Sunday, August 28, 2011

Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again


Every now and then I get the itch to poison my computer with a infection by visiting Fox News.  With Hurricane Irene heading straight for New York and the warnings about the potential flooding and damage shutting down the entire city for the day, surfing for yuks at Fox News (or Red State, Michelle Malkin or any number of other deranged websites) can be a "fun" way to get rid of that rainy day feeling.

Then the dark clouds return when you read utter crap propaganda like this: Do We Really Need a National Weather Service? You truly have to read this with a barf bag handy.

Fox News, which never met a profit-over-people person or company it didn't want to tout, promote or force down the throat of its uneducated viewing audience, decided to publish - on the day Hurricane Irene wreaks havoc on 65,000,000 Americans - an editorial which basically says that having a "for-profit company (which will charge users every time they want to access their data) supply data would be a far superior way to report and analyze the weather than the government-run National Weather Service (NWS)."  You actually have to read this article to see how ridiculous, insipid, greedy and ultimately how full of doublespeak the teabag class has become in their never-ending quest to wring every dollar out of unsuspecting Americans.

The authors are Iain Murray and David Bier - both "experts" at the really creepy Competitive Enterprise Institute - a "think tank" organization (a la the Heritage Foundation) that unabashedly proclaims everything in government and the public sector is wasteful, useless and politicized and that everything that corporations and pure capitalism does is of course good, benevolent and noble.  [Murray is the author of Stealing You Blind: How Government Fatcats Are Getting Rich Off of You. - because corporations, now defined as persons by both Mitt Romney and the SCOTUS, are a cadre of altruistic souls].

Who knew that the government reporting of the weather was some sort of subversive plot to brainwash America into liberal zombies whereas corporate for-profit weather reporting is just so philanthropic?  There is truly no low for people like Murray and Bier.

Their insane arguments are so disingenuous and so obviously bent towards money over public good, I don't know even where to begin.  Let's start with this one.
As it stands today, the public is forced to pay more than $1 billion per year for the NWS.  With the federal deficit exceeding a trillion dollars, the NWS is easily overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. It may actually be dangerous.
The figure of $1 billion for the cost of the NWS come straight from the NWS site.  Let's say that is correct.  That means every man, woman and child pays in America about $3.23 per year to get all the weather statistics, forecasts and data that is pumped to cable news, local news, The Weather Channel and private companies like AccuWeather for free or minimal charges.  Three whole dollars per person!  Can you imagine how much is would cost every person (or news organization) if they had to "register" with a private weather stat provider and pay annual fees or per-access charges.  With recent decade of extreme weather (does anyone remember last winter in the Northeast?) and the fact that climate change (another concept I am positive the CEI would like to see disappear with the privatization of weather reporting) will continue to induce strange and excessive weather patterns - one does need to be a Wall Street wizard to see how profitable private weather reporting will become in a very short time

That $1 billion is actually cheap.  There is no doubt the revenue to those "private" companies would rake in would far exceed the $1 billion the government allocates in funds to the NWS today.  But to the teabag libertarian elitists aristocrats at places like the CEI, since everything the government does is horrible (or at least socialist), - even if it is a public service and more importantly - even if it is cheaper and probably better than what a private organization would charge and provide - the folks on the right have no qualms about saying (rather hammering home) that the NWS is just another insidious communist organization out to infiltrate America with weather queens driving Cadillacs.

Of course Murray and Bier go on to trash the government run NWS as inaccurate, inefficient and misleading with an agenda.  Their anti-government arguments are so old, boring and obvious, you would think with all the money the CEI takes in they could get a little creative in their case against the NWS.  The hate-the-NWS talking points are plagiarized straight from any Koch brother or Karl Rove playbook.

But my favorite piece of duplicitous insanity (read utter bullshit) from Murray and Bier is the following gem:
Today the NWS justifies itself on public interest grounds. It issues severe weather advisories and hijacks local radio and television stations to get the message out. It presumes that citizens do not pay attention to the weather and so it must force important, perhaps lifesaving, information upon them.
If I didn't know better, I would have thought Murray and Bier were submitting an essay for The Onion.  You know that the Laurel & Hardy of the CEI have to be comic geniuses because no one can write and actually publish lines like "force important, perhaps lifesaving information ..." without possessing the spirit of both Joseph Goebbels and Tokyo Rose.  I bet it comes as news to many people that the socialistic and now militaristic NWS actually stages some sort of bloodless broadcasting coup and forces 1000+ local stations, all cable outlets, and radio stations to jam such incredibly Marxist information as "buy water and batteries and take in the lawn furniture" down the throats of an unsuspecting public.

Of course the CEI doesn't bother call out how the incredible costs of the US Defense budget and unfunded wars paid for with the issuance of debt are what is really damaging the economic well being of this country.  But why should they - after all, most the $1 trillion spent by the military goes right to the bottom line of some of their best friends at Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrup, General Dynamics and other assorted living-on-the-government-largesse corporations.

And finally, what would be a good corporate-loving article without a line like this
The massive bloat in government should not get a pass just because it’s wrapped in good-of-the-community clothing. NWS services can and are better provided by the private sector.
Just like the banks, tobacco companies or the Ford Pinto - companies are always out to make a better product for the good of society.  The folks at the CEI truly want it to be a Jungle out there, even with the weather.

You can just hear the teabag chant "No weather for immigrants" or "Let it rain on their parade" or some other nonsense.  Let's see how much the teabaggers will like paying for their weather if the NWS was defunded.  Back in 2005, our favorite then-Senator, man-on-dog sex, bury-the-fetus, now Presidential candidate Rick Santorum proposed legislation that would have barred the NWS from publishing weather data to the public when private-sector entities, such as AccuWeather, perform the same function privately (for a fee!). Of course, Santorum neglected say that his campaign checks were being signed by Joel Meyers of AccuWeather, whereas everyone else would have had to pony up to companies like AccuWeather for information.

But why let the facts get in the way of a good excuse to make more money for the folks at the CEI, AccuWeather or the pocketbook of Rick Santorum at the expense of public information, safety or blown down trees. Besides a little rain never hurt anyone in a gated community.

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2 Comments:

  • Do those geniuses at CEI realize that folks like AccuWeather get their weather data from the National Weather Service?

    By Blogger Mustang Bobby, at 7:46 AM  

  • No science for you! Just get out there in the stable and check on the thickness of your horses coat, see if the cows are laying down or scare up a wooly caterpillar.

    By Anonymous zoonart, at 8:55 AM  

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