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

24 December 2019

The Party of Income Inequality Is?

The Democratic Party!  For all of its huffing and puffing that it is the party of income equality, the Democratic Party has political control of by far the most areas of the US with high income inequality.  That party likes to claim that the middle class and low wage industry workers have been left behind in income growth over the years.  Let us look at a very interesting graph of the income growth in high wage, middle wage, and low wage industries since 2007:


The high wage industries wage growth over the years from 2007 into 2019 has been relatively steady.  The middle wage industries pay growth had some significant dips in 2010 and 2014 under Obama's administration.  The low wage industry wage growth rate hit lower rates of increase in 2010 and 2012 under Obama.  The Democrats will point out that after that low in 2012, the low wage industry wage growth began to get better until it was about the same rate of growth as that of the high wage industry wage growth rate in 2014.  By 2015, the wage growth rates were pretty close for all three industry groups.  However, in early 2018 wage growth for the low wage industries took off, achieving far faster rates of growth compared to the middle and high wage industry wage growth rates.  Apparently, the economic policies of the Trump administration are quite favorable to wage growth on the part of the low wage industries.

So, just as those areas of the country represented by Republicans in Congress tend to have less income inequality, Republican economic policies under Trump are enabling low wage earners to catch up with higher wage earners while in many of the years under Obama they were falling behind more and more.

Michael Strain of AEI notes that the median wages of all workers increased by 25% over the past 30 years corrected for inflation.  The wages of the poorest paid 20% of workers grew by more than one-third.  The poorest paid workers have actually been catching up in wage income therefore.  Income inequality has decreased.  Applying a broader income measure that takes into account income from fringe benefits, capital gains and dividends, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefits, unemployment insurance, food stamps, and federal tax payments, this reduction of total income inequality remains substantial.  The median household income by this measure increased by 43% from 1990 to 2015.  In comparison, the households in the bottom 20% had an increase in income of 62%.  As the American economy has grown since 1990, the bottom 20% of households on the total income scale have benefited even more than the median household has.

The common claim of the Democrat Party that the poor and the middle class are falling behind and somehow suffering does not hold up.  It is true that they could have benefited more had government policies been different.  The economy overall could have grown more rapidly with policies more friendly to the free, voluntary private sector.  Had that extra growth path been chosen, median and poorer households would have had greater increases in income.  We see evidence of how that would have been the case in the recent surge in income of the low wage industries under the Trump administration with its decreased cost of regulations, its signalling of fewer arbitrary and expensive future regulations, and its tax cuts favoring business investments to increase business productivity.  The Obama regulatory chaos and extreme uncertainty with a will to wipe out entire industries extended the Great Recession period of slow economic growth, much like Franklin D. Roosevelt's capricious federal management of the economy that greatly prolonged the Great Depression and the later uncertainty caused by LBJ, Nixon, and Carter offer lessons in how to slow economic growth and with it to deny most of us the benefits of an improved standard of living relative to what the Democrats will generally allow us.

The free markets of a Capitalist society unleashed would benefit most Americans greatly and that would most definitely include most low wage Americans!


15 December 2019

No end in sight for the biofuel wars by Paul Driessen

Biofuels are unsustainable in every way, but still demand – and get – preferential treatment

The Big Oil-Big Biofuel wars rage on. From my perch, ethanol, biodiesel and “advanced biofuels” make about zero energy, economic or environmental sense. They make little political sense either, until you recognize that politics is largely driven by crony-capitalism, campaign contributions and vote hustling.

Even now, once again, as you read this, White House, EPA, Energy, Agriculture and corporate factions are battling it out, trying to get President Trump to sign off on their preferred “compromise” – over how much ethanol must be blended into gasoline, how many small refiners should be exempted, et cetera.

This all got started in the 1970s, when publicly spirited citizens persuaded Congress that “growing our own energy” would safeguard the USA against oil embargoes and price gouging by OPEC and other unfriendly nations, especially as our own petroleum reserves rapidly dwindled into oblivion. Congress then instituted the Renewable Fuels Standard in 2005, when the Iraq War triggered renewed fears of global oil supply disruptions. The RFS requires that almost all gasoline sold in the USA must contain 10% ethanol – which gets a third fewer miles per gallon than gasoline and damages small engines.

But, we were told, these fuels are renewable, sustainable, a way to prevent “dangerous climate change.”

It’s all bunk. In recent years, the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) revolution has given America and the world at least a century of new oil and natural gas reserves. America has become the world’s largest oil and gas producer and within five years could be producing far more oil and gas than any other country in the world. Terminals built years ago to import fuel from distant lands are being reconfigured to export abundant US oil, liquefied natural gas and refined products to distant lands.

Average global temperatures – as actually measured by satellites and weather balloons – are now almost a full degree Fahrenheit lower than predicted by climate models (the average of 102 IPCC computer model forecasts) that also foretell the daily litany of climate and weather cataclysms. However, hurricanes are less frequent and intense than a half-century ago, and Harvey was the first Category 3-5 hurricane to make US landfall in a record 12 years. Violent F4-5 tornadoes have also been less frequent over the past 34 years than during the 35 years before that, and not one F4-5 tornado hit the USA in 2018.
Over their full life cycle (from planting, growing and harvesting crops, to converting them to fuel, to transporting them by truck or rail car, to blending and burning them), biofuels emit just as much (plant-fertilizing) carbon dioxide as oil-based gasoline and diesel. Those biofuels also require enormous amounts of land, water, fertilizer, insecticides and energy. None of this is renewable or sustainable.
In fact, corn turned into E85 fuel (85% ethanol/15% gasoline) and grown where rainfall is insufficient requires irrigation – and up to 28 gallons of water from rivers or groundwater supplies per mile traveled!
US ethanol production utilizes 38% of America’s corn and 27% of its sorghum – grown on cropland the size of Iowa: 36 million acres, much of which would otherwise be wildlife habitat. And the fertilizers used to grow those crops, especially the corn, result in nutrient-rich runoff that increases nitrogen levels in the Gulf of Mexico, causing deadly algal blooms. When the algae die and decompose, they create low and no-oxygen zones the size of Delaware – killing marine life that can’t swim away quickly enough.
In short, biofuels have huge downsides and do nothing to address the scary scenarios that have either shriveled amid the winds of history – or were wildly exaggerated or imaginary to begin with.
But once these biofuel programs were launched, they became permanent. They created a biofuel industry that wants to get bigger every year, and supports politicians who want to get reelected year after year. That brings us back to the Executive Branch biofuel battles – and to issues that I myself struggle to comprehend, amid the morass of acronyms and conflicting policies and mandates.
Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency require that refiners blend “conventional biofuel” (mostly ethanol) into gasoline – and also meet various “advanced biofuel” and biomass-based diesel requirements. However, too much ethanol in gasoline damages engines in older cars, generators, garden equipment and boats; that puts a limit on how much ethanol can actually go in the fuel supply (the “blend wall”). As a result, while ethanol blending continues to increase gradually, American motorists have never been able to consume enough ethanol to satisfy applicable Renewable Fuel Standards.

However, biofuel interests want the government to keep mandating even more ethanol – a desire that faces multiple problems. Gasoline demand is decreasing, as people drive less, in more fuel-efficient cars, and in electric and hybrid vehicles (that are heavily subsidized under other laws).

Tariff wars with China and other countries have hurt corn and sorghum farmers, who want to be “compensated” via more biofuel mandates under the Renewable Fuels Standard – even though beef, pork and poultry farmers get hurt by higher grain prices resulting from so much corn devoted to ethanol.

Declining fuel demand and the blend wall mean refiners cannot mix all the mandated 15 billion annual gallons of ethanol into gasoline. They are thus forced to over-comply with the “advanced biofuel” part of the RFS mandate by buying expensive foreign biodiesel and “renewable” diesel. Refiners that do not control the point where biofuel can be blended into gasoline (eg, large distribution terminals or local gas stations) must buy “credits” called Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) that show (or pretend to show)  the required (foreign) biofuels were mixed with the gasoline they make domestically.

This all gets really expensive, really fast, which is why the law allows exemptions to small refiners that  face “disproportionate economic hardship” from costs that have gotten so high that courts have ordered the EPA to grant more “small refinery exemptions” (SREs) – waivers from the RFS mandates.

However, biofuel has been blended into the fuel small refiners make anyway. This situation resulted in ample supplies of RFS compliance credits, and RIN prices have dropped from over 90 cents apiece to 12 or 20 cents over the past two years or even lower at times. Of course, this all angered the biofuel lobby, which has attacked the Administration for issuing SREs, falsely claiming the exemptions are   “destroying demand” for biofuel and “hurting American farmers.” 

They levied these attacks on EPA, despite the fact that the Trump Administration granted the biofuel industry its biggest request in 20 years: an air quality waiver that allows E15 to be sold year round. So some in the Administration have proposed to “reallocate lost biofuel gallons” the biofuel industry says were caused by SREs. But there’s nothing to reallocate, since ethanol is being blended despite the SREs.

The reallocation proposal thus has the practical effect of increasing the biofuel mandate by over 700 million gallons above the 15-billion-gallon statutory ceiling on ethanol. That brings us back to the fact that America is not producing enough advanced biofuels, biodiesel or renewable diesel. That means refiners have to buy more foreign supplies of these fuels, from Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, et cetera.

Of course, that does nothing to help American farmers. It just turns the Renewable Fuel Standard into a big foreign biofuel mandate. It also means President Trump is caught between trying to placate two of his core constituencies: farmers, primarily in the Midwest, and the oil and refining industry with all its jobs.

This is mind-numbingly complicated. But the bottom line is pretty simple: Every time Congress gets involved in trying to fix complex energy and economic problems – instead of letting free market industries and innovators sort things out – it creates a legislative, regulatory, legal and lobbying mess. Every attempted additional fix makes things worse. And trying to justify all the meddling, by claiming we’re running out of oil or face manmade climate cataclysms, just makes things worse.

We should end this crazy-quilt biofuel program. But anyone who thinks that will happen in Washington, DC or Des Moines, Iowa is smoking that stuff that’s now legal and widespread in Boulder, Colorado. But President Trump and his EPA should at least reduce – and certainly not increase – any biofuel quotas.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy and environmental policy.


Charles' Comments:

Crony-capitalism is a self-contradiction.  The correct term is mercantilism, the common practice of kings and the aristocracy who granted special business privileges and monopolies to friends and supporters since ancient times.  We still are governed by an aristocracy, though their titles have changed from king, baron, earl, and count to President, Senator, Representative, and about a million bureaucrat titles.  The aristocracy still believes that force makes right and they know the needs and what the aspirations should be of the serfs / deplorables better than they do.

Washington, DC is a swamp predominantly controlled by predatory special interests who feed on the vast majority of Americans.  When anyone threatens their control, a vast coalition of usually disparate groups arises to oppose that threat, though in normal times these groups behave more like hyenas fighting over a carcass -- the stolen fruits of production of the American people.  We see a great example of that in the effort to remove Trump from office by many denizens in the bowels of our thieving government even before he took the oath of office.

A recent study by researchers at the University of Minnesota, says that the production of a gallon of ethanol from corn takes anywhere from 5 to 2,138 gallons of water, depending on the irrigation needs of the area in the United States where the corn is grown.  As the amount of corn dedicated to ethanol production has grown, the amount of land dedicated to corn planting has increased.  That increase has required that land less and less suitable to corn production be used.  When ethanol production was doubled between 2005 and 2008, the amount of water used in ethanol from corn production more than tripled.  The proposal to make 15% ethanol in gasoline the requirement will cause a further increase in corn production for ethanol and still more water use.  In many areas of the U.S. water aquifers have been depleted at alarming rates as it is.  The huge Ogallala aquifer stretching from South Dakota to Texas is a particularly important and very stressed aquifer.

25 November 2019

No Plan B for Planet A by Paul Driessen

Replacing fossil fuels with “renewable” energy would devastate the only planet we’ve got

Environmentalists and Green New Deal [GND] proponents like to say we must take care of the Earth, because “There is no Planet B.” Above all, they insist, we must eliminate fossil fuels, which they say are causing climate change worse than the all-natural ice ages, Medieval Warm Period or anything else in history.

Their Plan A is simple: No fossil fuels. Keep them in the ground. More than a few Democrat presidential aspirants have said they would begin implementing that diktat their very first day in the White House.

Their Plan B is more complex: Replace fossil fuels with wind, solar, biofuel and battery power – their supposedly renewable, sustainable alternatives to oil, gas and coal. Apparently by waving a magic wand.

We don’t have a Planet B. And they don’t really have a Plan B. They just assume and expect that this monumental transformation will simply happen. Wind, solar, battery and biofuel technologies represent the natural evolution toward previously unimaginable energy sources – and they will become more efficient over time. Trust us, they say.

Ask them for details, and their responses range from evasive to delusional, disingenuous – and outrage that you would dare ask. The truth is, they don’t have a clue. They’ve never really thought about it. It’s never occurred to them that these technologies require raw materials that have to be dug out of the ground, which means mining, which they vigorously oppose (except by dictators in faraway countries).

They’re lawyers, lawmakers, enforcers. But most have never been in a mine, oilfield or factory, probably not even on a farm. They think dinner comes from a grocery store, electricity from a wall socket, and they can just pass laws requiring that the new energy materialize as needed. And it will happen Presto!

It’s similar to the way they handle climate change. Their models, reports and headlines bear little or no resemblance to the real world outside our windows – on temperatureshurricanestornadoes, sea levels, crops or polar bears. But the crisis is real, the science is settled, and anyone who disagrees is a denier.
So for the moment, Let’s not challenge their climate or fossil fuel ideologies. Let’s just ask: How exactly are you going to make this happen? How will you ensure that your Plan A won’t destroy our economy, jobs and living standards? And your Plan B won’t devastate the only planet we’ve got? I’ll say it again:

(1) Abundant, reliable, affordable, mostly fossil fuel energy is the lifeblood of our modern, prosperous, functioning, safe, healthy, fully employed America. Upend that, and you upend people’s lives, destroy their jobs, send their living standards on a downward spiral.

(2) Wind and sunshine may be renewable, sustainable and eco-friendly. But the lands, habitats, wildlife, wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, transmission lines, raw materials, mines and laborers required or impacted to harness this intermittent, weather-dependent energy to benefit humanity absolutely are not.

(3) The supposed cure they say we must adopt is far worse than the climate disease they claim we have.
Using wind power to replace the 3.9 billion megawatt-hours that Americans consumed in 2018, coal and gas-fired backup power plants, natural gas for home heating, coal and gas for factories, and gasoline for vehicles – while generating enough extra electricity every windy day to charge batteries for just seven straight windless days – would require some 14 million 1.8-MW wind turbines.

Those turbines would sprawl across three-fourths of the Lower 48 US states – and require 15 billion tons of steel, concrete and other raw materials. They would wipe out eagles, hawks, bats and other species.

Go offshore instead, and we’d need a couple million truly monstrous 10-MW turbines, standing in water 20-100 feet deep or on huge platforms in deeper water, up and down our Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Not as many of the beasts, but each one a lot bigger – requiring vastly more materials per turbine.

A Category 4 hurricane going up the Atlantic seaboard would wipe out a lot of them – leaving much of the country without power for months or years, until wrecks got removed and new turbines installed.

Using solar to generate just the 3.9 billion MWh would require completely blanketing an area the size of New Jersey with sunbeam-tracking Nellis Air Force Base panels – if the Sun were shining at high-noon summertime Arizona intensity 24/7/365. (That doesn’t include the extra power demands listed for wind.)

Solar uses toxic chemicals during manufacturing and in the panels: lead, cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide and many others. They could leach out into soils and waters during thunderstorms, hail storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and when panels are dismantled and hauled off to landfills or recycling centers. Recycling panels and wind turbines presents major challenges.

Using batteries to back up sufficient power to supply U.S. electricity needs for just seven straight windless days would require more than 1 billion half-ton Tesla-style batteries. That means still more raw materials, hazardous chemicals and toxic metals.

Bringing electricity from those facilities, and connecting a nationwide GND grid, would require thousands of miles of new transmission lines – onshore and underwater – and even more raw materials.

Providing those materials would result in the biggest expansion in mining the United States and world have ever seen: removing hundreds of billions of tons of overburden, and processing tens of billions of tons of ore – mostly using fossil fuels. Where we get those materials is also a major problem.

If we continue to ban mining under modern laws and regulations here in America, those materials will continue to be extracted in places like Inner Mongolia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, largely under Chinese control – under labor, wage, health, safety, environmental and reclamation standards that no Western nation tolerates today. There’ll be serious pollution, toxics, habitat losses and dead wildlife.

Even worse, just to mine cobalt for today’s cell phone, computer, Tesla and other battery requirements, over 40,000 Congolese children and their parents work at slave wages, risk cave-ins, and get covered constantly in toxic and radioactive mud , dust, water and air. Many die. The mine sites in Congo and Mongolia have become vast toxic wastelands. The ore processing facilities are just as horrific.

Meeting GND demands would multiply these horrors many times over. Will Green New Dealers require that all these metals and minerals be responsibly and sustainably sourced, at fair wages, with no child labor – as they do for T-shirts and coffee? Will they now permit exploration and mining in the USA?

Meeting basic ecological and human rights standards would send GND energy prices soaring. It would multiply cell phone, laptop, Tesla and GND costs five times over. But how long can Green New Dealers remain clueless and indifferent about these abuses?

Up to now, this has all been out of sight, out of mind, in someone else’s backyard, in some squalid far-off country, with other people and their kids doing the dirty, dangerous work of providing essential raw materials. That lets AOC, Senator Warren, Al Gore, Michael Mann, Greenpeace and other “climate crisis-renewable energy” profiteers preen about climate justice, sustainability and saving Planet Earth.

They refuse to discuss the bogus hockey stick temperature graph; the ways Mann & Co. manipulated and hid data, and deleted incriminating emails; their inability to separate human influences from the powerful natural forces that have caused climate changes throughout history; or the absurd notion that the 0.01% of Earth’s atmosphere that is carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use over the past 50 years is somehow responsible for every extreme weather event today. But they won’t be able to ignore this fraud forever.

Meanwhile, we sure are going to be discussing the massive resource demands, ecological harm and human rights abuses that the climate alarm industry would impose in the name of protecting the Earth and stabilizing its perpetually unstable climate. We won’t let them dodge those issues in 2020.


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

My Comments:

I cannot fathom the degree to which the proponents of catastrophic man-made global warming are willing to ignore the many and colossal failures of the predictions of their hypothesis and its clear violations of basic physics.  Ignoring reality is itself immoral, but in the name of their failed theory, they are overtly prepared to cause irreparable damage to the welfare of mankind and the welfare of the Earth's many other animals.

They want the power to pursue the GND or similar harmful policies so badly they are willing to absolutely contradict the motives they have often claimed make their environmental and economic policies moral.  The harm to humans will fall most heavily on those who have lower incomes.  They will be most likely to lose their jobs in the extraction, transportation, power, manufacturing, and construction industries.  The harm of the GND will cause an increase in economic inequality.

I do not believe that income equality is a moral goal, but I do believe that it is immoral for government to pursue policies that are particularly harmful to any of its citizens, most certainly including those with lower incomes.  Everyone deserves the exercise of their right to pursue the earning of a living.  Governments should not be constantly erecting barriers to the efforts of the people to be productive.

Those who are willing to ignore the reality of physics and the scientific method are also willing to ignore every rational moral principle.  We see that very clearly in the policies of those who insist upon using force justified by a demonstrated false hypothesis to do horrible damage to the people and other animals of this Earth.

16 November 2019

A Couple of Climate Change Nuggets

Mark Mills, Real Clear Energy, 8 November 2019:
...since 2007, American fracking technology has added 500 percent more energy to markets than have all of the planet’s wind and solar farms combined.
I cannot help but wonder why Americans have invested so much in fracking when so many are claiming that wind and solar generate power more inexpensively.  If consumers are buying those more expensive fracking industry energy products, are they doing it because they believe wind and solar power are immoral?  Are they being repelled by the socialism behind wind and solar power?  Or is it simply that wind and solar are really more expensive than fracking energy products and a great big socialist lie is being revealed?



Roger Pielke, Jr., Forbes, 31 October 2019:  
The data show that direct economic losses from weather and climate-related disasters have declined (based on a linear trend) over the past 30 years from slightly under 0.3% of global GDP to slightly under 0.2% of global GDP.
The catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis is in desperate need of showing an increase of weather and climate-related disasters of at least a few percent of worldwide GDP to even come close to justifying the draconian decreases in the many other aspects of our well-being that hydrocarbon fuels buttress.  Yet they cannot even demonstrate a couple tenths of a percent hit to global GDP over the last 30 years.  Just how gullible do these alarmist socialists think we are?  

Well they do call us the Deplorables and Denialists and many another nasty name, so it is pretty clear they do not respect us much.  I well remember, when I was but a child, realizing that those who do not respect me, are not worthy of my respect.

15 November 2019

Subsidies for Electric Vehicles and Wind and Solar Power

In today's Cooler Heads Digest from Myron Ebel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, comes this from the lead article by Ben Lieberman:


On electric vehicles (EVs), Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) of the House Ways and Means Committee is pushing to change the provisions that capped the $7,500 per vehicle tax credit once a manufacturer sold 200,000 such cars. H.R. 2256 proposes raising the cap to 600,000 vehicles but only slightly reducing the credit to $7,000. For Tesla, which has exceeded the 200,000 vehicle limit, and General Motors, which is nearing it, the extra 400,000 qualifying vehicles could generate $2.8 billion each for their EV purchasers, nearly half of which are wealthy Californians. Given that other automakers would have eventually reached and exceeded 200,000 in EV sales, the revised cap could be worth tens of billions of dollars in the years ahead. EVs are way past the point of the “infant industry” rationale for these tax credits, but that does not seem to matter. 
Also under discussion for eventual inclusion in a big energy tax package are additional years for solar and wind production tax credits promised by Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA). These tax credits had been made more generous by the 2015 bill in exchange for ending them once and for all. It is not yet known how many post-sunset years the latest extension will provide. 
One fringe benefit of the debate is that it provides a brief respite from the drumbeat of claims that wind and solar have plummeted in cost and are now cheaper than conventional electricity. If true, there would be no need for yet another extension of favored tax treatment for them.

So even after all these years, electric vehicles are not ready for prime-time consumers and even wealthy Californians have to be bribed by the government to buy them.  Seems to me, I have heard Democrats complaining a lot about their conjurings of a bribe in one context, yet they are constantly bribing Americans to do their bidding.  A bribe to the advantage of socialism is no bribe, just as a lie to the advantage of socialism is the truth.  You just have to understand their reality-free context.

That last quoted paragraph is a humdinger.  Apparently, the propaganda breaks down a bit when it comes time to claim a subsidy for investments that make no sense in the free market.

10 November 2019

Comments on Random Subjects

Iran spends about $1 billion a year to fund terrorism, making it the number 1 funding source for terrorists.

In October, there were only 3% of Americans who did not have a job and wanted a job.  This is the lowest percentage since this statistic has been determined starting in 1994.

PG&E has cut off power in large areas of California due to high winds and claims that the damage of falling trees and limbs to their power lines and equipment can start fires.  A good part of this problem is because PG&E has put so much money into other tasks dictated by the socialist government of California instead of removing trees from the vicinity of their power lines and updating their essential distribution equipment.

Wind and solar power account for about 17.9% of all electric power generation in California now. Wind generators, which operate in the wind speed range from 6 or 7 mph to about 55 mph.  A wind speed of about 30 mph is usually the optimum power generation wind speed.  The high winds that are driving the California wildfires are also causing shut-downs of wind generators or causing them to operate at higher than optimum power generation speeds.  This may well be causing the wind generator portion of the California electricity supply to be under-performing.  To be sure, under-performing wind generation is a common problem with this intermittent, unreliable power source.


Comments on Medicare-for-All

Elizabeth Warren's plan to nationalize the health care system in the USA has a price tag of $52 trillion according to her no-doubt reliable cost accounting.  She has claimed repeatedly that billionaires will pay all the taxes to pay for it.  The middle class will pay nothing, so she says.

The total wealth of American billionaires is estimated to be about $2.4 trillion.  If every last penny of that wealth were confiscated by Warren's socialist government, the tax on the billionaires would cover about 4.6% of cost of the first 10 years of her Medicare-for-All program.  Now, mind you, who is then going to pay that same 4.6% of more of the next 10 year period of her Medicare-for-All?  When those American billionaires sell off all their assets to pay their confiscatory taxes, will those who buy up the assets manage them as well and generate as many jobs and as much GDP growth?

Other portions of the costs are to be paid by having the states transfer their Medicaid payments to the federal government.  Companies will have to turn over what they are paying into employee health plans to the federal government.  Companies will lose the ability to tune their health insurance costs to their industry, location, and profitability.  Many more companies will fail without this flexibility, causing a loss of jobs and a loss of GDP growth.  Still, these sums will fall far short of providing the $52 trillion costs of Warren's plan.  Who do you think is going to make up the huge difference?

Both Warren and Sanders plans will shut down the private health insurance markets.  This means they will put 2 million Americans in that industry out of work.  Do either of their plans cost estimates include putting these 2 million Americans on unemployment insurance payouts and other welfare programs?  When 2 million Americans lose their jobs, how many will become alcoholics or other drug users?  How many will commit suicide in their despair and depression?  Have we learned nothing from the human disaster that occurred in part as Obama acted to destroy the coal mining industry and the jobs of those who transported coal, burned coal in power plants, and ran the retail and services industries of the towns that depended upon coal production?

Medicare-for-all will result in lower quality medical care for everyone.  Innovation, medical care giver training and intelligence, equipment, and facilities will all deteriorate more and more over time.  Bureaucrats will be in charge of deciding who will live and who will die.  And every American will lose the sole ownership of their minds and bodies.  When someone else gets to dictate how you will act to maintain your own mind and body, then you have lost your most critical property right.  You are no longer sovereign.  You are a slave.

What Do Americans Know about Science and Technology?

The National Science Foundation makes a semi-annual survey of what Americans know about science and technology.  The 2018 assessment gives the results of surveys made in 2016 and shows that when given statements to be answered true or false:

  • 52% agreed that humans evolved from other species of animals, though 72% agreed that the altered statement that the theory of evolution held that humans evolved from other species of animals was true.  Apparently, 20% preferred their religious beliefs.
  • 39% agreed that the universe began with a big explosion.  When that statement was altered to say that astronomers believe the universe began with a big explosion, 60% agreed that astronomers did believe that.  The 21% difference here is again mostly a preference for a religious belief.
  • 48% agreed that electrons are smaller than atoms.
  • 45% disagreed that lasers work by focusing sound waves.
  • 51% disagreed that antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria.
So about one out of five Americans disagrees with science when it comes in conflict with their religious belief on the questions of the origins of human life and of the universe.

If you randomly guess on a true or false question, you should be right 50% of the time.  Now consider the statement "Electrons are smaller than atoms."  Surely a few percent of Americans actually know the answer to that true/false question.  If only 48% of Americans answered the question correctly, then those who did not know the answer had an actual preference for the belief that atoms are smaller than electrons.  Where did they get that preference?  One is driven to make similar observations about how lasers work and what antibiotics kill.

Given that Americans know so little about science and some choose to disregard it, is it any wonder at all that they are easily frightened into believing that government must act as their savior because of myriad scary alarms that the media, injury lawyers, environmentalists, so-called green energy enthusiasts, and catastrophic man-made global fryers special interest groups conjure up?

Because governments are always seeking more powers and more control over their populace, is it any wonder that government schools do such a poor job in educating Americans in science and technology?  To be sure, government schools do an awful job in educating Americans in history and economics also.  Mathematics and writing skills are also poorly taught.

About the only issue that government schools are thorough in teaching is that the people are incapable of choosing their own values and managing their own lives and must turn to government to care for them.  That is such a self-defeating and depressing claim that it causes no end of harm to the American people.


01 November 2019

Climategate: Ten years later by Dr. Kelvin Kemm

Climate alarmists are still promoting junk science, fossil fuel bans and wealth redistribution
This month marks the tenth anniversary of “Climategate” – the release of thousands of emails to and from climate scientists who had been (and still are) collaborating and colluding to create a manmade climate crisis that exists in their minds and computer models, but not in the real world. The scandal should have ended climate catastrophism. Instead, it was studiously buried by politicians, scientists, activists and crony capitalists, who will rake in trillions of dollars from the exaggerations and fakery, while exempting themselves from the damage they are inflicting on everyday families.
Few people know the Inconvenient Facts about the supposed manmade climate and extreme weather “crisis.” For example, since 1998, average global temperatures have risen by a mere few hundredths of a degree. (For a time, they even declined slightly.) Yet all we hear is baseless rhetoric about manmade carbon dioxide causing global warming and climate changes that pose existential threats to humanity, wildlife and planet. Based on this, we are told we must stop using fossil fuels to power economic growth and better living standards. This is bad news for Africa and the world.
We keep hearing that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels cause rising global temperatures. But satellite data show no such thing. In fact, computer model predictions for 2019 are almost a half degree Celsius (0.9 degrees F) above actual satellite measurements. Even worse, anytime a scientist raises questions about the alleged crisis, he or she is denounced as a “climate change denier.”
A major source of data supporting the human CO2- induced warming proposition came from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.
Then on the morning of 17 November 2009 a Pandora’s box of embarrassing CRU information exploded onto the world scene. A computer hacker penetrated the university’s computer system and took 61 Megs of material that showed the CRU had been manipulating scientific information to make global warming appear to be the fault of mankind and industrial CO2. Among many other scandals, the shocking leaked emails showed then-CRU-director Prof. Phil Jones boasting of using statistical “tricks” to remove evidence of observed declines in global temperatures.
In another email, he advocated deleting data rather than providing it to scientists who did not share his view and might criticize his analyses. Non-alarmist scientists had to invoke British freedom of information laws to get the information. Jones was later suspended, and former British Chancellor Lord Lawson called for a Government enquiry into the embarrassing exposé.
The affair became known as “Climategate,” and a group of American University students even posted a YouTube song, “Hide the Decline,” mocking the CRU and climate modeler Dr. Michael Mann, whose use of the phrase “hide the decline” in temperatures had been found in the hacked emails.
So what is the truth? If one considers the composition of the atmosphere and equates it to the height of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the extra plant-fertilizing CO2 added to the atmosphere since California became the 31st state of the United States in 1850 is less than the thickness of tiles under the Tower.
Can this tiny increase really explain any observed global warming since the Little Ice Age ended, and the modern industrial era began? Since California became a state, the measured global rise in atmospheric temperature has been less than 10C. But most of this increase occurred prior to 1940, and average planetary temperatures fell from around 1943 until about 1978, leading to a global cooling scare. Temperatures rose slightly until 1998, then mostly remained stable, even as carbon dioxide levels continued to rise. Rising CO2 levels and temperature variations do not correlate very well at all.  
Moreover, during the well-documented Medieval Warm Period from about 950 to 1350, warmer global temperatures allowed Viking farmers to raise crops and tend cattle in Greenland. The equally well documented 500-year Little Ice Age starved and froze the Vikings out of Greenland, before reaching its coldest point, the Maunder Minimum, 1645-1715. That’s when England’s River Thames regularly froze over, Norwegian farmers demanded compensation for lands buried by advancing glaciers, and priests performed exorcism rituals to keep alpine glaciers away from villages. Paintings from the era show crowds of people ice skating and driving horse-drawn carriages on the Thames.
Industry and automobile emissions obviously played no role in either the MWP or the LIA.
These dramatic events should ring warning bells for any competent, honest scientist. If the Medieval Warm Period occurred without industrial CO2 driving it, why should industrial CO2 be causing any observed warming today? Europe’s great plague wiped out nearly a quarter of its population during the Little Ice Age. The warm period brought prosperity and record crops, while cold years brought misery, famine and death.
Ten years before Climategate, Dr. Mann released a computer-generated graph purporting to show global temperatures over the previous 1500 years. His graph mysteriously made the Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age and Maunder extreme cold years disappear – and planetary temperatures spike suddenly the last couple decades of twentieth century. The graph had the shape of a hockey stick, was published worldwide and became a centerpiece for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Many scientists were highly suspicious of the hockey stick claims. Two of them, Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, completely discredited Mann’s computer program and revisionist history. Of course, that did not stop former US vice president Al Gore from using the discredited graph in his doom and gloom climate change movie, An Inconvenient Truth.
The hacked CRU emails also showed exchanges between Mann and Jones, in which they discussed how to intimidate editors who wanted to publish scientific views contrary to theirs, to suppress any contradictory studies. In one email, Jones expressed his desire to get rid of the “troublesome editor” of the Climate Research journal for daring to publish differing views. The editor got sacked.
When University of Colorado climate skeptic Professor Roger Pielke, Jr. asked the CRU for its original temperature readings, he was told the data had been (conveniently) lost. Lost!?! Do professionals lose something as valuable as original data? Many suspected they just didn’t want anyone to expose their clever manipulations and fabrications.
But if industrial carbon dioxide did not cause recent global warming, what did? A Danish research group, led by Prof. Henrik Svensmark, has found a very credible match between levels of sunspot activity (giant magnetic storms) on our Sun and global temperatures over the last fifteen hundred years. This all-natural mechanism actually fits the evidence! How terribly inconvenient for alarmists.
Cosmic rays from deep space constantly impinge on the Earth’s upper atmosphere and produce clouds, much like high-flying jets leave white contrails behind their engines. More clouds can trap heat, but they also cause global cooling because not as much sunlight strikes the Earth. More sunspots mean a stronger magnetic shield, therefore fewer cosmic rays reaching Earth, thus less cloud cover and more global warming. The Sun is currently in a near-record period of low sunspot activity.
All sorts of interest groups are suppressing this information. Maybe worse, when Climategate broke, “climate justice” campaigner for Friends of the Earth Emma Brindal said bluntly: “A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources.” Not protecting Earth from manmade CO2 emissions or natural and manmade climate change – but redistributing wealth and resources, according to formulas that self-appointed ruling elites decide is “socially just.”
Climate campaigners also oppose “excessive” air travel for business or pleasure, 4x4 vehicles as “unnecessary luxuries,” and modern homes for Africans. Some even say Africans must continue living in mud huts and avoid the use of electricity and modern farming technologies. Minor US actor Ed Begley has said “Africans should have solar power where they need it most: on their huts.” They, Al Gore, Phil Jones and Mike Mann are exempted from these restrictions, of course.
Real social justice and human rights mean everyone has access to abundant, reliable, affordable energy, especially universally important electricity. Not from expensive, intermittent, weather-dependent wind turbines and solar panels. From fossil fuel, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants.
We in the developing world will no longer let climate truth be suppressed. We will not allow loud, radical activists to put the brakes on African economic development, jobs, and improved health and living standards, in the name of advancing their anti-human, wealth redistribution agendas.

Dr. Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and CEO of Nuclear Africa (Pty) Ltd, a project management company based in Pretoria, South Africa. He does consultancy work in strategic development.

17 October 2019

My Tax Rate as an Individual and as an Employer

Bernie Sanders is proposing raising the highest bracket of the federal income tax from 37% to 52%.  This caused me to think once again about the taxes I pay.

I pay all of the usual personal taxes such as federal income tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, Maryland income tax, real estate taxes on my home, and the Maryland state sales tax.  In addition, I am a small business owner.  As a small business owner, I pay the following taxes:

Social Security (half for each employee)
Medicare (half for each employee)
Federal Unemployment
Maryland Unemployment
S Corporation Tax
Workman's Compensation Insurance (required by state)
Real Estate Property Tax
Personal Property Tax (laboratory equipment, supplies, computers, furniture, etc.)
Sales Tax

The sales taxes are too onerous to calculate, so I am going to leave those out of my calculation of the tax burden I carry as an individual and as an employer.  I did this calculation for the year 2018.

Leaving sales taxes out of the calculation for both the company and at home, the other taxes I paid equal 99.0% of my income.  Taking into account the sales taxes, that percentage goes well beyond 100%.

Now most of you are likely to argue that many of the taxes I paid are just a cost of doing business and it is not as though the various governments ganged up on me and took every penny I earned and more and left me to actually starve in the streets.  But it is true that if these governments did not tax me, my personal income could have been about 60% more than what it was.  Viewed from this perspective, I was likely only able to control the spending of about 35% of the income I could have had were it not for the many government taxes I pay both as an individual and as a small business owner.  I am one hell of a taxpayer.

Is it any wonder in the modern era that so few people choose to be employers and so many prefer to be employees.  This does not even consider the many risks involved in being an employer and a business owner.  It does not include the paperwork burdens.  It does not include the weight of the responsibility for your employees' welfare.  It does not include the cost of complying with the many regulations imposed by governments, many of which have little regard for a cost-benefit ratio that is rational.

Reducing the costs and the many other burdens that governments put on employers has a truly dramatic effect on encouraging entrepreneurs, who are under extremely heavy burdens at present.  The entrepreneurial spirit in America is being squelched.  Let it flourish and the growth rate in our economy will skyrocket.  Even small improvements in the growth rate have a tremendous impact on compounding the growth of the economy over the 40 year period that most people have yet to live.

Think about this when the Democrat Socialist Party politicians propose more taxes to partially cover the expenses of their many proposed new welfare programs.  Not only are they not going to allow entrepreneurship to grow the economy more, but they are actually determined to further squelch it, to smother it, to brutally murder it.  They simply view employers as the enemy, which is exactly what is to be expected of socialists.

More and more employers will go on strike -- they will shrug their shoulders and let all of these heavy burdens crash to the ground.  Atlas will shrug.  The many American employees will have far fewer jobs with far fewer people willing to bear the many burdens of being an employer.  The number of employers has fallen dramatically over our history as governments have grown.  This is not the only reason for this, but it has been an important reason for it.

12 October 2019

Executive Branch Corruption Prevention vs. Foreign Contributions of Value

The President of the United States of America is constitutionally tasked with enforcing the laws of the nation within its constitutionally delimited powers.  That enforcement function implies that he must not allow corruption within the Executive Branch.  It is his duty to root it out, reveal it, and prosecute it.

During the Obama presidency, his administration had numerous incidences that appeared to be examples of severe corruption and which he ought to have seriously investigated.  However, it is highly plausible that Obama was actually involved in some or all of these instances of very plausible corruption.  None of these corruption instances were properly investigated.  It is not unusual for an administration to fail to investigate instances of corruption for fear of embarrassment or for fear that they will lose votes in the next election because they were caught in their planned corruption.  This is especially true of the Democrat Party, whose corruption is commonly so pervasive that they cannot even be embarrassed by the fact of it and are only ever embarrassed by the ineptness that caused them to be overtly caught engaging in it.

Now let me give you a few of the very plausibly corrupt actions that occurred by politicians under the Obama administration:

  • Lois Lerner and the IRS holding up more than a hundred Tea Party, Constitutional Government, and Patriot tax-exempt status requests which kept many of them from expounding policy arguments that the Democrat Socialist Party did not want Americans to hear before the 2012 election.
  • The Uranium One, whose controlling ownership was Russian, but also partly Canadian, deal to buy American uranium which required the approval of several Obama agencies, including the State Department, then headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Prior to these approvals and during the approval process, huge donations were made to the Clinton Foundation by Uranium One officers and Bill Clinton was offered $500,000 to give a speech in Moscow at a meeting that recommended investments in Uranium One.
  • Hillary Clinton stole more than 60,000 e-mails from the U.S. government while Secretary of State, routing them through an insecure server in the basement of one of her homes.  When these were demanded back, she destroyed about half of them, claiming they were only personal notes.  Even among those that were returned, numerous instances of information requiring secure handling were found.  The hard drive and other storage media for the e-mails had been destroyed, in violation of the legal requirement that the e-mails be returned to the government and for a proper investigation into security violations.  After Clinton had the e-mails destroyed she and the media pretended that Trump had called upon the Russians to steal these already destroyed e-mails.  This is the Democrat Socialist Party way to turn a violation of the law to advantage.  This invitation to steal narrative became part of the myth of Russian collusion by Trump.
  • A deal was made by the Obama Attorney General Lynch with Bill Clinton on the tarmac of an airport not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her theft of the State Department e-mails and for any security violations.
  • Violations of the FISA court requirements occurred at least four times in requests made by the Obama FBI and intelligence agencies for FISA warrants to spy upon the Trump presidential campaign.  This violation of law is at least as serious as the Watergate burglary that ended the Nixon presidency.  Numerous high-level Obama officials were involved in the Spygate scandal and were collaborating with the intelligence agencies and other persons in the United Kingdom, Russia, Australia, Ukraine and Italy.
  • Vice President Joe Biden using his special envoy assignments with Ukraine and Red China to win sweetheart deals for relatives who had nothing to offer in exchange for large sums of money except the fact that they were related to Joe Biden.
Since Obama did not root out, reveal, and prosecute these likely cases of corruption under his administration, it is the very proper job that the following President do so.  Indeed, the following President would be slacking his responsibilities if he did not do so.

Ah, but note that in several of these cases there are actors from other countries.  During the 2016 election, had Trump actually received any useful information from the Russians on e-mails they may very well have stolen from Clinton's insecure home server, the Democrats would have said he had received something of value from a foreign country in violation of campaign finance laws!  This is a Get out of jail free card for a corrupt politician.  The same would have been true if Trump had received damning evidence against Clinton from a Canadian or a Russian source connected with Uranium One.

Now, the claim is being made that because Joe Biden is running for President, any evidence of his corrupt activities in Ukraine and China obtained by the Trump administration is something of value received from a foreign country in violation of campaign finance law.  So all a corrupt politician needs to do to be forever protected from investigations of his crimes is to be sure that the witnesses of his crimes are all foreigners and that he continue his political career without end so he can never be investigated and prosecuted.  What an incredible trick and the Democrat Socialist Party appears to have discovered its utility.  Corruption safe and forever.  Rather like Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton staying married forever, so neither can ever be forced to testify to the crimes of the other.  The abuse of power through foreign corruption and a political career are a marriage made in heaven, apparently.

As always, context is extremely critical in rational thinking.  One can understand how the campaign finance laws came to be and their intent.  One can understand how those who wrote the laws may not have anticipated the way the Democrats are currently trying to use these laws to prevent the proof of corruption of some of their leading politicians.  The rational man must understand that any valid intent of the campaign finance laws was to prevent corruption, not to enable it.  

The rational man understands that no campaign finance law can stand in the way of a President's core constitutional functions to execute the laws with proper respect for the individual rights of every citizen and that must mean to do so without corruption.  A President must be free to root out, reveal, and prosecute corruption in the Executive Branch of the government.  And we must note that both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden may have been guilty of corruption as officials of the Obama administration.  That very plausible possibility needs to be seriously investigated and to do so requires that foreign actors be able to deliver information about their deeds to the present administration headed by President Trump.

25 September 2019

It is not Science, It is Politics at the UN IPCC


This is the UN IPCC web page for a report entitled

IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

The text under the image says:

The chapters posted are the Final Government Draft versions. They are subject to correction, copy-editing, layout and “trickleback” adjustments to the text of the full report to ensure consistency with the approved Summary for Policymakers
Take note that "adjustments to the text of the full report to ensure consistency with the approved Summary for Policymakers" means adjustments to the science will be made as necessary to support the political aims of the Policymakers, that is the politicians.  Yes, science is but the handmaiden to those who want still more power to micromanage our lives.  It is ever so important for the elitists who run our governments to dictate to the Deplorables who are over-populating the world and offending the elitists with their efforts to improve their standard of living, sometimes without the permission of the government elitists.