Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Trouble with "Liberals"

I put the word Liberals in quotes because it is no longer an accurate description of the people it once described. Today's liberals are reactionaries.

It has become more and more difficult to engage in discussion with them because their arguments are fundamentally dishonest.

A column by Mark Steyn (www.steynonline.com) and comments on it by John Hinderacker (www.powerlineblog.com) explain the basics of the problem.

"Steyn: There's a kind of decadence about all this: If 9/11 was really an inside job, you wouldn't be driving around with a bumper sticker bragging that you were on to it. Fantasy is a by-product of security....

Hinderacker: That is exactly right, I think. It is the luxury of knowing they are bull******** that allows American liberals to claim that their freedoms are going up in smoke and that dissent is being suppressed, when in fact, "dissent" is socially mandated in polite society from Manhattan to Marin County.

I would add this parallel: any survey of Europeans you look at will say that they think the United States is the biggest danger to world peace, worse than North Korea or the Islamofascists. But they don't mean it. If they did, they would be clamoring for their own countries to re-arm. But the very people who claim to believe that the U.S. is bent on world domination are the same ones who don't want their own governments to spend a dollar on defense. They are entirely content to let us keep the peace. Which means that what they tell pollsters about threats to world peace, like what liberals say about threats to their civil liberties, is, to put it politely, disingenuous."

There is the problem. The reactionaries (progressives?) are all over television, radio, the blogs, campus rallies and everywhere else yelling about the suppression of dissent. Is there any greater contradiction than that?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Associated Press: Cheerleader for the Bad Guys

A near perfect example of the AP's determined effort in support of the Bad Guys, to undermine the public's confidence in the war effort and to minimize the accomplishments of the US Military is on full display in today's Arizona Republic.

Published on Page A8, the headline reads:

"Aide: Sadr could lift cease-fire amid anger over U.S. raids"

Indeed, the first paragraph of the story says just that:

"Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr could end a ban on his milita's activities because of rising anger over U.S. and Iraqi raids against his followers, an aide said Friday amid concerns about rising violence and clashes between rival factions in the mainly Shiite south"

Eight paragraphs later, in paragraph nine, we are told:

"Sadr nonetheless renewed his appeal to uphold the cease-fire and threatened to expel Mahdi army members who don't in what his office called a response to questions from supporters about whether the cease-fire still applied in the face of the U.S. crackdown."(sic)

Apparently rather than report the news (facts): Sadr renewed the cease-fire the AP reporter(s) preferred to report their hope(speculation): Sadr could end the cease-fire.

Obviously, if this was a news story the headline would have read:

" Amid anger over U.S. raids Sadr reafirms committment to cease-fire"

and the ninth paragraph would have appeared first, the first, ninth.

In addition to the nugget above, midway through the story we are told that the U.S. Army announced the discovery of a big cache of Iranian arms. We are then told:

"The military has announced a series of such finds in recent days as it seeks to bolster its claim of Iranian support for rogue Shiite fighters".

A real reporter, without an agenda, probably would have written the same information somewhat differently:

The military has announced a series of such finds in recent days bolstering its claim of Iranian support for rogue Shiite fighters.

There, now I feel better although I hate having to do the AP's job for it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Global Warming Hoax

We have all been subject to the nauseating spectacle that the Nobel Peace Prize has become. Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, good grief.

Now, "best" of all, AlGore. It has been noted by people much more accomplished than me that the work AlGore has been recognized for is supposed to be science. Why not the Science Prize? Well, because "An Inconvenient Truth" is as far from contributing anything to Science as Arafat and Carter were from contributing anything to Peace.

The central puzzle in the global warming debate, to me, is: where does the assumption that there is an ideal temperature range for the earth come from? As kids we all learned about the Ice Ages, some of us learned about the mini-ice Age (I didn't until recently). We learned that areas that were once lakes (Lake Bonneville) are now deserts (The Bonneville Salt Flats). On and on. During the time I was being taught about these things no value judgement was ever made about whether these dramatic changes were good or bad, at least none were shared with me. They just happened.

Turn the clock back to 1400 Europe. It was cold. People died from the cold. Then the earth began to warm. A continent flourished. Why? Global Warming. Is it the left's assertion now that it was bad? Who is to say that this round of Global warming, if that is what it is, won't produce desireable results? The models being used point only to catastrophe. Why? Because they want to.

Now the left, notable for their amazing and ridiculous apparant assumption that mankind is not "natural" have created a huge movement decrying the warming of the planet because mankind may be part of its cause.

"An Inconvenient Truth" is the superstar of this effort despite the fact that it has been thoroughly debunked many times over. See http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/press/goreerrors.html for a long, elaborate, academically sound deconstruction of most of the movie's assertions.

The central notion of the environmental and global warming movements is that mankind is not natural. The goods and pollution we produce are not natural. How silly is that? How can anything capable of being produced by a product of nature be anything other than natural?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

SoCal Wildfires

I saw a story a few minutes ago stating that the San Diego County fires have already caused 1 billion dollars in damage.

A billion dollars just isn't what it used to be folks. We bought a downtown San Diego condo recently. It is located in a property 3 years old, comprised of two 30 story towers. The combined value of the units in these two buildings located on about an acre, maybe 2, of land is about $350,000,000. That is one property and certainly not the most expensive in downtown.

Individual property owners whose homes are burning down are certainly being harmed and will feel the bite heavily. My sympathies are with them. The overall cost of the destruction is, mercifully, tiny.

There are wild fires every year and, as far as we know, there always have been. As Roger L Simon points out on his blog, having lived in Malibu for years, the fires happen in the same places, generally, year after year and we keep rebuilding in the same places, year after year. Can the outcome really be said to be surprising?

With every hurricane in the east and wild fire in the west we hear of constantly climbing dollar value destruction as though things are getting worse, hurricanes stronger, fires wilder.

How can the losses do anything but rise? How many more houses/appartments have been built in harm's way in Southern Florida and Southern California in the last 20 years? 100's of thousands probably. That means hundreds of thousands more properties and people in harm's way. Not to mention the impact of fabulous appreciation in property values on the ultimate calculation of the losses.

It is not remarkable that losses have increased steadily, it is entirely predictable. It is completely amazing that loss of life has decreased.