Posts Tagged ‘Alaska’

Global warming

It would take an encyclopedia to cover the global-warming debate. I will not write that much, but I want to go on record about it to an extent.


The phrase “global warming” suggests nothing more than a series of scientific temperature readings. But thanks to Al Gore and others, it has taken on a much larger, political meaning, namely,

The earth is rapidly getting catastrophically warmer because of increased burning of fossil fuels by humans and emergency laws must be passed to reduce that burning of fossil fuels to Nineteenth Century levels.


Is the earth warming? According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the temperature of the earth rose a total of .6 degrees Celsius between 1900 and 1999. .6 degrees Celsius is 1.08 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the total, cumulative 100-year change, not the annual change.

Like many, I wonder how they measure that, and where. If they use a rectal thermometer, my guess is they stick it in Mogadishu.

And excuse me, but how is a 1.08 increase in temperature over 100 years an emergency or even noteworthy?

‘Climate change’

After being embarrassed by numerous incidents of cold weather, the leftists changed the name of global warming to “climate change.” Now they get to bitch about and say “we told you so” in response to any weather other than average. My Harvard Business School classmate, Orit Gadiesh, is head of Bain and famous for the comment, “The average person has one tit and one ball.” There’s also the old chestnut that you can drown in a pond with an average depth of six inches. As any bell curve graph of data can confirm, if you get to use all data other than average to gain political power, you will be powerful indeed.

It’s always warming or cooling

In his book Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity, ABC 20/20 reporter John Stossel reproduces a graph of the earth’s average temperatures for the last 4,000 years. The so-called global warming about which Al Gore is so excited is a barely visible, tiny uptick just before the end of the graph. It is the smallest movement up or down on the 4,000-year graph. Earlier periods show much bigger upward and downward movements. They also show that the earth’s temperature has never been stable. The global-warming movement would have you believe it has always been stable until SUVs.

We did have a bunch of ice ages you know. The fact that they all ended indicates there must have been some big-time global warming back then, not just 1.08 degrees in 100 years. And most of that big-time global warming occurred before the human race existed, let alone before suburbanites began driving SUVs.

You can probably find the graph on the Internet. It is from the NOAA Paleoclimatology Program and World Data Center for Paleoclimatology in Boulder, CO.


What about the notion that humans caused the 20th Century increase in temperature by driving cars more and having air-conditioning?

According to page 202 of Stossel’s book, since half of the 1.08-degree increase in earth temperature came between 1900 and 1945, and the use of fossil fuels was low then and did not dramatically increase until the 1950s and thereafter, it would appear that the cause is not humans burning fossil fuels.


Liberals would have us believe global warming is scientific fact. If it is scientific fact, why is it a liberal/conservative debate? Liberals and conservatives are not scientists, they are political advocates.

When politics gets involved, facts and truth go out the window.

It has been well said that the green movement is really the red movement in a disguise. The red movement—Communism and socialism, class hatred, profit hatred, and all that—has been discredited by having been tried in numerous countries. One of the great stories of the last several decades is the collapse of Communist and socialist economies because it simply does not work, and the replacement of those economic systems with capitalist ones. Unprecedented capitalism-created prosperity now characterizes formerly socialist countries like Russia, Eastern Europe, China, India, and Vietnam.

The emergence of the green movement now is an indication that the reds never were in favor of prosperity to begin with. They just hate those who win when competition, not politics, is the criterion as it is in free economies.

So now they are claiming to be green to save the earth, just as they claimed to be red to save the “workers of the world” before. In fact, they were red, and are now green, to jerk around those who succeed when competition decides the winners.

Global warming and the wider green movement is just a disguised effort to establish government control of much of the economy—the same sort of government control that socialism sought, obtained in many countries, then lost because of its massive failures.

Columnist Thomas Sowell calls it “Global hot air.”

6/26/09 Wall Street Journal article

The 6/26/09 Wall Street Journal had an excellent article by Kimberly Strassel. It was titled “The Climate Change Climate Change.” It listed people who dispute the so-called “consensus” of scientists who agree with the leftists on man-made climate change. Here are the noteworthy persons and groups in the article who dispute the existence of man-made, deleterious, reversible climate change:

Steve Fielding, Australian Senator
Polish Academy of Sciences
Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic
89% of Czech people in polls
Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France
Claude Allegre, French Minister of Industry and Innovation and former global warming supporter who retracted that position
The new parliament of New Zealand which promptly stopped the country’s cap and trade program
700 scientists as counted by Senator Jim Inhofe (OK)
Joanne Simpson, first female PhD meteorologist who revealed her opposition only after retiring out of fear for her job
Dr. Kiminori Itoh, Japanese environmental physical chemist who contributed to U.N. climate report supporting global warming
Ivar Giaver, Nobel Prize-winning physicist from Norway
54 physicists led by Princeton’s Will Happer who demanded that the American Physical Society reverse its position that global warming science is settled
Dr. Ian Plimer, Australian geologist

This is not a comprehensive list.

Melting icebergs

Global warming advocates say the higher temperatures will flood low-lying areas of the world including the coasts of the U.S.

Let me be Mr. Wizard for a moment. Get a glass of water and add ice cubes until it is almost at the top of the glass. Let it melt, then see how much flooding (overflow out of the glass) occurred. As you will see, it will be zero.

Why? Laws of physics.

Ice is frozen water. When it freezes, water in the form of ice takes up more space than the water it is made up of. That’s why frozen pipes or soda bottles burst when they freeze. Icebergs occupy more space than the water they are made up of occupied before they froze or will occupy after they melt. That’s why ice floats. It is less dense than the water it is in.

Furthermore, the tip of the iceberg that sticks above the water is precisely the amount of the increased volume. In other words, when the ice in your full glass of ice water melts, even though the ice stuck above the top of the glass, it will still precisely fill the glass, no less and no more.

Like a boat, ice floats by displacing its weight in water. Since it is less dense than water, it goes to the surface. But when it melts, it becomes water again so it occupies precisely the same volume of water as it displaced when it was ice. Melting water changes (reduces) its volume, but not its weight. When it goes back to being water, it occupies the exact same volume as the water it displaced when it was ice, therefore there is no flooding.

This applies to all floating ice including the entire Arctic (north) polar ice cap. The north pole has no land under it. Global warming advocates say the north polar ice pack will entirely melt in future summers. Whether it does or not will have no effect whatsoever on sea level. All of that water, whether in the form of ice or not, is already in the sea.


Glaciers and other ice and snow that are on land are another matter. When they melt and run into the sea, the sea levels can rise. That’s because they were not in the sea at all until they melted. Antarctica (South Pole) has some land under it.


The global warming people keep talking about carbon. How many tons of it we awful humans are putting into our air? Carbon offsets. etc.


Carbon is a black powder. Charcoal briquettes are carbon. It’s actually used to clean air in gas masks, kitty litter, and to clean water in filters.

Global warming is caused mainly by water vapor (clouds) (Here is an article about that aspect of it. ) and to a slight extent by carbon dioxide. To talk about carbon dioxide as if it were the same as carbon is like talking about lightning bugs as if they were the same as lightning.

Carbon dioxide is an odorless, colorless, non-poisonous gas. Plants need it to thrive. It comes out of your mouth and nostrils every time you exhale. Dry ice, which is white not black, is frozen carbon dioxide.

By speaking of carbon dioxide as carbon, they make it sound like dirt. That’s dishonest.

Components of air

How much carbon dioxide is now in the air after 100 years of it increasing “catastrophically?”

Would you believe 383 parts per million? European leftists were forming the number 350 with mobs of people in late 2009. Why? That’s what they want the number of parts per million of carbon dioxide reduced to. Why? It’s an excuse to take billions from corporations and spend it on their pet, and not cost-effictive, “alternative” energies.

Air is about 78% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, .94% argon, 1 to 4% water vapor, and .04% carbon dioxide. See the Wikipedia article on it for more details.

If you drew a pie chart of the components, carbon dioxide’s slice would be invisible unless the pie chart were enormous.

Lawn watering

The same liberals who are now out to get carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere are the ones who live in the city and got my suburban neighbors and I to pay punitive rates for the water we put on our lawns. Those lawns convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. Those lawns remove carbon dioxide from the air. They remove “carbon” from the air if you want to play the “carbon dioxide = carbon” semantic game. Why are my suburban neighbors and I not getting medals for our fight against global warming instead of being punished for our cultivation of beneficial plants like grass?

Drowning polar bears

The claims that polar bears are drowning because they cannot swim to the increasingly-far-apart ice floes are ridiculous.

The before and after aerial photos showing glaciers moving north only show hundreds of yards or a couple of miles movement. The polar bears wouldn’t even notice such things over 100 years. Plus they are not going to sit on a piece of ice until it gets out of sight of all other ice or the main ice pack. That has always been a danger to them throughout their existence, global warming or not. If the ice is really melting, all it will mean for polar pears is that they move north at an imperceptible rate over decades.

The ‘right’ temperature

Underlying all the global-warming doomsdayism is the notion that the temperature of the earth in 1900 was the “right” temperature.

Says who? Based on what? Seems to me the right temperature, if humans are going to get into the business of setting the planet’s temperature, would be the one that produces the highest world-wide crop yield on land masses and the minimum need for heating and air-conditioning where humans live.

Go continent by continent. The widest mass of land in South America is between the equator and 15º below the equator. Here is the complete list:

Latitude of greatest width
South America equator to 15º south
North America 30º north to 70º north
Europe 45º north to 60º north
Asia 25º north to 70º north
Africa 5º north to 30º north
Australia 15º south to 35º south
Antarctica Forget about it. We’re not going to grow crops or live there

As this table shows, the greatest earth land mass is between 25º and 70º north. OK. If we humans are going to decide the planet’s temperature, optimize those latitudes for growing crops and minimizing heating and air-conditioning cost.

Would that, by great coincidence, be the temperature of the earth in 1900? I doubt it. Probably it would be a warmer temperature.

In other words, the earth would likely better off if it were warmer. Maybe not the Maldives Islands, who recently held a government meeting in SCUBA gear underwater. But then dopes who build cities almost at sea level, or below sea level like New Orleans, deserve the floods they get.

Permafrost turning to mud

On 6/2/07, news accounts said that some Alaskan village built on permafrost was having trouble because the permafrost melted. The permafrost turned to mud. They had to build wooden sidewalks and the houses were tilting because the permafrost had been their “foundation.” So move. That was a stupid place to live to begin with, not unlike locating New Orleans on the Gulf of Mexico and below sea level.

What’s more important, letting some strange people live in a village on top of a previously frozen swamp or growing more crops in Canada and Siberia?

Never give a date

Economists joke about their predictions that they frequently give a number or a date but never both.

The idiot global-warming advocates should have followed that con-man advice. But they have given a number and a date. They say that widespread flooding and disaster will occur in 2020. That’s just 10 years away. I expect we will be done with them then as a result of their prediction not coming true.

Global warming reminds me of the fall-out shelter craze of the 1950s and 1960s, the OPEC oil “crises” of the 1970s, and the millennium bug hysteria of the late 1990s. Its dupes are going to be embarrassed. Don’t be one of them. I have a couple of Web articles about the recurring prophets of doom in finance and other areas like food shortages, oil, population, and so forth at

Religious discussion

I generally do not get into religious discussions because there is no convincing the true believers to change their minds. Global warming is a religious discussion. That is, its advocates will listen to no logic or facts that do not support their position. But when religious nuts, whether they go to church or not, start to change public policy in ways that affect me, I have to speak up.

8/13/07 Newsweek cover story about us ‘deniers’

Newsweek used to be generally a great magazine with a well-deserved reputation. But global warming seems to cause yet another derangement syndrome and Newsweek is not immune. Let me just make some comments about the various call-outs in the article. A call-out is a brief summary quote as opposed to the main body of the article.

Newsweek statement Reed response
Swedish chemist quantified how much the earth was warming due to carbon dioxide emissions in 1896 chemists do not measure the earth’s temperature; 1896 science should hardly be a basis for Twenty-First century policy decisions
Senator Al Gore holds hearings on climate change in 1988 patient zero
an unnamed study says climate change was a factor in the extinction of Coast Rica’s golden toads “a factor?” That’s pretty weak. How sure are they? How much of a factor? What were the other factors? Should world policy be set by a Costa Rican toad? Species have been going extinct continuously since the beginning of time, including before humans existed. It’s not always our fault.
Science and Environmental Policy Project pursues a media campaign to discredit evidence of global warming And the liberals are not pursuing a media campaign to credit evidence of global warming!? They won a freaking Oscar for their media campaign!
North American tree swallows are laying their eggs an average of nine days earlier than they did in the late ’50s. The article does not say this is due to global warming or how the average date of egg laying relates to the late ’40s, late 60s, or late 20s. In other words, this is pure innuendo; a non-denial denial of the skeptics’ claims.
Exxon gives several groups that question man-made global warming $19 million over the years So? Plenty of money is being given and spent on both sides. If Newsweek had evidence that the groups in question were lying, they should have presented that, not innuendo based on some vague notion that Exxon is evil per se. And that Exxon-haters are virtuous per se. Exxon is being accused of destroying the planet. They need to defend themselves.
mentions record-breaking forest fire season and the hottest year on record in 1997 and 1998 So? The magazine does not offer any evidence or even a statement that either was related to global warming. More innuendo.
Heat wave in 2003 kills 15,000 people in France alone expected to become more common in a greenhouse world No evidence or even statement that global arming caused by man-made carbon dioxide caused the heat wave. Begs the question of whether there is or ever will be a greenhouse world. Just says if there is a greenhouse world, such events will become more common. That is a conditional, tautological (by-definition) statement. Left unanswered is whether man-made warming caused the heat wave. They simply suggest such warming could cause similar events in the future.
2005 Katrina prompts debate over whether hurricane was result of climate change More innuendo. No evidence or statement that Katrina was caused by man-made global warming. Absence of Katrina in 2004 and 2006 not cited as evidence of lack of global warming. It’s heads global warming advocates win and tails global warming skeptics lose. No matter what happens or doesn’t happen, it can be cited as evidence of global warming but not as evidence of lack of global warming.
Senators Olympia Snowe and John D. Rockefeller IV demand that Exxon stop funding groups whose public advocacy has contributed to the small but effective climate-change-denial myth. In other words, stop the heresy. It is not protected by the First Amendment. No longer any need to prove global warming. Any skepticism about it is now officially a myth. Since when do we rely on politicians for scientific truth? Obviously, their constituents believe in global warming and they want to get re-elected.
naysayers vs. consensus Over the years, the consensus said that the earth was flat, the universe revolved around the earth, trauma caused cancer, leeches would make you healthy by removing bad blood, Pluto was a planet, minorities and Jews were inferior, etc., etc.. Basically, the consensus has a poor track record and a bad reputation. Evidence is what matters. We do not take a poll to see what causes cancer.
aerial photo of 1,255 square-mile ice area calving off into the ocean in Antarctica in 2002 No mention of whether any such thing every happened before Al Gore got hot on this subject.

Newsweek also has an economics columnist: Robert Samuelson. Here, from his 2008 book The Great Inflation and its Aftermath, is his nice way of saying that global warming is dangerous bunk.

…an uncritical reaction to the possibility of global warming that may cause us to undertake costly policies that, in the end, do little to affect global warming but do weaken our economy’s performance.

He addresses global warming in detail on pages 237 to 242. He says about the same thing I do, although he tries to be more politically correct in his wording, I assume so he can keep his jobs at Newsweek and the Washington Post.

One of Saumelson’s summary paragraphs on global warming says this,

For now, anything that would sharply reduce the greenhouse gases requires shutting down large parts of the global economy…Measures short of that may be economically costly as well as ineffective. Only major technological advances can break the dilemma. Will we admit this? It seems doubtful. Our politics seem predisposed toward denial. We won’t admit the inconsistence, conflicts and simplicities of many appealing goals. We strive for the impossible and ignore the obvious.

And here is a general comment about do-gooders:

Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm– but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.

T.S. Eliot in The Cocktail Party, p.111)

John T. Reed

What Al Gore left out of his movie: the 800 year lag

by Dan Reed

Does CO2 have a strong effect on global temperatures? Al Gore shows a graph in his film An Inconvenient Truth where CO2 levels and global temperatures have a strong correlation to one another (based on the Vostok ice core samples). Both graphs are displayed on the big screen behind them, and he asks "Did they ever fit together?" Yes, Al, they definitely do fit together. He says the relationship is “complicated," but that the correlation shows that CO2 increases cause global temperature increases. That is certainly one possibility when you have a correlation, but it is not the correct conclusion in this case. If you zoom in on the graph, you find the exact opposite of Gore’s claim; the temperature change comes first, then the CO2 follows. CO2 changes in the graph lag 800 years behind the temperature changes.

"The scientists working on the Vostok ice core report that temperature changes PRECEDE changes in CO2 concentration by about 800- to 1,300 years." (

In other words, the earth gets warmer first, and that warmth appears to cause CO2 levels go up, not vice versa as Gore asserts. It would be like trying to tell you ocean tides are responsible for the moon’s gravity. Gore has swapped cause and effect. This is the same data from the Vostok ice core research that Gore uses. Search for “Vostok ice core 800 year lag” yourself on the internet to see for yourself. The scientists that collected the data acknowledge the 800 year lag. So the very ice core samples that Al Gore cites as his evidence for why human carbon dioxide emissions are causing warming, in fact, show the exact opposite.

Ice core samples show no evidence that CO2 causes global warming

This phenomenon of temperature changes causing atmospheric CO2 changes is explained in many places online including a British documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle. The short explanation is global temperature affects the solubility of carbon dioxide in water. In other words, when global temperatures decrease, the oceans dissolve more CO2, lowering atmospheric CO2. When global temperatures increase, the oceans dissolve less CO2, raising atmospheric CO2. The documentary also shows a much better correlation to global temperatures than CO2, which I will discuss below. (Go to timestamp 35:00 in the video to see)

What this means is the entire premise of An Inconvenient Truth is false. With a straight face, Al Gore shows you evidence that suggests heat increases CO2, but tells you the opposite. He just flat out lies about the details of the correlation that he cites as his powerful piece of evidence. The reason he gets away with this is because the x-axis of the graph cover over 600,000 years, so the 800 year lag is to miniscule to see with the naked eye. If you zoom in on the graph, the lag is clear.

You don’t have to be a climatologist to grasp the fundamental fallacy of carbon dioxide’s relationship to the greenhouse effect and global temperatures. As my father pointed out above, and the Swindle documentary as well, water vapor is by far the biggest greenhouse gas, yet most discussions of global warming never mention it. The Swindle documentary goes on to explain how so many scientists and journalists could miss such a glaring fact.

Most importantly, the documentary finds a variable that correlates even closer to global temperatures than CO2, and in the correct direction. Any guesses on what the variable is? SOLAR ACTIVITY. Imagine that. That big ball of exploding fire in the sky is the biggest factor.

-Dan Reed

Which candidate will bring ‘change we can believe in’?

This morning, 8/29/08, John McCain announced that his vice presidential pick was Sarah Palin. The Republicans were instantly energized, and they do not even know the woman yet. I read a 2007 Weekly Standard about her and I must say to those who do not know her,

You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Or to paraphrase Jack Nicholson’s Joker character in the Batman movie,

Wait’ll they get a load of her.

A comparison between the VP picked by “Mr. More of the Same” (according to Obama) and by “Mr. Change” himself

Republican Palin
Democrat Biden
would be 1st female VP
would be 50th male VP
44 at inauguration
66 at inauguration
executive experience
mayor (Anchorage suburb Wassilla, AK) and governor (AK youngest governor ever there and first woman governor there)
prior professions
journalist and commercial fisherman
radical change acts
Fired AK Public Safety Commissioner, fired AK Board of Agriculture, filed ethics charges against two prominent AK Republicans, signed biggest dollar veto in AK history, resigned as head of AK Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on principle to be able to denounce fellow Republican member who was behaving unethically (she could not speak out by law as a member, he denied it but later paid a $12K ethics fine). Stopped Exxon, BP, and Conoco from building an overly costly gas pipeline at taxpayer expense; got sales tax increase passed as mayor in state where voters hate taxes; forced resignations of two high Republican officials who behaved unethically; reduced her own salary as mayor and reduced property taxes by 60%; enacted new ethics law and stopped Republican-sponsored pork barrel projects; refused to use state money to fund Republican U.S. Senator Stevens’ “Bridge to Nowhere” when federal funds for that project were stopped; rescinded 35 last-minute appointments made by her governor predecessor; publicly criticized a number of Republicans who have since been indicted, fined, or pled guilty; opposed polar bears being classified an endangered species; vetoed a law that would have prevented gay partners from receiving spouse-type benefits; sold on eBay state jet used for governor transportation; gave birth in April 2008 to a son whom she knew from testing had Down’s Syndrome
none known
athletic leadership
fiercely competitive captain and star of high school basketball team that won state championship, a game in which she played in spite of a stress-fractured ankle
Won Miss Wassilla, AK beauty contest and thereby competed for Miss Alaska where she came in second thereby winning a college scholarship; was also voted Miss Congeniality in Miss Wassilla contest about as good looking as Al Gore and Dick Cheney, should keep his day job, but probably would have won Mr. Congeniality if he had entered a male beauty contest
Size of state represented
Alaska governor—population 670,000
One of two U.S. Senators from Delaware—population 853,000

Obama is all talk when it comes to change. He doesn’t have the balls to change anything, which explains why he never has changed anything in his 47 years (three more years old than Sarah Palin). The only change we’ll see if Obama is elected is the change of address he files with the Chicago post office.

By the way, McCain also showed that he is a lot better at keeping a secret (his VP)—a useful skill for a Commander in Chief—than Obama, whose text-message stunt fell flat coming out after the choice leaked.

Why am I comparing Palin to Biden? Compare her to Obama, who is quite clearly, utterly unqualified to be a governor, let alone president.

Republican Palin
Democrat Obama
would be 1st female VP
would be 47th male president
44 at inauguration
47 at inauguration
would be 47th white president
would be 1st mulatto (half white half black) president
executive experience
mayor (Anchorage suburb Wassilla, AK) and governor (AK youngest governor ever there and first woman governor there)
prior professions
journalist and commercial fisherman
radical change acts
Fired AK Public Safety Commissioner, fired AK Board of Agriculture, filed ethics charges against two prominent AK Republicans, signed biggest dollar veto in AK history, resigned as head of AK Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on principle to be able to denounce fellow Republican member who was behaving unethically (she could not speak out by law as a member, he denied it but later paid a $12K ethics fine). Stopped Exxon, BP, and Conoco from building an overly costly gas pipeline at taxpayer expense; got sales tax increase passed as mayor in state where voters hate taxes; forced resignations of two high Republican officials who behaved unethically; reduced her own salary as mayor and reduced property taxes by 60%; enacted new ethics law and stopped Republican-sponsored pork barrel projects; refused to use state money to fund Republican U.S. Senator Stevens’ “Bridge to Nowhere” when federal funds for that project were stopped; rescinded 35 last-minute appointments made by her governor predecessor; publicly criticized a number of Republicans who have since been indicted, fined, or pled guilty; opposed polar bears being classified an endangered species; vetoed a law that would have prevented gay partners from receiving spouse-type benefits; sold on eBay state jet used for governor transportation; gave birth in April 2008 to a son whom she knew from testing had Down’s Syndrome
none known
athletic leadership
fiercely competitive captain and star of high school basketball team that won state championship, a game in which she played in spite of a stress-fractured ankle
bench warmer on state championship high school basketball team
Won Miss Wassilla, AK beauty contest and thereby competed for Miss Alaska where she came in second; was also voted Miss Congeniality in Miss Wassilla contest, resulting scholarship paid her way through U. of Idaho, some resemblance to deaf movie actress Marlee Matlin (Best actress Oscar 1986 Children of a lesser God)
some resemblance to extras playing Somalis in the movie Blackhawk Down.

Dems instantly said Palin has no foreign policy experience. Let’s compare her to Obama. He lived in Indonesia from age 6 to 10 and he ate at an International House of Pancakes. Palin has also eaten at an International House of Pancakes. Joe Biden has been a member of a committee that sits around talking about foreign policy. John McCain lived in North Vietnam from age 31 to 37.

The only presidential candidate with foreign policy experience in my lifetime was George H.W. Bush (Bush the first) who was shot down fighting against Japan during World War II in the Pacific, ambassador to the U.N., Director of the CIA, the first U.S. envoy to Communist China, and two-term Vice President of the United States. That, “my friends,” is foreign policy experience.

Democrat candidates have lately been claiming they are more middle class than the Republican candidate. Obama made $4 million in 2007. His wife makes $310,000 a year when she works at the University of Chicago Hospital. McCain has never had a non-government job other than briefly working for his wife’s beer distributor father who was very wealthy. Joe Biden is one of the poorest U.S. Senators reportting a net worth in the low hundreds of thousands. Sarah Palin and her husband, of whom MSNBC immediately asked, “How many houses does she own?” may not own any houses. Her husband is a salaried union employee of Conoco. She was a TV sports reporter then a commercial fisherman with her husband. As far as I can tell, her only income is from her current job of governor of Alaska and she and her family are tenants in the house provided to the governor by the state.

Sarah Palin acccomplished more in her brief life than any of the other three candidates had by the same age, and more than Obama has yet. Other than seeking high office, he has never really even tried to accomplish anything substantive. She also appears to have the character of a real life verison of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the determined reformer played by Jimmy Stewart. John McCain has tried repeatedly to play his own version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and fancies himself as such, but he keeps falling off the integrity wagon. As far as I can tell, Palin does not fall off that wagon.

I am not sure how being middle class got to be superior to wealthy. Dems had no trouble with FDR or JFK being wealthy. But one would expect that claim to fame will now disappear from the talking points of the Democrats. Sarah Palin is not just posing as a member of the middle class like Obama whose main connection to the middle class was his pre-college life 24 years ago. Palin is apparently 100%, actual, true, no-kidding, right-now middle class.

I am not a Republican or a supporter of McCain. See my article on him at But I would probably support Sarah Palin for President.

Leadership lessons for the military from ‘Deadliest Catch’ reality series

Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch TV series

Deadliest Catch, not to be confused with Ocean’s Deadliest, the series that was filming when Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray, is a weekly TV reality series about Alaskan opilio crab fishermen now in its third season.

It began as a single documentary about what they described as the most dangerous job in America. It is about eight crabbing boats and their crews fishing for opilio crab in the freezing waters and harsh weather north of the Aleutian Islands near the Bering Strait.

What the military claims to be

The Deadliest Catch crews are what the U.S. military claims to be, but generally is not. They are competent men, plus some rookies whose competence is yet to be learned and demonstrated. They face extreme danger for weeks at a time. Men die and get what the military calls “wounded” and disabled. They work extremely hard and are bone weary from doing so. It is mostly physical work. They must work as a team. They have a couple of leaders: the boat captain and the guy in charge of the deck operations.

See my other articles on:

whether there is any such thing as military expertise

• so-called ‘elite’ military units like the rangers or airborne

military medals

process- versus results oriented managers

famed on-time, under-budget contractor C.C.Myers

our recent wars should be run by lieutenants and captains

is military integrity a contradiction in terms?

the U.S. military’s marathon, 30-year, single-elimination, suck-up tournament OR How America selects its generals

is the U.S. military as good at producing leaders as it claims?

Results-oriented entrepreneurs

The crab fishermen are also what I hold up as the iconic, best examples of competent men:

• entrepreneurs, not government bureaucrats

• results oriented—they get paid by the crab, not for punching a clock or looking the part or talking a good game

• well led by men who all have different personalities and leadership styles

• brave, but not awarding or wearing any medals

• judged entirely by their performance, not but their degrees, appearance, or what tickets they’ve gotten punched

Not winning recent wars

It is the military’s job to win our wars. They have not won one since 1945 other than Desert Storm where the enemy behaved in a way that our enemies have not behaved since Korea—sat in easily visible trenches out in the open wearing uniforms—and are not likely to do again. Our military has not figured out how to win wars where the bad guys rely on hit-and-run type operations and either pretend to be innocent civilians or hide in the jungle. Consequently, that’s about the only kind of war we will have to fight in the foreseeable future.

It is the crab fishermen’s job to catch crabs. They get the job done. They have to. They only get paid if they do. They only keep their jobs if they perform well enough for the team to succeed. The boat owners only keep their boats and businesses if they choose and lead their teams and operate their equipment effectively.

Look at what they do NOT do

You learn the leadership lessons from Deadliest Catch best if you focus on the things that the military does that the Alaskan crab fishermen do not. They crab guys do not:

• wear uniforms

• salute the captain or deck boss

• call the captain or deck boss “sir”

• award or wear medals

• march in parades

• get trained in special schools

• look the part other than by coincidence

• use leaders or men assigned to them by some bureaucrat thousands of miles away from the crab fishing areas

• get paid by the hour

• keep their opinions that are contrary to the captains’s secret from him

• kiss ass

• get free medical care for life

• get a pension

• fill out forms in quintuplicate

• say “it’s not my job” when something needs to be done and is not happening

• wear badges or any other indicators of rank

• get paid and retained for decades in spite of doing a lousy job

• get paid and allowed to keep their boat and business if they don’t catch crabs

• allow their equipment to deteriorate to “deadlined” condition

• get promoted on the basis of efficiency reports or the current theories of far-away promotion board members

• have a bottomless pit of taxpayers’ money to endlessly spend in spite of not catching many crabs year after year

• routinely sign false documents or lie to each other

• get transferred to another state or continent or sent to yet another school on average once a year during their careers

If the Navy fished for crab

And if the catching of crab in the Bering Sea were done by the U.S. military, they almost certainly would do something like the following:

• require 80 ships instead of 8

• use ships that were at least three times as big

• use ships that cost 20 times as much—partly because they were built with components from every Congressional district, especially the districts of senior Senators who were on the Armed Forces Committee or senior Congressmen who were on the Armed Services Committee

• use crews that were three times as big and whose main activity was going on sick call

• have new captains who had never been on a crab boat before every year or so on each ship

• hardly catch any crabs

• give daily briefings on how much progress they were making toward catching crabs in the future

• and Alaskan crab would cost $200 a pound at your local grocery

If anyone in the U.S. Navy doubts this, I have a suggestion for them. Pick your best eight guys or whatever it takes to staff a crab boat. Rent a boat and put them on it for a season of the Deadliest Catch, which is a contest to see who can catch the most crab for the season. I’ll bet they come in last and make fools of themselves. What’s worse, I’ll bet that many of the actual Alaskan crab fisherman are military veterans. The problem is not the raw human material coming into the Navy compared to the raw human material coming into the crab fishing business, it is the incentives, or lack thereof, in the Navy, not the people. Although the longer a person stays in the military, the more he turns into a bureaucrat. I doubt long-term career military people could succeed on a crab boat. Whatever work ethic and results orientation they originally had would have been washed out of them by the years in the bureaucracy.

See my Web article on process-oriented people (bureaucrats) and results-oriented people like the Alaskan crab fishermen.

Study the leadership and teamwork, but mostly the incentives

They should be studying the videos of Deadliest Catch at the service academies and elsewhere in the U.S. military. But more importantly, those who are at the top of the civilian leadership of the military should look at the incentives and organizational structure of the crab fishing industry and mimic that in the military. The details of how the crab boats are configured and the personnel and teamwork and the rest all follow from the combination of the incentives and human nature. The same is true of the military. Their chronic ineptness and sloth follow from their incentives and human nature. And now, from 50 years of the same, from their habits.

Former Navy SEAL

On one episode of Deadliest Catch, their “greenhorn” (new guy) was a former “elite” Navy SEAL. He was unable or unwilling to work for much of the trip—on a boat where they have no spare employees, so the others had to do his job when he could not or would not. The crew did not like him at all and he was fired or quit during or at the end of the trip. He is not necessarily representative of all SEALs, but as far as I know no other SEALs have appeared in the Deadliest Catch series, so they are stuck with him as their only representative.

I am a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran. My brief military bio is at my military home page,