Time Magazine’s Jeffrey Kluger writes what might possibly be the stupidest article about climate ever – climate change causes volcanoes

January 30, 2015

Global warming is like the monster in a bad 1950s science fiction movie: there is nothing it cannot do. Nothing.

Watts Up With That?

The stupid, it burns like a magnesium flare.

volcanoes-climateExcerpt from the article:

Now, you can add yet another problem to the climate change hit list: volcanoes. That’s the word from a new study conducted in Iceland and accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. The finding is bad news not just for one comparatively remote part of the world, but for everywhere.

Iceland has always been a natural lab for studying climate change. It may be spared some of the punishment hot, dry places like the American southwest get, but when it comes to glacier melt, few places are hit harder. About 10% of the island nation’s surface area is covered by about 300 different glaciers—and they’re losing an estimated 11 billion tons of ice per year. Not only is that damaging Icelandic habitats and contributing to the global rise in sea levels, it is also—oddly—causing the entire island…

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Something I rarely say: “Good for you, Senator McCain”

January 29, 2015
Get off his lawn.

Get off his lawn.

I’m not a great fan of John McCain (R-AZ) (1), but when given a choice between him and the juvenile, narcissistic, sanctimonious anti-American pendejas of Code Pink… Well, the choice is obvious:

As the protesters from the group Code Pink chanted “arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes” and waved a pair of handcuffs in the 91-year-old’s face, former Secretary of State George Shultz, who was also called to testify, confronted them, and several senators, including Republicans Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Joni Ernst of Iowa, came down from the podium to assist. Capitol Police, meanwhile, did not intervene to stop the protests.

“You’re going to have to shut up or I’m going to have you arrested,” McCain told them, then added: “Get out of here, you low-life scum.”

Code Pink protesters are a common feature at Armed Services hearings in both chambers, but McCain said Thursday’s protest was beyond the limits of what was acceptable.

Damn straight it was unacceptable. We give plenty of leeway to protesters and they have many means to make their voices heard. However, disrupting a hearing in a democratically elected legislature and attempting to intimidate a witness —a 91 year old witness— is not one of them. McCain wants these brownshirts pinkshirts prosecuted, and I hope the Capitol Police follow through on it.

One question: Why the heck did the Capitol Police let it get this to the point where US senators felt they had to come down to protect Dr. Kissinger?

One observation: Both Senator Cotton and Senator Ernst recently served in the Army. I would not have laid money on Code Pink’s chances, had they tried to press their luck.

Footnote:
(1) In fact, I’ve been know to utter the words “vain old fool” in connection to him…


Iran to Netanyahu: “Screw with us and we’ll kill your sons!”

January 29, 2015
Supreme Thug

Supreme Thug

Nothing like making international disputes personal, is there?

Iran is encouraging its terror allies to pursue the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s children by publishing personal information about them, including photographs of the kids lined up in crosshairs, and declaring, “We must await the hunt of Hezbollah.”

The publication of the personal information and biographies of Netanyahu’s children follows an Israeli airstrike last week that killed several key Hezbollah leaders and an Iranian commander affiliated with the country’s hardline Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

(…)

Regional experts with knowledge of the IRGC said this type of public threat is meant to intimidate the Israelis and act as a deterrent against possible military action.

“Here, we have organized a list of prominent Israeli Aghazadehs,” or children, according to the original post by the hardline Iranian website Mashregh, which has since removed the article. The Fars reproduction is still available online in Farsi.

Netanyahu’s children are acceptable targets for assassination due to their affiliation with top Israeli leaders, according to the article, which is titled, “The file of the Zionist Children.”

Apparently their mandatory 3-year military service also makes them legitimate targets for murder — in the eyes of the Iranians. The Free Beacon piece also points out that the Iranian article also specifically threatened the adult children of former prime ministers Olmert and Sharon.

Though the article doesn’t mention this, among the Hezbollah leaders killed in that raid was Jihad Mugniyeh, son of the vicious terrorist Imad Mugniyeh (1), who was killed a few years ago, probably by the Israelis. Jihad himself was following in Dad’s dirty footsteps and had become a Hezbollah officer. In a honor and revenge culture such as the one that dominates the Middle East, Iran could be making these threats to show support for its Lebanese client: “Kill the son of one of our heroes, and we’ll kill two of yours!”

But it also demonstrates the “thug mentality” at the heart of the Iranian regime. Nations in conflict play hardball with each other all the time: espionage, special operations, sabotage, &c. But the targets are agents or facilities of the enemy state, even when death results. It’s like the old cliche, “Just business, nothing personal.”

But to specifically threaten the family of an enemy leader? That’s very personal, and it’s vile and low, but sadly not surprising from a gangster regime that uses rape to terrorize its domestic opponents.

Footnote:
(1) Mugniyeh senior was a key player in the mass murder of our Marines and French soldiers in the 1983 Beirut bombings. I will admit to not being sorry when he went “boom.”


Prediction: Gridlock for the Next Two Years, but that’s Better than the Alternative of Expanding Government

January 28, 2015

If Congress and the administration can’t agree to do anything good, then doing nothing is the next best solution. Or, as Reagan (I think) once said, “Don’t just do something, stand there!”

International Liberty

There’s a lot of navel-gazing analysis in Washington about whether to expect some sort of bipartisanship over the next two years.

I find such discussions very irritating because they assume that you automatically get good results when Republicans and Democrats both agree on a policy. My reaction, to put it mildly, is “these people are f@*&#^@g crazy!!!”

Was it progress when Republicans and Democrats conspired to bail out their contributors on Wall Streetwith TARP?

Was it progress when Republicans and Democrats joined hands to impose Bush’s no-bureaucrat-left-behind education scheme?

Was it progress when the first President Bush broke his read-my-lips promise and sided with Democrats to boost taxes and spending in 1990?

So you can see why I instinctively like gridlock. Simply stated, it’s better to do nothing if the alternative is to have more bad laws that expand the burden of government.

But perhaps I’m being too…

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Good News: the Iranian-allied Yemeni rebels are really moderates we can work with!

January 26, 2015

Last week, Iranian-backed “Fiver” Shia rebels captured Yemen’s capital and forced the president to resign. Given that the former government had (mostly) cooperated with our counter-terrorism efforts and given also that the Houthi rebels were supported by our enemy, Iran, one might expect them to be hostile to us.

The New York Times, however, is here to tell us we’re wrong. The good news? They’re really moderates!

But for all their harsh sloganeering, the Houthis may be a lot more moderate than [their motto] suggests, according to many diplomats and analysts who have followed them closely. They say it would be premature to dismiss them as Yemen’s Hezbollah, despite their alliance with Iran.

Of course, we all remember those “moderate Islamists” in Syria we were so happy to work with and train, right? That’s sure worked out well.

Anyway, back to Yemen. Let me ask — does this look at all “moderate” to you?

Yep. The very soul of moderation. Why, I bet they belong to their local Kiwanis Club, too.

It’s said the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The coffee table version of that is obviously illustrated with pictures of The Times and its “experts.”

via Patrick Poole, who has much more


Sunday Book Review: Paul Johnson’s “Churchill”

January 25, 2015

book cover johnson churchill

It’s less fashionable in the practice of History these days to study the lives of great men, those individuals who by their words and deeds change the course of the world for better or worse. At one time, History was about these men: Alexander, Caesar, Washington, Napoleon, and others. Then that fashion fell out of favor and, in reaction, the role of Great Men was largely supplanted by the study of “impersonal forces,” those societal and intellectual trends that move History along, individuals being less important, often replaceable. This view was popular with progressive historians of the early to mid-20th century, seeing its extreme in Marxist historians.

But the study of Great Men lives on, in this case in the form of Paul Johnson’s “Churchill,” a brief biography of Sir Winston Churchill, the British statesman, soldier, parliamentarian, and his nation’s Prime Minister during most of the Second World War.

Johnson’s biography of Churchill is of an older school, which seeks not just to analyze its subject, but draw from it moral lessons for the reader. In this manner, it is comparable to Plutarch’s “Lives .” As Johnson writes at the start:

Of all the towering figures of the twentieth century, both good and evil, Winston Churchill was the most valuable to humanity, and also the most likable. It is a joy to write his life, and to read about it. None holds more lessons, especially for youth: How to use a difficult childhood. How to seize eagerly on all opportunities, physical , moral, and intellectual. How to dare greatly, to reinforce success, and to put the inevitable failures behind you. And how, while pursuing vaulting ambition with energy and relish, to cultivate also friendship, generosity, compassion, and decency.

Churchill’s life is well-known, and Johnson glosses over the details to cover the important points the reader needs to know: his early childhood with a vaguely disapproving father; his military career , which established the young Churchill as a popular journalist; his political career with his rise to Cabinet rank as First Sea Lord during World War I; his role in laying the foundation for Britain’s welfare state, and his fall from power; his “wilderness” years out of government, when even his fellow party members rarely wanted him around and during which he warned incessantly about the rise of the Nazis in Germany; his return to power when the Nazis started World War II, again as head of the British Navy and then Prime Minister; and his postwar life and career, with one more pass as prime minister, until his death in 1965.

That Johnson can cover all this in just 170 pages while telling a fascinating story and educating the reader is a mark of how good a writer he is. “Churchill,” if it was a joy for him to write, is also a joy for us to read. Johnson’s style is delightful, and he deftly weaves in small details and observations that humanize for us a towering figure who might otherwise be lost behind the noble statues and stern portraits. For example,one that sticks with this reviewer is the revelation that Churchill found happiness in, of all things, bricklaying. So much so, that he tried to join the bricklayer’s union. (He was declined.) Most people know that he was an accomplished painter, but a bricklayer? That such a common, workaday craft should bring satisfaction to a man born in a palace and who dealt regularly with kings and presidents, who commanded his nation’s armed forces in a global war, can’t help but build a bond between reader and subject, reminding us that Winston Churchill, for all the statues and portraits, was still a mortal man.

“Churchill” is not without its weaknesses. A degree of superficiality is inevitable, given the task of compressing so full a life into such a short work. And it touches very lightly on his flaws, such as his Romantic fixations on strategies of dubious worth, for example his attempted defense of Antwerp in the First World War, or his obsession with invading Norway in the Second. A late Victorian in a rapidly changing 20th century, his attitudes toward non-European people were often at best patronizing, sometimes downright bigoted.

But, to dwell on these lacks would be to criticize “Churchill” for not doing what it was never intended to do: to be a “balanced, modern” biography. As much hagiography as biography, Paul Johnson’s goal was to introduce us to the life of one of the greatest men who ever lived and show how it could serve as an example and an inspiration, especially for the young. In this, he has succeeded admirably.

Highest recommendation.

Format note: Churchill is available in both Kindle and softcover formats. I read the Kindle edition and can recall no problems with editing or formatting. And I do get a few pennies from each purchase made through the links in this review.

UPDATE: Catching up on my reading at Power Line, I came across historian Steven Hayward’s post quibbling with the idea of Churchill as “the last lion.” I think what he says about “Great Men” and how they differ from their contemporaries is pertinent to this review:

The tides of history and the scale of modern life have not made obsolete or incommensurate the kind of large-souled greatness we associate with Churchill or Lincoln or George Washington. Of course all of us are powerfully affected by our environment and circumstances, yet the case of Churchill offers powerful refutation to the historicist premise that humans and human society are mostly corks bobbing on the waves of history. Lots of Churchill’s contemporaries were also products of the late Victorian era—many of them from the same schools Churchill attended. But no one else had Chruchill’s courage, insight, and capacities. Why was Churchill virtually alone among his contemporaries? The answer must be that they transcended their environments and transformed their circumstances as only great men can do, and thereby bent history to their will. Which means we are contemplating a fundamental human type. Leo Strauss wrote of Churchill in a private letter to the German philosopher Karl Lowith: “A man like Churchill proves that the possibility of megalophysis [the great-souled man] exists today exactly as it did in the fifth century B.C.” (In other words, as the idea was presented in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.)

Churchill was indeed a “large soul.”

 

 

 


Confirmed: former French soldiers defecting to ISIS

January 23, 2015

France flag

From Canada’s National Post:

Several French former soldiers have joined the ranks of jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq, the country’s government confirmed on Wednesday, as it outlined a series of new anti-terrorism measures following the Islamist attacks in Paris.

Most of the ex-soldiers, reportedly numbering around 10 and including former paratroopers and French foreign legionnaires, are said to be fighting on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Most worrying is the reported presence of an ex-member of France’s elite First Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, considered one of Europe’s most experienced special forces units and which shares the “Who Dares Wins” motto of the SAS.

The unnamed individual, of North African origin, had received commando training in combat, shooting and survival techniques. He served for five years before joining a private security company for which he worked in the Arabian peninsula, where he was radicalised before heading for Syria, according to L’Opinion, a news website.

The danger is not just the fighters being trained for combat in the Middle East, though that’s bad enough. But consider that these defecting soldiers were born and raised –or immigrated to and grew up– “being French.” They understand French culture: how to behave, how to fit in, the right lingo, the perfect accent. With their military training, they can move around France and Europe without standing out, which makes them perfect for terrorist operations there in ways no Egyptian-born jihadi could ever equal.

And as I asked before, how many sympathizers do they have who are still in French ranks? It’s no wonder Paris is planning to spend a lot more on counterintelligence to monitor… their own troops.

They’ve got a real problem on their hands.