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 intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

For "a human being, the question 'to be or not to be,' is the question 'to think or not to think.'" Ayn Rand

03 May 2022

The New York Times, Racism, and Tucker Carlson

Tucker Carlson often notes that Dr. Martin Luther King believed that Black Americans should be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin.  The New York Times responds by claiming that Tucker Carlson’s show is the “most racist program in the history of cable news.” 

There is much more of interest in The American Spectator article by Jeffrey Lord on the New York Times and its claims that Tucker Carlson is a racist.  Tucker once said that the mass immigration of illegals made America poorer and dirtier.  Of course the immediate effect of the immigrants lack of wealth and income was to make America poorer, but the dirtier comment was especially met with howls of protest.  Yet, many federal and state reports had previously noted that the illegal aliens had left huge amounts of garbage behind them along our border areas and very extensive and expensive clean-ups had been required over the years.  Tucker had to explain this was what he was alluding to, though it would have been better had he explained that immediately.  The New York Times made further attacks on Carlson, whose criticisms hit the sensitive nerve centers of the left so often.

The Lord article makes many interesting observations about The New York Times and racism.  For the record, the newspaper that claims to be the newspaper of the record, The New York Times, is owned by a family whose wealth derived from the ownership of slaves.  Adolph S. Ochs began his publishing career as owner of The Chattanooga Times before he acquired The New York Times.  Several of his family members had fought for the Confederacy.  His mother had smuggled medicine to the Confederate Army.  In 1900, Ochs’ New York Times editorialized that the Democratic Party “may justly insist that the evils of negro suffrage were wantonly inflicted on them.”  The Lord article notes that Ochs made many contributions to the erection of Confederate memorials. 

The New York Times has ever since been true to the Democratic Party that embraced and fought for slavery for many decades and then denied Black Americans the vote for many more decades.  To this day, The New York Times and the Democratic Party tell us we ought to judge people by the color of their skin.  They tell us that Black Americans cannot be competitive in a merit-based society, so we must declare any appreciation of merit to be racist.  The logical conclusion of their belief is that Black Americans should not even seek to develop merit in their character.  They still tell us it is racist to judge individuals by the content of their character, just as they did historically.  Give them credit for the consistency of their racism, even as you declare their beliefs terribly wrongheaded.

I look forward to the day when my granddaughters will be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.  That will not happen if The New York Times and the Democratic Party have their way.


02 May 2022

The Soviets had their KGB, now we have our DGB

The Soviets had their KGB for security, now we have our DGB in the well-armed Department of Homeland Security.  We are now all relieved of the effort to identify the truth.  Government bureaucrats will do it for us.  They call themselves authorities on the subject and we are supposed to believe them and become ignorant serfs.  Their success as "Climate Change" authorities and as "Pandemic" authorities has paved the way for their general declaration of themselves as "Truth" authorities.

All Hail to the Disinformation Governance Board.  They tell us it is going to emphasize correcting information taken up in minority groups.  This is a clear indication that the Democrat authoritarians are worried that they are losing the massive vote tallies they have long counted on from many minority groups.  The mid-term elections cannot come soon enough if we are to maintain freedom of speech.

09 April 2022

Scientific Illiteracy at the CDC and White House

Nancy Pelosi kissed the Pretender in Chief Biden on his cheek before she was known to have Covid-19.  But no worry.  The White House says she was not within 6 feet of him for 15 minutes, so according to the CDC criteria for close contact for Covid-19, she was under the time limit.  No worry.

Most people have enough sense to understand the how close they were matters.  They were not 6 feet apart, they were an inch apart.  Common sense proves here to be vastly superior to the "science" of the CDC and the regulatory sense of the White House.

Let us see if we can explain this to the scientifically illiterate of the CDC and the White House.  A simple model of the dispersion of the virus as it spreads out over distance is that it is diluted as the cubic power of the distance between the people involved.  The density of the virus in the air is approximately proportional to the volume of a sphere centered on the point of emission.  Now the distance between Nancy and Joe was about 1 inch and its cube is 1 cubic inch.  6 feet in inches is 72 inches, whose cube is 373,248 cubic inches.  So the dose rate of virus someone 6 feet away from Nancy is about 1/373,248 times that which Joe experienced.  This number is 2.68 millionths.

The threshold viral dose for close contact is this viral density times the time of exposure.  The CDC critical time is 15 minutes, so the critical time when the dose rate is 373,248 times greater than it is at 6 feet is 15 minutes/373,248 = 0.000040 minutes or 0.0024 seconds.

Nancy must be the fastest kisser ever if she managed to smack the Great Pretender in less than 0.0024 seconds.  Not to mention that she had to have spent some additional time within that 6 foot distance.

Science and good old American common sense agree that the CDC and the White House are wacko!

You know, if Nancy can move so fast that her bussing the Great Pretender on the cheek was really no cause of Covid-19 concern, then her propulsion system is so good, we should send her on the first human mission to Alpha Centauri.  She can traverse that 4 light years distance in no time at all.  Nancy, it is your patriotic duty to take on this mission to Alpha Centauri!  Do it right now.

As for the CDC, that distance within 6 feet matters hugely and cannot be ignored in any scientific criterion for close contact.


04 April 2022

A Milestone in the Objectivist Movement

At last! The philosophy of reality, reasoning independent minds, individual self-interest, and a free market society always had to recognize that its movement had to embrace all of these within itself. Yet the Ayn Rand Institute long refused to do this.  To an apparently significant degree, ARI is now ready to do a better job of doing so and allow a popular movement to blossom without excessive schisms and attempts to control all Objectivist thinkers.

We have always needed more recognition that independent-minded individuals with their many varied interests and experiences would reasonably hold somewhat different principles and apply them to the complexities of life differently. Objectivism as a philosophy by which one can live your own life, has to contain within it the flexibility to handle the salient fact of our individuality. Yes, at a high level we all agree on some central principles, but in our individual lives one has to work out a host of sub-principles that apply to yourself as an individual. One cannot apply to Ayn Rand or to ARI for approval of how you make these judgments, because "No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." 

To be a successful movement, the Objectivist movement needs to believe that there is a free market in Objectivist ideas. That market of rational, independent-minded individuals will sort out the good and the bad ideas. Unfortunately, some Objectivists had too little confidence that there were enough rational, independent-minded individuals for this to work out successfully. Yet only if there are, will Objectivism ever succeed as a major popular movement.

See The Atlas Society comments on the ARI release for the main ways in which the ARI policy will now open up Objectivism to more independent-minded thinkers.  Robert Tracinski has also made interesting observations on this.


21 March 2022

The SEC Proposes Rule on Infrared-Absorbing Gas Emissions and Climate Risk

The SEC wants to force publicly traded businesses to predict how climate change might harm their businesses and how they might be a cause of global warming themselves.  They proposed rules for such on Monday, 21 March 2022.

Few companies are themselves expert in predicting the future climate or future weather.  They are being asked to use the available scientific knowledge about future climate and future weather. They also have to use this available scientific knowledge about the role that emissions of infrared-absorbing gases, commonly called greenhouse gases, will have on these future climate and weather conditions.  What is more, they are to be forced to predict how governments in the USA will limit and condition their operations based on fears of climate change.  Still worse, they are to be forced to make predictions of how people and nations around the world will respond to fears of climate change.

All of these requirements are proposed within a framework of censored science and of poor science with a very wide range of predictions, most of which predict much larger effects due to infrared-absorbing gases then have actually been observed.  For instance, temperature increases and the frequency of bad weather events have consistently failed to live up to the predictions of the greenhouse gas climate scare-mongers.  How can a company predict what the effect of global warming and increased bad weather events will be on its operations when the published, rubbish science cannot predict what the relation between infrared-absorbing gas emissions and subsequent warming and nasty weather events will be?  The reality, which the Democrats who have proposed these SEC rules ignore, is that increased infrared-absorbing gases in the atmosphere has a very, very small effect in causing additional warming.  The requirement, however, will be that companies will have to make their predictions based on exaggerated warming and bad weather events in line with the climate scare-mongers.

The climate fright-masters will no doubt also require that companies make these exaggerated effect predictions based on exaggerated negative effects upon their own business.  These predictions will also have to be based on some exaggerated overall effects upon the US economy and on the world economy.  They will also assume that many nations will long continue to raise the atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations due to lax regulations limiting their emissions.  Exaggerated individual company effects will justify further exaggerations of the general negative effects upon the US and the world economies.

The effort for a company to perform these predictions honestly would be tremendous.  Honest predictions have nothing to do with the purpose of the proposed SEC regulations, however.  Formulas will be adopted for this purpose, which the publicly traded companies will be forced to adhere to.

So why is this being done?  The reason is that every publicly traded company is to be made to appear to believe in catastrophic man-made global warming and to take it seriously.  This in turn is to rachet up the fear that Americans have of catastrophic man-made global warming.  The self-reporting of company activities that might be affected by bad and warming weather and of company gas emissions will also give the government further information it can twist into a story of future disaster.  That disaster story will then allow even more regulation of businesses, no doubt expanding far beyond those that are publicly traded.

Catastrophic man-made global warming due to adding infrared-absorbing gases to the atmosphere given its present composition is a failed hypothesis.  For Democrats and some Republicans, this is not a reason not to use the fear of it to justify ever-increasing governmental controls over our lives.  Governmental controls are always resisted by the people, unless they are afraid of something.  Catastrophic man-made global warming is another such fear-creating tool.  The claim that businesses generally want to do harm to people has long been such a tool and is still at play in this SEC proposed rule as well.


12 March 2022

Who was buying Russian Oil?

I have read that though Germany was buying more Russian oil relative to its GDP than was the USA, the USA was paying Russia more money for oil than any other country.  This is not true unless Red China is paying vastly less per barrel of oil than we are.  Germany and the Netherlands must be paying less per barrel as well.  Just look at the actual amount of oil countries were buying from Russia.


It has been Red China that has made the largest contribution by far to the Russian war machine.

Inflation and its Effects are Worse than Most People Think

You know that the government's consumer price index leaped up to 7.9% in February, compared to a year ago.  We have all heard that this is its highest level in 40 years.  Frequently, the government likes to remove the effects of food and energy prices, because they can fluctuate greatly and because they affect the non-elites the most.  That gasless, foodless inflation rate leaves an inflation rate of 6.4% for February compared to a year earlier.  The Producer Price Index went up even more at 9.7% compared to a year ago.  This promises price increases going forward.

Barron's has stripped out all the costs except those that are not necessary goods for everyone.  Essential foods, housing, gasoline, and utilities constitute these necessary core items.  The inflation rate for these critical items for February was 16%.

Since then, about one-tenth of the world's oil and about a quarter of the exported wheat has vanished, thanks to the Russian invasion of the Breadbasket of Europe, namely Ukraine.

It is not enough that less than wealthy Americans lost their jobs and small businesses in horrific waves of brutal Covid-19 mandates.  Now the senseless over-spending of the Biden administration and the Democrat-controlled Senate and House of Representatives has drastically diluted the value of the dollar.  The same Americans most hurt by the Chinese Communist Party generated and released Covid-19, the Democrat fear-driven response of mandates directed at small businesses, and the rising energy costs due to the irrational belief in catastrophic man-made global warming are being slammed to Earth. 

The Democrats are brutally unfeeling and staggeringly irrational.  About half of all Americans voted for them and gave them the power to do this this evil work.  Many of them are now the greatest victims of the Democrat misuse of their rule.


08 March 2022

Biden Administration Misdirection on US Oil Production

 The Biden administration is making a habit of misdirecting Americans on the causes of the increases in the cost of oil in several respects.  They have repeatedly made the claim that U.S. crude oil production is at an all-time high, for instance.  Here is the actual data on U.S. Crude Oil production per week according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:











The peak in average daily crude oil production was in the weeks of 28 February and 13 March 2020 when the average daily oil production was 13,100 thousand or 13.1 million barrels of oil.  Oil production was reduced after that due to the Covid-19 pandemic and expected lowering of demand for oil as people stayed home or at least stayed closer to home.  The week of 29 January 2021, Biden's first full week in office, the daily average oil production was 10.9 million barrels of oil per day.  The week of 25 February 2022 the daily average crude oil production was 11.6 million barrels.  This was due to some recovery in oil demand and the price of oil due to the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic.  This is still 1.5 million barrels per day below the U.S. peak oil production.

Another Biden administration misdirection is the claim that 9,000 oil leases for oil production means that any shortfall in oil production is the fault of oil production companies.  The Biden administration has made it abundantly clear that they want the prices of oil and natural gas to skyrocket, which means they want their production to lag the demand for them.  They want this to encourage the massive mistake of a false belief in an existential catastrophe due to man-made global warming.  Oil and gas production has no long-term future according to their belief system.  Twice the Keystone XL pipeline was put on track for construction and twice its construction was halted by the Democrats and the Russian-funded environmentalist special interest groups with whom they collaborate.  This has caused the loss of massive sums of capital to its investors.  Other pipeline projects have also suffered as the Democrats ruined the investment climate.

One cannot make use of a lease to drill oil if one is not allowed to produce on that lease under reasonable environmental rules.  One cannot make use of an oil lease if one cannot build a pipeline to deliver the oil to a refinery.  One commonly cannot drill or build a pipeline if one cannot borrow money from banks and other lending institutions.  The Biden administration has been strongly discouraging banks and other lenders from making loans for purposes tied to oil production, oil transport, and oil product production.  They have discouraged liquification facilities and liquified gas transport capability.  They have also placed a moratorium on further leases on federal land and on offshore oil drilling. 

If the Biden administration were to give you the go ahead to invest a billion dollars into an oil and gas production effort, would you feel comfortable that they would not halt you in the midst of your investment or at a late stage in that investment?  If you were not very cognizant of that risk, you would certainly not be someone who should have any control over the investment of a billion dollars.

The Biden administration is definitely responsible for an unfavorable climate for oil and gas production.  It is extremely dishonest of them to claim that any shortfall in oil and gas production is due to the failure of the oil and gas industries.

  

Red Famine - Stalin's War on Ukraine

Anne Applebaum tells the horrible story of the Holodomor, the Stalin-lead extermination of Ukrainians by hunger in Red Famine - Stalin's War on Ukraine.  The Russians proved brutal and anything but good Slavic cousins to the Ukrainians.

Thanks to Stalin's policies, at least 5 million people died due to famine in Russia from 1931 to 1934.  Of these, it was the Ukrainians in the Breadbasket of Europe who died in the largest numbers.  At least 3.9 million Ukrainians starved to death.  Stalin had Russians thugs take all of their food from them and would not allow them to leave to find food elsewhere.

This was not the end of his attempts to destroy any possible dissent in Ukraine.  As the famine struck down so many Ukrainians, Stalin also had virtually all Ukrainian intellectuals, educated professionals, and public officials rounded up and jailed or murdered.  Any Ukrainian associated with the independent Ukrainian Republic from 1917 to 1922 was especially eliminated.  People who had promoted Ukrainian history or the Ukrainian language or literature were sent to labor camps or murdered.  Stalin feared the desire of Ukrainians to be Ukrainians and to be independent.  He wanted to squash all aspirations of a separate Ukrainian nation.  Putin is of the same mind.


02 March 2022

Russia is Ruled by Men Inured to Death Who Grew Up in the USSR

 Emeritus Professor R. J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii estimates that the Soviet Empire murdered about 62 million people between 1917 and 1987.  Putin and the Oligarchs of Russia grew up in the Soviet Union environment.  To them, the murder of people to support the power of those who rule the country is the ingrained method of ruling.  Murder is the primary tool of a strong ruler.  Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and now Putin have all utilized this tool with devotion.  The vast regions of the Russian Federation would not have such a low population density were those 62 million people to have survived and thrived and multiplied.

The West needs to understand this, though it seems very incomprehensible.  Ukrainians certainly have greatly suffered from this in the past and are doing so once again.  One day the Russians will surely fall victim to an expanding Red China eager to wrest the Asian lands of an underpopulated Russia from it as well.  Russia has lost an incredible sum of human talent and will lose its Empire as a result.  Time is heavily against Russia.



28 February 2022

Great Russians Explain Ukraine Invasion as Need to Make them Little Russians

The following statement occurred in several Russian state media as justification for the Invasion of Ukraine:

Russia is restoring its unity – the tragedy of 1991, this terrible catastrophe in our history, its unnatural dislocation, has been overcome. Yes, at a great cost, yes, through the tragic events of a virtual civil war, because now brothers, separated by belonging to the Russian and Ukrainian armies, are still shooting at each other, but there will be no more Ukraine as anti-Russia. Russia is restoring its historical fullness, gathering the Russian world, the Russian people together – in its entirety of Great Russians, Belarusians and Little Russians. If we had abandoned this, if we had allowed the temporary division to take hold for centuries, then we would not only betray the memory of our ancestors, but would also be cursed by our descendants for allowing the disintegration of the Russian land.

So Russia believes it is justified in using force to unite its superior Great Russians with the inferior Little Russians.  Did it never occur to those idiot Great Russians that the Ukrainians might not find the idea of being their subservient Little Russians a very appealing idea?  Those Little Russians sure are looking stout in their courageous rejection of Great Russian enslavement as their serfs.  They are acting like Ukrainians, not Little Russians.



I Condemn Russia and Red China as an Axis of Evil

The Russian Federation, signatory with the USA and the United Kingdom of a guarantee of independent Ukraine's borders in 1994, has invaded Ukraine.  These guarantees were a critical reason Ukraine gave up the world's third largest number of nuclear weapons on its soil after the dissolution of the USSR.  Yes, Ukraine is not a member of NATO, so NATO is not obligated by treaty to defend Ukraine, but the USA and the United Kingdom are obligated by their 1994 treaty.  Both are defaulting on that obligation now as they did in 2014 when Russia took the Crimea.  To be sure, the treaty was perhaps an ill-considered one by the Clinton administration, but that administration was also very concerned, with justification, about the many nuclear weapons then in Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan as a result of the dissolution of the USSR.  To uphold our treaty, we would have had to provide more military aid and training to Ukraine, which might have stimulated Russia to an earlier invasion.  This was a very knotty problem.

Putin claims that Ukrainians are Russians or at least their close brothers.  He says that historically, Ukraine was part of Russia.  He claims they are both Orthodox by religion and share a language.  This being the case, Ukraine must be re-united with the Russians.

Actually, the Kievan Rus was a separate country with its own court, language, large capital city Kiev, now Kyiv, and distinct farming economy when the Duchy of Muscovy was a small fur-trading town.  The Kievan Rus was the largest country in Europe.  It had extensive interactions with the French court and its court was one of the most advanced in Europe for a couple hundred years (1000 - 1200 AD approximately), which was a status Moscow never achieved.  Present day Ukraine consists of an eastern part that Russia conquered and was largely brought under Russian control by Catherine the Great.  The eastern Ukraine generally became Orthodox in religion and the Russians worked hard to force the Ukrainians to speak Russian.  The western part of Ukraine was united with Lithuania and Poland in various combinations for hundreds of years, then was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from the late 1700s until after WW1, when it became part of Poland.  The western Ukraine is largely Catholic.  There is also a large Jewish population in Ukraine, including the present President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, whom Putin claims is a Nazi.

How have the Russians treated their Ukrainian brothers?  In Czarist times, the authoritarian Czars were constantly suppressing the more freedom-loving Ukrainians.  They discriminated against them for government posts, for education, and tended to call them denigrating names, such as Little Russians.  Then eastern Ukraine, which had briefly won independence when the Czarist government fell in 1917, was brought under brutal Russian Communist control in stages in the early 1920s.  When the Russian Communists implemented the collective farm programs and stole the farmland of the Kulaks, the richer farmers, Ukraine was hit harder than the rest of the USSR.  By about 1900, Ukraine had become known as the Breadbasket of Europe.  Many of its farmers were comparatively well off.  These hardworking people had their land stolen and the professional class of people in the many well-developed cities of Ukraine also lost their property.  Then in 1932 - 1933, the Russians took all the food the Ukrainians had grown and left millions of them to starve.  Once again, Ukrainians were discriminated against for government jobs and all jobs in the USSR were government jobs.  They were also discriminated against in education.  They were thought of by Russians as though they were hillbillies, the actual word a Russian Jewish scientist told me they were.

Putin was a KGB agent and a member of the Russian Mafia.  He climbed to power over the bodies of many Russians, let alone many Ukrainians.  Neither he nor the general Russian are someone any rational Ukrainian would want as a brother.  A brother does not steal the land of his brothers, yet Russians did this to Ukrainians.  A brother does not use brutal force to steal all the food grown by another brother and leave him to starve.  A brother does not prevent another brother from having a good job or a good education.  All around, the Putin claim that Ukrainians are Russian brothers is absurd.  He has managed to heighten that absurdity with his claim upon experiencing considerable Ukrainian resistance to his occupation of Ukraine by stating that he needed to set his nuclear forces at a high level of readiness because he cannot image in world without Russia.  Does he really think that Ukrainian resistance to invasion is a threat to the existence of Russia?  Well, perhaps it is a threat to his rule of Russia and he is a much a megalomaniac as Hitler, who could see no use in the continuation of the Third Reich without himself at its head.  Putin, as is the case with many long term dictators, has become mentally unstable and quite divorced from reality.

Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe, if you count Russia as a European country.  It is larger or about the size of France, and larger than Spain, Sweden, Germany, and Finland.  Kyiv, pronounced Kay-eve, contrary to what you hear on the news, is Europe's seventh largest city.  It is not an Appalachian hollow hamlet.  Lviv, of the western Ukraine and very near Poland, is known as the Cultural Center of Ukraine.  

Lviv is about 60 miles west of the small town from which my wife's family came.  Her older brother and sister were born in that town.  Her father, John Palka, was the village mayor and owned a wealthy enough farm of less than 40 acres, that he was a Kulak.  He also had a history of fighting the Communists, when as a 16 year-old he fought in the Ukrainian Army trying to resist the Communist takeover of Ukraine in the early 1920s.  When the Soviets took over the western Ukraine at the start of WWII upon the heinous partition of Poland between Germany and the USSR, he had to flee his home.  When the Germans attacked the USSR and soon took the western Ukraine, he returned and resumed his duties as mayor.  When the Soviets again returned in the closing period of WWII, Anna's family fled Ukraine and wound up in West Germany in the American sector at the end of the war.  They emigrated to the USA in late 1947 and arrived when Anna, my wife, was about 8 months old.  They settled in Cleveland, Ohio and became part of the large Ukrainian community of Cleveland.  The Palka family was active in the Ukrainian Catholic Church and Ukrainian Scouts.  Anna proudly became a U.S. citizen when she was a student at Case Western Reserve University.

I met Anna when I set up a dinner group to meet at the CWRU Hospital cafeteria of people interested in the works and philosophy of Ayn Rand.  I was working on my Ph.D. in Physics at Case Western Reserve University and Anna was working as a microbiologist at the Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital of CWRU.  We married in December 1973 and I became an adjunct member of her Ukrainian family, though with my deficient skills in learning languages, I never learned to speak Ukrainian.  This and my lack of dancing skills required some tolerance on their part.  Still worse, was my lack of belief in God and Catholicism.  Nonetheless, these good people were quite welcoming.

Some will dismiss my moral and  strategic analysis of the role of the Russian Federation as overly influenced by family bias now, but my family experience is also rich in the lessons of history, about which too few Americans have knowledge. 

The United States have contributed to Putin's ability to invade Ukraine by restraining its own oil, gas, and coal production since the start of the Biden administration.  This has caused the cost of oil and natural gas to rise and 40% of the Russian economy is due to its energy resources.  This was crucial to Russia since its total GDP is smaller than that of either Italy, Canada, or South Korea and barely larger than that of Brazil or Australia.  This is a direct result of the lack of freedom, property rights, and individual initiative in Russia.  Not only have we removed American oil, gas, and coal from the global economy, but we have taken to actually importing Russian oil!  We have been providing Russia with the money to pay its military, provide it with arms, and to assemble for the attack on Ukraine.  We aided Putin in building up a $600 billion war-chest so he can weather the relatively weak economic sanctions being applied to Russia.  We have crippled our own energy production at the urging of radical environmentalists who have received considerable Russian funding to achieve that purpose.  Both Russia and China have long promoted false claims of catastrophic man-made global warming in America to scare us into destroying our own great energy advantages to our economy and to global strategic policy.

Putin and the execrable Xi of Red China have entered into some sort of mutually supportive pact to aid their aggressions against their neighbors and to diminish the effects of any economic sanctions by moral indignant countries.  Just as Putin can cause many European nations great harm by cutting off the supply of natural gas and oil to them through a web of pipelines, so can Red China cause tremendous economic harm now that it was cornered so much of the world's manufacturing capacity.  With its cheap and often slave labor, its lack of concern for the environment, its currency manipulations, and its extensive use of coal-fired power plants, China has managed to become the world's largest manufacturer.  In 2018, the value of its manufacturing output was one and two-thirds that of the USA.  China is the dominant supplier of solar panels, rare earth metals for powerful magnets used in wind generators and other electric motors, chemicals for pharmaceutical production and for the Mexican drug cartels, and LEDs.  They are a huge beneficiary of the wrongheaded goal to establish solar and wind generation as the primary sources of electricity in the developed countries.  China's biggest trade partner is the European Union, closely followed by the USA.  The West is assiduously investing gigantic sums of capital in building manufacturing operations in China.  We are truly providing this evil country the rope to hang us with, just as the early Communists assured one another that the Capitalists would do.

Red China is a totalitarian country whose people outside of the annexed and suppressed Hong Kong have never known freedom.  People who have never or only long ago enjoyed freedom are not a moral people.  Morality only thrives among a free people.  Our Founders were fond of saying that a people could be and remain free only if they behaved morally.  The inverse is also true.  A nation which has long lacked freedom, lacks morality.  This applies to Russia as well as to Red China.

Biden has stated that Ukraine should not be admitted to NATO because corruption was widespread in Ukraine.  Rather than encouraging Ukraine to become less corrupt, the Biden family business actively took part in the corruption in Ukraine.  The Biden family business has also been extremely active in business operations in Red China which are controlled by the intelligence and military agencies of the Chinese Communist Party, including acquiring US company defense intellectual property.  It is not a wonder at all that Biden has worked hard to disassemble the American carbon-based fuel industries.  It is not a wonder that the Biden administration has proven such a weak ally to Ukraine.

Americans should become much more reluctant to purchase goods made in China.  They should encourage our government to allow the US carbon-based industries to greatly increase their production of these plenteous and reliable energy sources.  Americans should strongly condemn the ubiquitous violations of individual rights in the Russian Federation and in Red China.

The U.N. Security Council vote on a resolution to "deplore" the Russian invasion of Ukraine was approved by the USA, France, Britain, Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, and Norway.  China, India, and the United Arab Emirates abstained on the vote, which the Russian Federation vetoed.  We should remember the immoral choices that China, India, and the United Arab Emirates made on this resolution.



17 January 2022

Bringing Britain's Energy Woes to America?

Bringing Britain’s woes to America?
 
Will Biden-AOC energy policies do to Americans what UK climate obsession is doing to Brits?
 
Paul Driessen
 

Virginia enacted a Clean Economy Act; other states have implemented similar laws. AOC demands a national Green New Deal; President Biden is imposing one via executive decree. The United Kingdom is determined to reach Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions; the European Union is pursuing a Green Deal.
 
All these policies send energy prices rocketing upward, eliminating jobs and killing people. Instead of reducing emissions, they simply move them overseas, where they combine with massive air and water pollution, habitat destruction and wildlife decimation – as China and other countries burn more coal, oil and gas every year, to improve their people’s living standards ... and to mine and process raw materials for the wind turbines, solar panels and battery modules they manufacture for climate-obsessed nations.
 
The net result: Progress toward global Net Zero is zero – worse than zero – and all the lost jobs, rising poverty, reduced living standards and policy-driven deaths are for nothing.
 
President Biden wants hydrocarbon-free electricity generation by 2035, and elimination of all fossil fuel extraction and use by 2050. That means no gasoline or diesel vehicles; no natural gas to power factories or heat, warm water and cook in homes, hospitals and businesses; no petrochemical feedstocks for fertilizers, plastics, pharmaceuticals and thousands of other essential, everyday products.
 
All US energy will be provided by wind, solar and battery power – millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels and billions of battery modules, sprawling across continental United States and along its coasts. Petrochemicals will come from crops planted on millions of acres of former wildlife habitat.
 
To drive this extreme agenda, Team Biden has canceled pipelines, leases and permits; pressured banks to stop lending money for drilling; and issued scores of regulations that delay and drive up costs for fossil fuel projects – while making it easy for industrial-scale wind and solar installations to get permits. Prices for energy, transportation, food, services and used cars predictably shot up. Inflation and consumer prices reached 40-year highs.
 
Henry Hub natural gas prices doubled from $2.61 per mcf (thousand cubic feet or million BTUs) in November 2020 to $5.51 in October 2021, before falling to $4.75 in January 2022, as skyrocketing global prices spurred drilling, fracking and production on US state and private lands. Regular gasoline averaged $2.17 a gallon nationwide in 2020 – but hit $3.39/gal ($4.38 in California) in the same timeframe.
 
As Americans fret and fume over the needlessly high prices – and wonder what the future might hold – they can look to the UK and EU (a) to count their blessings for comparatively low prices today and (b) to ponder how continued climate-centric policies could impact American livelihoods and living standards.
 
Britain and continental Europe have already embraced a wind-and-solar future, closed coal and nuclear power plants, and banned fracking for the trillions of cubic feet of natural gas beneath their feet, while North Sea production keeps falling. They have reaped the whirlwind from those callously inept policies.
 
(It is illuminating and ironic that Russian organizations finance many US, UK and EU anti-fracking disinformation campaigns, funneling funds through a Bermuda law firm, a shell company and the Sea Change Foundation to the Sierra Club, Climate Action Network and other groups.)
 
Britain and Europe’s vaunted wind turbines have been generating electricity at a dismal 14% of “nameplate capacity” – providing power three hours a day, one day a week, four days a month, in short spurts, at completely unpredictable times. Their wintertime solar power has been equally sporadic and unpredictable. No modern society can function on such energy.
 
The huge gaps have been plugged with gas- and coal-fired generation, with much of the gas coming from Russia and the USA. But Asia also wants the gas, and Russia is playing Ukraine/Nord Stream 2 pipeline politics with its gas, tightening supplies as demand soars. UK and EU home and business gas and electricity prices are in the stratosphere – five to ten times the Biden Era prices Americans are paying.
 
Luckily for families and businesses, Britain’s Office of Gas & Electric Markets (Ofgem) regulates how much utility companies can charge. But that often means keeping household, hospital, school and business energy prices well below the utilities’ actual costs – with predictable results.
 
Experts say the average annual household bill of £1,277 ($1,755) could surge to £1,865 ($2,530) when the current price cap is raised in April 2022 – for homes and apartments that are much smaller than US counterparts, in a climate with much less extreme summer and winter temperatures than in much of the United States. Annual bills could exceed £2,000 ($2,715) or much more at Ofgem’s August review.
 
National Energy Action says this could put more than 6 million UK households (nearly one-fourth of all households) in “fuel poverty” – unable to afford proper heat, and often having to choose between heating or eating, even when cold indoor temperatures put their health and lives at risk.
 
For families that want budgetary certainty, the average 12-month fixed deal for a typical household now costs almost £2,500 ($3,430). But the UK’s second-biggest energy supplier’s most recent fixed-rate offer is almost £4,200 ($5,750)! That’s because natural gas and electricity generation costs are expected to keep rising – and because utilities must pay wind turbine operators “constraint payments” to turn turbines off whenever they generate more power than the grid needs and can absorb!
 
The month-ahead natural gas price at the Dutch TTF hub (a European benchmark for trading gas) recently hit €93.3 ($107) per megawatt-hour. That’s $31 an mcf – more than six times the January 2022 Henry Hub price. Just a month earlier, the European day-ahead gas price reached $61 per mcf!
 
No wonder 30 UK energy suppliers went bankrupt by the end of 2021 – leaving families and businesses scrambling to find new suppliers, at skyrocketing prices for heating and cooking. When utilities cannot charge customers anywhere near operating costs, they go belly-up.
 
No wonder two-thirds of UK renters struggle to pay their energy bills, and 400,000 more UK households were in danger of losing their gas and electricity provider before last Christmas. People are “genuinely terrified” about rising energy costs. Excess winter energy-poverty death tolls are likely to set new records.
 
Health and living standards in Britain and Europe will likely get far worse. In addition to insane energy costs, wages and environmental regulation costs are much higher than in Asia. Ceramic, steel, aluminum, automotive and other energy-intensive companies and industries are becoming uncompetitive. Manufacturing, jobs, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions are just moving to Asia.
 
Climate and energy politics, combined with fierce global demand, make it unlikely that Europe’s energy prices will go down. And while the EU recently voted to define natural gas and nuclear power as “sustainable,” acquiring affordable gas and building new nuclear plants will take years and be battled every step of the way. Rolling blackouts could become as common as in California.
 
British politicians “rail at energy costs” and argue about trimming them at the margins, says journalist Madeline Grant, perhaps by reducing the 5% VAT on energy or the 25% green-social subsidy levies on electricity bills. But they “dare not question the green policies” that cause energy price increases, end up taking no action, and then slap hefty new “pollution taxes” on gas and diesel vehicles.
 
Britain and Europe need to drill and frack their vast shale deposits. Having shut down their older nuclear plants, they must start building small modular reactors. The rest of the developed world needs to take similar actions – and not only because China, India and the rest of the developing world are not about to give up fossil fuels and rely on unreliable wind and solar power, but to save jobs and lives.
 
Otherwise, Britain’s Christmas just past will be its, Europe’s and America’s Christmas future, forever. Scrooge learned from Marley. Will Boris Johnson, Joe Biden, AOC and their lot learn from reality?
 

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy, environment, climate and human rights issues. 

Charles' Comment:  There seems to be no end to the destruction of lives and society that radical environmentalists and the believers in the false catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis work with so much dedication to accomplish!


15 January 2022

Judicial Watch Defends Election Integrity by Insisting Voter Registration Rolls Be Accurate

Judicial Watch is a non-profit organization that works hard for government transparency, the rule of law, and the legitimacy of elections.  It is pursuing its on-going effort to get county and state governments to clean up their voter registration rolls as they are required to do by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).  The following paragraphs are from an email they just sent to me.  If this is an important issue to you, it is well worth reading.  If you think it is not an important issue, you will likely change your mind, if you are rational, when you read this:


The numbers of potentially ineligible voters identified in the new Judicial Watch probe are staggering. The NVRA requires states to remove registrations of voters who fail to respond to an address confirmation request and then fail to vote in two consecutive elections. States are required by federal law to report to Congress how many ineligible voters are removed from their rolls for this reason. Judicial Watch mined the statutory reporting data for some astonishing revelations: over the most recent four-year reporting period, large counties in powerful states such as New York and California reported few or no removals of ineligible voters from voting rolls.

For example, in the heart of New York City, Manhattan, with 1.2 million registered voters, state authorities removed a grand total of two ineligible voters from voting rolls for failing to respond to a notice and vote, according to data New York itself provided to Congress.

In Brooklyn, with 1.7 million registered voters, the number removed for this reason: zero. In Queens, with 1.3 million registered voters, the number removed as ineligible: zero. In the Bronx, with 867,000 voters: one ineligible voter was removed. In Staten Island, with 344,000 voters: zero.

The story is the same in California. Large counties show impossibly small number of ineligible voters removed from voting rolls for failing to respond to a notice and vote. In San Bernardino County in Greater Los Angeles, with a county population of 1.2 million registered voters, a total of fourteen ineligible voters were removed from the voting rolls for the entire four-year reporting period, according to data the state provided to federal officials. For Sacramento County, with over one million registered voters: zero removed. In Fresno County, with more than 500,000 registered voters: two ineligible voters removed.

“About 10% of Americans move every year,” notes Robert Popper, Judicial Watch’s director of voting integrity efforts. “Those counties should generate hundreds of thousands of cancelled registrations. There is simply no way to comply with federal law while removing so few outdated registrations under its key provision.”

Judicial Watch sent warning letters to state election officials in five states—New York, California, Oregon, Arkansas, and Illinois—noting the impossibly low numbers of statutory removals. The warning letters give the state 90 days to correct the record. “If the data are incorrect,” the Judicial Watch letters note, “please provide what you believe to be the correct numbers.” If the numbers are not corrected or otherwise resolved within 90 days, “we will commence a federal lawsuit.” Read the letters here.

Judicial Watch supporters know that this is not our first rodeo.

In California, we uncovered 1.6 million inactive voters on electoral rolls in Los Angeles County and sued, forcing LA to clean up its act.

We sued Pennsylvania for failing to make reasonable efforts to remove ineligible voters from their rolls. Pennsylvania revised its numbers, admitting it had reported incorrect information to a federal agency on the removal of ineligible voters. But even the new figures are too low. Pennsylvania now admits that in eighteen other counties—which together contain twenty-five percent of the entire state’s registered voters—it removed a grand total of fifteen inactive, ineligible voters in a two-year period.

We went to court in Colorado, where studies have shown that a majority of the state’s counties have registration rates that exceed 100% of the voting-age population. Our lawsuit charges “an ongoing, systemic problem with Colorado’s voter list maintenance obligations.”

We filed a lawsuit in North Carolina for the same reason—large numbers of ineligible voters on the state voter rolls.

We’ve successfully taken on Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana as well. In Ohio, a Supreme Court decision upheld a voter-roll cleanup stemming from a Judicial Watch lawsuit. In Kentucky, we sued for a voter-roll cleanup and won. Indiana agreed to clean up its rolls after Judicial Watch launched an investigation.


I hope you can also see that Judicial Watch is an organization worthy of the financial support of those of us for whom individual rights are of paramount importance.

11 January 2022

Remote Learning By Ethnic Classification

The New York Times reports that: 

In March, half of Black and Hispanic children, and two-thirds of Asian-American children, were enrolled in remote school, compared with 20 percent of white students, according to the latest federal data.

There are numerous factors behind this.  Among them are: 

  • The Black and Hispanic populations are often large in major cities and such cities due to Democrat Party control and high density populations have been more likely to have schools closed or to require greater social distancing.  The increased social distancing necessitates having fewer students in school classrooms.
  • Black, Hispanic, and Asian American parents appear to be more fearful of the Covid-19 disease.  They do have higher morbidity rates.
  • Black and Hispanic households tend to have lower incomes than white families do.  This encourages their older children to take on jobs to help their families out, since they are out of school anyway.  In other cases, the older children are impressed into babysitting duties for younger children as the parent(s) work.
  • Black and Hispanic parents are more likely to have lost jobs or to have down-graded jobs due to business closures and reduced business operating hours during the pandemic.  This has put more pressure on older children to take on jobs to help support their families.
  • When older children take on jobs to help support their families, it is harder to get them to graduate from high school.
  • Fewer Black and Hispanic children have high-grade computer capabilities at home for remote learning purposes.  Their parents are less likely to be able to help them with computer issues.
  • A child on remote learning has greater needs for parental educational support.
  • Fewer Black and Hispanic children are in private schools.  A higher percentage are in government-run schools, which are run by a coalition of Democrat Socialist politicians and the socialist teachers unions.  Such government schools are more likely to be shutdown or operating in very reduced modes, thanks to fear of Covid-19.
Most American children have suffered horribly in their educations as a result of an inadequate primarily government-run education system in the first place.  The Covid-19 pandemic and the over-reaction to it has caused massive further harm to our children across the board.  We already had an education system in which our so-called Black and Hispanic children were operating at lower skill levels than our so-called White and Asian children.  The pandemic-induced harm has further exacerbated the differential lag of our Black and Hispanic children.

A substantial portion of the pandemic harm was the result of bad political and bad educational choices.  Fewer bad choices would have been made had the media, academia, and government health organizations encouraged, rather than discouraged, an honest and scientific discussion of Covid-19.  The suppression of that discussion suppressed the formation of non-vaccine weapons against the disease.  It fostered a suspicion among many that the Covid-19 government policies were often based on lies and cared little for their welfare.  Realizing this was the case, many developed unreasonable fears that their children were in much greater danger from Covid-19 than they were being told they were.  Even Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor believed that 100,000 American children had been made seriously ill by the disease.  What can we expect that many Black and Hispanic parents believed about the danger to their children?

Some of the short-comings of our mostly government-run school education system have been bared by the Covid-19 pandemic.  More Americans will address those short-comings by opting for more school choice, with tax money following children into private schools.  There has been an increase in home-schooling and that will remain a more popular option than it had been prior to the pandemic.  We have also been exposed to the naked lust for teacher union power pushing for excessive school closings, mask mandates, and excess distancing requirements.  We have seen how feckless Democrat politicians have been in counteracting the teachers unions excessive power, because those same Democrats are highly dependent upon teacher union support for their election to office.

I will write in the future about government employee unions and why they should be outlawed.  Until they are outlawed, they should at least not be allowed to participate in elections for political offices.

Does Nitrogen Dioxide Cause Asthma in Children?

The Hill -- Equilibrium/Stability, an environmental report put out by The Hill, makes the following claims:

The burden of pollution falls particularly hard on children, according to another Lancet study, which found that the pollutant nitrogen dioxide, or NO2 — a common byproduct of burning fossil fuels in cars and power plants ­­– has led to almost 2 million additional cases of childhood asthma.

The link in the quote is to the Medical press and an article by George Washington University which claims after a picture of smokestacks billowing what appears to be horrible pollutants, but may well be nothing but water vapor, especially given the lighting conditions:

Nearly 2 million new cases of pediatric asthma every year may be caused by a traffic-related air pollutant, a problem particularly important in big cities around the world, according to a new study published today. The study is the first to estimate the burden of pediatric asthma cases caused by this pollutant in more than 13,000 cities from Los Angeles to Mumbai.

"Our study found that  puts  at risk of developing asthma and the problem is especially acute in ," Susan Anenberg, a co-lead author of the article and a professor of environmental and  at the George Washington University, said. "The findings suggest that clean air must be a critical part of strategies aimed at keeping children healthy."

Examining the link in this last quote, we go to the paper in The Lancet entitled Long-term trends in urban NO2 concentrations and associated paediatric asthma incidence: estimates from global datasets.  What do we find here?

NO2 itself has been associated with adverse health outcomes including asthma exacerbation.  Epidemiological studies have also found associations between transportation-related air pollutants and new onset asthma in children.  Toxicological and gene environment research indicates that transportation-related air pollutants cause airway inflammation and remodelling due to oxidative stress, resulting in asthma development in some individuals.  Epidemiological studies are generally consistent in their finding that NO2 is significantly associated with paediatric asthma incidence, whereas the evidence for other transportation-related air pollutants (eg, PM2·5) is more mixed.  Although the putative agent causing asthma in the traffic-related air pollution mixture is unknown, NO2 could serve as a surrogate for other pollutants causing observed health effects.

I added the bold in each of the above quotes to emphasize the slippery impression that nitrogen dioxide is a cause of childhood asthma.  The first article in The Hill -- Equilibrium/Stability implies that it is a cause of childhood asthma.  The second article says it may be a cause in one paragraph and then says it puts children at risk of developing asthma, which means that it is a cause of asthma.  The Lancet paper implies that NO2 is somehow "associated" with asthma exacerbation, but then says that the agent causing asthma in traffic-related air pollution is unknown.  Nonetheless, the gist of the paper is that NO2 causes 2 million additional cases of childhood asthma.

The CDC still says that the cause of childhood asthma is unknown. It says:

While we don’t know what causes asthma, we do know how to prevent asthma attacks or at least make them less severe.

The bottom line is that we do not know that NO2 is causing asthma.  But, the radical environmentalists and the proponents of the failed catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis very much want to create the impression that this product of carbon-based fuel combustion is poisoning children.  The game is a parallel to the darkening of water vapor emissions from smokestacks to make them look like evil pollutants.  It is like the construction of a case against coal-fired power plants based on their mercury emissions that I blew out of the water years ago on this blog.

There are far too many people politicizing science and, in the process, falsifying science.

On Mercury from coal-fired power plants, see:

Evaluating the Mercury Emissions Danger from Coal-Fired Power Plants