Free Markets, Free People

Monthly Archives: November 2009


BlogTalk Radio – Tonight 8pm (EST)

Call in number: (718) 664-9614

Yes, friends, it is a call-in show, so do call in.

Subject(s): The proverbial wheels are coming off the alleged scientific basis for AGW.  We’ll talk about that and about the prospects for Copenhagen and cap-and-trade (which has now been put off until at least spring).  And, of course, the debate on the Senate version of the health care bill has begun – Reid was able to muster 60 votes to bring the 2000+ page bill to the floor for debate, but will he be able to keep those 60 to invoke cloture?  That’s the question.  And, of course, joblessness continues rampant with another 500,000 filing first time claims.  The administration seems to finally be noticing that and has vowed to have a job summit.   In December.  Maybe.  That’s got to give you a warm fuzzy.


Paying “Ecological Debt” = Redistribution Of Wealth On A Global Level

Despite the mounting questions about the science involved with theory of AGW, the reason most nations, especially “developing” nations, support the theory lock, stock and barrel is because they stand to receive a great deal of money and they don’t have to do a thing.

Central American nations will demand 105 billion dollars from industrialized countries for damages caused by global warming, the region’s representatives said on Friday.

Central American environment ministers gathered in Guatemala to discuss the so-called “ecological debt” owed to them and to set out a common position ahead of climate talks in Copenhagen next month.

Guatemalan environment minister Luis Ferrate said the 105-billion-dollar price tag was “an estimate” of the damage done by climate change across 16 sectors in Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.

This is all about looting the “industrialized” countries for every penny they can get and they don’t have to prove a thing since the industrialized countries have also ignored the dubiousness of the science and set themselves up to be looted.

The only thing I’d like to know is how they arrived at the price tag?

~McQ


More Valuable Than Gold?

If you’re one of those folks that asks for a seatbelt extender when you get on a flight, you may want to take Peru off your vacation destination list.  And not for the reason you might think:

A gang of killers who murdered to steal their victims’ body fat have been arrested in Peru.

Police said the three people held in the jungle province of Huanuco confessed to five killings and said they could sell one litre of fat for £10,000 to the cosmetic industry.

The men said the fat was sold to intermediaries in Lima, who police suspect sold it to companies in Europe.

No animals were injured in the manufacture of these cosmetics – not.

This is also not a new business:

It is believed six members of the gang are still at large, including leader Hilario Cudena, 56, who Castillejos said had been killing people to extract human fat for more than 30 years.

But:

Medical authorities said last night human fat is used in anti-wrinkle treatments – but is always extracted from the patient, usually from the stomach or buttocks.

There would be a risk of reaction that could lead to lifethreatening consequences if fat from someone else were used, said dermatology professor Dr Neil Sadick.

So the questions – if what Sadick says is true and this his been going on for 30 years, who in Europe is buying this stuff and why?

There’s obviously a market somewhere.

A little Sunday puzzler for you.

~McQ


Just Words …

After only 10 months in office in what he likes to describe as the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, President Obama finally has figured out that its all about the economy – and jobs:

The president focused his remarks on the economy, however, saying he pressured Asian leaders to allow more U.S. exports and to work with U.S. leaders on climate-change efforts.

“Asia is a region where we now buy more goods and do more trade with than any other place in the world – commerce that supports millions of jobs back home,” Obama said. “It’s also a place where the risk of a nuclear arms race threatens our security, and where extremists plan attacks on America’s soil. And since this region includes some of the fastest-growing nations, there can be no solution to the challenge of climate change without the cooperation of the Asia Pacific.

“Above all, I spoke with leaders in every nation I visited about what we can do to sustain this economic recovery and bring back jobs and prosperity for our people – a task I will continue to focus on relentlessly in the weeks and months ahead.”

Well there you go – he’s talked about it. Expect the world to listen and do exactly what he expect.

John Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN, has remarked previously about this propensity to consider “engagement” and negotiation as a policy in foreign policy:

Negotiation is not a policy. It is a technique. It is a way of achieving our objectives. It doesn’t tell us what the objectives are. The emphasis on negotiation as an end in itself reflects a shallowness in this administration’s approach to international affairs, and gives us little confidence that our interests will be well served.

In this trip, Obama claims these accomplishments:

Specifically, Obama said he “developed a host of new clean energy initiatives” with China and also raised the issue of human rights. China has been seen as reluctant in agreeing to reduce its carbon emissions, claiming its economy is still evolving.

Obama tied the U.S. economy directly to Asia’s openness to U.S. products, noting that an increase of just 5 percent in U.S. exports to Asia Pacific nations could produce hundreds of thousands of American jobs.

Now comes the hard part – turning words into deeds. And that means both domestically and internationally. So far, it’s been mostly words and few deeds – except increasing the deficit four fold and adding a trillion dollars to the debt is a record 8 months.

~McQ


Poll Says Public Beginning to Blame Democrats For Recession

It was inevitable (the party in power always gets blamed – eventually), but that doesn’t mean I don’t like the fact that this perfect storm may crest precisely at the 2010 midterms (although you shouldn”t count out the possibility of Republicans completely blowing the opportunity):

Nearly two years into the recession, opinion about which political party is responsible for the severe economic downturn is shifting, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday morning indicates that 38 percent of the public blames Republicans for the country’s current economic problems. That’s down 15 points from May, when 53 percent blamed the GOP. According to the poll 27 percent now blame the Democrats for the recession, up 6 points from May. Twenty-seven percent now say both parties are responsible for the economic mess.

“The bad news for the Democrats is that the number of Americans who hold the GOP exclusively responsible for the recession has been steadily falling by about two to three points per month,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “At that rate, only a handful of voters will blame the economy on the Republicans by the time next year’s midterm elections roll around.”

I’ll say it again – gridlock is good. It has a tendency to weed out all the extremist garbage and narrows the focus of legislation greatly. It also limits the power of the President, as it should be. So I’m quite pleased with this turn of events. And as you might imagine, the “current economic problems” is code language for “jobs”. No jobs, no peace, and a tough re-election campaign from Democrats next year.

Guess who the Congress is mad at?

It’s the economy, stupid.

As an aside, speaking of tough re-elections next year, John McCain is in a statistical dead heat with a GOP primary opponent next year.

Nice.

~McQ


AGW’s Crumbling House Of Cards (updates)

Uh oh … in advance of Copenhagen when this government will try to give away what little is left of your earnings, reality is beginning to dawn:

Global warming appears to have stalled. Climatologists are puzzled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years. Some attribute the trend to a lack of sunspots, while others explain it through ocean currents.

That last sentence should tell you all you need to know about the AGW scam – if they can’t figure out what’s causing this cooling event, how in the world can they be relied upon to forecast the future? The fact is they use models which are, in the big scheme of things, technologically crude and force certain types of climate variables while minimizing or leaving out altogether numerous others. They can’t, in fact, model what has happend in our history, much less what is coming – and yet, by some, they’re taken as scientific “proof” of impending doom.

Now they have to deal with something their models didn’t at all predict:

The Earth’s average temperatures have stopped climbing since the beginning of the millennium, and it even looks as though global warming could come to a standstill this year.

[...]

Latif, one of Germany’s best-known climatologists, says that the temperature curve has reached a plateau. “There can be no argument about that,” he says. “We have to face that fact.”

As for “settled science” and consensus:

“It cannot be denied that this is one of the hottest issues in the scientific community,” says Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. “We don’t really know why this stagnation is taking place at this point.”

Or maybe we do:

Just a few weeks ago, Britain’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research added more fuel to the fire with its latest calculations of global average temperatures. According to the Hadley figures, the world grew warmer by 0.07 degrees Celsius from 1999 to 2008 and not by the 0.2 degrees Celsius assumed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And, say the British experts, when their figure is adjusted for two naturally occurring climate phenomena, El Niño and La Niña, the resulting temperature trend is reduced to 0.0 degrees Celsius — in other words, a standstill.

Again, that “settled science” canard of Al Gore’s is out the window. Not that there won’t be warmist deniers:

But a few scientists simply refuse to believe the British calculations. “Warming has continued in the last few years,” says Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). However, Rahmstorf is more or less alone in his view. Hamburg Max Planck Institute scientist Jochem Marotzke, on the other hand, says: “I hardly know any colleagues who would deny that it hasn’t gotten warmer in recent years.”

But, as is obvious and is now being admitted, it hasn’t.

So back to the drawing board boys. When you can put a model that can duplicate the past with fidelity, then we might accept what it has to say about the future as “proof” of something. But trying to pawn off the results of those you now use in the face of the real temperatures and trends we’ve undergone (which are wildly different from the models) seems at best anti-scientific. The theory’s the models force have been disproved – or at least heavily damaged. Try, try again.

Unfortunately, even while the scientific community begins to understand the huge scam that has been pulled on them, politicians are blinkered creatures who, having now made up their unscientific minds that global warming is happening, and being a part of a caste which has as a juvenile part of its job description a desire to save the world, will meet in Copenhagen and try to strike a global monetary redistribution scheme to do so.

Facts – they don’t need no stinkin’ facts to give your money away. See “national debt”.

UPDATE: Hacked emails or leaked?  Which ever is the case, they’re pretty damning to the “science” of AGW.

UPDATE II: Remember the UN’s IPCC report that Copenhagen is going to be based upon?  Uh oh:

A scientific scandal is casting a shadow over a number of recent peer-reviewed climate papers.

At least eight papers purporting to reconstruct the historical temperature record times may need to be revisited, with significant implications for contemporary climate studies, the basis of the IPCC’s assessments. A number of these involve senior climatologists at the British climate research centre CRU at the University East Anglia. In every case, peer review failed to pick up the errors.

It is getting tougher and tougher for the alarmist warmists to maintain their “settled science” mantra. In fact, it’s getting tougher and tougher for them to even call what has been foisted upon the world “science” at all.

Question: How long will it take the media here (the stories are coming out of the UK and Australia and have been picked up by blogs here) to cover the story and, assuming they do, will it have legs are get the page A35 treatment?

[HT: Hot Air]

~McQ


Harry’s Version Of The Health Care Monstrosity

Over 2,000 pages (yeah, nothing can be hidden in there, can it?) the bill sets up at least 370.2 billion in new taxes over the next 10 years:

1. 40% excise tax on health coverage in excess of $8,500/$23,000 ($149.1 billion)
2. Employer W-2 reporting of value of health (negligible revenue effect)
3. Conform definition of medical expenses ($5.0 billion)
4. Increase penalty for nonqualified health savings account distributions to 20% ($1.3 billion)
5. Limit health flexible spending arrangements in cafeteria plans to $2,500 ($14.6 billion)
6. Require information reporting on payments to corporations ($17.1 billion)
7. Additional requirements for section 501(c)(3) hospitals (negligible revenue effects)
8. Impose annual fee on manufacturers & importers of branded drugs ($22.2 billion)
9. Impose annual fee on manufacturers & importers of medical devices ($19.3 billion)
10. Impose annual fee on health insurance providers ($60.4 billion)
11. Study and report of effect on veterans health care (no revenue effect)
12. Eliminate deduction for expenses allocable to Medicare Part D subsidy ($5.4 billion)
13. Raise 7.5% AGI floor on medical expenses deduction to 10% ($15.2 billion)
14. $500,000 deduction limitation on taxable year remuneration to health insurance officials ($0.6 billion)
15. Additional 0.5% hospital insurance tax on wages > $200,000 ($250,000 joint) ($53.8 billion)
16. Modification of section 833 treatment of certain health organizations ($0.4 billion)
17. Impose 5% excise tax on cosmetic surgery ($5.8 billion)

That’s according the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (via Tax Prof).

According to the CBO, this turkey comes in at 849 billion over 10 years. Let me again stress that the cost is a bogus cost because of the way the spending is structured. CBO is limited to a 10 year window. So what it is saying is that within that 10 year window, if passed exactly as written and with no changes, it will cost that much over that 10 year span. It isn’t chartered to look beyond that. So, over the years, the Democrats have learned how to use that restriction to sell budget busters as deficit reducers.

Here’s how. See all those taxes above? They begin immediately. However the major costly programs don’t begin until 2014. Consequently, the taxes are going to have a plus effect on the deficit over those first few years. Then, as the spending kicks in, since we’ve already pre-paid it with the taxes, it will appear as much less spending than it really is. Once outside that 10 year window, it explodes. The real cost, not the gamed cost to get past the CBO and attempt to fool the public, is estimated to be about 1.8 trillion over 10 years – or twice what is being claimed – and that’s if nothing changes or is added.  And it doesn’t include the 250 billion “doc fix” which will put it over 2 trillion.

One other thing to note – all the taxes above are only part of the plan to “pay” for this. Don’t forget the 500 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as well (cuts that will never happen at the size projected if at all).

It’s pretty simple when you look at the numbers – this is another huge, costly program we can’t afford and we don’t need – at least in the form Congress insists on putting it in.  Common sense reform – ok.  But common sense reform doesn’t cost 2 trillion in “deficit reducing spending”.

I still can’t imagine anyone actually believing 2 trillion in new spending will reduce the deficit.

But they are – hook, line and sinker.

~McQ


Quote Of The Day

I‘m sorry, but this bit of hubris is so over the top I don’t even know where to begin:

“I think that we’ve restored America’s standing in the world, and that’s confirmed by polls,” he told CNN’s Ed Henry in a wide-ranging interview this week during his trip to China.

“I think a recent one indicated that around the world, before my election, less than half the people — maybe less than 40 percent of the people — thought that you could count on America to do to the right thing. Now it’s up to 75 percent.”

Or it could be that 75% are pleased that George W. Bush is gone and anyone else is now in office. Or it could mean that 75% like the more humble and apologetic US. Or 75% like the fact that he’s done nothing since he’s been in office but give flowery speeches chase nuclear non-proliferation. Or …

You get the idea. He’s been in office 10 months and hasn’t done a thing but apologize for the US and indulge his narcissism with trips abroad and that has “restored America’s standing in the world”? This reminds me very much of his belief that the US was changed for the better when he was elected and he had a mandate to do whatever he pleased when he took office. How’s that working out? How are those approval polls looking today?

Look, the world is going to love him as long as he sticks to apologies, flowery speeches and such dated issues as nuclear non-proliferation. But if he actually steps up, puts the interests of the US as his first priority (which is his job, by the way) and leads, he’ll be in Bush territory in no time. My guess is he’d rather be popular than respected. We’ll see what our “improved standing” buys us in realpolitik terms down the road.

~McQ


Race: Down On The Plantation…

One phrase sure to stir outrage or at least discussion is what I’ve used for the title when referring to the issue of race.  But I’m darned if it doesn’t best describe this quote from Jesse Jackson:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Wednesday night criticized Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) for voting against the Democrats’ signature healthcare bill.

“We even have blacks voting against the healthcare bill,” Jackson said at a reception Wednesday night. “You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.”

When you give race baiters like Jesse Jackson the opportunity to define what it means to be a “black man”, he then gets to define what it means to remain one. And that usually entails towing a particular party line of which he approves – not thinking for yourself, not doing your job (representing your constituency), not being your own person. You see if someone does any of that, as did Rep. Davis did, they threaten the dying power the race warriors hold – that of the legislative “bloc” based in race. The Sharptons and Jacksons of the world have built a career out of making everything about race. Like unions, they once had a purpose. Now, however, with their purpose fading and their time in the media’s light waning, they have to make more and more outrageous statements to get noticed.

I’ll be so happy when those who can’t see past their own skin color on every issue pass from the scene. Then, and only then, will real progress among and within the races be made. In the meantime, blacks certainly shouldn’t let someone like Jesse Jackson define what it is to be anything, much less a “black man”.

~McQ


Stimulus Funds Used To Fund Fat Tax Study

This one is right out of the “you’ve got to be kidding me” category.

It seems that stimulus funds, you know that 787 billion bill without an “ounce” of pork in it, are funding a study at the University of Illinois (wow, there’s a surprise) to look at “the relationship between fat taxes and food consumption, diet quality, and obesity.”

In reality it is a study to assess the feasibility of taxing soda, under the guise of fighting obesity, to fund health care reform. You remember all the trial balloons that were launched earlier in the year concerning this tax? Well, now taxpayers are funding research to figure out if it is feasible to further tax taxpayers.

And does anyone really doubt the outcome of the study? Really?

This is perfect example of how out of control government has become. Spending money it doesn’t have on a study to see if it can tax you more to make up for some of the money it’s spending that it doesn’t have.  That should be a line in a comedy skit, not a reality.

This also makes the point that government would have no hesitation whatsoever – if it can manage to wrangle the power to do it – in deciding what you should or shouldn’t consume – all in the name of health care dollars – and punishing you if you don’t conform. And, of course, regulators and bureaucrats can’t assume that power unless Congress hands it to them through this health care reform monstrosity.

While you’re noodling over that, you might also consider another voice that came out today in opposition to the present health care reform bill. Dr. Jeffery Filer, dean of the Harvard Medical School said:

Speeches and news reports can lead you to believe that proposed congressional legislation would tackle the problems of cost, access and quality. But that’s not true. The various bills do deal with access by expanding Medicaid and mandating subsidized insurance at substantial cost—and thus addresses an important social goal. However, there are no provisions to substantively control the growth of costs or raise the quality of care. So the overall effort will fail to qualify as reform.

Make sure you read the whole thing.

[HT: Katherine P.]

~McQ