Monday, September 30, 2013

Obama & The Anti-Science Of EPA's War On Coal

. . . The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions. Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions. If scientific and technological information is developed and used by the Federal Government, it should ordinarily be made available to the public. To the extent permitted by law, there should be transparency in the preparation, identification, and use of scientific and technological information in policymaking. . . .

President Barack Obama, Memorandum, Subject: Scientific Integrity, 9 March 2009

Ah, remember those idealistic days of 2009, when our Moralizer In Chief Barack Obama promised to "restore" scientific integrity to our government. Well, those days are long gone.

Obama is using the EPA to conduct a war on coal, promoting new guidelines under the Clean Air Act that will stop the creation of any new coal fired power plants and force the shut down of many existing plants as they reach a point of needing to upgrade. Since coal is the primary source for our nation's electricity needs, this will end up costing our nation dearly - with the poor and middle class being the hardest hit.

The justification for these new guidelines is that they will save lives. The EPA is basing this assertion on two longitudinal, observational scientific studies, the Harvard Six Cities Study (HSCS) and the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS II):

Both studies showed that exposure to fine particle air pollution (that is, particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns, or PM2.5) was linked with increased mortality. Their results provide the basis for most EPA regulations targeting air quality because, the EPA claims, such regulations will save a large numbers of lives.

There are some real questions about the reliability of the conclusions reached by the researchers. For Instance:

The association of PM2.5 with mortality shows geographic heterogeneity – no such association is seen in the western US, where the climate is dry and PM2.5 make-up differs from that in the eastern US.

Second, the results of the studies have been presented in a way that focuses narrowly on PM2.5 and precludes putting the association in perspective relative to other predictors of mortality, including cigarette smoking, income, and other factors.

Third, reports from these two studies tend to cite only supporting studies and to ignore studies that have not found an association of PM2.5 with mortality."

But here is the kicker. Those two studies are . . . wait for it . . . secret.

What what what?

Yes, the EPA is claiming that the data, meta-data, computations - in short, everything about the "scientific studies" that would allow the studies to be subject to vetting and reproduction (i.e., the scientific method) - are secret and cannot be released.

This is the polar opposite of scientific integrity.

And, believe it or not, it gets worse, the same people who "carried out the studies used by the EPA as the basis for regulation and are also involved in the implementation of EPA policy."

The ostensible reason given for not releasing the information regarding these studies is the claim that to do so would violate third party confidentiality rules:

[I]f third parties are given access to the data, the identity of study participants could become public, in violation of the researchers’ guarantee of confidentiality. The lead researcher on the CPS II study has made this argument. Supporters of the subpoena argue that the dataset could be stripped of personal identifiers.

In fact, the issue of confidentiality appears to be a dodge since large datasets of this type are routinely stripped of personal identifiers to protect subject confidentiality and enable use by researchers.

The EPA should be shut down over this. Republicans have been trying to have the EPA provide this data for over two years. The EPA has steadfastly refused. Republicans have now filed a subpoena to which Democrats have objected - their grounds:

The ranking Democratic member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D – TX) characterized Chairman Smith’s action as an attempt to make the data available to “industry hacks” in order to discredit the research and weaken clean air regulation.

The scientific method - the ability to pour over another's experiment line by line and either prove it or disprove it - is the sina que non of scientific integrity. Rep. Johnson either doesn't seem to know that or otherwise puts it in a back seat to politics. This, from Obama's EPA, is just politicized science at its very worst.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Of Global Cooling, Computer Models & Polar Bears

The only news sources not to parrot the IPCC line when it comes to "man made global warming" are Fox and the Daily Mail. But it is the Daily Mail that is by far the most aggressive in challenging the IPCC with facts. My hat is off to them for it.

In response to the release of the AR5 Summary For Policy Makers (SPM) by the IPCC (see post below), the Daily Mail on Sunday has published two articles on point. The first is on the lack of global warming for the past 17 plus years and what that means for all of the IPCC computer models used to predict global warming. The second article deals with the "endangered" polar bears which, at least until recently, were the poster children of the green's emotional campaign against illusory (but, mind you, 'catastrophic') global warming.

In the IPCC's SPM, they attempt to brush off the fact that there has been no warming for over 17 years, and they shamelessly lie about it when it comes to the implications for their computer models. All of the computer models posit that temperatures will steadily increase in proportion to man pumping ever more CO2 into the atmosphere. Those models have all failed. This from the Daily Mail:

The global warming ‘pause’ has now lasted for almost 17 years and shows no sign of ending – despite the unexplained failure of climate scientists’ computer models to predict it.

The Mail on Sunday has also learnt that because 2013 has been relatively cool, it is very likely that by the end of this year, world average temperatures will have crashed below the ‘90 per cent probability’ range projected by the models.

These also provide the main basis for the sweeping forecasts of a perilous, hotter world in a new report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The graph above covers the period June 1997 to July 2013. It was drawn using the official Met Office ‘HadCRUT4’ monthly data for world average temperatures, and shows the lack of a warming trend. . . .

A footnote in the new report also confirms there has been no statistically significant increase since 1997.

Last night independent climate scientist Nic Lewis – an accredited IPCC reviewer and co-author of peer-reviewed papers – pointed out that taking start years of 2001, 2002 or 2003 would suggest a cooling trend of 0.02-0.05C per decade, though this would not be statistically significant.

At a press conference to launch the report in Stockholm, the IPCC refused to say how long the pause would have to go on before casting doubt on the models, suggesting trends were only meaningful if they lasted 30 years. But some of the report’s authors are less confident.

Piers Forster, Leeds University’s Professor of Physical Climate Change, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘If it does get beyond 20 years, that would get very interesting.'We would have to revisit the models. As it goes on, it would get more and more peculiar.’

He added: ‘We are right on the edge of the probability distribution now. We have to accept that if we are going to come up with projections, they have to be correct.’

Even this marks a big change from earlier statements by eminent climate scientists. In 2009, Professor Phil Jones, head of the East Anglia University Climatic Research Unit, said in a leaked ‘Climategate’ email: ‘Bottom line: the no upward trend has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.’

However, not only does the report deny the importance of the pause, it makes a firm, short-term forecast that it is about to end – claiming that the period 2016-2035 will, on average, be 0.3-0.7C hotter than 1986-2005. . . .

Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, said that since 1980, climate models had on average overstated the extent of warming by between 79 and 159 per cent. . . .

‘This does not mean that there is not some global warming, but it likely means that temperature rises will be lower than originally expected. That fact makes alarmist scenarios ever more implausible.’

He added: ‘The EU will pay $250 billion [£166 billion] for its current climate policies each and every year until the end of the century. For almost $20 trillion, temperatures will be reduced by a negligible 0.05C.’

In Stockholm, IPCC leaders described the models as ‘more and more remarkable’, insisting that the pause has no significance. . . .

It said no conclusion should be drawn from the lack of warming since 1998 because this was one of the hottest years on record, while the models were ‘not expected to reproduce the timing of internal variability’. Yet the pause has lasted since January 1997, not 1998, and 1997 was not a hot year.

This is all getting more surreal by the day. One has to love how the left claims the models are getting ever more accurate as the data shows them utterly failing. It truly is Soviet-esque. Now, as to the polar bears - whom the greens were able to have listed in 2008 as an endangered species wholly on the basis of computer models that posited that polar bear habitat would fall to global warming - . . .

. . . they are seeming rather fat and happy of late. This from the Daily Mail:

A bitter wind blows off the Arctic Ocean but the mother polar bear and her two cubs standing just 50ft in front of me are in their element.

For more than an hour I watch from a boat just offshore, transfixed and oblivious to the below-freezing temperatures, as the four-month-old twins gambol across the snow.

For years polar bears have been the poster boys of global warming – routinely reported to be threatened with extinction due to melting ice-packs and rising sea temperatures.

Indeed, when they were put on the US Endangered Species list in 2008, they were the first to be registered solely because of the perceived threat of global warming.

One prominent scientist said their numbers would be reduced by 70 per cent by 2050 while global warming proponents – including Al Gore and Sir David Attenborough – used emotive imagery to highlight their ‘demise’.

Yet there is one small problem: many polar bear populations worldwide are now stable, if not increasing. . . .

Last week I travelled to Kaktovik, Alaska – an Inupiat village of 239 hardy souls on Barter Island at the edge of the Arctic – which has become an unlikely boom town thanks to an influx of polar bears.

Village administrator Tori Sims, 26, beamed as she told me: ‘This has been a great year for the bears.

'They are fat, happy and healthy. We’re seeing a boom in tourism which brings much-needed revenue to the village and helps us continue to live the traditional life we cherish.

‘I’ve lived here all my life and there are more bears every year. I read stories about polar bears being on the brink of extinction because of global warming, look out of my window and start to laugh.’ . . .

Laugh? At the IPCC and ManBearPig? How atrocious. The last thing the left wants is for people to start confusing the issue of global warming with facts.

The damage being done to mankind by the global warming scam is the true catastrophe. There needs to be a reckoning for these people. They cannot be allowed to simply slip away into the night as this scam is finally exposed.

Should you think me a bit too vindictive, consider this:

Tar and feathering simply would not be enough. I suggest stripping them of their wealth and positions, then sending them en masse to Siberia where they can enjoy all the global warming they want.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Gloom & Doom With A Distinct Odor Of BS - The IPCC Releases AR5 Summary For Policy Makers

[AR5 Summary For Policy Makers] in a nutshell: Since we started in 1990 we were right about the Arctic, wrong about the Antarctic, wrong about the tropical troposphere, wrong about the surface, wrong about hurricanes, wrong about the Himalayas, wrong about sensitivity, clueless on clouds and useless on regional trends. And on that basis we’re 95% confident we’re right.

Comment from Ross McItrick to post at Watts Up With That, Reactions To IPCC AR5 Summary For Policy Makers, 27 Sep. 2013

The Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change today released their SPM [Summary For Policy Markers] to their about to be released AR5 report on climate change. It is a painfully tortured attempt to keep the meme of catastrophic man made global warming alive - and the money flowing in.

The IPCC faced multiple problems with this report. Their mission is to shill for man made global warming (really - their mission statement is not to analyze climate change, but "human induced" climate change). Yet the earth hasn't warmed for the past 17 plus years despite steadily increasing human contributions to CO2 levels; every one of the climate models used by the IPCC have failed with observed temperatures now falling at or below their minimum projections, Antarctica is adding ice, not losing it; and hurricanes are down.

So how does the IPCC address these problems - a lot of tap dancing and a lot of studied ignorance, all laid over top truckloads of bull excreta. The single most glaring example - the claim of 95% confidence that global warming is occurring and that man is the cause juxtaposed with this nugget in footnote 16 of the SPM:

No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity [to increases in CO2] can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.

In other words, as to the central thesis of climate change alarmism, the IPCC can no longer agree on whether more CO2 will increase temperature by a nominal amount, a measurable amount, or a catastrophic amount. In other words, there is nothing approaching a consensus to their 95% confidence level.

It is only downhill from there.

The IPCC explains away the 17 year hiatus in warming with a wave of its hand, saying its either volcanoes and a weak sun (yet the models do not account for either) or that the missing heat from all the new CO2 over the past fifteen years has gone into the deep ocean. Why the deep? Because the upper and mid level portions of the ocean, for which we have good data measurements via ARGO, show no appreciable warming. How heat is transferred from the surface to the deep ocean without heating the upper and middle layers of the ocean - that is a mystery. And what little data we have on deep ocean temperatures shows only 1/100th of 1 degree of heating over the past 44 years. This hypothesis - which is the last best hope of the warmies - is more than a bit weak. Yet they do not blink in raising it. Shameless.

The IPCC continues to talk about the rise of the oceans, and how this is caused by melting ice. But the truth is that is done using corrupt data. Joe D'Aleo explains here, that instead of relying on the single best measurement source - satellites - the IPCC cherry picks from tidal gauges at places where the land is subsiding. These people really should be indicted for fraud.

As Richard North states of the AR5, it is not science, "it is a political statement by a politically motivated body, made for political reasons. And if you need to know the basis of the politics, start with Rio in 1992 and Agenda 21."

And on a related note, the next time you here Obama justify destroying our energy sector in response to global warming based on a claim that the period 2002 to 2012 was the hottest on record, note two things. One, the "record" they refer to - of recorded observation - only extends back 130 years, with only the the last 50+ years being global. Two, that record has been corrupted. The claim that this most recent period is the warmest is based on tenths of degrees. And yet, the warmies in charge of our temperature records have systematically altered the raw data to make the older temperature records appear colder. For but one example, this from an essay by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University:

The warm peaks from the 1930s and 40s had been adjusted downward by 3 to 4°F and these adjustments created dubious local warming trends as seen in examples from other USHCN stations at Reading, Massachusetts and Socorro, New Mexico.

What Dr. Steele has stumbled upon is the trick Jim Hansen played on us in 2007, "homogenizing" the raw data in a way that significantly cooled the temperatures from the 1930's and 40's. Without that adjustment, the hottest decade on "record" would be the 1930's. There needs to be a reckoning for these people. The harm they are causing our nation to pay for this scam, the harm they are causing our children by inculcating in them an unquestioning belief in this junk science, it must all be paid for in the end. Bastards.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Crazy Nancy Strikes Again

Nancy Pelosi has what can only be described as a tenuous relationship with reality:

All of her talk here shows it, but the nadir starts at 3:03 into her interview. Republicans hate Obama because he is "brilliant," "respectful" of other views, "strategic," "eloquent" and . . . "non-partisan." Each of those is pretty ridiculous, but "non-partisan?" No sane person would ever even make that claim.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Samantha Power, Obama & New Adventures In Cluelessness

This . . .

. . . is Samantha Power, an Irish-born former Harvard professor, one of Obama's long time foreign policy advisors and now our nation's ambassador to the UN.

This woman thinks that, well, . . . this:

President Obama's team thought the regime might abandon dictator Bashar Assad over his use of chemical weapons in Syria's civil war.

Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, hoped that a team of UN investigators — many of whom, presumably, have a longstanding relationship with Iranian leaders -- could write a report that would convince Iran to abandon its ally at the behest of the United States.

"We worked with the UN to create a group of inspectors and then worked for more than six months to get them access to the country on the logic that perhaps the presence of an investigative team in the country might deter future attacks," Power said at the Center for American Progress as she made the case for intervening in Syria.

"Or, if not, at a minimum, we thought perhaps a shared evidentiary base could convince Russia or Iran — itself a victim of Saddam Hussein's monstrous chemical weapons attacks in 1987-1988 — to cast loose a regime that was gassing it's people," she said. . . .

Now, the mad mullahs are the single greatest threat to the West in the world today. The mad mullahs have their hands covered in blood. They are in the midst of developing nuclear weapons - things that dwarf chemical weapons. They are the world's single greatest sponsor of terrorism. They are an authoritarian theocracy that cannot be trusted to act rationally. They have been at war with the U.S. since 1979. Syria is their only Arab ally - and an absolutely critical one, as Syria links Iran to Lebanon and the West Bank.

So how clueless, how out of touch with reality must Samantha Power be, if she can think for even a nanosecond that we can deal with the mad mullahs. If this is the nature of her advice to Obama, we are in deep, deep trouble. This is a degree naivete the world hasn't seen since Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned from his 1938 meeting with Hitler to announce that he had secured "peace in our time." This is scary.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Left & Right Agree - Obama's Economic Policy Has Been "An Astonishing, Horrifying Failure"

Another month into the Obama presidency, another horrid economic report. This from Hot Air:

The August jobs report from BLS offers yet another installment on the four-year stagnation period after the Great Recession. The US economy added 169,000 jobs, just above the 150,000 needed to keep pace with population growth. The U-3 jobless rate edged downward to 7.3%, but that’s because the labor force participation rate hit another 35-year low. . . . [A]lmost twice as many people [312,000] left the work force as found new jobs.

Obama, and indeed, the entire left, are simply economically incompetent. They shouldn't be allowed to run a lemonade stand. They see businesses as, at once, an enemy to be regulated and punished and as a cow to be milked for all they want.

The only thing keeping this economy afloat, even in this sad state, has been the Federal Reserve's "quantitative easing" - running the printing presses overtime, printing money to buy up government bonds in something akin to the world's biggest ponzi scheme. The danger of that is run away inflation, and indeed, the Fed has indicated that it intends to start unwinding this massive accumulation of debt at some point here in the near future as unemployment numbers fall.

The only part of the U.S. economy that is doing well is the stock market - and that is a bubble derived by Quantitative Easing (QE) that will burst the moment QE and the Fed's easy money policy stops. There is a reason today that Wall St. is celebrating the horrid economic numbers from the August BLS report - it means that QE will continue. This via Bizzy Blog:

Speaking today, at least one very famous economist says that we have suffered through five "years of tragic waste" under Obama:

[B]y any objective standard, U.S. economic policy since Lehman has been an astonishing, horrifying failure.

I couldn't agree more. That is indeed a damning indictment, but who is the economist that said this? Thomas Sowell? Art Laffer?

No. It is former Enron Advisor, Obama cheerleader and far left economist Paul Krugman writing in the NYT. As Krugman points out:

[T]he failure of policy these past five years has, in fact, been immense.

Some of that immensity can be measured in dollars and cents. Reasonable measures of the “output gap” over the past five years — the difference between the value of goods and services America could and should have produced and what it actually produced — run well over $2 trillion. That’s trillions of dollars of pure waste, which we will never get back.

Behind that financial waste lies an even more tragic waste of human potential. Before the financial crisis, 63 percent of adult Americans were employed; that number quickly plunged to less than 59 percent, and there it remains.

Do remember that Krugman blessed off on Obama's "stimulus" plan several years ago, both in design and size. Now he claims that the real problem is that the stimulus was three times too small. As Powerline describes it:

Of course, Krugman thinks the problem with Obama’s policies is that the stimulus was too small, the United States isn’t far enough in debt, and we don’t have a big enough public sector. More cowbell! The salient point, I think, is that we can say it is now unanimous: Left and Right agree that Obamanomics has been an utter failure. The only question at this point is whether to go even farther left–to, what, the policies of Fidel Castro or Kim Jong-un?–or return to the principles of limited government and a free market that produced our prosperity in the first place. Seems like an easy choice.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Svensmark's Theory Of Climate, The 97% BS Consensus & Climate Modelling

Hans Svensmark hypothesized, in 1996, the "radical" and much maligned theory that the sun - not trace amounts of atmospheric CO2 - was the primary driver of our climate. According to Svensmark's theory, solar rays drive cloud formation, and it is cloud cover that ultimately determines warming or cooling of the earth by limiting how many of the sun's rays contact earth. He explains his theory in the video below:

Well, Svensmark's theory, already given foundation by recent CLOUD experiments at CERN, just took another big step towards confirmation. This is a summary from Anthony Watts:

Between flaccid climate sensitivity, ENSO driving “the pause”, and now this, it looks like the upcoming IPCC report will be obsolete the day it is released.

From a Technical University of Denmark press release comes what looks to be a significant confirmation of Svensmark’s theory of temperature modulation on Earth by cosmic ray interactions. The process is that when there are more cosmic rays, they help create more microscopic cloud nuclei, which in turn form more clouds, which reflect more solar radiation back into space, making Earth cooler than what it normally might be. Conversely, less cosmic rays mean less cloud cover and a warmer planet as indicated here. The sun’s magnetic field is said to deflect cosmic rays when its solar magnetic dynamo is more active, and right around the last solar max, we were at an 8000 year high, suggesting more deflected cosmic rays, and warmer temperatures. Now the sun has gone into a record slump, and there are predictions of cooler temperatures ahead This new and important paper is published in Physics Letters A.

The article cited by Watts goes on to address what was a primary argument against Svensmark's hypothesis, that while solar radiation caused small molecular formations in our atmosphere, these were too small to reach the critical mass necessary to form clouds given our current understanding of the chemical processes involved. The experiments done in Denmark show that to be false, that these small molecular formations do indeed reach critical mass. The implications of this are huge – in essence disproving the theory that CO2 is the primary driver of our climate.

In other news, the claim that 97% of all scientists believe in anthopogenic global warming is based on a methodology so broad that the mere mention that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas was considered confirmation. That sole fact is completely meaningless to the debate on what drives global warming - and thus meaningless to any supposed consensus. In other words, this study does nothing to separate those who believe carbon dioxide is the primary driver of our climate from those who do not. The study on which the 97% claim is made was done by global warming activists as propaganda to drive public opinion.

And as to Climate Models used to forcast doom to mankind because we have been pumping ever more carbon dioxide into the air - something which should, according to the models, be ever increasing the temperature:

A paper published today in Nature Climate Change finds climate models have greatly exaggerated global warming over the past 20 years, noting the observed warming is "less than half" of the modeled warming. The authors falsify the models at a confidence level of 90%, and also find that there has been no statistically significant global warming for the past 20 years. . . .


Foreign Policy As Politics - Following The Obama Example

Foreign policy, including the use of force, should always be based on national interests, not politics. Just a reminder, as we consider Obama's call to attack Syria because Assad violated Obama's redline and slaughtered over a thousand innocents, recall if you will how the left tried to legislate defeat of our nation during the Iraq War for purely political gain and irrespective of the consequences. This from James Taranto at WSJ:

In 2007 Obama asserted that American troops should be withdrawn from Iraq even if that would result in genocide:

"Well, look, if that's the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now--where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife--which we haven't done," Mr. Obama told the AP. "We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven't done. Those of us who care about Darfur don't think it would be a good idea."

These past statements indict the president for hypocrisy, but they do not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. In his defense one might claim that his moral sensibility has matured over the past six years. Perhaps, that is, he has grown in office--though he has not grown nearly enough by other measures that one can say he is up to the job.

Unless in the next week or so he discovers a heretofore unrealized capacity to move public opinion on substantive matters of policy, the expedient thing for lawmakers of either party to do will be to vote "no" while smugly minimizing the moral stakes by noting that while Assad is of course "a bad guy," he poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, the Syrian economy is in shambles, there are lots of other mass-murdering dictators and we can't bomb 'em all, and so forth.

Any opportunistic lawmaker who takes that path will be following the example set by the man who is now president of the United States.

As I said in the post below, I would support attacking Syria if the attack was of sufficient strength to change the trajectory of the Syrian civil war because, that, in the long run, is in our national interest. It is in our national interest primarily because it would hurt Iran, and they are the true enemy in the Middle East that has to be defeated. But I will say, it is a bitter pill to swallow, to now give the traitorous left moral and political cover to use force.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Obama, Syria, & A Foreign Policy Somewhere Between Wrong, God-Awful Wrong, & Disastrous

My impression is that we are aiming the barrels of our guns at Syria for no other reason than Obama has discovered that talking tough about a red line then doing nothing about it does not play well politically.  This most recent use of chemical weapons by Assad is not the first or even the second time he has used them since Obama announced a red line on chemical weapons - its the sixth time Assad has used them.  Moreover, according to Obama and all the leaks coming from the White House, Obama plans to do nothing that will have any impact on the Syrian civil war.  In other words, there is no discernible objective to this other than for Obama to say that he did something to "punish" Assad for using chemical weapons.  This is as James Tarranto has described it in the WSJ, a Show Of Farce which defies satire.

Should Congress vote in favor of such a strike?  First, let's look at Obama's foreign policy before keying in on Syria.

Obama has no discernible foreign policy in the Middle East.  He reacts to events, inevitably taking a position on the hard issues only when forced, and even then taking a position that proves somewhere between wrong, god awful wrong, and disastrous.  Let's go down the list. [Update: Instapundit takes a look at Obama's foreign policy at the USA Today, from the infamous reset with Russia all the way to the coalition building Obama has done on Syria. Instapundit finds Obama's foreign policy to be "inept" - which is probably an overly kind description of the acts Instapundit memorializes.]

In Iran, he let the Green Revolution go by without doing a thing to assist - even from the bully pulpit.  He was golfing while young women were being shot by government snipers on the streets of Terhan.  For all of Obama's talk of being tough with Iran, the mad mullahs move closer every day to a nuclear arsenal and Obama does nothing to stop them.  Oh, he tried to slow them down with the now well publicized STUXNET, but he has done nothing to change their trajectory.  This is a sleeper at the moment, but every day it goes on, it will eventually cost our nation ever more in gold and blood on the day we have to face it.

In Iraq, Obama merely had to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement, so that we could leave troops there to stabilize the nation and, indeed, threaten Iran.  He failed at that - and I would not be surprised to find, in the years to come, that it was deliberately so.  The Iraq War is what the traitorous left, led by Obama, was using as a political tool between 2005 and 2008.  They tried as hard as they could to legislate defeat in Iraq and paint that war as a complete failure.  When that failed, Obama did not want to do anything other than leave.  All the blood and gold we spent to try and create something akin to a functioning republic has been wasted, and Iraq now daily devolves ever more back into violence and the sphere of Iran.  It is obscene.

In Afghanistan, Obama authorized a partial "surge," while at the same time announcing a date certain for our withdrawal.  Could there be any more counter productive way to conduct a war?

In Egypt, Obama gave support to pushing out our ally, Honsi Mubarak, when the strongest force in the nation was the Muslim Brotherhood - the progenitors of al Qaeda.  Obama then followed a policy of fully supporting the Brotherhood government even as they road roughshod over democracy in an attempt to form a decidedly non-democratic Islamic theocracy. And now, even after the people of Egypt spearheaded a coup against the Brotherhood, Obama has led calls to re-establish a civilian government immediately and to stop any government use of force against the Brotherhood as they try to conduct their own counterrevolution.

In Libya, the U.S. had next to no national interests.  Qaddafi, once a promoter of terrorism, had renounced it and, indeed, offered to stop his nuclear program years before.  He was no threat to the U.S. and, indeed, while many of his people supported al Qaeda, he was a bulwark against a theocracy in his tribal country.  And yet, Obama saw fit to insinuate himself into a civil war there on wholly humanitarian grounds.  Obama announced a doctrine that required U.S. intervention when a leader threatened to kill his own people.  Obama set out the moral high ground and planted his flag.  He also unleashed the radicals in Libya, and it is an open question whether they will, in the end, take over the country.

The Obama doctrine lasted about six months, until the Syrian civil war began.  And it was truly a civil war, with the grass roots at war with the government.  Obama could have stepped in to help them - and it very much would have been in our interests to do so.  Syria is key Iran, if for nothing else then as a passage way to Lebanon and the West Bank.  But Obama dithered, doing nothing, and Syria became a Mecca for the radical Sunnis who dream of establishing their own theocracy.  And it is unclear at the moment, should Syria fall, that the country would not emerge in the hands of the al Qaeda types.  What a mess.

Still and all, in judging between the threats posed by Iran and al Qaeda, the greater threat is that posed by Iran.  Their losing Syria as an ally would be a serious loss, and war with Iran is a certainty unless something is done to stop their march to a nuclear arsenal.  Thus, I would roll the dice in favor of supporting Syrian rebels now, and try to straighten out the Sunni mess later.

That said, under no circumstances should the U.S. spend an ounce of its gold or a drop of the blood of its sons and daughters merely to allow Obama a way to save face.  Unless he agrees to take actions that in fact will impact the civil war in Syria - that will truly hurt Assad with a goal of driving him from the country - none of our representatives should vote in favor of attacking Syria.

Moreover, even if Obama agrees to decisive action, the right should not let him or the traitorous left off the hook by failing to point out that --

1.  This action is being taken without the support of the UN.  You will recall how the left howled about taking any action without full approval of that body.

2.  This action is being taken without virtually any coalition of the willing.  You will recall how the left howled about the U.S. acting "unilaterally" when Bush had put together an alliance of some forty nations.

3.  That President Bush took no military actions without the full consent of Congress.  Obama, on the other hand, took us into Libya without either Congressional authorization or any threat to our national security.  The only reason he has come to Congress now is because he lacks anything approaching a legitimate mandate to attack Syria.

4.  That we are where we are today because Obama has not had anything approaching a coherent foreign policy.  He has neither attacked enemies who threaten our national interest nor given support to those who would support our national interest.  He did not intervene during the Green Revolution, yet he saw fit to intervene in Libya.  He did not help the Syrians at the start of their civil war, but he did support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  Can this joker - or the left as a whole - get anything right?

That is a rhetorical question, but let me answer it anyway - I don't think so.  The left seem to see pursuing our national interest as something that is immoral.  On the other hand, they see intervening in places where our national interest is not at stake as somehow moral.  It is the bizarre brand of self hate that grew from the pen of Karl Marx and has spread like a cancer throughout the West ever since.  God help this nation.