Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

31 March 2009

Using the Clean Air Act to Destroy the Economy

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has been doing some good work in exposing the problems of irrational environmentalism and the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming fraud. I would like to point your attention to an interesting article on how the environmentalists are opposing all new energy projects, including alternative energy projects being pushed at great expense by Obama and the Democrat Congress. It also goes on to describe some of the consequences to be expected after the EPA rules that CO2 is a pollutant and is therefore going to require heavy regulation.

Steyn: Regulation, globally speaking, Crisis used to put Government in the Driver's Seat

Mark Steyn has written a very powerful commentary on how Obama and the Democrat Congress have used the economic crises to shift control of the private sector into the hands of government. Obama has written in the Chicago Tribune "But I also know that we need not choose between a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism and an oppressive government-run economy. That is a false choice which will not serve our people or any people." Steyn replies to this itself is a false choice, that Obama has made oppressive government the only game in town.

He points out that federal spending is to increase to 28.5% of GDP this year. This is higher than ever before in our history, except in WWII. Obama plans to double our national debt in the next 6 years and to triple it in the next 10 years. Steyn says that the government is annexing our economy and in the process our very lives. Every business, no matter how small, will face the burden of more permits, more paperwork, and more bureaucracy.

And, he says do not think you can move out from under the jurisdiction of this overweening government. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, our favorite tax evader, is calling for global regulation at the G20 summit in London this week. He does not want people and companies to be able to look for new locations with fewer regulations and lower taxes. Steyn replies
Just as a matter of interest -- why not? If you don't want to be subject to punitive "oversight" of economically illiterate, demagogic legislators-for-life like Rep. Barney Frank, Massachussetts Democrat, why shouldn't you be "allowed" to move your business to some jurisdiction with a lighter regulatory touch?
Steyn points out that even Bono, the global do-gooder, has moved much of his business from low tax Ireland to the Netherlands, where taxes are even lower for him. Of course, Geithner himself does not have a history of paying his taxes.
If you listen to the principal spokesmen for U.S. economic policy -- Mr. Obama and Mr. Geithner -- they grow daily ever more explicitly hostile to the private sector and ever more comfortable with the language of micromanaged, government-approved capitalism. That, of course, isn't capitalism at all. They'll have an easier time getting away with it in a world of "global oversight" where there's nowhere to move to.
But then he adds:
Think about it: It takes extraordinary skill to create and manage a billion-dollar company; there are very few human beings on Earth who can do it. Now look at Mr. Obama and Mr. Geithner, the two men currently "managing" more money than any individuals in human history -- not billions, but trillions of dollars.
He then discusses the Bolsheviks inability to manage even the simple agricultural society in their tragic experiment of the last century. He points out how much more daunting managing the American economy with its much greater complexity, extent, and international ties and dependencies would be. Can Geithner, who cannot do his own taxes, be expected to do this? Well, no! Emphatically no!

He then describes Obama as uninterested in economics. Obama is a social engineer, a community organizer. Period. His plan to remove the tax deduction for charitable giving for the wealthy was born of nothing more than a desire to put the government and only the government in control of all charity. His plans for socialized health care, a green economy, and universal college education are likewise only about extending the control of government.

But this all costs money and the government does not have it. Last week, the similarly pressed British government, could not sell its "gilt-edged" 40-year bonds at auction. Germany has had two such bond auctions fail. The U.S. could not sell $34 billion of 5-year bonds until it increased the interest rate. There simply is no source of funding large enough to buy the bonds which must be issued to cover our projected debts. The Chinese and the Saudis cannot do it at these levels.

Steyn concludes:
In their first two months, Mr. Obama and Mr. Geithner have done nothing but vaporize your wealth and your children's future. What began as an economic crisis is now principally a political usurpation. And, to return to the president's "false choice", that "chaotic and unforgiving capitalism" is exactly what we need right now. It's the quickest, cheapest, fairest, most efficient route to economic stabilization and renewal. A regimented and eternally forgiving global command economy with no moral hazard will destroy us all.
How many times have I made this same point? But, it is good to have Steyn on the same page with me. I think that younger Americans are going to learn a very important lesson on the superiority of Capitalism, lessons their state-managed educations have withheld from them. Unfortunately, they will be paying dearly for this lesson the rest of their lives. Their idol Obama has proven, as it was clear he would to any rational observer with some knowledge of history, that he is nothing but a craven idol.

30 March 2009

Obama's Carbon Tax is Fading

Donald Lambro believes that Obama's anti-fossil fuel carbon cap-and-trade tax on all Americans will not pass Congress. Democratic Congressmen from the Midwest, which has many coal-fired power plants and factories, are turning against the idea as they realize that their constituents are not as interested in the environment as they are in economic growth. Gallup Poll asked Americans last week if given the choice between economic growth and environmental protection, 51% of Americans would now give growth priority even if the environment suffers somewhat.

Obama had been counting on the cap-and-trade tax to pay for his middle-class tax cuts after 2010 and for funding alternative energy research and development projects. He may lose the means to fund his cockamamie alternative energy dreams, but from the start of his administration he has consistently taken actions to hurt the oil and coal industries and everyone who uses oil and coal. He has increased regulations and taxes on these industries already. His $4 trillion budget is full of anti-fossil fuel provisions designed to increase energy costs, kill jobs in the oil, gas, and coal industries, and to make us more dependent upon foreign oil. Obama has shut down all efforts to increase oil and gas exploration, development, and production. He has denied permits to drill for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico and shut down hopes of doing so in ANWR. He is adding a 25% tax on all oil production and a 15% tax on all natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico as part of his budget. This will kill jobs in the Gulf states, not to mention the effect it will have on everyone in higher fuel costs.

The House had been committed to making its offices carbon neutral. But last month, they dropped this plan. Meanwhile, the Capitol Power Plant, a few blocks from the Capitol, burns coal for 35% of the power it produces. It is the leading source of air pollution in the District of Columbia. The Democrat Congress will not apply the same rules to itself which it has wanted to impose on the American people.

28 March 2009

A Hardworking Student, my Katie

My youngest daughter, Katie Anderson, coasted along in the public schools of Montgomery County, Maryland doing well in her studies when she had a good teacher and doing substantially worse when she had a bad teacher. When she was in about the 8th grade, she decided to become a more serious-minded student. In the 9th grade she took some Honors courses, including a newly offered Honors physics course. She continued taking honors and AP courses until she graduated from high school. Her school barely recognized her existence, however. When she graduated, she had taken 7 AP exams and had all 4's and 5's in the tests. She entered the Honors Program at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in biotechnology, classified as a sophomore due to her credits from her AP course work. She was awarded a RIT Presidential Scholarship and the Nancy and Bruce B. Bates Nathaniel Rochester Society Science Scholarship.

At RIT she worked extremely hard. In her 2nd year, she began the first of a series of research projects with professors in the biotechnology sciences. She has taken very large numbers of credits each quarter, until this year when she cut back to more normal course loads. She will graduate with many, many extra credits. Katie has worked as a teaching assistant for several courses and worked as a note-taker for RIT's Access Services and Academic Accommodations. She also serves as the secretary of the Honors Council.

She also organized a women's Lacrosse league at RIT as co-founder, which she has continued to run as president into her 4th year. She also became active in the Habitat Club at RIT and played a major role in organizing its events in her 3rd year. Now, in her fourth year, she is the President of the Habitat Club. RIT has a Sustainability Program which involves a number of the engineering departments. Early this year, the president of RIT asked Katie to come and see him and they talked about ways in which new sustainable building methods could be easily implemented in the homes that the Habitat Club was involved in building. Katie is very enthusiastic about this program and is working with the engineering departments to transfer ideas into future Habitat building projects.

Early this academic year, she was told she had won the Brody Scholarship and Award, which was offered for the first time ever to one Junior and one Senior. Then Katie was chosen for the Outstanding Scholar Award. Anna and I are driving up to RIT on 1 April to attend her reception, award ceremony, and a dinner for this award. More recently, she won the Baldwin Award, which is accompanied by a $3,000 payment upon graduation. The award ceremony for that is on 15 April, so Anna and I will be going back up to RIT for that ceremony. As of this time, Kathryn Anna Anderson has a 4.00 GPA! What an amazing young lady.

Katie will graduate with a combined B.S. degree in two majors: biotechnology and biomedical sciences and with a minor in psychology. She plans to do medical research for one year and then go on to graduate school to earn a Ph.D. She intends to pursue a research career in immunology.

A Reader's Comment on Student Gangsters at the Lincoln Memorial

John made the following observation as a comment to another topic as a means of asking me what I thought of it. I like to accommodate my readers reasonable requests, especially because almost all of the comments I get are of a reasonable nature. It is reassuring that the time and effort that I spend writing up my thoughts and observations here provide some value to rational readers as well as to me in clarifying my own thoughts, as a means of standing up for my principles, and as an invitation to challenge to any faulty line of reasoning that I might have exposed here.

John said:

I understand that this comment does not pertain to the Wind Power topic but it is an interesting observation that I want to share and hear your response.

I visited D.C. today after work and decided to walk to the Lincoln Memorial. As I approached the stairs I saw a handful of college students dressed as gangsters and tossing dice as if gambling while another student filmed the event. In witnessing what they were doing I was disgusted by their disrespect. Since I do not believe in pronouncing a moral judgement simply because I feel it, I began to ponder the meaning of my disgust towards them. I asked why does it matter that those individuals were throwing dice on the steps of a monument to Abraham Lincoln. I had to ask what the purpose of a monument is and realized that a monument is a tribute to the greatness of a man and all that he accomplished. A monument is a means for man to celebrate achievement and solidify in such a way that future generations can share in his greatness, not by mooching off of it, but by understanding and recognizing it. A monument of course is not the source of greatness but rather only has value equal to that of which it is representing. If the man is worthless, so to is that which memorializes him. A monument to Hitler would not be worth the materials used to construct it. When a man looks at a monument there are many things for him to admire. He can admire the man immortalized in stone. He can admire the builder who with skill designed and built the magnificent structure. He can admire himself because the reason he admires the monument is because he shares its values.

So by what rational purpose did I pronounce my moral judgement upon those students? Because they failed to recognize the value of that monument and thus what it represented. They fail to see greatness and understand it, and that is the source of my disgust.

I look forward to your additional insight and comments.

I think I would have had to be there and see these students and observe their behavior for a while before I could make an assessment. I can understand your thoughts in the context of what their behavior may have been, but your description of them does not go far enough that I can be sure that their behavior was anything more than light-hearted fun, such as young people often do without any serious desire to cast aspersions upon heroes. Sometimes, the young have not yet acquired the wisdom to value great men and women as they should and they certainly are not encouraged to do so in our anti-hero worshiping public schools and our universities. I do not like this fact, but I am hesitant to condemn the young for it too severely. I was very fortunate in growing up at a time when American heroes were still largely respected. Now, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are all too often just characterized as dead white men who owned slaves.

Is it possible that they were making a political statement? Suppose since Obama has tried to attach himself to the coattails of President Lincoln, since Obama has risen to power through the corrupt politics of Chicago and Illinois, and since Obama is rolling the dice to turn the American government into a thoroughly socialist government and is thereby completely overthrowing the Constitution, since he is throwing the dice to strip wealthy Americans of their wealth and gambling that they will nonetheless continue to produce, he is throwing the dice to socialize medicine and hoping that somehow medical advances will continue, and since he is throwing the dice generally that some crippled portions of a capitalist system will still support his socialist egalitarian society to provide it with some of the unrecognized trappings of civilized life, that these students were making a protest video for YouTube.

I have a bit of an ambiguous respect for President Lincoln. I do think of him as a relatively remarkable President, but I do not think of him as a remarkably good President. I give him credit for effort, for freeing the slaves, and some credit for holding the union together. At the same time, the South did have long-standing objections to the tariffs that supported young industries in the North, but cost them much higher prices for many of their imported goods. Our government gets its legitimacy from the people, so I do believe that the people of a state have the right to secede, provided they set up a government which is consistent with the rights of every individual to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Clearly, the South was not doing that given the institution of slavery, so armed opposition to secession on that basis would have been justified. But, that was not the basis of Lincoln's use of force to keep the South in the Union. Instead, he simply asserted that no state could secede. Such an assertion is an attempt to nullify the source of the real sovereignty of the individual. In many other matters Lincoln made it all too clear that he was not a strong protector of individual liberties, including his waiting until late in the war before proclaiming the slaves free.

In living our lives, we all have many moments when we are not aware of the many heroes who came before us and developed the ideas that gave us our modern Western civilizations. I expect that many of my readers do think about these men and women often, but all of us are so busy managing our own lives that we frequently go about our affairs without a thought of thanks to Aristotle, Galileo, Sir Francis Bacon, Newton, Faraday, Lavoisier, Pasteur, John Locke, Adam Smith, James J. Hill, Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Mellon, J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Albert Einstein, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Nathaniel Greene, Thomas Edison, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Neils Bohr, Ayn Rand, and many thousands of other great and very useful men and women. In many ways, their great work has enabled our ability to simply concentrate on living our own lives. We all walk among the products of their labors and only occasionally give it thought. But, in many ways, this is what made their work great.

25 March 2009

The Coming Fascist Human Cost-Benefit Analysis

In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA must consider whether carbon dioxide was a pollutant and if it was, then it must regulate its generation under the 1990 Clean Air Act. No one in Congress in 1990 would have conceived of CO2 as a pollutant. Now the EPA has ruled that CO2 is a pollutant and is proposing new rules under the Clean Air Act for reducing CO2 emissions, which means for reducing the use of energy. Now, bureaucrats in the EPA will rule our energy use without input from Congress. To be more exact, Congress can have input with new legislation, but if that should not happen, then the EPA will go it alone without any real Congressional authorization. This makes Obama King, since he controls the EPA bureaucrats.

It appears that some of the less socialist Democrats in the Senate are balking at some of Obama's proposed budget calls for expenditures and for a cap-and-trade form of carbon tax. He may remove some of the restrictions he had planned to have authorized by Congress from the budget. This is little cause for relief, since he will be able to do very nearly as much mischief through EPA mandates and rulings thanks to the Supreme Court's foolish ruling in 2007.

Obama is planning to proceed with huge further spending in the budget on alternative energy, which supplements the large spending on alternative energy already in the stimulus bill. This is a very curious business, since alternative energy:
  • addresses the fictional problem of man-made global warming due to CO2 emissions
  • is itself fictional as a route to energy independence
  • is, and likely will long remain, much more expensive energy than that from fossil fuel and nuclear power plants
  • is not environmentally friendly enough to suit many environmentalists
  • cannot be implemented due to the hugely obstructionist work of some environmentalists to use the courts and local permitting authorities to stop all work on new plants, facilities, and electric power lines
On the obstructionist tactics at the local level, see this article in The Wall Street Journal by Ian Talley called "Green Push Faces Resistance From Locals." Among many other examples, this article provides confirmation of my assessment in my prior blog entry of "Wind Power Delays and Limits" of 24 March 2009 that no large photovoltaic solar facilties will be really allowed to cover large acreage in the Southwest, or anywhere else. The relevant quote from The Wall Street Journal articles is
Earlier this month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) wrote to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar pledging to fight against building a solar project on 600,000 acres of federal land between the Mojave desert preserve and the Joshua Tree National Park. The area lies in a California-designated renewable zone where companies have applied to establish hundreds of solar projects.
So, why does Obama (and a large following of other Democrats) want to follow through with huge spending plans on alternative energy research, development, and building projects? Surely he has enough contacts with rabid environmentalists to understand that they are not going to allow alternative energy projects to actually be built on the necessary scale to replace fossil fuels and nuclear power. His reasoning is this:
  • He is not doing it out of concern for the environment - that is just the excuse for defalcating the private sector of its taxes and its obedience.
  • He loves the power of waving huge sums of money in front of those who are willing to try to develop alternative power solutions or who are simply happy to take the money fraudulantly.
  • He knows that by cutting off fossil fuel and nuclear power use, he can control the entire economy and push it into a state of socialist dependency.
  • He knows the constant fights for local building permits and in the courts will provide huge incomes for many lawyers, who are the Democrats' largest campaign fund raisers.
  • He knows that the required environmental inpact statements will provide work for huge numbers of environmental "experts" and many lawyers, again funding key Democrat backers.
  • The power to make decisions on which "environmental" concerns are important enough to stop hugely funded capital investments gives government authorities huge power over large sums of non-tax money, forcing energy companies to make huge campaign contributions.
In sum, Obama is pursuing the alternative energy and anti-fossil fuel/nuclear power thrust in order to gain nearly unlimited power in the fulfillment of his dream of creating a socialist United States of America. He will cut down the wealthy and make them grovel at his feet in a greatly reduced status.

Ultimately, the Fascist Socialist State will decide if each human being is worthy of life. Is this human being worth his cost as a polluter, including his use of fossil fuels, the methane he produces by farting, and the CO2 he breathes out. Is this human being worth his medical costs? Is he worth the space his housing takes up? In Nazi Germany, the mentally incompetent, the old, the Jews, the Gypsies, many of the Slavs, and many of the German opposition were not worthy of life and were executed by the powers who made similar decisions. It was no mistake when Obama tried to appoint Chas Freeman as the Chairman of the National Security Council who said that China's leaders had failed to use the force they should have early to control the protests in Tiananmen Square. No, this choice was very revealing of Obama's plans for Americans.

As an outspoken individualist champion, I will be one of the early ones to be executed in this future Fascist State. But, they will come for many others, perhaps you, especially since you are the kind who has read some of my writings. We must stop them now. This is not a matter of protecting some comforts, it is really about protecting life itself, especially thinking life.

24 March 2009

Wind Power Delays and Limits

Recently, wind power has been in the news locally here in Maryland. In one case, the concern is that many bats are dying at the sites of wind farms in western Maryland, West Virginia, and nearby areas of Pennsylvania. For some time, there was puzzlement as to why bats would fly into turbine blades despite their sonar capabilities. A recent report in The Washington Times notes that researchers have found out that when the blades are spinning there are low pressure areas in which the pressure is low enough that the bats lungs explode and they die even without collisions with the blades. The article says this is a relief, since there is an easy solution. The bats only fly in large numbers when the wind is moderate, so the wind generators can simply be shut down when the wind velocity is moderate!

Half the time when I see a wind farm the generator blades are not turning at all. There is usually more wind at night than during the day, so a disproportionate fraction of the electricity generated is already at night when electricity use is lower than during the day. Now, in the interest of the bats, the wind turbines will be shut down an even larger fraction of the time at many eastern sites with goodly bat populations. And bats are not the only species which require protection. Here is an account of the travails in building a wind farm in western Maryland where the project was redesigned in the interests of the mourning warbler, mountain wood fern, summer sedge, Allegheny wood rat, and the timber rattlesnake. The number of turbines was reduced from 24 to 17, while the height of each generator was increased from 387 feet to 548 feet for the highest part of the blade in its sweep. The farm is rated at 40 MW, but farms commonly put out a very small fraction of their rated power.

Another interesting local story about wind generators is one of a number of farmers who bought their own smaller generators for $20,000 apiece in anticipation of getting a $10,000 refund per generator from the Federal government. But...the local authorities will not permit the farmers to put their wind generators up. So, the farmers are stuck with a useless $20,000 of capital on the ground, which is neither generating power nor Federal subsidies. Meanwhile, the time limit for the Federal subsidy money is running out.

Lately, I have been seeing an ad on TV for photovoltaic power plants in which rows of solar arrays seem to stretch very far beyond the woman touting solar power for miles. The panels are large and raised well off the ground and the ground looks absolutely flat, packed down, and barren. She talks about covering many square miles of the Southwest with such environmentally friendly and non-CO2 producing operations. Now, can anyone be in their right mind who believes that the environmentalists will allow many, many square miles of the southwest to be covered with such barren structures. Within these areas there are to be no flora and no fauna. These areas are to become as barren as the area shown in the ad. Well, I don't think so. The environmentalists will come to champion all the lizards, birds, rats, spiders, cactus plants, and tumbling tumble weed species for sure. You can count on it. No such projects of any great scale will be allowed to be built.

The New Smoot-Hawley Tariff Coming

As though much tighter socialist control over the American economy were not bad enough in delaying any recovery from the current recession, Obama and the remainder of the Tripartite Axis Powers (TAP or the Administration, House, and Senate) will use punishing tariffs to keep Americans from importing goods made abroad in countries which do not have carbon taxes or cap-and-trade laws such as the TAP plans for us.

Along with the New New Deal of Socialism comes the New Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. The Great Depression was greatly deepened and extended by the combination of the New Deal of Socialism and the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. The New Smoot-Hawley Act will put high tariffs on products imported which use high energy inputs in their manufacture, such as aluminum products, steel, glass, paper, cement, and fertilizer. These products will become very expensive in the U.S., so U.S. manufacturer's will try to produce more of them abroad instead of in the U.S. after the carbon cap-and-trade law goes into effect. But, both these U.S. multinationals and foreign firms in countries without tough carbon taxes will be kept out of the American market by the New Smoot-Hawley Tariff. This tariff or adjuncts to it will also be designed to punish imports from countries with minimum wage laws deemed too low by the Democrats, with other environmental policies they do not like, and with laws not sufficiently favorable to the unionization of workers. The net result should do a very efficient job of cutting off the import-export trade of the U.S. and greatly hurt the world economy. Of course, it will be the equivalent of shooting ourselves in the head, as government power mongers peculate the American people.

You can read more about a part of these plans in the Wall Street Journal article about the Secretary of Energy's comments about a new carbon tariff here.

22 March 2009

A Bank Without Bad Loans Criticized

The Boston Business Journal reports that the East Bridgewater Savings Bank has no bad loans. One might think that this is a good thing, especially at this time. A review by the FDIC, however, criticized the East Bridgewater Savings Bank for not making enough loans in its Community Reinvestment Act area. It was urged to replace its careful loan evaluations and to make more and more risky loans. This really does happen!

Kidnapping Brides for China

It has long been Chinese policy to limit families to one child. This policy was often looked upon kindly by liberals and socialists who bemoaned the growth of the human population and the strain that put on the environment and on resources. Many of the child-limited families choose to have a boy and abort or somehow lose girls. This leads to the obvious problem that there are ultimately far too few women for the young men who wish to be married. There are similar imbalances in some areas of India, owing more to a choice than a government mandate.

The Hmong people commonly live in small villages in the mountainous areas of Vietnam and Laos. One such area lies on the border with China. Kidnappers are now preying on young Hmong women and hijacking them across the border into China, where they are earning their kidnappers goodly fees as unwilling brides. [The Economist, 14 - 20 March] I suppose we are supposed to mark this up to unintended consequences of well-intended actions. How could anyone have anticipated that a one-child limit would result in a terrible imbalance of boys to girls? How could anyone anticipate that there would be many unhappy young males with nary a bride to be found?

Sometimes it is truly a wonderment that people can be so foolish.

The Big Lie on Anthropogenic Global Warming

The 14 - 20 March 2009 The Economist also has an article called "Science and the president: A new era of integrity, sort of." It discusses the Democrats claims that they are in favor of science, while Republicans oppose it. So stem cell research and creationism are discussed, as is anthropogenic global warming. They say:
Republican doubts about the severity of global warming are much more serious, and have undoubtedly slowed the adoption of carbon curbs. But such doubts are fading. Few Republicans still deny that global warming is man-made. A more common objection to Mr Obama's cap-and-trade proposal is that it would amount to a huge tax hike in the middle of a recession.
Once again we see this tactic that everyone agrees that anthropogenic global warming is a catastrophe and all scientists agree on this, all people agree on this, and, now, even all Republicans agree with this. However, as I noted in my 11 March entry "Scrubbing CO2 out of the Atmosphere", 66% of Republicans are skeptics that we are undergoing or will undergo catastrophic man-made global warming. Apparently, the 33% of Republicans who either think it is happening and is catastrophic and those who do not have an opinion, are all the Republicans who count as far as The Economist is concerned.

It is truly hard to believe that the global warming alarmists are still blatantly making claims that everyone believes in catastrophic man-made global warming, except the most patently insane people. The tactic is wearing thin and more and more people are becoming quite skeptical.

Increasing Obama Negativity in Economist

The Economist continues to suffer disappointment in Obama after putting him on the cover twice late in the Presidential campaign and endorsing him. In the 14 - 20 March issue, it notes

At market close on March 11th, despite a rally this week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 16% below its level on the Friday before Mr Obama took office. At this point in Roosevelt's presidency, 54 days in, it was up 35%.
In truth, he had long promised to spend more on health care and alternative energy and to raise taxes on the rich, so little in the budget should have surprised investors.
A bigger dent to confidence comes from Mr Obama's style, not his substance. His many backers on Wall Street had taken his conciliatory manner and selection of centrist economic advisers as evidence that he would govern moderately despite, as a senator, having consistently voted on the left. They have been taken aback by his combative tone.
But the Obamabears' biggest fear is that Mr Obama's remedies are not up to the task of fixing America's deepening recession.
Mr. Geithner's own efficacy has been hamstrung by the fact he remains his department's only Senate-confirmed official: 17 other top Treasury jobs requiring Senate approval remain vacant. In 2007 the Treasury website listed 120-odd officials, from Hank Paulson, the then treasury secretary, down. The current version of the same webpage lists just one: Mr Geithner.
All this has left foreign officials and domestic bankers frustrated at the lack of consultation from the Treasury.
Whatever the cause, the strain on the Treasury is encouraging the view that Mr Obama's agenda is being driven by political advisers and Congressmen, both more attuned to voter's rage than to market confidence.
Clearly The Economist's confidence in Obama continues to erode, along with that of many others who supported him while believing he was someone very different than anyone with any wisdom would have understood him to be. They close with a quote from a former Bill Clinton aide who advised Obama to focus on the financial crisis or risk the loss of confidence Jimmy Carter suffered. Meanwhile, the market is still down 40% since it became fairly clear that Obama was going to win the presidential election in September 2008.

20 March 2009

The 90% Axis Powers Tax

The Obama - Pelosi - Reid Axis Powers combined and voted a 90% retroactive tax on the bonuses of employees earning more than $250,000 who work for firms receiving more than $5 billion in Federal bailout money. Some of these companies were basically forced by the government to take bailout money, even many which were in no danger of failing. Others were failing companies which should have been allowed to go bankrupt, which would have terminated the contracts that required the failing companies to pay out the bonuses now being paid out. Obama, Geithner, Chris Dodd, Pelosi, and many others in the Democrat administration and Congress were well aware of these bonuses, but pretended they were not. They were caught in this transparent lie. They had foolishly circumvented the system long established for dealing with failing companies whose management had proven that they did not warrent bonuses, benefits, and other remuneration they would have had by contract if they had done their jobs well. Bankruptcy properly terminates such contracts as now have to be honored, though that is clearly unfair to the taxpayers.

The government is clearly incapable of running these companies and should clearly have stayed out of their business. The more healthy companies have learned now just how critical it is to try to get out from under the smothering, oppressive weight of the government. Those that would have squeaked through the banking problems without government help are now likely to fail as they lose all of their best employees. No capable manager will tolerate working under the oppressive, mean-spirited dictatorship of this government.

Legislation applied to prior events is clearly unconstitutional, yet this is not the first time that retroactive laws have been allowed to stand despite that fact. The Supreme Court does not enforce the Constitution's limits on the power of the Federal government and neither the Congress or the President take their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution at all seriously. Our politicians are very rarely men of principle.

Obama Backs Off Screwing Protesting Veterans

The key to taxation is said by big government types to be the equivalent of plucking as many feathers from the chicken as possible without the chicken squawking too much. Obama, after pledging to treat veterans better than the deficient Republicans did during the campaign, proved once again how fast change you can believe in changes. He very seriously proposed, and defended for some time, that veterans should have to buy private insurance to cover their medical costs. This was supposed to save the government $540 billion, which happens to be the amount of additional funding by which his administration is to increase the funding of the Veterans Administration. During the campaign he did not tell veterans that he was going to specifically have them targeted as the source of the money to pay for the VA spending increase!

Well, American veterans proved they were no chickens and immediately rose against the idea. Not only that, but most other Americans realized that this showed a breach of contract with our veterans. It was a clear failure to accept the responsibility for the care of wounded and diseased veterans as a result of their service and as partial payment for their service which Americans have long generally assumed was their responsibility. There was genuine moral outrage on this issue and everyone is wondering why Obama just does not get it.

Obama is fundamentally anti-military, anti-American use of force abroad almost no matter what the provocation, and he is all about posing as one who feels for his fellow Americans, but clearly does not. Examine his cavalier, disdainful manner of returning the salutes of the military. His generalized idiocentricity was very apparent in this callous episode.

Some Marijuana Raids Ending

The Justice Department under Obama has made a good policy change. They have decided to no longer raid people and establishments who are not in violation of state law. So, if the laws of a state, as is true for quite a few states, allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, medical dispensaries operating within state law will no longer be raided. This is a wise and rational policy. Such matters are better left to state law. It is to be hoped that now that the Feds are not interferring in such matters, more states will consider passing laws to allow a more humane and rational policy with respect to the medical uses of marijuana. Indeed, it is time for states to generally get rid of laws against marijuana, since whatever problems it has, they are not worse than those of liquor and tobacco.

19 March 2009

Natural Forces Cause Major Climate Shifts

Anastasios A. Tsonis, Kyle Swanson, and Sergey Kravtsov of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences Group, the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee claim in "A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts" published 12 July 2007 in Geophysical Research Letters claims that the major climate shifts from 1900 to 2000 can be explained in terms of natural forces.

They constructed a network of observed climate indices for the period and studied their collective behavior. The network of indices synchronized a number of times between 1900 and 2000 and when the synchronization event was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between indices, the synchronization was destroyed and a new climate state was generated. Significant changes in temperature trend and in ENSO variability result. The great 1970s climate shift was one such event. This mechanism appears consistent with synchronized chaos theory.

Dr. Tsonis believes another shift occurred about the year 2000 and that it may last another 20 years from now. In other words, he believes that we are in a cooling trend which may last until about 2028. This is a viewpoint which a number of other climate researchers have been stating over the last month or so. That we had probably switched into a cooling period was evident in the research I had noted in a number of studies over the last year or so. See for instance, my 26 Mar 08 note on "The Cooling Oceans and Unwarmed Atmosphere."

Apparently, the claim by man-made global warming alarmists that all scientists believe in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming caused by the use of fossil fuels has still another counter data point. It becomes ever more likely that if we can delay the precipitous actions of politicians to use government force to make us give up the use of fossil fuels at enormous expense and hardship, this AGW hypothesis is going to turn into a complete train wreck into a deep gorge. When it does, I wish we could count on a backlash against the politicians who have backed this nonsense of impending catastrophe. Unfortunately, the minimum wage raising fools, the ethanol mandaters, the subprime home mortgage cheerleaders, the bailout bucket brigade, the U.S. cannot win a war, and all other Congressional idiocentricities always seem to get a pass from the public. Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Chris Dodd are all sitting fat and happy in Congress still, just to name a few idiocentric standouts.

18 March 2009

Rising Oceans Due to Rising CO2

The usual viewpoint is that any observed rise in the ocean level is due to a combination of water expansion as the temperature increases and a usually smaller component due to some melting of polar ice caps and glaciers. Back on 28 March 2008 in a note called "Ocean Cooling with Expansion", I discussed the fact that the Argo buoy system had found the ocean temperature to be near constant, but perhaps dropping very slightly, over a four year period and yet sea level had risen by 0.5 inch. This was a mystery.

In the last paragraph of that note, I wondered how much of that rise might be due to an increased concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, which has been rising steadily for the last 150 years. Some of this rise was because as the oceans warm, as they generally have following the end of the Little Ice Age, dissolved CO2 in the oceans is released. This will cause some contraction of the ocean and a fall in level, which is counteracted by any melting of polar ice and glaciers due to the same general warming occurring since the end of the Little Ice Age. But with no general warming of the oceans over the four year period, the main reason for the ongoing rise in CO2 in the atmosphere was presumably man burning fossil and organic fuels. So, with the ocean not warming and increased CO2 in the atmosphere, the oceans ought to absorb more CO2 and expand because of the absorption of the CO2. But how large an effect might this be, I wondered?

Well, Tom V. Segalstad at www.CO2web.info has done an interesting kitchen experiment. He put enough Ca(OH)2 in water to make the pH=8, which is the pH of the oceans. He then put a glass over a candle floating on the water and as the flame burned the water level remained constant. This shows that the burning process using oxygen from the air inside the glass and over the water and candle, was not producing a low pressure volume or vacuum and sucking more water in under the glass rim at the bottom of the container holding the water. Then, after the candle burned out because it had used the limited supply of oxygen in the air and had given off CO2 in the combustion process, the water level began to rise and rise dramatically. The CO2 was reacting with the Ca++ ions to form CaCO3 and the water expanded as the calcium carbonate content went up. In the real oceans, there are also many Na+ and K+ ions in addition to Ca++ ions, which form NaHCO3 and KHCO3 bicarbonates. So, it is very reasonable that the oceans expand also as the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere goes up with the removal of the CO2 to form bicarbonates and carbonates in the oceans. This process should be rather rapid, making the assertion by the IPCC that CO2 added to the atmosphere by man lasts 50 to 200 years look absurd, according to Tom Segalstad. It seems reasonable to me that he is right.

There are quite a few interesting things on Tom Segalstad's website. He has an information page with all sorts of key facts I have been looking for on such things as the thermal energy in the atmosphere compared to that in the oceans. As I was sure was the case, the ocean thermal energy is huge compared to the puny energy of the atmosphere, being about 2000 times larger. He also notes that the latent heat of melting of all of the ice on earth is an energy about 10 times greater than all of the energy in the earth's entire atmosphere. This ice mass is a huge buffer against warming.

No CO2 Greenhouse Effect?

A very interesting article questioning the very existence of the CO2 Greenhouse Gas Effect has been published in the International Journal of Modern Physics:

Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Eff ects
Within The Frame Of Physics

Version 4.0 (January 6, 2009)
replaces Version 1.0 (July 7, 2007) and later

Gerhard Gerlich
Institut fur Mathematische Physik
Technische Universitat Carolo-Wilhelmina zu Braunschweig
Mendelssohnstrae 3
D-38106 Braunschweig
Federal Republic of Germany
g.gerlich@tu-bs.de

Ralf D. Tscheuschner
Postfach 60 27 62
D-22237 Hamburg
Federal Republic of Germany
ralfd@na-net.ornl.gov

I have long been dissatisfied with the explanations I have read about how the greenhouse gases are supposed to cause warming of the atmosphere and the earth's surface. I have now read about half of this long article and will comment on it when I have finished reading it. It appears that my doubts were justified.

One thing that strikes me as wrong about the usual approach to justifying a greenhouse gas effect based on a black body model (which the above paper also says is wrong, but has not yet in my reading suggested in quite what way), is that it is assumed that the radiative cooling of the earth through re-emission of infrared radiation occurs from the earth's surface. If the greenhouse gas theories were correct, this would not be the case. The primary radiation loss would have to be from a layer which was at a considerable altitude over which there was little remaining water vapor and CO2. Yet these calculations like to say that the radiative black body cooling would be at about 15C or 288K if there were no greenhouse gas effect. But this would not be in balance with what they calculate the sun's radiation to be. The temperature in black body radiation balance with the sun's radiation is calculated to be lower and the difference in temperature is attributed to the greenhouse gas effect.

But, one can just as easily argue that of course the surface temperature is not the radiative black body cooling temperature. It is air convection that acts to cool the surface air temperature as the warmed surface air rises up to higher altitudes. As it does so, air molecules collide and pass energy from the molecules recently warmed at the surface to those which had dwelled longer in the upper atmosphere. Finally as molecules reach a high enough altitude, convection loses its cooling ability due to the low density of molecules and radiative cooling becomes the means by which further energy is lost. Much of the black body radiation at this altitude is emitted into space and the earth cools on net balance. But, this black body radiative cooling of course happens at the much cooler temperatures found at higher altitudes. At a mid-latitude location, the atmospheric temperature is already about 10C lower than at the surface at an altitude of about 2 km.

In other words, with no net greenhouse gas effect, if radiative cooling mostly occurs at altitudes a few kilometers up, then the calculated black body temperature will be significantly lower than the surface temperature. The lower calculated black body temperature for the earth cannot be used as proof of a greenhouse gas effect!

Renewable Power in Scientific American

The March 2009 issue of Scientific American has a brief article called "A Concise Guide to Renewable Power" by Matthew L. Wald, a reporter at the New York Times. His article starts:
Renewable energy, such as from photovoltaic electricity and ethanol, today supplies less than 7 percent of U.S. consumption. If we leave aside hydroelectric power, it is under 4.5 percent. Globally, renewables provide only about 3.5 percent of electricity and even less of transportation fuels.
It sure is strange to see someone published in Scientific American claiming that ethanol is a renewable fuel, given that it does not result in a net gain of energy. In addition, it brings the added baggage of making our food costs substantially greater and of using up many other resources to no advantage except one of more income for some farmers and for ADM and other subsidized ethanol refiners.

I should not forget that many politicians love the votes they are buying from the special interest groups benefiting from ethanol mandates. Despite the fact that these mandates clearly hurt most Americans and do not serve the purposes used to justify them, Congress still has not revoked the foolish ethanol mandates and subsidies.

17 March 2009

Newest Senate Environment Report Available

The newest Minority Report of the Senate Committee for the Environment and Public Works is now available. Some of my evaluations of the catastrophic man-made global warming claims are given on page 77. The comments of many of the 700 scientists who dispute the idea that science says that man is causing a global climate change catastrophe make for very interesting reading. We should take note that the much hyped Summary of the last IPCC report was written by only 52 scientists and many present and past contributors to the UN IPCC reports have claimed that the Summaries do not at all accurately represent the views of the remainder of the reports.

U. S. Senate Minority Report:
More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over
Man-Made Global Warming Claims
Scientists Continue to Debunk “Consensus” in 2008 &
2009

While I just joined the Senate Minority Report now, I have been speaking out against the idea of catastrophic man-made global warming since a post on 25 January 2008 on this blog. A couple of years prior to that at least, I was speaking out against AGW and extreme environmentalism on Objectivist forums. The exaggerated nature of the environmentalists causes has long been clearly motivated by an anti-mankind bias. I say this while believing that the environment of man is very important. Indeed, it is so important that it deserves to be observed carefully, analytically studied for the development of understanding, and treated with respect because it supports life, ours most especially, but also that of other animals and plants.

Reducing Air Pollution Increases Temperatures

According to a study performed at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, clearer skies due to lowered man-made pollution cause the temperature to rise. This would be a case in which man's activities affect the climate of at least densely populated areas or those generating much pollution. As Europe and the United States and Canada have generally cleaned their skies of much of the air pollution common a few decades ago, countries such as Russia, China, and India have increased their air pollution. I do not know the net effect upon the global climate, but there is probably some effect caused by man. In the longer view, the cooling effect of air pollution in the earlier stages of the industrialization of Europe and the United States was a man-made effect which has now been largely undone. Later developing industrial nations such as Russia, China, and India are now the main polluters and coolers, but will likely do more to clean up their air pollution as they develop further.

The Dutch study collected data from 342 weather stations at airports across Europe measuring the fog, mist, and haze back to 1976. The report in the journal Nature Geoscience says that the number of days with visibility of less than 2 kilometers have fallen from 20 days per year to 10 days per year in the last 30 years. As a result, less sunlight is reflected back into space from the top of such fog, mist, and haze layers and more reaches the ground, to provide more warming at the surface of the earth.

The heat island effect of major cities is very well-known and is in fact a problem for accurate earth surface land temperature histories, which many say is not adequately corrected for in the measurements of the general warming trend since the end of the Little Ice Age and the advent of industrialization with the burgeoning growth of population centers that resulted. Man clearly does have some effect on at least the local climate in these high population centers. Indeed, even small towns appear to have small local effects.

It is also clear that such activities as plowing fields for farming and cutting down forests have an effect upon the climate. Of course, man has been doing these things for a very long time, so they have little effect on the climate any more in terms of changing it, except when the level of such activities changes greatly in a given locale. But compared to an earth with no human activity, the climate has been somewhat changed by the presence of man. I have no yearning to remove man and his effects in order to return the planet to its natural, no-human climate condition. There is no reason to value this at all and every reason to value an earth which supports the flourishing of man, thanks to man's use of his ability to reason for the purpose of improving his environment for his benefit.

But, while I deny that the effects of man's activities are more important than natural forces affecting the climate and I deny that his activities are causing a climate catastrophe, I do not deny that man has some effect upon the earth's climate. If man does cause some warming, I have no problem with that. In fact, wise men will generally acknowledge that some warming is a generally good thing. There is good reason upon examining the historical record of man to conclude that man tended to flourish better in warmer periods and to suffer more in cooler periods. More power to man if his activities are actually causing a bit of warming, which makes man a bit more comfortable.

16 March 2009

Links to "A Catastrophic AGW Denier"

Thanks to the following weblogs which have linked to my entry of 14 March 2009 entitled "A Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Denier." The links are at:

Tom Nelson, 16 March 2009

GREENIE WATCH, 16 March 2009

Global Warming Skeptic, 16 March 2009

Update on 17 March 2009, thanks to the comment from SBVOR below:

SBVOR, 15 March 2009

Taxing Employer-Provided Health Insurance

Having just examined the $787 billion stimulus bill and its expenditures and noting that that bill clearly signals a government takeover of the health care industry, it is appropriate to wonder where the money will come from to pay for all of this. This is not all, of course, since there are the on-going bailouts, a huge omnibus "regular" government spending bill full of pig ears, and future stimulus bills to consider as well. Is it possible to pay for all this by taxing the rich more heavily? Certainly not. Everyone but a few of the most envy- and hate-ridden socialist ideologists recognize this fact.

So, Max Baucus (D.-MT), chairman of the Senate tax-writing Finance Committee, has proposed that the health care insurance benefits that employees get from their companies should be taxed. President Bush and Sen. John McCain had earlier suggested this. Thirteen other Senators have signed on to this idea. Obama has earlier rejected this idea, but he now is said to be willing to go along if someone else does the proposing. Apparently, if the House and Senate were to pass a bill to tax employee health benefits, he would sign the measure.

The health insurance benefit has never been taxed since it was first offered during WWII on a large scale. This reduces taxable earnings by about $9,000 per year for family coverage. Clearly, taxing this income will move many people into higher tax brackets and will increase government tax revenues. It will also encourage companies to drop this benefit. Indeed, this benefit will make no sense at all if individuals will have access to group insurance plans such as Obama has proposed and will not have the tax benefit.

Actually, it is only fair that this benefit should be taxed like all other income. But, if it is to be taxed, it should happen as a part of a general tax decrease from which everyone will save some money from falling into the rapacious hands of the government. Given the government's hugely wasteful spending plans and given the great damage it has done to the economy resulting in lowered tax revenues, there is no way that such a general tax reduction can be accomplished, at least not without acknowledging that lowering tax rates may soon generate more tax revenues. This happens both because the economy responds with increased growth, but also because at reasonable tax rates, people will make many more taxable transactions. The tax revenue is a function of both the tax rate and the frequency of taxable transactions. It is also a function of the frequency of reported taxable transactions.

The socialists in charge will not provide a broad-based tax cut when they start taxing employer-provided health insurance benefits.

15 March 2009

The First Obama Stimulus Bill

There is talk about the need to have a second Obama stimulus bill, close on the heels of earlier bailouts for the financial and banking industries, the U.S.-based automakers, and money to help prevent mortgage foreclosures. Most economists and financial experts seem to be of the opinion that the first Obama stimulus bill has not been and will not be adequate to get the economy moving again. It certainly has not caused the private sector to invest and hire employees at what we have come to think of as normal levels. But, the first Obama stimulus bill and the Omnibus spending bill which followed on its heels did serve a purpose. They were designed to shift wealth and income from the private sector, especially the higher income side of the private sector, to the government sector. At this, they are clearly very successful. This is the primary desire of the socialists running the Obama administration and providing the leadership of the Democrat-controlled House and Senate.

Let us examine the first $787 billion stimulus bill to see how this was accomplished. Let us break it down as the Washington Post did on 14 February with costs in billions:

Health information technology (incentives for Medicare/Medicaid providers), $20.8

Health insurance for unemployed, $25.1

Assistance to unemployed families, $57.2

Tax Provisions, $73.8
  • Making Work Pay Credit, $400/year for individual, $800/yr. for family, may exceed tax otherwise owed, offered for 2 years
  • Tuition tax credit up to $2500, provided family makes less than $180,000/yr.
  • Expanded child tax credit for low income families up to $1000 per child
  • Families not owning a home in past 3 years get $8,000 tax credit to buy a home before the end of this year
Medicaid, $90

Health, Labor, & Education, $71.2
  • National Institute of Health, $9.7
  • National Coordinator for health information technology, $2
  • Other health, $9.8
  • Employment and training programs, $4.3
  • Education for the disadvantaged, $13
  • Special education, $12.2
  • Student financial assistance, $16.6
  • Other, $3.6
Housing, transportation, $61.1
  • Highway construction, $27.5
  • Other transportation, $20.6
  • Housing assistance programs, $13
Grants to states to fully fund education budgets, $54

Energy and water, $50.8
  • Energy efficiency, renewable energy, $16.8
  • Federal loan guarantees for renewable energy & electricity transmission, $6
  • Other energy, includes modernizing electric grid, $22.4
  • Army Corps of Engineers, $4.6
  • Other, $1
Nutrition, rural development, and agriculture, $26.4
  • Food stamps, $20
  • Broadband expansion in rural areas, $2.5
  • Other, $3.9
Commerce, Justice, & Science, $15.8
  • Grants to extend broadband, $4.7
  • State & local law enforcement, $2.8
  • National Science Foundation, $3
  • Other, $5.3
Defense, Homeland Security, $11.4
  • Homeland Security, $2.7
  • Military construction, $4.2
  • Defense facility repair & energy, $4.5
Environment, Interior, $10.5
  • State grants for water infrastructure, $5.8
  • Other, includes national park capital improvements, $4.7
Federal Facilities, $6.7
  • Construction & repair of federal buildings, $5.4
  • Other, $1.3
State Dept., technology & construction, $0.6

Overall, tax reductions for individuals are only $73.8 billion, not one penny of which will go to high income earners. Other than alternative energy, there are no private sector companies which will get any tax breaks. The total tax reduction part of the stimulus bill is only 9.4% of the "expenditure", so Congress got to fully direct 90.6% of the total monies use.

There is no incentive whatsoever for any industry to hire anyone, except in the construction, college & university, public school system, health care, computer & broadband, electric transmission line companies, law enforcement, vocational training, government, building materials, construction equipment, and alternative energy areas. Note that these encouraged areas are either government workers directly or private industry which has long been heavily dependent upon government funding and have been selected to receive subsidies from the remainder of the private sector through increased tax transfers of wealth. The money to be sucked out of the remainder of the private sector will fund these government-favored areas.

A great part of the money seems directed at making the medical industry still more dependent upon government. The $2 billion to set up the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the incentives to get Medicaid and Medicare providers to set up computerized medical records are especially interesting. It is perhaps quite rational to have more computerization of medical records and even to then use those records to better assess which medical procedures work best. However, we know that much more than this is afoot. It is very clear that the socialists now running the Federal government intend to use these computerized medical records to gain more control over medical treatments and to reduce the medical-decision power of the patient and doctor. This must happen as a part of the plan to have a single-provider (i.e., government) system of medical and health care.

It is very clear that the teacher's unions and the education establishment are being paid for their strong support of the Democrat Party and of ideological socialism. $79.2 billion is going to state grants for education, education for the disadvantaged, and special education. The colleges are making out big-time. The $9.7 billion to NIH, the $3 billion to NSF, the $1.6 billion for the office of science of the Energy Dept., the $16.6 billion in student financial assistance, and the tuition tax credit of $2500 will flood the universities and colleges with more money to continue to fuel their ever-escalating costs. A part of the $16.8 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy will also fund university research. The NIH, NSF, Energy Dept. Office of Science money will mostly fund an increase in university research grants and new lab facilities. The student financial aid and tax credits will decrease the pressure to control tuition rate increases. There is little reason to believe that any of this money will provide more spur to the economy than that money would have if left in the hands of the private sector. While it is true that some colleges and universities are private, most are nonetheless strong advocates of much bigger government, for which they are rewarded with research money and many financial considerations already.

The construction projects to be funded are almost entirely for more government infrastructure, to be supported by tax dollars long into the future. Most investors will find little stimulus to their plans in this stimulus bill. Few wealthy individuals will have reason to invest their money in the United States. It will make more sense for them to move more of their money abroad, where the tax rates on higher income people are lower. American multinational corporations will have ever more reason to expand their operations abroad, while contracting them in the United States. Contraction of operations will mean that they will have less expense for providing health insurance and increased sick leave mandated by Congress as well. Many companies must be very worried about this.

This stimulus bill should have consisted of a major decrease in taxes to be realized by every individual and by corporations. As I have pointed out repeatedly, it is very foolish for us to tax corporations at the highest rates in the world, with the exception of Japan, with whom we are about tied. It is equally foolish to maintain a very punitive tax rate on upper income earners. These high corporate and individual rates actually decrease government revenues, so we do not need to take the claim seriously that these high rates make life better for those with lower incomes because then government can do more to help them. Indeed, we can laugh at it derisively and proclaim with assurance that the real reason for these rates is one of envy, hatred, and the desire to take down those who have achieved great success in the private, voluntary sector. Such motivations clearly controlled many of those in the New Deal of the Franklin Roosevelt administration and they now control the thoughts of the Obama administration and the Democrat Congress in their pursuit of a New New Deal. This and only this explains their carefully orchestrated snubbing of most of the private sector and of the very idea of the sovereignty of the individual.

14 March 2009

A Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Denier

That's me, friends and family, colleagues, Objectivists and other freedom-lovers, and, yes, you socialists who by and large see catastrophic man-made global warming as one of the best routes for the promotion of socialism and the dismantlement of capitalism.

Marc Morano of the Senate Committee for the Environment and Public Works, minority side, has just asked me if I would join the many scientists who are increasingly willing to buck the environmental hysterical and religious movement to state that we are not facing catastrophic global warming due to the ill-considered acts of man. I, being fearless, am willing and happy to do so.

Of course, I am not a climatologist, a sun-spot activity expert, an expert on the effects of ocean currents, or an expert on greenhouse gases and their effects upon the atmosphere. I am a materials physicist by training, who has long functioned as a materials scientist with broad interests across many scientific and technological fields.

I became interested in the issue of the global warming alarmism several years ago, because the reports I kept hearing about it did not present the context of our knowledge of the earth's climate history well and because it seemed that many so-called scientists were leaping to the conclusion that recent warming was largely or mostly due to man's activities without seeming to have done a thorough job of examining the natural forces effects which have long caused much more drastic changes in the earth's climate than those we have seen in recent times. I was also concerned that so much of the justification for man's role was based on complex computer models, which nonetheless did not take into account many major natural effects and which had a well-established history of being modified to produce ever-decreasing rates of temperature increases. The more I studied the issue, the more problems I found with the claims that man had suddenly become so powerful that he was dominating the natural climate forces.

I was also concerned about two other observations. One was that when people do bad science, they tend to become very angry when they are challenged. I have seen this effect time and time again. Observe which side resorts to the most vociferous name-calling and you are likely to have identified the side with the weaker argument and they know it. Of course, just because a man has written many peer-reviewed papers and is in a science department at a university does not mean that he is doing good science. Good science starts with acute and critical observations, attention to the context of one's knowledge, a rational and critical examination of factors affecting the outcome, and finally an ability to predict as-yet unobserved events or historical events about which one had no prior knowledge. Most of the scientists working on global climate issues were either working for universities or for government agencies, and these institutions have become so highly politicized, predominantly toward the left, that it is common to find scientific reasoning weaknesses whenever there is a political consequence to the scientific outcome. I saw much that was lacking in the scientific work which was backing the claim that man was causing or soon would be causing catastrophic global warming.

The other observation of concern was that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming was a perfect tool to use to make the civilized and advanced societies cut back on energy use to the point that life was going to be much more miserable for human beings. This has always been something that the socialists have been willing and happy to do to their fellow human beings. They like it so much that they develop a religious fervor whenever offered the opportunity to hurt others. This may seem paradoxical because they always say they are more motivated to help others than most people. They are so motivated in fact, that they are always very eager to use brutal force to make others do what they want. It has become clear that this use of force has become in itself very exhilerating for them, like a dopamine drug for their minds. So, when you examine who believes fervently in man-made global warming, do you find that fervor cutting across the usual political spectrum with respect to commitments to personal and economic liberties or do you find the fervor in one camp only? In this case, there is pretty much that one camp of socialists.

I have developed computer models myself for the study of materials properties. When developing and using models, it is very important to keep a clear physical picture of the aspect of reality you are modeling. It is easy to mess up your boundary conditions, which is a known problem with many of the climate models; it is easy to fall into divergent conditions such as the claims of catastrophic positive warming feedback are likely to be; and it is easy to overlook some factors of importance in a complex problem, which the global climate most certainly is. The most important checks for these problems are to apply your model to a number of available simple situations if there are any and to already observed events and see if it is consistent with those events. There may be no simple climate system for such checks, but the past is available. I observed that there was anguishingly little effort to apply the climate prediction models to past climate changes. The reason for this was that the models really only contained elements of the Big Picture of factors affecting the climate of the earth. But, even granted that, some effort could have been put into comparing the model-predicted effects with those of high CO2 atmospheric concentrations from the geological record. This is an obvious check and no one was eager to do it. This is a clear warning sign.

However, because it is their bread and butter to use the models to predict future rapid temperature increases, these predictions have been made. Every time, the models predicted too much temperature increase and had to be scaled back. Every IPCC report shows scaled back computer predictions and yet every future IPCC report shows another scale-back. Clearly, the modelers do not know what they are doing. Nonetheless, on the strength of their predictions of unacceptable man-made warming, we are to make drastic cuts in our use of the inexpensive fossil fuels and have a future of expensive electric power only when the wind blows or the sun shines. Even this is provided that enough Democrats are willing to have wind generators and acres of photovoltaic panels in their backyards or in areas inhabited by animal species.

The very fact that the CO2 effect models did not contain sufficient factors affecting the global climate to make predictions about the past increases the likelihood that many of the factors affecting feedback mechanisms are not adequately handled. That there are critical feedback mechanisms is obvious. We know for instance that as the oceans warm, more water is evaporated, which is a cooling process. We also know that as the humidity of the atmosphere increases due to warming and ocean water evaporation, there are increased possibilities for cloud formation, which is usually a cooling mechanism. There is reason to believe these effects of water are not handled adequately. I have also looked at the sinks and sources for CO2 and have found that it is unlikely that they are adequately understood as yet. One problem exists with respect to the effects of the earth's crust absorbing CO2 both to form many carbonates, carbonate hydroxides, and lamellar (layered) minerals which absorb water with high CO2 concentrations between their expanding layers as water becomes available. Increases in precipitation will lead to increases in CO2 absorbtion in many minerals.

We also know that the earth's geological record shows that it has a tendency to never get warmer than an average temperature of about 22C and that the glacial periods tend never to get cooler than an average temperature of about 12C. We are now and have been for a few thousand years in a temperature regime which is between these extremes, but the earth over the last 600 million years has tended to be at one or the other of these two extremes most of the time. We do not know why we are not at one of the extremes now and we do not know how to predict when the earth may go to one or the other in the future. We do know that man did not cause any of the previous extreme temperature conditions.

Let me make it clear that I am not saying that man does not affect the weather or the climate. I am sure he does. But my evaluation is that man's affect upon the global climate is still small compared to the natural forces at work and that they are incapable of causing anything on the scale of a catastrophe. But, man can cause a catastrophe to his lifestyle and to his lifespan. An example would be the catastrophe which would be caused if Obama and the anthropogenic global warming alarmists force us to give up half of our electric generating capacity due to coal-fired power plants. This cannot be replaced by wind power and solar power by any technology yet known. It is a fool's errand to destroy half of our electricity generation capability while we have nothing to replace it with, when the reason given for doing this is to decrease the amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere.

Any warming that is caused by man, is probably the cause of more good than bad. The higher CO2 concentrations in the air are certainly good for plant growth, which is good for both man and other animals. As I have pointed out before, most of the predicted warming is in the northern parts of North America, northern Europe, northern Russia, northern China, northern Japan, southern Chile, and southern Argentina, all of which would benefit from warmer temperatures in the winter and at night, which appears to be when the warming is greatest. This makes life in these areas easier for man, animals, and plants in most cases. This is not a bad outcome and it most certainly is not a catastrophe!

13 March 2009

The Economist on American Health Care

Mining the 7 - 13 March issue of center-left or center-socialist The Economist further, it discusses the American health care system and the attempts of the Obama administration to degrade it with still more socialism. Of course, The Economist does not call it degradation. After discussing the politics of Tom Daschle's tax problems and how that kept him from becoming the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the appointment of Kathleen Sibelius to that position instead, they slam our health care system in the usual ways.

The Economist says we spend $2.2 trillion per year on health care and get "mediocre results." They say Americans die nearly two years earlier than west Europeans. They say that 46 million Americans lack health insurance. They add that ever-rising medical costs could break the budget. OK, let us examine these claims.

First, we do spend much more money on medical research, development, and care than do other countries. Some of this is wasted money due to Medicare and Medicaid and their harmful effects, which are of the nature of the added harmful effects which will come from further government intervention in the health care system. The Economist article mentions the fact that a typical hospital has a profit margin of 48% on each privately insured patient and loses 44% on each patient using Medicaid. When a hospital is losing money on a patient covered by Medicaid or Medicare, their tendency is to respond with charges for items and services which are not used or needed in order to partially compensate for the loss. This is wasteful and increases the cost of Medicare to the taxpayers and for healthcare. This also sets up habits, which are then responsible for increased costs assigned to privately insured patients also. The whole system becomes more wasteful and it starts with the central fact that the Medicare or Medicaid patient has too little incentive to care about the cost of his medical care and the medical care givers are unhappy with being forced to work without fair compensation.

Another important cost is the very high liability of American hospitals and doctors since they are not protected by a government umbrella against being sued as a nationalized medical system would be. This lack of protection does hold the medical profession to a higher degree of responsibility, but of course it comes with high costs. Among them, doctors must be overcautious in following some standard procedures even when they know they may not be best for a given patient and they must over-prescribe medical tests and some operations.

Still another factor is that we do a very disproportionate fraction of the world's medical research and development. This is very expensive. But, it is also an important factor in the growing life span of people around the world, who even in the socialized medicine environments of western Europe and elsewhere derive benefits from our commitment to medical R&D.

The nationalized medical systems of western Europe save money by rationing medical care and by making it slow rather than responsive. They make operations which are optional, but life-enhancing in the eyes of those who want them, unavailable. They also have a greater preferrence for allowing an older person to die rather than perform an expensive operation which may extend their life only a relatively short time. Finally, they are commonly also slower to make use of the latest medical procedures and to acquire new technology when it is still in its expensive stage. The costs of most sophisticated medical equipment comes down fairly rapidly in time, so you save money by waiting until it costs less. Meanwhile, some people die. A system that makes such choices can save money, but there is a very real expense in quality of life associated with this savings.

Finally, America is richer than western Europe on average. When you are richer, you are willing, able, and happy to spend more on your health and on medical care.

But The Economist's second point seems to argue against all I have said above to justify our greater medical expense. The fact that we have a nearly two year shorter life expectancy than western Europeans seems significant. It seems to suggest that the socialist health care systems of western Europe are doing a better job of giving people longer lives at less expense. Let us examine this.

The populations of western Europe are more homogeneous than is that of the U.S. There are growing numbers of Muslims from North Africa, but the European population of Native Americans and Black Africans is much lower than in the United States. There is a genetic component to life expectancy and there are also behavioral components. These are not likely in many cases to be changed by a socialized health care system. For instance, black African American males have an average lifespan which is 6.2 years shorter than that of white men and 8.3 years shorter than the national average. Native Americans average even shorter lifespans than African Americans.

African Americans have a 70% increased likelihood for diabetes. They are about 80% likely to be salt sensitive, while about half of the world population is, and this makes them more prone to high blood pressure. The high incidence of diabetes and salt sensitivity make them more likely to die from heart disease and they do at a 30% higher rate than whites. African American men are most likely to die from homicide, followed by unintentional injuries, between the ages of 15 and 34. African Americans are more likely to be obese and they are the only group with sickle cell anemia and the health problems related to that. Black Americans also make unhealthy eating choices more frequently and make sexual choices which cause them to acquire sexually transmitted diseases in higher rates by far than other groups of the population. So, the net shorter American lifespan is substantially due to genetic and subculture differences which are not a function of the health care system.

More accurately, the number of Americans reported without health insurance was 46.9 million earlier, but it is now reported to be 45.7 million. Obama and the Democrats are still generally using the outdated number to say that the number of uninsured Americans is 47 million. More important, the number of uninsured is really an estimate of all people living in the United States and includes millions of illegal immigrants who are Americans in the sense that they mostly come from North or South America. But it also includes other illegal immigrants from other parts of the world. Furthermore many of the uninsured can afford insurance, but choose not to have it. Some because they are young and healthy. Some because they are wealthy enough to be self-insured.

Indeed, if you have enough income and fairly liquid assets, it is perfectly rational not to have health insurance, which usually has an upper limit of payments and which certainly has a profit margin built into the cost of the insurance. About 2.87% of American households have an income of $200,000 a year or more. If a household has had this level of income for a few years, it may have built up a good nest egg of investments and savings. These about 2.9 million households have an average of 3 people in the household, so there are about 8.7 million Americans who might very reasonably choose to be self-insured. In some cases, some of these households might choose to in effect insure other family members not living in the household as well. So it is very reasonable to believe that health insurance is very optional for as many as 10,000,000 Americans. Because Americans are relatively wealthy, there is a higher percentage of Americans who would choose not to have health insurance than would be the case in most of the world, including western Europe.

Finally, The Economist is worried about our rising medical costs. So am I, but I am sure that they will only continue to rise even more with more government intervention, or if they do not, it will be due to drastic, anti-individual modes of government forced rationing of health care. Our current rising costs are a function of both wasteful current government meddling through Medicare, Medicaid, and the courts and many increased options for our health care offered by new technology and procedural advances. The latter cause is a good one. Another expense increaser is the problem that the rest of the world is more and more opting out of their responsibilities for the development and the costs of new procedures and drugs. America is subsidizing the rest of the world's healthcare in a big way. The only way we can prevent this is to shoot ourselves in the foot.

The article notes that Obama has signed an expansion of the state health insurance for children. He has set aside more than $630 billion over ten years as a "down-payment" towards making health care affordable for everyone, clearly at added expense to many others. And what does it really mean to say he has set this money aside, when he has no such money, but only huge deficits? He also wants to force all parents to buy health insurance for their children. He would not allow insurers to reject covering people for new insurance who have pre-existing health problems, which will raise medical insurance for the healthy. He will allow everyone to buy into the government health plan if they wish. Obama will curb costs by cutting out waste (a precedent breaking new government ability unique to Obama government) and he will encourage healthy living. He will computerize medical records and use this to determine what procedures have the most bang for the buck, so he can ration health care according to his evaluation of what bang is enough for the buck. He will increase taxes further on liquor, cigarettes, and sugary drinks. Restaurants may be forced to serve smaller portions. Companies will be forced to provide gyms for their employees to use and presumably force them to actually use those facilities. What an American concept!

Where is the sovereignty of the individual to be perceived in these plans? Each of our lives is to be micromanaged by our all-knowing government. How delightful. We will all have to live almost 2 years longer no matter how little some of us might like the rules. If only those genetic factors and those lifestyle choices predominantly found in some ethnic groups do not prove too resistant to government rules and mandates, we should have a successful future as western European socialist mimics.

The Economist on Obama

In the closing weeks of the presidential campaign, The Economist had Barack Obama's picture on the cover twice and they endorsed him for President. It is interesting that in an article in the 7 - 13 March issue called Anger Management they say:
Anger seethes about the fact that so many big-government Democrats mysteriously lose their appetite for taxes when it comes to paying them themselves. This week saw the revelation that yet another of Mr Obama's nominees, Ron Kirk, the would-be trade representative, underpaid his taxes in 2005-2007. But above all, people are angry that Mr Obama led them down the garden path. Bipartisanship? He is proposing one of the most liberal budgets in decades. Abolishing earmarks? The budget contains 8,570 of them. Honesty? The finance, property and insurance industries (all getting huge bail-outs) were the largest source of campaign contributions to Mr Obama after lawyers. Transcending racism? Eric Holder, the attorney-general, has accused Americans of being cowards when it comes to discussing race.
Perhaps not being George Bush is not enough, though it seemed that way to too many people during the election!

It is noted that almost 60% of Americans are opposed to giving money to banks and auto makers who are in danger of failing. They also mention the Tea Parties springing up around the country. Overall, this is just one more case of a somewhat left of center group or publication having second thoughts about a man who they were clearly determined to fool themselves about during the election. There was no rational reason whatever to expect that Obama was anything but a highly committed socialist. He had grown up with a radically socialist mother, taken his first jobs with radically socialist community disorganizers, associated with ex-Weathermen, associated with a church that insisted that Christ was black and upon a kind of superior black segregation out of the general American society, had long been associated with ACORN, had the most socialist voting record in the Senate, had many very dubious ties with shady real estate owners in Chicago, and had used some very dirty campaign tactics in the caucases in which he had done so well. Yet many people were determined to think that he would not act like a socialist and he would be clean when he achieved the power of the Presidency, which he and the Democrats lusted after so greatly. Duh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 March 2009

Happy Birthday Anna!

My very much beloved wife, Anna, is having a birthday today.

Thank you Anna for all the wonderful years you have loved me. Thank you for giving me my three daughters. Thank you for putting up with my starting my own laboratory and all of the years of extraordinary hard work, long hours, and depressed income. I love you dearly and I am counting on celebrating all of our many birthdays to come together.

11 March 2009

Scrubbing CO2 Out of the Atmosphere

The 7 - 13 March 2009 issue of the Economist has an article on the use of various scrubbing processes to remove CO2 from the air. There are advocates for the use of scrubbers to clean general air, not just the air emitted from coal-fired power plants, by removing CO2. [Disclosure: I have analyzed smokestack modified lime powders in a couple of projects for the purpose of solving problems or improving the absorption capacity for SO2.] Now if this can be done without subsidies from governments by selling the CO2 to greenhouses to promote plant growth, for food and soft drink processing, fire extinguishers, gas to pressurize oil fields to squeeze out more oil, and for water treatment purposes, I am fine with this. After all, the article notes that CO2 is the 19th most important chemical commodity by weight produced in America. It does have economic value, over and above the fact that plants will not grow without it.

But, of course, this is not the main thrust of the European viewpoint given in the article. No, the very first sentence is "Preventing catastrophic climate change, most people agree, will mean reducing the level of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere." Well now, isn't that sweet?

Here is a poll of Americans taken among adults from 5 - 8 March 2009 by Gallup. The main news is that the percent of Americans thinking that global warming is exaggerated by the media is now up to 41%, but 57% still think the media has it right or underestimates the seriousness of global warming. I am disappointed in Americans here, but it is clearly hard for them to see through the smokescreen put up by much of the media. Nonetheless, some of the 57% who think the media has it about right are watching Fox News, which is generally not very alarmist. The biggest change in the last year toward increased skepticism of the media reports on global warming is Independents whose skeptics jumped from 33% to 44%, while Republican skeptics increased from 59% to 66%, and Democrat skeptics from 18 to 22%. So, an Independent is twice as likely as a Democrat to be skeptic and a Republican is 3 times as likely to be a skeptic. The age group most skeptical and with the biggest change in skepticism is those 65 and older. The immutable group is those 18 to 29, who have been stuck at 31% skeptics. Of course, these are the most indoctrinated Americans of all.

60% worry about global warming either a great deal or a fair amount. First, not all of the 60% who worry about it are likely to be convinced that it is predominantly caused by man's CO2 emissions. Second, worrying a fair amount is not what you do when faced with a catastrophe. A catastrophe causes a great deal of worry and only 34% worried a great deal about global warming. When the question was put another way, only 38% thought global warming will pose a serious threat to themselves and their own way of life.

Well, maybe the Economist being based in the U.K. is thinking that most Britons believe that global warming is occurring, is caused by man emitting CO2, and that it is a catastrophe. Yet, the level of skepticism in Great Britain is now even higher than in the U.S.! They went through a period when they were more convinced than were Americans, but now they have examined the issue more carefully and the majority do not believe that man-made global warming is occurring and is a catastrophe. Here is a report on the Ipsos MORI poll of 1,039 Britons in June 2008. Six out of 10 people agreed that "many scientific experts still question if humans are contributing to climate change." 20% were undecided. Four out of 10 "sometimes think climate change might not be as bad as people say." Again 20% were undecided.

It is unlikely that most Chinese and most Indians agree that man-made global warming is occurring and it is a catastrophe. It does not appear that most Eastern Europeans are convinced that man-made global warming is a catastrophe. I have serious doubts that most Africans and South Americans are very worried about catastrophic global warming either. So, who do you think the people are who the Economist is talking about? I expect it is the university faculties and the media professionals they are talking about as 'most people.' Or is this just another instance of the Big Lie? Still another being the reference in the British article I linked to above that 2,500 scientists concluded in the last IPCC report that global warming was 90% certainly due primarily to human activity and that drastic action was needed to prevent it. Well, very many of the 2,500 were not scientists at all and only a small fraction were really climate scientists, and many of them did not agree with the summary conclusions.

Let us return to the Economist article. The exhaust from a coal-fired power station is around 10% carbon dioxide. The atmosphere is about 0.04% CO2. So, recapturing CO2 from the air is much less economical than recovering it from a coal-powered power plant. If it were economical to recover it from the air, then it should be more economical to recover from coal-fired power plants. In fact, this could then be a way for a coal-fired power plant to make more money. But, they do not do this because it is too expensive. While there is a fairly big market for CO2, apparently it does not pay very much and it is not big enough. But, our socialist friends at the Economist are not deterred. No, they appeal for subsidies and carbon off-sets to fund scrubbers which will operate on ordinary air.

Dr. Lackner, professor of geophysics at Columbia University and a member of the company Global Research Technologies, says they have a scrubbing technology that can remove CO2 from the air for industrial purposes at $200 per ton. To support this with carbon offsets now valued at only $10 per ton is not going to be feasible. But, environmentalists hope that carbon offsets will soon be valued at over $50 per ton and Dr. Lackner hopes to bring his costs down to $30 per ton. If so, the general air scrubbing can be accomplished with carbon offsets as the primary income. [In 1999, according to DOE, the average weight of carbon dioxide emitted per kW - hr of electric power from a coal-fired power plant was 2.095 pounds. At $30 per ton of CO2, this would increase the cost of 1 KW - hr of electricity by $0.0314.]

Then one still has to find a way to use this CO2. The Economist suggests that it might be converted into fuel for cars, but the conversion will cost about $4-5 per gallon according to a Dr. Eisaman. But, the primary cost is the energy needed to strip hydrogen electrolytically from water to combine the hydrogen with the carbon in the CO2 to make the hydrocarbon fuel for cars. So, Dr. Lackner suggests that wind farms sometimes generate too much electricity for the electric grid to handle, especially at night, so their output could be used to supply the power that produces the hydrogen from water and otherwise power the proces to make fuel from CO2. The idea is that then the air capture systems for removing CO2 from the air would have cheap enough power to allow the scrubbing of air using carbon offsets.

There is a flaw here, folks. Long before you can make this make sense, it would be more sensible to recognize that coal-fired power plants are dependable and cheap, while wind farms are expensive, undependable, and inclined to produce more power at night than during the day, when more power is needed. Clearly, the thing that must make much more sense is to put the scrubber on the output of the coal-fired power plant where the CO2 concentration is 10%, rather than feeding it regular air where the CO2 concentration is only 0.04%. Operating a scrubber on the CO2 enriched air should be much less expensive.

So, what is the motive in suggesting that we dump the coal-fired power plants and oil-based fuel for cars and replace them with wind farms, general air scrubbers, and synthetic fuel for cars that costs more than twice what gasoline costs? Why would you want to continue with the plan to bankrupt the coal-fired power plants as Obama has pledged to do? But, even more so, if CO2 makes plants grow better in greenhouses, should we not want more CO2 in the air anyway to make our crops throughout the world grow better? And to the degree that we need CO2 for industrial purposes, would it not make sense to encourage the producers of CO2 to work more closely with coal-fired power plants to make them a primary source of the enriched air with higher concentrations of CO2? And, perhaps it would make sense to build a lot of greenhouses right next to coal-fired power plants so the plant output air can be piped directly through them before we add on lots of carbon offsets and carbon taxes. I also wonder if the carbon dioxide output of gasoline and diesel is ever offset by the amount of CO2 pumped into oil fields in anyone's calculations.

Of course, I do not think it is bad in the air. First, it is known that after a certain concentration of CO2 is reached, it has less and less effect as a greenhouse gas. Its present concentration is already such that additions are doing little to add to warming. Second, there is reason to believe that increased CO2 causes increased water evaporation and cloud cover, which produces cooling. Third, the earth has often been warmer and man has flourished when it was, largely because plants and other animals tend to flourish when it is warmer. Fourth, the areas of the earth which are warming most are those where warming is the most welcome, such as northern North America, northern Europe, and northern Russia. Finally, while I think that man does cause some degree of global warming, I believe that warming has been dominated by natural forces.