More Gorey Stories The biggest baloney goes unnoticed by the ever watchful press

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What
with all the budget shrinking, the downsizing, and the personnel
reductions, the news media apparently just does not have the time
or the staff to question some of Al Gore’s really tall tales.
They caught some of the small ones in the three Presidential debates
but seem somehow to have missed the really big ones. I hope that
my short essay here will help.

One
reason the public and the news media have missed these rather
obvious whoppers is that when something is repeated daily in the
news and conversations – as if it were fact – even sensible,
intelligent people fall in the trap of starting to believe it.
The following three Gorey tales fall into that category
exactly.

The Nonsense
about “Global Warming”

If
Gore could have his way, controversies of science would be settled
by the government. While scientists continue to question whether
there is such a thing as global warming and whether if there is
such a thing, is it good or bad, Gore’s expounds on it as if there
was not a shred of doubt about it – as if he invented it, you
might say.
What
is even worse, the news media addresses it in exactly the same way.
Of course, they know better. They are just going along with the
ruse for reasons that I haven’t been able to fathom. Possibly a
political bias, possibly profit motivation.

In
any case they haven’t checked it out, so I did. Here is what I
found on a quick surf around the internet.

First
off, we are only talking about tenths of a degree increase in
the last 50 years of so. When you look at temperature charts that
fluctuate over several degrees in a random way, spotting a tenth
of a degree change for say ten years is a bit tough to do. It
takes a little imagination, I suppose. That’s why all these stories
that the news media generously puts out about pools of water at
the north pole, swampy forests dying, and the Mojave desert creeping
over to Wichita, is so childish as to make one want to issue a
big Al Gore snort. We live in a scientific age. We can measure
temperatures to a thousandth of a degree. We do not have to go
out and look at the trees or see how much snow is on the roof
to speculate on the temperature.

And
that brings up another serious point – what do we mean by
the temperature of the earth? Does the earth have some sort of
orifice like a baby that you stick a thermometer up? I don’t think
so? Then what? The temperature of the earth on a given day will
depend on where you take the temperature and what time you take
it. I would assume they average thousands of places. But which
places? tops of mountains, bottoms of the oceans, on the sidewalks
of New York? Do we pick the same places today as we did 100 years
ago?

You
might want to look at the first three charts at John L. Daly’s
“Still Waiting for Greenhouse” site
at this point. The Goddard Institute (GISS) chart indicates that
the temperature has increase +0.6C since 1880, which they admit
about half was caused by the sun (oh, really?). The US Weather
stations from the 48 contiguous states, averaged together, show
an increase of about a quarter of a degree for the same time period
(Most annoyingly, the data shows a decrease since 1930! Apparently
pollution from industrialization and motor cars was much worse
back them). Finally, NOAA’s satellites which have been up since
1979, show no significant change.

For
more on this issue, you might want to read the book, Hot Talk,
Cold Science : Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate
by the
renowned atmospheric scientist, Dr. S. Fred Singer. There are
a couple of interviews of Dr. Singer online at WorldNetDaily
and The
Independent Institute
.

The Mythical
Budget Surplus

Al
Gore is enthusiastically joined by other politicians and the news
media in blowing off about the huge budget surpluses we have experienced
in the last couple of years, which are to continue into the foreseeable
future. There’s one big problem with this story: it is just not
true. The “surplus” was mostly created by an accounting gimmick,
declaring certain things to be off budget, particularly Social
Security (Warning! Do not try this in your own home!).

Fortunately,
we do not have to ask for a slew of professional opinions or take
Honest Al’s word, but can check the numbers ourselves. None other
than the U.S. Government has posted the daily National Debt on the
Web, calculated down to the penny! The U.S. Treasury Department
says that on September 30, 1999 the national debt was $5,656,270,901,615.43.
On September 29, 2000, they say it was $5,674,178,209,886.86.
Where is the huge surplus?

If
Gore gets elected, I’m betting that he will put these U.S. Treasury
accountants in a lock box and we won’t be seeing any more conflicting
numbers like these!

The
best site I have found on this subject is Grandfather Hodges “Government Trust Fund
and Deficit/surplus Report."

The Massive
Reduction in the size of the Government!

Yeah,
right. And I got some real nice ocean view beach property out
in Oklahoma I would to try to interest you in.

Government
has grown under the Clinton/Gore regime just as it has every year
since right after World War II. So, what is he talking about?
You guessed it, another accounting trick.

While
the number of low level civil servants may have decreased somewhat
in the last 10 years or so (actually, the number of non-defense
government employees has actually increased!), the total headcount
of people doing government work, including the U..S. Postal Service,
the military and the contractor personnel has increased. While
the federal government claims to have only about 2 million full
time employees, the total number of people doing government work
is nearly ten times that! And it is not decreasing by a long shot.

There
is yet another subterfuge involved – much of what was once
a federal employees job has been offloaded onto the states. So,
if you look at state employee growth, you will find it is growing
like a forest fire in Idaho. Take a look at my charts in my “Government Employment”
online essay and you will see what I mean.

Paul Light of
the Brookings Institute is the expert on this issue. You can read
one of his essays “The
True Size of Government”
on the web or you can pick up his
excellent and well balanced book on the subject, The
True Size of Government
(Brookings, 1999) and learn much
more.

There
are a couple of reasons for this massive shift to contractors
(even the National Institutes for Health, NIH, is now manned by
contractor doctors, I am told). One reason is that supposedly
private industry can do things cheaper. Second, Congress has a
lot of pressure to move as much business to private industry that
it can. And thirdly, the government seems to prefer that any real
work be done by someone else. They prefer to write contracts and
supervise. Then if something goes wrong, there is always someone
else to blame.

Well,
I could go on but there’s little point to it. If these obvious
lies are missed by the ever watchful press and the alert public,
then such things as his record on tobacco and his somewhat suspect
desire to walk to work will probably not be noticed either.

In
spite of all this, surely we can believe him when he says, “I
promise to keep my promises." Now put that in your lock box
and save it. You may need it.

Leon
Felkins is a retired Engineer, Army officer and former teacher
of Computer Systems. He now maintains a web page on Political
Philosophy, "A
Rational Life
", and another on the history of politics,
"Political
Almanac
."

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