Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Plea for Rational, Responsible Economic Environmentalism

There is, in fact, no scientific consensus on the existence of global warming, let alone the alleged extent or most likely causes. And the recent exposure of emails by the CRU cabal may have mortally wounded the efforts of the crisis-mongers pushing the human-caused-global-warming scenario.

(Kim Strassel: Their correspondence show a claque of scientists massaging data to make it fit their theories, squelching scientists who disagreed, punishing academic journals that didn't toe the apocalyptic line, and hiding their work from public view. "It's no use pretending that this isn't a major blow," glumly wrote George Monbiot, a U.K. writer who has been among the fiercest warming alarmists. The documents "could scarcely be more damaging." And that's from a believer.)

But the diminishing stature of this faked crisis is actually a cause for some concern. Just because these latest crisis profiteers have tainted their crisis-of-the-decade, that doesn't mean we need the pendulum of public concern for the environment to swing too far back in the other direction. Why? Because we'll always need clean air and clean water.

Clean air, clean water, and the broadest possible bio-diversity are good things, and economic activities (and government policies that impact economic activities) should take them into account.

For those who tend to think that unrestrained free-enterprise is perfect, let me remind you that people making decisions for profit only, without regard to the environmental impact of their decisions, have caused some horrendous pollution and damaged the health of many millions of people world-wide.

On the other extreme, for those who act like the environment is their god, let me remind you that moderated free-enterprise has led to many scientific achievements that allow us to measure and quantify our environment while providing livelihoods for billions of people.

So, let's be rational. Let's encourage economic growth that takes the environment into account and work to improve both our economic engines and our environment.

Monday, November 23, 2009

United Nations Inquiry

Okay, it's not quite Thanksgiving yet, but if someone's wondering what to get me as a Christmas present, here's something I'd like:

Please list all the good things the United Nations has accomplished, excluding all the good things where the United States alone was responsible for 90% or more of the good thing (by dollars or people), and total up all the United Nations has cost, adjusting for inflation and breaking out the costs borne by the United States as a separate number.

I'm not someone who thinks the U.N. has never accomplished anything good, but I also don't think we should keep it if it's not producing more value than it consumes.

Here's my analogy #2,357: If you have a car that gets you to work sometimes, that's a good thing. But if it fails to get you to work most of the time and if repairs and maintenance cost more than a new car, how long would you keep the old car?

I just want to be honest about the U.N. and determine it's real worth.

Any takers?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Global Warming FAIL

For all my non-Twittering friends, "FAIL" is shorthand for disapproving or disavowing something. No, I don't Twitter either, but I'm familiar with some of it.

So, Global Warming. It's common knowledge that real scientists have formed a solid, near-universal consensus that global warming is fast approaching irreversible, catastrophic damage to Earth's climate due primarily to human activity and we should do everything and anything we can to reverse our activities, even if it ruins national economies, for the sake of human survival. Wow. And it's common knowledge because most reporters and commentators in the mass media believe that, and keep repeating it in articles and on TV. Movie writers and producers reinforce it by weaving it in as an underlying assumption or outright plot-points. And they usually have lots of quotes from "scientists" who earn their livings from the grants they get, and the more dire their predictions, the more funding they're given.

Too bad the consensus isn't true. It's not even close to true. Follow this link to an article citing a petition signed by over 32,000 scientists, including over 9,000 Ph.D.'s and scores of Nobel laureates, all of whom are not part of the alleged consensus.

So if your elected representatives support the idiotic Cap & Trade legislation, you might want to point this out to them. If they have functioning intellects.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"Whatever You Need, We'll Give It To You"

I've been listening to the pontificating on C-SPAN as the House prepares to vote on Pelosi's health insurance (not health care) reform bill, and must conclude that some of our national politicians are ignoramuses themselves or they're intentionally pandering to an ignorant constituency.

Do the ignorant ones think that an insurance company is a stingy rich uncle with unlimited money and everyone can have anything they want if they can just convince the uncle to be more generous or if they can take the uncle's money by force of law?

Modern insurance works on one fundamental principal: Each insurance program must take in more money in premiums than it pays out in benefits. This is true regardless of whether the organization behind it is for-profit or non-profit, and certainly includes civil governments. Insurance is a means of allowing a group of people to share financial risk, not a magically infinite source of money.

Some have said, "We're making health care a right." Oh, really? You're going to make something with a price tag a civil right? You're going to put it on the same level as the right to life and the right to liberty? And what will you do when the well runs dry? And when the group of patients need two dollars worth of health care for every dollar paid in insurance premiums, what will you tell those who complain that their rights are being denied?

The truth is they're not talking about improving health care. They're talking about changing health insurance in a manner by which the civil government will control how health care is rationed, rather than allowing freedom of choice.

And some of these folks are claiming, with a straight face, that the Federal bureaucracy is going to cover hundreds of billions of dollars worth of the increased costs by making things more efficient and reducing fraud? Oh? Like they have with Veteran's health care, Medicaid, and Medicare?

Here's my two cents' worth of opinion: make the VA, Medicaid, and Medicare effective, efficient, and fraud-free, and then I'll have a basis to believe the Federal government can do a better job with public health insurance than the free market and non-profits are doing now.