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Financing Both Sides

14 Feb 2005 by Matthew Linderman

Thomas Friedman argues the Bush team is financing both sides of the war on terrorism. Forget social security, forcing Americans to use less gas is the real third rail of American politics.

By adamantly refusing to do anything to improve energy conservation in America, or to phase in a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax on American drivers, or to demand increased mileage from Detroit’s automakers, or to develop a crash program for renewable sources of energy, the Bush team is - as others have noted - financing both sides of the war on terrorism. We are financing the U.S. armed forces with our tax dollars, and, through our profligate use of energy, we are generating huge windfall profits for Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan, where the cash is used to insulate the regimes from any pressure to open up their economies, liberate their women or modernize their schools, and where it ends up instead financing madrassas, mosques and militants fundamentally opposed to the progressive, pluralistic agenda America is trying to promote. Now how smart is that?

57 comments so far (Post a Comment)

14 Feb 2005 | Dan said...

First, let me start by saying that I: a) voted for Kerry last October, b) am a registered independent, c) think Bush sucks as a president, and d) really love playing the devil's advocate. I think it's a role no one seems to be willing to play in American politics.

Having said that, I have a few problems with such a black-and-white barrage:

[The Bush administration is] refusing to do anything to improve energy conservation in America...

How would they do that? By bringing back A-cars? By passing laws demanding that we turn off our lights when we leave a room, carpool to work and turn the water off while we brush our teeth? When someone makes a statement like that, they're making the assumption that everyone will be on board. I just don't see this happening... Americans on both sides of the political fence have never really embraced being forced to change their lifestyles.

[The Bush administration should] phase in a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax on American drivers...

LOL... he's joking, right? Do you know how many industries such a tax would bankrupt almost immediately? And besides, he makes it sound like gas isn't already taxed.

[The Bush administration should] demand increased mileage from Detroit’s automakers...

This is the first decent point of the bunch... but alas, there are several problems with this idea as well. Congress can't just legislate (or "demand" as Mr. Friedman puts it) that automakers meet certain MPG requirements. There are so many variables and scientific restrictions that such laws would be rendered either impossible to enforce, impossible to abide by or the third and most likely occurrence, that the MPG requirements won't be much better than the baseline MPG standards as they exist via the free market. The only group that can demand such a change is the consumers, but we've got too much of a hardon for H2s.

[The Bush administration should] develop a crash program for renewable sources of energy...

This, along with the first and third options, suffer from the same fundamental flaw... this all sounds great so long as the crucial detail of timeframe is casually omitted from the conversation. If this were all so simple, we'd all be flying kites to work.

I'm sure I'll get vilified for having the nuts to step back and say "hang on a second." And maybe some of what I have to say is completely naive. But as I mentioned before, no one seems to want to look at a problem from anyone's eyes but their own. Discuss.

14 Feb 2005 | sloan said...

The $1 tax is crazy with the current infrastructure in the US. There are no options most of the time other than to drive. Give viable options first, then you can talk about a $1 tax...

"How would they do that?"
You set fees against businesses for using electricity when not needed, for instance, leaving all lights on over night. Restricting water usage per household and charge for overages... there are many ways and it is done all over the world, just not here. We were one of the last nations to get energy efficient, longer lasting light bulbs because industry kept them out and then expensive.

It has to be legislated simply because you're right, people as a whole don't self-regulate well. People are not willing to change unless they have to. But you don't have to hold a gun to their heads, you just have to nudge. Once it became law in NYC to recycle just about everyone did it. It took some time, but it took hold and does fairly well.

There is no free market for MPG standards for cars, it is legally set by the US government. The problem is that the Bush administration has pushed BACK MPG standards instead of enforcing them. The standards for SUVs is set as trucks, requiring less of them in terms of MPG AND emissions levels. For vehicles that are not being used AS trucks, that huge level of emissions and burning of oil is a big problem. Simply requiring a 1 MPG increase in fuel efficiency for SUVs would lower our dependence on foreign oil significantly.

The key to anything like these proposals is to make the initial pain light, and let them take effect over time. The problem with any legislation is that it can be overturned... just see the clean skies initiative from this administration... it does just the opposite. When dealing with the environment and energy reserves it is never a good idea to let the "market" figure things out. These are 2 things (among others) that you do not let reach a critical point (as markets often do) because they are too valuable and are not reversible.

14 Feb 2005 | Federico said...

It's silly to read this from intelligent people. You, people from the USA, always thinking you're the good boys. You aren't world's police. You aren't the pacekeepers of this world. Your military interventions only respond to economic interests, nothing else.

Every country that suffered your intromision in world's history (not only your military intervention, but also the central and south american CIA-sponsored dictatorships of the '60s and '70s) has only seen the poors geeting poorer and the richs getting richer, and in countries where there was some mid-class it was doomed. And always the scenario and the "solution" were the same: closed economies being opened by force, and then USA-based corporations installing and "sucking" the money out, in partnership with the local establishment.

The thing that makes me laugh is that even the non-Homero-Simpson american doesn't realize this and thinks that the world is the wild west and you're the sheriff. Come on men, open your eyes!

Sometimes i thing the whole USA society is down in the rabbit's hole...

14 Feb 2005 | Steven Marshall said...

[The Bush administration should] phase in a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax on American drivers...

LOL... he's joking, right? Do you know how many industries such a tax would bankrupt almost immediately? And besides, he makes it sound like gas isn't already taxed.

I'm not going to comment on any other portion of your reply, but this one almost made me choke!
Over here in the UK (and, in fact, most of Europe) our "gas" (or rather petrol, for us Brits) prices are far in excess of those in the US - roughly $6.60 per gallon, at current exchange rates (and that's being very conservative with calculations, and taking the lowest price I've seen in about three years).

Why? Taxation.

I highly doubt that increasing taxes would bankrupt as many businesses as you believe. There are, after all, many many countries in the world that consider the US a relative tax-haven, whose industries cope perfectly well.

14 Feb 2005 | wow said...

What, ran out of other things to blog about? ;)

14 Feb 2005 | David said...

What Dan said.

14 Feb 2005 | Benjy said...

Rather than raise gas taxes, the gov't needs to roll out CAFE rules to includes SUV's and raise the "gas guzzler" taxes on low milage vehicles, rather than taxing everybody across the board. Seems silly that while the guy driving a Corvette getting 15mpg pays a tax, his neighbor driving a Suburban does not. Base it on personal use registered vehicles so that tradesmen, etc. don't get taxed for low milage vehicles they actually need for their job.

14 Feb 2005 | Dan said...

Sloan:
Once it became law in NYC to recycle just about everyone did it.

Mass consumer recycling is one of the great myths of the last half century (this, of course, does not apply to heavy metals and the like). If you want to conserve as well as create energy, not to mention save a ton of money in the process, recycling should be discouraged (but aluminum is okay because of its value... think about it, do you ever see homeless collecting bags of paper?).

Simply requiring a 1 MPG increase in fuel efficiency for SUVs would lower our dependence on foreign oil significantly.

I disagree. I just can't see how that would make anything more than a laughably marginal debt in the amount of oil we consume, considering automobiles are only one tentacle of the octopus of American oil consumption.

Federico:
The thing that makes me laugh is that even the non-Homero-Simpson american doesn't realize this and thinks that the world is the wild west and you're the sheriff. Come on men, open your eyes!

Any fair-minded American knows that our government either actively participates in or freely allows corporate enterprises to do fucked-up shit. But the fact of the matter is that, in many respects, we're damned if we do and we're damned if we don't. And who's to say that your own government isn't doing its own brand of fucked-up shit? I know that the "you do it, too" defense is bullshit (though it's a favorite of many US politicans, PACs and other groups), but in any industrialized nation, a citizen is reduced to being a mere pundit.

Steven Marshall:
I highly doubt that increasing taxes would bankrupt as many businesses as you believe.

The industrial trickle-down effect of a $1 per gallon tax increase would be enormous. There are the obvious victims, such as the trucking industry and the bus industry (e.g. Greyhound), but think of the other economic damage that would be done if John and Jane Doe don't have as much disposible income because they had to spend 50% more of gas each month than they used to.

You're also assuming that the US federal government won't find a way to waste (or lose) the new revenue generated by such a tax. This is a group of people who have the uncanny ability of turning everything they touch into poo.

14 Feb 2005 | ikke said...

watch this:
http://easymoney.ea.funpic.org/

14 Feb 2005 | Steven Marshall said...

Dan, I dont' doubt that it would have some substantial effect (especially at the $1 per gallon mark), but I highly doubt that it would "bankrupt [entire industries] almost immediately". Yes, I realise I'm merely playing Semantics™, but someone has to!

To be honest, I'd probably go as far as to say that a few cents extra tax would be ample (if not over the top), considering the amount of oil the US market consumes.

You're also assuming that the US federal government won't find a way to waste (or lose) the new revenue generated by such a tax. This is a group of people who have the uncanny ability of turning everything they touch into poo.

That, of course, is a very good point - the US government tends to have just that ability in buckets.

15 Feb 2005 | sloan said...

"I just can't see how that would make anything more than a laughably marginal debt in the amount of oil we consume, considering automobiles are only one tentacle of the octopus of American oil consumption."
Automobiles account for a huge portion of US consumption (which is about 40% of the world), about 35% in the last report I read. An increase of 1 MPG would be more oil saved than all that might be in the arctic preserve. It isn't laughable. Reinstating 55MPH speed limits would help as would a gradual increase in taxes on gasoline and inefficient vehicles not used for business. Force this money to be used on _public_ transit infrastructure and cities like Los Angeles could be forced to extend rail where it is needed.

Hell, keeping the hybrid car tax break at $2,500 instead of lowering it to $1,500 would help. But this administration, nor any other not faced with a CRISIS is willing to do what is right and necessary for fear of unpopularity. Our unnecessary over-consumption of oil is always looked at in the short term, none of the consequences of a huge military presence in the middle east is equated when determining the cost of oil. But there is no way to deny that we end up paying for the oil and lack of initiative for other options... we pay dearly.

As for the reports on recycling; include all of the costs, including the dumps and land fills required if there is no recycling, and you get a very different answer. I always try to find out WHO funds a study, and then look for more than one resource... unfortunately, today just as much misinformation as information can be put out. Look at the "recycling myth" and "global warming", both "sides" can quote "science".

15 Feb 2005 | Mike S said...

Current MPG standards results in the equivalent of one Columbine a day from increased motor vehicle deaths. CAFE is trading blood for oil. I would not be proud of promoting that immoral trade-off.

This whole oil thing is a crock. We've plenty of oil, the reservoirs keep filling from deeper pools, etc. The Greens have killed millions with their politically-inspired ban on DDT and other health-giving substances. I have had it with their pseudo-science deceit and "save the earth, sacrifice the people" ideology.

CAFE 'death' standards = A Columbine a Day, WSJ, 5Mar02
http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/tbray/?id=105001723

15 Feb 2005 | Freddy said...

Gasoline is heavily subsidized by the federal government. Costs of these susidies "total up to $1.69 trillion per year, according to the [progress] report." A $1.00/gallon tax isn't really a tax at all.

15 Feb 2005 | Freddy said...

Apologies for not posting the source of the above...

http://www.progress.org/gasoline.htm

15 Feb 2005 | David said...

It seems to me that most of you are missing the point of Friedman's article. His point has nothing to do with the whether oil reserves are decreasing (evidence shows that at the current rate it is a very long time off before we would deplete the known reserves), nor does it focus on global warming (though every scientist who has seriously studied the issue believes it is real and a result of man's actions). His point is that much of the money we spend on oil goes to the governments and wealthy oil men of those countries which sponser terrorism. These governments are able to maintain power in spite of providing very poor living conditions for their people because of the money that is pumped in from oil consumers. This money allows these countries to exist without ever truly developing past third world conditions - conditions that include not educating women and having their young men taught in radical fundamentalist Islamic schools. No amount of bombing or economic sanctions or spy activity is going to be able to defeat terrorism if these schools continue to pump our endoctrinated young men who see no good economic opportunities for themselves. If we are going to truly win a "war on terrorism" then we must address that fact our oil money plays a very large part in perpetuating this situation in the middle east.

It doesn't really matter how we reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it only matters that we do. Perhaps you have an idea on how to do this which doesn't attach the true cost of oil to its price via higher taxes. If you do, I'd love to hear it. The point really isn't in how we do it, the point is that we must reduce our dependence on oil for our own national security.

15 Feb 2005 | sloan said...

Mike S,
First, there is no concrete evidence that oil reserves regenerate. Even if they did, the current US consumption is so high that only 25% of US oil can come from the US. Add to that fact that more countries are industrializing and the foreign supply will continue to go up in price and our standing in the middle east will become even murkier. Put all "green" issues aside, and it is _cheaper_ for us to become less dependent on oil.

Many insects developed resistance to DDT. DDT was found to be highly toxic in fish and other animals. DDT is chemically stable and fat soluble, meaning it gets stored in a system for longer periods of times and accumulates. It damages the liver, the nervous system, and was shown to affect reproduction. It is bad stuff in high doses, but because of the fact it does not break down easily, you cannot control the exposure easily. There are better alternatives today.

The CAFE article... 1) Fuel efficiency does not mean reducing safety. You can increase efficiencies in numerous ways, the gasoline engine is not perfect and the idea of regenerative breaking has been around forever but is only now becoming common. You can have STRONGER and LIGHTER building materials in vehicles. Cost becomes an issue, but then everything goes down in price with greater supply. 2) Bigger and heavier actually creates a more dangerous one car crash situation. More mass means more momentum, which is much more difficult to stop and causes more accidents. Maybe less are fatal in the US, but fatality is more a result of design than mass. A NASCAR car weighs less than 4,000 pounds and has a much higher survival rate than a truck. Safety standards in the US should be increased WITH fuel efficiency. It is perfectly acheivable, just look at the cars that are the safest. 3) Less massive cars are more manuverable and avoid more accidents.

I have a friend who studied seat belt laws and could _prove_ that more people died once seat belt laws were inacted. The problem? It was a result of people _feeling_ safer and driving more recklessly, not the seatbelts themselves. The same is true with trucks like SUVs. A lot of people drive them beyond their capabilities and get in more accidents. Does that make them more or less safe than smaller cars?

15 Feb 2005 | Kris said...

I live in Brussels,
blue bag for the metal and plastic,
yellow bag for the paper,
white bag for the rest.
There's a special day for collecting christmas trees in early January

Seeing these ads in the streets make me laugh and tell me that "Recycling is natural" :

It's a question of mentality. Recycling IS something natural (I mean ... NATURAL) to me now, really.

When I see those big Hummers and other big cars consuming that amount of gasoline, I'm sad.

k.

15 Feb 2005 | Dick Davies said...

"The industrial trickle-down effect of a $1 per gallon tax increase would be enormous.......don't have as much disposible income because they had to spend 50% more of gas each month than they used to."

I'm not sure what I'm more shocked by - the fact that anyone would begrudge paying $2 a gallon, or that you pay $1 a gallon at present?

No wonder the planet is so fuct if this is true. I'm surprised Merkins
don't use gas to clean their drains...

15 Feb 2005 | Don Schenck said...

CBS News (perhaps not a good source *grin*) says traffic deaths are down.

15 Feb 2005 | Don Schenck said...

A tax on gas? Like that will help!

Our entire approach to building subdivisions is wacked. Study how, for example, England's zoning laws compare to ours. We don't have the zoning laws to support communities; instead, we have towns. Big difference.

Until our society is more geared to a more communal type of living, where people can easily walk, bike, or drive a fuel-efficient vehicle without fear of big trucks and SUVS, etc, we don't solve our lust for black gold (Texas Tea ... well the kins folks said ... sorry ... got sidetracked).

Our entire context of living must change before we become "lighter".

15 Feb 2005 | Arne Gleason said...

I think “financing both sides” is a bit contrived. It assumes attributes for the sides that are convenient to the argument. It does give a hint that the objectives for US policy voiced publicly are at very least simplified and very possibly deceptive -- but when have they ever not been? (…and by necessity? Maybe I’m being too cynical again)

I look forward to the day when fossil fuels are considered a non-viable from an economic standpoint and hope whatever replaces them is accessible and producible in an unavoidably equitable way (so that competition is necessarily fluid) . Until then, if ever, I’d expect the fight over oil to only become more central to world events, and the mechanics of that fighting to grind up unfortunates at an accelerating pace (and always ensconced deceptively and self-deceptively in the cloak of making the world a better place).

I enjoy blathering about things like this, but find myself worrying afterwards that my clueless-ness be mistaken for something else (only by the most naïve few I’m sure). But, being almost completely wrong doesn’t seem to stop many others from speaking, so why worry? - enjoy.

15 Feb 2005 | Dan said...

I'm not sure what I'm more shocked by - the fact that anyone would begrudge paying $2 a gallon, or that you pay $1 a gallon at present?

Actually, here in Chicago, a gallon of gas hovers from around $1.90 - 2.10. Still not like what Europeans pay, but it isn't a dollar anywhere in the country.

But the cost of gas is irrevelant to the point I was making. If you increase a relatively fixed cost by 50%, any company will absorb some financial pain. And those companies that rely on gas for their sole existence will be hurt the most. If John and Jane Doe have to spend $150 a month on gas instead of $100, they won't go out to dinner one night like they would have before, meaning that restaurant loses business. Multiply that by a hundred million taxpayers and you've got trillions of dollars that used to be reinvested in the American economy going instead to the... federal government. Thanks but no thanks.

Besides, I'm of the belief that taxing things you don't want people to use (like cigarettes) is a terrible deterrent.

15 Feb 2005 | salas said...

ikke's link is comment spam and leads to a site with a bunch of banner ads and no content.

Mandating more fuel efficient cars that rely less on gas power will hurt the car manufacturers in the short run but help them in the long run. The next sea change of automobile manufacturing will be to solar/electric power regardless of government intervention because those cars will be cheaper to produce and own.

Eight years ago, the Internet was for nerds, but that quickly turned around. Right now eco-friendly cars are for environment freaks, and that market will experience a similar turn-around. If we can stop funding pro-terrorist regimes and help our car manufacturers get a jump on international competitors by mandating more fuel-efficient cars, that's a win-win.

15 Feb 2005 | Benjy said...

As gas-saving technologies such as hybrid cars are becomming feasible in the consumer market, states are now trying to counter a decrease in gas tax revenue by contemplating a mileage tax. While today there significant savings via tax breaks and lower fuel costs, such a move would surely slow the adoption of hybrids. One step forward, two steps back...

15 Feb 2005 | Dan said...

From the article Benjy just posted: The system could also track how often you drive during rush hour and charge higher fees to discourage peak use.

That is absolute madness...

15 Feb 2005 | Don Schenck said...

Something already like this is being done in London where they charge extra for driving in "congestion zones".

15 Feb 2005 | Dan said...

Something already like this is being done in London where they charge extra for driving in "congestion zones".

Yeah, I've heard about this, but a system like that only makes sense in a city with adequate alternatives to driving. In my opinion, London's mass transit system is one of, if not the best in the world. Anyone who has ever ridden the Tube can testify that we have nothing even remotely close in America. The convenience and locations of the El in Chicago are tenuous at best by comparison.

15 Feb 2005 | Don Schenck said...

Yeah, I was impressed by the tube system. Got around pretty easy.

15 Feb 2005 | David Benton said...

Our expenses aren't allocated to our income, and it creates some confusion. In business it is important to know which products are profitable, and by how much. To do this:

each expense should be allocated against product lines or customer segments based on the relative consumption of the resource provided by the expense [bizpeponline]

In other words, if you use half of your total iron ore to make SuperSprockets™, then half of the cost of the total iron ore should be balanced against the profit from SuperSprockets™.

In the foreign oil example things are a little trickier. The profit in this case is our (American Consumers') ability to drive gas-powered vehicles. I think we can all agree that we would be far less involved/entangled in Middle Eastern politics if not for the oil, therefore, the cost of our involvement in the Middle East (including the current war) should be balanced against our ability to drive.

As mentioned in another post, oil is subsidized in the U.S. In addition to this direct subsidizing, the government indirectly subsidizes oil further by not allocating the cost of involvement in the Middle East directly to oil consumers (these costs come instead in the form of income taxes).

The low cost of oil leads to some confusion for consumers. Most do not see the cost in income tax dollars and in international unrest as being connected to their driving habits. Removing direct subsidies, and possibly even indirect subsidies, would make the true cost of oil apparent to consumers.

Other posters gave convincing reasons to maintain low gas prices, but their reasons are merely compelling red herrings. I will only address one specifically: Mike S. reffered to CAFE as trading blood for oil. The article he linked to spoke soberingly of the cost in lives of smaller vehicles, and I believe that is a trully a cost of smaller, more efficient cars. However, CAFE is not what the original post suggests. The original post suggests allocating costs more directly, and leaves the choice of vehicle to the consumer. Consumers should be aware, should be made aware, of the risks of driving smaller, lighter cars, but the choice is theirs. Without heavily subsidized oil, consumers can make a more rational, informed decision.

Side note: Some may have noticed that the reallocation of expenses I propose above implies that your income taxes should be lowered as oil taxes are raised. Even if you can explain the rest of this to your congresswoman, I'm afraid that part will prove too elusive for her.

15 Feb 2005 | runtime said...

re DDT:

Greenpeace and WWF have (somewhat) reversed their opposition to DDT. What do they say to all those malaria victims? "oh, sorry, our bad.."?

http://www.torontofreepress.com/2005/cover020905.htm

15 Feb 2005 | sloan said...

DDT. Yes, it works. Does it do bad things too? Yes. Can you measure the harm it does in the same way was malaria deaths? Not so easily. That's the end of my Rumsfeld impression...

To say simply that DDT is a good thing though is misleading. It can have short term gains in reducing malaria caused deaths, but it effects whole ecosystems, food sources, and all sorts of other problems. How about better treatment for malaria? More preventative tools like DEET in low doses? There are other ways, same as the discussion about vehicle safety isn't about mass only, oil cost isn't only about price at the pump, neither is DDT a black and white, use DDT or die from malaria.

15 Feb 2005 | Don Schenck said...

Well now, there's the beauty of their past position. You see, you need not apologize to dead people.

Tell it to Rachel Carson.

16 Feb 2005 | Mike S said...

Some added info for those interested
1. Oil field refilling was first observed in 1995 by a Woods Hole scientist and again in 2002
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/brucebartlett/printbb20020529.shtml

2. DDT is not harmful to humans or the environment or to animals when properly applied. The complete ban on all use was a completely political act by Nixon’s EPA administrator that ignored much scientific testing. Millions have died from malaria as a result.
What the World Needs is DDT, New York Times, April 2004
Requires paid access. Free copy available at:
http://courses.washington.edu/kvcfr/KV%20Health%20NYTonDDT.pdf

3. Death By Environmentalism
Deaths from CAFÉ standards, DDT ban and other ill-advised policies fostered by the environmental crowd
http://www.intellectualconservative.com/article3340.html

16 Feb 2005 | Darrel said...

"Gasoline is heavily subsidized by the federal government."

Yep. We're fine with that. We seem fine with subsidizing football stadiums and much of corporate america as well. But subsidizing some poor folks? Or medicine? Hell no!

Yea, we have our priorities straight...

16 Feb 2005 | sloan said...

1) Not even the article says that oil is regenerative, but that possibly more crude is bubbling in. The rate would be incredibly slow and this idea is NOT currently supported by scientists. It has 2 _possible_ examples. That's not science. Again, even if oil can continually be found (which it cannot, the components of crude are used up when we burn it), it is not a clean energy resource nor is there enough in the US to supply the need. Without a change in energy policy the US will continue to back both sides of the wars in the middle east.

2) DDT is toxic. It is absorbed even through the skin because it is highly lipid soluble, a major factor in flux (or penetration) through skin memebranes. As such, it is incredibly deterimental to the liver, nervous system and other parts of the human body. The low water solubility is both why it works so well as a pesticide and why it is dangerous. It won't break down or dillute until it is absorbed by a lipid host like an animal. It might be the only thing left for some places to use in the fight against malaria, but that does not mean it is not harmful or that it should be a first choice. It is not needed in the US and should not be used in the US.

Quoting articles from Town Hall and Intellectual Conservative are not facts. They are not news organizations, they are conservative websites dedicated to one side of the story and are opinion pieces. It would be akin to an envrionmentalist linking to PETA... not exactly objective.

16 Feb 2005 | Arne Gleason said...

“Oil field refilling… DDT is not harmful… Death by Environmentalism”

Hey, if we take a second look there’s more much oil than we think, pesticides don’t really harm things, and putting controls on fuel efficiency necessarily results in widespread death. Good to know. Burn, spray, strip, cut, dump and drive the biggest gas guzzler you can baby – it’s all good when you know the “real” facts.

16 Feb 2005 | Mike S said...

Re: Mark Sloan

So what is acceptable to you? A scientific journal article, a New York Times article (since you did not object to quoting from that it appears that could be your standard for truth) or the Audubon Society allowing oil drilling on wildlife refuges (which they have already done)?

Do I have to post the hundreds of pages of scientific evidence ignored by the EPA in 1971 when they banned DDT?

Are court case documents verifying deaths due to CAFE acceptable to you? (CEI won a case against NHTSA for covering up blood for oil impact of CAFE in early 90s)

How about 17,000 scientists signing a petition stating man-made global warming does not exist?

Or would none of these change your mind and simply be a waste of my time?

16 Feb 2005 | sloan said...

Hm. I don't think I quoted the NYTimes...
There are hundreds of scientific papers about the effects of DDT. A lot of new information since the 60s in bio-chemistry points to even more problems with structures like DDT. There is not a lot of recent scientific inquiry into DDT because it is not needed in the US and therefore not studied much here.

CAFE. It is poor science, period, to measure only ONE variable such as mass to determine safety of a vehicle. Have many car companies screwed safety to meet other demands? I would bet on it, they are companies concerned with profit, not safety. And they should be held accountable, but that doesn't mean envrionmentalists are to blame or that MPG standards are wrong or unacheivable. Fuel economy does not cause fatalities, poorly designed vehicles and drivers do.

Hm. 17,000 scientists... that's amazing. Are they all actually involved in climate change sciences? No, because there aren't 17,000 scientists in the field. The issue with global warming isn't about whether it is happening, but to what extent humans are impacting it. The top scientists IN THE FIELD say that historical data alone cannot account for the trends we are currently experiencing. There is still a lot of research to be done, but the evidence so far shows that the earth's change of inclination, which occurs over HUGE amounts of time, is causing some global warming but the speed at which the warming has occured, and the extent that it is predicted to reach, is directly related to the non-natural emissions of green-house gases, CFCs and other man made pollutants. Man isn't causing global warming, but man is making it worse. The total impact of that is still being studied.

What is not acceptable to me, since you asked... 1) Stating opinion as fact. 2) Stating scientific facts are lies of some conspiracy. There are lies, damn lies, and statistics right? So don't rely on just numbers or the results of a "scientific" test. Just about everything is being manipulated by someone these days to prove their own point instead of investigating the truth of a matter.

16 Feb 2005 | Arne Gleason said...

“How about 17,000 scientists signing a petition stating man-made global warming does not exist?”

Reminds me of the "100 Scientists Against Einstein" paper ("If I were wrong, one would have been enough." -- Einstein). Scientists establishing evidence in terms of a petition strikes me as being fundamentally anti-science (Just who was signing that thing anyway? Did anyone check?).

16 Feb 2005 | sloan said...

Either way, 17,000 or 100, it is just another example of "sides" taking precedence over science and fact. I don't even know if the people in the 60's intentionally upped the rhetoric on DDT and distorted facts or if they were simply caught up in a cause that they felt was right. It happens all the time regardless of "side". And now more than ever, instead of checking facts, the media act as echo chambers. Getting the word first has supplanted getting the word correctly. Fox, CBS, CNN, they all suck. So we are stuck with trying to weed through a morass of misinformation and crap to find some truth and fact and come up with our own opinion. You hear it all the time on "news" shows, especially O'Reilly, "now, this is just my opinion, but..." and it is on a news show. It's ridiculous.

17 Feb 2005 | Darrel said...

"How about 17,000 scientists signing a petition stating man-made global warming does not exist?"

Yea, I'd like to see that.

18 Feb 2005 | Mike S said...

DDT IS GOOD
This is a letter to second grade girls (being indoctrinated by enviro propaganda in school) that has several informative links related to DDT from Dr. J. Gordon Edwards, emeritus professor of entomology at San Jose State University. Edwards documents some of the misstatements in Carson's Silent Spring, the 1962 book that poisoned public opinion against DDT and other pesticides. Dr. Edwards started his entomology classes each semester by eating a tablespoon of DDT, to show that it wasn't harmful. (He is now in his 80s, and still climbing mountains.)

http://www.sanjuanislander.com/letters/environment/pesticides.shtml

GLOBAL WARMING MYTH
The petition signed by 17,000 scientists against man-made 'global warming' can be viewed here:

http://www.sitewave.net/pproject/

The published paper on Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide is also good reading.

18 Feb 2005 | Arne Gleason said...

"DDT IS GOOD"
"Dr. Edwards started his entomology classes each semester by eating a tablespoon of DDT..."

It's not just good. It's Umm, umm, good!

18 Feb 2005 | Darrel said...

The acton institute? Are you serious?

I will admit that it's an impressive bit of spin...turning 'religion' and 'science' into an argument for eliminating government regulation corporate responsibility.

18 Feb 2005 | Mike S said...

CLIMATE SCIENCE UPDATES
The SEPP organization has much good science on their site. Dr. Fred Singer's newsletter is a very informative weekly wrap-up on climate change stuff. It also lists other petitions that you may find more acceptable.
http://www.sepp.org/

Dr. Singer's background
http://www.sepp.org/bios/singer/biosfs.html

BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE ON MAN'S RELATION TO THE ENVIRONMENT
Since worshiping the creation rather than the Creator is at the heart of many of the green types the link below from the Acton Institute in Michigan provides the balance needed. It is a good read for those wishing to understand the relation of man to the world God placed here for us. For those who consider the sum total of our existence to be 70 years (higher in Western nations with lots of life-giving technology) and then a hole in the ground it may not be as useful.

A Biblical Perspective on Environmental Stewardship
http://www.acton.org/ppolicy/environment/theology/m_protest.html

19 Feb 2005 | sloan said...

Hm. SEPP again... gets money from where? Exxon for one.
http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=65
http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.php?id=1

Why, when there are very few in the field saying that humans are not contributing to climate change, are you stating the opposite view with so much conviction? Are you THAT into conspiracy theories? Do you really believe that God gave us this planet to do what is best for us? Which really doesn't back the burning of fossil fuels anyway seeing as how they are pollutants and are not able to sustain our energy needs alone. So the current route we are taking will continue climate change and destroy air quality and in the meantime, we are involved waaaaay to deep in the middle east.

20 Feb 2005 | Mike S said...

'Global warming' is a fiction because it is based on faulty computer models. Measured temperature data does not support any man-made warming. The 'hockey stick' warming graph (accepted uncritically by the United Nations IPCC) imploded in 2004 when independent researchers determined that the algorithm and data had been cooked. This is well documented in any number of venues.

Global Warming Bombshell, 15Oct04
http://technologyreview.com/articles/04/10/wo_muller101504.asp?p=0

Still waiting for Greenhouse
http://www.john-daly.com/

Global warming was cooked up by the same crowd that warned of global cooling in the mid-70s. They preach gloom and doom to get buckets of money from those who know that control over natural resources means TOTAL control over people (and they don't even have to call it totalitarianism -- just call it 'saving the earth').

A leading hurricane scientist just resigned from the United Nation IPCC because of their dishonest political stance on global warming. (Yeah, the UN-that's who I want to trust with the future of the planet)

http://www.michnews.com/artman/publish/article_6873.shtml

DRILL ANWR
Let's drill ANWR to reduce our dependence on Middle East oil.

Testimony of Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton Before the House Committee on Resources On the Arctic Coastal Plain Domestic Energy Security Act of 2003

http://www.doi.gov/news/anwr/ANWRtestimony.htm

ANWR

http://www.anwr.org/index.php

20 Feb 2005 | Mike S said...

The Wall Street Journal published two articles in the past week regarding the corrupt data used to push the myth of man-made 'global warming'.

Hockey Stick on Ice (18Feb05)
Politicizing the science of global warming.
http://www.opinionjournal.com/forms/printThis.html?id=110006314

In Climate Debate, The 'Hockey Stick' Leads to a Face-Off
Nonscientist Assails a Graph Environmentalists Use, And He Gets a Hearing (14Feb05)

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/article_print/0,,SB110834031507653590-H9jg4NllaN4n5ysaICHaKmFm4,00.html


As Michael Crichton said in his excellent C-SPAN Book talk over the past week: why can't the data paid for by government monies be released on the Net so all interested parties could analyze it? Why do people have to sue to get their hands on data paid for by US tax dollars? By having a large audience look at the data we would get the same kind of wide review that took down Dan Rather and his despicable forgeries.

Crichton transcript from State of Fear Book Talk on C-SPAN2:
http://aei-brookings.org/publications/abstract.php?pid=894

20 Feb 2005 | Darrel said...

You are a whiz with links, aren't you Mike?

21 Feb 2005 | Don Schenck said...

Mike, please use HREF's in the future. Please.

Thanks.

21 Feb 2005 | Mike S said...

Why won't this blog software automatically recognize the http:// and make it a href?? Even MS Word does that.

Good design does not require the user to do something that the app/computer can do. I post to other blogs and message boards that have this capability.

22 Feb 2005 | Darrel said...

Actually, I was commenting on your style rather than the technical aspects of your links.

The debate with you has been:

Mike: Posts links to right-wing funded, factually lacking agenda fronting web sites.
Others: Point out the links are right-wing funded, factually lacking agenda fronting web sites.
In response, Mike posts links to other right-wing funded, factually lacking agenda fronting web sites.

And we repeat.

22 Feb 2005 | Mike S said...

I'm sending an e-mail now to let the Wall Street Journal, MIT (Technology Review) and the Dept of the Interior know that Darrel considers them to be right-wing funded, factually lacking sources.

Good thing the main stream media (Dan Rather) and New York Times don't fall into that category:
"The New York Times has concluded, after an extensive internal investigation, that one of its former reporters committed "frequent acts of journalistic fraud." (http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/Northeast/05/10/ny.times.reporter/)

"In just two years, the fabrications of Jayson Blair and Jack Kelley have led to the ouster of the top editors of the New York Times and USA Today; CBS News melted down in using apparently bogus documents for a story on President Bush; . . ."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40749-2005Feb20.html

Oh well.

22 Feb 2005 | sloan said...

"But now a shock: Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have uncovered a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program that was used to produce the hockey stick."
And many more scientists have refutiated MacIntyre and McKitrick...
http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3630425
The Economist isn't known to be a hotbed of liberal activity, but go for it...

The main debate going on now isn't whether man has contributed to global warming, it is whether reducing or even completely stopping emissions would do any good this late in the game. Of course, it would help in air quality and other health issues.

The insane part of all of this is that by making a huge point of whether it is man-made or not we continue to drag our feet on doing something about global warming period. 80% or so of the world's population lives on coasts... rising sea levels and changes in ocean temperatures are going to be interesting...

23 Feb 2005 | Mike S said...

I thought this quote by a respected physicist, Richard Feynman, was relevant to both sides of our friendly blog debate:

"I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong." -- Richard Feynman, famous physicist who was part of the panel investigating the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster in 1986.

To those say 'do something' and "the sky is falling" I would respond "let's look before we leap"

24 Feb 2005 | Arne Gleason said...

The irony of you posting that Feynman quote is so overwhelming my head is spinning - I need to get a coffee. Not only are you mis-contextualizing this quote, but of the many ways you could have chosen to recognize Feynman, you chose his exposing of how NASA leadership failed to take heed of the warnings from their technical staff, resulting in disaster. And then…and then you follow it with finger waving “sky is falling reference”. I’m speechless (we’ll not really apparently).

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