On the Blog

Wake Up Australia

Somewhat Reasonable - December 06, 2014, 12:05 PM

As Australia’s industrial capacity declines, Australia is becoming green and defenseless.

History holds lessons.

Back in Dec 1941, Japan suddenly attacked the huge US Naval base at Pearl Harbour. Three days later, two “invincible” British warships, “Repulse” and “Prince of Wales” were sunk by Japanese planes off Malaya. Soon Japanese armies were rampaging through Asia towards Australia. By Feb 1942, the British fortress of Singapore surrendered and Japanese bombs were falling on Darwin. By Sept 1942 the Japanese army had slashed their way down the Kokoda Track and could see the lights of Port Moresby. They were looking across Torres Strait to Australia. At that time, most of our trained soldiers were fighting Rommel in North Africa or in Japanese prison camps.

Suddenly Australia was on its own and needed to defend itself with what we had here.

Armies need soldiers, weapons, bullets, vehicles, fuel, food (and cigarettes).

Soldiers volunteered and were conscripted. Australian conscripts formed part of the force that met the Japanese on the Kokoda Track.

Enfield Rifles, Bren Guns and Vickers Machine Guns were produced in large numbers at the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow supported by feeder factories in the area.

Motor oil was produced in limited quantities from oil shale at Glen Davis, but petrol was in serious short supply, and had been rationed since 1940. With the fall of Singapore, this shortage became severe, and charcoal burners suddenly appeared to keep cars and trucks moving. Kerosene was short so carbide lights were widely used. The demand for charcoal was so great that firewood became scarce so it was rationed.

To conserve supplies for soldiers, rationing was introduced for tea, clothing, butter, sugar, meat and cigarettes

An immediate critical shortage was copper for cartridge cases – we had mines producing lead, zinc, silver, gold and iron, but there was a critical shortage of copper.

Fortuitously, just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, an exploration drill hole at Mount Isa had struck rich copper ore.

Mount Isa was called on to avert a calamitous shortage of copper in Australia. With government encouragement, Mount Isa Mines made the brave decision to suspend the profitable silver/lead/zinc operations and convert all mining and treatment facilities to extracting copper.

The lead concentrator could be converted to treat copper ore, but the biggest problem was how to smelt the copper concentrates. Luckily the company had skilled engineers and metallurgists in the lead smelter. In a miracle of improvisation, scrap steel and spare parts were purchased and scavenged from old mines and smelters from Cloncurry, Mt Elliott, Mt Cuthbert and Kuridala and cobbled into a workable copper smelter. In 1943 the first Mount Isa blister copper was produced. Production continued after the war when Mount Isa returned to extracting the then more profitable silver/lead/zinc. Later new plant was built enabling both lead and copper to be produced from this fabulous mine.

This story of the importance of self-reliance has lessons for today.

The war on carbon energy, the carbon tax, the renewable energy targets, escalating electricity costs and the voices in Parliament calling for Emissions Trading Schemes have all unnerved our big users of carbon fuels and electricity. Smelting and refining have become threatened industries in Australia, and closure of the Mount Isa copper smelter and the Townsville copper refinery has been foreshadowed. Already six major metal smelting/refining operations have closed in Australia this century and more are likely. The closures have affected copper, lead, zinc, steel and aluminium – the sinews of modern industry. And the car industry, with all its skills and tools, is closing

Local production and refining of oil is also declining, while “lock-the-gate” vandals are trying to prevent domestic exploration and production of gas. More and more land and offshore waters are closed to exploration and mining, and heavy industry is scorned. It was estimated recently that by next year, half of Australia’s oil refining capacity will have closed. In the event of a disruption to tanker routes, Australia has just 12 days of diesel supplies before city fuel and food supplies start to dry up.

We are losing the resources, skills and machinery needed for our own security, while we fritter precious resources on green energy, direct action, carbon capture and storage and other pointless anti-carbon chimeras.

Our foolish green energy policies and the suicidal war on carbon fuels are killing real industry leaving us unskilled and defenceless – like a fat toothless walrus basking on a sunny beach.

Wake up Australia.

Categories: On the Blog

The World’s Climate Change Mafia Meet in Peru

Somewhat Reasonable - December 05, 2014, 1:32 PM

To understand all the talk of “climate change” you must understand that everything and everyone involved—except for those of us who debunk the lies—are engaged in a criminal enterprise to transfer billions from industrialized nations to those who have failed to provide a thriving economy, often because they are run by dictators or corrupt governments who skim the money for themselves.

 The lies being inflicted on Americans include Obama’s “war on coal” that is shutting down coal-fired plants that affordably and efficiently produce the electricity the nation needs, along with the six-year delay of the Keystone XL pipeline. Add in the thousands of Environmental Protection Agency regulations affecting our manufacturing, business and agricultural sectors and the price we are paying is huge.

 At its heart, environmentalism hates capitalism.

 One of the worst parts of this scam to take from the rich and give to the poor—otherwise known as “redistribution”—is the way the world’s media have played along since 1992 when the first Earth Summit was held in Rio. The perpetrators are headquartered in the United Nations, home to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that sets the agenda.

 While the 20th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Conference of Parties meets in Lima, Peru this week, perhaps the most egregious and outrageous example of journalism was the December 2nd Associated Press article, “Hotter, Weirder: How Climate Change and Changed the Earth.” It is not attributed to a specific reporter; perhaps because it is filled with lies from start to finish.

 It starts with the biggest lie of all:  “WASHINGTON (AP) — In the more than two decades since world leaders first got together to try to solve global warming, life on Earth has changed, not just the climate. It’s gotten hotter, more polluted with heat-trapping gases, more crowded and just downright wilder.”

The Earth is in the 19th year of a natural cooling cycle, the result of a comparable cycle on the Sun which is producing less radiation to warm the planet. What astounds anyone who knows this is the article’s assertion that “It’s almost a sure thing that 2014 will go down as the hottest year in 135 years of record keeping, meteorologists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center say. If so, this will be the sixth time since 1992 that the world set or tied a new annual record for the warmest year.”

Would government agencies that are beholden to the existing administration for their budgets lie to the public? Yes, they would. While all fifty states experienced freezing weather within the past month, we are still being told that 2014 set new records for warmth. To borrow a phrase from Jonathan Gruber, the architect of ObamaCare, the government can tell “stupid” voters and others anything it wants in order to achieve its goals.

For the record, in 2013 and much of 2014, there have been record low numbers of tornadoes and hurricanes. There was a record gain in Arctic and Antarctic ice. There was no change in the rate of sea level rise; something measured in millimeters.  The weather is the weather and that includes dramatic events such as blizzards or droughts, but it is hardly uniform. Depending on where you live on planet Earth, you will experience it differently on any given day.

As representatives of 190 climate mafia meet in Peru, you will be given data about carbon dioxide (CO2). The AP article cites increases of  “60 percent.” If that were true, it would be good news. All vegetation on Earth depends on CO2, just as humans and other living creatures depend on oxygen. More CO2 means healthier forests and greater crop yields, an agricultural bonus in a world that needs to feed seven billion people. But it’s not true. Nor is the claim that the mere 0.04% of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere traps so much heat we’re all going to die. It doesn’t and most of us will die of old age.

As Amy Ridenour of the National Center for Public Policy Research reported in June, “The U.S. already leads the world in CO2 reductions and is a great role model. U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions fell 12.6 percent between 2005 and 2012, thanks to technology and conservation. Worldwide, CO2 emissions increased by 17.7 percent during the same period.”  That’s a far cry from the AP claim of 60 percent.

The Peru conference is another effort to impose a global tax on “carbon” and to increase the UN’s “Climate Fund” to which some nations have pledged $9.3 billion. To put this in perspective, the United States just set a new record of $18 TRILLION in debt and cannot afford to be pledging money to that fund or any other fund. Most of that debt has been incurred during the one and a half terms of Barack Obama who just happens to be telling everyone that “climate change” is the greatest threat to all life on Earth.

“Climate change” is what the 4.5 billion-year-old Earth has been doing during all that time and will continue to do. Humans experience it as the “weather” which is measured in days and weeks while climate is measured in units not less than thirty years and more often in centuries. Today’s weather prediction is good for, at best, five days and is subject to change at any time.

As for all those claims about “global warming” it’s worth keeping in mind that not one of the computer models cited to prove it has been accurate. There isn’t a model or a computer big enough to take in all the many elements that compose the weather anywhere and everywhere on Earth. The weather is always in a state of flux and change, just as the temperatures during any hour of the day are in a stage of change.

Here’s a bit of advice. Do not believe anything that comes out of the UN conference because, scientifically speaking, it will be a lie. And don’t believe anything the Associated Press reports on “climate change” because that too must automatically be regarded as a lie as well.

Whatever Barack Obama has to say about “climate change” (formerly known as “global warming”) is a lie. It would be nice to have a President and a government we could trust.

 

Categories: On the Blog

The Gruberization of Environmental Policies

Somewhat Reasonable - December 05, 2014, 1:19 PM

Former White House medical consultant Jonathan Gruber pocketed millions of taxpayer dollars before infamously explaining how ObamaCare was enacted. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” he said. “It was really, really critical to getting the bill passed.” At least one key provision was a “very clever basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”

The Barack Obama/Gina McCarthy Environmental Protection Agency is likewise exploiting its lack of transparency and most Americans’ lack of scientific understanding. EPA bureaucrats and their hired scientists, pressure groups and PR flacks are getting rich and powerful by implementing costly, punitive, dictatorial regulations “for our own good,” and pretending to be honest and publicly spirited.

EPA’s latest regulatory onslaught is its “Clean Power Plan.” The agency claims the CPP will control or prevent “dangerous manmade climate change,” by reducing carbon dioxide and “encouraging” greater use of renewable energy. In reality, as even EPA acknowledges, no commercial-scale technology exists that can remove CO2 from power plant emission streams. The real goal is forcing coal-fired power plants to reduce their operations significantly or (better still) shut down entirely.

The agency justifies this by deceitfully claiming major health benefits will result from eliminating coal in electricity generation – and deceptively ignoring the harmful effects that its regulations are having on people’s livelihoods, living standards, health and well-being. Its assertion that reducing the USA’s coal-related carbon dioxide emissions will make an iota of difference is just as disingenuous. China, India and other fast-developing nations must keep burning coal to generate electricity and lift people out of poverty, and CO2 plays only a tiny (if any) role in climate change and destructive weather events.

The new CPP amplifies Obama Administration diktats targeting coal use. Companion regulations cover mercury, particulates (soot), ozone, “cross-state” air pollution, sulfur and nitrogen oxides that contribute to haze in some areas, and water quality. Their real benefits are minimal to illusory … or fabricated.

American’s air is clean, thanks to scrubbers and other emission control systems that remove the vast majority of pollutants. Remaining pollutants pose few real health problems. To get the results it needs, EPA cherry picks often questionable research that supports its agenda and ignores all other studies. It low-balls costs, pays advisors and outside pressure groups millions of dollars to support its decisions, and ignores the cumulative effects of its regulations on energy costs and thus on businesses, jobs and families.

Now, for the first time, someone has tallied those costs. The results are sobering.

An exhaustive study by Energy Ventures Analysis, Inc. tallies the overall effects of EPA regulations on the electric power industry and provides state-by-state summaries of the rules’ impacts on residential, industrial and overall energy users. The study found that EPA rules and energy markets will inflict $284 billion per year in extra electricity and natural gas costs in 2020, compared to its 2012 baseline year.

The typical household’s annual electricity and natural gas bills will rise 35% or $680 by 2020, compared to 2012, and will climb every year after that, as EPA regulations get more and more stringent. Median family incomes are already $2,000 lower since President Obama took office, and electricity prices have soared 14-33% in states with the most wind power – so these extra costs will exact a heavy additional toll.

Manufacturing and other businesses will be hit even harder, the study concluded. Their electricity and natural gas costs will almost double between 2012 and 2020, increasing by nearly $200 billion annually over this short period. Energy-intensive industries like aluminum, steel and chemical manufacturing will find it increasingly hard to compete in global markets, but all businesses (and their employees) will suffer.

The EVA analysis calculates that industrial electricity rates will soar by 34% in West Virginia, 59% in Maryland and New York, and a whopping 74% in Ohio. Just imagine running a factory, school district or hospital – and having to factor skyrocketing costs like that into your budget. Where do you find that extra money? How many workers or teachers do you lay off, or patients do you turn away? Can you stay open?

The CPP will also force utility companies to spend billions building new generators (mostly gas-fired, plus wind turbines), and new transmission lines, gas lines and other infrastructure. But EPA does not factor those costs into its calculations; nor does it consider the many years it will take to design, permit, engineer, finance and build those systems – and battle Big Green lawsuits over them.

How “science-based” are EPA’s regulations, really? Its mercury rule is based on computer-generated risks to hypothetical American women who eat 296 pounds of fish a year that they catch themselves, a claim that its rule will prevent a theoretical reduction in IQ test scores by an undetectable “0.00209 points,” and similar absurdities. Its PM2.5 soot standard is equivalent to having one ounce of super-fine dust spread equally in a volume of air one-half mile long, one-half mile wide and one story tall.

No wonder EPA has paid its “independent” Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee $181 million and the American Lung Association $25 million since 2000 to rubberstamp its secretive, phony “science.”

Rural America will really be walloped by the total weight of EPA’s anti-coal regulations. Nonprofit electricity cooperatives serve 42 million people in 47 states, across three-fourths of the nation’s land area. They own and maintain 42% of America’s electric distribution lines and depend heavily on coal. They have already invested countless billions retrofitting coal-fired generators with state-of-the-art emission control systems, and thus emit very few actual pollutants. (CO2 fertilizes plants; it is not a pollutant.)

EPA’s air and water rules will force these coal units to slash their electricity generation or close down long before their productive lives are over – and before replacement units and transmission lines can be built. Electricity rates in these rural areas are already higher than in urban areas, but will go much higher. Experts warn that these premature shutdowns will slash electricity “reserve margins” to almost zero in some areas, make large sections of the power grid unstable, and create high risks of rolling blackouts and cascading power outages, especially in the Texas panhandle, western Kansas and northern Arkansas.

The rules will thus put the cooperatives in violation of the Rural Electrification Act and 16 other laws that require reliable, affordable electricity for these far-flung communities. EPA’s actions are also putting rural hospitals in greater jeopardy, as they try to cope with “Affordable Care Act” rules and other burdens that have already caused numerous closings. As USA Today reported, the shuttered hospitals mean some of the nation’s poorest and sickest patients will be denied accessible, affordable care – and people suffering strokes, heart attacks and accidents will not be able to reach emergency care during their “golden hour,” meaning many of them will die or be severely and permanently disabled.

EPA never bothered to consider any of these factors. Nor has it addressed the habitat, bird, bat and other environmental impacts that tens of thousands more wind turbines will have; the “human health hazards” that wind turbines have been shown to inflict on people living near them; or the high electricity costs, notorious unreliability, and increased power grid instability associated with the wind and solar installations that EPA seems to think can quickly and magically replace the coal-based electricity it is eliminating.

Congress, state legislators and attorneys general, governors and courts need to stop these secretive, duplicitous, dictatorial Executive Branch actions. Here’s one thought. Heartland Institute Science Director Jay Lehr helped organize the panel that called for establishing the Environmental Protection Agency. In a persuasive analysis, he says it’s time now to systematically dismantle the federal EPA and replace it with a “committee of the whole” of the 50 state environmental protection agencies.

The new organization would do a far better job of protecting our air and water quality, livelihoods, living standards, health and welfare. It will listen better to We the People – and less to eco-pressure groups.

Categories: On the Blog

Is Your Child Being Manipulated by Lefty Professors?

Somewhat Reasonable - December 05, 2014, 12:25 PM

What has happened to universities and colleges, school that once identified themselves as sanctuaries for free speech, tolerance, and diversity? Why did they abandon that excellent goal as an open market place for thought and ideas, to become instead institutions of indoctrination to a specific political viewpoint?

It is an understatement to say that there is a lack of political diversity within our nation’s schools of higher learning, when every survey indicates self-proclaimed liberal professors significantly dominate our colleges and universities. Democrat Neil Gross, a professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia, investigated this issue and agreed that Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 4 to 1 among professors; by at least 6 to 1 at elite universities; and by still higher ratios in departments of the humanities and social sciences.

Those facts alone should be troublesome at several levels. It is an indication that hiring practices could be favoring a specific mindset, possibly for the purpose of achieving a specific desired result. Professors have enormous power over their students, which enables them to persuade vulnerable students to accept their political and social opinions. The important question is whether professors actually take advantage of their position of power to do so?

They absolutely do take advantage, according to the testimony of college students and a study on the subject by David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin who recently investigated the issue.  By scrutinizing course catalogs, reading lists, professors’ biographies, scholar records, and most of all testimonies of students and faculty, they found violations of academic standards and systematic indoctrination, some of which could be considered not just liberal, but liberal to the degree of being classified as politically radical.

Those of us who did not experience college classrooms as indoctrination centers wonder how and/or why this liberal dominance was allowed to take place?  The fact professors are given great latitude in what and how they teach, makes the inequality troubling.   Professors are not required to create a fair and balanced classroom of ideas, nor is there evidence of repercussions when proof of obvious indoctrination has occurred. Professors not only have tenure, but deans, presidents, and faculty are often sympathetic, if not in lock-step, with the professors’ liberal views and agenda. attention is paid to how a one-sided indoctrination is harming students’ scope of knowledge, understanding, and success when they leave classrooms for the real world. Imagine that you are a freshman at college, eager to learn and devoted to making top grades, when your beloved professor begins to lecture on a hot, divisive political topic. You discover that your professor is taking a position that is very much opposed to your personal beliefs.  The way the lecture proceeds, you become acutely aware he is consistently labeling those who hold your belief and viewpoint in contempt, by using a variety of negative adjectives. To make matters worse, everyone in the classroom is laughing and seems to be in total agreement with the professor.

Without any fear of losing their positions or being disciplined in any way, liberal professors are unconcerned about complaints or negative consequences. Whether they behave bullishly to scare some students into silence, or have persuasive personalities that quietly and systematically convince students their parent’s principles, philosophies, and values are incorrect, the result is the same: students are leaving with only one viewpoint on issues and thus are unprepared to listen or debate opposing opinions with an open mind.

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, at a commencement address at Harvard in May, sharply criticized liberal students, professors, and administrators across the country for their pattern of silencing the voices of those with whom they disagreed, accusing them of “censorship” and a modern-day form of McCarthyism. Bloomberg’s legitimate concern may have stemmed from the fact that 96% of the Harvard faculty and employees donated to Obama’s reelection campaign.  Certainly that large donation figure would seem to add proof to Bloomberg’s assertions.

Bias in education deserves more exposure

In what should have been a shocker, Emily Esfahani Smith, in a special to The Washington Times on Wednesday, August 1, 2012, wrote about a peer-reviewed study of political diversity in the field of social psychology.  Liberal professors admitted they would discriminate against conservatives in hiring and advancement.  According to Smith, the anti-conservative bias is real and pronounced.  It is not a respectable position to hold in universities where Republicans are maligned and publicly degraded if they listen to Rush Limbaugh or are Fox News enthusiasts. These certainly are explosive facts the public deserves to know, but few media sources expose.

The excerpts noted below are from the article Liberal Bias in Education: Campus, Classroom and College.  It offers more evidence of what is being taught in our classrooms of higher learning and additional proof that American citizens deserve to know the facts.

Bias in academia more often than not is liberal bias. Many professors and students admit to possessing liberal ideologies or Democratic voting tendencies. It is natural and right for liberal students and professors to freely express their liberal philosophies, but is it right for liberal professors to continually advance their ideas in the classroom while squelching all other opinions?  Certainly, the answer to that must be absolutely No.

Universities are the breeding grounds for a variety of ideas and thought processes. Students who attend American colleges and universities should be able to gain a well-rounded view of their country, its founding principles, and ideas – from all points on the political spectrum – that continue to shape and mold our future. Unfortunately, today’s colleges have drifted away from these ideals and become bastions of liberal thought and activism.

Consider Professor Smith, a professor at the University of North Carolina and a supporter of traditional marriage, whose conservative opinions make him an outcast in the academic community.  An online commenter not only called for the professor to resign, but went so far as to claim Smith was “the biggest embarrassment to higher education in America”.   Professor Smith responded to that criticism by describing the antics of liberal professors, official campus groups, and then invited campus speakers at other North Carolina institutes of higher learning, as noted below, so objective people could determine and judge what constitutes legitimate cause for embarrassment:

  • In the early spring semester of 2013, a women’s studies professor and a psychology professor at Western Carolina University co-sponsored a panel on bondage and S&M. The purpose of the panel was to teach college students how to inflict pain on themselves and others for sexual pleasure.
  • At UNC Chapel Hill, there is a feminist professor who believes that women can lead happy lives without men. That’s nothing new. But what is different is that she thinks women can form life-long domestic partnerships with dogs and that those relationships will actually be fulfilling enough to replace marital relationships with men.
  • A feminist administrator at UNC-Wilmington sponsored a pro-abortion event. During the event they sold tee shirts saying “I had an abortion” to students who … well, had abortions. Students were encouraged to boast about the fact that they had killed their own unborn infants.

If this is happening in North Carolina, what is happening throughout the university system in states like California, New York, Washington state, Illinois, etc., which are funded by tax paying citizens?  We know rape has become a major issue on college campuses throughout America.  An investigation indicated the number of reported sexual assaults on college campuses has increased by 50 percent over the last decade.  Liberals argue the increase is not linked to provocative classes in which students are given heavy doses of sexual information, such as details of how to best perform intimate sex acts.  Conservatives believe that casual approach to sensitive personal issues has created a general decline in morality, the proof of which is evidenced in the increased rate of rape.

Consider how many colleges, especially Ivy League schools, begin their school year with thousands of students experiencing what they call “Sex Week”.   That week includes everything from students going nude around the college campus to school sponsored sex classes that teach exceedingly personal sexual information.  Discussing sexual acts and behavior during college “Sex Week” may not be responsible for the rapes, but the increase does coincide with the blatant, permissive campus sexual atmosphere.   Do we really want our young adults to treat sex with the same casual behavior as they do deciding what to have for breakfast?  Sexual intimacy was once something so sacred, we encouraged our young people to reserve and share it with only one special person.  Today, colleges appear to have no respect for those standards or viewpoint, and thus neither do its students.

What has changed on the campuses that might encourage the extraordinary increase in rape? Administrators claim there is no significant increase, but that rape is just being more widely reported.   Really?  How would administrators ever know that if rapes went unreported?  Conservatives claim the initiating of a liberal sexual culture on college campuses is the one factor that coincides with the rape increase.  The subject deserves a bi-partisan investigation to determine if “Sex Week” is a factor.  Most college administrators believe drinking and drugs are a factor, largely seen at fraternity parties.  Some colleges have now banned fraternities from their campuses, which might help determine if excessive drinking has been a factor.   Unfortunately, the good students, those who are quite responsible and who do not even drink, end up being punished by the restrictions too.  It has been pointed out that there have always been frat parties and drinking, so why is rape suddenly happening?

There is a growing outcry from the public for colleges and universities that accept federal funding to prove there is no bias in their hiring practices.  Parents are demanding their children should be guaranteed a safe environment, not one that leaves coeds in fear of being raped.  The challenge is to convince our college administrators that the trend which ushered in significant increases in liberal professors, a monopoly of liberal classes, plus highly charged events, such as “Sex Week”, may not be benefiting the students, but instead harming them.

Schools are not meant to entertain, they are to challenge students, and thus create responsible citizens prepared for their future.  That is best accomplished when students are given all sides of issues without any bias, and thus allowed to be critical thinkers who act and think responsibly not just in college, but in their careers, marriage, and parenting skills throughout their lives.

Part Two will explore why are colleges and universities are dominated by Liberals.

Categories: On the Blog

Is Your Child Being Manipulated by Lefty Professors?

Somewhat Reasonable - December 05, 2014, 12:20 PM

What has happened to universities and colleges, school that once identified themselves as sanctuaries for free speech, tolerance, and diversity? Why did they abandon that excellent goal as an open market place for thought and ideas, to become instead institutions of indoctrination to a specific political viewpoint?

It is an understatement to say that there is a lack of political diversity within our nation’s schools of higher learning, when every survey indicates self-proclaimed liberal professors significantly dominate our colleges and universities. Democrat Neil Gross, a professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia, investigated this issue and agreed that Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 4 to 1 among professors; by at least 6 to 1 at elite universities; and by still higher ratios in departments of the humanities and social sciences.

Those facts alone should be troublesome at several levels. It is an indication that hiring practices could be favoring a specific mindset, possibly for the purpose of achieving a specific desired result. Professors have enormous power over their students, which enables them to persuade vulnerable students to accept their political and social opinions. The important question is whether professors actually take advantage of their position of power to do so?

They absolutely do take advantage, according to the testimony of college students and a study on the subject by David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin who recently investigated the issue.  By scrutinizing course catalogs, reading lists, professors’ biographies, scholar records, and most of all testimonies of students and faculty, they found violations of academic standards and systematic indoctrination, some of which could be considered not just liberal, but liberal to the degree of being classified as politically radical.

Those of us who did not experience college classrooms as indoctrination centers wonder how and/or why this liberal dominance was allowed to take place?  The fact professors are given great latitude in what and how they teach, makes the inequality troubling.   Professors are not required to create a fair and balanced classroom of ideas, nor is there evidence of repercussions when proof of obvious indoctrination has occurred. Professors not only have tenure, but deans, presidents, and faculty are often sympathetic, if not in lock-step, with the professors’ liberal views and agenda. attention is paid to how a one-sided indoctrination is harming students’ scope of knowledge, understanding, and success when they leave classrooms for the real world. Imagine that you are a freshman at college, eager to learn and devoted to making top grades, when your beloved professor begins to lecture on a hot, divisive political topic. You discover that your professor is taking a position that is very much opposed to your personal beliefs.  The way the lecture proceeds, you become acutely aware he is consistently labeling those who hold your belief and viewpoint in contempt, by using a variety of negative adjectives. To make matters worse, everyone in the classroom is laughing and seems to be in total agreement with the professor.

Without any fear of losing their positions or being disciplined in any way, liberal professors are unconcerned about complaints or negative consequences. Whether they behave bullishly to scare some students into silence, or have persuasive personalities that quietly and systematically convince students their parent’s principles, philosophies, and values are incorrect, the result is the same: students are leaving with only one viewpoint on issues and thus are unprepared to listen or debate opposing opinions with an open mind.

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, at a commencement address at Harvard in May, sharply criticized liberal students, professors, and administrators across the country for their pattern of silencing the voices of those with whom they disagreed, accusing them of “censorship” and a modern-day form of McCarthyism. Bloomberg’s legitimate concern may have stemmed from the fact that 96% of the Harvard faculty and employees donated to Obama’s reelection campaign.  Certainly that large donation figure would seem to add proof to Bloomberg’s assertions.

Bias in education deserves more exposure

In what should have been a shocker, Emily Esfahani Smith, in a special to The Washington Times on Wednesday, August 1, 2012, wrote about a peer-reviewed study of political diversity in the field of social psychology.  Liberal professors admitted they would discriminate against conservatives in hiring and advancement.  According to Smith, the anti-conservative bias is real and pronounced.  It is not a respectable position to hold in universities where Republicans are maligned and publicly degraded if they listen to Rush Limbaugh or are Fox News enthusiasts. These certainly are explosive facts the public deserves to know, but few media sources expose.

The excerpts noted below are from the article Liberal Bias in Education: Campus, Classroom and College.  It offers more evidence of what is being taught in our classrooms of higher learning and additional proof that American citizens deserve to know the facts.

Bias in academia more often than not is liberal bias. Many professors and students admit to possessing liberal ideologies or Democratic voting tendencies. It is natural and right for liberal students and professors to freely express their liberal philosophies, but is it right for liberal professors to continually advance their ideas in the classroom while squelching all other opinions?  Certainly, the answer to that must be absolutely No.

Universities are the breeding grounds for a variety of ideas and thought processes. Students who attend American colleges and universities should be able to gain a well-rounded view of their country, its founding principles, and ideas – from all points on the political spectrum – that continue to shape and mold our future. Unfortunately, today’s colleges have drifted away from these ideals and become bastions of liberal thought and activism.

Consider Professor Smith, a professor at the University of North Carolina and a supporter of traditional marriage, whose conservative opinions make him an outcast in the academic community.  An online commenter not only called for the professor to resign, but went so far as to claim Smith was “the biggest embarrassment to higher education in America”.   Professor Smith responded to that criticism by describing the antics of liberal professors, official campus groups, and then invited campus speakers at other North Carolina institutes of higher learning, as noted below, so objective people could determine and judge what constitutes legitimate cause for embarrassment:

  • In the early spring semester of 2013, a women’s studies professor and a psychology professor at Western Carolina University co-sponsored a panel on bondage and S&M. The purpose of the panel was to teach college students how to inflict pain on themselves and others for sexual pleasure.
  • At UNC Chapel Hill, there is a feminist professor who believes that women can lead happy lives without men. That’s nothing new. But what is different is that she thinks women can form life-long domestic partnerships with dogs and that those relationships will actually be fulfilling enough to replace marital relationships with men.
  • A feminist administrator at UNC-Wilmington sponsored a pro-abortion event. During the event they sold tee shirts saying “I had an abortion” to students who … well, had abortions. Students were encouraged to boast about the fact that they had killed their own unborn infants.

If this is happening in North Carolina, what is happening throughout the university system in states like California, New York, Washington state, Illinois, etc., which are funded by tax paying citizens?  We know rape has become a major issue on college campuses throughout America.  An investigation indicated the number of reported sexual assaults on college campuses has increased by 50 percent over the last decade.  Liberals argue the increase is not linked to provocative classes in which students are given heavy doses of sexual information, such as details of how to best perform intimate sex acts.  Conservatives believe that casual approach to sensitive personal issues has created a general decline in morality, the proof of which is evidenced in the increased rate of rape.

Consider how many colleges, especially Ivy League schools, begin their school year with thousands of students experiencing what they call “Sex Week”.   That week includes everything from students going nude around the college campus to school sponsored sex classes that teach exceedingly personal sexual information.  Discussing sexual acts and behavior during college “Sex Week” may not be responsible for the rapes, but the increase does coincide with the blatant, permissive campus sexual atmosphere.   Do we really want our young adults to treat sex with the same casual behavior as they do deciding what to have for breakfast?  Sexual intimacy was once something so sacred, we encouraged our young people to reserve and share it with only one special person.  Today, colleges appear to have no respect for those standards or viewpoint, and thus neither do its students.

What has changed on the campuses that might encourage the extraordinary increase in rape? Administrators claim there is no significant increase, but that rape is just being more widely reported.   Really?  How would administrators ever know that if rapes went unreported?  Conservatives claim the initiating of a liberal sexual culture on college campuses is the one factor that coincides with the rape increase.  The subject deserves a bi-partisan investigation to determine if “Sex Week” is a factor.  Most college administrators believe drinking and drugs are a factor, largely seen at fraternity parties.  Some colleges have now banned fraternities from their campuses, which might help determine if excessive drinking has been a factor.   Unfortunately, the good students, those who are quite responsible and who do not even drink, end up being punished by the restrictions too.  It has been pointed out that there have always been frat parties and drinking, so why is rape suddenly happening?

There is a growing outcry from the public for colleges and universities that accept federal funding to prove there is no bias in their hiring practices.  Parents are demanding their children should be guaranteed a safe environment, not one that leaves coeds in fear of being raped.  The challenge is to convince our college administrators that the trend which ushered in significant increases in liberal professors, a monopoly of liberal classes, plus highly charged events, such as “Sex Week”, may not be benefiting the students, but instead harming them.

Schools are not meant to entertain, they are to challenge students, and thus create responsible citizens prepared for their future.  That is best accomplished when students are given all sides of issues without any bias, and thus allowed to be critical thinkers who act and think responsibly not just in college, but in their careers, marriage, and parenting skills throughout their lives.

Part Two will explore why are colleges and universities are dominated by Liberals.

 

[This appeared first at Illinois Review]
Categories: On the Blog

Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus, and 2014 Is Not the Warmest Year on Record

Somewhat Reasonable - December 05, 2014, 12:04 PM

On December 2, 2014, Dr. Roy Spencer posted on the Internet University of Alabama-Huntsville satellite global temperature data for November 2014 of 0.33 degree Centigrade.  This temperature is not the warmest in recorded history because November 2011 was 0.39 degrees.  These temperatures are departures from 1981 to 2010 30-year average temperatures.

Within days press releases will be published across the world stating November 2014 and the year 2014 are the warmest in recorded history.  Recorded global temperature history is really only from about 1880 to present.

Seth Borenstein with the Associated Press seems to be a contact by NOAA or NASA for announcing alarming temperature data.  This is part of the Obama Administration’s policies to promote record global warming as justification for eliminating use of coal and reduce use of oil and natural gas as energy sources.

Data from NOAA and NASA is from land-based temperature stations subject to inflated temperatures due to their locations in large metropolitan areas across the world.  Temperatures rise in metropolitan areas as they grow and add more concrete and asphalt that absorb heat.  This is called the Urban Heat Island Effect which is a human-caused local global warming.  Satellite data is not subject to these distortions.

For the eleven months of 2014, satellite data shows the global average temperature is 0.27 degrees.  The years 1998 and 2010 had warmer eleven months with temperatures of 0.44.  Even if summer occurred in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres for December 2014, the year 2014 will not be warmer than the years 1998 and 2010.

The recently posted satellite data shows a graph of global temperatures from December 1978 to the present.  This graph shows a pause in global warming since the 1998 high point in global temperatures due to a supper El Nino event.   In keeping with the Holidays it can be said,  “Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus, and there is no global warming.”

Categories: On the Blog

YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS AND 2014 IS NOT THE WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD

Somewhat Reasonable - December 05, 2014, 10:56 AM

December 2, 2014, Dr. Roy Spencer posted on the Internet University of Alabama-Huntsville satellite global temperature data for November 2014 of 0.33 degree Centigrade.  This temperature is not the warmest in recorded history because November 2011 was 0.39 degrees.  These temperatures are departures from 1981 to 2010 30-year average temperatures.

Within days press releases will be published across the world stating November 2014 and the year 2014 are the warmest in recorded history.  Recorded global temperature history is really only from about 1880 to present.

Seth Borenstein with the Associated Press seems to be a contact by NOAA or NASA for announcing alarming temperature data.  This is part of the Obama Administration’s policies to promote record global warming as justification for eliminating use of coal and reduce use of oil and natural gas as energy sources.

Data from NOAA and NASA is from land-based temperature stations subject to inflated temperatures due to their locations in large metropolitan areas across the world.  Temperatures rise in metropolitan areas as they grow and add more concrete and asphalt that absorb heat.  This is called the Urban Heat Island Effect which is a human-caused local global warming.  Satellite data is not subject to these distortions.

For the eleven months of 2014, satellite data shows the global average temperature is 0.27 degrees.  The years 1998 and 2010 had warmer eleven months with temperatures of 0.44.  Even if summer occurred in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres for December 2014, the year 2014 will not be warmer than the years 1998 and 2010.

The recently posted satellite data shows a graph of global temperatures from December 1978 to the present.  This graph shows a pause in global warming since the 1998 high point in global temperatures due to a super El Nino event.   In keeping with the Holidays it can be said,  “Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus, and there is no global warming.”

Categories: On the Blog

The Only Legitimate FCC Hybrid Net Neutrality Approach

Somewhat Reasonable - December 03, 2014, 3:10 PM

Any legitimacy the FCC has comes from the authority of law written by a duly-elected Congress under the U.S. Constitution.

Twice the FCC has tried to mandate new net neutrality regulations on its own and twice the U.S. Court of Appeals has overturned the FCC rules as illegitimate because they were not grounded in statute.

Rather than asking Congress for net neutrality authority in a new law, the FCC is in the process of trying to conjure up new “authority” again by itself, this time by creating a new “hybrid” mix of 1996 law (Section 706) and 1934 law (Title II telephone utility rate regulation.)

In the FCC’s second net neutrality defeat in Verizon v. FCC, the court mercifully suggested a roadmap for the FCC to legally justify much of the FCC’s desired rules under its 1996 Section 706 authority, but not its most coercive rules designed to effectively ban a two-sided free market via setting a permanent zero-price for downstream Internet traffic.

In May, FCC Chairman Wheeler very wisely took the Court up on its advice and proposed an FCC Section 706 approach that would allow the FCC to gain legal legitimacy for roughly 80 percent of what it originally proposed in 2010.

Unfortunately since then, there has been extreme political pressure on the FCC to impose unnecessary and unwarranted Title II utility regulations on the Internet.

Now the FCC appears to be on path to risk losing the 80 percent “bird in the hand” (i.e. legitimate net neutrality rules based on 1996’s Section 706) in grasping for the “two birds in the bush,” (i.e. illegitimate 1934’s antiquated Title II utility law that predates the Internet by sixty years).

Will the FCC learn from experience?

In trying to re-impose price controls that the court found the FCC did not have the legitimate authority to impose in the first place, the FCC is considering basically re-doing what it did the last two times it failed in court, i.e. re-proposing yet a new “hybrid” of combined FCC authorities, in a new hybrid mix of re-packaging, to see if they can get a different appeals court panel to swallow the FCC’s third hybrid cocktail.

The only legitimate FCC “hybrid” net neutrality approach is for the FCC to respect the legitimate legal path the U.S. Court of Appeals effectively advised the agency to follow, combined with an official request to Congress for the new legal authority the FCC believes it requires to regulate effectively in the 21st century.

If the FCC seeks lasting 21st century legitimacy, attempting to apply the most coercive and destructive possible industry regulation without clear legal authority or the support of a majority of Congress won’t get them there.

If the FCC seeks the legitimacy of industry respect for the agency’s authority going forward, the FCC should respect the rule of law, court precedents, and Congress’ authority.

If the FCC seeks legitimate net neutrality rules that no one will seek to game or circumvent, then the FCC should lead by example and not game or circumvent legal and congressional processes to justify a regulatory outcome not based in the statute.

In short, as Congress undergoes a comprehensive update of America’s communications law and the FCC’s authority for the 21st century, the open question is: will the FCC choose the only legitimate “hybrid” net neutrality approach, i.e. following the court’s clear Section 706 guidance combined with an official request for new authority from Congress?

[Originally published at Daily Caller]

 

Categories: On the Blog

Hayek’s Warning: The Social Engineer’s Pretense of Knowledge

Somewhat Reasonable - December 03, 2014, 2:48 PM

Forty years ago, on December 11, 1974, Austrian economist, Friedrich A. Hayek, formally received that year’s Nobel Prize in Economics at the official ceremonies in Stockholm, Sweden. He delivered a lecture called, “The Pretense of Knowledge,” which forcefully challenged all those who believe that government has the wisdom or ability to successfully plan the economic affairs of society.

His primary target were the Keynesian economists at that time who were confident that they could micro-manage the “macro-economy” to assure full employment, economic growth and market stability. His more general antagonists were all those social engineers who wished to redesign and regulate society through the coercive agency of government.

Hayek’s Role in Fighting Keynesianism and Socialism

Hayek was awarded the Nobel Prize that year for his contributions over many decades to the understanding of inflations and depressions, and his writings on the nature and workings of society as a “spontaneous order” of evolution and development independent of political control and manipulation.

Born in 1899, Hayek had graduated from the University of Vienna in the early 1920s where he absorbed the ideas of the “Austrian School of Economics.” This was especially due to the intellectual influence of one of the leading Austrian economists of the 20thcentury, Ludwig von Mises, who served as an inspiring mentor for many of Hayek’s later works as an economist and social philosopher.

In the 1930s, while teaching at the London School of Economics, Hayek was considered the leading challenger to the ideas of John Maynard Keynes, whose 1936 book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, soon became the “bible” of the emerging “Keynesian Revolution” in economic theory and policy.

He also was one of the most prominent opponents of those advocating the transformation of market societies into socialist centrally planned economies. Along with Mises, he demonstrated many of the inherent weaknesses in the socialist scheme, which if fully implemented could lead to both political tyranny and economic stagnation.

The Division of Knowledge in Society

A central feature to all of Hayek’s mature conception of the nature of man and society and the workings of the market order was the important insight that matching the system of division of labor is an inescapable and inseparable division of knowledge.

It is not merely that one person is the butcher, another the baker, and still one more the candlestick maker, all of whom know various things in the production of a good that the others do not.

It is that there are different types and kinds of knowledge that each of us comes to possess that is uniquely our own and which others can never fully know and appreciate the way we each individually do in our respective corners of society.

The Different Types of Knowledge in Society

Firstly, there is what Hayek called “scientific knowledge” that is formally learned through the educational process. This is the kind of special knowledge that the lawyer or the medical doctor or the financial accountant acquires through his years of academic study at institutions of high learning.

This is a knowledge that in principle anyone of us could acquire if we devoted the time, effort and discipline to obtain it through the educational process. Clearly, since each of us has only limited time and interest to give to mastering these kinds of knowledge we rely upon the “purchase” of them through market exchange, as when we hire the lawyer to handle a legal problem for us or employ the trained physician to diagnose and cure a physical ailment.

Secondly, Hayek argued, there is “the knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place.” There are many aspects and elements of useful knowledge that are not learned in the formal educational process without which much in everyday life could not be successfully performed if we did not learn them “on the job,” if you will.

For instance, a student graduates from high school or college and starts their entry-level job, and on the first day the “big boss” instructs them to make 30 copies of a company report for a meeting being held later in the day among the firm’s executives.

The “new kid” locates the photocopy machine, but when he punches in the number of needed copies and presses the “start” button nothing happens. Frustrated, he turns to one of the long-serving employees for help, who comes over and suddenly kicks the photocopy machine on the side, and the copies start coming out.

There is nothing in that young person’s formal education that would have taught him that in that that particular firm, at this particular time there was a “glitch” in the photocopy machine wiring that could be taken care of with a good kick until the repairman arrives to fix it.

This may seem like trivial and “mundane” knowledge, but it is this kind of knowledge that is often essential to know to assure that everyday activities can be kept going.

This young person someday moves up in the company and is now a manager, himself. One of his staff members, “Joe,” calls in sick, being down with a bad flu. Who among the rest of the remaining staff can fill in to do “Joe’s” job until he is well enough to get back to work?

Or if a supplier fails to deliver a shipment of component parts on time, which alternative wholesale supplier can be called on to make an “emergency” delivery of needed parts, or what in the backroom inventory can be used as an acceptable substitute part so the production line does not have to be stopped when orders to customers have to be fulfilled on time? The manager needs to know the answer to these and many similar kinds of problems, which has little or nothing to do with the formal education he acquired years earlier.

The Importance of Tacit Knowledge

Finally, Hayek emphasized the significance of “tacit” or “inarticulate knowledge,” a concept that he adopted from the philosopher of science, Michael Polanyi. This refers to the great amount of knowledge that each of us possesses to do much of the everyday things of life, but which we would find difficult to articulate and express in clear detail in any spoken or written form.

Your car is giving you problems, so you take it into the local mechanic. He has you turn on the engine, and listens under the hood. The mechanic tells you to come back in a couple of hours and he’ll have it fixed. When you ask what the problem is, he gives you a general answer, and says he’s been working on cars like this for years and he can just tell what the problem is from the sound of the running engine.

It matters little, in fact, if the mechanic can explain in verbal detail the nature of the problem with the engine; for most of us, all that really matters is that he can fix it, and that he can bring to bear his personal knowledge that he just cannot easily put into words, not only not to us but maybe even to himself.

Another instance is the successful businessman who knows how to “read” the market in terms of future consumer demand for his product concerning the qualities demanders might want in the good and the price they might be willing to pay, or a “sense” of what competitive plans his rivals might be weighing to gain more of the consumer business in his sector of the market and to which he’ll have to respond.

These, too, are forms of knowledge that the entrepreneur will have accumulated from his everyday experience as a result of interacting with his customers on the “demand-side” and his competitors on the “supply-side” of the market. But this businessman may not be able to explicitly articulate how he “reads” the uncertain possible shape-of-things-to-come in the marketplace upon which his profits and consumer satisfaction will be based.

But, nonetheless, it is upon the use and effective application of these types of knowledge in different ways and combinations in the minds of the respective multitudes of participants in society that assures that supplies tend to match market demands, and that what gets produced is pretty much what turns out to be what consumers want and at prices that they are willing to pay.

More Knowledge than the Social Engineer Can Know

Hayek’s central point in his Nobel lecture on “The Pretense of Knowledge” was to argue that too many in the intellectual world of ideas and in the arenas of government policy decision-making arrogantly believe that they can know enough to centrally plan or heavily regulate the diverse and ever-changing activities of all the people in a developed, complex social system.

It is theoretically and factually impossible for one or a handful of minds, no matter how intelligent and “wise” they may be, to master all of these multi-layered and interconnected different types of knowledge that only resides as dispersed and decentralized bits of information in the minds of the individual members of society.

What is worse, Hayek emphasized, the social engineers and their government policy partners choose to ignore the reality of these multiple types of knowledge and their essentially qualitative characteristics that cannot easily or at all be reduced to measurable and quantitative dimensions.

Instead, the social engineers and policy-makers focus on what they can measure and manipulate for policy purposes: statistical averages and aggregates such as calculated “total output” or “aggregate employment” or general price and wage “levels” for the economy as a whole.

They then proceed to postulate “empirical relationships” between levels of “aggregate demand” spending on all goods and services in the market as a whole with “total employment” of all workers combined in the statistical estimate of the “workforce.”

The Fallacy of Macroeconomic Aggregates

Hayek’s point was that this is analogous to the man who looked at night only under the lamppost for his missing keys because that is where the light was. Only able to manageably collect and statistically analyze such measured quantitative aggregates, the social engineers and government policy-makers have limited their conception of how and why the market economy works the way it does to what they can quantitatively measure and statistically calculate in making their policy and planning decisions.

But looking only or primarily at this macro-aggregate statistical surface of things, results in the reality of all that is going on “below” this statistical macroeconomic surface from being fully understood and appreciated.

The real factors determining what and how much of all the goods produced on the market or which types and how much of employments are available in different sectors of the economy are made up of all the individual decisions by all the participants in the market system, each using his own special and particular combinations of knowledge as he thinks best.

Market Prices Coordinate the Knowledge in Society

What connects and coordinates all of these multitudes of individual decisions and actions is the competitive market price system. The price system combines and integrates all the knowledge of all the people participating in the world of exchange as expressed in peoples’ willingness and interest in buying as consumers and their willingness and ability as suppliers to produce all the goods and services that make up the production and employment opportunities of society.

The market system, therefore, incorporates the actions of more people and their individual bits of knowledge in all their detailed complexity than any planner or regulator could ever successfully master, and which can never be captured in all their intricacy in the simplistic macroeconomic statistical aggregates.

Hayek insisted that what resulted from this macroeconomic approach was not merely a serious intellectual error, but a government policy perspective that created most if not all the imbalances, distortions and fluctuations in employment and output that goes under the name of the business cycle.

False Market Signals and the Misdirection of Production

As Hayek explained in “The Pretense of Knowledge”:

“In fact, in the case discussed, the  measures which the dominant ‘macroeconomic’ theory has recommended as a remedy for unemployment — namely, the increase of aggregate demand — have become a cause of a very extensive misallocation of resources which is likely to make later large-scale unemployment inevitable.

“The continuous injection of additional amounts of money at points of the economic system where it creates a temporary demand which must cease when the increase of the quantity of money stops or slows down, together with the expectation of a continuing rise of prices, draws labor and other resources into employments which can last only so long as the increase of the quantity of money continues at the same rate — or perhaps even only so long as it continues to accelerate at a given rate.

“What this policy has produced is not so much a level of employment that could not have been brought about in other ways, as a distribution of employment which cannot be indefinitely maintained and which after some time can be maintained only by a rate of inflation which would rapidly lead to a disorganization of all economic activity.

“The fact is that by a mistaken theoretical view we have been led into a precarious position in which we cannot prevent substantial unemployment from reappearing; not because, as this view is sometimes misrepresented, this unemployment is deliberately brought about as a means to combat inflation, but because it is now bound to occur as a deeply regrettable but inescapable consequence of the mistaken policies of the past as soon as inflation ceases to accelerate.”

The Wider Social Danger from the Pretense of Knowledge

The wider lesson, Hayek also highlighted, was that this false approach of the social engineers and government policy-makers threatened not only the continuing instabilities of inflations and recessions, but the very sustainability of a functioning and prospering free society.

Thus, Hayek concluded his Nobel lecture with this warning:

“If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails [such as in the modern market economy], he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible . . .

“The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society — a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.”

Forty years after Friedrich A. Hayek spoke these words and twenty-two years since his death in 1992, society continues to be plagued with those suffering from this pretense of knowledge.

 

[Originally published at EpicTimes]

Categories: On the Blog

It’s Time for Tough Love on Tax Credits for the Mature Wind Industry

Somewhat Reasonable - December 03, 2014, 12:54 PM

A pending vote on a tax-extenders package—that would have a slim chance of passage in the new Congress—will reveal whether or not Congress learned anything from the 2014 midterms.

Throughout 2014, since the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for the wind energy industry expired on December 31, 2013, lobbyists from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) have pushed Congress to vote to retroactively revive the PTC. The lame duck session provides their last opportunity.

The PTC provides one of the best examples of the worst kind of taxpayer waste being considered in a tax-extenders deal. The largest benefactors of the credit (underwritten by U.S. taxpayers) are wind energy turbine manufacturers like General Electric (which purchased Enron’s wind turbine business in 2002), and investors like Warren Buffet, who, without apology, recently admitted: “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

The U.S. wind energy business started as a gleam in Enron’s eye, enjoyed an entitled childhood at taxpayer expense, and, by now, should have blossomed into an adult. Instead, now, at the tail end of this Congressional session, the industry—by way of AWEA lobbyists—has its hand out for a ninth round of “free” taxpayer money.

For this lame duck Congress, AWEA’s panhandling seems like a grown child returning home for financial support—“just one more time.”  Congress must now realize the inevitable:  sometimes seeing our dependents grow up to be independent requires tough love and a line in the sand.

When the PTC was conceived in 1992, America’s energy paradigm differed totally from today. At that time Americans had a constant concern: growing imports of foreign oil from the Middle East left us vulnerable to global market forces that were driving prices. We inherently knew then, as now, low-cost abundant energy is essential to America’s leadership on the global stage. Wind was touted as one of the answers. Despite the fact that wind produces electricity (albeit inefficiently, ineffectively, uneconomically), and electricity has nothing to do with foreign oil, Washington, throwing caution to the wind, embraced it.

The Energy Policy Act (H.R.775.ENR, or “EPACT92”) was signed into law in 1992 and quickly created the wind industry. Unfortunately, EPACT92 was long on hope, but short on encouraging the habits necessary for self-sufficiency. No one should be surprised that the industry’s immaturity has persisted for more than twenty years.

The wind PTC has been the industry’s biggest single source—though unearned—of support. Each new wind energy complex earns the tax credits for a full ten years. The machines only last an estimated twenty years—though the White House has authorized thirty-year bird-kill permits that allow, without punishment, protected bald and golden eagles to be chopped up mid-flight. The two-point-three-cent-per kWh bonus has a pre-tax value as high as three-and-a-half cents—which creates a big benefit to billionaires like Buffett.

Wholesale market revenues and the wind PTC make up only about 2/3 of total proceeds flowing to wind development owners. The other third comes from the value of additional federal subsidies combined with the financial incentives inherent in state-level tax breaks and mandates. In the end, wind investor proceeds depend on roughly 1/3 sales revenue and 2/3 handouts.

AWEA continues to claim its costs are falling and “almost competitive,” but fails to answer the most important question: competitive with what? Last week a New York Times (NYT) headline proclaimed: “Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels,” yet, within the text, the article states: “Those prices were made possible by generous subsidies that could soon diminish or expire.” Just days before the NYT piece was published, two of America’s brightest minds admitted, that after four years of trying to prove that it was possible “to produce a gigawatt of renewable power more cheaply than a coal-fired plant,” renewable energy simply “won’t work.”

The wind PR machine never brings up dependability and responsiveness to demand—attributes its fuel cannot, by definition, ever deliver. Without the ability to convert wind currents into electricity at all the right times, wind energy facilities cannot replace the existing dependable power plants that keep our lights on. Wind’s fuel may be free, but having to build and maintain two sets of power plants instead of one costs far more than wind’s fuel-cost advantage can save.

Hopefully, with twenty-plus years of history, our leaders recognize their poor parenting practices that best prepared their “offspring” to persuasively argue for perpetual access to money they didn’t earn. Voters should ask: can this lame duck Congress find the courage to finally stop enabling the wind industry and force it to grow up? Congress must say to them: “We’ve been supporting you for 22 years. Enough is enough!”

In the face of intense, last-ditch lobbying by AWEA, Congress needs help breaking its bad habits. But tough love is hard. To do the right thing, Congress needs encouragement from voters. Pick up the phone today and tell your representatives: “Our nation’s affordable electricity should not be used by Congress as a bargaining chip in a tax-extenders package for special interests. After 22 years of government support, it is time for the wind industry to grow up. The now-expired wind PTC needs to be buried once and for all.”

Categories: On the Blog

It’s Time for Tough Love on Tax Credits for the Mature Wind Industry

Somewhat Reasonable - December 03, 2014, 9:26 AM

A pending vote on a tax-extenders package—that would have a slim chance of passage in the new Congress—will reveal whether or not Congress learned anything from the 2014 midterms.

Throughout 2014, since the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for the wind energy industry expired on December 31, 2013, lobbyists from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) have pushed Congress to vote to retroactively revive the PTC. The lame duck session provides their last opportunity.

The PTC provides one of the best examples of the worst kind of taxpayer waste being considered in a tax-extenders deal. The largest benefactors of the credit (underwritten by U.S. taxpayers) are wind energy turbine manufacturers like General Electric (which purchased Enron’s wind turbine business in 2002), and investors like Warren Buffet, who, without apology, recently admitted: “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

The U.S. wind energy business started as a gleam in Enron’s eye, enjoyed an entitled childhood at taxpayer expense, and, by now, should have blossomed into an adult. Instead, now, at the tail end of this Congressional session, the industry—by way of AWEA lobbyists—has its hand out for a ninth round of “free” taxpayer money.

For this lame duck Congress, AWEA’s panhandling seems like a grown child returning home for financial support—“just one more time.”  Congress must now realize the inevitable:  sometimes seeing our dependents grow up to be independent requires tough love and a line in the sand.

When the PTC was conceived in 1992, America’s energy paradigm differed totally from today. At that time Americans had a constant concern: growing imports of foreign oil from the Middle East left us vulnerable to global market forces that were driving prices. We inherently knew then, as now, low-cost abundant energy is essential to America’s leadership on the global stage. Wind was touted as one of the answers. Despite the fact that wind produces electricity (albeit inefficiently, ineffectively, uneconomically), and electricity has nothing to do with foreign oil, Washington, throwing caution to the wind, embraced it.

The Energy Policy Act (H.R.775.ENR, or “EPACT92”) was signed into law in 1992 and quickly created the wind industry. Unfortunately, EPACT92 was long on hope, but short on encouraging the habits necessary for self-sufficiency. No one should be surprised that the industry’s immaturity has persisted for more than twenty years.

The wind PTC has been the industry’s biggest single source—though unearned—of support. Each new wind energy complex earns the tax credits for a full ten years. The machines only last an estimated twenty years—though the White House has authorized thirty-year bird-kill permits that allow, without punishment, protected bald and golden eagles to be chopped up mid-flight. The two-point-three-cent-per kWh bonus has a pre-tax value as high as three-and-a-half cents—which creates a big benefit to billionaires like Buffett.

Wholesale market revenues and the wind PTC make up only about 2/3 of total proceeds flowing to wind development owners. The other third comes from the value of additional federal subsidies combined with the financial incentives inherent in state-level tax breaks and mandates. In the end, wind investor proceeds depend on roughly 1/3 sales revenue and 2/3 handouts.

AWEA continues to claim its costs are falling and “almost competitive,” but fails to answer the most important question: competitive with what? Last week a New York Times (NYT) headline proclaimed: “Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels,” yet, within the text, the article states: “Those prices were made possible by generous subsidies that could soon diminish or expire.” Just days before the NYT piece was published, two of America’s brightest minds admitted, that after four years of trying to prove that it was possible “to produce a gigawatt of renewable power more cheaply than a coal-fired plant,” renewable energy simply “won’t work.”

The wind PR machine never brings up dependability and responsiveness to demand—attributes its fuel cannot, by definition, ever deliver. Without the ability to convert wind currents into electricity at all the right times, wind energy facilities cannot replace the existing dependable power plants that keep our lights on. Wind’s fuel may be free, but having to build and maintain two sets of power plants instead of one costs far more than wind’s fuel-cost advantage can save.

Hopefully, with twenty-plus years of history, our leaders recognize their poor parenting practices that best prepared their “offspring” to persuasively argue for perpetual access to money they didn’t earn. Voters should ask: can this lame duck Congress find the courage to finally stop enabling the wind industry and force it to grow up? Congress must say to them: “We’ve been supporting you for 22 years. Enough is enough!”

In the face of intense, last-ditch lobbying by AWEA, Congress needs help breaking its bad habits. But tough love is hard. To do the right thing, Congress needs encouragement from voters. Pick up the phone today and tell your representatives: “Our nation’s affordable electricity should not be used by Congress as a bargaining chip in a tax-extenders package for special interests. After 22 years of government support, it is time for the wind industry to grow up. The now-expired wind PTC needs to be buried once and for all.”

Author’s note: Thanks to Tom Stacy for research assistance.

[A version of this content was originally published at Breitbart.com]

Categories: On the Blog

Tell Congress, “End Wind Energy Tax Giveaways Now”

Somewhat Reasonable - December 02, 2014, 4:29 PM

There is a good chance that the Lame Duck Congress could vote as early as Wednesday, December 4, on extending huge taxpayer subsidies for Big Wind energy companies for another three, five or more years.

Citizens concerned about high-cost electricity, skyrocketing government debt, and massive giveaways of hard-earned tax dollars to crony corporations should call or email their senators and their congressman – and explain why these subsidies should end now.

The wind energy “production tax credit” is a bad idea that should have been terminated years ago. That the PTC is still around, decades after this “temporary” subsidy was enacted decades ago, is absurd. That it could be extended by legislators who were just thrown out of office is intolerable.

Even a six-month wind PTC extension is too much. But a three-year or five-year extension – retroactive for this past year and followed by a multi-year “phase-out” – is insanity personified.

You think it can’t happen? Think again.

The American Wind Energy Association just sent a letter to Congress, insisting that the PTC be extended in the name of “clean energy,” jobs and the environment – and signed by 450 rent-seeking companies and environmental pressure groups that live off our taxpayer and consumer dollars.

Make your voices heard. Here are some important points that you can make.

Because its electricity is so expensive, wind energy kills two to four jobs for every job it creates. Wind turbines kill millions of birds and bats every year – while the industry, environmentalists and politicians ignore the slaughter, bury the evidence and let scavengers take the carcasses away without counting them.

From Tim Philips, president of Americans for Prosperity, in the December 2 Wall Street Journal:

The PTC gives wind energy producers 2.3-cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced for ten years. But it expired in 2013. So now wind energy lobbyists are asking Congress to renew the subsidy.

Over the past seven years, the PTC has cost taxpayers $7.3 billion. It is expected to pay out $2.4 billion more in 2015 alone. Combined with other subsidies and programs, it gave wind energy companies $56.29 in government subsides per megawatt-hour in 2010, according to an Institute for Energy Research report. Compare that to 64 cents per MWH subsidies for natural gas and $3.14 for nuclear power.

Instead of paying wind producers based on how much of their electricity is used, the PTC pays them based on how much electricity they generate– even if no one needs the electricity when it is generated, and even if they aren’t producing any electricity at all when it is needed the most.

Former Oklahoma Republican congressman Ernest Istook, in the November 20 Washington Times:

Every gambler must know his limits – when to stop making bets and walk away from the table. Uncle Sam needs to quit making bets on wind energy and save us all about $10 billion a year. Let the industry rise, fall or spin its rotors based on its own merits, without the crony capitalism government giveaways.

Ending the wind PTC will save money for consumers. We pay three times, because wind energy raises electricity rates, on top of what we pay infederal subsidies and in state subsidies.

Wind energy handouts have been a 22-year gamble. The tax credits are always labeled “temporary,” but they have been renewed by Congress eight times so far. Each short-term extension just gives supporters the incentive to push for another one.

Wind advocates are addicted to subsidies, just like addicted gamblers, craving one more lottery ticket, one more deal of the cards, one more throw of the dice, one more spin of the wheel. None will produce a sudden bonanza, because the root of the problem doesn’t change: Wind is free but the machinery to harvest it is expensive, raising costs far above other, more affordable ways to generate electricity.

The only windfall is for the wind farms. They are the only guaranteed winners, just as “the house” always wins in a casino or a lottery.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wind power. What is inherently wrong is compelling people to use the highest-cost energy. It would be equally wrong to force you to order the highest-priced meal at a restaurant, purchase the most expensive shoes, or buy gasoline at whatever outlet charges the most.

U.S. Energy Information Administration data show that electricity prices in wind-using states are skyrocketing at four times the national average. Nine of the eleven largest wind-power states are suffering – witness the 33% increase in electricity rates in Wyoming and the 26% increase in South Dakota.

In other places, rate increases are briefly delayed or hidden by state subsidies. Oklahoma’s 1,700 windmills haven’t yet increased consumer prices, but only because the state government is absorbing the difference through giveaways to wind companies. To date, Oklahoma taxpayers have paid over $700,000 per windmill in subsidies.

Fortunately, the federal wind subsidies expired at the end of 2013. Unfortunately, a huge push is underway to revive them during the lame-duck Congress, while their sponsoring liberal Democrats still control the Senate. They want to force House Republicans to revive $18 billion worth of production tax credits of $23 per MWH, using backroom deals to sneak the provisions into other legislation.

Wind’s business model is warped, because it’s based on government, not on free enterprise. The industry confesses that because there was no subsidy, no new wind farms were announced in 2014. Zero. Zilch. Nada. That’s the biggest proof that theirs is a Solyndra-style system that depends on crony capitalism.

Today’s biggest wind energy investor, who would gain most from reviving the tax credit, is Warren Buffett. As Mr. Omaha’s billionaire friend said recently, “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Other energy providers have better business models. Oil and gas companies don’t get subsidies. Instead, they get tax treatment common to other businesses, but which activists deliberately mislabel as subsidies. Getting money from taxpayers is a subsidy; getting to keep part of your own money is not.

But even if you accepted the mislabeling, government help for fossil fuels is peanuts compared to wind power. The Institute for Energy Research, using government calculations, reports that for each BTU of power produced, renewable energy gets 49 times more in federal incentives than do fossil fuels.

And oil and gas companies pay $30 billion a year into the federal treasury, while green energy drains over $10 billion a year from the federal treasury – and from your taxpayer pockets.

To justify its billions in crony capitalism, the wind industry uses claims worthy of MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, the infamous source of false information about Obamacare. Mr. Gruber believes Americans are stupid. Do wind advocates think Americans are suckers?

Should we not notice that Big Wind already had 22 years of “temporary” tax credits? It used our money to place their bets. It’s time Big Wind is told to gamble with its own money.

Categories: On the Blog

Global Warming, the “Irreconcilable Differences” Issue

Somewhat Reasonable - December 02, 2014, 2:41 PM

One has to wonder if global warming promoters are oblivious to the manner in which their talking point narratives are plagued with crippling contradictions. Consider the following statements, paraphrased from my own experience of being on the receiving end of such assertions:

“You have no climate science expertise allowing you to comment on whether global warming is happening.” Neither does Al Gore, nor scores of book authors declaring the issue settled, or the collective lot of environmental organization administrators, or any mainstream media reporters.

“You’re a denier of climate change.” But not one skeptic climate scientist or prominent skeptic speaker has ever been seen saying the climate has remained static over the last century, nor has any actually advocated for an unchanging climate. Global warming promoters, on the other hand, appear to advocating for exactly that.

“You’re ignorant.” Of what? Avid followers of the issue who are skeptical of man-caused catastrophic global warming are often adept at citing specific IPCC material in order to point out which climate predictions are failing to happen, and they are often well-versed in related facets of the issue, such as the fine details and overall scope of the ClimateGate scandal.

“You oppose stopping global warming because you are guided by your religious beliefs / economic greed / political views.” Again with advocating for an unchanging climate? But what church do I belong to / what is my economic situation / what political party am I registered in? Can anyone hazard a guess that has any hope of being confirmed? Can anyone do the same on other skeptics?

“You oppose President Obama’s global warming reduction efforts because you’re a racist.” Vice President Biden holds the same views, as does Hillary Clinton. President George W. Bush suggested global warming reduction efforts could be accomplished through voluntary means.

“If you don’t see what runaway global warming is going to do to us in the future, you are crazy.” Diagnosing a person’s mental health is usually left to those having psychology expertise. But we are talking about events that have not yet happened.

“There’s a 97% consensus among climate scientists saying global warming is happening.” It’s more like 100%, but this goes back to the assertion about ‘deniers’ above. Regarding the “97%” talking point, that largely stems from just three reports having highly suspect methodologies, not restricted to just the loaded too-simple question of whether global warming is happening. On top of that, a show of hands has never validated scientific conclusions any time in the entire history of the Scientific Method.

“A minority of denier scientists have long been given media balance by reporters when they never deserved it.” Again with the denier talking point? But show all of us the last ten times when any mainstream media news outlet balanced their news reports about global warming with equal time given to purely scientific viewpoints offered by skeptic scientists.

“Denier scientists don’t publish papers in peer-reviewed journals, the gold standard of determining science conclusions.” Could we stop with the denier talking point? Skeptic scientists most certainly do get their papers published in peer-reviewed journals, they also describe in great detail how that process has been stacked against them by biased science journal editors, and there is at least one instance of where a science conclusion was seen in a science journal and its conclusion was widely cited as a situation to make decisions from. However, the paper’s author was later found guilty of 145 counts of fabrication and falsification of data for his work The mere presence of a science conclusion in a science journal is therefore no validation of the conclusion’s merits.

“Denier scientists deny that cigarettes cause cancer, that there is an ozone hole, or that acid rain exists.” Each time the ‘denier’ talking point is repeated, it undermines the critic when that individual never proves skeptic climate scientists deny climate change or that global warming has happened over the last century. As for the other points, they would be devastating if only they were supported with actual evidence to prove such a denial took place.

“Well, you and they are shills of Exxon / the Koch brothers / ‘dark money’, and are paid to lie, deceive, and fabricate false reports.” Two words: prove it. If that accusation had any merit, it would have wiped out the skeptic scientists’ credibility more than a decade ago. One more thing, remember who accusers are talking to in this particular situation: I am the one who has access to my bank accounts and my correspondence, and there is no way on Earth anyone can make that accusation stick to me.

“You are an idiot and no amount of reason will change your closed mind.” It must be first proven I am an idiot, that I’ve been presented with reasonable arguments, and that I have rejected such arguments.
I have no climate science expertise, and have said so from the beginning. All I ever did from the start was point to one side of the scientific consideration of the issue completely contradicting the other side. Rather than receive any informed degree of information on why the contradiction existed, I was told to ignore the skeptic side out-of-hand, usually culminating every time with the latter two responses above. The bit about skeptic scientists being paid to lie via industry money at least sounded plausible, but I didn’t proceed farther than just one day into a serious look into where the accusation came from before I ran into irreconcilable differences on who had discovered ‘smoking gun’ evidence proving the accusation to be true, and I could not even find the so-called ‘evidence’ – leaked industry memos – in order to read them for myself. Long story short, when I did find partial copies of the memos seven months later buried in Greenpeace archive scans in a way that ordinary internet searches would not dredge them up, it turns out the memos are not evidence of a sinister top-down industry-wide directive. Worse, narratives about who discovered this ‘industry plot’ are full of holes, and the people surrounding the initial push of the accusation have a lot of explaining to do if they want the accusation to stay afloat.

Basically, the entire global warming issue can be boiled down to a 3-point mantra on “settled science” / “corrupt skeptics” / “reporters may ignore skeptics because of points 1 & 2.” Its promoters almost seem to be praying to whatever god they believe in that nobody will question those assertions.

However, we don’t have to be climate scientists, or really any kind of scientist at all, in order to ask tough questions about the whole issue. We most certainly do not have to be a scientist to ask whether their accusation about ‘corrupt industry funding’ is true, and when it is readily seen how that one folds up like a cheap suit, then the central point in their 3-point mantra implodes, wiping out the other two by default.

[Originally published at New York Analysis]

 

Categories: On the Blog

If Erica Grow Didn’t Rip Up our Global Warming Flier, Maybe She’d Understand the Science Better

Somewhat Reasonable - December 02, 2014, 2:34 PM

WUSA’s Erica Grow Shows Off Her Strength

Television weather presenter Erica Grow deserves a hearty Thank You for advertising The Heartland Institute’s new pamphlet, “Global Warming: Crisis or Delusion.” Grow also perfectly illustrated how global warming alarmists can expand their knowledge with assistance from the new pamphlet.

Two weeks ago, Grow on her Twitter account posted a photo on her ripping the pamphlet in half and calling the pamphlet “propaganda” and “BS.” Grow’s followers apparently flooded her inbox with dissatisfaction about her Tweet, prompting her to write a column on the WUSA website explaining her actions.

“As you can imagine, a bunch of people got pretty ticked off,” Grow acknowledged.

Grow explained that she called the pamphlet propaganda because the pamphlet concluded by stating, “Public policies should aim at fostering economic growth to adapt to natural climate change.” According to Grow, “The final bullet point is especially egregious because it contains the word ‘should’.” Grow added, “A fact statement cannot contain a persuasive word.”

Curiously, Grow did not call out the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  for similarly advocating for a particular course of action. Just two weeks before Grow’s Twitter tantrum, BBC News published an article titled, “Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC.” As BBC News pointed out, “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in a stark report that most of the world’s electricity can – and must – be produced from low-carbon sources by 2050.”

So when Grow’s alarmist friends at a United Nations bureaucracy employ stark, strong language in an attempt to dictate energy policy to the United States, Grow considers that science rather than propaganda. By contrast, when climate realists propose policies favoring climate adaptation instead, Grow considers that propaganda rather than science. Hmmm…..

Later in her column, Grow revealed her fundamental lack of understanding about the global warming debate. Grow argued the pamphlet is misleading because “it’s well-documented that the majority of the scientific community agrees with the hypothesis that climate change is at least partially caused by human activity.” However, few skeptics claim global warming is not “at least partially caused by human activity.”

The key issues dividing alarmists and skeptics are the degree of human causation, the pace of recent warming, the proper context of recent warming, the current and likely impacts of global warming, and the desirability of alarmists’ prescribed solutions. By closing her mind to all of these issues merely because she erroneously believes most skeptics dispute any human role in recent warming, Grow has allowed her preexisting lack of knowledge to preclude any future gains in knowledge.

Simply put, objective scientific evidence and an open mind are the best means of discovering scientific truths and implementing beneficial public policy. Grow’s theatrical destruction of a climate science pamphlet that contradicts her own limited knowledge of the topic is a disservice to open and honest scientific discourse. The ironic silver lining, however, is Grow’s actions merely directed more people to the scientific summary.

Categories: On the Blog

Politico Gets the Lede Way Wrong – and The Hill Buries It

Somewhat Reasonable - December 02, 2014, 2:22 PM

As we’ve often discussed, the Tech World Media is just as hopelessly Leftist and lost as the broader Jurassic Press. They so often get it so very wrong – often because their absurd political perspective warps their alleged “reporting.”

Saturday gave us two additional exquisite examples – one each in Politico and The Hill.

Politico’s headline and sub-head are simply ridiculous.

GOP’s Tech Hurdle: They Don’t Always Get It

2016 candidates want tech money but clash with industry on policy.

Umm…it’s a big industry – with a lot of companies with a lot of policy issues they would like addressed.

There are of course LOTS of tech companies with whom the GOP doesn’t clash much at all.

There are LOTS of the companies Politico means when they say “industry” with whom the GOP does in fact agree on a lot of issues (H-1B visas, anyone?).

For some reason, Politico doesn’t count as industry the companies without whom the rest of industry couldn’t exist – the Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

If the likes of Verizon and Comcast hadn’t invested in the World Wide Web’s networks about a trillion dollars in the last decade, we would never have heard of the likes of Google and Netflix – that Politico bizarrely, exclusively means as “industry.”

ISPs build the roads.  Politico picks fights for their favored “industry” vehicles – without even acknowledging the construction companies that get them everywhere.

A major policy Politico means is Network Neutrality.  Companies like Google and Netflix want government to mandate via Net Neutrality that their free ride on the ISPs’ roads continues unabated.  And why wouldn’t Google and Netflix want that protectionism?

Netflix, (Google’s) YouTube Make Up More Than Half of…Internet Traffic in North America

Net Neutrality – as the Obama Democrats intend to impose it – is a gi-normous uber-regulatory nightmare mess.  That will strangle the Golden Geese that have been laying the Yellow Brick Roads for all to travel.

The ISPs want to remain able to negotiate deals with these huge bandwidth hogs – to have them pay for being huge bandwidth hogs.  Otherwise We the Consumers will continue to pay higher ISP fees – to continue our subsidization of the profits of the Googles and Netflixes.

This Net Neutrality is nothing more than Democrat-donor corporations demanding Crony Socialism.  (It’s not Crony Capitalism – because it has very little to do with capitalism.)

Obama’s Call for ‘Open Internet’ Is All About Google, Amazon and Netflix

Don’t underestimate the rising political clout of Google, Amazon, Netflix and Facebook.

(T)hey want (the government) to limit the ability of Internet Service Providers led by Comcast and Verizon to control which content moves at what speed and at what price.

Of course they do.  The question is – why do much of the Media?

Media like The Hill.  That absolutely buries – under 630 words of preceding text – the only viable legal/policy option.

Five Options for Feds on Net Neutrality

President Obamas plan….

The FCC’s original plan….

Implement hybrid rules….

Do nothing

Why is “Do nothing” the only viable legal/policy option?

GOP lawmakers and the two Republican commissioners sitting on the (Federal Communications Commission) FCC have said (FCC Chairman Tom) Wheeler should wait for Congress to act. 

The courts have twice tossed out attempts to regulate the Web, they note, so the writing should be on the wall.

Indeed it should be.  In fact it is.

The GOP is reading it.  Of course the Huge-Government-to-the-highest-bidder Obama Democrats – who don’t even peruse their own bills – don’t want to.

Neither, it would appear, do the Clueless-Joe-Jackson Jurassic Press.

[Originally published at Newsbusters]

Categories: On the Blog

Steven Moore Says Illinois can Make a Comeback

Somewhat Reasonable - December 01, 2014, 10:15 AM

Heritage Foundation’s chief economist Steven Moore was in Chicago recently, a guest of Illinois Policy Institute. During his presentation, Moore spoke very highly of Bruce Rauner, having met with him to give advice before the election.

Of importance to Moore is that people are not paying enough attention to how red states are getting redder (run by Republicans with pro-growth and pro-market oriented policies), while blue states are getting bluer. Arkansas was cited as one of the last states to turn red. North Carolina is now a thoroughly red state. In blue states — Illinois, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York — Democrats have become even more powerful and the states bluer. The difference being:  Red states practice Reaganomics; blue states have high tax rates which force wealthier people to move.

High tax rates do matter, Moore says. This accounts, in part, for the slow bleed of people and businesses exiting blue states and migrating into red states. We are in an economic war, as states do compete with each other. Voters vote with their feet for policies they think are important to them and their livelihood. Moore listed CA, NY, NJ, and CO as states that must change or else die.

Moore zeroed in on the four largest states, two red (Texas and Florida) and two blue (New York and California).  The difference couldn’t be any starker. There is zero state income tax in the states of TX and FL.  In NY and CA a top income tax rate exists of 13.5%. Nine states have no income tax.

Texas and Florida benefit from being “Right to Work” states.  This doesn’t mean that TX and FL can’t have unions, just that workers can’t be compelled to join a union if they decide not to. Businesses have been heard to say that they prefer locating in Right to Work states. Moore related his experience in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and how unions wanted to come in and unionize.  The point was made that unions would be harmful.  But what really resonated with workers was this cautionary statement, “Don’t turn Chattanooga into Detroit!”  The effort to unionize in Chattanooga was defeated by a vote of 57 – 47.

Where are the jobs

Amazing statistics: In the last 15 years Texas has netted a 74% increase in jobs; Florida, 60%; CA, 35%; and New York, 9%.  For every one job created in CA and NY, three jobs were created in TX and FL.

Steven Moore related a debate with Paul Krugman in which Moore asked Krugman this question:  “States that aren’t doing well did all the things you told them to do to create jobs for working people, but what happened?”  To which Krugman replied:  “People are leaving the North for the South because of the weather.”  Moore’s retort:  “Explain then why the following migration patterns are happening?  CA is a lovely place to live, yet in the last 10 years 1.5 million more people left CA than came to live in CA.  Also, “How do you explain that people are leaving San Diego for Houston?  It’s certainly not for the weather!”  Texas is an amazing place.  Since the recession began in June, 2009, new job growth has been zero in this nation.  Texas has accounted for every new job that has been created in America.

According to Moore, this nation is experiencing an energy revolution.  North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in this nation.  People in North Dakota are getting super rich.  Steve Moore remembered paying a nightly rate of $300 a few years ago to stay at a Best Western hotel.   Moore’s upbeat reaction to the economy is based on fracking and its unbelievable technology.  If this nation can get it right, in five to six years she will move from being an oil-gas importer to an oil-gas exporter.

Why isn’t the economy doing better?

People who run Fortune 500 companies look at their financial situations. Companies have been able to retool themselves and become efficient and productive.  This wouldn’t have happened ten or twenty years ago.  Why then isn’t the economy growing at 4%?  Instead, the economy is in a beetle position.  Companies are not reinvesting money into the economy because they are terrified of Washington, D.C. and the next shoe that might drop. A common attitude among Democrats is that business is evil. It might be said that liberals love jobs, but hate employers. When was the last time President Obama ever said anything positive about big business?

Steve Moore believes that if Obamacare is rolled back, this nation will see one of the greatest economic booms it has ever seen.

Question and Answer Session

The question and answer session had much value and expanded upon many of the ideas expressed by Steven Moore in his remarks.

1.  Question:  How will Bruce Rauner be able to govern Illinois with Madigan still in charge and with super majorities in both the House and the Senate?

Response:  Steve Moore had only positive things to say about Rauner, believing Rauner has the fortitude and backbone to do the right thing, admitting, however, that it will be a huge challenge.  One advantage is that Rauner isn’t beholden to anyone.  If Rauner is privy to a stone wall of opposition from Democrats, as was true with President Reagan, like Reagan, who gave speeches on TV, Rauner must likewise take his case to the people.  Rauner must deal with the following three issues in a timely way: 1) Fixing the pension system, 2) Pulling back the tax increase, and 3) Providing the opportunity for school choice.

2.  Question:  How does Jonathan Gruber fit in with the future of Obamacare?

Response:  Johathan Gruber is important because he demonstrates how the Left will lie, cheat and steal to win, regardless of the issue.  In regard to the issue of Global Warming, which Moore called a hoax, the assumption that science has been settled is not in keeping with the true nature of science, as science is always evolving.  It is so-called elitists, often touting their doctorate degrees, who believe that the populous can’t make decisions for themselves.  They “want to keep the poor people on the reservation.”

3.  Question:  How to deal with the $7 trillion plus increase in the debt since Obama took office

Response:  We must get back to 3% to 4% growth.  The economy needs to grow faster than the debt.  One thing that keeps Steve Moore up at night is the possibility of interest rates spiking. Presently interest rates are low.  On a 10-year Treasury bond the interest rate is 2.3%.  If interest rates do rise, all taxes collected could be used to pay the interest on the debt.  By 2020 the single largest expenditure will not be Medicaid, Medicare, or defense, but interest on the debt.  Bruce Rauner must deal with Illinois’ unfunded pension system.  Moore suggested providing a 401(k) retirement system for workers.

4.  Question: Explain how states change from red to blue states, etc.?

Response:  Colorado was basically a red state until Californians left California and moved to Colorado. Now Colorado is a purple state.  New Hampshire (Live Free or Die state) has gone from a red state to purple as Massachusetts and Connecticut residents moved to New Hampshire.  Democrats tried to turn Texas from a red state to a blue state, but the recent Primary Election exposed their complete failure!  In Texas there are fourteen state-wide races. In all fourteen races, not one of the Democrats running received more than 40% of the vote. Touching on the illegal immigration issue, Moore is in favor of Republicans passing comprehensive immigration reform. Thorner is not with Moore on this issue.  Steve Moore’s explanation:  In Texas 40% to 45% of Hispanics vote Republican; in California they overwhelmingly vote Democrat. Why the difference? According to Moore, in Texas illegal immigrants are put into the work force as soon as they arrive, while in California illegal immigrants are put on welfare which leads to their radicalization.

5.  Question:  What must Republicans do to win more of the minority vote?

Response:  As Woody Allen once said, “90% of life is just showing up”   The 2012 election presented a clear choice of candidates between Mitt Romney and President Obama.  Moore found it disappointing in watching Spanish-orientated TV programs such as Univision before the 2012 election, that the ads run were all sponsored by Democrats which informed Hispanics that Republicans hated them. Where were the Republican ads to counter this assertion. Moore believes that in the presidential elections of 2016, 2020, and 2024, the Republican presidential nominee must speak Spanish.  It was then that Moore expressed his liking for Jeb Bush (Throner cringed in her seat upon hearing Moore’s pronouncement!).  Bruce Rauner did quite well with blacks in Illinois, campaigning as he did in black churches and neighborhoods with this question: “What have they [Democrats] really done for you?”

6.  Question:  What about the city of Chicago?

Response:  Chicago is a world-class city.  It should be “the Hong Kong of the Midwest” if not for its bad leadership.  Moore advised that the first vote in the GOP Senate and House should be for the full repeal of Obamacare.  Lots of Democrats weren’t in office when Obamacare passed without a single vote from Republicans.  Let’s put the Democratic legislators on record.

7.  Question:  What about the surge in the stock market?  People should be feeling better about the economy. 

Response:  Even though Obama remarked before the election that the economy was improving, felt pain of the people doesn’t make it into media reports or via the performance of the stock market. What matters most is real take home pay. This has shrunk under Obama, leading people to believe otherwise about the economy. 52% of the American people still believe this nation is still in recession.  Because of Obamacare, people are dealing with its “49” mandate (businesses with more than 50 workers must provide insurance) and it “29” mandate (people working more than 30 hours a week are entitled to insurance by employer).

8.  Question:  Why are Democrats opposed to fracking?

Response:  Steve Moore called Tom Steyer a “wacko and a global warming fanatic.  It is insane to believe that we can energize this economy with windmills!”  In so far as the Keystone XL pipeline bill failed to garner the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate, Democrats can rightly be painted as radical environmentalists.  In their fixation with the environment, which stems from their acceptance of Global Warming as settled science, they are destroying blue collar jobs. Republicans must send this message:  “We are the party who is trying to protect your jobs.  We are on your side.”

Instead of the Heartland pen usually given to guest speakers, Johnathan Greenberg, Vice President of External Relations, presented Steven Moore with one of two attractive ties now available for purchase sporting the Illinois Policy Institute logo.

In closing, Greenberg warned how the media and union bosses are already rallying to make the 5% tax hike permanent.  Their goal is to move Bruce Rauner to where they want him to be.  Greenberg assured attendees that the Illinois Policy Institute would be their voice in pushing against the unions and the media.

As Executive Vice President of the Illinois Policy Institute responsible for executing the Institute’s strategic plan which center on turning liberty principles into marketable policies that become law, Kristina Rasmussen was on hand in Chicago from her headquarters in Springfield, IL, to welcome chief economist at the Heritage Foundation, Steve Moore, to discuss his book “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States.  The event was held in the Library at the Chicago headquarters of the Illinois Policy Institute, 190 S. LaSalle St.

[Originally published at Illinois Review

 

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast: James Taylor – Great Lakes Region Is Benefiting From Warming

Somewhat Reasonable - November 28, 2014, 3:03 PM

Senior Fellow for environment and energy policy for The Heartland Institute sits down with host Donald Kendal to discuss how modest global warming is benefiting the Great Lakes Region growing season.

This year, the midwest has seen record setting crop yields which can be attributed to modest global warming. It is explained that warmer temperatures are beneficial to humanity. The real threat for earth would be a cooling trend.

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

Categories: On the Blog

Australia Embraces the Less Government-Free Trade Model – We Should Too

Somewhat Reasonable - November 28, 2014, 10:47 AM

We recently referenced the very good news to come from an otherwise very bad President Barack Obama China trip.

U.S., China to Drop Tariffs on Range of Tech Products

The U.S. and China reached an agreement to drop tariffs on a wide range of technology products, in a deal that its backers say could cover $1 trillion in trade and that marks a significant accomplishment amid strained ties between Beijing and Washington.

The two countries late Monday reached a deal to expand the Information Technology Agreement, a global technology trade pact, to cover semiconductors, medical devices, Global Positioning System devices and other newer products, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Tuesday in Beijing.

The deal–reached late Monday after marathon negotiations and more than a year of stalled talks–could be ratified in December by members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Our ally Australia certainly seems to get the myriad advantages of a Less Government-Free Trade existence.

Australia and China: Free and Friendly Trade

After ten years of negotiations, Australia and China have agreed to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Let’s hope we all can shave a lot of time off these things.

Ultimately 95 percent of Australian exports to China will be tariff free within the next decade or so.

That is a whole lot of Less Government-Free Trade.

In fact, even before the FTA had gone ahead government ministers were announcing a separatebillion dollar live cattle deal with China.

Free trade deals are force multipliers. Deals beget deals – in large part because sitting down and discussing them warms even the coldest of inter-national relationships.

Australia has been on a roll.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne told Channel Nine at the time, “This is the kind of thing that happens when you have a government that’s focused on economic outcomes So we have aFree Trade Agreement with JapanFree Trade Agreement with South Korea, working on one with China.

And there are so many other nations with which to trade.

Australia’s next priority is to conclude a comprehensive trade partnership deal with India, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Tuesday during a state visit to Canberra by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi….

“We want to go further and that’s why the next priority for Australia is a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with India,” Abbott said.

“If I may say so, this is a moment in time. This is the time to get this done.”

Indeed it is. And we too should strike while the iron is hot.

For instance – we Conservatives loathe our domestic Farm Bill. For many, many good reasons. Not the least of which – it is terrible domestic policy that has begotten terrible international policy.

The Global Farm Market: A Crony Socialist Nightmare Mess

(Our domestic Farm Bill) has been for seventy or so years a Government-Knows-Best train wreck. To alter slightly Ronald Reagan’s line:

“Government’s view of the (farm) economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

Over those seven decades-plus, our lather-rinse-repeat anti-free-market farm policy warped the emerging global farm market. The world’s growers saw our bad moves  and matched them. Subsidy-for-subsidy, tax-for-tax, protectionism-for-protectionism.

Seven decades later, we have a worldwide Crony Socialist nightmare mess.

An inter-governmental regulatory arms race. Not good.

We Conservatives have tried for at the very least three decades-plus to unilaterally disarm. The results?Not good.

Unwinding the government’s crop protectionism regime has been a 30+ year-long nightmare mess. We who wish to make it all go away have in that time gotten absolutely nowhere in our attempts to do so.

The solution? We have lots of time – our heinous Farm Bill just passed, and is in place for another four-plus years. We should acknowledge what Australian Prime Minister Abbott has rightly noted – and get to negotiating.

The world’s (crop)-producing nations need to sit down together, each with a copy of everyone else’s lists of protectionist policies. And start horse trading.

Brazil  how about if you get rid of this subsidy, we’ll each get rid of one.

Mexico  if you get rid of this tariff, we’ll each get rid of one.

Let the subsequent discussions ensue. Lather, rinse, repeat.

We’ve tried unsuccessfully – for a very long time – to undo our Farm Bill from the inside out. We should now instead try to undo it from the outside-in.

We can – and should – global-free-trade the Farm Bill out of existence.

[Originally published at RedState]

 

Categories: On the Blog

Dear Northeast, How’s That Solar Working Out For Ya?

Somewhat Reasonable - November 27, 2014, 8:34 AM

A couple of months ago, National Grid, one of Massachusetts’ two dominant utilities, announced rate increases of a “whopping” 37 percent over last year. Other utilities in the region are expected to follow suit.

Why, when natural gas prices are at historic lows that have been predicted to lower electricity rates, is the Northeast facing double-digit increases? Changes have been mandated, but the replacements aren’t ready yet.

New England has seen one big power plant close within the past year: Salem Harbor Power Station in Salem, Massachusetts—which went “dark” on June 1. Another major closure is scheduled within weeks: Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

The Salem Harbor plant is scheduled to be replaced with a new, state-of-the-art natural gas plant—though it has received resistance from Environmental groups who have filed a lawsuit to block it and, once the suit was settled, have threatened other ways to stop the project including civil disobedience. They want the plant to be replaced with renewables.

However, a wind turbine that is iced up or a solar panel that is covered in seven feet of snow doesn’t generate electricity. And the cold days of a Northeast winter are one of the times when energy demand is at its peak.

Remember last winter’s polar vortex, when freezing weather crippled the Northeast for days and put a tremendous strain on the electric supply?

Following the near crisis, utility executives were brought into Congress to explain the situation. Regarding the nation’s electrical output last winter, the CEO of the biggest generator of coal-fueled electricity in the U.S., American Electric Power (AEP), Nicholas Akins told Congress: “This country did not just dodge a bullet—we dodged a cannon ball.” Similarly, Executive VP of Operations for PJM Interconnection (the largest grid operator in the U.S. overseeing 13 states), Michael Kormos, commented on operations during the Polar Vortex: PJM was “never—as some accounts have portrayed—700 megawatts away from rolling blackouts. …On the worst day, January 7, our next step if we had lost a very large generator would have been to implement a small voltage reduction”—industry speak for the last option before power outages.

About last winter’s grid reliability, Glenn Beck claims: “I had an energy guy come to me about three weeks ago. …He said, ‘We were one power plant away from a blackout in the east all winter long… We were using so much electricity. We were at the top of the grid. There’s no more electricity. We’re at the top.’”

We are already facing this winter’s extreme weather. Come January, the Northeast will be down not one, but two power plants since last year—not because they had to be retired, but because of regulations and public sentiment. Without these two vital power plants, what will the Northeast do?

A few months ago, Weather Bell Analytics’ Joe Bastardi told me: “This winter could be as cold and nasty as last year and in a worst case go beyond that to some of the great winters of the late 1970s, lasting all the way into April—though the position of the worst, relative to averages, may be further southeast.” Since then,  I’ve been saying that I am afraid people will have to die due to power outages that prevent them from heating their homes in the winter cold, before the public wakes up to the damage of these policies. Atkins seems to agree. He told Columbus Business First: “Truth be known, something’s probably going to have to happen before people realize that there is an issue.”

ISO New England, the agency that oversees the power grid, warns, in the Boston Globe: “Boston and northeast Massachusetts are ‘expected to face an electricity capacity shortage’ that could lead to rolling blackouts or the use of trailer-mounted diesel generators—which emit far more pollutants than natural gas—to fill the gap.”

As seen at Salem Harbor, those new power plants will likely be natural gas and building those new power plants will face challenges from environmental groups. Plus, natural gas faces cost volatility. Natural gas consumption in the Northeast has grown more than 20% in the last decade, and not one new pipeline has been built. Current pipelines are stuffed and can carry no more supply.

The lack of available supply, results in higher prices. In the winter’s cold weather, the gas goes to people’s homes first. Different from coal, which is shipped by train, with a thirty-day supply easily held at the point of use, the switch to natural gas leaves power plants struggling to meet demand, paying higher prices.

These shortages in the Northeast are before the implementation of the Clean Power Plan that is expected to shut down hundreds of coal-fueled power plants nationwide by 2016. New infrastructure needs to be built, but “not-in-my-backyard” attitudes and environmental activists will likely delay or prevent construction as they have done in the Northeast—which will result in shortages and higher costs nationwide.

Two lessons from the Northeast’s far-reaching experiment are:

1)    Don’t shut down existing supply, until the replacement is ready as legal action and local attitudes can slow its development.

2)    You can cover every square inch of available land with wind and solar, but when extreme whether hits, a reliable energy supply is required—best met by coal and nuclear.

Current policy will have all of America, not just the Northeast, freezing in the dark.

 

(A version of this content was originally published at Breitbart.com)

Categories: On the Blog

Obama Fiddles While Ferguson Burns

Somewhat Reasonable - November 26, 2014, 4:32 PM

The Ferguson Riots are now part of President Obama’s legacy.

Remember when an about-to-be elected President of the United States promised that the rise of the oceans had begun to slow and our planet had begun to heal? When the fine folks in Oslo awarded a newly-inaugurated American president the Nobel Peace Prize for acts yet to be accomplished? When the President of the United States said “there is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America”?

When the biracial son of an African father and an America mother, educated overseas and in some of America’s finest private schools, promised “Hope and Change,” including a new feel-good era of race relations as millions of white Americans lined up to vote for America’s first Black president?

Like George Lucas’s “Star Wars” saga, that now seems a long time ago in a galaxy far away.

The Russian ex-KGB agent whom Obama promised he’d be “more flexible” with after his election has invaded neighboring Ukraine with impunity and now sends Russian bombers to patrol the Gulf of Mexico, which had been a sole sphere of this country’s influence since the time that James Monroe was President.

The Islamic State that the Obama administration derided as the “junior varsity” (and helped prompt Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s recent resignation in part for having disagreed) is on the march in Syria and Iraq with captured American weapons and stolen bank money, beheading Americans on YouTube while the president goes off to play golf.

And in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of one of the country’s oldest and most beautiful cities west of the Alleghenies, the city burns over racial tensions that the president had implicitly promised to heal but has done nothing other than to exacerbate.

When Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was mistakenly arrested while trying to break into his own house in Boston, President Obama, without knowing the facts, automatically took the side of the befuddled Black professor against the white police officer just trying to protect the professor’s property. The forced and awkward “beer summit” that followed must surely be one of the most stilted and embarrassing moments in modern presidential history.

When a hooded interloper provoked a fatal fight with a suspicious Hispanic neighborhood watch commander in Sanford, Florida, the president automatically took the side of the Black man over the Hispanic by announcing that “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon Martin.”

And when 28-year old white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed in apparent self-defense a six-foot-four, nearly 300 pound thug who had just robbed a neighborhood convenience store and roughed up the clerk, Obama did nothing to keep his Attorney General, Eric Holder, and discredited community agitator Al “Tawana Brawley” Sharpton from going to Ferguson to heighten existing racial tensions.

When a St. Louis County grand jury announced Monday night that, after three months of investigation, it found no probable cause to charge Officer Wilson with a crime in the shooting of Michael Brown, the president almost immediately took to the airwaves. Ostensibly calling for calm, the president then added these unhelpful words: “there are Americans who are deeply upset, even angry. It’s an understandable reaction.” And almost simultaneously, as documented in side-by-side video, what had been a peaceful if ominous protest broke out in violence, looting, shooting, and arson.

This is not to blame the president for America’s racial troubles, born in slavery and the tribalist identity politics that pervade too much of the world. But a president of the United States should remember at all times that he is president of all the people, not just of members of his ancestral homeland or his adopted tribe.

The problems of Ferguson, Missouri, and of Michael brown himself go far, far beyond anything Barack Obama has ever said or ever will do. Indeed, it may be mostly coincidence that the Ferguson protest turned ugly just as the president spoke. But in yet another moment in which Barack Obama could have made a difference and was perhaps uniquely qualified, the president was once again tested and once again found wanting.

Categories: On the Blog
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