Saturday, May 31, 2008

Liberty versus Democracy

I for one believe that a serious problem exists in a discussion of today's issues especially as they relate to liberty. All too many of those opining on the subject of governments (or national security) appear to equate liberty with "democracy" when no such equation is valid. For example, the United Kingdom is classified as a "democracy" simply due to its form of government being a parliamentary system having universal suffrage and more or less "fair" elections. Its form of government qualifies it to be characterized as a "democracy" but to what extent is an individual's liberty valued when he can be prosecuted for publicly expressing opinions which conflict with those of the ruling elite or are deemed "insulting" by this or that protected group or is denied the natural right of self defense? Here in the US the population has become inured to hearing the political system referred to as a "democracy" simply due to the widespread use of the suffrage to select government officials.

Even though the founding document of the nation provides for a ponderous and convoluted process for its amendment the unelected federal judiciary have circumvented the process to such an extent that in its present form our political system bears virtually no resemblance to the intent of its authors. In point of fact the bulk of legislation as well as the regulatory ukases enacted since 1913 have no justification in the original Constitution or its 27 ratified amendments except through the tortured interpretation by life tenured judges.

During the recent ongoing and apparently permanent national political campaign all of the remaining contenders for the presidency have endorsed not only the need to enact sweeping and disastrous economic regulations to avert the non catastrophe of so called "global warming" but also the establishment of another supra national organization of the world's "democracies" due to frustration with the corruption and inertia of the United Nations.

"Thomas Carothers, vice president for studies at Carnegie, said "the world has no appetite for a U.S.-led league and many countries do not want the U.S. going around the U.N."

In fact, Carothers said, the United States cooperates often with non-democracies in its foreign policy. China's help in trying to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program is just one example, he said.

President Bush's Iraq war policy was bitterly opposed by two leading democracies, France and Germany, among others. But Bush went ahead despite their strong objections.

"It is wishful thinking" that a league of democracies would any more readily approve U.S. military intervention in support of another U.S. president, Carothers said."

Carothers has a valid point. Furthermore, how does a nation qualify objectively as a "democracy" and who exactly dictates the criteria? I somehow suspect that the politicians touting such a concept would characterize those nations supporting their favored foreign and domestic policies as "democracies".

It has been said that... "nations do not have friends; they have interests."

Monday, May 26, 2008

"Big Oil"?

The following is reposted from a 23 May entry at Powerline by John Hinderaker.

I hadn't realized, until the hearings on energy that were held this week in House and Senate committees, that the United States doesn't have any big oil companies. It's true: the largest American oil company, Exxon Mobil, is only the 14th largest in the world, and is dwarfed by the really big oil companies--all owned by foreign governments or government-sponsored monopolies--that dominate the world's oil supply.

The graph [above] tells the story; you can barely see the American oil companies as minor players on the right side of the chart. The chart was presented to the House committee by Chevron; click to enlarge:

With 94% of the world's oil supply locked up by foreign governments, most of which are hostile to the United States, the relatively puny American oil companies do not have access to enough crude oil to significantly affect the market and help bring prices down. Thus, Exxon Mobil, a small oil company, buys 90% of the crude oil that it refines for the U.S. market from the big players, i.e, mostly-hostile foreign governments. The price at the U.S. pump is rising because the price the big oil companies charge Exxon Mobil and the other small American companies for crude oil is going up.

This is obviously a tough situation for the American consumer. The irony is that it doesn't have to be that way. The United States--unlike, say, France--actually has vast petroleum reserves. It would be possible for American oil companies to develop those reserves, play a far bigger role in international markets, and deliver gas at the pump to American consumers at a much lower price, while creating many thousands of jobs for Americans. This would be infinitely preferable to shipping endless billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia, Russia and Venezuela.

So, why doesn't it happen? Because the Democratic Party--[including both of its probable presidential nominees] aided, sadly, by a handful of Republicans--[including its presidential nominee designate] deliberately keeps gas prices high and our domestic oil companies small by putting most of our reserves off limits to development. China is now drilling in the Caribbean, but our own companies are barred by law from developing large oil fields off the coasts of Florida and California. Enormous shale oil deposits in the Rocky Mountain states could go a long way toward supplying American consumers' needs, but the Democratic Congress won't allow those resources to be developed. ANWR contains vast petroleum reserves, but we don't know how vast, because Congress, not wanting the American people to know how badly its policies are hurting our economy, has made it illegal to explore and map those reserves, let alone develop them.

In short, all Americans are paying a terrible price for the Democratic Party's perverse energy policies.

This situation will soon have enormous impact on the economic health of the United States.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I made the mistake tonight of watching the evening "news". It seems that the price of light sweet crude oil closed today at just under $134.00/bbl. Whoopti doo! The usual suspects in the US senate took the opportunity to AGAIN summon the oil company executives before the judiciary committee to berate them for "obscene" profits and the price of motor fuel. Is it possible that these politicians do not understand the difference between "profit" and "profit margin"? Or alternatively do they in fact understand the difference and assume that Joe government "school" graduate does not?

The oil companies are forced to BUY crude oil from OPEC and other GOVERNMENTS who own 90% of the planets oil reserves in order to refine it to sell to motorists. When they must pay $134.00/bbl for crude and at the same time maintain a profit margin of 10-12% the profit in absolute terms is going to go through the roof. DUH!

And yet the same politicians who have been the most obstructive in limiting the supply of our energy sources by placing proven domestic reserves of oil off limits while world demand is skyrocketing are the most vocal at decrying the run up in the cost of gasoline. .

Take just over nine minutes to view this video in order to better understand the real greed is that of politicians.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sweden's "Finest?"

Readers of the scribblings of this humble author will doubtless have noted a recent dearth in the number of essays published by him here and at Eternity Road. The reason is probably twofold. Firstly the main engine driving his motivation is outrage. With the ongoing political dog and pony show known as the "presidential campaign" here in the US having now achieved more or less permanence, the outrage meter has been registering off the scale for well over one year. Some would characterize this situation as outrage overload or "burnout". In order to relate the following true story a new outrage scale had to be adopted.

On this date in the central Swedish province of Varmland five armed bandits perpetrated a heist of as yet unknown proportions. They struck two banks in the town of Charlottenberg which were apparently in such close proximity that only one lookout armed with an automatic rifle was required for both locations. Two burglars armed with weapons and dynamite broke into each unopened bank simultaneously by smashing the windows. This in turn triggered silent alarms at the town's police station. The alarms however were unnoticed by the two personnel on duty who for one reason or another were in another part of the station. The twenty five minute interval between when the initial alarm was sounded and when police personnel finally arrived at the scene allowed the suspects to blast open the bank vaults and bag an unknown quantity of cash. Meanwhile the heist was being videotaped by office workers in a nearby building.
The responding officers observed the bandits emerge from the locations and place the loot into a BMW sedan which sped away from the scene. The officers made no attempt to apprehend the suspects or give chase as the suspects were observed to be "heavily" armed. Imagine that. Swedish gun laws are about as strict as Washington DC. I guess the crooks failed to get the word.

According to a police spokesman the officers, although armed, acted "correctly" by allowing the suspects to flee due to the danger of a "shootout". One wonders if the Swedish police are only armed in order to arrest hapless non muslim citizens guilty of engaging in "hate speech" or members of the opposition Swedish Democratic Party, both of which groups are routinely harassed and beaten by groups of muslim thugs urban "youths" who are seldom apprehended.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Government at Work...

...Busily eroding our rights.

From a recent news item published in the St. Cloud MN Times we learn of an interesting incident occurring in that wonderful world of government "education" and how that system resolves problems associated with the effects of "multiculturalism".

A native graduate student who requires the assistance of a service canine due to seizures resulting from a childhood injury was enrolled in a program of teacher training. Some of his fellow foreign students who are adherents of the "peaceful religion" of Islam proceeded to torment the "unclean" dog threatening to kill it. Fearing for the safety of his dog, the student was forced to withdraw from the teacher training program.

The reaction of the administrative apparatchiks to this outrageous turn of events is in many respects typical of the government "educational" establishment. The spokespersons for the concerned school district have characterized the situation as a "miscommunication". The investigation revealed that the threats were not made "directly". The administration spokesperson stated: " is important to respect different cultures and the rights of disabled students." Does that mean that we are forced to respect the violence and threats of violence against members of our culture while no such requirement is placed on militant Islamists? Contemplate the answer to this question in light of a New York court considering the gagging of any reference to the Second Amendment to the Constitution in front of a jury hearing a firearms law case.

We are forced to assume that the threatening student(s?) continue to be enrolled in the program and that only members of the host (American) culture can be guilty of such crimes as threats, intimidation and "hate speech".

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Follow The Money

When earlier alarmists predicted a coming ice age, the "culprit" was mankind's use of fossil fuels. Now that todays warmistas are preaching man caused "global warming'' the culprit is .... fossil fuels!
Climate Change: Did NASA scientist James Hansen, the global [warmista] in chief, once believe we were headed for . . . an ice age? An old Washington Post story indicates he did

On July 9, 1971, the Post published a story headlined "U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming." It told of a prediction by NASA and Columbia University scientist S.I. Rasool. The culprit: man's use of fossil fuels.

The Post reported that Rasool, writing in Science, argued that in "the next 50 years" fine dust that humans discharge into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuel will screen out so much of the sun's rays that the Earth's average temperature could fall by six degrees.

Sustained emissions over five to 10 years, Rasool claimed, "could be sufficient to trigger an ice age."

Aiding Rasool's research, the Post reported, was a "computer program developed by Dr. James Hansen," who was, according to his resume, a Columbia University research associate at the time.

So what about those greenhouse gases that man pumps into the skies? Weren't they worried about them causing a greenhouse effect that would heat the planet, as Hansen, Al Gore and a host of others so fervently believe today?

"They found no need to worry about the carbon dioxide fuel-burning puts in the atmosphere," the Post said in the story, which was spotted last week by Washington resident John Lockwood, who was doing research at the Library of Congress and alerted the Washington Times to his finding.

Hansen has some explaining to do. The public deserves to know how he was converted from an apparent believer in a coming ice age who had no worries about greenhouse gas emissions to a global warming fear monger.

This is a man, as Lockwood noted in his message to the Times' John McCaslin, who has called those skeptical of his global warming theory "court jesters." We wonder: What choice words did he have for those who were skeptical of the ice age theory in 1971?

People can change their positions based on new information or by taking a closer or more open-minded look at what is already known. There's nothing wrong with a reversal or modification of views as long as it is arrived at honestly.

But what about political hypocrisy? It's clear that Hansen is as much a political animal as he is a scientist. Did he switch from one approaching cataclysm to another because he thought it would be easier to sell to the public? Wa$ it a career advancement move or an hone$t change of heart on $cience, based on empirical evidence?

If Hansen wants to change positions again, the time is now. With NASA having recently revised historical temperature data that Hansen himself compiled, the door has been opened for him to embrace the ice age projections of the early 1970s.

Could be he's feeling a little chill in the air again.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Update to No Shame

The video imbedded in this posting is hosted by MSNBC and placed on this blog at 2:01PM EDT. As the commenter known as "Goober" noted at 5:27 PM the footage containing scenes of groups of penguins had been removed. It appears that the producers of the MSNBC "news" segment have seen fit to correct their "error". Imagine that!

UPDATE II 08:53 8 May 2008

To view the penguin scene which was edited out of the video go here.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

No Shame

The warmista activist renowned British explorer David Hempleman-Adams recently led a group including his 15 year old daughter (Camilla) on an 80 mile skiing expedition to the North Pole to call attention to the effects of "global warming". This was of course following near record setting winter temperatures for the Northern hemisphere. The NBC Nightly News bought into the stunt by presenting video (above) of their 80 mile trek including glaciers calving from a large land mass even though no such land mass exists that near the North Pole. They were also able to include footage of penguins along the route. Their expedition must have detoured several thousand miles to the south as penguins do not inhabit the Arctic but are indigenous to far south latitudes

This appears to be the latest effort on the part of the warmistas to convince the boobiogese to hand over more regulatory power to world governments. If any doubts existed that Pope Owl Gore's warmista followers had any shame, this latest outrage dispels it.