Waterboarding saved American lives, so Obama opposes it

According to Gateway Pundit, waterboarding does work after all:

According to a former intelligence agent, waterboarding of terrorist Abu Zubaydah got him to talk in less than 35 seconds. The technique, which critics say is torture, probably disrupted “dozens” of planned al-Qaida attacks and saved hundreds and thousands of lives. The CIA also confirmed that waterboarding 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed led to information that prevented a similar attack on Los Angeles.

…The CIA confirmed that waterboarding of 9/11 mastermind Led to Info that aborted 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

The details on the prevention of that Los Angeles attack are provided by CNS News. (H/T Hot Air)

The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) — including the use of waterboarding — caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”

According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack — which KSM called the “Second Wave”– planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”

Hot Air fills in some more of the details:

…the [CIA] remains tenacious in insisting that waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh, and Abu Zubaydah saved American lives.  CNS News reports that the CIA stands by its 2005 memo describing how those interrogations stopped another 9/11-scale attack:

KSM initially resisted all other interrogation procedures, right up to the waterboard.  He insisted that Americans did not have the necessary resolve to get information out of him, and that we would only know about the next plot when it killed hundreds, if not thousands again.  Only after the waterboard did KSM cough up the information on the “second wave” attacks, and the CIA and other national-security agencies stopped it.

But nevermind the good results of counter-terrorism programs and policies. Obama needs to appease the special interest groups who elected him! How will he do that?

The left-wing BBC reports that Obama may prosecute the authors of the counter-terrorism policies: (H/T Gateway Pundit)

US President Barack Obama has left open the possibility of prosecuting officials who wrote CIA memos allowing harsh interrogation methods.

It would be up to the attorney general whether to prosecute, Mr Obama said.

The memos detailed the range of techniques the CIA could use for questioning terror suspects.

Mr Obama had said he would not use anti-torture laws to prosecute CIA personnel who relied in good faith on legal opinions issued after 9/11.

The BBC’s James Coomarasamy in Washington says the president’s comments marked a change of tone amid growing pressure from the Democratic Party not to rule out potential prosecutions.

Well, prosecuting counter-terrorism experts is one thing, but that may not be enough to appease Michael Moore and the rest of the high school dropouts in Hollywood.

Gateway Pundit reports that Obama won’t rule out prosecuting George W. Bush either, because protected America too much:

Video here:

Gateway Pundit reported a few days ago that Dick Cheney, a serious statesman, has asked the Obama regime to declassify the details of the attacks that were stopped by waterboarding, but so far Obama has declined to do so. I guess he doesn’t want the American people to know the realities of national security decision-making in the 21st century.

Should we really have elected an ACORN lawyer who is tougher on counter-terrorists than on actual terrorists? Remember these things when the 2010 elections come around.

UPDATE: More about Obama’s defense spending cuts, including cuts of missile defense programs, is here. This post also talks about his appeasement of aggressors such as North Korea and Iran as they go nuclear.

UPDATE: A total of THREE terrorists were waterboarded during the time the policy was in place.

Jobless rate climbs in 46 states

Wall Street Journal has the story here.

Excerpt:

The state-by-state employment figures showed only a few states avoiding the deterioration seen nationwide. Unemployment rose in 46 states during the month, and 12 states plus the District of Columbia posted unemployment rates in March that were significantly higher than the 8.5% nationwide figure the government released earlier this month.

The chief economist for California’s finance department, Howard Roth, said the state’s unemployment rate hasn’t been this high since reaching 11.7% in January 1941. The highest level on record in California is 14.7% in October 1940, he said.

…Most economists expect job losses across all U.S. nonfarm employers to continue in April at or near the rapid pace seen in March, when 663,000 jobs disappeared.

Here’s WSJ’s map of the numbers. Click the map for more details.

March year-over-year unemployment
March year-over-year unemployment

So much for socialism hope and change.

Conservatives in Ontario defend free speech

Political Map of Canada
Political Map of Canada

BC isn’t the only province where conservatives are fighting back against progressive threats to fundamental rights. Ontario, (contains Toronto and Ottawa), has one of the other really bad provincial Human Rights Commissions, and provincial representatives Lisa MacLeod and Randy Hillier on the case in that benighted province.

Here’s an assessment of MacLeod and Hillier from free-speech superhero Ezra Levant: (H/T The Western Standard)

Hillier, along with fellow PC MPP Lisa Macleod, have been leading the charge to reform Ontario’s HRCs. They were the ones who pressed for public hearings at which Tribunal appointees would be grilled — which led to some scary revelations about the censorious instincts of that panel. And he also was part of the team (led by Macleod) who brought Mark Steyn to Queen’s Park to testify about the kangaroo court nature of the OHRC.

Levant is referring to her questioning of Mark Steyn regarding the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. The full transcript is here, courtesy of Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs. This is about as strong a defense of free speech as you’ll ever see, folks. And it’s a warning to the consequences of electing progressives who do not trust you to exercise your own free will, lest you hurt someone’s feelings.

Here is a little of Mark Steyn’s opening speech from the hearing:

Mr. Mark Steyn: The present Ontario human rights regime is incompatible with a free society. It is useless on real human rights issues that we face today and, in the course of such pseudo human rights, as the human right to smoke marijuana on someone else’s property or the human right to a transsexual labioplasty, in the course of those pseudo-rights it tramples on real human rights including property rights, free speech, the right to due process and the presumption of innocence. Far from reducing racism or sexism, the Ontario human rights regime explicitly institutionalizes racism and sexism through its inability to view any dispute except through the narrow prism of identity politics. It’s at odds not just with eight centuries of this province’s legal inheritance, but with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Canada likes that one so much, it sticks it on the back of the $50 bill, even though Ontario’s human rights regime is in sustained, systemic breach of article 6, article 7, articles 8 to 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 21 and 27 of the UN declaration. The good news is that Ontario’s not in violation of as many articles as Sudan or North Korea.

All are equal before the law and are entitled, without any discrimination, to equal protection of the law. That’s article 7. It’s not true in Ontario. Last year, the Ontario Human Rights Commission effectively gave Maclean’s and myself a driveby verdict. They couldn’t be bothered taking us to trial but they decided to pronounce us guilty anyway. That neglects the most basic principle of justice: Audi alteram partem, hear the other side. Chief commissar Barbara Hall didn’t bother hearing the other side; she simply declared us guilty. That is the very defining act of a police state: an apparatchik announcing that a citizen is guilty of dissent from state orthodoxy.

But here’s the point: Maclean’s and I have no fear of Barbara Hall, the commission or the tribunal. You’re welcome to try and do your worst to us. We have deep pockets, we pushed back and we filled the newspapers with stories about all these wacky cases that Barbara Hall and others are so obsessed about. Like all tinpot bullies, the commission couldn’t take the heat and backed down. But if you’re just a fellow who happens to own a restaurant in Burlington, the Ontario human rights regime will destroy your savings, your business, your life for no good reason. The verdict’s irrelevant; the process is the punishment.

He is saying this about a tribunal run by fascist progressive inquisitors hell-bent on ramming their values down the throats of individuals. And here is an excerpt from MacLeod’s questioning of Steyn:

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Welcome to our committee Mr. Steyn. During the summer, this committee convened to interview and review the 22 vice-chairs and the 22 members of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and throughout that process your case, Maclean’s vs. the Ontario Human Rights Commission, as well as what happened in British Columbia to you as well as what happened federally to you was front and centre on our minds. Consistently throughout that process I asked questions of the deputants, those seeking to be appointed to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, if they believed free press trumped discrimination or vice versa. One of the deputants actually responded. Today, earlier, I asked the same question to the chair of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. He responded and said that neither trumps either. I would like your view on that, because it follows sort of a logical set of questions that I have which are next with respect to freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

Mr. Mark Steyn: With respect to the witness this morning, that has become a standard equivocation at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. Whenever tribunal judges take away individual human rights they do so under the guise of what they call balancing competing rights. So for example, going back to the Scott Brockie case, they claim to be balancing his right to freedom of religion with the right of the gay people seeking printed materials to be free from discrimination. In practice they almost never balance those rights. They always defer to collective rights, group rights in favour of individual rights. I’m an absolutist on this. I agree with the view that the ultimate minority is the individual and classically, historically, common law has been entirely antipathetic to group rights, because who can speak for a group? Who can speak for a group? The notion of group rights should be an abomination to a settled democracy as old as this province.

As an aside, Lisa MacLeod is also fighting polygamy in Ontario. (H/T Blue Like You)

I hope that the Canadian conservatives at every level of government turn this into an election issue, in order to draw libertarians away from the other parties. These Human Rights Commissions are the darlings of secular left-wing politically correct fascists, and they can’t stand the idea of their totalitarian censorship seeing the light of day.

This article is a follow-up to yesterday’s article about free speech efforts in British Columbia.

Why is critical evaluation of Darwinism not permitted in the public square?

UPDATE: Welcome Post-Darwinist readers! Thanks for the link Denyse!

UPDATE: Welcome visitors from 4Simpsons! Thanks for the link!

No one doubts what can be proved in the lab or in the fossil record about the ability of organisms to adapt to their environment. Finch beak sizes can change, bacteria can become resistant, etc. Perhaps even some limited “speciation” between ancestors due to geographic isolation. But that isn’t what Darwinism-skeptics object to. We object to naturalistic accounts of the origin of life and to macro-evolution.

But Darwinism, like global warming, is one of those beliefs that is long on faith and short on evidence. And the way you can tell that you’re being sold a pig in a poke is by taking a look at how welcoming Darwinists are to debate. Do they organize public debates and publish books with their opponents? Or do they simply have them fired and black-listed from the academy? Let’s talk a look at the data.

The case of NPR media bias

Here is an interesting article from Evolution News by ID proponent Casey Luskin. Casey was interviewed by the government-run, taxpayer-funded National Public Radio, regarding the recent decision favoring critical thinking in science by the Texas Board of Education.

Casey writes:

Last week I did an interview with an NPR reporter, Bob Garfield, for his NPR show “On the Media” about the recent Texas decision…

The interview started with benign questions about the recent decision of the Texas State Board of Education to welcome scientific critique of evolution into the curriculum. This quickly descended into various “how dare you” type questions, about whether this was all a plot by the “Religious Right” to insert religion into public schools, and why I rejected all the fossil and cosmological evidence that shows the universe isn’t 10,000 years old. “Huh?,” I replied. I quickly informed Mr. Garfield that not only do we oppose advocating religion in science classrooms, but that I’m not a young earth creationist, and that the debate in Texas has never been about young earth creationism. The new Texas Science Standards only require scientific critical analysis of evolution, and in no way shape or form invited biblical creationism or religion into the classroom.

Mr. Garfield was also reminded that many of the 13 members of the Texas State Board of Education who voted for the new science standards both professed to accept evolution and stridently opposed the teaching of creationism, and thus it would seem highly unlikely that the new Texas standards were a “Trojan horse” for teaching religion. Nonetheless, the final story favorably quoted members of the evolution lobby saying this is all a ruse for creationism.

How familiar is the left-wing elite media with the 700+ scientists who dissent from Darwinism? Not so much:

But during our interview, having lost his argument that the new Texas Science Standards were a conspiracy to bring religion into the curriculum, Garfield shifted our conversation to the science. Again, he asked various “How dare you?” type questions, making assertions like virtually “100%” of scientists accept evolution, or that evolution comprised the unchallengeable “consensus,” or that there is no fossil evidence that challenges evolution. I reminded him that a critical mass of well-credentialed scientists in fact don’t support neo-Darwinian evolution, and that a number of Ph.D. biologists testified in Texas about scientific weaknesses in evolution. He then accused me of cherry-picking data because, outside of the Texas hearings, he asserted that essentially the “universe” of scientists support evolution. Not true, I told him. I replied that while surely majority of scientists do support evolution, there are credible scientists who dissent from it–hundreds of Ph.D.s in fact–and that there are plenty of discussions of doubts about core claims of neo-Darwinism in the scientific literature. I also discussed some of the reasons for these doubts-ranging from the inability of empirical evidence of natural selection to be extrapolated to bolster the grand claims of neo-Darwinism to the lack of confirming fossil evidence.

And the result of this cloistered, close-minded, intolerant, bigoted, echo-chamber caricature of evolution critics?

Mr. Garfield’s reply to my discussion of the science was that we were getting outside of his field, and he cut all of my discussions of the scientific weaknesses in neo-Darwinism from the final story. There’s no shame in him not knowing much about science, but it’s troubling that despite his self-professed ignorance on the science, he acted like he knew for a fact that skeptics of Darwinian evolution had no scientific basis should be treated like crazy religious fanatics.

But isn’t the left-wing elite media right to think that opposition to evolution is entirely from Bible-thumping, snake-handling, shotgun-toting, pick-up-truck driving rednecks?

As a last ditch attempt to discredit Darwin-doubters, Garfield compared teaching critique of evolution to teaching Holocaust denial. I replied that not only is there a world of difference between the two (hundreds of serious Ph.D. scientists doubt neo-Darwinism, and one cannot find such credibility supporting something as pernicious as Holocaust denial!), but I also told him that given that I (as well as many other Darwin-skeptics) am Jewish and had close friends impacted by the Holocaust, his comparison was not just fallacious, but out-of-line. I mentioned that even more scientists would come out of the closet to express their doubts about evolution were it not for the intolerance in the scientific community towards dissent from Darwinism. His reply was to twist my position into allegedly arguing that scientists don’t really believe in evolution, they’re just forced to pledge allegiance to it due to pressure.

I replied that this was not at all what I was saying, because of course a great many scientists harbor purely bona fide scientific support for evolution. My point was that were it not for the climate of intolerance, we’d see far more doubters and skeptics breaking their silence. However, in the final story, Garfield apparently sliced and diced my response so that it sounded like I affirmed his assertion that any “consensus” over evolution is the result of intimidation, when that is not at all how I responded to his question and false characterization of my views.

The article goes to explain how NPR cited a well-known critic Ken Miller of intelligent as an authority on intelligent design, despite the fact that he elementary errors on obvious details about the ID research program. I recommend reading the entire article, as it explains a lot about leftism and their propensity for group-think, censorship and fascism.

When he isn’t misleading his readers about historical facts, even Richard Dawkins allows that the first living system may have been intelligently designed by aliens. But those aliens must have evolved. How does Dawkins know that? Even without looking at the evidence, they must evolved, because of Dawkins’ anti-science faith in materialism. Evidence is irrelevant once you pre-suppose materialism, on faith.

So how did the Darwinists win then?

The same way that they’ve been winning on global warming alarmism. By avoiding a fair, open debate on the merits!

First, by intimidation, censorship and ridicule of anyone who opposes them. To say that their treatment of skeptics is like McCarthyism would be a tremendous insult to McCarthy. These are fact-averse fideistic fascists, plain and simple. If they had the evidence, they wouldn’t be firing peope left, right and center in the academy – they would be welcoming public debates.

Consider the case of Caroline Crocker. Here is video clip 1 of 6:

Second, by deliberate deception. Jonathan Wells’ book “Icons of Evolution”, showed multiple serious inaccuracies in the way that Darwinism is presented in textbooks. To take just one, the images of Haeckel’s embryos used in textbooks are fraudulent and have known to be so for decades! And this fraud is debunked in the highest research journals, like Science and Nature.

Consider this one example from Science: (Science 5 September 1997: Vol. 277. no. 5331, p. 1435)

[Abstract:] Using modern techniques, a British researcher has photographed embryos like those pictured in the famous, century-old drawings by Ernst Haeckel–proving that Haeckel’s images were falsified. Haeckel once admitted to his peers that he doctored the drawings, but that confession was forgotten.

Third, by judicial activism. Since Darwinists cannot win a debate on the evidence, in the public square, the next best thing is to win by judicial fiat. Judges typically have no relevant qualifications, either in science or in philosophy of science. They can also be intimidated by peer-pressure to conform to the opinions of the elite, regardless of the evidence.

Conclusion

The reason why critical evaluation of Darwinism is not permitted in the public square by Darwinists is because they would lose the debate. I will be posting a few of the debates that have occurred between faith-based Darwinists and their fact-based critics later in the week, and you will be able to see how well their case for naturalistic evolution holds up.

Further study

Here are posts on cosmological argument and the fine-tuning argument.

UPDATE: How well do Darwinists do in debates: Michael Shermer vs Steven Meyer.

How teacher’s unions make war on charter schools

Story here in the Wall Street Journal. (H/T The Heritage Foundation and Independent Women’s Forum)

Let’s see what Jay P. Greene has to say about charter schools:

In New York, for example, the unions have backed a new budget that effectively cuts $51.5 million from charter-school funding, even as district-school spending can continue to increase thanks to local taxes and stimulus money that the charters lack. New York charters already receive less money per pupil than their district school counterparts; now they will receive even less.

When I was a young man, I dreamed of becoming a prosecuting attorney or English teacher. (Software engineering was my third choice). But the political activism of left-wing teacher unions, and their opposition to merit-pay, stopped me from becoming a teacher. I always think of unions as a form of adult day-care, insulated from real world competition and consumer needs.

Unions are also seeking to strangle charter schools with red tape. New York already has the “card check” unionization procedure for teachers that replaces secret ballots with public arm-twisting. And the teachers unions appear to have collected enough cards to unionize the teachers at two highly successful charter schools in New York City. If unions force charters to enter into collective bargaining, one can only imagine how those schools will be able to maintain the flexible work rules that allow them to succeed.

…Eva Moskowitz, former chair of the New York City Council education committee and now a charter school operator, has characterized this new push against charters as a “backlash” led by “a union-political-educational complex that is trying to halt progress and put the interests of adults above the interests of children.”

…When charter schools unionize, they become identical to traditional public schools in performance. Unions may say they support charter schools, but they only support charters after they have stripped them of everything that makes charters different from district schools.

And why does school-choice matter?

In New York City, Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby found that students accepted by lottery to charter schools were significantly outpacing the academic progress of their peers who lost the lottery and were forced to return to district schools.

Florida State economist Tim Sass and colleagues found that middle-school students at charters in Florida and Chicago who continued into charter high schools were significantly more likely to graduate and go on to college than their peers who returned to district high schools because charter high schools were not available.

The most telling study is by Harvard economist Tom Kane about charter schools in Boston. It found that students accepted by lottery at independently operated charter schools significantly outperformed students who lost the lottery and returned to district schools. But students accepted by lottery at charters run by the school district with unionized teachers experienced no benefit.

I highly recommend you read the whole article, as Greene is a respected authority on education policy. In case you missed my recent article on Obama’s cancelling of vouchers, check it out here.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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