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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"We're surrounded. That simplifies the problem."

By Rich Kozlovich
We are an industry that is beset with an overwhelming need for regulations. How did all of this come about? It is bad enough when government bureaucrats make all sorts of demands, but now we are hiring our own bureaucrats to create regulations that will eventually be more egregious than the governments. Recently I commented on Frank Andorka’s blog “One More Thing”, (which I have added to my blog role) regarding these organizations that are setting up standards for companies to become “green” certified. I would like to share those comments with some additions.

We need to go back to 1933. “In May and June of 1933 the Congress and Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the National Recovery Administration as a key measure in a program of national recovery from the depression. NRA demanded that business, though its trade associations, establish codes of fair trade practices which had provisions for minimum wages, determine the number of hours per week an employee could work, insure fair prices for and industry and prevent “unfair” competition within an industry.” (It might be noted that economists now believe that this, along with other such programs extended and worsened the Great Depression)

“The belief was that if an industry couldn’t produce a code acceptable to the NRA administrators that they would impose one of their own.” SCOTUS found this to be unconstitutional two years later. However, the “Trade Associations Industry” as we know it today was created.

“Some believe that the short-lived NRA proved to be a blessing for the pest control industry, because it fostered a national organization which led a mixed assortment of rat catchers and exterminators from novitiate to professional status in a relative short span of years.” This was true, but all of our trade associations (not just pest control) are designed to be handmaidens of government compromise and a easy and efficient way for those with agendas to implement regulations that could never have passed muster if they had been submitted to a vote.

“The Federal Register, which lists all new regulations, reached an all-time high of 78,090 in 2007, up from 64,438 in 2001.” I have some questions.
• Does anyone really believe that government regulators believe there are too many regulations?
• Does anyone believe that no more will be passed?
• Does anyone believe that some should be eliminated?
• Why then do we need to impose our own regulations on ourselves?
• Would someone tell me what regulations are not already covered under Common Law?
• If they are already covered under Common Law, why then is it necessary to have so many?
• Why do they keep increasing?

Those 78,090 pages only cover federal regulations. That doesn’t even begin to cover local and state regulations. The last figure that I read was about 10 years ago which stated that all of these regulations cost each family in America between 10and 15 thousand dollars a year. Do we really believe that cost is worth it?

Let us not lose sight of reality….regulations are a way around Constitutional protections for those with an agenda. The Fourth Amendment says that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The Fifth Amendment says among other things that, “No person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” Yet we are forced to allow regulators to enter our businesses and search through the building (inspect) and go through our records (inspect) to see if we have committed some technical violation. Can anyone explain to me how calling a “search” an “inspection” changes the Constitutional standard? No policeman or investigator in the country can do that without a warrant.

To be Green is to be irrational and misanthropic! This leads me to ask some questions.
Question - Why do we keep failing to realize that there is no way to appease the greenies?
Answer –It is either a matter of complacency, or because of incredible short sightedness and we keep thinking that we can benefit from this stuff.
Question - Why do we want to be green?
Answer – It isn’t just because we have been misled, which we have; it’s because if feels good! We get to go along to get along. We get to be lauded and praised for being on a higher moral plane than our peers.
Question – Is it a failure of information?
Answer - Not for those who have been reading more than just the newspaper. The amount of information on any given subject today is almost staggering. There is no excuse for not knowing all sides of a subject. Everything we are told, everything we see on the news, everything we read in the newspaper or on the internet should bear some resemblance to what we see going on in reality.
Question - Is it a failure of intelligence?
Answer – Yes and no. Some just can’t grasp what is really happening. Others refuse to grasp what is happening. Those who do grasp the entirety of it all are either appeasers or adversaries.
Question - Is it a failure of courage?
Answer - _____________________________Fill in the blank.

Setting up outside non-governmental organizations who will sit back and determine whether we meet some sort of arbitrary standard for “green” (or anything else for that matter) is an invitation for more and more intrusive behavior and demands to jump through unnecessary hoops to appease these private “for hire” bureaucrats. Eventually each will, in order to appease the greenies, compete to see who can be the most oppressive in their demands. Once certified, you will have to keep making changes to maintain that certification. That is what regulators do. Whether they work for the government or they are “regulations for hire” regulators. They create regulations…because if they don’t….they aren’t necessary and they would have to go out and get a real job.

This is a Paraphrased quote by Marcus Tullius Cicero (who didn't really say this by the way) (106-43 BC):

 “An industry can survive those who are foolish and careless. It can survive the overly ambitious, but it cannot survive those who attack an industry and what it stands for from within. The activists are more to be desired because they present themselves as the enemy at the gate. Although they may use deceit and cunning they are known because they carry their banner openly. 

No matter how formidable they may be they cannot be as serious a threat as those who wear the garments, speak the language and share the customs of those within an organization while secretly working that which is harmful. They rot the heart of an industry, undermine the pillars of support and infect the industry with their treason to the point that those who see clearly and understand what is really going on are left standing alone. 

That industry will no longer be able to resist those who would destroy it. Can any crime be feared more?”

When we adopt these programs, whether it is through a private “non-profit” group or through some government agency, or through our trade associations we are just like the Trojans dragging the horse into their city. We become enablers to those who would destroy us.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In Defense of Science -

(I would like to thank Mr. Roy Tucker for his permission to publish his commentns. Mr Tucker was a member of the Memphis Astronomical Society, received a Bachelor's degree in Physics from Memphis State University (now The University of Memphis). He received his Master's degree in Scientific Instrumentation from The University of California, Santa Barbara and a was graduate student for three years in Planetary Sciences at The University of Arizona. RK)

by Roy Tucker

It has been my experience that serious discussions should be preceded by definitions of important words that will be used in those discussions so that all of the participants will be using those words with a common understanding of their meanings. I have found that many disagreements have originated from people using the same words but with differentunderstandings of their meaning.

Definition from the Random House College Dictionary - "Systematic knowledge of the physical or material world". This word is derived from the Latin, "scio scire scivi or scii scitum, to know, understand" (Cassell's Latin Dictionary). The most successful acquisition of this knowledge has been through the application of the Scientific Method. Generally, this method consists of the following steps:

(1) Observation of a natural phenomenon.
(2) Clear statement of a hypothesis that may perhaps explain that
(3) Development of a test to disprove or falsify predictions based upon that
(4) If the hypothesis is disproven, go back to step one or two. If repeated
efforts to disprove a hypothesis fail, then it may possibly be correct.

A hypothesis that stubbornly refuses to be disproven may even be dignified by calling it a "theory". To assert that anything is a "fact" or "proven" is very risky. Consider the example of Newton's "Laws of Motion". Repeated experiment and successful use of these "laws" in mechanics and the description of the motion of celestial bodies gave physicists, engineers, and artillerymen great confidence that the velocity of a body was a simple function of the force applied to it and the duration of that force. Newton's laws became accepted as a proven fact. That is, until Einstein began to ponder what happens as the body's velocity began to approach the speed of light. According to his 'hypothesis', it is the momentum of an object that increases as long as a force is applied to it. Newton's Laws are but the low-speed approximations of Einstein's relativistic expressions. Is Einstein's Theory of Relativity a fact? Is it proven? Not if some experiment in the future falsifies it and leads to an even better understanding of how the universe works.

My education has been in science and engineering. I have a great reverence for the Scientific Method because I know the history of how humanity has laboriously, painfully gained the body of knowledge upon which our civilization is founded. The Scientific Method has been our most powerful tool in learning how the universe works. There is one very important thing required of those who would seek knowledge by means of the Scientific Method and that is honesty. If one cannot report the results of observation accurately, how can ignorance be dispelled? How can a hypothesis be falsified?

Climate science has become politicized. People who profess to be practitioners of science are using the authority of their offices to assert that "the debate is over" and "the science is settled" when it never is in the proper conduct of Science. People who claim to be educators of the public dismiss inconvenient facts and propagandize in support of the "politically correct" dogma.

In the January 16th CCNet, Dr. David Appell, who describes himself as a "science writer", suggested that readers of CCNet might find his article, "Climate change: The last, final problem", of interest. Indeed I did. I consider it an excellent example of the environmentalist propaganda pervading the media these days that seeks to persuade scientifically unsophisticated readers that anthropogenic global warming is absolutely a fact and we must all sacrifice our hopes and dreams to "save the planet" from a hellish future. It was quite a remarkable screed, a recounting of all of humanity's alleged environmental sins, totally devoid of any real discussion of scientific issues or comparison of competing explanations of climate variability. This is a continuing pattern since Dr. Appell has also written in defense of the thoroughly discredited Michael Mann "Hockey Stick" temperature curve and has claimed that the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age were localized events.

Let us compare two of the current competing explanations of climate variability: Anthropogenic Global Warming as the result of human combustion of fossil fuels and the Svensmark hypothesis that suggests solar activity and the galactic cosmic ray environment modulates cloud formation in the lower atmosphere and therefore the earth's albedo. "In astronomy albedo is the ratio of the light reflected by a planet or satellite to that received by it. Editor"

In its early documents, the IPCC asserted that solar activity is of no significance in determining earth's climate and has concentrated on claiming that increasing levels of CO2 raise the temperature of the earth by reducing the radiation of thermal infrared energy. Computer models have been concocted that supposedly support this hypothesis. These computer models are tremendously simplistic compared to the complexity of the actual climate system of the earth. They do not reproduce some of the very robust oscillatory variations of the earth's climate such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation or the El Nino - Southern Oscillation. If they are run backwards, they fail to accurately reproduce past climate states. They predict a warming of the equatorial mid-troposphere but such warming is not seen. Those who argue in favor of the AGW hypothesis use the output of these models as if it was real data and ignore the actual measurements from satellite microwave radiometers which show no warming at all in spite of the increasing abundance of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Svensmark's hypothesis

says that as solar activity declines the interplanetary magnetic field weakens and galactic cosmic rays penetrate more deeply into the inner solar system and eventually into the lower atmosphere of earth where they produce cloud-seeding ions. These ions promote a greater abundance of clouds, raising the earth's reflectivity and reducing the warming of the surface of the earth by sunlight. Solar activity has been falling in recent years. Today, the 19th of January, a small sunspot was seen near the sun's equator, an indication that it may be a remnant of the old Cycle 23. If so, then Cycle 23 is 19 years old. Long cycles precede weak cycles, suggesting continued low solar activity. The interplanetary magnetic Ap index is the lowest that it has been in many years and the neutron count from cosmic rays has increased as expected. The earth's temperature has been either steady or declining for the past eight years. Based upon the data, there is more falsification of the AGW hypothesis than of the Svensmark solar activity hypothesis.

Dr. Appell, the above is an example of real "science writing". I have presented an explanation of the Scientific Method and I have presented information about two conflicting hypotheses in an effort to educate the readers so that they may make better decisions. Any presentation of "Gloom-and-Doom" has been with regard to the politicization of Science and is indisputably a valid concern. I encourage you to return to the practice of science writing instead of environmental propagandizing. You would better serve your readers.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Coming Green Tsunami

by Nancy Videdo

As a record breaking cold front envelops the United States, another front is picking up steam in Washington D.C. The 'global warming' front.

Despite the record-breaking extreme cold that is freezing the Midwest and dropping temperatures close to 50 below in spots, the incoming Obama administration continues to appoint, enlist and enable global warming warriors in the highest echelons of government.

In opening remarks at her confirmation hearing for Secretary of State on Tuesday, Hillary promised that she would shape foreign policy that
would fight climate change. At the extreme it threatens our very existence. But well before that point, it could well incite new wars of an old kind over basic resources – like food, water and arable land.”

Like her long time colleague Rahm Emanuel, Hillary knows how to make the most of a crisis, either real or manufactured. With her old slogan 'for the children' worn from overuse, Hillary has jumped aboard the global warming bandwagon, astutely recognizing that labeling an issue or policy 'green' will virtually ensure speedy passage and unlimited funding.

Ditto for the nominations of Lisa Jackson to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Nancy Sutley to be chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality.
Jackson tells the committee that cutting emissions of toxic chemicals and pollution that contribute to global warming will be among the new administration's top environmental goals.

Steven Chu, President-elect Barack Obama's pick to be U.S. energy secretary, said Tuesday that he will tackle the threat of global warming by
seeking a cap-and-trade system to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which would require power plants, oil refineries and other industrial facilities to buy and sell pollution permits to spew global warming emissions. Translation: redistribution of wealth from wealthy countries to poor countries.

GOP Governors have signed on to the green agenda, urging their congressional colleagues to start the new Congress with unprecedented dedication to addressing global warming.

The green tsunami is about to sweep America. The chairman of a key committee promises to move “quickly and decisively” to push
legislation curbing greenhouse gases with a goal of passing climate legislation out of his committee before Memorial Day.”

Bureaucrats at the EPA are chomping at the bit, eagerly paving the way for more regulation over ever increasing segments of the economy by seeking to have
water vapor classified as a pollutant. This would result in government control over such common activities as watering the lawn, or using a hot tub or swimming pool. Even breathing.

Imagine, the government could soon regulate any conceivable activity under the rubric of either harming the environment or endangering national security.

Taking a cue from the Feds, cities across the nation are eagerly anticipating the imminent green tsunami, with Madison, Wisconsin leading the pack. Currently under consideration in Madison, are
new zoning regulations – needed to fight climate change, doncha know.

These onerous new restrictions include limiting waterfront development in the name of water sustainability, limiting fast food restaurants in the name of public health and limiting private parking option, in favor of public transportation. Virtually anything may now be 'eliminated' under the heading of saving the earth. And the public is buying it.

If news doesn't fit the new green template, its simply not reported by the American media. Like the news that a large and compelling
body of evidence from within the field of climate science suggests that the earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age.

Or the Belfast Environmental Minister, who recently
stated flatly that "Spending billions on trying to reduce carbon emissions is one giant con that is depriving third world countries of vital funds to tackle famine, HIV and other diseases"

Or President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic, the European Union's new figurehead, who believes that climate change is a
dangerous myth and has compared the EU to a Communist state. Just so.

Also swept under the rug is the
credible and serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe who are criticizing the climate claims made by the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore.

Three years ago, it was estimated that, if passed, the Kyoto Treaty would cost every American app $7,500.00, one of the reasons it wasn't even considered by the Senate. The present day costs involved to fight this imaginary foe are quadrupling as we speak. What do we get for this money? We'll never know, as the results and/or outcomes are impossible to calculate. Can you spell unaccountable?

The subject of global warming is a complicated one, with valid arguments on both sides. It should be cause for alarm, however, that the government, the media, academia and world elites are all speaking in one voice, with no dissenting viewpoints allowed.

Another cause for alarm is the fact that all the proposed solutions to this faux crisis just happen to coincide with every issue dear to liberals: i.e.: more government, more regulation, wealth distribution, population control, and global governance.

The 'global warming crisis', as it is being used today, is the perfect vehicle to impose Soro's goal of a one world government. Virtually any liberal policy may now be enacted, in the name of Mother Earth. And unless someone starts fighting back, America may very well end up as green toast.

Nancy Morgan is a columnist and news editor for

She lives in South Carolina

Article may be reprinted, with above attribution

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Just Say No" To Oil Revenues?

(As always, I thank Mr. Dreissen for allowing me to reprint his work. RK)

by Paul Driessen

Plummeting stock and housing prices have triggered a painful recession, America’s worst job losses since 1945, and trillions in lost national wealth.

California is grappling with a $42-billion budget deficit. That’s more than the GDP of 112 countries. Maryland, Virginia, New York and other states likewise face billion-dollar budget shortfalls.

Congress and the White House want a $1-trillion “stimulus” for the banking, auto and steel industries, roads, bridges and ports, and “worthy” projects like water parks, parking garages and fitness centers.

They also support expanded renewable energy programs that will require tens of billions in subsidies and tax breaks – but provide intermittent electricity and deliver only 5-15% of their “rated capacity” during peak summer demand periods.

Many states have oil, gas, coal uranium and other energy and mineral resources, within their borders or off their coasts. Development would produce critically needed energy, reduce oil and gas imports, create millions of jobs, and generate trillions of dollars in lease bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenues, to help pay these bills.

California could nearly double its offshore oil production within 12-18 months, without installing a single new platform, by using directional drilling technology to bore more wells from existing platforms.

But environmentalists vigorously oppose development. Many states increasingly restrict exploration and production. The US Senate is considering bills that would place more energy prospects off limits. Many legislators want a permanent lock on billions of barrels of oil beneath Alaska’s North Slope and America’s Outer Continental Shelf – despite support for drilling by two-thirds of voters.

Onshore, the usual justification is speculative or exaggerated impacts on wildlife, habitats and groundwater from drilling and production. Offshore, the most common rationale is the infamous oil blowout that occurred forty years ago this month, off Santa Barbara.

That spill is the only one in over 45,000 US offshore wells where significant amounts of oil reached our coasts. And it never would have happened, if it weren’t for the incompetence of a few federal regulators and oil company officials.

The guilty well was being drilled into brittle, highly fractured rock formations which sit atop a more stable zone that holds billions of gallons of gooey crude oil, mixed with natural gas under high pressure. It’s the same oil that’s been seeping out of the shallow formations and washing up on California beaches since long before Spanish explorers used it to waterproof their galleons.

But having drilled several wells without incident, company officials requested a waiver from normal regulations. Unbelievably, it was granted. The drill crew was allowed to install minimal well casing – steel pipes that go into well bores to prevent blowouts.

When oil and gas began to erupt out of the deep drill hole, the crew’s quick response stopped it only temporarily. Because the casing didn’t go deep enough, the pressurized goo surged into the brittle rocks, creating huge gashes that sent gushers of oil out around the platform. For six days, favorable winds kept the oil slick offshore. Then the wind shifted.

Oil inundated Santa Barbara’s gorgeous beaches. Thousands of sea birds died, along with seals and countless other marine animals. The anti-oil environmental movement was born.

Thankfully, dire predictions of permanent damage were wrong. Bird, crab, lobster, seal and other populations soon rebounded. Under the platform, the magnificent artificial reef ecosystem returned.

Enormous mussels, scallops and barnacles again cover the huge scaffold that holds the production platform above the waves. Gorging on shellfish, and having to move mere inches for their next meal, starfish grow to three feet across. Oriental carpets of white, pink and lavender sponges and sea anemones create firework displays of color, while crabs scamper about and thousands of mackerel, sardines and other fish cruise by.

I know this, because I’ve been there, up close and in person, in scuba gear, beneath that very platform and a dozen others in the Santa Barbara Channel and Gulf of Mexico. I joined biologists, wrote professional papers, and produced a documentary film about these towering steel reefs.

Even more important, the technologies, regulations and enforcement programs have changed. Today, instruments monitor temperature and pressure in wells 24/7. Blowout preventers, pipeline shutoff valves and other devices on or beneath the sea floor control the flow of oil and gas. Offshore operators conduct regular accident training and safety exercises. The efforts have paid off.

In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita pounded the Gulf of Mexico’s 3,000 drilling rigs and production platforms. Over 200 were damaged or destroyed. But virtually no oil or gas escaped.

In fact, according to the US Minerals Management Service (where I used to work), oil companies produced nearly 12 billion barrels of oil from OCS leases between 1980 and 2007. Only 102,000 barrels were spilled: 3,780 barrels a year, on average. That’s a 99.999% safety record.

By contrast, natural seeps like the ones off California leak 620,000 barrels of oil per year into US waters. America’s oil industry has a pollution record 164 times better than Mother Nature’s!

And producing more US offshore oil has an added bonus. It means there is less seepage, and thus less oil in our oceans and on our beaches.

Our energy policies should recognize these facts.

America has been held hostage far too long by anti-oil ideologues and foreign “oiligarchs.”

Keeping our vast resources off limits won’t convince consumers to slash petroleum use. We will just import more, and be ever more indebted to foreign powers. (At $50 per barrel, imported oil costs the United States $235 billion per year; at $140 per barrel, we send $650 billion annually overseas.)

Oil prices are low at the moment, because world demand is down, due to the global recession. We could keep them down, by prolonging the recession – an unpalatable option. Or we can help keep prices at tolerable levels, by developing the domestic oil and gas that we have in abundance, but politicians, courts and greens for too long have told us we can’t touch.

We need the energy, jobs and revenues that offshore (and onshore) oil and gas development can provide. We can no longer afford to “just say no” to domestic petroleum, during the long transition to future energy technologies that we cannot begin to envision – any more than even Jules Verne could have foreseen the wondrous energy and other technologies that creative minds have made a reality today.

That’s the kind of change we can believe in. The kind America needs.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Green fanatics vs. genetic science

(I would like to thank Mr. Jackson for allowing me to reprint his article. RK)

Gerard Jackson, of BrookesNews.Com 

In Mary Shelley's chilling tale Dr Frankenstein creates a monster out of body parts, which, according to the Hollywood version, becomes a beastly killer completely out of control. Latching on to this vision green cultists malevolently labeled genetically modified food as "Frankenstein foods", conveniently ignoring the fact that we have been genetically altering our foodstuffs — including livestock — for thousands of years.

As expected, a number of green-sympathizing journalists joined this reactionary crusade, some of whom relied on Dr David Suzuki's Altered Genes. Reconstructing Nature: The Debate as a prime information. Although this book was published about ten years ago it seems that like Rachel Carson's grossly dishonest and very lethal Silent Spring Suzuki's book keeps being recycled by half-witted intellectuals.

The underlying theme of Altered Genes is so obvious, even when the author tries to conceal it, that the discerning reader can easily express it in a single sentence. A relentless hatred of capitalism! This tendentious work masquerades as a scholarly attempt to debate the dangers of genetic engineering. Unfortunately, of the many things missing from the book, debate and scholarly intentions are the most prominent.

Suzuki's introduction set a tone from which the book did not waver. Using the tactic of giving a dog a bad name to justify shooting it, he resorted to historical fiction in which genetics was blamed for the rise of eugenics that culminated in the horrific experiments of Josef Mengele. In fact, the origins of the Nazi euthanasia program and Mengele's experiments had their beginnings in the victory of positive law over the rule of law.

Euthanasia was rationalized in Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life, a book published in 1920 and written by Karl Binding, a famous law professor, in collaboration with Dr Alfred Hoche. Even though the authors were social democrats their views were welcomed by Nazi ideologues. Nevertheless, it still took the destruction of the rule of law to make possible the despotic rule of the jackboot and its consequent horrors. Genetics played no role whatsoever in this atrocity, despite Suzuki's views.

The rest of the book is no better. Fourteen authors condemning markets and the wickedness of profiting from genetic engineering; warning us against the perils of "genetic pollution" and the menace of the unknown; railing against the alleged potential horrors of genetic engineering; the greed and dishonesty of multinationals, especially Monsanto; the injustice of intellectual property rights in genetically engineered organisms; the danger of allowing multinationals the right to patent and market their genetically altered products. (No wonder it reads like a political tract). Yet the authors failed to provide a shred of genuine credible evidence that warranted their dire predictions or justified what amounted to a ban on genetic engineering.

Regardless of the word debate in the title, debate was the last thing on the authors' minds. They made no genuine concessions to genetic engineering; they stressed only 'facts' and allegations that could be used to condemn the technology; alternative opinions are ignored and nightmare futures are a staple ingredient; multinationals are attacked along with science; much is made of the alleged social costs of genetic engineering while the benefits are treated as mere assertions.

Astonishing increases in agricultural productivity made possible by chemical and genetic engineering do not rate a mention along with their social benefits; ideological claptrap is passed off as informed opinion and scientists are denigrated as being part of some mysterious "bio-elite"; green organizations are paraded as acting in the public interest, though they are self-appointed and ideologically opposed to economic growth; public fears and concerns about genetic engineering that environmentalist organizations fuelled are used to justify political control of the technology.

Particularly irritating was their tactic of frequently quoting themselves or each other in support of their own arguments. A sure sign that there is little or no genuine scientific support for their views! What is particularly striking, however, is the book's complete lack of humanity, despite its humanitarian pretensions. People merely appear as background scenery for the authors' ideological setting.

There is no acknowledgement of the role Western science, technology and chemical companies have played in eliminating the threat of mass famine from the planet. The extent to which the Third World has benefited from technology transfers is completely ignored. But this attitude should not surprise us once we consider that the book's proposals would even see an end to the production of life-saving genetically engineered vaccines. The very fact that their proposals would literally amount to a death sentence for millions of people, just as the ban on DDT did, is enough to condemn them as a vicious bunch of misanthropic green.

The real Frankensteins are greens fanatics and their media mates who have tried to create a monster out of a life-saving technology so they can get it banned. What does this say about them? Plenty, is the answer.

Gerard Jackson is Brookesnews' economics editor

Thursday, January 15, 2009

“In Balance With Nature”

(This was sent to me by Terry Witt, one of my regular readers at Oregonians for Food & Shelter (OFS). (RK)

“In Balance With Nature” is a thought-provoking verse written by the late Dr. John Carew, former head of the Horticulture Department at Michigan State University. His original version was first published in 1970. It paints a scary picture of where our society may be headed. (*updated with 2008 statistics)

In the beginning, there was Earth, beautiful and wild.
And then man came to dwell.
At first, he lived in caves like other animals,
Feeding himself on creatures and plants around him.
And this was called
Soon man multiplied.
He grew tired of ceaseless hunting for food.
He built homes and villages. Wild plants and animals were domesticated.
Some men became Farmers so that others might become Industrialists, Artists, or Doctors.
And this was called Society.

Man and Society progressed.
With his God-given ingenuity, man learned to feed, clothe, protect, and
Transport himself more efficiently so he might enjoy Life.
He built cars, houses on top of each other, and nylon.
And life became more enjoyable.

The men called Farmers became efficient.
A single Farmer grew food for 143* Industrialists, Artists and Doctors,
And Writers, Engineers, and Teachers as well.
To protect his crops and animals,
The Farmer produced substances to repel or destroy Insects, Diseases, and Weeds.
These were called Pesticides.

Similar human substances were made by Doctors to protect humans.
These were called Medicine.
The Age of Science had arrived and with it came better diet
and longer, happier lives for most members of Society.

Soon it came to pass, that certain well-fed members of Society
Disapproved of the Farmer using Science.
They spoke harshly of his techniques for feeding, protecting,
and preserving plants and animals.
They deplored his upsetting the “Balance of Nature.”
They longed for the simplistic life referred to by some as the “Good Old Days.”
And this had emotional appeal to the rest of Society.

By this time Farmers had become so efficient,
Society gave them a new title: Unimportant Minority.
Because the well-fed Society could never imagine a shortage of food,
Laws were passed abolishing Pesticides, Fertilizers, and Food Preservatives.
Insects, Diseases, and Weeds flourished.
Crops and animals died.
Food became scarce.

To survive, Industrialists, Artists, and Doctors were forced to grow their own food.
But they were terribly inefficient providers.
Parks, golf courses and wilderness had to be converted to growing food.
Soon people and governments fought wars to gain more agricultural land.
Millions of people were exterminated.
Those who survived, faced plagues and famine.

In the end, only a few remained.
They lived in caves like animals,
Feeding themselves on creatures and plants around them.
And this was called, IN BALANCE WITH NATURE.


Friday, January 9, 2009

“What’s Bugging You?”

by Harry L Katz

FEAR occupies an inordinate part of our time. Fear of more illness, fear of the stock market, world politics, our children’s welfare, and fear of the insects and other pests, etc, etc. The universal fear that I would like to discuss is the fear of perceived danger of the toxicants that we use to control the pests.

Living in an area that was once a semi tropical swamp, we have perennial invasions of many pest species. We kill a colony of ants in the apartment. But another colony comes in to take its place. Most residents call the pest management people and wait for service. Others are too impatient to wait for service and resort to using sprays., disregarding a subconscious fear of the danger of toxicants.

Over sixty years ago, fear of toxicants was indeed real. That was before the BC (Before Carson) Era, and before the Environmental Protection Agency cancelled the registrations of most toxicants. I know of one case in which a woman disposed of her obnoxious husband by buying a tube in a hardware store of “Electric Paste” which contained phosphoric acid rat bait. She squeezed some of it into his fourth glass of beer… and he died. The EPA has since removed all such toxicants from the retail market. In the process, however, they did of good job of overkill in warning of the dangers of all toxicants in our environment.

This legislation all began after Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring,” when a Congressional Committee was appointed to investigate the hazards of pesticides. A good friend of mine, Dr Carroll Weil, was called to serve on that committee. He was president of the Toxicology Society of America and a Fellow at the Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh. The other members of the committee were all anti-pesticide people.

The committee decided to ban the use of DDT because they said it was carcinogenic. Dr Weill explained that the tests used to reach this conclusion were badly flawed. The committee argued late into the night, but Carroll would not agree to a unanimous decision to ban DDT. Finally, the committee promised that an addendum by Weill could be published, and he gave up. This proved to be the death knell of millions of natives of third world countries who died of malaria from mosquitoes. DDT that had prevented these deaths had been taken off the market.

One of the “Myth Conceptions” that plagues the mindset of the general public, as well as various regulatory communities, is that a low dose of a toxicant is just as bad as a gross dose that can cause a tumor, benign or cancerous. If this were true, according to Bruce Ames of the University of California, at Berkley, we should not eat carrots, celery, parsley, mushrooms, cabbage, brussels sprouts, mustard, orange and grapefruit juices, pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, raspberry or pineapple. All these foods contain natural toxicants that cause cancer in rats or mice when they are tested at the same gross levels that are used to test pesticides. Dr Ames further claims that the natural level of toxicants in these foods is far higher than the trace residues in treated foods.

So, for those of you who are overly concerned about the pesticides that are on the market, all registered by the Environmental Protection Agency, you can remove pesticides from your “worry list“.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Saving lives with coal

By Paul Driessen

(I would once again like to thank Mr. Driessen for allowing me to post his work. RK)

There is no such thing as “clean coal,” environmentalists insist. Burning coal to generate electricity emits soot particles that cause respiratory problems, lung cancer and heart disease, killing 24,000 Americans annually, they argue.

It’s the kind of claim that eco-activist Bruce Hamilton says “builds the Sierra Club,” by generating cash and lobbying clout for his and similar groups.

It’s also disingenuous, unethical and harmful.

Since 1970, unhealthy power plant pollutants have been reduced by almost 95% per unit of energy produced. Particulate emissions (soot) decreased 90% below 1970 levels, even as coal use tripled, and new technologies and regulations will nearly eliminate most coal-related pollution by 2020, notes air quality expert Joel Schwartz.

Moreover, the vast bulk of modern power plant particulates are ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate. “Neither substance is harmful, even at levels tens of times greater than are ever found in the air Americans breathe,” Schwartz says.

The alleged death toll is based on speculative links between pollution and disease, and unwarranted extrapolations from responsible estimates to levels that grab headlines and prompt contributions.

Coal helps keep American homes, businesses, factories, airports, schools and hospitals humming, and provides myriad benefits that never get mentioned by anti-coal factions. Even if we accept these groups’ assertions as fact, the benefits of coal should be considered in any policy debate – just as we acknowledge (and strive to reduce) motor vehicle deaths, but recognize the value of transporting people, products and produce.

Coal generates half of all US electricity, and 60-98% in twenty-two states, according to the Energy Information Administration. Modern, state-of-the-art, low-pollution coal-fired generators have replaced both antiquated power plants and monstrous industrial furnaces that were the backbone of our nation’s steel-making and industrial might just two generations ago. They build and power thousands of products that improve and save millions of lives.

Imposing excessive new regulations, or closing coal-fired power plants, would produce few health or environmental benefits. But it would exact huge costs on society – and bring factories, offices and economies to a screeching halt in states that are 80-98% dependent on coal: Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Coal’s reliable, affordable electricity creates millions of high-paying jobs, and thus provides health insurance, rent and mortgage money, nutrition, clothing and retirement benefits for countless families. It keeps people warm (and alive) on freezing nights, and comfortable during summer heat waves like the 2003 scorcher that killed 15,000 elderly French citizens who didn’t have air-conditioning.

Thanks to coal-based electricity, CT scans, x-rays, colonoscopies and other examinations detect cancer, heart disease and other health threats, saving numerous lives every year. Life-saving and enhancing surgeries are performed because doctors have lights, lasers, computers, and sterile operating rooms and equipment. Premie wards and life-support systems carry people through critical illnesses.

Children and adults get vaccinations that remain viable because of dependable refrigeration. Millions avoid deadly intestinal bacteria, due to refrigerators and freezers, and water that is sterilized and piped in large measure because of electricity.

American families live in houses that are built from stronger materials and to higher standards, because of electricity. Tens of millions have been warned of natural disasters, and given time to flee, thanks to radios and televisions.

Environmentalists talk glibly about replacing America’s 600-plus coal-fired power plants, and the 2 billion megawatt-hours of electricity they generate annually. But with what?

Most greens detest nuclear power as much as they hate coal. They want to dismantle dams, not build new ones. They oppose drilling for natural gas that could partially substitute for coal, and fuel essential backup generators for wind farms. They support geothermal energy in theory, but rarely in practice.

They oppose construction of new state-of-the-art coal-fired plants that America needs to supply more baseload power, to serve a growing population and electricity-hungry products and equipment of every description. Most do support wind energy – and it must also play a role.

However, right now, wind turbines provide a mere 1% of all US electricity. Wind power leader Texas gets just 2% of its electricity from breezes – versus 36% from coal. On blistering summer afternoons, when they most need reliable air-conditioners, Texans can count on wind turbines to generate at only 9% of their installed capacity, because that’s when the wind blows least. (Compare that to 80-95% reliability for coal, gas and nuclear.)

How exactly will Texas replace 36% of its electricity with renewable energy? How exactly will Indiana and North Dakota replace the 94% of the low-cost electricity that they get from coal?

What happens to all those benefits when coal power is legislated, regulated, litigated, priced or cap-and-traded to the sidelines? To lives that are improved and saved with that electricity?

A little specificity, moral clarity and social responsibility would help here. We generally can’t expect it from environmental activists – who excel at denigrating and opposing energy, but do little to generate anything but hot air and political power.

However, we should expect, and demand, clear answers from judges, elected representatives and unelected government regulators. That’s the essence of ethics and social responsibility.

If we are going to end this recession, retain American jobs and living standards, and rejuvenate our economy, we will need vast quantities of electricity from coal – and every other source – now and for decades to come. The rest of the world also needs coal, to lift people out of poverty and save lives.

In impoverished countries, two billion people rarely or never have electricity. Four million infants, children and parents die every year from lung infections – caused by smoke, soot and other pollutants from open fires that heat their homes and cook their meager food, because they don’t have electricity. Two million more perish from intestinal diseases, caused by unsafe water and spoiled food, because they lack refrigeration, sanitation and water treatment.

Radical environmentalists trumpet the exaggerated death count from producing electricity here in the United States. But they callously battle every proposal to build coal, gas or hydroelectric projects in these destitute countries.

24,000 speculative deaths versus six million very real deaths is hardly a fair tradeoff.

As we usher in 2009, may America and all nations resolve to implement policies that honestly reflect the costs, benefits and power-generating capabilities of traditional and alternative energy options that exist in the real world.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Predictions for 2009

By Rich Kozlovich

Since everyone else seems intent on making predictions for 2009, I thought I might do so as well. Along with the thinking of my friend Alan Caruba I will say this...If I am right...I will crow about it! If I am wrong, I won't see the need to bring it up again. Especially since "prediction is really hard...especially about the future".

For those who read a great deal, think that history is important and spend a great deal of time watching the world and thinking about what they are seeing, you will not find anything said here startling. There is one thing that I will say that many will find potentially disturbing. History will mark 2008 as the year when everything changed. Dramatically!

1. Pesticides will come under even greater attack by the new head of EPA, in line with those actions by Browner and Ruckelshaus.
2. Green activists and EPA will pressure states to eliminate preemption laws.
3. Green activists and EPA will pressure states to implement new regulations which will mandate IPM language in all locations, not just schools.
4. There will be strong efforts to implement a new IPM licensing requirement in all states.
5. The pesticide manufacturing, distribution and applications industries will continue to jump on the green band wagon.
6. The national and state trade associations for the pesticide applications industries will be forced to implement green initiatives.
7. The national and state trade associations will face financial difficulties.
8. There will be fewer trade associations defending the pesticide applications industries.
9. There will be fewer, or at least less viable, pesticide manufacturers and distributors by the end of 2009.
10. The pest control industry will make more money than ever before, but because of economic issues there will be fewer companies.
11. The pest control industry will adapt to whatever is required.
12. Bedbugs will become a nationwide plague.
13. Strong efforts will be made to remove pyrethroids from the market place for use by the general public.
14. Strong efforts will be underway to remove them from the professional pest controller’s arsenal.
15. Rodenticides will be lost for use by the public.
16. Work will be under way to remove them for use by professional pest controllers.
17. Rodent control will suffer and their numbers will increase dramatically.
18. Prices for pest control services will become so high that those with the most need will be unable to afford it.
19. Insect and rodent borne diseases will increase startlingly, or at least this will be the start.
20. The poorest least educated among us will turn to illegal means of getting the relief that they need from pests that the government and green activists have deprived them of.
"We live in a time when great efforts have been made, and continue to be made, to falsify the record of the past and to make history a tool of propaganda; when governments, religious movements, political parties, and sectional groups of every kind are busy rewriting history as they wish it to have been, as they would like their followers to believe that it was." - Islam Bernard Lewis', historian