Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Paradigms and Demographics: Evening Edition

Posted By Rich Kozlovich

There are some seriously conflicting views here today, so pick and choose.  Some of this I agree with entirely, and some of it I would put in the same category as tripe. Please enjoy!

Are environmental and social problems such as global warming and poverty the result of inadequate governmental regulations or does the burden fall on our failure as consumers to make better consumption choices? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, responsible consumption shifts the…
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Africa

Smuggled Bushmeat: Ebola's Back Door to U.S.? - Flynn and Scutti, Newsweek
Bushmeat, which can range from bat to monkey to lion, including a number of endangered species, is beloved by many African-born Americans, despite the fact that it is illegal in the U.S. In the Bronx, the high price (up to 0 for six or seven pounds, Appiah tells us) attached to bushmeat (or viande de brousse, as it is known in the French-speaking world) indicates a luxury indulgence in the same way illegally imported caviar might for Russian émigrés in Brooklyn.  

Treating Africa Like a Diseased, Dirty Place - Seay and Dionne, Wash Post
This week’s Newsweek magazine cover features an image of a chimpanzee behind the words, “A Back Door for Ebola: Smuggled Bushmeat Could Spark a U.S. Epidemic.” This cover story is problematic for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that there is virtually no chance that“bushmeat” smuggling could bring Ebola to America. (The term is a catchall for non-domesticated animals consumed as a protein source; anyone who hunts deer and then consumes their catch as venison in the United States is eating bushmeat without calling it that.) While eating bushmeat …. more »

Agriculturemore »

JR at GREENIE WATCH
*We're running out of food!* *So says the gullible Justin Gillis of the NYT -- completely ignoring all the facts. Take for instance the current situation in icy Canada:“In Western Canada, we’re moving from a huge glut of wheat to still a pretty big carry-over, but by no means the kind of over-supply we had in the last year. And in 2013: “Canola - Nationally, canola production increased 29.5% from 2012 to a record 18.0 million tonnes; “Wheat: Farmers reported record wheat production of 37.5 million tonnes, a 38.0% increase from 2012.". The only crop not a record in 2013 was was Barley and Oats."... more »

Asia

U.S. Must Acknowledge China's Ambition - Chris Layne, Boston Globe
One hundred years ago this month, Britain declared war on Germany. And though the issues of that era may seem irrelevant now, the pre-war tensions between those two nations can actually help us understand where today’s Sino-American relationship is headed. After all, though history never repeats itself exactly, as Mark Twain famously observed, it does rhyme. Or to put it another way, clear patterns recur when two rival nations are locked in a cycle of rise and decline.

Indian Trade Booming with ASEAN - Luke Hunt, The Diplomat
Business ties extending west into India have never enjoyed the same cachet as trade with China to the north. Thats partly because access to India was blocked by Myanmars isolation and partly because a two-decade economic boom in China soaked-up as much capital as ASEAN investors could spare. But that equation is changing as Chinas economy slows and growth buckles under debt while India reappraises its relationship with ASEAN amid the prospect that overland routes from Southeast Asia through Myanmar will improve east-west trade potential.

China's Silent War on Terror - Emily Rauhala, Time
A virtual media blackout makes it hard to know what's happening as Beijing tackles unrest among its Uighur Muslim minorities. more »

more » 2014: A Year of Botched Elections in Asia - Andrew Oplas, The Diplomat
It is commonly understood that genuine elections are among the most indispensable prerequisites for effective and sustained democratic governance. And yet as with democracy itself, elections are imperfect and malleable. Often associated with triumphant images – the purple-stained finger or zigzagging queues of hopeful voters risking everything in the face of threats – it is easy to overrate the ability of elections to set the stage for lasting democratic reforms in countries with little history of self-government.

Canada
 
Tough Times for Quebec's Mobsters - Jonathan Kay, National Post
How fitting that Quebec’s Charbonneau Commission — officially known as the Commission of Inquiry on the Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in the Construction Industry — is nicely under-budget as it cruises into its last few months of active existence. “Documents obtained through an access to information request reveal that as of July 16, 2014, the high-profile inquiry, which started in 2011, had spent a grand total of .62-million,” Montreal’s Gazette newspaper reported over the weekend. “The provincial government had initially set aside... more »

Energy

A few years ago, I used to know a senior wind turbine engineer. One evening, over a few beers, he told me the dirty secret of his profession: “The problem is the bearings. If we make the bearings bigger, the bearings last longer, but making the bearings larger increases friction,…

Climate Skeptics often cite the fact that renewables like wind and solar don’t have constant power flow, and thus need either a nuclear, hyrdo, or coal/gas power plant backup in order to deliver a reliable power supply to the electrical grid. Proponents often retort with “all we need is better battery technology to store power”.…

Is Coal winning the energy battle?- Anthony Watt
Guest essay by Mike Jonas In an absurd article “Full extent of global coal ‘binge’ is hidden, say researchers“, the BBC’s Matt McGrath argues that instead of modeling actual and expected CO2 emissions from coal and gas power plants, it should all be counted in the power station’s first year. [You couldn't make this stuff

Environment

HEADS need to start rolling at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The senior management have tried to cover-up serious tampering that has occurred with the temperatures at an experimental farm near Rutherglen in Victoria. Retired scientist Dr Bill Johnston used to run experiments there. He, and many others, can vouch for the fact that the [...] more »

The hot questions for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) mount up. Rutherglen was one of the temperature recording stations that was subject to large somewhat mysterious adjustments which turned a slight cooling trend into a strongly warming one. Yet the official notes showed that the site did not move and was a continuous record. On paper, Rutherglen appeared to be ideal — a rare long rural temperature record where measurements had come from the same place since 1913. The original cooling trend of – 0.35C was transformed into a +1.73C warming after “homogenisation” by th... more »

A Lead Author of IPCC AR5 Downplays Importance of Climate Models - Richard Betts
......The first bullet point on his webpage under areas of expertise describes his work as a climate modeler. He was one of the lead authors of the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report (WG2). On a recent thread at Andrew Montford’s BishopHill blog, Dr. Betts…more »

EPA: Ignore our previous statements on Ocean Acidification  - Anthony Watts
Hoisted with their own petard fighting a lawsuit Story submitted by Eric Worrall The EPA is fighting a desperate battle to sink a green lawsuit, a lawsuit which is substantially based on the EPA’s own climate narrative. The Lawsuit, launched by the Center for Biological Diversity, seeks to impose enhanced clean water act protection upon… 

Global sea level rise a bit more than 1mm a year for last 50 years, no acceleration - Joanne Nova
Here’s a novel approach. Beenstock et al wondered if tide gauges were placed in any old spot around the world or were biased toward area where sea-level did more rising. They compared the location of tide gauges in the year 2000 to sea level rises and falls as measured by satellite altimetry. It turns out the placement seems to be independent (meaning anywhere). This is pretty important because the infernally tough thing about measuring sea levels is whether the land is subsiding or rising at the same time, and how to correct for that. If tide gauges are spread evenly (or quasi-ra... more »

BOM finally explains! Cooling changed to warming trends because stations “might” have moved! - JoNova
It’s the news you’ve been waiting years to hear! Finally we find out the exact details of why the BOM changed two of their best long term sites from cooling trends to warming trends. The massive inexplicable adjustments like these have been discussed on blogs for years. But it was only when Graham Lloyd advised the BOM he would be reporting on this that they finally found time to write three paragraphs on specific stations. Who knew it would be so hard to get answers. We put in a Senate request for an audit of the BOM datasets in 2011. Ken Stewart, Geoff Sherrington, Des Moore, Bi... more »

Letter to the editor by Viv Forbes Twenty-two years ago a bunch of green activists calling themselves “The Earth Summit” met in Rio and invented a way to tour the world at tax-payers’ expense – never-ending conferences on environmental alarms. Like any good bureaucratic committee, they soon established sub-committees on sustainability, pollution, development, energy, forestry,…

ARCUS Sea-Ice predictions are in, includes WUWT’s contribution - Anthony Watts
ARCUS Sea Ice Prediction Network writes in their executive summary: Thank you to the groups that contributed to the August 2014 Outlook. We received 23 pan-Arctic contributions. Of the 23 contributions, some are unchanged from July. The median Outlook value for September extent is 5.0 million square kilometers with a quartile range from 4.58 to…

The Atlantic is leaking methane – but researchers say there’s no cause for alarm -  Anthony Watts
We’ve seen all this before, but there is a twist this time, the authors of the paper are dialing back the alarm a bit. “…authigenic carbonates observed imply that emissions have continued for more than 1,000 years at some seeps.” From the BBC – 24 August 2014 ‘Widespread methane leakage’ from ocean floor off US…

Choking the Oceans with Plastic - Charles J. Moore, New York Times
The world is awash in plastic. It’s in our cars and our carpets, we wrap it around the food we eat and virtually every other product we consume; it has become a key lubricant of globalization — but it’s choking our future in ways that most of us are barely aware.

Europe

Europe's Slow Surrender to Intolerance - Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic
On the one hand, it is completely unsurprising that Europe has become a swamp of anti-Jewish hostility. It is, after all, Europe. Anti-Jewish hostility has been its metier for centuries. (Yes, the locus of much anti-Jewish activity today is within Europe’s large Muslim-immigrant population; but the young men who threaten their Jewish neighbors draw on the language and traditions of European anti-Semitism as much as they do on Muslim modes of anti-Semitic thought.) On the other hand, the intensity, and velocity, of anti-Jewish invectiveand actual anti...

France's Fake Crisis Boosts the Far Right - Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg
Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg France is reshuffling its government for the second time in 147 days because at least two leftist ministers rebelled against Prime Minister Manuel Valls's pro-business, anti-spending inclinations, such as they are. As traditional center-left and center-right politicians bicker about inefficient, half-baked fixes for real economic problems, public trust for them is at rock bottom, and the extreme right stands to gain the most.

A Belated Day of Reckoning for France - Jonathan Fenby, Financial Times
After two years of compromise, France’s President Normal has met his moment of truth. The stand-off between Franois Hollande, the Socialist head of state, and the leftwing of his own party that erupted at the weekend, resulting in the purging of anti-austerity leftwingers from the government, has ramifications stretching far beyond the immediate confrontation. These will have significant implications both for the way France is run and for Europe. There is a distinct possibility of a period of chaos, reflecting the deep concerns at the root of the moros... more »

Why Ireland Has an Abortion Ban -Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times
The most successful single issue movement in the history of the State, the Pro-Life Amendment Campaign (PLAC), was established in January 1981 by 13 organisations: the Congress of Catholic Secondary School Parents’ Associations; the Irish Catholic Doctors’ Guild; the Guild of Catholic Nurses; the Guild of Catholic Pharmacists; the Catholic Young Men’s Society; the St Thomas More Society; the Irish Pro-Life Movement; the National Association of the Ovulation Method (“natural” contraception endorsed by the Catholic church); the Council of Social Concern (COS... more »

It's Scoundrel Time in Scotland - Tom Gallagher, The Commentator
Monday's second debate between Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister and Alistair Darling, former Labour Chancellor and head of Better Together, was nasty and shaming at a national level. It laid bare the divisions which are likely to make Scottish politics turbulent irrespective of the outcome of next month’s referendum on its future relations with the rest of the United Kingdom (known in Scotland as, rUK).

Immigration

Will 'El-Qaida' Swarm Us from Mexico? - Joshua Keating, Slate
The Mexican government is expressing some irritation with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who suggested last week that there’s a “very real possibility” that members of ISIS or other terrorist groups are entering the U.S. illegally via Mexico. As Perry acknowledged in his own remarks—and as the Pentagon confirmed—there’s “no clear evidence” that this is happening. But as is generally the case when fears of “El Qaida” periodically emerge, a lack of evidence is no barrier to bold sweeping claims.

Mideast Madness

Destroy the 'Islamic State' - John Bolton, National Review
Approving U.S. military force against the Islamic State on August 7, Obama stressed two limited goals: protecting U.S. civilian and military personnel in Irbil, the Kurdish capital, which the Islamic State was rapidly nearing; and aiding refugees who had fled as the group advanced into Iraq from Syria. These are legitimate objectives, but they are far too constrained even in humanitarian terms, let alone against the serious regional and global strategic threats the Islamic State poses. more »

Don't Give ISIS the Wider War It Wants - Emile Simpson, The Guardian
Last week’s murder of US journalist James Foley was shocking – as Islamic State (Isis) no doubt intended it to be. The risk is that UK policy, while right in its instinct to act against Isis, is drawn into precisely the wider confrontation that Isis desires.

Obama Is Just 'Tickling' ISIS, Rebels Say - Josh Rogin, The Daily Beast
U.S. airstrikes against ISIS, even if they extend into Syria as several Obama administration officials are signaling, don’t have a chance of destroying the terror group, moderate political and rebel leaders inside the country are cautioning. They have told The Daily Beast that air strikes will only make things worse unless there’s a coordinated plan to defeat ISIS. more »

Nusras more pragmatic approach, a few days after an ISIS video that seemed deliberately evocative of Zarqawi-era beheadings, shows that the old disagreement over tactics still persists, and has only gotten more public since al-Qaida and ISIS formally severed ties earlier this year. more »

The Worst Fate Possible for a Journalist - Michael Totten, World Affairs
I cancelled my trip to Libya and went to Lebanon instead. Knowing I had a colleague and a friend-to-be waiting in Benghazi wasnÂt enough. There is safety in numbers, sure, but we journalists can only do so much to protect each other. He seemed disappointed, but he too ended up leaving Libya and went to, of all places, Syria. His name is Steven Sotloff. And he was kidnapped last August by ISIS. Last weekend ISIS executed our colleague James Foley on camera and said Sotloff is next. Sotloff appears in the video too and personally witnessed FoleyÂs behead... more »

Iraq Explains Why Not to Leave Afghanistan - Paul Miller, Foreign Policy
Despite his obvious and understandable hesitations to return U.S. military forces to Iraq, the president's humanitarian concerns combined with the United States' strategic interests and added heft to his decisions to use force in Iraq. In other words, the president has articulated the best possible argument for remaining engaged in Afghanistan beyond the 2016 deadline he established for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops there.

Hillary’s Hand in Hamas’ Terror Tunnels - Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn
One accomplishment from Clinton's tenure as secretary of state. more »

The only way to secure Christian survival in the Middle East. more »

Libya Under Siege - Joseph Klein
Egypt and the United Arab Emirates respond to a jihadist takeover -- while the U.S. stands in their way.

Singing to the tune of "Allahu Akbar." more »

How Islam spawned Foley's fate -- and our culture's inability to accept it.

Iraq and Syria Follow Lebanon's Precedent - George Friedman, Stratfor
Lebanon was created out of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. This agreement between Britain and France reshaped the collapsed Ottoman Empire south of Turkey into the states we know today -- Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, and to some extent the Arabian Peninsula as well. For nearly 100 years, Sykes-Picot defined the region. A strong case can be made that the nation-states Sykes-Picot created are now defunct, and that what is occurring in Syria and Iraq represents the emergence of those post-British/French maps that the United States has been trying to maintain since the ... more »

Why al-Qaeda Released a U.S. Hostage Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard
This difference in tactics can also be seen in how al Qaeda is handling the case of Warren Weinstein, an American who was kidnapped by al Qaeda and its allies in Pakistan in 2011.

The Grotesque Alliance Carving Up Syria - David Blair, Daily Telegraph
As recently as 2012, after all, Baghdadi’s extremists were a weakened force confined to a small area of Iraq. Then Assad released a cohort of Syria’s most dangerous jihadists from Sednaya jail near Damascus. Some of these men – along with others freed in later amnesties – are believed to have become Isil commanders. more »

Who is to blame for the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)? The group's stunning military advances in Iraq and Syria have, together, built the most important safe haven for Islamic extremists since Taliban-held Afghanistan, and possibly ever. So it is important to understand where ISIS came from — and how it got so strong. more »

U.S. and Iran Hit ISIS, Ignore Each Other - Eli Lake, The Daily Beast
With ISIS over-running Syrian bases, the time might seem right for a grand alliance against the Islamic State. But so far, the U.S. isn’t talking to Iran or Syria’s armies. more »

 5 reasons why an expanded mission to strike James Foley's killers in Syria won't work. And why it's going to happen anyway.

Dempsey's Clarity and Obama's Confusion - Tom Rogan, National Review 
Military strategy demands the disruption of an enemy’s “center of gravity.” The Islamic State’s center of gravity is in Syria, and General Dempsey’s comments last Thursday reflected that truth.

more » Gaza's Rubble Bucket Challenge - Miriam Berger
After the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS went viral, Palestinian journalist Ayman Aloul decided to take the Gaza version, the Rubble Bucket Challenge, a campaign launched to spread awareness of life in Gaza in the aftermath of Israeli airstrikes.

No One on the Ground Can Beat ISIS - Jamie Dettmer
In Iraq today the administration has committed to doing something against the forces of the so-called Islamic State, but the limited military intervention we’ve seen to date lags far behind the bellicose rhetoric of Obama officials since the murder of American journalist James Foley. Once again, we see the same reluctance that was on display about retaliation against Syrian President Bashar al Assad for spreading toxins. Fear of mission creep, fear of putting American boots on the ground, and excessive faith in the wonders of American military technology... more »

Barack Obama Is Not a Realist - Paul Saunders, The National Interest
The principal reason that Obama’s critics and defenders considered him a realist for so long has been his administration’s generally pragmatic policies. But realism is much more than pragmatism; confusing the two is one of the most fundamental and enduring errors in America’s foreign-policy debates. Realism is pragmatism rooted in awareness of international anarchy, infused with a deep understanding of American power and in service of a strategy based on American national interests. Obama is not a realist because his policies typically start and s... more »

Don't Cooperate with Assad - Michael Totten, World Affairs
The US is considering air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria as well as Iraq and the Syrian government says any unilateral action that isnÂt coordinated with Damascus will be seen as an act of aggression. President Bashar al-Assad would be perfectly content, however, to have the United States fighting on its side. more »

Libya the Sign of a Newly Proactive Gulf  - Jane Kinninmont, The Guardian
Whatever has happened in Libya in the past few days – with the US claiming that the United Arab Emirates and Egypt were behind several airstrikes on Islamist militias – it is clear that America’s traditional allies in the region are looking for new ways to protect themselves against a spectrum of threats that they think the US is not taking seriously enough.

What’s behind the rush to separate the religion from its most notorious exponents.

Getting moral clarity.

Frontpage Editor unveils the sinister roles of CAIR and ISNA in the "Tri-Faith Initiative."

d the media's silence.

The Left's rush to judgment, division and hate -- without the facts.

Policymore »

Want to know what happens when the U.S. retreats from a leadership role in the Middle East? This is what happens–Egypt and the United Arab Emirates together collaborate to stage air strikes against Islamist militias in Libya. And meanwhile Qatar, which is at odds with its fellow Persian Gulf sheikhdom, the UAE, has been funneling arms to the very Islamist militias that UAE’s air force is bombing. more »

The Rand Paul Doctrine: Don't Get Involved - David Francis, Fiscal Times
At the height of the Iraq crisis, as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) surrounded a mountain where Iraqi Christians and other minorities had taken refuge, one loud voice on the American public policy scene was silent. As President Obama launched air strikes that eventually allowed the Yazidis to leave Mount Sinjar, Rand Paul had nothing to say. Pauls silence was understandable; he is as close to an isolationist as the Republican Party has seen in decades. more »

The Overstretched West - Joschka Fischer, Project Syndicate
The chaotic consequences of the gradual disintegration of Pax Americana are becoming increasingly clear. For seven decades, the United States safeguarded a global framework, which – however imperfect, and regardless of how many mistakes the superpower made – generally guaranteed a minimum level of stability. At the very least, Pax Americana was an essential component of Western security. But the US is no longer willing or able to be the world’s policeman.

Libertarians Need to Man Up on Foreign Policy - Roger Simon, PJ Media
Libertarianism, if we are to believe none other than The New York Times, has become quite chic. But paradoxically, during this same time frame, it has become perhaps even more evident that one of the apparent tenets of libertarianism a kind of neo-isolationism is, well, to put it bluntly, insane. In the era of the Islamic State (not to mention a dozen other similar murderous, increasingly global organizations we could name or are being invented as I write), anyone who believes we can roll up the gangplanks to create the perfect libertarian state and everyt... more »

A reaction from Pat Michaels follows. From the NYT article: Obama Pursuing Climate Accord in Lieu of Treaty WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress. In preparation for this agreement, to be… more »

Race

The Ferguson mob sets its sights on Officer Wilson’s head. more »

Why the mob won't be appeased until it has Officer Wilson's head. more »

moremore » The Lie Behind the Lynch Mob - John Perazzo
The remarkable statistics on police shootings and race.

Russia

What a Russia-Ukraine Deal Could Look Like - Patrick Smith, Fiscal Times
All eyes will focus this week on Minsk where Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko. After coming close to armed confrontation over the aid-laden convoy Russia sent into Ukraine’s eastern region last week, the encounter in the Belarus capital Tuesday suddenly and unexpectedly presents the two sides with the their best chance yet to reach a diplomatic and political agreement settling the nine-month crisis over Ukraine’s future status and direction. more »

Russia Is Already Invading Ukraine - David Frum, The Atlantic
On the same day as the convoy’s theatrical but seemingly pointless mission, NATO officials publicly charged that “Russian artillery support—both cross-border and from within Ukraine—is being employed against the Ukrainian armed forces.” Russian military units are now firing at Ukrainian forces from positions on Ukrainian territory. If that’s not an invasion, it’s hard to know what else to call it.

Putin Is Key to Avoiding a New Cold War - David Owen, The Guardian
The presidential summit in Minsk offers hope of a deal over Ukraine. But the Russian leader will not accept humiliation. more »

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