. (I’m sure it didn’t have anything to do with how badly the last batch were discredited.) (Link to the Breitbart article courtesy of Drudge).

Several MILBLOGGERS (here, here, here, here) and other conservative media jumped all over this lede:
Matthis Chiroux is the kind of young American US military recruiters love.
"I was from a poor, white family from the south, and I did badly in school,"
the now 24-year-old told AFP.

"I was 'filet mignon' for
recruiters. They started phoning me when I was in 10th grade," or around 16
years old, he added.
The Case of Chiroux

Interesting that this “filet mignon” who did so poorly in school managed to have the wits and wherewithal to earn selection as a Public Affairs Specialist, military occupational specialty (MOS) 46Q, and spent between five and six years in various Public Affairs Offices (PAO) in Japan and Germany. As a staff writer and photographer, and a pretty good one at that.

Here’s another possibly discrediting feature of his story:
He served in Afghanistan, Germany, Japan, and the Philippines and was due to be deployed next month in Iraq.
Now according to the many stories he’s allowed to be written about him, SGT Chiroux claims to have joined right out of high school, shortly after June 2002. Maybe he went in right that summer, maybe into the fall, but accounting for basic training and advanced individual training, that brings him into sometime in 2003, no doubt as a Private or PV2.

A Private (PVT) Matthis Chiroux was already in Japan, working for a PAO there, likely sometime in 2003, given the background information contained in this news report with which his name was associated.

There’s one aspect of a military journalist’s career that makes his career a little easier to piece together – if he’s the kind of Winter Soldier, like John Kerry, who doesn’t want to make primary documents like a DD 214 available for public inspection.

Do a google on Matthis Chiroux, and you’ll get dozens of PAO and other Army publication articles and photos with his byline. These became a helpful means of tracking his career. He can be traced as first a PVT, then PFC and then SPC while posted in Japan, and then USAREUR in Germany.

Now it’s entirely possible that PVT Chiroux started his PAO career in Japan in 2003, then spent some of late 2003, early 2004 in Afghanistan. But it does seem odd, since PFC Chiroux was next in evidence writing for the same PAO in Japan in November 2004. If PVT then PFC Chiroux and done a combat tour in Afghanistan, you’d think the associated medals and awards would have gotten him the Specialist in that time frame. That, and I am thinking that lower ranking PAO soldiers would be less likely to be returned to the same duty station for subsequent assignments, at least that soon.

A remarkable photograph Chiroux, of a helicopter carrier landing seen through an aviator’s goggles, showed up in early 2005. There are evidences of him in Japan in February and April 2005, but by July 2005, he shows up at USAREUR in Germany.

He contributed numerous articles and photographs during the rest of 2005, 2006 and 2007, with pieces appearing in September and November 2005, throughout the Spring and Summer of 2006. He appears on a promotion list to Sergeant in January 2007.

Funny thing is, if he was reassigned or deployed to either Afghanistan or the Philippines, he oddly has no bylines or photographs credited from those locations.

Throughout his time in Europe, he contributed numerous articles and photographs for various stories in Europe, about training events, NATO military exchanges, and increasingly, stories about units and soldiers training for or returning from Afghanistan or Iraq, and even a story about preparations for a unit to go to the Philippines. These stories may have come in handy for burnishing an otherwise combat free military record.

It may be a telling detail that in news stories for which Chiroux has been interviewed, he is always identified as a soldier who “served” in Afghanistan and the Philippines, and while one might logically assume he was stationed or did a combat tour for OEF, I haven’t seen a single article or statement making that claim. But I’d bet 95% of readers of articles on the now conscientious objector would assume that’s his background.

Funny thing about a lot of these IVAW members and associates: many of them have never served in Iraq, or have never had any real exposure to combat, or have greatly distorted and manipulated what little experience they have. In many cases, they are careful not to make any direct, specific claims as to names, places and dates, but rather fuzzy, indistinct assertions. This allows them, for example, to create an impression of knowledge, experience, or exposure they don’t in fact have, but do not leave themselves open to falsification.

Fables and Photos

Another soldier quoted and discussed in the Breitbart article is SGT Kristopher Goldsmith:
Former army sergeant Kristofer Goldsmith told a half-dozen US lawmakers and scores of people who packed into a small hearing room of "lawless murders, looting and the abuse of countless Iraqis."

He spoke of the psychologically fragile men and women who return from Iraq, to find little help or treatment offered from official circles.

Goldsmith said he had "self-medicated" for several months to treat the wounds of the war.
Goldsmith and his alarming testimony is widely quoted in articles published in Middle Eastern Arabic media, and heavily publicized by Islamic groups who offer cover, apologetics, or support for terrorists.

Here is an anecdote attributed to Goldsmith that often appears in these kinds of propaganda pieces:
During the last day, photographs of nameless Iraqi dead flashed on large screens. Army Sgt. Kristofer Goldsmith took the photos on May 15, 2005, a day he remembered as "very hot, uncomfortable and miserable." Goldsmith was ordered to photograph a dozen Iraqis who were presumably murdered and dumped in a large landfill. But the photos were not taken to identify the dead or assist the Iraqi police investigation. "They were used for morale purposes," Goldsmith remarked bitterly. "[Soldiers] bombarded me to copy my pictures. They made videos of them to send home to their friends and families to brag, 'This is war. This is what we did to the Iraqis.'"
A careful study of this anecdote shows it is of a piece with earlier IVAW stories, such as those offered by IVAW’s Millard, in which anonymous soldiers make statements or show callous disregard to Iraqi civilians. In each of these kinds of accounts, there’s no command directive, no organized effort; rather, fellow soldiers ask for grisly memento or trophy photos, and there’s a heavy implication that this was with command or leader approval or consent. These photos were taken of a mass grave of Iraqi civilians, likely killed by terrorists or armed sectarian militias.

However crude or offensive, such behavior is proof of nothing more than that some soldiers are crude and disrespectful, even racist. This should not really have any value as news, though it retains value as propaganda.

Re-Reported Misreporting

The Breitbart article also includes these claims, both false but widely reported in antiwar media outlets:
Some 300,000 of the 1.6 million US soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from the psychological traumas of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or both, an independent study showed last month.


Goldsmith accused US officials of censorship.

"Everyone who manages a blog, Facebook or Myspace out of Iraq has to register every video, picture, document of any event they do on mission," Goldsmith told AFP after the hearing.

"You're almost always denied before you are allowed to send them home."

Officials take "hard facts and slice them into small pieces to make them presentable to the secretary of state or the president -- and all with the intent of furthering the occupation of Iraq," Goldsmith added.
The independent study referred to here actually stated that 300,000 of the 1.6 million soldiers who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan exhibit one or more symptom associated with PTSD, depression or both. To put this in perspective, a survey of teachers, lawyers, college professors, or information technology (IT) professionals would show the same results, since alcohol or substance abuse, loss of sleep, nightmares, nervousness, bursts of anger, isolation, thoughts of suicide, lack of appetite, excessive weight gain, weight loss, can all be signs or symptoms of PTSD or depression. And all it took was one “yes” answer on the survey to, “have you ever…”

As to blogging, any of the MILBLOGGERS at the sites quoted above, and I can personally as well, that bloggers are not being censored. All of us are asked to register, that’s true. Some commanders are using OPSEC excessively to limit potential security breaches, but the idea that any of us are nothing more than Army public relations or completely controlled by DoD is patently absurd.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Tribute to Veterans

Our local school district sponsors a Community Day event, and as part of the scheduled activities, the woman who runs their Drama Program offered to have her troupe give a tribute to the Armed Forces, in honor of Armed Forces Day.

In this day and age, in Upstate New York, this is a very special community. It was like something from more than a century ago, patriotic songs, renditions of each of the service songs, musical tribute paired with a reading of prose, and a speech to honor Veterans. I was honored to be asked to give it.

This was the text I read.


I am honored by the opportunity to speak on behalf of military veterans, on this Armed Forces Day, May 17, 2008.

I wish to thank the event organizers, Mohonasen school district, Dr. Margaret Gray and the Mohon Masque, distinguished veterans, men and women of the United States Armed Forces, ladies, gentlemen, boys and girls.

I am very proud to live in Rotterdam, a community that knows what family values are, not because we adhere to any particular set of religious or political beliefs, but because we value our community, and our children above all. We express those values in the choices we make. We express those values through the sacrifices we make.

Police and Fire departments. Doctors and nurses in our hospitals. Teachers and administrators. Pastors and priests and Sunday School teachers. Little League and Soccer Coaches. Workers who maintain roads and bridges, or who implement social services.

People serve all around us.

Many serve, merely to serve. Some feel that God calls them to serve, out of spiritual conviction, or fidelity to a higher purpose. Some serve out of Family duty, or Honor. Many serve from an out-flowing of the love they’ve received. Some serve to find adventure and excitement, and some serve for recognition or reward.

We do not lesson the value of others, by according special honor and respect to those who serve in our Armed Forces: the men and women of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, Active Duty military, Reserves, and National Guard.

Living today are veterans of World War Two, Korea, Vietnam, other Cold War operations, the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, peacekeeping missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, or the Sinai, and military liaison missions in Africa. Many veterans served in “peacetime,” or in support roles that allowed combat forces to fulfill their missions.

We honor and respect our veterans, because they risk the greatest of sacrifices. Sadly, many fine Americans gave their lives, making the ultimate sacrifice for their country. No Veteran knew ahead of time the specific hardships they would endure.

None knew the guarantee of survival. Few fully grasped the dangers, difficulties, or the personal cost of service. They committed only to serve, far from home, in dangerous corners of the world. They did not run from duty, they embraced it. Some were called in draft, in earlier days of crisis or pressing need. More recently, they volunteered.

My Father-in-Law Don Hastings got out of High School in 1939 and joined the Army. After two years, he came home for just a few short months, before Pearl Harbor brought him right back in. He could have been drafted, but like many, he didn’t wait to be called.

He spent five years at war in the Pacific. He gave 7 years to his country, but was happy to come home in one piece. Unlike many of his friends, who only made it home with an Honor Guard escort, or never came home at all.

The Greatest Generation, they’re called, in tribute to their defense of civilization, from totalitarianism and holocaust. Many of that same generation served in the UN-sanctioned Korean War, a scant 5 years later.

Another generation served in Vietnam, where more served when called, than ran away, sought excusal or deferment. They served with quiet pride, sacrificially, in the face of protests, hateful speech, and vicious untruths. Only recently, America has tried to properly honor our Vietnam era Veterans, after years of neglect and scorn.

By 1990, the Cold War drew to a close with the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union. I trained Army Reserve military intelligence soldiers during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Many Analysts volunteered, but there were few of the Arabic linguists in highest demand. The talk then was, would we be mobilized or called up. “Sure, we’ll get called up,” older Reservists said, “right after the Civil War Widows.”

The ever increasing terrorism of the 1990s finally bore the bitter fruit of 9/11, and the horrific losses at The World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and on flight 93. By 2004, most of my fellow Reserve instructors had been deployed, and many had done multiple combat tours, and numerous peacekeeping missions in the Balkans.

National Guard soldiers, “peacetime” volunteers, many in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, found themselves facing the first National Guard activations since World War Two.

What would Deployment be like? Would we see combat? How long would they take to train us up, and once “in the sandbox,” how long would we be gone? Would we do a good job, did we have what it takes? How much would we be asked to give?

And for every Veteran who serves, there was a husband or wife, Mom or Dad, Grandma or Grandpa, son or daughter, brothers or sisters, grandchildren even, neighbors, friends, Pastors or co-workers, who served, who sacrificed, and who endured the same fears and uncertainties.

Any Veteran will tell you, however tough they had it, their families had it worse. The never knowing if silence meant something worse. Wives worrying for their deployed husbands. Husbands anxious for the day their wives return home from war. A child who cries at night, longing for a Mom or Dad who’s not home anymore, and they can’t understand why. The hundreds of things every day, made sad, poor, of little joy or comfort, because a loved one can’t be there to share. All the chores made easier for two, now dependent on a lonely one. And for single parents, the pain of leaving a child with a relative or friend, who can never love and comfort like Mom or Dad does.

I served as a First Sergeant for the 642nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 42nd Infantry “Rainbow” Division, in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. I’m asked all the time if I saw any combat. I answer, it depends what you mean.

We saw mortars and rockets. We ran over a 100 convoys, tense moments in town, suspicious trash. Ran into improvised explosive devices (or IEDs), but no injuries even from those that went off. Booms and blasts grew familiar, though remote.

The average soldier returning from Vietnam felt abandoned by country and shunned by fellow citizens. Today, we’re overwhelmed by the support of our family, neighbors, and friends. “I’m no hero,” most of us say. “I never saw any action.” For most, but obviously not all. Like a lottery in reverse, where only the very unlucky lost. The rest of us won, I guess, just by making it home, with all or most of the pieces where they belonged.

Each generation faces challenges, trials, and tribulations common to humanity, and there have always been those few, who answered their Nation’s call, no matter the sacrifice. There’s always a personal cost, always some missing pieces. Even if only lost time.

What you do with those missing pieces makes all the difference. For me, I rely on my faith in God, and the Rock of my Salvation, Jesus. For many, it’s a simple but honest faith in America, in our principles and ideals. Good or bad, whatever the result. The country called, they answered, they served. Like they say, some gave all. All gave some.

John Stuart Mills once said:
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. (Courtesy of Quotationspage)
God bless our Veterans, the men and women of our Armed Forces, and all gathered here today. May He continue to show mercy and grace to our Nation.


I just don't know of very many communities, other than those with Big military bases or posts or stations, that make much effort anymore to honor their Nation, it's history, and the men and women who serve under arms.


Friday, May 16, 2008


Bad Gas

Noel Sheppard, writing at NRO’s Planet Gore, decries the ‘gross negligence of adoring media when tiptoeing around the blatant vested interests of the exalted Al Gore.

In the midst of an emerging global food crisis greatly exacerbated, if not caused, by increasing production of bio fuels, reporters remain too emotionally attached to their environmental prejudices to start asking questions. Case in point courtesy of Sheppard: the May 6 interview of Gore on Terry Gross’s National Public Radio show, “Fresh Air.”

Gross in the interview tries to touch on a link between biofuels and the global food crisis, but all Gore had to do was blame any agricultural shortages on drought, caused of course by global warming, and Gross is blissfully off to other bromides.

Sheppard highlights what main and lesser stream media won’t: Al Gore is heavily invested, both from an historical policy perspective, and in lots of real dollars, with ethanol and other biofuel industries. According to Sheppard, Gore is an investor in Amyris Biotechnologies and AltraBiofuels, and cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate 14 years ago mandating the use of ethanol.

Nice work, if you can get it. Too bad media only concerns itself with business connections and dealings that concern Republicans, not sainted sycophants trying to control the means of production for the greater good.

So how bad is the food crisis, made worse by AGW-inspired public policy. Sheppard’s reporting suggests: bad, and if the likes of Gore get their way, certain to get much, much worse:

As the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Marlo Lewis wrote in his May 5 NRO article “Food for Fuel Is No Laughing Matter,” a number of key international organizations are expressing dire concern as such grain demand sends prices soaring:

Both World Bank President Robert Zoellick and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Domenique Strauss-Kahn warn that the increase in world food prices could force 100 million people back into absolute poverty (defined as a household income of $1 a day or less), wiping out all the gains the poorest billion people achieved during the past decade.
The price of wheat jumped 120 percent in the past year, hitting a 28-year high in February. The price of rice, the staple for billions of Asians, is up 147 percent over the past year, hitting 19-year high. The price of corn tripled in the past two years, increasing from $2.00 a bushel in January 2006, to $3.05 in January 2007, to $4.25 in January 2008, and hitting $6 a bushel in April 2008.

Anti-humanist Environmentalists might argue that all this amounts to a price we should be willing to pay, to reduce AGW. But do biofuels help, or hurt? Sheppard’s quotes a

Wall Street Journal report:

Now scientists are showing that ethanol will exacerbate greenhouse gas emissions. A February report in the journal Science found that "corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years . . . Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%."

Can you imagine that? An environmental public policy prescription that achieves the opposite of its desired intent. You’d think these people were unscientific, or stupid, or had ulterior motives, or something.

Sheppard concludes, and indicts:

Think about it:

·         Gore and his business associates have now admitted their investments in biofuel companies

·         Grains prices are soaring all over the world as many countries experience food shortages

·         Multiple international entities including the United Nations are pointing fingers at ethanol and biofuel for adding to the food crisis

·         Biofuels actually emit more GHGs than conventional gasoline

·         Gore travels the globe spreading climate hysteria while blaming every natural disaster on global warming

·         Some of the so-called “solutions” Gore recommends to eradicate global warming will increase the international usage of biofuels thereby benefiting companies he and his business partners are invested in.

Yet, to date, no mainstream press member has publicly connected the dots, or questioned Gore about any of this. Is someone going to have to turn a slideshow presentation into an award-winning Hollywood documentary for media to start recognizing and reporting Gore’s really inconvenient truth?

That wouldn’t help. There’d be no funding for that kind of film, and surely, no Nobel Prize or Academy Award.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Part Two: Bullet-Proofing AGW

I’ve received zero response or feedback on the earlier Part One to this series, in which I asked if anyone has seen a balanced science curriculum covering climate change. I’m hoping the lack of response is due to my insignificance, rather than the non-existence of any such program.

I posed the question due to my unpleasant encounter with the propaganda that passes for curriculum these days on matters of climate change.

As part of his 6th Grade Earth Science class, my son was exposed to an uncritical viewing of, and presentation as absolute fact, Al Gore’s snake oil documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. It’s bad enough that the local school system is exponentially spreading untruth and the indirect enrichment of special and corporate interests, but far more offensive is that they are being manipulated by those interests. As I stated in Part One:
While I’m sure some school systems were eager self-starters in screening AIT and similar proselytizing, it looks like some organized non-profits have made a serious effort to create and promulgate packaged, pro-AGW curricula and get it installed in public schools. Mostly, it looks like the established curriculum consists of showing the movie and talking about Gore’s Nobel Prize. I see no such organized effort for a more balanced, even handed approach to the science, issues and public policy options behind study of climate change and possible human causation.
I’m been playing catch up these past couple of weeks on the state of controversy and debate on climate change, and I note a dismaying shift in those who would most aggressively apply the means of anthropogenic climate change (AGW) to their ends of controlling industrial production, energy consumption, and ultimately all the parts and processes of our economy.

[Aside: Controlling the means of production, to be sure, with a very green, very intrusive smiley face. One more instance of liberal fascism, no doubt. Brings to mind Alexander Dubcek’s tragic attempt at enlightened socialism in Czechoslovakia, socialism with a human face, during the Prague Spring of 1968. But then, most Modern Progressive Policy prescriptions remind me of failed socialist experiments.]

AGW Proponents are trying to make the classic shift to creating an a priori assumption that allows facts and experience to be ignored if it seems to contradict their theories. Proponents are now trying to argue that any climate change that occurs – heating, cooling, more ice, less ice, catastrophic weather event of any size, shape, frequency, duration or severity – amounts to evidence in the hardening “consensus” that man has caused climate change by pollution.

In such a way the true believers are trying to bullet-proof AGW theory.

Andrew Revkin, writing in the New York Times, explains the little do-se-do side step that AGW fund-grubbers are trying to pull off:
I have a story coming in The Times overnight that focuses on a new study forecasting some Northern Hemisphere cooling in the coming decade, even as the planet continues to warm in the long haul from the accelerating buildup of human-generated greenhouse gases.

The researchers, writing in the journal Nature, stress that this is a preliminary attempt to shift climate models toward becoming a forecasting tool, mainly by tweaking them with real-world data (in this case ocean temperatures) as they churn through their simulations.

They forecast a plateau in warming and some possible cooling over North America and Europe in the coming decade, probably driven by shifts in ocean circulation in the North Atlantic and other ocean cycles that can affect climate. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA recently reported that the Pacific Ocean appears to be reverting to a cool phase, as well.

Whether their prediction of a plateau for warming for a decade in North America and Europe is correct or not, their research may signal a shift that many climate researchers have been calling for for awhile now — toward service-oriented climate science (even as work continues to clarify how much warming will happen, how fast, from the greenhouse buildup).
Pay no attention to that cooling behind the curtain!

Chris Horner at Planet Gore offered a quick criticism:
I can't let the patent absurdity of Andrew Revkin's Dot Earth blog item from last evening go unremarked. Revkin's spin on the forthcoming Nature report is that they are predicting cooling now because they wanted to make their models more realistic. Titled "Moving from Projections to Predictions on Climate," the piece speaks for itself.

What a novel idea, "tweaking" climate models with "real-world data" so that they can forecast actual climate phenomenon. What does that tell you about what the climate models were designed to do previously?
Horner knows, models are developed and refined, not to offer predictive value – that would make them scientific models, rather than polemic ones – but to continue to buttress the flagging pseudo-scientific basis for AGW hysteria.

Climate change models have done a lousy job of predicting actual climate in the two decades or so since modelers have been at play. In Old Science Terms, that would have meant that the models proved false. In New Science, that just means they need to be adjusted some more, to account for the temporary lack of existence of warming, prior to the inevitable and irreversible warming to come. AGQ Proponents want to make sure their theories and models remain non-falsifiable, the better to gobble the public and private funding largesse, and accomplish their public policy goals.

That this is true should be amply demonstrated by modelers only now trying to get their models to comport with, well, the world as we live in it.

Here’s a more detailed technical assessment from Jim Manzi:
2. I take the spirit of your comment to be (as per Roger Pielke’s post) that the current global warming theory is non-falsifiable, since warming, cooling, or no temperature change over the next decade are all asserted to be consistent with the theory. As someone who has called for model validation on actual forward forecasts (not only "hindcasting") for some time, I have a high degree of sympathy for this view. Non-falsifiable = non-scientific is a really useful rule-of-thumb. However, I think that you need to keep a couple of things in mind. First, one needs to match the time period of the falsification test to the underlying physical theory. I have often been presented with the assertion by climate scientists that we require something like a 30-year period to distinguish signal from noise (i.e., the proper test period is at least 30 years), so one could see the events described in the paper, and still have not falsified the predictive model. Second, I don't really think that a binary "data is consistent or inconsistent with theory and model predictions" is the most productive way to think about the results of such tests. Instead, it's really the distribution of predicted-to-actual results for a series of predictions that we care about.

3. It’s a joke that the climate modeling community has not had to date — and despite the paper that you reference, doesn’t look in any danger of starting anytime soon — a disciplined program of making formal climate predictions for future years, escrowing the code used to make the predictions, and then each year applying actual emissions and other forcings data over the period since the model was built to the exact model code used to make the prediction in order to create a true distribution of model accuracy. All predictive modeling communities resist this (as all humans resist real accountability if they can get away with it) — it’s management’s job to force this issue. One known problem of not doing this is that it leads any predictive modeling community to grossly over-estimate its accuracy. Another is that by not highlighting model error, its slows the rate of model improvement.
Manzi goes on to offer some caution for those who would throw out the models with the bath water. He argues in effect that the bath water could still be considered warm, given the longer time frames that should reasonably be used to measure a model’s accuracy.

National Review recently also published an excellent essay by Deroy Murdock, highlighting some of the emerging scientific data that must alarm AGW advocates. Not alarm them about the threat of AGW, but alarm them how precarious all their theoretical constructs, given demonstrated evidence of global cooling. Hence the need to revise the AGW orthodoxy to read more like anthropogenic climate change (ACC). [Warming, cooling, doesn’t matter, as long as we’re at fault.]

Murdock quotes Dr. Phil Chapman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) staff physicist and NASA mission scientist:
“Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.” Dr. Phil Chapman wrote in The Australian on April 23. “All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead.”
Chapman, it turns out, is one of those dissident scientists inclined to hold solar activity (or the lack thereof) more responsible for climate change, than human activity:
Chapman believes reduced sunspot activity is curbing temperatures. As he points out, “The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations on the sunspot cycle and Earth’s climate.”
Murdock helpfully cites weather phenomena and climate anomalies as “anecdotal” as the kinds of “evidences” AGW fanatics like Al Gore use to ground their AGW theology:
Anecdotally, last winter brought record cold to Florida, Mexico, and Greece, and rare snow to Jerusalem, Damascus, and Baghdad. China endured brutal ice and snow. Dr. Oleg Sorochtin of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oceanology advised: “Stock up on fur coats and felt boots!”
Beyond anecdote, there are some very precise data measurements that belie the commonly accepted mistruth that the planet is warming:
NASA satellites found that last winter’s Arctic Sea ice covered 2 million square kilometers (772,204 square miles) more than the last three years’ average. It also was 10 to 20 centimeters (4 to 8 inches) thicker than in 2007. The ice between Canada and southwest Greenland also spread dramatically. “We have to go back 15 years to find ice expansion so far south,” Denmark’s Meteorological Institute stated. “Snows Return to Mount Kilimanjaro,” cheered a January 21 International Herald Tribune headline, burying one of the climate alarmists’ favorite warming anecdotes.“The University of Alabama, Huntsville’s analysis of data from satellites launched in 1979 showed a warming trend of 0.14 degrees Centigrade (0.25 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade,” Joseph D’Aleo, the Weather Channel’s first director of meteorology, told me. “This warmth peaked in 1998, and the temperature trend the last decade has been flat, even as CO2 has increased 5.5 percent. Cooling began in 2002. Over the last six years, global temperatures from satellite and land-temperature gauges have cooled (-0.14 F and -0.22 F, respectively). Ocean buoys have echoed that slight cooling since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration deployed them in 2003.”

As marine geologist Dr. Robert Carter of Australia’s James Cook University recently observed: “The real-world global average temperature...exhibits no significant increase since 1998, and the preliminary 2007 year-end temperature confirms the continuation of a temperature plateau since 1998, to which is now appended a cooling trend over the last three years.”
Contrary to media and politically driven misstatement of fact, many Scientists discount AGW, and even concerns about a warming planet, due to any natural or man-made factor:
“I don’t make climate predictions because I don’t know what the Sun will do next,” says S. Fred Singer, University of Virginia emeritus professor of environmental sciences and founding director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service. “But analysis of the best data of the past 30 years has convinced me that the human contribution has been insignificant — in spite of the real rise in atmospheric CO2, a greenhouse gas.”
“The hypothesis that solar variability, and not human activity, is warming the oceans goes a long way to explain the puzzling idea that the Earth’s surface may be warming while the atmosphere is not,” explained Dr. David Wojick, co-founder of Carnegie-Mellon University’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy. “The public is not well served by this constant drumbeat of false alarms fed by computer models manipulated by advocates.”AccuWeather’s Expert Senior Forecaster Joe Bastardi has stated: “People are concerned that 50 years from now, it will be warm beyond a point of no return. My concern is almost opposite, that it’s cold and getting colder.”
Murdock likewise notes the article in Nature and the “warming, but colder at the moment” evasion, and observes:
In its dispatch on this devastating blow to warming fetishists, London’s Daily Telegraph reports further that computer models belonging to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the Vatican of “global warming”) do not include “actual records of such events as the strength of the Gulf Stream and the El Niño cyclical warming event in the Pacific, which are known to have been behind the warmest year ever recorded in 1998.”Astonishing. How can anyone believe computer models that disregard the Gulf Stream, one of the key contributors to the Western Hemisphere’s weather and climatic events? This is akin to a map of the USA with Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas cut out of it. Even worse, ignoring El Niño in 1998, Earth’s hottest year, is like contemplating the mortally wounded body of Abraham Lincoln and looking away as John Wilkes Booth flees Ford’s Theater.This is negligent “science” at best and utter flim-flam at worst.
Was there any kind of climate reporting, prior to global warming? Careful reflection of should recall now forgotten stories about El Nino and El Nina, and the weather patterns resulting from changing ocean currents and gulf streams.

It wasn’t until advocacy environmentalists grasped at nightmare scenarios, that AGW suddenly appeared as the latest self- and overwrought disaster looming. (Earlier nightmares were global overpopulation, global depression, global cooling, global pandemics.) A highly lucrative industry of grants, public and private research dollars, and politicized academic research facilities sprang up, in collusion with politicians and public policy advocates.

And all the while, the most vocal and devout AGW adherents continue to jet around the world in their private jets, buy offsets for their far from green lifestyles, and in many cases, exploit the hysteria they’ve caused for financial gain.



Support for the GI Bill

Vets for Freedom announces support for a revised GI Bill. From their Press Release:

Vets for Freedom Supports Revised GI Bill
May 14, 2008
Contact: Judy Mayka (202) 338-4070
(Washington DC) Vets for Freedom urges Senate members to work together to pass a GI Bill that not only addresses the immediate need for increased financial and educational benefits, but that also takes into account the unique dynamics of today’s all-volunteer force. The US military is working hard to increase its ranks in order to meet strategic needs across the globe; and as a result, it is imperative that recruitment and retention are both addressed as part of any GI Bill.
The Webb Bill correctly recognizes the rising costs of secondary education, and the importance of pegging yearly benefit increases to educational inflation indices, rather than the Consumer Price Index, which would require Congress to revisit the issue in a few years. The Webb Bill also allows for the accrual of Active Duty benefits for Reservists and National Guardsmen, many of which have seen repeated deployments.
On the other hand, the McCain-Graham Bill substantially increases monthly educational benefits and could be implemented immediately; while the Webb Bill would take over a year to implement and would require a new layer of Pentagon bureaucracy. The McCain-Graham Bill also rewards troops who remain in the military, providing strong incentives for our best and brightest to continue their service and support a growing force.
"Both the Webb and McCain-Graham bills have valuable aspects that address the needs of our military and our men and women in uniform." said Pete Hegseth, Executive Director of Vets for Freedom. "Vets for Freedom trusts that those involved will work toward a compromise to integrate the best aspects of both bills, and ensure its passage and implementation in a timely manner."
Vets for Freedom is a nonpartisan organization established by combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its mission is to educate the American public about the importance of achieving success in these conflicts by applying our first-hand knowledge to issues of American military strategy. For more information, please visit


This squares with influential MILBLOGGER and MilBlogdaddy Greyhawk, who comes down squarely in support of the GI Bill as a no brainer, and calls for urgent readjustment of the position of Senator McCain, if he doesn’t want to lose valuable ground to his Democratic Party opponent.



Friday, May 09, 2008


Getting Hot Over “Global Warming”

Part One: The Spark

In response to my 6th grade son viewing An Inconvenient Truth (AIT) in his science class, and his experiences challenging the teacher on its factual basis, I am in touch with a receptive school Science Coordinator who is willing to entertain suggestions for a more balanced curriculum dealing with climate change and possible anthropogenic global warming (AGW). This gives me a good opportunity to offer the school some contrasting views, better coverage of the underlying science, controversy, and public policy implications, and even some excellent object lessons in scientific method and critical thinking. (I really appreciate the unusualness of the opportunity, and the receptivity of our school.)

While I’m sure some school systems were eager self-starters in screening AIT and similar proselytizing, it looks like some organized non-profits have made a serious effort to create and promulgate packaged, pro-AGW curricula and get it installed in public schools. Mostly, it looks like the established curriculum consists of showing the movie and talking about Gore’s Nobel Prize. I see no such organized effort for a more balanced, even handed approach to the science, issues and public policy options behind study of climate change and possible human causation.

I have found a lot of resources supportive of AGW. I have checked out Climate Skeptic and a few others in contrast. I will be purchasing The Deniers.

[Interestingly, in addition to the many paid advertisements supporting AGW that appear, several of the common internet search engines seem to have a much higher than coincidental weighting of pro-AGW than anti-AGW search results when searching for global warming or climate change. Given the known political shenanigans that have taken place at Google or Yahoo, I strongly suspect manipulation of the search algorithms.]

Has anyone come across a balanced curriculum, or know of an organization or individuals who are preparing or have prepared such a curriculum? Rather than reinvent, I thought something might already exist.

I would be relieved and pleasantly surprised to find out somebody’s already been down this road.

Upcoming in Part Two: Thoughts on recent developments, with links to other postings.

Labels: ,


The 2008 EO/Wheatstone Academy Symposium Winners

Joe Carter announced the results of the EO/Wheatstone Academy Symposium:
Congratulations to the winners of the EO/Wheatstone Academy blog symposium. Thank you to all of you who submitted your wonderful essays--it was a very close race. The following posts earned their authors one of five fantastic prizes:
First Place: Mark Fedeli at A Deo Lumen
Second Place: Jordan J. Ballor at The Acton Institute Power Blog
Third Place: Mark Stanley at Digital Reason
Fourth Place: Jeff Nuding at Dadmanly
Fifth Place: Letitia Wong at Talitha Koum
Donnell Duncan at The Cracked Door earned an honorable mention.

I'm honored to have placed. Read the other essays for some excellent thoughts on how new media confronts the evangelist, and ow the evangelist should approach new media.

Special thanks to Joe and for Wheatstone Academy for sponsoring the Symposium.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]