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The Policy and Commentary Blog of The Heartland Institute
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Heartland Daily Podcast – John Davidson: “Medicaid Expansion by Another Name”

February 23, 2015, 2:57 PM

In this edition of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Research Fellow Sean Parnell sits down with Texas Public Policy Foundation’s John Davidson. Davidson discusses his latest paper, “Medicaid Expansion by Another Name,” which describes the largely unsuccessful efforts of several Republican governors to get even modest reforms of Medicaid in exchange for expanding the program under Obamacare.

Instead of getting real work requirements, minor premium payments, and increased cost sharing for inappropriate use of the emergency room, these governors have settled for cosmetic changes with little real chance of reforming the broken Medicaid system.

Davidson also shares his thoughts on what the starting point needs to be for real medicaid reform, block granting funds to the states and allowing them to innovate and design programs that meet their needs, not those of politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, DC.

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

Categories: On the Blog

The Climate Con Goes On

February 23, 2015, 2:56 PM

Some 200 nations may sign a “modest” Kyoto II climate treaty, say December 2014 media reports from Lima, Peru. But will developing nations agree to stop using coal to generate electricity? No. Curtail economic growth? No. Cease emitting carbon dioxide? Maybe, but only a little, sometime in the future, when it is more convenient to do so, without binding commitments. Then why would they sign a treaty?

Primarily because they expect to get free energy technology transfers, and billions of dollars a year in climate “mitigation, adaptation and reparation” money from Western nations that they blame (and which blame themselves) for the “dangerous climate change,” rising seas and “extreme weather” that they claim are “unprecedented” and due to carbon dioxide emissions during the 150 years since the Industrial Revolution began. These FRCs (Formerly Rich Countries) have implemented low-carbon energy policies and penalties that have strangled their economies, dramatically increased energy prices and killed millions of jobs. But now poor developing countries demand that they also transfer $100 billion per year, for decades (with most of that probably going to their governing elites’ Swiss banks accounts).

Where is this likely taking us? President Obama has long promised to “fundamentally transform” the U.S. economy and ensure that electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.” His edicts are doing precisely that. And now Christiana Figueres, the UN’s chief climate change official, has declared that her unelected bureaucrats are undertaking “probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the [global] economic development model.” [emphasis added] Her incredible admission underscores what another high-ranking IPCC official said several years ago: “Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection. The next world climate summit is actually an economy summit, during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”

Why would any sane families or nations consign their fates to such insane, perverse arrangements? The arrangements are being imposed on them, through force, fabrication and fraud.

Poor, middle and working class families will get little but more layoffs, further reductions in living standards and longer postponement of dreams. But meanwhile Climate Chaos, Inc. (Big Green, Big Government, alarmist scientists, crony corporatist “green” energy companies, and allied universities and scientific groups) will become richer, gain more control over our lives and livelihoods, and rarely be held accountable for the damage they cause. Retracting their “dangerous manmade climate change” tautologies would endanger their money, power and reputations.

That’s why their hypotheses, assertions, intentions and computer models always trump reality. It’s why they are increasingly vicious and relentless in vilifying realist scientists like Willie Soon who challenge their “97% consensus” and “manmade climate catastrophe” mantras – and in demanding that the news media ignore experts and analyses that do not toe the Climate Chaos line. They denigrate realists as “climate deniers” (deliberately suggesting Holocaust denial) and “oil industry shills” (while hiding their own suspect ethics, data “adjustments,” and Big Green billion-dollar Russian and other funding sources).

Realists get precious little (or no) oil money and constantly underscore the role of climate change throughout Earth and human history. What we contest is the notion that climate and weather fluctuations today are manmade, unprecedented and dangerous. Alarmists deny that Earth’s climate is often in flux, solar and other natural forces drive weather and climate, and atmospheric carbon dioxide plays only a minimal role. Real-world evidence demolishes virtually every alarmist claim.

The climate reality record is presented in a readable, thought-provoking new book, About Face: Why the world needs more CO2; The failed science of global warming, by late U.S. economist Arthur Hughes, Australian geologist Cliff Ollier and Canadian meteorologist Madhav Khandekar. Sea level is rising at only1.5 mm per year now (six inches per century), they note, and there is zero evidence that the rate is escalating or that coastal communities are at risk. Nor is “ocean acidification” a legitimate problem.

Alarmists use it to replace other disproven scares with a new panic. Earth’s oceans have never been acidic. They are mildly alkaline. Their enormous volumes of water cannot become acidic – that is, plummet from an 8.2 pH level 150 years ago and their current 8.1 pH into the acidic realm of 7.0 or lower, due to the tiny amount of atmospheric CO2 attributable to fossil fuel use, in less than five centuries, experts explain.

The tiny effect of rising CO2 levels on climate contrasts sharply with their enormous benefits to plant growth and agriculture. Not only is more CO2 “greening” deserts, forests and grasslands; it is increasing grain and food yields worldwide, and helping people in developing nations live longer, healthier lives.

Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are not in danger of collapsing, the About Face authors demonstrate; in fact, they are growing. Similarly, contrary to another scare, extreme weather events are not increasing.

No Category 3-5 hurricane has struck the United States for a record nine years, and Earth’s temperature has not budged for 18 years. Claims that 2014 was “the hottest year on record” are based on airport and urban measurements that are higher than rural locations and are always “adjusted” upward, with year-to-year differences expressed in hundredths of a degree. Outside those areas, for most of the world – the 70% of Earth’s surface that is oceans and 85% of land area that is mountains, deserts, grasslands, tundra, and boreal or tropical rain forests – practically no data exist. So NASA and other alarmists falsely extrapolate from their manipulated urban data to fill in massive gaps for the other 95% of the Earth.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Northeast is suffering through record snows and its lowest winter temperatures in decades, and America’s East Coast air has been 25-30 degrees F below normal. England’s winter death rate is almost one-third higher than normal: nearly 29,000 deaths in a two-week period in January 2015, largely because people can no longer afford to heat their homes properly, due to UK climate policies.

What’s really going on? Our sun “has gone quiet again, during what is likely to be the weakest sunspot cycle in more than a century,” dating back to 1906, says Vencore weather analyst Paul Dorian.

Alarmists don’t want to talk about that – or about what is happening in Asia. BP’s Energy Outlook 2035 report forecasts that China’s oil, natural gas and coal use will increase by some 50% and its carbon dioxide emissions by 37% over the next 20 years. India’s energy production will soar 117% – with fossil fuels accounting for 87% of all demand in 2035. Its CO2 emissions will also skyrocket. So even if the USA and EU eliminated fossil fuels, atmospheric carbon dioxide would continue to climb.

Climate alarmists want the newspaper and television media to ignore this information and the “skeptics” who might present it. Bill Nye “the science guy” recently asked MSNBC to link all weather events to climate change. “Just say the words climate change” when you talk about this winter’s cold and snow,” he begged. A new study shows how widespread these repulsive practices have become.

Quoting one journalist, a George Mason University analysis found that U.S. media outlets “pretty much” agree that climate change “is real, it’s happening, and we’re responsible. That debate is over.” As a result, “critics are no longer being interviewed,” the study said. In the view of “mainstream” media outlets, seeking or presenting both sides on the climate issue is a “false balance.” At least one news organization now has an explicit editorial policy “discouraging reporters from quoting climate change deniers in environment or science coverage,” the Washington Examiner noted.

Media reputations are at stake. They’ve been in bed so long with the Climate Chaos complex that acknowledging the critical role of natural forces, the expertise of climate realists, the debate that still rages, or the Grand Canyon between climate crisis claims and real-world evidence would destroy what little credibility the media still has. It would also start the collapse of the Climate Chaos house of cards.

But the real stakes are much higher. They are the businesses, jobs, families, living standards and liberties that will be increasingly threatened if President Obama, EPA, Big Green and the United Nations remain free to impose their climate and energy agenda. Responsible governors, state legislators and members of Congress must get involved, block these actions, and roll back the destructive policies.

Categories: On the Blog

America’s Title II Protectionism Will Hurt Google & Silicon Valley in EU

February 23, 2015, 2:31 PM

Last November, President Obama effectively abandoned America’s longstanding free trade Internet policy established by President Clinton, in favor of a protectionist Internet industrial policy to benefit America’s national champions, Silicon Valley, under the guise of “net neutrality” policy.

Flipping U.S. Internet policy from global digital free trade to maximal national Internet regulation could end up hurting Silicon Valley the most, because they most benefit from, and depend on, the current free flow of information globally on the Internet.

Ironically, America also is forfeiting the digital free trade policy high ground by leading the world toward a “Splinternet” vision of more nationalistic maximal utility regulation of the Internet and its content.

In particular, it will be much harder for the U.S. to credibly object that the EU’s: creation of a European Digital Single Market (DSM), tightening of the EU-U.S. Data Protection Safe Harbor, and its aggressive enforcement of EU antitrust, privacy, and tax laws against Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, is protectionist, when America’s new FCC utility regulation of the Internet is a transparently protectionist American industrial policy to advantage America’s national champions in Silicon Valley.

The hypocrisy of urging other nations to “do as we say not as we do” has never been a winning trade negotiating strategy.

President Clinton’s 1997 “Framework for Global Electronic Commerce,” was inherently a global internet free trade vision, with the primary goals that “the private sector should lead” and “governments should avoid undue restrictions on electronic commerce.” The phenomenal Internet we know today is a result of that global-oriented vision.

In stark contrast, President Obama has called for an inherently nation-centric protectionist Internet vision in urging America’s FCC to impose the “strongest possible” utility regulation of America’s Internet, via a quasi-nationalization of America’s Internet infrastructure by reclassifying the Internet from a non-price regulated “information service” to a price-regulated “telecommunications” service under the “Title II Common Carriers” section of the 1934 Communications Act.

February 26th, the FCC is widely expected to make operative the President’s November statement of new American Internet policy in a partisan 3-2 vote.

How is Title II a protectionist Internet policy?

This is not only a domestic decision, but also a seminal trade and foreign policy decision.

By asserting the legal authority to change the legal status of the Internet in America to a “telecommunications” service, the FCC decision will effectively legally activate “telecommunications” trade treaty obligations for the Internet under the United Nations International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) constitution.

Specifically, ITU agreement ITU-T D.50 “recognizes the sovereign right of each State to regulate its telecommunications” as it determines.

Historically, ITU “telecommunications” regulation has long been a “sender party pays” economic model, where every country can set its own per-minute tariff for telephone calls coming into the country much like a nation can set a protectionist tariff on certain types of imports.

However, the phenomenal growth of Silicon Valley’s now dominant Internet companies has flowed directly from the Internet’s opposite “receiving party pays” economic model.

Receiving party pays” has been brilliantly re-branded in America as “net neutrality” and “innovation without permission” because ISPs and users inherently must implicitly subsidize dominant Internet companies’ substantial costs of distributing their highly-asymmetric streams of downstream Internet traffic. To illustrate, in the U.S. two companies, Netflix and Google-YouTube, comprise roughly half of all American Internet downstream traffic per Sandvine.

Thus the current free flow of global information that we know of as the Internet today is a direct result of the free trade arrangement of the “receiving party pays” model.

This lucrative model generates an enormous implicit digital trade surplus for America vis-à-vis the world because America’s Silicon Valley companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple dominate Internet products and services, and hence downstream Internet traffic, internationally.

Only in the U.S. does it make economic sense to define the Internet as “telecommunications” to mandate a “receiving party pays” model.

However for the roughly two hundred other countries in the world, the new powerful economic incentive is to legally define their national Internet traffic like America now has as “telecommunications.”

That way, under existing ITU agreement ITU-T D.50, they can legally replace their current Internet implicit “receiving party pays” model that generates large implicit digital trade deficits with the U.S., with a per-megabyte import tariff under the ITU’s “telecommunications” “sending party pays” model to create explicit, large, and highly-lucrative digital trade  surpluses at America’s and Silicon Valley’s expense – all while being able to say they are only doing what the U.S. is doing – looking out for their own nation’s economic interests.

This issue moved front and center this week after President Obama publicly accused the European Union of technology protectionism for pursuing a European Digital Single Market.

President Obama told Re/Code: “We have owned the internet. Our companies have created it, expanded it, perfected it in ways that they can’t compete. And oftentimes what is portrayed as high-minded positions on issues sometimes is just designed to carve out some of their commercial interests.

In sum, as the old adage says, those in glass houses should not throw stones.

America’s Title II Internet utility regulation to protect America’s domestic economic interests, will beget other countries imposing their own nationalistic Internet utility regulation to protect their own national interests.

Tellingly, the UK House of Lords is now recommending just that, i.e. that the UK regulate the UK Internet as a national utility.

Apparently the FCC doesn’t appreciate another relevant old adage here: look before you leap.

Categories: On the Blog

It’s an Ice Age for Sure

February 23, 2015, 1:53 PM

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire.
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate.
To say that for destruction ice Is also great.
And would suffice.

— Robert Frost, American poet.

Robert W. Felix borrowed from the poet Robert Frost for the title of his book, “Not by Fire, But by Ice”, first published in 1997 and devoted to the science of magnetic reversals and the Earth’s ice ages. I read it first in 2010 and was absolutely floored because Felix makes a very strong case for a reversal that would lead to a widespread extinction of life at some point in the future. In the near, more predictable future, he said the Earth was heading into a new ice age.

“What would happen if a magnetic reversal occurred right here?” asked Felix. “The same things that happened in the past. Earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, giant snowstorms, rising land, plummeting sea levels—you name it—tectonic activity would go bonkers.” Don’t believe him? Think about the disappearance of the dinosaurs some 65.5 million years ago.

The Earth had been in a cooling cycle that began in 1996 when the sun entered a cycle of reduced radiation. Such cycles were well known and most dramatically tied to the mini-ice age that occurred between 1300 and 1850. Solar observers had noticed many centuries ago that when there were few sunspots—magnetic storms—on the surface of the Sun, the Earth got colder.

This has become especially dramatic because, on February 17 a post on called for a discussion of the fact that “The Sun has gone quiet again during the weakest solar cycle in more than a century.” The post says, “If history is a guide, it is safe to say that weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a negative impact on global temperatures in the troposphere which is the bottom-most layer of Earth’s atmosphere—and where we all live.”

“There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first is known as the ‘Maunder Minimum’, named after solar astronomer Edward Maunder, and it lasted from 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the ‘Dalton Minimum’, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton and it lasted from 1780 to 1830.” Together they are referred to as the “Little Ice Age.”

There are quite a few scientists forecasting a new ice age. The last ice age began approximately 1.6 million years ago in the Pleistocene epoch. We are currently in the Holocene epoch that began about 11,000 years ago and is regarded as an interglacial period of general warmth.

In his book, “Dark Winter: How the Sun is Causing a 30-Year Cold Spell”, John L. Casey, a former White House national space policy advisor, says that whatever warming has occurred has ended as the result of “solar hibernation”, a term he applies to the reduction of energy output of the Sun. The “climate change” that is occurring is a long-term reduction in the Earth’s temperatures with, says Casey, “a high probability of increased earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.”

In “Cold Sun”, another book by Casey, his says that “The most likely outcome from this ‘solar hibernation’ will be widespread global loss of life and social, economic, and political disruption. You must prepare for this life-altering event now!”

In January 2012, Matt Ridley, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, noted that “The entire 10,000-year history of civilization has happened in an unusually warm interlude in the Earth’s recent history. Over the past million years, it has been as warm as this or warmer for less than 10% of the time, during 11 brief episodes known as interglacial periods.”

Those who kept warning of a “global warming” with dire results misinterpreted the climate. Ridley noted that “It’s striking that most inter-glacials begin with an abrupt warming, peak sharply, (and) then begin a gradual descent into cooler conditions.” That is what is occurring now.

None of this has anything to do with carbon dioxide, ozone, or any other element of the Earth’s atmosphere. It is entirely the result of the lower solar radiation of heat.

The United States should be taking steps to ensure a sufficient supply of electricity to cope with the lower temperatures, but has been wasting billions to support “renewable” energy, wind and solar, that is costly and ineffective. The U.S. Energy Department projects that solar power will make up 0.6 percent of total U.S. electricity generation in 2015. Wind power which is funded in part by taxpayer subsidies to stay in business has received $7.3 billion over the past seven years, but produces a minimal amount of electricity to justify its cost.

At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency’s “war on coal” has forced many plants providing electricity to close. A significant disruption of electricity over an extended period of time will cause many deaths due to the cold weather. It is inevitable.

At the same time, instead of providing a source of food, tons of corn are being turned into ethanol in the name of reducing carbon dioxide even though CO2 plays no role whatever in a “global warming” that is not happening.

It’s not just another typical winter. The U.S. and much of the northern hemisphere is experiencing increased cooling that is seen in record-breaking and record-setting new amounts of snow and ice. This is a trend tied to the Sun’s and the Earth’s cooling cycle.

That is of no concern to those who are using “global warming” and “climate change” in order to bring about a transformation in the global economic system from capitalism, the most effective creator of growth and wealth, to socialism, a pathetic, failed system of income redistribution controlled by a central government. Directed out of the United Nations, their absurd claims are supported by the media and many deluded politicians.

Is the U.S. government responding in a sensible way? No. When President Obama speaks of “climate change” he means “global warming.” The result over the past three decades has been the waste of billions for “research” and other schemes tied to this huge hoax.

Real climatologists, meteorologists, and scientists paying attention to both the past and to present events are forecasting more intense and longer winters—for now a Little Ice Age.

[Originally published at Warning Signs]

Categories: On the Blog

Name Your Enemy

February 23, 2015, 12:53 PM

“If you don’t call it something, you can’t connect the dots,” said Rudy Giuliani talking about ISIS. “If you can’t connect the dots, you can’t really combat it … you can’t have the battle of ideas … If you are going to debate it, you have to call it what it is.” The same can be said about the organized attack on fossil fuel development and use in America. If you don’t acknowledge a battle of ideas exists, you can’t connect the dots, and you can’t really combat it.

It has recently been revealed that Russia is laundering tens of millions of dollars through Bermuda, which the California-based Sea Change Foundation doles out to some of the most prominent and politically active anti-fossil fuel groups such as the Sierra Club and the Natural Resource Defense Council. Reports indicate that OPEC countries funded the anti-fracking movies Gasland and Promise Land. Of course, we know that billionaire activist Tom Steyer—with no guile—announced $100 million in the 2014 election cycle for candidates who opposed the Keystone pipeline.

Not only does the anti-fossil movement exist, it is organized and well-funded. It can also resort to extreme tactics—even violent ones known as “civil disobedience.” According to the Huffington Post (HP), the FBI has been looking into activists’ involvement in highway blockades that delayed northbound shipments of equipment to Canada’s oilsands. The report claims that, for example, an FBI agent and a local detective called on Herb Goodwin in Bellingham, WA, telling him: “We’re here to ask whether you’ll answer some questions for us about Deep Green Resistance”—a radical environmental movement that believes the biggest problem with the planet is human civilization itself and calls for “decisive ecological warfare” and “direct attacks against infrastructure.” Despite the possible intimidation, Goodwin says he won’t stop protesting. “He’s among the nearly 100,000 people who have signed a pledge to engage in civil disobedience, should the Obama administration approve the Keystone XL pipeline.”

A week after the HP story was published; Canada’s February 17 Globe and Mail featured this headline: “‘Anti-petroleum’ movement a growing security threat to Canada, RCMP say.” The article references a January 2014 leaked report put together to support Canada’s “strategy to ensure critical infrastructure (CI)” and to “be used to assist in the protection of Canada’s CI.” Amongst the report’s “key findings” are these points:

  • A growing, highly organized and well-financed anti-Canada petroleum movement consists of peaceful activists, militants and violent extremists who are opposed to society’s reliance on fossil fuels;
  • The anti-petroleum movement focuses on challenging the energy and environmental policies that promote the development of Canada’s vast petroleum resources;
  • Violent anti-petroleum extremists will continue to engage in criminal activity to promote their anti-petroleum ideology; and
  • These extremists pose a realistic criminal threat to Canada’s petroleum industry, its workers and assets, and to first responders.

While the above was written about Canada, the same could be said about the anti-petroleum movement in America—but we’ll never see a similar report. As Desmog Canada posted in response to the RCMP document: “The striking thing is that the U.S. has identified climate change as one of the greatest threats to national security, yet here in Stephen Harper’s Canada it is the people trying to stop climate change that are identified as the threat.”

Perhaps ISIS learned from the anti-petroleum movement. The report states: “The use of social media, including the use of live-streaming, provides the anti-petroleum movement the ability to bypass the traditional news media, to control and craft its message, and to promote a one-sided version of the actual events, leading to broadly based anti-petroleum opposition.” And, “the issues within the anti-petroleum movement are complex, divisive, controversial, and polarizing.” Sound familiar?

Obviously, you can find some ideologically driven, violent-extremist factions of the anti-petroleum movement, but you have to question why they do this, to reach what goal.

With Russia and the OPEC countries—which appear to be funding much of the activity—the answer is easy. They want to protect their turf, their market share. The new American energy abundance threatens their dominance—especially as we begin to repeal the crude-oil export ban, which will give our allies a friendly alternative for fuel.

But what about the others?

Each week as I write my weekly column, I call my mother—a former English teacher, a professional speaker, the author of more than forty books—and read her my draft. Early on, she’d repeatedly ask: “Why are they doing this? They are going to ruin America.” I’d have to concede that was the only answer you could conclude—especially for me, who focuses on this every single day.

But then the People’s Climate March took place in New York City and around the country. The marchers carried placards with slogans such as: “Fracking is a crime,” “Capitalism is the disease, socialism is the cure,” and “System change, not climate change.” Suddenly, the motives became perfectly clear. Because energy and freedom connect so closely, the anti’s attack fossil fuels first.

We see the fight playing out in the manmade climate-change debate, the anti-coal protests, the efforts to ban fracking, and the Keystone pipeline controversy.

Addressing the Keystone pipeline, Dave Barnett, special representative for the Pipeline and Gas Distribution Department of the United Association, told me that he has sat at the negotiating table across from representatives from the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council—just to name two. He was told: “We know that your Members at the United Association have the proper training to build safe pipelines and it’s not the safety of the pipelines we are really concerned about. It’s building an infrastructure project that will tie us to oil usage for the next 50 years that we oppose.” Then they went on to say: “It never was about the pipeline, it’s about the use of fossil fuels. Stopping the pipeline was just a way to stop the flow of oil.”

Due to the well-funded and organized anti-petroleum movement, aided by the media, the entire “green” narrative has become so embedded into the collective psyche, it may seem like America as we know it, is on the way to being brought down.

But it is not as dire as it may seem.

First, while vocal, the anti-petroleum movement represents a small percentage of the general population that self-identifies as “strongly liberal.”

Second, they are not as successful as they appear. While they have gotten some fracking/drilling bans passed, for example, state supreme courts continue to overturn those bans. We’ve seen this happen last year in Colorado, last month in New Mexico, and last week in Ohio. We will likely see the same results in Texas, regarding the local ban in Denton.

Undaunted, those opposed to pteroleum will now try to get their way by use of ballot measures. The automatic votes will come from the “strongly liberal”—who likely do not read this column. Readers of this column also represent a small percentage of the general population: those who care enough about what happens in America to educate themselves and be engaged in the issues. Most people sit in the middle—unaware and unengaged. But many of them will vote. The messaging they hear will influence who they vote for and how they vote.

Will voters hear the messages of the “strongly liberal” anti-fossil fuel movement—or, that of their educated and engaged friends who think more like they do? We fight in a battle of ideas that we can win.

Each week, I “connect the dots” through this news-based column. By using current news, I offer you talking points that you can use to share with your friends. For example, you can ask: Did you know that:

  • foreign countries are funding the anti-fossil fuel campaigns of environmentalists?
  • last week a third state shot down local fracking and/or drilling bans?
  • the Keystone pipeline has support of the majority of the population, except those who self-identify as “strongly liberal?”
  • Canada has identified the anti-petroleum movement as a violent threat to its security?

From there, you can share what you’ve learned. Each week I provide links to the research so you can back up your position with facts. This isn’t just a battle for fossil fuels, it is an ideological fight for America that must be turned around.

First, we have to name the enemy. Then, in this battle of ideas, we must commit to reaching out to family members, neighbors, and friends to educate and engage them. In this debate, let’s call it what it is.

Categories: On the Blog

10 Most Affluent Cities in the World: Macau and Hartford Top the List

February 23, 2015, 11:18 AM

The United States and Europe continue to dominate the list of strongest metropolitan areas (city) economies in the world, according to the Brookings Institution’s recently released Global Metro Monitor 2014. This is measured by gross domestic product per capita, adjusted for purchasing power parity (GDP-PPP). Brookings points out that this does not indicate personal income, but “proxies the average standard of living in an area.”

The Global Metro Monitor 2014 provides detailed ratings for the 300 largest metropolitan economies in the world, measured by gross domestic product adjusted for purchasing power parity. The list is defined by total size of the economy, with some cities with very high GDP-PPPs per capita, but small populations are excluded. For example, Midland, Texas, with the highest GDP-PPP per capita metropolitan area according to the United States by the Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis, is excluded.  Other cities, with large populations and low GDP-PPP s per capita were included, such as megacity Kolkata, with a GDP-PPP of $4,000, a fraction of the top 10 average of $77,000. Megacities such as Lagos, Dhaka and Kinshasa were excluded from the top 300, owing to their low GDP-PPPs per capita

According to data in the Global Metro Monitor website and report, 90 of the top 100 cities were in the United States or Europe in 2014, 68 in the United States and 20 in Europe. The US figure matches that of the previous Global Metro Monitor (2012), while Europe has fallen from 22 to 20 cities.

Macau: The Most Affluent City

Last year’s most affluent city, Hartford, was replaced by Macau, which, with Hong Kong is one of China’s two special economic regions. Brookings estimates Macau’s GDP-PPP per capita at $93,849, opening a substantial lead on Hartford of more than $10,000.

Macau’s economy has expanded rapidly the last decade, principally due to legalized gaming industry and related tourism. Macau displaced Las Vegas as the largest gaming center in 2006. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Macau’s gaming revenues had exploded to nearly seven times that of the Las Vegas Strip ($44.1 billion compared to $6.4 billion). Revenue declined, however, in 2014, partly due to China’s anti-corruption drive and competition from other growing East Asian centers, such as Singapore and the Philippines.

Macau is the one of the smallest cities in the Brookings 300, with a population of only 575,000. Only three other richest cities have populations less than 600,000 including Durham, North Carolina the smallest, ranked 12th, Pennsylvania’s capital, Harrisburg (with a core city that filed for bankruptcy), ranked 25th and Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, at ranked 37th.

Balance of the Top 10 Cities

As was the case last year, nine of the 10 largest GDP-PPP’s per capita were in the United States (Figure). Like Macau, the second and third ranking cities were also smaller than the average, a population of 4.7 million. Second ranked Hartford, with a GDP-PPP per capita of $83,100 has 1.1 million residents. Hartford’s economy strong in finance, especially insurance and benefits and is an important government center, as the capital of Connecticut.

San Jose, with 1.9 million residents, ranked third, with a GDP-PPP per capita of $82,400. San Jose is home to the larger part of the world’s leading technology center, suburban Silicon Valley. Tech and University hub Boston ranked fourth.

Leading energy hub Houston ranked as the fifth most affluent city, with a GDP-PPP per capita of nearly $75,000 (Note 1). With 6.4 million residents, Houston is the largest city among the top five. Among the top ten, only New York is larger.

Bridgeport, Connecticut, a metropolitan area adjacent to New York that includes suburban business centers such as Stamford, Westport and Greenwich is ranked 6th.

The balance of the top 10 also includes cities specializing in technology, finance and government. Number seven Washington has probably the world’s largest government complex   and has nurtured a huge technology center centered in the Virginia and Maryland suburbs. Seattle ranks eighth, continuing its historic leadership in the technology driven aerospace industry besides its emergence as one of leading information technology centers in the world.

San Francisco which includes part of the Silicon Valley in its suburbs (sharing with San Jose) and has a strong social media industry in its urban core, ranks 9th. The top 10 was rounded out by New York, perennially ranked as one of the two top global cities, along with London (see: Size is not the Answer: The Changing Face of the Global City, referred to as the Global Cities Report, described further in Note 2)

Additional Highlights

Europe:Unlike the United States, which placed 37 of its most affluent cities in the top 50 and 31 in the second 50, Europe’s 20 most affluent economies were concentrated in the second 50, with only six in the top 50. Comparatively small Edinburgh, cited above, was the most affluent, at 37th. Paris was ranked 40th most affluent by Brookings and 3rd in the Global Cites report, just ahead of London at 42nd, the perennial global city co-leader (which was ranked number one in the Global Cities Report).

Hong Kong:Along with Macau, China’s other special economic region, Hong Kong continued to be among the world’s most affluent, at 39th. The Global Cities Report ranked Hong Kong as the sixth Global City, with a GDP-PPP PPP higher than that of former its former imperial capital   London.

China: Perhaps most significantly, mainland China has begun to enter the top 100. Suzhou, partly exurban to Shanghai (Kunshan), now ranks 68th. Suzhou has been the recipient of considerable business park investment, including cooperative ventures with Singapore. China’s economic prosperity may be shifting toward the Yangtze Delta (which extends from Ningbo and Hangzhou, through Shanghai to Nanjing). Along with Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou and Nanjing now have GDP-PPP’s per capita exceeding $30,000. By contrast, among the large manufacturing centers of the Pearl River Delta, only Shenzhen exceeds a GDP-PPP of $30,000, while Guangzhou, Dongguan and Foshan are below that level (Note 2). According to a new Economist Intelligence Unit report, Jiangsu (which includes the urban corridor from Suzhou to Nanjing) now accounts for more manufacturing employment than any other province.

Surprisingly Low Rankings: Some cities that might have been expected to be among the world’s most affluent, ranked comparatively low. For example Tokyo, the world’s largest city, ranked fourth in the Global Cities Report, made it only to the third 50 in affluence. Seoul-Incheon, a burgeoning corporate and tech center, remained outside the top 100.

Canada’s largest city, Toronto managed only a ranking of 100, well below the Prairie behemoths of Calgary (11th) and Edmonton (23rd). Australia’s largest city, Sydney also barely made the top 100, at 95th, far below energy and commodities capital Perth (17th).

European cities with reputations for unusual prosperity also ranked lower than expected. Financial center Zurich was ranked 45th. Scandinavia’s most affluent city  was Stockholm (48th), followed by energy leader Oslo (62nd), Helsinki (87th) and Copenhagen, which failed to make the top 100 and ranked in the third 50. Singapore,which the Global Cities Report ranks fourth, is ranked 14th most affluent.

Evaluating City Performance

Cities grow as migrants are attracted by hope for better lives. This is as true in Africa and India as it is in Europe or the United States. Cities achieve their primary purpose when they produce a higher standard of living for their residents. Some cities do very well at this, as the Brookings data indicates, and some do less well. The Global Metro Monitor provides crucial information that can be used by national, regional and local officials to measure how well their policies are performing in improving living conditions in relation to both their own past and other cities.

Note 1: Purchasing power can vary greatly even within nations. Because of this, the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis has developed a regional price parities (RPP) program to adjust for metropolitan area costs of living. For example, in 2012, the unadjusted per capita income in San Jose was 30 percent above that of Houston. In the same year, the per capita income-RPP (or in international terms, the per capita income-PPP) in San Jose was just six percent above that of Houston, indicating cost of living at least 20 percent higher in San Jose.

Note 2:  Joel Kotkin was principal author of Size is not the Answer: The Changing Face of the Global City, which included contributing authors Ali Modarres, Aaron M. Renn and me. The report was jointly published by the Civil Service College of Singapore and Chapman University. The report is available here.

Note 3: The 2012 Global Metro Monitor ranked some cities of China higher, though Note 19 expressed concerns about population data for some cities, which might have excluded migrant populations (the “floating population”). There are no such difficulties in the 2014 Global Metro Monitor.

[This first appeared in New Geography]

Categories: On the Blog

Children Will be Further Left Behind if States Don’t Grab Education Reins

February 23, 2015, 11:12 AM

In accordance with the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, there is no lawful role for the federal government in education, hence: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

From ESEA to Common Core

Following the dictates of the 2nd amendment, the federal government has never had a primary role in the provision, administration, or funding of education. This all changed in 1965 when President Johnson passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which enormously expanded the federal government’s oversight of U.S. schools.  Historically reauthorized every five years, ESEA continued to expand with new mandates and billions of dollars in new spending.

About ESEA: Roughly 10% of the funding spent on K-12 education by the U.S. Department of Education — largely funneled through ESEA — goes to determine policies that impact everything from teacher certification, school assessment schedules, the types of program funding is spent on, and how much schools must spend in order to access federal funds.

With President George W. Bush came a bipartisan expansion and the renaming of ESEA to what we know as “No Child Left Behind.”  No Child Let Behind dictates that by the 2014-15 school year all students will have reached proficiency, with penalties for schools that do not meet the program’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).  Nearly half of all American schools failed to meet AYP in 2012.  Read here about what NCLB requires of students and teachers.

It was No Child Left Behind that set the stage for Common Core.  Granted, NCLB did allow the Secretary of Education to waive some of its rather demanding provisions if a state requested relief, but the Obama administration went further by offering its own waivers in 2010 as an incentive (some say bribe) to adopt the administration’s preferred policies.  Forty-three states were receptive to the administration’s waiver that exempted them from the onerous requirement of NCLB to meet its Adequate Yearly Progress requirement.  Accordingly, the states agreed — sight unseen and in exchange for the waivers — to adopt standards that are “common to a significant number of states.”

Guess what?  The only standards that satisfied this commonality requirement are the Common Core standards.  As such states could continue to operate under NCLB and subject their schools to a cascade of penalties for failing to make AYP, or they could accede to the Obama administration’s wishes and adopt Common Core under which the federal government is dictating what is being taught in schools across the country.

U.S. House and Senate responses for re-authorization of No Child Left Behind lack boldness

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is up for re-authorization in the next two of weeks.  A proposal was passed out of the House Education and Workforce Committee on Wednesday, February 11th, for the re-authorization of No Child Left Behind.  The House version (an amended version of the Student Success Act), represents the largest federal law governing K-12 education policy with all the mandates that come with it.

Although the amended SSA that passed the House differs little from the proposal introduced in 2012 by Rep. John Kline (R-Minn) and could be considered a good first step, it is thought that given the new 2015 makeup of Congress, bolder conservative alternatives can be realized to improve NCLB.

Not unlike many proposal that originate in Congress, the existing House “Student Success Act” now under consideration for re-authorizing NCLB is a lengthy one at 616 pages long.  But despite its lengthy presentation, the proposal fails to take the necessary steps to genuinely limit federal intervention in education.  But is it even realistic to believe that a proposal 616 pages long would somehow reduce federal intervention in education?

The House proposal likewise maintains elevated levels of spending and does little to actually eliminate programs.  Although the House Committee does maintain that the bill consolidates more than 65 ineffective, duplicative and unnecessary programs into a Local Academic Flexible Grant, as so often happens in bill-writing, the meaning of words used do matter.  In this case spending for duplicate and unnecessary program are hidden by being lumped together (consolidated) into a larger umbrella grant.

The House “Student Success Act” reauthorization discussion draft would spend $23 billion annually, which is roughly what is currently spent under No Child Left Behind. Specifically, the Student Success Act authorizes:

  • Title I (Funding for low-income districts) $16,245,163,000
  • Title II (Teacher Preparation) $2,788,356,000
  • Title III (Parental Engagement) $2,718,934,000
  • Title IV (Impact Aid) $1,288,603,000
  • Title V (Indian Education) $198,145,000
  • Total $23,239,201,000 (annually from 2016 – 2021)

In the Senate the HELP Committee, chaired by Lamar Alexander (R-TN), has produced an ESEA re-authorization discussion draft in the hope of gathering more support, which most likely will provide even fewer reductions in federal intervention. Not surprising is that the White House has already denounced the House produced “Student Success Act” because it shifts control from the federal to state levels.

In substance the House and Senate proposals mirror each other more than they differ.  Not good is that both proposals fail to sufficiently reduce federal intervention in education and therefore miss a golden opportunity to advance conservative principles. Despite the evident flaws, the committees in both the House and the Senate have expressed a desire to quickly reauthorize the NCLB law.

Ballooning spending and a bloated federal bureaucracy restrict education progress 

How is it that this nation spends more money per student than any other country in the world except for Luxembourg, and yet scores below the Slovak Republican and the Russian Federation, both of which have a vastly lower standard of living and spend but a fraction of what this nation spends on education.  In 2012 alone the American taxpayers footed education to the tune of $25 billion.  And what about achievement results?  They have remained flat or have increased only slightly.

Not only is educational spending ballooning, but so is the bureaucracy that oversees education in Washington, D.C.  The federal Department of Education employs some 4,200 people.  At the state level an average of 540 individuals are employed in each state’s education agencies.  Need I say more about the cost factor of federal intervention in education?  Title I, a section of the Elementary and Secondary Act passed by President Johnson in 1965, costs states and school districts 7.8 million man-hours every year to administer.

Suggested strategies for legislators to employ in re-authorization of NCLB

Following are suggested strategies for taking the federal government out of the education business when No Child Left Behind comes up for re-authorization in the next two weeks.

  1. An A-PLUS Approach
  2. Reduction of Federal Footprint.
  3. True Title 1 Portability.
  4. Elimination of Federal Mandates.
  5. Strengthen Prohibitions on National Standards and Testing.

The A-Plus Approach by itself would enable states to lead on education reform by allowing them to completely opt out of NCLB and then decide how their education dollars would be spent. Thus, all of a state’s federal funding authorized under NCLB could be used for any other lawful education purpose deemed beneficial.

It goes without reason that those interested in restoring state and local control of education need to advance genuine program elimination, as well as commensurate reductions in spending.  Policies must be enacted that put education on the path toward restoring state and local control of education,  so options are offered to entitle parents.  This would include making Title l dollars portable to public and private schools of choice.

Getting engaged at local level

In a message to U.S. House and Senate members, your present proposals fail to get the government out of the education business.  Instead, bold reforms are needed that are missing from your current legislative efforts to deal with No Child Left Behind. Policymakers should empower states to completely exit the 600-page law .  A half-century of federal meddling in education has produced very little except for growth in Washington bureaucracy at the expense of parents and local control.  Evidence accumulated over the last five decades attest to the ineffectiveness of federal government intervention in improving educational outcomes, over that of policy makers at the state and local levels.   NCLB is everything that’s wrong with the federal government’s involvement in education.

Categories: On the Blog

NOAA AND NASA-GISS, ‘You Have Done Enough’

February 22, 2015, 4:38 PM

On January 16, 2015, Associated Press Science Writer Seth Borenstein published a story titled “The heat is on; NOAA, NASA say 2014 warmest year on record.” Within days of this publication information was cited that NASA and NOAA data showed 2014 global temperatures weren’t statistically different from the years 2005 and 2010.

Associated Press Science Writer Seth Borenstein wrote a February 19 article titled “U. S. winter has been a tale of two nations” in which NOAA said January 2015 was the second warmest January in history behind 2007.

Further citations of NOAA and NASA-GISS temperatures by Science Writer Borenstein include: “Warming Earth heading for hottest year on record,” “NOAA:  Globe sets 5th hottest-month record of 2014,” and “Global warming makes for hottest June ever.” In response to Seth Borenstein’s December 2, 2014 article “Hotter, weirder:  How climate change has changed Earth,” Paul Homewood wrote the article “Educating Seth Borenstein” which refutes claims of wilder weather, hotter temperatures, rising oceans, and reduced sea ice.

The land surface temperature data used by NOAA and NASA is subject to errors in measurements at temperature stations that were rural 100 years ago and are now in urban areas due to population growth.  This is called the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE) which results in local temperature increase due to accumulations of concrete and asphalt.  A more accurate means of measuring global temperatures is by satellites that map most of the earth’s surface.  The influences of UHIE are small due to urban areas being such a small portion of the earth’s area.

Professors John Christy and Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama (Huntsville) post global temperature data for the period from December 1979 to present.  Their data is shown as a temperature anomaly which is the difference between measured temperatures and the 30-year average temperature from 1981 to 2010.  The three warmest annual temperatures from 1979 were 0.420 degree C. for 1998, 0.400 for 2010, and 0.275 for 2014.  Over the 204 months that span 1998 to 2014, 50 months were higher than the corresponding month in 2014.  Clearly 2014 was not the warmest year in the period of satellite temperature measurements from 1980 to 2014. 

Satellite temperature data for January 2015 was 0.35 degrees C.  Temperatures for 1998 was 0.47, 2007 was 0.42, 2010 was 0.56, and 2013 was 0.51.  Clearly January 2015 was fifth warmest in the 37 years of satellite measurements.

The satellite data shows essentially a pause in global warming since 1998 or a period of 17 years.  During this period atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increased the highest rate (2 parts per million per year) in thousands of years.

One of the sources of surface temperature data is the United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) which gives temperature data in the contiguous United States.  Walter Dnes wrote an essay “USHCN Monthly Temperature Adjustments” which gives references  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 that describe in detail monthly adjustments to USHCN data from 1872-to-present.  These adjustments made present temperatures warmer, earlier temperatures cooler, and eliminated the 1930s period of heat waves and droughts.

In the United States there has been no media attention to global temperature adjustments and the population assumes all news reports true.  Reporters take advocacy roles carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels causes global warming.

The United Kingdom has been exceptional in reporting news of bogus temperature data.  British journalist James Delingpole wrote the January 30, 2015 article “FORGET CLIMATEGATE:  THIS ‘GLOBAL WARMING’ SCANDAL IS MUCH BIGGER” which points out the world’s three surface data sources for global temperatures have adjusted their raw data.   The sources are NASA-GISS, NOAA which maintains the dataset known as the Global Historical Climate Network, and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit and Met Office data records known as Hadcrut.   Mr. Delingpole found no satisfactory reasons for temperature adjustments.

The British “The Global Warming Policy Foundation” sends newsletters around the world to inform the public about news regarding global warming and attempts at mitigation.  Its February 9, 2015 newsletter The Biggest Science Scandal Ever refers to three recent publications about adjustments to global temperature data:

The first article is “The Fiddling With Temperature Data Is The Biggest Science Scandal Ever” by Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph, 8 February 2015.  Mr. Booker points out temperature data in the Arctic were adjusted to eliminate warming 75 years ago that caused greater ice melting than seen today.

The second article by Paul Homewood “Temperature Adjustments Transform Arctic Climate History” Not A Lot Of People Know That, 4 February 2015 describes in detail temperature adjustments made to Arctic temperature stations by NASA-GISS.  Almost every temperature measuring station from Greenland in the west to the middle of Siberia in the east was altered to eliminate strong warming in the early 1940s followed by cooling.   This provided NASA-GISS with argumenta global warming takes place today from unprecedented Arctic ice melting.

The third article “Globally Averaged Land Surface Temperatures, 1900-2014 (GHCN) Sea Level Info, 9 February 2015  by Dan Burton describes arguments by Dr. Kevin Cowtan that NOAA’s adjustments are correct are in fact wrong.  Examining Dr. Cowtan’s own data that he claimed inconsequential adjustments showed the warming from 1900 to 2014 was increased by 35 percent.

For another point of view of the controversy over global warming, the Global Warming Policy Foundation published a paper February 10, 2015 by Bernie Lewins “Herbert Lamb and The Transformation Of Climate Science” which re-examined the legacy of the father of British climatology Hubert Lamb (1913-1997).  “After leading and establishing historical climatology during the 1960s, Hubert Lamb became the founding Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (CRU). What is not widely known is that, in contrast to current research directions at CRU, its founding director was an early and vocal climate sceptic.  Against the idea that greenhouse gas emissions were (or would soon be) noticeably warming the planet, Lamb raised objections on many levels. ‘His greatest concern was not so much the lack of science behind the theory,’ Mr. Lewin said, ‘it was how the growing preoccupation with man-made warming was distorting the science.’”

The winter of 2015 is becoming one of the coldest and greatest snow-laden winters in United States history with global warming alarmists still maintaining global warming taking place.  The mainstream media supports this claim.  “Disgraced NBC news anchor Brian Williams said it is “difficult to reconcile in the dead of winter,” when he reported on Jan. 16, the misleading claim that 2014 was the warmest year on record.”

Associated Press Science Writer Seth Borenstein has been the source of NOAA and NASA-GISS temperature data fed to the general public.  In light of adjustments to global temperature data that allowed some reporters to cite 2014 the warmest year in recorded history, it is fitting reporter Seth Borenstein be nominated for the Brian Williams 2015 Award For Accuracy in Science Reporting.

Advocates for energy policies to mitigate non-existent global warming caused by carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels such as President Obama’s Climate Action Plan use global temperature data as the main argument for their actions.   It is senseless to use such questionable data for making decisions that have economic costs of trillions of dollars and lead to lower living standards for those in the United States.  Of possibly even greater consequences are these policies condemn those living in poor countries to perpetual poverty.  It was abundant, cheap fossil fuels of coal, oil, and natural gas that uplifted developed nations from the drudgery, misery, and shortened lifespans of the eighteenth century and earlier.

Perhaps the best response to the falsification of global temperatures is the June 9, 1954 words of attorney Joseph Welch during the 30th day of the McCarthy-Army hearings in which Senator Joseph McCarthy unjustly accused Americans of being dangerous Communists.  Mr. Welch said, “You have done enough.  Have you no sense of decency, Sir?”  Within months of Joseph Welch’s comment, Senator McCarthy was disgraced and ruined.  This hypocrisy of false global temperature data to push the end of fossil fuel use must end.

Congress should hold hearings to determine the veracity of global temperature data. The nation should not waste money having two different agencies collecting global temperature data. NASA-GISS should be eliminated and NASA returned to its mission of studying aeronautics and space exploration.  Those involved with promoting advocacy over science and altering temperature data should suffer consequences.

A hundred years from now, historians will look back on the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and wonder if a universal madness had overcome the planet. The numerous environmental groups, like fleas on a dog, promoting burning fossil fuels caused catastrophic global warming will have some soul-searching explaining to do.  Politicians who succumbed to the same reasoning will suffer a similar fate.

Categories: On the Blog

Long, Cold Winter Makes Senator Look Like a Fool

February 20, 2015, 4:03 PM

This year’s long, cold winter is making the U.S. Senate’s top global warming alarmist, liberal Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, eat his words and play the part of a fool.

Just last spring Whitehouse told a Brown University audience that global warming is making winters shorter. Not only is Mother Nature proving Whitehouse wrong, she is also inducing Rhode Islanders into wishing Whitehouse had been right. Whitehouse telling Rhode Islanders that the Ocean State needs longer, colder winters can’t be playing too well with Rhode Islanders right now.

Also last spring, Whitehouse theatrically posed in a New Hampshire ski and snowboard shop and claimed global warming is negatively impacting snowfall and New England skiing. “Clearly, when people go to New Hampshire they think of skiing. They think of going camping and hiking. They think of maple syrup and they think of moose. They think of the shoreline and they think of lakes. Every single one of them is being affected by what’s happening,” said Whitehouse. Granite Staters will beg to differ.

The ongoing snow and cold in Rhode Island and across the nation are part of a long-term pattern documented by climate scientists. The Rutgers University Global Snow Lab, for example, documents a 45-year trend of increasing winter snow cover throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Whitehouse failed to mention this while posing at the ski and snowboard shop.

U.S. winter temperatures are also in a long-term cooling trend. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data show winter temperatures have cooled by more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1995. Similarly, annual U.S. temperatures have been falling for at least the past decade.

Will Whitehouse now issue a public retraction and apology for his foolish global warming claims? Knowing the junior senator from Rhode Island’s propensity for self-serving politicking, don’t bet on it.

Categories: On the Blog

Opinion Poll Shows Climate Change Matters (Sort of)

February 20, 2015, 2:12 PM

A new poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University, and Resources for the Future sheds more heat than light on the public’s attitudes towards climate change.

The poll is being publicized because it found a sizable number of Republicans indicated they were concerned about climate change. Just one problem: Previous polls have shown the same thing. Nearly everyone, Democrat or Republican, is concerned about the possible effects of climate change. The important point is everyone has different evaluations of the danger it poses and the best responses to it.

After more than two decades of hearing nothing about climate change except radical environmental activists’ hype, fear-mongering, and misinformation parroted by a compliant media complex, it is little wonder most of the public believes the changing climate is due to human action and will be bad for future generations. Belief, however, doesn’t make claims true.

For instance, climate models and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) say temperature should climb right along with the rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, yet for the past two decades, CO2 emissions have risen steadily while temperatures have held steady.

Alarmists’ models say we should see more intense hurricanes, yet for nearly a decade, the United States has experienced far below the average number of hurricanes making landfall. Sea-level rise has slowed, polar bear numbers have increased, the Antarctic ice sheet has set new records, and even the Arctic is back to average ice levels for the decade. All of these trends fully contradict IPCC’s predictions.

In addition to the limitations of what the Times poll tells us about the public’s views of climate change, it suffers from a glaring weakness: It does not measure the intensity of response or relative importance of global warming compared with other possible issues.

Ask the public about almost any public policy issue frequently in the headlines, and poll respondents will say it is important: immigration, clean air, education, crime, the economy, terrorism, jobs, and retirement are all important topics, according to the polls. What we really need to know, however, is how important each issue is relative to other matters of concern. In a world of limited resources and limited voter attention, government must concentrate its efforts on what the public is most concerned about and what will motivate them when they go to the polls.

On this question, poll after poll says climate change consistently ranks at or near the bottom on the public’s list of concerns. For instance, a United Nations poll surveying more than 7 million respondents from 195 countries asked participants to rank 16 priorities. A quality education ranked first and “Action Taken on Climate Change” ranked dead last, receiving 300,000 fewer votes than “Access to Telephone and Internet,” which finished 15th on the list.

U.S. polls likewise show concern about climate change lags every other important issue, including other environmental issues such as clean air and clean water. This is true for both Republicans and a majority of Democrats. People may be worried about climate, but they are far more concerned about many other things with more direct impact on their lives. This is why when election time comes, a wise politician, except maybe in a few bluest of the blue liberal political enclaves, will focus more on jobs, the economy, crime, national security, education, retirement, or almost any other topic except global warming.

The New York Times poll isn’t completely worthless, however. Consistent with the results of other polls examining the public’s views on climate change, the Times poll found the public wants to fight climate change only if it can be done for free or very little cost. An overwhelming 74 percent of the public rejected tax increases on electricity use to encourage people to conserve to prevent climate change. Sixty-three percent also rejected higher gasoline taxes to fight climate change.

The public clearly believes fighting climate change is a good idea, unless we have to pay for it. We can debate the causes and consequences of climate change, but no one can seriously pretend significant efforts to control Earth’s climate, if it is even possible, will be cheap.

Let the public and the politicians ponder that.

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Congressman @PeterRoskam (R-IL): Civil Asset Forfeiture

February 20, 2015, 1:16 PM

Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) joins Budget & Tax News managing editor Jesse Hathaway to talk about the issue of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) use of civil asset forfeiture laws to seize innocent citizens’ assets, based on suspicions that they really are financial criminals.

Roskam tells the stories of how dairy farmers, gun store owners, and other small business owners have ran afoul of the IRS’ bully tactics, and explains how he forced IRS commissioner John Koskinen to apologize for his agency’s long-running practice of seizing people’s money without first obtaining criminal convictions, or proof of wrongdoing.

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

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Weekly: Arizona House Panel Rejects Common Core

February 20, 2015, 10:16 AM

If you don’t visit Somewhat Reasonable and the Heartlander digital magazine every day, you’re missing out on some of the best news and commentary on liberty and free markets you can find. But worry not, freedom lovers! The Heartland Weekly Email is here for you every Friday with a highlight show.

Subscribe to the email today, and read this week’s edition below.

Oregon Governor Resigns Over ‘Green’ Scandal
H. Sterling Burnett, The Heartland Institute
The greenest governor in the U.S., four-term Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), resigned on Wednesdaywhen his intimate and covert relationships with environmental advocacy groups and renewable energy companies were exposed. Will more liberal elected officials be forced to resign as similar scandals emerge in other states? READ MORE


Is America Still on Hayek’s ‘Road to Serfdom’?
Richard Ebeling, for Somewhat Reasonable
Short answer: Yes. Heartland Policy Advisor Richard Ebeling explains how a century of central-government planning by our betters in the United States government “carries within it a loss of personal freedom and choice, and undermines the human spirit of creative thought and self-responsibility from which have come all the great accomplishments of mankind.”READ MORE


Heartland’s Fault: Arizona House Panel Rejects Common Core
Arizona is tearing down its Common Core standards and returning education policy decision-making back where it belongs: closer to parents and school boards. This development has angered a reporter who witnessed the procedures in the Arizona legislature week. Heartland Research Fellow Heather Kays was among those whose testimony was vital to the rejection of Common Core in the Grand Canyon State.READ MORE


Featured Podcast: Lord Christopher Monckton, Part 1
Christopher Monckton, the Viscount of Brenchley, is so informed and entertaining, we needed to split the podcast in two to get it all in. In Part 1, Heartland’s H. Sterling Burnett talks with Lord Monckton about the most recent developments in the climate change debate and how he became among the most prominent, visible, and vocal climate skeptics on the planet. READ MORE



Join Us at CPAC!
The Heartland Institute is once again cosponsoring the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), February 25–28 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland (just across the river from Washington, DC). Come hear candidates for the Republican nomination for president, as well as the usual stellar line-up of America’s smartest conservatives and libertarians. Be sure to stop by Heartland’s booth and meet Heartland staff, too! Our awesome t-shirts are first-come, first-serve, and will go fast!


Hating Tobacco More than Helping Smokers
Brad Rodu, for Somewhat Reasonable
Why does the National Institutes of Health stubbornly oppose electronic cigarettes, which are much less harmful than tobacco cigarettes? Because the agency is staffed by zealots who throw reason and science aside to an ideologically driven quest to achieve a “tobacco-free” utopia. READ MORE


Weather Bulletin #7: Weather: 1, Climate Alarmists: 0
This winter has been brutal, rivaling last year, which was the coldest and snowiest many people have ever experienced. And it’s not just Americans and Canadians feeling the winter blues: Winter’s icy grip has led to a death rate three times the norm in Great Britain. H. Sterling Burnett delivers the latest weather report. READ MORE


Connecticut Sweet on Tax Hikes
Jeff Reynolds, The Heartlander
A new bill introduced in Connecticut aims to discourage junk food consumption by taxing it more, yet fatten the treasury for childhood obesity programs, higher-ed scholarships, and other spending. It can’t do both, so expect both fatter kids and more bloated spending.READ MORE


Britain’s National Health Service Getting Sicker Every Day
Linda Gorman, for the Heartlander
In December and January more than 7,000 surgeries in Britain were canceled due to lack of beds and NHS waiting times for cancer treatment are the highest in six years. Some 80 percent of English hospitals are said to be running a deficit, and hospital administrators say additional budget cuts will mean they can no longer “guarantee safe and effective care.” Is America going to catch the same disease? READ MORE


Enjoying Low Gas Prices? Don’t Get Too Used to Them
Justin Haskins, in Human Events
American motorists are enjoying some of the lowest gas prices since President Barack Obama took office. But politicians in both parties think you’re enjoying too much of a good thing and want to hike gasoline taxes. So far, Republican leaders are holding firm against this raid on the wallets of middle America. READ MORE


Invest in the Future of Freedom!
Are you considering 2015 gifts to your favorite charities? We hope The Heartland Institute is on your list. Preserving and expanding individual freedom is the surest way to advance many good and noble objectives, from feeding and clothing the poor to encouraging excellence and great achievement. Making charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations dedicated to individual freedom is the most highly leveraged investment a philanthropist can make.

Click here to make a contribution online, or mail your gift to The Heartland Institute, One South Wacker Drive, Suite 2740, Chicago, IL 60606. To request a FREE wills guide or to get more information to plan your future please visit My Gift Legacy or contact Gwen Carver at 312/377-4000 or by email at

Categories: On the Blog

The Bloom is Quickly Fading for Renewable Energy in America and Europe! Finally!

February 19, 2015, 6:27 PM

Increasingly over the past decade both federal and state governments have given special subsidies to, provided tax advantages for and mandated the use of solar energy as a solution to environmental concerns and the need for greater domestic energy independence. A damming report from the Taxpayers Protection Alliance details the enormous cost to American’s of the government’s obsessive solar power push. A few of the tidbits are below

  • A Government Accountability Office review of federal renewable energy-related initiatives for fiscal year 2010 discovered at least 345 different federal initiatives supporting solar energy. The programs are managed by nearly 20 agencies and support more than 1,500 individual projects.
  • Over the past five years, the federal government spent an estimated $150 billion subsidizing solar power and other renewable energy projects.
  • Preferable tax treatment given to solar and other alternative electricity initiatives cost Americans nearly $9 billion annually, according to the IRS.
  • State and local governments increasingly subsidize solar energy. Personal tax credits related to solar products are available in 20 states, 18 states maintain corporate tax credit and deduction programs, and 14 states and Puerto Rico offer taxpayer-funded grants to support solar electricity.

And what as all this largesse bought? Despite the subsidies and mandates solar will make up only 0.6 percent of total U.S. electricity generation in 2015, according to the Energy Information Administration. Worse still, government efforts to promote solar energy have resulted in waste and fraud and diverted public and private resources from energy resources that hold more promise. For instance, “Government-backed solar boondoggles are rampant and include such devastating examples as the Solyndra loan, which cost taxpayers $535 million and left 1,100 employees without a job, and the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California, which, despite reaping $1.6 billion in subsidies, produces electricity at a cost three times higher than traditional power and has requested $539 million in additional direct handouts from the federal government.”

The word on renewables is not much better out of Europe. One recent report showed despite generous support that dwarfs the subsidies given to the wind industry in America, Germany’s wind farms are failing to deliver much power. The country has more than 25,000 turbines with a rated capacity of nearly 40,000 megawatts. However, over the course of 2014 they delivered just 14.8 percent of their rated capacity – or less than 6,000 megawatts, the amount of power one could get from just six coal fired or nuclear power stations. And, of course, unlike the power from the coal power or nuclear power plants, the power delivered by the wind turbines was so volatile and unpredictable that it could not be counted upon to provide baseload power.

With numbers like this, it is little wonder why windpower is quickly falling out of favor in Europe. Across the EU green energy subsidy programs have been slashed causing the rate of wind farm installations to plummet. The Financial Times reports new wind installations fell precipitously in much of Europe: by 90 per cent in Denmark; 84 per cent in Spain (Europes largest wind power market) and 75 per cent in Italy. The fact that the decline in new wind farm construction comes as subsidies have been slashed is not a coincident and shows just how “not ready for prime-time” wind power still is despite 40 years of support. Wind still can’t compete on price, and may never be able to compete on reliability with the much abused and criticized electric power staples — coal, natural gas and nuclear.

Categories: On the Blog

Robbing Your Wallet: Low Gas Prices Mean Big Tax Increases

February 19, 2015, 3:12 PM

When President Barack Obama first took office in January 2009, thenational average gas price was $1.95, but over most of Obama’s presidency, prices have risen continuously, averaging well over $3 per gallon through much of 2014.

Beginning in the fall of 2014, however, something truly amazing for American consumers occurred: Gas prices suddenly started to fall, and at a rapid pace. According to AAA’s Fuel Gage Report, gas prices in September 2014 averaged $3.39 per gallon, but by January 2015, gas prices had plummeted to below $2.20, with many states like Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas seeing gas prices fall below $2 for the first time in nearly five years.

Gasoline at the pump isn’t the only energy source with significant price declines. Natural gas prices have also fallen at notable rates, and Trevor Sikorski, head of natural gas for Energy Aspects, told Bloomberg natural gas prices could fall by as much as 30 percent in 2015.

Even though national gas prices have only been under $3 per gallon for less than five months, governments across the country have already started to propose major energy tax increases in an effort to find an easy way to alleviate budget shortfalls.

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced his proposal to impose a 5 percent severance tax plus a 4.7 cents per thousand feet of volume on natural gas extraction, a plan he says could raise $1 billion in fiscal year 2017.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) announced in her annual State of the State address she would be willing to support increasing her state’s gas tax by 10 cents per gallon if lawmakers in the legislature agree to lower income taxes.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the Republican leader of the Senate Transportation Committee, told Fox News Sunday that an increase of the federal gas tax was being considered in Congress. “I don’t think we take anything off the table at this point,” Thune said.

Politicians see gas taxes as an easy way to fill government coffers, and lower prices have made what would have been an extremely unpopular tax six months ago a seemingly reasonable proposal today.

However, tax increases based on sudden price drops are foolish and could lead to unnecessary hardship for consumers in the future if prices suddenly increase again, a possibility that’s more likely than many lawmakers are willing to admit.

Perhaps the greatest reason for falling energy prices is that many oil and natural gas producers around the world like Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have uncharacteristically refused to cut production in circumstances that have traditionally led to production cuts in the past.

Continued high rates of production from foreign producers, combined with increased production over the past few years from U.S. oil and natural gas companies, is helping consumers today, but these actions will not continue for long.

U.S. shale producers have already started to cut production, and as soon as OPEC feels more comfortable with the global energy market, it will begin cutting production again as well. Prices will go back up again, and consumers will be stuck with similar energy prices from one year ago plus a new round of energy taxes.

Some politicians say energy taxes like those proposed by Wolf in Pennsylvania are aimed at energy producers, so consumers will likely avoid having to pay any additional costs. This, however, is a complete fiction.

Oil and natural gas companies have been hit hardest by falling energy prices, as evidenced by falling stock market values. Exxon Mobil’s (NYSE: XOM) stock price has fallen by 13 percent since August 2014 andChesapeake Energy’s (NYSE: CHK) price has fallen by more than 30 percent since mid-summer.

The idea that energy companies who have already experienced major revenue declines will gladly bear the burden of additional taxes is absurd. Consumers—not oil and gas companies—will be responsible for paying additional taxes once prices rise again. That is, unless voters stand firm against what will certainly be destructive government intervention and remind their legislators that just six months ago, the national average gas price was over $3 per gallon.

[Originally published at Human Events]


Categories: On the Blog

Why U.S Education No Longer Needs the Government

February 19, 2015, 2:54 PM

At the end of the 19th century, when most communities in the United States were still built around agrarian economies and the average American spent most of his or her day working in a factory, mill, or farm, government-run public education made sense.

Many rural communities couldn’t afford to create an advanced education system on their own, and private schools were scarce, costly, and largely unnecessary for the day-to-day lives of most people.

The necessity of public education increased as the nation’s economy changed; the United States of the 20th century required a more educated society—a need that has only grown as the country’s economy has become increasingly focused on international trade and providing services rather than manufacturing and manual labor.

At the beginning of the government-run education era, there weren’t any institutions outside of the government that could realistically put together the kind of infrastructure needed to educate the masses, especially the growing class of European immigrants and the children of rural towns. Most parents were uneducated in these parts of the country, so the idea communities could educate themselves without wealth or government guidance is unlikely.

Although the bureaucratic system actually put into place was never really an effective solution, it was better than the structures that had existed before, and it’s reasonable to argue that government-run education may have been necessary.

Now that the overwhelming majority of Americans are educated and technology has made the knowledge of the world accessible to virtually anyone anywhere, what justification exists for the disaster that is the current government-run education system? Certainly communities should still continue to pool collective resources (taxes) so that every child has access to education, but why does education have to be provided locally? Why must parents in failing, decrepit school districts be forced to send their children to these abysmal institutions when productive schools are often located in nearby districts?

The old bureaucratic education model is as outdated as riding in a horse and buggy. In fact, the communities that still utilize that mode of public transportation, such as the Amish, don’t even use government-run education!

Technology is one of the key reasons the nation is ready to move beyond the ancient government-run education model. The rise of the Internet allows the very best educators and innovators to educate millions of people at the click of a button, and for a fraction of the cost of the current government-run system.

In their book Rewards: How to use rewards to help children learn – and why teachers don’t use them well, authors Herbert J. Walberg and Joseph Bast explain in detail the many advantages technology provides homeschooling parents, private schools, and charter schools.

“Digital learning stands on its own or adds great blended value because it can adapt to the capacity and speed of individual learners, provide minute-by-minute feedback on learning progress, and provide rewards suitable for individual learners,” Walberg and Bast wrote. “It is similar to an imaginary inexhaustible, highly skilled tutor.”

Numerous studies show various programs developed by education experts can significantly improve students’ performance. For instance, a recent report from the Texas Education Agency shows Texas’ Think Through Math (TTM) web-based instructional program for grades 3 through students studying algebra significantly improves performance outcomes for students. The average student using TTM experienced an improvement of 17 percentage points.

Government-run schools, contrary to their private and charter school counterparts, are bound to complicated and cumbersome union agreements, and implementing innovative education programs can be virtually impossible as a result. In many states, bad teachers cannot be fired for poor performance alone, and pay increases are typically automatic and based on years worked rather than performance.

As is the case in virtually every other situation, free markets produce better results than government programs. When parents have the power to decide where their children go to school, schools utilize technology and cutting-edge strategies to produce better results and earn a higher reputation. Bad teachers are fired and good teachers are given raises. When an education program built by experts 1,000 miles away is more effective than a local teacher’s lesson plan, the more effective strategy wins out. In short, whatever works best becomes the focus of the school, and schools with nothing to offer disappear the same way a failing business would in almost any other market.

Technology has ushered in a new revolution in how people live, learn, and connect with the world. Why shouldn’t our children receive the benefits of modern innovation? Governments have proven they are incapable of consistently providing a quality education at the same level as emerging technologies and private and charter schools.

It’s time for this antiquated model of government bureaucracy to be abandoned in favor of modern, proven strategies that utilize the numerous technological advancements in this arena that have been made over the past two decades. America’s children deserve nothing less.

[Originally published at Breitbart]

Categories: On the Blog

Man’s Folly to Curb C02 Emissions Contiunes to Advance Unabated

February 19, 2015, 11:00 AM

Will man’s folly over CO2 end up banning cars, limiting living space, and stripping citizens of personal freedoms, all for the purpose of creating a world some politicians envision as necessary to control the population? Or will facts that dispute the global warming alarmists be given equal publicity and consideration by the media and responsible officials?

As a starting point to better understand the man-made global warming frenzy, it is important to define CO2, when it was classified as a pollutant, and why it was classified as such.

CO2 is the chemical formula for carbon dioxide, which contains one atom of carbon and two atoms of oxygen. It is a heavy, odorless gas formed during respiration and by the decomposition of organic substances. Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air during the process known as photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is produced by the decay of organic materials and the combustion of wood and fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum and natural gas as well as natural sources like water, volcanoes, hot springs and geysers. Many environmentalists have focused more on the harmful effects of carbon dioxide on the Earth’s atmosphere.

The Environmental Protection Agency made a decision on December 2009 to classify and in so doing added fuel to the debate. In the meantime the EPA has enacted policies that heretofore were a source of intensive debate for decades among politicians, scientists and industry, which have further escalated the controversy over whether a natural component of the earth’s atmosphere should be considered a pollutant.

Most Americans think of Co2 as what comes out of the tail pipe of a car truck or the smoke stack of a power plant. This energy-related carbon dioxide emission falls under the category of Anthropogenic Global Warming (or man-made), in contrast to the many natural causes that emit CO2, such as water, volcanic eruptions; solar flares or sunspots; evaporation of ocean water; forest fires; and the melting of large scale perma frost. Humans also exhale CO2 and plants absorb CO2 to survive. Increasing Co2 in the atmosphere for “greens” (plants) helps to feed the growing human population, as CO2 is the nutrient used by plants in photosynthesis.

As far as the CO2 emissions based on the share of global energy-related CO2 each nation creates, the U.S. took second place with a rate of 14.69% in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2014, while China came in first with around 23.4% of global CO2 emissions.

Cars and CO2

Is it any wonder that Americans perceive cars and trucks to be the highest contributors of man-made Global Warming, when global warming apologists continually make the claim. The media is willing to repeat whatever is stated by global warming advocates, but rarely print legitimate rebuttals provided by scientists with opposing data and analysis. Liberal politicians are also willing to accept one side of the argument, but not the other. Thus they enact policies and laws to accommodate the global warming interests.

A new idea has recently been proposed in CA that targets drivers of what they refer to as gas guzzling cars and trucks. A group of Bay environmentalists wants to slap warning stickers on gasoline pumps, warning drivers that the fuel they are buying is cooking the planet. The stickers would constantly remind consumers of the link between driving and climate change. The presence of those labels would obviously infer that the state of California has determined global warming is caused by greenhouse gas emissions and a major threat. A growing group of scientists vehemently disagree with that conclusion. The question becomes, why are those stickers being allowed, without absolute proof the planet is being “cooked, let alone by the gasoline from that pump?

What the liberal environmentalists seem unwilling and unable to explain is that cars have been emitting less and less CO2 for decades. With improved catalytic converters and more efficient use of fuel, less CO2 comes out of the tail pipe. In fact, some studies have shown that if all cars and trucks were eliminated, there would be little difference in CO2 emissions.

As earth has not warmed significantly over the past 18 years, despite an 8% increase in Atmospheric CO2, concern about CO2 appears either manufactured or embellished. Moreover, forward projections of solar cyclicity (absence of sun spots) imply the next few decades may be marked by global cooling rather than warming, despite continuing Co2 emissions. How foolish can man be! Or is there another agenda at play here regarding the global warming scare?

Some enthusiasts claim Earth and man are doomed unless the U.N. Agenda 21 is fully implemented. To deny the claim, according to them, is akin to heresy. Advocates of Global Warming claim Agenda 21 is a road-map to the future and a blueprint for planning and designing Sustainable cities,

Sustainable Cities, not a figment of the imagination

There are currently agencies already established that are networking to provide knowledge, resources, and innovations to accelerate the fruition of sustainable cities. The Sustainable Cities Network, works with local communities to explore sustainable approaches and address challenges. Through the Network, partners, the steering committee, and workgroups collaborate to streamline city operations, advance solar energy, mitigate the urban heat island, design sustainable neighborhoods, and secure water supplies in a changing climate, reasoning that “a robust adaptation strategy is required if cities are to continue to survive and thrive.” All this comes at a severe cost, causing speculation as to who is providing the financing and what might they gain from doing so.

Ever heard of the UCCR? This agency develops and implements strategies at the city level, which will influence the national policy, and thus dictate approaches to climate change adaptation at the global level. Once again, one wonders how city governments agree to make changes based on unproven science.

Cities are considered laboratories where the most innovative ideas for surviving in the future can be tested. The global warming advocates claim their planning will allow people “the greatest chance for survival in the face of declining resources and rising seas.” Ten cities from New York to Tokyo to Bogota were recently awarded City Climate Leadership Awards for their work by Siemens and C40 (the Cities Climate Leadership Group). Rio De Janiero won in the “Sustainable Communities” category. Once again, who provided the funding and on what basis was it accomplished?

Creating sustainable future cities in this nation

Has Agenda 21 infiltrated our own nation? Absolutely! The perpetrators of U.N. Agenda 21 are proud of the progress they have made in cities big and small. Their devotion often mirrors that of a religious fanatic, according to MIT professor of meteorology, Dr. Lindzen, who publicly labeled global warming advocates as a fanatical “cult”. Examples of there progress can be seen in the statements below:

“Bringing Sustainability to Small-Town America”, posted by Kaid Benfield, January 26, 2015, salutes communities in small-town America where even a small grant from a government or philanthropic agency can make a major impact to enable sustainability efforts significant enough to rival those of big cities. The ICMA report (Defying the Odds: Sustainability in Small and Rural Places) showcases the following small cities where sustainability efforts should be celebrated: Greensburg, Kansas; Columbus, Wisconsin; South Daytona, Florida; Homer, Alaska; Sleepy Eye, Minnesota; West Liberty, Iowa Hurricane, Utah; and Kearney, Nebraska.
“Sustaining our cities” by Allie Nicodemo, May 22nd 2014, deals with the way a city is designed. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2050, 6.4 billion people around the globe will live in urban areas – up from 3.4 billion in 2009. Accordingly, the walkability of a city is connected to both human health and the health of the environment, which is influenced by transportation options and the use of fossil fuels. Phoenix, Arizona is spotlighted as a city that mirrors many other cities where population is on the rise. With hotter temperatures and other manifestations of climate change, Phoenix is presented as a good example of what much of the world is facing now or can expect in the future.
We don’t have to travel outside of Illinois to observe planning that is now taking place in accordance with Agenda 21’s proposal of building sustainable future cities In response to reading Part 1, Fighting climate change through compact cities without cars , Dottie McQueen, who has spoken to groups in Illinois over the past 1-1/2 years about Agenda 21, contacted Thorner to share the information about CMAP, or the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

CMAP, or the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, created in 2005, is Agenda 21 on steroids. It is comprised of unelected bureaucrats who are planning transportation needs, water usage, living conditions and more for 7 counties in northeastern Illinois. State Republican leaders will not touch A21 with a 10-foot pole, considering it to be “tin hat” predictions that ignore scientific data if it does not reflect their global warming predictions and plans.

And you better believe CMAP has a plan! As the site suggests: “Metropolitan Chicago is one of the world’s great economic centers, the area cannot afford to take its quality of life for granted.” Visit here to view their comprehensive regional plan, but be warned you will not find any facts or figures there that disagree with their conclusions. However, with the growing number of scientists who disagree with global warming predictions and claim the panic over global warming is unjustified will be hard to silence forever. They are beginning to dispute what some want to claim is “settled science” by stating that the data most often presented is full of errors and misleading information.

CO2 as worst of all myths

Of all the myths claimed by global warming enthusiasts, calling carbon dioxide a pollutant is the worst – it simply is NOT TRUE! “CO2 is a great airborne fertilizer which, as its concentrations rise, causes additional plant growth and causes plants to need less water. Without CO2 there would be no life (food) on Earth. The 120 ppm of CO2 added to the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution has caused an average increase in worldwide plant growth of over 12 percent and 18 percent for trees. There is not a single instance of CO2 being a pollutant. Ask any chemistry professor. The only thing being polluted is the minds of people, including those of our school children.

The public deserves to be presented with all the facts, myths must be exposed, and deliberate deceptions revealed. When our nation’s elected officials at the highest level of government began promoting misinformation, those who knew the truth were obliged to boldly step forth with opposing facts, figures, and corrected data to demand that funding using taxpayer dollars stop. Opponents of the man-made global warming scare are now speaking up and saying it is unnecessary to spend billions of dollars on projects perpetrated and promoted by the United Nations.

Chicago’s Heartland Institute has been at the forefront of providing proof that the issue of man-caused Climate Change has been grossly exaggerated. The “Economist” described The Heartland Institute as “the world’s most prominent thank tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change.” Since 2008 The Heartland Institute has initiated, organized and hosted nine International Conferences on climate change. This summer Heartland will host its 10th International Conference on June 11 and 12 at The Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. Read about Heartland’s International Conferences here and how to sign up to attend this worthwhile event to learn the facts.

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Lord Christopher Monckton: The Climate Debate (Part 2/2)

February 19, 2015, 10:25 AM

In this edition of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett sits down with Lord Christopher Monckton to talk about the most recent developments in the climate change debate. Lord Christopher Monckton is among the most prominent, visible and vocal climate skeptics on the planet.  His articles have been published in newspapers and professional journals worldwide and he is a frequent guest on television and radio presenting the realist view of climate science and climate policy.

In this second portion of a two-part podcast, Monckton talks about what actions should be taken to combat climate change. He explains how the suggested proposals made by the left are off base and should be disregarded. Increasing taxes and regulations is not the proper path to follow. In Monckton’s opinion, using funds to adapt to small changes in the climate are far more practical than attempting to radically alter the climate 100 years down the road.

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


Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Lord Christopher Monckton: The Climate Debate (Part 1/2)

February 19, 2015, 10:10 AM

In this edition of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett sits down with Lord Christopher Monckton to talk about the most recent developments in the climate change debate. Lord Christopher Monckton is among the most prominent, visible and vocal climate skeptics on the planet.  His articles have been published in newspapers and professional journals worldwide and he is a frequent guest on television and radio presenting the realist view of climate science and climate policy.

In this first portion of a two-part podcast, Monckton starts by explaining how he got involved in this debate before giving a brief overview of the events that have taken place in the debate so far. Monckton talks about, among other things, the IPCC’s missed temperature projections as well as the baseless claim that 2014 was the hottest year on record. Monckton’s new research “Why Models Run Hot” is also discussed. He says he and his team stumbled upon mistakes made by climate scientists that exaggerated observed warming.  Listen in as Monckton explains how these new revelations turn the man-made global warming debate on its head.

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

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Tarren Bragdon: Medicaid Expansion

February 18, 2015, 4:07 PM

Tarren Bragdon, President and CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, discusses Medicaid expansion and why so many states have declined to add to the rolls of the program.

He also explains how the perverse funding structure of the expansion prioritizes able-bodied and childless men over the traditional Medicaid population of poor single-mothers and their children, as well as the poor elderly.

He goes on to explain how the federal government is likely to renege on its funding commitment for the expansion. Governors who have attempted to get reforms of Medicaid in exchange for expanding the program have largely wound up with few of the changes they sought.

Categories: On the Blog

What’s Next for the Keystone Pipeline?

February 18, 2015, 3:39 PM

After six years of dithering, the Keystone pipeline project has finally cleared both the Senate and the House with strong bipartisan support—mere percentage points away from a veto-proof majority. Now it goes to the White House where President Obama has vowed to veto it.

We won’t have to wait long. He has ten days to make a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act.

The Keystone pipeline should have never been an issue in Congress. Because it crosses an international border, the pipeline requires State Department approval.

With millions of miles of pipeline already traversing the country and dozens already crossing the U.S.-Canada border—not to mention the “almost universal” support of the American public, the Keystone pipeline should never have made news, except that Obama’s environmental base (made up, according to Pew Research, of “solid liberals”) has made it the literal line in the sand, by which he can burnish his environmental legacy.

Within the President’s base, only two groups feel strongly about the Keystone pipeline—the unions want it, the environmentalists don’t. Each has pressured him to take its side.

I’ve likened the conflict to the classic cartoon image of a devil on one shoulder prodding an activity saying, “Oh it will be fun, everyone is doing it,” vs. the angel on the other warning, “be careful, you’ll get into trouble.” Only in the battle of the pipeline, the opposing sides have been in his pockets—environmental groups threatened to pull support from Obama’s 2012 re-election bid if he had approved Keystone. (Remember, billionaire activist Tom Steyer promised $100 million to candidates in the 2014 midterms who opposed Keystone.)

Trying to appease both sides, the president resisted taking a stand. Instead of a firm answer, he’s avoided a decision that would ultimately anger one side or the other. First, the problem arose of the pipeline crossing over the aquifer—so it was re-routed. Next, it was held up in the Nebraska Supreme Court—but, that received a favorable resolution. Waiting for the State Department’s fifth Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) provided another delay. When the EIS finally came out, it declared the project would have minimal environmental impact and that it would produce the least amount of greenhouse gasses of any other alternative transportation method. (Note: Canadian oil sand’s crude is already pouring into America via train and truck—both methods which produce more CO2 and pose higher risk of environmental degradation due to accidents than a state-of-the-art pipeline.) Now Obama says Congress needs to let the State Department’s approval process play out—though no one knows when that might occur.

The labor unions, which want some of the 42,000 jobs the State Department projects grow increasingly impatient.

In 2012, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) broke ranks from a long-standing relationship with green groups over the Keystone pipeline and pulled out of the BlueGreen Alliance. LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan said of his fellow union leadership: “We’re repulsed by some of our supposed brothers and sisters lining up with job killers like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council to destroy the lives of working men and women.”

Having its epiphany later, after the 2014 midterms, the AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, according to the Washington Examiner, cited economic benefits and “urged the new Republican-controlled Congress and the White House to get together and approve the controversial, long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline project.”

Finally, last month, James P. Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, penned an op-ed pushing the president to approve the pipeline. In it, he calls the administration’s Keystone pipeline veto threat “passing on an opportunity to create jobs.”

Representative Donald Norcross (D-NJ), citing “the economic woes he heard about from voters while campaigning,” voted with the Republicans for the third time in the February 11 House vote. In a column for The Record, Herb Jackson explained: “One reason some Democrats broke with environmentalists on the project is its support from organized labor.” Prior to running for Congress, Norcross was assistant business manager of Local 351 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Jackson reports: “Building trades unions were the most generous group contributing to his [Norcross] campaign.”

Norcoss’ crossing over exhibits the divide in the Democrat Party: unions vs. environmentalists. When it comes to lawmakers for whom the union vote is important, Keystone wins.

Once the bill is vetoed, it goes back to Congress where it must be “reconsidered”—which means it can be voted on again or can go back to committee where some adjustments may be made that will make it more attractive to members, who didn’t vote on it the first time around.

Because the Senate and the House have both voted, which Democrats voted against the bill is also well known—many of those Democrats represent heavily unionized districts.

To override the presidential veto, 5 more votes are needed in the Senate (Marco Rubio wasn’t present during the January 29 vote and would be assumed to be a “yes” vote, meaning only 4 Democrats need to be swayed.), in the House, about 12.

With some arm twisting from the unions, those additional votes shouldn’t be all that difficult to come by and the Keystone XL pipeline can finally move forward—providing Americans with thousands of good-paying jobs and increased energy security. Meanwhile, President Obama will have made his position perfectly clear.



Categories: On the Blog