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

17 January 2022

Bringing Britain's Energy Woes to America?

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

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

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

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

15 January 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 January 2022

Remote Learning By Ethnic Classification

The New York Times reports that: 

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

There are numerous factors behind this.  Among them are: 

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

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

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

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

Does Nitrogen Dioxide Cause Asthma in Children?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Mercury from coal-fired power plants, see:

Evaluating the Mercury Emissions Danger from Coal-Fired Power Plants