Friday, November 27, 2015

Pope Francis Pushes for Global Destruction through Overpopulation

"Countries are frequently pressured to adopt policies typical of the culture of waste, like those aimed at lowering the birthrate."
— Pope Francis in Nairobi, November 27, 2015

Pope Francis has excited the left-to-liberal spectrum of Americans with his "progressive" statements. Progressive, at least, compared to his predecessor, the neo-Nazi Pope Benedict (who was an actual Nazi as a teenager).

But while he talks of social justice, protecting the environment, and allowing divorced Catholics to receive Communion, he harbors the traditional destructive, anti-environmental and anti-woman culture of his predecessors.

If there is one thing that causes more global warming and environmental destruction, it is more people in the world. They go hand in hand. Apparently Pope Francis does not feel that the current population of over 7 billion is high enough. He is against lowering the birthrate, and against contraception and abortion.

Which means that in practice he is for global warming, for war (over resources), for the oppression of women, and for trying to keep the Roman Catholic religion alive by out-breeding religious and social rivals.

But what else could we expect from an organization that was founded by two masterminds of evil? Christianity was a loose confederation before it was given a top down structure by Constantine the Great, a mass-murderer and Roman Emperor fro 306 to 337, and Sylvester I, Pope from 314 to 335. Over time the bishops of Rome, styling themselves Popes, set themselves up as supreme leaders, in the process re-writing history and editing Scripture to support their claims.

The suppression of secular knowledge and freedom of religion were key to the success of Roman Catholicism. Violence was used to convert many nations to Catholicism, including Poland, Mexico, and the nations of South America. In many other cases a King converted to Catholicism and enforced the religion on his subjects as a means of tightening control on them.

After about 1500 the Catholic Church gradually lost its ability to kill everyone who disagreed with it in Europe. In the 1930's it made one last grasp at world dominion, promoting the dictators Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco and eventually Philippe Petain in their attempt to crush Protestant Christianity (including the planned conquest of the U. K.) and atheism (including the failed conquest of the U.S.S.R.).

Preventing people from having access to birth control creates poverty and lack of education, two keys to substituting Catholic bullshit for a modern outlook based on science and reason. It leads to environmental destruction.

As Catholic Popes to, Francis seems reasonable in contrast to Benedict. Where points of agreement can be reached, there is reason to work with him, just like it is with any political or religious leader. But beware of buying the package. The Roman Catholic package is a lie will continue causing environmental and human destruction until it is dead and buried for good.

Many American and European Catholics believe the church should change its doctrine on birth control, or even abortion. Instead of accepting this enlightened view, Francis is pushing a Dark Ages view, which is still favored by the bishops of Africa. He deserves thorough criticism for this mistaken and cowardly view.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

From Kunduz to Paris, with Love

No one wants to be an innocent victim of human violence. The recent attacks in Paris, Mali, Lebanon and elsewhere show that if nothing else is prospering in the world, hate is. But, if you can gain the perspective, these all represent small scale violence by weak players in the world's political and religious arena.

I just received a reminder from Doctors Without Borders about the tragedy at Kunduz. You may recall that Kunduz is a city of about 300,000 people in Afghanistan to the northeast of Kabul, not very far from the Tajikistan border. The Taliban briefly occupied the city in September. The "central" government took it back fifteen days later in October, with help from American troops and warplanes.

The hospital operated by Doctors Without Borders was struck by a U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship, an awesome weapon of war and successor to the AC-47 used to mass murder peasants during the Vietnam War.

Hospitals, as long as they function as hospitals, are never fair targets in war, the same as trucks and tents marked with Red Cross identification. For details on why the Kunduz massacre was a war crime, see Protection of Medical Services Under International Law.

This is not the sort of incident that happens by accident, nor do the circumstances around the massacre look accidental in any way. This is not a case of stray bullets from the AC-130 missing a legitimate target and then hitting some doctors, nurses, and patients. The Hospital Was the Target.

And that is the kind of thing that is controlled from the White House Situation Room. Whether President Barack Obama was actually in the situation room and made the call will probably become publicly available in about 60 years.

I have no sympathy for anyone who kills civilians, whether Presidents of the United States (or other nations) or freelance Islamists or any other political/social/religious group. So I have sympathy with the victims in Paris, and no sympathy for the perps, including the chain of command above them, right up to the Caliph.

The difference I have with most Americans [Trigger alert: prepare to be shocked by an opinion] is that I don't think the victims of American President Barack Obama (and the many war criminal President predecessors) are in any essential way different than the victims of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, or Osama Bin Laden, or for that matter Pol Pot, Trotsky, General Franco or anyone else. The government of the United States was established by violence; almost all governments are. It does not matter to me whether violence is used to establish a republic or an Islamic State, it is wrong because it is violence, and particularly wrong when it is violence against civilians.

In particular, I am not a fan of the French government. To me the French monarchs starting with Charlemagne, Napoleon, the French imperialists who conquered Vietnam and other colonies, Philippe Petain, and the leaders who recently bombed Raqqa are just slight variations on the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi theme.

The American people have no learning curve. They are not told the facts, and if a few people learn a few facts, they are swiftly swept aside by a torrent of daily woes. We could have learned a lot from the Somalia disaster, but most Americans don't even know there was a Somalia disaster, much less how American foreign policy and military stupidity drove that nation to disaster, step by step. Somalians can now choose between a corrupt and inept U.S. puppet government and an al-Qaeda aligned opposition.

Which is not much different than choosing between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. There was a time when I thought the people of Mendocino County, California, would find their way out of that trap, but with the Bernie Sanders phenomena, I see that too much marijuana and too-little fact checking, and thinking things through, makes escape impossible. Bernie has vowed to destroy the Islamic State. And how does that differ from every other power-hungry American politician?

It can be tempting to say that the victims in Paris were is some sense fair targets because they allowed their government to bomb Syria in the preceding weeks. This is the type of argument used by the British Empire and the American Empire during World War II to justify carpet bombing Japanese and German civilians during World War II. This argument leads to the excusing (by the perpetrators, anyway) of all killings of civilians.

Every nation should police its own government to prevent war crimes. George Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama and all their gang should be tried for war crimes and, instead of being hung by their necks like the Nuremburg criminals, spend the rest of their lives in prison. To some extent the American people are to blame for allowing the crimes. But our lack of power to change the system is really no different than the situation of those living under the Islamic State. Hopefully the governments of Syria and Iraq will be able to defeat the Islamic State, but will respect the lives of civilians. And spare the lives of any soldiers that surrender, as per international law of prisoners of war.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Natural Gas Solution to Global Warming?

Can Technology Save us from an Environmental Apocalypse?

Yesterday I heard about something of a technological miracle. A company that makes alternative engines for transportation vehicles (a Green Investment, if you will), reported that the State of California has certified one of its natural gas engines as being cleaner than electric car engines. Westport Innovations is introducing the "ISL G Near Zero (NZ) NOx natural gas engine" for medium duty trucks and busses.

"The engine was certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) in California that meet the 0.02 g/bhp-hr optional Near Zero NOx Emissions standards. . . Cummins Westport ISL G NZ exhaust emissions will be 90% lower than the current EPA NOx limit of 0.2 g/bhp-hr and also meet the 2017 EPA greenhouse gas emission requirements. CWI natural gas engines have met the 2010 EPA standard for particulate matter (0.01 g/bhp-hr) since 2001." [Westport ISL G press release]

Vehicles equipped with these engines will create less smog and greenhouse CO2 than electric vehicles. Why? Because electric vehicles must get their electricity from somewhere, and in California most electricity is produced from natural gas fired plants.

Natural gas is preferred to coal, for anyone wanting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because it has a lot of hydrogen in it. Petroleum gasses consist of molecules that have a chain of carbon atoms surrounded by hydrogen atoms. Burning hydrogen creates water. Burning carbon creates carbon dioxide. So burning coal, which is almost entirely carbon, produces more carbon dioxide per unit of energy produced than burning natural gas.

Most environmentalists, both of the ordinary citizen kind and paid non-profiteers, are very enthusiastic about solar energy (and wind). In theory solar energy produces no pollution of any kind. So in the ideal green world, solar panels capture energy, and electric automobiles and trucks would run on that energy. Most environmentalists advocate for moving to all solar and all electric vehicles as soon as possible, which would still take a while, given that solar currently creates only about 1% of U.S. electricity.

Of course the real world is more complicated than the imaginary utopias of environmentalists, or the imaginary utopias of climate change deniers.

While waiting for solar, let's think about the thesis of natural gas being better than coal. The first objection of environmentalists is that natural gas is cheaper than coal (the real reason coal plants are being abandoned in the U.S.) only because of fracking. Environmentalists hate fracking. They hate mountaintop removal for coal too. How does one fairly compare the side effects of natural gas extraction versus coal extraction? [a question I can't answer here]

You can see why environmentalists want to go straight to solar. But environmentalists are in denial about the complications of solar. The main active component of solar cells is silicon, but that has to be supported on some long lasting, strong material like aluminum or steel.

Producing a commercially usable solar cell requires separating silicon from silicon dioxide (sand or quartz) and extracting aluminum or iron from their ores. That involves huge amounts of energy, which comes from coal fired plants in China. It involves building massive plants to shape the raw silicon and steel into panels. Those plants are mainly in China, so the tons of panels have to be transported to the U.S. first by ship, then trucked to distribution centers. If they go on roofs it takes energy to life them up there. Even when installed they are not care-free. Cleaning them requires energy, and if they are covered with dust they produce no electricity. Also, they take up space that could be used for rooftop gardens.

Solar panels have high upfront costs. A single panel generates surprisingly little electricity. That is why it take years, perhaps two decades, for a panel to pay for itself compared to just buying electricity from a utility company.

That is no reason to not install more solar power. But it does bring us to the essence of the global warming problem: the size of the human population.

In The Martian the lead character says something like he is going to "science the hell out of the problem." I like science, I liked the movie, and I think we should science the hell out of the global warming problem. And other environmental problems like habitat destruction and lack of clean water. But the real solution involves the Secret Sauce.

Very few people want to talk about the Secret Sauce. I have noted that in the United States even the Green Party politicians don't want to talk about it, much less the Democrats.

The Secret Sauce is reducing the human population. Reducing it in California, in the United States, and in the World.

The science is available, but not the culture or technology, much less the political will. The science is birth control.

The governments of California and the United States encourage people to have children. They do that many ways, most notably through the income tax exemptions for children and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

We need a One Child Policy, to be in effect for about 3 generations until the human population has reached sustainable levels. 3 generations is 60 years, which should allow us to better understand what is really long-term sustainable for the Earth.

I believe in making such a policy as minimally coercive as possible. By eliminating tax credits for children, after the first child of a couple, we could probably get a good balance. Some religious crazies would probably insist on having more children than they should, but some couples (or singles) will have none, so it should balance out.

Our economic system would need some alterations as well, but then it needs alterations anyway. Average people could have a higher standard of living if there were less people competing for what little is left of the world.

Meanwhile, hurray for converting trucks from diesel to natural gas. Hurray for solar. But let's no be naive. The human population can be brought down gently and humanely, or Nature will bring it down in a crash. Talk about it. Ask politicians and environmental groups and churches about it. We are out of time. We we be far better off if we started a One Child Policy a generation ago. We have the tools, let's use them.