Obama officials caught up in unmasking probe

I once knew a guy in Galveston, Texas who owned a tuna boat with which he made his living as a fisherman.  I learned from him that tuna are caught in nets which often catch dolphins as well. Dolphins will drown in the nets if not released soon after they become caught in the net. To prevent the dolphins from drowning fisherman are required by law to make sure all dolphins are released from the net before pulling the net to the boat. A special technique has been developed to accomplish this task. It works very well and saves dolphin lives.

I thought of this upon learning that the National Security Agency often catches Americans in their spy nets when they are surveilling foreign persons for national security purposes. The NSA is prohibited by law from spying on Americans. That territory belongs to the FBI and other intelligence agencies. So, as in tuna fishing, a system for releasing Americans from the NSA spy net exists. It’s called “masking” the identity of any American who happens to be incidentally spied upon by the NSA. There is an approved procedure for “unmasking” any such Americans, and it’s an abuse of power to unmask Americans any other way for any other purpose.

It’s a gross abuse of power for anyone to unmask Americans collected in NSA spying activity when the purpose of the unmasking is for political gain. There are now serious allegations that the Obama administration unmasked people in the Trump campaign leading up to the presidential election. Just because some American has been collected in NSA surveillance does not mean they have done anything illegal or that they are a threat to national security. That’s why there is special procedure to be followed to unmask anyone. There has to be a good national security reason to do it.

To unmask a political opponent for the purpose of leaking that information to the media, all to gain political power, is certainly an abuse of power and could even be illegal. The Obama administration is suspected of doing just that.

Former ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power was not an intelligence analyst and would have had no reason to seek the unmasking of any American. She is among seven people who have been subpoenaed by Rep. David Nunes, chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence says, Oh, This is Just the Beginning.

Any single incident of unmasking might not rise to the level of a crime. But a pattern of unmasking without any discernible national security reason would indicate it was all political.

Luke Warmers and Climatistas are both different and the same

“Luke warmers” are the third way between Climatistas and climate skeptics. They differ in that they don’t believe catastrophic climate change is going to happen, at least the Climatistas haven’t come close to proving their claims.  The Skeptics believe the whole thing is a hoax. The Warmers are the third way because they state that they believe humans do cause climate change, just not enough to be worth worrying about.

What the warmers and climatistas have in common is that they both shift the burden of proof to the skeptics. They think it is up to the skeptics to prove the negative. That’s wrong. Those who make the claims have the burden of proving their claims and neither has come close or even made a serious effort to do so.

The carbon footprint and rising CO₂ levels argument are not a sufficient answer and certainly not proof of anything. The increase of CO₂ from 300 parts per million in the atmosphere in 1750 to 400 parts per million today cannot be a cause of climate change, human or otherwise.

I’ve written a lot about CO₂ as a climate trigger, not because I’m a scientist but because I have read what real scientists have said about it over several decades. Here is a link to all that I’ve written about CO₂ and climate in the 9 years this blog has existed.

I (we) know that since the beginning of the holocene epoch around 12,000 years ago and continuing to the present, the earth’s climate has changed dramatically. Just before the Holocene there was a sheet of ice a mile thick over what is now Chicago, Wisconsin and Michigan. Somehow it all melted and made the Great Lakes. Human effect was not present in that event. Inuit camp fires didn’t melt all that ice. During much of the time since the ice began to melt the climate has shifted from warmer to cooler several times with no correlation to the level of CO2 in the atmosphere which has alse fluctuated.[1]

The climatistas have no data to back up what they claim. They have only computer models which have been unreliable in predicting climate. Nor do the warmists have any data. Judgment for the skeptics.

[1] CO₂ Science: …there is absolutely no rational relationship between the Holocene temperature history derived by Axford et al. and the air’s CO2 content. Over the first 1800 years of the record, for example, when the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration rose by a sluggardly 10 ppm, Holocene temperatures rose, in the mean, by about 2.3°C. Then, over the following 2,400 years, when the air’s CO2content rose by about 20 ppm, mean summer air temperatures dropped by approximately 2.6°C. And over the next 1900 years, when the air’s CO2 content rose by some 10 to 15 ppm, mean air temperature changed not at all. But over the final 300 or so years, when the atmospheric CO2 concentration rose by a whopping 125 ppm, summer air temperatures first declined by about 1.9°C and then rose by about 1.9°C, for essentially no net change. Clearly, the CO2 concentration of earth’s atmosphere would appear to have had no consistent impact on July air temperatures in the vicinity of North Lake, Greenland, over the past seven millennia.

Donald Trump the Claudian President

Classics scholar Victor Davis Hanson says the Trump presidency has parallels with the Roman Emperor Claudius who was an outsider deeply resented by the Roman political establishment. Claudius was preceeded by the malignant narcissist Caligula who was loved and celebrated by them. Claudius was mercilessly subjected to vicious ad hominem attacks by the aristocracy, in much the way Trump is today.

Trump…Our Claudius

The Roman Emperor Claudius, who reigned from 41 to 54 AD, was never supposed to be emperor. He came to office at age 50, an old man in Roman times. Claudius succeeded the charismatic, youthful heartthrob Caligula—son of the beloved Germanicus and the “little boot” who turned out to be a narcissist monster before being assassinated in office.

Claudius was an unusual emperor, the first to be born outside Italy, in Roman Gaul. Under the Augustan Principate, new Caesars—who claimed direct lineage from the “divine” Augustus—were usually rubber-stamped by the toadyish Senate. However, the outsider Claudius (who had no political training and was prevented by his uncle Tiberius from entering the cursus honorum), was brought into power by the Roman Praetorian Guard, who wanted a change from the status quo apparat of the Augustan dynasty.

The Roman aristocracy—most claiming some sort of descent from Julius Caesar and his grandnephew Octavian (Caesar Augustus)—had long written Claudius off as a hopeless dolt. Claudius limped, the result of a childhood disease or genetic impairment. His mother Antonia, ashamed of his habits and appearance, called the youthful Claudius “a monster of man.” He was likely almost deaf and purportedly stuttered.

That lifelong disparagement of his appearance and mannerisms probably saved Claudius’s life in the dynastic struggles during the last years of the Emperor Augustus and the subsequent reigns of the emperors Tiberius and Caligula.

The stereotyped impression of Claudius was that of a simpleton not to be taken seriously—and so no one did. Claudius himself claimed that he feigned acting differently in part so that he would not be targeted by enemies before he assumed power, and to unnerve them afterwards.

Contemporary critics laughed at his apparent lack of eloquence and rhetorical mastery, leading some scholars to conjecture that he may have suffered from Tourette syndrome or a form of autism. The court biographer Suetonius wrote that Claudius “was now careful and shrewd, sometimes hasty and inconsiderate, occasionally silly and like a crazy man.”

Sound familiar?

The rest of the story outlines Claudius’ 13-year rule and is well worth your time. Victor Davis Hanson has a talent for making history interesting and enjoyable to read.

We’ve become strangers in a strange land

Do penises cause climate change? Discuss: The academic hoax that shows how generations of kids are paying good money to study pure, unmitigated, mind-warping drivel

Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay…managed to get published in a social sciences journal a paper arguing that the penis is not in fact a male reproductive organ but merely a social construct and that, furthermore, penises are responsible for causing climate change.

It ought to go without saying that their paper, ‘The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct’, was a spoof. Yet it was peer-reviewed by two supposed experts in gender studies, one of whom praised the way it captured ‘the issue of hypermasculinity through a multidimensional and nonlinear process’, and the other of whom marked it ‘outstanding’ in every applicable category.

Their model was the Sokal Hoax of 1996, when New York University physics professor Alan Sokal persuaded an academic journal to accept a similarly meaningless paper titled ‘Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity’.

We hardly noticed as the typical college campus was being turned into an asylum run by the inmates.

A scare industry worth an annual $1.5 trillion has been built on the notion that anthropogenic CO2 is responsible for unprecedented and catastrophic changes to the world’s climate. Yet the scientists promoting this hypothesis are a fairly small, closed shop who validate one another’s work in a process which has been nicknamed ‘pal review’ and whose response to criticism from dissidents is to bully them, smear them and have them denied access to mainstream science journals.

But what should disturb us almost more, I think, is the broader problem that generation after generation of impressionable kids are now paying good money — and expecting good jobs afterwards — to study pure, unmitigated, mind-warping drivel.

As usual, follow the money.


Bon Débarras Paris Accourds! [Updated]

Good Riddance Paris Accords!! Trump dumps the Paris accords announced just now….[3:36 P.M.]

Making America great….AGAIN!!

Update: Looks like Wall Street approves, stocks up sharply after yesterday’s announcement, and so far up even more today in spite of a drop in oil.

The Worldwide “Green” Movement

The worldwide “green” movement is almost unbelievably corrupt. If President Trump calls it out for what it is, it will be a signal achievement of his administration. — John Hinderaker, Europe’s Climate Delusion

I see no gain in having the United States participate in a treaty* that combines bad science with bad economics. In the long run, the United States will gain in both wealth and influence if it adopts a more restrained approach to climate change. President Trump should not let himself be scolded to move in a fashionable but unsound direction. — Richard Erstein, Forget the Paris Accords

*The Paris Accords are at best an executive Agreement made by Barack Obama. President Trump can withdraw from it the same way Obama engaged it, by his prerogative alone. Liberals are calling the Paris Accords a Treaty. It’s no such thing because it has not been submitted to the Senate for ratification, as the U.S. Constitution requires. Ratification of a treaty requires a 2/3 majority vote in the Senate.

Dump the Paris Climate Change Accords

Richard Epstein:

The Trump administration is currently facing a major decision—whether to withdraw the United States from the Paris Accords on climate change.

The President’s instincts are spot on here. He should withdraw the United States from the accords and be prepared to stoutly defend his decision on both political and scientific grounds. Ironically, the best reasons for getting out of the accords are the evident weaknesses in the reasons that a wide range of businesses and environmental groups offer for staying in.

One constant refrain of both large American corporations and environmental groups is that by withdrawing from the Paris Accords, the United States will suffer a “huge missed opportunity” to work on the cutting-edge technologies of wind and solar energy. But why? At this point, solar and wind energy, as the indefatigable Matt Ridley points out, amount to at most a trivial portion of the global energy supply, less than one percent in total. Indeed, most of that production comes from state-subsidized ventures that could never survive on their own. And while firms race to collect government subsidies to develop so-called cleaner energy, none of their research is likely to solve the intractable problem of how to store wind or solar energy efficiently.

Further, to label wind and solar as “green” energy simply ignores the substantial environmental costs associated over their life-cycle of development, fabrication, installation, and maintenance. Covering the ground with huge solar panels is a form of thermal pollution; wind turbines emit a low hum injurious to people and are notorious for killing birds; and mining the materials required for the manufacture of each form of energy results in more environmental harm.

The defenders of the Paris Accords are as dogmatic on the science as they are on the economics. To them, it is an axiomatic truth that carbon dioxide emissions pose a grave threat to the environment, even though the putative causal chain is filled with missing links. The current practice is to assume that every adverse climate event is somehow the result of the rather smallish increases in carbon dioxide levels over the past 65 years. In order to reach that result, however, it is necessary to exclude other explanations for the adverse events.

The situation is even more complex if one looks to the long run. Climate variability has been a constant long before human beings inhabited this earth. Of course, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that can trap energy. But so is water vapor, and its levels are far harder to track because its amount and distribution are not constant across the earth’s surface. Most crucially, observed cyclical patterns of temperature change do not correlate with slow but steady increases in carbon dioxide. Recent work by climate scientists Richard Lindzen and others shows that during the so-called Holocene period (roughly covering the last 11,000 years), there was a negative correlation between temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations—strongly suggesting that carbon dioxide levels cannot be the main driver of temperature changes.

A while back I compiled several sources for the proposition the carbon dioxide levels are not a reliable predictor of climate change: How Much Does Carbon Dioxide Contribute to Global Warming

Obama intel agencies spied on Trump campaign

Nixon was forced to resign the presidency for covering up Watergate, and could have been prosecuted criminally if President Ford had not pardoned him.  Obama’s spying on the Trump campaign was arguably worse because Obama, unlike Nixon, used the National Security Agency to do his spying for him.

Nixon did not compromise the NSA. The watergate burglars were private individuals, not government agents. Nixon did not direct G. Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt, who were administration officials, to orchestrate a break-in of the headquarters of the Democrat party in the Watergate complex. Nixon wasn’t even aware of what they were doing. Nixon’s guilt was solely his participation in the cover up.

Obama’s domestic spying on Americans, and his use of the NSA to spy on the Trump campaign was worse than Watergate because all of it was done with his knowledge and direction and it was done by various agencies of the United States government, including the NSA. The NSA is forbidden by law from conducting domestic spying operations. The FBI must first seek a warrant to wire tap Americans.

Obama was and is personally corrupt in ways that far exceed anything Richard Nixon ever did. Obama spread his corruption throughout the United States government. It was not just to spy on Americans, but he also polticized many of America’s regulatory agencies. Lois Lerner’s use of her Internal Revenue Service position to hinder Tea Party organizations, The EPA’s overreach to regulate activites of Americans in ways far exceeding its delegated powers, these are just two examples among many.

The proof is in:

Obama intel agency secretly conducted illegal searches on Americans for years

Was Obama administration illegal spying worse than Watergate?

Meanwhile, the wizards of smart in the American media could not care less what Obama did. They applaud what he did. They’re busy bees right now desperately trying to find some evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump. After exhaustive search for months they’ve found nothing. They are determined. By hook or crook they are going to at least find that Trump jay walked on Pennsylvania Avenue and that he should be impeached and removed from office for that offense.

This is how socialism works — every time

Zimbabwe is raking in millions from it’s tobacco crop. The tobacco is grown by poor farmers. Robert Mugabe and his crime family accomplices keep most if not all the money that comes in. Poor farmers who raise the cash crop of tobacco don’t get cash when they sell their tobacco at auction, they receive only a credit at a bank where they are limited to a withdrawal of $100 but often get only $50. This keeps them poor because they live in a cash only economy where they cannot exchange the bank credits for goods.

The actual mechanism of socialism may vary from time to time and place to place. The final result is always the same. The gang of crooks that run the country get all the profits and live a liavish life of luxury. The gang holds all political power. That enables them to hijack the country’s wealth that is produced by those not luckly enough to be members of the criminal gang.

Zimbabwe tobacco is booming, but farmers growing it are not. Farmer Simon Kahari recently sold tobacco worth more than $6,000 at an auction in Zimbabwe, a small fortune reflecting the golden leaf’s resurgence in this southern African country. Yet because of Zimbabwe’s dire economic problems he ended up sleeping in an auction house toilet that night, hungry and wondering if and when he would be able to access his earnings.

“I don’t have any money for food or anything,” Kahari said. “I came here expecting to be paid, so now I will have to borrow.”

Many of Zimbabwe’s tobacco farmers share the same plight during the ongoing selling season of the crop, Zimbabwe’s second biggest earner after gold. While exported tobacco rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars, small-time farmers feel left out of the lucrative cycle.

A cash shortage that underlines the country’s deepening economic woes has left farmers who travel long distances to auctions unpaid, stranded and desperate.

Farmers like Kahari are not paid in cash because of the currency shortage. But they need the money because much of Zimbabwe, especially rural areas where there is little infrastructure, is a cash-based society.

Instead, their earnings are deposited into accounts that they must open at bank branches at the auction houses. Then the farmers must stick around for weeks, hoping for the daily withdrawal limit of $100 but often getting no more than $50.

Meanwhile, tobacco sales have jumped 30 percent from last year, earning $300 million so far, according to the country’s Tobacco Industry Marketing Board.

So where does all that money go? It goes here: Mugabe shows mansion to world.

Zimbabwe, along with Cuba and Venezuela, is the standard model for socialism. It’s the modern form of slavery. The slaves produce the wealth and the plantation owners live a life of luxury.  But hey, it’s equality, man. All (except the ruling gang) are equally miserable.