Thursday, June 28, 2012

Did Roberts bend under peer pressure?
...Progressives gain status and profit from expanded judicial power and from flexible constitutional rules, because they gain the ability to use the Supreme Court to trump voters’ and legislators’ decisions.

Much of the evidence for a Robert surrender consists of language in the so-called “dissent” written by the minority of four conservative judges.

The dissent includes language referring to the majority opinion as the “dissent.”

That “dissent” term is normally applied only to the minority’s explanation of their votes.

The likeliest explanation for the mismatched terminology is that Roberts initially joined the group of four conservative judges who wished to strike down the law. His vote made them the majority, and allowed them to label the progressives’ opinion as the minority dissent....

More Hints that Roberts Switched his Vote
...UPDATE: Ed Whelan notes a related theory: Roberts assigned the opinion to himself, and wrote most of what became the four-Justice dissent. He then switched on the tax issue, and the four dissenters adopted most of his original majority opinion as a dissent. This would explain why the dissent is unsigned. Other blogs are noting that Justice Ginsburg directs much of her ire at the Chief, which is the sort of things Justices do when they think they’ve lost someone’s vote, not when they are trying to keep a tenuous vote to uphold uphold the law in question on board....

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Top doctor's chilling claim: The NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year
NHS doctors are prematurely ending the lives of thousands of elderly hospital patients because they are difficult to manage or to free up beds, a senior consultant claimed yesterday.

Professor Patrick Pullicino said doctors had turned the use of a controversial ‘death pathway’ into the equivalent of euthanasia of the elderly.

He claimed there was often a lack of clear evidence for initiating the Liverpool Care Pathway, a method of looking after terminally ill patients that is used in hospitals across the country.

It is designed to come into force when doctors believe it is impossible for a patient to recover and death is imminent.
It can include withdrawal of treatment – including the provision of water and nourishment by tube – and on average brings a patient to death in 33 hours.

There are around 450,000 deaths in Britain each year of people who are in hospital or under NHS care. Around 29 per cent – 130,000 – are of patients who were on the LCP.

Professor Pullicino claimed that far too often elderly patients who could live longer are placed on the LCP and it had now become an ‘assisted death pathway rather than a care pathway’....

McConnell warns of attempts by Obama, Media Matters to silence critics
...The Kentucky Republican noted that President Obama must not oppose efforts to silence conservative critics, because he has never condemned intimidation tactics aimed at his opponents, ranging from targeting businesses that support conservatives to the illegal tactic of “SWAT-ing” — whereby conservative writers have been harassed using 911 services to claim murders in the homes of targeted individuals.

And that should come as no surprise, McConnell explained, when the president has allied himself with the very groups that specialize in intimidating critics of the government.

“The tactics I’m describing extend well beyond the [Obama] campaign headquarters in Chicago. To an extent not seen since the Nixon administration, they extend deep into the administration itself,” McConnell warned.

“News reports suggest that top White House officials have long participated in a weekly conference call with a left-wing organization in Washington whose stated purpose is to track conservative media voices, seize on potentially offensive content and then use it to mount corporate intimidation campaigns aimed at driving these voices clear out of the public square,” said McConnell referring to the liberal messaging group, Media Matters for America.

As reported by The Daily Caller, Media Matters has indeed participated in a weekly strategy call with the White House and the far-left Center for American Progress during most of President Obama’s time in office. It is unknown if those conference calls continue to this day....

Professor fired after expressing climate change skepticism
Oregon State University chemistry professor Nicholas Drapela was fired without warning three weeks ago and has still been given no reason for the university’s decision to “not renew his contract.”

Drapela, an outspoken critic of man-made climate change, worked at the university for 10 years.

In the early years of his career, he published a number of textbooks, received a promotion to senior instructor and, in 2004, received a Loyd F. Carter award for outstanding and inspirational teacher.

In 2007, Drapela began giving talks on his own climate change skepticism. He often and openly questioned the science behind man-made global warming.

Drapela told the Daily Caller he was “blindsided” when the department chair called Drapela into his office to fire him on May 29.

“He read a prepared statement and took my key,” Drapela said, adding that he was given no reason in this meeting as to why he was being let go.

The timing of the termination was odd because Oregon State University was still in session, with finals approaching.

Students were impacted, he told TheDC, because “I was unable to hold office hours in my office because I didn’t have a key.”...
The Wisconsin Blues
...Progressive morality fits a nurturant family: parents are equal, the values are empathy, responsibility for oneself and others, and cooperation. That is taught to children. Parents protect and empower their children, and listen to them. Authority comes through an ethic of excellence and living by what you say, rather than by enforcing rules.

Correspondingly in politics, democracy begins with citizens caring about one another and acting responsibly both for oneself and others. The mechanism by which this is achieved is The Public, through which the government provides resources that make private life and private enterprise possible: roads, bridges and sewers, public education, a justice system, clean water and air, pure food, systems for information, energy and transportation, and protection both for and from the corporate world. No one makes it on his or her own. Private life and private enterprise are not possible without The Public. Freedom does not exist without The Public....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Peter Gleick’s Possible Involvement in Drafting Fake Heartland Document: Either Not Investigated or the Relevant Results Not Released
...You’ve heard of non-denial denials. This is a non-confirmation confirmation. Any lawyer worth his salt would read the Pacific Institute’s statement and assume that, while the investigation supported Gleick on the issue that no one disputed (“regarding his interaction with the Heartland Institute”), it probably did not support (or was silent) on the issue on which the Heartland Institute seemed to have the more likely explanation.

So there are two possibilities: EITHER (1) the report did not support Gleick on the origin of the fake document and the Board of the Pacific Institute is now trying to mislead the public with an evasive press release, OR (2) the Board of the Pacific Institute is extremely incompetent at writing press releases...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pacific Institute reinstates Peter Gleick – but won’t provide confirmation of the “independent investigation”
...So, there is no way to confirm the investigation even took place. Since they even refuse to name the firm, it could be entirely made up for all we know....

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Tough Guy Leaking: Iran edition
...Beyond the substance of this revelation, there is something quite notable going on here. This morning’s story by Sanger is but the latest in a long line of leaks about classified programs that have two attributes in common: (1) they come from senior Obama administration officials; and (2) they are designed to depict President Obama, in an Election Year, as a super-tough, hands-on, no-nonsense Warrior. Put another way, the administration that is pathologically fixated on secrecy and harshly punishing whistleblowers routinely leaks national security secrets when doing so can politically benefit the President.

Last year, top-level Obama officials shuffled sensitive information about the bin Laden raid to Hollywood filmmakers working on a pre-election hagiographic film, followed by TV interviews with a grateful, reverent Brian Williams in the Situation Room Where it All Happened, at the very same time they were insisting in court that the bin Laden raid was too secret to permit any disclosures. Earlier this week, The New York Times published extensive details about how President Obama has personally taken charge of deciding who will die in drone attacks — disclosures that came from “three dozen of his current and former advisers” — even as the administration has been continuously insisting that no courts can review the legality of their actions or compel any form of disclosure on the ground that even acknowledging the existence of this program would endanger national security....

How extremism is normalized
...The New York Times‘ Charlie Savage had previously reported that Obama OLC lawyers David Barron and Marty Lederman had authored a “secret document” that ”provided the justification for acting despite an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law against murder, protections in the Bill of Rights and various strictures of the international laws of war” (“The memo concluded that what was reasonable, and the process that was due, was different for Mr. Awlaki than for an ordinary criminal”). Attorney General Eric Holder then publicly claimed: “‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.” Both of those episodes sparked controversy, because of how radical of a claim it is (Stephen Colbert brutally mocked Holder’s speech: “Due Process just means: there’s a process that you do”).

But that’s the point: once something is repeated enough by government officials, we become numb to its extremism. Even in the immediate wake of 9/11 — when national fear and hysteria were intense — things like the Patriot Act, military commissions, and indefinite detention were viewed as radical departures from American political tradition; now, they just endure and are constantly renewed without notice, because they’ve just become normalized fixtures of American political life. Here we have the Obama administration asserting what I genuinely believe, without hyperbole, is the most extremist government interpretation of the Bill of Rights I’ve heard in my lifetime — that the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that the State cannot deprive you of your life without “due process of law” is fulfilled by completely secret, oversight-free “internal deliberations by the executive branch” — and it’s now barely something anyone (including me) even notices when The New York Times reports it (as the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer asked yesterday: “These Dems who think executive process is due process: Where were they when Bush‬ needed help with warrantless wiretapping?” — or his indefinite detention scheme?)...

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Doctors in Britain to strike
Doctors in Britain plan to strike on June 21, The Telegraph reports.

The British Medical Association, the union for doctors in Britain’s socialized medical system, says that doctors will postpone non-urgent operations and other nonessential appointments that day, resulting in a “very serious impact on waiting times, not only for the patients on that day but all subsequent patients in the following weeks and months,” according to the Department of Health....

Drugmakers Vowed To Campaign For Health Law, Memos Show
Drugmakers led by Pfizer (PFE) Inc. agreed to run a “very significant public campaign” bankrolling political support for the 2010 health-care law, including TV ads, while the Obama administration promised to block provisions opposed by drugmakers, documents released by Republicans show.

The internal memos and e-mails for the first time unveil the industry's plan to finance positive TV ads and supportive groups, along with providing $80 billion in discounts and taxes that were included in the law. The administration has previously denied the existence of a deal involving political support.

The documents were released today by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. They identify price controls under Medicare and drug importation as the key industry concerns, and show that former Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Kindler and his top aides were involved in drawing it up and getting support from other company executives.

“As part of our agreement, PhRMA needs to undertake a very significant public campaign in order to support policies of mutual interest to the industry and the Administration,” according to a July 14, 2009, memo from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. “We have included a significant amount for advertising to express appreciation for lawmakers’ positions on health care reform issues.”

The goal, the memo said, was to “create momentum for consensus health care reform, help it pass, and then acknowledge those senators and representatives who were instrumental in making it happen and who must remain vigilant during implementation.”...

The IPCC: Going Where No Scientist Should Go
...The next IPCC report will include a chapter that discusses gender inequality, marginalized populations, and traditional knowledge. So much for providing “rigorous…scientific information.”...

Varied Views on Extreme Weather in a Warming Climate ...The Hansen piece is policy more than it is science, to be sure, and one can read it for the former. But facts should, and do, matter to some. The vision of a Midwest Dustbowl is a scary one, and the author appears intent to instill fear rather than reason.

The article makes these additional assertions:

“The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather…”

This is patently false. Take temperature over the U.S. as an example. The variability of daily temperature over the U.S. is much larger than the anthropogenic warming signal at the time scales of local weather. Depending on season and location, the disparity is at least a factor of 5 to 10.

I think that a more scientifically justifiable statement, at least for the U.S. and extratropical land areas is that daily weather noise continues to drum out the siren call of climate change on local, weather scales.

Hansen goes on to assert that:

“Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change.”

Published scientific studies on the Russian heat wave indicate this claim to be false. Our own study on the Texas heat wave and drought, submitted this week to the Journal of Climate, likewise shows that that event was not caused by human-induced climate change. These are not de novo events, but upon scientific scrutiny, one finds both the Russian and Texas extreme events to be part of the physics of what has driven variability in those regions over the past century....

Return Of The Jedi
And now the FEMA director says:

...“Well, I’m not a meteorologist. I’m not a climate scientist, and hurricanes are cyclic,” Fugate responded. “I do know history, and if you look at history and you look at hurricane activity, there are periods of increased and decreased activity that occurs over decades,” Fugate said. “Throughout the ‘60s, ‘70s, early ‘80s, up until about ’95, the Atlantic was actually in a period of below-average activity, even though you had significant storms like Andrew, Frederic, and David.”