11/22/2011

ClimateGate II Takes Center Stage–Global Warming Hoax Redux

If you thought the University of East Anglia email dump from two years ago was revealing, put your drink down and take a deep breath.

There’s a whole new dump of 5,000 emails and documents leaked by FOIA.org, and they are just as damning – and more so – than the first batch.

James Watts has the best synopsis here.

Here’s a teaser sample from Michael Mann:

email 1680.txt

date: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 12:03:05 -0400
from: “Michael E. Mann”..
subject: Re: Something not to pass on
to: Phil Jones
Phil,

I would not respond to this. They will misrepresent and take out of context anything you give them. This is a set up. They will certainly publish this, and will ignore any evidence to the contrary that you provide. s They are going after Wei-Chyung because he’s U.S. and there is a higher threshold for establishing libel. Nonetheless, he should
consider filing a defamation lawsuit, perhaps you too.

I have been talking w/ folks in the states about finding an investigative journalist to investigate and expose McIntyre, and his thusfar unexplored connections with fossil fuel interests.Perhaps the same needs to be done w/ this Keenan guy.

I believe that the only way to stop these people is by exposing them and discrediting them….

Very simply, what these emails confirm is that the great man-made global warming scare is not about science but about political activism.

The difference now is that the lamestream media was very slow to pick up on the first scandal, but this time, they’re going to be all over it. Watch for some interesting fireworks soon from your favorite activist global warming alarmist friends.

11/18/2011

We're All Fascists Now

A couple of years ago, Newsweek had a cover story, “We Are All Socialists Now.”  The basic themes of huge stimulus package, ObamaCare, and government overregulation leading once-capitalist America down the dangerous road to socialism  is quite well worn. 

There’s some truth to the basic theme:  the state is getting more and more deeply involved in business, even taking controlling interests in some private companies.  And the state is even trying to "make policy" for private companies they do not control.  So state power is growing at the expense of corporations.

The problem is, that isn't socialism.  Socialism rests on a firm concept:  the abolition of private property.  What is happening now - particularly in the Obama administration - is an expansion of the state’s role, an increase in public/private joint ventures and partnerships, and much more state regulation of business.  It’s very "European," and some Europeans even call it "social democracy," but it isn’t.

It’s fascism.  Nobody uses the term today because “fascism” has long since lost its actual, historical, context;  it’s become instead, an epithet. Lots of the mainstream media writing about current events wouldn’t want to stigmatize it with that "f" word.

Although fascism is considered to have first emerged in France in the 1880s, its influences have been considered to go back as far as Julius Caesar. Thomas Hobbes, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Hegel have also been considered as influential, as well as contemporary ideas such as the syndicalism of Georges Sorel, the futurism of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the nationalist and authoritarian philosophy of Oswald Spengler and the conservatism and social Darwinism of Enrico Corradini.

Also, nobody knows what fascist political economy was, because they don't study history.  During the great economic crisis of the 1930s, fascism was widely regarded as a possible solution, indeed as the only acceptable solution to depression and economic decline.  It was hailed as a "third way" between two failed systems (communism and capitalism), retaining the best of each.  Private property was preserved, as the role of the state was expanded.  This was necessary because the Great Depression was defined as a crisis "of the system," not just a glitch "in the system."  Mussolini created the "Corporate State," in which the big national enterprises were entrusted to state ownership (or substantial state ownership) and state management.  Some of the big "State Corporations" lasted a very long time;  some have only recently been privatized, and the state still holds important equity positions in some of them.

In the early thirties, before "fascism" became a dirty word, leading politicians and economists felt that it might work, and many believed it was required.  When Roosevelt was elected in 1932, in fact, Mussolini personally reviewed his book, Looking Forward, and proclaimed that FDR was like a brother.

As an economic fix, the Corporate State was not a great success anywhere.  Roosevelt’s New Deal didn’t cure America’s economic ills any more than Mussolini’s Third Way did. Roosevelt finally relented in 1938-9, lowering taxes and reducing regulation. The US economy finally took off.  In both the US and Italy, however, fascism's most durable consequence was the expansion of the ability of the state to give orders to more and more citizens, in more and more areas of their lives.  In the first half of the twentieth century, that was hardly unique to the "fascist" states;  tyranny was the order of the day in the "socialist" and "communist" countries as well.  

President Obama, invoking the old fascistic longing for national greatness: "Still, building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us an economic superpower.” Then he asks, “We're going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads?"

No government in the history of the world has spent as much, borrowed as much and created as much fake money as the United States. If the United States doesn't qualify as  fascist in this sense, no government ever has.

For those of who are concerned with the future of freedom, the key point is the political one:  this great "rescue" to which our government is subjecting us will challenge our commitment to freedom – including economic freedom -in many dramatic ways.

11/14/2011

Global Warming Hysteria

Global Warming Hysteria, at least in the USA, has really hit hard times. Maybe it is because global temperatures haven’t risen in a statistically significant manner for more than 12 years, despite increases in carbon dioxide emissions. Perhaps the bad economy is such that even believers don’t want more downward pressure to stop warming that might never come. Or, perhaps the credibility of global warming has been generally lost due to constant dire warnings, trying to make every weather event into global warming, incorrect computer model projections, or whatever, people are just not into the old panic anymore. Or perhaps, it is those evil Koch Brothers and their astonishingly effective propaganda machine. Whatever, the hysteria seems to have run out of gas.

Here’s a small but very telling example: Three years ago Pacific Gas and Electric offered its customers the opportunity to put their money where their mouths are by paying a little extra to fund carbon offsets. Well, the program is shutting down for lack of participation.

Personally, I'm more afraid of global cooling, which is more likely where we're actually headed.

globalcool3

Global climate changes have been far more intense (12 to 20 times as intense in some cases) than the global warming of the past century, and they took place in as little as 20–100 years. Global warming of the past century (0.8° C) is virtually insignificant when compared to the magnitude of at least 10 global climate changes in the past 15,000 years. None of these sudden global climate changes could possibly have been caused by human CO2 input to the atmosphere because they all took place long before anthropogenic CO2 emissions began. The cause of the ten earlier ‘natural’ climate changes was most likely the same as the cause of global warming from 1977 to 1998, e.g. natural causes. The effect of C02 atmospheric levels is infinitismal as an input to climate change. The data comes from ice core samples in Greenland. Expert chemical and spectral analysis of these cores has revealed the true effects of climate change going back as far as 800,000 years. "Man made global warming" is a cruel joke perpetuated by purely political organizations such as the UN IPCC.

11/13/2011

Those Obstructionist Republicans

Republicans stink.

This, in a nutshell, is what Democrats are running on in 2012.

Republicans are mean. They're obstructionists. They don't care about the elderly and they don't care about the middle class. They're dangerous ideologues looking out only for the rich.

The country faces serious economic challenges and catastrophic debt. Homes are worthless, jobs are scarce and collapsing European social-welfare states are providing frightening previews of what Americans can expect if Washington doesn't dial back its deficit spending.

But Democrats are unwilling to engage in serious, honest debate about their vision for the country. Instead, they just criticize Republicans.

What's even more repulsive than this juvenile approach to governance and campaigning? The fact that a huge chunk of the electorate actually buys it. If there's a lesson in all this, one year before Americans go to the polls to again decide the direction of the country, it's that the substance of your ideas doesn't matter if your opponent controls the public's perception of them.

And this country is in desperate need of ideas. Here's a taste of the economic perils America faces:

-- Last year's federal budget deficit was $1.3 trillion. Total spending was $3.6 trillion, up 34 percent from the $2.7 trillion spent just four years ago.

-- The national debt has reached $15 trillion, 101 percent of gross domestic product. Italy, with debt totaling 120 percent of GDP, is roiling global markets.

-- Entitlements and interest on the national debt account for two-thirds of federal spending. Social Security and Medicare are actuarially insolvent. Social Security is paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes. Entitlements are in line to consume all federal revenues in less than 40 years.

-- Without major tax reforms or other congressional action, federal taxes will skyrocket over the next 13 months. The Bush tax cuts will expire, sending all income tax rates higher. The marriage penalty will return, and the reach of the alternative minimum tax will expand. Deductions for state and local sales taxes, mortgage insurance, student loan interest, tuition and other expenses will end. Capital gains and dividends levies will jump. Tax credits for families and businesses will disappear, and new ObamaCare surcharges on the wealthy will take effect. All this with 9 percent unemployment.

House Republicans have passed a budget -- something Democrats didn't do when they controlled both houses of Congress in 2009 and 2010 -- that addresses most of the government's biggest fiscal problems. It reduces future budget deficits by gradually dialing back spending. It reforms Medicare by providing future beneficiaries with private insurance premium support and means-tested benefits. And it reforms income taxes by reducing rates and eliminating deductions.

Democrats have eviscerated the plan, championed by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, as one that ends Medicare, collapses the social safety net and cuts taxes for the rich (even though the Ryan budget eliminates deductions that overwhelmingly favor the rich).

It's simply not possible to make meaningful reductions in the budget deficit without addressing the growing costs of entitlements.

The Democrats' plan? There isn't one, though their talking points emphasize more of the same. More spending. No entitlement reforms. More tax hikes.

Because Republicans generally oppose raising taxes on anyone while the economy is down, they've been tarred as defenders of the rich. Because the GOP opposes more Keynesian, "stimulus"-style deficit spending, they've been labeled obstructionists for rejecting President Obama's cynical "jobs" bill.

In fact, meetings of the congressional Stupor Committee on deficit reduction reveal that Democrats are the obstructionist ideologues. The six Republicans on the committee offered $500 billion in tax increases over 10 years in exchange for $750 billion in spending cuts. The tax increases would be achieved through tax reforms much like the ones in the Ryan budget. Most of the cuts would be realized by reducing the rate of growth of benefit payments.

But Democrats on the supercommittee have rejected the Republican offer, insisting on $1 trillion in tax hikes. They say tax reform must include higher tax rates.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was asked if he was encouraged by the supercommittee negotiations. "With that phony deal the Republicans offered? No," he said. Keep in mind, President Obama's own bipartisan deficit-reduction commission (the one he ignored) called for $3 in federal spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases, as well as a broader, simplified tax code.

Why would Democrats make a deal when demonizing the GOP is paying such political dividends? When the supercommittee fails, Democrats will say it's the Republicans' fault, and the Mainstream Media will report it.  Democrats ran as fiscal conservatives in 2006 and 2008, then blew the budget as soon as they gained power. They can't run on their records. They can't run on a platform of ever more spending. So instead they deny responsibility. No tough choices will be made. Those who have theirs will keep getting it, and then some.

The GOP agenda isn't perfect, but the first step in solving a problem is acknowledging that one exists. The longer we wait to act, the more difficult and desperate the choices will get.

11/10/2011

Selected Posts

A big part of the reason for Occupy malaise is that the social model no longer works.
The machine by which universities train young people to become minor regulators and then delivers them into white-collar positions on the basis of credentials in history, political science, literature, ethnic and women’s studies – with or without the benefit of law school – has broken down. The supply is uninterrupted, but the demand has dried up.
It’s not the greedy Wall Street bankers who destroyed these people’s hopes. It’s the virtueocracy itself. It’s the people who constructed a benefit-heavy entitlement system whose costs can no longer be sustained. It’s the politicians and union leaders who made reckless pension promises that are now bankrupting cities and states. It’s the socially progressive policy-makers in the U.S. who declared that everyone, even those with no visible means of support, should be able to own a home with no money down, courtesy of their government.
The fact of the matter remains - the Occupiers are blaming the wrong people.

Job Growth
The anemic job growth numbers should be a warning to members of Congress who are flirting with higher tax rates as part of the supercommittee deficit deliberations.
There's loose talk about raising the top Bush tax rates and adding to that a surcharge on millionaire tax rates. That would be a big negative for future growth. Moving the top rate for investors, small-business owners and other successful earners, who create the jobs, from 35 percent to 50 percent in the name of deficit reduction would be a devastating blow to growth.
By the way, it would not even remotely solve our deficit problems, which are the result of overspending across the board. Once again, we do not have a "revenue" problem.
We have a SPENDING problem.

Hey, It's Green, So It Must Be Good, Right?
Is there something about the word ‘green’ that makes people go bonkers?
Rivaled only by the "get tough on Netanyahu" fiasco and the Gunwalker scandal, the "Green Jobs" meltdown is the most comprehensive and conspicuous policy failure of the Obama administration to date.
The political push to quickly create jobs and spur economic development didn’t match up with economic realities. 45 percent of stimulus dollars distributed by Energy still hadn’t been spent by state and local government as of Oct. 22. The department failed to properly document and couldn’t always demonstrate how it resolved or mitigated risks prior to granting loan guarantees.
A lot of taxpayer money was spent; few jobs were created and the failure damages the Obama brand in three ways. First, poor jobs growth is the root of all the administration’s other woes. Second, the story undercuts the idea that the stimulus was a good idea and supports the narrative that special interests hijacked it for a porkfest. Third, the story reinforces the belief that government planning and industrial policy don’t work.
Government really needs to get out of the way.

Eurozone
This week, the French bank BNP Paribas announced that it had slashed its holdings of euro-zone government bonds, including €2.62 billion worth of Greek debt.
It wasn't just bonds from Athens that the bank dumped. BNP Paribas also indicated that it had drastically reduced its holdings of Italian debt. In the three months prior to the end of October, the bank sold off €8.3 billion worth of bonds issued by Rome, reducing its exposure by 40 percent.
Italian borrowing costs soared earlier this week, with interest rates on sovereign bonds rising to 6.4 percent, perilously close to the mark which triggered emergency Italian bond purchases by the European Central Bank in August. Analysts consider a rate of 7 percent to be the level at which investors stop buying sovereign bonds.
What does all this spell out? Disaster. Black Hole. Titanic. Meanwhile, European dignitaries are busy rearranging the deck chairs.

China Got It Too
China committed to Keynesian stimulus on a much bigger scale than even the Obama administration. According to one estimate, the Chinese stimulus launched in 2008 to counteract the effect of the global recession was $586 billion in spending by the central government, plus as much as $2.7 trillion in new loans by state-controlled banks. In absolute terms, this is comparable in size to our combined fiscal and monetary stimulus, except that the Chinese actually managed to increase lending, whereas the dollars pumped into our system by the Fed never actually made it into new loans. But China's economy is about one third the size of ours, so in relative terms, this implies about three times the stimulus, as if President Obama had passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill and the Fed has pumped $8 trillion into the economy.
This was precisely the kind of massive Keynesian stimulus that pundits like Paul Krugman were pining for. So it is interesting to look at what it actually accomplished.
It's now pretty clear that a huge amount of that money went into a real-estate bubble and into big, empty vanity projects, including gleaming new government complexes in some of China's most impoverished areas. These big "stimulus" projects were eagerly promoted partly because local officials got a cut from corrupt deals with politically connected developers. China's ministers have built entire real cities that no one lives in, just to produce statistics that would impress the emperor back in Beijing.
China's central government is now trying to clamp down on credit to keep inflation under control and to prevent the real estate bubble from getting even bigger.
Keynesianism is a bubble machine Lawrence Welk would have been proud of. It now looks like this is about to be demonstrated on a truly epic scale in China.

Difference Between Civil Disobedience and Breaking the Law
When asked to do something by an officer of the law, the instinct of most people is to comply, especially if they are violating a rule. The instinct of many of the Occupy protesters is to resist, then inflate their arrests or clashes with the police into some sort of monumental struggle with the forces of oppression. "The whole world is watching", they'll say.
There is an honorable tradition of civil disobedience in America. If an injustice is so grave and the system is so rigged that it can’t be changed through normal democratic means, breaking the law may be a recourse. The civil-rights protesters did it peacefully and with dignity. The difference between them and the Occupy protesters challenging the cops is the difference between self-sacrificial heroes and ideologically drunk punks and whiners.
They shut down the fifth-busiest container port in America. Why would anyone acting in the name of people harmed by the Great Recession interrupt the flow of commerce, especially at a hub employing dockworkers and truckers? It was, by definition, a radical act.
Mere protests probably won’t satisfy this movement. It is a self-styled "occupation", which inherently involves taking what is not yours. It’s already ugly and will probably get more so. And yes, the whole world is indeed watching.