Somewhat Reasonable

Syndicate content Somewhat Reasonable | Somewhat Reasonable
The Policy and Commentary Blog of The Heartland Institute
Updated: 2 min 41 sec ago

Heartland’s Bruno Behrend to be Featured at the Bughouse Square Debates

July 24, 2015, 3:01 PM

Image via Past Bughouse Debate Pictures

This Saturday Heartland’s own Bruno Behrend will be debating Chicago Public School Principal Troy LaRaviere at the Bughouse Square Debate. This will be the featured debate on the topic “Public or private? What should be the future of public education in Chicago?”

Join us in support of Bruno and the students who need access to quality education outside of the many failing schools within the Chicago Public Schools.

Washington Square Park (a.k.a., Bughouse Square)
901 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL
Across from the Newberry

Events 12 noon – 4 pm
12:15 – 1:15 – Featured Debate: Bruno vs Troy
Public or private? What should be the future of public education in Chicago?

Bruno Behrend, Senior Fellow for Education Policy at the Heartland Institute, and Troy LaRaviere, Principal of Blaine Elementary School, will offer their perspectives on these hotly contested issues during the Main Debate, followed by a Q&A with the audience. Heckling of a civil and friendly nature during the Main Debate is encouraged.

See all the speakers are https://www.newberry.org/07252015-2015-bughouse-square-debates

See you Saturday at high noon.

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Rebecca Sibilia: Funding-Inequities in Public Education

July 24, 2015, 9:53 AM

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Heather Kays, managing editor of School Reform News speaks with Rebecca Sibilia. Sibilia is founder and CEO of EdBuild, a New Jersey based organization which aims to address problems with education funding across the country. Kays and Sibilia discuss funding inequities in public education.

The edbuild.org website describes the new organization’s mission as the following:

EdBuild envisions a future of vibrant communities that promote equality and opportunity. We help states create a funding system that expands borders, provides equitable and adequate resources to students and their communities, and creates the right flexibility for schools of all governance structures to innovate. We also partner with think tanks, philanthropies and other non-profits to advance school finance research and elevate the national dialogue surrounding equity in our classrooms.

Kays and Sibilia discuss funding inequality based on state and municipality, school choice and ways to improve education funding.

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

Mr. President: The 1970s Called, They Want Their Crude Oil Export Ban Back

July 24, 2015, 8:07 AM

Not long ago, during a presidential campaign debate with Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama suggested Romney had, at one point, stated Russia was the number one geopolitical threat to the United States. The president then quipped—with his usual glibness—“The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.”

Well, Mr. President, you have a phone call, too. It’s the 1970s calling, and they want their crude oil export ban back.

The crude oil export ban was signed into law in 1975 in the wake of the Arab oil embargo that brought long lines for gasoline and high oil prices. Today, by contrast, hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has made the United States the world’s largest producer of crude oil. The outdated export ban puts U.S. oil producers at a competitive disadvantage with other countries, and may actually serve to increase gas prices at the pump.

Imagine what would happen if we didn’t allow our farmers to export their crops. A farmer has just harvested a bumper crop but he doesn’t have enough room to store it all, so he decides to sell it. But there is a problem: All of his neighbors have bumper crops too, and that has driven domestic prices so low the farmer will lose money if he sells his crop because the export ban prevents him from selling it to other countries for a higher price to make a profit.

In the short term, this might sound like a great deal for people in this country who want to buy the farmers’ crops, because they will get lower prices. But that effect is only temporary, because the low prices cause some farmers to go out of business. Other farmers are forced to plant fewer crops the next year because they can’t afford to buy the seeds or fertilizer to grow more. As a result, we produce less food in this country, and we are forced to import food from other countries, making us more reliant on other countries to meet our most basic needs, often at a higher price than before. This is exactly what our crude oil export ban does to American energy producers and consumers.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is the price paid for American oil, and last month the WTI price was about eight dollars lower than the price for Brent oil, the price the rest of the world pays for oil, putting U.S. energy companies at a distinct disadvantage vis-à-vis countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. The price of oil produced in North Dakota is even lower than WTI, because oil refineries in the United States are not set up to process the light, sweet, crude oil produced in this area.

Oil refineries in the United States are geared to run on heavy, sour crude oil, not the light, sweet crude that comes from North Dakota. A report by IHS, an energy consulting firm, states the “United States is nearing a “gridlock” with the mismatch between the rapid growth of light sweet oil and the inability of the U.S. refining system to economically process these growing volumes.”

Additionally, the report suggested the assumption that allowing crude oil exports would result in higher gasoline prices is not accurate because oil refineries are already allowed to export gasoline, meaning the price of gas at the pump already reflect global prices. The report also estimates lifting the ban could lower gas prices by an annual average of 8 cents per gallon, adding to the $675 dollars the average American household is already saving on lower gas prices.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released its long-awaited report on hydraulic fracturing and found it has “not led to widespread, systemic pollution of drinking water.” This is great news for our energy future. Now, Mr. President, let’s lift that export ban. It’s time to get frackin’.

[Originally published at The Hill]

Categories: On the Blog

Poll: 62 Percent of Americans want Supreme Court Justices to Face Election

July 23, 2015, 4:41 PM

A new poll released by FOX News on Tuesday found that Americans are expressing supreme dissatisfaction with the nation’s highest court.

The survey of 1,019 registered voters conducted from July 13th to the 15th found that 62 percent of respondents want the ability to vote off justices of the Supreme Court. Thirty-four percent said they did not want elections for Supreme Court justices. Three percent were undecided.

When asked about the direction of the Supreme Court, 45 percent of respondents felt that the court is becoming too liberal compared to only 34 percent saying it’s about right. Previous polling conducted by FOX News in 2003 found that 30 percent of Americans felt the Supreme Court was too liberal.

Supreme Court justices, along with all federal judges, are appointed to lifetime terms. Seventy-two percent of respondents supported term limits on justices. Twenty-five percent only supported allowing justices to retire when they wanted to. When compared to past polls in 2005 and 2010, support for term limits increased by seven percent.

Tuesday’s poll was the first survey released on the Supreme Court since two major decisions were released on June 26th. One important decision came in King v. Burwell. The court ruled 6 to 3 that subsidies to purchase health insurance on Healthcare.gov can be used on the federally run exchanges, despite language in the Affordable Care Act says that subsidies can be used only for state exchanges.

Forty-one percent of the poll’s respondents identified themselves as Democrats, 37 percent of respondents were identified as Republicans, while 20 percent were identified as “independents.”

Categories: On the Blog

Why Are Republicans Resurrecting Failed Green Energy Subsidies?

July 23, 2015, 4:14 PM

Thank goodness we last November gave the Republicans the Senate majority.

Who besides the GOP would resurrect government money for ridiculous “green” “energy” – which is neither green nor energy? To the tune of tens (if not hundreds) of billions of dollars more down the juice-less rat hole.

Oh yeah – every Democrat on the planet.

Senate May Revive Expired Green Energy Tax Subsidies

The Senate finance committee will be holding a markup hearing on expired tax subsidies members want to be revived for their constituents and campaign supporters, and this includes now defunct subsidies for green energy. 

A document released by the Joint Committee on Taxation last week details dozens of expired tax credits, including a number green energy tax credits for things like wind energy production, making biofuels and using electric vehicles….

Democrats and Republicans seem to be working together to retroactively hand out tax credits to green energy producers.

So not only will the Republicans resume the government money going forward – they’ll make good on the briefest of lapses we just thoroughly enjoyed.

Why is the only time there is bipartisanship in Washington – when both Parties are picking our pockets and then ridiculously wasting what they pilfer?

Meanwhile, the Barack Obama Administration is – at least internationally – working on delivering us Less Government.

(World Trade Organization) WTO Negotiators Agree to Tariff Cuts on More IT Products

Hey Senate Republicans: When the Obama Administration is actually reducing government – while you’re growing it – just how far from the path have you strayed?

World trade negotiators seeking to eliminate tariffs on information technology (IT) products agreed over the weekend to expand the list of items covered. 

Participants said the 54 nations had struck a tentative deal to expand to about 200 the IT products on which tariffs would be dropped. The list had an annual trade value of some $1 trillion, the World Trade Organization said late on Saturday.

Who knew the WTO could actually serve a useful purpose – rather than only really well prepared lobster and prime rib?

This is actually a great way to get rid of a whole lot of domestic government – by negotiating away mirror international government.

If foreign governments are engaged in stupid policies that impact us – and with today’s global markets for…just about everything, just about all of them impact us – getting rid of theirs makes it easier to get rid of ours.

It certainly makes ours even less justifiable.

Europe a Green-Energy Basket Case

Instead of a model to emulate, Europe has become a model of what not to do.

Europe’s Green Energy Industry Faces Collapse As Subsidies Are Cut

European countries are cutting back their solar subsidies to rein in energy costs and cut debt.

We have high energy costs – and HUGE debt. Why are we bringing back the non-green non-energy subsidies Europe is so rightly ending?

We should be doing what the President is doing – working with the world to shrink all our governments. And here’s another perfect way to do it:

(O)ur Farm Bill – which warps our market – has warped the world’s as well….Other produce-producing nations saw our lattice-work panoply of tariffs and subsidies – and felt compelled to match them.  And then exceed them. 

Round and round we go.  Myriad nations outdo our government interference in the marketplace – so we outdo theirs.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  So what we now have is a global lattice-work panoply of tariffs and subsidies.  A thicket that grows ever thicker – as each next government tries to outdo the last.

The President should do what he just did with IT products – with farm products (and many, many others).

And Republicans should absolutely not bring back from the heinous-policy-grave the ridiculous “green” “energy” subsidies they so wisely, so recently let lapse.

We’ll close with something we thought we’d likely never say:

Hey Republicans: Watch what President Obama and Europe are doing – and emulate it.

[Originally published at Red State]

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Leonard Gilroy: Privatizing Public Needs

July 23, 2015, 2:05 PM

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Jesse Hathaway, managing editor of Budget & Tax News speaks with Leonard Gilroy. Gilroy is director of government reform at the Reason Foundation. Gilroy joins Hathaway to discuss the benefits of privatization.

Gilroy talks about how privatization—allowing private-sector businesses to compete with government agencies to best serve the public’s needs—helps everyone. Gilroy explains that privatization helps people in many ways that they may not even know, as everyday public goods and services like trash collection or recreational parks are provided and funded by private businesses. When businesses compete with governments to provide the highest quality of service at the best cost to consumers, he explains, everyone wins and benefits in the end.

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

Gallup Poll: Climate Change Causes Pope’s Poll Numbers to Implode in U.S.

July 23, 2015, 12:48 PM

Despite hysterical forecasts by some scientists, there’s been no empirical evidence of climate change for more than 18 years. But that has just changed – dramatically.

In the time since Pope Francis this spring publicly embraced global warming as “real” and “man-made,” his popularity numbers in the Gallup Tracking Poll have plummeted by 17 points. Climate change, Gallup suggests, caused, in large part, that dramatic drop in papal approval.

“Pope Francis’ favorability rating in the U.S. has returned to where it was when he was elected pope. It is now at 59%, down from 76% in early 2014. The pontiff’s rating is similar to the 58% he received from Americans in April 2013, soon after he was elected pope,” reports Gallup, on its web site. “Pope Francis’ drop in favorability is even starker among Americans who identify as conservative — 45% of whom view him favorably, down sharply from 72% last year. This decline may be attributable to the pope’s denouncing of ‘the idolatry of money’ and linking climate change partially to human activity, along with his passionate focus on income inequality — all issues that are at odds with many conservatives’ beliefs.”

The pope’s reputation has also taken a hit among liberals and moderates, pollsters said.

Pope Francis fares even more poorly when contrasted with one of his recent predecessors in the papacy, Pope John Paul II, who was highly esteemed.

“Pope John Paul II, who served as the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church for nearly 27 years, always polled above 60% in the 1990s and 2000s, reaching a high of 86% favorability in late 1998,” the poll said.

One wonders what the gurus of Gaia worship, Jeffrey Sachs and Ban Ki-Moon, at the United Nations, and Francis’s other secular supporters think of this development. Their ham-handed attempt to hijack the Vatican for the progressive cause of sustainable development is now failing spectacularly, and is yet another liberal strategy that will live on, only in infamy.

Pope Francis has seen his popularity ratings drop as he has become more vocal on “climate change.”

 

 

Categories: On the Blog

Douglas County School-Choice Decision Highlights Need to Re-Examine Blaine Amendments

July 23, 2015, 11:40 AM

The recent Colorado court decision to stop a school-choice pilot program is more disappointing than shocking.

On June 29, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled against the Douglas County Choice Scholarship program by overturning a February 2013 Court of Appeals decision upholding the voucher program as constitutional. According to CSC’s decision, the Douglas County program violates Article IX, Section 7 of the Colorado Constitution, which prohibits the state from giving appropriations “in aid of any church or sectarian society… or to help support or sustain any school… controlled by any church or sectarian denomination.”

Douglas County, Colorado began the school voucher program in 2011. The program offered scholarships for 500 students to attend the school of their family’s choice, including religious and secular private schools.

This decision ignores the fact the voucher program exists to aid families, not schools. The money is not “appropriated” to any school, religious or secular. Parents who choose to join the voucher program select the school.

The decision references the state’s Blaine Amendments, sparking extensive debate regarding such provisions since the 4-3 ruling. Blaine Amendments are add-ons to many state constitutions that prohibit the government from giving direct assistance to religious organizations. Ironically, they originated in the 1800s as a way to keep schools Protestant by preventing funding of Catholic schools. In the 1800s, schools were largely Protestant institutions, and the Protestants prevailed in public schools for many years thereafter.

Today, Blaine Amendments are a constant cause for concern for anyone who sees the value in school choice. Cases such as this, filed continuously across the country, often result in the school-choice program remaining intact, but sometimes courts make rulings as upsetting as the recent Colorado decision.

The fear for teachers unions and others who wave the Blaine Amendments around like a medieval shield is this: If given a choice of whether to use the traditional public schools assigned to students based only on their zip code, parents, students and families will flee to other schools, religious or otherwise. The education establishment’s real fear is empty classrooms and a loss of funding that follows the students to other schools through choice programs.

Religion is thus just another excuse for stopping choice. A New York Times story reported the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado claimed the ruling “drew a clear border between public money and private faith.”

“Parents are free to send their children to private religious schools if they wish, but the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed today that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for it,” read a statement in the Times story by Mark Silverstein, legal director of the ACLU of Colorado, which represented some of the challengers in this case.

Such a statement blatantly disregards the fact the Douglas County choice program would provide taxpayers a greater say over how their tax dollars are spent. The public is already ponying up for these students’ education, and denying families any choice means the court is limiting taxpayers to only one option: to foot the bill for traditional public schools, a large percentage of which are underserving their children.

The voucher program would not force any parents to send their children to a religious school. It’s important to bear in mind many parents make such a decision not because the school is religious but because it is better — often far better — than the local public school. Many students who attend Catholic or other religious schools do not practice the religion of the school they are attending. They choose to go there because the schools offer a better education.

Blaine Amendments enable the education establishment to use religion as a convenient means of blocking choice for parents and students. School voucher programs are not “state appropriations,” and with traditional public schools failing to educate students, courts shouldn’t grant those responsible for the failures another place to hide.

[Originally published at Watchdog]

Categories: On the Blog

Environmental Protection Agency Flooded With Lawsuits Over Controversial Water Rule

July 23, 2015, 9:11 AM

Twenty-nine states, more than half the stars on the American flag, have filed lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for redefining the “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, erasing “navigable” and usurping states’ rights by including local seasonal streams, farm irrigation ponds, roadside ditches, and even “connective” dry lands placed under authority of the Clean Water Act.

The WOTUS rule, published the morning of June 29, potentially subjects every food, energy, transportation and manufacturing industry in the nation to high-handed regulation by one of the most reviled and least trusted federal agencies, dreaded for its cadre of “revolving door” officials hired from anti-industry green groups.

The astonishing response began on the afternoon of June 29: states teamed up in clusters to file their lawsuits in a common U.S. District Court. Utah and eight others filed with Georgia in Augusta’s U.S. Court; Alaska and 11 others filed with North Dakota in Bismark. Days later Mississippi and Louisiana filed with Texas in Galveston; Michigan filed with Ohio in Columbus; Oklahoma filed alone in Oklahoma City.

Each state lawsuit asked a federal judge to declare the WOTUS rule illegal and issue an injunction to prevent the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, co-administrator of the rule, from enforcing it. Each state also asked the judge to order both agencies to draft a new rule that complies with the law and honors state authority.

The WOTUS rule is so alarming because it enables agency bureaucrats to control virtually anything that gets wet, including a desert dry wash that gets a “drizzle,” actual EPA language criticized by House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) at a Heartland Institute conference in Washington in June.

Heartland Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D, commented, “Farmers, ranchers, developers, industry, and individual property owners would now be subject to the EPA’s arbitrary, unsound, and often incomprehensible regulatory system. It cannot be trusted.”

American Farm Bureau Federation general counsel Ellen Steen announced the group’s lawsuit with similar distrust: “When EPA and the Corps first proposed the rule in March 2014, they promised clarity and certainty to farmers, ranchers, builders and other affected businesses and landowners. Instead we have a final rule that exceeds the agencies’ legal authority and fails to provide the clarity that was promised.”

More than a dozen national agricultural and production organizations also filed suit against EPA, including the National Alliance of Forest Owners, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Manufacturers, and Public Lands Council.

The non-profit Pacific Legal Foundation sued on behalf of the state cattlemen’s associations of California, Washington, and New Mexico. When contacted for comment, the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association’s president, Jose Varela Lopez, said what many ranchers feel. He told The Daily Caller, “My family has been on our land for 14 generations, each leaving it better for the next. Water is the source of all life and after all our generations, our water is clear and the land lives on. We have the history to prove that we are caretakers of the water and the land without the help of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

The alarm over WOTUS is not just about strangulation by regulation. Corruption has become a primary issue: evidence has emerged that EPA officials unlawfully lobbied crony green groups to send “one million comments” supporting the rule, according to a May 19 New York Times article. The Army Corps of Engineers examined the comments and found that 98 percent appeared to be non-substantive mass mailings.

Three lawmakers from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and two subcommittee chairmen, Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), immediately sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy demanding answers about rigging public input with YouTube videos, Twitter accounts, and many other social media marketing tools.

[Originally published at the Daily Caller]

Categories: On the Blog

We Need a Constitutional Convention, Part 1

July 23, 2015, 8:58 AM

Reckless government spending and an uncontrollable federal debt have created an unavoidable monetary disaster ahead.  The door to unlimited federal spending was opened by President Nixon in 1971 when he severed the last link between the dollar and gold by ending foreign central banks’ ability to exchange dollars for U.S. gold.  Politicians realized that more spending produced more votes to keep them in office; and with no limit on federal spending, the mountain of debt just kept on growing.

Attempts have been made to limit federal spending through a balanced-budget process.  Unfortunately, our government has become so structurally corrupt that Congress will never reduce spending.  It is  politically impossible to elect dedicated, knowledgeable people in sufficient numbers to achieve this. Congress passed laws in 1978 and 1985 to balance the budget, but later Congresses ignored them.   Constitutional amendments were introduced in 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1995, and Congress voted down every one of them, even the particularly toothless ones in 1994 and 1995. Congress has proven worthless as far as reducing spending.  It is not about to trim its own power.  That power must be taken away!  There is fortunately a way to do this: a Constitutional Amendment by a new constitutional convention called by the states.

The Constitution provides two methods for initiating amendments to that document.  The first, which has been utilized for all amendments in our history, provides for Congress to initiate proposed amendments; but our Founders were wise enough to provide an alternative if that should be necessary.  The second method is through a constitutional convention called by the states.  Amendments proposed by either method must then by ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures in order to become part of the Constitution.  Now is the time to utilize this second procedure to achieve a balanced budget amendment that the first method has failed to provide.

A balanced-budget amendment should be accompanied by an amendment to close the door to unlimited spending that was opened by Nixon in 1971, which made the dollar a pure fiat currency.  There is no limit to the amount of money politicians can spend if money is backed by nothing, but they cannot spend unlimited amounts of money backed by material asset such as gold.

A balanced budget amendment and gold convertibility are vital, but they alone will not tame Congress’ profligate spending.  One reason is that Congress can use unfunded mandates to push costs onto state and local governments that do not show up as federal spending. Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) and the Dodd-Frank Act imposed 86 unfunded mandates on state and local governments.  One of the worst offenders is the Obamacare’s “Essential Health Benefits; Exchanges: Eligibility and Enrollment” requirement.  Even the Obama administration admits this will add more than 12.8 million hours of paperwork to state and local governments and cost them $336.9 million annually.  This amounts to 251,000 hours per state for this one ACA paperwork requirement.  According to theBureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are 33,600 state compliance officers to ensure conformity with laws and regulations.

Originally, the Constitution provided that state legislatures would determine U.S. Senators.  That was the only structural link between the state and federal levels of government, but it was destroyed by the Seventeen Amendment, which established popular election for senators.  That eliminated the states’ ability to restrain federal spending and increased the incentive for spending to gain popularity with  voters to win elections.  Over time this process enlarged the scope and power of the federal government and essentially reduced the states to mere departments of Big Government.  They can do only what Washington allows, or demands, and in a manner Washington prescribes.  Today it is generally overlooked that the states created the federal government, not the other way around. They are not junior partners or subsidiaries.  Lacking the power to print money, the states have to pay the cost of unfunded federal mandates through taxes.  The federal government should be prevented from forcing the states to do this.  State taxes should go for purposes determined by state legislatures; federal taxes, for federal purposes.  Therefore, we need a Constitutional Amendment stating that Congress shall have no power to require state tax increases or how taxes are spent within the state; the cost of all federal mandates thrust upon the states must be paid by the federal government.

We also need a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court declaration in the United States v. Butler, 1936, decision that “the power to authorize appropriations of public money for public purposes is not limited by the direct grants of legislative power in the Constitution.”  If the government has no power to act beyond those direct grants, it should have no power to spend beyond them either.

We also need a constitutional amendment to reassert that the federal government shall henceforth be limited to the Constitution’s grants of power, which it has repeatedly violated.  All three branches, the executive, legislative and judicial, have been increasingly guilty of expanding their roles beyond their Constitutional authority, failing to respect—indeed, destroying—the separation of powers and violating the Tenth Amendment, which states: “The powers not delegated to the United States, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The Constitution vests all legislative power in Congress.  The executive branch lacks any authority to  change not only the health care law but any law.  Yet President Obama has usurped Congress’ legislative authority many times, at least two dozen times in just the Obamacare law by unilaterally rewriting parts of it to change the date it became effective, delay the employer mandate, allow people to keep health plans that don’t meet that law’s standards, etc.  And the Supreme Court likewise violated (in King v. Burwell) the separation of powers by usurping the legislative power of Congress through substitution of its own views rather than the clear meaning of the words “established by the state” that Congress had used in writing the law.” (The Court “interpreted” that phrase to mean health care exchanges “established by the state or federal government,” although that is clearly not what the Congress meant.)

Actually, the problems with Obamacare, and a myriad of other laws, would never have occurred if the Constitution had been followed because it grants no power over health care or medicine or insurance to the federal government.  It also grants the federal government no power over agriculture, education, social welfare, labor relations, the environment, business subsidies, stimulating employment, or regulating the economy.  All of those fields were “reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

Federal regulations in all these fields for which there is no authorization in the Constitution have resulted in the regulatory agencies exercising legislative, executive and judicial functions.  In 2014 for every law passed there were 16 new regulations: 224 new laws and 3,554 new regulations.  EPA accounted for about half of these, for which the government budgeted $8,200,000,000 for 15,500 EPA employees.  But the regulations imposed a “hidden tax” of$1.88 trillion in lost economic activity and higher prices for Americans.  That’s about 29 percent of the average family income and exceeds what the average family spends on health care, food and transportation.  As of December 31, 2014, President Obama’s administration has added 21,000 new regulations that occupy 468,500 pages in the Federal Register   According to the American Action Forum “Since President Obama took office, his regulators have added $35 billion in unfunded regulatory costs and at least 75 million paperwork burden hours on state and local governments.”

Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor, writes, “Our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch, an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency….The fourth branch now has a larger practical impact on the lives of citizens than all other branches combined.” He notes that in a typical year federal judges conduct about 95,000 adjudicatory proceedings, including trials, while the federal regulatory agencies complete more than 939,000.

Today there are more than 4,500 criminal laws and perhaps more than 300,000 relevant federal regulations, according to the Heritage Foundation.  “Congress continues to criminalize at an average rate of one new crime for every week of every year…Congress should not delegate the power to establish crimes to unelected officials in federal departments or agencies.  Common sense and limited-government principles demand that only elected Members of Congress make those decisions.”

EPA has arrogated to itself the powers of the legislative and judicial branches.  Its regulations have  extended the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Acts far beyond the meaning intended by Congress and even in defiance of two Supreme Court rulings (SWANCC v. Army Corps of Engineers, 2001 and Rapanos v. United States, 2006).  For example, it has expanded the meaning of “navigable” waters, which meant channels of navigation for interstate commerce.  Now EPA says it includes swamps, prairie potholes, drains, seasonal depressions wet for only a few weeks—or even a few days—a year, and ditches and culverts hundreds of miles from traditional navigable waters.  It has assumed the power not only to write legal requirements but to judge guilt or innocence and criminalize even unintended violations—even to the extent of imposing jail sentences.  In a previous book, The Trojan Project, I give several examples of this, one of these being the experience of Ocie Mills and his son Carey.

They were trying to build a house on two lots Mr. Mills owned and on which they dumped clean sand.  They thought their action was acceptable because they already had permission from Florida and Florida officials had told them no federal permit was necessary.  But the federal environmental police arrested them for not having a federal permit to dump a “pollutant” into “navigable waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act of 1972.”  Twenty-one months in the slammer!

After serving a full 21 months in prison, Mr. Mills failed to get his conviction overturned on appeal.  Judge Roger Vinson acknowledged that the site of dumpling was dry land, clearly not even a wetland much less a “navigable water.”  And he deplored the twisting of wording “worthy of Alice in Wonderland” to stretch the meaning of “navigable water” to include dry land; but he said the court had to apply the law as it exists and that it clearly gives the regulatory agency the authority to make this determination.

That kind of abuse will not be eliminated by “better regulation.”  There will always be regulators and other government officials who will expand, ignore, or reinterpret a regulation in order to insinuate their own views, as hundreds of examples demonstrate.  The only solution is to eliminate all such regulation, to forbid the federal government from any action beyond its enumerated powers in the Constitution.

Some readers will be aghast that the elimination of the federal EPA will result in great environmental degradation.  Quite the contrary says Jay Lehr, Ph.D. and director of science at the Heartland Institute.  He helped write the Water Pollution Control Act (later renamed the Clean Water Act), Safe Drinking Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Surface Mining and Reclamation Act, the Clean Air Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, and others.

Lehr now favors abolition of the EPA and replacing it with a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental agencies.  He notes these state agencies, having long been given primary responsibility for implementing environmental laws and EPA fiat rulings, have more than “30 years experience and the talent to do the job without the oversight of 15,000 federal employees.” And 80 percent of the cost of EPA’s budget could be eliminated.  He also notes the Committee of the Whole 50 states would be “less vulnerable to lobbying and intimidation by national politicians, activists, and special-interest groups than are their counterparts in Washington, D.C.”

Lehr writes, “Beginning around 1981, liberal activist groups recognized EPA could be used to advance their political agenda by regulating virtually all human activities regardless of their impact on the environment.  Politicians realized they could win votes by posing as protectors of the public health and wildlife.  Industries saw a way to use regulations to handicap competitors or help themselves to public subsidies.  Since that time, not a single environmental law or regulation has been passed that benefitted either the environment or society.” [emphasis added.]  He notes that the politicized and unscientific course that EPA has taken has been documented in twenty books with titles such as         Regulators Gone Wild,

            Out of Bounds, Out of Control,

            Hoodwinking the Nation,

            Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left.

To be continued.

Categories: On the Blog

Jeffrey Sachs And The Shell Game of UN Sustainable Development

July 23, 2015, 8:25 AM

 

 

“The real secret of magic lies in the performance.”

                                                          ~David Copperfield 

He’s Back! Like a bad penny, Jeffrey Sachs, keeps showing up at the Vatican as its favorite environmental expert, even though he’s not a scientist, climatologist, or meteorologist. Don’t fret. Sachs is an expert in all things, just ask him. 

Jeffrey Sachs, the UN’s Mr. Sustainable Development, returns for his 7th environmental performance at the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Science (PASS), as the master illusionist of the UN Sustainable Development shell game.

 On July 22nd, Sachs performed his magic at th e Vatican’s latest leftist political convention for radical politicians, like NY Mayor Bill DeBlasio (friend of Jeff Sachs) and Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown. Several other U.S. attended this political theatre as the Vatican confers its final blessing on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.   

As in his past Vatican forays, Sachs will begin his performance with grim ecological warnings. Perhaps, he will dust off one of his favorites, ‘dangers are evident in every part of the planet.’

Scare your audience. It works every time. 

Like the clever illusionist, Sachs sets the tone, as he has done in previous appearances, by predicting a global climatic catastrophe full of rising oceans, heat waves, and hurricanes: 

“I want to describe what I believe to be the central drama of our time. Now our backs are up against the wall. Our generation’s history is the threat of unprecedented, global-scale environmental catastrophe.” 

Using high drama, fear mongering, and apocalyptic language, the magician ensures the rapt attention of the gullible papal audience. The sky is not only falling, but hopelessly polluted.   Fear not, our magician will waive his UN sustainable development wand and save us all. Salvation usually has a different conation at the Vatican.

In previous Vatican appearances, Sachs reassured his captivated Vatican audience that, “sustainable development is the global concept to address this quite harrowing and unique reality of our time. Sustainable Development calls for a holistic and integrated vision which will end extreme poverty, as well as our environmental objectives of stopping climate change, controlling pollution, and protecting ecosystems.”

Now you see looming harrowing catastrophe, now you don’t. 

Oh, thank God for our secular savior who has the answer to save us from the ecological cliff and the end of the world. It’s none other than the UN’s latest snake oil, sustainable development!

It’s no wonder the Vatican invites back Jeffrey Sachs for repeat performances of his masterful shell game. The Vatican can’t get enough of his promise of ecological salvation.

And promise he does!

Sachs promises to end extreme global poverty in 2030 with the magic of, you guessed it, Sustainable Development! Yes, it sounds like linguistic sleight of hand, but Swami Sachs will accomplish what no one in the history of mankind has done; eliminate extreme global poverty in just 15 short years! Can’t wait to see Sachs pull that rabbit out of his hat.

But there are more tricks in Sachs’ UN Sustainable Development bag.

Knowing that Pope Francis’ favorite cause is human trafficking, Sachs addressed the Pontifical Academy on April 15, 2015 and made another bold forecast. Sachs predicted that sustainable development can eliminate human trafficking by 2020! Yes, folks, human trafficking, today’s fastest growing criminal enterprise, will be eliminated in 5 years! Is it any wonder, that he is the Pope Francis’ favorite advisor? No doubt, the secular Sachs is hoping for some Catholic miracles to achieve the end of human trafficking. Now that’s a quite a disappearing act. Imagine, only five short years…Abracadabra, and no human trafficking! 

What is this magic potion called Sustainable Development with miraculous powers to restore this overpopulated, overheated, inequitable, and inclement world back to the Garden of Eden? It resides in the latest, most radical UN plan to impose carbon taxes and regulations on the developed world, in order to reduce the soaring population of the developing world, i.e., Africa. Simply put, Sachs and his UN minions create a phony climate crisis, blame people for it, tax them into submission, and promise utopia. Presto!

Every magician hopes for a naive audience. Sachs and the UN found theirs in this eco-obsessed Vatican.  

This week, the Vatican audience will be eagerly awaiting more predictions and promises from Sachs. He will waive his disappearing handkerchief and POOF!Hunger, poverty, human trafficking, inequity, rising seas, polluted air, and yes, overpopulation will disappear.

And no doubt, Jeffrey Sachs will certainly be able to perform the trick that even Magician David Copperfield couldn’t manage. Copperfield often remarked, “I’m just waiting for people to start asking me to make the rain disappear.”

–Attorney Elizabeth Yore is a consultant on climate change policy for The Heartland Institute. She served as one of the members of the Heartland Institute delegation to protest the Vatican exclusion of all scientific opinions and reliance on population control experts. She served as Child Advocate and Special Counsel at the South African Leadership Academy for Girls. She was the General Counsel of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.   She received her B.A. from Georgetown University and her J.D. from Loyola University Law School in Chicago

Categories: On the Blog

Analysis: States Ready to Shut Down ‘Obamacare’ Exchanges

July 23, 2015, 4:31 AM

Health care analysts are predicting that the 13 states — and the District of Columbia — that are currently offering Obamacare insurance exchanges will cease operations within five years.

According to a report on CNBC.com, federal subsidies provided to the states as part of the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2009 are ending, after the government invested $5 billion overall to establish the exchanges.

Where will consumers go for information on cheap, Obamacare-compliant health insurance policies? Most likely, analysts said, they will go to HealthCare.gov, the troubled federal exchange site set up by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Phil Kerpen, president of the free-market advocacy group American Commitment, told CNBC.com that the state exchanges have “annual operating costs of tens of millions of dollars.

“I think it’s just a matter of time,” Kerpen said. “The economics don’t work … the ongoing maintenance costs are going to be very high. I think what’s going to happen is all the states will fall like dominoes,” said Kerpen.

The largest state exchange is Covered California, which markets more than 1.3 million health insurance plans.

 

Saved by the Supreme Court recently, the state-based Obamacare exchanges are already poised to cease operations for lack of financing.

 

Categories: On the Blog

For Now… Netflix Has Mastered Regulatory Arbitrage

July 22, 2015, 3:55 PM

Imagine if one company out of the Fortune 500, #474 with ~$6b in revenues, and 2,000 employees, representing about .03% of U.S. GDP, and .06% of the population, comprised 36%of all the vehicle traffic going in one direction on our interstate highway system on any given day.

Now imagine that one company’s lobbying was instrumental in convincing the government to grant that company’s business model the right to commercially use the highway system forever for free, by not ever having to pay a standard gas tax or private highway tolls, like other businesses or people do to pay for the relative wear and tear that their usage causes on the highway systems.

Imagine further that the government justified this special one-way highway traffic treatment, by saying it would be better and fairer for everyone if the companies that use and profit most from using the most one direction of the highway system never had to pay for that delivery benefit – that consumers should subsidize their commercial use and profits in “perpetuity.”

The company’s situation you just imagined is Netflix’. The government agency is the FCC. And the perverse government arrangement is the FCC’s mandate of a permanent zero price for all Internet downstream traffic.

Investors love Netflix, and appear blissfully ignorant of the unique and extreme regulatory arbitrage on which Netflix’ business and growth model rests, and the considerable regulatory risk Netflix faces over the next couple of years, domestically and internationally.

By way of background, it is important to remember Netflix started and thrived as a DVD mail rental service where its postage bill to the U.S. Postal Service was its biggest expense. Netflix brilliantly pivoted from mailing DVDs to Internet streaming earlier and better than most anyone.

The underappreciated brilliant part of that pivot was how Netflix and others were able to ensure that its distribution costs to consumers would go from its biggest expense to being completely subsidized by the government by getting the FCC to set a de facto permanent price of zero for all Internet downstream traffic under the guise of net neutrality.

A hinge-point in the operative concept of net neutrality was a 2009 paper by Professor Tim Wu entitled: “Subsidizing Creativity through Network Design: Zero-Pricing and Net Neutrality.” Netflix and others seized on this commercial-subsidy version of net neutrality and got that new subsidy notion embedded in the FCC’s first Open Internet Order in 2010.

From 2010 to 2014, Netflix’ burgeoning streaming business was heavily subsidized by the FCC’s de facto price regulation of a permanent zero price for downstream Internet traffic.

In 2014, the Appeals court decision, Verizon v. FCC, threatened Netflix’ gravy train because the court struck down the Wu-Netflix-subsidy-notion of net neutrality by concluding the FCC did not have the legal  authority to compel an ISP to furnish service at no cost.

Netflix then played a leading role in getting the FCC majority to oppose “Internet fast lanes” — i.e. the FCC’s ban of “paid prioritization” — which sets a de facto permanent price of zero for all downstream Internet traffic under the FCC’s assertion of Title II authority, which by the way has been challenged yet again by the entire broadband industry.

For now… Netflix has mastered regulatory arbitrage under the banner of net neutrality.

However, going forward, prospects for the FCC net neutrality, subsidy-gravy-train continuing uninterrupted appear to be more uncertain than Netflix supporters and investors appreciate.

Long term, Netflix is at least partly an FCC-dependent investment.

Domestically, the fate of Netflix’ zero-price distribution subsidy depends on the fate of the FCC’s Open Internet Order, which faces a highly uncertain outlook in the next couple of years.

As I recently explained in my analysis: “The FCC’s Title II Trifecta Gamble,” the FCC’s Order faces cumulative risk that the Title II authority it asserted in the Order will not withstand the following gauntlet of serious risks: first a House appropriations provision to defund Title II implementation; second a united-industry court challenge to overturn the legality of the Order; and third a Republican in the White House in 2017 whose FCC Republican majority would reverse the existing order.

To appreciate the cumulative risk here, to the Order and to Netflix’ regulatory gravy train, assume each outcome faces a 50-50 risk. An odds maker would tell you that .5 x .5 x .5 = .125 (12.5%) or 8-1 odds against the FCC and Netflix winning this effective trifecta gamble over the next couple of years.

Internationally, the President’s call for the FCC to reclassify the Internet as a Title IItelecommunications service creates substantial business model risk for Netflix in particular.

Under International Telecommunications Union (ITU) treaty, if a country that Netflix is targeting for growth, decides to follow America’s lead and classify the Internet into its country as “telecommunications,” it legally could impose a treaty-sanctioned sending-party-pays economic model and charge Netflix for its terminating traffic into their country.

In short, the market appears to view Netflix as a momentum play that faces little risk to its current momentum.

Such sentiment appears to ignore the risks to Netflix’ hidden subsidized economic model from Congress; the courts; the 2016 election; and other countries reclassifying downstream Internet traffic into their countries as paid telecommunications termination.

[Originally published at Precursor Blog]

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Jim Manley: Goldwater Institute’s Lawsuit Against Georgia’s CON Laws

July 22, 2015, 2:22 PM

In this episode of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Jim Manley, a senior attorney at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, joins managing editor Kenneth Artz to talk about the Goldwater Institute’s lawsuit on behalf of two doctors against officials at the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) in Fulton County Superior Court.

The Goldwater lawsuit challenges the state’s medical Certificate of Need (CON) law, contending on five counts that the law is unconstitutional because it is “a restraint on competition, economic liberty, and consumer choice.”

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

The Donald: America’s ‘Individualist’ Candidate for President

July 22, 2015, 8:51 AM

Conservative pundits are confused. Donald Trump is not a libertarian, nor is he a liberal. He doesn’t act like a Republican running for President of the U.S., nor does he behave like a progressive Democrat seeking the White House.

No reason to be confused, here, folks. You are right. Trump is not a libertarian Republican, a conservative, nor a remnant of that long-endangered species, the patriotic Democrat.

Rather, he is an individualist. Like a character out of an Ayn Rand novel — perhaps even a hybrid of Dagney Taggert and Hank Reardon from Atlas Shrugged — Trump embodies that very American trait of individualism.

Remember individualists? These are the rough-and-tumble folks who refuse to conform to any political ideology, like many, millions of Americans. These kinds of people don’t fit in the GOP or the DNC, though they have often tried in the past. Reagan, a one-time New Deal enthusiast, had a lot of traditionalism in him. But what people seemed to like was his ruddy individualism. “Go ahead. Make my day,” he famously said, paraphrasing the Clint Eastwood character Dirty Harry. Americans loved it.

After nearly eight years of soul-sapping progressivism, mindless conformity to liberal banalities, as advanced by President Obama, Americans have had enough. They know the John Boehner-Mitch McConnell-style Republicanism won’t save the country, which is all they get for voting in historic majorities in the House of Representatives in reaction to Obama during the last two elections.

Americans seem to be looking for someone who is apparently unafraid of the media establishment, won’t bow to political correctness, and who, like they do, thinks every one in politics these days is either a “moron” or is “not classy,” to quote the Donald.

Marco Rubio seems to have noticed this. Or maybe it was his pollsters. This morning on Fox News Channel, Rubio was quoted as saying President Obama had “no class.” What is this but modified Trump rhetoric? Have we heard Republicans talk like this before about Obama? No, not since Rep. Joe Wilson had the temerity to yell, “You lie,” in the House chamber, when Obama was giving his speech on the Affordable Care Act in 2009, then, an unread proposal, and not yet an unread bill passed by the Congress through reconciliation budget procedures, has anyone dared speak frankly in politics, it seems. Maybe other GOP pols will incorporate Trumpian rhetoric in their spiels too, shortly. (Don’t bet on that for the Democrats though. Martin O’Malley profusely apologized for having the temerity to say, All Lives Matter, at a progressive event.)

Where does Trump stand on policy issues? He’s an individualist. On Fox this morning, in an interview, he said that he would bring jobs back to America from China. In the next breath, he said American Hispanics would vote for him because he employs so many of them at his hotels and other businesses. He also said he would reform the Veterans Administration because he knows how to “build hospitals,” and has done so before.  He’s also tired of illegal aliens, and wants to secure the border.

I don’t see any ideology there except for “let’s get this done, it’s not brain surgery,” which is very American in and of itself and which seems to transcend ideology.

Will he be a free trader or a protectionist? My guess is he would do what he thinks is right, at the moment a decision is called for, based on his individual opinion, not a consensus statement.

Will he shrink the size of government?  My guess again is that he would do what he thinks is right, at the moment a decision is called for, based on his individual opinion, not a consensus statement.

Like Gen. Douglas MacArthur, or Gen. George Patton, or even actor John Wayne, in the 1940s, who were hugely popular with Americans, he wants to get things done, and doesn’t seem to care what other elites think of him. (He is an Ivy League graduate – so don’t think he’s not an elite. He may sound like Archie Bunker, but he’s gone to school with people whose ancestors fought at Bunker Hill, and he has lived among them in New York society for ages.)

I’m not advocating that you vote for him, or not vote for him. But I will say this — every day, with every insult against the establishment, Trump becomes a more plausible presidential candidate, given this particular moment in American history.

Libertarian? Conservative? Liberal? Or an invididualist?

Categories: On the Blog

Millions of Americans Refuse to Buy Obamacare, Prefer to Pay Penalty

July 21, 2015, 9:09 PM

Millions of Americans prefer to pay a federal tax penalty, rather than being forced to buy no-frills health insurance, a development that is surprising even the White House and progressive enthusiasts of the controversial Obamacare, according to a report.

“As many as 7.5 million U.S. taxpayers reported that they owed a tax penalty for 2014 for not signing up for health insurance, the Internal Revenue Service said. That amounted to roughly $1.5 billion in penalties,” notes Marketwatch.

“That was at least 1.5 million more taxpayers than the Obama administration expected to see paying penalties under terms of the Affordable Care Act, according to reported forecasts, and as much as triple what some officials had forecast. The number, however, will come down, as the IRS says 300,000 should have claimed an exemption to the penalty.”

Penalties averaged around $200. Nearly 85% of these taxpayers reported getting a refund for the 2014 tax year, the IRS said.

The government said 12 million taxpayers claimed they were “exempt” from health-care coverage requirements.

The number of those owing the IRS a penalty, though, may climb. The agency said 5.1 million more didn’t claim an exemption, reported they would pay a penalty or said they already had coverage. The IRS said those still are being audited to determine their status.

“Administration officials had projected that anywhere from 2.7 million to 6 million taxpayers would have to shell out at least some money in penalties, according to various sources. The Obama administration had seen 2% to 4% of taxpayers forking over the fines, but that has ended up being 6% and could go higher.” Marketwatch reported.

Remember, when Obamacare was initially passed, this particular provision was deemed a penalty. Then Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts decided – for the purposes of saving the law and keeping it constitutional – that what lawmakers really meant was that the penalty was a tax. Now, however, the IRS is referring to the tax as a penalty.

When is a penalty a tax? When the Supreme Court says so. When is a tax a penalty? When the IRS says so. Got that, Mr. Citizen?

Categories: On the Blog

An Ill-Wind in Ontario

July 21, 2015, 4:12 PM

Despite rising public complaints about adverse health effects from industrial wind turbines, thousands continue to be erected across the province.

Environmentalists often talk about people whose lives are ruined by man-made global warming.

But they never mention the lives that are devastated by misguided climate change policy.

There is no better example than the debilitating human health impacts of the hundreds of thousands of industrial wind turbines (IWTs) that are being erected around the world to supposedly mitigate climate change.

In “Adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines,” a 2013 paper in the magazine of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, Dr. Roy D. Jeffery, Carmen Krogh, and Brett Horner explained, “People who live or work in close proximity to IWTs have experienced symptoms that include decreased quality of life, annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headache, anxiety, depression, and cognitive dysfunction.”

“The problem is not just cyclical audible noise keeping people awake but also low frequency infrasound which can travel many kilometres,” notes Dufferin County-based Barb Ashbee, who says she was forced out of her Amaranth, Ontario home by the siting of IWTs too close to it.

“Infrasound goes right through walls,” said Ashbee, operator of the Wind Victims Ontario website. “It pummels your body.”

Tens of thousands of complaints have been received by governments around the world.

Sherri Lange, CEO of North American Platform Against Wind, said, “I have personally received hundreds of phone calls from distressed people who need to vacate their homes [because of IWTs].”

Lange contended governments try to not address the issue.

“It is my experience from talking to doctors, researchers and other high-level professionals, that governments seem to be (under the influenced of) the industry.”

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne promised her government would not force any of the 6,736 IWTs being erected by the province into “unwilling communities”.

To date, 90 communities have declared themselves as “Unwilling Hosts”, yet construction is underway, or planned, in many of these areas.

For example, in West Lincoln and surrounding regions, wind developers have received approval to install at least 77 three-Megawatt IWTs, each as tall as a 61-storey building, despite strong public objections.

Local resident Shellie Correia is particularly concerned.

Her 12-year-old son, Joey, has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and it is crucial that he live in a quiet environment.

But now, as part of the Ontario government’s climate change plans, an IWT will be sited only 550 metres from his home, the closest “setback” allowed in Ontario for residents who do not sign lease agreements with wind companies.

The province, which cites a 2010 report from its Chief Medical Officer of Health that found no direct causal links between IWTs and adverse health effects, has claimed the province’s setbacks are “the most stringent in North America”.

In reality, most jurisdictions in Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Europe require greater setbacks. Two kilometres is commonplace.

As Correia explained in her January, 2015 presentation before the government’s Environmental Review Tribunal, “On top of the incessant, cyclical noise, there is light flicker, and infrasound. This is not something that my son will be able to tolerate.”

Correia is supported by her son’s pediatrician, Dr. Chrystella Calvert, a specialist in the care of children with developmental and mental health problems.

Calvert says, “I, as a ‘normal brain’ individual would not want this risk [of an IWT] to my mental health (or my children’s) in my neighbourhood.”

Like most governments, Ontario officials insist the adverse health effects of IWTs are minimal, citing various studies.

But there is much scientific evidence to the contrary and studies are lacking with regards to children.

Krogh, one of the authors of the report on health problems linked to IWTs that appeared in the magazine of The College of Family Physicians of Canada, wrote in a May 13, 2013 open communication to Canada’s health minister, “Vigilance and long-term surveillance systems regarding risks and adverse effects related to children are lacking. … This evaluation should take place before proceeding with additional approvals.”

But the approvals go ahead regardless.

As Correia notes, “Wynne speaks about ‘protecting’ her granddaughter’s future (in defending her government’s plan to introduce carbon pricing through cap-and-trade.) Why then, is it not important for her to protect my son, now?”

[Originally published at the Toronto Sun]

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Jay Lehr, Ph.D: Nuclear Power Post-Fukushima

July 21, 2015, 11:49 AM

 

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, H. Sterling Burnett, managing editor of Environment & Climate News speaks with Heartland Science Director Jay Lehr, Ph.D. Lehr and Burnett discuss the subject of nuclear power in the post-Fukushima age.

Lehr and Burnett discuss the misplaced fears and the misunderstood benefits of nuclear power and how Japan, which shut down its nuclear reactors in the aftermath of the Fukushima incident, is beginning to bring nuclear power back to their energy mix.

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

Yet Again, the Left is Caught Faking Support for its Ridiculous Policies

July 21, 2015, 11:02 AM

Remember Russia’s Potemkin villages?

The phrase “Potemkin village”…was originally used to describe a fake portable village, built only to impress….

The phrase is now used, typically in politics and economics, to describe any construction (literal or figurative) built solely to deceive others into thinking that some situation is better than it really is.

The modern Left is renowned for erecting Potemkin-esque faux support and supporters for its policy ridiculousness.

You want fake feet in the street?

Boom Times for Rent-a-Mobs  

These are busy – and profitable – times for rent-a-mobs. Just days after Black Friday protests against Walmart stores, many of the same agitators will be out again on Thursday protesting at fast-food restaurants in New York City and across the country.

We’re all supposed to pretend these are “organic worker “uprisings against exploitative employers; in fact, they’re all bankrolled by Big Labor and its allies.

Ferguson Protesters Now Protesting Over Not Getting Paid

L.A. Union Members, Activists to Caravan to Arizona to Protest Immigration Law

Very, very often – We the Taxpayers are picking up large swaths of the phony protest tab. And not just for the government-union “protestors.”

Obama DOJ Facilitated Anti-Zimmerman Protests with Taxpayer Money

DOJ Sends Taxpayer-Funded ‘Protest Marshals’ to Ferguson

Free Ride. Protesters Ride to Rally on Taxpayer Dime

Nothing like Leftists using government money – to lobby for more government money. That seems fair.

Want to vote to end this? It’s getting harder and harder to do so – because your vote is increasingly likely to be cancelled out by fake voters.

Dems’ Voter-Fraud Denial

Officials Found Guilty in Obama, Clinton Ballot Petition Fraud

Democrat Election Fraud in Arkansas is Tip of the Iceberg

4 Indiana Dems Charged with Election Fraud

Maryland Democrat Quits Congressional Race Amid Vote Fraud Allegations

Again, often our money is being used – to phony the vote.

The Complete Guide to ACORN Voter Fraud

They register dead people. But that’s not all.

Voter Fraud Expert: ‘We Smell ACORN’ in Georgia

Nevada Voter Fraud Law Upheld, ACORN Conviction Sustained

ACORN Continues to Receive Taxpayer Cash

When the Left isn’t using fake people – it’s generating fake votes.

Voting Machines in Maryland Change Votes For Republicans to Votes For Democrats

Video: Machine Switches Votes from Republican to Democrat in Illinois

Video: Pennsylvania Voting Machine Switches Vote From Barack Obama To Mitt Romney

This is Marxist de rigueur. So why would Media Marxists be any different? Of course they aren’t. Back in 2010, they did this:

Free Press and NTEN Con Nonprofits into Supporting Net Neutrality

Late last month, lobbyists for the pro-net neutrality movement began circulating a letter on Capitol Hill demanding the immediate passage of a law that would allow the FCC to regulate Internet broadband.

The letter, sponsored by media reformist groups Free Press and the Nonprofit Technology Network, featured over 160 signatories, among them the Dr. Pepper Museum, Planned Parenthood of North Texas, and Operation Catnip, a spay-and-neuter clinic in Gainesville, Florida.

If you’re thinking that the aforementioned groups don’t sound like the net-neutrality types, you’d be right. One signatory doesn’t remember signing anything related to net neutrality, and the other signatories contacted by The Daily Caller could not explain their support for Title II reclassification in fact, they didn’t even attempt to explain their support.

So who didn’t see this coming?

Fake Jim Beam Letter Reveals Quiet FCC Lobbying Campaign (Politico Pro pay article)

The lobbying effort came to light after one letter – ostensibly from

famous bourbon maker Jim Beam – turned out to be a fraud….

Jim Beam’s corporate owner quickly denied penning or authorizing the June

24 letter….

(T)he letters are part of a widespread advocacy effort on the issue from public interest groups and trade groups….

COMPTEL defended the lobbying effort, saying that the group “is proud of these efforts.

The phone companies want to transition from 1930s circuit-switched wireline networks to state-of-the-art IP phone service. In part because…duh. In part because these old lines are WAY more expensive to maintain. Money dumped backwards down these imploding ratholes could be MUCH better spent advancing the tech ball – making things MUCH better and faster going forward.

But COMPTEL is fake lobbying with fake letters – for this very old technology. Because COMPTEL is apparently anti-science.

Who else is anti-science? The Communications Workers of America (CWA) – yet another union.

(I am of course kidding about “anti-science.” But see how silly that assertion sounds, ye of the Left?)

Why is the CWA anti-progress? Self-interest. Because most of the antiquated phone lines are unionized – and most of the modern lines are not. As we move away from the ancient technology – we move away from the CWA’s gravy gigs.

And all of this is on the heels of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unilaterally imposing1930s landline phone line law onto the Internet (which is Network Neutrality on steroids). Which is anti-progress – but also really pro-authoritarian.

Ridiculously outdated technology. Imposed and propped up by lies – in defense of Huge Government and its Leftist cronies.

Because that’s progressive.

[Originally published at Red State]

Categories: On the Blog

Freedom to Move: Personal Liberty or Government Control, Part I

July 21, 2015, 10:15 AM

The immigration issue has once more bubbled to the surface in America because of the provocative statements and assertions by one of the Republication contenders for their party’s presidential nomination.

Immigrants – especially illegal immigrants – are accused of stealing the jobs of “real” Americans, of mooching off the welfare state at the expense of taxpaying U.S. citizens and legal residents, and threatening the political status quo of the nation, since “we all know” that too many of those immigrants, if given citizenship, will vote for the political plunders who offer them more of other people’s money.

SUPPORT EPICTIMES BY SHOPPING AT AMAZON.COM!

America the Land of Opportunity for the New Comer

It is a cliché, but it is no less true: we are a nation of immigrants. It is estimated that between 1840 and 1914, around 60 million people left Europe to settle somewhere else in the world. About 35 million of them came to the United States. The remainder found new homes in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada or Latin American countries such as Brazil and Argentina.

They came to America usually for one (or more) of three reasons: To escape religious persecution, to get from under political oppression, or to find economic opportunity for the better compared to the government controls, regulations or heavy taxes experienced in the “old country.”

In the 1840s and 1850s, large numbers of Irish came to the United States. They left behind famine and unwanted British rule. In the 1860s and 1870s, a wave of Germans came to America’s shores. They were looking for a better economic life and avoidance of the military draft due to Prussian-led wars that resulted in the unification of the Germanic states into Imperial Germany in 1871 under Kaiser Wilhelm I.

In the 1880s and 1890s, many Italians and Poles came to America looking for better material circumstances for their families. In the 1890s and the first decade of the twentieth century, there arrived a significant numbers of Russian Jews who were escaping from poverty and religious persecution and violence in Imperial Russia.

In between came Scandinavians, Scots, Hungarians, Lithuanians and Latvians, Romanians and Greeks, and many, many others.

Some Looking for a Second Chance, Others Brought in Chains

All were looking for a “second chance,” a new beginning in a new land that greeted many of them with the Statue of Liberty as they entered New York harbor. Most of them did not know the English language; many were illiterate or had only limited education; they were often “low skilled” with limited experience with working in the emerging modern world of commerce, industry, and trade.

But for many of us, let us not forget, they are our ancestors. They are our grandparents or great-grandparents, or great great-grandparents. We are here, enjoying the lives that we lead with the degrees of prosperity that we each are fortunate to have, because they left the “old country” to try to make a better life for themselves and their children.

Yes, not every American alive today is the descendent of such immigrants. Over 10 million Africans were brought to the Americas between the 1500s and the mid-1800s. It is estimated that upwards of two million more Africans never survived the journey across the Atlantic in the slave ships. About 500,000 of those Africans were brought to the United States during the period of the slave trade.

Yet, their descendants in the U.S., after a long and harsh political and economic battle against segregation, racial prejudices, and educational disadvantages over many decades, live far better and have more economic opportunities, today, in mainstream America than the vast majority of billions of people in other parts of the world.

 

Myths and Prejudices Against the New Arrivals

How were many of these waves of immigrants frequently viewed by those (or their descendants) who had come to America earlier? With prejudice, dislike, and intolerance.

How can the Irish or the Poles ever be “real Americans”? After all, they worship and obey the Pope in Rome! And, don’t forget, they are all drunks, and therefore are a bad example for our children. Oh, and the Italians, who besides being Pope worshipers, are all lazy and Mafia types.

What about those Germans? They cluster together in small communities clinging to speaking German and eating their German food, while wanting to spend their weekends in the park listening to military oom-pah-pah music with a beer stein in hand.

And those Jews! Well, we all know they killed Jesus. And, besides, it’s rumored that they kidnap and kill Gentile children to make matzo bread out of them. Plus, they are the blood sucking “money-changers.” Clearly their arrival means the end of God’s America!

We look back, today, at such beliefs, attitudes and prejudices with the ridicule and bemusement that they deserve. Over a hundred years later, now, they are our ancestors, and we are their descendants.

The American “Melting Pot”

When I was growing up in the late 1950s and 1960s, it was still common for people sometimes to refer to themselves as Italian-Americans, or Irish-Americans, or Polish-Americans, even if it was their parents or grandparents who had originally come to America.

Today, if I ask the students in my classes what is the national or ethnic origin of their last name, or where they ancestors originally came from, many if not most of them reply that they have no idea. And they don’t seem to care. They clearly have never been inquisitive or asked their family members about it.

This shows, again, the reality of another cliché: that America is a “melting pot” of a diversity peoples that over several generations become something different from their ancestors’ national origins: they are Americans.

Intermarriage between the children and grandchildren of those waves of immigrants leaves behind the national, ethnic and religious roots of the original “new arrivals” and puts in its place the mix of many into one. Even the racial divides of the past that limited such mixing have been falling by the wayside over the decades until it has become a political controversy about which box to check on a government census form when its asks the respondent their “race.”

Freedom to Move in the Classical Liberal Age

How did many of our ancestors successfully make it to America, given the types of legal barriers – in the form of passports and visas – to people’s global movements that we take for granted today? Well, through most of the period between 1840 and 1914, there were no such legal prohibitions or restraints.

Following the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteenth century, as the new, emerging spirit of classical liberalism began to take hold over the laws and policies of European governments, passport requirements were abolished. By the middle of the nineteenth century the “freedom to move” was considered an inseparable complement to individual liberty and free trade.

Historian R. R. Palmer explained in his History of the Modern World:

“Perhaps most basic in the whole European exodus was the underlying [classical] liberalism of the age. Never before (nor since) had people been legally so free to move. Old laws requiring skilled workmen to stay in their own countries were repealed, as in England in 1824. The old semi-communal agricultural villages, with collective rights and obligations, holding the individual to his native group, fell into disuse except in Russia . . .

“Governments permitted their subjects to emigrate, to take with them their savings of shillings, marks, kroner, or lire, and to change nationality by becoming naturalized in their new homes.

“The rise of individual liberty in Europe, as well as the hope of enjoying it in America, made possible the great emigration. For so huge a mass movement the most remarkable fact is that it took place by individual initiative and individual expense.”

Work Ethic and Freedom as the Paths to the New Life

This was how my grandparents on both sides of my family made it to America. During that first decade of the twentieth century, my father’s parents came as small children from Germany and Ireland. Life was hard, but my grandfather worked hard and with an attitude of “German discipline,” started a business and ended up owning apartment buildings in Chicago (and his brother participated in one of the construction companies that built the Golden Gate Bridge).

My mother’s parents were Russian and Lithuanian Jews whose families came to America following the Pogroms in Russia in 1905. They, too, arrived in New York as small children. My mother’s father wanted to be a doctor, but informal anti-Jewish quotas to many medical schools in 1920s, made it impossible to fulfill that dream. So, instead, he went to pharmacy school, earned his degree and owned a drug store in Brooklyn, New York. (He lost it during the Great Depression because too many of his neighborhood customers to whom he extended credit were not able to pay what they owed due to the hard times.)

The way to success for these waves of immigrants was hard work, determination, and not allowing the ethnic or religious stupidities of others prevent them from going as far as they could, and hopefully making the start that would at least lead to a better life for your children.

The path to such success was education. When I was a small boy, my grandmother on my mother’s side drilled into me: “Get an education. Become a professional man. Then you have a skill and maybe you’re too valuable for the Gentiles to kill.”

My grandmother was not a backward or illiterate woman. As a young girl she had studied for the opera (she even auditioned before Florenz Ziegfeld for a role in the “Ziegfeld Follies”), loved classical music, memorized many of the famous and classic poets, and was widely read in literature.

But the memories of the Cossacks coming into her village in the Ukraine, and burning homes and killing people merely because they were Jews had left its mark. You needed to take your own life into your own hands and make a secure place in a freer country than the one she had left as that small child.

And she constantly repeated one phrase to me: “The world does not owe you a living.” And this from a woman who voted socialist or liberal Democrat, and cried when FDR died! The spirit of American individualism had become an inseparable part of even my “socialist”-leaning grandmother.

The Return of Migration Barriers Before and After the Great War

This classical liberal world of freedom of movement began to change even before the start of the First World War in 1914. For America the change began in the 1880s with restrictions on Chinese entering the United States. Labor union leaders like Samuel Gompers may have denounced the arrival of the Chinese because they supposedly were “ruining” young white men and women through the enticement of opium dens. But, in fact, behind it was the argument that the “yellow hordes” threatened white men’s jobs by being willing to work longer hours for less pay.

With the coming of the First World War, belligerent nations reintroduced restrictions on people entering or leaving their countries without government approval through the reintroduction of the officially issued “passport” and visa system.

And, then, following the war, in the early 1920s, the United States imposed stringent immigration barriers and quotas. Ethnic fears of too many inferior and less educated central and eastern Europeans entering the country, plus the growing pressure of labor unions to limit competition threatening their workplace privileged members lowered the curtain on America’s epoch of generally free migration.

The implicit premise reintroduced was the presumption that you were not a free person at liberty to live, work and travel where and when you chose, as long as you were peaceful and respectful of the rights of others.

Migration Barriers Once More Make You the Property of the State

No, you were once again the property of the state, stamped and controlled through the passport and visa systems. You may leave or enter the jurisdiction of a nation-state only at the pleasure and permission of the political authority with power over that country.

The famous German free market economist, Wilhelm Röpke, once pointed out one of the consequences of such policies in an essay on “Barriers to Migration” (1951):

“There is no doubt that the closing of the gates of immigration . . . is a part of the larger tendency of our time towards growing nationalization and collectivization of political, cultural, economic and social life . . .

“Modern nationalism and collectivism have, by the restriction of migration, perhaps come closest to the ‘servile state’ . . . Man can hardly be reduced more to a mere wheel in the clockwork of the national collectivist state than by being deprived of his freedom of movement . . . Feeling that he belongs now to his nation, body and soul, he will more easily subdued to the obedient state serf which nationalist and collectivist governments demand.”

But what about the “economic” objections to more open borders? What about jobs, wages, and taxpayers’ money? And what about the dilution of American culture and politics by the arrival of large numbers of foreign “aliens”?

We will discuss these issues in part II of this article next week.

[Originally published at Epic Times]

Categories: On the Blog