Monday, November 30, 2009

Climate Change Scandal
The Science and Public Policy Institute

Here is a new website, internet home of the Science and Public Policy Institute, which, as per its statement of purpose, is:
a nonprofit institute of research and education dedicated to sound public policy based on sound science. Free from affiliation to any corporation or political party, we support the advancement of sensible public policies for energy and the environment rooted in rational science and economics. Only through science and factual information, separating reality from rhetoric, can legislators develop beneficial policies without unintended consequences that might threaten the life, liberty, and prosperity of the citizenry.
The new site is also a good source for both background and breaking information regarding the emerging scandal suggesting global warming and climate change data manipulation at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia.

The site hosts and experts include, among several other notable experts, President, Robert Ferguson, Chief Science advisor, Willie Soon PhD, and Chief Policy Advisor, Lord Monckton of the UK.

Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brechley, and Prof. Fred Singer, were among a number of distinguished individuals who were personally named and attacked in a series of e-mail exchanges and other data, including e-mails dating from back in early March of 1996, and running up through November 12, 2009, all of which were contained in the recent dump on the internet of exposed communications e-mails to and from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. Monckton and Singer have now both formally requested that consideration be given by the UK Information Commissioner to criminal charges being filed against various individuals within that small cabal of scientists at the CRU, and others involved in possible violations of Britain's Freedom Of Information Laws. The UK Information Commissioner has enforcement jurisdiction over their FOI laws.

In an interview with James Corbett of Corbett, Lord Monckton discusses that request, as well as his views regarding the impact of the exposure of the data and e-mails from the CRU at East Anglia, here:

Meanwhile, a real bombshell article authored by Jonathan Leake, and just published in the (London) Sunday "TimesOnLine," entitled "Climate change data dumped," has proved to be the latest damning information released regarding the goings on within the CRU, especially since it came right on the heels of Robert Mendick’s story — "Climategate: University of East Anglia U-turn in climate change row" — that appeared the night before in the Telegraph, saying that climate scientists at East Anglia University would be fully complying with FOI requests that had been pressed by many over a period of years.

According to the lead of the Times story:
SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

And yet from that Telegraph article:
In a statement welcomed by climate change sceptics, the university said it would make all the data accessible as soon as possible, once its Climatic Research Unit (CRU) had negotiated its release from a range of non-publication agreements.

A human interest element in the Telegraph story highlighted the experience of one man, an English mechanical engineer named David Holland, who, claiming 40 years of experience, had apparently filed a few FOI requests regarding the climate change data over time. Holland apparently also discovered his name and requests mentioned in an unflattering context among those recently "released" internal e-mails of the CRU.

What clearly seemed like an odd juxtaposition of those two nearly simultaneous stories, of course, was that they created a sort of contradictory scenario with respect to the credibility of the CRU, almost as if to say, "Okay. We agree to release all the data . . . And, by the way, there isn’t any!"

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Barack Obama's Teachable Moment
First, both sentence and verdict -- then the show trial!

11/18/2009 -- On NRO Andrew McCarthy notes the utterly amateurish comments of President Barack Obama during a Q&A with press journalists, while traveling in China. The statements seemed all the more surprising given the fact that the President was once a Professor of Constitutional Law, and would presumably be fully aware of the implications of such comments.
In a meeting with the press in China, President Obama said that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would be "convicted" and had "the death penalty applied to him" . . . and then said he wasn't "pre-judging" the case. He made the second statement after it was pointed out to him — by NBC's Chuck Todd — that the first statement would be taken as the president's interfering in the trial process. Obama said that wasn't his intention. I'm sure it wasn't — he's trying to contain the political damage caused by his decision — but that won't matter. He has given the defense its first motion that the executive branch, indeed the president himself, is tainting the jury pool. Nice work.
Yet, Attorney General Eric Holder has now amplified the controversy by flatly stating that the failure to secure a conviction is simply not an option.

Andrew McCarthy illustrates well the unnecessary risks to the judicial system itself, and even to future defendants, arising out of the decision to try these war criminals in civilian court trials in New York City. Other critics coming from a defense perspective, such as Shannon Love, have raised alarms regarding the potential negative consequences on a judicial system that was never designed to deal with such problems.

Speaking of such risks, one wonders from where exactly will the court seek this ostensibly neutral jury pool, in and around New York City?

Practical Problems - Jury Pool:
I can immediately think of four major practical problems related to the potential jury pool that could easily come to plague prosecutors, and will, by the very nature of things, mock any notion of "fairness" in a jury trial process, which four items are listed below:

1) Given the nature and depth of Islamo-facist enmity toward all Western institutions, including all faiths other than their own, toward all our democratic institutions, including our judicial system, and finally toward most Americans; and given their willingness to act on that hatred -- who in their right mind would willingly consent to serve on such a jury?

2) Given the nature and depth of the infection of American society and it's institutions with a level of "political correctness," one which has demonstrably caused, as also pointedly noted by Andy McCarthy on NRO, occasional and unacceptable levels of denial of the obvious -- most recently manifested among the ranks of our first line of defense in the military at Fort Hood -- what assurance do we have that holding this unnecessary show trial will not trigger an Islamist terrorist reaction, one perhaps launched in some other venue, that will be tragic and unnecessarily result in death and destruction?

We know, for example, that the thorough and able prosecution of the plotters in the first WTC bombing by the team of prosecutors which Mr. McCarthy led, did not stop al-Qaeda from designing and carrying out a far more deadly attack. Who is to this day willing to say confidently that that first trial was not a significant or even a major contributing factor motivating the latter terrorists?

The trials arising out of those first attacks were certainly were not a deterrent!

3) How will the court find a jury of their "peers" other than by, for example, packing that pool with self-professed Muslims? Or, will they proceed by identifying an agglomeration of half-wits; people who have either never heard of these war criminals, or who have somehow never formed an opinion of them that would prejudice their ability to fairly judge the evidence adduced at trial? And, as a corollary, how do they keep out a flier -- some nutcase seeking historical infamy, who decides to "hang" the jury?

4) Given the huge historical stakes involved, including the heavy prior involvement of the Attorney General and other now-top officials in the Obama Justice Department in laying much of the defense groundwork pre-2008, and since the election in designing "the protocols" through which Mr. Holder claims this hitherto unprecedented decision was made -- to proceed with civilian trials in New York of these war criminals -- what basis do we have for believing that adequate consideration was given to ensure the safety and security of potential jurors, or others, both now (through the trial), and into the future?

Civil "Show" Trials As An Unnecessary Risk:
The singular factor underscoring all of the above, is that these trials are unnecessary from a constitutional perspective, and a calculated risk. And has been pointed out by, among others, Andy McCarthy, and James Joyner, there is little or justification for them, other than as "show trials."

Even Obama himself was at one point looking favorably on the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by military commission. Gee, what happened?

And the Defendant himself was willing to plead guilty to a military commission!

That fact came up as a point of contention when Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) confronted Attorney General Holder over it at a Judiciary Committee hearing on the topic of the civilian trials.
Tempers flared when Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., challenged Holder to say how a civilian trial could be better, since Mohammed has sought to plead guilty to a military commission.

"How could he be more likely to get a conviction than that?" pressed Kyl, to applause from some in the hearing room.
The point is that all of these were acts were acts of war, and that military commissions are a thoroughly constitutional process, one backed by historical precedent, as the President himself emphatically stated in a speech back in May.
The second category of cases involves detainees who violate the laws of war and are therefore best tried through military commissions. Military commissions have a history in the United States dating back to George Washington and the Revolutionary War. They are an appropriate venue for trying detainees for violations of the laws of war. They allow for the protection of sensitive sources and methods of intelligence-gathering; they allow for the safety and security of participants; and for the presentation of evidence gathered from the battlefield that cannot always be effectively presented in federal courts.

It is also a process by which we could have avoided the obvious, unnecessary and unacceptable risks that Barack Obama seems insistent on visiting on the American people with regard to several terrorists whose acts unquestionably constituted acts of war.

But apparently for Barack Obama and Eric Holder, the show must go on!

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Please Support the 11/11 Program For Veterans

The goal of this worthy program is very simple . . . it is to encourage 11 million Americans to pledge $11.00 apiece for support programs for veterans.

Americans can simply text the word "VETS" to 85944 to automatically donate $10 to America’s veterans – and, your $10 donation will be matched with $1 from Beyond Tribute.

Or, you can simply click and go here to make your simple pledge.

Your contribution will be distributed directly to Beyond Tribute’s coalition partners. They, in turn, will provide direct services and advocacy for our country's veterans.

It is that simple. And veterans everywhere will appreciate your generosity.

Thank you!

A Veteran's Tale

11/11/09 -- Today is Veteran's Day. There is one story I always think of on this day. Not to be misunderstood, I think of other stories as well. But this one . . . always.

It is a story about a veteran who I knew many, many years ago, by the name of Dennis Johnson, a medic who hailed from, as he liked to put it, "Ala-by God-bama." And then he's smile.

Without a doubt, Dennis was the bravest person I ever met.

"D" or "Doc," as he was sometimes called -- a lot of medics get that nickname -- served in Viet Nam with the 62d Engineer Battalion, Land Clearing (LC) during much of 1970, and into '71. The 62d had three companies that utilized mostly D-7 bulldozers, with large "stinger" Rome Plow blades, and with semi-protective cages. They were used to clear back growth from the roadsides in order to reduce ambushes, and to cut swaths in the jungle to break up the V.C. or N.V.A supply routes.

Dennis Johnson was a fun loving guy, probably 19 or maybe 20 years old, always with that quick smile and a deep drawl. But when things got hot, Dennis was the guy you wanted nearby, along with his (medical) aide bag.

In mid-June of 1970, Dennis was one of three medics attached to the 984th Company, (LC), which was at the time camped out in a night defensive position (NDP) deep in the Fish Hook region of Cambodia, north of Thien Ngon, all part of the overall attempt to locate and rout COSVN HQ. The Company had located on a slight hill, in the midst of what had obviously been an N.V.A. encampment, as it was laced throughout with an underground tunnel system.

On the evening of the 19th, a Friday, the 984th was attacked with ash can rounds (modified 107 mm mortars), 82 mm mortars, and rocket propelled grenade (RPG) fire. The day before the 984th had dug up a whole bunker complex while out in the cut, exposing and capturing a whole raft of supplies, including medical supplies, N.V.A. supplies, including obviously officer-related materials (NVA flags, pictures of Ho Chi Minh), that indicated our troops were perhaps close to the sought-after COSVN Headquarters complex. Both the 984th and the security element had been sporadically attacked out in the cut during the day. The N.V.A. were obviously not happy at all with our troops' presence.

When they attacked the 984th on the evening of the 19th, Dennis Johnson did what he always did. He'd immediately grab his aide bag, and head right in the direction of the attack, looking for wounded troops. He acted so quickly that night that it may have saved his own life. I was later told that within seconds, a second mortar landed right next to the tent he had been in, injuring both of the other medics who were located in that tent. So Dennis had to patch up and participate in the dust off those two, along with about twenty other injured troops, during the ensuing attack. Three of the 984th Engineer Plow Operators were killed in that intense attack.

For his actions that night, Dennis was awarded a Bronze Star. But everyone I ever talked to about it, including several men who were right there that evening, felt that Dennis had fully earned a Silver Star for his singular gallantry and intrepidity under such intense hostile fire. Acting virtually alone on the ground, Dennis saved the lives of many, many men that night. The story that circulated thereafter -- of why he was only put in for a Bronze Star -- was that the officer who made the recommendation simply refused to put "D" in for an award higher than he himself was being put in to receive. I hate to say it, but having known that officer, I tended to believe it. The officer was later relieved of command over the 984th.

I don't know where Dennis Johnson is today. I wish I did. A few veteran friends and I have tried a few times to reach him, once back in the late 1980s when a few of us gathered in Washington to visit the Wall. But, I have kept in touch with one of the other two medics who Dennis patched up that night, a young kid from San Francisco, who at the time was about 18 and had dropped out of high school before being "persuaded" to go in the service. But by the time Mike eventually returned to the United States, he had earned a G.E.D., and then secured himself a college degree. Mike then went on to medical school, and has spent the past thirty some years as a medical doctor, and raising a wonderful family.

Imagine tracking back now, not just to Mike, but to all those whose lives were, and to this day are by extension being touched for the better because "D" Johnson stopped the bleeding, or started an IV, or secured or stabilized a broken limb . . . and not just that night, but the many times, and with uncommon courage, he stepped up and did his job under enemy fire.

Imagine. His story is truly one of the reasons we so honor our veterans.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

State Department Reacts To Attack On Yoani Sánchez
Still No Word From NJ Senator Menendez

The United States State Department has now officially reacted to, and condemned the detention and physical attack on the Cuban "Generation Y" blogger, Yoani Sánchez, and a few of her friends, including Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.

Below is the press statement of condemnation, found on the Department's website (ht, MEDIAite, here.)

A chronological listing of all State Department Press statements can be found here:

Assault on Cuban Bloggers

Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman
Washington, DC

November 9, 2009


The U.S. government strongly deplores the assault on bloggers Yoani Sanchez, Orlando Luis Pardo, and Claudia Cadelo. On November 6, these three activists were forcibly detained by plain clothes security personnel and beaten while en route to a peaceful demonstration in Havana.

The President has proclaimed November 9 World Freedom Day. It is precisely this sort of repression and violence against the voices of freedom and reconciliation that World Freedom Day is meant to expose. We call on the Government of Cuba to ensure the full respect of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all its citizens.

We have expressed to the Cuban government our deep concern with the assaults, and we are following up with inquiries to Yoani Sanchez, Orlando Luis Pardo, and Claudia Cadelo regarding their personal well-being and access to medical care.

PRN: 2009/1120
As also reported at MEDIAite, there were no reports of the attack anywhere in the Cuban official press.

According to her specific account of the detention and beating, there were actually four people in her group when they were first detained: Yoani, Claudia Cadelo, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, and an unnamed friend, who were all on their way to the march against violence. Yoani and Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo were put in one car together, where they were both severely beaten. The other two were taken away in a patrol car before she and Orlando were forced into the other car.

At the end of the graphic post she described her feelings, and those of Orlando upon being dumped back onto the street some time later.
. . . We were left aching, lying in a street in Timba, a woman approached, "What has happened?"… "A kidnapping," I managed to say. We cried in each others arms in the middle of the sidewalk, thinking about Teo, for God’s sake how am I going to explain all these bruises. How am I going to tell him that we live in a country where this can happen, how will I look at him and tell him that his mother, for writing a blog and putting her opinions in kilobytes, has been beaten up on a public street. How to describe the despotic faces of those who forced us into that car, their enjoyment that I could see as they beat us, their lifting my skirt as they dragged me half naked to the car.

I managed to see, however, the degree of fright of our assailants, the fear of the new, of what they cannot destroy because they don’t understand, the blustering terror of he who knows that his days are numbered.
Still no press word as of this writing (2:59 pm 11/10/09) from New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, however.

Here's a thought . . . how about just a "tweet," Senator?

Monday, November 09, 2009

"A Word Fitly Spoken . . ."

11-09-09 -- Scott Johnson at Powerline has a great post today -- "Tear Down This Wall" -- giving readers a summary version of the actual back story on how President Ronald Reagan came to include that central line in his famous speech, the one made in view of the Berlin Wall, by the Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987.

It was a stunning speech, one that foreshadowed the actual tearing down of the Berlin Wall by the German residents themselves in November of 1989, just 20 years ago today.

The fascinating post extensively quoted Peter Robinson, author of the memoir, "How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life." Peter was a speechwriter for the former President, and penned the draft of the speech. He relates how he came to include that line, after attending a dinner party in Berlin.

Peter also relates how later, during an official meeting to discuss what Reagan wanted to say to the people throughout Germany, where the speech was to be broadcast, Reagan specificallysingled out that one line in Peter's draft for definite inclusion in the speech.

Peter asked him:
"Mr. President," I said, "I learned on the advance trip that this speech will be heard not only in West Berlin but throughout East Germany. Is there anything you'd like to say to people on the other side of the Berlin Wall?"

The President cocked his head and thought. "Well," he replied, "there's that passage about tearing down the wall. That wall has to come down. That's what I'd like to say to them."
Finally, Peter's story also relates the strong institutional opposition to the draft of the speech, coming from both the State Department and the National Security Agency.

Scott then sums up Peter's tale of the President's resolve in retaining that now famous line, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

He does so through a Biblical quotation taken from Proverbs 25:11 . . . "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."

Nice touch. In the case of the speech, words that urged a mountain to move . . . and, it did.

Just twenty years ago today. Here is that portion of the speech:

Voices of Freedom Attacked
Yoani Sánchez & Orlando Luis Pardo Beaten in Cuba

UPDATES, 3:00 pm, 342 pm, 11/09/09, below:
NBC News is reporting that last Friday, Yoani Sánchez, the Cuban "Generation Y" blogger and a few of her friends, including Orlando Luis Pardo, were physically detained last Friday by the Cuban state security officials, and she and Pardo were then beaten. More from the Miami Herald, here.

Sánchez and Pardo were singled out from their small group, shoved in a car, and were physically beaten by the officials -- which she later described as the employment of "professional violence." The two of them were then reportedly driven around for about 20 minutes, and only then released.

At the time they were first accosted and detained, the state security thugs warned a few concerned onlookers off, claiming that Sánchez and Pardo were "counter-revolutionaries." They and a few other friends were being physically prevented at the time from attending what was to be a mild anti-violence demonstration. It is a familiar tactic of totalitarian communist regimes. All too familiar for those who remember the Cold War.

Obviously, the Cuban regime did not want the powerful messenger that Yoani Sánchez has become, delivering a description of events at the demonstration. When Sánchez and Pardo challenged the authority of the "officials" who had detained them, demanding identification and warrants, the officials called in for orders. Apparently having received the go-ahead, the "officials" then proceeded to physically attack and beat the two of them in the back of a vehicle.

Sánchez later described the incident here on her blog, which she entitled "A gangland style kidnapping." Prepare to be outraged as you read it.

A few months ago, we included a link here to her translated site on our blog roll, as have many American bloggers. And inspired by her courage and her skill as a writer, we also posted a quotation from her website on our site.

"After speaking your mind, you can't one fine day return to silence."

-- Yoani Sánchez, Cuban blogger quoted here.

Where, one wonders, is the public voice of outrage from our State Department, whose motto is Diplomacy in Action? After all, has the Secretary of State not been attending the celebration ceremonies marking 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall?

No, we're not her heavy involvement in talking with this Sanchez . . .

At this past Friday's State Department press briefing, there was no mention of the incident regarding Yoani Sánchez, as it was apparently too soon. But as of this writing, nothing has yet been posted on the website of the Department of State about the matter.

How about "just a "tweet" from the Secretary of State of the United States?

The topic index at the official website of the Secretary of State (located at the top) has no entree for "freedom of speech" -- none. And if you look under the broader topic of "civil rights" all recent posts there are about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pride month issues.

Nothing about free speech. Too old-fashioned?

Then, if you look under country-by-country postings, the latest posting indexed for some mention of "Cuba" was for the daily briefing on October 26th, but it only mentioned Guantanamo Bay.

As for recent official State Department press releases on Cuba, as of this writing, there are none since September.

Finally, one wonders, where is the voice of the President of the United States, if his Secretary of State insists on remaining silent?

Will he speak up for freedom of speech?

Will he condemn the official violence in Cuba against a few lonely and courageous voices, including a brave young woman who has now been administered an official beating by the thugs the President says he is trying to engage?

UPDATE, 3:00 pm, 11/09/09: And speaking of voices that should be speaking out, where is the voice of United States Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who was born in New York, a child of Cuban immigrants? At least as of this writing, even he has remained silent.

UPDATE II: 3:42 pm, 11/09/09: Now there is a brand new interview with Yoani Sánchez, by Jose Simian found here at MEDIAite . . . where she describes in additional detail exactly what happened last Friday (ht, Big Government found here).

During the interview, Yoani also addresses what she sees as the fears of the repressive Cuban regime in attempting to deal with the internet phenomenon.

Please read the whole thing, but here is just an example of her thought:

"I don't think they are afraid of me, because I'm just a little person that they can easily eliminate. What they are afraid of is the phenomenon of the alternative blogosphere, the phenomenon that more and more young people are projecting their voices: that is tremendously contagious. This is why they may be attempting to make a sort of 'prevention,' applying some sort of vaccine, so the blogger virus, the virus of opinions, does not spread. I don't think their attack is against the person of Yoani Sánchez, but rather against the blogger phenomenon, a phenomenon of different opinions that is taking place in Cuba. They want to paralyze as many people as possible with a preventive strike."

Labels: , , , ,