Friday, March 07, 2008

Which Carbon Do They Mean, Anyway?

I have to say, at the start of this piece, that I am extremely skeptical of the claims made by those who so warn us of ‘Global Warming’. Part of it is their manner – I do not take kindly to being threatened or bullied, and I see a lot of that among the ‘Climate Change’ thugs, no matter how popular they may be in Hollywood or how well-funded their activists may be. I also do not think it is an effective manner to address the question, by declaring the debate to be over just when it really begins. If your case is solid, it can withstand questions, challenges, and doubts – telling me not to test your claim is really telling me you are a con artist.

There has been a lot of Science claimed in this debate, with a lot built on speculative projections by computers. You know, those same computers that year in and year out miss the number and scope and location of hurricanes we will see each summer, yet we’re supposed to buy a century-ahead projection based on the assumptions I just noted never get tested in the first place. I could go into the technobabble, but really that does not get us anywhere since it all comes down to chroming up a Yugo to make folks forget it’s a Yugo. Let’s get down to simple cases, I suggest.

Pollution is a very real problem, and like a certain other problem it’s obvious when you see it. If trees and grass die in the vicinity of a factory, it’s pretty reasonable to wonder what sort of effect that factory is having on the kids in that neighborhood. If the water turns funny colors and gets lumpy, you could reasonably question its safety. If the air turns funny colors and gets hard to breathe, it’s even more an obvious problem. There was a time when getting rid of particulates in the air, carcinogens in the water, and filtering out known poisons from the trash and by-products of a machine or building was right and needed. The advocates for the environment stood for us all then, but as I recall their chief method was to inform and debate, to encourage folks to ask questions and be skeptical. Funny how different the next generation of ‘environmentalists’ are about their method.

I say that because we hear a much different cry today. The air, the water, and the land are all much much cleaner in the United States and most “industrialized” nations. It sort of puts the environmentalists out of business, the way things have gone, but they found a new Bogeyman, nice and even scarier because they can – and do – claim that the whole planet is in peril, and there’s no time to do anything but what they tell us. It comes down to carbon.

Carbon is an element, no more harmful than Hydrogen or Iron or Oxygen in itself. A diamond is simply compressed carbon, coal is carbon that is burned for energy use, and other types of carbon find their way into food and clothing and all sorts of uses. It’s not harmful, judging by the history of the past few thousand years. There’s even a nice little symbiosis between animals and plants; we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, and plants consume carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. Again, that way of things has been around for thousands of years, probably longer but unlike the ecologists I try not to claim something where we cannot really verify it.

But all of a sudden, carbon emissions are supposed to be threatening the planet. The way this is supposed to happen is kind of like cross-genus evolution, there’s carbon emissions at the start, then somehow it all turns into earth-ending catastrophe. Horrible storms, droughts, floods, bad hair days, failed marriages and TV writers going on strike, it’s – well- every bad dream all rolled up neatly into a packaged crisis which can only be solved by, well, mindlessly agreeing to the dictates of a few “experts” who are so smart and important that we’re not even allowed to check their credentials. Sorry, but I’m one of those gotta-see-the-proof kind of guys, and from where I sit, a factory that emits carbon dioxide pretty much the same way my piehole does, is really a good thing, not a bad one.

Now, having said that, I also want to say that I try hard to be open-minded, and I am aware that Carbon can be dangerous in certain forms. Carbonic acid, Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Tetrachloride, it’s certainly possible for Carbon to take a form which is dangerous to folks, but I don’t see Carbon Dioxide that way, again because there’s really no hard evidence to show causality.

So here’s the thing, you Global Warming, Climate Change, or Gore Is God types or whatever you call yourselves this month: Present your evidence, support your position against challenges and questions, and demonstrate that your hypothesis is superior to any of the alternatives – and yes there are certainly alternative suggestions – and you could win us over. But if all you can do is make demands and refuse to support your claim, then please just go away and let the adults get back to work.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Out of pocket for the next few days, as I deal with mid-term exams.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Republican Primaries 2008: What Went Wrong?

Congratulations to Senator John McCain, who clinched the 2008 Republican Party Nominee for President of the United States last night, yet who is also a man disliked by a significant portion of the party and a man who generates enthusiasm less often than a year-old box of corn flakes. McCain’s advocates fall into three broad categories; those who emphasize his war credentials and ignore his record on other issues, those who are afraid of the Democrats’ nominee and want a Republican in the White House, any Republican, and so are willing to settle for McCain, and those who actually like censorship of political speech during an election, for a minority of the Senate to decide the fate of judicial nominees, and for the Global Warming Ponzi Scheme to be allowed to constrain business and rob taxpayers. How on earth did the Party of Ronald Reagan come to this?

I think a lot of this started early. Back in 2005, Patrick Ruffini ran a straw poll about GOP candidates, and I called him on a number of wrong claims and false statements. It was, in short, an informal shoot-the-bull poll with no value beyond a very local barometer of the moment, just as my occasional polls here should not be taken to represent the nation. But I called Ruffini on his attempt to play his poll into something it was not. The reason I bring up that dead cat carcass again, is because even there, I warned that Ruffini was pushing a false image, in his case the viability of Giuliani. It’s not that Rudy was a horrible choice, but that pushing him so early in a poll which closed off some far more conservative possibilities displayed the problem we saw this spring, a set of choices created by non-Conservatives, yet forced on Conservatives. Do you want the really liberal RINO, or perhaps the only-sometimes-RINO? Ruffini has inconsiderately moved or deleted his 2005 poll from his archives, so I cannot recite his list of options, but I can safely advise the public that Senator Fred Thompson, Secretary of State Condi Rice, Governor Jeb Bush, and other leading Conservative voices were – oh so conveniently – left off the poll. Not to belabor Mr. Ruffini too much, as he has every right to speak for the milktoast Republicans when he feels so inclined, but even from the start, Republicans were shown polls and surveys with no meat on the menu. There was, I will say bluntly, no seat at the table for a Reagan Republican.

There were, of course, a few plays for the Conservatives. There are so many Conservatives, that some GOP candidates would surely try for their support. Fred Thompson said the right things, but sadly he missed the crest of support in mid-2007, and by the time he started moving, he was too far behind, in media attention, campaign funds, and in developing his grassroots network. Mitt Romney also played up his newfound Conservatism, but he failed to convince enough Conservatives that he was the real deal. Same problem with Huckabee; the rhetoric just did not square with his record. McCain took the contrary path. Seeing that Conservatives were split, unable to find anyone who really reflected their ideals and priorities, he decided not to chase their support in the primaries, and instead made them his target, successfully drawing support from outside the party even as he chased the party’s mantle. The hypocrisy of such a strategy does not appear to bother Senator McCain.

So here we are; the Democrats are enemies of Conservatism, and now so is the Republican Party’s nominee. Fortunately, we are not bereft of hope. In a statement sure to be sneered at by non-Conservatives, I believe most devoutly that God Almighty favors most Conservative Ideals, and just as Ronald Reagan arrived to bring back America’s greatness after Carter’s disastrous term, I believe that our movement will yet again regain its support and strength. But Reagan had to wait for his moment, and before him Barry Goldwater was a true Conservative who never got to set foot in the promised land of a Conservative America. With McCain, Clinton, or Obama in the White House for at least four years, this nation will suffer for at least that long. The sole mitigation will be those Conservatives in the House and Senate, whose backbones and nerve will sorely be tested by the new reigning coalition of Liberals, Quislings, and McCainiacs. This crucible, though, may be the testing ground for the next Reagan.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Virtue of Debt

The news has been pretty fear-based, lately. We’re in danger of economic collapse, nobody loves America, there’s no hope unless we elect Obama right now, and so on. Really, if panic were a commodity, it would be the hot ticket, wouldn’t it? Anyway, a lot of this comes down to the idea that people do not like being debt. That could be healthy, except of course for the modern pervasive belief that we are somehow entitled to whatever we want. And here we are.

I grew up believing in personal responsibility. We owe for what we use and have, and we owe both our parents for what we got from them, and to our children for the promise we make by having children. We owe our spouses the lifelong commitment we accepted at the alter, we owe our employers our best effort, and we owe our nation our loyalty and constant efforts to reach the ideals set so long ago, and which grow each generation as our ability grows. All this responsibility is difficult sometimes, but it’s a good thing. We need it.

This is what gets lost, when the media leads cries for someone to make all our troubles go away. That’s a lie in the first place, but even if it could be, Utopia is only another kind of prison. It’s in paying our own debts, that we find real freedom.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Party and the President

I am still not at all happy with the idea that John McCain is likely to win the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States. The man's hypocrisy regarding Free Speech is unacceptable, his fatuous buy-in to the Global Warming lie is disturbing, and his regular habit of attacking Conservatives in his policies and statements is insulting. The problem is, if McCain gets the Republican nomination and I do not vote for him in the fall, then I am effectively supporting the Democrats' nominee, either the criminal Hillary Clinton or the vacuous and completely unqualified Barack Obama. Not at all a good situation.

But with that said, there is a bigger problem. George W. Bush has his faults, but he was a good President, and he could have been great if the Republican Party had backed him more often, instead of stabbing him in the back on so many key votes. The reason they did this is simple enough; a mix of territorial greed and personal hubris. More than a couple leading Republicans got it into their head that they mattered more than the President of the United States, and they did all the could to punish President Bush for putting the nation first.

The Democrats do this too, of course. One reason the 2006 mid-term elections turned out not to be so earth-shaking, is the non-stop feuding between Pelosi and Reid and Dean and Schumer and so on. And it's not a new thing; the Congress under Clinton started out under control of the Democrats, who nonetheless saw no reason to respect President Clinton's role as the nation's leader.

Most Presidents, actually, have found Congress much more often an obstacle to their plans and policies than an ally. Reagan stands out because of his ability to go over the heads of Congress to the American people, but frankly no one today demonstrates such skill. No, Obama does not have that skill, because he lacks the moral weight and rhetorical wit to carry the day past the first wave of resistance. No, Hillary Clinton's shrill and cackling delivery will not achieve success with the people. McCain's angry bark will reflect a bitter, narcissistic man, not a leader.

The one thing I am sure of, for the 2009-12 term of our next President, is that the years will be rancorous and ineffective in the main, except where exceptional need or duplicitioous greed compels or sways some new venture. That, and that we the people will get the bill for it.