Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Unintended Consequences

Unintended Consequences

Congress, in its wisdom, decided that alcohol should be used in motor fuel, so they devised a plethora of tax advantages to spur this dubious use of food crops. Now they have discovered that paper pulp manufacturers are using the letter of the tax break law to spew extra carbon into the atmosphere, and net a huge windfall at the same time.

It seems that pulp manufacture creates a by-product called black liquor. Sounds like nice stuff, doesn't it? Under the "green" tax law, by injecting diesel fuel into the black liquor they create a form of bio-diesel, and thus are allowed a tax break that amounts to a half dollar per gallon of the composite fuel. As Bloomberg reports, "The windfall for 30 paper-producing companies in the U.S. may total about $6.6 billion and could rise as high as $10 billion."

That's more money than many of these companies make from their operations, for some more than their entire market capitalization. They are ramping up production to qualify for more credits, even as a soft market for magazines and packaging has caused a price drop. This is a cautionary tale, showing how actions of government always carries unintended consequences, and it should be hoped that boondoggles like this make people take notice, as congress prepares to pass massive changes in the law, often with little debate or deliberation.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gore Lies (Again)

Gore Lies (Again)

Al Gore was asked by Congresswoman Blackburn about his financial involvement in Kleiner Perkins, and really did a poor job of it, as you can see in the video. He lied his ass off in his response anyway, but a better question for him would have been "Do you stand to benefit financially if the Cap and trade legislation you are advocating is put into effect?" Republicans should never question why someone invests his money, but it should always be clear how much money a witness stands to gain when in order to evaluate their truthfulness. He says he has been on his crazy train for thirty years. In 1973 he was advocating an oncoming ice age. Is that the same thing? OR do the facts not matter, so long as he gets government to subsidize his wealth?

Saturday, April 25, 2009



Self medication is something almost everyone does. Start with Aspirin and Tylenol. People feel the need to medicate themselves, maybe a headache, maybe some other pain, maybe a fever, so they take a pill. All other OTC meds as well, including Nyquill. Now say you need something else. The law says that you need a prescription for that.

Historical note: Thomas Jefferson thought that the imposition of the world's first prescription law, in France, would signal the end of freedom in France. He was right. He died before they dared to institute one here.

The doctor needs to select whatever drug he will prescribe from a few government mandated lists. Some substances are considered trivial, and others are on another list that confers more liability on the doctor. These lists are political in nature. Many prescription-only substances are shared between citizens - we all have done it. That is a felony. Who is the victim worthy of protection here?

But what happens if your need for self medication will not be met by your physician? Many turn to alcohol as the cure-all. (Many medicines contain large amounts of alcohol anyway.) Politically we are allowed alcohol in most places. But what do you do if alcohol does not alleviate your symptoms? And what then if you find something else, either not on any list of legal prescriptions, or not allowed for your particular condition? Or maybe your symptomatology is not on the government list of diseases for which a particular substance is allowed? Or not confirmed by xray or mri or other tests? Pot, crack, heroin, and other substances are used for many reasons by people seeking to self medicate conditions that physicians would gladly prescribe for, but they are not allowed to. Cocaine is the absolute best anesthetic for eye surgery, yet is not allowed anymore. Some psychiatrists used to prescribe Cocaine for depression,until a few years ago. No more.

Drug prohibition and prescription laws are another scam the government is running on We the People. Why can doctors prescribe narcotics for pain but not for depression? Feel anxious or violent today? You can get a valium or haloperidol from your doctor, but not pot or heroin. Why is this freedom denied to us?

Why are so many on the political right so willing to continue to scam the public with excessive government restrictions by buying into this one, hook line and sinker. The most basic freedom is being denied here. And where in the constitution do you find the power given to government from We the People to put us in jail if we grow a plant in our yard and smoke it ourselves, instead of buying alcohol in a government store, or at least paying a government tax? I can make wine, brew beer (most of the founding fathers did both) but I can not grow a plant? Why? Because someone believes that I will get high? And what is wrong with that? Do you get high from alcohol? What is the difference? And why is it preferable, from what perspective is it better, that I can get addicted to oxycontim or morphine from my doctor, but am denied marijuana for chronic pain? And why, in states where pot is a legal prescription, do the federal authorities harrass and threaten doctors who prescribe it?

Your answer to that is that somewhere, somehow, someone will "get high," and perhaps enjoy their medicine. What is wrong with that?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Second Amendment Basics

Second Amendment Basics

I learned about guns early. At four years of age I was shooting paper with .22 Long Rifle. At 12 I owned my first 30-06 and shot a Deer with it. I did the same for my sons. My wife started a little later than I did. She had to meet me first, her gun training came later.

In my house, there has never been any ambiguity about what weapons are for, the simple rules of civilized gun ownership. Long guns are for animals we want to eat, pistols are for shooting people who mean to do the same to us. Always identify your target with certainty before firing. Always shoot to kill.

Liberals believe that government is the only entity which should be allowed to use firearms. I believe that We the People need firearms to threaten, and if necessary shoot, the government, if they forget who works for whom. These are the principles upon which this great nation was founded. Liberals believe that the constitution is an old piece of paper that has outlasted its usefulness. Their philosophy was founded by Wilson and Mussolini. It is called Fascism or Progressivism. We are lucky our founders, Jefferson and Madison, were so smart as to anticipate the lure of a majority which realizes that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. They made it almost impossible to make further amendments to the constitution, unless there is near unanimity of the citizens.

The second amendment says that since the government will always have a militia, We the People must retain our right to keep and bear arms to stop them from becoming too ambitious. While I trust the military and police with their guns, I have no such faith in politicians. So I taught my children all about guns at a young age, as my father did for me, as I expect my sons to do for their children when the time comes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hamas Tactics in the Gaza Strip

Hamas Tactics in the Gaza Strip

Health Insurance Reality

Health Insurance Reality

In my younger years I was in the insurance business for over a decade. What astonishes me (and others from that biz) is how most people, and all politicians, seem to have no idea what the reality of the health insurance fiasco is. All proposed "solutions" fail to come close to solving the problem.

The problem starts with having no limits on lawsuits. We all see the ambulance chasers on TV with their reprehensible commercials. But that is just the reason drugs and procedures cost so much. Another side, the good side, of the business is the free market in coverage. The reason our insurors cover expensive drugs and procedures that foreign health services do not is that if your carrier failed to cover the drug you need, you would switch your coverage to another company, and then become a walking PR nightmare for the company that denied you. So the freedom to move to another carrier is a big reason why American health insurance covers so much stuff that foreign services will not pay for. This also explains why well-off Canadians buy American major medical insurance.

But the dirty little secret in the business, the one that Tom Sowell just touched upon, is that many people, and all corporations, find coverage horrendously expensive, but find the money to pay it every month, somehow. Nationally, it runs almost one thousand dollars per month, per family. They find all sorts of ways to hide the cost, but that is what it costs. In some places it costs quite a bit more. Every state is different, since insurance law is exclusively state law. That is something Obama intends to fix (or destroy, depending on your point of view)

Now the government says they will cover "the uninsured" and they project the cost of covering them. But when they do that they ignore the funny little thing they always ignore, and that is, people will do what suits their interest. How many families who currently pay one thousand dollars a month for a family policy will move over to government care? How many corporations will find a way to end their employee plans (except for their executives) and opt for government care? At one thousand bucks per month, a lot.

As the numbers rise, and alternatives disappear, services will be cut, inevitably. Then they will do what the other countries have found expedient, and make private insurance illegal. At that point we are done. When I got sick in Florida and needed an MRI, I had it by the end of the day. My cousin in Montreal needed one also, and had to wait eleven weeks. Meanwhile, dogs and other pets could get MRIs, for cash, any Saturday. Why Saturday? Because, even with eleven week waiting lists, the MRI centers were shut down for the weekend. Higher wages on weekends in Canada and limited budgets, plus it is illegal to pay for your own medical care in Canada. Some veterinarians leased MRI centers on Saturdays, but it was illegal for them to take the very same pictures of human beings.

Government run health care will be a bigger disaster than anyone believes. Unmitigated, for real. Canada has been the relief valve of America. Once we are gone, le deluge.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rookie CNN Reporter Bashes Tea Party

Rookie CNN Reporter Bashes Tea Party

Susan Roesgen is overwhelmed by the very idea of a popular protest against her belief system. She apparently does not believe that independent people can possibly be against Obama and his spending plans, so as she covers the event, she loses her cool. She is offended at a participant who characterizes Obama as a fascist. She fails to grasp that people can refuse to be bought off, and shows apparently genuine astonishment at that sentiment. Her naivete is showing big time, especially as she characterizes the demonstration as "anti-CNN" and claims it is illegitimate since, as she puts it, Fox News organized the protest.

As of the time of this posting, Susan Roesgen still works there and there still has not been any apology or statement from CNN about this incident. Zero Base Thinkers are not holding our breath.

The Economics of Capping Carbon

The Economics of Capping Carbon

A great article ny Peter Huber about the actual economics of carbon dioxide emissions. He writes:
We don’t control the global supply of carbon.

Ten countries ruled by nasty people control 80 percent of the planet’s oil reserves—about 1 trillion barrels, currently worth about $40 trillion. If $40 trillion worth of gold were located where most of the oil is, one could only scoff at any suggestion that we might somehow persuade the nasty people to leave the wealth buried. They can lift most of their oil at a cost well under $10 a barrel. They will drill. They will pump. And they will find buyers. Oil is all they’ve got.

Poor countries all around the planet are sitting on a second, even bigger source of carbon—almost a trillion tons of cheap, easily accessible coal. They also control most of the planet’s third great carbon reservoir—the rain forests and soil. They will keep squeezing the carbon out of cheap coal, and cheap forest, and cheap soil, because that’s all they’ve got. Unless they can find something even cheaper. But they won’t—not any time in the foreseeable future.

We no longer control the demand for carbon, either. The 5 billion poor—the other 80 percent—are already the main problem, not us. Collectively, they emit 20 percent more greenhouse gas than we do. We burn a lot more carbon individually, but they have a lot more children. Their fecundity has eclipsed our gluttony, and the gap is now widening fast. China, not the United States, is now the planet’s largest emitter. Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa, and others are in hot pursuit. And these countries have all made it clear that they aren’t interested in spending what money they have on low-carb diets. It is idle to argue, as some have done, that global warming can be solved—decades hence—at a cost of 1 to 2 percent of the global economy. Eighty percent of the global population hasn’t signed on to pay more than 0 percent.

Accepting this last, self-evident fact, the Kyoto Protocol divides the world into two groups. The roughly 1.2 billion citizens of industrialized countries are expected to reduce their emissions. The other 5 billion—including both China and India, each of which is about as populous as the entire Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development—aren’t. These numbers alone guarantee that humanity isn’t going to reduce global emissions at any point in the foreseeable future—unless it does it the old-fashioned way, by getting poorer. But the current recession won’t last forever, and the long-term trend is clear. Their populations and per-capita emissions are rising far faster than ours could fall under any remotely plausible carbon-reduction scheme.
Read the whole thing. The article goes on, filling in the details, the costs and the alternatives. It's a priceless resource into the subject matter. The last bit tells the story:
If we’re truly worried about carbon, we must instead approach it as if the emissions originated in an annual eruption of Mount Krakatoa. Don’t try to persuade the volcano to sign a treaty promising to stop. Focus instead on what might be done to protect and promote the planet’s carbon sinks—the systems that suck carbon back out of the air and bury it. Green plants currently pump 15 to 20 times as much carbon out of the atmosphere as humanity releases into it—that’s the pump that put all that carbon underground in the first place, millions of years ago. At present, almost all of that plant-captured carbon is released back into the atmosphere within a year or so by animal consumers. North America, however, is currently sinking almost two-thirds of its carbon emissions back into prairies and forests that were originally leveled in the 1800s but are now recovering. For the next 50 years or so, we should focus on promoting better land use and reforestation worldwide. Beyond that, weather and the oceans naturally sink about one-fifth of total fossil-fuel emissions. We should also investigate large-scale options for accelerating the process of ocean sequestration.

Carbon zealots despise carbon-sinking schemes because, they insist, nobody can be sure that the sunk carbon will stay sunk. Yet everything they propose hinges on the assumption that carbon already sunk by nature in what are now hugely valuable deposits of oil and coal can be kept sunk by treaty and imaginary cheaper-than-carbon alternatives. This, yet again, gets things backward. We certainly know how to improve agriculture to protect soil, and how to grow new trees, and how to maintain existing forests, and we can almost certainly learn how to mummify carbon and bury it back in the earth or the depths of the oceans, in ways that neither man nor nature will disturb. It’s keeping nature’s black gold sequestered from humanity that’s impossible.

If we do need to do something serious about carbon, the sequestration of carbon after it’s burned is the one approach that accepts the growth of carbon emissions as an inescapable fact of the twenty-first century. And it’s the one approach that the rest of the world can embrace, too, here and now, because it begins with improving land use, which can lead directly and quickly to greater prosperity. If, on the other hand, we persist in building green bridges to nowhere, we will make things worse, not better. Good intentions aren’t enough. Turned into ineffectual action, they can cost the earth and accelerate its ruin at the same time.
This article avoids stating the obvious - but argumentative - fact that the Greens do not favor carbon remediation schemes precisely because their aim is not to reduce carbon, but rather to diminish the wealth held by the developed world - it is an anti-huiman movement after all. Instead Huber gives us chapter and verse, dollars and cents, to explain why wind and solar can't do enough, and nuclear can't do it fast enough, to satisfy the Green demands. It does show, however, how the Greens killed nuclear as a viable option, and shows a rational way forward. So the next time a fool like New York City's Mayor Bloomberg suggests constructing windmills in Manhattan, you will know exactly how foolish a statement that is, and why.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Our artists today have run out of themes to liberate us from, having beat the drum of what a pile of patriarchal bigoted womanizers we all are for at least all the years of my life, and I'm 58. We know we hate minorities because our artists and PBS tells us so.

Cartoons tell us this, Public Television and radio and the National Geographic channel tells us this. Our President tells us and the rest of the world what morons we are. And people swoon and say how smart our new president is.

Today Jeanine Garofalo said that the only reason anybody had for turning out for a tea Party on tax day is - you guessed it - racism. As she explained, we hate blacks and can't stand that a black man is in the "White" House. You can't make this stuff up. Asking the questions, and assenting (by grunts and nods) with her poisonous comments, was none other than Keith Olberman!

She had more to say. She first said that no blacks were at any tea parties, then admitted that there were, but they all had Stockholm Syndrome. She went on about how the race of this president was the "real reason" for the protests, ignoring the fact that there were no placards mentioning any racial subject matter, or the fact that if the republicans had run a black candidate, the vote would have been either the same, or better for the republicans. Like the "threat" assessment recently surfacing from Homeland Security, she made all these assertions with absolutely zero evidence.
“Let’s be very honest about what this is about,” she said. “It’s not about bashing Democrats, it’s not about taxes, they have no idea what the Boston tea party was about, they don’t know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks.”

I used to give the left a pass, ascribing their ravings to "Bush Derangement Syndrome." But now they don't have George to kick around anymore, so there has to be another explanation. I figure that they are bitter and childish people, and when The Won achieved his goal they thought that all their political wet dreams would now come true. Socialist health care, caps on income and energy use, withdrawal from the world stage, assuming an inferior position among the nations of the world, sending Bush Cheney and Rumsfeld to prison. Now they see that it is not gonna happen, and they are throwing a tantrum. This behavior will only get worse.

Anybody have a better explanation?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Who are the Radicals?

Who are the Radicals?

You can not possibly be radical if you are conservative. Those two words are antonyms. "Radical" is a word defined as favoring or seeking political reforms which include dramatic changes to the social order. Conservative means seeking a return to a former social or political situation.

George Orwell foresaw this in "1984." The dominant culture, seeking ever more power, turns the meaning of words on their head to confuse people. Radicals seek to institute new policy in the face of popular opposition. Conservatives seek a return to "the good old days." These terms, conservative and liberal, right and left, have lost much of their meaning. I am a liberal, since I long for a return of our personal freedoms, but I do not long for a return to yesterday, I am progressive, in that I wish to move society forward to a better reality. I am not a "Progressive," since I am not a fascist, meaning a refutation of the constitution. I am conservative in that I believe that humans need rules, and the constitution is our rule book.

People that believe they can control the temperature of the planet, think it is OK to cut open an unborn baby's head and suck out its brains, think that spending trillions of dollars we don't have on things we don't need is sound financial policy, think marriage between same sexes is identical to marriage between one man and one woman, want to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, think drug cartels are buying machine guns and rocket launchers at gun shows, are calling conservatives radical extremists? We truly are in Alice's Wonderland.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Barney Frank Won't Answer

Barney Frank Won't Answer

Check out this example of how our leaders refuse to be held accountable. Frank refuses to even answer a question from this law student, Joel Pollack. He tries to abuse him instead.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ninety Percent of What?

A few days ago our Secretary of State, while on her plane heading down to Mexico City, made the claim that 90 percent of the weapons used to commit crimes in Mexico come from the United States.

The only problem with that statement is that this is all a lie. As usually happens with lies, the "statistic" made it way around the world before the truth could get its shoes on. It turns out that most guns found at Mexican crime scenes are either without serial numbers, meaning that they could not have come from the U.S. or their serial numbers were from a series that was never sold in the U.S. Amazingly, the "over ninety percent" number comes from the proportion of those guns with American markings were traced as coming from this country. And even that number is misleading, because many of those guns were fully automatic weapons that are not available for sale to civilians, and thus many were exported legally to Mexican and other south American police and military organizations, and then presumably diverted to Mexican crime lords.

Why all the mendacity? Just the usual - disregard any facts that do not comport with your agenda, and then when a lie comes up o the public radar, promote it for all it is worth. From the article:
Chris Cox, spokesman for the National Rifle Association, blames the media and anti-gun politicians in the U.S. for misrepresenting where Mexican weapons come from.

"Reporter after politician after news anchor just disregards the truth on this," Cox said. "The numbers are intentionally used to weaken the Second Amendment."

"The predominant source of guns in Mexico is Central and South America. You also have Russian, Chinese and Israeli guns. It's estimated that over 100,000 soldiers deserted the army to work for the drug cartels, and that ignores all the police. How many of them took their weapons with them?"

But Tom Diaz, senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, called the "90 percent" issue a red herring and said that it should not detract from the effort to stop gun trafficking into Mexico.

"Let's do what we can with what we know," he said. "We know that one hell of a lot of firearms come from the United States because our gun market is wide open."
The gun grabbers want to destroy or deny the 2nd amendment, and they will use any ruse to make that happen. And that's the truth.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Beck Tears Blumenthal Up

Beck Tears Blumenthal Up

Glenn Beck somehow got the Connecticut Attorney General Blumenthal on his program, and it is clear that this AG is a lawless hood. He can't answer Beck's question about what law the AIG bonus recipients broke, or indeed what law enables the state to go after them. He mutters that the bonuses "do not serve the public interest" as if that has any bearing on the question. This is another example of the lawless way prosecutors abuse their power, and then can be quite arrogant about it. We are a nation of laws, not men, and without respect for that doctrine we have Anarchy, or Oligarchy.

New Republican Star

Last week I introduced Daniel Hannan, a rising star from Great Britain, who is an eloquent spokesman for anyone who is angered by the unprecedented power grab taking place right now, as Obama seeks to create massive additional dependency. Now we have a new American, a fresh voice from congress, with similar clarity and determination.

Now, of course these fellows did not rise full grown from some magic incubator last week, but have been toiling in the trenches for years, trying to get our attention. But they have it now - at least they have mine.

Much more from Eric Cantor is available here.

There is also a nice piece on him at the Wall Street Journal, titled "Obama's Attack Machine," about how the democrats feel he is so dangerous, they are concentrating so much of their fire at him.

Last week Newt Gingrich explained that the worst of what is wrong with America could be fixed by a massive increase in the nation's commitment to win the Wra on (some) Drugs. This is a guy who was my hero in 1993, when he was instrumental in reining in Bill Clinton. Now he is just an aging pol who wants to regain power at the price of our liberties. Who doubts that drug abuse could be stopped by the U.S. government? Al;l it would take is the repeal of the bill of Rights and the establishment of new sweeping police powers. Nice.

BTW, while looking for this video I found a cogent explanation of how congress can authorize war without using the words "Declare War" and thus the Vietnam and Iraq wars are entirely constitutional. This comes from constitutional scholar Marc Levin, who is worthy of a listen, and respect, IMHO. Video available on YouTube.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Is Dictatorship Coming?

Is Dictatorship Coming?

They think so in Latin America. They have seen this pattern before, with Peron and Castro, Chavez and others.
The emergence of misrule, corruption and economic stagnation in Latin American nations follows a particular sequence or progression. Now the sequence was unfolding in the United States. "It starts with a cult of personality," the Cuban explained. "One man declares himself the jefe, the caudillo, the big leader."


"After the cult of personality," the Colombian explained, "what comes next is nationalization." Fidel had nationalized the Cuban sugar mills, Chavez the Banco de Venezuela, Morales the Bolivian oil and gas industries.

Obama? He may not have been issuing sweeping diktats. But as the American had to admit, he had already presided over a vast expansion of the federal stake in banks, in the automobile industry and in the mortgage markets. And in his address before Congress, he had proposed a new federal presence in health care, an industry that accounts for a full one-seventh of the economy.

"The last step?" asked the Cuban. "Censorship. It won't be obvious at first--they're always too smart for that. But it will come."

"Never," replied the American. "We have the First Amendment."

"And soon enough," the Cuban said, smiling sadly, "you will also have the Fairness Doctrine."
Does the man with no agenda other than "Hope" and "Change" withstand the charge of attempting to establish a cult of personality? Do his overreaching grand statements, like his announcement that "We" will back the warranties of General Motors, made by the "Jefe" with no benefit of law or authorization, reveal him as a lawless leader who recognizes few if any limits on his power?

I leave it for you to decide for the present. Will he become a dictator or an oligarch? The future will reveal all. Meanwhile you can munch on the rest of this.

More here and here.