Saturday, August 16, 2014

This Week In The News!

Victim Mentality Afflicts Black Americans
Alan Caruba at Warning Signs - 1 day ago

Well, we now have another black riot to put in the books. This one, like the others, involve the death of a black American by a white police officer, but buried in the stories about the Ferguson, Missouri riot is the fact that there was an altercation between Michael Brown and the officer who shot him after having sustained an injury. The response of some members of the black community in Ferguson was to vandalize and loot stores on Sunday night victimizing the owners of those stores, some of whom avoided it by standing fully armed in front of their place of business…

jennifer at Jennifer Marohasy
BEFORE the 20th Century there was no age for retirement. There existed a leisured class who through birth or industry could choose what work they did – if and when. But, even they didn’t retire. Retirement, like unemployment, can potentially reduce you to discussion of people, events, and lost opportunities, when great minds discuss ideas. [...]more »

Joanne Nova at JoNova
For a weekend curiosity: this study caught my eye. What if part of the modern obesity epidemic was due to antibiotic use? It may be that if we feed babies antibiotics during a certain window of development, their metabolism changes in ways that last for life (say hello to Syndrome X — sigh). For years, evidence has been gathering that the bacteria in our gut have major contracts and complicated deals going with our immune system. Now this study in lab mice suggests serious negotiations might be going on between bacteria and our developing metabolism too. The quote of the day:... more »

Anthony Watts
Traveling today, as I have been all week, but this seemed like a good time for an open thread. Discuss anything within bounds of WUWT commenting policy.

Guest Blogger at Watts Up With That?
Opinion; Dr. Tim Ball The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage. Mike Russell Lack of Data Is The Fundamental Problem My first involvement with the Acid Rain scare …

Anna Nemtsova, The Daily Beast
On Thursday night a caravan of about 270 Russian military trucks, all freshly painted white, parked in a field outside the small town of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from the Ukrainian border. But long after dark, according to a report by a correspondent for The Guardian who happened on the scene, 23 Russian armored personnel carriers crossed through a gap in the barbed wire fence onto a dirt track in an area no longer guarded by Ukrainian troops. If so, official Kiev seems to be lost.more »

George Will, New York Post
This far into the human story, only the historically uninstructed are startled by what they think are new permutations of evil. So, when Russia sliced Crimea off Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry was nonplussed: “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th-century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext.” If, however, Vladimir Putin is out of step with the march of progress, where exactly on history’s inevitably ascending path (as progressives like Kerry evidently think) does Kerry, our innocent abroad, locate the Isl...

Will Marshall, Politico Magazine
Democrats would be wiser to accept Clinton’s implicit challenge to talk more about the positive uses of American power. Much of the world now believes that a declining America is abandoning its leadership role. Is that what Democrats believe? For six decades, Democratic leaders have acted upon the premise that a freer world is a safer and more prosperous world. Is this core tenet of post-war internationalism still operative?more

Stephen Carter, Bloomberg
The resignation of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has led critics of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy to insist that there is no longer any reason to withhold military assistance from Baghdad in its struggle against the jihadist group Islamic State. This blast from an editorial in this morning’s Wall Street Journal is typical: “With Mr. Maliki gone, so too goes Mr. Obama’s alibi for unseriousness.” But this argument rests on the claim that the obstacle to successful multi-ethnic government in Iraq was Maliki himself --not either the State of... more »

Tom Rogan, National Review
Just because Maliki is gone, no one should assume Iraq is saved. Absent a new comprehensive American strategy, Iraq will continue tumbling toward implosion. Our recognition of this fact matters because Iraq holds profound importance for America.more »

David Francis, The Fiscal Times
The arrival of U.S. troops at Mt. Sinjar, where American airstrikes have broken a siege of Iraqi Yazidis and Christians by International State of Syria and Iraq, marks a dramatic escalation of American involvement in the fight for the future of Iraq. For the first time since ISIS advanced toward the outskirts of Baghdad, American troops were in a combat zone where their lives were directly as risk from the ISIS threat.more »

John Hudson, Foreign Policy
As the American air campaign over Iraq to defend the Yazidi minority from an onslaught of Sunni militants shows signs of success, members of the religious sect's diaspora community are coming to grips with a sinking realization: No matter what happens next, Iraq will never be a safe place for Yazidis.more »

Andrew Gawthorpe, The Diplomat
Obama is not the first president to face these problems – aggressive adversaries, nervous allies, and a U.S. public deeply unwilling to make the commitments necessary to reassure those allies – in the Asia-Pacific. A look back at the Asia-Pacific policy of President Gerald Ford and his chief foreign policy architect Henry Kissinger is surprisingly instructive for placing America’s contemporary position in the region in perspective.more »

Mohan & Medcalf
In a changing Asia, not even steadfast allies like Australia can afford to put all their eggs in the alliance basket. Thus in a new research paper, we argued that it is time for new and creative ways to deal with Asia’s strategic uncertainties: the creation of “middle-power coalitions,” new security arrangements that include neither China, nor the United States. This is not a replacement for partnership with America or efforts to engage with China, but a complement to both approaches.
Alister Heath
It is hard to exaggerate the trouble that Francois Hollande, France’s president, now finds himself in. It is not just that his popularity has collapsed and that his misguided stewardship of the French economy has crippled his country, helping to deliver a second consecutive quarter of zero growth. The real problem is that France is slowly but surely emerging as the eurozone’s weakest link, together of course with Italy, and, if that were not bad enough, there is no meaningful prospect of either of the two countries extricating themselves from their...

Joel Kotki
In the past century, the greatest global cities were generally the largest and centers of the world’s great empires: London, Paris, New York and Tokyo. Today size is not so important: Of the world’s 10 most populous cities, only Tokyo, New York and Beijing are in the top 10 of our ranking of the world’s most important cities. Instead, what matters today is influence.more »

John Steele Gordon
The American On August 15, 1914, the world was fixated on the dramatic first month of World War I, as the German army raced towards Paris and the fate of Europe hung in the balance. But on that day, half a world away, a ship named the SS Ancon became the first vessel to officially transit the Panama Canal — and the canal was opened for business.more »

Anthony Watts
From the University of Innsbruck, another modeling study. This news release is available in German. The ongoing global glacier retreat causes rising sea-levels, changing seasonal water availability and increasing geo-hazards. While melting glaciers have become emblematic of anthropogenic climate change,… more »

Guest Blogger
Psychological Problems faced by disappointed alarmists Story submitted by Eric Worrall The Sydney Morning Herald has published an article describing the psychological problems alarmists are experiencing, in the wake of their Copenhagen 2009 disappointment. Ask most alarmists and they will … more »

Michael Weiss
Lebanon When Obama hasn’t been doing battle with the Islamic State (IS) in and around Iraqi Kurdistan, he’s been ranged against former members of his own administration who, either out of principle or opportunism, have surveyed what has been wrought by seven-and-a-half years of American absenteeism in the Middle East and declared it a man-made disaster.more »

Christopher Lee
From weapons proliferation, to human rights matters, and to global security—North Korea is present. It is extremely difficult to find a major international issue in which North Korea is not playing a substantial role. Despite the small size of its population and breadth of its territory, North Korea has played a “disproportionately important role” in the last 30 years of world history, particularly due to its arsenal of advanced weapons systems and the consternation its warheads create both near and far.more »

Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post
For decades, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has been to support“moderates.” The problem is that there are actually very few of them. The Arab world is going through a bitter, sectarian struggle that is “carrying the Islamic world back to the Dark Ages,” said Turkish President Abdullah Gul. In these circumstances, moderates either become extremists or they lose out in the brutal power struggles of the day. Look at Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian territories.

The resignation of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki after a bitter final power struggle sets the stage for increasing U.S. arms shipments and military advisors, deepening America’s role in a conflict President Obama had sought to avoid. White House officials, who had urged Maliki to step down, praised him for agreeing Thursday to back Haider Abadi, a less divisive successor who they hope can unite Iraq’s political and religious factions against the Islamic State militants who control or threaten much of the country.

Shashank Joshi, Telegraph
There’s little new in this approach, particularly the massacre of captives and the method of beheading for the purposes of terrorisation. The American journalist Daniel Pearl was beheaded in Pakistan in 2002, the American businessman Nick Berg in Iraq in 2004, and several others thereafter. 14 Yemeni soldiers were beheaded only last week. And there are worse examples still. In the 1980s, the Lebanese militant group Hizbollah captured the CIA station chief in Beirut and, later, a US marine; accounts of their torture – “a significant number of people in this ....

Rick Salutin, Toronto Star
Barack Obama’s approach to foreign policy is a great one. Doing stupid stuff previously has led to the Mideast being entangled in problems now.

Andrew Bacevich, Spectator
Spectator No doubt the ‘Islamic State’ poses a danger of sorts. But for the United States and for Europe, that danger is negligible. Regional powers such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran are both more directly threatened and far better positioned to deal with it. Offering whatever indirect assistance might be helpful, the United States would be better served simply to butt out. We’ve done enough damage.

Amir Taheri, New York Post
Will the Obama administration’s military intervention in Iraq be “discreet” or“discrete”? That is, does it mean to keep a low profile to avoid offending anti-interventionism at home, or is it simply making a limited show of force? Vice President Joe Biden and other administration big shots used “discrete” to describe the president’s decision to order air strikes against the jihadists in northern Iraq. Yet many Iraqi leaders at first assumed Washington meant“discreet.” They thus assumed Washington would remain committed to Iraq……

Noah Gordon, The Atlantic
The lack of an organizing principle encourages the consideration of each action on its own merits. Arming America’s Kurdish allies in Iraq, for instance, isn’t the same as arming painstakingly vetted rebels in Syria. As Douglas Ollivant, a senior national security fellow with the New America Foundation, told Politico this week, “No one is concerned about the Kurds losing control of these arms on a large scale. That was a big concern with the Free Syrian Army.” Likewise, there is a clearer case for air-dropping aid to Yazidis besieged by ISIS on Mount Sinjar ...

Lauren Wallace, Globe and Mail
Ebola and other tropical diseases are not democratic infections of equal opportunity. Most Ebola-stricken people do not have enough money to board a plane in the first place.

Laurie Garrett, Foreign Policy
Experimental drugs and airport screenings will do nothing to stop this plague. If Ebola hits Lagos, we're in real trouble.

James Bloodworth, The Daily Beast
From Neville Chamberlain to the pages of today’s Guardian, many members of the British elite, left and right, have proved themselves suckers for totalitarianism.

Adam Minter, Bloomberg
It’s hard to argue that China has played a constructive “builder” role in Iraq recent years, especially as its oil interests have expanded, just as it is difficult to counter China’s claim that U.S. mistakes contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. Regardless, over time, oil and China’s insatiable energy needs are almost certainly going to push Beijing to become a more active Middle Eastern stakeholder. It’s time that China stops fighting that reality.

Soner Cagaptay, New York Times
Despite Mr. Erdogan’s victory in Sunday’s vote, his era may actually be coming to an end. Just as he once rode to power on a wave of conservative Islamist sentiment as formerly marginalized Turks found their political voice, the next great wave in Turkish politics will be a liberal one. Even after dominating the airwaves during the campaign, Mr. Erdogan eked out only 52 percent of the vote, a similar result to his past victories. His support appears to have peaked.

Paul Angelo, Miami Herald
Child soldiers are the most helpless and most voiceless of the vast victim pool created by five decades of war in Colombia. On Saturday in Havana, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ administration will reconvene with the leadership of Colombia’s largest insurgency, known by the acronym FARC. And, for the first time in two years of peace talks, the warring sides will turn the stage over to the conflict’s victims.

Anthony Watts
Hazard to navigation? Danish ‘Safety Ship’ OMS Pollux, leaking oil after colliding with Morecambe Bay wind turbine A SHIP is leaking diesel after crashing into a wind turbine off the coast of Morecambe Bay. Liverpool Coastguard has been in attendance … Continue reading

Majid Rafizadeh
A good year for the rogue Islamic Republic.
Shillman Journalism fellow explains the current conflict engulfing the Middle East.

Anthony Watts
Story submitted by Eric Worrall How do we prove climate alarmists are wrong? Let us count the ways If the temperature goes up, this is just what the models predicted– watch out because … …soon it will get a … Continue reading

Joanne Nova
Who would have guessed? A relentless propaganda campaign to generate fear about the climate has generated fear about the climate. It takes billions of dollars to generate delusion on this scale. After hopes for government-run-climates were dashed in Copenhagen, the price of setting up a fantasy came back to haunt the team. The fallout was psychological pain. The failure of Copenhagen was a savage set-back for the scare campaign in so many ways. Only now, years later, do we hear just how bad the repercussions were. The answer to “climate fear”is, of course, to look at data skepti...

Daniel Greenfield
There is no individualism without individual responsibility.

Caroline Glick
Why it's vital that Israel reassess its relationship with Western countries.

Anthony Watts 
From the University of Wisconsin-Madison , where they apparently have not heard of Liebig’s Law of the Minimum since they say resources and hydraulic limitation“might” play a role. MADISON, Wis. — What limits the height of trees? Is it …

Anthony Watts
From the GWPF and Dr. Benny Peiser World Awash In Oil Shields Markets From 2008 Price Shock The US shale boom is shaping a new kind of Democrat in national politics, lawmakers who are giving greater support to the oil … Continue reading

Faysal Itani
The international community does not yet understand the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Governments are accustomed to thinking of religious militants as networks of terrorists, saboteurs, assassins and opportunists hiding among the population – quintessential non-state actors, fighting the state. These ideas are obsolete against ISIS. ISIS is no mere militia; in its territory, it is the state.

Kimberly Dozier, Daily Beast
The siege on Iraq’s Mt. Sinjar may have broken. But ISIS has taken hundreds, if not thousands, of Iraq’s ethnic minorities prisoner. They’re begging for help before it’s too late.

David Blair, Telegraph
War spreads deadly viruses of the ideological as well as disease-bearing variety. Just as the First World War created the opportunity for Bolshevism to capture Russia, so today’s turmoil in the Middle East relentlessly promotes the spread of al-Qaeda’s brand of Islamist zealotry.

Reza Nejad, IranWire
In a speech to prominent diplomats from around the world, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today that he firmly believes further negotiations with the United States should not go ahead. Iran is willing to cooperate with any country in the world, he said, “with two exceptions: the Zionist regime and the U.S."

Jeremy Havardi, Commentator
Leftists like Owen Jones at the Guardian falsely accuse supporters of Israel of always labelling their critics as anti-Semitic. They don't. But the bigotry against Israel is very real, and the Left can't see that because they're leading it.

The Economist
EVEN in cash-strapped times, America’s defence secretary does not so much travel overseas as make an imperial progress. The Pentagon’s boss flies aboard an airborne command post originally built to run nuclear wars, crammed with scores of aides, and often escorted by mid-air refuelling tankers. The plane’s antiquity adds an extra superpower frisson. With its clunky gadgets and cold-war decor it feels like a set from Dr Strangelove, jammed into a Boeing 747.

Mac Margolis, Bloomberg
Twenty years ago, when he debuted in national politics, Eduardo Campos, the Brazilian presidential hopeful who died in a plane crash yesterday, was easy to underestimate. With his elegant suits, camera-ready smile and pale-blue eyes as big as fog lights, the junior legislator from the northeastern state of Pernambuco seemed a better fit on the set of a soap opera than in the two-fisted arena of Brasilia.

Kevin Williamson, NRO
The economy of Japan, long stagnant, has taken a sharp turn for the worse: It contracted nearly 7 percent (annualized and inflation-adjusted) in the quarter ending in June. By way of comparison, consider that the U.S. contraction in the quarter ending in June 2009, when we were feeling the worst of the financial crisis, was 4 percent; the worst quarter of the 1982 recession saw a contraction of 2.6 percent. You’d have to go back to the 1940s to see a quarter with a 7 percent contraction in the United States.

Kishore Mahbubani, Project Syndicate
Asia is poised to enter a historical sweet spot, with three of its most populous countries – China, India, and Indonesia – led by strong, dynamic, and reform-minded leaders. In fact, China’s Xi Jinping, India’s Narendra Modi, and Indonesia’s Joko “Jokowi” Widodo could end up ranked among their countries’greatest modern leaders. more »

Carolyn McCarthy, BBC
Stretching from Alaska to the pencil tip of Argentina, the 48,000km-long Pan-American Highway holds the record for the world's longest motorable road. But there is a gap - an expanse of wild tropical forest - that has defeated travellers for centuries.

Takis Wurger, Der Spiegel
A homosexual French Muslim imam is spreading a message of religion and tolerance in Europe. In addition to opening a gay-friendly mosque in Paris, he also recently married a lesbian couple in Sweden.

Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post
For many Dutch citizens, Black Pete (Zwarte Piet) is a beloved Christmas figure. There's just a small problem: The character, one of Santa's "helpers," is traditionally represented by white actors wearing blackface.

Anthony Watts
From NCAR, some wind pie in the sky. A mother lode of wind power Mapping the potential to harvest high-altitude wind May 28, 2014 | What if all the energy needed by society existed just a mile or two above ….

Max Boot, The Spectator
Iraq is a bloody mess. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has extended its hold from eastern Syria into western and northern Iraq, massacring Shi’ites, Christians and Yazidis wherever it can. Meanwhile in Baghdad there has been a constitutional crisis, with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki threatening to cling to power at gunpoint even though his own political bloc has chosen a different candidate.

David McHugh, AP
The shaky economic recovery in the 18-country eurozone ground to a halt in the second quarter, as the continent's central pillars - Germany and France - were held back by weaker investment by business and by fears over the crisis in Ukraine. The German economy, the biggest among the countries that use the euro, shrank by a quarterly rate of 0.2 percent while no. 2 France showed zero growth for the second straight quarter. Italy, the No. 3 economy, shrank. The outcome reported by Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office Thursday, was slightly lower than the ....

Konrad Yakabuski, Globe and Mail
Almost 1,000 U.S. military personnel are back in Iraq. And after insisting there would be no U.S. troops on the ground, the Pentagon is reportedly hatching plans for boots on the ground. Mr. Obama is learning the hard way that, sometimes, it’s stupider to do nothing.

Seumas Milne, The Guardian
The Yazidis need aid, but military intervention by states that destroyed Iraq will deepen the crisis now tearing it apart.

Gordon Chang, The National Interest
Xi, like Gorbachev, is a figure wanting to accomplish great deeds in reforming an ailing system. And like the last Soviet leader, Xi has started something he cannot control.

Robert Kelley, Diplomat
It may dominate the region, but would Chinese hegemony be something more than despotism?

Michael Hanna, Foreign Policy
From Gaza to Libya to Iraq, Egypt's new strongman is developing a foreign policy based on repression and stability.

Jenna Krajeski, New Republic 
Kurdistan is booming on the promise of oil wealth, and their security -- maintained by the peshmerga -- has enticed investors to the region. But progress has come alongside reports of rampant corruption, a widening gap between the rich and poor, and increasingly authoritarian tendencies in a government still dominated by family names. Disenfranchised Kurds find little hope of influencing the authorities or benefiting from the oil wealth. Perhaps nothing in Kurdistan illustrates its internal fissures more than the peshmerga themselves.

Jonathan Tobin,
The idea that PA officials or security people will be an effective barrier to the re-militarization of Gaza—as opposed to the goal of demilitarization that Israel wants and which is a prerequisite for peace—is farcical. Even if the PA were parachuted into Gaza, the chances that they would stop Hamas from doing what it likes are minimal. Putting them in there might enable Israel to claim that they had degraded Hamas militarily as well as politically, but it is highly likely that this would merely be a fig leaf on an already bad situation as it reverted to th...

Bill Frelick, Politico Mag
The Haitian and Vietnamese in-country processing programs—ironically and perversely—required that people who wanted to apply not be afraid to wait for the prolonged process to conclude and not be so afraid of their government’s reaction that they would avoid seeking permission to leave. Both programs indeed benefited thousands of people, but both also looked very much like immigration programs masquerading as refugee programs.

Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post
Pakistan's Independence Day is on Aug. 14, but this year the occasion is marked by national crisis, not unity. The country is braced for heated protests on Thursday against the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Key opposition leaders have called for protests and a march on the capital Islamabad from Lahore, leading authorities to set up barricades of shipping containers on the main highway connecting the two cities. Islamabad is under virtual lockdown, with shops closed and thousands of police and security forces deployed.

Rafia Zakaria, Dawn
Pakistan’s problem with promise is its addiction to a particular stage of political existence.

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald
The reform of Mexico’s corrupt and decrepit state-run oil industry was long overdue, and some leftist politicians’ opposition to private sector investments that are even sought by communist China and Cuba is a measure of how outdated they are. But if Pea Nieto doesn’t get the billions in foreign investments that are expected, and soon, such outdated rhetoric will become increasingly appealing to millions of Mexicans.

Michael Daly, Daily Beast
After Patrick Sawyer’s sister died of the virus, Liberia’s Ministry of Health instructed him not to travel. But he was allowed to fly to Lagos. Now he’s dead -- and 10 more are infected.

Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That? - 2 days ago
From the American Chemical Society Dust— and the microbes hitching rides on it — influences rain, climate SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 13, 2014 — Dusty air blowing across the Pacific from Asia and Africa plays a critical role in precipitation …

Joanne Nova at JoNova - 2 days ago
The Sydney Morning Herald carefully removed the scientific arguments from an article today. Are they afraid their readers are not smart enough to reach the “right” conclusions if exposed to the wrong information? Hey, but its only national policy and billions of dollars at stake. Today Maurice Newman warned that we are not prepared for climate change (he’s talking about the cold kind). The Australian published his thoughts citing Archibald, Usoskin, Svensmark, Brekke, Lockwood and Curry. Their readers are apparently clever enough to handle discussions of cosmic rays and large hadro...

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