Sunday, April 30, 2006

Gitmo Genuflects to the Enemy

If one needed an example of what the MSM has done to our Pentagon leadership the Sunday 4/30/06 print edition of the Detroit News carries a report by Tim Golden of the New York Times titled "Guantanamo transfers stall over abuse issues."

The article starts:

*A long-running effort by the Bush administration to send home many of the terror suspects imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been stymied in part because of concern among U.S. officials that the prisoners may not be treated humanely by their own governments, officials said.*

Who cares how they're treated by their own governments? These are men who were caught on the battlefield trying to kill coalition troops. These are not America's friends. They are America's sworn enemies.

Evidently, America is negotiating with their homeland governments to make repatriation arrangements. So I assume that the only reason for the negotiations is to make sure the priceless lives of these killers aren't inconvenienced in some way when they get home.

The MSM has the Pentagon so paranoid over stubbing the toes of prisoners that not only do we have to make sure the prisoner's air conditioners are set for maximun comfort per Dick Durbin, we now have to make sure their own governments won't mistreat them either.

But the whole thing is a farce. The Pentagon and Bush administration fell for it hook line and sinker. It's all about throwing a guilt complex onto the Bush administration in order to evoke precisely the kind of altruistic reaction that we now see--cravenly seeking the welfare of those who would destroy us. And for what purpose? So that a NYT reporter can write an article pointing out that:

*But Washington's insistence on humane treatment for the detainees in their native countries comes after years in which Guantanamo has been assailed as a symbol of American abuse and hypocrisy -- a fact not lost on the governments with which the United States is now negotiating.

"It is kind of ironic that the U.S. government is placing conditions on other countries that it would not follow itself in Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib," said a Middle Eastern diplomat from one of the countries involved in the talks. He asked not to be named to avoid criticizing the United States in the name of his government.* Another opportunity to bash America and Bush.

Mr. Bush et al must understand that reporters and the media in general will never give him credit for any deed done for altruistic reasons. Instead they will use such deeds as proof of his or America's lack of altruistic sincerity by pointing to past inconsistencies real or invented. The only defense against this kind of onslaught is moral certainty. Bush IMO, doesn't have it. The spine that he does show is the result not of one who knows he's right but of one who has faith that he is right.
That is why he finds it so difficult to defend his policies with any kind of steel spined certainty.

Maybe he'll eventually get fed up with the incessant hatred of the news media someday and explode on them. I'll end this post on that pleasant bit of wishful thinking.

Friday, April 28, 2006

LTE in Detroit News and Other Observations

I had the following LTE published in the Detroit News on 4/28/04:

Greed and profits not same

"The April 15 editorial, "Stop the panic over higher gasoline prices," provides good common-sense data. But what is really needed is for Americans to reject the knee-jerk reaction that businessmen are always greedy and therefore evil.

If by greed we mean the irrational pursuit of wealth, then a close look at big business will reveal that greed rarely enters the picture. Irrational businessmen don't last long (unless they're protected by government).

Greed and the common practice of maximizing profits are not the same thing."

Michael Neibel

Left out was the following sentence and half: " But to properly defend businessmen, media like the Detroit News needs to start defending the profit motive more vigorously. A good start would be to editorialize on how greed and the common...."

That's really not too bad of an edit. Perhaps I should have omitted the direct reference to the Detroit News. I'll have to try that next time.

But the problem is most of the editorials in the slightly right of center paper only focus on the practical arguement, never on the moral arguement. They never editorialize on the businessman's right to earn profits especially big ones and that's what I'm trying to get the paper to focus upon. But I will just keep on trying.

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It's funny how coincidences happen. In my last post I bemoaned the fact that President Bush is woefully inadequate at attacking bad ideas. In today's 4/28/06 TIA Daily, Robert Tracinski complains:

"House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi is asserting that she sees a "cause and effect" relationship between George Bush and Dick Cheney's oil-industry background and rising gasoline prices. That's perfect leftist thinking: the substitution of Marxist conspiracy theories for the entire science of economics. Too bad Bush is granting the legitimacy of this hare-brained approach by authorizing a "price-gouging" investigation."

The last sentence illustrates my point. Mr. Bush grants legitimacy to every "hair-brained" idea the left can throw at him. In so doing he only grants to them a moral respectability they don't deserve, especially an intellectual quark like Pelosi.

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Mr. Bush's pramatism is showing itself in an article in the 4/28/06 print edition of the Detroit Free Press titled "Rights take backseat to oil, Iran" by AP writer Tom Raum. It starts:

"Searching for energy supplies and allies against Iran, the Bush administration is reaching out to leaders who rule nations that are rich in oil and gas but accused of authoritarian rule and human rights violations."

It looks to me like Bush's "Forward Strategy of Freedom" is taking a back seat to a new strategy of finding new oil supplies and he's not getting much cooperation. If he had flattened a few Mid East nations including Iran right after 9/11 he'd be getting all kinds of cooperation now.

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On the same page of the Free Press is another article. This one by Ron Hutcheson of Knight Ridder is about senators wanting FEMA abolished. It includes a picture of President Bush and New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin standing next to each other on ladders hammering nails into the frame of a new house being built by volunteers. (Nagin is the guy who condemned Fema and Bush for not saving New Orleans.) The picture is eerie because it makes me think Bush has Carter in him. Now that's scary.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Thoughts on President Bush

In the April 26th TIA Daily Robert Tracinski made the point that:
"If domestic policy were the main issue of the day, I don't expect that I could bring myself to say much that is positive about President Bush."

This got me to thinking. I can't say much positive about him either. With the exception of trying to make legal immigration easier, I can't think of anything else I would support. I would have supported his privatization of Social Security if he would have been honest with the American people and told them of the need to eventually replace it with a completely private program.

But no, he tried to pass it off as SS "reform." He would have been much better off if he had sat down one night and told the people the plain truth. But instead of being logical, he chose to be altruistic and it cost him the initiative.

I don't know why he made the biggest Medicare expansion since 1965 with his drug benefit. This has destroyed the Republican reputation for championing small government. It's like Bush is saying "We have to make government bigger in order to make it smaller." You're simply not going to enlist very many followers with a strategy like that. He just needs to tell the people the truth.

To quote Ayn Rand in her essay "Conservatism: An Obituary":

"What is the rationality of those who expect to trick people into freedom, cheat them into justice, fool them into progress, con them into preserving their rights, and, while indoctrinating them with statism, put one over on them and let them wake up in a perfect capitalist society some morning?"

This is the impression I get when I hear Bush advocate his initiatives and defend his policies. In shaking up his White House staff, maybe he'll get rid of some of the bad advice givers on his staff but I doubt it. Presidents tend to fill their staff with people of like mind.

Bush has to realize that he is being attacked mainly because he is allowing the attacks to stand. He has to understand that although it is necessary to defend himself when attacked, it is wrong to adopt a purely defensive position. When one is attacked by irrational ideas, the best defense is to attack those ideas and expose them for the falsehoods they are. This is where Bush is sorely lacking. He treats all criticism as if it were nothing more than a difference of opinion and not as an attack or threat to his ideas and to America.

Of course some of Bush's problems are not external but are in his own head. I would like to know if his idiotic statement "addicted to oil" was his own idea or that of his advisors with whom he reluctantly agreed. I'll never know I suppose but being an oil man, Bush has to know that he was disparaging his own industry. Why would he do that? Does he really believe the oil industry is evil? Or was he trying to appeal to the craven anti-capitalist, anti-business mentality that dominates the media, academia and large chunks of the population? This is what I mean by Bush's inability to attack bad ideas. It's like he has decided to roll with the punches instead of throwing some himself.

Sometimes I wish the Dems would succeed in impeaching Bush. Why? Because that would put Cheney in charge and I'm beginning to like that idea.

All Mr. Bush has to do is show some serious spine. If he were to attack Iran tonight, tomorrow he could make a simple announcement: "I have ordered our military to destroy Iran's nuclear ability and its military installations. No particular reason for the timing except that the sooner one removes a cancer the sooner one returns to health. I gave the order because I said once before that I would not stand idly by while dangers gather. I meant it." End of announcememt.

I could be wrong but I think if anything even close to this were to happen Bush's ratings would climb significantly. Does he have it in him? We'll see.


(For more info on The Intellectual Activist go here.)

Cap on Oil Profits

In my January post "Performing the Ritual" I wrote:

" This phenonomon is what I call "Performing the Altruistic Ritual." In today's political environment, all that is required is that you go through the motions of publicly declaring pure intentions, avering something like "It's not for me but for others." If you perform the ritual convincingly, anything goes."

I refer to this because Michigan's governor Jennifer Granholm wants to cap oil company profits at the federal level. This despite the fact that the State of Michigan has millions invested in the oil industry with investments in Exxon Mobile at the top.

According to the April 26th editorial page of the Detroit News,

"The state relies on the millions of dollars it rakes in from its oil and energy investments and gasoline taxes. In addition to its pension fund investments, the state has about $2.5 billion invested in the energy stocks, says Department of Treasury Spokesman Terry Stanton."

So why does Granholm want to put a cap on the number of golden eggs the goose lays?
Performing the ritual. Like I said in my Jan. post "Performing the Ritual Update":

"In that post I pointed out that according to the morality of altruism, actually helping people is irrelevent, that going through the motions of helping them however, is absolutely essential. And if you perform this ritual convincingly, it doesn't matter if you actually help them or not."

So it is with Gov. Granholm. The kind of help she is trying to provide is protection from the bad guy oil companies. She needs someone to blame to deflect attention away from Government policies which she does not want to face. The fact that hurting the oil companies will not benefit Michiganders in any way but will in fact hurt them, is irrelevant. Performing the ritual, going through the motions of helping them, absolutely essential. The editorial continues:

"Michigan's financial directors know oil and utilities provide a windfall for the state and they would be foolish to back away from such rich investments and punish current and future retirees.

"Granholm is being disingenuous in her feverish pursuit of a cap on oil company profits. On Tuesday, she asked state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-Lansing, and Rep. Marie Donegan, D-Royal Oak, to jump on the bandwagon and sponsor resolutions calling for federal action."

If the high gas prices are providing a windfall for the state of Michigan, how come they are not the target of a windfall profits tax? Why don't we put a cap on how much money the state pension plans can make? Why isn't the Governor hauled before a Senate hearing to explain her greed?

The editorial made good points but only from a pragmatic viewpoint. The moral arguement in support of the oil companies' right to keep the money they earn, was completely missing. It's missing because the political concept of individual rights is missing. Individual rights won't be restored until the moral code that makes them possible--rational self interest--is grasped by enough people who will then demand our politicians start thinking in those terms.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Small Roundup

Nicholas Provenzo nails it as he describes the rise of the primative around the world against America in a post titled Beyond the "Twilight Zone."

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Feeling bad? Fed up with the Dems and the Repubs? Well Kevin has the cure for you at The Smallest Minority.

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Joel Shepherd gets superstitious at his blog. Personally, I never believed in being superstitious. It's unlucky.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Contradictions Required

It's known that most religions are replete with contradictions. But when questioned on these, respondents usually claim that the verse in question was misinterpreted or out of context or due to some other confusion. But now we have confirmation that at least some contradictions are required.

On the Sunday print edition of the Detroit News editorial page, there is a weekly religious column written by The God Squad which is composed of Rabbi Marc Gellman and Monsignor Thomas Hartman who answer readers' religious questions.

Last week 4/16/06 the question was "Is it easier for God or man to sacrifice a son?
After pointing out that the two sacrifices, Jesus on the cross and Abraham's son, were "dramatically different," they declared that:

"Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac to prove his faith, and he did so without knowing that God would send an angel to stay his hand at the last moment. In order for Abraham to pass this ultimate test he had to hold two contradictory beliefs at the same time. He had to believe that the God of love and justice would never ask him to sacrifice his innocent, beloved son, but he also had to believe that the God who gives life deserved to be obeyed completely. In holding both beliefs, Abraham passed the test and was not required to sacrifice Isaac." (italics-mine)

We see then, that holding contradictions in our minds is required. The fact that contradictions do not exist in reality is to be evaded completely. One must have faith that contradictions can and do exist and if one's faith is strong enough, maybe, just maybe God will exempt one from the horrible consequences.

(As far as which sacrifice is easier, God sacrificing Jesus or Abraham sacrificing Isaac, if God knew his son would rise from the dead in three days, how much of a sacrifice is that? Whereas if Abraham had killed Isaac, would Isaac have risen in three days? No. He would have been dead forever.)

So, if anyone ever says that religions don't require that one hold contradictory beliefs, the proper response should be, wanna bet?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Be Prepared?

I was watching MSNBC this morning just for a few moments. They had a piece on the question "Is the government prepared for a bird flu pandemic?" It was also a promo for an upcoming special I think Sunday night on NBC titled "Pandemic Possibilities."
I wondered why MSNBC wants the government to be prepared. Doesn't responsibility for one's health rest on one's own shoulders? Isn't the medical profession responsible for some of this?

By framing the question in this way MSNBC is promoting the idea that people are not and should not be responsible for their own actions; that it's ok to shrug that responsibility and place it on the shoulders of others like the government. It always amazes me how people can put something as important as their health in the hands of an institution that is not efficient at any market function.

One of the reasons this mindset is prevalent in America today is the morality of altruism. If people believe it is their moral duty to sacrifice for the benefit of others, they will, when they are in need, demand that others sacrifice themselves for them. This is why altruism is not a morality of benevolence towards men. Rather, it breeds distrust, resentment and hatred amongst men.

MSNBC should be encouraging people to take resposibility for their own health and perhaps run some shows on how to do this. But no. Following Katrina, America saw what happens when a large chunk of a city relies on someone else to provide for them.
Does MSNBC see a need to try and change attitudes even slightly? Obviously not.

In fact, MSNBC was just doing a little scaremongering because nobody is prepared for a pandemic regarding the bird flu. Only after it mutates into a human form will we be able to make a vaccine for it, not before. Scientists now tell us that H5N1 is not likely to undergo such a mutation, and if it does, it won't be very contageous.

So, I might look in Sunday to see what they say about how unprepared we are to handle a disaster so big nobody can handle it.

The proper function of government is the protection of people's rights. If they do a good job of that, the people, through a free market, can take care of the rest.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Immigration

Inspecting my blog I noticed I haven't posted on the immigration issue yet. So, since it is such a controversial topic here are my thoughts on it.

Basically, I agree with philosopher Harry Binswanger's contention that America needs to have an open borders policy. Mr. Binswanger has an excellent article on the case for open immigration at the ILW.com website here. He is right when he points out that people have rights not because they are American citizens, but because they are human beings.

I also agree that the only screening of immigrants that needs to be done is for criminal records and contageous diseases. There is way too much red tape involved in coming to America legally. A friend of mine came here from Germany a long time ago. He told me that not only did he have to have his health papers, criminal records and other papers in order, he had to show that he had a sponsor and a job waiting in America.

I tried to explain that most of those requirements were in fact violations of his rights, that those laws were unjust and need to be repealed. But he didn't see it that way. He insisted that if he had to jump through hoops, so should everyone else.

Of course his position is rediculous. It's like saying since I had to obey unjust laws then, rather than repeal them, everyone else has to obey them too. Silly.

But it did get me thinking about the bigger picture. Will the immigration legislation now being debated in Washington do away with all or any of the red tape needed to come here legally? Will there be any provisions for screening out violent criminals and contageous diseases? I know a guest worker program is supposed to streamline border crossings but will it be added on to the red tape or replace it?

And I think there is an even bigger picture to consider. Should an ideal like open borders, exist in a vacuum? Or should it be integrated into a wider more rational foreign policy? What would such a policy look like? How would it be implemented?
While the answers to these questions are beyond the scope of this post, I think it is imperative that they be discussed soon.

I do think that such an integrated foreign policy would be one that provides incentives for Vicente Fox to create in Mexico the conditions that exist in America so that his people don't have to migrate here in the first place. Likewise it would also offer disincentives for the Mexican government to refuse to do so.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we need to fix all these other aspects of foreign policy before adopting an open borders policy. My point is we need to advocate more than just open borders. In my opinion, just advocating a rational ideal in an irrational context is going to have mixed results at best. In other words, a borders policy that recognizes rights existing within a foreign policy that does not, is a bad idea. Also, whatever policy comes out of the current discussions, it needs to be based on individual rights and not on any alleged altruistic duty America has to the needs of immigrants.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rumsfeld Resignation

The call, by 6 or 7 retired military officers, for Rumsfeld to resign is pointless at best. All the people in the military have been schooled in the "Just War" theory of warfare. It is taught in all our military academies and it is profoundly wrong. Whomever would replace Rumsfeld would make only minor differences. They would still work for Bush.

For an explaination as to why "Just War" is wrong, Capitalism Magazine has a good article by Nicholas Provenzo here. For an in-depth study follow his links to the Objective Standard.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mike's Pulitzers

The pulitzer awards are in and I'm amazed the Times-Picayune of New Orleans won the public service prize. It shared the honor with the Sun Herald of Biloxi Mississippi. They got the award for reporting on Katrina while being hit by Katrina. That,I can sympathize with but the Times-Picayune went over the top and printed lies about 40 bodies piled up in the freezer. I don't see how lying to the public can earn an award for public service. There has to be other papers that didn't let false stories get by and who were more deserving. A single phony story like the 40 bodies should have disqualified the paper automatically.

Editor & Publisher has a list of winners here. I was going to present a list of Pulitzer prize winners according to Mike's Eyes Saturday the 15th but I just plain forgot. So without further ado, here is my very short list:

First, the award for the reporter most dedicated to reporting the truth, the winner is, Becky Wagoner of the Inter-Mountain newspaper. As I wrote in my post of January 15th 2006 Truth vs. News:


"Evidently, the media were given a briefing room in which they would be given info by the authorities as it was confirmed. But when the rumor spread that the miners' families were celebrating at the church because they heard that the miners were all alive, the media left the briefing room and went to the church for the sensational story. Except for one reporter. Becky Wagoner, a reporter for the Inter-Mountain newspaper, stayed in the briefing room. For three hours the MSM reported a falsehood. She didn't. Their readers were misled. Her's weren't. Their papers and TV news stations looked, to the public, like incompetents. Her paper didn't."

Congratulations Ms. Wagoner.

For the catagory of proficiency with statistics, the winner is, Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press. In my post of Jan 25th, "I'm Impressed" I quoted Mr. Tanner's article reporting on a study alleging that omega-3 doesn't have an affect on cancer:


"However, the review is unlikely to be the last word on the issue. Diet is known to play a role in cancer and the researchers evaluated observational studies, which provide mostly circumstantial evidence."

Most reporters would not know the difference between an observational study and a clinical trial, but Mr. Tanner seems to know and used dissenting opinions in his piece.

Congratulations Mr. Tanner.

For the catagory of honestly identifying the nature of Iran, the winner is, Salena Zito of the Pittsburg Tribune-Review in an op-ed she wrote here. A key quote:

"In this clash, we need to define the enemy, take it on and stop worrying about offending a religious sect. It is what it is: Islamic fascists are determined to end Western culture."

Congratulations Ms. Zito.

That's it for the positive awards but I do have one award left. It's called the Full-ofitzer award for the most slanted, biased report, and the winner is, Terence Hunt of the Associated Press. In the first post on this blog in December titled "The Slants of the MSM" I wrote:


"In the sub-conscious or even the semi-conscious mind of a casual reader certain images will be associated: Bush = "escalating," "hurling," "charging," "attacking" which equals aggressive, violent, uncivil and dangerous. Democrats= "debate,""criticize," "express worries," "accuse" which equals peaceful, discourse, concern and civility."

By using hostile and negative adjectives and verbs to describe Bush, and gentle and positive ones to describe Democrats, Mr. Hunt tries to get his readers in the proper anti-Bush frame of mind.

Admittedly, this is a really short list. Perhaps next year I can add more names that I know should get some recognition.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Restricted Rights?

In the Detroit Free Press 4/12/06 there is an op-ed on free speech by conservative Christian writer and author Shaunti Feldhahn which promotes a widespread misconception on the nature of rights: that they can and should be legally restricted.

Ms. Feldhahn ends her op-ed with a quote from British jurist Henry Blackstone: "Speech is subject to (later) restriction by the police power for the protection of the moral health of the community."

Aside from the fact that the "moral health of the community" is the wrong standard of value for writing laws, the point here is that if speech can be restricted by law then speech is no longer speech by right but rather by permission which can be restricted further or even revoked.

It is not the government's restriction of Joe's speech, a negative, that forbids Joe from yelling fire in a crowded theater, it is the existence of a positive, their rights. If Joe were to yell fire in such a theater he would be guilty of using the use of force against the patrons by compelling them to dangerous even deadly behavior with false pretenses, a clear violation of their rights.

Putting it another way, Joe's right to yell fire in a crowded theater does not exist. Therefore, we cannot restrict that which does not exist. It is the govenment's legitimate duty to protect the theater-goers' rights that allowes it to throw Joe in jail, not any power to restrict Joe's right to free speech.

Some may say I'm playing with semantics. Not so. As our society grows ever more technologically advanced and complex, the need for intellectual precision becomes ever more vital. Look at all the confusion about patent and copyright laws as they pertain to the IT age. Philosopher Ayn Rand identified the proper framework for sorting these problems out: how best can we exercise our rights, not restrict them.

We must never think in terms of restricting rights.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Thanks!

Thanks to those who sent their condolences via comments and e-mail. They were appreciated. Blogging will resume tomorrow.

Mike N.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

No Blogging Today

Death in family. A couzin that we've known for 40 years. Blogging will resume Wed or Thur.

Mike N.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Assault Update--More Sources

In addition to the referances linked to in my last post,
George Reisman has an article at his website about how environmentalists are trying to scare the public.

Also, Roger Pielke has posted an update at Climate Science. Scroll down to "Quotes on the state of..."
I like number 6: “Global and regional climate models have not demonstrated skill at predicting climate change and variability on multi-decadal time scales “;

These scare tactics are in anticipation of next year's release of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report which I'm sure, will try to close the door on the idea that global warming is all man's fault and that it will be very bad for life in general and that massive government enforced sacrifices will be needed post haste.

Of course I can't trust anything the IPCC says. The reason can be found in a short essay I wrote titled "Has the IPCC Lost All Credibility?" which Fred Singer was good enough to publish at his SEPP website here. Scroll down to item #4.

It must be remembered that the actual assessment reports are written by actual scientists. And almost nobody reads them. The Summary for Policymakers however, is written by bureaucrats from governments around the world. One or two participating scientists are allowed to sit in on these plenery meetings. The Summerys
are basically political documents.

To top it all off, the so-called run away warming they are trying to scare everyone into believing may not even be happening. Steven Milloy at JunkScience.com links to an article in the London Telegraph by Bob Carter which says the recent warming actually stopped in 1998 and since then the average mean temperature of the earth hasn't increased at all. For all they know we could be readying for another cooling period like the one that happened from 1940 to 1975.
This is the kind of info that needs to get to representatives and editors.



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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Here Comes the Assault

Since 1990 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been trying to convince western populations that their lifestyle is the cause of a global warming that will destroy life on earth. Before that, from the 1970s and 80s, the same people were telling the world's populations that they were the cause of global cooling that would destroy life on earth. And in case you were unmoved by those disaster senarios, there was the population explosion that would destroy civilization as we know it. Of course, all three were all man's fault. (Do you notice a pattern here? Man is evil?)

With the 4th IPCC Assessment Report due out in 2007, you can be sure that between now and then there will be a massive push to scare the American people into believing the earth will end if we all don't indulge in an orgy of self-sacrifice.

This push came to the Detroit area today via an article in the Ideas section of The Detroit News titled "Global Warming Can we slow it down?"

The article, by Associated Press writer Seth Borenstein, has a large photo of a little girl standing on railroad track as a large locomotive is bearing down on her. Evidently the locomotive is supposed to be Global Warming and the fact that the girl is still alive means that there is still time to do something about global warming.
The message is obvious: submit to the will of the environmentalists and politicians and the media who support them, or the little girl-presumably representing future generations-dies.

The article points out that:
"It's just an ad, part of a campaign from the advocacy group Environmental Defense, which hopes to convince Americans that they can do something about global warming, that there's still time."

One of the things they could do to is be honest with Americans and tell them that GW is not going to have bad consequences. Also, Mr. Borenstein could have informed his readers that Environmental Defense is a far left advocacy group with strong anti-free market leanings. However:

"But many scientists are not so sure that the oncoming train of global warming can be avoided. Temperatures are going to rise for decades to come because the chief gas that causes global warming lingers in the atmosphere for about a century." There is no mention of why when most of the "chief gas" was being pumped into the atmosphere between 1940 and 1975, the planet cooled. But we can't let a few facts get in the way of a good scare. How scary is it?

"The big disasters are believed to be just decades away. Stopping or delaying them would require bold changes by individuals and government." In other words, forced sacrifices. Later in the article:

"Robert Correll,a scientist in charge of an eight-country research program into Arctic problems caused by warming, recognizes the contradictions, especially since developing nations such as China, India and those in Africa will play bigger roles in greenhouse gas pollution in the future.
The individual effort Correll said, *is damn important, but you're not going to make much difference.* That requires group or governmental action, he said."

Exactly how "individual effort" that's "not going to make much difference" can be "damn important" eludes me.

So where are they getting all their information from?

"Nearly two dozen computer models now agree that by 2100, the average yearly global temperature will be 3 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit higher than now, acording to Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research."

Let the record show that these scientists are using computers as if they were crystal balls that can see into the future. They can't. At least not yet. There is simply too much we don't know about our climate to be ascribing predictive powers to these models. On Sept 22nd 2004 I had an op-ed titled "Models of Doubt" printed at Opinioneditorials.com which is here. There is no way all these uncertainties have been clarified since then. A few maybe.

There is another good article on climate models at the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) here. Scroll down to Item #3.

The battle is on and the truth needs as many letters to representatives and LTEs as possible to counter the hysteria.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Two Good Posts

Gates of Vienna has a great guest post by the Fjordman on Muslim immigration in Europe.

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Able Kane found a new and funny site called "God's Loyal Opposition." The post on Intelligent Design is hilarious.

Primacy of Consciousness

LGF had a post on an interview with a Dr. Muhammed Wahdan in which he says "Reality is a mistake. We must rectify it." (Hat tip Thrutch) This is the epistemology of the primacy of consiousness being admitted openly and freely as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

It is the belief that reality is created in the mind and all one has to do is will things to be a certain way and, in reality, they will be. E.g., if a man robs a store but convinces the witnesses who saw him do it that he didn't rob the store, then in reality, he didn't rob the store.

Primacy of consciousness is an attempt to change the world by means of one's feelings and always leads to primacy of those feelings. When reality won't conform to his wishes, a child throws a tantrum. If he has rational parents, they will teach him the primacy of existence, that is, to rely on his mind first, act on his thoughts second and feel the proper emotions third. If he doesn't have rational parents, they will teach him that it is reality that is a mistake, that his feelings are supreme and reality must conform to them.

Today's culture is rampant with this epistemology: Bush equals Hitler if you will it and enough people agree that he is; global warming will be catastrophic not only because a lot of people say so (consensus) but because computers say so, and the ultimate proof that feelings are supreme is in the drive to make offending sensibilities a crime. The tool to accomplish this will be the push to outlaw so-called "hate speech." And of course, this was the predictable result of creating "hate crimes."

Hate by itself has no value outside of that which is being hated in any given case.
It would be very proper to hate a butcher like Hitler or a life destroying philosophy like communism.

All emotions are based on a person's values. A person's values are chosen by his thought processes. Any attempt to make any emotion a crime is a direct assault on every person's right to make the judgements he thinks are necessary to live his life successfully. It's more than just an attempt at censorship. It's an effort to enshrine "the right to feel." And in practice this can only mean that some people's feelings will take precedence over the feelings of others.

If you want to see some real hatred, wait till our courts try to administer justice according to whose feelings were hurt rather than whose rights were violated. All attempts to make hate speech a crime or create hate crimes must be resisted and defeated.

A good way to do that is to become familiar with Objectivism, the only philosophy that I know of that advocates the primacy of existence which leads to the only political theory of justice that demands that government protect mens' rights not thier feelings: capitalism.
For more info on Objectivism visit the Ayn Rand Institute here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Good Technique

Paul Hsieh at Noodle food has a good post on "Why it's important to agree on fundmentals." I like the way he concretized his main point. I've been trying to develop that skill myself and I think that post is a great example of how to do it right.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Uber Evil?

On Monday, April 3rd. The Detroit News printed an article in their Features section titled "Fighting the most evil of the fat world."

Reporter Lisa Rykman of the Scripps Howard News Service begins:
"There's good fat, there's bad fat and there's truly horrible, heinous, reprehensible fat--the Voldemort of the fat world, a fat so hideous and evil that it's despised by nutritionists and cardiologists the world over." Two paragraphs later she writes:

"But trans fat--shudder--is beyond bad. It's so bad, in fact, that it earned the label of "metabolic poison" from Harvard School of Public Health professor Walter Willet." One paragraph later:

"This is mass-murdering fat: Willet and his collegues estimated that replacing partially hydrogenated fat in the U.S. diet with natural vegetable oils would prevent as many as 100,000 deaths annually, which averages out to 274 a day."

Nowhere in the report does the reporter tell her readers how Americans came to use trans fatty acids in their diet. But she does tell the readers that:

"The heinous nature of trans fat has been known for years. In 1994, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit consumer watchdog group, asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require trans fat to be listed on labels and claims."

Ms. Rykman continues: "Recently, CSPI asked the FDA to take action to keep food companies from claiming "0 grams trans fat" on foods high is saturated fat, saying that such labels will mislead consumers by making them think the product is heart healthy." It is interesting to note that Ms. Rykman did't tell her readers that CSPI is a far leftist advocacy group with strong anti-free market leanings.

Now it's easy to see that a casual reader will be tempted to assume that the uses of trans fats was inspired solely by "food companies." ( Trans fats were invented by the food companies and championed by the science establishment and the media.) Nowhere does she mention the fact that this is the same Walter Willet who championed trans fats in the 1980s. From an article at Junk Science.com which quotes a New York Times article:

*"When I was a physician in the 1980s, that's what I was telling people to do and unfortunately we were often sending them to their graves prematurely," the Times quoted Willett as saying.*

While I admire his honesty on this matter, can you imagine the hue and cry if a food company scientist made such a confession? The cries for criminal charges would be deafening. Also, how can it be wrong for food companies to mislead the public but ok for university scientists like Mr. Willett? Will Mr. Willett be punished? Will he even get a tsk-tsk?

But the question is, is any of this true? Or is this just more science establishment hype? Did he really send hundreds or thousands to an early death? Or is he just trying to scare Americans into accepting his next bit scientific dogma?

An article at the American Council on Science and Health of Feb. 14th. 2005, writer Jeff Stier, Esq. says:

"As a result of the campaign against saturated fats, manufacturers switched to trans-fats, and those of us who wanted to be healthier switched from butter to margerine. Yet now, with only the weakest case against trans-fats, it too is put on the no-no list."

And:
"In spite of doomsayer's warnings, there's no substantial body of evidence that trans-fats have killed anyone. In fact, for multiple and complex reasons, over the period when trans-fats came into common use, rates of death from heart disease have actually dropped."

In his book The Cholesterol Myths, Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PHD wrote:

"Many researchers, in particular those who advocate the diet-heart idea, argue that the evidence implicating trans fats as harmful is weak." He goes on to say that because of concerns about reproduction and growth being hampered and possible cancer growth,..."demands that it be subjected to thorough scientific scutiny." (P.237)

So, are trans fats the new Uber Evil? I don't think so. They may in fact, be the reason many Americans are fat. But if our food supply is so deadly, why are we living longer than ever before?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ford Foundation Probe

Sunday's (April 2nd) Detroit News has a front page report by Daniel Howes titled "Ford Foundation probed; AG claims Mich. left out." The first paragraph says:

"Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is investigating the New York-based Ford Foundation, focusing on its governance, potential conflicts of interest and a comparatively thin record of giving to charitable causes in Detroit and the state."

And:

"Cox's probe is now 9 months old. He is using administrative subpoenas and Michigan's chartiable trust laws to determine whether one of the nation's most generous foundations, with assets of $11.5 billion and a reputation for backing causes tied to terrorism and anti-semitism, is 'running a tight ship' and renewing its historical obligation to its Michigan roots."

That the Ford Foundation heavily favors Marxist, socialist and anti-free market organizations comes as no surprise to anyone following politics. About the only ones who don't know it would be the general public.

Evidently the Ford family no longer has any ties to the Ford foundation. According to the article, Henry Ford II resigned from the foundation in 1976 "in disgust" over the leftward direction of the foundation and that marked the last time a family member was connected to the foundation.

But this is an election year and Michigan's economy is in the tank and the Ford Foundation does seem to have abandoned Michigan.

"Between 1950 and 1973, the foundation's grants to Michigan and Ford-related organizations averaged $54.2 million per year, adjusted for inflation. Between 1998 and 2002, grants to Michigan charities averaged just $2.5 million...."

But whose fault is that? It looks like the Ford family and their lawyers because:

"Organizational papers say the Ford Foundation's purpose was to *recieve and administer funds for scientific, education and charitable purposes, all for the public welfare.* There is no mention of special consideration for Detroit or Michigan charities or institutions founded by Henry Ford."

So in a moment of altruistic, intellectual (not to mention legal) sloppyness, the Fords gave away the Foundation to any willy nilly interpretation of "public welfare."

That's the Ford family's problem. In reality though, the Ford Foundation is a private organization and has the right to give money to any cause it desires. Michigan's AG has no right to use the power of government (force) to cajole the organization to send some money Michigan's way.

With that thought in mind, I smiled when I red this:

"But his (Cox's) grab for Ford Foundation records promises to pit a slick global foundation with posh Manhattan headquarters, high-priced lawyers and a carefully tailored defense against a Midwestern attorney general asking legititmate questions for down-at-the-heels Detroit and a beleagured Michigan economy badly in need of a jolt of philanthropy."

These are the kind of adjectives usually used by liberal reporters against big business. To see them used against a liberal foundation is amusing. Of course, "jolt of philanthropy" reminds me of the guy who took his 357 Magnum to go begging.

So how is Mr. Cox justifying his jolting? "And we have an obligation to make sure they aren't plundering, that they aren't engaged in limitless self-dealing without parameters, and that's what were looking at." What kind of parameters? Does Cox think he's not plundering?

I predict that the Ford Foundation will jolt some of its money (plunder) to Michigan and all will be right with the world. I just have one question, if the Ford family is so frustrated with the Ford Foundation, why don't they at least demand the foundation divest itself of the Ford name?