Somewhat Reasonable

Syndicate content Somewhat Reasonable | Somewhat Reasonable
The Policy and Commentary Blog of The Heartland Institute
Updated: 6 min 7 sec ago

Heartland Daily Podcast – Joe Nichols: Medicaid Expansion

March 05, 2015, 1:25 PM

In this episode of the Budget & Tax News podcast, Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions analyst Joe Nichols joins the show to explain how several states are trying to cheat the system and profit from Medicaid expansion. States like Ohio and Pennsylvania apply sales and use taxes to Medicaid premiums, in order to boost revenue and increase the amount of federal grant money provided.

However, Nichols says, the federal government may soon close this “loophole,” which the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services declared was illegal. Preventing the application of sales taxes to Medicaid premiums in Ohio, he says, will make Medicaid expansion an even worse deal for the state’s taxpayers.

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

Categories: On the Blog

Will a Royal Edict on Ammo Mock the Constitution?

March 05, 2015, 1:21 PM

By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold – 

The ATF’s move to ban ammunition in common use since before the 1986 ban on “armor piercing ammunition” is at the direct hand of President Obama. Having failed to secure an assault weapons ban after New Town, or even universal background checks, he is trying to dry up the most popular “plinking” ammunition for AR rifles, the most popular rifle style sold in America. He has already moved to ban importation of Russian ammunition on the pretense of sanctioning Putin’s supporters, and the importation of foreign made semi-automatic rifles. (The same rifles are made here under license.)

As related in the Washington Examiner:

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this month revealed that it is proposing to put the ban on 5.56 mm ammo on a fast track, immediately driving up the price of the bullets and prompting retailers, including the huge outdoors company Cabela‘s, to urge sportsmen to urge Congress to stop the president.

Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA, the group’s policy and lobby shop, likewise made this statement about the ammunition ban:

The Obama administration was unable to ban America’s most popular sporting rifle through the legislative process, so now it’s trying to ban commonly owned and used ammunition through regulation.” . . .  “The NRA and our tens of millions of supporters across the country will fight to stop President Obama’s latest attack on our Second Amendment freedoms.

In an effort to thwart BATFE’s attempted action, the National Rifle Associationhas worked with U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to draft a letter to BATFE expressing the lawmakers’ opposition to the proposed Framework.  So far the NRA, working with Goodlatte to gather co-signers, have enlisted 30 House members.  Goodlatte and the NRA are hoping to get a total of 100 House members as co-signers in the near future.  Bob Goodlatte asserts that the proposed ban is a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act and has vowed to fight the measure in court.

According to the letter being drafted to send BATFE by Goodlatte and the NRA:

The idea that Congress intended [the ‘armor piercing’ ammunition law] to ban one of the preeminent rifle cartridges in use by Americans for legitimate purposes is preposterous.”  The letter goes on to state that the law “should be construed in accordance with the American tradition of lawful firearms ownership, as protected by the Second Amendment.” This includes due consideration of “the many legitimate uses Americans make of their firearms including target practice, hunting, organized and casual competition, training and skills development, and instructional activities.“ The letter concludes with several pointed questions for the B. Todd Jones, BATFE’s director, including why the agency bypassed the Administrative Procedures Act in proposing such a radical change to its prior interpretation and enforcement of the law.

The Goodlatte letter also states:

 This round is amongst the most commonly used in the most popular rifle design in America, the AR-15. Millions upon millions of M855 rounds have been sold and used in the U.S., yet ATF has not even alleged — much less offered evidence — that even one such round has ever been fired from a handgun at a police officer.

Democrats are distancing themselves from the BATF proposal, with the possible exception of Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin. The issue is unifying gun owners against Democrats to a degree not seen since the spring of 2013.

At issue is so-called “armor-piercing” ammunition.  The inexpensive 5.56 M855 ammo, commonly called lightgreen tips, have been exempt for years, as have higher-caliber ammunition that also easily pierces the type of soft armor worn by police, because it’s mostly used by target shooters, not criminals. The agency proposes to reclassify it as armor-piercing and not exempt.  But now BATFE says that since the bullets can be used in semi-automatic handguns they pose a threat to police and must be banned from production, sale and use. But, as Goodlatte noted, the agency offered no proof. Federal agencies will still be allowed to buy the ammo.

What do we know about M855 ammunition?

  • M855 is the most used for sporting purposes, because it is cheap and as military surplice, available in large quantities. Soldiers are issued mainly M193 (FMJ) and M855 (steel tip) bullets for combat, hence the wide availability of outdated or surplus military ammunition.
  • The bullet does not fall in the 1896 law’s classification of “armor piercing” bullets, “consisting entirely of brass, bronze, tungsten, steel or spent uranium.” The M855 round is mostly lead with a thin gilding metal jacket and a small, flat-tipped conical steel core in front of the lead and covered by the jacket
  • M855 doesn’t actually penetrate armor. The steel core is flat-tipped under the soft, pointed jacket. It will penetrate a steel helmet (not Kevlar) at 300 yards, but is stopped by 1/8” hardened steel plate or 2” of polycarbonate at any distance. The bullet is designed to tumble on striking a target, with only mildly enhanced penetration. Since the bullet is base-heavy, it tends to tumble when it encounters resistance. The bullet turns sideways in as little as two layers of wall board or 6 inches of ballistic gel.
  • There have been no documented cases of its use against law enforcement officers.
  • The 1986 law purports to protect law enforcement against armor piercing ammunition in HANDGUNS. Ammunition used for both handguns and rifles was classified as “rifle” ammunition. The only handguns firing 5.56×45 ammunition are either single shot only, or large and cumbersome devices, consisting of an AR rifle without the extra 3” of a butt stock.
  • LEO armor is designed to resist handgun calibers. Any centerfire rifle and some common handguns will defeat the highest class of soft armor in use, IIIa, regardless of the construction of the bullet. That said, there are no documented cases of their use against officers in a typical encounter, like traffic or ID stops.

In reaction to the ATF’s plan to ban 5.56 mm steel-tipped bullets capable of penetrating a protective vest, customers are purchasing AR-15 ammo in volumes up to 20 times the normal rate in some gun stores across the country.  Numerous gun stores are reporting panic buying. Steve Ellis, owner of Top Guns in Terre Haute, Indiana, told WTHI that supplies were dwindling. “Everyone is selling out of ammunition, distributors are out, manufacturers are out, most dealers are out,” said Ellis  It was also reported that a Walmart in Anchorage, AK went from having plentiful supplies of the bullets to none whatsoever.  Meanwhile, Ryan Cook, manager of Eagle Armory in Springfield, said that suppliers were telling him “there was none available to order”.

Rick Moran, in an article published at the American Thinker on February 27 about the ban on AR-15 ammunition, concluded his article with these thoughtful but troubling statements:

We’re getting used to asking the question, “Can he really do that?”. The answer is, unless the courts are of a mind to stop him, he can do pretty much anything he pleases. In this case, the overreach is so egregious, that a bi-partisan Congress may step in and stifle the BATFE.  If the president would veto congressional action opposing him on the ammunition issue, there may be more than a dozen Democratic Senators will to vote with the GOP to override.

Until Obama came along, the Second Amendment had been enjoying something of a winning streak in state legislatures and the courts, with some notable exceptions in backwards blue states. But even Chicago and Washington, D.C. lost court cases that overturned some of their more draconian gun control laws.

This latest stealth assault on the Second Amendment is cowardly and unnecessary. The BATFE is bypassing Congress because such an ammunition ban wouldn’t have a prayer of passing. By relying on royal edicts to impose his will, the president is making a mockery of the Constitution.”

Frédéric Bastiat  (30 June 1801 – 24 December 1850), an early free-market economist and classical liberal French author, had this warning which is applicable to the situation we face today, as a nation who has gradually forgotten from whence she came.

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

[Originally published by Illinois Review]

Categories: On the Blog

Why FCC Will Lose in Court on Title II Internet (80%) – A Legal House of Cards

March 05, 2015, 10:18 AM

The FCC’s Open Internet Order, which reclassified the commercial Internet as a Title II utility, is very likely (80%) in the end, to be overturned in court – for a third time.

The FCC’s legal theory and many core assumptions are so aggressive, it’s clear that the FCC expects, and needs, continual and maximal deference from the court to prevail. The FCC also requires the courts to view the FCC’s most aggressive assertion of unbounded authority ever, as a mere administrative interpretation of ambiguous law, and not a political bypass of Congress and the 1996 Telecom Act.

The FCC’s case also has so many serious conceptually inter-dependent flaws that it is like a fragile house-of-cards, built of flimsy definitional, precedential, and factual assumptions. This means opponents only need to knock down one of the FCC’s supporting “cards” for the entire house of cards to collapse. In contrast, the FCC needs every card in its house of cards to withstand scrutiny and remain standing.

Simply the FCC’s case is politically strong, but legally weak.

As an analyst, one does not have to see the order’s final language to predict with confidence that the FCC’s case faces serious legal trouble overall, because the eight big conceptual legal problems spotlighted here are not dependent on the details of the FCC’s order.  After two FCC-failed court reviews in 2010 in Comcast v. FCC and 2014 in Verizon v. FCC, and decades of multiple Title II definitional and factual precedents completely contrary to the FCC’s current legal theory, the legal field-of-play is much more clear than usual or most appreciate.

Those who take the time to inform themselves of the FCC’s obvious and daunting legal problems will come away very-skeptical of the FCC’s chances of success after all appeals are exhausted.

I will revisit this Part I analysis to confirm the outcome’s likely probability, once the FCC’s legal case is known in better detail when the order is made public. However, absent a legal secret “FCC magic wand” yet unknown in this well-trod, high-scrutiny, eighty-year, Title II legal space, the general outcome probability 80% for the FCC to ultimately lose in court — is unlikely to change much.

 

Link to full White Paper: http://www.netcompetition.org/blog/why-fcc-will-lose-title-ii-internet-in-court

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Robert Michaels: The Free Market for Energy

March 04, 2015, 4:03 PM

In this edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Managing Editor of Enivronment and Climate News, H. Sterling Burnett speaks with Robert Michaels. Michaels is a professor of economics at California State University in Fullerton, and is an expert on energy markets, energy regulation and electric power deregulation.

Michaels discusses where, and the extent to which, electricity markets have formed and are expanding. He discusses the drawbacks of renewable energy and how renewable energy mandates have made the U.S. electricity grid more vulnerable to outages. Finally, he discusses the high costs, in terms of dollars and consumer choice, of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s shift under the Obama administration from trying to ensure reliable, affordable electricity provided through competition, to an agency focused on reigning in markets and novel ideas through lawsuits, ultimately restraining competition.

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

Categories: On the Blog

Why Six-Figure Salaries Don’t Make You Wealthy

March 04, 2015, 3:46 PM

University of Michigan student Jesse Klein made headlines across the Internet on February 19 when her article insisting her parents are “middle class” despite having a combined annual income of $250,000 was covered by several major media outlets. Virtual sparks flew throughout the blogosphere, Twittersphere, and everywhere in between as debaters on both sides of the issue lined up to defend or denounce her allegedly controversial claim.

Americans who earn something close to the 2013 median household income of $52,000 may find it hard to believe, but destructive tax and economic policies imposed by governments at all levels have significantly reduced the value of earning six-figure salaries in the United States and made incomes once considered to be a sign of wealth more similar to those typically thought of as “middle class.”

For example, a family of three in Illinois earning the 2013 average household income of $53,000 according to the U.S. Census Bureau, would pay an effective tax rate of 18.47 percent, calculated with minimal deductions, and have an after-tax income of $44,209. The same household in Illinois earning $100,000 per year would pay an effective tax rate close to 23 percent and have an after-tax income of $78,018.

What started as a salary gap of nearly $50,000 quickly closed to a difference of $33,809, and there are numerous other considerations to take into account as well. For instance, if one parent in the household is able to stay at home and care for a child, the savings offset a significant portion of the additional income. According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, the average cost of center-based daycare is $11,666 annually. This brings our initial gap of $33,809 down to $22,143.

Other factors also must be considered. A household in Illinois with an income of $53,000 would be eligible for more federal subsidies to help pay for health insurance, increased financial aid for college students—such as Pell grants, and various other tax incentives. Even if we assume these annual savings amount to a modest $5,000, our initial wealth gap has now fallen below $18,000, which few Americans would argue makes the difference between being wealthy and being in the so-called “middle class.”

Location and the associated cost of living play a major role when thinking about wealth. A household living and working in Chicago, or in many other major U.S. cities for that matter, with an income of $100,000 will pay a higher sales tax, increased gas taxes, and will end up paying a variety of city taxes and fees on businesses passed along to the consumer that Illinoisans living in Chicago’s suburbs or in rural Illinois don’t have to pay. In many metropolitan neighborhoods, housing is also much more expensive.

By the time you calculate all of the relevant costs, it’s far better financially to be a family of three earning $53,000 per year with one parent living and working in the suburbs or in a rural part of the state than it is to be a household of three living in Chicago with two working parents earning a combined income of $100,000.

Even if the cost of childcare is taken out of the equation, the difference between the two households’ wealth is negligible.

In the case of Klein’s family, who makes considerably more than the $100,000 example listed above, an argument can be made that her seemingly controversial assertion is correct. After all, her family does live in Palo Alto, California, where the average rent in 2014 was $2,700 per month and the average home sold for $2.2. million.

Klein’s article does more than spark an interesting conversation about wealth in America; it also shows just how absurd the concept of the “middle class” really is. The idea that we can compare who is in the middle class and who isn’t based on income is ridiculous. Wealth is very much dependent on the cost of living, and that can radically change depending upon where you live. Further, standards of living are relative. What’s considered “blue collar” in America would be considered “rich” in much of the world.

Instead of obsessing over who is in the middle class, whether the middle class is growing or shrinking, and how much income different groups of people are earning, the nation should turn its attention to improving the lives of every single person, regardless of where each is starting from.

[Originally posted on Human Events]

Categories: On the Blog

It’s All Bad News for ObamaCare

March 04, 2015, 3:05 PM

On Wednesday, March 4, the Supreme Court will hear the King v. Burwell case. It is likely to deliver a death blow to ObamaCare when the decision is announced in a few months. About the only good thing ObamaCare demonstrated is that the federal government should be kept from taking over sectors of the nation’s economy that are working just fine without it.

Health care expert Edmund Haislmaier and legal expert, both of The Heritage Foundation, provided an explanation of the case. “The question before the Supreme Court is whether the Obama administration overstepped its authority in issuing an IRS ruling that conflicts with the ObamaCare statute. The statute allows payment of ObamaCare subsidies only to individuals who obtain coverage ‘through an Exchange established by (a) State.’”

ObamaCare got such a cold reception nationwide that 34 States refused to set up an exchange, forcing the feds to do it. Those exchanges distributed subsidies to individuals participating in them, but the ObamaCare statute “seemingly did not authorize subsidies in such cases.” Suffice to say that ObamaCare health insurance is considerably more costly than what one could have previously purchased on one’s own; thus the need for the subsidies gambit.

The February edition of Health Care News, published by The Heartland Institute was filled with articles attesting to the failure of ObamaCare. Here are a few excerpts from them.

Devon M. Herrick, Ph.D., a health economist and senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, noted “Obama touts the claim (that) millions more people are now covered under health care insurance policies through employer plans. However, research has shown exchange subsidies will cause employers to drop coverage…Mandatory benefits are not free; workers bear the cost in the form of lower wages.”

Dr. Herrick added, “Obama said (in his State of the Union speech that) ‘in the past year alone about ten million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage,’ but he neglected to mention roughly 6 million were coverage through Medicaid expansion and many of them were finding it difficult to find doctors willing to work for the paltry fees state Medicaid programs pay doctors for treatment.”

An article by Matthew Glans, a Heartland senior policy analyst, noted that “The Health and Welfare Committee of the Tennessee Senate voted on February 5 to reject a bill that would have allowed Gov. Bill Haslam to expanded Medicare under the Affordable Care Act.”

Kenneth Artz reported that “A new study by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services found half of all providers listed in Medicaid managed-care plans are not available to new Medicaid patients, either because they are not at the listed location or aren’t accepting new Medicaid patients.” Feeling ill? “For doctors who are accepting new Medicaid patients, the average wait time to get an appointment is two weeks, with close to 25% of patient having waits of one month or longer.”

Tom Steward, writing for the Minnesota Bureau of Watchdog.org, contributed to Health Care News noted that “In a significant victory for religious liberty and economic freedom, the American Manufacturing Company received a permanent federal exemption from provisions of the Affordable Care Act that contradict the owner’s religious convictions.”

Sean Parnell, the managing editor of Health Care News, reported that “Rhode Island officials predicted up to 100,000 residents would use the state-created exchange established under the Affordable Care Act to buy health insurance in 2014. Data from the state show only 27,961 people enrolled during the 2014 open-enrollment period, a number that declined throughout the year as many enrollees failed to pay their first premium or later dropped coverage.”

ObamaCare is on critical care because it could die at any time. Not surprisingly, three Republicans, John Kline, Paul Ryan, and Fred Upton, chairmen respectively of the House Committee on Education and Workforce, Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce, have put together a plan to address the likelihood that the Supreme Court decision will put an end to ObamaCare.

As they said in a recent Wall Street Journal commentary, “If the court rules against the administration, as any fair reading of the law would demand, millions of individuals and families will hit a major roadblock. They’ll be stuck with health insurance designed by Washington, D.C., that they can’t afford.”

“What we propose is the off-ramp out of ObamaCare toward patient-centered health care. It has two parts: First, make insurance more affordable by ending Washington mandates and giving choice back to the states, individuals and families. And, second, support Americans in purchasing the coverage of their choosing.”

What a unique idea! Let people choose the health care plan they want and that they can afford. That’s the way it used to be before the Affordable Care Act was passed entirely by Democrat votes because the GOP would not support it. That’s why Congress is controlled by the GOP these days. And that’s why this nation will return to the free marketplace.

Categories: On the Blog

Barack Obama and Google – Crony Socialism on Steroids

March 04, 2015, 10:30 AM

I was at the just concluded Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on a panel entitled “The United States of Google: Big Data and Big Government.”

During which Scott Cleland and I examined amongst other things the seemingly endless Crony Socialist ties between all-everything mega-company Google and the Barack Obama Administration.

Google loved Obama back before there was an Obama Administration.  Remember how the Obama campaign was hailed for its online prowess – both in 2008 and 2012?

Using New Media Effectively: An Analysis of Barack Obama’s Election Campaign Aimed at Young Americans

How Obama’s Online Campaign Helped Win the Election

Obama Raised Half a Billion Online

Except it wasn’t Campaign Obama – nearly so much as it was Campaign Google.

On Google, a Political Mystery That’s All Numbers

A Wall Street Journal examination found that the search engine often customizes the results of people who have recently searched for “Obama”—but not those who have recently searched for “Romney.”

Barack Obama Uses Google to Combat Vicious Rumors

Searches for some of the most pervasive Internet rumors often turn up links to his campaign website.

Google Denies Early Ad Deal for Obama Campaign

Did Google Help Obama Win the Election?

It would appear so.

Once elected, the Obama Administration became in many ways the Google Administration.

Just last Thursday the Obama Administration with many of its tentacles uber-power-grabbed the Internet.  Which takes $1.2 trillion worth of privately built Web infrastructure – and commandeers it, turning it all into a government utility.  And Google is one of the biggest beneficiaries thereof.

Then there are the giant Friends of Obama companies who will benefit tremendously from this – first among them Netflix and Google.  These two companies alone consume more than half of all U.S. Web traffic.  And the Administrations grab just outlawed their being charged for it.

Meanwhile, at least seven senior Google officials transmogrified into senior Administration officials.

Once elected, the Obama Administration became in many ways 

the Google Administration.

Including Google CEO Eric Schmidt – who keeps his Google gig while serving as an Advisor on the Administration’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Including former Google-er Andrew McLaughlin – who joined the Administration as Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer.  And in recently-revealed-Hillary-Clinton-fashion:

White House Deputy CTO Andrew McLaughlin Slapped for Gmailing with Googlers

Google’s Former Lobbyist in the White House; Still Lobbying for Google

Well that’s helpful.  Seems like he too wanted to (surreptitiously) keep his Google gig.

White House Deputy CTO McLaughlin’s Google Buzz Account Deleted After FOIA Request

Well that’s transparent.  Was it just him?  Of course not.

Another Ex-Googler in Obama Administration Buzz-ted by Google

Now weve learned that another ex-Googler working in the Administration, Katie Jacobs Stanton, has been snagged by Googles lax privacy settings as well. Like McLaughlin, Stanton — the New Media Director at the State Department — had 17 Google employees in her Gmail account exposed in the Buzz privacy flap….

Then there is Michelle Lee.  Who was Google’s Head of Patents and Patent Strategy – and has been since November 2012 the Administration’s Acting Director of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.  President Obama has nominated her to get the gig permanently.

What is the Administration’s position on patents?

Obama Calls for Patent Reform in State of the Union

History Will Remember Obama as the Great Slayer of Patent Trolls

Except:

When You Hear ‘Patent Trolls’ – Think ‘People Protecting Their Private Property’

(W)hat exactly is a “patent troll?” He or she is someone who owns a patent – which is private property. And is trying to protect their private property from unauthorized use by someone who doesnt want to pay to use it.

Is someone who owns a house and calls the police to roust squatters a “property troll?” Is someone who reports their car stolen an “automobile troll?”

How does Google treat patents and patent protection?

Google May Settle Patent-Abuse Charges

European Commission Warns Google on ‘Patent Abuse’

Microsoft Slams Google for ‘Abusing Patents’ Following Legal Win

In fact, Google views just about every bit of “Other Peoples’ Stuff” as little more than “Stuff We Haven’t Yet Taken.”

Stealing from Competitors is “How Google Works”

The Evidence Google’s Systematic Theft is Anti-Competitive

How Google is Filled With Hypocrisy and Will Steal Your Intellectual Property

So thank goodness Google’s former Patent Strategy person – is running this President’s Patent Office.

It certainly bodes well for private property protection – and the innovation it fosters.

Here endeth the sarcasm.

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Ron Arnold: Climate Alarmism Power Grab

March 03, 2015, 4:36 PM

In this edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Research Fellow and Managing Editor of Environment and Climate News H. Sterling Burnett sits down with Environmental writer, activist and Heartland Policy Advisor Ron Arnold. Arnold and Burnett discuss Arnold’s environmental work.

Arnold discusses his history of fighting for the rights of landowners and public users in the Western U.S. and his contemporary work exposing the lurid details and dirty dealings undertaken by leaders of the climate alarmists’ movement to censor a true understanding of climate science and the costs of proposed climate policies. Arnold also discusses the legacy of scandal plaguing UN Climate Chief Ranjendra Pachauri who was forced to resign this week.

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

Categories: On the Blog

Who Wins With Obama’s Net Neutrality?

March 03, 2015, 3:03 PM

The Barack Obama Administration’s Thursday Internet uber-power grab is awful for just about every American.  It will lead to dramatically more expensive Web access – because of both raised service costs and huge new taxes.

And we will see a spiraling, regressive devolution of speed.  It will be a return to the spinning wheel of Web-waiting death.  When government regulation increases – private investment decreases.  When investment goes – forward progress goes with it.  And this Obama power grab is lots and lots and LOTS of regulation. The government just turned backwards the clock on the unfathomable increases in speeds we’ve seen fore two-plus decades.

Remember 28k dial-up?  If not, you’ll be reminded of it here in a bit – and you’ll be paying $200 per month for it.

All of this leads one to ask – who actually wanted this grab?

—-  The Useful Idiots —-

Soviet Communist leader Vladimir Lenin is purported to have referred to those unknowingly helping the Collectivist cause as “useful idiots.”

There are many people who were very vocal about Net Neutrality – who had zero idea about what they were speaking.  And had zero idea that what the Administration just did is to Net Neutrality what a single plankton is to a blue whale.

For instance, there is Tumblr founder David Karp – who just about singlehandedly convinced President Obama to ramp up the grab.  He last week appeared on CNBC.  And in response to fairly rudimentary facts he – after multi-second flubberings and silences while the mouse in his head repeatedly had to retake its treadmill – blubbered things like “I confess, that’s not my area of expertise.”

Then there is Congressman Hank Johnson – who just wrote an op-ed defending the Administration’s huge grab.  Congressman Johnson is most famous for thinking islands with too many people on them will “tip over and capsize.”

Think HBO comedian John Oliver has any idea what’s actually going on?

Thank goodness guys like these are helping to lead this charge.

—- The Left Leadership —-

The Left consists of two groups of people.  The Useful Idiots – who think these horrendous ideas are good ones.  And the Leadership – who know they are awful and will destroy everything, but they’ll be in charge after the grand collapse so they don’t mind so much.

What government touches – it destroys.  The Internet has become a free speech-free market Xanadu precisely because it had remained pretty much untouched by government.  No longer.  The Administrations “fundamental transformation” hadn’t yet gotten to the Web – now it has.

One of the leaders of the Media Marxist Movement is college professor Robert McChesney.  He knows what Net Neutrality really means.

“(T)he ultimate goal (of net neutrality) is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.

How very Hugo Chavez of them.  What else does the good professor have to say?

“Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism.

Outstanding.

—- The Crony Socialists —-

Then there are the giant Friends of Obama companies who will benefit tremendously from this – first among them Netflix and Google.  These two companies alone consume more than half of all U.S. Web traffic.  And the Administration’s grab just outlawed their being charged for it.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can only charge two people for the bandwidth they build.  Hogs like Netflix and Google – or us.  So our prices will skyrocket – to augment the profits of Hogs like Netflix and Google.  Net Neutral, right?

How Crony Socialist was all this?  The Administration’s Obama-campaign-coin-bundling Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler steadfastly refused to take any input from the Commissions two Republicans.  He steadfastly refused to wait for Congress to go first – as the Commission is Constitutionally required to do.  He steadfastly refused to release to We the People the text of the grab prior to its Thursday ram-through.

But the day before said ram-through – this happened:

Tom Wheeler Tweaks Net Neutrality Plan After Google Push

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has made some last-minute revisions to his net neutrality plan after Google…pressed for the changes, according to sources at the commission.

The Obama Administration wouldn’t take input from Congress or Republicans on the Commission.  They wouldn’t let We the People read it.  But somehow Google got a copy, didn’t like part of it – and FCC head-waiter Wheeler dutifully took their order.

Who else benefits from the grab? Of course:

The Left gets to have the government hire – with our coin – their uber-over-charging Marxist attorney friends to defend the power grab. 

Here’s hoping this obnoxious uber-power-grab is dumped in court.  But…

Even When Government Power Grabs Are Overturned – The Left Wins

Heads-they-win – tails we-lose.  It’s all upside for the Crony Socialist, Useful Idiot Left.

[Originally published at Human Events

 

Categories: On the Blog

Why FCC Will Lose in Court on Title II Internet (80%) – A Legal House of Cards — A White Paper

March 03, 2015, 10:03 AM

Link to full White Paper – here.

Summary

The FCC’s Open Internet Order, which reclassified the commercial Internet as a Title II utility, is very likely (80%) in the end, to be overturned in court – for a third time.

The FCC’s legal theory and many core assumptions are so aggressive, it’s clear that the FCC expects, and needs, continual and maximal deference from the court to prevail. The FCC also requires the courts to view the FCC’s most aggressive assertion of unbounded authority ever, as a mere administrative interpretation of ambiguous law, and not a political bypass of Congress and the 1996 Telecom Act.

The FCC’s case also has so many serious conceptually inter-dependent flaws that it is like a fragile house-of-cards, built of flimsy definitional, precedential, and factual assumptions. This means opponents only need to knock down one of the FCC’s supporting “cards” for the entire house of cards to collapse. In contrast, the FCC needs every card in its house of cards to withstand scrutiny and remain standing.

Simply the FCC’s case is politically strong, but legally weak.

As an analyst, one does not have to see the order’s final language to predict with confidence that the FCC’s case faces serious legal trouble overall, because the eight big conceptual legal problems spotlighted here are not dependent on the details of the FCC’s order.  After two FCC-failed court reviews in 2010 in Comcast v. FCC and 2014 in Verizon v. FCC, and decades of multiple Title II definitional and factual precedents completely contrary to the FCC’s current legal theory, the legal field-of-play is much more clear than usual or most appreciate.

Those who take the time to inform themselves of the FCC’s obvious and daunting legal problems will come away very-skeptical of the FCC’s chances of success after all appeals are exhausted.

I will revisit this Part I analysis to confirm the outcome’s likely probability, once the FCC’s legal case is known in better detail when the order is made public. However, absent a legal secret “FCC magic wand” yet unknown in this well-trod, high-scrutiny, eighty-year, Title II legal space, the general outcome probability 80% for the FCC to ultimately lose in court — is unlikely to change much.

Summary of the FCC’s Title II Legal House of Cards:

  1. FCC’s decision is not an administrative interpretation of law but a political bypass of Congress.
  2. FCC is not Congress and has no legislative authority to “modernize” communications law.
  3. FCC’s legal theory is a Rube Goldberg contrivance to manufacture legal authority.
  4. FCC’s legal theory recognizes no statutory bounds on FCC authority or jurisdiction.
  5. FCC reclassification assumes it can overrule legally-settled definitions and findings of fact.
  6. FCC asserts authority for an illegal goal; compel zero-price for service with no compensation.
  7. FCC is arbitrary & capricious ignoring large reliance interests & need for proportionality.
  8. FCC’s legal forbearance theory is inherently contradictory and thus arbitrary.

Click here to read the whole 12-page analysis and  White Paper.

***

FCC Open Internet Order Series

Part 1: The Many Vulnerabilities of an Open Internet [9-24-09]

Part 2: Why FCC proposed net neutrality regs unconstitutional, NPR Online Op-ed [9-24-09]

Part 3: Takeaways from FCC’s Proposed Open Internet Regs [10-22-09]

Part 4: How FCC Regulation Would Change the Internet [10-30-09]

Part 5: Is FCC Declaring ‘Open Season’ on Internet Freedom? [11-17-09]

Part 6: Critical Gaps in FCC’s Proposed Open Internet Regulations [11-30-09]

Part 7: Takeaways from the FCC’s Open Internet Further Inquiry [9-2-10]

Part 8: An FCC “Data-Driven” Double Standard? [10-27-10]

Part 9: Election Takeaways for the FCC [11-3-10]

Part 10: Irony of Little Openness in FCC Open Internet Reg-making [11-19-10]

Part 11: FCC Regulating Internet to Prevent Companies from Regulating Internet [11-22-10]

Part 12: Where is the FCC’s Legitimacy? [11-22-10]

Part 13: Will FCC Preserve or Change the Internet? [12-17-10]

Part 14: FCC Internet Price Regulation & Micro-management? [12-20-10]

Part 15: FCC Open Internet Decision Take-aways [12-21-10]

Part 16: FCC Defines Broadband Service as “BIAS”-ed [12-22-10]

Part 17: Why FCC’s Net Regs Need Administration/Congressional Regulatory Review [1-3-11]

Part 18: Welcome to the FCC-Centric Internet [1-25-11]

Part 19: FCC’s Net Regs in Conflict with President’s Pledges [1-26-11]

Part 20: Will FCC Respect President’s Call for “Least Burdensome” Regulation? [2-3-11]

Part 21: FCC’s In Search of Relevance in 706 Report [5-23-11]

Part 22: The FCC’s public wireless network blocks lawful Internet traffic [6-13-11]

Part 23: Why FCC Net Neutrality Regs Are So Vulnerable [9-8-11]

Part 24: Why Verizon Wins Appeal of FCC’s Net Regs [9-30-11]

Part 25: Supreme Court likely to leash FCC to the law [10-10-12]

Part 26: What Court Data Roaming Decision Means for FCC Open Internet Order [12-4-12]

Part 27: Oops! Crawford’s Model Broadband Nation, Korea, Opposes Net Neutrality [2-26-13]

Part 28: Little Impact on FCC Open Internet Order from SCOTUS Chevron Decision [5-21-13]

Part 29: More Legal Trouble for FCC’s Open Internet Order & Net Neutrality [6-2-13]

Part 30: U.S. Competition Beats EU Regulation in Broadband Race [6-21-13]

Part 31: Defending Google Fiber’s Reasonable Network Management [7-30-13]

Part 32: Capricious Net Neutrality Charges [8-7-13]

Part 33: Why FCC won’t pass Appeals Court’s oral exam [9-2-13]

Part 34: 5 BIG Implications from Court Signals on Net Neutrality – A Special Report [9-13-13]

Part 35: Dial-up Rules for the Broadband Age? Op-ed Rebutting Marvin Ammori’s [11-6-13]

Part 36: Nattering Net Neutrality Nonsense Over AT&T’s Sponsored Data Offering [1-6-14]

Part 37: Is Net Neutrality Trying to Mutate into an Economic Entitlement? [1-12-14]

Part 38: Why Professor Crawford Has Title II Reclassification All Wrong [1-16-14]

Part 39: Title II Reclassification Would Violate President’s Executive Order [1-22-14]

Part 40: The Narrowing Net Neutrality Dispute [2-24-14]

Part 41: FCC’s Open Internet Order Do-over – Key Going Forward Takeaways [3-5-14]

Part 42: Net Neutrality is about Consumer Benefit not Corporate Welfare for Netflix [3-21-14]

Part 43: The Multi-speed Internet is Getting More Faster Speeds [4-28-14]

Part 44: Reality Check on the Electoral Politics of Net Neutrality [5-2-14]

Part 45: The “Aristechracy” Demands Consumers Subsidize Their Net Neutrality Free Lunch [5-8-14]

Part 46: Read AT&T’s Filing that Totally Debunks Title II Reclassification [5-9-14]

Part 47: Statement on FCC Open Internet NPRM [5-15-14]

Part 48: Net Neutrality Rhetoric: “Believe it or not!” [5-16-14]

Part 49: Top Ten Reasons Broadband Internet is not a Public Utility [5-20-14]

Part 50: Top Ten Reasons to Oppose Broadband Utility Regulation [5-28-14]

Part 51: Google’s Title II Broadband Utility Regulation Risks [6-3-14]

Part 52:  Exposing Netflix’ Biggest Net Neutrality Deceptions [6-5-14

Part 53: Silicon Valley Naïve on Broadband Regulation (3 min video) [6-15-14]

Part 54: FCC’s Netflix Internet Peering Inquiry – Top Ten Questions [6-17-14]

Part 55: Interconnection is Different for Internet than Railroads or Electricity [6-26-14]

Part 56: Top Ten Failures of FCC Title II Utility Regulation [7-7-14]

Part 57: NetCompetition Statement & Comments on FCC Open Internet Order Remand [7-11-14]

Part 58: MD Rules Uber is a Common Carrier – Will FCC Agree? [8-6-14]

Part 59: Internet Peering Doesn’t Need Fixing – NetComp CommActUpdate Submission [8-11-14]

Part 60: Why is Silicon Valley Rebranding/Redefining Net Neutrality?  [9-2-14]

Part 61: the FCC’s Redefinition of Broadband Competition [9-4-14]

Part 62: NetCompetition Comments to FCC Opposing Title II Utility Regulation of Broadband [9-9-14]

Part 63: De-competition De-competition De-competition [9-14-14]

Part 64: The Forgotten Consumer in the Fast Lane Net Neutrality Debate [9-18-14]

Part 65: FTC Implicitly Urges FCC to Not Reclassify Broadband as a Utility [9-23-14]

Part 66: Evaluating the Title II Rainbow of Proposals for the FCC to Go Nuclear [9-29-14]

Part 67: Why Waxman’s FCC Internet Utility Regulation Plan Would Be Unlawful [10-5-14]

Part 68: Silicon Valley’s Biggest Internet Mistake [10-15-14]

Part 69: Will the FCC Break the Internet? [10-22-14]

Part 70: Net Neutrality Has Become an Industrial Policy [10-31-14]

Part 71: The Federal Communications Congress? [11-7-14]

Part 72: The Top Ten Adjectives to Describe Net Neutrality [11-11-14]

Part 73: Top Ten Questions to Ask About Title II Regulation of the Internet [11-20-14]

Part 74: The Only Legitimate FCC Hybrid Net Neutrality Approach [12-1-14]

Part 75: Who Pays for Net Neutrality? [12-3-14]

Part 76: Top Ten Deficiencies in FCC’s Title II Record [12-8-14]

Part 77: FCC Title II Internet Regulation: “Believe it or not!” [12-17-14]

Part 78: The FCC Is Unnecessarily Undermining its Legitimacy [12-18-14]

Part 79: NetCompetition Statement on New FCC Net Neutrality Legislation [1-16-15]

Part 80: Need for Modernizing Communications Law – Seeing the Forest for the Trees [1-18-15]

Part 81: Why the FCC Needs Congress [1-20-15]

Part 82: NetCompetition on FCC Publicly Sharing its Proposed Open Internet Order [1-23-15]

Part 83: The FCC’s De-Americanization of the Internet [1-25-15]

Part 84: Testing the FCC’s Net Neutrality Calculus [1-28-15]

Part 85: Net Neutrality Bait & Switch to Title II [2-3-15]

Part 86: FCC Internet Utility Regulation Is a Really Stupid Idea [2-9-15]

Part 87: The FCC Is Not Neutral [2-17-15]

Part 88: Title II Protectionism Will Hurt Google & Silicon Valley in EU [2-19-15]

Part 89: The FCC’s Predictable Fiasco of Internet Utility Regulation [2-24-15]

[Originally published at PrecursorBlog]

Categories: On the Blog

What’s up With the Prices at the Pump?

March 02, 2015, 2:31 PM

First, Saudi Arabia drove down the price of oil by increasing its production, which gave Americans a welcome drop in prices at the pump. Could the kingdom now be pushing them back up?

Prices at the pump have gone up nearly 40 cents a gallon from the January low—60 cents in California. Every year, at this time, refineries shut down to make adjustments from the “winter blend” to the “summer blend.”

However this year, the increase is exacerbated.

The unexpected extreme weather in the south, Patrick Dehaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, explained: “caused some of the refineries in the south to shut and restart, resulting in disruption for a couple of days.”

The February 19 explosion at a California refinery, that supplied 10 percent of California’s gasoline, has driven the state’s extreme uptick.

Then we have is the expanding steelworker’s strike that began on February 1—the first in 35 years. Because of refinery automation, the impact to date has been minor. However, if the strike actually shuts down operations, the Washington Post (WP) states: “the impact on gas prices could be swift.”

Opinions vary on why the United Steelworks chose now to strike—especially in a time when labor unions, according to the WP, “rarely exercise that right.” The WP explains: “There were only 11 strikes involving more than 1,000 workers last year, down from hundreds annually in the 1970s.”

Energy economist Tim Snyder sees that big refiners lose their incentive to bargain when crude oil prices fall to low levels. He told me: “The strike helps raise prices so the longer the strike goes on, the more profits they can recover.”

In contrast, energy market analyst Phil Flynn explains: “I think the Union is striking now because refining margins have been good and they want some of that benefit.”

What if the union workers chose this time to strike because of outside influence—specifically Saudi Arabia? There are many coincidences that seem too obvious to ignore.

First, the last time refinery workers went on strike was 35 years ago—about the same time as the oil crisis of 1979. Then, after the Iranian Revolution caused an oil shortage resulting in a catastrophic spike in the price of oil that drove other countries to expand production, it is reported that “to gain back market share, [Saudi Arabia] increased production and caused downward pressure on prices, making high-cost oil production facilities less profitable or even unprofitable.”

Now, increased Saudi production, once again, has driven the price drop, and, it, too, that is about maintaining market share and driving out higher-cost U.S. shale production.

But there’s more.

We think of Saudi Arabia as producing crude oil. However, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the kingdom “plans to become the world’s second largest [behind the U.S.] exporter of refined oil products in 2017 as part of its drive to diversify its economy and increase its share of the global crude and petroleum products markets.”

The Financial Post (FP) takes it further: “Saudi Arabia and its OPEC cohorts may have abandoned their role as market stabilisers, but they are taking the fight with their rivals downstream.” The FP adds: “The push downstream comes as OPEC’s strategy to maintain production and push out expensive non-OPEC producers is working.”

So, while the U.S. hasn’t built a new refinery in decades, Saudi Arabia has two new refineries—with a third planned.

The WSJ reports: “Planning for refineries in Saudi Arabia began around a decade ago to meet growing domestic fuel demand as well as to provide jobs. Domestic demand hasn’t grown as fast as expected, but as prices for Saudi Arabia’s unprocessed oil have slumped—crude prices have more than halved internationally since last summer—the refineries could offer a profitable alternative source of income.”

Note this key line from the WSJ: “Domestic demand hasn’t grown as fast as expected, but as prices for Saudi Arabia’s unprocessed oil have slumped…” This means that the kingdom has excess capacity at a time that it needs extra income.

Economists say Saudi Arabia needs tough economic reform. The Financial Times states: “The IMF wants the government to reduce the growth in spending still further, especially on wages and subsidies, and focus on infrastructure investment. But economists also worry that lower oil prices will hit the government’s capital spending, which could depress economic activity in the coming years.”

As the WSJ points out: “the refineries could offer a profitable alternative source of income.” But first, the kingdom needs outside customers—and the Steelworkers’ strike could provide just the ticket.

The U.S. is the number one global exporter of refined petroleum products. Saudi Arabia aims to capture some of that market share to become number two. We know that, when to its advantage, the kingdom thinks nothing of hurting its ally—but not friend—the United States.

Announcing the first shipment of gasoline from the new Saudi refinery on February 6, the Middle East North Africa Financial Network states: “The refinery is expected to reach full capacity in mid-February. A source close to the company said … European demand was good due to worries about the refinery strike in the United States which could reduce the amount of U.S. diesel heading to Europe.”

So a refinery strike in the U.S. hands them customers—which explains why, after dropping oil prices, the kingdom could be driving up gasoline prices.

 

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – James Shuls: Missouri School Transfer Law

March 02, 2015, 12:23 PM

Heather Kays speaks with James Shuls, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Missouri and fellow at the Show-Me Institute, about the struggles families faced while trying to use the Missouri school transfer law.

The transfer law allows students to transfer from one school district to another, better school district once the home district is deemed unaccredited by the state. Though the law is clear, many opponents have resisted the law which creates choice for families who would otherwise have none.

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

 

Categories: On the Blog

The Climate “Witch Hunt” Backfires

March 02, 2015, 10:50 AM

Senators Edward Markey, Barbara Boxer, and Sheldon Whitehouse sent letters to 100 business and think tanks – including The Heartland Institute – demanding that they divulge any funding they have provided to scientists skeptical of the left’s crazy opinions about the causes and consequences of climate change. Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva did them one better, sending letters to seven universities demanding information about funding for eight scientists who dare to question their fake “consensus.”

All this is because Greenpeace persuaded its friends at some major media outlets to recycle decade-old accusations that one innocent climate scientist, Dr. Willie Soon, failed to disclose grants his employer, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, solicited, vetted, and profited from to support his work on everything except climate change.

Go figure!

In their testimonies before Congress, the eight targeted scientists offered varying degrees of skepticism that humans are the primary driver of climate change or that specific policies being proposed by government to deal with the issue of climate change were ineffective at curbing climate change or too costly. Every one of these experts agrees that the climate is changing and that humans have some impact.

Go figure!

The scientists being targeted are Dr. Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. of The University of Colorado; Dr. Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology; Dr. David Legates of the University of Delaware; Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama; Dr. Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Dr. Robert Balling of Arizona State University; and Dr. Steven Hayward of Pepperdine University.

As a result of these inquiries, many scientists, members of the media, and others have equated these inquiries and pressure to McCarthyism. (But let’s be fair to the late Sen. Joe McCarthy; he was never guilty of using the tactics his critics allege. See Stan Evan’s magnificent book on the subject, Blacklisted by History, for the full story.)

Even Michael Mann, the controversial climate scientist at Penn State who is one of the biggest advocates for government action to address climate change told the National Journal, “It does come across as sort of heavy-handed and overly aggressive.”

The American Meteorological Society sent a letter to Representative Grijalva saying, “Publicly singling out specific researchers based on perspectives they have expressed and implying a failure to appropriately disclose funding sources — and thereby questioning their scientific integrity — sends a chilling message to all academic researchers. Further, requesting copies of the researcher’s communications related to external funding opportunities or the preparation of testimony impinges on the free pursuit of ideas that is central to the concept of academic freedom.”

Senate Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee sent a letter to the same 107 groups expressing concerns over the attacks on academic freedom. The letter explains, “Institutions of higher-learning and non-governmental funding are vital to facilitating such research and scientific inquiry. Limiting research and science to only those who receive federal government resources would undermine and slow American education, economic prosperity, and technological advancement.”

According to the New York Times, “Andrew Dessler, a mainstream [sic] climate researcher and a professor of atmospheric science at Texas A&M University, said that he had concerns about “fishing expeditions” by Congress into researchers’ work, especially drafts of testimony requested in the letters from Representative Grijalva.”

Professor Pielke explained on his blog, “The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues…I can’t imagine the message being sent to younger scientists. Actually, I can: “when people are producing work in line with the scientific consensus there’s no reason to go on a witch hunt.”

Dr. Curry has responded by saying, “It looks like it is ‘open season’ on anyone who deviates even slightly from the consensus.”

Instead of having a real conversation with the American public about the science and economics of climate change, well financed advocacy groups and politicians with many “conflicts of interests” of their own would rather direct the public’s focus on who funds non-profit organizations, independent research institutions, scientists, economists, and other experts.

Apparently it is now a national offense to raise any concerns over certain aspects of the science or economics of policies that purport to deal with human caused climate change. This witch hunt has nothing to do with ensuring that science is accurate or reliable. These attacks are leveled by people who refuse to engage in civil debate over important matters of science, economics, and public policy. They should not be allowed to win the day.

Categories: On the Blog

The Death of the American Corporation

March 02, 2015, 10:01 AM

The traditional American corporation has been a fixture in the U.S. economy for generations. Corporations allow entrepreneurs to shield themselves from liability, spread ownership out to an unlimited number of shareholders, and more easily raise funds for large-scale business investments.

While many modern politicians and pundits have spent copious time denouncing the evils of corporate America, the reality is that without the legal protections and financial opportunities provided by corporations, the United States would never have developed into the economic superpower it is today.

Despite its many advantages, the American corporate business model is slowly and painfully dying, and with it, a tremendous potential for future economic growth. According to a recent study by William McBride at the Tax Foundation, the United States loses roughly 60,000 corporations every year, and about 1 million corporations have been lost since the mid-1980s. According to the study, the number of corporations in the United States is at its lowest point in 40 years.

As a result of the declining number of corporations, only 60 percent of U.S. business profits now come from this type of business structure, a relatively low figure compared to many of the other successful economic nations of the world.

The reasons behind the decline of the American corporation are not difficult to discover. The United States continues to have the industrialized world’s highest corporate income tax rate, beating out numerous notorious high-tax nations like Belgium and France. Additionally, the U.S. tax code provides many incentives for those starting businesses or restructuring businesses to stay away from traditional corporations, also known as “C corporations.” For instance, C corporations are subject to multiple layers of taxation, which means the profits of the corporation are taxed, the shareholders’ profits are taxed, and all of the employees working for the corporation pay personal income taxes, as well.

The various disadvantages created by the federal government have led numerous entrepreneurs to choose alternative business structures to avoid paying high tax rates. Since the early 1990s, the number of partnerships has more than doubled, and sole proprietorships continue to be an option many small business owners utilize to avoid the complicated tax maze formulated by the IRS.

The number of S corporations has also risen dramatically as a result of the detrimental taxes placed on traditional corporations. Unlike C corporations, S corporations pass all taxes on to the owners of the business; the corporation does not pay any taxes on its profits. Owners pay personal income rates on the profits of the corporation, which significantly limits the total amount of taxes paid. Perhaps the largest disadvantage of an S corporation compared to a traditional corporation is that the number of shareholders in the company is limited to 100, which can significantly stifle the ability of the corporation to raise funds quickly for important projects.

The continuous decline of corporations in the United States significantly harms economic growth. Not only do traditional C corporations allow businesses the possibility to quickly obtain an infusion of cash to spur expansion through stock offerings, they also protect owners from debt and financial liabilities in a way partnerships and sole proprietorships simply cannot. When corporations fail, the repercussions for the owners are virtually non-existent. When sole proprietorships and partnerships fail, owners are often stuck with devastating amounts of debt that often prevent future business ideas from ever taking shape. In the Tax Foundation’s report, McBride correctly asserts:

Unfortunately, [the decline of corporations in America is] troubling for the long-term health of the economy. C corporations usually provide the most efficient business structure for large-scale projects and investments. However, high corporate tax rates drive activity away from the corporate sector, artificially limiting this important aspect of the economy and harming productivity and workers’ wages, [as well as leaving] potential growth and economic activity on the table.

None of these fears seem to have bothered President Barack Obama when he formulated his $4 trillion budget proposal released in early February. Obama’s plan calls for raising taxes on corporations to pay for increased government spending and a massive $478 billion public works project. Unless the federal government implements tax reforms that will encourage the growth of all businesses, including corporations, the U.S. economy will continue to improve at a sluggish pace, and future breakthrough business ideas will be developed in countries that provide a more favorable economic climate.

[Originally published on Breitbart.com]

Categories: On the Blog

Climatist Jihad?

March 02, 2015, 8:00 AM

ISIL and other Islamist jihad movements continue to round up and silence all who oppose them or refuse to convert to their extreme religious tenets. They are inspiring thousands to join them. Their intolerance, vicious tactics and growing power seem to have inspired others, as well.

After years of claiming the science is settled and unprecedented manmade catastrophes are occurring right now, Climate Crisis, Inc. is increasingly desperate. Polls put climate change at the bottom of every list of public concerns. China and India refuse to cut energy production or emissions. Real-world weather and climate totally contradict their dire models and forecasts. Expensive, subsidized, environmentally harmful renewable energy makes little sense in world freshly awash in cheap, accessible oil, gas and coal.

Perhaps worse, Congress is in Republican control, and in 23 months the White House and Executive Branch could also shift dramatically away from the Freezing-Jobless-in-the-Dark Side of the Force.

Climate Crisis industrialists are also fed up with constant carping, criticism and questions from growing numbers of experts who will not kowtow to their End of Days theology. Once seemingly near, their dream of ruling a hydrocarbon-free world of “sustainably” lower living standards become more remote every week. Extremist factions had dreamed of a global climatist caliphate and want vengeance.

So borrowing from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton mentor Saul Alinsky’s book, Rules for Radicals, they have gone on the attack: Pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. A good tactic is one your people enjoy. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions. They’ve also borrowed from the Islamic State playbook: Silence your enemies.

Led by Greenpeace associate Kert Davies, this Climatist Jihad wing of the climate chaos movement has launched a well funded, carefully choreographed vendetta of character assassination and destruction, vilifying dangerous manmade climate change “deniers” and trying to destroy their careers. Their Big Green, Big Government and media allies are either actively complicit, rooting from the sidelines or silent.

Instead of bullets, bombs and beheadings, they use double standards, Greenpeace FOIA demands, letters from Senator Ed Markey and Congressman Raul Grijalva, threats of lost funding and jobs, and constant intimidation and harassment. Submit, recant, admit your guilt, renounce your nature-rules-climate faith, Climatist Jihadis tell climate realists. Or suffer the consequences, which might even include IRS, EPA and Fish & Wildlife Service swat teams bursting through your doors, as they did with Gibson Guitars.

Their first target was Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics scientist Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon. Working closely with Greenpeace’s Climate Investigations Center, the Boston Globe and New York Times alleged that Dr. Soon received $1.25 million from the fossil fuel industry, but failed to disclose those funds when his scientific papers were published and falsely claimed he had no conflict of interest.

The charges are bogus. The Harvard-Smithsonian had full knowledge of Dr. Soon’s research financing and took 40% of the grant money off the top: some $500,000! The details are all public records, and Dr. Soon has a solid track record of going where his careful and extensive research takes him – regardless of where the money comes from. Not a scrap of evidence suggests that he falsified or fabricated data or conclusions, or twisted his science to satisfy research sponsors, on any of the numerous topics he has studied.

He has received incredible flak from environmentalist pressure groups, media outlets and even his own university – and has courageously stood behind his research, analyses, and findings, which continue to withstand intense scientific scrutiny. Harvard-Smithsonian recently said it “does not support Dr. Soon’s conclusions on climate change,” and Harvard Earth and Planetary Sciences Professor Daniel Schrag averred that Soon’s approach to finding global average temperatures was perhaps not “as honest as other approaches.” But they offer not a scintilla of evidence to support their allegations of inaccuracy and dishonesty, and give him no opportunity to respond.

Indeed, one of the most prominent aspects of the climate imbroglio is the steadfast refusal of alarmist scientists to discuss or debate their findings with experts who argue that extensive, powerful natural forces – not human carbon dioxide emissions – drive Earth’s climate and weather. “Manmade disaster” proponents also refuse to divulge raw data, computer codes and other secretive work that is often paid for with taxpayer money and is always used to justify laws, treaties, regulations, mandates and subsidies that stifle economic growth, kill jobs and reduce living standards.

Dr. Soon is not the only target. The Climate Jihadists are also going after Robert Balling, Matt Briggs, John Christy, Judith Curry, Tom Harris, Steven Hayward, David Legates, Richard Lindzen, and Roger Pielke, Jr. More are sure to follow, because their work eviscerates climate cataclysm claims and raises serious questions about the accuracy, credibility, integrity, and sanctity of alarmist science.

Climate Crisis, Inc. wants a monopoly over the issue. Its members focus almost exclusively on alleged human causes of climate change and extreme weather events – and would love to see skeptics silenced. Crisis proponents will not even attend scientific conferences where skeptics discuss natural causes and alarmists have opportunities to defend their hypotheses, models, and evidence. (Perhaps the FCC needs to investigate this monopoly and issue “climate neutrality” rules to ensure honest and balanced discussion.)

It fits a depressing pattern: of the White House, Democrats and liberals shutting down debate, permitting no amendments, conducting business behind closed doors, not allowing anyone to read proposed laws and regulations, rarely even recognizing that there are differing views – on ObamaCare, ObamaNetCare, IRS harassment of conservative donors and groups, PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, or climate change.

The Climate Crisis industry thrives on tens of billions of dollars annually, for one-sided climate research, drilling and fracking studies, renewable energy projects and other programs, all based on dubious claims that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions threaten climate stability and planetary survival.

Businesses, job holders and consumers pay the huge costs of complying with the resultant regulations and soaring energy costs. Taxpayers pay for much of the research and propaganda that drives the rulemaking. Russia and hard-left foundations have also contributed billions to the process; and government unions, environmental pressure groups and renewable energy companies give generously to researchers and to politicians who keep the alarmist research programs, regulatory processes, mandates, and subsidies alive.

All of this raises another elephantine issue. If a couple million dollars over a decade’s time creates near-criminal conflict-of-interest and disclosure problems for skeptic/realist scientists, what effects do billions of dollars in research money have on alarmist researchers and their universities and institutions?

Few, if any, alarmist researchers have disclosed that their work was funded by government agencies, companies, foundations and others with enormous financial, policy, political and other interests in their work, ensuring that their conclusions support manmade factors and debunk natural causes. Many of those researchers have signed statements that their research and papers involved no conflicts, knowing they would not get these grants, if their outcomes did not reflect the sponsors’ interests and perspectives.

Moreover, ClimateGate, IPCC revelations and other investigations have revealed extensive and troubling incidents of manipulated data, faulty models, wild exaggerations, broken hockey sticks, and completely baseless claims about hottest years, disappearing glaciers, coastal flooding, and other “crises.” And those claims severely impact our energy costs, jobs, living standards, economic growth, and freedoms.

We need to end the double standards – and investigate the alarmist researchers and institutions.

Or perhaps better yet, let us instead have that all-out, open, robust debate that climate realists have long sought – and alarmists have refused to join. Equal government and other money for all research. All cards and evidence on the table. No more hiding data and codes. Answer all questions, no matter how tough or inconvenient. And let honest science decide what our energy and economic futures will be.

—–

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.

Categories: On the Blog

Weather Bulletin 8: Records Breaking Across America

March 01, 2015, 11:05 PM

As temperatures continue to dip and snow accumulates, support for claims human caused global warming is causing winters to disappear are melting like ice under a heat lamp.

All fifty states are expecting to see snowfall in the next seven days with most of them already having experienced modest to record amounts of snow as this particularly wicked winter just refuses to let up.

Cold temperature records were tied or broken at more than 2000 locations in the past week. According to the weather website, sunshine hours, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recorded 2,634 record low-high temperatures were broken or tied between February 19, 2015 and February 25, 2015. In other words, 2,634 locations experienced daily highs lower than ever recorded on that date since record keeping began. Over the same time period, 272 locations registered record low temperatures at least one day during the week. All these records are falling without the influence of the polar vortex that set thousands of record lows throughout the nation, even into the summer, of 2014.

On Friday the 27th every area east of the Rocky Mountains, excepting Florida, experienced below average temperatures. According to the Weather Channel, cities breaking daily low or daily low high temperatures in New England and the Northeastern U.S. included: Burlington, Vermont (minus 19 degrees), Bridgeport, Connecticut (0 degrees — the latest in a 0 degree temperature was ever recorded), Concord, New Hampshire (minus 20 degrees), Pittsburgh (minus 9 degrees) and Rochester, New York (minus 9 degrees).

Both Bangor, Maine and Syracuse, New York saw more below zero temperatures in February 2015, than they had experienced in any previous February. In Syracuse, the temperature dipped below zero for a record 20 times topping the previous calendar-year record of 19 below zero days in 1948, while Bangor, Maine saw 17 subzero days.

With an average temperature of 24 degrees for the month, 11 degrees below the normal February average, New York City set a record for the coldest February ever. The cold brought winter related health problems in tow. The New York Times reported, “Dr. John Marshall, the head of emergency medicine at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, said his hospital was averaging 336 patients a day this winter, 20 more than last winter. On Jan. 19, he saw something unlike anything he had seen before. In a single hour, 30 people showed up after having slipped on ice, most of them with wrist and arm fractures, with some ankles thrown in.”

Nor were the Midwest and the Great Lakes states spared the record chill with low records being set or tied in among other locations, Cincinnati, Ohio (minus 7 degrees), Columbus, Ohio (minus 11 degrees), Chicago (minus 10 degrees, Dubuque, Iowa (minus 17 degrees), Detroit (minus 2 degrees), Erie, Pennsylvania (minus 7 degrees), Flint, Michigan (minus 17 degrees), Grand Rapids, Michigan (minus 10 degrees) and Indianapolis, Indiana (minus 5 degrees) all broke low temperature records.

Some cities, including Cleveland and Toledo in Ohio set broke low temperature records on multiple days.

For South Bend, Indiana, Feb. 12 to Feb. 27, was the coldest recorded for this period in history with an average temperature of 11.4 degrees.

The Weather Channel reports, “subzero readings stretched across 22 states from the interior Northeast to the Plains, Great Lakes and Upper Midwest. Temperatures dropped below minus 20 degrees in 7 states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and New York). Wind chills bottoming out at more than 40 below zero in parts of North Dakota and northern Minnesota Sunday morning. Bottineau, North Dakota saw the lowest actual air temperature in the Lower 48, dipping to minus 32 degrees.

Farther South, Joplin, Missouri (8 degrees), Paducah, Kentucky (11 degrees) set record low temperatures between the 19th and the 25th. On Friday the 27th, Oklahoma (23 degrees) and Dallas, Texas (30 degrees) each set records for the lowest maximum temperature recorded on the date.

As is often the case, in winter, cold temperatures were accompanied with snowfall, in many areas, record snowfall. Boston’s snow woes have been well-documented this winter, but Boston is not the only city, nor the Northeast the only region slammed in February. Accumulating snow and ice brought the roof down on a skating rink in Canton, Massachusetts narrowly avoiding crushing a children’s hockey team and assembled parents and employees.

Also in New England, snowfall measured at Warwick New Hampshire’s Green Airport topped 31.8-inches breaking the old record of 30.9 in set in 1962.

Indianapolis set a new snowfall record for March 1st with 5.9 inches of snowfall, the most ever on March 1st.

According to the National Weather Service, much of Alabama experienced record or near record snowfalls last week. Prior to February 25, Huntsville, AL had received just 6 tenths of an inch of a snowfall all winter, but on the 25th, Huntsville got hammered with 8.1 inches of snow it the second-snowiest day in the city’s history, surpassed only by the 15.7 inches of snow that fell on December 31, 1963.

Record snows fell across much of Alabama with three locations in Marshall County reported 11 or more inches of snow. Other areas receiving high snowfall included Athens (8.5 inches), Eva (9 inches), Moulton (9 inches), Phil Campbell (10 inches) and Rainsville (8.5 inches). 

Farther west in Texans and New Mexican’s have also experienced record late-season snowfalls with attendant weather related disasters. Area’s north and west of Ft. Worth experienced record amounts of snow, with some regions getting more than seven inches of snow. Mixed with the snow was freezing rain and ice. As a result of the unusual late February weather, more than 1,000 flights were cancelled out of D/FW International Airport. North Texas experienced more than 1,000 reported accidents, with 617 traffic related calls between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm on Friday in Ft. Worth alone. Interstates 35, 30 and 75 as well and numerous side-streets were closed at times Thursday through Saturday and there were two weather related traffic deaths.

Across New Mexico, residents woke up to more snowfall than some areas had in nearly a decade. The Albuquerque metro area received 1-2 inches per hour for several hours, resulting in a total 8.6 inches, the 9th heaviest snowfall since 1931. The last time more than 8 inches fell in a two day period was in 2006.

H. Sterling Burnett

Managing Editor

Environment & Climate News

 

 

 

Categories: On the Blog

Left Launches Witch Hunt Against Climate Scientists

March 01, 2015, 5:10 PM

Kert Davies, a long-time Greenpeace staffer, has regularly attacked climate scientists who question the group’s views on global warming.

CHICAGO (March 1, 2015) — A week ago, the Boston GlobeNew York Times, and Washington Post  ran stories repeating claims made by long-time Greenpeace staffer Kert Davies that Dr. Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics failed to disclose funding from “fossil-fuel sources” to the editors of a science journal that published an article coauthored by Dr. Soon. Davies alleged this violated the journal’s disclosure and conflict of interest requirements.

Since then, many other media outlets have covered the controversy.

This news coverage was the beginning of a witch hunt waged against climate scientists whose work contradicts the claims of Greenpeace and other liberal advocacy groups. Elements of the witch hunt include:

* Forecast the Facts, a project of the left-of-center Center for American Progress (and more recently affiliated with the even farther-left Citizen Engagement Laboratory) launched an online petition to the Smithsonian Institution demanding Dr. Soon be fired for misconduct.

* Democratic U.S. Sens. Edward Markey, Barbara Boxer, and Sheldon Whitehouse sent letters to 100 business and think tanks – including The Heartland Institute – demanding they divulge any funding they have provided to global warming skeptics.

* Democratic U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva sent letters to seven universities demanding information about funding for eight scientists who have questioned Greenpeace’s stance on global warming.

* Davies asked the editors of journals that published Soon’s work to investigate whether he had complied with their disclosure and conflict of interest policies.

The Heartland Institute, which has been part of the climate change debate since 1993, has created a web page atwww.heartland.org/willie-soon that collects commentary and background information on this controversy. The web page contains information contradicting Davies’ allegations while making the following points:

* Neither the editors of Science Bulletin nor the Smithsonian Institution, Dr. Soon’s employer, have said Dr. Soon violated their disclosure or conflict of interest rules.

* Davies has been making similar attacks against Dr. Soon and other climate scientists since as long ago as 1997. He is not a credible source. His background and affiliations should have been included in news stories based on his latest allegations.

* Grants supporting Dr. Soon’s work were vetted and submitted by the Smithsonian, not by Dr. Soon. Grant dollars went to the Smithsonian, which kept around 40 percent of the money for oversight and overhead.

* The amount of industry support Dr. Soon received, variously reported as $1 million or $1.2 million, includes the Smithsonian Institution’s 40 percent share and was received over the course of ten years.

* By agreement between donors and the Smithsonian, Dr. Soon wasn’t even aware of who some of the donors were, making a conflict of interest impossible.

* Disclosure of funding sources is not a common requirement of academic journals in the physical sciences field. Most climate scientists – alarmist as well as skeptical – do not disclose their funding sources.

Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, said:

“The Heartland Institute stands four-square behind Willie Soon. He’s a brilliant and courageous scientist devoted entirely to pursuing scientific knowledge. His critics are all ethically challenged and mental midgets by comparison. We plan to continue to work with Dr. Soon on future editions of Climate Change Reconsidered and feature him at future International Conferences on Climate Change, including the next one, the tenth, scheduled to take place in June in Washington, DC.”

John Nothdurft, director of government relations for The Heartland Institute, said:

“Instead of having a real conversation with the American public about the science and economics of climate change, well-financed advocacy groups and politicians with many ‘conflicts of interest’ of their own would rather direct the public’s focus on who funds non-profit organizations, independent research institutions, scientists, economists, and other experts.

“Apparently it is now a national offense to raise any concerns over certain aspects of the science or economics of policies that purport to deal with human-caused climate change. This witch hunt has nothing to do with ensuring that science is accurate or reliable. These attacks are leveled by people who refuse to engage in civil debate over important matters of science, economics, and public policy. They should not be allowed to win the day.”

Heartland has worked closely with Dr. Soon over the years, featuring him as a speaker at conferences and including him as a reviewer and contributor to a series of volumes on climate science published for the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). In 2013, Heartland published a critique coauthored by Dr. Soon of a report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

For more comments, see www.heartland.org/willie-soon. To interview a Heartland spokesperson on this story, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

Categories: On the Blog

Apple Accused of Poaching Chinese Know-How Paid for by US Taxpayers

March 01, 2015, 1:52 PM

Since 2011 NLPC has tracked the stimulus-funded fiascoes that were/are battery-maker A123 Systems and luxury electric automaker Fisker Automotive, who at one point were business partners (or stuck with each other, depending on your perspective). Both eventually went bankrupt, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars from Department of Energy awards that were never paid back. Chinese company Wanxiang Group ended up with both failed enterprises, buying their assets for cheap.

While the Obama administration declared the two bankruptcies (among others, such as Solyndra) part of their “successful” green energy investment strategy, two Republican Senators – Charles Grassley of Iowa and John Thune of South Dakota – have applied pressure to DOE over the fate of American jobs and intellectual property created by A123 and Fisker, but paid for with U.S. tax dollars.

Now, as the Senators continue to express concern about DOE policy over innovations created thanks to government funding, Chinese-owned A123 is suing over the “theft” of its intellectual resources by an American company – Apple! The Cupertino, Calif. computer giant is said to be secretly working on its own electric vehicle, and A123 has alleged in a lawsuit that Apple is “poaching” its best-and-brightest – led by former A123 Chief Technology Officer Mujeeb Ijaz – in violation of non-disclosure and non-compete agreements.

“It appears that Apple, with the assistance of defendant Ijaz, is systematically hiring away A123’s high tech PhD and engineering employees, thereby effectively shutting down various projects/programs at A123,” read the legal complaint, filed in Massachusetts state court but moved to federal court. “They are doing so in an effort to support Apple’s apparent plans to establish a battery division that is similar if not identical to A123’s, in competition with A123….”

As the Boston Herald reported, among the talent lured away by Apple includes an A123 scientist that earned $600,000 last year, plus living expenses. A Forbes.com analysis pondered why the battery innovator/manufacturer was so incensed that it felt it necessary to sue Apple over a few scientists. Technology writer Michael Kanellos reviewed A123’s history, which grew out of MIT, and explained that the company’s lithium phosphate cells did not perform as well as competing technologies. Also, larger and deeper-pocketed competitors like LG Chem and Johnson Controls worked their ways into alternative energy, and A123 struggled to get automotive clients – their only “success” was Fisker.

Nevertheless, post bankruptcy, Wanxiang moved aggressively to acquire A123 at a steep discount (but not necessarily a pittance) – for $260 million. As NLPC concluded in December 2012, “it’s not far-fetched to think that Wanxiang believe(d) the biggest worth of A123 remains in the head knowledge of its scientists and engineers who will now report to them.” That would go a long way toward explaining the Apple lawsuit.

Before the U.S. government approved the sale of A123 to Wanxiang, members of Congress (including Grassley and Thune) expressed concern about the technology transfer over national security concerns, besides the loss of taxpayer-funded resources.

“A123 Systems also works hand-in-hand with U.S. power plants on energy storage and efficiency improvements,” Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn wrote in The Hill. “Its products and technology serve the telecommunications markets through battery backup systems that support telecommunications controllers and Internet servers, transceiver stations and central hubs. Allowing Wanxiang to acquire this company’s technology could leave us vulnerable to cyber attacks.”

Despite the concerns, the bankruptcy court and the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States approved the deal. But Grassley and Thune are still pressing DOE for more stringent measures to assure that taxpayer-financed innovations are properly protected investments preserved for the public benefit.

“A more complete audit would allow DOE to register and claim title to subsequent inventions that trace back to federal support and may otherwise escape disclosure,” the Senators wrote to DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz. “This accountability is especially important to track taxpayer-funded intellectual property through transfer of ownership from an awardee company to a foreign entity.”

The Energy Department responded with an explanation for plans to create rules to address control of such technology, while also stating that other areas of law limit the government’s ability to retain the property or require its manufacture on U.S. soil.

Wanxiang, which does operate A123 in the U.S. and has maintained its identity for “The New Fisker” at its “Wanxiang America” base in Chicago, has aspirations for a re-launch of the electric “Karma” model. Company chairman Lu Guanqiu (pictured) has expressed his passion and commitment for becoming the first successful Chinese automaker.

“I’ll put every cent that Wanxiang earns into making electric vehicles,” Guanqiu said at the company’s Chinese headquarters last June. “I’ll burn as much cash as it takes to succeed, or until Wanxiang goes bust.”

But the effort to get the new Karma to market has been a struggle, apparently. Earlier this week sources told Reuters that the Fisker name would be changed to Elux, and that the hoped-for 2015 relaunch would be delayed at least a year. Wanxiang was also said to be spending millions of dollars updating the Karma’s years-old hardware.

Add to that the lawsuit against cash-rich Apple over “brain drain,” it appears Mr. Lu believes his dream is imperiled. Maybe we’re seeing the beginning of the bizarre scenario of an American company overtaking a Chinese one, whose assets were largely paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

 

Categories: On the Blog

Population Control Behind UN’s Agenda 21

March 01, 2015, 11:46 AM

Obama and UN seek to transform

The following commentary by Ben Zycher on the United Nations’ top climate change official, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), tells how the goal of UNFCCC is to “intentionally transform” the world’s economic development model. In Christina Figueres own words, spoken on February 4th:

This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model.  This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for the last 150 years; since the industrial revolution.

Instead of focusing on the central issue which is addressing the cost effectiveness of the global warming issue, the main focus continues to be on the nearly irrelevant causation issue. Neither does Christiana Figueres seem to understand that a transformation of the “economic development model” is a repository of consequences unintended but predictable; foremost among them, the impoverishment of many millions of people.

Africa in the crossfire with other 3rd world countries 

Much rides on the UN Kyoto Protocol of 1992 that legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets. The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012. The second commitment period began in January 2013 and will end in 2020.

Regarding CO2 emissions in Africa: Carbon emissions are estimated to be lower compared to western and emerging countriesIn so far as South Africa is so addicted to coal and dependent on coal, the country itself has very high emissions – 13th biggest emitter in the world — in contrast to the rest of the continent, where most countries have very low emissions, or even zero emissions.

The irony is that those who are behind the U.N. Agenda 21 road map, claim all of the changes they want forced upon us are for the good of our planet and people.  That simply is not true, and South Africa is a case in point.  The cost to switch from coal towards renewable energy in South Africa would be significant.  Energy needs in Africa and other developing countries will increase as countries become more industrialized and prosperous. Restricting or reducing CO2 emissions in places such as South Africa, to those below its position of 13th in the world, would cause much hardship and limit overall the growth within the African Continent. Even in this day and age heating and cooking is widely done by African natives with animal dung patties, which is a source of unhealthful pollution.

Questions as to why the push for a successful UN Kyoto Protocol by 2020

Some brave souls have begun questioning whether there are more sinister and self-serving reasons that the UN Kyoto Protocol be successful by 2020.  Could one covert reason be to reduce populations by making life even more difficult for third world poor populations to prosper?  In 2009 a report was published byScientific America, first appearing in Earth Talk produced by E/The Environmental Magazine, which questioned whether the rate of people reproducing needed to be controlled in order to save the environment. They postured that human population growth is a major contributor to global warming, as humans use fossil fuels to power their increasingly mechanized lifestyles.  According to the United Nations Population Fund, human population grew from 1.6 billion to 6.1 billion people during the course of the 20th century.  It was that unprecedented increase that began to concern people, who then began looking for ways to control our population. The United Nations Population Fundlikewise predicts that fast-growing, developing countries will contribute more than half of global CO2 emissions by 2050, thereby erasing other countries’ adoption of long held over-consumptive ways.

This article also published in 2009, began raising the question as to whether, given population and sustainability, the planet could avoid not limiting the number of people (or slowing the rise in human numbers) to save the planet.

Alex Epstein, in his book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” — adapted from a published review by Jay Lehr, Director of Science at the Heartland Institute — “lays out a clear story that the use of fossil fuels in the less developed world has dramatically increased life expectancy and reduced infant mortality.  Epstein further states that “millions of individuals in industrialized countries finally have their first light bulb, their first refrigerator, their first decent paying job, their first year with clean drinking water or a full stomach.” Hence, the moral case for fossil fuels is ultimately not about fossil fuels; it is the moral case for using cheap, plentiful, reliable energy to amplify our abilities to make the world a better place for human beings.

Shame on our leaders for proposing massive bans on fossil fuels with the promise that these radically inferior technologies will be their replacements, reflecting either an ignorance or indifference to the need for efficient cheap reliable energy for 1.3 billion people without electricity and over 3 billion who do not have adequate electricity.

In summing up his moral argument, Epstein made this excellent and common sense statement:

We don’t want to save the planet from human beings; we want to improve the planet for human beings. We need to say this loudly and proudly. We need to say that human life is our one and only standard of value.  And we need to say that the transformation of our environment, the essence of our survival, is a supreme virtue.  We need to recognize that to the extent we deny either, we are willing to harm real flesh and blood human beings for some antihuman dogma.

In a message to media and legislators:  “We will no longer take it!”

The time has come for truths to be told, and for the media to provide facts and articles by skeptics. We no longer are confident in the reporting on this important issue, nor do we have confidence in those who have already proven to have reported misinformation.  It is imperative that the unreported agendas of those at the highest level of government be fully documented by credible sources and revealed for what they portend for future generations of Americans.

While we are grateful more climate scientists and experts from other related fields have begun to carefully study these important issues and are finding fault with highly reported conclusions, we must demand their work be printed and reported. The views of skeptics are important for us and future generations, so that any misrepresented figures, deceptions, and mistakes are widely reported and revealed to the public.

It may become necessary for an enlightened public to demand that the media cease their practice of only publishing material that reflects the views of the U.N. and those of the ilk of Al Gore.  Accordingly, when so-called “established” facts are refuted, they must be reported as such by a media that has proven itself highly prejudiced to only one viewpoint.  The public deserves a two-sided debate, and it may come to the point citizens may have to demand it.

It is up to informed citizens, scientists and other experts to investigate and report false or questionable information about global warming in order to set the record straight.  Those with opposing opinions and fact must write letters and articles to newspapers and other offending media sources.  Any media source that refuses to publish credible material should be exposed.  Derelict and biased media sources, and our elected legislators, must know that anything less is unacceptable to a concerned public.

Bravo to The Heartland Institute  for being the leader in the field of education by getting facts out to legislators here in the US, and individuals worldwide, about the false premise of global warming which has been and continues to be pushed worldwide as proposed by UN Agenda 21.

Tnorner & O’Neil:  Fighting climate change through compact cities without cars(Part 1)

Thorner & O’Neil:  UN promotes Global Warming consistent with Agenda 21(Part 2)

Thorner & O’Neil:  Man’s folly to curb CO2 emissions continues to advance unabated (Part 3)

Thorner & O’Neil:  Will Agenda 21 continue to go forward despite proven deception (Part 4)

 

[Originally published at Illinois Review]

Categories: On the Blog

Schneiderman’s Supplement Scam

March 01, 2015, 11:07 AM

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman made a shocking announcement earlier this month. He alleged that DNA tests his office commissioned found that about 80% of GNC supplements tested, including those sold as Ginkgo Biloba, St. John’s Wort, and Ginseng didn’t actually have any of the herb in the capsules.

Mr. Schneiderman issued a cease and desist letter calling for the products to be removed from shelves at GNC, as well as for different products sold at Walmart, Walgreens and Target. He also put out a press release filled with self-righteous and self-serving statements from his allies including state legislators calling for the passage of their own bills and from the food police group, Center for Science in the Public Interest, lauding Mr. Schneiderman for doing “what federal regulators should have done a long time ago.”

Class action lawyers are already soliciting clients.

These days, plaintiffs’ lawyers don’t have to chase ambulances, they can troll attorneys general.

The moment the news hit, GNC stock plummeted about 5%.

The problem is, Mr. Schneiderman’s DNA tests, which he refuses to release, don’t support his conclusion that herbs weren’t in the pills as marketed.

Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Pieter Cohen, who like myself is a longtime critic of the $6 billion supplement industry, disputes Mr. Schneiderman’s use of DNA barcoding to reach the conclusion he did.

“That’s because DNA barcoding looks for a specific fragment of DNA, but the ingredients in herbal supplements are often highly processed — crushed, dissolved, filtered and dried — so that they may no longer contain the particular fragment of DNA that researchers are searching for, making the supplement appear to be mislabeled,” Dr. Cohen said. The biological compounds extracted from the plant—the parts that supposedly have healing powers—would be in the supplement without the DNA sought in the tests.

It’s like searching for the word “god” in a particular sentence of the bible, not finding it, and claiming your research found that there’s no god in the bible.

Mr. Schneiderman either “knew or should have known,” as lawyers like to say, that the test he used wasn’t appropriate for his conclusion.

Mr. Schneiderman either “knew or should have known,” as lawyers like to say, that the test he used wasn’t appropriate for his conclusion. That’s why it isn’t used for this purpose by the industry, its auditors, or the federal FDA. Yet Mr. Schneiderman, who said that “Secrecy breeds corruption, while transparency generates confidence” when launching an “open government” webpage, refuses to share even the basic methodology of his taxpayer-funded study.

Mr. Schneiderman’s junk science conclusion is a triple-whammy for gullible consumers. First, they think the supplements are magical pills with super-healing powers (without the risks of pharmaceuticals). Then, the anti-corporate AG tells them they’ve been defrauded, not because the herbs don’t work, but because the elixir isn’t present. Third, Mr. Schneiderman’s claim that consumers aren’t getting what they are paying for is made of whole cloth.

“Ironically,” wrote former FDA official and Hoover Institution scholar Dr. Henry Miller in Forbes, mislabeling the active ingredients would have been “the best thing about these products for consumers. Many herbal supplements are complex, highly variable and impure.”

In fact, Mr. Schneiderman’s other finding—that there were undisclosed plant products including wheat and rice—seems to be valid, and not at all surprising.

It is clear that Mr. Schneiderman believes that the FDA doesn’t have enough authority to crack down on the shady supplement industry. But that doesn’t give him license to use tactics reminiscent of 1970’s era tobacco industry chicanery to make claims that just aren’t true.

Mr. Schneiderman, New York’s prosecutor-in-chief, claims on his perpetual campaign web page that he has a record of standing up to financial institutions “that think they can play by their own rules.” Yet Mr. Schneiderman’s market-moving bogus attack on GNC and other retailers was founded entirely on his own rules-a bizarre application of a secret DNA test. Who’s going to hold him accountable?

 

[Originally published at Pundicity]

Categories: On the Blog