Sunday, January 13, 2013

2012 Hottest Year on Record—Really?

The news media has been flooding the public with stories that 2012 was the “hottest year on record,” implying this indicates global warming. But continental U.S., including Alaska, is only 2 percent of the earth's surface. If global warming is the issue, why not report that 2012 was the ninth warmest for the 34-year record of global satellite measurements? Wouldn't fit the hype of global warming alarmism, would it?

Satellite measurements are far more accurate than surface thermometers, and they provide readings over large areas of the oceans where there are no surface temperature measurements. They also provide a range of vertical measurements throughout the atmosphere that are unavailable from ground-based thermometers.

When you hear “hottest year on record,” that record of thermometer measurements exists only from about 1890. The earth was warmer 1,000, 3,000, and 6,000 years ago when there were no factories or automobiles or thermometers. Indeed, for 95 percent of the last 100 million years the earth was warmer than it is today.

The IPCC fourth assessment report (AR4) says current atmospheric carbon dioxide (now 391 ppm) “exceeds the 'natural range' over the last 650,000 years (180 to 300 ppm) as determined by ice cores.” Nonsense! The ice cores show measurements of over 400 ppm in 1700 A.D. and 200 A.D. Samples from Camp Century (Greenland) and Byrd Camp (Antartica) range from 250 to nearly 500 ppm over the last 10,000 years. The carbon dioxide level was about the same 10,000 years ago as today, and temperatures rose as much as 6 degrees Celsius in a decade—100 times faster than in the past century!

Furthermore, more than 90,000(!) direct (not from ice cores) measurements were made between the years 1812 and 1961 and published in 175 technical papers. These were made by top scientists, including two Nobel Prize winners, using techniques that are standard textbook procedures. They show average carbon dioxide measurements of 440 ppm in 1820 and 1940, and 390ppm in 1855. But these have been ignored because they don't fit the hypothesis of man-made global warming.

Water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas, accounting for at least 95 percent of any greenhouse effect. Since CO2 is a weak greenhouse gas, computer models predicting significant CO2 warming depend on it being amplified by increased evaporation of water. But in all the many documented periods of much higher carbon dioxide, that never happened. During the Ordovician Period, for example, the carbon dioxide level was 12 times what it is today, and the earth was in an Ice Age.

The doctrine that global warming is due to the greenhouse effect sounds plausible enough to allow it to be a tool for promoting political and ideological agendas, but it is not scientifically supportable. The sun sets the level of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere by the cumulative effect of variations in the galactic cosmic rays reaching the earth, as modulated by the solar wind. It has nothing to do with emissions from factories or automobiles.

And clouds have a hundred times stronger effect on climate than does carbon dioxide. Even if atmospheric carbon dioxide doubled—which the alarmists say would be a disaster—its effect would be canceled out if cloud cover expanded by 1 percent. Yet in just 3 and one-half years in the 1990s, cloud cover changed by more than 3 percent. What determines cloud cover? The sun, through variations in cosmic rays and solar wind. In the words of Dr. Theodor Landscheidt of Canada's Schoeder Institute: “When the solar wind is strong and cosmic rays are weak, the global cloud cover shrinks. It expands when cosmic rays are strong because the solar wind is weak. This effect [is] attributed to cloud seeding by ionized secondary particles.”

Now perhaps you can appreciate a comment by Reid Bryson, founder of the Department of Meteorology (now Department of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences) at the University of Wisconsin and Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies: “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide.”

Friday, January 11, 2013

Obama Increasingly Acts Like a Monarch

His Majesty Obama has been expanding presidential powers since he became president. In bailing out General Motors, he overturned a century of legal precedents in bankruptcy proceedings, swept away the legal rights of GM stock holders and distributed GM stock to the labor union.

He has also made extensive use of executive orders to achieve his will without involving Congress, thus bypassing the legislative function. Here is a list of executive orders signed by U.S. presidents since World War II.

Harry Truman             5
Dwight Eisenhower     2
John F. Kennedy         5
Lyndon Johnson         4
Richard Nixon            1
Gerald Ford               3
Jimmy Carter            3
Ronald Reagan           5
George H.W. Bush     3
Bill Clinton               17
George W. Bush       77
Barrack Obama      146,  as of December 12, 2012. Note, too, that most of the other totals are for presidents who served 8 years.

(Source: Wikipedia, based on “Administration of [president's name] Executive Orders Disposition Tables” from the National Archives as published in the Federal Register.)

The recent school shooting massacre has again raised the issue of gun rights for the American people. The president has made it clear that if Congress doesn't act on this issue to his satisfaction, he will take action on it without Congress. That probably means another executive order. It remains to be seen how this would fit with the Supreme Court's decision that citizens have a right to bear arms.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner has suggested that Congress should avoid controversy over raising the national debt limit by granting the president the authority to raise it without limit whenever he wants and without future approval of Congress. That would be a power characteristic of absolute monarchs.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and former president Bill Clinton are urging Obama to evade the debt issue with Congress by unilaterally raising the debt limit, presumably by an executive order. They argue he should claim the authority via a controversial interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment. So the meaning of the Constitution would be altered according to the wishes of the ruler rather than meaning what it was intended to mean. That's another characteristic of an absolute ruler, to employ a whimsical interpretation to unilaterally alter the founding document of a government to serve his own purposes.

It seems Obama's goal of “fundamentally transforming” America is one of obliterating the concept of power sharing among three equal branches of government and moving toward the concentration of power in a single individual. Like a monarch. If the legislators don't do what he wants, he will do it without them.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

You Can't Drop Out of Medicare!

Remember how Obama, when he was trying to sell the public on Obamacare, said over and over and over again, that you could keep your private health insurance? He kept saying that if you were satisfied with your current health insurance, nothing would change for you. Well, he lied. On Monday this week, January 7, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand an appeals court ruling that held there is no way for people who get social security to drop out of Medicare.

The case was brought by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey along with other former federal employees and private individuals. They argued that private insurance covers more than Medicare. Two of the plaintiffs are wealthy individuals who have high deductible private insurance and prefer to pay for their own health care rather than enroll in Medicare. They no longer have the right to do so.

The case was funded by the Fund for Personal Liberty. Chalk up another victory for government control and another defeat for personal liberty.