Archive for July, 2009

Obamacare = Bad HMO

July 26, 2009

A group of bicyclists are riding across the country raising money to provide the latest NASA developed rehabilitative equipment called secure ambulation modules for military veterans injured in the current conflicts.   My first reaction to seeing the story on a local tv station was “isn’t that great”.  We have people wanting to devote time and energy to help injured veterans.

After thinking about it for a while,  I wondered why veterans needed outside assistance to fund their medical care.  Don’t we have a president who claims he will correct deficiencies in health care?

So why doesn’t President Barack Obama provide state of the art health care to federal employees who were “injured on the job?”   Why did he at one point suggest requiring veterans pay for their own treatment for service connected injuries?  Pressure from veterans forced him to back down.

Obama’s failure to fully cover current federal employees health care costs and  attempting to reduce the health coverage provided to former  federal  employees with on the job injuries indicates he isn’t telling the truth when he says his proposal won’t result in reduced  health coverage.

I learned long ago to evaluate politicians according to what they do rather than what they say.   Obama says his proposal will increase health care, but his actions indicate he wants to do the opposite.

I also learned that if something sounds too good to be true it probably is.   I doubt that Obama’s promises about health care are worth any more than Bernie Madoff’s promises to make his clients richer.

Will China Take Neverland?

July 11, 2009

China has taken jobs and even the Hummer from the United States.  Tom Qian of  Shanghai Daily reports that Qiu Xuefan, vice director of Wenzhou Chamber of Commerce, has announced plans to construct a smaller version of Neverland  at Xianghua Town of Chongming County, which is about an hour drive from downtown Shanghai.  The project which will cover  667,000 square meters is expected to cost 100 million yuan (US$14.6 million) and be completed in a year.

Meanwhile Gerald Posner of the   Daily Beast reports that a senior executive of Colony Capital which controls the original Neverland states that it will not be used as a  Michael Jackson museum.

No wonder China is growing economically while the U.S. is declining.  Chinese business leaders recognize opportunities that Americans do not.

Michael Jackson may or  may not have been the “greatest entertainer of all time” as his supporters claim, but he continues to be very popular.  His fans are at least as dedicated to him as Elvis Presley’s fans are to him.   Elvis Presley’s home Graceland continues to attract his fans 32 years after his death.  Paul Simon even wrote a popular song about Graceland.

Opening a museum to Michael Jackson isn’t about Jackson, it’s about his fans.   They deserve  a place  they can go to  feel close to him and remember him.

Those who aren’t sentimental or dislike Jackson should consider the economics.   A Michael Jackson memorial would create jobs.  People would work at the site.  Others would provide services to those going to and from the site.  Visitors from other states and countries would want lodgings and meals.

The Chinese recognize the potential value of a Neverland.    Why should  Michael’s fans have to travel to China to visit his memorial when we have the original?

If Colony Capital cannot recognize the value of Neverland, perhaps the citizens of California could pass a referendum to preserve the site and even make it a state park.  The referendum could authorize issuing bonds to finance purchase of the site by the state of California.  The bonds would be repaid through admission fees, memorabilia sales, etc.  The bonds might be so popular they would become a collector’s item themselves.

California legislators who want Michael’s  fans to vote for them might want to go ahead and authorize the project without waiting for a referendum.  Any excess fees from “Michael Jackson State Park” could be used to fund other state park activities.  Then there are  the tax revenues that tourism would generate.  Perhaps Congress could provide funds to upgrade roads to the site.

American music companies have often accused China of pirating American CD’s etc.  Will American apathy allow China to pirate Neverland too?  I see no harm in China providing a duplicate for Michael’s Asian fans who cannot afford to come to the United States.  Americans shouldn’t have to travel to China to visit Neverland.

China’s Neverland won’t be ready for a year.  The original  already exists and could be opened at any time.

Tom Brokaw Reduced to Infomercials

July 11, 2009

Former NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw has been reduced to doing infomercials.   I don’t know if it’s because he has some psychological need to be on tv or he lost his money to Bernie Madoff.  Perhaps he expects to profit from trading carbon credits.

Most of us have watched at least portions of infomercials.  They often use a similar format.  A shill pretending to be a real interviewer asks the questions  the seller wants to answer.

Usually the seller has a manufactured product, some medical treatment, a book or perhaps some get rich quick scheme.  The format can also be used for political candidates or ideas.

Infomercials differ from  presentations by journalists because journalists feel a duty to talk to those with  alternate views and  consider  arguments against whatever ideas the interviewee is attempting to “sell”.   Real journalists are willing to ask interviewees potentially embarrassing questions.

Brokaw’s program “Global Warming: The New Challenge With Tom Brokaw”  attempts to sell the carbon credit program begun by the Enron corporation in the 90’s.  The program repeats  the line that Enron’s Ken Lay pushed:  Minor increases in carbon dioxide supposedly will produce catastrophic global warming.

Enron had done very well selling sulfur dioxide credits and Lay realized a bigger profit could be made if the company could get a program for carbon credits.  First the company had to get government to enact a program.  Lay discovered that he could easily get the support of the Clinton administration.  Clinton even allowed Lay to suggest a framework for the Kyoto Treaty that would financially benefit the company.  Enron provided financial support for various purported environmental groups for its carbon trading program.  These facts have been known  since the Washington Post reported it in  2002 so Brokaw should have been aware of them before he did the program.

Brokaw neglects to mention that Dr. Michael Oppenheimer whom he “interviews” got his Ph. D in chemical physics rather than climatology.  The fact that Oppenheimer had an association with a political body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,  doesn’t necessarily mean he has any expertise on climate.

Oppenheimer was the manager [rather than a researcher] of the Climate and Air Program for the Environmental Defense Fund which has been openly supportive of Enron’s carbon trading proposal.    The EDF failed to criticize an Enron pipeline in Brazil that was environmentally damaging and supported an Enron wind power proposal in California.

Brokaw should have asked if it was only a coincidence that Oppenheimer left EDF for Princeton in the year after Enron imploded or if he had been paid by Enron while at EDF.    Did the fall of Enron mean the EDF could no longer afford Oppenheimer’s salary at  EDF of $197,022?  Did Oppenheimer receive more or less from Princeton when he started there?

In 2003 the Washington Post reported that money had compromised the Nature Conservancy which was an early recipient of Enron money.     Had something similar happened at EDF?

Brokaw began by repeating the standard lie that there is a “consensus” about human caused global warming.  Actually, no consensus exists.  Those on both sides can present lists of scientists taking one side or another, however, there is no real consensus about specifics.  There is no agreement about whether any warming has occurred or on whether carbon dioxide can affect temperatures.  Some scientists say CO2 can have no impact on temperature. Others argue that any impact would be extremely small.

Many astrophysicists argue that fluctuations in the sun’s output causes fluctuations in earth’s temperature.  Some believe that the sun goes through centuries long cycles and the sun may be about to enter a period when its output will decline as occurred a few centuries ago.

Supporters of warming  provide no evidence of significant global temperature change.  Their figures indicate only a 0.7 C or 1.25 F temperature (about 0.24%) change during the century.  Such a change could easily be the result of changes in equipment or its placement.  Equipment a century ago might not have been that accurate.

If Brokaw had checked he would have discovered that mathematicians have argued that the whole idea of an average global temperature is an impossibility.

Investigative weather journalist Anthony Watts has operated a blog for some time that exposes problems with the sites for temperature measurement that could lead to inflated temperatures.

In his opening Brokaw talked about global warming “hurting our wallets” and neglected to mention the high cost to consumers of carbon trading.  The money that would be made by carbon traders would come from consumers.

Brokaw repeats many of the lies made by global warming scammers.  For example, he talks about “tropical diseases” becoming a problem in temperate regions.  The fact is that malaria was a major problem in North America, including Canada, during the Revolutionary War period even though that period was much cooler than today.  Malaria was part of the cost of slavery.  African slaves brought the parasite with them from Africa and passed it along to their owners.

Brokaw like  many global warming alarmists uses “global warming” to cover up ways humans actually may harm the environment.  For example, he blames the declining amount of snow on Mt. Kilamanjaro on global warming instead of the gradual elimination of the rain forest that  provides moisture that falls as snow on the mountain.

Salt water encroachment on the Everglades in Florida is more due to human diversion of water that had flowed through the Everglades.   Salt water is moving in because too little water is flowing out rather than because of any change in sea levels.

Brokaw neglects to mentions human actions in Florida that have led to more instances of freezing weather.  The draining of wetlands in northern Florida have allowed freezing weather to move farther south into Florida’s citrus regions.

Brokaw blames global warming for increased damage from hurricanes when the real cause is excessive development in areas with a virtually 100% chance of being hit by a hurricane over the long run.

Brokaw demonstrates the real reason for the program with a segment that suggests that even if increasing the amount of CO2 doesn’t raise temperatures it might increase the growth rate of ragweed.  He neglects to mention that increasing atmospheric CO2 might allow greater growth by plants that can be used for fuel and that food crops need large amounts of carbon that they get from CO2.  For example, each molecule of sugar, sucrose, contains twelve carbon atoms.

Tom Brokaw was once one of the leading television  journalists.   His decision to  serve as a shill on this infomercial destroyed whatever credibility he once had as a journalist.

Enron’s Global Warming Scam

July 11, 2009

Remember Enron, the corrupt firm whose failure should have disproved the myth “too big to fail”, but didn’t?  At the time it was the seventh largest corporation.  It’s bankruptcy was the largest in history  until Lehman Brothers failed.  Incidentally, Lehman Brothers was also involved  in carbon trading.

Enron owed part of its early success to emissions trading.       Basically emissions trading was established as a way for some companies to profit from pollution while allowing some companies to continue to produce the chemicals that can cause acid rain.

Lawrence Solomon, executive director of  Energy Probe and Urban Renaissance Institute, is reporting that Enron played a major role in pushing  the global warming scam, including establishing the Kyoto Protocals.

Enron had already profited from trading sulfur dioxide credits and saw the  potential for even greater profits from trading what would become known as “carbon credits“.

The article is the first in a series of articles about those who seek to profit from what Weather  Channel founder John Coleman calls “the greatest scam in history.”

Solomon states,  ” The climate-change industry — the scientists, lawyers, consultants, lobbyists and, most importantly, the multinationals that work behind the scenes to cash in on the riches at stake — has emerged as the world’s largest industry. Virtually every resident in the developed world feels the bite of this industry…”  which increases the costs of various goods and services.

Enron was an early player  beginning early in the  administration of Bill Clinton to push for a carbon dioxide trading system.   Enron also sought support from environmental groups.
“Between 1994 and 1996, the Enron Foundation donated $1-million to the Nature Conservancy and its Climate Change Project, a leading force for global warming reform, while [Chairman Kenneth] Lay and other individuals associated with Enron donated $1.5-million to environmental groups seeking international controls on carbon dioxide.”

According to Solomon, “Political contributions and Enron-funded analyses flowed freely, all geared to demonstrating a looming global catastrophe if carbon dioxide emissions weren’t curbed. An Enron-funded study that dismissed the notion that calamity could come of global warming, meanwhile, was quietly buried.”

Enron advised the Clinton administration what to do at the Kyoto Japan Conference in 1997.

To improve its chances for success Enron hired former Environmental Protection Agency regulator John Palmisano to become the company’s lead lobbyist as senior director for Environmental Policy and Compliance.  Palismano wrote a memo describing the historic corporate achievement that was Kyoto.

“If implemented this agreement will do more to promote Enron’s business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring of the energy and natural-gas industries in Europe and the United States,” Polisano began. “The potential to add incremental gas sales, and additional demand for renewable technology is enormous.”

The memo, entitled “Implications of the Climate Change Agreement in Kyoto & What Transpired,” summarized the achievements that Enron had accomplished. “I do not think it is possible to overestimate the importance of this year in shaping every aspect of this agreement,” he wrote.  He cited  three issues of specific importance to Enron in the climate-change debate:  the rules governing emissions trading, the rules governing transfers of emission reduction rights between countries, and the rules governing a gargantuan clean energy fund.

Polisano’s memo expressed satisfaction bordering on amazement at Enron’s successes. The rules governing transfers of emission rights “is exactly what I have been lobbying for and it seems like we won. The clean development fund will be a mechanism for funding renewable projects. Again we won …. The endorsement of emissions trading was another victory for us.”

“Enron now has excellent credentials with many ‘green’ interests including Greenpeace, WWF [World Wildlife Fund], NRDC [Natural Resources Defense Council], German Watch, the U.S. Climate Action Network, the European Climate Action Network, Ozone Action, WRI [World Resources Institute] and Worldwatch. This position should be increasingly cultivated and capitalized on (monetized),” Polisano explained.

Those who believe in Global Warming like to claim that they are opposed by corporate interests in the form of the energy companies.  They neglect to mention that the battle isn’t against corporations, it is between different groups of corporations.  The energy companies are attempting to continue providing energy to consumers.  Companies on the other side are merely attempting to create a financial opportunity for themselves as financial parasites who provide nothing to anyone and get rich in return.

Democrats often criticize Republicans for being too close to business.  Democrats are just as close to business. They simply favor different businesses.

As  William O’Keefe, chief executive officer of the Marshall Institute, puts it:  “The American people have had enough of convoluted, indecipherable financial schemes and the opportunists who exploit them. The public is understandably angry about Wall Street’s exploitation of Main Street, and yet our political leaders are setting the stage for another complex trading market, ripe for corruption. The future Enrons and Bernie Madoffs of the world would like nothing better than to see the U.S. impose a new market for carbon emission trading.”

Al Gore An Enemy of the Environment

July 11, 2009

Contrary to a popular myth Al Gore and his followers are among the biggest enemies of the environment. Contrary to their lies carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant. CO2 is essential  to biological life.

The CO2 cycle is the basis of carbon based biological life. Plants are carbon structures and CO2 provides the carbon they need.   Carbon is the second most common element in the human body.  Humans and other animals get their energy from the complex carbon compounds plants produce.  For example, each molecule of table sugar contains  12 carbon atoms.

Plants are the original  solar energy collectors.  Plants  store solar energy as  the chemical bonds of carbon molecules. The ability of plants to grow depends upon the available sunlight and the amount of CO2 in the air.

The global warming crowd claims that the atmosphere has too much CO2, but fast growing young plants benefit from higher concentrations .  Some greenhouses use twice the concentration of CO2 to encourage faster, sturdier growth, in young plants.

Plants use CO2 to produce food for animals which return part of the CO2 to the atmosphere for plants to reuse.  Unfortunately, humans don’t return all plant carbon to the environment.  Humans use  plant carbon for building materials, clothing and long lasting paper products such as books.  Humans also put carbon containing food materials along with other carbon materials into landfills where it is unavailable for plants.

If it weren’t for the combustion of carbon containing fossil fuels we might already be facing a shortage of atmospheric CO2 that could significantly reduce food production.

Production of biofuels depends upon ample supplies of CO2.  The most productive biofuel plants would  benefit from  higher concentrations of CO2 because more carbon would be available for conversion to fuel.

CO2 provides the best way to return carbon to the environment for plants to reuse. Animals exhale CO2 as their bodies use carbon molecules  for energy.   The wind moves it from where it is produced to where plants are growing.

The CO2 molecule is one of the simplest carbon molecules and is easy for plants to take apart for construction of complex molecules.  The cell is a microscopic factory.  Its genes are programmed to process CO2 into other molecules.   Taking carbon from the air is more efficient for plants because the carbon is available where it is needed.

Contrary to the lies of Gore and others,  increasing  the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will not increase temperatures.  Niels Bohr disproved the claim that the atmosphere was heated by absorbing infrared radiation (IR) with research that indicated the process of absorbing specific wavelengths of light changed the energy state of the electrons in gas molecules instead of increasing their temperature.  Physicist R. W. Wood demonstrated in a 1909 experiment that trapping IR did not heat greenhouses as many in the 19th Century had believed and thus the process could not heat the atmosphere either.

It would be easier to make a case that increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would reduce temperatures.  Plants use CO2 to store solar energy in the form of chemical fonds of carbon molecules rather than converting it into heat.   Plant covered areas do not become as hot as nearby  areas that lack plant cover.  Bare ground converts solar radiation to heat.

Increasing the availability of CO2 means that plants can store more solar energy than is possible with current levels of  CO2.  Storing  more solar energy would reduce the amount of solar energy converted to heat.