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Feb 28, 2015

Why Does US Still Favor Baghdad over the Kurds?

The article linked below is an interview with the Kurdistan Regional Government's High Representative to the US. In it she reveals that all military shipments to Iraqi Kurdistan are first landed in Baghdad for inspection and only after inspection are the given to the Kurds. This is ridiculous. The Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq and the Kurdish YPG in Syria have proven their combat effectiveness in every battle they've fought as long as their ammunition held out. Even in retreat, they never abandon any weapons for ISIS to capture.  The Iraqi Army, on the other hand, was one of the main sources of arms for ISIS. They abandoned all of their US supplied equipment and ran away before ISIS could even get to them. Iran is supplying the Shi'ite militias around Baghdad with all of the weapons they need. Why aren't we doing the same for the Kurds? 

Feb 23, 2015

Ranting About Rudy, A Double Standard

The liberal press game of gottcha is getting ridiculous for hypocrisy.  Both George W Bush and Scot Walker have been called Hitler. Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) confirmed in the link below that the Democratic campaign message for the midterms was Republicans are worse than Ebola and ISIS. Dick Cheney was accused of starting the Iraq war to make money for Halliburton. There are no limits when it comes to liberal Democrats attacking Republicans. The Pravda Press should not be allowed to enforce this blatant double standard. Nobody claimed these attacks on Republicans were unacceptable. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is at the front of the pack denouncing Giuliani's remarks. She should be slammed for being the hypocrite that she is.
Article I was reacting to:

Feb 22, 2015

My Personal Exposure to Paleoclimatology and Global Warming

My problem with the whole argument for man-made global warming is the narrowness of the time frame of observations being used.  My reservations are based on my personal experience.  I grew up in Missoula, Montana.  It was a prehistoric lake.  I was painfully aware of this as a kid, because anytime anybody tried to dig a hole to plant something there was about an inch of topsoil, an inch of gravel and then a seemingly infinite layer of big smooth boulders, most much bigger than the original size of the hole, that had to be removed.  It turns out that Lake Missoula got filled repeatedly as the result of ice dams on the Clark's Fork River 15,000 to 13,000 years ago.  Periodically the dams would break up suddenly and flood everything downstream with the contents of the Lake Missoula.  

This personal experience and subsequent exposure to paleoclimatology led me to understand that climate varies quite widely over geologic time based on natural processes.  I believe that the state of our understanding of these natural processes is exceedingly incomplete.  We have had the computational power to study these processes for less than 30 years.  This is really not enough time to build all of the relevant factors into the models and then run them enough to understand the bugs and fix them.  If we are going to take action that requires drastic expensive changes to our economy, the burden of proof is on the people calling for the drastic expensive changes.  We should be sure beyond a reasonable doubt that the changes are necessary.  It is not enough to find warming.  It has to be shown that the warming is caused by increased CO2 emissions or other alterations to the ecosystem that are the result of human activity. At this point, I think even showing the warming is a stretch.  It is definitely not proven that human activity is causing any warming observed.

I think the 135 year time span of the primary detailed observations leaves a lot of room for reasonable doubt, particularly since the satellite record for the last 36 years shows no change.  The obvious political motivations of the people behind the global warming movement, who seek unchecked absolute power through the control of all energy use, makes me believe they have the motive and opportunity for falsifying the data.  The fact that Michael Mann's famous hockey stick did not show the Medieval Warming Period at all should make everyone think that something is fishy.  When the Climate Research Unit refused to share the raw data and fought off a Freedom of Information Request by saying they accidentally erased the data, I really became suspicious.  Science is supposed to be open and reproducible.  Accidentally erasing the data is the scientific equivalent of "the dog ate my homework."  I have provided a link for the erased data incident.

Personally, today I am dealing with 10 degree F weather in Chicago.  I have found global warming to date extremely disappointing.  Last year there was a 35 foot high pile of snow extending 100 feet along the edge of the parking lot where I work. When I posted a picture of it on my Facebook page, one of my friends wanted to know if it was Montana or Illinois.  I know some legitimate scientists take this very seriously.  But I believe that the planet is a very big place with a huge amount of water that is going to buffer whatever man does in the short run.  I think AGW is a political movement disguised as science.  I don't think AGW has met its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  

Feb 21, 2015

Internet Neutrality: Regulate Like It's 1887

The latest atrocity in the ever expanding regulation of everything by the Obama Administration is regulating the internet as a common carrier justified by enforcing internet neutrality.  The putative purpose of the regulation is to make sure that all internet traffic is treated equally.  No company should be able to buy a fast track for its traffic.  The problem is especially acute in “the last mile,” where local municipalities have sold monopoly positions to cable and telephone companies which have jacked up prices.  If the problem is geographical monopolies on the last mile, then the solution is a federal law that outlaws them because they are an illegal local burden on interstate commerce. This would be a use of the Commerce Clause as it was actually intended.

The solution is not to allow the Feds to regulate the internet based on a law passed in 1934 for regulating telephone companies as common carriers, which itself was based on common carrier railroad regulation which was originally passed into law in 1887. The Interstate Commerce Commission powers to regulate railroads bankrupted a lot of them. Railroads were deregulated in 1980 and the ICC was abolished in 1995. Jimmy Carter signed the bill in 1980 and Bill Clinton signed the 1995 bill. The ICC was such bad news two Democrats signed bills to dismantle and kill it. Why would we want to resurrect this mess for the internet?

As a side comment, a nice Constitutional Amendment would be to make all laws expire in 50 years. If Congress doesn't see fit to reenact them, they should be gone. We could avoid 80 year old laws being used as excuses to regulate us. Why 50 years, you might ask?  Because we might need Democratic votes to get the 2/3 majority of votes in both Houses of Congress  needed to propose the amendment.

Truth in Spending: Outlaw the Current Services Budget

Sorry, but it’s time to get a little wonky.  There’s a spending bias that built into how the government budgets called the current services budget.  This calculation is a baseline cost of doing next year exactly what the government did this year. Then budget "cuts" are measured from this base. If it would take $90 billion more to duplicate the current activities of the federal government next year, then spending $80 billion more next year than this year is a "cut" of $10 billion. As you can see, this builds in a bias for increased spending every year. What needs to be done is simple. No money should be spent by any federal agency to make a current services budget calculation. All budget baselines will be calculated based on current year actual spending. No need for a 50 page comprehensive bill. Stick it in a budget bill and let the Smartest President Ever try to explain why these two lines make the rest of the bill something he has to veto. I'm sure low information voters will love it. 

Death By Terrorism Unlikely, So No Worries?

Some people say that since the odds of being killed by a terrorist right now are much less than being killed by lightning, we shouldn’t spend much time worrying about it.  This position, that we don't need to fight terrorism because so far the odds of being killed by a terrorist are very, very low, reminds me of a bad joke. A man jumps off the Empire State Building. Half way down he comments, "OK so far!"

Feckless Policies May Leave No Time To Recover

In the article linked below, Professor Thomas Sowell remarks that today’s feckless policies mirror similarly feckless policies of the 1930’s.  The Isolationism in the US and the appeasement of Hitler in Europe lead to World War II.  He then notes that during the war, the Allies took a long time to make up for the position their feckless policies left them in.  He commented that in a modern nuclear war we may not get the chance to make up for our mistakes.  I would like to explain further why that’s the case.

During World War II the Allies were able to trade space for the time needed to build up the armed forces we needed to win. In those days, flying across the Atlantic or Pacific was done in a B-17 bomber with a cruising speed of 182 miles per hour. Since the bombers range was only 2,000 miles you needed refueling bases to get all the way across. The need for airbases was the reason for the island hopping campaign in the Pacific. Today, a B-2 bomber has a cruising speed of 560 miles per hour and, with air to air refueling, can fly nonstop from its base in Missouri to anywhere in the world. While the distances are the same, the time you can get for a given distance is much less. And, as Professor Sowell says, the destructive power of nuclear weapons also destroys military forces much more quickly than conventional weapons did in World War II. War today is a come as you are affair with very little room for second chances. 

Feb 15, 2015

Sequencing DNA and Combinatorics Yield Intelligent Design

I don’t see much conflict anymore between intelligent design and natural selection.  Now that we are sequencing DNA we know that the genetic possibilities are not infinite and they are not random.  Applying a field of mathematics called combinatorics to DNA sequences, gives us a very, very large but finite number of genetic combinations that are mathematically possible. Of those, there are likely a lot smaller but still very large number of combinations that are biologically viable. At this point, if you want to consider the biologically viable genetic combinations intelligently designed I don’t think the science is changed at all.  The natural selection of Darwin chooses which of the biologically viable designs survive and which don't. There's no scientific conflict between intelligent design and survival of the fittest, but there is also no evolution driven by random events. The laws of genetics were all baked in the cake before the natural selection began with the original set of biologically viable designs.

The open questions have to do with the exploration of which of the mathematical genetic combinations are biologically viable. At the moment, we are in the early stages of genetics and can only glimpse that these questions will exist once we get further information. However, I would expect that eventually we will have models that will be able to explore the biologically viable combinations for clues as to hidden aspects of extinct lifeforms. If you want to dwell in the past conflicts of pre-genetic Darwinism versus creationism, enjoy yourself.

The creationists believe G_d designed man. The Darwinists believed man evolved through natural selection. At this point, our knowledge of genetics is leading us towards the position that both are right. So from a scientific point of view, we can stop arguing and get on with more interesting questions.  The only reasons left to argue this are political, not scientific. The argument allows Liberals to feel superior to Conservatives for being "scientific." But the science involved has moved on from the original argument.

Evolution is in the news lately, because Scott Walker refused to answer a question about it.  I think somebody should ask if belief in Darwin is a religious test for holding office in the US. Because any religious test for holding office is unconstitutional. Since Scott Walker refused to answer the question, I think they are assuming he has to answer the question and demonstrate a religious belief in Darwin in order to hold the office of president. They are saying failure to answer the question is disqualifying.

Feb 1, 2015

Netanyahu's Speech: Diplomatic Niceties or Nuclear War?

There is a lot of shocked reaction to Speaker John Boehner inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give a speech to Congress and Netanyu accepting without either of them notifying the White house in advance.  Diplomatic niceties were not observed.  I think we need to put this in perspective.

Our Dear Leader’s deal at all costs behavior with the Iranians is paving the way for a general war in the Middle East, a nuclear war. Only the US Air Force has the capability to deliver a non-nuclear 30,000 pound bunker buster bomb capable of knocking out Iran's centrifuges in their deep underground bunkers. The Smartest President Ever is not going to order that attack even if the Iranians test several nuclear devices. The only Israeli weapons that have a chance at doing the job are nuclear weapons. The absolutely brilliant diplomacy of Barry the Magnificent is leaving Netanyahu with a preemptive nuclear strike as the only way to stop Iran from getting the bomb.

It seems to me that the existence of Israel is threatened. Iranian leaders have called Israel a "one bomb country."  It also seems to me that the White House has decided that a good relationship Israel is surplus to requirements and that our relationship with Iran is more important. The White House believes that an agreement with Iran which will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is very close. I believe that they have spent too much time in Colorado weed parlors, and that the administration's legacy in this area is going to be widespread nuclear proliferation and a general, nuclear, war in the Middle East. At that point, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu giving a speech to Congress without Obama's permission is a nice alternative to an Israeli preemptive nuclear strike on Iran. It seems to me that diplomatic protocol is a lot less important than preventing a nuclear war in the Middle East.

Also, let’s get real. The Chicago Machine Prodigy treats Congress like the Chicago City Council and Prime Minister Netanyahu like the head of the Republican Party in Cook County. Our Dear Leader is arrogant and rude early and often. Nobody should be shocked when his behavior is returned in kind.

If our Dear Leader punishes Israel for this breach of protocol, it will cost Democrats votes. People have started to figure out that the jump from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism is very short. Voters are also noticing that the friends of Israel tend to be those right wing Republicans that liberal voters have been taught to hate, while Israel's enemies tend to be liberals with a narrative of Palestinian entitlement. The solidity of the liberal Jewish vote is cracking. My Jewish friends are asking me to explain my politics where before they just tried to avoid talking about politics. They have noticed who Israel's friends are. It's early yet, but the Chicago Machine Prodigy is alienating a lot of his former supporters with his antagonism against Israel.

Big Government and War, Not Swearing Women, Hukabee

Women swearing is not important enough to be talking about. The fact that we are talking about it means that Huckabee is not presidential material. My grandmother, a Methodist minister's daughter born in 1898 who grew up in Rifle, Colorado, swore like a sailor, smoked, drank and taught me how to play poker when I was an 8 year old kid. As far as I know, none of this was a threat to the Republic.

The crises the country faces are big expensive government at home and war overseas. Social issues are irrelevant to our national survival. Worse emphasizing social issues costs us votes. Some of the most conservative gun nuts I know are gay. Generally they vote Republican, but they don't vote for social conservatives. Huckabee has nothing to offer on anything that's important either to the economy or foreign policy. Therefore, he should go back to work as a TV personality. In his spare time he should watch Free to Choose TV and learn some economics.

As an Air Force veteran, I am familiar with a concept called target servicing. Basically, you shoot first at the most threatening targets. To me, the most threatening targets are Iran with nuclear weapons, Jihadist terrorists and economic collapse brought on by overspending. None of these is a social issue.

Huckabee’s view of the family is nice but perhaps reverses cause and effect. The reason for the collapse of the family is a welfare system that subsidizes family collapse. It pays more if daddy ain't in the house. It pays more if nobody works. Once work requirements were added, the welfare expense went down. If we restructure entitlements and quit subsidizing idleness, we'll get less of it as well as prevent economic collapse.

I don’t see how gay couples threaten the family structure at all.  All my gay friends seem to want is middle class respectability and the rights and privileges granted to married couples.  If anything, their desire for admittance to the structure of marriage shows their admiration of it, not any desire to tear it down.