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.

08 February 2017

Obama's Comrade Pants Act

I was recently commenting on the repeal of ObamaCare in response to an article on-line at the Foundation for Economic Education and said that ObamaCare was a sad case of one-size-fits all.  An anonymous pest named D G then called me stupid for not knowing that there are three plan levels in ObamaCare.  Of course, I did know that there are four plan levels, but one could say that I did somewhat exaggerate in the one-size-fits all.  But, really only a little bit as will be apparent in my discussion of how Obama, Reid, and Pelosi had planned to pass the Comrade Pants Act, but they lost control of the House and the Senate due to the reaction against ObamaCare before they could carry out their plans.

Recognizing that pants are very important to the welfare of Americans and that some people did not have pants of sufficient quality to meet the standards of Democrat politicians and bureaucrats, Obama and his party in Congress decided that something had to be done about this.  Of course they were quite busy with passing ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank so they were running badly behind schedule in pushing the Comrade Pants Act through Congress.  It was a race against time also, because they knew they were about to lose their legislative majorities, having sacrificed it to the principle that the government held ownership rights in everyone's mind and body, thus allowing them to dictate the means of maintaining everyone's mind and body.  Pants were important, but what could in principle be as important as that mind and body collective ownership principle?

So the Senate had had a thousand-page act thrown together by pants manufacturers, cloth makers, pants manufacturing equipment makers, haberdashers, egalitarian professional agitators, and their Senate staff members. None of the Senators had had time to read the act, but they knew there would be more time to do that after the act was passed.  Now there was a problem -- the act had tax penalties in it for anyone who wore pants that were not up to the standards set in the act.  Well, more precisely most of the standards were to be set up by federal government bureaucrats.  Those penalties would also have to be levied on anyone who did not purchase the required pants as well.  But constitutionally, all legislation levying taxes, tariffs, and other fees has to originate in the House of Representatives. So how could they satisfy this requirement without starting over, which time did not allow?  Simple.  They stripped out all but the bill number of a bill passed in the House to establish National Lollipop Day, changing the name of the bill to the Pant-wearer Protection and Affordable Pants Act, colloquially known as the Comrade Pants Act.  They poured the Senate act text into it and passed this act in the Senate after sufficient non-citizen votes were cast for Al Franken to allow the Senate to do so.  By then, the House did not have time to approve the act that resulted from reconciliation of the PPAPA and the National Lollipop Day texts.  Usually a reconciliation can be performed quickly, but the differences in the two texts were just a bit too much for the remaining time before recess.

While all of this legislative activity was carried out at a frenzied pace, Obama and Pelosi had been telling the American people over and over that if they liked their pants they could keep them.  It they liked their pants providers, they could keep them also.  They also said that because pant making equipment was to become standardized, as were the patterns and styles, the cost of pants would drop.  Everyone could efficiently examine them on on-line exchanges and purchase them there under competition among many pants suppliers, once they provided their social security numbers and credit card information to the government with its well-known regard for the security of their information.  People with qualifying incomes would receive subsidies for their critical pant purchases, while people with higher incomes would pay full price.  People who bought many pants with subsidies were thus supported by those who bought pants at full price, but of course those people who bought many pants must have needed them and it was recognized that need was an irrefutable claim on the labor and income of others.  Tax forms were to have a new line.  It was the shared pants responsibility line that one had to fill out proving that one had either purchased pants on-line from one of the pants exchanges or that pants from any other source met the specifications for what was deemed good pants by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Democratic Party did not want to be criticized for forcing everyone to wear a single pant size, so they set up four levels of pants that one could purchase.  The Act itself was vague about what distinguished these pants levels, but the bureaucrats anticipated the House passing the legislation and rapidly filled out the requirements.

Platinum Level: 44-inch waist, 40-inch in-seam, wool cloth, gray, pockets both front and back, six pair a year.

Gold Level:  40-inch waist, 36-inch in-seam, linen cloth, cream-color, pockets in back only, four pair a year.

Silver Level:  36-inch waist, 32-inch in-seam, denim cloth, blue, pockets in front only, 2 pair a year.

Bronze Level:  32-inch waist, 28-inch in-seam, polyester cloth, pink, no pockets, 1 pair a year.

As you can see, this is not a one-size-fits-all law.  There is all the accommodation for different needs that any comrade might reasonably have.  All you have to do is sign onto the federal pants exchange in your state and choose your bronze, silver, gold, or platinum pant plan.  What could possibly be wrong with this?

To this day there are many Democrats who bemoan the failure to pass the Comrade Pants Act.  That act was so going to address everyone's pants needs and in the process make us all a little more equal.  Of course, this was just a second step in this quest for equality.  There were many more goods and services to which the Democratic Socialist Party planned to apply the same legislative methods.

20 Feb 2017 Update:  It has recently been suggested that the government having established the right to force individuals to buy a product or service should now force the People to buy Ivanka's clothing line.  As we know from ObamaCare, this requirement must be implemented without regard for the individual's sex, age, or personal needs.  So guys, line up and select your Ivanka clothing of choice!  The choices will only diminish with time.


Excellent Article on Effects of Vouchers and Education Choice

James Agresti, a rare Brown University graduate who appears to have thwarted Brown's concerted efforts to mold all of its graduates into Progressive Elitist tribalists, has written an excellent article on the effects of vouchers and education choice.  The article is published on the Foundation for Economic Education website and called DeVos Confirmed: Everything they said about her is false.

Reforming our government-run and controlled education system is one of the most important requirements for developing a civil society with a properly limited government, a broad respect for and protection of individual rights, and the freedom for individuals to choose their own values and to manage their own lives within a richly diverse and cooperative private sector.  These reforms also have the beneficial effect of reducing the political power of the teachers labor unions.  Both government-run schools and teachers labor unions are ham-handed supporters of big, awfully big government, collectivism, and the splintering of the American people into countless tribes at war with one another.

05 February 2017

The hidden agendas of sustainability illusions by Paul Driessen

Absurd, impractical sustainability precepts are actually a prescription for government control

As President Trump downgrades the relevance of Obama era climate change and anti-fossil fuel policies, many environmentalists are directing attention to “sustainable development.”
Like “dangerous manmade climate change,” sustainability reflects poor understanding of basic energy, economic, resource extraction and manufacturing principles – and a tendency to emphasize tautologies and theoretical models as an alternative to readily observable evidence in the Real World. It also involves well-intended but ill-informed people being led by ill-intended but well-informed activists who use the concept to gain greater government control over people’s lives, livelihoods and living standards.
The most common definition is that we may meet the needs of current generations only to the extent that doing so will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability thus reflects the assertion that we are rapidly depleting finite resources, and must reduce current needs and wants so as to save raw materials for future generations.
At first blush, it sounds logical and even ethical. But it requires impossible clairvoyance.
In 1887, when the Hearthstone House became the world’s first home lit via hydroelectric power, no one did or could foresee that electricity would dominate, enhance and safeguard our lives in the myriad ways it does today. Decades later, no one anticipated pure silica fiber optic cables replacing copper wires.
No one predicted tiny cellular phones with superb digital cameras and more computing power than a 1990 desktop computer or 3-D printing or thousands of wind turbines across our fruited plains – or cadmium, rare earth metals and other raw materials suddenly required to manufacture these technological wonders.
Mankind advanced at a snail’s pace for thousands of years. As the modern fossil-fuel industrial era found its footing, progress picked up at an increasingly breathtaking pace. Today, change is exponential. As we moved from flint to copper, to bronze, iron, steel and beyond, we didn’t do so because mankind had exhausted Earth’s supplies of flint, copper, tin and so on. We did it because we innovated – invented something better, more efficient or practical. Each advance required different raw materials. 
Who today can foresee what technologies future generations will have 25, 50 or 200 years from now? What raw materials they will need? How we are supposed to ensure that those families meet their needs?
Why then would we even think of empowering government to regulate today’s activities today based on the wholly unpredictable technologies, lifestyles, needs, and resource demands of distant generations? Why would we ignore or compromise the needs of current generations, to meet those totally unpredictable future needs – including the needs of today’s most impoverished, energy-deprived, malnourished people, who desperately want to improve their lives?
Moreover, we are not going to run out of resources anytime soon. A 1-kilometer fiber optic cable made from 45 pounds of silica (Silicon is the Earth’s most abundant element in the crust [CRA additions]) carries thousands of times more information than an equally long RG-6 cable made from 3,600 pounds of copper, reducing demand for copper.
In 1947, the world’s proven oil reserves totaled 47 billion barrels. Over the next 70 years, we consumed hundreds of billions of barrels – and yet, in 2016 we still had at least 2,800 billion barrels of oil reserves, including oil sands, oil shales and other unconventional deposits: at least a century’s worth, plus abundant natural gas. Constantly improving technologies now let us find and produce oil and natural gas from deposits that we could not even detect, much less tap into, just a couple decades ago.
Sustainability dogma also revolves around hatred of fossil fuels, and a determination to rid the world of them, regardless of any social, economic or environmental costs of doing so. And we frequently find that supposedly green, eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives are frequently anything but.
U.S. ethanol quotas eat up 40% of the nation’s corn, cropland the size of Iowa, billions of gallons of water, and vast quantities of pesticides, fertilizers, tractor fuel and natural gas, to produce energy that drives up food prices, damages small engines and gets one-third less mileage per gallon than gasoline.
Heavily subsidized wind energy requires standby fossil fuel generators, ultra-long transmission lines and thus millions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, rare earth metals and fiberglass. The turbines create chronic health problems for people living near them and kill millions of birds and bats – to produce intermittent, wholly unreliable electricity that costs up to 250% more than coal-based electricity.
For all that, on a torrid August 2012 day, Great Britain’s 3,500 giant wind turbines generated a mere 12 megawatts of electricity: 0.032% of the 38,000 MW the country was using at the time.
The United Kingdom also subsidizes several huge anaerobic digesters, intended to convert animal manure and other farm waste into eco-friendly methane for use in generating electricity. But there is insufficient farm waste. So the digesters are fed with corn (maize), grass and rye grown on 130,000 acres (four times the size of Washington, DC), using enormous amounts of water, fertilizer – and of course diesel fuel to grow, harvest and transport the crops to the digesters. Why not just drill and frack for natural gas?
That brings us to the political arena, where the terminology is circular, malleable, infinitely elastic, the perfect tool for activists. Whatever they support is sustainable; whatever they oppose is unsustainable; and whatever mantras or protective measures they propose give them more power and control.
The Club of Rome sought to build a new movement by creating “a common enemy against whom we can unite” – allegedly looming disasters “caused by human intervention in natural processes” and requiring “changed attitudes and behavior” to avoid global calamities: global warming and resource depletion.
“Building an environmentally sustainable future requires restricting the global economy, dramatically changing human reproductive behavior, and altering values and lifestyles,” said Worldwatch Institute founder Lester Brown. “Doing this quickly requires nothing short of a revolution.”
“Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, the use of fossil fuels, electrical appliances, home and workplace air conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable,” Canadian arch-environmentalist Maurice Strong declared.
“Minor shifts in policy, moderate improvements in laws and regulations, rhetoric offered in lieu of genuine change,” former Vice President Al Gore asserted – “these are all forms of appeasement, designed to satisfy the public’s desire to believe that sacrifice, struggle and a wrenching transformation of society will not be necessary.” Environmental activist Daniel Sitarz agreed, saying: “Agenda 21 proposes an array of actions intended to be implemented by every person on Earth. Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all humans, unlike anything the world has ever experienced.”
“Sustainable development,” the National Research Council declaimed in a 2011 report, “raises questions that are not fully or directly addressed in U.S. law or policy, including how to define and control unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and how to encourage the development of sustainable communities, biodiversity protection, clean energy, environmentally sustainable economic development, and climate change controls.” In fact, said Obama science advisor John Holdren, we cannot even talk about sustainability without talking about politics, power, and control. Especially control.
Of course, the activists, politicians and regulators feel little pain, as they enjoy salaries and perks paid by taxpayers and foundations, fly to UN and other conferences at posh 5-star resorts around the world, and implement agendas that control, redesign and transform other people’s lives.
It is We the Governed – especially working class and poor citizens – who pay the price, with the world’s poorest families paying the highest price. We can only hope the Trump Administration and Congress will dismantle and defund sustainable development, thealter ego of cataclysmic manmade climate change.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A ConstructiveTomorrow (www.CFACT.org), and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.

03 February 2017

The Integrity of the Vote

It is illegal for non-citizens to vote in the U.S. except in a few localities of Maryland.  It is illegal for the dead to vote, thankfully everywhere in the U.S.  It is illegal to vote in more than one state in an election.  It is illegal for a person to vote while impersonating another person.  It is illegal to vote as a fictitious person.  In 38 states it is illegal to vote while serving time in prison as a felon, while in other states it is illegal for a period of time after the completion of serving time or until the felon has petitioned the state for the return of the right to vote.  Yet, each of these types of illegal votes are known to happen.  What we do not adequately know is how many of these illegal votes occur.

We do know that there is a great potential for illegal votes.  We also know that some politicians and their campaign associates eagerly court illegal votes.

During the 2016 election campaign, Obama was asked on a Spanish-speaking radio station broadcast if non-citizens were in danger if they cast a vote in the election.  He told them they, including undocumented aliens, were citizens and no one would come after them if they voted because they were citizens.  So as far as this Democrat is concerned, the naturalization laws established by Congress in accordance with the power invested in the Congress by our Constitution shall be ignored in the interest of the fact that more than 80% of the votes of non-citizens in 2008 were votes for the Democratic Party.

John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, wrote an e-mail advising non-citizen immigrants to get a driver's license and then state at a polling site that they were a U.S. citizen.  That greater than 80% portion of the vote is just too hard for a dedicated socialist Democrat to resist.  A Rasmussen poll in 2015 found that 53% of Democrats support allowing even illegal aliens to vote.

The Democrats have long opposed voter ID and they have long favored mail-in ballots whose validity is especially difficult to ascertain.  In most states one can register to vote simply by stating that you are a citizen, so many non-citizens are registered to vote.  One of the ways we know this is because jurors are called based on the voter registration roles and many of those called get out of jury duty by claiming that they are not citizens.  We also know from an Old Dominion University study of the Cooperative Congressional Election Study of voters in the 2008 and 2010 elections that 14% of non-citizens said they were registered to vote.

What is the potential for immigrants, and especially non-citizen immigrants, to affect the outcome of elections in the U.S.?  It is clearly a function of their numbers, their understanding that it is illegal for them to vote, and the protections against those determined to vote.  Let us examine the number of immigrants first:


Of the immigrants, 47.1% in 2014 were citizens.  So of the 42.4 million immigrants in 2014, 52.9% were non-citizens, making the number of non-citizens about 22.4 million.  About 20 million of them were older than 18 years of age.  Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch has been making the mistaken claim that there are 42.4 million non-citizens in the U.S.  But 14% registration of 20 million non-citizens is 2.8 million illegal registrations.

A 2012 Pew Research Center study found that about 2.75 million people are registered to vote in more than one state.  It also found that 1.8 million dead people were registered to vote.  Adding up the non-citizen registrants, the multi-state registrants, and the dead registrants, the voter registration rolls have a very worrisome 7.35 million registered illegal voters.  Some of these people may themselves use their false registrations to vote -- well excluding the dead ones --, but as worrisome as that is, there is great potential for an organized effort by a nefarious minded organization or party to convert that potential into actual election stealing results.

Mind you, I am not claiming that it is likely that President Trump is correct in saying that there were 3 - 5 million illegal votes in the 2016 election.  I am saying that it is not acceptable knowing what is at stake in elections to have such a large potential for election abuse.  Evil-minded socialists in particular are often inclined to trample on individual rights by using such potential tools to undermine American freedoms.

It is clear that the Democrats are especially keen on encouraging non-citizens to vote and other illegal voting practices.  There are some known cases of Republican politicians also doing so.  None of these nefarious activities should be tolerated in the least.  The integrity of the vote is a very serious matter. It is all the more so because voters unleash and direct the hugely exaggerated powers of our big governments which make a practice of hurting some citizens and other residents in favor of the whims of a plurality of votes collected.  This situation is bad enough when the votes are those of citizens cast in a legal manner.

The Old Dominion University study estimated that 6.4% of U.S. non-citizens themselves voted in the November 2008 election and that 81% of those votes were for Obama.  Such numbers were actually enough that had they not been cast, John McCain would have won the electoral votes of the state of North Carolina instead of Obama.  That did not change the outcome of that election nationally, but there are not infrequent presidential elections that are changed by flipping a state with 15 electoral votes.  It is also very likely that Al Franken became a Senator representing Minnesota because of the illegal votes cast in that election.  ObamaCare was made law as a result of his election.  The Colorado Secretary of State, Scott Gessler, in an investigation of the U.S. Senate election of 2010 found that almost 5,000 illegal aliens cast votes in that election.  In 2005, the U.S. GAO found that as many as 3% of the 30,000 people called to jury duty in one U.S. district court were non-citizens despite being on the voter registration rolls.

Elections have consequences.  It is, unfortunately, rather difficult to detect all of the illegal votes after an election.  One has to find a way to see to it that illegal votes are not cast at all.  And one has to do this despite the concerted efforts of the Democratic Party to maintain the huge potential for election fraud. The Obama administration refused to comply with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which requires the states to keep accurate and up-to-date voter registration rolls, with help from the federal government in identifying those with citizenship and those without it.  The state of Maryland requested the help guaranteed by the NVRA to clean up its voter registration rolls from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and was denied the information under the claim that that agency had to "safeguard the confidentiality of each legal immigrant."  Few states have made the effort to comply with the NVRA and without help from the federal government, it is very difficult for them to do much.

In general, the Obama administration has opposed voter ID, which is required, contrary to Obama's claims, in most other nations.  It has favored same-day registrations, voting by mail, open borders, amnesty for illegal aliens, and every other measure to increase the immigrant vote.  To clean up this mess, the federal government must be required to help the states comb their voter registration rolls for non-citizens and it must help them identify the registered dead using its information on social security and Medicare.  To be sure, there are cases in which the states can probably help the federal government clean up its social security and Medicare records as well.  It is important that every vote actually cast is checked against provided voter identification, including absentee ballots.  No voter registration should be allowed without proof of citizenship.  And, there should be a concerted effort to inform non-citizens that it is illegal for them to vote.  Each and every case of illegal voting that is found should be prosecuted vigorously and punished severely.  There need to be frequent and careful investigations of elections looking for any voter fraud that has occurred.  Elections are too vitally important not to make a major law enforcement effort to insure their integrity.

Thoughts on Collectivists and Progressive Elitists from Notes to a Friend

In the reaction to President Trump's efforts to reduce the scope of government, some key characteristics of the collectivists, socialists, and Progressive Elitists are more openly clear than usual.

The socialists are going berserk.  Hysteria is a key component of socialism.  The madness of crowds, the imagined evils of business, the fears for the environment, the dislike for mankind and man's need to control his environment, the dislike for unequal accomplishment and award, fear of uncertainty, and the fear of being independent or of having to think independently.  Hysteria, alarmism, fear -- they all make the socialist want to trust his life and its care to government and to the collective.


Collectivists and Progressive Elitists are known to be less charitable than conservatives are and I am sure than libertarians are as well.  They look into their own souls and they see a lack of benevolence.  They are ashamed. They seek a cheap and easy way to convince themselves that they are benevolent.  By using the force of government, they can choose the causes of "benevolent" action and dilute the cost to themselves in time and money by making everyone contribute to their chosen causes.  Despite putting a gun to the head of others to achieve their goal, they convince themselves to an extent that they are now benevolent, but that conviction is most uncertain and uneasy.  It is difficult to completely evade the fact that they have done harm to some in order to fill the hole in their own souls.  They are cursed with at least the vague notion, that unlike them, the good man finds it easy and natural to view most other men in a benevolent manner because he sees introspectively his own good and noble soul and naturally tends to project that evaluation of what it is to be a man onto others.


31 January 2017

Labor Union Membership, Right to Work, and Education

Labor unions have been having a tough time competing in the private sector for a long time and now are even shrinking as a percentage of government workers.  In 2015, union workers were 11.1% of the work force.  This fell to 10.7% in 2016 with a loss of 240,000 union members.  Only 6.4% of private sector workers are now union members.  The mainstay of the unions is in the government sector with 29.6% of state government employees being union members and 40.3% of local government employees being members.  The local government union membership is much inflated by the many teachers who pretend to manage 25 or 30 people in the classroom, but are really blue-collar workers unable to negotiate their own work compensation as individuals.  The high percentage of government workers in unions has more recently been falling so that the percentages above are 15-year lows.

Within the last year, West Virginia and Kentucky have become Right to Work states, increasing the number of Right to Work states to 27.  There is a good chance that Missouri will soon become a Right to Work state.  In the 2016 election, a Republican who championed Right to Work hard won the governorship in Missouri despite the unions supplying the Democrat who opposed Right to Work with more than $10 million of campaign funds and other support.  Missouri voters returned every one of the state legislators to office who supported Right to Work.  Missouri, like other states with forced union dues collection, has been losing jobs to states with Right to Work laws.  The bordering states of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky all have Right to Work laws.  Only the basket case state of Illinois still maintains forced unionization on its borders.

You would not know it based on the recent campaign rhetoric, but manufacturing jobs increased by 236,000 in 2016.  Despite that overall growth in manufacturing jobs, union membership decreased by 74,000.  The growth in manufacturing jobs has been in Right to Work states.  In 2016, union membership in the 25 states that were Right to Work states for the full year decreased by 290,000, falling from 7.1% to 6.5%.  Membership in forced unionization states increased by 50,000, making it clear how dependent labor unions are on forced unionization.  Union membership increased in only one-quarter of the states with Right to Work laws, while increasing in 60% of those with forced unionization.  The percentage of Michigan workers in labor unions has fallen by 2.2% since Michigan became a Right to Work state in 2013.  Government worker unions lost their privileged powers in Wisconsin in 2011 and since then union membership has fallen by 136,000 workers or by 40%!

The loss of union power over the school systems in Wisconsin since 2011 and the freeing of school systems to pay teachers on their individual merit, is improving education in those school systems that have moved to the individual merit evaluation and compensation of teachers.  A Stanford University researcher, Barbara Biasi, has found that the school systems that have chosen to stick with union-favored seniority compensation programs rather than individual merit programs are falling behind the individual merit school systems.  Governor Scott Walker's Act 10 collective bargaining reform has allowed the thinking school systems to improve.  Who would think that evaluating and rewarding individual teaching ability would improve education?  Clearly the Democrats who claimed this would undermine the government-run school system would not allow this possibility.  How surprising it is that there is a correlation between being a capable teacher and classroom manager and being capable of negotiating your own working conditions and compensation!

17 January 2017

Repealing ObamaCare Costs How Many People Coverage?

Those who advocate the retention of ObamaCare are claiming highly exaggerated losses of coverage due to its repeal.  They assume that no new coverage will come into play upon its repeal.  HHS Secretary Burwell cited a claim that 30 million Americans will lose their coverage.  Many others are claiming that 20 million will lose their coverage.  These exaggerations are exactly as I predicted here.

First, as I noted here, only 11.1 million people were covered for the year in 2016, though 12.7 million signed up for coverage on ObamaCare health insurance websites.  They are very trusting people to sign up and to provide their social security numbers on those very incompetent exchanges.  But I digress.  The lower 11.1 million people number is found by adding up the monthly premium payments and dividing by 12.  But you can be sure that the advocates of ObamaCare use the 12.7 million number and have no regard for the fact that the 6 million who lost coverage due to ObamaCare are now proportional to the population growth as 6.1 million who would have been happy to stay on their old plans, especially now that they will have to soon make more changes due to the many instabilities that ObamaCare has introduced.  Subtract 6.1 million whose loss of insurance the ObamaCare advocates originally did not care about from 11.1 million and one has only 5.0 million on ObamaCare of new enrollees.

The ObamaCare insurance loss alarmists count all of the new enrollees on Medicaid compared to 2013 as being covered by ObamaCare as well.  As I noted here, of the 17 million new enrollees into Medicaid in 2014, only 3.3 million were newly eligible for coverage as a result of state expansions of Medicaid benefits as a result of ObamaCare.  It is clear that the claim that 30 million will lose their insurance comes from adding 17 million added people on Medicaid to 12.7 million who paid some portion of their premiums on ObamaCare purchased insurance in 2016.  It is also clear that this is a very dishonest number.

A more honest number is that of adding the additional 5.0 million insured under ObamaCare exchanges from the fully paid premium equivalent number to the 3.3 million added due to the expansion of Medicaid coverage by states under the ObamaCare law.  That gives us 8.3 million people.  But even that is dishonest.

Why?  One of the reasons this is dishonest because in 2014 alone employers dropped the health insurance coverage of 2 million people under their employer plans.  Small businesses alone dropped coverage for 2.2 million people as a result of ObamaCare and some unknown degree of reduction due to the super-extended poor growth Obama economy, some of which is also due to ObamaCare.  What is more, prior to ObamaCare, the number of people covered under employer plans had expanded year after year, so that growth in employer coverage was lost.  So, conservatively, we subtract another 2 million from the number of people who will lose coverage due to the repeal of ObamaCare.  We are now at 6.3 million people.

But in reality, these 6.3 million people will have the option to go without health insurance after the repeal, which may be wise if they are healthy or so rich that they can reasonably be self-insured.  In 2017, the wealthy will not be able to afford to lose 2.5% of their income to ObamaCare penalties, so they will have to buy ObamaCare health insurance no matter how little they need it, unless it is repealed.  Then ending ObamaCare will bring many employers back to offering insurance plans for their employees.  Many more cost effective private plans will come into existence, once the ObamaCare straitjackets are removed.  ObamaCare requires too many doctor visits and doctors offer much less treatment per visit since it was passed.  This is the usual practice with government-controlled health care.  It becomes very inconvenient, so people use it less and get less for the cost of the coverage.  Without ObamaCare, there will be a return to competition in the medical insurance market as well.  Most areas of the country now have only one or two insurers offering ObamaCare health insurance plans.  This is not good for costs.  High costs keep many from enrolling in health care insurance.

So, if the Republicans do nothing to replace ObamaCare, the net number of people losing health insurance will be fewer than lost it when ObamaCare was put in place.  If 6 million people happy with their insurance then did not matter, how can the advocates of ObamaCare claim that the less than 6 million people dependent upon ObamaCare will matter now.  In fact, the repeal of ObamaCare does not mean that those people added to Medicaid due to its expansion in some states will not continue to be covered by Medicaid in those states.  That 3.3 million people were almost entirely the responsibility of the states after 3 years under ObamaCare in any case.  2016 was the third year. Federal subsidy payments were scheduled to plummet in 2017 anyway.  This is why many states did not allow themselves to be hooked into expanding their Medicaid rolls.  So, the repeal of ObamaCare will actually result in fewer than 3 million people losing their health care insurance relative to the before ObamaCare number.

Only Democrat Socialists can get away with pretending that fewer than 3 million people are 30 million people or sometimes only 20 million people.  These are the same people who claimed that 47 million Americans were uninsured before ObamaCare and then in 2014 stopped counting the many millions of illegal immigrants as among those uninsured to make ObamaCare look as though it was much more effective in providing health insurance than it actually was.  Tricky Dicks, these socialists.  Too bad we do not have a free press willing to keep them honest.


10 January 2017

The Simple Physics Explaining the Earth's Average Surface Temperature

According to NASA the Earth's Energy Budget is given by the following diagram here and here. This energy budget is shown in Figure 1.


Fig. 1.  This NASA Earth Energy Budget is based on data over 10 years of observations as of 2009.  As of the time of this writing, it is still the Earth Energy Budget on NASA websites.

NASA says that the Earth emits 239.9 W/m2 of longwave infra-red radiation into space.  This implies an effective Earth system radiative temperature of 

P = 239.9 W/m2 = σ T4 = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) T4

so T = 255.0K, by application of the Stefan-Boltzmann equation.

Now we can go a step further, since NASA says that 40.1 W/m2 of longwave infra-red radiation emitted from the surface alone passes through the atmospheric window without absorption by the atmosphere directly into space.  This allows us to calculate the effective radiative temperature of the atmosphere alone.  Consequently,

P = (239.9 - 40.1) W/m2 = σ T4 = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) T4,

so T = 243.7 K, the effective radiative temperature of the atmosphere alone as seen from space.

According to the U.S. Standard Atmosphere Table of 1976, this is the temperature at mid-latitudes at an altitude of 6846 meters by interpolation of table data. This is very close to 7000 meters, where gas molecule parameters are given in the U.S. Standard Atmosphere Table of 1976.

What the NASA Earth Energy Budget critically fails to note is that the Earth's gravity causes a linear temperature gradient in the troposphere, the Earth's lower atmosphere, which was well-known to the American scientists who devised the U.S. Standard Atmosphere tables from the 1950s to the final table of 1976.  The U.S. Standard Atmosphere Table of 1976 is found in many editions of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, such as the 71st and 96th Editions. One can still obtain it from the government for a fee.  This gravitational field induced linear temperature gradient was also understood by Prof. Richard Feynmann who discusses it in his Feynmann Lectures late in Vol. 1.  Let me provide a simple explanation of this linear temperature gradient due to gravity and the heat capacity of air molecules.


There is a linear gradient in kinetic energy, EK, with altitude, since the total energy E of a molecule is given by E = mgh + EK , with mgh the potential energy and h the altitude.  The temperature of a perfect gas molecule is proportional to its kinetic energy, so an increased kinetic energy at sea level compared to its kinetic energy at 7000 meters altitude means the gas molecule is warmer at sea level. 

The temperature at 7000 meters is established by the fact that that is the effective radiative equilibrium altitude for the atmosphere with space.  We can use this fact to calculate the approximate temperature of the surface due only to the temperature gradient in the troposphere below that due to the effect of gravity alone.  This is an approximation because the atmospheric radiative equilibrium with space is really a range of altitudes primarily weighted over the range of 5000 to 11000 meters in the troposphere at the mid-latitudes approximated by the U.S. Standard Atmosphere Table of 1976. There are also small contributions due to mostly carbon dioxide in the very cold tropopause and the warmer stratosphere.  I want to keep things simple here so that we can develop a good physical feel for the physics without becoming lost in reams of integrations and subsequent computer code to arrive at similar, though more exact, results. Of course, there are other factors than the gravitational temperature gradient that also affect the surface temperature, but we will isolate this one factor and consider the effect of the other factors later.

EK = (3/2) kT, where EK is the kinetic energy for a perfect monatomic gas molecule, where k is the Boltzmann constant.  However, the lower atmosphere is made up almost entirely of diatomic molecules, with N2 and O2 more than 99% of the atmosphere.  EK = (5/2) kT for a diatomic perfect or ideal gas molecule and (6/2) kT for a polyatomic molecule with more than two atoms.  This is because a diatomic molecule has rotational kinetic energy around each axis  perpendicular to the bond between the two atoms in the molecule.  There are equal amounts of energy in each of the 5 degrees of freedom of the diatomic molecule.  Molecules such as CO2 and CH4 with more than two atoms have 6 degrees of kinetic energy freedom. This allows us to tie the total kinetic energy at an altitude to the translational velocities of molecules given in the U.S. Standard Atmosphere table of 1976 for dry air.  The total kinetic energy of the diatomic molecules making up more than 99% of the lower atmosphere is then 5/3 times the translational kinetic energy.

Conservation of energy for a diatomic gas molecule requires that, where 7000 meters altitude is chosen as a reference altitude, since it is the altitude in effective radiative equilibrium with space:

EK0 = (5/3) (½ m v02 ) = E7000 = (5/3)(½ m v70002 ) + mgh,

Where EK0 is the kinetic and the total energy of the gas molecule at sea level, v0 is its translational velocity there, E7000 is the total energy at 7000 meters altitude, v7000 is the translational velocity of the gas molecule at 7000 meters altitude, m is the mass of the molecule, g is the gravitational constant at 7000 meters altitude, and h is the altitude, here 7000 m.  From the U.S. Standard Atmosphere table of 1976, the mean gas molecule in the atmosphere has a mass of 28.964 amu or 4.8080 x 10-26 kg, which is greater than the mass of the most common N2 molecules and less than the mass of the second most common O2 molecules.  The gravitational constant at 7000 meters altitude is slightly less than that at sea level and is found in the table to be 9.7851 m/s2.  The translational velocity of the mean molecule at 7000 meters altitude from the table is 421.20 m/s.  The value of EK0 is calculated to be approximately 1.040 x 10-20 Joules per mean molecular weight air molecule at sea level based on the translational velocity at 7000 meters and assuming that we are only calculating the static gravitational effect. 

We can now set the gravitational effect EK0 kinetic energy into the EK = (5/2) kT equation and calculate what T should be if there were no other cooling effects, such as the evaporation of water.  Note that air convection is not a net changer of the energy here, except for the effect of volume expansion cooling as the warm air rises and the pressure drops. This temperature gradient exists in the static air, yet there is no flow of heat.
 
The surface temperature due to the action of gravity alone on the atmosphere is found from:

EK0 = 1.040 x 10-20 J  = (5/2) kT = (5/2) ( 1.381 x 10-23 J/K )T

T = 301.2 K

This temperature is actually warmer than the 289.5 K temperature implied by NASA in their Fig. 1. Energy Budget, since they always assume the surface emits as a black body.  With a 398.2 W/m2 emission, the implied black body temperature is 289.5 K.  More commonly, the average surface temperature is taken to be about 288 K.

If the Earth's surface were 301.2 K due to the gravity temperature gradient alone, the equivalent black body power density to allow us to compare its effect to other effects in the NASA energy budget would be:

P = σ T4 = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4)(301.2 K)= 466.6 W/m2 

Note that this is not an actual flow of power to the surface.  The atmospheric temperature gradient due to gravity exists under conditions of energy conservation, with the energy of gas molecules always constant.  There is no heat flow in this effect.

Let us now consider other inputs and outputs of energy from the NASA Earth Energy Budget of Figure 1.  We will use this effective gravitational power, the power absorbed by the surface from the sun directly, the power loss due to thermals, the power loss due to water evaporation, and the power loss due to surface longwave infra-red emission through the atmospheric window directly into space.

We take the power values for each of these from the NASA energy budget.  We will lump the effect of all other warming or cooling mechanisms, including the Earth's surface radiative emissions absorbed by the atmosphere and any back-radiation into an unknown power flux R.

P = (466.6 + 163.3 -18.4 - 86.4 - 40.1 + R) W/m2 = σ T4 = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) (288 K)4,

Solving for R, we find that 

R = - 94.9 W/m2 

According to NASA in Figure 1, R is equal to the - (358.2 - 340.3) W/m2 = - 17.9 W/m2 , the difference between the longwave surface emission absorbed by the atmosphere and the back radiation from the atmosphere. This is a modest cooling mechanism for the surface.  What we see from our calculations though is that there is really much more cooling needed than 17.9 W/m2 .  

Now there certainly is surface radiation which is absorbed by the atmosphere.  I have maintained that there is very little back radiation and what there is is due to those situations in which the air temperature near the surface is higher than that of the surface.  This is not the common daily condition, but it does happen at times.  I have also maintained that the electric dipoles that oscillate to emit radiation characteristic of a body at 288K cannot provide kinetic energy to the evaporation of water and to transfer to air molecules in collisions.  Energy must be conserved.  Some of the molecules in the surface do emit longwave radiation as though they were part of a surface at 288K, but some do not, because they gave up their energy to the evaporation of water or in collisions with air molecules.  The sum of the radiation energy emitted from those that emit radiation is less than that of a surface at 288K which was not also being cooled by water evaporation and air gas molecule collisions.  For radiation purposes, only a portion of the surface area emits longwave infra-red and this portion is distributed nanoscopically over the entire surface area.  Other nanoscopic areas are dumping their energy instead into evaporating water.  Still others are exchanging it with cooler air molecules which are impinging upon a water surface.  At sea level, the average air molecule has 6.92 x 109/s collisions with other air molecules.  Due to the more than 100 times as many water molecules at the surface of a square meter of water compared to the two-thirds power of the number density of air molecules in a cubic meter, the collision rate for air molecules with water molecules at the surface is more than 100 times greater than that for air molecules with other air molecules.  This gives surface water molecules many opportunities to transfer energy to cooler air molecules.  The story is similar for the other materials of the Earth surface.

The NASA claims that the surface emits a total of 398.2 W/m2 and that back radiation amounts to 340.3 W/m2 are both absurdly exaggerated.  Surface infra-red emission is not only limited by conservation of energy and the competition with energy loss via water evaporation and gas molecule collisions, but also by the mean free path length of emitted infra-red radiation before absorption of that radiation by water vapor or carbon dioxide molecules.  That limited mean free path length also places a limit on the temperature differential between the surface temperature and the temperature of the air layer where absorption takes place.  The allowed energy transfer is governed by the equation:

P = σ (TS4 – TA4 ), 

where TS and TA are the temperatures of the surface and the air layer, respectively.  Since the mean free path length for water vapor absorption of those wavelengths it can absorb is short in the lower troposphere and that for carbon dioxide absorption is not much longer, this is a severe limit on the power transported by radiation from the surface.

The NASA claim that the surface emits 398.2 W/m2 includes only 40.1 W/m2 emitted directly to space.  The remaining 358.1 W/m2 that NASA claims is absorbed by the atmosphere implies that the atmosphere is at a temperature of 0 K!  This could not be more wrong.  On the other hand, a back radiation of 340.3 W/m2 implies that the effective temperature of the radiating atmosphere to the surface is 278.3 K.  In the U.S. Standard Atmosphere of 1976, this is an altitude of about 1500 m.  So the atmosphere absorbs radiation as though it were cold space and it emits radiation back to the surface as though it has a temperature of 278.3 K.  The implied mean free paths for the longwave infra-red radiation which can be absorbed and emitted by infra-red active or greenhouse gases are completely incompatible!

What is more, the atmosphere is generally cooler than the surface, so it radiates only to still cooler parts of the atmosphere or to space.  Cooler parts of the atmosphere are usually at higher altitudes, so there is a strong preference for radiated energy from the atmosphere to be transported to higher altitudes.  Such transport to lower altitudes as does occur requires a temperature inversion in air layers.

In any case, it is very clear that the net effect of surface radiation absorbed by the atmosphere, back-radiation, any errors in the solar radiation absorbed by the surface, or power lost as thermals, or power used to evaporate water, or the neglect of other heating or cooling mechanisms, amounts to a net cooling effect of 94.9 W/m2 .  This does not leave much room for a warming of the surface attributable to back-radiation from greenhouse gases!

In fact, we need more cooling effects to explain the surface temperature being as low as it is.  A big part of that is surface longwave radiation absorbed by the atmosphere, but I believe another part of that is other cooling mechanisms due to infra-red active gases (greenhouse gases) and underestimation of the cooling by water evaporation and thermals.

Infra-red active gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide) have a higher heat capacity than do nitrogen and oxygen molecules. Consequently, they can remove more energy from the surface upon collisions with it and add to the heat loss of the surface due to rising thermals.  In addition, they make minor contributions to the transfer of heat upward through the atmosphere by radiating infra-red from warmer air layers to the usually cooler air layers just above them.  Since that transport of energy is at the speed of light, this effect transfers energy faster than a rising thermal and acts as a cooling mechanism.

The advocates of catastrophic man-made global warming pose the problem of our average surface temperature as one of explaining why it is as high as it is.  The real problem is explaining why it is as low as it is.  This is the sad state of NASA and generally of the entire set of alarmist man-made global warming advocates understanding of the climate.  For this poor service, NASA now spends more than half of its budget on climate change, with the emphasis heavily on catastrophic man-made global warming.


08 January 2017

Reality-based climate forecasting by Paul Driessen

Reality-based climate forecasting

Continuing to focus on carbon dioxide as the driving force will just bring more bogus predictions

Paul Driessen

These days, even shipwreck museums showcase evidence of climate change.

After diving recently among Key West’s fabled ship-destroying barrier reefs, I immersed myself in exhibits from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, the fabled Spanish galleon that foundered during a ferocious hurricane in 1622. The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum now houses many of the gold, silver, emeralds and artifacts that Mel and Deo Fisher’s archeological team recovered after finding the wreck in 1985.

Also featured prominently in the museum is the wreck of a British slave ship, the Henrietta Marie. It sank in a hurricane off Key West in 1700, after leaving 190 Africans in Jamaica, to be sold as slaves.

As Fisher divers excavated the Henrietta wreck, at 40 feet below the sea surface they found – not just leg shackles and other grim artifacts from that horrific era – but charred tree branches, pine cones and other remnants from a forest fire 8,400 years ago! The still resinous smelling fragments demonstrate that this area (like all other coastal regions worldwide) was well above sea level, before the last ice age ended and melting glaciers slowly raised oceans to their current level: 400 feet higher than during the frigid Pleistocene, when an enormous portion of Earth’s seawater was locked up in glaciers.

Climate change has clearly been “real” throughout earth and human history. The question is, exactly how and how much do today’s human activities affect local, regional or global climate and weather?

Unfortunately, politicized climate change researchers continue to advance claims that complex, powerful, interconnected natural forces have been replaced by manmade fossil fuel emissions, especially carbon dioxide; that any future changes will be catastrophic; and that humanity can control climate and weather by controlling its appetite for oil, gas, coal and modern living standards.

If you like your climate, you can keep it, they suggest. If you don’t, we can make you a better one.

Not surprisingly, climate chaos scientists who’ve relied on the multi-billion-dollar government gravy train are distraught over the prospect that President Donald Trump will slash their budgets or terminate their CO2-centric research. Desperate to survive, they are replacing the term “climate change” with “global change” or “weather” in grant proposals, and going on offense with op-ed articles and media interviews.

“This is what the coming attack on science could look like,” Penn State modeler and hockey stick creator Michael Mann lamented in a Washington Post column. “I fear what may happen under Trump. The fate of the planet hangs in the balance.” (Actually, it’s his million-dollar grants that hang in the balance.)
A “skeptic” scientist has warmed to the idea that a major Greenland ice shelf may be shrinking because of climate change, a front-page piece in the Post claimed. Perhaps so. But is it manmade warming? Does it portend planetary cataclysm, even as Greenland’s interior and Antarctica show record ice growth? Or are warm ocean currents weakening an ice shelf that is fragile because it rests on ocean water, not land?

The fundamental problem remains. If it was substandard science and modeling under Obama era terminology, it will be substandard under survivalist jargon. The notion that manmade carbon dioxide now drives climate and weather – and we can predict climate and weather by looking only at plant-fertilizing CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” – is just as absurd now as before.

Their predictions will be as invalid and unscientific as divining future Super Bowl winners by modeling who plays left guard for each team – or World Cup victors by looking at center backs.

As climate realists take the reins at EPA and other federal and state agencies, the Trump Administration should ensure that tax dollars are not squandered on more alarmist science that is employed to justify locking up more fossil fuels, expanding renewable energy and “carbon capture” schemes, reducing US living standards, and telling poor countries what living standards they will be “permitted” to have.

Reliable forecasts, as far in advance as possible, would clearly benefit humanity. For that to happen, however, research must examine all natural and manmade factors, and not merely toe the pretend-consensus line that carbon dioxide now governs climate change.

That means government grants must not go preferentially to researchers who seek to further CO2-centrism, but rather to those who are committed to a broader scope of solid, dispassionate research that examines both natural and manmade factors. Grant recipients must also agree to engage in robust discussion and debate, to post, explain and defend their data, methodologies, analyses and conclusions.

They must devote far more attention to improving our understanding of all the forces that drive climate fluctuations, the roles they play, and the complex interactions among them. Important factors include cyclical variations in the sun’s energy and cosmic ray output, winds high in Earth’s atmosphere, and decadal and century-scale circulation changes in the deep oceans, which are very difficult to measure and are not yet well enough understood to predict or be realistically included in climate models.

Another is the anomalous warm water areas that develop from time to time in the Pacific Ocean and then are driven by winds and currents northward into the Arctic, affecting US, Canadian, European and Asian temperatures and precipitation. The process of cloud formation is also important, because clouds help retain planetary warmth, reflect the sun’s heat, and provide cooling precipitation.
Many scientists have tried to inject these factors into climate discussions. However, the highly politicized nature of US, IPCC and global climate change funding, research, regulatory and treaty-making activities has caused CO2-focused factions to discount, dismiss or ignore the roles these natural forces play.

The political situation has also meant that most research and models have focused on carbon dioxide and other assumed human contributions to climate change. Politics, insufficient data and inadequate knowledge also cause models to reflect unrealistic physics theories, use overly simplified and inadequate numerical techniques, and fail to account adequately for deep-ocean circulation cycles and the enormity and complexity of natural forces and their constant, intricate interplay in driving climate fluctuations.

Speedier, more powerful computers simply make any “garbage in-garbage out” calculations, analyses and predictions occur much more quickly – facilitating faster faulty forecasts … and policy recommendations.

The desire to secure research funding from Obama grantor agencies also perpetuated a tendency to use El Niño warming spikes, and cherry-pick the end of cooling cycles as the starting point for trend lines that allegedly “prove” fossil fuels are causing “unprecedented” temperature spikes and planetary calamity. 

Finally, the tens of billions of dollars given annually in recent years to “keep it in the ground” anti-fossil fuel campaigners, national and international regulators, and renewable energy companies have given these vested interests enormous incentives to support IPCC/EPA pseudo-science – and vilify and silence climate realists who do not accept “catastrophic manmade climate change” precepts.

The Trump Administration and 115th Congress have a unique opportunity to change these dynamics, and ensure that future research generates useful information, improved understanding of Earth’s complex climate system, and forecasts that are increasingly accurate. In addition to the above, they should:
  • Reexamine and reduce (or even eliminate) the role that climate model “projections” (predictions) play in influencing federal policies, laws and regulations – until modeling capabilities are vastly and demonstrably improved, in line with the preceding observations.
  • Revise the Clean Air Act to remove EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide – or compel EPA to reexamine its “endangerment” finding, to reflect the previous bullet, information and commentary.
  • Significantly reduce funding for climate research, the IPCC and EPA, and science in general. Funding should be more broadly based, not monopolistic, especially when the monopoly is inevitably politicized.

This is not an “attack on science.” It is a reaffirmation of what real science is supposed to be and do.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death and other books on environmental issues.  His commentary was published on this blog at his request.

18 December 2016

Environmentalist Insurance Policies by Paul Driessen

Environmentalist insurance policies

Intellectual ammo for holiday party responses to claims that you need meteorite insurance

Paul Driessen

Many liberals went into denial, outrage and riot mode after November 8. Now they’re having meltdown over President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees with climate and environmental responsibilities:

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry at Energy, Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt for EPA, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson at State, Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke at Interior. As Department of Agriculture secretary and multiple assistant, deputy assistant and other senior level positions are filled, the meltdown will likely raise sea levels by several feet.

It’s even worse than “white supremacists” and “Russian hackers” rigging and stealing the election. Having these people at the helm will be an “existential threat to the planet,” say meltdowners.

A typical over-the-top reaction came from an aptly named spokesperson for radical pressure groups and five-alarm climate scientists that feed at the trough of taxpayer and tax-exempt foundation funding “This is the wealthiest, most corporate, most climate-denying cabinet in history,” snorted Kiernan Suckling, director of the anti-development Center for Biological Diversity.

After eight years of anti-fossil-fuel, anti-growth, anti-job, anti-blue-collar policies – and the Left’s fervent wish for eight more years under Hillary Clinton – any Trumpian shift is bound to look that way to them.

So we’re likely to get a bellyful of bombast from like-minded (or ill-informed) office and neighborhood partygoers, especially if they’re too much imbued with holiday spirits. At the risk of offending those who do not share an NRA perspective on gun control (stance, grip, sight alignment, trigger control), here’s a little intellectual ammunition that conservatives may find helpful during those “spirited” discussions.

The United States needs to reduce taxes and regulations that have hobbled energy development and job creation – threatening to put federal bureaucrats firmly in control of our states, communities, livelihoods and living standards. However, as I noted recently, these essential, long overdue changes will come with no reduction in air, water or overall environmental quality standards that ensure our health and welfare. They will address rogue agency actions that actually impair our living standards, health and wellbeing.

Indeed, nearly all these autocratic government actions are based on some variation of the infamous “precautionary principle.” This infinitely malleable pseudo-guideline says chemicals and other technologies should be restricted or banned if there is any possibility (or accusation by radical activists) that they could be harmful, even if no cause-effect link can be proven.

Even worse, the bogus principle looks only at often-inflated risks from using chemicals, energy systems or other technologies that activists or regulators dislike – never at the risks of not using them; never at risks that could be reduced or eliminated by using them. Sustainability “guidelines” are very similar.
Just as perversely, if the Powers that Wannabe like a technology, they ignore or actively suppress any harmful impacts. For instance, since wind turbines can supposedly replace fossil fuels, they ignore bird and bat deaths, human health damage from infrasound, and the fact that essential metals are mined and processed under horrendous conditions by men, women and children in African and Asian countries.
Those environmental, health, human rights, and child labor violations are far away (literally not in their backyards), and thus can be conveniently ignored.
So can the poverty, disease, malnutrition and early death perpetrated and perpetuated by extremist groups that campaign tirelessly to shut down industries in developed nation communities – and prevent the poorest nations on Earth from gaining access to modern technologies that improve and save lives.

Eco-extremists claim they can save lives by preventing higher temperatures, rising seas, and more storms, droughts and crop failures due to “dangerous manmade climate change” decades from now. So they block fossil fuel power plants that provide reliable, affordable energy for modern homes, hospitals, schools and factories that improve health and living standards – and end up killing millions right now, year after year.

Climate change has been real throughout history. Sometimes beneficial (moderately warm, with ample rainfall), sometimes destructive (decades-long droughts or cold spells, glacial epochs with mile-thick ice sheets crushing entire continents), it is driven by solar, cosmic ray, oceanic and other powerful natural forces that humans cannot control. Carbon dioxide may play a role, but only a minor one, and rising atmospheric CO2 levels make crops, grasslands and forests grow faster and better.

The “unprecedented” manmade climate cataclysms that Al Gore and Barack Obama promised are not happening. For example, we were supposed to get more frequent, powerful and destructive storms; instead, a record 11 years have passed without one category 3-5 hurricane making landfall in the USA. 

To attack fracking and natural gas use, bureaucrats claim methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas – but won’t admit that it is 1/235th as prevalent in Earth’s atmosphere (0.00017%), and at least 1/600,000th as prevalent as water vapor (1-4%), the most important GHG.
Their “social cost of carbon” schemes assign ever-higher monetary impacts to every climate and weather problem they can possibly attribute to using carbon-based fuels – but totally ignore the enormous and undeniable benefits of utilizing oil, natural gas and coal that still provide 82% of US and global energy.

They’re convinced their anti-energy diktats will “save the planet,” by shutting down US power plants and factories, despite vastly greater emissions from China, India and a hundred other nations that are rapidly expanding their fossil fuel use, to lift billions more people out of abject poverty, disease and malnutrition.

The same anti-technology activists and bureaucrats also detest biotechnology and genetically modified crops that require less water and can battle insect predators with a tiny fraction of the insecticides required for conventional grains and vegetables. They equally despise another GM marvel, Golden Rice, which prevents Vitamin A Deficiency that blinds and kills hundreds of thousands of children every year.

Instead of applauding the reduced blindness, malnutrition, starvation and death these crops can bring, precautionary and sustainability extremists obsess about imaginary risks of eating them, allowing more millions to die unnecessarily, year after year. It’s not their kids, after all. Why should they be concerned?

The same callous, phony ethics prevail on the disease front. Eco-activists support bed nets – but not insecticide spraying to kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and certainly not DDT, the most powerful, longest-lasting mosquito repellant ever invented. Sprayed once every six months on the walls of mud or cinderblock houses, DDT keeps 80% of mosquitoes from entering, irritates those that do come in, so they don’t bite, and kills any that land. 

But radical ideologues focus on trivial, irrelevant side effects that “some researchers say could be linked” to DDT use – and let 600,000 parents and children die excruciating deaths every year from malaria.

Every one of these anti-technology, “precautionary” attitudes is the environmentalist equivalent of protecting American kids from powerful chemicals, fatigue, nausea, hair loss, and increased risk of illness and infection – by banning chemotherapy drugs, and just letting the little cancer patients die.

They are the equivalent of requiring you to carry a $10,000-a-year insurance policy that covers you only if you are killed by a meteorite – or by a raptor or tyrannosaur. At least meteorite risks are real, if extremely remote.

Raptors and T rexes exist only in our imaginations, special effects computers and movie theaters – much like the manmade climate chaos and other precautionary extremism that come from computer models and PR hype, and drive too many of our policies, laws and regulations.

Have fun at your holiday parties. This season promises to be even more animated than most.



Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death and other books on the environment.