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.

30 April 2009

CO2 is a Pollutant?

The EPA has recently ruled that CO2 is a pollutant. The EPA is now busy making draconian regulations for limiting CO2 emissions due to human activities under the Clean Air Act. Is there any possible rational basis for this?

Aside from the fact that the maximum absorption frequency for infrared radiation is somewhat different for CO2 and water vapor, their activities as greenhouse gases are very similar. Of course, water vapor has an effect which is about 18 to 20 times greater, owing largely to its about 100 times greater concentration in the atmosphere and its ability to form a wider range of dimers, trimers, and other forms to absorb infrared radiation across a broader spectrum than does CO2. So, if CO2 is a pollutant because it is a greenhouse gas, then so is water. We should next expect to see the EPA drawing up restrictions on the human use of water which may add to the water vapor concentration in the atmosphere. I would assume that this will mean no more farm irrigation and no more watering of lawns as a start. The formation of more lakes and ponds by man must also be stopped.

Or perhaps it is a pollutant because it is toxic? Well, if it is, then humans and plant life are at war. For plants, CO2 is absolutely essential if they are to grow. The more CO2 they have, the more oxygen they transpire, which last I knew we humans and other animals need every bit as much as plants need CO2. In fact, before the EPA ruling, all rational minds agreed that plants and animals, including humans, needed one another very badly. Perhaps the EPA now knows better?

And what is the basis for holding that CO2 is toxic? If humans were deprived of oxygen because the CO2 totally crowded it out, maybe it could be regarded as toxic, but then so are nitrogen, argon, and even water, if that is the criteria. As noted above where would our oxygen come from anyway without CO2 as an essential plant input so plants can produce O2?

Scorecard, the pollution information site does not list carbon dioxide as a recognized health hazard. In the last 14,000 years or so, the CO2 concentration has increased greatly as a result of the oceans warming after the last major ice age. Is there any evidence that developmental, neurological, reproductive, or respiratory problems have greatly increased for man during that time and that they are attributable to the omnipresence of CO2 in our environment. How odd it would be if this ubiquitous chemical were harmful to man and yet his evolutionary biochemistry never adjusted to this fact! Or for those of you who do not believe in evolution, how odd that God overlooked this little issue.

The EPA has apparently decided that CO2 is toxic because if there were enough CO2 in the atmosphere, some awful poor computer models used in the 4th IPCC report have suggested that more of Greenland's ice might melt and there might be a 2 inch rise in sea level due to it. From such exaggerations, Al Gore has manufactured a much greater exaggeration of a 20 foot rise in sea level. This is apparently so scary to the EPA that they have ruled that CO2 is a pollutant in what is a very unique definition of a pollutant. So, a possible 2-inch rise in sea levels makes CO2 a pollutant, but does not make water a pollutant! Go figure.

This EPA ruling must clearly be considered absolutely one of the most irrational actions ever taken by an agency assigned to be a scientific watchdog over the health of Americans. There are many other highly irrational rulings by government agencies tasked with our safety ranging through:
  • Let's haphazardly store nuclear waste all over the country rather than in a well-researched ($7.7 billion), well-regarded Yucca Mountain facility.
  • Let's allow a resurgence of malaria, rather than allow the continued controlled use of DDT.
  • Let's avoid the political embarrassment of drug side-effects no matter how many lives might be saved in balance by some prescription drugs authorized by a patient's doctor.
  • Let's throw a few 100,000 people in jail for eons so they can be bored senseless and crime gangs can be well-funded, rather than allow citizens to become mellow occasionally on marijuana.
  • Let's use a large fraction of our farmland to produce ethanol from corn, so we can pay more for many foods and create no net energy and in no way reduce pollution.
I conclude that the EPA has taken the prize for the absolutely most irrational declaration of supposed science and economics ever. This absurdity has been brought on not by science and economics, but by an overwhelming lust for power. The extreme irrationality of the decision can only be reconciled with madness brought on by this lust for power. The result will be rulings massively aimed at undercutting our industrial, mobil, well-housed, and individual-choice society.

This is a clear message that America is now ruled by tyrants and they mean to rule as madmen.

29 April 2009

Greatly Decreased Solar Radiation

An article in The Independent on 27 April 2009 called "The missing sunspots: Is this the big chill?" notes that the current decrease in solar activity and the reduced radiation due to it is more important than many scientists had thought. Marc Hairston of the University of Texas says of the solar inactivity "This is the lowest we've ever seen. We thought we'd be out of it by now, but we're not."
There is also the so-called solar wind – streams of particles the Sun pours out – that is at its weakest since records began. In addition, the Sun’s magnetic axis is tilted to an unusual degree. “This is the quietest Sun we’ve seen in almost a century,” says NASA solar scientist David Hathaway. But this is not just a scientific curiosity. It could affect everyone on Earth and force what for many is the unthinkable: a reappraisal of the science behind recent global warming.
The article also provides an interesting history of man's observances of sunspot activity:

Sunspots are dark, cooler patches on the Sun’s surface that come and go in a roughly 11-year cycle, first noticed in 1843. They have gone away before. They were absent in the 17th century – a period called the “Maunder Minimum” after the scientist who spotted it. Crucially, it has been observed that the periods when the Sun’s activity is high and low are related to warm and cool climatic periods. The weak Sun in the 17th century coincided with the so-called Little Ice Age. The Sun took a dip between 1790 and 1830 and the earth also cooled a little. It was weak during the cold Iron Age, and active during the warm Bronze Age. Recent research suggests that in the past 12,000 years there have been 27 grand minima and 19 grand maxima.

Throughout the 20th century the Sun was unusually active, peaking in the 1950s and the late 1980s. Dean Pensell of NASA, says that, “since the Space Age began in the 1950s, solar activity has been generally high. Five of the ten most intense solar cycles on record have occurred in the last 50 years.” The Sun became increasingly active at the same time that the Earth warmed. But according to the scientific consensus, the Sun has had only a minor recent effect on climate change.

It would seem reasonable to believe that the warming trend overall of the period following the end of the Little Ice Age might be due to the unusually active Sun of that period. But, no the great computer models of the climate have claimed that that was only so prior to 1950, but that after that time greenhouse gas effects were dominant. Strange that the most intense solar activity observed was post 1950, lasting to the end of the century. Nonetheless, the very inaccurate climate computer models have claimed that the solar effect is responsible for only 10 to 50% of the warming, with most of them claiming the lower end of that range.

The article notes that the Sun's radiation output varies by about 0.1 percent during the 11-year solar cycle, which is small, but the total energy involved is huge. This is about 1.3 W/sq.m. at the ground, which recent investigations have shown causes some strong regional climate changes.

What strikes me as very noteworthy is that there could be no more obvious a natural factor to the Earth's climate than the varying input of the sun. Despite that and the huge claims made with respect to the greenhouse gas effects of CO2 in the atmosphere, climatologists are clearly not on top of an understanding of the climate effects of the Sun. The computer modelers have clearly overestimated the effects of CO2, which is still increasing, despite a lack of warming since 1998. The overestimation of the greenhouse effect due to CO2 is also clearly revealed in the much lower temperatures of the atmosphere as a function of altitude compared to the predictions of the computer models. It seems clear to me that the radiative output changes of the Sun are actually playing the more important role. At least this is where I would invest my time in improving the computer models for moderately long-term climate changes, if that were my business.

28 April 2009

Kininmonth: Cold facts dispel theories on warming

William Kininmonth has written an interesting article for The Australian called "Cold facts dispel theories on warming." This article gives a good perspective on some global warming issues and is well worth reading.

Continental High Temperatures

A guest post by Steven Goddard called "Are Record Temperatures Abnormal?" at Watts Up With That has a very interesting table of the record high temperatures of the continents in it. The list is:

Africa, 136F in 1922
Antarctica, 59F in 1974
Asia, 129F in 1942
Australia, 128F in 1889
Europe, 122F in 1881
North America, 134F in 1913
South America, 120F in 1905

Not a single high temperature record was set in the recent warm spell from the late 1970s through 1998. This does make it rather hard to believe that this period was as unusually hot as has widely been claimed by the catastrophic man-made global warming enthusiasts. The highest temperatures for Australia and Europe were in the 1880s. The highest temperatures for South America, North America, and Africa were between 1905 and 1922. Asia's high temperature was set in the first half of the twentieth century also in 1942. Only Antarctica had a high temperature more recent than that and it was in 1974, well before the maximum in the late twentieth century warm spell. So, such a horrible warm spell was unable to set even one all-time record high temperature on even one continent!

25 April 2009

Kudlow: Call it Corporate Capitalism

Lawrence Kudlow, in a commentary called "Death of Democratic Capitalism" says we are now in the era of corporate capitalism, or state capitalism, or government-directed capitalism. I really dislike these terms because they all allow capitalism to be painted a failure every time the state or government misdirects the use of capital and labor, which we can be absolutely certain it will generally do. Government's purpose these days is clearly not to allow individuals the freedom to invest in property, to innovate outside of the bounds of government policy, or generally to provide the services many people want. No, instead, it is simply to pay off many groups with subsidies in order to buy their votes and a series of distractions and pretensions of helping the underdog to return our precious politicians to office. We, the great masses of the supposedly unwashed and unkempt serve these elitest politicians with their patrician university faculty and select wealthy backers. There is nothing in this system of payoffs, distractions, and pretensions that makes a society productive or rational.

Kudlow justifies calling our current situation corporate capitalism or maybe crony capitalism after Cato Institute's Don Mitchell with
It's not socialism because the government won't actually own the means of production. It's not fascism because America is a democracy, not a dictatorship, and Mr. Obama's program doesn't reach way down through all the sectors, but merely seeks to control certain troubled areas. And in the Obama model, it would appear there's virtually no room for business failure. So the state props up distressed segments of the economy in some sort of 21st-century copycat version of Western Europe's old social-market economy.
I do not believe socialism has to call for more than control of the economy. That form of socialism which calls for government ownership is communism, but fascism is also a form of socialism and it does not call for general ownership of the means of production, but only for its control. Of course, America is still a democracy, but so was Germany as Hitler acquired his initial power over Germany. The question is how long will America be a democracy or even whether it matters if it remains a democracy, as it becomes even more tyrannical as it squashes the rights of the sovereign individual.

So, let us not stain capitalism, the only system that allows every individual to pursue his own happiness and respects his property rights in his body, mind, and the results of his productive work while keeping him free from others, including government, who would force him to live in accordance with values other than his own. We stain it by associating it with any system which forces capitalism to kneel at the feet of government. This is the equivalent of forcing every individual to kneel at the feet of government. This system that Obama is now putting in place is much better termed corporate socialism or even fascist socialism.

1804 Federal Subsidy Programs

No, I am not going to discuss the federal government subsidy programs of 1804. The number in the title is the number of federal subsidy programs in 2008 according to a recent Cato Institute study by Chris Edwards.

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, 2,205 pages, lists federal programs for aid, subsidies, grants, loans, insurance, scholarships, and other benefits. The number of such programs by year is reproduced below:

2008 1804
2006 1696 [Edwards, Cato Institute, Tax and Budget Bulletin of 2006]
2005 1645
2000 1425
1995 1390
1990 1176
1985 1013 [Cutbacks by President Ronald Reagan]
1980 1123
1975 1009
1970 1019

The biggest new subsidy program was the $62 billion prescription drug program. Among the other programs are:

Homeland Security Grants $1,040,000,000
Local Firefighter Staffing $180,500,000
Clean Diesel Funding Assistance $156,000,000
Healthy Marriage Promotion $150,000,000
Community Abstinence Education $117,054,000
Education Data Systems Grants $100,000,000
Small Shipyard Grants $98,000,000
Bioenergy Fuels Grants $80,000,000
Specialty Crop Block Grant $49,000,000
Anti-gang State Grants $45,000,000
Laura Bush Librarian Program $26,500,000
Senior Farmers Market Program $22,000,000

As Edwards points out there is more and more funding and, no doubt, interference of the federal government in state and local government affairs revealed in these programs. What on earth is the federal government doing to promote healthy marriages? Frankly, no government has any business messing with marriages. The only proper role of government is to issue domestic partnership contracts as far as I am concerned. Then there is the nonsense and uselessness of the Community Abstinence Education grants! Stay out of our sex lives government! In fact, if government would also stay out of the education business and allow private schooling its proper role, we would have much more rational people and many of their sexual and marriage problems would be ameliorated. Then there are the subsidized fuel programs for clean diesel and for biofuels in this list. The two massively bloated farm bill of 2008 added many subsidies. Examples are apparently the Specialty Crop Block Grants and the Senior Farmers Market Programs above. Why on earth do Senior Farmers need a special market program?

What areas gave rise to the biggest increases in numbers of programs? Here is the list:

Interior, +88
Agriculture, +74
Homeland Security, +64
Transportation, +33
Health & Human Services, +27
Justice, +15

So, not only does Interior hog huge fractions of the land of many states, especially in the west, but it also is especially prolific in producing subsidy programs. I wonder what kind of mischief they are up to, other than refusing to allow anywhere near enough drilling for oil and gas and interfering with attempts to develop coal, tar sands, and oil shale extractions. Both the 2002 and 2008 huge farm bills produced the big increase in the subsidies of the Agriculture Department.

The reasons offered for most of these programs have little to do with their real purpose. The real purpose is always to buy votes in elections. There is little effort ever made to determine the effectiveness of these programs. When a program is shown to be ineffective, it is very rarely ended. Commonly, a completely false assertion is made that they are effective, with the facts being so blatantly ignored that one cannot help but know that the politicians and bureaucrats are lying.

I am still waiting for Congress to end the Ethanol Mandates now that it is well-known scientifically that there is no net energy production from corn-based ethanol and there is no pollution reduction advantage to mixing ethanol in with gasoline. I expect to have to wait a very long time because the program's real reason for existence was always as an excuse to subsidize farming and the ethanol refining companies such as ADM. Meanwhile, the program drives up the cost of corn, corn oil, corn syrup, beef, chicken, and pork directly and because farmland, water, and fertilizer are diverted to corn production, fewer soybean, wheat, and other crops are grown and the farm inputs cost more, which causes their prices to go up due to the ever-present law of supply and demand. This is just an example of the way in which subsidies for one thing drive up costs for many other things in our economy.

If you want to start putting some pressure on the politicians, go to www.usaspending.gov and look up the subsidy programs and who is getting the money and start complaining about it.

Meanwhile, government debt soars and will continue to do so until Americans finally throw the bums out of Washington. Then, the voters must return to the principle that the only non-tyrannical government is that which exists only to protect and defend the sovereign individual right to his own life, his liberty, his property, and his pursuit of happiness. We must insist that politicians are not appointed to choose our values for us and then to force us to live our lives in accordance with the values they have chosen.

21 April 2009

EPA Fraud: Antarctic Ice Growing

The EPA has just ruled, as it was politically certain it would, that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and they will regulate it as such. They will cause coal-fired electricity to become especially expensive and they will require still more stringent automotive fuel standards, raising the cost of our cars and putting us in ever more danger on the highways. This is being done primarily with the claim that the oceans will rise catastrophically if the American fossil fuel users do not make drastic cutbacks in fuel use. The fact that China, India, Brazil and other countries will continue to use ever more fuel will make any American cutbacks look very silly. Of course, it is silly to cut back fuel use and to make energy very expensive when there is no chance that the kind of catastrophic ocean level rise will occur for which the radical environmentalists are drooling.

Why not? First, there is at most a modest net loss of ice in Greenland. Second, 90% of the earth's ice is in Antarctica, along with 80% of its fresh water. While western Antarctica has suffered a loss of ice, eastern Antarctica is four times as large and much of it is getting colder. In fact, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research has issued a report saying the South Pole has had "significant cooling in recent decades." One wonders if this large cooling area was properly weighted into the claims that the earth was warming in the 1980s and until 1998.

The heavy calving of ice from the Wilkens Ice Shelf, is more than counterbalanced by the increase in ice in the Ross Sea area. The melting of sea ice has little effect on ocean levels anyway since the ice is already in the ocean. Land ice flowing into the ocean does have an effect, but the land ice in Antarctica is generally thickening. The worst case the SCAR report could envision was a rise of 1.25 meters by 2100, or only a quarter of the claims by some that up to 6 meters of rise might occur.

Last year, the ice near the Davis station of east Antarctica operated by Australia, had a fast ice thickness which at 1.89 meters was the thickest it had been in 10 years. The average thickness since the 1950s has been 1.67 meters.

The Geophysical Research Letters is about to publish a paper that will confirm that for 30 years the area of ice around the Antarctic continent has expanded.

So, where is the basis to be found for the EPA's declaration that the expected sea level rise will be a catastrophe requiring that the carbon dioxide we all breathe out and that plants must have to grow will have to be drastically reduced? It is not in science, it is not in the facts of reality. The basis is the need that socialists have to exercise more control over our personal lives. The basis is power lust. The basis is the change we can count on which will subjugate us all to the socialist elitists in the Obama administration and in the Democrat Congress.

20 April 2009

CNN Reporter: Are you aware we are giving you glass beads and shiny objects?

Susan Roesgen did an infamously horrendous interview with a man with a very young child and a sign that says she is already deep in debt at the Chicago Tea Party on 15 April, which you should check out here, if you have not yet seen it. She asks the man why he is there and allows him a two sentence explanation in which he says that Obama says he agrees with Lincoln, but Lincoln believed in personal freedom. Susan Roesgen interrupted him in a very aggressive voice. "What does this have to do with taxes? What does this have to do with your taxes? Do you realize you are eligible for a $400 credit?" The man tries to reply, but Susan interrupts immediately with "Did you know that the state of Lincoln gets $50 billion out of this stimulus?"

The man tries again to speak, but he is clearly flustered and repeats himself, while someone, perhaps a CNN cameraman, keeps shouting "Sir" at him as though he is trying to control him, perhaps to keep him from attacking the reporter. The man is still holding his child and showing no indication that he is about to attack her, so it looks as though CNN is trying to create a message of violence from nothing. Then the reporter backs away and starts saying that this is clearly not family viewing and she cannot hear. Some crowd members had shouted at her to shut up, which was actually rather reasonable given that the interview was clearly a pretense and her purpose was clearly to be the primary speaker rather than a listener. She also said that the crowd was composed of radical right wingers stirred up by the right wing Fox network.

What I am most interested in is the implication that a man with a small child and probably a wife is supposed to drop to his knees when told that he has no reason to complain about lost liberties because the socialists have paid for his soul, his daughter's soul, and his wife's soul with a $400 tax credit. This gives us deep insight into the souls of these "progressives." There is an ambiguity here. Which is it that the "progressive" believes?
  • A father, a wife, and a child together should be happy to sell their freedom, and hence their souls, for a $400 tax credit, or a small part of the $1300 that a southern plantation owner might pay for a prime male field hand in 1837 dollars.
  • The progressive believes the fair market value of the freedom of a man, his wife, and his child is $400.
  • The man is too stupid to know that he is valuing the freedom of his wife, his child, and himself at a mere $400.
It may be that the "progressive" believes any of these or any combination of these. We will have to live with the uncertainty, but we do know that none of the above beliefs make "progressivism" anything less than monstrous.

Susan also believed it a fair means of purchase to offer his state of Illinois $50 billion of stimulus money. Now, this does figure out to be about $3890 per person (using a state population of 12,852,548 estimated in July 2007). But, it was clear from the in debt sign this man was holding under his child that he understands that this surplus windfall will have to be paid by him and his child. Is that not part of the very debt he was complaining about? How can this "progressive" reporter, so bright as to be hired by CNN, have made such a fallacious argument?

This pretentious, foolish, and insulting young woman is very representative of a large segment of the young "progressives." She is most enlightening and a most horrifying ghoul. Yet, she is a great example of the prime product of our public school system and of our universities. These people actually do believe that liberty is worth very little and it should be easily purchased with bobbles and beads offered by the socialist elite to the vast unthinking rabble of America.

I hope Americans continue rapidly with the process of understanding how threatened our liberties are by Obama and his 40 "progressive" Thieves. These Tea Parties indicate that this process is further underway than one could have imagined during the last Presidential and Congressional elections. The socialists clearly believed there was no longer anyone in their way and able to block them from forming a socialist tyranny. They will do great harm before they are stopped, but it is beginning to look as though there is some hope that they will be. We need to see bigger protests soon and we need to see people become more coherent in stating their purposes in opposing socialism and in espousing the sovereign freedom of the individual.

17 April 2009

Dept. of Homeland Security on Rightwing Extremism

The Washington Times ran an article by Audrey Hudson and Eli Lake on 14 April 2009 called "Federal agency warns of radicals on right." You can link from the article to the Office of Intelligence and Analysis assessment report itself, by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division. This is actually a rather vague and strange report, as noteworthy for those reasons as for any reasons some of us may have concerns that we are being targeted by government for simply believing in the Constitution of the United States. It has become clear that the government itself believes in very little of the Constitution.

In its discussion of Key Findings, the report starts off by saying, "The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence." What a curious statement. The rightwing terrorists are not currently planning acts of violence. If they were doing so in the past, shouldn't they be in jail now? If some group is free and is not planning acts of violence, then how is it called a terrorist group? Is it a terrorist group because someone in government is afraid of some group? If a grassroots mother's club called for a decrease in government power by calling for a transfer of secondary education from the public sector to the private sector, would this put the fear of God in this government branch and qualify the mother's club to be called a terrorist group even though it was not calling for acts of violence?

Apparently, this is not just a badly worded sentence, because the second paragraph says
Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts.
So, again I am puzzled. A violent antigovernment group is one which has no plans to carry out violent acts? What does this mean? It appears to mean that as an adjective, violent means anything that threatens a very expansive role of government. When the government has been taken over by socialists, as it now has, anyone who opposes socialism is now defined as "violent." This seems to be the criteria for the reporting by some reporters from CNN on the many local Tea Parties on 15 April. One woman CNN reporter was claiming that the protest she was at was no place for a family to be due to its threatening nature, though numerous people were there with their children and there were no acts of violence. Go figure.

A footnote at the bottom of this Key Findings page sort of defines "rightwing extremism." It says
Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
Now this is not actually a definition at all. It does give the impression that if someone hates some other group then they are rightwing. Does this mean that those who hate the rich are rightwing extremists, or would this government agency call them leftwing extremists? Or, rightwing extremists may simply favor state or local government or some concept of minimal government, much as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson did. So, are they trying to say that George, Tom, and I are rightwing extremists and that we should be watched with care because we are (or were) trying to convince others of our viewpoint? Do they have any interest in distinguishing those who oppose illegal immigration and those who simply do not want the U.S. to allow any immigrants to come legally to the U.S.?

There are repeated statements of concern that rightwing extremists continue "to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures." Heck, there are a lot of people discussing these things. Is there some reason to believe that discussing these topics makes one dangerous?

The report notes
Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use.
WELL. I suppose that covers about everyone who did not vote for Obama, except perhaps for the curious reference to minorities. Most social programs for a very long time have been preferentially expanded for the sake of certain minorities. That is not a change at all.

There is a lot of concern that rightwing extremists, whatever they actually may be, are having discussions about important issues and that they are exercising their right to bear arms. It seems that just the act of exercising your right to bear arms is almost alone considered reason to classify someone as a rightwing extremist. This means you are an extremist if you do nothing in violation of the Constitution. Yes, this is a bit odd. Apparently, you are a rightwing extremist if you oppose gun restrictions such as the Brady Law or think that federal law enforcement mishandled the confrontations at Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

Then there is the section called "Disgruntled Military Veterans", which I have been since the Democrat Congress stopped supporting South Vietnam, leaving it to fall to North Vietnam and the lives of 56,000 Americans to go for nought, not to mention many more good South Vietnamese. We disgruntled returning soldier's need special watching as enemies of the state.

While "rightwing extremist" was not well-defined, it appears that I clearly am considered a rightwing extremist. Hopefully considered one who is not currently planning violence against the hugely arrogant and overblown federal government or state and local governments. I hope they recognize that I am simply executing my rights to freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, freedom of petition, and my property rights. But despite all that, I am to be watched closely as a rightwing extremist because racists and small government people are assumed by our government to be in a state of near kinship. Thanks government. I'm going to add that to my list of grievances! I sure do not trust you anti-Constitutionalist tyrant running dogs either.

Socialists to Kill Private Health Insurance

The Wall Street Journal under Review and Outlook had an article on 12 April 2009 called "The End of Private Health Insurance." Obama has repeatedly said that everyone will be offered government health insurance modeled after the plan that government employees have, but they can keep the private plan they presently have if they wish to keep it instead. As he puts it, it just sounds as though one has an additional option and everyone likes having more options, right?

Well, no. Clearly this middle class entitlement program will be managed by the politicians of
Congress to garner as many votes as possible for the politicians. House Democrat Pete Stark has made it clear that the government offered insurance plan will be used to force private insurance plans to lower their costs. He claims this will be done by forcing them to "modernize", but we already know much about what will happen simply by studying Medicare/Medicaid. The government health insurance plan will pay substantially less than the true cost of the health care delivered, so doctors and hospitals will be forced to charge the private plans more. They already do this due to Medicare/Medicaid. According to the article:
A 2006 study in the journal Health Affairs concludes that around 17 cents of every dollar in relative reductions in Medicare payments to private hospitals are shifted onto private patients -- and that such cost-shifting accounts for fully 12.3% of the total increase in private payer prices between 1997 and 2001.
Actually, I am pretty sure that this study underestimates the degree of the cost shift. Because doctors and hospitals know that Medicare/Medicaid is shafting them in a most unethical way, they retaliate by charging for many unnecessary supplies and services. This is not an efficient way to make up the lost income due to the inadequate pricing schedules from the government, because real supplies are wasted and real manpower is used in the unnecessary services. It costs a lot of resources to make up a part of the loss in initial underpricing and the whole process causes the medical profession to become wasteful and to lose their ethical path. Soon, they are applying the same practices to private insurance holders so their costs go up not just by virtue of transferring costs with higher prices to the private insurance companies, but also due to other inefficient and unethical practices made the standard operating procedure by government.

Basically, the government dictated prices for services will cause people to demand unneeded services, will cause the health care system to become more inefficient, and will cause the health care providers to become more and more unethical, frankly in response to the unethical arm-twisting, or to be honest, their enslavement by government. The article notes that:
Much like Medicare, overall spending in the public option will be controlled over time by paying less for medical services, drugs and technology. With its monopsony purchasing power, below-market fees will be dictated on a take-it-or-leave-it basis -- an offer hospitals and physicians won't be able to refuse. Medicare's current reimbursement policies pay hospitals only 71% of private rates, and doctors 81%, according to the Lewin Group.
I have seen claims that the underpayments are worse than this. In any case, the underpayments are bad enough that the costs of private insurance will have to go up even more substantially than has been the case due to Medicare/Medicaid due to the much larger numbers of people under government dictated pricing plans. About 170 million people are now covered by private health insurance plans. Medicare and Medicaid presently account for 4% of the GDP and this will increase to 9% by 2035 according to the CBO. This is without the Obama/socialist government health insurance plan. Individual and corporate tax rates will have to be increased by 90% to pay for the increased cost of the present government health plan between now and 2050.

Depending on what fraction of the health care costs are paid by the proposed new government health insurance plan, it is thought that huge numbers of people will leave the private insurance plans. If the costs are set equal to those of Medicare/Medicaid then the estimate by Lewin is that 119 million people will transfer from private to public insurance. With this huge shift to the government plan,
Congress will finish the job with regulatory changes. Under the aegis of a level playing field, all private plans will be forced to offer benefit packages similar to those in the public option. They will also be required to accept all comers, regardless of pre-existing conditions, and also be forced to offer similar rates to all enrollees, ending the ability to manage risk through underwriting. Any private plan will essentially become a public utility where government decides what products it must offer and how much it can charge.
It is then very clear what will happen. Either health care costs skyrocket, or health services will be severely rationed. Doctors, nurses, and hospital pharmacists will be paid less relative to other professions and less and less competent people will enter these professions. Your doctor will be as hit or miss as your children's public school teachers are. The health care system will make you visit the doctor 3 times to do what he could do in one visit, since the doctor will be limited severely in what he can charge per visit. Imagine the time you will waste leaving work and driving to the doctor, the danger of driving the government-designed small GM cars to the doctor's office, the long wait in the doctor's office, the added worries about your deteriorating health between these visits, and the worry that if a serious medical procedure is needed that you will die while waiting for it to happen.

So, the necessary tax increases will be far higher than the 90% increases needed with no such additional plan and you will be forever asking the doctor if you will die while waiting for the operation to save your life. But, there is a silver lining in death: you will not suffer the confiscatory taxes anymore and you will finally be free from slavery! Its a plan, its a government plan you can count on as surely as you can count on death.

14 April 2009

Tax Slavery

We should all be keenly aware that we not only pay taxes, but we also bear costs in the time it takes to keep records for tax purposes and to fill out tax forms. We should also be very aware of the costs in general of our time to abide with such government regulations as are irrational and excessive.

It is not really the tax money itself that we should be focused on. We should be focused on the cost in our time to taxes, regulations, and mandates. Viewed that way, it is much clearer that we are not the masters of that time. Our masters in Washington and in our state and local governments are taking those hours of our lives from us. To the degree that those governments exceed their proper role of serving as the protectors of our sovereign individual rights, they are enslaving us. In our time, government violations of this rule for good government are so prevalent that the great majority of the time represented by taxes, regulations, and mandates is that time we serve as Slaves.

Most Americans greatly underestimate the amount of taxes that they pay. We are taxed on our incomes for Social Security, Medicare, unemployment taxes (both state and federal), and Workman's Compensation Insurance. You may argue that the employer pays some of these taxes, but that is a pretense. They all really come out of your pocket. You are generally hit with sales taxes, utility taxes, luxury or bad habit taxes, tariffs, corporate taxes, capital gains taxes, license fees, car registrations, title fees on cars and homes, real estate taxes, higher food costs due to farm subsidies, fuel taxes, inflation, and death taxes. Very few people have any idea how much they are paying in taxes. Almost everyone thinks it is far less than it is. For instance, almost no one thinks they pay corporate taxes. But they do every time they buy something made by a corporation. And how many realize that the time their employer spends on accounting, on paying payroll taxes, on filing other taxes, and paying real estate and property taxes is all taking away other uses of money and time which could have been used to make the company stronger.

I am sure that many of you are still busy filing your taxes. I still have to do mine. But, when you can, you should pay more attention to the many costs of government that you are paying with your time and money. You should then carefully assess whether the services you get are really worth what is taken from you. You should also think about whether governments taking your time and money has a moral or an immoral justification.

12 April 2009

Tea Parties on 15 April Protest Taxes and Deficits

Tea party protests, after the fashion of the original Boston Tea Party, are being organized in 300 cities in the United States on 15 April 2009. Please consider attending one of these Tea Parties or having one of your own, even if just with your family or a few neighbors. The huge spending being planned by the federal government will destroy much of the private sector, where we make our own individual choices in the management of our lives, replacing it with a much more bloated public sector, where elitists dictate our values to us.

Then there are the terrible deficits to be passed on to our children and grandchildren. It is not enough that the politicians will not address the tax burdens of the Social Security system as the Baby Boomers retire or the deficits of Medicare as more and more of the same Baby Boomers, no longer productive workers, have more and more health problems. With those problems alone our children and grandchildren were going to be staggering under unbearable tax burdens. But this was not enough. Government responded to the Oil Crisis by refusing to allow more oil and gas production and threatening to bankrupt all users of coal. The auto industry staggered. Then when the recession caused some people with high risk loans to default, even though the federal government with ACORN's help, had long urged financial firms to make risky loans while taking them to court, the government and the media claimed the entire recession was caused by the American financial industry and capitalism. Never mind the fact that the rest of the world had largely been in recession before the U.S. was. But, this was the "crisis" too good not to use as the excuse for a major grab for power by our newly installed Messiah of Socialism and his "Progressive" Congressional majority.

When you can stagger no more children, what happens to you then? Do the kindly socialists of the government then have any use for you? Or do you finally overcome your public high school and college indoctrinations as socialists and rise up in rebellion? Would it not be much better to rebel now, before quite so many American lives have been destroyed because no one was allowed to figure out what their personal dream was and then pursue it? The socialists do not like it, but life is personal. If you cannot see that it is so, you have only to study the history of all the other socialists regimes to learn what happens to the herd of followers when socialist government is in control of their lives. There must be something spiritually very deadening about these tyrannical systems which so consistently have turned their people to drunken stupors as the only way to lessen the pain of their personal unhappiness. Awaken, please, for this is a looming tragedy you must not ignore.

11 April 2009

Reynolds - High Oil Prices Caused Worldwide Recession

Alan Reynolds is one of my most favorite economists. He has written another very good and very important article, It Didn't Start Here, which was published in the New York Post on 9 April 2009.

The recent G-20 meeting in London produced a consensus: The United States started and caused the worldwide recession. The United States should be humbled. Obama agreed. The Finance Minister of Germany, Peer Steinbrueck, said the Anglo-Saxon attitude in America and Great Britain had encouraged risky lending and investment practices due to "an exaggerated fixation on returns."

Reynolds says, "Hey, wait a minute folks, let's look at the data." Examine when industrial production first started declining in some countries. It began to decline in Canada in July 2007, in Italy in August 2007, in France in October 2007, and the Euro area as a whole in November 2007. Japan's production reached a peak in October 2007, though it had a one-month uptick in February 2008. The decline in the U.S. was in February 2008.

In January 2008, the OECD leading indicators were down from a year before by 4.1 points in Ireland, 2.8 points in Japan, 2.6 points in Korea, 2.3 points in Sweden, but only 0.8 points in the U.S. Stock prices are another leading indicator. Stock prices peaked in Japan and in the Euro area four months before they peaked in the U.S. and the U.K. in October 2007!

In the 4th quarter of 2008, real GDP was lower around the world than it had been 1 year before, but it had dropped by much less in the U.S. than almost anywhere else. The list is:

Taiwan, -8.4%
Turkey, -6.2%
Sweden, -4.9%
Japan, -4.3%
Singapore, -4.2%
Denmark, -3.7%
South Korea, -3.4%
Italy, -2.9%
Hong Kong, -2.5%
Great Britain, -2.0%
Germany, -1.7%
Mexico, -1.6%
France, -1.1%
U.S., -0.8%
Canada, -0.7%

So, how did the the failures of U.S. and British banks and financial institutions in September and October of 2008 cause the recession which had started in Japan and in Europe in January 2008?

The housing price boom and the low cost of borrowing in the U.S. and in Britain were problems, but they were also problems in a number of other countries. These problems developed later and many countries which went early into recession, such as Japan, Sweden, and Canada had had no housing booms. Reynolds points out that James Hamilton of the University of California at San Diego showed in 1983 that "all but one of the US recessions since World War Two have been preceded, typically with a lag of around three-fourths of a year, by a dramatic increase in the price of crude petroleum." Reynolds says the years 1946 to 2007 saw 10 dramatic spikes in the price of oil -- each soon followed by a recession. He also notes that in January 2008, he wrote that the US economy was likely to slip into recession due to the high energy costs no matter what the Federal Reserve did with respect to monetary policy.

The logical conclusion from this is that the U.S. was probably doing a whale of a job in diminishing the worldwide recession. Indeed, the dollar value of US imports did not start to fall until August 2008 and our purchases of consumer goods did not fall until September 2008. Strange that so many in the rest of the world are so eager to blame the US for this recession, including the very anti-American Barack Obama! It would be more logical to see the U.S. as the hero in these trying times.

Reynolds points out that Jagadeesh Gokhale, his colleague at the Cato Institute, noted that "the prolonged decline in exurban housing construction that began in early 2006 was a logical response to rising prices of oil and gasoline at that time. So was the equally prolonged decline in sales of gas-guzzling vehicles. And the US/UK financial crises in the fall of 2008 were likewise as much a consequence of recession as the cause: Recessions turn good loans into bad."

So, it would appear that part of the reason that existing home prices were shooting up was because new home building was becoming more expensive and few homes were being built, due to the energy crisis. The energy crisis certainly weakened the U.S. auto industry, which was making all of its profits and most of its income from SUVs, trucks, and large cars. When people were paying more than twice what they had been paying to fill their gas tanks, they became less likely to be able to pay more for home mortgages or to make payments on such new cars as they did buy. The banks came under increased pressure and the many high-risk loans that government had pushed them into became a real liability, albeit one exaggerated by the Sarbanes-Oxley mark-to-market asset evaluation requirement. Another gift from government.

So, what would a rational response be to minimizing such a future spike in energy costs, given that such spikes are the chief cause of recessions? For the U.S., it would be to allow oil and gas drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, as was approved by George Bush, but then immediately killed by Obama. It would be to open ANWR to drilling. A non-starter with our very foolish Obama. A rational response would be to sell off much of the excessive federal holdings of land in the western US and encourage companies to drill for oil and gas using modern good practices. When OPEC, which did cause the present worldwide recession, spikes prices upward, the US production facilities could run production at full output and hold down the price increases a bit in the U.S. This would help to moderate our future recessions.

What very irrational, shall we say, even insane policy are we following? First, the media and the government are blaming American banks and financial institutions for this recession, while claiming that this means they need to be be managed by our ever-perspicuous government. Second, they are using this to broadly blame Capitalism. Note that OPEC is a cabal of nationalized oil companies, which have nothing to do with Capitalism. Furthermore, Obama and his cut-throat gang are using this crisis as a means to cripple the fossil fuel energy industries in the U.S. One of the reasons the U.S. weathers the oil price spike caused recessions better than many other countries is because we have the world's greatest reserve of coal. We still use it to produce half of our electricity. Without it, we will be even more subject to the whims of OPEC and to the subsequent OPEC-caused recessions.

Do you suppose it is possible that the same impulse that causes Obama to bow to the King of Saudi Arabia, who is an important Islamic leader, is also causing him to make the U.S. itself more subservient to the Islamic Middle East for its energy supplies? Do not argue that Obama is going to replace our fossil fuel use with alternative energy sources. First, if it is done, it will be done by the free market far more than by government or any amount of community organizing and rabble rousing. Second, he is keen on destroying the American fossil fuel industries to the point that he is already doing this with no viable alternative energy replacements in sight. This man is a destroyer, not a creator.

Instead of characterizing this crisis as a financial crisis, let us remember to call it the oil crisis. We must also recognize that while OPEC has been primarily responsible for our post-WWII recessions, we can easily be the cause of future recessions by following policies designed to increase the cost of energy!

10 April 2009

Massive Socialist Government Gang Extortion

The gang of brutal socialists who have taken over control of the Presidency and Congress have escalated their extortion racket to much the worst levels ever. Have you ever wondered why many very wealthy businessmen and companies have for years donated more money to the Democrats who dislike business from an ideological perspective than they give to Republicans who are commonly thought to be the champions of the fat cats? Heck, have you ever wondered by the delegates to the Democratic National Convention are always wealthier than those to the Republican National Convention?

The answer is in two parts. First, many of these businessmen give more to the Democrats because they are trying to buy them off to keep them from doing as much harm to the businessmen. This is like Chamberlain buying Hitler off by giving him Czechoslovakia. Appeasement is always a popular strategy when the cowardly are faced with an especially vicious bully. The second part of the answer is that by allying themselves with the socialists they actually get a payment from those in power with legislation favoring them in a variety of ways. For instance, complex and intrusive laws will always create great opportunities for trial lawyers, who are massive donors to the major socialist party, the Democrats. Regulations such as the bureaucratically massive requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley bookkeeping procedures will hold back small and smaller mid-sized companies more than really big companies, so the big companies are protected from competition.

Cumbersome Federal contracting laws make it hard for small companies to go after Federal contracts, with their 10 pages of fine print references to many laws imposing obligations and mandates on the company taking the Federal contract or simply bidding for it. Generally regulations putting insurance, pollution, recycling, safety, family leave time, anti-discrimination, the display of tens of posters to employees, and many other mandates fall more heavily upon small and the smaller mid-sized companies than the large companies. The result is that it is common for the largest companies and the wealthiest investors to ally themselves with the Democrat mob than with the Republicans who pretend to stand up for small business interests. Yes, this is more pretense than substance on the part of the Republicans, but they really are a bit less active in doing harm to small businesses.

So, what is our small-time community rabble-rouser up to now that he has his hands on the big-time power of the Presidency? Well, he is unabashedly putting the extortion techniques the socialist Democrat Party has spent a long time perfecting to work. Let us examine how he is doing this.

According to a 9 April report by Eric Dash in the New York Times called "Banks Holding Up in Tests, but May Still Need Help," the 19 largest American banks are being given stress tests led by the Federal Reserve. Testers say there is a wide range of results on the tested banks. Those that fall short will have six months to raise capital from private investors, but if they cannot do this, the Treasury Dept. will make them take taxpayer money. Timothy Geithner says he will take a tough stance. He claims that many banks believe the value of investments and loans on their books is higher than the government does. He says the government will make some banks sell off the assets the government thinks are overvalued on their books at whatever private investors are willing to pay. What an extortion tool? If the bank does not give enough to socialist politicians campaign funds, the government in control of the socialists, declares that some of the banks assets are worth less than the bank thinks they are worth and forces the bank to sell them in a fire sale. Meanwhile, we can be sure that generous Democrat campaign contributors are likely standing in the wings willing to buy up assets at bargain prices offered at the coming fire sales.

On another front, the socialists are launching still another attack on start-up companies in Silicon Valley. They want to regulate venture capital firms to prevent systemic risks. Geithner wants to force these VCs to register with SEC and file reports with them on their investors and their investments, so that investors will be protected from schemes such as Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme. This is odd. The SEC did not save anyone from Madoff though his firm was long registered with the SEC as an investment advisor and for decades as a broker-dealer. Very odd, indeed, it is. The Wall Street Journal Opinion piece by James Freeman linked to explains:
The entire venture capital industry is smaller than the Madoff fraud. VCs invest a total of $30 billion each year, far less than one-tenth of 1% of U.S. financial transactions. Venture investors -- affluent individuals and institutions -- are putting up equity and know that they can lose it all. SEC regulation could have the same negative impact on them that it had on Madoff's investors: creating an illusion of safety in what is an inherently risky endeavor. Or the regulation could become so severe that it actually does eliminate risk from venture investing, killing the innovative ideas that can only be funded by risk-takers.
The VCs use very little debt. The banks dealing with them are well-secured by the assets of the companies for the small amounts they loan to them. There is no reason for Washington to poke its nosey nose into the VC business. There is a strong downside.
Attempts to limit risk pose a systemic threat to American technology. Venture capitalists, mainly veterans of the tech industry, are deeply involved in the companies they back, often helping to recruit each of the key employees at a start-up. This hands-on feature of venture investing means that innovative companies and their backers tend to cluster in areas like Silicon Valley. If the VCs move offshore, that's probably where the next generation of companies will be born.
Cypress Semiconductor CEO T. J. Rodgers points out that the Democrats have already heavily burdened America's technology industry. Sarbanes-Oxley has imposed multimillion-dollar compliance costs since 2002. The SEC then forced companies to count stock options twice, once as dilution of stock and then as an expense. The result is already a disaster. Only one Silicon Valley company had an initial public offering of stock in all of 2008! Are the socialists purposely destroying the growth of Silicon Valley firms because Silicon Valley has had something of a reputation for being somewhat libertarian? I believe that this is a big factor in this attack on these rather independent-minded and innovative businessmen. The socialists hate business and they hate independence, rationality, and innovation even more.

Of course, we have already observed the socialists taking control of the banking and financial industries and not wanting to let go. We have seen them dictate who will manage GM and seen them micromanage which vehicles will be produced by American automakers, while dictating minimal changes for the United Auto Workers Union. They continue to encourage high risk home and auto loans for new purchases, while using the risk of defaults on prior risky loans as a club to gain control of banks and other financial institutions.

The Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, sets grounds for anyone "who has suffered, or reasonably expects to suffer, a harm attributable, in whole or in part," to government inaction to file a "citizen suit." The term "harm" is broadly defined as "any effect of air pollution (including climate change), currently occurring or at risk of occurring." [See the Washington Times, 10-11 April 2009 edition.] Thus, any environmentalist person, imagining that he may one day suffer harm from global warming, will be able to sue the U.S. government to take drastic action to prevent global warming. If they find a sympathetic court, the U.S. may be held responsible for the harm of what may well be results caused by natural forces, and forced to take drastic action against fossil fuel users whether they have in fact caused harm or not. It also rewards the massive contributors to socialism among the trial lawyers, once again.

The mandated extent of the replacement of dependable coal-fired electric power plant capacity with undependable wind and solar alternative energy sources will be certain to result in widespread electric blackouts. The governments will undoubtedly then play a role in further rationing energy, giving more to favored users and less to the politically unfavored. No doubt, unionized industries will be allowed more access to energy than will un-unionized businesses. Large companies with sufficient political pull (givers of large campaign contributions) will get energy, while small businesses will not get it.

The tax system is also to be skewed to give the socialists much more power. They tried to take the influence of wealthy people over charities away by greatly reducing the tax deduction for charitable giving by the wealthy. This was checked, for now. They use taxes as never before to put the wealthy under the feet of the mass of less wealthy voters. They are using the tax system to bind college graduates to their cause, which reinforces the tendency of young college graduates to spout the propaganda of socialism which they were infected with while in public high school and college. They will then be enrolled in government service agencies, which will complete their indoctrination. The tax system also favors selected industries such as the alternative energy industry, so that they become dependent clients of the socialists.

Rules favoring the easy unionization of small businesses will also favor the socialist-oriented unions and hurt an enemy of the socialist cause. The broadening of the Clean Air Act to cover carbon dioxide emissions will give government another tool to control our lives, which they will also use to pick winners and losers based on political pull. Tariffs, created under the guise of discriminating against polluters, low-paid workers, and non-union labor users abroad, will give the socialists still another tool to use to pick winners and losers in American industry.

Make no mistake, the Obama socialist gang wants control of every aspect of your life. It is a massive extortion ring. They are seizing power rapidly and with a breadth of attack which is mind-boggling. This assault on the rights of the individual has been long dreamed of and long planned. The worst thing is that it was very clear that Obama was the Messianic leader of just such a gang during the election process, but most Americans refused to see what was almost immediately before their eyes. He still has most Americans hypnotized even as most are now beginning to criticize his various programs.

09 April 2009

Oceans are Source of CO2

According to an article entitled "Hemispheric Timing Shows Oceans are Source of CO2" by Dennis T. Avery, there are a number of badly flawed assertions in the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming claims based on CO2 emissions from man's use of fossil fuels.

Tom Quirk, an Oxford-trained Australian research physicist has observed that the carbon 14 isotope generated by nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 1960s took several years to travel from the northern to the southern hemispheres. Since 95% of the use of fossil fuels is in the northern hemisphere, northern hemisphere CO2 atmospheric concentrations should be higher than southern hemisphere concentrations, but they are not. Tom Quirk says:
“The seasonal variations in CO2 and the lack of time delays between the hemispheres suggest fossil-fuel-derived CO2 is almost totally absorbed locally in the year it is emitted,” he says. “This implies that natural variability of the climate is the prime cause of increased CO2, not the emissions of CO2 from the use of fossil fuels.”
Dennis Avery proceeds to remind us how the great "Nobel scientist" Al Gore informed us that more CO2 in the atmosphere caused the last four interglacial warmings over the last 400,000 years. But, .....more recent Antarctic studies have clearly shown that it is the CO2 atmospheric concentrations which are responding with increases to temperature increases. The oceans absorb massive amounts of CO2 from the air when they cool. The oceans hold at least 70 times as much CO2 as the atmosphere does. When oceans warm, they cannot hold as much dissolved CO2 gas. Since 1850, the climate has generally warmed as we have left the Little Ice Age behind and atmospheric CO2 concentrations slowly rose accordingly.

Avery says that we now know that the correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and temperatures over the last 150 years is 22%, while that with sunspots is 79%. So, there is a CO2 warming according to him, but it is a function of CO2 being emitted from the oceans, not the results of man's puny contribution from the combustion of fossil fuels. The rapid local absorption of CO2 indicated by the nearly identical northern and southern hemisphere concentrations, indicates that the land and oceans can hold very much more CO2 than they presently do.

The heat energy content of the oceans is about 2000 times that of the atmosphere. Because of this, it is better to make judgments about whether the earth is warming or cooling slightly based on the temperature of the ocean than based at land surface stations. This is especially true given that so many land temperature stations are disproportionately sited in population centers and are not infrequently placed near asphalt parking lots and other heating sources. The Argo diving floats have given us the most accurate ocean temperature measurements ever. These measurements show that the oceans stopped warming in 2003. The atmosphere stopped warming after 1998, but it is reasonable that it takes awhile to fully transfer heat from the atmosphere to the ocean and that the ocean itself then takes awhile to come to be in a quasi-equilibrium state. Of course there will remain large thermal gradients in the ocean for any overall heat content, but if the atmosphere is warmer than the ocean surface, the overall ocean heat content will increase until the ocean and the atmosphere achieve a new quasi-equilibrium.

Avery says "the earth is now cooling, and any drastic actions to reduce fossil fuel emissions are premature." Dr. Kanya Kusano of Japan's Earth Simulator Project is advising Japan that the man-made CO2 emissions argument for global warming is an "unproven hypothesis."

A Reader Request - The Humble Libertarian

A reader, Wesley Messamore, has asked me to share this with you:

To Dr. Anderson:

Hello. I'm a libertarian blogger who recently published a post with a graphic representation of the characters in Atlas Shrugged arranged according to their ability and morality.

I thought it might merit mention on your blog as your readers would find it interesting, relevant, and useful:

http://www.humblelibertarian.com/2009/04/atlas-shrugged-characters-according-to.html

Have a great day and thanks for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Wes Messamore

--
News and Commentary from a Libertarian Perspective: http://www.humblelibertarian.com


The graphic Wes produced may be useful for jogging some of our memories about some of the characters of Atlas Shrugged. I admit to being way overdue for the pleasure of re-reading Atlas Shrugged, but what can you do when you are trying to keep up with science, solve technical and scientific materials problems, run a small business, keep up with the attempts of socialists to steal away the sovereign rights of the individual, read excellent books for the first time by such authors as Thomas Sowell, Walter E. Williams, Amity Shlaes, Jonah Goldberg, Robert A. Levy & William Mellor, Patrick J. Michaels & Robert C. Balling, Jr., Chris Edwards & Daniel J. Mitchell, and others, and formulate evaluations and responses to the myriad dastardly deeds of our would-be socialist slave masters? Add to this a wife and three daughters who deserve attention and love and you have one guy with far too few hours in a day. The pleasure of re-reading Atlas Shrugged will have to wait. But, sometimes when I need a pick-up, I do just thumb through it and find a passage to re-read for pleasure and inspiration. I admit that I never pick a passage about James Taggart, Wesley Mouch, or Robert Stadler. They are just too depressing for such a purpose. My picks are always passages about my heroes, my fellow heroes, the people I want to be my best friend.

But some of you may also enjoy thinking about where you would move some of these characters on the same plot or even about plotting them against other parameters. This could be a fun exercise.

I would prefer that those of us who are trying to defend the rights of the individual in these trying times would not be too Humble. We are engaged in the on-going epic battle of the last 200 years with respect to socialism and of all of man's history with respect to his freedom. Many of us are Americans, who look back to a brash tradition in which men sought proudly to manage their own lives and to be dependent upon their own minds and the product of their personal effort. Our tradition was simply this: Nature can and must be controlled for my benefit and I am just the man to do it with the use of my capable mind and my determined effort. This is a brash assertion, but it is what gave man the confidence to claim his individual sovereign rights to his life, to his liberty, to his property, and to his pursuit of happiness. It also gives him the confidence and the self-esteem that causes him pleasure in seeing others control and manage their own lives in pursuit of their self-identified values, without a twinge of envy and without a bit of desire to steal another man's self-attained values. I would rather Wes Messamore and Ben Bryan had called their blog The Arrogant Libertarian, The Brash Libertarian, The 'I have hardly begun to fight!" Libertarian, The Unconquered Libertarian, The Unchained Libertarian, The Untrodden Libertarian, or some such name. But, a Libertarian who likes the works of Ayn Rand is likely a good ally on many important issues.

Damn, I feel like sinking a government relief ship bound with American welfare goods to a socialist country or a dictatorship for a personal pick-up of my spirits. Ragnar, where are you? Or maybe Midas Mulligan and I could come up with a scheme to get some of the bank bailout money back into the hands of the American taxpayers. Or I could do some materials R&D to support Hammond Auto in putting GM, Chrysler, and Toyota out of their misery. We individualists need something to have fun with and to celebrate the fact that some of us, at least, still feel up to the task of managing our own lives.

08 April 2009

Obama - American Rights and Interests Submissive

During the Obama presidential campaign, I pointed out that Obama wanted to make American individual rights and the interests of the United States submissive to the dominant role to be played by the United Nations and by international bodies. The Obama presidency has confirmed my understanding with a good number of dastardly deeds. Among these are:
  • Patting rogue terrorist-sponsoring nations Iran, Syria, and North Korea on the head while telling them we should be more understanding of their needs, thus encouraging these bully nations to continue acting badly. Only the believed threat of strong forceful retaliation works to stop bullies.
  • Stopping the programs to add components to our missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic because the Russians are not pleased by our idea of defending ourselves from their Iranian client and from them.
  • Agreeing with the G-20 nations to close down tax havens, increase the regulations of financial markets and institutions, and give more foreign aid. The tired, socialist nations of Europe and the Obama-planned similar condition of the United States need to keep the wealthy from moving themselves or their money to zones where they might have fairer treatment. The American financial system will be controlled by 20 nations and their perceived needs, not by the free market or even the free market as modified by American governments elected by the American people.
  • Obama has agreed to enter into new nuclear disarmament talks with Russia, now that he and Medvedev are Comrades locked in Socialist Solidarity. Russia must reduce its warheads since it cannot afford to modernize or maintain them in any case. Meanwhile, Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia have formed an alliance aimed at the United States.
  • He maintains the United States breaks International Law if it does not get permission from the United Nations to defend itself against the use of force by any other nation. This means, that the U.S. cannot defend itself if China, or Russia, or any of several socialist Western European countries does not desire that we should defend ourselves.
  • He is more friendly to enemies of freedom and of the United States than he is to our longer term allies and to countries which more nearly share our ideas of personal liberty. See how he has shunned Great Britain, Israel, India, and the government leadership in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Obama says the U.S. caused the global recession and financial crisis. Actually, banks all over the world had too many high-risk loans. This was not at all just a U.S. problem. Iceland, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, and China have all been hard hit due to their financial over-extensions, along with many other countries.
  • Obama declares the U.S. arrogant. Taken together with the item above, this would mean the U.S. owes a great deal of service to the rest of the world. Obama loves to serve. No, actually, he loves to tell you and me that we must serve others.
The United States was long blessed with a belief in the principle that the Federal government existed to serve only as the protector of the American individual's life, his liberty, and his pursuit of happiness. The individual was sovereign and the government existed only to serve the sovereign American individuals. It was understood that the only scale of government compatible with the rights of the individual was a minimal, limited government. Our Constitution carefully described the limited powers of the Federal government and further required that the limited actions it was allowed must be carried out in a manner consistent with the general welfare. It was made clear that the general welfare could only be served by a minimalist government so that individuals would be free to manage their own lives. A more empowered government would quickly become tyrannical.

Obama hates this idea. No, it does not make him a bit uneasy. With every fiber and cell of his body and mind, he hates the idea that the government exists only to serve the self-interest of self-managing individuals. He is determined to crush this principle and anyone who stands up for it. In domestic matters, he ignores the Constitution and he gets others to go along with ignoring it by offering them bribes of power, income, and publicity. In all matters with an international component, he enlists the aid of as many other socialist and/or Muslim and/or other dictatorial regimes as he can in order to accomplish this purpose. At all times, he is completely focused on forcing every individual American to become the servant of the government, which is to be controlled by committed socialist elitists such as himself. Only people such as himself are capable of wisely choosing your values for you and only they are intelligent enough to inform you on how you will achieve the values they have chosen for you.

If you do not achieve any values that mean anything to you, that is just too damn bad. After all, they do not choose to recognize your self-chosen values. You are selfish, while they exist to serve. This makes you unworthy and it makes them gods.

07 April 2009

Tracinski - Why Women Matter - Women's Rights as a Measure of Civilization

Robert Tracinski puts out a very good e-mail subscription service in which he points out and comments on most of the key issues of our times, with many useful links to news articles and commentaries. It is called TIA Daily and is very reasonably priced. In addition, he offers a free 30-day trial, which I encourage you to take him up on.

Today's issue of TIA Daily was shorter than most and limited to one topic, a Feature Article called Why Women Matter - Women's Rights as a Measure of Civilization. It is an excellent essay and one with which I am in full agreement.

He begins by pointing at the recent public flogging of a Pakistani girl by a Taliban thug. He notes that the left and, in particular, feminists are not the foremost protesters against such evils practiced in Muslim societies because of their "deeper commitment to 'multicultural' subjectivism." The political conservatives, while lacking proper concern for other of women's rights, are better defenders of women with respect to the violent use of force by peoples of other cultures.

He points out that women are the physically weaker sex and hence the manner in which a society treats women is "a revealing measure of that society's attitude toward physical force." He goes on to say:

In a society where might makes right, where the rule of brute force has been thoroughly unleashed, women are always the first victims. Even the poorest and meanest man, the guy on the lowest rung who is oppressed by others above him who are bigger and stronger—even he can find one person he is still able to dominate and oppress: a woman, whether it is his mother, his wife, or his daughter. And he will oppress her—if the oppression of others by force is the accepted norm of the society he lives in. For examples, look to the Muslim world with its "honor" killings, arranged marriages, sexual segregation, and special restrictions on the travel and attire of women.

This is a complete contrast to the kind of society in which force is subordinated to morality. A society in which a woman can do whatever she wants without fear is a society in which the physically weak can rely on being protected from the physically strong. In fact, in a civilized society the physically weak feel safe because of the physically strong. The mark of such a society is a sense of chivalry—the idea that a man's superior physical strength is properly used to protect rather than to dominate, to serve the cause of justice and freedom rather than to assert arbitrary power over others.

He goes on to discuss some of Islam's foundational affinities for using force and violence and I will not discuss that here, since it is not for me to put him into such danger as that might engender. But he goes on to say:
This is the broader significance of the new Taliban video: it demonstrates the central failure of Islamism, revealed clearly even to those in the Muslim world. The Islamic theocrats offer their supporters one central promise: to establish the rule of virtue on earth. But they always provide the exact opposite: the rule of brute force and the doctrine of "might makes right." Their code actually banishes morality from public life, subordinating it to force. The routine brutalization of women and girls under the rule of Islam is a constant and vivid reminder of this fact.
I have always maintained that the reason men evolved to be stronger physically than women was because it was an essential part of their function to protect women and children and to provide for them using those abilities dependent upon strength, such as were once required of hunters. When a man fails to use his strengths to protect women and children, then he is unmanly and an abomination. Such a man is useless.

Great civilizations put fewer demands upon a man's physical strength and make women less dependent upon men specifically because the use of force between people is set aside and rational, voluntary trade of values takes over. In such a civilization, men, women, and children all thrive in harmony. In such a society, the values women can offer in such trades are understood to be of great value and women are treated with great respect. Unfortunately, some societies maintain the use and threatened use of force as primary in the relationships of men and women and in these societies there is no such harmony of interests.

Mexico Retaliates with Trade Warfare

One of the first acts of the Obama administration was to pay the Teamsters Union for its support in the election. They restricted Mexican trucking access to American roads. Mexico has now retaliated by raising tariffs on $2.4 billion of our exports. The Obama action was stupid in any case, but especially so in light of the recession. All we need to make matters worse is to incite trade wars with our important trade partners. Mexico is one of our most important trade partners.

Obama is trying to enlarge the trade wars. The administration is talking about how they will raise tariffs on the goods of countries who do not restrict the use of energy as Obama plans to and whose goods will therefore be relatively cheaper than ours. Of course, Obama can raise tariffs and protect American domestic market sales of our newly expensive goods. But .... he can do little to then make other people throughout the world buy our over-priced goods. In other words, we will lose much of our export markets. This could result in about 1 in 10 Americans becoming unemployed!

On economic issues, it is very clear that few Democrats ever think. They do not seem to do any better with foreign policy or with matters of national security.

Cost of Waxman-Markey House Cap-and-Trade Bill

The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade energy bill in the House is more intrusive in restricting energy use and in raising energy costs than a plan whose costs were estimated at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to be about $3,128 per household per year.

But the Dems promised us that 95% of the people would not have taxes raised. Ha! If you raise taxes on 5% of the people as Obama has promised he will, then much of that tax cost to the most dynamic workers in the marketplace will be passed on in higher costs for goods and services. We are also in effect taxed by increased government regulations and by mandates applied to resources. Any government action which results in a loss of productivity of any part of the population or by businesses, as well as any explicit taxes, costs us all. The cost can never be isolated upon just 5% of the individuals in America.

Unfortunately, this Democrat and Obama ploy did work well enough to give them huge power and to greatly diminish any practical checks upon their wrongheadedness, their corruption, and their lust for power. What were the American people thinking? Well, given how transparent the ploy was, it is clear that the American people were largely in on the effort to delude themselves. They averted their eyes willingly from what they saw and fogged their eyes over so they could hope for a new beginning. Of course, they were then given just one more huge dose of very tired socialist ideas, which are known to reduce men to intersocietal warfare and to produce a despairing poverty of wealth, security, and intellectual activity.

06 April 2009

Insane Mark-to-Market Finally Killed

Congress has finally killed the insane mark-to-market assets evaluations which the Democrats imposed through the Sarbanes - Oxley accounting regulation bill in the aftermath of the Enron collapse. This, in so far as a banking and financial crisis befell us, was more the cause of company failures and potential failures than even the inflated home and real-estate values which began the crisis. Yet correcting this very transparent problem, after much time with their fore paws up their Donkey hind quarters, took a backseat to all kinds of posturing and claims that the market was too little regulated. It also took a backseat to executives flying corporate jets and managers being paid bonuses.

The mark-to-market provision, coupled with threatened law suits against accountants who did not rigorously apply it, meant that an asset had to be valued at its very immediate market value. If the asset was illiquid, it was worthless. So, how much is your home worth? You have one day to sell it. How much do you think you can get for it in one day?

Of course this is nonsense. But there is hardly any nonsense too transparent that Congress will not buy into it, if they can put on a grandstand show by going along with the nonsense. That they were certainly able to do following Enron's demise. But, they could have quietly eliminated this part of the deadly nonsense long ago and prevented the current crisis. But, they were asleep at the wheel as usual and well, that fore paw was pleasantly occupied.

The problem of valuing somewhat illiquid assets held by banks and other financial institutions at much lower than rational values is that these institutions can commonly loan out many times as much money as the value of their assets. If the asset is artificially undervalued, then the amount of loans must drop by about 9 times the amount of the undervaluation. It is also ridiculous to tell a bank that an asset is nearly worthless when it is providing a healthy stream of income in the form of mortgage payments or other loan and interest payments. Yet, despite that healthy income, the banks were crimped in how much they could loan by the mark-to-market provision of the absurd Sarbanes-Oxley accounting act.

The end of mark-to-market and a vote in the Senate which will make it unlikely that Congress will pass a carbon cap-and-trade tax-mandate is the reason the stock market went up last week despite the fears of the federal government choosing business managers as they did for GM and as they threaten to do to banks and financial institutions.

Anti-Consumerism

One of the favorite complaints of G-20 protesters and of environmentalists is that too many people are consumerists. Now this is just a terrible thing to be. Imagine people making goods and services available to others who will voluntarily pay them money in exchange. This is awful. This is pornographically obscene!

No, it is much, much better if in the name of the planet and to prevent workers from exploitation, we simply hire large numbers of government thugs to keep us from producing goods and services and from going shopping. This is the way for nice people to go.

Down the road, when we are all poor and huddling masses, unplagued by consumerism, we will all be so, so happy.

Steyn - The G-20 doesn't offer plenty

Mark Steyn has written a fun and insightful commentary in the 6 April 2009 Washington Times. He starts by describing how the Obama administration gave journalists covering the G-20 meeting in London a phone number to listen to Sec. of State Clinton give them a briefing. On calling the number "the gentlemen of the press were greeted by a honey-voiced seductress, presumably not Mrs. Clinton, offering them 'phone sex' and seeking their credit-card number if they 'feel like getting nasty'."

He notes that David Patterson, the NY governor, said that if he had known that his latest tax increase would drive Rush Limbaugh to sell his Manhattan apartment, he would have raised taxes earlier. But, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has recently pointed out that the wealthiest 1% of New York City dwellers pay 50% of the municipal revenue. So, Governor Patterson has very few rich people to drive out before NYC has a government crisis.

Meanwhile the G-20 is seeing to it that the wealthy have no tax havens to turn to. This is because they think this is at the heart of the financial crisis, right? Well, no, they are not really that dumb, but they do think that the non-elite people of all of these countries are dumb enough to be distracted from those realistic steps which the G-20 nations might take.

So, what are the real problems? Steyn notes that Japan, Germany, Italy, and Russia have shrinking populations and that the rate of population shrinkage is going to go up! So, unlike the United States, they can't run up the national debt and stick it to their kids and grandkids, because they don't have any kids and grandkids to stick it to. If New York is running out of rich people, Germany is running out of people, period. The Chinese and other buyers of western debt know that. If you're an investor and you're not tracking gross domestic product (GDP) versus median age in the world's major economies, you're going to lose a lot of money.
If government has a role in this crisis, it ought to be to reverse the combination of unaffordable social programs and deathbed demographics that make a restoration of real GDP growth all but impossible in many European nations.
So, instead, French President Nicholas Sarkozy said the conference gave a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give capitalism a "conscience." He means a global regulatory regime to protect France's "sluggish, uncompetitive, protectionist, high-unemployment business environment whose best and brightest abandon the country in ever-greater droves, it obviously makes sense to force the entire planet to submit to the same growth-killing measures that have done wonders for your own economy." The IMF is being set up as the global central bank, with its Special Drawing Rights a kind of global currency.

He observes that too many of the profits in recent years in the United States and Great Britain have been in the financial industries. This is thanks to the government annexing too much wealth through income taxes and small-business regulations and much more. It is now much harder to "improve your lot by working hard, making stuff, selling it."

He concludes that instead of addressing the real problems of excessive government, the G-20 governments are "erecting a global regulatory regime to export their worst mistakes to the entire globe."
As they say on the State Department phone-sex line, it's going to get nasty.
We Americans have to become very aware that Obama's driving ambition is to make the United States after the image of France, Germany, and Italy. At least this is so when he is not dreaming of being Hugo Chavez and making the United States into Venezuela. Obama has very clearly signed on to growing this global regulatory regime and to placing its hob-nailed boot on the neck of every American!