Thursday, June 27, 2019

Robert Mueller: The Guest Who Won’t Leave

by June 27, 2019

Everyone has met Robert Mueller. He’s the guest who won’t leave the party. You first notice him as an awkward presence gradually eroding the pleasant ambience by hovering silently at the edge of the festivities. Then, after he has had a couple of drinks, he begins to insert himself into random conversations with solipsistic non-sequiturs. At length, after everyone else has contrived to leave early, you discover that he’s too drunk to drive even if he could find his keys. You call a cab, but he misses it and you find him asleep in your front yard the next day. This is what it’s like to get rid of someone like Mueller.

Having waited nearly two years for him to complete his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and been provided with a copy of his report   Attorney General Barr in March, we thought we were finally rid of this guy. Indeed, during his May 29 press conference, he promised to go home. The ostensible purpose of that bizarre event was to assure us that his report to the AG “speaks for itself” and that he had nothing to add: “The report is my testimony.” And yet, months later, he’s still hanging around and will now testify before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on July 17..........To Read More....

My Take - The big deal over this is he'll be under oath, and he's got a ton of dirty laundry that's bound to come up, including the corruption of his investigation.  There's a reason he's avioded testifying before this, and this may be another, "be careful for what you wish for", moment for the Democrats and the MSM.  I think he's in trouble, not Trump. As it says in the article, "Liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz warns the Democrats that they may be “shooting themselves in the foot”, and I think he's right.
 
 
 


The Culprits Among Us

By Ray Brookstein, Author, Poet and Show Host June 26, 2019

External threats are being used as a distraction. Our great country stands ready for any outside attack.
It’s the sedition from the self loathing evil doers, that lies within our own walls. That’s the real threat!
A dysfunctional Congress has found a way to distract us from the important issues that “We The People” have elected them to resolve. 
 
They have allowed antisemitism to take root with no condemnation! They refuse to secure our borders and refuse to uphold laws already on the books, nor manage to get anything passed. 
They embrace socialism for “thee, but not for me.” Their only agenda is investigation and impeachment to overturn the results of our last presidential election in their relentless pursuit for power.
 
The enemy within is as calculating as they are corrupt. Don’t be distracted by the events that are unfolding around the world. 
 
Now, more then ever, it is time to yank back our country before it’s too late.. Essay written by Michelle Sass, and the Poem by RayRay............To Read More....

On the 10 Most Destructive Americans

By Stu Cvrk, Retired Naval Officer, Constitutional Conservative June 26, 2019
 
Some months ago, there was a GREAT article by Frank Hawkins published at American Thinker that discussed his list of the 10 most destructive Americans. While many might disagree with his ranking (and probably would love to add a few to the list!), I believe it to be an excellent summation that segues perfectly into discussion of a YUUUGE societal/cultural problem that has developed over the decades. But before we get to that, here is his list:
 
#1 John Kerry #2 Barack Obama #3 Lyndon Johnson #4 Jimmy Carter #5 Valerie Jarrett #6 The Clintons #7 Walter Cronkite #8 Ted Kennedy #9 Bill Ayer s#10 Mark Felt
 
He also provided a list of “dishonorable mentions” (to which we could all add names, I’m sure!):
 
John Brennanm, Jane Fonda, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin (!), Robert Johnson/BET, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr./NYT, George Soros, Frank Marshall Davis
 
For his top ten, he provided an explanatory paragraph for each one; I highly recommend you read them all. Here is the paragraph on “Public Enemy #1,” John “I Served in Vietnam” Kerry:.......To Read More.....

Winners and losers from the Democratic presidential debate’s first night

Aaron Blake   6/27/19

The first night of the first debate of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary is over, with the first 10 candidates jousting Wednesday night in Miami.   Below are our winners and losers..........To Read More....

Fact checking the first Democratic debate: What's true and false Jane C. Timm and Adam Edelman
The first 10 Democratic presidential candidates took the stage at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday night. As they jostled to make their views heard amid a historically crowded field of candidates, NBC News fact checked their various claims on everything from the number of daily gun deaths to Americans' support for Roe v. Wade.  See the results below and check our live blog here for all the latest...........
7 Takeaways from the First Democratic Debate  Sydney Ember, Shane Goldmacher, Katie Glueck and Reid J. Epstein
Night One of the first Democratic debate of the 2020 race is in the books. There was no standout moment for any of the 10 candidates; no one suffered real damage either. While the NBC moderators tried to get the moderate and liberal Democrats to criticize each other, they were polite for the most part and stuck to their preferred issues and messages...........


 

Climate Crusaders Defeated in Oregon—For Now

By June 26th, 2019

The carbon tax that so disrupted Canadian and French politics is now threatening Oregon, and it brings with it all the controversy, political shenanigans, dishonesty, and public uproar that made it infamous.

The political debate over the carbon tax has become so underhanded and undemocratic that the entire state senate Republican caucus walked out in protest, making unexpected national news. The carbon tax appears finally to have imploded this week in no small part because of the protests.

Selling a carbon tax to Oregon voters has been difficult because Democrats cannot hide the fact that it would cost people 22 cents more per gallon at the gas pump (a $3 increase by 2050) and anywhere from 11 percent to 50 percent more in utility costs. It is a high price to pay for a state already saddled with one of the lowest carbon emissions standards in the nation. One of Oregon’s most famous lumber mills dating to the 1800s, Stimson Lumber, announced it would lay off all its workers and move to Idaho, in part, to escape the proposed taxes and regulations. That is how punishing the carbon tax is shaping up to be...........To Read More.....
 

Latest accusation against Trump — a ‘Law & Order’ plot line?

June 25th, 2019 By Kyle Olson

Is the left-wing media falling for a warmed over plot line from “Law & Order: SVU”?  Author E. Jean Carroll has appeared on MSNBC and CNN (multiple times) to claim that Donald Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman changing room in Manhattan in the 1990s. She’s not exactly sure what year.

In one interview, she was asked if the future President of the United States left “DNA.” She wasn’t sure.  In another, she bizarrely stated that, “I think most people see rape as being sexy,” according to The Sun.

She added, “They think of the fantasies.”  But actress Mindy Robinson points out the accusation is the same as a plot from an old episode of “Law & Order: SVU.” Watch:.........To Read More... 
 

Tax Rates Loom As Debate Poser For Democrats

By IRA STOLL, Special to the Sun | June 26, 2019

The Democratic presidential candidates open their first debates this evening at Miami. If precedent holds, they’ll be less debates than group interviews, driven in large part by the agenda of the journalists posing questions.
 
That gives the anchors — Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow, and José Diaz-Balart — or their producers more debate-shaping power than the candidates or the voters. NBC is soliciting questions from voters via a web-based form, and the campaigns are certainly capable of informally suggesting to NBC questions that might be posed to rival candidates. Here are some question I’d like to see asked...............To Read More....

Islamic Subversion in America

What Islam did to Iran is a sign of what Islam wants to do to the entire world.

June 26, 2019 By Amil Imani

Never in my wildest dreams did I envision that our modern and beautiful country, Iran, would fall into the hands of Muslim extremists who did not possess one iota of humanity.  Never in my wildest dream did I envision that I would likely never see the country of my birth again.

 During my teenage years in Iran, life was full of joy, excitement, and happiness. Iran was a developing country. Despite its rapid growth and the obstacles it faced, almost all Iranians lived in a fairy tale. Life was beautiful, and dreams were real. Many of us were living in a real Iranian dream — until the resurrection of the evil ideology of Islam by vile men of Allah.

In 1979, the Iranian dream turned to four decades of Islamic nightmares. From that young age, I deeply despised Islam and everything that came with it. I never saw it as a divine religion or a spiritual path. I had enough sense in me to do my own research. I found more than I was looking for.
\
The first thing I learned was that Islam is an invader and the enemy of humanity. Violence and blood are at the core of this ideology of hate. I made myself a promise that once I grew up, I would do everything within my power to expose this fraud of a religion.............

US Officials' Silence Is Deafening........Islamic Subversion.......I believe that the jihadist ideology in the 21st century represents a far greater threat to Western democracies than the communist ideology represented in the 20th century. The link between the two ideologies is that both are totalitarian and subversive............. To Read More

Understanding Leftists in Three Easy Steps

June 26, 2019 By James Soriano

America is fighting a culture war and the Progressive Left is the aggressor. The latest front was opened on June 21 when the House of Representatives passed the so-called “Equality Act,” which would allow boys who self-identify as girls to compete in school sports as girls. Conservatives point to the Democrats’ embrace of transgender ideology as further evidence the party has gone off the rails, but typically left unexplained is how and why Leftists get to the positions they hold. Here is an attempt to do that. It has three parts.

We start from the position that Leftists maintain that citizens cannot truly pursue happiness or realize their individual potentialities unless they are free to will whatever they want to do.............The next step in our analysis has to do with the role of the state. Leftists see state as a kind of a creative power, a friendly mediator whose job is to intercede in the life of society to enable people to fully develop their potentialities..............Finally, if the state is to nurture and advance a radical understanding of personal autonomy, the ground of law then becomes based on the shifting desires and movements of the human will alone. ........To Read More....

My Take - In short, leftists believe in everything and nothing, depending of the latest philosophical flavor of the day.  The only consistent moral foundation they have is to do whatever it takes to get the power they so irrationally desire in order to control everyone's life. 

"But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness."

The curmudgeon and the communist

June 26, 2019 By Anna L. Stark

As the Democrat gaggle of candidates gear up for their first of twelve televised presidential debates, the DNC strategy for the 2020 election is becoming more evident: push forward the two most recognizable names, fully aware that none of the other 22 candidates can carry the party vote to victory and back into the White House 17 months from now.

In truth, the Democrats are mired in a miasma of identity politics, divided by an ever widening chasm of political beliefs, and are being led over the cliff by two vastly different contenders: Joe Biden the Curmudgeon and Bernie Sanders the Communist.

Liberal politics has morphed into rabid, unwavering, and rigid narratives — in plainspeak, identity politics rules the day.

 The once big-tent, all-inclusive party has severely narrowed the list of liberal political identifiers and exactly who qualifies..................Democrats opposed to abortion are persona non grata........ if you haven't embraced the Green New Deal scam..........if you're not yet convinced that monetary reparations must be paid to the 21st-century descendants of pre–Civil War African slaves........... if you still believe that biological sex is predetermined before birth............. that men have a physical advantage over women in competitive sports, a pox on you and your house............. Liberal media pollsters are attempting to convince the American public that at least half of those who responded to a recent poll honestly believe that a socialist form of government will cure all of America's ills and faults.........To Read More....

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

A Conservative Civil Rights Movement to End Internet Segregation

Posted by Daniel Greenfield 8 Comments Monday, June 24, 2019 @ Sultan Knish Blog

(You can find video of a talk I delivered for the David Horowitz Freedom Center, discussing the New Segregation, this same topic, in great depth, at DemoCast.)

"I am, therefore, asking the Congress to enact legislation giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public--hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments," President John F. Kennedy declared in his televised address to the nation.

"This seems to me to be an elementary right," he added.

Three generations later, restaurants all over the country boast of discriminating against Trump supporters. They’re able to do that because the promise of Kennedy’s speech remains unfulfilled.

Title II of the Civil Rights Act mandates that, “all persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation… without discrimination on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

The Civil Rights Act left out one important attribute. Political views.

In the spring of 2018, a Democrat judge ruled that a New York City bar had the right to discriminate against a Trump supporter wearing a MAGA cap because political affiliation is not a protected class.

Unlike race, religion and national origin, political affiliation protections are rare in civil rights legislation. But the only state that treats political affiliation as a protected class is also the home of Silicon Valley.

California.

The Ralph Civil Rights Act (California Civil Code Section 51.7) states that "all persons within the jurisdiction of this state have the right to be free from any violence, or intimidation by threat of violence, committed against their persons or property because of political affiliation."

Victims can contact the police or sue for Ralph Act violations. The significance of this is largely limited to some of California’s notoriously violent campuses and to violence occurring at street protests.

While California’s Unruh Act does not explicitly mention political affiliation, a California Supreme Court ruling a generation ago found that it "protects individuals" from "arbitrary discrimination" by California business owners who have excluded members of an entire class based on "the alleged undesirable propensities of those of a particular race, nationality, occupation, political affiliation, or age".

The Unruh Act has been used successfully in some past lawsuits, but its protections are limited. It might prevail in a restaurant discrimination case, assuming that there was a blanket policy of banning Republicans, but It does however offer a potential path forward against the new political segregation.

And toward a new civil rights movement.

The United States is no longer suffering a political crisis because of businesses denying services to black people. Instead the political crisis is caused powerful monopolies engaging in political discrimination.

The scope of the problem is both smaller and larger because while the internet platforms engaging in affiliation discrimination are fewer than the number of segregated businesses banned by the Civil Rights Act, their reach is far vaster, extending across state lines and even across borders with a global reach.

Facebook has 2.3 billion active users, Google processes 3.5 billion searches per day, Twitter has 321 million monthly users, and 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day. Segregation at this level can shut entire populations out of political participation in the marketplace of ideas. AI can then invisibly automate discriminatory policies and structurally embed them into countless sites across the internet.

And yet the fundamental problem is essentially the same.

A powerful elite has decided that a certain class of people should be shut out from being able to fully make use of public services. These policies of political segregation have not been openly articulated, but they have been exposed by hidden camera investigations, by lawsuits from employees fired for their political views, and by the pattern emerging from the mass of bans, shadowbans and demonetizations.

The latest crackdown by Google’s YouTube is typical of the use of non-transparent policies that are selectively applied and whose rationale represents structural discrimination against conservatives.

The new segregation masquerades as desegregation. Its implementation is segregating millions.

The Civil Rights Act and its various federal and state stepchildren created many protected classes and identities. Those identities were then weaponized for political activism. This created a system in which the very infrastructure of anti-discrimination law and policy were used to discriminate against conservatives when debating leftists who, unlike them, were not members of a protected class.

The disparate impact of this selectivity of protected classes is shutting down the First Amendment.

That’s what happened to Steven Crowder and countless other conservatives who were banned for engaging in verbal altercations with political activists shielded by their membership in a protected class.

And yet, as the testimony of countless conservatives of color who have been discriminated against and the lack of action against leftist bigots shows, this is not a sincere effort to protect minority groups, it’s a cynical effort to engage in political discrimination under the false flag of protecting minorities.

Minority conservatives who have been the victims of sustained racial and religious harassment have not benefited from the same protections that dot coms see fit to extend to identity politics leftists.

The identity behind the identity politics of race, religion and orientation is ultimately political.

That’s why minority conservatives are routinely accused of not being true members of a minority group. It’s also why white leftists routinely claim to be representing the concerns and views of minorities.

Adding political affiliation as a protected class would address the elephant in the room. It would also begin an important conversation about the structural political discrimination that has been built into the assumptions about what discrimination is and how to fight it. The dot coms did not invent the unfair double standards that are being used to silence conservative participation in the marketplace of ideas. The widespread discrimination against conservatives on the internet is a result of implementing them.

In the generations since the Civil Rights Act, not only has mandatory segregation been thoroughly stamped out, but private discrimination has been made legally and socially untenable.

In 1960, only 5% opposed their child marrying a spouse from another party. And only 4% approved of interracial marriage. By 2010, 86% of Americans approved of interracial marriage, but 40% disapproved of bipartisan marriage. (Opposition to interracial marriage is twice as high among blacks as whites.)

As many as 70% of Democrats have negative stereotypes of Republicans. It's the only socially acceptable prejudice. And what we are seeing in Silicon Valley is the implementation of those prejudices in policy.

This is the civil rights crisis of our time. The segregation is growing. And it must be met with a new movement to fight political discrimination in businesses, and especially among the dot coms.

America no longer has a racial segregation problem. It has a political segregation problem.

Some of the biggest companies in the country, which wield nearly total control over the internet, are politically segregated, have developed a culture of discrimination toward conservatives, and have engaged in a pattern of discriminatory conduct based on those prejudiced views.

It is an “elementary right”, as President John F. Kennedy put it, for conservatives to enjoy the same use of services at Facebook, Google, Twitter and Amazon, as anyone else. And the same access to financial services, such as MasterCard and Visa, which at one point banished the Freedom Center over its politics, the same right to visit a restaurant or a bar, or to teach in a school, regardless of their political affiliation.

This elementary right must be safeguarded by protecting not just sexual identity, but political identity.

The Bill of Rights is not built around most of the protected classes listed by many states, but around religious and political freedom. These were the issues that the revolt against British rule was built on. These are the rights that were meant to be safeguarded above all others. That guardianship has failed.

Conservatives are being silenced on the internet, fired from their jobs and evicted from their homes.

Republicans have enjoyed repeated majorities, have held the White House, and yet failed to take meaningful nationwide action to stop these abuses. Protecting political affiliation is a first step.

It is time for another Civil Rights Act to end political segregation by some of the most powerful corporations in America.

"We face," as Kennedy put it, "a moral crisis as a country and a people.”

Political segregation is the crisis of our time. It is time to meet it, not merely with rhetoric or excuses, but with solutions.


Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

Click here to subscribe to my articles. And click here to support my work with a donation.

Thank you for reading.

Peter Zeihan on Geopolitics: The American Retreat, Part I: Oil

By Peter Zeihan @ Geopolitics

I’m going to do something I loathe and quote something I read on Twitter June 24. In a pair of posts U.S. President Donald Trump asserted:





Diction and statistical issues aside, these tweets comprise the 92 most important words used by anyone in the past three decades. Trump just made clear the days of America protecting global shipping – particularly of oil shipping in the Middle East – are over.
There is an easy argument to be made that the United States’ shale revolution will make the United States a net exporter of crude oil in the current calendar year, but to understand just how critical that is for the Americans we must first pick apart just how horrible that is for everyone else.

Let’s talk importance:

In the pre-Order world if you couldn’t obtain fossil fuels yourself, first coal and later oil, you failed to industrialize. Your manufacturing would at most be a step above cottage industries, so no mass education and no consumer goods (aka peasantry and mass poverty). Lack of fuel condemned you to having an at-best rudimentary transport system meaning your cities were very small, only able to exist in regions that could grow their own food (aka high living costs and low quality of life).

The handful of locations that could secure fossil fuels – either by producing it locally or by seizing it from others – could advance into something we today recognize to broadly mean “civilization,” which includes among other things homes that don’t leak and gadgets and full bellies.

This all changed in the late 1940s. After World War II the Americans created a global Order – a mix of security and trade guarantees which they used as a bribe to induce others to join their side in the Cold War against the Soviet Union. With global security now a thing, oil could be shipped safely and at volume without military escort, meaning that countries that didn’t have a military capable of escorting could now access fossil fuels. BAM! Civilization goes global.

Remove the Order, remove global oil markets, and civilization itself goes into screaming reverse in any location that lacks either the ability to produce oil locally, or the ability to venture forth and secure someone else’s.

Let’s talk vulnerability:

Crude tankers are huge. A modern supertanker can shuttle around oil weighing more than four Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. They are so big expressly because of the Order.

Pre-Order, merchant shipping used small, fast vessels because they needed to be able to scatter and hopefully outrun predators whether those predators wore eyepatches or naval uniforms. The Order ended such predation under the watchful eye of the U.S. Navy. Instead of commercial advantage coming as a result of speed and distributed risk, it instead came from efficiencies and economies of scale. Ships evolved to became slower to save on fuel costs, and bigger to get more bang for the buck. Today’s oil tankers are the slowest and biggest of them all and are nearly 50 times the size of some of the biggest cargo ships of the WWII era.

A similar logic holds with ports: size generates economies of scale. In addition, as ships have gotten larger, ports had to expand to match – a city with a small dock simply cannot handle a ship that is longer than the Empire State building is tall. Bigger, slower ships forced fewer, larger ports. Disrupt anything within the system and the damage quickly becomes extreme.

Between oil’s criticality to and ubiquitousness in modern life, oil is by far the most commonly traded product on Earth comprising some 18% of all maritime shipping traffic (by volume). About a third of all waterborne crude and product shipments originate in the Persian Gulf.

Let’s talk stickiness:

There are no shortages of politicians out there who agitate for relocating manufacturing capacity to their countries, provinces or cities. Making a speech is one thing, but actually building industrial plant and infrastructure is another. It costs billions and takes years for large industrial shifts, and even then there is no guarantee that a new industrial park will prove economically viable.

But at least manufacturing can be relocated. Commodity production cannot. Either you have it or you don’t, and the Persian Gulf has the greatest concentrations and volumes of easily-produced conventional crude oil on the planet. It can never not matter.

There’s also the impossibility of substitution.

Simply put, greentech isn’t ready. Most advances in greentech have to do with electricity generation, and since so few countries burn oil for electricity greentech’s impact upon oil markets has been negligible. As a rule greentech is shit for transport. High cost combined with insufficient energy density makes electric cars little more than a niche sector for early adopters, with Tesla’s recent sales figures crash indicating that market may already be saturated.

Even if the medium for most modern batteries – lithium – was sufficiently energy-dense to provide a viable long-term improvement in capacity (it isn’t), the stuff still needs to be mined and processed and fabricated into battery assemblies. Each step along the value-chain is so energy- and transport-intensive that very little of it can even be attempted without fossil-fuel-based energy for processing and transport across the world. As counterintuitive as it sounds, we need more carbon-heavy fuels to get to a lighter-carbon world. And that means coal and oil. A lot of oil.

There’s also the issue of lifespan. Most vehicles put on the roads since 1990 have a long lifespan to the point that even if every passenger vehicle sold from now on was an EV, we’d not see an end to oil in passenger transport for another two decades. Even then, even if every passenger vehicle and light truck were an EV right now, that would only make a dent in global oil demand. About 2/5ths of oil is used for transporting people and heating. The rest is much more difficult to do away with. Another 1/3rd is used for air transport, industry, and other modes that require far more range or power than electric engines can manage. And another 1/5th isn’t going anywhere ever, as it is what makes petrochemicals as varied as paints, plastics and pesticides possible.

(None of which means greentech won’t eventually solve the petroleum problem, but all of which means technology needs another couple decades to give it a go – and even that assumes the capital and educational structures around the world which have made the Digital Revolution possible hold steady at their current historical highs.)

Let’s talk protection:


At the end of World War II every nation of consequence aside from the United Kingdom had lost its navy. The United States in essence inherited the global ocean. America’s creation of the Order gave everyone aside from the Soviets a vested economic interest in not floating a new one. Fast forward to today and the American Navy is over ten times as powerful as the combined blue water fleets of every other country combined. Putting that force disconnect at the service of the global commons is what makes the Order work, and what makes global energy shipments and markets possible.

The world’s second- through sixth-most powerful navies in terms of long-range power projection are (roughly in order) Japan, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia. Of these only Russia need not sail forth for oil, as it has plenty of its own. France and the United Kingdom can secure what they need from the North Sea and North and West Africa. China has only 30  combat-capable surface ships of size that can effectively operate over 1000 miles from shore; unfortunately (for the Chinese) Southern China is a cool 5800 or so miles distant from the Persian Gulf. Only India – keeper of the world’s seventh-strongest navy – is even remotely proximate.

End result? Today’s oil markets comprise the greatest concentration of risk in the most critical economic sector at the most vulnerable part of the global system and no one can do anything about it if the Americans leave.

And that’s just the beginning.

By the way, for more on oil’s role in a world without American strategic oversight, I’m happy to refer you to my 2016 book, The Absent Superpower: the Shale Revolution and a World Without America. 


BOOK PETER FOR YOUR NEXT EVENT
BUY A SIGNED COPY OF THE ABSENT SUPERPOWER

The Destructive Economics of Wealth Taxation

June 25, 2019 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty
I wrote five years ago about the growing threat of a wealth tax.

Some friends at the time told me I was being paranoid. The crowd in Washington, they assured me,

would never be foolish enough to impose such a levy, especially when other nations such as Sweden have repealed wealth taxes because of their harmful impact.

But, to paraphrase H.L. Mencken, nobody ever went broke underestimating the foolishness of politicians.

I already wrote this year about how folks on the left are demonizing wealth in hopes of creating a receptive environment for this extra layer of tax.

And some masochistic rich people are peddling the same message. Here’s some of what the Washington Post reported.
A group of ultrarich Americans wants to pay more in taxes, saying the nation has a “moral, ethical and economic responsibility” to ensure that they do. In an open letter addressed to the 2020 presidential candidates and published Monday on Medium, the 18 signatories urged political leaders to support a wealth tax on the richest one-tenth of the richest 1 percent of Americans. “On us,” they wrote. …The letter, which emphasized that it was nonpartisan and not to be interpreted as an endorsement of anyone in 2020, noted that several presidential candidates, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke, have already signaled interest in addressing the nation’s staggering wealth inequality through taxation.
I’m not sure a please-tax-us letter from a small handful of rich leftists merits so much news coverage.
Though, to be fair, they’re not the only masochistic rich people.
Another guilt-ridden rich guy wrote for the New York Times that he wants the government to have more of his money.
My parents watched me build two Fortune 500 companies and become one of the wealthiest people in the country. …It’s time to start talking seriously about a wealth tax. …Don’t get me wrong: I am not advocating an end to the capitalist system that’s yielded some of the greatest gains in prosperity and innovation in human history. I simply believe it’s time for those of us with great wealth to commit to reducing income inequality, starting with the demand to be taxed at a higher rate than everyone else. …let’s end this tired argument that we must delay fixing structural inequities until our government is running as efficiently as the most profitable companies. …we can’t waste any more time tinkering around the edges. …A wealth tax can start to address the economic inequality eroding the soul of our country’s strength. I can afford to pay more, and I know others can too.
When reading this kind of nonsense, my initial instinct is to tell this kind of person to go ahead and write a big check to the IRS (or, better yet, send the money to me as a personal form of redistribution to the less fortunate). After all, if he really thinks he shouldn’t have so much wealth, he should put his money where his mouth is.

But rich leftists like Elizabeth Warren don’t do this, and I’m guessing the author of the NYT column won’t, either. At least if the actions of other rich leftists are any guide.

But I don’t want to focus on hypocrisy.

Today’s column is about the destructive economics of wealth taxation.

A report from the Mercatus Center makes a very important point about how a wealth tax is really a tax on the creation of new wealth.
Wealth taxes have been historically plagued by “ultra-millionaire” mobility. …The Ultra-Millionaire Tax, therefore, contains “strong anti-evasion measures” like a 40 percent exit tax on any targeted household that attempts to emigrate, minimum audit rates, and increased funding for IRS enforcement. …Sen. Warren’s wealth tax would target the…households that met the threshold—around 75,000—would be required to value all of their assets, which would then be subject to a two or three percent tax every year. Sen. Warren’s team estimates that all of this would bring $2.75 trillion to the federal treasury over ten years… a wealth tax would almost certainly be anti-growth. …A wealth tax might not cause economic indicators to tumble immediately, but the American economy would eventually become less dynamic and competitive… If a household’s wealth grows at a normal rate—say, five percent—then the three percent annual tax on wealth would amount to a 60 percent tax on net wealth added.
Alan Viard of the American Enterprise Institute makes the same point in a column for the Hill.
Wealth taxes operate differently from income taxes because the same stock of money is taxed repeatedly year after year. …Under a 2 percent wealth tax, an investor pays taxes each year equal to 2 percent of his or her net worth, but in the end pays taxes each decade equal to a full 20 percent of his or her net worth. …Consider a taxpayer who holds a long term bond with a fixed interest rate of 3 percent each year. Because a 2 percent wealth tax captures 67 percent of the interest income of the bondholder makes each year, it is essentially identical to a 67 percent income tax. The proposed tax raises the same revenue and has the same economic effects, whether it is called a 2 percent wealth tax or a 67 percent income tax. …The 3 percent wealth tax that Warren has proposed for billionaires is still higher, equivalent to a 100 percent income tax rate in this example. The total tax burden is even greater because the wealth tax would be imposed on top of the 37 percent income tax rate. …Although the wealth tax would be less burdensome in years with high returns, it would be more burdensome in years with low or negative returns. …high rates make the tax a drain on the pool of American savings. That effect is troubling because savings finance the business investment that in turn drives future growth of the economy and living standards of workers.
Alan is absolutely correct (I made the same point back in 2012).

Taxing wealth is the same as taxing saving and investment (actually, it’s the same as triple- or quadruple-taxing saving and investment). And that’s bad for competitiveness, growth, and wages.
And the implicit marginal tax rate on saving and investment can be extremely punitive. Between 67 percent and 100 percent in Alan’s examples. And that’s in addition to regular income tax rates.

You don’t have to be a wild-eyed supply-side economist to recognize that this is crazy.

Which is one of the reasons why other nations have been repealing this class-warfare levy.

Here’s a chart from the Tax Foundation showing the number of developed nations with wealth taxes from1965-present.


And here’s a tweet with a chart making the same point.

Garrett Watson @GS_Watson Jan 24
A reminder that most of the OECD has moved away from wealth taxes. 12 countries had them in 1990, while only 4 levy them today. Most countries found that the tax has high administrative and compliance costs, and didn't meet the goal of redistribution.
 
P.S. I’ve tried to figure out why so many rich leftists support higher taxes. For non-rich leftists, I cite IRS data in hopes of convincing them they should be happy there are rich people.

P.P.S. I’ve had two TV debates with rich, pro-tax leftists (see here and here). Very strange experiences.

P.P.P.S. There are also pro-tax rich leftists in Germany.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Crack-ups at the Crossroads of Intersectionality

By  | June 23rd, 2019

Progressives do not see the United States as an exceptional uniter of factions and tribes into a cohesive whole—each citizen subordinating his tribal, ethnic, and religious affinities to a shared Americanism, emblemized by our national motto e pluribus unum. Instead, they prefer e uno plures: out of one nation arise many innately different and separate peoples.
Progressivism’s signature brand is now tribalism: all of us in different ways are victims of a white male Christian heterosexual patriarchy—or a current 20 percent hierarchy that past and present has supposedly oppressed anyone not like themselves. In contrast, our differences define who we are, and are not incidental to the content of our characters. The salad bowl, not the melting pot, is the new national creed. America is to be a conglomeration of competing tribal parties in the fashion of the Balkans, Rwanda, or contemporary Iraq.........To Read More....

My Take - VDH outlines just how irresponsible are so many of these race hustling contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination. Good read!!!! What I found surprising is Cory Booker, who I think is dumb as dirt, yet he's a graduate of Stanford and a Rhodes scholar.  So much for the quality of education at these institutions.


The Sun Has Set Over the British Empire

by Lou Aguilar June 25, 2019

All my life, I’ve been an ardent Anglophile. I grew up consuming British literature, first, kid stuff like King Arthur, Robin Hood, and Treasure Island, later more adult but no less marvelous fare — Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Tolkien, Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming — then material for an English Lit major: Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Hardy, Conrad, Wilde, Shaw, and the Romantics. These in turn led me to appreciate Britain’s glorious history. How a cold, grey, windswept island went from fending off interminable invasions to remaking the farthest reaches of the globe, including our great country, within a mostly benevolent empire. How its concept of individual freedom and justice improved the world, surviving two modern wars and one cold one. Consequently, it pains me to see the United Kingdom going full Orwell. Never go full Orwell, the great writer himself practically screams in every page of 1984. Yet today, his novel seems more a British Government manual than a cautionary tale.

Last week, two insidious mandates appeared to come straight out of Oceania – only in Britannia. The Committees of Advertising Practices (CAP) banned — repeat, banned – all ads that reinforce gender stereotypes, in other words, no more “Mr. Mom” commercials or happy housewives celebrating a cleaning product. And the National Health Service ordered — repeat, ordered — the abortion of a mentally disabled woman’s unborn baby, despite her mentally fit mother’s willingness to help care for it. George Orwell is not the only British visionary turning over in his grave today. His fellow nation-boosting author, Rudyard Kipling, must be doing likewise..........To Read More....

My Take - Recently I've been watching all those old movies from the 30', 40's and 50's, including some of the many Sherlock Holmes movies.  It's amazing how many different actors played Holmes and Watson.  In one of them Holmes quotes part of Shakespear's "King Richard II", Act 2 scene 1 which says:
 
This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,--
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.
 
Well England......it's over!  You've lost your minds.  If someone dared to say this in public now in England they're probably be arrested.  You've doomed yourselves, and America is right behind you......maybe!

Who should Blacks demand Reparations from?

It is truly disheartening as well as utterly disgusting watching American society disintegrating relentlessly since Barack H. Obama took office and his legacy thereafter.

By IQ al-Rassooli, Scholar & Terrorism Analyst June 24, 2019
                                  
It is truly disheartening as well as utterly disgusting watching American society disintegrating relentlessly since Barack H. Obama took office and his legacy thereafter. A great number of brain dead White and Black Americans are demanding Reparations for Slavery although not a single American in the 21st century even had a father who owned one............It is due to the willful and utter lack of knowledge among most Americans that such insane and asinine demands be made.  Although billions of people in the 21st century have instantaneous access to billions of pages of information at the click of a mouse, most of them chose to be in either deliberate ignorance or willful in denial.......To Read More....

An Oakland Cop Joins the Bureaucrat Hall of Fame

June 23, 2019 by Dan Mitchell

The Bureaucrat Hall of Fame recognizes government employees who go above and beyond the call of duty in terms of getting over-paid or being under-worked.

Or both.

Adding insult to injury, many recipients of this award are employed by bureaucracies that shouldn’t even exist.  Today we’re going to look at the Oakland police department, which is a part of the government that presumably should exist (though Camden, NJ, shows that maybe we shouldn’t make that assumption). The Oakland PD is notorious for being over-compensated, but one cop stands out.

Eric Boehm of Reason has the sordid details...........To Read More...

Dozens of documents indicate Ilhan Omar lived with Ahmed Hirsi while claiming to be married to Ahmed Elmi


Dozens of official documents suggest that Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was living with her current husband, Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi, throughout her entire legal marriage to Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, contradicting the story she tells to explain her multiple marriages.

Omar tells her marital history in the following way:.........To Read More...

The Medal of Freedom in Economics

Editorial of The New York Sun | June 22, 2019

It turns out that President Trump's presentation Wednesday of the Medal of Freedom to the supply-side economist Art Laffer coincided with a record-high of the stock market -- at least as measured by the Standard & Poor's 500. That is nicely marked in the latest number of the FutureOfCapitalism blog, edited by our columnist Ira Stoll. He notes that the market's apex was hit despite the war-clouds scudding out of Iran...........Continue Reading

What Hillary and Obama Actually Did

By | June 24th, 2019

It’s remarkable that the Democrats—and the corporate leftist media—don’t know the difference between Norway and Russia.   One is an unequivocal part of the West, a founding member and staunch pillar of NATO. The other is a schizophrenic nation with imperialistic tendencies run by a former KGB colonel.  These nuances are apparently lost on the likes of George Stephanopoulos and his accomplices of the FakeNews Industrial Complex..........

In sum: Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party paid a foreign agent to collect or manufacture damaging information about the Republican candidate for president, information that was sourced from the Russian government. The subsequent propaganda file was used to surveil members of the Trump campaign, illegally, as NSA and British assets were also used to spy on those associated with Clinton’s political rival, and as human intelligence assets were deployed in an attempt to entrap Trump advisers and members of his staff..............To Read More....

The Myth and Fraud That There Ever Was an Arab Country or People Called ‘Palestine’ (Part One of Two)

June 25, 2019

In a recent Nazi outrage, Rashida Tlaib, Democrat Liar of Michigan, stated that the Holocaust has had a “calming” effect on her because the “Palestinians” “welcomed” the Jews into “their” land as a haven from Hitler. The Big Lie — in so many dimensions.

New to the fray, South Bend Mayor Buttigieg — an expert on world affairs though still unable to maintain civil equanimity in his own city where African Americans are furious over a recent police shooting — has announced that, if Israel ever extends sovereignty into any part of Judea or Samaria, he will cut off aid to Israel accordingly if he is elected President. Others on the same bandwagon: Robert O’Rourke, a Scottish-Irish skateboarder best known for break-ins, drunk driving, computer hacking, faking Hispanic heritage, and having his ear hairs cut. Bernie Sanders, an American Communist. What these and their ilk all have in common is that they each see nothing anti-Semitic in anything that Ilhan Abdullahi Omar or Rashida Tlaib has written or spoken, but they are unable to tolerate Jewish life in Judea and Samaria............To Read More....

Dems are Planning to Steal the 2020 Election

Democrats will cheat in 2020 because only with absolute power can they save America from Americans.

June 25, 2019 By William L. Gensert

Democrats have an insurance policy for the 2020 Presidential election, and it has nothing to do with the eventual Democratic Party nominee. The original policy was initiated by Obama, Comey, Brennan, McCabe, Hillary, and their ilk, bragged about by Strzok to his paramour, and paid for by the Democrat/media cabal. 

The mephitic Mueller tried to cash it in, but the hero marine got slapped down by Barr. It’s a plan to “win” the election by any means necessary, even by cheating if necessary. Of its components, the “failsafe,” is most intriguing, if for no other reason than it is so devious, underhanded, clever, and inventive, that it’s surprising it comes from the same left which gave us the ridiculously ludicrous Steele dossier and Smollett hoax.

October Surprise.

Notice how quickly E. Jean Carroll disappeared from the headlines? Or, how the same media, which has a conniption fit when Trump asks for an extra scoop of ice cream, scarcely publicized her rape accusation, and then let the matter drop with nary a peep? Perhaps a sealed indictment of Donald Trump (New York has no statute of limitations for first-degree rape) is being processed as we speak, with the purpose of it being leaked just in time for the election. .............

Electoral Shenanigans

Adam Mill had a great article warning that attempts by media, celebrities, and prominent Democrats in 2016 to convince members of the Electoral College not to award their votes to Trump was a mere prelude to the coercion by doxing, intimidation, Tweetstorm, and social media ostracism they will employ in 2020 to impel electors to award their votes to whom they are told.............

Outright Cheating

Importing a new, more “woke” electorate is another tactic. Americans stole the presidency from Hillary Clinton, so the left through their “open borders” policy plans on replacing the electorate with poor people dependent on Democrat handouts who they can suborn to vote illegally for Democrat candidates. The obstinate American electorate now extant can eat flan… Democrats seek to facilitate illegal voting by suppressing Voter ID movements, while challenging laws to purge voter rolls of the dead, noncitizens, people who have moved, and those voters who are inactive. Licenses for illegals and auto-motor-voter registration will help. .............. To Read More

My Take  Mephitic -(especially of a gas or vapor) foul-smelling; noxious.  I had to look it up too, but it's a word that needs to be used often now.  And I will.  As for stealing the 2020 election - we should be surprised why?  I'm convinced Obama was elected twice because of election fraud.  That's been their modus operandi for decades, why would we expect it to be different now? 


Will Radicalization Work for the Democrats? Veronika KyrylenkoThe Democrats are not building their agenda around issues that are important for people, even though they claim they do.  More

California's Gov. Gavin Newsom puts out a video for illegals on how to obstruct ICE - 6/24/19 June 24, 2019...and he doesn't look pretty doing it. More

Knitting social network with 8 million registered users silences Trump-supporters as 'white supremacists' - 6/24/19 June 24, 2019SJW bullying on the rise in unlikley places. More

Why Trump won...and will win re-election

June 24, 2019 By Thomas Lifson

"Pride goeth before a fall," the Book of Proverbs teaches us, and the worst kind of pride is that based on contempt for others rather than one's own accomplishments.

A reader sent in the picture below, saying that it was "spied on the rear cab window of a pickup truck." When you see President Trump pack arenas seating 20,000 or more, it's because his supporters understand the contempt that the ruling class has for them. They turned out in far greater numbers than anyone expected in 2016, and since then, the hatred and contempt for Trump and for his supporters have only amped up.

Here's a pro tip for political agitators: don't do the other side's work for them in getting out the vote. To Read More

Angela Rye Knows You’re Racist

By June 24, 2019

The political philosopher Michael Oakeshott said that the “rationalist” is hopelessly lost in ideology, captivated by the world of self-contained coherence he has woven from strands of human experience.

He concocts a narrative about narratives, a story about stories, and adheres to the “large outline which a general theory imposes upon events.” The rationalist asserts that he has unearthed the etiological Piltdown Man and the long-sought Theory of Everything.

He believes he has reduced the totality of man’s experience to an easily digestible slogan, which contains within it “the formalized abridgment of the supposed substratum of rational truth.” In time, ideology so subsumes the rationalist that he finds “it difficult to believe that anyone who can think honestly and clearly will think differently from himself.

For a certain type of progressive, “racism” — in the broadest sense, with all of its attendant neologisms (whiteness, white supremacy, internalized oppression, privilege, etc.) — has become something of a story about stories. It explains everything: Trump’s election, racial disparities in crime rates, black Republicans, the prevailing color of bandages in grocery stores. Its explanatory scope has been tried — and tried, and tried — and is yet to be found wanting. It is indeed “remarkable,” as Oakeshott observes, “the rapidity with which [the rationalist] reduces the tangle and variety of experience” vis-à-vis the real world “to a set of principles.” ..........To Read More...

My Take - If making everything an issue of race is an effort to eliminate racism, it's a failed effort!
What happens when people are unendingly called a racists, no matter how hard they try to show you're not?  Eventually people will give up trying not to be racists, and actually become racists. 

This "race industry" that's taken hold in black America, and exploited by black race hustlers and the left, is destructive to society as a whole but it's particularly destructive to blacks, as it gives them an excuse for their failure as a community, and let's not sugar coat this. Black America is a failed community.  If blacks can't come to grips with their own faults and failures, blaming everyone else will not fix it for them. 

If black America wants social fixes in America, let it start in the home.  Having a 70% illegitimacy rate is foundational to the disaster that's playing out in black America, not racism.  The sad part of this is this.  Even if blacks in America start to fix their illegitimacy problem right now it will take decades to overcome the negative impact this has had on their thinking and actions. 

U.S. school lets Muslims interrupt classes to 'convert' students

Now faces grilling from legal team

A U.S. school that allowed Muslim students to interrupt classes to “convert” students to Islam now faces a grilling from a constitutional legal team. As part of its Project for Constitutional Rights in Education, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund monitors school districts to ensure that officials are educated about the “threat of Islamic indoctrination and religiously preferential ‘anti-Islamophobia’ bullying programs.”

FCDF said it sent the West New York School District in New Jersey a public records request to see documents “that could show whether the district is unlawfully promoting religion.” The concern centered on a decision to hang a large banner at the school “beseeching ‘Allah’ to ‘shower’ students with ‘love and wisdom.'” .............To Read More...

My Take - The school wants to teach their students about Islam.  Ok, I get that, but I wonder what would happen if a teacher made an effort to cover - truthfully cover - the murderous and militant history of Islam while these Muslims were promoting it. 

Let's try and get this right.  Islam isn't a religion.  It's a criminal, political movement masquerading as a religion.   No matter what anyone says, the real pillars of Islam are greed, lust, hate and violence.  Once that's understood everything they do and say falls into place. 

Recommended reading:  Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West
by Raymond Ibrahim and Victor Davis Hanson

Erdogan's Setback Could Yet Tilt Turkey to U.S.

By BENNY AVNI, Special to the Sun | June 25, 2019

Turkish voters dealt the country's once-invincible president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a sharp slap in the face Saturday. America should use the moment to nudge Ankara, a NATO member and erstwhile stalwart of the Atlantic alliance, back into the Western fold.
An opposition mayoral contestant in Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, handsomely beat Mr. Erdogan's favored candidate by a 9-point margin. This came after Mr. Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, or AKP, canceled the results of an earlier election and ordered a redo because its candidate lost the first time around..........To Read More...

Monday, June 24, 2019

Evidence from the States: Higher Taxes = Fewer Jobs

June 22, 2019 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty
 
When I wrote a few days ago that the Trump tax reform was generating good results, I probably should have specified that some parts of the country are not enjoying as much growth because of bad state tax policy.

 
As illustrated by my columns about Texas vs California and Florida vs New York, high-tax states are economic laggards compared to low-tax states.
 
This presumably helps to explain why Americans are voting with their feet by moving to states where the politicians are (at least in practice) less greedy.

Let’s look at some new evidence on the interaction of federal and state tax policy.

Writing for Forbes, Chuck DeVore of the Texas Public Policy Foundation shares data on how and why lower-tax state are out-performing higher-tax states.
Job growth has been running 80% stronger in low-tax states than in high-tax states since the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 in December 2017. Understanding why holds important lessons for policy, economics, and politics. The new tax law scaled back the federal subsidy for high state and local taxes. …As a result of limiting the SALT deduction to $10,000, income tax filers in high-tax states saw a relatively smaller tax cut, losing out on about $84 billion since the tax code was changed. With $84 billion less to invest, the pace of job creation in the 23 high-tax states has slowed relative to the low-tax states, with the data suggesting a shift of almost 400,000 private sector jobs may have occurred.
Here are some of his numbers.
Prior to the tax reform’s enactment, annualized private sector job growth was 1.9% in the low-tax states from January 2016 to December 2017 compared to 1.4% in the high-tax states, giving the low-tax jurisdictions a comparatively modest advantage of 35% more rapid job growth over the 23-month period. Now, 17 months of federal jobs data suggest that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has increased the competitive advantage of 27 low-tax states where the average SALT deduction was under $10,000 in 2016 as compared to 23 high-tax taxes with average SALT deductions greater than $10,000. Private sector job growth is now running 80% faster in the low-tax states, 2% annualized compared to 1.1%, up from just a 35% advantage in the prior 23 months. …For California, the lost employment opportunity adds up to 153,000 positions since December 2017… New York’s employment growth was about 128,000 less than might have been the case had the SALT deduction not been capped.
And here’s his data-rich chart.


Based on previous evidence we’ve examined, these numbers are hardly a surprise.

Chuck suggests the right way for high-tax states to respond.
…if political leaders in states accustomed to taxing and spending far more than their more frugal peers wish to participate in higher rates of job creation, they should reform their own fiscal houses, rather than expect their neighbors to subsidize their high-spending ways.
Sadly, this doesn’t appear to be happening.

Politicians is high-tax states such as Illinois and New Jersey are trying to make their already-punitive systems even worse.

Based on what we’ve seen from Greece, that won’t end well.

‘Children killer’ glyphosate found in Cheerios? Experts dismantle Environmental Working Group’s herbicide food residue study

, | June 17, 2019

Last week, on June 12 2019, the organic industry-funded Environmental Working Group (EWG) issued a news release that claimed, “Major food companies like General Mills continue to sell popular children’s breakfast cereals and other foods contaminated with troubling levels of glyphosate, the cancer-causing ingredient in the herbicide Roundup.”

EWG’s announcement is the third of its kind focusing on the alleged dangers of glyphosate residues in our food. It was immediately trumpeted by fringe activist groups—that’s par for the course—but was also covered, almost entirely uncritically, by mainstream sources, such as CNN:

screen shot at am

What’s the news here?

Like its predecessors, released in July and October 2018, this EWG ‘study’ was based on a “round of tests” that was not peer reviewed by independent experts. Its scientists claimed that they found dozens of instances in which food it tested did not pass its “children’s health benchmark” for assessing potential exposure level hazards.

EWG did not mention that its ‘benchmark’ is entirely made up, has no clear scientific basis and is at odds with historically established and globally recognized benchmarks used by regulators in every country. The EWG “safety threshold” is 100 times lower than even the most conservative cut-off established by oversight agencies around the world, including the EPA. Curiously but not surprisingly considering EWG’s historical willingness to distort science, the threshold it settled upon just ‘happens’ to coincide with the infinitesimally trace amounts of glyphosate it found on Cheerios. ............To Read More....


Thought For the Day

"We're all travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing house. Birth 'til death. We travel between the eternities."  Robert Duvall as Prentice Ritter in Broken Trail.

Science Saves an Old Chestnut

Genetic engineering rescues a tree from a threatening fungus.

By Hank Campbell 


A forest of chestnut trees ravaged by blight in Luray, Va. Photo: Library of Congress
 
A blight-tolerant American chestnut tree is the latest example of what the science community has begun to call a GRO—a genetically rescued organism. In the past century approximately four billion chestnut trees have been lost in the U.S. due to blight that spread when the Cryphonectria parasitica fungus arrived with chestnut trees imported from Asia. A once-dominant hardwood species is now rare.


Nature can be fickle, but using science to engineer solutions allows precise methods to combat natural pathogens. Some species are resistant to the fungus, and that’s why it makes sense to use transgenic tools to help the chestnut tree utilize beneficial genes from other plants—essentially vaccinating against the fungus.

It’s all part of a 28-year effort by the nonprofit American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project, led by the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Scientists use a gene from bread wheat that produces an enzyme called oxalate oxidase, which prevents the fungus from forming cankers on plant stems. The enzyme is found in all grain crops, plus bananas, strawberries and more..........To Read More.....