Thursday, April 24, 2014

What I learned Today at the Huffington Post: Rachel Maddow is Another “Green” Hypocrite

“Climate change” is a man-made disaster, the Left tells us.  It’s all because we are gluttons with our energy use and our carbon footprints are much bigger than they need to be, they scold.  So it was with great amusement that I read today’s fawning piece in Huffpo about the addition to uber-liberal Rachel Maddow’s  second home:

Huffpo finds it charming that Maddow and her “partner” have added a bath house to their vacation home in Massachusetts.  Apparently it’s okay for liberals to have “retreats” and extra homes and such because they have to work so hard trying to keep the rest of us in line so they really need to get away from their main homes and relax, re-connect, re-charge, get back in touch with their liberalism, or whatever. 

“Designed by architect Nicole Migeon, primarily as a second bathroom for Maddow and her partner Susan Mikula's weekend getaway, the outhouse-like structure is what Maddow calls a "retreat within a retreat…" 

“…Migeon—who worked with Maddow and Mikula on their West Village apartment—designed a one-room bathhouse tucked away in the woods. The simple pitched-roof ¬structure, more than just an outhouse, features vertical wood slats (made from sustainably grown cedar) that reference the design of old tobacco-drying barns in the area and conceal drains and vents while providing soft, diffused light; perfect for a low-key late-afternoon dip in the hot tub. Migeon worked with woodworker Chuck Bayliss to build the reclaimed-maple cabinets that hide an entertainment center and linen closet.”

Good thing they made sure to let us know that the cedar used to panel almost every inch of this bath house was “sustainably grown” and the cabinets were “reclaimed” (that’s the liberal word for “used”) so that Ms. Maddow doesn’t diminish her credibility as an environmentalist even though she owns two homes and just expanded her carbon footprint yet again.  If you look at the photos contained in the Huffpo piece you’ll see that quite a large number of cedar trees had to be sacrificed to create just the right ambience for Ms. Maddow’s bath house; but don’t worry because it turns out we can grow more cedar trees.  Who knew?

Apparently we are not to concern ourselves wondering about the extra energy consumed in traveling between the two residences or maintaining two homes (BTW, did you notice the carefully landscaped grounds around the bath house?), or the energy and other materials used to construct the bath house, re-locate the cabinets and heat the hot tub.  Instead we are supposed to admire Ms. Maddow for her commitment to environmentalism because she chose “sustainable” cedar (a lot of it!) and used cabinets. 

Well, you know what they say: 

An environmentalist is a liberal who already has their bath house in the woods.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Standing with Charles Koch

From the Wall Street Journal Opinion Page:

Instead of welcoming free debate, collectivists engage in character assassination.

I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.
Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government. That’s why, if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles. I have been doing so for more than 50 years, primarily through educational efforts. It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.
A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.

More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that this could happen. “The natural progress of things,” Jefferson wrote, “is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” He knew that no government could possibly run citizens’ lives for the better. The more government tries to control, the greater the disaster, as shown by the current health-care debacle. Collectivists (those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives) promise heaven but deliver hell. For them, the promised end justifies the means.
Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinsky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced. Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society—and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.
Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we’re “un-American” and trying to “rig the system,” that we’re against “environmental protection” or eager to “end workplace safety standards.” These falsehoods remind me of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s observation, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Here are some facts about my philosophy and our company:
Koch companies employ 60,000 Americans, who make many thousands of products that Americans want and need. According to government figures, our employees and the 143,000 additional American jobs they support generate nearly $11.7 billion in compensation and benefits. About one-third of our U.S.-based employees are union members.
Koch employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. EPA officials have commended us for our “commitment to a cleaner environment” and called us “a model for other companies.”
Our refineries have consistently ranked among the best in the nation for low per-barrel emissions. In 2012, our Total Case Incident Rate (an important safety measure) was 67% better than a Bureau of Labor Statistics average for peer industries. Even so, we have never rested on our laurels. We believe there is always room for innovation and improvement.
Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.
Koch Industries was the only major producer in the ethanol industry to argue for the demise of the ethanol tax credit in 2011. That government handout (which cost taxpayers billions) needlessly drove up food and fuel prices as well as other costs for consumers—many of whom were poor or otherwise disadvantaged. Now the mandate needs to go, so that consumers and the marketplace are the ones who decide the future of ethanol.
Instead of fostering a system that enables people to help themselves, America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness. This is what happens when elected officials believe that people’s lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves. Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal.
If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off—not just today, but for generations to come. I’m dedicated to fighting for that vision. I’m convinced most Americans believe it’s worth fighting for, too.”
Mr. Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries.

Dear Mr. Koch,
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the resources you devote to fighting for liberty on behalf of all Americans.  Not the phony brand of liberty sold by the Left in this country, but liberty as the Founders defined it, with fundamental rights that must be respected.  I know that your efforts to restore limited government as prescribed by the Constitution will make you a hated man to the Left, and you will be vilified and demonized for the sin of helping your fellow Americans fight off the chains that the socialists are so eager to wrap us in.  They want this power very badly.  Thank you for that sacrifice.  You are a brave man and a true patriot and I stand with you.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Climate Change “Debate” That Never Happened

“…the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact," loudly scolded an angry Barack Obama in the last State of the Union Address. 

Welcome to the new reality in which we live, where scientific debates are “settled” by imperial decree.  Ironically the very fact that Obama felt the need to proclaim the matter settled is the clearest proof of all that the debate isn’t settled, as a settled debate would require no need for despotic fist pounding. In any event, would someone please tell me when these imaginary “debates” took place?  Oh I know you can go to websites and lectures that argue either side of the debate, but where are the actual debates where the two sides convene to present their arguments and rebut the points made by their opponents?  Where is the face to face interaction where “scientists” have to stand up and defend their theories and conclusions rather than simply label the opposition as “deniers?” For a debate that’s supposedly “settled” there’s a strange absence of, well, debate; or should we even be surprised that an issue conveniently re-cast as the inarguable “climate change” when “global warming” became problematic has avoided any real debate?

For the sake of curiosity I did an internet search on “climate change debate” and the closest thing I found to an advertised, televised “debate” was a ridiculous exchange between Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and Representative Marsha Blackburn moderated by David Gregory.  You can watch the “debate” here if you want to waste 13 minutes of your life but if you’d like the abbreviated version I can sum it up for you as follows:  Nye, as if on cue, referred to skeptics as “deniers;” David Gregory pretended to be impartial while suggesting that the science is settled; and Blackburn’s best point was when she said that Nye is “an engineer and actor” and she’s a politician so this “debate” shouldn’t be taken seriously (that’s my paraphrasing).

What was far more important than the “debate” itself was the outrage that the prospect of an actual debate engendered from the Left.  In a National Journal article titled, “Democrat, Green Fume Over NBC’s Global Warming ‘Debate,’” the subheading was, “Senators had angled for stronger coverage of climate change, but NBC’s planned climate-science tussle is ruffling feathers in the environmental movement.”

Apparently when democrat politicians and environmentalists had lobbied the networks for more climate change propaganda coverage, debate was not what they had in mind.

“’Seriously? Hosting a debate on the science of climate change? Shame on [Meet the Press],’ tweeted Becky Bond, political director of Credo Mobile.”

“’Next week's debate: Do cigarettes cause cancer? An oncologist debates a tobacco executive!,’ writes environmentalist Miles Grant on his blog.”

“’Climate change is a public health threat. Giving scientists and climate change deniers equal time is like having tobacco executives debate doctors on the safety of cigarettes,’ Schatz said. ‘It's time to move on from treating climate change as a debate and talk about what we can do about it for people's lives and businesses.’"

So there you have it.  The very same people who insist that the “debate is settled” balk at the idea of actual debate.  They’re even afraid of a silly pretense of a debate where the moderator is clearly in their camp, and that can only lead a rational person to one conclusion:  they lack faith in their own cause, because no person on this Earth shies from a debate that he’s confident he’ll win. 

So instead of science by theory and proof we have science by decree.  The declaration that the science is “settled” is simply the Left’s way of saying that they are going to do what they want whether we agree or not, and the pretense that they’ve engaged in debate makes them feel justified in doing so.  This is what real bullying looks like. 

In my search I came upon a great piece in “Forbes” online that I’m sharing below.  It’s well-worth the few minutes of reading time.  Oh what I wouldn’t give to see a debate between the serious scientists described in this piece and scientists on the other side of the issue.

By Peter Ferrara (The Heartland Institute)
Climate change itself is already in the process of definitively rebutting climate alarmists who think human use of fossil fuels is causing ultimately catastrophic global warming.  That is because natural climate cycles have already turned from warming to cooling, global temperatures have already been declining for more than 10 years, and global temperatures will continue to decline for another two decades or more.
That is one of the most interesting conclusions to come out of the seventh International Climate Change Conference sponsored by the Heartland Institute, held last week in Chicago.  I attended, and served as one of the speakers, talking about The Economic Implications of High Cost Energy.
The conference featured serious natural science, contrary to the self-interested political science you hear from government financed global warming alarmists seeking to justify widely expanded regulatory and taxation powers for government bodies, or government body wannabees, such as the United Nations.  See for yourself, as the conference speeches are online.

What you will see are calm, dispassionate presentations by serious, pedigreed scientists discussing and explaining reams of data.  In sharp contrast to these climate realists, the climate alarmists have long admitted that they cannot defend their theory that humans are causing catastrophic global warming in public debate.  With the conference presentations online, let’s see if the alarmists really do have any response.
The Heartland Institute has effectively become the international headquarters of the climate realists, an analog to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  It has achieved that status through these international climate conferences, and the publication of its Climate Change Reconsidered volumes, produced in conjunction with the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

Those Climate Change Reconsidered volumes are an equivalently thorough scientific rebuttal to the irregular Assessment Reports of the UN’s IPCC.  You can ask any advocate of human caused catastrophic global warming what their response is to Climate Change Reconsidered.  If they have none, they are not qualified to discuss the issue intelligently.

Check out the 20th century temperature record, and you will find that its up and down pattern does not follow the industrial revolution’s upward march of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the supposed central culprit for man caused global warming (and has been much, much higher in the past).  It follows instead the up and down pattern of naturally caused climate cycles.

For example, temperatures dropped steadily from the late 1940s to the late 1970s.  The popular press was even talking about a coming ice age.  Ice ages have cyclically occurred roughly every 10,000 years, with a new one actually due around now.
In the late 1970s, the natural cycles turned warm and temperatures rose until the late 1990s, a trend that political and economic interests have tried to milk mercilessly to their advantage.  The incorruptible satellite measured global atmospheric temperatures show less warming during this period than the heavily manipulated land surface temperatures.
Central to these natural cycles is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).  Every 25 to 30 years the oceans undergo a natural cycle where the colder water below churns to replace the warmer water at the surface, and that affects global temperatures by the fractions of a degree we have seen.  The PDO was cold from the late 1940s to the late 1970s, and it was warm from the late 1970s to the late 1990s, similar to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO).
In 2000, the UN’s IPCC predicted that global temperatures would rise by 1 degree Celsius by 2010.  Was that based on climate science, or political science to scare the public into accepting costly anti-industrial regulations and taxes?
Don Easterbrook, Professor Emeritus of Geology at Western Washington University, knew the answer.  He publicly predicted in 2000 that global temperatures would decline by 2010.  He made that prediction because he knew the PDO had turned cold in 1999, something the political scientists at the UN’s IPCC did not know or did not think significant.

Well, the results are in, and the winner is….Don Easterbrook.  Easterbrook also spoke at the Heartland conference, with a presentation entitled “Are Forecasts of a 20-Year Cooling Trend Credible?”  Watch that online and you will see how scientists are supposed to talk: cool, rational, logical analysis of the data, and full explanation of it.  All I ever see from the global warming alarmists, by contrast, is political public relations, personal attacks, ad hominemarguments, and name calling, combined with admissions that they can’t defend their views in public debate.

Easterbrook shows that by 2010 the 2000 prediction of the IPCC was wrong by well over a degree, and the gap was widening.  That’s a big miss for a forecast just 10 years away, when the same folks expect us to take seriously their predictions for 100 years in the future.  Howard Hayden, Professor of Physics Emeritus at the University of Connecticut showed in his presentation at the conference that based on the historical record a doubling of CO2 could be expected to produce a 2 degree C temperature increase.  Such a doubling would take most of this century, and the temperature impact of increased concentrations of CO2 declines logarithmically.  You can see Hayden’s presentation online as well.
Because PDO cycles last 25 to 30 years, Easterbrook expects the cooling trend to continue for another 2 decades or so.  Easterbrook, in fact, documents 40 such alternating periods of warming and cooling over the past 500 years, with similar data going back 15,000 years.  He further expects the flipping of the ADO to add to the current downward trend.
But that is not all.  We are also currently experiencing a surprisingly long period with very low sunspot activity.  That is associated in the earth’s history with even lower, colder temperatures.  The pattern was seen during a period known as the Dalton Minimum from 1790 to 1830, which saw temperature readings decline by 2 degrees in a 20 year period, and the noted Year Without A Summer in 1816 (which may have had other contributing short term causes).
Even worse was the period known as the Maunder Minimum from 1645 to 1715, which saw only about 50 sunspots during one 30 year period within the cycle, compared to a typical 40,000 to 50,000 sunspots during such periods in modern times.  The Maunder Minimum coincided with the coldest part of the Little Ice Age, which the earth suffered from about 1350 to 1850.  The Maunder Minimum saw sharply reduced agricultural output, and widespread human suffering, disease and premature death.
Such impacts of the sun on the earth’s climate were discussed at the conference by astrophysicist and geoscientist Willie Soon, Nir J. Shaviv, of the Racah Institute of Physics in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Sebastian Luning, co-author with leading German environmentalist Fritz Vahrenholt of The Cold Sun.

Easterbrook suggests that the outstanding question is only how cold this present cold cycle will get.  Will it be modest like the cooling from the late 1940s to late 1970s?  Or will the paucity of sunspots drive us all the way down to the Dalton Minimum, or even the Maunder Minimum?  He says it is impossible to know now.  But based on experience, he will probably know before the UN and its politicized IPCC.