Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Did the Founders ever imagine our culture crumbling as it is today?

The year was 1492. The month was August. The mission was to find, at the behest of Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, the riches of Asia. Lacking the magic of GPS, Waze and Google Maps that we know, the challenge was a daunting one. Instead of arriving in Asia, navigation by the stars led Italian explorer Christopher Columbus to the Americas two months later, opening an entire New World for mankind to explore.

Centuries later, the discovery of the New World was observed and honored by the creation of Columbus Day on October 12 each year. What has happened to how some Americans view Columbus and his discovery, and to so many of the traditional values and standards of our country in recent years, evidences the degradation of the culture that America was built on.

Many of us senior citizens remember the time when a family consisted of two parents — a mother and a father — and usually some children. While divorces were not unheard of, they were not common. The family unit usually remained intact throughout the life of the parents, children were taught personal responsibility, and the children carried that family structure forward.

A more conservative idea of appropriate sexual behavior kept unwanted pregnancies at a low number. And those children were generally raised in the family, or occasionally given up for adoption. Abortion was a murky, immoral and not-widely-known concept that carried great risks.

Religion was a strong and positive influence on the culture, and even those who were not religious, including atheists, generally had a solid moral center. People knew right from wrong, and most lived within the cultural and legal boundaries.

People had an appreciation for their country, understanding the great benefits provided for them by the nation’s brilliant Founders. They designed a superior form of government that allowed for maximum personal freedom and that guaranteed certain important rights. Most Americans understood that each person was responsible for taking care of themselves and their family, except for those who had some significant incapacity that prevented them from doing so.

They understood that they were to go to school and learn the basics of communications, mathematics, history, civics, science, and literature, get or stay fit in gym class, and avail themselves of instruction in the arts and trades if they so desired. It was expected that people prepare themselves for adulthood, and be able to support themselves and their family.

Life always dealt challenges. Sometimes people were able to rise to meet them, and sometimes not. But they knew that it was up to them to live their lives within the boundaries set by the culture and laws of the land, and to make the most of their situation and circumstances.

In a recent column, Victor Davis Hanson compared today’s Americans to those of the past: “Our ancestors were builders and pioneers and mostly fearless. We are regulators, auditors, bureaucrats, adjudicators, censors, critics, plaintiffs, defendants, social media junkies and thin-skinned scolds. A distant generation created; we mostly delay, idle and gripe.”

Our once self-reliant and responsible culture now takes great offense at things once regarded as mere unpleasantries. So many now believe that if something offends them, they have the right to condemn it so they will not be offended any more. There is little if any regard for the person who is responsible for what offends them, and that person’s rights that are equal to theirs.

Free speech and the importance of being able to say, hear and consider other opinions is no longer valued, as it was for more than two centuries. Unpopular speech often spurs violence by those who disagree. Violence against those they disagree with has become a common tactic among the increasing numbers of the disgruntled. Someone saying something or doing something that others dislike is often considered an excuse for his/her enemies to attack them.

Because one in a hundred, or a thousand, instances of action by police finds a police officer responsible for doing something wrong, many Americans now view the police as enemies. Some even attack them, sometimes violently, when they are peacefully doing their job, such as when they are on the scene of a protest.

We have become a nation that has large numbers of easily-offended people who believe their concerns are more important than those of others. America’s new most abundant product is “victimhood.”

In contests, all young people now must get the same award as the person who actually won, just so they won’t feel bad.

Politically-correct control fanatics now insist that in order for churches to keep their non-profit status, they must forego their religious beliefs and accept politically-correct ideas that run counter to those beliefs.

Our Founders, who sacrificed so much to escape the bondage imposed by Great Britain, must be smacking their heads in bewilderment at what has happened to their marvelous creation. As Ben Franklin said to a woman asking what the Constitutional Convention had produced, he answered, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Our once-strong culture is collapsing; narrow self-interest rules. And Franklin’s doubt of our ability to sustain the republic has become reality.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

The stubborn and dominant “I” words: Impeachment and Immigration

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., uses the term “Formal Impeachment Inquiry” to describe the political exercise which currently consumes House Democrats. However, a cursory analysis of what is happening shows Pelosi’s term is incorrect.

Two House committees, the Committee on the Judiciary and the Intelligence Committee, are involved in this exercise, but the whole House has not voted to initiate a “Formal Impeachment Inquiry.” Thus, there isn’t one. 

What we have instead is a “Democrat Impeachment Extravaganza.” This term does not appear in the U.S. Constitution, nor in any House document, but it accurately describes reality. Technically, the House is holding a “legislative investigation,” and nothing more.

Recognizing the true state of what is taking place in the House, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said, in essence, that the White House will not be providing any documents or information requested by the committees, since the investigation has not been formalized by a vote by the full House. 

The White House and others who do not share the impeachment fervor see this as purely partisan theater. As things stand, with Democrats in the majority in the House, Democrats control what goes on. Republicans can do little more than watch.

An actual formal impeachment process would be conducted by only one committee, the House Committee on the Judiciary.

The Lawfare website explains: “The impeachment proceedings against both Presidents [Richard] Nixon and [Bill] Clinton began with a vote by the full House of Representatives directing the judiciary committee ‘to investigate fully and completely whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach’ the president in question. In both cases, the resolution granted several specific powers to the committee for it to use in the course of completing the investigation with which it was charged by the full House.”

With this legislative investigation, only the majority party issues subpoenas and calls witnesses, but in actual formal inquiries “the Nixon and Clinton resolutions allowed subpoenas to be issued by the chairman and the ranking minority member ‘acting jointly.’ If either declined to act, the individual proposing the subpoena could issue it alone unless the other requested the issue be referred to the full committee for a vote,” according to Lawfare.

A 1998 report from the judiciary committee accompanying the authorizing resolution noted that “this approach balances ‘maximum flexibility and bipartisanship,’ both of which are lacking in the current investigation.

However, there is a reason why Pelosi and her party have not formalized the investigation: There are heavy risks involved.

By having members vote on a formal inquiry, newly elected Democrat members from states Donald Trump carried in 2016 would be shown in opposition to their constituents, risking their reelection in 2020, and perhaps turning the House over to a Republican majority. Or, they may vote against impeachment to protect their reelection, and put the impeachment inquiry in jeopardy. A positive vote also would provide Republicans some equality in the investigation process.

Those possibilities are unacceptable to House Democrats. They cannot afford to lose any element of control over this political exercise.

Showing how far back the impeachment obsession got started, on January 17, 2017 — three days before Trump was sworn in — California Democrat Maxine Waters suggested he should be impeached.

Since impeaching Trump likely will not lead to removing him from office, Democrats will keep throwing out accusations without proving them, hoping to weaken his support enough for the Democrat candidate to prevail in the 2020 election. Which means another year of investigation, and no legislation.

* * *

The way some Americans view the issues relating to immigration defies understanding. People generally want to protect their home and possessions. They don’t allow just anyone to come into their home, or invite just anyone to avail themselves of the goodies they have, give them money, or other desirable things. They don’t leave the doors and windows of their home open or unlocked 24-hours a day, unless they live in a place protected by a wall, security guards, or both.

But for some reason, many of our fellow Americans support doing such things to their country, by opposing immigration policies and providing incentives for illegal entry.

Some argue that “it’s not the same thing.” But why isn’t protecting the country and its citizens equal to protecting your family and your possessions?

Why would any true American:
·      not insist that all people wanting to come to the United States follow the long-established legal process for entry into America?
·      think it is wrong or unnecessary to control our borders by all means available and prevent illegal entry, by anybody, good or bad?
·      not understand that people who come here illegally are not deserving of any type of assistance from government at any level, short of very limited emergency assistance?
·      not oppose the things the country does that encourage illegal entry?
·      not want illegals deported?
·      want to defend criminal illegals and shield them from legal disposition, when defending illegal immigration puts Americans’ safety in jeopardy?

·      turn a blind eye to, or condone sanctuary jurisdictions which invite and protect people who have willingly entered the country, or deliberately over-stayed their visa? 

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Badly needed: A more balanced approach for environmental policy

A few months ago, a new proposal to save the world from environmental catastrophe burst forth. The plan was designed to eliminate the threat, or at least reset the End of the World Clock that is counting down the final 10, or maybe 12, remaining years of life on Earth.

Called the Green New Deal (GND), it would turn life in the United States upside down by eliminating some things that we want and need, like fossil fuels and nuclear energy, 99 percent of motor vehicles, air travel, meat, and some other equally radical things.

In addition to all the inconvenience and misery the GND would cause, its price tag is trillions of dollars we don’t have. 

The GND’s narrative of impending doom, burdened with weaknesses and dangers, is just the latest of dozens of prior such predictions. One list contains 42 of them, 27 for which the Competitive Enterprise Institute provided sources, such as The New York TimesThe Boston Globe, the Washington PostThe Guardian, Brown University, Time magazine, and the Associated Press.

Here are some select excerpts of predictions issued between 1967 and 2014, categorized, and each preceded by the year of the prediction:
* Ice Age: 1971 - New Ice Age Coming By 2020 or 2030; 1972 - New Ice Age By 2070; 1974 - Space Satellites Show New Ice Age Coming Fast
* Flooding: 1988 - Maldive Islands will Be Underwater by 2018; 1989 - Rising Sea Levels Will Obliterate Nations if Nothing Done by 2000; 2005 - Manhattan Underwater by 2015
* Warming: 2008 - Arctic will Be Ice Free by 2018; 2013 - Arctic Ice-Free by 2015; 2000 - Children Won’t Know What Snow Is
* Famine: 1967 - Dire Famine Forecast By 1975; 2002 - Famine In 10 Years If We Don’t Give Up Eating Fish, Meat, and Dairy
* Diverse problems: 1969 - Everyone Will Disappear in a Cloud of Blue Steam By 1989; 1970 - Urban Citizens Will Require Gas Masks by 1985; 2004 - Britain will Be Siberia by 2024; 2014 - Only 500 Days Before ‘Climate Chaos’

If you do not buy into the catastrophe warnings, you are deemed a “science denier” by the climate alarmists. However, you have evidence on your side. The history of predictive catastrophic environmental science is poor.

Despite this horrid record, however, we are told that in 12 years it’s all over. And even though hundreds of scientists dispute the doomsday scenario, we are told it is the unquestionable truth.

Attempting to persuade the powers that be at the United Nations of its erroneous outlook, a group of 500 prominent scientists and professionals from around the globe has produced the European Climate Declaration, and submitted it to officials at the UN. 

The group is led by CLINTEL (Climate Intelligence Foundation) co-founder Guus Berkhout of The Netherlands, and includes America’s noted Richard Lindzen, Ph.D., a professor of meteorology and member of the National Academy of Sciences. Both men are among the Declaration’s “ambassadors” from 14 different countries who signed the communication to the UN.

The September 2019 document makes seven major points: 1. There is no climate emergency; 2. Natural as well as anthropogenic factors cause warming; 3. Warming is far slower than predicted; 4. Climate policy relies on inadequate models; 5. CO2 is plant food, the basis of all life on Earth; 6. Global warming has not increased natural disasters; and 7. Policy must respect scientific and economic realities.

Two major fallacies exist in the “science” behind climate catastrophe predictions these scientists say: First, political considerations infect the scientific process, and second, the climate models that predict catastrophe are biased.

Climate models use quantitative methods to simulate the interactions of the important drivers of climate, including atmosphere, oceans, land surface and ice. The results of a climate model are a product of the data provided. 

The Declaration offers the following comment on climate models: “Climate models have many shortcomings and are not remotely plausible as policy tools. Moreover, they most likely exaggerate the effect of greenhouse gases such as CO2. In addition, they ignore the fact that enriching the atmosphere with CO2 is beneficial.”

Further, it notes: “CO2 is not a pollutant. It is essential to all life on Earth. Photosynthesis is a blessing. More CO2 is beneficial for nature, greening the Earth: additional CO2 in the air has promoted growth in global plant biomass. It is also good for agriculture, increasing the yields of crop worldwide.”

And the seventh and final point: “There is no climate emergency. Therefore, there is no cause for panic and alarm. We strongly oppose the harmful and unrealistic net-zero CO2 policy proposed for 2050. If better approaches emerge, and they certainly will, we have ample time to reflect and adapt. The aim of international policy should be to provide reliable and affordable energy at all times, and throughout the world.”

The introductory letter written by the ambassadors suggests that the UN “organize with us a constructive high-level meeting between world-class scientists on both sides of the climate debate early in 2020,” and recommends a full and fair discussion of the issue. 

That seems to be a sensible plan.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

“Impeach Kavanaugh” is the new call of the desperate Democrats

Brett Kavanaugh. The nerve of that guy. Thinking he was deserving of a seat on the United States Supreme Court. Just because he has a law degree and many years of good and loyal service as a judge does not qualify him for that highly regarded position. It takes more than that to get a seat on the nation’s highest, and most influential court of law in this day and time.

He apparently thought that his time as an alleged sexual harasser would be so old that no one would remember it. But then, he perhaps had forgotten about Christine Blasey Ford. You remember her. She’s the one that claimed he did unspeakable things to her one summer night while in high school decades ago.

She said in Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing that she was “one hundred percent” certain that Kavanaugh was the man who attacked her when she was 15. He had the nerve to angrily deny allegations of sexual misconduct and called his confirmation process a “national disgrace.”

Her story and his denial were enough to fire up the “he’s unqualified!” posse in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and throughout the land. But, alas, it was not enough to derail the nomination, and Justice Kavanaugh is now sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court.

And now that he has been duly approved, and has served a term on the Court, another story has come out regarding another young woman. It is alleged he did shameful things in front of her and asked her to do shameful things for him while a student at Yale a few years after the alleged Blasey Ford incident.

In the first instance, Blasey Ford alleged that Kavanaugh tried to rape her, and feared he might try to kill her. She named four witnesses to this alleged event. She, however, could not remember the date, location, how she got there, or how she got home. And the four witnesses, one of whom is Blasey Ford’s lifelong friend, all said they remembered the summer in question very well, but did not remember the event Blasey Ford alleged had taken place. There was no supporting evidence or memories of the alleged episode.

In the more recent event, a person brought forth an allegation, and the person alleged to have been harmed refused to talk about it with reporters and other interested parties, but some of her friends have said she does not remember the incident.

The person bringing this allegation to light was a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s named Max Stier who, interestingly enough, was an attorney on President Bill Clinton’s impeachment team, while Kavanaugh was on Independent Counsel Ken Starr’s team. The incident came to light in a story appearing in (yet again) The New York Times, written by reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, which actually contains two accusations. The two women are authors of a book, “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation.” 

These notable allegations are automatically believed by many. What makes them notable is that they all share something in common: each is unsupported by actual evidence.

The perpetrators of these frauds have a purpose in mind, and they know that a significant number of their fellow travelers will fall in line, no questions asked. And guess where they found willing accomplices? The gang of candidates for the Democrat nomination for president.

Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, “Beto” O’Rourke and Kamala Harris jumped immediately on board the “impeach Kavanaugh” band wagon, and Pete Buttigieg ran along behind and eventually caught up with the wagon a bit later. All of these folks should know better than to take a position without evidence, but especially Harris, whose was a district attorney and a state attorney general before becoming a senator and candidate. She ought to understand about having significant evidence before acting. That is, unless you know her shady history as a prosecutor.

Since the increasingly left-wing Democrats depend so heavily upon the judicial system to help them force their unpopular ideas on the country, it is imperative that no judges, especially those on the Supreme Court, who follow the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution and our laws be appointed and approved for those positions.

In order to pass muster, you must subscribe to, and tacitly agree to support the left’s holiest of cows, Roe v. Wade -- the license to abort developing children in the womb. 

Blasey Ford's lawyer Debra Katz has admitted support for abortion motivated Ford’s role, and her own, in the use of unsupported allegations of rape against Kavanaugh. “He will always have an asterisk next to his name,” she is reported to have said, by Commentary magazine online. “When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is …; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.” 

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s straight forward allegiance to the intent of the Constitution and the law is a threat to leftist ambitions. Nothing is “too low to go” to prevent judges like Kavanaugh from holding court positions. But their gutter tactics are a threat to Judicial independence and the rule of law.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Clean Water Rule gets its long overdue and well-deserved repeal

President Donald Trump began an effort to relieve the country of an unnecessary and harmful regulation by signing an executive order in February of 2017. The order began the roll-back of the Clean Water Rule put in place by the Obama administration in 2015. The Rule was a regulation published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Army Corps of Engineers to clarify water resource management in the United States under a provision of the Clean Water Act of 1972. 

That action to repeal the Rule has now been finalized. It has been termed a major win for the rule of law, property rights, and the environment. It was heavily criticized for making it difficult for people to farm or even build a home on their own property.

What it did was to alter the meaning of the phrase “waters of the United States” — those waters under the control of the federal government — to include waters so small that they couldn’t even be seen by the naked eye.

Here is the way the American Farm Bureau Federation explained things: “…distant regulators using ‘desktop tools’ can conclusively establish the presence of a ‘tributary’ on private lands, even where the human eye can’t see water or any physical channel or evidence of water flow. 

“That’s right — invisible tributaries! 

“The agencies even claim ‘tributaries’ exist where remote sensing and other desktop tools indicate a prior existence of bed, banks, and [ordinary high-water marks], where these features are no longer present on the landscape today.”

That definition of what regulated “waters” were literally made it impossible for property owners to know what on their property is or might be covered by the Rule, but subjected them to heavy civil and/or criminal penalties for breaking the Rule.

It would therefore have been possible for dry land that holds water for a few days after heavy rain to be ruled a “water” under the Rule. That meant a mud puddle could have fallen under federal control.

The result was that some perfectly good lands were judged improper for projects their owners intended to use them for, and in the worst cases, land owners were punished for what were otherwise normal, acceptable land uses.

The vagueness of the rule, and thus the danger it imposed on property owners who want to use their property for their chosen purposes, such as to farm it or to develop it, was substantial enough to have drawn criticism from then-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy back in 2016: “[T]he Clean Water Act is unique in both being quite vague in its reach, arguably unconstitutionally vague, and certainly harsh in the civil and criminal sanctions it puts into practice.”

Its reach also encroached on states’ rights, the ability of the individual states to have much to say about properties within their own borders, an important element of the restrictions imposed on the federal government by the U.S. Constitution.

Such examples of overreaching by the federal government are not difficult to find. They have been growing, as legislators have enacted overreaching laws, and bureaucrats have implemented regulations with the force of law. All of which puts regular citizens at risk of breaking one of the thousands of federal no-nos.

On that topic, said the following in 2016: “There are at least 5,000 federal criminal laws, with 10,000-300,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally. In fact, our entire criminal code has become a leviathan unto itself. In 2003, there were only 4,000 offenses that carried criminal penalties. By 2013, that number had grown by 21 percent to 4,850. The code has become so big, that the Congressional Research Service and the American Bar Association simply do not have enough staff to adequately categorize every law we have on the books.”

This information becomes even more important when considering what might happen after November of 2020 when the nation elects its president for the next four years.

This land, built on the principals of personal freedoms and limited government, has already seen exponential growth in the size and reach of the federal government. The more laws, regulations and rules we have on the books, the less freedom the people have. The number of decrees is unfathomably large and therefore the average person, or even those knowledgeable about laws, cannot possibly know everything for which we citizens can be criminally or civilly punished.

While President Trump believes in removing regulations that needlessly or improperly interfere with normal activities — like the Clean Water Rule — and reducing taxes that allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned income, the socialistic promises offered by Democrat hopefuls will do a sharp 180 on both of those things.

With a compliant Congress and like-thinking, over-zealous bureaucrats, if one of the more radical folks running for the Democrat nomination gets elected, they could initiate scores of new mandates and prohibitions, further limiting the freedoms of law-abiding Americans.

Robert Francis “Beto” O'Rourke gave a hint to the thinking of some of these people: “Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47."

This is precisely the opposite of the attitude we need in the White House.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Democrats want to turn the United States upside-down

CNN’s marathon townhall last Wednesday may have set some records. The broadcast lasted a full seven hours. It featured 10 of the numerous candidates for the Democrat nomination to run for president in 2020. They were, alphabetically: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Juli├ín Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, and Elizabeth Warren.

The event did not set a record for the number of viewers it attracted. During the 5:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. broadcast, CNN pulled only 1.1 million viewers, compared to MSNBC’s 1.7 million, and Fox News’ more-than-double 2.5 million during that time period.

The focus of the event was climate change. “So, based off [a BBC] study, CNN will produce 57.4 tons of carbon dioxide emissions while warning about increasing carbon dioxide emissions,” wrote Timothy Meads on prior to the event.

The candidates expressed their ideas about what they say is an existential threat to life on Earth. These ideas include doing away with fossil fuels and nuclear energy, red meat, plastic straws, incandescent light bulbs, carbon, fracking, combustion engine vehicles, and babies.

Abortion was high on the list for some. “Human population growth has more than doubled in the past 50 years. The planet cannot sustain this growth,” an audience member said to Bernie Sanders. He agreed, and promised to back more U.S. funding for abortions in the developing world.

Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have warned that Africa and Asia are producing way too many babies, and this will threaten the future of the Earth. Former Vice President Al Gore once said the we “have to have ubiquitous availability of fertility management” in the developing world to fight climate change. 

And Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg offered an opinion some time ago. “[A]t the time Roe (v. Wade) was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” Was that a racist comment?

If over-population truly is a problem, Gore’s fertility management solution, if that means pregnancy prevention, would be far preferable to killing developing humans in the womb.

"We are fighting for the survival of the planet Earth, our only planet. How is this not a major priority?" Sanders asked.  He boasted that his was the most serious approach of any presidential candidate in history. It will only cost us $16 trillion. That is roughly equal to all federal spending for four years.

Cory Booker has changed his super-identity from “Spartacus” to “Star Trekian.” This transformation may have come after his discovery that non-white and low-income people are disproportionately affected by climate change, though he did not explain how this occurs. Economic and environmental justice therefore demand that we transition to a carbon-neutral economy as soon as we possibly can, he said, in order to restore the balance of the effects of climate related issues.

Getting millions of vehicles off the road was posited by Joe Biden, the most moderate candidate, who vowed to lead the whole world in this effort if elected president, not just the U.S.

Asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper if the Green New Deal’s plan to ban all fossil fuels, 99 percent of cars and planes, and meat within the next decade was “unrealistic” or “promising too much?” Biden answered, “No, no it’s not.”

Pledging to do away with carbon energy, but also to do away with nuclear energy by 2035, Elizabeth Warren urged Democrats not to get distracted by sideline issues like the environmental consequences of plastic straws, cheeseburgers and light bulbs. "This is exactly what the fossil fuel industry hopes we're all talking about," she said.

Taking a different tack on the issue, admitted cheeseburger lover Kamala Harris wants to eliminate barriers to forcing her radical views on we the people by ending the Senate filibuster. Currently, ending debate on legislation requires 60 votes. Harris supports a simple majority vote to speed along her efforts at control.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., commented on that idea. "The legislative filibuster is directly downstream from our founding tradition. If that tradition frustrates the whims of those on the far left, it is their half-baked proposals and not the centuries-old wisdom that need retooling," he wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times.

Harris also said she would use executive power to order the Justice Department to go after oil and gas firms. Is that an American ideal? Or does Harris believe that when you can’t win through better ideas and honesty, you must change the rules, or play dirty?

The list of past environmental catastrophe predictions that didn’t come to be is long: in 1975 a coming ice age; the acid rain threat; over-population producing mass starvation; global temperatures melting ice floes and flooding coastal cities. And now, only 10 or 12 years left to save the world. Again.

The alarmists point to a “scientific consensus” that millions cling to. There were scientists selling the past failed predictions, too. Even if these predictions of doom are true, the only way to stop the threat, apparently, is to spend trillions and turn the United States upside-down, and impose government control.

Friday, September 06, 2019

More information essential to evaluate the renewable energy idea

What we hear about almost ceaselessly is the impending environmental catastrophe facing the world. Despite the tremendous progress the U.S. has made in reducing its carbon emissions, which we are told is what is causing, or hastening, the crisis, more must be done.

We must spend trillions of dollars and turn our lifestyles upside down to make a very fast transition from traditional fossil fuel production of energy through coal, oil and natural gas to so-called “green” renewable energy sources.

We hear repeatedly how bad fossil fuels are as primary energy sources, and how wind and solar power are our salvation. However, much needed detail about this transition is left out.

So much of what those on the left offer regarding climate change, and their proposed solutions to the problem, is what economist and columnist Thomas Sowell calls “Stage One Thinking.” This involves identifying a problem and proposing a solution that sounds effective and satisfying, but doing so without thoughtfully looking at what happens after that initial action – Stage One – is taken.

Mark P. Mills, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has gone beyond Stage One to look into what is involved in replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources in his column “If You Want ‘Renewable Energy,’ Get Ready to Dig.”

“’Renewable energy’ is a misnomer,” he wrote. “Wind and solar machines and batteries are built from nonrenewable materials. And they wear out. Old equipment must be decommissioned, generating millions of tons of waste. The International Renewable Energy Agency calculates that solar goals for 2050 consistent with the Paris Accords will result in old-panel disposal constituting more than double the tonnage of all today’s global plastic waste.”

Mills’ excellent article appeared in The Wall Street Journalin July. He helps us understand the enormous amount of raw materials needed for electric vehicles, and where we will get them. For example, “A single electric-car battery weighs about 1,000 pounds. Fabricating one requires digging up, moving and processing more than 500,000 pounds of raw materials somewhere on the planet,” he explained. “The alternative? Use gasoline and extract one-tenth as much total tonnage to deliver the same number of vehicle-miles over the battery’s seven-year life.”

Wind and solar power involve similar problems: “Building one wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of nonrecyclable plastic. Solar power requires even more cement, steel and glass—not to mention other metals. Global silver and indium mining will jump 250 percent and 1,200 percent respectively over the next couple of decades to provide the materials necessary to build the number of solar panels the International Energy Agency forecasts. World demand for rare-earth elements—which aren’t rare but are rarely mined in America—will rise 300 percent to 1,000 percent by 2050 to meet the Paris green goals. If electric vehicles replace conventional cars, demand for cobalt and lithium, will rise more than 20-fold. That doesn’t count batteries to back up wind and solar grids.”

And, what the greenies do not want you to know is that so much of the production of renewable energy devices requires the burning of fossil fuels. “What’s more, mining and fabrication require the consumption of hydrocarbons,” Mills explains. “Building enough wind turbines to supply half the world’s electricity would require nearly two billion tons of coal to produce the concrete and steel, along with two billion barrels of oil to make the composite blades. More than 90 percent of the world’s solar panels are built in Asia on coal-heavy electric grids.”

Mills referenced a Dutch government-sponsored study that concluded “that the Netherlands’ green ambitions alone would consume a major share of global minerals. ‘Exponential growth in [global] renewable energy production capacity is not possible with present-day technologies and annual metal production,’ it concluded.”

He adds that Europe and the U.S. will not be able to produce the minerals needed for this gargantuan undertaking. “Instead, much of the mining will take place in nations with oppressive labor practices. The Democratic Republic of the Congo produces 70 percent of the world’s raw cobalt, and China controls 90 percent of cobalt refining. The Sydney-based Institute for a Sustainable Future cautions that a global ‘gold’ rush for minerals could take miners into ‘some remote wilderness areas [that] have maintained high biodiversity because they haven’t yet been disturbed.’”

And his coup de gras: “Engineers joke about discovering ‘unobtanium,’ a magical energy-producing element that appears out of nowhere, requires no land, weighs nothing, and emits nothing. Absent the realization of that impossible dream, hydrocarbons remain a far better alternative than today’s green dreams.”

So much of what the increasingly socialist left proposes sounds good, but fails the pragmatism test. Its ideas: are ridiculously expensive; increase government control; impinge on constitutionally guaranteed freedoms; or all of the above.

These solutions are sold to the people through fear of impending catastrophe, such as that climate change is caused by or made worse by human activities. Scientists who produce contrary scientific evidence, and those who believe them, are “science deniers,” which is somewhat the same as being a “deplorable.”

Resistance to this dogma is essential if America is to survive intact.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Democrats’ anti-Trump activities are rewriting the “Three Rs”

There are several things known through time as the “Three Rs.” Back in the days of FDR’s New Deal there was: Relief, Recovery and Reform. Trying to reduce the effects of science on animals gave us: Replacement, Reduction and Refinement. And now in the days of environmental consciousness we have: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Some of us, the senior citizens among us, remember the “Three Rs,” as: “Readin’, Ritin’ and ‘Rithmetic” (reading, writing and arithmetic) when we were in school.

Today, we can thank Democrats in Congress, in the media and elsewhere for giving us another set of “Three Rs.” The first of the set was “Russia.” Next came “Racist.” And now we have “Recession.”

“Russia, Russia, Russia” was the war chant of the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency. But, alas, it was to no avail, as Russia’s interference in the 2016 election turned out to be significant, but to little effect, and the hoped-for connection between the Russians and Trump was a nothing burger.

Multiple investigations did not prove that Trump was a Russian agent, that the Russians colluded with his campaign to elect him, or any of the other allegations that were thrown around like the trash found on San Francisco streets.

Trump’s began an association with Russia in 2013 when he was there for his Miss Universe pageant, according to The Guardian. Trump told the paper he wanted to build a skyscraper in Moscow.

For a wealthy business person, a real estate developer, it is not unusual to have business interests in other countries. Trump is said to have interests in 25 countries, including Canada, Turkey, Panama, Ireland, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, India, Scotland, Indonesia, China, Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel and South Africa.

The Moscow skyscraper deal, however, ran into difficulties and had ended by June of 2016, before the election.

Next came charges that Trump was/is a racist. Combining poor reportage and opportunism, the anti-Trumpers take any opening, however narrow, to assert racism. 

Just because a group of four Congressional representatives who are people of color receive criticism from Trump for their words and deeds does not make him a racist.

Trying to secure our borders to prevent the illegal entry of people from other countries, some of whom are criminals, is not racist. Neither is wanting to send illegal aliens back where they came from.

What such efforts tell us is that those backing the efforts are failures, not that Trump is a racist.

One might expect that as part of this ill-fated exercise in imaginative politics, the accusers might consider that Trump’s unemployment numbers for African Americans and Hispanics are at their lowest in decades, or ever. His “racism” apparently also includes implementing the opportunity zones that help low-income distressed communities across the country, which includes those of black Americans and Hispanics.

The racist allegation against Trump and others on the right has been so widely and foolishly misused that the most significant result of this misadventure is to have rendered the term meaningless. Strike 2.

And now, because the yield curve inverted for a day or so, we are told the nation is headed for a recession. As some know, there is a recession in our future because behind every period of expansion is a period of recession. It’s the business cycle.

After the 2007-2008 recession, the economy experienced its slowest recovery ever, but has been doing pretty well in the expansion phase, with nearly all of the good things occurring since election night 2016. Sound Trump economic policies have proved their worth. 

An inverted yield curve is considered an omen of a recession in 17 to 22 months. However, a lot can happen in that period that could delay the economy going into recession for a fairly long time. The left’s prognostications are, to put it politely, premature.

But as Obama administration member Rahm Emanuel famously said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” And a recession, when we have the next one, might be a serious crisis. Emanuel, who was at the time the White House chief of staff, went on to explain himself: “And what I mean by that, it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Clearly the Russia and Racist opportunities did not pan out, so perhaps the Recession one will. No doubt the left media and others who can benefit from this scare will take it to the limit, one more time.

But if a recession doesn’t do the trick, maybe after this third R is exhausted the left will give us another R: Regret. As in, “we regret going down these curvy, pot hole infested side roads, trying desperately to remove from office a duly elected president that we just do not like, and now we will live with the decision of the American people.”

Given the manic behavior of Trump’s political enemies in Congress, the media and elsewhere, such a thing may be a futile hope. However, hardly anything would benefit the country more than the anti-Trumpers getting their over-worked emotions under control, returning to doing their jobs properly, and helping the country move forward.