Saturday, March 29, 2008

Election Year

Just a few days ago your humble scribbler received an astonishing bit of "junk mail". On the trek from the mail box to the incoming bin via the trash container I noted a missive from the Internal Revenue Service emblazoned with words to the effect that the communication should not be thrown away as it contained notice of a "payment". As I annually receive and respond to a nasty letter from the IRS questioning why I have filed no tax return and threatening me with dire consequences, this bit of news tweaked the curiosity button. The last time I filed an income tax return was in 1981 shortly after retiring on a supposed "tax free" service connected disability due to a spinal injury suffered on the job. Since that time I have had no taxable income sufficient to trigger the filing requirement but each and every year I receive the identical threatening official letter which requires the tedious recital of the same hackneyed response.

The recent letter however, contained a filing form and the notification that the "government" has decided to engage in an economic "stimulus" by sending out "free" cash to the tune of $300.00 per qualifying individual. Let's see if I understand this correctly. We will all be paid $300.00 for producing absolutely no goods or services anyone would be willing to exchange legal tender for (except the paper shuffling government bureaucrats).

Wow! This boggles the mind. It is amazing to perceive the degree if economic ignorance rampant in a society subjected to government indoctrination education for several decades. It appears that while the schools have been drilling into the heads of their captive charges the necessity of recycling and hugging trees as well as writing to their legislators on the need to oppose the development of energy sources, absolutely NO economic basics have been discussed.

Meanwhile, the cost of energy sources which literally drive our lives are now verging on the prohibitive. Crude oil (reserves of which are proven but legally cannot be tapped) has now exceeded $105.00/barrel. One of the results of this of course is the run-up in the cost of motor fuel i.e. diesel, which has increased in price over $.50/gallon in the last 2 months.

The owners of the trucks which move virtually every item which we consume are being squeezed out of business. Recently, one long haul independent trucker hauling a 41,000 lb. load of freight from Florida to Quebec stopped in North Carolina to refill his fuel tanks at a cost of $960.00. In order to remain in business the ordinary citizen truckers must pass along these increased costs to the ultimate consumers. The alternative is of course, the disappearance of the products we need from the shelves with the result that the remaining items' prices are driven up beyond what those of modest means can pay. Duh!

What's that? Mail out more pieces of paper with dollar signs and numbers on them? Yeah, that'll fix it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Denial. The Leftist Plague

A few days ago a colleague of ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ posted an illuminating essay which touched briefly on the subject of among other things, denial. The definition of denial in its psychological context is defined as: "An unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings." In few areas of human discourse are there more glaring examples of this phenomenon than two of the subjects frequently discussed on "right" versus "left" fora; specifically "gun control" and "global warming".

On the latter subject, the lack of any empirical data measuring anthropogenicaly driven increases in global temperature has resulted in the media, politicians and their politicized surrogates in the so called "scientific community" (the warmistas) to exert considerable effort to redefine the phenomena not as "global warming" but "climate change". To the extent that this verbal ju jitsu is successful it allows the warmistas to utilize virtually any weather or climate related anomaly for the furtherance of their political agenda. Thus if record breaking heat in a geographical area is experienced, it is attributable to "global warming". Conversely, unprecedented cold temperatures as recently experienced in vast regions of the planet are the result of "climate change". Curiously both of these phenomena which have occurred countless times since the forming of our planet are attributed to the same cause and require the same remedy: the exponential accretion of political power to a specific political class that just coincidentally has an interest in such a turn of events.

Another example of the manifestation of psychological denial becomes evident when we examine the facts surrounding the issue of "gun control". In the context of this debate with those who insist that "the police are charged with protecting the citizenry" (a concept rejected incidentally, by the entire US court system) just remember: "when SECONDS count, the police are only MINUTES away". The debate over various states (now numbering 35 required to issue such permits) allowing law abiding citizens to legally carry concealed firearms and two states which have no licensing requirements to do so (Vermont and Alaska) invariably involves opponents of such laws predicting gunplay accompanying every traffic collision and every instance of road rage with homicide rates going through the overhead. The facts as written in the statistics have as yet failed to dissuade proponents of greater gun control from positing their shopworn arguments. This seems to lend credence to the view that gun control as well as climate control is not really about guns or climate but really about control.

According to the climate change scientist James Lovelock, this is the beginning of the end of a peaceful phase in evolution.
By 2040, the world population of more than six billion will have been culled by floods, drought and famine.
The people of Southern Europe, as well as South-East Asia, will be fighting their way into countries such as Canada, Australia and Britain.
We will, he says, have to set up encampments in this country, like those established for the hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced by the conflict in East Africa.
Lovelock believes the subsequent ethnic tensions could lead to civil war.

"Give me four years to teach the children [and a system of government indoctrination education] and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted."

Vladimir Lenin

Monday, March 17, 2008

Why $4.00+ per Gallon? It's Artificial!

Your humble scribbler was recently involved in an exchange in a thread at another site on the subject of energy supply, specifically petroleum. The subject is exceedingly relevant as most observers of the recent run-up of the price of motor fuel will attest. The causes of this situation are explained variously as "gouging by big oil", "extortion by the OPEC cartel" and increased demand for a "limited" resource by developing nations such as China and India. Of the aforementioned scenarios the latter two are the closer to reality. This approximation, however is not satisfactory in explaining the complete story.

In the interest of full disclosure I must needs reveal having been born into a family deeply involved in the oil production industry of California. Three of my mothers brothers were owners of independent drilling companies and two others were contractors in the oil well servicing business as was my father. I myself began work in the industry at the age of 15. I was able to partially finance an undergraduate degree by working for Conoco, Texaco, Monterey Oil Co. and later by operating up to 50 producing wells for independent producers.

During the early 1960s the Oil industry especially in California began to suffer a series of hits not entirely the result of declining reserves. Crude oil began to be imported from the Middle East at considerably less cost than that which was domestically produced. As a consequence, domestic wells were permanently abandoned as increasing costs of complying with the new governmentally mandated environmental regulations made them economically unfeasible. The redrilling of these wells is generally prohibited by recently implemented environmental regulations even though the price of crude oil has increased exponentially.

Middle Eastern crude oil delivered to the refinery at a cost of under $3.00 per barrel resulted in the abandonment of hundreds of wells producing 5 or less barrels per day at a cost approaching $3.60 per barrel. I was forced to sell 9 gravity crude oil containing 4% H20 for $1.00 per barrel. Needless to say this is not a recipe for economic survival and I consider myself fortunate to have been able to change careers in order to feed my family. The further decline of the oil industry since that era is the result of increasingly burdensome governmental regulations imposed at the behest of the environmental movement. This includes prohibition of offshore exploration and drilling off the west coast and eastern Gulf of Mexico even though considerable proven reserves exist there. Ironically, Cuba has contracted with Chinese firms to drill in the Gulf in an "Economic Zone" granted by the Carter administration ( the gift that just keeps giving).

On September 14, 1960 in Baghdad, Iraq, the cartel OPEC was founded " an attempt to organize and unify petroleum policies, securing stable prices for the petroleum producers". The purpose of cartels is to maximize the price of a commodity by controlling the market for it by the manipulation of supply as it relates to demand (Econ. 101). Cartels (monopolies) cannot succeed if faced with external competition hence the pressure exerted on Norway, a large producer of North Sea oil as well as Russia, to join the cartel which presently controls 40% of the worlds crude oil production.

The crusade carried on by the environmental movement capitalizing on the technological ignorance of a propagandized population to prohibit petroleum production on US controlled territory such as ANWR, western Alaska, west coast offshore, eastern Gulf of Mexico and the placing off limits of the huge oil sand resources of southern Utah by the stroke of Bill Clinton's pen is not the end of the story. A recently enacted law signed by George W. Bush will preclude the importation of petroleum from Canada as its refining will result in the increase of "greenhouse gases" thus "global warming".

There are many of our countrymen (mostly products of the government schools) who hasten to decry our reliance on the importation of foreign supplies of petroleum and the consequent accretion of power to the Islamic radicals who wish to either kill or enslave us. Think again gentle folk. For the $4.00+ per gallon price of gasoline you can thank an environmentalist without whom the muzzies would be forced into a free market for the commodity which they could never sell or even produce without the infidels' technology given their 7th century cultural system.

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Friday, March 07, 2008

This Just In: Cooling?

With the empirically observed global mean temperature data obtained over the last several decades (see above graphic) revealing the gradual 1.13 degree Celsius rise during the 20th century ending 10 years ago (1998) coupled with the decline in the just ending winter in the northern hemisphere the global warmistas are having a bit of difficulty. With no measurable increase in global mean temperature for 10 years and indeed a precipitous recent decline in such measurements, the warmistas are resorting to their favorite tactic of ad hominum attacks on those who would dare risk careers erected on grants by bureaucrats and politicians of taxpayer funds designed to increase government control of individual behavior.

We all remember during the last few years the seizure upon any unusually warm summer temperatures as further proof of the catastrophic impact of economic activity on global warming. Conversely, the implications of planet wide record setting cold temperatures and snowfall figures of the past winter season have been either ignored by the media and the warmistas or spun as further proof of the warming trend of the planet in order to push their agenda of forcing the implementation of drastic measures to transfer wealth and political power to the worlds politicians. One reporter on the recent record cold and snowfall experienced in the northern hemisphere received the following email from a warmista/bureaucrat who appears to work for the government of Ontario, Canada who states as follows: "What are you, retarded? Global warming = MORE snowfall. Not less." Meaning snowfall records will be broken. The way it is spun by the warmistas is that regardless of their prior predictions, ANY unusual event in the climate or weather is the result of anthropogenically caused global warming. What is most remarkable is the effectiveness of this brainwashing campaign on the general population.

The warmistas however, are less and less effective in convincing all and sundry that "the science is settled" and continue to rely on their fall back position of intimidating those who are skeptical of the heavy reliance on computer models referred to by one climatologist as "garbage in, gospel out".