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CLIMATE WARS: KLEPTICS versus SKEPTICS Part 3

I have asked my good friend Steve Smith to share some of his research on Global Warming.  I have great respect for him as a thinker, I also love his unique perspectives.  This is the 3rd (to see part one, part two)in a series of three posts, look for the next installment soon.

Stephen Smith has a B.A. in Math from San Jose State University. During the day he is a Computer Systems Quality Engineer and programmer, so he understands well the ability of programmers to manipulate outcomes in computer models. In his spare time he researches and writes about issues related to maximizing individual and collective freedom, specializing in detecting manipulation, propaganda, and social engineering at various levels from interpersonal to international. Other areas of interest include history, music, linguistics, physics, “complex” systems, and chaos theory.

Part 3of 3 — Troubling Assumptions and Blatant Hypocrisy

The most troubling aspect of this particular subject is that many on both sides buy into government intervention to save us from ourselves. Even Skeptics who doubt any significant warming can be affected by humanity also believe that if humanity was significantly affecting temperatures then government action is necessary and moral. The problem I have with this assumption is that it hasn’t been thoroughly examined and dissected. While it is perfectly legitimate for someone to advocate change, It makes no sense that people who spit on the sidewalk should legislate against spitting on the sidewalk until they themselves have stopped. How odd for scientists to derive their ethics from non-scientific assumption.

Al Gore is like that charismatic preacher of dogma from the Southern United States, Jimmy Swaggart. Why do people believe these hypocrites? Is it because they have a serious demeanor, a southern accent, and an apocalyptic message? It amazes me as someone from the southern United States, that these two preachers continue to have any following at all, given their hypocrisy. But there is one significant difference between the two: Swaggart wasn’t trying to create a sex tax when he was found to be a hypocrite, but Al Gore is trying to tax us over CO2 when he has one of the largest carbon foot prints in the world and will hardly be impacted economically. Al Gore isn’t the only hypocritical Kleptic and Jimmy Swaggart is not the only hypocritical Christian. That does not excuse their hypocrisy.

The preceding paragraphs bring up two points I would like to emphasize:
1) In order for someone to have the right to penalize me for a behavior that I have, they themselves must be significantly better than I am with regard to that behavior. Since those trying to charge us higher fees and taxes for living average lives are some of the worst CO2 offenders, they lack moral grounds for limiting our own paltry CO2 emissions and for preventing cheap development in the third world.
2) Even if our accusers were truly more “righteous” than the rest of us when it comes to CO2 emissions, in the U.S., we are innocent until proven guilty. In order for there to be “due process”, we the accused are entitled to counsel, all of the data of the prosecution, and our own expert witnesses. These have been denied by the Kleptics, and only the “illegal” release of emails illustrating illegal and unethical behavior has made us aware of the extent of the problem.

Since it is highly unlikely that anyone is in immediate danger of developing AGW induced cancer, I think it is safe to take a personal, individual approach rather than a societal one driven by the force of law. If you believe in AGW/ACC, show the rest of us by your life style that you are living what you believe. Make significant changes to your life-style so that we can see your commitment. Go without many of the pleasures of life that you think everyone should do without. Honest Christians deny themselves many things regardless of what society does. So do many environmentalists. Show me, don’t tell me. How can anyone who does what I do, and what everyone in the community does, charge me a fine for some an offense everyone is guilty of, especially since the U.S. Constitution states that I cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process.

For these and other reasons I have chosen to join with the Skeptics until new significant data supporting AGW/ACC turns up. Perhaps this is a decision not entirely free of dogmatism on my part, but mostly it is because I have run out of time. After trying approach #3 and #4, I’ll have to revert to approach #1 and make my best guess based on the data I’ve collected so far. Based on the sticky notes on my wall and other data collected and organized from the reading I have done on many different subjects and from many different sources, some historical, some scientific, I believe that if I joined the Kleptics in demanding that the government act on the preliminary and tentative data presented in support of AGW/ACC I would have to overlook many more inconsistencies and accept many more unproven assumptions than I will have to as a Skeptic. The Skeptics aren’t without their faults. Many are dogmatic. But scientists can never use the dogmatism of dogmatists to justify their own dogmatic behaviors, because dogmatism is the opposite of science, not religion. The CO2 GHG model is about as advanced in relation to the complexities of climate change as Spontaneous Generation was to understanding why organic matter turns rotten, and is likely as useless in preventing it.

Scientists should know better than to set about their work with the goal of proving their assumptions correct. Science is about falsifying theories not falsifying data or guaranteeing outcomes. Those who demand my assent by way of their “authority” as scientists should have paid more attention in logic class in college. Appeal to authority is a logical fallacy. Without logic, science remains primitive. The only authority I answer to is Truth. I won’t reject innocently written histories or innocently discovered facts just to meet the demands of dogmatists out to prove pre-conceived notions and politically motivated ideologies. I’ve noticed that the Kleptics regularly use a divide and conquer strategy to deflect valid but small objections. After I put the multi-color sticky notes on wall, it became clear to me that there are dozens of legitimate but small objections to the data and models supporting AGW/ACC, to go along with many medium sized and large objections. There are simply too many to ignore.

For those readers who have sided with the Kleptics, please understand that I really don’t care if you believe in AGW/ACC or choose to live your life in a way so as to minimize your carbon foot print. I appreciate the example you are giving to the rest of us. But chances are there are many who don’t believe in AGW/ACC who have a smaller carbon foot print than you. Given than fact, don’t expect us who already conserve better than you do to put up with the nonsense of you trying to force us to live a life style you yourself are unwilling to live. By the way, those who claim we are in immediate danger would do well to recognize that the infamous Love Canal public endangerment from pollution turned out to be way over hyped, even false as reported by a tracking study done by the state of New York: “Overall, the number of cancers in residents was slightly less than in other New Yorkers.”

No matter what position you take, the scientific measurements will not always cooperate with your hypothesis. Dr. Roy Spencer has shown that the rise in temperatures shown in many graphs of global temperatures is largely related to population. But he also recently reported that January and February of this year are the warmest January and February with regard to satellite measurements of lower atmospheric temperatures since 1979 when the satellites were brought on line (http://www.drroyspencer.com). It is what it is. Earth’s climate is complex. It’s not going to always do what we want it to. Climage change is constant. Trying to calculate climate change based on generalized circulation models is like trying to calculate the volume of a box when the only measurement you have is the length of the shortest side of the box.

Further Reading

Learn how real scientists reconcile differences in the case of the missing neutrinos. It took 35 years to resolve this relatively simple problem. Climate is 100 times more complex. Perhaps we should expect the climate debate to take 3500 years to resolve scientifically.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/neutrino/missing.html

Between 1250 and 1290, less than 800 years ago, the island town of (Old) Winchelsea, England was destroyed by incursions of the sea and floods. This time period was at the beginning of the slow transition from the Medieval Warm Period and the Medieval Cold Period (the mini ice age). The oceans had been warming for centuries without the help of CO2. What we can gain from this story is if Earth does in fact enter a cold period in the next few decades, we can expect increased storminess as warm oceans and cold air masses over continents collide.
http://www.villagenet.co.uk/rotherlevels/villages/oldwinchelsea.php4

Some Kleptics claim that Skeptics are merely religious fundamentalists who also deny the science of Darwinism. Ian Plimer, currently Professor of Mining Geology at the University of Adelaide, is a Darwinist who has debated creationists. He finds the Kleptics to be so dogmatic that he thinks that AGW/ACC is a new urban religion that arose among people who are separated from the natural world. (April 2009). Note that there are 5 parts to this video called “Human Induced Climate Change”, labeled 1 of 5, 2 of 5, 3 of 5, 4 of 5, and 5 of 5. There is another video titled “Environmentalism Is The New Religion” which may offend some traditional religionists as well. Personally I find it entertaining to hear him describe the dogmatism of the environmentalists as a religion … a new state religion.
http://www.wikio.com/video/1037942

Lord Monckton takes the Kleptics to task in Berlin, November 2009
http://www.vimeo.com/8023097
When did Lord Monckton become suspicious of IPCC?
http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2010/02/monckton-on-the-ipcc

Enviromentalist Lucy Skywalker bought into Al Gore’s global warming movie, but later did an about face. This web page offers an excellent overview.
http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Curious.htm
Here are some interesting videos collected by environmentalist Lucy Skywalker (mentioned earlier as one who started as a Kleptic and ended as a Skeptic):
http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Cinema.htm
Especially this one about how CO2 converts readily to calcium carbonate.
http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Cinema.htm#Christy

Perhaps one of the least dogmatic, least emotional debates on the subject can be found on the Rice University web site: Where is the physical science?” with Dr. Richard S. Lindzen (Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT and member of the National Academy of Sciences) and Dr. Gerald North (Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography at Texas A&M). Storms come from variability, so warming should bring fewer storms. Skeptic talks about processes and warmer talks about models.
http://webcast.rice.edu/webcast.php?action=view&format=win&title=The+Great+Climate+Change+Debate%3A+Where+is+the+Physical+Science%3F&uri=mms%3A%2F%2Fwmdp.rice.edu%2FCenters%2FCSES%2FClimateChg-27Jan10%2FClimateChg-27Jan10.wmv

What about the IPCC? Geologist Lawrence Solomon takes AGW to task, stating among other things that Abdussamatov who is collecting data via the international space station says that Mars is warming as well, and has been predicting a new Little Ice Age for some time, and his predictions are looking better with each passing year.
http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/commentaries/solomon_settled.pdf — Lawrence Solomon, 25 February2010

Earth is warming is Mars, Pluto, Jupiter, and Neptune because of the sun
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080512120523.htm — 12 May 2008
http://www.livescience.com/environment/070312_solarsys_warming.html
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html

Diverting aid from saving lives today to preventing future climate change is wrong. — Thomas Fuller, Environment Policy, Denver Examiner, February 3, 2010
http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner~y2010m2d3-Open-letter-to-President-Obama-on-global-warming-and-call-for-signatures

Peter Taylor is another environmentalist (Science Policy Analyst) with concerns about the focus on CO2 and Global Warming. Initially didn’t doubt Global Warming theory. Realized solutions for Global Warming would be more damaging than the warming itself. There is NOT a scientific consensus! Doesn’t deny warming, but realizes electromagnetic energy from sun went up dramatically in the last century. Biofuels plus global cooling will drive up food prices because of speculating.
http://www.global-warming-and-the-climate.com/un-climate-change.htm

I have nearly 200 other Internet links on AGW/ACC and more are found every time I do any online reading of the subject for those who are interested.

SKSmith

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Part 2 CLIMATE WARS: KLEPTICS versus SKEPTICS

I have asked my good friend Steve Smith to share some of his research on Global Warming.  I have great respect for him as a thinker, I also love his unique perspectives.  This is the 2nd (to see part one)in a series of three posts, look for the next installment soon.

Stephen Smith has a B.A. in Math from San Jose State University. During the day he is a Computer Systems Quality Engineer and programmer, so he understands well the ability of programmers to manipulate outcomes in computer models. In his spare time he researches and writes about issues related to maximizing individual and collective freedom, specializing in detecting manipulation, propaganda, and social engineering at various levels from interpersonal to international. Other areas of interest include history, music, linguistics, physics, “complex” systems, and chaos theory.

Part 2 of 3 — Scientists say “dramatic effects (such as a runaway greenhouse effect) are very unlikely.”

The Kleptics claim the earth is warmer now than at any time in the last 2000 years, that it is because of human generated green house gases (GHG) building up in the atmosphere, and that if we do not stop releasing GHG (mostly CO2) then the earth could cross over into a new climate state leading to a runaway green house that will drastically warm the planet. These predictions are based on generalized circulation modeling (GCM) done on computers, using data obtained from direct instrumental measurements and numerous temperature “proxies” such as ice cores, tree rings, stalactites, sediment cores, etc. Using proxy data from carefully selected tree ring samples, they have eliminated the medieval warm period and made the Roman warm period appear less likely. In their view, changes in solar activity account for only 30% of the warming.

According to the GCMs, CO2 is the main culprit, and if we don’t control it there were be catastrophe and war. Human contributions to GHG are changing difficulties into disasters. They speak with great certainty, claiming the debate is over. Even if they turn out to be wrong, the Kleptics believe we should take preemptive actions because we cannot afford for them to be right and have done nothing. The science is complete and the debate is over. Humanity is guilty until proven innocent.

The Skeptics claim the earth is no warmer, and possibly less warm, than either the medieval warm period (700 to 1200 years ago) when the Vikings thrived in Greenland, or the Roman warm period (1600 to 2200 years ago) when wine grapes grew in England. All of the warming can be explained by natural variability, including increased solar activity (more active than any time in the last 11000 years, and 2.3 times more active than 130 years ago). All of the planets appear to be warming, which further implicates the sun and its interaction with the planets and the galaxy. There’s a fair chance that the Earth is entering a cooling period. Given that the ocean is slow to warm and slow to cool, we can expect stormy weather. The primary measure of the goodness of a scientific model is the ability to predict new events and discoveries with regularity, which the GCM have proven to be week at. Aside from the warming, many conditions predicted by the climate models are not appearing.

Skeptics believe that the Kleptics plans are too expensive for the expected return on investment (ROI), and that the Kleptics know this. Skeptics claim that the Kleptics will keep asking for tighter and tighter restrictions until we are living in the stone age or new technologies make the Kleptics rich. Besides, plants like CO2, proxies are not entirely proven, the Kleptics regularly splice together datasets from different sources, the Kleptics try to prevent standard scientific reviews, and the Kleptics disregarded tens of thousands of data points about CO2 fluctuations in the past 150 years so that they can establish a false “stable” pre-industrial CO2 level of 280 parts per million. Science is never complete, and debate is never over. Humanity is innocent until proven guilty. Climate change has happened in the past and it will happen in the future.

To better understand climate modeling I skimmed through all of the articles in the nearly 300 pages of Monograph 126 of the American Geophysical union, titled “The Oceans and Rapid Climate Change, Past, Present and Future”, edited by Dan Seidov, Bernd J. Haupt and Mark Maslin, 1993. This activity gave me great respect for the climate modelers. I enjoyed drinking from the proverbial fire hose. Naturally I wasn’t able to swallow as much as I would like, but what I did swallow was far more pure than the muddy water found on many of the comment threads on climate blogs, where opinions are declared as facts and accusations are made with impunity. What I found in these studies were many statements displaying the classic uncertainty found in legitimate scientific studies. This was very different from reading the declarations of certainty and so called “fact” of AGW/ACC found in the pro-AGW blogs, news media and government web sites.

The most telling of these declarations stated that “the model also shows that dramatic effects (such as a runaway greenhouse effect) are very unlikely.” [Stocker, et al, 2001, p. 289]. Notice how the title of this section includes the words “scientists say”. All you need is two scientists to say it for it to be true. This article was written by at least two scientists. It is the standard approach of the main stream media to make statements like that with regard to science. But science is more complex than that. Still, this was from a valid, peer reviewed study and carries is more valid than statements from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that referenced anecdotal sources (mountain climbers), student masters thesis, and environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Fund.

These oceanic circulation studies illustrate how complex the systems are. They also illustrate how inadequate computer models are when it comes to modeling something as complex as the climate: “… as with the ocean simulations, one should emphasized that those results are still highly uncertain. Nevertheless they indicate that significant, but not catastrophic positive feedback mechanisms are associated with them.”

In 1993Van Loon and Labitzke showed a strong correlation between solar flux and the behavior of the stratospheric (high altitude) cyclone and anticyclone in the arctic, depending upon the phase of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (direction of air flow from the equator). Hundred year running averages of monthly sunspot numbers indicate an increase to 33% above the relative high and 53% above the relative low between 1849 and 1899. From looking at graphs of Earth’s changing orbit around the sun it would seem we can expect fewer extremes in weather (because of less eccentricity), smaller differences between the Northern and Southern hemispheres (because of reduced obliquity), and warmer Springs and cooler Falls in the Northern Hemisphere (as perihelon moves from Winter to Spring), over thousands of years.

Despite the reasonableness of the presentation in the scientific literature, this topic of AGW/ACC is one of the most contentious I have ever seen. Scientists who should be the most immune to conflct from being challenged by alternative research have actually taken steps to shut down scientific inquiry and discourse. Such intellectual cowardice is the hallmark of a dogmatist, and is anathema to scientific progress. This has given many legitimately skeptical scientists no alternative but to turn to the Internet as a publication mechanism, where peer review is non-existent (which isn’t necessarily worse than incestuous and corrupt peer review which gives the appearance of propriety and verifiability when none exists). Dogmatism has the effect of creating an emergent, subconscious, de facto “conspiracy”, which exists in every practical sense of the word, but which can be denied on technical and legal grounds.

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CLIMATE WARS: KLEPTICS versus SKEPTICS Part 1

I have asked my good friend Steve Smith to share some of his research on Global Warming.  I have great respect for him as a thinker, I also love his unique perspectives.  This is the first in a series of three posts, look for the next installment soon.

Stephen Smith has a B.A. in Math from San Jose State University. During the day he is a Computer Systems Quality Engineer and programmer, so he understands well the ability of programmers to manipulate outcomes in computer models. In his spare time he researches and writes about issues related to maximizing individual and collective freedom, specializing in detecting manipulation, propaganda, and social engineering at various levels from interpersonal to international. Other areas of interest include history, music, linguistics, physics, “complex” systems, and chaos theory.

Part 1 of 3 — The Burden of Proof Lies with the Kleptics

After nine months of intermittent research and another three months of focusing on trying to make up my mind about Anthropogenic (man-made) Global Warming / Climate Change (AGW/ACC), I am calling it quits for a while. I’ve got other things to do. This morning I was still adding to my rainbow collection of sticky notes on the subject to a 33 inch by 34 inch work area pinned to my wall. But by the end of the day it will be taken down or covered up. The smaller collections of note cards and papers will be filed away, including the three sheets I have before me containing time lines covering 1000, 10,000, and 100,000 years of climate change. My spreadsheet containing sunspot number analysis will be ignored. It has been a challenging activity because the science has become politicized by both “believers” and “deniers”.

On the one hand are those I will call the Kleptics who are portrayed by their opponents as power mongers looking for any excuse to force human society to fit their particular vision of perfection. Government and university scientists who believe in AGW are portrayed by their opponents as being in the service of big brother or motivated by big government environmentalism. Those government scientists and university professors who don’t believe are sometimes threatened with a loss of funding and tenure. A lot of believers are associated with “green” industries and that is seen as okay by the Kleptics. Some Kleptic scientists, like Wallace Broecker who advises Global Research Technologies, are not paid, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t tied to a money trail. A lot of government money funds those who support AGW. The scientific consensus is based on coercion. Power can motivate as much or more than wealth. Global Warming is a government funded growth industry. Kleptics want to save the world from humans.

On the other hand are the Skeptics who are portrayed by their opponents as under-responsible hedonists and anti-science religionists looking for any excuse to continue with the status quo. Industry scientists are portrayed by those on the other side of the debates as motivated only by desire for profit, as if wanting a place to live and food to eat are somehow unique to those in the private sector. The Skeptics are called names, marginalized by the media, and threatened with a loss of funding for research that questions AGW. Some skeptical scientists, like Dr. Roy Spencer of NASA, retire early so that they can speak the truth as they see it without having to worry about workplace intimidation. Skepticism can be a choice of convenience but is is just as often an act of courageous defense of the principles underlying science.

Each side portrays themselves and their own supporters as the only rational systems thinkers in the debate. Both sides have their share of dogmatists who ironically are inadvertently doing their level best to prove true the stereo types that their opponents have about them. Among the dogmatists on both sides are very capable scientific technicians posing as scientists (dogma is the opposite of science). Both sides are supported by real scientists who are often dismissed by their opponents using the clever trick of lumping the scientists together with the dogmatists who agree with them. On the whole, it is the Kleptic scientific technicians who have acted the least scientific and the most dogmatic, all the while supposing themselves to be the true scientists and their opponents the dogmatists. Perhaps it is the least informed among the Skeptics that sound most dogmatic, but, ironically, the slightly superior arguments of the Kleptic dogmabots eventually do fall apart under scrutiny.

Those who are thoughtfully undecided face the serious problem of determining which side to support. We are told that the consequences of a poor choice are climate catastrophe on the one hand, and economic collapse on the other. It does seem to be a subject of great importance, one where the consequences of a bad solution are fairly significant. But making up one’s mind is hardly a walk in the park. Here are some of the more obvious options available for going about making a determination on the matter:

1) Preemptively choose one side or the other and look no further. On the surface it appears that this choice allows you a 50% chance of being correct with a minimum of effort, and is a reasonable choice as long as this guess isn’t then thrust upon others using government do-gooders as a proxy for personal tendencies toward oppressing others. Many people have little choice but to make a guess, given the demands placed upon them by prior commitments. The Kleptics may very well be counting on the fact that this is the case with many people and that most people will side with them given their “authority” as government scientists. This is what environmentalist Lucy Skywalker did, until she did her own research and became a Skeptic. Her web page provides an excellent overview of the subject matter. http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Curious.htm

2) Attempt to achieve the best of both extremes through a “moderate”, “balanced” approach (as if being in the middle of a false dichotomy is moderate or balanced, which it certainly isn’t). No matter which side of the debate is correct, this turns out to be a losing proposition.
3) Devote your life to first gathering enough data to allow you to decide which side to follow, and then defending that position until your position changes. (Be very glad that there are honest and intelligent people out their on both sides who are more willing and able to do this than you are. I know I am grateful for the vast amount of work being performed by others in this important area, especially those who volunteer their time to sorting this all out.)
4) Take a higher level philosophical approach that attempts to identify underlying assumptions, persistent behavior patterns, and over-riding facts, without denying verifiable facts (produced by those who chose option 3 above), to increase the chances of choosing well.

If you are going to try to take approach #3, then you can begin with the following web sites, and then go from there. Good luck. You can sleep when you are dead because there is an ocean of data on this subject that is both deep and wide.
Kleptics –
http://www.realclimate.org
http://www.skepticalscience.com
http://co2now.org/
Skeptics –
http://climateaudit.org/
http://wattsupwiththat.com/
http://anhonestclimatedebate.wordpress.com/

Having tried option #3 for hundreds of hours over the last 14 months, most of it since November 2009, I see now the difficulty of coming to any definitive conclusion that way. Option #4 is legitimate if the claims of both sides are taken seriously. For this blog entry series, only a few topics will be lightly touched upon. By now you are very likely able to see that I lean Skeptic. It isn’t easy to be balanced when the Kleptics act as if it is the Skeptics job to prove AGW/ACC wrong, when in fact they have it reversed, and it is the Kleptics that carry the burden of proof in a complex problem space where the science is very young.

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Logic of Liberty’s February employment report

The February monthly jobs report is out.  The official news is the unemployment rate held at 9.7% from the last month,  meaning 36,000 jobs were lost.  President Obama has hailed this as “better than expected“.  Den. Harry Reid said, “Today is a big day in America. Only 36,000 people lost their jobs today, which is really good.”  Many claim this means the government stimulus is working.  President Obama’s enthusiasm was only tempered, as he called the unemployment rate “more than we should tolerate” as he encouraged greater efforts in passing a job bill.

With all this hype I think it is about time to do a real economic conditions report.  While the unemployment rate is good news and it really is better than expected, it is also misleading.  Here are three additional measures of the economy we need to be looking at:

1) Jobs lost verses Jobs created.  From “The Heritage Foundation,” statistically  50.8 million jobs were lost in the first six months of the 2001 recession under Bush comparatively 48.2 million jobs have been lost in six mouths of our recent crisis.  The unemployment during 2001 averaged 4.7% and peaked at only 5.7.  What reasons could be given for this lower unemployment rate in a time of similar job loss?  Jobs were being created, in those same six month as 2001 47.6 million jobs were created; under Obama only 40.3 million jobs were created in the 2nd quarter stats.  The difference in jobs creation in this example is 7.9 million.

2) The next measure I feel is important to seeing our economy clearly is the 15 week unemployment rate.   This long term unemployment measure gives us the percent of the country who has been without a job for 15 weeks (closing in on 4 months) who are still looking.  In other words these are the people who are not just moving job to job but really struggling to find employment in this economy.  In December 2007 the percent of long term unemployed was 1.6%, in December 2009 was up to 5.8%.  That is a statistically impressive jump of over 3 times.  It is also significant to note that over this time we have seen all the stimulus bills, the election of President Obama and his agenda.

3)  The third stat is maybe the most sobering to my mind.  It simply is that the average government worker makes $11,091 more than his private sector counterpart.  Now lets remind ourselves about what the private sector is, it is the non-governmental part of the economy that operates for profit.  So this stat means, in simple terms, you are better paid right now to not produce wealth.  The economy grows as the private sector grows and right now the most talented people are going to go to  jobs that do not produce wealth and grow the economy.  This statistic, unless it changes, is a very gloomy portent for the future.

In conclusion, while unemployment is down people who are out of work are finding it hard to find new jobs due to poor job creation, and there is more money in the public sector than the private.  All these stats tend to point towards a still struggling private sector who is not paying well or creating new jobs.  Until that sector of our economy is re-energized we can expect continued job woes.

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How Utah is at the Center of the Health Care Debate

As we approach the final votes on health care reform, there remains one big question.  Do they have the votes in the house to pass it? The first time the house voted on health care reform it was approved narrowly. They now get to vote on the Senate’s version of the bill.  The last time 39 Democrats opposed it (220 – 215 vote).  There are now 12 additional voters against Health Care Reform following Bart Stupak because of the bills language on abortion. This shows between 45-51 congressmen whose vote decisions are not known to us, when a simple majority of 51 votes are needed to pass or defeat the bill.  One of these 51 possible nay votes is Utah’s own Congressman Jim Matheson. Coming from a state known as being highly conservative and very republican it is amusing for him to have such an important swing vote.  But the fact remains that Jim Matheson is at the heart of health care drama.   In fact he is one of 10 congressmen at the White House tonight discussing their vote.

It is important we here in Utah take full advantage of this opportunity; because we as residents of Utah need to counter the pressure the president is placing on our Congressman.  Senator Jim DeMint, makes the case like this, “The President is planning a legislative sleight of hand, with a ‘takeover now, fix it later’ approach.  He’ll ask House Democrats to vote for the discredited Senate health care takeover bill and promise to change it later through a budget maneuver called reconciliation.”  We need to understand what Rep. Matheson is being told.  He is being told that his re-election chances will improve if health care is no longer hanging over and dividing the nation.  The American people have short memories even if he votes for this unpopular bill there will be time to win back constituents, or at least help them forget how he voted.

Ours is the opportunity and responsibility to show him the opposite is true.  Again from Senator DeMint, “So if they pass this and the president signs it, they’re going to be stuck with it in November. And so will the American people.”  This is the message Congressmen Matheson needs to hear from us.  We will hold you accountable for your vote come November.  The message I feel needs to be sounded is this, “If you support government takeover of health care you should prepare to be replaced by a new congressmen who will repeal the ‘affordable Health Choices Act of 2009’ and repair the damage you caused.”

This is a great opportunity to exercise our influence for good in the country.  It is of great importance that we use this opportunity to affect a vote.  Congressmen Matheson has invited our feedback and participation on his website, please make sure he hears from you.  Let’s not stop with his website alone.  Send him letters, email or call his office, visit his office, and make sure your voice is heard.  If we are complacent and miss this opportunity to influence our country we will someday regret our inaction.

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I am not Obsolete

As Posted http://errorandangermanagement.com/:

I don’t believe that civilization is on a course for some inevitable liberal societal bliss.  Often as I read newspapers, text books, or hear the words of politicians I am struck that there seems to be this belief that we are all headed towards a liberal utopia, and all those of us who love liberty can do is drag our heels and whine as the procession of progress slowly drags us into the future.  This is why the comments of Senator Harry Reid bothers me so much.  I quote from the Christian Science Moniter, “Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ’slow down, stop everything, let’s start over.’ If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right,” Reid said. “When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said ’slow down, it’s too early, things aren’t bad enough.’”

“When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today,” he added.

And so in one stroke of broad sweeping rhetoric I as an opponent of his health care reform end up 1) on the wrong side of history 2) just  like those who supported Jim Crow and Slavery.  Wow!  What revisionist history have we forgotten that Abraham Lincoln the man who freed slaves was not a member of Mr. Reid’s party.  For that matter is it really fair to let one party take all the credit for abolishing slavery and ending Jim Crow.

Bothersome as his original comments were his attempt as clarification was even worse.  This time from Politics Daily,

“At pivotal points in American history, the tactics of distortion, delay have certainly been present,” Reid said in the Capitol Tuesday. “They’ve been used to stop progress. That’s what we’re talking about here. That’s what’s happening here. It’s very clear. That’s the point I made — no more, no less.”

In his first statement he essentially says the idea of not having government meddling with heath care is as obsolete as slavery, now in his clarification he brings out the word progress. Why do we allow Harry Reid to declare so matter of factly that big government socialism is “Progress.”  He said it those of us who favor limited government are according to Mr Reid using “tactics of distortion” to slow progress.

Still more dismaying is the republican response, most wanted to clarify that democrats not republicans held up the freeing of slaves and the ending of segregation.  But really who cares, I am not that interested in vilifying the other party, there are people on both sides of the isle who make mistakes.  Other targeted Harry Reid, saying he was “beneath the dignity of the majority leader” or going over the top.  But still no one really called him on his attempt at painting his position as the inevitable future of the county.  We may in fact do Mr. Reid many favors by not talking about what kind of Progress he envisions, most Americans probably don’t want what he would give them.

I am actually very offended to be told by an elected official that all I am doing is procrastinating the bright dawning day of the future.  Stopping Progress. I love progress, we need to get better at solving our problems and we all want a bright future.  It is time for is to stand up, challenge this idea that limited government is the wrong side of history.  Show people how progressive limited government and capitalism.  When Sen Reid tells you to get out of the way of progress it is time to inform him we have a different idea of the future than he does.

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A Principled Discussion

When I was young I had a label making toy.  I went around the house printing labels galore: “book,” “train,”… I just enjoyed sticking labels on everything.  As I got older I realized there are people who want to label others as I labeled objects: conservative, liberal, young, old, extremist, moderate, etc.

We use labels to differentiate each other and help us feel like we do or don’t belong.  The problem is, labels tend to be inaccurate.  I am sure some would call me conservative, which would connote ‘resistant to change, reluctant to accept new ideas.’  But I don’t see myself that way.

I also find our use of the labels “right” and “left” to be misleading.  The usage of those labels date to the French Revolution, when those on the right  supported the king, those on the left did not.  Over time newer, more radical positions were labeled left and more traditional positions, right.  On this spectrum right and left also fail to describe me.

So if labels don’t do a good job of helping us understand the beliefs of another person, what does?

Principles.  Principles are foundational assumptions about what is right or wrong, effective or ineffective, etc.  Principles inform actions.  We use our principles to choose between solutions to problems because our principles help us see what ideas and things we value.

I’ll use myself as an example of why principles are better than labels at building understanding.  Earlier I said that I didn’t feel I fit into the label conservative or right wing.  My main reason for saying this is that I feel that both words suggest an unwillingness to change.  I, however, don’t feel uneasy with change; in fact, I believe we need to look for new and innovative ways to solve our problems. One principle I use to determine which solutions and new ideas I think are good: problems are not solved by reducing personal freedom and accountability.  Simply put, any solution that takes from me my freedom to life, liberty, or property I will fight.

There are other principles I also use when deciding on new ideas.  The important thing about principles is that they mean something to the individual.  Principles are like banners people are willing to fight for, instead of labels that people fight about.

Labels do have their role in helping simplify the process of stating our positions, but when we allow the label to take precedent over the principle we lose the ability for deeper conversation and better understanding within our own, or without our labels.

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