Obamacare's Forgotten Man

Amity Shlaes has written "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression." The book challenges the long-held perception that Capitalists and Republicans created the Great Depression. As James Piereson summarizes in his book review lede in Commentary Magazine:
The Great Depression of the 1930’s tested America’s political institutions like no other event in our history except the Civil War. Much as Lincoln saved the Union and established the symbols of American nationalism, so Franklin Delano Roosevelt (it is said) saved capitalism from itself and laid the framework for the American welfare state.
Roosevelt experimented with economics to fix the crisis, imposing government programs which in the end, extended the misery level of the people and sapped wealth from the country. Perhaps "the forgotten man," as Piereson implies, was Wendell Willkie.
If there is a hero in Shlaes’s account, it is Wendell Willkie, who supported FDR in 1932 but emerged later in the decade as the most articulate critic of the New Deal. As the president of Commonwealth and Southern, a large utilities holding company, Willkie clashed with David Lilienthal, FDR’s hand-picked director of the newly created Tennessee Valley Authority, over the extent to which the new entity would compete with private companies in the distribution and sale of electric power. Lilienthal eventually got the better of Willkie, who was forced in 1939 to sell Commonwealth and Southern to the government.

Having seen at first hand the danger posed by federal intervention in the economy, Willkie won a large following with books, articles, and speeches challenging the anti-business premises of the New Deal and arguing that production and growth fit the needs and wishes of Americans far better than did redistribution. The idea of America, Willkie argued, was to encourage private enterprise, not to make war on it. So compelling was his case that he persuaded the Republican convention to nominate him in 1940 to run against Roosevelt on the issue of the government’s proper role in the economy.

With Hitler on the march in Europe, however, and Britain under siege, voters were preoccupied with issues of war and peace—on which Willkie differed very little from FDR. Though unsuccessful in dislodging the President, Willkie’s campaign suggested that, in its domestic interventionism and its animus against business, the New Deal had gone too far.
Today we have another anti-capitalist, unquestionably Marxist, President in Barack Obama. With the economy on its heels again, solutions tried have only exacerbated the problems, despite increased government spending.  Ineffective economic stimulus was followed by the take-over of private-sector financial markets, mortgage businesses, banking industry, automobile manufacturing, energy providers and now the health care segment. Incredible record deficits, expanded money supply, caused a devaluation of the dollar, and now newly-passed legislation nationalizes health care and imposes Marxist control over the population will most likely end America as we have known it to be. American Exceptionism is dead!

In the latest reincarnatation of Roosevelt's New Deal is another "forgotten man." Interestingly, Ayn Rand identified this professional in her 1957 blockbuster novel Atlas Shrugged where she wrote:
“I quit when medicine was placed under state control, some years ago,” said Dr. Hendricks. “Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything — except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the ‘welfare’ of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only ‘to serve.’ That a man who’s willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards — never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind — yet what is it that they expect to depend upon, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in their operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man whose life they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it — and still elss safe, if he is the sort who doesn’t.
When fiction becomes fact, the life and times of Americans gets pretty scary. Chris Muir illustrates the coming crisis at the top of the page.

Merry Christmas from Robert Earl Keene

Climatology Redux: Drought Follows The Plow

Suppose now that a new army of frontier farmers-- as many as could occupy another belt of 50 miles, in width, from Manitoba to Texas, could, acting in concert, turn over the prairie sod, and after deep plowing and receiving the rain and moisture, present a new surface of green growing crops instead of dry, hard baked earth covered with sparse buffalo grass. No one can question or doubt the inevitable effect of this cooling condensing surface upon the moisture in the atmosphere as it moves over by the Western winds. A reduction of temperature must at once occur, accompanied by the usual phenomena of showers. The chief agency in this transformation is agriculture. To be more concise. Rain follows the plow.
--Charles Dana Wilber, 1881, in
“The Great Valleys of Nebraska”
As part of the religion of Environmentalism, The Church of Climate Change was founded by the sod-busters involved in our westward expansion to the Great Plains beginning after the Civil War. With the help from government land giveaways through the Homestead Act and "thanks in part to railroad company advertisements that described it as lush farmland and to a growing belief that settlers had actually changed the one-time 'Great American Desert' by plowing the earth," the first known lies emanating from the climatology science advocates were heard on the theory that "rain follows the plow."
The theory arose in the late 1860s during the westward expansion of white settlement west of the Missouri River and across the 100th meridian west, the traditional boundary line between the humid and semi-arid portions of central North America. Specifically, in the early part of the decade, white settlement had spread into central and western Nebraska along the Platte River. Emigrants on the Oregon Trail began reporting that the land in western Nebraska, previously known for its yellowed dry vegetation during the summer, had seemingly become green. Out of this evidence, some scientists of the day concluded that change was due to the settlement and the effects of cultivation.

One of the most prominent exponents of the theory was Cyrus Thomas, a noted climatologist of his day who made a study ... concluding the increase in moisture was permanent, and that it coincided exactly with the first homesteaders ...

Thomas and other climatologists offered a variety of explanations for the theory. A common idea was that the plowing of the soil for cultivation exposed the soil's moisture to the sky. In addition, newly planted trees and shrubs increased rainfall as well, as did smoke from trains. Another hypothesis stated that the increased vibrations in the atmosphere due to human activity created additional clouds, from which rain fell, an idea that led to the widespread dynamiting of the air across the Great Plains in the 1870s.

The theory was widely embraced in its day, not only by scientists, but land speculators and emigrants. Some historians have argued that the theory was embraced readily as an outgrowth of Manifest Destiny, the idea that God had ordained the white race of Americans to spread across the North American continent. The theory is regarded as partially responsible for the rapid settlement of the Great Plains in the later 19th century.
The first generation of sod-busters, some two million people, experienced a period of unusually heavy rainfall during the 1870s and 1880s, so the operating climate theory was accepted.  Then the rain stopped and the "Great American Desert" returned.
Ah, Nebraska Land, Sweet Nebraska Land!
Upon thy burning soil I stand.
And I look away, across the plains,
And I wonder why it never rains.
Examples of the misery experienced by easterners, many new to farming and unfamiliar with arid conditions brought on by the droughts, included a population reduction in western Kansas of 50% during 1893 and 1894 and the 1917 through 1921 drought resulted in abandonment of almost one-third of the homestead claims filed in the first twenty years of the 20th century in eastern Montana. Doug French takes up this narrative at Lew Rockwell:
The First World War then set off a series of events that would lead to disaster. The dry-land farmers had enjoyed prosperity, working the land and growing wheat with the benefit of new machinery that made them wondrously productive. Then the Turkish navy kept Russian wheat from making its way to Europe and the federal government told farmers to produce more wheat to win the war. And produce they did; from 1917 to 1919, the number of acres put into wheat production increased 70 percent. And why not: the government guaranteed a price of $2 per bushel.

But when the war ended, the price collapsed and there was no one to buy the mountains of grain left rotting in the sun. The debts incurred to buy equipment and property still had to be paid, so farmers continued to plow up the grassland in hopes that the price of wheat would rebound. By 1931, 33 million acres in the Great Plains had been plowed. But farmers could only sell the wheat for half what it cost to produce the golden grain, if they could find buyers at all. And then the winds came.

The black blizzards began in earnest in 1932 and would continue through the end of the decade. These storms would carry enough static electricity that people would avoid shaking hands because the shock would flatten a person. With no rain and temperatures exceeding more than 110 degrees for days on end, more and more bugs appeared. Grasshoppers swarmed over fields; centipedes by the bucketful infested houses, along with Black Widow spiders and Tarantulas. Rabbits multiplied while the people choked from the dust.
As you might expect, man was blamed for the catastrophes wrought by the droughts:
Largely unregulated farming practices left croplands vulnerable to degradation, and the combination of widespread plant death and soil erosion exacerbated already severe drought conditions.
In reality, the economic costs and the toll inflicted by human misery and death in the "Dirty 30s," falls right back on our know-it-all climatologists who somehow concluded that a tool used in agriculture could control the complex and overpowering nature of the earth's atmosphere. Today we know more.
Drought in North America is controlled by temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, for the most part. When surface waters are cool, a so-called La Nina event, precipitation usually slackens over the central part of the continent. It's a regular cycle in Earth's climate that repeats every few decades, including the 1950's, and again around the beginning of the 21st century.
As Cato @ Liberty points out, the always sensible approach to any climate disruption is adaptation.
The impact of all anthropogenic factors (not only CO2) on climate is unclear when compared with factors of nature. Therefore, the most effective strategy for humanity in responding to different types of climate change is adaptation. That approach is exactly the way that humans have reacted to the larger-scale climatic changes in the past, even though they were less prepared then for such changes. Now mankind has greater resources to adapt to lesser climate fluctuations and it is better equipped for them scientifically, technically and psychologically. The adaptation of humanity to climate changes is incomparably less costly than other options being proposed and imposed by climate alarmists. Human society has already adopted to climate change and will continue to do so as long as economy and society are vibrant and free.
So when can we expect that today's priests of the Climate Change culture will recognize that there is no scientific consensus and little knowledge to confirm that man is adversely affecting our atmosphere? And when can we expect that the corrupt politicians, now feeding at the trough of global warming, will die from malnutrition?

O'Reilly, Beck, Limbaugh Attacked On NBC Show

Barry Rubin writes about the hatred fomenting from fictional TV as seen this week on Law & Order SVU:

According to [this] article, the show is about a crazed anti-immigration activist who murders the children of illegal immigrants. In one scene, a character [played by John Larroquette], defending the murderer says, "Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly, all of 'em, they are like a cancer spreading ignorance and hate...They've convinced folks that immigrants are the problem, not corporations that fail to pay a living wage or a broken health care system...."

It seems the character is saying that the poor murderer is just a dupe who has been pushed over the edge by this evil trio. Since they have never advocated murdering immigrants or their children, I assume this dialogue was maliciously written to defame them, ... and could potentially bring violence against them. In short, they have been slandered (that's a moral, not a legal opinion). Incidentally, isn't the first sentence almost word for word a repetition of what a White House official charged? Coincidence?

Second, this show's plot is a Politically Correct lie, not anything based on fact. There have been no crazed anti-immigration activist murdering children of illegal immigrants, but illegal immigrants have committed a lot of crimes. Will a TV entertainment show have that as a plot? I assume no (perhaps I'm wrong) because the producers and writers of television shows believe this would make people anti-illegal immigrant.

In other words, the creators of the show aren't against creating ignorance and hate, they just claim the right to determine who the victims are going to be. Moreover, they can say that this is only a character speaking not necessarily the opinions of, etc., etc. But does anyone doubt that character is just a ventriloquist's dummy?

Does this mean it isn't legitimate to discuss whether illegal immigration is a problem, just as we can't talk about the Islamist motivations of Khalid Hasan, the Fort Hood murderer, because presumably this will set off an anti-Muslim pogrom? Is it incitement to murder to point out that large numbers of illegal immigrants take jobs away and lower wages for U.S. citizens, and that they could overwhelm the healthcare system in certain states? Isn't that precisely why there are laws to control immigration which is what makes these immigrants illegal? Or is that, too, incitement to murder?

The permissible bounds of debate are being narrowed in myriad ways.

This situation reminds me of the British television drama a few months back which showed crazed Christian fundamentalists decapitating Muslims. This never happened but the opposite has. If you want to shut up about certain things do so, but don't make up total lies in the exact opposite direction, pretending that TV commentators are calling for lynch mobs and pious Christians are cutting people's heads off.
Bill O'Reilly gets the last word, blasting NBC producer Dick Wolf:

World's Most Influential Tree

Christopher Booker of The Sunday Telegraph exposes the power and the excesses of the mad scientists involved in the promotion of the man-made global warming hoax.
Coming to light in recent days has been one of the most extraordinary scientific detective stories of our time, bizarrely centred on a single tree in Siberia dubbed "the most influential tree in the world". On this astonishing tale, it is no exaggeration to say, could hang in considerable part the future shape of our civilisation. Right at the heart of the sound and fury of "Climategate" – the emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in East Anglia – is one story of scientific chicanery, overlooked by the media, whose implications dwarf all the rest. If all those thousands of emails and other documents were leaked by an angry whistle-blower, as now seems likely, it was this story more than any other that he or she wanted the world to see.

To appreciate its significance, ... it is first necessary to understand that the people these incriminating documents relate to are not just any group of scientists. Professor Philip Jones of the CRU, his colleague Dr Keith Briffa, the US computer modeller Dr Michael Mann, of "hockey stick" fame, and several more make up a tightly-knit group who have been right at the centre of the last two reports of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). On their account, as we shall see at this week's Copenhagen conference, the world faces by far the largest bill proposed by any group of politicians in history, amounting to many trillions of dollars.

It is therefore vitally important that we should trust the methods by which these men have made their case. The supreme prize that they have been working for so long has been to establish that the world is warmer today than ever before in recorded history. To do this it has been necessary to eliminate a wealth of evidence that the world 1,000 years ago was, for entirely natural reasons, warmer than today (the so-called Medieval Warm Period).

The most celebrated attempt to demonstrate this was the "hockey stick" graph produced by Dr Mann in 1999, which instantly became the chief icon of the IPCC and the global warming lobby all over the world. But in 2003 a Canadian statistician, Steve McIntyre, with his colleague Professor Ross McKitrick, showed how the graph had been fabricated by a computer model that produced "hockey stick" graphs whatever random data were fed into it. A wholly unrepresentative sample of tree rings from bristlecone pines in the western USA had been made to stand as "proxies" to show that there was no Medieval Warm Period, and that late 20th-century temperatures had soared to unprecedented levels.

Although McIntyre's exposure of the "hockey stick" was upheld in 2006 by two expert panels commissioned by the US Congress, the small group of scientists at the top of the IPCC brushed this aside by pointing at a hugely influential series of graphs originating from the CRU, from Jones and Briffa. These appeared to confirm the rewriting of climate history in the "hockey stick", by using quite different tree ring data from Siberia. Briffa was put in charge of the key chapter of the IPCC's fourth report, in 2007, which dismissed all McIntyre's criticisms.

At the forefront of those who found suspicious the graphs based on tree rings from the Yamal peninsula in Siberia was McIntyre himself, not least because for years the CRU refused to disclose the data used to construct them. This breached a basic rule of scientific procedure. But last summer the Royal Society insisted on the rule being obeyed, and two months ago Briffa accordingly published on his website some of the data McIntyre had been after.

This was startling enough, as McIntyre demonstrated in an explosive series of posts on his Climate Audit blog, because it showed that the CRU studies were based on cherry-picking hundreds of Siberian samples only to leave those that showed the picture that was wanted. Other studies based on similar data had clearly shown the Medieval Warm Period as hotter than today. Indeed only the evidence from one tree, YADO61, seemed to show a "hockey stick" pattern, and it was this, in light of the extraordinary reverence given to the CRU's studies, which led McIntyre to dub it "the most influential tree in the world".

But more dramatic still has been the new evidence from the CRU's leaked documents, showing just how the evidence was finally rigged. The most quoted remark in those emails has been one from Prof Jones in 1999, reporting that he had used "Mike [Mann]'s Nature trick of adding in the real temps" to "Keith's" graph, in order to "hide the decline". Invariably this has been quoted out of context. Its true significance, we can now see, is that what they intended to hide was the awkward fact that, apart from that one tree, the Yamal data showed temperatures not having risen in the late 20th century but declining. What Jones suggested, emulating Mann's procedure for the "hockey stick" (originally published in Nature), was that tree-ring data after 1960 should be eliminated, and substituted – without explanation – with a line based on the quite different data of measured global temperatures, to convey that temperatures after 1960 had shot up.

A further devastating blow has now been dealt to the CRU graphs by an expert contributor to McIntyre's Climate Audit, known only as "Lucy Skywalker". She has cross-checked with the actual temperature records for that part of Siberia, showing that in the past 50 years temperatures have not risen at all. (For further details see the science blog Watts Up With That.)

In other words, what has become arguably the most influential set of evidence used to support the case that the world faces unprecedented global warming, developed, copied and promoted hundreds of times, has now been as definitively kicked into touch as was Mann's "hockey stick" before it. Yet it is on a blind acceptance of this kind of evidence that 16,500 politicians, officials, scientists and environmental activists will be gathering in Copenhagen to discuss measures which, if adopted, would require us all in the West to cut back on our carbon dioxide emissions by anything up to 80 per cent, utterly transforming the world economy.

Little of this extraordinary story been reported by the BBC or most of our mass-media, so possessed by groupthink that they are unable to see the mountain of evidence now staring them in the face. Not for nothing was Copenhagen the city in which Hans Andersen wrote his story about the Emperor whose people were brainwashed into believing that he was wearing a beautiful suit of clothes. But today there are a great many more than just one little boy ready to point out that this particular Emperor is wearing nothing at all.

I will only add two footnotes to this real-life new version of the old story. One is that, as we can see from the CRU's website, the largest single source of funding for all its projects has been the European Union, which at Copenhagen will be more insistent than anyone that the world should sign up to what amounts to the most costly economic suicide note in history.

The other is that the ugly, drum-like concrete building at the University of East Anglia which houses the CRU is named after its founder, the late Hubert Lamb, the doyen of historical climate experts. It was Professor Lamb whose most famous contribution to climatology was his documenting and naming of what he called the Medieval Warm Epoch, that glaring contradiction of modern global warming theory which his successors have devoted untold efforts to demolishing. If only they had looked at the evidence of those Siberian trees in the spirit of true science, they might have told us that all their efforts to show otherwise were in vain, and that their very much more distinguished predecessor was right after all.
Indeed, Obama and his fellow Climate-Zealot Emperors "have no clothes." 

Aliens Among Us

From Rodger at Curmudeonly & Skeptical:
The year is 1947

Some of you will recall that on July 8, 1947, a little over 60 years ago, witnesses claim that an unidentified flying object (UFO) with five aliens aboard crashed onto a sheep and mule ranch just outside Roswell, New Mexico . This is a well known incident that many say has long been covered up by the U.S. Air Force and other federal agencies and organizations.

However, what you may NOT know is that in the month of April 1948, nine months after that historic day, the following people were born:

Albert A. Gore, Jr.
Hillary Rodham
John F. Kerry
William J. Clinton
Howard Dean
Nancy Pelosi
Dianne Feinstein
Charles E. Schumer
Barbara Boxer

See what happens when aliens breed with sheep and jackasses? I certainly hope this bit of information clears up a lot of things for you. It did for me.

No wonder they support the bill to help illegal aliens!

Christmas In The Nanny State

From TimesOnline comes a sign of our times:
When is a Christmas tree not a Christmas tree? When it is a giant cone covered in what appears to be green doormats.

Shoppers stared in bemusement at the mysterious object that landed in a shopping precinct in Poole, Dorset, this week. Some compared it to a giant traffic cone, a witch’s hat or a cheap special effect from an early episode of Doctor Who.

The 33ft structure turned out to be their Christmas tree, designed according to the principles of health and safety, circa 2009.

Thus it has no trunk so it won’t blow over, no branches to break off and land on someone’s head, no pine needles to poke a passer-by in the eye, no decorations for drunken teenagers to steal and no angel, presumably because it would need a dangerously long ladder to place it at the top . . .

The tree was commissioned by the Poole Town Centre Management Board because of fears that a real one would pose a hazard to shoppers.
Bah Humbug!

Hat Tip: Coyote Blog