Hill’s New Book

Hillary Clinton’s new book, entitled What Difference Does It Make? (or something like that), is about her accomplishments as Secretary of State. I would think that a tweet would sufficient to cover the subject.

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Community Organizing versus Machtpolitik

Obama’s vision of the 21st century is certainly a better model for the intercourse of nations than that old 19th century Putin vision. Twenty-first century visions can be wonderful things. They can get you the Nobel Peace Prize without actually doing anything, but they sometimes have their limits. Inexplicably, bullies don’t seem to be constrained by ideal models of behavior. Or, for that matter, impressed by accolades from Oslo…

Bismarck, who knew a thing or two about the Russians, stated that, “A conquering army on the border will not be stopped by eloquence.” I don’t remember the context–he might have been talking about his own army and French, Danish or Hapsburg eloquence–but the point remains valid.

Eloquent words, good intentions, and symbolic gestures won’t be enough. Roger Cohen wrote in the New York Times that the combinations of sanctions against Russia, economic support for Ukraine and the dispatch of military forces eastward may deter Putin’s further adventures.  Or they may not. Sanctions need to bite, economic support needs to be robust, and military forces can’t be dispatched with the caveat that they won’t be used.

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History is a letter of instruction from the past…

On March 11, 1938, the Austrian Nazi Party engineered a coup in Vienna. One day later (76 years ago this week), German troops rolled into Austria. Adolf Hitler declared its annexation, and the Anschluss was ratified by an Austrian plebiscite. Nazi officials claimed the percentage of the vote in favor of Anschluss was 99.7%.

Vladimir Putin is a more cautious man than Adolf Hitler. He knows from vast experience in rigging elections that results of 99.7 percent look…well…rigged. Therefore, the Crimean counterpart to the Anschluss plebiscite came in at a respectable 97 percent.

I’m surprised at the number of writers who say that Putin is no Hitler. Had Adolf Hitler died on March 13, 1938, he would have gone down in history as one of the greatest figures in German history. In other words, at the time he engineered the coup in Vienna, Adolf Hitler was no Hitler.



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Not jobs, national security, nor health care…

What’s the national priority du jour? Global warming. Sigh.

The majority of 20th century warming (0.7C) took place before 1940, i.e., before the post-war growth in human CO2 emissions. The 19th century was still in the depths of the Little Ice Age, and over the last 100 years the global climate rebounded from the LIA to the levels of warmth enjoyed during the preceding medieval warm period.

Virtually all scientists accept that the world has warmed since 1860. Most on both sides of the warmist/skeptic divide believe that humans have had some effect. The difference in position is to what degree is human and what degree is naturally caused; whether the warming will continue if additional CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere; and whether additional warming will be catastrophic. On human vs natural, there is no consensus, but the pendulum seems to be is swinging away from the notion that humans are solely responsible for the warming. Some believe that a hyperactive sun during the 20th century may in fact have been the culprit, (I think that the 1976 shift in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation to the warm phase is the main culprit of the late 20th century warming) and given the projected quiet sun for the next two solar cycles, we will be able to test that hypothesis empirically.

As for the continuation of warming, we are in a 18 year pause in warming (See here:http://www.woodfortrees.org/…/plot/rss/from:1996.5/trend — RSS is satellite derived temperature data) Climate scientists know that the reflective properties of CO2 diminish logarithmically, meaning that if humanity continues pumping out CO2, it will add little warming to the atmosphere. Both sides understand this scientific fact, it’s just that one side predicts that CO2 warming will “force” warming from other greenhouse gases such as water vapor. The forcings concept is highly debated but it seems to be called into question by the pause since 1996.

The final part is predictions of catastrophe, which IMO are risible. They are based on computer models that have been empirically proven incorrect. See here:http://www.drroyspencer.com/…/CMIP5-90-models-global…. The computer models have been not only invalidated by the current 18 year climate pause, but have proven incapable of what’s called hindcasting — recreating past climate shifts. It appears that climate is too complex to model so far.

Furthermore, the endless catastrophes have failed to materialize. More tornadoes? False. More hurricanes? False. Stronger hurricanes? False…in fact, global cyclonic activity is at all time low levels. Less snow? False. Ice-free arctic? False. Ice-free antarctic? False. In fact, polar ice is about normal for the period of satellite measurement. Polar bears heading to extinction? False. The global population is the highest in my lifetime. Coral reefs dying/disappearing? I don’t know, but it looks like the Australians are beginning to question those claims as well. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/…/story-fni0ffxg-1226849583753

So, why is this the new priority? Maybe because the administration knows that global warming legislation doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Hell in either the House or the Senate but Obama can pander resolutely to the left through executive orders.

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Diplomatic discomfort…

I suspect that Russia is more inclined than the West (we’re back to that term) to play the long game, so any sanctions regime that the West can put into place is likely to be short-lived. I imagine that the Russians are seeing this as a couple years of diplomatic discomfort in exchange for either outright or de facto Russian ownership of the Crimea — as well as likely suzerainty over Ukraine. Those in the administration that see this as some kind of strategic defeat for Russia or a Pyrrhic victory for Putin are whistling past the graveyard.

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Ukraine: Laugh unto Death

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Thomas Friedman has figured out the key steps to halt Vladimir Putin in his tracks. His brilliance is on display in today’s NYT.

Friedman’s recipe calls for increasing oil and natural gas exports to Europe. So far, so good. Europe gets 30 percent of its natural gas from Russia, and the Russian economy is dependent on oil and gas exports.

Friedman then demands that we raise our gasoline tax and institute a carbon tax in order to drive down global oil prices. Just announcing these steps, according to Friedman, would frighten Putin.

Does anyone other than a New York millionaire liberal elite snob believe that raising prices on American consumers (and the resulting decrease in American GDP) is likely to frighten Putin?

The only way that I can see Friedman’s plan working is if Putin dies from laughter.


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Who would win in a cage match?

Put Obama and Putin alone together in a Thunderdome cage, and there’s the chance that the Obama supporters are finally right: Obama’s the smartest man in the room.

Guess what? Putin doesn’t care…because he’s the toughest man in the cage. And if the smartest man in the room theory is wrong (again), Putin still doesn’t care.

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