Last Gasp Of The Global Warming Scam: Treating You Like An Idiot

On Thursday, new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box," and made a statement that has gotten a lot of attention.  The statement was: "I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so, no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see."

I would have said that that statement was just a rather obvious truism.  I mean, we have an enormously complex climate system, affected by literally dozens of factors, many of them hugely larger than us puny little humans -- things like the sun, solar wind, oceans, clouds, volcanoes, aerosols, multiple atmospheric "greenhouse gases" of which water vapor is the dominant one, tilt of the earth's axis, position of the solar system in the galaxy, and plenty of other things that we don't even know about.  And in the era of reasonably good measurements, world average temperatures (a poorly defined concept to begin with) have varied within a range of around one to two degrees, with the accuracy of measurement not much less than the amplitude of the variation.  With all that going on, does somebody claim to have the method to know precisely how much of the variation in temperatures derives from human activities?  To what level of accuracy?  Tenths -- or hundredths -- of one degree?  Really?  Where's the proof?  The whole concept is inherently implausible.  I don't even understand how Pruitt's statement is remotely controversial.

Well, needless to say, Pruitt's statement has caused a total freakout in the progressive press and media.  Kyle Drennen at NewsBusters has a roundup under the headline "Nets Freak Out Over EPA Chief Questioning Climate Change Dogma."    The roundup includes what Drennen describes as "hyperventilating" from the likes of Gayle King and Chip Reid of CBS, Michael Brune of the Sierra Club (“[Pruitt] should not be serving as head of the EPA and he should resign immediately”), Hallie Jackson of NBC, George Stephanopolous (Pruitt is “drawing some real fire for taking on the scientific consensus about climate change”) and Jon Karl of ABC, and so on.

But as usual, I turn to my favorite, Coral Davenport of the New York Times.  Somehow, this young lady with an English literature degree from Smith College has been given the job by the premier news outlet of progressivism to instruct you as to what you are and are not allowed to believe in the field of science.  In yesterday's edition, she has a long front-page feature on Pruitt's statement and the reaction to it, under the headline "E.P.A. Chief Doubts Consensus View of Climate Change."    As usual, it's the litany of blustery unsubstantiated statements from the regular enforcers of the official orthodoxy.  Excerpt:

A January report by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded, “The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.” . . . “The scientific community has studied this issue for decades,” [said Benjamin D.] Santer, [a climate researcher at the Energy Department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory]. “The consensus message from many national and international assessments of the science is pretty simple: Natural factors can’t explain the size or patterns of observed warming. A large human influence on global climate is the best explanation for the warming we’ve measured and monitored.”

We've studied this for decades!  It's the consensus!  Well, OK, where is the empirical study that quantitatively establishes that "natural factors can't explain" the observed warming, and that empirically validates the hypothesis that humans have caused x degrees of the warming (whatever x may be)?  Have you ever seen such a study, or even a reference to such a study?  I sure haven't.  And I've been looking.

What I have seen is the September 2016 Research Report by Wallace, et al. that demonstrates conclusively and empirically that just a few natural factors -- to wit, oceans, the sun, and volcanoes -- are completely sufficient to explain all warming that has been observed, leaving nothing to be explained by human emissions of "greenhouse gases."  The Research Report has been extensively peer reviewed and widely disseminated, including at this website.  No one has refuted it, or even made a serious attempt at refutation.    

In the face of the Research Report, it is just an insult to everyone's intelligence to keep on asserting that human greenhouse gases must be causing dangerous warming because there is a "consensus" and "natural factors can't explain it."  Either you can refute the Research Report, or you have nothing.  Needless to say, despite the wide dissemination of the Research Report, you will not find any mention of it in Ms. Davenport's article, nor at CBS, NBC, ABC, etc.  They just prefer to insult your intelligence.

Granted, the Research Report has some serious "heavy lifting" math, and is not for the [faint] of heart.  However, really, this is not that complicated.  For example, consider this chart of global lower troposphere temperatures from the 1979-to-date UAH satellite record:

Looking at this chart, here is something completely obvious and undeniable:  the recorded average temperature has seen several very substantial drops during this period, including a drop of almost a full degree C from early 1998 to early 1999, a drop of about 0.7 deg C from early 2010 to early 2011, and a drop of about 0.6 deg C from early 2016 to early 2017.  During this entire record, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has had a slow and steady increase.  So, does there exist some natural factor or factors that is capable of overwhelming the "greenhouse" effect of CO2 (if any) and causing temperatures to decline even in the face of increasing CO2?  Obviously, there is.  If so, how can we possibly know that human CO2 emissions are somehow the "dominant" cause of global warming?  

Now consider the following two graphs.  Both have been published by the people at NASA who are somehow the official guardians of our surface (land-based thermometer) temperature records.  The first is their 1999 graph of U.S. temperatures from about 1880 to 1999:

Here is the link to find this graph at the NASA website:  The graph above is Figure 6 at the end of Hansen's paper found at the link.  Now here is NASA's current graph of U.S. temperatures, starting at the same date and going through 2017:


And here is the link to find this second graph on NASA's website:  

Now look at those two graphs closely.  How is it that in the graph published in 1999, the years 1998 and 1999 were noticeably cooler than the 1930s, but by the time 2017 had come around, somehow 1998-99 had become noticeably warmer than the 1930s?  If you look closely, you will see that I am not making this up.  The 1930s to the late 1990s is 60 years of increasing CO2 emissions.  If temperatures went down, and for that long a time, how could it possibly be that CO2 emissions are the principal driving force in global climate?  It's completely obvious that there has to be some other natural factor or factors that overwhelm the effects of the CO2, if any.

So they "adjusted" the temperatures.  But the record of the temperatures prior to the adjustments still exists.  Hat tip to the great Tony Heller for doing the detective work to catch these people red-handed.

Thus you do not have to be a math whiz to understand that other natural factors, known or unknown, overwhelm the influence, whatever it may be, of CO2 on climate.  Just look at the charts above -- or dozens of others at Heller's website.  And when you read the output of the likes of Coral Davenport, know that she is treating you like an uninformed idiot.

Don't pay any attention to these people, Mr. Pruitt!  

Another Thing Not To Pussyfoot Around On: Cutting Public Housing Subsidies

Just a couple of weeks ago (February 20), I asked that critically important question that is on everyone's mind, "Which Will Collapse First: North Korea Or The New York City Housing Authority?"  The post noted that the new administration had not yet announced any plans for what to do about the debacle of HUD-backed low income housing, but that "if they focus on this a bit, it could all unravel very quickly."

The first indications that they may be focusing on this subject a bit have emerged in the past couple of days.  Yesterday's Greater New York section of the Wall Street Journal has as its lead headline, "Housing Agency Sees $35 Million Cut in U.S. Aid."   The "housing agency" referred to is the New York City Housing Authority -- NYCHA.  

My only question is, why is the cut only $35 million?  The annual HUD subsidy to NYCHA is running at around $2 billion.  It should be zeroed out entirely, and the sooner the better.  A cut of $35 million represents less than 2% of the current annual subsidy.  What is the possible reason for pussyfooting around on this?

To be fair, new HUD officials (unnamed in the article) do seem to have indicated that bigger cuts are coming, perhaps as soon as the upcoming fiscal year.  Bigger, but still ridiculously small -- less than 10% of the current subsidy level:

Citing conversations with federal housing officials, [NYCHA officials] said they were bracing for additional cuts that could be far greater, and total $150 million. Shola Olatoye, the agency’s chief executive officer, said a reduction of that size would be devastating.  “The direction we’re moving in is one where public housing is drastically different or doesn’t exist,” she said. “The progress we have made over the course of the last three years—it’s not that it’s at risk. It evaporates.”

I have no idea what Ms. Olatoye is referring to as "progress" at NYCHA.  There is no respect in which NYCHA is not an unmitigated disaster.  A fair description of it is a socialist-model scheme whereby local New York politicians use billions of dollars of federal handouts to trap hundreds of thousands of people into lifetimes of poverty and dependency.  Like all socialist-model economic schemes, it has been in a decreasing-productivity death spiral essentially ever since it started, and is kept alive only by subsidies from productive (capitalist) economic activities.  The subsidies must constantly increase in order to keep the death spiral from playing out to its crash.

Have ever wondered how the wealthiest county in the United States, New York County (Manhattan), can have a reported "poverty" rate well above the national average (21% versus 13.5%, although the most recent Manhattan rate is from 2013)?  NYCHA is the biggest piece of the explanation.  In essence the business of NYCHA is to subsidize people with an irresistible offer of gigantically subsidized rent in return for their commitment to stay poor and dependent.  The magnitude of the subsidies in Manhattan, if measured by the market values of apartments often next door or across the street, literally boggles the mind.  In the most extreme of many extreme examples, a nearly three mile long stretch of the waterfront of the Lower East Side of Manhattan is lined, with very few breaks, with close to 100 NYCHA buildings.  Directly across the island, on the Lower West Side, there is a highly comparable stretch of waterfront, but this stretch has a row of gleaming new condos.  The Lower West Side waterfront condos sell for at least $3000 per square foot, or something like $3 - 5 million for a standard two bedroom apartment.  To rent one of these waterfront apartments would cost you around $10,000 per month.  On the Lower East Side, rent in the NYCHA projects averages about $500 per month.  Thus the rent subsidy is in the range of $9000+ per month per family, well over $100,000 per year.  And yet after this enormous taxpayer giveaway, the NYCHA residents have no spendable income to show for it, and the majority of them are classified as "poor."  And the Lower East Side NYCHA projects are just one example among many now located in top-priced areas.  Other such enormously valuable projects can be found in the Chelsea neighborhood, in West Midtown (right next to the "Trump Place" development!), and immediately adjacent to the Upper East Side.

And I've just begun to describe the magnitude of the NYCHA disaster.  In a report that NYCHA put out in mid-2015, it declared that it had a backlog of some $17 billion of necessary capital maintenance projects, with no source of the funds anywhere on the horizon.  Apparently, when they built these things 30 - 60 years ago, nobody thought that they might ever need major upgrades.  NYCHA pays no property taxes on its projects, which house about 6% of New York City residents.  The crime rate in NYCHA projects is about four times higher than that for the city as a whole.  That's what dependency and hopelessness will do to the human spirit.

The federal government has the power to put NYCHA completely out of its misery by the simple expedient of zeroing out the subsidy.  To cut NYCHA's annual subsidy by 2%, or even 10%, will just prolong the misery.  NYCHA will continue to limp along in an increasingly-desperate situation, hands out to beg from the state and local taxpayers, buildings crumbling, and residents with nowhere to go.  The closest analogies in today's world are North Korea and Venezuela.

But if the subsidies are zeroed out, then the jig is up.  NYCHA will be forced into immediate drastic restructuring or exit from this unsustainable business.  The obvious strategy is to give away the projects to the residents.  Of course, this would be the best thing that could ever happen to the residents.  Thousands would become instant multi-millionaires, and tens of thousands instant millionaires.  They could sell the apartments, rent them out, or borrow against them.  The funds for renovation and upgrade would magically appear.  The need for taxpayer subsidies would go away.

Please, please don't pussyfoot around on this one!


President Trump: Don't Pussyfoot Around On Climate Policy!

One of President Trump's unequivocal campaign promises was to pull out of President Obama's Paris Climate Agreement.  Now there is talk that he is going squishy.  Trump going squishy?  And on this issue of all things?

Climate propagandist Coral Davenport has a report in the New York Times on March 2, headline "Trump Advisors Are Split on Paris Agreement on Climate Change."    The advisors advising Trump to stick with the Paris Agreement are said to include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, First Daughter Ivanka Trump, and of course the Washington Blob of career diplomats.  Tillerson -- wasn't he the very embodiment of evil in his role as CEO of ExxonMobil until just a few weeks ago?  Here's how Davenport articulates the position allegedly now advocated by Tillerson et al.:

[Ivanka] Trump, Mr. Tillerson, and a slew of foreign policy advisers and career diplomats who argue that the fallout of withdrawing from the accord could be severe, undercutting the United States’ credibility on other foreign policy issues and damaging relations with key allies. . . . Foreign policy experts say withdrawing from Paris would have far greater diplomatic consequences than President George W. Bush’s withdrawal from the world’s first global climate-change accord, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.  “I think it would be a major mistake, even a historic mistake, to disavow the Paris deal,” said R. Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and under secretary of state under Mr. Bush.  "In international politics, trust, reliability and keeping your commitments — that’s a big part of how other countries view our country,” Mr. Burns said.

Really, is this the best they've got?  "Undermining the United States' credibility" and "damaging relations with key allies"?  Under the Paris Agreement, the United States will supposedly cut its "carbon emissions" by 26 to 28% by 2025.  That's only eight years away.  The only mechanism that might actually work that has ever been proposed for achieving such drastic reductions would be to multiply the cost of electricity and gasoline to such a high level that American citizens will become hugely poorer and will be stuck shivering in the dark at home.  China's side of the "agreement" is to continue increasing its carbon emissions by as much as it feels like through 2030, and then (when it thinks it will have fully electrified the countryside and everybody will have cars and its emissions will be about triple ours) maybe leveling off, unless it changes its mind.  (As usual for a Davenport article, she just brazenly lies about China's supposed commitments:  "[T]he Paris agreement includes commitments from every nation, rich and poor, to cut emissions, including China and India, the world’s largest and third-largest polluters."  Fake news, anyone?)  Among all people who are actually awake, this "agreement" makes the United States a laughingstock.  The representatives of the other countries were all giggling behind Obama's back when he signed off on this.  The guys from China and India must have split a gut.  OK, many of the representatives from Europe were likely exceptions.  They are also laughingstocks.

And what exactly is this supposedly "severe fallout"?  That other countries will suddenly realize that we are no longer so stupid that we will cripple our economy for no purpose?  In what way is our failing to decrease carbon emissions drastically over the next eight years even something that other countries care about?  Maybe because they were planning to move in on our export markets as we stupidly priced our exporters out of business?  Why do we owe them that?  I say let's go for the "severe fallout"!

James Delingpole, now working at Breitbart, has a somewhat different take:

Man-made global warming is evidently and demonstrably not a problem.  The people who pretend otherwise are crooks, liars, idiots or shills.  CO2 does far more good than harm.  Fossil fuels aren’t running out – especially not now we’ve discovered the game-changing technology of hydraulic fracturing – and are the ideal solution to our energy needs.  Renewables are a waste of everyone’s time – and always will be.

There is copious evidence to support all these statements and it’s really about time those of us on the winning side of the argument stopped pussyfooting around and apologising for being 100 per cent right. That should include everyone in the Trump administration.  No more cautious speeches equivocating as to whether carbon dioxide is a problem or not, and whether we ought to have more renewables in the mix.  This is a revolution; we’ve got truth and justice on our side. . . .  

I could quibble with a few things there.  For example, renewables are not just a "waste of everyone's time"; instead, they are a tool of impoverishment for the masses and enrichment for a handful of well-connected crony capitalists.  But overall, amen!    


People Don't Pay Any Attention To The Busybodies

On the New York subway these days, they have endless automated announcements about anything you might imagine.  Of course the result is that nobody pays any attention whatsoever.

Riding home last night about 10 PM, an announcement came on that said "Protect your belongings.  Keep your cellphone out of sight."  Here was the scene in my car at the time.

I realized that, in about a third of one car, I was looking at at least half a dozen people doing something or other on their cell phones.  (You may have to enlarge this picture some to spot them all.)  Not one of them paid any attention to the announcement.  They all kept doing exactly what they had been doing.  So I took out my own cell phone and snapped the picture.  Good job busybodies!  

The Airbnb Racial Divide: What's Your Take?

There's a site called "Inside Airbnb" that collects and publicizes data about Airbnb activity and usage in cities around the world.  Its take on Airbnb is generally highly critical.  Founder Murray Cox describes himself as "an independent digital storyteller, community activist and technologist."

A few days ago this site came out with a Report on Airbnb in New York City titled "The Face of Airbnb, New York City."  The subtitle is "Airbnb as a Racial Gentrification Tool."  I am interested on the reaction of readers to the issues raised by this Report.

As background, you undoubtedly know or suspect that there are a large number of predominantly black neighborhoods in New York City.  For this Report, Inside Airbnb counts 72 of them.  While some of those neighborhoods are rather gritty, many of them are quite beautiful.  Examples of the latter include much of Harlem in Manhattan (excluding its public housing projects), and places like Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn.  The website 6sqft, covering the Inside Airbnb Report, includes this picture of a typical block in Bed-Stuy:

Now that these neighborhoods have become quite safe, Airbnb would seem to be a perfect income-making opportunity for the legions of black homeowners.  The houses -- many purchased decades ago for under $100,000 -- now go for $1 million and up; but of course the homeowner can't get the mil without selling and moving.  Airbnb offers the chance to get some considerable income while staying put, and also not having to deal with long-term tenants.

So what is the take of Inside Airbnb?  You can guess it from that subtitle ("racial gentrification tool").  Black residents "suffer the most":

Black neighborhoods with the most Airbnb use are racially gentrifying, and the (often illegal) economic benefits of Airbnb accrue disproportionately to new, white residents and white speculators; while the majority Black residents in those communities suffer the most from the loss of housing, tenant harassment and the disruption of their communities.

Inside Airbnb documents what appears to be a dramatic discrepancy between the rates at which white versus black homeowners make their spaces available via the Airbnb site.  For example:

  • Across all 72 predominantly Black New York City neighborhoods, Airbnb hosts are 5 times more likely to be white
    In those neighborhoods, the Airbnb host population is 74% white, while the white resident population is only 13.9%
  • White Airbnb hosts in Black neighborhoods earned in total an estimated $159.7 million, compared to only $48.3 million for Black hosts
    73.7% of income accumulating to a group representing only 13.9% of the population is a 530% economic disparity
     . . . .  
  • The neighborhood with the highest Airbnb racial disparity was Stuyvesant Heights, in the heart of Black Central Brooklyn, where there was:
    • a 1,012% disparity in the number of Airbnb listings by white hosts
    • an economic disparity of 857% for the total revenue accumulated by white hosts
    • housing and neighborhood disruption due to Airbnb 12 times more likely to affect Black residents than white residents

Funny, but here in Bill de Blasio's New York, I had thought that the single biggest issue, and particularly for African Americans, was "income inequality."  I'm old enough to remember when de Blasio called income inequality the "biggest economic challenge we face."  Actually, that quote is from 2015.  And de Blasio has said plenty of similar things on dozens of occasions both before and after.  

Yet here -- if you believe the Inside Airbnb data (and I have no particular reason to doubt it) -- we have large numbers of African Americans presented with a relatively easy income-generating opportunity, and somehow just not taking advantage of it.  And as far as I can see, in this instance, there is no possibility of asserting some kind of discrimination as the cause for black homeowners not earning the income.  This is not like an employer paying one employee more and another less.  Unless I'm missing something, the black home and apartment owners should have the exact same opportunity as their white peers to list some of their space on Airbnb.  It might take some effort to clean your place up and make it presentable for guests, but doing the actual listing is not very hard at all.

And by the way, I'm not saying that I blame the black residents if they don't want to rent out any of their space on Airbnb.  I don't do that with any of my own space.  But then again, I'm not complaining about any lack of income.  If I was in need of income, I would definitely consider renting out some of my space to generate some.

Anyway, if the big issue really were income inequality, you would think that the progressive response would be to try to help and encourage the black residents to get in on the income opportunities.  If that were your goal, a first step would be to ease up on the restrictive regulations so that more blacks can use Airbnb legally.  (Currently use of Airbnb is generally legal for homeowners, but not for renters.)  Another step might be to offer a seminar on how to use Airbnb.  But instead the push is in exactly the opposite direction.  It seems that we must be horrified at all that despicable income-generation going on all around us.  (According to Inside Airbnb, people trying to make a buck off their properties cause "loss of housing, tenant harassment, and disruption of communities.")

One might get the impression that, to the progressive, the income inequality issue is much more about stoking resentment against the successful, and much less about finding ways for low income people to rise to middle and upper income.  But as I said, I'm interested in the views of readers on this subject.   

What Is With This Weird Obsession With Russia?

Have you had the sense recently, and particularly so since the inauguration, that the progressive movement has completely lost its mind?  I mean, start with the #Resistance movement and its pointless, often violent demonstrations that couldn't be better designed to alienate everybody who is not already fully committed to radical leftism.  Or consider the climate change cult, desperately committed to keeping the poor poor and driving up everybody's cost of electricity and transportation because they believe that's the way to "save the planet."  But my favorite has to be this weird obsession with Russia.  I can't even begin to figure out what it is about.

The New York Times has easily had several dozen articles since the election about the supposedly nefarious relationship between President Trump and/or his team and Russian officials.  And I don't mean to single Pravda out particularly -- this obsession is all over the mainstream press.  And it goes on day after day with stories of less and less consequence told in breathless tones like they mean something.  Today (just in the last few hours -- presumably for tomorrow's print edition) we have "Kushner and Flynn Met with Russian Envoy in December, White House Says":

Michael Flynn, then Donald J. Trump’s incoming national security adviser, had a previously undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador in December to “establish a line of communication” between the new administration and the Russian government, the White House said on Thursday. . . .  [T]he extent and frequency of their contacts remains unclear, and the disclosure of the meeting at Trump Tower adds to the emerging picture of how the relationship between Mr. Trump’s incoming team and Moscow was evolving to include some of the president-elect’s most trusted advisers.  

Scary!  Am I the only one who thinks that it would have been completely incompetent for a president-elect's transition team not to have met at some point before the inauguration with the ambassador from Russia, and for that matter with the ambassadors from 50 or more of the more consequential countries of the world?  

Or consider the immediately prior big story, which was that new Attorney General Jeff Sessions had spoken with the Russian ambassador prior to the election.  Pravda has a brand new editorial up on the subject, again apparently for tomorrow's edition, headline "Jeff Sessions Needs to Go." Excerpt:

In the wake of Wednesday’s revelation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with Russia’s ambassador to the United States while working with the Trump campaign, despite denying those contacts during his confirmation hearings, key Republican and Democratic lawmakers are calling for him to recuse himself from overseeing any Justice Department investigation into contacts between the campaign and the Russian government. Some are even saying he needs to resign.

It’s a bombshell of a story. 

Look into the "bombshell" story a little, and you find that Sessions, then a senior Senator on the Armed Services Committee, spoke on a panel put on by the Heritage Foundation in Cleveland at the time of the Republican convention.  Some 50 ambassadors from different countries attended. At the end of the panel, several of the ambassadors approached the panel members to shake hands and maybe pose a question or two, in the hearing of dozens of people.  Is this where Sessions somehow agreed with the Russians that they would rig the election on behalf of Trump? It seems that Sessions also had a big one telephone call with the Russian ambassador during the time of the campaign -- as well as other calls with ambassadors from about ten other countries.  Hey, he was a senior member of the Armed Services Committee!  Isn't that part of the job?  Also, we know from the Flynn matter that the NSA recorded all of the Russian ambassador's phone calls, and will gladly leak transcripts to the Times and Washington Post if they are in the least bit embarrassing to any Trump administration official.  So where's this transcript?  

And these are only the latest two out of twenty or more such stories, all alleging some kind of illicit Russian involvement in somehow swinging the election to Trump.  OK, suppose that the Russians wanted Trump to win, and that the Russians are the ones who hacked the Podesta emails, and that the Russians intentionally arranged with Julian Assange to leak the Podesta emails in a way to help Trump and maximize damage to the Hillary campaign.  I don't think it's a given that any of those are true, let alone all of them.  But suppose they are all true.  Why wouldn't the Russians have done it without communicating in any way with the Trump campaign?  Given that the NSA records everything, wouldn't the Russian ambassador be smart enough not to talk about any of these things explicitly on the phone?  And, if there was a transcript out there somewhere where a Trump campaign official promised the Russians something in return for help in the campaign, wouldn't that transcript have been leaked by now? 

And then there is the question of the geopolitical significance of Russia today.  Yes, they do have an outsize military for a country of their population and GDP, and their leader likes to play bigshot.  But really, this intense focus on Russia seems to me to be mostly a vestige of the old Soviet Union days.  Russia does not have nearly the economy it would need to try to rebuild its empire.  It's economy, such as it is, is heavily dependent on selling oil and gas to the West.  Back in the 80s, the Soviet Union had more population than the United States, and pretended to have a GDP of 60% or so of ours and catching up fast.  (And the CIA largely believed it.)  Today:

  • Russia's population is about 143 million and shrinking alarmingly.  Its peak population was over 148 million back in 1995.  The current population is well less than half that of the U.S.  Russia's birthrate is not nearly high enough to sustain the population.  Projections at the link have Russian population going down into the 130 millions by the 2030s, and into the 120 millions by the 2040s.  
  • Russia's GDP for 2016 was under $1.3 trillion, barely 7% of U.S. GDP.  To put that in even more perspective, countries with more GDP than Russia include the likes of Brazil, India, and even South Korea!  For that matter, Mexico is rapidly catching up to Russia in GDP.  (Mexico's GDP for 2016 was almost $1.1 trillion.)

Really, can't the progressives come up with something better to obsess about?

UPDATE, March 5:

Image via NYM and Maggie's Farm.

Meanwhile, over at Fox News, Peter Schwieizer (author of "Clinton Cash") points out that nine shareholders of a Canadian uranium company sold to the Russians donated $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.  The sale required approval from the State Department when Hillary was Secretary of State.  Don't worry, it's no big deal.