Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Does environmental policy really have anything to do with the environment?

Biofuels switch a mistake, say researchers
August 16, 2007 by Tristan Farrow

Increasing production of biofuels to combat climate change will release between two and nine times more carbon gases over the next 30 years than fossil fuels, according to the first comprehensive analysis of emissions from biofuels.

“Biofuel policy is rushing ahead without understanding the implications,” said Renton Righelato of the World Land Trust, a conservation charity. “It is a mistake in climate change terms to use biofuels.”

Biofuels Produce More Greenhouse Gases Than Oil and Gasoline
September 23, 2007 by Noel Sheppard

Rapeseed and maize biodiesels were calculated to produce up to 70 per cent and 50 per cent more greenhouse gases respectively than fossil fuels. The concerns were raised over the levels of emissions of nitrous oxide, which is 296 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Scientists found that the use of biofuels released twice as much as nitrous oxide as previously realised. The research team found that 3 to 5 per cent of the nitrogen in fertiliser was converted and emitted. In contrast, the figure used by the International Panel on Climate Change, which assesses the extent and impact of man-made global warming, was 2 per cent. The findings illustrated the importance, the researchers said, of ensuring that measures designed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions are assessed thoroughly before being hailed as a solution.

OECD warns against biofuels subsidies
September 10, 2007 by Andrew Bounds

Governments need to scrap subsidies for biofuels, as the current rush to support alternative energy sources will lead to surging food prices and the potential destruction of natural habitats….

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“The current push to expand the use of biofuels is creating unsustainable tensions that will disrupt markets without generating significant environmental benefits,” say the authors of the study, a copy of which has been obtained by the Financial Times.

Oops, Biofuels Actually Make Global Warming Worse …
February 8, 2008 by Nathan Burchfiel

AP Whitewashes EPA’s Defiance of Federal Court Ruling on Ethanol Mandate
January 31, 2013 by Tom Blumer

Press-Enabled EPA Issues New Rules Mandating Use of Fuels Which Don’t Exist
February 17, 2013 by Tom Blumer

The Trouble with Biofuels: Costs and Consequences of Expanding Biofuel Use in the United Kingdom
April 2013 by Rob Bailey, Chatham House

corruption, environment, global warming, greenhouse, ideology, indoctrination, legislation, news media, politics, propaganda, public policy, reform, regulation, science

Filed under: corruption, environment, global warming, greenhouse, ideology, indoctrination, legislation, news media, politics, propaganda, public policy, reform, regulation, science

Selective respect for the President

Let us begin with just a few headlines:

G.O.P. vs. Obama: Disrespect or Just Politics?
September 1, 2011 by JENNIFER STEINHAUER

Donald Trump: The Disrespect of President Obama Continues
October 26, 2012 by Etan Thomas

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Obama plays offense, Romney shows disrespect
October 18, 2012 by E.J. DIONNE JR.

After 8 years of hating on George W. Bush do these headlines strike anyone as ironic? Blatant hate for Bush, even from our open-minded and well informed members of the news media, were a dime a dozen. It was, and apparently still is, in vogue to hate on the man even today, four years after he’s left office.

A few more articles:

GOP disrespect for Obama undermines American exceptionalism
October 26, 2012 by Rahiel Tesfamariam

Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he would contribute $5 million to Barack Obama’s charity of choice if he releases his college transcripts and passport. While his request and subsequent Twitter postings are laughable, they coincide with countless other disrespectful statements made about the president by the Republican Party recently.

The 10 Worst Moments of Disrespect Towards President Obama
January 27, 2012 by Lauren Victoria Burke

It starts from the Superiority Syndrome: People acting as if they’re more important than a U.S. President — when they clearly are not.

Continued GOP Disrespect Of Obama Is Unacceptable
January 26, 2012 by NewsOne Staff

During President Barack Obama’s historic rise from state Senator to the highest office in the land, he has endured relentless disrespect from his various critics on both sides of the aisle. However, nothing from the pundits and other talking heads have come close to crossing the line on the level of elected officials who represent both the GOP and the burgeoning Tea Party. John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and other high-ranking Republicans have all seized on a plan of attacking Obama with seemingly xenophobic flair.

NYTimes Videocast Hits Disrespectful, ‘Peevish’ Romney’s ‘Serious Gaffe’ on Libya — But Contradicted By Own Editors
October 17, 2012 by Clay Waters

The second 2012 presidential debate hosted by Candy Crowley got the full court press from the New York Times, with live fact-checking online and a 40-minute TimesCast wrap-up, that found Times reporters wrongly defending Obama and bashing Mitt Romney on a fiery exchange on Libya. Times journalists were highly supportive of Barack Obama’s performance and critical of the “peevish” Mitt Romney, who “was arguably showing disrespect for the president,” as Jackie Calmes insisted.

The concern over disrespecting President Obama is elevated to the notion that we should return to an age where “politics ends at the nation’s borders”. The idea that someone might disagree with Obama is portrayed as everything from damaging America’s reputation abroad to inherently racist. Because, you see, there is no logical reason anyone would disagree him, right? And apparently, it ultimately boils down to just racism.

Top 9 Most Racist Things Republicans Have Done Since President Obama Has Been In Office
by Michael Coard Writes

We even find ourselves with the asinine suggestion that referring to the president only by his last name, without the title “President” is also a sign of disrespect:

MSNBC wonders: Is it disrespectful to call Obama “Obama”?
January 11, 2013 by Allahpundit

If only there were such widespread concern for respecting the President and showing concern for America’s reputation during the years 2001-2008. Wouldn’t respect for the President or at least the office of president have been nice back then? I guess bigotry against Republicans and freedom itself doesn’t really count as bigotry.

bias, bigotry, discrimination, hypocrisy, indoctrination, news media, pandering, political correctness, politics, president, propaganda

Filed under: bias, bigotry, discrimination, hypocrisy, indoctrination, news media, pandering, political correctness, politics, president, propaganda

If we’re going change language for accuracy, then…

Since the Associated Press has banned the use of the term “illegal immigrant” in favor of “undocumented immigrant” I have a few other suggestions of my own.

anti-government –> limited government
global warming deniers –> climate change realists
main stream journalist –> Democrat operative
liberal / progressive –> anti-American
open minded –> blindly following a left wing narrative
pro-choice –> pro abortion
racist –> Chris Matthews doesn’t like it

If there seems to be any ulterior motive with my suggestions, perhaps one should consider the AP has ulterior motives as well. After all, what is political correctness but an attempt to control people’s thinking by controlling speech?

bias, bigotry, censorship, culture, discrimination, ideology, immigration, indoctrination, news media, pandering, political correctness, propaganda

Filed under: bias, bigotry, censorship, culture, discrimination, ideology, immigration, indoctrination, news media, pandering, political correctness, propaganda

Is it irresponsible to treat NK threats as just rhetoric?

After threats of war, warning diplomats to evacuate the area, and now declaring Nuclear War is unavoidable, what is an appropriate response to North Korea? This is, unfortunately, a silly question by any of us outside the global intelligence field. We are not privy to most of the pertinent information. And even if we were keeping close tabs on the news reports about Kim Jong-un, we would still be poorly informed of the particulars and still unqualified to make judgements about the situation. But that never seems to stop anyone else from commenting.

It may be standard diplomatic protocol to apply international pressure on North Korea, as the United States and China are doing. The two nations have agreed to push for the “peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” even if this is likely to have little if any positive impact on the situation. There is reason to question what qualifications Kim Jong-un has to lead a country. He is quite young, and has little experience in such matters. His boisterous threats of late are not what one should expect from a wise and seasoned leader. So the question is, are his threats merely empty rhetoric, or is he inexperienced and foolish enough to actually follow through?

Responsible leaders around the world should be acting as though North Korea intends on doing exactly as they have threatened. Formal diplomatic relations can sugar coat the situation and provide cover for military preparations. One concern some have is that diplomacy has a tendency to merely delay the inevitable, giving time for war mongers to build up forces, while peace lovers do nothing but talk (because preparing for military conflict would be seen as “provocative”). While fools may not be able to distinguish between war mongers and wise nations preparing to defend themselves against war mongers, we find ourselves in a situation with similar circumstances as one merely a generation ago.

Iraq’s Saddam Hussein made threats and actually invaded neighbors. The United Nations was called in to defend the invaded countries. The UN mandate was not to defeat Hussein, but merely to drive his forces out of the lands he invaded. Iraq refused to follow subsequent UN edicts and diplomatic efforts proved useless in the effort to contain Hussein. When Hussein failed to comply with UN sanctions, eventually then President Bush saw fit to finally deal with him. But suddenly, the vast array of intelligence and common knowledge about the threat posed by Iraq were no where to be found. We forgot about Hussein’s use of chemical weapons (weapons of mass destruction) against his own people and decided he never possessed WMDs in the first place. We forgot about previous administrations criticizing Republicans for “ignoring Iraq’s ties to terrorism“. The theory that Iraq’s WMDs were moved to Syria was dismissed (though new evidence once again supporting the theory has been found – apparently merely deciding a theory is debunked isn’t the same as actually debunking it). The immense collection of intelligence showing Iraq should be dealt with as a serious threat was forgotten. And dealing with Iraq and its terrorist allies was decried as an unnecessary war.

If efforts, both diplomatic and military, to deal with North Korea result in merely delaying all out war until the next president, and if that president happens to be a Republican, will we forget the threat we now acknowledge North Korea poses to the world? Will we call that conflict unnecessary? Or worse, will treating Kim Jong-un like a dumb kid actually encourage him to unleash nuclear war, just as he said he would?

diplomacy, foreign affairs, history, iraq, politics, saddam hussein, terrorism, war

Filed under: diplomacy, foreign affairs, history, iraq, politics, saddam hussein, terrorism, war

Do global warming experts actually know what they are talking about?

FOIA obtained Met Office document shows them to be clueless about what affects our climate, and, in particular, what caused the unusual weather last year
April 9, 2013 by Paul Homewood via Watts Up With That?

“The Met openly admit that neither they, nor climate science in general, have any real understanding about the basic processes that affect our climate.

It is surely time that they, DEFRA and others admitted this in public, instead of continually repeating the same old speculations that every bit of bad weather is linked to global warming.”

bias, censorship, environment, global warming, science

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Is Obama showing cowboy diplomacy?

On April Fools day, the Christian Science monitor published a serious piece by Howard LaFranchi on the Obama Administration’s diplomatic approach to recent North Korean rhetoric. The point of the story is essentially that the US is showing strength to the international community by not saying much. LaFranchi points out that American military exercises with South Korea continue despite Kim Jong-un’s provocative statements, and that “nuclear-capable B-52s in US-South Korea military exercises and a reinforcing of missile defense batteries in Alaska” are American actions made as a reminder to North Korea that the US does have the military might to defend itself against the sensational attacks North Korea has threatened. And I point out this is exactly the sort of thing the Obama Administration should be doing. The last thing the international community should be doing is placating a bully like Kim Jong-un.

However, there is no reason to believe these actions would be interpreted as “showing strength” were they done by the previous US president George W. Bush. Since Bush is still being blamed for problems in the United States, even four years after leaving office, and reporters find it worth their time to do stories on this fact, there should be no problem in comparing this contemporary situation to a Bush scenario.

While in office, Bush’s approach to diplomacy was largely characterized with derogatory terms like “cowboy” and “unilateral” and such. Criticisms like this, and worse, were intended to portray Bush as simple-minded, unprepared, a bully president, who didn’t understand how diplomacy is supposed to work. Were president Bush to respond to North Korea the way president Obama is now, it is far more likely the actions taken would not be spoken of in terms of “showing strength” but instead criticized as foolishly and needlessly escalating a potentially tense situation.

But the reality is, Obama’s actions are the right thing to do and they are escalating a potentially tense situation. The American response to North Korea is provocative. It is also necessary. But where Bush’s actions against Iraq were both provocative and necessary, we instead got nearly 8 years of criticism, selective history, and outright distortion of the facts by his critics to make the case that military action against Iraq and against terrorism were unnecessary. Lies and misrepresentations about Bush and his administration’s arguments were turned into relentless accusations that it was Bush and his administration who lied.

Is a lie still a lie if it’s years old and perpetuated by willful ignorance?
Reasons for War: things you might have forgotten about Iraq
Why Did We Invade Iraq?
The subsequent acrimony derives from the general amnesia over why we invaded.

culture, foreign affairs, government, history, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, iraq, lies, politics, president, propaganda, saddam hussein, terrorism, wmd

Filed under: culture, foreign affairs, government, history, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, iraq, lies, politics, president, propaganda, saddam hussein, terrorism, wmd




April 2013