Sunday, September 12, 2010

Turning Off the (Incandescent) Light of Liberty

By Alan Caruba

What if the government banned air conditioning? What if flat-screen televisions were determined to use too much electricity and were ordered phased out of production? What if the use of all plastic grocery bags were banned? What if the incandescent light bulb, one of the greatest inventions of Thomas Edison in the 1870s was banned? Oh wait, it has been banned!

In a nation where the Medicare “reform” requires Americans to purchase health insurance they may not want and may not be able to afford, was rammed through Congress, what can stop the government from dictating just about any choice you have regarding any purchase you make? The answer? Nothing.

Only it would no longer be a Constitutional government, a nation of laws that reflect anything resembling the truth. The ban on incandescent light bulbs turns off the light of liberty throughout America.

Here are some truths to keep in mind. (1) Carbon dioxide (CO2) along with other “greenhouse gas emissions” does not cause global warming. (2) There is no global warming. (3) The Earth has gone through known warming and cooling cycles for millions of years. (4) The Earth is in a cooling cycle.

(5) Beginning January 1, 2012, government rules will make it impossible to purchase a 100-watt incandescent light bulb. After that, in time, all such light bulbs will be phased out leaving Americans with only dim, over-priced, mercury-filled light bulbs. And (6) they will be made overseas, primarily in China.

By 2012, by order of the government, Americans will no longer be able to purchase any incandescent light bulbs. Why? Because Congress banned them, citing the need to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions” to reduce global warming that isn’t happening.

It’s the same Congress that had already determined how much water your toilet can use to flush. It’s the same Congress that determined “cafe” rules that determine how many miles per gallon your automobile must achieve. It’s the same government that requires ethanol be added to gasoline, thus reducing the mileage a gallon of adulterated gasoline can produce, while also driving up the cost of gasoline as well as of corn, a food product, used to produce ethanol.

It’s the same Congress that has blessed a Renewable Electricity Standard that requires utilities to use electricity produced by wind and solar power even though both sources also require 24/7 backup by traditional coal-fired, natural gas, or nuclear plants because they cannot be relied upon to generate electricity in a predictable fashion or during periods of peak capacity.

It’s the same Congress that initiated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two “government entities” that purchased the sub-prime mortgage loans that banks and mortgage loan firms were required to make to people who clearly could not afford to repay them. The result is the financial crisis that occurred when those “bundled” mortgages turned out to be “toxic”, worthless paper sold to investment firms and banks as assets.

In early September, The Washington Post, published an article, “Light bulb factory closes; End of era for U.S. means more jobs overseas.” It reported that “The last major General Electric factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month…the remaining 200 workers at the plant here (Winchester, Virginia) will lose their jobs.”

In June, The Washington Times reported that the Federal Trade Commission earlier this month (released) 91 pages of regulations that will force manufacturers to revise their packaging and make costly compact fluorescent bulbs appear more appealing to consumers,” that they have refused to willingly purchase them. “Congress wants to force the pale, cold fluorescent curlicue fixtures on everyone because it makes members feel that they are doing their part to ‘save the planet’.”

While the ban was initiated in 2007 before the Obama administration took power, it has not gone unnoticed that the CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, “sits on Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.” And recovery is no where in sight while GE closes its factory making incandescent light bulbs.

There’s more. GE was the recipient of bailout funds and, according to an article on, “stands to benefit from current and future contracts with the U.S. government.” Connect the dots. GE owns MSNBC, a cable news channel famous for its adulation of Obama before and since his election.

The issue, however, is far less about GE than it is about the vast global warming fraud, the equally vast matrix of U.S. laws and regulations that is based on it, and most importantly, the way they are being used to undermine and destroy the U.S. economy along with the freedoms that Americans take for granted.

One of the many tasks facing a Congress in which Republicans are expected to regain control in November is to repeal the ban on incandescent light bulbs. After that, the mountain of other laws and regulations strangling consumer freedom and even threatening the health of Americans must also be repealed.

All nations must evolve, but America is moving toward less freedom of choice; more control over the choices that a free market requires. It is rejecting its founding principles and it is doing so based on environmental lies.

© Alan Caruba, 2010


LarryOldtimer said...

Absurdity after absurdity.

Far too many PhDs in the sciences graduated, and far too little real and useful work for them to do.

As President Eisenhower warned on January 17, 1961:

"Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."

The public policy of the United States of America has itself indeed become the captive of a scientific-technological elite, the elite dominated by the power of money. Ike warned of this, but too few heeded his warning.

Alan Caruba said...

Larry, I think this has a lot more to do with General Electric's rent seeking and lobbying, along with others who have a financial interest in forcing Americans to give up the incandescent light bulb.

These new bulbs are a menace in so many ways, but they will make many a toxic dump even more toxic.

mawm said...

Alan - America is just going down the pathway that the UN has paved toward their (the UN's) goal of 'global governance'.

The link is to a report on the closed-door meetings held by Ban Ki-Moon and his top 60 aids at Alpbach, Austria, on Labour day.

Ronbo said...

"It is always darkest before the dawn."

All these moves by the Left, like for example, "The Great Global Warming Hoax", to impose a totalitarian government upon the people of the United States has served to ignite a Second American Revolution.

This rebellion may be peaceful. The issues may be resolved at the ballot box and by the courts, but make no mistake, a New Revolutionary Right Wing has taken the stage in the last two years and is determined to restore the Republic to its original grandeur either by ballots or bullets.

The Left would be well advised to surrender and retreat, as resistance will be as useless as commanding the tide not to come in.

Guy said...

I've already started stockpiling all the incandescent bulbs I need to last MY lifetime and I regret that I didn't do this while they were still being made in the USA. CFL's just don't cut it for a lot of applications, and frankly, bureaucrats just aren't going to run MY life. Fluorescent bulbs are useful for some applications, but if they are so dangerous, they'd better quit selling them. Millions are going in the trash because to my knowledge, there's no other place to get rid of them.

Tom G said...

I agree that big corporations use their PAC $ donations for rent seeking. Ideologues of both parties also use the government to enforce their personal preferences for policy.

In the case of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both trends were in play. Democrats wanted to make more $ available for homeownership for people who might not be able to purchase a home, so they twisted the arms of these agencies to purchase "liars loan" mortgages, and mortgages with no down payments. The fact that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also had lots of PAC $, despite their quasi-governmental nature, made it worse. Then, to top it off, banks such as Countrywide and many others, who made $ originating these loans, also put their PAC $ to work so that Fannie and Freddie would buy those loans, so they could go out to make more. Nice economy you got there, son! Or used to.

But I don't agree that every government regulation is by definition bad.

Regulations for water-efficient shower heads, to reduce water use, and on limiting water use by technology in other ways, isn't stupid. There are many parts of the country that now occasionally have to cut back on water in dry years. This didn't use to be the case, but growing populations mean more water demand. So is it better to have technology that uses less water, or to have a really bad emergency when your water supply is mostly gone, until the next set of substantial rainstorms? Remember when Lake Lanier in Georgia ran dry, was it last year?

I also like better CAFE standards. So much of our trade deficit is purely for the purchase of oil. We blame China for our trade deficit, but more of the deficit is because we import so much of our oil.

This hurts the country when oil prices go up. When oil hit $144 per barrel a couple of years ago, look how many people couldn't afford their gas bills, and had to cut way back on other stuff. Cutting back on other stuff means less jobs.

If people had more fuel efficient vehicles on average, they wouldn't have been hurt so badly, which means jobs wouldn't have been hurt so badly. If they really wanted an SUV, they would still be available, but the average MPG for a car company would have had to be higher. So if we had had higher CAFE standards in place the last 15 years, our economy wouldn't have been harmed as bad as it was.

The bottom line for me: yes, there is rent seeking, and yes, unfortunately, PAC $ usually rules the roost, and to me this is the worst part of our political economy.

But it would be foolish, and harmful to the US, to think that all government regulation by definition is harmful.

Tom G said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
aaaaa said...

well co2 does cause global warming. It's a greenhouse gas and therefore warms the Earth if you add more of it.

Tom G said...

Rent seeking by PAC $ is an unfortunate part of our political life. And ideologues of both parties put government entities to accomplish their policy views.

Both were at work when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac helped wreck our economy.

Dems wanted poorer people to be able to buy houses, so they pressured Fannie and Freddie to buy securitized "liars loans" and no-down-payment loans. Fannie and Freddie had lots of PAC $ to spread around. And entities such as Countrywide Financial, who made $ originating loans, put their PAC $ to use to ensure that Fannie and Freddie would buy their garbage.

But this tale doesn't mean that all government actions are by definition harmful.

Regulations to reduce water use via technology are good, not bad. Many parts of the country now face occasional water shortages. With growing populations, water use increases. One job of government is to make sure that essential services, such as water, are available.

Remember Lake Lanier in Georgia going dry a year or so ago? If water use were, say, 5% higher, the local governments would have had to be considerably tougher on limiting water use.

Remember in California, during some bad droughts, local governments even encouraged people not to flush their toilets every use? I'd rather have technology that will reduce daily water use.

Same for CAFE standards. When oil hit $144 per barrel a couple of years ago, many people couldn't afford to pay for gasoline and also buy other things. So they stopped buying other things, and jobs disappeared.

We complain about our trade deficit with China, but we do nothing about our larger one with oil exporters.

If we had had in place higher average efficiency standards the last 15 years, the drain of $ from our economy wouldn't have been nearly as bad when oil hit $144 per barrel, and the loss of jobs wouldn't have been so great. If you wanted an SUV, they would still have been available. But it would have made better mileage!

Yes, PAC $ usually rules the roost. But that doesn't mean every government regulation, by definition, is bad. You have to look at them individually.

Alan Caruba said...

I don't believe I said anywhere in this commentary that all regulations are bad.

Alan Caruba said...

No, CO2 has NO effect on the climate. Your science is WRONG.

Don't just repeat the crap you were taught in school or that the media has been saying.

Visit any of the linked sites like ClimateDepot, IceAgeNow, and others to get the truth.

Ronbo said...

Blogger Cthulhu said...

well co2 does cause global warming. It's a greenhouse gas and therefore warms the Earth if you add more of it.

The truth about climate claims.

LarryOldtimer said...

I quite agree with those of you who would like to keep on buying and using incandescent lights, there is no "energy" reason to do otherwise, since the energy issue is itself nothing other than another (green) eco-whacko false scare.

However, the CFLs do not present any more danger to health than any other fluorescent light tube, of which there are myriad in use, and have been in wide use for many scores of years. The entire mercury scare is also one of the great eco-whacko false scares. There is already so much mercury in our environment, including land fills, causing no significant health issues, that the miniscule amount of mercury these CFLs contain would make no difference at all.

Since Rachel Carlson's book Silent Spring was published in 1962, a book chock full of unfounded supposedly "scientific" "danger to the environment" claims, needless panic about seemingly endless other eco-whacko false claims have been the rule.

Businesses are in business to make profits, pure and simple, every single one of them. If a business can make profits by taking advantage of the general public's scientific ignorance, then it will always do so.

Dr C T Bobbins, Esq. said...

The claim that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb is an old chestnut, but it isn't true. It was actually Joseph Swan, a Brit.

Alan Caruba said...

Wikipedia is not regarded as definitive. Edison gets the credit for the research that led to the invention and for his patent.

Dr C T Bobbins, Esq. said...

Hi there,

Thank you for your comment.

After bringing the light bulb to fruition one year before Edison, Swan sued Edison for patent infringement in the British courts in 1882. He won.

Even Swan, though, couldn't lay claim to being the 'inventor' of the light globe. A readable history is at:

Realistically, Edison can be credited with doing some productive minor tinkering with the design at the end stages. Commendable, but not revolutionary, TE was a master at arrogating the intellectual property of others.

However, his invention of the Gramophone cemented his place in history as one of the most awesome inventors ever.

Alan Caruba said...

Reading this blog always affords an opportunity to learn something new!

Since I live a few miles from Edison's famed laboratories in West Orange, NJ, I will maintain my loyalty to TE, but give a tip of the hat to Swan!