Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Newest New Deal

Never waste a crisis. Isn't that the first rule? I don't know who the first person was to put that rule into words -- most recently, however, it was Rahm Emanuel from the Obama administration who voiced the creed.

Historically speaking, leaders have always put this idea to use - some more than others. With every crisis comes opportunity. Some people have the vision to see what can be gained from a seemingly negative situation... this is what makes them leaders. Of course, a person's worldview will dictate what kind of "gain" they find in the crisis. Adolf Hitler had that quality of leadership - he simply put it to use for evil rather than for good.

Franklin D. Roosevelt also saw opportunity in the crisis of the Great Depression. He ushered in the New Deal which brought sweeping changes to the way our nation operates. Many of these changes are still in existence today... and some of them arguably could have contributed to the "crisis" we find ourselves in today. (Federal Housing Administration, Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Fannie Mae...) To this day, the federal government pays farmers NOT to grow food - another bright idea brought forward as part of the New Deal.

There's another New Deal arising from the crisis of "global warming," now being referred to as "climate change" since the globe is no longer "warming." You would have to be living under a rock to not know about what's going on in Copenhagen these days... a bunch of weasels representing politicians negotiating "programs."

One of the programs under negotiation involves financial compensation for countries preserving forests... and sometimes compensating for the preservation of peat soils, swamps and fields. The program is being touted as a boon for poor countries because it's a total cash cow for them. They can sit back and collect money -- for doing nothing. It's kind of like your local government coming to you and telling you they'll give you $100 a month to NOT mow your grass.

Of course, the news is reporting this program as a good thing - after all, not ONLY the poor countries will benefit. More wealthy nations will not be benefited by an influx of cash, but they will obtain carbon credits which can be used to reduce their carbon footprint under a global "carbon trading system." According to Peg Putt from the Wilderness Society, "Forests have become a pot of money or a get out of jail free card. Either way, there's the prospect of financial benefit now, as opposed to just being told, 'Do the right thing,' like it was two years ago."

Sweet! Everybody gets to financially benefit from this Newest of the New Deals. That is SO COOL. Apparently, in this case, money does grow on trees. Who knew? ...what? It doesn't? So then, from where will this money appear?? Oh!!!! From companies. Yes, the big, bad companies which exceed their greenhouse gas pollution limit will be required to "buy" extra permits by "investing" in --- ah, never mind. They're going to have to pay off the people sitting around doing nothing.

Fred Krupp, who is the head of the Environmental Defense Fund, says that the forest program "offers the opportunities for U.S. companies to reduce emissions at lower cost." All this talk of investing and offering opportunities certainly sounds nice, but it's really closer to the neighborhood hoodlums offering you the opportunity to pay them a weekly fee to not burn your place down. Not to put too fine a point on it -- or to keep beating the same tired drum -- but it's extortion.

So now environmentalists the world over are looking for ways to collect. Dan Lafolley is - get this - the "marine vice chairman for the World Commission on Protected Areas of the Swiss-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature." I certainly hope that man won't need to look for a new job anytime soon -- you'd need to cut down a forest just to write his title out on a résumé... Anyway, good ole' Dan wants to know why everybody is just focused on forest and peat land... what about the oceans?? Who is gonna pay for the oceans? Actually, his words were, "It would be a travesty if Copenhagen addressed forests but not other carbon stocks." Translation: It would be a travesty if the marine vice chairman were not able to make a profit for the marine department of the WCPA of the SIU for the CN.

Professional tree huggers have even begun fighting amongst themselves in a "my forest is more important than your forest" way.

Goofballs from all over the world are flocking to Copenhagen to ensure that their issues are deemed legitimate money-makers. For example, did you know that there is such a thing as the Global Crop Diversity Trust? They're there! (Wangari Maathai of the Global Crop Diversity Trust was inducted as a Messenger of Peace at a ceremony in Copenhagen on December 15th. No, I'm not kidding. A Messenger of Peace. With capital letters.) According to their website, you can't fight hunger without them... and silly me, I would think a good start to "fighting hunger" would be to stop paying people not to grow food. But apparently my simplistic thinking just won't work... we need the people at Crop Diversity to regulate things. They are, after all, a bunch of Nobel Peace Prize and World Food Prize people. (Did you even know there was a Word Food Prize?)

And, of course, former Vice President Al Gore has a dog in this fight. I'm still trying to decide if he's a complete goober who was propelled to the top (or close to the top, anyway) by a powerful Daddy or if he's a smart man who is trying to make a lot of money off this deal. Either way, he has been working up a sweat trying to push negotiators as well as pushing our nation's leaders to pass a climate and energy bill.

For me, this is almost like watching one of those movies where you want to yell at the screen in spite of the fact that you know darned well your action won't change the plot. I don't foresee a happy ending. Part drama, part conspiracy, part tragedy, part comedy... but not a happy ending.

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