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Damn you, Krauthammer!

25 Feb 14
CK stole my thunder with a piece in the Washington Post.  I had just read about the disappearance of a lake in Iran and have been trying since to find time to sit and address one point made by the author.  But I learned in the meantime that Charles Krauthammer (almost always the smartest guy in the room) was already firmly under the skin of those open-minded people who are so tolerant that they insist on silencing ANYONE who disagrees with them.  And I wanted to be that guy!  People who think we need to dump our national treasure on redistribution scams based on chicken little-ing “changes” in our climate have been lobbying news papers to not print Krauthammer’s article.  So much for the free exchange of ideas.
But what am I saying?  This is settled science!  There is no questioning it. If you do, you’re a hater.  A DENIER!  Case in point:  Everybody knows the earth s flat.  It’s settled science.  The earth is flat and the stars are little lights floating just above it.  This Galileo jackass is simply a hater.  He hates the Pope.  he hates Catholics, and he’s flat wrong…No wait.  Uh…
No, I have a better one; this whole flying thing.  A bunch of rich eccentrics and socially stunted people hook wings to their backs and to bicycles and think they’ll fly like birds.  IT IS IMPOSSIBLE.  You’ll never find the propulsion to overcome gravity and…What?  They did?  When?  Shit!
Well, there is no way they’ll ever convince anyone that global warming isn’t settled science.  Hah!  We got them there.  So, okay, the guy who invented the idea made some dodgy assumptions, and he won’t show ALL his processes for closer review, and he even admitted that he increased the numbers to create a dramatic increase in the out years because the people need to be shocked into paying attention.  But this is hard and fast science! It must be.  Because from that day to this, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been using that data to flim-flam, er uh, educate the world on the subject; that very same data.  When the IPCC own in-house scientists don’t come up with models that are shocking enough or address the right terrible conditions in the right locations, they are sent back to rewrite their findings until they do.  That’s why so many real scientists have left the IPCC.
Okay, here endeth the sarcasm.  I do it because it’s fun.  I use it to drive my GW friends crazy.  I don’t know why they put up with me.  Maybe it’s my collection of Axe fragrances – for men!  But they love me and I…allow them to.
But here’s something that is disturbingly not sarcastic, from none other than our chief “diplomat”.  In this little vignette, Kerry starts by saying it is time for a frank discussion.  He then goes on a bit of a tear starting at 20:19.  At the end of this rant, before going on with how we all need to work together and contribute (read – take from you and give to them) he then refers to anyone who disagrees with the concept of global warming – even as a matter of degree, or points out it’s clear inconsistencies – as the flat earth society.  Why is it not at all surprising that he sounds just like Maduro who, just today said he wants dialogue with his opponents in Venezuela and then goes on to call them fascists?  The flat-earth comment carries all the intellectual heft and social maturity of a middle school debate considering the question: “Is Bobby Biffmeyer the cutest guy in homeroom, or what?!”
Like many people, like Krauthammer, I neither deny climate change, that’s what it does constantly, or the possibility of global warming. I just don’t think it is as certain and demonstrable as gravity or water freezing as our SOSUS says.  And I am very happy with the amazing progress North America has made to clean up the air and waterways over the last forty years.  But there is much to debate on this issue, not the least of which being the self-destruction of circular claims that GW/CC causes rain, draught, storms, heat, cold, longer growing seasons, famine all at the same time.  The only things that can be said with confidence is that there is more carbon in the air now than at SOME other times, and that time will tell if we are actually in a constant warming trend. We’ve been stalled for well over a decade now.  It must reasonably be allowed for that the late 80s/early 90s may have just been a warm time.  There will always be a warmest month, year, decade, century in a world which might, at any given time, be generally warming or generally cooling.  Think millennially. (Is that a real word?  I’m not sure, but auto-correct didn’t bust me on it.)
But I get real nervous when the political class tells us, “Act now, don’t think, just do what we say!”
A bit more on what is unsettled science; those pesky ice-sheets.  While we are told the ice is melting, we have reached the end of many of the last winters with a larger ice mass than the year before.  This year, Lake Superior froze.  That hasn’t happened in a while.  (For the psycho freak who dropped F-bombs on me for having a simple discussion without qualified citation last week…here you go.  Read ANY news story about Lake Superior two weeks ago.  IT FROZE!)  Update:  As of 4 March, all but Lake Ontario are frozen and LO is slushy.
Also, if the ice sheet has been melting at such an alarming rate over the last half of the century – an alarming rate – why haven’t the oceans risen at an alarming rate?  There are two reasons sure to offend the GW/CC dogmatists.  It really isn’t melting at an alarming rate.  It comes, it goes. And, when water-born ice melts, it contributes amazing little, if at all, to the volume of water supporting it.  I am blowing raspberries at the ice-sheet melting proponents right now.  Damn, now I have little drops of spit on my screen.
Anyway, to my thunder that bloody Krauthammer stole.
In this bit of lazy journalistic advocacy Live Science staff writer and political advocate for the IPCC, Denise Chow writes about the disappearance of Lake Oroumieh, a large, shallow body of salt water.  In it, she lists the causes for the lakes impending demise; indiscriminate damning and irrigation from tributaries and underground sources to the lake.  To this she adds the now obligatory “and the effects of climate change”.   
Of course when water flow is blocked and source water is drained away from a lake, these are facts that can be observed and verified with simple observation.  BUT!  How much did “climate change” contribute to the reduction of water in that basin?  Seven square miles?  Seven gallons? Seven tablespoons?  The question cannot be answered.  There is no algorithm, no formula, not a single shred of evidence hard or deduced to indicate that the wide-ranging conditions in our climate contributed uniquely to this or any other anomaly presently occurring on the planet. NONE.
The simple fact in play here is that the GW/CC movement is now the engine being used to convince developed countries that they must give control over more of their treasure to people who will redistribute it (well most of it) to the less fortunate countries.  Those countries will then use it to build green energy infrastructures.  In much the same way the American government used the outlandish fines levied on the cigarette companies for smoking prevention programs for kids.  A little spoiler:  they didn’t.  It was all syphoned off for other uses.  This after the federal and state governments colluded and continue to collude in the distribution of tobacco products.  And so it shall be with GW/CC funds.  
It doesn’t take a PhD to see what tinpot “leaders” of many of these countries will do with the wealth they receive after the GW/CC do-gooders take their cut.  There will be the usual disbursements to political loyalists and the construction of lavish governmental facilities and even some real projects that help people.  But there will be little, if any, green energy anything undertaken.  It is too far down the list of priorities for people who have enough to do just to survive; survive in the existing climate.
Still, it is the thumb in the eye to the West and the feel-good utopianism of “sharing” with the developing world that people like Ms Chow and/or her editors cannot resist.  So, whenever there is a storm, a draught, a flood, a sudden sweep in temperature, it is followed by occasionally accurate analysis along with a plug for an ever-more discredited concept being used to create a more perfect world. All of this brought to you by people who have declared themselves much smarter than you.

My point is this.  We need better, more testable, transparent information before we go off now, now, NOW, throwing money at climate issues.  I have yet to hear anyone, including the scientists in magazines and other media (yeah, I’m a nerd, I watch and read this stuff) offer more than anecdotal or finite time-frame evidence on the subject.  If there really is such a thing as catastrophic climate change looming, and I hope there isn’t, we need more than “we have CO2, some recorded temperatures have been warmer than others, therefore we are going to all die in the next 200 years”.  Insert whatever claim you wish as the result, there just isn’t enough information available to hang your hat on.  We have only had accurate measuring devices, i.e. thermometers that can consistently measure to a tenth of a degree in the last half century.  And we know of warmer times that have come and gone since the last ice age.  We need more facts.  The impatience of proponents is not a reason to do anything.  
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Minimum Wage Laws = Minimum Thinking

George Will once posited this question, that if by some miracle everyone’s net worth and income measured against purchasing power were to triple overnight,  would the howling about income disparity suddenly go away? The answer is, of course not.  The reason is because pundits and politicians favored by the non-thinking class would point out that the lower third on the income ladder are still the lower third, and therefore cannot afford the four bedroom, three bathroom lake house the middle third now can.  And that isn’t fair.  One should fold one’s arms and stomp a foot when uttering that last sentence. Assume I’ve done that for you.
Fortunately, the free market system does not address what is “fair” in terms of how big your bank account is, how much I get paid, how shiny and fast his car is.  That is up to you, your upbringing and your decision-making. In the free market, and I would contend in a truly civilized society, the citizens have the sense and the strength of character to live their lives without complaining about the possessions and success of another, beyond perhaps a compliment on the qualities of whatever it is that person has garnered.   The compliment would be a simple pleasantry.  The rest is none of our business.  Further, we meddle with opportunities and the methods of success of others at our own peril.
This is axiomatic in the thinking of truly successful people; people who made their own way in the world without resorting to the insulting of, or interference in, the lives of others.  Wow, the heads of Occupy Wall Street fans are exploding all over the country right now.  Most, despite the fact that many are members of the 1% they pretend to despise and privileged with a college education, don’t understand the first sentence of this paragraph.  And those that do, know it’s true but also know they’ll never be able to apply their global warming degrees with such dangerous ideas still lurking in the minds of thinking people. 
How does this apply to the minimum wage?  Let’s go back to the politicians mentioned above.  They know that a large majority of people think it’s okay to raise the minimum wage.  They also know, but wouldn’t dare mention, that a vanishingly small number of people actually work for what is presently the federal minimum wage.  They also know a few more things.
First, the sector of the economy for which this wage was introduced (never having a lasting impact on those it was intended to help) is the unskilled, entry level or supplementary income sector.  Wait staff in mid to low quality restaurants, gas station attendants, unskilled construction labor (we used to call them go-fers),  janitorial staff, etc.  Because of the simplicity and often the flexibility of working in these sectors, these jobs were typically offered to teenagers to give them entree into the working world and teach them a work ethic.  For others it was supplemental income. None of the jobs the minimum wage laws are aimed at were ever intended to be a livelihood and were not designed economically to be so.  The fact that middle-aged people have crowded out entry-level kids at Walmart is neither our, nor Walmart’s, fault.
These same pandering pols also know that the electorate is shamefully uninformed.  The average voter is asked, “Do you think people at the bottom of the income ladder should have more money?”  And the average voter says “Sure, why not?”  If asked, “Should the government mandate what a person’s wages should be?”  You’d get a sneer, at best.  The correct answer is, of course, what an employer and an employee agree on, in the exchange of time for money, is absolutely none of the government’s business.  And the legislation to meddle in such arrangements is a waste of time and money.  But there are politicians in need of cover from real issues, so here we are again.
Will made another great point just today, in fact.  Who will pay for this rise in the minimum wage?  Well, by huge disproportion it will be the poor, of course.  Who does the most business with those earning minimum wage?  It isn’t politicians.  It’s not the guy who drives a Jaguar.  It’s people who eat and shop as inexpensively as possible.  They will finance the lion’s share of this stupid idea.  And only a mouth-breathing idiot really believes that hours and jobs won’t be lost and prices increased at those very establishments to offset completely, the new wage.
As a side note, both McDonalds and Walmart already pay above the prevailing minimum wage in most cases.  Not all their stores, of course, pay the proposed minimum wage to new employees.  Most employees presently move past that $10.10 figure rather quickly.
Here’s a cool result of coming up with the magic number of $10.10/hr. to solve the woes of the down-trodden.  The down-trodden get to remain so a bit longer as employers will be less generous with promotions and raises for established employees.  And another!  This will incentivize some restaurants to finally employ technology that’s been out there for years. Automated ordering.  Wawa stores are kicking ass with it.  In fact they have been able to hire more people to cover the growth in business, so that just might be a wash in extremely well-run businesses.  It won’t matter though.  Occupy Wall Street-types will put on their shabby chic outfits and urinate in front of any restaurant that tries it.
This latest iteration of pretending to care about poor people is the brain child, as it always is, of politicians who find themselves in a hole and in need of some handy misdirection.  The present administration has been an abysmal failure on absolutely every front.  Between blatant failure, to corruption, to deaths by the administration’s ineptitude (Bengazi) or design (Fast and Furious), this is a White House in constant need of Occupy Wall Street-esque distractions.  Follow any news stream from the beginning and you will find programs trumpeted, programs failed, then the “rich” attacked and/or the “poor” pandered to.  It is so naked it is embarrassing to watch.
The CBO reports that the new wage mandate will cost a few million jobs although there’s a negligible chance no jobs would be lost.  This is good news according to the White House.  They say that a few million isn’t too many people to worry about and it MIGHT be none!  Last week they were saying that the 2.5 million jobs estimated to be destroyed by OBAMACARE will be an excellent opportunity for some of us to relax and get out of those jobs we’re trapped in.
Unions love the minimum wage also.  As soon as it goes into effect, mark my words, they will point to union employees and say, “Look at poor Charlie over there”, doing a job he never chose to  grow out of.  “Poor fella is only making $2.00/hr over minimum wage!  That’s a disgrace!  He needs a raise.”  The effect this has on the bank accounts of the pure-of-heart union “leadership” will only be a happy coincidence .
More and more (but not nearly enough yet) people are realizing that the government is a standing insult in many ways, this being one of them. Whenever politicians/unions claim to be “helping the little guy”, know with crystal clarity that the only people being helped are the political class and their own incumbency and personal gain.
Those who we are told will benefit directly from an increase in the minimum wage will see their gains eaten away rather quickly as the entire economy floats to a corresponding position with respect to their  big pay raise.
I know, I know.  I say all these things because I am a hater.   All fiscal conservatives are, right?  If I had the wisdom to be found in a drum circle or Justin Beiber pajama party, I’d be totally on board with this minimum thinking idea.
Remember, government that assumes it can decide your minimum wage can also decide your maximum wage.  It’s been tried.  Read up on Nixon.

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Toes in the Water

3 Mar 14

I have been reading The Economist quite a bit lately.  One might think with a name like that you’d find clear-eyed, conservative content; not at all.  It is a product from across the pond and is chock full of some of the most well-worn liberal drivel in print.  Last year they ran an article in which they made the case, not tongue-in-cheek, that the only thing wrong with Obama’s brilliant foreign policy programs is that they simple didn’t work.  Other than that they were remarkable.  The Economist has drunk of the global warming kool aid and gone back for seconds.  This exposure to “progressive” aspirations tarted up as journalism is not isolated.  But since the articles are well written the periodical has inspired me to a new mission.

I have decided to engage the political opposition in a blow-by-blow, ongoing discussion.  I will engage videos, satire, articles and entire publications in argument.  I will point out where they get it wrong and where they get it right.  I will be armed with my 55 years as a realist and an eye toward history.  I also invite readers from across the socio-political zoo to take me on.  You can push back on my assertions, suggest topics or lavish me with praise as you see fit.  I’ll get to as many as I can.  Early on that will be easy.  As we grow, it may become a challenge.  But we’ll make the trip together.

Look for posts to start appearing soon.