Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Larry's Memo To Bush

Larry Sabato, who is as close to a non-partisan political writer as there is, has posted what he calls an "Urgent MEMO to THE PRESIDENT." Sabato's interest is, apparently, pro bono; he seems to believe that some sanity in the White House would be good for the country. He offers five pieces of advice, but he saves the best for last:
Admit One Big Error and Correct It [...] the Medicare drug benefit. Do you know how many Republican Senators and Representatives have said privately that it is the worst, most regrettable vote of their careers? The drug benefit will add trillions to the national debt over time; because of its complexity, it is overwhelmingly disliked by the very seniors it is designed to help; and like most government programs, it is guaranteed to become massively more unwieldy and costly in the future, as new provisions and baubles are added on. Eliminate it, or at the very least, cut it way back by limiting it to the poor. Your gigantic, additional Medicare entitlement underlines the Bush Administration's reckless overspending. The ocean of red ink you have created will be an enormous black, er, red mark on your legacy in the history books. Why not do something about it while you still can? All at once, you can please your party, make better policy, and change your image by confessing a big goof. People will be amazed at your display of humility. Sometimes, the best politics is counterintuitive.
Even though Sabato betrays his left-leaning with his first piece of advice, which goes along with with the democrat policy of denial of the truth of Bush's Iraq policy, the rest of the piece is quite instructive. Don't miss this one!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Kyoto In Montreal

Kyoto in Montreal

And now up for a post-mortem perambulation is the Kyoto Accord, as the hacks of the world bureaucracy and their symbionts gather, amidst much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, to condemn the USA for - what exactly? I do not know. After all, this great nation has done more carbon dioxide reduction than almost all of the countries that have ratified the "accord." These wackos blame Bush for stopping American involvement in Kyoto, yet the Senate voted 99 to 0 against it even before Bush ascended his throne. We are doing more - much more - to curtail carbon dioxide emission than are rest of the entire world put together. Not only in laws that affect about half of our economy, but by putting together a framework that will do what Kyoto never attempted to do, which is bring in most of the world's peoples and economies and work toward finding solutions to our problems, whatever these problems are. What Bush failed to do is kneel down to socialist forces that want the USA to weaken itself in some misguided scheme that springs from a serious misapprehension of how economies and wealth work.

One zero base thinker , David Warren, is, even though a Canadian, very clear headed (and who has long been one of our faves) and he has come up with a fine piece on the denouement in Montreal, He says of the credulous cretins of common confabulated corruption:
They still buy into the possibility that human acts might be contributing to a global warming trend that either is or is not happening, on a time scale that might be short, medium, or long. They just realize that if something must be done about greenhouse gas emissions, there have got to be more intelligent ways to do it, than by suppressing economic activity throughout the Western world.
And, The Australian gets the deal in Montreal exactly right, with:
If a shifty salesman in a blue suit adorned with yellow stars appeared on your doorstep flogging a life insurance policy with high, high costs and low, low returns, would you turn over your hard-earned cash? Most likely you would shut the door in his face. This is effectively what some non-government organisations and governments are asking us to do when they call for drastic restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions in the name of saving us from climate change.
Meanwhile, while government, NGOs, and the punditocracy continue to blab over nonsense, the clever, rational mind, the zero base thinker who knows that the common wisdom is always wrong and seeks the truth, will find that, while natural gas is a low carbon fuel, we are currently seeing a shortage of usable natural gas because of a carbon dioxide shortage!! Yes, the sad fact is that natural gas, and older deposits of petroleum in general, need CO2 to inject into the wells, to produce the hydrocarbon. Yet, there is a shortage of available CO2! The scenario goes like this: Natural gas is produced from a well, CO2 is extracted from it, and then the CO2 is pumped into the ground (for perpetual storage) which causes crude oil to come out of the formerly depleted oil well, that had been previously given up for dead. More gas, more oil, less carbon. But do we hear the government, the NGOs, or the eco-loonies saying anything about this? NOOOOOO!!!

Carbon dioxide will be reduced if and when it is economical to do so, not before. The green movement ignores economic argument as an article of faith. Until they are willing to assign a value, in currency, to CO2 reduction, clean air or water, or whatever, they have no chance of achieving their goals. And, until they embrace nuclear power, they will never convince the rest of us that they are serious about CO2-caused global warming. And only then.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Another Threat Aborning

What with all the noise from Congress about a national ID card, many of us had resigned ourselves to a certain amount of added exposure to government scrutiny, probably consisting of more coordination between the States and the development of a more rigorous driver licensing regime, as a lesser of the evils. One could rationalize that most, if not all, of this info could already be divined by a determined Big Brother, intent on keeping tabs on us law-abiding citizens. Hey, we thought, maybe this will make us a bit safer, and this is a tide that can not be resisted in any case. Now comes the Centers for Disease Control and that seems to be very wishful thinking indeed. In a little-noticed action, the CDC has proposed a rule that would greatly expand the powers of the federal government to track and quarantine individual travelers. The federal government, airline and shipping industries would scrutinize travelers more closely than has ever been attempted before. At least, not in this country.

According to CDC, "[t]his set of data is greater than the set of information currently collected by the airlines, [global distribution systems], or travel agencies." What do these fine federal friends seek to know about us? merely
Permanent address, email address, passport information, traveling companions or group, emergency contact information (including at least name of an alternate person or business and a phone number), phone number(s) for the passenger, itinerary, and other flight information.
All this data would be required to be collected by the carriers, for any passenger on an airliner, train, or bus. The rule also broadens the list of symptoms that would make passengers subject to quarantine. It would allow the CDC to detain a sick individual for three business days without a hearing. After that time, the CDC Director would have the power to quarantine an individual until the end of "the period of incubation and communicability for the communicable disease as determined by the Director." For most diseases, this would be about a month. During that month, the quarantined person would be able to have an administrative hearing, but only to dispute actual evidence on whether the person has been exposed to a disease. Legal or constitutional claims could not be addressed by the hearing, though detainees could petition for a writ of habeas corpus for judicial review of the quarantine order.

The new rule, estimated to cost up to $865 million a year, would require airline and shipping industries to gather passenger contact and health information, maintain it electronically for at least 60 days, and release it to the CDC within 12 hours of a request. The CDC would retain the information for a year. Since this rule would be a blatant violation of The Privacy Act, Congress would presumably have to change the Act. We can expect that democrats as well as republicans will embrace this travesty as a demonstration of their ability to act in a non-partisan manner. Of course, it is completely partisan for members of Congress to act against our freedoms, as the real two sides, the real partisans, is us, against them. The bogeyman now is no longer Osama, but the bird flu. You remember the bird flu. That is the disease that does not yet exist in a dangerous form, but every public health bureaucrat with his or her greed intact swears that it is about to change into something that will endanger us all. Nervous nellies of every stripe are showing signs of going along with the bird flu power grab, but until this CDC proposal, all they wanted was money. Now they want our freedom.

CDC says that this request is nothing new. Again, according to their proposal
The Secretarys authority to quarantine persons is limited to those communicable diseases published in an Executive Order of the President. This list currently includes cholera, diphtheria, infectious tuberculosis, plague, smallpox, yellow fever, and viral hemorrhagic fevers, such as Marburg, Ebola and Congo-Crimean, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, and influenza caused by novel or reemergent influenza viruses that are causing or have the potential to cause a pandemic
Limited! Notice how, once taken, our freedoms are never restored to us. Cholera is still on the list, and it has not been a threat to Americans since WW II. As a past victim of Cholera, I can attest to the fact that the cure is no more complicated than plenty of water, rest, and Tetracycline, with the Tetracycline being entirely optional. It can not be spread in any area with modern plumbing, yet the government had chosen to retain the right to quarrantine us, for no more than a glorified case of the runs. But at least Cholera is an actual disease. Bird flu does not yet exist, but that fact does not stop the government from using it as a convenient bogeyman to keep tabs on ALL travellers, wherever we go. Within the proposal I could find no restrictions on the level of travel they might choose to focus on. Pass this rule, and they will have the right to scrutinize every subway passenger. Past being prologue, give them the right, and they will exercize it.

In an almost related action, federal officials have arrested and charged a woman who refused to give her identification to a security guard, as she sat on a public bus. Once again, our freedoms creep away, all in the name of "security." Against whom? A private person, minding her business on her way to work. Terrorists terrorize, and illegals pour over our borders, unchecked, and the response of our government is to harrass citizens? NOT! The response of our government is to use any pretense to expand their power to control and monitor us. That is what they do. That is expected. The frightening thing? Where is the outrage? Who cares? A small minority, at best. Each one of us has to wonder, when will they come for ME?