Saturday, December 22, 2007

Make Mine Mitt

Considering I am a declared candidate for delegate to the GOP Convention in Minneapolis this summer, its high time I declare who I support in the primary.

It has taken this long because, quite frankly, the Republican field has been lackluster and none of them are the perfect candidate espousing all the right conservative stances. Then again, to conservatives, the perfect is the enemy of the good. Samuel Huntington wrote, "No political philosopher has ever described a conservative utopia." We should heed this advice when choosing who to support for the nomination.

However, the choice itself can be difficult. For example, John McCain, a patriot who I deeply respect, is a pro-victory and far sighted supporter of the Iraq War and the fight against Islamo-fascism. However, he voted against the Bush tax cuts, championed campaign finance reform that restricts speech, sponsored disastrous CO2 cap and trade schemes, and was on the wrong side of the amnesty bill.

That is the conundrum many conservatives face in evaluating and choosing among the GOP field.

Having said that, I find myself agreeing with the conclusions of the editors of National Review in endorsing Mitt Romney: [emphasis mine]

Romney is an intelligent, articulate, and accomplished former businessman and governor. At a time when voters yearn for competence and have soured on Washington because too often the Bush administration has not demonstrated it, Romney offers proven executive skill. He has demonstrated it in everything he has done in his professional life, and his tightly organized, disciplined campaign is no exception. He himself has shown impressive focus and energy...

Like any Republican, he would have an uphill climb next fall. But he would be able to offer a persuasive outsider’s critique of Washington. His conservative accomplishments as governor showed that he can work with, and resist, a Demo­crat­ic legislature. He knows that not every feature of the health-care plan he enacted in Massachusetts should be replicated nationally, but he can also speak with more authority than any of the other Republican candidates about this pressing issue.

He would also have credibility on the economy, given his success as a businessman and a manager of the Olympics. Some conservatives question his sincerity. It is true that he has reversed some of his positions. But we should be careful not to overstate how much he has changed. In 1994, when he tried to unseat Ted Kennedy, he ran against higher taxes and government-run health care, and for school choice, a balanced budget amendment, welfare reform, and “tougher measures to stop illegal immigration.” He was no Rockefeller Republican even then...

More than the other primary candidates, Romney has President Bush’s virtues and avoids his flaws. His moral positions, and his instincts on taxes and foreign policy, are the same. But he is less inclined to federal activism, less tolerant of overspending, better able to defend conservative positions in debate, and more likely to demand performance from his subordinates. A winning combination...

Friday, December 21, 2007


The long awaited development of the historic Rotunda in my Hampden/Wyman Park neighborhood is set to begin this spring.

Construction is to begin this spring on a major redevelopment of the
landmark Rotunda shopping center in North Baltimore - including a new 22-story hotel and apartment tower - after the project won final approval from the city Planning Commission yesterday.The $130 million development also will bring condominiums, townhouses, a bookstore, restaurants and a new Giant supermarket to a retail and office center that has faded in recent years with the growth of suburban shopping malls and town centers

The Rotunda is a short walk from my house, and the only reason my wife and I went there was to see movies at the Rotunda Cinematheque, a sister theater to the historic Senator in Towson. I'm glad to hear that the RC will also be expanded.

The existing Giant is a mess and had frequent rodent infestations. Hopefully this problem will be solved with the new Giant slated to be built in the complex.

Shopping choices in my neighborhood are limited, unless you enjoy the bohemian boutique shops on 36th Ave. I like them, but I don't always need things from them. It is also a hassle to schlep out to Towson, Timmonium, or Hunt Valley to shop.

The addition of new restaurants is welcome too. Hampden has a few fine establishments, but after a while you crave something different.

My city council representative and election opponent Mary Pat Clarke hit the nail on the head:

"We were very concerned because we could see that things were going the wrong way at the Rotunda," said City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, whose district includes the center on 40th Street north of the Hampden business district. "We saw the place going to wrack and ruin."

A lackluster "Offensive"

PMF responds

Wow. I must have hit a real sore point with you. You tired me out so much by the second paragraph, so I gave up and skipped to the end. Seriously. Who cares about your rants? Like I said, rearranging deck chairs on The Titanic. You, like so many other ultra-conservative bloggers, and again, that's being charitable, spend enormous time and energy attacking anyone with whom you disagree. It's just stupid that you wasted so much time attacking me, and it says much more about you than it does about me…

I will continue to call attention to those hyper-conservative bloggers who are burying their heads in the sand and whining to the rest of us about global warming because there may be some scientific uncertainty about it.

So much for that vaunted “offensive” PMF promised.

First, I did not attack PMF. I attacked his argument, or more precisely his lack of an argument.

Second, that PMF mounts weak sophist “offensives” instead of engaging the arguments of the skeptics, says a great deal more about his position than it does mine or me personally. I actually offered an argument and marshaled facts and evidence, but PMF can’t be bothered to engage it or the substantive issues. Furthermore, he can’t even be bothered to make a counter argument of his own. Then again, I’m not surprised, even Al Gore refuses to debate the issues. When cornered into debating issues most, though not all, on the left refuse to do so.

BTW I once found myself in the alarmist camp, until I bothered to research the other side. The skeptic argument convinced me to change positions. Also, the term “skeptic” is a misnomer, the majority of skeptics do not deny that the planet is warming, they are skeptical of the notions human induced carbon dioxide emissions caused the warming trend, that the warming is catastrophic, and that alarmist policy prescriptions will do much more harm than good.

Washington Decoded

My dive into the issue of McCarthyism generated some good feedback. Mark LaRochelle of the Education & Research Institute provided some very constructive criticism. ERI is a great source for finding and evaluating FBI files concerning its offensive against the CPUSA and Soviet espionage. I even received some hate mail from a genuine red from the Popular Front era.

In my follow-up research I came across a great site, Washington Decoded, which focuses on issues like McCarthyism, Soviet espionage, and other intelligence matters. The site also has great articles debunking the JFK assassination conspiracies as well. I recommend Max Holland's article on how the CIA conspiracy theories are in fact the result of KGB active measures against the Main Adversary. The money line from the article is:

Arguably, Stone’s 1991 movie is the only American feature film made during the Cold War to have, as its very axis, a lie concocted in the KGB’s disinformation factories

In my original post I mentioned Stan Evans new book on McCarthy, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies

I read portions of the Evan book. John Earl Haynes one of the deans of scholarship on the American communism and Soviet espionage, published a critique of Evans' book in Washington Decoded. Ron Radosh published his own critique in National Review

Full disclosure: Haynes provided invaluable help and insight to me on my research on Albert Blumberg.

Haynes praises Evans for his comprehensive research, however he disagrees with Evans on matters of interpretation. As I mentioned in my original post certain distinctions needed to be made concerning "who were at one time, drawn to communism and saw the light versus those who knew the truth and kept the faith, and even engaged in acts of treason in fulfilling that faith." Haynes' review stresses other distinctions that are just as important.

The American Communist Party was a clear and present danger, as McCarthy and Evans would have it, in the early Cold War. But its chief threat was that of political subversion, not espionage, and therein lies the dividing line between a positive view of McCarthy and a negative appraisal. Had American Communists and their allies retained the influence they had achieved in the labor movement and the broad New Deal coalition, it is difficult to imagine that the United States would have undergone the political mobilization necessary in the crucial, early years of the Cold War. And the absolutely vital, perhaps irreplaceable, political elements in this mobilization were the leaders who would come to be derided in the 1960s as “Cold War liberals.”

From 1946 to 1950, a civil war raged within labor and liberal institutions over the postwar direction of their movement. Initially, it looked as if Henry Wallace and the Progressive Party, with its secret Communist leadership, might wrest Roosevelt’s mantle from a faltering Harry Truman and the Democratic Party. But after an uncertain start, Truman reformulated the New Deal for the postwar era, and adopted a policy of confronting Moscow that transformed him into the greatest of the Cold War’s liberal presidents. By the time the 1948 election was over, Wallace and his followers had ceased to be a viable alternative to Truman and the Democrats. Soon afterwards, the last bastions of Communist institutional strength were leveled when the CIO expelled its Communist-led unions...

The heroes in this political marginalization of the extreme left were such figures as Reinhold Niebuhr, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Eleanor Roosevelt from Americans for Democratic Action; liberal Democratic politicians such as Hubert Humphrey and Paul Douglas; and labor leaders such as Walter Reuther and Philip Murray. Yet they were not McCarthy’s allies — indeed, these were the kind of people against whom McCarthy railed.

By the time McCarthy’s Wheeling, West Virginia speech in February 1950 launched what came to be labeled “McCarthyism,” an anti-Communist consensus dominated the American landscape. The Democratic Party was firmly in the hands of Cold War liberals; the CIO free of Communist influence; and only remnants remained of the once-significant Communist role in mainstream politics, civic institutions, and the labor movement. Yet McCarthy threatened the anti-Communist consensus that liberals had helped create because he attempted to make anti-Communism a partisan cudgel.

Another key distinction to remember was that McCarthy used the fact that Soviet intelligence services had deeply penetrated many levels of the federal government in the FDR and Truman administrations to hammer Truman, Marshall Acehson et al. However the key chronological fact is that the these Soviet intelligence networks had been neutralized by the time McCarthy made his famous speech. The Soviet intelligence services themselves even knew their operations had been compromised. Albeit great damage had already been done.

Haynes is correct in noting that McCarthy did not come to prominence by unmasking a low level army employee (Annie Lee Moss) but he did it through his patently false accusations against Truman, Marshal,l and Acheson.

Haynes notes:

Certainly, several US officials, including some very high ones in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, displayed great naïveté toward Soviet espionage, and internal security policies until the late 1940s were notably weak. But there is no evidence to justify McCarthy’s allegation of wholesale administration or Democratic complicity in this treachery. Officials (like Alger Hiss) who spied or attempted to influence US policy on behalf of the Soviet Union, also betrayed Roosevelt, Truman, their administrations, and their colleagues, in addition to violating the nation as a whole.
Normal democratic politics cannot proceed when one side regards and depicts the other as the enemy of fundamental values, and somehow illegitimate. Yet that is what McCarthy attempted to do, via demagoguery and malign partisan zeal. That he did not succeed, or even come close, hardly mitigates the fact that his role was an irretrievably negative one. It is true, and Stan Evans makes the case, that McCarthy was not a satanic monster who terrorized the nation and seriously threatened its democratic values. But he was a hindrance, rather than an asset, to a rational anti-Communist consensus, and is not deserving of the vindication that Evans seeks to confer.

I agree.

This debate could continue in perpetuity, and it probably will. However, the larger issue I see is that this debate and the facts surrounding it do not make into high school or collegiate history courses. This is the true travesty. How many high school students or college students taking basic US history courses even know about Venona or the the evidence in opened Comintern archives? Not many. This of course seeps into our popular culture. Compare the number of Hollywood deceptive movies that depict the dark pall of hysteria that McCarthyism and HUAC cast over the nation (Good Night and Good Luck, The Way We Were, Guilt by Suspicion, Point of Order, and The Majestic) to the number of movies that depict the real story (zero).

For example, watching Good Night and Good Luck, one would never know that the Cold War was even going on. Given that Hollywood still refuses to come to terms with its own romance with Stalin and the Soviet Union, I won't hold my breath for it to make The Way We Weren't

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

She’s memorized the lyrics, but she can’t hear the music

From Jonah Goldberg's NRO column

But schadenfreude doesn’t really do justice to Hillary’s potential downfall. Her career is indisputably a product of her marriage. But for most of her life, Hillary had an independent ideological identity that now seems to have gone down the memory hole. In her own words, she championed a whole new “politics of meaning” and sought to redefine “who we are as human beings in this postmodern age.” But, bit by bit, she sliced off chunks of her soul.

Hillary used to be the personification of hope for the left. On the welfare debate, she was supposed to be Bill’s conscience. She was the Eleanor to his Franklin. But now Hillary is the Democrats’ establishment candidate, pitted against the true believer, John Edwards, and the idealist, Obama. Even committed liberals tell focus groups she’s too cold, too calculating.

And how did she get that way? She studied at the feet of the master. Bill Clinton cast himself as a champion of the “Third Way,” a grandiose political phrase with disturbing intellectual roots. For Bill, it mostly meant that he could split the difference between any two positions. Any hard choice was a “false choice.” When asked how he’d have voted on the first Persian Gulf War, he said he agreed with the minority but would have voted with the majority. He smoked pot but didn’t inhale. Monica Lewinsky had sex with him, but he could swear under oath he didn’t have sex with her.

Bill can make those sorts of things work because he really believes them — or at least he does as the words are coming out of his mouth. Hillary has nowhere near that sort of skill. She’s learned the dance moves and she’s memorized the lyrics, but she can’t hear the music.

Will They Spend More to Solve This Deficit

Surpise Surpise Maryland now faces another looming deficit. Then again what would you expect from a governor and a legislature that "solves" deficits through increased spending.

Despite the tax increases and spending cuts approved in last month's special legislative session, legislative analysts see another possible budget shortfall looming by fiscal year 2010.

The projected deficit is $237 million. It is projected to grow by another $26 million the following year.
Accoding to the Baltimore Sun the General Assembly is recommending signifcant reductions in spending growth.
If Gov. Martin O'Malley follows the benchmark set by the Spending Affordability Committee - a bipartisan group of lawmakers assigned to keep state spending from exceeding economic growth - Maryland would spend 4.27 percent more on public services than it did last year, a smaller increase than in all but five of the past 25 years.

Of course this all contingent on O'Malley acting on this recommendation, and the $550 million in recommended cuts from the special session(which cost taxpayers $360,000), in the budget he sends to the legislature in January.

Warren G. Deschenaux, the legislature's chief fiscal analyst predicts an economic rebound that will help state revenues through the "tens of thousands" of workers relocating to Maryland from BRAC. But will it offset the new state spending on roads, schools and other infrastructure needed to accomodate the people moving to Maryland?

"Cats and Dogs Living Together...Mass Hysteria"

That is what alarmists like PMF would have you believe

PMF must be proud of himself after his alarmist tirade, in which he said, “I will go on the offensive against any writers (hyper conservative or in the unlikely event of being otherwise) who squirms and whines their way out of this one.”

I am not worried about the merits of his “offensive” in the least, more so his penchant for accusing people of anti-Semitism (at least me anyway) when they disagree with him.

PMF should have taken Bruce Godfrey’s advice and provided, links to your sources substantiating why global warming is not a speculative theory but rather a demonstrable effect, a proven theory, would strengthen your case.” Tellingly, PMF did not.

I will respond to PMF’s rant piece by piece, at least to the portions of it that do not devolve into inane spittle-flecked froth.

Skeptics do not allow for their own uncertainty but love to point to scientific uncertainty, or the appearance of it on this issue because they color everything, including all science through their narrow, distorted lens of hyper-conservatism, and their responses below prove it.

Uncertainty is the backbone of the skeptic’s argument. Enough wholes have been punched in the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming that there is definite certainty about the uncertainty of the science. What’s your point?

Alarmists “color everything through their narrow distorted lens.” But they won’t admit it, because like all progressives they superficially equate “reason”, “science” “progress”, or “justice” with their preferred policy goals. Therefore, they label anyone who opposes them as “anti-reason,” “anti-science,” “anti-progress,” “anti-justice,” or downright evil meanies, in order to shut down any real debate. Lionel Trilling’s 1949 description of the old right now perfectly encapsulates the left, especially climate alarmists like PMF, “they do not "express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.”

The fact that anybody even argues over the repeatedly worsening conclusions of the UN's IPCC report says it all. The skeptics go out of their way to discredit the conclusion of thousands of scientists, the AAAS and the NAS but base their beliefs on a tiny minority of industry-paid apologists such as the loudmmouthed Rush Limbaugh of science, Patrick Michaels. By the way, I read his book and met hime over a decade ago. He's still a crank and if you think he is a scientist, why is he funded by the Cato Institute? That's not a scientific institution.

Notice how PMF does not specify that the dire predictions of impending doom are not from the actual scientific report, rather they are from the summary for policy makers(SPM), which is WRITTEN BY UN BUREAUCRATS. In fact, many of the scientists on the IPCC dispute the SPM and the fact that it grossly exaggerates their findings in the scientific report. One scientist Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute asked to have his name removed from the IPCC report, because of the inherently political nature of the panel. Of the IPCC Reiter said:

A galling aspect of the debate is that this spurious ‘science’ is endorsed in the public forum by influential panels of “experts.” I refer particularly to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Every five years, this UN-based organization publishes a ‘consensus of the world’s top scientists’ on all aspects of climate change. Quite apart from the dubious process by which these scientists are selected, such consensus is the stuff of politics, not of science. Science proceeds by observation, hypothesis and experiment. The complexity of this process, and the uncertainties involved, are a major obstacle to meaningful understanding of scientific issues by non-scientists. In reality, a genuine concern for mankind and the environment demands the inquiry, accuracy and skepticism that are intrinsic to authentic science. A public that is unaware of this is vulnerable to abuse.

The IPCC refused to remove his name until he brought a lawsuit against it.

Analysis of the IPCC’s peer review process reveals that it is greatly flawed and the vaunted “consensus” is IPCC generated and self-perpetuating media myth.

The IPCC has problems with airbrushing inconvenient data from the historical record. The 2001 IPCC SPM report tossed the Medieval Warming Period and Little Ice Age down the memory hole. They appeared in its 1995 report but slapped them out of history in 2001, with the now debunked Hockey Stick. The UN bureaucrats who write the SPM reports remind me of the old joke about Soviet society, “the future is known, it’s the past that is always changing.”

Furthermore, the IPCC is not solely comprised of scientists, but in fact, included government officials. After all it is the InterGOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change.

As I noted earlier, the idea of “industry-paid apologists” wilts as an argument in the face of the fact that alarmists receive BILLIONS of dollars in funding versus the millions that the so-called apologists receive. It is also quite dishonest to call these scientists apologists for industry, given the fact that General Electric and British Petroleum, who are heavily invested in wind and solar power, and donate big money to the alarmist cause.

PMF’s point about Patrick Michaels and his funding by Cato is also moot because avowed alarmist groups like the International Climate Change Taskforce (ICCT) are funded by left wing organizations like the Center for American Progress and the Institute for Public Policy Research. Clearly, they are NOT scientific institutions. Here in Maryland, Climate Change Strategies (CCS) the political advocacy group formulating the state’s climate policies, is funded through Rockefeller Brothers, Heinz, and Ted Turner, all of which are clearly NOT scientific organizations.

Do you dispute the rapid melting of the polar ice caps? The fact that we continue to experience the hottest years on record since record-keeping began? Do you continue to dispute the melting of the glaciers around the world? The melting of the snows on the world's mountaintops? More flooding? More severe storms? Measurable sea level rise? The death of coral reefs? The increasing presence of CO2 and other greenhouse gases? The rapid decrease in forests? Or do you somehow rationalize this and attempt to explain it away? Hmmm, I guess we answered our own question.

Okay polar ice caps melt during warming periods. But, guess what, they refreeze during cooling periods! Climate changes, always has and always will. That is why Greenland, which is ice, was once green (hence the name) and Vikings lived there and farmed its soil.

The hottest years on record! Really, that is quite a statement given that the IPCC’s own data show that temperature has been stable since 1998, for the mathematically challenged that is 10 YEARS of no temperature increase. Furthermore, increased in atmospheric carbon dioxide accompanied this temperature stasis. Just this summer, NASA had to revise its historical temperature records, due to flawed data, which knocked 1998 off as the hottest year on record, 1934 now holds that distinction.

I do not dispute the melting of glaciers around the world. However, other glaciers are indeed ADVANCING. By PMF’s tortured logic, glacial advance is proof of global cooling! Alarmists want to have it both ways.

Glacial melting is not proof of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.

Mt. Kilimanjaro, Al Gore’s favorite example of melting mountaintops fails to pass the smell test. Gore never mentions that two articles in the International Journal of Climatology and the Journal of Geophysical Research show that melting on Kilimanjaro is due to lack of moisture, which is a prerequisite for ice and snow, is the cause of its receding snow line, not global warming.

There is NO “consensus” that more global warming causes severe storms.

Sure sea level rises, but only the most inane chicken littles believe that parts of Manhattan will soon be under water. It should go without saying (but we have to given alarmist hysteria) that since climate changes, sea levels will fall as well.

Yes, there is more Co2 in the atmosphere, but that increase has not led to increased temperatures over the last 10 years, they have plateaued. Man made Co2 emissions account for roughly 3% of Co2 emissions. Furthermore, over time Co2 lags behind temperature by some 800-1,000 years.

Contrary to the alarmist myth, forest land, in the United States in increasing.

An inconvenient truth for the alarmists is the scientific study published this month in the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society that shows climate change models based on human influence DOES NOT MATCH OBSERVED WARMING!

What the hyper conservative skeptics do is say things such as, "Well I am not a scientist, so..." but they go on to even dispute the scientists, because there is a tiny hint of doubt, of uncertainty. Well of course there is, and that is due to the nature of science itself, bolstered by the few remaining and the increasingly shrinking number of scientific voices (or should we say formerly scientific voices) of paid apologists for the coal and other industries or think thanks that advocate for less government?

Someone fix this broken record please.
There is more than “a tiny hint of doubt” and uncertainty about the theory of catastrophic man made global warming. There are downright Sherman tank sized wholes in it. PMF is all for uncertainty unless it questions his progressive policy prescriptions.

Apparently, alarmists funded by think tanks that advocate for more government (and rent-seeking corporations) are fine and dandy. Oh I forgot, these scientists and think tanks are THEIR scientists and think tanks so they must be right and true!

What would you call it when a person runs his car's engine in a closed garage? Suicide! What do you call it when billions of people run their engines on a tiny planet with a thin atmosphere? Omnicide? It is simply a difference of scale.

PMF is conflating the poisonous gas carbon monoxide with carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide has that nasty little quality of causing that villainous process of photosynthesis. Flora absorbs carbon dioxide and use it to produce oxygen, which we humans use selfishly use to breathe.

The hyper conservative skeptics would rather claim they are right as we head toward potential doom than ever admit they might be wrong, and that the consequences might be devastating than actually begin to question their own assumptions and perhaps begin to do something.

This is alarmist projection plain and simple. This is the epitome of gall, coming from the crowd that claimed, “the debate is over” and then continually harass contrarian scientists, and squelch the free speech of those who dare disagree with them.

Hyper conservatives have been fighting environmentalism for decades while we profit and luxuriate off of passing externalities (i.e. waste and effluent and pollution) to the "environment." It is now time to pay the piper. Problem is, they don;t want to pay. They want to keep living beyond their means, thus leading to disaster. Yep, it will cost a lot to turn this around. But if you think we have a choice, I suggest you keep believing in creationism and the world to come, which many believe it, although there is not a shred of evidence.

I’m not sure what any of that inane babble means.

Talk about externalities--they'd rather send armies around the globe to fight terrorists based on flse assumptions than buils support her at home to fight an even greater global threat based on real data. It is the global warming skeptics who are basing their action or lack thereof on faith--the faith that humans can't possibly have a global effect on the world's climate. Agree with me or not, but cut out the hyper-conservative and phoney BS. Again, go back to the youtube link in my original post and listen to the reasoned argument of costs/benefits of doing nothing versus acting now.

See previous response.

UPDATE: I looked at that youtube vid PMF touts. Its an interesting argument, but short on accounting for complexities. However, if we were to follow the logic of the argument, that would mean following alarmist policies that would have no detecable effect on climate change, hence the alarmist calls for 30 Kyotos.

Friday, December 14, 2007

What Was McCarthyism

McCarthyism has been and will always be a provocative topic in American life. The opening of Soviet archives containing CPUSA documents and NSA's declassification the Venona decrypts, forced historians and political observers to reassess our understanding of the American Communist movement, Soviet espionage, anti-communism, and consequently McCarthyism. The goal of this essay is to look back at what McCarthyism was and was not, and how those on the left and the right distort it.

A quick aside:
I used many of these documents in my biography of Albert Blumberg, the head of the Maryland CPUSA in the 1930s-1940s. If you are interested in reading it please email me and I can send you a copy.

The reassessment has produced great historical works such as those from John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr's Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage, Allen Weinstein's The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America--The Stalin Era, and locally Vernon Pederson's The Maryland Communist Party:1919-1957.

And some unbelievably bad histories from both the right and the left; Ann Coulter's Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terror, being the most notable, and Ellen Shrecker's Cold War Triumphalism: Exposing the Misuse of History after the Fall of Communism.

Coulter's argument takes her rehabilitation of McCarthy far past what the historical evidence provides. Not withstanding the areas where McCarthy has been vindicated, No one seriously believes Coulter’s defense of McCarthy’s contention that Harry Truman, George Marshall, and Dean Acheson were part of "a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man. A conspiracy of infamy so black that, which it is finally exposed, its principals shall be forever deserving of the maledictions of all honest men..."

In fact, Ellen Shrecker argues, from the left, that Truman et al were more dangerous than McCarthy was. So what does that say about Coulter's terrible argument.

Don't get me wrong, Shrecker is just as bad as Coulter. Shrecker is the foremost anti anti-communist scholar in academia. So much so that she has found the most novel ways to twist truth and apologize for Stalinism and American communist spies. Speaking of traitors like the Rosenbergs. Shrecker writes in her book "they did so for political, not pecuniary reasons… As communists these people did not subscribe to traditional forms of patriotism; they were internationalists whose political allegiances transcended national boundaries. They thought they were ‘building… a better worlds for the masses,’ not betraying their country.”

M. Stanton Evans has new book on McCarthy, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies, which is sure to stir the pot even more. I have not read it yet so I cannot comment on it.

However, what the ongoing reassessment has done is shift the focus from the early 1950s to the 1930s when Soviet communism had its greatest sway over American intellectuals, activists, and politicians. Obviously, the Great Depression had an enormous effect on those who turned to communism, or became fellow travelers; and some who after a short dalliance with communism turned to the right. This included many of the initial New Deal brain trust folks like Rexford Tugwell, and Stuart Chase; intellectuals like Edmund Wilson, Bertrand Russell Sydney Hook, Frank Meyer, Irving Kristol; and writers like Whittaker Chambers, Lionel Trilling, Lillian Hellman, Dashiell Hammett, and Dalton Trumbo.

After 1936, the truth about the horrors of Stalinism (The Great Terror and the purges) was there for all to see. Despite what they knew, some of these folks willfully sided with Stalin and portrayed the Soviet Union as the wave of the future. Lincoln Steffens returned the United States from a junket in the Soviet Union and said, “I have seen the future and it works,” Stuart Chase’s conclusion in his book that gave the New Deal its moniker was, "why should Russians have all the fun remaking a world?" Lillian Hellman and her lover Hammett along with Dalton Trumbo led the Stalinist charge in Hollywood. Make no mistake, the Hollywood Ten, were not innocent liberal martyrs they were, indeed the most ardent of Stalinists and practiced it against their own. Just ask Albert Maltz. Maltz was a communist screenwriter who dared praise the writing qualities of a Trotskyite author, in communist journal New Masses. Whittaker Chambers was editor of New Masses at one point. His Hollywood comrades subjected him to a most cruel self incrimination/confession. In order to save himself from expulsion from the party, he published a humiliating retraction in New Masses.

Some intellectuals went beyond bleating for the communist wave of the future and actively assisted the Soviet intelligence services. Alger Hiss was an agent of the GRU (Soviet military intelligence, not the KGB); Whitaker Chambers served the American CP underground as a courier for Hiss’ stolen documents. The Silvermaster Group, the Ware Group and the Perlo Group were all composed of New Deal intellectuals/officials who provided classified US government information to the Soviets, Shrecker’s so-called non-traditional patriots.

Some intellectuals, once they realized the horrors of Stalinism and the totalitarian nightmare of the Soviet Union, broke with communism and became leaders in the anti-Stalinist left like Bertrand Russell, Sydney Hook and Lionel Trilling.

Others, like Whittaker Chambers, Frank Meyer and Irving Kristol found themselves on the nascent American right, and obviously anti-communists.

The disaffection with communism/Stalinism/Soviet Union came at different times for all of these folks, both left and right. For some like Chambers it came when he realized the horrors of Stalin’s purges, for others it was the Soviet alliance with Hitler, and many more left after Khrushchev’s denouncement of Stalin at the 20th Party Congress. It should be noted that Khrushchev denounced Stalin in part to consolidate his own power and to hide his own culpability as on of Stalin’s chief henchmen in the Great Terror.

So what does this have to do with McCarthyism? Well given the hysteria of the era and some contemporary writers (Coulter), it is important to draw serious distinctions between those who were at one time, drawn to communism and saw the light versus those who knew the truth and kept the faith, and even engaged in acts of treason in fulfilling that faith.

Anti-communism was a noble cause. I say that with one caveat; Joseph McCarthy, despite the fact that in a vaguely general sense, he was correct, did nothing to help the anti-communist cause, and in fact did much to hurt it. No less than Whittaker Chambers himself denounced McCarthy for doing so.

How is this so? McCarthy appeared on the scene in 1950, well after the early Cold War spy cases (Amerasia, Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs), after the defections of Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley, and after the Truman administration had begun its security program to oust spies and communists from the federal government. The great majority of the actual communists and spies McCarthy accused had already been revealed or neutralized, BEFORE McCarthy made his speech in Wheeling West Virginia.

McCarthy made no such distinctions between those who had at one time been communists and left the party and those who stayed and engaged in espionage for example, James Wechsler. McCarthy defenders like Coulter fail to make these distinctions as well and their arguments, part of which I agree with, are problematic and become diluted for this very important reason. Former communists Ron Radosh and David Horowitz make this same point. Horowitz’s critical review of Coulter, The Trouble with Treason, is perhaps the best explication of why such distinctions are important and that cheap political satire, in this case cannot substitute for sound historical analysis.

McCarthy was, in the words of the pre-eminent scholar of Soviet espionage, John Earl Haynes, “a minor devil.”

As bad for anti-communism as Coulter and her idol McCarthy were; the progressive left has used McCarthy to distort and demonize the cause in a far worse manner.

When someone points out the now conclusive fact of American communist espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union, or the CPUSA’s complicity in Stalinist atrocities: the left responds with the epithet “McCarthyism.” The left uses this reflexive response in utter ignorance of the historical record, and as a means to demonize the messenger and distract from the truth. Polemical screeds masked as scholarship pollute the historiography of the subject, and our political discourse.

The left uses McCarthyism in three very deceptive ways. They use McCarthyism to protect the reputation of, and cover up for those who were indeed guilty of supporting or spying for Stalin. Why bother in undertaking the task of defending the indefensible when you can demonize your opponent as McCarthyite. Second, the left used McCarthyism to slander anti-communism as a whole. By that, I mean they used it to discredit the liberal anti-communist consensus that drove American Cold War foreign policy, and used McCarthyism to condemn the American constitutional order itself. The New Left consistently used McCarthyism against "the system" in the Sixties. Lastly the left uses McCarthyism to draw dangerous moral equivalencies between the Soviet Union and the United States. I cannot count the times I have sat in graduate school classes with colleagues, debated people, or read books by people who compared the McCarthy era to Stalin’s terror. I will concede the point that McCarthy ruined the lives of some innocent people and tarnished the reputation of honorable patriotic public servants like Truman, Marshall and Acheson. However, to compare that to the genocide and political terror committed by a man and a regime that murdered more people than the Nazis; is the height of intellectual dishonesty.

Like McCarthy himself, the many on the left make no distinctions between McCarthy’s callous regard for the truth and the actual security threats of the Soviet Union itself and its American sympathizers and spies posed to the United States. The Soviets even had their own presidential candidate in Henry Wallace and the Progressive Party, which was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Communist Political Association (CPA), the new name of the CPUSA following its reorganization as ordered by Stalin. Here in Maryland, Albert Blumberg ran the Progressive Party apparatus on behalf of the CPA.

We must be wary of any use of the term “McCarthyism” because most of the time, it is used in ignorance of what it was and what is was not by those on the left and the right.

Unscrupulous commentators on the right use it to bludgeon the honorable legacy of what the Democratic Party used to be. They should know better.

Many on left, use McCarthyism to defend and apologize for a murderous totalitarian regime and the American traitors who supported it, and to demonize noble cause of anti-communism and American efforts to in pursuit of that cause.

"The Thing That Should Not Be"

In appreciation of the law suit filed to nullify the special session (the thing that should not be)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pravda on Calvert Street

That the Baltimore Sun is a bull horn for the O'Malley political machine is no secret. However, as the governor continues to increase and consolidate his political power (while he hires inept Glendenning retreads run the state), the Sun editorial board's effrontery in carrying water for the governor is reaching new heights. Witness today's Orwellian, "for make benefit of glorious leader", editorial entitled, A galling grasp for power, attacking O'Malley opponent, Nancy Grasmick. Quite a cheeky title for the editorial, given that it describes exactly what the governor is doing in the state right now.

The Sun criticizes Grasmick and the Board of Education for reappointing Grasmick because, "it could lead to unwise legislation that would make the superintendent's position more vulnerable to electoral politics than it should be."

Well if that does happen, then it is not Grasmick or the current board's fault, and Sun should call its master on the carpet and criticize him and Mike Miller and Mike Busch for any such move. However, any honest observer knows that such criticism would contradict the Sun's imperative.

Baltimore Sun meet democracy. Democracy works on disagreement not on deceptive notions of "consensus," which the governor uses as a ruse to gain more and more power.

We all know the reason the governor lacks trust in Grasmick and it has nothing to do with her competence or abilities, and the Baltimore Sun knows it too!
Grasmick went against the O'Malley machine when it played politics with Baltimore City's failing schools. Daring to disagree, was Grasmick's cardinal sin. Just ask Allison Asti and Ed Norris.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Climate of Intelectual Dishonesty

Another long post, but real arguments take more time and effort than devising the next progressive bumper sticker.

Isaac Smith actually decided to respond to my argument about climate change. Mixed in with the cheap shots Isaac actually makes some form of an argument. However, to borrow from a line from a movie franchise we both like, Isaac, “like a poor marksman you keep missing the target.”

I doubt he, Eric Leudtke, or lefty will respond, other than ad hominem screeds, because they refuse to debate issues. Here is Isaac's case:

Clearly, you know more about climatology than the vast majority of climate scientists from around the world. You deserve a medal.
Seriously, shouldn't the burden of proof be on you, and people like you, who have been proven wrong again and again? But I'll indulge your ignorance for a second, and point out that no,
CO2 does not lag behind global average temperatures, and the so-called Medieval Warm Period pales in comparison to today's warming. Come up with an original objection, please.
I agree that rent-seeking, even among clean energy companies, is a problem. That says nothing, however, about the necessity of moving to a clean energy regime, only that we as citizens should be vigilant. And pricing carbon does not necessarily mean higher energy prices; in many cases, such as energy efficiency,
it saves money. Besides, most plans for a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system not Lieberman-Warner, however) are meant to be revenue-neutral, with the money collected from the tax or auction of carbon credits going to offset other taxes, like the payroll tax. So to the extent that such policies raise energy prices, its effect on the average American will be minimized.
I suspect none of this will get through to you, who have committed to low-rent conspiracy-theorizing instead of honest argument, but at least I've made my case.

Let’s take Isaac’s case one point at a time.

Clearly, you know more about climatology than the vast majority of climate scientists from around the world. You deserve a medal.

Forget for a moment the fact that most of my facts and data come from climate scientists, and researchers who don’t happen to believe in the fallacy of catastrophic man made global warming. This is not an argument so much as proof that lefties don’t go apoplectic over so called dishonest argument, they go nuts because you prove them wrong. Then consequently project on to their opponents their own intellectual dishonesty.

Co2 Does not lag behind global average temperatures.

Let’s deal with the term global average temperatures.

First “global average temperature” is a completely invented concept. “Global average temperature, is an average derived from the readings of temperature monitoring stations around the world, i.e. fancy thermometers. In theory, this is a legitimate way to track global temperature. However, since the late 1980s the world lost thousands of monitoring stations in cold climate regions, specifically in the territories of the old Soviet Union. The Russians had a great deal more to worry about in the 1990s than maintaining their monitoring stations. How can the 1990s be the hottest decade ever, an alarmist claim, if thousands of cold weather monitoring stations were shut down? See the correlation between average temperature and the loss of monitoring stations below

Also, our own monitoring stations here in the United States are suspect as well. This is due to their placement adjacent to heat emitting sources like paved surfaces, air conditioning units, and chimneys. See the picture of the Hopkinsville Kentucky monitoring station below.

For more dubious measurement station sites see

Co2 does not lag behind temperature
Isaac points to a blog entry at Real Climate.Org as proof that carbon dioxide does not lag behind temperature. This is like pointing to a David Copperfield performance to prove that skyscrapers can really disappear. First Real Climate.Org is an avowed alarmist site, which possesses that scientific virtue of demonizing any data or person that counters their alarmism. The posting Isaac refers to is nothing more than a sleight of hand trick and sophist construct, which falls flat in light of actual scientific work, that shows carbon dioxide lags behind temperature.

Some background info on Real is in order because like the good Stalinists, they emulate, they play fast and loose with the truth, and proves Isaac’s second point to be completely false.

Real is famous for perpetuating alarmist lies, like the Hockey Stick graph, created by UVA professor Michael Mann, which Al Gore uses to show that climate was stable, until humans began driving and using electricity, then temperature skyrocketed.
As we now know, and alarmists refuse to concede, the Hockey Stick was pure scientific fraud, used to by the alarmists to toss real data down the memory hole. In 1995, the IPCC published this chart, which shows that climate is always changing

You can see the Medieval Warming Period, you know when Vikings lived and farmed in Greenland, which is now ice, sticks out like a wart, and after that a great deal of cooling leading to the Little Ice Age.

In 2001, the IPCC published the infamous Hockey Stick below, purporting to show stable climate until the advent of the Industrial Revolution.

Instead of the old airbrush, the alarmists used Mann’s Hockey Stick. If any study is based on sound science, it must be able to be replicated. Mathematician Steve McIntyre and economist Ross McKitirck tried to replicate the Hockey Stick using Mann’s data, models and methods. They found that:

Nature, considered by some the world’s “leading” scientific journal. Nature never verified that data were correctly listed: as it happens they weren’t. Nature never verified that data archiving rules were followed: they weren’t. Nature never verified that methods were accurately stated: they weren’t. Nature never verified that stated methods yield the stated results: they don’t. Nature undertook only minimal corrections to its publication record after notification of these things, and even allowed authors to falsely claim that their omissions on these things didn’t affect
their published results.

The IPCC used the Hockey Stick prominently throughout its 2001 report.

The so-called Medieval Warm Period pales in comparison to today's warming.

Right on cue, Isaac proves my point. What is his source that the Medieval Warming Period pales to today’s warming….THE HOCKEY STICK, which is complete junk science. Nice one Isaac, you claim that warming is greater today than the Medieval Warming period by using a discredited source that attempted to toss it down the Orwellian memory hole.

I agree that rent-seeking, even among clean energy companies, is a problem. That says nothing, however, about the necessity of moving to a clean energy regime.

Even the most ardent of alarmists admit that clean energy technologies are decades away at best. Wind, solar, and biofuels (ethanol) are extremely expensive and cost prohibitive to generate. That is why you see GE, BP and ethanol proponents lobbying for government mandates and subsidies to fund their renewable energy efforts. All the green policy prescriptions would severely dampen economic growth and innovation. That is companies would not have the major capital to sink into R&D to test, develop and bring those new technologies to the market. On one hand, Isaac is arguing for clean energy, and on the other advocating schemes that clearly destroy the ability for companies to make those cleaner energy sources affordable.

Energy efficiency saves money… a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system… are meant to be revenue-neutral, with the money collected from the tax or auction of carbon credits going to offset other taxes, like the payroll tax.

Energy efficiency may save money, but that neglects the fact that the more efficiently you create energy, the more carbon dioxide you emit. The very “pollutant” the alarmists seek to mitigate. Sorry but that is circle you just can’t square.

Cap and trade schemes represent, for the alarmists, a tactical and rhetorical shift away from carbon taxes because experience shows that economically and politically carbon taxes are not feasible. Bill Clinton tried a BTU tax back in 1993. The BTU tax was a tax on fuel based on the heat content as measured in BTUs. Clinton’s own party shot that down knowing the costs it would put on American consumers. The cap and trade scheme is a tax all the same, only this time it allows rent seekers in on the scam, so the can buy and trade carbon credits for profit. Alarmist like to label cap and trade schemes a “market-based solution.” It’s a market only in the sense that it is a government mandated market that did not previously exist. This is the very definition of rent seeking. Call it "low rent conspiracy theorizing" all you want, it has the virtue of being true.

In Isaac’s own words: I agree that rent-seeking, even among clean energy companies, is a problem.… we as citizens should be vigilant.

You can’t have it both ways, you can’t call for vigilance against rent-seeking then demand a cap and trade scheme which creates an environment for…rent-seeking.

Isaac’s point about the revenue neutral appearance of carbon taxes, and cap and trade schemes is flat. Local consumers, here in Maryland will be greatly affected because the General Assembly is going to take up the legislative proposals of the Maryland Climate Commission (MCC). I’ve already shown that the MCCC does not want to reveal its secret dealings with the ardent alarmist group Climate Change Strategies, which ran the commission meetings and wrote the report to the Governor, and has financial ties to one of his campaign contributors.

The report includes recommendations for: carbon taxes, increased gas taxes, cap and trade schemes, renewable portfolio standards (government mandates and subsidies for wind and solar energy), vehicle taxes based on gas mileage, higher insurance rates based on the amount you drive, mandatory green principles in K-12 education (indoctrination), and electricity user fees to subsidize energy efficiency programs.

If you thought the tax grab in the special session was bad, just wait until the governor seeks “consensus” on these proposals.

The larger point in all of this, is that the alarmist policy prescriptions of the MCCC are but a fraction of those in the grand design of the Kyoto Protocol. Even the most ardent of alarmists will admit that if fully implemented Kyoto would only produce an undetectable slowing of warming by 0.7 degrees, hence their cry for 30 Kyotos.

Isaac, you made your case, but its clearly one based on scientific fraud and half truths. So is it any big shock that you hide behind accusations of dishonest argument instead of debating the issues.

Monday, December 10, 2007

FSP's Strawman is Burning...

But my argument remains.

Over the weekend, I pointed out to FSP contributor Eric Luedtke, that his support for the current energy bill wending its way through Congress, makes him a shill for corporate interests.
That is, his cheerleading for global warming alarmist policies advances the interests of corporate rent seekers like General Electric and British Petroleum, who are heavily invested in alternative energy like wind and solar power. Wind and solar power is very expensive to generate and the supply is small. Consequently, this would drive up energy costs, (along with carbon taxes and cap and trade schemes) and result in great profits for GE and BP.

The delicious irony here is that Eric and his fellow travelers at FSP rail against greedy corporations in the name of working/middle class folks. In fact, the Democrat party itself now bows to the myriad progressive special interest groups that currently constitute its base. My Red Maryland colleague Brian Griffiths made a great argument about this very issue here.

Needless to say my argument stirred the FSP crowd into high dudgeon, which is natural for them because they go apoplectic when anyone dares to disagree with them. After all they on the side of all that is right and good in the world so anyone who disagrees with them operates under a false consciousness

The FSP reaction was typical of leftist arguments, or rather what they try to pass off as arguments.

Here is Luedtke’s response:

Always glad to hear from a member of the "I'll make absolutely baseless claims against anything I disagree with" department. I didn't respond to any of what you wrote......because I have no interest in wasting my time engaging with you.

Glad to know Eric has the courage of his convictions.

Isaac Smith, whose writing style I happen to like, accused me of arguing in bad faith, then promptly accused me of having positions I never had and arguments I never made.

Well at least Eric and Isaac didn’t say I seemed “butch” as their erudite colleague “lefty” did.

Not once did they ever try to MAKE AN ARGUMENT against what I wrote.

This is why I am excited that Brian issued a challenge to FSP to debate the issues.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Help Goldman Sachs, Go Green

Quite often, well more like always, liberal media outlets portray the defeat of green policy prescriptions as victories of greedy, well-heeled corporate interests over noble environmentalists. Not True.

In fact, it is competing corporate interests, who fight these battles. On one side, you have the “green” rent seeking corporations (GE and British Petroleum) along with their environmentalist allies supporting Kyoto and other alarmist policies. On the other side, you have corporations, like utilities, fighting these green regulatory schemes because the ramifications would severely harm their businesses.

Timothy P. Carney, in Washington Examiner explicates this for us using the latest energy bill wending its way through congress. Here are the relevant passages of an piece well worth the full read.

Prospects aren’t good for enactment of major energy legislation aimed at “greening” America’s power and transportation sectors, and much of the media are portraying it as a win for big business over environmental groups.

That explanation is half right: The energy bill’s problems are largely due to opposition by utility companies, but the lobbying effort on the other side has been equally driven by big business seeking profits.

One particularly controversial provision in the Democrats’ current energy bill would require all utility companies to buy 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar, but excluding hydroelectric dams and nuclear.

Similar laws, called renewable portfolio standards (RPS), exist in many states, but not the South, and Southern senators have led the charge against a federal RPS. Many media outlets have pointed out the relevant fact that Southern Co., a huge firm that generates, distributes and sells electricity, has spent millions lobbying against the mandate.

When these same press accounts look for balance, they usually pit these industry objections opposite the arguments of environmentalists. More helpful and revealing would be to contrast the utilities’ anti-regulation arguments with the pro-regulation arguments of the solar and wind industries, which are no mom and pop outfits. Indeed, Goldman Sachs is among the pro-RPS lobbyists looking to cash in on its investments in wind and solar…

Solar and wind companies on the other side somehow avoid the same sort of media scrutiny. They are not as powerful as the big utilities — which partly explains why they are losing this current battle — but they certainly are not disinterested observers.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has high-priced real estate in downtown D.C. a block from the White House and the Council on Environmental Quality and not far from the Environmental Protection Agency. The company’s home page this week calls on visitors to lobby for solar tax credits in the energy bill.

At a recent press conference, SEIA President Rhone Resch praised the Democrats’ energy bill and its renewable mandates. Resch conceded that his industry’s recent boom “was spurred by the federal tax incentives for both residential and commercial solar in the 2005 energy bill.” Resch said, “We’re looking to get the federal government to expand their support for solar energy…”

Goldman Sachs has also lined up on the “green” side of this debate. The firm has invested $1.5 billion in ethanol, wind and solar. In June, the company publicly laid out the five factors that could drive the renewable-fuels industry.

No. 1 was enacting more RPSs. No. 2 was enforcing existing RPSs. Nos. 3, 4 and 5 also depended on government action in the form of carbon dioxide caps. This year, Goldman retains six lobbying firms that lobby Washington on energy issues.

If Congress rejects federal mandates on renewable power, utilities like Southern Co. will have played a central role, but let’s not forget that their true rivals were not tree huggers, but fellow capitalists like Goldman Sachs and the solar energy industry.

I mention this because you can now view the full report (more on this later) of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change’s policy recommendations, which calls for enhancing Maryland’s RPS and carbon caps.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

GE: We Bring Higher Energy Costs To Life

Corporate rent seeking is a staple of global warming alarmism. When any company touts its green credentials, a good bit of skepticism is in order. For example, BP Solar, which has a solar plant in Frederick, has substantial financial interests at stake in the recommendations of the Maryland Climate Change Commission. One of those recommendations will be to encourage renewable energy sources like ta da solar energy.

However the big player in the global warming rent seeking game is General Electric. GE swooped in and gobbled up all of Enron's alternative energy interests, after the company went belly up. Enron was the chief corporate lobbyist on the Clinton administration to sign the Kyoto protocol.

Why? Because the Kyoto protocols, if implemented in the United States the restrictions on so called "dirty" sources of energy would have positioned Enron to be the supplier of the "clean" but scarce and expensive-to-produce sources of energy.

The game is the same, but GE is just the new big dog. Darren Bakst a colleague of Paul Chesser at the John Locke Foundation explicates how GE plays the game.

I find it interesting that NBC, a subsidiary of General Electric, is all of a sudden pushing green awareness. Their attempts at going green reached amusing levels recently when they broadcast their Sunday night football show without any lights.

They also dedicated a full week to “Green Week” integrating green doctrine into their programs (interesting that the writers and producers didn’t complain about corporate interference).
I doubt it is just a coincidence that General Electric (GE) is heavily invested in wind energy and alternative sources of energy. From a recent GE press release:

With a 500% increase in wind turbine production since 2004, GE expects its wind business revenues to exceed $4 billion this year. Over the past two years, GE has supplied wind turbines representing more than 50% of the new wind capacity across the U.S.

The alarmists that want to criticize anyone that dares speak against extreme action to mitigate global warming, always seek to tie the “skeptics” to big special interests (e.g. coal, oil, etc.). This is an easy way to avoid discussing any of the substance of the issues.

There is a slight problem though for the alarmists. They have big special interests on their side. GE is just one of the many rent seekers trying to make money off of excessive energy regulation, such as renewable portfolio standards that mandate the purchase of alternative energy.

Even the Nobel Prize Winner himself, Al Gore, appears to have a a lot to gain from global warming extremism. Gore is a new partner in a venture capital firm with a lot of investments in alternative energy.

Except from a recent Newsweek article: If Gore’s profit-sharing deal is anything like the firm’s other 23 partners, he’s also in line to collect tens of millions of dollars a year. That’s because partners carve up 30 percent of the profits if and when the alternative energy start-ups that KP supports go public or are sold.

Instead of talking about “big oil,” or coal, the special interests that should be talked about are the ones that are pushing government regulation to impose significantly higher costs on the public, including the poor, all in the name of extra profits.

Where is the media when it comes to doing some original research instead of repeating the same old tired cliches? “Big evil corporation uses influence to hurt the poor and benefit the rich”–that usually would be a story the media would cover in a second. However, when it comes to the environment, it doesn’t matter what the “evil corporations” do as long as they can articulate some environmental excuse.

GE: They bring good things to life, if you are a GE shareholder. If you are poor, they bring high energy prices to life.

How's That New Minimum Wage Working Out For You?

A friend of mine, whose name and employer shall remain anonymous, informed me that a major state agency rejected all bids on a contract renewal because all bidders based their pricing on the new living wage law ($11.30/hour) and the agency did not have sufficient funding to allow for the price increase. This contract was for a service the state out-sources regularly (i.e. cleaning, landscaping, security, waste removal etc...) not a one-time purchase. Apparently, the current contractor has or will receive an extension on the existing contract, which the contractor won, predicated on a minimum wage of $6.15/hour.

If the state did not allow for the new living wage in its' purchasing, why didn't they put it into effect on July 1 when the new fiscal year begins? October 1st the official enactment date of the law, has no significance (other than being five weeks before the last election...coincidence, I think not). The law’s fiscal note forecasts net expenditures exceeding revenue by $292,000 over the next four years. For the edification of Andrew Kujan, the fiscal note states:

Small Business Effect: Large firms are more able than small firms to absorb the cost of increased wages without passing on the full cost to the State because small businesses are less able to take advantage of economies of scale to reduce costs. Often, small firms do not have a large enough client base over which to spread the increased costs. Therefore, the living wage could put them at a competitive disadvantage in bidding for State contracts.

Furthermore, it is quite cheeky for a state agency to arbitrarily decide when they will abide by their own mandate.

Imagine a private computer services business who informs the Comptroller's Office that they did not budget for a 20% sales tax increase when negotiating its 2008 contracts. Therefore, it is unable to collect or pay these monies until its fiscal year ends and can re-negotiate its contracts.

On a side note, if you take the value of all the state's service contracts in the Baltimore/Washington corridor where the new living wage law applies and increase them by 84% (the difference of $6.15 vs. $11.30/hour) how much of our purported $1.5 billion 'structural deficit' can be accounted for?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

And So It Begins...

The Great Global Warming Swindle comes to Maryland.

The Maryland Climate Change Commission, which is run by an avowed alarmist advocacy group and shares a financial benefactor with Governor O'Malley, is meeting in Bethesda today:

Saying there's no time to delay bold steps to prevent global warming, a Maryland commission on climate change is poised to propose the nation's toughest carbon cap when the legislature returns next month.The commission will call climate change an immediate threat to the state.The report will suggest a law requiring carbon emissions to go down 25 percent by 2020, and 90 percent by 2050.If adopted, the goal would be the nation's most ambitious law to reduce emissions of carbon, a greenhouse gas element that contributes to global warming. New Jersey, California and Florida have set goals of reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050.The commission was established by Gov. Martin O'Malley, and its suggestions are expected to underlie the governor's stated plan of making Maryland a leader in addressing climate change.

Neither the MCCC page on the Maryland Department of the Environment website, nor the cookie cutter MCCC page run by Center for Climate Strategies, the aforementioned advocacy group, announced the meeting, which is supposed to be open to the public. Then again this is to
be expected, given that MCCC Working Group Chair Tad Aburn won't release official
public documents to... the public.

The polcies and legislation the MCCC (as puppeted by CCS) will propose are already available, you can read the draft reports here. The policy recommendations will be similar to the same CCS recommendations in Arizona, New Mexico, South Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, and Vermont.

Needless to say the policy recommendations will mean higher energy costs for consumers, constraints on economic growth, and more government intervention into our daily lives.

In fact, the Maryland Public Service Commission, you know the folks O'Malley appointed to save us from BGE rate increases, today recommended similar polices to the MCCC proposals, like demand side management and public benefits fees/user fees.

Ironically Jay Hancock noted that the PSC determined that:
"The wind option our consultants modeled does not provide net economic benefits in either the short- or long-term. Wind does, however, represent a source of clean, carbon-free power."

Where as MCCC/CCS recommends "investments" in wind power and other clean energy, which similarly lack any economic value for Marylanders.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Missing Man Formation

On Buffalo's first possession yesterday The Redskins' defense honored Sean Taylor by playing only 10 leaving his position open. Nicely done.

The Skins lost yet again 17-16 handing over their fifth second half lead this season and 15th since 2004.

More on Maryland's Climate Secrecy

I apologize in advance for the length of this post. There is just too much information to convey. However, please bear with me, as I will show you how Governor O’Malley has outsourced Maryland’s climate policy to a global warming alarmist advocacy group. Should Maryland adopt the policies formulated by this group, the results would mean more increases in our energy costs, dire consequences for the state’s economy, and curtailment of our individual freedoms.

Recently, The Examiner and Op/Ed contributor Paul Chesser, of the John Locke Foundation wrote about Governor O'Malley's creation of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change and its secretive dealings with the consulting group Center for Climate Strategies. CCS is one arm of the green-oriented political advocacy group The Pennsylvania Environmental Council Inc (PEC).

Chesser revealed that Tad Aburn, Director of MDE’s Air & Radiation Management Administration, and chair of the commission's Greenhouse Gas & Carbon Mitigation Working Group refused to release documents, which by law, should be publicly available. The lead of the Scientific and Technical Working Group is Don Boesch, who I took to task here for advocating the same policies as CCS recommends for other states, and soon will for Maryland.

The Examiner questioned whether any of CCS' financial backers are campaign contributors to the governor. I did a quick search of the MSBE campaign database and found that one company, Gannett Fleming did indeed contribute to Martin O'Malley, to the tune of $12,000. Gannett Fleming is a construction and engineering firm who just happens to specialize in green building projects that CCS recommends to its clients.

PEC created CCS and its sister organization Enterprising Environmental Solutions Inc. (ESSI) as a means to influence state governments to reduce carbon emissions within their borders. Even with PEC’s blatant advocacy mission, CCS bills itself as an independent, non-advocacy consulting group.

CCS operates by offering its “services” to state governments at barely any cost. They can do this because deep-pocketed liberal donors and avowed advocacy groups like the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, Heinz Foundation and Ted Turner Foundation fund CCS. RFB alone gave ESSI $1.4 million. RFB also gave the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), also an advocacy group, $275,000.

However, CCAN board member Cindy Parker is also a member of the MCC Greenhouse Gas & Carbon Mitigation Working Group. Can you say conflict of interest!
Parker is a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. You may remember I mentioned her in my post about Johns Hopkins’ rent-seeking Enron impersonation in order to rake in more grant money. Parker is not the only example of the people who compose this working group who have substantial political and financial interests at stake in MCCC policy recommendations. There is John Szallay of BP Solar. BP Solar, with a plant in Frederick, is heavily invested in solar energy. Should Maryland adopt CCS recommendations, this would make BP Solar the controller of one of the major sources of electricity in the state.

The FAQ on the CCS website is illuminating. The word “consensus” appears nine times, and CCS’ definition of consensus is similar to O’Malley’s Orwellian distortion of the term. No wonder he is outsourcing state policy making to them.

Once states initiate the process, CCS controls it totally. CCS performs economic and cost-benefit analyses of any proposed policy implementations. However, The Beacon Hill Institute noted three serious flaws in CCS’ analytical methodology, which calls said policy proposals into question:

• first, CCS fails to quantify benefits in a way that they can be meaningfully compared to costs;
• second, when estimating economic impacts, CCS often misinterprets costs to be
benefits; and
• third, the estimates of costs leave out important factors, causing CCS to understate the true costs of its recommendations;

The Center for Climate Strategies fails to do one of the most basic calculations included in any responsible cost-benefit study: it does not quantify both benefits and costs in dollar terms so that they can be compared. CCS sometimes confuses costs for benefits. Furthermore, there are serious omissions in their estimates of program costs. CCS asks us to believe that there really is a free lunch in their recommendations, and that implementing their policies would actually not have any net cost, despite the fact that private, self-interested individuals are not grasping these opportunities on their own. One has to conclude, given such flaws in their methodology, that CCS overestimates cost savings and underestimates the costs that will be incurred.

Beacon Hill revealed these methodological flaws in its study of CCS’ Arizona Climate Action Plan, which CCS touts as its model program. The Arizona plan is similar to the plan the North Carolina Climate Action Plan Advisory Group (CAPAG) is now finalizing.

The North Carolina Plan, going by other states that have adopted or in the process of adopting CCS recommendations, will be the model for Maryland. The recommendations will include policies with drastic implications for the economy, tax payers and individual liberty. CCS recommendations are broken down into five economic sectors. I will note some CCS policy recommendations for each sector:

1. Residential Commercial Industrial Sectors (RCI).
Utility funded “demand side management” programs. According to Appendix E of the report, “through the rate-making process, utilities and the North Carolina Utilities Commission will develop a mechanism to include the cost of DSM programs in the respective utility’s rate base, or provide for a separate surcharge that utility customers pay.”

Expanded energy efficiency funds, (aka public benefits charge/systems benefits charge). This is a user fee assessed to utility customers based on their usage at any given time. The money incurred from this charge is then given to a third party to conduct energy efficiency programming. In other words, Big Daddy government is going to impose rules that will raise your energy costs to fund an advocacy group to tell you when and how much energy you should use in your home.

Education (Consumer, Primary/Secondary, Post-Secondary/Specialist, College and University Programs). In a word… indoctrination. More class room viewing of An Inconvenient Truth.

2. Energy Supply.
Renewable energy incentives for wind and solar energy. These are essentially inducements for customers to buy wind and solar energy. Is it really any coincidence that BP and General Electric, the largest “green” energy corporations are heavily invested in wind and solar energy generation. As I noted earlier an official from BP Solar sit on the GHG & Carbon Mitigation Working Group here in Maryland.

3. Transportation and Land Use.
Land Development Planning, i.e., implement Smart Growth policies. Vehicle emissions surcharge, i.e. a carbon tax on your SUV.

4. Agricultural, Forestry and Waste.
Ethanol subsidies, tax breaks for biofuel production, and land preservation. Calling David Sutherland!

5. Cross Cutting Issues.
Mandatory reporting of GHG and carbon emissions, and GHG registries. And to top it all off tax payer funded outreach programs to spread the secular religion of global warming.

CCS is currently working in 16 states. Notice the same website format for Arizona, New Mexico, South Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, and Vermont.

I recommend perusing the Appendices for each section of the report to see the nitty gritty details of these recommendations. Also, note that many of their data citations come from blatantly alarmist sources.

Here in Maryland the aforementioned Green House Gas & Carbon Mitigation Group has already had five meetings. At the latest meeting, held on Nov 30, 2007 from 10AM to 4PM, perfectly convenient for the working public to attend, they drew up draft policy proposals, take a look at the PDFs for the five economic sectors, they are the same as the final North Carolina report.

Aside from the alarmist policy proposals, the MCCC reports are telling for what they do not reveal: how the sausage was made? We don’t know and we won’t because Tad Aburn will not release documents, which by law, are public domain. We have no way of knowing anything else, other than the alarmist policies stated in CCS' cookie-cutter reports.

Through the MCCC and CCS Governor O’Malley has:

-Outsourced formulation of state climate policy to a blatant advocacy group (with ties to a campaign contributor positioned to take advantage of CCS policy recommendations) and alarmist funding sources;

-Loaded the commission’s working groups with people who have substantial political and financial stakes in implementing CCS policy recommendations, creating serious conflicts of interests and ethical questions;

-Appointed a commission chair (Tad Aburn), who refuses to obey Maryland’s Public Information Act, by not releasing public documents concerning CCS’s contract with the state, and its relationship to the formation of the MCCC. Aburn himself, ordered the Maryland Department of Environment compliance officer to withhold the documents. This is a delicious irony since O’Malley’s father-in-law, former Attorney General Joe Curran, wrote the book on the PIA;

-Set the stage to siginificantly increase the energy costs of working families, further dampen the state's economy, and curtail indivdual liberties.

I am sending a formal request to the MDE asking all documents related to CCS.
You can do the same by sending a request letter to:

Ms. Laramie Daniel
PIA Liaison
Air & Radiation Management Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21230