Climate Alarmists: Abort Your ‘Extra’ Children

Over the past few years, outlets such as NPR, the Atlantic Monthly, the Huffington Post, and the Guardian have written articles with headlines like “Should We Be Having Kids in the Age of Climate Change?,” “The Climate Change Solution No One Will Talk About,” “Voluntary Birth Control Is a Climate Change Solution Nobody Wants to Talk About,”  and “Though Climate Change is a Crisis, the Population Threat is Even Worse.”

The NPR story highlights a 2016 paper by philosophers and bioethicists at Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University, titled “Population Engineering and the Fight against Climate Change,” which argues in favor of penalizing families for having children via a progressive tax that would increase with each child.

In his new Netflix series, “Bill Nye Saves the World,” the show’s eponymous host asked a group of panelists, including one of the Georgetown professors, “Should we have policies that penalize people for having extra kids in the developed world?” The question from Nye, of course, is a rhetorical one. (Strikingly, unlike normal humans, none of the panelists found it creepy and disturbing that Nye said “extra kids.”)

Not content to let Nye hog all that creepiness for himself, ur-feminist Gloria Steinem charged the “patriarchy” with causing climate change by forcing women not to have all those abortions they secretly want, leading to overpopulation and “climate deprivation.” This unfortunately low number of abortions, according to Steinem, is “the fundamental cause of climate change.”

“People around the world are beginning to address [climate change] by reducing their carbon footprint through less consumption and better technology,” wrote the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). “But unsustainable human population growth can overwhelm those efforts, leading us to conclude that we not only need smaller footprints, but fewer feet… Long-term population reduction to ecologically sustainable levels will solve the global warming crisis and move us to toward a healthier, more stable, post-fossil fuel, post-growth addicted society.”

After the Census Bureau reported on May 7, 2017, the U.S. population surpassed 325 million people for the first time, CBD, most well-known, if at all, for its Endangered Species Condoms, put out a press release quoting itsObersturmführer — excuse me, its “population organizer” — who said, “Hitting this population record highlights the danger of the Trump administration’s attacks on reproductive healthcare and environmental protections. We’re crowding out wildlife and destroying wild places at alarming rates, and Trump’s reckless actions will worsen the effects of our unsustainable population growth, overconsumption and urban sprawl.”

Doomsday predictions about overpopulation stretch back to Thomas Malthus’ 1798 book, An Essay on the Principle of Population. Because food production only grows arithmetically while population grows geometrically, Malthus reasoned, the planet’s burgeoning population growth would eventually outstrip food supplies, leading to famine and mass starvation. “The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race,” he wrote.

Twentieth-century neo-Malthusianism would be taken up by environmentalists after World War II, gaining steam after the publication of Fairfield Osborn’s Our Plundered Planet and William Vogt’s The Road to Survival in 1948. “It is obvious that fifty years hence the world cannot support three billion people,” Vogt wrote. “Unless population increases can be stopped, we might as well give up the struggle.” Vogt was wrong: Seventy years after this forecast, Earth is supporting not merely 3 billion but 7.5 billion people.

Twenty years after Osborn and Vogt, Paul Ehrlich — in his 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb — predicted mass starvation in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation. “The battle to feed all of humanity is over,” he wrote. “In the 1970’s the world will undergo famines –hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash program embarked upon.” These famines and mass human die-offs never materialized.

Doubling down on this, Ehrlich argued in a speech before the British Institute for Biology in 1971 that “by the year 2000, the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people… If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

Fortunately for Britons, Ehrlich is a notoriously bad gambler. (Just ask Julian Simon.) In 2000, the United Kingdom was home to 58 million people with a per-capita gross domestic product of $26,400. At $1.555 trillion in gross domestic product, it was the world’s fourth-largest economy. Even in 2017, Dear Old Blighty continues to be the opposite of the poor and starving world envisioned by Ehrlich in 1971.

The number of people living in “extreme poverty” ($1.90 or less per day) fell below 10 percent for the first time in human history in 2015, according to the World Bank. As David Harsanyi explained in The Federalist, “not only are fewer people living in extreme poverty, but fewer are hungry than ever; fewer die in conflicts over resources, and deaths due to extreme weather have beendramatically declining for a century… Over the past 40 years, our water and air has become cleaner, despite a huge spike in population growth. Some of the Earth’s richest people live in some of its densest cities.”

Indeed, the Earth is cleaner and safer today than at any point in the lifetime of anyone now living. Technology and human ingenuity have dramatically reduced the human impact on the environment. For example, by increasing crop yields (thanks GMOs!), we are growing more food while devoting less land to agriculture. Human innovational and technological advancements have improved both the lot of humanity and the environment.

Population growth is also slowing down dramatically after reaching its peak in 1970.

According to the United Nations, global fertility will slow from 2.5 children per woman in 2015 to 2.0 children in 2050. Eighty-three countries, accounting for 46 percent of the globe’s population, already had below-replacement fertility levels between 2010 and 2015, including Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Russia, and the United States.

Forty-eight countries are also projected to see their populations decline through 2050. Of these, 11 are expected to see their populations decline by more than 15 percent, including Japan and most of the countries of Eastern Europe. The United Nations projects global population to level off somewhere between 9.5 billion and 13.3 billion around the year 2100 before beginning to drop.

As this short history of failed predictions reveals, prominent environmentalists have been using fears of famine and ecological disaster to promote a population-control agenda for many years. Recent claims that man-made global warming might be yet another disaster to be laid at the feet of population growth are no more credible.

The Club of Rome, in Mankind at the Turning Point, its 1974 doomsday follow-up to 1972’s doomsday book The Limits to Growth, literally says, “The World Has Cancer and the Cancer is Man.” Robert Zubrin, in his book Merchants of Despair, writes “this idea [that] humans are cancer upon the Earth, a horde of vermin whose unconstrained aspirations and appetites are endangering the natural order… is the core idea of antihumanism.”

“Antihumanism,” he states, “is not environmentalism, though it sometimes masquerades as such. Environmentalism, properly conceived, is an effort to apply practical solutions to real environmental problems, such as air and water pollution, for the purpose of making the world a better place for all humans to thrive in. Antihumanism, in contrast, rejects the goals of advancing the cause of mankind. Rather, it uses instances of inadvertent human damage to the environment as point of agitation to promote its fundamental thesis that human beings are pathogens whose activities need to be suppressed in order to protect a fixed ecological order with interests that stand above those of humanity.”

The call for population-control measures to fight climate change is at its core, anti-human. As Zubrin continues, “Since all human activity must perforce release [carbon dioxide], all human existence is a crime against nature. Therefore nothing we can do is right — and so, in the name of the Higher Good, we must be constrained to do as little as possible. Thus, the global warming argument recasts the basic Malthusian line in a novel form, but with the equivalent end result. Instead of claiming that human activity must be limited because there are not enough resources, it is said that what is limited is not resources, but the right to use resources. It all amounts to the same thing: there isn’t enough to go around, therefore human aspirations must be crushed.”

The Armageddon scenarios put forward by climate change alarmists are greatly exaggerated. Even if global population growth had not slowed, the human impact on climate has simply been too small to reliably measure against background variation. As long as human beings know how to innovate and apply those innovations to technology, “overpopulation” will never be a significant issue. Fear of climate change has, unfortunately, already led to the adoption of a plethora of taxes, regulations, and subsidies aimed at reducing carbon emissions. It doesn’t need to lead to population control as well.

[By Timothy Benson. Originally Published at American Thinker]

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Illinois Supreme Court Affirms Occupy Decision

Chicago Occupy

The Supreme Court of Illinois yesterday affirmed lower court holdings that eviction of the Chicago Occupy movement from public parks did not violate Federal or State constitutional protections of peaceful assembly.  The Court’s vote was 6-1, with Justice Garman writing for the majority and Justice Kilbride dissenting.

In doing so the Court visited the higher levels of State constitutional jurisprudence, inquiring, among other things, whether or not the provisions of the Illinois Constitution that protect peaceful assemblies are in “lockstep” with, or are broader than, similar, although differently worded, provisions of the Federal Constitution.

The Court also offered welcome insights into the difference that a comma can make.  (See pp. 11-13 of the slip opinion, addressing whether or not the phrase, “for the common good”, limited assembly rights as the wording, and attendant punctuation, have appeared in the succession of Illinois constitutions through history.)

[By Joseph Morris; first published at Freedom Pub.]

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Which President Colluded with Russia?

USA and Russian flag

Reporters have always been dependent on unnamed sources for their scoops.  That is especially the case in Washington where whistleblowers are afraid that if they come out of the shadows, their corrupt superiors will exact revenge on them.

But, clearly, things have gotten out of hand ever since Donald Trump was inaugurated. Those people are no longer in the business of trying to do the honorable thing for the sake of the nation. Both they and their partisan allies in the media and the corridors of Congress have no other agenda other than to stop Trump in his tracks and thus destroy Trump’s presidency, at a time when Islamic terrorism must be confronted, and health care and tax reform must be addressed in order to grow this economy and create jobs.

In a hugely anticipated congressional hearing that captured the country’s attention (into the broad matter that goes under the mainstream media’s headline of “collusion with Russia”) former FBI Director James Comey asserted on Thursday, June 8, in front of a Congressional committee, that President Donald Trump fired him to interfere with his investigation of Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign, bluntly accusing the White House of spreading “lies, plain and simple.”  Comey also revealed that he’d orchestrated the public release of information about his private conversations with the president in an effort to further the investigation.

No Collusion or Obstruction

When all was said and done, it became obvious that there was no collusion between Trump and Russia; except for:

—  those who, such as the recently-indicted rabid Clinton-supporting Reality Winner, leaked classified information in efforts deliberately intended to injure the United States (or Donald Trump), and

—  those persons, as-yet-unfingered, who (to score political points against Mr. Trump) “unmasked” people, such as General Flynn, whose names turned up in passing in surveillance and other counterintelligence reports.

As an aside, where are the SNL skits about the time when “Reality Winner met Carlos Danger”?  It is reasonable to expect that if, after the divorce from Huma, Anthony married the indicted leaker, she’d be Reality Weiner?  Reality (by which I mean the real reality as opposed to the Hillary-crazed Reality) is often far funnier than the imaginations of Stephen Colbert’s gag-writers.

With almost certainly it can be predicted that the claim Donald Trump and his campaign “colluded” with Russians — whether Russian Presidents, Russian spies, or Russian hackers (hereinafter collectively referred to by the Russian word that embraces and means them all, “Putin”) — to affect the outcome of the 2016 election will find no support in the evidence.  But the lack of evidence won’t stop breathless conjecture, of course; Trump Derangement Syndrome feeds, it seems, on whatever it is that breathless leftists exhale, which certainly isn’t carbon dioxide as that would violate the Paris accords.

What the evidence shows

But the evidence already shows, among other things:

(1)  Julian Assange, Bradley / Chelsea Manning, the Wikileaks crowd, and others fed tons of highly-damaging, life-endangering information to thugs the world over, including the Putin team.

(2)  The Putin team made serious, although seeming unsuccessful, efforts in 2015 and 2016 to hack into the electronic systems of American electoral agencies including the Illinois State Board of Elections (where “hack” traditionally means something altogether different).

(3)  The Chinese government, meanwhile, successfully hacked into, and stole the entire contents of, the databases of the United States Office of Personnel Management.  (That may seem boring, except that they thereby obtained tons of personal identifier, address, background, financial, health insurance, and retirement data on every employee and every retiree of the United States Government — including intelligence personnel, among them clandestine agents such as the Interior Minister of Ikidyounotistan whose actual employment as an American agent would come to light only when it it noted that he has an OPM retirement account and an OPM life insurance policy the benefits of which, alas, will soon have to be paid out to his widow and children once the Chinese have tipped the news to certain Ikidyounotistani gunmen.

I write this [Joe A. Morris], mind you, as the former General Counsel of OPM, mindful that this obscure agency, treated by the last administration as an unimportant backwater, is responsible for all oversight of executive branch security and suitability investigations and determinations, and keeps the records on pretty much every non-military employee of Uncle Sam, including the secret ones.)  Is the Chinese government also a Putin subsidiary?  No;  far from it.  But they do collaborate and they do have a common Number One enemy:  the U.S.A.

Leaking and Hacking on Obama’s watch

Now, the evidence also shows that all this leaking and hacking took place on the watch of one President Barack Obama who, the evidence further shows:

  • Failed to protect the U.S. Government’s personnel records against foreign thieves.
  • Took no measures to assist American State and local electoral agencies to “harden” their digital systems against Putin’s hacking; heck, he didn’t even warn them.
  • Belittled his 2012 challenger, Mitt Romney, for insisting that Russia was a threat — in fact, Mr. Romney asserted, the “greatest threat” — to the United States;   in one of the 2012 debates Mr. Obama descended from Olympus to dismiss Mr. Romney’s concerns about Russia with the sarcastic line, “The 80’s are calling.  They want their foreign policy back.”
  • Was caught on a hot mic in March 2012 confiding to Mr. Putin’s stand-in President / Prime Minister / all-purpose puppet, Dimitry Medvedev, that he should tell Vlad, “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”
  • Was not much concerned about the impacts that the Assange, Manning, and other leaks, and the Russian and Chinese hacking were having upon the United States until it became apparent, during the 2016 campaign, that some of the disclosures accurately, if unlawfully, showed Mrs. Clinton, her campaign, and the Democratic Party in very bad lights.
  • When leaving office granted clemency to Chelsea Manning, a fabulous parting gift, thus sending a message about the (wink wink) gravity of leaking and hacking against the United States, a message that no one seems to have noticed — except, perhaps, Vladimir Putin and Reality Winner.

Now, given what the evidence on the record already establishes, which President is more likely to be guilty of “colluding” with Russians?

[Originally Published at Illinois Review: Authors, Joseph Morris and Nancy Thorner.]

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New York Times Take on GOP Assassination Attempt: Latest In A Long History Of Fake News

NY Times

The New York Times is simply a ridiculous publication. And has been for decades. It is hopelessly, blindly, willfully Leftist. And has been for decades. And to advance their Leftism, they have lied and lied again and again. For decades. They are the definition of fake news.

Just yesterday, their Editors en toto wrote about the Bernie Sanders supporter who went Republican hunting in Alexandria, Virginia – firing more than fifty rifle shots at GOP Congressmen and staffers on a baseball diamond. Included in that piece was the following:

“In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.”

This is a lie. A lie that was thoroughly disproven…in 2011. Loughner was not only insane – to the degree that he was at all political, he was a Leftist. And the odds that this insane, apolitical idiot had actually seen Palin’s website – were, conservatively, a trillion-to-one.

Nevertheless, here’s The Times SIX YEARS LATER – still telling the same lie.

Lying is a rich Times tradition. And has won them a slew of awards.

In the 1930s, The Times’ Walter Duranty covered uber-murderous Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union. And by covered – we mean covered-up. And won a 1932 Pulitzer Prize for it:

“From 1932 to 1933, a famine, known as Holodomor, killed as many as 10 million people in the former Soviet Union. The majority of those deaths were in Ukraine….During the Holodomor, Walter Duranty, then the New York Times Moscow Bureau Chief, wrote, ‘Any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda.’

 “In December of 1933, Stalin praised this so-called journalist: ‘You have done a good job in your reporting the U.S.S.R., though you are not a Marxist, because you try to tell the truth about our country.… I might say that you bet on our horse to win when others thought it had no chance and I am sure you have not lost by it.’”

Bizarrely, with this obnoxious history as a backdrop, The Times in February published a piece comparing President Donald Trump to…Stalin.

One: No – just no. This is simply stupid – and may incite things like…people hunting Republicans on baseball diamonds. Certainly it is more inspiring of violence than a Palin website which almost no one on the planet had seen. (Unless The Times’ readership is dramatically lower than I think it is.)

Two: How would The Times know what Stalin did? Unless they relied on more than just their own reporting.

Because The Times lies about the biggest of things – you know they lie about everything. To wit:

Outcry Over EpiPen Prices Hasn’t Made Them Lower: “You might recall EpiPen as last year’s poster child for out-of-control drug prices….So I was surprised when my pharmacist informed me, months after those floggings and apologies had faded from the headlines, that I would still need to pay $609 for a box of two EpiPens.”

Before we delve deeply into EpiPen prices, let us analyze The Times’ surface inanity.

People nigh always complain about the prices – of everything. We always want more for less – because…human nature. And we nigh always do said complaining – totally ignorant of the nine million market forces that collide to set these prices where they are.

So it is not at all shocking to almost anyone (outside of The Times’ newsroom) that people complaining about prices – nigh never lowers prices. Because complaints do not alter at all the nine million market forces colliding.

This Times’ assault on the EpiPen was published under their “Adventures in Capitalism” header – a section they have dutifully dedicated to attacking capitalism.

But as Reason Magazine points out – The Times’ ends up begrudgingly admitting that capitalism works. And that their headline and opening paragraphs – are a lie:

“Twenty-six paragraphs later, way down toward the very end of the article, Duhigg discloses, ‘In fact, the company says that since it came under attack in August, nearly 90 percent of EpiPen buyers have paid less than $100 per box because of insurance, discounts or coupons.’ So it sure looks as if, contrary to the headline, the outcry over EpiPen prices has made them lower.”

Reason raises another very reasonable point:

“An interesting question that the Times totally avoids is why Duhigg’s health insurance is such that he has to pay $609 instead of the less than $100 that I paid (out of pocket)…Duhigg’s column is 2,000 words long, but it somehow manages to avoid all of those questions.”

Reason here highlights the anti-human-nature third-party-payer health care system our government has warped into existence. When we pay out-of-pocket – we care a great deal about the price. When we only pay a $50 (or less) co-pay and insurance pays the rest – we do not. (And we then complain about the high out-of-pocket price of insurance.)

Reason also places the price of the EpiPen – in very reasoned, reasonable perspective:

“(C)onsider that for $609, or, for about 90% of people, less than $100 out of pocket, the company is offering a year’s worth of access to potentially life-saving medicine, in a reliable delivery system. Compare that to the pricing of The New York Times: $1,014 for a yearlong seven-day-a-week home delivery subscription to a newspaper that, rather than saving your life, might inflict life-shortening stress.”

Get that? It costs less for a year’s worth of EpiPen – that saves your life. Than it costs for a year’s worth of The Times – that lies to you.

So despite Grey Lady headlines to the contrary, the EpiPen – is a titanic bargain.

The ever-lying New York Times? Not so much.

[Originally Published at RedState]

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The Leftist Mob’s Trump Assassination Fantasy: Shakespeare in the Park

In this year’s Shakespeare in the Park in New York, Julius Caesar is portrayed in a Trump-like suit, with a Trump-like tie, and with Trump-like hair. He also has a tall, blonde wife who speaks with a slavic accent. The actors wear contemporary clothing, not togas.

In this play, the audience projects that the Senators doing the assassination are the good guys. The Trump-like Caesar is assassinated to applause. To make the assassination scene more hurtful, the Melania-like Calpurnia is made part of the scene.

A few years ago, the Acting Company (a black troupe) portrayed a black Julius Caesar, evocative of Barack Obama. In their play, the Obama-like Caesar is assassinated by white Senators. In their play, there is no applause when the Obama-like Caesar is assassinated. Plus, no Michelle-like Calpurnia is interjected into the assassination scene to make it more hurtful.

So, which is it, are the Senators good guys or bad guys? Should the audience applaud when Julius Caesar is assassinated?

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is ambivalent on the matter. In particular, Shakespeare portrays Brutus as a tragic character since, in attempting to defend the Senate, he ushered in a civil war that ended with the establishment of the Roman Empire.

In his play, there are three political tensions: Caesar, the Senate and the mob. The Senate represents the aristocracy. The Senate was the propertied class in an age when only a few owned property. They represent the elite and the privileged. And, they are suspicious of Julius Caesar.

Julius Caesar had just returned to Rome in triumph after military victories abroad. To deal with the threat to Rome, Julius Caesar had been appointed Dictator, but this appointment was only short-term. Such an appointment wasn’t unusual, but the Senators feared Julius Caesar might usurp their powers on a permanent basis.

The other tension is that of the mob. They are easily swayed from one to another cause. In the following video clip, Charlton Heston, as Mark Antony, turns the mob around in the famous Friends, Romans, Countrymen Speech.

Some people say Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar was a commentary on troubles in Great Britain contemporaneous with the play’s writing. We can see in it a timeless commentary on politics: tensions involving strong leaders, countervailing political powers, and the susceptibility of the masses to demagogues. Only today, we don’t have to resort to regicide. We have elections and, even, term limits.

[By Clifford Thies; first published at Freedom Pub.]

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Fake Democracy, Real Power Grabs: The Bureaucracy ‘Comment Periods’

Leftist protest

The Left doesn’t like acquiescing to the will of We the People. They like – to degree that they can pull it off – to PRETEND to acquiesce to the will of We the People. The Left’s agenda has never really resonated with us. So they’ve looked for as many ways as possible to circumvent us – and our Constitutional process of self-governance.

Here’s how things are supposed to work in Washington, D.C.:

The officials we elect to the Legislative Branch – legislate. They draft and pass laws. On which We the People can exert influence – via our First Amendment right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The President (whom we also elect) then signs the laws – and then his/her Executive Branch executes them. The Judicial Branch – our court system – adjudicates legal disputes between parties.

Via this process did the Founding Fathers render it quite difficult to grow government. Which has always irked the Left – so the Left started end-running this process.

As much as they possibly could, they started having the Executive and Judicial Branches pretend to be the Legislative – and write laws rather than implement or arbitrate them.

Born was “judicial activism.” Where judges and Justices ignore the plain text and context of our Constitution and laws – and instead unilaterally write and impose new laws they wish the Legislative Branch had. Under the guise of “judicial rulings.”

And out of the vast, ever-expanding Executive Branch – arose the bureaucratic power grab. The Executive Branch is made up of a laundry list alphabet soup of acronym agencies – filled to the rafters with bureaucrats. Who over the last several decades have spent less and less time implementing laws – and more and more time pretending to be legislators and writing them. Which they disguise as “regulations.”

To make these power grabs appear less power grabby, the agencies have devised the rule-making process – during which they have “Comment Periods.” Where the Executive again pretends to be the Legislative – this is their lame attempt to replicate our “petition(ing) the Government to redress our grievances.”

Except we didn’t elect these bureaucrats – so we can’t un-elect them. So it is decidedly unlikely that they care a whit what we think. They’re regulators – they sought out gigs that give them power over us. They like to regulate. And again, they aren’t at all accountable to us.

So no matter what happens during the fake democracy “Comment Periods” – they’re going to do what regulators do. Government will grow.

And these “Comment Periods” are about as unscientific, manipulatable – and thus untrustworthy – as just about anything going. It’s whomever, wherever – filing “Comments” online.

Thus they are nothing more than an online poll – which are notoriously un-valuable. But don’t take our word for it – ask The New York Times:

Why You Shouldn’t Trust ‘Polls’ Conducted Online: “Professional pollsters use scientific statistical methods to make sure that their small random samples are demographically appropriate to indicate how larger groups of people think. Online polls do nothing of the sort, and are not random, allowing anyone who finds the poll to vote. They are thus open to manipulation from those who would want to stuff the ballot box.”

These ridiculous “Comment Periods” are no less farcical in the rare instance when a bureaucracy is rolling back a precedent power grab. As the Donald Trump Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in the process of doing – undoing the Barack Obama FCC’s regulatory expansion over the Internet so as to then impose the ridiculous Network Neutrality.

The Left is in full-on freak out mode at this massive shrinkage of government. And they have poured much of their inanity and insanity – into the FCC’s “Comment Period.” With all the absurdity that one should have by now come to expect.

Fake Pro-Net Neutrality Public Comments Flood FCC From Russia, Other Foreign Countries

<GASP> It’s the Russians – influencing DC policy. Oh – except it’s in opposition to Trump, so the Left-Media (please pardon the redundancy) will remain steadfastly uninterested. Sort of like Trump bombing Russia-ally Syria.

When ‘Bots’ Outnumber Humans, the Public Comment Process is Meaningless

You can drop the all the words before the comma – and become even more precisely accurate:

“More than 465,322 pro-net neutrality comment submissions…appear to have been submitted under questionable circumstances. In many cases, commenters used email addresses that obviously belonged to someone else. Often, the same email was used to file multiple comments – in some cases thousands of times.

“Over 100,000 examples of identical comments using language from an Electronic Frontier Foundation letter program were submitted from what appeared to be a fake email generator program using as many as ten different email domains. A spot check of dozens of the 100,000 comments also revealed that the submissions included fake physical addresses and maybe even fake names.

“Comments submitted from multiple filers using various foreign and U.S. email addresses that appear to have been culled from spammer and hacker databases available on the public. Thousands of other pro-net neutrality filers used what appear to be other people’s private email addresses.

“Based on our analysis, the email addresses appear in many cases to have either been culled from spam and hacker databases available on the open web, or from other publicly available files found on the open web such as PDF files – some not even in the U.S. In one case, an email address and name that appears to have been pulled from an Islamic hacker database on the public Web was associated with seven different individuals submitting comments.”

So, again, not only are these “Comment Periods” an attempt to put a democratic veneer (and we’re actually a republic)  on naked government power grabs – they are completely absurd messes, totally devoid of any actual value:

“What the net neutrality comment debacle underscores is that the Internet age may mean the collapse of the public comment process, at least for significant public policy issues.”

No truer Comment has ever been filed.

[Originally Published at RedState]

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Radical Environmentalists Blame Heartland Institute for Trump’s Paris Accord Decision

Paris at night

In announcing his decision in the Rose Garden on June 1st to end the United States’ affiliation with the Paris climate agreement, President Trump said:

The Paris climate accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers…and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.

As John Carney of Breitbart News described the Paris climate agreement:

The Paris climate agreement, adopted on December 12, 2015 at the conclusion of the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference, was deeply flawed from its start. It was legally and constitutionally suspect, based on politics rather than science, and contained unrealistic goals. It promised not only a dramatic expansion of the administrative state and a huge increase in the regulatory burden on American businesses, it threatened to put the brakes on U.S. economic output at a time when most economists think the U.S. will struggle to achieve even a meager two percent growth.

Parties to the agreement were expected to begin taking measures to reduce emissions in 2020, mainly by enacting rules that sharply reduce carbon emissions. Countries were supposed to publicly announce “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” to combat climate change and periodically report on their progress.

The Obama administration announced the U.S. would commit to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, a quarter of which was supposedly achievable by the implementation of the previous administration’s legally-questionable Clean Power Plan. To get the rest of the way, the U.S. would have to make major investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and cleaner motor vehicles. This likely explains why the Paris climate deal was so popular with many in Silicon Valley and many on Wall Street. It promised a bonanza of spending and investment, most likely subsidized by taxpayers, in technologies that wouldn’t otherwise be attractive. It was practically calling out for making self-driving, solar powered cars mandatory.

The Heartland Institute in the Crossfire

Predictably, President Trump faced a global tongue-lashing as big business and leaders in China and Europe united to condemn him for his decision to pull America out of the 2015 Paris climate accord.

It didn’t escape the attention of the Union of Concerned Scientists and other left-wing group — outraged because Trump is repealing Obama’s legacy– that Joe Bast, President and CEO of The Heartland Institute, by invitation, was seated in the Rose Garden when Trump announced his decision. Affiliated with the Heartland Institute, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) has been doing outstanding work on the issue of climate change and remains at odds with the research being done by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (NIPCC was founded by Fred Singer and other scientists in 2003 and is currently a joint project of three groups: The Heartland Institute, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and the Science and Environmental Policy Project. The left tries to portray NIPCC as something The Heartland Institute created to confuse the public. It is not. All along, its organizers have said It is the “Blue Team” to the IPCC/EPA “Red Team.”)

Although The Heartland Institute has been subject to many attacks from so-called global alarmists, after Joe Bast’s presence was spotted in the Rose Garden an effort was made to harm President Trump by attacking Heartland’s Joe Bast.

Democrat Senators Harass Heartland

Shared by Joe Bast was a letter sent to the Honorable Betsy DeVos, Secretary, United States Department of Education, on June 7, 2017, signed by four U.S. Senators — Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Edward Markey (D-MA) – demanding to know if her department “had contact with individuals associated with the Heartland Institute on climate, science, or science education issues,” and demanding as well copies of said correspondence, any information regarding discussions between Heartland and other White House staff members, and more.   The letter goes on to accuse The Heartland Institute of being a “notorious industry front group,” and worse.

The following day, June 8, 2017, Joe Bast addressed a letter to Senators Whitehouse, Warren, Schatz, and Markey.  A portion of the letter is below:   

For the record, The Heartland Institute has contacted nearly all members of the Trump cabinet. We have sent extensive information to more than 100 members of the administration explaining who we are, enclosing multiple publications (including books, policy studies, and videos) of most relevance to their positions, and offering to make our extensive network of some 370 policy experts available to provide further assistance. Some have gotten back to us.

We have published scores, possibly more than one hundred, commentaries and news releases and news stories calling attention to the new administration’s policy decisions, congratulating it when it has done what we believe to be the right things, and criticizing it when they have come up short.

Can any of you explain to me how this differs from the relationship the previous administration had with liberal advocacy groups? Can any of you explain why these contacts are illegitimate or against the public interest?

Your letter to Secretary DeVos describes The Heartland Institute as a “notorious industry front group.” This is false and defamatory.Heartland is a 33-year-old national nonprofit research and education organization with a broad funding base, a long history of taking positions at odds with “industry,” and has policies in place that protect its staff from undue influence from donors. All this is explained on our website in a section titled “Reply to Our Critics.”

Trump’s Withdrawal Fosters Defiance

This webpage has a long list of businesses, investors, government officials, university leaders, and others who apparently have pledged to do what they can to comply with the goals of the Paris Climate Treaty (and presumably the Clean Power Plan and other Obama-era executive orders and unconstitutional regulations) despite Trump’s decision to re-set U.S. climate change and energy policies.

Washington DC – A grand total of 1,219 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges and universities from across the U.S. or with significant operations in the U.S., representing the broadest cross section of the American economy yet assembled in pursuit of climate action, today declared their intent to continue to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions.

Signatories include leaders from 125 cities, 9 states, 902 businesses and investors, and 183 colleges and universities. Participating cities and states represent 120 million Americans and contribute $6.2 trillion to the U.S. economy, and include Oregon and cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Houston as well as smaller cities like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Dubuque, Iowa. A mixture of private universities, state schools and community colleges, both small and large, have added their institutions to the statement. In total the undersigned businesses and investors account for a total annual revenue of $1.4 trillion and include over 20 Fortune 500 companies, including Apple, eBay, Gap Inc., Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Nike, in addition to hundreds of small businesses, have also signed the statement.

The signed statement calls “The Trump administration’s announcement [one that] undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change [and a move which is] out of step with what is happening in the United States.”

Paris Climate Withdrawal Benefits

It remains to be seen whether defiance will translate into action.  Much of the defiance in coming from blue state and cities who are already in economic turmoil.

As John Carney described the Paris climate agreement:

  • Industrial Carnage. The regulations necessary to implement the Paris agreement would have cost the U.S. industrial sector 1.1 million jobs, according to a study commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. These job losses would center in cement, iron and steel, and petroleum refining. Industrial output would decline sharply.
  • Making America Poorer Again.  A Heritage Foundation study found that the Paris agreement would have increased the electricity costs of an American family of four by between 13 percent and 20 percent annually. It forecast a loss of income of $20,000 by 2035. In other words, American families would be paying more while making less. 
  • Much Poorer. The overall effect of the agreement would have been to reduce U.S. GDP by over $2.5 trillion and eliminate 400,000 jobs by 2035, according to Heritage’s study. This would exacerbate problems with government funding and deficits, make Social Security solvency more challenging, and increase reliance on government’s spending to support households.

What If?

A new peer-reviewed paper by Dr. Bjorn Lomborg published in the Global Policy journal measured the actual impact of all significant climate promises ahead of the Paris climate summit.

What Lomborg’s study revealed:

The climate impact of all Paris INDC promises is minuscule: if we measure the impact of every nation fulfilling every promise by 2030, the total temperature reduction will be 0.048°C (0.086°F) by 2100.

Given the economic repercussions for this nation and its citizens, remaining in the Paris climate accord for the sake of lowering the temperature by 0.086 degrees F by 2100 is something only fools would do.  The Paris climate accord is all about redistribution of wealth and control over people, as set forth by the United Nations.

And what if a period of Global Cooling is on the horizon?  Such predictions are becoming quite common, because, like in the past, a lack of sun spots can foretell a period of global

The Heartland Institute is not letting up on its efforts to spread the truth about climate change and other important public policy issues.

Please contact the four Democrat senators listed below to help defend the Heartland Institute and president Joe Bast against spurious attacks.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – 202-224-2921   Fax: 202-228-6362
Senator Elizabeth Warren –  202-224-4543   Fax: 202-228-2072
Senator Brian Schatz – 202-224-3934   Fax: 202-228-1153
Senator Edward Markey – 202-224-2742   Fax:  202-224-2743
[Originally Published by Nancy Thorner at Illinois Review]
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Four Liberal U.S. Senators Attack Heartland, and We Reply

Congress

It is almost unbelievable how low our opponents stoop in their effort to demonize us and stop President Trump from repealing the worst parts of Barack Obama’s legacy.

As you may have heard, I was in the Rose Garden a week ago when President Trump announced the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty. I was honored to be invited, and view it as a sign that our efforts for the past 20 years on the climate change issue have not gone unnoticed. But the left noticed my attendance as well, and so this week they tried to hurt President Trump by attacking me.

The Union of Concerned Scientists and other left-wing groups shivered and cried about my presence in the Rose Garden. Forget about them. More interesting was this letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos signed by four U.S. Senators – Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Edward Markey (D-MA) – demanding to know if her department “had contact with individuals associated with the Heartland Institute on climate, science, or science education issues,” and demanding as well copies of said correspondence, any information regarding discussions between Heartland and other White House staff members, and more.

The letter goes on to accuse The Heartland Institute of being a “notorious industry front group,” and worse.

Below is my reply to the four senators, going out in the mail today. I hope you don’t think it’s too timid.

We are not letting up on our efforts to spread the truth about climate change and other important public policy issues. Stay tuned for more news on that front.

START OF LETTER

June 8, 2017

To: Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Edward Markey (D-MA)
From: Joseph L. Bast, president The Heartland Institute

Re: Your recent shameful conduct with regard to our communications with the Trump administration

I was disappointed but not surprised by your letter dated June 7 sent to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in which you demand to know if her department “had contact with individuals associated with the Heartland Institute on climate, science, or science education issues,” and demanding as well copies of said correspondence, any information regarding discussions between Heartland and other White House staff members, and more.

For the record, The Heartland Institute has contacted nearly all members of the Trump cabinet. We have sent extensive information to more than 100 members of the administration explaining who we are, enclosing multiple publications (including books, policy studies, and videos) of most relevance to their positions, and offering to make our extensive network of some 370 policy experts available to provide further assistance. Some have gotten back to us.

We have published scores, possibly more than one hundred, commentaries and news releases and news stories calling attention to the new administration’s policy decisions, congratulating it when it has done what we believe to be the right things, and criticizing it when they have come up short.

Can any of you explain to me how this differs from the relationship the previous administration had with liberal advocacy groups? Can any of you explain why these contacts are illegitimate or against the public interest?

Your letter to Secretary DeVos describes The Heartland Institute as a “notorious industry front group.” This is false and defamatory. Heartland is a 33-year-old national nonprofit research and education organization with a broad funding base, a long history of taking positions at odds with “industry,” and has policies in place that protect its staff from undue influence from donors. All this is explained on our website in a section titled “Reply to Our Critics.”  Google it.

Your letter cites PBS Frontline as reporting “that the Heartland Institute is distributing factually inaccurate and scientifically illegitimate materials on climate change to upwards of 200,000 public school science teachers.” PBS Frontline is not qualified to make that judgment. And the number of public school science teachers is considerably less than 200,000. Didn’t anyone on your staffs fact-check this letter before it was circulated?

Our work on climate change is produced by a network of more than 200 highly qualified scientists, economists, and policy experts. It has been cited in more than one hundred peer-reviewed articles. The Chinese Academy of Sciences thought so highly of it, it translated two volumes of our work into Mandarin Chinese and published it as a condensed volume in 2013. Surveys and literature reviews show our views are supported by a majority of scientists in the United States.

Your letter goes on to claim that Heartland has “disseminated ‘alternative facts’ and fake science at the behest of its industry funders for decades.” You go on to comment on our funding from Phillip Morris, the Koch family foundations, and ExxonMobil, implying that our work may be “fraudulent.”

It is simply despicable that you would knowingly repeat such lies in an open letter like this. Shame, shame, shame.

The Heartland Institute’s research has been praised by scores of policymakers and our peers in the public policy research community. (See the document titled “Endorsements” linked in the “About” feature on our Website.) We are ranked one of the top ten conservative think tanks in the world. The Koch family has made exactly one gift to us in the past 20 years, of only $25,000 earmarked for a health care policy project. ExxonMobil stopped giving in 2007, before Heartland ramped up its work on climate change. Your claims are false, obviously intended to defame us.

But of course you know all this, because I’ve told you this before in response to previous libelous letters you’ve sent.
Frankly, your letter is a monumental misuse of your offices and a betrayal of the trust of your constituents. You should all be ashamed.

Happily, it now appears our work is informing the decisions of the Trump administration, conscientious members of the U.S. House and Senate, and governors and state elected officials from coast to coast. I understand this is bad for you, but it is good for the nation, for the environment, and for us.

I eagerly await your retractions and apologies.

[First published by Joseph Bast at Freedom Pub.]

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Comedians Find Intellectual Property Theft No Joking Matter

The comedy world – like much of the entertainment world – is rife with people of the Left ideological persuasion.  There are, of course, exceptions – but on the main they are on the Left.

But then there is Robert Conquest’s Three Laws of Politics.  The first of which is: “Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.”  A law proven eminently true – when comedians steal jokes from other comedians.  Instantaneously, these Leftist laugh artists – become stalwart conservative champions of intellectual property (IP) rights.

Conan O'Brien

Conan O’Brien

What Does Conan O’Brien’s Court Fight Over Jokes Mean For The Wider World Of Comedy?: “Freelance joke writer Robert “Alex” Kaseberg has brought a suit against the writers of Conan (and the man himself), claiming that they stole five jokes from him in 2014-2015 (including one in very poor taste of Caitlyn Jenner’s transition). U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino accepted that there was a possible case surrounding only three of the jokes….

“Even if this suit doesn’t end up going to trial, the taint of even alleged joke stealing can be a real black mark on a comedian. In his deposition, O’Brien said ‘Accusing a comedian of stealing a joke is the worst thing you can accuse them of, in my opinion, short of murder. I think it’s absolutely terrible.’ Clearly this is not something that the late night host is taking lightly. However, anytime an established comedian is profiting off of the work of a less well known entity is cause for concern.”

Get all that?  Leftist comedian Conan – thinks stealing IP is just short of murder.  About what he knows – he is conservative.  Conquest remains correct.

Of course, comedy theft is almost certainly as old as comedy itself.  Technological advancements such as infinite video, audio and the written word just an Internet click away – only makes heisting easier.  Though, of course, it doesn’t make it right.  (Just because you can download it – rather than having to obtain a physical copy – doesn’t lessen or in any way mitigate the heist.)

And, again, it’s especially obnoxious when bigger stars steal from lesser lights – because the lesser lights are poorly equipped to defend themselves.

Joke Theft Isn’t New. Joke Theft Via Twitter? That’s Just the Latest Wrinkle

‘SNL’ Is Being Accused Of Ripping Off This Tig Notaro Short Film

How on Earth can someone as little known as Tig Notaro (of whom, I admit, I had never heard until reading this story) – do anything to hold at all accountable humongous NBC and their Saturday Night Live?  Bullies are bigger – and oft get away with things they shouldn’t.

Enter Joe Rogan.  Rogan is a comedian, network television star of multiple shows, podcaster, mixed martial artist – and longstanding intellectual property champion.

In the mid-2000s, timidity was the standard reaction to comedians stealing from comedians – which of course only emboldened the thieves.  At that time, comic Carlos Mencia was riding very, very high.  He had a show on Comedy Central, had had several HBO specials – and was selling out stadiums.  But the dirty little secret flowing in the comedy world undercurrent – was that Mencia was stealing tons of stuff.

Mencia was notorious for, amongst other things, slipping into Los Angeles comedy clubs, sitting in the back with paper and pen – and lifting any and everything from comedians less famous than he, and therefore in no real position to do anything about it.

To say this angered Rogan – is a colossal understatement.  And after a lot of preceding protestations, Rogan in February 2007 actually walked on to Los Angeles’ Comedy Store stage to confront Mencia.  (Here we proffer one of the most obvious “Not Safe for Work” warnings ever.  It’s a comedy club, with two angry comedians, off-script, yelling at each other.  There was a bit of objectionable language used.)

Rogan unloaded on Mencia.  He called him “Carlos Menstealia.”  And much of the audience – as is the case with just about any comedy club audience – is made up of other comedians.  And it was as if Rogan was letting them out of jail.  FINALLY someone was saying out loud what they had long been whispering.  And they roared their approval and support of Rogan.

This was the shot heard around the comedy world.  Huge comedian Ron White appeared on Rogan’s podcast in 2016 – nine years after the Mencia fact – and praised Rogan for dropping the hammer.  (Again – shocker – there’s some strong language to follow.)  “Not like you and Mencia.  That was just the best thing ever.  You had every comic in the country just cheering your f*****g name.  Go get ‘em, Joe.”

The point to be drawn at this point is: Here we have the nation’s comedians – again, likely mostly Leftists – as one hailing as a hero Rogan for his staunch defense of intellectual property.  You’re conservative – about what you know best.

And here’s Rogan being interviewed by Ana Kasparian in 2014. (And again – language.)  Kasparian asks Rogan “Are you saying you believe in intellectual property?”

Rogan responds “I believe that if you create something…well, here’s what I believe in.  This is most important.  I believe that anybody that tries to take any of your ideas and pawn them off as their own is a piece of s***.  And they should be outed as a piece of s***.  Now with Mencia the problem was he was profiting off of this and destroying other comedians’ careers.”

Later in the interview, Rogan wisely observes: “It was a bad scene.  Because throughout the history of comedy there have been people who have stolen material from other comics.  And it’s a horrible situation when an established comedian steals from a guy who’s coming up.

“It takes…say you have a bit…A bit takes a long time to develop.  There are ideas – you take them on stage, you figure out the right way to set to up, you sit in front of your computer pulling your f*****g hair out, you bang things back and forth, you shift them around, you try it this way, you try it that way.  And it takes a long time to come to fruition.

“You plant that seed – and you water it every time you go on stage.  This a*****e (Mencia) used to come along and steal these fully developed plants, pull them – and then pass them off as his own.”

Rogan’s description of the development of a fully formed and functioning comedy sketch – sounds EXACTLY like what an inventor goes through when working his initial idea all the way through to a patentable product.

Rogan decrying that fully formed product being stolen by a much bigger comedian – sounds EXACTLY like some poor inventor working through his idea in his basement – and finally arriving at patentable product success.  And then having a gigantic corporation like Google – the Carlos Mencia of IP – swoop in and steal the poor guy’s idea.

So Google is on the IP-equivalent of HBO and Comedy Central and selling out arenas – with this guy’s IP.  They’re moving product the world over and making millions (billions) – while the guy from whom they stole remains distraught and destitute.

This ain’t fair.  This ain’t right.  And as Joe Rogan and comedians everywhere know – this ain’t funny.

Because they know what we all should know: That intellectual property deserves protection at least equal to the protection afforded physical property.

No joke.

[Originally Published at RedState]

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Socialism on the Rise: French Election, Round 1, A Post-Mortem

By Clifford Thies

In the velodrome of multi-party politics that is Round 1 in the French Presidential election system, the sprint to the finish can be exciting. This time, not so much. As expected based on pre-election polls, the social liberal, Emmanuel Macron, running as an independent, finished first, and the fiery leader of the National Front, Marine Le Pen, second.

In retrospect, these results were due to Macron’s bolting from the Socialist Party, taking its social liberal wing with him, and displacing the centrist François Bayrou. With their party rent asunder, many in the socialist wing of the Socialist Party could not resist the siren call of a true believer, and support surged for the unabashed left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Going into the final weekend, four candidates – Macron, Le Pen, Mélenchon and the nominee of the center-right Les Republicans, François Fillon – were indicated to be in contention for the top two spots.

During the final days of the campaign, it is now clear, support for Le Pen waned, shifting to Nicolas Dupont-Aignan of Debout la France (“France Arise”) and other minor right-wing candidates. Debout la France is a Guallist Party or conservative party such as “conservative” applies to French politics. And, support for Macron increased at the expense of Benoît Hamon, the nominee of the Socialist Party. Thus, Macron edged Le Pen for first place.

Polls indicate that Macron will win the run-off in two weeks, in a landslide, although not by as much as Jacques Chirac beat Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2002. While out of the Presidential race, Les Republicans are looking forward to taking control of the National Assembly from the Socialists, later in the year.

The U.S. Presidential election of 2016 featured some elements in common with Round 1. The obvious similarity is that, in both, there were anti-establishment candidates of the right and of the left (Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the US, and Le Pen and Mélenchon in France). A second connection is the role played by multiple political parties.

During the run-up to the election, support for Gary Johnson, candidate of the Libertarian Party, ranged from 10 to 14 percent in the polls, and support for Jill Stein, candidate of the Green Party, 3 or 4 percent. Historically, support for minor-party candidates dissipates as voters shift to the more acceptable candidate of those who can actually win. Sure enough, when the votes were cast, Johnson received only 3 percent of the vote, and Stein only 1 percent. The larger shift from Johnson to Trump was perhaps the crucial reason for Trump’s amazing come from behind victory.

[First published at Freedom Pub.]

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