We must vote for those candidates of any party that reflect these values: hard work, self-determination, smaller government, fiscal responsibility and honesty. Look to the character of anyone you chose to support. Their past does matter if they haven't learned from it. Their personal life is as relevant as their public one. We must be able to trust those who will be advising and leading us on what our country must do next. -Glenn Beck

Friday, May 22, 2009

Actions & Consequences

We learn from the time we are young that we can choose our actions, but we cannot choose the consequences to our actions. We find out that we can choose to touch a hot pan, but we cannot choose whether we will get burned our not. We can choose to jump off the roof, but we cannot choose whether or not we will break our legs. To every action, there is a consequence. When you pick up a stick, you pick up both ends. We all learned this before we were 2 years-old. All of us, that is, except our 47 year-old President.

The automobile industry is bleeding to death. We have been told again and again that the U.S. automakers are "too big to fail" as the rationale for pouring billions of taxpayer dollars in to bailout the automobile industry. Yet, Chrysler just filed for bankruptcy. The White House has been preparing GM for bankruptcy. Ford is hearing the knock of bankruptcy at the door as well.

What is President Obama's solution? To enact more stringent emission standards on the auto industry. This solution is like tying cinder-blocks to the legs of a person who is drowning.

WHY HAVEN'T WE THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE??

The proposed standards require that by 2012, all cars will average 42 miles per gallon, and trucks and SUVs will average 26 miles per gallon. The government says the word, and the auto industry must comply.

So this begs the question, why do cars currently not average 42 miles per gallon? (To give you some perspective, the only two car models on the road that currently meet these standards are the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid.) The liberal response to that question would likely involve something about George W. Bush's rich oil buddies. Mm, hmm.

Let's take a look at this logically: What would be the reason for a business (in this case a struggling business) to purposely withhold technology that would give a competitive advantage in an industry? If an automaker could build a full-size truck that could get 26 mpg with all the same performance as those getting 14 mpg, they would rule the industry. The technology doesn't exist.

IF IT AIN'T BROKEN...

So in order to meet the government mandate, the auto industry has to do one of two things. First, they could modify the functionality. They could make the vehicles smaller with less power. But as I mentioned in a previous post entitled "I Feel Like I'm Taking Crazy Pills" (which I still do), the top selling vehicle in the U.S. is the Ford F-Series, which averages around 16 mpg. I just read on wikicars.com that it is estimated that the F-Series alone makes up half of Ford Motor Company's profit.

Three of the Top 10 Best Selling Vehicles in America are full-sized truck. Why isn't the Toyota Prius #1? I believe the obvious answer is that people like to be able to fit the entire family along with cargo comfortably. They like to tow boats and haul trailers and drive in a blizzard without worrying about getting stuck. They want to be safe if they get in an accident. If you were the CEO of a company, would you change your best-selling model? Doing so would be suicide for any automaker.

R&D

The only other option would be to develop the technology. We are the greatest and most innovative nation on the face of planet. If anybody can develop the technology to power a full-size truck at 26 mpg, we can.

So what's the problem? R&D requires what the auto industry apparently doesn't have: Money. And lots of it. The technology does not magically appear because the government says so. It takes a lot of effort from a lot of expensive people. These new regulations will break the backs of the auto industry. If there was any chance of survival for Ford, Chrysler, and GM, this is the end.

And even if the automakers could somehow survive the enormous costs of R&D, who is going to pick up the tab in the end? Let's just say that the base price of a Ford F-150 will no longer be $22,000. The people on "Main Street" will pay significantly more as the automakers attempt to recover their costs. (But they will not see their taxes go up a single cent!)

CONSEQUENCES

Conservatives would love to see a clean, renewable energy source just as much as anybody else. (I know, I know... Rich oil buddies of George W. Bush. My guess is that they would just invest in the new energy source. They didn't get to be rich by being stupid.) But we understand there are consequences to actions.

We understand that you can raise taxes on business, but you can't choose the consequences of what that does to the unemployment rate or the stock market. The natural consequence of a tax is to discourage the behavior. We understand that you can spend a trillion dollars that you don't have, but you can't choose what that does to inflation and the value of the dollar. The natural consequence of printing more money is the devaluation of that money. We understand that you can give handouts, but you can't choose whether that handout decreases productivity.

We understand that you can require the car industry to produce 42-mpg cars and 26-mpg trucks, but you can't choose whether that action will lead to hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs.

There is a natural consequence to every action. When you pick up a stick, you pick up both ends.

NIGHTMARE ON PENNSYLVANIA AVE

Now for the scary part. Barack Obama is not stupid. The people surrounding and advising him are not stupid. They all learned, just like the rest of us at 2 years-old or younger, that actions have consequences.

Why would President Obama want the auto industries to fail? I'm sure it wouldn't have anything to do with this story...

GM bankruptcy plan eyes quick sale to the government

...or this one...

Government May "Nationalize" GM By Swapping Debt for Equity

...right?

If the government owned the auto industry, they could tell us what to drive by limiting our choices. This is the ideology of the extreme left: If people are left alone to make choices, they will make choices that hurt themselves, so the government will protect the people from themselves by eliminating choice. The government decides how money is allocated amongst the people so nobody has too much or too little. The government provides healthcare for all its people, by taking from those who have and giving to those who have not. They tell the people what they can read, what they can watch, and how they can worship so the people don't hurt themselves. And in return for all this care, the only thing that the people have to give up is their agency.

If I were a liberal, I would be in awe at the genius of President Barack H. Obama. (As is, I am in awe at his audacity.) He has the checklist of every liberal agenda item, and he is working to push them all through in his first year in office. He will not rest until he sees them all through, no matter what the consequence.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Swine Flu & Global Warming

THE DREADED SWINE FLU

The world is in hysterics over the breakout of the now notorious "swine" flu. We first heard about the swine flu on April 23 when 7 people in the U.S. were infected with an unknown virus. Suddenly there were stories about 152 deaths in Mexico and confirmed cases in the U.S. The Vice President of the United States told people to avoid traveling. Egypt slaughtered 300,000 pigs. Schools shut down, people are wearing masks around in public, and everybody seems to be in a state of panic.

Then we find out that the 152 deaths in Mexico were actually only 7. (The number now is suspected to be 42, but nobody really knows.) Two people have died in the U.S. (one native Mexican.) We then find out that the "normal" flu is responsible for 36,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, and the media sheepishly reports that the swine flu is actually more mild then the "normal" flu. Yet, we don't see too many masks out during flu season. One of the many school districts that planned to shut the school down this entire week called my sister last night and told them that school will be back in on Thursday. The panic is subsiding.

The irrational fear and panic reminds me of global warming. I realize that we are now supposed to refer to it as "climate change" after people started asking why the earth was getting cooler if it was supposed to be getting warmer, (SCIENTIST: "Um... yeah... The earth getting cooler is actually a result of the earth getting warmer. ANY 8 YEAR-OLD: "Huh?"), but I prefer the classic name myself.

THREE KINDS OF LIES

I don't pretend to know much about science (it was always my one of my worst subjects), but I have taken a few classes in statistics. One of the basic fundamentals in statistics is that the sample needs to be representative of the population. The larger the sample, the more accurate the results. The smaller the sample, the more inaccurate the results. It's common sense that if you poll two people about the presidential elections, the results will not be representative of the population. But if you randomly sample 1000 people across the nation, you can say with 95% confidence that the results are accurate. (At least, those are the numbers we trust every 4 years leading up to November.) And we know from experience that even those numbers can be wrong.

Scientists estimate that the earth is 4.55 billion years old. Meteorologists began estimating the temperature of the earth in 1860. These estimates are incomplete and likely inaccurate, but we'll give them the benefit of the doubt. So let's say we've been keeping track of the temperature for 149 years. Scientists use the trends from those 149 sample years to describe the population of 4.55 billion years. (That is 0.00000003% of the population -- The equivalent of polling 9 people about the presidential election.)

What's more, scientists agree that the earth has gone through at least 4 ice ages. What did the cavemen do to cause those ice ages? How many species were destroyed then? And once they were in the ice age, how did the earth come out of it without the help of cars and airplanes? I can imagine if I was talking to a scientist, they would tell me that the earth goes through natural cycles... but that this current warming (er, I mean "change") isn't part of a cycle.

ROUTE 66

I understand that you can also look at ice core samples and measure the ozone and those types of things. I also understand that the carbon dioxide emitted from car engines can have an effect on the ozone. But I also know that the greatest contributor to greenhouse gas is not cars. The greatest contributor at 95% is water vapor. Not only that, but a recent UN report indicates that the methane from livestock flatulence is significantly more destructive to the environment than car emissions. That means that even the dinosaurs were "destroying" the environment. According to the first link, "total human greenhouse gas contributions add up to about 0.28% of the greenhouse effect."

I know scientists would likely say that the CO2 from automobiles is somehow pushing us over the edge. What about when there were no people on the earth to eat the livestock and the buffalo roamed free on the plains?

Last summer, I took a trip up to Yellowstone National Park. I have been there many times, but I was again impressed by the extent of damage caused by the wildfire in 1988. That fire was said to be started, at least in part, by lightning strikes (a natural cause.) That was a fire that (after letting the fire try to burn itself out naturally) firefighters worked feverishly around the clock to control and extinguish.

How many cars would it take to make up the carbon emissions from that fire? (The answer is 67,200,000 cars driving for one year in case you were curious.) What would have happened if that same fire had started even 100 years ago? How many more acres would have burned back then? How many wildfires occurred before the invention of the the automobile? How far would this current California wildfire be spreading without humans to stop it, and how many automobiles would that be worth?

CONTROL

My guess is that some reading might say, But aren't we better off being safe than sorry? I believe there is again a stereotype with Republicans that they hate the environment; all they care about is putting money into their pockets at any expense. That is false.

I love the environment, and I believe that it is our responsibility to care for the earth. I was taught from a young age not to litter, and I still make it a habit to pick up trash I find lying around. I recycle. I don't pour antifreeze or motor oil down drains. I try to take care of our planet. The problems that conservatives have with global warming, and the reason they fight it, has nothing to do with the environment. It has to do with control.

Democrat leaders use global warming as an excuse to exercise control the lives of others. Generally speaking, the democratic party leaders seek for power. They are envious of kings. They believe that most people aren't smart enough to take care of themselves. They believe that the benevolent government can do a much better job for people than they can do for themselves.

Conservatives love the environment just like liberals, but they don't believe that it falls within the proper role of government to tell people whether their emission output is too much to drive their car. Here is a list of 600 items said in news articles around the world to be caused by global warming:

Things Caused by Global Warming

(I especially enjoy the ones such as "avalanches reduced" & "avalanches increased" or "birds face longer migrations" & "birds returning early" or "Atlantic more salty" & "Atlantic less salty" to name a few that are both somehow caused by global warming, even though they are exact opposite effects.)

The more effects of global warming, the greater the ability to exercise control through regulation. The leaders aren't actually worried about the environment. We know that, because of people like Al Gore, who still flies around in private jets and drives SUVs and uses 20 times the energy of an average household. If he truly were concerned about the polar bears, he wouldn't be doing any of those things. Why would he say it if he didn't believe it? I believe the answer is that the idea that he can exercise influence over people and nations around the world appeals to him.

AND, IN THE END...

We ought to take care of our planet. Just like we learned in Boy Scouts, we ought to leave any "campground" we visit more clean than we found it. But the government has no right to tell us what color car we can drive (as is currently being considered in California.)

Who is the President of the United States' boss? How about Congress' boss? How about the Supreme Court's boss? They all work for "We the people of the United States", and not the other way around. That is the way the founding fathers structured it, because they had just fled a country that eventually told them how they had to worship their God.

The hysteria surrounding global warming is no different than the swine flu. The propagation of irrational fear based on incomplete information. Again, it's all about control.