Archive for September 2nd, 2010

Simpson right on Agent Orange

September 2, 2010

By Steve Milloy
September 2, 2010, The Hill

White House fiscal commission member Sen. Alan Simpson is drawing fire from veterans groups for objecting to the Obama administration decision to expand Agent Orange benefits to Vietnam vets. Simpson is right and the vets wrong.

The Obama administration wants to expand medical benefits for Vietnam vets by $42 billion over the next 10 years by permitting disability awards to vets who contract heart disease. The underlying assumption is that Agent Orange causes all heart disease in Vietnam vets.

The problem, though, is that assumption is not supported by any available facts and science.

As pointed out by Dr. Michael Gough, the chairman of the federal panel charged with investigating the potential health impacts of Agent Orange use, “[The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] found that few, if any, ground troops in Vietnam had been exposed to Agent Orange. The Air Force’s Operation Ranch Hand sprayed 90 percent of the Agent Orange used in Vietnam. There is no difference in the health of the Ranch Hands, the only veterans known to have been exposed, and that of other veterans who served in Southeast Asia at the same time and flew the same kinds of airplanes but were not exposed to Agent Orange.”

Sen. Simpson, of course, already knows this since Dr. Gough made the foregoing statement before the Senator in 1996 when he chaired the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

More recently, Air Force researchers concluded in 2006 in the journal Organohalogen Compounds that “cardiovascular disease [among the Air Force personnel] does not appear to be associated with [Agent Orange] exposure.”

Accordingly, it is absurd to expect taxpayers to shell out so much money without giving them facts that justify the expense.

Americans, including Sen. Simpson, honor the service of veterans and are willing to go to extended lengths to help them — that’s why the vets get any compensation for Agent Orange at all. There really is no firm science indicating that any vet has ever suffered from Agent Orange exposure; yet we have historically given vets the benefit of the doubt because we honor their service.

But a cash-strapped government can no longer afford to be so generous without good reason.

Our commitment to veterans is sacred, but it is not a suicide pact to open the floodgates of the nation’s coffers indefinitely.

Steve Milloy publishes and is the author of “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.”

Discovery Gunman: The Green Frankenstein

September 2, 2010

The radical green movement is rapidly trying to distance itself from Discovery Channel gunman James J. Lee. That will be difficult to do.

Wednesday afternoon, an armed Lee walked into the offices of the Discovery Channel, took hostages and demanded that the TV network alter its programming to suit his demands as laid out in an 11-point manifesto. The incident ended when police shot him dead.

Lee called for saving the Earth by getting rid of people, whom he referred to as “filth,” and stopping global warming. He called for TV programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility, and exposing civilization’s “disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed.” “All human procreation and farming must cease,” he raved, because “the planet does not need humans.”

Curious to see how the greens would react to the incident, I visited the web site, perhaps the most popular green website, where I found an article by Grist senior editor Lisa Hymas entitled, “Discovery hostage taker is a population-obsessed eco-wacko.” [Suggested link is I read on as I had never seen one green refer to another as an “eco-wacko.”

Although Hymas wrote that, “Lee is giving us sane and humane enviros and childfree people a bad name,” her effort to distance her cause from Lee was soon challenged. The first comment following her post stated, “So, what is wrong with [Lee’s] logic that he deserved to be shot? He wasn’t wrong.” Two comments later, a commenter stated, “I pretty much agree with what he said… In reality, at this point, the human race is like a growing fungus covering and consuming a grapefruit…”

Like Dr., Frankenstein tying to escape the reputational stain of his eponymous monster, the radical green movement cannot runaway so easily from Lee.

While Lee clearly popped his cork, the comments to Hymas’ article indicate there are apparently others out there whose corks are under similar pressure — thanks to green publications like Grist and green personalities like Al Gore, whose movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” Lee reportedly credited for “awakening” him to global warming.

Gore, and others have urged their followers to civil disobedience. Grist staff write Jonathan Hiskes says he’s all for the easy stuff first (like weatherization and energy efficiency), but if that doesn’t work, Hiskes calls for civil disobedience and ensuing prison, if need be. Ironically, Lee tried civil disobedience with the Discovery Channel in 2008 and wound up in prison. His probation from that incident ended just two weeks ago.

Greens have tried using civil disobedience (even if it involves criminal trespass) to shut down coal mining, coal-fired power plants and gas stations. None of these efforts have succeeded. So what’s next when civil disobedience fails? More James Lees?

Some greens have already leap-frogged over civil disobedience and moved straight into terrorism. In the wake of fire bombings at new housing developments, car dealerships and a ski lodge, the FBI has labeled the Earth Liberation front as a domestic terrorist group. Then there’s sawmill worker George Alexander who was almost decapitated in 1987 when his saw blade hit a tree spike embedded by the California chapter of Earth First!

The greens would also like to harness the power of the state to do violence to their opponents. About so-called global warming “deniers,” Grist writer Dave Roberts wrote in 2006, “we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg.”

It’s true that James Lee was a psycho, but he was just taking radical environmentalism to its logical conclusion. People threaten planet and, if they won’t stop voluntarily, then they must be made to stop. Lee believed that because he steeped himself in today’s radical environmental movement.