Some Morning Links

Monday, September 17th, 2012

 

–Radley

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161 Responses to “Some Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “In other words, the government can get around Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights against search and seizure by “targeting” the communications of a foreigner who just happens to be communicating with someone in the United States.”
    —-
    How many more warrantless wiretapping bills can they approve?
    I thought this particular avenue of assault on our privacy was already max-ed out….

  2. #2 |  tarran | 

    Re Facebook, the are exactly right: the mayor of a city should not be seen are the face of the city itself, but as the guy in charge of the city hall and the package of municipal services it provides.

    The conflation of governments with the territories they predate upon is one of the more pernicious paradigms that lure people into ceding more power to the predators.

  3. #3 |  Bob | 

    “Congress passes a warrantless wiretapping bill despite having no idea what it actually does. The lede to the linked story also works with almost any other story.”

    I think they know exactly what it actually does. It makes their masters happy. As such, they vote for it.

    Oh, I’m sorry, you thought Congress worked for the American People? Sure, they have to throw their “constituents” a steak now and then to get elected, but that’s not who they work for.

  4. #4 |  marie | 

    The Cowen piece on the world food supply IS important. Conversations with locavores and those who want farmers to stop using fertilizer and those who want to ban genetically modified crops… those conversations stall out when I talk about how those ideas will have an adverse effect on world hunger. For them, going to the farmer’s market is a virtuous act, not an economic choice. Talk about how their ideas would affect crop yield and they stop listening.

    There is no one who would be happier to stop using fertilizers than the farmer himself because fertilizer is a huge expense.

    Norman Borlaug would have been pleased with Cowen.

  5. #5 |  Tim Worstall | 

    This is a tax that I, a libertarian, support.

    Well of course. It’s a simple and total solution to a problem. Why wouldn’t we support it?

  6. #6 |  Mattocracy | 

    “The Justice Department files suit against a bank for the crime of lending prudently.”

    Damned if you and damned if you don’t.

  7. #7 |  UTLaw | 

    “The Justice Department files suit against a bank for the crime of lending prudently.”

    That does it–We’ve officially slipped into the Twilight Zone and been dropped into Atlas Shrugged. Midas Mulligan just got the smackdown for refusing to lend money to bad credit risks…

  8. #8 |  MRK | 

    “This is a tax that I, a libertarian, support.”

    I want to support a carbon tax, but I cannot see how the US govt could put a fair tax in place. Every single time congress attempts to regulate human behavior through the tax system, it is an opportunity for massive govt. corruption.

    A carbon tax law will inevitably include special exemptions for favored groups. The article itself mentions a rebate for the poor, so its safe to assume various monied groups (i.e. big oil, etc) will get even more lucrative exemptions from the tax.

    The law (much like every law passed these days) will be so arcane and push so much regulation towards executive committees that the actual workings of the law will be hidden from the voter.

    So in the end it will turn into a Carbon Tax for those who don’t have the political influence to get themselves an exemption; and the eventual corruption. “Hey big oil: Contribute to my campaign, or I will strip your exemption from the Carbon Tax law”

    So I really hope Radley’s upcoming articles touches on how crooked such a law would become; and means of eliminating it.

  9. #9 |  Kevin | 

    “The Justice Department files suit against a bank for the crime of lending prudently.”

    It must be maddening trying to manage a bank. I can see it now…

    Gov: Give the poor more loans!

    Bank: Happily, but we’ll have to charge high interest to compensate for greater risk of default.

    Gov: NO! THAT’S PREDATORY LENDING, YOU RACIST!!!

    Bank: Ok, then we can’t lend to them without bleeding money.

    Gov: LEND!!!

    Bank: But we’ll bleed cash and go out of business! You’re basically telling us to commit suicide!

    Gov: And don’t expect a bailout, you greedy 1% banksters!!! Herp derp derp!!!

    And so forth.

  10. #10 |  David | 

    Gov: And don’t expect a bailout, you greedy 1% banksters!!!

    I was with you right up to the end there.

  11. #11 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Tax wealth not income.

  12. #12 |  James D | 

    “The real causes of Muslim protests”

    Hmm … how about the fanatical belief in the divinity of a tyrannical, raping, pedophile that preached “convert or die” …. how about that? Yet we can keep talking about that sliver of land 1/500th the size of the rest of the Middle East and whose capital Jerusalem was never mentioned by name ONCE in the Koran yet was re-written to be important to the religion AFTER the city was conquered ….. yeah it has nothing to do with the religion of piece(s) ….

    If any of you really believe that stopping Drone strikes, going completely pro-Palestine, and getting all American troops out of Muslim countries will suddenly turn these people in fuzzy, warm teddy bears are either completely ignorant or are purposely sticking your fingers in your ears and going “NA NA NA …”.

    I have a fact you can look up (cause it’s already been well documented):
    EVERY major disaster (hurricanes, tornado swarms, mass floods, terror atack, etc) in the US in the past 30+ years has happened on or within 24 hours of a US politician (usually the President) trying to tell Israel to split/give up more of it’s land …. maybe God is trying to tell us something.

    How about we yank our embassies out of these hellholes and give a big middle finger to these countries the moment they do something like this? “You AREN’T all like these militant groups? Then deal with it NOW or else we’re gone”. Seems pretty basic to me.

  13. #13 |  James D | 

    meant “turn these people into fuzzy” above

  14. #14 |  Chuchundra | 

    Wall Street Journal praises bank for prudently only lending to white people.

  15. #15 |  Warren Bonesteel | 

    The problem with a carbon ‘tax’ is that it will be in addition to all of the other taxes…with no cap on the amount to be raised by carbon ‘taxes’ through future legislation…and no caps on any of the taxes we already ‘pay’ through our purchases, businesses, incomes and properties.

    What’s libertarian about supporting an additional tax on your own incomes, properties, purchases and businesses? Hell, add the VAT while you’re at it… If you’re gonna go there (More taxes are not only good, they’re great!), go whole hog or stay home.

    Take all of the fruits of my labor and thoughts and be done with it, why don’t ya? Take every friggin’penny…

    There’s nothing libertarian about the idea!!

  16. #16 |  Personanongrata | 

    Ezra Klein on the carbon tax. This is a tax that I, a libertarian, support. Someday, when I’m done writing this book, I’ll put up a post explaining why.

    Hokum!

    Global warming has been occuring on and off for the past 18,000 some-odd years, since the end of the last ice-age, many thousands of years before man began to even think about burning fossil fuels.

    Co2 is a trace atmospheric gas comprising less than 400 parts per million of Earth’s atmoshere.

    Greater than 96% of all terrestrial Co2 is released via nature.

    To mitagate climate change on Earth we must first solve, precession (Earths wobble), Earths eliptical orbit, variable solar output which in turn effects Earth’s magnetic field which in turn effects the amount of cosmic rays forming clouds which limit the amount of potential energy reaching Earth, tectonic plate shift.

    There have been ample peer-reviewed studies which clearly show (using ice core samples, geological strata, etal) Co2 rise follows temperature rise by 500 years.

    Additionally the computer modelling (predictive quantification) used by the warming alarmists is incomplete as we humans do not today fully understand Earth’s H2O cycle (ie Earth is bombarded by 10 million or so 40 ton comets on a yearly basis which when striking the upper levels of Earths atmosphere vaporize into tiny atomized water droplets which can spread kilometers wide and block/limit the amount of the suns energy reaching Earth).

    I’d like to keep my earnings not hand them over to the first flim-flam-man to come along.

    “There is a sucker born every minute” ~ P.T. Barnum

    Anybody want to but a monorail?

    Link to the Simpsons Monorail song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEZjzsnPhnw

    Links to Sources:

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/ice_ages.html

    Astronomical Theory of Climate Change http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/milankovitch.html

    Comets striking Earth http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j11_3/j11_3_255-256.pdf

    This is 6th grade Earth Sciences folks.

  17. #17 |  Len | 

    This is a tax that I as a libertarian support.

    Radley, you’re not a libertarian, I give you kudos for your fine work on exposing judicial and leo corruption, but I have yet to come across any of your writing where you espouse libertarian thought. Foundationally, I wonder if you understand the NAP.

  18. #18 |  perlhaqr | 

    Water vapor is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. We should tax that instead.

    And, of course, it’s also a product of respiration, like carbon dioxide is.

    Don’t forget to pay your breathing tax!

  19. #19 |  EH | 

    Unfortunately I don’t see the Facebook thing as existentially as terran, but I do think it’s about Facebook’s desire to have the most specific information about what people like. Facebook doesn’t care that you Like a city as much as the care about what in/about that city you Like, and they’re willing to enforce it editorially.

    That is, it’s not that governments don’t represent the territory or whatever, but that a city page is about as useful to Facebook’s bottom line as a page for “stuff.” Do you like stuff?

  20. #20 |  RobZ | 

    “Water vapor is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. We should tax that instead.”

    An increase in CO2 will cause an increase in temperature. The increase in temperature allows the atmosphere to hold more water vapor, which then causes an even larger increase in temperature.

  21. #21 |  Burgers Allday | 

    I have yet to come across any of your writing where you espouse libertarian thought.

    He likes the right to own handguns.

    He hates the government forcing McDonald’s to put calorie counts on the menus. This morning I went to my local McDonald’s and they had new menu boards with the calorie counts. I think it is voluntary so I held my outrage in check, but I did think of Mr. Balko when I saw it.

    He loves Citizen United, so that is a big one.

    I think he is more corportarian than libertarian, but maybe they are the same thing these days.

  22. #22 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Andrew Ferguson destroys the latest fawning presidential profile.

    Good piece by Ferguson, but the short version is “This President’s dick isn’t going to suck itself!”

    Objectivity? Long gone. Just fanboys now.

  23. #23 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Congress passes a warrantless wiretapping bill despite having no idea what it actually does.

    “The same thing happened in 2008, when Congress first voted to retroactively legalize warrantless wiretapping. Then, as now, supporters of the legislation falsely insisted that it does not collect the communications of American citizens. ”

    As RB hints at…a couple thousand examples exist of similar things, but this one was especially nasty. First, “retroactive”…USG breaks the law…so USG uses a time machine to make that go away (no law protects you or holds the USG accountable…NO LAW). Second, “guaranteed it didn’t do what it actually did”. Third, almost none of them read it, understood it, or even were capable of understanding it…yet they signed it into fucking law regardless.

  24. #24 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    I feel like “Horse” on America’s Got Talent. Nut punched from all directions. Go back to writing your book Balko.

  25. #25 |  Brandon | 

    “Tax wealth not income.”

    Yeah, because fuck wealth! why would we want to encourage anyone to invest in productive assets, or loan someone else money to grow a business, or gain financial security for themselves? Have you ever considered not drinking lead paint?

  26. #26 |  Brandon | 

    He loves Citizen United, so that is a big one.

    I think he is more corportarian than libertarian, but maybe they are the same thing these days.

    And you double down on the idiocy. What is the problem with Citizens United, exactly? I’ve never seen any rational criticism of the decision.

  27. #27 |  Elliot | 

    Ezra Klein on the carbon tax. This is a tax that I, a libertarian, support. Someday, when I’m done writing this book, I’ll put up a post explaining why.

    To whom is this tax to be paid and why do they deserve it?

    Why do you believe that carbon, all by itself, is the source of warming and curtailing carbon is the answer to saving the world? Start with correlation does not imply causation (CO2 lags warming, historically). Why carbon? Why not something else?

    If you are properly skeptical of the government on forensic expert testimony, wire-tapping, war on terror detainment, war on drugs, and a whole slew of other situations in which the official line is bullshit, why in the world would you quaff down the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming kool-aid? Picture Steven Hayne and Michael West types fiddling with the code on a climate simulation, tweaking parameters to get the results they need to keep the grants coming in. (Researchers who get factual, accurate results which are not sensational aren’t highlighted in the media and tend not to get funding.)

    I realize there are some fundamentalists and knuckle-draggers who deny global warming without putting forth an argument (beyond a biblical one or a blanket denial), but if you spent a few hours you could easily find some honest, intelligent skeptics who make scientific arguments against the popular CAGW bandwagon. Anthony Watts, Warren Meyer, et al..

    Also, most importantly, realize that if the CAGW predictions are correct and human beings have a huge impact on global temperatures, then a carbon tax will necessarily have to cripple human industry, putting all but the elite back into pre-industrial standards of living, simply to slow the warming, much less stop it. Hundreds of millions would need to starve in order to reverse it…if those predictions are accurate.

    The cost of dealing with consequences is much cheaper and more rational. If the predictions are false (most short-term predictions have been flat wrong already), then you don’t lose anything.

  28. #28 |  Chris Auld | 

    “The article itself mentions a rebate for the poor, so its safe to assume various monied groups (i.e. big oil, etc) will get even more lucrative exemptions from the tax.”

    Ezra Klein ought not have used the word “rebate,” as it’s misleading here—there is no exemption from the tax. Everyone will wind up paying more for carbon-intensive goods and services.

    Such a change in prices, though, will be regressive: the real income of poor people will fall relatively more than the real income of richer people. That regressive effect can be countered by redistributing some of the revenues the tax generates lump sum (ie, in a manner not depending on how much tax any given person paid, no there’s no “rebate”) to relatively poor people.

    One way to implement such a distribution-neutral carbon tax is to adjust income taxes in a manner that reduces income tax paid by relatively poor people when the carbon tax is implemented. The income tax change nullifies the regressive effect of the carbon tax, but nonetheless everyone pays the carbon tax.

    To see how these ideas play out in a formal economic model, see for example:

    http://www.cer.ethz.ch/sured_2012/programme/SURED-12_089_Chiroleu-Assouline_Fodha.pdf

  29. #29 |  Burgers Allday | 

    What is the problem with Citizens United, exactly? I’ve never seen any rational criticism of the decision.

    Well, for starters it makes it less likely that a US candidate for elective office will ever propose to tax wealth not income.

  30. #30 |  Radley Balko | 

    I think he is more corportarian than libertarian, but maybe they are the same thing these days.

    I opposed the bailouts. Oppose farm subsidies. Oppose all subsidies, actually. Oppose federal R&D grants. Oppose tariffs. Oppose most intellectual property protections. The only unions I oppose are those in the public sector.

    So yes. Clearly, my entire political philosophy revolves around protecting the interests of corporations.

  31. #31 |  Mattocracy | 

    Taxing wealth is just taking away potential capital from the economy. Without capital to be loaned out, it makes it very hard for people to move up the socio-economic ladder.

  32. #32 |  Robert | 

    “Tax wealth not income.”

    Da Comrade!

    /facepalm

  33. #33 |  tarran | 
    What is the problem with Citizens United, exactly? I’ve never seen any rational criticism of the decision.

    Well, for starters it makes it less likely that a US candidate for elective office will ever propose to tax wealth not income.

    Burgers,

    Are you sure you’re not Dave W who used to obsess over Thoreau and HF corn syrup over at Reason’s Hit and Run back in the day?

    Because your non-sequiturs scan very similarly…

  34. #34 |  Radley Balko | 

    Ah, Chuchundra.

    How I’ve missed your uncanny reliability when it comes to ducking serious discussion in favor of cheap ad hominem.

  35. #35 |  RobZ | 

    “CO2 lags warming, historically”

    True. And this time, it’s not a lagging indicator.
    Must be something different about this time.

  36. #36 |  Deoxy | 

    “Water vapor is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. We should tax that instead.”

    An increase in CO2 will cause an increase in temperature.

    This is a great example of “begging the question” – historically speaking, CO2 in the atmosphere TRAILS temperature increases, not precedes.

    I have a great many problems with the idea of a carbon tax, many of which have already been listed in these comments… looking forward to Radley’s post on the topic.

  37. #37 |  H. Rearden | 

    Burgers’ trolling efforts are exceptional today.

  38. #38 |  Deoxy | 

    “CO2 lags warming, historically”

    True. And this time, it’s not a lagging indicator.

    Let’s see, temperature plateaued nearly 15 years ago, and the biggest spikes in temperature where in the first part of the 20th century.

    CO2 continues to rise, and the biggest spikes in CO2 came AFTER the biggest spikes in temperature…

    Hmm, seems right in line to me.

  39. #39 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Large corporations don’t like tariffs, either, because it prevents them from fully exploiting foreign labor.

    Most of the other examples are special interest politics that help some large corporations and hurt other large corporations. They are not issues where corporations speak with one voice.

    Your pro-union stance is the only one that is really anti-corporatarian, and that one is easy — the war is over — the private sector unions lost and are a dead letter. The only employees with any leverage vis-a-vis large corporations are those in the licensed professions.

    I am kind of surprised you would resist the corporatarian label. So, you love big business. Big deal. Everybody has to love something. It is not like you are some kind of Ron Bailey type where it gets in the way of your thought processes and writing.

  40. #40 |  marie | 

    A carbon tax? Sure! We would all enjoy sending more money to the government so they can fritter it away, all while we get to spend more for anything that uses energy in its production, use, or delivery.

    I thought I was a libertarian but maybe I am only careful with my money.

  41. #41 |  FWB | 

    Too many know-it-alls know nothing. This applies even more so to the idiots who discuss AGW. Most of the so-called climatologists know diddly about the thermodynamics and chemistry of CO2. Some of us do. I spent 40+ yrs studying the fate of chemicals in the environment as a researcher and professor. I’ve seen experts from Yale (cough cough) and elsewhere make ignorant remarks about CO2.

    I’d love to teach these idiots about CO2 but it’s over their heads so they will never understand. Suffice it to say that a simple 0.1 C change in the top 10 m of the oceans will belch forth as much CO2 as is claimed to have been added to the atmosphere. Even out a soda out and let it warm? Duh. Climates have changed over and over. Man is too stupid and too egotistical to understand that man is NOT in charge and the sooner the Earth wipes out humans the better off the planet will be.

    AND no tax is legitimate that is set forth to reduce consumption. To tax is a revenue power. If taxation is used to reduce consumption as in the cigarette tax, it is not legitimate and is a violation of the constitutional power to tax.

  42. #42 |  Abhishek | 

    “Radley, you’re not a libertarian, I give you kudos for your fine work on exposing judicial and leo corruption, but I have yet to come across any of your writing where you espouse libertarian thought. Foundationally, I wonder if you understand the NAP.”

    This is the kind of comment that drives me mad. It is the same kind of attitude that Robert Wenzel brought to his horrible interview of Gary Johnson. Radley is not a libertarian…because he supports a carbon tax? One can have a debate over the best way to deal with this particular externality. But there is nothing unlibertarian about thinking externalities in general should be internalised — and if you think there is no externality associated with global warming, you are sadly deluded.

    But that’s not even why I am angry. Radley actually makes a difference with his libertarian views, to the lives of real people. Unlike some who love to sit and bask in the purity of their understanding of the non-aggresion principle.

    Sorry about the rant — had to let off some steam.

  43. #43 |  el coronado | 

    Am I the only one who found the pic accompanying the “real cause of moslem protest” story just a tad….ironic? There’s Abdul, and Whalid, and all the Mohammeds standing in front of a US Embassy; wiggling their professionally printed signs and (undoubtedly) chanting “America out of moslem lands” just the way the guy at the mosque taught ‘em & is paying ‘em to do; typical stage-managed bullshit for the cameras.

    But, see, the city where those clowns live, & the US Embassy in question is located is….. *London*. In decidedly non-moslem….. **England**. So I trust there’ll be no moslem rage – or even worse, hurt feelings – when the Brits or even the satanic Americans start having protests in front of islamic embassies holding signs saying things like, “Moslems out of Christian lands!” Right? “No”?? Y’all think they’ll want to have it both ways???

  44. #44 |  Loren | 

    re: Personanongrata

    Links to Sources:

    Comets striking Earth http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j11_3/j11_3_255-256.pdf

    Oh yes, we should all be persuaded by your scientific insight, especially when your sources include a link to a young-earth creationist website.

    And before you rebut with “It’s a published paper!” I would point out that it was published in the Journal of Creation (a publication of Creation Ministries International), and was written by a fellow who’s worked for the Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis.

  45. #45 |  a leap at the wheel | 

    Burgers – What standards-setting body do you get your libertarian purity tests from? I can’t find a good one that doesn’t take some taxpayer or corpratist money.

  46. #46 |  Elliot | 

    marie (#40):A carbon tax? Sure! We would all enjoy sending more money to the government so they can fritter it away, all while we get to spend more for anything that uses energy in its production, use, or delivery.

    “I thought I was a libertarian but maybe I am only careful with my money.

    Of course it’s ridiculous to call oneself a “libertarian” and also be in favor of a big government boondoggle tax to punish production. I figured that was too obvious, so I addressed the scientific issue of picking on carbon, exclusively, and believing that a government tax will save the world without interfering with our standard of living.

    But you are correct about the tax aspect.

  47. #47 |  Elliot | 

    Hey, how about instead of a carbon tax, which just puts more money in the hands of people who spend disastrously, they implement a carbon spank?

    Each ton of carbon you use, you get whacked with a cane five times. The big corporate polluters and the jet setters will get pulverized, but that’s the price you pay to save the planet, right?

  48. #48 |  Burgers Allday | 

    @45

    Lets be clear, I am not trying to steer anyone away from Mr. Balko.

    His politics are not bad. Not great, but not bad.

    Like I said, libertarianism is corporatarianism these days. The love for big business is abiding and deep. It runs across both the major parties and through libertarians as well. Democrats want to use the government to actively help big business. Corporatarians want eliminate parts of the government that are adverse to big business. Republicans want to do both while denying doing either.

    There is only one person who wants to use government to protect people and small businesses from big business.

    “Its gotta be Burgers . . .” ™

  49. #49 |  Brandon | 

    Wow, you’re stupid AND you have delusions of grandeur. Big Business as we know it wouldn’t exist without government subsidies, including tariffs. The actual free market responds to customers, not regulators or patrons like in the status quo. But go ahead, tell us what you mean, specifically, by “protect people and small businesses from big business.” How would you do that? Or are you going to duck the question like you did the one about Citizens United?

  50. #50 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    There is only one person who wants to use government to protect people and small businesses from big business.

    Except no government does that. You might as well run on a platform of being different because you REALLY WANT the foxes to help the chickens.

  51. #51 |  RobZ | 

    “Let’s see, temperature plateaued nearly 15 years ago, and the biggest spikes in temperature where in the first part of the 20th century.”

    The signal is extremely noisy. Looking at the run up from 1900 to 1940, I can see a number of 15 year periods where the temperature had “plateaued” and yet eventually it rose well above where it had been before.

    Personally, I’d much rather the consensus of the climate scientists be wrong, but I doubt that that’s how it will turn out.

  52. #52 |  Burgers Allday | 

    @49:

    You are being rude, but will give a brief answer anyway.

    I would start with vigorous enforcement of the Sherman Act of 1890.

    Then I would repel the income tax.

    Then I would introduce the wealth tax.

    On my 4th day in office I would appoint Mr. Balko as bad cop czar.

  53. #53 |  Brandon | 

    So your answer is to massively increase the size and reach of the federal government, ignore the constitution, and govern by fiat and talking points from Huffington Post? Yeah, you’re a fucking idiot.

  54. #54 |  Elliot | 

    RobZ:…the consensus of the climate scientists…

    Science is about finding facts. Consensus is about popularity contests. The latter is not a substitute for the former.

    One of the aspects of the scientific method of inquiry is skepticism. However, many of the CAGW proponents decry skepticism as evil, even demonizing it as akin to Holocaust denial. In fact, blanket condemnation of skepticism is anti-scientific.

    Another aspect of the scientific method of inquiry is reproducibility and transparency. A computer program to model future events is nice, but it isn’t hard data, nor should it be considered vetted until the prediction can be compared with observed data. In other words, if you predict 50m sea level rise by year 2300, that shouldn’t be taken as “scientific” so much as wild-assed guessing on par with celebrity psychics.

    There are multiple significant questions involved in the global warming debate. Calling the whole kit-and-kaboodle “settled” is a manifest lie, as only one of the major questions (carbon vs. temperature) has been answered by laboratory testing. If you double the existing CO2 in the atmosphere, all other factors being equal, that will raise the temperature 1C. If you double it again, that will again, raise the global temperature 1C. Note that to get 2C you need to quadruple current levels. To get 3C, you need to multiply by eight. The relationship is logarithmic–not something to panic and certainly not in line with predictions of coastal cities drowning within a century.

    The other significant questions involve feedbacks (positive and negative) and anthropogenic contribution. Those are not, in any way, shape, or form, “settled”.

  55. #55 |  Elliot | 

    BurgersAllday (#52):Then I would repel the income tax.

    With a spray?

  56. #56 |  Burgers Allday | 

    yeah I saw that. I wish there was an edit fcn. I was trying to tell Brandon that I would repeal the income tax in favor of a wealth tax.

    Also, I would extend Posse Commitatus so that no military veterans could become police officers.

    After that I would disband the military because there isn’t a “declared” war going on.

    Then I would legalize recreational grass, horse and coke.

    Then I would illegalize bath salts.

    I would do many things if I were placed in charge . . .

    “Oh, that Burgers!” ™

  57. #57 |  Andrew_M_Garland | 

    Global Warming is pushed worldwide by the Left because:

    () It gives a reason to take control of all industries.
    () Restricting industrial development appeals to conservationists.
    () It addresses the guilt of the wealthy.
    () They think carbon taxes are a windfall of revenue. Even if Cap and Trade is originally proposed as tax neutral, the carbon exchanges are owned by prominent politicians, such as Al Gore. Later, the original scheme can be converted to yield net tax revenues, if not from the start.
    () These new taxes are hidden in the cost of carbon fuels, and so hidden in the price of everything. It is always good to hide a tax, and let the oil companies and manufacturers get any blame.

    The actual reduction in carbon from a carbon tax will be insignificant, especially given that global warming caused by increased atmospheric carbon is at most a mild change over hundreds of years.

    There already are/were big scams taking advantage of carbon credits.

  58. #58 |  Andrew_M_Garland | 

    Richard S. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT

    Global Warming: How to approach the science   (PDF 58 pages)

    Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Seminar at the House of Commons Committee Rooms
    Westminster, London, 22nd February 2012

    This is a careful, scholarly, clear, and readable presentation of claims and data. Global warming is not a hoax, but catastrophic, damaging global warming is a hoax not supported by evidence.

    Prof. Lindzen points out that a doubling of carbon dioxide by 2050 would be expected to increase average world temperature by about 1 degree C (1.8 deg F). The alarmists pose that natural processes will multiply this warming to 3 deg C. Current data seems to give a multiplier of .5, giving .5 deg C of warming by 2050 (.9 deg F).

    A major argument against an explosive, self-multiplying warming is that we are here to talk about it. If the Earth’s climate system had a multiplier (rather than a dampener), then prior much warmer and much colder periods would have spiraled to either a freezing or boiling extreme. Venus would be an example. Earth has been stable for 3 billion years.

    === ===
    [edited excerpts] Lindzen:  The debate is not about whether CO2 is increasing: it clearly is. It is not about whether the increase in CO2, by itself, will lead to some warming: it should.

    The debate is how much warming the increase in CO2 can lead to, and the connection of such warming to innumerable claimed catastrophes. The evidence is that the increase in CO2 will lead to very little warming, and that the connection of this minimal warming (or even significant warming) to the purported catastrophes is also minimal. The arguments on which the catastrophic claims are made are extremely weak, and are commonly acknowledged as such. They are sometimes overtly dishonest.

    The usual rationale for alarm comes from models. The notion that models are our only tool, even if it were true, depends on models being objective and not arbitrarily adjusted. Unfortunately, these are unwarranted assumptions.

    However, models are hardly our only tool. Models can show why they get the results they get. The reasons involve physical processes that can be independently assessed by both observations and basic theory. This has, in fact, been done, and the results suggest that all models are exaggerating warming.
    === ===

    A chart of IPCC predictions compared to satellite data – here.

    The government run IPCC predicted between .62 to 1.5 deg C of warming. Measured warming is .1 to .25 deg.

    Warmists cry out “the science is settled”. If so, then which of the 20 or so climate models is the settled science?

  59. #59 |  John222 | 

    Wow- first of all, New Haven is too close to New London for me to feel any sympathy at all.
    And Burgers- WTF? You want to tax wealth? The same wealth that was taxed when it was earned and when it is spent only because it hasn’t been spent yet? What will qualify as wealth after you are elected King? Only the federal reserve notes that are listed on one’s account ledgers? Or will your definition of wealth also include one’s ability to create wealth? That’s a formula I’d like to see.

  60. #60 |  Burgers Allday | 

    @58

    Yes, I want to tax wealth, not income.

  61. #61 |  PeeDub | 

    I have on good authority that Radley is also not a true Scotsman.

  62. #62 |  John222 | 

    @Burgers- but only wealth that has has been accumulated after your crowning right? And this will coincide with the repeal of the income tax? You also neglected to include your definition of wealth and the percentage tax rate. So if I manage to not spend 10% of my income in a month at what rate are you going to tax my “wealth”?

  63. #63 |  RobZ | 

    “Science is about finding facts. Consensus is about popularity contests. The latter is not a substitute for the former.”

    Ideally, there would be complete agreement among the experts. In reality, in any large group of scientists, there will be some eccentrics, who will never agree with the rest. Occasionally, the eccentrics will be correct, but betting against the experts consensus in a well investigated area is usually a sucker’s bet. It looks to me like a lot of effort has been spent in investigating the area, that the people doing the investigating tend to be quite bright, and that they very likely know what they are doing. The idea that all of them are involved in perpetuating a scam is quite absurd.

    “The other significant questions involve feedbacks (positive and negative) and anthropogenic contribution.”

    The large majority of those who’ve spent their academic lives studying the subject, think they know fairly well(not perfectly) what the largest factors are and how they interrelate. As far as I know, none of them say that they know with 100% probability how it is all going to play out.

    Some of them have invested into the idea quite deeply and if things started to look iffy, I’m sure they’d have trouble changing their minds. (This will be even more true of the skeptics.) The younger climatologists are not so deeply invested and their main avenues of opportunities are to be found off the beaten path. The fact that all of the younger climatologists appear to be agreeing with the consensus seems quite damning.

  64. #64 |  RobZ | 

    I tend to think of great wealth like l think of black holes. Given enough wealth, a rich man may distort society to his advantage and to everyone else’s disadvantage. Some rich men will, of course, behave honorably. Others will not.

  65. #65 |  Radley Balko | 

    I am kind of surprised you would resist the corporatarian label. So, you love big business. Big deal.

    It is a big deal. Because it’s an ass-backward characterization of what I actually believe.

    I believe in free markets. I support policies that maximize voluntary, mutually beneficial exchange.

    This is not remotely the same thing as supporting the interests of corporations. The two principles butt up against one another. Often.

    But even “corporation” is better than “big business.” That you’d conflate the two tells me you’re either trolling or you haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about.

  66. #66 |  Other Sean | 

    Hey, Radley, you’re back!

    The important thing is: you’re here, you’re safe, you’re back at it with the blogging and all, and absolutely no one paid any attention to your hint that it might be cool to hold off debating the whole carbon tax thing until you’ve had a chance to say your say on the matter.

    Cause, you know, who wants to do that? This batch of cookie dough is getting eaten straight out the bowl! By food critics. Specifically, by angry, hungry food critics who haven’t had a good crack at you for a while.

    So…welcome back, you green party extremist, faux-libertarian corporate stooge you. You’ve been missed.

  67. #67 |  Stephen | 

    My reason for disagreeing with Radley on a new tax is more simple than most.

    I simply do not trust politicians to do what they say. Taxes and regulations seem to work like a ratchet and only go in one direction. That direction always means less money and less liberty for me.

  68. #68 |  Elliot | 

    Burgers Allday:I would do many things if I were placed in charge…

    Note to readers: Don’t let “Burgers” be in charge. Ever.

  69. #69 |  johnl | 

    A Carbon tax is ugly winner picking. Other forms of energy production are heavy burdens to the environment. Wind and solar are extremely inefficient in terms of land so deny a lot of habitat. Hydro is bad for fish and shoreline replenishment. Nuclear also is not a panacea. Better to tax energy than Carbon.

  70. #70 |  Elliot | 

    @RobZ (#62): Another thing which doesn’t mesh with the scientific method of inquiry: “betting”.

    Calling people who use facts and reason to poke holes in the “official” (politically) position “eccentrics” is anti-science. It’s ridiculing those who question orthodoxy as being weird, kooky. These aren’t people claiming that human beings and dinosaurs lived together, but rather those who properly ridicule the unscientific basis for CAGW and those who show how the Al Gore type bait-and-switch arguments are propaganda.

    The idea that all of them are involved in perpetuating a scam is quite absurd.

    Except that “idea” is a strawman. Most of the bullshit comes from the media and politicians who misrepresent the science. Some of it comes from scientists who know better, but who go along for the perks–or for fear of being ostracized. (You know, called “eccentrics” and marginalized, for even minor disagreements!) The rest just follow the herd, not overtly or consciously attempting to perpetuate fraud. Oftentimes, scientists who are cited as being part of the “consensus” actually only agree on point one, but not on points two and three. They agree that human industry has caused warming, but they’re not marching in lockstep with the alarmists who predict drowning coastal cities within decades. (That’s one example of the “bait-and-switch” tactic.)

    Look at the War on Drugs. How many “bright” and “honorable” people are involved in that travesty? Or on the matter of nutrition, how nearly all of government officials, doctors, and nutritionists push horrible dietary advice, based upon decades of repeating the same flawed ideas (as Americans grow fatter and fatter following that diet). Are these doctors and nutritionists trying to make Americans fat? No. They’re just stuck on stupid by adhering to orthodoxy, not wanting to create waves by questioning the lipid hypothesis (which was established by Ancel Keys, who threw out 66% of his data to establish correlation).

    For that matter, look at religion. Most people believe in those fairy tales. Or Keynesianism.

    There are plenty of examples in which the orthodoxy, the “common wisdom”, the herd are just plain wrong. Most don’t get there by deliberately seeking to push lies. But they get there, regardless.

    The large majority of those who’ve spent their academic lives studying the subject, think they know fairly well(not perfectly) what the largest factors are and how they interrelate

    Except a casual review of the simplified models compared with historical data shows that these models are too simplistic. Anyone who thinks they know “fairly well…what the largest factors are and how they interrelate” are either delusional or liars. They can’t even predict regional weather accurately. We’re supposed to trust that the computer programs they write, which contain an inordinate number of fixed assumptions and which completely ignore many external factors (such as solar cycles), are accurate projections of decades of world wide weather phenomena?

    Give me a few graphs and a simple computer program and I can tweak the constants to fit your graph. Just because I can manage that doesn’t mean you should trust the simulation to extrapolate far into the future.

    Most of the CAGW predictions which have come to pass turned out to be wrong. Millions of climate refuges by 2010, sharply increasing temperatures with increased CO2.

    Then there is the matter of positive feedback. Because CO2 from human industry cannot produce the sensational results predicted by alarmists. That requires positive feedbacks. And, any negative feedbacks must be offset by even more positive feedbacks to cancel them. Most complex systems in nature aren’t dominated by positive feedbacks. The chicken little “runaway” scenarios are laughable, given the history of climate over the past few billion years.

  71. #71 |  Becon | 

    Burgers Allday supporting a wealth tax over an income tax. I nominate that as the most economically illiterate statement of the week. Yikes.

  72. #72 |  supercat | 

    #62 | RobZ | “Ideally, there would be complete agreement among the experts.”

    Proper science is based upon trying to *disprove* theories but failing despite one’s best efforts to do so. Significant scientific discoveries come about when people notice that the results of experiments don’t quite conform to the existing theories, and based upon those experiments, try to produce more experiments which will also fail to conform to the existing theories. The results of such experiments may thus be used to formulate new theories.

    If someone were to notice that some particular crystalline form of some radioactive isotope decomposed 0.1% slower than other crystalline forms of that same isotope, many scientists might not think it worth their while to investigate since it would more likely be experimental error than some fundamental new discovery, but few scientists would have any objection to other scientists repeating the experiments to see if anything unusual is going on. There would certainly be no denunciation of scientists who investigate the phenomenon and support their result, since all good scientists “know” that atomic decay rates are independent of molecular structure. If many scientists were able to observe the 0.1% difference in decay rate for a particular crystaline structure, it would lead to the investigation as to why such behavior occurred.

    Unfortunately, among those who are “investigating” anthropogenic climate change, those who would question the prevailing theories are branded as heretics, and are actively silenced. The prevailing view continues to prevail not because it is right, but rather because it has achieved sufficient critical mass to allow other any contradictory ideas to be marginalized without regard for whether they might be correct. The more thoroughly a scientific field becomes dominated by “consensus”, the less likely it is that any real science will take place.

  73. #73 |  supercat | 

    // #70 | Becon | “Burgers Allday supporting a wealth tax over an income tax. I nominate that as the most economically illiterate statement of the week. Yikes.”

    Some people effectively turn marginal wealth into marginal productivity. Other people will not. When wealth is in the hands of those who turn marginal wealth into marginal productivity, it generates more wealth. Conversely, redistributing wealth away from those who would turn marginal wealth into marginal productivity will cause less wealth to be generated.

    While I’m no fan of any kind of tax which is used for wealth redistribution, I’m not sure that funding necessary programs via wealth tax would be any worse than funding them via income tax. The income tax has a very strong tendency to take marginal wealth way from those who use it to generate marginal productivity. I’m not sure how a wealth tax would be any worse in that regard.

  74. #74 |  Burgers Allday | 

    I believe in free markets. I support policies that maximize voluntary, mutually beneficial exchange.

    This is not remotely the same thing as supporting the interests of corporations. The two principles butt up against one another. Often.

    This is helpful and deserves a serious response.

    First of all, having a lot of voluntary, mutually beneficial exchanges is good. You are right to identify that as a cardinal virtue. It is something I like about your politics.

    However, I think one has to be careful when talking about “maximizing” the exchange. I would rather live in a society where there wer 1,000 people, and each person did $10 worth of trade than a society with 1,000 people and $998 of them did $1 worth of exchange and the other two did $1M apiece. The latter society has relatively more free exchange, but would also be a worse society to live in.

    The “butt up” comment is also helpful. It gets at the heart of why I believe you to be a big-business-loving corporatarian. The two main places where the interests of big businesses “butt up” against the interests of truly free markets are as follows:

    1. Freedom of businesses to consolidate to the point where firms have pricing power.

    2. Perpetuation and extension of non-progressive tax structures.

    So, you know, you are what I say you are. No need to be defensive. On these “corporatarian issues” your position is the dominant one and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. I am not accusing you of bad faith or stupidity or cupidity or anything like that. The “corporatarian” label does not mean subsidy loving union busters who exalt patent monopolies. There is a different label for those people. They express their love for big business in a different way than you do, and, frankly, if one has to love big business, your style of love is the preferable one. Personally, I think that you are still fighting the Cold War in a post-Cold-War world, but . . .

    “That’s just Burgers!” (TM)

  75. #75 |  Mac Day | 

    I think the justice department should be looking into Wells Fargo for being complete jackasses: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2012/09/12/wells-fargo-forecloses-wrong-house/

  76. #76 |  tarran | 

    I would start with vigorous enforcement of the Sherman Act of 1890.

    And you criticise Radley for being a copororatarian?

    Burgers, you are an idiot. A clever idiot, but an idiot nonetheless.

    Here’s a hint, read the lecture Robert Di Lorenzo gave on how the Sherman Act came to be.

    In a particularly revealing statement during the debates over the antitrust act, Sen. Sherman attacked the trusts on the ground that they “subverted the tariff system; they undermined the policy of government to protect … American industries by levying duties on imported goods.” (Page 4100). This is certainly an odd statement from the author of the “Magna Carta of free enterprise.” But increased output and reduced prices in these increasingly efficient industries apparently dissipated the monopoly profits previously generated by the tariffs. This worked against the objectives of the protected industries and their legislative champions, including Sen. Sherman.

    ….

    It was absurd, of course, for Sen. Sherman to say that a protective tariff would actually help consumers if only manufacturers could be trusted to refrain from raising prices. The whole purpose of tariff protection is to allow domestic manufacturers to raise prices, or at least to avoid reducing them. Such hypocrisy led the New York Times to withdraw its support of antitrust legislation. The Times concluded: “That so-called Anti-Trust law was passed to deceive the people and to clear the way for the enactment of this … law relating to the tariff. It was projected in order that the party organs might say to the opponents of tariff extortion and protected combinations, ‘Behold! We have attacked the Trusts. The Republican party is the enemy of all such rings.’ And now the author of it can only ‘hope’ that the rings will dissolve of their own accord.” Thus, the Sherman Act seems to have been passed to help draw public attention away from the process of monopolization through tariff protection.

    Interestingly, during the Wilson Administration, he vigorously prosecuted numerous firms under the Sheman Act, Every one of them was acustomer of Chase, none of them banked with JP Morgan. Guess which bank was paying a salary to Col House, the Rove of the Wilson Administration? JP Morgan.

    The Sherman Act was purposed to give congress greater control over which businesses were permitted to serve customers and to protect politically favored corporations from having to deal with upstart competitors. Your support for it makes you an unwitting supporter of the worst forms of crony capitalism.

  77. #77 |  Burgers Allday | 

    O! Tarran! You have become a regular Gaius Marius!

  78. #78 |  tarran | 

    OMG, you have to be Dave W.

    Burgers, yes or no, are you the patent attorney named Dave W who used to post on Reason’s website listing the website FarcesWannaMo.com as your home page?

  79. #79 |  Cyto | 

    I think a carbon tax is a perfectly libertarian solution to a tragedy of the commons problem. As a concept it is pretty easy to understand why it is a good idea in principle. The problem with a carbon tax is that unless it is a truly global scheme it will fail utterly.

    For simplicity’s sake, let’s say that the US and Eurozone agree on a common carbon tax scheme and everyone else abstains. What would the result be? Well, in short order there’d be no heavy industrial production in the US or Europe. The same goes for things that are heavily petroleum dependent like plastics, unless the tax is designed to exempt those uses of carbon-rich fossil fuels. Relatively quickly behind heavy industry would be anything else energy dependent, including things like food production. Sure, the west would move to carbon-free transportation if the tax were high enough. But all of that fossil fuel we saved would just be shipped to China, India and Africa and burned for fuel there instead of here. The globe warms just as much, but the west loses its favored economic position and standard of living as jobs flee to cheaper energy.

    I suppose you could try to come up with a playing-field leveling scheme that would tax imports from carbon-tax free nations based on some imputed carbon emission while crediting exports to the same nations. But that would also undermine the goal of eliminating carbon emissions. And it also lays the groundwork for corporatist/statist manipulations of the tax code.

  80. #80 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Most people believe in those fairy tales. Or Keynesianism.

    LOL’d.

    I love supporters of QE not batting an eye after QE1 “failed”*, QE2 failed, Twist failed, etc.

    Personally, I am having a mural of Ben and Timmay painted on the third floor balcony of my beach house so I can see their faces from my yacht (named “QE Infinity”).

    *failed to stimulate the economy, but we should all know that wasn’t the real objective of QE.

    PS: Remember when “idiot gold bugs” was a term people used?

  81. #81 |  Cyto | 

    The Mother Jones article is a great place to get a close-up view of cognitive dissonance. In response to an article about a warrantless wiretap law pushed and supported by the Obama administration a large percentage of the comments are outraged at this power grab by the right-wing-republican-dublya-fascists. Seriously. Bush/Cheney and the conservatives are to blame for an Obama administration seeking crazy unconstitutional powers…. go figure.

    And you wonder why folks poo-poo the idea that a liberty coalition of the left and right could be forged.

  82. #82 |  RobZ | 

    “Unfortunately, among those who are “investigating” anthropogenic climate change, those who would question the prevailing theories are branded as heretics, and are actively silenced.”

    Though they certainly have complained about being silenced, they are published quite frequently in newspapers. Not so much in refereed journals perhaps, but then most of them aren’t scientists.

    There are some tenured climatologists who are skeptical. They have lots of funding sources and they do get published in journals. Their problem certainly isn’t that they can’t get their papers read by thousands of other scientists. It’s that the thousands who read those papers don’t generally find them persuasive.

    “The prevailing view continues to prevail not because it is right, but rather because it has achieved sufficient critical mass to allow other any contradictory ideas to be marginalized without regard for whether they might be correct.”

    That would be at best, a meta-stable state. Older, well established scientists who have built their careers with certain assumptions are definitely going to have trouble changing their minds, but the whole field is not made up of older well established scientists.

    This is not a new controversy. In the typical Kuhnian scenario, if the tenured skeptics are obviously correct, they should be attracting some serious young talent to their side. I don’t see that happening.

  83. #83 |  Elliot | 

    @Cyoto (#77) I think anyone who fully understands the principles underlying individual rights would never write, “I think a [insert anything] tax is a perfectly libertarian solution….

    The primary reason? Taxes are collected by politicians and their bureaucrats, after which the money is frittered away on expanding their bureaucracy, on favors and boondoggles for cronies, on using other people’s money to appear to be generous, and, far too often, on truly evil pursuits which trample on the rights of individuals (war, prohibition, surveillance, prosecutorial malfeasance, etc.). All of the promises in the world that the taxes collected will only be spent on [insert popular goal] should be consigned to the wastebasket. History demonstrates politicians do not live up to these promises. Most commonly, the excuse is some “crisis” which “requires” the promises be broken.

    An individualist should never trust the promises and good intentions of people wielding government power. History. Read it. Don’t be gullible.

    You do make good points about the industrial expansion of China and India making carbon abatement in the US and EU irrelevant. But do you think that the politicians of the US and EU would ever repeal a carbon tax, once in place, if after a few years they realized the futility? Yeah, they’ll get to that right after they repeal farm subsidies, ethanol, drug prohibition, etc..

    Never give them the weapon of a new, massive tax mechanism.

    In this particular case, why do you accept the premise that carbon is the singular factor, and carbon abatement is the panacea? You do know that the dire predictions of drowning coastal cities within decades require positive feedbacks far in excess of the established relationship between CO2 and temperature? That relationship is a logarithmic function, which quickly tapers off, unlike the “hockey stick” graphs which alarmists draw, extrapolating a linear increase for decades. Also, notice that the temperatures of the last decade, as compared to the CO2 content, do not match the earlier predictions.

    In 50 years if the global temperatures have not risen in the “runaway” manner, i.e., if the positive feedbacks are cancelled by negative feedbacks (as is the most common case in complex natural systems), then any drastic political destruction of human productivity based on the faulty predictions will mean that hundreds of millions of people will have needlessly suffered and had their rights abridged by the powers that be. And, if the global temperature levels off or drops, and arrogant human beings are taught that their influence is far eclipsed by natural forces, how will our great grandchildren recoup all that was destroyed?

    If, on the other hand, people resist such political restraint on their economic liberties, allow human industry to expand, and deal with any rise in global temperature by adaptation, then they will have a far greater capacity to spend the money needed to make the adjustments. If you tax people into universal poverty and the sea levels continue to rise (perhaps because of China and India), they can’t afford sea walls around Miami.

  84. #84 |  Elliot | 

    @Robz (#80) You are incredibly naive and misinformed. The media overwhelmingly publishes the sensational. Predict drowning cities? Make it a splash headline. Make a technical argument about feedbacks which shows that the predictions are not nearly as reliable as presented, and the journalists (most of whom don’t understand the math, science, and tech necessary to get it) will yawn and go look for something with which to pique the interest of their readers.

    The peer-reviewed journals become an exclusive club. No matter how factual a paper presented is, if it challenges the orthodoxy, the gatekeepers reject it to protect themselves. And, skeptics are not well-funded. Challenge the “common wisdom” and the grants (often controlled by political entities) dry up.

    If you think the CAGW theories are bulletproof, because of the popularity among scientists, and you refuse to even consider the arguments against CAGW, you’ve abandoned the principles of science. At that point, it’s just a shouting match and your mind is closed to reason.

  85. #85 |  Russ 2000 | 

    If you support a carbon tax, then you support a gold tax, lead tax, oxygen tax, hydrogen tax, etc.

    Which may make you a lot of things, but libertarian ain’t one of them.

  86. #86 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    RE: Carbon tax

    Elliot is correct that taxes tend to be permanent and placed into the lump of tax revenue collected (regardless of “earmarking” and wasted by the state. Libertarians tend to do one of two things:
    1. Support a tax policy that could work given the current system (and hope for the best/least corrupt implementation).

    2. Realize there is no way to significantly reduce or eliminate waste and corruption at the state level and admit the only real solution is to go state-less.

    But, I might be biased.

  87. #87 |  H. Rearden | 

    BURGERS:

    I would rather live in a society where there wer 1,000 people, and each person did $10 worth of trade than a society with 1,000 people and 998 of them did $1 worth of exchange and the other two did $1M apiece.

    That’s not a very hard call to make. But let’s make a more realistic set of scenarios to compare. What would you prefer:

    a society where there were 1,000 people, and each person did $10 worth of trade

    or

    a society with 1,000 people and 998 of them did $100 worth of exchange and the other two did $1M apiece

    This would be a better analogy of the economic systems that dominated the last century. You preference would be very telling of your character.

  88. #88 |  H. Rearden | 

    I think a carbon tax is a perfectly libertarian solution to a tragedy of the commons problem.

    Only if you think that carbon is a pollutant that is the cause of a measurable amount of damage, and the taxes raised in such a system are used solely for the purpose of mitigating the damages caused by the pollutant. Otherwise the tax is merely a new found funding source for wealth redistribution.

  89. #89 |  Henry Bowman | 

    This is a tax that I, a libertarian, support.

    Well, I guess that makes it relatively plain that you are not, in fact, a libertarian. Such a tax is basically a sin tax, as the use of carbon in the U.S. does not harm anyone. So, please don’t advertise yourself as a libertarian.

  90. #90 |  Brandon | 

    “The latter society has relatively more free exchange, but would also be a worse society to live in.”

    “1. Freedom of businesses to consolidate to the point where firms have pricing power.”

    Unsupported assertions.

    “2. Perpetuation and extension of non-progressive tax structures.”

    Question-begging.

    “frankly, if one has to love big business, your style of love is the preferable one. Personally, I think that you are still fighting the Cold War in a post-Cold-War world, but . . ”

    Incoherent rambling. Yep, par for the course. You’re a delusional idiot. And condescension is very unbecoming in delusional idiots.

  91. #91 |  Burgers Allday | 

    and Brandon looks to be our Timothy character, full of piss & vinegar in his vigorous defense of the faith!

  92. #92 |  Warren Bonesteel | 

    I’m still having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that any libertarian thinks that a carbon tax is a great idea… (As with any other logical fallacy, not all No True Scotsman arguments are invalid. e.g. You can’t be a christian while you lie, cheat, steal, drink, and screw everything on two legs. iow, you can’t be a libertarian while supporting larger, more intrusive and more powerful governments, bureaucrats and politicians. A carbon tax does all of those things.)

    While I’ve disagreed with Balko on issues in the past, they were mere quibbles over philosophy …compared to his apparent support of a carbon tax.

    In his future article, if his only support of such a tax is founded upon appeals to emotion and sophistry…and not upon principles of libertarianism…and describe how such a tax increases individual freedom and liberty while decreasing the size and power of government…

  93. #93 |  Rick H. | 

    I am kind of surprised you would resist the corporatarian label. So, you love big business. Big deal. Everybody has to love something.

    This type of bullshit, I do not love.

    You still may not realize how offensive your tired, lazy mischaracterization is. Libertarians believe in economic freedom. Many of us believe that most “big business” would struggle to compete in a free market (which does not exist, thanks to the power brokers and crony capitalists in political office).

    The goal is more liberty. Every company should succeed or fail on its own terms, based on how well it serves its market, and not how powerful its government connections are. Ask any huge, well-connected mega-corporation if they’d be willing to give up their special favors, bailouts, tariffs, breaks and competition-killing regulations. Of course they wouldn’t.

    Radley’s correct – you accuse him of the polar opposite of what he espouses, then pretend innocence when you’re called on it. Whether genuinely ignorant or just trolling for a reaction, it’s rude.

  94. #94 |  tarran | 

    I notice that Burgers keeps ignoring my question.

    So Burgers, are you and Dave W the same person? Simple “Yes” or “No” question…

    5 seconds to answer…

  95. #95 |  el coronado | 

    Have been trying to stay out of the ideological purity debate, but…@Rick H: I agree completely with your assessment of Libertarianism as “the goal is more liberty”. Amen. Amen. And Amen. Coupla questions for you, though: having taken that position, how can you then defend a guy who expresses support for a bullshit ‘carbon’ tax? AIUI, Libertarians (reluctantly) understand and support the need for certain taxes that support services best provided by the commons: roads, muni water, the post office, the military, stuff like that.

    So what exactly does a tax on ‘carbon’ support? What tangible thing does it pay for, aside from a permanent and ever-expanding bureaucracy dedicated to its own continued growth and influence – all to be paid for by higher and higher tax rates (original Social Security tax rate, 1937: 1% each from employer & employee of the first $2000) and increasing loss of – you know – **Loss of Liberty**? (“This number will never be used as an identification number.”)

    So how the hell can you (ideologically) defend someone who wants all that? _Immediately_ after you define the goal as “more Liberty”?? As #87 put it so succinctly, “[that position} makes it relatively plain that [he] is not, in fact, a Libertarian.”

  96. #96 |  Rick H. | 

    el c,

    I will let Radley explain his own statement, which I don’t quite fathom yet either. (I admit it sounds out of character.) What I was defending him against is the idea that “libertarianism = corporatism,” which is fucking retarded.

    I will say that after years of reading his stuff, this carbon tax thing is the first thing I’ve heard from Radley that seems to contradict any fundamental libertarian axioms.

    One thing at a time. Principles before personalities and all that.

  97. #97 |  RobZ | 

    “@Robz (#80) You are incredibly naive and misinformed.”

    Long ago, I spent some years studying graduate level physics but did not complete a degree. I’ve got enough context to know that my understanding of the field of climatology is superficial and I lack the time, and quite possibly the ability, to do a whole lot better than that. So I’ve done a few spot checks where I’ve looked at skeptical arguments and then searched for orthodox responses. My judgement was that the orthodox had a better grasp of chemistry, physics and statistics.

    “The media overwhelmingly publishes the sensational. Predict drowning cities? Make it a splash headline. Make a technical argument about feedbacks which shows that the predictions are not nearly as reliable as presented, and the journalists (most of whom don’t understand the math, science, and tech necessary to get it) will yawn and go look for something with which to pique the interest of their readers.”

    I’ll just have to take your word for this. I don’t pay attention to science in the mass media.

    “The peer-reviewed journals become an exclusive club. No matter how factual a paper presented is, if it challenges the orthodoxy, the gatekeepers reject it to protect themselves. And, skeptics are not well-funded. Challenge the “common wisdom” and the grants (often controlled by political entities) dry up.”

    I’ve seen the skeptics get published in refereed journals and I’ve seen responses to their papers from the orthodox. At least some of skeptics appear to be quite well funded.

    “If you think the CAGW theories are bulletproof, because of the popularity among scientists, and you refuse to even consider the arguments against CAGW, you’ve abandoned the principles of science. At that point, it’s just a shouting match and your mind is closed to reason.”

    As I said before, I don’t have the expertise to fully follow the arguments. In the end, the best I can do is to try to evaluate the abilities of the two sides and then come to a judgement based upon that. Clearly, one of the sides here knows the field inside and out and the other side, with a few exceptions, not so well. If the first side is entirely dishonest, then I suppose it would be possible for me to be deceived, but I doubt very much that that is the case.

  98. #98 |  tarran | 

    Rob Z

    I strongly encourage you to start reading ClimateAudit.

    You’ll find that the climatologists’ understanding of statistics is actually quite pathetic.

  99. #99 |  Deoxy | 

    RobZ,

    Check the history of climate reporting for the last 100+ years. There is a clear trend: 20ish years of “the world is warming, it’s our fault, and we’re all going to DIE DIE DIE” followed by 20ish years of “the world is cooling, it’s our fault, and we’re all going to DIE DIE DIE.” The difference between mainstream reporting and peer-reviewed journals is the lack of “and we’re all going to DIE DIE DIE” on the end.

    There have been claims about global warming and the models used to predict it for long enough that many of the claims’ claimed times have come and gone… with NOTHING like what was claimed actually happening.

    The science in front of your face is clear and easy: these people have NO BLOODY CLUE what they are doing. EVERY prediction they make FAILS.

    And just the frauds that have been PROVEN are huge:

    The big UN climate report? Piece by piece, the “scientific” underpinning has fallen away. The big piece about glaciers melting? Didn’t EXIST. The bit tree-ring bit? Withdrawn. Etc etc. Not much of it left now… excep the headlines, which keep getting repeated.

    The computer models? NOT ONE can predict the current state of the climate with data stopping 10 years ago. That is, for what we can actually check (feed it historic data up to X years ago, then compare output to today), EVERY SINGLE ONE FAILS. That’s fraud, plain and simple – that would be the absolute FIRST check of any such actual model.

    The reporting about dying polar bears? Same report from decades ago, only with far more actual data in them that time.

    The warmest year on record? Um, no, that was in the first half of the 20th century…

    The “corrections” to the land temperature data… seriously, that one’s even on public RECORD. Oddly, these “corrections” were almost uniformly up after 1970 and down before that. Yes, seriously.

    The “Hockey Stick.” Yeah. I won’t even comment on that one.

    You know, it’s possible that they ARE right… but at this point, I’d believe a used car salesman before I believe them. They’ve been caught lying time after time after time, yet they still just keep spouting the same crap.

    And it apparently works with some people. Seriously, man, stop rewarding their BS with your belief in them.

  100. #100 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Tarran, on a more serious note, I don’t know if you were a Jim Henley fan, but he has some type of cancer, so keep him in your thoughts and/or prayers. I am certainly pulling for the guy and I know that T. is, too.

  101. #101 |  Les | 

    The warmest year on record? Um, no, that was in the first half of the 20th century…

    Genuinely curious about this subject. According to NASA:

    “The warmest years on record were 2005 and 2010, in a virtual tie.”

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2011-temps.html

  102. #102 |  Elliot | 

    @tarran (#96): I also read Watts Up With That, and …

  103. #103 |  Deoxy | 

    The warmest year on record? Um, no, that was in the first half of the 20th century…

    Genuinely curious about this subject. According to NASA:

    “The warmest years on record were 2005 and 2010, in a virtual tie.”

    OK, since you clearly read at least PART of my post, let me just quote another part you clearly didn’t read:

    The “corrections” to the land temperature data… seriously, that one’s even on public RECORD. Oddly, these “corrections” were almost uniformly up after 1970 and down before that. Yes, seriously

    Hmm, I didn’t specify, but that was specifically referring to NASA’s data. Quote me somebody who hasn’t transparently doctored their data.

    Raw temperature data show that U.S. temperatures were significantly warmer during the 1930s than they are today. In fact, raw temperature data show an 80-year cooling trend. NOAA is only able to claim that we are experiencing the hottest temperatures on record by doctoring the raw temperature data.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2012/06/13/doctored-data-not-u-s-temperatures-set-a-record-this-year/

    Sorry, I misremembered – it was the 30s, not the 40s. Doesn’t change the point any.

    Anyway, here’s a graph of the “corrections” to the raw data, FROM THE NOAA, no less:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/ushcn/ts.ushcn_anom25_diffs_urb-raw_pg.gif

    The CORRECTIONS graph looks a lot like a hockey stick. The actual temperatures DO NOT.

    The corrections graph completely swallows the supposed increase. This is entirely based on data FROM the NOAA – that is, the government itself admits to this.

    Are you done now?

  104. #104 |  Elliot | 

    @tarran (#96): … Climate Skeptic.

    I come at this from the point of view of a programmer and mathematician, to judge the merits of the various arguments concerning simulations, statistical methods, etc..

    But I also come from the point of view of an individualist. Even if our power plants are killing polar bears (a guy saw some dead ones from a plane and nevermind the populations in parts of the arctic which have to be culled) and leading to a rise in sea level (we’ll see), I oppose the radical political “solutions”. Over and over, the “green” projects are turning into boondoggles and outright carpetbagger type plundering of taxpayer coffers. And, the proposed legislation and treaties amount to an arbitrary and capricious transfer of wealth from the productive to people who have done nothing to earn the loot. The “solutions” run in parallel with Marxist “solutions”, or simply anti-human nihilism.

    For you CAGW alarmists, you want to “save the planet”? Do what you can, with your own resources, to improve things. Convince people through honest, rational arguments to do things that matter. Respect the rights of your neighbors and I have no complaints. Start pointing guns at people, though, and I don’t care how important or noble your cause, you’re a thug who deserves to be stopped.

  105. #105 |  RobZ | 

    Ok, I’ve been to ClimateAudit. A boatload of stuff, too much to absorb so I tried to do a spot check on the bristlecone pine proxy issue. The weeds immediately got a bit thick, McIntyre and McKitrick said that Mann et al should have followed the standard centering convention in the PCA analysis which would have required them to subtract the average value from each data series. Instead, they subtracted the average value from the 20th century and if you follow the rules, the hockey stick shape goes away. Sounded pretty damning but then I don’t know squat about what actually happens if you ignore the standard centering convention.

    So I went off to look for a response and immediately found one. Boiling that down, M and M also didn’t follow the standard centering convention. They only kept the two strongest PC sets. They were supposed to keep 5 and if they’d done that, the hockey stick shape was the 4th strongest PC and if they’d normalized the data as they were supposed to according to custom, the hockey stick shape would have been the 2nd strongest PC.

    At this point, I gave up. At this point, it looks to me like Mann’s group has somewhat the better argument, but if I kept on looking, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to find a response I find equally convincing. I’m way beyond my comfort zone and I’m not going to spend any more time on it. I withdraw my statement that the orthodox are better statisticians. They might very well be so, but I’m obviously not qualified to say one way or the other.

    In my brief research on this I happened to come across the physicist Richard Muller’s story. In 2004, he went on record as finding McIntyre and McKitrick extremely convincing. (Mann was apparently a touch bitter.) No doubt you are all familiar with what followed. Do you all think Muller was somehow gotten to? Do you think he is less competent that McIntyre and/or McKitrick?

    And yes, there’s usually no good excuse for pointing guns at people.

  106. #106 |  RobZ | 

    FWIW, The Muller et al. site http://berkeleyearth.org/ seems quite good. I was very pleasantly surprised. The result page and the FAQ both informative. All code and data freely available.

  107. #107 |  Just a guy | 

    No one who’s honestly a libertarian would support a carbon tax.

  108. #108 |  Other Sean | 

    I’m kinda disappointed. 103 comments and so far we haven’t heard from anyone who supports a Boron tax.

    I can’t be the only one!

  109. #109 |  el coronado | 

    I think we should tax *Frowny* people. And negativity!! We could turn those frowns upside down, and all whistle happily as we cheerfully goosestep…er, “march” together into a new, productive future. Secure in the knowledge that we belong to the government; and that she will take care of us; and always make sure that there are no slackers at ‘smiley time’ and ‘Pledge Allegiance to Obama time’ during math tests, & such!

    Oh sure, we may have to sacrifice a little freedom….and the smile enforcers may get a little bloodthirsty and brutal at times….but it would totally be worth it! I’m sure it’s in The Constitution!

  110. #110 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Here is what Mitt Romney says:

    There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for [Obama] no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.
    . . .
    So my job is not to worry about those people, I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

  111. #111 |  Cyto | 

    On the tragedy of the commons issue:

    Rejecting the underlying “problem” of carbon dioxide induced global warming would obviously eliminate any need for a carbon tax (or any other solution) to address the problem.

    However, this does not in any way address the carbon tax as a method of addressing the issue if it does exist. I think it is perfectly consistent with libertarian philosophy to say that people should pay for harm that they cause others. It is also libertarian to look for ways for markets to address issues – like ownership of the fisheries to address overfishing.

    In the case of CO2 emissions, there is currently no mechanism for allocating the costs that those emissions impose on others. Because those costs are temporally and geographically very remote from the person generating the emissions, allocating these costs accurately and efficiently is very difficult. It isn’t like you can allocate ownership of a block of atmosphere to a group and give them the right to control emissions in that block.

    Carbon taxes, carbon “cap and trade” schemes and requiring sequestration (for net zero emissions) are the only options I’ve heard of that could address the issue in ways that are remotely consistent with libertarian ideals. The first two are obviously vulnerable to all of the weaknesses of any government solution. I’m not sure how the last one could really work in the real world. I suppose if you required the refinery to sequester the amount of CO2 that would be released if the gas were burned, and sequestered CO2 at all the power plants you’d pretty much have it covered.

    But for me the real deal killer for the whole scheme is the requirement for global adoption. If any countries can cheat they gain a massive advantage in costs and pretty much eliminate the utility of any CO2 reduction scheme.

    Of course, if there’s no problem with CO2 emissions then there’s no need for a scheme to address them. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have a discussion about which schemes work and which don’t. Obviously corn ethanol subsidies and mandates are a pretty crappy way to address the issue – likely making it worse. Other subsidies and mandates are probably not going to increase CO2 emissions, but they likely don’t help too much either (while costing a lot). So discussing cost allocation as a libertarian solution is perfectly appropriate in an environment where you are losing the “there is no CO2 problem” argument in the arena that counts.

  112. #112 |  Deoxy | 

    RobZ:

    Ok, since you haven’t heard of it, I’ll sumamrize the problem with the famous “hockey stick”: if you use the method they did and input a RANDOM dataset, a hockey stick comes out. Every. Time.

    I trust you see the problem now?

  113. #113 |  H. Rearden | 

    Cyto – for the sake of argument, I will concede that CO2 is a pollutant that is a major contributor to global warming. The next questions to ask is what are the damages caused by CO2 emissions? Can they be quantified? Who is harmed by these emissions? Are there economically positive consequences to a warming environment? If so, are those harmed by are efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in a position to argue for compensation?

    I can understand the viewpoint that a Carbon Tax would be a libertarian solution to a tragedy of commons problem. But I think that we would agree (but don’t let me put words into your mouth) that in practice, the administration of a Carbon Tax would be far from libertarian. As mentioned by others, politically connected industries that are large emitters would be given waivers. And for it to be a truly libertarian solution, the revenues of the Carbon Tax would only be used to compensate those who are damaged by the emissions. Of course politicians will argue that ‘society’ is the party damaged by the emissions, therefore any spending on ‘society’ funded through the Carbon Tax is justified. Let the political fun of dividing the spoils begin!

    But, of course, I personally have my doubts that carbon emissions are a significant contributor to global warming, if any significant warming is occurring. IIRC, the current warming rate is 0.1-degree C per decade. What are the damages that could possibly be caused by such warming? Have you, or anyone you know, suffered any adverse affects from this warming? Many claim that extreme weather events are causing significant economic damage, but are these weather events directly related to human CO2 emissions? Are they any stronger of more frequent than previously? Are the increase in the economic costs from damaging storms merely a function of the fact that there’s so much more to destroy than in the past? So many questions…

    I disagree that the ‘there is not CO2 problem’ argument is losing. I think that the tide has turned on that issue.

  114. #114 |  Nick T. | 

    Loved the Ferguson piece, but can we start a new thread perhaps on how he’s wrong about Moneyball being a myth, and how his description of its general idea is way off?

  115. #115 |  yonemoto | 

    Radley – Wouldn’t a cap and auction system be better than a tax? Just a strict cap and auction system, with no credits or anything like that. You cap how much carbon dioxide the US produces. Then you auction it off in monthly lots. There would be a natural decrease in the emissions as firms use up their carbon dioxide allotments with leftovers; but also, you allow environmentally active individuals to put their money where their mouth is and buy up lots and let them “go fallow”. As this pressure drives the cost of emissions up, technology catches up and decreases the per lot cost, in turn allowing activists to buy up more lots. The net progress through technology is toward a decrease in emissions, and the cost of environmental protection is realized (and borne by those who say they care), but with a minimal amount of meddling by the government.

  116. #116 |  RobZ | 

    “Ok, since you haven’t heard of it, I’ll sumamrize the problem with the famous “hockey stick”: if you use the method they did and input a RANDOM dataset, a hockey stick comes out. Every. Time.”

    At this time, I’m not at all sure that that’s true. In fact, I’m leaning towards it being untrue.

    Here’s a relevant quote from Wikipedia:

    “Following the review process, Nature rejected the McIntyre and McKitrick comment; they then put the record of their submitted paper and the referees’ reports up on their web site. This caught the attention of Richard Muller, who had previously supported criticism of the hockey stick paper. On 15 October Muller published his view that the graph was “an artifact of poor mathematics”, summarising the as yet unpublished comment including its claim that the principal components procedure produced hockey stick shapes from random data. He said that the “discovery hit me like a bombshell”.

    Later papers written by climatologists disputed the point.

    After Muller et al attempted to duplicate the work, he wrote “When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn’t know what we’d find. Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that. They managed to avoid bias in their data selection, homogenization and other corrections.”

    The code and data Muller et al used is online. I gave the link to the site earlier. So if you want, you should be able to randomize the data set and run your own experiment.

    I’m not sure Muller’s group actually did anything new. They may have merely done their best to replicate previous studies. In any event, I’m sure they all knew about the claim and they all have academic reputations to protect and I’d be surprised if they didn’t run some tests with random data sets.

    FWIW, Muller’s group has just one climatologist in it. Her name is Judith Curry and it looks to me like she’s at the very least, skeptic friendly.

  117. #117 |  el coronado | 

    “…am leaning towards it being untrue [due to] quote from Wikipedia.”

    LOL. Yeah, that’s some seriously rigorous scientific scientific method ya got workin’ there, good buddy. ‘Cause they _couldn’t_ put it on the internet if it wasn’t *true*, right?

  118. #118 |  Elliot | 

    Cyto (#107): I think it is perfectly consistent with libertarian philosophy to say that people should pay for harm that they cause others.

    Quantify the harm. Prove that your measurements are accurate and not some arbitrary, capricious way to give carpetbaggers a means to suck up government revenue for no good reason.

  119. #119 |  Elliot | 

    Cyto (#107):Carbon taxes, carbon “cap and trade” schemes and requiring sequestration (for net zero emissions) are the only options I’ve heard of that could address the issue in ways that are remotely consistent with libertarian ideals.

    No matter how well-intentioned, how clever, how wise, no tax will ever be “libertarian”. That’s because tax flows from producers to government. Government doesn’t create value, it just consumes (bureaucracy, graft, waste) and redistributes. The (knee)cap industry and strangle free trade scheme is a racket to enrich people like Al Gore, for no other reason than they designed it.

    I’ll be happy to debate the harm. I encourage people to convince others, using reason and facts, to be ecologically conservative. Working out solutions between the interested parties, but adhering to free market rules, makes sense.

    Democracy works against that. Democracy is winner-take-all. If the party in power decides to tax the hell out of the voters for the other side and funnel the money to their utterly corrupt cronies, that’s democracy. Also, people who have no stake in an issue get to butt in and control others, for no other reason than the political machinery allows them to.

    Civilized negotiations, on the other hand, allows only the interested parties to sit down and negotiate (without guns, without diktats) how to settle a dispute.

  120. #120 |  RobZ | 

    The wikipedia article provides evidence that Muller used to be very sympathetic with the skeptics and in particular, that he then found the point Deoxy brought up to be a bombshell. Basically, it demonstrates that Muller didn’t go into the study with a full on bias towards a human caused global warming finding.

    He and some other non-climatologists have done their own study and now he apparently believes that Mann’s original study was largely correct. I’ve looked at his graphs. They are hockey sticks with handles that have extremely large error bars prior to around 1820.

    I’ve not read through the papers they’ve published but given the circumstances, I’m reasonably sure that they ran some tests with some randomized data. The mere fact that they don’t mention confirming McIntyre and McKitrick’s PCA on random data leads to hockey stick shapes, is enough to make me lean the way I’m leaning.

    Are you this skeptical about things the skeptics say?

  121. #121 |  Fluffy | 

    The question of a wealth tax vs. an income tax is actually irrelevant to libertarian thought.

    Libertarians are concerned with what governments spend money on. If the state was limited to national defense, police, and courts, it would be perfectly acceptable to a minarchist libertarian if that state was funded by an income tax.

    Not all taxes are equal, of course. But a wealth tax is actually worse than an income tax, both in the economic incentives it creates, and in terms of plain old justice. If you eliminated the income tax but replaced it with a tax on savings and assets (which is all a wealth tax actually is) that would mean if I made a million a year and spent it all on hookers and blow, I wouldn’t be taxed, but if I saved any of it and used it to invest in future productive ventures, I’d be taxed for my trouble. Sounds fantastic.

  122. #122 |  Burgers Allday | 

    @117:

    Wealth should not be taxed in a stupid manner.

    Having $10,000 under the mattress isn’t bad for the economy.

    Having $10M there is.

    Making capital gains on a penny stock stimulates economic growth.

    Making capital gains on a blue chip stagnates the economy.

    And so on.

    Right now we are focusing on the basics: Tax wealth not income.

    “Burgers say whaaaaat?” ™

  123. #123 |  RobZ | 

    The main reason to do such a thing would be to prevent idiot children from dominating the political landscape after they’ve inherited a boat load. I’m not a big fan of financial dynasties be they Koch or Kennedy.

    But if they all promise, cross their hearts, to blow their inheritance on hookers and blow, I’ll try to be quiet.

  124. #124 |  el coronado | 

    The world needs fewer idiot rich kids, members of the Lucky Sperm Club, dominating the political landscape, to be sure. But to take the cash from them and give it to The State….really really shitty awful bad plan. How many people have the Rothschilds and the Morgans and the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers and Bill Gates and them caused to die? Sure, there must have been some: worked to an early death in a company town; head busted by strikebreakers; ruination and suicide caused by the Fed and the Central Bank Cartels…..but how many? Shall we guess at a million? 2 million? 5 million?

    Now compare that to the number killed by nation-states in the 20th century. You know the usual suspects: Kaiser Bill, Adolf, Vladdy, Joey, Mao and all the rest. What’d they rack up? 80 million dead? 100 million?

    Taxation, especially confiscation of wealth that’s *already been taxed when it was earned*, is theft; and it gets a shitload of innocent people killed. Odd to see “libertarians” enthusiastically espousing state-sponsored theft & murder, but times change, I guess.

  125. #125 |  marie | 

    Libertarians are concerned with ownership. It’s my money. Don’t touch it.

  126. #126 |  Elliot | 

    Robz (#116): Are you this skeptical about things the skeptics say?

    I don’t call CAGW alarmists Holocaust Deniers, make videos of blowing up children who repeat the CAGW propaganda, suggest that they be imprisoned, or simply wave them away and claim that the matter is “settled” and they should be silenced.

    With the media, most politicians, and a virtual monopoly of the peer-review panels already drinking their share of kool-aid, there is no way that anyone could bring political, populist, or professional power to bear to silence the alarmists. They are the “authority” (in the way the Roman Catholic Church was the authority on heliocentric theory).

    I am irritated when I read a poorly-made argument by a self-described skeptic. And, when I see a Republican making a biblical argument or just pulling the Pee Wee Herman tactic of saying “is not is not is not”, that’s a face-palm moment for me.

    If we look at the serious arguments–based upon science and mathematics–I can usually find a whole slew of alarmists attempting to debunk any skeptic’s argument before it shows up on my radar screen. Sometimes, they make good points. Sometimes, their criticisms are weak or fallacious.

    But don’t compare apples to oranges. If you make a prediction of drowning coastal cities in a matter of decades, mega hurricane seasons, dogs and cats living together and insist that the matter is “settled”, that there be no debate, and arrogantly declare that there is a high degree of certainty that the parallel programs you ran on a computer prove it, that’s entirely different than saying, “Wait a minute, your calculations are based upon an assumption of positive feedbacks, but you haven’t made the case.” One begs to be challenged, even ridiculed. The other, to be looked at and considered.

    So, yeah, I am skeptical of anything</em< people write. And, I keep a sane perspective on the scope of each proposition.

    But this is also political, and even if the alarmists' predictions are accurate, the minute they start using the main force of government to trample on the rights of individuals, I do not care. They are the enemy because of their political action. Put down the guns and we can talk.

  127. #127 |  Elliot | 

    Cyto (#107):Obviously corn ethanol subsidies and mandates are a pretty crappy way to address the issue – likely making it worse.

    Even worse: cellulosic ethanol mandates:

    The Environmental Protection Agency has slapped a $6.8 million penalty on oil refiners for not blending cellulosic ethanol into gasoline, jet fuel and other products. These dastardly petroleum mongers are being so intransigent because cellulosic ethanol does not exist. It remains a fantasy fuel. The EPA might as well mandate that Exxon hire Leprechauns.”

    If you call yourself a libertarian and you think it’s a “good idea” to jump in bed with Democrats and add a massive tax, you need your head examined. No matter how much evidence shows that the promised “good idea” turns out to be not only bad, but nightmarishly upside-down and backwards wrong kind of bad, Congress and the EPA will not repeal it.

    In short: Don’t be stupid, Radley!

  128. #128 |  Elliot | 

    Rick H. (#94):I will say that after years of reading his stuff, this carbon tax thing is the first thing I’ve heard from Radley that seems to contradict any fundamental libertarian axioms.

    I’d say it’s about the 20th I’ve noticed

    When one attempts to placate the chattering monkeys in Team Democrat tree or the knuckle-dragging apes among Team Republican, trying to appear broad-minded and “fair”, one often succumbs to acts of stupidity just for the sake of avoiding the appearance of being a “fanatic”, an “extremist”, or an “ideologue”.

    The root of the problem is that such attacks on adherence to principle has made many people who start with good principles to wince, like a battered woman winces when her husband shows signs of anger. If your principles are good and you stick to them, that means you are consistent and of good character, not abandoning what is good for the sake of popularity or safety from criticism. That doesn’t mean, as the strawman usually goes, that one must blindly follow some dogmatic set of rules, never questioning one’s principles. It means that if your principles are good, and you check and recheck that they are good, refusing to budge from them is a good thing, but abandoning them for “pragmatism” is a sign of weak character.

  129. #129 |  Elliot | 

    @yonemoto (#111): See comment 81. Who gets the revenue from this hypothetical auction? Why do they deserve the money?

    I disagree with a long list of premises leading up to the carbon tax, cap-and-trade, carbon auctions, etc.. But, just for the sake of argument, a group of business owners did agree that some element (Beryllium, just to pick something at random) was the cause of devastation and destruction, and they agreed to limit activities producing Be, I’d suggest, rather than using a tax or auction which results in revenue given to government bureaucrats that they, instead, spend the money the would have paid in a tax/auction to purchase some valuable asset and then destroy it (in a manner which doesn’t produce Be, of course). Buy million dollar art and then take a chainsaw to it.

    That way, no politician or bureaubot would benefit nor use the ill gotten loot to do further damage to our rights.

    I am 100% serious, too.

  130. #130 |  Elliot | 

    Fluffy (#117):If you eliminated the income tax but replaced it with a tax on savings and assets (which is all a wealth tax actually is) that would mean if I made a million a year and spent it all on hookers and blow, I wouldn’t be taxed, but if I saved any of it and used it to invest in future productive ventures, I’d be taxed for my trouble. Sounds fantastic.

    I motion that all reference to a “wealth tax” or “tax on wealth” from Burgers, et al. be stricken and replaced with the term “hookers and blow reward system”.

    All those in favor, say, “Aye.”

  131. #131 |  Elliot | 

    el coronado (#120):Now compare that to the number killed by nation-states in the 20th century. You know the usual suspects: Kaiser Bill, Adolf, Vladdy, Joey, Mao and all the rest. What’d they rack up? 80 million dead? 100 million?

    262,000,000 people murdered by government, 1900-1999. [Rummel : 20th Century Democide]

  132. #132 |  Elliot | 

    That’s equivalent to 2.5 attacks the size of 9/11/2001 every damned day for the entire 20th century.

    Drug cartels are about the only non-government entities which have, as yet, shown any real competition to government.

    But, by all means, keep worrying that some trust-fund heir makes money off of blue chips. Better to take away the trust fund and give it to the type of organization which makes mass murder possible.

  133. #133 |  James D | 

    Just thought I’d add this NASA-related article to the file:
    http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-global-warming-alarmism-192334971.html

  134. #134 |  RobZ | 

    The author of that nasa-data-blow… paper seems a bit of an oddball.

    It’s not proof that he’s wrong about this but, take a look at what he has to say about Creationism and Intelligent design:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Spencer_(scientist)#Intelligent_Design

  135. #135 |  el coronado | 

    Rob Z, just stop dicking around and come out and say it: You refuse to believe anything that contradicts the global warming religion because you *just don’t want to* believe it. It’s a hell of a lot more respectable (and honest) a position to take than the horseshit you’re frantically throwing up here to try and muddy the subject.

  136. #136 |  RobZ | 

    I see you’ve mastered the art of putting your hands over your ears and yelling
    “SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!.

    Personally, I try to be skeptical about my own beliefs. You should also give that a try sometime, if you ever happen to feel up to the task.

  137. #137 |  me | 

    I’d like to hear more from Tim Worstall (and Radley for that matter, but I can wait for his article). It seems that most of the commenters–evidently libertarians–who weighed in on the matter think a carbon tax is a bad idea. Care to break a libertarian lance on behalf of us eco-nazi liberty-haters?

  138. #138 |  Doc Merlin | 

    Carbon Dioxide tax, because how else are we going to tax breathing and fire.

  139. #139 |  A Cute Pug | 

    If you eliminated the income tax but replaced it with a tax on savings and assets (which is all a wealth tax actually is) that would mean if I made a million a year and spent it all on hookers and blow, I wouldn’t be taxed, but if I saved any of it and used it to invest in future productive ventures, I’d be taxed for my trouble. Sounds fantastic.

    No, you would invest the money in current productive ventures. The riskier the venture, the lower your wealth tax. The safer the venture the higher the wealth tax. Paradox of thrift, etc., etc.

    “Wait, I think Burgers is RIGHT!” ™

  140. #140 |  Burgers Allday | 

    If you eliminated the income tax but replaced it with a tax on savings and assets (which is all a wealth tax actually is) that would mean if I made a million a year and spent it all on hookers and blow, I wouldn’t be taxed, but if I saved any of it and used it to invest in future productive ventures, I’d be taxed for my trouble. Sounds fantastic.

    No, you would invest the money in current productive ventures. The riskier the venture, the lower your wealth tax. The safer the venture the higher the wealth tax. Paradox of thrift, etc., etc.

    “Wait, I think Burgers is RIGHT!” ™

  141. #141 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    The comments section of a political and general blog like this is a bad place to argue the science of climate. There simply is not enough space to have a worthwhile discussion of avery complex system. I have followed it on other sites and in books and modern climate science adequately explains what is going on now and what has happened in the past. Alternatives have little explanatory power.

    We are in a mess and if we continue on our current path future generations will pay a very high price for our actions. It is the sort of external cost that the market just cannot handle. Collective action through governments is necessary. Unfortunately when told of an external cost that needs government action most libertarians look for reasons to believe that the cost is not real. Their reflexive hostility to government action is so great that they try to avoid doing anything. And in protecting themselves they blind themselves to any harm that their actions bring. They look for reason no matter how flimsy to avoid action. When faced with external costs most libertarians behave dishonestly.

    This is a finite world and waste sinks are finite. We have no reason at all to expect that our actions will not run up against limits. Far too many libertarians want to act as if there were no limits. The way things are going economic libertarianism will be one of the things blamed for the damage. And righly so. The market will be blamed for the consequences of libertarians evasions. Not right but their fault. If you want to protect the free market face up to the consequences of external costs.

  142. #142 |  Meiczyslaw | 

    Radley —

    Only on topic because this is a link post: you know how you were asking, “why are Republicans your natural allies?”

    From Rasmussen: Romney May Be the End of the Line for the Republican Establishment

    The money quote:

    In the nation’s capital, this gap creates bigger problems for Republicans than Democrats. Democratic voters tend to think that their representatives in Congress do a decent job representing them. That’s because Democrats are a bit more comfortable with the idea of government playing a leading role in American society. However, 63 percent of Republican voters believe their representatives in Washington are out of touch with the party base.

    Establishment Republicans in Washington broadly share the Democrats’ view that the government should manage the economy. They may favor a somewhat more pro-business set of policies than their Democratic colleagues, but they still act as if government policy is the starting point for all economic activity.

    Republican voters reject this view. They are more interested in promoting free market competition rather than handing out favors to big business. They detest corporate welfare and government bailouts, even though their party leaders support them.

  143. #143 |  Deoxy | 

    I have followed it on other sites and in books and modern climate science adequately explains what is going on now and what has happened in the past. Alternatives have little explanatory power.

    We are in a mess and if we continue on our current path future generations will pay a very high price for our actions.

    Thank you for applying your great authority on this subject – we were lost without you.

    Certainly, we are all incapable of following “other sites and books”, so we certainly haven’t done so – thank for doing this for us.

    /sarc

    Oddly enough, many OTHER people here have ALSO followed “other sites and books” and found “modern climate science” to be largely made up of complete BS that doesn’t address obvious questions and fails every time it makes any kind of prediction.

    How do you address the complete failure of any “modern climate science” predictions to come anything close to true?

    How many cities were supposed to be swallowed by rising oceans by now? How many dead from famine? How many horrendous hurricane seasons are supposed to have been upon us by now?

    Seriously, just by their tremendous record of failure, we can write them off, but their clearly proven (with publicly available data) lies would be sufficient on their own, too.

    By the way, did you know that antarctic ice is at the highest level ever recorded? Odd that this bit of completely trivial data (that couldn’t possibly be related to global temperatures) is never mentioned… yet somehow, the relatively low level of arctic ice (but not a record low) is vitally important and indicative of global catastrophe!

    Yeah, it’s like that. Do you have an actual argument?

  144. #144 |  Libertarians Pimping Taxes Again - INGunOwners | 

    […] all cannot fly around on the Millennium Falcon, although I am certain they want to tax that too. Some Morning Links | The Agitator __________________ Indiana State Rifle & Pistol […]

  145. #145 |  Elliot | 

    Lloyd Flack (#135):…modern climate science adequately explains what is going on now and what has happened in the past.

    Adequately by what standard? Adequate for whom?

    Sorry, but if you’re going to do the economic equivalent of carpet bombing businesses (e.g., taxing 500 companies in economically hemorrhaging California $1,000,000,000 a year just because) then your definition of “adequate” is not sane.

    Not one bit.

    Alternatives have little explanatory power.

    Here’s an alternative: “We don’t know.” That’s better than the smug, arrogant notion that human beings have the power to raise the oceans of the world in just a couple centuries based upon computer models which have to be continuously tweaked to fit new data.

    We are in a mess and if we continue on our current path future generations will pay a very high price for our actions.

    We are? Show me the proof.

    Collective action through governments is necessary.

    Necessary for whom? For the carpetbagging cronies of politicians who are raking in taxpayer money for fraudulent “green” projects? For the businesses in California who are exiting the state?

    You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet, eh?

    Most of the great evils of history are done with the excuse that government action was “necessary” to solve some alleged crisis. There are mountains of corpses, tens of millions, as testament to that notion.

    Put the damned guns down and use reason and evidence, instead of coercive force.

    Unfortunately when told of an external cost that needs government action most libertarians look for reasons to believe that the cost is not real. Their reflexive hostility to government action is so great that they try to avoid doing anything. And in protecting themselves they blind themselves to any harm that their actions bring. They look for reason no matter how flimsy to avoid action. When faced with external costs most libertarians behave dishonestly.

    Unfortunately, when presented with an emotional appeal to an alleged crisis and told that government action is “needed”, most statists accept any flimsy argument to believe the crisis is real. Their reflexive cowardice at perceived threats to safety is so great that they do everything they can to surrender their (and their neighbors’) liberties to the authorities who promise to “do something” (anything) to protect that safety. And, in attempting to protect their safety, they blind themselves to the massive harm that the actions of governments have brought throughout all of history. They look for reasons, no matter how flimsy, to cede control to government. When faced with a perceived, often manufactured, threat, statists behave delusionally and dishonestly.

    The way things are going economic libertarianism will be one of the things blamed for the damage. And righly so. The market will be blamed for the consequences of libertarians evasions.

    Libertarians are used to being the scapegoats. When the US government is massive, bloated, and there are a zillion taxes and regulations, Democrats still tell the lie that any and all economic problems are the fault of laissez faire policies. They might as well claim that it’s the fault of invisible dragons and unicorns.

    Economic libertarianism doesn’t happen here, except where government is absent–small pockets of bartering, under-the-table work, black markets, etc.. All the back and forth between Team Coke and Team Pepsi is just shuffling the cronies who are benefiting from the collectivist control of the US government.

    Economic libertarianism is not a “system”. It’s not a way to control people. It’s simply allowing people to have mutual, consensual exchanges with one another. In other words: freedom.

    You want to save the polar bears? Convince me with words. Demonstrate by your actions with your own time and effort. Stop leveraging the main force of government to hurt people “for their own good”.

  146. #146 |  RobZ | 

    A short review of the standard climatologist view on the antarctic ice extent may be found at:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/antarctica-gaining-ice-intermediate.htm

  147. #147 |  marie | 

    Wow. Well done, Deoxy and Elliot! Most of the time, I drift away from the climate change discussions because I don’t really care whether the planet is warming or not; I just want the meddlers to leave us alone. Pulling it down to a libertarian viewpoint–bringing it UP to a libertarian viewpoint–clarifies, and will help me the next time someone thinks it will be an fun topic in the breakroom.

  148. #148 |  el coronado | 

    Second that. Those were most elegant eviscerations; and Libertarian-centric eviscerations at that. Nice work, gents.

  149. #149 |  M. Simon | 

    A a carbon tax. Good idea until the gment decides you are polluting the earth by breathing.

    Energy is life. Tax it to death.

  150. #150 |  Classical Values » Energy Is Life | 

    […] Libertarian Radley Balko likes a carbon tax. […]

  151. #151 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    #137 Doeoxy, not a record low for Arctic ice? In what universe? This year extent, area and volume of Arctic sea ice have reached record lows. The important metric that gives us an idea of how likely the ice is to persist is the minimum sea ice volume. This tells us what ice is persisting from year to year. It is less than a quarter of what it was several decades ago. The Arctic Ice Cap is in a death spiral. But you blind yourself to what is happening and its consequences because it might reflect badlly on your ideology. Guess what! The Universe does not care one bit about your ideology or values or about mine. And if you look for interpretations of the evidence that you find ideologically convenient then you will probably misunderstand what is going on. To understand what is happening to the climate you have to ignore your ideological preferences, completely ignore them. You have to recognize integrity and that includes integrity in those who disagree with you. You have to stop looking for reasons to continue believing what you want to continue believing. You have to, sorrowfully and reluctantly, be prepared to place beloved ideologies in front of a steamroller if science or history tell you to.

  152. #152 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @145 – No, your uncritical support of anything companies do means you are very much a huge part of the problem.

    You deny modern science, you deny externalities, you deny the need for any form of control other than corporate, you deny your literally murderous calls, you deny the failure of your neoliberal economics, you deny that your views are Corporatist.

    You expect people to use “words”, when you are starting from a position where you have already rejected evidence and rationality.

    @143 – Well done, you’ve managed to ignore 98% of a profession in favor of shilling for big oil and coal. You ignore the dead, you spit on the people affected, you laugh at those who are dying.

    You write off people as if they’re nothing. Zero-empathy individuals like you are a severe risk to others.

  153. #153 |  Balking at Balko | Daily Pundit | 

    […] Balking at Balko Posted on September 22, 2012 11:30 am by Bill Quick Classical Values » Energy Is Life Libertarian Radley Balko likes a carbon tax. […]

  154. #154 |  el coronado | 

    Couldn’t help but notice, Lloyd, that nowhere in your frantic 20-line “melting polar ice cap danger danger danger!!!” comment….NOwhere in it do you *even once* use the word “Antarctic”.

    Why is that?

  155. #155 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    *153 el coronado, did you compare what is happening. The changes in the Arctic dwarf those in the Antarctic. In the Antarctic, as in the Arctic the relevant figure is not the annual maximum but the annual minimum. And this has not changed much. In the Arctic it has changed enormously. Read this post by a statistician on the matter.

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/poles-apart/

  156. #156 |  Elliot | 

    Leo Wolfeson (#152):No, your uncritical support of anything companies do…

    …is a product of your imagination. The word “anything” is your word and you get to take responsibility for it.

    I’m not the one who chose to levy “carbon” taxes against companies in California, at the level that just 500 companies are fined $1,000,000,000 just because they exist. When the other states don’t do that, when most other nations don’t do that, it’s simply economic suicide for Californians. I have family who want to escape that place because the private sector is bleeding out.

    You deny modern science….

    You’re just flat out lying now. My criticism of the Chicken Little alarmists is that they are rejecting necessary components in the scientific method of inquiry. Namely:

    Skepticism. A good scientist should always look at what his or her colleagues conclude and question it. Challenge it. Test, test, test. Look at alternate explanations. “consensus”, “settled”, and the like are anti-Science. They compel people to not be scientific, to shut the fuck up, and go along with the herd. Or else.
    Reproducibility Any scientific investigation must be repeatable by other researchers–especially by people who have different viewpoints. Hiding data sets, keeping algorithms (including fixed parameters, basic functions, omitted factors) secret, conspiring to use deceptive statistical techniques to “hide the decline”…all of these are the sorts of fraud which ought to cost people their grants, if not their jobs. Certainly, their reputations should suffer for such unscientific tactics.

    As far as the science goes, I agree that the global temperatures have risen since the “little ice age”, increasingly so since the Industrial Revolution. I agree that emissions from human industry have contributed to this global warming. You are being dishonest pretending that skeptics deny AGW, when the debate is actually the degree to which anthropogenic factors influence global temperature, relative to natural factors. It isn’t whether CO2 increases global temperatures, it’s that CO2, alone, has a logarithmic influence on global temperature (tapering off, not linear), so the catastrophic predictions require that positive feedbacks not only outweigh negative feedbacks, but so outpace them to multiply the effect of CO2 many times over.

    The world’s climate has been much hotter and much colder throughout human history, so it’s just plain stupid to assume that once factories were built, natural forces stopped influencing these cycles.

    …you deny externalities…

    I demand evidence. A computer program which runs a simplified model of a vastly complex world is not evidence. It’s conjecture. It’s extrapolation.

    If you have evidence that Acme Widget Co has done harm to the people in a given town, then holding Acme accountable is perfectly within reason.

    You don’t have that here. You have politicized reports and “settled science” and “you’re a Holocaust Denier” type means of shouting down dissenters.

    …you deny the need for any form of control other than corporate…

    A corporation is a government-issued license or charter. It’s not an aspect of free market economics, but lends itself to government cronyism. Big businesses help draft laws, regulations, licensing requirements to hamstring their competition. That sort of influence is inseparable from the big government bureaucracy in place in the US now. Whether you pull for Team Pepsi or Team Coke in the two party system, you get both. Corporations contribute to politicians on both sides.

    When you want to control others, you need to have an ethical justification. Hyping the latest contrived “crisis” to frighten people that they “need” to cede their rights to government power is a recipe for disasters, writ large in the blood of hundreds of millions of victims throughout history.

    …you deny your literally murderous calls…

    Muderous? Governments have literally murdered 262,000,000 people in the past century. You actually have the gall to accuse me, a man who is not demanding to destroy the values that others produced, a man who is not attempting to abridge the rights of others, of wanting to kill others?

    You’re losing it. You’ve become a self-parody: the climate alarmist who tries to shout down dissent by accusing any critics of heinous crimes.

    …you deny the failure of your neoliberal economics…

    Show me where laissez faire free market economics have been allowed by any government, under any party. As with all the other liars, you’re pretending that the government has not been interfering in the economy.

    Furthermore, the notion that a non-system, a lack of a system, which hasn’t been allowed, is the cause of a “failure” begs the question: a failure of what and for whom? The economic fascism of Bush 43 and Obama, rewarding stupid and dishonest decisions by taking money from honest, productive people to bail them out, is simply insanity.

    …you deny that your views are Corporatist.

    Again, a corporation is a government-issued license or charter. It’s not a product of the free market.

    You expect people to use “words”…

    Words instead of guns. Absolutely. It’s morally reprehensible to use aggressive force because you’re too lazy to convince people of the merits of an argument–or, rather, if you know your argument isn’t persuasive and you want to use guns to get what you can’t achieve otherwise.

    Do you think that force is ethically superior to reason?

    …when you are starting from a position where you have already rejected evidence and rationality.

    On the contrary, I’m criticizing the rejection of rationality inherent to your arguments. I’m asking for tangible evidence, not computer simulations.

  157. #157 |  el coronado | 

    Lloyd, Lloyd, Lloyd. I *want* to take seriously your arguments, truly I do….but you’re making it hard, dude. When you offer as documentation & evidence of your position a link to an article that begins with these words….”As most of you are aware, Arctic sea ice has shrunk dramatically over the last several decades, **because of man-made global warming**.”….how is that a cogent argument? Or proof of any kind?

    I betcha I can find an article by a “prominent individual” that starts with these words: “As most of you are aware, Liberty and Individual Rights have deteriorated precipitously over the last century, because women were granted the right to vote.” Or this: “As most of you are aware, the performance/effectiveness of the once-world-class public schools in California has dropped like a freakin’ rock, because of radical left wing teacher unions indoctrinating the students with Marxism and feminism to further their political aims.”

    Would you consider those arguments to be legitimate? No? Why not? I’d be using the same standard as you: a self-proclaimed expert makes a blanket statement and offers nothing to back up his ludicrous claim.

  158. #158 |  Elliot | 

    A lesson in the meaning of words:

    Leon Wolfeson (#152):…you [Elliot] deny your literally murderous calls…

    Leon, the word “literally” means “in actual fact, not metaphorically”. To say my calls are “literally murderous” is to assert that what I have advocated has actually resulted in the premeditated, deliberate killing of human beings.

    Leon Wolfeson (#152):You [Deoxy] ignore the dead, you spit on the people affected, you laugh at those who are dying.

    Once again, a reference to dead people and dying people.

    Leon, name these people. Show how people have already died because of anthropogenic global warming. More precisely, show how those people were murdered by something I advocated. Oh, also, explicate on this “your literally murderous calls” by, first of all, precisely naming which “calls” to which you refer and name some victims of murder.

    You want to accuse me of advocating murder (literally, not metaphorically) and you want to accuse that other guy of laughing and spitting on dead and dying people, you’d better have some actual facts. You being upset because we ridiciule ideas you hold dear is not justification to levy such accusations. That’s like claiming that a visual representation of the murderous, illiterate pedophile “prophet” Mohammed is responsible for killing people, and that the screaming savages killing people over cartoons are not responsible for their savagery.

    Most preciously, you accuse me of literally (actually, not metaphorically) murdering people, but then you mock my call to stop using force, for people to work out problems with words:

    Leon Wolfeson (#152):You expect people to use `words’, when you are starting from a position where you have already rejected evidence and rationality.

    My call to use words, not force, is the Non-Aggression Principle (NPA). In case you’re dense, that’s the ethical principle that one not commit murder and refrain from violence (i.e., use `words’) except in self defense or defense of others.

  159. #159 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    el coronado, did you read and try to understand? The post was about the collapse of the Arctic sea ice. A short article cannot go into every aspect of attribution. The article was more about what has happened rather than why. Those who have been following what is going on will know much of why the sea ice is melting.

    So if it is not global warming why has three quarters of the volume of the year to year core of the Arctic sea ice gone? I suggest you try to explain the science rather than defend an ideology. That is ignore your ideological preferences. The laws of nature do. If you seek reasons why acting in accordance with your ideological preferences will not cause massive environmental damage then sooner or later you will get it wrong. Badly! That time is now.

  160. #160 |  Deoxy | 

    Lloyd:

    Allow me to tell you something you badly need to hear:

    you blind yourself to what is happening and its consequences because it might reflect badlly on your ideology. Guess what! The Universe does not care one bit about your ideology or values or about mine. And if you look for interpretations of the evidence that you find ideologically convenient then you will probably misunderstand what is going on. To understand what is happening to the climate you have to ignore your ideological preferences, completely ignore them. You have to recognize integrity and that includes integrity in those who disagree with you. You have to stop looking for reasons to continue believing what you want to continue believing. You have to, sorrowfully and reluctantly, be prepared to place beloved ideologies in front of a steamroller if science or history tell you to.

    I have done all of that. This is the position I have come to.

    You, clearly, have not. Healer, heal thyself.

  161. #161 |  william wright | 

    Burgers Allday supporting a wealth tax over an income tax. I nominate that as the most economically illiterate statement of the week. Yikes.

    And apparently you’re just generally illiterate.

    The statement has no economic content. It’s a matter of morality or political philosophy.

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