Monday, January 16, 2017

A New Review of Second Edition of The Impending Monetary Revolution, the Dollar and Gold.  By Patrick Barron:

Austrian school economist Edmund Contoski has written a welcome addition to his 2012 explanation of the inevitable consequences of forcing fiat money on society. Six additional chapters have been added to his fifteen chapter 2012 first edition. Not only are readers of the original treated to new material, they are treated to a plan of action. Whereas the first edition laid out the case for commodity based money that arises naturally in the market place (and is well worth rereading), the second edition adds recent monetary insults that have arisen, the logical adverse consequences of these additional insults, and policy fixes. It is the latter addition, the policy fixes, that I found most interesting.

The author makes clear that policy must change. But what kind of change? The answer is a return to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers. Most readers, including your humble reviewer, will be treated to an in-depth explanation of the principles of federalism that go beyond the separation of powers. Once exposed to their ideas, one cannot but agree that nothing superior to the thoughts of our Founding Fathers has been advanced over the almost two and a half centuries since the Constitution's adoption by the states. There has been a steady chipping away at our freedoms, which will lead to catastrophe if not reversed.

Chapter XIX "More on Amendments" is a blueprint for action with the states taking the leading role. Only the states have the resources to counter the federal leviathan. But they must act in unison and with full adherence to the law. The law to which the states must adhere is the Supreme Law of the Land, the Constitution itself. But they must adhere to the Constitution as written and as explained by our Founders at the time of adoption, not by subsequent supposed legal scholars who have found much federal power "between the lines" of the written document. There is much original source material by the Founders upon which the states may depend. Our Constitution is a living document in the sense that the Founders provided the philosophical underpinnings to the real framework of our federal system, which is infinitely adaptable to the challenges of modern life.

Apologists for a strong central government will miss the point of this book. Americans do want a strong federal government, but we want that strength applied only to the areas of government delegated to it by the states and enumerated in the Constitution. We do want a strong national defense. We do want free trade within our borders. We do want a federal judiciary to which we may appeal when the states overstep their bounds and threaten our liberties. The problem that has existed at least since the Civil War is that there seems to be no appeal when the federal government itself oversteps its bounds. That government's own court system decides these questions. The states must act in unison to oppose these federal encroachments. I am certain that the author does not ascribe all wisdom to the states, but at least there are fifty states in competition for our productive citizens. A state that adopts perfectly legal but foolish policies will find that it has lost resources to other, wiser states. Currently there is no escape from the federal government's poor policy choices. This must change!

Please read Mr. Contoski's updated book, 2nd edition.

Patrick Barron is a consultant to the banking industry and taught Austrian economics for many years.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Sun—not CO2—Determines Our Climate

                                 Sunspots and Solar Cycles

Figure 1

The above chart clearly shows a weakening trend of sunspots in solar cycles 22, 23 and 24. These are the latest in a sequence dating from 1755, when extensive recording of solar sunspot activity began. Note that the peak of solar cycle 24, which occurred in 2014, is only about half that of solar cycle 22, which peaked about 1989. This portends global cooling—not global warming. Sunspots are dwindling to lows not seen in 200 years. In 2008, during the solar minimum of cycle 23, there were 266 days with no sunspots. This is considered a very deep solar minimum. You can check out pictures of sunspots—or their absence—day after day for recent years at Here is a recent picture of the sun with a single sunspot region as the sun marches toward a cyclical low expected in 2019 or 2020. 

Figure 2

Sunspots have been observed for millennia, first in China and with a telescope for the first time by Galileo in 1610. We now have a 400-year record of sunspot cycle observations, from which we can see a cycle length of about 11 years. Combining this fact with the discovery of a strong correlation between solar activity and radioactive carbon 14 in tree rings, it has been possible to backdate sunspot cycles from the sun's magnetic cycles for a thousand years, back to the Oort Minimum in the year 1010.

Sunspots occur when magnetic fields rip through the sun's surface, producing holes in the sun's corona, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and changes in the solar wind, the stream of charged particles emanating from the sun. The solar wind, by modulating the galactic cosmic rays which reach the earth, determines both the formation of clouds and
the carbon dioxide level in the earth's atmosphere—which has nothing to do with emissions from factories or automobiles! This is why in the 15 years prior to 2013, when humans produced 461 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide—compared to only 302 billion tonnes in the preceding 15 years—there was no global warming; in fact, the earth actually cooled despite the massive increase in carbon dioxide emissions. The fear mongers claim a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide will produce catastrophic global warming. But Reid Bryson, founding chairman of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Wisconsin, has stated, “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as a doubling of carbon dioxide.”

After about 210 years, sunspot cycles “crash” or almost entirely die out, and the earth can cool dramatically. These unusually cold periods last several decades. Of greatest concern to us is the Maunder Minimum, which ran from 1645 to 1715. Figure 3 shows the paucity of sunspots during this time. Some years had no sunspots at all. The astronomer Sporer reported only 50 sunspots during a 30-year period, compared to 40,000 to 50,000 typical for that length of time.

Figure 3

Since the Maunder Minimum, a less extreme but still significantly below-average period of cooler temperatures occurred during the Dalton Minimum (1790 to 1830), also shown on the graph.

At least as far back as 2007—before Cycle 23 had bottomed—a Russian solar physicist, predicted what we are seeing now. Professor Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the Pulkovo Observatory in Russia, noting that solar irradiance had already begun to fall, said a slow decline in temperatures would begin as early as 2012-2015 and lead to a deep freeze in 2050-2060 that will last about fifty years. He said the warming we've been witnessing was caused by increased solar irradiance, not CO2 emissions:

It is no secret that increased solar irradiance warms Earth's oceans, which then triggers the emission of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (italics added.) So the common view that man's industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect relations.

Further, debunking the very notion of a greenhouse effect, the renowned scientist said:

Ascribing 'greenhouse' effect properties to the Earth's atmosphere is not scientifically substantiated. Heated greenhouse gases, which become lighter as a result of expansion, ascend to the atmosphere only to give the absorbed heat away.

In a paper published in 2009, Abdussamatov wrote that there have been 18 Maunder-type minima of deep temperature drops in the last 7,500 years, “which without fail follow after natural warming.” And, correspondingly,

while in the periods of high sunspot maxima, there have been periods of global warming. Such changes in the climate of the Earth could be caused only by lasting and significant changes in the Sun, because there was absolutely no industrial effect on nature in those times.

We would expect the onset of the phase of deep minimum in the present 200-year cycle of cyclic activity of the Sun to occur at the beginning of solar cycle 27; i.e., tentatively in the year 2042 plus or minus 11 years, and potentially lasting 45-65 years.

Regarding analyses of ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica, Abdussamatov wrote:

It has been seen that substantial increases in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global climate warming have occurred cyclically, even when there was as yet no industrial action on nature. It has also been established that periodic, very substantial increases in the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere for a period of 420 thousand years never preceded warming, but, on the contrary, always followed an increase in the temperature with a delay of 200-800 years, i.e., they were its consequence (italics and boldface added.)

In an update in October 2013, Abdussamatov warned, “We are now on an unavoidable advance towards a deep temperature drop.”

Abdussamatov's conclusions about global cooling came from his studies of the sun, but another scientist came to a similar conclusion by studying ocean currents. This should not be surprising because, as NASA has stated, “uneven heating from the sun drives the air and ocean currents that produce the Earth's climate.” Don Easterbrook, a geology professor and climate scientist, correctly predicted back in 2000 that the earth was entering a cooling phase. He made his prediction by tracing a “consistently recurring pattern” of alternating warm and cool ocean cycles known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). He found this cycle recurring every 25 to 30 years for almost 500 years. Projecting this forward, he concluded “the PDO said we're due for a change,” and that happened.

Asked by CNSNews about the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Easterbrook said they “ignored all the data I gave them...every time I say something about the projection of climate into the future based on real data, they come out with some [computer] modeled data that says this is just a temporary pause...I am absolutely dumfounded by the totally absurd and stupid things said every day by people who are purportedly scientists that make no sense whatsoever....These people are simply ignoring real-time data that has been substantiated and can be replicated and are simply making stuff up....What they're doing in the U.S. is using CO2 to impose all kinds of restrictions to push a socialist government.”

Is it true that the global-warming issue has become a front for a political ideology? Has it become a tool for increasing government control over our lives, not just in the U.S. but all over the globe? In 2010 a leading member of the United Nation's IPCC said, “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.” Now it's not about saving the environment but about redistributing wealth, said Ottmar Edenhofer, a co-chair of the IPCC's Working Group III and a lead author of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (2007). “We redistribute the world's wealth by climate policy.”

Edenhofer told a German news outlet (NZZ AM Sonntag ): “Basically, it's a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War.”

The Cancun agreement set up a “Green Climate Fund” to administer assistance to poor nations suffering from floods and drought due to global warming. The European Union, Japan and the United States have led pledges of $100 billion per year for poor nations up to 2020, plus $30 billion in immediate assistance.

The IPCC regularly submits its reports to its Expert Reviewers Panel. As you might expect, most of its appointments to this panel have been supporters of global warming. A few nonbelievers have been included to give the appearance of balance, but their comments and questions have been routinely ignored as the IPCC focuses on what it claims to be the “consensus” view.

Only one person has been been on every IPCC Expert Reviewers Panel, dating back to 1990. That man is Dr. Vincent Gray of New Zealand. He submitted a very large number of comments to IPCC drafts. Here are some of his comments from a letter he wrote on March 9, 2008:

Over the period I have made an intensive study of the data and procedures used by IPCC contributors throughout their whole study range....Right from the beginning I have had difficulty with this procedure. Penetrating questions often ended without any answer. Comments on the IPCC drafts were rejected without explanation, and attempts to pursue the matter were frustrated indefinitely....

I have been forced to the conclusion that for significant parts of the work of the IPCC, the data collection and scientific methods employed are unsound. Resistance to all efforts to try and discuss or rectify these problems has convinced me that normal scientific procedures are not only rejected by the IPCC, but that this practice is endemic, and was part of the organization from the very beginning. I therefore consider that the IPCC is fundamentally corrupt. The only "reform" I could envisage, would be its abolition....

Yes, we have to face it. The whole process is a swindle. The IPCC from the beginning was given the license to use whatever methods would be necessary to provide "evidence" that carbon dioxide increases are harming the climate, even if this involves manipulation of dubious data and using peoples' opinions instead of science to "prove" their case.

The disappearance of the IPCC in disgrace is not only desirable but inevitable....Sooner or later all of us will come to realize that this organization, and the thinking behind it, is phony.  Unfortunately severe economic damage is likely to be done by its influence before that happens.

Patrick Moore, a co-founder and director of Greenpeace, resigned because of its “trend toward abandoning scientific objectivity in favor of political agendas.” After the failure of communism, he says, there was little public support for collectivist ideology. In his view a “reason environmental extremism emerged was because world communism failed, the [Berlin] wall came down, and a lot of peaceniks and political activists moved into the environmental movement bringing their neo-Marxism with them and learned to use green language in a very clever way to cloak agendas that actually have more to do with anti-capitalism and anti-globalism than they do anything with ecology or science.”

Vaclav Klaus, former president of the Czech Republic and a university professor before he became president, is the author of a book on global warming and has spoken often on the subject. He says , “What frustrates me is the feeling that everything has already been said and published, that all rational argument has been used, yet it does not help.”

It does not help because global warming alarmism is not based on rational argument. It is not based on science. It is not based on reality. It is based on political ideology. If rational argument doesn't fit, then phony arguments must be invented: the spread of malaria, the loss of biological diversity, oceans flooding, polar bears disappearing, Himalayan glaciers vanishing, etc. If global warming does not fit the observable temperature measurements, then a new “reality” must be invented to fit the ideology: actual temperature records must be altered or dismissed—hundreds of temperature-reporting stations in colder areas worldwide were eliminated from the global network so the average temperature is higher than when those stations were included link. Presto! Global warming. Ditto for carbon dioxide measurements: 90,000 CO
2 measurements in 175 research papers were dismissed because they showed higher CO2 levels than desired, and various other studies were selectively edited to eliminate "uncooperative" measurements while claiming the cherry-picked remaining ones showed global warming (link.) The global warming advocates are not disturbed by all this because, in their view, ideology trumps reality!

Klaus states (link link link): "We succeeded in getting rid of communism, but along with many others, we erroneously assumed that attempts to suppress freedom, and to centrally organize, mastermind, and control society and the economy, were matters of the past, an almost-forgotten relic. Unfortunately, those centralizing urges are still with us....

Environmentalism only pretends to deal with environmental protection. Behind their people and nature friendly terminology, the adherents of environmentalism make ambitious attempts to radically reorganize and change the world, human society, our behavior and our values....They don’t care about resources or poverty or pollution. They hate us, the humans. They consider us dangerous and sinful creatures who must be controlled by them. I used to live in a similar world called communism. And I know it led to the worst environmental damage the world has ever experienced....

“The followers of the environmentalist ideology, however, keep presenting us with various catastrophic scenarios with the intention of persuading us to implement their ideas. That is not only unfair but also extremely dangerous. Even more dangerous, in my view, is the quasi-scientific guise that their oft-refuted forecasts have taken on....Their recommendations would take us back to an era of statism and restricted freedom....The ideology will be different. Its essence will, nevertheless, be identical—the attractive, pathetic, at first sight noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of the common good, and the enormous self-confidence on the side of the proponents about their right to sacrifice the man and his freedom in order to make this idea reality.... We have to restart the discussion about the very nature of government and about the relationship between the individual and society....It is not about climatology. It is about freedom.”

Much of the foregoing is an abridgment of my earlier article, “Its the Sun, Stupid.. Some of the other articles I have written on global warming can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.