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

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

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

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

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

24 February 2019

The Washington Post Questions the Climate Change Expertise of Prof. William Happer

That great organ of the Democrat Socialists, the Washington Post, was in a huff in a front page top of the fold story about a new national security panel being formed to consider the possible threats of climate change.  The Washington Post article by Juliet Eilperin and Missy Ryan on Thursday, 21 February 2019, did its utmost to belittle the purpose of the panel and, in particular, to belittle the head of the panel, William Happer, Professor Emeritus of Princeton University.  The article over and over claimed that the question of catastrophic climate change was settled by the UN and by a number of government reports issued under Obama or by the political establishment (The Deep State) even since Trump became President.

Climate Change can certainly have national security implications.  The African people who lived around the Great Lake Chad which is now the Sahara Desert are testimony to that.  The droughts that so greatly affected both the Anasazi and the Mayan peoples were a national security issue of great magnitude for them.  The change to a much colder climate was a security problem for the Vikings who settled in Greenland when substantial parts of Greenland were green.  None of these problems were caused by man's use of fossil fuels for energy, however.  Today, the Democrat Socialists and the Washington Post want us all to believe that there is an equivalency between climate change and global warming caused by man's carbon dioxide emissions.  They complain that Trump is encouraging increased production of hydrocarbon fuels.

I have pointed out over and over the many errors in the physics upon which the catastrophic man-made global warming advocates have based their claims of drastic warming due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Will Happer has also been a critic of their bad physics and among other issues, he has pointed out one of the ways they exaggerate the effect of carbon dioxide is by ignoring changes in its absorption spectrum as the atmospheric pressure decreases at higher altitudes.  Even though he thinks they exaggerate the temperature increase due to carbon dioxide, he thinks that increase is greater than I do.  However, he also recognizes that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide has several good effects, such as increased plant health and a sight warming effect.

The National Security Council has issued a discussion paper on a federal advisory committee
"to advise the President on scientific understanding of today's climate, how the climate might change in the future under natural and human influences, and how a changing climate could affect the security of the United States."
The document notes that reports issued since Trump became President have stated that climate change is a serious threat.
"However these scientific and national security judgments have not undergone a rigorous independent and adversarial scientific peer review to examine the certainties and uncertainties of climate science, as well as implications for national security."
These statements by the NSC document are absolutely correct, but they frighten the Democrat Socialists and the Deep State.

Hilariously, the Washington Post expects us to take seriously the claim by Francesco Femia, CEO of the Council on Strategic Risks and co-founder of the Center for Climate and Security when he claims
"This is the equivalent of setting up a committee on nuclear-weapons proliferation and having someone lead it who doesn't think nuclear weapons exist."
Nonsense!  Will Happer knows that climate change exists.  But unlike the alarmist advocates of catastrophic man-made global warming, he does not see an equivalency between man's carbon dioxide emissions and catastrophic global warming or climate change.  Over and over, the alarmists try to imply an unproven and an actually clearly wrong equivalency.

Keeping with the hilarity:  The Washington Post article says that Will Happer is unqualified because he
"is not formally trained as a climate scientist.  He developed a national reputation for his work on laser technology used in missile defense and on the interactions between light and atoms."
Now on the one hand the Washington Post believes that there is an equivalency between increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and catastrophic climate change, but on the other hand it does not recognize that the physical mechanism by which this is claimed to happen is due to the interaction of light (the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum) and atoms (those of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane primarily).  The laser technology of his expertise includes those that emit infrared radiation and addresses the propagation of that radiation through the atmosphere with its losses due to absorption by molecules in the air.  Prof. Will Happer is exactly the kind of expert most qualified to address the basic physics behind the claims of the physics-ignorant formally trained climate scientists.

The Washington Post is very certain that Will Happer and all other critics of catastrophic man-made carbon dioxide emissions climate change are either idiots or they are bought by the hydrocarbon industries.  They point out that Will Happer once was paid between $10,000 and $15,000 by Peabody Coal to testify before a Minnesota Public Utilities Commission hearing.  I have been accused of taking money from the hydrocarbon industries for the same reason, despite the fact that I have been paid several times as much by so-called green or renewable energy companies as by the hydrocarbon industries.  Of course, the many people in environmental groups and who work for so-called green energy companies are never doubted about their testimony when they act in favor for their much greater dependence on the catastrophic man-made global warming crisis for their livelihoods.

Consider the certainty expressed by the Washington Post in this article and many others over the years that man's carbon dioxide emissions are causing and will cause catastrophic problems for mankind and the animal kingdom.  If they really do not know that the interaction of light, specifically infrared light, and atmospheric molecules is at the heart of the physics of catastrophic man-made climate change, how can they justify any certainty about those claims?  Are they just buffoons?  Or is this more a matter of fraud than buffoonery?  Did they phrase the last quote above with great care because they believe their readers are too ignorant themselves to understand how nonsensical their claim is that Will Happer is unqualified to head up the new advisory panel because he is only a physicist and not a formally trained climate scientist?  Are they buffoons or are they scam artists?  Or are they both buffoons and scam artists?

20 February 2019

The Institute for Justice Wins an Important Case Against Excessive Fines at the Supreme Court

As a supporter and contributor to the Institute for Justice, I received the e-mail I am copying below today.  This is another of many good reasons to support the Institute for Justice, which also acts to protect us from improper eminent domain seizures, some ridiculous water protection EPA regulatory activities, licensing requirements that are really intended to favor those who already have licenses to practice their profession, and very importantly to allow us more school choice.

In a unanimous 9–0 decision released this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with IJ and Tyson Timbs and ruled that the Eighth Amendment’s protection against excessive fines applies to every level of government. Writing for the majority, Justice Ginsburg states that “[p]rotection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history for good reason: Such fines undermine other liberties. … They can also be employed, not in service of penal purposes, but as a source of revenue.”
IJ brought this vital constitutional question before the Court last November in the context of civil forfeiture, which perfectly illustrates the majority opinion’s point. In allowing state and local governments to seize and keep cash, cars, homes, and other property—often without ever convicting owners of any wrongdoing—forfeiture laws give law enforcement a powerful incentive to police for profit.
This decision will provide every single American, including those who fall victim to forfeiture abuse, with robust constitutional protection against excessive fines imposed by state and local governments. Moreover, today’s opinion gives IJ ammunition to take on other abusive fines and fees schemes throughout the nation. We also plan on making Timbs the first in a series of cases the Court takes on to fundamentally reassess the constitutionality of civil forfeiture laws.
Thank you for making these historic accomplishments for liberty possible.
Scott G. Bullock
President and General Counsel
Institute for Justice

06 February 2019

The Parable of the Coat-Giving Father

The Democratic Party answered the State of the Union speech with a view from another world.  In Stacey Abrams' world, Americans were in good shape financially under Obama, but are now living in a deep depression.  On behalf of the Democratic Party, she made a plea that we all work together to take care of one another as we once did when we brought an end to Jim Crow laws.  In this vein, she demanded that we terminate the use of fossil fuels to prevent the end of the world by global warming and that we use the force of government to end all discrimination against LGBTQ persons.

Oops, the main opposition to Jim Crow was always the Republican Party!  Oh well, hardly anyone knows anything at all about history anymore.  The Democratic Party controlled education system has seen to that.

Oops, there is mounting evidence that the Earth is cooling, particularly in the thermosphere, and will continue cooling for the next few decades due to a great reduction in solar activity.  Additions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere does virtually nothing to change the temperature of the Earth's surface or troposphere.  Ending the use of fossil fuels will only make energy more expensive and less dependable, hurting those with lower incomes the most.  The Democratic Party is all in for hurting people with higher energy costs.

Oops, the Democrat Obama administration fought hard to maintain Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the courts against veterans backed by the Log Cabin Republicans.  The Obama administration lost the court case at the Appeals Court level and their next defense of DADT would have been before the Supreme Court.  They gave up the case because it looked like they would lose again in the Supreme Court and at about that time polls showed that Americans did not support DADT and were supporting gay marriages.  The Democrats are hardly winter soldiers on matters of principle, despite their pretensions.

In emotional support for her take care of one another thesis, she offered the parable of her Father Giving Away His Coat to a man on the highway on a cold and rainy night.  He was walking home from work and came upon a man cold and shivering who had no coat.  He gave the man his coat because he knew that he was not alone -- his family would come to get him.

Is this freedom to choose your own values and to act on those values what the Democratic Party stands for?  What that party stands for is actually this story:

A man on the highway is alone, cold, and shivering.  A government strongman in body armor and armed with a semi-automatic weapon is patrolling the highway and notes the condition of the cold, shivering man without a coat.  He waits for another man to come along who has a coat.  He confronts that man and points his weapon at the man and demands that he give his coat to the cold, shivering man.  He then demands the now coatless man's wallet and takes 40% of the money in the wallet.  He takes a quarter of that and puts it in his own wallet.  He turns over a half of what he originally took to his department claiming, without any need for evidence, that it was taken because the man who had it was engaged in crime (the Father did often hitchhike).  What happens to the other quarter?  The Democrats in control of the government give it to Solyndra or some other scheme by rich and connected people to take advantage to the American people.  This is the actual pattern of Democratic Party controlled governments.  See New York state, California, Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey, Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore, Chicago and many, many other examples.

This is the party of Jim Crow laws, so it is capable of doing terrible harm to many Americans, always justified by the claim that you have to harm some people to help the greater number or the most needy.  There is no surer path to power than that paved by the claim that you will use the power of government to help most of the people, while ignoring the fact that most people are far better at choosing their own values and managing their own lives than are government legislators and bureaucrats who do not know us as individuals and do not even care to do so.  After all, they see most of us as Deplorables, which is natural given that they really do believe that most of us have no business choosing our own values and managing our own lives in accordance with our own values.

Stacey Abrams would not allow her own Father to choose his own values and manage his life in accordance with his values,  She is blind to how important that very likely was to him.  I am not endorsing self-sacrifice, but men need to be free to choose their own values.  There is no freedom if we are not free to do so and, if having done so, to be free we must be free to act in pursuit of our own values.

It was refreshing to hear Trump endorse freedom and clearly condemn socialism.  Unfortunately, his advocacy of a law to require paternity leave is inconsistent with freedom.