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FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, November 17, 2008


HOTTEST OCTOBER ON RECORD ... WAS REALLY A SEPTEMBER

By Ed Morrissey

The main statistical facility for global-warming activists compounded error with folly and have undermined their credibility entirely.  NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies announced that last month was the warmest October on record, surprising meteorologists who had seen colder temperatures and unseasonal snowstorms and wondered where all the heat originated:

GISS’s computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

The error was so glaring that when it was reported on the two blogs - run by the US meteorologist Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre, the Canadian computer analyst who won fame for his expert debunking of the notorious “hockey stick” graph - GISS began hastily revising its figures. This only made the confusion worse because, to compensate for the lowered temperatures in Russia, GISS claimed to have discovered a new “hotspot” in the Arctic - in a month when satellite images were showing Arctic sea-ice recovering so fast from its summer melt that three weeks ago it was 30 per cent more extensive than at the same time last year.

When outside analysts showed that GISS used September temperatures in Russia for its conclusions about October, GISS admitted that it has no quality control over the numbers is uses for its analysis:

A GISS spokesman lamely explained that the reason for the error in the Russian figures was that they were obtained from another body, and that GISS did not have resources to exercise proper quality control over the data it was supplied with. This is an astonishing admission: the figures published by Dr Hansen’s institute are not only one of the four data sets that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relies on to promote its case for global warming, but they are the most widely quoted, since they consistently show higher temperatures than the others.

And Dr. James Hansen, one of Al Gore’s chief allies on his global-warming crusade, has cooked the books before, as have his associates:

Yet last week’s latest episode is far from the first time Dr Hansen’s methodology has been called in question. In 2007 he was forced by Mr Watts and Mr McIntyre to revise his published figures for US surface temperatures, to show that the hottest decade of the 20th century was not the 1990s, as he had claimed, but the 1930s.

Another of his close allies is Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, who recently startled a university audience in Australia by claiming that global temperatures have recently been rising “very much faster” than ever, in front of a graph showing them rising sharply in the past decade. In fact, as many of his audience were aware, they have not been rising in recent years and since 2007 have dropped.

NASA must investigate this episode at GISS and insist on reliable production of accurate statistics.  If they have scientists who can’t tell September from October and can’t recognize a cooling cycle in the Arctic, then they need new leadership at GISS, starting with Hansen.  The admission from GISS that they can’t verify their source data when reaching to conclusions should embarrass scientists throughout the profession, as verification of data is absolutely necessary before reaching any conclusions.  Without that, GISS may as well be studying the entrails of goats to make predictions about the future climate.

OBAMA WILL BACK SAUDI PEACE PLAN

By Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama has decided to base his diplomatic approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the Saudi peace plan, the Times of London reports today.  A “senior Obama adviser” tells the Times that Obama will back the plan that divides Jerusalem into two capitals and pulls Israel back to pre-1967 borders:

Barack Obama is to pursue an ambitious peace plan in the Middle East involving the recognition of Israel by the Arab world in exchange for its withdrawal to pre-1967 borders, according to sources close to America’s president-elect.

Obama intends to throw his support behind a 2002 Saudi peace initiative endorsed by the Arab League and backed by Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister and leader of the ruling Kadima party.

The proposal gives Israel an effective veto on the return of Arab refugees expelled in 1948 while requiring it to restore the Golan Heights to Syria and allow the Palestinians to establish a state capital in east Jerusalem.

On a visit to the Middle East last July, the president-elect said privately it would be “crazy” for Israel to refuse a deal that could “give them peace with the Muslim world”, according to a senior Obama adviser.

Apparently, Obama has changed his position from his speech at AIPAC.  In early June, he told the Israeli-supporting political action group that Jerusalem “must remain undivided,” drawing thunderous applause and roars of criticism later from Palestinian groups.  Within hours, Obama retreated to the Bush administration position — that Jerusalem should be left to the two sides to negotiate in the final settlement.

Welcome to Obama 3.0 on Jerusalem.  Now he has switched sides to the exact opposite of what he argued at AIPAC.  One has to wonder what all of those Jewish voters who supported Obama will think of this new position on Israel’s borders and security, but somehow I doubt it would get thunderous applause at AIPAC.

In Israel, the reception could be more mixed.  Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and leading candidate for Prime Minister from Ariel Sharon’s Kadima party, backs the Saudi peace plan in concept, including the division of Jerusalem.  The Israeli Left supports it as well, with Shimon Peres and Ehud Olmert both endorsing the plan.  Likud candidate Benjamin Netanyahu opposes it entirely.

Obama reportedly told Mahmoud Abbas that “Israel would be crazy” not to accept the plan.  He concluded that the Saudi plan would give Israel peace with the entire Muslim world.  Really?  It might make it palatable for some states like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to start diplomatic relations with Israel, and perhaps even Syria if they get back the Golan Heights.  But who believes that Iran, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, and the proxy armies of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad will suddenly discover brotherly love with such a settlement?  They want Israel wiped off the map, literally in Iran’s case, and the Israelis driven into the Mediterranean.

Israel can decide on its own to take a risk and adopt the smaller borders in exchange for the promise of peace.  Obama should have stuck with his AIPAC speech, or the initial retreat from it.  Sunday, November 16, 2008

http://hotair.com


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A FEW DEMANDS

By Henry Payne

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

www.townhall.com/funnies 


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THREE MORE YEARS

By Paul Mirengoff

Iraq's cabinet has voted almost unanimously to approve the security agreement that allows U.S. troops to remain in Iraq until the end of 2011. That's three more years, for those liberals counting at home.

The Washington Post reassuringly notes that "the agreement would not affect Obama's pledge to withdraw most U.S. combat forces within 16 months of his inauguration." For the agreement "says nothing about when a drawdown would begin, the rate of departure, or accomplishing it earlier than 2011."

True. But the agreement removes Obama's ability to justify a premature withdrawal by claiming that this is what the Iraqis have mandated.

If Obama has any sense, and I think he does, the timing and pace of the drawdown will be dictated by the situation on the ground, just as would have been the case under George W. Bush or John McCain. We can all hope that, thanks to the policies McCain insisted upon, Bush implemented, and Obama opposed, the situation will permit nearly all of our troops to leave Iraq well before the end of 2011. Sunday, November 16, 2008

www.powerlineblog.com

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HAPPY EX-TERRORISTS NOW LOQUACIOUS

By Charles Johnson

Now that Barack Obama’s elected, William Ayers just won’t stop talking. In this clip from the far-left Democracy Now show, Bernardine Dohrn says Obama’s election represents “a rejection of the politics of fear.”

(Hat tip: Allahpundit, via Breitbart.)  Sunday, November 16, 2008

http://littlegreenfootballs.com


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BAILOUT KING

By Glenn Foden


Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

www.townhall.com/funnies  


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MYSTERIOUS FORCE

By Richard Fernandez

According to the Obama transition team, the mysterious “civilian national security force” he announced to cheering crowds in July is intended to provide “postwar reconstruction” in addition to the strictly military activities of the regularly Armed Forces. It is not a Brownshirt-like force. That at least, is the vague explanation given to his most tantalizing speech.

A Republican congressman from Georgia said Monday he fears that President-elect Obama will establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship.

“It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he’s the one who proposed this national security force,” Rep. Paul Broun said of Obama in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. “I’m just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may — may not, I hope not — but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism.”

Broun cited a July speech by Obama that has circulated on the Internet in which the then-Democratic presidential candidate called for a civilian force to take some of the national security burden off the military. …

Obama’s comments about a national security force came during a speech in Colorado in which he called for expanding the nation’s foreign service.

“We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set,” Obama said in July. “We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

The Obama transition team declined to comment on Broun’s remarks. But spokesman Tommy Vietor said Obama was referring in the speech to a proposal for a civilian reserve corps that could handle postwar reconstruction efforts such as rebuilding infrastructure — an idea endorsed by the Bush administration.

But the “civilian reserve corps” mentioned in GWB’s 2007 State of the Union Speech was a relatively small, all-volunteer corps of civilians who could provide specialist skills for reconstruction. It was nothing like the organization “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the US military described by Barack Obama.

President Bush, who once dismissed “nation-building” and failed to prepare adequately for rebuilding Iraq after invading it, made a significant shift in his State of the Union address a year ago.

He proposed creating a small, all-volunteer force of U.S. civilians with specialized skills who could deploy on short notice to nations shattered by war, to help them rebuild. It was an acknowledgement that while the Pentagon was given the lead in postwar Iraq, reconstruction is often a job best suited for civilian agencies.

But the initiative, called the Civilian Reserve Corps, has gone nowhere. It’s been a victim of congressional skepticism and, some critics say, ambivalence from the Bush administration.

Congress last May approved $50 million for the plan, enough to create a 500-person reserve. But Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has blocked legislation permitting the State Department to spend the money.

The 500 man, $50 million dollar force can hardly be what Obama refers to. It seems to be something much grander. The tantalizing question is what department this “civilian reserve corps” — if that’s what it is — would be housed under. Will it be the DOS, the DOD? Homeland Security? Or something completely different. And who would coordinate it’s activities with the DOD? One possibility, already proposed under HR 808, is the proposed Department of Peace and Nonviolence.

GovTrack has this entry for H.R. 808, “A bill to establish a Department of Peace and Nonviolence,” sponsored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich [D-OH]. The bill was introduced February, 2007. It aims to establish a new Department of Peace and Nonviolence with the following offices:

Office of Peace Education and Training.
Office of Domestic Peace Activities.
Office of International Peace Activities.
Office of Technology for Peace.
Office of Arms Control and Disarmament.
Office of Peaceful Coexistence and Nonviolent Conflict Resolution.
Office of Human Rights and Economic Rights.
Intergovernmental Advisory Council on Peace and Nonviolence.

According to the bill’s text, a representative of the Department of Peace and Nonviolence will sit on the National Security Council, recommend policy to the Attorney General and advise the Secretary of Defense and State on all matters concerning national security.

The Department of Peace and Nonviolence doesn’t exactly seem to be the kind of organization that can partner with the US military in dangerous situations. Is that going to be yet another organization? Who knows? We’ll see soon enough.  Sunday, November 16, 2008

http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez


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HEY, KID, WANT SOME CANDY?

By John Hinderaker

We wrote here and here about the New York Times's disgraceful late-campaign hit piece on Cindy McCain. One controversial aspect of the story was the effort by Times reporter Jodi Kantor to use Facebook to find kids whose parents might be able to contribute dirt on Mrs. McCain. Today, the paper's Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, takes up the controversy.

Hoyt frames it, though, in terms of the broader question of "[h]ow a newspaper like The Times should deal with minors -- as news sources and as the subjects of articles." He muddies the water by treating the Kantor/McCain story in tandem with another episode in which a 12-year-old boy apparently witnessed a crime.

Hoyt concludes that, in Kantor's place, he wouldn't have gone fishing among kids on Facebook. But, by treating the Times as a legitimate news organization, he misses the real point of the criticism that we and others leveled against Kantor. In fact, there was nothing fair or legitimate about the partisan smear-job that the Times printed, nor was there anything intended to be fair or legitimate about it.

Kantor told the children that she was trolling for information on "what [Cindy McCain] is like as a mother." Knowing that the dirt she had on Mrs. McCain was thin at best, Kantor was hoping to be able to smear Mrs. McCain by writing that she is a bad mother. That effort didn't pan out, but it was more akin to a "reporter" from the National Enquirer offering children candy on a playground in hopes of a "scoop" than to legitimate reporting by a real newspaper.  Sunday, November 16, 2008

CORPORATE TAX RELIEF ON THE WAY?

By John Hinderaker

Charlie Rangel says that he is revising his tax package to include a reduction in corporate income taxes, to 28 percent, down from the current 35 percent rate. That's good public policy, even if you're a liberal. Our corporate income tax rate is the second highest in the developed world and represents a significant drag on the competitiveness of American companies. Cutting the rate will make every company in America more valuable at a stroke and thereby provide a big boost to the stock market.

The down-side of Rangel's tax package, of course, is tax increases on individuals. Rangel intends to raise individual tax rates to a marginal 44 percent on people making over $200,000. Add in 8.5 percent if you live in a state like Minnesota plus 3 percent for Medicare, and you're at a marginal rate of 55.5 percent. I don't know how much that will hurt the economy, but the more important point is that it is grotesquely unjust. No one should pay that kind of confiscatory rate.

Via InstaPundit.

PAUL adds: It's interesting to speculate about the extent to which the Rangel package would increase federal tax revenue. A disproportionate number of people making over $200,000 are capable of retiring now or very soon, and even more will be capable of retiring if the stock market picks up.

It's easy to imagine lots of these folks retiring a few years earlier than they otherwise would have, rather than staying on in demanding jobs so they can subsidize "tax credits" for folks who aren't paying any taxes. Retiring pursuant to this thought may strike some liberals as grossly unpatriotic, but that doesn't mean people won't do it, or that liberals won't be among them.  Saturday, November 15, 2008

www.powerlineblog.com


*

RANGEL'S OTHER SHOES

By Ed Morrissey

Has Charlie Rangel transformed into a Laffer Curve, free-market thinker?  Not quite.  Bloomberg reports that Rangel has agreed with John McCain on reducing the corporate tax rate, but Rangel plans to pay for it by stripping out deductions, effectively raising taxes on corporations instead:

New York Representative Charles Rangel said he’s revising his tax overhaul proposal to reduce U.S. corporate tax rates to 28 percent, down from the current rate of 35 percent.

Rangel, in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s “Money and Politics,” said he’s changing the “mother of all tax reform” he unveiled in September 2007 to accommodate President- elect Barack Obama’s agenda. That earlier plan would have set the corporate tax rate at 30.5 percent. Rangel is the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax policy.

Sounds good so far, right?  Rangel lets the other shoe drop in the details:

In July 2007, the Treasury Department said the U.S. could reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 percent by eliminating popular benefits such as a research credit and a deduction for making products domestically.

Rangel two months later also recommended repealing the deduction for domestic production, other incentives that primarily benefit multinational corporations, as well as tax benefits associated with a popular accounting method known as last-in, first-out.

This sounds a little odd after listening to Barack Obama the last two years.  Rangel now wants to eliminate the tax credit associated with manufacturing goods inside the US?  What happened to the pledge to give tax breaks to companies that kept manufacturing jobs in America?  The elimination of the research credit also comes at a strange time, given Obama’s insistence on the need for research into green energy solutions.

Rangel also wants to slap a surcharge on the rich.  In addition to hiking the upper tax rate to 39.6%, Rangel wants an additional 4% added to those who make as little as $200,000 per year.  That makes the overall tax rate for those incomes 43.6%, and it includes people whom Obama promised a tax cut during the campaign.

What does Rangel want to do with the extra income he thinks he’ll get from these tax hikes?  Rangel wants to fund the tax credits that Obama promised to the middle class, of course, enabling the redistributionism on which Obama won the election.  Of course, as manufacturing jobs move overseas in greater numbers and people have less capital to invest, jobs will disappear, and the government will have much less wealth to transfer than Obama and Rangel predicted.  We’ll see more tax hikes as they attempt to deliver on their populist promises, which will damage the economy even further, and start a tailspin for the American economy that neither Rangel nor Obama can stop with their economic ideologies.

When Rangel talks tax cuts, always look for the fine print.  Sunday, November 16, 2008

http://hotair.com


*

PAKISTAN CLOSES BORDER CROSSING TO NATO TRAFFIC

By Bill Roggio

Map of the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province. The government signed peace agreements in the red agencies/ districts (the military said Shangla was under Taliban control in October); purple districts are under de facto Taliban control; yellow regions are under Taliban influence.

Pakistan has halted all NATO supply convoys into Afghanistan via the Torkham border crossing point, citing the poor security situation along the vital artery into Afghanistan.

"Hundreds of trucks and containers had been stopped in Peshawar" after the political agent of the Khyber tribal agency shut down traffic along the road, Daily Times reported. "Supplies had been suspended following incidents of looting of trucks and containers carrying oil and other supplies for the NATO forces battling Taliban in Afghanistan."

An estimated 75 percent of NATO supplies move through Khyber to resupply troops fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The bulk of NATO's supplies arrive in the port city of Karachi, move north to Peshawar, and head west to the Torkham crossing into Afghanistan and the final destination in Kabul. The rest of the supplies pass through the Chaman border crossing point in Baluchistan or arrive via air. The US has been quietly trying to secure alternate routes through central Asia.

Taliban forces and criminal elements have hijacked dozens of trucks over the past month, but the most high-profile incident occurred on Nov. 11. Taliban fighters under the command of Baitullah Mehsud, the commander of the Pakistani Taliban, looted thirteen trucks carrying wheat, supplies, and two American-made humvees. The Taliban were photographed parading the vehicles throughout the agency.

The provincial government of the Northwest Frontier Province recommended closing the road on Nov. 11 "because of the volatile security situation on the restive Pak-Afghan border," according to Daily Times. Some trucking companies are braving the roads, but are doing so without protection.

Pakistan closed the Torkham border crossing once this year. Some officials claimed it was due to the poor security, but the minister of defense and other officials cited the US airstrikes and raids targeting Taliban and al Qaeda forces in the tribal areas. The crossing was reopened the next day.

The road from Peshawar to the Torkham border crossing at the Khyber Pass has been secured by a combination of the paramilitary Frontier Corps and members of the Afridi tribe. A senior US military intelligence official expressed dismay in the performance of these local forces during a conversation with The Long War Journal. The official is also concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Peshawar.

The Taliban have been encroaching on Peshawar since last year, when its fighters began enforces sharia and pressuring businesses to establish Islamic outfits. The Pakistani military launched a military operation in Khyber last June with the goal of relieving pressure on the provincial capital. But the short-lived operation left the extremist forces operating in Khyber intact.

Since the summer, the Taliban have effectively surrounded Peshawar on three sides [see map]. The Taliban run the Mohmand tribal agency and have a strong presence in Charsadda to the North. Khyber to the East is flooded with extremists, and Arakzai to the South is also under Taliban control.

Recently Hamid Nawaza, a retired Pakistani general and military analyst described Peshawar as "besieged from all sides by the terrorists," according to Daily Times. Nawaza said the police are poorly armed and trained, and often flee during engagements with the Taliban.

Due to the poor security situation, the city has been the target of multiple suicide attacks and kidnappings and assassinations over the past several months. The last suicide attack was aimed at the chief minister of the Northwest Frontier Province on Nov. 11. He narrowly escaped the attack, but two of his bodyguards were killed.

The Taliban have also declared open season of foreign dignitaries, aid workers and journalists. The past week has seen a rash of kidnappings and assassinations against foreigners in Peshawar's so-called secured neighborhoods. A US aid worker and his driver were killed on Nov. 12. An Iranian consular official was kidnapped on Nov. 13. Two reporters were shot and wounded during a kidnapping attempt on Nov. 14.  Sunday, November 16, 2008

www.longwarjournal.org




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