Monday, December 21, 2009

"The perfect laboratory for Leftist policies."

The Left says that if you let them do what they want they'll bring a utopia of fairness and justice and peace. Let's see what they've done in one of the places where they've had the chance to preform: Detroit


Roger Kimbal has a bit on it.

But now Reid gives a fresh batch.

“There are 100 senators here and I don’t know that there’s a senator that doesn’t have something in this bill that isn’t important to them,” Reid said. “If they don’t have something in it important to them then it doesn’t speak well of them.”

That's right... he's bragging about his ability to bribe his chums with your money in order to take more of your money in the near future.

And then he mocks those that didn't "play ball".


And don't worry about the future.

The current spin is that this bill will be good for the Dems.

Even if Ben Smith’s sources are right and there’s some short-term relief for Obama, what’s the big takeaway from the bill next year for the 85 percent of voters who already have insurance? There’s no public option to sweeten the pot, and no one seriously believes that the bill will reduce costs over time. The only thing the average chump gets from it is the satisfaction of watching lefties call The One a corporate sellout and a promise that if you cancel your policy, you might go to prison.

Ace has more thoughts.

Right. People are going to be blown away by a plan whose benefits begin in 2014 but which begins escalating taxes on every damn thing in sight immediately.

The left won't be as energized since they were promised the moon (single payer no private insurance) and promized it now. Sure eventually they'll likely get it, but that's not good in the near term.

Neither are the voters that would be bribed with goodies on this bill. In order to scam the CBO the outlays only start after several years of new fees and taxes.

So, the left isn't enthused, the middle is skeptical and likely to get moreso, and the rigth hates it. That's not a winning combination.

Then again such happy talk could be just spin, and the dems are looking long term and don't care about 2010 or 2012.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's comming

Well, the dems have cranked up the bribes. So, anyone that complains about not voting gets some nice pork.

And if this Healthcare bill (a Bill ANY Bill) comes to pass?

Megan McArdle: “No bill this large has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote, or even anything close to a straight party-line vote. No bill this unpopular has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote. We’re in a new political world. I’m not sure I understand it.”

Obama won. But will this cause people to treat the bill as illegitimate, leading to tax revolts or worse? Or will people grumble and go along?

Plus this: “We’ve just increased substantially the supply of unrepealable, unsustainable entitlements. We’ve also, in my opinion, put ourselves on a road that leads eventually to less healthcare innovation, less healthcare improvement, and more dead people in the long run.” And that’s from an Obama voter.

But don't despair. This can still be fought.

The history of Western democracy includes some truly stunning partisan wipe-outs, but we don’t need to dwell on what today seems a remote political possibility (as remote as, say, a ca. 60-Democrat Senate seemed in 2002).  Dismantling, impeding, nullifying, and, in the end, fully repealing this bill does not require 60 Republicans or 60 conservatives:  Greater legal, legislative, and historical minds than mine must already be studying the precedents and gaming the scenarios, but we can observe here that, if passing popular legislation in the Senate always required partisan super-majorities, we wouldn’t have had a major piece of legislation signed since 1979.  We don’t know yet how the final votes in the Senate or for final passage after a House-Senate conference may go, but reversing them down the road would merely require a popularly backed majority joined by a passel of fence-sitters, perhaps including Democratic senators who in the current session vote for cloture but against final passage, perhaps including a few changes of heart.  It could be as simple as that.


The only reason to consider such outcomes impossible would be belief that the public will change its mind, that we do not face a looming fiscal and economic crunch, and that entitlement programs, once enacted, cannot ever be rescinded.

The first two propositions are at minimum debatable, and the tides of opinion and economic projection currently seem in conservatives’ political favor – a very well-evidenced observation that provided the basis for my “Make Our Decade” post and to varying degrees for the positions of my fellow Polyannist-Leninists. As for the third point, on the supernatural immortality of entitlement programs, we hear and read variations on it frequently – sometimes offered with a knowing laugh, lately from conservatives who have been attempting to gin up opposition to O-care – but, if and when the bill passes and is signed, the embrace of this perspective would be defeatism pure and simple.


As for this specific entitlement, what makes anyone believe that any guarantee it entails or calculation it depends on will be sustainable for very long, much less become “permanent”?  We will soon have to make some difficult fiscal choices on an almost incomprehensible scale, or have them made for us via national bankruptcy – under which latter situation all such entitlements would merely entitle the citizen to go searching with devalued dollars or theoretical guarantees for scarce to non-existent goods and services. The crisis of debt-supported, obligation-deferred, risk-displaced welfare state capitalism that exploded last year is not over.  It’s hardly even in abeyance, and Obamacare promises to deepen and accelerate it.

Before the next reckoning is reached, a coherent political force can achieve things that previously seemed politically impossible. That sort of change, believed in or not, has happened before in history, several times in our own history, and sometimes far ahead of the schedule set by the change agents themselves.  Furthermore, as has been pointed out by many observers ever since the polls turned decisively against Obamacare, no legislation this sweeping, partisan, and unpopular has ever before been passed.  To use one of the Obama Administration’s favorite words, enactment of Obamacare would be truly unprecedented.  We should therefore consider that unprecedented events tend to imply unprecedented responses, and unprecedented political events require and ensure unprecedented political responses:  The only real question is how long the equal and opposite reaction can be denied and suppressed.

Read it all.

This bill is massively unpopular and requried a perfect storm and a 60 majority in the Senate and months and months of pushing to get this close, to being passed in the middle of the night before Christmass

If it keeps getting more unpopular and controling. Especially given the meme of it being an "Insurance Industry" bailout...

This is new territory.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's come to this

How badly do Obama and the Left want a bill, any bill?

This bad:

Now that those provisions appear to have been stripped from the bill, Lieberman may get on board, but Nelson's demand that taxpayer money not be used to fund abortion has still not been met. According to a Senate aide, the White House is now threatening to put Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base on the BRAC list if Nelson doesn't fall into line.

Offutt Air Force Base employs some 10,000 military and federal employees in Southeastern Nebraska. As our source put it, this is a "naked effort by Rahm Emanuel and the White House to extort Nelson's vote." They are "threatening to close a base vital to national security for what?" asked the Senate staffer.

Indeed, Offutt is the headquarters for US Strategic Command, the successor to Strategic Air Command, and not by accident. STRATCOM was located in the middle of the country for strategic reasons. Its closure would be a massive blow to the economy of the state of Nebraska, but it would also be another example of this administration playing politics with our national security.

That's right. Vote Obama's way or he'll close a military base in your state. Even if it's critical for national security.

What next? Will Obama refuse to declare a federal emergency next time a disaster hits? Will he refuse to send in national guard or other fed level services?

Maybe he'll blow up some highway bridges.

Hope and Change!

Compared to that, flagrant voilation of the Senate rules seems so... small.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Prof. Reynolds calls it.

The Instapundit nails iot.

Back in September, noting a continuing pattern of White House incompetence, I predicted: “Expect this to play out in thumbsucker columns on whether America is ‘ungovernable.’”

And, right on cue, here’s Matthew Yglesias: “The smarter elements in Washington DC are starting to pick up on the fact that it’s not tactical errors on the part of the president that make it hard to get things done, it’s the fact that the country has become ungovernable.”

Funny, that dumb cowboy Bush seemed to get a lot done with fewer votes in Congress. . . .

Plus, from the comments: “There have been no major institutional changes in the United States government in recent history that have caused it to ‘become ungovernable.’ There just isn’t enough political support to enact various news laws and policies that you favor. Tough. If you hadn’t become seduced by the delusion that Obama is a ‘progressive’ and that last year’s election represented some kind of historic realignment in favor of ‘progressive’ policies you might have seen this coming.”

Read it all here.

And another comment:

Plus, reader Zachary Terry writes: “That silly, silly Constitution. It always seems to get in the way. In all seriousness, though, wasn’t the United States intended to be relatively ‘ungoverned?’ Why is it not surprising that blatant deviation from the intended structure and function of our national government has led to this quandary?”

Can we get a T-Shirt that says Proudly Ungovernable Since 1776?

Yes, recall the type of "governance" these people are complaining about when they cry they "can't govern" the US.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Government by Wishful Thinking

A must-read essay by Steven den Beste

Here's a taste:

[Materialism is] the world view of engineers and scientists — and businessmen, for that matter. It’s the world view of people who understand and use mathematics, and statistics. It is a place where cause leads to effect. It’s the place that game theory studies. It isn’t necessarily inherently atheistic; a lot of religious people live in the materialist world.

But there are people who don’t. A different epistemological view is teleology, which says that the universe is an ideal place. More or less, it exists so that we humans can live in it. And human thought is a fundamental force in the universe. Teleology says that if a mental model is esthetically pleasing then it must be true.


One way to compare and contrast those two world views is to consider what they think about socialism. Materialists look at history since Marx and point out that socialism has been tried many times, in many nations, in various forms, and it has always failed. In places where it was fully implemented the result was decline and economic collapse. When it was only partially implemented you got slower decline. It often looks like it’s working in the early stages, but in the longer term it has never succeeded.

So to materialists, it’s apparent that socialism is a nice idea, but one that doesn’t work and shouldn’t be adopted.

To teleologists, none of that matters. What matters is the fact that it’s a beautiful idea. It’s how things should be. In a world in which socialism was implemented and which worked the way the teleologists think it should work, you really would have a utopia. The fact that it’s invariably failed when used doesn’t change any of that. (When asked to explain all the failures, usually the answer is, “They didn’t do it right.” But for teleologists, a long string of failures doesn’t matter because fundamentally teleologists don’t believe things like that make any difference.)

It’s teleologists who drive around with bumper stickers that say, “Imagine world peace.” I can imagine it just fine. I don’t expect to see it in my lifetime, though. Why would they want me to imagine it?


Why does teleology (in this mutated form) matter? Because right now we have a teleologist as our President.

Matthew Continetti says that we’re in “a year of magical thinking.” And to someone who has grown up with a materialist view of the universe, it could certainly seem that way. But what’s really going on is that Obama has this kind of world view. And that explains everything he’s done.

It explains his foreign policy. To a teleologists, it just makes sense that everyone should want to get along. If you unclench your fist and hold out your hand, everyone else will unclench their fists, and become your friends. So Obama is doing that, and as we know the result has been a shambles.

It explains his economic policy. Teleologists inherently don’t believe in unintended side effects when it comes to implementing their idealistic policies. Obviously it should be possible to provide free health care to everyone without wrecking the economy; it’s just how things really should be, so that’s how it will be. Where will the money come from? That’s the kind of question that materialists ask; teleologists don’t concern themselves with such trivial. It’ll happen somehow, because it’s obviously how it should turn out. To say we shouldn’t do it is to be heartless, uncaring — and those things are more important than mundane claims that it won’t work. If you just believe, it will work.

Read it all.

And these are the people that call you heartless, evil, delusional, anti-sciene, and so on if you dare disagree with them. Meanwhile, they feel their ideas will work, because they are right and their ideas are noble.

And it's just a happy coincidence that their utopian path ends up giving them more power and more control.


"The Science" of Global Warming

Do these sound like the words of someone confident in the quality of their data?

Yet perhaps the most important revelation is not the collusion, the bullying, the politicization and the evidence-planting, but the fact that, even if you wanted to do honest “climate research” at the Climatic Research Unit, the data and the models are now so diseased by the above that they’re all but useless. Let Ian “Harry” Harris, who works in “climate scenario development and data manipulation” at the CRU, sum it up. Mr. Harris was attempting to duplicate previous results—i.e., to duplicate all that science that’s supposedly settled, and the questioning of which consigns you to the Climate Branch of the Flat Earth Society. How hard should it be to confirm settled science? After much cyber-gnashing of teeth, Harry throws in the towel:

“ARGH. Just went back to check on synthetic production. Apparently—I have no memory of this at all—we’re not doing observed rain days! It’s all synthetic from 1990 onwards. So I’m going to need conditionals in the update program to handle that. And separate gridding before 1989. And what TF happens to station counts?

“OH F–K THIS. It’s Sunday evening, I’ve worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I’m hitting yet another problem that’s based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform data integrity, it’s just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they’re found.”

Thus spake the Settled Scientist: “OH F–K THIS.” And on the basis of “OH F–K THIS” the world’s enlightened progressives will assemble at Copenhagen for the single greatest advance in punitive liberalism ever perpetrated on the developed world.
Back in the summer, I wrote in a column south of the border:

“If you’re 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you’re graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade. There has been no global warming this century. None. Admittedly the 21st century is only one century out of the many centuries of planetary existence, but it happens to be the one you’re stuck living in.”

In response to that, the shrieking pansies of the eco-left had a fit. The general tenor of my mail was summed up by one correspondent: “How can you live with your lies, dumb­f–k?” George Soros’s stenographers at Media Matters confidently pronounced it a “false claim.” Well, take it up with Phil Jones. He agrees with me. The only difference is he won’t say so in public.

Which is a bit odd, don’t you think?

Phil Jones and Michael Mann are two of the most influential figures in the whole “climate change” racket. What these documents reveal is the greatest scientific scandal of our times—and a tragedy. It’s not just their graphs but their battle lines that are drawn all wrong. Science is never “settled,” and certainly not on the basis of predictive models. And any scientist who says it is is no longer a scientist. And the dismissal of “skeptics” throughout the Jones/Mann correspondence is most revealing: a real scientist is always a skeptic."

And what is the mass media, the gaurdians of democracy, doing about this?

They're ignoring it and focusing on how the information was leaked and if they have to they'll talk about the emails themselves, but they won't ever touch the real story:

You must know this about the leaked files: While the emails were damning, the real “meat” was in the computer code leaked. Skeptical climate scientists have already studied it; they find it to be an outrageous manipulation that takes real temperature data and converts them into a warming fairytale. This data form the baseline for the research used by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This is huge.

Those who counter this argument by saying there are three other databases, and the two that use surface temperatures agree with this data, need to rethink what they are saying. Think about it. The CRU data is scientifically meaningless, and the scientists at the other centers are in constant contact with the scientists at CRU. There is a strong likelihood that the other databases are similarly without scientific merit.

They said that the code in the CRU scandal would be more damning than the emails, they were right. Read the link.

And then there's this:

Met Office in UK Declares Time Out on Global Warming Alarmism?
But: Government Itself Seeks to Halt Reexamination!

It doesn't sound like a cover-up... at least not yet.

But check it out: Gordon Brown's government is attempting to stop the science.

That's pro-science, right? Stopping a scientific reconstruction of "lost" data and a reexamination of the evidence? Yes, I think so. That's what science is. Science = not science. QED.


The Government is attempting to stop the Met Office from carrying out the re-examination, arguing that it would be seized upon by climate change sceptics.

1, Of course it will, and 2, So what? This is science? Halting a scientific inquiry because it might undermine theories for which there is currently no existing evidence?

And more "anti-science"
“Anti-science”? Maybe those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. As Dr. Pachauri himself notes, the entire issue with the East Anglia CRU is that they weren’t doing science, but advocacy. They conspired to silence critics, refused to release their methodology, used “garbage” data to bolster their claims, and then destroyed the raw data on which they based their models and conclusions.  What about that is pro-science?

Perhaps Gordon Brown needs to familiarize himself with actual science rather than political hackery. Actual science gets conducted in the open, and needs repeatable conclusions and full data sets to be considered “settled.” It welcomes scrutiny and testing; actual science doesn’t hide from scrutiny, or conspire to block it, and actual scientists don’t plot ways to ruin the careers of those who question the models or results.

Remember this next time someone reflexivly blathers about how being a skeptic is "anti-science".

And here's some evidence on just how scientifically "sophisticated" the global warming crowd is.

Let’s say you had two compasses to help you find north, but the compasses are reading incorrectly. After some investigation, you find that one of the compasses is located next to a strong magnet, which you have good reason to believe is strongly biasing that compass’s readings. In response, would you

1. Average the results of the two compasses and use this mean to guide you, or
2. Ignore the output of the poorly sited compass and rely solely on the other unbiased compass?

Most of us would quite rationally choose #2. However, Steve McIntyre shows us a situation involving two temperature stations in the USHCN network in which government researchers apparently have gone with solution #1. Here is the situation:

He compares the USHCN station at the Grand Canyon (which appears to be a good rural setting) with the Tucson USHCN station I documented here, located in a parking lot in the center of a rapidly growing million person city. Unsurprisingly, the Tucson data shows lots of warming and the Grand Canyon data shows none. So how might you correct Tucson and the Grand Canyon data, assuming they should be seeing about the same amount of warming? Would you

average them, effectively adjusting the two temperature readings

towards each other, or would you assume the Grand Canyon data is cleaner

with fewer biases and adjust Tucson only? Is there anyone who would not choose the second option, as with the compasses?

The GISS data set, created by the Goddard Center of NASA, takes the USHCN data set and somehow uses nearby stations to correct for anomalous stations. I say somehow, because, incredibly, these government scientists, whose research is funded by taxpayers and is being used to make major policy decisions, refuse to release their algorithms or methodology details publicly. They keep it all secret! Their adjustments are a big black box that none of us are allowed to look into (and remember, these adjustments account for the vast majority of reported warming in the last century).

We can, however, reverse engineer some of these adjustments, and McIntyre does.

That's right. Because black boxes and hidden data manipulation is the sign of true science. Nevermind the questionable averaging.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rocket Troopers

Following on the Rocket-Man's invention is the potential military use.

Basically, it's a rocket(or turbo jet) powered glider that can take a single man over long distances. Think of it like a HALO jump with much greater range.

Not for common use, but there are some cases where it'd be handy.