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Friday, August 28, 2009

The "New Religion of the First World Elites"

Anthropogenic (man-made) Global Warming (AGW) skeptics have an unusual ally from the land Down Under. Recently, by a vote of 42 to 30, the Australian Senate rejected their version of cap-and-trade.

In a speech opposing the bill, Senator Nick Minchin stated, “this whole extraordinary scheme, which would do so much damage to Australia, is based on the as yet unproven assertion that anthropogenic emissions of CO2are the main driver of global warming.... The Rudd government arrogantly refuses to acknowledge that there remains a very lively scientific debate about the extent of and the main causes of climate change, with thousands of highly reputable scientists around the world of the view that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are not and cannot be the main driver of the small degree of global warming that occurred in the last 30 years of the 20th century.”

Leading Australia’s march away from AGW is its most eminent geologist Ian PlimerPlimer is a Professor in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (University of Adelaide) and Emeritus Professor in the School ofEarth Sciences (University of Melbourne). He has authored six books and 60 papers and has twice (1995 and 2002) won Australia’s Eureka Prize, science prizes awarded in the fields of scientific research & innovation, science leadership, science communication & journalism and school science.

His latest book, Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science, is the product of 40 years’ research containing over 2,300 footnotes. It sheds light on many of the false claims of man-made global warming. As Robert Tracinski and Tom Minchin recently noted, “The influence of Plimer's book is particularly interesting because it is not a light introduction to the topic. It is a thick book, chock full of science…If the book is comprehensive in its scope, that is because everything science has discovered about ‘history, archaeology, geology, astronomy, ocean sciences, atmospheric sciences, and the life sciences’—Plimer's list—refutes the global warming dogma.”

Interestingly, Plimer is also an ardent atheist and evolutionist. In other words, he is normally a darling of the political left. Australia’s 1995 Humanist of the Year, Plimer has been arrested and taken to court for disrupting meetings by creationists. One of his books is Telling Lies for God: Reason vs. Creationism.

As vehemently as Plimer has gone after Christians, especially those who take a literal view of the Bible, he has gone after the AGW crowd. He calls global warming “the new religion of First World urban elites,” adding that “Environmentalism has many of the hallmarks of failed European socialism and Western (failed) Christianity. It has a holy book which few have read (IPCC reports), has prophets (Gore) who cannot be challenged, relies on dogma, ignores contrary evidence, has armies of wide-eyed missionaries...; imposes guilt, has a catastrophist view of the planet, and seeks indulgences.”

Now, of course, I could not disagree with him more when it comes to Christianity, the Bible, and Creation. I also find it highly ironic that, even though Plimer possesses a worldview that in almost every way agrees with those who have turned their eyes toward “Mother Earth”—worshipping and serving “created things rather than the Creator,”—he remains an “unbeliever.”

After all, evolutionary philosophy teaches that, since all life sprang from the same single celled source, all living things are “related.” Darwinian evolutionists see humans as a product of nature and natural processes. Therefore, to see humans on equal footing with all other life and owing our very existence to the earth are very logical conclusions for such a philosophy.

This view of the “Church of Environmentalism” is summed up by the monk, Phra Paisal Visalo, who, in the Bangkok Post recently stated that, “Humans fail to realize that they're part of nature. They can survive and maintain their race throughout the passage of time, simply because of nature's mercy and hospitality. Humans should be grateful to nature.”

There you have it. Leave it to an atheist such as Plimer to recognize a religion when he sees one.

This would all be just interesting and sad if we weren’t staring at climate legislation that threatens to cripple our economy further and is based on such nonsense. However, there is still hope that, just as happened in Australia, the Senate here can stop the legislation. After all, if an atheist can help reveal the light of the truth Down Under, anything is possible.

Copyright 2009, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Feds Should Heed the Lessons of GM and Chrysler

Forget Obamacare. Forget stimulus plans, government bailouts, cap-and-tax, or any other recent or imminent spending legislation. The current level of government involvement in pensions (Social Security) and healthcare (Medicare/Medicaid) alone could soon bankrupt this country. General Motors and Chrysler provide the lesson here.

General Motors’ and Chrysler’s obligation to nearly 700,000 retired employees’ healthcare and pension funds was the most significant contributing factor to their bankruptcy earlier this year. Do you think this conclusion is far reaching? Roger Lowenstein, columnist for Bloomberg News and author of the 2008 book While America Aged, doesn’t think so (see column here)—at least when it comes to GM.

The thesis of Lowenstein’s book was that “many decades of inflated pension and health-care benefits forced the company to redirect its free cash flow to retired workers. As a result, there was little or nothing left for the shareholders.”

Lowenstein notes that, “In 2003, GM sold $13.5 billion in bonds—one of the biggest debt offerings ever—and plowed the money into its pension fund. Then in 2007, after the UAW went on strike, GM agreed to funnel more than $30 billion into a special trust for retiree health care.”

He concludes, “It was as if the company had secretly been sold and now belonged to the retired workers and their dependents.” Of course, with the Obama administration’s takeover of Chrysler and GM, Lowenstein’s “as if” proved all too literal. With the companies restructuring, the UAW now owns 17.5% of GM and 55% of Chrysler.

With its current level of indebtedness (and the prospect of even more), the dilemma that faces the U.S. government is very similar to what broke Chrysler and GM. The former GM was roughly a microcosm of the U.S.government: large, powerful, wealthy, leader of its industry, and so on. For 77 consecutive years, from 1931 to 2007, GM led the world in sales of automobiles. This streak, of course, is by far longer than any other automaker in history. If there ever was a company that was “too big to fail,” it was GM.

The twentieth century saw the U.S. flex its industrial, technological, military, and economic might to the extent that, with the fall of the Soviet Union, America now stands as the world’s lone military and economic super-power. With only 4.5% of the world’s population, the U.S. represents 23.6% of world gross domestic product.

However, like GM and Chrysler, but to an even greater extent, the U.S. is staring at an economic reckoning unlike anything the world has ever known. Before its bankruptcy, GM lost money on every car it made. Currently, the U.S. spends $2 for every $1 it takes in. GM’s losses weren’t nearly this drastic.

Also, according to the 2009 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report, the combined unfunded liability of these two programs has reached nearly $107 trillion in today's dollars. Medicare and Social Security trust funds will be exhausted in 2017 and 2037, respectively.

Is the United States “too big to fail”? Some think so. Certainly most of the world shares an interest in not seeing economic ruin come to the U.S. However, unlike G.M. and Chrysler, there will be no bailout for the U.S. No one could afford it.

As with the U.S., the automakers were warned before disaster struck. For example, an Institutional Risk Analytics column from 2005 concluded that, “Even [if] GM and Ford [were] to suddenly produce products that were superior to those of the various foreign competitors, and at a lower price, the accumulated retirement and health care liabilities to current and retired workers would still threaten their solvency.”

Moody’s has warned the U.S. that if it doesn’t clean up its act, America stands to lose her Triple-A credit rating (first issued in 1917). In other words, the U.S. would be downgraded like a bad company.

America literally cannot afford its current level of federal spending, and it especially cannot afford the spending increases the Obama administration seeks. Unlike the automakers, congress and the president must heed the many warning bells being sounded by the experts and by everyday common-sense citizens all over the country. From Moody’s to the TEA parties to the town halls, Americans are saying ENOUGH! Stop this spending madness!

Will congress and the president listen? Time will tell, but time is running out.

Copyright 2009, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Who's Laughing Now?

On Rush Limbaugh's radio program yesterday he took issue with Democrats such as Nancy Peolsi, comparing those showing up at town hall meetings and opposing Obamacare with Nazi's. On Pelosi, Rush said, "Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House. She is very powerful, one of the most powerful people in the country. This is what I mean by unraveling. She's running around now claiming that we're Nazis, that not only are we an unruly mob but that people are showing up wearing swastikas..." 

Rush continued, "They accuse us of being Nazis and Obama's got a health care logo that's right out of Adolf Hitler's playbook. Now what are the similarities between the Democrat Party of today and the Nazi party in Germany? Well, the Nazis were against big business. They hated big business and, of course, we all know that they were opposed to Jewish capitalism. They were insanely, irrationally against pollution. They were for two years mandatory voluntary service to Germany. They had a whole bunch of make-work projects to keep people working one of which was the Autobahn." 

Following Rush's program, later in the day, Chris Matthews on Hardball took issue with Rush. Watch below: 


Now a simple Google search on "smoking ban" gives a link to, of course, a Wikipedia article, which states the following: "The first modern, nationwide tobacco ban was imposed by the Nazi Party in every German university, post office, military hospital, and Nazi Party office, under the auspices of Karl Astel's Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research, created in 1941 under orders from Adolf Hitler. Major anti-tobacco campaigns were widely broadcast by the Nazis until the demise of the regime in 1945." 

So, the question is who's laughing now? I mean we're talking "Google" and "Wikipedia" here. Matthews, Shrum, and/or their staffs either need to study up on their history, or at least spend more time online. 

Copyright 2009, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com