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.