William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

The Pope Is Wrong About Global Warming

ps

God bless Pope Francis. But he is wrong about global warming, and even wronger about “special interests” trying to keep global warming going.

The Holy Father knows a lot more than I ever will about the Catholic faith, but he doesn’t know much about the physics of fluid flow on a rotating sphere, nor is he aware of the difference between scientific claims about reality and reality itself. About these subjects, I know much more than he.

The headline is “Pope in Kenya: Francis Warns Against Special Interests Derailing Climate Talks“.

NAIROBI, Kenya — Pope Francis has warned that it would be “catastrophic” for world leaders to let special interest groups get in the way of a global agreement to curb fossil fuel emissions on the eve of make-or-break climate change talks in Paris.

This is not only wrong, but backwards. The only “special interest groups” to fear are those aiming to make a buck out of global warming, and those seeking to gain political power to fight the unbeatable. Which is to say, “climate change”: it is impossible—not unlikely, impossible—to stop the climate from changing.

Regular readers know that my total lifetime compensation for all the work I have ever done in climatology is in the low four figures, mostly from speaking fees (I average about one compensated speech per year). This wealth is not unusual. All the skeptics I know are similarly rewarded, though it’s true that some make less (yes, less). And all of us take it in the neck when we deal with the public. I’ve lost track of the jobs and opportunities I’ve lost because I’m a “denier.”

Contrarily, the government hands out BILLIONS—that’s billions-with-a-B—to those who support the government’s goals. Environmental groups rake it in from the government and—drum roll—from oil companies, who are more than generous with their moola in that direction. True, some coal companies have spent a comparative pittance defending themselves against baseless and ridiculous charges. This defense is taken by the weak-minded as proof that these companies are covering up deep global-warming secrets, in much the same way the deluded take denials by the Air Force that they have UFOs on ice as proof the Air Force is lying.

Take the appalling, immoral Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who was behind the move by the twit Jagadish Shukla to have the government RICO prosecute those who dare to speak against prophecies of doom. This offensive creep Shukla pays himself and his wife half a million dollars a year with government money to do very little except write letters asking for his enemies be prosecuted. Nineteen other big name climate scientists signed the farcical letter demanding their critics be tossed in the hoosegow.

If that’s not a special interest, I don’t know what is. This is only one of hundreds of examples.

Now for the science. The Pope can be forgiven for not understanding American power politics, for not fathoming how slimy leaders would lie, lie, lie, and lie some more in an effort to have their way with the world. But he ought to understand reality has not conformed to the thousands of predictions of apocalypse that have been made these past twenty, thirty years.

Global warming models stink. They are lousy. They cannot make skillful forecasts. They haven’t been able to match reality in a very long time, for some twenty years. It is well past the time to conclude that the theories on which the rely are broken. It used to be a fundamental scientific principle—it was part of the famed scientific method!—that when a theory didn’t work, it was tossed out. Now the opposite is true: if reality doesn’t match the theory, it’s reality that’s dumped. Or “readjusted”, but only ever in the direction of the theory.

I mean, really. Who is fooled by this? I’ll tell you who isn’t. Our dear leaders in Washington, who damn well know the truth. They know that storms have not been increasing, that non-existent global warming has not caused terrorism, and that none of the doom we have been promised has happened. But they don’t care. They only care that they that can save us. What was it Mr Obama said upon election? We are are the ones we have been waiting for. Hello, hubris.

Francis has made ecological concerns a hallmark of his nearly 3-year-old papacy, issuing a landmark encyclical earlier this year that paired the need to care for the environment with the need to care for humanity’s most vulnerable.

Francis argues the two are interconnected since the poor often suffer the most from the effects of global warming, and are largely excluded from today’s fossil-fuel based global economy that is heating up the planet.

Again, the opposite is true. Take cheap, reliable, efficient fossil fuel away from up-and-coming economies and you doom them to real poverty. Further, everybody knows this. There has been no global warming. Our best records, the satellites, show this.

The Pope declared it would by “‘sad, and I dare say even catastrophic,’ were particular interests to prevail over the common good at the upcoming climate conference in Paris.”

It would be sadder if we signed over to politicians even more control than they already have to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. That would really hurt The Poor™.

So why does the Pope believe all these demonstrably false things? Bad advice, in part. He cocks his ear towards fringe scientists who do not hold the best interests of the Church in mind, but who believe the earth is alive and can get sick (yes). Plus, the fellow who runs the Vatican’s science academies can’t abide being told he’s wrong. He also desires to please the world.

There’s another part, though. Any leader may receive faulty intelligence, but the actions taken on that intelligence are the leader’s responsibility. That’s the price paid to be in charge. The Pope ought to realize the full scope of what he is asking for. That starts by educating himself at least on the science.

Holy father, God bless you. I’m available for consultation any time.

51 Comments

  1. Our best record “the satellites?”

    Have you been reading the Washington Times? You really shouldn’t, ya’ know. It’s bad for your brain.

    NOAA satellites do not measure temperature. You know that.

    And this notion that somehow the anti-pollution crowd is just in it for the money while the fossil fuel business are just innocent victims is pathetic. No smart person would take that with more than a grain of salt.

    JMJ

  2. Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning. – Ecclesiastes 4:13

  3. The method is (1) pick an imaginary disaster, (2) gin up lots of concern, (3) propose solutions that involve taking liberty and wealth by the government. Step 2 depends on people accepting the statements of so-called experts. As the momentum builds, dissenting voices must be silenced or otherwise depreciated.

    This is a con on a grand scale. Truth isn’t a concern of the warmists, so arguing from truth isn’t ineffective. Pointing out that the models make lousy predictions won’t sway the mob or its leaders.

    Ridicule, satire, and other emotional responses are called for. We’re not going to reason people out of what they weren’t reasoned into.

  4. My enemies have struck. The second paragraph should read “…arguing from truth isn’t effective.”

  5. NOAA satellites do not measure temperature.

    Technically, neither do thermometers.

  6. Ye Olde Statistician

    November 28, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    the anti-pollution crowd

    But we are talking about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, not pollution.

  7. Dear Pope Francis,

    Warmer is better.

    If the globe were to warm up the slightest amount, or even a lot, it would be better for the poor and the rich, too. Warmer means more rain, longer growing seasons, more productivity, more abundance, more bio-diversity, more agriculture, more food, and more warmth.

    Most of our food crops are tropical (maize, rice, wheat,
    sorghum, manioc, potatoes, etc etc) and grow better
    where it is warm. Most humans live in tropical to
    semi-tropical climates. We are tropical animals by origin.

    In contrast, if the Earth were to cool even slightly, massive continental ice sheets would (again) crush and destroy all life in their paths.

    Please pray on this. Please ask our Heavenly Father to grant wisdom and understanding to His children. And if you must tilt one way or the other, please tilt towards warmer. Warmth is Love; ice is Death.

    Thank you, in His name

  8. No, YOS, you are talking about pollution. Whether you like it, whether you recognize it, whether you recognize that you are also talking about markets and geopolitics and all the vested interests all the way around, that IS what you are talking about. And now, for you conservative Catholics, you are also talking about morality. And there, the Pope is absolutely right. 😉

    JMJ

  9. Ye Olde Statistician

    November 28, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    No, …you are talking about pollution.

    What pollution was it exactly that brought the interglacial to an end, so that it has been growing steadily colder for the past eleven thousand years — with sproradic reversals. These reversals — the Minoan Warm, the Roman Warm, the Medieval Warm, and the Modern Warm — occur as spikes in the Vostok ice core data. The Modern Warm, a run-up from the Little Ice Age associated with the Maunder Minimum, was a 400-year upward trend that tracked with the growing solar activity as the Sun ramped up to a Grand Maximum. Starting around 1900, the Solar Max leveled off for about 100 years, and has been tailing off in the past two cycles. Astrophysicists, esp. in Scandinavia and Russia have been forecasting another Maunder-like minimum around 2030.

    Perhaps there is pollution on the sun.

  10. Let us see how to invoke the usual suspects (arguments more or less ad hominem) against the Pope’s non-cyclical support of CAGW:

    1. He is not a climate scientist!!! What could he know?
    2. He didn’t publish in a peer-reviewed paper!!!
    3. He is a fanatic bible-clinger!!!
    4. He heads a vast dark money funded empire!!!!
    5. He is anti-abortion!!!!
    6. He is an idiot creationist!!

    and on it goes. (This is humor, in case that point was not made clearly)

  11. Well, the Pope is a Jesuit and the Jesuits are all concerned about social justice, whatever that is. I think it is robbing Peter and giving the money to Paul and then bragging that you are a great humanitarian because of all the good things you did for Paul.

  12. YOS, you can be cute all you like, but I think if you were addressing the Pope on the subject, you probably wouldn’t be so adolescent.

    JMJ

  13. JMJ, the Holy Father needs more people to address him as (not like) does YOS, as would Briggs, rather than anti-Catholic warmists such as Sachs, Schellnhuber, Klein, Oreskes. What he says on climate change has nothing to do with what he should be pronouncing on (and occasionally does) on morals and faith.

  14. Sander van der Wal

    November 28, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    JMJ, you are the only one talking about pollution. Even an atheist like me can see that.

  15. JMJ, your avatar is smoking a cigarette. Now I understand the obsession with “pollution.”

  16. “I mean, really. Who is fooled by this? I’ll tell you who isn’t. Our dear leaders in Washington, who damn well know the truth.”

    Well, I can’t see into the minds of the boys and girls in Washington any better than our host can, but I doubt this is completely true. I may be wrong, but I don’t think the only reason folks like Chris Christie and Lindsay Graham believe “the scientists” is that they’re temperamentally predisposed to having the federal government acquire more control over our lives (not that they’re anything like libertarians).

    Me, I think the big problem in many cases is that a lot of honest people know the abstract concept of science but have little or no experience in dealing substantively with scientists; they don’t know how incredibly likely scientists are to get science wrong if it’s not something they memorized out of a textbook. They don’t know from experience that most scientists’ original work is likely wrong to a greater or lesser extent; getting new science right is too hard for most scientists, too.

    And most people don’t recognize that most “climate scientists” really have no grounding in the disciplines most relevant to the heart of the matter: how sensitive temperature is to CO2 concentration and how beneficial or harmful various levels of CO2-concentration and temperature increase are. Basically, most of them “know” only what they hear from other scientists, most of whom don’t recognize their limitations.

    In short, unless they dig extensively into the actual science, as opposed to limiting their research to speaking with scientists, their chances of getting it wrong honestly are high .

    As for the Holy Father? He’s a Jesuit from Argentina. Whom do you think he’s going to listen to?

  17. The following lists some confounding factors, and has brief explanations, for a variety of ways used to measure temperature above the ground: http://www.remss.com/measurements/upper-air-temperature

  18. Well, the Pope is a Jesuit and the Jesuits are all concerned about social justice, whatever that is. I think it is robbing Peter and giving the money to Paul and then bragging that you are a great humanitarian because of all the good things you did for Paul.

    You don’t know what social justice is? It doesn’t mean ‘robbing Peter to give to Paul’ (there is no thievery involved here). It is – among many other things – about making the rich pay their fair share, and not expecting the poorest within society to work ridiculously long hours for peanuts in a job they could lose at any instant (due to ‘outsourcing’), while they try to look after four children. It means no more tax breaks for the obscenely wealthy, no more ‘bail-outs’ for bankers, no so-called free trade deals that disadvantage practically everyone (except, of course and once again, the obscenely rich), and not treating the poor and homeless as though they are criminals (as they now do in Florida).

    As for the Holy Father? He’s a Jesuit from Argentina. Whom do you think he’s going to listen to?

    Two here who don’t like Jesuits. Jesuits tend to be far more intelligent and informed than your average Catholic, and that is probably the reason they strongly support social justice, as all decent people should. Indecent people become robber-baron capitalists who like to whine about paying 1% tax.

    Anyway, all of this empty talk about global warming/climate change/the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it has really, really gone way too far, and for too long now. It’s a joke, one that was slightly amusing back in the early 90’s, but which has now just become stale (not to mention extremely irritating). I vividly recall being informed about the very real possibility of a new Ice Age, due to something called ‘global cooling’ in the 1970’s. What convinced people back then that there was little danger of this occurring was the fact that temperatures started to rise once again during the 1980’s, and it has always been thus (i.e. climate change is cyclical in nature – we have our warm periods, and our cool – this has always been so, and will not cease as long as the Earth exists).

    The basic problem these days (unlike back in the 70’s) is that science education, and critical thinking generally, has deteriorated considerably, to the point of being practically non-existent in most people’s lives. People no longer understand how science actually works, as opposed to how they think it does, which is why we constantly hear about a ‘consensus’ of 2,500 scientists saying that global warming is occuring, but they fail to grasp the essential point that consensus is utterly irrelevant to whether or not a hypothesis is actually true. Truth isn’t determined by popular opinion, even if the figure of 2,500 scientists being in agreement actually were true (it isn’t, by the way). Even so-called popular science magazines, like ‘New Scientist’, now get the basics wrong.

    I really fear for our future, not because of some lame scare story about global warming, but because it will get to the stage where people will no longer even be able to fix their cars. “Internal combustion? What’s that?” ‘Idiocracy’ indeed.

  19. Sorry, I don’t know why it – once again – did this with my above ‘blockquote’. I think I’ll just stick with ‘cut and paste’. 🙁

  20. No, our leaders do NOT care that they can save us—they DESPISE us and hold us in contempt. We are nothing but a means to an end. Only the stupid believe they care and evidence is Americans may be a very, very stupid bunch. Perhaps Pope Francis thinks the same of his Catholic flock. It is entirely possible. (Hey! I hold the “TM” on The Poor!)

    JMJ: Thermometers don’t measure “temperatures” either. So can we discard those too? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE. Get rid of all this nonsense.
    Of course satellites measure temperature in the same way as ship’s outlet vents, mercury in a tube and electrodes in a digital thermometer. It’s all just measurement—and you’re arguing that a laser measurement is not equal to a tape measure is not equal to a yard stick. These are concepts and there are many, many ways to measure that concept and these are all equal.
    By pollution, you do mean the lies and drivel coming from the progressives, right? Conservatives are NOT pro-pollution, you can bet on that. We’d love to see a complete cessation thereof.
    Don’t know about YOS, but you can bet my addressing the Pope would be in the exact same tone I use with you and others of the same ilk, unscientific socialists.
    How would you know about smart people, anyway? I’m still waiting for that ledger that shows oil and gas oppose global warming and why DUKE ENERGY, the OIL and NUCLEAR people gave MILLIONS to the Democrats. Why the he** do these companies have wind plants and solar plants? So either put up or shut up. I’m tired of your blowhard nonsense.

    Peter A: You just described robbing Peter to give to Paul, not to mention class envy. While the government could do something about outsourcing, etc, the fact remains Americans buy cheap Chinese merchandise. Blame Americans—they paid for it and endorsed it. Loved those cheap prices and didn’t care that they were losing jobs until suddenly, reality bit. Sorry—again, stupid is problematic. Anyway, buy American if you don’t like the outsourcing and let companies know why.

  21. LOL! Sheri, you are, in fact, a vested interest of the fossil fuel industry. All of your opinions reflect that, one way or another.

    JMJ

  22. If we assume that CAGW is a “madness of crowds” and we want to stop it,
    we should study how other cases finished.
    Rather than addressing CAGW directly, we need a yet worse hobgoblin to scare people with.

  23. JMJ: LOL! You are a vested interest of the socialist, evil government monopoly. Your opinions so indicate. (And still not a shred of proof of any of your claims, indicating you are indeed an automaton of the government propaganda machine. If your life depended on proving ONE fact, we’d never have another comment from you. You have nothing. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen—we you here as need a bad example to keep us on our toes.)

    Richard Hill: Any suggestions? Briggs has asked what the next scare will be. We’re open to ideas!

  24. JMJ: Just a reminder—you have not gotten back to me on how your compost pile is doing, how your vegetable garden is doing, when the last time you bought a new car was, how much wildlife habitat you have improved this week, how much information on conservation you’ve given out, what earth friendly methods of heating you use (pellets, eco-bricks?), and what your shopping gene has lead you buy for the holidays (lots of new clothes, video games, new computer perhaps?). I guess you were just so busy complaining about others you forgot to do anything at all yourself……..

  25. Joe Born: your post reminds of a line from the old movie “The Big Lift”. A character in the movie, frustrated with Russian obstinacy, explains to the Montgomery Clift character that Russians will only believe what other Russians tell them.

  26. Richard Hill: It has been about three decades since I read Charles Mackay’s book on the subject, but as I recall most earlier “madness of crowds” episodes ended with the bankruptcy of the participants. As Herb Stein said, “Things continue until they can’t.”

  27. JMJ: Anyone with an appreciation of what the modern world offers has a vested interest in fossil fuels. There is no alternative to using them in the short term which is what belief in “de-carbonizing” the world demands. Nasty, brutish and short doesn’t begin to describe what life would be like without them now that our planet contains seven and a half billion people.

  28. ” It is – among many other things – about making the rich pay their fair share,”
    Fair is one of those vague and ambiguous words with no objective meaning. If you look in the dictionary fair has some 25 different definitions. When a politician starts talking about fair that means you better grab you wallet and hang on tight.

  29. Ye Olde Statistician

    November 29, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    making the rich pay their fair share

    In 2011, the IRS reports that:
    Top 1% of filings earned18.7% of adjusted gross income*, but paid 35.1% of all individual income taxes after credits**. Their average tax rate was 23.5% of their incomes.***

    The Top 50% earned 88.5% of AGI and paid 97.1% of all income taxes, for an average tax rate of 13.8% of their incomes.

    Botom 50%: earned 11.55% of AGI and paid 2.9% of all income taxes, for an average tax rate of 3.13% of their incomes.

    That is, roughly half of returns pay virtually no federal income tax.

    What exactly is meant by “the rich”? operationally, it usually means “someone with more money that me. The definitions of categories were:
    — To be in the top 1% you and your spouse had to earn at least a combined $388,905
    — To be in the bottom 50%, you had to earn less than $34,823
    (So if you earn more than $34,823, you are “the rich” insofar as half the country**** is concerned.)

    And what exactly do you mean by “their fair share”? It makes a wonderful cliche to take the place of thought. But the fact is that no matter how much someone earns and pays, he is always convinced that those earning more are paying less. Is it fair for the 1% to pay nearly a quarter of their incomes to the federal treasury while the bottom 50% pays only 3.1%?

    Notes:
    (*) AGI does not include income items like government transfers (except the portion of Social Security benefits that is taxed), the value of employer-provided health insurance, underreported or unreported income, municipal bond interest, net imputed rental income, worker’s compensation benefits, etc.

    Since 2001, returns with negative AGI have been included in the tallies, but dependent returns are excluded. Hence, data from 2000 and earlier are not strictly comparable.

    (**) “Income tax after credits” does not include the refundable portion of EITC. This is legally classified as a spending program by the Office of Management and Budget, so it’s not included by the IRS in the figures above. If it were, the tax share of the top income groups would be higher.

    (***) These are not the tax rates but the percentage of income actually paid on the average. The rates themselves are higher. For the top 1% this figure has fluctuated between 22% and 29% since 1986 when the present definition of AGI was implemented.

    (****) Filings are by household. Since lower income households are typically larger, they make up more than half the actual population. But since upper income households are more likely to comprise a married couple, they represent slightly more of voting population. Since modern couples now typically both work, their household income has become a larger percentage of total national income.

    Hope this helps.

  30. What JMJ means by “fair share” is no one has more money than he has. If they make $1 million and he makes $25,000, then the person earning $1 million has to pay all except $25,000 to the government. Then the government will give JMJ free health care, housing, etc but the “rich” guy can’t have that even though the “rich” guy’s income is now equal to JMJ’s. The “rich” guy is on his own as a punishment for making too much money and making JMJ look bad.

  31. to Sheri and K Kilti. Would CAGW fade into the background if there is a massive world-wide financial crash? A hotted up Sunni-Shia war? A total collapse of the price of oil? A super-Ebola health panic?

  32. Richard: World-wide financial crash? Maybe. Hotted up Sunni-Shia war? Probably not—they’d blame CAGW. Total collapse of the price of oil? Not sure—it would cause a glut, which would infuriate the greens, so it could make it worse. Super-ebola health panic? How super and how panicked?

  33. It quite simple really, without so called fossil fuels the world would, revert to fewer people working longer harder lives that are very short, difficult lives and the lack of inexpensive energy would bring back slavery. Slavery only ended when muscle power was replaced bu chemical power, generally in the form of burning something whether is was coal, gas or oil. That started with steam engines and has moved to gas piston engines and now turbines. To bad the AGW crowd does not under stand this or maybe they do and they figure end up as the slave holders again the left has never given up on that one they always be on the side of slavery, redistribution of wealth anybody, just any modern form of slavery, dressed up to sound good.

    As to the Pope as and ex-catholic I strongly expect when he dies St Peter wouldn’t let him in, you cannot be a leftist and end up in heaven since the ten commands are 180 degrees from what leftest believe, like thou shall no steal (wealth redistribution is theft) thou shall not covet, leftist covert every thing but mostly power. His AGW strand will kill far more people than it will every save, how he reconcile that one I don’t know. Like most AGWs he either to stupid to understand that or does not care!

  34. “And what exactly do you mean by “their fair share”?” – YOS

    Well, for starters, the loopholes that allow those who can afford fancy accountants to get away with tax minimisation need to be closed. Access to tax havens need to be closed off as well, as our very own Prime Minister (in Australia) apparently has money stashed away in the Cayman Islands. He has a personal fortune of something like $115 million, but he doesn’t want to pay tax. That’s just wrong.

    Taxation could be fairer, and more efficient and sensible in my own view, if there were a flat rate as there is in, for example, Russia, where is it 15 percent for everyone.

    I am neither an economist nor an accountant, but even I can see that the current mess we have is both unjust and unsustainable. There has to be a better way, and there is.

  35. Peter A: A lot of people in America would like to see a flat tax, also. Trying to engineer society via tax breaks just results in a mess. Flat rate wouldn’t be popular with progressives, however, because a percentage is not what they want—they want the rich to become poor because it’s not fair some people are rich. The rest of us can see advantages to just a flat rate for all.

  36. “…you cannot be a leftist and end up in heaven…” – Mark

    Wrong. In order to end up in heaven, you MUST be left-wing (ex. Acts 2:44, Epistle of James). Jesus was a communist, we all know this, but it’s really strange how the extreme, ultra-right like to go on about how only the rich will be saved. Utterly clueless people, they are.

  37. Ye Olde Statistician

    November 30, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Taxation could be fairer, and more efficient and sensible in my own view, if there were a flat rate as there is in, for example, Russia, where is it 15 percent for everyone.

    Then you advocate lowering the taxes for the very wealthy (in America. Don’t know about Australia) because the top 1% now pay 23.5% of their incomes in federal income taxes alone. Reducing that to 15% would be quite an increase in the amount of money that they can keep.

    Well, for starters, the loopholes that allow those who can afford fancy accountants to get away with tax minimisation need to be closed.

    Like the mortgage interest deduction? Who cares what loopholes they have? What percentage of their AGI is it “fair” to demand in taxes? If the top 1% earn 18.7% of all income, what percentage of total income taxes should they be paying? Right now (in America) they pay 35.1% of all federal income tax. Is that “fair”?

    The Australian Taxation Office (based on income tax returns from 2010-11 financial year) reports: the top 1% of individual income earners there paid 17.7% of the total income tax. So it seems that the US is much tougher on higher incomes.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/no-the-rich-dont-pay-a-fair-share-of-tax-they-pay-all-of-it/story-e6frgd0x-1226841174461

  38. Willis Eschenbach

    December 1, 2015 at 3:05 am

    A very nice balance between your religion and your science. Well played indeed, Mr. Briggs, and well written as well. Should be reprinted in every Catholic publication.

    w.

  39. Peter A: Have you been licking toads again? In what psychedelic translation of the Bible was Jesus a communist? It certainly was not any legitimate translation. Jesus said to give the government that which it asked for, but he did NOT endorse any form of government. NONE. Also, the “ultra-right” in America do NOT say only the rich will be saved. You’re rivaling Sylvain here for made up nonsense. None of what you wrote is true—NONE
    (I also disagree with Mark, however, since a Leftist can end up in heaven if they don’t lie and actually believe they are helping and their ideas don’t go against God. Yeah, that’s a big if, but then there’s the “saved by grace” part, where the actions can be wrong, but if you confess and give your life over, you are saved. I’m not going to argue which is true—just saying there are ways.)

    YOS: I personally think the mortgage deduction and every other tax break should go and we use a flat tax. Peter A may not have thought this through, but I have and I understand the mathematics of it. I am totally opposed to social engineering via taxation, and a flat tax is the only way to avoid this as far as I know. I want it all gone—marriage benefits, children’s benefits, ALL of it. If you know of another way to avoid social engineering other than flat tax (sales tax?) I’m open to ideas.

  40. Excellent points. Too many typos.

  41. “Have you been licking toads again? In what psychedelic translation of the Bible was Jesus a communist? It certainly was not any legitimate translation.” – Sheri

    Sheri, don’t be daft. The entire New Testament backs up my point, and if you don’t believe me then read it for yourself.

    Mathew 25: 31-46
    1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
    2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
    3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.
    4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
    5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
    6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.
    7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honour.

    Romans 13:1-7
    13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.
    14 You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.

    Luke 14:13, 14
    If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.

    Matthew 19:21
    24 You cannot serve both God and Money.

    Romans 13:1-7
    Submission to Governing Authorities
    13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

    6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    Epistle of James, 5:1 to 6
    Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
    [2] Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
    [3] Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
    [4] Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
    [5] Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
    [6] Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

    1 Timothy 6 also goes into the reasons why we should place no value whatsoever upon material wealth, but honestly Sheri, why should I continue to spoonfeed you here? The vast, overwhelming majority of so-called conservative Christians (an oxymoron if ever there was one) read their Bibles selectively, and leave out all the preaching about communism. The evidence is, however, as plain as day.

  42. “Then you advocate lowering the taxes for the very wealthy (in America. Don’t know about Australia) because the top 1% now pay 23.5% of their incomes in federal income taxes alone. Reducing that to 15% would be quite an increase in the amount of money that they can keep.” – YOS

    No, I did nothing of the kind. I was only using Russia’s 15% as an example! It could be, and perhaps should be, 30% (at least). I did not endorse any specific percentage here.

    “Like the mortgage interest deduction? Who cares what loopholes they have? What percentage of their AGI is it “fair” to demand in taxes? If the top 1% earn 18.7% of all income, what percentage of total income taxes should they be paying? Right now (in America) they pay 35.1% of all federal income tax. Is that “fair”?” – YOS

    I can’t comment upon what may be in the U.S., because I do not live there. However, assuming the percentages you give here are actually correct, and the top 1% ‘earn’ a grand total of 18.7% of all income, then I fail to see how you can not see that the ‘earnings’ (more like theft) of the 1% is grossly disproportionate, and yes, unfair. It should be taken from them, in the form of a higher tax rate, so if they are paying 35.1% (a figure I seriously doubt, and you don’t even provide a link to anything that would actually substantiate this claim of yours, which is suspicious in and of itself) then yes, this isn’t fair because they should be paying MORE!

    “The Australian Taxation Office (based on income tax returns from 2010-11 financial year) reports: the top 1% of individual income earners there paid 17.7% of the total income tax. So it seems that the US is much tougher on higher incomes.” – YOS

    I’ve noticed you quoted here from ‘The Australian’ newspaper, which is an extremely right-wing, conservative paper. I would not place as much trust in it as you apparently do.

  43. “I am totally opposed to social engineering via taxation, and a flat tax is the only way to avoid this as far as I know. I want it all gone—marriage benefits, children’s benefits, ALL of it.” – Sheri

    Why are you so stridently opposed to simple, common decency? I ask because I really want to know. Within society people make sure no one goes without, for all its mature and adult members know (as opposed to the grossly immature followers of Ayn Rand) that no one is a proverbial island, a law unto themselves with no need for anyone else. In order for society to even function properly we need to work together, not against each other, and we should never think that (for example) the provision of services for the mentally handicapped is somehow ‘social engineering’ and therefore ‘theft’ from those who see themselves as being more ‘worthy’. Many people, due to circumstances beyond their control, need assistance and help from the government, but you are probably one of those whiny people who, through pure dumb luck, weren’t born with a condition that prevents you from working (like I was, but I won’t go into that because it’s no one else’s business, and I don’t see the need to justify myself to people like you).

  44. Peter A: I have read the New Testament and I don’t see anything about socialism or communism. Matthew says render unto Ceasar and that God established authority. New Testament also says to not be of the world. Also, no mention of one type of government being better than the other. I guess based on this passage you’d consider ISIS to be God ordained. I think it’s a stretch, myself.

    Lots of passages on voluntary giving—nothing on forced giving due to government demands. Yes, an admonition to pay taxes as demanded, but taxes are NOT charity.

    You can’t serve both God and Money is not advocating communism, so far as I can tell. Serving money is not the same as having money.

    You probably can’t “spoon feed” me until you actually learn the meaning of the word “communism” and can differentiate it from “charity”. Conservative Christians is certainly no more an oxymoron than “progressives”. Since your understanding of language makes it difficult to know if you have the slightest idea what a conservative Christian is, other than your own little fantasy thereof, there’s no where to go with this.

    I am not opposed to “simple, common decency” as I understand the term. My guess is your definition is not the same as mine and you know that. I have never said we need to work against each other. My comments on “social engineering” WITH taxation is now interpreted as “what is done with the money” that the government gets? Really, are you sure you understand English. I never advocated not taking care of the mentally handicapped—put that toad down and pay attention.

    Interesting, the unusual BS from a whiney person who “was born with a handicap that prevents them from working” but not from owning a computer, spending time typing on it and whining. You know nothing about me, but I must be mean, cruel and evil because YOU said so??? I must be healthy, living a robust life without any problems because I don’t think handouts are helpful? Would you care to wager on that? It’s a fair bet according to you—how much are you willing to wager I have no health problems, never have been unemployed, etc? How much? Now put up or shut up. NOW. (Heck, I’m feeling charitable right now—want to just compare the last 12 months? Come on, put up and show you’re right and everyone is just mean and rich and has no problems if they don’t agree with you. Come on, prove yourself.)

    Really, do put that toad down. You might still quite drugs in time.

  45. Ye Olde Statistician

    December 2, 2015 at 12:25 am

    If the top 1% earn 18.7% of all income, what percentage of total income taxes should they be paying? Right now (in America) they pay 35.1% of all federal income tax. Is that “fair”?”
    I can’t comment upon what may be in the U.S., because I do not live there. However, assuming the percentages you give here are actually correct, and the top 1% ‘earn’ a grand total of 18.7% of all income, then I fail to see how you can not see that the ‘earnings’ (more like theft) of the 1% is grossly disproportionate, and yes, unfair.

    Whether their earnings are too high is a different question than what percentage of their earnings ought to be expropriated by the State.
    Raw data can be found here, but further computation is required:
    https://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats-Individual-Income-Tax-Returns

    You have not explained from whom (and how) the thefts were conducted. From whom, for example, has Jeff Bezos thieved? Or Michael Bloomberg? Consider some of the 1%, listed in the Forbes 400:
    http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/list/
    1. Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, Democratic funder, philanthropist
    2. Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway
    3. Larry Ellison, Oracle
    4. Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com
    5. Charles Koch, chairman Koch Industries, interests in oil pipelines, refineries, building materials, paper towels and Dixie cups.
    6. David Koch, VP Koch industries, runs chemical technologies division. Republican machers
    7. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
    8. Michael Bloomberg, financial data and media; lifelong Democrat, Mayor of NYC
    9. Jim Walton, Wal-Mart — affordable shopping for lower income folks
    10. Larry Paige, co-founder of Google
    11. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google
    12. Alice Walton, Wal-Mart, Chairman, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
    13. S. Robson Walton, ex-chairman of Wal-Mart
    14. Christy Walton, Co-Chair, Children’s Scholarship Fund, investments in solar panel maker First Solar
    15. Sheldon Adelson, Chairman & CEO Las Vegas Sands, Republican macher
    16. George Soros, hedge funds, Democratic fund raiser
    17. Phil Knight, Nike founder
    18. Forrest Mars, Jr., candy maker, yummy.
    19. Jacqueline Mars, candy maker
    20. John Mars, candy maker
    some selected individuals from the list.
    80. Travis Kalanick, founder of Uber
    94. George Lucas, Star Wars
    121. Donald Trump. big-mouth
    145. Isaac Perlmutter, Marvel Comics
    164. Steven Spielberg, movies
    211. Oprah Winfrey, TV shows
    the list also includes the founders of SnapChat, Airbnb, etc., the heirs of Estee Lauder, et al.
    Pretty much all of them are wealthy insofar as some enterprise started by themselves or their father has remained profitable. Should their companies no longer please and the stock collapses, so will their fortunes, except to the extent that they have diversified.
    David Rockefeller is an heir to a long-time fortune.

  46. YOS: Thanks for the listing. I saved it for future use.

    What Peter A means by “unfair” is he did make that much. That is always the definition of unfair—what the speaker did not earn, did not inherit or whatever. It means the “unfair” person made the speaker look bad and they are PO’d over it. It has not a whit to do with income or anything other than jealousy (which interestingly enough Peter A seems to have skipped those verses in the Bible. Conservative Christians are not the only ones leaving out whatever they don’t like, are they?)—class envy, the green-eyed monster, the “this justifies my theft of other people’s stuff” ideology (that is why the speaker never explains “theft”. Doing so would expose their own theft.). It’s all about failure made into someone else’s fault.

    Mark Zuckerberg now says he and his wife are “giving away” 99% of their Facebook shares so Peter probably now adores the man who did NOTHING to earn the money. Mark Z hit the lottery with Facebook, nothing more. Speaking of lottery, I must assume Peter does not approve of lotteries either, since the winner is unfairly rewarded for his ticket purchase.

    There’s no thought in any of this. It’s all jealousy, envy, anger and hatred. Nothing more. Never has been, never will be. It’s just something for those wanting power to exploit and with a bunch of hyper-emotive sheep bleeting for revenge, it’s an easy sell.

  47. “What Peter A means by “unfair” is he did make that much. That is always the definition of unfair—what the speaker did not earn, did not inherit or whatever. It means the “unfair” person made the speaker look bad and they are PO’d over it. It has not a whit to do with income or anything other than jealousy… blah, blah, blah” – Sheri

    No, I’m not ‘jealous’, if only because I know the type of person one must be in order to end up with more cash than sense (i.e. a sociopathic corporate ladder-climber, who sees nothing wrong in taking what isn’t his). I wouldn’t even know what to do with millions of dollars (or roubles, yen – whatever).

    “Mark Zuckerberg now says he and his wife are “giving away” 99% of their Facebook shares so Peter probably now adores the man who did NOTHING to earn the money.” – Sheri

    So you don’t like M. Zuckerberg. I don’t like him either, so hey, we at least have that much in common. You are right about the luck factor, and it is all too often overlooked by those who claim to admire people who become as famous and rich as he now is.

  48. Peter A: So a business man who starts a business and sells a bunch of what people want is “a sociopathic corporate ladder-climber, who sees nothing wrong in taking what isn’t his”? So much for honest hard work. I find it difficult to call someone who works 100 hours a week for years and makes millions a “sociopath”.
    There is a lot of luck in some people who are rich and then there are the Clintons, Soros, etc who truly are sociopaths, but there are many hardworking people who made millions via hard work. (What is interesting is how much you hate these people. They may have lied and cheated, as those I listed did, but why the personal animosity? That generally goes with a personal reason for disliking the rich and usually that’s because of them making you look bad or you want as much money. Yet you say you don’t want a million. It’s confusing. There are rich people I dislike but not because they have money—but because they are idiots who damage society. Poor people can do that too, so money is not the issue for me.)
    At least we agree on Zuckerberg.

  49. How so very sad it is … to see a Pope who is living in a ‘mixed up world of make believe’!

  50. “…there are many hardworking people who made millions via hard work.” – Sheri

    Name one.

    “What is interesting is how much you hate these people. They may have lied and cheated, as those I listed did, but why the personal animosity? That generally goes with a personal reason for disliking the rich and usually that’s because of them making you look bad or you want as much money.” – Sheri

    Now I’m being psychoanalysed. Maybe we’ll just have to accept the fact that we won’t always agree. Besides, this is supposed to be about the Pope and ‘global warming’, and how misguided the fools are who, in spite of the evidence (like the fact that the Earth has not shown any appreciable warming in over 15 years now), still believe as only true believers in a new, pagan Earth-worshipping religion, can. That’s the way I now see it: as a religion for secular humanists who cannot bring themselves to embrace Christianity because it is, in their minds, neither trendy nor politically correct.

  51. Peter A: Kat Cole

    No, I am not psychoanalyzing you—trust me, that’s not what psychoanalyzing looks like. I am merely observing that many people behave in a certain way for a certain reason. It’s surely no more “psychoanalyzing” than referring to the rich as “sociopaths”, something you had not problem doing. It was a matter of curiosity and is relevant to the Pope and global warming, as it pertains to motivations and attitudes toward money, all of which are being discussed.

    (We also have a friend who is a millionaire—by working 80 hours a week for years.)

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