By Paul Driessen
April 22 was Earth Day, the March for Science and Lenin’s birthday (which many say is appropriate, since environmentalism is now green on the outside and red, anti-free enterprise on the inside). April 29 will feature the People’s Climate March and the usual meaningless “Climate change is real” inanity.
The Climate March website says these forces of “The Resistance” intend to show President Trump they will fight his hated energy agenda every step of the way. Science March organizers say they won’t tolerate anyone who tries to “skew, ignore, misuse or interfere with science.”
After eight years of government policies that killed jobs and economic growth – and skewed, ignored, misused, obstructed, vilified and persecuted science and scientists that strayed from alarmist talking points, to advance a climate chaos, anti-fossil fuel, anti-growth agenda – that piety is arrogant hypocrisy.
But their theater of the absurd gets worse. Some March for Science leaders were outraged that the recent MOAB bomb dropped on ISIS terrorists shows “how science is weaponized against marginal people.”
The rhetoric also recalls the annual Earth Hour, when people in rich countries are supposed to turn off their lights for 60 minutes, to repent for the sin of using fossil fuel, nuclear and hydroelectric power to electrify our homes, businesses, schools and hospitals. I personally promote Human Achievement Hour, by turning on extra lights, to celebrate humanity’s incredible innovations and advancements these past 150 years, our modern living standards, and the right of all people to improve their lives and life spans.
I was a campus organizer for the very first Earth Day, in 1970, when we had serious pollution problems. But since then we’ve cleaned up our act, air and water. Environmentalist groups, modelers and Obama regulators ignore these advances, real climate science and the Real-World climate outside their windows.
Far worse, while claiming to care deeply about the poorest among us, they ignore the harm their policies inflict: soaring electricity prices, fewer jobs, lower living standards in the West – and perpetual poverty, disease, malnutrition and premature death in developing countries. We pay more and more each year for de minimis further improvements in environmental quality, combined with ever-expanding government and activist control of our lives, and steadfast opposition to reliable, affordable energy in the Third World.
That’s why some folks who actually care about poor, minority, elderly, working class and developing country families again designated April 17-23 as Green Energy Poverty Week.
For industrialized nations, “green energy poverty” refers to households in which 10% or more of family incomes is spent on natural gas and electricity costs – due to policies that compel utilities to provide ever increasing amounts of expensive, less affordable, politically preferred “green” energy. It’s a regressive tax that disproportionately affects low and fixed income families which have little money to spend beyond energy, food, clothing, rent and other basic needs. Every energy price increase hammers them harder.
Beyond our borders, the concept underscores the lot of families that enjoy none of the living standards we take for granted. They have no electricity or get it a few hours a week at random times, burn wood and dung for cooking and heating, and spend hours every day collecting fuel and hauling filthy water from miles away. Corrupt, incompetent governments and constant pressure from callous environmentalist pressure groups in rich countries perpetuate the misery, joblessness, disease, starvation and early death.
In the United States, green energy policies affect the poorest households three times more than the richest households. In fact, rising electricity prices affect all goods and services, for all electricity users: homes, offices, hospitals, schools, malls, farms and factories. With 37 million American families earning less than $24,000 per year after taxes, and 22 million households taking home less than $16,000 post-tax, it’s pretty obvious why wind and solar mandates are unfair, unsustainable and inhumane.
Unbelievably, one million mild-weather California households now live in green energy poverty, the Manhattan Institute reports. In fact, the once-Golden State now has the USA’s highest poverty rate, thanks largely to government requirements that one-third of the state’s electricity must come from “renewable” sources by 2020, and one-half by 2030. No wonder California’s rising rates are already nearly double those in Kentucky and other states that use coal and natural gas to generate electricity.
Tesla electric cars also reward wealthy buyers: with free charging stations, access to HOV lanes, and up to $10,000 in combined tax rebates. They require batteries made from lithium dug out under horrendous or nonexistent environmental, health, safety and child labor rules in Africa. The batteries cost $325 per kilowatt-hour – equal to $350 per barrel for oil (seven times the April 2017 $50.40-a-barrel price).
Spreading California policies across the United States would send the cost of heat, lights, AC, internet, and all goods and services soaring. Jobs would disappear, living standards decline, depression rates increase, drug and alcohol abuse climb, and more people die from poor health, drugs and suicide.
Over in Europe, electricity prices are double California’s current rates: 30-45 cents per kWh! Green energy policies are hammering jobs, industries, healthcare, family budgets and future prospects.
British families pay “a whopping 54% more” for electricity than average Americans. Nearly 40% of UK households are cutting back on food and other essentials, to pay for electricity. One in three UK families struggles to pay energy bills. Up to 24,000 elderly Brits die from illness and hypothermia each winter, because they cannot afford proper heat; many are forced to choose between heating and eating.
In Germany, 330,000 families had their electricity cut off in 2015, because they could not pay soaring bills. In Bulgaria, 50% of average household income is spent on energy. Greeks are cutting down trees in protected forests because they cannot afford heating oil; hundreds of thousands of acres are being destroyed across Europe for the same reason. A tenth of all EU families are now in green energy poverty.
It’s infinitely worse for billions of parents and children in Earth’s poorest regions. In Africa, India and other impoverished regions, more than two billion people still burn firewood, charcoal and dung for cooking. Millions die from lung infections caused by pollution from these open fires, millions more from intestinal diseases caused by bacteria-infested food and water, more millions because medicines are spoiled and healthcare is primitive in clinics that don’t have electricity, refrigeration or window screens.
In Uganda, “entrepreneurs” burned a village down, killing a sick child in his home, to turn the area into new forest so that the country could claim carbon credits to prevent climate change. Chad’s government banned charcoal, the mainstay for cooking in that nation, out of absurd concerns about climate change.
Africa’s desperate families hunt and cook anything that walks, crawls, flies or swims, endangered or not. They have cut down trees and brush for miles around cities and villages – turning cheetah and chimpanzee habitats into firewood and charcoal. Poverty is undeniably the worst environmental pollutant.
For the wealthy and increasingly powerful radical environmentalist movement, it is no longer about addressing real pollution problems, protecting the environment or improving human health. As UN climate officials have proudly proclaimed, it’s really about ending fossil fuel use and capitalism, redistributing the world’s wealth, and controlling people’s livelihoods, living standards and liberties.
Of course, it’s all meant to save people and planet – from exaggerated or fabricated climate cataclysms and resource depletions. But ponder the Real-World consequences during Green Energy Poverty Week.
Environmentalists profess to care deeply about America’s and the world’s poor and middle classes. But their policies and actions too often speak far more loudly than their words. We might be forgiven for asking, With friends and protectors like these, do the world’s poor really need enemies?
[First published at Freedom Pub.]« Previous PageNext Page »
By Tom Harris
All sensible people are environmentalists. We want to enjoy clean air, land, and water and we like to think that future generations will live in an even better environment. These were the original objectives of Earth Day and I am happy to have presented at Earth Day events in the early 1990s.
However, in recent years, Earth Day has been hijacked by the climate change movement. Today, the Earth Day home page starts:
Earth Day 2017’s Campaign is Environmental & Climate Literacy
Education is the foundation for progress. We need to build a global citizenry fluent in the concepts of climate change and aware of its unprecedented threat to our planet.
Besides the strategic blunder of focusing so much attention on an issue that polls show the public do not particularly care about, there is a serious ethical problem that will come back to haunt Earth Day if they don’t soon change focus.
Reports such as those of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change illustrate that debate rages in the scientific community about the causes and consequences of climate change. Scientists cannot even agree on whether warming or cooling lie ahead, let alone the degree to which we affect it. Yet, climate campaigners assert that ‘the science is settled.’ We know with certainty, they claim, that our carbon dioxide emissions will cause a planetary emergency unless we radically change our ways.
The consequence of this overconfidence is tragic. According to the San Francisco-based Climate Policy Initiative, of the $1 billion spent worldwide each day on climate finance, 94% goes to mitigation, trying to control future climate. Only 6% of global climate finance is dedicated to helping vulnerable people cope with climate change today. In developing countries, even less, an abysmal 5%, goes to adaptation. Based on a theory about climate, we are letting people die today so as to possibly help people in the distant future.
As the public come to understand how immature the science of climate change actually is, they will regard today’s funding situation as immoral and the focus of today’s Earth Day ridiculous.
That scenario, not hypothetical future climate states, is what should most concern Earth Day organizers.
[First published at Freedom Pub.]« Previous PageNext Page »
By Jeff Steier
The first Earth Day celebration was conceived by then-US senator Gaylord Nelson and held in 1970 as a “symbol of environmental responsibility and stewardship.” In the spirit of the time, it was a touchy-feely, consciousness-raising, New Age experience, and most activities were organized at the grassroots level.
In recent years, Earth Day has evolved into an occasion for environmental Cassandras to prophesy apocalypse, dish antitechnology dirt, and proselytize. Passion and zeal routinely trump science, and provability takes a back seat to plausibility.
nstead of a genuine concern for nature, many of those stumping for Earth Day this April 22 will share opposition to environment-friendly advances in science and technology, such as agricultural biotechnology, fracking, and nuclear power. Another pervasive sentiment will be disdain for the capitalist system that provides the resources to expend on environmental protection and conservation. (It’s no coincidence that poor countries tend to be the most polluted.)
Distortion of Science
The Earth Day Network, which organizes Earth Day events and advocacy, regularly distorts science to advance its cynical agenda. This year’s event, ironically enough, is dedicated to “Environmental & Climate Literacy,” which is indeed sorely needed, given Earth Day’s manipulation and misappropriation of our commitment to protecting the environment.
Consider, for example, the network’s disingenuousness about fracking: “Fracking causes a lot of environmental harm and poses a threat to the health of a population near a fracking site due to contaminated water and the increased risk of asthma and other respiratory illnesses.” In 2011, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson conceded that she was “not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.”
In 2013, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said he had “not seen any evidence of fracking per se contaminating groundwater.” And just last year, the Obama EPA released the findings of its major report on fracking, which relied on 950 sources and was expected by activists to make the case against the technology.
The report was unable to cite any confirmed cases of water contamination. Under pressure from left-liberal members of Congress in the waning days of the Obama administration, the EPA changed the scientific conclusion of the draft report, which originally stated that there was “no systemic effect” on drinking water as a result of fracking.
Without any additional science or cases of contamination, EPA officials who sought to paint fracking in the worst possible light but who were confronted by the paucity of documented contamination wrote that, in “limited cases,” such as in a rare fracking fluid spill, contamination could take place. In other words, not unlike riding your bike through New York’s Central Park, fracking is not a zero-risk proposition.
Earth Day organizers and others pushing for across-the-board fracking bans rather than reasonable safeguards wish to “educate” us about the environment by suggesting that we should get our energy without any risk whatsoever.
Environmental Indoctrination of Children
Even those who can forgive these activists for pressuring regulators and members of Congress to cook the books on scientific reports may be troubled by their campaign to indoctrinate students.
A few years ago, seventh graders at a tony private school near San Francisco were given an unusual Earth Day assignment: make a list of environmental projects that could be accomplished with Bill Gates’s fortune. This approach to environmental awareness fits in well with the “progressive” worldview that the right to private property is subsidiary to undertakings that others think are worthwhile — the redistributive theory of society.
And how interesting that the resources made “available” for the students’ thought experiment were not, say, the aggregate net worth of the members of Congress but the wealth of one of the nation’s most successful, most innovative entrepreneurs.
Rachel Carson’s Egregious Lies
Another Earth Day assignment for those same students was to read Rachel Carson’s best-selling 1962 book Silent Spring, an emotionally charged but deeply flawed excoriation of the widespread spraying of chemical pesticides for the control of insects. As described by Roger Meiners and Andy Morriss in their scholarly yet eminently readable 2012 analysis, “Silent Spring at 50: Reflections on an Environmental Classic,” Carson exploited her reputation as a well-known nature writer to advocate and legitimatize “positions linked to a darker tradition in American environmental thinking: neo-Malthusian population control and anti-technology efforts.”
Carson’s proselytizing and advocacy led to the virtual banning of DDT and to restrictions on other chemical pesticides even though Silent Spring was replete with gross misrepresentations and scholarship so atrocious that if Carson were an academic, she would be guilty of egregious misconduct. Carson’s observations about DDT were meticulously rebutted point by point by Dr. J. Gordon Edwards, a professor of entomology at San Jose State University, a longtime member of the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society, and a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.
If Carson were an academic, she would be guilty of egregious misconduct.
In his stunning 1992 essay, “The Lies of Rachel Carson,” Edwards demolished her arguments and assertions and called attention to critical omissions, faulty assumptions, and outright fabrications. Consider this from Edwards:
This implication that DDT is horribly deadly is completely false. Human volunteers have ingested as much as 35 milligrams of it a day for nearly two years and suffered no adverse effects. Millions of people have lived with DDT intimately during the mosquito spray programs and nobody even got sick as a result. The National Academy of Sciences concluded in 1965 that “in a little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million [human] deaths that would otherwise have been inevitable.” The World Health Organization stated that DDT had “killed more insects and saved more people than any other substance.”
Meiners and Morriss conclude correctly that the influence of Silent Spring “encourages some of the most destructive strains within environmentalism: alarmism, technophobia, failure to consider the costs and benefits of alternatives, and the discounting of human well-being around the world.” Sounds like the doctrine of the organizers of this year’s Earth Day.
One of the United Kingdom’s great contemporary thinkers, Dick Taverne, aka Lord Taverne of Pimlico, discusses the shortcomings of New Age philosophy in his perspicacious book, The March of Unreason. Taverne deplores the “new kind of fundamentalism” that has infiltrated many environmentalist campaigns — an undiscriminating back-to-nature movement that views science and technology as the enemy and as a manifestation of an exploitative, rapacious, and reductionist attitude toward nature. It is no coincidence, he believes, that ecofundamentalists are strongly represented in antiglobalization and anticapitalism demonstrations worldwide.
In this, Taverne echoes the late physician and novelist Michael Crichton, who argued in his much-acclaimed novel State of Fear that ecofundamentalists have reinterpreted traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths and made a religion of environmentalism. This religion has its own Eden and paradise, where mankind lived in a state of grace and unity with nature until mankind’s fall, which came not after eating a forbidden fruit, but after partaking of the forbidden tree of knowledge — that is, science. This religion also has a judgment day to come for us in this polluted world — all of us, that is, except for true environmentalists, who will be saved by achieving “sustainability.”
One of Crichton’s characters argues that since the end of the Cold War, environmental alarmism in Western nations has filled the void left by the disappearance of the terror of communism and nuclear holocaust, and that social control is now maintained by highly exaggerated fears about pollution, global warming, chemicals, genetic engineering, and the like. With the military-industrial complex no longer the primary driver of society, the politico-legal-media complex has replaced it.
This politico-legal-media complex peddles fear in the guise of promoting safety. French writer and philosopher Pascal Bruckner captured its tone nicely: “You’ll get what you’ve got coming! That is the death wish that our misanthropes address to us. These are not great souls who alert us to troubles but tiny minds who wish us suffering if we have the presumption to refuse to listen to them. Catastrophe is not their fear but their joy.”
The tiny-minded misanthropes have enjoyed some dubious “successes.” They have effectively banished agricultural biotechnology from Europe, put the chemical industry on the run, and placed the pharmaceutical industry in their crosshairs.
Lord Taverne believes these are ominous trends that are contrary to the principles of the Enlightenment, returning us to an era in which inherited dogma and superstition took precedence over experimental data. Not only do the practices of ecofundamentalism retard technologies and the availability of products which, used responsibly, could dramatically improve and extend many lives and protect the environment, but they strangle scientific creativity and technological innovation.
A Defense of Science, Reason, and Democracy
With Congress, the administration, and many Americans now firmly on the side of more sensible, more limited regulation, it would behoove the Earth Day activists to collaborate in good faith and to support advances in environment-friendly technologies and business models. Among these, we would include ridesharing services, Airbnb, modern genetic engineering applied to agriculture, and state-of-the art agricultural chemicals, all of which enable us to do more with less but have been vilified by activists.
We are not sufficiently naïve to expect that to happen. Rather, we suspect that activists’ ecofundamentalism will continue to undermine the health of civilized society and of democracy.
Lord Taverne observed that when you defend science and reason, you defend democracy itself. Well said, Milord, and happy Earth Day to you.
[Originally Published at Pundicity]« Previous PageNext Page »
By Seton Motley
Google is almost inarguably the dominant company on the Left. So ensconced are they in the highest of high Left political circles, they basically owned and operated the Barack Obama Administration.
Google and the administration were an incestuous staff revolving door. And Obama, Inc. was an eight-year Pez dispenser of Google-crony policies. Whatever Google wanted – Google got. And Google continues its complete subjugation of the post-Obama Left-Democrats.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ran against Obama, Inc. – and won. And has set about doing what he said he would do – undoing lots and lots of Obama, Inc. policies. Including the raft of cronyism Google received.
Which has the Left-Democrats and their fellow travelers in the media – freaking out. At Google’s behest, of course. Speaking of the media, how dominant of…everything is Google? They and their Silicon Valley cohorts are paradigm shifting the entirety of the media – even further Left. As sportswriter Jason Whitlock just astutely observed:
“The entire media has moved far left. The media used to cater to New York, the hub for traditional liberal values. Journalists used to be obsessed with working at a New York magazine or newspaper or TV network. Now the entire industry is obsessed with going viral and how words will be received via social media.
“Who determines this? San Francisco/Silicon Valley, the hub for revolutionary, far-left extremism, the home base for Twitter and Facebook. Twitter and Facebook’s employee base is from the area. New York and San Francisco are distinctly different. San Francisco is driving the American media, not New York.
“You have young, microwaved millionaires and billionaires reshaping the American media in a way that reflects San Francisco values. This is a major story the mainstream media ignore. San Francisco hacked the media. Frisco-inspired clickbait is the real fake news.”
Whitlock doesn’t mention Google by name – but he eminently gets their game.
Google has long given lots and lots of coin to lots and lots of Democrats and Leftist outfits. But this is money chasing ideas – dog bites man. The Democrats and the Left were already where Google wanted them – Google’s massive money just prioritized and amplified the Left-Democrats’ efforts on Google’s behalf.
But Google isn’t stupid. They can read the writing on the political wall. And increasingly, that penmanship – belongs to Republicans and the Right.
Thanks to national trends – and the magic of gerrymandering – the House of Representatives looks to be in Republican hands for a generation. And shorter-term, the already-Republican-majority Senate – looks to be getting much more Republican in 2018. Throw in the Republican Trump Administration – and all of Google’s work greasing the Left-Democrats is looking like much ado about increasingly little.
Which is why – nearly a decade ago – Google started greasing the Right-Republicans. And this is where the ideological lines not only blur – they warp and distort. This is man-bites-dog.
This isn’t money chasing ideas – where Google funds people with whom they already agree. This is Google hoping their coin – will shift Right-Republican thinking and actions in their Leftist direction.
Sadly, to varying degrees – it is working. And perhaps the bizarre-est example of this – is California Republican Congressman Darrel Issa. And that bizarre-ness – is embodied in Issa’s patent policy disconnect.
Issa is a private-sector-made multi-millionaire – the richest member of Congress. And he made his millions – thanks to patents, and the protections patents afforded his products: “Issa made most of his fortune in the 1990s while leading Directed Electronics Inc., a Vista-based manufacturer of vehicle antitheft devices that he created. His is the voice of the Viper car alarm system, which warns, ‘Please step away from the car.’”
Issa developed effective, attractive new ways to protect your automobile – and then patented them. Which protected his ideas from thieves. Which is only fair – they’re his ideas, he alone should profit from them. And profit he eminently did.
But now, as a Congressman, Issa is bizarrely leading the charge to undermine the patent protections that rightly made him his uber-millions: “Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, struck a defiant tone this morning speaking at the National Press Club. Issa, speaking at Patents in Theory and Practice: Implications for Reform, sponsored by the Technology Policy Institute, explained in no uncertain terms that the patent litigation reforms contained in the Innovation Act will not be watered down, period.”
What does the Innovation Act do? Nigh nothing good: “The Innovation Act is fundamental transformation of the constitutionally-protected patent process, that doesn’t go through the Constitutional amendment process. All under the (intentional or accidental) false flags of ‘litigation reform’ – to deal with ‘patent trolls.’ But ‘patent trolls’ are almost always nothing more than people with patents – defending them against patent thieves. The patent holders usually have to sue to do that, and this ‘litigation reform’ makes it exponentially more difficult for them to do so.”
Why on Earth would patent-multi-millionaire Issa want to do this? Enter Google.
Google is a gigantic thief of all things intellectual property – including patents. It’s why they emplaced as the head of Obama’s Patent and Trademark Office – their very own Michelle Lee. And Google will benefit mightily – should Issa and his Congressional cohorts make it exponentially easier for them to steal said patents.
Not only is Issa pushing Google-crony patent theft legislation – he is the lead advocate of the Trump Administration keeping Google’s Lee in place at the Patent Office. Or even more bizarrely – wanting Trump to promote her to head up the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. An office created by the Obama Administration – and thus far headed up by three consecutive Google exes. Now Issa is pushing for a fourth – in a Trump Administration. That ran on undoing Obama.
Why is Issa engaged in all of this anti-Right-Republican bizarreness? Perhaps it’s this: Google’s newly-formed parent company – is Alphabet. Issa’s #1 top contributor in the 2016 cycle? Alphabet. Issa’s #1 top contributor in pre-Alphabet 2014? Google. Issa’s #2 contributor in 2012? Bet you’ll never guess – oh wait, you did. It was Google.
Google has been uber-funding Issa – from just about the very moment they decided to start funding Right-Republicans.
And it’s paying off handsomely. Issa is almost certainly the biggest Right-Republican advocate of Google’s Leftist policies.
Here’s hoping very few other Right-Republicans fall prey to the Contribution Poisoning to which Issa seems so eminently susceptible.
[Originally Published at Red State]« Previous PageNext Page »
By Paul Driessen
Myron Ebell is Director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment. He provides the following background on what is happening with President Trump’s possibly wavering promise to withdraw the United States from the heavy-handed Paris climate (non)treaty. He urges Americans to watch CEI’s short new video (above) and sign a petition asking the President to keep his vitally important promise.
Informative talking points, articles and blog posts follow the link to the CEI video. Cal Beisner’s article is especially valuable, as it succinctly presents the most important reasons the United States and President Trump should take a seat at the head of the table, and lead the world away from this disastrous agreement – which would destroy modern industrial economies, distribute their wealth to other nations, and do virtually nothing to reduce future global warming or prevent future climate changes or extreme weather events.
Ebell says Trump Administration senior officials will meet at 1:30 this afternoon (April 17) to try to come to a consensus on what to do about keeping President Trump’s campaign promise to withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty. It is his understanding that the meeting will probably not agree on a recommendation to President Trump, who will make the final decision in the coming weeks. It is also his understanding that those in favor of keeping the President’s campaign promise and those in favor of breaking it are fairly evenly balanced. This is contrary to news reports that the promise-breakers are on the verge of winning. One concern is that Energy Secretary Rick Perry appears to have gone wobbly.
This battle between the American “Deplorables” and the Washington Swamp has monumental consequences for our access to reliable, affordable energy, and thus for our future lives, livelihoods, living standards and liberties.
Please watch the video and sign the petition. Then send the link to friends, family, colleagues and appropriate people you know in the White House and Congress. Urge them to watch the video and to pass it along to others. For those on Twitter, the President’s handle is @realDonaldTrump.
Here are some talking points and articles about the Paris Climate Treaty:
Cal Beisner, Washington Times
Paul Driessen, Townhall
Marlo Lewis, CEI
Sen. John Barrasso, Washington Times
Chris Horner, Washington Times
Bret Schaefer, Heritage Foundation
Nick Loris, Heritage Foundation
Joel Kotkin, Real Clear Politics
Scholarly article by Bjorn Lomborg, Lomborg.com« Previous PageNext Page »
By Teresa Mull
The Obama administration was fond of proclaiming that high-school graduation rates hit record highs during its tenure. A new report shows that those numbers don’t mean much.
“However legitimate the surge in graduation rates—and almost no one contends that they are wholly fictive—the relative value of a high school diploma, as measured by income, college preparedness, jobless rates, and employer confidence, has never been lower,” the74million.org, an education news site, reports. “American schools may have taken praiseworthy strides in helping their students to the K–12 finish line, but there is little reason to believe that they have prepared them any more meaningfully for the challenges ahead.”
The Obama administration, like many of its predecessors, spent billions propping up failing public schools, and what did we get for all our hard-earned tax dollars? High-school graduates are worse off.
But many in the general public, having drunk the pro-public-schools Kool-Aid, mixed mainly by the nation’s corrupt and powerful teachers’ unions, are largely under the delusion that public education is a great and sacred institution worthy of preservation—no matter what.
As the late Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute said in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and the Workforce in 2011, “we have little to show for the $2 trillion in federal education spending of the past half century.” Math, science, and reading scores, Coulson noted, remained stagnant or declined while the federal government poured trillions of dollars into trying to raise overall achievement. And the federal government’s efforts to realize its other goal of narrowing achievement gaps—between minorities and whites, and between higher- and lower-income students—produced no change either.
“The fact that outcomes have remained flat or declined while spending skyrocketed is a disaster unparalleled in any other field,” Coulson said. “The only thing it appears to have accomplished is to apply the brakes to the nation’s economic growth, by taxing trillions of dollars out of the productive sector of the economy and spending it on ineffective programs.”
It’s been six years since Coulson’s testimony, and federal funding on education remains astronomical. The U.S. Department of Education admitted in January 2017 that the School Improvements Grant program, into which the Obama administration funneled $500 million annually starting in 2009, had “no impact on achievement.”
Meanwhile, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten declared during a press conference earlier in March that President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to the U.S. Department of Education would take “a meat cleaver to public education.”
“Only someone who doesn’t know what public schools do and what kids need would contemplate or countenance these kinds of cuts,” Weingarten said. “These cuts, if enacted, will turn into real-life effects on kids. They do what we feared would happen when Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was nominated: defund public schools with the aim of destabilizing and destroying them.”
Weingarten would have us believe “what public schools do” is a great service to our children and our country. Yet the facts—as evidenced by Coulson, the74million.org, and many others—suggest otherwise.
Michael Mulgrew, president of New York City’s United Federation of Teachers, told the New York Daily News recently that he and his cronies “are not going to stand by and let anyone perpetrate the [federal Education Secretary Betsy] DeVos agenda on our public schools.”
“Teachers, parents, and community activists will stand against any attempt to hurt our students and our schools,” Mulgrew said.
Again, why do so many people naively believe “hurting” government schools will concurrently hurt our students?
A report released one week ago shows how the Obama administration’s edicts on discipline reform made New York City public schools more violent. And it’s not just federal intervention that hurts schools. Government meddling in education at the state and local levels restricts creativity and innovation everywhere, and children are suffering because of it.
Connecticut’s governor, for instance, just announced that the state’s school-desegregation efforts have kept minority students from enrolling in better schools because local schools have to reach racial-integration quotas.
If at first you don’t succeed, and if for 50 years you don’t succeed, perhaps you should try, try something different. Something like reducing government involvement in education and giving control back to parents.
[Originally Published at the American Conservative]« Previous PageNext Page »
EPA lifers are “in the dumps” about life at the agency under President Trump. The level of anxiety is so high that alcoholism may be on the rise among climate-alarmist lifers, according to one staffer quoted in The Washington Post. If that is true, that’s very good news, because it means the EPA will be getting back to its original — and largely accomplished mission — of cleaning up America’s air, land, and water.
EPA lifer and “climate change advisor” Mike Cox quit recently, and not quietly. The Pacific Northwest staffer issued a public letter stating his reasons, and The Washington Post reported his letter with unwarranted gusto. What the hell did he have to lose, I suppose. Trump is eliminating 25 percent of all EPA jobs. I guess his was one.
This middle-finger story about Cox included the usual nonsense about how if all Americans don’t all bike to work (like him) for the rest our lives, the earth is DOOMED … and so on. But I had to laugh, though, at this wilting flower’s concern about the ski industry on the West Coast.
“ … talk to the ski area operators who are seeing less snowpack and worrying about their future …”
Dude. Mammoth Mountain in Northern California announced in February that its skiing season will be extended to … the Fourth of July Weekend. There hasn’t been skiing at Mammoth Mountain in July for at least 40 years. Tell me more about how humans, globally, are creating “less snowpack” in America. These climate alarmists are so used to peddling BS, they don’t think anyone watches The Weather Channel — which for the first time in memory this morning spoke positively about the end of the California drought, instead of saying, “But it’s not over yet!!”
Anyway, The Washington Post reporter couldn’t get an EPA spokesman to comment on the EPA diva’s walk-out letter, but they did get a hold of Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who led the Trump Administration’s EPA transition team. Myron, a friend of The Heartland Institute — and winner of this year’s Climate Change Awards — delivered a classic quote:
The EPA did not respond to requests for comment on Cox’s letter, but Myron Ebell, who led Trump’s EPA transition team, did.
Now that Trump is moving toward “radically downsizing the EPA,” Ebell said, “employees who are opposed to the Trump Administration’s agenda are either going to conduct themselves as professional civil servants or find other employment or retire or be terminated. I would be more sympathetic if they had ever expressed any concern for the people whose jobs have been destroyed by EPA’s regulatory rampage.”
The reporter didn’t mention if Myron dropped the mic … but it should have.
After reading the story, it was clear that the reporter buried the lead and headline. Theirs was “EPA staffer leaves with a bang, blasting agency policies under Trump.” The headline should have been: “EPA Lifers Hit the Bottle, Because Trump.” From the last paragraphs of the story:
Coping takes different forms.
Black humor and burying themselves in a project’s scientific minutia will work for some.
“For the rest of us,” added one longtime regional staffer, “there probably will be a significant rise in alcoholism.”
Heh. It’s a good sign that words by Trump and actions encouraged by Myron Ebell and the rest of the climate realist EPA team have meaning. But drink up, government alarmists! And then submit your resignations — like Mr. Cox, if less dramatically, so we can start having real science direct federal policy on the climate.
[First posted at Freedom Pub.]« Previous PageNext Page »
By Robert Holland
Decades ago, the arrival of spring brought with it the return of silly season on university campuses, with such frolics as goldfish swallowing, telephone-booth stuffing, piano shattering, panty raids, and streaking.
In today’s much gloomier climate, silliness has yielded to the serious work of stifling speech and academic freedom in ever-more insidious ways.
March blew in with a dust-up at elite Wellesley College, where faculty members organized as the Commission for Ethnicity, Race, and Equity offered their services as pre-event screeners of campus speakers, operating much like the censorship boards that once determined what movies people could or could not see.
The commission offered its surpassing wisdom after a student group had the temerity to extend a speaking invitation to Laura Kipnis, a feminist critic of the feds’ twisted Title IX interpretations and what she calls the “culture of sexual paranoia” on American campuses.
Filled with righteous anger, the commissioners charged that controversial speakers “impose on the liberty of students, staff, and faculty at Wellesley”—specifically by obliging students to “invest time and energy in rebutting the speakers’ arguments.”
Oh, the horror. Students challenged to weigh opposing perspectives and make a cogent argument? Isn’t that close to the heart of what we call “higher education,” or has that ethos disappeared along with the silly fads?
Concerned that future provocative speakers might enable “the bullying of disempowered groups,” the faculty commission is asking students and others to come in for heart-to-heart chats on who should or should not be able to speak at Wellesley.
Cluelessly, the commish launched this Orwellian foray during Censorship Awareness Week at Wellesley, thereby signaling that its answer to censorship is, well, more censorship.
The upshot of all this figures to be either speakers adhering to the dominant leftist orthodoxy or those with nothing to say.
In an e-mail to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Kipnis offered the acerbic but accurate observation that “protecting students from the ‘distress’ of someone’s ideas isn’t education, it’s a $67,000 babysitting bill.” (Tuition and fees at Hillary Clinton’s alma mater approximates $67,000 per annum.)
Another way some university administrators try to stifle speech is by zoning it into tiny designated areas where students may have their say, often after having to fill out an application and wait their turn. Commonly, these so-called “free-speech zones” are not much larger than the telephone booths college students once packed during silly season.
At Pierce College, one of the institutions within Los Angeles’ Community-College District, the free-speech zone is approximately the size of three parking spaces. In a commuter college, that is precious little room to hand out copies of the U.S. Constitution, as student Kevin Shaw wished to do.
Therefore, with FIRE’s legal support, Shaw filed a federal court suit on March 28 contending the college and the district have violated his First Amendment rights.
Ah, but college officials are ever alert for new schemes to keep campus speech from offending fragile souls. Yes, Virginia, there are snowflakes in Canada.
Accordingly, Brayden Whitlock, an academic governor at the University of Alberta, asked in a Toronto Star column why it is—if higher education is supposed to encourage a free exchange and debate of ideas—that “at publicly funded universities across Canada, it’s become acceptable for university administrators to charge a security fee to student groups based on how controversial the speakers they invite to campus are?”
Given that many student groups operate on a shoestring, such a sliding scale of security fees clearly operates to discourage student invitations to provocative speakers. It is, in effect, a punitive tax on free speech. Because administrators subjectively decide which prospective speakers are controversial, they become de facto censors when student groups are unable to ante up. Even worse, violent groups can suppress speech by ramping up the level of controversy over particular speakers.
At Western University, a student group called Young Canadians in Action forked over $1,200 in security fees because central-office bureaucrats deemed their invited speaker, University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan B. Peterson, to be potentially controversial.
Peterson, by Canadian standards, is controversial; he dared to criticize political correctness and fretted about the Canadian government’s Bill C-16, which could criminalize speech about issues of gender identity.
However, Peterson is so much more than a political provocateur. For example, he has written more than a hundred scientific papers that transform modern understanding of personality, and his presentations speak right to each individual’s quest of self-discovery. students have rated him one of three truly life-changing teachers.
The guy is brilliant. If you need persuading, go to his website or his YouTube channel and connect with his thought waves.
More than 700 students at Western turned out for Peterson’s address and wound up giving him a standing ovation. Young Canadians in Action should demand a refund of security fees.
The night before, raucous protesters at McMaster University shouted down Peterson’s talk after just a few minutes, which means students who wanted to listen, think, and engage with this amazing speaker lost out.
It is time for universities to stand not just for freedom of speech, but also for the right of their students to benefit from it.
[Originally Published at the Hill]« Previous PageNext Page »
By Seton Motley
It’s always sadly amusing to watch America’s media march as one – in one direction after another. To even the average observer, it would appear that they all receive the exact same issues to cover – and the exact same talking points with which to cover them.
The examples of this are at this point nigh limitless. Talk radio impresario Rush Limbaugh has for years compiled his Media Montages – audio cavalcades of talking heads spouting identical words to describe the same stories.
Limbaugh’s montage idea is so good – myriad others rip him off. Including some people you wouldn’t in a million years expect.
A good idea – is a good idea. I have for years in print been ripping off Limbaugh (with attribution) – compiling on issue after issue avalanches of almost identical headlines from almost innumerable sources. It’s dozens of outlets – all reporting on a story in ways indistinguishable from one another.
To wit: Alleged collusion between Russia and the Donald Trump presidential campaign. It’s been a story since last July – one to this point still completely devoid of any actual evidence. But the Fake Media has insisted upon keeping it alive – so alive it remains.
Here are some headlines from just the last thirty-six hours:
That “leading Democrat” is not John McCain (though the confusion in understandable) – it is California Congressman Adam Schiff. He’s the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee – so he is one of the leading rabble rousers on this Russia nonsense.
Except – also in the last thirty-six hours:
Get that? One of the “leading Democrats” Pied Piper-ing the Media down this primrose Russo-fantasy path – admits that we’re nine months into this nonsense, with ZERO evidence to justify this nonsense.
I’m no police detective, or even a lawyer – but I’ve watched enough formulaic cop-prosecutor shows to know that some sort of substantial evidence needs to exist PRIOR to the launch of any investigation.
Any yo-yo can walk off the street into the precinct house and hurl some wild accusation in some wild direction. The receiving cop takes down their statement, thanks them – and then as soon as the yo-yo exits the room, rolls their eyes and places the goofy charge in the circular file.
Because there are too many cases with actual evidence to pursue – to waste time on crazy conspiracy theories.
But this is Washington D.C. – an anti-Reality Fantasy Land. Where far too many of the yo-yos – are elected officials. So their crazy conspiracy theories get taken far too seriously – by a far-too-Leftist-compliant Media.
Another example: Network Neutrality. We will present a brief Net Neutrality history – so as to demonstrate that the Media is so incredibly anti-history.
The Internet went private sector in the mid-1990s. The Republican Congress and Democrat President Bill Clinton jointly decided that the World Wide Web would be best served by government – doing just about nothing but getting out of the way.
The results of this “light touch” less government approach – speak for themselves. The Internet is the greatest example in human history of mass, massive achievement. Nothing has grown bigger, faster than this free speech-free market Xanadu.
So of course the Left hates it. And almost immediately began looking for ways to rein it in. Thus was born Net Neutrality – dreamed up so as to impose government where no government existed, or was needed.
Net Neutrality was a fabrication of Leftist college professor (please pardon the redundancy) Tim Wu. How long did Wu and his fellow Leftists wait before looking for ways to lock down the newly free market Web? Not very long at all. Per Wu his own self: “The Net Neutrality debate grew out of the concerns in the late 1990s….”
Get that? The Internet went private sector in the mid-1990s. And Wu and his ilk started looking for ways to un-private sector it – just a couple of years later. Axl Rose would be ashamed.
But despite the Left’s best efforts, we went an additional decade-plus – without any Net Neutrality regulations at all. Through the end of the Clinton Administration – and throughout the George W. Bush Administration. Did the Web or we suffer from its absence? Absolutely not. The Internet continued its uber-explosive growth – becoming 1/6th of our entire $18.3 trillion economy.
In the history of the sentiment “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” – the Net Neutrality-free Internet is the quintessential example.
Of course, the Media never allow the facts to get in the way of a good beating.
That last one – written, actually, by Wu – is particularly absurd. It was published in January 2015 – after twenty years of Net Neutrality-free, inconceivably successful Internet.
Yet Wu claimed Net Neutrality was SO vitally necessary – it couldn’t even wait for the actual Constitutional process of, you know, our elected officials passing legislation. Wu insisted the Barack Obama Administration MUST bypass Congress and the Constitution – and unilaterally jam it through.
Speaking of crazy conspiracy theories…. Sadly, this is DC – where crazy conspiracy theories are given life and license.
In 2016, the Obama FCC (Federal Communications Commission) did as Wu (and Obama his own self) demanded – it jammed through Net Neutrality. Massive new regulations shoved down upon us in unilateral fashion – just the sort of thing We the People had already come to loathe.
A decision and a delivery – that greatly contributed to our decision to elect deregulation-promising Trump to succeed Obama.
The Media – completely expectedly – immediately began freaking out.
My advice for Trump and his FCC – is exactly what my advice always is for conservatives and Republicans. Do what is right – what you know needs to be done.
Because it’s right, because it needs to be done – the Fake Media will hate it.
Do it anyway. And do it – while ignoring entirely the Fake Media.
Thankfully, the Fake Media’s decades of delusion and dishonesty – combined with a World Wide Web’s worth of alternative, Real News sources – lessens every day the Fake Media’s reach and influence.
Thus rendering it ever easier and easier – to do what’s right, what needs to be done.
So let’s do it….
[Originally Published at Red State]« Previous PageNext Page »