New Study: Two Thousand Years of Northern European Summer Temperatures Show a Downward Trend

December 18, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Bad news for the Warmist cult: Empirical evidence shows not only a millennia-long cooling trend, but that prior warming periods were warmer than the late-20th century peaks. Darn those “inconvenient truths.”

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

In a paper published in the Journal of Quaternary Science, Esper et al. (2014) write that tree-ring chronologies of maximum latewood density (MXD) “are most suitable to reconstruct annually resolved summer temperature variations of the late Holocene.” And working with what they call “the world’s two longest MXD-based climate reconstructions” – those of Melvin et al. (2013) and Esper et al. (2012) – they combined portions of each to produce a new-and-improved summer temperature history for northern Europe that stretches all the way “from 17 BC to the present.” And what did they thereby learn?

As the international team of researchers from the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Sweden and Switzerland describes it, this history depicts “a long-term cooling trend of -0.30°C per 1,000 years over the Common Era in northern Europe” (see figure below). Most important of all, however, they note that their temperature reconstruction…

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Federal court declares Obama immigration “action” unconstitutional

December 16, 2014
The President who would be King

The President who would be King

Shots fired:

Earlier Tuesday, a federal court in Pennsylvania declared aspects of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration policy unconstitutional.

According to the opinion by Judge Arthur Schwab, the president’s policy goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion” in that it provides a relatively rigid framework for considering applications for deferred action, thus obviating any meaningful case-by-case determination as prosecutorial discretion requires, and provides substantive rights to applicable individuals. As a consequence, Schwab concluded, the action exceeds the scope of executive authority.

This is the first judicial opinion to address Obama’s decision to expand deferred action for some individuals unlawfully present in the United States. [I’ve now posted the opinion here.]

Read the rest of Jonathan Adler’s article for the background to the case. It seems the judge didn’t have to consider the constitutional question to reach a decision in the case, but…. he went there. If this goes all the way to the Supreme Court (and I don’t see why it wouldn’t, but I’m not a lawyer), I wouldn’t bet on Obama getting an easy win; his administration has been slapped down by the Court on 9-0 votes several times — in other words, including his liberal appointees Kagan and Sotomayor.

Between this, the lawsuit of brought by 17 (now 24) states against the action, and the pending crucial Obamacare case, the Supreme Court’s end-of-term announcements of its decisions should be very interesting. Be sure to stock up on extra popcorn.

smiley popcorn

 


The Case Against the IRS and the “Progressive” Income Tax

December 16, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Tax reform along the lines of some sort of flat tax or a national sales tax, along with reduction in the size of government, would go a long way towards generating prosperity here again. It would also make statist heads explode — a win-win situation!

Originally posted on International Liberty:

Genuine tax reform would be the second-best fiscal policy reform to boost economic growth.*

With a simple and fair tax system, we could get rid of high tax rates that penalize productive behavior. We could eliminate the double taxation that discourages saving and investment. And we could wipe out the rat’s nest of deductions, credits, exemptions, preferences, exclusions, and other loopholes that bribe people into making economically unwise decisions.

When pushing for tax reform, I normally cite the flat tax, but there are many roads that lead to Rome. I’ve also pointed out that other tax reform plans have similar attributes. Here’s what I wrote, for instance, when comparing the flat tax and national sales tax.

In simple terms, a national sales tax (such as the Fair Tax) is like a flat tax but with a different collection point.the two plans are different…

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#TortureReport: I look forward to the Republican report of how much Democrats knew

December 15, 2014
What did she know?

What did she know?

Setting aside for a moment the questions of what constitutes “torture,” when are harsh methods justified in interrogation, and the effectiveness of such methods, one of the most galling aspects of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s majority report is its raging hypocrisy. Feigning a shock and outrage that would make even Captain Reynault blush with shame, Senate Democrats lead by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) loudly denounced the CIA (and by extension the Bush administration) for employing tactics that amounted to torture.

Funny how they’re outraged now, when they’ve known for years:

Jose Rodriguez, the CIA’s point man for counterterrorism between 2002 and 2004, told Fox News’s Chris Wallace on Sunday that Democratic lawmakers now accusing the CIA of keeping Congress in the dark on some interrogation methods “knew exactly what we were doing.”

“I remember very clearly briefing [California Democrat] Nancy Pelosi in September of 2002,” he said, claiming he “briefed her specifically on the enhanced-interrogation techniques of Abu Zubayda. So she knew, back in September of 2002, every one of our enhanced interrogation techniques.”

“These people were fully aware of all of the techniques that were given to us and approved by the Office of Legal Counsel at Justice,” Rodriguez continued, saying that neither Nancy Pelosi nor other Democrats — with the exception of then–California congresswoman Jane Harman — “ever objected to the techniques at all.”

Senators knew, too; the article mentions Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) in particular. But I’d like to know just how much Senator Feinstein knew and when she knew it. She’s been on the intelligence committee for years and was surely briefed. But it’s only now, with Democrats soon to lose control of the Senate and Feinstein her chairmanship of the committee, that she decides to rush out this hack-job of a report. I’ll repeat what I wrote in 2009, when Nancy Pelosi was the one screaming over harsh interrogation methods:

You want a truth commission, Mrs. Pelosi? Fine. Bring it on. Let’s have that full-throated discussion of “harsh” interrogation of terrorists who believe they’re doing Allah’s work when they carve off heads or fly planes into buildings and who’d dearly love to set off a nuclear weapon in the US. Let’s clear away the cobwebs of convenient amnesia to let the world know just how much you and your party members supported those same techniques, funding them year after year and even wondering why we weren’t doing more. Let’s bring out all the details of how those techniques saved Americans from horrible deaths and find out what the American people support: a government that recognizes that its highest, first duty is to protect and defend its citizens, or one willing to gut its intelligence service and put the people at risk, all in the name of a preening sanctimony that’s nothing more than a cover for a partisan hack job.

So, let’s have that truth commission, Speaker Pelosi. Just remember, truth hurts.

Let’s see if they can handle the truth.

RELATED: For a much more sensible critique of the interrogation program, read counterintelligence specialist John Schindler’s post “CIA Torture: An Insider’s View.”


Hilarious irony – Michael Mann to give lecture on ‘Professional Ethics for Climate Scientists’

December 15, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

This is like Bill Clinton lecturing on marital fidelity.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

From the ‘truth is stranger than fiction department’, reporting from San Francisco at the AGU Fall Meeting

ED11D-02
Professional Ethics for Climate Scientists
Monday, December 15, 201408:15 AM – 08:30 AM Moscone South 102
Several authors have warned that climate scientists sometimes exhibit a tendency to “err on the side of least drama” in reporting the risks associated with fossil fuel emissions. Scientists are often reluctant to comment on the implications of their work for public policy, despite the fact that because of their expertise they may be among those best placed to make recommendations about such matters as mitigation and preparedness. Scientists often have little or no training in ethics or philosophy, and consequently they may feel that they lack clear guidelines for balancing the imperative to avoid error against the need to speak out when it may be ethically required to do so. This dilemma becomes acute…

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A reminder that North Korea is evil

December 14, 2014
Hope and Change?

Needs hanging

And not in some abstract, “we all know this” sense, but in a gut-wrenching, “their leaders need to be hung from lampposts” way. The kind of reaction you have when you learn, for example, that North Korea tests chemical weapons on the disabled and then leaves them to die:

North Korea is systematically “cleansing” its population by making those with mental or physical disabilities disappear, a defector has claimed.

Ji Seong-ho, 32, who escaped from North Korea after losing his left leg above the knee and his left hand at the wrist, said the disabled are considered a stain on North Korea’s image and a “humiliation” to the ruling regime.

(…)

A former officer in North Korea’s special forces, who defected in the 1990s after watching chemical and biological weapons tests on disabled children and adults, told The Telegraph about the programme.

“The regime wants to do this ‘legally’ so they offer to buy disabled children from their parents and they say they will take care of them,” said Im Cheon-yong.

“If that doesn’t work, they threaten them. They use them for chemical weapons experiments,” he said. “But not only children, they also use disabled adults.” Mr Im said he first saw such tests, involving anthrax and other chemical weapons, in 1984.

Granted, it’s always possible that defectors will tell their hosts what they want to hear in order to gain asylum and good treatment, but there are too many of these reports coming out of he world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation for them all to be fables.

Some day that place is going to collapse and, when it does, I hope the Korean people take a well-earned and bloody revenge against their tormentors.

via Business Insider


Greenpeace: We Spit on Your Sacred Spaces

December 14, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

The clueless narcissism of the self-proclaimed “activist” is at once both infuriating and amazing.

Originally posted on NoFrakkingConsensus:

Desecrating cultural and religious monuments is normal Greenpeace behaviour.

Nasca_lines_greenpeace

screengrab from the BBC website (click)

Activism is about persuasion. It’s about using moral arguments to change people’s minds which, in turn, changes the world.

For moral arguments to be successful, we need to already inhabit the same approximate moral universe. Some things are sacred. The ends don’t justify the means. This isn’t rocket science, but apparently it’s news to Greenpeace.

In Peru, where a UN climate summit is currently taking place, the Ministry of Culture says Greenpeace activists have desecrated an important cultural monument.

The NazcaLines are a collection of approximately 300 figures etched into the Peruvian desert more than 1,500 years ago. In the words of vice-minister Luis Jaime Castillo, an archeologist by training, the figures

are absolutely fragile. They are black rocks on a white background. You walk there and the footprint is going to…

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