Bad things in good times 2

Mark Steyn talks about bad things in a recently published (April 25, 2016) video: environmentalism, Islam, state-created art.

Well worth the 27+ minutes it takes to hear it through.

We like the last few minutes best, starting at about 24.40 when he talks about how lucky we are to be living in a warm period.

Posted under Canada, Climate, Commentary, Environmentalism, government, Health, History, India, Islam, Leftism, Muslims, Science, Somalia, Sweden, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 21, 2016

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“The Great Die-Off” 6

… that never happened.

On the first Earth Day in 1970, environmentalists predicted the direst imaginable consequences, including the possible extinction of the human race, within 30 years.

That is, if we earthlings didn’t obey them and go back to living the life of the savage: “poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.  They didn’t put it that way exactly. But that’s what their wishes would have brought us to.

“Solitary” should also be in that quotation from Thomas Hobbes, but that wouldn’t be the case because the doomsday environmentalists are collectivists to a man and feminist.

Not a single one of their predictions has come true.

Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute writes:

In the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine, award-winning science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote an excellent article titled Earth Day, Then and Now to provide some historical perspective on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. In that article, Bailey noted that around the time of the first Earth Day, and in the years following, there was a “torrent of apocalyptic predictions” and many of those predictions were featured in his Reason article. Well, it’s now the 46th anniversary of  Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that Bailey asked 16 years ago: How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970? The answer: “The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong,” according to Bailey. Here are 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the “green holy day” (aka Earth Day) started:

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind”. 

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By 1975 some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off”. 

7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support … the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution … by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half. …”

10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone”. Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945″. Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946 … now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out.

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate … that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any’.”

15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it”.

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

The Daily Caller notes just how wrong some of those predictions have turned out to be:

1: “Civilization Will End Within 15 Or 30 Years”

Harvard biologist Dr. George Wald warned shortly before the first Earth Day in 1970 that civilization would soon end “unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind”. Three years before his projection, Wald was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Wald was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War and the nuclear arms race. He even flew to Moscow at one point to advise the leader of the Soviet Union on environmental policy. Despite his assistance to a communist government, civilization still exists. The percentage of Americans who are concerned about environmental threats has fallen as civilization failed to end by environmental catastrophe.

2: “100-200 Million People Per Year Will Be Starving To Death During The Next Ten Years”

Stanford professor Dr. Paul Ehrlich declared in April 1970 that mass starvation was imminent. His dire predictions failed to materialize as the number of people living in poverty has significantly declined and the amount of food per person has steadily increased, despite population growth. The world’s Gross Domestic Product per person has immeasurably grown despite increases in population.

Ehrlich is largely responsible for this view, having co-published The Population Bomb with The Sierra Club in 1968. The book made a number of claims including that millions of humans would starve to death in the 1970s and 1980s, mass famines would sweep England leading to the country’s demise, and that ecological destruction would devastate the planet causing the collapse of civilization.

3: “Population Will Inevitably And Completely Outstrip Whatever Small Increases In Food Supplies We Make”

Paul Ehrlich also made the above claim in 1970, shortly before an agricultural revolution that caused the world’s food supply to rapidly increase.

Ehrlich has consistently failed to revise his predictions when confronted with the fact that they did not occur, stating in 2009 that “perhaps the most serious flaw in The Bomb was that it was much too optimistic about the future”.

4: “Demographers Agree Almost Unanimously … Thirty Years From Now, The Entire World … Will Be In Famine”

Environmentalists in 1970 truly believed in a scientific consensus predicting global famine due to population growth in the developing world, especially in India. …

[But] India, where the famines were supposed to begin, recently became one of the world’s largest exporters of agricultural products and food supply per person in the country has drastically increased in recent years. In fact, the number of people in every country listed by Gunter has risen dramatically since 1970.

5: “In A Decade, Urban Dwellers Will Have To Wear Gas Masks To Survive Air Pollution”

Life magazine stated in January 1970 that scientist had “solid experimental and theoretical evidence” to believe that “in a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution … by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by one half”.

Despite the prediction, air quality has been improving worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Air pollution has also sharply declined in industrialized countries.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas environmentalists are worried about today, is odorless, invisible and harmless to humans in normal amounts.

6: “Childbearing [Will Be] A Punishable Crime Against Society, Unless The Parents Hold A Government License”

David Brower, the first executive director of The Sierra Club made the above claim and went on to say that “all potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing”. Brower was also essential in founding Friends of the Earth and the League Of Conservation Voters and much of the modern environmental movement.

Brower believed that most environmental problems were ultimately attributable to new technology that allowed humans to pass natural limits on population size. He famously stated before his death in 2000 that “all technology should be assumed guilty until proven innocent” and repeatedly advocated for mandatory birth control.

Today, the only major government to ever get close to his vision has been China, which ended its one-child policy last October.

7: “By The Year 2000 … There Won’t Be Any More Crude Oil”

On Earth Day in 1970 ecologist Kenneth Watt famously predicted that the world would run out of oil saying, “You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any’.”

Numerous academics like Watt predicted that American oil production peaked in 1970 and would gradually decline, likely causing a global economic meltdown. However, the successful application of massive hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, caused American oil production to come roaring back and there is currently too much oil on the market.

American oil and natural gas reserves are at their highest levels since 1972 and American oil production in 2014 was 80 percent higher than in 2008 thanks to fracking.

Furthermore, the U.S. now controls the world’s largest untapped oil reserve, the Green River Formation in Colorado. This formation alone contains up to 3 trillion barrels of untapped oil shale, half of which may be recoverable. That’s five and a half times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. This single geologic formation could contain more oil than the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined.

We’ll give Mark Perry the last word:

Let’s keep those spectacularly wrong predictions from the first Earth Day 1970 in mind when we’re bombarded [around Earth Day 2016] with media hype, and claims like this from the 2015 Earth Day website:

Scientists warn us that climate change could accelerate beyond our control, threatening our survival and everything we love. We call on you to keep global temperature rise under the unacceptably dangerous level of 2 degrees C, by phasing out carbon pollution to zero. To achieve this, you must urgently forge realistic global, national and local agreements, to rapidly shift our societies and economies to 100% clean energy by 2050. Do this fairly, with support to the most vulnerable among us. Our world is worth saving and now is our moment to act. But to change everything, we need everyone. Join us.

Finally, think about this question, posed by Ronald Bailey in 2000: What will Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in 2030? Bailey predicts a much cleaner, and much richer future world, with less hunger and malnutrition, less poverty, and longer life expectancy, and with lower mineral and metal prices.

But he makes one final prediction about Earth Day 2030: “There will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future – and the present – never looked so bleak.”

In other words, the hype, hysteria and spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions will continue, promoted by the “environmental grievance hustlers”.

A one signatory deal 5

Obama is the man who shakes hands with himself.

Amir Taheri writes at Gatestone:

Sometime this week, President Obama is scheduled to sign an executive order to meet the Oct. 15 “adoption day” he has set for the nuclear deal he says he has made with Iran. According to the president’s timetable the next step would be “the start day of implementation”, fixed for Dec. 15.

But as things now stand, Obama may end up being the only person in the world to sign his much-wanted deal, in effect making a treaty with himself.

The Iranians have signed nothing and have no plans for doing so.

The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has not even been discussed at the Islamic Republic’s Council of Ministers. Nor has the Tehran government bothered to even provide an official Persian translation of the 159-page text.

The Islamic Majlis, the ersatz parliament, is examining an unofficial text and is due to express its views at an unspecified date in a document “running into more than 1,000 pages”, according to Mohsen Zakani, who heads the “examining committee”.

The changes we seek would require substantial rewriting of the text,” he adds enigmatically.

Nor have Britain, China, Germany, France and Russia, who were involved in the so-called P5+1 talks that produced the JCPOA, deemed it necessary to provide the Obama “deal” with any legal basis of their own. Obama’s partners have simply decided that the deal he is promoting is really about lifting sanctions against Iran and nothing else. So they have started doing just that without bothering about JCPOA’s other provisions.

Britain has lifted the ban on 22 Iranian banks and companies blacklisted because of alleged involvement in deals linked to the nuclear issue.

German trade with Iran has risen by 33 percent, making it the Islamic Republic’s third-largest partner after China.

China has signed preliminary accords to help Iran build five more nuclear reactors.

Russia has started delivering S300 anti-aircraft missile systems and is engaged in talks to sell Sukhoi planes to the Islamic Republic.

France has sent its foreign minister and a 100-man delegation to negotiate big business deals, including projects to double Iran’s crude oil exports.

Indian trade with Iran has risen by 17 percent, and New Delhi is negotiating massive investment in a rail-and-sea hub in the Iranian port of Chah-Bahar on the Gulf of Oman.

With help from Austrian, Turkish and United Arab Emirates banks, the many banking restrictions imposed on Iran because of its nuclear program have been pushed aside.

“The structures of sanctions built over decades is crumbling,” boasts Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Meanwhile, the nuclear project is and shall remain “fully intact,” says the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi. We have started working on a process of nuclear fusion that will be cutting-edge technology for the next 50 years,” he adds.

Even before Obama’s “implementation day”, the mullahs are receiving an average of $400 million a month, no big sum, but enough to ease the regime’s cash-flow problems and increase pay for its repressive forces by around 21 percent. …

The mullahs see the “deal” as a means with which Obama would oppose any suggestion of trying to curb Iran.

“Obama won’t do anything that might jeopardize the deal,” says Ziba Kalam, a Rouhani adviser. “This is his biggest, if not only, foreign policy success.”

Let’s pause and contemplate that for a moment! This farce of a deal, this green light to one of the most  oppressive regimes on earth to go ahead and become a nuclear power, is  – Obama’s “biggest, if  not only, foreign policy SUCCESS”!  

More follows on this success:

If there have been changes in Tehran’s behavior they have been for the worse. Iran has teamed up with Russia to keep Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria, mocking Obama’s “Assad must go” rhetoric. More importantly, Iran has built its direct military presence in Syria to 7,000 men.

Tehran has also pressured Iraqi Premier Haidar al-Abadi’s weak government to distance itself from Washington and join a dubious coalition with Iran, Russia and Syria.

Certain that Obama is paralyzed by his fear of undermining the non-existent “deal” the mullahs have intensified their backing for Houthi rebels in Yemen. Last week a delegation was in Tehran with a long shopping list for arms.

In Lebanon, the mullahs have toughened their stance on choosing the country’s next president.

And in Bahrain, Tehran is working on a plan to “ensure an early victory” of the Shiite revolution in the archipelago.

Confident that Obama is determined to abandon traditional allies of the United States, Tehran has also heightened propaganda war against Saudi Arabia, now openly calling for the overthrow of the monarchy there.

The mullahs are also heightening contacts with Palestinian groups in the hope of unleashing a new “Intifada.”

They have done so. (See yesterday’s post, immediately below.)

“Palestine is thirsty for a third Intifada,” Supreme Guide Khamenei’s mouthpiece Kayhan said in an editorial last Thursday. “It is the duty of every Muslim to help start it as soon as possible.”

Obama’s hopes of engaging Iran on other issues were dashed last week when Khamenei declared “any dialogue with the American Great Satan” to be “forbidden”.

“We have no need of America” his adviser Ali-Akbar Velayati added later. “Iran is the region’s big power in its own right.”

Obama had hoped that by sucking up to the mullahs he would at least persuade them to moderate their “hate-America campaign”.

“Death to America” slogans, adorning official buildings in Tehran have been painted afresh along with US flags, painted at the entrance of offices so that they could be trampled underfoot.

None of the US citizens still held hostages in Iran has been released, and one, Washington Post stringer Jason Rezai, is branded as “head of a spy ring “in Tehran. Paralyzed by his fear of undermining the non-existent deal, Obama doesn’t even call for their release.

Government-sponsored anti-American nationwide events are announced for November, anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran.

The annual “End of America” week-long conference is planned for February and is to focus on “African-American victims of US police” and the possibility of “self-determination for blacks.”

Iran is inciting rebellion and treason among Americans.

According to official sources “families of Black American victims” and a number of “black American revolutionaries” have been invited.

Inside Iran, Obama’s “moderate partners” have doubled the number of executions and political prisoners. Last week they crushed marches by teachers calling for release of their leaders. Hundreds of trade unionists have been arrested and a new “anti-insurrection” brigade paraded in Tehran to terrorize possible protestors.

The Obama deal may end up as the biggest diplomatic scam in recent history.

In defense of coal 1

Obama’s “war on coal” is actually, of course, his “war on capitalism”.

Stephen Moore writes at Investor’s Business Daily:

At the very moment President Obama has decided to shutter America’s coal industry in favor of much more expensive and less efficient “renewable energy”, coal use is surging across the globe.

A new study by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences detects an unmistakable “coal renaissance” under way that shows this mineral of fossilized carbon has again become “the most important source of energy-related emissions on the global scale“. 

Coal is expanding rapidly “not only in China and India but also across a broad range of developing countries — especially poor, fast-growing countries mainly in Asia”, the study finds.

Why is coal such a popular energy source now? The NAS study explains that many nations are attracted to “(relatively) low coal prices … to satisfy their energy needs”. It also finds “the share of coal in the energy mix indeed has grown faster for countries with higher economic growth”.

In sum, using coal is a stepping stone to prosperity. So much for it being a satanic energy source.

Hardly a day passes without evidence that coal is making a major comeback:

  • Some 1,200 coal plants are planned across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India, according to the World Resources Institute.
  • Coal use around the world has grown about four times faster than renewables, according to the global energy monitoring publication BP Review of World Energy 2015.
  • German coal “will remain a major, and probably the largest, fuel source for power generation for another decade and perhaps longer”, the Financial Times concludes.
  • “The U.S. is dropping coal plants at an unprecedented rate, but still nowhere near as quickly as India is adding them,” Bloomberg Business reckons.

“By the end of this year, some 7.5% of the U.S. coal fleet will have disappeared … . But by 2020 India may have built about 2.5 times as much capacity as the U.S. is about to lose.”

Then, of course, there’s the world’s biggest coal addict by far — the People’s Republic of China. According to a 2014 report from Eric Lawson of Princeton University, a leading climate change apocalyptic on the left:

“The reality is that fossil fuels dominate China’s energy landscape, as they do in virtually every other country. And the focus on renewables also hides the fact that China’s reliance upon coal is predicted to keep growing.”

Lawson’s calculations of how coal use is growing in China are jaw-dropping. “From 2010 through 2013, (China) added half the coal generation of the entire U.S. At the peak, from 2005 through 2011, China added roughly two 600-megawatt coal plants a week for seven straight years. And according to U.S. government projections, China will add yet another U.S. worth of coal plants over the next 10 years, or the equivalent of a new 600-megawatt plant every 10 days for 10 years.”

All this underscores the foolishness and futility of the Obama climate-change regulations designed to drastically reduce coal production in the U.S.

The great excuse for the Left’s “war on coal” is that it’s burning adds CO2 to the atmosphere. And the Left has spread the dogma that CO2, the food of all green plants, is a pollutant, a “green house gas” which “causes global warming”.

But even assuming that to be true, as Stephen Moore apparently does …

As we use less [coal] and the rest of the world uses more, the impact on global temperatures will be very close to zero.

Coal production in the U.S. is much safer and less carbon-intensive (clean coal technologies have reduced pollutants by 30%) than coal from other nations. So Obama’s war on coal may make global warming worse.

Some might say this gesture by the Obama administration to cut off coal production in the U.S. is a useful first step to save the planet. Except this isn’t just a cheap sign of goodwill.

It’s a tremendously expensive gesture that will cost America hundreds of thousands of jobs, raise utility prices by as much as $1,000 per family and reduce GDP by as much half a percentage point a year when we are already barely growing. The poor will be hurt most.

What makes the Obama administration regulations doubly destructive is that the U.S. has more coal than any other nation.

With at least 300 years of supply at a value of trillions of dollars, we are truly the Saudi Arabia of coal.

To leave it in the ground would be like Obama telling Nebraska to stop growing corn, Idaho to stop growing potatoes and Silicon Valley to give up on the digital age.

Ironically, the president justifies his war on coal by arguing, “We must lead so that others will follow.” But outside of dreamland, the rest of the world has no intention of following Mr. Obama’s act of economic masochism.

Most nations value getting richer over getting greener — as well they should.

Given the sad state of our economy today, so should we.

Posted under China, Commentary, Economics, Energy, Environmentalism, Germany, India, Leftism, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 7, 2015

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Tens of millions of slaves 3

Slavery is not a thing of the past. Some 36 million people are counted this year as slaves. And there are certainly countless more.

Many domestic servants in Arab countries – Saudi Arabia for instance – are not counted as slaves because in theory they are paid wages, but their conditions of work are conditions of enslavement and many go unpaid in practice.

Almost the entire population of North Korea could be described as enslaved in their own country. And according to the Guardian: “Thousands of migrant labourers from North Korea are toiling for years on construction sites in Qatar for virtually no pay – including on the vast new metropolis that is the centrepiece of the World Cup – in what may amount to “state-sponsored slavery”.

And the number of slaves is growing continually, as men of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) – among other devout Muslims – sell women and girls in open slave markets.

Yahoo! News reports:

The Walk Free Foundation, an Australian-based human rights group, estimated in its inaugural slavery index last year that 29.8 million people were born into servitude, trafficked for sex work, trapped in debt bondage or exploited for forced labour.

Releasing its second annual index, Walk Free increased its estimate of the number of slaves to 35.8 million, saying this was due to better data collection and slavery being uncovered in areas where it had not been found previously.

For the second year, the index of 167 countries found India had by far the greatest number of slaves. Up to 14.3 million people in its population of 1.25 billion were victims of slavery, ranging from prostitution to bonded labour.

Mauritania was again the country where slavery was most prevalent by head of population while Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, rose up the rank from 96th place to be listed as the fourth worst country by percentage of the population.

“From children denied an education by being forced to work or marry early, to men unable to leave their work because of crushing debts they owe to recruitment agents, to women and girls exploited as unpaid, abused domestic workers, modern slavery has many faces,” the report said.

“It still exists today, in every country – modern slavery affects us all.”

The index defines slavery as the control or possession of people in such a way as to deprive them of their freedom with the intention of exploiting them for profit or sex, usually through violence, coercion or deception.

The definition includes indentured servitude, forced marriage and the abduction of children to serve in wars.

Hereditary slavery is deeply entrenched in the West African country of Mauritania, where four percent of the population of 3.9 million is estimated to be enslaved, the report said.

After Mauritania, slavery was most prevalent in Uzbekistan, where citizens are forced to pick cotton every year to meet state-imposed cotton quotas, and Haiti, where the practice of sending poor children to stay with richer acquaintances or relatives routinely leads to abuse and forced labour, it said. …

The next highest prevalence rates were found in India, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Syria and Central African Republic.

The index showed that 10 countries alone account for 71 percent of the world’s slaves.

After India, China has the most with 3.2 million, then Pakistan (2.1 million), Uzbekistan (1.2 million), Russia (1.05 million), Nigeria (834,200), Democratic Republic of Congo (762,900), Indonesia (714,100), Bangladesh (680,900) and Thailand (475,300).

And last year’s report by the Walk Free Foundation recorded this shocking information:

The United States, per capita, has a very low rate of slavery: just 0.02 percent, or one in every 5,000 people. But that adds up to a lot: an estimated 60,000 slaves, right here in America. 

And this year?

Here’s the 2014 Walk Free Foundation’s map:

The total number of people enslaved by region

One hundred years ago today World War One began 1

Today is the centennial anniversary of the start of the First World War. On 28 July, 1914, the Austro-Hungarian army fired the first shots, to crush rebellious Serbia. What happened then, and why, is traced in this video. 

Blame is laid on the growth of nationalism, and even more on imperialism – the acquisition of colonies by the powers of Europe on other continents, in fierce competition with each other, Britain being far and away the  winner. The fact that at least some empires, chiefly the British, brought incalculable benefits to the lands they conquered, colonized and ruled, is touched on briefly; in our view, too briefly.

We think it is an overview worth watching, though there are points where we would place a different emphasis.

We agree with the presenters that the day World War One broke out was the day Europe began its terminal decline.

 

Three cups of diddly-squat 2

Afghanistan is an American protectorate; its kleptocrat president is an American client, kept alive these last twelve years only by American arms. The Afghan campaign is this nation’s longest war — and our longest un-won war: That’s to say, nowadays we can’t even lose in under a decade. I used to say that, 24 hours after the last Western soldier leaves Afghanistan, it will be as if we were never there. But it’s already as if we were never there. The American imperium has lasted over twice as long as the Taliban’s rule — and yet, unlike them, we left no trace.

So Mark Steyn declares. “All we have built” he writes, “is another squalid sharia state” that practices the stoning to death of adulterers. And we can only nod in sad agreement.

In my book America Alone, I quoted a riposte to the natives by a British administrator. … The chap in question was Sir Charles Napier, out in India and faced with the practice of suttee — the Hindu tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Napier’s response was impeccably multicultural: “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

He praises Napier’s “cultural cool”. His confidence in the rightness of his own culture’s laws was “in the long run, more effective than a drone”.

India is better off without suttee, just as Afghanistan would be better off without child marriage, honor killing, death for apostasy, and stoning for adultery. …

The American way of war is to win the war in nothing flat, and then spend the next decade losing the peace. The American people have digested that to the point where they assume that … the next intervention [would be]  a fool’s errand. The rest of the world grasps it, too. If Hamid Karzai treats Washington with contempt and gets away with it, why expect the Iranians to behave any differently?

A nation responsible for almost half the planet’s military spending goes into battle with the sentimental multiculti fantasist twaddle of Greg Mortensen’s Three Cups of Tea as its strategy manual — and then wonders why it can’t beat goatherds with fertilizer.

All true. But even if America did manage to put a stop to child marriage, honor killing, death for apostasy, and stoning for adultery in Afghanistan, wouldn’t they resume as soon as the last American troops left? As far as we know, suttee was not resumed in India when the British Raj came to an end. So Napier and his fellow administrators won the argument while they had the power to enforce their law. But that was India, a civilization. Who believes in an Afghan civilization – even if it has had periods with less stoning and more Western pop music in it?

Americans [might] sigh wearily and shrug, “Afghanistan, the graveyard of empire,” or sneer, “If they want to live in a seventh-century s***hole, f*** ’em.” But neither assertion is true. Do five minutes’ googling, and you’ll find images from the Sixties and early Seventies of women in skirts above the knee listening to the latest Beatles releases in Kabul record stores.

Those are undeniable signs of our culture, but are they the best we have to give for the improvement of barbarous s***holes? They are far from matching Napier’s gift to India. But nor are they the worst. What would be most representative of American culture now? The deeply depressing answer may have been given by the Obama Administration and the Pentagon: that cloying lying little book Three Cups of Tea.

Our need for idols: observations on Mandela and Gandhi 25

Nelson Mandela is a life-long Communist. He even cobbled together a little book called “How To Be A Good Communist”. He co-founded and directed a terrorist organization, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation). He never stopped admiring tyrannies and red dictatorships.

The Mahatma Gandhi was a rather cruel man. He deliberately kept the fifty or so poor Indian workers who labored on his South African farm – which he called “Tolstoy Farm” – on starvation rations, in pursuit of a theory that the body could learn to survive on virtually no food. He also paid them no wages, so it would not be wrong to call them slaves. He abandoned the wife and child he acquired during his years in South Africa, left them with no means of subsistence when he returned to India. In 1946 he commented on the Holocaust, “The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife.” By his own confession he was a lecher before he conceived the theory that the body could learn to live without sex. Then to prove his ability to resist temptation, he would, as an old man, have nubile young girls sleep beside him without ever taking advantage of them. What the girls felt about the experiment has not been recorded. He was also a poseur. The image he liked to project of a man who needed nothing but a loin-cloth and a spinning wheel was belied by the colossal expense the British Foreign Office was put to in 1931 in order to meet his demand to “live among the poor” in the East End of London. They had to buy houses, repair them, guard them, furnish them comfortably while leaving the Mahatma a bare room in which to meet diplomats and the press. Had he demanded a whole floor of the Ritz Hotel it would have cost his hosts less.

Gandhi is long dead, and now it seems Nelson Mandela is dying. There will be obituaries and eulogies extravagantly praising him – if also some criticism of him for being too soft or too hard, depending on whether it comes from the left or the right. But Mandela, like Gandhi, will be made as immortal as a mortal can be made.

The human race needs its heroic saviors. It needs its Mandela, its Gandhi, as it has needed its Moses, its Jesus Christ, its Muhammad, its Buddha.

Mandela must be the hero-martyr who bought black freedom from white oppression with his own long incarceration; who set an example of forgiveness; who remained peaceable despite intense provocation to resort to violence. He must be a model of patient virtue under racist oppression; the perfect unvengeful victim who rose to be the gentle leader of a new democratic South Africa.

That picture is false, like the one of Gandhi as a good and simple man. And Gandhi no more liberated India from the British Raj with his passive resistance movement than Mandela overthrew apartheid with his revolutionary leadership exercised from a prison cell.

But the truth about Mandela and Gandhi will not matter. It will not make any difference to what they must stand for in order to satisfy a human need. Mandela the Idol is bigger far than the real man, and so is the Idol named Gandhi. In each case the myth has already replaced the man.

Good saviors these will remain in the collective esteem, the personifications of dearly held ideals. As deeply as the ideals are needed, their personifications will be adored and celebrated, and can no more be allowed to have had weaknesses and vices than the ideals themselves can be forsaken. Our idols prove to us that our highest moral aspirations are attainable; that we are beings capable of perfection. It is our vanity that will preserve them.

 

Jillian Becker   June 12, 2013

Fire or ice 22

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

– Robert Frost

*

This is from Canada Free Press by Robert Felix:

Satellite data show that glaciers in part of the Karakoram range on the China-Pakistan border are putting on mass, defying the general trend toward glacier shrinkage. In an article entitled “Slight mass gain of Karakoram glaciers in the early twenty-first century,” Researchers from the National Centre for Scientific Research and the University of Grenoble admit to “an anomalous gain of mass” for the Karakoram glaciers.

This is in direct contradiction to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which claimed that ice from most of the region could disappear by 2035.

Often considered a part of the Himalayas, the Karakoram range, which runs through Pakistan, India and China, is technically a separate chain that includes K2, the world’s second-highest peak. …

We’re talking about the greatest chain of ice-capped peaks in the world — from the Himalayas to Tian Shan on the border of China and Kyrgyzstan — and satellite measurements show that they have lost NO ice in the past 10 years.

Not only have they lost no ice, in a defiant act of political incorrectness, some 230 glaciers in the western Himalayas – including Mount Everest, K2 and Nanga Parbat – are actually growing.

“These are the biggest mid-latitude glaciers in the world,” says John Shroder of the University of Nebraska-Omaha. “And all of them are either holding still, or advancing.”

And get this. Eighty seven of those glaciers have surged forward since the 1960s.

But we don’t need to look to the Himalayas for growing glaciers. Glaciers are also growing in the United States. Yes, in the United States.

Look at California. All seven glaciers on California’s Mount Shasta are growing, including three-mile-long Whitney glacier, the state’s largest.

Farther north in Washington State, the Nisqually Glacier on Mt. Rainier is growing. The Emmons Glacier on Mt. Rainier is growing. Glaciers on Glacier Peak in northern Washington are growing. And Crater Glacier on Mt. Saint Helens is now larger than it was before the 1980 eruption.

Even farther north, the Juneau Icefield, which covers 1,505 square miles (3,900 sq km) and is the fifth-largest ice field in the Western Hemisphere, is also growing.

Are these growing glaciers also just “an anomalous gain of mass”? Well, let’s look at a few other countries.

• Perito Moreno Glacier, the largest glacier in Argentina, is growing.

• Pio XI Glacier, the largest glacier in Chile, is growing.

• Glaciers are growing on Mt. Logan, the tallest mountain in Canada.

• Glaciers are growing on Mt. Blanc, the tallest mountain in France.

• Glaciers are growing in Norway, says the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE).

• And the last time I checked, all 50 glaciers in New Zealand were growing. (The Franz Josef glacier is advancing at the rate of 4 to 7 feet per day!)

But these glaciers are babies when you look at our planet’s largest ice mass, namely, the Antarctic ice sheet.

Contrary to what you may have heard, this huge ice sheet is growing.

In 2007, Antarctica set a new record for most ice extent since 1979, says meteorologist Joe D’Aleo.

Antarctic sea ice has also been increasing, on average, since 1980.

Think about that.

The Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is almost twice as big as the contiguous United States, is about 90 times bigger than all of the rest of the world’s glaciers combined.

Close to 90 percent of the world’s glaciers are growing, in other words, and all we hear about are the ones that are shrinking.

Welcome to the new ice age.

Are the warmists embarrassed? Well, yes:

“Our measurements…indicate that the contribution of Karakoram glaciers to sea-level rise was -0.01 mm yr for the period from 1999 to 2008,” write the French researchers [Julie Gardelle, Etienne Berthier, Yves Arnaud].

Huh? What does that mean? “The contribution to sea-level rise was MINUS 0.01 mm per year”? …

“Why this should be is not clear,” writes BBC News environment correspondent Richard Black. “Though it is well known from studies in other parts of the world that climate change can cause extra precipitation into cold regions which, if they are cold enough, gets added to the existing mass of ice.”

Get that? Global warming adds to the existing mass of ice (“climate change” being the replacement phrase for “global warming” since global warming paused in the last ten years).

Uh huh. First we’re told that global warming will melt all of the world’s glaciers and sea levels will rise catastrophically. Now, we’re being told that global warming will make the glaciers grow and contribute – in a minus sort of way – to sea level rise. Does that mean that sea levels will fall?

If it does mean that, you won’t hear the warmists say so. They believe that sea levels will rise, so rise they must.

Seems, one way or another, the earth has only about 5 billion more years before Carl Sagan’s promised “last perfect day” and then …

Demonstrations of compassion for a cult of death and suffering 3

In memory of Christopher Hitchens, who died two days ago, here is a video from October 2007 in which he talks about the “profane marriage between media-hype and medieval  superstition and the icon it gave birth to” – Mother Teresa.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Commentary, Health, India by Jillian Becker on Saturday, December 17, 2011

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