Banana Republic USA?

By Nicholas Wishek – Re-Bloggd From Eagle Rising

In case you haven’t noticed, the United States is in a real and rapidly increasing danger of becoming a banana republic. That certainly is the apparent goal of this administration and the Democrat Party. The Republicans’ establishment seems content to go along as long as they are included in the ruling class. Putting aside the obvious, that the U.S. economy doesn’t rely on a single crop, Wikipedia’s definition of what defines a banana republic is as follows. “It typically has stratified social classes, including a large, impoverished working class and a ruling plutocracy of business, political, and military elites. This politico-economic oligarchy controls the primary-sector productions to exploit the country’s economy.”

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Robert Shiller Is Shilling for Socialism

By Peter St Onge – Re-Blogged From Mises.org

The Nobel Prize just gets cheaper and cheaper. Recent laureate Bob Shiller graces the New York Times with his latest rant that free-markets stink, bolstering his argument by making stuff up.

For starters, Shiller writes that America’s wealth “can be attributed” to regulation. Well, sure, it “can be attributed” to Zeus. Or sunspots. In the real world, America became the richest country long before the regulation age, and that position has been eroding ever since. Maddison (2007) estimates that by 1913 — before the New Deal regulatory explosion — the US was at $5,300 per person PPP (purchasing power parity), against $3,500 in Western Europe, $1,500 in Latin America, and $700 in the rest of Asia and Africa.

A similar pattern occurred in Europe, where the richest countries of the pre-modern age, Britain and Holland, used relatively free markets regulated by tort, while the rest of Europe mired hobbling markets with regulation and diktat. So, the story isn’t that regulation made the West. It’s that low-regulation economies soared ahead of the rest of humanity until socialists clipped their wings.

Indeed, Shiller doesn’t even seem to believe his own fantasy, writing, “The Thatcher-Reagan revolution a third of a century ago was a turning point away from market regulation, with mixed results.“

Here, the phrase “mixed results” is a red flag that the data doesn’t support his argument. Because Shiller would be kind enough to share the data if it did; it’s not very hard to look up GDP figures. And what do GDP figures tell us? That in Reagan’s eight years per capita GDP adjusted for inflation rose 3.5 percent per year. Compared to 0.7 percent in the previous eight years and 1.5 percent in the following eight years.

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The War on Cars Is a War on Workers and the Poor

By Gary Galles – Re-Blogged From Mises.org

A just-released poll of Los Angeles residents found that 55 percent of respondents indicated their greatest concern was “traffic and congestion,” far ahead of “personal safety” — the next highest area of concern — at 35 percent. So if their city government was working in their best interests, it would be doing something about automobile congestion.

It is. Unfortunately, it will make things worse.

Los Angeles’s recently adopted Mobility Plan 2035 would replace auto lanes in America’s congestion capital with bus and protected bike lanes, as well as pedestrian enhancements, despite heightening congestion for the vast majority who will continue to drive. Even the City’s Environmental Impact Report admitted “unavoidable significant adverse impacts” on congestion, doubling the number of heavily congested (graded F) intersections to 36 percent during evening rush hours.

Driving Saves Time and Offers More Opportunity

Such an effort to ration driving by worsening gridlock purgatory begs asking a central, but largely ignored, question. Why do planners’ attempts to force residents into walking, cycling, and mass transit — supposedly improving their quality of life — attract so few away from driving?

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Government Thrives on Fear

By John Stossel – Re-Blogged From http://www.Reason.com

This Halloween, what do you fear?

I fear fear itself because when we are afraid, we willingly give away our freedoms.

Global warning? More power to the EPA!

9/11? Vote 100 to 0 to create a TSA!

Kids don’t learn? Common Core!

Crime up? Spend on police! (Or for leftists: increase welfare!)

 Immigrants? Seal the border!

Ebola? More money and power for public health programs!

Government thrives on our fears. When we’re scared, politicians are always there, promising to protect us if we just give them more money and power. We usually do.

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EU Takes Countries To Court Over ‘Bail-In’ Laws

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

The European Commission is taking legal action against six European countries, including the Netherlands and Luxembourg, after they failed to implement rules that would allow for depositors to have their cash confiscated.

Six countries will be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for their continued failure to transpose the EU’s “bail-in” laws into national legislation, the European Commission said last Thursday according to The Telegraph.

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How Obama’s “Green Legacy” Will Shut Down the Economy

By Mack Stetson – Re-Blogged From http://politicaloutcast.com

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with support from President Obama, is heading up a move that would make the cost of electricity skyrocket and do unprecedented damage to the economy.

President Obama is supporting the EPA’s move as a part of his own plan to leave a “green legacy” when he leaves the White House.  The cost of Obama’s legacy to the country may be worth it to him, but to average Americans who already pay too much for electricity, the prospects of these new policies are frightening!

According to Foxnews.com, the battle to stop the EPA and President Obama is underway:

The legal barrage to halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s radical Clean Power Plan has begun.

A broad coalition of U.S. industry and business, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,  the National Association of Manufacturers, and an armada of other business and industry organizations, has  asked the D.C. District of the federal Court of Appeals to prevent any further action on the Plan until the court can decide its overall legal status.

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Godzilla El Nino to Lower Your Heating Bill

By Matt Egan – Re-Blogged From http://money.cnn.com

Apparently, a godzilla is destroying the natural gas market.

Don’t worry, there isn’t a giant sea monster preparing an attack. Rather, predictions of an extremely warm winter — driven by what meteorologists have dubbed a “Godzilla” El Nino — have caused natural gas prices to plummet dramatically.

Natural gas prices tumbled 9% on Monday to three-and-a-half year lows. They’re already down 18% in October and nearly one-third so far this year.

Meteorologists are predicting the unseasonably warm fall temperatures to continue into the winter, which would diminish demand for natural gas to heat homes and businesses.

“A warm winter is the last thing this market needs,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch commodity strategist Sabine Schels wrote in a research report.

Schels believes a mild winter is a “big risk” and could cause a “gas glut” in the coming months.

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Seattle Wage Hike Off To ‘Pretty Bad Start,’ Kills 700 Jobs

By Connor Wolf – Re-Blogged From http://freedomforce.com

Seattle, which recently passed a $15 minimum wage, has seen the loss of 700 restaurant jobs despite the rest of the state seeing huge increases, according to a Wednesday report.

In its report, the American Enterprise Institute looked at restaurant job growth in both Seattle and the rest of Washington. The state itself has gained 5,800 industry jobs since January. Seattle, however, lost 700 jobs in the same time. The state minimum wage is $9.47. Back in June Seattle passed its own minimum wage of $15 an hour. The city ordinance is designed to phase in over the course of several years. It will reach $15 an hour by 2017 for most employers.

“One likely cause of the stagnation and decline of Seattle area restaurant jobs this year is the increase in the city’s minimum wage,” the reportspeculated. “It looks like the Seattle minimum wage hike is getting off to a pretty bad start. Especially considering that restaurant employment in the rest of the state is booming, and nearly 6,000 more restaurant workers are employed today than in January.”

Seattle was the first place to pass a $15 minimum wage measure and became the first major victory for supporters. San Francisco and Los Angeles followed not long after and now many cities have either enacted it or are considering it. Some states are also giving the $15 minimum wage serious consideration. Currently it has not passed on the state level.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #202

The Week That Was: October 24, 2015 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Bonn Conference: The Bonn Climate Change Conference, October 19 to 23, 2015, apparently ended. This was billed as the last conference before the 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) scheduled between November 30 and December 11 in Paris. One is not sure if the Bonn Conference is over, because these conferences seem to be endless, similar to the conference Richard Feynman describes (see quote above). However, a 51 page Draft Agreement, “Version of 23 October 2015@23:30hrs” was release. It is a much revised version of the shorter draft agreement with which the conference started.

The countless press releases and articles conference can be summed as follows: The delegates from the developed West (mainly Western Europe and the US) are saying that in order to “save the world” we have to stop the use of fossil fuels, even though they are needed for economic development. The delegates from the developing world, identified as the G-77 + China, are saying if you want us to stop development show us the money, namely the $100 Billion per year the West promised in Copenhagen in 2009.

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U.S. Major Hurricane Drought Now One Decade and Counting

By Anthony Watts – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

As of today, October 24th, it has been 3652 days (including leap years) or a decade (10 years) since the US has been hit by a Category 3 or greater hurricane.

The last such hurricane was Wilma on October 24th, 2005. Hurricane Wilma was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. Each day forward will be a new record in this decade long hurricane drought period.

679px-Wilma_2005_track[1]

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Eminent Domain Strikes Again!

By Mack Stetson – Re-Blogged From http://www.PoliticalOutcast.com

Eminent domain.  These are two words that should make most Americans shake in their boots.  Why?  These two words are indicators that the freedoms promised to citizens by the Constitution can be taken from them at any time on the whim of the federal government.

According to thefreedictionary.com, the definition of eminent domain is:

The power to take private property for public use by a state, municipality, or private person or corporation authorized to exercise functions of public character, following the payment of just compensation to the owner of that property.

By very definition, the citizen has no power.  The government is given all authority and power to take what they want and to pay what they want for it.

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A Government Ponzi Scheme Starts To Crack

By Nick Giambruno – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Government employees get to do a lot of things that would land an ordinary citizen in prison.

For example, it’s legal for them to threaten and commit offensive, rather than defensive, violence. They can take property from others without their consent. They spy on anyone’s email and bank accounts whenever they please. They go into trillions of dollars in debt and then stick the unborn with the bill. They counterfeit the currency. They lie with misleading statistics and use accounting wizardry no business could get away. And this just scratches the surface…

The U.S. government also gets to run a special type of Ponzi scheme.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary a Ponzi scheme is:

[A]n investment swindle in which some early investors are paid off with money put up by later ones in order to encourage more and bigger risks.

In the private sector, people who run Ponzi schemes are rightly punished for their fraud. But when the government runs a Ponzi scheme, something very different happens.

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Silver’s Deep Undervaluation

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Silver is finally showing some signs of life after suffering a dark year.  The epically-bearish sentiment that bludgeoned this metal to major secular lows is cracking, with a strong rebound rally now underway.  And this recent buying is likely just the earliest vanguard, as silver remains deeply undervalued relative to its primary driver gold.  Silver will need an utterly massive upleg to fully mean revert to normal levels.

Silver has been out of favor for a long time, the last few years.  And 2015 didn’t give beleaguered silver investors much hope.  By late August, July’s extreme gold-futures shorting attack had dragged silver down to a major 6.0-year secular low.  Down 9.9% year-to-date at that dark nadir, silver was left for dead by traders.  The despair was real, as it certainly felt like silver was doomed to keep grinding lower forever.

Silver’s slumber was certainly vexing, but this metal was way overdue for a rebound rally as I predicted at the time.  And indeed that’s come to pass.  Since silver’s dismal lows in late August, this metal has surged 14.4% at best.  Fully 4/5ths of these impressive gains came in the first two weeks of October alone.  This strong rally blasted silver above its 50-day moving average to challenge its critical 200dma.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #201

The Week That Was:October 17, 2015 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Benefits of Carbon Dioxide: Indur Goklany has produced a brief report on the tremendous benefits of additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, largely attributable to the human use of fossil fuels. The report was published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation with a foreword by Freeman Dyson, the noted theoretical physicist from Princeton. In a recent interview Mr. Dyson said that he was a supporter of President Obama, but Mr. Obama has come out on the wrong side of the global warming/climate change issue and the effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide. In a recent interview Dyson expressed concern over the recent scientific concentration on global warming/climate change and said it is “not a scientific mystery but a human mystery. How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to the obvious facts [?]”

Goklany is a former US representative to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and author of the well-researched book The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet (2007). Goklany’s new report provides independent confirmation of the findings by the Non-government International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), namely in the more comprehensive Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts [2014].

Among his main conclusions Goklany finds:

· “Empirical data confirms that the biosphere’s productivity has increased by about 14% since 1982, in large part as a result of rising carbon dioxide levels.

· Thousands of scientific experiments indicate that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the air have contributed to increases in crop yields.

· Satellite evidence confirms that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations have also resulted in greater productivity of wild terrestrial ecosystems in all vegetation types.

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Killing Off Community Banks — Intended Consequence of Dodd-Frank?

By Ellen Brown – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

The Dodd-Frank regulations are so lethal to community banks that some say the intent was to force them to sell out to the megabanks. Community banks are rapidly disappearing – except in North Dakota, where they are thriving.

At over 2,300 pages, the Dodd Frank Act is the longest and most complicated bill ever passed by the US legislature. It was supposed to end “too big to fail” and “bailouts,” and to “promote financial stability.” But Dodd-Frank’s “orderly liquidation authority” has replaced bailouts with bail-ins, meaning that in the event of insolvency, big banks are to recapitalize themselves with the savings of their creditors and depositors. The banks deemed too big are more than 30% bigger than before the Act was passed in 2010, and 80% bigger than before the banking crisis of 2008. The six largest US financial institutions now have assets of some $10 trillion, amounting to almost 60% of GDP; and they control nearly 50% of all bank deposits.

Meanwhile, their smaller competitors are struggling to survive. Community banks and credit unions are disappearing at the rate of one a day. Access to local banking services is disappearing along with them. Small and medium-size businesses – the ones that hire two-thirds of new employees – are having trouble getting loans; students are struggling with sky-high interest rates; homeowners have been replaced by hedge funds acting as absentee landlords; and bank fees are up, increasing the rolls of the unbanked and underbanked, and driving them into the predatory arms of payday lenders.

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Trying to Understand the Syrian Puzzle from Three Different Dimensions

Re-Blogged From The Middle East News Service

The Syrian Civil War has been transformed into a regional and -more recently- an international conflict. Its international background took a new form when Russia decided to undertake its own aistrikes operations in Syria with the aid of Iran and Iraq.

The Cold war’s two pole international system- USA vs Russia and satellites– is no longer relevant just as the map of this world’s geopolitics designed in the aftermath of the communism’s fall. Today we cannot explain an event through only one cause and effect relationship. There are many interpretations which overlap, contradict and complete each other. This is especially true regarding the Syrian crisis, that rising of ISIS (Daech) terrorist group in Syria and Iraq and the direct or indirect intervention of regional powers and external powers in the region.

current situation in syria map october 2015

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16 States Move to BAN Sharia Law!

By Tim Brown – Re-Blogged From Eagle Rising

The threat is very real to impose Islamic Sharia law in America and thankfully at least sixteen states realize the threat and are seeking to squash it before it can gain any more momentum.

Back in September, Texas stood up against any foreign law being implemented, including Sharia, and cries of the Muslims were heard across the nation, including those from designated terror group the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). But Texas wouldn’t back down and have determined that they won’t have Sharia enforcement in their state.

Alabama banned Sharia after voters passed a measure to add an amendment to their state constitution. We hope they’ll stand for that a little better than they did their marriage amendment.

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What I Learned About Climate Change: The Science is NOT Settled

By David Siegel – Re-Blogged From Medium.com

What is your position on the climate-change debate? What would it take to change your mind?

If the answer is It would take a ton of evidence to change my mind, because my understanding is that the science is settled, and we need to get going on this important issue, that’s what I thought, too. This is my story.

More than thirty years ago, I became vegan because I believed it was healthier (it’s not), and I’ve stayed vegan because I believe it’s better for the environment (it is). I haven’t owned a car in ten years. I love animals; I’ll gladly fly halfway around the world to take photos of them in their natural habitats. I’m a Democrat: I think governments play a key role in helping preserve our environment for the future in the most cost-effective way possible. Over the years, I built a set of assumptions: that Al Gore was right about global warming, that he was the David going up against the industrial Goliath. In 1993, I even wrote a book about it.

Recently, a friend challenged those assumptions. At first, I was annoyed, because I thought the science really was settled. As I started to look at the data and read about climate science, I was surprised, then shocked. As I learned more, I changed my mind. I now think there probably is no climate crisis and that the focus on CO2 takes funding and attention from critical environmental problems. I’ll start by making ten short statements that should challenge your assumptions and then back them up with an essay.

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Debt Ceiling Debate: Don’t Mention Warfare/Welfare State!

By Ron Paul – Re-Blogged From The Ron Paul Institute

The US Treasury’s recent announcement that the government will reach the debt ceiling on November 3 means Congress will soon be debating raising the government’s borrowing limit again. Any delay in, or opposition to, raising the debt ceiling will inevitably be met with hand-wringing over Congress’ alleged irresponsibility. But the real irresponsible act would be for Congress to raise the debt ceiling.

Cutting up its credit card is the only way to make Congress reduce spending. Anyone who doubts this should listen to the bipartisan whining over how sequestration has so drastically reduced spending that there is literally nothing left to cut. But, according to the Heritage Foundation, sequestration has only reduced spending from $3.6 trillion to $3.5 trillion. Only in DC would a less than one percent spending reduction be considered a draconian cut.

Defense hawks have found a way around sequestration by shoving billions of dollars into the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. OCO spending is classified as “emergency” spending so it does not count against the spending limits, even when OCO is used for items that do not fit any reasonable definition of emergency.

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Are the RICO20 Guilty of Racketeering?

By Marlo Lewis, Jr, CEI – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Controversy continues to swirl around the September 1 letter from 20 climate scientists to President Barack Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and White House science adviser John Holdren requesting a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) investigation of “the fossil fuel industry and their supporters.” The scientists allege that the aforementioned interests “knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, in order to forestall America’s response to climate change.” In May, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) called for a RICO investigation of “fossil fuel companies and their allies.” The scientists “strongly endorse” Sen. Whitehouse’s proposal.

What boggles the mind is not that 20 climate scientists would attempt to stifle debate, drive the market out of the marketplace of ideas, and punish those who do not worship at the altar of “consensus.” There’s no shortage of “progressive” intolerance in these times. Using RICO to silence opponents is fairly tame compared to environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s demand that fossil-fuel executives be tried for treason (the usual punishment for which is death).

What’s noteworthy about the RICO 20 is the scientists’ lack of self-awareness—their inability to judge themselves by criteria they invoke to condemn others. They have no clue how easily they can be hoist on their own petard.

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Tea Party Drinking Too Much Decaf

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

On December 16th, 1773 the Sons of Liberty in Boston, in protest of the Tea Act, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company, in a political protest referred to as the Boston Tea Party.

Following the Wall Street bail-outs in 2009, a political movement also protesting their lack of representation in government sought a reduction of the U.S. national debt and deficits by reducing government spending and lowering taxes. They were referred to as The Tea Party, named from the aforementioned Boston variety.

Since then, supporters of the Tea Party have had a major impact on the internal politics of Republicans and have helped secure both houses of congress. But these representatives who were elected to bring fiscal discipline to Washington have failed to deliver on their promises.

A year before The Great Recession the Federal deficit was $162 billion, it peaked in 2009 at $1.45 trillion and this year came in at $439 billion, and is projected to increase significantly after 2018. All this overspend has driven our national debt to over $18 trillion dollars, which is already north of 100% of the Gross Domestic Product.

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Greenpeace Founder Delivers Powerful Annual Lecture, Praises Carbon Dioxide

By Dr. Patrick Moore: Should We Celebrate Carbon Dioxide?

2015 Annual GWPF Lecture – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Thank you for the opportunity to set out my views on climate change. As I have stated publicly on many occasions, there is no definitive scientific proof, through real-world observation, that carbon dioxide is responsible for any of the slight warming of the global climate that has occurred during the past 300 years, since the peak of the Little Ice Age. If there were such a proof through testing and replication it would have been written down for all to see.

The contention that human emissions are now the dominant influence on climate is simply a hypothesis, rather than a universally accepted scientific theory. It is therefore correct, indeed verging on compulsory in the scientific tradition, to be skeptical of those who express certainty that “the science is settled” and “the debate is over”.

But there is certainty beyond any doubt that CO2 is the building block for all life on Earth and that without its presence in the global atmosphere at a sufficient concentration this would be a dead planet. Yet today our children and our publics are taught that CO2 is a toxic pollutant that will destroy life and bring civilization to its knees. Tonight I hope to turn this dangerous human-caused propaganda on its head. Tonight I will demonstrate that human emissions of CO2 have already saved life on our planet from a very untimely end. That in the absence of our emitting some of the carbon back into the atmosphere from whence it came in the first place, most or perhaps all life on Earth would begin to die less than two million years from today.

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NGO Convention

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

I’ve just returned from an NGO convention, held up in Burlington, Vermont. There were about 1,000 attendees, mostly from the Northeastern District of this international organization. What a wonderful weekend!

The term NGO – non-governmental organization – has come to be known to identify a bunch of money-sucking, anti-social, socialistic groups which lobby hard to hurt us. I expect that most members of these groups are unaware of the damage they do – the useful idiots – but they do harm nonetheless.

This NGO is totally unlike those which lobbied to outlaw DDT years ago, sentencing a million in the third world to death by malaria. Or the so-called environmentalists who fight GMOs which could eliminate the need for nasty pesticides.

Interestingly, many groups’ lobbying efforts wind up benefiting big money interests, like those who still want the FED to keep pouring good money after bad to save Goldman and a tiny number of huge Wall Street money center banks with continued QE money printing.

Or the big agribusinesses wanting more and continued farm subsidies. Or the anti-KestoneXL Pipeline groups which divert Canadian oil from safe pipelines to accident prone (by comparison) railroads (owned by Obama contributor Warren Buffet). Or the Global Warming morons which give us more and more subsidies for wind and solar, and for high priced electric cars (especially after you tack on the subsidy), which have about 1/3 the range of gasoline cars.

Getting back to my great weekend, I assure you that this NGO is supported without a single taxpayer being raped. It is an entirely volunteer organization. The convention included dignitaries flown in from around the country, and their tab was paid for by the convention attendees – and the big-wigs did their thing for free.

The NGO itself is fiercely apolitical, accepting members of all faiths, all backgrounds, and all political beliefs (so long as those beliefs are checked at the door). SPEBSQSA (also called BHS) is mostly men, although the ladies have twin NGOs of their own (SAI and HI), and the men and women are on very friendly terms.

All three groups support not only their own favorite view, but also provide funding for opposing preferences.

OK, so what is this group already?

I attended the Northeastern District convention of the Barbershop Harmony Society. There were 22 choruses and over 40 quartets competing, and just entertaining, in this uniquely American singing style.

Well, it used to be uniquely American, but now SPEBSQSA covers Canada as well as the US. And there are affiliate organizations round the world: in Sweden, the UK, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, to name just a few.

For those of you unfamiliar with this singing style, I’ve provided a couple of video samples – these are NOT from this weekend, and the links already were available online. Enjoy.

(Hey! That’s the guy from the “… Empire, Tonight” commercial.)
(That’s a Ray Charles number.)
(And, a great chorus.)

What Killed Economic Growth?

By Jeffrey Tucker – Re-Blogged From FEE: The Foundation for Economic Education

Debating why the economy is so sluggish is an American pastime. It fills the op-eds, burns up the blogosphere, consumes the TV pundits, and dominates the political debates.

It’s a hugely important question because many people are seriously frustrated about the problem. The recent popularity of political cranks and crazies from the left and right — backed by crowds embracing nativist and redistributionist nostrums — testify to that.

Sometimes it’s good to look at the big picture. The Economic Freedom of the World report does this with incredible expertise. If you believe in gathering data, and looking just at what the evidence shows and drawing conclusions, you will appreciate this report. It sticks to just what we know and what we can measure. The editors of the report have been doing this since 1996, so the persistence of the appearance of cause and effect is undeniable.

The report seeks measures of five key indicators of economic freedom: security of property rights, soundness of money, size of government, freedom to trade globally, and the extent of regulation. All their measures are transparent and heavily scrutinized by experts on an ongoing basis. If you question how a certain measure was arrived at, you are free to do so. It’s all there, even the fantastically detailed data sets, free for the download.

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GWPF Annual Lecture by Patrick Moore “Should we celebrate CO2?”

Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Josh writes: Here are last night’s cartoon notes from a superb GWPF Annual Lecture by Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace. You can read the lecture here. Click the image below for a larger version.

CelebrateCO2_Scr

The answer is, unequivocally, yes!

Cartoons by Josh

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Who Exactly Is Government Helping?

By Doug Bandow – ReBlogged From FEE: The Foundation for Economic Education

Almost everyone believes that government is an essential institution, necessary to protect us from those threats we cannot counter on our own. But even if we accept that justification, it rarely describes what American government actually does, whether at the local, state, or federal level.

What exactly is the government protecting — and from whom?

Local Protection from Food Trucks

Late last year, Rachel Kennedy wanted to bring a Cuban food truck to North Kansas City, Missouri, a town of four square miles and 4,500 people. That shouldn’t have been controversial. The city agreed to allow the trucks to operate during lunchtime, and several other operators came, too. There was no reason to restrict the trucks to lunchtime, but never mind. At least for one meal a day, consumers enjoyed more choices at less cost. What could possibly go wrong?

The restaurant owners might lobby to expel the food trucks, that’s what. Choice and competition are good, except when you are an incumbent provider. Monte Martello, a local Dairy Queen operator, complained, “They bring the truck in, they compete against us for four hours, and then they drive away.” Outrageous!

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Marc Faber – Best Interview of 2015

By Bob Shapiro – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Marcopolis.net. did an interview with Dr. Marc Faber. He touches on the Global Economy, Geopolitics, Debt, and a few other topics. It’s an hour long, and well worth the view.

Fact Checking Catastrophic Climate Claims

By Steve Kopits – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, touched off a firestorm of criticism by claiming that catastrophic climate events are in store.  In a speech given to the insurers group, Lloyds, Mr. Carney stated that “the catastrophic impacts of climate change will be felt beyond the traditional horizons of most actors”.   The Bank of England apparently feels it can state unequivocally both the timing and magnitude of climate events well into the future.

So, let’s look at Governor Carney’s claims and how they stand up. First of all, let’s agree on the points which are not debated.

Atmospheric CO2 continues to rise by about 2 parts per million (ppm) per year.  This pace has been essentially stable for the last few decades.  Atmospheric CO2 remains a trace gas at 400 ppm (0.04% of the atmosphere), up about 130 ppm from pre-industrial times.    CO2 is not a poison or pollutant, but an essential part of the respiratory cycle of the planet.

Temperatures are high compared to the historical record.  However, this record is limited.  Comprehensive global temperature data collection only began with the satellite era, that is, from 1979.  (We still lack such data if the full depths of the oceans are to be included.)

 

Nevertheless, we do have long-time series data for Central England, extending back to 1772.  To the extent this measurement is reliable and can be extrapolated to hemispheric averages, it shows a step-up of about 1 deg Celsius from 1980 to 2005, which supports Governor Carney’s assertions.  On other hand, it also shows a drop of 0.5 deg Celsius from 2005 to the present—which does not.

Source: UK Met Office

SOURCE: UK MET OFFICE

Satellite data tell a similar story.  The temperature steps up by about 0.7 deg C from the early 1980s to 1998, but stabilizes thereafter. Thus, the satellite data shows a ‘pause’ in global warming since 1998.  There has been no statistical warming in the satellite data for seventeen years.

Source: Dr. Roy Spencer, University of Alabama Huntsville

SOURCE: DR. ROY SPENCER, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA HUNTSVILLE

Whether this pause will last is an open question.  Temperatures have been rising at the pace of 0.1 deg C per decade since 1880.  Although we have seen relatively flat temperatures since 1998, even climate skeptics would envision long-term warming will resume at some point.

Mr. Carney claims that, “[w]hile there is still time to act, the window of opportunity is finite and shrinking.” The satellite temperature record of the last eighteen years directly contradicts this statement.  There has been no warming at all.  And the pause is visible in other data sets as well, including in Central England temperatures, which show an outright decline in the last decade.

Sea Level

Governor Carney contends that “the rate of sea level rise is quicker now than at any time over the last 2 millennia.”   Is it really?

As with just about every other metric the Governor mentions, we have data.   Sea level is measured by tide gauges, and also by satellites.   Satellite measurements suggest that sea level has been rising steadily by roughly 3 mm / year, which equates to about 1 foot per century.

Source: University of Colorado, Boulder

SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO, BOULDER

We can cross-check this data against tide gauges, in this case, the one installed at Battery Park at the southern foot of Manhattan.  This gauge has been has been in use for a very long time, since before the US Civil War.  As does the satellite data, it shows an average sea level rise of about 3 mm per year.  But the rise greatly pre-dates the 1950 start date which Governor Carney ascribes to anthropogenic global warming (AGW).   If global warming is causing sea level rise, then this process started at least a century ago—well before more modern levels of atmospheric CO2.

Further, the last decade’s ‘pause’ is visible in this data set as well.   New York sea levels have actually fallen below their 1998 peak recently.  Indeed, Mr. Carney might have mentioned that sea levels at Battery Park, the epicenter of Superstorm Sandy’s tidal surge, had been falling for years at the time.

Source: NOAA data, Prienga line fit (6th degree polynomial)

SOURCE: NOAA DATA, PRIENGA LINE FIT (6TH DEGREE POLYNOMIAL)

Importantly, sea level rise coincided with New York’s rise to power as the seat of global finance.  Indeed, sea levels in New York are more than a foot higher than they were one century ago.  Has New York sunk?  Has it become uninhabitable?  Only to those without hefty incomes.   For those who can afford to live in Manhattan, it remains as high and dry as it was a century ago.

Now, is the Bank of England prepared to assert that sea level rise in New York will cease if CO2 emissions were brought to whatever level the Bank thinks is appropriate?  Would the Bank suggest that New York City government should be complacent in such an event?  The long-term record suggests this would be foolish advice.  Sea levels have been rising monotonically in New York for a very long time.  If the past is a guide to the future, we have good reason to believe a century hence sea levels at Battery Park will be a foot higher than today.  And New Yorkers will be wealthier, Manhattan real estate more expensive, and the island no wetter than it is today.

If sea level rise is a problem for New York, is it not a failure of government?  The current sea level in New York could have been projected with a high degree of certainty in 1940 with nothing more than historical gauge data and a straight edge ruler.  If rising sea levels caught New York unawares during Superstorm Sandy in 2011, it was not for lack of data.  The city had a comfortable 50 years to adjust its defenses to entirely predictable sea level rise.  Any failure is a direct failure of governance.  We will return to this issue later, for it is governance, not CO2, which lies at the heart of catastrophic insurance claims management.

Therefore, with respect to sea level, the data again refutes Governor Carney’s claims that “the rate of sea level rise is quicker now than at any time over the last 2 millennia.”  Sea level rise has continued steadily for more than a century and a half, and indeed has fallen with the ‘pause’ in New York City.  This is not to say that sea level is not rising.  It is, and that is not disputed.  However, in the case of New York, city government had literally decades to prepare for weather events.  If it did not, then elected officials, not CO2 emissions, are to blame.

Weather-related Insurance Losses

Governor Carney’s speech deals first and foremost with the risks of rapidly rising insurance claims due to CO2 emissions.   This sounds terrifying, but in fact can be decomposed into specific event types and geographies.  As it turns out, not all weather events or countries are created equal.

Weather-related losses can be categorized as hurricanes and typhoons; tornadoes; floods; winter storms; drought; and fires.   Of these, winter storms and fires are relatively minor sources of losses; and droughts are largely irrelevant to London insurers, as such losses are generally covered by government-sponsored programs.

Hurricanes

Rather, when we are speaking of weather-related losses, we are speaking first and foremost about hurricanes.  On Munich RE’s list of top ten costliest natural disasters since 1980, earthquakes are by far the leading cause of loss and represent five of the top ten worst events.  Next on the list, however, are hurricanes (excluding typhoons), taking four of the top ten positions.  Of other weather-related events, only the Thailand floods of 2011 make the top ten list.

In a list of the top ten losses from hurricanes, typhoons, and floods (top ten of each), hurricanes represent more than half of all losses.  If we include typhoons, this total rises to 65%.  Flooding accounts for 30% of top weather-related losses, and tornadoes, a mere 5%.  Thus, when we are speaking of catastrophic climate events, we are more or less speaking about hurricanes and their Asian variant, typhoons.

Source: Munich RE NatCat Service

SOURCE: MUNICH RE NATCAT SERVICE

If we narrow this to insured losses, as opposed to overall losses (some of which are not insured commercially), the results are even more stark.  Hurricanes account for 75% of catastrophic losses, with typhoons representing an additional 8%.  Thus, hurricanes and typhoons represent $6 of every $7 paid out in ‘top ten’ catastrophic weather-related insurance claims.

Source: Munich RE NatCat Service

SOURCE: MUNICH RE NATCAT SERVICE

And this in turn tells us a great deal about the nature of insurance.  Where do insured hurricane losses occur?  Principally in the United States.  Where do insured typhoon losses occur?  Principally in Japan and Taiwan.  Why these places?  Because all of these are wealthy countries.  Hurricane and typhoon losses will be greater where there is, first, a concentration of physical assets, and second, where those assets are valuable.  In other words, in the advanced countries exposed to hurricanes and typhoons.

In this, no country is more exposed than the United States.  Of overall losses due to top ten catastrophic weather events, nearly 2/3 occurred in the United States alone.

Source: Munich RE NatCat Service

SOURCE: MUNICH RE NATCAT SERVICE

Indeed, if we restrict this to insured losses (including floods and tornadoes), the US accounts for 84% by itself.  Thus, if we are speaking of insured weather-related losses, as a practical matter we are speaking of hurricane damage in the US.  The rest is largely incidental.  For example, Superstorm Sandy caused more insured losses in one event than the cumulative and collective top ten catastrophic, weather-related losses from Europe, China, Japan and the rest of Asia since 1980.  And Sandy was only the second worst insurance event in recent times.

Source: Munich RE NatCat Service

SOURCE: MUNICH RE NATCAT SERVICE

Now, why are US losses so great?  Is it due to the number or strength of storms making landfall in the United States?

In fact, there is no such pattern discernible in the data.   Indeed, the last few years have seen fewer than average hurricanes globally, with a recovery to up-cycle numbers in the last year or so.

Global Hurricane Frequency Source: Ryan Maue

GLOBAL HURRICANE FREQUENCY

SOURCE: RYAN MAUE

Even more striking, the strength of global hurricanes and cyclones hovered near historical lows from 2009 until this past year.

Global Hurricane Energy Source: Ryan Maue

GLOBAL HURRICANE ENERGY

SOURCE: RYAN MAUE

Indeed, had Carney consulted The Weather Channel, he would have found a story entitled, No Major Hurricane Has Made Landfall In the U.S. In More Than 9 Years — and That’s a New Record.  Or if he had checked the internet, he would have readily found a one-by-one list of US landfall hurricanes, as presented below:

Source: NOAA Hurricane Research Division

SOURCE: NOAA HURRICANE RESEARCH DIVISION

The list shows instead that the present decade is on track to be the quietist in the historical record.  Our good luck is unlikely to last, but the assertion that hurricanes are somehow increasing, or at least increasing in the United States, the principal source of insured losses, is completely unfounded.

Rather, reinsurance data hints at the source of losses: higher payouts for assets in harm’s way.

Insured Losses as a Percent of Overall Losses, Top Ten Lists, 1980-2014 Source: Munich RE NatCat Service

INSURED LOSSES AS A PERCENT OF OVERALL LOSSES, TOP TEN LISTS, 1980-2014

SOURCE: MUNICH RE NATCAT SERVICE

The ratio of insured to total losses are the highest for hurricanes in advanced countries.  For example, the insurance payout ratio for US hurricanes was 51%, for those in Japan, 45%.  By contrast, in the rest of Asia, typhoon payouts equaled only 6% of losses.  Payouts were also lower for floods, both in advanced and emerging countries.  In advanced countries, the payouts averaged 14%, which in developing countries, it averaged a mere 1% (excluding the major floods in Thailand, which would have brought emerging averages to advanced country levels).

Further, more and more expensive assets are exposed to hurricanes in particular.  In the US, for example, ever more people are living on the coasts, and beach front property has become prized and expensive.  One need only look out the window on a flight approaching Miami International Airport to be appalled at the sheer concertation of high-end housing built just above sea level on islands dotting Florida’s Atlantic Coast.   How long until a hurricane wipes a good number of these off their foundations?  And what kind of insurance losses will that involve?

Indeed, an examination of catastrophic losses suggests a decisive role for government policy.  Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed New Orleans in 2005, represents alone more than one-quarter of all insured top ten losses globally since 1980.  In just one event.

Why was Katrina so destructive?  Katrina was only a Category 3 hurricane when it hit Louisiana.  A Category 3 storm is strong, but certainly nothing unprecedented in that part of the world.  New Orleans had—and has—good reason to expect a punishing hurricane once every generation.  TheTimes-Picayune, a New Orleans newspaper, notes that the city has been ravaged “repeatedly by hurricanes during its 200-year history, with the first major hurricane in 1722 destroying nearly every structure in the four-year-old village, including its only church, parsonage and hospital.”  Hurricanes are nothing new or exotic in New Orleans.  The city has been destroyed by such events more than once and far before modern industrial times—by hurricanes entirely unrelated to global warming.

No, New Orleans was destroyed in 2005, first, because the levees failed, and second, because much of the city was built below sea level.  Therefore, if the levees failed, the city would be lost.  Who was responsible for the levees and zoning?  The Federal and local governments.  Had the levees held, no doubt the losses would still have been formidable, but perhaps two-thirds less than those actually incurred.  Government failure made a fairly routine, if damaging hurricane, into the worst weather-related event in history.

The catastrophe of New Orleans was a failure of politics.  Governor Carney might have made that point.  He might have mentioned that, had the levees held in New Orleans, the insurance sector would have been spared costs greater than the total of all catastrophic weather-related claims in Europe, Japan, China and the rest of Asia since 1980 taken together.    Climate is not the greatest source of risk in catastrophic insurance claims.  Weak and politicized policy-making is.

Upon closer analysis, Governor Carney’s claims of higher losses from stronger storms are not supported by the data.  The number of hurricanes is not increasingly, nor is their intensity.  Indeed, the US, by far the leading cause of insured hurricane losses, is currently seeing a hurricane drought.  Losses are nevertheless increasing over time, because the country has concentrated valuable assets in harm’s way.  And that is the general rule: As a country becomes more wealthy and insurance more prevalent, losses will increase—even if the frequency and intensity of hurricanes do not.

Floods

In the US, flood damage is tracked by the US Weather Service (NOAA).   The Weather Service endeavors to collect yearly data related to fresh water flooding (ie, not a tidal storm surges).   It is not entirely clear whether there is overlap with hurricane-related rain events, but in any event, the Weather Service provides a solid approximation of US losses.

NOAA data indicates that annual flood losses averaged $8 bn (measured in 2014 dollars) over the last 30 years.  More recently, from 2007 to 2014, losses averaged a modest $4 bn per year.  However, as with other catastrophic events, the occurrence of rains and damages is unpredictable.  For example, 2005 saw $55 bn in damages (which one has to image were at least partially related to several landfall hurricanes that year).

Source: NOAA Hydrologic Information Center, Prienga GDP adjustment using US Federal Reserve data

SOURCE: NOAA HYDROLOGIC INFORMATION CENTER, PRIENGA GDP ADJUSTMENT USING US FEDERAL RESERVE DATA

NOAA presents flood-loss data in inflation-adjusted dollars, and this is commendable.   However, we also need to acknowledge that the US economy is much bigger than a century ago.  Indeed, the US economy in 2014 was literally 15 times the size of the economy in 1930.  With a vastly larger economy, a substantially greater asset value is placed in harm’s way.  Therefore, we should by rights adjust for both inflation and economic growth.  If we adjust accordingly (ie, adjust in terms of nominal GDP growth), then flood losses have fallen by half every 15 years or so, and now average around $10 bn per year, with a continued declining trend.

Source: NOAA, data with Prienga analysis

SOURCE: NOAA, DATA WITH PRIENGA ANALYSIS

Once again, we see nothing in the data which leads us to believe that flood losses are increasing at some exponential rate.

Drought

There is no doubt that California is seeing a major drought, probably the worst in recorded history.  However, until 2005 or so, there is no visible trend in California rain or drought conditions as recorded on an annual basis and using the widely accepted Palmer Drought Severity Index.  Is California’s drought the result of climate change, or just a historically bad drought?

Source: NOAA via Monterey County Government

SOURCE: NOAA VIA MONTEREY COUNTY GOVERNMENT

If we consider the Great Plains and Rockies, an area not currently under drought conditions, we can see the historical pattern more clearly.  During the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the US saw its worst drought in recorded history.  Conditions were far worse than those in California today.  Similarly, the center of the country saw droughts in the 1950s and again in the late 1980s.  These events are episodic, and no trend is readily identifiable in the data.

Source: NOAA via Mogreenstats

SOURCE: NOAA VIA MOGREENSTATS

The story is similar for the country as a whole.   There is no visible trend is apparent in the data over the last 120 years, and as above, the droughts of the 1930s and 1950s are readily visible in the data.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes, like hurricanes, are essentially a US phenomenon.  These are measured on the Fujita scale, from 0 to 5.  F0 tornadoes count more as bad storms, with “branches broken off trees; shallow-rooted trees pushed over; sign boards damaged,” according to NOAA.   An F1 tornado produces ‘moderate damage’, with wind that “peels surface off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos blown off roads.”  In the center of the country, this might constitute ‘moderate damage’.  In New Jersey, where I live, it would constitute something of a disaster.  Tornadoes rated F3 and above are considered ‘severe’, and according to the Fujita scale, F5 tornadoes can shoot “automobile-sized missiles…through the air in excess of 100 meters.”  An F2 tornado would have wind comparable to that of Superstorm Sandy; however, the path of damage would be typically much more limited.

How have tornado numbers evolved?

The number of recorded tornadoes since the 1950s has risen dramatically, although total numbers declined precipitously from 2010 to 2014.

Source: NOAA

SOURCE: NOAA

However, if we exclude F-0 tornadoes, then in fact the count is flat, and by some measures, down.  As a broad generalization, we might consider the count of F1+ tornadoes largely without meaningful trend up or down.

Source: NOAA

SOURCE: NOAA

If we narrow the analysis to just the most destructive tornadoes—those rated F3 and higher—frequency appears to have actually declined since the 1970.

Source: NOAA

SOURCE: NOAA

Why then the increase in F0 tornadoes?  As noted above, F0 tornadoes are essentially indistinguishable from strong storms.  With today’s Doppler radar, even weak tornadoes can be detected.  In 1950, particularly in remote areas or if they occurred at night, weak tornadoes probably passed unnoticed or unrecorded.  Thus, the increase in F0 tornadoes, when F1 and stronger tornado counts are flat to down, suggests simple detection bias.    The number of F0 tornadoes has in all likelihood not increased compared to 1950, we can simply identify them better.

And even if F0 tornadoes had increased, they would be relatively inconsequential for catastrophic insurance purposes.  Tornado damage, while spectacular, is not particularly large in dollar terms, for the reason that tornadoes typically take a narrow path.  The destruction is severe, but geographically limited, unlike a hurricane.  The US Census Bureau estimates that US tornado damage averaged around $2 bn per year from 2008 to 2010.  For a country like the US, this is a minor outlay.

Nor has tornado damage increased.  A study by Roger Pielke Jr., professor of environmental studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, concludes that normalized tornado damage has not increased since the 1950s.  I would note, however, that damage can be quite severe in any given year, as it was in 2011.

Source: Roger Pielke

SOURCE: ROGER PIELKE

Again, the data squarely contradict the assertions of the Governor of the Bank of England.  If Mr. Carney is arguing that tornadoes are becoming more frequent, severe, or damaging, he is flatly contradicted by the recorded data in the US.

Wildfires

With drought and heat, wildfires look to have a record year in the US in 2015.

Although they make for great television, wildfires are not a huge sources of insured losses.  According to the Insurance Information Institute, “over the 20-year period, 1995 to 2014, [in the United States] fires, including wildfires, accounted for 1.5 percent of insured catastrophes losses, totaling about $6.0 billion, according to the Property Claims Services (PCS) unit of ISO.”  Wildfires are certainly exacerbated by drought, high temperatures, and wind.  However, the intensity of such fires has become much more severe due to the practice of…putting out wildfires.  In much of the US, wildfires are a natural and necessary feature of the landscape.  Indeed, flora have evolved specifically to resist fire or germinate as a result of wildfires.  Notwithstanding, in the last century, US forest management practice has emphasized fire suppression, such that a good bit of US wilderness is now at great risk of catastrophic fire.   This problem is hardly new.  The US Government Accounting Office prepared a report on the matter back in 1999:

The most extensive and serious problem related to the health of national forests in the interior West is the overaccumulation of vegetation, which has caused an increasing number of large, intense, uncontrollable, and catastrophically destructive wildfires. According to the Forest Service, 39 million acres on national forests in the interior West are at high risk of catastrophic wildfire. Past management practices, especially the Forest Service’s decades-old policy of putting out wildfires on the national forests, disrupted the historical occurrence of frequent low-intensity fires, which had periodically removed flammable undergrowth without significantly damaging larger trees. Because this normal cycle of fire was disrupted, vegetation has accumulated, creating high levels of fuels for catastrophic wildfires and transforming much of the region into a tinderbox.

To this is added the expansion of housing into formerly remote areas.  Some of this is quite upscale.  For example, the actor Tom Cruise recently put his Colorado vacation home on sale for $59 million.  In the event it were lost in a wildfire, it would be quite a claim.

Tom Cruise’s $59 million Colorado Getaway Source: AOL Real Estate

TOM CRUISE’S $59 MILLION COLORADO GETAWAY

SOURCE: AOL REAL ESTATE

Thus, fire losses are insignificant as a percent of total weather-related losses, and likely to stay that way.  To the extent they are growing, a warmer climate no doubt plays a part, but the principal factors are side-effects of Forest Services practices for decades, on the one hand, and the encroachment of residential properties—some of them quite expensive—on formerly wilderness areas.

Summing Up

Is his speech London’s insurance community, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, asserted a series claims about climate change.   Some of these are widely accepted.  The climate does change.  The world has warmed.  Atmospheric CO2 has increased, half of the increment due to human activities.

Beyond this, there is no consensus, and indeed, the available data in many cases directly refutes the Governor’s more extreme assertions.  There is no consensus that humans are the primary drivers of climate change.  As we can see, sea levels, for example, were rising well before the 1950s date Carney gives as the start of modern anthropogenic warming.

Importantly, the increase in losses since the 1980s is more likely to reflect expanded insurance coverage, increasing payouts as a percent of losses incurred, and an increased number of assets with higher values placed in harm’s way.  Losses increases have not occurred due to increases in hurricane, tornado, flooding, drought or fire frequency or strength, at least not in the United States, which represents the lion’s share of insurance claims.  In many cases, either frequency or intensity of weather-related events has actually declined.  Sea level rise has not accelerated, not as measured by either satellites or tide gauges.  Sea level has been rising for well over 100 years, and continues on that pace.

Like so many other economists, Governor Carney seems to operate under the assumption that current CO2 levels are just on the edge of some catastrophic acceleration.  For some reason, 320 ppm of atmospheric CO2 is safe, but 540 ppm is not, because there is some precipice—an inflection point or boundary—between here and there.  The limit is not 1,000 ppm, or 5,000 ppm, or 42,448 ppm, but right here, right now.  A little more CO2, a trace more of a harmless trace gas, and we are doomed.

The climate is complex and the future uncertain.  It is possible the worst fears may prove correct.  Nevertheless, such an assertion is not supported by the historical data, not for US droughts, floods, tornados, hurricanes or fires.  But it does show up.  In politics.  If sea levels were 20 cm higher in New York and this contributed to the damage from Superstorm Sandy, well, any middling analyst could have predicted the rise back in 1940, just as we can predict today that sea levels will be one foot higher a century hence.  The failure was not of CO2 emissions, but squarely a failure of governance.  And that goes doubly so for the fate of New Orleans.  If Governor Carney wanted to make a constructive proposal, he should have called for Lloyds to create macro audits of risk zones and censure or refuse to insure jurisdictions where governance is not up to par.  If insurers had refused to insure New Orleans unless the levees were sound, they could have saved themselves $30 bn in payouts and probably twice that in losses.

As an analyst, I find Mr. Carney’s speech is truly dismaying.  For the Governor of the Bank to claim that climate change is leading to rapidly rising insurance claims is, at best, a critical failure of analysis.  As discussed above, insurance claims are a function of a number of factors, including the type and country of the weather event, as well as the extent of insurance coverage and payout ratios.  A hurricane in the US may see one hundred times the payouts of a major flood in India.   Payouts will rise as a function of nominal GDP, as both inflation and the value and concentration of assets will play a crucial role in overall losses.  The specific path of a storm can also be decisive for global averages.   It goes without saying that a storm which strikes in Philadelphia, marches up the New Jersey coast, slams into the Manhattan and turns towards New Haven is going to cost a bundle.  That same storm hitting, say, rural Mississippi would cause a fraction of the monetary damages.  And this matters, because Superstorm Sandy caused more insured damages than all the leading weather events in Europe, Japan, China and the rest of Asia combined.  Single events can move long-term global averages.

If the Bank missed this, it is not because the necessary data is hard to find.  Information on weather-related events is readily and publicly accessible on the internet.  Almost every graph I use above relating to hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts comes from the US government itself.  Apparently, the Bank of England could not be bothered to consult the underlying climate data before making hyperbolic claims.  Thus, at best, the Bank was careless with data analysis.

A worse interpretation of events suggests that Mr. Carney was willing to blindly accept the conventional wisdom, the ‘consensus of scientists’ regarding global warming, without any will or curiosity to dig deeper and form a personal view.  One can only hope that monetary policy in the UK is not informed by such superficiality or passivity.

The very worst interpretation is that Mr. Carney is in fact aware of the source data, but chose to make hysterical claims to promote a personal political agenda.  I cannot imagine a more ill-considered idea.  For those of us who consider central bank independence sacred, the appearance of a national bank taking sides in a highly charged political debate—and doing so with scant regard for the underlying data—will establish the Bank of England as partisan and the political opponent of conservative politicians.  Given that Janet Yellen, the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank, hails from Berkeley, a hot bed of climate activism, should the Republican Party consider the Fed also its opponent?  If so, I can assure you, the Republicans will find some support to ‘audit’ the institution.

At the end of the day, political neutrality is a pre-condition for central bank independence.  If a political party deems the central bank to be an opponent, then it will take measures to gain political control over the bank, with the result that monetary policy itself may become politicized.  If the Bank nevertheless feels compelled to champion a particular side in a political debate, its analysis must be water-tight and its communication, impartial.   That Governor Carny violated both dictums is simply stunning and a huge blow to the prestige of the Bank of England.  It was a very bad call indeed.

CONTINUE READING –>

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Climate Doomsayers Ignore Benefits Of Carbon Dioxide Emissions

From the GWPF – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

greening-earth

London 12 October: In an important new report published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, former IPCC delegate Dr Indur Goklany calls for a reassessment of carbon dioxide, which he says has many benefits for the natural world and for humankind.

Dr Goklany said: “Carbon dioxide fertilises plants, and emissions from fossil fuels have already had a hugely beneficial effect on crops, increasing yields by at least 10-15%. This has not only been good for humankind but for the natural world too, because an acre of land that is not used for crops is an acre of land that is left for nature”.

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Fantasy Or Reality…Which Is It?

By Bill Holter – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Last week was a true dichotomy of fantasy and reality. We witnessed a massive short squeeze and the best week for U.S. equities in over a year. While the markets were oversold and due a bounce, the “bounce” came with a backdrop of very dire news! Day after day brought forth new and consistently worse news.

In no particular order of importance; Deutsche Bank reported a $6.5 billion loss (10% of their net equity), UBS joined the derivatives implosion party and required a capital raise, Glencore ‘fessed up to $100 billion in debt versus the previous $19 billion (with three or four other major commodity firms in the same boat), the Bank of England required their banks to disclose how much of this debt they were exposed to, China’s yuan surpassed the yen in the settlement of global trade, China also went live with their alternative settlement of trade in yuan (non-dollars), Saudi Arabia and Norway disclosed they are now in deficit and thus no longer “buyers” of dollars (are they now sellers?) …and the U.S. was effectively kicked out of the Middle East! I might add that several recent economic reports even though fudged, massaged and outright falsehoods were unable to hide the reality of global AND U.S. recession and decline in the real economic sectors.

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One Step Back From The Ledge

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.PentoPort.com

I started Pento Portfolio Strategies three years ago with the knowledge that the unprecedented level of fiat credit creation had rendered the globe debt disabled and would result in mass global sovereign default. As a consequence, there would be wild swings between inflation and deflation dependent upon the government provisions of fiscal stimulus, Quantitative Easing and Zero Interest Rate Policies…

For much of the third quarter the US Federal Reserve has avowed to raise rates. This in turn caused a sharp stock market correction on a worldwide basis. The flattening of the Treasury yield curve and the strengthening of the US dollar were the primary culprits. But then the September Non-Farm Payroll Report came in with a net increase of just 142k jobs, which was well below Wall Street’s expectation. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.1% but the labor force participation rate dropped to the October 1977 low of 62.4%. Average hourly earnings fell 0.04% and the workweek slipped to 34.5 hours. There were also significant downward revisions of 22k and 37k jobs for the July and August reports respectively.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #200

The Week That Was: (October 10, 2015 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

THIS WEEK: By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Ozone: Writing in American Thinker, physician Charles Battig of the Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE) produces an effective critique of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new standards for ground level ozone, which was released on October 1, 2015. The EPA press release states: “Based on extensive scientific evidence on effects that ground-level ozone pollution, or smog, has on public health and welfare, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strengthened the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone to 70 parts per billion (ppb) from 75 ppb to protect public health. The updated standards will reduce Americans’ exposure to ozone, improving public health protection, particularly for at risk groups including children, older adults, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma. Ground-level ozone forms when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) react in the air.”

Dr. Battig’s critique makes clear that the science involved is more imaginary than empirical. The concept of “premature deaths” is speculative and virtually any death can be called premature. He cites studies using real-world patients that do not validate EPA’s claims and states: “Surely smoggy air must be unhealthy. It must be, because it looks so bad. The poster child for such smoggy air is Shanghai, China, where newspaper pictures depict a yellow haze obscuring the visibility of buildings. However, the average lifespan there is 82.5 years, bettering the reported lifespan in any major U.S. city.” [Note that Chinese lifespans are based on statistics from China, and the differences may be cultural as well as based on exposure.]

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Stop The Devastation of Peoples Lives By Speculating with No Data: Remembering Cattle And Methane Emissions

By Dr. Tim Ball – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Release of early data from NASA’s OCO2 satellite triggered the typical nonsense. The usual people talked about the modern equivalent of how many angels on the head of a pin, when they haven’t even established the existence of angels. The initial OCO2 data appears to show most estimates and assumptions were wrong. This might explain NASA’s hesitancy to release all the information, especially with regard to sources and sinks. If nothing else, the maps show the CO2 is not well mixed. The wider truth is that every piece of data in the climate debate is a very crude estimate created for a political or scientific agenda, including those used by many skeptics.

Kip Hansen’s essay “Are we Chasing Imaginary Numbers?” speaks to an important point about approximations. It reminded me about learning navigation and taking what was called “a three star fix”. The result almost always was a triangulation and all you knew was you were somewhere in the triangle. To narrow it down, but still not be precise, you dropped perpendicular lines from the centre of each side of the triangle to create what Hansen would recognize as the data point, we called it a Most Probable Position (MPP). Hansen’s discussion is very valuable, but in climate science the problem begins long before the point of determining accuracy.

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Dr Copper Back From The Dead

By Sol Palha  Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.– Arthur Somers Roche

Once upon a time in the good old days, before QE changed everything, any signs of strength from copper could be construed as a sign that the economy was on the mend.  After QE, this story came to an end…and a new reality came into play.  The Fed manipulated the markets in favour of short-term gains through what could be determined as borderline illegal monetary policy; a policy that has maintained an ultra-low interest rate environment that favours speculators and punishes savers.

 

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Potato Sack Economics

By MN Gordon – Re-Blogged From David Stockman’s Contra Corner

Fiscal policy, as opposed to monetary policy, is more readily understood by the general populace. Income taxes, budget deficits, the national debt.  These are all tangible things the average working stiff can grasp a hold of, if they care to.

The consequences of ZIRP or QE, however, are less obvious to the casual observer.  They experience the wild booms and busts of central bank caused price distortions yet never connect the dots back to the Fed.  They may falsely condemn capitalism, and never scratch below the surface where the Fed’s money and credit games are lurking.

The industrious wage earner may also find that, despite working harder and harder, their lot in life never improves.  In fact, it may even regress.  Still, many won’t recognize heavy handed monetary policy as factors for their disappointment.

The recent college graduate, making a subsistence wage at a franchise coffee shop, buried under $50,000 in student loan debt, may be keenly aware that something is radically wrong.  How come the cost of school is at such disparity with the value it provides, they may ask?

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Gold Stocks’ Major Breakout

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The left-for-dead gold stocks have rallied dramatically this past week, surging to a major breakout.  This pivotal technical event reveals the hyper-bearish psychology plaguing this sector in recent months is dissipating, paving the way for investment capital to return.  And given the fundamentally-absurd price levels in this battered sector, this new gold-stock buying is likely just the initial vanguard of a massive new upleg.

Even among contrarians, the overwhelming consensus view is that gold miners’ stocks are doomed to grind lower indefinitely.  Pretty much everyone even aware of this obscure sector totally despises it, the inevitable result of recent years’ dismal price action.  The flagship gold-stock index, the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index better known by its symbol HUI, certainly reflects the unbelievable misery in this business.

Over 4.0 years between September 2011 and September 2015, the HUI plunged 83.5% in a bear market of apocalyptic magnitude!  This incredibly-large bear excelled in annihilating all interest in this sector.  Almost everyone capitulated, scared away by the brutal mauling.  Adding insult to injury, the benchmark S&P 500 general-stock-market index soared 63.5% over this same span.  Gold stocks have been dreadful.

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Three Campaigns That May Save Your Life — If The Government FDA Permits It

Some Countries Have Begun To Ban Physical Cash

By Graham Summers – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Central Banks hate physical cash. So much so they there will likely try to ban it in the near future.

You see, almost all of the “wealth” in the financial system is digital in nature.

  • The total currency (actual cash in the form of bills and coins) in the US financial system is a little over $1.36 trillion.
  • When you include digital money sitting in short-term accounts and long-term accounts then you’re talking about roughly $10 trillion in “money” in the financial system.
  • In contrast, the money in the US stock market (equity shares in publicly traded companies) is over $20 trillion in size.
  • The US bond market  (money that has been lent to corporations, municipal Governments, State Governments, and the Federal Government) is almost twice this at $38 trillion.
  • Total Credit Market Instruments (mortgages, collateralized debt obligations, junk bonds, commercial paper and other digitally-based “money” that is based on debt) is even larger $58.7 trillion.
  • Unregulated over the counter derivatives traded between the big banks and corporations is north of $220 trillion.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #199

The Week That Was: October 3, 2015- Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

THIS WEEK: By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

More IPCC Challenges: The US administration is attempting to establish an agreement to be reached at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11. Meanwhile, more challenges to the findings of the UN Intergovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) continue to emerge. Many of the challenges do not question the basic science or logic found in the climate models, but do question the use to which they are put. This questioning especially applies to the 95% certainty expressed in the Summary for Policymakers of IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR-5).

In a recent paper, distinguished physicist Wallace Manheimer expressed it well: “This paper reviews a great deal of worldwide data, some of which confirms, some of which disputes the global warming hypothesis. While increasing CO2in the atmosphere is a concern, it is hardly a planetary emergency.” Perhaps these sentences summarize the views of the global warming skeptics: carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are not causing a planetary emergency, only the politically motivated advocates and politicians are. This political motivation extends to the IPCC and its work based on the assumption it can predict (project), with great certainty, global warming from human causes without thoroughly understanding the natural influences on climate.

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Sea Level Rise is NOT Accelerating

B Willis Eschenbach – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

I had to go to town yesterday, and so I was glad it was Friday, because it’s Science Friday on the local Public Broadcasting System station and I can listen on my truck radio. In general I enjoy Science Friday, because the host, Ira Flatow, has interesting people on the show and he usually asks interesting questions … except when it’s about climate change. In that case his scientific training goes out the window, and he merely parrots the alarmist line.

In any case I was listening to Science Friday yesterday, and Ira referred to some recent pictures of flooding in Miami, Florida, as evidence that climate change is real and is already affecting Florida. It was the radio so no pictures, but he was referring to photos like this that have been in the news …

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Iraqi PM Abadi accuses Obama of a lack of “will,” and may invite Russia to bomb ISIS

By – Re-Blogged From The American Enterprise Institute

In an interview with France 24, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi accused President Obama of a lack of “will” in the fight against the Islamic State, and complained that Obama had failed to deliver the “massive air power” he had promised. Abadi further said that while he has not yet discussed Russian intervention in Iraq, he “would welcome” Russian airstrikes against ISIS in his country. From the interview:

France 24: Are you discussing with Russia the possibility of Russia striking in Iraq?

Abadi: Not yet, not yet.

France 24: But it’s a possibility?

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Audit the Fed: Is the Momentum Dying?

By Stefan Gleason – Re-Blogged From The Sound Money Defense League

The Federal Reserve is perhaps the most powerful “public” institution about which the public knows virtually nothing.

The origins and operations of the central bank are mysteries to most people, including most politicians. Top Fed officials and their allies aim to keep it that way by defeating Audit the Fed legislation now pending in the U.S. Senate.

Back in 2010, the Audit the Fed campaign started gaining real traction in Congress. What had been for many years a lonely battle for transparency waged by former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) finally reached a critical mass of support. Congressman Paul’s signature Federal Reserve Transparency Act seemed to stand a real chance of passing.

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Eclipse, Global Cooling, Cosmic Rays, etc.

By Dr Tony Phillips – Re-Blogged From http://www.spaceweather.com/

LUNAR ECLIPSE DETECTS GLOBAL COOLING (BUT ONLY A LITTLE): On Sept. 27th, millions of people around the world watched the Moon pass through the shadow of our planet. Most agreed that the lunar eclipse was darker than usual. Little did they know, they were witnessing a sign of global cooling. But only a little.


Above: “The eclipse was truly dark,” says photographer Giuseppe Petricca of Pisa, Italy

Atmospheric scientist Richard Keen of the University of Colorado explains: “Lunar eclipses tell us a lot about the transparency of Earth’s atmosphere. When the stratosphere is clogged with volcanic ash and other aerosols, lunar eclipses tend to be dark red. On the other hand, when the stratosphere is relatively clear, lunar eclipses are bright orange.”

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Failure to Launch

By Peter Schiff – Re-Blogged From Euro Pacific Capital

The popular belief that the U.S. economy has been steadily recovering has endured months of disappointing data without losing much of its appeal. A deep bench of excuses, ranging from the weather to the Chinese economy, has been called on to justify why the economy hasn’t built up any noticeable steam, and why the Fed has failed to move rates off zero, where they have been for seven years. But the downright dismal September jobs report that was released last Friday may prove to be the flashing red beacon that even the most skilled apologists can’t explain away. The report should make it abundantly clear that we are far closer to recession than recovery. But old notions die hard and, shockingly, most economists still believe that we have hit a temporary speed bump not a brick wall. But at some point healthy hope turns into dangerous delusion. We may have just turned that corner.
The report was horrific any way you slice it. The consensus of economists had expected to see 203,000 new jobs in September, not a particularly impressive number, but at least it would have been an improvement from the 173,000 new jobs that were added in August. Not only did September miss substantially, at just 142,000 jobs, but August was revised down to 136,000 (Bureau of Labor Statistics) (there were economists who had even expected August to be revised up to as high 247,000). This means that the last three months have averaged just 167,000 jobs, a level that is not even close to where we should have been in a real recovery. But it gets worse from there.

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The Need To Revisit The Climategate Revelations To Counter Mainstream Media Failure And The Paris Climate Conference Plans

By Dr. Tim Ball – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

climategate-burn-tapes

It is time to revisit the emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia. The first 1000 emails were released in November 2009 just prior to the Climate Conference of the Parties (COP) 15 scheduled for Copenhagen. They effectively stopped political plans for a replacement of the Kyoto Protocol, a massive redistribution of wealth designed as part of Agenda 21. You can read what the UN says about this plan developed under the auspices of Maurice Strong as head of the United Nations Environment Progam (UNEP) or read Glenn Becks interpretation of the implications.

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Fed’s Serious Inflation Risks

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Traders today universally believe inflation is dead, that there is no persistent decline in the purchasing power of money.  That’s what government price indexes around the world are indicating.  But this false notion is one of recent years’ main Fed-conjured illusions.  Price inflation is the result of rising money supplies, and they have been skyrocketing.  Serious risks are mounting that they will spill into price levels.

As simple as money seems, it is very complex in both theory and practice.  We all understand the idea of working to earn money to buy goods and services.  But the seminal treatise on money, the legendary economist Ludwig von Mises’ “The Theory of Money and Credit” published in 1912, weighed in at 445 pages!  Money is a topic that endlessly preoccupies elite central bankers with doctorates in economics.

Money is ultimately a commodity, its value determined by its own fundamental supply and demand.  If demand exceeds supply for any given currency, its price will rise relative to other currencies.  As this money grows more valuable, it takes relatively less to buy goods and services.  The persistent increase in the purchasing power of money, resulting in a persistent decrease in general price levels, is deflation.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #198

The Week That Was: September 26, 2015 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Changing Science: Several developments related to climate science occurred this week that can have some influence on policy as governments are rushing towards an “agreement” to be reached at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11. No doubt, these developments will be ignored by some governments, the government-supported Climate Establishment, which adheres to the findings of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) while ignoring its deficiencies, and by the well-funded Green lobby, which depends on an image of “saving the world.” One development is a book-length independent review of the IPCC’s work by Alan Longhurst, a biological oceanographer with over 50 years’ experience. The second development is group of essays by mathematician and electrical engineer David Evans posing a serious critique of the models depended upon by the IPCC and the Climate Establishment.

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Quote of the Week: “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.” Albert Einstein

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Numbers Lousy – FED Scared Witless

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Several statistics were reported this week, and in large measure, they disappointed analysts. Personal Income was up, but Personal Spending was up even more. This means that Americans were adding even more debt to their balance sheets. Since Saving is where the Capital comes from to help grow our Capitalist system, this means negative growth down the road.

PCE Prices were up only 0.1% in August (same as July), but these numbers generally are in the fairy tale category. Looking instead at the CPI, the way it used to be calculated in 1980 (via http://www.ShadowStats.com), inflation is running at around 7½%.

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