Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hitler and AGW

From Uncommon Descent:

Back in 2004, the German-Austrian film 'Downfall' was released. The film depicted Hitler's last days in his Berlin bunker. Since then, the portion of the film where a detached-from-all-reality Hitler goes on a tirade - lashing out and finally conceding all is lost - has been modified to poke fun at everything from Chicago Cubs personnel moves to Hillary Clinton's failed presidential campaign. Here it is in the context of the recent damning evidence of outright global warming fraud:

Pretty funny. I'll bet Al Gore isn't laughing, though.


Death Rates

The next time someone tells you that people are better off under socialized health care plans you might cite some statistics to them:

As the Congress prepared to vote to let us enter the world of waits for doctors, waits for specialists, waits for testing and waits for surgery, radiation and chemo, we should pause to consider the relative records of the private medical care system in the United States with the socialized system in the U.K.

In 2008, Britain had a cancer death rate 0.25% while the United States had a rate of only 0.18%. The UK cancer death rate was 38% higher than in the United States.

The Guardian, the UK's left wing daily, estimated that "up to 10,000 people" are dying each year of cancer "because their condition is diagnosed too late, according to research by the government's director of cancer services." While many people die because of late detection due to their own negligence, there is no reason to believe this self-neglect is more common in the UK than in the US.

In Canada, the cancer death rate is 16% higher than in the United States.

So, why is Congress and the White House pushing a health care reform bill that would essentially make us more like Britain and Canada? Go figure.



There's been a lot of controversy over President Obama's Afghanistan speech Tuesday night. Lefties fault him for agreeing to send more troops, and conservatives fault him for setting a deadline after which the troops will be pulled out. There's even more controversy about how sincere the president was with his deadline, given that he's been notorious for setting deadlines which he promptly proceeds to ignore (Iraq, Guantanamo Bay).

My problem with the speech, other than it seemed as if his heart wasn't really in it, is that the whole idea of a deadline strikes me as foolhardy. I don't see the point in telling the enemy how long you're prepared to fight, nor do I see how it can avoid having a negative impact both on the morale of the troops who know that as the deadline approaches they're putting their lives on the line for a mission that will be ending in a couple of weeks, and on that of Afghans who will be very reluctant, knowing that the Americans will be leaving, to be seen being friendly or helpful to U.S. troops. Who wants to go on a dangerous mission when soon none of it will matter? What Afghan wants to be seen helping the Americans when after they leave the Taliban will be free to seek retribution?

Nor do I see the logic in saying that we'll begin to withdraw on a date certain but that the withdrawal will be based on conditions on the ground. What does that mean? If the conditions don't permit a withdrawal will we stay there? If so, what's the point in setting the deadline in the first place?

My biggest objection to setting the withdrawal date, though, is this: If Afghanistan really is crucial to our national security then we should be there as long as it takes to pacify the place. If Mr. Obama is not going to stay until the task is successfully completed then, we can reasonably assume, he believes the war is not really critical to our security. And if that's what Obama believes then it's absolutely reprehensible that he doesn't pull out immediately before one more serviceman or woman is killed or maimed.

Either Afghanistan is crucial to our national security, and we should be prepared to be there for as long as it takes to end the threat, or it's not crucial, and we should be getting out ASAP. By setting a deadline, Mr. Obama is tacitly revealing that the latter is the case so for him to nevertheless spill more blood and waste more treasure there is unconscionable.

Mr. Obama's speech Tuesday night was a muddle of conflicting messages and incoherent ideas. Like the administration's baffling defense of its decision to bring Kalid Sheik Mohammed to New York to be tried in federal court, it reflects a White House more concerned about the political impact of what is said and done than with doing what is right.

The best I can say of the President's Afghanistan policy is that it seems amateurish, and his speech certainly wasn't the sort of effort one would expect from a President whose brilliance his admirers never tire of extolling.