Comparing the Citizens Climate Lobby and the Climate Leadership Council Carbon Fee and Dividend Plans

Comparing the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) and the Climate Leadership Council (CLC) Carbon Fee and Dividend Plans

The CLC has been put forward by an Οp-Ed in the Washington Post, and the “The Pricing Advantage” by George R. Schultz and Ted Halstead.  It is also called the Baker-Schultz Carbon Dividends Plan.   The CCL and CLC are very similar, but different in startup Carbon fees and in yearly increases, as well as frequency of dividends to consumers.  Both collect taxes or fees per ton of carbon dioxide emission potential at the first usage.  The fees are then redistributed equally on a per capita basis as dividends, at regular periods of a year.  The differences are in the details.  CCL starts at $15 a ton and increases $10 per ton per year.  In a separate paper by Halstead, the CLC starts at $40 per ton per year, and increases the fee 3% to 6% a year, or at most, $2.40 a year in increases.  CCL plans monthly dividends, and the CLC plans quarterly dividends.  Maybe the difference is that the CLC is proposed as a Republican type solution, while the CCL is mostly backed by Democrats.

Last year, we analyzed the CCL and general climate taxes on gasoline, household electricity and natural gas, and the general case of all per capita emissions charges.  The general charges get added onto other consumer purchases, but so far, invisibly.  California and related states have had a cap-and-trade tax, but give back the collection to low income causes, so it is a progressive tax.

The problem of converting to electric cars is that at present they can cost $9,500 more than a similar gas powered car.  However, they generate only about 20% of the emissions from the present average gas powered auto.  The fuel savings over the car’s lifetimes make up for the initial cost difference.  What we need is a financing mechanism or companies that can advance the cost and profit from the savings.  This is done sometimes  in solar cell installations.  One source said that battery costs are only declining 4% a year, while another said that by 2025, electric cars would cost the same as gas models do.  NY Times economist Paul Krugman also points out the need to fund innovation in research and development for climate solutions.

First, we show how CCL and CLC rates per ton of CO2 emissions progress each year.  We use the 6% yearly increase for CLC, which we take yearly as a $2.40 increase, for simplicity.

Year.       CCL tax.       CLC fee.

1.                 $15.             $40.00

2.                $25.             $42.40

3.                $35.             $44.80 

4.                $45.             $47.20

5.                $55.             $49.60

6.                $65.             $52.00

We see that at year 5, the CCL tax passes the CLC fee.

The results of the earlier analyses was that a 15,000 mile per year commuter at an average 25 mpg will use 600 gallons of gas, and generate 6 tons of CO2 emissions.  At a country-wide average gasoline price of $2.50 per gallon, the 600 gallons will cost $1,500 a year.

The total per capita US greenhouse gas emissions are 22.3 tons of CO2 per capita.  We evaluate the carbon taxes for both carbon taxes, for both gasoline and per capita emissions.

For gasoline for a commuter, with CCL, the 6 tons of emissions at the $15 per ton start will pay a $90 per year tax.  Each year that the tax increases $10 per year per ton, adds $60 per year in the carbon tax on gasoline.  At the end of the fifth year, the tax will be $390, on the $1,500 cost, or 26%.  

At this point, mobs gather in the street, and riot, as they have done in many other countries.  After several days, they will calm down enough to be told that that is what their monthly dividend check is for, to give them back the tax as dividends.  At which point, they will scratch their heads, and ask then why collect it in the first place.  I don’t know the answer to that, either.

 Total collection in the US can be found by noting that the US emissions in 2015 were 7,250 million tons.  Multiplying by $15/ton for the start in CCL gives $109 billion, to be collected and then redistributed.  Each succeeding year will add $10/ton or $73 billion.  Distributed across 325 million Americans, that is collecting from all sources, passing on costs, but then equally redistributing $335 per person at the start, and increasing that by $225 per person, per year.  In 10 years, that will become $335 + 10x $225 = $2,575 per year.  

The average per capita US income in 2018 is $53,825, so that is 4.8%.  But, since income is skewed to the wealthy, the median per capita income is $33,706.  The carbon tax is then 7.6% of that.  The median income is a little higher than a $15/hour minimum wage for a 40 hour x 50 week = 2,000 hour year, which is $30,000 before deductions.  (The California minimum wage is $12/hour). The actual minimum wage in the US is $7.25 per hour, less than half of the dreamed of $15/hour, and gives $14,500 per year.  The carbon tax after 10 years is then 17.8% of the minimum wage, or more than a sixth.  A quarterly dividend on $2,575 is $644.  The statement is that 40% of Americans don’t have $400 in the bank in case of emergencies. Clearly, a $644 deficit for them over three months is crazy.  The distributions have to at least be monthly, in which case it would be $215.  Even that is large.  Remember, that a lot of wages are paid weekly.  And many people live week to week.

The CLC start at $40/ton gives $290 billion a year to start, and that is a per capita bill and then distribution of $892 per year, or $223 per quarter, or $74 per month.

Some potential problems with the Republican plan:

  1. When the government gets tax money, it finds it very had to give it back, or to not gently repurpose it.  Hey, isn‘t Trump being impeached for this, and isn’t McConnell going to bury that?  Trump is now repurposing $7.5 billion of DoD money for his promised border wall, to benefit himself politically.  There are billions needed to rebuild each year from climate effects, more often in Republican states.
  2. Are the Republicans really going to give equal distributions to everybody, instead of more to the rich, with their private jet’s fuel usage?  Not to mention their yacht.  Give me a break.  We are $2 trillion poorer under Trump already from his tax cut to the wealthy.
  3. Democratic states like California, Washington, Oregon, and New York, will benefit from the renewable and clean energy sources that they have developed.   Republicans don’t normally give back to Democratic states.
  4. Can one imagine higher fuel costs not going to the Koch family.
Posted in 2020 Election, 2020 Primaries, Air Quality, Air Travel Emissions, Autos, CAFE Standards, California Federal Funding, California Oil, California Power Mixes, California Smog, Carbon Tax, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Climate Education, Climate Science, Coal, Congress, Conservation, Department of Energy, Economies, Electric Cars, Electric Power, Energy Efficiency, Equivalent Electric Car Emissions, Fossil Fuel Energy, Free Trade, Global Climate Action Summit, Green Rate Plans, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Houston Flooding, Hurricane Dorian, Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Irma, Hybrid Cars, Mayor's Climate Action Plan, Natural Gas, No More Drilling, Nuclear Energy, Oil, Paris Climate Accord, Paris Climate Agreement, Politics, Poverty, Regulations, Renewable Energy, Science and Engineering Education, Solar Energy, Tax Laws, Transportation, US Oil, Wind Energy | Leave a comment

Democracy Ratings for the US and Countries in the News from the V-Dem Institute

We show graphs over time of the US and countries in the news, for five categories.  The ratings go from 1900 through 2018, unless only fewer years are available.  The source of the ratings is the V-Dem Institute at V-dem.net.  We use data from Version 9 of April 2019.  The North American Regional Center is the Kellog Institute of International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.  The main headquarters is the V-Dem Institute in the Dept. of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg.  They use 350 indicators, evaluated by 2,500 international experts.

The United States Democracy Indexes.  We note the recent drop off over the last eight years, as also found in the Freedom House freedom index.  The Citizens United ruling was in 2010.  In 1920, women got the right to vote.  The civil rights movement started in the 1960s.

 

The European Union Democracy Indexes.  The growth of German Nazism began in 1933, and the German takeover of Europe was from 1940-45.  The European Union was founded in 1993.  French women did not have the right to vote in municipal elections until 1944.  Women in Germany got the right to vote in 1918.

 

Russia’s Democracy Indexes.  Perestroika began in 1984, when democracy began to grow.  Putin first became President in 2000.  His present six year term will end in 2024.  All of his cabinet has just resigned, and he is suspected of arranging a continuance of his leadership.  The democratic decline continues.  The Russian revolution overthrowing the czars was in 1917.

 

China’s Democracy Indexes.  We now add the two largest countries, starting with China at 1.4 billion people.

 

Democratic Indices for India.  India has a population of 1.34 billion people.  India became independent from Great Britain in 1947.

 

Iran’s Democracy Indexes.  We now add two US opposition states, both with nuclear disarmament problems.

 

North Korea’s Democracy Indexes.  The three generation repressive Kim regime began in 1945, when they also started pursuing nuclear weapons.  North Korea was established in 1948.

Population Weighted World Indices.  Unfortunately, the average world’s population is between 30% and 50% in democratic indices.  The world as a whole is falling off democracy over the last eight years.

Indices for more countries in the news can be found on my Flickr account.

 

Posted in Affairs of State, Democracy Ratings, Economies, Education, Equal Treatment Under the Law, Equality of Opportunity Project, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Freedom to Assemble, Freedom to Petition, Freedoms, Immigration Policy, Iran, Middle East, North Korea, Politics, Religion, Secrecy, Syria, Turkey, United Nations, Voting Rights, Women’s Rights | Leave a comment

The United States and the World in the Freedom in the World 2019 Ratings

We show graphs in the Freedom House report “Freedom in the World 2019” by Freedom House at freedomhouse.org, for both the United States, and for World countries.

We show the decline in the US Freedom rating over 10 years from 2009 through 2018, from 94 to 86, on a scale from 0 to 100.  The lowest ratings are during the two years of the Trump Presidency.

Compared to our peer countries, above, we have more improvement to strive for.

We examine the democracies which have undergone large recent declines below.

 

Below is a world map, where countries are classified in three categories:  Free Countries are Green, Partly Free are Yellow, and Not Free are Blue.

 

We show segments of a circular graph with all world countries, from most free to least.  The radial axis goes from 0% to 100%, with white circles at 75%, 50%, and 25%.

The next segment contains the United States at 86%, and in Gray, indicating no change.  Red is a decline, and Blue is a gain in Freedom.

In the next set of countries, they decline below the 75% level.

The next set includes Mexico at about the 60% level.

The next set descends from the 50% level to the 25% level.

This set partly shows those above, and descends below the 25% level.  Below 25% are current countries in the news:  Yemen, China, Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Vietnam, Russia, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Iraq.

The lowest rated countries start with Syria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and go through Yemen and China.

 

 

Posted in Affairs of State, Criminal Justice System, Democracy Ratings, Donald Trump, Education, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Freedom to Assemble, Freedom to Petition, Freedoms, Immigration Ban, Immigration Policy, Iran, Middle East, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Oil Imports, Syria, Turkey, Voting Rights, Yemen | Leave a comment

Ratings of Freedom and Democracy, and the Concept of Zero, Zilch, Nada

Ratings of Freedom and Democracy, and the Concept of Zero, Zilch, Nada

There are new Democracy Ratings, and still last year’s Freedom Rating, which I have been studying for reporting.  In the 2018 Freedom House ratings, the US was a healthy 86%.

My rating is less than 50%, and maybe as low as 20%.  Here’s why.  We cover eight bases of our government:  House, Senate, White House, Executive Branch, Lower Courts, Supreme Court, Free Press, Internet (including Twitter).

The House is Democratic, slightly weighted by Representatives from Trump won districts, or who upset past Republicans.  Good for some balance and representation of the general population.

On the surface, balancing the Senate versus the House, and an almost balanced Senate, 53 Republicans to 47 Democrats, sounds like almost equal representation, and, with friendliness and tradition, would produce fair compromises.  Hah!  Where business is concerned, that works.  The budget has passed, almost totally ignoring Trump’s severely cut budget with extreme anti-science prejudice.  They are also on the verge of passing the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.  There is also farm relief, and natural disaster relief.  Most of those efforts are in Republican states.  Not so much after that.

The Senate, headed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, blocked a Democratic Supreme Court appointment’s consideration.  This was not done by any hearings or democratic vote!  This is a gigantic Zero.

So let’s review the two concepts of Zero.  Originally, there was no number zero, since anything you would measure, had a measurement, even if very small.  But there still was a concept of Null, meaning a big, fat NO.  If you consider a number zero, and add that in with a hundred other rating numbers, you can still get a large rating.  But if you realize that the Supreme Court is the Supreme decider of the crucial issues of our democracy, and it had a 4-4 split at that time, the Null Supreme Court appointment, with the subsequent Trump victory, nullified anything backed by half, and usually much more, of our population.  With a split legislature, the Senate being solidly Republican or Trump, and the House solidly Democrat, nothing is getting done on crucial and popular issues.  McConnell has discarded some 400 House passed bills.  Adding up numbers for eight separate categories which I am considering, will not reflect that fact that they all have the weight Zero, when Multiplied by a deciding conservative Supreme Court vote of Zero, or Null.

Trump has now appointed two conservatives, keeping the 5-4 conservative dominated court.  My rating is not a final Zero, since some times the court weighs liberal.  Like in the cases where the conservative vote might lead to removing health care from 30 million people, and result in many premature deaths.  I have the data for when the court did not always vote conservative, in 2018-2019, but it has to be interpreted case by case, which I am not educated to do.  The data is from the above reference.  67 opinions were issued this term.  Usually, there are 15 close cases.  In the previous term liberals only prevailed in 3 of 19.  This time there were 21 that were close.  There were 10 conservative crossovers in these cases, 4 by Gorsuch, 3 by Roberts, and one each by the other three conservatives.  I don’t know if this should rate as almost 50%, or average with 16% from last year.

The Freedom of the Press is severely hampered by Trump’s 15,000 lies, no news conferences by his Press Secretary, none by departmental heads in such Q&A meetings, and hundreds of references to Fake News.  Zilch rating.

The Web information source is hampered by Facebook’s allowing misleading political ads.  All of the services seem late in removing foreign influence users, ads, and information.  The Trump removal of a free internet will further affect non sponsored information sources, such as me.  The Trump “Government by Tweet” has confused everybody in the administration, the country, and the world, sowing an amazing crop of chaos.  A high confusion rating, with no questions asked or answered, has to downgrade our government’s support of democracy and freedoms.  Sort of a close to Zero rating.

Trump has filled 150, and aiming at 200 lower federal court appointments.  Most come from an outside source, the Federalist Society, funded by conservatives.  They also back the “original interpretation” of the Constitution, which is so vague, you can back anything you want by it.  Including ignoring the qualifying militia clause of the Second Amendment, apparently.  With the Senate and the Mitch, Trump has ignored traditional local Senator’s blue card vetoes, and ratings of unqualified by the American Bar Association.  These are lifelong appointments, of young justices.

Did I put off the impeachment, for trying to win a second Presidential election through foreign influence?  And blocking both the first and second congressional investigation of these.  Then, there is also the subversion of the Justice Department through Attorney General Bill Barr.  Trump has unprecedentedly blocked all colleagues from testifying, and all subpoenaed documents from being turned over.  Only by June will we hear the Supreme Court decision on this.  Chief Senate Tackle Mitch already has said that he would collude with the defendant, President Trump, won’t call for witnesses, and would like to summarily dismiss the charges.  There is little indication that even a handful of Republican Senators would follow their oath as a juror to actually consider the evidence fairly.  Again, a Zero, meaning Null, rating.

By the way, if Impeachment were a real trial, Mitch McConnell would be doubly disqualified from the Jury.  First, his wife, Elaine Chou, is an employee of the defendant, Trump, as Secretary of Transportation.  Second, McConnell was called “Moscow Mitch”, because his state, Kentucky, which he represents in the Senate, is getting an Aluminum plant from Russia.  Russia was behind the 2016 election hacking, which Putin has said was really Ukraine, and is behind the impeachment charges.  It was now revealed that Russia hacked into Burisma, where Hunter Biden worked.  Mitch is not only a juror, but the decider of the rules of the trial.  The House just voted, and delivered the charges to the Senate.

Trump almost started a Middle East war, without consulting with the “Gang of Eight” leaders of the Senate and House, again eroding even the traditional road to getting good advice.  The actions weren’t consulted with experts in State or Defense.  Even reporting requirements did not explain or justify the actions.  Again, a Zero, Null rating.

Do we really deserve anything near an 86% Democracy or Freedom rating? 86% would normally be an A minus, nearly perfect, college grade.

This article was inspired by an Op-Ed in the LA Times this morning “How autocracy takes over in Trump’s America”, by Wayne Sandholtz, a  Professor of international relations and law at USC, which has links to the Democracy and Freedom databases.  It was also proded by Putin’s new drive to be Russia’s leader for life.  All of his cabinet has resigned today.

Posted in 2016 Election, 2020 Election, Affairs of State, Congress, Congressional Investigation, Constitution, Criminal Justice System, Democracy Ratings, Donald Trump | Leave a comment

Updating the Super Tuesday Democratic Primaries

I am updating this article with minor corrections and changes of delegates in some states, and I also add the pledged delegates which vote on the first ballot.  It seems with so many candidates splitting the pie, that the convention will go to a second or further ballot, in which ballots all delegates will vote.

Now that a brave candidate, previous 12 year New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is trying the Super Tuesday primary, I am reissuing a 9 month old article on the wisdom of doing this.  The delegate counts are being updated with something called bonus delegates, but New York and Florida have moved to later dates.  My source is https://thegreenpapers.com.

Super Tuesday is on March 3, 2020, right after the four February primaries or caucuses.  34.0% of the Democratic Party delegates will be chosen on Super Tuesday, and that includes the largest delegation and Democratic State, California.  The Super Tuesday share of the pledged delegates is 34.1%.  Bloomberg will also put extreme pressure on the outlying candidates, who don’t have the funds or the organization for such far reaching campaigns, and who hope to make a name for themselves in the smaller February primaries and caucuses.

Old Update:  In a recent version I had Florida at 248 delegates on Super Tuesday.  It is really on March 17, 2020.  I also had New York at 319 delegates on Super Tuesday, which is really on April 28.  These have now been corrected throughout.

Bloomberg is worth $55 billion, and can afford ads across the country, and a large and experienced campaign organization in each state.  He was Mayor of New York City for three terms from 2002 through 2013, so he is current on issues.

I like Bloomberg because even when he wasn’t running he pushed my favorite issues of climate action and gun controls.  But, I am hands off and willing to let the nomination play out.

Democratic Primary Delegates are 34.0% Super Tuesday, and only 4.1% February and 1.0% Iowa!

In the entire year 2019, Biden spent 76 days in the February states, Sanders spent 100 days there, Warren spent 102 days there, and Buttigieg spent 96 days there.  In the 2016 Iowa caucus, 171,000 showed up, or 16% of the state’s population.  New Hampshire, the first Primary, had over a 50% turnout.  Meanwhile, I am watching the college football championship game, where, at taxpayers expense, President Trump shows up on national TV with the First Lady and military accompaniment, to hearty cheers in the Deep South, Louisiana.  This is essentially a Trump football political event, although Trump banned politics at football games with Colin Kapernick.

Clearly, this is an appeal for the multitude of Democratic candidates to pay most of their attention to the 46 states that aren’t in the February primaries.  There are many problems in America which have to be addressed all over the country.

That’s the message, now for all of the numbers, starting top down.  In the 2020 Democratic Primaries and Caucuses, there are 4,750 total delegate votes.  Of these, 3,979 are pledged, and 771 are unpledged.  The unpledged are not really superdelegates, since they now cannot vote on the first ballot, if it is contested.  If the first ballot does not determine the nomination, then they can vote in subsequent ballots.  They are 16.2% of the total vote.  The unpledged delegates include 48 Senators, 240 Representatives, 26 Governors, 23 Distinguished Party Leaders, and 434 DNC members.

Of the 3,979 pledged ballots, 2,591 or 65.1% (about 2/3) are district chosen delegates, and 898 or 22.6% are at large delegates.  490 or 12.3% are pledged PLEO (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) delegates.  There are also 766 unpledged PLEOs to make up the total 4,745 number of delegates.

The sixteen March 3rd Super Tuesday states and entities are below, comprising 1,617 total delegates, or 34.0% of the total delegates.  The total of the pledged delegates on March 3rd is 1,357, and is 34.1% of the total pledged delegates.  For each state, the first number is the pledged delegates, and the second number is the total number.

415.  494 California

228.  261 Texas

99.     124 Virginia

110.    122 N. Carolina

91.      114  Massachusetts

75.       91   Minnesota

67.       80   Colorado

64.       73   Tennessee

52.       61   Alabama

37.       42   Oklahoma

29.       35   Utah

24.       32   Maine

31.        36   Arkansas

16.        24   Vermont

13.        17   Democrats Abroad

6.          11    American Samoa

The top two states, California and Texas, comprise 755 total delegates or 15.9% of all delegates.  They also have 643 pledged delegates, or 16.2% of all pledged delegates.  California reliably goes Democratic in Presidential elections, and Texas goes Republican.

The February states are, with pledged delegates, total delegates, and dates:

54.       63 S. Carolina, Feb. 29

41.        49 Iowa caucuses Feb. 3

36.        48 Nevada caucuses, Feb. 22

24.        33 New Hampshire, Feb. 11

The total of February states’ delegates is 193, which is 4.07% of the total primary delegates.  The pledged February states’ delegates total 155, which are 3.9% of the pledged delegates.  The first, the Iowa caucuses, are 1.03% of the total number of delegates, and 1.03% of the pledged delegates..  The ratio of the February states’ delegates to Super Tuesday delegates is 12.0%.

Of the six “swing” states, none are during February, and only North Carolina (122) is on Super Tuesday.  The other swing states are Michigan (March 10, 147),  Florida (March 17, 248 delegates), Arizona (March 17, 78), Wisconsin (April 7, 97 delegates), and Pennsylvania (April 28, 210).  The swing states total 902 delegates, or 19.0% of the the total.

The delegate data are from:  https://www.thegreenpapers.com/P20/D-Alloc.phtml

California, with 494 total delegates, at 10.4% of the total, has finally moved to Super Tuesday, instead of Irrelevant June.  We are also 30.6% of the total Super Tuesday delegates.  We would love to see the candidates here.

Posted in 2020 Election, 2020 Primaries | Leave a comment

Reagan’s Astrologer, Bush’s Ball Park, and Trump’s Pompeo

Reagan’s Astrologer, Bush’s Ball Park, and Trump’s Pompeo

A venerable soothsayer once said, “something is going to happen to somebody, somewhere, sometime, probably”.  I have been waiting through the longest 5 years for the reveal about Trump that he has the equivalent to Reagan’s astrologer, who told Reagan when there were good days to act on things.  That was only revealed at the end of Reagan’s eight years as President, and eight years as California’s governor.  

Finally, the Trump reveal has surfaced.  It is Secretary of State Pompous Pompeo. Yesterday, Pompeo told the news the intelligence assessment that there would be an attack on some embassy, somewhere, sometime, probably.  And therefore, we had to preemptively attack the one guy who was out of the country when the Baghdad embassy was attacked.  We also did get the guy who was in the country and led the Iraqi Hezbollah, who actually did lead the demonstration. 

In case you forgot, the ‘informant’ who told George Bush that Sadam Hussein had WMDs, Weapons of Mass Destruction, was already called Ball Park, for the vagueness of his information.

Yes, Pompeo did head the CIA for a year.  But, Pompeo now serves a President who from day one (also vague) has said that the intelligence agencies are stupid, and out to get him.  Trump quotes Russia’s great President for life (effectively) Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, to back him up.  I did forget Trump leading the Birther movement on Obama.

We have to remember that Representative Pompeo harped on Hillary Clinton’s supposed failure at the Benghazi consulate.  And so did Trey Gowdy, Head of the House Benghazi investigation, who Trump played golf with a few days before he acted to revenge the Baghdad demonstration.  They must have told Trump of the many years of horror awaiting him if he didn’t do something that looked like decisive action.  Trump multiply doubled down on Hillary, violating Due Process and the Fifth Amendment, with his rally chants of “Lock Her Up”.

Having seen too many Jedi movies, Pompeo tried standing in front of the Senate and House, and waved his arm, stating roughly, “there are no facts that we can trust you with”.  Which now turns out to be true, since there are no facts.  I’m sure, this will all change a few tweets from now.  After a week of sitting on pins and needles, or in today’s parlance, awaiting an explanatory Trump tweet, we got nothing.  At a rally, Trump said Baghdad plus.  So, I am a great soothsayer.  Baghdad was my guess too.  Plus, anti-war and anti-Trump rallies at several liberal US cities, which Trump completely missed.  Just another day in Foggy Bottom.

Posted in 2020 Election, Affairs of State, Donald Trump | Leave a comment

Shooting Down an Airliner is the Grossest Criminal Negligence, Not an Accident

Shooting Down an Airliner is the Grossest Criminal Negligence, Not an Accident

It is only the most inhumane and irresponsible political maneuver for the Trump Administration to use the word ‘accident’ to describe the shooting down of the Ukrainian Air flight as it left Tehran for Kiev, Ukraine.  Anybody who would give control of a surface-to-air missile without a 100% certainty that it could never be used against a civilian plane has committed Gross Criminal Negligence.  The entire chain of command should be arrested, tried, sued, and severely punished for that act.  It certainly is outlawed by any and all conventions of war.

There are so many violations of common sense and military protocols that could have led to this tragedy.  Why was the missile battery located anywhere near a civilian airport?  Why weren’t the flight paths for takeoff and landing not programmed in as off limits to any military guns or missiles?  Why wasn’t the public civilian flight schedule not given to the missile batteries, along with probably web based flight delay data?  Why wasn’t the battery hooked up with the Air Traffic Control to check if a flight in question was civilian, or an enemy incursion?  The airplane would normally be sending out its location on the civilian tracking system.  It would also have warning lights.  The international aviation community should ban all flights to Iran until they can demonstrate that they have completely revamped their air defense system with all possible warnings and safeguards built in, and all of their personnel have been properly trained and tested.

Their will be many trails of investigation that would verify a double missile launch.  Since they showed up on US radar, there must be records on Iranian military and airport radars.   The video of the explosion is convincing, and judging the distance and colors, could be identified as to what surface-to-air missiles were used.  The battery that fired them all know about what they did, as well as they may have notified higher command of their ‘success’.  Since it was Iranians and Canadians with Iranian links that were killed, this must be on the civilian and military consciences, and there will be leaks.  Any external parts of the aircraft would show identifiable chemical traces of the standard explosives used in particular surface-to-air missiles.  The pattern of spread out parts, and any external indentations, would evidence an explosion.  Iranian investigators can visit the missile bases that could be involved, and count the weapons.  There also would be chemical traces on whatever launchers were used.  It’s really hard for us to imagine what it must be like to live in a country which is trying to cover up events.

This is so unlike the Eastern Ukrainians armed by Russia, and presumably poorly trained, shooting down a Malaysia Airliner in 2014.  The Air Ukraine flight was hit by a battery right next to Iran’s main airport in Tehran.  We don’t even know if any of the important Iranian government or religious or military officials were on that aircraft.  

The United States ship USS Vincennes of the Persian Gulf fleet also shot down a civilian Iran Air flight 655 in 1988, killing 290 people.  This was shot down in Iranian airspace, along the usual flight path, shortly after departing the Bandar Abbas airport, and broadcasting its location on the civilian radio frequency.  This also was against the rules of war and common sense precautions.  You would think that Iran would have learned from this act.  President Reagan apologized for the attack, and paid the Iranian victims families $61.8 million, out of a total settlement of $131.8 million.

Only the Trump Republican administration and Senate, which tolerate 40,000 firearms deaths a year and over a 100 a day in America, in order to get campaign contributions from that industry, which could label such a tragedy an ‘accident’.  They also go on scaring gun owners that Democrats are going to take their guns away, in order to get their faction of votes, since a third of American households own guns.  The analogy to the airline murder is the inability of Trump and the Republican Senate to pass a Red Flag Bill, which does sequester the guns of those who are irresponsible, threatening, or a danger even to themselves.  It is also analogous to not banning semi-automatic assault weapons. 

I don’t even want to get into Trump’s insanity of whether a single American death or injury would be an excuse to start a world war against Shia Muslim countries.  All of those on the airplane were innocent and wonderful people who did not deserve to die during this fake war scare initiated by Trump’s unjustified whim for an assassination.  This is the now responsible President who not only allows the 40,000 gun deaths, and also the 64,000 drug deaths, and has done little to lower drug prices, but who also does as much as he can to end the Affordable Care Act medical coverage for 20 to 30 million Americans.

Posted in Affairs of State, Donald Trump, Iran | Leave a comment

Trump’s Enormous Drag Coefficient

  • I was going to write an article on the relative drag coefficients of electric cars, since it relates to their efficiency.  When I drive or look at sports cars, I appreciate their slipstream forms.  They range from the best at 0.2 to the worst, of about 1.15, which must be just pushing a wall, like a cube or short cylinder.  But being burdened with Trump Anxiety for the last week, I realized that this could be applied to Trump.

No, I don’t mean Trump’s physical size.  Especially, since his belt size must be the most highly classified top secret in the White House, and buried in the coded server in the basement, along with Trump’s secret phone calls to Putin, which Putin knows all about because he was on the line.

I also don’t mean the drag coefficient of Air Force One, used mainly to fly Trump to his Florida castle, or golf courses, or campaign rallies, or photo shoots with the world’s worst dictators.

What I do mean is the political disruption left, as cars do to the air, as Trump speeds through the world’s affairs.  Just giving Trump the maximum of 1, under physical laws, is insufficient.  Trump proves every day that the laws of the nation and of man are no constrains on him.  Since many believe that he is the “chosen one”, popular movies would suggest that he is also not constrained by physical laws, either.

Trump also would not accept a drag rating that was only the maximum that other Presidents or objects could reach.  So I was going to give him the drag rating of 2.  However, Trump’s disruption are an order of magnitude greater than anybody else’s have been.  That can only be described by a drag coefficient of a Perfect 10.

For his cross section, we have to multiply by the 4,000 political appointees, who labor daily as lobbyists for the fossil fuel industries or others intending to directly influence their departmental policies, and to remove government regulations.

Then there are the 53 Republicans in the Senate, and the loud or speed talking Republican Representatives, who dominate the Intelligence, Oversight, or Judiciary committees.

I think that the Department of Defense learned never to present to the President the most disruptive and ridiculous options, because that is exactly where Trump will go.  Trump must be confusing creative so-called “disruptive” industries, with actually disruptive government actions.  Trump always acts so that he becomes the center of attention, and looks for amazing praise.

Do I actually have to give examples of this?  Let’s just take what is on the news as I type this.  The briefers went to the Senate and House, and couldn’t give any convincing or factual descriptions of an impending attack that would necessitate the killing of Soleimani.  Then the Majority leader of the Senate implies that it is not the time, in the present war, to impeach the President, or to delay impeaching the President, take your pick.  This is how McConnell stole Obama’s Supreme Court choice.  It’s also not the time to debate the new war with Iran.  There is also the amazing coincidence of the sudden crash of the Ukrainian Boeing 737 just as it was taking off and in the range of any projectiles.  In the important issue of climate change, McConnell would probably prevent action based on the emergency of the earth warming, and therefore it is not the time to act on it.

Trump has maximally disrupted trade regulated with old trade agreements, and hasn’t resolved any of them.  He disrupted the UN, NATO, opposition to Putin’s aggression, combatting climate change, etc.  As consumers, we do pay a large part of the tariffs.  Another part may come from lowering the profits of US companies manufacturing in other countries.

We note that the drag force of disruption is also proportional to the Area, and the square of the velocity. As the leader of the largest economy and greatest military force, Trump has an enormous effective area.  The disruption is also large because of the enormous speed in which he acts, or demands action, or changes his mind, or corrects his cabinet, who try to make sense of his Tweets.  Trump’s cabinet does not really walk back Trump’s Tweets, they are running them backwards as fast as they can, after which, Trump trips them up, and then doubles down.

Posted in Donald Trump, Humor | Leave a comment

Most of Trump’s Speech was Election Year Malarky

Most of What Trump Said Was Election Year Malarky

It’s hard to know where to start.  Let’s start with Whew!  Calmer minds have taken over.

I think for such an important War or Peace speech, it would have been better if it wasn’t just a copy of his campaign speeches, praising himself.  While dissing the Iran denuclearization deal of 2015 with major UN leaders, he could have stated that without it, Iran would have at least a dozen nuclear weapons by now, which would tie our hands, just like North Korea’s small nuclear arsenal has done.  Yet, Trump again raised economic sanctions, which he usually insists that our trading partners also follow, or he will punish them.  As for the promise of economic utopia for Iran if they would sign a comprehensive isolation agreement, they already signed the 2015 agreement with such expectations, and then Trump arrived to nullify it.  Now, they would have to trust Trump again, who has nullified all US trade agreements!  But, Trump also wants a Forever agreement, not the ten to fifteen year agreement that we had, until Trump destroyed it with the killing of Major General Soleimani.  

Trump said the period of the 2015 agreement was almost over, but it had only run a half and a third of the major provisions, which would have lasted until 2025 and 2030, even beyond the Trump reign.  

Trump wants NATO to get involved in the Middle East, after doing everything to insult and snub NATO, even waffling on defending some of their countries.

The $150 billion that we “gave” Iran for the deal was just a release of their money that was in foreign banks.  Politico points out that the amount was estimated as $74 billion by Iran, and only $56 billion by the US treasury.  Yes, they probably spent some on weapons.  But it doesn’t match the $2.5 trillion that Trump has spent on the military budget.  That also is an exaggeration, as it is about three years of the entire military budget.  Trump’s increases are less than a trillion dollars.  Not mentioned, is that the budget deficit is now a trillion dollars a year.  Trump also added the $1.8 billion dollars in cash given to Iran, which was a major conservative conspiracy theory, which didn’t really matter in what form their holdings were transferred, for undelivered arms.

Trump again misled about the US being energy independent.  Yes, we export some oil, where it is convenient.  But overall, we import about 50% of our oil.  Only 5% comes from the Persian Gulf.  But that is a very self centered view.  20% of the world’s oil comes from the Persian Gulf, through the strait of Hormuz.  And oil is fungible, and has to be competed for.  The Saudi oil only costs $3 a barrel to produce, while US fracked oil is around $73 a barrel, and deep water is $57 a barrel.  Increasing the price of oil matters a lot to consumers.  A barrel of oil yields 42 gallons of gasoline, so the current $60 a barrel is about $1.43 a gallon of the price of gasoline, to which is added shipping, refining, state and federal taxes, and the distributor’s share.  California imports 15% of its oil from the Persian Gulf.  However, the recent rise of oil futures over Iran has now been totally soothed by Trump’s whitewash, and returned to normal.  While the US has a slight lead at producing 11.0 million barrels a day, it is closely followed by Russia at 10.8 million bpd, and Saudi Arabia at 10.4 million bpd.  Iraq follows at 4.6, and Iran at 4.3.  World oil production is about 100 million bpd.  The Saudis have about 20 days of their production stored in Europe and Asia.

US oil consumption was 20.5 million bpd in 2018, with 69% going to transportation, and 25% going to industrial.  9.3 million bpd was in gasoline, and 4.1 million bpd was in diesel and heating oil.

The US consumed in 2016 20% of world oil, China 13%, India 4.6%, Japan 4.1%, and Russia, 3.7%.

While we may be natural gas independent, that involves continued drilling and fracking of new wells every two years or so.  That involves further environmental pollution, often in fossil fuel run states, which do almost nothing for environmental protection.  Trump’s relaxation of EPA methane emissions rules, which is natural gas, contributes further to its potent greenhouse gas effects.  California has to import 90% of its natural gas from out-of-state lines, including from Canada.  The US produces and uses about 28 trillion cubic feet a year.  It exports about 2.5 trillion cubic feet, but imports about the same amount from Canada.  Our exports are projected to soon rise to about 9 trillion cubic feet a year.

My previous articles on California Oil are here.

Posted in 2020 Election, 2020 Primaries, Affairs of State, California Oil, California Power Mixes, Climate Change, Donald Trump, EPA, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Iran, Middle East, NATO, North Korea Nuclear Threat, Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Regulations, Saudi Oil Imports, Terrorism, Trump Administration, US Oil, World Oil Exports, World Oil Usage | Leave a comment

Why Are We Waiting for Trump Alone to Determine War or Peace?

We’re back to this incomprehension of why, in supposedly the most advanced nation in the world, the question of war or peace is determined by one of the most self-interested billionaires, who is seriously affected by any challenges to his manhood and narcissism.  Who cancelled the Iranian nuclear disarmament deal partly because Obama made it, and partly because he thinks he can do everything better himself by just a phone call.

We are sitting on pins and needles tonight either waiting for Trump to make up his mind, or construct the most influential staged announcement, and getting a speech writer to stay up all night perfecting it.  We don’t even know at what time to tune in.

The Democrats are convinced that only the Congress can declare, fund, and carry out a war.  The Republicans tongues are tied by the movie Cats.  Except for guess who — Senator Majority Obsequion Lindsey Graham, who just talked to Trump, and then threatened Iran’s oil industry.  By the way, Lindsey, oil can be considered a civilian property, supporting their livelihood.  That could be an illegal act of war.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will introduce a bill to require Congressional approval for a war with Iran, and for war funding.  It is doubted that the bill will pass the Republican Senate.

The other sources of influence with Trump are the Evangelical Churches, the Stock Market, large Republican donors, the US oil industry, his friends in Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu and the American lobby with Israel being threatened, Dubai in the UAE being threatened, etc.  None of these have sent any public signals to avoid escalation to war.  

Iran has opened the remarkable door to halt revenge now, having sent 15 missiles to rather empty air bases, where troops had advanced detection to go into shelters.  There are at least some adults in the room.  Trump has surrounded himself with super hawks, starting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, China advisor Peter Navarro, and white nationalist Stephen Miller.  Trump has established White House religious liaison groups, but excluded a Muslim group. The wisdom of the entire State Department, Defense Department, CIA, University historians and experts in international relations, the Department of Energy and NGOs on nuclear disarmament, constitutional law professors, and etc. weren’t considered at Mar-a-Lago, or probably not in the White House.  

20% of the world’s oil goes through the the Strait of Hormuz from countries on the Persian Gulf.  Attacking Iranian oil opens up the familiar tit-for-tat for Iran to blockade the Strait or send more missile attacks to Saudi Arabia.

Oh well, there is always tomorrow.  But that is the problem.

Posted in Affairs of State, Communications, Congress, Constitution, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Donald Trump, Economies, Fossil Fuel Energy, Iran, Middle East, Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Saudi Oil Imports, State Department, US Oil, World Oil Exports, World Oil Usage | Leave a comment