The Incredible Pliability of Fact and Statistics

This week's report is about energy and the crazy things the President, Democrats, media, college students, and professors believe about energy and why their inability to acknowledge reality and understand economics and statistical evidence places us in  such great danger.

Do you believe that Presidents can affect the price of gasoline?

Well, sometimes the media thinks that he can and sometimes they think that, even though  he can keep the waters from rising and the climate from changing, he can't.  I'm talking, of course, about the disparate treatment the media gave George Bush when gasoline prices spiked to $3.51 per gallon -- even though he and Vice President Cheney tried desperately to override Democrat obstruction and increase production by opening ANWR, permitting drilling on the continental shelf, allowing the extraction of  oil from tar sands on federal land and slashing red tape on new refinery and pipeline construction. Back then they blamed Bush.

But the media don't think that a president and head of a party which have done everything possible to reduce domestic petroleum production are at all responsible when after those efforts succeeded , the price of gasoline soars to far greater heights (right now about $5.00 per gallon)under Obama.

Do you believe that sitting in the first two rows of burlesque shows causes men to go bald?  If you do, the AP "Fact Check" on the correlation of increased domestic energy production and increased gas prices is perfectly coherent.

Tom Maguire, I must note, doesn't share your acceptance of the AP's  oh so shrewd analysis:

Oh, for heaven's sake - the question is, does additional US production result in lower prices than would have otherwise prevailed?  If, just to seize an example, producers only ramp up US production in response to shortages and rising prices elsewhere, a simple statistical analysis such as done here will "prove" that more production is always associated with higher prices.

Well - Obama's energy plan calls for more investment in clean energy and increasing automobile fuel efficiency standards.  So we eagerly await the next AP "Fact Check" where they analyze the correlation of rising CAFE standards and clean energy output with gasoline prices.

My guess - since we have a record level of solar and wind output yet gasoline prices are also at a record high, the statistical correlation will be clear - all this "clean energy" investment has increased gasoline prices.  

And has the AP failed to notice that gasoline prices have been spiking since electric cars hit the streets and Obama announced stricter fuel economy standards?  Surely the conclusion is inescapable - this push for fuel efficiency is driving gasoline prices through the roof.

 Do you believe that Obama is able to repeal the law of supply and demand?

The President says cutting demand will reduce prices but increasing production will not, and that we are producing too much oil and gas for our own good.  Like me, Charlie Martin feels he's just not clever enough to sign on to Obama's way of thinking:

In the meantime, recently Obama has been on the stump, saying we can't drill our way to lower gas prices, because we can't expect that adding more oil production will drive oil prices down.

"Obviously, what we want to do is to get gas prices as low as we can, as quickly as we can, but the most important thing in order to do that is to reduce our demand on oil," Obama told WFTV. ....

As for Republicans calling for increased drilling, the president said they are not telling the truth.

"The issue here is not that we're not drilling enough. The problem is we only have 2 percent of the world's oil reserves and we use 20 percent of the world's oil," he said.

Now, at the same time, he's pushing various "green" initiatives which he says will help with oil prices by reducing the demand for foreign oil.  And now, he's planning to release oil from the strategic oil reserve to keep prices down.

So, if I've got this right, cutting demand will bring down prices, but adding supply won't, and drilling or building pipelines to add more production won't help, but taking oil out of the strategic oil reserve will.

Do you believe that the present Administration is not responsible "per se" for the half billion dollars they squandered on the failed Solyndra solar plant or is it the fault of Congress and the Chinese as Obama claims?

The geniuses at AP haven't yet to my knowledge "fact checked " this so I will. It's baloney. This is what the President said this week: (via Andrew Stiles, Washington Free Beacon)

"Understand, this was not our program per se," Obama said. "Congress-Democrats and Republicans-put together a loan guarantee help start-up companies get to scale."

APM: With all respect, it was a gutsy move I think to come to a solar facility. Your administration has staked a lot on clean technology, green jobs - the biggest item most people know about that strategy is, of course, a company named Solyndra, which your administration gave loan guarantees to, then went bankrupt and has been the subject of many investigations. Are you doing your 'all of the above' strategy right if that's what we have to show for it, Solyndra?

OBAMA: We are doing the all of the above strategy right. Obviously, we wish Solyndra hadn't gone bankrupt. Part of the reason they did was because the Chinese were subsidizing their solar industry and flooding the market in ways that Solyndra couldn't compete. But understand, this was not our program per se.

Congress-Democrats and Republicans-put together a loan guarantee program because they understood historically that when you get new industries-it's easy to raise money for start-ups, but if you want to take them to scale sometimes there's a lot of risk involved, and what the loan guarantee program was designed to do was to help start-up companies get to scale. And the understanding is that some companies are not going to succeed, some companies are going to do very well, but the portfolio as a whole ends up supporting the kind of innovation that helps make America successful in this innovative 21st century economy. Do I wish that Solyndra had gone bankrupt? Absolutely not. And obviously it's heartbreaking it happened for the workers who were there.

The Free Beacon and  Fact Check org think it's baloney, too:

Obama has previously argued that the Department of Energy program used to finance a $535 million federal loan guarantee to Solyndra "predates" his presidency.

That's an exaggeration of the truth, according to "Solyndra's loan guarantee came under another program created by the president's 2009 stimulus for companies developing 'commercially available technologies.'"

But there's a lot more to this bit of baloney. Earlier this year his own Secretary of Energy, the other gormless Nobelist in the Administration said in written testimony prepared for Congress:

"As the Secretary of Energy, the final decisions on Solyndra were mine, and I made them with the best interest of the taxpayer in mind," Chu has written in testimony prepared for his first appearance before Congress to answer questions about the failed loan.

"I want to be clear: over the course of Solyndra's loan guarantee, I did not make any decision based on political considerations," says Chu's prepared testimony, which was made public by his aides late Wednesday. "My decision to guarantee a loan to Solyndra was based on the analysis of experienced professionals and on the strength of the information they had available to them at the time."

It's also far from true that there were no political considerations in throwing half a billion dollars at the Obama campaign fund bundler. Hot Air reminds us why that claim is "false on its face." Ed Morrissey of Hot Air:

DoE auditors raised red flags on the Solyndra loan well before its approval, but got overruled by the political appointees, including Chu.  Not only did Chu approve the loan, the DoE also got Solyndra a sweetheart deal on the rate.  Even Solyndra's investors thought that it had turned into a risky bet, and the DoE was well aware of it at the time.

Taking "responsibility" is an empty gesture.  Of course Chu is responsible for the Solyndra loan; he's the Secretary of Energy, after all.  He'd be equally "responsible" if the loan turned out well.  We need to know why Chu and his staff overruled the auditors to push this loan at the same time that Obama bundler George Kaiser and his staff were paying visits to the White House to push subsidies for his company, and why the DoE interfered to keep Solyndra from announcing layoffs before the midterm elections, among many other questions.   Chu's responsible for those actions, too - but we need to know whether that responsibility goes farther than Chu.

Do you believe that Obama's rushing out to Oklahoma to stand before some pipes, claiming that he is cutting through the red tape on Keystone Pipeline when he has just denied the application for completing a 1, 179 mile gap in the pipeline establishes that he is making construction of oil pipelines "a priority"?  I think it's just an optical illusion   as does Speaker Boehner,  but Rush was able -- without much searching I'm sure -- to find media  representatives who believe that patent lie.

The President didn't change his tune one bit. He still thinks rising energy prices are the fault of Bush , the Chinese, you profligate SUV driving consumers for using gasoline, and Congress. He's blameless.

The truth is that Obama lobbied to kill the Republicans' effort to extend the  Keystone pipeline  and that he did so to assuage his rich environmentalist backers, people some wit (whose name I have unfortunately forgotten) now calls "Gang Green" and he  is pretending otherwise because the voters hate his decision.

The Gang Green claimed the gas emissions from the production and pipeline spills , not  their desire to  impoverish us, are behind their demands to kill the pipeline. These are the same folks who rush to publicize every oil spattered bird and look the other way as windmills make pâté of 444,000 migratory birds.  The Gang Green is proving the crony capitalists' best friends, aren't they?

What is behind this blinkered and unprecedented fight against petroleum products and waste of money on ineffective "green energy"? It is the even more idiotic claim that by doing so we can keep the climate from changing; besides a new rich vein of graft, it's based on a claim which is dubious.

If you read only one thing this week, it should be this fabulous article by Justin Pulliam.

Pulliam reports on Lord Monckton's appearance at an upstate NY college in which he educated the hostile students and faculty into recognizing the truth. Anthropogenic Global Warming is poppycock, on a par with what my friend Rick Ballard called "the Skydragon":


He moved on to show that the principal conclusions of each of the four IPCC "gospels" were questionable at best and downright fraudulent at worst. [snip]

Next, Lord Monckton turned to climate economics and demonstrated that the cost of acting to prevent global warming is many times greater than the cost of inaction. The example of Australia's carbon dioxide tax showed why this was so..[snip] Because this reduction in CO2 concentration was so small, the warming abated over the 10-year period of the tax would be just 0.000085 C°, at a discounted cost of $130 billion over the ten-year term.

Therefore, the cost of abating all of the 0.15 C° of warming that the IPCC predicted would occur between 2011 and 2020 by using measures as cost-effective as Australia's carbon dioxide tax would be $309 trillion, 57.4% of global GDP to 2020, or $44,000 per head of the world's population.[Emphasis supplied.] On this basis, the cost of abating 1 C° of global warming would be $1.5 quadrillion.  That, said Lord Monckton, is not cheap. In fact, it is 110 times more costly than doing nothing and paying the eventual cost of any damage that might arise from warmer weather this century. [snip]

Why had Lord Monckton bothered to deal with the science at all, if the economic case against taking any action to address global warming was so overwhelming?  Lord Monckton replied that it was necessary to understand that there was no scientific case for action either, and that it was necessary for policymakers and governments to realize that key elements in the IPCC's scientific case - such as the supposedly "accelerating" warming that had been arrived at by the bogus statistical technique he had demonstrated with a sine-wave - were downright false. [snip]

Another student asked, in that shrill tone beloved of environmental extremists everywhere, whether Lord Monckton was a statistician. No, he said, and that was why he had taken care to anonymize the data and send them to a statistician, who had confirmed the obvious: since the same technique, applied to the same data, could produce precisely opposite results depending upon a careful choice of the endpoints for the multiple trend-lines that the IPCC's bureaucrats had superimposed on the perfectly correct graph of 150 years of temperature changes that the scientists had submitted, the technique must be defective and any results obtained by its use must be meaningless.[snip]

I asked Lord Monckton what he had thought of the strange conduct of the professor, particularly when he had abused his authority by asking his students to assent to the correctness of a statistical technique that he and they had known to be plainly false.

Lord Monckton's reply was moving. Gently, and sadly, he said, "We shall lose the West unless we can restore the use of reason to pre-eminence in our institutions of what was once learning. It was the age of reason that built the West and made it prosperous and free. The age of reason gave you your great Constitution of liberty. It is the power of reason, the second of the three great powers of the soul in Christian theology, that marks our species out from the rest of the visible creation, and makes us closest to the image and likeness of our Creator. I cannot stand by and let the forces of darkness drive us unprotesting into a new Dark Age."


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