Origins of the AGW Hoax
Ruminations on Politics, Culture, History and Religion
Thank Heaven: A Memoir by Leslie Caron (2009)
Two books for today's entry:
Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam by J.M. Berger (2011) is an interesting tale that explores the phenomenon of terrorist recruitment in the US. A few of the cases, most notably that of Anwar Awlaki, are known to even casual followers of the news, but the presence of an American citizen at the founding of Al Qaeda is one of the lesser known cases covered in Berger's book. Peshawar is a long way from Kansas City, but Mohammed Loay Bayazid, known to his colleagues in the Afghan War against the Soviets as Abu Rida Al Suri, made the journey and distinguished himself sufficiently in the fighting in Afghanistan to be an insider when Al Qaeda was funded in Pakistan in 1988.
Climategate: A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes the Global Warming Scam by Brian Sussman is a good introduction to the subject, presenting the scientific evidence which the Climate Change lobby tries to suppress in a not-too-technical way. Drawing on two decaddes as an award-winning TV meteorologist and science reporter and his subsequent career as a radio talk show host, Sussman presents the case put forward for anthropogenic global warming and points out flaws in the data and the logic, as well as the conspiracy of outright fraud unveiled in 2009 by the leak of emails from one of the leading centers of research in this field, the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anlia. The technical stuff like the limitations of global temperature monitoring by various methods, the composition of the atmosphere and the relative efficiency of thos components in trapping heat in the atmoshere are covered, as well as the coral, polar bears and other "evidence" cited by Al Gore and the other hystericl voices on the Left. The last third of the book veers into some more or less related topics like energy policy, the "Smart Grid" and sutainable deelopment and discusses how false science is used to promote a coordinated attack on liberty.
Today marks the anniversary of the vote in Congress by which the colonies jointly asserted their status as independent states. Two days later Congress adopted a formal statement justifying that action - the Declaration of Independence. Here is how John Adams described the significance of July 2nd in a letter to his wife Abigail the next day:
"The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not."
Strictly speaking, the two books I describe today are not about terror as a tactic or the so-called Global War on Terror (GWOT). Where they seem to me to intersect is in providing very different points of view on the subject from whence the terror threat to the West arises. Racing Toward Armageddon: The Three Great Religions and the Plot to End the World by Michael Baigent (2009) is about as strident and intemperate as the title suggests. I picked up a copy for a buck at our new Dollar Tree store recently as well as a scifi novel about nanotechnology, Leslie Caron’s autobiography, and a memoir about the 2009 Obama campaign. [Expect more on that last one in a subsequent post, but not too soon.] Conspiracy theorists will be disappointed that Baigent’s thesis doesn’t come close to living up to the promises of the sub-title. There is no plot by any of the three leading monotheist faiths and certainly no single plot uniting them – at least Baigent offers no evidence of any such plot. Rather, what Baigent describes are the apocalyptic visions of what he terms “fundamentalist” tendencies within each of three distinct religious traditions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam - and his conclusion that they are moving the world toward massive armed conflict. I do not claim to know nearly as much about Judaism and Islam, but I do know a bit about Christianity and here Baigent shows himself to be either ignorant or disingenuous on a few key points. Most strikingly, he lumps in with Tim LaHaye, and the nonsense peddled by LaHaye’s “Left Behind” fantasies, LaHaye’s most profound critics. Baigent also glosses over any distinction between signs of the end times and commands to believers. That is, not all signs of the end are things that believers are commanded to bring about. This is closely related to his failure to distinguish timing of events precedent to the end that are within the control of believers. For example, many Shia scholars teach that human actions can trigger the appearing of the Mahdi whereas most Christian commentators take seriously Jesus words that the timing of the end is entirely within the control of God. In his concluding chapter, Baigent offers what he seems to think is a way out, a way to avoid the coming catastrophe contemplated by the ascendant fundamentalists. What he offers, however, does not seem to me to be serious; but judge this for yourself: “Is it not time to accept that the Middle Eastern experiment with one God has failed, that it is leading us slowly but surely along a path to conflict and destruction?” Against this, he commends Sufi Islam, Jewish Kabbalah (and its Christian variant Cabala), as well as Catholic veneration of saints like Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. So, not a book about terror, per se; but it does offer some insights into the nature of the religious and cultural milieu from which terror springs. Now we’ll turn to another of those books I picked up cheap from WND.com – United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror (2009) by Jamie Glazov. Glazov leads his readers through nearly a hundred years of what, if the subject weren’t so serious, I would call tyrant tourism. Like the less strenuous eco-tourism, this is a leftist pastime that serves both to celebrate the tourist for his understanding of the problem and laud the object of his pilgrimage as a reproach to his own society. From praising Stalin amidst the starvation of the Kulaks and the Purge Trials through their adoration of Mao during his Great Leap Forward and Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and on to the present, Glazov documents the parade of useful idiots, fellow travelers and party faithful who have journeyed far to see the beast close up and to praise it. This is an oft-told tale. What Glazov adds is that the enthusiasm for this sort of thing is in direct proportion to the brutality of the revolution on display at a given time and place. Glazov goes on to document how, as the steam ran out of the Soviet Union and the Chinese turned toward a sort of mixed economy, the opportunities for pilgrimages to communist regimes was limited and the internationalist Left turned more of its affections toward radical Muslim causes such as the Iranian revolution and the Palestinian struggle against Israel. Here, again, the bloodier the conflict, the more attractive to these tourists. I can’t do justice to Glazov’s arguments in a paragraph or two. Suffice it to say that he lays out a very persuasive case that communist and Islamist revolutions intersect at several points including murder and rape as matters of policy and their fans amount to participants in cults of violence. Highly recommended!