On the Blog

Fox News: NIPCC report ‘Poking Very Large Holes’ in Climate Alarmist ‘Consensus’

Somewhat Reasonable - April 09, 2014, 10:31 PM

For the second night in a row, the new report from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) was featured on “Special Report with Bret Baier” on the Fox News Channel. Baier’s show destroys its competition on cable news with about 1.7 million viewers each night.

FNC covered the press conference Heartland and NIPCC held Wednesday morning at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. It informed this fantastic report from Doug McKelway, who said the NIPCC report presents “a torrent of new data … poking very large holes in what the president has called the scientific consensus about global warming.”

Watch it below, and read the transcript below that, which I preserve for posterity. When a reporter on the most-watched nightly news show on cable states the following, it’s worth filing away: “Skeptics believe [alarmist] statements are demonstrably false. They point to observable data, not computer modeling, to prove their point.”

Baier: The earth may, or may not, be heating up. But there’s no debate that the fight over man-made climate change certainly is. Despite repeated proclamations that science comes down on one particular side, it turns out many scientists do not agree. Correspondent Doug McKelway reports tonight on the deepening divide over an issue that is part science and part politics.

[Clip: Barack Obama]: But the debate is settled. Climate Change is a fact.

McKelway: A torrent of new data is poking very large holes in what the president has called the scientific consensus about global warming.

Roger Pilon, Cato Institute: The dirty little secret is that we’re now at 17 years and 8 months of no global warming. Their models have failed, year in and year out.

McKelway: Backed by thousands of peer-reviewed papers, a study released today by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change contrasts starkly with the recently released UN report that finds severe impacts from global warming. The new report finds that warming from greenhouse gases will be so small as to be indiscernible from natural variability. The impact of modestly rising CO2 levels on plants, animals, and humans has been mostly positive. And the costs of trying to limit emissions vastly exceed the benefits. The report may only heighten debate over climate change, where both sides are armed with their own opinions and their own facts.

[Clip: Hillary Clinton]: Climate change is a national security problem, not just an environmental problem.

[Clip: John Kerry]: And all of the predictions of the scientists are not just being met, they are being exceeded.

McKelway: Skeptics believe those statements are demonstrably false. They point to observable data, not computer modeling, to prove their point.

Joseph Bast, president, Heartland Institute: Carbon dioxide has not caused weather to become more extreme. And it is not causing polar ice and sea ice to melt. It’s not causing sea-level rise to accelerate.

McKelway: All of which is leading Congressional doubters to further question EPA regulations.

[Clip: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)]: The sheer number of proposed rule-makings coupled with cost of compliance with a vast array of regulations already on the books and, what at times are the unreasonable consequences of their enforcement is very, very frustrating.

McKelway: Climate Change skeptic Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma introduced leg just last week that would tackle the administration’s regulatory end-run around Congress. It would prevent the EPA from issuing any final rule until it conducts an economic analysis as required under the Clean Air Act.

Catch up with the latest media reports, op-eds, podcasts, and videos about the NIPCC reports at ClimateChangeReconsidered.org.

Categories: On the Blog

When Governments Attack the Private Sector

Somewhat Reasonable - April 09, 2014, 12:55 PM

Your average government – anywhere in the world – has more resources at its disposal than just about any private company on the planet.

So when a government sets its sites on making a private company’s life miserable – it almost always can.  Because it can put the full weight of the Leviathan behind the push – and it is spending Other People’s Money to do it.

The private company is not only spending its own coin to fend off the attack, they are in many cases also helping to fund their attacker – with the copious taxes their attacker has conscripted.

Governments wield woefully huge bureaucratic apparatuses.  They have countless agencies, commissions, departments and boards – all of which can be brought to bear on their targets.

They can rain down a hurricane’s worth of regulations and unfavorable rulings.  And they can use their piles of confiscated cash to hire armadas of attorneys to litigate their opponents into oblivion.

To name but one notorious example of this obnoxiousness – there is our governments’ abuse ofeminent domain.  Remember Kelo v. New London?

It’s bad enough when government does this as Crony Socialism – at the money-backed behest of Big Companies looking to sic the Big Government attack dog on their competition.

It’s even worse when Big Government does it unilaterally – abusing its gi-normous power to benefit itself. Behold:

The Rise of State-Sponsored Patent Trolls

“Patent trolls are a hazard in the U.S. marketplacebuy(ing) up patents…and aggressively accus(ing) others of infringing them.”

Now let’s be abundantly clear.  If a patent claim is legitimate – the patent holder(s) absolutely should be paid.  Otherwise, we undermine private property rights – a free-society-foundational tenet.

Unfortunately, it’s looking more and more like these patent claims are going to be anything but legitimate.

Recently, foreign governments have begun founding their own patent trolls. France Brevets, Intellectual Discovery in Korea, and Innovation Network Corp of Japan are examples of these troubling entities. China is headed toward similar “investment service platforms.”….

Foreign Governments Getting into Profitable US ‘Patent Troll’ Business

So-called “patent trolls” can earn millions of dollars by being a costly thorn in the side of companies.

“(P)atent trolls”…siphon money from large corporations…that sell products and services.

An intellectual property firm can accuse such companies of violating the patents they own, and can secure licensing deals or even file patent infringement lawsuits to obtain cash.

Ah yes – the “sue and settle” approach – so popular with the likes of our domestic Left-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cabal.

These governments aren’t doing it just to illicitly pocket coin – they will also use it as backdoor, pernicious protectionism for their domestic companies.

State-Sponsored Patent Trolls Signal New Form of Protectionism

There is the natural tendency to favor domestic industries over foreign ones. This natural tendency can develop into protectionist policies akin to the industrial policies of many 19th-century governments.

There is also an incentive for states to use the patents to defend key domestic companies by attacking foreign companies and raising their costs. This would encourage anti-competitive behavior in industries where technology is critical.

And of course there is an inherent conflict of interest when a government is charged with patent enforcement – while itself owning patents.  It’s like a baseball umpire owning one of the teams playing the game he’s umping.

Their attempted explanations for why they are doing this simply don’t wash:

The (South Korean) government-backed company has purchased more than 200 U.S. patents, and has said it plans to use those patents to protect other South Korean companies that might be targeted by a lawsuit.

There are legitimate reasons for foreign businesses to be concerned about patent litigation – and they should purchase the protective patents themselves.  Not have Government Warbucks buy them to play Crony Socialist protectionist favorites.

There is a Yellow Pages Rule: If you can find it in the Yellow Pages – the government shouldn’t do it.

If we want a legitimate, freer global marketplace – and the true private-property-protection legitimate patent enforcement provides – we need to have the world’s governments serve as cops non-prejudicially walking the beat.

Not setting up storefronts and manning the shops.  And then hiring slip-and-fall lawyers to harass their competitors.

You can have enforcement authority or skin in the game – not both.  These governments all have the former – they should absolutely stay out of the latter.

 

[Originally published at RedState]

Categories: On the Blog

Liberals focus on happy thoughts? Really?

Somewhat Reasonable - April 09, 2014, 12:50 PM

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, whose writing I commend heartily to readers of Somewhat Reasonable, this morning called my attention to some fascinating research reported recently in Mother Jones. It is truly not every day that Kass cites Mother Jones, so I was intrigued.

In ”Can Conservatives be fixed scientifically?” Kass quotes an April 4 Mother Jones article – This Machine Can Tell Whether You’re Liberal or Conservative – as saying conservatives “go through the world more attentive to negative, threatening and disgusting stimuli.”

For reasons that won’t come as any surprise to readers of Somewhat Reasonable, my mind immediately turned to environmental issues, and climate change in particular. Surely Mother Jones and the researcher whose work it reports, University of Nebraska-Lincoln political scientist John Hibbing, would recognize environmental alarmism as a glaring exception to this notion that conservatives are the “negative” ones?

But alas, there’s no evidence Mother Jones or Hibbing recognize this gap in Hibbing’s theory.

Mother Jones reports: “Some of us are more hierarchical, as opposed to egalitarian; some of us prefer harsher punishments for rule breakers, whereas some of us would be more inclined to forgive; some of us find outsiders or out-groups intriguing and enticing, whereas others find them threatening.” (italics mine)

Hibbing and Mother Jones clearly want to conclude conservatives are the ones described by the phrases I’ve italicized. But on climate change and other environmental issues, that’s simply not true.

“Hierarchical” describes people who see the world as being “ranked,” with some groups of people higher than others. Think of the left’s obsession with “class warfare” and you’ll get some idea of where they’re coming from. People who are “more hierarchical” are likely to believe individuals can’t manage their own lives – they need the government to tell them what to do and how to do it. Granted, some conservatives are like that on some issues … but liberals are like that, big time, on energy and environment and climate change issues. It is the liberals, after all, who talk about “global” warming and think a “global” governing body – the United Nations – has all the answers on climate change.

And on climate change, clearly liberals are the ones who “prefer harsher punishments.” They call for Nuremberg trials and even the death penalty for climate change “deniers.”

(N.B.: The phrase “climate change deniers” is not something that would be used by “happy,” “positive” people. Nobody is denying climate change happens. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change notes in Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, “Any human global climate signal is so small as to be nearly indiscernible against the background variability of the natural climate system. Climate change is always occurring.”)

Finally, it’s clearly the liberals who find “outsiders or out-groups” threatening. Why else would they label the scientists who disagree with them “deniers,” refuse to engage in civil debate or even speak at events to share their views in an open forum?

On energy, environment, and climate issues, it is the “conservatives and their rambunctious libertarian siblings,” as Kass calls us, who have a positive message to deliver: that global warming is not a crisis, the likely benefits of man-made global warming exceed the likely costs, and mankind is not the scourge on Earth that liberals make us out to be.

Categories: On the Blog

F.H. Buckley Presents Dim View of America’s “Crown Government”

Somewhat Reasonable - April 09, 2014, 12:46 PM

On Thursday, April 3, The Heartland Institute’s Author Series featured F.H. Buckley, author and foundation professor at George Mason University School of Law with his eye-opening, recently published book titled, “The Once and Future King: The Rise and Fall of Crown Government.”  A citizen of Canada, Buckley will be sworn in as a U.S. citizen April 15.

Buckley didn’t mince words when he shattered just about every myth surrounding American government.  The Constitution, with its separation of powers, was not what the Founders had in mind. They instead envisioned a country in which Congress would dominate the government and in which the president would play a much smaller role.

Buckley offered a clarion warning about the alarming rise of one-man rule in the age of Obama, which he calls Crown government, and which one of our Founders (George Mason) called an “elective monarchy” that was worse than the real thing.

How did this nation arrive at its current state?

Although Buckley is not a Constitutional lawyer, he feels that as an outsider he has a better prospective of what led to American’s transformation to that of an “Imperial Presidency,” a term first coined by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in a book by the same name, who as an adviser to the Kennedy administration, later condemned Richard Nixon’s abuse of presidential power and accordingly called for a return of power to the congressional branch.

Foremost in Buckley’s presentation was how presidential regimes differ from parliamentary systems of government through his evaluation of both systems:

  • Most worrisome in a presidential system is that the head of government and the head of state are united as one, in contrast to a parliamentary system where control rests more in party leaders.
  • Presidents can hide behind lecterns, but not prime ministers who must respond to questions from the Opposition on a daily basis when Parliament is in session or when the prime minister is in the country. Obama wouldn’t last in a parliamentary form of government where he would have to answer every question directed to him by Republican leaders.
  • Presidents have a fixed term, while prime ministers may be ousted at any time by a majority in the House of Commons.  In 225 years no president has ever been removed from office through impeachment.  Nixon may have saved himself from this fate by resigning.  Clinton was able to slow walk the impeachment process long enough to place the blame on Ken Starr.  Andrew Johnson came close to impeachment but won by a single vote:  35 to convict; 19 to acquit. The “high crimes and misdemeanors” test of our Constitution requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate. Rejected was what was first proposed by George Mason which called for impeachment based on a “maladministration” standard. Madison disagreed with the maladministration standard fearing that presidents under that standard could be removed for any reason.  Evident is that the Framers never anticipated that the presidency would emerge as the dominate branch of the government and that a broad impeachment power might be necessary to keep the executive branch in check.  As observed by Thomas Jefferson in his old age, a judgment seconded by Henry Adams, impeachment, as set forth in the Constitution, was not even a scarecrow!
  • The president is the only person elected by the entire country and has become the principal symbol of American democracy.  While Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution established that the president has the power to run the executive branch of the government, Article II, Section 2 was amended in 1804 through the 12th amendment which set up the Electoral College system which still governs modern presidential elections. This system of electing presidents has given way to the rise of a strong president, helped along by the sick adulation of the president by the media (far better when politicians are considered buffoons!), and a Supreme Court that serves at the whim of presidents.
  • The Electoral College system of electing presidents has ultimately produced a different kind of leader who is subject to public extremes of love and hatred, out of which has developed intense partisanship and gridlock. It hasn’t helped that the media has made rock stars out of the heads of government.
  • The loss of political freedom is associated with the concentration of power at the top in a president; hence, a “Reversibility” problem exists where people are stuck with bad laws and rulings, i.e., Obamacare.  With the power to issue Executive Orders, President Obama is putting in place policies that fit his own agenda if unable to legislate through Congress.
  • Presidential systems are difficult to export to other countries.  It didn’t work when exporting to South America. There are lots of presidents for life, but never a prime minister; however, in these modern times both presidents and prime ministers have gained increased power.

The issue of immigration was touched upon in the context of how population is renewed by birth and immigration.  The intake of immigration in the 1950′s looked like America with 70% from Europe and Asia.  The immigration intake now largely consist of those living south of the Rio Grande. They didn’t come here after reading the Federalist papers!  Many will latch on to the Democrat Party, being used to having power centered in a powerful president with government as their keeper.

Also of concern to Buckley is our criminal law system.  The scope of current law is so broad that its interpretation is often left open to the individual wishing to apply the law.  Buckley’s fear is that those having the incorrect political leaning could be arrested or penalized.

Despite the many drawback of our presidential system, what went so wrong that we now have an elected head of state and president who is behaving like an Imperial President?

As stated by F.H. Buckley, “We’ve had a wonderful run for 235 years.”  As to the age we are living in, we can no longer count on the courts to protect our constitutional liberties.

Unless there is an extremely egregious nominee, the Senate votes to uphold the nomination.  Despite the many scandals that have happened under the watch of Democrats, including Fast and Furious, Bengali, and the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS, because an ineffective Department of Justice and an Attorney General is in place who is tied to the president and not concerned about Constitutional principles, culpability is being denied and justice is not being served.

Then too there is the present Congress whose members are not willing to step up to the plate, but for a few, and take a united stand against Democrat proposals that are wrong for this nation.  Not only did wimpy and frightened Republican recently give in to Democrats while receiving nothing in return when they allowed the debt ceiling to be raised, but in dealing with the $862 billion Stimulus Bill passed in 2009, very little direction was given on how this tremendous amount of money should be spent.

It is easier to change course in a parliamentary regime than in one with an elected president.  For not only is it difficult to amend the Constitution, but a Supreme Court stacked with judges in sync with the views of a president and a media that fawns over the president create additional obstacles.

As the concentration of power becomes more in the hands of one instead of many, the deck becomes more and more stacked against effecting change in Congress through working within the system. An examples of when change happened from outside the system was the tea party’s show of election might when new comers were elected to Congress in 2010, all united on the pledge to shut down the earmark favor factory.

Also deserving of credit by Buckley was the “Republican Contract of America” written in part by Newt Gingrich and introduced six weeks before the1994 Congressional election.  Current Republican members of the House of Representatives and those citizens seeking to join that body, promised not just work to change its policies, but even more so to restore the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives.  The contract enabled New Gingrich to become the first Republican Speaker of the House of Representative in 40 years. The Contract included 8 proposals outlining legislature to get enacted by the House of Representative within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress (1995-96).  All parts of the Contract were passed by the House under the leadership of Speaker Gingrich.

After all the negative views presented, there was something positive news to grab on to.  Noted was that all good things seem to be happening on the Right, such as Students for Liberty, as the Left continues to digs its hole even deeper with policies that take this nation in the wrong direction.  National referendums could be useful but this would require that all legislators come together and speak about the same problem, hardly likely!  Being advocated by Mark Levin and others is a Constitutional Convention.   It was slipped into Article 5 of the Constitution by George Mason as an alternate way for amendments to be proposed which says, “If two-thirds of state legislatures demand a meeting, Congress “shall call a convention for proposing amendments.”

 

[Originall published at Illinois Review]

Categories: On the Blog
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