Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: November 30, 2009


Obama: Transformational, Consequential And Catastrophic

I definitely lean toward defining his presidency as “catastrophic” in more than a general sense. I read a piece by Jacob Weisberg in Salon that managed to inadvertantly define the idelogocial rift between the right and left very well (not that it is any secret, but it is interesting to see it laid out so blatantly at times) and understand how catastrophic Obama could be to our existing way of life if not vigorously opposed.

In his article, Weisberg is essentially trying to explain away Obama’s lack of accomplishment in this first 10 months in office by saying that should he pass just one of his “transformational” agenda items before his first State of the Union address, he will be the most accomplished president in the last 70 years.

If, as seems increasingly likely, Obama wins passage of a health care reform a bill by that date, he will deliver his first State of the Union address having accomplished more than any other postwar American president at a comparable point in his presidency. This isn’t an ideological point or one that depends on agreement with his policies. It’s a neutral assessment of his emerging record—how many big, transformational things Obama is likely to have made happen in his first 12 months in office.

Of course Weisberg’s “neutral assessment” isn’t at all neutral. His assertion that what Obama is trying to accomplish are “transformational” implies that they’re also positive. And that’s the difference between the right and the left as we consider these “things” Obama wants passed into law. The right, of course, wouldn’t consider passing Obama’s agenda to be an accomplishment at all. In fact, the right considers that agenda to be destructive, not transformational. If the right was to use the term “transformational”, it would do so describe the agenda as destructive to the traditions which made America’s great. Or, more succinctly, the right sees his agenda as an erosion of freedom and liberty and a huge step toward the collectivism of America.

But how does Weisberg – and the left – see them?

We are so submerged in the details of this debate—whether the bill will include a “public option,” limit coverage for abortion, or tax Botox—that it’s easy to lose sight of the magnitude of the impending change. For the federal government to take responsibility for health coverage will be a transformation of the American social contract and the single biggest change in government’s role since the New Deal.

Weisberg sees this huge expansion of government control as a feature, not a bug. This is a “good thing”, and he implies even more would be better. So there’s little doubt that he will consider such an “accomplishment” as wonderful and Obama as a “consequential” president in a most positive way. Meanwhile the right will also see him as a consequential president but in a catastrophic way – essentially changing forever the dynamic that has made America the exception in the world and instead turning it into another western European semi-socialist “paradise” destined for mediocrity and decline.

And guys like Jacob Weisberg will be standing on the sidelines applauding the whole way down. It is that applause, so to speak, that absolutely puzzles the right. We’ve yet to understand, given what this country has accomplished and done in its short history – its short exceptional history – why people like Weisberg want to so fundamentally change it and make it like the rest of the mediocre countries of the world. It’s simply unfathomable to most of us.

Interestingly, many of those who bought into the campaigning Obama’s promise to be “transformational” are finding his definition (and that of the liberal left) as put into practice to not at all be the transformation they were assuming when they supported him. They’re beginning to realize they were gulled. The problem, however, is now they’re stuck with him, can see the catastrophe on the horizon and can’t really do a whole heck of a lot about it. It’s like New Orleans with Katrina bearing down on it. Stuck in town without a bus ride and getting ready to see life become a whole lot worse than it is now.

Obama the political Katrina, about to lay waste to the exception that has been America and Weisberg and his ilk will tout the destruction as an “accomplishment” and be cheering it on the entire time.

That’s just wrong. It’s also why there can never be accommodation or compromise with the political left.

~McQ


This Is “Science”? Part II

Of course not – it’s raw politics.

The rationalization begins by those with a vested interest (don’t forget the IPCC was awarded a Nobel prize for this scientific twaddle) in the “scientific consensus”. In defense of the indefensible, the powers to be try to minimize what they can’t dismiss:

There is “virtually no possibility” of a few scientists biasing the advice given to governments by the UN’s top global warming body, its chair said today.

Rajendra Pachauri defended the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the wake of apparent suggestions in emails between climate scientists at the University of East Anglia that they had prevented work they did not agree with from being included in the panel’s fourth assessment report, which was published in 2007.

Of course not mentioned is the fact that the information given to the IPCC by these “few scientists” were the basis for the whole “the temperatures are rising!” portion of the global warming hypothesis. And I want it made clear that it was never more than a hypothesis since their findings were never, ever reproduced (the requirement for a hypothesis to move into the realm of “scientific theory” according to the scientific method).

Pachauri continues:

“The processes in the IPCC are so robust, so inclusive, that even if an author or two has a particular bias it is completely unlikely that bias will find its way into the IPCC report,” he said.

“Every single comment that an expert reviewer provides has to be answered either by acceptance of the comment, or if it is not accepted, the reasons have to be clearly specified. So I think it is a very transparent, a very comprehensive process which insures that even if someone wants to leave out a piece of peer reviewed literature there is virtually no possibility of that happening.”

Except, of course, it is becoming clear that the “peer review” process was also corrupted by these “few scientists”. So why does Pachauri, with blinders apparently firmly in place, continue to contend that there’s nothing wrong with the IPCC’s findings?

Frankly it’s quite easy to discern:

“Today we have reached the point where consumption and people’s desire to consume has grown out of proportion,” said Pachauri. “The reality is that our lifestyles are unsustainable.”

You see, this isn’t about science or about AGW. AGW isn’t a reason for this action, it is an excuse. The reason. Well again, read the statement above. That’s not the reality at all. That’s as much a hypothesis as is AGW. Pachauri has decided that you need to change your lifestyle. Please understand that doesn’t mean he feels he needs to change his. Only yours. And he and the global elite intend to use this opportunity to impose it:

A new value system of “sustainable consumption” was now urgently required, he said.

Got that? This is the aim. This is a role those that are attracted to the potential of the UN have been trying to create since it’s inception. A collection of elites will decide, arbitrarily of course and without it effecting them, what “sustainable consumption” means. Think of USSR as an example – the elite decided what would be produced and available, not that they ever had to live by the same rules. This is a very crude attempt at collectivization on a global scale. It is an attempt to concentrate more power at a higher level than has ever been attempted before. It is a leftist wet-dream on the verge of coming true.

Among the proposals highlighted by Pachauri were the suggestion that hotel guests should be made responsible for their energy use. “I don’t see why you couldn’t have a meter in the room to register your energy consumption from air-conditioning or heating and you should be charged for that,” he said. “By bringing about changes of this kind, you could really ensure that people start becoming accountable for their actions.”

Pachauri also proposed that governments use taxes on aviation to provide heavy subsidies for other forms of transport. “We should make sure there is a huge difference between the cost of flying and taking the train,” he said. Despite the fact that there is often little benefit in time and convenience in short-haul flights, he said people were still making the “irrational” choice to fly. Taxation should be used to discourage them.

Oh so close – Copenhagen is just a week or so away.

And then someone dumps the scientific litter-box in the living room in front of all the guests just as the party is about to begin and the host is left trying to pretend that lumps laying on the rug aren’t cat crap.

~McQ


The Honduran Vote

Speaking of thumbing their collective noses, the Honduran people thumbed theirs at Hugo Chavez and the rest of the ALBA (Alternative for the Americas – a Chavez inspired group which includes Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua as well as Venezuela) rabble in the OAS with their vote yesterday:

Provisional results in Honduras indicate that Porfirio Lobo, an opponent of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, has won presidential elections.

The poll was held five months after Mr Zelaya was forced out at gunpoint, with an interim government taking over.

Mr Lobo is seen as a unifying figure. He won 56% of the vote, with over 60% of registered voters taking part.

A clear winner and high turnout were what the interim government were hoping for to give the election legitimacy.

As you might have picked up, the BBC continues with the myth that Zelaya was “forced out”, i.e. the victim of the military coup, when, in fact, he was arrested for violating the constitution.

But the Beeb has to admit, even grudgingly, that the fact that there appears to be a clear winner and that the turnout was high do in fact speak to the legitimacy of the election – even in the face of Zelaya’s call for his supporters to boycott it.

Of course for some countries, even a legitimate and scheduled election is not enough to placate them:

But regional powers Argentina and Brazil have said they will not recognise any government installed after the election, arguing that to do so would legitimise the coup which ousted an elected president, and thus set a dangerous precedent.

However the United States, having apparently finally figured out what was going on in Honduras, has said it will recognize the results of the election. Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, the German parliament and Japan will also recognize the vote (over 400 international monitors were on hand to watch the election) with more to come, I’m sure.

What that means is Honduras has won and the Chavez cabal has lost – hopefully a turning point in the eventual demise of the “Bolivarian revolution” inspired by Venezuela (if how Hugo makes cars is any indication, it won’t be long). Of course for that to be so, Porfirio Lobo must ensure that Honduras remains on the democratic and constitutional track upon which it now rests.

A hearty “well done” to the tiny country that stood up and resisted the bullies from the OAS and the US, stood by its laws and constitution and gave the world a lesson in political courage.

~McQ