Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Green Energy Bubble Is Bursting Fast Everywhere

The Green Energy Bubble Is Bursting Fast Everywhere

by Steven Hayward in Energy Policy, Environment

So the tech bubble burst a decade ago, and the housing bubble five years ago. The higher education bubble is swelling to the bursting point, but it is the green energy bubble that is bursting loudest at the moment, and as usual environmentalists are slow to see that they’re about to get run over by a revival of the hydrocarbon economy. Those old dinosaurs may have been big lumbering animals, but the nimble fossil fuels they threw off are crushing the so-called green “fuels of the future” beloved of fruit-juice drinkers and vegans everywhere.

Item: In an extremely curious New York Times story last week, Times environmental writer John Broder notes that President Obama pushed hard for the final approval of Shell Oil’s long sought permit to begin drilling in a new offshore oil field in Alaska, which has been held up for years by bureaucratic red tape and environmental lawsuits:
The president’s preoccupation with the Arctic proposal, even as the nation was still reeling from the BP spill, was the first hint that Shell’s audacious plan to drill in waters previously considered untouchable had gone from improbable to inevitable.
Yes, Obama played to the cheap green seats by delaying the Keystone pipeline, but the Alaska decision shows where the real action is. As the Times story continues:
And now, the president is writing a new chapter in the nation’s unfolding energy transformation, in this case to the benefit of fossil fuel producers.

“We never would have expected a Democratic president — let alone one seeking to be ‘transformative’ — to open up the Arctic Ocean for drilling,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.
Well get used to it Michael. It’s what happens when you make yourself a wholly-owned subsidiary of one political party. If you go further into the story, the irony emerges that the key to breaking the bureaucratic logjam to approve the permit was a Democratic president and a Democratic senator from Alaska (Mark Begich) who would like to be re-elected:
The intensity of Shell’s campaign was matched by the fervor of Mark Begich, the new senator from Alaska. He had won his seat in something of a fluke, defeating the longtime Republican incumbent, Ted Stevens, who was ensnared in what later turned out to be a deeply flawed Justice Department corruption investigation.

No politician in Alaska can survive as an opponent of any oil development, including those in the waters of the Arctic, the National Petroleum Reserve and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Mr. Begich enthusiastically supported all three.

When he first met Mr. Obama at a mayors’ conference in June 2008, Mr. Begich said, he told him, “If I’m elected, this is what I’m going to focus on.”

Being a crucial Democratic vote in a narrowly divided Senate representing a decidedly Republican state gave Mr. Begich leverage. Whenever the president called to court his support — on health care, climate change, the debt ceiling or budget matters — Mr. Begich always turned the discussion to oil and gas in Alaska, particularly Arctic exploration.

“Any time he initiated a call, I felt that was carte blanche to make my case,” Mr. Begich said. A chronology of his contact with the Obama administration on Arctic oil issues fills six pages.

He came to believe that his re-election hinged on delivering a reluctant president on oil issues, particularly drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Arctic.

A Begich aide said that the unstated premise of every conversation with the president was, “You need me, and I need the O.C.S.”
Item: Meanwhile, on the other side of the ledger, Obama has grown very quiet about climate change. He can spot a political loser from a Chicago mile away. He’s not attending the UN’s 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit that started the whole climate diplomacy circus. Twenty years ago the greens browbeat President Bush to attend, which he ultimately did. But the craven greens seem to be giving Obama a pass. As Roll Call reports:
President Barack Obama’s first Earth Day proclamation in 2009 was an urgent call to address global warming. This year? The word “climate” didn’t even get a mention. . .

Gone are the urgent statements warning of melting glaciers and rising sea levels. Indeed, the energy and environment page at now shows a photo of the president walking in front of segments of oil pipeline, and the White House never neglects an opportunity to tout its support for domestic oil and natural gas drilling. In briefings on background, senior administration officials now talk about exporting fracking technology, which has caused natural gas production to boom and prices to fall.
This Washington Post headline tells why the enviros are about to get run over:

From Canada to Colombia to Brazil, oil and gas production in the Western Hemisphere is booming, with the United States emerging less dependent on supplies from an unstable Middle East. Central to the new energy equation is the United States itself, which has ramped up production and is now churning out 1.7 million more barrels of oil and liquid fuel per day than in 2005. . .

“We have a revolution here,” said Larry Goldstein, director of the Energy Policy Research Foundation in New York. “In 47 years in this business, I’ve never seen anything like this. This is the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane.”
Item: It’s not just here that the left-leaning party is jumping in front of the fossil fuel parade. It’s happening in Germany, too, where the pledge to phase out nuclear power is looking increasingly unrealistic and where renewable energy subsidies are being cut sharply. That’s not enough: some leading Social Democrats have called for building . . . more coal-fired power plants (gasp)!
The SPD politician [North Rhine-Westphalia's Prime Minister Hannelore Kraft] pleaded for the construction of new coal-fired power plants. “We will continue to need fossil fuel plants as a bridge technology,” she said. After all, the Social Democrats had strengthened their vote in the recent state election because of the SPD’s very aggressively support for industry.
And the Berliner Morgenpost reports:
The German government no longer believes in the green energy transition. Doubts are growing in the ruling coalition government that the ecological project can succeed.
Have a nice day, green weenies. Your party is over. Deal with it.

(And yes, it’s almost enough to award a Green Weenie Lifetime Achievement Award. But I’ll resist the temptation.)

Combative Romney team hits Obama coast-to-coast

Combative Romney team hits Obama coast-to-coast
by Byron York Chief Political Correspondent
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds a news conference outside the Solyndra manufacturing facility, Thursday, May 31, 2012, in Fremont, Calif. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

In the course of a couple of hours Thursday, the Romney campaign sent out unmistakable signals that it intends to fight the guerilla warfare of a presidential campaign with a new aggressiveness and combativeness.

The first signal came in Boston, where top Obama adviser David Axelrod organized an anti-Romney event on the steps of the Massachusetts state house. The event, which Team Obama wanted to keep under wraps until shortly before it happened, was to feature remarks from Axelrod and Democratic state officeholders who would attack Romney's record as governor from 2003 to 2007. But it didn't work out as planned.

First, word of the event leaked last night, and the Romney campaign quickly scheduled an event of its own at the state house about an hour before Axelrod's. Then, when Democrats began speaking, a crowd of about 100 Romney workers, supporters, and volunteers showed up to chant, shout, and heckle the speakers every step of the way. The protesters shouted "Solyndra!" and "Where are the jobs?" and "Mitt, Mitt, Mitt!" while Democrats gamely attacked Romney's tenure as governor.

"I get tweets from some of these folks, so I feel close to them," Axelrod lamented at one point. At another, he said simply, "Look, this is the great pageant of democracy." In the end, the Obama event was overshadowed by the loud, aggressive Romney forces.

It was the kind of tactic that is usually repaid in kind on the campaign trail, and it seems likely -- certain, actually -- that Romney surrogates, and perhaps Mitt Romney himself, will soon face similar actions at their events. But Romney aides aren't worried, saying what they did was both payback and a message.

"They heckle us at every single event we go to," says a well-connected Romney aide. "Just last week, Romney did a speech at the bridge to nowhere [in New Hampshire] and alluded to the 'Greek chorus' that was off to the side." Indeed, as Romney talked about government waste, a group of Democrats stood at some distance and shouted "Obama! Obama! Obama!" Romney faced a similar scene at another event in New Hampshire, in a fishing village, when he and Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte were hounded by pro-Obama protesters. And pro-Obama forces also staged a big protest when Romney gave his speech on the economy in Detroit in February.

So Team Romney views the Boston event as payback. But they also, by striking back bigger and louder, want to send a message to Team Obama that Romney is ready to fight.
Romney aides characterize the Axelrod event as a "sneak attack" in Romney's home territory. "The Obama campaign thought they were going to come into our own turf and launch a dishonest sneak attack on Gov. Romney's record," says the Romney aide. "We're not going to allow that to happen. We are going to hold them accountable every single time."

Indeed, Mitt Romney himself, a short time later, said, "If they're going to be heckling us, why, we're not going to sit back and play by very different rules….We'll show them that we conservatives have the same kind of capacity he does."

Where Romney was speaking was another message from his campaign. Shortly after the Boston event, Romney launched a sneak attack of his own, holding a news conference at the headquarters of Solyndra, the bankrupt solar energy company that received $535 million in loan guarantees from the Obama administration. According to reporters traveling with Romney, the campaign did not tell the press about the event until the bus was actually on its way to Solyndra.

"The reason for keeping it quiet is because we knew if word got out that Solyndra would do everything in their power and the Obama administration would do everything in their power to stop us from having this news conference," a Romney aide told reporters, according to an ABC News account. "But taxpayers made a substantial investment in Solyndra, there are serious questions about what happened at Solyndra, why that investment was selected, what happened to that money."

The bottom line is, Thursday marked a new escalation in the day-to-day fighting between the Obama and Romney campaigns. And Team Romney hopes it has sent a very clear message that it will punch, and counter-punch, as hard as is necessary.

Where is the outrage?

Examiner Columnist
Information of at least some and possibly great importance to the public was suppressed.
An elite selected who would be privy to that information and when the sharing would take place. As a result, decisions that people regret were made and cannot now be reversed.

A reason for outrage?

Apparently yes, if the situation is profit projections for Facebook, which were provided to key investors but withheld from most buyers of the now famously disappointing IPO.

But definitely not with regards to the facts about the shameful private life of John Edwards.  Some journalists had key facts about the Edwards for months and perhaps more than a year before disclosing them to the public.

Many people supported Edwards, donated to him, or didn't support Hillary in a crucial stretch of 2007-2008 because the truth about Edwards wasn't known to the public. Do we know when journalists actually came to believe the truth but didn't run it?

Where, to quote Bob Dole, is the outrage? Shouldn't there be at least as much outrage as is showing up in the aftermath of the Facebook face plant?

When the book "Game Change" debuted in February, 2010, I and thousands of others were riveted by the book's disclosures about Edwards and many other key players in the 2008 election.  I waited for someone to press co-authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann on the issue of what did they know and when did they know it, but journalists covering the book generally shrugged their shoulders and passed over the issue of keeping crucial information from the public while a book can be readied for publication.

The same questions arise whenever Bob Woodward puts out another super-duper exclusive based on access that he denies the subscribers of the Washington Post (and the shareholders of the Washington Post Company) until he can bank his advance and royalties.

Now the Post's David Maraniss arrives with a blockbuster on the life of Barack Obama. Many people are surprised by many aspects of the president's early life --a long-stretch of stoner lifestyle and composite girlfriends and made-up history-- I am wondering how hard was it to find the president's high school yearbook in which he salutes his pusher, or his real New York girlfriend who didn't break-up with him after a play they didn't see.

As you read this, the Los Angeles Times continues its suppression of a videotape of the president toasting radical academic Khalid Rashidi, even as the paper accepts grants from the Ford Foundation to "expand its coverage of key beats."  Why does Ford trust the Times when the Times doesn't trust the public?

The list goes on and on.  Manhattan-Beltway media elites are free to make up their own rules about what they wish to disclose and what they wish to withhold, and what they can share among themselves or keep locked in the basement in order to protect their favorite politicians and causes.

And they can certainly engage in the most hilarious of sanctimonious handwringing about non-disclosue of Facebook profit projections. They can find, as the Los Angeles Times did, disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to intone about Facebook that "you can't false and misleading material information to people, when you know it is false and you correct it to some and not to others."

They can do all those things, but they cannot expect the public to keep a straight face.

So when you next read any story on the Facebook fallout, substitute "the behavior of Edwards" or "Obama's biography" for "Facebook profit projections," and "journalists" for "investment bankers," and see if you can recall anything approaching the high dudgeon aimed at Wall Street sharpies being directed at elite media poobahs who manipulate the information flows for their own benefit.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Barack Obama, Skinflint?

Barack Obama, Skinflint?

by John Hinderaker in 2012 Presidential Election, Federal Budget, Obama administration

I ran across this piece by Rex Nutting on Market Watch today. Nutting’s thesis is aptly summed up by the title: “Obama spending binge never happened.” He begins:
Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree. … Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an “inferno” of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children’s future. Even Democrats seem to think it’s true.
But it didn’t happen.
As John Barth put it in a very different context, this is “an Assertion Not Lightly Matched for Its Implausibility.” Where on Earth does Nutting get the idea that Obama has been a miser when it comes to the federal budget? He offers this chart:

You will immediately note one key fact about Nutting’s calculations: he begins Obama’s administration in FY 2010. That seems odd, since Obama became president in January 2009. What is going on here? Nutting’s explanation is disingenuous:
Here are the facts, according to the official government statistics:
• In the 2009 fiscal year — the last of George W. Bush’s presidency — federal spending rose by 17.9% from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. Check the official numbers at the Office of Management and Budget.
• In fiscal 2010 — the first budget under Obama — spending fell 1.8% to $3.46 trillion.
So he attributes the 2009 budget to Bush, and 2010 to Obama. This makes all the difference in the world, since Obama’s first year, 2009, was the year when federal spending exploded, in part, but by no means entirely, because of the “stimulus” bill. Federal spending in FY 2009 leaped by $535 billion–more than a half trillion dollars–compared to FY 2008. Since then, Obama and the Democrats have maintained that extraordinarily high level, but increased it only modestly. That is because the Republicans took control of the House in 2010.

But why would Nutting attribute FY 2009 spending to President Bush rather than President Obama? Obama was president for more than 2/3 of that fiscal year. Nutting implies that Bush was somehow responsible for the FY 2009 budget and the spending that eventually occurred, months after he left office.

But this is incorrect. Bush never saw a FY 2009 budget. The Democratic Congress waited until Obama had been sworn in to pass a budget, and he signed the FY 2009 budget on March 12 of that year. Bush had nothing to do with it. The stimulus funds were added on top of the regular appropriations for FY 2009; Bush had nothing to do with that, either. Altogether, Congress spent more than $400 billion more in FY 2009 than Bush had asked to be appropriated in his budget proposal, which the Democrats ignored.

So Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress own the FY 2009 spending.

Let’s redo the math, putting responsibility for the Democrats’ spending extravaganza in 2009 where it belongs.

In 2009, Obama and the Congress increased spending by $535 billion over the FY 2008 baseline. Spending dipped slightly in 2010 as fewer stimulus dollars were spent, and has risen again since then. If you add up the amounts by which spending in FYs 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 has exceeded the FY 2008 baseline, it is $2.44 trillion, almost exactly one-half of the $5 trillion in new debt that has been racked up during the Obama administration.

Federal spending in FY 2008 was $2,983,000,000 (rounded). In FY 2012, it is projected to be $3,796,000,000 (rounded). I am using budget, not off-budget numbers; if you add the off-budget numbers, they are worse for Obama. That means that on Obama’s watch, spending has increased by $813 billion, or 27% over the 2008 baseline. Annualizing that growth in a crude fashion, we get 6.75% per year, rather than Nutting’s 1.4%. This is, in other words, a classic case of using bogus numbers to deceive one’s readers. Barack Obama is indeed the drunken sailor that virtually every American takes him for.

UPDATE: This is another key statistic: since the Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007, federal spending has increased 39%, by more than $1 trillion.

The Radical Transformation of Barack Obama

The Radical Transformation of Barack Obama

by John Hinderaker in 2012 Presidential Election, Obama administration

Barack Obama set out to radically transform America, but, as he nears the end of his term, a funny thing has happened: America has radically transformed him instead.
The latest evidence of this is the Obama campaign’s most recent trial balloon: don’t believe that stuff about Obama being a big spender; really, he is a fiscal conservative. More than that, a virtual tightwad! Now, Obama never had any intention of being a green-eyeshade president. He has done everything he can to spend the largest possible amount of money and incur the largest possible amount of debt. His budgets are so irresponsible that no one–literally–will vote for them. Yet, as he seeks re-election, his campaign bows to reality. His handlers can’t baldly state the truth, which is that Obama has presided over the highest levels of spending and the highest deficits (by a factor of three) in American history. To have any hope of re-election, they have to distort Obama’s record beyond recognition.
Likewise in foreign policy. President Obama took office determined to run a whole new kind of foreign policy, reaching out to Muslim countries, downsizing American power, apologizing for America’s supposed past wrongdoing. But that didn’t last long; at least, not as a publicly proclaimed strategy. As he runs for re-election, Obama’s foreign policy claims can be summed up easily: his administration killed Osama bin Laden and, with drone attacks, lots of other terrorists, too. Oh, and that stuff about closing Guantanamo Bay and trying terrorists in federal court in New York City? Never mind.
Or consider energy policy. Obama took office with a professed determination to raise the costs of electricity and gasoline by destroying the coal industry, limiting access to domestic fossil fuels, and so on. No doubt Obama still believes in those policy goals (i.e., the impoverishment of the American people). But impoverishment isn’t a good re-election platform, so Obama’s theme now is “drill baby, drill.” He absurdly tries to take credit for increasing oil and natural gas production on private lands–production which is taking place only because Obama lacked the power to stop it.
What must Obama’s left-wing supporters make of his re-election campaign? No doubt they still trust him for the same reason they always have: they think he is lying. They expect that if he gets a second term, he will have more “flexibility,” as Obama himself put it, and will be able to lurch to the left on these issues and others, as his supporters have always expected him to. That assumption likely is correct. Still, it is heartening to see how facing the voters forces Obama to bow to reality, at least rhetorically.

Green Supremacism: The Morgenthau Plan Reborn

 By Ed Driscoll

The other night, I was watching a 1995-era History Channel show on the Nuremberg Trials — it was a classic case of clicking ’round the Roku box to see what was “new” at Netflix. I put “new” in quotation marks since so much of what’s available there in streaming format unfortunately consists of flotsam and jetsam I had either watched a decade or two ago, and/or shows I probably wouldn’t give the time of day to, except that the novelty of streaming video via the Internet still hasn’t worn off.

The History Channel show on the Nuremberg Trials mentioned in passing the Morgenthau Plan, a scheme for postwar Germany that was viciously punitive, if understandably so, and crafted by Henry Morgenthau, Jr., FDR’s Treasury secretary, around 1944. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:
The Morgenthau Plan, proposed by United States Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., advocated that the Allied occupation of Germany following World War II include measures to eliminate Germany’s ability to wage war.
  • In the original proposal this was to be achieved in three main steps.
  • Germany was to be partitioned into two independent states.
  • Germany’s main centers of mining and industry, including the Saar area, the Ruhr area and Upper Silesia were to be internationalized or annexed by neighboring nations.
  • All heavy industry was to be dismantled or otherwise destroyed.
At the Second Quebec Conference on September 16, 1944, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Henry Morgenthau, Jr. persuaded the initially very reluctant British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to agree to the plan, likely using a $6 billion Lend Lease agreement to do so. Churchill chose however to narrow the scope of Morgenthau’s proposal by drafting a new version of the memorandum, which ended up being the version signed by the two statesmen.

The memorandum concluded “is looking forward to converting Germany into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in its character.”
As that Wikipedia page goes on to note, cooler heads eventually prevailed after the war. Otherwise, just as East Germany traded one totalitarian regime for another, West Germany would have traded the nightmare of Hitler’s scorched earth policy when he knew the war was lost for the Allies’ own scorched earth policy afterwards. Wikipedia quotes former president Herbert Hoover, who reminded advocates of the Morgenthau Plan in 1947 that “There is the illusion that the New Germany left after the annexations can be reduced to a ‘pastoral state’. It cannot be done unless we exterminate or move 25,000,000 people out of it.” West Germany would go on to become an industrial powerhouse, albeit one with a US military base located within it, just in case

And while the Morgenthau Plan is now merely a footnote in history, ever since the late ’60s and early 1970s, the desire for punitive reprimitivization on a global scale has become all the rage amongst the wackier elements of the environmental left, including the fellow recently spotlighted by John Aziz at the Zero Hedge econo-blog, whom Aziz dubs “The Face of Genocidal Eco-Fascism”:
This is Finnish writer Pentti Linkola — a man who demands that the human population reduce its size to around 500 million and abandon modern technology and the pursuit of economic growth — in his own words.

He likens Earth today to an overflowing lifeboat:
What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and there is only one lifeboat? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship’s axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides.
He sees America as the root of the problem:
The United States symbolises the worst ideologies in the world: growth and freedom.
He unapologetically advocates bloodthirsty dictatorship:
Any dictatorship would be better than modern democracy. There cannot be so incompetent a dictator that he would show more stupidity than a majority of the people. The best dictatorship would be one where lots of heads would roll and where government would prevent any economical growth.
We will have to learn from the history of revolutionary movements — the national socialists, the Finnish Stalinists, from the many stages of the Russian revolution, from the methods of the Red Brigades — and forget our narcissistic selves.
A fundamental, devastating error is to set up a political system based on desire. Society and life have been organized on the basis of what an individual wants, not on what is good for him or her.

Or to put it a bit more articulately, “The ecochondriacs mean it: This’d be a pretty nice planet if we didn’t live here,” Mark Steyn wrote a few years ago, a quote we referenced back in 2008 rounding up additional examples of what James Taranto dubbed a few years later, “Green Supremacism.”

Linking to the above post at Zero Hedge, Glenn Reynolds responded this past Friday:
As Bob Zubrin has pointed out, such sentiments, if usually a bit less bluntly stated, are driving environmental policy nowadays. It’s Himmler in a green shirt. These are not nice people who want good things for everyone. These are evil people who hanker after mass death.

Still, it’s educational to hear things like this: “The United States symbolises the worst ideologies in the world: growth and freedom.”
If you like growth and freedom, these people are your enemies. Remember that and treat them accordingly.
Responding to Linkola’s manifesto, John Aziz writes at Zero Hedge (and I urge you to read his whole post), “My suggestion for all such thinkers is that if they want to reduce the global population they should measure up to their words and go first.”

Similarly, on the Website devoted to his writing, Linkola is quoted as saying, “Everything we have developed over the last 100 years should be destroyed.” And yet, note the photo of Linkola that accompanies the post at Zero Hedge. Linkola is wearing a commercially made mass-produced plaid shirt, and clutching what appears to be a Shure SM-58 microphone, presumably one that’s plugged into the public address system at an event he’s speaking at.

And yet, curiously though, Linkola and his fans seem more than willing to use the technology of the last century, including the Internet, when it suits their purposes. Even if you don’t wish mass death upon mankind, if you wish to see the world de-industrialize, measure up to your own words, and go first.

(Speaking of the photo of Linkola at Zero Hedge, with his Kramer-esque hair, glassy eyes, and salt and pepper beard, he looks like he could be related to Obama “Science” “Czar” John Holdren — who’s had his own dalliances with population reduction, before heading off into the ozone layer) or Paul “All This and the Miracle of World War II” Krugman.)

Of course, Linkola is far from the only fan of reprimitivization. This past week, we rounded up the latest doomsday rhetoric from the World Wildlife Federation, the folks who brought you “Earth Hour,” and who now apparently believe that the world will come to end in 2030 and had one of their press releases adopted into an article by the New York Daily News, which ought to know better. The London Register adds, “Extremist green campaigning group WWF — endorsed by no less a body than the European Space Agency — has stated that economic growth should be abandoned, that citizens of the world’s wealthy nations should prepare for poverty and that all the human race’s energy should be produced as renewable electricity within 38 years from now”:
First up, there must be an “immediate focus” on “drastically shrinking the ecological footprint of high income populations”.
That means you, Reg reader: you are to accept a massively lower standard of living, in order to reduce your “footprint” to match your nation’s “biocapacity”. Then you’ll have to take another cut, because your nation – being rich – has more “biocapacity” than a poor country does (despite their claim that planetary resources are finite, WWF acknowledges that new “biocapacity” can be created in the form of cropland, forests etc), but this should be shared with the poorer lands under “equitable resource governance”.

That means less heating when it’s cold – no cooling at all, probably, when it’s hot. It means sharply limited hot water: so dirtier clothes, dirtier bedding and a dirtier you – which will be nice as you will also have to live in a smaller home and travel almost exclusively on crowded buses or trains along with similar smelly fellow eco-citizens. Food will be scarcer and realistically much less nutritious (milk for kids will be a luxury, let alone meat, fruit, coffee, that sort of stuff. 
Get ready to eat a lot of turnips, if you’re a Brit.)

Windfarms, tide barriers, solar panels to power EVERYTHING. But you can’t have any concrete or steel or iron or copper. Or glass. Or shipping either. Get on with it!

All this means more disease, and there will also be less health care (only rich nations can afford proper health care for all or most).
Everything – everything – will be a lot more expensive: materials, tools, books, booze, gadgets, clothes. Holidays will be bus trips to the seaside if you’re lucky, not trips overseas by plane or car. So it goes on.

Even this grim poverty-stricken dystopia, though, is not the biggest of the WWF demands. The real biggy is that by the year 2050 all energy is to be supplied in the form of renewables-generated electricity, that is by means of windfarms, solar plants, tidal barriers and so forth. For almost all of human history and prehistory we have burned things to generate energy – it is one of the things that makes us human – but now, within a single generation, that is to almost completely stop. After a million years, the fires will go out.

That won’t be simple. At the moment, the great bulk of energy used by humanity is not electrical at all – it is generated directly by burning fossil fuels (a little, by burning biofuel such as wood). What electrical energy there is (only a tenth of the total even in countries like the UK) is also mostly fossil-generated right now, and the small proportion of this small proportion which isn’t fossil is mainly nuclear, not renewable – presumably to disappear for some reason under the WWF plan.

Then, regardless of the impression one gets from the media, it is not perhaps-dispensable things like aviation or gadgets which use most of our energy. Overwhelmingly, energy is used either in the home, by industries – including for example the health and construction industries – and for ordinary everyday forms of transportation.

And as even WWF acknowledges, billions of people worldwide have no access to any electricity grid at all.
Which they and other fans of forced reprimitivization consider a feature, not a bug. In wanting to send Germany backwards to its pastoral beginnings, who knew how far ahead of his time Henry Morgenthau inadvertently was?

Update: At Power Line, Steve Hayward links to the Zero Hedge article on Linkola and writes, “It’s only Sunday, but this week’s hands-down, slam-dunk winner of the coveted Power Line Green Loser of the Week Award has already been determined.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Trying For Frankenstein, Producing Colbert: The Chicago Gang Goes After Romney

 by: Hugh Hewitt

Perhaps Bruni based this conclusion, or the rest of his assessment of Romney  --"congenitally closed-off and palpably awkward"-- on the results he got consulting the Times' special edition of the The Eight Ball which, shaken, comes up with adjectives for GOP candidates Timesworld doesn't like.

Or perhaps Bruni has actually sat and interviewed Romney a few times, read the available bios and talked to family, friends, neighbors and staff.

What is most likely, however, is that he either read an early draft of the John Heilemann piece in New York magazine outlining the increasingly desperate game plan of the Chicago Gang running the president's re-election campaign, or he got the same brief from David Axelrod or one of Axe's lower level staff as Heilemann did.

The plan is quite simple:  Make Romney sinister.  Trouble is, that's like making Tim Duncan short or Michael Phelps lazy.  You can say it or write it, but the reality is so far removed from the description as to do nothing except diminish the writer or reporter.

Here's a sample of what Team Obama has in mind, from the Heilemann piece:
The Obama effort at disqualifying Romney will go beyond painting him as excessively conservative, however. It will aim to cast him as an avatar of revanchism. “He’s the fifties, he is retro, he is backward, and we are forward—that’s the basic construct,” says a top Obama strategist. “If you’re a woman, you’re Hispanic, you’re young, or you’ve gotten left out, you look at Romney and say, ‘This [*^%$] guy is gonna take us back to the way it always was, and guess what? I’ve never been part of that.’ ”
Yeah, that'll work.  One of the nicest men who has ever run for the office, who has spent his professional life at the heights of international business and his post-business life leading an international Olympics games full of thousands of striving young men and women who are as connected and savvy as any on the globe, running ultra-liberal Massachusetts, and guiding two presidential campaigns while being followed by 10,000 reporters from new and old media alike is secretly plotting to throw us into the way-back machine.

Do Bruni and Heilemann read their own stuff after they get done transcribing the bulletins from Obamaland?  These pieces are actually hilarious, and not just to people who have spent quite a bit of time interviewing Romney both in person and over the air but also to the casual observer of the candidate.  "An intensely private man" doing the bobsled run for the Today Show?  A "fifties guy" armed with the latest cases from HBS and a mountain of data on emerging trends in global economic growth?

Take us back?  Well, perhaps to 6% unemployment and real GDP growth at a level that can be felt outside of the "green energy sector" which is shorthand for "friends of Obama with access to government guarantees and contracts."

Axelrod has to try something because the clock has effectively run-out on pretending a recovery will get here any day.  Even if gas prices tumble by 25% they will be sky-high compared with when hope and change came to D.C.  Even if the numbers can be worked again and again to get them below 8% unemployment, there will be a huge credibility problem and the legion of young people knocking on doors will remain just as large as before.

Romney nevertheless is going to be the cue for Phantom of the Opera organ music in the collective mind of the Chicago Gang and the dutiful reporters who relay their "vision" for how it will all work out.

That's their plan: To so distort the reality of Romney that voters won't notice the reality of Obama's record and the reality of their lives.

The trouble with the plan is that voters are very wired into actual data of the present and are not subject to the sort of manipulation of fear that might have worked 20 years ago.  People who make such assertions will be laughed out outside of the their small circles of devotees.

In trying to turn Romney into Frankenstein, voters in the middle and even on the left will see Team Obama turning out another Colbert, and they will laugh.

And vote for Romney.  Because a team that ham-handed, inept and especially condescending towards them is exactly the team that advised the president how to wreck the economy and confuse the world.

American Politicians Should Learn Some Policy Lessons from Hong Kong and Singapore

American Politicians Should Learn Some Policy Lessons from Hong Kong and Singapore

Singapore has been in the news because one of the Facebook billionaires has decided to re-domicile to that low-tax jurisdictions.

Some American politicians reacted by blaming the victim and are urging tax policies that are disturbingly similar to those adopted by totalitarian regimes such as the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

Maybe they should go on one of their fancy junkets instead and take a visit to Hong Kong and Singapore. Even with first-class airfare and 5-star hotels, taxpayers might wind up benefiting if lawmakers actually paid attention to the policies that enable these jurisdictions to grow so fast.

They would learn (hopefully!) some of what was just reported in the Wall Street Journal.
Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s recent decision to give up his U.S. citizenship in favor of long-term residence in Singapore has drawn fresh attention to the appeal of residing and investing in the wealthy city-state and other parts of Asia, where tax burdens are significantly lighter than in many Western countries. …Some 100 Americans opted out of U.S. citizenship in Singapore last year, almost double the 58 that did so in 2009, according to data from the U.S. Embassy in Singapore. …The increase of Americans choosing to renounce their citizenship comes amid heated tax debates in the U.S. Many businesses and high-income individuals are worried…[about]…tax increases in future years.
It’s not just that America is moving in the wrong direction. That’s important, but it’s also noteworthy that some jurisdictions have good policy, and Hong Kong and Singapore are always at the top of those lists.
The Asian financial hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong, on the other hand, have kept personal and corporate taxes among the lowest in the world to attract more foreign investment. Top individual income-tax rates are 20% in Singapore and 17% in Hong Kong, compared with 35% at the federal level in the U.S., according to an Ernst & Young report. The two Asian financial centers have also been praised by experts for having simpler taxation systems than the U.S. and other countries. …The tax codes are also more transparent so that many people don’t require a consultant or adviser.
Keep in mind that Hong Kong and Singapore also avoid double taxation, so there’s nothing remotely close to the punitive tax laws that America has for interest, dividends, capital gains, and inheritances.

One reason they have good tax policy is that the burden of government spending is relatively modest, usually less than 20 percent of economic output (maybe their politicians have heard of the Rahn Curve!).

No wonder some Americans are shifting economic activity to these pro-growth jurisdictions.
“The U.S. used to be a moderate tax jurisdiction compared with other countries and it used to be at the forefront of development,” said Lora Wilkinson, senior tax consultant at U.S. Tax Advisory International, a Singapore-based tax services firm that specializes in U.S. taxation laws. Now “it seems to be lagging behind countries like Singapore in creating policies to attract business.” She said she gets at least one query per week from Americans who are interested in renouncing their citizenship in favor of becoming Singaporeans. …Asian countries offer a business climate and lifestyle that many find attractive: “America is no longer the Holy Grail.”
That last quote really irks me. I have a knee-jerk patriotic strain, so I want America to be special for reasons above and beyond my support for good economic policy.

But the laws of economics do not share my sentimentality. So long as Hong Kong and Singapore have better policy, they will grow faster.

To get an idea of what this means, let’s look at some historical data from 1950-2008 on per-capita GDP from Angus Maddison’s database. As you can see, Hong Kong and Singapore used to be quite poor compared to the United States. But free markets, small government, and low taxes have paid dividends and both jurisdictions erased the gap.

Wow, America used to be 4 times richer, and that huge gap disappeared in just 60 years. But now let’s look at the most recent data from the World Bank, showing Gross National Income for 2010.

It’s not the same data source, so the numbers aren’t directly comparable, but the 2010 data shows that the United States has now fallen behind both Hong Kong and Singapore.

These charts should worry us. Not because it’s bad for Hong Kong and Singapore to become rich. That’s very good news.

Instead, these charts are worrisome because trend lines are important. Here’s one final chart showing how long it takes for a nation to double economic output at varying growth rates.

As you can see, it’s much better to be like Hong Kong and Singapore, which have been growing, on average, by more than 5 percent annually.

Unfortunately, the United States has not been growing as fast as Hong Kong and Singapore. Indeed, last year I shared some data from a Nobel Prize winner, which showed that America may have suffered a permanent loss in economic output because of the statist policies of Bush and Obama.

What makes this so frustrating is that we know the policies that are needed to boost growth. But those reforms would mean less power for the political class, so we face an uphill battle.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The UN proposal for a global financial transaction tax is socialism writ large on a world scale

The UN proposal for a global financial transaction tax is socialism writ large on a world scale
The United Nations: advancing socialist values on the world stage

I wrote a piece earlier on the UN Human Rights Council’s ludicrous attack on Canada over what it calls unacceptable levels of “food insecurity” in one of the world’s wealthiest nations. Now a group of United Nations “independent experts” is pushing the European Union to back a global financial transaction tax ahead of the G-8 Summit “to offset the costs of the enduring economic, financial, fuel, climate and food crises, and to protect basic human rights.”
According to this statement posted by the UN, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council:
"Where the world financial crisis has brought about the loss of millions of jobs, socialized private debt burdens and now risks causing significant human rights regressions through wide-ranging austerity packages, a financial transaction tax (FTT) is a pragmatic tool for providing the means for governments to protect and fulfill the human rights of their people,” said the rights experts on extreme poverty, food, business, foreign debt and international solidarity.

"EU countries must take bold leadership now to pave the way towards what should eventually be a global FTT,” they urged, welcoming recent EU proposals to implement the financial transaction tax across the Eurozone.
In the view of the UN, a global tax is vital in order to combat poverty and redistribute wealth:
For the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena SepĂșlveda, “the opportunity should not be wasted; it would fill government deficit holes, but should be channeled to fighting poverty, reversing growing inequality, and compensating those whose lives have been devastated by the enduring global economic crisis.”

“When the financial sector fails to pay its share, the rest of society must pick up the bill,” she said. “It is high-time that governments re-examine the basic redistributive role of taxation to ensure that wealthier individuals and the financial sector contribute their fair share of the tax burden.”

… “A global consensus on a financial transaction tax would represent an historic decision to prioritize the most disadvantaged and marginalized and be a valuable means of assisting developing countries to meet obligations to ensure the full realization of all economic, social and cultural rights,” concluded the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Ms. Magdalena SepĂșlveda.
The last thing the global economy needs right now is an oppressive international tax on financial transactions that would stifle the free market, help kill job creation and place an additional yoke around the necks of businesses and entrepreneurs. It is nothing more than socialism writ large on a worldwide scale, and UN officials are deluding themselves if they think it will actually be implemented across the globe.

There is a danger however that such a tax (commonly dubbed a Tobin Tax), will be introduced within the Eurozone, and the idea is strongly backed by the ruling coalition in Germany. If it does come into force within much of the European Union it will be yet another symbol of a failing European Project sinking amidst a sea of debt and regulation. Europe's leaders should be looking to cut taxes instead of raising them. Only greater economic freedom and national sovereignty, and not the deathly hand of big government meddling, can turn around the financial crisis in Europe.

The 3 economic charts that could crash Obama’s reelection hopes

The 3 economic charts that could crash Obama’s reelection hopes

Vice President Joe Biden is telling Ohio voters today that “things really are starting to come back.”

Is one of those “things” the U.S. economy? Because as the following three charts show, the U.S. economy is struggling through an abysmal recovery not really worth the name:

1. Sickly Economic Growth

2. Falling Real Wages

3. A Shrunken Labor Force

Well, at least we’re doing better than Europe, right? Maybe not. German first-quarter GDP came in at 2.1%, and many economists now think U.S first-quarter GDP will be revised downward below 2%.

Anyway, perhaps President Obama can somehow argue things are going about as well as can be expected after a financial crisis. Then again, a recent CBS-New York Times poll found that 67% of Americans think the economy is “bad” and gave Mitt Romney a 46-43 lead over the president.

So far voters don’t seem to be really buying Biden’s—or Obama’s—comeback story. They may not have seen these three charts, but they sure are feeling them, unfortunately, in their everyday lives. From Gallup:

Note: I swapped in a different chart #2 for clarity. It makes the exact same point, however. (5/17/12)

James Pethokoukis is a columnist and blogger at the American Enterprise Institute. Previously, he was the Washington columnist for Reuters Breakingviews, the opinion and commentary wing of Thomson Reuters.
Pethokoukis was the business editor and economics columnist for U.S. News & World Report from 1997 to 2008. He has written for many publications, including The New York Times, The Weekly Standard, Commentary, National Review, The Washington Examiner, USA Today and Investor’s Business Daily.
Pethokoukis is an official CNBC contributor. In addition, he has appeared numerous times on MSNBC, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, The McLaughlin Group, CNN and Nightly Business Report on PBS. A graduate of Northwestern University and the Medill School of Journalism, Pethokoukis is a 2002 Jeopardy! Champion.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

How California Unions Hijacked the Golden State

How California Unions Hijacked the Golden State
President Obama raked in a hefty $15 million from Hollywood’s elite at George Clooney’s home last week. The $40,000 per plate star-studded crowd cheered the president’s just-in-time conversion to same-sex marriage; are they equally enthused about Mr. Obama’s economic prescriptions?
Californians should know better. Their state, best known for red carpets, is awash in red ink, just like the federal government. Earlier this week, Governor Jerry Brown announced that the state’s budget deficit will approach $16 billion this year, up from $9.2 billion projected just a few months ago.

Years of misguided financial policies have led to this: stifling taxes and savage cuts to public services – including Medicaid, childcare and welfare programs.

Even movie stars occasionally venture out. What do they find? A state with 12 percent of the country’s population and one third of its welfare recipients. A state with the nation’s lowest bond ratings, the second-highest marginal income tax rate and the third highest unemployment rate. Most important – a state that CEOs rank the worst in the country for doing business. Dead last! For the eighth year in a row.

The upshot? Businesses are leaving California. Spectrum Location Solutions reports that 254 California companies moved some or all of their work and jobs out of state in 2011, an increase of 26 percent over the previous year and five times as many as in 2009. According to the Labor Department, California’s private employment actually shrank 1.4 percent over the past decade, while Texas added 1.15 million jobs.

RELATED: Bloated Union Contracts Have Busted State Budgets

Last year California – once considered the most prosperous state in the land – passed Assembly Bill 506, specifically designed to keep cities in the state from rushing into bankruptcy. Vallejo became one of the first in the nation to resort to this ultimate measure a few years ago; Stockton, a city of 290,000, teeters on the edge.

What makes California so special? A profound antipathy to private enterprise and simultaneous embrace of public employee unions. (Does this sound familiar?) In Shakedown, author Steven Malanga notes that public school teachers in the state are the highest-paid in the country, prison guards make six-figure salaries and that “state workers routinely retire at fifty-five with pensions higher than their base pay for most of their working life…”

He also chronicles the rise of the powerful public employee unions who, alarmed by tax-restraining Proposition 13 passed in 1978, moved to solidify their clout through strikes, advertising campaigns and political endorsements. Riding the wave of the tech boom thirty years ago, union-backed state legislators passed uber-generous benefits packages for public employees that continue to strangle local economies.

As Stockton proceeds through the mediation process now required of cities considering bankruptcy, it faces the most problematic legacy of union power – invincible public employee pensions. The city pays $37 million annually into its pension scheme – a hefty chunk of its annual $196 million budget.

Another $17 million goes to retiree health care. While corporations in bankruptcy expect to negotiate with all its creditors, including pension funds, in California the public unions, aided and abetted by CalPERS, refuse to enter into discussions with cities seeking relief. Pensions are sacrosanct – a position that may well end up before the courts.

While state and local obligations have soared, California has steadily hiked taxes and enacted regulations that make it difficult to do business in the state, leading to shrinkage of the tax base. What to do? California needs to enter the jobs sweepstakes, and staunch the exodus. This will require addressing the complaints of large and small companies that have been wooed by Texas, Arizona and other states.

RELATED: 10 Insanely Overpaid Public Employees

Unfortunately, Joseph Vranich, a corporate relocation coach who chronicles his state’s decline, says, “There is no evidence that California’s hostility to business has changed one iota.” He cites as an example the recent decision by the legislature not to revisit the state’s constricting laws concerning overtime.

“In most states overtime terms are set by companies or unions,” he says. “In California, the legislature has codified the rules. For instance, companies that would like to move employees to a four-day week and add a couple of hours to the workday find it too expensive. We had one company move to Oregon just to have more flexibility.”

The Milken Institute says operating a business in California costs 23 percent more than the national average. Permitting is expensive and time consuming; restaurant permits available in other states within a couple of months can take 2 years. On his blog, Vranich says a company leaving the city of Los Angeles for another state can save up to 40 percent.
Business people complain of California’s cumbersome environmental codes and the high cost of energy – handicaps that are self-induced and about to get worse. Having adopted the nation’s most aggressive “renewable portfolio standards” – along the lines of those proposed by President Obama for the entire country, California’s utilities are loading up on renewable energy sources that cost 50 percent more than plentiful natural gas.

Moreover, Cap and Trade rules are set to go into effect next January – rules that will add an extra burden on top of the state’s already high power costs. Firms are dealing not only with escalating fines and costs, but also with uncertainty. “No one really knows how it’s going to work,” says Mr. Vranich.

This isn’t rocket science. Governments can’t continue to load higher costs onto a shrinking taxpayer base. In tough times, half of the state’s income tax is shouldered by one percent of filers. This is an unhealthy situation, especially since the number of tax returns in the state reporting income above $500,000 dropped by one third between 2007 and 2009 as the economy softened and people left the state.

Hollywood thrives on happy endings. Cutting California’s taxes and regulations that are driving employers out of the state could provide just that, but such policy decisions could well require a new cast – and a new director.

The Death of the Hockey Stick?

The Death of the Hockey Stick?
The iconic symbol of the global warming panic may have taken a hit from which it will never recover.
Rand Simberg
Unfortunately for those promoting the theory (and the potentially economically catastrophic policy recommendations supposedly supported by it), recent events indicate that the last basis of scientific support for the hockey stick may be crumbling. But to understand this, a little background is necessary.

Ultimately, in addition to Mann’s claim for the dramatic recent uptick (which we are supposed to presume was a result of the late industrial revolution and equally dramatic increase in carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as a result of the liberation of carbon from burning long-buried fossil fuels), Keith Briffa of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in England controversially declared, based on Eurasian data, that the well-documented Medieval Warm Period (MWP), from around 950 to 1250 CE — the European Middle Ages — didn’t actually exist.
This claim was important, if not essential, to Mann’s thesis, because his initial formulation only went back to 1400, the beginning of the so-called Little Ice Age. Critics of the theory thus argued immediately upon its presentation that it shouldn’t be surprising that the earth was warming now, given that we are still coming out of it, and that the medieval warming in the absence of late Carolingian SUVs and coal plants argued that the climate naturally cycled, with no need to invoke Demon Carbon. That is to say, to the degree that the hockey stick has a blade in the twentieth century, it would have another a millennium ago.

The theory has continued to take blows over the years since it was first presented. About a decade ago, a paper was published by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunis claiming that there was good evidence that both the (still extant) MWP and current warming were driven by solar activity rather than carbon emissions. But these initial attacks were beaten back by the climate mafia (as we now know from the leaked emails between Mann and his partners in crime in East Anglia from two and a half years ago). The real damage came when a retired Canadian mining engineer, Steve McIntyre, and a professor at the University of Guelph, Ross McKitrick, started digging into Mann’s methodology, and found flaws in both his statistical analysis and data interpretation, and published a paper describing them in Geophysical Research Letters in 2005. They showed that Mann’s methodology would generate a hockey stick almost independently of the data input, by feeding it spectral noise. Later, Internet satirist (and apparent statistician by day) Iowahawk provided a primer on how to create a hockey stick at home, using a standard spreadsheet program.
Defenders of the theory have long claimed that even if there are problems with Mann’s method or data set, we have independent results from other research, such as that at the CRU, that confirm it.

But this was a point of contention. In addition to the unscientific behavior in attempting to silence critics and keep them from publishing, we also know that the climate “scientists” had been withholding data that would help to resolve the controversy (more unscientific behavior, because it makes it difficult or impossible to replicate claimed results, and behavior that continues to the present day by the University of Virginia), even in the face of numerous Freedom of Information requests, on both sides of the Atlantic.

To no avail, McIntyre had been requesting data for years from Briffa, who had claimed to have independent Eurasian tree-ring analysis that confirmed Mann’s results, from a data set called the Polar Urals (Mann’s work was based on ancient California bristlecone pine trees). Unfortunately, paleoclimatologists had discovered that the Polar Urals data didn’t actually support the disappearance of the MWP, so they were in search of another Eurasian data set that would, and they found one called Yamal, gathered and published in 2002 by two Russian scientists.

McIntyre had wanted to see it for years, and in 2008, utilizing a bylaw of the Royal Society, he enlisted their aid in forcing Briffa to finally start to release the data. Unfortunately, he still didn’t get enough, at least initially, to make any sense of it. But he did notice that, first, it had sparse data for the twentieth century and second, that it, unlike the typical treatment of such data sets, was not supplemented by any regional data — Briffa was using it by itself. When McIntyre did such a supplementation himself using other data (reluctantly) provided by Briffa, the twentieth-century hockey-stick blade completely disappeared.

That was where things stood in 2009, just before the so-called Climate-gate email and model leak. After that, the CRU actually started to pull down data that had been previously available for years.

It was clear from the emails that Briffa had been telling one story publicly and another privately as to his reasons for not including the devastating data, but the tide finally turned last month, when the University of East Anglia was finally forced by the British Information Commissioner to at least tell McIntyre which data sets were used in its results. Let’s let blogger “Bishop Hill” (aka Andrew Montford, who has written the book on the subject) tell the rest of the story (and read the whole thing for a detailed description of the deception):
The list of 17 sites that was finally sent to McIntyre represented complete vindication. The presence of Yamal and Polar Urals had already been obvious from the Climategate emails, but the list showed that Briffa had also incorporated the Polar Urals update (which, as we saw above, did not have a hockey stick shape, and which Briffa claimed he had not looked at since 1995) and the Khadtya River site, McIntyre’s use of which the RealClimate authors had ridiculed.
Although the chronology itself was not yet available, the list of sites was sufficient for McIntyre to calculate the numbers himself, and the results were breathtaking. Firstly, the URALS regional chronology had vastly more data behind it than the Yamal-only figures presented in Briffa’s paper
But what was worse, the regional chronology did not have a hockey stick shape — the twentieth century uptick that Briffa had got from the handful of trees in the Yamal-only series had completely disappeared.
Direct comparison of the chronology that Briffa chose to publish against the full chronology that he withheld makes the point clear:
It seems clear then that the URALS chronology Briffa prepared to go alongside the others he put together for the 2008 paper gave a message that did not comply with the message that he wanted to convey — one of unprecedented warmth at the end of the twentieth century. In essence the URALS regional chronology was suffering from the divergence problem — the widely noted failure of some tree ring series to pick up the recent warming seen in instrumental temperature records, which led to the infamous ‘hide the decline’ episode.
Remarkably, however, Briffa did allude to the divergence problem in his paper:
These [regional chronologies] show no evidence of a recent breakdown in [the association between tree growth and temperature] as has been found at other high-latitude Northern Hemisphere locations.
The reason for dropping the URALS chronology looks abundantly clear. It would not have supported this message.
His emphasis.

And new results are coming out almost by the day. Earlier this week, McIntyre reportedly received new Yamal data, which continued to confirm that there is no blade to the stick.

What does this all mean? First, let’s state what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that we know that the planet isn’t warming, and it doesn’t mean that if it is, that we can be sure that it is not due to human activity.

But at a minimum it should be the final blow to the hockey stick, and perhaps to the very notion that bristlecone pines and larches are accurate thermometers. It should also be a final blow to the credibility of many of the leading lights of climate “science,” but based on history, it probably won’t be, at least among the political class. What it really should be is the beginning of the major housecleaning necessary if the field is to have any scientific credibility, but that may have to await a general reformation of academia itself. It would help, though, if we get a new government next year that cuts off funding to such charlatans, and the institutions that whitewash their unscientific behavior.
Rand Simberg is a recovering aerospace engineer and a consultant in space commercialization, space tourism and Internet security. He offers occasionally biting commentary about infinity and beyond at his weblog, Transterrestrial Musings. He is an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.