“Our practical choice is not between a tax-cut deficit and budgetary surplus. It is between two kinds of deficits: a chronic deficit of inertia, as the unwanted result of inadequate revenues and a restricted economy; or a temporary deficit of transition, resulting from a tax cut designed to boost the economy, increase tax revenues, and achieve . . . a budget surplus.” John F. Kennedy


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Dec 29 2009

Heavenly Deception, Part 1

by J. Paul Day

In the 1970s, at about the time of imminent global cooling, the Unification Church was prominent. Commonly called the Moonies after their leader Rev. Moon, they became known for, among other things, the doctrine of “Heavenly Deception”; that deception is justified if there is a righteous goal. Obviously the old “end justifies the means” dressed up in fancy new clothes.

Although out of favor as a stated belief, the practice is alive and well in at least one religious group, the congregation of Global Warming Believers. Let me illustrate with two examples.

In June of 1988, the U. S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a landmark hearing on global warming, at which Dr. James Hansen declared a global warming emergency. Many are aware of this testimony, if only because the Senate last year celebrated the 20th anniversary of that event with more testimony from Dr. Hansen. Few, however, know the role that stagecraft played in making that hearing all it could be.

According to then-Sen. Timothy Wirth, a member of the committee, they (members of the committee) called the weather service and determined the likely hottest day of June and scheduled the hearing for that day. They then went into the hearing room the night before, disabled the air conditioner and opened all the windows so that when the hearing time arrived, the room “was really hot”. Hansen, in front of cameras and hot lights in an already hot room, wiped the sweat from his face and testified that the earth was warming and that it was the result of human actions. The rest is history.

The stage was manipulated to create the impression of excessive and unusually high temperatures that were the result of human-caused global warming.

The next instance is regarding the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), which has been accepted historical fact for centuries. During the MWP the Vikings settled Greenland; wetlands in Europe dried up, thus eliminating breeding grounds for malaria-bearing mosquitoes; crop yields increased; and the population flourished. The MWP was an embarrassment to the global warming believers because it contradicted the rhetoric about the abnormally warm temperatures of the 20th century.

David Deming related the story that a “major person working in the area of global warming and climate change,” thinking Deming a believer, sent him an e-mail with the statement, “We must get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.” And so they did.

Dr. Michael Mann published what has come to be known as the hockey stick graph. The graph represented the temperature over the past approximately 1,000 years as almost flat except for an abrupt and dramatic rise during the 20th century, similar to the shape of a hockey stick. Mann concluded that “the latter 20th century is anomalous in the context of at least the past millennium”. The hockey stick graph played an important role in “An Inconvenient Truth” and in convincing an unknowing public that this current period was starkly different from any other period for at least the past 1,000 years.

Unfortunately for Dr. Mann, a couple of Canadian scientists analyzed the data and found that the Mann paper “contains collation errors, unjustifiable truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect calculation of principal components, and other quality control defects.” In fact, one analyst found that random data fed into the Mann analysis would yield a similar hockey stick shape. Clearly the hockey stick graph was a fabrication. In spite of global warming believers’ efforts, the medieval warm period is real, it was warmer than present, and the temperature rise in the 20th century is not nearly as dramatic as they would have us believe.

These are just two of many documented cases of ‘Heavenly Deception’ related to the promotion of the religion of global warming. More in the next installment.

These two cases are substantially abstracted, respectively, from:
“Stagecraft” by Chris Horner
and “GlobalWarming, the Politicization of Science, and Michael Crichton’s State of Fear” by David Deming

Dec 28 2009

Politicians and Hypocrisy

C.M. Phippen

The news is out – some politicians are considered hypocrites by their fellow politicians.

Many Democrat senators are claiming that a number of Republican senators are behaving hypocritically by opposing the current health care legislation. The argument is that because a Republican Congress and Republican President passed a bad piece of legislation that would give additional drug benefits to America’s seniors, then these same politicians are being hypocritical if they don’t support the current health care bills.

The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, passed in 2003, will cost American taxpayers between $500 billion and $1 trillion (depending on whom you believe) over ten years – money we don’t have. No provisions in the bill pay for these costs, resulting in potentially a trillion dollars in increased deficit spending. That’s a problem.

The current House and Senate health care bills are projected to cost somewhere around $1 trillion or so over ten years ($1.1 trillion for House, $871 billion for Senate), but with savings and taxes written into the legislation to cover at least a portion of those costs. Most politicians don’t believe that much of the cost-cutting will actually take place (such as the nearly $500 billion in cuts to Medicare reimbursements in the Senate version), so in reality these bills could potentially cost us trillions of dollars while leading to higher taxes for many segments of the population.

But to the question of hypocrisy . . . you’re kidding me, right? Conservatives railed against the liberal spending policies of President Bush and the Republican Congress that aided and abetted in this massive buying of senior votes with borrowed money. It was wrong then, it’s wrong now, and it is a program we cannot afford.

That being said, though, it certainly had more bipartisan support than the current health care reform package. The Medicare Drug Benefit passed with support of 16 Democrats in the House and 11 in the Senate, while being opposed by 25 Republicans in the House and 9 in the Senate.

As for the current health care bill, in the House vote 219 Democrats supported it while 39 voted against it, with only one Republican vote of support. As far as the Senate version is concerned, it was a 60-39 vote, without one single Republican supporting its passage and without one single Democrat opposing it. Bipartisanship at its best?

President Bush has been accused of a complete unwillingness to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats. The Medicare prescription bill was just one example of a greater willingness than most conservatives are comfortable with. The current health care legislation is proof positive of a total lack of any interest among Democrats to compromise in any way with Republicans. President Obama’s claim of attempted bipartisanship is flatly confounded based on his and his party’s actions. Yeah, they’re willing to work with the other side if the other side renounces all its principles, just as they did when supporting the drug benefit bill of 2003.

The amazing thing about this is that because the Republicans compromised once, they’re considered hypocrites if they don’t compromise again, while Democrats have refused to compromise on the current legislation and are thus untouched by such claims.

The American people are outraged and for the most part want no part of the current legislation. While 76% of Democrats favor the plan and 82% of Republicans are opposed, of the unaffiliated just 28% support it. The Republicans have listened to their constituents in their opposition to the the current bills and voted accordingly.

Let’s be clear – politicians of all stripes will typically act in a way that they have calculated will most benefit themselves and their party. Very few end up serving us, the American people, more than they serve themselves. Many of those who were willing to buy a few votes with the Medicare prescription drug benefit obviously don’t see the same political advantage to supporting the current mess of legislation; they have made that political calculation. What’s so hypocritical about that?

Dec 22 2009

Actual Effects of Global Warming Legislation on Temperature

C.M. Phippen

Like so many ecological/environmental scares that have been presented to us over the past 40 years, the science of global warming is anything but settled.

We were warned in the late 1960s that as a result of increasing population, the US would inevitably face mass starvation and that, “By 1985 enough millions will have died to reduce the earth’s population to some acceptable level, like 1.5 billion people.” It was prophesied that food riots would ensue in the 1980s and that 60 million Americans would die of starvation.

We were also warned that by 1980 the life expectancy of Americans would be 42 years as a result of pesticide use and that by 1999, the population of the US would drop to 22.6 million. Newsweek reported that because of the increased dust, cloud cover, and water vapor in the atmosphere, “…the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.”

We were told that “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” and that if present trends were to continue “the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. . . . twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

I remember, during the 1970s in New York, being taught this “science” in school as though it were fact. All of this matters because many of the same individuals and groups who endorsed the aforementioned apocalyptical prophesies are at the forefront of the current global warming hysteria.

This is one of a series of articles which will address various aspects of the debate surrounding climate change, its impact on our earth, and our impact on it.

I begin with this question: Before examining any of the science, and assuming the accuracy of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports with regard to the effect of CO2 on temperature, what would be the “savings” of temperature increase through the implementation of climate legislation over time?

If we were to reduce US CO2 output to zero, based on the assumptions made by believers in anthropogenic global warming regarding the effect of those emissions on temperature, the resulting decrease in global temperature would be 0.152°C immediately. This is, of course, wildly unrealistic and would return us immediately to the stone age (as opposed to slowly, over time, so we won’t notice quite so much).

We pretty much all realize by now that if Kyoto were adhered to by all signing countries, the total reduction in temperature increase would amount to .19°C over 50 years, a miniscule amount that would have “no discernable effect on global climate.” We also are all pretty much aware by now that the countries that bound themselves to the Kyoto protocol haven’t done well at actually reducing emissions.

Environmental scientist Chip Knappenberger writes that reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to over 80% by the year 2050, the goal of the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, would produce global temperature savings over the next 50 years of about 0.05°C. By the year 2100, the decrease in the temperature increase is projected to be between .112°C and .195°C. His projections are determined using the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-gas Induced Climate Change, or MAGICC. These projected reductions in temperature would have the grand effect of simply pushing back the “inevitable” by 2 to 5 years.

I have searched and dug and investigated, and NOWHERE can I find any sort of rebuttal to this analysis. In fact, every analysis I do find says basically the same thing. NOWHERE is the issue even discussed among global warming believers. The argument seems to be that Waxman-Markey is simply needed in order to mitigate global warming. End of story. And that, apparently, is how the debate ended.

We will next look at the economic impact of global warming legislation.

Dec 9 2009

Just Another Spending Program?

by Ian Stermer

Obama has just announced a plan to use the $200,000,000,000 in soon-to-be-returned TARP funds to stimulate the economy, specifically jobs. Let me first state I applaud the idea of creating jobs as a path to improving the economy. The current “jobless recovery” leaves as many people homeless, food-less, health care-less, and in need of aid as no recovery would. The last stimulus bill didn’t help, so something new must be tried.

Obama’s plan sounds nice, as long as you don’t think about it much. Use funds due to be paid back to us, rather than go further in debt. In that respect, it is good. Going further in debt is bad. The problem lies in the fact that we are already in debt. With debt comes interest that must be paid. The longer we hold a debt, the more we have to pay in interest. Interest is a huge problem. In Fiscal Year 2009, the government spent $383,000,000,000 on interest payments. Compare that with $53,000,000,000 on education, or $73,000,000,000 for the Department of Transportation.

The TARP bill was set up as a revolving loan program, where repayments were to be funneled back into the program until its end in December 2009 (although expected to be extended until October 2010, at least). At the end of the program, repayments were to be used to pay down the deficit. Unlike the Stimulus Bill, which was a spending bill, TARP was to be a loan. Any questions about repayment should be quelled by Obama’s confidence-inspiring statement “most of the money going to the banks will probably end up being paid back with interest.” My troubled heart is now at rest.

Some justifications could exist for diverting the money; there are times that it is wiser to invest in a new venture rather than to pay down a debt. For example, after college I opted to buy a CD at 5% interest rather than pay down the principle on my 0.5% interest rate student loan. The question here is does Obama’s plan offer more reward than the alternative?

The answer to that lies in how the money would be spent. Obama has laid out three areas to target with the funds: helping small businesses to add staff and grow; updating transportation infrastructure like highways and bridges; and refitting homes to be energy-efficient.

Small business growth is a no-brainer. We want that. Small businesses make up just over half of all US jobs. In the last 15 years, 64% of all new jobs have been in small businesses.

Infrastructure is nice, but it is questionable how much impact it would have long term. It provides short-term jobs to out of work construction workers. While helping these people temporarily, it is unlikely that the increased spending from this sector will do much to solve the big picture.

Likewise, refitting homes could give more construction workers jobs, and the money saved on heating and cooling bills could go to other expenses that would help the economy, but to what degree is debatable.

Wherever it is spent, though, it will be spent; not loaned, not expecting a return. Worse still, Congress seems excited to spend, but doesn’t really know what to do yet. According to Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, “100 billion, 150 billion, 75 billion — those are all figures that are being talked about.” Remember the Department of Education budget was only $53 billion.

So this new job creation program will differ from the stimulus package in that it will encourage construction and small businesses. It seems that was the focus of the last Stimulus bill. If that one didn’t create jobs, what does this one promise to do differently?

Dec 7 2009

The Democrat Party and Socialism

C.M. Phippen

Recently discovered video shows Howard Dean, former chair of the Democratic National Committee, telling a group of people in France that the debate for “the new generations, instead of capitalism or socialism, is we’re gonna have both and then which proportion of each should we have in order to make this all work.” He goes on to say that this is a new innovation from Obama. Link here

Most of us have been reluctant to call Obama socialist, even those of us who know what socialism looks like through first-hand experience. During the campaign and beyond, the word was not only dismissed, but quickly shot down as being out of line. The same way the “lies” and “fishy statements” about healthcare have been dismissed. The same way those who actually want a debate about global warming and the questionable data are shut down by shouts of “denier” and declarations that the debate is over. As far as I can see, the debate on each of these issues has never taken place (Al Gore matching wits with Lord Christopher Monckton, anyone?)

In place of debate, the believers have called names and attempted to blackball and denigrate, as we’ve seen from the alleged emails of leaders in the field of climate science, some of whom are substantially behind the “data” used to “prove” global warming. When that hasn’t worked, as with the healthcare question, they’ve asked for all “fishy” information to be reported to the central authority – the White House; that is, until public uproar interrupted that program.

Unlike the typical favorites in political rhetoric (hatemonger, stupid, bigot), socialist is a term used to identify one who subscribes to a particular set of beliefs and values. Nevertheless, it has been treated as slander. The language has become so co-opted by those who want to control the debate instead of having debate that, unfortunately, confusion reigns.

It appears as though the debate that is finally over is that which questions whether the Democrat party is a party with a socialist bent. Howard Dean was their leader from 2005 until 2009 and claims to have instituted the “permanent campaign,” one whose purpose is to influence policy. Throw that in with the calls coming from the White House to convince members of the National Endowment for the Arts (a federally-funded organization, paid for by you and me) to produce propaganda in support of President Obama’s agenda. Story here. It all makes sense now.

I have never heard Obama, publicly, endorse a socialist agenda (except for all those policies he supports which certainly look like one). According to Howard Dean though, Obama is the author of this new innovation to meld socialism with our existing economic system.

The part very most disturbing is the complete lack of transparency and honesty. I’m just not sure why obfuscation would be necessary if the Democrat party truly believes socialism, to any degree, is ultimately best for our country. Is it because Americans would never stand behind such policies, en masse, if they really knew the basis for the current legislative plans of this administration and its party?

If socialism is a goal of the Democrats, come on out and say it. It’s okay. Then, and only then, can we have a debate about the merits of such a system v. a capitalist system v. a hybrid of the two. I’ll be waiting.

Dec 1 2009

The Unemployment Problem

C.M. Phippen

Business leaders will meet on Thursday with White House officials in order to “ponder ways to boost employment.” After mistakenly promising unemployment below 8% if the stimulus bill were to pass, this administration has finally determined that maybe those who’ve been creating jobs and wealth might actually know something about . . . creating jobs and wealth.

One would hope that serious consideration would be given to the suggestions made by those whose business is to produce, employ, grow, and make a profit; but this administration’s policies have been consistently unfriendly to small businesses – those that actually create the majority of jobs in this country.

CEOs and business owners, according to the Wall Street Journal, are interested in having a discussion about tax incentives for new hires and eliminating whatever uncertainty can possibly be eliminated in the current climate.

Bills currently under consideration in Congress, including the health care bill and cap-and-trade-type legislation, could potentially increase the costs of doing business so astronomically as to completely shut down the growth of some companies. Until there is a reliable way to project costs, new employees are simply too much of a risk for many businesses in this depressed economy.

The Obama administration is apparently interested in discussing job growth in the clean-tech sector, failing to realize that without the infrastructure to support the industry, few new jobs will be created quickly and the work will go to foreign workers in other countries.

Of the $1.05 billion already given out in clean-energy grants from stimulus cash, 84% has gone to foreign wind companies. While those companies may have subsidiaries in the United States, the numbers of Americans employed as a result of those grants is negligible. Iberdrola Renewables, a subsidiary of a Spanish utility company, has received $545 million alone and was able to announce a $247.4 million profit during the first 9 months of this year. The company employs just 800 individuals throughout the United States.

The bulk of the money made through wind projects is made in the manufacturing of turbines. Nearly 3/4 of the jobs created in this industry is in manufacturing, as opposed to just over 1/4 for the operation, maintenance, and installation of the turbines. It should also be noted that, according to the Renewable Energy Policy Project, for every 1,000 megawatts of wind energy developed there are 4,300 jobs created.

Of the grants given from stimulus funds, 1,763 megawatts of capacity were developed; of those, 1,566 were installed by foreign companies. What this means is that approximately 4,500 jobs were likely created overseas with our tax dollars, at a time when unemployment in our own country has exceeded 10%, and our president claims lowering unemployment (ostensibly with stimulus funds) is a major priority.

Is it too much of a stretch to take our recent experience in renewable energy cost dynamics and draw on it when examining the German experience, nearly 20 years in the making? A final report, issued in October of this year regarding the economic impacts of the promotion of renewable energies in that country, does little to convince that the future holds any greater economic achievements for us down the road than those achieved in Germany.

While job growth projections look appealing, they apparently fail to take into account offsetting job losses which result, including the opportunity cost of investment being diverted from “other, possibly more beneficial investment.”

Additionally, because more workers are needed to produce a given amount of energy than is necessary with traditional energy production, the output potential of the overall economy is diminished. This then leads to lower net job creation. According to the German study, “Significant research shows that initial employment benefits from renewable policies soon turn negative as additional costs are incurred.”

The existence of renewable-energy jobs in Germany has also been found to be completely dependent on government support, and subsidization is as high as US $240,000 per worker. This, after nearly 20 years of development. Our current administration may have to make a decision as to which is more of a priority at this time: clean-energy production or job creation.

There have been laid out for us two conflicting goals, where the evidence points to the fact that pursuit of one will fully undermine the achievement of the other. Failure to acknowledge the existence of a such a conflict does nothing to avoid the problems inherent in it and simply relegates us to repeating mistakes laid bare by the history and experience of others. Let’s learn from history and move forward rather than deny reality and undermine our future.