Home » Columns »Sustainable Planet » Currently Reading:

Nothing

August 6, 2010 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Columns, Sustainable Planet No Comments

“Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” Dick Cheney to Paul O’Neill, November 15, 2002, (Ron Suskind, The Price of Loyalty, 2004).

“… a philosophy is influenced by facts. So there is a constant interplay between what do I think and why do I think it….Now, if you gather more facts and have more experience, especially with things that have gone wrong – those are especially good learning tools – then you reshape your philosophy because the facts tell you you’ve got to… Ideology is a lot easier, because you don’t have to know anything or search for anything. You already know the answer to everything. It’s not penetrable by facts. It’s absolutism.” O’Neill (Suskind, The Price of Loyalty, 2004)

Among the first casualties of war is not only truth but also sound finance.” Liaquat Ahamed, Lords of Finance, 2009

Nothing” President Bush responding to a reporter’s question about what Saddam had to do with the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. – Press conference August 23, 2006.

In the same press conference President Bush acknowledges that Iraq did not have any weapons of mass destruction. You can see for yourself in this youtube video [1].

It is clear and unambiguous that Bush and Vice President Cheney did not tell the truth about the Iraq War. Bush admits that himself, unfortunately three years late. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to al Qaeda, nothing to do with the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, and Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were bitter enemies. The war, to quote Bush, was about “nothing” unless perhaps it was about the oil. Iraq does have lots of oil, an estimated 114 billion barrels. Many think even more. And it is very cheap, high quality, easy-to-produce oil. The problem for Bush and Cheney was that it didn’t belong to us. Like all wars the Iraq war appears most likely instigated for control of resources, in this case oil. The US military has become in the words of Michael Klare an oil protection force and a hugely expensive one [2]. Bush himself famously pointed out Americans are addicted to oil.

Tea Party folks are right to be concerned about federal deficits, in fact all debt, but they need to think more clearly about where to place the blame for those deficits [3]. Bush’s tax cuts for-the-wealthy which conservatives want to extend cost the country an estimated $1.6 trillion over the last 10 years. The lowest estimate for the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars was over $1.2 trillion as of October, 2007 [4]. It is certainly over two trillion now (a CNN report on Tuesday morning August 3, 2010 suggested $3 trillion for the Iraq war alone). Defense spending has been running about $600 billion per year during the Bush administration ignoring the two wars which are being funded off-book. According to Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes [4] all of America’s recent federal and trade deficits can be blamed on the Iraq War and maintaining hundreds of garrisons around the world to protect the flow of oil. To finance these wars while cutting taxes for the already wealthy, Greenspan lowered interest rates, allowing newly deregulated banks to create money from nothing and seemingly give it away. Home prices skyrocketed at a time when they were already overvalued relative to people’s incomes. In fairness both men thought the war would be a mere $200 billion lark and the oil would pay for it. The loss of home values in the United States since the bubble burst is about $6.5 trillion from $20 trillion to $13.5 trillion, while the total debt on these homes remains above $11 trillion. If we add these loses and costs together we find that the conservative cost of conservative policy in the United States, which does not include the cost of not telling the truth about global warming, is conservatively 1600+2000+6500 +4800 = 14900 Billion dollars, all of it wasted. Imagine if that money were instead invested in America’s future, light rail, high speed rail, education, health care, alternative energy or simply not spent at all.

Paul O’Neill, then Secretary of Treasury in the Bush administration told Ron Suskind that one of the most significant things Ronald Reagan had proved was that deficits do matter. I think the tea party people do understand that.

Bush’s gamble lost. We did not get Iraq’s oil and we took on crippling debt. The Afghanistan War is now the longest running of all of our wars and the Iraq war is now the most expensive. Iraq is still a member of OPEC and America is still addicted to a diminishing resource. If it was not about oil, if Bush really did invade the country because of non-existent WMD then it was the most insane foreign policy initiative in world history. Without any proof, Bush risked the entire US economy, not to mention hundreds of thousands of lives. Together with the tax-cuts-for-the-wealthy, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, and Greenspan’s FED policies, and the military spending, the two wars created the perfect economic storm.

That is prelude to the real point of my narrative this week. On June, 2009 a letter was sent to Congress [5] from Robert H. Austin, Professor of Physics, Princeton University, William Happer, Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, Princeton University, S. Fred Singer, Professor of Environmental Sciences Emeritus, University of Virginia, Roger W. Cohen, Manager, Strategic Planning and Programs, ExxonMobil Corporation (retired), Harold W. Lewis, Professor of Physics Emeritus, University of California at Santa Barbara, Laurence I. Gould, Professor of Physics, University of Hartford, and Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, In it they write about global warming that “THERE IS NO SUCH EVIDENCE; IT DOESN’T EXIST.

For the benefit of the authors of this letter I’m including the actual temperature record. The line labeled Broecker 1975 identifies the date when in an article published in the Journal Science the climate physicist Wally Broecker first estimated that the Earth surface temperature would increase 0.8 degrees C over the twentieth century because of anthropogenic global warming [6].

Figure 1. Global temperature up to June 2010 according to the NASA GISS data. Grey line is the 12-month running average, red dots are annual-mean values. The thick red line is a non-linear trend line. (9)

In a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [7], Anderegg et al show that more than 97 percent of publishing climate researchers support the consensus view on global warming and less than 3 percent hold a “skeptical” or “denialist” view. One of the latter is Pat Michaels. In the Cato Institute handbook for policy makers Michaels writes [8]: “Global warming is indeed real, and human activity has been a contributor since 1975.” Within the scientific community, even deniers admit that there is evidence of global warming. Austin et al’s research exhibits a rather remarkable economy of effort. Kerry Emanuel, a friend of Lindzen’s, wrote a searing critique about this letter to congress in and article published by the National Association of Scholars[10]: “Among other untruths, it [their letter] contained the sentence, referring to evidence of anthropogenic global warming, “There is no such evidence; it doesn’t exist. I confronted the sole climate scientist among the authors with this statement, and he confessed that he did not hold that to be the case.” Richard Lindzen is the sole climate scientist of the six authors of this letter. The letter also contains this statement: “The Earth has been cooling for ten years.” A more sober Ken Caldiera writes [11]: “To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous.” Caldiera is a member of the 97 percent of climate scientist who accept that anthropogenic global warming is happening. The “skeptical” Michaels remarked [12]: “You’ve all seen articles saying that global warming stopped in 1998. With all due respect, that’s being a little bit unfair to the data.” Austin et al find themselves awkwardly skeptical of their fellow skeptics as well as mainstream science, hardly the cleverest position to hold. Figure 2 is evidence of global warming impact on the heating of the oceans.

Figure 1: Total Earth Heat Content anomaly from 1950 [13] (Murphy 2009). Ocean data taken from [14] Domingues et al 2008. Land + Atmosphere includes the heat absorbed to melt ice.

Figure 1: Total Earth Heat Content anomaly from 1950 (13) (Murphy 2009). Ocean data taken from (14) Domingues et al 2008. Land + Atmosphere includes the heat absorbed to melt ice.

A recent report published by NOAA [15] identifies as evidence ten signs of global warming.

  • Less heat escaping to space
  • Cooling stratosphere
  • More fossil fuel carbon in the air
  • More heat returning to Earth
  • More fossil fuel carbon in coral
  • Nights warming faster than days
  • 30 billion tones of CO2 per year
  • Less oxygen in the air
  • Riding tropopause
  • Shrinking thermosphere

Lindzen, the only climate scientist in the bunch, did admit that he had lied, sort of, and knows in fact there is indeed some evidence [10]. Austin et al’s letter to congress addressed as it is to a body of people noted for their keen inability to think critically and their gullible embrace of the ideas favored by their donor population is welcome relief from less obvious acts of dishonesty. They further opine that “The proposed legislation would cripple the US economy, putting us at a disadvantage compared to our competitors.” To which we wonder, haven’t we already done that? Figure 3 shows total credit market debt as a function of GDP. The unprecedented level of our total debt is quite obviously beyond any level ever experienced by any segment of humanity before, a significant accomplishment. It is so far beyond human experience that economists and politicians are struck dumb trying to explain it and guess at what it might mean.

Figure 3 Total Credit Market Debt as a percentage of GDP [16]

Figure 3 Total Credit Market Debt as a percentage of GDP (16)

Dr. Marc Faber of the conservative investment advisory company Agora Finances remarked recently: “We had a colossal misallocation of capital [from 2001-2007].” Let me pointedly remind our select group of professors of physics that this misallocation did not include, unfortunately, any investment related to mitigating global warming, developing alternative energy sources, health care, education or taxing anybody for anything. Instead conservatives allocated all of our present and future resources to paying for two lost wars, our obscene pork barrel military budgets, Bush’s tax cuts for the extremely wealthy, the machinations of bankers freed from the chains of the Glass-Steagall Act by the Gramm Leach Bliley Act as well as a multitude of other conservative policies. And we know this for a fact from empirical evidence. Meanwhile our competitors unfettered by conservative ideologues, Germany and China, invested heavily in alternative energy and efficiency and are eating our lunch from a competitive perspective. We outspend China 5 to 1 on the military and find that we cannot complete with them. Both Germany and China have greater exports. Our competitors without the crippling military and war debts are investing their resources in the future [2], while we favor bankruptcy.

Figure 4 Case-Shiller housing index

Figure 4 Case-Shiller housing index

Figure 4 shows the Case-Shiller housing index for the United States. This metric reflects the cost of the average home indexed to inflation. Note that since housing prices have collapsed starting in December 2006, to a considerable extent, they still are twice as high as the historic norm. With unemployment high and wages low, one should wonder how these prices can be sustained even at 1995 levels. The bankers have already fleeced everybody they could. Conservatives seem to think there are more citizens to be fleeced and the tea party people appear to be volunteering. Good luck to them. So while there is quite literally no evidence, and none offered, that addressing global warming and resource depletion and income and wealth inequality would hurt the US economy and significant evidence that it would help, there is considerable empirical evidence that these six physicist know as much about economics as they do about climate physics or how to tell the truth. The real question is, and this would be a challenge, is there anything at all left to our economy with which to address the quite significant problems conservatives have already inflicted on us let alone the environmental problems looming menacingly in our very near future. Tony Noerpel

We have all just flunked our big test of dealing with the climate catastrophe because we couldn’t even agree on the science. Everyone feels entitled to their own science now. And it’s no big surprise that we can’t understand climate science, since we’re still arguing about EVOLUTION after 150 years! Good luck, science teacher.” –Tom Toles

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_A77N5WKWM
[2] Klare, M., Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency, 2005
[3] David Stockman, “Four deformations of the apocalypse”, New York Times, July 31, 2010. http://climateprogress.org/2010/08/01/david-stockman-how-gop-destroyed-the-economy/#more-30855 See also War is making you poor Act http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0_TtYQEDTo&feature=player_embedded
[4] Stiglitz, J. and L. Bilmes, The Three Trillion Dollar War, 2008
[5] http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2010/05/16/global_warming_debate_makes_climate_tough_on_friends/?page=full
[6] Broecker, WS, 1975: CLIMATIC CHANGE – ARE WE ON BRINK OF A PRONOUNCED GLOBAL WARMING? SCIENCE Volume 189, Pages 460-463.
[7] Anderegg, W., Prall, J., Harold, J., and Schneider, S., Expert credibility in climate change, June 21, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1003187107. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/22/1003187107.abstract
[8] Michaels, 2009, http://www.cato.org/pubs/handbook/hb111/hb111-45.pdf Murphy, D. M., S. Solomon, R. W. Portmann, K. H. Rosenlof, P. M. Forster, and T. Wong (2009), An observationally based energy balance for the Earth since 1950, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D17107, doi:10.1029/2009JD012105.
[9] Temperature recon http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/07/happy-35th-birthday-global-warming/ and here: http://clearclimatecode.org/all-python-ccc-gistemp-release/, where you can download python code to do the data analysis for yourself.
[10] Kerry E. letter http://www.nas.org/polArticles.cfm?doc_id=1444
[11] Ken Caldeira http://climateprogress.org/2009/10/26/global-cooling-myth-statisticians-caldeira-superfreakonomics/
[12] Sinclair http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610#p/u/2/QwnrpwctIh4
[13] Murphy, D., Solomon, S., Portmann, R., Rosenlof, K., Forster, P., Wong, T., An observationally based energy balance for the Earth since 1950, JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 114, D17107, 14 PP., 2009, doi:10.1029/2009JD012105
[14] Domingues, C., Church, J., White, N., Gleckler, P., Wijffels, S., Barke, P., & Dunn, J., “Improved estimates of upper-ocean warming and multi-decadal sea-level rise”, Nature 453, 1090-1093 (19 June 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07080
[15] NOAA http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100728_stateoftheclimate.html
[16] http://www.uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=91933.0

Comment on this article


By commenting, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service.


 

 

 

 

Columns

Pie in the Face (with remarks from Ron Paul)

noerpel_new

“In any field, the establishment is seldom in pursuit of the truth because it is composed of those who sincerely believe that they are already in possession of it.” E. T. Jaynes. Everybody prefaces Bernie Sanders name with “pie in …

Asterisk No More

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Moods come and go, but greatness endures.” These prescient words were uttered by President George H.W. Bush, a man who knows firsthand the truth of his own saying. In 1992, President Bush garnered only 37 percent of …

Second Bull Run

Bull Run Creek

It may not have been a battle, but – seeing as how it was my second attempt at getting a good look at Bull Run Creek – coupled with the fact that I’m a native Northerner – I felt a …

Snowmageddon III?  Seven Survival Tips for Parents

Michael_Pic

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. “snOMG,” “snowmageddon,” “snowpocalypse,” and “kaisersnoze” are a few terms to describe what just happened in Northern Virginia. The storm was reported to be the second worst storm on record. And while many children and teens gladly …

What Is a Sport?

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde On January 10, hundreds of talented dancers from across the East Coast competed at the Universal Dance Academy Regional Championship at West Springfield High School. Tensions were high and the stakes couldn’t have been greater. What …

Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn

Smith0035

It’s natural to be nervous when the markets head for negative territory. Keep a positive perspective with these six investing reminders. It can be very unsettling for investors when their portfolios and the markets start heading for the red and …

Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

blueridge2

By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Job Well Done!

town of purcellville sign

Kudos to Town Manager Rob Lohr and his awesome hard working staff. You did a fantastic job of snow removal throughout the Town of Purcellville this past week. Mr. Lohr …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

blueridge2

Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016

eaglescout

Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

(Be the first to comment)

8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

(Be the first to comment)

Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015

benkellog

Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

(Be the first to comment)

Calendar

February 2016
M T W T F S S
1 2 3

Loudoun Valley Boys Basketball Spirit Night at Coach's Corner

4

Music Together Classes - Winter Session

5

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

6

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

7

5K Race to Benefit Riverside High School Athletic Department

8 9 10 11

Music Together Classes - Winter Session

12

Notaviva Vineyards presents 5th annual "My Funny Valentine" comedy show feat. Jason Weems!

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

13

Notaviva Vineyards presents 5th annual "My Funny Valentine" comedy show feat. Jason Weems!

Chocolate & Cabernet

Sweetheart's Soirée at Breaux Vineyards

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

14

Notaviva Vineyards presents 5th annual "My Funny Valentine" comedy show feat. Jason Weems!

Celebrate Valentine's Day at North Gate Vineyard

Gallery Coffeehouse: READERS THEATRE "LOVE LETTERS" BY A. R. GURNEY

15 16 17

Mad Cap Puppets: UNDER THE BONSAI TREE

18 19

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

20

CHINESE NEW YEAR EVENT: Year Of The Monkey

21

Loudoun Symphony presents A LITTLE CHAMBER MUSIC

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

22 23 24 25 26

Breaux Vineyards February Fourth Friday

27

THE EDGE: Malone Benefit Concert

28

Loudoun School of Ballet Winter Showcase

Our Love is Here to Stay

29 1 2 3 4

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

5

Merlot Vertical Tasting

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

North Gate Vineyard Wine Dinner with Chef Sebastian Oveysi

6

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theatre, 100 Lunches" by Jack Sharkey & Leo Sears

Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

  • Will Skowronski on Second Bull Run: I always enjoy Tim Jon's columns about the back roads of Loudoun County. Mr Jon's writing evokes the fun...
  • Pamela Baldwin on An Interview with Ron Meyer, Broad Run Supervisor: And what happens, exactly, when the Greenway goes bankrupt as a result of this new alternative road? And what...
  • Tony Noerpel on The Trump Effect: Hi Rosalinda What? :+) Tony
  • Tony Noerpel on The Trump Effect: Hi Paul Don't disagree. I'd be pleased to buy you a beer sometime. I don't like Clinton as I've...
  • MJ Justus on Police Investigating Student Death: I am so sorry. May this young person find peace, and may all those affected be comforted from above.

Lifestyle

Creation and Evolution in Native American Spirituality

9 Feb 2016

turtle_swartz

In celebration of Evolution Weekend, an annual event led by clergy to encourage serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science, St. James United Church of Christ in Lovettsville has invited Roger and Deborah “Turtle” Swartz to guide a discussion of traditional Native American Spirituality and its wisdom in celebrating human relationship to the earth. In a …

(Be the first to comment)

Run and Walk To Your Nearest 5K Pregame Event Happening on Super Bowl Day In Leesburg

3 Feb 2016

runandwalk

There is a new Running Company, the Pace Makers Running Company, in town and they are on a mission to help the local population with their health goals while raising money for selected charities. The race at The National Conference Center in Leesburg on February 7, is to help benefit the Riverside High School Athletic Department. The upcoming race on …

(Be the first to comment)

Lovin’ Leesburg for All Its Beauty

3 Feb 2016

lovinleesburgrealestate1

By Hannah Hager We may be in the thick of winter, but this home on Cherry Spring Lane will melt your heart. Come spring you’ll fully be able to enjoy this simple, yet elegant brick home and its surrounding green pastures enclosed by miles of black wooden fences. Beyond your immediate yard are sweeping views of the mountains and valleys …

(Be the first to comment)

Around Virginia

Education Savings Accounts Make Big Move in House

Dave_larock

The Virginia House of Delegates gave a strong push to House Bill 389, Delegate Dave LaRock’s (R-33rd District) innovative Education Savings Account legislation, as the House Education Committee voted 13-9 in favor of advancing the bill forward. “This is definitely an exciting development for parents and students in the Commonwealth,” …

(Be the first to comment)

Kaine to Hold Hearing on Opioid Abuse

Kaine

On Monday, February 1, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, will hold a field hearing in Loudoun County to examine the ongoing fight against opioid misuse and abuse among older Americans. Kaine has met with families, law enforcement and business leaders across Virginia …

(Be the first to comment)

Youth Can Apply for 2015 Livestock Exhibitor Scholarships

Virginia_seal

Youth who exhibited beef cattle, sheep, meat goats or swine in the 2015 State Fair of Virginia 4-H and FFA youth livestock program are eligible to apply for 12 new scholarships being offered by the State Fair of Virginia. Scholarships will be offered in three age groups: Juniors (9-12), Intermediate …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

Western Loudon Volleyball Club “Hitmen” Team Finishes Second

3 Feb 2016

westernloudounvolleyballclub

The Western Loudon Volleyball Club U14 boys team, called the “Hitmen,” finished second in a tournament held January 17. This is the first ever boys team for the WLVBC (and only the second boys club in the area). Coach Allan Kotmel led the seven-member team. WLVBC started eight years ago, …

(Be the first to comment)

ODFC West Travel Soccer Program Shines

2 Dec 2015

ODFCsoccerpics

The Old Dominion Football Club West boys and girls middle school travel soccer program scored big the weekend of November 21 and 22.  The girls Quest Premier 22 team took home the championship in the U12 Girls Premier Division of the Hunt Country Classic located in Fauquier County. The boys …

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009