Commander-in-Cheap

Commander-in-Cheap

Jeannie DeAngelis

“Every day that goes by, we learn more about the horrifying scope of this catastrophe – destruction and suffering that defies comprehension.”  The President isn’t talking about the first year of the Obama presidency, but rather the dire situation in distressed Haiti.

While introducing the Clinton/Bush Haiti Relief Fund Obama shared that the fund  is a conduit, “…into the incredible generosity, the ingenuity, [and] the can-do spirit of the American people in helping our neighbors in need. ” 

Who better than Obama to discuss and represent American openhandedness and the spirit of giving?

In fact, in response to what Barack Obama described as, “deeply moving,” “heartbreaking images of devastation” the President and First Lady donated a whopping $15,000.00 to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Yes, a figure worth repeating, $15,000.00.   But then again, the Obama’s are not known altruistic benevolence when it comes to sharing the contents of the Obama joint bank account.

In previous comments concerning Haiti, the President implored Americans to give, saying, “Despite the fact that we are experiencing tough times here at home, I would encourage those Americans who want to support the urgent humanitarian efforts to go to whitehouse.gov where you can learn how to contribute.”

Maybe Obama is the one who needs to “learn how to contribute?”  According to CNN Money Barack Obama is worth 1.3 million and donated 1.5% or $15,000.00?  Is this how the President leads the American people to give to a relief effort?

Not to worry, the Obama family Hawaiian vacation fund is never in jeopardy of being depleted by causes like major earthquakes. Actually, according to historical records of charitable giving, a 1% contribution is not out of character for Barry and Michelle.  Just this week, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post outlined the First Couple’s giving record from 2000 through 2004.  During that period, the Obama’s earned about $300-thousand dollars a year, but gave no more than $3,500.00 or 1% of their annual income.

In 2005 that number jumped to $77,315 or 4.7% and in 2006 to $60,307, a rousing 6.1 percent.  During those poverty-stricken years, one righteous cause Obama deemed worthy was Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ.  Giving $27,000.00 to a racist, anti-Semitic pastor the President claimed he was unaware spewed hate speech.

The Obama’s also gave to causes such as the African Muntu Dance Theater and The Rochelle Lee Fund who sponsor Big Read programs in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts. Oh, and let’s not forget the $13,107.00 donation to the Congressional Black Caucus listed as a “charity gift.”

The Obama’s tax records indicate that, when it comes to “sharing the wealth” the couple fell short of the “Biblical 10% tithe.” Averaging $225-thousand dollars a year and giving $2,500.00 to charity, which by the way works out to $6.84 cents a day, from a President with zero compunction about picking the pockets of Americans who, no thanks to liberal policies, earn less and give more-is appalling.

As fortune would have it, the esteemed Nobel Peace Prize winner can redeem his tightfisted reputation by exhibiting munificence and bestowing the $1.4 million in Oslo prize money to the Haiti relief fund. Robert Gibbs did say, “The money would be donated to charity.” What could be a better cause to support? 

Making a $1.4 million contribution would not only assist the devastated Haitians, but, in the process, such a bighearted gesture could also bolster the wilting President’s global reputation?  

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/01/commanderincheap.html at January 22, 2010 – 11:06:55 PM CST

two of the GOP’s most visible figures — Meghan and Cindy McCain — have embraced same-sex marriage.

A quiet revolution of GOP progressives?


It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for the Republican Party.

First, the GOP elects Scott Brown to the US Senate, a guy with some serious conservative credibility, but also some serious culture war ambiguity in his background.

This is a politician who posed nude in Cosmo, whose wife appeared in a bikini in a rock-and-roll MTV video, and whose daughter appeared on American Idol.

Brown is generally pro-choice, though he opposes late-term procedures; and he voted in favor of Massachusetts’ universal healthcare plan.

Meanwhile, two of the GOP’s most visible figures — Meghan and Cindy McCain — have embraced same-sex marriage.

Then, one of the most prominent Republican mayors in the country, San Diego’s Jerry Sanders, broadcast his own support for gay marriage, after discovering that his daughter is a lesbian in a committed relationship.

“I could not tell a whole segment of our community they were less deserving of marriage than anyone else simply due to their sexual orientation,” said Sanders. “I do believe times have changed and opinions change. The concept of a separate but equal institution is not something I can support.”

Throw into this mix the weird energy of Ron Paul’s libertarian anti-war activism and you have a picture of a party with a deep contrarian streak.

No doubt this is a time of outsized tea party activism, with conservatives still dominating the Republican agenda.

But that fact may reflect the media’s agenda — Fox News, Rush, etc. — more than the complex debate going on at the grassroots.

What’s clear is that a vivid undercurrent exists among GOP leaders — many from urban areas, and from blue states — who are wrestling in interesting ways with modern American life.

Geithner aired concern on bank limits-sources

Geithner aired concern on bank limits-sources

Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:02am GMT

* Geithner has concerns over proposed bank limits–sources

* Treasury chief worried about competition, root of crisis

* Geithner tells PBS that limits not politically motivated (Adds comments from Geithner and Summers, analyst comment)

By Karey Wutkowski and Steve Eder

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, Jan 21 (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has expressed some skepticism behind closed doors about the broad bank limits proposed on Thursday by his boss, President Barack Obama, according to financial industry sources.

The sources, speaking anonymously because Geithner has not spoken publicly about his reservations, said the Treasury chief is concerned the proposed limits on big banks’ trading and size could impact U.S. firms’ global competitiveness.

He also has concerns that limits on proprietary trading do not necessarily get at the root of the problems and excesses that fueled the recent financial meltdown, the sources said.

But a White House official said Geithner was on board with Obama’s economic team behind the proposals.

Geithner and Lawrence Summers, the director of President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, worked closely with Paul Volcker, who heads a panel of outside advisers, in developing the proposals, the official said.

“The plan was submitted to the president with a unanimous recommendation from the economic team,” the official said.

In a television interview, Geithner said the proposal was driven by a desire to ensure a stable financial system, not by politics.

Geithner told PBS NewsHour the Obama administration decided to unveil the proposals months after its original sweeping financial reform plan to bring “a little more clarity” to how big banks could be reined in. Geithner had backed a proposal last fall to give regulators power to curb a firm’s size.

Summers, in an interview with CNBC, said the latest proposal was written before a Democrat, Martha Coakley, lost a closely watched race for the Massachusetts Senate seat on Tuesday. Obama had painted her opponent, Republican Scott Brown, as a friend of Wall Street.

REFORM FOOTNOTES

Obama’s proposals would prevent banks or financial institutions that own banks from investing in, owning or sponsoring a hedge fund or private equity fund.

He called for a new cap on the size of banks in relation to the overall financial sector that would take into account not only bank deposits, which are already capped, but also liabilities and other non-deposit funding sources.

The proposed rules also would bar institutions from proprietary trading operations that are for their own profit and unrelated to serving customers. For details [ID:nN21200151]

The administration had already sharpened its rhetoric against Wall Street where the announcement was met with disdain. Bank shares slid and the dollar fell against other currencies. [ID:nN21145261]

The proposals were largely driven by Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman who for more than a year has advocated curbs on big financial firms to limit their ability to do harm.

The White House official said Obama’s economic team considered the concern that proprietary trading was not at the heart of the problems that fueled the financial crisis.

But it concluded that reform needed to be about more than just fighting the last war, it needed to address sources of future risk as well, the official said.

Lawrence White, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business and a former regulator, said Obama’s proposals were “a solution to the wrong problem.”

“They have this rhetoric that it was proprietary trading that was the problem,” White said. “That’s wrong.”

Obama has recently tried to capitalize on populist anger against the big banks, proposing last week a major tax on banks to recoup taxpayer losses related to the bailout.

Underscoring the high level of public anger at banks, a majority of 1,006 Americans surveyed in a Thomson Reuters/Ipsos poll said executive pay was too high. [ID:nN21222779]

Douglas Elliott, a former JPMorgan investment banker now with the Brookings Institution, said he didn’t know Obama’s motivations, but thought his move was “smart politics.”

“Everybody hates the bankers now and when you come out with something saying we are going to keep them from getting bigger and taking outrageous risks, of course it comes out favorable,” Elliott said. “I do have some concerns about the public policy aspects.” (Reporting by Karey Wutkowski in Washington and Steve Eder in New York with additional reporting by Jeff Mason and Glenn Somerville; Editing by Kenneth Barry and Diane Craft, Gary Hill)

How Low Will He Go?

How Low Will He Go?

January 22nd, 2010 Posted By Erik Wong.

Rasmussen:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 25% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -18 (see trends). Larry Sabato takes a look at Obama’s first year in office.

Later today, Rasmussen Reports will issue a tracking update on the health care issue showing that expectations the legislation will pass have fallen dramatically since Tuesday’s election in Massachusetts. Since Nancy Pelosi has indicated that there are not enough votes in the House to pass the Senate proposal, this will be our final tracking update on the current legislation. If the Democrats in Congress develop a new approach for health care legislation, we will resume tracking at that time.

Forty-five percent (45%) believe General Motors will need more government bailouts.

The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve. It is updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update). Updates are also available on Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, 45% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance. Fifty-four percent (54%) disapprove.

In the Pennsylvania Senate race, Pat Toomey now leads both Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak. In Arizona, John McCain has opened a big lead over potential challenger J.D. Hayworth. In Georgia, if former Governor Roy Barnes is the Democratic nominee, the race for Governor could begin as a toss-up.

obama_approval_index_january_22_2010

Rasmussen Reports has released Senate polls for Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A commentary by Larry Sabato, suggests that if the election were held today, “the Democratic majority in the Senate would be reduced to just 52 seats.”

Rasmussen Reports has also released polls on the 2010 governor’s races in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

It is important to remember that the Rasmussen Reports job approval ratings are based upon a sample of likely voters. Some other firms base their approval ratings on samples of all adults. President Obama’s numbers are always several points higher in a poll of adults rather than likely voters. That’s because some of the President’s most enthusiastic supporters, such as young adults, are less likely to turn out to vote. It is also important to check the details of question wording when comparing approval ratings from different firms.

obama_total_approval_january_22_2010

Obama Plan to Split Banks Could Crash Economy

Obama Plan to Split Banks Could Crash Economy

January 22nd, 2010

By John Berlau, Newsmax

 Obama is pursuing FDR like Banking Restrictions

President Obama’s proposal today to bring back 1930s-like separation of commercial and investment banks, dubbed Glass-Steagall II or Glass-Steagall 2.0, would do little to prevent the problem of financial institutions’ being too big to fail.

What it would do is hurt economic recovery, reduce types of financing available to businesses big and small, and give European and Asian financial services firms a huge competitive advantage over their U.S. counterparts.

The president’s proposed regulation would leave U.S. banks, in the phrasing of American Enterprise Institute scholar and former Treasury Department official Peter Wallison, “too big to fail or succeed.”

The proposal puts forth nothing to stop bailouts or modernize bankruptcy laws to make failure less systemic. Instead, it reintroduces a Depression-era structure for banking used nowhere else in the world. And it does nothing to stop the size or systemic dangers of the government-created financial giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that were at the center of the mortgage crisis.

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Michelle Malkin Lead StoryConservatives: Beware of McCain Regression Syndrome

Lead Story

Michelle Malkin 

Conservatives: Beware of McCain Regression Syndrome

By Michelle Malkin  •  January 22, 2010 09:10 AM

The question isn’t why Sarah Palin is helping John McCain. The question is: What are you doing to stop him from cementing his Big Government Republican legacy?

***

Conservatives: Beware of McCain Regression Syndrome
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2010

Pay attention: In the afterglow of the Massachusetts Miracle, there are flickers of peril for The Right. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but like Paul Revere’s midnight-message, consider this warning “a cry of defiance, and not of fear.” Conservatives have worked hard over the past year to rebuild after Big Government Republican John McCain’s defeat. But McCain isn’t going gently into that good night.

Red Flag Number One: A reader from Arizona informed me the day after the Bay State Bombshell that he had received a robo-call from Massachusetts GOP Sen.-elect Scott Brown. “He basically wanted me to vote for John McCain in November,” the reader said in his description of the automated campaign call supporting the four-term Sen. McCain’s re-election bid. “No wonder [Brown] said he hadn’t had any sleep…he was busy recording phone messages!”

Red Flag Number Two: Also in the wake of the Massachusetts special election, the nation’s most popular conservative political figure, Sarah Palin, announced she would be campaigning for her former running mate in Arizona in March. Palin told Facebook followers that she’s going to “ride the tide with commonsense candidates” and help “heroes and statesmen” like McCain. Facing mounting conservative opposition in his home state and polls showing him virtually tied with possible GOP challenger and former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, McCain welcomed the boost: “Sarah energized our nation and remains a leading voice in the Republican Party.”

Savor the irony: After a career spent bashing the right flank of the party, Sen. McCain is now clinging to its coattails to save his incumbent hide.

And pay attention to the hidden, more troubling irony: While he runs to the right to protect his seat, McCain’s political machine is working across the country to install liberal and establishment Republicans to secure his legacy.

In Florida, McCain’s Country First Political Action Committee is supporting the Senate bid of fellow illegal alien amnesty supporter and global warming alarmist, GOP Gov. Charlie Crist, whose crucial 2008 primary endorsement rescued McCain from disaster. Grass-roots conservatives support former GOP statehouse leader Marco Rubio – who is hitting Crist hard for lying to voters about his embrace of President Obama’s pork-laden, fraud-ridden stimulus package.

In Colorado, McCain and his meddlers infuriated the state party by anointing former lieutenant governor Jane Norton to challenge endangered Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet. She’s a milquetoast public official who has served on a lot of task forces and GOP clubs – and who happens to be the sister-in-law of big Beltway insider Charlie Black. An estimated 40 percent of her coffers are filled with out-of-state money (and much of that is flowing from the Beltway).

The mini-McCain of Colorado claims to oppose “special interests,” but has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from D.C. lobbyists at McCain’s behest – stifling the candidacy of strong conservative rivals led by grass-roots-supported Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, an amnesty opponent whose aggressive illegal immigration prosecutions have earned him the rage of the far Left and big business Right. A recent Rasmussen poll showed Buck and another GOP candidate Tom Wiens beating Bennet – despite the huge cash and crony advantage of front-runner and blank-slate Jane.

In California, McCain’s PAC supports former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina – a celebrity name with deep pockets of her own, massive media exposure, and a checkered business record. Fiorina served as the economic adviser to McCain, who supported the $700 billion TARP bailout, the $25 billion auto bailout, a $300 billion mortgage bailout, and the first $85 billion AIG bailout. As GOP rival and grass-roots-supported Chuck DeVore’s camp notes, Fiorina has also vacillated publicly over the Obama stimulus. With taxpayer “friends” like this, who needs Democrats?

With all due respect to McCain’s past noble war service, it’s time to head to the pasture. As the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, he was wrong on the constitutionality of the free-speech-stifling McCain-Feingold campaign finance regulations. He was wrong to side with the junk-science global warming activists in pushing onerous carbon caps on America. He was on the wrong side of every Chicken Little-driven bailout. He was wrong in opposing enhanced CIA interrogation methods that have saved countless American lives and averted jihadi plots. And he was spectacularly wrong in teaming with the open-borders lobby to push a dangerous illegal alien amnesty.

Tea Party activists are rightly outraged by Sarah Palin’s decision to campaign for McCain, whose entrenched incumbency and progressive views are anathema to the movement. At least she has an excuse: She’s caught between a loyalty rock and a partisan hard place. The conservative base has no such obligations – and it is imperative that they get in the game (as they did in Massachusetts) before it’s too late. The movement to restore limited government in Washington has come too far, against all odds, to succumb to McCain Regression Syndrome now.

NEW ICE CREAM FLAVOR

NEW ICE CREAM FLAVOR

January 22nd, 2010

Barocky Road”

In honor of the 44th President of the United States, Random Ice Cream Company has introduced a new flavor: “Barocky Road”.

Barocky Road is a blend of half vanilla, half chocolate, and surrounded by nuts and flakes.  The vanilla portion of the mix is not openly advertised and usually denied as an ingredient.  The nuts and flakes are all very bitter and hard to swallow.  The cost is $100.00 per scoop.  When purchased it will be presented to you in a large beautiful cone, but then the ice cream is taken away and given to the person in line behind you who didn’t have the money to buy ice cream.  You are left with an empty wallet and no change, holding an empty cone with no hope of getting any ice cream.

Are you stimulated?

Has Obama lost white America?

Has Obama lost white America?

January 22nd, 2010

By Patrick Buchanan, WND

 This guy probably voted for Scott Brown…

If Republicans will study the returns from Massachusetts, then review the returns from Virginia and New Jersey, light will fall upon the path to victory over Barack Obama in 2012.

Obama defeated John McCain by winning the black vote 24 to 1, the Hispanic vote 2 to 1 and taking a larger share of the white vote, 44 percent, than did John Kerry or Al Gore. As the white vote was three-fourths of the national turnout, Obama coasted to victory.

Now consider Massachusetts. In the 2008 election, no less than 79 percent of the voters were white, and Obama carried them by 20 points, winning the state 62 to 36.

How did Scott Brown turn that 26-point deficit into a 6-point victory? By winning the white vote as massively as did Obama. While there are no exit polls to prove it, we do have exit polls from Virginia and New Jersey, which tend to corroborate it.

Bob McDonnell won the Virginia governor’s race by 17, while McCain lost Virginia by 6. As McDonnell did equally poorly with African-Americans, losing the black vote 90 to 9, while McCain’s lost it 92 to 8, what explains his Virginia landslide?

The white vote. McDonnell won Virginia’s white vote 68 to 32, though his opponent was a downstate Democrat more conservative than the Northern Virginia candidates he beat in the primary.

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The Real State of the Union, 2010

The Real State of the Union, 2010

By Randall Hoven

It is State of the Union time again. Like every president before him, Barack Obama will declare that the state of our union is fundamentally sound, but it needs some tuning up. (In his case, a tune-up costs about $2 trillion and nine czars.) But in my opinion, the state of our union is, to use the word of the day, “unsustainable.” That means “dying” in everyday language.

Almost a year ago, I wrote of the “real” state of our union.
We have less than 10 years to get our mess straightened out.  In that time we need to do something drastic with health care, meaning getting its costs under control.  We also need to keep a lid on discretionary spending and even cut it.  Social Security payroll taxes might need to be raised a bit by 2020, or benefits cut.
In short, to avoid financial catastrophes such as government default and bankruptcy that would otherwise come in the 2020-2030 time-frame if not before, President Obama must make some bold moves.  And in the opposite direction of his fan base.
Since I wrote that, the Congressional Budget Office and the General Accounting Office have validated my basic budget analysis.
I summarized three possible paths Obama might take. After a year, we now know that he took the worst path: “More spending and taxing, as well as massive public works projects, single-payer health care, the ‘Employee Free Choice’ act, global warming hysteria, weakened defense, the return of the ‘Fairness Doctrine’, etc.”
In short, President Obama is pushing the agenda of the Communist Party. That is not just me talking, but Sam Webb, National Chair of the Communist Party USA.
The new conditions of struggle are possible only — and I want to emphasize only — because we elected President Obama and a Congress with pronounced progressive and center currents.
So President Obama is not only not our savior, but he is getting us to hell even faster.
Below is what I consider the state of our union today. (With liberal use of embedded links to back up my claims.)
We are already heavily in debt, at levels unprecedented in peacetime and soon to be unprecedented even for wartime. Yet all policies enacted or proposed by our current government are putting us deeper into debt. Obama and the Democrats are doing absolutely everything wrong concerning government spending and handling entitlements.
Entitlements are eating us up.  Discretionary federal spending (including defense) is already lower (as percent of total spending and percent of GDP) than it was a few years ago.  The Government Accounting Office projects that entitlements and interest on the debt will consume 100% of federal revenues in about a decade. Yet rather than cutting entitlements, we are adding to them.
How can “unsustainable” debt be cured? One way: by not paying it off. But there are multiple ways to not pay it off.
  • The value of money could be inflated away. Creditors would be “paid back,” but in dollars worth less.
  • “Old age” benefits could be cut, one way or another, just as the baby boom reaches old age. Social Security, Medicare, and pensions are all in trouble. Investments of all kinds (stock market, bonds, real estate) could lose value.
  • Our government could try “fixes” like tax increases that would only make economic growth suffer — a jobless recovery at best, a double-dip recession or depression at worst.
I expect all of the above in varying doses.
The U.S. has been eating its seed corn. We are the country that invented the bomb, put man on the moon, and started the Green Revolution in agriculture, which came close to wiping out world hunger. The bomb was developed sixty-five years ago. Man first walked on the moon over forty years ago. And the Green Revolution happened in between.
Since then, “science” has entered one cul-de-sac after another: string theory, dark matter and energy, climate change, you-name-it. Big pharma and modern medicine, two of the few successes in science in recent years and responsible for my daughter being alive today, are under constant attack by politicians and are on the verge of being dismantled by disincentive.
We are now a hollow country: reduced manufacturing, outsourcing, generally doing each other’s laundry. People employed in construction, natural resources, and mining combined make up just 5% of our workforce. People who actually produce goods make up just 14%. On the other hand, government workers are 17% of our workforce, and better paid for it.
Our populace and our education institutions have been dumbed down. We have fewer engineers and scientists and more people writing memos to each other. (We’re lucky if the foreign students we educate do not use their new knowledge to kill us. Al-Qaeda seems to have an inordinate amount of western-educated members and sympathizers.)
In short, what does the U.S. have to sell that anyone would want to buy? Even the movie industry is steadily moving out of the U.S. and into Canada, India, and even Romania.
I expect the U.S. to lose its lead role. It is already “just another European country” by many measures. I said that almost two years ago, and Mark Steyn quickly agreed with me. But it is so obvious now that even college professors are starting to agree with me. As the recognition sinks in, it will hurt us more. Even though Europe has its own debt problems, I think the U.S. will suffer more than Europe. We have farther to fall.
I’m not sure if Republican wins will fix things, even if we get genuine conservatives in office, because the necessary actions are also unpopular. We need to cut entitlements — even get the federal government out of Medicare/Medicaid. If Republicans try that, they will be tossed out. In the current debate, it was Republicans saying “don’t cut my Medicare.”
Short of Republicans stopping themselves, Democrats will halt everything in the Senate anyway. Either party now needs sixty solid votes in the Senate to make anything happen.
Our politics are polarized and nonsensical because our voters are. The “moderate” middle wants the impossible: all gain, no pain, and no sense of reality. What we have is incoherence — neither a free market nor a competently managed public sector.
All of the above is about economics and the budget. On national defense, we are also hollow — not because our military is weak or incompetent, but because our civilian leaders are, and because the country at large now demands immaculate wars. These are wars without ambiguity in purpose or execution, wars in which no one dies and every enemy is greeted with Miranda rights, wars that don’t cost anything, wars that end before Christmas-shopping season.
The trouble is that no other country is ready to replace us. When we fall, it will be like Rome falling. The new age will be a Dark Age, with constant warfare among smaller nations and tribes. And now more of us have nukes.
I know…that state of the union is way too gloomy. But our hope does not lie with this or that policy. It lies in a population that genuinely believes in itself rather than the government Wizard of Oz. Show me evidence that a majority of our population believes in itself, and I’ll write a whole different State of the Union.
Randall Hoven can be contacted at randall.hoven@gmail.com or via his web site, randallhoven.com.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/the_real_state_of_the_union_20.html at January 22, 2010 – 12:13:54 PM CST

Climategate: CRU Was But the Tip of the Iceberg

Climategate: CRU Was But the Tip of the Iceberg

By Marc Sheppard
Not surprisingly, the blatant corruption exposed at Britain’s premiere climate institute was not contained within the nation’s borders. Just months after the Climategate scandal broke, a new study has uncovered compelling evidence that our government’s principal climate centers have also been manipulating worldwide temperature data in order to fraudulently advance the global warming political agenda.
Not only does the preliminary report [PDF] indict a broader network of conspirators, but it also challenges the very mechanism by which global temperatures are measured, published, and historically ranked.  
Last Thursday, Certified Consulting Meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo and computer expert E. Michael Smith appeared together on KUSI TV [Video] to discuss the Climategate — American Style scandal they had discovered. This time out, the alleged perpetrators are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).   
NOAA stands accused by the two researchers of strategically deleting cherry-picked, cooler-reporting weather observation stations from the temperature data it provides the world through its National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). D’Aleo explained to show host and Weather Channel founder John Coleman that while the Hadley Center in the U.K. has been the subject of recent scrutiny, “[w]e think NOAA is complicit, if not the real ground zero for the issue.”

And their primary accomplices are the scientists at GISS, who put the altered data through an even more biased regimen of alterations, including intentionally replacing the dropped NOAA readings with those of stations located in much warmer locales.
As you’ll soon see, the ultimate effects of these statistical transgressions on the reports which influence climate alarm and subsequently world energy policy are nothing short of staggering.
NOAA – Data In / Garbage Out

Although satellite temperature measurements have been available since 1978, most global temperature analyses still rely on data captured from land-based thermometers, scattered more or less about the planet. It is that data which NOAA receives and disseminates – although not before performing some sleight-of-hand on it.
Smith has done much of the heavy lifting involved in analyzing the NOAA/GISS data and software, and he chronicles his often frustrating experiences at his fascinating website. There, detail-seekers will find plenty to satisfy, divided into easily-navigated sections — some designed specifically for us “geeks,” but most readily approachable to readers of all technical strata.
Perhaps the key point discovered by Smith was that by 1990, NOAA had deleted from its datasets all but 1,500 of the 6,000 thermometers in service around the globe.
Now, 75% represents quite a drop in sampling population, particularly considering that these stations provide the readings used to compile both the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) and United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) datasets. These are the same datasets, incidentally, which serve as primary sources of temperature data not only for climate researchers and universities worldwide, but also for the many international agencies using the data to create analytical temperature anomaly maps and charts. 
Yet as disturbing as the number of dropped stations was, it is the nature of NOAA’s “selection bias” that Smith found infinitely more troubling.
It seems that stations placed in historically cooler, rural areas of higher latitude and elevation were scrapped from the data series in favor of more urban locales at lower latitudes and elevations. Consequently, post-1990 readings have been biased to the warm side not only by selective geographic location, but also by the anthropogenic heating influence of a phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI).    
For example, Canada’s reporting stations dropped from 496 in 1989 to 44 in 1991, with the percentage of stations at lower elevations tripling while the numbers of those at higher elevations dropped to one. That’s right: As Smith wrote in his blog, they left “one thermometer for everything north of LAT 65.” And that one resides in a place called Eureka, which has been described as “The Garden Spot of the Arctic” due to its unusually moderate summers.
Smith also discovered that in California, only four stations remain – one in San Francisco and three in Southern L.A. near the beach – and he rightly observed that

It is certainly impossible to compare it with the past record that had thermometers in the snowy mountains. So we can have no idea if California is warming or cooling by looking at the USHCN data set or the GHCN data set.

That’s because the baseline temperatures to which current readings are compared were a true averaging of both warmer and cooler locations. And comparing these historic true averages to contemporary false averages – which have had the lower end of their numbers intentionally stripped out – will always yield a warming trend, even when temperatures have actually dropped.
Overall, U.S. online stations have dropped from a peak of 1,850 in 1963 to a low of 136 as of 2007. In his blog, Smith wittily observed that “the Thermometer Langoliers have eaten 9/10 of the thermometers in the USA[,] including all the cold ones in California.” But he was deadly serious after comparing current to previous versions of USHCN data and discovering that this “selection bias” creates a +0.6°C warming in U.S. temperature history.  

And no wonder — imagine the accuracy of campaign tracking polls were Gallup to include only the replies of Democrats in their statistics.  But it gets worse.

Prior to publication, NOAA effects a number of “adjustments” to the cherry-picked stations’ data, supposedly to eliminate flagrant outliers, adjust for time of day heat variance, and “homogenize” stations with their neighbors in order to compensate for discontinuities. This last one, they state, is accomplished by essentially adjusting each to jive closely with the mean of its five closest “neighbors.” But given the plummeting number of stations, and the likely disregard for the latitude, elevation, or UHI of such neighbors, it’s no surprise that such “homogenizing” seems to always result in warmer readings. 
The chart below is from Willis Eschenbach’s WUWT essay, “The smoking gun at Darwin Zero,” and it plots GHCN Raw versus homogeneity-adjusted temperature data at Darwin International Airport in Australia. The “adjustments” actually reversed the 20th-century trend from temperatures falling at 0.7°C per century to temperatures rising at 1.2°C per century. Eschenbach isolated a single station and found that it was adjusted to the positive by 6.0°C per century, and with no apparent reason, as all five stations at the airport more or less aligned for each period. His conclusion was that he had uncovered “indisputable evidence that the ‘homogenized’ data has been changed to fit someone’s preconceptions about whether the earth is warming.”

WUWT’s editor, Anthony Watts, has calculated the overall U.S. homogeneity bias to be 0.5°F to the positive, which alone accounts for almost one half of the 1.2°F warming over the last century. Add Smith’s selection bias to the mix and poof – actual warming completely disappears!
Yet believe it or not, the manipulation does not stop there.
GISS – Garbage In / Globaloney Out

The scientists at NASA’s GISS are widely considered to be the world’s leading researchers into atmospheric and climate changes. And their Surface Temperature (GISTemp) analysis system is undoubtedly the premiere source for global surface temperature anomaly reports. 
In creating its widely disseminated maps and charts, the program merges station readings collected from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) with GHCN and USHCN data from NOAA. 
It then puts the merged data through a few “adjustments” of its own.
First, it further “homogenizes” stations, supposedly adjusting for UHI by (according to NASA) changing “the long term trend of any non-rural station to match the long term trend of their rural neighbors, while retaining the short term monthly and annual variations.” Of course, the reduced number of stations will have the same effect on GISS’s UHI correction as it did on NOAA’s discontinuity homogenization – the creation of artificial warming.
Furthermore, in his communications with me, Smith cited boatloads of problems and errors he found in the Fortran code written to accomplish this task, ranging from hot airport stations being mismarked as “rural” to the “correction” having the wrong sign (+/-) and therefore increasing when it meant to decrease or vice-versa.
And according to NASA, “If no such neighbors exist or the overlap of the rural combination and the non-rural record is less than 20 years, the station is completely dropped; if the rural records are shorter, part of the non-rural record is dropped.” 
However, Smith points out that a dropped record may be “from a location that has existed for 100 years.” For instance, if an aging piece of equipment gets swapped out, thereby changing its identification number, the time horizon reinitializes to zero years. Even having a large enough temporal gap (e.g., during a world war) might cause the data to “just get tossed out.”
But the real chicanery begins in the next phase, wherein the planet is flattened and stretched onto an 8,000-box grid, into which the time series are converted to a series of anomalies (degree variances from the baseline). Now, you might wonder just how one manages to fill 8,000 boxes using 1,500 stations.
Here’s NASA’s solution:

For each grid box, the stations within that grid box and also any station within 1200km of the center of that box are combined using the reference station method.

Even on paper, the design flaws inherent in such a process should be glaringly obvious.
So it’s no surprise that Smith found many examples of problems surfacing in actual practice. He offered me Hawaii for starters. It seems that all of the Aloha State’s surviving stations reside in major airports. Nonetheless, this unrepresentative hot data is what’s used to “infill” the surrounding “empty” Grid Boxes up to 1200 km out to sea. So in effect, you have “jet airport tarmacs ‘standing in’ for temperature over water 1200 km closer to the North Pole.”
An isolated problem? Hardly, reports Smith.
From KUSI’s Global Warming: The Other Side:

“There’s a wonderful baseline for Bolivia — a very high mountainous country — right up until 1990 when the data ends.  And if you look on the [GISS] November 2009 anomaly map, you’ll see a very red rosy hot Bolivia [boxed in blue].  But how do you get a hot Bolivia when you haven’t measured the temperature for 20 years?”

Of course, you already know the answer:  GISS simply fills in the missing numbers – originally cool, as Bolivia contains proportionately more land above 10,000 feet than any other country in the world – with hot ones available in neighboring stations on a beach in Peru or somewhere in the Amazon jungle.  
Remember that single station north of 65° latitude which they located in a warm section of northern Canada? Joe D’Aleo explained its purpose: “To estimate temperatures in the Northwest Territory [boxed in green above], they either have to rely on that location or look further south.”
Pretty slick, huh?
And those are but a few examples. In fact, throughout the entire grid, cooler station data are dropped and “filled in” by temperatures extrapolated from warmer stations in a manner obviously designed to overestimate warming…
…And convince you that it’s your fault.
Government and Intergovernmental Agencies — Globaloney In / Green Gospel Out

Smith attributes up to 3°F (more in some places) of added “warming trend” between NOAA’s data adjustment and GIStemp processing.
That’s over twice last century’s reported warming. 

And yet, not only are NOAA’s bogus data accepted as green gospel, but so are its equally bogus hysterical claims, like this one from the 2006 annual State of the Climate in 2005 [PDF]: “Globally averaged mean annual air temperature in 2005 slightly exceeded the previous record heat of 1998, making 2005 the warmest year on record.”

And as D’Aleo points out in the preliminary report, the recent NOAA proclamation that June 2009 was the second-warmest June in 130 years will go down in the history books, despite multiple satellite assessments ranking it as the 15thcoldest in 31 years.
Even when our own National Weather Service (NWS) makes its frequent announcements that a certain month or year was the hottest ever, or that five of the warmest years on record occurred last decade, they’re basing such hyperbole entirely on NOAA’s warm-biased data.
And how can anyone possibly read GISS chief James Hansen’s Sunday claim that 2009 was tied with 2007 for second-warmest year overall, and the Southern Hemisphere’s absolute warmest in 130 years of global instrumental temperature records, without laughing hysterically? It’s especially laughable when one considers that NOAA had just released a statement claiming that very same year (2009) to be tied with 2006 for the fifth-warmest year on record. 
So how do alarmists reconcile one government center reporting 2009 as tied for second while another had it tied for fifth? If you’re WaPo’s Andrew Freedman, you simply chalk it up to “different data analysis methods” before adjudicating both NASA and NOAA innocent of any impropriety based solely on their pointless assertions that they didn’t do it.
Earth to Andrew: “Different data analysis methods”? Try replacing “analysis” with “manipulation,” and ye shall find enlightenment. More importantly, does the explicit fact that since the drastically divergent results of both “methods” can’t be right, both are immediately suspect somehow elude you?
But by far the most significant impact of this data fraud is that it ultimately bubbles up to the pages of the climate alarmists’ bible: The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report.
And wrong data begets wrong reports, which – particularly in this case – begets dreadfully wrong policy.

It’s High Time We Investigated the Investigators 

The final report will be made public shortly, and it will be available at the websites of both report-supporter Science and Public Policy Institute and Joe D’Aleo’s own ICECAP. As they’ve both been tremendously helpful over the past few days, I’ll trust in the opinions I’ve received from the report’s architects to sum up.

This from the meteorologist:

The biggest gaps and greatest uncertainties are in high latitude areas where the data centers say they ‘find’ the greatest warming (and thus which contribute the most to their global anomalies). Add to that no adjustment for urban growth and land use changes (even as the world’s population increased from 1.5 to 6.7 billion people) [in the NOAA data] and questionable methodology for computing the historical record that very often cools off the early record and you have surface based data sets so seriously flawed, they can no longer be trusted for climate trend or model forecast assessment or decision making by the administration, congress or the EPA.
Roger Pielke Sr. has suggested: “…that we move forward with an inclusive assessment of the surface temperature record of CRU, GISS and NCDC.  We need to focus on the science issues.  This necessarily should involve all research investigators who are working on this topic, with formal assessments chaired and paneled by mutually agreed to climate scientists who do not have a vested interest in the outcome of the evaluations.” I endorse that suggestion.

Certainly, all rational thinkers agree. Perhaps even the mainstream media, most of whom have hitherto mistakenly dismissed Climategate as a uniquely British problem, will now wake up and demand such an investigation.

And this from the computer expert:

That the bias exists is not denied.  That the data are too sparse and with too many holes over time in not denied.  Temperature series programs, like NASA GISS GIStemp try, but fail, to fix the holes and the bias.  What is claimed is that “the anomaly will fix it.”  But it cannot.  Comparison of a cold baseline set to a hot present set must create a biased anomaly.   It is simply overwhelmed by the task of taking out that much bias.  And yet there is more.  A whole zoo of adjustments are made to the data.  These might be valid in some cases, but the end result is to put in a warming trend of up to several degrees.  We are supposed to panic over a 1/10 degree change of “anomaly” but accept 3 degrees of “adjustment” with no worries at all. To accept that GISTemp is “a perfect filter”. That is, simply, “nuts”.  It was a good enough answer at Bastogne, and applies here too.

Smith, who had a family member attached to the 101st Airborne at the time, refers to the famous line from the 101st commander, U.S. Army General Anthony Clement McAuliffe, who replied to a German ultimatum to surrender the December, 1944 Battle of Bastogne, Belgium with a single word: “Nuts.”

And that’s exactly what we’d be were we to surrender our freedoms, our economic growth, and even our simplest comforts to duplicitous zealots before checking and double-checking the work of the prophets predicting our doom should we refuse.

Marc Sheppard is environment editor of American Thinker and editor of the forthcoming Environment Thinker.

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