Thursday, January 12, 2023

It just gets harder and harder to live free in California

Legislation passed by California's Legislature six and a half years ago (!) is finally being implemented. Its title is "California's Short-lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Law," or S.B. 1383 for short. (S.B. stands for senate bill.) Its primary purpose is to reduce human-activity methane emissions. The legislation is supposedly going to slow climate change by diverting 75 percent of organic waste from landfills and redirecting 20 percent of edible food to "food-insecure" Californians.

Advocates for the regulations assert that "methane is a climate super-pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide." That could be true, but only on a molecular basis. What's deliberately left out of that claim is that carbon dioxide constitutes 0.04 percent of the atmosphere, while methane amounts to only 0.00017 percent. Thus, the number of CO2 molecules is 235 times the number of methane molecules in the atmosphere. While it's possible that methane is more powerful as a greenhouse gas per molecule, there are simply not enough methane molecules to have a measurable impact on the Earth's atmosphere.

If you google the question, "Is there evidence that methane contributes to global warming?," all you'll find are assertions and speculation, not evidence. That shouldn't be surprising. Evidence is rarely in evidence when it comes to global warming catastrophism. The alarmists are happy believing naïvely that correlation equals causation.

Furthermore, it never seems to occur to California politicians that California is not the world. The world's population is currently about eight billion. California's is about forty million, which accounts for only 0.5 percent of the global population. Even if California achieved "net zero" methane generation, how much would that reduce global methane? Whatever success California made in reducing methane would quickly be neutralized by circulation in the Earth's atmosphere.

There are numerous questionable assumptions and unanswered questions inherent in S.B. 1383. Some of the organic waste that now ends up in landfills decomposes just as compost does. Meanwhile, many consumers dispose of their uneaten food in garbage disposals. Is there a net difference between disposing and composting in terms of methane generation? If so, how much of a difference?

The California Legislature's contribution to the rest of the country is to demonstrate what not to do. If methane needed to be reduced, the most effective route would instead be through innovation and the free market, not coercion. Half the methane generated from human activity in California comes from cows. Ironically, an increasing amount of their waste is being captured and converted into renewable natural gas. That's true as well for landfills.

In that same vein, I recently spoke to the manager of a supermarket where my wife and I usually shop. His supermarket and (he believes) others in town already send their unsold edible food to the local food bank. Any spoiled produce goes to a local pig farmer and has for many years. It's a win-win for all involved and therefore happens voluntarily.

A curious term in the title of the legislation is "short-lived." It's there because the "residence time" of methane in the atmosphere is approximately nine years. Residence time is the average time it takes for a molecule to break down and be removed naturally from the atmosphere. In comparison, the residence time for carbon dioxide varies from 20 to 200 years.

The law all but reimposes the draft. The following excerpts are from the informational instructions provided by the authorities:

Businesses and apartment complexes must provide collection containers for compost and recyclables to employees, contractors, tenants, and customers.

Annually provide educational information about the requirements to compost and recycle including how to sort properly among the three waste streams.

Periodically inspect recycling and compost containers and inform employees if contamination is found.

Who is going to collect the edible surplus food and see that it finds its way to "food insecure" Californians? Logistically, it's not that easy. Who's going to assure that the unsold food hasn't spoiled? Will anyone be held accountable?

Because enforcement of S.B. 1383 is only just starting, very few Californians are aware that arrogant politicians and bureaucrats are once again stealing their freedoms for bogus reasons. When that finally hits home, many Californians will not be happy. Will they rebel? It could be fun to watch. To survive and keep your sanity in California, it helps to have a wry sense of humor.

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It just gets harder and harder to live free in California - American Thinker January 12, 2023

Ron Ross Ph.D. is a former economics professor and author of The Unbeatable Market. Ron resides in Arcata, California and is a founder of Premier Financial Group, a wealth management firm located in Eureka, California. He is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma and can be reached at rossecon@gmail.com.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Religions in disguise

There are two broad categories of religions — admitted and disguised.

Admitted religions principally include Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Religions in disguise include environmentalism, Marxism, globalism, and greenism, as well as other isms too numerous to list.

Traditional religions don't hide the fact that they're religions. They know they are belief systems based on faith.

Religions in disguise never admit to themselves and others that they are faith-based belief systems. They self-identify as being "scientific" rather than faith-based.

Viewing themselves as non-religious is a central element of their worldview. They are, in fact, extremely hostile to the concept of religion. But when it comes to their own religions in disguise, they've morphed into the truest of true believers. Irony of ironies, they've become what they hate.

Not being honest about their religiosity, even to themselves, forces them to live a lie. The worst person you can lie to is yourself.

Disguised religions have many of the trappings of traditional religions, but they are grotesque caricatures of traditional religions. They have all the bad aspects of regular religions and none of the good. Traditional religions are primarily positive, while the disguised versions are primarily negative. They are far more intolerant, doctrinaire, and dogmatic.

They even have their own versions of sacraments — abortion, wokism, and sustainability, for example. Organic is their version of Kosher. Recycling is their way of doing penance. For them, producing, transporting, and using fossil fuels are sins. Donald Trump is the devil.

The religions in disguise have an inconsistent attitude toward evil. When it suits them, they deny that mass murderers and child-molesters are evil, but they have no problem believing that oil companies and Republicans are evil.

The disguised religions ridicule and ostracize anyone who doesn't share their doctrines. When the COVID lockdowns became a kind of fanatical crusade, "non-vaxxers" lost jobs. Masks became a modern "outward sign of inward grace." They attempted to force conformity on the entire world.

The religions in disguise are fervently eschatological, more than Christianity ever was. They truly believe that carbon dioxide will cook the planet and cause mass extinctions.

There's a propensity in human nature toward religion and a belief in God. Denying religion and the existence of God is not a simple matter. Nature abhors a vacuum, and that applies as well to human nature.

When you deny religion and the existence of God, that space wants to be filled — whence come environmentalism, Marxism, globalism, and all the other isms. But there's a problem with those religions in disguise. When you have no traditional god, you're left to become your own god.

Being your own god results in arrogance. Contrast that with Christianity. If you follow the Bible, you cannot be arrogant. The Bible teaches humility and gratitude, as do most other traditional religions.

The religions in disguise have nothing that compares to the Ten Commandments of the Bible. Those commandments are meant to make humans moral, humble, faithful, and honest. The religions in disguise pay little attention to morality and no attention to honesty.

Our country's founders were primarily religious and Christian. They were opposed to a state religion. The Constitution they created included religious freedom. That freedom is as vital today as the other freedoms — speech, assembly, right to bear arms, and freedom of the press.

The opening words in the First Amendment are "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Hundreds of billions of dollars have been expended by federal, state, and local governments because of environmentalism and the hysteria of climate change. And it's not just the money they spend. They do even more damage with the laws and regulations they force on us, such as trying to prevent us from enjoying the huge benefits of fossil fuels. Being their own god is not enough for them. They demand to be ours, too. Once we have exposed the religions in disguise for what they are, it will be game over for them.

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Religions in disguise October 28, 2022

Ron Ross Ph.D. is a former economics professor and author of The Unbeatable Market. Ron resides in Arcata, California and is a founder of Premier Financial Group, a wealth management firm located in Eureka, California. He is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma and can be reached at rossecon@gmail.com.

Friday, September 30, 2022

The unbearable miseries of Democrats

Democrats and the Left have a long and ever-expanding list of concerns: climate change, white supremacy, rising sea levels, non-organic vegetables, insufficient diversity, COVID, systemic racism, population growth, pronouns, Fox News, Donald Trump, and now, Giorgia Meloni, just to name a few.

Conservatives, on the other hand, have relatively few concerns, such as individual freedom, economic growth, law and order, secure borders, sanctity of life, the importance of families, and the U.S. Constitution. These are values conservatives have treasured since at least the founding of our nation.

There are also qualitative differences between the concerns of liberals and conservatives. Unlike those of the Right, the concerns of the Left are negative. Theirs are also without substantive foundations, clear definitions, logic, or evidence. They are unrecognizable exaggerations of reality. Compared to Democrats, conservatives are worry free.

The frequent additions to their long list of anxiety-causing concerns suggest that the Democrat Party suffers from a kind of collective attention deficit disorder. Democrats and the Left occupy a world fraught with peril, a world in which happiness is impossible.

The anxieties of Democrats lead to enormous costs for the rest of the population. Their hysteria regarding fossil fuels is one of countless examples. Their restrictions on drilling, fracking, and the cancellation of pipelines have caused a doubling of natural gas, gasoline, and diesel fuel prices. Partly because natural gas is the main raw material for fertilizer, food prices have also risen substantially.

The supposed threat of climate change is a favorite issue the Left uses to fan the flames of anxiety. It’s an all-purpose specter that has been highly effective in frightening millions, especially children. The Earth’s climate is an extremely complex subject, but Democrats conveniently ignore that fact. They abide by W. C. Fields’ famous dictum, “Never smarten up a chump.”

Similarly, COVID and the accompanying lockdowns typify the Democrats. It is now clear they grossly exaggerated the threat of the virus and abused it for the largest and most destructive power grab in U.S. history. They coerced us all to behave in absurd and repressive ways -- masks, social distancing, untested and dangerous vaccines, and horrible isolation. The fear of COVID resulted in many more deaths than COVID itself. The lockdowns were crimes against humanity. Those responsible should be punished as criminals.

The Democrat Party has until now been adept at exploiting fear wherever it can to increase its power and control. Individual and societal choices are better based on courage than fear. As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

The time is ripe to rid ourselves of the miserable fearmongers.

Image: ◼ Enough Project

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The unbearable miseries of Democrats At American Thinker

Ron Ross Ph.D. is a former economics professor and author of The Unbeatable Market. Ron resides in Arcata, California and is a founder of Premier Financial Group, a wealth management firm located in Eureka, California. He is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma and can be reached at rossecon@gmail.com.

Friday, July 29, 2022

The one point that can get people off the global warming obsession train



The dose makes the poison. ... All things are poison and nothing is without poison; the dosage alone is the thing that makes it not a poison.

—Paracelsus, 1493–1541, credited with being the father of toxicology


Climate alarmists play the "hide the magnitude" game. If they didn't, they would soon be out of business.

Politely ask a few of your friends how much of the air they're breathing is CO2. I've done that, and the typical answer, when I can get one, is twenty percent or more. (Most people have no idea and would rather not guess.)

Climate alarmists rarely talk about the actual quantitative composition of our atmosphere. The impression they give is that (1) a substantial part of the air that surrounds us comprises carbon dioxide; (2) that the proportion of carbon dioxide is increasing rapidly; (3) that the increase is primarily the result of human activity, mostly from burning fossil fuels; and (4) that if CO2 continues to increase, it's game over for humanity. Recently, the rhetoric has escalated from "climate crisis" to "climate emergency."

The actual magnitude tells a very different story. Carbon dioxide constitutes four one-hundredths of one percent of the air we breathe (or 400 parts per million). That is an extremely tiny fraction of the atmosphere.

What constitutes the rest of the air around us? Seventy-eight percent of the air we breathe is nitrogen, 21 percent is oxygen, 0.9 percent is argon, and 0.1 percent is other gases. The other gases include methane (0.00017 percent); nitrous oxide (0.00003 percent); and water vapor, which varies from 0 to 4 percent.

How can such a small magnitude of CO2 be dooming humanity? Furthermore, how can climate change alarmists be absolutely, positively certain that if CO2 continues to increase, it will be lights out for life on Earth?

During the Cambrian period 500 million years ago, CO2 constituted over 5,000 parts per million of the Earth's atmosphere. Then, 150 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, CO2 was 1,700 parts per million, more than four times what it is now. Life thrived during those periods. How can 400 parts per million be a threat to our existence?

Before humans started burning fossil fuels about 200 years ago, CO2 made up 250 parts per million of our atmosphere. It has been growing at about one part per million per year for the past 150 years. In other words, a very small magnitude is growing at a very slow rate. Is there any reason that rate will accelerate when it hasn't in a century and a half?

If the tiny magnitude were more generally known, people would want explanations. It defies common sense that such a small magnitude could be responsible for certain catastrophic changes. The least we ought to be is skeptical.

The catastrophists have not been asked to explain because they have successfully suppressed widespread awareness of the magnitude of CO2 in the atmosphere. If more people were aware of the actual percentage, there would be far less global warming panic. More people would stop listening to the doomsayers.

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The one point that can get people off the global warming obsession train at American Thinker July 29, 2022

Ron Ross Ph.D. is a former economics professor and author of The Unbeatable Market. Ron resides in Arcata, California and is a founder of Premier Financial Group, a wealth management firm located in Eureka, California. He is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma and can be reached at rossecon@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

There's got to be lots of Biden buyer's remorse out there now

The Biden administration has been a disaster from day one. All sentient persons know it, even those in deep denial.

Before Biden became president, our economy was humming along, as it usually does. To keep it working well, the main requirement was to keep out of its way and to keep bureaucrats and politicians in check. Joe Biden did the exact opposite and we're all paying an enormous price for it.

The millions of Americans who voted for Biden cannot be surprised about how it's turned out. Joe Biden had a fifty-year history of being an embarrassingly incompetent and corrupt politician. His voters were willfully blind to that reality. How many of them lament voting for him?

Anyone who voted for Biden-Harris enabled this disaster. We are now saddled with two and a half more years of deliberate damage done by this administration. The policy choices made thus far have been so harmful that even Democrats are looking for ways out. However, there is no obvious way to end the destruction until 2024, thirty months from now. A President Harris would just be more of the same.

Democrats and the media pretend there's still a possibility that Biden will run for a second term. There is no way that will happen, but they have to go through the motions so as to keep him from being a lame duck this early in his first term.

Democrats ought to be furious at their party leaders, and many of them are. Those leaders are responsible for Biden and Harris being in the White House. Joe Biden was supposedly the best they had. But he has been the worst president in our country's history, and all the other candidates would have been just as bad or worse.

For the past many years, the Democrat bench has been a totally uninspiring, unimpressive, motley collection of losers. Now they're even talking about having Hillary run again in 2024.

Relatively few voters actually voted for Joe Biden. Most voted from a basis of intense hatred — primarily of Donald Trump, but also of Republicans in general.

Why do Democrats hate Trump so much? The main reason is his effectiveness in defeating the Democrat agenda. They hate him because he's not a John McCain, Mitt Romney, or Mitch McConnell. They hate too the fact that he's not a wimp. Conservative Republicans love fighters; progressive Democrats love spineless weaklings. Trump is a plain-talking, take-no-prisoners fighter and the opposite of an establishment swamp creature.

Trump knows how to get things done. He got things done despite the most resistance ever experienced by an American president. Democrats lied about him and sabotaged him from the very beginning.

The Democrats got their wish. They prevented Trump from winning a second term, at least for the time being. To accomplish that they sold their souls. The party is paying, and will continue to pay, a high price for doing so. It is hemorrhaging voters. Democrats now realize that November will bring electoral carnage in its wake. One of the truest of all adages is "cheaters never win."
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There's got to be lots of Biden buyer's remorse out there now at American Thinker July 13, 2022

Ron Ross Ph.D. is a former economics professor and author of The Unbeatable Market. Ron resides in Arcata, California and is a founder of Premier Financial Group, a wealth management firm located in Eureka, California. He is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma and can be reached at rossecon@gmail.com.

Friday, June 24, 2022

The left's marching orders

The Communist Manifesto is a 28-page pamphlet published in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

It's not economic insights that makes The Communist Manifesto so popular, but rather the attitudes that it fosters. Its legacy has been extremely inviting to those with a particular mindset.

The founders of Black Lives Matter are self-avowed Marxists. Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the group, has said this about her and her fellow founders, "We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories."

If you read Manifesto, you will feel that you are reading the marching orders for the modern Left, that you are reading what all leftists have sworn allegiance to. It is virtually a complete list of their grievances — victimhood, religion, borders, the family, private schools, and private property. Marxism is like an addiction for leftists. The reason it has been able to do so much damage is that it has been so alluring to so many people for so many years.

The Communist Manifesto tells those people what they want to hear, especially those people who would rather blame society or the system instead of taking personal responsibility.

In common with today's leftists and progressives, The Communist Manifesto reflects attitudes of resentment, bitterness, envy, victimhood, and arrogance.

The Communist Manifesto is above all utopian. In his book Ameritopia Mark Levin reviews previous utopian literature — Plato's Republic, Thomas More's Utopia, Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan, and Marx's Communist Manifesto. Levin begins his book as follows: "Tyranny, broadly defined, is the use of power to dehumanize the individual and delegitimize his nature. Political utopianism is tyranny disguised as a desirable, workable, and even paradisiacal governing ideology."

There is a proclivity in human nature to believe that society and individuals are capable of perfection, that if we only had the proper economic and political system heaven on Earth would be ours.

The Manifesto contains no details regarding what would replace the existing foundations of our civilization. That's a common attitude among utopians even to this day. For them all that's necessary is to knock the pillars out from civilization (especially capitalism) and trust that everything will then be glorious.

As is true with modern leftists, Marx had a monocausal view of the economy and society. The demise of capitalism would mark the end of societal problems. His theories are perfect examples of wishful thinking or what is now referred to as "confirmation bias." Unfortunately, the fact that he was wrong about everything has not reduced his appeal. Marxism is a hydra-headed monster impossible to kill.

The Manifesto is almost comical. Marx claimed to have gotten to the bottom of history once and for all, e.g., "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." He asserted that economic structures determine virtually everything else ("dialectical materialism"). He maintained that he had discovered not just the themes of history but the actual laws of history. Knowing with absolute certainty the laws of history was supposed to allow him to predict the future with confidence.

Marx's objective in The Communist Manifesto was not to discover truth but to start a revolution. If you're trying to recruit an army of revolutionaries, you can't be mealymouthed. Being certain makes your followers believe they are on the right side of history. It helps as well to be simplistic, e.g., to stress that populations consist of only two groups, the oppressed and the oppressors. Marxism is a simplistic ideology designed to appeal to simple-minded people.

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The left's marching orders at American Thinker June 24, 2022

Ron Ross Ph.D. is a former economics professor and author of The Unbeatable Market. Ron resides in Arcata, California and is a founder of Premier Financial Group, a wealth management firm located in Eureka, California. He is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma and can be reached at rossecon@gmail.com.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Abortion: moral clarity can be a powerful force

There is no issue that divides Democrats and Republicans more deeply than abortion. It is, after all, a matter of life and death.

How can liberals, Democrats, and the left be such enthusiastic supporters of something that is, at best, a necessary evil? Why are they so protective of unlimited abortion and paranoid about placing any restrictions whatsoever on it? How do they manage to feel so positive about something that is so profoundly negative?

Although liberals give every indication that they believe that abortion is a virtuous and morally neutral act, they also reveal that they are not comfortable with that position. You will rarely hear liberals say they are "pro-abortion." They use various cowardly and misleading obfuscations such as "a woman's right to choose" and "reproductive rights." If they have any conscience at all, they have to be conflicted. If you've ever tried to have a polite discussion about abortion with a liberal, you know that it turns ugly fast.

The abortion enthusiasts have hijacked the word "choice." That word is far too general and anodyne to substitute for the reality of abortion. They're not "pro-choice"; they're pro-abortion. Why can't they just say that?

The very name "Planned Parenthood" is itself a grotesque fraud. Planned Parenthood is an organization dedicated to the prevention of parenthood, not the planning of it, either for the birth mother or for a couple eager for the chance to adopt.

Right-to-life advocates do not believe that the location of an unborn child is equivalent to ownership. An abortion is not morally equivalent to an appendectomy. There is no dispute about who owns your appendix. An appendectomy or the removal of a malignant tumor prolongs a life; an abortion ends a life.

A pregnancy is usually the result of a choice to have sex. Because you did, you now have another human being developing inside your body. The fact that you irresponsibly had sex with someone you were not married to does not give you the guilt-free option of ending the life you started. Roe v. Wade made abortion legal. It did not make abortion either moral or admirable.

Ronald Reagan said, "We cannot diminish the value of one category of life — the unborn — without diminishing the value of all human life."

It is not just unborn children who pay the price for abortion; we all do. The number of abortions committed, as well as the ho-hum way abortion is viewed, does more than anything else to numb our sensitivities about the sanctity of life. There is probably nothing else that has led to the coarsening of our culture as much as the occurrence of millions of abortions.

A debating tactic that liberals like using is to point out that conservatives are against abortion but favor the death penalty. They think it shows that conservatives are inconsistent and hypocritical. Their smugness, however, is undeserved. It demonstrates their refusal to distinguish between the guilty and the innocent. A fetus is as innocent as anything can possibly be, and an unborn child is not in any way equivalent to a convicted murderer.

For too long, Planned Parenthood has been getting away with the lie that it is something other than what it is — primarily an abortion provider and promoter. Furthermore, it discourages adoption. You may as well ask Dr. Kevorkian for pregnancy counseling as to ask Planned Parenthood. Pro-life taxpayers are sickened by the reality of their tax dollars being used to support such a despicable organization.

We hear the chant, "black lives matter." That's true, but it is usually in reference to blacks being killed by police officers. It would be good to keep in mind that the number of black lives ended by abortion is thousands of times greater than the number of black lives ended by police officers.

We who are saddened by the fact that over a million abortions are committed each year in the U.S. can fight back in a number of ways. Let's no longer let the abortion advocates get away with their rampant language cowardice and distortions. Let's vote for politicians who promise to stop public funding of Planned Parenthood. Let's vote for politicians who aren't afraid to speak the truth and say what they believe. Let's make it clear that abortion is not just another form of birth control. Let's make it absolutely clear that adoption is infinitely superior to abortion.

Moral clarity can be a powerful force.

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Abortion: moral clarity can be a powerful forceMay 10, 2022

Ron Ross Ph.D. is a former economics professor and author of The Unbeatable Market. Ron resides in Arcata, California and is a founder of Premier Financial Group, a wealth management firm located in Eureka, California. He is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma and can be reached at rossecon@gmail.com.

It just gets harder and harder to live free in California

Legislation passed by California's Legislature six and a half years ago (!) is finally being implemented. Its title is "California...