February 13-14 – Stand Up!
Cold and Snowy Winter
Many cities and towns across the United States are experiencing severe cold and record snow. After last week’s winter storm in the North East, Washington D.C. had received a total of 55.9 inches of snow this winter, breaking the previous record of 54.4 inches set in 1898-99. Philadelphia and Baltimore have each received more than 70 inches of snow so far this winter, breaking previous records set in 1995-96. And 12.6 inches of snow fell in Chicago on February 10, breaking the previous single-day record of 8.5 inches set in 1885.
No single storm or single season can prove or disprove global temperature trends. But from Pittsburgh to Florida, the jokes about global warming have gotten loud enough that The New York Times felt compelled on February 11th to claim that "most climate scientists respond that the ferocious storms are consistent with forecasts that a heating planet will produce more frequent and more intense weather events." In other words, record cold and snow reinforces the man made global warming zealots’ claim that the Earth is warming. Of course, these same zealots claimed that calmer, warmer winters several years ago were also evidence of global warming. I guess it is nice to espouse a neo religious ideology that enables you to be right all the time.
Now, let’s leave the propaganda behind and look at some real facts surrounding current global climate trends. First, recent snow storms recall similar events which took place decades ago, including many decades ago in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, before the global warming zealots claim that "climate change" had begun to kick in. Second, since 1998, there has been a modest global cooling trend, not a warming trend. This cooling trend was not predicted by any global warming model, and, this cooling trend has happened without a drop in atmospheric CO2 levels. Third, in the face of this rather "inconvenient" trend, certain leading climate scientists deliberately falsified temperature data and blocked the publication of opposing points of view in peer reviewed scientific journals in order to bolster the man made global warming theory. This scientific dishonesty was blown open by thousands of emails and other computer documents made public in 2009 by a whistle blower (this scandal is known as "climategate"). Fourth, Michael Mann, a graduate student who became a professor at Pennsylvania State University, manipulated climate data and produced the now discredited "Hockey Stick" chart, in order to suggest that warming trends within the past 100 years are a unique phenomenon. Fifth, the 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report has been shown to contain numerous significant factual errors, including the completely baseless forecast that ALL the Himalayan Glaciers will melt in the next thirty years. And sixth, it is clear from the geological record that the Earth’s climate has changed very dramatically over time without any human influence and is in fact always changing.
Because of these and other facts, a growing number of courageous scientists (those willing to stand up to the "neo religious" pressure to confirm the global warming hypothesis) are now skeptical of the man made global warming theory. And a majority of these same scientists are increasingly aware of the many complex factors and feedback loops that influence our climate. Of particular note, many honest scientists are increasingly drawn to evidence that indicates that sun spot activity (or the lack there of), not CO2, is a leading cause of climate change on Earth. It seems to be sheer human hubris to overestimate our impact on nature!
The scientific process of research, study, and debate goes on. There is no consensus on how our climate is changing or what is causing any changes. More unbiased scientific study is required. It is now time for Al Gore and other politicians to acknowledge that they were wrong to politicize this debate and let the real scientists carry on in an atmosphere free of politically correct prejudgments and career pressure.
Regardless of the muddle that is climate science; the economics of the Cap and Trade system meant to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels are crystal clear. Such legislation would dramatically increase energy costs for all Americans and eliminate millions of American jobs. President Obama himself stated that under his Cap and Trade system, electricity rates would "necessarily sky rocket." And studies of the Cap and Trade bill supported by Obama and passed last summer by Democrats in the House of Representatives conclude that each American family would pay between $2,000 and $3,000 more each year for energy if the Democrat Party sponsored Cap and Trade bill becomes law. President Obama and the Democrats’ Cap and Trade system would also cost the U.S. economy between 3 and 4 million jobs, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. In Spain, under a similar Cap and Trade system, every so-called "green" job that was created cost the economy 2.2 existing jobs, and sent the unemployment rate soaring to its current 18.8%. And what can we expect to gain from all of this economic pain? Nothing! According to Lisa Jackson, the Director of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama, a Cap and Trade system will not lower current CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Why would any intelligent, rational person want to inflict Cap and Trade on our economy and on our people? Why?
Implementing such a destructive policy is economic suicide for nothing. We must stand up and oppose legislation like this that damages our economy and restricts our economic freedom.
Lesson in Entrepreneurship
Alan Veeck, one of my partners at Meakem Becker Venture Capital, joined me on the program this past week to discuss what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. In order to attract venture capital investments, entrepreneurs must create compelling products or services that are sold into potentially large markets. They must also be able to surround themselves with the right team of people, and be able to defend themselves against the inevitable competition. Successful entrepreneurs must also have a lot of passion and a strong belief in their abilities. For successful entrepreneurs, failure is not an option. If you have a business idea, or wish tor receive more information from Alan, contact him at [email protected] or on his blog at www.pittsburghventures.com.
Revolution is Brewing in Iran
This past week, Tehran celebrated the 31st anniversary of the "Islamic Revolution," which brought the repressive mullahs to power in Iran. While the government celebrated, thousands of people demonstrated in the streets against the dictatorial control of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Unfortunately, the Islamic Dictatorship continued its harsh repression of the freedom protestors. Tehran also announced that it is now a "nuclear state," capable of enriching weapon’s grade uranium for a nuclear bomb.
The good news last week was that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton actually said that the "Islamic Republic of Iran" was becoming a dictatorship, so perhaps eyes are opening in the Obama Administration. But President Obama needs to stand up to the growing Iranian threat by doing much more. First, he should embrace the democratic freedom protestors and applaud their courage. Just two weeks ago, at least two additional young protestors were hung for voicing their opposition to the current regime. Our Founding Fathers faced a similar threat when they stood against the Tyranny of King George the Third during the American Revolution. President Obama could provide these protestors with moral support and encouragement by echoing their call for political change in Iran. At the same time, President Obama must also actively prepare for a military option in Iran. No other country (not even Israel) is capable of carrying out the extensive and exacting bombing campaign that is needed to cripple the multi-site, underground Iranian nuclear program, and living with a nuclear armed Iran is not an option. It is time for America and its President to lead.
More Government Spending
Last week, we also learned more about the spending financed by President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus plan. To say that the spending seems an inappropriate waste of our current and future taxpayer dollars would be an understatement. Here are some examples. School officials in Polk County Florida had planned to spend $350,000 of stimulus money on the purchase of iPods, and then give them away as gifts to parents who fill out a 10-minute survey (the idea was later scrapped). Democrat lawmakers in Washington D.C. announced that they want to spend $50 million to purchase 3,000 acres of beach front property on the Caribbean island of St. Croix, creating a new national park. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) questioned why the federal government is creating a new taxpayer supported park (that most Americans will never have the opportunity to see) when the National Park Service cannot afford to address the current "estimated $9 billion in backlog maintenance on existing parks." And the U.S. government just spent over $2.5 million to produce and broadcast a Super Bowl commercial promoting the 2010 Census. This commercial was terrible, receiving an "F" rating from the Kellog School of Management, the lowest rating of any Super Bowl commercial. Our government is currently spending billions of our tax dollars advertising its myriad activities to us. When a government has to advertize its "free" taxpayer paid services, it is going well beyond the mandate of a limited government.
Of course, the amazing thing is that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress wonder why no private sector jobs are being created. I will explain it to them using myself as an example. I am an entrepreneur and business owner — one of the "fat cat rich people" that the President and his allies like to target. I see that government spending is now completely out of control and I know with all the deficits and borrowing that tax rates on all of my earnings from both earned income and investments are going to go up. In fact, the Democrat Party already succeeded in killing an extension of the tax rates put in place by President Bush and a Republican Congress back in 2001 and 2003. The result of all of this is that we are going to have a massive tax increase on January 1, 2011. State and local governments are also raising taxes. My economic response to this is to cut spending now (personally and in my businesses) so that I can afford the massive tax increases. Now, imagine if every "fat cat rich person" in our country is doing the same thing as me. Imagine if it turns out that pretty much everyone who is working hard, earning a living and paying taxes is one of the "fat cat rich people" who will have to pay higher taxes and is cutting back as a result. Wouldn’t every new dollar the government borrows and spends on brilliant things like free IPods, Caribbean beaches, and Super Bowl commercials just cause people to cut back more? And who do you think spends and invests our hard earned money more wisely, us or the United States Congress? I rest my case.
I understand from surveys that very few Democrats in Congress or the White House have ever had a job in a private business — where 80% of us work and where all the value in our economy is created. I also understand that quite a few leading Democrats in Congress and the Administration have not always paid their own taxes, so they may not be familiar with what people who actually pay their taxes are forced to do. If you are a liberal and know anyone in Congress or the White House, please pass this blog posting along to them because maybe some of these people would appreciate the opportunity to learn a little about basic economics and basic human behavior. It certainly would help all of us if these folks learned a little bit about these basic topics.
The current growth in government spending is unsustainable and is leading to a weaker United States of America. We must stand up against this out of control government spending if we wish to remain strong as a nation. America became strong because individuals for many generations stood up, worked hard, and built businesses, families and communities. America became strong because people were free and self-reliant. We did not become strong as a nation by relying on the government for welfare, food, housing, medical care, cell phones, iPods or unemployment benefits that last for 99 weeks. We did not become strong because government told us how to solve our problems. To be strong and successful again, we must elect political leaders who believe in individual freedom and limited government, and we must rebuild a culture that values personal responsibility hand in hand with personal freedom.
An Additional Thought
While many readers have expressed their strong approval of my recent postings, others have been surprised by my strident words. I believe we can make America strong again – strong enough to meet the challenges we will inevitably face in the future. But I am strident because I am angry about our current direction and I am worried. President Obama’s back room negotiations on health care highlighted the real "special interests" that are all too eager to mortgage our future for their own specific gains. It is time for Americans who work hard every day to build families, businesses and futures to take back this country. We must build the future of America on real individual freedom, real individual responsibility and a limited government — and we must have the courage to win this fight.
Good luck in the week ahead. Please note that I will not be sending out a posting next week. I will, however, be recording my radio program as usual, so you can simply go to www.glenmeakem.com to listen to a replay of the show anytime starting on Saturday morning. Of course, you can also listen to back programs and find all kinds of other information on my site.
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