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Archive for May, 2009

May 31st 2009

Condoning Torture

S

o a chubby, coddled conservative talk radio host gets waterboarded and immediately repents his evil ways and declares the practice to be torture – what does it prove?  Despite the much that has been made of this clip, it proves nothing more than that one chubby, coddled individual got frightened by a procedure some consider to be torture.

I’m old school.  I still think torture involves breaking bones, stretching joints, electrocuting testicles, raping or murdering one’s spouse or children before your eyes, creating long-term craziness and, possibly, exposing one to lengthy recordings of Nancy Pelosi.

But I’m no dummy.  I realize that the left has succeeded once again in seizing a perfectly good word and transforming it for their purposes.  Remember tolerance? Gay? Torture has joined the club.

Now torture is widely accepted by liberal westerners to mean anything that causes discomfort – being growled at by dogs, having bugs in your cell, being exposed to heat or cold, or being waterboarded.

If that’s the case, it’s time for the United States to stand up and embrace torture … at least those interrogation techniques that a few short years ago no one ever thought of as constituting torture.

Given that once a word is trashed, it seems to stay trashed forever, what president will be brave enough to say that in order to protect its citizens, the United States condones the carefully controlled and monitored use of a defined list of “tortures?”  It has gotten down to that – we are either going to have to become a “torturing” country under the leftist definition, or we are going to have to accept a greater likelihood of a terrorist attack on our shores.

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May 31st 2009

Kyoto Kills

T

he carbon credit trading schemes that are the primary outgrowth of the UN’s Kyoto climate treaty – a cooler climate certainly isn’t! – are a scandal in the making.  And it’s not just a scam scandal like I’ve been writing about, in which people pay for credits that are never realized on the back-end; it’s a massive, global environmental and financial scandal in the making.

In a long and detailed expose in The (UK) Mail forwarded to me by Bookworm, the massive pollution created in the name of carbon credits is exposed and the scale of the problem is detailed:

‘The carbon-credits business operates rather like the financial-services industry did,’ says Kevin Smith of campaigning watchdog Carbon Trade Watch.

‘Insufficient scrutiny and transparency, dodgy projects getting money when they shouldn’t be. And we all know the consequences of what happened in financial services. But this is potentially much more serious, because unlike the Government, nature doesn’t do bailouts.’

Here’s an example of how Kyoto-spawned carbon credits really work:

On a busy trading floor in London, a polluting European company buys credits sold by a trader like European Climate Exchange (ECX), which handles about 98 percent of the carbon-emissions trading in Europe — 25 million tons of carbon traded daily. The market is expected to grow this year to about $200 billion from $160 billion, despite the recession.

Money from the credit purchase, less ECX’s commission, goes to the owners of a factory in India owned by Gujarat Fluorochemicals (GFL) that makes refrigerants like HFC23, a ton of which is equivalent to 11,700 tons of carbon, so it’s a bad boy in the anthropogenic global warming world. GFL uses the money to install new technology and clean up its act. But, says The Mail:

Our own extensive tests by an independent laboratory showed dangerous contaminants in the land and water around the factory – chemicals that match those pollutants produced by GFL. Interviews with the people living nearby reveal their livelihoods and health have been severely affected. We found that the auditors who were supposed to verify the carbon savings were paid for by GFL, a stipulation of the scheme, and they checked only for greenhouse gases, caring little about other pollution.

In a further ironic twist, we discovered that GFL used some of the money it gained from the UN to build a factory making Teflon and caustic soda –both processes are massively polluting.

Meanwhile in the UK, one of our biggest industrial companies is able to claim it has off-set its own pollution by supporting GFL, yet it remains oblivious to and unconcerned about the serious accusations being made against the Indian factory.

The money from the carbon credits were very profitable for GFL – its earnings tripled over the previous year, and it didn’t both to spend any of Europe’s largesse on other pollution control equipment. It’s hardly alone – factories throughout India, Latin America and China are also profiting from money received from carbon credits.

The Warmies’ insistence on only monitoring for reductions in greenhouse gases, ignoring the local pollution that harms locals’ health and the local environment, is Western environmental chauvinism at its worst. Convinced that global warming poses a threat to their quality of life, the West is sanctioning the trashing of everyone else’s piece of the planet so greenhouse gases can be reduced.

Human-made greenhouse gases, if they have any profound impact on the environment at all, are long-term, bit-part players in the pollutant scheme of things. Far more people suffer – as in live shorter lives, not get the sniffles – from pollutants in the ground and water, pollutants that are not only not addressed by carbon trading schemes but, as The Mail’s expose points out, are actually exacerbated.

Here’s a bit more from the article, detailing what was found in the water sample from a water well (right) near the GFL factory receiving income from carbon credit trading:

They revealed dangerously high levels of fluoride and chloride – fluoride in the water was more than twice the international acceptable limit. All the water fell well below any safe drinking standards and the soil had worryingly high levels of these chemicals.

We showed the results to environmental specialist Hiral Mehta.

‘High flouride levels cause skeletal fluorosis in which people complain about joint pain, backache and rigid bones,’ she says. ‘The crop deterioration is another impact. Your tests confirm previous investigations.’

I’m not a quick one to dole out new rights, but I do believe people should have a right to clean water.  We have accomplished that in the US with the Clean Water Act (even though now it’s become a tool of expensive over-regulation), and if the carbon traders would start worrying about what they’re doing instead of just raking in dough, they could use the money generated by the trades to encourage the clean-up of all sorts of pollution, not just greenhouse gases.

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May 30th 2009

Whee! Grrr! Obama’s Gitmo Follies

“Whee! It’s fun being president! I think I’ll close that nasty ol’ Gitmo!”

“Grrr! This is more … what was that word I used on the campaign? … nuanced than I thought! This job sucks! What can I run for next to get out of this?”

So it goes with the WheeGrrrs – Uighers – and Obama’s quest to rid the world of evil, one detention facility for evil people at a time.

Relying on Andy McCarthy’s post at The Corner, we see the Uigher dance going something like this:

  • Uighers trained by al-Qaeda-affliated group recognized by U.S. to be terrorists
  • Uighers picked up while on a trip to the Mall of Afghanistan to buy some “USA Rocks!” T-shirts
  • Uighers sent to Gitmo; become cause celebre of the Left
  • Military, fed courts rule that sure, they are terrorists, but their beef is with China, not us, so they’re not enemy combatants
  • No country will take them except China, but we can’t ship them there because of a treaty that precludes us from deporting people to certain torture and/or death
  • Fed. judge Richard Urbina rules the Uighers can be released into the US
  • In a refreshingly moment of clarity in an otherwise stupidity-clouded story, higher-up fed judge Raymond Randolph overrules Urbina and finds that “just because courts have the power to review whether a prisoner is properly designated an enemy combatant does not mean they have the power to order the release into the United States of those found not to be enemy combatants.”
  • The Uighers, catching on to the US courts game, appeal
  • The Obama Justice Dept. files a brief that reads like it was written by John Yoo.  The Uighers, says the brief, “would like the federal courts to order that they be brought to the United States, because they are unwilling to return to their home country. But they have no entitlement to that form of relief.”

In a transparent attempt to shield the prez from leftist outrage, the Justice Dept. waited until late Friday to file its brief. But then, Obama is all about transparency, right?

Hey, here’s an idea.  Why don’t we just keep the Uighers on some U.S. territory on a certain Communist Caribbean island, where we can stash them out of sight, out of mind, at a safe distance until someone steps up to accept them, or forever, whichever comes first?

Of course, to do that, Obama would have to break a campaign promise.  You know, like going through the federal budget line by line to cut pork.  Oh wait!  Can I say “pork?”  A Muslim may see it and get offended … and I might be shipped off to Gitmo.

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May 30th 2009

What A Twit!

S

igh … Li’l Kim probably got more followers than me! But you can help – follow me @laerpearce.

Hat-tip: Aren

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May 29th 2009

Paint It White

O

ur Nobel Laureat energy sec, Steven Chu, has been chewing on an idea for a while and finally spit it out:  Let’s save the planet by painting all the roofs and roads white!

Chu, speaking at the St. James’ Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium, said the calculations are based on work done at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he used to work and where three researchers concluded last year that changing surface colors in the world’s 100 largest cities would offset 44 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions. (Source)

Who’s to fault the good scientists at Lawrence Berkeley? After all, they’ve scored millions of bucks to study the terrible effects of global warming, so they can be trusted.  And besides, the idea is simplistic as can be, right?  Just step from a concrete sidewalk to an asphalt street on a hot, sunny day.

But wait.  What is the urbanized land mass vs. the global land mass?  Factoring in the oceans, the arctic and antarctic regions (which already are white) and the massive amount of undeveloped territory, I’m sure it’s under one percent.

And why hasn’t Chu proposed to dye the oceans white?

And what is the greenhouse gas impact from manufacturing, transporting and applying all that white paint?

And what the heck are we going to do if Chu & Co. are all wrong and the long-anticipated global cooling process kicks off soon?

You see, this save the planet biz isn’t as easy as they crack it up to be.

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May 29th 2009

Don’t Worry Folks, She’s OK With Killing Babies

While the mainly marginalized media’s coverage of Sonia Sotomayor seems to be directed towards making sure every American knows that every Republican thinks she’s a racist, the more interesting side show in this circus is the effort to reassure worried pro-abortion stalwarts that Sotomayor really is OK with killing pre-borns.

WaPo covers the story this morning in a soothing manner (if you’re pro-abortion):

The White House scrambled yesterday to assuage worries from liberal groups about Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s scant record on abortion rights, delivering strong but vague assurances that the Supreme Court nominee agrees with President Obama’s belief in constitutional protections for a woman’s right to the procedure. 

I’ve never heard of a constitutional right to a procedure, but let’s move on.

Facing concerns about the issue from supporters rather than detractors, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama did not ask Sotomayor specifically about abortion rights during their interview. But Gibbs indicated that the White House is nonetheless sure she agrees with the constitutional underpinnings of Roe v. Wade, which 36 years ago provided abortion rights nationwide.

“In their discussions, they talked about the theory of constitutional interpretation, generally, including her views on unenumerated rights in the Constitution and the theory of settled law,” Gibbs said. “He left very comfortable with her interpretation of the Constitution being similar to that of his.”

As you may recall,  during the campaign Obama passed the dead baby litmus test by declaring that he would not appoint a SCOTUS judge who did not believe in the right to abort babies by the millions.  Oh, sorry.  What he actually said was the appointee would have to believe the constitution afforded “a right to privacy.” He is so good at picking just the right word!

WaPo sought out perhaps the only person in the  Senate with pro-abortion views as radical as Obama’s, Barbara Boxer, to offer libs a security blanket so they don’t get uppity in public about abortion:

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), one of the Senate’s leading abortion rights supporters, said she will not specifically ask Sotomayor about Roe but said she has no reason to doubt Sotomayor’s position on the issue. “I feel as comfortable as I could possibly feel,” Boxer said.  

Well, good!  That means Libs can check the abortion box, right next to the “thinks Latinas make better judicial decisions than white men” box, which is not to be confused with the racist box, which shall remain unchecked.

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May 28th 2009

Beating Liberty With A Stick

Q

uick, can you tell a Heermann’s gull (below), a federal species of concern, from your run-of-the-mill flying beach rat (above)?  You’d better be able to answer yes, or be prepared to face the wrath of the federal critter police:

LAGUNA BEACH (OC Register) – A Kansas man is contesting a $275 fine by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for attacking a rare gull in Laguna Beach when the bird tried to steal his wife’s ice cream.

Dragan Djuric, 50, of Wichita, Kan., opted not to pay the fine and to bring the matter before a federal judge in Los Angeles County Court, said Mona Iannelli with the Fish and Wildlife Service. Djuric is scheduled to appear in court July 2.

Djuric was not immediately available for comment.

Fish and Wildlife officials say Djuric violated the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act when he beat a Heermann’s gull with a stick New Year’s Eve. Heermann’s gulls are listed under the act.

Djuric – probably a 1st generation immigrant who’s learning a lot about America through this process – says the gull attacked his wife and dropped a gnarly dose of droppings on him while the couple was eating ice cream on Laguna Beach’s Main Beach.  The feds disagree, citing busy-body witnesses who say his attack was not defensive in nature because the ice cream had already fallen out of its cone and was on the ground.

Apparently no charges are going to be filed against the vet who euthanized the bird, which came out of the cross-species warfare with a broken wing.

(OOPS: Djuric was prosecuted under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, not the Endangered Species Act, so whether he hit a Heermann’s gull or a common flying rat is of no consequence. Any ol’ migratory bird is hands-off under the MBTA.)

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May 28th 2009

“Dealergate” – Obama’s First Real Scandal?

When I first read of Dealergate in a “Red Alert” post by Doug Ross – the supposed effort by the Obama admin to close Chrysler dealerships whose owners are big GOP donors – I decided not to write about it because a key question was unanswered:  How many Chrysler dealers are big Obama supporters?  

Seemingly, car dealership owners, as entrepreneurs in a business that’s under odious regulation and ongoing threats to its survival by Dem  pontificators, would be overwhelmingly Republican, so dealerships forced to close by a Dem admin would be overwhelmingly Republican.  I’m not sure that question has yet to be answered, but the story is getting some very sticky traction (at least on the right side of the blogosphere), so it’s officially an Obama Drama.

In Ross’ newest post, he’s been putting dealership locations and political contributions and finding a pattern of GOP-contributing dealerships being closed to the benefit of nearby Obama-supporting dealerships.  Here’s one example of many, many presented:

In [Joey] Smith’s research, one company kept popping up on the list of dealerships remaining open. The company is RLJ-McLarty-Landers, which owns six Chrysler dealerships. All six dealerships are on “the safe list.”

RLJ’s owners “are Steve Landers (long-time car dealer, 4th-generation dealer), Thomas “Mack” McLarty (former Chief of Staff for President Clinton), and Robert Johnson (founder of Black Entertainment Television and co-owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats)… McLarty campaigned for Obama in 2008, and Johnson has given countless amounts of money to Democrats over the years.

Smith examined RLJ’s markets, which I’ve illustrated below.

Two competitors in the Bentonville area knocked out, and an entire market opened to a dealership whose owners are – and this is an appropriate for goings-on in Arkansas – Friends of Barack.  There are four other examples given, the most egregious in Lee’s Summit, MO, where we see this:

There are 5 Chrysler dealerships near Lee’s Summit:

1. Lee’s Summit Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep (Lee’s Summit, MO)
2. Crawford’s Raytown (Jeep) (Raytown, MO)
3. Mitch Crawford’s Holiday Motors (Chrysler) (Raytown, MO)
4. Raytown Dodge Company (Dodge) (Raytown, MO)
5. Milner-O’Quinn Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep (all 4 brands) (Harrisonville, MO)

#1 is located in Lee’s Summit and is owned by RLJ-McCarty-Landers.

#2, #3, and #4 are located 9 miles northwest in Raytown, MO and is owned by Michael Crawford.

#5 is located 19 miles south in Harrisonville, MO and is owned by Charles O’Quinn.

The Lee’s Summit dealership will remain open while the other 4 in Raytown and Harrisonville will close. The Lee’s Summit dealership will have no other Chrysler dealerships located within at least a 20 mile radius. All of the local competition will be wiped out due to the Chrysler closings.

But Chrylser says the dealerships were evaluated based on “sales volume, customer service scores, local market share and average household income in the immediate area.” Looking at the maps, the use of the word “immediate” becomes highly suspect. Besides,

Dealer Jim Anderer told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto he can’t comprehend how his dealership can be among those killed: he stated that his sales volume ranking is in the top 2 percent of all dealers.

Furthermore, Anderer says explanations aren’t forthcoming. “They won’t tell us. They seem to be running for cover right now because they won’t give us a solid explanation. They come up with all these reasons, but none of them seem to make sense… This is insanity. The government is stealing my business. And they’re telling me there’s nothing I can do about it… There was no process that you could put your finger on and say, ‘Hey, we cut 25 percent of the lowest performing dealers.’ They didn’t do that. Nobody will give us a real clear explanation of the formula that they came up with.”

And Reuters tells us this:

Lawyer Leonard Bellavia, of Bellavia Gentile & Associates, who represents some of the terminated dealers, said he deposed Chrysler President Jim Press on Tuesday and came away with the impression that Press did not support the plan. “It became clear to us that Chrysler does not see the wisdom of terminating 25 percent of its dealers,” Bellavia said.

“It really wasn’t Chrysler’s decision. They are under enormous pressure from the President’s automotive task force.” (emphasis added)

Here’s Joey Smith’s blog, which is dedicated to this story, and here’s a post at Gateway Pundit.  The story is also Michelle Malkin’s lead today, and a Google blog search of “Chrysler dealerships GOP contributions” turned up 6,157 hits at 7:25 a.m. PST, so the story is getting some visibility – although the same search at the NYT, WaPo and AP turned up nothing (natch!).

Obama’s Teflon is still intact and very slick.  Will this story break through the way Hillary’s purge of the White House travel office did?  If so, it’s a much bigger story and will do some very real damage.  But I don’t think that’s going to happen.  I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’d bet the story will die due to a complete lack of attention from the mostly marginalized media, and successful Dem efforts to nip any meaningful Congressional investigation in the bud.

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May 27th 2009

“Transformation” Secretary LaHood Vs. The Car

R

ay LaHood has caught Obama fever and it’s wracked him so badly that you’d never know our new Transportation Secretary is (was?) a Republican, or that he once understood, quite literally, what plays in Peoria, the congressional district he represented until the One gave  him the Nod.  Now suddenly a righteous evangelist for bikes over cars, he’s no longer interested in keeping government out of our lives; instead, he’s working to use government to, as he puts it, “change our behavior.”

I prefer a different spin:  He’s using government to force change on us.  As George Will lamented recently,

But LaHood is a Republican, for Pete’s sake, the party (before it lost its bearings) of “No, we can’t” and “Actually, we shouldn’t” and “Not so fast” and “Let’s think this through.” Now he is in full “Yes we can!” mode. Et tu, Ray?

Will sat down for lunch with LaHood a while back to ask him about his newfound love of transformational government, and LaHood was not about to cover up his newfound giddyness over having the power to rip people out of the cars they love and stick them on bicycles:

Indeed, about three bites into lunch, the T word lands with a thump: He says he has joined a “transformational” administration: “I think we can change people’s behavior.” Government “promoted driving” by building the Interstate Highway System—”you talk about changing behavior.” He says, “People are getting out of their cars, they are biking to work.” High-speed intercity rail, such as the proposed bullet train connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, is “the wave of the future.”

Yes, my fellow Americans, one day you’ll take a train or your bike to the soccer game, riding the inherently inferior transportion of the future to the inherently boring game of the future. Sigh. I remember when the transportation of the future was the Jetson-mobile, larking its way through the clear, clean skies. Now the car of the future is the bicycle?! A mode of transportation that went out of style in 1910?

The DC press corps apparently read Will’s column, so when LaHood appeared a few days later at the National Press Club, they pounced, according to CNS:

At the National Press Club on Thursday he attempted to respond to George Will’s column and to explain his vision for using the power of government to change people’s transportation behavior and to change the nature of American residential communities.

“We want to really–and notwithstanding the fact that George Will doesn’t like this idea–the idea of creating opportunities for people to get out of their cars–and we’re working with the secretary of HUD, Shaun Donovan, on opportunities for housing, walking paths, biking paths,” said LaHood. “If somebody wants to ride their bike, if–to work or to the place of employment or to other places–mass transit, light rail–creating opportunities for what we call livable communities.”

The moderator of the press club event asked LaHood: “Some in the highway-supporters motorist groups have been concerned by your livability initiative. Is this an effort to make driving more torturous and to coerce people out of their cars?”

LaHood answered: “It is a way to coerce people out of their cars.

“Yeah,” he continued, “I mean, look, people don’t like spending an hour and a half getting to work. And people don’t like spending an hour going to the grocery store. And all of you who live around here know exactly what I’m talking about. You know, the dreaded thing is to have to run an errand on a weekend around here or to try and get home at 3:00 in the afternoon or even 5:00 in the afternoon.

Someone tell LaHood people don’t like having to ride a bike through rain, snow or dark of night to work.  Or having to go to the grocery store every day because the trunk on the ol’ Schwinn just isn’t all that big.  Or having to get shoved into a crowded subway, where the pervert du jour can rub up against you. Or having to pay $75 for a cab because the boss kept you late and you missed the last train. 

Someone tell LaHood that the minute streetcars, then cars, made it possible to get out of the idealized planners’ vision of a compact urban core, we did, fleeing by the millions to suburbs, where we continue to live because we don’t like crack dealers on the street corner, gangstas in our kids’ schools, and car alarms going off at 3 a.m.

One reporter asked LaHood to respond to conservative concerns that he’s just another fascist know-it-all loon he’s supporting government intrusion into our lives.  His response?

“About everything we do around here is government intrusion in people’s lives,” said LaHood. “So have at it.”

Meanwhile, GM bond-holders did not respond warmly to government mandated depreciation of their bonds, forcing the automaker to the brink of bankruptcy.  The GM that emerges could be as much as 70 percent government-owned.  And who, then, would become a pivotal decision-maker for GM’s future?  Roy LaHood, the man who lives to make cars less attractive than bikes and subways.

It’s a brave new world.  Full speed backwards! 

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May 26th 2009

I’m Just Saying …

… that this is one heck of a fine example of PhotoShopping!  Ben Sley put it up on Facebook.

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With Obama winning the presidency by seven percent, we can't blame the media. Their laudatory coverage and refusal to extensively probe into Obama's background and [lack of] experience was at best responsible for five percent of his vote, the pundits tell us. Here is a compilation of over 100 significant instances of pro-Obama/anti-McCain bias during the 2008 campaign.

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