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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Mann Overboard

Michael Mann is one of the leaders of the global warming crowd, so what he says carries a great deal of weight.  Well now Mr. Mann is out with an article on the Huffington Post which responds to the fact that data from the satellite system which was designed to get the most accurate temperature readings possible for the planet shows that there has been no warming for over 17 years.  Here are the two key paragraphs of Mann's response:

No, climate change is not experiencing a hiatus. No, there is not currently a "pause" in global warming.

It is true that Earth's surface warmed a bit less than models predicted it to over the past decade-and-a-half or so. This doesn't mean that the models are flawed. Instead, it points to a discrepancy that likely arose from a combination of three main factors (see the discussion my piece last year in Scientific American). These factors include the likely underestimation of the actual warming that has occurred, due to gaps in the observational data. Secondly, scientists have failed to include in model simulations some natural factors (low-level but persistent volcanic eruptions and a small dip in solar output) that had a slight cooling influence on Earth's climate. Finally, there is the possibility that internal, natural oscillations in temperature may have masked some surface warming in recent decades, much as an outbreak of Arctic air can mask the seasonal warming of spring during a late season cold snap. One could call it a global warming "speed bump." In fact, I have.

The funny thing is that Mann claims to be a scientist, but then he ignores the data.  Before looking at the argument, however, we need to know one bit of background.  The satellites whose readings show no increase in temperature measure the atmosphere, not the surface.  These satellites were needed (or so we were told) because surface temperatures are unreliable.  A nearby factory or city or other human habitation could change the surface temperature a bit.  The air temperature, however, would be much more indicative of actual natural conditions.  As a result, a network of satellites were launched which can measure the temperature of the atmosphere all around the world.

It is against this background that Mann's statements must be reviewed.  First, he says that Earth's "surface" warmed less than the models predicted.  In other words, he ignores the data that shows no increase in the atmospheric temperature and goes back to surface readings which are supposed to be less reliable.  Even then, Mann has to admit that the models got it wrong; warming of the surface was less than predicted.  What he leaves out is that the difference between the prediction and the actual fact was so large that it exceeded the amount which would let the model be viewed as correct.  More simply, the temperature difference was so great that the models are wrong.  If Mann were to look at the more precise satellite data, then the models were VERY wrong.

But let's consider Mann's three factors that skewed the results (or so he says.)  The first one is actually a howler.  Mann says that there are gaps in observational data.  This is the same Mann who refuses to look at the precise global readings from the satellites that were designed to get those very accurate readings.  Of course, Mann can't look at that precise and global data because it proves he is wrong.

Second, Mann says that the models are wrong.  Oh, he phrases it that some small things have been left out of the models.  One of these omitted items is the output of the sun.  Is he kidding?  The sun is the principal driver of weather on Earth.  Variations in solar output have a profound impact on our planet.  This is what they omitted?  No wonder the models are wrong.

Third, Mann speaks of internal oscillations that "may have masked" increases in temperature.  Note that Mann does not tell us that these oscillations did mask the increase.  Instead, he just speculates that they may have done so.  Where's the data to support this?  Speculation is not enough.

For a long time, I have been waiting for a coherent response to the current pause in atmospheric temperatures from the global warming crowd.  This article by Mann tells me that they don't have such a response.


So Explain This

Yesterday, there was a vote in the House for three week extension of funding for the Department of Homeland Security.  In that vote all of the Democrats voted NO.  About five hours later, the House voted on an extension of funding for one week.  This time nearly every Democrat voted YES.  The story in the media, however, is about the Republicans "who want to shut down the government."  There is no way to reconcile what happened except that the Democrats were playing politics with DHS.  First of all, there is no real difference between a one week and a three week extension.  In other words, there is no reason for all the Democrats to oppose three weeks while supporting one week especially when the supposed goal of the Democrats is an extension for seven months.  The only explanation is that the Democrats want to keep the issue in the news and a three week extension might let it slip off the front page.  Remember that when you hear the next story about how the GOP is playing politics with the nation's security.

It is also worth noting that the GOP is not blame free here.  The House ought to act logically and split the bill into parts.  They can fund the Coast Guard and TSA and the other parts of DHS through the end of the year in a so-called clean bill.  Then they can fund the remnant.  That bill should provide that limits on paying for the Obama executive action on immigration.  If that won't pass, then they ought to provide that in view of the court decision staying Obama's program, no funds can be spent implementing that program unless and until there is a final judgment in that case.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Oh NO, NO, NO; The Sky is Falling!

I just happened to see about fifteen seconds of the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.  Ms Maddow was breathlessly denouncing the "shutdown" of the federal government which is approaching at midnight tonight.  And Rachel is not alone.  CNN has had a clock counting down the days, hours and minutes to the shutdown of the federal government.  The entire media establishment is wrapped up in the government shutdown.

But what's the truth?  The truth is best told with two numbers:  4,231,000 and 30,000.  The first is the total number of people who work for the federal government.  The second is the number of people who will not be reporting to work next week if this terrible "shutdown" takes place.  That's right, if no bill is passed by midnight, then on the next work day, over 99.3% of all federal employees will report for work.  The government will go right on as before.  No one will even notice that anything has changed.  There will be no "shutdown".  In truth, there won't even be a partial shutdown.  What there will be is a batch of secretaries and clerical workers who will have a few days off until the matter is resolved.  National security will not be compromised.  The armed forces will still be on duty.  The TSA will still be at the airports.  The CIA and the NSC will still be working.  Even the fools in the White House will be on the job.

The sad thing is that the so called "shutdown" is nothing more than a political stunt.  Somebody ought to let Americans know that the whole drama is not real.


The NY Daily News To Be Sold

The owner of the New York Daily News told employees today that he is exploring the possible sale of the newspaper.  Given the way these things normally work, that either means that a sale has already been agreed upon or that the deal is extremely close to fruition.  After all, the announcement undermines the newspaper on all sorts of fronts, so there is no reason for the announcement unless the sale was coming in short order.

The current speculation is that the most likely buyer is News Corp. which owns the competing New York Post.  Another rumored buyer is Cablevision which owns Newsday, another competitor.  We will have to wait and see who buys.  Hopefully, the new buyer will steer the Daily News more towards the political center.


If A Tree Falls in the Forest.....

If a major scandal is revealed, but the mainstream media does not cover it, is it still a scandal?  That may not sound like a serious question; after all, how could the media not cover a major scandal.  The reality, however, is something quite different.  A good example of this phenomenon is the recent revelation that the Clinton Foundation has been accepting millions upon millions of dollars from foreign governments and lobbyists for foreign governments despite the impending run for president by Hillary Clinton.  On top of this, there is the added news that even when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation took money from foreign governments that had business with the State Department.  This is big stuff, but neither ABC nor NBC have given the story any coverage at all.  Someone who got his or her news from one of these networks of the other would have no idea that the Clintons were once again trolling for cash from foreign governments.  While CBS did give minimal coverage to the story, it was mostly a mention in passing that got buried in the newscast.

How can this be?  When Scott Walker said he would not comment on president Obama's religion, every network covered the story.  Why did that non-story merit heavy coverage while potentially criminal conduct by the Clintons is glossed over?  In the past, some of the media justify non-coverage by questioning the veracity or political motives of the source.  The facts about the Clintons, however, come right from the records of the Clinton Foundation and the report first appeared in the super-liberal Washington Post.  In short, even in the mainstream media, there is no reason to question the accuracy of the story.  Why is the media not covering it?

The reality is that the news of the potential criminal fund raising actions by the Clinton Foundation is bad for the likely Democrat candidate in 2016.  As such, broadcasting the news of these actions might hurt the Dems or help the GOP at the next election.  There is no way that much of the mainstream media would ever do that.  No matter the reason, the actual conduct of these media outlets should make clear to anyone who previously had a doubt that the mainstream media does not deal in news, but rather in propaganda.


Those Pesky Emails

It seems that the IRS lied.  Remember those Lois Lerner emails that were "permanently lost"?  Well, they're not actually lost at all.  The inspector general of the Treasury Department was able to find backup tapes containing over 30,000 Lerner emails with less than a two week effort.  The ease of finding and sorting the email was so substantial that the inspector general says that the first failure to produce the documents may have amounted to criminal behavior.

Understand what is happening here:  Congress demanded production of certain email and documents.  The IRS refused to produce them and claimed that all the key documents had been permanently lost.  Congress demanded again that there be a search for these email and documents.  The IRS told Congress that it had made an exhaustive search but was unable to come up with the email.  Now a small team from the IG office spends a short time looking and finds over 30,000 email that fall within the scope of the original demand from Congress. 

It sure seems that the IRS did not want to find the Lerner emails.  Remember, for those who claim that the IRS investigation is some sort of partisan witch hunt, the IG at Treasury is part of the Obama administration.  It sure looks like there are some bad things afoot at the IRS, and, without a doubt, there's a lot more than a "smidgeon" of corruption at the IRS now on display.



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Proving the Obvious

Yesterday, I wrote about the moron in the office of secretary of state, John Kerry who criticized the judgment of Israeli leader Netanyahu for supporting the Iraq War even though Kerry himself both voted for the Iraq War and strongly supported it when he ran for president in 2004, some two years later.  The statement by Kerry was so idiotic, that I did not mention another claim made by Kerry in his testimony that "we are actually living in a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally."  Kerry went on to say that the world was safer now than it had been for many decades.

I bring this up today, because the national director of intelligence, James Clapper told Congress today "when the final accounting is done, 2014 will have been the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years since such data has been compiled."  For most Americans, Clapper's statement is not a surprise.  We have all seen the massacres in Syria and Iraq as well as the terror attacks elsewhere.

My suggestion is that president Obama remove Kerry as secretary of state and appoint him instead to a new post:  National Director of Lack of Intelligence.