Sunday, December 26, 2004


The moral high ground is often claimed by and granted to “environmentalist” groups that tend to push a partisan agenda. But citizens need to take a much closer look at the credibility of organizations pushing such dogma before accepting it at face value. The Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, and other eco-activist groups insist, for example, that the Bush administration isn’t just misguided, it’s immoral. Whether “gutting” environmental laws, “waging war” on the environment, or colluding with “polluters,” the dogmatic gist is that “W” stands for “World-killer.” One might expect unimpeachable ethical standards from “white hat” critics like these. However, their notion of ethics leaves many of us scratching our heads.

They oppose oil drilling virtually everywhere, for example, and say we should just drive smaller cars. Unfortunately, reducing the size and weight of cars to help meet mileage standards costs lives: an additional 1,300 to 2,600 fatalities every year, and ten times that many injuries, than if people had been driving bigger cars, according to the National Academy of Sciences. Even if every car on the road were economy-sized, we’d still get thousands of needless injuries and deaths every year in collisions with buses, trucks, trees, and walls. Even worse, the impact is felt most by the poor, who can least afford safety features found in late-model luxury cars. They’re forced to buy older, less high-tech, less safe cars.

It’s curious how environmentalists demand lower arsenic levels in drinking water to prevent a dozen theoretical cancer deaths a year. But they ignore this very real carnage on our roads and demand even tougher mileage standards and the elimination of sport utility vehicles, even though many Americans choose to drive bigger vehicles to give them an extra margin of safety, or to haul boats, kids, or construction tools.

As for global warming, which radical environmentalists claim is exacerbated by SUVs, our planet has warmed a degree since 1900. But catastrophic global climate change theories are supported only by unreliable computer models and ground temperature gauges that are contaminated by urban heat. They are not backed by satellite or weather balloon data, which show little recent warming, or by 18,000 scientists who have signed a petition saying they see “no convincing evidence that humans are disrupting the earth’s climate.” The Kyoto climate treaty and other “solutions” would do almost nothing to stabilize greenhouse gases or reduce global warming. However, they would send energy prices soaring. In future cold snaps and heat waves, thousands could die because heating and air conditioning would become unaffordable for many, especially minorities and the elderly.

Studies by the U.S. government and a coalition of minority business groups found that the treaty could cost over 3 million American jobs, including 800,000 in black and 500,000 in Hispanic communities. Minority family incomes could plummet by $2,000 or more. The payoff for all this misery? Average global temperatures would rise by 0.2 degrees less than if the treaty had never been implemented, according to studies reported in Nature magazine and by the U.S. Energy Information Agency.

Our planet’s poorest and most powerless people are already imperiled by policies intended to prevent theoretical climate change. Over two billion Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans still do not have electricity, and activists tell them they must be content with wind generators or little solar panels on their huts, because fossil fuel plants would cause global warming, hydroelectric plants would dam up scenic rivers, and nuclear power is simply taboo. “Socially responsible” organizations like the World Bank, Citigroup, and Bank of America have succumbed to these claims and now refuse to fund such projects. So millions of people continue to die every year in these countries from lung diseases, because they have to burn wood, grass, and animal dung. Millions more die from drinking contaminated water, because they lack electricity to purify and transport safe water, or to operate clinics.

“Ethical” greens also oppose pesticides that could slash malaria rates, preventing progress against a disease that infects 300 million people yearly, killing 2 million of them. They also battle biotechnology, ignoring the productivity gains that such technology brings with it. Meanwhile, malnutrition strikes down millions of children every year, and leaves others too weak to survive other diseases.

These are bedrock ethical issues. Why do environmentalists rarely discuss them? “Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you.” Healthy, well-off First World activists and politicians repeatedly violate this version of the Golden Rule, to ward off distant, speculative, relatively minor dangers, while preventing Third World citizens from addressing very real, immediate threats that are literally killing them and their children.

Environmentalists who disregard the unintended consequences of the policies they advocate fail to assess adequately the ethical implications of those policies. We need to bring honesty, ethics, and humanity back into our environmental debates. A first step toward helping the poorest among us take their rightful place among the Earth’s healthy and prosperous is rejecting Green authoritarianism, both at home and abroad.



Yushchenko PROVES it is all hype

It's perhaps fitting that dioxin was used in the attempted political murder of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko. That's because dioxin is the most politicized chemical in history. It's notorious for its role at New York's Love Canal and Missouri's Times Beach, but primarily as an ingredient in the defoliant Agent Orange. Yet Yushchenko is alive because what's been called "the most deadly chemical known" is essentially a myth.

Dioxin is an unwanted by-product of incineration, uncontrolled burning and certain industrial processes such as bleaching. It was also formerly in trace amounts in herbicides and liquid soaps. We all carry dioxin in our fat and blood. But Dutch researchers said Yushchenko's exposure, probably from poisoned food, was about 6,000 times higher than average. So why, as the Munchkin coroner said of the Wicked Witch of the East, isn't Yushchenko "not only merely dead" but "really most sincerely dead"?

The "deadly dioxin" legend began with, of all things, guinea pigs. When fed to them in studies, they did fall over like furry tenpins. Yet hamsters could absorb 1,000 times as much dioxin before emitting their last squeals and other animals seemed impervious to the stuff. Further, the animal deaths were from acute poisoning. Yet as a matter of convenience for activists, it not only became accepted that guinea pigs are the best animal model for humans but also that dioxin is a powerful carcinogen.

The original promoters of the humans-are-like-guinea-pigs legend were Vietnam activists. Agent Orange, which contained a trace of dioxin, effectively stripped away the jungle canopy that hid communist forces. So the enemy and its U.S. sympathizers claimed it was poisoning not just trees but humans. Pressured by these "humanitarians" the military quit spraying in 1971, giving back the enemy his sanctuary from which to kill our troops.

From there, the myth snowballed. After it was found in the goop on which homeowners in Love Canal, New York had built their houses, every illness in the area was blamed not just on the contamination generally but often specifically on dioxin. Likewise for when some yahoo knowingly sprayed dioxin-containing oil near Times Beach to keep down road dust and a flood then swept it into the town. Both areas were ordered evacuated. But "Numerous studies found no excess illness in either area and today children again play in the dirt at Love Canal," notes Michael Gough, a biologist who was chairman of a federal advisory panel concerning Agent Orange from 1990 to 1995. Nevertheless, the cleanup of dioxin-contaminated areas continues to cost U.S. industry a fortune.

As to Vietnam vets, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that despite the earnest beliefs of many vets, "The blood [dioxin] levels of the Vietnam veterans were nearly identical to the levels found among the non-Vietnam veterans." Further, "levels were not related to the estimate of Agent Orange exposure based on either military records or self-reported exposure. Only those who did the actual spraying, members of Operation Ranch Hand, actually got significant doses.

Some did develop the same awful skin disease Yushchenko suffers, called chloracne. But that was only from direct contact with their skin, and they developed no other symptoms at the time. Since then the Air Force has continually monitored them, finding no unusual rates of any illness save for an alleged slight excess of diabetes. Yet a government study of American chemical workers with higher dioxin exposure found no excess diabetes. The Ranch Hands also have only half the normal rate of stomach cancers.

Chloracne was also the only serious symptom in the highest exposures of dioxin ever recorded, in which one young Austrian woman had about 16,000 times the normal body level, while another had 2,900 times the normal level. (Interestingly, the women were given the snack chip fat substitute olestra to help her excrete the dioxin faster. Not exactly a selling point for selling potato chips but . . .) "We don't know of a single person who has ever died of acute dioxin poisoning," says Robert Golden, president of the Maryland-based consulting firm ToxLogic....

The massive dioxin disinformation campaign has caused tremendous harm. But for Yushchenko it was a godsend. He'll look terrible for some time; but he's alive. Had the would-be assassin instead used a few drops of old-fashioned strychnine or even a teaspoon of the vital nutrient iron, Yushchenko wouldn't be running for president; he'd be pushing up Ukrainian daisies. Fortunately, the culprit bought into the myth that began with a guinea pig.

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

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