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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sunspots and the Great Cooling Ahead

Presumably, even among the ill-informed ideologues at the White House, there are a few who have heard of sunspots.  There may even be one who knows, as most informed persons do, of the correlation between sunspot activity and the earth's climate.  But apparently no one has bothered to inform the president.
When sunspot activity is high, as it was during the 1990s and early 2000s, temperatures tend to be high as well.  When it is low, as it is now, temperatures fall.  And because sunspot activity occurs in decades-long cycles, the unusually cold winter and spring of 2012 may be just the beginning.  As a Barron's article recently noted, current sunspot activity is now the least it has been in a century.
What this means is that the era of global cooling has begun.  In the northern hemisphere, three out of the four last winters and springs have been unusually cold.  This spring was so cold in East Asia that China was forced to import millions of tons of grain and soybeans from the U.S. and other suppliers.
The environmental elitists in Manhattan and Laguna Beach may not be greatly inconvenienced by cold winters, but ordinary people have to eat, too, and food exhausts a much greater share of their income.  For the world's poor, a cold year means the difference between eating and going hungry, or between heating one's home and shivering all winter.  Or as the philosopher Thomas Hobbes put it (while living through the thick of the Little Ice Age himself), it's the difference between a life that is warm and comfortable and one that is "nasty, brutish, and short."  Because climate alarmists are focused on global warming when they should be concerned with cooling, life for the world's poor is likely to be just that.
That is because shortages inevitably result from global cooling.  As supplies of foodstuffs and energy become constrained due to cold, damp growing seasons and the need for more heating, a global bidding war arises in which the poor lose out.  The environmental elitists will not suffer -- they'll pay more as they roll their overladen buggies out of the local Costco, but what the heck?  They can bask in the illusion that they are saving the earth.
But the poor in Mexico and India and here in American will suffer as their lives are shortened by malnutrition and disease.  With astounding arrogance, President Obama in his latest budget promises tens of billions more to fund clean energy scams for his billionaire buddies.  But has he ever considered, even for one moment, the suffering he has inflicted on the poor by distorting global food and energy markets?
Every year, nearly half of the U.S. corn crop goes up in smoke, burned as corn ethanol, while children in Guatemala lie listlessly in the dust, their bellies swollen with starvation.  The president is not there at their side, either literally or figuratively.  He is too busy playing golf or vacationing at the billionaire beach houses on Martha's Vineyard or Oahu. 
There will be more hungry children once global cooling arrives in earnest.  Ocean currents and other influences on the climate undergo natural periods of alteration.  Inevitably, natural forces such as those which have increased global temperatures over previous decades will shift from warming to cooling.  When this natural alteration coincides with decreased sunspot activity, as is happening at present, the result is extreme cooling.  And history has shown that periods of global cooling last for decades, if not for centuries.
While these facts are well known to climatologists, the White House continues to pretend ignorance.  Indeed, two weeks ago, the president unveiled a major initiative designed to cool the planet at the very moment when the planet is cooling all on its own.  It is fortunate that this foolish plan to lower temperatures by reducing carbon emissions will not work.  U.S. carbon emissions are now at the lowest point since 1992, and yet Obama says temperatures have been rising.  So how, exactly, has the lowering of U.S. carbon emissions changed the climate?
Just because the president's climate initiative will not work, however, this does not mean that it is harmless.  It will continue to harm the world's poor, and every other consumer, by raising the prices of food and fuel.  And it will divert capital from the private sector, where it would create prosperity and thus leave us better prepared to face whatever climate issues lie ahead.
As Bjorn Lomborg argues in Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming, government spending designed to control the climate would be better spent on real issues of hunger and disease.  Or, I would argue, those funds would be best left in the hands of taxpayers.  Most taxpayers would invest in businesses that produce jobs and increase prosperity -- including among the world's poor.  And most would also donate to churches and charities that make the world a better place for all.  But when that money is squandered on Solyndra, it can never be invested, never produce profits, and never rescue the world's poor.  Instead, it goes into the pockets of Obama's billionaire buddies.
What America is facing with global cooling is year after year of crop failure, higher heating bills, and general inflation (as the effects of higher food and fuel prices ripple through the economy).  The best way to prepare for this crisis is to unleash the powerful forces of the free market, thus creating prosperity for all and putting our nation in the position to prosper no matter what.
Instead of preparing for the climate crisis ahead, Obama kowtows to coastal environmentalists in return for donations.  In doing so, he shows a complete lack of concern for the poor in this country and abroad -- those who will suffer the most in the bidding war for food and energy once the effects of the Great Cooling are felt.  As the climate cools, hundreds of millions in America and abroad will lack the resources to feed themselves or heat their homes.
By then, of course, Obama will already have left office and will presumably be sunning himself on some balmy Hawaiian beach.  He will not have to suffer from the effects of his policies, but those who do should not forget that it was this president who squandered our chances of preparing for the Great Cooling.  More than anything, Obama's legacy may be that he was the fool who believed, or pretended to believe, that closing a few power plants would cool the planet just when the planet was already in the process of cooling.  He is the one who looked in the rearview mirror and prepared for global warming just as he was about to crash head-on into the exact opposite.  

Global warming now a weapon against Scotland’s independence

AN independent Scotland would be "at a deep strategic disadvantage" to Russia in the conflict that is expected to emerge from climate change, according to Icelandic academics.
Scotland would need "shelter" from stronger allies which will "incur costs different from, and not necessarily lesser than" those of contributing to UK defence, legal and political experts from the universities of Iceland and Akureyri have advised.
But small Nordic states have been living with similar risks for decades while independence would allow Scotland to pursue new tactical alliances more suited to its national interests, they say.
First Minister Alex Salmond last week set out his vision for defence in an independent Scotland on a visit to Shetland, which he said would take account of position, size and future responsibilities as global warming opens up shipping lanes and energy sources.
The academics said: "Like all Nordic states, Scotland would be at a deep strategic disadvantage vis-a-vis the main potentially problematic actor in the region, namely Russia.
"It would have less than a twelfth of the population of, and far less military strength than, its nearest neighbour – the remaining UK (rUK). It would also be more exposed, geopolitically, than rUK to the wider Arctic zone which is expected to witness rapid development and turbulence – if not actual conflict –because of climate change."
SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson said: "This report recognises that as a member of the EU, Scotland would be able to form the political alliances that best meet Scotland's needs."
A spokesman for the Better Together campaign said: "Our armed forces are the best in the world, yet Alex Salmond's independence campaign wants to dismantle them. How can that possibly be in our best interests?"

Evidence That Demands a Verdict Dismantling the EPA's extremist views regarding CO2.

The systematic assault on economical energy sources and the economy by the EPA was given de facto approval, if not encouragement by President Obama in his speech two weeks ago on the environment. As his words sunk in it became apparent that he seeks to isolate and demonize those who wish to confront him on this matter with facts, and by doing so, destroy opposition to a policy that his EPA has enacted based on easily disproven assumptions. Give the fact that poverty rates continue to rise in our nation under his watch and that the true workforce continues to drop, he seems dangerously out of touch with the facts. Yet he accuses others of such behavior either out of ignorance, arrogance, or both. His EPA has been ruling by decree based on ideas that ignore facts and disregard the harm they are doing to the nation.
There are three lines of evidence the EPA uses to back their environmental policies.
  1. Greenhouse Gas Trapping Hot Spot Theory.
  2. The so-called unusual rise in GAST (Globally Averaged Surface Temperatures).
  3. Assumed validity of climate models, used for policy analysis purposes. (See, for example, SOUTHEASTERN LEGAL FOUNDATION, INC., ET AL., Petitioners, v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, ET AL. Nos. 12-1268, 12-1269, 12-1272.)
One at a time, let's show why they don't have a leg to stand on.

Greenhouse Gas Trapping Hot Spot

There is none. In fact, temperature trends in the middle and upper troposphere are flat. For example, a look at the 200 mb level from the Hadley Center Balloon Data shows no rise at all.
The entire layer -- the surface to 18km -- shows no rise.
The figure bellow shows the Tropical Central Pacific Temperatures. Similarly, it shows no statistically significant slope. There is simply no evidence of EPA's assumed Tropical Hot Spot.

Unusual rise in GAST

Their second line of evidence of a catastrophic rise in Globally Averaged Surface Temperatures (GAST) in the last 50 years due to CO2 concentrations is easily debunked when one looks at reality.
First of all, there has been a lot of fudging of data since the satellite era started -- not with the objective satellite data, but the pre-satellite era where researches have adjusted temperatures down. What is most egregious is the estimation of Arctic temperatures which could not be reliably measured in a widespread fashion without the use of satellites prior to 1978. So right off the bat, there are questions about the "fox guarding the henhouse" with data manipulation. But even taking that into account, the fact is that the link between CO2 and temperatures disappeared once the cyclical warming of the oceans -- a natural occurrence -- was accounted for in the atmosphere. A temperature leveling and turnaround has begun (the leveling has been occurring over the last 17 years). But let's look at this so-called "catastrophic" warming. (Amazing how mankind is now living in the most advanced age with more people supported on the planet, in large part due to the freedoms fossil fuels have supported.)
The warming linked to the earth coming out of the cold cycle of the Pacific can clearly be seen below, followed by the leveling off.

The disconnect with CO2 can be seen here:
But is the warming over the entire period as unusual as the EPA claims?
The 1930s still stick out far and away as the decade with the most current high temperature records. The following graph depicts state records by decade.
There is simply no justification for the idea that CO2 is driving a catastrophic warmup. Quite the contrary, man has never been more prosperous on a whole, or produced so much as during the current age we are living in.

Assumed validity of climate models

This is almost laughable. Anyone who works in the field every day -- as we do in the private sector -- knows how bad models can be. In fact, in spite of the heat wave in the Northeast and Midwest this week, the coming cool -- combined with the coolness of the summer overall which was not predicted in many circles before the summer -- is saving this country billions of dollars in energy and agriculture costs (a record corn crop is likely). This was not the pre-summer missive from the modeling (my company predicted a cooler summer than the previous three, saying that the Midwest could turn into the Garden of Eden agriculture-wise this year rather than a drought driven heat wave as was opined by some). But the point is that the models are a mathematical representation of a chaotic field and I can not even fathom that this could be one of their reasons. It shows the ignorance as to the nature of the climate. It also shows the willingness of those that truly don't understand weather and climate to place trust in a model. It's flabbergasting.
One picture destroys the whole premise. Dr. John Christy, who testified before congress on this matter, has put this graph together:
The following graph from Dr. Dr Roy Spencer is even more dramatic. While Dr. Christy shows the average, Dr. Spencer shows how the individual predictions of 19 US models are all well above actual observations. And the EPA is trying to base policy on this?
Why anyone would think they could justify EPA's regulatory plans or suggest a carbon tax as an alternative given the facts presented above is beyond me.
The facts clearly reveal that the EPA and the president do not have a leg to stand on as their policies assault the very energy lifeline of our economy at this critical time in our nation's history. The EPA's decisions are based on erroneous ideas. Quite sinister is the fact that the foundational core values of this country -- the encouragement of liberal free thinking, competition and tolerance -- are all opposite of what the EPA and this president are doing in regards to climate change. Their policy is to shut down exposure to the facts, destroy the chance to compete in a free and vibrant market, and not tolerate any dissent.
There is more than just a cat fight among scientists involved here, and in fact I would argue that it is a side show to the main agenda despite the fact that each of the EPA's lines of "evidence" are invalid as shown above. People are already getting hurt. Close to 150 coal plants have been shutdown, throwing people out of work and driving up costs. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. It prompted this:
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (WV) said Obama was waging "a war on coal ... a war on jobs ... a war on America."
Given the immense problems facing our nation today -- which includes the increasingly turbulent Middle East; America could be energy independent and more prosperous by exploiting the resources we have here -- why are people pushing these policies? They are either frightfully out of touch with the situation, or worse, they may have an agenda that is weakening the fiber of the nation.
You see the evidence. What is your verdict?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Study: Obesity epidemic partly explained by erroneous data

A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicates that parent-reported height/weight data for children isn’t all that reliable. We have always been critical of self-reported obesity data.
The abstract is below.
Parent-Reported Height and Weight as Sources of Bias in Survey Estimates of Childhood Obesity
Margaret M. Weden*, Peter B. Brownell, Michael S. Rendall, Christopher Lau, Meenakshi Fernandes and Zafar Nazarov
↵*Correspondence to Dr. Margaret M. Weden, Rand Corporation, 1776 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401-3208 (e-mail:
Abbreviations: BMI, body mass index; CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; CI, confidence interval; NLSY79, National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Cohort; NLSY79-Child, Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Cohort; PSID-CDS, Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics.
Received June 26, 2012.
Accepted December 3, 2012.
Parental reporting of height and weight was evaluated for US children aged 2–13 years. The prevalence of obesity (defined as a body mass index value (calculated as weight (kg)/height (m)2) in the 95th percentile or higher) and its height and weight components were compared in child supplements of 2 nationally representative surveys: the 1996–2008 Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Cohort (NLSY79-Child) and the 1997 Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID-CDS). Sociodemographic differences in parent reporting error were analyzed. Error was largest for children aged 2–5 years. Underreporting of height, not overreporting of weight, generated a strong upward bias in obesity prevalence at those ages. Frequencies of parent-reported heights below the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (Atlanta, Georgia) first percentile were implausibly high at 16.5% (95% confidence interval (CI): 14.3, 19.0) in the NLSY79-Child and 20.6% (95% CI: 16.0, 26.3) in the PSID-CDS. They were highest among low-income children at 33.2% (95% CI: 22.4, 46.1) in the PSID-CDS and 26.2% (95% CI: 20.2, 33.2) in the NLSY79-Child. Bias in the reporting of obesity decreased with children’s age and reversed direction at ages 12–13 years. Underreporting of weight increased with age, and underreporting of height decreased with age. We recommend caution to researchers who use parent-reported heights, especially for very young children, and offer practical solutions for survey data collection and research on child obesity.

Germans, Danes pay 300% more than Americans for electricity — courtesy of wind, solar mandates

rom the Wall Street Journal’s “Europe’s Renewable Romance Fades”:
Europe has bet big on wind and solar energy, and many environmental advocates would like America to follow. Wind and solar have a role in the U.S. energy economy, but we would be wise to see the cautionary tale in the European experience and adjust our plans accordingly.
Wind and solar generate 3.5% of America’s electricity today, but Denmark gets 30% of its electricity from wind and hopes to produce 50% by 2020. Germany, Europe’s largest national economy, produces roughly 12% of its electricity from wind and solar today, and it wants renewable energy to account for 35% of electricity generation by 2020.
Clean energy powered by renewable resources is understandably attractive. But the honeymoon with renewables is ending for some Europeans as the practical challenges of the relationship become clear.
The first challenge is cost. Germany has reportedly invested more than $250 billion in renewable energy deployment, and its households pay the highest power costs in Europe—except for the Danish. On average, Germans and Danes pay roughly 300% more for residential electricity than Americans do.

Politico: Obama looking to deal on Keystone XL

Politico reports:
President Barack Obama’s latest critique of the Keystone XL oil pipeline still leaves a path for approving the project — but its supporters may need to make concessions to blunt its impact on the climate, analysts said Monday.
Obama’s remarks to The New York Times echoed some of the most potent criticisms offered by Keystone’s opponents, scoffing at GOP claims about job creation and warning that the pipeline might even raise gasoline prices. He also said Canada “could potentially be doing more” to counteract the greenhouse gas emissions being unleashed from Alberta’s oil sands, the major reason for climate activists’ outrage at the pipeline.

Michigan physician licensing board drops human testing complaint

Dropped after a week on the hand-scrawled recommendation of an unidentifiable board member.
See if you can reconcile the two with anything other than corruption.

New Report: The Cloud Begins With Coal

Coal provides 40% of the world’s growing demand for electricity.
Marshall Institute Director Mark Mills released “The Cloud Begins With Coal,” an examination of the energy demands of the global information technology economy.
The information economy is a blue-whale economy with its energy uses mostly out of sight. Based on a mid-range estimate, the world’s Information-Communications-Technologies (ICT) ecosystem uses about 1,500 TWh of electricity annually, equal to all the electric generation of Japan and Germany combined — as much electricity as was used for global illumination in 1985. The ICT ecosystem now approaches 10% of world electricity generation. Or in other energy terms – the zettabyte era already uses about 50% more energy than global aviation.
Read ““The Cloud Begins With Coal”. Note this is a 45 Page PDF Lock file.

Audit shows Obama admin wasted $135 million on electric car charging stations

Paul Chesser writes:
An audit by the Department of Energy’s Inspector General found that the persistent weak demand for electric vehicles harmed the deployment and timeliness of a $135 million-plus taxpayer funded charging network, which spun a cycle of excessive grants and project expansion, that led to an enormous waste of public money.
The investigators, led by IG Gregory Friedman, determined that conditions for reimbursement to Ecotality, Inc. (and its subsidiaries) for the EV charging demonstration project were “very generous,” although not explicitly prohibited under federal regulations.
“While we acknowledge that the Department had maintained and archived award documentation, an independent reviewer cannot understand the rationale behind important decisions made by Department officials, as required by government internal control standards,” Friedman’s report said. “Additionally, the Department’s weaknesses in oversight of administrative aspects of Ecotality’s awards may have led to funding items that were not directly attributable to the grant.”

Super: Feds paying millions in subsidies to farmers no longer among the living

I’m starting to get the sinking feeling that — for all of the recent ado about finally decoupling the usually omnibus farm bill into the two separate, more accessible issues of food stamps and agriculture ‘policy’ — what we’re might end up with is some kind of last-minute stopgap extension of the current farm bill, which is supposed to expire at the end of September.
Congress still has plenty to duke out on both issues; the Democrats are refusing to stand for any substantive cuts to the national food-stamp program (the enrollment for which has grown by 70 percent since 2008, by the way), and while House Republicans actually did succeed in finally decoupling the issues, they ended up cutting hardly a dang thing from what is mostly millions of dollars a year in corporate pork for agribusiness in rural states andare still trying to figure out what they want to do with food stamps. They need both their agriculture bill and a food-stamp bill to send into conference with the Senate’s version, and there aren’t that many workdays left before the September deadline with the August recess coming up.
While we wait for Congress to figure out what they want to do, however, here’s one small example of the type of fraud, waste, and abuse that our ‘agriculture policy’ makes available that is very likely to be preserved under any version of the farm bill currently likely to survive. A new federal audit found that the government is still paying out millions of dollars a year to dead farmers because the Agriculture Department neglects to do routine checks required to make sure it is paying benefits to the right people. Perfect, via the Washington Times:
The Government Accountability Office said that from 2008 to 2012 one agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, made $10.6 million payments on behalf of more than 1,100 people who’d been dead at least a year. Another branch, the Risk Management Agency, paid out $22 million to more than 3,400 policyholders who’d been dead at least two years.
Some of the payments may have been legal because they were for work done before the farmers died, but GAO said the problem is the two agencies don’t perform the routine checks — such as looking at the Social Security lists — to see.
“Until and unless NRCS and RMA develop and implement procedures to have their payment or subsidy data records matched against SSA’s complete death master file, either through coordination with FSA or on their own, these agencies cannot know if they are providing payments to, or subsidies on behalf of, deceased individuals; how often they are providing such payments or subsidies; or in what amounts,” the investigators wrote.
The good news, however, is that the federal government has managed to improve upon their record between 1999 and 2005, during which time a previous GAO audit found that they paid over a billion dollars out to more than 170,000 people — progress!

NYC’s Sugary Drink Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

A New York appeals court is upholding a ruling striking down New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on sugary drinks.

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City's crackdown on big, sugary sodas is staying on ice.
An appeals court ruled Tuesday that the city's Board of Health exceeded its legal authority and acted unconstitutionally when it tried to put a size limit on soft drinks served in city restaurants.

In a unanimous opinion, the four-judge panel of the state Supreme Court Appellate Division said that the health board was acting too much like a legislature when it created the limit, which would have stopped sales of non-diet soda and other sugar-laden beverages in containers bigger than 16 ounces.
The judges wrote that while the board had the power to ban "inherently harmful" foodstuffs from being served to the public, sweetened beverages didn't fall into that category. They also said the board appeared to have crafted much of the new rules based on political or economic considerations, rather than health concerns.
The city's law department promised a quick appeal.
"Today's decision is a temporary setback, and we plan to appeal this decision as we continue the fight against the obesity epidemic," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.
 New York's effort to cap soda portions has drawn national attention, whether from diet companies lauding it as a groundbreaking step in America's war on extra weight or from late-night TV hosts ribbing Bloomberg as a nutrition nanny.
The drinks limit follows other Bloomberg efforts to nudge New Yorkers into better diets. His administration has forced chain restaurants to post calorie counts on menus, barred artificial trans fats from restaurant fare and challenged food manufacturers to use less salt.
Bloomberg and city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley saw soft drinks as a sensible next front in a necessary fight: reining in an obesity rate that rose from 18 to 24 percent of adults in the city within a decade. Studies have tied heavy consumption of sugary drinks to weight gain, and the city had to start somewhere, the officials said.
 "We have a responsibility, as human beings, to do something, to save each other. ... So while other people will wring their hands over the problem of sugary drinks, in New York City, we're doing something about it," Bloomberg said at a news conference after the measure was struck down in March.
Critics said the city went too far in imposing a serving size limit.
"For the first time, this agency is telling the public how much of a safe and lawful beverage it can drink," Richard Bress, a lawyer for the American Beverage Association and a coalition of other groups that challenged the regulation, told the appeals court at a hearing in June. "This is the government coercing lifestyle decisions."
Opponents also said the measure's limitations made it meaningless as a health tool but potentially devastating to businesses that would have to deny customers big sodas while neighboring establishments could still supersize them.
The regulation would apply in settings ranging from sandwich shops to table-service restaurants to movie theaters, but not in supermarkets or most convenience stores, as those establishments aren't subject to city regulation. The measure also exempted alcoholic drinks and milk-based concoctions, including lattes.
The lower court judge, state Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling, wrote in March that "the loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose." He also found that the Bloomberg-appointed Board of Health intruded on the City Council's authority when it imposed the rule.
While the city appealed, Bloomberg has continued pushing the cause in other ways. In June, he and the mayors of 15 other cities urged congressional leaders to stop allowing food stamps to be used to buy soda and other sugary drinks, reviving an idea that had been broached for years.

Read more:

Infographic of the day: Sec. Kerry is killing the Earth trying to save the Middle East

Secretary of State John Kerry and his advisers have emitted more than 35.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the environment during their ill-fated attempts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, according to a Washington Free Beacon environmental impact study.

There is a price for keeping hope alive for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, no matter how unchanged the facts and futility on the ground. And the price is steep. For Gaia:
Secretary of State John Kerry and his advisers have emitted more than 35.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the environment during their ill-fated attempts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, according to a Washington Free Beacon environmental impact study.
After taking six trips to the region since February, Kerry and his crew have expended almost twice the amount of carbon that the average American emits yearly, according to an analysis based on statistics from the U.S Energy Information Administration.
Kerry alone has produced 26,037.11 pounds of CO2 as he seeks to bring intransigent Palestinian leaders back to the bargaining table.
Kerry has claimed global warming is one of his chief priorities even as he repeatedly shuttles to the Middle East on a mission experts say is doomed to fail.
In addition to the impact Kerry’s trips have had on the environment, the trips have cost taxpayers upwards of $2,774,497, according to the Free Beacon’s analysis.
Click to see the Free Beacon’s beautiful, full-sized infographic and fly the subsidized skies with John Kerry!

Anti-Keystone XL protests losing steam

 Some protesters carried anti-capitalist signs. One such sign read Capitalism is killing the planet.
 So tell me all about Stalin was responsible for about 20 million deaths and Mao Zedong's regime for approximately 70 million.  
Pol Pot, who led the Communist Party faction known as the Khmer Rouge, killed over 1.5 million of his own Cambodian people.6 Add to these numbers the atrocities committed by Soviet dictators like Lenin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev. 

Also add atheists like Fidel Castro and Kim Jong-il. All total, atheistic regimes have slaughtered more than 100 million people within the last 100 years. That averages to more than 1 million people per year. 

Attendance at protests against the Keystone XL pipeline appears to be in decline, despite warmer weather.
As part of the “Summer Heat” campaign to challenge the fossil fuel industry and hold President Barack Obama to his promise to address global warming, activists marched Saturday on Washington, D.C. This time, however, only a handful of protesters showed up, compared to the 35,000 protesters that came to town in February.
The “Rally for Independence from Fossil Fuels” began Saturday morning with about 70 people, according to sources who were present. That number grew to about 200 protesters around 11:30 a.m.

One activist tweeted that the number of protesters peaked at 500, significantly below the 35,000 present in February.
Some protesters carried anti-capitalist signs. One such sign read “Capitalism is killing the planet.”

On Friday, 55 protesters were arrested outside the offices of Environmental Resources Management, the company hired by the State Department to conduct environmental impact on the Keystone pipeline.
ERM’s analysis of the pipeline found that it would not significantly impact the environment or contribute to global warming, which angered environmentalists. President Obama said that the project should be not be approved if it added significantly to U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.
“We fully expect that Secretary Kerry and President Obama will clean up this mess and reset the process on the State Department’s review of KXL,” said Daniel Kessler of “It’s no surprise that ERM found that Keystone will not have an adverse environmental impact when it stands to gain from its construction. This isn’t how government is supposed to work.”

Our hope is that this summer will be a historic show of solidarity not just with the Americans who suffer most from the fossil fuel industry, but with the people across the planet whose lives are at risk as the world warms — and indeed with the planet itself, beleaguered but still so worth fighting for,” wrote environmentalist Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Winona LaDuke, Sandra Steingraber and Rev. Lennox Yearwood.
According to activists, the last two weeks of July is statistically the hottest stretch of the year.
“In a touch of irony, the protest came on one of July’s most pleasant days, one distinguished by below-normal temperatures and uncommonly low humidity,” The Washington Post reported.
“If only the protesters would have used more carbon based fuels instead of walking, perhaps the turnout would have been more impressive,” said Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot. “The Gore Effect has struck these poor hapless protesters twice — back in January and now again in July.”
Organizers used more than 130 buses used to bring in thousands of protesters to march on the White House in February.
Rallies also took place in Portland, Ore., and Brayton Point, Mass.
The Obama administration is expected to make a decision about the pipeline later this summer.

Read more:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Obama’s sneer at tar sands jobs is a sneer at $17 trillion in wealth creation

How many millions of jobs is the Keystone XL worth?
In a New York Times interview over the weekend, President Obama sneered at 2,000 or so construction jobs created by construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Here’s what he doesn’t get — and perhaps doesn’t want to understand either.
Tar sands development is about wealth creation or creating something out of nothing or more out of less — the very engine that has provided developed nations with their unparalleled prosperity, astonishing public health and clean environments.
Alberta has reserves on the order of 170 billion barrels of oil locked in the tar sands. Left alone, the tar sands are worth nothing. But excavated and processed into crude oil, they are worth (at today’s prices) more than $100 per barrel — i.,e, $17 trillion.
That is a lot of wealth to create out of nothing — wealth that can create a lot of jobs.
The U.S. economy employs about 150 million people on a GDP of about $16 trillion.
The remarkable thing about the Keystone XL is that all that wealth can be dramatically facilitated by the temporary labor of only thousands of people. Once complete, $17 trillion worth of wealth can start its journey from Alberta through the U.S. and into the economy where other processing can create even more wealth out of it.
Obama’s sneer at the Keystone XL? Consider the source.