Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: May 17, 2011

The religion of climate change

Michael Tobias has written what can only be described as an incredibly ignorant column praising Al Gore’s latest “let’s pretend the science is settled” ebook. 

While reading it, I wondered how anyone could have not heard about the mounting controversy about AGW pointing to what seems to be an outright scam and embarrassment to the scientific community.

So I went to Tobias’s bio.  Then it made some sense:

For forty years I’ve been tracking ecological issues as an environmental historian/advocate, field researcher and animal rights/biodiversity conservation activist. I climb mountains, study as many life forms as possible, did my Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness, and am president of the Dancing Star Foundation where we focus on global biodiversity, policy analysis, animal rights and international environmental education.

Or, “Al Gore is advocating doing what I want done and saying what I want said , so screw the science”. 

But to the article:

The former Vice President’s “Inconvenient Truth” undoubtedly helped the planet. From Bangladesh to Argentina; from Texas to Germany I have heard policy makers, lawyers, students, educators and used-car salespersons discussing his well-earned Nobel Peace Prize, and the influence he has wielded. Indeed, Gore need only look at a glacier and it starts to melt (a case in point being the latest Extreme Ice Project that has been computing thousands of time-lapse images to get a better visual handle on just how fast glaciers are disappearing throughout the world).

And while many filmmakers thought of the Gore/David Guggenheim “Inconvenient Truth” as nothing more than an elaborate slide show plus the odd bit of filmic B-roll, it struck a chord like few advocacy films worldwide and has clearly pushed the climate debate in the direction where it should have gone in the first place: towards good science, not muddled politics.

Oh, my.  “… towards good science, not muddled politics”? 

Ye gods … I’d make an off-color reference here to his gushing tone, but we’re a family friendly blog.  However,  when you see articles like this, you have to ask where in the world has this guy been?  Has he kept up at all?  The refutations of almost all of Al Gore’s premises – I won’t dignify them with the word “theory” – have shown them to be mostly bunkum.  

To be kind, you’d  like to believe that Tobias is simply a victim of confirmation bias.  That he’s finally found someone who is, at least partially, “confirming” what he’s been saying for years.  But as you read the gushing review, it seems more like a religious tract – faith that his guru is infallible.  How else do you analyze such nonsense? 

Apparently, according to Tobias, Gore’s only sin was to leave a few things out of his new ebook:

Biodiversity, non-violence, animal rights, veganism – these are largely absent from the “30 summit”-based equations, and they are among the most crucial components needing to be addressed. Indeed, many ecologists see climate change as one of many sub-sets of the greater issues that include biodiversity loss, animal suffering, and habitat fragmentation. Gore does address the human population crisis which is, ultimately, the number one driver of all other human-induced crises.

I have to tell you that when I run into the term “animal rights” I usually write the person off using the phrase as, well, a bit of a loon.  Sorry, but that’s just the case.  When every you use such a term, it is blazingly obvious that you have no idea about the concept of rights and why they’re so important to human beings. And because of that, you lose any credibility as a serious person of intellect in my eyes.

Finally, and in keeping with everything that Tobias says in the article, he recommends the following article:  “5 Million Deaths From Climate Change Predicted By 2020”.

Well of course they are, because if they weren’t, how could we scare people into paying attention to our religion and buying into our solutions?

Oh, by the way, the article is published in Forbes.   When you see things like this, it makes you wonder what has happened to what used to be a fairly good news and information source.


Twitter: @McQandO


Obama’s dead cat bounce for the OBL death is gone

That according to Gallup:

The bump President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden more than two weeks ago in Pakistan has vanished completely, according to the latest Gallup Tracking poll released Monday.

Obama’s approval rating is now at 46 percent, equal to his approval rating in the last tracking poll conducted before Obama addressed Americans late on May 1 and informed them of bin Laden’s death. Forty-four percent of Americans now disapprove of the job Obama is doing as president.

According to the Gallup poll, Obama’s approval rating crested at 52 percent after the bin Laden killing. His disapproval rating never fell lower than 40 percent.


Obama’s bounce is smaller in magnitude and shorter in duration than the bumps enjoyed by other presidents over the past 70 years, according to a study by Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies. For example, George W. Bush received a 15-point bump after the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003 — a bounce that lasted seven weeks.

“It’s the economy, stupid”:

The poll also comes the same day as Gallup announced that three in four Americans "name some type of economic issue as the ‘most important problem’ facing the country today — the highest net mentions of the economy in two years. Those numbers, combined with Obama’s fleeting boost, suggest the economy remains — by far — the dominant issue of the 2012 presidential campaign.

“Yea, we got Osama.  But I still don’t have a job, the economy sucks, we’re in debt up to our ears and you’re trying to find more and more ways to take more and more money from me because of your profligacy.  What are you going to do about that?”

I think that’s a fair statement of what the 2012 election will turn on.  And I also believe Obama is beatable.  But not with the current declared crop of candidates on the GOP side.


Twitter: @McQandO


One man’s opinion–Iowa Republican tells Gingrich to drop out of race

The fact that I agree with the Iowan is the basis of the post:

As he was getting ready to leave a speaking engagement Dubuque resident Russell Fuhrman approached him in the lobby of the Holiday Inn:

“Get out now before you make a bigger fool of yourself,” Fuhrman said directly to Gingrich.

Gingrich, visibly stunned, quickly moved forward to talk with other guests.

The reason Gingrich was visibly stunned, one assumes, is he doesn’t expect to hear such things from ordinary people, especially those he thinks should welcome his candidacy.  And, of course, few politicians do – they live in a bubble most of the time, expecting some flak from the other side, but essentially expecting relatively smooth sailing from their own side – a few bumps, but no bruises.  This was a big fat bruise.

Frankly, I like it.  It is high time some of these egos had a little air let out of them.  And Gingrich’s ego is quite inflated. 

As might be expected, he’s in full tilt denial mode about his former endorsement of the individual mandate:

On Monday, Mr. Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, sought to explain away just that kind of Sunday-morning pontification, in which he blasted the budget by his Republican colleagues in Congress and endorsed an individual mandate for health insurance.

“I am completely opposed to the Obamacare mandate on individuals,” Mr. Gingrich said in a new video released Monday. “I fought it for two and half years at the Center for Health Transformation. You can see all the things we did to stop it at I am for the repeal of Obamacare and I am against any effort to impose a federal mandate on anyone because it is fundamentally wrong and I believe unconstitutional.”

Nonsense.  And the man in Iowa makes it clear Gingrich is going to have a very rough time selling that.

Gingrich was trying to “walk back” this:

“I agree that all of us have a responsibility to help pay for health care. And I think that there are ways to do it that make most libertarians relatively happy,” Mr. Gingrich told the host David Gregory. “I’ve said consistently, where there’s some requirement you either have health insurance or you post a bond or in some way you indicate you’re going to be held accountable.”

Well this is one libertarian that isn’t happy at all – Gingrich, despite his denials and in spite of his weasel wording, still supports a federal mandate of some sort as has been clear for years.  As I pointed out previously, this is nothing new:

At an Alegent Health event in Omaha in 2008, Gingrich said it was "fundamentally immoral" for a person to go without coverage, show up at an emergency room and demand free care.

During the keynote address to the Greater Detroit Area Health Council’s annual Health Trends Conference in April 2006, Gingrich said he would require Americans earning above a certain income level to buy health insurance or post a bond, the Detroit Free Press reported.

In a June 2007 op-ed in the Des Moines Register, Gingrich wrote, "Personal responsibility extends to the purchase of health insurance. Citizens should not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying insurance, particularly when they can afford it, and expect others to pay for their care when they need it." An "individual mandate," he added, should be applied "when the larger health-care system has been fundamentally changed."

And in several of his many policy and politics-focused books, Gingrich offered much the same.

In 2008′s "Real Change," he wrote, "Finally, we should insist that everyone above a certain level buy coverage (or, if they are opposed to insurance, post a bond). Meanwhile, we should provide tax credits or subsidize private insurance for the poor."

In 2005′s "Winning the Future," he expanded on the idea in more detail: "You have the right to be part of the lowest-cost insurance pool and you have a responsibility to buy insurance. … We need some significant changes to ensure that every American is insured, but we should make it clear that a 21st Century Intelligent System requires everyone to participate in the insurance system."

"People whose income is too low should receive Medicaid vouchers and tax credits to buy insurance," he continued. "Large risk pools (association health plans are one model) should be established so low-income people can buy insurance as inexpensively as large corporations. Furthermore, it should be possible to buy your health insurance on-line to lower the cost as much as possible."

Gingrich is now trying to waive that off as just being a bit “wonky”.

Newt Gingrich has acknowledged that his tendency to spout off like a political analyst might get him into trouble on the campaign trail.

Unfortunately for Gingrich, most of us who’ve followed what he’s said don’t consider what he said Sunday as “being wonky”.   Instead, it is a position, as you can see, he’s held for years. 

In sum we have the usual happening – another politician engaged in a desperate attempt to waive off past words and pretend he didn’t mean them, while assuming you’ll swallow the latest politically necessary words and positions as the “real” him. 

Like the Iowan said, Mr. Gingrich, “Get out now before you make a bigger fool of yourself.”


Twitter: @McQandO