Saturday, July 27, 2013

Drowning in Sea Level Nonsense

By Alan Caruba

New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D) and forty members of Congress believe the sea levels are rising, that a panel should be created to determine what should be done, and, of course, to throw billions of dollars at a problem that does not exist. Politicians were eager to scare the public with the discredited global warming hoax and now they have found a new one.

In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has proposed a $20 billion flood barrier system to protect the city from future hurricanes and rising sea levels. Well, hurricanes like tropical storm Sandy are real, but rare. Rising sea levels, however, represent no threat at all.

William Happer who researched ocean physics for the U.S. Air Force and is currently a physics professor at Princeton University notes that “The sea level has been rising since 1800, at the end of the ‘little ice age’”, a cooling cycle last from around 1300 to 1850. Far from heating up, the Earth entered a new cooling cycle around 1996 or so.

Harrison Schmitt, a former Apollo 17 astronaut, U.S. Senator, and a geologist, says “Predicting a sea level rise of seven feet over the next few thousand years would seem too risky a prediction on which to spend tax dollars” and that is surely an understatement. Wasting billons on “climate change”, however, is the new siren call of the Obama administration, but the National Research Council is warning, as Fox News reported, “that those kinds of subsidies are virtually useless at quelling greenhouse gases.”

In fact, as the amount of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas—alleged to “trap” heat—has risen and has had zero effect on the cooling cycle.

A recent article in the British newspaper, The Register, reported on a study by scientists in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, that was published in “Nature Geoscience” that concluded there was no “scientific consensus” to suggest the rate of the seas’ rise will accelerate dangerously.

The notion of the seas rising, swamping coastal cities, and creating havoc is the stuff of science fiction, not science. This is why spending millions or billions on the assertions of some who have a real stake in keeping the public frightened is a very bad idea.

At the center of the global warming scare campaign is the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Its most recent report said that “no long-term acceleration of sea level has been identified using 20th-century data alone” but that does not discourage the IPCC from forecasting an increase due to global warming. This organization should be disbanded and, if I were in charge, many of its leaders would be in jail right now for fraud.

Who can you believe? One such person is Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, the former chair of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden. He is the past president (1999-2003) of the International Union for Quaternary Research Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution. He has been studying sea level and its effects on coastal areas for more than 35 years. I cited his credentials because others making predictions lack the same level of authority.

Dr. Morner acknowledges that “sea level was indeed rising from, let us say, 1850 to 1930-40. And that rise had a rate in the order of 1 millimeter per year. (Emphasis added). Get out your pocket ruler and look at what one millimeter represents. It is small. It is very small. Not surprisingly Dr. Morner is very critical of the IPCC and its headline-grabbing doomsday predictions. He scorns the IPCC’s claim to “know” that facts about sea level rise, noting that real scientists “are searching for the answer” by continuing to collect data “because we are field geologists; they are computer scientists. So all this talk that sea level is rising, this stems from the computer modeling, not from observations. The observations don’t find it!”

A recent paper reviewed by CO2 Science finds that sea levels have risen from 2002-2011 at a rate of only 1.7 millimeters per year over the past 110 years, the equivalent of 6.7 inches per century. This is close to Dr. Morner’s assertion that, at most, there has been a rate of increase that tops out at 1.1 millimeter per year. The review concluded that there is no evidence of any human influence on sea levels.

Even so, in early July a scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Josh Willis, told Fox News, that “There is no question that the time to prepare for sea level rise is now…We will definitely see seven feet of sea level rise—the only question is when.” And who funds NASA?

Between the scientists trying to gin up more government money for their agencies and departments and the politicians trying to find a new reason to spend more money, the public is left wondering if the oceans are rising and whether that represents something worth worrying about. The answer is (a) yes, sea levels are rising in infinitesimal amounts and (b) no, we need to stop spending money based on such claims.

It’s not the sea level rise you should worry about. It is the rising levels of national debt and the deficit.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Living in a Communist Economy

By Alan Caruba

In the former Soviet Union, the joke was “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.” It took over four decades of the Cold War to finally put an end to the lie that Communism as an economic system works. After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the Soviet Union came to an end on December 25, 1991. By then Communism worldwide had killed hundreds of millions of people.

Now, it is true that America is not a Communist nation, but by doggedly pursuing the theories put forth by Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, as well as the historically failed theories of Keynes, a British economist who believed that the government must pump money into the economy to keep it afloat, Obama has been trying to turn our Capitalist economy into a Communist one,

Calling our economy “Communist” may seem unduly harsh, but under Obama and his predecessors, the government is in charge of the banking sector, the health and insurance industries, General Motors was nationalized, the government is deeply involved in mortgage lending and now controls student loans. Now stand back and ask if the government—the State—is not now more Communist than Capitalist?

Wedded to failed economic theories, Obama has utterly failed to turn around the economy after the 2008 financial crisis and ensuing recession.
Writing in the August 2012 edition of Forbes magazine, Louis Woodhill said, “If mismanaging an economic recovery were an Olympic event, President Obama would be standing on the middle platform right now, accept the gold medal. Deep recessions are supposed to be followed by strong recoveries, but, under Obama, the worst recession since the 1930s has been followed by the slowest economic recovery in the history of the republic. In a very real sense, there has been no recovery at all—things are still getting worse.”

Obama still has three and a half years to make things ever more worse than they are. A Marxist in every sense of the word, Obama is so wedded to his belief in “redistribution” of wealth, that he spent the first term blaming his failed economic policies in George W. Bush and blathering endlessly about “millionaires and billionaires.” If the government confiscated all their wealth, it would barely pay for its operation for a month, if that.

The way most people experience a bad economy is whether they are employed or not. The self-employed feel it in reduced income, It is always one of the best indicators of the success or failure of whether things are improving or not.

As of July 2013, the United States has been in 54 straight months with an unemployment rate at 7.5% or higher. As Terrence P. Jeffery, the managing editor of CNSnews, recently noted, it is “the longest stretch of unemployment at or above that rate since 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) started calculating the national unemployment rate.”

Under normal circumstances, Obama would have been defeated by Bozo the Clown in 2012, but he has had the support of the mainstream media from the day he started campaigning for the presidency. That is a powerful instrument of influence, but there is nothing to say it will continue what Bernard Goldberg called its “slobbering love affair” with Obama.

In June CNSnews reporter Elizabeth Harrington noted that there is still “a near record 89 million Americans not in the labor force.” The BLS put the number at 89,705,000 in May. “9.3 million Americans have left the workforce during the presidency of Barack Obama.” When broken down into categories, it means that Afro-Americans saw a rise in May to 13.5% or 11,599,000. Even the employer of last resort, the federal government, saw a decline to a mere 20,361,000. In a Communist society, in theory everyone works for the state.

Where the government becomes the source of all good things, it is worth noting that, as of April, the Department of Agriculture reported that a record number of 23 million households in America are now on food stamps. There are, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 115,310,000 households, meaning that one in five is receiving this government handout.

Virtually everyone knows someone who has lost their job and is searching for a new one., but life under Obama has been especially harsh for the newest generation coming out of high school and college. Generation Opportunity, a non-partisan youth advocacy organization announced its “Millennial Jobs Report” for June, specific to 18-to-29 year olds. With the overall unemployment rate at 7.5%, for this cohort, it is 16.1%!

It is worth keeping in mind that a nation—any nation—with a large group of unemployed youths, the prospects for protests and other problems are a historic fact. They have a lot of energy and no place to apply it. They are also easily manipulated.

In addition to bad economic policies, the government is going all-out to impose thousands of new regulations on all aspects of the economy and our lives. Historian Niall Ferguson, writing in a June edition of The Wall Street Journal, cited the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Clyde Wayne Crews’ annual survey of the federal regulatory state, noting that “the 2012 Federal Register—the official directory of regulation—today runs to 78,961 pages. Back in 1986 it was 44,812 pages. In 1936, it was just 2,620.”

This is national death by regulation strangulation and the President recently unleashed the Environmental Protection Agency even more by declaring “climate change” is a top priority. The EPA is in the process of killing coal-fired plants responsible for just under 50% of all the electricity we use. It wants to increase the amount of ethanol in our gasoline, damaging our auto’s engines at the same time it reduces the mileage they produce.

So, if you think we are still functioning in a free market economy, it is as great an illusion as was Communism in the former Soviet Union. When it was no longer defensible, that nation collapsed and was replaced by a truncated former empire, the Russian federation.

If the United States should face total financial collapse, there will be no real freedom left anywhere in the world. Just as any true Communist would want.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

Short Meteorological Memories

By Alan Caruba

I am giving thanks this week, despite the heat wave, that I have not read, nor heard, a single claim that it is proof that global warming has arrived and we are all doomed.
By the time the global warming hoax was in its final days, we were being told that mid-winter blizzards were signs of it. Now the charlatans have switched their message, calling it “climate change” and this is so bogus that it defies description.

Of course the climate changes! It has done that from the billions of years before the first man climbed down out of the tree to stand upright; just in time to learn how to run like hell from whatever creature thought he would make a tasty snack.

I live in the Northeast and residents in the tri-state area face an entire week of temperatures in the upper 90s. The National Weather Service predicts the heat index (what it feels like outside) could hit 105 degrees. In 2006, about forty people died from heat stroke in New York during a heat wave from late July to early August. Most lacked air conditioning.

Curiously, the Earth is actually the farthest away from the Sun during our summer months. The way the National Geographic explained it the “Earth's elliptical orbit means there will be a point each year when the planet is closest to the sun, called perihelion, and a point when it is farthest away, known as aphelion.” The aphelion was reached on July 5.

By contrast in January of this year Australia was undergoing a historic heat wave complete with wildfires in five of its six states. It set new records hitting 104.6 degrees Fahrenheit; summer in Australia runs from December to February. Far to the north, however, this summer has been the coldest on record in the Arctic and it is forecast to get even colder there towards the end of the month.

What I always find interesting is the way much of the population seems to have absolutely no memory of any previous heat wave or, for that matter, a major blizzard. Either way the news media goes bananas, usually seeing it an apocalyptic scenario. No, it’s just a perfectly normal heat wave or blizzard.

It’s a good idea to keep in mind these and other events are the “weather”, not the “climate.” The climate is measured in terms of centuries or, at the very least, decades. The climate is a trend. The weather is what’s happening outside today.

These weather extremes can be quite dramatic. Wikipedia notes that by 1851, half the population of England was living in towns while London had already grown into a major city. “Modern toilets appear on the scene before modern infrastructure, turning the Thames into an open sewer. In June 1858, a heat wave hit London and baked the river into a fetid mess.” A newspaper reported that “Gentility of speech is at an end—it stinks; and whoso once inhales the stink can never forget it and count himself lucky if he lives to remember it.” The result was that Parliament moved upstream and anyone who could afford it left town.

In June 1976, England sweltered for fifteen straight days of heat in the ninety degrees and parts of the southwest went without rain for forty-five days. Forest fires destroyed trees and crops.

In August 1948 in the northeast, New York, Philadelphia, and other cities saw the temperature hit a hundred degrees and people flocked to air-conditioned movie theatres or to the airy beaches like Coney Island. I am old enough to recall the pre-air conditioned times before they became a common appliance in people’s homes and apartments. Electric fans provided what little relief there was to be found.

You don’t have to live in a city to endure a heat wave. During the Great Depression the 1936 heat wave that hit the Midwest turned farms into dust bowls and farmers lost their summer crops. It is estimated that some 5,000 people died. Chicago was hard hit and as far north as Toronto. The scene was repeated in 1995 in Chicago when an estimated 500 people died from heat-related deaths.

By the end of the week, Al Gore is sure to issue another one of his boring claims that the current heat wave is “proof” of global warming. Ignore him.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Are Americans Living in a Police State?

By Alan Caruba

The thing about a police state is that it tends to creep up on you. One day you think the Bill of Rights is intact and the freedoms you take for granted are intact, but the next day you find out that under the National Defense Authorization Act (HR 1540), signed into law by President Obama on December 31, 2011, you can be arrested and detained without recourse to an attorney or the courts.

HR 1540 kills the concept of Habeas Corpus by permitting the detention of U.S. citizens without trail. In 2009 the National Emergency Centers Act, HR 645,  was introduced for the establishment of “internment camps.” I have not been able to determine if it was passed and signed into law, nor have I found any explanation why the Congress of the United States either passed or even considered these laws.

The 2001 Patriot Act was justified as a response to 9/11 and revised in 2012. It gives the government unprecedented powers of surveillance and enforcement in the name of deterring terrorism.

One of Obama’s many executive orders permits him to “commandeer” all domestic U.S. resources, including food and water supplies, energy productions, and transportation, even in times of peace, with no congressional oversight. On March 16, 2012, the National Defense Resources Preparedness EO expands on a law from the 1950s as the Cold War was heating up and there were fears of a conflict with the Soviet Union.

President Obama, obsessed with leaks to the press, has now turned the entire federal government into a workplace where employees are expected to report “suspicious activity” of their co-workers. Failure to do so could result in penalties including criminal charges. Though figures differ, by 2010 there were an estimated 2.5 million full-time federal employees.

According to an article by Jonathan S. Landay and Marisa Taylor, two reporters for McClatchy newspapers, the October 2011 executive order mandating the program is “based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.” The program, deemed flawed, “could result in illegal ethnic and racial profiling and privacy violations.”

As Americans have been learning in airports across the nation, the Transportation Security Authority routinely engages in profiling and highly intrusive physical “pat downs” that many find humiliating.

In 2011, the TSA’s “VIPR teams” conducted an estimated 8,000 unannounced security screenings at subway stations, bus terminals, seaports, and highway rest stops in which Americans were required to show some proof of identity. This is the same administration that opposes voter ID, but not when the police functions of the TSA are concerned.

In bits and pieces, news of activities at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been reported and, when the dots are connected, some very scary conclusions can be reached. Why has DHS purchased 1.6 billion bullets as of March of this year? That is reportedly twenty times more than the amount of bullets expended in the Iraq War. Why is the DHS reportedly sending thousands of heavily armored vehicles and combat gear to cities and towns around the nation for use by police forces that are increasingly being militarized?

One can find a list of actions by the Obama administration that, together, portray preparations for the implementation of a police state as Americans are detained, as per a DHS report, because they are deemed to be potential terrorists because they hold beliefs and ideologies that include:

# “being fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to international in orientation)”

# “anti-global”

# “suspicious of centralized federal authority”

# “reverent of individual liberty”

# “believe in conspiracy theories”

# “a belief that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack”

# “a belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism”

# “impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists)”

# “anti-abortion”

And those are just some of the “suspicious” activities or beliefs that can get you hauled off to a detention camp without the benefit of a trial.

While there have been a handful of incidents where terrorist acts have been perpetrated by those inspired by Islam, they do not justify preparations that clearly suggest the Obama administration anticipates a perceived national uprising against the federal government. Indeed, a number of marches in Washington, D.C. are planned, including one on September 9.

The legislation that has been passed and the executive orders put in place suggest that there are plans in place to ensure that the implementation of a police state can be swiftly imposed on Americans, contrary to all the protections of the Constitution. Indeed, given their existence, are we not already living in a police state?
© Alan Caruba, 2013