The Age Of Embarrassment

Seventh of a series

politics-sciencealgoremeltingice

I title this series The Age Of Embarrassment to reflect on our divergence from a different era, which historians now call The Age Of Enlightenment. I mainly concentrate on foolish arguments against anthropogenic global warming (AGW), but I am not required to.

Recently I did an  overview of a book (pamphlet) by conservative columnist Ben Shapiro. The short title is How to Debate Leftists, and it deals with what the title indicates. In my review I bore down on some of Shapiro’s comments on AGW. He’s opposed. Which brings him into focus for this discussion.

From Wikipedia, “On September 21, 2015, Shapiro founded The Daily Wire and started serving as its editor-in-chief.” The result was that The Daily Wire appears to be a likely source to mine for Shapiro’s thinking on AGW. A rich vein it turns out to be:

The Most Comprehensive Assault On ‘Global Warming’ Ever

It made sense.  Knowing that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that our industrialized world is adding a large amount of it to the atmosphere on a yearly basis, I accepted the premise that this would cause global temperatures to rise.  But one day about 7 years ago, I looked at the ubiquitous graph showing the “global” temperature of the last 150 years and noticed something odd.  It was subtle, and as I found out later, disguised so that it would be overlooked.  There appeared to be a period of about 40 years between 1940 and 1980 where the global temperatures actually declined a bit.  As a data analysis expert, I could not ignore that subtle hint and began to look into it a little more.  Forty years is a long time, and while carbon dioxide concentrations were increasing exponentially over the same period, I could not overlook that this showed an unexpected shift in the correlation between global temperatures and CO2 concentrations. Thus I began to look into it a little further and here are some of the results 7 years later.

The author is an adjunct professor of physics and more. From the article:

Mike van Biezen is adjunct professor at Compton College, Santa Monica College, El Camino College, and Loyola Marymount University teaching Physics, Mathematics, Astronomy, and Earth Science.

That should be impressive enough. Let’s see what Mr. Biezen has to say about AGW. There are ten points:

  1. Temperature records from around the world do not support the assumption that today’s temperatures are unusual.
  2. Satellite temperature data does not support the assumption that temperatures are rising rapidly:
  3. Current temperatures are always compared to the temperatures of the 1980’s, but for many parts of the world the 1980’s was the coldest decade of the last 100+ years:
  4. The world experienced a significant cooling trend between 1940 and 1980:
  5. Urban heat island effect skews the temperature data of a significant number of weather stations:
  6. There is a natural inverse relationship between global temperatures and atmospheric CO2levels:
  7. The CO2 cannot, from a scientific perspective, be the cause of significant global temperature changes:
  8. There have been many periods during our recent history that a warmer climate was prevalent long before the industrial revolution:
  9. Glaciers have been melting for more than 150 years
  10. “Data adjustment” is used to continue the perception of global warming:

I will go though these in turn, but the reader will need to go to the original article to get the complete wording. Start by noting that Mike van Biezen does not have a Ph.D. in any of the topics mentioned in his connection with his teaching at Loyola Marymount University. In fact, he does not appear to have a Ph.D. in any academic field. His current position is program manager for Raytheon Corporation, a company he has worked for since 1984. He is not a full time professor at Loyola. Not having a Ph.D. is not exclusionary. It is not required that Biezen have a Ph.D. for us to take his arguments seriously. All that is necessary is that he be right. He is not. Start with number 1.

Number 1. Contradictory to what Biezen says, temperature records from around the world support the conclusion that today’s temperatures are unusual, higher than in recent history.

science-globaltemperature

The plot and the following are from NASA’s climate site:

This graph illustrates the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures. The 10 warmest years in the 136-year record all have occurred since 2000, with the exception of 1998. The year 2015 ranks as the warmest on record. (Source: NASA/GISS). This research is broadly consistent with similar constructions prepared by the Climatic Research Unit and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Mr. Biezen provides his readers with misleading information:

The all-time high temperature record for the world was set in 1913, while the all-time cold temperature record was set in 1983.  By continent, all but one set their all-time high temperature record more recently than their all-time cold temperature records.

Start with the all-time high record:

On 13 September 2012 the World Meteorological Organisation disqualified the record for the highest recorded temperature, exactly 90 years after it had been established at El Azizia, Libya, with a measurement of 58°C. The official highest recorded temperature is now 56.7°C (134°F), which was measured on 10 July 1913 at Greenland Ranch, Death Valley, California, USA.

So, Biezen’s record high was recently eclipsed by a new record, which he failed to notice, but which does not matter in this discussion. Biezen’s all-time low record is still valid:

The lowest natural temperature ever directly recorded at ground level on Earth is −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F; 184.0 K), which was at the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica, on July 21, 1983. Analysis of satellite data indicated a probable temperature of around −93.2 °C (−135.8 °F; 180.0 K), in East Antarctica, on August 10, 2010; however, this reading was not confirmed by ground measurements.

After all that has been said, this turns out to be irrelevant. What matters to the global climate is the average taken over the entire planet. Individual highs and lows can occur in contrast to record high and low global averages.

Mr. Biezen has deliberately misled his readers, and Ben Shapiro, as editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, has facilitated this subterfuge by promoting Biezen’s scam.

Number 2. I’m not too sure I want to follow up on Biezen’s number 2. He uses the weasel word “rapidly,” as in “temperatures are rising rapidly” However, assuming “rapidly” means “rising,” here is a plot showing the rise, seemingly in contradiction to Biezen’s assertions:

science-surfacesatellitetemperaturemeasurments

Number 3. Here’s what Biezen has to say:

If the current temperatures are compared to those of the 1930’s one would find nothing remarkable.  For many places around the world, the 1930’s were the warmest decade of the last 100 years, including those found in Greenland.  Comparing today’s temperatures to the 1980’s is like comparing our summer temperatures to those in April, rather than those of last summer.  It is obvious why the global warming community does this, and very misleading (or deceiving).

Again Biezen is being intentionally misleading. If his deception is not intentional, then it is a result of gross incompetence. Had he been reading this blog he would have been better informed and not fallen victim to such false and misleading information. I wrote:

This is interesting. Government agencies, NASA (National Aviation and Space Administration) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), have been tweaking scientific measurements to give the false impression that global temperatures are rising. That would be scientific misconduct at best and criminal misuse of governmental authority at worst. If only it were true.

Besides already knowing the background, I picked up on an obvious clue in the last paragraph above. “[T]he hottest decade in the US was in the 1930s.” Taking first that the statement is true, how does this bear on average global  temperatures over the past hundred years or more? The world wonders.

From that point forward this item from Breitbart needs additional scrutiny. The facts may not be as interesting as Breitbart, but they have the advantage of being facts. The NOAA has posted an explanation of the process so recently assailed by that reputable scientific source, Breitbart. Here is an excerpt:

Monitoring Global and U.S. Temperatures at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information

There are several factors that are important in monitoring global or U.S. temperature: quality of raw observations, length of record of observations, and the analysis methods used to transform raw data into reliable climate data records by removing existing biases from the data. An additional process takes the multiple climate data records and creates U.S. or global average temperatures.

Yes, this is the same Breitbart news outlet previously involved with Ben Shapiro. Here is a graphic from the previous posting:

science-agw-smith-and-reynolds-2002-001

Number 4. Biezen writes:

Many places around the world experienced a quite significant and persistent cooling trend to the point where scientists began to wonder if the world was beginning to slide into a new ice age period.

And more. Again, Biezen wants to point to regional trends, ignoring that the G in AGW stands for “global.”

Number 5.

It has been shown that nighttime temperatures recorded by many weather stations have been artificially raised by the expulsion of radiant heat collected and stored during the daytime by concrete and brick structures such as houses, buildings, roads, and also cars. Temperature records from around the world do not support the assumption that today’s temperatures are unusual.

For the fifth time, what Biezen says flies in the face of known fact:

Many global warming skeptics have long claimed that the urban heat island effect is so strong that it has skewed temperature measurements indicating that global warming is happening. The skeptics argue that efforts to curb global warming pollution are therefore unnecessary, citing their pet theory that surface temperature stations were swallowed by, or moved closer to, cities, thus skewing surface temperature records on the whole.

The BEST papers – which still must go through rigorous peer review – confirm what climate scientists have correctly stated previously, demonstrating without doubt that “very rural” temperature stations miles from any new “UHI” towns or cities have also recorded warming at 0.9 degrees Celsius over the last century.

Number 6.

Contrary to what would be assumed when listening to global warming banter or while watching An Inconvenient Truth, higher temperatures increase atmospheric CO2 levels and lower temperatures decrease atmospheric CO2 levels, not the other way around.  Any college freshman chemistry student knows that the solubility of CO2 decreases with increasing temperatures and thus Earth’s oceans will release large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere when the water is warmer and will absorb more CO2 when the water is colder.

And more. Really? Consider the Keeling Curve:

875px-Mauna_Loa_Carbon_Dioxide_Apr2013

In 1958 Charles David Keeling started keeping a record of CO2 measurements taken at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. This is about 11,000 feet above sea level, out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. That annual cycle in CO2 levels in the atmosphere is due to the greening of deciduous plants in the Northern Hemisphere on a yearly cycle. The Northern Hemisphere land mass is larger than the Southern Hemisphere mass, and has more plant growth. When trees in the north put out leaves in the spring and begin to take CO2 from the atmosphere, the level goes down. When the leaves fall a few months later the CO2 extraction slows down, and the natural introduction (decaying leaves and dead plants) of CO2 into the atmosphere continues. At no point does the Keeling Curve support Mr. Biezen’s number 6.

Number 7. He says:

The CO2 molecule is a linear molecule and thus only has limited natural vibrational frequencies, which in turn give this molecule only limited capability of absorbing radiation that is radiated from the Earth’s surface.  The three main wavelengths that can be absorbed by CO2 are 4.26 micrometers, 7.2 micrometers, and 15.0 micrometers.  Of those 3, only the 15-micrometer is significant because it falls right in range of the infrared frequencies emitted by Earth.  However, the H2O molecule which is much more prevalent in the Earth’s atmosphere, and which is a bend molecule, thus having many more vibrational modes, absorbs many more frequencies emitted by the Earth, including to some extent the radiation absorbed by CO2.

Which is true, but again misleading. Water in the atmosphere accounts for much more of the greenhouse effect than CO2. This planet’s surface (oceans and atmosphere) would be many degrees cooler without the greenhouse effect of water vapor. As a student in college I was once required to compute the difference,, and I recall it was in the order of 40 C—other sources have 60 C. See the Wikipedia article on the greenhouse effect.

The problem with Biezen’s explanation is that it ignores that water vapor in the atmosphere has been a more or less constant factor for millions of years, and certainly throughout human history on this planet. The natural mechanism of rain removes water vapor from the atmosphere as fast as it is introduced, and the atmosphere is in steady-state with respect to water. This is not so for CO2, which does not have such a mechanism for removing it. Human activity is upsetting the natural level of CO2 by removing carbon from the surface (petroleum, natural gas, and coal) and introducing it into  the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane. The greenhouse effect of these gases is added on top of the existing effect of water, and that’s what the concern is all about.

Number 8. Biezen says:

Even in the 1990 IPCC report a chart appeared that showed the medieval warm period as having had warmer temperatures than those currently being experienced.  But it is hard to convince people about global warming with that information, so five years later a new graph was presented, now known as the famous hockey stick graph, which did away with the medieval warm period.

For the record, here are two plots of Earth temperature records:

science-paleoearthtemperatures-02

 

science-paleoearthtemperatures-01

The first of the above shows temperatures going back millions of years. The second is an enlargement of the right-hand part of the first, and it shows temperatures going back a million years (and beyond). Note the spikes, representing the temperature fluctuations concurrent with the history of the ice ages. Note the more recent period, following the previous ice age. There are fluctuations over a 10,000-year period, terminating in a recent up-tic. The spike at the right margin is a projection due to the effects of AGW. The second plot fairly well covers the Medieval Period.

This one, the so-called hockey stick plot, also covers the Medieval Period.

science-agwrecenttemperaturehistory

Regardless of any report from 1990, the best information available shows the up-tic in global temperatures due to human activity. Mr. Biezen continues to be dishonest in his presentation of the argument. He is lying.

Number 9. Biezen says:

The notion of melting glaciers as prove positive that global warming is real has no real scientific basis.  Glaciers have been melting for over 150 years.  It is no secret that glaciers advanced to unprecedented levels in recent human history during the period known as the Little Ice Age.

Let’s assume without verification that the above statement regarding glacier activity is true. Whenever has Biezen lied to us before? Glaciers are melting, but their melting is not necessary to demonstrate AGW. Biezen’s post is advertised as “The Most Comprehensive Assault On ‘Global Warming’ Ever.” His 9th argument hardly fills the bill, and I will stop here without additional comment.

Number 10. Biezen complains:

After years of painstaking gathering of data, and relentless graphing of that data, I discovered that I was not looking at the originally gathered data, but data that had been “adjusted” for what was deemed “scientific reasons.”

And more. Again, this is another issues that has already been addressed in a prior post, and Biezen completely ignores the facts of the matter. Here is what I had to say before:

Oceans make up more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, and NOAA is increasing its attention to sea surface temperatures. In years past temperatures were measured by pulling a bucket of water from the sea and measuring its temperature. Sea surface temperatures are now routinely obtained by measuring water at ships’ engine coolant intake. What was found when the two measurements were compared was that the bucket method produces lower temperatures than the intake method. In years past temperatures had been measured with a bias toward cooler rather than warmer. The plots show what happened when the measurement bias was removed. The heavy-line plot, showing a greater temperature rise, was replaced by the lighter-line plot, showing less warming with time. The plots are linked to a paper published by Smith and Reynolds, for those interested in reading the complete background.

If Breitbart is to believed, the NOAA has been caught fixing the data to make a warming trend apparent. In this case, the opposite has occurred. None of this is mentioned in the Breitbart news item. We can imagine Breitbart felt it unwieldy to burden its unsophisticated readers with a load of fact.

If these were the only data corrections, the evidence for global warming would be undercut. There is more. The NOAA also adjusted for bias caused by a shift from measuring temperatures in the afternoon to measuring temperatures in the morning. Obviously, temperature measurements are going to be higher in the afternoon than in the morning. The plots show a shift in the percentage of stations from afternoon to morning. See the following plots.

An associated plot, repeated from above, was included:

science-agw-smith-and-reynolds-2002-001

In his book, How to Debate Leftists, Ben Shapiro complains about how liberals (scientists?) put down people like Biezen (and Shapiro), who dispute AGW:

This is a more useful question, and it also avoids the left’s preferred line of argument on global warming, which is a variation on their preferred line on gun control: “Global warming is man-made. Don’t agree? That’s because you’re stupid and hateful.” As a general matter, the left’s favorite three lines of attack are (1) you’re stupid; (2) you’re mean; (3) you’re corrupt.

[Page 24]

Forget about his numbers 1 and 2. Biezen is corrupt. He is lying. By implication, so is Shapiro. With his stewardships of Breitbart and The Daily Wire, Shapiro has abetted the promulgation of lies against legitimate science and the people who support it.

People ask me (maybe they do not) why I am a liberal. My response has to be that one reason, and one only, is that being liberal gets me as far away as possible with what has become a political philosophy underpinned by corrupt thinking. In my younger years I became disgusted with conservative politics, because every time I saw a politician standing in the school house door blocking the entry of a black child, that politician was avowedly conservative. Ever time I learned the identity of racists who killed four black children in an Alabama church or murdered civil rights advocates, those people were avowed conservatives. More recently whenever I have seen a politician promoting the use of tax money and government authority to proselytize for religion, that politician has been an avowed conservative. My personal study of opposition to the modern science of biological evolution has revealed that conservative politicians and those who profess themselves to be politically conservative are the most inclusive of this movement. More recently the conservative contingent in this country has elected a politician who has demonstrated himself to be a habitual liar, and conservatives find no problem with this, even denying he has lied.

What was in the past a political ideal of limited government, individual freedom, and fiscal responsibility, has taken on the baggage of of the lowest levels of American society. Opposition to the science behind anthropological global warming is just the tip of the iceberg.

A pox on your house. Wallow in your ignorance. My aim is to promote your misery as long as I can draw a breath.

And may Jesus have mercy on your souls.

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The Fractured Portfolio

A continuation

politics-sciencealexjonesclimatechange-02

This came up in a previous post (see the link above). As all should know by now, Alex Jones is Texas’ own authority on dealings devious and facts spurious. On Saturday The Alex Jones Channel featured an interview with wannabe scientist Timothy Ball, Ph.D. Ball is a retired professor of geography at the University of Winnipeg. From Wikipedia:

Ball rejects the scientific opinion on climate change, stating that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas.

Before I dive into some of Dr. Ball’s major absurdities, I want to lay out a partial transcript of the interview by Millie Weaver for infowars.com:

Weaver: Reporting for infowars.com I’m here in Phoenix, Arizona, where just this last weekend the Freedom Force International group held a conference here on the subject matter of climate change and the inconvenient lie that’s being perpetrated by the mainstream media and other people, such as Al Gore, that man is responsible for climate change and that we need to hurry up and take action in this. Well, Donald Trump just met with Al Gore, and we have all these mainstream media leftist outlets touting that Donald Trump is going to veer from  his campaign pledges and keep some of these regulations on the basis of man made climate change.

[There is a short clip of Al Gore discussing his conversation with Donald Trump. Weaver continues, aiming to refute any implication that Trump will back off on climate change.]

Weaver: Well, I have information that counters that, and I just met with the man this weekend named Timothy Ball that spoke at that conference, who is scheduled to meet with Donald Trump’s VP. This is very important because this man has evidence that counters the policy opinions of Al Gore. So let’s go ahead and hear what he has to say.

You’re scheduled to meet with Trump’s upside advisor soon. Isn’t that correct?

Ball: Yeah.Well, one of the things that… About 25 years ago I appeared before Congress on the climate issue, and I was also invited to speak at a place called the Competitive Enterprise Institute. I met Myron Ebell and then at the Heartland or climate conferences or around. I met him several times. About a month before the election date he was notified by the Trump people that he was going to be put in charge of deregulating EPA, so and was invited to go and meet with Myron in Washington on the 12th of December and will lay out the issues, and he knows a lot of it. But one of the things I think I can contribute is providing his ways of explaining to the politicians and to the public the complexity.

When you burn ethanol, which of course is plant-produced, and the government was telling people when you burn ethanol there is less CO2 produced than from fossil fuel. Not true. It’s simply not true. When you burn ethanol you get far more CO2 produced, okay. But what they said was, well growing the plants takes CO2 out of the atmosphere, so we’re giving them a net taker. But with the actual car going down the road, so the ethanol car’s putting out far more CO2 than the fossil fuel car.

And of course the government shifted the subsidies to corn-producers, that they got far more money if they produced the corn, and it went to the ethanol plan than if it went to the food plan. That led to a massive increase in basic food costs around the world. And I’ll show you how that links. When corn is basic and the price went up, all the other basic food supplies went up. That led to food riots in Egypt. OK. Obama said, “Oh no, that’s Arab spring. That’s democracy.” No it wasn’t. It was the food riot. But Obama, of course, said we’ve got to get to get rid of Hosny Mubarak, because he wanted to put the Muslim Brotherhood in. So he exploited the situation that his own policies in the corn market had created. But this is the kind of clever and devious games that they use.

Weaver: What are some of the health or environmental effects that these supposed green energy projects can do?

Ball: What did the alternative energies, of course, are in terms of the bird kills, the bat kills, the environmental damage, the noise that they produce, the footprint. And in order to replace a 1000 megawatt coal station you need acres and acres of land. The turbines need to be spread out because they interfere with each other. If you go by a wind farm there is always one turbine turning. That’s being driven by electricity off the grid, because you need that energy to to get the other wind turbines started. Okay. Plus once you’re using wind power as a source of energy into the grid, you can only use about twelve percent of your total energy production from  wind, or solar, because if it disappears, the system will draw on the grid, so the grid has to pick up that power demand instantly. So what people don’t know is when the wind turbines are turning, the coal plant is also running. So again this goes back to this problem of doing proper cost-benefit analysis. And that is just missing in every phase of this whole environmental scam. And that needs to be looked at. And particularly if it’s a project like the wind project, the government don’t want  to hear about the problems with it. They suppress all of that. But there are so many side effects. One of the things that concern me for a long time is noise pollution.

At this point Ball goes on to discuss what he considers to be more matters more critical than CO2 emissions. These include the real issues of flooding and droughts and clean water. He agrees the Flint, Michigan, water crises is real and needs to be addressed. He assures us that the Trump administration is not going to dismantle the EPA. The EPA is still needed, but it needs to be refocused [my words]. Then he concludes with a final shot at CO2 emissions.

Ball: The real issues have been pushed aside by these phony issues. And they talk about fake news, this is fake science. But for a political agenda.

Ball is a real college professor, having taught at a real university. His problem is that he wants to proclaim outside his field of expertise. I am reminded by others, and I agree, that it is not who is saying something that counts, but whether what is said is true. In Ball’s case, a lot of what he says is outside his professional field and also is not true.

Let’s examine what Ball has to say about burning ethanol in an automobile engine. Some Skeptical Analysis is in order. I have college degrees in engineering and physics, and I have taken courses in thermodynamics, chemistry, and physical chemistry. That said, I am going to pull on the Internet for my information here. We all know how reliable Internet sources are. Here is one:

The energy of ethanol relative to gasoline
A. 76,000 = BTU of energy in a gallon of ethanol
B. 116,090 = BTU of energy in a gallon of gasoline
C. .655 = 2/3 = GGE of energy in a gallon of ethanol. A / B. (GGE =energy in a gal. of gas)
D. 1.53 = Gallons of ethanol with the energy of 1 gallon of gasoline. D = B / A.

Let’s take the above as true. I have another source from the United States government that agrees much with those numbers. Yes, your mileage burning  ethanol will be much lower. So, what does that matter? Examine the carbon impact.

Here is gasoline. Assume the octane molecule:

C8H18

Here is ethanol:

CH3CH2OH

Here I am going to make a wild assumption. The density of the liquid form is proportional to the molecular weight. That gives:

Gasoline → 8 carbon atoms
Methanol → 2 carbon atoms

Burning a gallon of gasoline injects four carbon atoms into the atmosphere (in the form of CO2) for every  one carbon atom injected into the atmosphere for a gallon of methanol. But gasoline gives you more miles per gallon. Even so, methanol wins. Where is Dr. Ball getting his numbers? Is Inforwars.com a fake news site?

There’s more. Dr. Ball is shown saying:

But what they said was, well growing the plants takes CO2 out of the atmosphere, so we’re giving them a net taker. But with the actual car going down the road, so the ethanol car’s putting out far more CO2 than the fossil fuel car.

Tadaa! The car running on ethanol is putting more CO2 into the air than the car running on gasoline (not true). Therefore the car running on ethanol is worse. Dr. Ball has either slipped a gear in his thinking, or else he is trying to pull a switch on his listeners. In the case of ethanol, all the carbon the car is putting into the atmosphere was just weeks earlier pulled out of the atmosphere. There is no net introduction of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Others have pointed out to me that ethanol production is not carbon neutral. Restated: planting, raising, harvesting the crops and producing ethanol from the crops requires the use of fossil fuel to the extent of rendering ethanol a net gain in CO2 (more CO2 into the atmosphere). What needs to happen for ethanol fuel to be carbon neutral is for all the fuel used by farm machinery and all the energy used in the production of ethanol from  the crops be carbon neutral. The process must be able to rely solely on its own product. Can this be done?

An examination of Internet sources would confirm that producing ethanol from corn is not carbon neutral. An item from Scientific American magazine is typical of findings:

California regulators, trying to assess the true environmental cost of corn ethanol, are poised to declare that the biofuel cannot help the state reduce global warming.

As they see it, corn is no better – and might be worse – than petroleum when total greenhouse gas emissions are considered.

Such a declaration, to be considered later this week by the California Air Resources Board, would be a considerable blow to the corn-ethanol industry in the United States.

Corn growing has been subsidized for more than 20 years by the mandate to include ethanol in gasoline fuel mixes. This subsidy is not likely to go away soon, due the powerful lobbying interests of regions producing corn.

This is not scientific evidence against ethanol fuel, however. With politics out of the picture, the ethanol solution may still be viable. Brazil is significant:

Brazil is considered to have the world’s first sustainable biofuels economy and the biofuel industry leader, a policy model for other countries; and its sugarcane ethanol “the most successful alternative fuel to date.” However, some authors consider that the successful Brazilian ethanol model is sustainable only in Brazil due to its advanced agri-industrial technology and its enormous amount of arable land available; while according to other authors it is a solution only for some countries in the tropical zone of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa.

The significant drawback to ethanol production as a substitute for fossil fuels (gasoline) is the ecological impact of farming. Certainly growing corn on farm acreage and then using only the kernels to produce fuel is inefficient. Corn stalks and leaves represent a significant load of carbon that is removed from the atmosphere while the plant is growing and then returned to the atmosphere when these parts are used as animal food, burned, or composted. Using farm  land to produce fuel instead of food impacts the ability of the planet to feed its human population.

The good news is that it’s not necessary to grow crops in order to remove carbon from the atmosphere to produce fuel for cars, planes, and trains. While nothing can compare to the efficiency of thousands of square miles of green leaves soaking up sunlight and carbon  dioxide while no human hand is laid upon the process, other means will become necessary in future economies. They are being developed. Here is one:

A pilot project to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere and turn it into pellets that can either be used as fuel or stored underground for later has been launched by a Vancouver-based start-up called Carbon Engineering.

While the test facility has so far only extracted 10 tonnes of CO2 since its launch back in June, its operations will help inform the construction of a $200 million commercial plant in 2017, which is expected to extract 1 million tonnes per day – the equivalent of taking 100 cars off the road every year. It plans to start selling CO2-based synthetic fuels by 2018.

Required for consideration is the total cost of such an operation. What needs to be considered are:

  • Initial construction (total costs)
  • Maintenance of the machinery
  • Cost of operating the process (total cost)
  • Environmental footprint of the process

But this post is about Dr. Ball and his apparently off-track remarks about AGW (anthropogenic global warming). Dr. Ball boasts of his engagements at such scientific confabs as the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Heartland Institute, and his association with the likes of Myron Ebell. That’s a bit of sarcasm, in case you missed it.

The Heartland Institute I have covered previously:

A big deal with Heartland Institute was global warming. I highlighted the phrase because, as all know by now, it has a special meaning. The term has come to represent the apparent fact that human activities are causing a precipitous warming of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. More specifically, the burning of fossil fuels is causing an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, causing the atmosphere to more effectively trap solar energy. The consequences range from melting of polar ice, which will result in a devastating rise in sea levels—not so devastating maybe to Orlando, Florida, which promises to become a seaside resort—to possible crop damaging climate change. Mitigating action seems to indicate reduced use of fossil fuels, an action opposed to those who own stock in the industry.

A lot of science gets lost in organizations such as Heartland. Here is what fell out of some documents pilfered from Heartland’s inner sanctum:

Internal Heartland Institute strategy and funding documents obtained by DeSmogBlog expose the heart of the climate denial machine – its current plans, many of its funders, and details that confirm what DeSmogBlog and others have reported for years. The heart of the climate denial machine relies on huge corporate and foundation funding from U.S. businesses including Microsoft, Koch Industries, Altria (parent company of Philip Morris) RJR Tobacco and more.

We are releasing the entire trove of documents now to allow crowd-sourcing of the material. Here are a few quick highlights, stay tuned for much more.-Confirmation that Charles G. Koch Foundation is again funding Heartland Institute’s global warming disinformation campaign. [Update: Apparently even the Koch brothers think the Heartland Institute’s climate denial program is too toxic to fund. On Wednesday, Koch confirmed that it did not cut a check for the $200K mentioned in the strategy memo after all. A statement released on KochFacts.com and the charleskochfoundationfacts.org states that “…the Charles Koch Foundation provided $25,000 to the Heartland Institute in 2011 for research in healthcare, not climate change, and this was the first and only donation the Foundation made to the institute in more than a decade. The Foundation has made no further commitments of funding to Heartland.”]

The Competitive Enterprise Institute also seems little concerned with real science:

In May 2006, CEI’s global warming policy activities attracted attention as it embarked upon an ad campaign with two television commercials. These ads promote carbon dioxide as a positive factor in the environment and argue that global warming is not a concern. One ad focuses on the message that CO2 is misrepresented as a pollutant, stating that “it’s essential to life. We breathe it out. Plants breathe it in… They call it pollution. We call it life.” The other states that the world’s glaciers are “growing, not melting… getting thicker, not thinner.” It cites Science articles to support its claims. However, the editor of Science stated that the ad “misrepresents the conclusions of the two cited Science papers… by selective referencing”. The author of the articles, Curt Davis, director of the Center for Geospatial Intelligence at the University of Missouri-Columbia, said CEI was misrepresenting his previous research to inflate their claims. “These television ads are a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public about the global warming debate”, Davis said.

Additionally, Myron Ebell’s science aversion is well  noted:

Myron Ebell is Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a libertarian advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. He is also the chairman of the Cooler Heads Coalition, a loose coalition formed in 1997 which presents itself as “focused on dispelling the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis”. In these organizations, Ebell has been central in promoting climate change denial, distributing his views to the media and politicians.[Ebell, who is not a scientist, has been described as a climate change skeptic, a climate contrarian and a climate change denier.

In September 2016, Ebell was appointed by then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to lead his transition team for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This last part is something many find deeply disturbing. Whether Mr. Trump’s coming administration decides to run athwart modern science may depend on whether some level heads get his ear.

Timothy Ball’s scientific standing is another matter. Although Ball has a Ph.D. in climatology, he has never worked in the field. He is a scientist in the sense that geography is a science. Geography rightly deals with human populations and the effects of climate and terrain. This means his comments regarding the economics of ethanol production are within his realm. Clearly his thinking and his commentary regarding the science behind AGW remain contrary to known fact, allowing us to classify him as a fake news source. Some of the controversies surrounding Dr. Ball indicate a person not dedicated to scientific rigor and matters of fact. Again from Wikipedia:

Ball claimed, in an article written for the Calgary Herald, that he was the first person to receive a PhD in climatology in Canada, and that he had been a professor for 28 years, claims he also made in a letter to then-prime minister of Canada, Paul Martin. Dan Johnson, a professor of environmental science at the University of Lethbridge, countered his claim on April 23, 2006, in a letter to the Herald stating that when Ball received his PhD in 1983, “Canada already had PhDs in climatology,” and that Ball had only been a professor for eight years, rather than 28 as he had claimed. Johnson, however, counted only Ball’s years as a full professor. In the letter, Johnson also wrote that Ball “did not show any evidence of research regarding climate and atmosphere.”

In response, Ball filed a lawsuit against Johnson. Ball’s representation in the case was provided by Fraser Milner Casgrain. Johnson’s statement of defense was provided by the Calgary Herald, which stated that Ball “…never had a reputation in the scientific community as a noted climatologist and authority on global warming,” and that he “…is viewed as a paid promoter of the agenda of the oil and gas industry rather than as a practicing scientist.”[45] In the ensuing court case, Ball acknowledged that he had only been a professor for eight years, and that his doctorate was not in climatology but rather in geography,[39] and subsequently withdrew the lawsuit on June 8, 2007.

In February 2011, it was reported that climate scientist Andrew J. Weaver had sued Ball over an article Ball wrote for the Canada Free Press, an article which was later retracted. In the article, Ball described Weaver as lacking a basic understanding of climate science and stated, incorrectly, that Weaver would not be involved in the production of the IPCC’s next report because he had concerns about its credibility.[49][50] Ball contended that the lawsuit was nothing more than an attempt to silence him because of his skeptical position on global warming, despite Ball’s own 2006 defamation lawsuit against Dan Johnson.

Ball found himself at the center of controversy again later that year, when he told an anonymous interviewer that Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, “should be in the State Pen, not Penn State,” due to Mann’s role in the Climatic Research Unit email controversy. Mann then sued Ball for libel, and stated that he was seeking punitive damages and for the article to be removed from the Frontier Centre for Public Policy’s website, on which it was originally published. James Taylor, senior fellow of the Heartland Institute, defended Ball, arguing that what he had said about Mann was merely a “humorous insult.” Fred Singer made a similar argument in a 2012 article, saying that what Ball had written was written as a joke and that Mann was “improvidently” suing him.

The positions and statements of Dr. Ball are representative of those I see from various global warming deniers. Here is a snippet of a conversation with somebody terribly interested in AGW but owning nary a clue regarding the associated facts:

Daniel G. Kuttner I’ll concede the context, I should have said “as I recall.” I will correct the above comment.
You must be kidding, though, about CO2 not being heavier than air. You’ve used a CO2 extinguisher, right? You have to know molecular weight, right?
Here’s a part of the calculation (didn’t want to buy the paper):
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/…/JZ062i003p00351/epdf…

In any case, most of the air at sea level is composed of mostly N, about 15% O2, and only about 1% being other gases. Its average molecular weight is 28
A molecule of CO2 has a molecular weight of 12 + (16)2 = 44. So CO2 is about 1.4x the weight of air.
http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/molecular-weight-gas…
Your rebuttal?

Like · Reply · December 3 at 5:55pm

My rebuttal was this:

John Blanton Dan, I do not deny that CO2 is denser than air. However, you did not say, in your argument, that CO2 is denser. You said that CO2 is so many times heavier than the rest of the atmosphere. It’s not the same thing, and it’s not the kind of statement you want to make when arguing a technical point. Apparently your field has been in communication, and taking care what you say is a big part of communicating clearly. You are a non scientist, and you are arguing technical points with scientists, including me. You need to have at least as much knowledge about the subject as the scientists in order to make a successful argument. I get the impression you are pulling text from questionable sources and passing it off as knowledge. You need to pull from reliable sources if you hope to make headway in this kind of discussion.

Like · Reply · December 3 at 6:40pm

Then the conversation began to get really weird:

Daniel G. Kuttner I never said it was denser. I still don’t. It is heavier. My link shows that.
Density is a function of altitude and temperature.
Part of my proof also involves a thing called Partial Pressure. At altitudes of “greenhouse” effect, CO2 is less abundant, as is Oxygen and other heavier gases. This is one reason why humans require supplemental oxygen at altitude. CO2 is heavier than O2, so it’s even less abundant at altitude, resulting in a lower partial pressure of the CO2.
Just add the molecular weights in the table I linked.
Gosh, I’m beginning to sympathize with that religious guy. Can you please stay on topic and not change the argument each time? Maybe even answer a question or two?
Try to stay off the ad hominem, too. Calling someone a “non scientistt” and oozing condescension while YOU’re being non scientific doesn’t bolster your argument, nor refute theirs.
OK.. You get the last word.

And I did get the last word, but only because at some later point Dan and I  both concluded that further discussion was pointless. Dan came back with additional comments after I had this to say:

John Blanton Dan, calling somebody a non scientist is not ad hominin. It is not an insult. It’s just a fact of life in your case. You never made a serious study of science, and you never obtained a degree in science. I’m merely pointing out this fact as a precaution you need to take when wading into a discussion of matters scientific with one who does have considerable training and experience in the field. When you make these kinds of remarks, such as the ones regarding weight, density, carbon dioxide, the mixing of gases in the atmosphere, the problem becomes apparent. Your discussion of concentration variation illustrates you are not acquainted with principles of gaseous diffusion, for example. It’s high school science. As a result, your assertions regarding the distribution of carbon dioxide are completely wrong, and undermine the remainder of your argument.

Like · Reply · December 4 at 3:43pm

Daniel G. Kuttner You have no idea of my qualifications. You throw your ample supply of tomatoes at me, rather than my assertions, which are backed BY science (e.g. that engineering reference link). Thus, you were replying ad hominem, literally.
I could be a bum on the street and still report correct – or incorrect – science. My lack of a white lab coat has no import.
If you are so full of science, where is your scientific refutation of my numbers? All I see from you is condescension and sarcasm.
Saying something is “clearly wrong” is not refutation, it’s disagreement; an opinion. You are, of course free to have those.
This has not been a learned debate or even a discussion, in my book. Sad, actually, because I’m convinced you DO have the capability. It just appears you have an agenda you accept, and won’t accept anything that conflicts with or undermines that belief.
That’s not Science, that’s Scientism; a religion, of which there are many practitioners on the talking-head box.
Your political positions I’ve seen are supported the same way: Talk down to the opposition and question their credentials according to some amorphous standard.
Again, I await your analytical critique of my numbers. Maybe you can also support why the key members of the Global Warming “science” supporters have been caught THREE TIMES falsifying or cherry-picking their data.
That’s the only type of refutation I’ll answer hereafter on this subject.
PS: I was also hoping at some point you’d reply to my IM about your inventions. I am definitely interested in those!

Like · Reply · December 4 at 5:49pm · Edited

John Blanton Additionally, I am working off-site and am forced to keep my responses brief. Details later.

Like · Reply · December 4 at 3:45pm

John Blanton Once again, I’m on a short leash here. I don’t have access to my computer, so I will respond as I can for the time being. You are conflating weight and density. Keep the two straight. CO2 is denser than air, as you have discovered. You are wrong in concluding that CO2 is unevenly distributed. Below 90 km the gases remain evenly mixed. The remainder of your argument falls apart from there.

It’s much like the dialogues I have had with creationists. Those denying AGW and Darwinian  evolution give all the appearance of being driven  more by ideology than by hard facts. It makes for a weird world when these people get into  the upper reaches of government.

May Jesus have mercy on our souls.

The Fractured Portfolio

Some more of the same

politics-sciencealexjonesclimatechange

President-elect Donald Trump is noted for pointing out that, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

politics-trumpglobalwarmingchinesehoax

That was four years ago, before Donald Trump ran for President of the United States. Now that he has won, this message is not working so well. Stuff like this got him elected, but now he has no further use for it, or the people who bought into it.

Not so fast. Mr. Trump is not ready to throw over something that has done him well for so long. He made an effort to set the record straight in an interview yesterday:

Washington (CNN)The reality of climate change is an open question, President-elect Donald Trump said in an interview aired Sunday.

“Nobody really knows” if climate change is real, Trump said in the “Fox News Sunday” interview, when host Chris Wallace asked the incoming President where he stands on the environment.
“I’m still open-minded. Nobody really knows. Look, I’m somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It’s not something that’s so hard and fast.”

The operative wording here is, “Nobody really knows.” I am not a linguist but I have had a few beers with one, and my translation of that phrase is, “Somebody doesn’t know.” I’m thinking Mr. Trump is one of those who does not.

The image at the top is from a YouTube clip posted on The Alex Jones Channel. It features an interview with Timothy Ball, Ph.D., a retired professor from the University of Winnipeg:

Ball rejects the scientific opinion on climate change, stating that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas. He has worked with the Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, and is a research fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

politics-sciencealexjonesclimatechange-02

Interview with Timothy Ball

I will diagnose the interview with Professor Ball in  a later post. In the meantime, I am guessing we have a candidate about to  take over the highest elected office in this country who suffers a colossal misunderstanding of some basic science. That said, regardless of what Professor Ball and some others may think, Mr. Trump could possible overcome this lapse and throw some government weight toward dealing with this 21st century problem. In that event, there is a passel of voters who are going to be disappointed. How they will deal with it is going to be interesting to watch.

Tattered Justice

Nuremberg-01

It was the morning of 15 April 1945 near Bergen in northwestern Germany. When Clara Greenbaum woke it quickly became apparent something was wrong. Nobody came to bang with sticks on the bed frames in the barracks where she had spent the night, and many nights in the previous months, along with her two children. And there was something wrong. The guards who had tormented, brutalized and murdered 100,000 others were now gone. In the middle of the night, while their victims lay sleeping under threat of death, guards at the notorious Bergen-Belsen prison camp fled into the darkness. Soldiers of another army were approaching.

It was hours before anybody in the barracks summoned the courage to open the door and peer out. Then, in ones and twos, prisoners filed into the light of an overcast day. The guards were gone. But where? Then there was a sound. More soldiers were coming.

Hours passed and then the mass of people stirred. They could hear the unmistakable sound of heavy vehicles approaching from behind the low hills to the north. A moment later a column of tanks and trucks appeared. The vehicles were rumbling across the ploughed fields towards the barbed wire. Panic went through the crowd like a bolt of electricity . This was it. The Germans were going to machine-gun them and then roll over their bodies to eradicate the evidence of their crimes. Then someone saw the Union Jack flying from the turret of one of the tanks. They were British! To the prisoners’ amazement the column circled the camp twice before drawing up in formation at the front gates, where the vehicles’ engines were turned off. Presumably they had been checking to see if any SS troops were prepared to make a final stand. And there they waited. Not a word was spoken. No orders were given. Clara estimated that as many as 500 troops were standing in complete silence, staring through the barbed wire. What were they waiting for? And then one of the soldiers doubled up and retched. Another vomited and then another. So that was it. They had been staring at the inmates in disgust. Hardened soldiers were sick to their stomachs at the sight of them . At that, many prisoners turned away. They were ashamed of what they were, of what they had become.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 117-126). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Slave labourers in the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, one of the first camps to be liberated by US soldiers in April 1945. The camp’s first commandant from 1937 to 1941, Karl Otto Koch, was himself imprisoned here for corruption and was tried and executed by the Nazis shortly before the camp’s liberation. Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 190-192). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Slave labourers in the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, one of the first camps to be liberated by US soldiers in April 1945. The camp’s first commandant from 1937 to 1941, Karl Otto Koch, was himself imprisoned here for corruption and was tried and executed by the Nazis shortly before the camp’s liberation. Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 190-192). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

But there was no reason for these people to be ashamed. They had not caused this. An organized gang of criminals had instigated the deaths of millions of people and had brought a modern, industrial, cultured nation to absolute ruin. This was a criminal act, and somebody would have to pay.

Fifteen days after Clara Greenbaum woke to a new era, the man who had orchestrated this travesty was dead, having shot himself in the head rather than face the justice he deserved. In the following days a number of the other principals in crime would also be dead. Some at their own hand, others before the muzzles of the guns of vengeful armies.

In other camps Allied officers found it difficult to maintain discipline among their men – in some cases captured SS guards were summarily executed. This was soldiers’ justice, meted out by men who had seen their share of death, but who could no longer restrain themselves when confronted with the cold-blooded slaughter, or brutalization, of innocent civilians.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 140-142). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

By the ninth of May formal hostilities were terminated, and German forces were surrendering all over Europe. Troops were going into P.O.W. camps, Nazi government leaders were being identified and arrested. Joseph Goebbels and his wife had murdered their children and killed themselves in the government’s bunker in Berlin. Heinrich Himmler was identified and apprehended, but as he was being searched for means of suicide he chomped down on a poison capsule and died. It was later determined that Hitler’s secretary, Martin Bormann, was killed in a Berlin street while attempting to escape the bunker. A few, including Adolph Eichmann and Joseph Mengele, escaped to other countries beyond the reach of the Allies. For those firmly in the grasp of Allied forces, the future was for a moment uncertain. Some in the Allied camp wanted swift retribution.

The Allied leaders realized that something had to be done with the captured Nazi elite – and soon – because the will to pursue those guilty of perpetrating atrocities was swiftly evaporating. Furthermore, the Allied troops were exhausted after five long years of war and they just wanted to go home and put the horrors behind them. It was well known that the British prime minister, Winston Churchill, favoured the immediate execution of the captured Nazi leaders, in order to avoid the ‘tangles of legal procedure’, and certain elements within the American administration felt the same. They had managed to persuade President Franklin D. Roosevelt that a cursory hearing followed by a firing squad was the most economical method of dealing with the problem. The British Cabinet had discussed what to do with captured war criminals as far back as June 1942. Anthony Eden, the foreign secretary, had reminded them of the embarrassment caused by their failure to deal decisively with Kaiser Wilhelm II after the First World War.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 194-201). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Interestingly, the Soviets, who early had been complicit in Hitler’s war of aggression and ultimately suffered terribly from a German invasion, now favored a public trial.

Ironically it was the American secretary of war, the elderly Republican Henry Stimson, who vehemently opposed Morgenthau’s plan. He found an unexpected ally in the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who had told Winston Churchill that if the leading Nazis were summarily executed the world would say that their enemies had been afraid to put them on trial and had put them to death to silence them. Stimson added that to deny the defendants due process would be to risk making them martyrs in the eyes of their people, which is exactly what had happened after the British had executed the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland. Stimson recalled that the citizens of Dublin had initially jeered at the plotters for the destruction they had brought upon their capital city, but that their mood had altered after the British authorities had ordered the rebel leaders to be shot without trial.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 213-219). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Where to hold the trial was a problem of some proportion. We, the Allies, had bombed Nazi government institutions to rubble, with one notable exception. Here irony piled on top of irony. Spared from destruction was the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg.

The Palace of Justice

The shell -scarred Palace of Justice resembled a besieged fortress in bandit country. It had been the site of the final battle for the city. The courtyard was still strewn with pieces of shrapnel and spent cartridges where the remnants of two SS divisions had held out until they had been shelled into submission. Now five Sherman tanks squatted at key points around the main building, their gun barrels loaded with 76 mm shells, while GIs crouched behind sandbags at the entrance to the court.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 500-505). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

From Google Images. Apart from the Palace of Justice, the rest of Nuremberg was a bombed out mess. That's what you get for starting a World War that kills +50 million people.

From Google Images. Apart from the Palace of Justice, the rest of Nuremberg was a bombed out mess. That’s what you get for starting a World War that kills +50 million people.

This is the place of some of the Nazis’ notorious transgressions against justice. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 stripped German Jews of their citizenship and of all basic human rights. Here was subsequently the site of continued judicial insults, including the trumped up trial of Leo Katzenberger.

Leo Katzenberger was a Jewish businessman who had seen his chain of shoe stores stolen from him by the Nazis under the Aryanization decrees of 1938, which legalized theft from German Jews. The elderly man had no hope of emigrating so he continued to live in an apartment in one of his properties. During 1941 his friendship with a teenage girl, Irene Seiler, was reported to the authorities, who accused Katzenberger of violating the race laws, which forbade relationships between Aryans and Jews. At his trial, 67-year-old Katzenberger repeatedly denied that there was anything of a sexual nature in the relationship, but his protests were shouted down by the presiding judge, Dr Oswald Rothaug, who called Katzenberger a ‘syphilitic Jew’ and ‘an agent of world Jewry’. Katzenberger was sentenced to death.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 2719-2725). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Writer Paul Rolland tells the story in The Nuremberg trials in The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity.

Among the principal Allied governments, Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the United States, the Americans picked up the heavy lifting for the trials. The vast bulk of the expense, logistics and legal work was provided by the U.S.

Seated in the back row are the eight members of the tribunal representing the four main Allied countries: the Soviet Union, Great Britain, the United States and France. Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 278-280). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Seated in the back row are the eight members of the tribunal representing the four main Allied countries: the Soviet Union, Great Britain, the United States and France. Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 278-280). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Paul Roland is not an academic historian, but he has produced a number of historical writings, including The Crimes of Jack the Ripper: The Whitechapel Murders Re-Examined. Books related to the Nazi phenomenon include Nazi Women: The Attraction of Evil and Nazis and the Occult. His book on the Nuremberg Trials is an excellent brief that draws from authoritative sources and gives a good account of the development of the legal case against the Nazi principals. Courtroom drama abounds.

Robert H. Jackson had been United States Attorney General under President Roosevelt. He led the American prosecution contingent. His duel with former Reichsmarschall Herman Goering presented a most interesting moment.

Goering Signs His Own Death Warrant

‘Did you not also sign a decree in 1940 ordering the seizure of all Jewish property in Poland?’

‘I assume so if the decree is there.’ The defendant was now visibly squirming in his seat.

‘And another saying the Jews would receive no compensation for damage caused by enemy attack or by German forces?’

‘If the law bears my name then it must be so,’ Goering conceded.

‘Is this your signature?’ asked Jackson, pointing an accusing finger at the next document that had been laid before the accused.

‘It appears to be.’

‘Is it or is it not your signature?’ Jackson’s tone betrayed his growing impatience. Goering sensed that a trap was being set. He took a moment to answer.

‘It is.’

‘It is your signature on a document dated July 1941,’ Jackson explained for the benefit of the court, ‘asking Himmler and [Reinhard] Heydrich to make plans for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question.’

Goering exploded.

‘That is not a proper translation! I said total solution, not final solution.’

‘These are your words to Himmler,’ continued Jackson, warming to the task.

‘“ I charge you to send me before long an overall plan for the organizational, factual and material measures necessary for the desired solution of the Jewish question.” Is that an accurate translation of this order?’

‘That had to do with the evacuation and emigration of the Jews,’ Goering protested.

‘You ordered all government agencies to co-operate with the SS in the final solution of the Jewish question. Did you not?’

‘There is nothing in there about the SS!’ The colour was coming back to Reichsmarschall Goering’s flaccid cheeks.

‘This document states that you ordered all government agencies to co-operate with the SS. You sent this letter to SS Gruppenführer Heydrich.’

‘That does not mean that the SS had anything to do with the solution of the Jewish question!’

The words were barely out of his mouth when Goering realized that he had placed the noose around his own neck. There was an audible murmur in the court as Jackson leaned in to face his most formidable adversary.

‘Would you mind repeating that?’ he asked calmly.

‘I must say this clearly. I did not know anything about what took place in the concentration camps or the methods used there. These things were kept secret from me.’

But Jackson was already striding back to the bench where his colleagues sat, jubilant in the knowledge that the murderous nature of the Nazi leadership had finally been exposed for all to see.

‘I might add that even the Führer did not know the extent of what was happening.’ Goering was rambling, desperate . But no one was listening.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 1723-1753). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Twenty-four people were charged:

Martin Bormann
Karl Doenitz
Hans Frank
Wilhelm Frick
Hans Fritzsche
Walther Funk
Hermann Goering
Rudolf Hess
Alfred Jodl
Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Wilhelm Keitel
Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach
Robert Ley
Konstantin von Neurath
Franz von Papen
Erich Raeder
Joachim von Ribbentrop
Alfred Rosenberg
Fritz Sauckel
Hjalmar Schacht
Baldur von Schirach
Arthur Seyss-Inquart
Albert Speer
Julius Streicher

Only 21 stood trial. Bormann was by then already dead, though this was not demonstrated until years later. He was tried and convicted in absentia. Gustav Krupp, head of the German industrial empire that fueled, and collaborated with, Nazi aggressions was deemed too ill to stand trial. Robert Ley, who had ruled over slave labor for the Nazis, killed himself in his cell at the Palace of Justice prior to the trial.

Proceedings began in November 1945 and concluded in September 1946. The judges handed down the verdicts on 1 October 1946. Three defendants, Hans Fritsche, Hjalmar Schact and Franz von Papen, were acquitted and walked free, but only with protection from angry mobs. Of those convicted, seven received death sentences and sentenced to be hanged. Principal of these was Goering.

Hermann Goering

VERDICT: Guilty on all 4 counts. Sentenced to death by hanging.

The Judgment against Goering concluded: ‘From the moment he joined the Party in 1922 and took command of the street fighting organization, the SA , Goering was the adviser, the active agent of Hitler and one of the prime leaders of the Nazi movement. As Hitler’s political deputy he was largely instrumental in bringing the National Socialists to power in 1933, and was charged with consolidating this power and expanding German armed might. He developed the Gestapo and created the first concentration camps, relinquishing them to Himmler in 1934… The night before the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the absorption of Bohemia and Moravia, at a conference with Hitler and President Hácha he threatened to bomb Prague if Hácha did not submit… He commanded the Luftwaffe in the attack on Poland and throughout the aggressive wars which followed… The record is filled with Goering’s admissions of his complicity in the use of slave labour… He made plans for the exploitation of Soviet territory long before the war on the Soviet Union… Goering persecuted the Jews, particularly after the November, 1938, riots and not only in Germany… Although their extermination was in Himmler’s hands, Goering was far from disinterested or inactive despite his protestations from the witness box… There is nothing to be said in mitigation… His guilt is unique in its enormity. The record discloses no excuses for this man.’

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 2303-2315). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

I have posted a separate review of Goering: The Rise and Fall of the Notorious Nazi Leader [Kindle Edition]. That post concluded:

The hangman never got to Hermann Goering. Although the prisoners awaiting execution at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg were not told in advance of the execution date, Goering may have sensed that the final hour had come. He was scheduled to be the first taken by the hangman, but two hours before his time he took poison and died in his cell.

Goering’s death did not interrupt the proceedings. Ten convicted Nazis went to the gallows in a period of less than two hours beginning at 1 a.m. on 16 October 1946. Following the executions Goering’s body was brought from his cell to the gallows room and formally identified for the death certificate. Writer Paul Roland relates the final journey of Hermann Goering.

Just before dawn the bodies were taken away in two trucks under heavy guard and driven to Dachau concentration camp, a short distance northwest of Munich, where the ovens had been relit for their cremation. The ashes were scattered in a nearby river.

There was no sense of triumph among the victors, only relief that this tragic and violent era had finally come to an end.

Roland, Paul (2012-06-26). The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Kindle Locations 2648-2651). Arcturus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

The First Nuremberg Trial was not the last. The Allies followed up with prosecution of lesser lights of Nazi evil. There was a Doctors’ Trial, December 1946 to August 1947, and there was a trial of Nazi judges, March to December 1947. The Judges’ Trial was the subject of a motion picture Judgment at Nuremberg in 1961, staring Spencer Tracy as an American judge in a fictional case that reflects the injustice inflicted on Leo Katzenberger.

Poster from IMDB.com

Poster from IMDB.com

Ozone Depletion

I have been accused in the past of going to great length to explain the obvious. Then perhaps I have not, but I should have been. Anyhow, here is another go at explaining the obvious.

Science-OzoneDepletion

To be sure, I’m not doing original writing here. Most of what I’m putting out is straight from Wikipedia. If you want the full story, then you should go to the Wikipedia article. This is my Schaum’s Outline version of the ozone layer depletion story.

The image above, from Wikipedia, is an excellent condensation of the ozone depletion process. The story goes back a lot from there. It starts with the invention of chlorinated fluorocarbons, CFCs. CFCs have some useful properties:

  • Chemically inert (almost)
  • Low vapor pressure—boil within a useful temperature range: −51.7 (CF2H2) and −128 °C (CF4).
  • Complex molecular structure.

The complex molecular structure gives CFC molecules multiple quantum energy levels. Put another way, they are far from “ideal gases.” When you compress an ideal gas its temperature does not rise. The energy you use to compress the gas gets stored in the pressure-volume combination. When the pressure is released an ideal gas springs back, returning all the energy as mechanical energy. They make an ideal spring.

Complex molecules, such as CFCs, do not make for ideal gases. When you compress them, the energy of compression gets stored in the multiple quantum energy levels of the molecule. This is the definition of increased temperature. Absolute temperature of a system is proportional to the logarithm of the number of occupied quantum energy states. Compressing a CFC gas raises its temperature by storing energy in multiple quantum energy levels. With increased temperature, it is now possible to drain energy from the compressed gas by allowing heat to flow from the compressed gas into cooler surroundings. When the pressure is released the gas now contains less energy than before it was compressed and is colder. This makes CFCs useful in refrigeration systems. Freon-12 is a trade name for dichlorodifluoromethane by DuPont.

A problem was discovered with Freon-12 and other CFCs. First, they are very stable. When released into the atmosphere the substance does not readily break down. The molecule persists for a long time in the atmosphere. It persists long enough for the molecule to migrate into the stratosphere, where it begins to cause trouble. Refer to the diagram again.

From Wikipedia I get the following chemical reaction:

CCl3F → CCl2F. + Cl.

This cleaving of the CFC molecule is driven by ultraviolet radiation in the stratosphere. A product is the free chlorine atom. This chlorine atom interacts with ozone in the stratosphere and catalyzes its breakup. The chlorine is not consumed in the process, and a small amount of chlorine has the ability to do a lot of damage.

The damage done is the conversion of ozone to O2. Ozone absorbs ultraviolet radiation strongly. Very little ozone has the ability to block much of the ultraviolet coming from the sun. When this high-energy radiation reaches the surface it is a hazard to human health (skin cancer) and to other life forms. The depletion of the ozone layer was recognized in 1974 through research at the University of California at Irvine conducted by Frank Sherwood Rowland and Mario J. Molina. In 1995 Rowland and Molina, along with Paul Crutzen received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for their work on stratospheric ozone.”

Since it’s the chlorine that’s doing all the damage, many have questioned the culpability of CFCs in the ozone depletion quandary.  Why don’t other sources of chlorine reach the stratosphere and do the damage? The answer is they do, but to a much lower extent. Chlorine is a highly-reactive element, its strong bond with sodium being an example. It’s difficult for chlorine gas to make it into the stratosphere before it’s washed out by rain and other mechanisms. Massive injections of chlorine into the atmosphere by natural sources, such as the eruption of Pinatubo in 1991, have little effect compared to that produced by CFCs.

The good news is that, after years of political opposition, the climate changed when anti-science elements were replaced in office by more pragmatic elements. Production of CFCs has been curtailed world wide by law. The flow of CFCs into the atmosphere has been dramatically reduced, and these measures are bearing fruit. Recent measurements are indicating the science has been vindicated:

My observation over the past decades has been that political conservatives have not so much been troubled by science as they have been troubled by the consequences of scientific discoveries. When scientist observe a problem that can be addressed by government action, conservatives look toward discrediting the science rather than toward implementing a solution that will require government involvement. In the case of AGW, the government solution would be to impose measures to curb the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In the case of ozone layer depletion government action was to ban the production and sale of certain fluorinated hydrocarbons. This amounted to direct interference into people’s private lives and into the conduct of profitable business practices. In the case of ozone layer depletion, the scientist prevailed, governments worldwide stepped in, and the problemstarted to be resolved:

And that’s the ozone depletion story in just a few paragraphs.

Vindicated Science

This is being cross-posted from the North Texas Skeptics blog.

A satellite view of Antarctica is seen in this undated NASA handout photo obtained by Reuters February 6, 2012. Russian scientists are close to drilling in to the prehistoric sub-glacier Lake Vostok, which has been trapped under Antarctic ice for 14 million years. REUTERS/NASA/Handout

A satellite view of Antarctica is seen in this undated NASA handout photo obtained by Reuters February 6, 2012. Russian scientists are close to drilling in to the prehistoric sub-glacier Lake Vostok, which has been trapped under Antarctic ice for 14 million years. REUTERS/NASA/Handout

This is something that’s been going around for over 20 years, and it’s been an issue atThe North Texas Skeptics. The NTS is neither a liberal-leaning organization nor a politically conservative organization. We have always hosted a political spectrum, and some of that is apparent.

A former member is unabashedly conservative and early on announced his opposition to environmentalism, which term I will not define further. This member is an excellent writer and during his tenure supplied our newsletter with a wealth of professional quality material. Often enough, a tilt to the right was glaringly apparent:

Since my last column was run, we have finally gotten some reputable scientists weighing in on the “pro” side of global warming. A group of meteorologists brought together by the U.N. agreed (not unanimously, but in a majority, anyway) that man-made pollutants have altered the Earth’s temperature (I’m assuming here that the U.N. picks meteorologists more carefully than they pick military strategists). It’s not quite the Apocalypse that many environmental alarmists would like: the consensus was that the Earth’s temperature has risen, on the average, one degree Fahrenheit since 1900 … but what the heck, it’s something!

Of course, this could be connected to changing rainfall patterns, etc., but it seems a stretch to blame Chicago’s killer heat wave on that one degree uptick. Having lived for awhile in the northeast, I think I have an idea of why so many people died from the heat in Chicago, and the concerned citizens in the environmental movement have it in their power right now to prevent it from happening again. They don’t even have to lobby Congress or drive one of those dorky electric cars.
Most of the victims of the Chicago heat wave were elderly people in poor health, living alone, without air conditioners or the money to buy them. They weren’t acclimated to the heat, they weren’t able to overcome it, and they had nobody to look in and help them (many of the victims were buried by the city because nobody claimed the bodies). It wasn’t so much ozone breakdown that killed them as it was societal breakdown.

I do not recall whether at the time I called Pat’s attention to an odious misunderstanding of basic science on display, but here it is now:

  • While Pat is on the mark regarding the measured rise in global temperatures, he passes over the consequences of such a small increase. My guess is he never went much farther in his reading.
  • Pat correctly recognizes that a degree rise is not the basis for the deaths “environmental alarmists” hoped for. However, he incorrectly, through lack of diligence or else deliberately, absolves the notorious heat wave. The fact is, these victims would have been in the same situation regardless of the heat wave, but the heat wave made the difference between life and death.
  • The reference to ozone cannot be explained. Whether Pat is being facetious or whether he was at the time unaware there is no connection between ozone layer depletion and anthropogenic global warming is something I never explored.

Anyhow, during the time Pat contributed to the newsletter I looked forward each month to reading his column. Good writing is always a pleasure. Eventually, Pat lost interest in bashing the issue of ozone layer depletion. This was about the time some real scientist won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work in studying the problem:

Press Release

11 October 1995

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to

Professor Paul Crutzen, Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany (Dutch citizen),

Professor Mario Molina, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences and Department of Chemistry, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA and

Professor F. Sherwood Rowland, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA

for their work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone.

THE OZONE LAYER – THE ACHILLES HEEL OF THE BIOSPHERE

The atmosphere surrounding the earth contains small quantities of ozone – a gas with molecules consisting of three oxygen atoms (O3). If all the ozone in the atmosphere were compressed to a pressure corresponding to that at the earth’s surface, the layer would be only 3 mm thick. But even though ozone occurs in such small quantities, it plays an exceptionally fundamental part in life on earth. This is because ozone, together with ordinary molecular oxygen (O2), is able to absorb the major part of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and therefore prevent this dangerous radiation from reaching the surface. Without a protective ozone layer in the atmosphere, animals and plants could not exist, at least upon land. It is therefore of the greatest importance to understand the processes that regulate the atmosphere’s ozone content.

My observation over the past decades has been that political conservatives have not so much been troubled by science as they have been troubled by the consequences of scientific discoveries. When scientist observe a problem that can be addressed by government action, conservatives look toward discrediting the science rather than toward implementing a solution that will require government involvement. In the case of AGW, the government solution would be to impose measures to curb the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In the case of ozone layer depletion government action was to ban the production and sale of certain fluorinated hydrocarbons. This amounted to direct interference into people’s private lives and into the conduct of profitable business practices. In the case of ozone layer depletion, the scientist prevailed, governments worldwide stepped in, and the problem started to be resolved:

Bright spot: Antarctica’s ozone hole is starting to heal

I learned about it early this morning when my electronic issue of Science magazine arrived by the magic of the Internet, another intrusion of government into private industry:

Ozone layer on the mend, thanks to chemical ban

Since it was discovered in 1985, the Antarctic ozone hole has been a potent symbol of humankind’s ability to cause unintended environmental harm. But now comes a glimmer of good news: The void in the ozone layer is shrinking. “It’s a big surprise,” says Susan Solomon, an atmospheric chemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “I didn’t think it would be this early.”

Although the hole will not close completely until midcentury at the earliest, the healing is reassuring to scientists who pushed for the Montreal Protocol. The 1987 international agreement phased out the industrial production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): chlorine-containing chemicals that help trigger the destruction of stratospheric ozone, which screens out cancer-causing ultraviolet light. “You want to be sure that the actions we’ve taken have had the intended effect,” says Solomon, who led the study published online by Science this week.

When I mentioned previously that the NTS is a cross section of the political spectrum, I failed to mention that liberals predominate in this science-oriented group. This is not to say that science always comes down on the left-wing side of matters, as evidenced by the truth about genetically-modified organisms and the vaccination controversy. A requirement of the NTS is that we are always going to take the direction pointed by the evidence. It is tragic that a sizable block of elected officials consistently put politics over fact. It may be no coincidence that conservatives largely make up this block.

[This writer is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes Science magazine.]

Bat Shit Crazy

Second of a series (unfortunately)

Todd Akin

Todd Akin

 

What is this thing called love
This funny thing called love
Just who can solve its mystery?
Why should it make a fool of me?
Lyrics by Cole Porter

Of course, it’s not always thus. There are times when love is not involved. But some politicians hold out hope. Sort of. Idaho State Representative Pete Nielsen of Mountain Home was speaking in support of a proposed bill. It would “require women seeking abortions to be given a list of providers of free ultrasounds, and to be told they have a right to such a procedure and to hear a fetal heart monitor.” My guess is that Representative Nielsen is among those who believe abortion should be avoided in all cases. Lacking the legal means to block abortions, bills of this kind are designed to dissuade women who have decided to abort a pregnancy from going through with the procedure.

But “in all cases” includes rape and incest, two instances in which women are very likely to need an abortion. Fortunately for these women, Representative Nielsen has some good news:

During the hearing Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, said, “Now, I’m of the understanding that in many cases of rape it does not involve any pregnancy because of the trauma of the incident. That may be true with incest a little bit.”

Except for the “little bit” part, this means victims of these crimes may not have to worry about becoming pregnant, meaning the proposed legislation would not apply to them. Representative Nielsen knows of what he speaks, due to his extensive background in gynecology and human reproduction.

Actually, that last part is not quite true. Other than attending Brigham Young University and Utah State University, Representative Nielsen seems to have no medical background at all:

This leaves us wondering at the source of Representative Nielsen’s deep knowledge. Apparently some questions are never meant to be answered.

This is not the first time a feckless politician has offered up sage advice on the mysterious workings of human reproduction. During the election cycle four years ago the world swooned at candidate Todd Akin’s amazing grasp of detail:

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) – Todd Akin, the Republican candidate in the closely watched U.S. Senate race in Missouri, released a new advertisement on Thursday featuring a woman who says she was raped and had an abortion but supports Akin’s anti-abortion stand.

The TV commercial comes in the closing days of a campaign that has drawn national attention because of Akin’s remark in August that women’s bodies could ward off pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”

As it turned out, voters did not appreciate candidate Akin’s insight. Some, I am sure, thought he was bat shit crazy. He lost the election to Senator Claire McCaskill.

The election years is just rolling into gear. There will be, I am sure, much more to come. Keep reading.

Politicians Say The Darndest Things

One of a continuing series

ObamaSyrianRefugeesTerrorists

Who is the most recent politician saying the darndest things? How about Congressman Steve King representing the Iowa 4th District? Here is what he had to say recently:

While chatting today with Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News, Rep. Steve King took issue with the claim that the mounting hostility to refugees is undermining American values. The Iowa Republican said that “the argument that ‘that’s not who we are’ is just one of the mantras that they put out, it’s not supported by logic or rationale.”

“Who we are? We should not be a suicidal nation,” King said. “My wife said this morning, ‘If you had 100 grapes and you knew that two of them were fatally poisonous, would you sit there and eat the grapes until one of them killed you? Or would you decide, I’m not going to take that bunch of grapes at all?’ That’s what we’re dealing with here with the Syrian refugees.”

This is, of course, interesting logic. Pause for a moment to review a bit of irony:

WASHINGTON, March 14 [1989]
Food stores around the country pulled tons of grapes and other fresh fruit from their shelves today as the Food and Drug Administration broadened its investigation of a possible attempt to poison Chilean produce with cyanide.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that it had joined the inquiry, which has so far turned up traces of the poison in a small batch of grapes shipped last month from Chile to Philadelphia.

There have been no reports of death or illness from Chilean fruit.

To be sure, Congressman King did not have this particular incident in mind when he made his remarks. It is possible he had in mind the image at the top of this post. That image is from the Facebook site titled Political Correctness Gone Wild.

PoliticalCorrectnessGoneWild

Supposedly all of this is about political correctness, popularized as “PC.” PC is supposed to be a poke at overly ingratiating politeness—specifically, politeness where politeness is not due. What often happens is that opponents of something wholly pragmatic stick on the PC label to knock off some of the shine. It’s apparent in this instance that is what is happening.

A cold look at the matter of the Syrian refugees reveals some inconvenient facts. See additional details from The Christian Post:

  • The vetting process for refugees, including those from Syria, appears to be comprehensive and as exhaustive as can be made.
  • “The United States has resettled 784,000 refugees since September 11, 2001.” “[T]hree resettled refugees have been arrested for planning terrorist activities — and it is worth noting two were not planning an attack in the United States and the plans of the third were barely credible.”
  • “About 70 percent of refugees who participate in employment-training no longer need public assistance six months after resettling.

But, back to the poisoned grapes. Can I promise Congressman King that no Syrian refugee accepted under the current plan will commit crimes in this country or even plot terrorism. I cannot, and I do not need to. Further, I will guarantee that based on reliable population statistics, some will eventually run afoul of the law, and some will even be convicted of homicide while living in this country.

Does Congressman King want to keep people out of this country on the off chance, credible or not, they will pose a threat? He needs to think again. Such a restriction would have trapped any number of conservative Americans:

TIMEcoverTimothyMcVeigh

This undated photo provided by the Erath County Sheriff’s Office shows Eddie Ray Routh, who was charged with killing former Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range southwest of Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Erath County Sheriff's Office, File)

This undated photo provided by the Erath County Sheriff’s Office shows Eddie Ray Routh, who was charged with killing former Navy SEAL and “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range southwest of Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Erath County Sheriff’s Office, File)

Knock Knock. These were your neighbors.

We are not finished with politicians saying the darndest things. Keep reading.

Candidates Acting Stupidly

One of a continuing series

RickSantorumOsamabinLaden

A Facebook friend recently provided a list of preferred Republican candidates. Ben Carson and Donald Trump topped the list, but the list included others. I made note of the list and pinged back recently when Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal dropped out. I suspected the next to go would be former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

So, what has Senator Santorum been up to recently? Interestingly enough, he has some bad things to say about the sitting President. Here’s something from an interview on Fox News Radio:

Rick Santorum on the way President Obama is portraying opponents of allowing Syrian refugees into the country without proper screening: Do you think the president is accurately portraying the concerns of Americans and 30 plus governors and even senator Schumer when he says widows and orphans have you guys afraid?

“It’s despicable. You wonder how low this president can go in his mischaracterization, his depiction of anybody that opposes him, and taking the most extreme and lowest form of rhetoric. He’s despicable, he’s delusion and what’s causing the problem? ISIS isn’t fighting us because we won’t take Syrian refugees; ISIS is fighting us because they hate everything we believe in. ISIS is fighting us because in their holy book it says their job is to conquer the infidels in which we are one. That’s why ISIS is fighting us. But we have a president who won’t even say the word Islam, or even say the word jihadist. This is a president who uses the term ISIS and he doesn’t even realize he’s talking about the Islamic state when he says the word ISIS. He even admits in his own rhetoric that Islam is part of it, but again it’s a delusional disconnect so what he has to do in his fantasy world is accuse people of things that they’re not advocating. No one is afraid of widows and orphans. Widows and orphans did not blow up or kill people in Paris a weekend ago. It was an ISIS plant within these groups of refugees who are coming to kill, and destroy, and pursue terror among the west to destroy the infidel. That’s what they’re doing.”

The first section is just Rupert Murdoch’s media empire talking. The president, implies Fox, wants to allow Syrian refugees into this country without proper screening, something known to be contrary to fact. The second part is pure Santorum.

Here’s more:

Kilmeade: Are you concerned that France had to go to Russia for help?

Santorum: I’m not surprised. Russia is at least leading. This president has been following, this president makes excuses for not acting, and if you look at what this president has done with ISIS it’s the worst foreign policy in the history of America. The president’s policy toward ISIS is to contain ISIS, ISIS’s policy in order to gain credibility as a caliphate in the Middle East and around the world is to maintain their territorial integrity. Let me repeat that. The president’s policy is to keep ISIS within their bounds. ISIS’s objective is to keep their territorial integrity. What does that sounds like? It sounds like president Obama is in cahoots with the strategy of ISIS to maintain their territorial integrity. And he doesn’t realize by having this strategy he provides the greatest recruitment tool for ISIS, which is- America is fighting us and we are maintaining our territorial integrity and we are winning this battle. The president is helping ISIS every single day by the policies we have and he doesn’t even know it because he refuses to accept the reality that ISIS is a caliphate. ISIS is using a seventh century text book to operate this war and unless we understand it and we find a strategy against it we are going to lose this battle.

Kilmeade is Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox’s morning show, Fox & Friends. What is interesting is what Santorum has to say: “The president’s policy is to keep ISIS within their bounds. ISIS’s objective is to keep their territorial integrity. What does that sounds [sic] like? It sounds like president Obama is in cahoots with the strategy of ISIS to maintain their territorial integrity.” President Obama’s strategy is to help Daesh (ISIS) keep its territorial integrity. Really? The president is going about it in a strange way:

ISTANBUL — Intensifying pressure on the Islamic State, United States warplanes for the first time attacked hundreds of trucks on Monday that the extremist group has been using to smuggle the crude oil it has been producing in Syria, American officials said.

According to an initial assessment, 116 trucks were destroyed in the attack, which took place near Deir al-Zour, an area in eastern Syria that is controlled by the Islamic State.

The airstrikes were carried out by four A-10 attack planes and two AC-130 gunships based in Turkey.

Plans for the strike were developed well before the terrorist attacks in and around Paris on Friday, officials familiar with the operation said, part of a broader operation to disrupt the ability of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, to generate revenue to support its military operations and govern its territory.

Senator Santorum may be excused for being unaware in this case, his excuse possibly being he does not read The New York Times, or any other newspaper, for that matter. It would be better for Senator Santorum’s standing if President Obama would immediately cease all bombing of Daesh’s oil facilities, providing them better means for maintaining their territory. Unfortunately for the Senator, events do not always follow his creative mind.

This is not Senator Santorum’s first flight into fantasy. The history is rich and colorful. His dance with creationism is long and storied:

The Santorum Amendment was a failed proposed amendment to the 2001 education funding bill (which became known as the No Child Left Behind Act), proposed by Republican Rick Santorum (then the United States Senator for Pennsylvania), which promoted the teaching of intelligent design while questioning the academic standing of evolution in US public schools. In response, a coalition of 96 scientific and educational organizations wrote a letter to the conference committee, urging that the amendment be stricken from the final bill, arguing that evolution is, in the scientific fields, regarded as fact and that the amendment creates the mis-perception that evolution is not fully accepted in the scientific community, and thus weakens science curricula. The words of the amendment survive in modified form in the Bill’s Conference Report and do not carry the weight of law. As one of the Discovery Institute intelligent design campaigns it became a cornerstone in the intelligent design movement’sTeach the Controversy” campaign.

Intelligent Design is a quirk in the scientific creationism ploy creationists have been pushing for several decades. The idea is to claim a scientific basis for creationism, thereby getting around various court rulings that creationism, including Intelligent Design, is a religious concept that has no basis in science.

Santorum’s passion for religion education at public expense is at odds with United States law as well with good sense:

“The reason Bibles are no longer in the public schools is because we let them take them out,” Santorum said to amens and applause at The Awakening conference, hosted by the right-wing Liberty Counsel. “You say, ‘Well, we can’t get them back in?’ Yes we can! Yes we can!”

“How much are you willing to sacrifice?” the former presidential candidate continued. “One person got the Bibles out of the schools. We have more than one person here! But you’ve got to have the same passion in preserving our country as they do to transform it.”

Senator Santorum, who has a degree in law, is apparently unaware of that part of United States law which prohibits government entities, including public schools, from working to advance religion. He may also be unaware of some of the real consequences of introducing Bibles into public schools. Some of the material would get this book on any library’s ban list:

Ezekiel 23:15-20King James Version (KJV)

15 Girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity:

16 And as soon as she saw them with her eyes, she doted upon them, and sent messengers unto them into Chaldea.

17 And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them.

18 So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister.

19 Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.

20 For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.

It’s possible candidate has given this matter as little thought as about his current proclamations. How far his thinking will continue to carry him this campaign season is to be seen. There will be more to this story.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

The Loose Cruz

How long has it been since I posted anything on Texas Senator Ted Cruz? Well, that’s too long:

So, who is it campaigning for office, all the while keeping a lid on their intellect. Why, it’s Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Who would have thought?

TedCruzPray

That’s all? Fortunately not.

Sen. Ted Cruz had sharp words for President Barack Obama over his comments regarding Republican rhetoric on Syrian refugees, saying his statement “is utterly unbefitting of a president.”

“If you want to insult me, you can do it overseas, you can do it in Turkey, you can do it in foreign countries, but I would encourage you, mister president, come back and insult me to my face,” the Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate said this on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

Unfortunately for the President, when it comes to insulting Ted Cruz, he is a day late and a dollar short. That task has been ably managed by the senator from Texas. To wit:

“President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s idea that we should bring tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees to America—it is nothing less than lunacy,” Ted Cruz said on Fox News, the day after the attacks on Paris. If there are Syrian Muslims who are really being persecuted, he said, they should be sent to “majority-Muslim countries.” Then he reset his eyebrows, which had been angled in a peak of concern, as if he had something pious to say. And he did: “On the other hand,” he added, “Christians who are being targeted for genocide, for persecution, Christians who are being beheaded or crucified, we should be providing safe haven to them. But President Obama refuses to do that.”

The next day, at a middle school in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Cruz spoke even more openly about those whom he considers to be the good people in the world. He told reporters that we should accept Christians from Syria, and only Christians, because, he said, “There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror.” This will come as a profound surprise to the people of Oklahoma City and Charleston, to all parties in Ireland, and to the families of the teen-agers whom Anders Breivik killed in Norway, among many others. The Washington Post noted that Cruz “did not say how he would determine that refugees were Christian or Muslim.” Would he accept baptismal certificates, or notes from pastors? Does he just want to hear the refugees pray?

Of course, the foregoing from The New Yorker is a tad snarky. A coarse reading would give the idea that Senator Cruz wants only Christians from Syria allowed in. Come to think of it, that is what the senator said.

Let’s take it from there and do some Skeptical Analysis. Suppose we wanted to let in only Christians. How would we do it? Congress could make a law. The law would be worded something like this:

Only Christian refugees from Syria will be admitted to the United States.

Or, the deed could be accomplished by a simple memo:

From: His Holiness the President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C.

To: Ms. Fatima Noor

Special assistant in the Office of the Director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Ms. Noor:

From this date forward, only allow refugees of the Christian faith from Syria to enter the United States.

Yours truly,

Barack Hussein Obama

President of the United States

P.S. Don’t forget to pray five times a day.

Between Congress passing a law, and President Obama sending a memo, the task can be accomplished by any number of means. The problem is that any and all of these means would be in direct conflict with United States law:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…

Yes, that’s the part. There’s not going to be any of getting around that. Unless…

Unless you could set up something back-channel. Maybe a special signal. I don’t mean an applicant would need to kneel and cross themselves as they approach the review board, all the while shouting “Allah is a fag!” It could be something more subtle. A slight movement of the eyes. A particular color of socks. A quantity of unmarked bills. Those with some experience will know ways of getting around the law, any law. A sharp lawyer will know how. Such as Ted Cruz.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.