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Foreseen Consequences

Foreseen consequences are NOT unintended.

Public health officials and regulators who have battled for years against smoking may be inadvertently bolstering the tobacco market with their strong stand against e-cigarettes, some financial analysts say.

While certain experts view the products as a potentially game-changing safe alternative to smoking, many health organizations have warned of their possible dangers. Canada’s federal government effectively outlaws nicotine-containing versions of the devices.

The drum beat of opposition seems to have picked up in recent weeks, with public-health agencies in Ontario and B.C. recommending crackdowns on e-cigarettes, worrying they could normalize smoking or act as gateways to tobacco itself.

That kind of “highly suspicious” approach may be having unintended consequences, suggests a new report to investors from Germany’s Berenberg bank.

It’s all part of the plan.

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Will the Bureaucrats Listen?

I highly doubt that the science verifying the efficacy of using e-cigarettes as a far more healthy form of ingesting nicotine than traditional cigarettes, and a legitimate means to quit smoking analogs will have any bearing whatsoever on the FDA, which has vowed to hang its looming regulation of the industry on the frame of science. The media surely hasn’t allowed science to trump the narrative passed on to them by their government masters. Spinfuel Magazine:

Since these proposed regulations were disclosed [by the FDA], there has been a surge of news stories published and run on national television regarding the industry that have been…well, rather uneducated and downright harmful to smokers who might have otherwise already quit smoking for vaping.

While a large portion of the electronic cigarette (Vaping) community has been passionate about education, we have seen countless articles and news reports by national and local news agencies twisting the facts and publishing biased “articles” that simply seem like propaganda to the most educated on the issue.

This manipulation and creative interpretation of the scientific evidence is just as the media and their government benefactors would have it: using the perceived credibility of the media as an independent body in order to further the government’s agenda by doing what it can to strengthen the case in favor of government regulation. Unfortunately it’s working despite dozens of scientific studies which show that vaping is orders of magnitude safer than smoking (if not vitually harmless) and the ability to use vaping as a means to quit smoking traditional cigarettes.

And it’s not just the media licking the boots of government, but also NGOs that are funded primarily from government sources and serve their masters well by vomiting up unsubstantiated claims about both the health and social dangers of vaping. Dr. Tom Friedman, director of the Center for Disease Control has expounded his “personal belief” that vaping is little more than a means to get kids hooked on smoking traditional cigarettes. He denies the efficacy of using electronic cigarettes as a means to quit smoking, despite scientific evidence which strongly suggests that not only can vaping help smokers quit smoking, but that it may well be the most effective way of doing so, thousands of anecdotes at places like The #IMPROOF Movement which show real-world success stories, and the market explosion of vaping in the form of vape shops opening in droves throughout the country over the last two or three years (if smokers weren’t switching to vaping, why on earth would the market indicate that people are spending a shit-load of money on vaping?). Scientific studies, thousands of people, and the market clearly making smoke vapor signals that show people WANT to vape rather than smoke isn’t sufficient for Tom Friedman, yet somehow his own “personal convictions” are enough to convince him that he’s right, and set him on a quest to do everything in his power to make sure the government will have the last say regardless of the scientific evidence available to us all.

And yet it’s Tom Friedman and his ilk that fly the banner of science.

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Witness the Murder of an Industry

How government kills a nascent industry and ensures that small, independent competitors have a massive barrier to entry in to the market:

The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

While the proposal being issued Thursday won’t immediately mean changes for the popular devices, the move is aimed at eventually taming the fast-growing e-cigarette industry.

God forbid we have an “untamed” industry that’s providing jobs by the thousands and a route for smokers to quit fucking smoking.

But don’t worry, small eLiquid and hardware makers, these regulations aren’t real regulation. These are just a rules designed to set up regulation.

The agency said the proposal sets a foundation for regulating the products but the rules don’t immediately ban the wide array of flavors of e-cigarettes, curb marketing on places like TV or set product standards.

And of course we have the pretense that science, and not the largest players in the electronic cigarette industry, will be what guides our fair saviours at the FDA in their decision making process.

Any further rules “will have to be grounded in our growing body of knowledge and understanding about the use of e-cigarettes and their potential health risks or public health benefits,” Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said.

You know, the same players who are cheering on the regulation and are clamoring for more.

The proposed rules were also viewed by industry insiders and analysts as benefiting the sector’s current leading companies who have already adopted restrictions on sales that anticipated the regulations, including a suggested ban on sales of the nicotine vapor devices to people under age 18.

And they also said rules won’t hamper Big Tobacco companies’ ability to expand market share in the e-cig category, which could help offset the threat that e-cigs represent to sales of traditional tobacco cigarettes.

You can bet that the government will completely ignore the science that shows e-cigarettes as virtually harmless to both users and bystanders (those who are involuntarily exposed to vapor):

By the standards of occupational hygiene, current data do not indicate that exposures to vapers from contaminants in electronic cigarettes warrant a concern. There are no known toxicological synergies among compounds in the aerosol, and mixture of the contaminants does not pose a risk to health.

[. . .]

In summary, analysis of the current state of knowledge about the chemistry of contaminants in liquids and aerosols associated with electronic cigarettes indicates that there is no evidence that vaping produces inhalable exposures to these contaminants at a level that would prompt measures to reduce exposure by the standards that are used to ensure safety of workplaces.

[. . .]

Even when compared to workplace standards for involuntary exposures, and using several conservative (erring on the side of caution) assumptions, the exposures from using e-cigarettes fall well below the threshold for concern for compounds with known toxicity. That is, even ignoring the benefits of e-cigarette use and the fact that the exposure is actively chosen, and even comparing to the levels that are considered unacceptable to people who are not benefiting from the exposure and do not want it, the exposures would not generate concern or call for remedial action.

In fact, the science has not only shown exposure to contaminants in vapor to not be an issue at all, but that virtually every concern about it has either been completely fabricated from thin air, or, at the very least, speculated without any data to support their claim, or data that is intentionally fabricated with bad science or misinterpreted:

• There is no serious concern about the contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (formaldehyde, acrolein, etc.) in the liquid or produced by heating. While these contaminants are present, they have been detected at problematic levels only in a few studies that apparently were based on unrealistic levels of heating.

• The frequently stated concern about contamination of the liquid by a nontrivial quantity of ethylene glycol or diethylene glycol remains based on a single sample of an early-technology product (and even this did not rise to the level of health concern) and has not been replicated.

• Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA) are present in trace quantities and pose no more (likely much less) threat to health than TSNAs from modern smokeless tobacco products, which cause no measurable risk for cancer.

• Contamination by metals is shown to be at similarly trivial levels that pose no health risk, and the alarmist claims about such contamination are based on unrealistic assumptions about the molecular form of these elements.

• The existing literature tends to overestimate the exposures and exaggerate their implications. This is partially due to rhetoric, but also results from technical features. The most important is confusion of the concentration in aerosol, which on its own tells us little about risk to heath, with the relevant and much smaller total exposure to compounds in the aerosol averaged across all air inhaled in the course of a day. There is also clear bias in previous reports in favor of isolated instances of highest level of chemical detected across multiple studies, such that average exposure that can be calculated are higher than true value because they are “missing” all true zeros.

Being in close contact with various small-time players in the thriving new eLiquid and hardware markets, I can assure you that the industry is NOT “thrilled” about this regulation, despite the claim by the media that it’s being cheered on by the entire industry and that there are no worries about how it might affect both small manufacturers and vendors.

Make no mistake: this proposal is about providing solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist and providing a toe in the door so that the government might pave the way to clear most of the smaller players out of the picture, handing the entire segment of a booming sector of the economy over to the largest players in the industry. There has never been a recorded death from e-cigarette use, and the industry, by and large, adopted the practice of refusing to sell electronic cigarette products to minors years ago. I’ve personally been witness to not only e-cigarette vendors denying sales to minors, but them actually refusing to allow them to even stay in their store. They don’t want to sell vaping products to kids. All they want is to help cigarette smokers get off of tobacco.

Yet the media, those self-proclaimed champions of freedom, is cheering the government on, providing copious amounts of propaganda in favor of regulation, making it seem as if the entire industry is in favor. Time Magazine:

E-cigarette makers have hailed the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed regulations for new tobacco products—including electronic cigarettes, pipe tobacco and hookah, among others—as fair and moderate and a sign of a business-friendly approach

“It’s a great day,” says Christian Berkey, CEO of Johnson Creek, a leading maker of electronic cigarette liquid based in Wisconsin.

Berkey was referring to the FDA’s issuance Thursday of proposed federal regulation of electronic cigarettes, a nascent industry that has grown to nearly $2 billion a year in U.S. sales. The move extended the FDA’s authority to regulate new tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and hookah, among others.

Of course the big guys want the lion’s share of that $2B, and the government is there to help them get it no matter how much it harms both current e-cigarette users and smaller vendors. The government is not out to help the general public, but to help themselves and those that pay for their services.

Fuck the FDA in the ass with a rusty chainsaw. All I want is to quit and stay off of cigarettes. I’d fucking appreciate if they allowed me to do that without creating barriers based on the very misguided idea that they are protecting me.

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Beyond Parody

Zero tolerance policies and the nomenclature used to enforce them belong in The Onion:

Ten-year-old Nathan Entingh doesn’t understand why he got suspended from school for three days.

According to his father, Paul Entingh, one moment the boy was “goofing off” with his friends in fifth-grade science class, and the next the teacher was taking him out of the classroom, invoking Ohio’s zero-tolerance policy.

The offense? Nathan was “making his fingers look like a gun, having the thumb up and the pointed finger sticking out,” said Entingh, describing the February 26 incident.

“He was pointing it at a friend’s head and he said ‘boom.’ The kid didn’t see it. No other kids saw it. But the teacher saw it,” he said. “It wasn’t threatening. It wasn’t hostile. It was a 10-year-old kid playing.”

The next morning Paul Entingh escorted his son Nathan to the principal’s office, where they met with Devonshire Alternative Elementary School Principal Patricia Price.

“She said if it happened again the suspension would be longer, if not permanent,” said Entingh, who also received a letter explaining the reason for Nathan’s suspension as a “level 2 look alike firearm.”

A “level 2 look alike firearm?” Really? Extending your finger out and your thumb up is a level 2 look alike firearm. Whoever came up with this insanity needs to go to the nearest closet and hang himself so as not to contaminate the rest of society with his very severe case of stupidity.

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95%

When 95% of your models are wrong, it’s time that you revise the theory that drives the models, and it’s time to stop warning about the end of the world with the information you get from the models. Dr. Roy Spencer:

I’m seeing a lot of wrangling over the recent (15+ year) pause in global average warming…when did it start, is it a full pause, shouldn’t we be taking the longer view, etc.

These are all interesting exercises, but they miss the most important point: the climate models that governments base policy decisions on have failed miserably.

I’ve updated our comparison of 90 climate models versus observations for global average surface temperatures through 2013, and we still see that >95% of the models have over-forecast the warming trend since 1979[.]

[. . .]

Whether humans are the cause of 100% of the observed warming or not, the conclusion is that global warming isn’t as bad as was predicted. That should have major policy implications…assuming policy is still informed by facts more than emotions and political aspirations.

And if humans are the cause of only, say, 50% of the warming (e.g. our published paper), then there is even less reason to force expensive and prosperity-destroying energy policies down our throats.

I am growing weary of the variety of emotional, misleading, and policy-useless statements like “most warming since the 1950s is human caused” or “97% of climate scientists agree humans are contributing to warming”, neither of which leads to the conclusion we need to substantially increase energy prices and freeze and starve more poor people to death for the greater good.

I too am weary of being told that the only way to save the earth is for my electricity bill to be substantially raised, and that poor people worldwide need to just buck up and stay poor.

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What Is It?

What is it with greenies and their being okay with killing birds? First mass deaths via wind turbines and now the scorching tower of death. Cassandra Sweet at The Wall Street Journal:

A giant solar-power project officially opening this week in the California desert is the first of its kind, and may be among the last, in part because of growing evidence that the technology it uses is killing birds.

[. . .]

BrightSource wants to build a second tower-based solar farm in California’s Riverside County, east of Palm Springs. But the state Energy Commission in December proposed that the company instead use more conventional technologies, such as solar panels or mirrored troughs.

One reason: the BrightSource system appears to be scorching birds that fly through the intense heat surrounding the towers, which can reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

And when the plant burns an endangered eagle to death, nothing will happen.

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I Agree

“The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.”

- Senator Barack Obama, March 31, 2008

Agreed. Too bad President Obama no longer agrees now that he’s the one concentrating power in the executive and doing everything he can to bypass Congress at every turn.

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Dear America

“Dear beautiful America, please, stop moving Forward.”

I now live in Northern California, in the heart of the Bay Area, thousands of miles away from my homeland.
And yet the poison of Soviet propaganda seeps through college dorms just as it did in Soviet classrooms.

Stop a random youth on the street and you’ll find out what he thinks about capitalism (bad!) and communism/socialism (good!). Their favorite news programs are the “Daily Show” and the “Colbert Report,” where comedians reinforce their brainwashing via short, catchy clips.

Walk through Berkeley and you will see wall graffiti of the same hammer and sickle that adorned the big red flags of the Soviet era.
This doesn’t extend to just youths. People of all ages, even acquaintances that I otherwise respect and admire, are like this. They support the “progressive” leader Barack Obama, worship the nanny state, and believe in equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity.

They badmouth capitalism and complain that only one percent of the American population has the “American dream.” They buy into the class warfare rhetoric hook, line, and sinker. They want artificially raised minimum wage, government handouts, and believe that Obamacare is the greatest thing since the invention of pockets.

I look at them and the red ties materialize, familiarly, around their necks.

There are “academic” speakers now who advocate that having too many choices is “bad for you.” Too stressful to choose, you see.
Living in the Soviet Union, being bombarded with similar nonsense, we had nothing to contradict it. When we walked outside the school, the everyday reality had no traces of the wealth afforded by capitalism. We lived in the grayness and that grayness was all there was.

Americans leave school to go home and they drop by a mall to buy something from an incredible selection of wealth and choice afforded by capitalism. They drop by a small corner store, which could probably feed a savvy Soviet village for a month (dog food is food, too, you know), and they pick up some “entertainment food” that did not exist in the USSR, in quantities that weren’t affordable for an average Soviet family.

Then they go home and write essays on their expensive iPads about how they don’t have the American Dream.

Please?

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Communism

Communism: shitty for people, shitty for the environment. Colin Grabow at The Federalist:

In addition to being an advocate for an ideology directly responsible for tens of millions of non-war deaths and untold human misery, Myerson has revealed himself as something of an ignoramus concerning communism’s shocking record on environmental issues. Not only a blight on the human condition, communism’s impact on the planet’s ecology has proven consistently ghastly.

When the Berlin Wall came down and the Iron Curtain was finally lifted to expose the inner workings of communism to Western eyes, one of the more shocking discoveries was the nightmarish scale of environmental destruction. The statistics for East Germany alone tell a horrific tale: at the time of its reunification with West Germany an estimated 42 percent of moving water and 24 percent of still waters were so polluted that they could not be used to process drinking water, almost half of the country’s lakes were considered dead or dying and unable to sustain fish or other forms of life, and only one-third of industrial sewage along with half of domestic sewage received treatment.

An estimated 44 percent of East German forests were damaged by acid rain — little surprise given that the country produced proportionally more sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and coal dust than any other in the world. In some areas of East Germany the level of air pollution was between eight and twelve times greater than that found in West Germany, and 40 percent of East Germany’s population lived in conditions that would have justified a smog warning across the border. Only one power station in East Germany had the necessary equipment to clean sulphur from emissions.

Sten Nilsson, a Swedish forest ecologist who was kicked out of East Germany in 1986 for his efforts at collecting data on the health of its forests, said in April 1990 that many forests were “dead, completely” and described the country as “on the verge of total ecological collapse.” The environmental policy of the communist government, according to then Environment Minister Karl-Hermann Steinberg in 1990, “was not only badly designed but didn’t exist.”

And the damage isn’t isolated to East Germany. Poland, Russia, and former Soviet Bloc Countries all over Europe and Asia had an environmental record that was ghastly. Air, drinking water, forests, and animals were decimated under communism. The state could scarcely afford to feed the population, much less act as responsible stewards of the land. The only way to ensure that there is a strong enough impetus for land and animal conservation is via stringently enforcing private property rights which create a system of incentives such that caring for the land is necessary.

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Hypocrites

Fucking hypocrites all.

Canning highlights the willingness with which many on either side change principles based on their preferred outcome. The whole practice of gaveling the Senate to order to prevent recess appointments was a Democratic innovation used expressly to screw over George W. Bush. Back then, Senate Republicans trotted out what came to be known as the “nuclear option,” or the waiving of Senate filibuster rules so presidential appointments could quickly proceed to a simple up-or-down, majority vote. The Democratic leader of the Senate, Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said this was worse than an abomination, of course. Right up until the moment last year when he did precisely that. And of course, Republicans who were for the waiving of Senate protocol when it helped their side were predictably disgusted by the Caesarism of Sen. Reid in 2013.

Burn it down.

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That Eeeeeeeeeeevul Walmart

How dare Walmart offer more comprehensive insurance plans at a lower price than Obamacare! Richard Pollock at the Washington Examiner:

New Obamacare health insurance enrollees may feel a pang of envy when they eye the coverage plans offered by Walmart to its employees.

For many years, the giant discount retailer has been the target of unions and liberal activists who have harshly criticized the company’s health care plans, calling them “notorious for failing to provide health benefits” and “substandard.”

But a Washington Examiner comparison of the two health insurance programs found that Walmart’s plan is more affordable and provides significantly better access to high-quality medical care than Obamacare.

Independent insurance agents affiliated with the National Association of Health Underwriters and health policy experts compared the two at the request of the Examiner.

It’s unpossible that one of those heartless corporations, the worst of all some might say, offers better insurance for cheaper than El Jefe does through Obamacare. How much cheaper?

For a monthly premium as low as roughly $40, an individual who is a Walmart HRA plan enrollee can obtain full-service coverage through a Blue Cross Blue Shield preferred provider organization. A family can get coverage for about $160 per month.

Unlike Obamacare, there are no income eligibility requirements. Age and gender do not alter premium rates. The company plan is the same for all of Walmart’s 1.1 million enrolled employees and their dependents, from its cashiers to its CEO.

A Journal of the American Medical Association analysis from September showed that unsubsidized Obamacare enrollees will face monthly premiums that are five to nine times higher than Walmart premiums.

JAMA found the unsubsidized premium for a nonsmoking couple age 60 can cost $1,365 per month versus the Walmart cost of about $134 for the same couple.

The medical journal reported a 30-year-old smoker would pay up to $428 per month, in contrast to roughly $70 each month for a Walmart employee.

A family of four could pay a $962 premium, but the same Walmart family member would pay about $160.

But those must be one of those substandard plans that offer bare bones coverage. What says the analysis?

Low premiums are not the only distinguishing feature of the Walmart plan. The retailer’s employees can use eight of the country’s most prestigious medical facilities, including the Mayo Clinic, Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic.

At these institutions, which Walmart calls “Centers of Excellence,” Walmart employees and their dependents can get free heart or spinal surgery. They can also get free knee and hip replacements at four hospitals nationwide.

Many top-rated Walmart hospitals — such as the Mayo and Cleveland clinics — are left out of most Obamacare exchange plans.

Well, okay, so Walmart employees can get care from some of the most prestigious medical institutions on the planet, many of them for free. That’s probably just a fringe benefit that Walmart’s evil corporate masters have worked out with those high end institutions funded by the rich. What about everyday care at local hospitals and local doctors?

But the real difference between Obamacare and Walmart can be seen in the levels of day-to-day access to doctors and hospitals.

Robert Slayton, a practicing Chicago independent insurance agent for 11 years and the former president of the Illinois State Association of Health Underwriters, described to the Examiner the differences between Walmart and Obamacare provider networks.

Slayton said the BlueChoice exchange network for President Obama’s hometown has very limited hospital participation. “In downtown Chicago, the key is the number of hospitals: 28,” he said.

“Now we’re going to the national network — this is what the Walmart network would most likely be — and you have 54 hospitals. That’s a big difference,” he said.

[. . .]

Slayton said the gap between doctor availability in Chicago under the Obamacare and Walmart plans is dramatic.

“You will notice there are 9,837 doctors [under Obamacare]. But the larger network is 24,904 doctors. Huge, huge difference,” he said.

Academic hospitals have also largely opted out of accepting Obamacare plans, taking the doctors that practice at some of these hospitals with them.

In Arkansas, Walmart’s home state, the difference between Obamacare plans and the Walmart plan is even more dramatic. Premiums for Walmart employees are much lower than Obamacare plans, and so are the deductibles. Even a reasonably young person who is fully subsidized under an Obamacare plan would have to pay a substantially higher deductible (which would amount to more than the premium and the deductible paid under the Walmart plan) in the event he actually needed to use his insurance.

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Student Loans: A Bad Deal

More evidence of the obvious: that pumping in billions of free and cheap money in to higher education is directly responsible for both the massive collective student debt of over $1T, as well as for the constant rise in tuition rates that are far above inflation.

As combined student loan debts balloon to over $1 trillion, one economist believes enough is enough — the “tremendously explosive” student loan programs offered by the federal government need to go.

Ohio University economist and chair of Center for College Affordability and Productive Richard Vedder recommends that President Barack Obama and Congress work together to dismantle or greatly shrink the student loan programs that let young Americans rack up debt.

“I would go so far as to say that I think the federal government is more the problem rather than the solution,” Vedder told the Carolina Journal Radio during a Friday interview. “A lot of our problems… come from these tremendously explosive student loan programs and grant programs that the federal government provides.”

Giving 18-year-olds fresh from high school with no financial skills free reign to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars may not be the best course forward, Vedder said. Colleges flush with easy money spend it on administrative pay and luxury fitness centers, increasing tuition all the while.

“The government is providing fuel for an academics arms race that is going on all over the country by allowing kids to borrow huge amounts of money at very, very low interest rates, and many of these students are really not knowledgeable about finance and so forth,” he continued. “They go out; they borrow a lot of money. The colleges raise their fees more than they otherwise would. This provides extra income for the colleges, which goes for a ton of different things — luxury facilities, more administrators, higher pay for people, and the like — and makes college less affordable.”

This is economics 101, and yet it’s ignored completely. Rather than question the economic viability of getting an English degree or an Art History degree, politicians and the economically ignorant (who tend to be those who have gotten said degrees) blame the rich and a lack of funding. The problem with universities is not that they have a lack of funding, but that they have been funded lavishly over the last 4 decades via exploding tuition enabled by ever growing influxes of free federal cash.

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Settled?

The science is settled? Apparently not as a group of German scientists have found that virtually all of the temperature change associated with “climate change” is caused by natural variations called the de Vries cycle, and that the globe is now on a cooling trend that will last until about 2100:

“Due to the de Vries cycle, the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the ‘little ice age’ of 1870,” write German scientists Horst-Joachim Luedecke and Carl-Otto Weiss of the European Institute for Climate and Energy.

Researchers used historical temperature data and data from cave stalagmites to show a 200-year solar cycle, called the de Vries cycle.

They also factored into their work a well-established 65-year Atlantic and Pacific Ocean oscillation cycle. Global warming that has occurred since 1870 can be attributed almost entirely to both these factors, the scientists argue.

According to the scientists, the oft-cited “stagnation” in rising global temperatures over the last 15 years is due to the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean oscillation cycle, which lasts about 65 years. Ocean oscillation is past its “maximum,” leading to small decreases in global temperature.

The de Vries solar cycle is currently at its “maximum,” explaining why temperatures have risen since 1870, but leveled off after 1998. However, this means that as solar activity starts to decrease, global temperatures will follow.

“Through [the de Vries solar cycle's] influence the temperature will decrease until 2100 to a value like the one of the last ‘Little Ice Age’ 1870,” the scientists wrote.

I wonder how long until the warmists start attacking these scientists as deniers, demanding that they pay their due penance to The Concensus™.

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Nonsense

Fucking nonsense:

They started by shaking hands. We said “Salaam aleikum” — peace be upon you — then the first pebbles flew past my face. A small boy tried to grab my bag. Then another. Then someone punched me in the back. Then young men broke my glasses, began smashing stones into my face and head. I couldn’t see for the blood pouring down my forehead and swamping my eyes. And even then, I understood. I couldn’t blame them for what they were doing. In fact, if I were the Afghan refugees of Kila Abdullah, close to the Afghan-Pakistan border, I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.

I’m no fan of the war in Afghanistan, or any other war for that matter. But isn’t this exactly the kind bullshit that leads to some Americans justifying these horrible wars? Muslims did attack us, after all. If Afghans are blameless for wanting to hurt “any Westerner [they] could find” because western forces have killed Afghans, does that not justify westerners wanting to hurt any Muslim they find because Muslims have killed westerners? (Some) Muslims have declared war on the west. I would assume that Mr. Fisk has not personally dropped any of the bombs on the Afghan people; why should he take the punishment for it?

The answer is that he shouldn’t. He shouldn’t any more than western forces ought kill Afghans indiscriminately who had nothing to do with killing Americans. It’s this kind of thinking that represents collectivism at its worst.

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Everything You Need to Know

Right here is everything you need to know about the government and science. Trib.com:

Grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem have a varied diet and are minimally affected by the decline in the number of whitebark pine trees, federal research found.

The findings were presented Thursday in Bozeman at a meeting of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. The subcommittee voted 10-4 to accept the research findings. It also gave preliminary approval to a motion that recommends the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service remove federal protections for the bears, currently listed as “threatened.”

Remember that science the government claimed was either too awesome to ignore, or too weak to accept? It likely wasn’t scientists who made that decision, but a committee of bureaucrats and politicians who voted based on political expediency.

Since when the fuck are scientific findings deemed valid or not by government suits? None of it should be trusted.

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A Pile of Lies

Compounding lies on top of other lies is rarely a good idea, yet it seems to be the strategy that Hopey McChangey is bent on taking. Peter Wehner at Commentary Magazine:

It was, I think, the most brazenly mendacious claim an American president has told since Bill Clinton’s finger-wagging insistence that “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

I have in mind Barack Obama’s statement, made earlier this week, in which he said this: “Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.” (Emphasis added.)

That is not, in fact, what the president said. Not by a country mile.

What Mr. Obama actually said, dozens of times, is a variation of what he said during a speech to the American Medical Association on June 15, 2009: “That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

But Mr. Obama is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill fabulist. It appears as if he’s in the process of becoming an inveterate one. He was, after all, building one untruth upon another. I say that because by now it’s obvious to nearly everyone, including liberals, that the president and his aides knew that when he made his initial claim that under the Affordable Care Act you will be able to keep your health-care plan “no matter what”–that you would keep it “period”–he knew the assertion was false. Yet he repeated it over and over again.

He’s a liar, plain and simple. And a liar can’t help but pile even more lies when they’ve been caught in lies. It’s their way.

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Our Heroes in Blue

Hail to our heroes in blue:

The Missouri State Fire Marshal continues its investigation into an early morning Thursday fire that took the life of a 3-year-old Louisiana, Mo. boy.

The fire killed Riley Miller who was pronounced dead at Pike County Memorial Hospital.

The original 911 call came in at 12:58 a.m. at 405 S. Main St. Firefighters arrived at the scene at 1:03 a.m.

A city police officer stunned Riley’s stepfather Ryan Miller with a Taser gun three times as he tried to enter the burning house.

[. . .]

The house was destroyed.

Lori Miller, Riley’s grandmother, said police stunned Ryan Miller as he tried to get back in the house.

“He tried to get back in the house to get the baby,” Lori Miller said. “They took my son to jail because he tried to save his son.”

Ryan Miller’s sister-in-law doesn’t think the police handled the situation correctly.

“It’s just heartless. How could they be so heartless? And while they all just stood around and waited for the fire department, what kind of police officer wouldn’t try and save a three year old burning in a house?” said Emily Miller. “We’ve been going through pictures and he’s just smiling in every picture. He was just a happy, go-lucky kid.”

[. . .]

Ryan Miller tried to enter the home to get his stepson. Police restrained him and the officer stunned him with a Taser, according to Jenne.

State Fire Marshal Investigator Scott Stoneberger said that a firefighter in full gear attempted to enter the home but the flames were too hot. Firefighters discovered Riley near the doorway to the bedroom from the front living room.

A cop used a taser on a man trying to enter his burning home on order to save his toddler son. Were it me, I would kill that cop. No questions asked. Who the fuck does he think he is to physically restrain a man from trying to save his son? And in rare circumstances such as this I fucking hope that hell is real so that this cop can fucking burn.

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Nothing

Nothing says success like having to exert pressure to keep from having the warts of your signature policy exposed to the public. Katie McHugh at the Daily Caller:

The White House is pressuring insurance companies not to speak publicly about Obama administration policies that could eliminate the existing health insurance plans of millions of Americans.

The administration made “clarifications” to the 2010 Affordable Care Act after it was passed that have already wiped out hundreds of thousands of existing health plans.

“Basically, if you speak out, if you’re quoted, you’re going to get a call from the White House, pressure to be quiet,” said CNN investigative reporter Drew Griffin on Anderson Cooper 360 Wednesday night. Insurance companies executives, Griffin said, ask heads of consulting firms not to criticize the Obamacare rollout debacle publicly.

“They feel defenseless before the White House P.R. team,” Griffin said. “The sources said they fear White House retribution.”

Prior to the Obamacare rollout, insurance companies issued warnings to the White House about the possibility of mass cancellations, which the administration ignored.

Although the mass cancelations are an embarrassment to insurance companies, they are more concerned about losing their biggest customer — the federal government.

That’s a nice insurance plan you have there; it’d be a shame if something were to happen to it.

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Pants on Fire

Liar liar, pants on fire:

CBS News has learned more than two million Americans have been told they cannot renew their current insurance policies — more than triple the number of people said to be buying insurance under the new Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

There have been estimates about hundreds of thousands of people losing coverage, CBS News’ Jan Crawford reported on “CBS This Morning.” CBS News has reached out to insurance companies across the country to determine some of the real numbers — and this is just the tip of the iceberg, Crawford said. The people who are opening the letters are shocked to learn they can’t keep their insurance policies despite President Obama’s assurances to the contrary.

The White House is on the defensive trying to explain it, after Mr. Obama repeatedly said, “If you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “What the president said and what everybody said all along is that there are going to be changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act to create minimum standards of coverage.”

It’s an unexpected reality of Obamacare being told through anecdotes in local papers and on social media. But the hard numbers reveal the evidence is far more than anecdotal. CBS News has confirmed with insurance companies across the country that more than two million people are getting notices they no longer can keep their existing plans. In California, there are 279,000; in Michigan, 140,000; Florida, 300,000; and in New Jersey, 800,000. And those numbers are certain to go even higher. Some companies who tell CBS News they’ve sent letters won’t say how many.

Industry experts like Larry Levitt, of the Kaiser Family Foundation, say the insurance companies have no choice. “What we’re seeing now is reality coming into play,” he said. (Emphasis added)

So much for “if you like it, you can keep it.”

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Nuke It

Nuke it from orbit; it’s the only way to be sure.

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