Archive for November, 2009

The rabbit hole gets deeper in Climategate.

November 29, 2009 2 comments

Apparently the “gatekeepers” in charge of the data decided to throw a lot of that data away:

SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

It is beginning to look as though this is a conspiracy concocted on a grand scale. If these guys were so sure about their predictions, surely they wouldn’t need to throw away a lot of their own data, right?

And how does Obama respond to this news that the “peer-reviewed” science of global warming is fast turning out to be a scam? Why he’s going to Copenhagen to propose cutting greenhouse gas emissions to levels matching House legislation awaiting Senate action. This would be one of those times when Obama can exercise great judgment and turn away from this fiasco, but that would be asking too much of a true believer in global warming.

Indeed, for a politician intent on “transforming America” global warming presents the perfect opportunity to internationalize America’s economy.
As Roger Simon says succinctly: global warming allows politicians “to exploit the science of which they are ignorant and the scientists too often perfectly willing to be complicit in their own exploitation”. Truth is irrelevant so long as the goal of controlling people is achieved. Hmm. Sounds like the other debate we are having on healthcare…


Out of the mouths of ordinary folk.

November 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Jennifer Rubin has a post over at the Contentions @ Commentary blog detailing a round table discussion over at Politico Arena. The topic of discussion that the “experts” are talking about is whether Obama lost his charisma. Now, mind you, I never believed Obama to be a charismatic individual. Indeed, if you read David Freddoso’s The Case Against Barack Obama you’ll find that Obama was quite a petty individual given in to bouts of anger. In particular when Obama was running as a State Senator he employed thuggish tactics to get votes of his opponent negated so that he may win. This is not the behavior of a person who is charismatic because if you’re a charismatic individual then you would be able to win people over with your charm and not by employing legal maneuvers to undercut your opponent, no? A reader of the Arena blog reminds us that Obama was never particularly charismatic:

Lest you forget: millions of people, me included, never found Obama charismatic at all. Half the country, the truth to tell. I voted against a Democrat for the first time in over 40 years because of his candidacy – he always seemed to me exactly as he has turned out- a man who probably can take a test well, but has zero imagination, a man who thinks leading is telling people what he wants (though he sometimes doesn’t even do that), a man who constantly speaks ambiguously in order to always have an out. The last results in poor, unclear, and soft decisions, and a simultaneous judgement on the part of those who voted for him that he is so terribly bright. The majority of voters, but far from all, simply read him wrong. But we all are paying the price. Perhaps some of you who are clinging to the carefully (and expensively) molded image will finally drop the last line of defense: that this is a brilliant man who is being undone by those surrounding him. It has become an article of PC to refer to this man as smart, but he has proven that he is not. It is not impolite to recognize this and to state it, and quite the contrary, it dose a disservice to those looking for expert and knowlegable guidance.

I especially like latter portion of the commenter’s post. I assume that for most of Obama’s life he has been told that he is a smart and charismatic individual and because of this he never had to amount to anything. This has been a disservice to him because it inflated his ego beyond his actual accomplishments. This only continued during the campaign and for the beginning months of his presidency. How many times did we hear that Obama is a charismatic individual, even though we knew him to be petty? How many times did we hear that Obama is a gifted orator, even though he reads from a teleprompter and when he did not have the teleprompter he was prone to saying stupid things? How many times did we hear that he was a voice of moderation, even though he had the most extreme voting record both in the Illinois Senate and the U.S. Senate? How many times did we hear that he was a smart, scholarly individual, even though we never received proof of his scholarly work and he has never released any of his school papers and grades?

The above questions were never answered and because they were never answered, Obama has never properly developed a negative feedback loop that would tell him what areas he needed to improve upon to be at least an average President. The media may have thought they did Obama a great service by shielding him from these types of questions, but in actuality they have done him (and by extension the American people) a great disservice by not forcing Obama to adequately address his shortcomings by being forthcoming.

This is affirmative action at its worst. In essence we have hired the first affirmative action President because we looked at Obama not for any of his accomplishments, but we looked at him based on vapid personal factors such as charisma, intelligence, and moderation. I say vapid because we never proved that Obama was charismatic, we never proved that he was intelligent and we never proved he was a moderate (actually, we proved that he is a Socialist, but let’s not let facts get in the way).

When we decide to hire people simply because of race, we do a disservice to both the employer who is not necessarily getting the most qualified candidate and to the people who are being hired not based upon any known qualification, but because of their skin color. In the end, everyone is worse off. This is not to say that the person can grow in the position, but so could a qualified candidate. I along with millions of other people told the world that Obama was not who he was portraying during the campaign, but the media in particular decided it was more important to keep Sarah Palin from being Vice President than it was giving “the first Black President” a chance. Now we all are paying for it, and the person hurting the most is Barack Obama.

Update: Actually, I am going to close with one of those “experts” from Politico Arena. I think Charles Calomiris’ post is a poignant one. I have always believed that a Democrat presents the best opportunity to educate other Democrats about the importance of free markets and capitalism. Mr. Calomiris agrees as well:

Imagine if the President said that opportunity and educational reform, not redistribution, would be the core of his economic policies to help the poor. Imagine if the President said that government control of healthcare will add to our fiscal disaster, and is unnecessary to achieve legitimate reform objectives. Imagine if the President recognized the extent to which tort reform would reduce medical costs. In other words, imagine if the President told the truth about our economic problems and their solutions. None of that is not going to happen, but if the President did any or all of these things, it would be a great act of leadership. It would also help him by disciplining the left of his party (who, when push comes to shove, cannot really challenge his power), and bringing independents and swing-state voters to him in droves, including lots of Republicans. It would shake Washington to its foundations. It would make a huge positive difference in the lives of billions of people.

Too bad it won’t happen.

Indeed. Too bad it won’t happen.

A spirited discussion over at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub.

November 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Yes, that’s the name of Ed Darrell’s blog, but we are having a lively discussion on healthcare and politics in general. Please join the festivities and get good comments such as this:

Nick Kelsier wrote:

“Oh you mean like all the Republican bills were in legalese rather then in plain English? Proposed laws tend to be in legalese…simply because it’s the law stupid. When you’re creating a law it tends to be a given that the law is going to be in legalese.”

So why is the Constitution, from its inception in 1795, to its last amendment in 1992, is only 23 pages and easy to read by all Americans? As I told another commentator, try reading the tax code sometime.

“Oh and by the way little one, since you took a swipe at lawyers would you care to guess how much lawsuits cost in health care dollars? 1 half of 1 percent. And that number is from both W’s HHS and the CBO.”

Both you and the other guy think I’m referring to healthcare lawsuits, which I am not. I’m referring to the bill itself and the regulations that are guaranteed to follow. But let’s focus on that number for moment. If healthcare spending is 17% of US GDP, that represents just under $2 trillion. 1% of $2 trillion is $20 billion. .05% of that is $1 billion. So that is at least $1 billion that hits doctors everyday if they settle or file a lawsuit. On top of this, it isn’t the fact that a doctor will be sued, but the fact that most doctors must carry expensive malpractice insurance to guard against losing everything if they get sued. It’s not just what is seen when conservatives talk about tort reform, but it is also what is unseen that matters.

“Whereas the Republican idea of health care is protecting the health insurance asses because businesses should be allowed to do what they please..even if it costs the rest of us more and sends 50 thousand people a year to their graves.”

If Republicans cared about health insurance asses then they would support legislation that would reduce competition amongst them. Oh wait, that’s what the Democrats are doing!! By the way, its kinda funny that you say this:

“The Republicans have become the whores of big business in this country to the detriment of the citizens of this country. To the point now that the Republicans don’t give a damn even if that business or industry is actually killing people on purpose.”

This is revisionist history. I believe it was Obama that cut a deal with Big Pharma, a deal with the insurance companies, and a deal with medical device manufacturers. In fact, the Republicans were getting bowled over after all of this, but it was a revolt among the people that shook up the GOP and told them that they were on the wrong side of history.

It’s funny that you guys continue to rail against conservatives and Republicans as though they are the ones who are selling you up the creek without a paddle. Many Republicans will get mad when I say this, but at this point there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats as a Republican President is the one who got us started on this mess with the bailout of Bear Stearns, the homeowner programs, TARP, the rebate program an so forth. However, I am even harder on Obama because he ran as a new kind of politician. I knew all that was a bunch of crap, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. However, he not only continued what Bush started, but amplified it with the nationalization of GM and Chrysler, the failed spending bill that you guys call “stimulus”, the continued pumping of money into the banks, the attempted nationalization of the student loan industry, the attempt to nationalize healthcare, and the attempt to implement cap-and-trade in this country.

“and if there is a “revolution against socialism” then pray tell why is the Republican approval rating 30 points below the Presidents?”

Because “conservative” and “Republican” are mutually. I’m conservative, yet I’m not a Republican. I would’ve pulled the lever for Hillary Clinton but NOT for Barack Obama. On top of this, a Gallup poll has independents preferring Republicans to Democrats. Hmm, I wonder why?
Gallup poll

“And exactly how do you explain the Republicans losing a seat in New York they held for 150 years?”

By first showing a link that Republicans DID NOT HOLD this seat for the last 150 years:
NY-23 seat

And second by stating that the critical test for Dems for 2009 was NOT NY-23, which is revisionist history, but New Jersey and Virginia, which both broke for Obama in the 2008 election. Also PA picked up a conservative Supreme Court Justice. So if there was a death of Republicans and conservatism in this country I sure don’t see it.

“And the only reason Obama’s numbers have gone down lately isn’t because he’s being too liberal…it’s because he’s being too moderate. Oh and by the way…65-70% of the country want health care reform…with a public option. Have fun choking.”

1) I would LOVE to see Obama be his true self. Oh wait, nationalizing healthcare is his true self. Multilateralism and deference to dictators is his true self.

2) As far as the public option, that’s funny because most Americans do NOT want to replace our current system with a government run one:
Americans state health coverage not the government’s responsibility

“Define socialism you twit.”

This isn’t directed at me, but I’ll answer it anyway. Socialism is a political system whereby the government controls the means of production and distributes the resources equally among the people. It sounds nice in theory, but it has never worked in practice:
Article on Socialism
It’s a primer, as you should never depend upon Wikipedia for complex matters such as this, but after you read the first few paragraphs ask yourself how what you believe does not fit in the paradigm described at Wikipedia.

Finally, there is no such thing as “Keynesian capitalism”. There is a branch of economics called “Keynesian economics” (or Keynesianism), but there is no such thing as “Keynesian capitalism”. This is so because Keynesian and capitalism is a contradiction in terms. Please do a search for this term on Google: you will find no serious economic journals or sites that refer to such a thing. Perhaps that is because there is only one definition of capitalism, which is the private ownership of the means of production where the INDIVIDUAL has sole claim to the product of his labor.

By the way…when you do your Google search please look at the only website that makes reference to the term “Keynesian Capitalism”. It’ll take you to a website called Worker’s Liberty. Read their tagline. At least they are honest about what they are. Democrats and Liberals don’t want us to be honest about what they are nor are they honest with themselves about what they are.

Does being uninsured lead to bankruptcy?

November 26, 2009 Leave a comment

One of the favorite arguments that liberals like to make when arguing for socialized medicine is that it would protect the most “vulnerable” of us from bankruptcy. Over at Critical Condition @ NRO, Hans Kuttner posts an interesting graph that shows the trends of the population, uninsured and bankruptcy filing from 1999-2008:

Graph showing correlation between population growth, number of uninsured and bankruptcy filings from 1999-2008.

As you can see from the graph, you can see that both the population and the number of uninsured are moving in upward, but stable, trajectory where as the bankruptcy filings had an erratic trajectory over the same period. This could be due to a variety of factors: the dot com bubble bursting, 9/11, a relative period of prosperity (despite what the Left says, America did pretty well under Bush), and the signing of tougher bankruptcy laws in 2005 by President Bush. Hardly anyone can point to this and say that any of this is due to “medical bills”. Kuttner points to a study conducted by David Himmelstein and comes to a conclusion that I have long stated:

“Another source of slipperiness comes in tying the evidence together. What most people call “health insurance” is medical-expense insurance, not insurance against the financial consequences of changes in your health. The evidence, including the most recent study by a team lead by David Himmelstein, a long-time advocate of national health insurance, shows that having something go wrong with your health can bring about bad things, including bankruptcy. Why? For most Americans, the income that comes from working is the almost-total source of their income. If something happens that has an impact on their ability to work, they are in big trouble. That would not be true if people had more savings. Among Americans in the lowest quartile of net worth, the median amount of financial assets was $1,100 in 2007.”

For the most part, this is a true statement. Medical bills themselves do not cause people to go into bankruptcy, but not being able to work does cause people to go into bankruptcy. Let me back up for a moment and categorically state there are only two reasons why people file bankruptcy. The first instance that a person files for bankruptcy is when the amount of his debts exceeds the amount of assets (which includes income) he possesses such that it makes sense that he files for bankruptcy to get a fresh start. I had gone through this and my wife has gone through this. The second instance a person files for bankruptcy is that a person is no longer able to work such that he cannot bring in income to cover the mounting debts he is accruing. I suspect that this is the situation that most people who have medical maladies end up in. No one should expect that socialized medicine will solve this problem. Indeed, there is real world evidence in countries that practice socialized medicine that personal bankruptcy rates are higher than they are here in the U.S. One reason this is so is because in countries that practice socialized medicine people have to wait much longer than their U.S. counterparts to get treatment for maladies that can threaten work time. If you have to wait to get treatment, that of course increases the likelihood that the problem will get worse, causing a person not to work and therefore forcing that person to file bankruptcy.

A way to help out people who will be hit with unexpected medical bills would be to make the tax code more forgiving of saving money and buying insurance to cover these uncertain events. Another thing that can help out the market is more competition, not less. On a slightly different topic, James Glassman makes the case why competition is important in the biogenerics market:

“It’s hard to reconcile these three goals (in socialized medicine) — and impossible by government diktat. But there is a mechanism that works in other sectors (think consumer technology, for example) that can achieve broader reach, higher quality, and lower costs. It’s called competition.”

Does the Obamacare bill being bandied about make it easier for people to save money and buy insurance to cover uncertain events and make the healthcare market more competitive or less competitive?

That being said, I have always wondered why people find it morally wrong to go into bankruptcy because of their health but it is not morally wrong to go into bankruptcy to save your house. In either situation the only thing lost are some assets and a hit to your creditworthiness. However, you get to start over in each instance. I would think that it would be better to go into bankruptcy to save your health than it is to save your house. After all, if you aren’t going to risk it all to save your life, do you truly value your own life?

Bribes rule the day in Obamacare.

November 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Just in case you didn’t think this entire “healthcare debate” could get any more immoral, the politicians in Congress find a way to make it more immoral by buying off votes from skeptical members. I say politicians because it isn’t just “moderate” Democrats who are being bought off, squeamish go-along-to-get-along Republicans are being bought off as well.

We all know about Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu’s “New Louisiana Purchase” where Reidcare has a special carve-out of $300 million going to “states declared to be in a state of emergency in the last seven years”. Her Republican Congressman colleague, Joseph Cao, received special assurances from Obama to receive Medicaid funding for his constituents. Joseph Cao should ask Big Pharma and the Insurance lobby how valuable Obama’s special assurances are.

And the special deals don’t end there. In the same article detailing Cao’s “special assurances” we hear that a couple of Congressmen in Silicon Valley got assurances to get funding to build a medical school in their district. I wonder how many people will decide to go to medical school after Obamacare passes…

Things like these special deals should lead people to wonder: just how important do the politicians consider my healthcare if they engage in such egregious behavior such as dealmaking just to get Obamacare passed? If Obamacare is so great, why all the underhanded bribes and side deals to get it passed? To these people I say to ask the question is to answer it: as Thomas Sowell said in a recent article, “No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.” Keep that in mind as you continue to watch this healthcare train wreck move forward.

Taking a stand against the 9/11 5 getting their day in court.

November 24, 2009 Leave a comment

The folks over at Keep America Safe have penned an open letter to Obama denouncing the administration’s choice to give the 9/11 5 an opportunity to be put on trial in the city of New York. Here’s a tidbit:

We have not forgotten. We are the husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and other family members of the victims of these depraved and barbaric attacks, and we feel a profound obligation to ensure that justice is done on their behalf. It is incomprehensible to us that members of the United States Congress would propose that the same men who today refer to the murder of our loved ones as a “blessed day” and who targeted the United States Capitol for the same kind of destruction that was wrought in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania, should be the beneficiaries of a social compact of which they are not a part, do not recognize, and which they seek to destroy: the United States Constitution.

We adamantly oppose prosecuting the 9/11 conspirators in Article III courts, which would provide them with the very rights that may make it possible for them to escape the justice which they so richly deserve. We believe that military commissions, which have a long and honorable history in this country dating back to the Revolutionary War, are the appropriate legal forum for the individuals who declared war on America. With utter disdain for all norms of decency and humanity, and in defiance of the laws of warfare accepted by all civilized nations, these individuals targeted tens of thousands of civilian non-combatants, brutally killing 3,000 men, women and children, injuring thousands more, and terrorizing millions.

It is morally offensive to offer Constitutional protections to individuals charged with murdering 3,000 individuals, in essence, to jeopardize justice for war crimes victims, in order to make an appeal to the Muslim world. The use of Article III courts after the 1993 World Trade Center attack didn’t stop any of the subsequent terrorist plots, including the attack on Khobar Towers, 19 Americans killed, the 1998 East African Embassy bombing, 212 killed, the USS Cole bombing, 17 sailors killed. The attacks of 9/11 were a resounding rebuke to the view that federal courts were an appropriate counterterrorism strategy. Afterward, we didn’t send law enforcement personnel to apprehend the perpetrators, we sent the United States military, who captured them and held them pursuant to the 2001 Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

Please take an opportunity to read the letter in its entirety and once you have read it, sign your name to it letting the folks in the Obama Administration know that everything that the Bush Administration had done was within the confines of the law AND followed precedent whereas what Obama is doing completely outside the “rule of law”.

Also please take an opportunity to review the website which is a wealth of information for those who are interested in Keeping America Safe.

Hacked e-mails show British “scientists” collude to advance global warming.

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

So it seems that the “scientists” really are trying to fix the game on global warming to come to only one outcome. An unknown hero hacked into the e-mail of the Hadley CRU and released a great bit of those e-mails on the Internet. It’s worth reading James Delingpole’s post in its entirety. Here’s a sample:

Manipulation of evidence:
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

Private doubts about whether the world really is heating up:
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

Suppression of evidence:
Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?
Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.
Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

Fantasies of violence against prominent Climate Sceptic scientists:
Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.

Attempts to disguise the inconvenient truth of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP):
……Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back–I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back….

And, perhaps most reprehensibly, a long series of communications discussing how best to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer review process. How, in other words, to create a scientific climate in which anyone who disagrees with AGW can be written off as a crank, whose views do not have a scrap of authority.

“This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?”

“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.”

“It results from this journal having a number of editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers through by Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with Hans von Storch about this, but got nowhere. Another thing to discuss in Nice !”

Let us hope that this scandal will deal a critical blow to the Global Warming Ponzi Scheme.

(h/t Planet Gore @ NRO)