Monday, March 31, 2008

North Korea Threatens South's New President

North Korea is escalating its rhetoric against South Korea.

The North's Communist Party-run newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, has singled out its neighbor's new president in an editorial amid rising tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul.

Tuesday's lengthy article is the first criticism of Lee Myung-bak since he took office in late February.

The commentary, carried by the Korean Central News Agency warned that Lee he will "be held fully accountable for the irrevocable catastrophic consequences" of his pro-US policies.

Relations between the two Koreas have deteriorated in recent days, after a top South Korean military official said the army would hit North Korea's nuclear sites if Pyongyang attacked it with atomic weapons.

In response, North Korea threatened to turn South Korea into "ashes" with a pre-emptive military strike.

The US State Department Monday said the diplomatic tension between Seoul and Pyongyang is not helpful to the six-party nuclear disarmament process.

The talks--involving North and South Korea, the US, China, Japan and Russia--have been stalled for months.

North and South Korea have never formally ended their 1950 to 1953 war. The conflict ended with a truce, not a peace agreement.

Hamas Echoes Iranian Holocaust Denial

Foreign Confidential....

Hamas believes the Holocaust was "exaggerated," its supreme leader said, as if to show off the influence of its Islamist ally, Iran, whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has made ridicule and denial of the Holocaust a hallmark of his maniacal rule.

Khaled Meshaal said in a Sky TV interview aired Monday that the numbers of Jewish victims of the Nazis were embellished to justify the existence and actions of Israel.

"We don't deny the Holocaust, but we believe the Holocaust was exaggerated by the Zionist movement to use as a whip," the Palestinian terrorist leader said.

"We don't deny the fact but we don't accept two issues. We don't accept the exaggeration of numbers and we don't accept that Israel uses this to do what it wants."

Though Hamas' charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, Meshaal likened the group's attacks on civilians to French resistance against the Nazis and the American Revolution.

Meshaal said Hamas has offered Israel a deal in which each side would attack only military targets. But Hamas considers Israelis living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be "military targets."

Asked about Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier abducted to Gaza by Hamas in June 2006, Meshaal said he is alive and well and that negotiations on his return are being held up by Israel.

The Israeli government has balked at Hamas' demand for the release of hundreds of jailed Palestinians, including hard-core terrorists, in exchange for Shalit.

Dalai Lama's Depressing Past, Disappointing Politics

The Dalai Lama may be universally admired; but he is poorly advised. His condemnation of China for alleged "cultural genocide" strengthens China's depiction of him as a separatist, ethnic leader bent on splitting his homeland from China.

China is an incredibly vast, multiethnic, multicultural country. It will never relinquish its right to modernize and develop Tibet, which was a feudal theocracy (actually admired by Hitler and his Nazi henchmen for its swastika and brutality) before China liberated the Tibetan people from serfdom in 1951. No outside powers (not even occult-obsessed Nazi Germany, which sent emissaries to Tibet) have ever recognized it as a sovereign state. Without China, the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in 1959 after a failed uprising against China, would most likely still be Tibet's absolute ruler, and illiteracy, ignorance, and crushing poverty would still prevail there.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, incidentally, has never satisfactorily apologized for the fact that monk-exploited, endlessly taxed Tibetans had no human rights before China intervened in Tibet's affairs. Nor has he apologized for his life-long friendship with at least two notorious Nazis, including a major SS figure, Dr. Bruno Berger (whose photo with the Dalai Lama appears below), and shocking acceptance of a substantial donation (45 million rupees, or about 170 million yen) from Shoko Asahara, the leader of the Supreme Truth cult, which subsequently attacked the Tokyo Subway system with sarin nerve gas. A photo of the Dalai Lama and the psychotic cult leader appears above. The Dalai Lama also seems to have maintained a friendly relationship with the Chilean Nazi mystic, Miguel Serrano, whose photo appears below the Berger image. Revered by his followers as the "father of esoteric Hitlerism," Serrano once told a neo-Nazi interviewer:

I also met the Dalai Lama at the moment he escape from Tibet during the Communist Chinese invasion. He was very young, 25 years old. I went to meet him at the Himalayas. he never forgets that. and when we met again during the funeral of Indira Gandhi in Delhi. he invited me to go to Dharmasala. where he lives now. We had a very interesting talk. It is good to know that before Buddhism was introduced in Thibet. Tibetans were a warrior' s race and their religion. the Bo, used also the same swastika of Hitlerism. Until today Intelligence Services of England and United States have been unable to discover the real mysterious links that existed between Tibet and Hitlerist Germany.

For most Buddhists, apology is a central teaching. One would also expect the Dalai Lama to apologize for--and unequivocally denounce--the recent, un-Buddhist-like Tibetan riot that targeted innocent Chinese civilians and businesses for destruction.

With the above in mind, a recent essay by Brendan O'Neill, editor of Spiked, is a must-read. A sharp critic of China's Communist Party (which he mistakenly calls "Stalinist"), O'Neill writes:

In many ways, campaigners and commentators in the West are projecting their own disgust with ‘the Western way of life’ on to China. They see in China everything that they doubt or loathe about modernity itself. That is why commentators frequently tell China not to make ‘the same mistakes that we made’. On everything from economic growth to sporting competitiveness, from the use of coal to the building of skyscrapers, today’s China-bashing is motivated by Western self-loathing, as well as by spite and envy towards the seemingly successful Chinese. Ironically, this means that China is now seen as ‘the Other’ precisely because it appears too Western: it is China’s ambition, growth, its leaps forward - things that a more confident West might once have celebrated - which make it seem alien to Western observers who today prefer carbon-counting to factory-building and road tolls to road construction. China-bashing is underpinned by a crisis of belief in the West in things such as progress, growth, development.

It is the sweeping consensus that China is dangerous and diseased that has attracted Western observers to the issue of Tibet. Both left and right elements in the West are exploiting the Tibet issue as a way of putting pressure on China. They are less interested in securing real freedom and equality for Tibetans, and for the Chinese people more broadly, than they are in using and abusing internal disgruntlement in China and nearby territories as a way of humiliating the Chinese government. That is why Tibetans can symbolise different things to different people. For conservative commentators, the Tibetans are warriors for freedom against a Stalinist monolith; their protests are a replay of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in 1989. For greener, more liberal campaigners, Tibetans are symbols of natural and mystical purity in contrast to rampant Western and Chinese consumerism. As one author puts it, Tibetan culture offers ‘powerful, untarnished and coherent alternatives to Western egotistical lifestyles [and] our gradually more pointless pursuit of material interests’. Various political factions in the West are using Tibetans as ventriloquist dummies in order to mouth their own complaints against modern China. They are promoting Tibetan unrest not to liberate Tibetans but in the hope that the protests will represent their own personal disgust for China in a real-world, physical manner.

There is a long history of Western politicians and activists using Tibet as a stick with which to beat China. In his fascinating book Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West, Donald S Lopez Jnr shows how, in the Western imagination, ‘the invasion of Tibet by [China] was and still is represented as an undifferentiated mass of godless Communists overrunning a peaceful land devoted only to ethereal pursuits… Tibet embodies the spiritual and the ancient, China the material and the modern. Tibetans are superhuman, Chinese are subhuman.’ Today, too, pro-Tibetan activism often disguises a view of the Chinese as subhuman. Indeed, in the current, all-encompassing right/left consensus about China, even left-leaning campaigns can employ old right tactics of demonising the Chinese. A poster for the trendy campaign group Free Tibet shows Tibetans as serene and peaceful and the Chinese as smog-producing modernisers with distinctly slitty eyes and goofy teeth.

POST SCRIPT: The Washington-Hollywood embrace of the Dalai Lama fuels Chinese nationalism and refocuses attention on his well documented role as a recipient of CIA funding. During the Cold War, the US intelligence agency spent tens of millions of dollars on pro-Dalai Lama Tibetan guerrillas, set up a training camp for Tibetan fighters in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, helped the Dalai Lama to escape to India after the failed armed insurrection of 1959, and established Tibet cultural centers in New York and Geneva to keep alive the dream of an independent Tibet. The CIA also paid the Dalai Lama a personal stipend of $180,000 a year. The Nixon administration ended CIA support for the Tibetan movement while maintaining the spiritual leader's direct subsidy. In recent years, he has criticized the US for supporting Tibet in those days for narrow political reasons; he has also argued against US retaliation against Al Qaeda and radical Islam for the 9/11 attacks.


No Shangri-La: More on Old Tibet can be found here.

In feudal Tibet, torture and mutilation--including eye gouging, the pulling out of tongues, hamstringing, and amputation--were favored punishments inflicted upon thieves, and runaway or resistant serfs. Journeying through Tibet in the 1960s, Stuart and Roma Gelder interviewed a former serf, Tsereh Wang Tuei, who had stolen two sheep belonging to a monastery. For this he had both his eyes gouged out and his hand mutilated beyond use. He explains that he no longer is a Buddhist: “When a holy lama told them to blind me I thought there was no good in religion.”21 Since it was against Buddhist teachings to take human life, some offenders were severely lashed and then “left to God” in the freezing night to die. “The parallels between Tibet and medieval Europe are striking,” concludes Tom Grunfeld in his book on Tibet.

In 1959, Anna Louise Strong visited an exhibition of torture equipment that had been used by the Tibetan overlords. There were handcuffs of all sizes, including small ones for children, and instruments for cutting off noses and ears, gouging out eyes, breaking off hands, and hamstringing legs. There were hot brands, whips, and special implements for disemboweling. The exhibition presented photographs and testimonies of victims who had been blinded or crippled or suffered amputations for thievery. There was the shepherd whose master owed him a reimbursement in yuan and wheat but refused to pay. So he took one of the master’s cows; for this he had his hands severed. Another herdsman, who opposed having his wife taken from him by his lord, had his hands broken off. There were pictures of Communist activists with noses and upper lips cut off, and a woman who was raped and then had her nose sliced away.

Earlier visitors to Tibet commented on the theocratic despotism. In 1895, an Englishman, Dr. A. L. Waddell, wrote that the populace was under the “intolerable tyranny of monks” and the devil superstitions they had fashioned to terrorize the people. In 1904 Perceval Landon described the Dalai Lama’s rule as “an engine of oppression.” At about that time, another English traveler, Captain W.F.T. O’Connor, observed that “the great landowners and the priests… exercise each in their own dominion a despotic power from which there is no appeal,” while the people are “oppressed by the most monstrous growth of monasticism and priest-craft.” Tibetan rulers “invented degrading legends and stimulated a spirit of superstition” among the common people. In 1937, another visitor, Spencer Chapman, wrote, “The Lamaist monk does not spend his time in ministering to the people or educating them. . . . The beggar beside the road is nothing to the monk. Knowledge is the jealously guarded prerogative of the monasteries and is used to increase their influence and wealth.”24 As much as we might wish otherwise, feudal theocratic Tibet was a far cry from the romanticized Shangri La so enthusiastically nurtured by Buddhism’s western proselytes.

Chevron Finds Offshore Gas in Vietnam

Good news for an energy-hungry planet.

Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) says it has found at least 142 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the Malay Basin off Vietnam's southwestern coast.

The company says the gas was discovered following a three-month drilling program that ended in mid-March.

Chevron says it is negotiating with its partner, PetroVietnam, on when production from the field will begin.

Chevron says it expects to produce about 14 million cubic meters of gas a day within five years of starting up--worth fabout $5 million.a day at current prices.

Chevron is the world's fifth largest global energy company. Headquartered in San Ramon, California, the company is active in more than 180 countries,

Japan's Jobless Rate Rises to Nearly 4%

Japan's unemployment rate has risen for the first time in five months, partly because exports to the United States fell. Japanese officials say the jobless rate rose to 3.9 percent in February, up from the 3.8 percent recorded the previous month.

While the increase is not worrisome, it does indicate that companies are concerned about hiring workers as they deal with rising costs and slower US consumer spending.

David Mann, chief currency strategist at Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong, says Japan and other areas of Asia are likely to feel a bit of the pinch from slower US consumer growth. But the region's economies should be able to hold steady for the time being while the US tries to revive growth, he adds.

"So what we're seeing is a bit of a divergence, where the data in the US continues to melt down, meanwhile the data elsewhere is holding up relatively okay," Mann says. "It's starting to come off but nothing that is worrying policy makers too much."

Core consumer prices in Japan also rose one percent in February from a year earlier, the quickest pace since March 1998.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

North Korea Threatens to Attack South Korea

Early warning.

North Korea may be preparing a provocative new gesture--perhaps a long-range missile test.

Another nuclear test is also possible, even though this would kill the six-nation nuclear disarmament process.

Reuters reports:

North Korea threatened to suspend dialogue with the South over comments made by a South Korean military official and said it was ready to attack its wealthy neighbor, the North's state media said at the weekend.

Over the past several days, the North has lashed out at the new conservative government in Seoul and its ally the United States by test-firing missiles, expelling South Korean officials at a joint factory park in the North and threatening to slow down a nuclear disarmament deal.

"The Korean People's Army (KPA) will counter any slightest move of the south side for 'pre-emptive attack' with more rapid and more powerful pre-emptive attack of its own mode," the North's KCNA news agency quoted one of its military officials as saying.

North Korea, one of the world's most militarized states, has made similar statements for years threatening pre-emptive attacks, but those have almost always been in response to joint South Korean-U.S. military drills.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

On Tensions Among Asian Powers

Must reading: Bill Emmott's essay in The Sunday Times.

Few of his contemporaries think of George Walker Bush as a visionary American president, unless they are using the term to imply a touch of madness. Yet early in his second term Bush launched a bold initiative to try to establish closer American ties with India, the world’s biggest democracy, in what may eventually be judged by historians as a move of great strategic importance and imagination.

It recognised the fact that while Al-Qaeda and its cohorts pose the biggest short-term and perhaps medium-term challenge to America, in the long term it is the expected shift in the world’s economic and political balance towards Asia that promises to have the greatest significance.

That is why this month’s events in Tibet, as well as the purchase by India’s Tata Motors of Land Rover and Jaguar from Ford, need to be seen in a wider context.

Bush, meanwhile, has managed to cast aside 40 years of hostility and suspicion between America and India--and even agreed to start collaborating over nuclear energy--in the hope of strengthening India and its economy. And all for a special reason: the rise of China.

Click here to continue reading.

German Chancellor Will Boycott Beijing Olympics

Shades of 1980 (the Moscow Summer Olympic Games)....

As pressure grows for united European Union position on the Tibet crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday became the first world leader--but not the first European leader--to announce that she will not attend the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Her decision to boycott the games' opening ceremonies in August could encourage President Nicolas Sarkozy of France to join in a gesture of defiance and complicate British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's determination to attend the Olympics.

Poland's Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, became the first EU head of government to announce a boycott on Thursday. He was promptly joined by President Václav Klaus of the Czech Republic, who had previously promised to travel to Beijing.

Brown to Meet Dalai Lama

"The presence of politicians at the inauguration of the Olympics seems inappropriate," Tusk said. "I do not intend to take part."

Brown is scheduled to meet the Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, when he visits Britain in May, But Brown is supposedly determined to be in Beijing.

China had hoped to exploit the Olympic Games as part of its policy of prestige. But the summer event is increasingly proving an opportunity for critics to bash China's one-party political system, human rights abuses, treatment of minorities and tightly controlled media.

China Confidential has learned that Merkel views the Games through a modern, German democratic lens--i.e. as a replay of the 1936 Games that Nazi Germany used to validate its totalitarian regime and international rise.

Chinese Security Forces Seal off Parts of Lhasa

The crackdown continues.

Chinese security forces sealed off parts of Lhasa on Saturday amid reports of fresh protests, weeks after the Tibetan capital was shaken by an anti-government riot.

The London-based International Campaign for Tibet said it had heard from three sources that security forces had surrounded Lhasa's main temples, Jokhang and Ramoche.

The reports coincided with a visit to Lhasa by a group of diplomats. The envoys from the United States, Japan and several European were taken on a closely guarded tour of the region organized by Chinese officials.

The US Embassy in Beijing said in a statement that the trip was heavily scheduled and participants were not able to deviate from the official itinerary, nor move around independently. The delegates were also not allowed to hold unsupervised conversations with local residents.

On Thursday, about 30 monks of the Jokhang Temple disrupted a similar government-controlled visit by foreign journalists. The monks complained about a lack of religious freedom.

Peaceful demonstrations in Lhasa began on March 10, on the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. The unrest erupted into riots in Lhasa four days later, followed by a crackdown on protesters.

The Tibetan government in exile, based in India, says at least 140 Tibetans were killed during Chinese authorities' crackdown on protests in Lhasa and other areas.

Bracketing Defeat: From Carter to Obama

The Iranian mullahs and their maniacal front-man, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, must be happy: Allah appears to be answering their prayers.

Nearly three decades after the Jimmy Carter-assisted overthrow of the pro-American Shah, the former US President's most favored White House hopeful, Barack Obama, seems poised to win the Democratic nomination. Should he succeed in his quest and go on to win the general election, the junior Senator from Illinois would be inaugurated exactly 30 years and four days after a combination of riots, street protests, and American pressure forced the ailing Iranian monarch into exile (on January 16, 1979).

Whereas Carter presided over the rise of radical Islam, or Islamism, in Iran, Obama, if elected, is likely to preside over the rise of Islamist Iran in the world. The Hitler-admiring, Holocaust-denying mullahocracy, which has threatened to destroy Israel, attack US forces in the Middle East, and drive the US from the region, is clearly determined to develop an arsenal of nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. Iran's foreign policy is fundamentally, frighteningly imperialist in the way Nazi Germany's foreign policy was imperialist in the years leading up to World War II. Like Nazi Germany, Iran aims to radically change the international status quo--the power relations among nations--regionally and globally. Attempts to appease Iran are thus bound to fail, just as efforts to appease Nazi Germany failed. Instead of preventing war, appeasement of a rising imperialist power makes war inevitable.

Devotion to Appeasement

None of which matters to Carter, for whom appeasement is a kind of religion. He is surely looking forward to the Jan. 20, 2009 Presidential inauguration. Also looking ahead and dreaming of a return to proximity to power is Carter's former National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who hated the Shah, and led Carter to believe that Washington could jump aboard the Islamist bandwagon. More recently, Brzezinski warned a Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February 2007 that an attack on Iran could be launched following a staged provocation in Iraq or a false flag terror attack within the US. His comments were in line with the views of anti-American conspiracy theorists--for example, Obama's controversial pastor of 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Brzezinski, who shares Wright's negative opinion of Israel and sympathy for the Islamist terrorist group Hamas, is one of Obama's foreign policy advisers. He has almost certainly influenced the candidate's thinking on Iran, which, like its Stalinist, nuclear armed and proliferating ally, North Korea, has succeeded brilliantly in using dragged-out diplomacy to play for time and weaken the international community's political will. As this reporter has often observed, the two regimes have seemed to work like a tag team in exhibition wrestling; when one regime is under pressure, the other invariably ratchets up tensions with a provocative move or defiant gesture. Friday's North Korean missile test was part of this strategy.

But the Iranian problem, according to Obama, is mainly America's fault. More diplomacy is the answer, he insists. In fact, the Senator has accused the present administration of not even trying to use diplomacy to moderate Iranian behavior.

To which this reporter, a journalist and student of power politics who covered the Shah's fall, can only say: heaven help us.

Rising Price of Rice Triggers Warnings of Unrest

The cost of rice has risen up to 50 percent on world markets, raising concerns among aid agencies in Asia. The agencies say they are facing shortfalls in efforts to feed the hungry in the region. VOA's Luis Ramirez reports from Bangkok.

The price of rice on world markets has doubled since 2004 and in the past two months alone has gone up 50 percent. Rising fuel and fertilizer costs, and natural disasters are fueling the price hikes.

The rising costs have triggered warnings of unrest in the Philippines. Cambodia and Vietnam have cut their rice exports, actions that analysts say threaten to push prices up even further in the coming months.

The World Food Program (WFP) recently launched what it said is an extraordinary emergency appeal for donor nations to increase their donations. The agency says it faces a $500 million shortfall, $160 million of that in Asia, a situation that officials say may soon force them to start cutting rations.

WFP officials say they are searching for ways to cut transportation and other non-food costs. They say one way is to develop means of purchasing and processing food in the countries that receive the aid, rather than have to transport it from far away places.

World Food Program officials say their ability to feed people has dropped significantly in the last few months. As an example, officials say that just last year, $15 million could buy 189,000 tons of food and feed 3.5 million people in Afghanistan. Now, they say the same $15 million allows them to purchase only 112,000 tons to feed 1.9 million people.

Who Could Have Imagined Obama?

Dateline USA....

As some say, who woulda thunk it?

The odds are that the Democratic Party, approaching the seventh anniversary of 9/11, will likely nominate a man for President of the United States who for two decades was "spiritually advised" and mentored by a racist pastor who, only five days after the mega-attacks, blamed them on American foreign policy, including support for alleged Israeli state-terrorism.

Who could have imagined that the Democratic Party would turn to a man who palled around with former fugitives of the terrorist Weather Underground--including a notorious, self-confessed and unrepentant serial bomber whose targets included the US Capitol?

Who could have imagined that with the war against Islamism still raging and Islamism still ascendant in many regions of the world--and increasingly threatening the future and survival of Western democracy in Europe--the Democratic Party would pick a man whose middle name is Hussein, who studied in a Muslim school as a child in Muslim Indonesia, and who was born and remains a Muslim--but, because of his church affiliation, may also be considered an apostate subject to the ultimate punishment--in the eyes of Muslim religious law?

Who could have imagined that the Democratic Party would turn to a candidate advised by Israel-bashing anti-Semites who are sympathetic to the Islamist terrorist group Hamas and its nuclear-arming, missile-making ally, Islamist Iran?

Who could have imagined that the Democratic Party would embrace a politician whose qualifications boil down to (a) charisma, (b) delivering one speech, and (c) bylining a book, the title of which was taken from the candidate's anti-American pastor?

In short, who could have imagined Barack Obama--an inspiring and intelligent feel-good candidate and liberal media darling who turned out to be surrounded by bigots and bad apples?

Hang in there, Hillary. Your party and your country need you to continue campaigning, because the alternative is scary.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Global Warming: Fraud, Scandal, Swindle


Global warming/climate change hysteria continues to run wild.... In Washington, recent legislation has, among many other ill-considered measures, outlawed incandescent lights and mandates a three-fold increase in production of ethanol from corn and other bio-mass sources.

The impacts of these misguided policies are beginning to become evident in higher food costs, restricted energy supplies which are leading to higher prices, and other adverse economic impacts. These legislative measures will do nothing to control the weather, but will do a lot to control you, eliminate your individual freedoms and reduce your employment opportunities. Even some studies by environmental groups have pointed out the net increase in CO2 from land clearing and conversion of food crops to raise fuel crops. Producing one gallon of ethanol will require a thousand liters of scarce water compared to only three or four liters to refine a gallon of gasoline.

Hurting the US Economy

At the national level, the proposed Lieberman-Warner bill (America's Climate Security Act, S2191) will impose steep costs on the US economy, estimated even by its supporters at hundreds of billions of dollars in higher costs for energy that will ripple through the entire economy. This bill would establish a presidentially appointed "Carbon Market Efficiency Board" which would create an entirely new federal bureaucracy to set the price on carbon emissions. The Congressional Budget Office has warned that the impact of cap-and-trade energy price increases would disproportionately affect people at the lower end of the income scale. The EPA estimates that the bill may reduce GDP by $2.9 trillion by 2050 while reducing atmospheric CO2 by only around 25 ppm by 2095.

More and more scientists and meteorologists are speaking up. A recent conference in New York was attended by hundreds of scientists who adhere to scientific realism and valid processes....

Meanwhile, the earth continues to cool. Our world has entered what may be a long-term cooling trend in response to lower solar output. Climate on Earth and the other planets is driven by solar output and on Earth that's amplified by circulation patterns in the atmosphere and oceans. Attempts to refute the solar link have cited a handful of studies that have measured only the direct effects of a portion of the solar spectrum, not the total output of the sun. Indirect effects have not been included in these limited, partisan studies despite growing evidence of their validity. The Pacific and Atlantic multi-decade oscillation drives the El Niño and La Niña cycles which drive much of our weather patterns. This natural cycle has now shifted to the cool cycle which will further lower temperatures and drive higher snow accumulation and glacier growth in the northern hemisphere.

Falling Temperatures

The summary of 2007 climate by the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies and National Climate Data Center used an average of the monthly data through the year to make the claim that 2007 was tied as the second warmest year on record. What they hid is that the warmth was the result of a temporary spike caused by a strong El Niño which drove up land and air temperatures. January was the warmest month of 2007 and the temperatures have declined sharply in a dramatic plunge with significantly colder winters and mild summers in both hemispheres. Every climate monitoring agency has reported declining atmospheric, surface and ocean temperatures, along with increased snow cover and ice volume.

Manmade climate change is a political fraud, a scientific scandal and a financial swindle. As we enter what may be a significant, multi-decade cooling period, we are going to need our crops for food and our plentiful domestic oil, natural gas, coal supplies and nuclear energy to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Pico is a retired naval flight officer with more than three decades of experience in applying atmospheric and space weather forecasts to land, air, sea and space-based surveillance and communications systems operations.

Bush and Rudd Agree on China and Tibet

US President George W. Bush and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd presented a united front on Tibet following talks Friday at the White House. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports they called on Chinese leaders to meet with representatives of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Prime Minister Rudd said human rights abuses are being committed in Tibet, as China cracks down on Tibetans protesting Chinese rule.

"It's clear-cut," he said. "We need to be upfront and absolutely straight about what is going on."

Kevin Rudd, who once represented his country as a diplomat in Beijing,is considered an expert among world leaders on China. At a joint news conference with President Bush, the new Australian prime minister urged the Chinese government to exercise restraint, and to meet with the Dalai Lama or his emissaries.

Bush nodded in agreement, and said he passed along the same message earlier in the week during a telephone conversation with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

"That's exactly what I told Hu Jintao a few days ago, that it is in his country's interest that he sit down, again with representatives of the Dalai Lama--not him, but his representatives. And I urged restraint," Bush said.

The brief statement marked the Bush's first public comment on Tibet since protests began there on March 10. For the most part, the administration has relied on private diplomatic channels to make its displeasure known to Beijing.

Both the president and the prime minister are trying to strike a delicate balance with China. They are speaking out on the crackdown on Tibet in a way that does not endanger cooperation with Beijing in other areas ranging from the trade to diplomatic efforts to deal with North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Hamas Leader Talks Truce

Foreign Confidential....

Breaking news from JTA.

Hamas' leader in exile, Khaled Meshaal, said he would consider a truce with Israel.

The statement, which appeared Friday in the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al Hayat, is significant because Meshaal leads hard-line elements in Hamas. The terrorist movement took over the Gaza Strip last June and has resisted Egyptian attempts to broker a cease-fire with Israel.

Meshaal timed his statement for an Arab foreign ministers' summit in Damascus. Meanwhile, leaders at a Hamas rally in Gaza held during the summit called on Arab nations meeting in Damascus to join in armed battle against the Jewish state.

Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, have come under US pressure to help bring about an end to the rocket attacks on Israel's south launched from Gaza.

Meshaal defended Hamas' targeting of Israeli civilians but said he would consider an "overall" calming period that would include the West Bank. Israel has carried out frequent raids in the Fatah-dominated West Bank in pursuit of radical Islamic terrorists.

North Korea Test-Fires Missiles to Raise Tensions

Breaking news.

North Korea raised tensions Friday by test-firing a volley of short-range missiles in a classic display of Kimist anger at the United States and its ally, South Korea.

North Korea fired the missiles from a vessel off Nampo at about 10:30 AM. local time today, the office of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. The missiles were launched toward the North Korean coast and landed in the sea

Reuters reported that the launch "comes a day after the North expelled South Korean officials from a joint industrial complex north of the border, after Seoul told its destitute neighbor to clean up its human rights and stop dragging its feet in nuclear disarmament talks if it wants to receive aid to keep its economy afloat."

Pyongyang was sending two messages with the provocative launch, Reuters said.

One was aimed at the United States after talks in Geneva, showing the North's dissatisfaction with Washington's pressure to come clean on uranium enrichment and ties with Syria, he said. The other was a riposte to the [South Korean] Lee government's shift in stance....

North Korea has more than 1,000 missiles, at least 800 of them ballistic, that can hit all of South Korea and most parts of Japan, experts have said. Its launches are often timed to coincide with periods of political tension.

At about the same time as the reported missile launch, North Korea's official media launched a rhetorical volley at the United States, blaming it for pushing into deadlock six-country talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear arms plans.

"If the United States continues to delay the resolution of the nuclear problem by insisting on something that doesn't exist, it could have a grave impact on the disablement of the nuclear facility that has been sought so far," the North's KCNA news agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

Asia TImes' Donald Kirk observed that the real question "is how far North and South are ready to go in asserting tough confrontational policies."

As has so often happened over the years of uneasy peace on the peninsula since the signing of the truce that ended the Korean War in 1953, the two Koreas may be veering toward another crisis in what has largely been a war of words punctuated by occasional armed clashes.

If the latest gestures follow form, all the great powers with a stake in the Korean Peninsula will have their negotiators scurrying from capital to capital, armed with statements, giving press conferences and holding meetings until calm returns in a fiery display of demands, recriminations and good old-fashioned rhetoric.

That, at any rate, is the optimistic scenario.

The worst-case scenario is that North Korea may rev up tensions to the level of bloodshed if conservative South Korean President Lee Myung-bak follows through on his avowed refusal to provide aid for the North unless Pyongyang comes up with some meaningful gestures of its own.

EDITOR'S NOTE: China Confidential predicts that before the Stalinist/Kimist regime resorts to violence it will launch more missiles, maybe even a long-range rocket. We remain convinced that the North will never denuclearize and disclose its proliferation activities. The regime relies on its nuclear ace; disarmament is not in the cards. Rather, it will continue to stall and deceive in order to play for time. Disinformation is critically important. Watch for a step-up in efforts by Pyongyang to persuade overseas analysts that internal politics--divisions between hardliners and moderates--are preventing compliance with the six-party nuclear accord.

Another point to consider, some analysts assert, is that China benefits from increased tensions in Korea. The news diverts attention from Tibet; and Beijing can pose as a helpful stakeholder trying to mediate and moderate its Korean vassal.

Belarus Secret Police Arrest 16 Journalists

Foreign Confidential....

Belarus update.

Security agents arrested at least 16 independent journalists Thursday on suspicion of insulting President Alexander Lukashenko.

Police detained the journalists during raids on the offices of broadcasters, including European Radio, which is funded by the European Union, and Radio Racja, which is backed by Poland.

The reporters said they were questioned about their coverage of Tuesday's unauthorized rally marking the 90th anniversary of the country's declaration of independence.

European Dictatorship

But Belarusian authorities said the journalists were detained for not having proper accreditation.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Lukashenko's government again shows itself to be what the spokesman calls an "authoritarian dictatorship that blatantly ignores human rights and fundamental freedoms." The State Department released the following statement, titled "Belarus Crackdown on Media and Demonstrators:"

We condemn today’s crackdown on independent media in Belarus, during which some 30 independent journalists in 12 cities were detained without legitimate cause. This follows the violent breakup of peaceful demonstrations in Minsk on March 25, which was accompanied by scores of arrests. The regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka has again shown itself as a brutal, authoritarian dictatorship that blatantly ignores human rights and fundamental freedoms.

We call on the Belarus authorities to release immediately all of those who have been arrested and jailed, to assure that those who are injured receive proper medical care, and to hold those responsible to account. We also call on Belarus to stop its harassment of the remaining independent media still striving to report on the realities in Belarus and to respect freedom of assembly, speech, and independent media in Belarus.

Belarusian courts Wednesday tried more than 70 opposition activists detained during the March 25th rally. Some were sentenced to several days in jail, while others were fined.

Belarusian opposition groups have used the March 25 anniversary to protest Lukashenko's policies and mark the 1918 founding of the Belarusian National Republic, later crushed by Soviet Red Army forces.

The United States has called Lukashenko Europe's last dictator for suppressing human rights and free speech and rigging elections.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Belarus Turning Toward Iran

Foreign Confidential....

JTA reported today that Belarus, facing diplomatic troubles with the United States and higher energy prices from Russia, is turning to Iran and the Arab world.

Belarus has been a subject of Western criticism for more than a decade, primarily due to the government’s human rights record and limits on political freedoms.

Things have heated up in recent days, with the United States and Belarus recalling their ambassadors home for consultations. The flare-up was occasioned by the imposition of US economic sanctions on Belarus and some state-owned Belarusian businesses.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko criticized the United States after the action and moved to limit the number of US personnel at the embassy in Minsk.

“The US demonstrated its cynical attitude toward international law,” Lukashenko said last week.

Moscow Cut Back

Russia traditionally has been the main political benefactor of Belarus; but that relationship changed last year when Moscow cut back on the substantial economic support it provided through discounted sales of oil and gas supplies.

That prompted the former Soviet republic to seek a new source for its energy needs: the Islamic Republic of Iran.

"Cooperation between Belarus and Iran has a great future,” Lukashenko wrote in a letter last week to Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, who visited Minsk last May.

After that visit, Belarus and Iran reportedly cemented plans for a "strategic partnership" and trade dramatically increased between them.

Anti-Jewish Remarks

That, in addition to harsh remarks by Lukashenko about Israel and Jews in a live radio broadcast last October, unsettled many Jews here. On the radio show, broadcast from the Belarusian port city of Bobruisk, Lukashenko said, "This is a Jewish city, and the Jews are not concerned for the place they live in. They have turned Bobruisk into a pig sty. Look at Israel--I was there."

Jewish community leaders suggested that the mention of Israel was a calculated signal by Lukashenko to the leadership of Iran. Five days later after Lukashenko's broadcast, 15 tombstones were desecrated in a Jewish cemetery in Bobruisk.

"Since Iran has linked up with Belarus, there's been a distinct anti-Israel flavor in Belarus," a leading Jewish community figure who requested anonymity told JTA at the time.

Israel’s ambassador to Belarus, Ze'ev Ben Arie, said Belarus’ outreach to Iran, while embarrassing to Israel, does not preclude a relationship between the Jewish state and this country of 10 million.

Iranian Connection

"Every country in the world is free to develop relations with any partners," Ben Arie told JTA. "We don't make any recommendations concerning Belarusian foreign policy.

”However, close contacts between Belarus and Iran embarrass us because annihilation of Israel is one of the aims of Iranian policy. Belarusian officials say that Minsk doesn't support this idea, but the declarations about political solidarity with Iran put obstacles in the way of cooperation between Belarus and Israel in different fields.”

Ben Arie said the friendship between Minsk and Tehran could impede military or security cooperation between Israel and Belarus. Close ties to Iran--Belarus already has a contract to extract oil from Jofeir, in Iran--also are likely to make Israeli businessmen extra cautious about investing in projects in Belarus, he said.

Anti-Western Rhetoric

Though Lukashenko has called Iran a strategic partner, Belarusian observers say Belarus is more interested in Iran and the Arab world’s economic resources than building political alliances in the Middle East, despite the rhetoric.

"Contacts between Belarus and Arab states are based on anti-Western rhetoric,” said the head of the Mises think tank in Belarus, Jaroslav Romanchuk. “But today's attempts to build real cooperation are not very successful.”

Belarusian political scientist Alexander Klaskovsky said, “Authorities want to get great investment and cheap energy supplies from Arab states. However, we don't see really great results.”

“I doubt that Iran would provide cheap energy supplies to Belarus only because this country is its political ally,” Klaskovsky said. “I think that Tehran is going to make business, but not provide economic support to Minsk.”

Pressing for Reform

Meanwhile, the US and the European Union continue to press Belarus on democratic reforms, insisting on freedom for political parties, an independent media and the release of all political prisoners in Belarus.

In 2006 and 2007, the US froze the US bank accounts of Belarus’ president and several other top Belarusian officials. Last November, the US imposed economic sanctions on Belneftekhim, a Belarus state oil and petrochemical consortium, freezing its US assets.

This month, the US Treasury Department said similar measures would be applied to all companies in which Belneftekhim has a larger than 50 percent ownership stake.

Lukashenko denounced the sanctions and recalled his country's ambassador to the US.

The CIA classifies Belarus as a dictatorship, and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called Lukashenko “Europe’s last dictator.”

Tibetan Monks Defy Beijing

A group of Tibetan monks has defied Beijing by protesting during a government-controlled visit by foreign journalists to Tibet. About 30 monks interrupted an official briefing in the Tibetan capital Thursday to accuse the Chinese government of lying about recent unrest. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

The monks burst into a government briefing being held inside Lhasa's Jokhang Temple, one of the most sacred in Tibet.

The young monks told foreign journalists on a government-controlled tour that Beijing is lying about who was responsible for deadly violence that broke out earlier this month.

The monks, dressed in traditional gold robes, were distraught. They wept as they told the journalists China's government has been lying.

One monk said Chinese officials have accused them of widespread destruction they were not responsible for. He said they are being treated unjustly and locked inside the temple.

The monks denied Beijing's claims that the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, orchestrated the rioting and violence in Tibetan areas.

After some minutes, Chinese security arrived and took the protesting monks away.

China's foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Thursday he had no information on the protest. He said he could not confirm whether monks are being locked up in monasteries.

Qin said the tour for foreign journalists was arranged so the outside world would have an objective understanding of recent incidents in Tibet.

Media Musings: Hillary's Heat, Obama's Coolness

Dateline USA....

Musings on media theory and the race to the White House.

Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton told Fox News Wednesday that her party's race is a “long way from being over,” and she has no qualms about taking the primary fight all the way to the convention floor.

In a sit-down--stand-up, actually--interview with FOX News’ Greta Van Susteren, which aired Wednesday night, Clinton said nobody should write her candidacy’s obituary yet, even though she’s trailing Barack Obama by 157 pledged delegates.

What she said was not as important as the way she said it. For once, Hillary was .... cool ... in sync with the medium. Her performance made this reporter realize that her primary problem is personal, not political. It is her style, not her substance, that has not played well compared with her rival.

He is incredibly cool, as in composed and collected, nonchalant and attractively aloof--an ideal candidate for the coolest medium, TV.

In contrast, Hillary is hot--not in the way Paris Hilton uses the word, but in the way Marshall McLuhan used it. The medium is the message, McLuhan taught us. Hillary ought to recall that--she is old enough.

Obama is cool like TV.

Hillary is hot like radio.

Obama is reserved and mature, but seemingly still rebellious enough to be intriguing.

Hillary seems strident and controlling--like a High School principal or government bureaucrat.

He seems forever young.

She comes across like someone who was never young.

In short, Hillary needs to change in a hurry order to win. Yesterday was a good start. More media training, not more money--that may be the answer.

Arthur Waldron on What's Next for Ma and Taiwan

Arthur Waldron analyzes the difficulties facing Taiwan's new president. Waldron's essay, excerpted below, appears in

The New York Times regularly signals changes in the conventional wisdom of our foreign policy elite. Careful reading of its reporting on the election of Ma Ying-jeou as president of Taiwan suggests that the impossiblilities of the policies laid down in the 1970’s are now, gradually, being faced.

To be sure, the Times editorial page joins in the official delight at the overwhelming defeat of the Democratic Progressive Party of the widely vilified President Chen Shuibian, who “spent much of the last eight years baiting Beijing, talking about independence, and seeking international recognition.”

With the departure of Chen, and the election of a president of Chinese ancestry, fluent in English and with a degree from Harvard Law School, the Times sees “a chance for a healthy new start” in Taiwan-China relations. “Mr. Ma has proposed economic opening to China, military confidence building measures, and “a diplomatic framework in which the two sides simply acknowledge each other’s existence.” “The Bush administration” it tells us “is already pressing Beijing to work with Mr. Ma”–this even before he has been inaugurated.

The hopes of both the Times and of Washington are likely to be disappointed. When that happens, they will both face a test.

To begin with, Ma has stated that China must dismantle the thousand-plus missiles with which she currently targets the island. He has also welcomed a visit to his country by the Dalai Lama. That is already enough to enrage Beijing, but only a start.

The truly tricky task, as the newspaper noted two days earlier, will be for Ma “to find a formula that balances Beijing’s position that Taiwan is a breakaway province and Taiwan’s position that it is a sovereign country.”

Finding such a formula will be more than tricky. It will be impossible without the (highly unlikely) amendment of the Chinese constitution, which explicitly claims Taiwan as a province—a fact the Times does not mention....

Click here to continue reading "Ma Wins, Now What?"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Global Warming Takes a Breather

Carbon Confidential....

Reason for hope.

According to an article in OneNewsNow, a liberal media outlet has acknowledged that global warming may have "taken a breather."

National Public Radio reports instead of warming up over the past four or five years, oceans have actually been cooling slightly. According to NPR, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been studying the ocean with a fleet of robotic instruments that can dive 3,000 feet down and measure ocean temperature. Since the "Argo" system was fully deployed in 2003, it has recorded no warming of the global oceans, but rather "slight cooling."

Marc Morano with the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee says the cooling trend runs contrary to the claims of people promoting manmade global warming fears. But NPR -- which he describes as "an entrenched, liberal, mainstream institution" -- would rather question NASA's data, showing no ocean warming, instead of questioning the models that are predicting catastrophic sea level rise due to supposed global warming, he notes.

Morano notes that the NASA study shows there is no major cause for panic about catastrophic manmade global warming. "We're finding it across the board now in recent years as the hypothesis of manmade global warming is starting to collapse around the globe [that] more and more scientists are rejecting it," he states.

Many scientists are actually predicting a possible global cooling in the next half-century, he adds.

"Study after study in peer-review journals is following this study on the oceans and showing the cause for alarm not only is not there, but it's actually the other way," Morano explains. "Many scientists now are predicting a possible global cooling in the next ... 10, to 50, to 75 years, depending on which scientist you're talking to. In fact, many from the Russian National Academy of Sciences are predicting just that."

The NPR report quotes a JPL spokesman who says global warming does not necessarily mean that every year will be warmer than the last. "And it may be that we are in a period of less rapid warming," suggests JPL's Josh Willis. But Morano says something other than global warming is afoot because sea ice has been expanding in the Antarctic since satellites began monitoring it, the Arctic has actually cooled over the last 1,500 years, and even Greenland has cooled since the 1940s.

Insulting Our Intelligence: Obama Speaks

Dateline USA....

The candidate speaks.

Seeking to quell concerns over the vicious, anti-American remarks by his former spiritual adviser, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama asserted Wednesday that people are paying too much attention to a small number of "stupid" comments.

AP reports:

Obama gave a sweeping speech on race last week in which he condemned incendiary remarks by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but the words of the former pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago continue to dog the candidate. Reflecting the campaign's concern about the fallout, Obama used a question about religion at a town hall forum as an opportunity to address the issue.

"This is somebody that was preaching three sermons at least a week for 30 years and it got boiled down ... into a half-minute sound clip and just played it over and over and over again, partly because it spoke to some of the racial divisions we have in this country," Obama told an audience [in North Carolina].

"There are misunderstandings on both sides," the Illinois senator said. "We cannot solve the problems of America if every time somebody somewhere does something stupid, that everybody gets up in arms and forgets about the war in Iraq and we forget about the economy."

Meanwhile, Newsday reports:

The irrepressible Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. is at it again, this time taking aim at Italians -- expounding a two millenium grudge against the sons and daughters of Rome -- and their (allegedly) breath-altering prediliction for scampi and pesto.

From the Wright-written eulogy for scholar Asa Hilliard in the Dec. 2007 edition of the Trumpet magazine: "(Jesus') enemies had their opinion about Him... The Italians for the most part looked down their garlic noses at the Galileans."

After calling Jesus's crucifixion "a public lynching Italian style" executed in "Apartheid Rome," he goes on to claim that white supremicists run the U.S. government:

"The government runs everything from the White House to the schoolhouse, from the Capitol to the Klan, white supremacy is clearly in charge, but Asa, like Jesus, refused to be defined by an oppressive government because Asa got his identity from an Omnipotent God."

All this was written before his friend and former parishoner vaulted to the front of the Democratic pack -- and before Obama denounced his previous comments on race, AIDS, etc.

Gordon Chang on the Taiwan Arms Affair

Gordon G. Chang says the recent Taiwan weapons mix-up raises some interesting policy questions regarding the future of Sino-American relations. His essay in one of the Internet's most intelligent and insightful sites,, appears below with the publisher's permission.

Today, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed “serious concern and strong dissatisfaction” with a mistaken shipment of American military parts to Taiwan. It then urged the United States to report the details to Beijing so as to eliminate “severe consequences.” The Taiwanese had requested replacement battery packs for their American-made helicopters. Instead, they received four nose-cone fuse assemblies used to trigger nuclear weapons.

The sharp Chinese reaction came after yesterday’s Pentagon announcement that the Defense Logistics Agency had made the incorrect shipment to Taiwan in August 2006. The Taiwanese had noticed the mistake and contacted U.S. authorities in early 2007, yet it was only last Thursday before anyone in the Defense Department realized what had actually been sent. Defense Secretary Gates and President Bush were informed on Friday.

“Our policy on Taiwan arms sales has not changed,” said Ryan Henry, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, yesterday. “This specific incident was an error in process only, and is not indicative of our policies, which remain unchanged.”

But should they remain unchanged? Many argue that, if we want to make sure there is no war in the Taiwan Strait, we should help the Taiwanese build a bomb or, better yet, just give them a few weapons in order to create a stable balance of terror with China. Moreover, some believe that the threat to arm Taiwan and Japan would be the most effective way to get Beijing to stop supporting the nuclear weapons programs of North Korea and Iran.

These proposals, despite apparent advantages, do not represent sound policy choices, at least at this moment. For one thing, both would be clear violations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the global pact that in fact prevents the spread of nukes. Yet if we don’t disarm Kim Jong Il and stop Iran’s “atomic ayatollahs” now, we will undoubtedly see the rapid dispersion of nuclear weapons soon. As Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has noted, about forty nations have the capability to develop the bomb within a decade.

The primary reason that prevents them from doing so is the so-called “nuclear taboo,” which is reinforced by the nonproliferation treaty. Once weapons technology starts to spread to dangerous states, however, other nations will have no choice but to accumulate atomic arsenals to defend themselves. When that happens, the nonproliferation agreement will become a dead letter. Some analysts, like Kenneth Waltz, think the world could be more stable then, but I know it will be worse. Things cannot get better when tyrants, terrorists, and thugs will be able to bring on Armageddon.

So what should we now say to the angry Chinese? Today, we should confirm that the shipment to Taiwan was an error. Tomorrow, the message may be different. If the Chinese continue to prevent us from disarming North Korea and stopping Iran, we should say that our next transfer of warhead mechanisms to the Taiwanese will not be a mistake.

Global Warming Legislation Hurts the Poor

Carbon Confidential....

More about the Goring and Freezing of America--the crippling of America's industrial might and political will as a result of global warming hysteria.

Thanks to Tom Nelson for bringing Roy Spencer's essay in One News Now to our attention.

Dr. Roy Spencer, a scientist who has been studying climate change for the past two decades, says defenders of supposed "manmade global warming" are proposing policy changes and legislation that will put heavy burdens on the poorest of the poor.

A principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Dr. Spencer directs a number of climate research projects. The expert in climate change says much of the hysteria over global warming is not based on scientific fact.

Spencer recently released a book titled Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor. He believes advocates of manmade global warming favor reforms and legislation that will cripple the poor. "When you start punishing wealth, you're going to be reducing a generation of wealth by punishing the use of energy, [from] which all human activity is required. It's going to hurt the poor first," Spencer points out.

While the earth's temperature has increased in the past century, Spencer says the case simply cannot be made for manmade global warming. He believes there are many scientists who do not advocate the catastrophic global warming scenario but are too afraid to speak out against it....

The Man Who Should Be President

Via Atlas Shrugs....

Seven Days in May Meets Manchurian Candidate

Dateline USA....

In a bizarre election year, a document surfaces--too rich in content to sit on until April Fool's Day.

Liberal Entertainment Corporation


September 11, 2004

From: Dick Green, SVP -- Production

To: PC Gold, President -- Production

Subject: Remake of The Candidate

I met with Jim and the others. Their concept can best be described as Seven Days in May meets The Manchurian Candidate. Assuming they can get the right to remake The Candidate, as they represent, I have doubts about the commercial viability of the project, even with their impressive ideas about Internet marketing. It's simply too fantastic and, frankly speaking, offensive on many levels.

If I understood their pitch correctly, the story revolves around a charismatic, multicultural candidate for President--a US Senator born to a Kenyan father and an American mother, who spent most of his early life in Hawaii and also lived as a child in Muslim Indonesia. Super-articulate and seemingly middle-of-the-road, he is secretly a left-wing radical. His backers are, well, beyond belief. They include: a cabal of isolationist, retired senior military officers; militant black nationalists, including the Senator's own America-bashing pastor, who blames America for 9/11; a couple of former fugitives from the old bomb-throwing Weather Underground; a former President of the United States; and the man who served as his National Security Advisor--an ageing, anti-Semitic Cold Warrior who is sympathetic to Iran and Islamism in general.

It's all way too way-out-there for an original production, in my opinion--a project that sounds more like a comic book than a serious political thriller. In fact, I suggested they first publish it as a graphic novel. We could consider optioning the film and TV rights, which would give them some development dough. If the GN works it would establish an audience, etc.

Let me know if you want me to spend more time on this project. Again, the story seems too incredible for us at this stage. The idea that the American people would support, let alone elect, a candidate like this boggles the mind.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

US Envoy Hints Internal Politics Preventing North Korean Compliance with Six-Nation Nuclear Deal

North Korea has failed to make a full declaration of its nuclear weapons program and proliferation activities as part of an aid-for-disarmament deal agreed to by the United States, China, North and South Korea, Japan, and Russia.

And the chief US envoy to the China-led six-nation talks has suggested that North Korean internal politics could be preventing the Stalinist state from living up to its commitments.

"I think it is fair to say that there are people in North Korea who really are not with the program here, really rather continue to be producing this plutonium for whatever reason," Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said Tuesday.

Hardline Opposition?

His comment seemed to support suspicions by some analysts that hardline military factions in North Korea are opposed to a nuclear deal even though the talks were endorsed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.

We disagree. Kim is totally in charge of the totalitarian regime; if Dear Leader wanted his country to comply with the six-nation accord it would have happened already.

North Korea is not likely to give up its nuclear ace--neither for the present nor the next US administration. Like its Islamist ally, Iran, North Korea will use every negotiating tactic in its playbook to stall for time.

Heavy Fighting Rages in Basra

Foreign Confidential....

Heavy fighting has been raging in Basra following a major pre-dawn offensive by thousands of Iraqi troops against Shi'ite militias in the southern city. Iraqi officials say at least 12 people have been killed and 18 wounded in the clashes, but the numbers could be higher. Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is threatening a campaign of "civil disobedience" if the crackdown on his militias continues. VOA Correspondent Challiss McDonough reports from Cairo.

Iraqi security forces and Shi'ite militias fought fierce gun battles on the streets of Basra after Iraqi troops launched a pre-dawn offensive to crack down on armed groups in the southern city.

Residents of Basra said they could hear explosions and automatic weapons fire throughout the day, and columns of black smoke were seen rising above the city.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki went to Basra on Monday to personally supervise the security operation, which targeted districts in central and northern parts of the city, strongholds of the Mehdi Army militia led by Shi'ite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr.

The prime minister issued a statement saying the offensive was targeting "outlaws" in Basra and was designed to bring the southern city under government control.

But Sadrist lawmakers and officials denounced the offensive and said they felt the government is targeting the Sadr organization, which is a powerful political force in southern Iraq.

The cleric's aide Hazem Al-Aaraji read a statement on behalf of Sadr, demanding and end to the operation.

Sadr's Demands

He said Sadr's group was calling for a nationwide strike, and then if the Iraqi government does not comply, he said, "the second step will be civil disobedience in Baghdad and other provinces." He said after that would come a "third step," but did not say what it would be.

Moqtada al-Sadr recently renewed a cease-fire that he originally ordered in August, instructing his powerful militia not to attack U.S. or Iraqi security forces. The cease-fire is seen as a major contributor to the reduction in violence in Iraq over the last year.

US and Iraqi officials say they are not interested in fighting the overall Sadr organization, only what they call "rogue elements" who are refusing to obey the cease-fire.

British troops handed control of Basra province over to Iraqi security forces in December and were not taking part in the operation, dubbed "Charge of the Knights."

Clashes were also reported in the city of Kut. Overnight curfews were being imposed elsewhere in central and southern Iraq, including Kut and Nasiriya.

Angry protesters took to the streets in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, a sprawling slum that is a Mehdi Army stronghold. Shops and businesses were reported to be closed throughout the neighborhood, with some residents saying they were too afraid of unrest to leave their homes.

China Announces Arrests in Tibet Capital

A top Chinese official has ordered security forces in Tibet to remain on alert for further unrest, as authorities have announced the arrest of 13 people allegedly involved in recent protests in the capital, Lhasa.

State-run media say 13 people were arrested Monday in China's crackdown on the protests. Authorities issued arrest warrants Tuesday for an additional 29 accused of involvement in the peaceful protests that turned violent.

During a visit to Lhasa, China's minister for public security, Meng Jianzhu, said the government will step up its so-called "patriotic education" campaigns at Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. Meng headed a delegation of Chinese officials on a tour of Tibet Sunday and Monday.

Chided Monks

During a stop at the Jokhang temple, Tibet's most sacred shrine, and Sera and Drepung, site of the March 14 protests, Meng chided monks for undermining what he called national solidarity. He accused those who participated in the riots of violating the doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism.

Meng's visit comes after a fresh protest in Tibetan parts of western China Monday left at least one policeman and one monk dead.

China says about 20 civilians were killed in all of the unrest, while Tibetan exile groups put the toll at about 140.

China has banned foreign journalists from traveling to the region, so details of the protests and security crackdown are difficult to verify.

The Case for New Oil Refineries

Dateline USA....

Wanted: a US Presidential candidate with a solid plan to rebuild and re-industrialize the greatest nation on Earth. A candidate with the ... audacity ... to fight for increased production of domestic oil and gas resources, clean coal, perhaps even nuclear power. A leader with a roadmap back to the future ... so that the US can again become a great producing rather than a consuming country. A practical visionary ready to fight for super-fast trains, factories in blighted urban areas, rural broadband, and so on and so forth....

The candidate could start by calling for the fast-track construction of new oil refineries, or the expansion of existing refineries. Increasing refinery capacity is among the most affordable, effective and reliable ways to increase supplies and lower prices. But emissions controls and mandates for specific gasoline blends have forced many refineries to close and made building new oil refineries very difficult. In fact, no new ones have been built in the US for nearly 30 years--a gift to OPEC.

The Energy Information Agency estimates energy use will rise 19.2 percent to 24.8 million barrels per day by 2020 while refinery capacity will rise only 9.4%. This means refining capacity will only be 100,000 barrels a day more in 2020 than it was in 1981.

The economic impacts of higher energy prices are alarming: a loss of $1 trillion in economic output and up to five million workers unemployed.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Obama's Military Adviser Hates Israel

EDITOR'S NOTE: The reporting and research and much of the text we originally published came from a piece by Robert Goldberg in the American Spectator via the always interesting and informative IsraPundit. China Confidential is in constant contact with an international network of stringers and tipsters who feed articles, blog postings that refer and link to articles and reports, etc. We accidentally used and edited part of a longer piece without realizing its origin. For this we sincerely apologize. In nearly three years of daily publishing (some days we publish six articles), this is the first time it has happened. We will take it as a reminder of the risks associated with rapid-fire reporting and analysis made possible by blogging, BlackBerry, and the broadband global Internet.

Dateline USA....

Barack Obama’s chief military adviser and national campaign co-chairman Merrill “Tony” McPeak is an anti-Israel bigot who believes that a Jewish-Christian cabal is manipulating the foreign policy of the United States.

McPeak has a long history of criticizing Israel for not retreating to the 1967 pre-Six Day War borders as part of any peace agreement with Arab states. In 1976 he wrote an article for Foreign Affairs magazine questioning Israel’s insistence on holding on to the Golan Heights and parts of the West Bank.

Says Washington Controlled by Jews

In recent years McPeak has asserted that US Middle East policy is being controlled by Jews at the expense of the nation's interests in the region....

Go to The American Specator for more....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

On the Goring and Freezing of America

Dateline USA....

Some more thoughts about the Goring of America--i.e. the diabolical crippling of its will to produce domestic energy resources because doing so would allegedly contribute to catastrophic climate change caused by man-made global warming.

Global warming fear-mongering has boxed the country into an impossible situation. As if caught between a rock and hard place, the nation seems paralyzed. On the one hand, our civilization runs on oil and gas and will for decades to come; on the other, the thinking goes, producing more oil and gas is a bad thing. The bottom line is that millions of Americans could end up freezing in the dark ... while Venezuela, Iran and the other members of the OPEC oil cartel continue to laugh their way to the bank.

From Slide Show to Nobel Prize

Thanks to the likes of Al Gore, who parlayed a slide show into an Academy Award and a Nobel Peace Prize, America's answer to dangerously high energy prices is, incredibly, to keep them high by neglecting here-and-now resources in favor of pie-in-the-sky solutions, such as cellulosic ethanol. Even worse, mandates for corn-based ethanol and federally subsidized conversion of soy and other oilseed crops have helped to drive up food prices by some 30%, further squeezing America's poor and middle classes while threatening masses of people in developing nations with hunger and starvation.

That the supposedly progressive Left has bought into this insanity defies reason. Instead of backing aggressive but still environmentally sensible and sound energy and industrial development, the green Reds have essentially sided with the oi-rich tyrannies and the multinational oil companies. Unlike the independent oil and gas producers, the multinationals generally have no interest in tapping neglected US resources.

All of which is way too complex and, well, down to earth, for the global warming zealots and the greedy investment banking firms focused on selling hot air, also known as carbon offset credits.

Neglected Heavy Oil

Consider the case of heavy oil, including molasses-like heavy crude oil and semi-solid bitumen mined from tar sands (not to be confused with oil shale). It turns out that while only one trillion barrels of the world’s original reserves of conventional crude oil remain to be produced, resources of heavy crude oil and tar sands total more than five trillion barrels--80% of which are in Canada, Venezuela, and the United States.

In the grip of an anti-US strongman, Hugo Chavez, Venezuela has become an ally of Iran. But that situation could and should change--in Tehran and Caracas.

Meanwhile, if just half the heavy crude and tar sands deposits in the US and Canada are brought to market, they would alone satisfy the current demand for crude oil in both countries for more than 150 years.

Remaining US reserves of conventional crude oil total only 22 billion barrels, but deposits of heavy crude and tar sands total more than 140 billion barrels. The largest domestic deposits of heavy crude are in Alaska, Utah, and California. Significant deposits also exist in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas.

Alaskan Resources

Remaining conventional oil reserves in Alaska are estimated at 4 billion barrels, and anticipated recoverable reserves from the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) are expected to total another 3 to 4 billion barrels. But Alaskan heavy crude resources in a single field--the Kuparuk River deposits--total 19 billion barrels, or five times the expected reserves within ANWR. In addition, a large part of the Kuparuk formation lies close to both the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and the Alyeska (trans-Alaska) oil pipeline, making for easy transport with essentially no further environmental impact.

Natural tars sands reservoirs account for almost all the heavy oil resources in Utah. Multiple reservoirs in the Tar Sand Triangle deposit are estimated to contain more than 22 billion barrels of bitumen.

Total tar sands deposits in Utah exceed 32 billion barrels, none of which are being commercially developed at present.

Heavy crude was discovered in California before the turn of the previous century and currently comprises about half of the state’s petroleum production. With this production spread among more than 200 reservoirs, significant infrastructure to access heavy crude is already in place.

Using existing technology less than nine billion barrels of heavy crude have been produced from an original total resource of 77 billion barrels; so a significant incentive exists to develop improved methods of recovering heavy oil.