Archive for the ‘What’s Happening’ Category

Opinions

April 21, 2014

Not long ago, I was reading an article on Cracked.com titled the 4 Most Useless Pieces of Advice Everyone Believes. Like many Cracked articles this one combined humor with serious observations about life. Number two on the list is “You’re entitled to your opinion. As always when I quote from Cracked.com, please excuse the language.

Being entitled to something is saying you have a right or claim to it. There is justice in you having this thing. And what could denigrate that idea more than someone being entitled to a chucklefuck stupid opinion?

The modern world is rife with people convinced that their opinions are important and valid when, sadly, that just isn’t true. For any opinion to be valid and important, it needs to be informed, and good God do few people aspire to that.

I’ve said before that everyone will have an opinion — that’s inevitable — but you should reserve your opinion until after you have informed yourself on the matter at hand, and you should only respect the opinion of others if it passes that test.

I wish the writer would have taken his own advice. Everyone does indeed have a right to their own opinion, informed or otherwise. The question is whether you should pay any attention to what a given person has to say on a given subject. If a person has shown himself to be knowledgeable about economics or physics, then their opinion is worth listening to on those subjects. That same person’s opinion on history or entertainment may not be worth listening to.

The writer gives several examples of what he considers to be bad opinions that are self-evidently so wrong that only someone  ignorant could possibly hold them. The trouble is that each of these opinions is not self-evidently wrong and could be defended.

For evidence of this, please refer to people who are “not racist but raised to believe you stay with your own kind.” That’s their opinion. Other people have an opinion that gays shouldn’t get married. That the Earth is 6,000 years old. That climate change doesn’t exist. That women who lead you on deserve to be raped. These opinions are not informed. There is no logic behind them, no foundation on which to base them.

Three of these; people should stay with their own kind, gays should not marry, and women can deserve to be raped are questions of values rather than facts, or what ought to be done rather than what is. You may believe some or all of these statements are morally right or wrong based on the basic values you uphold, but they are not statements that can be shown to be true or false. It may be a fact that people prefer to associate with people who look like themselves, or that gays would like to marry, or that a woman may lead a man on but whether or not people should only associate with their own race, or gays should marry, or a woman who leads a man on should be raped cannot be facts and cannot be decided by observation or debate.

This is why such questions are so hard to resolve, at least when dealing with people with different cultures and values. There are few people in the United States who would say that a woman could ever deserve to be raped. In Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, people may have a different view. Nearly everyone agrees that slavery is obviously wrong. No one in ancient times thought that there was anything at all wrong with slavery.  This is not to say that we should adopt a position of moral relativism.Some things are right and some things are wrong. There is a difference, however, between right and wrong, and true and false. The one is easy to decide. The other is a little harder.

Whether or not climate change is occurring is a question of facts. One fact is relatively easy to discover. Obviously, the Earth’s climate has changed drastically throughout its history. The questions of how the climate is changing right now and to what extent human beings are changing the climate are harder to answer. The interactions of the Earth’s atmosphere and climate are extremely complex and not well understood. The question of what to do about any changes in climate is more of a matter of ought than is. It is believing that the science is settled and that the debate is over that is uninformed and illogical.

Geologists believe that the Earth is 4.57 billion years old. They have good reasons for believing this and there is a general consensus among the scientists that have studied the matter that the Earth is that old. People who believe the Earth is only 6000 years old may not be very knowledgeable about geology or  may believe that their interpretation of scripture is more authoritative than the theories of geologists, but they are not stupid or ignorant, as the writer seems to believe. They may be very knowledgeable and sensible on many subjects.

At the same time, believing that the Earth is 4.57 billion years old is not really a sign of superior intellect. I doubt very much that many of the people who believe the Earth so old have actually investigated why geologists believe that the Earth is so old or how they came to determine the age of the Earth. If a person believes that the Earth is 4.57 billion years old, that belief may be correct, or at least in line with current thinking on the subject, but they can hardly take credit for believing what they were taught in school without questioning. If they were taught the Moon was made of green cheese,  they would believe that too.

What seems to be happening here, besides poor thinking skills on the part of the writer of this piece, is another example of a trend that is becoming more noticeable recently, the tendency by leftists to declare that all debate on a given subject is over, in favor of the left wing position. Anyone who does not take the orthodox leftwing position on the subject does not simply happen to have a different opinion or is not simply mistaken about the facts, but is upholding a position that is so devoid of logic and decency that they shouldn’t even be allowed to express it in public. Their opinions are so noxious that they need never be listened to and ought never to be permitted any forum in which to express their hateful views. Thus, someone who opposes the idea of same-sex marriage does not simply value traditional ideas on marriage or have sincere religious views. All good people support same-sex marriage so that person can only be a hater and a bigot. Someone who does not believe that human beings are primarily responsible for changing the climate cannot have come to that  conclusion by examining the evidence. They can only be an either an ignoramus or in the pay of Big Oil.

It’s hard to imagine that this sort of casual disrespect could make our political discourse more civil. It is more likely to have the reverse effect. If your opponent is not simply a human being with different ideas but either the Devil or a complete idiot, you need not try to reason with them or try to understand them, or even treat them with minimal respect. You are more likely to seek to destroy or ruin them.

But, that is just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Denouncing the Koch Brothers

April 13, 2014

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich emailed me to let me know that he has started a petition at Moveon.org denouncing the Koch Brothers for corrupting our democracy.

We, citizens of the United States, denounce you, Charles and David Koch, for using your vast wealth—more than the combined wealth of the bottom 40 percent of Americans—to corrupt our democracy. You are thereby undermining the most precious gift we possess, our democratic system of government. You deserve to be shamed and condemned by all Americans.

We do not denounce the Koch brothers because their wealth of more than $50 billion exceeds the combined wealth of the bottom 40 percent of all the citizens of the United States, or because they run and own one of the largest petrochemical businesses in the world, or because of their right-wing views.

The Koch brothers are entitled to their wealth and to their opinions, but when they use their vast wealth to overpower the voices of average Americans, that is unfair and they should be held accountable.

They’ve established a political front group, Americans for Prosperity, and are building their own permanent political machine, including hundreds of full-time staff in at least 32 states. They are pouring money into federal and state races—including more than $30 million already to help Republicans win the Senate this year. 

The Koch brothers are thereby using their vast wealth to undermine and corrupt our democracy—a shameful betrayal of our nation for which they deserve to be widely denounced. It’s time we join our voices together to publicly denounce the Koch brothers and their dangerous, corrupting influence. They may not be swayed by our voices, but when enough of us condemn what they’re doing, taking their money will become a political liability.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.

Thanks!

–Robert Reich

I keep wondering why the Democrats are so obsessed with the Koch Brothers. What crimes have these men committed? Don’t they have the right to spend their money however they wish? How exactly are they undermining democracy or overpowering the voices of average Americans? Are they preventing anyone else from speaking or from supporting political candidates?

Robert Reich acts as if the Koch Brothers were doing something uniquely evil by spending large amounts of money to influence politics. Yet, if you look at Open Secrets’ list of top political donors, Koch Industries is all the down to 59th place with a total of $18,283,448 in contributions from 1989 to 2014. This does not include their efforts with Americans for Prosperity and other fundraising, but it is a starting point for comparisons. The top political donor from 1989 to 2014 is ActBlue, a Democratic leaning political action committee. They contributed a total of $100,887,828. Second and third are the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees and the National Education Association with contributions totaling $61,339,129 and $61,339,129 respectively. Both these organizations contribute almost entirely to Democrats. In fact, the top sixteen donors either support the Democrats or are on the fence. Of these sixteen, eleven are labor unions. Say what you will about the Kochs, at least they are spending their own money, not money taken from members’ dues. The ones who contributed to both parties seem to be some of the largest corporations in America, like AT&T, Goldman Sachs, J. P. Morgan, and others. The top Republican donor is United Parcel Service with contributions totaling $32,565,382. 

Why doesn’t Robert Reich denounce any large donors, except for the Kochs? Why doesn’t he denounce the actions of the labor unions who not only contribute large amounts of money to Democrats but also provide many of the foot soldiers for their political campaigns? What about Hollywood? Even a mediocre actor can get a lot a attention for any political cause he may want to support, and most actors are liberal. Aren’t these examples of overpowering the voices of ordinary Americans. He also has nothing to say about large corporate donors who contribute to both parties. Why not? If a corporation is contributing to both the Republicans and the Democrat, chances are it is not promoting any particular ideology but is trying to buy favors or protection. At least the Kochs can credibly claim to promote a conservative/libertarian ideology beyond their business agenda.

 He states that he does not condemn the Kochs because of their wealth or their right wing views, but does he really expect anyone to believe him? I think it is precisely because of their right wing views that the Democrats single out the Koch Brothers for condemnation. Corporations buying concessions and favors from legislatures doesn’t seem to bother them. Trying to promote the libertarian viewpoint of a smaller, less powerful government seems to bother them quite a lot. Demonizing and denouncing some of the most prominent supporters of that viewpoint may help others to reconsider donating to conservative causes. Like so much else on the left, denouncing the Koch Brothers is all about power and bullying.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Uninstall Firefox

April 8, 2014

Dennis Prager says it better than I ever could in his latest column.

 

In 31 years of broadcasting, and 40 years of writing, I have never advocated a boycott of a product.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, when the left attempted to destroy Chick-Fil-A for its owner’s views on same-sex marriage, I suggested on my radio show that the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, stand in front of a Chick-Fil-A restaurant while enjoying some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. In that way, I argued, he could show one of the great moral differences between the right and the left. Though Ben and Jerry are leftists, we conservatives do not believe that company owners’ views should matter to consumers. We believe that products should speak for themselves. If the ice cream is good, despite whatever repugnance we might feel regarding the views of the makers of that ice cream, we will still purchase it.

 

Actually, I have avoided Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, not so much for their political views as their insufferable self-righteousness. I really don’t care how much they want world peace or social justice, just make ice cream.

 

Anyway.

 

The left does not see things that way. The left is out to crush individuals and companies with whom it differs. This is especially so today on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Perhaps the most dramatic example of this took place last week. The governing board of the widely used browser, Firefox, forced the company’s CEO, Brendan Eich, to resign. The Firefox board had learned that in 2008, Eich donated $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign in California. Proposition 8 amended the California Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In classic Communist fashion, gay rights organizations demanded that Eich publicly recant. When Eich did not, gay rights and other leftist organizations called for a boycott of Firefox. Firefox immediately forced Eich out.

All these years, the left, after coining the term “McCarthyism” in order to disparage the right, had fooled most people into believing that it is the right that suppresses liberty. The truth, of course, has been the opposite. Worldwide, with the exception of Nazi Germany (which was a uniquely race-based totalitarianism, neither left nor right — while it rejected Marxist class-based struggle, it supported socialism (“Nazism” was short for National Socialism), every genocidal totalitarian regime of the 20th century was leftist. And domestically, too, the left has much less interest in liberty than in forcing people to act in accord with its values. A totalitarian streak is part of the left’s DNA. How you think matters and what you do away outside of work matters: More than 20 states prohibit judges from being leaders in the Boy Scouts — because the left deems the Boy Scouts homophobic.

During the McCarthy era, the left (and not only the left) screamed when people were falsely charged with supporting Stalin and Communism, one of the greatest evils in human history. But the left also screamed when people who really did aid and abet Stalin were dismissed from their jobs. In other words, for those on the left who celebrate Eich’s ouster, it was evil to deprive a man who supported Stalin of a job, but it is right to fire a man who supports the man-woman definition of marriage. Such is the left’s moral compass.

It is important to further note that gay employees at Firefox acknowledge that Eich never discriminated against gays, whether in employment, benefits or any other way. But that doesn’t matter to the left because a totalitarian streak is part of the left’s DNA.

As Princeton Professor of Jurisprudence Robert George warned on my radio show, today the left fires employees for opposition to same-sex marriage. Tomorrow it will fire employees who are pro-life (“anti-woman”). And next it will be employees who support Israel (an “apartheid state”).

The reason to boycott Firefox is not that it is run by leftists. Nor is the reason to support the man-woman definition of marriage. It is solely in order to preserve liberty in the land of liberty. If Firefox doesn’t recant and rehire Eich as CEO, McCarthyism will have returned far more pervasively and perniciously than in its first incarnation. The message the gay left (such as the Orwellian-named Human Rights Campaign) and the left in general wish to send is that Americans who are in positions of power at any company should be forced to resign if they hold a position that the left strongly opposes.

And right now that position is opposition to same-sex marriage.

Think about that. In the United States of America today, the belief that marriage should remain defined as the union of a man and woman is portrayed as so vile by the left that anyone who holds it is unfit for employment.

A handful of those on the gay (and straight) left have spoken out against the forced resignation of Eich. If their words are to mean anything, they must join in the call to boycott Firefox. Otherwise, their protestations are meaningless, made solely to preserve their moral credibility.

The battle over Firefox is the most important battle in America at this particular moment. If you use Firefox, uninstall it. Instead use Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera, Safari, or try Pale Moon for Windows, which is based on the Firefox engine and will import all of your bookmarks. For mobile devices, you can try Puffin.

America can have liberty or it can have Firefox. Right now, it cannot have both.

 

I would like to add that if you are gay or support same-sex marriage, you should know that the sort of left-wing activists Prager is talking about do not really care about you and are not your friends. This is not about same-sex marriage. This is about power and bullying. Right now they support gay rights in the hope that they can weaken the influence of religion  in this country and damage conservatives. If it were politically expedient, they would just as soon throw homosexuals in jail, or stone them.

 

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Stinkburgers

April 7, 2014

Last week, President Obama spoke in Ann Arbor Michigan. Among other things, he expressed support for raising the minimum wage and attack Republican policies. Here is an article from the Washington Post.

President Obama compared the Republican budget plan to a “stinkburger” or “meanwich” during a speech here Wednesday, using a series of zingers in an attempt to strike a contrast with the GOP on economic issues in an election year.

In a speech to an enthusiastic crowd of 1,400 at the University of Michigan, Obama repeatedly mocked Republican ideas about how to improve the economy, as he touted his own proposal to raise the minimum wage.

Obama, who visited the local Zingerman’s deli before the speech, said that Republican proposals to cut taxes for wealthier Americans and federal investments in education, as well as replace his federal health-care program, would harm the economy.

The GOP has proposed the same ideas so many times, Obama said, “It’s like that movie ‘Groundhog Day,’ except it’s not funny. If they tried to sell this sandwich at Zingerman’s, they’d have to call it the stinkburger or the meanwich.”

Obama’s appearance here was the latest in his bid to put pressure on Republicans to support his proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. Republicans have opposed the plan, citing federal estimates that it could eliminate up to 500,000 jobs, even as it raised wages for many more.

In the state that is home to the U.S. auto industry, the president cited the example of Henry Ford more than a century ago, who Obama said gave workers raises so they could “afford to buy the cars they were building.”

Setting the stage for a vote on the plan in Congress, Obama said the GOP will have to make clear whether they support paying the lowest-paid workers more money: “You’ve got a choice: You can give America the shaft, or you can give it a raise.”

Stinkburgers? Meanwiches? Has Mr. Obama been getting Malia and Sasha to write his speeches for him? I know what points he was trying to make he was trying to be humorous, but that just sounds silly. I am afraid that our political discourse has come a long way since the days of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Boycotting Mozilla

April 6, 2014

By now, just about everyone who might be reading this post knows something of what has going on with Mozilla and its eleven day CEO Brendan Eich. For the heinous crime of donating $1000 in support of California’s  anti-gay marriage Proposition 8, a position held by none other than then Senator Barack Obama. For this thought crime, Mr. Eich has been obliged to leave.

This isn’t about gay marriage. It isn’t really about freedom of expression, or the right to donate to political causes without fear of retribution. This is about the most fundamental right of all , the right to be left alone to live our lives as we see fit.

There is a class of professional activists; the hyper sensitive, the perpetually aggrieved, the would be do-gooders and reformers, for whom everything is subordinate to the glorious cause. For these people, life is a Manichean struggle of ultimate good and evil. No one can be neutral or indifferent to the struggle. If you are not with them, you are against them and must be destroyed by any means necessary. No decision or action can be strictly personal. Everything is political. In Mr. Eich’s case, the fact that he was a co founder of Mozilla and had invented JavaScript was irrelevant. He had opposed the cause and could not be tolerated. Remember that notorious video that British environmentalists made.

 

Notice that the people who were blown up were not actually opposed to the Green agenda. Their crime was simply that they were not sufficiently enthusiastic. I don’t want to live in that kind of world. I don’t want to boycott Mozilla or stop using Firefox. I don’t want to make decisions on what I buy or use based on the political ideas of the providers. I would rather just live my life and express my opinions and let everyone else alone. If there are differences of opinions, I would rather discuss or debate the matter and not have to worry about being punished for taking the wrong side, or punishing others for disagreeing with me. It would seem, however, that those of us who want to be left alone and to leave others alone are not going to be allowed to do that. Since this is the world the busybodies and the bullies seem to want, I guess we will just have to push back until they go away.

I do not know if the people who run Mozilla are cowards who give in to the least pressure, from the right sort of people, or if they can be included among the bullies. It really doesn’t matter. They have shown that they are on the side against liberty and so do not deserve any support from me. I will uninstall Firefox.

No Firefox

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Story of Mohammed, Islam Unveiled

March 28, 2014

After the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, many of our political leaders took pains to assure us that Islam is a religion of peace. The nineteen men who committed the atrocities on that date were said to have followed an extreme version of Islam, a version not shared by the vast majority of peace loving Muslims. Many people, however, cannot help but wonder whether a religion whose adherents are responsible for most of the terrorism in the world today might not promote violence in its teachings. Being a religion with more than one and a half billion followers, contemporary Islam is of course very diverse. There are many, many Muslims who are indeed peaceful, and many who are not. How, then, can we determine whether the doctrines of Islam promote peace or violence?

One way, might be to go back and look at the founder of the religion. After all, a tree is known by its fruits. The Prophet Mohammed in Arabia founded Islam more than fourteen centuries ago. To this day, Muslims look upon him as a perfect man to be emulated. Stories of his sayings and deeds, known as the Hadiths, are second only to the Koran as a guide to Muslim behavior. So then, learning whether Mohammed was a man of peace or of war should go a long way in determining whether Islam is a religion of peace or of war.

That is just what Harry Richardson has done with his book The Story of Mohammed, Islam Unveiled. Mr. Richardson tells the story of the life of Mohammed using Islamic sources including the Koran. Along the way, he shows how Mohammed’s example is used by terrorists to justify their actions. For, Mohammed was not a man of peace. He and his religion were peaceful enough when they were a small sect in Mecca. After the move to Medina, where Mohammed took power, the new religion quickly became very violent and intolerant. Under Mohammed’s rule, any atrocity or betrayal was justified if it furthered the cause of Islam. As Mr. Richardson shows, this same ends justify the means mentality is still used by all too many people in the Islamic world.

islam

Harry Richardson covers most of the same ground as Robert Spencer does in his books about Islam. I think though, that Richardson’s approach is more accessible than Spencer’s. He begins with the assumption that the reader knows little or nothing about Islam and explains the results of his own research referring to his sources. Although Mr. Richard may have begun his studies knowing little about Islam, he was clearly spent a lot of time and effort educating himself. He is also less confrontational than Robert Spencer often has been.

I can strongly recommend that anyone interested in what is going on in the world of Islam read this book and then go on to read the Koran and other Islamic scriptures. If we are to prevent more attacks, we need accurate information about those who regard us as the enemies of Allah. Our leaders are not interested in telling us the truth about Islam, so we must educate ourselves. Harry Richardson’s book is a good place to begin.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Indiana Rejects Common Core

March 27, 2014

Walter Russell Mead has some interesting things to say about Indiana’s recent rejection of the Common Core federal education standards. He approves of the move not so much because of any defect in the standard but from a sense that a one size fits all program for a nation as large and diverse as the United States is not desirable. Here are his reasons.

First of all, families should have as much freedom as possible to shape their children’s education. And the closer to the grassroots level educational decision-making resides, the more likely it is that parents can help shape important decisions about their kids’ education.

Secondly, it’s clear that our educational system is in the midst of a period of change, as it needs to be. Society is changing, the economy is changing, yet our educational system is still a product of the Industrial Age. It’s designed to produce people who are good at following directions, coping with boredom, and sitting still for long periods of time. Coming up with a new model suited for the 21st century is going to take time and experimentation. Letting cities and states (to say nothing of individual schools, whether public, charter, or private) try out new approaches is the best way to do this. Let a hundred flowers bloom.

More broadly, as the U.S. continues to grow, we need to work much harder to keep important decisions at state and local levels for the sake of national unity and the health of democratic society. The individual American has almost no influence over decisions at the federal level, but at state and local levels grassroots coalitions and social and civic organizations can make a real difference. America is based on the idea that ordinary people should be responsible for their own lives; a mass society dilutes that necessary freedom and authority. Our democratic society will wither away if Washington tries to make all our important decisions for us. Centralization of power also tends to exaggerate and heighten political polarization. Let Texas live as it pleases, and let Vermont be Vermont. America will be happier and more peaceful when smaller units of government make more of the really consequential decisions.

This last argument is one to keep in mind. We think of ourselves as a democracy, the sort of country in which the people rather than a king or dictator rules. Yet, how democratic can a country with a population of over 300 million actually be if all the major decisions are made by a centralized government in a distant capital? One person out of 300 million simply has no voice. Pundits and professional worriers always complain when fewer than half the electorate actually votes in any national election, but why should they? One person voting in any national election, presidential , senatorial or congressional really isn’t going to make a difference. As centralized government over a country as large as the United States can’t really be very democratic at all, despite the number of elections that are held. By necessity, any such government must tend to be despotic just in order to get things done. Three hundred million people are never going to come to any consensus on any issue.  For this reason,we would be a whole lot better if most of the decisions that affect people’s lives were made at the state and local level, where an individual could make a difference.

I also think that a lot of the so-called culture wars over social issues would be a lot less intense and divisive if we got away from the idea that the federal government should impose one solution over the whole country. Take same-sex marriage. Why not let California legalize it while Iowa could ban it? That way people in both places could be happy.The same could apply to abortion, gun control, and many other issues. If you don’t like the way an issue is handled in your state, well, it is easier to change policies at the state level and you could always move.

Of course, the progressives hate the very idea of the federal government yielding any of its power. It is a lot harder to make fundamental changes when you have to deal with 50 states than with one federal government. They always profess to love diversity, except in matters where diversity really counts.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Don’t Tread on Me

March 25, 2014

Organizing for Action wants to give me a free bumper sticker.

tread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a parody of the Gadsden flag often seen at Tea Party rallies.

250px-Gadsden_flag.svg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gadsden flag dates from the Revolutionary War. It was designed by Christopher Gadsden in 1775 and was one of the first flags used by Americans until the Stars and Stripes. Benjamin Franklin explained the significance of using a rattlesnake as a symbol for the American spirit.

I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shown and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?

It makes a lot more sense than his proposal that the new nation’s national bird be the turkey.

Notice the difference in significance of the two symbols. The one, the Gadsden Flag, shows nothing more than a desire to be left alone, with the implied threat to those that meddle. The other, the Obamacare Sticker shows a desire for services paid for by other people. Has the American character really degenerated so far?

Perhaps this image from the People’s Cube might work better.

Tread_Obamacare_Hammer_Sickle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Global Warming Nazis

March 25, 2014

Nick Cohen at the Guardian is upset because the  British and American governments have somehow opted not to destroy their economies and permanently reduce their citizen’s standards of living on the basis of not-so-settled science. I found his column via The Right Scoop. I wouldn’t bother mentioning the column except he takes the slander “climate change denier” and doubles down on it. I have long stated that the use of this phrase is dishonest and a sign that the other side has no real facts. Cohen, obviously thinks otherwise.

All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.

Very well. If that is how they want to play, I’ll give it right back at them. Henceforth, anyone who asserts that manmade global warming is a problem that requires catastrophic changes to the world’s economy will be known as a Global Warming Nazi. I think the phase is entirely appropriate since the Global Warming Nazis advocate policies that will end up killing millions of people all over the world, most of them dark-skinned, and consign millions more, mostly dark-skinned, to hunger and poverty with no hope of bettering their lives. No other word will do.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Vaccination Education in Colorado

March 24, 2014

The Denver Post reports that legislation to encourage Colorado parents to have their children vaccinated has been approved by a committee of the Colorado House of Representatives.

A measure to better educate Colorado adults on the benefits and risks of vaccinating their children was approved by a House committee late Thursday.

The Health and Environment Committee’s 9-2 vote came after several hours of testimony, which at times blended into a debate over parental rights.

To date, Colorado kindergartners have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

Current state law requires only a parent’s signature to claim a personal, medical or religious exemption from vaccination, with the majority of exemptions for personal reasons.

State Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, said he wants to make sure parents have all the information on vaccinations and “that they’re not just opting out simply because of convenience.”

Pabon’s bill focuses on the personal-belief portion of the law. It would require parents to complete an online-education course that discloses the benefits and risks of immunization if they choose to opt out for personal reasons.

Moreover, it would require parents to submit to schools a statement of immunization exemption that includes a signature from a doctor or representative of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“There are kids who can’t get vaccinated because they’re immuno-compromised and are being exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases. To add on top of that, older populations that have medical conditions are also at risk,” Pabon said. “We just want to educate parents.”

Some parents are skeptical of the need for vaccines, fearing that vaccines carry their own risks, while others simply don’t want to be required to take these extra steps for exemption.

Dozens of parents and doctors testified Thursday at the state Capitol both in support and in opposition to Pabon’s bill before the House committee.

In Colorado, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 85 percent of kindergartners entering elementary school in the fall of 2012 were vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR. That was among the lowest percentages. Mississippi and Maryland had rates near 100 percent.

Shawn Kelley and his wife, Susan, spoke out against the measure, saying their daughter received a “vaccine injury.”

“She had a brain injury from her MMR vaccine when she was a year old,” said Kelley, noting that the federal government confirmed the injury, and he presented the information to the committee.

Kelley said his daughter is also on the autism spectrum.

“For those people who say they’ve never seen any causality or anything like that, I would disagree,” he said. “This can lead to mandatory immunization.”

The argument by some that the bill makes vaccination mandatory was rejected by several lawmakers.

“You can still make the decision to not immunize your child,” said Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, a member of the committee.

Vaccination of children is important to Tom Birge, who has seen his daughter — now an adult — suffer through measles and mumps several times, because she has primary immune deficiency disorder that prevents her immune system from fighting diseases prevented from vaccines.

“She’s frequently sick, because people didn’t just get immunized,” Birge said.

I’m of two minds about this. I believe that the decisions regarding the welfare of children must rest with the parents and that the state ought not to usurp the role of the parents. In other words, it is not the role of the government to raise people’s children. Yet, the anti-vaccination people are endangering the health of not just their own children but other people’s children.
Vaccination is not completely safe and harmless. Nothing in this world is. There is no known scientific evidence that suggests any sort of a link between vaccination and autism, despite what Jenny McCarthy might assert. It is possible, however, that Jenny McCarthy is right. It is also possible that there are other health problems that vaccination may cause or make worse. The question is not whether vaccination is one hundred percent safe and effective. Nothing is. The question is whether vaccination is better or worse than the alternatives. Would you rather have your child face a one in a million chance of getting autism or one in a hundred chance of getting measles and dying.
It is a testimony to the effectiveness of modern medicine, including vaccination, that many people seem to have forgotten that “childhood” diseases like measles, mumps, or diphtheria are serious illness that can be fatal. The complacency that this success has engendered threatens to undo all the hard work that researchers have done to bring these diseases under control. This measure from Colorado is a step in making sure this doesn’t happen.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 344 other followers

%d bloggers like this: