Sunday, June 24, 2007

Global Warming and Solar Cycles

A reader asks if the earth is getting closer to the sun. The earth's orbit is always changing, in accordance with several cycles, but these are of very long duration. They cause very long term climate changes but are not the basis of the very slight warming of the earth over the short time spans involved in the current climate change controversy.

The large planets Jupiter and Saturn exert a gravitational pull on the earth that makes the earth's orbit around the sun elliptical. These planets align to pull the earth away from the sun to the maximum distance of its orbit every 100,000 years. The earth's 3 degree change in its inclination to its rotational axis has a 41,000 year cycle. And the precession of its rotation, which exposes one pole or the other to more sunlight, has a 22,000 year cycle. (There is also a climate cycle of 135 million years that corresponds to earth passing through the arms of the Milky Way. The Milky Way galaxy, which is 100,000 light years across and 10,000 light years thick, has six arms spiraling out from its center like a pinwheel.)

While orbital changes produce long-term climate cycles by varying the distance of the earth from the sun, shorter term cycles are determined by changes in the surface of the sun itself. The sun's radiation is not uniform but varied by disturbances on the surface of the sun, called “sunspot cycles.” 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! Sunspot cycles cause only slight changes in the sun's radiation, but these changes are amplified many fold by interaction 1) with ozone in the upper stratosphere, and 2) with clouds in the lower troposphere.

Sunspot cycles have an eleven-year cycle as well as cycles of 87 years and 210 years. Superimposed, these cycles might add or cancel each other out. (After about 210 years, sunspot cycles “crash” or almost entirely die out, and the earth can cool dramatically.) Singer and Avery, in their best-selling book Unstoppable Global Warming, identify a global warming cycle of about 1,500 years (1,470, actually) based on the 87 and 210-year solar cycles. Seven of the 210-year solar cycles and seventeen of the 87-year cycles fit neatly into the observed 1,470-year climate cycle of the earth. And the Kyoto Treaty and all the proposals to limit carbon dioxide emissions will have no effect whatever on these climate cycles. In their arrogant ignorance, the politicians and the progress-is-the-villain ideologues propose expensive schemes that will waste trillions of dollars, reduce people's standard of living, reduce freedom and extend government control over people's lives everywhere.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Smoking Bans are Killing People

In order to get smoking bans passed, it was necessary to create an atmosphere of hatred toward the “enemy,” to work people into a frenzy over a threat to their health, whether the threat was real or not. What mattered was not truth or science but whether the desired result—smoking bans—could be achieved. So truth and science were quickly sacrificed to the-end-justifies-the-means policy of anti-smoking organizations. Michael Seigel, MD, is both a medical doctor and public health official. He has 21 years experience in tobacco policy research and currently teaches at the Boston University School of Public Health. Though adamantly opposed to smoking, he says: “The anti-smoking movement is driven by an agenda—an agenda that will not allow science, sound policy analysis, the law, or ethics to get in its way.”

On December 12, 2006, he charged “Health and Anti-Smoking Groups' Claims are Making a Mockery of Secondhand Smoke Science.” He said “at least 38 health and anti-smoking groups are misleading the public”--including such well-known organizations as the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association. He charges them with “campaigns of deception.” On August 8, 2006, he noted that there were more than 80 “anti-smoking groups which continue to make fallacious scientific claims to the public about secondhand smoke.” Very, very few (we know of only two) have ever apologized or corrected past inaccuracies or ceased promulgating new ones. Siegel's website at details an astonishing array of lies, scientific misrepresentations and hypocrisy over the past two years by anti-smoking groups.

It should be remembered, too, that government agencies, such as the U.S. Surgeon General's office and EPA have been guilty of the same lies and fraudulent claims as the anti-smoking groups. While EPA claimed secondhand smoke was dangerous, the Congressional Research Service, at the request of the U.S. Congress, looked at the same data as EPA and concluded: “It is possible that very few or even no deaths can be attributed to ETS [environmental tobacco smoke].” Further, it stated that nonsmokers exposed to pack-a-day ETS every day for 40 years have “little or no risk of developing lung cancer”—much less dying from it. The CRS is part of the Library of Congress and has all the resources of that esteemed institution at its disposal. It is highly respected, nonpartisan, accepted by both Republicans and Democrats as fair and impartial, has no ties to tobacco companies, no regulatory or other agenda, and accepts no outside funding.

Then there was the Congressional Investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives. It found that EPA, in its study of secondhand smoke, was guilty of “conscious misuse of science and the scientific process to achieve a political agenda that could not otherwise be justified.” It also stated: “The agency has deliberately abused and manipulated scientific data in order to reach a predetermined, politically motivated result.”

(My previous postings have explained some of the scientific fraud, corruption of statistical standards, and deliberate misuse of data and misrepresentation of research studies. These can be found at:,,, (includes a link to my complete testimony at Meeker County.) )

But the well-financed campaign of misinformation worked. The atmosphere of hatred for smoking and smokers became ever more virulent as the fraudulent claims of danger—which became ever more shrill and outrageous—were incessantly pumped into the public consciousness. “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” The campaign against secondhand smoke was a perfect example of this policy, originally proclaimed by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister.

But while the smoking ban activists claimed their aim to be a healthier society, the hatred they spawned and laws they achieved have been producing violence and death. Last week the Minneapolis Star Tribune carried an article headlined: “Man Charged with Severing Wife's Tongue and Windpipe.” It states that the man slashed her throat because she smoked a cigarette to celebrate her birthday. She is in critical condition, and he is being charged with attempted murder. There are many examples (see below) of such violence because of the hatred whipped up by the anti-smoking activists.

While secondhand smoke has not been shown to represent a statistically significant health risk according to classic biostatistical standards, deaths continue to mount from the very measures the activists have managed to enact in smoking bans. These include forcing people to smoke outside (where they aren't protected) or on rooftops, or out in the cold. Notice how many of these are included in the examples below:

Utah: A teenager was murdered for smoking in downtown Salt Lake City.
Ohio: Man Beaten To Death For Not Giving Up Cigarette. Ricardo Leon, 23, died.
UK: Nurse stabbed to death at hospital in an outside smoking area.
UK: man killed wife and two sons over her smoking. John Jarvis, 42, stabbed his wife Patricia in the heart and then murdered their sons, John, 11, and Stuart, eight.
Louisiana: Pregnant woman shot over cigarette. 18-year-old refused to stop smoking.
CA: A 21-year-old woman was stabbed several times early Saturday outside a Carlsbad home when she went outside to smoke a cigarette, police said.
California: Smoker Gunned Down. A gunman fatally shot a man outside a sports bar in unincorporated Hayward as the man took a cigarette break, authorities said Friday.
Illinois: Smoker Falls To Death. Ian Honeycutt, 28, of Glenview, tumbled from a ninth-floor apartment, blown off a window sill by a gust of wind while smoking. His aunt asked him not to smoke inside, police sources said.
Ireland: Eamonn Mulvenna, 20 year old victim died when he fell from a fire escape being used as a smoking area because of the ban.
Canada: A 65 year old smoker dies out in the cold.
Alabama: Smoker Attacked. He was standing in a parking lot, smoking a cigarette when he was attacked
New York. 60 year old man beaten unconscious for smoking.
Florida: Father Stabs Son Over Cigarette.
New Zealand: Abduction And Rape Of Smoking Woman. The incident proved people would be more vulnerable if they had to go outside and smoke, something Prime Minister Helen Clark had not thought of, he said.
Ireland: Three men had jaws broken as they smoked outside pubs in Sligo, Kilkenny and Dublin
Colorado: Bar Owner Blames Smoking Ban For Rape. A Pueblo bar owner says the smoking ban that forced his female employee outside is directly responsible for her rape.
Texas: Date Rape Pill Put in Drink, While Going Outside for Cigarette. Maria says she and two other friends stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. She says it was during that time that someone spiked her drink.
UK: A female backpacker fell 100 feet to her death from the roof of a hostel early yesterday. The 20-year-old Canadian plunged six storeys into a lane at around 3am. One theory is that she climbed onto the flat roof of the no-smoking Edinburgh Backpackers hostel for a cigarette.
Colorado: Courtney Chinn, 25, of Colorado Springs was shot and killed in an area near the Anchor Lounge where smokers congregate on September 20, 2003. [It is said] the problem of crime outside of bars where smokers gather will persist.
Africa: Baby sister killed in brothers' anti smoking crossfire. 3 Year Old Girl Dies In Smoking Ban War.
UK: Boy smoker hanged himself. A 12-year-old boy hanged himself with his school tie rather than admit to his parents that he had been caught smoking
Wisconsin: Girl kills herself after being caught with a cigarette.
Massachusetts: Melissa Pierce and Angela Aiello, after leaving the bar to smoke, were struck in the heads with a metal pipe. Richard Jervah of Lynn was pushed through a plate glass window. Arthur Brestovitsky was stabbed in the chest, face, and arm.
The above examples are from, which contains over a hundred examples of such violence. We didn't hear stories of these kinds of violence before the smoking ban activists started fomenting hatred with their holy war (jihad) against smoking. It's time for them to admit their dishonest, exaggerated policies about the danger of secondhand smoke are killing more people than secondhand smoke. There is no scientifically sound basis for concluding that ETS is even a carcinogen—all of the studies claiming the contrary depend on corruption of scientific procedures, debasing of time-honored statistical standards, and/or misrepresentation of research studies. In fact, as the Littlewood & Fennell report to the National Toxicology Program Board of Scientific Counselors on Carcinogens states: “Many studies show a negative correlation for ETS and lung cancer—implying a protective effect, especially for children.” And of the nine Bradford Hill tests for judging carcinogenicity, none supports the contention that ETS is a human carcinogen. But hiding this information from the public is part of the misinformation campaign of the activists. So is keeping the public in the dark about the relative risk (RR) of secondhand smoke. The latest Surgeon General's report puts this RR at 1.2 to 1.3—but the public isn't told that the municipal drinking water that tens of millions of U.S. citizens drink every day in thousands of U.S. cities has RRs of 2.0 to 4.0—which indicates far greater danger than secondhand smoke. If a RR of 1.3 was statistically significant and indicated a threat to human health, then tens of thousands of our citizens would be dying every year from drinking municipal water with its much higher risk. But where are these bodies? These fatalities are simply not occurring. Neither are those from secondhand smoke. (Claims to the contrary are based on assuming invalid cause-and-effect relationships from statistically insignificant RRs.) Furthermore, Dr. Siegel has pointed out that a recent study in the March issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention concludes that “even if all currently known and measured carcinogens in tobacco smoke were completely removed, there would be little reason to believe that there would be any observable reduction in smoking-related cancers.” As the independent health consultants Littlewood & Fennell put it, “the effort to 'prove' ETS is a human carcinogen is largely and activist/advocate avowed anti-smoking advocates determined to somehow prove that ETS is a human carcinogen in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary."

Once again, it is clear that, regardless of the good intentions of the jihadist do-gooders, lies and a belief that the end justifies the means simply do not work. They cannot make a safer world than truth, science and respect for individual rights--including property rights--of people causing no harm to others. Liberty is still the best answer--in fact, the only answer--to a better, safer society. But some people never learn; they keep trying to prove that force is better than freedom and individual rights. And their mistakes continue to be paid for with the blood and lives of innocent people.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Eagle Problem Update

Recently there have been a number of comments to our December 29, 2006 posting “My Problem with Eagles.” Since many of these raise the same issues, I decided to answer them here collectively rather than publish all the individual comments and my replies in the Comments section of the original posting. Also, while some readers have raised valid questions in their comments, they have also included obscenities, name-calling, or scatological terms. This blog will not publish any such comments. Therefore, I have extracted any valid issues from such comments, which are often the same as those raised by others with more civilized vocabulary, and will cover them in my reply below.

Probably the most common issue from readers has been concern over what will happen to the eagles occupying this one nest if my property is developed. Our earlier posting explained that, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife experts, eagles typically have 3 to 5 nests in their territory, among which they rotate their occupancy every few years. But then the question is raised: what will happen to the other 2 to 4 nests if other landowners have the same attitude you do, and where will the eagles go? This implies two incorrect assumptions: 1) that the eagles' other nests are also on private property, and 2) that there is no place for eagles to go except other private property. Actually, Minnesota has millions of trees available on millions of acres of forested public lands—several of these very close to my property. On three sides of my property, there are three state forests within 27 miles; the Rum River State Forest is only 12 miles away. Plus there are also state and federal wildlife refuges, as well as other state forests, close by. The state has lots of these, plus national park and national forests, with millions of acres of suitable habitat where development is prohibited.

Minnesota has the largest national forest in the lower 48 states, the Superior National Forest, with 4,000,000 acres. Another national forest in the state, the Chippewa National Forest, contains, 1,600,000 acres. Then there is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, part of which lies in the Superior National Forest, but another million acres lie outside of it. Then there are 57 state forests, comprising approximately another 4,000,000 acres. There are also various state and federal wildlife refuges, state parks, and one national park. The Voyageurs National Park contains almost a quarter-million acres of suitable eagle habitat. Given the vast tracts of land set aside for preservation, it is difficult for me to believe that my 7 acres of buildable land must be sacrificed for the preservation of eagles, or that one tree on my property can be crucial to survival of the species when there are literally hundreds of millions of available trees in Minnesota.

On a line from my property to the Rum River State Forest, in the opposite direction lies the Pillsbury State Forest 27 miles away. From this line, at a 90 degree angle, lies the Wealthwood State Forest, 18 miles from my property. The Mille Lacs [state] Wildlife Refuge is also 18 miles away, to the southeast, while the Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge is just 34 miles to the northeast. Thus those who lament about the eagles losing their home, not having any place to go, and being threatened by the loss of one tree on my property have simply jumped to conclusion without knowing the facts about the abundance of nesting sites available on nearby public forested areas.

It should be noted, too, that state and federal governments have determined the locations best suited for preservation of species in the selection of public forests, wildlife refuges, etc. They did not select my property for such purpose because they found far more suitable properties. Similarly, the state and federal officials selected thousands of Minnesota lakes for inclusion in state and federal parks, the BWCA, etc., where development would be prohibited. The lake on which my property is located was not included; there were thousands of lakes considered more appropriate for that purpose. My lake was officially classified as a General Development Lake, meaning it was appropriate for development and human habitation. There are currently a couple of hundred cabins on this lake. I would simply be doing what all the other property owners have already done. That I have not done so earlier should be reason for applause, rather than criticism for being “greedy.”

Another common issue among readers is the apparent assumption that if I forgo development of the property, the eagles will live there happily ever after. But once again people are making assumptions without knowing the facts. The fact is these trees don't last forever, and the particular tree with the eagle nest is very old. It's about as big and old as a white pine ever gets, and there are obvious signs that it is approaching the end of its life. There are 6 to 8 holes at the base of the tree and as far up as about 8 feet. Many of these are large enough to put your hand into. Squirrels and other small animals have been running in and out and carrying wood chips and wood dust out. And one can see from what they have brought out—the very dark, soft, decaying material—that the tree is rotting from the inside and being hollowed out. There are also several large cracks, running several feet in length, up to about 10 to 12 feet from the ground. And the tree has also lost some major branches higher up. So what will happen to the eagles if the tree falls from natural causes? They'll survive. They'll go to their other nests, and they'll build new nests in new trees from time to time as they have been doing throughout the history of the species. Denying me the right to develop the property—on which I and my family have been paying taxes since the 1930s—will have no effect at all on “saving the species.” And once the tree has fallen, the property will ultimately be developed by someone, if not me then by whoever comes after me. The development plan I proposed meets all the other federal, state and county specifications for development.

Several readers have suggested that I should drop plans to develop the property “because the eagles were there before you were.” Once again, these people do not know the facts. The fact is I was there 50 years before the eagles were. I grew up spending summers on this lake, and it was at least 50 years before any of us ever saw an eagle. The eagle nest on my property has been there for only about a dozen years. The eagles have become so prolific they have been expanding their range and building nests where there never were such nests before, such as on my property.

Some readers have also said I should donate the property to the government. These people should put their money where their mouths are. If they think saving one aging tree with an eagle's nest is worth foregoing several hundred thousand dollars (the appraised value of the property, if developed), then they should get together, come up with that sum, and I'll be glad to sell to them so they can demonstrate their pious devotion to their cause by donating the land to the government at their own expense, not mine.

Actually, if I were wealthy enough (which I am not) to be willing to forgo the money for the sake of an eagle's nest, I certainly would not trust the government to preserve the property for its intended purpose. Across the lake from my property, there was a resort for many decades, operated by a man named Ed Linehan. He owned additional property (perhaps 10 acres or so) behind his Squaw Point Resort. Eventually he deeded this heavily wooded land to the county explicitly for the recreational use of the public. But several years later the county voted to sell that land for development on the grounds that the money could be better used for other purposes. The heirs of Ed Linehan then sued the county on the grounds that since the terms for which the land was donated to the county were not being fulfilled, the land should be returned to the Linehan family. The whole episode was written up in the local newspaper 2 or 3 years ago. I am not an attorney, but it certainly seemed to me from the newspaper account that the county was not fulfilling its end of the bargain and the property should be returned to the Linehans; however, the article said that the county attorney had advised the county board that its actions were legal. I don't know how the case turned out because I discontinued getting that local newspaper. But that is just one reason not to trust government to safeguard the environment. There are many more, as I have explained in my book MAKERS AND TAKERS (available from American Liberty Publishers).

Government at all levels has a terrible record on conservation. For decades it has driven some species, such as wolves and mountain lions, to the verge of extinction by paying bounties and even hiring government employees to kill them. The federal government also presided over the virtual extinction of the buffalo. The federal “open range” policy was detrimental to the buffalo, as was the government's policy of killing buffalo as a means of subduing the Indians. Government persistently refused to act even when buffalo numbers became alarmingly small. At one point Congress strongly argued that the buffalo was a “pest” and should be eliminated. When Congress finally passed a bill for conservation of the buffalo, President Grant vetoed it. The government had many opportunities and failed them all. By 1900 the once-vast wild herds of buffalo had dwindled to a mere 20 animals, these being in Yellowstone National Park. But even with so few animals left to watch over, and these confined to federal land, the U.S. government with all its mighty power—and its usual incompetence—could not prevent 16 of these last 20 from being slaughtered by poachers. It wasn't government that saved the buffalo from extinction. It was private concern and private property. One man (it may have been the Pend d'Oreille Indian Walking Coyote) had earlier roped two two male and two female calves and protected them on private property. From this grew the great Allard-Poncho and Conrad herds in Montana after the disappearance of every last buffalo in the public domain there. In the Panhandle, Colonel Charles Goodnight lured a few wild calves to his ranch and protected them. Mitchell Pablo, a half-Mexican half-Blackfoot Indian orphan who became a cattle baron, started protecting buffalo on his property in 1883. By 1906 he was ready to sell, but even at this late date Congress refused to buy any. So he sold to Canada. The 691 buffalo he sold were shipped to Canada's vast 17,300 square mile Wood Buffalo National Park and grew to a herd of 14,000 in half a century. It was these few men, acting in their own interests and by means of private property, who preserved the buffalo and later furnished the animals for restocking national parks and other public lands—for which the government now claims credit for saving the species! There are similar stories about the pronghorn antelope and the tule elk, which you can read about in my book. You can also read about the world leader in wetland and waterfowl conservation. No, it's not the federal government—which for decades used taxpayer money to promote the draining of wetlands. The conservation hero here is not government at all but a private organization with none of the powers of government. Supported entirely by voluntary private donations, Ducks Unlimited has conserved almost 12 million acres of wetlands, accomplished more than 1200 water control projects that have benefited 60 different species of mammals, 19 types of fish and 250 species of birds. It and similar organizations, including many small hunting and fishing clubs, have preserved more wetlands than the federal government. But the public isn't aware of these facts. If people were aware, they wouldn't be so quick to depend on government to accomplish environmental objectives. Through most of our history, it was recognized as beneficial to turn more and more public land over to private ownership, as, for example, with the Homestead Act of 1862. In recent decades we have been going against our own history by government policies that are bent on converting more and more private properties back into government ownership. And regulating more and more of what remains private, treating it as though everything is really public.

One reader says I am incorrect in interpreting the Constitutional principle of compensation for the taking of private property for public use. He writes: “You are only owed just compensation on a regulatory taking IF there has been a physical invasion of your property OR you have lost all of the economic value of your property.” But that is precisely the point: I have indeed lost all economic value of the property. There is no part of the buildable area of my property that is not included in the 330-foot radius from the eagle nest where the law prohibits any construction or habitat modification that would allow any economic use whatsoever. My property is bounded on one side by the lake and on the other three sides by two roads and by wetlands. The eagle tree is only 250 feet from the lake. So observing the 330-foot setback requirment from the eagle nest would put construction 80 feet out into the lake. Thus none of the property between the eagle tree and the lakeshore can be used. And in the other directions, the longest dimension from the eagle tree to roads or wetlands (which must be preserved) is only about 130 feet. So nothing at all can be built on any of the property. The property is completely wooded, but I cannot cut and sell firewood, plant corn or anything else. If the writer of that comment above can suggest any economic use that does not involve harvesting anything, planting anything, building any structures, or clearing trees to allow for such economic activity, I would like to hear about it.