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Roger Revelle – the backstory of the father of Atmospheric CO2 monitoring

By Andy May | Watts Up With That? | October 31, 2020

Roger Revelle was an outstanding and famous oceanographer. He met Al Gore, in the late 1960s, when Gore was a student in one of his classes at Harvard University. Revelle was unsure about the eventual impact of human carbon dioxide emissions on climate, but he did show that all carbon dioxide emitted by man would not be absorbed by the oceans. For an interesting discussion of Revelle’s work in this area see this post on “The Discovery of Global Warming,” by Spencer Weart (Weart, 2007). The original paper, on CO2 absorption by the oceans, published in 1957 by Roger Revelle and Hans Suess, is entitled: “Carbon Dioxide Exchange Between Atmosphere and Ocean and the Question of an Increase of Atmospheric CO2, during the Past Decades” (Revelle & Suess, 1957). This meant that human emissions of carbon dioxide would accumulate in the atmosphere and that the CO2 atmospheric concentration would increase, probably causing Earth’s surface to warm at some unknown rate. This is not an alarming conclusion, as Revelle well knew, but Al Gore turned it into one.

One of Revelle’s good friends was Dr. S. Fred Singer. Singer was a professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia and both Revelle and Singer had been science advisors in the U.S. Department of the Interior. They first met in 1957 and were more than professional colleagues, they were personal friends (Singer, 2003). Unfortunately, Revelle passed away in July 1991 and Singer passed away in April 2020, so we will refer to them and their friendship in the past tense. Both were leading Earth scientists and at the top of their fields, it was natural they would become friends. They also shared an interest in climate change and chose to write an article together near the end of Revelle’s life.

The article was published in Cosmos and entitled “What To Do about Greenhouse Warming: Look before You Leap” (Singer, Revelle, & Starr, 1991). Singer and Revelle had already written a first draft of the article, when they invited the third author, Chauncey Starr, to help them complete it. Starr was an expert in energy research and policy. He holds the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and was the director of the Electrical Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, California. As leading scientists, Starr, Singer and Revelle understood how uncertain the possible dangers of global warming were and they did not want the government to go off half-cocked, they wrote:

“We can sum up our conclusions in a simple message: The scientific [basis] for a greenhouse warming is too uncertain to justify drastic action at this time. There is little risk in delaying policy responses to this century old problem since there is every expectation that scientific understanding will be substantially improved within the next decade.” (Singer, Revelle, & Starr, 1991)

Indeed, ten years later, CO2 emissions were still increasing, but the world had started to cool as shown in Figure 1. This casts considerable doubt on the idea that human emissions somehow control global warming, since some other factor, presumably natural, is strong enough to reverse the overall warming trend for ten years. Revelle was correct to encourage the government to wait for ten more years. Just a year before their paper was published the IPCC reported that warming to date fell within the range of “natural variability” and that the detection of a human influence on climate was “not likely for a decade or more.” (IPCC, 1990, p. XII).

Figure 1. In 1990 and 1991, respectively, the IPCC and Roger Revelle and colleagues said it was too early to do anything about possible man-made climate change, they thought we would know more in 10 years. The plot is smoothed with a 5-year running average to reduce the effect of El Nino and La Nina events. This makes the longer term trends easier to see.

While Revelle was unsure if warming was a problem. Al Gore, who had little training in science, suffered no such doubts. He was sure that burning fossil fuels was causing carbon dioxide to rise to “dangerous” levels in the atmosphere and was convinced this was a problem for civilization through rising sea levels and extreme weather. There was no evidence to support these assumptions, but Al Gore didn’t need evidence, he could always rely on climate models and he did. Revelle distrusted the models.

Al Gore and Climate Change

In 1992, after Singer, Revelle and Starr published their Cosmos article, their statements caused Al Gore, who was running for Vice-President at the time, some problems. Gore had just published The Earth in the Balance (Gore, 1992) and in it he credited Revelle with discovering that human emissions of carbon dioxide were causing Earth to warm and this could be very dangerous. Yet, Singer, Revelle and Starr’s paper said:

“Drastic, precipitous—and, especially, unilateral—steps to delay the putative greenhouse impacts can cost jobs and prosperity and increase the human costs of global poverty, without being effective. Stringent economic controls [on CO2 emissions] now would be economically devastating particularly for developing countries…” (Singer, Revelle, & Starr, 1991)

They also quote Yale economist and Nobel Laureate William Nordhaus, who wrote:

“… those who argue for strong measures to slow greenhouse warming have reached their conclusion without any discernible analysis of the cost and benefits…” (Nordhaus W. , 1990)

Nordhaus had studied both the costs of reducing CO2 and the benefits of doing so. His analysis shows there is little to be gained, economically, from reducing emissions (Nordhaus W. , 2007, p. 236). While Nordhaus supports a “carbon tax,” he acknowledges that the “pace and extent of warming is highly uncertain.” Contrast this with how Al Gore characterizes Roger Revelle’s view in his book:

“Professor Revelle explained that higher levels of CO2 would create what he called the greenhouse effect, which would cause the earth to grow warmer. The implications of his words were startling; we were looking at only eight years of information, but if this trend continued, human civilization would be forcing a profound and disruptive change in the entire global climate.” (Gore, 1992, p. 5) italics added.

The differences between what Nordhaus and Revelle are saying and what Al Gore is saying are stark. All three believe human emissions of CO2 might cause Earth to warm. But Gore naively assumes that is a bad thing. Revelle and Nordhaus acknowledge it might be, but they recognize that we don’t know. Further, they understand destroying our fossil fuel-based economy may not alleviate the warming and may cause more harm than good. To quote Bertrand Russell:

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” Bertrand Russell

To a scientist, like Roger Revelle, the uncertainty was obvious. Politicians, like Al Gore and most of the news media do not do uncertainty, everything must be black and white and false dichotomies are how they think. Notice Al Gore presumptively writes “would be forcing” when Revelle would clearly write “could be forcing.” The difference between a politician with an agenda and a scientist who understands uncertainty.

The incompatibility between Revelle’s true views and the way they are presented in Gore’s book was noticed by Gregg Easterbrook, a Newsweek editor, who wrote about it in the July 6, 1992 issue of New Republic (Easterbrook, 1992). This article angered Al Gore and his supporters. Walter Munk and Edward Frieman published a short note in Oceanography in 1992 objecting to Easterbrook’s article and claimed that the late Revelle had been worried about global warming, but probably did not want “drastic” action taken at this time (Munk & Frieman, 1992). Revelle’s views were clear and well known, nothing in Munk and Frieman’s article contradicts what Singer said or what Revelle said or wrote. The following is from a letter Revelle sent Senator Tim Wirth, an ally of Gore’s and a member of the Clinton/Gore administration in July 1988:

“we should be careful not to arouse too much alarm until the rate and amount of warming becomes clearer. It is not yet obvious that this summer’s hot weather and drought are the result of a global climatic change or simply an example of the uncertainties of climate variability. My own feeling is that we had better wait another 10 years before making confident predictions.” Written by Roger Revelle as reported by (Booker, 2013, p. 59).

Unlike Senators Al Gore and Tim Wirth, Revelle understood global warming computer models and did not trust them. He argued with Singer about this very issue and Singer convinced Revelle that the models were getting better (Singer, Revelle, & Starr, 1991). However, regardless of the accuracy of the models, Revelle was not convinced global warming was a problem and he knew the natural rate of warming and the additional amount expected from human greenhouse emissions were unknown. As shown in Figure 1, his caution was warranted, just ten years later it became apparent that warming was slowing down. The following reflects Revelle’s own views, it is from the “Look before you Leap” article:

“The models used to calculate future climate are not yet good enough because the climate balancing processes are not sufficiently understood, nor are they likely to be good enough until we gain more understanding through observations and experiments. As a consequence, we cannot be sure whether the next century will bring a warming that is negligible or a warming that is significant. Finally, even if there are a global warming and associated climate changes, it is debatable whether the consequences will be good or bad; likely some places on the planet would benefit, some would suffer.” (Singer, Revelle, & Starr, 1991)

Revelle’s views were clear and well documented, but Al Gore and his supporters were humiliated by Easterbrook’s article and follow up articles by George Will and others. Dr. Justin Lancaster was Revelle’s graduate student and teaching assistant at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography from 1981 until Revelle’s sudden death in July 1991. He was also an Al Gore supporter. Lancaster claimed that Revelle was “hoodwinked” by Singer into adding his name to the Cosmos article. He also claimed that Revelle was “intensely embarrassed that his name was associated” with it. Lancaster further claimed that Singer’s actions were “unethical” and specifically designed to undercut Senator Al Gore’s global warming policy position. Lancaster harassed Singer in 1992, accusing him of putting Revelle’s name on the article over his objections and demanding that Singer have it removed. He even demanded that the publisher of a volume that was to include the article (Geyer, 1993) remove it.

Professor Singer, the Cosmos publisher of the “Look before you Leap” article and the publisher (CRC Press) of Richard Geyer’s book, objected to these demands and charges. Then Singer sued Lancaster for libel with the help of the Center for Individual Rights in Washington, D.C. Professor Singer and the Center won the lawsuit and forced Lancaster to issue an apology.

The discovery process during the lawsuit revealed that Lancaster was working closely with Al Gore and his staff. In fact, Al Gore personally called Lancaster after the Easterbrook article appeared and ask him about Revelle’s mental capacity in the months before his death in July of 1991. Friends and family of Revelle recall that he was sharp and active right up to the moment when he passed away from a sudden heart attack. But this did not stop Al Gore and Lancaster from claiming Revelle was suffering from senility or dementia and that was why the account in Gore’s book was so different from what Revelle wrote elsewhere, including in the “Look before you leap” article. Even Lancaster wrote in a draft of a letter to Al Gore that Revelle was “mentally sharp to the end” and was “not casual about his integrity” (Singer, 2003).

During the discovery process, Singer and his lawyers found that Lancaster knew everything in the “Look before you leap” article was true and that Revelle agreed with everything in it. The article even included a lot of material that Revelle had previously presented to a 1990 AAAS (American Academy for the Advancement of Science) meeting. More details can be seen in Fred Singer’s deposition (Jones, 1993).

Roger Revelle’s daughter, Carolyn Revelle Hufbaurer, wrote that Revelle was concerned about global warming (Hufbauer, 1992). But his concern lessened later in life and he knew the problem, if there was a problem, was not urgent. He thought more study was required before anything was done. He was for modest changes, such as more nuclear power and substituting natural gas for some coal and oil, but not much else, other than a carbon tax. As usual, the news media and politicians have no sense of the complexity and uncertainty that surrounds the scientific debate about human-caused climate change. When Revelle argued against “drastic” action, he meant measures that would cost trillions of dollars and cripple the fossil fuel industry and developing countries. Up until his death, he thought extreme measures were premature. He clearly believed that we should look before we leap.

Al Gore tried to get Ted Koppel to trash Singer on his TV show and it failed spectacularly. He asked Koppel to investigate the “antienvironmental movement” and in particular “expose the fact” that Singer and other skeptical scientists were receiving financial support from the coal industry and the wacky Lyndon LaRouche organization. Rather than do Al Gore’s bidding Ted Koppel said the following on his Nightline television program, on February 24, 1994:

“There is some irony in the fact that Vice President Gore, one of the most scientifically literate men to sit in the White House in this century, [is] resorting to political means to achieve what should ultimately be resolved on a purely scientific basis. The measure of good science is neither the politics of the scientist nor the people with whom the scientist associates. It is the immersion of hypotheses into the acid of truth. That’s the hard way to do it, but it’s the only way that works.” Ted Koppel as reported in (Singer, 2003)

Calling Gore “scientifically literate” is debatable, but Koppel has the rest of it right. He has integrity that is lacking in journalism today, further he understands the scientific process. The attempt to use Koppel to tar Singer, brought a huge amount of well-deserved criticism down on Gore.

Given this, it is not surprising that Lancaster agreed to issue an apology only two months later, on April 29, 1994. Lancaster’s retraction was specific:

“I retract as being unwarranted any and all statements, oral or written, I have made which state or imply that Professor Revelle was not a true and voluntary coauthor of the Cosmos article, or which in any other way impugn or malign the conduct or motives of Professor Singer with regard to the Cosmos article (including but not limited to its drafting, editing, publication, republication, and circulation). I agree not to make any such statements in future. … I apologize to Professor Singer” (Singer, 2003)

So, in his court affidavit Lancaster admitted he lied about Singer. Then afterward, Lancaster withdrew his court-ordered retraction and reiterated his charges (Lancaster, 2006). He admits he lied under oath in a courtroom and in writing, then tells us he didn’t lie. He admits that Professor Revelle was a true coauthor of the paper, then he states “Revelle did not write it” and “Revelle cannot be an author.” What some people are willing do to their reputations, in the name of catastrophic climate change is hard to believe. He retracted his retraction despite documentary evidence in Revelle’s own handwriting, and numerous testimonials from others that Revelle did contribute to the article.

Some of Revelle’s other papers, letters and presentations have nearly identical language to that in the paper, for example compare the quote from his letter to Senator Tim Wirth above with the first page of the “Look before you Leap” paper. In the paper, they say we need to wait because “scientific understanding will be substantially improved within the next decade” (Singer, Revelle, & Starr, 1991). In the letter to Wirth, quoted above, he says “10 years,” but the meaning is the same. He, and many other climate scientists, did not feel we knew enough in the early nineties to do anything significant. He was right about this. Warming went negative from 2002 to 2010 as we see in Figure 1.

The issue was raised in the televised vice-presidential debate that year. Gore’s response was to protest that Revelle’s views in the article had been taken out of context. We can clearly see that it was Al Gore’s book that took Revelle’s comments out of context.

This post is condensed and modified from my new book, Politics and Climate Change: A History.

The bibliography can be downloaded here.

October 31, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Cracking the Ghislaine Maxwell redactions

By Cory Doctorow | Pluralistic | October 23, 2020

Since the earliest days of digital legal records, redaction failures have been a source of perpetual mirth and chaos. The most common failure is simply adding black boxes over text in PDFs; the text can be easily recovered by selecting the underlying text and copying it.

I first encountered this in the early 2000s, and it was the stupid mistake that no one ever learned from. Not the TSA in 2009:

https://cryptome.org/tsa-screening.zip

Not the DHS in 2016:

http://www.wired.com/2016/03/government-error-just-revealed-snowden-target-lavabit-case/

Nor Facebook’s legal opponents in 2018:

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/11/facebook-pondered-for-a-time-selling-access-to-user-data/

This 2011 study by Timothy B Lee for Public Resource reveals how widespread the problem was a decade ago:

https://freedom-to-tinker.com/2011/05/25/studying-frequency-redaction-failures-pacer/

It’s only gotten worse since. Better redaction systems – blurring and pixelation – turn out be vulnerable to machine learning attacks that unblur these elements:

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1609.00408v2.pdf

But this week revealed a new kind of redaction failure, in the spectacular, high-profile case of Ghislaine Maxwell, the woman accused of being the procurer for the child rapist Jeffrey Epstein.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/10/ghislaine-maxwell-deposition-redactions-epstein-how-to-crack.html

Maxwell was deposed on Epstein’s crimes in 2016. Yesterday, a federal court released a redacted transcript of her deposition, in which the names of high profile individuals who’ve been accused of collaborating with Epstein in sex-crimes were redacted.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article246624308.html

Within a few hours, journalists at Slate had reversed many of these redactions! Their secret weapon was the deposition’s index, which was also redacted, but which nevertheless served as a key for uncovering the masked-out names.

For example: the journalists saw that a redacted word that fell alphabetically between “client” and “clock” appeared on several pages. They know that this is a name that starts with “Cl.” But only some instances of that name have been redacted.

On page 135, line 7, that name appears in the clear: “President Clinton.” Now we know that all the places in which that name is redacted, it can be unmasked as “President Clinton.”

A similar method revealed the places where Alan Dershowitz’s name had been blacked out: a word that comes between “Airport” and “Alcohol” appears before a word that comes between “Depth” and “Describe” on several pages.

The inference that the A-word is “Alan” and the D-word is “Dershowitz” is validated through context.

A related technique reveals the blacked-out instances of Prince Andrew’s name.

All in all, the journalists de-redacted mentions of 15 people, from Chelsea Clinton to Marvin Minsky to Kevin Spacey to Al Gore. Note that their presence in this record is not proof of their direct complicity in sex-crimes.

Epstein’s method involved mixing legitimate business (particularly scientific research) with child rape in ways that blended people who suspected his crimes, knew of his crimes, and participated in his crimes, all together in a jumble of varying complicity and knowledge.

I don’t know if we’ll ever know the full truth of the crimes committed (and abetted) by wealthy, powerful people.

But this de-redaction attack is noteworthy irrespective of the Epstein case. In some ways, it militates for a heavier hand in redaction, blocking all instances of a term (even those that don’t reveal sensitive info) and/or redacting indexes.

As to the Maxwell deposition, the Slate journalists are seeking help in reversing the remaining redactions in the document.

October 24, 2020 Posted by | Corruption | , , , | 2 Comments

Deconstructing the Climate Demagoguery of the Wine Country Wildfire Tragedies

By Jim Steele | Landscapes and Cycles | October 25, 2017

As sure as the winds will blow, climate demagogues hijack every human tragedy to amplify fears of rising CO2 concentrations. Despite that fact other critical factors were keys to understanding the devastation of the Wine Country fires, politicians like Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Governor Jerry Brown were quick to proclaim climate change had made the fires worse than they would have been.

Climate researcher Kevin Trenberth has long tried to undermine the foundations of science by discarding the null hypothesis. Without formal testing whether a tornado, hurricane or wildfire event is within the expectations of natural variability, Trenberth simply asserts every tragedy is made worse by rising CO2. Accordingly, he is interviewed by climate change propagandists after every weather tragedy. In an interview with InsideClimateNews a few months before the Wine Country wildfires Trenberth continued to proselytize his views, “Whatever conditions exists, they’re always exacerbated by climate change. There’s always that heat variable, the increased risk.”

Indeed heat is always a variable, but usually it has nothing to do with CO2. Sadly, due to his extreme beliefs Trenberth often confuses climate with weather.

Similarly, Daniel Swain who authors a good California Weather Blog, unfortunately strays when he tries to interject CO2-climate change into an otherwise good weather analysis. Writing the fires should also be looked at from “the long-term climate context,” he argued the “record-hottest summer” dried out the vegetation exacerbating the fire conditions. But he too failed to separate natural climate and weather events from his hypothesized contributions from CO2. As will become clear from a more detailed analysis, climate change played no part in the wildfire devastation.

The Ignition Component

Fire danger rating systems analyze 1) an ignition component, 2) a fuel component and 3) a spread component to determine how to allocate fire-fighting resources and when to issue public alerts. Natural fires are caused by lightning, and so good weather models can forecast the short-term probability of lightning fires. Lightning fires are also more likely during warm and moist seasons enhancing their window of predictability. Unfortunately, Cal Fire reports 95% of California fires are unpredictably ignited by humans.

Climate alarmists like Dr. Trenberth have blithely suggested global warming is increasing the fire season stating, “In the West, they used to talk about a fire season, the fire season used to be 60 days, then 90 days, and now they think it’s year-round. There’s no pause.” Tragically that uncritical belief in a climate-related extended fire season has been parroted by lay person and scientists alike. But the facts show the observed extended fire season is due to human ignitions. Blaming climate change is fake news!

In a 2017 paper researchers reported that across the USA from 1992 to 2012, “human-caused fire season was three times longer than the lightning-caused fire season and added an average of 40,000 wildfires per year across the United States. Human-started wildfires disproportionally occurred where fuel moisture was higher.” Furthermore “Human-started wildfires were dominant (>80% of ignitions) in over 5.1 million km2, the vast majority of the United States, whereas lightning-started fires were dominant in only 0.7 million km2.”

We can reduce some human caused ignitions. The Wine Country fires were not ignited by lightning but all observations suggest they were started by downed power lines in high winds. A year ago, California legislators introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at reducing wildfire ignitions from powerlines. Although governor Brown hypes the unsubstantiated dangers of climate change, he vetoed the bill which would have promoted real action to prevent well-known human causes of wildfires. Preventing powerline ignition could have prevented the Wine Country tragedy.

The Fuel Component

Fire ecologists will estimate a fire’s potential intensity by calculating the Energy Release Component (ERC), a measure of the potential heat energy per square foot. ERC is a function of the biomass both dead and alive, and the biomass moisture content. As fuels increase and as fuels dry the ERC increases. Live fuels are modeled such that maximum moisture content coincides with the peak growing season, and declines thereafter as the plants go dormant. Moisture content of dead fuels are modeled according to their diameters.

Depending on their diameters, dead fuels will lose moisture as they equilibrate with their dry surroundings at rates that vary from 1 hour to 1000 hours or more. To aid in firefighting management decisions, fuels are categorized into 4 groups as described in Gaining an Understanding of the National Fire Danger Rating System published by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group

1-Hour Time-lag Fuels “consist of herbaceous plants or round wood less than one-quarter inch in diameter. Also included is the uppermost layer of litter on the forest floor.” The ERC of these fuels and thus the fire danger, can change throughout the day. Dead grass as well as twigs and small stems of chaparral shrubs are 1-hour fuels, and those fine fuels sustained the rapid spread of the Wine Country fires. Assertions that recent and past summer droughts or decades of climate change had dried the fuels and exacerbated the Wine Country fire danger have absolutely no scientific basis. The approach of the hot, bone-dry Diablo Winds would have extracted all the possible moisture from the dead grasses and chaparral twigs within hours, regardless of past temperatures. Trenberth and Swain simply confused rapid weather changes with climate change.

The critical “long-term context” they never discussed is that a century of fire suppression allowed destructive levels of fuel loads to develop, increasing the biomass component of the ERC estimate. As populations grew, so did the demand to suppress every small fire that could threaten a building. Natural small fires reduce the fuel load, whereas fire suppression allows fast drying fuels to accumulate. Unfortunately, fire suppression only delays the inevitable while stocking more fuel for a much more intense blaze. Local officials and preservationists have long been aware of this problem, and controlled burns to reduce those fuels were being increasingly prescribed. Tragically, it was too little too late.

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Figure 1: A prescribed control burn in Wine Country

10-Hour Time-lag Fuels are “dead fuels consisting of round wood in the size range of one quarter to one inch in diameter and, very roughly, the layer of litter extending from just below the surface to three-quarters of an inch below the surface.” The fuel moisture of these fuels vary from day to day and modeled moisture content is based on length of day, cloud cover or solar radiation, temperature and relative humidity.

100-Hour Time-lag Fuels are “dead fuels consisting of round wood in the size range of 1 to 3 inches in diameter and, very roughly, the forest floor from three quarters of an inch to four inches below the surface.” Moisture content of these fuels are also a function of length of day (as influenced by latitude and calendar date), maximum and minimum temperature and relative humidity, and precipitation duration in the previous 24 hours.

Much of the chaparral shrubs produce twigs and stems in size ranges of the 1-hr, 10-hr and 100-hr fuels. These fuels were most likely the source of burning embers that high winds propelled into the devastated residential areas. Again, these dried out fuels are the result of a natural California summer drought and short term weather conditions such as the bone-dry Diablo Winds that arrive every year.

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Figure 2 Moisture content of 3-8 inch diameter fuels from March to December

1000-Hour Time-lag Fuels are “dead fuels consisting of round wood 3 to 8 inches in diameter or the layer of the forest floor more than about four inches below the surface or both”. These larger fuels are more sensitive to drought conditions that existed months earlier, so it could be rightfully argued that a hotter drier July and August made these fuels more flammable in October and exacerbated the fires.

Fire ecologists planning prescribed burns to reduce fuel loads, wait until the 1000-Hr fuels’ moisture content is reduced to 12% or lower. If these larger fuels are dry, it is certain the smaller fuel categories are dry as well, so that all fuels will be highly flammable. As seen in the graph above (Figure 2) 1000-hr fuels reach that critical dryness threshold by July 1st and remain below that threshold until mid-October when the rains begin to return. Contrary to Trenberth’s blather, California’s fire season has always lasted 90+ days. Undoubtedly the unusually hot and dry 2017 summer would have lowered 1000-hr fuel moisture content even further. Nonetheless those fuels become naturally flammable every summer. Furthermore, these larger fuels were less often burned and thus insignificant factors in regard to the fires rapid spread. The rapid spread of the fires was due to consumption of the rapidly drying fuels.

Swain is fond of finding a “record setting” metric to bolster his climate change assertions. As such, he noted the “record-hot summer had dried out vegetation to record levels” and linked to a graph tweeted by John Badoglio showing October ERC values for the past 30 years were at a record high in 2017 (in part because of delayed rains). However, that “record” was also largely irrelevant. The ERC calculation is heavily biased by the greater biomass of the larger 1000-hr fuels that would indeed get drier as the autumn continued without rain. Still those larger fuels were insignificant contributors to the rapidly spreading fire. As seen below (Figure 3), the grasses have been entirely burnt while the larger shrubs and trees, as well as the woody debris near the base of the trees (in the upper left) have not been consumed. In fact many of the trees are still alive. The potential energy estimated by the “record ERC” was only partially realized. It was the fast-drying dead grass and chaparral shrubs that turned potential ERC into meaningful fiery heat.

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Figure 3

The Spread Component

“The spread component is defined as “the theoretical ideal rate of spread expressed in feet-per-minute.” Wind speed, slope and fine fuel moisture are key inputs in the calculation of the spread component, thus accounting for a high variability from day-to-day.” Thus, a combination of dry fuels and high winds typically result in fire-watch and red-flag warnings one day and no warnings days later as the winds subside. Forest rangers are well aware that September and October bring the powerful Diablo Winds of Santa Rosa as well as the Santa Anas of southern California, and with those winds comes the highest fire danger.

Cliff Mass is an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington and author of the superb Cliff Mass Weather and Climate blogs. An October 16th post provides an excellent summary of the metorological conditions that created the fierce winds driving the Wine Country fires. In essence, a strong approaching wind flow (the Diablo Winds) coupled with a thermal inversion near the top of the mountains that border the Santa Rosa valley, accelerated winds into a 60 to 90 mile per hour downslope wind event, a phenomenon known as a mountain wave. Those high winds snapped power line poles and ignited fires. The regional topography also funneled the winds and fire down the valley, taking dead aim at the heart of Santa Rosa. The topography had guided a similar fire in 1964, the Hanley fire, which was started by a carelessly discarded cigarette. Unfortunately without much concern, most of the burnt homes in the Tubbs fire had been built on top of the burnt grounds of that previous Hanley fire, despite public protests.

Were those high winds perhaps exacerbated by climate change? Highly unlikely!

The Diablo Winds affecting Santa Rosa or the Santa Annas of southern California are driven by cooling seasonal temperatures in the high deserts to the east. The inner continent cools faster than the oceans, setting up a pressure gradient driving the winds toward the coast. The winds then heat adiabatically rising 5 degrees Celsius for every 1000 feet of elevation descent. An adiabatic rise in temperature means no added heat from any source and basic physics tells us temperatures can rise adiabatically simply due to compression. Thus an air mass that originated near Flagstaff Arizona at a 6,900 foot elevation, could adiabatically warm by 30 degrees as it reaches sea level.

The flow direction of winds are largely driven by unequal seasonal changes in temperatures. During the summer the interior heats faster than the oceans, such that a cooling onshore wind reduces interior temperatures. This pattern reverses in the autumn as the interior lands cool faster than the ocean creating an inland high pressure that drives the Diablo and Santa Anna winds toward the coast. Despite declining solar insolation, this autumn wind flow causes coastal California to experience some of its hottest days of the year in September and October, commonly referred to as Indian summer. Similarly a pressure system that inhibited the cooling onshore winds around San Francisco, resulted in a record hot summer temperature. By simultaneously opposing cooling sea breezes while bringing warm winds that were adiabatically 5 to 10 degrees warmer, temperatures rise and relative humidity falls. The result is bone-dry hot Diablo winds that suck the moisture from land and vegetation wherever the winds pass.

To restate the forces driving the winds, the Diablo winds are the result of a pressure gradient resulting from an interior that cools cooler faster than the ocean. If CO2 is warming the earth to any significant extent, then we would expect that warming to prevent the inner continent from cooling as quickly as it did decades ago. Thus CO2-global warming would predict a decline in that pressure gradient and a weakening of these winds.

To summarize, none of the fire components- ignition, fuels, or spread – had been affected by climate changes.

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Finally, keen observers will notice that entire blocks of houses, and entire neighborhoods were completely burnt to the ground, in contrast to neighborhood trees that often remained relatively unscathed. This suggests that the high winds rapidly carried burning embers from the grassland and chaparral into these developments. While the trees did not trap the embers, the buildings did. I would expect we will soon hear about investigations inquiring into why these residences were not required to erect more fire safe structures, especially when built in a known fire-prone habitat in a high wind corridor. The simple requirement of constructing eaves in such a manner that prevents the trapping of burning embers and fire-proof roofs may have saved many homes.

Indeed there are many lessons that will allow us to prevent such wildfire disasters in the future if we have accurately determined the causes of these fires. Cliff Mass notes that our short-term weather models had accurately predicted the time and place of the fiercest winds. That information could be used to temporarily shut down the electrical grid where power lines are likely to ignite fires. We can bury power lines below ground. We can remove the high fuels loads that accumulated during a century of misguided fire suppression. Insurance companies can demand higher rates unless proven precautions are undertaken. It is those lessons that Gore, Clinton, Brown should be promoting to inform the public. Trenberth and Swain should be informing the people of the natural weather dangers that are inevitable. There is no evidence that climate change, whether natural or anthropogenic, exacerbated the ignition, fuels or spread components of these deadly fires. And worse, their obsessed belief that rising CO2 concentrations worsen every tragedy only distracts our focus from real life-saving solutions.

Jim Steele is Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University and author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

November 5, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Al Gore: “Truth to Power” – Carrying Propaganda to the Great Unconscious

Penny For Your Thoughts | August 4, 2017

Al Gore – Truth to Power. Really? Yup, Truth to Power! Al Gore & Truth to Power??

I’m scratchin’ my head! That title, alongside the very concept of Al Gore speaking truth to power, is preposterous. And yet many people will be enamoured of this very idea.

Choosing to ignore the FACT that Al Gore has long been a part of the very power problem the rest of us have had to deal with. The very idea/ concept of Gore as a speaker of “Truth to Power” is so absurd. So inconsistent with reality, Truth &common sense that it can only be concluded the title was chosen as some kind of bad joke on all of us.

In fact, I can’t imagine a more surreal title for a Hollywood movie/documentary/psyop. 

And yet in our bizarro world- There it is. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

While reading about this movie, it’s worth keeping in mind the reality of what Hollywood is. Perception Management/Culture creation/Citizen manipulation

The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world to-day. It is a great distributor for ideas and opinions. The motion picture can standardize the ideas and habits of a nation.” ( Edward Bernays 1928)

Nothing has changed from the time of Bernay’s statement to date. Nothing! We’ve just recently witnessed the “White Helmets” winning an Oscar. Of course Al Gore’s first “documentary” was an Oscar winner also.  This should speak volumes to us all. Prestigious awards used to hoodwink the masses. […]

And Al Gore’s first documentary won an Oscar. Same as the White Helmets. Can you imagine the ridiculousness in both those wins? Wonder if this new one will be so duly honoured?

Tomorrow Al Gore’s latest “documentary” is set to hit the theatres here in Canada.

Yup, he’s still speaking truth to power. And if you really believe that… Check your critical thinking skills, please!

Of course I have zero intention of ever watching this movie. Just like I have zero intention of ever forcing the White Helmets documentary into my conscious or unconscious mind for that matter.

I’ve noticed a plethora of fear mongering “news” stories regarding “climate change” or as I prefer, AGW, today. These are undoubtedly timed and should be considered as promotional material for the Al Gore “Truth to Power” Perception management flick.

And, I cannot forget to mention that this documentary will surely, as is intended, inflame the left/ right identity politics divide.

Checking critical thinking: Terrence Corcoran

Please don’t say- Oh, he’s a right wing guy, a capitalist and any other labels that serve as distraction from the very good points he is making.

“Not many people remember Al Gore’s 2007 book, The Assault on Reason. 

Then there’s the book jacket that talks about the “politics of fear” and an opening chapter that warns: “If leaders exploit public fears to herd people in directions they might not otherwise choose, then fear itself can quickly become a self-perpetuating and free-wheeling force that drains national will and weakens national character.”

 A propaganda manual to fill readers with alarming images and claims

 Fear, adds Al Gore the great climate fear-monger, can be promulgated using three techniques: repetition, misdirection and making the irregular seem regular. “By using these narrative tools alone, anyone with a loud platform can ratchet up public anxieties and fears, distorting public discourse and reason.”

Gore’s politics-of-fear warning in 2007 targeted George W. Bush for allegedly resorting to fear of terrorism to invade Iraq. Irony awareness is apparently not part of Gore’s personality.

Irony awareness is definitely not part of Gore’s personality. The irony of Gore speaking “Truth to Power” is not lost on myself!

 Chang fed Gore a flabby question about Canada that was bound to produce the following: “For me, Justin Trudeau is a breath of fresh airHe and his team were absolutely instrumental in helping us get the Paris agreement.” Funny, I thought Stephen Harper set the ground for Canada’s participation in the Paris agreement.

 Why yes it was the Harper government that laid the ground work for Paris.

Of course there is a book with lots of images, and not too many words, to accompany and reinforce the unconscious carrier of propaganda film It’s hard for the masses to understand words– So like small children loving their picture books- Al Gore spreads his rubbish via imagery.

As a propaganda manual, Sequel uses a magazine-style format to fill readers with alarming images and claims. There are graphs and pictures of soaring carbon emissions and temperatures, hurricane deaths, famines, rising sea levels, drownings, forest fires, droughts and more. Typical statement: “We are now trapping as much extra heat energy in the atmosphere as would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs on the Earth’s surface every day.” Those few words of text appear over a giant colour photo of an iconic atomic bomb explosion spread across two full pages.

Full article

August 4, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Film Review, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 2 Comments

Free Shipping on Globalism at Amazon

By Phil Butler – New Eastern Outlook – 19.03.2017

Geo-politics in this bold new 21st century world is anything but boring. Just look at the headlines and you’ll agree, 1970s tabloids were real news compared to today’s sensationalist propaganda. One shining example from America’s capital, the Washington Post has become a barometer for truth – but not in the way you might think. Here’s some curious observances of the once venerable newspaper a billionaire technocrat bought for a purpose.

Billionaire Jeff Bezos does not like Donald Trump one little bit. One gander at the front page of his Washington Post tells us that anything “Trump” is bad. The same newspaper that spilled the beans about Richard Nixon’s Watergate mess, it’s now gone over to the dark side with recent front page stories on; Congressional Republicans criticizing Trump’s budget, Sean Spicer’s “angry” defense of the wiretapping claim, Trump and his team blabbing, White House dumping 30,000 FAA workers, Trump picking a “deeply disturbing” hero, Trump’s budget being “utterly unrealistic”, how Republicans plan on hurting American families, and you’ve got the picture on the rest. Bezos’ bullhorn is over the top.

The good “news” is that discerning analysts, researchers, and interested citizens can use the Washington Post’s propaganda for good, by applying some reverse psychology. Or to simplify, if Bezos is against it, then it must be good. Yes, the Washington Post tabloid can point us to the truth! But everyone knows by now the WP is so-called “Fake News”, but few know the ins and outs.

Bezos: The Globalist Minion

Back in the 1980’s Jeff Bezos was a relative nobody. The “legend of Bezos” tells us the science wiz from Princeton went to Wall Street to work the hedge fund company D. E. Shaw & Co. for a few years. Then all-of-a-sudden the soon to be Amazon legend decides to load up his car like the Beverly Hillbillies and head to Seattle. The story goes, he supposedly wrote up the Amazon business plan along the way – and it’s a full American bit of malarkey in my book. Then all of a sudden (as American legends go) “BAM”, in rapid succession he founds Amazon, snags $8 million in series A funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 1995. And gets a boat load of fame for basically regurgitating what Sears & Roebuck did in the 1800#s – and nothing more. That’s right, there was no innovation or engineering involved – Amazon is a digital mail-order catalog clone. While Amazon and eBay were the early lead in substantial online commercialism, I submit Bezos and Co. were propped up. Here’s some clues.

The digital advertising gurus say Bezos’ company survived the dot-com bust because of his brilliant business planning. But this is simply not the case. When Amazon started selling books online, huge brick and mortar interests like Books-A-Million, Inc. and Barnes & Noble rapidly followed suit. While the latter two book behemoths suffered share price disasters when the bubble burst, Amazon’s stock also fell from $107 to $7 per share. Then something interesting happend. AOL Time Warner bailed Bezos out with $100 million dollars in capital. The trail of fascinating “coincidences” in between Amazon, AOL and Time Warner – intersect with momentous occasions like the one in Tiananmen Square when AOL’s Stephen M. Case and Warner’s Gerald M. Levin met at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China (strangely) in 1999. Even though the AOL-Time Warner deal proved to be the biggest merger flop in history, the investment in Amazon puzzled many even back then.

Faye Landes, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Company at the time, questioned Bezos’ explanation for revenue shortfalls just prior to the deal. And she was not alone. Amazon was not a real growth and earnings business back then – and the company does not really make that much even today. Compared to other tech giants, Amazon makes peanuts per share these days. Amazon is one giant “equity bubble”, or a kind of mirror of the Federal Reserve under Barack Obama and his predecessors. And in a way the Washington Post is one pixel of an overall game of economics smoke and mirrors. Hundreds of billions of dollars are flowing through entities large and small in America, and only the very rich seem to be getting richer. This is another story though. The Bezos “puzzle” – the geo-policy of globalism – how technocracy entered into the world sweepstakes is where the Texas billionaire is interesting. To understand Bezos’ role in the globalist doctrine, we have to follow the trail of money that made his company successful. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which also funded AOL early on, has its fingers in just about every big pie worth eating in the digital space. It should also come as no surprise that former Secretary of State Colin Powell is a partner; as are former Vice President Al Gore, and Sun Microsystems founder Vinod Khosla (see more political alliances here). Put mildly, the technocrats like Bezos are in thick as thieves with the globalist perpetrators on the world stage. From Powell and Tony Blair, to Michael Bloomberg (see Bloom Energy) and KPCB’s L. John Doerr (Obama’s economic recovery advisor), Bezos has plenty of miraculously powerful cohorts in his anti-Trump war.

The Real Evil Geniuses Behind

While Bezos is the subject of my report today, John Doerr is an even more critical figure to take stock of. Back in 2008 he and Steve Jobs announced the Kleiner Perkins $100 million iFund along with a prophetic statement: Doerr declared that the iPhone was “more important than the personal computer” because “it knows who you are” and “where you are.” This fund is the largest single investment in cell phone application history. Given the recent WikiLeaks Vault 7 revelations on the CIA, the fact Doerr and these others are so wired into mobile is significant. Doerr also serves on the board of Google, the company most often accused of collusion with the NSA and CIA in spying on everyone.

If we can grasp that there are two sides in the ideological battle for the world going on, then revealing Jeff Bezos and the other technocrats on the new globalist order side is simplified. The Washington Post, or even Bloomberg’s media for instance, hammer each day to try and forge an alternative reality for people. Take the assertion that Russia and Vladimir Putin were influential in Trump’s victory. The WikiLeaks releases about CIA espionage with the 2012 French elections shows us my “reverse psychology” theory in practice. Russia is blamed, when all along the United States’ administration is the one doing the tampering. And who is fundamental in the technologies and infrastructure necessary for complete surveillance? The technocrats, of course. But the game is big. It’s “huge”, as President Trump would exclaim. And as for those like Bezos, they were not innovators at all – only willing soldiers in a much larger scheme where profit for Amazon was not the goal. Amazon, you see, is a mechanism. If I had to bet, I’d say Amazon serves as a distribution hub, a data collection point, and as a money moving apparatus to assist in expanding the globalist control capability. Washington Post is the company blog, so to speak, spitting out contravening messages to distract and leverage. Just play “what if” for a brief moment. What if all those smart TVs Amazon ship came pre-loaded with CIA malware or spying apparatus? What if agents did not have to physically install malware on targeted devices? Again, I got your attention. I quote from WikiLeaks

“The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell’s 1984, but “Weeping Angel”, developed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.”

If I may, since the world of media and news now operates on theory, conjecture, and opinion, then perhaps I may have license to speculate further on Bezos’ rise to wealth and fame. Looking at his past and his associations, it’s fair to suggest Bezos is not the genius behind Amazon’s success. If I had to bet real money, I’d say his boss at D. E. Shaw & Co., computer genius and Hillary Clinton campaign funder David Elliot Shaw is. I’d presuppose that Bezos did not just take off for Seattle in the mid-90s, but that Shaw sent him. Without delving deeply into who Shaw is, the reader should know he is the most successful and enigmatic hedge fund billionaire of all. He advised Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and is a key mover and shaker in the business of supercomputers and molecular dynamics.

After reading this some will ask the question; “How does this relate to world détente and policy?” Well, the answer is pointedly obvious – policy is about business these days. You read about Angela Merkel travelling to Washington to meet President Trump. This is not about saving the world for the people, you must realize. The meetup is so that Germany can continue to lead a European Union entity powered by banking and corporate interest. We can no longer be fooled into thinking the new world order (NOW) is some crazy conspiracy theory. Why the likes of Bezos, George Soros, even politicians admit that the “globalist” mission is endangered by Trump! The Washington Post fake news, installed billionaires, the genius Big Brothers standing behind – they are the reality. We have to start to think independently of their advertising – and make no mistake – the ads are aimed at fleecing you.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe.

March 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hillary Remains Clueless About Regulation on the 28th Anniversary of the Keating Five Meeting

By William K. Black | New Economic Perspectives | April 9, 2015

The Clintons’ Unlearned Lessons of the Keating Five Meeting

On April 9, 1987, twenty-eight years ago today, my colleagues and I from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (FHLBSF) met with five senators at the behest of the most notorious savings and loan (S&L) fraud – Charles Keating. Keating was looting Lincoln Savings through classic “accounting control fraud” techniques. Our examiners and enforcement investigation led by Anne Sobol (detailed from Litigation Division) had discovered and documented some of Keating’s worst frauds. Keating, desperate to prevent our recommendation that the federal agency place Lincoln Saving into conservators (removing Keating from power), used the five senators to try to pressure us into taking no enforcement action against Lincoln Savings and its officers for the largest violation of rules in the history of our agency.

The agency’s statutory authority to place a state-chartered S&L like Lincoln Savings into conservatorship had lapsed so Bank Board Chairman Edwin Gray could not act on our recommendation until Congress passed legislation restoring our power. The five Senators, of course, would have a great deal to say about whether and when that legislation was passed. Because we refused to give in to their intimidation, the Keating Five helped ensure that the power to remove Keating from power was not passed until after Gray’s term ended – and President Reagan’s cynical secret deal with Speaker of the House James Wright ensured that Reagan would not reappoint Gray.

Gray’s successor, M. Danny Wall, was a Republican political staffer whose boss, Senator Jake Gran, after a single meeting with Keating had his number and refused to ever meet with him again. But the lesson Wall took from seeing Gray reduced to roadkill at the hands of Speaker Wright and the Keating Five was to never block the road when powerful thieves and their political cronies are racing down that road and eager to run you over.

Wall first took the unprecedented step of removing our (the FHLBSF) jurisdiction over Lincoln Savings and gave Keating a sweetheart deal. Wall’s critical, Neville Chamberlain-like order to his senior staff to reach an “amicable resolution” with Keating (which, given Keating, meant “surrender”) occurred immediately after a meeting with Keating. Wall’s meeting with Keating, in turn, occurred immediately after Keating met with Senator Glenn and Speaker Wright. Keating and Wright used their after-lunch meeting to plot how to get me fired and sued. Keating hired private investigators twice that we know of to try to find dirt on me.  Fortunately, I live a very Midwestern personal life. Keating eventually sued me for $400 million.

Keating, being Keating, started his meeting with Wall by noting that he had just met with Speaker Wright and Senator Glenn. Keating was capable of being subtle, but he preferred smash mouth football, so his next line, referring to the Speaker, was that “There’s someone you would have much better relationships with if you took care of your red-headed lawyer in San Francisco.” I still had bright red hair (and beard) at that time.

After getting rid (he thought) of the accursed FHLBSF regulators, Wall proceeded to force Joe Selby, the Nation’s most respected financial regulator, to resign as our top supervisor for Texas.  Selby’s sin was being a vigorous regulator. The Texas frauds targeted him for removal and successfully enlisted Speaker Wright’s enthusiastic support through contributions and by telling Wright that Selby was gay. Bank Board Chairman Gray, who personally recruited Selby and Mike Patriarca because of their reputations as the Nation’s best financial regulators, had placed Selby and Patriarca in charge of the two states with the worst fraud problems (Texas and California). Wall, while still a congressional aide, had urged Gray to fire Selby to placate the Speaker. Gray refused. Wall now publicly took “credit” for forcing Selby to resign or be fired.  Within months, Wall had removed or sidelined the Nation’s best financial regulators.

Keating’s successful extortion of Wall to remove the FHLBSF’s jurisdiction over Lincoln Savings did not work out well for Wall and the Keating Five for Keating used the sweetheart deal to intensify his looting of Lincoln Savings and its customers which led it to become the most expensive financial institution failure in U.S. history (at what now seems a quaint $3.4 billion), to sell worthless (and uninsured) junk bonds of Lincoln Savings’ insolvent holding company, and to target tens of thousands of widows for those sales. My extensive notes of the Keating Five meeting led to a Senate ethics investigation of the Keating Five. The Democratic Party Senate Committee colleagues on that investigation spent most of their energy attacking us, the regulators, for the high crime of criticizing Senators for aiding the Nation’s most notorious fraud loot the S&L and rip off widows. (Senators Cranston, Riegle, Glenn, and DeConcini were Democrats. Senator McCain was the lone Republican.)

The type of violations we had documented were invariably fatal. Keating had recruited the Keating Five through political contributions and through hiring Alan Greenspan as a lobbyist. Greenspan also served Keating as his outside economist to attempt to prevent the agency from adopting effective regulations to restrain looting by the Keatings of the world. In that capacity Greenspan had famously claimed that Lincoln Savings posed no foreseeable risk of loss to the FSLIC insurance fund.  Greenspan was slightly (as in 180º) off as I just explained.

But here’s the thing – given their ages, the lessons of the S&L debacle should have been the formative experiences for everyone involved in the most recent crisis. Wall resigned in disgrace in December 1989 after months of House hearings. The Senate ethics committee hearings on the “Keating Five” took place in 1990 and 1991.

“These [Senate ethics committee] hearings would take place from November 15 through January 16, 1991.[31] They were held in the Hart Senate Office Building‘s largest hearing room.[51] They were broadcast live in their entirety by C-SPAN, with CNN and the network news programs showing segments of the testimonies.[51] At the opening of the hearings, as The Washington Post would later write, ‘the senators sat dourly alongside one another in a long row, a visual suggestive of co-defendants in a rogues’ docket.’[52] Overall, McCain would later write, ‘The hearings were a public humiliation.’[51]

The committee reported on the other four senators in February 1991, but delayed its final report on Cranston until November 1991.”

Greenspan’s role was discussed in both the House and Senate hearings.

“Progressives” tend to roll their eyes in disgust at the entire “Whitewater” investigation, but two points are worth noting in terms of what the scandal should have taught the Clintons and their appointees. First, James McDougall, the CEO, looted Madison Guaranty through classic accounting control fraud techniques. (He was acquitted by a jury of one series of alleged bank frauds and convicted subsequently of other band frauds.)

James Clark, the Bank Board examiner-in-charge (EIC) of the 1986 examination of Madison Guaranty, testified in front of Congress about McDougall’s domination of the S&L and his massive multiple frauds. Clark’s testimony is devastating.

Second, McDougall’s frauds were made possible by the criminogenic environment created by the three “de’s” – deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization – and McDougall was brought to book when the regulators and prosecutors learned their lessons and got rid of the three “de’s.” The FSLIC was appointed the conservator for Madison Guaranty in February 1989.

Then first lady Hillary Clinton received substantial adverse publicity about her role not simply as an investor with but also as an attorney for the S&L.  She and her husband were publicly humiliated by the sex aspects of the investigation. Both Clintons, therefore, would logically have come out of the experience with a strong appreciation of how dangerous accounting control frauds are, why bank CEOs pose by far the greatest risk of fraud and do so through accounting fraud techniques (the fraud “recipe” for a lender) that require the lender to intentionally make large numbers of bad loans. This, in turn, requires the CEO to suborn the underwriting and internal controls. The Clintons should have had an acute appreciation of how critical underwriting is to avoiding banking crises. They observed first hand that the S&L debacle was driven by an epidemic of accounting control fraud.

Bill Clinton announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President on October 2, 1991 – while the Senate Ethics committee was still wrapping up its investigation of the Keating Five. The S&L debacle was the defining scandal of the Clinton’s era and it was fresh in their minds as they made the run for the nomination and the presidency. We were convicting several hundred banksters and their cronies annually as Clinton prepared to run and actually ran his first campaign for the nomination and the presidency.

The same logic applies to Greenspan. He had to read our examination report and my report on why Lincoln Savings would be a disaster. My report emphasized the key role of its deliberately pathetic underwriting. Similarly, our presentation to the Keating Five emphasized the non-existent nature of Lincoln Savings’ underwriting on multi-million dollar loans. This was reprised in our testimony before the House and the Senate about Keating’s looting of Lincoln Savings.

But we know what the Clintons, their appointees, and Greenspan (originally a Bush I appointee) learned from the S&L debacle – nothing, or worse than nothing. Greenspan told the sycophantic author of Maestro that he would have done, said, and wrote the same things for Keating now that he did then based on the “facts.” I discuss later Greenspan’s actual approach to the “facts.”

Clinton’s Goal: Destroy the “Culture of Regulation”

But the Clintons and their bankster allies learned something far worse – the need to push the three “de’s” to ensure that never again would banksters and their political cronies be prevented from looting “their” banks or be held accountable for their looting. Bill Clinton, in his first major meeting with financial regulators (from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)) as President, chose to make these revealing remarks. One part of government most upset Clinton – the examiners who checked for threats to the safety and soundness of banks and businesses.

“The federal government to many people is not the President of the United States, it’s the person who shows up on the doorstep to check out the bank records, or the safety in the factory, or the integrity of the workplace, or how the nursing home is being run. I believe that we have a serious obligation in this administration to work with the Congress to reduce the burden of regulation and to increase the protection to the public. And we have an obligation on our own to do what we can to change the destructive elements of the culture of regulation that has built up over time….”

The federal examiners that expose the banks, workplaces, and nursing homes that engage in fraud or abuse provide a vital and unique service not only to the public, but also to honest competitors by blocking the “Gresham’s” dynamic that “control fraud” produces (bad ethics drives good ethics out of the markets). Clinton, however, is unaware of this dynamic. This type of regulation does not (net) “burden” honest businesses – it makes it possible for them compete by relieving them of the impossible burden of competing with control frauds. Clinton sees regulation not as episodically failing, but as the inherently flawed product of a “destructive” “culture of regulation.”  He started the process that replaced a “culture of regulation” with what even the anti-regulators now concede is the “culture of corruption” that dominates Wall Street and the City of London.

Clinton then singled out the worst examiners – bank regulators.

“When I was out in New Hampshire in 1992, I heard more grief about the regulation of the private sector by the Comptroller of the Currency than any other single thing. And now every time I go to New England, they say, we’re making money, we’re making loans, and we can function, because we finally got somebody down there in Washington who understands how to have responsible and safe banking regulations, and still promote economic growth. I hear it every time I go up there, and I thank you, sir, for what you’ve done on that. (Applause.)”

Vice-President Gore had already praised the OCC head, Gene Ludwig, for embracing the three “de’s.” Gore was particularly impressed that the bankers’ lobbyists were praising Ludwig. Readers will vary on what they infer from that praise, but Gore thought the only possible inference was that Ludwig’s deregulatory policies were superb.  When the bank lobbyists are praising you as a financial regulator you know you are on a path to disaster for the industry and the public. Bank lobbyists do not represent the interests of “banks” or their shareholders. They represent the interests of the banks’ controlling officers and when those CEOs create a culture of corruption the lobbyists will push policies that will make it easy for the CEOs’ to loot “their” banks with impunity through the “sure thing” of accounting control fraud.

Clinton launched an unholy war against effective financial regulation. He began the process, and bragged about, the massive cuts in the FDIC staff that eventually (Bush made it worse) led to the FDIC losing over three-quarters of its total staff and the OTS over half of its staff. FBI agents were reassigned from prosecuting the S&L frauds and such prosecutions largely ended in 1993. Clinton’s “reinventers” ordered us to refer to the industry as our “customer” and to treat them as if they were our “customer.”  Clinton’s reinventers eliminated the most important rule – the underwriting rule. They replaced it with a deliberately unenforceable “guideline” that was exceptionally criminogenic and would greatly intensify the epidemic of liar’s loans. This rule change was actually far more damaging than the more infamous statutory acts of deregulation that Bill Clinton, Rubin, and Greenspan pushed in order to essentially repeal the Glass-Steagall Act and pass the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000 to not only kill Brooksley Born’s effort to protect the Nation and the world from financial derivatives, but ensure that no regulator in America would have any ability to regulate effectively massive classes of derivatives.

Clinton’s key economic appointees, and Gore, were fervent proponents of the three “de’s.” They came from banking and represented the interests not of banks, but of the banksters. Robert Rubin, the former head of Goldman Sachs and Clinton’s Treasury Secretary exemplified the bankster representing the interests of his peers. In particular, they pushed the global regulatory “race to the bottom” – warning that any effective financial regulation would drive the bankers to relocate to the City of London.

While anyone open to reality would have learned the grave dangers of the three “de’s” and the enormous value of effective regulation, there were three excellent reasons for the Clinton/Gore administration to be closed to reality and to embrace the three “de’s” and the banksters. First, it is not pleasant to be the subject of a government investigation and a conservatorship for your friend, business partner, and legal client’s S&L. It is perfectly human to react by being enraged at regulators. It was effective banking examiners who stopped McDougall’s frauds, conducted the bulk of the investigations that led to McDougall being convicted, and led to the exposure of the “Whitewater” “scandal.” From the Clintons’ perspective, that represented “Strike One, Strike Two, Strike Three – You’re Out!”

Second, the Clintons and Gore were leaders of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). The DLC’s creed was that the three “de’s” were divinely inspired. It was revealing that Clinton chose Gore as his running mate. Gore provided neither geographic nor ideological diversity to the ticket. Clinton did not want ideological diversity. He wanted a loyal junior partner who shared his disdain for regulators. It would require unusual independence of thought for Clinton and Gore, in their moment of electoral triumph, to say: “we’ve been observing the S&L debacle and thinking hard about its implications for our anti-regulatory policies and we have been forced to conclude that the DLC dogmas we have long championed about the virtues of the three ‘de’s’ are not simply incorrect but dangerous to the Nation.” Humans are more likely to do what Clinton and Gore did – religiously ignore the lessons of the S&L debacle and surround themselves with zealous advocates of the three “de’s.”

Third, the DLC had a special place in its heart for big finance. Big finance had the big money to make contributions, but it also had CEOs who were often at least moderate on social issues. These big contributors had been there in the DLC’s corner since its founding in 1985. How likely was it that Clinton and Gore, its two greatest DLC beneficiaries, would turn on big finance in their moment of triumph?

Hillary Clinton Learned the Same Perverse Lessons as Bill about Financial Regulation

I thank Samantha Lachman for her April 9, 2015 column entitled “As Clinton Tries To Win Over Progressives, She Might Want To Distance Herself From This Economic Adviser.” I hope that my column will not seem too harsh, but I feel the need to point out the key ways in which my analysis differs from Lachman’s – each of which adds to her thesis.

Lachman’s column explains that Hillary Clinton chose Robert Hormats as one of her most prominent economic advisors. Lachman points out that Hormats is a rabid deficit (and war) hawk, wants to cut the safety net, supports the faux “free trade” agreements that the Rubin-wing of the Democratic Party constantly seeks to inflict on the Nation, and favors aggressive deregulation. Lachman warns that this will cause progressives to wonder whether they should support Hillary Clinton. Lachman’s sole substantive argument against Hormats’ support for deregulation is that if she were to adopt his policy recommendations it would inhibit efforts were H. Clinton to be elected to reduce inequality.

“Hormats, who was the undersecretary for economic, energy and environmental affairs from 2009 to 2013, has advocated for the deregulatory approach that was begun by the Reagan administration and continued by former President Bill Clinton. Progressives say this deregulatory strategy contributed to widening income inequality….”

Lachman is correct about the content of Hormats’ policy positions. But here are the key factors I would urge readers (and potential campaign supporters and voters) to consider that arise from these positions.

  1. The problem with Hormats is not that he will upset “progressives.” The problem is that he is incompetent, dishonest, and supports policies that have devastated and will continue to devastate our Nation and the people of the world. Hormats has been wrong on every important economic issue – for decades. That should upset everyone regardless of their politics.

The insoluble problem is that every time Hormats’ policies cause a disaster and his dogmas are falsified he doubles-down on his failures. He does so because he is so dogmatic and intellectually dishonest that he refuses to learn from even his most catastrophic mistakes – and because his policy disasters enrich him and his peers – the elite banksters.

The enormous problem with Hormats’ policies is not that his policies “contributed to widening income inequality” (though they did) – but that they blew up the financial system, our Nation’s economy, and the global economy. In the U.S. 9.3 million Americans lost their jobs and roughly six million jobs that would have been created absent the Great Recession were not created. The leading economic estimate is that the U.S. will lose $24 trillion in GDP as a result. The job and GDP losses are far larger in Europe due to the insanity of self-inflicted austerity. If Hormats had been able to secure his desire to inflict austerity on America our job and GDP losses would have at least doubled.

Worse, Hormats’ policies blew up the financial system because they made it so “criminogenic” that it produced the three great fraud epidemics by bankers (appraisal, “liar’s” loans, and secondary market fraud) that hyper-inflated the bubble and caused the catastrophic fraud losses that drove the financial crisis.

Worse still, while he had a front row seat to these frauds epidemics as Goldman Sach’s Vice Chairman, he not only failed to warn the Nation about them but encouraged ever more criminogenic heapings of the three “de’s” – deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization.

And, still worse, Hormats continues to push for those same policies because while they were a catastrophic failure for our Nation and the world, they make him and his peers (many of them criminals) immensely wealthy – and will do so in the future when his policies again crush our Nation in an orgy of fraud by the banksters. Hormats doubtless supports (formal) legal civil rights (as opposed to the reality), which makes him a member in good standing of the Rubin-wing of the Democratic Party, but his economic policies are to the right of the UK Tories’ policies that Paul Krugman correctly eviscerates for their economic illiteracy.

I will discuss only two examples of Hormats’ incompetence as an economist, neither of which Lachman explores. First, he championed and aided the “Scandalous Seven.”

  1. Hormats’ continuing support for the three “de’s” and his support for President Clinton’s reappointment of Alan Greenspan and President Obama’s reappointment of Ben Bernanke to head the Fed. There are seven U.S. public officials who embraced the three “de’s” and are most culpable for creating and refusing to stop the criminogenic environment that produced the three most destructive epidemics of financial fraud in history. Those fraud epidemics hyper-inflated the bubbles, drove the financial crisis, and caused the Great Recession.  Clinton, Gore, Rubin (with a dishonorable mention to his protégé Larry Summers), Greenspan, President George W. Bush, Bernanke, and Timothy Geithner are the U.S. officials who failed so spectacularly in the run-up to the crisis that they deserve their inclusion on my list of the Scandalous Seven. I am talking here about the public sector. The elite bankers who led the fraud schemes are even more culpable for they were made wealthy by their fraud schemes.  

The terrible thing about the seven officials is that none of them had to be bribed in any overt fashion that could ever lead to even an investigation much less a prosecution. (The finance industry, of course, finds ways to richly reward its political cronies.) The Scandalous Seven felt wonderful about their actions in creating and then ignoring the criminogenic environment. Like Hormats, their embrace of the three “de’s” was open, not furtive. Three of the officials were Republicans and four were from the Rubin-wing of the Democratic Party. Geithner is a special case who became a nominal Rubin-Democrat to get his position as Treasury Secretary in the Obama administration.

Lachman’s discussion of the Hormats’ support for Greenspan and deregulation emphasizes that Greenspan “is loathed by progressives.”

“Similarly, in a discussion of whether former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan should be reappointed by then-President George W. Bush, Hormats said Greenspan, who is loathed by progressives, had done ‘a terrific job.’

‘He enjoys respect on both Main Street and Wall Street,’ Hormats said. ‘In short, he’s really been one of the great financial leaders in American history.’

In the same conversation, Hormats argued that while Greenspan had facilitated a positive economic climate, other factors, including deregulation, were also responsible for private sector growth.

‘[Greenspan] has power, but what’s really driving this economy is the dramatic change that’s taking place in the private sector in this country,’ he continued. ‘We’ve had government deregulation, which has held.’”

A technical note, Lachman is quoting from an NPR transcript and the audio is no longer available on the web site. I suspect that the last word, “held,” should read “helped.”  Lachman does not explain why “progressives” loath Greenspan – or why such loathing should be limited to “progressives.” If “progressives” loath Greenspan for bad reasons then this represents a defect on their part, not a failure by Greenspan or Hormats. In the same interview Lachman is quoting, Robert Reich issued a vibrant endorsement of Greenspan’s reappointment by Clinton that included one of the funniest (unintentional) descriptions of Greenspan: “Alan Greenspan is a pragmatist, an empiricist.” When it came to regulation to stop the fraud epidemics, I show below that Greenspan was still Ayn Rand’s faithful cultist. He was dogmatic and rather than an “empiricist” he religiously refused to allow real data to be presented.

Here are the primary reasons Greenspan (and Bernanke) make my list of the Scandalous Seven.

  • The Fed had the unique authority under HOEPA (enacted in 1994 under Clinton) to ban all “liar’s” loans – regardless of whether they were originated by federally insured lenders. As the name implies, such loans were known to be pervasively fraudulent and it was known that lenders and loan brokers overwhelmingly put the lies in liar’s loans. Greenspan, and then Bernanke, refused to use this authority to stop an obvious, massive epidemic of “accounting control fraud. The FBI’s senior agent in charge of dealing with mortgage fraud, Chris Swecker, warned in September 2004 that there was an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud developing and predicted that it would cause a financial “crisis” – and Greenspan refused to stop the fraud epidemic. Greenspan’s colleague, Governor Gramlich, warned Greenspan of the developing epidemic of bad loans and urged him to send the Fed examiners in to the sleazy bank holding company affiliates that were pumping out hundreds of thousands of fraudulent loans. Greenspan refused not only to stop the fraudulent loans – he refused to send the examiners in to find the facts. When Richard Spillenkothen, the Fed’s top supervisor, requested to brief the full Fed board on the fact that every major bank involved with Enron had eagerly aided and abetted Enron’s accounting fraud and tax evasion the senior leadership of the Fed was enraged – at its supervisors! While Spillenkothen does not name individual names, this could not have occurred without Greenspan’s active support.

When another Fed supervisor, Sabeth Siddique, several years later presented the Fed board and Regional Bank Presidents with data from the Nation’s largest banks showing that they were moving massively into making loans that were known to be pervasively fraudulent and exceptionally likely to default the Fed split into a civil war in which the supervisor was subjected to “personal” attacks – for providing data from the banks to the Fed!

“Some people on the board and regional presidents . . . just wanted to come to a different answer. So they did ignore it, or the full thrust of it,” [Federal Reserve Governor Bies] told the Commission.

Within the Fed, the debate grew heated and emotional, Siddique recalled. “It got very personal,” he told the Commission. The ideological turf war lasted more than a year, while the number of nontraditional loans kept growing….” (FCIC 2011: 20-21).

This is significantly insane. The Fed leadership, under Greenspan and Bernanke, was so dogmatic and passionate in its hatred for regulation, supervision, enforcement, and prosecution and so rabid in its faith in “markets” and the inherent sainthood of financial CEOs that it conducted an unholy war against its own supervisors and reality.  Simply providing data from the industry to the leaders of your agency became a CLG for Fed supervisors (“career limiting gesture”).

It is important to recall four other matters in this context. We (OTS-West Region) figured out liar’s loans in 1991 – and drove them out of the S&L industry, which was the limits of our statutory powers (unlike the Fed after the passage of HOEPA in 1994). We got it right because unlike Greenspan and Bernanke we were reality-based regulators eager to get the facts. So we listened to our examiners (as we had in 1984 about prior epidemics of accounting control fraud). The loans were not yet called “liar’s” loans by the industry and there was very limited experience with “low documentation” loans but our examiners realized that failing to underwrite the borrower’s income had to lead to “adverse selection” and produce severe losses. We realized that only fraudulent CEOs running accounting control frauds would make liar’s loans.  Greenspan and Bernanke had no need to reinvent the supervisory wheel and the disastrous loss data on the 1990-1993 experience with liar’s loans was available to them.  Banning liar’s loans was one of the easiest calls any regulatory could make. There was zero upside to liar’s loans – they harmed every honest borrower.

The second fact is that Greenspan was no virgin when it came to accounting control fraud. As I explained above, Charles Keating, the most notorious S&L fraud, used him as a lobbyist to recruit the five U.S. Senators who became known as the “Keating Five” when they met with us on April 9, 1987.

The third fact is that in addition to the FBI’s 2004 warning that the developing mortgage fraud “epidemic” would cause a financial “crisis” if it were not stopped the appraisers had created an extraordinary warning in the form of a public petition explaining that fraudulent lenders were deliberately creating a “Gresham’s” dynamic (in which bad ethics drives good ethics from the markets and professions) by extorting appraisers’ to inflate the value of homes pledged as collateral – something only a fraudulent bank or loan broker officer would do. The following astonishing fact is revealed (but also buried) well into the report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC): “Swecker, the former FBI official, told the Commission he had no contact with banking regulators during his tenure” (FCIC 2011: 164, emphasis added). As a former financial regulator I am almost reduced to tears every time I read that sentence.

  1. Put yourself in the position of Greenspan, Bernanke, Geithner, and Bush – all in office when Swecker made his very public warnings in the media and his Congressional testimony in 2004. There is no possible excuse for their total refusal to act against a crime wave led by elite banksters. Worse, their obscene attacks on supervisors to prevent them from presenting these senior officials with the reality of the three raging fraud epidemics demonstrates that they were not simply cowards unwilling to stop a wave of crime by their powerful cronies. These four officials’ war on the facts was so intense because they knew that if they ever let reality intrude it would falsify their ideological dogmas and render disgraceful their slavish lifetime devotion to the banksters.

The fourth fact is that within months of Bernanke’s ascendancy to running the Fed he knew from the MARI/MBA report that the available data showed that 90% of liar’s loans were fraudulent. He refused to use HOEPA to ban liar’s loans.

  1. Greenspan also makes the list for his dogmatic position expressed to CFTC Chair Brooksley Born that preventing fraud was never a legitimate basis for regulation.
  1. The real problem is the Clintons.

First, H. Clinton chose Hormats – in 2009 – to be her key economic adviser at State at a time when, for the reasons I just explained, it was inescapable that he three “de’s” (championed by Hormats) had produced the three most damaging financial fraud epidemics in world history, destroyed the global financial system (it was resurrected only by massive public bailouts by the Treasury and the Fed), and caused the Great Recession.

Hormats was still pushing the three “de’s” under H. Clinton. She knew this before she recruited him to be one of her top lieutenants at State. Hormats proceeded to continue to shill for the three “de’s” at State – with no known reprimands from H. Clinton. As I have often noted, economics has the very useful concept of “revealed preferences.” Lachman’s focus is on Hormats’ revealed preferences, but the key is that we are observing H. Clinton’s true preference. She picked a known, serial incompetent who was a disaster in his supposed area of expertise (finance) and so dogmatic, intellectually dishonest, and dedicated to the interests of his fellow 1% that he continues to double-down on his failures. Lachman warns H. Clinton that to curry favor with progressives “She Might Want To Distance Herself From This Economic Adviser.” But that is not what any progressive should want. Progressives (and everyone else) should be demanding that she repudiate, not merely “distance herself from” Hormats’ dogmas. It does nothing good for the world if H. Clinton is able to deceive people by making it appear that she has ditched disastrous deregulatory dogmas by keeping Hormats at a “distance” while she actually maintains those same dogmas.

What H. Clinton should be doing, in alliance with Senator Warren, is leading the charge demanding that the Obama Administration honor the whistleblowers who made public the massive frauds by Citi, JPM, and Bank of America’s senior managers and prosecute the banksters. That would be great substantively for America and smart politics. The Clintons have been conspicuously silent about the banksters and the fraud epidemics they led that drove our crises. She could fix that in 15 minutes – if she wished to.

Second, as I explained above, the Clinton administration enthusiastically embraced the three “de’s” through the “Reinventing Government” movement. Al Gore led the charge. I have written about this extensively. Reinventing government was expressly designed not to prosecute elite corporate criminals. Yes, the Bush administration that followed was even worse, but it was Clinton who began what Tom Frank aptly terms The Wrecking Crew. I got out as a regulator when the “Reinventers” ordered us to refer to the industry we were supposed to regulate as our “customer” – and to treat banks and bankers as if they were “customers.” I personally witnessed this directive, and the administration’s chief goon in charge of its oxymoronic “Reinvention” proudly cites that directive as one of his top accomplishments and prints praise of his supposed bravery in insisting on that directive.

Hormats was not a powerful adviser to the Clinton administration. Bob Rubin, Goldman Sachs’ CEO, was the paramount adviser on economic matters. Hormats is simply one of dozens of Rubinites that infested the Clinton and Obama administrations. But blaming the three “de’s” on Rubin is unfair, for B. Clinton and Gore were sincerely and zealously committed to deregulation, desupervision, and the de facto decriminalization of elite white-collar crime. Neither was seduced by Rubin. H. Clinton knows as much as any person alive about the Rubinites’ pathologies. She recruited Hormats because he was a Rubinite, not because he deceived her.

At one point, all six of Obama’s most senior economic advisers where Rubinites. (They are still overwhelmingly Rubinites.) Obama and H. Clinton have chosen Rubinites as their dominant economic advisers not through some sinister, secret infiltration engineered by Rubin, but because Obama and the Clinton represent the Rubin-wing of the Democratic Party.

Third, H. Clinton chose Hormats as a top adviser not because of his “expertise” – she knows he has been consistently, horrifically wrong about every important economic policy issue on which he has opined in the last 20 years – but as a signal to the donors, the elite bankers. The signal is that I have always been with you and will always be with you, regardless of the bleating of the Democratic-wing of the Democratic Party.

I have explained Hormats’ incompetence when it came to regulation. I will add briefly related displays of incompetence in what he purports to be his fields of expertise.  First, he wants to cut the already inadequate safety net for the purpose of reducing budget deficits. Consider his testimony before the House Budget Committee on June 26, 2007. The setting was a friendly one. The Democrats controlling the Committee held a hearing to embarrass the Bush administration. The Democratic meme was that unlike virtuous Clinton, Bush had taken us deep into deficit – and much of our national debt was owed to the Chinese (cue dramatic, pulsating minor key music foreshadowing disaster). I know that many “progressives” would think that such a hearing was fantastic – good politics plus hoisting the Republican’s fiscal conservatives on their own petard.

I’ll simply refer readers to my colleagues’ explanations of why the “Red Peril” fearmongering is nonsense. It is terrible economics and Democrats shouldn’t try to score political points by spreading economic lies – even if the Democrats are right that the Republicans do so routinely.

I think that the hearing and Hormats’ testimony demonstrated the idiocy and dishonesty of many Democrats. Recall the date of the hearing – the U.S. was racing into the Great Recession. It officially began in the Fourth Quarter of 2007. By the time Hormats testified roughly five nonprime lenders were failing every week and housing prices had been falling for over a year in many markets. The U.S. needed to be running far larger federal budget deficits to begin to counter the coming recession. Instead, we had Hormats testifying that July 26, 2007 would be a great time for the U.S. to simultaneously “boost savings at home,” cut safety net payments (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid), and return the federal budget to surplus. Each of these actions would have further reduced already inadequate demand and caused the Great Recession to come sooner, be deeper, and last far longer – because that is what austerity does when you add it to a recession.

Hormats:  Not Cutting Grandmother’s Social Security Will Get Her Nuked

Hormats was just getting started with his plan to ruin America. He claimed that we had to adopt these three self-destructive policies that would hurl us into an earlier, deeper, and longer recession (and therefore increase the budget deficit) to protect ourselves from a terrorist WMD attack.

“Because we know that one of the stated objectives of terrorists is to cause massive disruption in the U.S. economy, such financial vulnerabilities could lead potential perpetrators to feel that they can do a great deal of damage not simply by their initial act, but also because of the secondary and tertiary economic disruptions that would occur because of the subsequent turmoil in a more vulnerable financial environment. In finances as in military affairs, vulnerability frequently invites aggression.”

Hormats’ position was refuted by an earlier speaker that looked a whole lot like Hormats who only about 30 seconds earlier testified that “It is worth recalling that the country had recorded four years of budget surplus before 9/11….” Indeed, it would have been “worth recalling” by Hormats who only 30 seconds later claimed that we could greatly reduce the risk of terrorist attacks if we ran budget surpluses. Hormats displayed at this hearing that he is not simply incompetent, he is a shill willing to say anything, no matter how loony, to please the Democratic politicians who might again make the mistake of appointing him to office.

In the same testimony, Hormats also indicated that he is a “finance expert” who is clueless about the actual financial system of a nation with a sovereign currency, i.e., the U.S.

“Alexander Hamilton recognized from the very beginning that America’s financial strength was vital to its security. If the country did not manage its finances well, he reasoned, it would not have the resources needed to defend itself in time of war and it would lose credibility in the eyes of creditors, making borrowing in time of war or other national emergency all the more difficult.

Over two centuries have passed since Hamilton held office, but these principles are just as relevant today.”

Well, no, not even close. On a more technical detail, his “Red Peril” scenarios assume that the U.S. can only fund itself through issuing bonds. My colleagues have explained in loving detail in NEP why Hormats’ claims demonstrate that he does not understand even the most basic aspects of how money actually works. I do not demand that Hormats agree with MMT, but he does have to understand the actual operations by which money can be created to be minimally competent in his field. As I explained, one does not make a Rubinite an adviser because one is seeking competence.

April 20, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

IPCC Calls Off Planetary Emergency?

By Marlo Lewis | Watts Up With That? | October 4, 2013

Okay, they don’t do so in as many words. But in addition to being more confident than ever (despite a 16-year pause in warming and the growing mismatch between model projections and observations) that man-made climate change is real, they are also more confident nothing really bad is going to happen during the 21st Century.

The scariest parts of the “planetary emergency” narrative popularized by Al Gore and other pundits are Atlantic Ocean circulation shutdown (implausibly plunging Europe into a mini-ice age), ice sheet disintegration raising sea levels 20 feet, and runaway warming from melting frozen methane deposits.

As BishopHill and Judith Curry report on their separate blogs, IPCC now believes that in the 21st Century, Atlantic Ocean circulation collapse is “very unlikely,” ice sheet collapse is “exceptionally unlikely,” and catastrophic release of methane hydrates from melting permafrost is “very unlikely.” You can read it for yourself in Chapter 12 Table 12.4 of the IPCC’s forthcoming Fifth Assessment Report.

But these doomsday scenarios have always been way more fiction than science. For some time now, extreme weather has been the only card left in the climate alarm deck. Climate activists repeatedly assert that severe droughts, floods, and storms (Hurricane Sandy is their current poster child) are now the “new normal,” and they blame fossil fuels.

On their respective blogs Anthony Watts and Roger Pielke, Jr. provide excerpts about extreme weather from Chapter 2 of the IPCC report. Among the findings:

  • “Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.”
  • “In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale.”
  • “In summary, there is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale severe weather phenomena such as hail and thunderstorms because of historical data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systems.”
  • “Based on updated studies, AR4 [the IPCC 2007 report] conclusions regarding global increasing trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated.”
  • “In summary, confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extra-tropical cyclones since 1900 is low.”

Pielke Jr. concludes:

“There is really not much more to be said here — the data says what it says, and what it says is so unavoidably obvious that the IPCC has recognized it in its consensus. Of course, I have no doubts that claims will still be made associating floods, drought, hurricanes and tornadoes with human-caused climate change — Zombie science — but I am declaring victory in this debate. Climate campaigners would do their movement a favor by getting themselves on the right side of the evidence.”

For further discussion, see my post “Global Warming: Planet’s Most Hyped Problem” on this week’s National Journal Energy Insiders blog.

October 5, 2013 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Totalitarianism of Universal Background Checks

By Anthony Gregory | The Beacon | April 4, 2013

Finally, some sanity, and from a somewhat unexpected source. The ACLU is concerned about the civil liberties implications of the new Harry Reid Senate bill to establish so-called “universal background checks” for firearms purchases. The organization has tended toward silence on gun rights, but at least now it recognizes aspects of the problem with this terrible proposal.

Ever since Sandy Hook, the Obama administration and its progressive choir have demanded a new Assault Weapons Ban (AWB). Now it looks like that plan is toast. California Senator Dianne Feinstein blames gun owners and the NRA, and in a sense we should have expected all along that this proposal would get nowhere. Such a ban would mostly target “semi-automatic” rifles—which, despite all the hysterics, simply refers to any standard rifle that fires one round each time the trigger is pulled—that happen to have esthetic elements like the pistol grip that do not in fact add to the weapons’ lethality. This is the nonsensical standard used to ban some classes of weapons instrumentally identical to the ones banned in 1994.

The first AWB devastated the Democrats politically, and probably contributed as much as anything to the Republicans’ crushing victory in the 1994 congressional elections after forty years in the legislative minority. It also hurt Al Gore in his run against George W. Bush in 2000. The ban generally prohibited ordinary but scary looking rifles, which are used in about two percent of violent crimes committed with firearms. The law did not apply to, say, most of the weapons used at the Columbine school massacre in 1999. But it did interfere with Americans’ basic right to own what we can fairly call the modern version of the musket. Millions of Americans own such weapons like the AR-15, the most popular rifle and one targeted by the Democrats’ proposal for a new, robust AWB. These weapons are used for hunting, sport, and self-defense. They are not, despite all the misinformation to the contrary, repeating, military-style rifles.

In any event, the unpopularity of an AWB always doomed this proposal, especially under a Democratic president as distrusted on the right as Obama. The Republicans have the House and too many Democrats in the Senate are loyal to their gun-owning constituents.

So this whole time, the real threat to our firearms freedom has been these less debated, peripheral proposals—proposals that strip people the state deems “mentally ill” of the right to bear arms, proposals that violate the civil rights of released convicts, proposals to increase penalties for violations of current law, and, as disturbing as anything, proposals to institute “universal background checks.”

The gun restrictionists have pointed to polls showing more than 90% approval of such background checks, including among a vast majority of conservatives, Republicans, and gunowners. Liberty is always attacked on the margins, and most Americans don’t go to gun shows and so don’t see the big deal. Surely the state should know who is armed. Surely we don’t want people buying and selling guns freely.

But, in fact, universal background checks are arguably even more tyrannical than banning whole classes of weapons. Why should the government know who is armed? Why shouldn’t people be allowed to freely buy and sell private property without government permission? Half of Americans see background checks as the first step toward full registration then confiscation. Many fear that the new law would create records of these deals that would not immediately be destroyed, which could form databases or enable government in further nefarious purposes. The progressives have tended to regard any of these worries as paranoia, but it looks like the ACLU is now among the paranoid.

There is no need to discuss pure hypotheticals. There have been gun confiscations in the United States. After the Civil War, officials conducted confiscations to disarm American Indians and blacks became the target in the Jim Crow South. Confiscations followed Hurricane Katrina, along with the rest of the government’s martial law response. Since many gun controllers openly say they want a total ban of certain kinds of firearms, or all firearms, why wouldn’t gun owners fear that registration will lead to confiscation? The U.S. president promised that he would not take away Americans’ rifles, then went ahead and proceeded to propose to do just that. Add all of this to the database growth, the warrantless wiretapping, the domestic surveillance drones, the frightening executive power grabs concerning detention, interrogation, and executions, and the overall militarization of policing that has unfolded thanks to the wars on drugs and terror, and it seems fairly appropriate that in the age of Bush and Obama, civil libertarians of all stripes would resist the drive toward universal background checks or anything with such an Orwellian name as that.

This whole matter should also remind us of the interlocking nature of personal liberties. Abolishing the Second Amendment necessarily means abolishing the Fourth as well. Just ask the millions of black and Hispanic young men stopped and frisked in New York City in the name of gun control and with the purpose, as the police commissioner reportedly put it, to “instill fear” of police in these demographic groups. It is the violations of privacy that concern the ACLU, but anyone jealous of her security in her papers, persons, and effects should recoil at the thought of the state collecting these records.

Of course, it should go without saying that when it comes to criminal enterprise, universal background checks are unenforceable. In a country with as many guns as there are people, criminals and the state will always get the weapons they want. Firearms are easier to manufacture than many illegal drugs, and we see how well the state has stamped those out. The rapid developments in 3-D printing makes it even crazier that we’d still be talking about gun control as anything but a threat to the liberty of the law abiding.

The AWB looks defeated for now, but perhaps that was always known to be inevitable by our cynical civilian disarmament fetishists in Washington, DC. Perhaps the real goal was to get what could be gotten now—the beginnings of a national database of every lawful gun owner. The so-called gun show loophole—the freedom of owners to sell firearms to one another with few encumbrances—is a pocket of liberty. Closing this loophole would be a tragedy. We can only hope that civil libertarians across the spectrum ban together to challenge this march to erode these core freedoms.

April 6, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stunning Pictures of Al Gore’s New $9 Million Mansion Media Totally Ignored

By Noel Sheppard – NewsBusters.org – 05/03/2010

Nobel Laureate Al Gore purchased a $9 million mansion in the luxurious hills of Montecito, California, recently, and with the exception of the Los Angeles Times and Fox News, America’s media couldn’t care less.

You think it might be because the Gore-loving press wouldn’t want people to consider the possibility that all of his global warming hysteria was really about lining his wallet and not saving the planet?

Formulate a response to that question as you look at what all that money the former Vice President is making off of spreading this myth can buy [1]):

Sweet, wouldn’t you say? (Readers are encouraged to view more pictures of this fabulous estate here [2].)

Certainly not bad for a guy who supposedly [3] was worth between one and two million dollars in 2000.

Were the “Always Fascinated by the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” press interested?

Heck no.

According to LexisNexis, apart from the Los Angeles Times that broke [4] this story last Wednesday, and Fox News’s Sean Hannity who spoke about this on consecutive nights last week, America’s media were totally mum.

Why might that be?

You think Gore’s adoring press don’t want folks to know how much money he’s making off this scam?

Before you answer THAT question, consider what the Nobel Laureate told [4] Congress last year as the House was deliberating cap-and-trade legislation:

AL GORE: Every penny that I have made, I have put right into a non-profit deal, Alliance For Climate Protection, to spread awareness of why we have to take on this challenge. And Congresswomen, if your, if, if you believe that the reason I have been working on this issue for 30 years is because of greed, you do not know me.

Now, imagine for a moment there were actually journalists still in America and not advocates pretending to be journalists.

A former Vice President who last year told a House committee he was putting all of his earnings into a non-profit company to “spread awareness of why we have to take on” global warming a year later buys a $9 million mansion with six fireplaces, five bedrooms, and nine bathrooms for him and his wife.

Don’t you think SOMEBODY should have reported it other than Fox News, the LA Times, and conservative bloggers?

Where’d the money come from? Was this purchased by his non-profit corporation, and if so, how does he get away with that?

Did he sell some of his Google or Apple stock?

And how about some questions about how green the house is? Are there solar panels and windmills to power this facility? If not, what are their plans?

Forgetting all of that, if the Clintons, Bushes, or Cheneys bought such a place, do you think the media would cover it, at least as a human interest story?

For over three years, Gore’s adoring press have followed virtually every move he’s made since becoming the voice of global warming.

He buys a STUNNING villa as the unemployment rate stands at almost 10 percent and Americans are struggling to regain their footing after 2008’s financial crisis, and the media are suddenly disinterested in him?

On exactly which planet, be it cooling or warming, does THAT make any sense?

More reading concerning Gore’s investments:

  • Media Ignore Al Gore’s Financial Ties To Global Warming [4]
  • Al Gore Getting Rich Selling Global Warming Hysteria With Media’s Help [4]
  • Gore Admits Financial ‘Stake’ In Advancing Global Warming Hysteria [4]
  • Investment Group Puts Millions In Green Companies Gore Has Stake In [4]

Links:
[1] http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2010/05/exclusive-estimate-carbon-footprint-of.html
[2] http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2010/05/exclusive-estimate-carbon-footprint-of.html
[3] http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/117/features-gore.html
[4] http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/28/home/la-hm-hotprop-gore-20100428

May 4, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | 5 Comments

Low hope for low carbon

By Andrew McKillop | Excerpts | March 22, 2010

Annexed to the climate change and global warming hysteria that received its political kiss of death at the failed Copenhagen “climate summit” in Dec 2009, the rationale for why everybody sensible has to be so concerned about this threat to humanity is that clean and green energy will save us. Not only “the climate” and “the ecology,” including polar bears, low lying countries from Holland to the Maldives, coral reefs, Himalayan glaciers, people living along tropical storm tracks and all the rest — but also jobs in our cities. Along with green jobs, the new crusade for low carbon energy would cut oil import bills to nothing, balance trade with the rest of the world, improve national finances and strengthen the national currency. Everything is possible!

Green growth strategies flourished in the 2003-2009 period, in the wake of constantly rising oil prices and spiraling hysteria about climate change. The bottom line of the climate change priests and soothsayers was that low carbon green energy, developed as the only way to save us from climate apocalypse, would or could also save the economy.

In fact, only high oil prices and high energy prices can make green energy feasible without depending on government aid, the carbon finance circus, and coming carbon taxes, but this is not a politically correct argument. Preferred approaches are to use public funds to sponsor and when it gets necessary, bail out carbon finance gamblers, and supply a raft of public funds to subsidize the green energy fantasies of the corporate elite.

These fantasies already have a bad track record in the short period since “going green” became big business, from about 2003. Several started with a death wish for early bankruptcy, the most recent and biggest example being US maize-based bio-ethanol fuels production, which rode a boom-bust speculative finance cycle through 2005-2008. Making car fuels from food grains and vegetable oils is not only a way to generate high food prices leading to food riots in poor countries, but an expensive, inefficient, low-yielding method to substitute a small amount of present demand for oil-based car fuels. Today’s production overcapacity for windmills and solar photovoltaic power already threatens a repeat of the epic biofuels boom-and-bust, during which even Bill Gates managed to lose money (about US$44 million). Hard-headed short sellers of bio-fuel company stocks, like Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital LLC made hundreds of millions of dollars on the certain and sure collapse of share prices in this overblown sector during 2007.

Coming soon, really big corporate losses feeding short selling profits for some, huge losses for small investors, and demands for government bailouts from the Too Big To Fail among corporate losers, will be generated by the electric car boom-and-bust.

WHY THE HYSTERIA ?

Climate change advocacy and carbon finance have grown together in the OECD countries with corporate interests frenetically wrestling for the widening range of constantly changing government subsidies, aid, carbon credits, clean development offsets, feed-in tariffs and tax favors to develop alternate energy. Advocacy is necessarily tinted with hysteria of the type “We are saving you from death — You don’t ask the price.”

Politicians, who always appreciate any pitch that captivates the child-brained crowd, quickly warmed to global warming hysteria. This was despite its far-out apocalyptic “message” that unparalleled disasters including Biblical-style floods will strike the planet before the end of this century — unless the People behave. Unless the average car buyer gets to like electric and hybrid cars (despite the braking problems), recycles household rubbish to make it easy grubbing out metals, glass and plastic, buys a bicycle imported from China, rides in buses or trains but patriotically buys a government subsidized oil fueled car, pays more for organic and “bio” food, uses less electricity, saves oil in countless ways, and goes green in every confusing and conflicting way they are told.

Maintaining public angst, and public approval were unfortunately confused as being exactly the same thing by political, media and corporate spin doctors. Constant exaggeration of the invented climate menace was decided necessary. This led the high priests of hype, such as Al Gore, Rajendra Pachauri, James Lovelock, James Hansen and other climate change gravy train riders to desperately rival each other, and babble ever more ridiculous fire-and-brimstone at the microphone. Drifting always further in delirious wafts and spirals of lies, distortion, exaggeration and blatant propaganda, the high priests of hype were too stupid, too arrogant to see the end coming in late 2009.

THE CONVERGING PLANKS

Rising hype on global warming soon overshot into stratospheric data fraud by UN credible (that is IN credible) high level experts on climate change, led by former railway engineer Rajendra Pachauri and failed politician Al Gore. The spin and hype on global warming catastrophe was however welcomed by political elites in 2008-2009 as a handy way to take the tiny public mind off gargantuan meltdowns in the finance, bank and insurance sector, and the massive bailouts for government-friendly corporate thieves, gamblers and fools.

Agitprop was needed because the economy went out of control. Recession did serious damage not only to real people and their real jobs, but collateral damage to the credibility of politicians, running the magic New Economy hands free, with only the fingers of their corporate finance friends on the economic jugular vein. These greedy fingers squeezed a lot too hard in 2008, with the result being the house of cards fell apart, needing strenuous diversionary tactics.

Any faltering of economic growth, any loss of credibility in the ability of exactly the same politicians, and exactly their same corporate friends to magically restore the economy when it temporarily (of course) stops growing are two more menaces, needing energetic response. Credibility for “global warming catastrophe” was worked into the same set of political elite fears, as corporate green energy player fears of a decline in government subsidies for their newest and best boom-bust gimmick.

In such strenuous and stirring circumstances, climate extremism and doomsterism richly larded with fake facts from junk science was a basic need. Governments must have their purse strings prized open, and kept open by the corporate and policy elite. Politicians need to be loved and admired, or at least re-elected for their far-seeing decisions. Media owners and operators who revel in Great Causes which sell newsprint, and like to imagine they still control what Mr and Mrs Average think, were quick to come on board for the climate crisis ride. They also stayed too long, forgetting that Internet and even word of mouth were working against them.

Overcapacity of wind power and solar electric power manufacturing capacities is now widespread in many countries, even in China and India, as the “low hanging fruit” of the best sites, the biggest subsidies, the largest public support and acclaim is used up — and oil prices although rising are still far behind the peak attained in 2008. As the economic rationale declines, huge new green energy ventures shift toward ego-trips for politicians, and become purely prestige. Chinese vice minister for Industry and IT, Miao Wei, described massive wind farms in China as essentially “vanity projects,” March 11, 2010 in part due to probable rapid wear and tear of turbines increasingly located in hostile locations, such as China’s dusty deserts, and increasingly in deep water offshore wind-farms ever further from land.

Staying credible is always most difficult as the curve of public knowledge rises, and the new gimmick does not deliver. Probably the biggest threat to corporate and Big Government low carbon energy and the related fantasy of the sustainable economy, is loss of credibility for the “menace of catastrophic climate change.” If the menace isn’t so dire as it seemed before the massive failure of the Copenhagen climate summit in December 2009, why should governments rack up even more debt, to finance unsure, high cost low carbon energy with public loans, grants and support? This is the question that kills, like a wooden stake for errant low flying vampires.

AL GORE STILL HOPEFUL

Al Gore is not fazed by the Copenhagen rout and continues to announce with eye popping sincerity and conviction (in a February 28 interview with the New York Times) that the world faces “unimaginable calamity” from global warming. He added we must all act now to save human civilization as we know it (perhaps a reference to Afghan war, football, Twitter and Facebook?).

Going further because time is limited to less than a century, the selected, tried and tested members of the global warming hysteria circus, with rich pickings from the corporate and political elite’s full adoption of global warming hysteria, are now fighting to stay up the greasy pole. Following the Copenhagen rout and Climategate, the gravy train riders are likely to go one mile further in their fantasies, and need all the ammunition they can grab. Now joined to their predication of the coming apocalypse, “unimaginable calamity” also includes high oil prices, placed by Al Gore at a price level around $80 a barrel. Even if the consumer herd has forgotten the polar bear’s plight and prefers Haiti quake stories to threats of the Maldives sinking (under a million tonnes of concrete tourist coastal works), they will rise like wounded tigers if gasoline prices rise another 50 cents a gallon. Al Gore hopes !

Al Gore rolls his eyes at the microphone and thunders the killer numbers — the oil bill of the USA costs “hundreds of billion dollars a year.” To be sure, Gore also reminds his uncritical if not brain dead admirers that oil exporter countries are run by dangerous and hostile regimes, uninterested and perhaps not even believing in climate change. And that is dangerous.

The most recent record annual net oil costs of the USA achieved a little more than two of those Al Gore “hundreds of billions,” reaching about $220 billion in 2007. This can be compared with the $1,300 billion US budget deficit for fiscal year 2010 recently announced by Obama, or the cumulative amount of financial bailouts to Wall Street by Paulson, under G W Bush, and Geithner under B H Obama in 2008-2009. This totaled at least $1,500 billion. Similar budget deficits, up to 12% of annual GNP, apply in Europe and state bailouts of corporate financial gamblers in Europe have cost similar amounts as those in USA, well above $1,200 billion in 2008-2009.

* This raft of debt-based spending mostly to bail out reckless gamblers in the finance sector would cover roughly 10 years of total OECD oil import costs at an average $100 a barrel.

Al Gore and the ‘extreme global warming community’ have to stay hopeful, and maintain the hype because signs of flagging interest or “conviction” by political and corporate leaders is starting to show in their careful avoidance of climate crisis sound-bytes, post-Copenhagen. Most OECD heads of state, at least before Copenhagen, vied with each other to beat Al Gore with heart-wrenching appeals to citizen concern, calling the failed and bizarre conference held in a Scandinavian capital in deep winter, “the last chance to save the planet from global warming catastrophe.”

This talk has been glaringly absent since December, suggesting OECD heads of state, notably of the US, Germany, France and UK could soon backtrack on their so-sincere conviction that their voter masses need a politically forced, ultra rapid development of “green energy”. […]

ENERGY TRANSITION AND ECONOMIC ROUT

Debt financing of everything, especially the ever rising and unreal goals set for energy transition by heads of state and political leaders in the big oil importer countries, will continue being needed until and unless carbon taxes and trading attain the annual turnover able to generate the funding needed for the ever larger targets announced by political leaders. Another condition for generating the finance needed for these plans includes a return to economic growth. Present carbon finance and trading are proudly estimated by the World Bank as attaining $126 billion in 2008-2009, but trickle-down and spin-off from trading gains and losses on a raft of complex and ramifying climate change paper, to real spending on real world green energy is low.

Falling credibility of climate change hysteria from extremists like Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri, and lower-rank members of the climate change circus, such as “Gaia philosophy” writer James Lovelock, James Hansen and Club of Rome intellectuals now suggests falling pay-checks and cheap finance loans for the gambling community. At this time, orating about Apocalypse Now from climate change and always going further in bending the shock figures and statistics could be a losing strategy. The risk is clear: the climate change circus has now talked itself off-stage.

Before the Copenhagen rout, announced goals of energy transition in the OECD countries had attained extreme and impossible highs, for example 80% reductions in CO2 emissions and implied cuts of 80% in the dependence on fossil energy by 2040, as announced with a winning smile by Obama, and the leaders of Germany, France and UK before the climate summit. To keep the public and consumers happy, and make their targets for energy substitution with low carbon yet more fantastic, yet more impossible, these leaders added that total energy production and consumption would keep on growing. Thanks to the green economy, economic growth would not only be restored but also “strengthened.”

Financing needs were never spelled out for these playful fantasies, but can be guessed, and are probably in the 15-30 trillions of US dollars range to 2040, at current dollar values. This can appear possible, but in real terms is impossible. Achieving this kind of long-term transition of the global energy system and forgetting the ideological quest “to save human civilization as we know it,” would need a real Marshall Plan for Energy. More likely, current-crop leaders of the OECD are on track to produce a real Economic Armageddon, becoming more possible each day. […]

Steven Chu, Al Gore, Rajendra Pachauri and many other defenders of a forced march to energy transition either avoid any discussion of cutting energy consumption, or claim that growth in total energy consumption is entirely possible. In the case of Chu however, there is already de facto admission that “greening” electricity supply will need growth of nuclear power, the Smart Grid, and major advances in energy storage. Again in the US case the very fuzzily-defined and technologically fragile domain of “advanced energy storage” is already forecast as needing tens of billions of dollars investment, on top of the tens of billions of dollars that Obama has made available for nuclear power because of its ability to generate constant baseload power. Smart Grid development, to be sure, is also forecast as needing tens of billion dollars investment in the next 10-15 years.

Exactly like national debt, budget deficits and bailouts for “too big to fail” finance sector gamblers, the dozens of billions add on to the hundreds of billions elsewhere. On the ground, almost nothing happens. Apart from the critical and basic lack of realism of most targets and costs of current-crop plans for energy transition, the most basic unreality concerns a very simply question: Who will pay for the Brave New World of soft energy? An even more basic question is: Do we need energy transition?

VHeadline.com oil industry commentator Andrew McKillop can be contacted at: andrew.mckillop@gsoca.com

March 25, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | Comments Off on Low hope for low carbon