CIVIL DEFENSE PERSPECTIVES
September 2008 (vol. 24, #6)
1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716
In these extraordinary times, Treasury Secretary Paulson genuflects before Speaker Pelosi over a proposed $700 billion government bail-out. A credit freeze will take down the economy, unless Congress takes immediate action to restore confidence, warns the President. A cartoon shows a line of people being invited to board an overstuffed bus: banks, renters, foreign creditors, homeowners, credit card debt, etc. Another portrays a delivery truck bringing a huge black barrel labeled “toxic debt”: “It's for your kids and grandkids.”
Nobody, apparently, knows the answer to basic questions: What is to be bought? Who is going to pay? And with what?
The toxic debt is not just overpriced houses, but sliced-and-diced “securities” in “creative” packages: little is known of the true extent of sub-prime losses, or about who ultimately holds the related paper. Tax revenues are plummeting. Once-impregnable financial institutions are folding. Nobody knows the real worth of anything, not even the dol¬lar–which is backed solely by confidence and vaporware.
“Default by the US government is no longer unthinkable,” reads a headline in the Sep 21 London Telegraph.
Investment advisors are putting out flash alerts, such as to “sell everything.” Richard Maybury tells you what to buy: at least a 30-day supply of life's necessities. Start with food, fresh water, prescription drugs, toilet paper, and matches. Keep some small bills and coins on hand because banks might have to close for a time, and sellers might not have change.
In a Special Emergency Bulletin on Sep 22, Maybury writes: “Watching the Federal Reserve's hysteria, I cannot envision an outcome that will not, sooner or later, lead to riots, probably as bad or worse than the 1965 Watts riot....” In any event, being prepared is always wise, “unless, of course, you expect to be quickly rescued by the government.”
“I suggest that you surround yourself with people who are honorable, and develop a plan for what your group will do to help each other if an economic crisis [or other event] creates a temporary period of turmoil,” he writes in the October 2008 Early Warning Report. “Forming a well-prepared group of trustworthy friends is by far the best investment you can possibly make.”
Investments in Vapor
With a sub-prime mortgage, there is a house somewhere. But carbon offsets are a creative abstraction. And “global warming is sub-prime science, sub-prime economics, and sub-prime politics,” writes Philip Stott of the Univ. of London.
Lehman Brothers was “pitching to become the leader in the vast trade created by the new worldwide regulatory system to ‘fight climate change’ by curbing emissions of carbon dioxide.” Advised by James Hansen and Al Gore, Lehman bought into the “economics of the madhouse” wholesale. Last year, it released a long, highly publicized report that was used as the basis for public climate-change policies in Spain, Argentina, and other countries. It advised investors about the value of the carbon tax 50 years from now; it failed to predict the firm's own bankruptcy (see link to the report Fred Singer's The Week That Was 9/20/08, www.sepp.org).
Since leaving public office, Al Gore has turned his $2 million net worth into a fortune exceeding $100 million. In one of his speeches (his fee is said to be $175,000), he told 1,000 investor/philanthropists that any investments in tar sands or shale oil were “sub-prime carbon assets.”
“Junkies find veins in their toes when the ones in their arms collapse...,” he said (Human Events 8/18/08).
The major pushers for the fear on which “cap and trade” schemes depend are energy companies, writes Richard North (TWTW 9/20/08). In a mature industry like electricity generation, “investing” in carbon-capture assets can have a big pay-off–as long as customers' bank accounts can be raided to pay the increased costs of electricity.
Some companies, such as General Electric, have placed huge bets on renewable energy, and are adhering stubbornly to climate-change alarmism.
Carbon Trust, set up by the UK government in 2001, had a full-page ad in the Sep 22 Wall Street Journal: “Climate change: Is there something in it for you?” It reads: “Well positioned and proactive companies could reap rewards well above the norm....” And if they guess wrong....
But as for achieving the emissions reductions targets, “it is difficult to envisage anything other than a planned economic recession being compatible with stabilization at or below 650 ppm [atmospheric] CO2,” writes Roger Pielke.
War for Oil and Gas
When Russian tanks rolled into Georgia, more was at stake than Russian honor. Russian intends to maintain control over pipelines in the Caucasus. The EU gets about a third of its oil and 40% of its natural gas imports from Russia. Putin warned Europeans that the energy would flow to the Far East instead, if Europe tried to punish Russia for invading Georgia.
“Today it seems incredible that this chaotic region of gangsters, warring tribes and uncertain borders was trumpeted as an energy umbilical cord to the West, free of Russian influence,” writes Carl Mortishead (Times 9/3/08).
The EU shuns use of its own abundant coal resources out of fear of what Lord Monckton calls the Devil Siotu. Moreover, the Kyoto Protocol subsidizes Putin's military retrenchment by forcing purchase of emissions credits from Russia, writes Iain Murray–that's why Russia ratified it.
In addition to its existing petroleum resources, Russia is pitting itself against Canada, Denmark, Norway, and the United States in attempting to seize vast portions of the Arctic believed to contain 90 billion barrels of oil (Times 9/18/08).
Russian companies are also exploring oil fields in Venezuela, and a recent agreement between Medvedev and Chávez allows them to expand into Ecuador and Bolivia. The new Russian-Venezuelan colossus will include a bank and joint large-scale naval exercises (NY Times 9/27/08).
Russian confidence is not being built on vapor.
Choosing the “Threshold”
Where did the 2 C critical temperature threshold come from? Fred Singer suggests that it is the Goldilocks solution– the amount that is “just right” politically. If it were only 0.5 C, we'd be lost no matter what, and if it were 5 C, there would be no need to curb CO2 emissions (TWTW 9/20/08).
Global climate models (GCMs), writes William J.R. Alexander, Professor Emeritus of Civil and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Pretoria, are mathematical dinosaurs. “I have no more faith in [their] predictions than...in all those emails from Nigeria advising me that I have won the Lotto.... The best they can do is produce model projections of unverifiable and therefore unchallengeable consequences.”
Nevertheless, “we are now witnessing the descent of environ¬mental alarmism, to extremism, to terrorism,” he writes.
“[It] is causing tremendous damage to the image of science. It is exacerbated by the failure of conscientious scientists to raise the alarm.... There was a time in my life when spreading alarm and despondency was a punishable offence. Cowardice in the face of the enemy could result in facing a firing squad” (CO2sceptics.com/news.php?id=1724).
Vandalism OK to Stop Coal Plants
A UK jury acquitted three Greenpeace protestors who caused more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power plant, accepting the defense's “lawful excuse” argument that they were trying to prevent “imminent peril” to the planet from global warming. They claimed to have caused the minimum damage necessary to shut the plant down. James Hansen flew in from the U.S. to testify for them.
“The jury heard from the most distinguished climate scientist in the world,” said one of the defendants. “How could they ignore his warnings and reject his leading scientific arguments?” Cheers greeted the verdict (Independent 9/11/08).
In the U.S., Al Gore urged young people to engage in civil disobedience to stop the construction of coal-fired plants that do not sequester CO2 emissions (Reuters 9/24/08).
Climate War Games
This summer, 40 negotiators gathered from around the world for the “first major war game involving global warming.” A worst-case climate scenario, based on the UN IPCC report, was provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (which previously worked on defense). Participants were assigned to a team representing the U.S., Europe, China, or India. The “intense” 3-day games did not result in a “comprehensive agreement.” Though admittedly not at all representative of what to expect from India and China, the games were called “educational” for most, and a “community service” for Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, who was involved in developing the real Montreal Protocol on chlorofluorocarbons (Nature 2008;454:673).
Maybury writes that his 2006 analysis of the Russian kleptocracy/psychopathocracy has proven correct. The first breakout, he predicted, would be Georgia. Next, the Baltics.
“If the Georgia invasion does not trigger panic in the investment markets, the one in Nato's Baltics surely will.”
He wrote that the convergence of NATO's weakness, high energy prices, and the U.S. being bogged down in the Middle East ¬has created a window of opportunity for the Kremlin.
Many historic buildings in St. Petersburg, the capital of Russia until 1918, are decorated with fasces, bundles of rods bound together with an ax. These symbolize fascism, the political philosophy of the Roman Empire–and Russia.
Russia has a powerful “public-private partnership.” It is not clear whether the Russian corporations, including oil and gas giants, own the government and mafias, or the government and mafias own the corporations. Maybury suggests that it doesn't matter. (August and September 2006 issues on the Russia crisis are available to EWR subscribers at www.chaostan.com).
The U.S. is different: corruption and conflicts of interest are at least deplored, and there is some memory of law and truth above what the czar (Caesar) decrees. It is possible that some remnant of free markets might survive the financial bailout.
Thanks to the START treaty and the later Moscow Treaty of 2002, the strategic nuclear umbrellas of the U.S. and Russia are “pocket sized.” The U.S., however, has 10 times fewer tactical nuclear warheads than Russia (500 vs. 5,000). Putin recently described ballistic-missile flight tests as “pleasant and spectacular holiday fireworks” (Wall St J 8/21/08).
Action and Reaction
Previously, Western Europeans have seemingly been more afraid of annoying environmentalists than of empowering Russia. But some say the Georgian “warlet” has been the equivalent of wide-scale carpet bombing to European energy policy (Benny Peiser, CCNetMedia).
“Europe is learning quickly that the only way to curtail Russia's energy control is to compete with it. A new energy war is about to begin” (Eric Reguly, Globe and Mail 8/18/08). Europeans are pouring billions into Algeria and Libya.
Nuclear and coal may make a comeback.
Things must change in America too: “America is nearly helpless in the face of a resurgent Russia intent on reclaiming its czarist empire, an Iran hellbent on acquiring nuclear weapons, a China making common cause with dictators and a menacing Venezuela aligning with Russian and Cuba to control sea lanes in the Caribbean, where 64% of all U.S. tanker traffic passes (Investor's Business Daily 9/2/08).
The greatest hope: Alaska, which alone could supply the U.S. with energy for 7 years. Currently, the Trans-Alaska pipeline flows at one-third capacity because of congressional refusal to lift the moratorium on new drilling.
The Consensus Con
Shortly before she died in 1993, Dixy Lee Ray wrote a letter about the goal of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro: “to pressure the United States and other industrial powers to make ‘the rescue’ of the environment the central organizing principle in the management of the world economy.” Environmentalism was to be used as “the Trojan horse to advance the socialist agenda.” Gov. Ray recognized that the government and the media would be on the wrong side. Even worse, industry and academic scientists have failed to debunk the alleged consensus. But cracks are showing: at the 2008 Intl Geological Conference, 2/3 of presenters and questioners were hostile to or dismissive of the UN IPCC (TWTW 9/6/08).