Conversations with a Liberal about GMOs

By: George Noga – December 1, 2013
       Recently I spent a week on the Hawaiian isle of Kauai. My visit coincided with a major political brouhaha about genetically modified organisms or “GMOs”. The residents were up in arms against agricultural interests that produce GMO seeds (mostly corn) there. In response, the local government passed a sweeping new law placing  restrictions on GMOs. Opposition is not restricted to Kauai as there are anti-GMO laws pending in several US states and Europeans’ loathing of GMOs borders on hysteria.
“GMOs are mentioned in the Bible – Genesis 30:25-43.”
       Genetic engineering is timeless. Selective breeding was practiced on corn at the dawn of human agriculture 10,000 years ago.  It is mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 30:25-43).  If you own a dog, it is safe to say it has gone through extensive genetic modifications. Circa 1973 man acquired the technology to modify DNA directly rather than via breeding. Since that time there have been many thousands of GMOs and in the subsequent 40 years not one person anywhere on the planet has experienced an ill effect – even a bellyache – from GMOs.
       While in Kauai I had the opportunity to talk with a liberal opponent of GMOs. The conversation went something like the following:
MLLG (Me): I don’t understand why you are so opposed to GMOs. They produce much more food more safely on significantly less land thus benefiting both humanity and the environment.
LIBERAL: I am against big corporations profiting from GMOs. If GMOs are that good, why are there still so many people in the world starving?
MLLG: The short answer is that  hunger today is primarily due to logistics and government interference. Surely GMOs have vastly alleviated hunger; India has become an exporter of rice.
MLLG: Even with the prices companies charge for GMO seeds, farmers in third world nations come out way ahead in the long run. They willingly spend their own money in a free market because their calculus is they will benefit at the prices they are paying. Fifteen million small farmers owning only  a few acres each in developing nations buy and plant GMO seeds.
LIBERAL: It is not right that big companies profit; in particular granting corporations patents on life forms is objectionable as it forces people to pay year after year for the same seeds. Moreover, large corporations take legal action against small farmers who copy the seeds.
MLLG: If businesses did not protect their patents they would go out of business and there  never again would be new life-saving GMO products created and everyone would be worse off.
LIBERAL: It is simply obscene and unacceptable for giant multinational corporations to go after small third world farmers struggling to get by.
MLLG: Isn’t copying the seeds without a patent the same as stealing?
LIBERAL: No, because the corporations acquired the patents unjustly; patents on plants, animals or genes must not be granted; these should be owned in common by all of humanity.
MLLG: You seem to hate bigness; are you aware GM crops are subject to hyper regulation? Because of the cost and complexity imposed by governments, only large multinational companies can afford to comply. Furthermore, small companies grow into  big companies only if they benefit a great many people by providing products they value and voluntarily purchase. Incidentally, do you also hate bigness in government? Never mind that – it was just rhetorical.
LIBERAL: It is not right for anyone to profit from something so basic as DNA or life forms; the technology should be posted on the internet or otherwise be placed in the public domain.
MLLG: It costs an enormous amount to research, test and produce successful GM crops. There are huge costs to comply with government rules and the Cartagena  Protocol on Biosafety. Without the profit motive, patents and patent enforcement, how could GMO technology exist?
LIBERAL: Governments or universities (with government grants) could do the job.
MLLG: Name anything government does well or a product produced by a university?
LIBERAL: Governments build good roads and bridges.
MLLG: Actually, governments contract with private for-profit companies to build these things.
MLLG: One final question: I know you also believe climate change poses an existential threat to humanity and you contemptuously dismiss those who disagree as being opposed to science. Given that situation, your opposition to biotechnology seems irreconcilable with your stance on climate. Your opposition to GMOs doesn’t appear to be based on science but on ideology and politics because  of your animus and antipathy toward free markets and private enterprise.
LIBERAL: I fail to see the connection.

Why Everyone Was Wrong About Man-made Global Warming

Why So Many Were So Wrong For So Long

 By: George Noga – November 23, 2013
      Buried deep in the bowels of the new UN-IPCC report is a scientific consensus that  global warming has been, is now and will continue to be a net benefit to humanity and to our planet into the 22nd century. This post dissects how liberals, as well as many people of good will, could be so wrong for so long and why many cling to the man-made warming myths and won’t abnegate despite a preponderance of evidence they are wrong.
  1. They wanted to believe. Liberals  were eager to believe because warming is a key tenet of their religion; they blindly and uncritically accepted man-made warming. They swallowed all the warming myths just as they gullibly bought into earlier panics about  fluoridation, pesticides, vaccines, overpopulation, swordfish overfishing, Mad Cow, SARS, landfill shortage, Avian Flu, Thimerosal, Swine Flu, global cooling, electromagnetic transmission, Laetrile, Alar, silicon implants, GMOs, dioxin, PCBs, BPA, pink slime and ad infinitum. Non liberals believed because they trusted government and the statist media. They couldn’t conceive so many people, so powerful would lie for so long.

  2. They confused politics and science – either intentionally or with reckless disregard. The UN-IPCC always was more about politics than science. The summary reports were the only ones the media read; these were prepared by appointed political bureaucrats pushing a big government agenda. The summaries often contradicted the main body of the report. Al Gore and the now infamous “Earth in the Balance” and “An Inconvenient Truth”  never were anything but advocacy pieces and  affronts to truth, science and logic.

  3. They vastly overestimated the number of scientists believing in man-made warming. There probably never was a majority who bought into the IPCC party line; many opponents were too afraid to speak up. Most scientists supporting anthropogenic warming were corrupted, or at least tainted, by past, present and hoped-for-future government grants; hence, they were not independent. Liberals chose to ignore the large number of  independent, non-tainted scientists who were critical. There always was a large cohort, now a large and increasing majority, who did not accept the warmist mythology.

  4. They failed to understand and to respect the nature of science. With reference to number 3 supra, the number of scientists who believed or disbelieved was meaningless and is antithetical to science. Science is about the scientific method – objective proof and replication and decidedly is not about opinion polls of scientists. Far too much faith was placed in computer models – now disgraced and discredited – which also is not science.

  5. They ignored powerful and abundant warning signs they were wrong: (1) No scientists or warming advocates (Al Gore) would debate. If the science truly were settled, the pro warming advocates should have been eager for a debate as they could have crushed their opponents. (2) Temperature readings elsewhere in the solar system moved in lockstep with Earth’s providing powerful evidence warming was solar and not man-made. (3) The Antarctic icecap (10 times the size of the Arctic icecap) has been increasing. (4)  There has been no observed warming for the past 17 years. (5) Vast unexplained discrepancies arose between real world events and climate computer models. (6) There was mounting evidence that warming, far from being a grave peril, was a boon to both man and planet.
      Even if the warmists had been right, their proposed cures were disastrous. Their cure was to bankrupt the entire planet to bring about tiny marginal gains over a great period of time. They would have wrought untold misery for everyone. If we instead followed policies promoting economic growth, the increased wealth generated over time would have permitted even Bangladesh to build a world class (think Holland) flood control system long before it was needed. Moreover, the Bangladeshis would all have been rich rather than impoverished by liberal dogma. The liberal solution was to destroy Bangladesh in order to save it.
“From fluoridation to pink slime and everything in between, liberalism is a lie.” 
     Liberal religion always trumps truth, science and logic. Liberals have been wrong since at least the 1950s – from fluoridation to pink slime and everything in between. Even rats eventually learn to avoid electrical shocks – but then again it is not about religion to them.
     There is no significant anthropogenic warming and natural solar warming is a benefit to our planet and to all its denizens – perhaps until the 22nd century. Get used to it and learn to like it!

IPCC: Global Warming Net Benefit to Humanity

By: George Noga – November 15, 2013
       On September 27, 2013 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”) released a 30-page Summary for Policymakers (“SPM”) purporting to cover the full 2,000+ page report which will not be released until January 2014. Earlier this year I plowed through a leaked draft of the 2,000 pages which, to use Churchillian construction, “by its very length defends itself against the risk of being read“.
“Warming has been and is a benefit to mankind and our planet and will continue to be a positive force until the beginning of the 22nd century.”
     The blockbuster consensus in the full IPCC report is that global warming has been a net benefit to humanity, is currently a boon to mankind and will continue to provide net benefits until perhaps early in the next century. The report lists several benefits which include:
  1. In the 20th century warming increased human welfare by over 1% of global economic output. The benefit increases to about 1.5% between now and 2050. After 2080 there remains a better than even chance that warming will remain a net benefit to mankind.

  2. Deaths due to cold weather outstrip ill effects from warm weather – by a factor of 10.

  3. Warming produces better agricultural yields, lowers energy costs, causes fewer droughts, results in more rainfall, enhances forest growth, does not cause extreme weather and even fosters increased biodiversity. Moreover, it primarily benefits the poorest among us.

  4. The greatest benefit to humanity comes not from higher temperatures but from more carbon dioxide which promotes plant growth and food production.
  5. Don’t forget the record number of polar bears who are thriving on the broken ice.

  6. The report also states all the computer models are broken and invalid; there has been no observed warming for nearly 20 years; and future temperature rises will be minimal.

Media Reaction: Ignore Good News; Cherry-pick Bad News

      Given this sanguine news from the IPCC, the same folks who originally created the global warming panic, what have the media reported? Have you seen anywhere  that warming is a veritable blessing for mankind and the overall effect of warming will be positive for many future generations for man and planet? Instead, you see execrable and jejune reporting such as:
  • Scientists are more sure than ever about man’s role in causing warming. This is a canard. The confidence level (totally subjective) increased 5.6% (from 90% to 95%). This is akin to reporting a gaggle of appointed apparatchiks from NRA are now 5% surer than they once were that gun ownership is a benefit based on studies by several gun manufacturers.

  • Regurgitating stories about the shrinking arctic icecap and melting Greenland ice. I have never read anything in the statist sychophant media that the Antarctic icecap – which is 10 times the size of the Arctic icecap – has been expanding and more than offsets the much lesser decrease in the Arctic icecap. More to the point, isn’t warming in Greenland a good thing? That is why Vikings settled Greenland in the first place during earlier warmings.

  • Attempting to explain away the lack of warming by reporting the heat is being trapped deep in the oceans – something that can’t be proven or disproven. This is pure witchcraft.
     The SPM was not prepared by scientists but by partisan, appointed UN bureaucrats who have a strong vested interest in promoting global warming panic. The 30-page SPM contradicts some parts of the full report. That likely explains why the SPM was released in September and the full report not until January – so that it can be reverse engineered to comport with the SPM.
Bottom line: It no longer really matters to what extent, if any, warming is manmade inasmuch as it is a godsend to both man and planet – and this from the same folks who brought about the panic in the first place.

Memo to readers:  Part two (next week) of this posting explains how and why so many people (many of good will) were so wrong for so long about manmade global warming and why even today a great many still choose to cling to superstition, myth, religion and outright falsehoods.

“He Came – He Saw – He Capitulated”

Syria is to Obama as Munich is to Chamberlain

 By: George Noga – October 1, 2013
        The headline above is a quote from Churchill; he made the remark about a British general (Monro) who upon being placed in command of the Battle for Gallipoli in WWI recommended an immediate evacuation of all Allied forces without further fighting. Churchillian  phrasing is apropos because he also succeeded Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister following Chamberlain’s disastrous appeasement of Hitler at Munich. More Churchillian wisdom infra.
       Lest anyone believe it is unfair to compare Obama to Chamberlain, you should know the first person to bring up Syria and Munich together was none other than John Kerry. Initially Kerry came on strong calling Assad’s  use of chemical weapons “indiscriminate, inconceivable horror . . . an unspeakable crime . . . a crime against conscious, a crime against humanity” Kerry then went on to call Syria’s use of chemical weapons  “this century’s Munich moment“.
      A mere three days later Kerry again spoke publicly stating the US military response would be “very limited and very targeted” and further stated it would be “unbelievably small“. So, a crime that Kerry terms “inconceivable horror” is to receive an “unbelievably small” response. Of course, it gets even worse; Putin adroitly followed up an inept Kerry slip of the tongue and it seems there will be no response at all except to (maybe) take away some of Assad’s deadly toys.
      This is appeasement pure and simple, which is defined as: to yield or concede to demands based on belligerance (actual or threatened) at the expense of principle. Just as with Hitler and Chamberlain, this is only the beginning of the price we and our friends will pay; consider:
  • Despots and thugs everywhere now know using chemical weapons works. In Syria it worked to terrorize the regime’s enemies while also saving Assad’s regime.
  • Cameron, Hollande, Netanyahu and all our allies now distrust Obama and will seek to make accommodations with our enemies – or at the very least to hedge their bets.
  • Bashar al-Assad is transformed from a war criminal into a negotiating partner.
  • The Middle East will become a much more volatile and dangerous place.
  • Terrorists will be encouraged to plan bigger and more unthinkable actions.
  • Obama’s red lines and incessant bluffing are exposed as worse than meaningless.
  • Vladimir Putin has taken Obama’s measure and now can play him like a drum.
  • North Korea knows we are toothless and South Korea has good cause to worry.
  • Iran can go nuclear with impunity – its centrifuges are humming as you read this.
  • The world will be a much more dangerous place especially as we deeply cut our military.
       On October 5, 1938 following Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement  Churchill said: “People should know the truth; we have sustained a defeat without a war. And do not suppose that this (Munich) is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year.” And so it is today!
“You were given the choice between war and dishonor.
You chose dishonor and you will have war.”
       Immediately after Chamberlain returned from Munich, Churchill said the following: You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.”Obama has chosen appeasement and has opened Pandora’s box. In Greek mythology opening Pandora’s box meant performing an action that, in and of itself may seem inconsequential at the time, but turns out to have severe and far-reaching consequences. Oh yes – and in mythology Pandora’s box contained all the evils of the world.

Note to readers:  The next posting will not be until mid November. I am off on assignment to Hawaii to research a future blog post. The Aloha state has been under total liberal dominance for well over a half century and has the most politically monolithic top-to-bottom government in America. Hawaii also has an uber-serious debt crisis despite the highest income tax rates in the USA.  It has record food stamp, homeless and unemployment numbers and a serious drug problem. Have liberals screwed up paradise?

More Montana Moments

By: George Noga – September 24, 2013
        I didn’t see it coming. My lighthearted September 10 posting, Montana Moments, drew an exceptional number of favorable comments from readers – enough to elicit a sequel. I love northwest Montana and probably would move there if I were younger. Make no mistake, however; things there are different. Just how different are they?
        Recently in Florida I saw a small boy riding a tricycle in his yard with his parents hovering nearby. Even though his head couldn’t have been more than a few feet off the ground and it is hard to fall from a tricycle, he was wearing a helmet. This is not something you would see in Montana where young boys wearing helmets often means they are riding 500 pound bulls.
“In Montana eight (8) year old boys ride 500 pound bulls.”
      Every Thursday during the summer there is a rodeo behind the Blue Moon roadhouse in  Columbia Falls, Montana. In a typical week, up to ten boys as young as eight (8) compete in bull riding. I once was seated next to a woman who volunteered she was nervous because her son, who just turned 8, was riding a bull for the first time. There are precautions: the bulls are younger, the tips of their horns are cut back and the boys wear helmets. Nevertheless, ample danger remains from a contest pitting a 50 pound boy against a cantankerous 500 pound bull.
       Nor is it uncommon at these rodeos to see young kids with Crocodile Dundee type hunting knives sheathed and strapped to their belts and freely mingling with the 1,000 to 2,000 folks normally in attendance. Imagine for a moment the utter consternation that would ensue if a few kids turned up at a Florida junior high school football game wearing similar knives.
“Toy guns are not necessary in Montana; kids get real guns.”
      Let’s progress from knives to guns. Throughout much of the USA (especially in blue states) it is impossible to find a toy gun in a store. In Montana toy guns are not necessary as kids age 6  and even younger get real guns, and just not BB guns or pellet guns. This is not vastly different than the norms when I was growing up. All of us boys had BB guns by age 6, pellet guns by age 10 and .22 rifles by age 13. In the Orlando of the 1950s and 1960s no one considered it threatening to see 12-14 year old boys walking around residential subdivisions with .22 rifles.
       An 11 year old can  obtain a Montana hunting license and a youth’s first hunting license is free. Montana has special hunting seasons set aside strictly for youth ages 11-15. Youth deer hunting season is coming up October 17-18. In past years the two days of youth deer hunting season (always the Thursday and Friday before the regular deer season opens on Saturday) were so popular that few students attended school. Recently the state of Montana recognized this and now there is no school held during youth deer hunting season. For comparison, I checked on youth hunting in Florida. Generally and with only a few exceptions youth starts at age 16.
        Ultimately it comes to this. Would you like to live and raise a family where people are comfortable with 6 year olds having guns, 8 year olds riding bulls, kids wearing hunting knives at public events and 11 year olds hunting elk? Or, would you rather live where parents force tykes to wear helmets while riding tricycles in their yard? I may not have chosen for my son to ride a bull at age 8 but I would like to live where parents are free to make those choices.

A Half Century of Liberal Governance 

By: George Noga – September 17, 2013
       Suppose, just suppose, there was a place in America where we could test and showcase liberal ideas for over a half century of continuous governance according to strict progressive shibboleths. Surely such a place, if it existed, would prove beyond doubt that liberalism works. Surely its economy would thrive and  hordes of people would move there. Surely it would bring about a veritable Xanadu and demonstrate once and for all the bankruptcy and depravity of capitalism, free markets and conservatism.
       Suppose such a place had no right to work law, strict gun control and a living wage far above the federal minimum wage. Suppose its schools spent far above the national average per pupil and both its government and private sector workers were heavily unionized with truly exceptional pay, benefits and job security. Suppose its tax system aggressively redistributed income from business and the wealthy to the poor. Suppose continuously since 1962 it had been governed at all levels by liberal Democrats. Such a place actually does exist; it is called Detroit.
       What has happened to this liberal paragon under a half century of progressive stewardship? Its population dropped 62%; over 1.1 million people have fled this leftist Xanadu, preferring instead putative free market hell holes. It has massive corruption, 16% unemployment and only 7% of students are proficient in reading. It has 80,000 abandoned  buildings, resembling Tokyo after the fire bombing. It has $20 billion in official debt and billions more in unfunded liabilities. It had the highest per capita income of any large American city in 1950; today it is the second poorest. It has the second highest murder rate of any American city. It repels people possessing skill, ambition, talent and entrepreneurial instinct. And it is bankrupt.
       Of course, liberals don’t accept any responsibility; the best they can do is blame corporations; how utterly lame is that? Does this mean businesses therefore are responsbile for successful cities? And it isn’t just Detroit; the 10 poorest large cities in the USA according to the Census Bureau all have been under liberal Democratic rule for decades, many for over a half century – the same is largely true of states and, for that matter, countries.
      Liberalism is shown to be a complete and abject failure wherever it is tried; Detroit is merely the latest poster city. Liberals won’t accept blame because to do so would expose progressivism for what it truly is – an engine for corruption, unemployment, economic disaster, crime, blight, failed schools and untold human misery. Over 1.1 million people have voted with their feet to get the heck out. Most fundamentally, liberalism failed because liberalism is a lie!

Fix Detroit Overnight: Declare it a Free City

      When I write about a problem, I usually include a solution. What Detroit needs is the dead opposite of what has made it a veritable hell-on-earth. Serendipitously, this would serve as a further, albeit unnecessary, test of capitalist, free market principles such as those that have transformed Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and  all places they have been implemented. The solution is elegantly simple: first thing tomorrow morning declare Detroit a free city.
“Declare Detroit a free city tomorrow; it will become a beacon for
the rest of America  – showing the path to liberty and prosperity.”
      The free city declaration would include total economic freedom, secure property rights impartial courts and basic criminal justice. All federal and state taxes and regulations – along with federal and state aid – would be abolished. All existing public contracts, pensions and employment would be terminated. There would be no OSHA, EEOC, IRS, HHS, EPA, ObamaCare, immigration controls, minimum wage, zoning, inspections, licensing, gun control;  you get the picture. All government services would be privatized. Public education would be 100% voucherized and non union. To cap it off, everything would be guaranteed for 50 years!
      Success would not come overnight, but come it would and in much less than the 50 years it took to create the disaster that is today’s Detroit. Expect to be flabbergasted by the hard working, ambitious and talented entrepreneurs who flood into the new free city of Detroit. You will be equally amazed by the outpouring of energy and enthusiasm of ordinary people sensing  opportunity. It will become a showcase for the best America has to offer. The new free city of Detroit will become a beacon for the rest of America showing the way to liberty and prosperity.

Montana Moments: Vignettes From the Treasure State

By: George Noga – September 10, 2013
       We just returned from our eighth summer in Whitefish, Montana (population 6,400) and I wanted to share some of my favorite Montana moments. Life in Montana is  quite different (in both a positive and refreshing way) from that to which we have become accustomed in Central Florida. In many ways it is reminiscent of life in America as I remember it growing up in the 1950s. However, the first thing that impresses you about Montana – other than the ubiquitous Ron Paul signs – is its size.
       A friend who knows we summer in Whitefish told me he bought a ranch east of Billings whereupon I promply interjected that we would have to get together over the summer. He retorted that it would be a 500 mile drive. Driving Montana east to west is over 700 miles and takes 12+ hours. I made the mistake visiting Europeans often make; they are used to a European scale. If they are in Glacier National Park (near Whitefish) they look at a map and conclude they can drive to Chicago the next day – actually it is 1,600 miles and over 24 hours of driving.
       During our first summer in Whitefish we were unable to find national newspapers like The Wall Street Journal or USA Today. One day we drove by a large general store and I asked my wife to run in to see if they carried any of the aforementioned papers. She asked the perky 16 year old young lady who waited on her if the store had USA Today. The teenage girl pondered the question for a few moments and replied: “We don’t consider ourselves part of the USA.”
“There is no crying in Montana.”
      Nearby Kalispell, a larger town of 20,000 souls, has its quota of big box stores – the kind that has alarms that go off should customers leave without having the anti-shoplifting tags removed. The alarms go off frequently and the explanation is nearly always the same. The customers are packing heat and simply forgot to leave their guns in the car.
       Once I was about to begin a round of golf with a group of my golf buddies (all from Montana) when the starter unexpectedly permitted a group of women to go ahead of us even though they did not have a tee time. When questioned about this by one of our group, the starter replied that one of the women had cried and he felt sorry for her. One of my Montana friends promptly asserted: “There is no crying in golf“. The words were scarcely out of his mouth when the other two Montanans exclaimed in unision: “There is no crying in Montana“!
“Welcome to Montana – Now go home.”
     Perhaps our favorite Montana moment is the local police blotter which is published faithfully and in its entirety by the local paper. Following is a selection of entries from just one week.
  • A man reported his rabbit ran away and has yet to return.
  • A lethargic alpaca was reported to be without food; the animal warden found him healthy.
  • A man was seen yelling and waving a shovel as he rode his bicycle.
  • Someone reported a suspicious person in a store; it turned out to be an employee.
  • A man claimed his brother stole his gun; he later found it under his blanket.
  • An angry man claimed that when he attempted to grab a dollar bill from the ground, it was jerked away by a boy who had attached it to his fishing pole.
       Perhaps you now can better understand the many charms of Montana and why most locals fervently seek to discourage others from moving here. They want to put up signs at all the state borders that read: Welcome to Montana – Now go home.

Reflections on the Boston Marathon Tragedy

By: George Noga – July 31, 2013
      Sufficient time has passed to allow sober reflections on events surrounding the Boston Marathon tragedy. My impression at the time they were unfolding was that the police have undergone a transmogrification to become much more like the military while, at the same time, the military is being forced to act more like civilian police. These role reversals are disastrous for both institutions as well as the American people.
“Police have become like the military and the military like the police. This is disastrous for police, the military and the American people.”
        Ultimately, the problems with police stem from the fact government has a monoply on the use of legally sanctioned force. Absent strict civilian controls, the natural order of things is the same as in any other monoply, i.e. over time policing becomes more and more autocratic and forfeits the erstwhile support of many citizens. The situation is exacerbated by virtue of police work being a closed subculture that attracts recruits from only a narrow band of society. Once initiated into the police fraternity, there is a special bonding and little openness to civil society.
        That was the situation in Boston. Even before the marathon, Bostonians were under virtual siege. They were hectored about drinking and rowdiness during the marathon, prohibited from gathering on their own porches and roofs and warned there would be zero tolerance. In a true civil society, it should be the citizens who tell the police what conduct is to be permitted. The good people of Boston circa 1770-1776 never would have tolerated such police misconduct.
       It was no surprise therefore when, following the bombing, thousands of police arrived including SWAT teams in armored personnel carriers resembling Star Wars Imperial Troopers. It had the feel of martial law or a coup in a banana republic. They shut down transportation, confined citizens to homes and behaved like an occupying force and all just to find one terrorist. Although I found this garish display of force out of proportion, the people of Boston didn’t as evidenced by their enthusiastically applauding the police when the manhunt was over.
“Private cameras photographed Tsarnevs. Private citizens identified them. A private citizen found Dzhokhar. Government failed Boston.”

      What lessons are we to take away from all this? Following are the top five.

  1. Police should act like police not the army. There must be civilian control and oversight. Non political leaders of civil society must be appointed to exercise the oversight and must resist regulatory capture, i.e. when over time, they become apoligists for the police.
  2. We need to open up police work to a wide swath of society and encourage police not to be insular. Myths need to be dispelled; police are not among the top 10 most hazardous jobs. Citizens are nearly 10 times more likely to be killed by police than by a terrorist.
  3. Government failed to heed Russian warnings about  the Tsarnevs. Government failed to detect they had returned to Chechnya and Dagestan. Boston police lacked photos of the Tsarnevs despite ample reasons to have them. The cameras used to identify the Tsarvevs were private. Private citizens identified the Tsarnevs. It was a  private citizen who found Dzhokhar. The lockdown delayed his capture. Police misallocated resources, focusing more on sidewalk beer drinking than terrorism. Government failed the people of Boston.
  4. In the midst of the crisis, a vast majority of otherwise ultra-liberal Bostonians would gladly have supported enhanced measures to capture the terrorists and to prevent any further acts of terror. This looks for all intents like vindication of Bush’s policies.
  5. To the fullest extent possible, police should operate like a market rather than a monoply. If they were subject to market forces, they would have acted far differently both before and during the marathon bombing. Coercive relationships breed antagonism, defiance and victimhood; one does not coerce a customer – instead one promotes trust and goodwill.

 Note to readers: I am taking a break; the next posting will be September 10-15.

Travels in Blue States

 By: George Noga – July 22, 2013
       Recently my wife and I took a vacation, driving from our home outside Orlando to Cape Cod and then back to the Washington, DC area from whence we took the auto train. We have driven extensively throughout the USA but not for decades in the deep dark blue northeastern states. Everything was copasetic while we drove from Florida through Virginia. Once we hit the blue states however, we began noticing abominations inflicted on motorists by government. Quickly sensing a pattern and understanding that these were not random atrocities, we began to make a list; this posting is the result.
“There was a pattern; these were not random acts of malevolence.”
     The most ubiquitious outrage was the doubling of fines for any reason and often for no apparent reason at all. In Florida speeding fines are doubled only when workers are present. Not so in blue states. All violations (not just speeding) are doubled whether or not workers are present – presumably even for non moving violations such as an expired tag. We encountered all the following signs. (1) “Intense enforcement zone – all fines doubled”; (2) “License suspended for two work area violations“; and (3) “Fines doubled when speed limit is 65 for speeding and other violations“. Fines were doubled for perhaps most of the miles we drove in blue states.
     The second most common ignominy pertained to rest stops, or the lack thereof – a matter of particular relevance to this septuagenarian. Blue state rest areas are few and far between and many (perhaps most) lack facilities. In Connecticut they (laudably) were renovating the rest areas; however, they closed consecutive ones instead of spacing them out. The real horror of the lack of public rest stops was having to exit the interstates to find commercial rest stops. This could require 30 minutes to get off and back on. Have I mentioned that blue state hospitality includes refusing rest rooms to those who don’t buy gas? Some blue states have designated certain rest areas only for vehicles over 5,000 pounds; I still haven’t figured that one out.
      Following are some of my other favorite blue state degradations.
  • You are forbidden to pump your own gas in New Jersey, Delaware and Oregon allegedly to create employment and for “safety“. I guess the other 47 states are dangerous.
  • In some places signs read “Up to $10,000 fine for littering“. Yes, folks, you read it right.
  • In many places there are street signs only for cross streets; good thing I had GPS.
  • There is a police presence in most work areas even for mowing alongside the highway.
  • In MA we encountered a 3-mile line behind a street sweeper, which (you guessed it) was escorted by a police cruiser. They were totally oblivious to the horror they had created.
  • Lanes were blocked off at rush hour for no apparent reason creating monstrous jams.
  • Exits are not numbered by mileage as in the rest of America.
  • Interstate 95 is a toll road in New Jersey.
  • There were numerous places where there was only 200 feet for double merges, i.e. for cars simultaneously entering and exiting limited access roads. This is uber dangerous.
      So, why this jeremiad about asinine blue state highway rules and practices? Granted, this subject is not on a par with the debt crisis or even documenting the similiarities between Barack Obama and King George III as in the last post. My reasons are straightforward.
“Government is a malevolent force in all matters both big and small.”
      This post illustrates the profound differences between red states and blue states even in relatively minor matters such as traffic rules. Second, it shows governments in blue states have run amok and are insensitive (one might say, hostile) to the comfort, safety and convenience of citizens. Finally, it proves yet again that government is fundamentally a malevolant force in all matters both big and small. The bigger the government, the more malevolent it becomes.

Profiles in Cowardice: Trayvon Martin Debacle

Government Failure at Every Level and in Every Branch

By: George Noga – July 15, 2013

     Since I live in Seminole County, I couldn’t escape the media frenzy over the Trayvon Martin case. Mercifully, it ended this weekend but not before it became the poster child for government malfunction in all three branches and at each and every level from the City of Sanford all the way up to the the President of the United States of America.

   The Sanford police initially investigated and concluded not to charge George Zimmerman with a crime – in hindsight clearly the correct decision. For this act of competence the Sanford police chief was unceremoniously sacked. Government failure at the city level – check!

“The media bought into a counterfactual fantasia.”

   Then came the massive media paroxysm. The media bought into a counterfactual fantasia sans independent checking. The media malpractice, combined with outside agitators with prior agendas, caused Governor Scott to appoint a special prosecutor, Angela Corey. I feel certain that, whether implicit or explicit (wink, wink, nod, nod), Scott and Corey understood what was to happen. This was not Rick Scott’s finest hour. Government failure at the state level- check!

   Dante has a special place reserved for Angela Corey. The fix was in from the outset. Corey skipped taking the case to a grand jury because she knew she couldn’t get an indictment. She then charged Zimmerman with a crime that couldn’t be proven, all for political expediency and correctness. Moreover, she and the prosecutorial team withheld evidence from the defense. She deserves severe sanctions for her lese majeste conduct. State level government failure – check!

   Next congress got into the act. The Congressional Black Caucus insisted this should be a civil rights case and demanded the Justice Department (“DOJ”) open an investigation. Government failure at the federal legislative level – check! The DOJ then sent its “community affairs” team to Sanford to stir up the pot and foment trouble. They initiated a civil rights investigation which remains open today. Government failure at the federal executive level – check! Not to be outdone, Barack Obama gratuitously opined that if he had a son, he probably would look a lot like Trayvon Martin. Government failure at the highest level in the land – check!

“All levels and branches of government failed – city, state and federal as well as the executive, legislative and judicial branches.”

   Nor does Judge Nelson come out of this smelling like a rose. It was apparent to any scient person the state could not prove second degree murder. Judge Nelson should have dismissed that charge – although that would have required a heavy dose of courage. No one from any government involved in the case qualified for a profile in courage; instead, they could fill many chapters in a book titled Profiles in Cowardice. Government failure at the judicial level – check! Note: The book Profiles in Courage was not written by John Kennedy even though he received the Pulitzer Prize; the real author was Ted Sorensen. How’s that for a profile in courage?

   Government failure was massive and endemic throughout the Trayvon Martin debacle; indeed, it is difficult to find one instance of a government official who acted properly. There was failure at the city, state and federal levels as well as in the executive, legislative and judicial branches. This case should become the poster child for government run amok. As I point out time and again, government is inherently a malevolent force; this is just one more example.