Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Junk Science | Tags: Celebrate Electricity, Earth Hour, Human Achievement Hour
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Environment, Junk Science | Tags: Affordable Electricity, Earth Hour
Reprinted from Anthony Watts splendid blog, Watts Up with That?:
Earth Hour: A Dissent
by Ross McKitrick
Here is my response.
I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.
Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.
Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.
Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases.
Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the west developed.
The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity.
Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.
People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.
I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.
Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply.
If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.
I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.
[Ross McKitrick is a Professor of Economics at the University of Guelph, Canada. Photo Credit: Wikipedia]
Filed under: Iran, Politics, Progressivism, United Kingdom | Tags: David Axelrod, Democrats, Eric Holder, Medvedev, Obama
Bill Whittle addresses this administration and all its works and finds them to be “Merchants of Despair.” Whether intentionally or unintentionally, they have brought Chicago style politics to the nation’s capitol. Actions have consequences, and they did not understand what the consequences of their actions would be.
They thought it was a game, a political game, in which they won, and so could take advantage of the financial crisis to do things that they well knew that the American people did not want. But they did them anyway, in a kind of thumbing of the nose to the public, who did not understand what was afoot.
They brought debt and unemployment, inflation and misery to millions of Americans, and thought it didn’t matter. They used the ‘government’s money’ to pay back those who supported them, and thus rewarded, they can expect support again, to do it all over. That’s not free market capitalism, and not a free country and not a free people. And we don’t do things that way.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Education, Energy, Foreign Policy, Health Care, Taxes | Tags: Everything is Changed, Obamacare, The Free Market
ObamaCare is in the lap of the Supreme Court, and in spite of all the analysis and dissection of motives and personalities, we don’t know what the justices will do. The battle has changed America, derailed the recovery, and changed health care in ways that we don’t really understand yet.
Traditionally, many doctors were pleased if their children chose to go into medicine. A family with many members in the medical profession was not unusual. Now physicians aren’t as happy with their chosen life’s work, no longer advise family members or friends to go into medicine, and according to polls are thinking about getting out.
Hospitals are consolidating, many are putting doctors on salary. Our hospital is developing satellite centers for urgent care, classes, outreach, while the hospital itself grows and expands. They are developing a different model, in reaction to ObamaCare and ObamaCare’s potential development in the future. I can’t say that I fully understand the ways in which it is changing, but it is different.
Business has examined their operations and ways of doing business in an effort to protect themselves from what the future might hold, in the light of what it has done so far. The body of regulation that has descended on companies has made them cautious, careful. The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) is a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare. That, as Liz Peek suggests, should give the supporters of the legislation pause.
And for the rest of us, our health care has changed— no matter what the Supreme Court does. Are we stuck with the socialized medicine model that a vast majority of Americans hate? If it is not struck down, do we then engage in a tremendous civil war to get it repealed? If it remains, can we abide the endless tinkering it would require to make an unworkable law even begin to be functional? What were liberals thinking? Did they not understand that the American people…well, no they didn’t.
Liberals do not understand the American people, though they are Americans. They don’t understand human nature. They think they can fix it, so the people who disagree with them don’t disagree any more. In extremis, they speak of putting the’ far-right wing nuts’ in camps where they can’t annoy the better people any more. They hate to be disagreed with because they don’t know how to answer — except to call names.
They don’t understand the free market, because there are no guarantees. There is risk. There’s a reason why liberals flock to government work and to foundations. They can feel safe. The free market rewards people who take risks and face up to challenges. Life is a risk, and there is no sure security except in hard work and striving. We have safety nets, but what government gives today, it can take away tomorrow.
Obama recently said that in America, we are greater together, when everyone engages in fair play, everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share. That may be true, but in Obama’s America, the hard-earned dollars of taxpayers are turned over to union supporters, regulations are devised to shut down legitimate businesses, take away people’s rights to their own land, deprive people of their jobs. Ringing phrases come easy, but accomplish nothing.
Obama brags that he saved the auto industry, but the future was yanked away from hundreds of private businesses overnight—auto dealers with hundreds of employees were summarily put out of business. Bondholders, depending on a consistent flow of interest from their holdings in the car companies were guaranteed first call on the assets of a company in case of bankruptcy, were suddenly broke. Taxpayer money goes, not to governmental tasks, but to cronies— buddies who helped the president to get elected.
If ObamaCare is overturned, the world cannot be put back the way it was. Everything is changed, no matter how it all turns out — and not in a good way. Trust is gone or diminished. Security is damaged. And for what? Good governance is not a cheap political game — but you made it so.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Foreign Policy, National Security, Politics, Russia, The United States | Tags: American Crossroads, American National Interest, Vladimir Putin
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, National Security, Progressivism, The United States | Tags: A Tipping Point, President Barack Obama, The Progressive Project
I think we reached a sort of tipping point this week. Politically, this was an unbelievably bad week for the President and his administration. And the defining event was not even the constitutional lessons being exposed in Supreme Court consideration of the Patient Protection and Affordable Car Act. The defining event was a whispered exchange with the Soviet president Dmitry Medvedev captured by a microphone still on.
President Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.”
President Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”
President Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”
President Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you.”
The next day the president tried to explain away his comment, and made it worse. He insisted his comments to Medvedev were “not a matter of hiding the ball—I’m on record” about wanting to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles. His private comments to Medvedev were not about nuclear stockpiles, but about missile defense, and he was promising more accommodation to Vladimir Putin’s Russia next year.
Most presidents have come to office hoping to do good and serious things for the country and for the American people. They often bring with them ideas about just what those good and serious things will be. In most cases, they have discussed them thoroughly with the American people during the campaign, and made promises to the people. Yet as they settle in to the White House and learn about the office, they will inevitably find that the problems on the presidential plate may order different priorities than exactly what they originally had in mind. The world and events inexorably move on.
Barack Obama came to office and was shocked! shocked! as were his economic advisers at the awful mess left to him by George W. Bush — at least as described in his new campaign video “The Road We Traveled.” Why were they shocked? Were they not paying attention? Did they think that the ascension of “the One” to the highest office wiped the slate of events clean so that he could start reinventing America?
He was offered all sorts of help in the transition, because Bush did not want to leave the kind of mess, even for the opposing party, that was left to him by the Clinton administration. Yet Barack Obama was so reluctant to accept the burden of the presidency that he could not stop whining and complaining for three whole years. All those things he was forced to deal with —those were Bush’s fault — the good and popular things like clean green energy— those were Obama’s doing.
From the very first, Obama has been singularly uninterested in what the American people wanted. He wants to install his own personal agenda for his own selfish reasons. We’ve never had a president like this. All presidents make mistakes, do things they probably should not, at least in retrospect, have done. The president of the United States doesn’t occupy office to do as he pleases. He is president of all the people, including Republicans, and it is his job to do what is right for the country to the best of his ability. In the Washington Times, Charles Hurt said:
The past seven brutal days will go down as one of the worst weeks in history for a sitting president. … Somehow, Mr. Obama managed to embarrass himself abroad, humiliate himself here at home, see his credentials for being elected so severely undermined that it raises startling questions about whether he should have been elected in the first place — let alone be re-elected later this year.
Over at Contentions, Abe Greenwald adds:
It’s true this has been Obama’s worst week ever. But it’s also more than that. There are all sorts of ways to have a bad political week, and most don’t involve secretly colluding with the Kremlin and watching your signature policy initiative deliquesce at the Supreme Court.
For Obama detractors, this week was the mother of all “told-ya-so’s”: the disaster predictions of his presidency made manifest; all the contents of 2008’s dire prophecies conjured into the real world. The brazen courting of international bad actors, the constitutionally unfeasible leftism, and the political illiteracy have been summoned at last in the space of a few days.
Worst of all is the clear, bright line connecting the health-care showdown and the Putin pander: Barack Obama’s casual indifference to democratic principle. That the healthcare overhaul was a federally enforced protection racket is no more relevant to him than Vladimir Putin’s aggressive anti-freedom agenda. Expedience means the state compels the people to do what’s in their best interest. No one said change is easy.
In the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan writes about a president who “increasingly comes across as devious and dishonest.”
In terms of the broad electorate, I’m not sure he really has a relationship. A president only gets a year or two to forge real bonds with the American people. In that time a crucial thing he must establish is that what is on his mind is what is on their mind. This is especially true during a crisis.
From the day Mr. Obama was sworn in, what was on the mind of the American people was financial calamity—unemployment, declining home values, foreclosures. These issues came within a context of some overarching questions: Can America survive its spending, its taxing, its regulating, is America over, can we turn it around?
That’s what the American people were thinking about.
But the new president wasn’t thinking about that. All the books written about the creation of economic policy within his administration make clear the president and his aides didn’t know it was so bad, didn’t understand the depth of the crisis, didn’t have a sense of how long it would last. They didn’t have their mind on what the American people had their mind on.
But really the message, the important one, concerns us, here in America. It is that the American people can’t be trusted if the president is honest with them about what he proposes. More bluntly, that the American people are not trusted by their own president. Otherwise the president would tell us the truth about his intentions. And here he is, admitting his distrust of his own people to a leader of a nasty foreign government that seeks to thwart our purposes in the Middle East and elsewhere. President Obama is in cahoots with the Russian regime against America’s very body politic.
Mr. Obama’s revealing comment, and the question of missile defense, and the question of Mr. Obama’s bizarre desire for coziness with Vladimir Putin, is a matter about which our European allies have great concerns.
It is all very disturbing.
Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Economy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Iran, National Security, Politics, The Constitution, The United States, United Kingdom | Tags: Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader, Strategy and Tactics
This week on Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell discusses why the glacial pace of deliberations and decisions in the Senate is a feature, not a bug.
“Once it was clear the president was going to try to turn us into a Western European country as rapidly as he could, about the only strategy you have left when your opposition has a forty-seat majority in the House. . . . We knew we couldn’t stop the agenda. But we thought we had a chance of creating a national debate about whether all of this excess was appropriate. And the key to having a debate, frankly and candidly, was to deny the president, if possible, the opportunity to have any of these things be considered bipartisan.”
This interview will do a lot towards explaining American politics and American government— at least the Senate version. Why the Founders created the Senate the way they did.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Law | Tags: Obamacare, Old and Frail Elderly People, What Is Medicine For?
Doug Ross@ Journal has a very funny piece that makes a good companion to my post below “A Warning Voice From Across the Water.” The Democrat view, and its results in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act now being argued before the Supreme Court, is a serious problem that nobody really wants to talk about.
It has been a frequent subject in the British press, as the elderly in British hospitals are abused and mistreated in the name of saving money. What do you do with those annoying old, sick people who need expensive medicine? Does society have a duty to make their lives pleasant and comfortable? Or should we force them to kick the bucket? Elderly family members used to live with their children, who cared for them. Now, with both members of a family often working; with families spread out across the country, situations are different.
Back in 1984, a Governor of Colorado, Richard Lamm, spoke on the “duty” of elderly people who are ill to “die and get out of the way.” People who die without having life artificially extended are similar to “leaves falling off a tree and forming humus for the other plants to grow up. Let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life.” Nice.
In the wake of Vice President Dick Cheney’s new heart transplant, and aside from the leftist boors who hoped he’d die in the operation, voices were again raised to say that because he is 71, he should not have had access to a transplant. Seventy-one is not as old as it once was, and Mr. Cheney waited far longer for an appropriate transplant than others do, partly because he was unwilling to take any advantage. His operation was a great success, and we wish him many more years of fly-fishing and commenting on national and international affairs. He is a great patriot and an important voice.
What is medicine for? Is it only to fix the broken arms of healthy young kids? Much of the medicine that serves the young (the under 55 group) is precautionary in nature and not all that necessary, if we are comparing needfulness. Most old people are perfectly capable of assessing the value of expensive operations at their age, and in their condition with the help of their doctors — without interference or regulation from the federal government.
People who fear being old, sick and in pain have voted in “assisted suicide” in the state of Oregon. The old do not want to be a burden to their family, either for care or expense. Then, of course we had Dr. Kevorkian, and a few rather ugly movies, notably “Solyent Green.”
I think the federal government should have no involvement in health care. To the extent that they have been— they do a lousy job of it. Why anyone who is familiar with the Indian Health Service’s record, or Veterans’ health care would want ObamaCare is beyond imagining.
I think assisted suicide laws are passed, like light rail laws, by people who think it would be nice for other people, though they have no intention of using it themselves. I think that caring for the old, sick and frail is an important part of what medicine is all about.
Volunteer to commit suicide if you choose, but don’t be telling other people what they should do. And maybe Doug Ross’s “Codgers” humorous take will do more to make people think about a serious problem than all the scare stories.
Filed under: Freedom, Heartwarming, Politics | Tags: A Feel-Good Story, Animal Rescue, Fiona
A sweet little feel-good story . Your mom will probably send you an e-mil with the link.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Energy, Junk Science, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, The Constitution | Tags: A Very Bad Week, EPA Overreach, Slapped Down in Court
— Bad Days at the EPA. First the Supreme Court unanimously slapped down the EPA’s vast overreach in the case of the Sacketts who simply wanted to build their dream home on a normal residential lot in Priest Lake, Idaho when the EPA descended on them with orders and fines — $70 something thousand a day, and denied them any possibility of a hearing in court. That was last Wednesday, March 21.
— March 23, the U.S.. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in the case of Mingo Logan Coal v. EPA. The court said the EPA’s interpretation of its authority to enforce the Clean Water Act was erroneous. The EPA tried to withdraw permission to use two streams as discharge sites. The permission was granted three years earlier by the Army Corps of Engineers. Mingo Logan filed the lawsuit because the company believed the EPA did not have the authority to modify or revoke the permit. They also thought the revocation was unlawful and the permit was still valid
Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee, wrote that “the EPA exceeded its authority.” She also said the EPA’s action was extraordinary.” This attempt to withdraw the specification of discharge sites after a permit has been issued is unprecedented in the history of the Clean Water Act.” Ouch.
— In Texas, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on March 27, slapped down the Out-of-Control EPA, and not too kindly. There are restrictions on major sources of pollution, according to law. There are “minor sources” noted in the law as well, fo which there are only minimal standards. This sort of pollution is left up to the states, except that they must comply with the minimal requirements of federal law. The EPA has 18 months to approve or disapprove the states plan. The EPA decided to disapprove a plan Texas submitted four and a half years ago. Then they created their own “regulations” for minor source pollution, deciding that they could pass their own laws, outside the normal Constitutional framework.
The Fifth Circuit did not look kindly upon this double contempt of actual written law. The EPA also created three extra-statutory standards out of whole cloth — in the context of a federalism regime that gives sweeping discretion to the states, and assigns only to the EPA the narrow task of ensuring that the state plan meets the minimum requirements of the law. An agency literally has no power to act…unless and until Congress confers power upon it.
— Undeterred, the EPA proceeds. In the press release announcing their proposed MY 2017-25 fuel economy standards, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood boast that they are bypassing Congress. “Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of executive actions the Obama administration is taking to strengthen the economy and move the country forward because we can’t wait for congressional Republicans to act.” Claims that the fuel economy standards which will rise to 54.5 mpg in 2015 will produce net benefits ranging from $363 billion to $358 billion suggest that considerable skepticism is in order.
A legislative proposal boosting average fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon would not pass in the 112th Congress. They didn’t need to propose standards for MY 2017 until 2014. Obama is big on going around Congress. He doesn’t like disagreement, and is not interested in persuasion. Under Congress’s statutory scheme, one agency, the NHTSA regulates fuel efficiency through one set of standards, according to the Energy Policy Conservation Act. Yet today three agencies — the EPA, NHTSA and the California Ar Resources Board regulate fuel efficiency via three sets of standards, under three different standards. The EPA’s grasp for power contains all sorts of funny business, a protection racket, and Carol Browner’s order “never to put anything in writing.” The EPA really doesn’t have any such authority, but perhaps if the court can continue to slap them down, someone will restrain the power grab.
— Now the EPA has released a new rule to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants, which will effectively ban new coal power plants, as its emissions standards are too low to be met by conventional coal-fired facilities. The rationale is extremely shaky, and claims about endangerment are preposterous.
You may have noticed that President Obama is bragging at every campaign venue about his “all of the above” energy strategy which does not meet the most minimal standards of veracity. Obama said early on that he intended to bankrupt the coal industry. The fact that coal plants produce almost half of our electricity seems to have missed their notice. He wants us to depend on “clean energy” but the clean-energy industry isn’t producing any significant amount of energy. Obama seems to have forgotten that natural gas is a fossil fuel, so perhaps he expects that to take over.
Our economy depends on cheap, abundant power. High gas prices are increasing inflationary pressure, as everything is transported by plane, train or truck, all powered by gasoline. The increased costs — inflation is running at over 8.3% — are a real burden on an economy that is not noticeably recovering, and where unemployment is sky-high. This is Obama’s effort to go around Congress and establish the cap-and-trade that they would not pass. But actions have consequences, and closed power plants mean more unemployment, higher prices, and potential brownouts and blackouts.
Congress needs to rein in this out-of-control agency, and with it the President’s attempt to rule without regard for the other two branches of government or the Constitution.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care, Law, The Constitution | Tags: Attorney Paul Clement, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, The Supreme Court
The long article about Attorney Paul Clement, now arguing the case against ObamaCare before the Supreme Court opens gracefully:
A little before noon on March 23, 2010, President Obama sat at a desk in the East Room of the White House, where—surrounded by Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Ted Kennedy’s widow, among others—he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. It was, as Biden memorably told Obama, “a big fucking deal.” Seven minutes later, at the U.S. Courthouse in Pensacola, Florida, thirteen state attorneys general—all but one of them Republicans—filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn Obamacare. It was, as one legal expert told the Pensacola News Journal in the next day’s paper, “a political lawsuit [likely to] be dismissed.” In fact, most papers on March 24 barely reported on the suit’s filing; the New York Times devoted just one sentence to it.
Two years later, that lawsuit—which now includes 26 states, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and two small-business owners as plaintiffs—sits before the Supreme Court.
Most of us are familiar with the Justices, but the attorneys who argue the case are unknown except to Washington insiders and Court watchers. The administration’s case is being argued by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who has been called one of the best lawyers in the country.
The case for the plaintiffs — 26 states, the National Federation of Independent Business, and two small-business owners — is argued by Attorney Paul Clement, who was Solicitor General in the Bush administration. He is widely regarded as one of the finest lawyers of the last century.
The second day of argument was rough going for the government. General Verrilli had a difficult time defending the mandate. The Justices failed to elicit from Mr. Verrilli some limiting principle under the Commerce Clause that would distinguish a health plan mandate from any other purchase mandate that would easily be unconstitutional.
United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al.
v. The State of Florida, et al.
Wednesday is the final day of arguments. The arguments will be about severability— can the mandate be overturned and the law survive — in the morning, and in the afternoon the expansion of Medicaid onto the states. Then we wait. The decision will come down supposedly some time in June. And that will be a very big deal indeed.