Blame Bubble Makers for Bust

My mom and Dad taught me to man-up and take the blame if it was my fault. Is the lack of such a standard now a prerequisite for success?

 

The media in Iowa recently has been full of pleas to contact government officials to demand continuation of favors for so-called renewable energy. Lack of success in such endeavors will lead to massive layoffs and closed main street businesses.

 

But is our failure to convince government to continue to distort the energy business really a reason for us to take the blame for said layoffs? That would be like blaming rehab for withdrawals.

 

In a fit of optimism I tuned in the WHO farm show in search of some real journalism. Instead there was Bob Dineen, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, literally whining and crying for the continued damage of the Renewable Fuels Standard. Next up was a Farm Bureau representative talking about the intrusiveness of OSHA inspecting and fining farms for unsafe working conditions. I’m surprised these farm broadcasters aren’t committed as schizophrenics. Basically, they want to ram ethanol down our throats but they don’t want safety rammed down theirs.

 

Then the news of Governor Branstad, who just declared his intent to run for a national record number of years serving special interests on the backs of Iowans, traveling to Washington to beg for continued tax credits for wind power.

 

There is a place for these energy alternatives but the government has no place encouraging, mandating or subsidizing them. Their time will come when they provide the most bang for the buck.

 

At this point someone will surely think of details irrelevant to the issue of government intervention in energy markets, so I will answer now. National security is not enhanced by limiting trade with other nations through “energy independence.” Trade is the only proven path to peace and if you don’t like peace, you are hopeless. Besides all that, domestic oil discoveries are outpacing the growth of demand. If there is a problem with dependence on foreign sources it is because of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). The issues related to human control over the weather (greenhouse gases) are not proven. Even James Hansen (hero of global warming alarmists) has said renewables will do little to change the effect of solar radiation variables on weather.

 

The bottom line is this, we would need no Renewable Fuels Standard if bio fuels were more efficient than fossil fuels. We would need no tax credits for windmills if natural gas did not produce electricity at 20% the cost of wind.

 

When all these scams are found out, who gets the blame? Who pays restitution to all the Iowans who gave up so much in order for a few investors to reap government coerced profits? When corn prices crash and the ethanol plants and turbine factories close, will the “farm guys” give up their spare bedrooms for homeless workers laid off from unsustainable industries?

 

I contend that those who expose and thus limit the damage from this fabricated economy will get the blame for the popped bubble that was blown up in spite of their pleas for sanity. The instigators of these scams will unfortunately go down as heroes who did their best for Iowa just like war-time presidents as opposed to presidents who kept the peace.

 

Personally, I don’t have a lot to complain about. I just bought real gas for twenty cents over 10% ethanol (at that point, real gas still gets me there cheaper). We don’t have windmills in the neighborhood so we can fly on our cover crops and see the whole sky.

 

The thing that bothers me is the impact on the common good. Yep, like a liberal, I can think of that amorphous group of individuals as a singular victim. The rights of individuals to choose their energy without government standards or incentives eventually benefits the common good. But that amorphous group mistakenly believes their leaders have their best interests in mind.

 

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Two new letters to editors

To Popular Mechanics… self explanatory.

Dear Editor,

In the article about Susan W. Kiefer’s book, “The Dynamics of Disaster, (Feb. 2014 Popular Mechanics)” it is so refreshing to read that we are “not likely” to change how the Earth acts on any “significant scale.” The book then goes on to offer actual steps for individuals to deal practically with a changing climate.

Little by little we may come to our senses and discover that the market will direct us with such things as property values and crop rotations as we adjust to our constantly changing planet. This is a much more level-headed approach than the arrogant notion that legislation can influence climate.

And to the War Street Journal… about reduced funding from legal pot reducing asset forfeitures by police.

Dear Editor,

After eighty years of a drug war that has not stopped drug use but turned the U.S. Government into a failed babysitter, we learn in “Legal Marijuana Hits Police Funding” (Jan. 10 Wall Street Journal) the real reason for such a war. It is a tool for funding a bloated law enforcement industry; much of which we wouldn’t need if not for a preponderance of unnecessary and intrusive laws.

In Washington legal pot has caused asset forfeiture to plummet for law enforcement and it is a problem because they can’t afford new equipment, overtime and training. But for what? Catching people labeled as criminals, whose only crime is free market capitalism, so they can steal their property.

Let’s face it, without the drug war many policemen would be faced with the prospect of seeking employment doing constructive work instead of futilely trying to regulate society.

The war on drugs is being won one battle at a time as drug users find their lives are simply more enjoyable without them. And this is happening without the nanny-state’s flawed omnipotence.

One must look at illegality of drugs from the aspect of opportunity cost. What benefit could all the capital invested to battle drug supplies do if it were left in the private sector?

Unpopular Heros

As mentioned in this column before, I’m a movie fan. With divisions of opinion becoming more complicated in our world it was timely to see The Life of Emile Zola about the famous French political journalist.

During the depths of the Great Depression, this movie won the Oscar for best picture in 1938, five years after Franklin Roosevelt’s miraculous recovery. The movie was riveting to me, but then I see muckraking as an honorable and patriotic act.

Emile Zola lived in Paris with the impressionist master Paul Cezanne. He wrote about people like himself, impoverished and on the edge of civilization. When the police were rounding up prostitutes and Nana ducked into a restaurant to escape them, she sat at Cezanne’s and Zola’s table and Zola ended up writing about the woman’s life. The book became a best seller and that lent credibility to Zola’s rants.

He had been under scrutiny by authorities for exposing the incompetence of the military high command that led to slaughter and defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. Now he was turning out best sellers and entered the upper crust and a comfortable life. On the day he received notice of a medal from the government which he had previously tormented, he was also visited by Lucie Dreyfus, whose husband had been unjustly convicted of espionage.

Mrs. Dreyfus had acquired leaked documents proving her husband’s innocence and implicating another officer in the spying. But the establishment military would rather Dreyfus rot on Devil’s Island than admit they had railroaded an innocent man to a “living death.”

Zola’s conscience, with help from Paul Cezanne, wouldn’t let Zola go on without using his notoriety to free Dreyfus. He published an open letter to the president accusing the high command of covering up Dreyfus’ unjust imprisonment and then was arrested and convicted of criminal libel. He fled to England and continued his crusade until the government fell in 1899.

Emile Zola died of carbon monoxide poisoning in 1902. Decades later a roofer claimed, on his deathbed, to have closed the chimney for political reasons.

Does this story sound familiar? Emile Zola was the sort of guy who tried to keep the government honest, like Edward Snowden. Like Snowden, Zola was driven into exile. Like Snowden, the prevailing view was that Zola was a traitor.

Take these facts into account before you judge Snowden to be a traitor. If you are honorable and a patriot, you owe it to your country to read the Constitution. You are warm and snug and well fed because someone like Edward Snowden or Emile Zola came before you to guarantee your right to acquire and use wealth as you see fit.

We are losing the battle. The FBI now uses the cameras on computers used for Skype to watch you in your home. Local police are now using devices that listen in on cell phone conversations. The TSA regularly violates the Fourth Amendment and Americans are thankful for it even though most so-called terrorists were later proven to be government informants.

These precedents may not seem important to us who are law abiding citizens. But when they are in place and the elected government is your enemy instead of your friend, as happened in 1930s Germany, we will see things differently. Rules made in stable times are important to restrain rules made during emotional turmoil. A warrant to spy on everyone at any time is expressly forbidden in Amendment Four.

Director of the NSA, Keith Alexander and National Security Director, James Clapper both lied about the scope and effectiveness of government spying programs. They are the ones who should be in exile or tried for perjury.

Time has proven Emile Zola to be a French national hero. It is said the winners write the history. Let’s hope coming generations of Americans view Edward Snowden as a hero as well.