Thursday, July 28, 2011

Not a Good Day for the Global Warming Alarmists

Global Warming is always a controversial topic, despite the "settled science" label that many try to give it.  The first of two articles today is about the scientist whose work, in part, was used to put the Polar Bears on the threatened species list. Then the EPA, using the "Clean Air Act", assumed sole authority for regulating CO2, and used the endangerment as basis for imposing far more CO2 regulation.  Environmentalist groups also began a series of lawsuits against many companies emitting CO2, citing endangerment of the polar bears as basis for the suit. 

Arctic scientist under investigation
July 28, 2011
Charles Monnett, an Anchorage-based scientist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or BOEMRE, was told July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending results of an investigation into "integrity issues."
On Thursday, Ruch's watchdog group plans to file a complaint with the agency on Monnett's behalf, asserting that Obama administration officials have "actively persecuted" him in violation of policy intended to protect scientists from political interference.
They [Monnett and fellow researcher Jeffrey Gleason] said their observations suggested the bears drowned in rough seas and high winds and "suggest that drowning-related deaths of polar bears may increase in the future if the observed trend of regression of pack ice and/or longer open water periods continues."

The article and presentations drew national attention and helped make the polar bear something of a poster child for the global warming movement. Al Gore's mention of the polar bear in his documentary on climate change, "An Inconvenient Truth," came up during investigators' questioning of Gleason in January.

In May 2008, the U.S. classified the polar bear as a threatened species, the first with its survival at risk due to global warming. 

According to a transcript, investigator Eric May asked Gleason his thoughts on Gore referencing the dead polar bears. Gleason said none of the polar bear papers he has written or co-authored has said "anything really" about global warming.
I am not sure what the charges really mean.  Especially in the context of being another possible case of Chicago style thuggery.  The last statement should have significant fallout.  So the polar bears are not really at risk from CO2, implied from Gleason's statement, or at least it shouldn't be assumed.  Wonder how that fits with Obama's cap and trade view of CO2 regulations? 

If that isn't enough of a blow to the AGW (man caused global warming) crowd, the next article probably knocked them off their feet.  The entire global warming "settled science" belief comes from acceptance of complex mathematical models of global warming and thermal forcing functions (basically heat coming in and escaping the earth). The assumptions that go into these models are crucial to their accuracy and reliability.  Many doubts have been evinced in the last few years.  From the discrediting of Michael Mann's "hockey stick" model, to the "Climategate" loss of credibility at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the UK's University of East Anglia.  Now one of the key elements of the models is found to be very different from what has been assumed.

New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism
NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."

In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.

The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.
In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth's atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth's atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.
So much for planning on those warmer winters here in Minnesota.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A discussion with a liberal at Slice of Shoreview

A discussion with a liberal at Slice of Shoreview

I was helping out at the Shoreview Republican booth when a fellow walked up asking if a legislator was there.  Since there wasn't I asked what he wanted to talk to them about.  The following is the discussion that ensued.

Liberal Guest: Is the legislator here?
Booth Worker: No they have gone to get some ice cream.  Is there something we can help you with.  LG: I just wanted to express my extreme disappointment with the legislature in this budget business.
BW: In what way did they disappoint you?
LG: This whole thing, it was just mismanaged.  This whole thing should have been done months ago.
BW: But it was done ...
LG: I don't care.
BW: ...on time and ...
LG: It's their fault.  They, uh and the governor, uh it's their fault.
BW: ... balanced. The Governor just vetoed it.
LG: It's their fault.
BW:  Are you aware that Mark Dayton said...
LG: I don't care about that.
BW: ... in an MPR interview that he "and his aides didn't realize at the time that the Republicans' final offer [6/30] – which Dayton accepted Thursday [7/14] – had dropped their demand to include policy changes in budget bills while supporting his call for a $500 million bonding bill."...
LG: It doesn't matter, they should have negotiated earlier.
BW: ....  Dayton went on to say "We were in constant communication, I don't know whether there was miscommunication or subsequent revision. I don't know. What's done is done." So the shutdown was unnecessary.
LG: If I see the legislator I still want to express my disappointment in the legislature!
MW: And to Gov Dayton?
LG: Uh yeah, If I see him.

They have no problem with the democratic legislature never finishing a balanced 2009-2010 budget, but they expect this time it should have been done "months ago". The legislature started the session on Jan 4, perhaps that was the date our liberal guest had in mind for completion. Sometimes you just have to look past the hyperbole and realize you tried your best. 

Mark Dayton statement source:
the original audio is available, as a link, from the MPR page (around 4 minutes into the recording)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fool me once, shame on you. But fool me thrice?

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice shame on me.  Fool me thrice? Say it isn't so!

The current promises from President Obama to give future spending cuts in return for raising revenue now [read that as taxes] and the debt ceiling have been twice heard before.  So my skepticism is based on the fact that the Democrats have historically not been particularly good at dealing in good faith when it comes to following through on their promises of spending cuts.

The first promised deal was a $3 for $1
Following the Carter era of massive recession and taxation, President Regan sought and signed the largest tax reduction in history.  Thus beginning the turn around in the economy.  Then came the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, which agreed to tax hikes on the promise from Congress of a $3 reduction in spending for every $1 increase in taxes.  TEFRA was created in order to reduce the budget gap, from a short term fall in tax revenue, by generating revenue through closure of tax loopholes and introduction of tougher enforcement of tax rules, rather than changing marginal income tax rates. Does that sound familiar to our current discussion?  The tax increases were real and immediate. The "future" spending cuts never really materialized, especially since the house came under full Democrat control a couple of months later. 

The second promised deal was a $2 for $1
Then as a reprise of the "grand deal", an offer was made to George H. W. Bush in 1990 by House speaker Tom Foley (D., Wash.) and Senate majority leader George Mitchell (D., Me.) promising to cut spending by $274 billion in exchange for a $137 billion tax increase.  As before the tax increases were real, the spending cuts? Not so much.

The CBO analysis produced an analysis shown here.
"Not only did the $274 billion in promised baseline spending cuts never materialize--baseline spending was actually $22 billion higher than what CBO projected it would be before the deal."

So with a track record like this, a "bird in the bush" spending deal lacks a lot of appeal.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What Motivated Mark Dayton?

Contrary to what a blog commenter said, that the HHS insurance was what motivated Dayton, I believe the evidence shows Union support (not necessarily the member workers and the citizens) is Dayton's big motivator. 

At Union meetings, here and here, Dayton acknowledged his debt to Unions (in particular AFSCME Council 5) and his goal of no state union job cuts.

Dayton (in October 2010): "I would not be standing here today if it were not for AFSCME Council 5"

Dayton (in Feb 2011): "No AFSCME job cuts"

While Mark Dayton had also proposed a roughly 6 percent reduction, his actions since have shown that may have been somewhat less than real.  The legislature had as part of its governmental reform policy the plan to reduce the size of government by 15% by 2015 through a program of attrition. Thus no one would lose their jobs!.
As for accomplishing the reduction through attrition, workers say that may eliminate the pain of workers losing their jobs, but it will leave crucial positions unfilled.
“They all know that there are cuts coming down to the parks, and it’s an easy way for them to cut without hurting somebody,” Anderson said.
What the media, the Unions, and others miss is the main point.  Government is too large!   As citizens of Minnesota we need to reform and reduce government. Mark Dayton's earlier budgets were vaporware, never to be balanced, by even his highest call for increased taxation. As we reduce the size government, we will have to reform what and how its mission is done.  Agencies not essential to the role of government will have to be done away with.  So enters the shutdown planning that Dayton did.  He worked much longer and harder on the shutdown plan than on any real budget plan or negotiations.  He apparently wanted to make the shutdown as difficult and painful as possible  to show there is no such thing as non-essential government agencies.  So he shuts down, among many others, the revenue generating licensing agency, which ultimately lead to the State telling MillerCoors to remove some brands of beer from store shelves - that could not stand so the shutdown was terminated.  The DNR suspending water use permits, resulted in shutdown Georgia Pacific's hardboard plant in Duluth. Thus creating further unnecessary obstacles for private enterprise, causing further layoffs.

And to add insult to injury, as if we need any further evidence that Mark Dayton may not really be up to the position he is in, we find out from his own words how little he may have been engaged in and understanding the budget negotiations from a Strib article:
Dayton also said a misunderstanding between the two sides in the final hours before the shutdown began may have contributed to it. Dayton and his aides didn’t realize at the time that the Republicans’ final offer [6/30/2011] – which Dayton accepted Thursday [7/14/2011] – had dropped their demand to include social policy changes in budget bills while supporting his call for a $500 million bonding bill.

“We were in constant communication,” he said. “I don’t know whether there was miscommunication or subsequent revision. I don’t know. What’s done is done. The important thing now is to get an agreement very quickly.”
Further understanding of probable motivation comes from Dayton's conditions/demands in his letter to the legislature.  The first was essentially a restatement, saying he relies on the 6/30 statement that policy issues will be removed, and the third was the bonding bill that he acknowledged was already on the table. So this is his primary added condition:
Second, that you drop your arbitrary 15%, across the board reduction to the number of employees in all agencies, regardless of their funding source.
You need to make up your own mind, however to me all this appears to be an intense focus on supporting the Unions organizations so they do not lose "too much" in membership and the resulting dues. To the detriment of the citizens of Minnesota, and even to the Union membership.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gov Mark Dayton's Theater of the Absurd

Gov. Mark Dayton is now describing his ongoing budget disagreement with Republican legislative leaders as "theater of the absurd."

In this case it appears he's right, the disagreement is absurd. But its because his imbalanced "budget" statements fail to meet the mark, $39 billion (which he evidently never really meant, it was a trial balloon that popped), $37, $35.8, all deficits, 10 to 20%. His "budgets" have never been detailed on what he plans to do. Unlike the Legislatures which was actually detailed in the balanced appropriation bills, summarily vetoed by Gov Mark Dayton. And his dealing with the issue and the legislature appears to be all theater. Complete with road trips that avoid the hard work of negotiating, and possibly scripted shutdowns.

We do know that he plans on trying to lift his spending rich plans into balance with the hot air balloon of "tax the top 2%". An inadequate plan that like all such ill formed tax plans will burst when the reality hits, that you don't get what you project you will. Also referred to in a Pioneer Press article as a "bandaid" to an imbalance that "it would seem, defy solution via taxation." This recurring "deficit" (difference between what expanding government wants to spend, and what it has available) problem can only be resolved by breaking our spending habit. Continuing to grow government simply gets you more government. Which is fine if you like carrying around heavy burdens that continue to get heavier. But I would guess most people wouldn't.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

For Such a Time as This

For such a time as this, we the people chose a change in the direction we wanted the state to go last November.  We voted as a majority to send many new faces to the Legislature, some truly remarkable people, as in Roger Chamberlain whose June 16 interview on Speechless will be reviewed below.  Only 43% of us voted for Governor Mark Dayton, a win by a mere 9000 votes.  Yet with the power of the bully pulpit, Governor Dayton has held the state hostage to his and AFSCME Council 5's mandate to "tax the rich". And he has shutdown the state government operations, for only one essentially inconsequential (for about 97% of Minnesota) reason.  Laying off the very people he promised he would not shutdown.

One of the passions for Senator Chamberlain and the legislature has been dealing with the automatic increase style planning for the state budget.  Automatic increases put us on a 20%+ growth trajectory for future budgets, unless their work on reform can reign in this devastating trend.  Taxing cannot overcome this.  Taxing "the top 2%" is a band-aid that will quickly shred.

Roger Chamberlain Introduction - video
We need people to run for office who aren't afraid, who are average normal people.  I ran because I believe the state is in serious, serious, trouble and we needed a different direction. We can do it, we can fix this and get it off the path we're on.  If we keep going on the path we were on we are going to fail.  So that's whats motivating me to do this.
Most things down there [at the legislature] are bipartisan.  Contrary to popular belief and what they hear and what people think, most things are bi-partisan.

The Dayton Non-Budget  video   
What I ask people is, what is in the Governors budget?  What's the detail of his HHS or his Education or any part of his budget, what's the detail?  Well nobody knows because he hasn't given it to us.  Honestly and frankly he has not had to make a difficult decision the whole session.  He has had the luxury of sitting on the sidelines and simply criticizing and name calling.  ... His budget lacks numbers,  we've done the work we've presented him with a balanced budget, didn't increase taxes, increased spending, which upset some of the base, but we increased spending from the last biennium by 2 billion dollars... K12 up by $400 million, HHS up by about $600 million ... we will have $34 billion in the checking account and that's how we will have to live.  Governor Dayton's budget will destroy the economy and budget of this state... If we don't stick to what we've got, the alternative is simply a disaster for this state...  We have not cut, we have reduced the increase, other wise you go up to $39 billion... a lot of people don't realize the breadth and the depth of this problem, how serious it is, how ridiculous Governor Dayton's budget is... the state will go broke, its on automatic spending [increases] and we just can't do that.

Breaking the Auto-Pilot Budget and Education Reform video  
Part of the reason the budget is broke is that there are structural problems... certain increases are automatic.  HHS is projected to increase, by itself, 8.5% a year, that's 17% increase just in HHS projected expenses in spending... We also tried to build in reform in the system to help address those automatic increases.  Governor Dayton's budget doesn't include those reforms, he includes no reforms, he just wants to spend and increase taxes to try to meet it, and his tax increases won't meet that or fill the gap.

Taxes And Business  video  
Host: There's a point where businesses are paying too much and they're better off located somewhere else.
RC: This was a debate we had quite a bit bit during the session.. Sen Pogemiller, Marty, believe this is just scare tactics ... well they have left .. we talk to businesses all the time, I know people in business .. if they're not going to get the return on their investment they are not going to invest their money here... We compete with other states, and if a business believes they can make a better investment in Iowa or Texas they will,  Gov Dayton's budget is nothing new its its the same thing we have been doing for 50 years, he will kill jobs and this will put a nail in the coffin for our economic recovery in this state.  It is a disaster, I can't say that enough, his budget is a disaster.

A Union Ad  video  
Ad showing conflict of interest of unions taking money and advertising to get more money from taxes.
We don't want people [union state workers] to be out of jobs, all we are asking if for some reasonable reform, reasonable restraints in this very difficult time ..,. if we continue what we are doing we are broke .. we need reform then we will have a better functioning government and we can keep jobs  .. if we run a better organization

Discuss Dayton's Positively Minnesota Letter  - video   

Image of the letter
Dayton's Positively Minnesota put up a letter on their website that read "As you may know, the Minnesota State Legislature adjourned May 23, 2011, without appropriating money to fund the operation of state government for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2011"
RC: Senator Thompson's came out with a press release that strongly, strongly rebuked them for that, its an outright lie, I will use that word its a lie.... It's a lie, we appropriated the money, he vetoed the bill!

AFSCME Ad Histrionics videos   
AFSCME ad said "instead of taxing the richest 2%, Republicans want to start sending out pink slips".  This is such an obvious scare tactic histrionic that I find it incredulous that anyone takes it seriously.  But there it is in the AFSCME ad.
RC: there are a lot of good workers in the State, frankly this ad is just scare tactics, its lies, the top 5% or the income earners in the state pay 43% of the state income tax ... its a flawed argument a failed argument, his [Dayton's] policies will fail because they have failed before.  They will not work, I want the state to work  .. in fact if we take Governor Dayton's budget the irony of it is that we won't have money .. he will harm these people more than our budget will!

The Property Tax Misdirect  video  
Democrats said on the floor that property taxes will go up by $1 billion.  Senator Marty during one of the debates stood up and said this   As soon as they he got done saying this I stood up ans said once and for all that's not true, the state only levies property tax on businesses  ... we do not levy a tax on personal properly, homestead property.  Cities and Counties have exclusive authority to levy that tax.  They claim that tax increase would happen because they are losing X, we are taking away, that's not true.  We all have to learn to live within our means.  They may not be able to build those cobblestone roads or that Community Center.

Does Dayton Want Shutdown  video  
This show was broadcast live on June 16.  So it presaged the actions of Gov Mark Dayton.
Host: Is the government going to shutdown?
RC: I think Governor Dayton wants it to shutdown.  I think that's his strategy and plan. I think is clear from his lack of negotiation and engagement, from his walking out of meetings,and his short time in meetings. Its been made even more clear the release of recent emails... we don't want it to go there ..  we have given out schedules but he won't meet.

Well as we all know, Governor Dayton did close down the State, despite his promises during the election here and here  not to shut it down, and despite having the legislature meet all but his demands for increasing taxes.  I would hope that this review would prompt you to want to call Governor Dayton and tell him to give the state workers back their jobs and to sign the balanced budgets that keep the state balanced and fully funded.

phone 651-201-3400
email form

Some other pieces from the show that didn't make it into the text above, but are well worth a viewing

Dayton's favored status amongst AFSCME union here and here he acknowledges the tremendous debt he has to them and reveals how much work for the democrats and him personally their army does.

Bonding, LGA And Conclusion video   
Phone Call on Constitutional Considerations of the Budget video  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How do you fight a lie!

If someone says something about you that is untrue, how do you fight it? If they have a few more friends anxious to please the accuser, and support the mission for their own purposes, how do you present your case against the din of their uproar? The only weapon is truth and the only path is that which Elie Wiesel (Nobel Peace Prize Winner) describes
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

Well I protest the statements of Governor Dayton and his acolytes the unions, most of the media, and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota.

Dayton supporters claim he has compromised on his "tax the rich" by changing who he considers "rich", moving from $150,000 to $250,000 to Millionaires. But the chanting "Tax the Top 2%" belies that by an order of magnitude. The 6000-7700 millionaires in Minnesota comprise about 0.2% of households, so he hasn't really changed from his straw man proposal. He claims he has compromised with a reduction of $1.8 billion, but from his Commissioner: Details for Governor Dayton's Budget "Proposal" Do Not Exist.  These are far from the only cases that cannot bear the light. The Pioneer Press further points out the less than meaningful art of compromise in Dayton's approach.
06/26/2011 "Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has attempted to position himself as interested in compromise. Though both sides have compromised, the governor seems to have had the better of the "I compromised and they didn't" spin.

But it's not that simple. Rather than work out differences and sign off on large portions of the budget on which agreement is within reach, Dayton has as of this writing refused to get deals done and preserve operations in those parts of government. This is not compromise. This is hostage taking.

The governor is threatening to unnecessarily shut down portions of government to have his way on other, more contentious budget matters. We understand his desire to bring the greatest possible pressure to bear on the Legislature in support of his promise to raise taxes on higher incomes. Politics ain't beanbag. But the unnecessary infliction of pain is not consistent with an attitude of compromise."

His acolytes play with unfounded hyperbolic statements about "the sick should just die already" (sarcastic comments from a blog). Or directly from Mark Dayton himself,
March 24, 2011 “Everything that’s being debated and considered and decided now, as extreme as it is, as drastic as it is, as cruel as it is, as draconian as it is, it has effects on real people’s lives,”

That's just over the top hyperbolic speech. Histrionics that simply polarize and stand in the way of truth. The truth is that the legislature plan made significant increases in health and human services over the prior budget.
The end-of-session budget passed by Republicans — and vetoed by Dayton — would have boosted HHS spending by 8 percent over two years. An increase, but substantially less than the 21.3 percent biennial growth that would occur if current policies were kept in place.
Dayton, by contrast, would increase the budget by 20 percent over two years — cutting spending by little more than 1 percentage point from the projected amount. Since releasing his March budget plan, Dayton has offered to make $1.6 billion in additional cuts in an effort to “meet Republicans half-way” — but he hasn’t detailed where he wants the reductions to occur across the state’s $34 billion to $37 billion budget.

But even some at the Pioneer Press has seen the light, they know that simply chanting "tax the top 2%" and targeting the other guy, will never solve our budgeting problems. Even though they would go ahead with it, just to follow the line.

07/03/2011 "Taxing the rich is an article of faith for the governor and his base of supporters, and he will do his best to see it through, breaking eggs as needed along the way.
And to repeat, we're not necessarily against increasing the taxes of the rich in an already high-tax state, except that it is largely besides the point. It's a Band-aid.
The real issue is the accelerating demographic shifts that, it would seem, defy solution via taxation. We urge Gov. Dayton to lead in this area by laying out his long-term vision for addressing the demographic trends that are upon us."

Margaret Thatcher said "eventually you run out of other peoples money". As evidenced by their persistent headlong dash to increase spending, no solutions are coming from, or will be coming from, Governor Dayton, the Unions, most of the media, or the ABM. Reform is what the legislature is trying to do. And we need real reform, real solutions to overcome the demographic tsunami approaching. If you think that lacks compassion, you are far from right. Is it compassionate to simply allow the system to run headlong into its demise for everyone? At least a demise as we currently know it. Or is it not better to try to reform it and save it so that the really vulnerable among us can continue to be cared for in their times of desperate need?  And assure our economy does not submerge beneath waves of debt, sinking all of us.

Lest you should think this might be hyperbolic on my part, here is what the normally very timid and cautious CBO says about the possible debt scenarios
Growing federal debt also would increase the probability of a sudden fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget and the government would thereby lose its ability to borrow at affordable rates. Such a crisis would confront policymakers with extremely difficult choices [read this as disaster and impossible choices] and probably have a very significant negative impact on the country.