Monday, February 12, 2018

America's fight with internal enemies

 The 1787 Constitution launched the concept of federalism: the idea that a national government should legislate and rule only on national issues, but otherwise should leave individual states to innovate and test their own governing principles, for better or worse. They might devise brilliant solutions that are copied by all, or provide glaring examples of what not to do elsewhere.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Lord, what were you thinking this time around, as the Founders’ vision was sorely tested on so many fronts, and the US political scene tossed and turned? My take on recent history:

Innovative, entrepreneurial spirits – aided by federalism, private land and mineral ownership, and an ability to get well underway before antagonistic federal regulators knew about it – launched a “fracking” revolution that unlocked gushers of oil and natural gas, ended “peak oil” fears, created numerous jobs, sent US and global energy prices tumbling, and powered US oil and gas production to record highs.

Related to that was the anger and frustration many had with government agencies and activist groups that ignored the enormous environmental progress America has made over the past four decades, and were demanding that we spend trillions of dollars on imaginary problems and for barely detectable (or even fabricated) benefits from further reductions in pollution – even substances that clearly are not pollutants: plant-fertilizing, crop-enhancing, planet-greening, life-giving carbon dioxide, for instance.

Those attitudes and actions reflected an obsession in some quarters with “dangerous manmade climate change” and fostered a war on fossil fuels that was locking up the nation’s huge energy supplies, driving up energy costs, forcing businesses to downsize or close their doors, killing jobs, and driving young people back to their parents’ basements or out of small towns in search of employment and better lives.

These voters were buoyed, above all, by hope that a new Washington team would bring change, reform the regulatory state, reduce burdensome taxes and regulations, and once again unleash America’s too long pent-up entrepreneurial, innovative and investment instincts, passions, spirits, abilities and determination.

The evidence suggests their hope is being rewarded, say former CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Pudzer and other observers. In anticipation of and response to an exit from the Paris climate accord, a reemphasis on fossil fuels, and multiple regulatory and tax reductions, the Dow Jones skyrocketed from 17,888 points on November 3, 2017 to an unprecedented 26,617 on January 26, 2018 – before plummeting an unheard of 2,500 points over the next six trading days, then went on a rollercoaster of corrections and profit taking.

Portfolio values soared for millions of college and retirement funds, and company, union and government pension funds. Even San Francisco decided not to eliminate fossil fuels from its pension holdings.

Over 125 companies gave hefty bonuses to employees. Walmart and other companies raised salaries. ExxonMobil plans to repatriate $50 billion for reinvestment in America, while Apple intends to bring back $350 billion over the next five years, creating 20,000 new jobs in the process. Overall, during 2017, the US economy added over 2 million full-time jobs with benefits, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, despite two major hurricanes in Q3, the first big ones to hit the US mainland in a record twelve years.

In 2016, says Pudzer, the BLS recorded “the highest number of people working part time at year’s end since it began recording the data in 1968. In 2017, it recorded the highest number of people working full time at year’s end since 1968 and the fewest working part-time since 2011.” Meanwhile, GDP growth averaged 3% during the last three quarters of 2017, compared to a meager 1.5% during 2016.

Back on the energy and climate front, the Energy Information Administration says fossil fuels will still provide 79% of US energy in 2050–globally too. Wind and solar remain too expensive, unreliable and land-intensive to power economies or give impoverished nations the living standards they dream of.

Meanwhile, the Obama EPA’s MAGGICC climate analysis model determined that even shutting down all US coal-fired power plants and drastically limiting the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions – at a cost of up to $39 billion per year – would prevent just 0.03 degrees F of manmade global warming by 2100, even assuming CO2 drives climate change, because the world will still be burning fossil fuels. In fact, all the damage and dire threats supposedly caused by greenhouse gases exist only in computer climate models.

And those models haven’t worked in the past, don’t work now and are unlikely to work in the foreseeable future, say scientists like William Happer and Anthony Sadar. That’s because they focus on CO2, ignore the most important atmospheric gas (water vapor) and can’t solve enough equations needed to accurately describe Earth’s climate. Relying on them to decide energy and economic policies is folly and fakery.


Department of Energy projections to 2050 suggest that fossil fuels, not renewables, are the energy sources of America’s future

EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook provides modeled projections of domestic energy markets through 2050, and it includes cases with different assumptions regarding macroeconomic growth, world oil prices, technological progress, and energy policies. Strong domestic production coupled with relatively flat energy demand allow the United States to become a net energy exporter over the projection period in most cases. In the Reference case, natural gas consumption grows the most on an absolute basis, and nonhydroelectric renewables grow the most on a percentage basis.

The EIA provides a description of its Reference case on page 9 of the full report:

The Reference case projection assumes trend improvement in known technologies along with a view of economic and demographic trends reflecting the current views of leading economic forecasters and demographers. The Reference case generally assumes that current laws and regulations affecting the energy sector, including sunset dates for laws that have them, are unchanged throughout the projection period. The potential impacts of proposed legislation, regulations, and standards are not included.

EIA addresses the uncertainty inherent in energy projections by developing side cases with different assumptions of macroeconomic growth, world oil prices, technological progress, and energy policies. Projections in the AEO should be interpreted with a clear understanding of the assumptions that inform them and the limitations inherent in any modeling effort.

Based on the Reference case, the chart above shows that EIA projections assume that fossil fuels (crude oil, coal, and natural gas) will continue supplying about 80% of America’s energy for the next 32 years through 2050, falling just slightly below 80% starting in 2034, but still providing more than 79% of the energy supplied in 2050.

Nuclear’s share of total energy will gradually fall from 8.4% this year to slightly above 6% in 2050, while all renewables together (conventional hydroelectric, geothermal, wood and wood waste, biogenic municipal waste, other biomass, wind, photovoltaic, and solar thermal sources) will supply less than 15% of America’s energy a generation from now when today’s teenagers are middle-aged by mid-century.

That’s not a lot of progress for what President Obama called the “energy sources of the future,” while dismissing fossil fuels as “energy sources of the past.”

Bottom Line: Despite all of the hype, hope, cheerleading, fuel standards, portfolio standards, and taxpayer subsidies for renewable energies like wind and solar, America’s energy future will still rely primarily on fossil fuels to power our vehicles, heat and light our homes, and fuel the US economy. In other words, America’s energy future will look a lot like it does today with fossil fuels providing American consumers and businesses with low-cost, dependable and reliable energy for about 80% of our energy needs. Carpe oleum.


Global Warming Alarmism Hits Childbearing
All for the good.  Getting Green/Leftists out of the gene pool would be great

“No Children Because of Climate Change? Some People Are Considering It.” That’s the topic of a New York Times piece this week in which the idea of population control goes beyond conceptualization. Some people, it turns out, are following through on the notion of sacrificing a fuller family to “save the planet.”

The Times trepidatiously reports, “It is not an easy time for people to feel hopeful, with the effects of global warming no longer theoretical, projections becoming more dire and governmental action lagging.” Speculation aside, it goes on to note, “A 32-year-old who always thought she would have children can no longer justify it to herself. A Mormon has bucked the expectations of her religion by resolving to adopt rather than give birth. An Ohio woman had her first child after an unplanned pregnancy — and then had a second because she did not want her daughter to face an environmental collapse alone.”

Population control is a contentious idea, but it’s been advocated for quite some time now — ever since the climate change scare went mainstream. It’s been suggested by people like Paul Ehrlich, John Holdren, Bill and Melinda Gates, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ted Turner, Prince William, Prince Charles and Prince Philip, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Nye, to name just a few. And let’s not forget the even more sinister side of population control — eugenics — of which Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, among others, was a big fan.

The Times acknowledges that “few, if any, studies have examined how large a role climate change plays in people’s childbearing decisions.” Regardless, there are people out there who are taking it quite seriously. But there is also hypocrisy on the part of well-known elitists who advocate population control and encourage others to oblige. For example, Bill and Melinda Gates are parents to three kids. Ted Turner has five children. Prince Philip had four. And that’s their prerogative. In fact, it’s not unnatural to want many children. It’s even — gasp — biblical.

Which makes the whole idea of population control so preposterous. Not everyone enjoys parenting or wants to be a parent — even for ridiculous reasons, as the Times piece demonstrates — but for many, there is joy in parenting. And that’s by design. It’s so impregnated in us, in fact, that some people who demand population control end up rearing numerous children of their own.

Given the prevailing winds, it seems inevitable that the population control rhetoric will, at least temporarily, win out and that more people will decide against having children. But for how long? At what point will that reckless idealism succumb to human nature’s natural instinct to seek childbearing? It depends entirely upon society’s reinvesting in the way culture is intended to operate by the Creator.


The sun is growing colder

By 2050, our sun is expected to be unusually cool. It’s what scientists have termed a “grand minimum” — a particularly low point in what is otherwise a steady 11-year cycle.

Over this cycle, the sun’s tumultuous heart races and rests. At its high point, the nuclear fusion at the sun’s core forces more magnetic loops high into its boiling atmosphere — ejecting more ultraviolet radiation and generating sunspots and flares.

When it’s quiet, the sun’s surface goes calm. It ejects less ultraviolet radiation.

Now scientists have scoured the skies and history for evidence of an even greater cycle amid these cycles.

One particularly cool period in the 17th century guided their research. An intense cold snap between 1645 and 1715 has been dubbed the “Maunder Minimum.” In England, the Thames River froze over. The Baltic Sea was covered in ice — so much so that the Swedish army was able to march across it to invade Denmark in 1658.

But the cooling was not uniform: Distorted weather patterns warmed up Alaska and Greenland.

These records were combined with 20 years of data collected by the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite mission, as well as observations of nearby stars similar to the sun.

Now physicist Dan Lubin at the University of California San Diego has calculated an estimate of how much dimmer the sun is likely to be when the next such grand minimum takes place.

His team’s study has been published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters. It finds that the sun is likely to be 7 percent cooler than its usual minimum. And another grand minimum is likely to be just decades away, based on the cooling spiral of recent solar cycles.

For Earth, Lubin says it first thins the stratospheric ozone layer. This impacts the insulating effect of the atmosphere, with flow-on effects including major changes to wind and weather patterns.

But it won’t stop the current trend of planetary warning, Lubin warns.

“The cooling effect of a grand minimum is only a fraction of the warming effect caused by the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” a statement from the research team reads.

“After hundreds of thousands of years of CO2 levels never exceeding 300 parts per million in air, the concentration of the greenhouse gas is now over 400 parts per million, continuing a rise that began with the Industrial Revolution.” [And what has happened as a result of that?  Nothing]


The Greens imperil Australia's economy, alliances and world standing

One of the consequences of the creeping advance of political correctness that constrains debate in academia, bureaucracy, politics and the media is that the extreme left is normalised. In the polite society of the political/media class, overt condemnation is reserved for the hard right while even the most anarchic or obscene contributions from the green left are tolerated, apparently because their intentions might be pure.

How else to explain why the hateful and inane intercessions of the Greens are tolerated and amplified in national affairs, often without vigorous challenge from journalists or other left-of-centre politicians? Radical views from the far left are now everyday fare on social media, while public broadcasters and even News Corp’s Sky News provide it with a platform despite its stubbornly niche voter support. This skews debate and helps drag our political class further to the left.

The Greens long ago expanded their remit from protecting forests and rivers to a broader and more extreme mission. More than three decades after blocking the Franklin River dam, the Greens behave with radical internationalist fervour as their activism undermines our institutions, undercuts our economy, sabotages our borders, divides our society and opposes our alliances.

In recent weeks, Greens leader Richard Di Natale has trolled the nation by demonising Australia Day. “It’s a day that represents an act of dispossession, an act of theft,” he said. “It’s a day that represents the beginning of an ongoing genocide, the slaughter of so many Aboriginal people.”

And these are the words of someone whose freedom, upbringing, education, prosperity and career have been bestowed as a consequence of the settlement that began on January 26, 1788.

This week another Greens MP, Adam Bandt, attacked the nation’s newest senator, Jim Molan, who led Australian and US forces in battles against insurgents and Islamist extremists in Iraq. Bandt and others took exception to some videos Molan had shared on social media not because of the content but because of the organisation that had originally posted them.

“When you share white supremacists’ videos and justify it by saying ‘I’m doing it to stimulate debate’, you’re a coward. You’re a complete coward,” Bandt told Sky News. “I tell you what … if there was a proper inquiry into the war in Iraq in Australia … I think you’d find Jim Molan would probably be up for prosecution rather than praise.” (Threatened with defamation, Bandt first issued a graceless apology, then a more substantial one yesterday.)

Bandt’s response to the war on terror, as he tells it, was to write a PhD exploring the interplay between Marxism, globalisation, workplace relations and the rule of law. Molan’s was to risk his life in the service of his nation, defending people in Iraq who wanted freedom and democracy.

Yet the Greens decried Molan as the coward.

These are more than attacks on our national day or a military hero: they point to a broader agenda where the Greens tilt at the fundamental strengths of our nation. Our borders, for instance, are the foundation of our sovereignty but the Greens have long promoted open borders and for a few years under Labor we saw a living experiment of their ideal. Despite 800 boats arriving with more than 50,000 asylum-seekers, giving us the trauma of detention centres filled in every state and at least 1200 people dying in attempts to join the rush, the Greens still argue for this approach.

With many Labor MPs sympathetic, leftist media activism ongoing and Greens votes needed in the Senate, a future Shorten government would be drawn to softer border policies like a Greens senator to a student rally. This would be disastrous for our regional diplomacy, finances and, most importantly, immigration system. The high level of public support for immigration and our multi-ethnic society is founded on an orderly system. We mess with that, as we have seen, at our peril. Not to mention the unfairness to refugees legitimately trying to get access to our humanitarian program who don’t have money to pay criminal people-smugglers.

On the economy, the Greens campaign against our second largest export industry, coal. Never mind how we would replace more than $50 billion in exports, $5bn in royalties or 75 per cent of our national electricity generation: there is the issue of replacing 51,000 jobs, so many families that do not seem to matter to the Greens.

Even if you accept the Greens want to scrap our coal industry in order to reduce global carbon emissions (it wouldn’t because China and India would buy their coal elsewhere) we still have to reconcile their opposition to nuclear power, yet another energy source we have in abundance and export to the world but which the Greens oppose.

When they inveigled themselves into a rainbow coalition with Julia Gillard’s Labor, the Greens forced the introduction of a carbon tax that Gillard had ruled out. This not only destroyed her government but consigned climate policy to another decade of dysfunction. When you recall it was the Greens who conspired with the Coalition to twice vote down Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme, you can see this party of so-called environmentalists has vandalised climate policy.

The Greens support a range of positions most voters find abhorrent, such as legalising drugs, increasing taxes and ending the US alliance. “As long as taking drugs is illegal, governments can and do create environments in which people are at greater risk when they choose to use drugs,” Di Natale told his party’s conference last year. On coal he said: “We Greens and our movement are the only thing that will keep the coal from Adani’s mine in the ground.” And on the alliance, he referred to activists speaking out “against wars fought overseas in support of American imperialism”.

This is the sort of dreamworld posturing we might hear from student activists, dishevelled academics or UN bureaucrats. Six years ago, then Greens leader Bob Brown opened a speech by welcoming his “fellow Earthians”. The Greens espouse a John Lennon-style imagine-there’s-no-countries idealism that has no currency in the real world.

If people spouted this sort of stuff at barbecues or front bars beyond their university years, friends would either say they are bonkers or find an excuse to leave. The Greens are a fringe group, the loony left that attracted only 8.7 per cent of the national Senate vote last year. Yet their contributions are often provided at length, and largely unchallenged, on the public broadcasters and the Sky News daytime political coverage.

Sure, they have crucial Senate votes and are part of the political equation. But their wacky views should be challenged, exposed and derided at least as much, and probably more than, the fringe parties of the right.

Labor is chasing the Greens to the left: repeating the Occupy Wall Street inequality mantra, adopting an anti-corruption commission and toughening criticism of Adani. And, encouraged by social media and 24/7 political/media class broadcasting, the political debate is shifting with it.

In the short term, this is good news for Malcolm Turnbull as Labor runs the risk of frightening centrist voters away. But in the long term our major parties need to find a way to coalesce around mainstream values again. The Greens’ vision for Australia needs to be marginalised because it would undermine our economy, borders, alliances and character, rendering us unrecognisable and unsustainable.

Turnbull could demonstrate he understands all this by running a candidate in Batman and preferencing the Greens last.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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