Demonstration on October 30 to protest the trial of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff

There will be a demonstration on October 30 in support Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, who is facing prison in Austria for publicly quoting the Koran and then criticizing what it says. The video below explains the disgusting nature of the charges against her, and how freedom of speech is under direct attack in Austria. Key quote:

“It seems that some people do not appreciate a non-Muslim quoting verbatim from the Koran. . . . Apparently you have to convert to Islam in order to quote from the Koran and not be accused of hate speech.”

You can offer support to her legal defense fund by going here. This fund is not controlled by her, and will only be used to pay her legal fees.

First ticket issued for deadly butter

Our government doing the really important work! Health officials in Baltimore have handed out their first ticket to a restaurant for not using the proper cooking recipe, as determined by the government. Key quote:

“They originally had a margarine that was above 3 grams, actually, which is very high compared to the .5 that is allowed. Then when we came back and they had replaced it, they replaced it with one that was 2 grams, so it still was too high,” [Health Department agent Juan] Gutierrez said.

And then there’s this: Fake health inspectors at restaurants on the rise.

UN treaty language threatens to ban all “climate-related geoengineering”

Treaty language being written at a United Nations conference on biodiversity is so vague it threatens to bar almost all new development. Here is the language, via Science:

8 (w) Ensure, in line and consistent with decision IX/16 C, on ocean
fertilisation and biodiversity and climate change, in the absence of science-based, global, transparent and effective control and regulatory mechanisms for geo-engineering, and in accordance with the precautionary approach and Article 14 of the Convention, that no climate-related geoengineering activities (1) that may affect biodiversity take place, until there is an adequate scientific basis on which to justify such activities and appropriate consideration of the associated risks for the environment and biodiversity and associated social, economic and cultural impacts, with the exception of small scale scientific research studies that would be conducted in a controlled setting in accordance with Article 3 of the Convention, and only if they are justified by the need to gather specific scientific data and are subject to a thorough prior assessment of the potential impacts on the environment.

(1) Without prejudice to future deliberations on the definition of geo-engineering activities, understanding that any technologies that deliberately reduce solar insolation or increase carbon sequestration from the atmosphere on a large scale that may affect biodiversity (excluding carbon capture and storage from fossil fuels when it captures carbon dioxide before it is released to the atmosphere) should be considered as forms of geoengineering which are relevant to the Convention on Biological Diversity until a more precise definition can be developed. Noting that solar insolation is defined as a measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given hour and that carbon sequestration is defined as the process of increasing the carbon contact of a reservoir/pool other than the atmosphere. [emphasis mine]

This language is so broad that, if agreed to by the United States, it could easily put almost any activity that affects the environment, including technology, business, property, recreation, or practically anything at all, under the control of UN regulators.

But wait, there’s more. The goal of this UN conference, to quote their own webpage, is to achieve “a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.” Obviously, this UN group is not merely interested in protecting the biodiversity of life on Earth, but to also redistribute the wealth so as to help poorer nations.

God help us if our government agrees to this.

Another European on trial for reporting the facts about Islam

Freedom of speech alert! Geert Wilders is not the only European on trial simply for reporting factual information about Islam and the Koran. In Vienna, Austria, feminist and anti-jihad activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff faces prison simply because she conducted “public seminars in which she described Islamic doctrine, quoted from the Koran, and explained to her listeners what she considers the dangers of Islam.” Her trial date is now set for November 23. More information can also be found at Jihad Watch.

The website Gates of Vienna has started a campaign to support Sabaditsch-Wolff, and is asking websites and bloggers worldwide to support her. I am glad to lend my voice to her cause. Any government that wants to put a citizen in jail, merely for expressing an opinion or stating facts, should be condemned as loudly as possble. If you go to the campaign site above, you can read about the history of the case in detail as well as find ways you can lend your own support. Also, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s legal defense fund can be found at .

Mark Steyn lecture squelched by Islamists and wimpy bureaucrats

Obeying the orders of local Islamic groups, a London, Ontario, convention center has refused to allow a lecture by Mark Stein. Key quote:

“The reason offered by the London Convention Centre [in a Tuesday morning phone call] was that they had received pressure from local Islamic groups, and they didn’t want to alienate their Muslim clients. It’s interesting to note that the LCC is owned by the City of London, and is therefore a government operation,” wrote Strictly Right’s Andrew Lawton at the website.

The Juan Williams firing, in his own words

The Juan Williams firing, in his own words. Key quote:

This is an outrageous violation of journalistic standards and ethics by management that has no use for a diversity of opinion, ideas or a diversity of staff (I was the only black male on the air). This is evidence of one-party rule and one sided thinking at NPR that leads to enforced ideology, speech and writing. It leads to people, especially journalists, being sent to the gulag for raising the wrong questions and displaying independence of thought.

Daniel Schorr, my fellow NPR commentator who died earlier this year, used to talk about the initial shock of finding himself on President Nixon’s enemies list. I can only imagine Dan’s revulsion to realize that today NPR treats a journalist who has worked for them for ten years with less regard, less respect for the value of independence of thought and embrace of real debate across political lines, than Nixon ever displayed.

As I said yesterday, defund them.

Closing caves for the convenience and power of the government

A variety of federal government agencies are moving aggressively to shut down human access to all American caves, including those on private property. Key quote:

In Wisconsin, where white nose syndrome has not yet appeared, wildlife managers want to get a jump on the disease by declaring G. destructans [the fungus associated with the syndrome] an invasive species, and declaring four species of bats threatened. Those designations would give wildlife agencies access to new sources of funds. They would also “give police power to the agencies to go onto private land to prevent damage to these newly named threatened species,” said [Peter] Youngbaer, [white nose syndrome liaison for the National Speleological Society]. “We fear that private landowners will be fearful of allowing even inadvertent access to caves, and thus move to seal caves shut. They’ll be causing more damage to the bats that they’re ostensibly trying to protect.” [emphasis mine]

As a caver, I not only have a strong personal interest in this story, I know a lot about bats and caves from personal experience. As a science writer who has also written about white nose syndrome for Science, I am also very familiar with the present state of the science. Based on this background, I find the actions of these government officials unconscionable. As one commenter to this article very correctly noted:

“There is currently *no* evidence that humans have spread this disease, but mountains of evidence for bat-to-bat transmission. The possibility does exist that humans *could* spread it, but even at its worst a human vector would be quite statistically insignificant in comparison to the bat-to-bat transmission.

In other words, closing all caves to human access can accomplish no good, and a great deal of harm. Yet, this is exactly what these government officials and environmental bureaucrats wish to do.

Back in March 2008, soon after white nose syndrome was discovered, I wrote the following:

I am beginning to believe strongly that the situation has worrisome political overtones linked to the unstated desire of some people to limit access to caves. . . . Some people are distorting the situation for their own purposes, either consciously or unconsciously. . . . Some of those people might have an agenda (closing caves to cavers) that is entirely irrelevant to the issue of white nose.

The article above only serves to confirm my opinions from 2008. The government officials who are demanding the indiscriminate closure of caves and the unfettered control over caves on private property are not really interested in protecting or saving the bats. In fact, their actions might actually do great harm to the bats, as the closures, the regulatory restrictions, and the threat to private property will antagonize both cavers and landowners, thus guaranteeing their unwillingness to cooperate with scientists.

So what do these government officials want? As far as I can tell, what they really want is power. And they are using white nose syndrome as a hammer to gain it.

Sadly, I fear that they are going to succeed. Today’s environmental laws are rigged to their advantage. The press is generally on their side. And the opposition to this power grab is diffuse and weak.

Once again, we see the death of freedom. And it dies, not by a single devastating blow, but by the death of a thousand cuts.

Chinese embargo of rare earth minerals expands

China is expanding its embargo on exporting rare earth minerals, blocking shipments to Japan, Europe and the United States. Key quote:

China mines 95 percent of the world’s rare earth elements, which have broad commercial and military applications, and are vital to the manufacture of products as diverse as cellphones, large wind turbines and guided missiles. Any curtailment of Chinese supplies of rare earths is likely to be greeted with alarm in Western capitals, particularly because Western companies are believed to keep much smaller stockpiles of rare earths than Japanese companies.

Chicago mainstream reporters threaten reporter asking tough questions of Emanuel

Updated and bumped.The police have now issued an arrest warrent against reporter Jay Levin. (This is based on his behavior in the video below. He is the reporter in the red wind breaker, threatening another reporter, William Kelly, who was asking tough questions of Rahm Emanuel.) Key quote:

This morning, I [William Kelly] filed a police report and signed an arrest warrant against Jay Levine for assault. The Chicago police have already reviewed the video and agreed that an assault was committed.

Is there no wonder people joke about a “state-run” media? Here, Chicago mainstream reporters threaten a reporter when he tries to ask Rahm Emanuel some tough questions. More here. Best line from CBS reporter Jay Levin:

Let him finish or I’m going to deck you!

Watch the whole video. The good stuff begins at around one minute.

Sorry that much of today’s posts relate to politics and not science or space. I can only follow the news where it takes me.

Two Democratic candidates try to silence their opposition

Freedom of speech alert! Rather than debate their opponents, two Democratic House candidates are trying to shut them up.

In the first case, incumbent Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) is trying to use election laws to block an anti-abortion group from putting up billboards against him. Ed Morrissey at has more details.

In the second case, incumbent Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pennsylvania) is trying to get radio stations to pull the radio ads of another anti-abortion group which attack her for her healthcare vote.

In both cases, the Democratic candidates voted for the Healthcare bill, and seem to want to hide that fact now from the voters. Not only does this illustrate the contempt they have of freedom of speech, it shows us just how toxic the healthcare bill has become politically. I suspect that this law is going to dog the Democrats who voted for it for years to come.

Climate Talks in China Limp Toward Deadlock

Thank god for small blessings. The climate talks in China this past week are limping towards a deadlock, with no new agreements. It appears that the biggest problem are disagreements between China and the U.S.

Personally, I love how this quote from the article so nicely illustrates the totalitarian nature of many climate activists and their organizations:

Currently, the World Resources Institute is proposing the White House abandon legislative means and rely on the existing Clean Air Act to make emissions reductions administratively.

In other words, if the elected Congress of the United States is unwilling to pass restrictions (because a majority of the people of the United States oppose them), then the government should ignore the people’s wishes and impose those restrictions, without permission.

Ugh. The less power these environmental dictators have, the better for everyone else.

We won’t release our contributors because the adminstration will then harass them

Is this how a government in a free society functions? The Chamber of Commerce won’t release its contributors because they fear the administration will harass and threaten them. And they have experience to back that fear up. Key quote:

What this administration wants is a list of who the companies are who are contributors, and we saw last year . . .when we very publicly ran ads against the Patients Protections and Affordable Care Act . . . there was an attempt to try and find out who were the corporations that were contributing to that effort. When some of those corporate names were divulged, not by us, by others, what did they receive? They received protests, they received threats, they were intimidated, they were harassed, they had to hire additional security, they were recipients of a host of proxies leveled at those companies that had nothing to do with the purpose of those companies. So we know what the purpose here is. It’s to harass and intimidate. [emphasis mine]

That the White House and President Obama are right now willing to accuse their opponents of all manner of evils (taking money from foreign governments) without any evidence is further evidence that there are reasons to fear them.

Geert Wilder’s words make Muslims uncomfortable

How sad. The harsh words that Dutch politician Geert Wilder has for Islam (now facing prison for saying those words) is making Muslims in the Netherlands feel unsafe. Key quote:

“My family and I no longer feel safe in the Netherlands because Mr. Wilders is continually making hateful remarks about Islamic Dutch people,” said one complaint read out by the judge.

Gee. What about the more than 16,000 violent attacks committed by Islamic terrorists since September 11, 2001, leaving tens of thousands of people dead or maimed? How does this violence make these Dutch Muslims feel?

It’s okay to kill suffering children says UK journalist

Seems to be a lot of this kind of genocidal thought going around: A columnist for the Independent in Great Britain admitted in an October 4th interview that she considers it a kind act to kill a suffering child. Key quote:

“[I] think that if I were a mother of a suffering child, I would be the first to want I mean a deeply suffering child I would be the first one to put a pillow over its face, as I would with any suffering thing and I think the difference is that my feeling of horror, suffering is many greater than my feeling of getting rid of a couple of cells because suffering can go on for years,” Ironside said.

Watch out for those toxic paper clips!

The bureaucracy marches on! The Consumer Product Safety Commission wants the manufacturers of kids’ science kits to test the paper clips in those kits for lead and other toxic chemicals, even if the paper clips were purchased in an ordinary office supply store. Key quote

“It is crazy that the Hands-On Science Partnership needs to be concerned about doing lead tests on products purchased at an office supply store and then packaged into a science teaching kit for use with children,” Commissioner Nancy Nord wrote on her blog. “Even crazier is the fact that if a teacher buys the same paper clip at the same store and uses it for the same science teaching project, it’s okay.”

To me, this quote is even more disturbing:

Commissioners insist the regulations will not ban science kits and would be applied on a case-by-case basis. [emphasis mine]

In other words, the regulation will not be applied objectively, but subjective, at the whim of the regulators. Every product of every manufacturer will have to get the Commission’s approval before it can be sold.

If that isn’t a mandate for mischief, I don’t know what is.

Iranian blogger sentenced to 20 years

So, how does this prove that Islam is the religion of peace? In Iran today a blogger was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Key quote:

Hossein Derakhshan was “convicted of cooperating with enemy states, making propaganda against the Islamic system of government, promoting small anti-revolutionary groups, managing obscene web sites and insulting Islamic sanctities,”

It appears that Derakhshan’s worst crime might have been to visit Israel, though speaking freely in an Islamic state might also have been considered blasphemous.

Only one step short of tyranny

Obama is asking the court for the right to assassinate American citizens, without due process, and in total secret. Key quote:

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality. But what’s most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is “state secrets”: in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate their legality. [emphasis in original]

The Bush administration was wrong when it tried to imprison an American citizen without trial. The Obama administration is even more wrong now to claim it has the right to kill an American citizen without trial. Such behavior is unconscionable.

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