Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Re: Last Jedi political messaging

On Wed, Dec 20, 2017 at 11:12 AM, utahtrout wrote:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi' leans into political fray

But the latest movie, "The Last Jedi," appears to lean into the political fray, from its egalitarian message to a more specific critique of callous plutocrats.

More pointedly, the mission undertaken by Finn (John Boyega) and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) leads them to a planet where the ultra-rich congregate at what amounts to an intergalactic casino. Moreover, it's noted that most of those one-percenters earned their money from war profiteering -- selling weapons to the First Order and Rebels alike -- while subjugating and exploiting those around them.

The pair's escape also weaves in an animal-rights theme, as the two rebels liberate a creature used for a kind of horseracing entertainment. The beast eventually wanders off free, regaining its natural state.

There's obvious irony in a money-making enterprise like "Star Wars" -- fattening the coffers of the Disney empire -- decrying capitalism run amok. Yet even if that's a minor, peripheral element in a fantasy set in a long-ago, far-away galaxy, rather than being reluctantly drawn into such debates, "The Last Jedi" signals its willingness to at least be part of the conversation by addressing issues in the here and now.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

My comment on "Why I Was Wrong About Nationalism".

In response to 

I wrote this in the comments section:

"​In my previous comment I said that the video was really interesting but could give the wrong impression.  However, as much as I want to assume that Molyneux has good motives, I think that his stance on race and IQ is counter productive.  It is not just that this is a taboo subject, but it has great potential to do harm.  Even if it is true, there is no benefit to repeatedly pointing this out and it gives fuel to racists and justifies the idea that we can treat people differently based on race.  People should be treated as individuals based on their individual merits and race should be a non consideration.  Pointing out differences in race creates prejudices in otherwise well meaning people who had none.

There are a huge number of factors that could affect scores on IQ tests.  I don't think that I need to list them.  As a result, the premise that intelligence varies by race is essentially unprovable.  Over the next hundred years we will see populations shift and changes in demographics and economics, and therefor I suspect that a hundred years from now we will see dramatically different results on these kinds of tests.  If correct, it makes race based comparisons rather meaningless.​"


Doug Jones Beats Roy Moore In Alabama Senate Election

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


I occasionally listen to old episodes of Greg Garrison, who has retired.

I especially liked this episode.

Fwd: Fact checking

Far more troubling was the Washington Post's fact check of Vice
President Mike Pence's claim that "There are more Americans working
today than ever before in American history." Now, a fact check of that
statement means you check whether it's true that more Americans work
today than ever before. A reasonable person would suspect it has a
high chance of being true if for no other reason than there are more
Americans living today than ever before.

In fact, it is factually correct to say that more Americans are
working now than ever before. The Washington Post admits this,
showcases the numbers (124 million, up from 65 million in 1968), and
says Pence is "technically correct." So they give him, quite
amazingly, three Pinocchios, their little metric that summarizes their
analysis of the truthfulness of the statement. Then they admit they
wanted to give him four Pinocchios but were constrained by the fact
that what he said was true. I'm not joking.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Steve Kusaba
November 25 at 10:21pm ·

One year ago today, Fidel Castro actually became a good communist.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Shooting of Michael Brown

On July 14, 2015, U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber responded to defense motions by dismissing four of the seven counts of the lawsuit and declining to dismiss two other counts.[249][250] On June 20, 2017, Webber approved a settlement between Brown's parents and the city of Ferguson. Terms of the agreement, including the settlement amount, were sealed from the public.[251][252] A Ferguson city attorney revealed the city's insurance company paid $1.5 million.[253]


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fwd: Immigration russian roulette

Copy of Facebook comment.

Seems to me that the discussion is a bit one sided without overtly stating the solution. I assume that people are advocating getting rid of all guns and the 2nd amendment. Otherwise, why have this discussion? However, such people would deny me the the right to defend myself.

I admit that Australia has an amazingly low murder rate, but the United States is below the global average. Country to country comparisons are not always valuable, as we are dealing with different cultures. I think that it is naive to assume that making guns illegal is going to help things. Also, the correlation between guns and murders is hard to pin down. The US murder rate went down as the number of guns more than doubled. Conservatives claim more guns means less crime.

I think that the real problem is a decline in morality. Gun violence is the symptom of a declining society as opposed to being a symptom of the availability of guns. And guess who I blame for the declining society?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fwd: UK no surgery for you

No surgery for smokers or the obese: Policy in UK stirs debate

For an indefinite amount of time, it plans to ban access to routine, or non-urgent, surgery under the National Health Service until patients "improve their health," the policy states, claiming that "exceptional clinical circumstances (will) be taken into account on a case-by-case basis."

The decision comes from the clinical commissioning group (known as a CCG) for the county of Hertfordshire, which has population of more than 1.1. million.

The target for smokers is eight weeks or more without a cigarette -- with a breath test to prove it.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Re: This Is How The Chinese See America

The link no longer works.  Here is another one ...

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Labor and Work

"The prudent, penniless beginner in the world, labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land, for himself; then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This, say its advocates, is free labor---the just and generous, and prosperous system, which opens the way for all---gives hope to all, and energy, and progress, and improvement of condition to all." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" (September 30, 1859), pp. 478-479. 

"No country can sustain, in idleness, more than a small percentage of its numbers. The great majority must labor at something productive." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" (September 30, 1859), p. 479. 

"Labor is the true standard of value." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Speech at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania" (February 15, 1861), p. 212. 

"The world is agreed that labor is the source from which human wants are mainly supplied. There is no dispute upon this point." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" (September 30, 1859), p. 477. 

"I am always for the man who wishes to work." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, "Recommendation For Unidentified Man" (August 15, 1864), p. 495. 

"If at any time all labour should cease, and all existing provisions be equally divided among the people, at the end of a single year there could scarcely be one human being left alive---all would have perished by want of subsistence." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Fragments of a Tariff Discussion" (December 1, 1847), p. 415. 

"Labor is the great source from which nearly all, if not all, human comforts and necessities are drawn." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Speech at Cincinnati, Ohio" (September 17, 1859), p. 459. 

"Wanting to work is so rare a merit, that it should be encouraged." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Letter to George D. Ramsay" (October 17, 1861), p. 556. 

"Beavers build houses; but they build them in nowise differently, or better now, than they did, five thousand years ago. Ants, and honey-bees, provide food for winter; but just in the same way they did, when Solomon referred the sluggard to them as patterns of prudence. Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, "First Lecture on Discoveries and Inventions" (April 6, 1858), p. 437. 

"Property is the fruit of is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, "Reply to New York Workingmen's Democratic Republican Association" (March 21, 1864), pp. 259-260. 

"Every man is proud of what he does well; and no man is proud of what he does not do well. With the former, his heart is in his work; and he will do twice as much of it with less fatigue. The latter performs a little imperfectly, looks at it in disgust, turns from it, and imagines himself exceedingly tired. The little he has done, comes to nothing, for want of finishing." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" (September 30, 1859), p. 475. 

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." Lincoln's First Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861. 

"Upon this subject, the habits of our whole species fall into three great classes---useful labour, useless labour and idleness. Of these the first only is meritorious; and to it all the products of labour rightfully belong; but the two latter, while they exist, are heavy pensioners upon the first, robbing it of a large portion of it's just rights. The only remedy for this is to, as far as possible, drive useless labour and idleness out of existence." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Fragments of a Tariff Discussion" (December 1, 1847), p. 412. 

"Work, work, work, is the main thing." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Letter To John M. Brockman" (September 25, 1860), p. 121. 

"And I am glad to know that there is a system of labor -> where the laborer can strike if he wants to! I would to God that such a system prevailed all over the world. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Speech at Hartford, Connecticut" (March 5, 1860), p. 7. 

"If you intend to go to work there is no better place than right where you are; if you do not intend to go to work, you can not get along anywhere." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, "Letter To John D. Johnston" (November 4, 1851), p. 111. 

"I don't believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Speech at New Haven, Connecticut" (March 6, 1860), p. 24. 

"...half finished work generally proves to be labor lost." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Communication to the People of Sangamon County" (March 9, 1832), p. 5. 

"And, inasmuch [as] most good things are produced by labour, it follows that [all] such things of right belong to those whose labour has produced them. But it has so happened in all ages of the world, that some have laboured, and others have, without labour, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To [secure] to each labourer the whole product of his labour, or as nearly as possible, is a most worthy object of any good government." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Fragments of a Tariff Discussion" (December 1, 1847), p. 412. 

"...the working men are the basis of all governments, for the plain reason that they are the most numerous..." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Speech to Germans at Cincinnati, Ohio" (February 12, 1861), p. 202.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


​Copy of a comment I made on Facebook​:

With all due respect, I don't understand your absolute hatred of Trump. Not even close. I have mixed feelings about Trump as a person, although I feel somewhat favorable about him, but I voted for his agenda, not his personality. I actually think that Trump is trying to do the right thing, as he sees it, which overlaps some, but not all, of my views.

I think that this is barking up the wrong tree. You're not getting rid of Trump, because Trump did not collude with the Russians, and there is no evidence he ever did, and even if you could prove that he did, it is not illegal. However, if you did get rid of Trump, then you are not accomplishing anything, because you are going to have Mike Pence as president. If you could get rid of Mike Pence, which would make me sad because I think Pence is truly a great guy, then you would have Paul Ryan as president. By some miracle if you got rid of Paul Ryan then you would have Orrin Hatch as president, which I only mention because for me that would be the least desirable outcome.

BTW, Pence and I graduated from the same high school. I could be almost as happy with Pence as President, but I think that Trump will actually accomplish more.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

This Is How The Chinese See America


​P.S.  The  movie "Take Shelter" is on its way from Netflix.​  I'm looking forward to seeing this.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Black Lives Matter

We are all being lied to on many issues. Most of what we hear in the world is spin, even by well intentioned people. Often well meaning people pass on misinformation in the name of doing good.

Race relations in this country have never been better. However, various people whom I can only describe as anarchists have been trying to stir up racial divisions. The reason for this is clear. It is politically motivated. The left is a coalition of people who in one way or another see themselves as victims. There is no political left without people feeling like they are being suppressed by somebody else, so all the rhetoric we have been hearing centers around victimhood.

I think that BLM is mostly a false narrative. I say "mostly" because I am sure that people can point out a few relatively rare cases where there was an unjustified or questionable shooting.

The data shows that 92% of Blacks who are killed are killed by other Blacks.

If people want to disrespect the flag or the national anthem then that is their free choice. This is what freedom looks like. However, if people are upset by this and choose not to watch nor attend, that is also their free choice. And if the NFL and the team owners realize that this is hurting attendence and ratings, then they are also free to do something about it, because the players are their paid employees.

There is an irony to multimillionaires disrespecting the national anthem because they are are worried about discrimination.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ask yourself if you are OK with Russia dictating who becomes our President?

With all due respect, "Ask yourself if you are OK with Russia dictating who becomes our President?" is far from proven. In fact, I think it is rubbish, or at the very least there is no credible evidence for it. Even if Trump colluded with the Russians, there is no crime there. At the moment, everybody is hanging their hat on a process crime, but this seems unfair to me, as the president had the legal power to fire Comey for any reason. He also had the power to tell Comey how to run his investigation. Even Comey and other people at the FBI testified that Comey wasn't vital to the investigation.

But I have to come to realize just how deeply the left feels slighted. What tipped me off is Morgan Freeman's video about how we are at war with Russia. At first I thought that the left would be somewhat reasonable in the sense that we would have an investigation where most of the allegations would be proven insubstantial and maybe a couple of minor improprieties would come to light. However, this is not how the left is acting. They are acting like we have been invaded by a foreign power, and they will not be satisfied until the resistance movement removes the head of our government. As evidence of this, the left has been throwing around the word "treason" a great deal recently.

To use the political system to overturn an election to me feels like an injustice. Trump was elected, regardless of the events that lead up to his election.

I am a bit alarmed by the actions of Muller. He has 17 lawyers working for him. He has opened a Grand Jury. There is no way that he can do all the work, and spend all this money, and then go before Congress and say that he found nothing. He is going to find a crime, somehow, some way. Unless he collects one or more scalps, this is going to look really bad.

Impeachment is not a legal process. You cannot throw someone in jail from impeachment. That takes a separate trial in the regular courts. Impeachment is a political process. All it takes is the political will to impeach, regardless if there is any legal merit or not. Then it takes a trial in congress to remove that person from office. I don't think that the political will is there. I might be surprised.

However, to me this feels like a waste of time. The worst case scenarios involve Mike Pence, or Paul Ryan, or god forbid Orrin Hatch becoming President. I could be pretty happy with a Mike Pence, or a Paul Ryan as president. What exactly is it that they hope to accomplish?

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Truth About The DREAM Act

Topics like this are highly controversial, so I am sorry if it steps on anyone's toes.  

I happen to agree with him on this.

My position is that we do not have a shortage of laborers in this country.  We have a shortage of jobs.  More competition for jobs results in lower wages.

Some say that we should import people with degrees, which maybe has some value, but there are stories about companies firing high paid American workers and hiring people from India at half the wage.  We have no shortage of people with degrees, since 40% of college graduates have to take a job that does not require a degree.

What is the other thing that we don't have a shortage of?  People.  The population of the United States has gone up 80% in my lifetime.  More people means more strain on resources.  Natural resources.  Things end up costing more, like land and water.

Hypothetically, will we ever reach a point where the open border advocates think that the country is too crowded?  Would it be at 500 million people, or 600 million, 700 million or a billion?


Sunday, September 10, 2017

What if We Never Went to the Moon?

This video is remarkably statist. Everybody looks at the benefit of government spending, and not the cost. Suppose the $200 billion adjusted for inflation dollars had been spent on something more useful? Cure diseases? Not go into as much debt, which has been compounding for the last 50 years? Reduce the burden of government on the free enterprise system? For a long time we have had more government than we can afford.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Fwd: America First Trade policy in action

Spanish olives, and potentially the EU's agricultural policy as a whole, are the next potential victims of Donald Trump's "America First" policy.

The U.S. Department of Commerce opened a probe last month to determine whether to slap duties on ripe olives from Spain, after Californian producers argued their Iberian rivals receive an unfair advantage because of the EU's lavish farm subsidy scheme.

For Brussels, the case could set an alarming precedent. Under the sacrosanct Common Agricultural Policy, the EU pours about 40 percent of its budget into farm subsidies and it is highly protective of any trade investigation that questions the legality of those payments. Last year, Brussels pushed back hard against Australia's moves to put tariffs on Italian tinned tomatoes.

Washington may prove a tougher adversary than Canberra. Brussels is bracing for U.S. tariffs to be imposed as early as November, as President Trump vows to slash the trade deficit with the EU, which swelled to $147 billion last year from $61 billion in 2009.

"What we are seeing here is Trump's 'America First' attacking our agriculture policy," said Clara Aguilera García, a Spanish member of the European Parliament. "It seems Trump's policies are encouraging U.S. producers to go down a protectionist path and try to shut out foreign competition."

De Mora, head of the Spanish olive association, accused the Californians of only starting their protests after the Spaniards launched major promotions for their fruit this year.

Criticism of Europe's farming subsidies is nothing new, and the CAP is often accused of unfairly hobbling competition, particularly in emerging markets. Earlier this year, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan quipped: "The European Union pays enough subsidies to fly each cow in Europe around the world first class and still have money left over."

Friday, September 1, 2017

Bob Mueller has an unreleased Trump letter about firing James B. Comey. Here’s why that’s big.

The real truth about the 2008 financial crisis |

A black man undercover in the alt-right | Theo E.J. Wilson | TEDxMileHigh

Very interesting perspective ...

As a side note, "alt-right" means different things to different people. It started out just meaning constitutional conservative or Tea Party enthusiast. However, it has been co-opted by racist elements.

I'm tired saying this, but mainstream Republicans are not racist. The Republican party was the party of Lincoln and abolition. The Democrats were the party of slavery and the KKK. The Tea Party's favorite presidential candidate was Herman Cain. Republicans wanted Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice to run for President. Neither one was interested, but Republicans would have gladly put either one of them on the ticket.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Thursday, August 31, 2017

What Colleges and Graduate Schools Don't Want You to Know

I have heard that 40% of college graduates have to take a job that does not require a degree.  It means that we are educating more people than the market needs.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Friday, August 25, 2017


One concern that has been on my mind is the displacement of workers. This has certainly been an issue in the midwest, which has been highly dependent on the declining domestic manufacturing. In Indiana, I can see the terrible effect it has had on people, especially in the poor areas of the state.

Automation is threatening to take over as machines become more intelligent in the next decade or so. This is going to be much more rapid than automation in the past, which has been generally beneficial and we have had plenty of time to adjust. It seems likely to me that in the near future, we will see many, if not most, jobs just disappear.

We can imagine a future where humans have to do almost no work. It is not a question of if this will happen, but when. We have known this all along. Science fiction has predicted this for decades. Assuming that this is the future, how should our society be organized? Normally I would just trust the free enterprise system to sort things out, but the pending sudden rise in automation is threatening to more sharply divide us between the haves and have nots.

Intelligent machines will change the world more than anything that has come before it.

The fear of automation has given rise to the call for Universal Basic Income. Although I see this as Marxism in disguise, if human workers really do get displaced by machines, we might not have a choice. However, having people idle and making them wards of the state is bad for the human condition.


Transition of Power

We are a country that is noted for, and is proud of, its peaceful transition of power. However, lately we have been living in bizarro land and there may be no going back from this. The new response to a both a democratically elected president, and unpopular speech, has been violence. The purpose of free speech in a free society is not to protect popular views, but to protect unpopular ones, because popular views need very little protection. We should recognize the right of people to protest peaceably, regardless of how much we disagree with their views.

Politically, we are in danger of becoming a third world country. In most places where people feel like they have very little political power, conspiracy theories run rampant; people believe that an external force or scapegoat is responsible for their oppression. So they riot in the streets.

The path we are on is a decline in civil society and a decline in civilization.

When Republicans lose, there is very little problem with the political transition. Republicans are used to losing and are used to being on the outside looking in, so they mostly have been content being the opposition party. Some people say that Republicans prefer to be the opposition party, as evidenced by their failure to lead.

However, there is an element in the extreme left that has risen up that is Marxist to the core. This element does not want to tolerate contrary opinions, because they view their opponents as oppressors, thus justifying a violent response. This is why we get calls for Trump's assassination, and actual violence.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Friday, August 18, 2017


I'm pissed off. If Donald Trump picks his nose he is a racist. If he fails to say exactly the right thing at exactly the right time, he is a white supremacist. In fact, he is a Nazi for just being Donald Trump. By definition. Everything Trump does results in outrage at ever increasing hysterical levels, and will continue to do so until all the forces aligned against Trump succeed in getting rid of him.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Monday, August 7, 2017

Re: Top 10 Climate Change Lies Exposed

On Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 2:47 AM, Albert Nelms <alnelms
​> ​
Another quick rundown of global warming lies. You've mentioned most of these issues in your debates with friends online.

1.  There is a long term consequence of raising the temperature 5 degrees celsius or more that is very bad, which is that the polar ice caps will completely melt.  Based on current temperature trends, I don't think that this is likely to happen, and if it does happen, it will take 5000 years, giving us plenty of time to do something about it.

2. The direct effect of doubling CO2 in the atmosphere is an increase of 1.1 degrees celsius.  Almost everybody agrees on this.  There are a couple of dissenters who say that over geological periods of time you can't find a clear correlation, but there is so much else going on over geological periods, usually solar and orbital variation, that confuses the issue.  

There are additional positive and negative feedbacks that are in dispute.  Whereas the direct effect is 1.1 degrees celsius, the data since 1880 indicates to me that the Climate sensitivity is slightly under 2 degrees.  That means that there is positive feedback, although solar variation could also be the cause.  It also means that the climate sensitivity is less than the alarmists are claiming.  I heard one lecturer say that the positive feedback was "0.6", which seems to me to be close.

Until about a week ago, I didn't see any evidence of positive feedback, but that was because I had miscalculated the Climate Sensitivity.

#3 and #4 are interesting points.

#12 He doesn't explain his point about acidity very well.  

Warming does cause the oceans to release more CO2.  There is also very little doubt that CO2 causes warming.  The real issue is how much?  The warming caused by CO2 is a logarithmic function, which means that you have to keep doubling the CO2 level to achieve the same result.  Based on current temperature trends, we will run out of fossil fuels long before we reach an increase of 5 degrees celsius.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Re: Global Climate


As I recall, the human contribution to total emitted carbon dioxide gasses is around 5%.  The usual argument is that the CO2 both leaving and being put in the atmosphere was in balance before, and now it is not.  Since about 1880 we have seen the atmospheric CO2 level go from about 280 PPM to around 400 PPM.  It was 230 PPM in the preindustrial period.   It is expected to reach 800 PPM by the year 2100.  As long as it doesn't go higher than that, I think that this is more beneficial than detrimental.

Previously, I did my math wrong.  I thought that an atmospheric increase of CO2 from 280 PPM to 400 PPm was a 70% increase, but that was because I did a brain fart on the math.  Instead, it is about a 43% increase.  I just now discovered my mistake.  Doing a new calculation, based upon the 0.85 temperature increase since 1880, I get a new climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 of 1.98 degrees Celsius.  However, the IPCC changed the low end of their range to only 1.5 degrees because they accepted papers that said that this was the climate sensitivity based upon 20nth century data.  So other people are looking at recent data and are coming up with Climate Sensitivity numbers.  The generally accepted range by the IPCC is from 1.5 to 4.5 degrees.  Whereas the skeptics think that 1.5 degrees is the most the climate sensitivity could be, the IPCC think that it will be at least this much, if not much higher.  I just watched a climate scientist claim that it is 6 degrees celsius.

I just found yet another source claiming that it will take 5,000 years for the polar ice caps to melt.  This is the disaster scenario that the alarmists warn about.  The temperature has to warm about 5 degrees celsius for this to happen.  Obviously we have plenty of time to change course if the Climate Sensitivity is more than I think it is.

Correlation is not the same as causality.  The biggest driver of temperature is solar variation.  Ice core samples going back hundreds of thousands of years show that temperature increases precedes CO2 increases, and not the other way around.  This is because warmer air causes the oceans to release more CO2.  Although the two things are correlated, it doesn't necessarily mean that there is a clear causality relationship between CO2 and temperature.  When I looked at temperature data, sometimes the two went in opposite directions.  Although I am certain there is a greenhouse effect, CO2 may not the main driver of temperature.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Stephen W Gordon The US has spent somewhere around 5 trillion on wars (still going up) to avenge/punish/protect after 4,000 Americans were murdered on 9/11. But some how we don't have any money to help the many times that number who will die from lack of health care. Strange.
John Coffey
John Coffey I meant to respond a few days ago, because I think that your point is valid. War is a terrible waste of money.

When it comes to war we have sort of a paradox, because I don't think that we should do nothing, but we usually end up doing the wrong thing or too much.

There is also a paradox when it comes to healthcare. The national sentiment right now is that nobody should be without healthcare, which means that some people are going to need public charity. It doesn't necessarily mean that everyone should have their healthcare paid for by the government, but I have read that we are 64% of the way there already, so some might say let's just go to single payer. This is where I think that paradox comes in, because whenever someone else is paying for your services, you are not going to care about either the price or overusing the system. One thing that keeps prices in check is people's willingness to do without when it gets too expensive, but we think that nobody should do without. Ironically, the current supply of healthcare services is not enough to cover everybody.

I am a firm believer that when government funds something it automatically becomes more expensive. Both healthcare and higher education have risen much faster than inflation. It has everything to do with incentive. When people spend their own money, they are much more careful on how they spend it or do without if something is too expensive.

I would not necessarily be against single payer if there were incentives to control costs. People need to pay for a portion of their healthcare. One possibility is have single payer cover disasters and people have to pay for routine expenses.

My prefered solution is medical savings accounts, which would be subsidized for those who can't afford them. Hypothetically, both you and your employer contribute 5% (or some other percentage) of your income pre-tax dollars into an account that can only be used for medical expenses or to buy health insurance. You have the option to contribute more and the money can accumulate till retirement. If you have an excess amount in the account at retirement then you could take some of it as taxable income. With this system, current retirees would still fall under medicare, but future retirees would be required to use the medical savings accounts first. Also, people should be allowed to invest the account money in something that will get a decent return.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The moral hazard of climate change.

I write about this because it is one of the most important issues of our time.

I agree with the basic premise of the article that a completely unregulated capitalism could lead to some bad consequences.  However, some things not covered by the article are ....

1.  The government's major role in creating the financial crisis of 2008.

2.  The moral hazard of publicly funding science to the tune of tens of billions of dollars per year to tell us that there is a problem.

3.  The positive benefits of increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

4.  How nuclear fusion will allow us to start replacing fossil fuels (if necessary) by mid century.

5.  How predictions of large climate sensitivity, which is how much the atmospheric temperature will go up every time you double the level of atmospheric CO2, are not supported by current temperature data, which shows the climate sensitivity to be about 1.1 degrees celsius.  Many climate scientists have noted this.  Climate alarmists are worried about a climate sensitivity of around 5 degrees celsius.  

6.  How there will be ways to remove CO2 from the atmosphere (if necessary).  The most cost effective method is Iron Fertilization.

Yesterday, I watched several videos talking about Climate Sensitivity in general.  The biggest concern is about positive feedback, such as increased water vapor acting as a greenhouse gas.  However, we have seen no evidence of positive feedback over the last 137 years where the CO2 levels have gone up about 75%.  I have no doubt that some positive feedback does exist, but if the feedbacks were more forcing than the CO2 is forcing then we would have seen runaway greenhouse by now.   In order for this to happen, the feedbacks would need a multiplication factor greater than 1.  Yesterday, I saw one lecturer claim that the feedbacks are only about 0.6, although we currently see no evidence of even this level.  If he is correct then we could expect a climate sensitivity of about 2 degrees.  Even the climate alarmists say that this doesn't lead to disaster, although they do claim it would be inconvenient.  However, some skeptics note that the the temperature change in a typical day can vary by as much as 30 degrees celsius, so a 2 degree change in the average is nothing to get our underwear in a knot about.

I have put much faith in the current temperature data in estimating Climate Sensitivity.  One of the arguments against this is the claim that the oceans have been absorbing much of the recent warming, acting as a buffer against Climate Change.

CO2, which is necessary for all life on earth, is a trace gas that we measure in parts per million.  It is a weak greenhouse gas compared to other gasses.  It has also been on a major decline over the entire history of the earth because it gets sequestered by natural processes.  During the last period of glaciation it was dangerously low, almost to the point where terrestrial plant life would start dying.  We have been running out of CO2.  Only in recent history have humans reversed the decline.

We have technically been in an ice age for 3 million years.  All of human civilization arose during a brief 10,000 year period between glaciations.  The next period of glaciation is expected in another 10,000 years, although some have speculated that global warming may delay this.  Others have said that we can't prevent it.

I tried really hard to find data about what past temperatures were when the CO2 level was last about 800 parts per million, but this information is hard to find.  This is the level of CO2 that we expect to have around the year 2100, which is double of what we have now.   If historical temperatures were to show much higher temperature than we have now then I would be more concerned.

What past temperature and CO2 data do show is that there is not a clear correlation.  Sometimes they can be opposite of each other.  I saw multiple people claim that orbital variation (of the earth) is the by far the biggest driver of temperature.  If anything, CO2 increases usually follow temperature increases, instead of the other way around, because higher temperatures cause the oceans to release more CO2.  What is likely happening here is that first the temperature goes up, which causes CO2 to increase, which then in turns adds to the temperature.

Plants benefit from increased levels of CO2.  Crop yields are up and are continuing to increase.  As a result of man's activity, there has been a greening of the earth.  However, there should be some limit to how far we want to go with this.  The earth has not seen a CO2 level of 1,200 parts per million in 60 million years.  I believe that technology at some point in the 21st century will allow us to stabilize the level.  We will move to nuclear fusion and sequester CO2 as necessary.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Fwd: Do the math

ere is some simple "old school" math. First, Obamacare is bankrupting every Obamacare exchange. Minuteman Health announced its failure last week. That means 19 of 23 Obamacare co-ops are bankrupt and out of business. Billions of taxpayer dollars up in smoke.

That's a failure rate of 83 percent. This has nothing to do with conservative vs liberal. These are just facts.

Here in Nevada, our last two insurance carriers just pulled out. Fourteen of 17 counties in Nevada will not have any insurance option for the Nevada Obamacare exchange in 2018. That's a failure rate of … you guessed it, 83 percent. Hey, at least Obamacare is consistent!

By the way, the Obamacare exchanges failed in both Vermont and Hawaii. Two tiny, liberal states couldn't make it work. Hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars lost.

In California, the Democrat Assembly leader is getting death threats because he tabled the idea of universal health care. Democrats are threatening to kill a Democrat because he realized there isn't enough money in the world to pay for free health care. The cost in California for universal health care? $400 billion. That's more than twice as much as the entire California budget.

Eroding common identity

Historically, a nation-state stipulated the primacy of a nation brought together by a common culture, which in turn went on to generate an overarching national identity strong enough to attenuate regional, ethnic or religious differences. In both their American and European systemic varieties, democratic institutions have preserved and protected the rights of the people, while the culturally grounded dominant national identity has given the nation-state its requisite resilience, while also imbuing it with the power to make demands of its citizens. So long as this shared national identity remained strong—call it patriotism, love of country, or belonging beyond one's immediate family and local community—the nation-state retained its cohesion, resting on a sense of reciprocity between the government and the citizen.

Today after decades of espousing multiculturalism and group rights buttressed by the politics of grievance, the foundations of a larger shared national identity have eroded such that governance—or better yet, governability—has become an increasingly scarce commodity across the West. We are at an inflection point, where a growing systemic disorder is stoked not just by shifts in the global power distribution, but by the progressive decline in governability. The dismantling of the core principle that the national homeland should be under the sovereign control of its people lies at the root of this problem.

The hypothesis that institutions ultimately trump culture has over the past quarter century morphed into an article of faith, alongside the fervently held belief that nationalism and democratic politics are at their core fundamentally incompatible. The decades-long assault on the very idea of national identity steeped in a shared culture and defined by a commitment to the preservation of the nation has left Western leadership frequently unable to articulate the fundamentals that bind us and that we thus must be prepared to defend. The deepening fight over the right of the central government to control the national border—which is at the core of the Western idea of the nation-state—is emblematic of this situation.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Climate Change

See if you can follow my reasoning here. If I am wrong, I would like concrete reasons as to why I am wrong. Let's say that the predictions are correct, and the atmospheric CO2 levels by the year 2100 are 800 PPM, double of what we have now. I have no reason to doubt this. Based on the temperature record of the last 137 years, where the CO2 level has gone up roughly 72%, the likely atmospheric temperature increase would be about 1.2 degrees celsius, and there are a number of people who believe this. (However, during the Cretaceous period, a doubling of CO2 only resulted in an increase of 0.6 degrees Celsius, and there are some skeptics who think that this is what would happen again.) This is not enough to melt the polar ice caps, which is the doomsday scenario some have predicted. However, the IPCC predicts a different temperature increase, giving a range anywhere from 1.5 to 4.5 degrees, with the average being about 3 degrees. Again, not sufficient enough to melt the polar ice caps. However, if we take the upper figure to be true, then we are indeed in danger of melting the polar ice caps, but I have read from multiple sources that it would take thousands of years for the polar ice caps to melt. This would give us plenty of time to remedy the situation, and we do have remedies. It is almost certain that we will have nuclear fusion by the mid 21st century, and therefor we could phase out fossil fuels as much as we need to. There is also this thing called Iron Fertilization that would allow us to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Therefor I see no reason to panic, nor any reason to impose onerous energy taxes that would make energy unaffordable to many, nor any reason to impose any other kind of government mandate. At least not in the short term.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fwd: The growing divide

One of the frequent blind spots for economic libertarians, speaking as one who has personally dealt with this log in the eye, is a tendency to allow principles of how economies work and the beauty of trade to make us ignore perceived threats animating people who value more than just the power to buy and sell. The gigantism encouraged by our modern globalist system has many perks across many industries. But it has also given rise to a global corporate elite. This elite tribe of globalists share certain values: they are more tolerant of regulation, insomuch as it drives out competition; they are more welcoming of government expenditure, insomuch as it buys their products, builds their needed infrastructure, and subsidizes their hospital systems; and they care little about the subjugation of rights to speech and religion, so much as it makes their ability to sell in certain markets inconvenient.

If you want a video representation of this mindset, I could do no better than to offer this footage from a recent conversation with the leaders of Google dealing with an uncomfortable question last month about the monolithic nature of their engagement with politics.

Note the response from Eric Schmidt, who rejects the idea that anyone disagreeing with him politically could be operating from a position of "science-based thinking". The level of diversity and inclusiveness welcomed by Google is precisely as much as is needed to achieve their corporate aims. "You'll also find that all of the other companies in our field agree with us" – yes, we know.

In an economy that is increasingly driven by the global elite, will the values that have been central to our nation's history exist in a meaningful sense? Or will they be discarded as inconvenient bugs, virulent viruses passed on from our ignorant forefathers that must be cured? Can free speech and religious liberty survive in an environment when our corporate leaders see honor in stamping out fake news and non-science based thinking?

And this leads us back to the question of why we hate each other. The New York Times looked into rising contempt across partisan lines: "Democrats and Republicans truly think worse of each other, a trend that isn't really about policy preferences. Members of the two parties are more likely today to describe each other unfavorably, as selfish, as threats to the nation, even as unsuitable marriage material.

"Surveys over time have used a 100-point thermometer scale to rate how voters feel toward each other, from cold to warm. Democrats and Republicans have been giving lower and lower scores — more cold shoulder — to the opposite party. By 2008, the average rating for members of the other party was barely above 30.

By 2016, that average dropped by about five more percentage points, dragged down in part by a new phenomenon: For the first time, the most common answer given was zero, the worst possible option. In other words, voters on the left and right now feel downright frigid toward each other."

Today, the centralized power among the leaders of the global tech industry – who have little use for free speech and religion, and are thoroughly onboard with the Messianic aims of the environmental movement are steadily prodding governments to seal up the valves and the hatches. In a world where all the companies agree, what use are they after all?

The implicit motto of the global elites today is "no escape" – no escape valve from a permanently politicized life, where the only legitimate perspective is their monopolistic, secularized, authoritarian-friendly 

When we do not view each other as legitimate – particularly when decisions are not coming from the people or properly elected officials, but from some other force – it leads to resentment, escalation, and eventually something much worse.