Going totalitarian on Tol

April 6, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

This has been the week for the Left to show its true face, hasn’t it? Gawker’s Adam Weinstein calls for climate skeptics to be jailed; Brendan Eich is hounded from his job at Mozilla for daring to hold an opinion not approved of by same-sex marriage “activists;” and now a professor in the UK is seeing his reputation slagged for criticizing the latest IPCC report on climate change as “alarmist.” He’s almost assuredly right, but truth doesn’t matter to Liberal Fascists.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

David Rose a rather depressing yet not surprising article in the Mail on Sunday that documents the hive mind mentality, or some might call it a ‘mob mentality’, of warmists.

It’s about Dr. Richard Tol, whose dared to try to distance himself from what he viewed as overly alarming claims in the IPCC Working Group II Summary for Policymakers. As a result, he has incurred the wrath of the Internet climate mob.

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The Obama Administration’s Engages in Contortions to Claim that Obamacare Is a Success

April 6, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Where “contortions” means “spin like an out of control top.”

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I’ve observed , reported , mocked , written , and explained that Obamacare is a cluster-you-know-what.

So I’m rather bemused and frustrated by the latest pro-Obamacare spin that the law is a “success” because there are now 7 million people who have picked a plan.

There are lots of reasons for normal people to have a what-the-expletive-deleted response to this declaration of victory. For instance:

The goal of Obamacare was to insure the uninsured, yet that number has barely budged, so why is the Administration allowed to move the goalposts to something far more modest?

Obamacare also was supposed to lower premiums by $2500 and allow everyone to keep their plans and their preferred providers, so what happened to those goals?

And why should we even believe the White House spin when we have no idea whether people who have picked a plan have actually paid for that plan?

Moreover…

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From Wyoming to New York: America’s Best and Worst States for Tax

April 5, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

I’m very disappointed in my beloved California; we’re only #4 on this list. Surely we can do better and drive more people and jobs away!

Originally posted on International Liberty:

Last August, I shared a fascinating map from the Tax Foundation.

It showed which states have chased away taxable income and which ones have attracted more taxpayers (along with their taxable income).

In other words, what are the “Golden Geese” doing with their money?

Well, the obvious and unsurprising answer is that they are escaping high-tax states and moving to states that aren’t quite so greedy.

Now we have another map from the Tax Foundation. They’ve just released the latest data on state and local tax burdens as a share of state income. Because of lags in data, we’re looking at 2011 numbers, but that’s not important. The main thing is to notice that the states with the highest tax burdens are very much correlated with the states that suffered the great loss of taxable income.

State-Local Tax

You can tell a few additional things just by looking at the…

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The big list of failed climate predictions

April 2, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

The next time someone tries to tell you “the science is settled,” show them this list. It should be framed and sent to every Warmist out there.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Reader “Sasha” responding to Jeff Alberts in comments provided a large list that I thought was worth sharing.

Submitted on 2014/04/02 at 8:37 am

The question wasn’t “what do people think is caused by global warming”, but “what was predicted by scientists and activists 25 years ago that would be a result of global warming.” Big difference.

OK. Hang on to your hat!
The original post was asking for a list of failed climate predictions, so here are 107:

FAILED CLIMATE PREDICTIONS (and some related stupid sayings)

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Greetings from Obamaland…Oops, I Mean Greece

March 29, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

It’s easy to mistake the two; Obama has us well down the same road.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

As much as I condemn American politicians for bad policy, things could be worse.

We could be Greek citizens, which would be very depressing. Indeed, you’ll understand why I put Obamaland in the title after you read today’s column.

Simply stated, Greece is a cesspool of statism. The people seem to be wonderful (at least outside of polling booths), but government intervention is pervasive and atrocious.

Here’s an example. As I was coming in a taxi from the airport to the city yesterday, we passed some sort of protest. There were a couple of hundred people at the rally and probably about 50 riot cops.

I naturally wondered about the situation, expecting that it was radical statists or some of the crazies from Golden Dawn. But the cab driver explained that it was pharmacists.

So why are pharmacists protesting? I found out from some of the locals at…

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IPCC admission from new report: ‘no evidence climate change has led to even a single species becoming extinct’

March 28, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Well, this is going to cause anguish among the faithful of the Cult of Anthropogenic Global Warming. Nah. They’ll just ignore like they do all other empirical evidence showing their beloved faith is probably hooey. Who’s in “denial,” again?

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

In 2007, the IPCC predicted that rising global temperatures would kill off many species. But in its new report, part of which will be presented next Monday, the UN climate change body backtracks. There is a shortage of evidence, a draft version claims.

Global warming is said to be threatening thousands of animal and plant species with extinction. That, at least, is what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been predicting for years.

But the UN climate body now says it is no longer so certain. The second part of the IPCC’s new assessment report is due to be presented next Monday in Yokohama, Japan. On the one hand, a classified draft of the report notes that a further “increased extinction risk for a substantial number of species during and beyond the 21st century” is to be expected. On the other hand, the IPCC admits that there…

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Time for a Free-Market Postal System

March 25, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Revisiting one of my pet peeves: privatizing our hugely inefficient and money-losing postal service. In this case, Mitchell presents Britain’s success at doing just that.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

It’s not often that I agree with the Washington Post , but a government-run monopoly is not the best way to get mail delivered.

Moreover, it’s not often that I agree with the timid (and sometimes reprehensible) Tory-led government in the United Kingdom, but they just put the Royal Mail into the private sector. And that’s something deserving of loud applause.

Here’s a slice of the big news from the Financial Times.

The goal of privatising Royal Mail had defeated governments for 40 years. …Even prime minister Margaret Thatcher balked at the political risk of selling off a public service that carried the Queen’s head on its stamps. This time, the legislation went through parliament.

My Cato colleague, Chris Edwards, is suitably impressed.

Here’s some of what he wrote for Cato-at-Liberty.

Britain privatized its Royal Mail in 2013, proceeding with an initial public offering of shares that raised about…

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Bigger things to worry about than global warming: Scientists say a destructive solar blast narrowly missed Earth in 2012

March 22, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

As Maxwell Smart would have said, “Missed us by *that* much!”

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Video follows of the July 23rd, 2012 Coronal Mass Ejection, said to be the fastest ever

From UC BERKELEY — Earth dodged a huge magnetic bullet from the sun on July 23, 2012.

According to University of California, Berkeley, and Chinese researchers, a rapid succession of coronal mass ejections — the most intense eruptions on the sun — sent a pulse of magnetized plasma barreling into space and through Earth’s orbit. Had the eruption come nine days earlier, when the ignition spot on the solar surface was aimed at Earth, it would have hit the planet, potentially wreaking havoc with the electrical grid, disabling satellites and GPS, and disrupting our increasingly electronic lives.

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CNN’s dumbest news question, evar

March 20, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

And yet CNN wonders why its ratings are in the tank…

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

And we thought this one was bad:  CNN talking empty head (Feyerick) asks Bill Nye if approaching Meteor was a result of global warming….

OK that set the stage, what could be dumber than that? Now study the picture below, and ask yourself, what’s wrong with this picture? Note the plane, a Boeing 777.

black_holes_777_CNN

And here is what was said: 

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Sweden, Spending Restraint, and the Benefits of Obeying Fiscal Policy’s Golden Rule

March 16, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

It’s really kind of embarrassing to admit the world’s most successful capitalist nation in history could learn a thing or two about sound public fiscal policy from what was once the poster-child nation of Social Democracy. But useful, like many such humblings. One hopes our leaders in DC will learn it well.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

When I first started working on fiscal policy in the 1980s, I never thought I would consider Sweden any sort of role model.

It was the quintessential cradle-to-grave welfare state, much loved on the left as an example for America to follow.

But Sweden suffered a severe economic shock in the early 1990s and policy makers were forced to rethink big government.

They’ve since implemented some positive reforms in the area of fiscal policy, along with other changes to liberalize the economy.

I even, much to my surprise, wrote a column in 2012 stating that it’s “Time to Follow Sweden’s Lead on Fiscal Policy.”

More specifically, I’m impressed that Swedish leaders have imposed some genuine fiscal restraint.

Here’s a chart, based on IMF data, showing that the country enjoyed a nine-year period where the burden of government spending grew by an average of 1.9 percent…

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Whether You Call it Socialism, Statism, Fascism, or Corporatism, Big Government Is Evil and Destructive

March 15, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

In one sense, it’s just arguing over terms, but I do think proper nomenclature is important to understanding. But Mitchell has a point that “Socialism” and “Fascism” are too emotionally charged and may instead impede understanding. “Statism” is a good, neutral noun to use in their place, though I also like Goldberg’s (from H.G. Wells) “Liberal Fascism.”

Originally posted on International Liberty:

Regular readers may have noticed that I generally say that advocates of big government are “statists.”

I could call them “liberals,” but I don’t like that using that term since the early advocates of economic and personal liberty were “classical liberals” such as Adam Smith, John Locke, and Jean-Baptiste Say. And proponents of these ideas are still called “liberals” in Europe and Australia.

I could call them “socialists,” but I don’t think that’s technically accurate since the theory is based on government ownership of the means of production. This is why I’ve been in the strange position of defending Obama when some folks have used the S word to describe him.

I could call them “fascists,” which Thomas Sowell explains is the most accurate way of describing the modern left’s economic ideology, but that term also implies racism. But while leftists sometimes support policies that hurt minorities

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Australian National University: Forget the Climate Facts, We need Opinions

March 15, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Because it’s for a good (imaginary) cause, you know, therefore anything is justified. Bob Carter calls this “noble cause corruption,” and here we see another example.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Another case of “The ends justify the means”

Submitted by Eric Worrall

Rod Lamberts, director of the Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University, claims facts  won’t win the climate debate.

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The group the ‘Right Climate Stuff’ says there no need to worry about catastrophic global warming

March 8, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Generally I don’t like credentialism, the error of uncritically accepting as true what someone with fancy credentials claims, but the guys who put Americans on the Moon using only the technology of opinions of the 60s and 70s carry a lot of weight with me. I’ll put them up against James Hansen, Michael Mann, and Phil Jones any day.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

New Study; Earth is Safe From ‘Global Warming’ Say the Men Who Put Man on the Moon

The planet is not in danger of catastrophic man made global warming. Even if we burn all the world’s recoverable fossil fuels it will still only result in a temperature rise of less than 1.2 per cent.

So say The Right Climate Stuff Research Team, a group of retired NASA Apollo scientists and engineers – the men who put Neil Armstrong on the moon – in a new report.

“It’s an embarrassment to those of us who put NASA’s name on the map to have people like James Hansen popping off about global warming,” says the project’s leader Hal Doiron.

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NOAA: US Cold records outnumber warm records 66 to 1 in the last 7 days

March 8, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

But, according to the climate alarmists, all that CO2 we’re spewing into the atmosphere is causing catastrophic warming. Who are you going to believe? Them or your lying eyes?

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

And nearly 3 to 1 in the last 30 days, and over 2 to 1 in 2014

From NOAA/NCDC:  U.S. Records Summary

The summaries below list the number of records broken for several recent periods is summarized in this table and updated daily. Due to late-arriving data, the number of recent records is likely underrepresented in all categories, but the ratio of records (warm to cold, for example) should be a fairly strong estimate of a final outcome. There are many more precipitation stations than temperature stations, so the raw number of precipitation records will likely exceed the number of temperature records in most climatic situations.

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Al Qaeda debuts new currency

March 2, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

If the president needs a target for his drone list, I’d suggest finding out where these are printed and then expressing our displeasure with a Hellfire or three.

Originally posted on Money Jihad:

Osama Bin Laden bill

Reportedly, Al Qaeda in Iraq (ISIL) is circulating its own one hundred “Islamic” pound note in western Iraq with a picture of the Twin Towers burning on 9/11 and a portrait of Osama bin Laden.

The new bills are quite a curious development considering that Islamists normally regard paper currencies as unclean “infidel” currencies invented by non-Muslim imperialists.  Islamists prefer gold dinars and silver dirhams such as those used by Muhammad according to traditional Islamic texts.

ISIL may have chosen a denomination of 100 because of the popularity of U.S. $100 bills in Iraq, where they are nicknamed “ghosts” because of Iraqi perceptions of Benjamin Franklin’s sprectral appearance.

Presumably, the new currency is more of a publicity stunt than an actual, working currency that could be used to pay the wages of their fighters.  The money would seem to have limited usefulness to ISIL’s men and their families, because…

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The War on Poverty Has Made a Difference…but the Wrong Kind

March 2, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

The Left likes to talk about ending the “war on drugs,” and may well have a valid point. I just wish they’d also be open to ending the “war on poverty,” which has done nothing but trap people in poverty. Have a look at the original post for a chart that shows what might have happened with poverty in America, if government hadn’t become involved.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

On several occasions, I’ve observed that the poverty rate in America was steadily falling , but that progress came to a halt in the mid-1960s when the government declared a War on Poverty.

And I almost always included a chart showing the annual poverty rate over several decades.

Moreover, I posted graphs showing how government programs trap people in dependency because of very high implicit marginal tax rates. And that’s true in other nations as well.

But it didn’t matter how many times I revisited this issue, I was never clever enough to look at the poverty-rate data to estimate what would have happened if the federal government hadn’t become involved.

Fortunately, John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis was insightful enough to fill the breach. He shows that the War on Poverty has made a big difference. But in the wrong way.

Poverty Goodman

Here’s some of what John…

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The Great Freeze Over The Great Lakes

March 1, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Weather doesn’t equal “climate change,” of course, but I often find it amusing how often the world likes to shove a grapefruit in the face of the Climate Alarmists.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

This image shows the Great Lakes on February 19, 2014, when ice covered 80.3 percent of the lakes.

This image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, shows the Great Lakes on February 19, 2014, when ice covered 80.3 percent of the lakes. Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA

At night, as cold settles in, lake ice creaks and groans. It’s been excessively cold, and I camped exposed on the snow-swept surface. Other than the lack of vegetation and the sounds at night, you’d never know you were on a lake. It feels like an empty plain. In some places, you see pressure ridges where ice has pushed into itself, sticking up like clear blue stegosaurus plates.  — Craig Childs

Author Craig Childs is not describing an Arctic lake. He’s describing the bitterly cold and frozen scene on Lake Superior, during his February 2014 trek on the ice near the coast of Ashland, Wisconsin.

Zoom out to view the…

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Minimum Wage Laws: Sabotaging the Ladder of Economic Opportunity

February 23, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

The only people who truly benefit from minimum wage increases are union bosses, who salivate at the prospect of more dues coming in, money they can use to buy legislators.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

If I banged my head against the wall every time politicians advocated bad policy in Washington – which is a tempting impulse, I would have been institutionalized because of brain damage a long time ago.

But it’s difficult to maintain my self control when I think about minimum wage laws.

All sentient human beings should know higher minimum wage laws will mean more unemployment. Just ask them, for instance, what would happen if the minimum wage was raised to $100 per hour. Once they admit that would lead to massive job losses, they’ve accepted the principle and it’s simply an empirical issue of figuring out how many jobs are lost when the minimum wage is $75, $50, $20, $10, $6, etc.

At the risk of stating the obvious, businesses seek to make money and they won’t hire somebody who can only produce $6 of value per hour if…

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Grim Times for Gun Grabbers

February 20, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

The biggest hypocrisy of the gun-grabbers seems to be “Bodyguards for me, no self-defense for thee, peasant!” (Note: My apologies, folks, but the reblogged post doesn’t seem to be showing up, right now. You can find the original here.)

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I’ve already explained why leftists must be depressed about their failure to restrict private gun ownership.

They’ve suffered brutal electoral setbacks in Colorado, and more and more states have strengthened the right to keep and bear arms.

Moreover, it’s hard for them to claim their agenda is about safer streets when cops overwhelmingly reject the premises of the anti-gun zealots.

And they also have to deal with something very troubling that further undermines their campaign against the Second Amendment.

That troubling thing is facts and data.

Because the more information that we learn, the more evidence we have – as John Lott often reminds us – that more guns equal less crime.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Jason Riley peruses some new data from the FBI. Here are some key excerpts.

A new FBI report says that violent crime continues to fall nationwide, which might annoy liberals because…

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Flood fight at the Met Office

February 15, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

This is a big blow up in one of the bastions of global warming alarmism. Put another way, it’s as if a Catholic cardinal stood up in a conclave and denied Papal infallibility. These are hard times for Warmists. Aww….

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

No, global warming did NOT cause the storms, says one of the Met Office’s most senior experts

One of the Met Office’s most senior experts yesterday made a dramatic intervention in the climate change debate by insisting there is no link between the storms that have battered Britain and global warming.

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