Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Archive for May, 2009

Obama Administration drops voter intimidation charges against racist thugs!

Posted by sanityinjection on May 29, 2009

This is a disturbing story. During the 2008 election, at a polling place in Philadelphia, three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense took it upon themselves to “stand guard” at the entrance to the polling place, wearing military-style uniforms and targeting voters with racial slurs. One of the men was visibly armed with a nightstick. Needless to say, voters were intimidated and frightened. Civil rights activist Bartle Bull, a veteran of the struggle to secure the rights of blacks to vote in the Deep South, said:

In my opinion, the men created an intimidating presence at the entrance to a poll. In all my experience in politics, in civil rights litigation and in my efforts in the 1960s to secure the right to vote in Mississippi … I have never encountered or heard of another instance in the United States where armed and uniformed men blocked the entrance to a polling location.”

The Justice Department properly pursued the case and expected to win since the defendants refused to appear or answer the complaint against them. Inexplicably, higher-ups at Justice appointed by President Obama have now ordered  the lower-level lawyers (who are not political appointees) to drop the charges.

I must ask this of my liberal friends: Does anyone seriously think that if this had been three Klansmen dressed in hoods and sheets, that these charges would be dropped without a massive outcry in the media? And yet, you can bet that you will not hear this story being trumpeted by the massive organs of the liberal media. And where is the Democratic Party’s oft-expressed concern about voter suppression? I guess it doesn’t apply as long as the thugs in question happen to be black.

More than anything, this reminds me of the permissive attitude toward politically motivated violence during the Weimar Republic in Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s. Local officials routinely looked the other way or sat by helplessly while paramilitary groups affiliated with both the left and right wings did battle in the streets. We all know what resulted from that.

The issue is not whether these three fools are especially dangerous – the legal case was not a criminal complaint but a civil one. The issue is that the Administration’s action will certainly serve notice to other such thugs that they can use violence to threaten and intimidate voters without fear of retribution – as long as they are backing the right (or indeed, the Left) cause.

So the next time you encounter a left-wing protester, carrying a sign demanding the legalization of gay marriage, the enactment of restrictive carbon emissions legislation, or the closing of Guantanamo Bay, ask them when they will be speaking out against voter intimidation and supression by the “Philadelphia Three”.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Former left-wing nutjob acknowledges big mistake

Posted by sanityinjection on May 28, 2009

Sarah Jane Moore admits she was wrong. Her mistake? Trying to kill President Gerald Ford.

Moore tried to shoot Ford in 1975, hoping to spark a violent revolution that bring about sweeping changes in American society. She was sentenced to life in prison. She was paroled at the end of 2007 after 32 years in prison. Now, it’s not hard to imagine that a convict might say whatever the parole board wants to hear in order to get out of prison. But I think her comments have the ring of truth:

“Gradually I began to realize that I had let myself be used….We thought San Francisco was the world, and it wasn’t.”

In other words, what Moore is acknowledging is that after years and years of only hearing one side of the story, she lost touch with the real world. We may say she must have been mentally unbalanced, and perhaps so – but perhaps not. Her action may have seemed like the logical consequence of the incorrect assumptions she’d formed about the world.

If you read closely, what Moore is also saying is that she was duped into left-wing radicalism by people who knew better. Just as some in the media and academia today seek to dupe others by deliberately withholding some facts and twisting others. This is no different than the way racist groups dupe their followers and brainwash them with lies and distortions. Let’s hope the consequences are not as grave as in Moore’s case, either for those who are duped or for those who may become their victims.

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Consumerism and Diet: A New Case for Temperance

Posted by sanityinjection on May 27, 2009

Something a little different for you all today. For the first time at SanityInjection, I offer you a guest column, written by “tubby”, who regular readers may recognize from his many thoughtful comments here. I am neither endorsing nor opposing the opinions “tubby” presents – in fact, I’ll probably post a comment of my own in response. But I will say that I think his post is an interesting springboard for discussion, and that’s why I wanted to present it here.

Without further ado, here’s “tubby”:

———————————————

The current economic climate has brought with it a kind of “green revolution”; an age when the ideas of conservation and environmentalism are no longer confined to hippie communes and San Francisco head shops. We’re concerned – about the banks who guard our hard-earned assets, about politicians who don’t have our interests at heart, and about nature’s seemingly increasing chaotic temper. Every day we see the effects of corporate greed, climate change, urban sprawl, and irreversible ecological damage. To some, these events lead to a moderation in lifestyle choices; to others, they lead to a necessary adjustment of their priorities. This “age of circumspection”, as it were, has led me recently to ponder certain lifestyle choices.

 Since moving to New England I have met many people who have made me question the choices I face every day. For full disclosure: I chose to remain here after college in part because the Southern back-slapping, beer-chugging, good ol’ boy mentality never quite suited me. I’ve always been one who places a certain emphasis on reason, balance, and conservation. (Heck, I was a Philosophy major – I have formal training!) So after a while, life in New England started feeling right. Recycling became a way of life. A friend’s gift of a plastic yard bin got me started composting. I try to reuse as many household items and containers as I can. At the same time, there are ways in which I, as everyone, fall short. During renovations, I could have required environmentally-friendly disposal of old equipment and cabinetry. I could have insisted on buying only new “green” materials. Instead of throwing stuff out, I could “freecycle” or simply have more yard sales. 

But the basic lifestyle choice I’d like to address now – one that we must satisfy every day in order to live – is our diet. Since I moved up east, I’ve come to know a few vegetarians. I must confess that all too often, I’ve not fully understood (or simply failed to ask) why each one chose his or her dietary preference. In most cases, I chalked it up to the animal-rights movement. I find this cause to be a noble one, providing a necessary counterweight to the thoughtless treatment of animals in our age of industry, whose mechanized efficiency has eclipsed sound judgment. Factory farms are a tragic reminder of the contemptible actions taken by big business on its inexorable march to meet consumer demand while reaping a profit. Some take the argument further, saying human beings possess no real moral superiority over other animals, that their lives are just as precious as ours. I’m not prepared to say that animals below us on the food chain are bound by the same moral framework on which we pride modern civilizations. From an evolutionary point of view, our species is blessed with opposable thumbs, advanced brain function, the ability to perceive time, and self-awareness. Is it not natural that we use these faculties to our advantage, in order to preserve our species the best that we can?

 To the environmental point, the impacts of business practices will have effects lasting far beyond the expiration of a single human life. Cattle farms and intensive pig farms produce inordinate amounts of ammonia and methane, the latter of which contributes greatly to the greenhouse effect currently warming our planet. The overfishing of blue fin tuna in the Mediterranean has caused that fish group to become a near-endangered species. Pesticide-ridden crop runoff has created Gulf of Mexico dead zones, where algal bloom has choked off many other types of life. Over and over, we see the ugly effects of a species trying to sustain itself within the bounds of capitalism. Isn’t it reasonable – economically and sentimentally – that we balance good business with a long-term consideration of our surroundings? As a dominant species using our higher faculties to maintain a respectable quality of life, we should aim to so in ways which humanely and responsibly preserve the habitats of our neighboring plants and animals.

 Many vegetarians assert that health is the main reasoning behind their lifestyle. They have understood that a disproportionately heavy diet of red meat and animal fat can lead to heart disease, so they wisely avoid these foods. However, non-“vegan” vegetarians also consume dairy products and often foods high in refined sugar – both of which can lead to heart disease and diabetes when overused. The vegetarian diet offers inherent health benefits, but should be followed judiciously: It implicitly eliminates many foods rich in protein, a fundamental building block for muscle repair and basic cellular function. Vegetarians must exercise additional, often creative, effort to assemble meals which offer not only ample “good fats” and protein, but also a regulated portion of carbohydrates.

 My personal dietary lifestyle choice incorporates all of these concerns, and is one based upon food group balance and portion moderation. The credo “everything in moderation” has become a cliché, but if you pause and think, applying this idea to our daily consumer ritual could address some of our pressing environmental concerns. A blanket “no meat” policy is a respectable, principled view. Yet couldn’t an equally principled position endure in a policy of dietary temperance? By sourcing meat from animals raised on local, sustainable farms, a consumer is supporting the virtues of health, environmental stewardship, and sound ethics – by listening to the Earth, his health, and his conscience. Moreover, when I buy grains and veggies from my local farmer, I am paying respect to my land and community, and (perhaps most importantly) shunning monolithic agribusiness, which in the name of profit begets environmental pollution, large-scale waste, and political influence.

 In closing, I would like to individually address each dietary lifestyle group.

 To the die-hard carnivores: I urge you to consume your substance in greater moderation. The Wendy’s sandwich you had for lunch was about ten percent of a chicken which in all likelihood was raised in a 2′ x 2′ cage and mistreated until its slaughter. A single cow grazing for a year can produce up to 200 cubic meters of greenhouse-gas producing methane, requires over two acres of cleared land, and consumes 14 tons of single-use grain which could have landed on the plate of a starving third-world child. The 16-oz steak you ordered at your Friday night restaurant ritual is a non-trivial portion of that cow, and let’s face it – probably gave you heartburn. What is more, you couldn’t finish it all, so a third of it went to waste!

 For the vegetarians: Consider not only the sentiment, but also the rationale behind your dietary choice. If it is primarily for ethical reasons, consider the irony that the dairy and egg products you crave for your protein intake portends the same cattle and poultry abuse we typically associate with the consumption of meat. If your reasons are politically or environmentally-driven, consider that large farming conglomerates like Archer Daniels Midland, who provide your wheat and corn products, are significant polluters of our waterways and a key reason the persistent Farm Bill drains billions of our tax dollars every election season. Last (but not least), if you cite health reasons, think of all the valuable nutrients of which you are depriving your body. Consider a wild-caught salmon: it poses no major ethical or environmental questions, and provides valuable protein and essential fatty acids – the latter of which offer brain function and immune system benefits found to prevent or mitigate the advancement of several diseases.

 Maybe certain aspects of human nature can’t be changed. There will always been businessmen who think of themselves before their fellow man, as will there be companies that abandon principles of environmental stewardship in the name of profit. Nature will always bestow on us disasters for which we must prepare. Yet lest we forget, there are individual and communal needs we dare not compromise. Love, joy, and physical health are and should remain essential elements of a balanced life. Perhaps the best way we can cherish them is by striving to preserve the natural balance around us. My humble hope is that a tempered consumer lifestyle can accomplish just that.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Global warming hysteria: Read between the lines

Posted by sanityinjection on May 27, 2009

A quick example of how important it is to read articles concerning climate change carefully. The media is fully invested in helping to sensationalize and panic the public around the world. Thus, they do their best to make things sound as dire as possible, even when they are not.

Case in point is this article from Reuters, which reports on the possible consequences of the continued melting of the Greenland ice cap on sea levels for the northeastern cities of North America:

 http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE54Q4SY20090527?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews&rpc=22&sp=true

The key is that the sea level rise and its associated negative consequence will happen only if the Greenland ice continues to melt at present and would take place over several decades. The story doesn’t empahsize that, though. If you don’t read carefully, you might well think that Boston and New York will be underwater within years.

In fact, it is only right near the end of the story that the author rather quietly admits that the scientist who made these findings considers it possible but “unlikely” that current melt rates will continue for the next 50 years. In other words, the whole story is based on an extreme scenario rather than what the scientist actually expects to happen. Because it makes for a much more exciting story.

Which would be no big deal, if it were just one story. But what I’ve just illustrated for you has occurred over and over again at major news sources over the last several years. Most people are not going to take the time (and quite frankly, can’t be expected to) to critically analyze every news story they hear on this issue. So the drumbeat of hysteria has its desired effect: if you hear something enough, eventually you start to believe it, whether it’s true or not. Call it the “Al Gore” effect.

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Myron Rolle: A parenting success story

Posted by sanityinjection on May 27, 2009

Unless you are an avid college football fan in general, or of Florida State in particular, you have probably never heard of Myron Rolle. I hadn’t, either. But Myron’s story is an instructive one in ways that having nothing to do with sports.

Myron was the starting safety for FSU for most of three years. Normally, such a player would be headed for the NFL. And indeed, Myron has a top-level athletic trainer to help him do just that.

But Myron is not your average football player. Many college football players struggle to graduate, or leave school to go pro without graduating. They often major in fields such as “excercise science” and avoid taking rigorous courses. Myron didn’t choose that path. His major was pre-med, and he not only graduated from FSU – he graduated with a full courseload in only 2 1/2 years. Now instead of heading for the NFL, he’s headed to Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar to prepare for what he hopes will be a career as a neurosurgeon AND a pro football player. He intends to return after a year to play in the NFL. How’s that for ambitious?

Of course Myron is not the only college football player who is smart and has big dreams.  What seems to be unusual about Myron is his work ethic (in non-athletic as well as athletic pursuits) and his maturity level as far as planning for his future rather than simply living for the moment as many 22-year-olds would be. Myron’s hero isn’t a rapper, a football star like Terrell Owens or even someone like Barack Obama. He’s a gangly white dude named Bill Bradley, who successfully enjoyed a career as a nationally known pro athlete and a nationally known politician.

The question that arises after hearing Myron’s story is: Why is Myron poised for such maturity and success while so many athletes his age are getting in trouble with drugs and thugs and fathering children out of wedlock?

There are many answers, of course. Some of Myron’s fine qualities are probably inherited. The fact that he is an immigrant from a poorer country (the Bahamas) probably also serves to motivate him. But I would argue that the biggest factor in Myron’s success to date is probably his parents – Beverly and Whitney Rolle. Mr. and Mrs. Rolle instilled their children with values of respect and discipline, but also devoted themselves to nurturing their children’s minds as well as their bodies. And the proof is in the pudding, as Myron’s siblings are doing well in their own lives.

Myron Rolle is merely an extreme example of a pattern that emerges over and over again. When a child is raised by two parents who are both heavily involved in his or her life, who teach by setting a good example for their kids to follow,  who stress the importance of moral values and education – such a child is far more likely than not to achieve success in life. It doesn’t matter whether the family is rich or poor, black or white, religious or secular. It is past time for our society to acknowledge that this is by far the most successful model for child-rearing and hold it up as a desirable goal. Although there are heroic single parents – many who didn’t choose that status – who overcome many challenges and raise fine children, we have to stop pretending that single parenthood is an equally valid and desirable choice. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests otherwise.

We must also reject the even more disturbing trend in which parents expect schools to raise their children for them. Today’s schools have become day care facilities, doctor’s offices, therapists, police and everything else besides institutions of learning, because parents cannot (or too often will not) take responsibility for their children. If you think I am overstating the case, ask a teacher. They see it every day.

Wouldn’t it be great if, when we teach our kids about sex and pregnancy, we also teach them that being a parent is about more than popping out a kid, feeding and clothing them and hoping they turn out OK while going on with our lives just as we did before?

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Displaying the flag: Is there such a thing as going too far?

Posted by sanityinjection on May 27, 2009

Submitted for your consideration: The case of Ms. Debbie McLucas, a hospital supervisor from Texas. McLucas hung an American flag in her workplace and had it taken down after some people complained:

http://cbs11tv.com/local/patriotism.at.office.2.1020415.html

This is an interesting case. In general, I am supportive of the right to display the American flag. For example, some states have passed laws to prevent condominium associations from prohibiting owners from flying the US flag. However, it’s also reasonable for an employer to set limits on personal or political expression in a workplace, especially in a shared space, or when other workers are made uncomfortable by it.

One might well ask why anyone living in America would find the American flag to be offensive given the values it represents. Then again, you don’t always know what the back story is. For example, suppose (solely for the purposes of hypothetical illustration) Ms. McLucas had a history of making anti-immigrant remarks in the presence of a foreign-born colleague, and after an unfriendly exchange between the two, decided to hang the flag as a way of saying, “America for Americans.” In such a case, it’s not hard to see how the display of the flag could be taken as a direct provocation. (Again, I have heard no suggestion of any such motive on Ms. McLucas’ part in real life. Rather, it would appear to be a straightforward expression of patriotism with an emphasis on honoring America’s military veterans.)

The photo accompanying the story clearly shows that this is a rather large flag for an indoor office space. Thus, the hospital is now falling back on the pretense that the size of the flag was the only issue, which is obviously not the case. But arguably the hospital would be within its rights to limit the size of any office display, so they feel they are on safer ground there.

It seems to me that it is unfortunate if co-workers a) feel they cannot speak openly with each other about behavior that makes them uncomfortable, and b) would not be sensitive to their co-workers’ concerns. However, it’s also unfortunate for any American to view the flag as a symbol that they cannot embrace.

 Bottom line: The workplace is not intended as a vehicle for the personal expression of employees – however noble that expression may be. When that expression starts causing disruption in the workplace, the employer has the right (and indeed the duty) to address the issue.

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

North Korea takes dangerous step toward war

Posted by sanityinjection on May 27, 2009

In the wake of its recent nuclear bomb and ballistic missile tests, North Korea has now taken an even more disturbing step in threatening war against neighboring South Korea and its US ally. North Korea has announced that it no longer intends to abide by the Armistice Agreement of 1953 which ended the Korean War.

In order to understand why this is so significant, we must recall that no peace treaty was ever signed at the end of the Korean War. Instead there was an armistice agreement – in simple terms, a cease-fire in place and a truce. While remaining technically at war, both sides agreed not to fire first and created a demilitarized zone (DMZ) along their border to reduce the chance of an accident. Over the years, apart from low-level sniping, that border has remained inviolate. North Korea has frequently threatened South Korea and has instigated provocative actions at sea (where the armistice does not apply.) But by abrogating the Armistice, North Korea is serving notice that it is prepared to launch ground and missile attacks against South Korea.

In 1954 the US and South Korea signed a mutual defense treaty. So if North Korea attacks South Korea, the US is obligated to come to South Korea’s defense. (Indeed, US troops currently in South Korea would be very much in harm’s way.) The problem is that even the US cannot prevent North Korea from raining destruction on the South. All we could do would be to counterattack.

The reason North Korea is taking this step at this time is that they finally believe they have sufficient force at their disposal to bully the South. They are now a nuclear nation with missiles that can hit US territory (Guam, Hawaii, Alaska.) The North’s leaders must know that they could not hope to win a lengthy conflict with the South and the US. But they may well believe that the South and the US have more incentive to avoid such a conflict if they can do so by giving in to North Korea’s demands, whatever they may be (most likely food aid and money.)

The wild cards in this equation are China and Russia. They have historically been supporters of North Korea, but they also have the most to lose from a nuclear strike on the Korean peninsula – fallout from which could drift over their own territory. Already, Russia is displaying a new seriousness toward the Korean situation. We can expect these two countries to become more engaged in negotiations. However, their preference will likely be to have South Korea give North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il whatever he wants in order to keep the peace. In essence, they will blame the victim.

I don’t have a very good solution to offer. I will simply say that I believe it is imperative that our government make clear to the North Koreans that the US is fully committed to defend South Korea under its treaty obligations. The only thing that will hold North Korea back is if they believe the US has not only the physical capability but the political will to stand up to them.

Posted in Foreign Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama nominates Sotomayor for Supreme Court: First thoughts

Posted by sanityinjection on May 26, 2009

It is tempting to rush to judgment concerning President Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. Judge Sotomayor has a fairly extensive judicial record which is already being mined by the media for juicy tidbits.

However, there is a reason that the Senate holds confirmation hearings. Judge Sotomayor should be afforded the opportunity to participate, through her statements,  in the public re-definition of herself as a jurist that accompanies every Supreme Court nomination. So, like the Senate GOP, I am going to refrain from taking a position until I’ve heard more from the judge herself.

I will make a few comments, though. The first is that as a general rule, I think the President should be entitled to the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his nominees – for the Court, the Cabinet, or any position. A difference in political ideology should not be sufficient grounds to oppose a Presidential nominee. Sotomayor is unquestionably a liberal. Well, duh. Did you think Obama was going to appoint a conservative? If he were to withdraw Sotomayor’s nomination for any reason, his second choice is not going to resemble Antonin Scalia. So it would be silly for the GOP to oppose Sotomayor simply because she’s a liberal. Nor does Sotomayor’s record suggest that she votes in a knee-jerk or thoughtless fashion. In fact, she’s rather known for aggressive questioning of appellants.

Of course, the judicial record I mentioned above contains a number of controversial items that I would argue are legitimate areas of concern. For example, Sotomayor is on record as stating that the Second Amendment only applies to the federal government and not to the several states. That argument, generalized to cover the other Amendments in the Bill of Rights, would allow states to abrogate rights such as free speech and freedom of religion if their state constitutions allow it. Thus, I will be eager to hear how Sotomayor chooses to put this portion of her record in context when it comes up during the hearings, as it surely will.

However, one must keep in mind the political context of this nomination. Assuming no major bombshells arise to derail the nomination, Obama can count on the votes of most Democratic Senators and one or two Republicans, who do not care to vote against her because she is (pick one) liberal, female, or Hispanic. This means that no matter how long the blustering goes on, Sotomayor is likely to be confirmed. Conservatives will have to gauge whether it is worth making a stink over Sotomayor’s record and risk being painted as racist or sexist for opposing her.  The GOP may choose to save its ammo for a later fight when Obama nominates John Paul Stevens’ successor. Also, the hearings will probably take place over the summer when fewer Americans are paying attention to politics. So there’s less to be gained by grandstanding by either side.

At the end of the day, I believe that unless a Presidential nominee proves to be seriously flawed in qualifications or character, we should defer to the President’s preferences, whether that President is a Republican or a Democrat. (I have not forgotten the political assassination of Judge Robert Bork, one of the most qualified individuals ever nominated to the Court, by Democrats on purely ideological grounds.) The question is whether Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings will magnify today’s concerns to prove to be such flaws, or not. Like political junkies everywhere, I will eagerly await the answer.

But the outcome of this should be important to all Americans. Not because Sotomayor is female (not the first or even second woman on the Court) or Hispanic (a first, but there’s always going to be another first – first Albanian-American, first disabled person, etc. – when does it stop being the primary method of viewing people?), but because the nine members of the Supreme Court are among the most powerful people on earth – as powerful as the President in their collective ability to make decisions that affect the lives of ordinary Americans – think Dred Scott, Brown v. Board of Education, and Roe v. Wade, just for starters. What that means is that we should all hope for a nominee who takes the responsibility of being a Supreme Court Justice with the greatest of seriousness, and who will use her or his legal experience and understanding of the Constitution to make decisions based on the body of American law, not to advance a particular political agenda, but rather to hold any and all political agendas subject to the same scrutiny and standards. Liberals dissatisfied with the Court up until now have felt that the majority of the Justices have not done so; if that is the case (and I don’t agree that it is), replacing a partisan activist Court with another one swinging in the opposite direction is not a victory for the rule of law, only an Orwellian swap between the oppressors and the oppressed (Read 1984!)

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Happy Birthday, Germany

Posted by sanityinjection on May 22, 2009

Today is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. The country will observe two days of celebrations in Berlin including a street fair tomorrow. The event began with a ceremony today and a speech by German President Horst Koehler:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=7654003

Because of the extreme consequences of German nationalism in the past, Germans today are often reluctant to display too much pride in their country. However, this is an occasion that Germans should be justly proud of. Built on a foundation destroyed by war, the FRG has gone from a nation of displaced refugees to become a prosperous, stable, peaceful and widely respected state. In his speech, President Koehler was careful to thank Germany’s western allies for their assistance in the country’s development, singling out the United States for its role in midwifing and defending the young government during the Cold War.

That is not to say that Germany is without its problems. The former communist east continues to lag behind the rest of the country economically. Anti-Semitism and ethnic bigotry remain, although arguably not at greater levels than in Germany’s neighbors. However, these issues merely underscore the point that Germany has become a “normal” nation. Today’s Germany is a stabilizing influence in Europe and the world.

Germany’s role in world history can never and should never be forgotten. But it is right that its great progress should be remembered also. Other nations may not have the indelible stain on their past that Germany does – but how many of them have made so much progress and accomplished so much in the last 60 years?

Posted in Foreign Affairs | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Global Warming Conspiracy: Big Business

Posted by sanityinjection on May 21, 2009

Regular readers know that I frequently rail against what I see as a coordinated effort to manufacture a panic over climate change, designed to create jobs and financial and political profits for specific elite groups.

In this vein, Danish climate skeptic Bjorn Lomborg returns with a WSJ column explaining how certain businesses have jumped aboard the “global warming” bandwagon (especially with regard to the Administration’s pending “cap-and-trade” legislation) – not because they are convinced by the science but because they have figured out how they can profit from it:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124286145192740987.html

I am not one to embrace conspiracy theories, but we have seen this pattern too many times before. It began with wars:  as early as the 19th century, certain business interests agitated for war with America’s enemies because they saw opportunities for profit, ultimately leading to what President Eisenhower, a career military man, decried as a “military-industrial complex” whose interests were not necessarily those of the country as a whole. In the 1980s, it was the AIDS “crisis”: we were told that AIDS had become an epidemic among non-drug-using heterosexuals in America, which was patently false, but caused lots of  public and private money to flow to certain research and public health organizations as well as pharmaceutical companies. It’s not a coincidence that the global warming drumbeat got going right about the same time that the AIDS gravy train began to dry up.

It is generally a truism that the more apocalyptic the prediction, and the more vocal the pronouncements of its scientific certainty, the greater the skepticism with which it should be received – especially when you are talking about predictions of a system with the complexity of the earth’s climate over a period of decades. Most of the great scientific discoveries were not advanced by zealots who felt the need to shout down any and all opposition – that is the behavior of someone who is insecure about the validity of their theory.

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