December 20, 2010

Lucid Links (122010, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:04 am

Powerline goes back to a UK Independent item by the almost eponymously-named Charles Onians from March 2000 claiming that:

Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

… Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community.

… According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

East Anglia’s CRU was the source of the Climategate e-mails, including the smoking gun e-mail from Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, to which yours truly devoted a column a bit over a year ago.

As to those predictions that kids would rarely see snow, that’s a big “Oops”:

Christmas travel plans ruined for half a million air passengers
The boss of Britain’s busiest airport was facing mounting anger after the Christmas travel plans of half a million air passengers were ruined.

… As passengers were forced to sleep in terminal buildings for a third night, there was mounting criticism of BAA, the airport operator.

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, rang Colin Matthews, the chief executive of BAA, to demand answers over why the airport had failed to cope.

Well, if you’re misled by a bunch of agenda-driven pseudo-scientists into thinking that snow is essentially a thing of the past, you don’t prepare for it.

Believing in globaloney (my shorthand for the belief that dangerous global warming is occurring, that human activity is its primary cause, and that only radical, statist controls on every aspect of our lives will prevent it) to the point where it’s “accepted as a reality” — even though it has long since been exposed as possibly the greatest hoax ever attempted on mankind, and definitely “the worst scientific scandal of our generation” — has painful real-world consequences.

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Statism on the march: “Chavez defends plan for Internet regulations.”

Chavez’s congressional allies are considering extending the “Social Responsibility Law” for broadcast media to the Internet, banning messages that “disrespect public authorities,” “incite or promote hatred” or crimes, or are aimed at creating “anxiety” in the population.

Softer but still very real statism on the march, via Federal Communications Commission member Robert McDowell at the Wall Street Journal:

The FCC’s Threat to Internet Freedom
‘Net neutrality’ sounds nice, but the Web is working fine now. The new rules will inhibit investment, deter innovation and create a billable-hours bonanza for lawyers.

… It wasn’t long ago that bipartisan and international consensus centered on insulating the Internet from regulation. This policy was a bright hallmark of the Clinton administration, which oversaw the Internet’s privatization. Over time, however, the call for more Internet regulation became imbedded into a 2008 presidential campaign promise by then-Sen. Barack Obama. So here we are.

… Congress has never given the FCC the power to regulate the Internet.

… To date, the FCC hasn’t ruled out increasing its power further by using the phone monopoly laws, directly or indirectly regulating rates someday, or expanding its reach deeper into mobile broadband services. The most expansive regulatory regimes frequently started out modest and innocuous before incrementally growing into heavy-handed behemoths.

… On this winter solstice, we will witness jaw-dropping interventionist chutzpah as the FCC bypasses branches of our government in the dogged pursuit of needless and harmful regulation. The darkest day of the year may end up marking the beginning of a long winter’s night for Internet freedom.

Anyone who thinks that the ultimate agenda isn’t regulation of speech, or that McDowell is engaging in hysteria, clearly hasn’t followed the career of current FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. An Investors Business Daily editorial, also observing that the UN is again opportunistically making noises about getting its hands on the Internet in the wake of the WikiLeaks releases, describes what’s at stake:

America’s own Federal Communications Commission is days away — Dec. 21 — from voting on net neutrality, a policy in which the government dictates how Internet service providers handle the traffic that flows over their infrastructure.

This policy, as we’ve said before, would institute a dangerous system that would violate free speech and property rights.

To Genachowski, that’s a feature, not a bug.

An early December IBD editorial asserted that so-called Net Neutrality that the FCC’s intended moves are all about “silencing a conduit for the truth that keeps us free,” coming from “an administration intent on controlling the free flow of information that it views as a threat to its expanding power.” Exactly.

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This link is to the “Black Farmers Settlement” tag at BigGovernment.com.

Readers here will recall from this BizzyBlog post in July that Shirley Sherrod was a significant plaintiff in the relevant Pigford case, which started out being about compensating Southern black farmers for discrimination they allegedly suffered at the hands of USDA in previous decades, and turned into a feeding trough for fraudulent claimants and trial lawyers.

Sherrod and her husband Charles received almost $13 million in a separate settlement with USDA relating to their long-defunct New Communities “farming co-op” mere days before she was named Georgia Director for Rural Development by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

In August, Ron Wilkins at Counterpunch documented “The Other Side of Shirley Sherrod,” which included (also documented by PJM’s Zombie):

  • Paying farm workers as little as 67¢ per hour, far below minimum wage for the era.
  • Employing underage children to perform hard labor.
  • Compelling their employees to work in unsafe conditions, including getting sprayed with pesticides.
  • Firing any workers who acted as whistleblowers.
  • Forcing employees to work overtime in the fields at night with practically no advance notice.
  • Having a capricious payscale under which employees doing the exact same jobs were paid different amounts according to the whims of the managers.
  • Being unwilling to address the abuse even after it was raised by union representatives.
  • Seriously mismanaging the farm to such an extent that it went bankrupt.

If anyone is owed settlement money, it’s the workers the Sherrods exploited in the name of their “community.”

Zombie got off to a head start on this in late July (“86,000 claims from 39,697 total farmers?”), but Big Gov has gone much further, exposing the Pigford effort and the case’s settlement as corrupt and scandal-ridden to its core. Some examples:

  • Via Lee Stranahan — “Othello Cross, an attorney for Pigford claimants with about fifteen years of experience on the case, admits that he is personally aware of hundreds of cases of fraud in the state of Arkansas alone. Furthermore, he explains how easy it was to commit that fraud and receive a $50,000 check from the government; it’s appropriate to deduce from Cross’s revealing statement that the actual number of fraudulent claims is likely much higher than the hundreds he knows about.”
  • In at least one instance, when the scam artists started fighting over divvying up settlement money, people were murdered.
  • From Publius — “Pigford Witness Report: 700 Claims Filed with My Name on Them, Many From Hundreds of Miles Away”
  • There’s also more than a little support for the notion (here and here) that the settlement is the result of political payoffs to presidential candidate Obama.
  • Publius shows that on many Pigford applications, “the stories they write on the application are clearly boilerplate, probably done by the same paralegal. Some of the words are even misspelled consistently through the documents.”

There’s sooo much more at BigGov’s tagged stories. Meanwhile, crickets chirp in the establishment press.

Despite the mountain of evidence, President Obama says that the $4.6 billion Pigford settlement “closes a long and unfortunate chapter in our history … It’s finally time to make things right.”

The Pigford settlement does not “set things right.” It largely if not mostly rewards criminals.

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