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December 23, 2010

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Bo-- Nice summary of the issue in a nutshell. It all really comes down to a few things:

1. Is the earth's temperature change due to man significant compared to the natural changes that occur?

2. Is the panic being proposed for the US really warranted in light of these considerations:
a. Having the US attack the problem while the rest of the globe emerges economically and burns the dirty less expensive fossil fuels ignoring the cost to reduce emissions is likely futile and simply puts the US in a tougher competion economically. This is only one of the massive environmental concerns for the planet that China, Russia,India, Indonesia, Mexico and other emerging nations fail to care about. Such as: the destruction of the world's food supply, the massive pollution of the waters and the destruction of the rainforests. Just a problem as simple as killing whales and dolphins and sharks cannot be managed let alone the far greater pollution and global warming problems.
b. Will the solutions that we are proposing be effective or will carbon trading simply be another massive financial scheme to make someone rich?
c. What is the window of implementation of the solutions? The world will run out of fossil fuel effectively around 2050-70 only 50 years away. By the time we implement our solutions, to be ignored by the rest of the world , the problem will be something else. Why attack a problem that is likely going to disappear as a result of supply and demand anyway? Industry will develop and implement the new solutions when they are economical to deploy. (In 1972 we predicted that electric cars would become economically viable when oil reached $100 a barrel which it has done a couple times but cannot hold there yet.) Increasing mileage requirements of cars simply prolongs the time that we run out of fossil fuel a few years. Obama pushed for more nuclear plants and now they are on hold once again. Work on the real solutions not the politically appealing ones.
3. It is much more effective for the US to concentrate on exploiting Hydrogen,clean oil and coal reserves than to invest in expensive alternative energies before they are economically viable for these reasons:
a. Hydrogen, clean oil and clean coal can be found in abundance within the borders of the US. Exploiting these provides security of the supplies, provides jobs in the US , provides investment opportunities for US citizens , provides much needed tax revenues for the US government, reduces the outflow of US dollars for the purchase of fossil fuel increasing our balance of payments and offers an opportunity for the US to develop safety systems that can be sold to the emerging world's energy companies providing exports for America in products and services.
b. By providing an increased supply of clean fuels we reduce the amount of dirty fuels that are consumed and that alone helps the environment.
c. The rest of the world will mine and burn the fossil fuels no matter what we do. While it is appealing to take the morale high ground at the expense of jobs, our economy and the value of our dollar we do so at a very high cost. Our economy. And, when our economy is weak our people suffer. A strong economy allows us to determine our own priorities. A weak economy focuses the nation on one thing: jobs.
Those are my thoughts on the issue---today.

On the glogal warming thing, I have a linear thought process:
1. Is the earth getting warmer? Apparently, although the proponents haven't done much to help themselves by manipulating data.
2. What is causing the change? It seems clear that atmospheric changes caused by civilization have contributed, although there are other causes as well.
3. What are the implications? Bad if you live on a low-lying coast. Maybe good if you live in a desert and weather patterns change. The discussion largely jumps over this question.
4. What can be done? And what are the cost-benefit analyses of the options? The discussion jumps over most of this and focuses on largely disruptive changes in the way that energy is used.
The dabate itself is interesting. The people in the United States who will be most damaged are those who can least afford a big increase in the cost of energy in terms of the bills that they pay and the impact on industrial competitiveness (jobs.)

Harrycat--- Glad to hear you agree sort of. I don't give the sorry scientists that fabricated the data to enhance their theories as much wiggle room as you do perhaps. In my day I managed a great team of physicists and mathematicians working for DOD,DARPA, the White House as well as the American Petroleum Institue among others. When we knew something for certain we said it. When we were uncertain we documented the alternatives and probablities. Science is science. Math is math. And cheating and lying to get your way, make money or be famous is wrong. Way too many politicians do it to get elected and to reward their supporters. And then there is the issue of featherbedding---I'll leave to another time.
I must admit the discussion of political motivations and policies tends to bring out a lot of emotion and speculation of motives. I think Bill does a nice job of documenting and researching his pieces for this site. As for me, I admittedly shoot from the hip and base most of my opinions on a wide range of experiences in the government work, business ownership and interactions with my clients in many fields. This sometimes leads me to mistakes--a fact I live with in the interest of the amount of time I have. In business as CEO of several businesses I have tended to operate on the basis that intellingence is helpful, leadership is mandatory and the worst thing that leaders can do is fail to make decisions on a timely basis. Including the decision to reverse oneself when wrong.
Politically I am no where near as conservative as I appear. But, I firmly believe that in order to succeed long term an organization must balance the books. To do that America must have an expanding economy, a vibrant free enterprise system and an efficient system of government and regulations. We do not. Republicans fit that mold better than Liberals. And, for me as much as I do not think she is ready yet, Sarah Palin best represents the leadership I want to see in a President. Everyone else is just another "politician" loyal to some group with little ability to lead independently. Take care.

Bill M.
Thank you for the clarification. We are fairly much on the same page after all.
That said, I feel that part of the problem is language. Scientists may seem vague and uncertain when they are actually very well convinced of a particular supposition (such as global warming caused by man). If a scientist is asked if 2 plus 2 equals 4, then he will respond with the certainty that people will expect. However, when asked whether the sun will come up tomorrow he will equivocate and talk in likelihoods and possibilities. To the scientist almost nothing about the natural world is known with certainty. Some things are known with a very high degree of confidence, but a scientist will always hedge his statements because other scientists are listening.

To the layman this hedging looks like a lack of conviction which is really only scientist-speak.

Harrycat----If you have read my early comments on this website (which you may have missed) nearly a year ago I acknowledged that global warming due to the burning of fossil fuel is likely to be true. In the early 70's I headed one of the earliest DOD studies of the energy crisis. While global warming was only a small part of the study we concluded that it was a factor. I have no doubt it exists. However, I question to what extent it actually impacts the earth's weather compared to the impact of solar activity cycles, volcanic eruptions, changing ocean currents, temperature differentials created by massing population in cities of tens of millions of people and deforestation. I think the science on that is unclear and certainly the validity of the science has been tarnished by the games played by the zealots who want us to believe that man is creating all this versus mother nature. One of these zealots is Al Gore who makes 100's of millions off his scare tactics. And, shame on those scientists who distort the data to make a case for what they believe and have a difficult time convincing the public is true. Environmentalists, in my mind, spend all their time trying to prohibit activities rather than working to make them safer. Oil drilling is a perfect example, as is strip mining. They want to prohibit these practices rather than working for common sense solutions to make them more efficient and safer. Thanks for caring. I hope this presents a better idea of why I feel the way i do.

Bill M. -
The evidence for global warming is irrefutable. Please look further than the facts of a few days. For example, the monthly average temperature here in Maine has set a new record high for 11 months in a row with well over 100 years of data. BTW, why are you and so many Reps wedded to the idea that global warming is a hoax? Who gains from perpetuating such a hoax? Is it only a dislike for Al Gore? Take off your blinders. Global warming is real.

HERE WE GO AGAIN--Our Leaders in action!!

1. Off and running one more time in the moves to circumvent Congress and the courts. The so called "end of life clause" that was removed from the healthcare bill in order to get the votes to pass it has now been inserted under the Administration's proxy into the Medicare rules. Never worry about this Administration's intent--it is clear let the believer of their words beware.

2. Recent studies have shown the Ethanol is not only bad for the environment but it is worse for the environment than burning gasoline. Meanwhile the government is subsidizing the ethanol progam $50B a year and proposing further subsidies for ethanol. Using food products to produce ethanol drives up food prices and destroys a viable export product for America increasing our balance of trade deficit.

3. Our environmental policies and drilling restrictions that have helped bring California to undeclared bankruptcy and implemented across America by the administration are now beginning to increase the cost of gasoline at the pump. As we clear the $3 hurdle gasoline increases will begin to eat away at the stimulus gain from the social security tax reduction about to hit. Perfect timing for another way to keep the economy paying for our social program implemetation.

4. And, speak of the idiots we elect: the social security system represents one of the biggest hurdles we face as a nation in terms of entitlement programs. So what do these brilliant politicians do? Decrease the taxes for both workers and employers depriving the fund of the money and the compund interest it needs to be viable in the future and shortening the time we have to fix it. And, to make matter worse they have now set the country up once again to face another tax increase in 2012 just to get back to where we were. So if somehow we manage to get the economy moing again in 2011 then we will immediately be faced with both income and payroll tax increases and the political wars that come with them once again. Thus, we have trapped ourselves into the up and down yoyo effect of taxes. The effect of these wars on the confidence of consumers and employers is significant and this confidence yoyo plays into our economic slumps.

5. Anyone heard anything about global warming lately? Another huge blizzard in Minnesota followed by a couple feet of snow in the east that was preceeded by big rainfall in California have us all wondering where that scientific data has gone? Al Gore and his $100s of millions of dollars made promoting iffy data may have been the stimulus for that story.

6. Keep a close eye on the carbon trading policies of the EPA and hidden in the Administrations' non-congressional policies. See who emerges as the rich player in that new marketing scheme: Gore, Soros and ex Fannie Mae executives are likely in there somewhere as early "pioneer investors".

7. Amatuer night continues: Governor Richardson returns from North Korea where he held their hand (I guess) while the South Koreans played war games on the borders. On TV (in case you missed it) the Governor says If the North Koreans don't attack during these drills then perhaps it is time for some dialogue with them. Tell me please: what does Hillary Clinton do for a living? I have to give her credit: I guess if Bill Clinton couldn't crush her ego with his affairs and his constant "I am the President until I die no matter who is in office mentality" then having all these proxy Sectretary of State's running around is easy to accept.

8. And speaking of Bill Clinton. He is in charge of Haiti's reconstruction effort. After WWII the US led an effort to rebuild Europe and Japan and managed to reconstruct them in a few years. Last week security was so lax in Haiti that President Clinton could not be assured protection for a trip there to assess the recent Cholera outbreak. So, Reverand Graham's people and Sarah Palin with her husband and older kids go to show the world the devastation and the lack of response by the world governments. Just as she and her husband (who worked on the pipeline and actually has credability) showed the country what is really up in Alaska that environmentalists refuse to allow drilling on: huge tracts of barren land; the lady who refuses to be intimidated by her opponents shows once again what leadership really looks like. Meanwhile the President golfed in Hawaii.

9. Did the Isrealis really send a worm into the Iranian nuclear computers and set them back a couple years? I hope so. Meanwhile we now know that Iran has been supporting the Taliban terrorists in Pakistan. So now we have the scenario of Iranian nuclear technology possibly being used by terrorists in Pakistan to gain control of a nuclear armed government. Or to use against targets in the west. Or against India. I would say that at this time in history the most likely scenario for terrorists to get a nuclear weapon is from Iran. It would be more comforting to know that the line President Obama drew in the sand two December's ago really mean't something more than we see.

And, so it continues as we wind down 2010. Not a pretty picture of the future but always hope that America will find a way to solve our problems as we go, mobilize the peaceful countries of the world and find a way to build a future for our children. It is indeed unfortunate that we seem to have lapsed into a two year planning cycle based on elections and that both parties cannot listen to the people, join together and work toward long term solutions.

In all my years of following President's and their work I have never seen one so focused on a continual campaign dialogue as President Obama. For his believers I'm sure it sounds good: the march to the promised land. For those of us who believe that individuals are best suited to lead through the free enterprise system it is frustrating to listen to the man sing his everything for nothing song. And, for me personally this era brings back memories of the 1970's and 80's when I listened to many preach the wonders of socialism and communism before the USSR collapsed in the late 80's as Europe may be doing now. And the late 80's when Japanese success fueled the argument for government planned and subsidized industries follwed by Japan's collapse in the 90's. America can only avoid the same if we get control of entitlements and fiscal deficits soon. Let's hope we do.

What is the difference between conservatives and liberals as eplained by a father to his college daughter?

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she
considered herself to be very liberal, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of
higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch conservative, a feeling she
openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat
with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep
what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even havetime for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying. Her father listened and then asked, “How is your friend Audrey doing?” She replied, “Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over.”

Her wise father asked his daughter, “Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.” The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, “That's a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I've worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!”

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, “Welcome to the conservative side of the fence.”


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