Sunday, May 31, 2009

Meditation: 1785 Prayer for Congress




That it may please Thee to endue the Congress of these United States, and all others in authority, legislative, executive, and judicial, with grace, wisdom, and understanding, to execute justice and to maintain truth.


--Addition made to the Book of Common Prayer, 1785

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Some folks are wise and some are otherwise

For excellent reasons, conservatives have been comparing Sonia Sotomayor's so-called "compelling background" with those of a number of highly qualified judges who overcame serious obstacles on their paths to success before having their ascent to a District or Circuit court sabotaged by Democrats. Other parallels have been drawn between her background and that of minority politicians and political advisors. As a party, Democrats have enthusiastically displayed their intended lack of racial bias by viciously attacking members of minority groups who happened to be not only highly accomplished but also conservative in their viewpoints.

Sotomayor and her sponsor, Barack Obama, have gone out of their way to wrap the judge in the flag of a Bronx tenement, but, as J. C. Arenas at American Thinker pointed out:
Sotomayor can keep playing the poor, underprivileged Boricua, but let's be real, she's spent her childhood in private school environments, early adulthood amongst the Ivy League elite, and most of her adulthood as a corporate attorney and judge living in Greenwich Village, where the average household income tops that of the entire NY metro area and 98% of the residents are White. I guess that's what she means by her rich experience.
But step a micron or two outside the box and compare the "richness" of Sotomayor's life experience with that of a woman who is neither black nor a Latina, as briefly described by Victor Davis Hanson (via Snaggletoothie of the Loyal Opposition):
I would have thought that a female candidate for vice president who came from Wasilla, Alaska, and with three children at the time volunteered to get involved in community projects, then served on the city council (and as a member of a small town I can assure you that being a mayor of a small town is no easy thing), and, after doing that, running for national office in Alaska as lieutenant governor, and serving on an oil commission, then being governor and having further executive experience-- that would resonate with women all across the United States. (Tip of the hat to Yukio Ngaby at Critical Narrative)
Plus, I might add, running for vice president of the United States with a newborn infant on her shoulder. Not to mention being the youngest, and first female, governor in the history of her state, the mother of five children (one of whom is serving in the infantry in Iraq, one of whom is a teenage mom, and one of whom has Down Syndrome), who can run a professional fishing vessel and hunt wild game, and who is married to a man who won the Iron Dog five years in a row and built their family home. She has played hardball with major oil companies, both domestic and foreign, and won, with excellent results for her state's and our nation's energy future, once we get around to using our own oil and natural gas resources.

Yeah, that's a boring, substandard story. Ask any Democrat.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Where Do You Stand in the Democrat Hierarchy?



Note: As Krauthammer pointed out, each Supreme Court Justice takes the following oath:
I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.
Elsewhere, Krauthammer has predicted that Sotomayor will be confirmed for the Supreme Court seat. It does indeed look like Sotomayor's hand of race cards are all aces. But then, there's always a joker in the deck. Obama has played so many cards in his short time in office that he is bound to turn one up sooner or later.

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Related Posts:
Cinderella Supreme
Dear Judge: It's More Fun With My AK-47
Cartoon of the Day: The Fix Is In
Wanted: 4 Guys Seek Empathic NYC Judge





Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cinderella Supreme

Every day Obama reveals himself to be more of a divider, causing rifts where no rift need be, and opening rifts that do exist into chasms of discontent.

The latest example is Obama's shilling of the soon-to-be-vacated Supreme Court seat as a kind of Cinderella's glass slipper, available to that special woman eager to dance to his tune, particularly if he can leverage the Court appointment with an appeal to Hispanics.

How about a little class, please, such as was exhibited by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when she said, "A wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases."

Sonia Sotomayor went out of her way to go on record as "disagreeing" with that comment. "I would hope," she stated, "that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Now that's a divisive statement.

Particularly for someone whose job is interpreting the U.S. Constitution.

That statement definitely was not designed to calm the roiling waters of discontent over illegal immigration; it contains no word of comfort for those invested in American, not Latin American, culture; it offers no crumb of hope for those who desire strict adherence to the Constitution as it was written.

Nope. The coveted prize of a seat on the Supreme Court should go to a self-expressive Latina who spent her young years sweeping out fireplaces at Princeton and Yale, garnering insights into the law unavailable to colleagues who didn't have access to "the richness" of the experiences of Latinas because they weren't Latinas. They were everybody elses whose experiences were, by her definition, impoverished.

Too bad Eva Peron and Joan Baez weren't available to write the U.S. Constitution. We all know how much better it would have been.

But never fear. We can depend on Sonia Sotomayor to set policies from the Bench that the Founding Fathers used all their knowledge and skills to prevent.

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Related Posts:
Dear Judge: It's More Fun With My AK-47
Cartoon of the Day: The Fix Is In
Wanted: 4 Guys Seek Empathic NYC Judge

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Where's the Birth Certificate?

World Net Daily is collecting donations to fund a "truth and transparency" billboard campaign that poses a simple question: "Where's the birth certificate?"

The campaign focuses attention on lingering questions about Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as president. Article 2 of the Constitution states that, "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President."
As WND's billboard campaign to raise visibility of the issues surrounding Barack Obama's constitutional eligibility yesterday continued to attract eager donors, the president had this to say: "I will never hide the truth because it is uncomfortable."

"On all of these matters related to the disclosure of sensitive information, I wish I could say that there is a simple formula," Obama said. "But there is not. These are tough calls involving competing concerns, and they require a surgical approach. But the common thread that runs through all of my decisions is simple: we will safeguard what we must to protect the American people, but we will also ensure the accountability and oversight that is the hallmark of our constitutional system. I will never hide the truth because it is uncomfortable. I will deal with Congress and the courts as co-equal branches of government. I will tell the American people what I know and don’t know, and when I release something publicly or keep something secret, I will tell you why."

Joseph Farah, WND's editor and chief executive officer, reacted to Obama's statement in stunned amazement.

"This is a guy who has no trouble turning over sensitive documents from previous administrations, but he still refuses to release for public view something seemingly so innocuous as his own birth certificate," said Farah. "This is a double-standard wide enough to sail the Queen Mary 2 through. Statements like this need to be challenged by a vibrant and free press. And that's what our 'Where's the birth certificate?' billboard campaign is all about."

In the first 5 days of its billboard campaign, WND had raised $45,000.

The money is being used to erect billboards around the country that ask a simple question: "Where's the birth certificate?"

The first sign, a digital one, is already up and running on Highway 165 in Ball, Louisiana. The next two will go up in Los Angeles and Pennsylvania.

The "Certification of Live Birth" posted online and widely touted as "Obama's birth certificate" does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same "short-form" document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true "long-form" birth certificate – which includes information like the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.

Funny there isn't more support among Progressives for WND's effort to "Question Authority."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cartoon of the Day: The Fix Is In


Thanks to Michael Ramirez, Investors Business Daily

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Related posts:
Dear Judge: It's More Fun With My AK-47
Wanted: 4 Guys Seek Empathic NYC Judge

Leave It to Congress: A New Way to Recycle that Green Stuff

No doubt you've heard that the Obama administration has been refusing to accept returns of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money from some regulation-shy banks.

Some small banks have already returned smallish amounts of money, but Obama's crew of regulators are picking and choosing which big banks will be permitted to return their huge TARP loans and when they will be allowed to do so.

A variety of considerations come into play for the Obama administration when it comes to deciding which big banks will be allowed to hand back their relief checks and when. But whatever the reasoning, most Americans will welcome the return of their money.

But wait! That money, once returned, isn't going to pay back the massive debt that America incurred to finance the $700 billion TARP bank bailout.

Nope. That money goes straight into Congress's enormous pile of unspent tax money just waiting to be spent
again, this time on something different--and we just can't wait to find out what that's going to be.

From Clusterstock via Scott Jagow at Marketplace:
You see, returned TARP funds become part of the general revenue of the federal government. The money is treated just like money paid by taxpayers. It simply becomes part of the income of the government that will be spent by politicians and bureaucrats. There's no lockbox or segregated fund. It works just like Social Security taxes: the income just gets spent for whatever the government decides to spent money on.
Pretty slick, eh? Especially for a bunch of legislators who couldn't even read the TARP legislation.

Maybe they can figure out a way for the rest of us to recycle our paychecks.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dear Judge: It's More Fun With My AK-47

Last month, a gun thug with a thirst for adventure armed himself with an AK-47 assault rifle, sailed a light vessel 240 miles over open sea, and lead a group of armed pirates onto the merchant ship Maersk Alabama. Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse took a few shots at the ship's captain, Richard Phillips, broke into the ship's safe and stole $30,000, and then, together with his pirate buddies, held Captain Phillips hostage at machine-gun point in an enclosed lifeboat for several days. While acting as the pirate's negotiator for the Captain's ransom, he boasted about his previous pirate conquests.

Allegedly.

This past Thursday, Muse, having apparently undergone a personality transplant under the advice of his lawyers, timidly told a Federal District Court Judge in Manhattan that he's not guilty of any crime.

Of course, in cases where the eyes of the world have been focused on a pirate capture and hostage rescue for several days, it would be convenient if somebody is shown to be guilty of something, and if it's not Muse, then it must be--you guessed it--the U.S. government, the same folks who put up the money for the humanitarian food cargo being taken to Africa by an American crew under an American flag when Muse and his gang assaulted them.

Muse's lawyers stepped right up to the plate in typical blame-America-first fashion:
While in court, his lawyers also argued that since being in custody, Muse has been treated unfairly: He was allowed only one one-minute phone call to his mother back in Somalia, with whom he wanted to discuss his injured hand, and he's being kept practically in solitary confinement — even when he's around people, he can't talk to them, they said, because (unsurprisingly) there's a dearth of Somali translators in prison.
"He’s confused. He’s terrified,” one of the lawyers, Deirdre von Dornum, said. “As you can imagine, he’s a boy who fishes, and now he’s ended up in solitary confinement here.” She added, “He’s having a very difficult time.”
It really hurts when somebody takes away your AK-47 and sends you to sit in the corner, with just your Koran and your 3 square meals of ethnically sensitive food for company. Especially when you're just a kid and you want to go out and play.

Somebody in Somalia probably knows how old Muse is, more or less. His lawyers tried to palm him off as 14 or 16 (which the Court didn't buy), and he himself has tried out a number of ages, including 18 and 26, but, whatever the truth, attempting to pass Muse off as a child who fell in with the wrong crowd and suddenly found himself climbing up the hull of a ship in search of cash and captives doesn't wash. Whatever the cultural rules of Somalia, all children, everywhere, are quite familiar with the one rule that's kept humans alive since before Homo sapiens left his first footprint in the sand: Don't mess around with the Big Guy. If you do, you might get hurt.

Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse picked on the wrong guy and he got caught. If he had to get caught, he's lucky he got caught and is being held by Americans.

Muse's legal team obviously have what they consider to be empathy for him. In Barack Obama's copy of Cliff Notes on the Constitution, empathy in the legal profession is a good thing. If Muse's lawyers do a good job, maybe they'll end up District Court judges some day. All judges of the District Court are appointed by a president under the advice and consent of the Senate.

I wonder, though, if Muse's lawyers really do share his feelings. It is not hard to imagine that they legitimately share in the prisoner Muse's pain and confusion at finding himself isolated in a place that feels stranger and (perhaps) more perilous than the life of a pirate. Do they also have contact with the exhilaration of the pirate Muse as he captured and forced terrified people into isolation in a strange and dangerous place?

It is because fathoming such considerations of the human mind and spirit are too complex to be adequately answered by any mortal that human beings over many millennia have evolved laws developed as a result of inputs from a vast number of consciousnesses, cultures, and points in history. Among these laws, those that govern mariners traveling the perilous seas are among the most ancient and agreed upon.

Muse's case is just one example of the reason why, in our culture, Justice traditionally has been required to reach decisions informed by law and not by the pull of the heartstrings. Empathy means luck for the ones the judge "feels for," and politics keeps judges well informed on who they should be feeling for. That's bias, not justice.

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Related posts:
Thank You, American Heroes
Hillary Clinton on Islamic Pirates
Thomas Jefferson on Islamic Pirates
Somali Pirates Do Their Bit to "Shape the World"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Meditation: Memorial Day

[M]ay the choicest of heaven's favours . . . attend those who, under the devine auspices, have secured innumerable blessings for others.
--George Washington, Farewell Orders to the Armies of the United States, November 2, 1783.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Prius versus BMW

Harmony with nature, or 414 horsepower?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wanted: 4 Guys Seek Empathic NYC Judge

1. James Cromitie, age 55
a/k/a Abdul Rahman
a/k/a Abdul Rehman
Newburgh, New York

2. David Williams, age 28
a/k/a Daoud
a/k/a DL
Newburgh, New York

3. Onta Williams, age 32
a/k/a Hamza
Newburgh, New York


4. Laguerre Payen, age 27
a/k/a Amin
a/k/a Almondo
Newburgh, New York
(Haitian citizen)

These four ex-convicts were arrested on Wednesday for attempting to cause the following "man-caused disasters": using C-4 explosives to blow up two New York City Jewish synagogues (while people were at prayer) and using Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles to shoot down military planes at the New York Air National guard base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, New York.

Three of these men are prison converts to Islam.

Maybe it's not such a good idea to house jihadists in U.S. prisons, even if the jihadists are really just "down-on-their luck," "intellectually challenged" purse-snatching, pot-smoking, unsuccessful man-caused disaster causers "on medication for schizophenia" with "very low" borderline IQ's.

Poor things.

I wonder if their crimes will be weighed on the scales held by blind justice, or if their lawyers will enter into dialog with a progressive judge whose vision has been improved by a pair of those awesome rose-colored "empathy" glasses?

(hat tip: Gathering of Eagles and Atlas Shrugs)

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Related posts:
The Terrorist Next Door: Income Assistance, Free Housing? Food Stamps? Medicaid? College Grants?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Deficit Spending: Suicidal Pickpockets at Work

Yesterday I learned with dismay that, in just 9 short years, the interest on our national debt will overtake all non-defense Congressional spending. In other words, in 9 years, those interest payments will equal every dollar our spendthrift, La-La land Congress now imagines they will be spending on "homeland security, education, job training, housing assistance, veterans' health, science, workplace safety, transportation, the environment and foreign aid."

That's only if universal healthcare doesn't get passed. If it does, interest on the debt will shoot up even faster.

I am not making this up! The figures come from Barack Obama's very own White House, as reported in Investors Business Daily.

Why, why, why? I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what is to be gained by throwing our economy off a cliff. I can understand (in a limited way) that power-hungry dictator wannabes would act to destroy our liberties, but our . . . wealth? Surely the power structure would want to hold onto that at least.

Then I read a little article by Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, which he wrote back in July 1966, when Barack Obama was a three-year-old capable of throwing only much smaller objects than the U.S. economy off a cliff. Greenspan published this article, "Gold and Economic Freedom," in Ayn Rand's The Objectivist Newsletter; it was reprinted in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, where I encountered it. Greenspan had a good grasp on what is to be gained by running a nation into debt:
Stripped of its academic jargon, the welfare state is nothing more than a mechanism by which governments confiscate the wealth of the productive members of a society to support a wide variety of welfare schemes. A substantial part of the confiscation is effected by taxation. But the welfare statists were quick to recognize that if they wished to remain in political power, the amount of taxation had to be limited and they had to resort to programs of massive deficit spending, i.e., they had to borrow money, by issuing government bonds, to finance welfare expenditures on a large scale.
As Greenspan explained, welfare statists can "use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit." Sound familiar? Through a complex series of steps, banks accept government bonds [debt] in place of actual tangible assets [such as gold] and treat them as if they were actual deposits. (Soon, the current welfare statists hope to use carbon credits in place of tangible assets.)
The holder of a government bond or of a deposit believes that he has a valid claim on a real asset. But the fact is that there are now more claims outstanding than real assets.

The law of supply and demand is not to be conned.
Eventually, inflation takes over: prices rise, sucking value out of the savings of the productive members of the society as well as from the goods and property anyone owns. This lost value, Greenspan pointed out, is equivalent to whatever was given away by the welfare state.

Thus, concluded Greenspan, "deficit spending is simply a scheme for the 'hidden' confiscation of wealth."

It is not difficult to imagine that a tsunami of pain awaits us.

The question remains, what if anything, are we going to do about it?

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Related posts: Cap and Trade: Picking Money Out of Thin Air?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who Targeted "Right-Wing Extremists?"

OpenCongress reported on Representative Peter King's (R-NY) efforts to get to the bottom of the Obama administration's recent targeting of many Americans as potential right-wing extremists in a Homeland Security report sent to law enforcement officials at all levels.

The report, entitled “Right-wing Extremism Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” advised federal, state and local law-enforcement officials to be particularly watchful of Americans opposed to illegal immigration, abortion, gun restrictions, and high taxation, and also to keep an eye on returning military veterans as potential threats to American security. Released just before the April 15 Tea Parties, the report seemed perfectly timed to chill Americans' exercise of their right of lawful assembly.

Many were quick to repudiate the administration's assumption that ordinary citizens represent an extremist threat to the nation and were particularly offended that military heroes returning from battle be shrouded by Homeland Security under a cloud of suspicion.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano withdrew the report as a "mistake," and apologized to any veterans groups that might have been offended by it, but offered no apology to other Americans painted as extremists with the same brush. Civil liberties officials at Homeland Security had futilely objected to the report, indicating, to Rep. King, the possible existance of rogue elements in the Department.

According to OpenCongress, Republicans in the House Committee on Homeland Security, led by Rep. King, used a "relatively rare" procedure known as "resolution of inquiry" to request copies of the documents Homeland Security used as a basis for their disputed conclusions:

Congress Daily (sub-only) reports:

The Republican resolution would require the department to produce all records dealing with the report, including those involving discussions about privacy issues, procedures for approving and disseminating the report and internal communications, including when Napolitano learned about it.

At the hearing, Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson [D, MS-2] was more sympathetic than not to the Republicans’ cause. “When the DHS-produced assessment first surfaced in April, like many Americans, I had issues with its content,” Thompson said at the hearing. But he didn’t support the Republican resolution as is; nor did he direct committee Democrats to vote down the resolution, as is the normal practice with these kinds of things.

Instead, he proposed a substitute amendment demanding less specific information from DHS. Whereas the Republicans [sic] bill calls for the disclosure of a wide range of specific documents, Thompson’s amendment asks for a written explanation of how the report was produced and disseminated. Thompson’s amendment was approved by the committee by voice vote.

“The mere fact that this resolution of inquiry may go forward is almost unprecedented, I’m told, by people who’ve worked for decades on the Hill,” a Republican aide told reporters at Congress Daily. “The fact that the Democratic majority went from calling this the nuclear option and calling this a stunt to embracing it … is phenomenal.”

The resolution, with Thompson’s amendment substituted for the original text, will now go to the full House for a vote.

At the left, I have posted a widget connecting to information about the resolution of inquiry, its progress, and its sponsors.

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Related posts:

Homeland Security's Janet Napolitano Sued for Violating Constitution

"Americans Are Not the Enemy"


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Where is John Galt?

For residents of New York State, taxes just shot up (again) because a fellow New Yorker, Tom Golisano, a self-made Rochester billionaire, is picking up his chips and moving his legal residence to Florida.

It's hard to blame him. New York's Democrat Governor Patterson and our "for-the-little-people" legislature recently issued an almost 9% so-called "Millionaire's Tax" on the financially very successful. Moving to Florida, which has no state income tax, will save Golisano $13,000 per day.

In terms that a lowly non-billionaire like myself can understand, that's $13,000 per day that the rest of New Yorkers will have to pay.

Golisano is not the only rich guy heading for literally greener pastures. This year alone, about 10% of New York's millionaires are expected to respond to the tax increase by leaving the state, taking with them almost $22 billion in income tax revenue.

That's an impressive $1130 per man, woman, and child in New York State, of whom only an unimpressive one third pay income tax.

If you happen to be an income-tax paying resident of New York State, the "Millionaire's Tax" is going to cost you, on average, $1130 x 3 (your share plus 2 other New Yorkers' shares), or, roughly, $3,390.

Every year.

"This budget and this increase in the level of taxation are really going to push a lot more people out of the state," Golisano told a gathering of Rochester business executives Thursday. . . .

As high taxes drive more and more people out of the state, including young people just starting out and retirees on fixed incomes, other local taxes rise, because fewer people are around to chip in for schools, roads, police protection, sewer systems, trash pick-up, and other niceties.

Golisano can expect a warm welcome in Florida. "It's good for us, it's good for Naples, if he's going to spend time or money here," said Naples Mayor Bill Barnett, a White Plains [New York] native. "Welcome aboard."

Paul Craig Roberts, President Reagan's Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, posting at CounterPunch, pointed out:
Historically, the definition of a free person is a person who owns his own labor. Serfs were not free, because they owed their feudal lords, the government of that time, a maximum of one-third of their labor. Nineteenth century slaves were not free, because their owners could expropriate 50 per cent of their labor.

Today, no American is a free person. The lowest tax rate, not counting state income, property tax and sales tax, is 15 per cent Social Security tax and 15 per cent federal income tax. The “free American” starts off with a 30 per cent tax rate, the position of a medieval serf.
Anyone else for tossing some tax forms into New York Harbor?
––––––––––
Related Posts:
Tea Party in Upstate New York
Americans Spend More on Taxes Than on Food, Clothing, and Housing

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A 1775 Sermon on Liberty

From a July 7, 1775 sermon, “The Duty of Standing Fast in our Spiritual and Temporal Liberties,” preached in Christ Church, Philadelphia, by the Reverend Jacob Duche, first chaplain to Congress:

. . . I have made choice of a passage of scripture, which will give me an opportunity of addressing myself to you as freemen, both in the spiritual and temporal sense of the word, and of suggesting to you such a mode of conduct, as will be most likely, under the blessing of Heaven, to ensure to you the enjoyment of these two kinds of liberty.

Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty, wherewith Christ hath made us free [Galatians, Chap. 5, Part of First Verse].

For a full text of this sermon, click here.

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Related Posts: "The Religious Roots of American Liberty and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms"


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ice Would Suffice

Some say the world will end in fire; Some say in ice. --Robert Frost

Not long ago I attended a lecture by a global warming partisan who began with the obvious question: How many here are worried about global warming?

Every hand (except mine) shot up.

Most of the audience were young Ph.D.'s in the sciences. Their faces reflected genuine concern as they attentively followed the lecturer's persuasive PowerPoint charts and graphs.

That's when I got worried.

Not about global warming. About the audience's ubiquitous, unquestioning acceptance of theories driven by computer models fed with questionable data and paid for by politically influenced funding. About the steps that these bright, highly motivated people will take as they rise into positions of influence and responsibility, hell-bent on saving their planet. About the influence their articulate arguments will have on their families, friends, colleagues, and students.

I don't blame them for paying attention or for wanting to avoid disaster. But I do believe that they are being taken to the proverbial cleaners.

Here is the argument, courtesy of David Deming at American Thinker, that I would like to have offered those lovely people that evening, if I only had the words:
For ninety percent of the last million years, the normal state of the Earth's climate has been an ice age. Ice ages last about 100,000 years, and are punctuated by short periods of warm climate, or interglacials. The last ice age started about 114,000 years ago. It began instantaneously. For a hundred-thousand years, temperatures fell and sheets of ice a mile thick grew to envelop much of North America, Europe and Asia. The ice age ended nearly as abruptly as it began. Between about 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, the temperature in Greenland rose more than 50 °F.

[snip]

The oscillation between ice ages and interglacial periods is the dominant feature of Earth's climate for the last million years. But the computer models that predict significant global warming from carbon dioxide cannot reproduce these temperature changes. This failure to reproduce the most significant aspect of terrestrial climate reveals an incomplete understanding of the climate system, if not a nearly complete ignorance.
Global warming predictions by meteorologists are based on speculative, untested, and poorly constrained computer models. But our knowledge of ice ages is based on a wide variety of reliable data, including cores from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. In this case, it would be perspicacious to listen to the geologists, not the meteorologists. By reducing our production of carbon dioxide, we risk hastening the advent of the next ice age. Even more foolhardy and dangerous is the Obama administration's announcement that they may try to cool the planet through geoengineering. Such a move in the middle of a cooling trend could provoke the irreversible onset of an ice age. It is not hyperbole to state that such a climatic change would mean the end of human civilization as we know it.

Earth's climate is controlled by the Sun. In comparison, every other factor is trivial. The coldest part of the Little Ice Age during the latter half of the seventeenth century was marked by the nearly complete absence of sunspots. And the Sun now appears to be entering a new period of quiescence. August of 2008 was the first month since the year 1913 that no sunspots were observed. As I write, the sun remains quiet. We are in a cooling trend. The areal extent of global sea ice is above the twenty-year mean.

We have heard much of the dangers of global warming due to carbon dioxide. But the potential danger of any potential anthropogenic warming is trivial compared to the risk of entering a new ice age. Public policy decisions should be based on a realistic appraisal that takes both climate scenarios into consideration.

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Related Post:

Cap and Trade Politico Hauls Green to Bank




Friday, May 15, 2009

Obama's Recovery Plan: Jumpstart Jobs in Asia?

General Motors may be closing down dealerships and plants and laying off thousands of U.S. autoworkers, but, according to David Shepardson of the Detroit News, the newly socialized automaker is planning to build more vehicles in China, Mexico, South Korea and Japan, and then ship them to the U.S. to sell to American consumers.

In a confidential 12-page presentation to members of Congress, obtained by The Detroit News on Friday, GM said it will boost U.S. sales of vehicles built in those four countries by 98 percent -- or about 365,000 vehicles -- while shrinking production in Canada, Australia and European countries by about 130,000 vehicles.

The made-in-China vehicles will start arriving in 2011.

Canadian, Australian, Swedish, and Austrian autoworkers won't be the only ones out of work. By the end of next year, GM will be closing 13 of its 47 U.S. plants and getting rid of 21,000 hourly workers "as part of a tougher recovery plan sought by President Obama's auto task force." GM is about to start closing 50% of its U.S. dealerships.

So far, GM owes the U.S. Treasury $15.4 billion in loans made "save the U.S. auto industry."

Of course, the U.S. Treasury in turn owes enormous amounts to China, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea: $744 billion to China, $661 billion to Japan, $40 billion to Mexico, and $33 billion to South Korea. China and Japan are this country's biggest creditors.

Canada, Sweden, Australia, and Austria are much less heavily invested in the U.S. Treasury. We owe Sweden about $13 billion, Canada about $11 billion, and Australia and Austria lesser amounts.

Yesterday, at a town hall assembly in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Barack Obama's teleprompter bragged about his administration's success: "We passed the most ambitious economic recovery plan in our nation's history to jumpstart job creation."

It just forgot to mention that Obama the job-creation jumpstart is happening in China, Japan, South Korea, and Mexico.


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Related Post: Following the Money (1)


Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Monstrously Stupid" and "Almost Demented"? No Problem.

During a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) questioned EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson about Carbon Cap and Trade:



Warren Buffett's right-hand man, Charlie Munger, really did say that:



As reported by The Heritage Foundation in late April, Jackson did not even read the carbon tax bill before "claiming the economic impact of cap and trade legislation would be 'modest.'"
Asked how the EPA could produce a report on a bill they hadn’t even read yet, Jacson [sic] said: “We had to make assumptions.

Those assumptions, according to the Foundation, included assuming that the GDP would be much less (2.5%) than the Obama administration actually expects (3.3%). This meant a U.S. economy smaller by $1.22 trillion.

A lower GDP means less energy use, thus fewer emissions, making it easier to meet the proposed emissions targets. A higher GDP means more energy use, thus more emissions, adding "considerable extra costs for emissions reduction."

The Obama EPA doesn't seem very interested in the American public learning the true costs to them of carbon cap and trade.

With cap and trade, what reduction in the surface temperature of Planet Earth could we expect by the year 2060? Fourteen one-hundreths of a degree. Fahrenheit. Provided of course, that China and India decide to reduce their CO2 production for every one of the next 50 years. Don't hold your breath.

The cost to your American household, according to the Congressional Budget Office, working with the Obama administration's deflated figures? About $1,600 per year, or $80,000 in today's dollars.

Bet you can't wait to get to work to pay that.

If you've got a job.

__________

Related posts:

Cap and Trade: Spreading Wealth from Where to Where?

Dems Wonder: Is Rationing Energy a Good Idea?

Obama: Cap and Trade Will "Skyrocket" Electricity Costs

Cap and Trade: Picking Money Out of Thin Air

Cap and Trade Politico Hauls Green to Bank


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Who Are These People?

The photo at the left shows three of the San Diego, California cub scouts who use a campground and an aquatic center that the Boy Scouts of America built on land leased from the City of San Diego. Two same-sex couples in San Diego, California, are insisting to the U.S. Supreme Court that these kids don't have the right to be "morally straight" on San Diego property.

From Bob Unruh at WorldNetDaily via Thomas More Law Center:

"Lesbian and agnostic couples who had never visited the facilities sued the Scouts on a claim that they felt offended by the fact that the city leases the public property to a 'morally straight' organization such as the Boy Scouts," the public interest legal groups [Thomas More Law Center and Alliance Defense Fund] said. "There were no religious symbols at the facilities."

The Scout Oath calls for a member "to do [his] duty to God and [his] country … and to keep [himself] morally straight."

A three-judge panel at the 9th Circuit dismissed the complaint. . . but the decision was reversed by the full 9th Circuit panel.

[snip]

According to the Thomas More Law Center, "Litigants in the 9th Circuit can now challenge programs like San Diego's with nothing more than general offense at a tenet of an organization’s mission. So long as a person feels unwelcome by the private groups' beliefs – without any exposure to religious symbols or denial of any services – he can sue to have the program declared unconstitutional."

The Boy Scouts since 1957 have leased a 16-acre parcel at San Diego's Balboa Park. In exchange for paying a nominal fee to the city, the Scouts were allowed to lease the park and make numerous improvements to the property, including a public campground. Hundreds of other groups have similar arrangements with the city.

In 1987, the city leased another half-acre parcel to the Scouts at Mission Bay Park. The Scouts again spent millions of dollars to build an aquatic center, which is open to the entire community on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the ADF.

The attorney for the Boy Scouts, George A. Davidson, said the court conclusion was disappointing, as "none of the plaintiffs has suffered any injury or has any standing to sue."

The organization confirmed it agreed to spend more than $1.7 million of its funds improving Camp Balboa and $2.5 million on the aquatics center at Mission Bay Park under its latest leases. The facilities and equipment "are available for use by any youth group."

Meanwhile, San Diego has more than 100 other leases with other community groups on similar terms, the group said.

Would it help to mention to the authors of this suit that the Boy Scout oath they find so offensive was initiated back when the word straight meant honest?

I guess not.

Whom do I tell that I'm offended?

----------

Related posts: House Democrats Protect Pedophiles

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Liberals: Killing Themselves with Kindness?

What has happened to the American Liberal's instinct for survival? How can liberals fail to understand that, by undermining their country's traditions and defenses, they threaten not only the liberty and security of Americans in general but of themselves in particular?

This question drives conservatives crazy.

Conservatives have concocted a variety of theories to explain why liberals are so reckless with their American heritage. Most of these theories fit one of three categories: a) liberals are trapped in a perpetual spoiled adolescence; b) liberals are brainwashed victims of Marxist university professors; and c) liberals suffer from a mental disorder.

From the other side of the political spectrum, a self-described liberal atheist social psychologist, Jonathan Haidt of the University of Virginia, has put forward the Moral Foundations Theory, which explains, among other things, why liberals, if permitted to control a society, will destroy it. In fact, Haidt likens liberals of all cultures to the Hindu god, Shiva, the Destroyer, while comparing conservatives to the god Vishnu, the Preserver.

It all has to do with the wiring of the human brain, says Haidt, which has been shown to be innately receptive to developing 5 types of moral sensibilities: 1) a desire to protect and care for others, 2) a desire for fairness, 3) loyalty to one's group, 4) respect for authority, and 5) a sense of purity and sanctity. These are all characteristics that have served to keep the species intact since its beginning. Small human groups can develop into large, complex, successful societies, Haidt argues, only in the presence of a moral code that incorporates all five of these genetic predispositions.

Problem: Bleeding-heart liberals recognize only two of these human predispositions as acceptable moral precepts: 1) care for others and 2) desire for fairness. Liberals reject the other innate predispositions for : 3) loyalty to the group, 4) respect for authority, and 5) seeking purity and sanctity, as evidences of a dangerous buffoonery that is harmful to others and threatening to justice.

Example: Barack Obama doesn't perceive rural Americans, many here in the East living on land inherited through direct descent from veterans of the Revolutionary War, as carrying on a living tradition of loyalty to their neighbors and their nation, but as seeking relief in "guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them."

Conservatives, according to Haidt, incorporate all five of the innate moral constructs into their belief systems, giving care for others and a thirst for justice somewhat less weight to leave room for the other three. Indeed, the Founding Fathers, who were conservative enough to examine history instead of sanitizing it to prevent any hurt feelings, long ago came to Haidt's conclusion that group loyalty, respect for authority, and the practice of religion help bind societies together by making it easier for its members to cooperate. John Adams was among many Founders who recognized that:
We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
Interestingly, Haidt also points out another characteristic of liberals in all societies: even as conservatives like to keep society stable, liberals love trying new things, even if the change that they seek is a revolution doomed to devolve into chaos.

In response to this observation, conservative theories of why liberals can't wait to make irreversible changes in America's honored institutions ring true. If chaos sounds fine to you, then you either are not mature enough or not psychologically stable enough to keep safe the people, objects, or institutions in your care, whether those be children, cultural or historical relics, or the U.S. Constitution and the United States of America.

Chaos might be survivable to some degree by the competitive and fit, but it's deadly to the young, the aged, and the infirm, not to mention being a quick trip on greased skids to lawlessness and hunger. Unfortunately, it is necessary to mention to American liberals that chaos is, by definition, hardly a protected zone for any kind of health care system, even an imperfect one.

When a society crumbles, science-fiction rules apply, along with the warning inscribed over the gates to the domain of the Western view of the Great Destroyer: "All hope abandon ye who enter here."

For a video of Jonathan Haidt outlining the moral divide between conservatives and liberals, and how he would remedy it, click here.

h/t: UserZero

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"The Religious Roots of the American Revolution and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms"



The Founders were adamant in their belief that liberty is a gift from God, and the vehemence with which they were willing to honor and protect this gift was fueled not only by philosophical and political beliefs but also, to a degree that is surprising to many modern Americans, by well-defined religious precepts. This paper by David B. Kopel goes far in explaining the basis of the Founders' exceptional devotion to the concept of liberty, and what the term militia really meant to them. Well worth the read.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Looking Down on Liberty: It's the Wrong Perspective

Maybe it's just me, but doesn't Liberty seem to be shrinking into oblivion in this photo?


Air Force One was made to serve Liberty. That's not the impression I'm getting from this "souvenir photo."

I prefer seeing Liberty as she was meant to be seen:


Proud and strong.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Congress Rely on the Constitution: What a Thought!

There's My Two Cents, always a thought-provoking read, posted the following:
Rep. John Shadegg has proposed a bill (H.R. 450, the Enumerated Powers Act) that would force every piece of legislation to cite the specific section of the Constitution that authorizes that legislation. I'd suggest contacting your Rep to see if he or she is a co-sponsor of this bill, and to encourage them to become one if they are not already.

It would do us all a whole lotta' good to start relying on the Constitution again, don't you think? It served us well for a couple hundred years, so why would we chuck it now?
I agree wholeheartedly.

In light of Congressional antics, I was not too surprised to learn that members of the general public have been shown to know more than their elected officials about America's history and institutions, including our sacred documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of the United States. Attempting to require Congress to read and follow the Constitution is a stretch, but a noble venture nonetheless.

To the left of this post, I've added a widget showing the status of H.R. 450, courtesy of GovTrack.us. It's a fantastic non-partisan resource designed to help you "keep tabs on the U.S. Congress." At this Web site, you can read a bill in its original form, follow changes and amendments made to it, discover who proposed the changes, and so on. If you like, you can request e-mails alerting you to the progress of the bills of interest to you.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

House Democrats Protect Pedophiles

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All minsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

Don't know what that means, exactly? Welcome to the club. When you tumble Through the Looking Glass everything gets turned around: right and wrong, for example. Like Alice, Americans are trapped in a parallel universe that strikingly resembles what we are used to, but doesn't make any sense.

Case in point: The House of Representatives (those slithy toves) just passed a bill, H.R. 1913, that offers special hate-crime protections to all kinds of people with other than typical sexual proclivities, including pedophiles. When Representative Steve King (R-IA) and others tried to amend the bill to extend hate-crime protections to pregnant women, senior citizens, and members of the Armed Forces, they were turned down flat.

So, in the America in which you and I now live, following an altercation between a pedophile and an old gent, a pregnant mom, or a soldier on leave, guess who gets slapped with a felony? What happens to the clergyman who uses the pulpit to oppose homosexuality, gay marriage, or even pedophilia? Whom does the law protect: the young woman or the exhibitionist, peeping Tom, or foot fetishist that's been following her around?

According to Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX), a former judge:
Let me summarize. Pushing away an unwelcome advance of a homosexual, transgendered, cross-dresser or exhibitionist could make you a felon under this law. Speaking out against the homosexual agenda could also make you a felon if you are said to influence someone who pushes away that unwelcome advance. And pedophiles and other sexual deviants would enjoy an elevated level of protection, while children, seniors, veterans and churches would not.
So, Mom, Dad, Gramps, and Pastor, the next time you see your local pedophile (borogove) on a park bench oogling your children at play, remember who counts, and it's not you or your children.

This hideous bill has been passed on to the Senate, which also is on the wrong side of the Looking Glass. Here is the Senate's Web site, and I urge you to give your senators a piece of your mind, if you can catch them between gyring and gimbling.







Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cap and Trade: Spreading Wealth from Where to Where?

Yesterday, President Barack Obama met with House Democrats to set them straight about his high-priority proposal to create huge amounts of new revenue for the government by rationing energy here in the U.S. via the carbon cap and trade bill, now sitting in a nervous House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Many Democrats understandably don't want tell the people back home that they will vote for this bill, which is intended to kill two annoyingly non-PC birds with a single stone: a) "non-green" energy industries and b) the problem of how to squeeze enough taxes out of hurting Americans to keep the Good Ship Obama afloat.

The Press Secretary for the House Office of the Whip keeps track of such things, and it published some comments by some of the 31 Democrats who have opposed the bill [find link here]:

Senators:
Evan Bayh (IN): “You run the risk of sending jobs from our country . . . to other countries that have lower emission standards. So the irony would be we’d lose jobs and not help with global warming."

Jeff Bingaman (NM): "Too costly for industry."

Sherrod Brown (OH): “It really does say to manufacturing, ‘Go To China...'"

Mark Pryor (AR): “There are too many unknowns....”
Representatives:
Jason Altmire (PA): "Any way you do it, it hurts Pennsylvania, especially western Pennsylvania."

John Boccieri (OH): “In its present form, cap and trade would be devastating to Ohio.”

G. K. Butterfield (NC): “For a low-income family, it’s absolutely impossible for them to absorb the costs."

John Dingell (MI): “Nobody, nobody in this country realizes that cap-and-trade is a tax and it’s a great big one."

Gene Green (TX): “I don’t want to have to vote on a bill that would actually backfire for us.”

Mike Ross (AR): “If you don’t like $4-a-gallon gasoline, you’re really not going to like your electric bill sometime between now and 2030."

Representative Allen Boyd (FL) posed a deeply troubling question: Will the bill result in "a transfer of wealth from one part of the country to another?"

Considering Obama's stated desire to "spread the wealth around" and to "bankrupt" the coal industry, which supplies 57% of the nation's electricity, combined with his expressed disdain for (and suspicions of) Americans with conservative political views, this is a very good question indeed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dems Wonder: Is Rationing Energy a Good Plan?

With four "Global Warming" lobbyists per member of Congress, it's good to hear from global warming sceptics like Christopher Horner. This morning he told Megan Kelly of Fox News about Barack Obama's meeting with Democrats in Congress who don't want to lose their jobs because they voted for Carbon Cap and Trade:

Obama: Cap and Trade Will "Skyrocket" Electricity Costs

Skyrocketing utility costs? What is Obama thinking? When he was a "community organizer" in Chicago, didn't he encounter the many poor folk who have to choose between food and heat every cold winter day and night? Maybe he should have been delivering Meals on Wheels.

News flash for Cap and Trade enthusiasts: Below, the numbers indicate the mean winter temperatures (in Fahrenheit) for 9 American cities during the months of December, January, and February:

Milwaukee, Wisconsin24.1
Chicago, Illinois25.5
Detroit, Michigan27.1
Cleveland, Ohio28.4
Indianapolis, Indiana29.8
Kansas City, Missouri30.4
Denver, Colorado30.9
Columbus, Ohio31.3
Boston, Massachusetts31.9


Monday, May 4, 2009

Cap and Trade: Picking Money Out of Thin Air

Fiat money. That term has been getting more and more attention as the Obama administration prints more and more money, making the dollars already in existence worth less. Some say that's a good thing, because when it comes time to pay China back for the dollars they loaned us, we will pay them back with lightweight dollars.

Think about that for a minute. Every time the U.S. Treasury prints another sheet of twenties, the value of the dollars in your wallet drops.

Those paper twenties are fiat money, dollars that are worth something because Uncle Sam says they are. So you'd better have a lot of confidence in Uncle Sam.

Money didn't always work this way. Americans used to buy things with coins made out of real gold, silver, and copper. Right through to the mid 1800s, if you wanted some spoons or forks, you would take some silver coins down to the silversmith and he would turn them into silverware for your dining table. Gold coins were "worth their weight in gold." You could bury them in your yard and dig them up 25 or 50 years later, and they would still be worth their weight in gold. Then:
[i]n 1933, during the height of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt made it illegal for U.S. citizens to hold gold. He ordered all gold coins removed from circulation and returned to the U.S. Treasury where millions were melted into gold bars. The value of the U.S. Dollar was then adjusted from $19.75 per ounce to $35 per ounce. The worldwide effect was to devalue the buying power of the dollar over 40%.
So, with all the financial hanky-panky that's going on, not to mention anxiety caused by rising unemployment and looming depression, many people are getting a bit nervous about fiat money.

Which makes it especially unnerving when financial experts start telling us that, during the process of Carbon Cap and Trade, what gets traded is a brand-new, never-before used kind of fiat money, something that has value only because the Obama administration (and Al Gore) say it has value.

Wow! A new way to print money, and you don't even have to call it money. How's that for double-speak?

The valuable thing being traded? Permission to make something that has no intrinsic monetary value (in fact, it comes out of the backsides of cattle and other critters, including humans, for free) and is as elusive as the wind, where it lives. Plants find it delicious, though, and pluck it from the air to make food, fiber, and biomass.

Bill Freeza at Real Clear Markets offered a good explanation that's not impossibly technical for me, so I thought I'd pass it along:
[B]race yourself for Cap and Trade, a bonanza for both Washington and Wall Street - as if anyone can tell the difference any more.

Congress plans to sell permission slips to businesses whose carbon footprint has attracted its attention. Some of these permission slips might be auctioned off and others might be given away to favored industries. Who gets what and who needs what will be based on “baseline” estimates of past carbon emissions, an interesting accounting challenge given that most tail pipes and smokestacks don’t come equipped with carbon dioxide meters. Sorting out the starting parameters using the scientific process of Congressional log rolling is just the beginning. Wait until the new federal carbon police begin tracking demon molecules upstream to assess the total emissions impact of production at whatever random point in the supply chain Congress decides to erect a toll booth.

If you think it’s challenging figuring out the FAS 157 fair market value for your illiquid assets, try calculating the total carbon emissions of your business. Or arguing with a carbon auditor who disagrees. Or putting a carbon footprint label on your product, which will surely be mandated as the green economy grows. “6.9 pounds of carbon dioxide was released in the manufacturing of these cornflakes.” Not counting the heavy breathing of all the audit committee members trying to stay out of Sarbanes Oxley prison.

At least our unemployment problem will disappear when armies of carbon accountants and certified greenhouse gas auditors fan out to monitor the invisible gasses that leak from the growing number of industries captured by Congress once it starts lapping up the revenue flow from this unbounded intrusion. Got Milk? Not without a cow fart permit, you don’t.

But wait, there’s more! Congress is going to reward favored companies and institutions that promise to soak up invisible gasses, or not emit them to begin with. Carbon Offsets, they’re called, yet another financial instrument that can be introduced into the mix. Al Gore buys them to assuage his guilt for burning up all that electricity he needs to warm his heated swimming pool.

How long do you think it take for the Wizards of Wall Street to cook up derivative contracts that slice, dice, and securitize these permission slips into incomprehensible combinations designed to generate fees that can be used to reignite the bonus engine? How much would you pay to short the middle tranche of the Midwest Power Producers Promise to emit less invisible gas November permissions contracts? Only your broker knows for sure.

This is much more fun than simply taxing a barrel of oil or a ton of coal, huh?

At least we’ll be in familiar territory. Remember when Congress “solved” the homeownership crisis by creating giant fishy mortgage cesspools at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? And then those long-term thinkers on Wall Street rushed in to build casinos on top of the mess so hedge fund speculators could bet on when the whole thing would collapse around their ears? Well yeeha, we’re going to do it again. Only this time we’re not just saving the less credit worthy from the indignity of renting. We’re saving the planet from thermal annihilation!

Hey, it will be fun getting to be a "favored company and institution," eh?

And just wait until the EU and the IMF get their fingerprints all over this one.




Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cap-and-Trade Politico Hauls Green to the Bank

Investors Business Daily recently published an interesting tidbit:

When Gore left office in January 2001, he was said to have a net worth in the neighborhood of $2 million. A mere eight years later, estimates are that he is now worth about $100 million. It seems it's easy being green, at least for some.

I remember Al Gore. He's that guy who profited so handsomely from the privatization of the U.S. Navy's oil reserve, a fact that somehow doesn't surface in his lectures, books, green junk-science "documentary," Oscar or Nobel Prize acceptance speeches, or in news reports about the man. Nevertheless:

In September of 1995, as part of the pompously named National Performance Review–Al Gore’s fatuous project to cut down government waste, fraud and mismanagement–the Vice President boldly declared that he was recommending the privatization of Elk Hills, a 47,000-acre oil-rich land in Southern California. Since 1912 it had been in the possession of the U.S. Navy as an emergency oil reserve. The oil companies salivated and made their bids. In October 1997 the Energy Dept. announced that the U.S. government would sell its stake in Elk Hills to Occidental Petroleum for $3.65 billion. Overnight, Occidental’s U.S. oil reserves tripled. Occidental’s stock surged and its stockholders glowed. One of them was the Vice President’s father, Al Gore Sr. He owned more than $500,000 worth of Occidental stock.

Funny, the last time the American people were divested of this land, to Pan American Petroleum in 1922, it led to the Teapot Dome scandal; a Congressional investigation and a U.S. Supreme Court decision restored it back to the American people, so that it could eventually be used as a reserve during 1973-1974 Arab Oil Embargo, in which Arab petroleum exporters decided to stop shipping oil to the U.S. so Israel couldn't get their hands on any during the Yom Kippur war.

As Investor's Business Daily pointed out, during hearings last Friday on cap-and- trade legislation before the House Energy and Commerce Committee at which Gore was a "star witness," Rep. Marsha Blackburn [R-Tenn], got "curious about how a man dedicated to saving the planet could get so wealthy so quickly."

Gore is a member of a venture capital group, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which, Blackburn noted, has so far invested "about a billion dollars" "in 40 companies that are going to benefit from cap-and-trade legislation that we are discussing here today."

Blackburn then asked the $100 million question: "Is that something that you are going to personally benefit from?" Gore gave the stock answer that "the transition to a green economy is good for our economy and good for all of us, and I have invested in it but every penny that I have made I have put right into a nonprofit, the Alliance for Climate Protection, to spread awareness of why we have to take on this challenge."

In his enthusiasm to "spread awareness," Gore has managed to amass stakes in a number of other green investments and to co-found "Generation Investment Management, which sells carbon offsets that allow rich polluters to continue with a clear conscience."

"It's a scheme," predicts Investor's Business Daily, "that will make traders of this new commodity rich and Bernie Madoff look like a pickpocket."