Who Holds Our Debt?

CNS News is reporting today:

Chinese holdings of U.S. Treasury securities are 11.5 percent below their peak level which was attained in November 2013, according to data published by the U.S. Treasury.

U.S. government debt held by entities in the People’s Republic of China peaked at $1,316,700,000,000 in November 2013, according to the Treasury. As of August 2018, according to the latest date released by the Treasury this month, China held $1,165,100,000,000 in U.S. Treasury.

That is a drop of $151,600,000,000 from the November 2013 peak.

We are still carrying way too much national debt, and that will be a more serious problem as the federal reserve raises interest rates. However, although China is holding less of our debt, it is still the the top foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities.

The article concludes:

While China remains the top foreign owner of U.S. government debt—despite its declining holdings—the Federal Reserve still owns far more. As of the end of November, according to the Federal Reserve, it owned $2,324,589,000,000 in U.S. Treasury securities.

China’s $1,165,100,000,000 in U.S. Treasury securities was only 50.1 percent of the Fed’s holdings.

It’s time to cut government spending and get out of debt!

 

 

The Ignored Threat

On October 5, The Daily Signal posted an article about the threat posed to the United States by China.

Vice-President Pence lists four major threats to America from China:

1. Cyber Espionage

…Microchips, about the size of a grain of sand, were inserted into the manufacturing of equipment in China of Super Micro Computer Inc., which is a server supplier for several major companies in the United States.

Investigators determined the chips allowed attackers to create backdoor entry to alter computers. However, Amazon, Apple, Super Micro itself, and the Chinese government all disputed the Bloomberg reporting.

“This is a backdoor into the hardware level in determining personal identification, health care records, and possibly even voting machines,” Dean Cheng, research fellow on Chinese political and security affairs at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

“If the chip story is true, there is something fundamentally wrong with our supply chain,” he added.

Cheng contends these cybersecurity concerns are far weightier than concerns about election interference and spreading propaganda.

2. Election Meddling

…“It’s using wedge issues, like trade tariffs, to advance Beijing’s political influence,” he said.

“When it comes to influencing the midterms, you need only look at Beijing’s tariffs in response to ours,” Pence added. “The tariffs imposed by China to date specifically targeted industries and states that would play an important role in the 2018 election.

“By one estimate, more than 80 percent of U.S. counties targeted by China voted for President Trump and I in 2016. Now, China wants to turn these voters against our administration,” he said.

3. Squeezing US Companies

Pence called out Google for its seeming willingness to work with the Chinese government.

“Google should immediately end development of the ‘Dragonfly’ app that will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers,” he said in his Thursday speech.

Pence also noted that Chinese officials tried to influence business leaders.

“In one recent example, China threatened to deny a business license for a major U.S. corporation if they refused to speak out against our administration’s policies,” Pence said.

4. Military Buildup

…China wants nothing less than to push the United States of America from the Western Pacific and attempt to prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies. But they will fail.

America had hoped that economic liberalization would bring China into a greater partnership with us and with the world.

Instead, China has chosen economic aggression, which has in turn emboldened its growing military.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. We ignore this threat at our own peril.

An Interesting Take On Tariffs

Real Clear Politics posted an article today titled, “Why Trump’s Tariffs Won’t Cost Consumers a Nickel.” I’m not sure I totally agree with that, but the ideas behind the statement were interesting.

The article states:

Critics also contend that President Trump’s tariffs will inevitably lead to higher prices for consumers.  We’ve heard this before. They said aluminum tariffs would spike the cost of a six-pack. But soda and beer prices have remained flat.

Now Walmart has joined the chorus. But we have no more reason to believe officials there than other boys who cried wolf. To understand why, let’s review how tariffs work, and how specifically the president’s tariffs work.

…Tariffs aren’t imposed on the final retail price the way a sales tax is. They are also not imposed on the wholesale price. They are not even imposed on what the importer pays at the dock when the goods enter the U.S.  The duties are imposed on an even lower price than that – and that’s a scandal in itself.

Let’s say Black & Decker wants to sell a line of toaster ovens with a $60 retail price in the U.S.  It goes to a Hong Kong middleman who deals with Chinese manufacturers. The Hong King middleman pays his cousin at a Chinese toaster oven factory $10 for toaster ovens. Black & Decker agrees to pay the Hong Kong middleman $20 for the toaster ovens, and picks them up off the boat in Long Beach, Calif.

Let’s say there’s a 10 percent tariff on toaster ovens from China. (There isn’t.)  The tariff would only be $1 because it’s calculated on what the Hong Kong middleman (says he) paid his cousin at the toaster factory – the first sale — not what Black & Decker pays to take delivery at the port – what’s known in the jargon of the trade world as the last sale. 

As a result of this accounting flim-flam, Hong Kong middlemen and the importers who love them are getting rich while taxpayers are getting hosed for untold billions of dollars the U.S. Treasury is not collecting.

The article concludes with information that shows the wisdom of what President Trump is doing:

And here’s the beauty part, how the tariffs are designed to hurt China: The Trump tariffs target items available from sources outside China.  Buy from a supplier outside China, avoid the tariff.

President Trump’s surgical strike tariffs are sending companies a clear message: Do business anywhere but China.  

And the message is getting through. Companies no longer see China as a safe space.  China needs a continued influx of foreign investment to feed its economic growth, and the president’s trade policy encourages companies to look elsewhere.

This is the reason it is good to have a businessman in the White House instead of a politician.

Why Are All These People In Djibouti?

This is a map showing the location of Djibouti:

Many years ago at a Marine Ball in New Orleans, I sat next to a young officer who had recently returned from Djibouti. I asked him what he had done there, and he responded very politely by telling me everything I wanted to know about Djibouti except what I had asked him. I wondered, but let it go. That was at least twelve years ago, and Djibouti is still an important place to the world’s most powerful nations. One look at its location explains why.

On Friday, the Center for Security Policy posted an article with the title, ” Arms Trafficking on the Rise in Djibouti.” So what is this about?

The article reports:

Attention was brought this week to the growing issue of arms trafficking in the East African nation of Djibouti, which has seen a spike in recent years. Driving the problem is the instability and ongoing conflict in neighboring countries such as Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan. The negative attention comes as Djibouti is trying to establish itself as a developed and economic upstart nation.

…Djibouti’s lack of internal conflicts, its surge of economic investments and its resulting economic growth, have all led to increased stability not present in its neighboring countries.  Driving these positive developments are its access to both the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, resulting in its labeling by some as the “most valuable real estate” in the world.

Another major component of Djibouti’s growth has been the military presence of several major world powers within its border such as the United States, France, China, and Japan. France was the first power to establish a military base there as the former colonial power in the region, although budget constraints will require them to close this in the near future. The United States has a strong military presence in Djibouti as the central location of its African-based operations known as AFRICOM. The only foreign bases of both China and Japan are in Djibouti, and India is looking to build a base there in the coming years. The main interest of these countries in Djibouti is the country’s strategic positioning near the Bab-el-Mandeb strait and the Horn of Africa.

…China has the largest presence in Djibouti, given its large development and business presence, and owns a significant amount of the nation’s debt. To this point, the United States sought reassurance earlier this year by the Djiboutian Foreign Ministry that Djibouti’s relationship to China would not overshadowed their agreement with the United States. Despite these assurances, concern over China’s heavy presence in Djibouti, and its ability to remain a neutral partner, continues to increase.

As Djibouti’s economy and international profile continue to grow, interest in the strategically located African nation will continue to increase from world powers and transnational criminals alike who look to profit from the country’s exponential rise.

Stay tuned. This growing country in one of the most unsettled regions of the world is very strategically located. The military buildup by foreign interests in Djibouti is not accidental.

Consequences Of Not Following The Rules

On May 21, 2017, the Business Insider reported the following:

China killed or imprisoned 18 to 20 CIA sources from 2010 to 2012, hobbling U.S. spying operations in a massive intelligence breach whose origin has not been identified, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

Yesterday I posted an article that included the following:

  • A Chinese-owned company penetrated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server, according to sources briefed on the matter.
  • The company inserted code that forwarded copies of Clinton’s emails to the Chinese company in real time.
  • The Intelligence Community Inspector General warned of the problem, but the FBI subsequently failed to act, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said during a July hearing.

The article at Business Insider stated:

By 2013, U.S. intelligence concluded China’s ability to identify its agents had been curtailed, the newspaper said, and the CIA has been trying to rebuild its spy network there.

Hillary Clinton set up her private server when she took office as Secretary of State in January 2009; she left that position on February 1, 2013.

The Business Insider further reported:

The Chinese killed at least a dozen people providing information to the CIA from 2010 through 2012, dismantling a network that was years in the making, the newspaper reported.

One was shot and killed in front of a government building in China, three officials told the Times, saying that was designed as a message to others about working with Washington.

The breach was considered particularly damaging, with the number of assets lost rivaling those in the Soviet Union and Russia who perished after information passed to Moscow by spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, the report said. Ames was active as a spy in the 1980s and Hanssen from 1979 to 2001.

The CIA declined to comment when asked about the Times report on Saturday.

The Chinese activities began to emerge in 2010, when the American spy agency had been getting high quality information about the Chinese government from sources deep inside the bureaucracy, including Chinese upset by the Beijing government’s corruption, four former officials told the Times.

I think we need some accountability here.

America Is Reducing Its CO2 Emissions

bp Global posted an article recently detailing CO2 emissions for 2017.

The article reports:

Global CO2 emissions from energy in 2017 grew by 1.6%, rebounding from the stagnant volumes during 2014-2016, and faster than the 10-year average of 1.3%.

This is not really a surprise since the worldwide economy improved during 2017. However, the article reports which countries increased emissions and which countries decreased emissions.

The article reports:

Carbon emissions from energy use from the US are the lowest since 1992, the year that the UNFCCC came into existence. The next largest decline was in Ukraine (-10.1%).

The largest increase in carbon emissions in 2017 came from China (1.6%), a reversal from the past three years when the largest increases in emissions came from India. China’s emissions in 2017 were 0.3% higher than the previous peak in 2014. China has had the world’s largest increments in carbon emission every year this century except in four years – 2000 and between 2014-16.

The next highest increment came from India where emissions rose by 4.4%, though lower than its 10-year average (6% p.a.).

Together, China and India accounted for nearly half of the increase in global carbon emissions.EU emissions were also up (1.5%) with just Spain accounting for 44% of the increase in EU emissions. Among other EU members, UK and Denmark reported the lowest carbon emissions in their history.

President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord. It is important to look at the above information in view of that agreement.

According to The New York Times on May 31, 2017:

Under the deal (The Paris Climate Accord), the Obama administration pledged to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 as well as to commit up to $3 billion in aid for poorer countries by 2020. (The United States has delivered $1 billion to date.) China vowed that its emissions would peak around 2030 and that it would get about 20 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources by then. India would continue to reduce its carbon intensity, or CO2 output per unit of economic activity, in line with historical levels.

So under the Paris Climate Accord, the U.S. would cripple its economy and pay money to other countries. China would not really do much before 2030, while America would have to be below 2005 emission levels before 2025. President Trump again withdrew America from an unfair deal, while actually accomplishing the aim of the agreement without crippling the American economy. Meanwhile, China and India, who signed the deal, are increasing their carbon emissions. This is typical of how those who want to weaken America to achieve their goal of one-world government operate. Americans need to understand that America is the biggest obstacle to one-world government, particularly with President Trump in charge.

 

 

Common Sense Is Slowing Arriving In America Regarding The United Nations

Yesterday Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the United States will be withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Some of the current members of the Human Rights Council are Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. The Human Rights Council does not have a history or actually protecting human rights.

The following is from Wikipedia, but still is noteworthy:

Since its creation in 2006—the Council had resolved almost more resolutions condemning Israel than on the rest of the world combined. The 45 resolutions comprised almost half (45.9%) of all country-specific resolutions passed by the Council, not counting those under Agenda Item 10 (countries requiring technical assistance).[1] From 1967 to 1989 the UN Security Council adopted 131 resolutions directly addressing the Arab–Israeli conflict. In early Security Council practice, resolutions did not directly invoke Chapter VII. They made an explicit determination of a threat, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, and ordered an action in accordance with Article 39 or 40. Resolution 54 determined that a threat to peace existed within the meaning of Article 39 of the Charter, reiterated the need for a truce, and ordered a cease-fire pursuant to Article 40 of the Charter. Although the phrase “Acting under Chapter VII” was never mentioned as the basis for the action taken, the chapter’s authority was being used.

One thing to consider when looking at how the United Nations began and where it is now is the creation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in 1969. In 2011, this group was renamed the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation. The original charter of the organization emphasized the goal of “revitalizing Islam’s pioneering role in the world.” The group consists of 57 members, including Sunni and Shia states. Its membership is not limited to Arab states. This group has become a major power bloc in the United Nations and bears much of the responsibility for the anti-democratic turn the United Nations has taken. The United Nations no longer supports freedom–it has become a place where dictators can parade as great leaders while their people are starving or imprisoned.

Leaving the United Nations Human Rights Council is the right thing to do. The next step is to leave the United Nations entirely.

When We Mean Well, But Just Don’t Get It Right

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about recycling. Most American communities have made provisions to recycle items rather than just dump them in the landfill, but evidently things are not always what they seem. China used to take about one third of America’s recycled material, but China has put strict rules on what it will accept–generally refusing most of our recycled material. This has resulted in many recycling companies dumping recyclables into landfills. So all of our sorting efforts are for naught.

The editorial reports:

But this isn’t even the worst of it. As John Tierney explained in an exhaustive analysis of recycling programs, also published by the New York Times, recycling is not only costly, but doesn’t do much to help the environment.

The claim that recycling is essential to avoid running out of landfill space is hogwash, since all the stuff Americans throw away for the next 1,000 years would fit into “one-tenth of 1% of land available for grazing,” Tierney says.

Other environmental benefits, he finds, are negligible, and come at an exceedingly high price. Tierney notes, for example, that washing plastics before recycling them, as is the recommended practice, could end up adding to greenhouse gas emissions. And the extra trucks and processing facilities produce CO2 as well.

Since it costs far more to recycle trash than to bury it, governments are wasting money that could be more effectively spent elsewhere.

We need to find a way to convert waste into energy without pollution. That might be a pipe dream, but it is a worthwhile goal.

 

We May Be Working With The Chinese To Rein In North Korea, But Is China Working With Us?

Yesterday Fox News reported that China has been secretly selling oil to North Korea, despite promising to uphold the United Nations boycott of North Korea.

The article reports:

Satellite images released by the U.S. Department of Treasury appeared to show vessels from both countries illegally trading oil in the West Sea, The Chosun Ilbo reported Tuesday, citing South Korean government sources.

North Korea was barred in September by the United Nations Security Council from importing natural gas and had its crude oil imports capped in response to Kim Jong Un’s nuclear missile program.

China is one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. If it is not willing to uphold the resolutions of the United Nations, why are they a member. It seems as if the United Nations is on a campaign lately to show how totally irrelevant it has become.

 

This Is Probably A Good Idea And Should Be Done Quickly

On Sunday, One America News reported that the Pentagon is considering installing a THAAD system on the West Coast. This is the anti-missile system designed to shoot down incoming missiles.

The article explains:

This comes days after Pyongyang launched a missile it claims is capable of reaching the United States mainland.

South Korea installed the same system in September to protect the nation against possible missile launches from Pyongyang.

This makes sense as a temporary measure. However, it is not a long-term solution. The thing to remember in dealing with North Korea is that any perceived aggression from America will most likely result in a massive attack on South Korea by North Korea. It would be nice to avoid that. China is not really going to help in this situation–they fear being overrun with North Korean refugees. The only real pressure we can put on China is to threaten to arm Japan with nuclear weapons. That will provide a check on China’s quest for increasing power in Southeast Asia, and the threat of that might be enough to cause China to put pressure on North Korea to stop testing nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, it is being reported that the mountain North Korea has been using for its testing has collapsed.

This is a complicated mess left for the Trump Administration by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations. It may take a while to sort it all out. Hopefully, that can be done without waging war.

Going Into Space Before You Totally Understand The Science

The Independent U.K. recently posted an article about the Chinese space station. China launched the Tiangong 1 in 2011 to show their progress in space. Unfortunately their progress was not particularly forward looking.

The article reports:

An out-of-control space laboratory is falling towards the Earth and will crash land soon, experts say.

The Chinese space station is accelerating its fall towards us and will reach the ground in the coming months, Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell told the Guardian. It is decaying quickly and he expects “expect it will come down a few months from now – late 2017 or early 2018”, he told the paper.

The Tiangong 1 station was launched in 2011 as one of the great hopes of the Chinese ambitions in space, and as part of a plan to show itself off as a global superpower. The country’s space agency referred to the station as the “Heavenly Palace” and conducted a range of missions, some of which included astronauts.

Evidently Chinese scientists reported last year that they had lost control of the space station. It is predicted that a large portion of the space station will burn up on reentry and that it is likely to land in the sea, but there are no guarantees.

The article reports:

It’s very difficult to predict where it will fall because engineers have lost control of the capsule and it will be thrown around by the wind as it comes down. Even a slight push from the weather could send it from one continent to the next.

Much of the debris will burn up on its way into Earth’s atmosphere. But chunks as big as 100kg will make their way through and fall from the skies, said McDowell.

Just for the record, 100kg is about 220 pounds. I really would not like anything weighing 220 pounds to fall on either me, my house, my car, my children, or anything or anyone else I know or am related to. I hope it is legal to sue countries who put things in space and lose control of them, because I believe that if anyone is injured in any way by this falling debris, they should collect a serious amount of money from the Chinese government. Meanwhile, if you hear any strange noises coming from the sky in the next six months or so, take cover.

Thank You, Representative Jones

The following was released by Congressman Walter Jones yesterday:

JONES APPLAUDS TRUMP FOR BLOCKING CHINA’S PURCHASE OF U.S. COMPANY

Potential Acquisition Posed Threat to National Security

Sep 18, 2017 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Armed Services

GREENVILLE, NC – Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) is thanking President Donald Trump for blocking the sale of Lattice Semiconductor Corporation to, among others, China Venture Capital Fund Corporation Limited (CVCF).  Lattice Semiconductor is an American company that makes programmable logic chips.  These chips are critical to American military applications, and are also used in industrial settings. CVCF is a Chinese corporation owned by Chinese state-owned entities that manages industrial investments and venture capital.  In blocking the acquisition, President Trump found that the proposed deal posed a national security risk related to “the potential transfer of intellectual property to the foreign acquirer, the Chinese government’s role in supporting this transaction, the importance of semiconductor supply chain integrity to the United States Government, and the use of Lattice products by the United States Government.”

“I would like to thank the president and his administration for standing up for our national security,” said Congressman Jones.  “The American people do not want to see important domestic capabilities, particularly those that are vital to our military, sold into the hands of countries like China.”

After the proposed acquisition was first announced in November, 2016, Congressman Jones and 21 of his House colleagues urged the Obama administration to initiate a formal federal review of the transaction, and to consider blocking it due to the risks it posed to national security.  That review, conducted under the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process outlined in section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, culminated in the President Trump’s September 13th announcement blocking the deal.  It is only the fourth time in the past 27 years that a U.S. president has blocked the acquisition of a U.S. firm by a foreign entity.

Congressman Jones is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.  He has been a long-time champion for trade and industrial policies that put American workers, companies, and strategic interests, first.

A copy of the letter Congressman Jones and his House colleagues sent to then Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, can be found below.

For additional information, please contact Allison Tucker in Congressman Walter Jones’ office at (202) 225-3415 or Allison.tucker@mail.house.gov.

Thank you, Congressman, for helping keep America safe.

The Logic Behind This Escapes Me

The BBC is reporting today that South Korea has halted the deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles while the government examines the environmental impact of the missiles.

The article reports:

Four recently arrived launchers will not be deployed, an official said. Two already installed will stay in place.

Thaad aims to protect South Korea from the North’s missiles, and has been criticised at home and by China.

…Many South Koreans have objected to Thaad, believing it will become a target and endanger the lives of those who live near its launch sites.

China has also voiced opposition to the system, saying it affects the regional security balance.

Yes, the THAAD system does affect the regional security balance–it allows South Korea the possibility of defending itself against North Korea’s growing nuclear missile program. Yes, there is a danger of the launch sites becoming targets, but this is a defensive missile–not an offensive missile. The only reason to target its launch site is to take out the ability of South Korea to defend itself against nuclear attack.

Has anyone considered the environmental impact of a North Korean launched nuclear missile that South Korea has no defense against? This is just nuts.

The Spin Numbers Just Don’t Add Up

Yesterday The Chicago Tribune posted an article that seems to correct some of the charges made against President Trump about the cost of his travels to Florida. President Trump has visited Mar-a-Lago six times since he took office. I would like to note that he is not paying rent while he is there–he owns the place. As for arguments that the Secret Service is paying rent, I don’t know, but I do know the Secret Service paid rent to Joe Biden when they stayed on his property, so that is not anything new.

At any rate, the article reports:

With President Donald Trump making his seventh presidential trip this weekend to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, government watchdogs and Democrats are once again seeing dollar signs: namely, $3 million.

There are a few problems with the way this figure was reached. It was based on a trip President Obama made in 2013 to Palm Beach:

…Another problem with extrapolating from the October 2016 GAO report is that it included a leg from Washington to Chicago, where Obama gave an economic speech before heading to Palm Beach for a long weekend of golf.

Obama was only in Chicago for a few hours, but costs pile up because each destination triggers the need for the Secret Service to prepare and protect the site and the Defense Department to move the equipment involved.

Another significant cost-driver, GAO noted, is the per-hour cost of military aircraft, such as the president’s plane, Air Force One. So it’s not just a matter of slicing off a few hundred thousand dollars to come up with the $3 million estimate.

“If you take out Chicago, that just means the equipment is going to have to come from other bases,” Lepore said. Sometimes that means more money, sometimes less.

Judicial Watch arrives at its $1 million figure by estimating flight time and typical Secret Service costs, leaving out airlifting equipment such as the presidential limousines. Those costs also aren’t fully included in Judicial Watch’s $96 million total for Obama.

I would like to note that President Trump has been doing business while in Mar-a-Lago. Certainly it is an impressive place to meet with foreign leaders. I also wonder if it has less of a change of electronic surveillance than meetings in the White House. Considering all that we have learned about the surveillance of the Trump team, that might be a valid consideration.

The Law of the Sea Treaty in Action

In June 12, I posted a letter from a group of retired senior military leaders stating their reasons for opposing The Law of the Sea Treaty.  The letter lists in detail their reasons for opposing the treaty. The treaty was not ratified. Recent events illustrate the wisdom of not ratifying the treaty.

Today The Center for Security Policy posted a small article about the actual usefulness of the treaty.

This is the article:

The International Arbitration Tribunal of the Law of the Sea Treaty has just ruled that one of LOST’s member states, Communist China, has violated the rights of another, the Philippines. Beijing was found to have no valid claim to the South China Sea, despite its manufacturing and arming of islands throughout the region.

The Chinese have imperiously rejected the ruling and are now in a position forcibly to resist any effort to enforce it.

As I and other critics of the Law of the Sea Treaty have long argued, its restrictions only apply to law-abiding nations. Were the U.S. to join, it would impose real burdens on us. But it cannot on countries like China that routinely breach their treaty obligations.

The stage is being inexorably set for conflict in the Western Pacific. China is preparing for it. And so must we.

We have been warned. Are we paying attention?

Committing Economic Suicide Over Questionable Science

The Daily Caller posted an article today about the cost of President Obama’s Paris Global Warming Treaty.

The article reports:

The United Nations Paris agreement to stop dangerous global warming could cost $12.1 trillion over the next 25 years, according to calculations performed by environmental activists.

“The required expenditure averages about $484 billion a year over the period,”calculated Bloomberg New Energy Finance with the assistance of the environmentalist nonprofit Ceres.

The article goes on to explain:

Despite relatively high levels of taxpayer support, in 2014 solar and wind power accounted for only 0.4 and 4.4 percent of electricity generated in the U.S., respectively, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Ironically, solar and wind power have not done much to reduce America’s carbon dioxide emissions. Studies show solar power is responsible for one percent of the decline in U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions, while natural gas is responsible for almost 20 percent. For every ton of carbon dioxide cut by solar power, hydraulic fracturing for natural gas cut 13 tons.

It might be common sense to forget about solar and wind until the technology improves and focus on fracking since that is already getting results.

Meanwhile, in its weekly energy summary, wattsupwiththat reports:

One of the most dramatic statements made by the IPCC appeared in its Fourth Assessment Report (AR-4, 2007) which claimed the glaciers in the Himalaya Mountains will disappear by 2035, depriving hundreds of millions of people their primary source of water, the rivers the run off the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau.

Alarmed, the government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests had its glacial expert, Mr. V.K. Raina, Executive Director General of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) prepare a report based on decades of on-the-ground observations. Fear of the possible melting of the glaciers has been expressed for about 100 years resulting in scientific efforts to recognize and examine the fluctuations at the front-snout of glaciers, starting in the early part of the 20th century, although some studies go back 150 years.

Overall, there is a net decrease in mass balance in the 20th century, though some glaciers are increasing in mass balance. This net decrease in mass balance is within the boundaries of prior interglacial warm periods over the last two million years, the period identified as the Pleistocene (major ice age). According to the report, some glaciologists believe that there may have been as many as 21 glacial cycles during this period.

In short, the net decrease in mass balance appears to be part of a natural cycle, not human caused global warming. Of course, the advance and retreat of Himalayan glaciers need to be monitored, but there is no indication that they will vanish by 2035.

There is no reason for so-called climate experts to take control of the world’s economy in the name of protecting us from global warming. The planet goes through cycles. The planet has always gone through cycles. We are now able to measure and track those cycles. If the numbers were not tampered with, we would find out that the world is not coming to an end due to global warming. As usual, follow the money. If you have not followed the escapades of the global warming people from the beginning, I suggest you begin your research at wattsupwiththat. That is one of the most reliable sources of climate information on the internet.

Strange Priorities

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line about the upcoming visit to America by the Pope. President Obama will be welcoming the Pope and has made some interesting choices as to who his guests for the occasion will be. These guests include transgender activists, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, and a nun who criticizes church policies on abortion and euthanasia. I would consider the current Pope someone who leans to the liberal side of things, but this is definitely not a tactful move on the part of President Obama.

On Friday, The Washington Post commented:

What struck us as we read about this small controversy is the contrast between the administration’s apparent decision to risk a bit of rudeness in the case of the pope and its overwhelming deference to foreign dictators when similar issues arise. When Secretary of State John F. Kerry traveled to Havana to reopen the U.S. Embassy recently, he painstakingly excluded from the guest list any democrat, dissident or member of civil society who might offend the Castro brothers.

And when Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to the White House next week, shortly after the pope leaves town, it’s a safe bet that he won’t have to risk being photographed with anyone of whom he disapproves. Chen Guangcheng, the courageous blind lawyer, for example, lives nearby in exile, but he probably won’t be at the state dinner. Neither will Falun Gong activists, democracy advocates or anyone else who might, well, give offense.

That is truly sad. You would think that basic manners would prevent this sort of behavior. We really need to think about the character of the people we elect to the Presidency. I truly think this is a character issue. A religious leader certain deserves at least as much respect as a ruthless dictator.

Making Another Bad Deal

The U.K. Mail Online is reporting that President Obama has struck a deal with China.

The article reports:

U.S. President Barack Obama today struck a landmark deal with China that would see both countries significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions over the next three decades.

Under the agreement, America pledged to cut between 26 and 28 per cent of the level of its carbon emissions set in 2005 by 2025 as part of the global fight against climate change.

But Chinese President Xi Jinping simply said he would aim to cap his country’s emissions by 2030 – still an unprecedented move by a nation that has been reluctant to box itself in on global warming.

So President Obama is willingly going to cripple the American economy while China continues to pollute and grow its economy. Wow! What a deal!

The article further reports:

The U.S.’s target to reduce its emissions of heat-trapping gases by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025 is a sharp increase from Obama’s earlier vow to cut emissions by 17 percent by 2020.

However, China, whose emissions are still growing as it builds new coal plants, did not commit to cut emissions by a specific amount.

As the Daily Caller reported in January 2014:

“As coal-fired power plants are set to retire and EPA uses every regulatory trick in the book to make sure no new plants are built, we are going to see increased uncertainty in energy prices, reliability, capacity and reserves,” Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an emailed statement.

This news comes as China approved 100 million metric tons of new coal production capacity in 2013, despite air widespread air pollution concerns in the country. This is part of the Chinese government’s plan to bring 860 million metric tons of coal production online by 2015 — more than the entire annual coal output of India.

“By requiring CCS, EPA is placing a de facto ban on the construction of new coal-fueled power plants, handing over leadership of the development of CCS, and an estimated $1 trillion in economic benefits, to countries like China,” said Laura Sheehan, spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Even if America stopped burning coal, the impact on the global environment would be minimal if China continued to build coal plants at its present rate. Note that China has made no promises to actually stop what it is doing. This is a bad deal and hopefully the lame-duck Senate will not approve it.

The Practical Side Of Economic Policy

I hate to admit this, but I think economics is boring. I understand the basics, but after that I get lost. Yet economics and economic policy have a lot to do with how successful all of us are and how successful the country is. Right now America is not in good economic shape, and economic policies have a lot to do with that fact.

Fox News posted an article on Friday by Peter Morici entitled, “Why I can’t be both an economist and a liberal.” Mr. Morici goes into detail about the effects of some of the economic policies coming out of the Obama Administration.

The article cites an example of the consequences of one Administration policy:

The Congressional Budget Office estimates raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as President Obama proposes, would eliminate 500,000 to 1,000,000 jobs. Businesses will be forced to raise prices, lose customers and lay off employees. Fast food restaurants will begin to use more machines and we’ll see something similar to automated checkout devices at drug stores and supermarkets.

Past increases in the federal minimum wage did not have large impacts on employment, because those were in line with inflation, and businesses adopted strategies expecting such periodic adjustments. The minimum wage was last reset in 2009 and we knew that raising it one dollar to $8.25 to preserve purchasing power would not cost many jobs.

Jumping it up to $10.10 an hour, however, would fundamentally redefine the tradeoffs businesses face regarding unskilled labor and automation. The workers left standing would have more spending power but overall, increasing unemployment by at least 500,000 would take a bite out of GDP and growth from an already anemic economic recovery.

Meanwhile, the Democrats criticize the Republicans for not being willing to raise the minimum raise. Common sense and cause and effect are not mentioned.

The article also mentions the idea that if America would cut its CO2 emissions to curb global warming, China would follow suit.

The article points out:

Liberals argue that by setting a good example the United States can bring China along.

Nonsense! American diplomats have not been able to get Beijing to respond on its undervalued currency or protectionism generally, abandon the use of force to settle territorial disputes in the China seas, or anything else the Chinese Communist Party sees as impairing economic growth or its quest to wrest leadership from the United States on global economic and security issues.

It’s time for those in leadership in America to begin putting the good of the country above the good of their political party or worse, the desire to stay in power. We have created a political class–something never intended by the founders of this country. It is time to limit terms of Senators and Representatives and return to government by the people. A Congressional term should not be a ticket to lifelong wealth.

I Think Someone Moved The Goalposts

Yesterday’s Washington Post reported that as the latest talks with Iran began yesterday Iran pledged to never dismantle any equipment or facilities other countries believe could be used for the manufacture of atomic weapons. I may have missed something, but I thought the sanctions were lifted because Iran said it would discontinue its nuclear program.

On February 14th, the Washington Times reported that Iran was going to receive more than $20 billion in sanctions relief under the agreement reached. What in the world did Iran agree to do in return? Has Iran still agreed to it? It really doesn’t sound as if we got anything in return for lifting the sanctions.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted a story today about the negotiations. He comments:

The latest round of negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program began yesterday. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi stated what has always been clear: “Dismantling [the] nuclear program is not on the agenda.”

What, then, is? As the Washington Post reports, the West seeks only “to prevent Iran from quickly converting its nuclear program to weapons production or from hiding a parallel program.” (emphasis added) This probably means “a demand that advanced centrifuges for enriching uranium be destroyed or mothballed, and that Iran make changes to a nuclear facility under construction so it cannot produce plutonium.”

Will Iran agree to this limited package? Not likely. As the Washington Post puts it, “Iran has signaled that it would oppose any such curbs.” And a senior U.S. official acknowledged that “we have a very long way to go.”

At some point, the Obama Administration is going to have to realize that the only way Iran will ever give up its nuclear ambitions is if the west imposes crippling sanctions. Even if that were to happen, I doubt that Russia and China would honor those sanctions, so we would be right back where we started. However, the sanctions that were just lifted in the first round of negotiations were what brought Iran to the bargaining table. We need to put them back in place until the negotiations are done.

Negotiating with Iran does not make the world safer–it makes the world more dangerous. The Iranians are simply stalling for time as their nuclear program progresses. It will be necessary at some point before Iran goes nuclear for someone to take out its nuclear facilities. America will probably not do that–Israel will probably do it without asking America. That will result in mass destruction in the Middle East. Iran needs to be stopped before it goes nuclear–that will help preserve peace in the Middle East if peace is at all possible.

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What Kind Of People Are We Dealing With?

Reuters is now claiming that the story below is not true. It may or may not be, but it is worrisome that the world community’s opinion of Kim Jong Un is such that the story was believed.

Last week a Singapore Newspaper reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un executed his uncle Jang Song Thaek, the No. 2 man in North Korea, by throwing him and his five top aides into a cage with 120 starving dogs. That is barbaric.

Aside from that, the execution is a problem for relations between North Korea and China.

The article reports:

First, China’s own security is at risk. The erratic and ruthless behaviour of Mr Kim Jong Un suggests that China should not underrate the likelihood of a nuclear threat from Pyongyang.

The Internet version of the Global Times carried an article last Monday by Lieutenant-General Wang Hongguang, former deputy commander of Nanjing Greater Military Region, saying that the recent incident showed North Korea had become increasingly provocative and was getting out of (Chinese) control. He urged a complete reassessment of security threats originating from that direction.

Second, China’s political and strategic influence on the Korean peninsula has been drastically reduced. China was widely considered to be able to rein in the unruly Kim regime, thus acting as a force for peace in the region. But it now appears China’s influence over its neighbour is close to zero.

China needs to learn an important lesson from this–when you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas!

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Something All Women Need To Be Aware Of

There have been studies in the past showing a link between abortion and breast cancer. Generally those studies have not been reported in the media or have been played down in the academic community. Recently a study that was done in China has come to light that reinforces the conclusions of previous studies.

The American Thinker posted an article today about a new study from China published last week by Yubei Huang and colleagues.

The American Thinker article reports the results of the study:

The article, a meta-analysis pooling 36 studies from 14 provinces in China, showed that abortion increased the risk of breast cancer by 44% with one abortion, and 76% and 89% with two and three abortions.

This new article is another example of the recent excellent scholarship on abortion in peer-reviewed journals coming out of the People’s Republic. There is no bigger data base than China, where there are an average of 8.2 million pregnancy terminations every year, and 40 abortions for every 100 live births. Chinese researchers and physicians are unencumbered by abortion politics, and do not cover up data showing long term effects of induced abortion, as do their US counterparts in governmental, professional and consumer organizations.

This is scary information.

The article describes how studies on the link between abortion and breast cancer have been handled in America:

Huang’s study shows an even stronger increase than the 30% higher risk found in the 1996 meta-analysis by Joel Brind and colleagues on abortion as an independent risk factor for breast cancer. The Brind meta-analysis, combining the results of 23 studies, gave a more complete view than any single study. But even though it was the most comprehensive study on the topic at the time, it was disregarded by establishment medical groups.

 Brind, a professor of biology and endocrinology at Baruch College, is not unique in having experienced censorship of his findings for the past two decades, including at the notorious National Cancer Institute (NCI) workshop on “Early reproductive events and breast cancer” in 2003.  This important workshop was manipulated by its chairperson NCI epidemiologist Louise Brinton to suppress critical information on the abortion-breast cancer (ABC) link. The main speaker on abortion and breast cancer, Leslie Bernstein, who  had never published on this topic, openly said “I would never be a proponent of going around and telling them (women) that having babies is the way to reduce your risk,” even though it has been an established fact, conceded by abortion proponents that this is true.

The abortion industry has become big business. Until recently it was generally not regulated the way that other medical procedures are regulated. Recently some states have passed laws to ensure that if something goes wrong during an abortion, a woman will be quickly taken to a hospital and helped. That has not always been the case. As these laws have been passed to ensure a woman’s safety during an abortion and afterward, the abortion industry  has fought the laws. Abortion is not about women’s health–it is about making  money for a small group of people involved in the industry. Because of that fact, much of the information women need to make an informed decision about abortion is being withheld from them. The way that the studies showing the link between abortion and breast cancer have been handled is an illustration of that fact.

 

After I posted the above article, I received the following note from a friend:

Regarding abortion and breast cancer I know this to be true from my
past job as a programmer in Epidemiology. We had looked at these
trends in the late 1990's but by 2002 we didn't even 'go there'
anymore. Too political of a hot bed to touch even though the
researchers I worked with were aware of it. Thank you China on this
one.
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China’s One-Child Policy And “Bare Branches”

The American Thinker posted an article today about the end of China’s one-child policy. The new child policy will allow parents to have two children if one of the parents is an only child.

The article reports:

Although there were a number of exemptions to the one-child policy, Chinese population growth was cut by 200 million as the birthrate dropped from 4.77 children per female in the 1970s to just 1.58 in 2012. But the strategy also resulted in massive female infanticide and now a ticking time bomb from millions of unwedded young men threatens to ignite revolutionary violence.

When parents began killing female babies, the population of male babies increased disproportionally, and the ability of many young men to find wives decreased markedly. The article reports that for the young in China, the ratio is 117 men for every 100 women.

The article further reports:

Unfortunately, China has a bad history when it comes to lack of eligible wives. Two horrendous floods and a subsequent famine devastated northeastern China in the mid-19th century. According to political scientists Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer, female infanticide was so rampant during the famine that about 25% of young men in the region were “bare branches” as the Chinese call it — unlikely to ever bear fruit in the form of children. With no hope of families, the bare branches rebelled and formed into huge bands of young male outlaws known as “nien” that wreaked havoc on the Chinese economy. The Nien Rebellion contributed to civil war and the end of the Qing Dynasty.

Obviously the current rulers of China do not want anything even remotely like this to happen again.

The article concludes:

Relaxing the one-child policy may ultimately assist in rebalancing the Chinese economy towards domestic consumption, since younger people tend to spend a higher share of their income than older people. But benefits from the change in the one-child policy will take decades to have much impact on China’s demographics. During the interim, the millions of “bare branches” are going to grow in number, and also grow in anger.

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It Never Really Was About The Environment

Global warming is not proven science. There are actually a very few things that are proven science. Almost every time one man declares that something is proven science, another man comes along with a different theory that also works. About the only thing we can actually count on as proven science is gravity. After that it gets a little sketchy.

On Wednesday the Daily Caller posted an article about the current United Nations climate talks.

The article reports:

The G77 and China bloc led 132 poor countries in a walk out during talks about “loss and damage” compensation for the consequences of global warming that countries cannot adapt to, like Typhoon Haiyan. The countries that left claim to have the support of other coalitions of poor nations, including the Least Developed Countries, the Alliance of Small Island States and the Africa Group.

We need to remember that poor nations are not poor because of global warming. When you look at the profiles of poor nations and rich nations, generally speaking richer nations embrace such things are private property rights, free enterprise, and a tax system that allows individuals to prosper. Many of the poorer countries that are demanding money in this deal are dictatorships where the money will simply line the pockets and improve the lifestyles of the leaders, but will never reach the people of the country.

Blackmailing successful countries in no way helps the average citizens of poorer countries–it only increases the power and wealth of their tyrannical leaders.

The article further reports:

“The carbon tax is bad for the economy and it doesn’t do any good for the environment,” (Australian) Prime Minister Tony Abbott told The Washington Post. “Despite a carbon tax of $37 a ton by 2020, Australia’s domestic emissions were going up, not down. The carbon tax was basically socialism masquerading as environmentalism, and that’s why it’s going to get abolished.”

Making richer countries poorer does not make poorer countries richer–it just empowers people who do not promote freedom.

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The Problems With Electing Rodney Dangerfield To The American Presidency

In case you are under the age of forty, Rodney Dangerfield was a comedian whose tag line was, “I don’t get no respect!” Unfortunately, we seem to have elected a President who has the same problem.

“One of the things I intend to do as president is to restore America’s standing in the world. We are less respected now than we were eight years ago even four years ago.” That statement was made by President Obama in his first 2008 presidential debate. The problem with this statement is a lack of understanding of the fact that it would be good to be feared as well as respected. Sometimes respect is rooted in fear.

Today’s Wall Street Journal (no link–subscribers only) included an editorial entitled, “Portrait in Respect.” The editorial related to the problems the Obama Administration has had in trying to bring Edward Snowden back to the United States. Hong Kong said they could not return Mr. Snowden because of a technical glitch in the extradition request. Several news sources reported that Hong Kong was under pressure from China not to return Mr. Snowden. Since then, Mr. Snowden has fled to Russia, where the Russians have said that they will not send him back to America. Meanwhile it is a safe bet that the FSB (the new KGB) is downloading information from the four computers Mr. Snowden is traveling with.

Somehow I don’t think America has achieved the respect that was promised in the 2008 Presidential debate.

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