The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Agency of Pseudo-Skepticism & Cultivated Ignorance

For Me to Win You Must Lose Everything

The friction of corruption inside an economic value chain – the diminishing of ethics, dispersion of hope, and dilution in humanity – these things, and not simply economics, are the reasons why economies fail under the weight of their ‘inflation’.

I had just completed an early morning flight, the regular and insufferable ride from LaGuardia to Midtown via the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, worked my way into the high-rise offices of my client and sat down. The meeting convened immediately, as the CEO and executive committee had offered only 15 minutes to outline our intended scope. “TES, we want you to find the business-impacting error in our systems. We believe that the cause behind our quarterly hit in sales resides somewhere in our information technology stack, its function, data handling, or procedures. We would prefer that you find the direct evidence for us in time for our next quarterly earnings meeting. Of course we will tender credit for the find, to your firm.” Bittersweet was moment, as this species of unpleasant-in-nature scope ironically made for a pleasantly short meeting. There would come a day in my career where I could just stand up in these types of situations, smile and shake everyone’s hand, politely decline, and leave. These were not matters typically conducted over the phone mind you. Acting as corporate hit-man for an a priori conclusion en blâme was not ultimately conducive to an effective strategy career; each new project discovery-team member terrified to meet, regarding you as an erstwhile ‘Bob’ from the movie Office Space.

But our mission at the time involved aggressive brand building and smart competition. These were the days of constructing the ‘good will’ of intimidation which eventually surrounded my company’s image. The client was a top-drawer Manhattan firm, and we were providing services to persons who were regularly in the news. Simmering legends of the industry if you will. Retiring back to my hotel room, I ordered delivery, and set my mind to crafting an approach and methodology for the entailed effort.

This was a highly verticalized electrical component business, which is to say that it either owned outright or constituted the primary business volume for each of its key suppliers, and as well self-operated its entire value chain from sourcing, agency, and factory clout, through to markets and customer experience closure. Like a Walmart or General Electric, the client considered this vertical prowess to constitute its main competitive advantage. Indeed, with many of my clients this ended up becoming a linchpin inside a viable and competitive strategy. The span of information gathering for this client consequently however, bore the potential to be rather extensive.

Two weeks later my team began the interview process. I decided to meet with the Chief Information and Technology Officer alone, having found it of course curious that he had been excluded from the original scope definition meeting. This was after all, ostensibly an information technology project. He was a professorial type, sporting black and wire rimmed glasses, greyed and scruffy beard, mismatched gig-line, a 1990’s shirt collar with too many buttons open and well past its service life, a 1980’s poorly cinched tie, along with a tomato sauce stain curiously up toward his left shoulder. This meant he was likely left handed, and had consumed his lunch while immersed deep in thought. Such were not the traits of a (Park Avenue) New Yorker, but rather indeed those of an old-world CIO. Long since having learned to not judge competence on such facile factors, I bore a liking for the CIO. However, there was no denying the fact that he resided firmly outside of the culture club.

Before uttering the first word, the landscape had come into focus. The executive committee both needed a very credible and hard-to-disprove (see Omega Hypothesis) excuse as to why sales were flagging, and as well required the set of justifications behind their termination of the CIO for cause. He was an outsider of circumstance, and not simply culture itself. We have met the enemy and they is us; my firm inserted in medias res within a classic corporate drama. Without dragging the reader through the entire sordid tale, suffice to say, my team eventually found that the CEO’s family owned one of the key suppliers to the company, and that supplier had been abusing inventory and ordering to their advantage for quite a while. The entailed shortage, mistiming and mismatch in supply, and not some hapless IT feature, had precipitated a fall in sales well below what the presiding economic downturn could serve to conceal. The evidence was not only exclusively deductive, but the history was rather extensive as well; masked by a past robust economy and now emerging like a stump from beneath the waters of a draining lake.

The CIO had either already found the dead bodies, or bore the unfortunate circumstance of being the only individual with the span of vision (compartmentalization had hidden this problem from the managerial and lower level) who could potentially find the dead bodies. From the CEO’s perspective, an ally was required in the position now. One who could keep quiet, tidy things up inside quick order – and finally sustain the aura of blame upon his predecessor. Nine months after our project completed and we were fired for issuing a final report in disagreement with the project charter, the CEO and the entire executive team were released for cause (reasons were not disclosed).

Through being threatened by information which could not be allowed to exist, a cabal of protectors was therefore necessitated. That cabal had to not only survive, but maintain exclusive power by any means necessary, including ruthless elimination of any possibility of dissent.

Please note: Color coded in purple, the World War I and Great Depression bands, along with chart title have been added to the original graphic

Sadly, this is how the world works in many places. Innocent others must lose completely in order for me to win. It is how things work in shit-hole nations. Such a condition is a warning flag of a problem at play. My win in the story related above (was not really a win) had to come at their loss yes, but it was preexisting corruption which had created the circumstance. The ensuing cage match was not a matter of my choosing. They had already crafted the ‘ye or me’ scenario from the start, precisely as a means to conceal forbidden information. The dead bodies had to be hidden at all costs. The extraction from a value chain (inflationary friction) had to be preserved and it did not matter what harm was necessary in sustaining this. In order to see this, it helps to have done extensive corporate strategy in other regions of the Globe; places where one can spot how corrupt parties work to eliminate competition or dis-empower unwanted citizenry. Unfortunately, most of our economists have not done this.

When a society at large succumbs past a given threshold to this type of Royalty as the basis for business operations, no longer serving the sound objectives of delivering ethics, value, brand, and alleviation of suffering, then inflation ensues and society collapses. This as much as anything is the fruit of unbridled Clayton Act progressivism. Therein, power and virtue become the only necessary brand value the corporation need serve – granted tacit permission to shirk on its responsibility of ethics and the alleviation of human suffering thereafter.

Royalty pays off the fainéant to betray the enterprise and working classes, all in the name of virtue. Celebrity beats the drum and provides the comedic color commentary.

I fear that we are now past this threshold as a nation. The compromised, incompetent, and ethically bankrupt now hold a critical mass of power and brand value in the US. They assuage their guilty conscience through tendering appearances of virtue, science, and social justice. Human suffering will be the natural outcome of such a condition.

The United States as a nation has thrived in comparison to others precisely because, while it always exists, this type of corruption was below a given quotient. Pervasive levels of failing integrity of this species end up manifesting as economic inflation, derived from its impact to value, confidence, and good will. Extraction-minded cronies (syndicates) get richer surfing the wave of dishonesty-fueled price increases passed on to consumers. We suffer, they thrive, they purchase more power to enact more of the same. One can observe this cycle begin to manifest as the overriding trend in the chart above and to the right, starting around 1976. The wealth-spread between the rich and the worker consequently dilates, until a breaking point is surpassed – wherein large-scale war is typically then fought between competing uber-powerful syndicates. Moreover, this friction inside the value chain, stems not in reality from price increases, but rather a dilution in value. The incumbent diminishing of ethics, dispersion of hope, and divestment in humanity – these things, and not economics, are the reasons why wealth systems fail under the weight of their ‘inflation’. It is the same old Royalty, seeking absolute dominance and power all over again.

The Mental Disorder of Viewing Success as a Mutually-Constrained Resource

I don’t mind a different team winning political elections. I am a moderate. A Republican who has voted 40% Democrat in the past. I sometimes irritate friends by being pro-choice, pro legalization of marijuana, for an increase in the minimum wage and against the abuse of wage-earners, and generally for robust healthcare options for all citizens. But the 2020 election has served to raise my hackles a bit. This ‘you must be utterly destroyed in order for me to win’ political vitriol, a species of zero sum game, right now is unparalleled in American history. It’s origins reside solidly in this resurgence of Royalty and its corruption-protective cabal.

The extraordinary lack of election transparency, exploitation of a virus to accomplish political goals, complete shut-down of dissenting speech, emergence of Big Tech/Financial Clayton Trusts directed from offshore money, maniacal desperation to impeach as fast as is possible, fabrication of FBI warrant evidence and intelligence reports, claiming people are racist by means of their appearance alone, and insane level of retribution against anyone who does not spout their Schapiro propaganda – all has me drawing pause. I am not a big Trump fan, but this is not focused simply upon ‘Trump’. The Left is highly mistaken if it thinks that only the alt-right or Q-anon is concerned right now.

From my experience, there are several reasons why a ‘For Me to Win You Must Lose Everything’ scenario is unilaterally introduced:

I. Inexperience on the part of an overly aggressive player

II. Opportunities/resources are constrained or are presumed to be constrained too tightly

III. An ambitious player who is attempting to conceal their own perceived or real weaknesses

IV. Out of control jealousy

V. The influence of power-hungry or greedy outside agency

VI. A person who suffers from emotional damage, drug abuse, or an innate character flaw

VII. Out of control greed, lust, power

VIII. Presence of a Royalty syndicate: mafia, cabal, or cartel

IX. A condition of extreme national security or in extremis for war

X. Personal vendetta, racial or gender hatred

XI. There are concealed dead bodies, horrendous events, or existential secrets, which must stay concealed at all costs – even death

XII. An alliance among the above factors.

The astute and regular reader of The Ethical Skeptic will note three things:

1. Social Skeptics employ these same tactics in deciding what is included into the plurality of that which science is allowed to research. Fully exercising a ‘no idea but my idea’ embargo philosophy in their fake form of skepticism. You will notice that they exercise a ‘destroy at all costs’ form of deliberation with opponents and with differing/dissenting ideas,

2. When a social skeptic begins with, or resorts early to personal attacks or humorous derision – know that this formula is at play, and

3. The same people who practice the above form of fake skepticism, also tend to practice the style of politics outlined in the twelve points above as well. They will shroud themselves in virtue (opposite of ethics). Observe these fakers for a while. While not an exclusive principle, you will note a very skewed set of habits/people in common.

This is precisely because, even though we do not pose it this way colloquially, a pervasive failure in skepticism and promotion of the weaponized version thereof, resides at the heart of both corrupt science and governance. This is the reason for the existence of The Ethical Skeptic in the first place.

The type of avarice implicated in the twelve points above rarely if ever stems from a pure desire to enact sound policy, science, or protect national security. Not one of these stands as legitimate basis from which to form, nor exercise, a sound government for the United States of America. Inflation and large-scale war, are the inevitable outcome of such incompetencies.

The Ethical Skeptic, “For Me to Win You Must Lose Everything”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 13 Jan 2021; Web,

January 13, 2021 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | 4 Comments

The Pitfalls of Electric Vehicles as Climate Change Panacea

Household generated electricity stands as a critical component to a nationwide electric vehicle rollout strategy. Anything short of this will be more damaging in terms of climate change than even the current fossil fuel vehicle population.

Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda in mid December issued commentary framing electric vehicles as being ‘excessively overhyped’. He contended that EV advocates fail to consider the carbon emitted by the process of generating electricity in the first place, the energy loss inside its delivery value chain, along with the depreciated costs of developing a massive electric vehicle support infrastructure. Mr. Toyoda was reacting to local news reports in Japan last month citing that the Japanese government was to announce a ban on the sale of new gasoline-only powered cars starting in 2035.1 Certainly one could infer from Mr. Toyoda’s comments that he regards the quick panacea-to-climate-change thinking regarding electric vehicles, to be somewhat a Pollyanna proposition.

Don’t get me wrong, I like most people, probably including Mr. Toyoda, favor electric vehicles as the future of both private and public transportation. I am gravely concerned about our transportation infrastructure’s contribution to atmospheric carbon and the resulting climate change. I love my family’s Toyota Highlander Hybrid and would be pleased to drive an all electric vehicle as well. I ate lunch with the head of medical lab operations for one of my clients late last year, and he expressed how low maintenance costs were on his all-electric vehicle. He is a German engineer, trained on process design and systems, who describes a fossil fuel vehicle as involving too much ‘bewegliche’. Too many moving contraptions that are designed to fail along a planned maintenance revenue schedule. I will be looking at the Tesla Model S on my next car purchase as well. So count me as a big fan of electric vehicles. But I would be remiss if I did not examine the issue from a skeptic, value chain expert, and systems designer’s perspective before jumping onto the bandwagon.

Electric Vehicles Mandate We Develop New Energy Sources

I sat down this week and constructed a brief value chain analysis comparing several options for the generation and delivery of electricity to our upcoming world fleet of electric vehicles. An EV approach, if deployed incorrectly turns out to bear some pitfalls in terms of climate – negative impacts even more deleterious than the existing fleet of fossil fuel powered vehicles in terms of atmospheric carbon dioxide introduction. This is why matters involving decisions made on behalf of the entirety of society, a nation, or the world, demand multidisciplinary inputs and analysis from a systems theory perspective. Not blinders-on decisions based upon what sounds most virtuous to academics or their acolytes patrolling the streets of our major cities with baseball bats and gasoline.

Below I have assembled a brief value chain comparative among seven options as to powering our future of electric vehicles. An alternative comparative which reflects the existing fossil fuel to combustion value chain, along with two each (hydrogen and battery storage options) for fossil fuel, solar and wind farm, and household/micro solar and wind energy generation solutions. Each chain of value provision features normalized nodal-measures regarding levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), fully-loaded and traded-line-loss in electrical energy for transmission or charging, and finally the future-efficient pounds of carbon dioxide introduced into the atmosphere at that ‘node’ activity in the value chain. A value chain is a series of flows in expense, margin, and goal-enablement which flow across a series of fully leveraged nodes (necessary activities) which bring an objective into effect. It is a method of highlighting non-value-add activity and comparing different potential strategies to accomplish a goal (value). It is how a corporate or national strategy is analyzed.

Beware of deceptive puff-pieces such as Bloomberg’s Elon Musk Should Come Clean: Tesla’s Emissions Are Rising. They conflate the generation of power with its delivery and consumption in an electric vehicle, as constituting one thing. To wit the Bloomberg article states, “A current-model large car with a battery produced and charged in an average European Union country emits about 88 grams of CO2 per kilometer, compared to 284 grams for a petrol-powered equivalent. In a country with a low-carbon grid like Sweden or France, that drops to 50 grams or less.” This fabutistic arises simply from the fact that France generates 90% of its electrical energy from nuclear power, combined with other renewable sources.2

Such calculation is Yule-Simpson dishonesty. If you pro-rata this ’50 grams’ by France’s ratio of fossil fuel consumption, one ends up with a gross emissions of 500 grams of CO2 per electric vehicle kilometer, or a ratio of around 1.7 to 1 grams of CO2 generated versus a petrol powered one. The reader should note that we conservatively calculate in Footnote 4 and employ a 1.6 to 1 ratio versus a fossil fuel powered electric vehicle fleet later within this article (Value Chain 1 in Graphic A). This is the correct method of delineating the issue. All Bloomberg has done here is to unintentionally confirm that powering electric vehicles by means of a fossil fuel grid (our current direction), is the worst of all possible cost and climate combinations.

The above article excerpt elicits why such analyses as these must be developed inside a value chain framework. Moreover, once each value chain node is distinguished (what the author of the above Bloomberg article failed to do), the ‘load’ (value, risk, expense, margin, etc.) of each node (generation, storage, transfer, etc.) needs to be normalized to the future and not the present. Each of the measures in the chart below is normalized, as raw numbers and current costs/non-loaded energy demand per unit will only serve to skew a value chain analysis to conservancy. Something we observed in the Covid panic of 2020, when raw, specious, and red herring numbers served to incite a severely damaging overreaction on the part of government officials. All value chain node factors/data/constraints need to be normalized or they will offer the wrong answer – as the current practice will always seem like the best one (because realized economies of scale often bias to conservancy).

One example of this is the lower current cost to charge a vehicle during reduced nighttime electricity rate-tiers, an advantage which exists now, however will not exist once electric vehicles proliferate past a certain tip-in point among consumers. This analysis factors that non-diluted node differential out of the equation, so that conservancy is not introduced as bias. These are the lessons-learned one applies from having developed strategies which have been held accountable by governments and businesses for results, and not the academic pretend version thereof. Employing sophisticated MatLab applications in no way serves to lend any form of competence to this work. If you do not really know what is going on inside a value chain, then neither will fancy heuristics contain any functional application therein. Memorized pro forma and symbology hammers looking for the next nail, employed for the sake of outsider intimidation.

Electric Vehicle Power Alternative Value Chains – The Three C’s

Remember, to power your electric vehicle one must still generate the electrical energy somewhere. If that energy generation involves the combustion of a fossil fuel, all one will have done is move the engine of the vehicle to a remote location, one from which is it more difficult to access its energy output. This is depicted in the first conceptual value chain 1 in Graphic A below. Set aside of course the issue that one still has to extract those fossil fuels just as in value chain 4. By placing the point of combustion far from the point of accessing its energy one need burn even more fossil fuels (potentially more ‘sour’ API/sulfur and of a lower grade than gasoline by far or containing less chemical kinetic potential per atomic mass of carbon as with natural gas3), putting even more carbon into the atmosphere – simply to drive the same distance as before with a local fossil fuel engine. This disadvantage is only a portion of what I call value chain ‘line loss’ (in engineering terms or ‘chain loss’ when discussed in economic terms – see calculations/sources in footnote 4).4 Now one may dispute the absolute value used for line loss, as reflected by the 1.6 x additional energy needed in value chain 1 for example; however, if one claims it is negligible, one is a jamais l’a fait. Never done a value chain strategy, never participated in an energy plan for a nation, never designed nor run a power plant. Sometimes these types of ‘allies’ become climate change efforts’ worst enemies.

As well, line loss is not simply the amperage loss through heat (V=IR) inside transmission lines alone (which our team measured on a Southwest US energy project to be around 8-12% or 1.14 x (for EXPANDED infrastructure, not existing benchmarks, but is also much higher in the rest of the world)5, but the entire drop in kinetic potential from the point of kWh extraction from potential (we do not capture 100% of the fuel chemical energy when converting to electricity) to the point of beneficially expended drive torque in the vehicle. Every impact in terms of conversion, step-down, charge, battery cycle (fuel does not deplete while your vehicle sits for example, and all vehicles sit for the majority of their existence) and connection. In reality, between the sour fuel used and battery cycling/sitting, the chain loss in value chain 1 in Graphic A and Table A below is far greater than 1.6. But we stay with 1.6 (outlined in footnote 3) for purposes of this analysis as there is no reference or standard for the entirety of this type of chain loss yet, as such value chains are not yet mature.

If one then replaces this fossil fuel energy generation with solar/wind (or another non-fossil fuel source) – then one cannot possibly supply all the added energy needs and make up the incremental (not existing benchmark, remember this is a value chain) line loss incurred in this value chain (#2 in Graphic A). Indirect renewable energy sources are ubiquitously dilute, emergent-capacity constrained, and of intermittent reliability,6 paling in comparison to the reliable and robust 33.7 kilowatt hours per gallon of gasoline. Winter 2021’s electrical grid struggles in Texas highlighted the vulnerability a population bears with an aggressive 25% wind and solar makeup. Grid planners had, 1. failed to understand the impact of heat pump emergency heating coil load demand, and 2. the wind and solar network ended up not producing power, when Texas needed it the most.7 8 It would be ironic to have fossil fuel plant operators or fuel supply trucks stuck at home/origin, simply because their electric vehicles had no electricity which would power them to cart those operating assets to the power plants.

Moreover, ultimately the best value chain of generate-to-access energy, is to generate the energy as close to its torque demand as is possible; right there where it is accessed to create torque in a vehicle. This is why either micro/solar/home or fossil fuel value chains remain the best options to power our vehicles, and nothing in between. These are reflected in the bottom two value chains 3 and 4 depicted below in Graphic A. As a general principle the closer together are the generation (color icons in Graphic A) and access-to-torque (car on right in Graphic A) nodes, the more value-laden is the chain.

Graphic A – Four Competing Ideas of Energy Extraction, Generation, Delivery, Storage, Depletion, and Access

When analyzing or thinking about the above four value chains for powering electric vehicles, one must realize however, that these are theoretical optimal scenarios. The actual introduction of electric vehicles alone will cause an even greater negative impact to climate change than does our current gasoline-powered practice. Below in Graphic B we exhibit the principle that the current electric vehicle reality combines both, the chain loss incumbent with delivering electricity long distances to depleting batteries (Value Channel 1 in Graphic A), coupled with the reality that we have to emit proportionately more carbon to mine, transport and combust fossils fuels to power those chain losses as compared to a conventional gasoline value chain (Value Channel 4 in Graphic A). The worst of both worlds.

Graphic B – The Impending Reality is Not Utopia, In Fact is Worse

These are the principles which are entailed in the below brief value chain analysis regarding equivalent kilowatt hour delivery in vehicles. It is expressed in the form of three factors: Energy ‘Cost’ in terms of LCOE per 1 kilowatt hour, ‘Carbon’ in terms of pounds of carbon dioxide imparted to the atmosphere in one gallon of gasoline-equivalent energy (33.7 kWh), and finally ‘Control’ in terms of percent revenues offset from their existing regulated form, from 0 to 100%. In general, a value chain in this context includes: development, capitalization, construction, operation, extraction, generation, collection, processing, handling, cracking, piping, freight, conversion, delivery, step-down, storage, depletion, decay, access, and finally torque. It is the ‘torque’ beneficial use point where all measures must be struck as a comparable index, because this is the only apples-to-apples node between all 7 value chains roughly evaluated below.

Please note that the LCOE in cents per kilowatt hour is the cost (all factors from development and extraction to logistics and use) to kinetically move a vehicle, as indexed to kilowatt hours, not the cost to produce electricity per kilowatt hour nor the price to buy surplus energy at an auction. Value chains do not use such skewed figures as they serve to bias the analysis. The benchmark which must be used for comparison here is electrically-derived mechanical torque to combustion-derived mechanical torque – with the value channel fully loaded, fully normalized/diluted, and finally reflecting a full lifecycle cost burden for each technology.9 10

Table A – 7 Electric Vehicle Energy Sourcing Value Chain Comparative ‘Torque-to-Torque’


Chart 1 – The Three C’s

Chart 1 to the right depicts the relationship between the three C’s of decision making regarding powering electric vehicles: Cost, Carbon, and Control. These 3 C’s are extracted from the right hand side of the value chain comparative (Table A) above. Each is color coded to the bars inside those cells on the right of that table. If you take the time to examine the chart (first one must grasp that it is a chart and not an eighth-grade ‘x-y graph’), one can make several observations, among which include, cost factors:

1. The current approach of fossil fuel combustion is a very cost efficient method of powering vehicles comparatively (red line dip at center of chart) – even when alternatives are fully loaded to economies of scale. This is because

a. a gallon of gas can be pumped via extensive pipeline networks and ‘last mile’ trucks at very low cost per kilowatt hour of energy equivalent, i.e. 33.7 kWh per gallon of gasoline impart an LCOE of 5.3 cents per kilowatt hour. This cost is competitive with the wholesale cost of generating electrical power at its source. Indeed wholesale energy costs range around 4.2 to 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour nationwide.11 Note that if we move to electric vehicles, that cost jumps from 5.3 cents per kilowatt hour up to 14.7 cents per kilowatt hour for the sourced energy to drive our vehicles. But this cost may indeed be necessary if the solution entailed serves to significantly reduce net carbon dioxide imparted to the atmosphere. That is a big ‘if’ however, and is indeed the subject of this article.

b. a gallon of gas retains 100% of its chemical-kinetic-electrical energy potential throughout the entirety of its supply chain. This is extraordinarily effective when compared to electricity in either transmitted or battery-stored forms – which does not retain its potential and can lose from 15 to 45% of the generated kilowatt hours of electricity during the delivery and battery-charging/depletion/use processes. Think of it this way. If you introduce fuel into your car and get 25 miles to the gallon via a combustion engine, then switch that same vehicle to an electric version and charge that vehicle by means of a gasoline powered electric generator – that same car will drop to 15-18 miles to the gallon of gasoline consumed net-system. In other words, suddenly you are burning more fossil fuels not less (even net of fuel pipeline and last mile delivery impacts). Take note of this for later on when we examine the issue of ‘control’. Why would the fossil fuel industry oppose a solution which would end up consuming even more fossil fuels? Are they indeed the obstacle here as most presume?


Table B – Torque-to-Torque ‘Cost Carbon Control’ Value Chains

However, inside a value chain, cost efficiency is rarely the overarching or guiding factor which drives a decision. This is part of the future of markets of which I have spoken so often. We are killing ourselves, our middle class, our economy and our environment through this blinders-on obsession over efficiency, expense and ‘lean’ operations. If the first thing you do as a newly hired executive is to enact efficiency, productivity, and cost savings programs – then you are just one step above a low-competence administrator. You are an academically trained babysitter. Anyone can do this. American business demands more responsibility that just cooking up buzzword-shrouded cost savings to improve the profits diverted to offshore billionaire Cronies. Further then one can observe that

2. Our current push to move to electrical vehicles (purple arrow at center of Chart 1) will not only cost us more in terms of infrastructure and household monthly bills for transportation, but as well will significantly damage the environment in terms of climate change, at a rate which is 30% higher than even the current levels of carbon dioxide contribution into the atmosphere (green line as it moves to the left of the Chart 1 and green bars in Table B). The pounds of carbon dioxide delivered into the atmosphere increases from 33 to 44 lbs per gallon-equivalent energy in kWh, by moving to electric vehicles as a stand alone strategic climate change move. This because

a. while electrical vehicles emit less carbon themselves, 33% more energy must be generated at the source to cover the line, charging, storage, depletion, and use losses incurred in an electrical supply chain as compared to the same energy delivered, stored, and combusted in the form of gasoline. Yes we have to pipeline and truck our gasoline, but those mediums and their associated transactions do not involve energy line loss, which is a more significant issue.

b. battery full lifecycle and charging station infrastructure will itself create a carbon load on the atmosphere, competitive with the current gasoline delivery infrastructure carbon load. While alkanes such as octane do emit other volatiles and carbon-pollutants into the atmosphere, so do the exotic metals which must be mined, delivered, forged, ionized and incorporated into the battery manufacturing and disposal infrastructure. Fossil fuels do not require a massive core and recycling network and batteries cannot be delivered via pipeline and with no energy loss. These 3-C principles are measured inside the ‘transfer haul’, ‘last mile’, ‘vehicle introduction’, and ‘storage medium’ nodes of the value chains in Table A above.

As one can see, our current push towards the Pollyanna of simply rolling out more electric vehicles, as if we have accomplished a major climate victory, is more damaging to the environment in terms of excess carbon contribution than is the current fossil fuel vehicle fleet. Most people do not realize that our current push is premature and in desperate need of a sound deployment strategy in order to avoid this excess-carbon environmental impact (I could lead this, but we have too many cleverly concealed egos in political and academic circles to accept the unwashed into their elite ranks). Moreover,

3. As one may note in Chart 1, while electric vehicles certainly mandate that non-fossil fuel sources of energy be developed on a massive scale, there are limitations to the scale at which these alternative sources can be provided by traditional government authorized monopoly and oligarch industry energy providers. The reality is that household-based electricity generation will be a mandatory aspect of successfully deploying electric vehicles on a large scale. Conducting this power generation at the point of demand effectively avoids half of the line loss entailed in transmitting the power across the grid (actually only a short geographical distance, as power is displaced, not ‘shipped’) and into homes nationwide. (As a note and of course, ‘household and home’ includes apartments, parks and condos which generate power from shared grids)

Indeed if one examines Chart 1 closely, they may note that the green carbon contribution line (and alkanes, acid rain, sulfides, etc. as well) drops to a very low level when electric vehicles are matched with the requisite generation of power in the household. As well, charged batteries or canisters of hydrogen can be traded and managed effectively between households – thereby reducing value chain friction (as I call it). Consumer energy bartering, what a concept.

Tesla has grasped this, as exemplified by their product offering of a roof mounted solar grid being sold alongside their electric vehicle offering. The image above right is a Fair-Use extract from their site promoting these products (apologies E).12 Roof mounted solar panels (or solar roofs for that matter) are a mandatory aspect of electric vehicle deployment on a large/nationwide scale. The difference in LCOE for a kWh of energy used is negligible (see red LCOE bars/line in Table B or Chart 1) and the carbon contribution is one fifth to one quarter of the industrial version of that same energy generation method (see green line in Chart 1). Elon Musk gets this. (Please also note that we should not dismiss hydrogen as an alternative to batteries in this role – as its value chain is very competitive to a battery-centric one13).

The bottom line is that small-in-scale, proximal-to-demand, modular-storage energy generation
stands as the critical complement to a nationwide electric vehicle rollout strategy.
These are two wings of the same bird.

Anything short of this will be more damaging in terms of climate change than even the current fossil fuel fleet.

Control: The Rub and Mount Stupid

In-home/private vehicle power sourcing, while costly up front,14 will reduce both the cost to operate a vehicle as well as the overall petroleum and meter-fees/taxes paid by the average consumer. And therein lies the rub.

4. The fact that these technologies are expensive for the consumer to install is not the critical issue; instead, control of long-term expense flows and a market channel is what’s at stake. Generation of vehicle power in the household will not only displace channel-expenditures on fossil fuel technologies, and reduce overall petroleum taxes/revenues and potential kilowatt hours sold by power utilities, but as well will serve to reduce overall government control of these vehicle energy supply chains. Energy generation itself, barring discovery of some novel, low-cost, and bountiful renewable centralized source, will force the issue of decentralization (and potential loss of control, mandating even more draconian laws). Almost like we are being delivered a universal message. Choose in favor of your citizens or choose centralized control and punishment, but you must choose nonetheless – your choice being a lens into the soul of your species.

The blue bars on the right of Table B and blue line in Chart 1 indicate a quick estimate of degree of revenue-control lost (0 to 100% of vehicle energy revenue controlled) inside each comparative value chain – this is called ‘The Hump’ or our climate change version of Mount Stupid. A degree of control will be lost on the part of the government in terms of revenues and supply as compared to the robust fossil fuel revenue/supply chain currently in use. Please note that it is not the absolute tax dollar amount which I am discussing here (as tax incentives already exist for the installation of solar systems in the home), rather control of supply. These are slightly different issues.

Prospectively, our governing officials will need to license solar panels for consumer use, net-meter, and own their outputs by law, despite their being purchased for use on private property and by the property owner – outlawing private and pirate off-grid solar panels as ‘fomenting insurrection’ or ‘anti-science’ in some fashion. The trade/barter of grey market batteries or hydrogen cylinders will be prohibited. I can see this coming, especially if this movement extends further into the household energy chain.

5. Of course another issue of Mount Stupid control has involved homeowner associations. Right now, I am prohibited by my homeowner association restrictive covenants from installing solar panels on my own roof (even if out of sight from the roadway). The association threatens us with big-name law firms to ensure that homeowners comply (the use of which they bill us for, in advance). This version of Mount Stupid control also needs to change. Note that House Resolution 2454, which would have forbid such actions on the part of homeowner associations was never brought to the floor of the US Senate.15 For the most part it is conservative red states which have sought to outlaw such restrictions.16

Therefore the astute ethical skeptic, once arriving at this point in their analysis, should note that it is not the Cost and Carbon elements of the value chain 3 C’s which constitute the primary obstacles to sound strategic deployment of electrical vehicles or even climate change solutions for that matter, but rather the third ‘C’, Control. The blue line in Chart 1 above shows the principle that it is loss of vehicle energy revenue-control on the part of the government which is the greatest obstacle to tackling this facet of climate change strategy. It is not a technological obstacle at all, and never has been – but rather one of empire, hierarchy, and control of mankind. That same big government which leftists enlist to enforce climate change solutions upon us all, is in fact the chief obstacle to ethical deployment of these technologies to begin with. Unless we figure out a way to tax and control this energy chain, this change will not happen soon. The victims (conservatives and small business owners) will of course then be assigned the blame as well. This is how it works.

A healthy climate is not the first order of business at stake after all – rather taking a price out of the hide of mankind remains the preeminent objective. It is a form of penance for our original sin. The future involves removing this principle of human rights abuse, and its ensuing forms of hierarchical power.

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Pitfalls of Electric Vehicles as Climate Change Panacea”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 4 Jan 2021; Web,

January 4, 2021 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , | 13 Comments

Caesar’s Wife Must be Above Suspicion

There are two steps to trust. Being trustworthy itself of course; but as well, making that trustworthiness clear to impacted stakeholders. If one does not serve the latter, then neither have they served the former.

In The Parallel Lives by Greek Platonist biographer Plutarch, a recount from 62 bce is related concerning the somewhat perplexing conduct of Julius Caesar, upon being presented with a potential infidelity on the part of his wife Pompeia. The tale behind this is sometimes referred to as the ‘Bona Dea Affair’. Its allegory serves as genesis to the philosophical apothegm ‘Caesar’s Wife Must be Above Suspicion’.

10 At the time of which I speak, Pompeia was celebrating [the annual female-only Bona Dea Vestal Virgins Festival], and Clodius [in love with Pompeia, who requited this love as well], who was still beardless and on this account thought to pass unnoticed, assumed the dress and implements of a lute-girl and went to [Caesar’s House], looking like a young woman. He found the door open, and was brought in safely by the maid-servant there, who was in [on] the secret; but after she had run on ahead to tell Pompeia and some time had elapsed, Clodius had not the patience to wait where he had been left, and so, as he was wandering about in the house (a large one) and trying to avoid the lights, an attendant of Aurelia came upon him [and alerted the ladies attending the sacred ceremony being held therein]… Then at once, and in the night, they went off and told the matter to their husbands, and when day came a report spread through the city that Clodius had committed sacrilege and owed satisfaction [before trial], not only to those whom he had insulted, but also to the city and to the gods…

Caesar divorced Pompeia at once, but when he was summoned to testify at the trial, he said he knew nothing about the matters with which Clodius was charged. His statement appeared strange, and the prosecutor [Cicero] therefore asked, “Why, then, didst thou divorce thy wife?” “Because,” said Caesar, “I thought my wife ought not even to be under suspicion.”1

Plutarch, The Parallel Lives

What transpired here was an act of ‘cutting the deck‘ on the part of Julius Caesar. By divorcing his wife prior to his bearing any knowledge of an act of infidelity, he exonerated Pompeia from that act of infidelity itself. He obviated any necessity on his part to formally testify against (defacto accuse) Pompeia under Roman Laws of infidelity. His purpose in doing so was (aside from a scheme to provide an embarrassing court loss to his opponent, Cicero) both to preserve the relationship between his House and the House of Pompeia’s parents, Quintus Pompeius Rufus, a son of a former consul, and Cornelia, the daughter of the Roman dictator Sulla, as well as to gratify the populace who were in favor of Clodius’s exoneration. One must remember that Caesar’s overarching political aspiration during this time was to unify the fledgling Empire under his Dictatorship. Offending two powerful houses inside the Republic as well as a large portion of Roman citizenry itself, would have been unwise.2

While this excerpt in biographical history stands exemplary of clever manipulation of Roman Law, as well as the politics of the eventual Empire on the part of Julius Caesar, the important principle of skepticism (allegorical rather than literal logical calculus) to consider here is this:

Caesar’s Wife (Must be Above Suspicion)

/philosophy : skepticism : science : neutrality : verifiability/ : a principle inside the philosophy of skepticism which cites that a mechanism, research/polling effort, or study which bears an implicit a priori claim to innocence (i.e. soundness, salience, precision, accuracy and/or lack of bias/agency) must transparently and demonstratively prove this claim before being assumed as such, executed or relied upon as scientific.

As a younger consulting professional, I was once asked to provide expert testimony in a civil case involving a conflict between a large automotive company and a supplier of theirs who had helped develop their operations. My firm was paid to objectively survey the operations and determine whether or not the automotive company or the vendor had been primarily at fault in a particular failed aspect of their mutually-developed processes. My personal objectivity had to be above question in such a circumstance. Of course, I knew in my heart that I was going to examine the case sans bias or agency; however neither client, nor more importantly, neither the prosecution, court, nor defense would assume such to be the case. Legal counsel for both sides stressed the fact that I must also establish objectivity beyond a question of a doubt, through both my actions and the critical path diligence of my research.

During the discovery process, I put forth a particular effort to both demonstrate and obtain acknowledgement from each interviewee, as to the objectivity of the process we were undertaking. I took under advisement, wise counsel which had cautioned me that a losing attorney may sometimes resort to accusing the expert witness in a trial, of bias or incompetence. Sure enough, during the trail the counsel for defense, who was losing the case, pointed the finger at me in a deposition and accused me of ‘a bias so extreme in favor of the prosecution, that it intimidated engineers and employees into tendering false assessments of both damage and cause.’ Please note, that this extreme form of bent technically would have constituted agency and not bias (acting as an agent of one or more parties or even self-interest). Nonetheless, suddenly now I was on trial.

It was at this point that the prosecution presented the court with over 20 affidavits from those involved and interviewed, on both sides of the case, as to the objective and salient process I had undertaken. The court accepted the evidence and moved on without further ignoratio elenchi argument. I had learned the principle of skepticism called ‘Caesar’s Wife’ many years prior to this event. It proved critical in both the integrity of this trial, and to my ultimate career success. While the prosecution was very grateful for my work, its client however could not thereafter hire my firm to enact the appropriate solution. Caesar’s wife.

An Example Involving Human Rights

As a note, I condemn the acts of insurrection on the part of a minority of the protestors of 6 January 2020. As well I condemn the Antonesque rhetoric of President Donald Trump earlier that day, which stood as a permissive for such action. He understood the potential and should have made it clear that the use of violence, or disruption of US Congressional Election Proceedings, was not to be tolerated.

That being said, there exists legitimate scientific and ethical concern that our election system was compromised for the 2020 election – that 2020 was itself a year-long process of violent insurrection. Employing a virus, man-made or natural, or violent extremist marches to intimidate a voting population, to exploit changes to the outcome of a nation’s elections through the opportunistic introduction of fraud and a non-level playing field for voters, is a human rights crime of the highest order.

While both sides in the matter made mistakes, this latter action set constitutes the darkest of human activity, falling just shy of genocide in its heinous nature.

From March 2020, and up through the November 3rd election, many modifications were made to State election laws; rushed into effect ostensibly as being necessary in countering the spread/risk of Covid-19. As it turned out, many of these changes were not only politically motivated but in some cases violated those very states’ own election laws (see example letter to right). As well, these rush actions constituted an unnecessary expression of panic as very little transmission of the virus was eventually attributed to the actual election polling places themselves.3

Now let’s set aside the human rights implications of inciting panic in order to influence the outcome of a democratic election. In total, 40 of 56 Unites States states, territories and provinces modified their election laws immediately prior to the 2020 US Elections. As a result, a completely out-of-context set of results occurred when compared to historical voting statistics. This does not serve to imply that one or the other of any particular candidacy should have won. The American People are supposed to be the actual winner in this – and sadly were not. Rather it simply serves to support the idea that confidence in this election was brought into scientific and ethical question (not an accusation), regardless of who received the largest tally of votes.

The issue at play is not that votes were switched by software, as some Republican pundits claimed and to which leftist ‘fact checker’ sites misdirect attention.4 The issue is the risk of mail-in ballots and votes rejected for manual adjudication in unmonitored hands. Voting tabulation systems conspiracy theories aside, this was not an instance of the normal losing side claiming election fraud, as that happens every election cycle.5 A comprehensive Navarro Report, election law violations and circumvention of legislatures representing the people, the sheer massive increase in unaccountable mail-in ballots, a 15.5 million vote increase (23.4%) over the previous election for a man who sat in his basement for months and did not campaign and could not even deliver a coherent sentence, along with numerous other deductive or suspicion-inducing evidence sets, not to mention these 40 rush election process changes – all collectively served to harm the Republic through engendering a deep mistrust of our governing and election officials. In all of this, our State election officials’ irresponsibility threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful succession of power, incited harmed citizens to riot, and imperiled the legislative and executives branches of government. They thereby betrayed our trust as election officials, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. This served to introduce rather ironically, the same Empire-effect which resulted in part from Caesar’s cleverness in dealing with Cicero in the Bon Dea affair. The set of 40 changes enacted can be viewed at the link below:

BallotPedia: Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020;,procedures,_and_administration_in_response_to_the_coronavirus(COVID-19)_pandemic,_2020#Summary_of_developments

As a voter and stakeholder at risk, I do not bear the burden of proof in asserting a skeptical concern (not a claim to fact) that any particular voting process was honest or dishonest. Those proposing and developing the voting mechanism (especially if mostly from one political party as was the case here), be it process, people, hardware, software, or security – all these things are guilty until proven innocent. They bear the burden of proof.

Sufficient proof of integrity was neither tendered prior to, nor after the 2020 elections. It was merely claimed as fact through ad verecundiam and ad populum.

I am not impugning anyone’s character nor creating harm, simply through the act of not taking their word for it.

My Rights as a Voting US Citizen

As the base argument, they bear the burden to certify transparently that all their mechanisms bear integrity. This is the essence of the precautionary principle, and stands as a stark matter of human rights. If any municipality rushes a voting process into development, solely as a reaction to some factor other than ensuring the manifest integrity of the election itself, then this process is dishonest from its very start. It is fraud in the inception, regardless of the inner soundness of the process itself.

Caesar’s Wife Must be Above Suspicion

When a matter of human rights is at risk, any implicit claim to innocence must be established and agreed-to in advance, and by neutral scientific processes. They must be established and vetted as sound well prior to any employment. It does not matter whether such process is ‘honest’ or not. It must be proved to all concerned that the new process resides above suspicion, or it is not honest in the least.

The Ethical Skeptic, “Caesar’s Wife Must be Above Suspicion”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 13 Dec 2020; Web,

December 13, 2020 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , | 1 Comment

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