- The Washington Times - Friday, April 6, 2007

‘Green fascists’ and CO2

Five of our Supreme Court justices have just effectively condemned carbon-based life forms as environmentally inferior, even destructive. The recent majority decision on the Clean Air Act pronounces carbon dioxide to be pollution that must be strictly controlled by government bureaucrats to reduce global warming (“Court hands ‘greens’ 2 big wins,” Page 1, Tuesday).

This particular decision specifically addresses emissions from that diabolical machine, the internal combustion engine. But what about CO2 from other sources, such as carbon-based life forms that can’t help but naturally produce it? Extreme enviros already demand that the numbers of beef cattle should be severely curtailed because their manure releases methane, another greenhouse gas. Similarly, human beings naturally produce CO2 by exhalation, so won’t some green fascist be sure to argue someday that because the world’s population produces CO2, its level must be governmentally controlled or even reduced to save the planet?

Perhaps that will not happen, but if such an argument ever comes before the five current justices, resistance may well be futile, especially if the counterarguments are based on empirical evidence, moral principle, legal precedent or other carbon-based life form peculiarities.


Long Valley, N.J.

Reforming health care

While I appreciate Rep. Jon Porter’s support of electronic medical records (“Redirecting health care,” Op-Ed, Wednesday), the biggest reason for their slow rate of adoption has been overreaching by the powers that be in Washington. Republicans and Democrats alike seem to come up with grand designs to fix big problems — and are doomed to failure.

For instance, I have enormous respect for Newt Gingrich, but in late 2005 I heard him give a speech in which he stated his goal was having complete medical histories for all Americans online by December 2006. Come on. That was never going to happen. A better approach would be to start small and grow. For instance, it would be an enormous breakthrough if we all had wallet cards that listed our emergency contact information, our allergies and the drugs we are taking. That simple step would save a lot of lives and money. Why not begin with a Web site that enabled us to enter and store that information and print it out onto a card we could carry with us?

This is the kind of real-world, practical solution people overlook as soon as they arrive in Washington.



Consumers for Health Care Choices


One of the main obstacles to implementing electronic health records (EHRs) is that doctors are not paid for using them (“Redirecting health care,” Op-Ed, Wednesday).

Under a third-party-payer insurance system, the insurance company dictates which services they will cover. Providers have no incentive to switch to an electronic records system. They see no financial benefit for their rather expensive investment.

Patients have also indicated interest in phone and e-mail consultations and being able to renew prescriptions without making an in-person office visit. But again, our third-party-payer system often discourages these practices through their payment methods.

The main tenet of consumer-driven health care is incentives, but we can’t incentivize patients without also incentivizing providers. As more patients dictate what they will and will not spend their money on, natural incentives will emerge; at this stage, many doctors are not able to rationalize spending the money for EHRs.

As consumer-driven health care gains popularity, we will see more providers adopt EHRs. It’s true the use of EHRs saves money and promotes better health outcomes, but until market forces create a greater demand, their adoption will be a slow and difficult process.


Senior fellow

National Center for Policy Analysis


Population growth and global warming

John Naughton’s attack on Al Gore and Edd Doerr (“A chilling theory,” Letter, Wednesday) was irresponsible and inaccurate.

In 2002, the United States cut off funding for United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which runs programs to help with family planning, child healthcare and similar issues. Champions of the decisions argued that any UNFPA programs in China, whether intentionally or not, supported the country’s coercive abortion practices. By stopping funding, the United States displayed its disagreement with coercive abortions.

Further, whatever effect human activity may have on global warming (and most scientists believe it is substantial), there is no question but that Third World overpopulation is a serious cause of disease, hunger, poverty, misery and death in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The National Security Study Memorandum 200 report that President Ford approved in 1975, like the proposals President Clinton took to Cairo in 1994, called for universal access to family planning information and wherewithal.

Further, nearly every advanced industrial country has legalized women’s right to deal with problem pregnancies according to the dictates of conscience.


Savage, Md.

Saudi Arabia’s double standard

In Claude Salhani’s Tuesday column, “Syria back in the Arab fold” (Commentary), he mentions the quote by Saudi King Abdullah about “illegitimate foreign occupation.”

However, he fails to mention the other words spoken by the king: “We will not allow forces from outside the region to determine the future of the region, and only the flag of Arabism will be raised on Arab soil.”

As I recall, the Saudi Arabian government paid the United States many billions of dollars to “occupy” its territory so “forces from outside the region,” i.e. U.S. forces, could “determine the future of the region,” namely, prevent Saddam Hussein from planting his “flag of Arabism” on Saudi Arabian soil.

The future looked bleak to the Saudi royal family when Saddam invaded Kuwait because the Saudis knew he had his eyes set on their country. We “occupied” Saudi soil at the request — dare I say plea — of the Saudi royal family. And today, we “occupy” Iraqi soil at the pleasure of a duly elected Iraqi government. I guess the Saudi king is the arbiter of what constitutes a legitimate vs. an illegitimate occupation.

The overwhelming majority of Iraqi deaths are caused by other Iraqis, not the forces that liberated the country from a tyrant and earlier saved Saudi Arabia from becoming one of Saddam’s victims. They would not have enjoyed his “flag of Arabism.”



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