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Myth busting 

Feeling virtuous today? Before you answer, peruse some "everybody knows to be true" myths.

Let's start with President Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal. We all "know" that he was a man of the people and his administration saved the economy. Well, if you were a Black American, not so much so. New Deal benefits, especially the agriculture portions, were specifically not available to Black farmers. Nor did those who served him in the White House do so well. Roosevelt made no effort to fairly compensate Black members of the White House staff nor did he make any effort to integrate the federal civil service or military. His Democrat predecessor, President Woodrow Wilson, an avowed racist, segregated both the civil service and the military, ousting thousands of Black civil servants from their posts. The military remained segregated until well after WWII, when President Harry Truman ordered desegregation of the military. It was Republican President Ronald Reagan who substantially increased low staff pay for White House domestic staff although five Democrat predecessors had opportunities to do so but declined to act.

Roosevelt's economic accomplishments were mediocre, with economic stagnation occurring until our massive industrial mobilization for WWII.

Roosevelt wasn't any kinder to Jewish-Americans, making no effort to end religious discrimination in his nearly 13 years in office. He also refused to increase Jewish immigration into America during the Holocaust in Europe, actually turning away a ship of Jewish refugees at the outbreak of WWII. As for "Medicare" arriving with Roosevelt, that didn't appear until the mid-1960s under President Lyndon Johnson. It's a great program but remains in financial peril as ever more benefits are promised without the means to pay for them.

Fast forward: "We all know" that four Minneapolis police officers asphyxiated George Floyd as he complained "I can't breathe." I saw the videos and was equally taken in. The autopsy report and toxicology report show something quite different. Floyd didn't die from asphyxiation: He died from a drug overdose of fentanyl and methamphetamine, which shut his respiratory and circulatory systems down. Floyd was dying prior to being taken into custody, which was why he complained of breathing problems before being placed on the ground. The officers did no damage to his trachea, and finally, use of the knee on the neck is in the Minneapolis Police Department training manual. The officers apparently followed procedure, including calling twice for medical assistance.

But why allow facts to get in the way of a summer of rioting?

Let's talk about climate hysteria, our national pastime. "We all know" sea levels are rising catastrophically and the melting ice caps will flood our cities. We were told about the Pacific island of Tuvalu, which was being inundated, except it isn't. While sea levels do rise (and fall) unequally around the globe, the geological process of accretion, which overpowers the erosion of sea level rise, has caused the land area of Tuvalu to increase by 2.9 percent even though sea levels around the island have increased at twice the global average. This is true in other locales as well (the Marshall Islands have seen total land area increase by 4 percent). As for the ice caps melting, they may melt (over the next 1,000 years), but from 1901 to 2010 seas levels rose 7.5 inches. They are expected to rise between 2.2 feet and 2.7 feet by 2100. We have plenty of time to adapt, using engineering and technology to mitigate effects.

The climate will warm regardless of what we do, as our efforts are miniscule compared to the forces of nature. However, we are quite capable of bankrupting ourselves and inflicting massive poverty and misery throughout the world by taking the counsel of climate alarmists, especially those promulgated by corporate media. Deep thinking and scholarship is not a prerequisite for holding down a major media anchor slot.

As for other climate myths, we've had more powerful and frequent hurricanes in the first half of the 20th century than now; the loss of life was more severe but the financial damage was less, due to less housing being built in vulnerable areas (coastal housing has increased 750 percent since 1903) and it was of lower value (fewer "McMansions" on the coast). So, too, with wildfires: It seems like more is burning but less acreage is being burned than in the early 20th century: 3 million to 7 million acres annually burned in the last 40 years versus an average of 39 million acres burned annually in the 1930s.

As for our present heat wave, our meteorological records go back about 140 years, but heat and drought are part of our meteorological and geological history going back thousands of years. By the way, a 2015 scientific study documented that cold kills 17 people for every death from heat.

Selling fear is what the media does well, but for sound answers and some peace of mind I suggest you read two recent books: False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs us Trillions, Hurts the Poor and Fails to Fix the Planet by Bjorn Lomberg and Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All by Michael Shellenberger. Both are distinguished authors and globally recognized for their accomplishments. Δ

Al Fonzi had a 35-year military career, serving in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Respond with a letter to the editor emailed to letters@newtimesslo.com.

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