Tag Archives: Global Warming

Farewell Chicago

art wilsonDear Chicago,
In case you’re wondering where I am, I’ve left you and Illinois for another city in another state. It took some time but I finally realized that I am who I am and I certainly can’t change you. It’s not that I didn’t try these past six years. I voted in every election. I tried to explain conservative principles to hundreds of your citizens, (apparently printing money is more popular than I thought). But you and your state seem hell-bent on destroying yourselves and I just couldn’t live there and watch it happen. Oh don’t get me wrong, I still hear about you and what’s happening with you all of the time. In fact, just last week I heard Illinois credit rating fell to the worst in the country. Congratulations. You just beat California for being the worst “drunk” in the country. Keep spending. You don’t have a problem. And I hear about you in the news all of the time these days. Apparently the murder rate in January, (42), is the highest since 2002, (77). This is despite the gun ban you’ve had in place all of these years and the statistics that show over and over again that the gun bans haven’t worked. Instead of acknowledging you have a problem, you just blame something else. Seriously, global warming?

Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t all bad. I enjoyed living next to the lake and being able to walk to Wriggly Field for a Cubs game. Watching a Blackhawks game at the United Center is an experience, not a sporting event. Lincoln Park Zoo, the aquarium, the Field Museum, the restaurants. Oh I could go on and on but that’s what makes you a great place to visit. It does not make you a great place to live. I’ll definitely miss my friends there. The conservatives are few there but they are some of the most solid in the country. (You really know what you believe in after you’ve had to argue explain it to the people around you a million times). I’ll miss my church – one of only a handful that’s not preaching the social gospel downtown. But Chicago, you did everything you could possibly do to push me away.

Let’s talk about values. Mayor Rham Emanuel spelled it out loud and clear last July when he stated Chick-fil-A’s values were not Chicago’s values. It wasn’t the statement as much as the threat by he and Alderman Joe Moreno that unless a private business agrees implicitly with what they believe, they wouldn’t consider allowing zoning rights to a Chick-fil-A in that ward of the city. Since when did elected officials start strong-arming people into believing exactly as we do? I would have just as much of an issue with this if a pro-gay business was treated this way. This is yet another reason why businesses will have to think long and hard before deciding to open up shop in Chicago. You’ve made it quite clear that if a business can’t play ball the Chicago way they can stay the hell out. Good luck with that.

And then there was the Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle budget proposal last year. Chicago you already have some of the highest taxes in the country and you want to do what? Another dollar tax per pack of cigarettes, the highest in the country. A violence tax – a nickel for every bullet and an additional $25 per gun. The idea being that this county tax would offset the county hospital costs due to the extremely high violence in the city. Yes Chicago, you have the audacity to suggest taxing law abiding gun owners for the crimes of the gang bangers that will never see the tax. Oh, and you wanted to tax certain goods bought in other counties with an additional tax. Chicago, you will never ever be satisfied with the amount of money you collect. I just can’t live there and watch you push yourself into bankruptcy and drag me in along with you.

And the political corruption. Number one in the country again last year. 1,531 convictions for public corruption between 1976 and 2010. But that was so long ago. Surely things would be different right? Well….. Rep. Jessie Jackson Jr.      Ald. Sandi Jackson     State Rep. Derrick Smith…..   All investigated, charged or indicted and still voted back into office anyway. Wow. Talk about an enabling constituent.

I could keep going Chicago but what’s the point. It just didn’t work out. I don’t see a future there – not one that I would want to be a part of anyway. So farewell Chicago. And good luck. You’re going to need it.

Art Wilson

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The Congress-Copenhagen Connection

minute-man-2-lithoIn several ways, the future of America will be decided in the next thirty days.  Four events are scheduled that will have a profound effect on the level of freedom and liberty enjoyed by the American people, passage of the 2009 budget; the initial negotiating session in Bonn, Germany on the U.N. “Climate Change” plan;  Domestic legislation on global warming by Congress; and legislation on national health care.  All four have the potential to greatly expand the reach of the federal government, further erode state sovereignty, adversely affect the national economy, and diminish the level of liberty and freedom for citizens.

The Copenhagen Accords

The U.N. plan also threatens the erosion of our national sovereignty.  The first negotiating session for the “Copenhagen Accords” began Sunday, March 29, in Bonn under the auspices of the United Nations.  Goals for the accords are set forth in a sixteen page informational document to be distributed to participants. They are expected to be signed by December 2009. Unlike the Kyoto Accords, indications are that the Copenhagen Accords will have the support of both Congress and the White House.

An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily Saturday, begins with a reference to Czech President Vaclav Klaus who once called global warming “a new religion, a Trojan horse for imposing a global tyranny worse than communism.”

“Details about the Copenhagen Conference prove how right he was”, comments the IBD editor.

The centerpiece of the new accords will be an international “Cap and Trade” scheme that, if implemented, will result in a massive transfer of wealth from advanced industrial nations, particularly the United States, to underdeveloped and developing nations like those in Africa, South and Central America, China and India.  In addition to wealth transfer, the UN’s “informational notes” predicts a major relocation of businesses as companies flee from highly regulated countries to those with fewer regulatory policies.

The two domestic industries hardest hit by the new regulations will be energy and transportation.  Both rely heavily on the use of fossil fuels and they cannot be outsourced.  The costs associated with “cap and trade” and carbon taxes will be passed on to consumers through higher prices.  When added to the inflation caused by the Treasury Department’s printing of trillions of dollars to pay for the Obama economic plan the result is sure to be a lowering of the standard of living for everyone.

There is, however, a ray of hope so far as the UN plan is concerned, assuming that we still have a Constitution in place next year when a treaty is likely to be presented to the Senate for ratification.  Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution requires a two-third majority in order to ratify a treaty. The constitutional requirement for a two-thirds vote in the Senate cannot be set aside with the Reid-Pelosi “reconciliation” plan they intend to use to bypass any attempt to filibuster bills dealing with domestic climate change, energy conservation and healthcare.

A more immediate threat comes from a domestic cap and trade scheme legislated by Congress.  The domestic plan would have all the negative aspects of the UN plan and will probably have popular support among the uninformed voters that make up the major segment of the voting public.  What makes new cap and trade regulations more likely is the fact that many Republican Congressmen and Senators have bought into the pseudo-science of “global warming”.  There is little chance that such a bill could be successfully filibustered, even if the opportunity was given.

There seems to be little we can do other than protest to stop the anticipated legislation on both climate change and healthcare.  Aside from the outrageous spending spree already underway by the federal government, climate change and health care legislation pose the biggest threats we will be facing in the near future.

Eventually we will make the transition from fossil fuel to an alternative—when the time is right. When that happens it will be because of entrepreneurial innovation and consumer demand not because of central planning by the government.  That is always the way progress comes about.  We did not make the transition from the horse and buggy to the automobile because of government initiative, but because of American ingenuity and the free market.  Government interference in the free market always causes dislocation in the economy and results in unforeseen and unnecessary problems for the consumer.  Government can, to a certain extent, affect production through regulations, but it cannot dictate consumption except by trampling on the liberties of its citizens.

Both Climate change legislation and health care legislation are doomed to failure in the long run  because they violate two basic principles of the human condition.

The Problem with Central Planning

Two terms familiar to every business school student are “span of control” and “economy of scale”.  Span of control has to do with the principle that the human mind is limited in its capacity for gathering, absorbing and using information efficiently.  Economy of scale has to do with the consolidation of operations in order to improve efficiency.  The merger craze of a few decades ago brought out the shortcoming of both these theories.

Large companies bought up smaller companies in order to take advantage of the economy of scale only to find that they had stretched the span of control to a point that could no longer be managed effectively. Companies go from acquisition to centralization, to decentralization, to “spin offs” in an effort to find the optimum balance between the span of control and the economy of scale.  Few ever find it, and private businesses have an advantage over government in that they are merit based and motivated by profit.  Governments are politics based and motivated by the desire for power.

Centrally planned economies have never worked, and cannot work, because they always violate the principle underlying “span of control”.  The founders understood this principle well when they drafted the Constitution.  That is one of the reasons why they limited the power and size of the central government and reserved policy decisions affecting the daily lives of citizens to states and local communities.

Health Care

America has the best and most innovative health care system in the world.  It’s artificially high cost is primarily the result of a manufactured demand caused by our third-party payment system created by employer paid health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. Until we deal honestly with that problem, we cannot solve the problem of unaffordable health care.

The only way to solve the problem of healthcare costs is to allow the market to function.  Add the amount being paid by companies for employee health insurance to employees’ paychecks, return taxes paid for Medicaid and Medicare to the taxpayer and let the taxpayer pay for their own catastrophic health insurance and routine healthcare, “out of pocket”.

When our automobile breaks down we think nothing of paying five hundred or a thousand dollars to get it fixed.  Certainly, our body is more important than our car.  Yet, we have created an expectation that when our body breaks down or develops a temporary “problem” the expense of getting it fixed should be born by someone else.

The expense for indigent health care can and should be born by states, local communities and families, as it once was.  No one should go without needed health care, and they do not today.  The problem is that as the system is now working the cost of  indigent care is born by hospitals and emergency rooms and passed on to other patients through elevated cost for hospital services or to the taxpayer through hospital reimbursements.

The problems caused by government planned and administered healthcare schemes in Canada, England, France, and elsewhere are well documented and widely known.  In spite of this, our politicians are determined to force nationalized health care on everyone, in one form or another.  The inevitable result will be lower standards of care for patients and unsustainable cost to the taxpayers.  Eventually, health care and our arrogant attempts to control climate, unless checked, will result in the demise of capitalism.  If one doesn’t get us, the other one will.

Keeping Sane in a Crazy World

If you think the whole world has gone nuts, you may be right. According to some psychiatric theories, one symptom of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. That description sums up an amazing amount of the political and social activity swirling around us continuously as we scramble to ward off some impending catastrophe or other predicted by the doomsayer du jour.

Sometimes it’s good to take a break from all the political debates and the petty squabbles of the mental midgets involved, and consider the futility of it all. A good place to start is with the realization that living is hazardous to our health and breathing is bad for the environment. Life can kill you, and it always does. Have you ever known a healthy, happy “health nut”. I haven’t. I’m sure they are out there; I have just never known one. Many that I have met in my lifetime are long dead, if not forgotten. Furthermore, the health regimen you follow today may be the one that is credited with killing you tomorrow as new discoveries are made by the “scientific” community.

Admittedly, science is one of the most useful fields of knowledge known to man, but keep in mind that science consists of knowledge gained from discovery, not creation. Science has never created anything; it has only discovered new ways of using what has always been there. Quite often, the scientific fact of today becomes the scientific oddity of tomorrow. The “static universe” theory gives way to the “big bang” theory. The “flat earth” gives way to the “globe” and so on, as we advance in our techniques of studying what is around us.

Take the ongoing controversy over creationism vs. evolution. The sacred theory of the evolutionist is, “In the beginning there was nothing, and the nothing exploded and became all the wondrous things that make up the universe today.” The sacred theory of the creationist is, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” One theory is just as provable as the other is, although, creationism is the only one that provides an adequate explanation for the simultaneous development of the sexes. Meanwhile, the earth keeps right on spinning in its orbit, oblivious to the entire controversy.

Another big controversy of today is the one concerning the burning of “fossil” fuel, and the religious environmentalists’ fears that in the burning, we are destroying the planet. Meanwhile, the earth keeps right on spinning in its orbit, heating and cooling, according to its own needs, oblivious to the entire controversy.

Of all the discoveries made by man, none has had a more profound effect on our lives than the discovery of petroleum. Less than a generation after the first successful oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania, Thomas Edison almost put the fledgling industry out of business with his invention of the electric light, and probably would have if someone had not invented the automobile. The panic surrounding the use of “fossil fuels” has two sources. One, that it is a finite source of energy that will soon be exhausted. The other is that we will destroy the planet through global warming before we actually do exhaust the supply.

Both concerns are more politically based than reality based and in the end only serve to remind us of the unlimited arrogance of man and the infinitesimal amount of true knowledge he actually possesses. An example of the deficiency in our knowledge can be found in the question: Where does oil come from? Ask the first person you see, and he will tell you it comes from the decayed remains of organisms that lived on the earth millions of years ago. “That’s why they call it ’fossil fuel’, dummy”. You may be surprised to learn that even this “scientific fact” is a matter of controversy. I know I was.

In 1950, the Soviet Union was one of the most “oil poor” nations on earth. In spite of the diligent exploration by its best geologists, its oil reserves were practically non-existent. Today, Russia is one of the leading petroleum exporting countries in the world. What happened? Did they discover a new dinosaur graveyard? Nope. Some of their scientist simply began to question the “scientific consensus” as to the origin of petroleum. In a non-scientific “nutshell”, they argued that the formation of oil deposits required pressures found only in the earth’s deep mantle, and the prevailing theories of “fossil fuels” did not adequately account for the massive deposits discovered in the supergiant oil fields of the world.

According to their hypothesis, Oil deposits are formed in the deep mantle of the earth from inorganic materials and leech their way upwards through cracks in the earth’s crust. Using this new hypothesis, they returned to places where it had previously been determined oil could not possibly exist due to the absence of the required rock formations. This time as the saying goes “they struck oil” and the rest is history.

This new theory of oil formation is known as the “abiotic” theory and, of course, is disputed by most western geologist, although “it’s hard to argue with success“. For those who may be interested in delving further into the theory of abiotic oil formation, a good place to start would be: www.enviroliteracy.org. My purpose here is not to dwell on the theory, but simply to point out that we do not always know that which we think we know, and those things we know for sure are often wrong.

That in itself is enough to help me not to get all worked up over the threats of trans-fats, second hand smoke, refined sugar, greenhouse gases, the changing climate, and all the other dire warnings we are bombarded with ad infinitum on a daily basis.

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