Special Report

Brass Balls and Climate Change

The regime's final pivot into permanent cynicism.

By 5.8.14

WhiteHouse.gov
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If there’s one thing that you have to give the Obama administration credit for, it’s large brass cojones. There’s absolutely nothing they won’t say with a straight face, or do without fear of real punishment — because, after all, with a supine media and an over-cautious House Republican leadership, who is left to punish a president who will never run for elected office again and doesn’t care whether his fellow Democrats keep their jobs?

While Republicans fitfully pursue contempt against Lois Lerner and form a select committee to dig into the Benghazi cover-up, the “mainstream” media pretend none of it is happening; following Speaker of the House John Boehner’s announcement of the new Benghazi investigation, none of the three primetime “broadcast” news programs even mentioned it. As Charles Krauthammer put it regarding Benghazi — but it applies to the IRS scandal and almost every other Obama administration failing and scandal — “The point is that Republicans have done a terrible job in building the case.”

Sure, we’re treated to the sound of ABC’s Jonathan Karl aggressively questioning White House Press Secretary Jay Carney — all but calling him a liar (which he most certainly is) — but what does it matter if Karl’s bosses don’t care?

Initial news of the Ben Rhodes e-mail that finally pushed John Boehner to act received 46 seconds of coverage by ABC News. As Newsbusters put it, “they gave twice that amount of coverage to the U.S. Olympic speedskating suits.” ABC’s deep dive is nevertheless commendable compared to the zero seconds of coverage at NBC and CBS. But then, Jay Carney assured us that the Ben Rhodes e-mail instructing Susan Rice to talk about a video as the source of Middle East “protests” was “not about Benghazi.” So that settles it, right?

In addition to having on staff the most accomplished scoundrels since Enron and the most proficient word-twisters since Bill Clinton’s “that depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is,” this administration’s other consistent predilection is trying to change the subject when things aren’t going their way. They are constantly “pivoting,” as in “pivot to jobs” (how many times have you heard that one?) or “pivot to the economy” or “pivot to Asia,” each of which now gets a smirk of “Seriously? Again?” even from such liberal bastions as Foreign Policy magazine and the aforementioned ABC News.

With the president facing his lowest approval ratings ever despite his victory lap for having coerced over 8 million people (although that number is likely also a lie) to sign up for expensive health insurance with high deductibles and despite the media’s complicity in trying to portray forcing two million young adults to subsidize their grandparents’ healthcare as “success,” it’s time for another pivot.

So right on schedule, this week we get the National Climate Assessment, a U.S.-version of the United Nations’ regular fear-mongering IPCC report, full of misdirection, hype, and the occasional outright lie. A glance at the organizations behind the report, including NOAA, NASA, and the EPA, points not just to the “300 experts” and the “60-member Federal Advisory Committee” behind this travesty of a document but to thousands of other government employees and grant money recipients whose meal ticket is dependent on scaring Americans into believing we’re all about to die of some combination of rising sea levels, hurricanes, and shorter winters created by the increase in atmospheric plant food known as carbon dioxide.

At the beginning of the report’s “highlights,” a very dramatic picture is shown of an iceberg shearing off from a glacier, creating a giant spray of water and frost, with a caption that says, “The ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica are losing mass, adding to global sea level rise.”

Greenland is a favorite subject for climate alarmists because its ice sheet has been losing mass for a couple of decades. (They seem to forget that the Vikings settled on a verdant Greenland beginning a millennium ago, leaving about 500 years later just before the Little Ice Age.) Antarctica, pace the report’s distortions, has been gaining mass for at least as long. The dirty little secret: Antarctica’s ice mass is 9 times that of Greenland. And Antarctica by itself holds roughly 90 percent of the world’s sea ice.

To disguise the fact that the huge ice sheet is gaining mass while the (relatively) small one is losing mass, the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC), demonstrating the many grains of salt with which to swallow the current Assessment, says, “Together, the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets contain more than 99 percent of the freshwater ice on Earth.” Right. And together, blacks and Asians make up 79 percent of players in the NBA.

There’s a reason that Mark Twain (apparently quoting Benjamin Disraeli) said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Earlier this year, data showed that “Antarctic sea ice extent continues to track very high in January, reaching the second-highest monthly extent in the 36-year satellite monitoring record. New monthly extent records were set for each month between August and November, and December was tied for the record (within the limits of the precision).” Again, this is the place that holds about 90 percent of the world’s sea ice.

But the alarmist NSIDC, channeling Twain by using a questionable 2012 study that purports to show Antarctica losing ice mass for the two decades from 1992 through 2011 despite reams of data showing the opposite, says that the combined melting of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica accounted for a sea level rise of — wait for it — 11 millimeters since 1992.

The University of Colorado is currently predicting faster increases of just over 3 millimeters per year, but even that equates to a foot higher sea levels in a century. This may be a problem in utterly dysfunctional low-lying countries like Bangladesh and a few Pacific islands (sea level changes there have been modest in recent years), but the idea that the United States should commit economic suicide by massively raising the price of energy in order to combat this “problem” is preposterous.

Another example of scientific malpractice from the new Assessment: Regarding “Arctic sea ice decline” the report states that “the extent of sea ice had dropped to 1.32 million square miles at the end of summer 2012. The dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice increases warming and has many other impacts on the region.” Perhaps the “scientists” writing the report just weren’t very good with numbers and forgot that there is actually a year in between 2012 and 2014. And in that year (2013 for those of you who are similarly mathematically disinclined) summer sea ice extent was approximately 50 percent greater than the cherry-picked 2012 and at about the average level for the prior decade.

The Assessment features a chart correlating atmospheric CO2 concentrations with global temperatures. But over the long-term CO2 concentration also correlates highly with GDP growth, global reductions in poverty and starvation, and increased life expectancy. In other words, humans have produced more carbon dioxide as they have gone from the Stone Age to the modern age. If the cost of doubling life expectancy and giving an ordinary American a quality of life and health that previous aristocracy could not even have imagined is adding some colorless odorless non-toxic gas to the air in quantities that have to be measured in parts per million, that has to be the best trade in human history.

But don’t tell that to the Obama administration or their compliant friends in the media, for whom human progress is somewhere between overrated and sinful if it impinges on the purity of Gaia. More plant food means a greener planet. If the planet does warm modestly, it will just as likely be a net positive for humanity as a net negative. And humans are remarkably adaptable to change. But when it comes to using energy to better our lives, we must be stopped.

And so following the release of the new climate assessment, the very same news organizations that can barely say the words “Lois Lerner” or “Benghazi” are pummeling the public with multiple fear-mongering headlines:

If the public policy aspects of “doing something” weren’t so dangerous — cap and trade would make Obamacare look like a good idea — one would be tempted to laugh at the many headlines, including from the New York Times, proclaiming that the climate “has already changed.” Wouldn’t the real shocker be if it hadn’t?

Sure, reporters are often doe-eyed liberals eager to believe the worst about humanity, capitalism, and anything that makes ordinary Americans happier — like living longer, more comfortable lives. They don’t care that there is no demonstrated link between “climate change” and the extreme weather that the president is now taking pains to worry us about. They don’t recognize how blatantly mindless and cult-like their pronouncements are. They don’t know or care about scientific facts or the torturing of data.

Instead, just as not covering Benghazi and the IRS is intended to give political cover to the administration, the point of the tsunami of climate hyperbole washing over the heads of Americans — who poll after poll show are not particularly interested in the issue — is to drown us in fear and confusion as the president, on a “personal” anti-energy jihad, uses executive agencies to attack oil and coal, and along with them the entire productive sector of our economy. So much for pivoting to jobs.

White House Senior Advisor John Podesta, himself a long-time opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, was brought in late last year to help President Obama’s sinking credibility. In that aspect, he is clearly not succeeding. And therefore, in true Obama administration style, it’s time to attack.

On Tuesday, Podesta told reporters that efforts by Republicans to push back against this administration’s “war on coal” and obsession with climate “have zero percent chance of working.” The president will push ahead with regulations that will cost the American economy trillions of dollars and millions of jobs while producing little or no impact on climate. The only beneficiaries will be radical environmentalist groups, bureaucrats, and soul-selling “scientists” who have demonstrated a willingness to say anything to get their next check from an anti-capitalist benefactor.

As for honest scientists, they recognize the new “Assessment” as the worthless propaganda that it is. Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, writes, “My main conclusion from reading the report is this: the phrase ‘climate change’ is now officially meaningless. The report effectively implies that there is no climate change other than what is caused by humans, and that extreme weather events are equivalent to climate change…While there is some useful analysis in the report, it is hidden behind a false premise that any change in the 20th century has been caused by AGW. Worse yet is the spin being put on this by the Obama administration.” [Emphasis in original.]

Distinguished research scientist Roger Pielke Sr. says, “That much of the media accepted the NCA without questioning its findings and conclusions either indicates they are naive or they have chosen to promote a particular agenda and this report fits their goal.”

Sadly, it’s all of the above, and “journalists” should be ashamed.

With Obama’s policy goals so widely at odds with most Americans’ values and so damaging to our nation’s future, it’s no wonder that one Obama-loving biographer says of our president, “the world seems to disappoint him.” Could there be a greater indictment of the man and a greater statement of his malignant narcissism? But with ineffective Republicans and reporters who function more as cheerleaders, there is little obstructing Barack Obama’s path to his stated goal of “fundamentally transforming” this once-great nation.

Yes, it’s all politics all the time in the Obama White House. It’s personal, sharp-elbow, polarizing brass-balls aggression straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook. Science be damned, economic rationality doubly so.

Because you, Dear Reader, happy in your warm home and driving your petroleum-powered vehicle to a job that keeps you off welfare and food stamps, you must be stopped.

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About the Author
Ross Kaminsky is a self-employed trader and investor and is a senior fellow of the Heartland Institute. He is the host of The Ross Kaminsky Show on Denver's NewsRadio 850 KOA on Saturday mornings from 6 AM to 9 AM. You can reach Ross by e-mail at rossputin(at)rossputin(dot)com.