Wednesday, August 31, 2016

American Council on Science and Health

Good News Coming For Diabetic People — No More Shots! -  Insulin-requiring diabetics may be able to toss their syringes in the not-too-distant future, if a new type of insulin-containing pill can conquer research hurdles. Packaging the hormone in a new type of lipid vesicle could protect it from breakdown by stomach acid and eliminate the need for frequent injections.

Brussels -- A Final Destination For Medical Care - Brussels is now a destination for "medical tourism." According to the CDC this term refers to "foreign travel for the purpose of receiving medical care. It's estimated that up to 750,000 U.S. residents travel abroad for medical care each year. The most common procedures that people undergo on medical tourism trips include cosmetic surgery, dentistry, and heart surgery.

Commonly Cited Stat — 10 Bacteria For Every 1 Human Cell — Is Wrong - In school, the rule-of-thumb for the human microbiome was that bacteria outnumbered human cells 10-to-1. Not so, say the authors of a new PLoS Biology paper, who re-crunched the numbers. According to their estimate, the ratio is much closer to 1-to-1.

Fact Checking Mylan Claims They Raised The EpiPen Price Because of Improvements - We recently got an email from a concerned reader, the parent of a child with an allergy, who was shocked by the high price of EpiPens. She could still afford it, she noted, but the increase of nearly 400 percent was surely going to hurt families with less money. Wasn't that the kind of thing we liked to examine, as consumer advocates? Yes, indeed it is.

Engage The Dutch, To Help Keep U.S. Flooding At Bay - The nation's coastal waters are rising, and towns dating back centuries are at serious risk of being engulfed and disappearing completely. What should the U.S. be doing to address this cascading calamity? More engagement and continued dialogue with the Dutch, who are experts in the field of flood prevention, might be a good place to start.

What's Wrong With The Middle East?

By Rich Kozlovich

Yesterday this free article, "Uzbekistan: Where Clans Clash" appeared at the Stratfor news site commenting about the passing "of President Islam Karimov", saying "Uzbekistan now moves to the delicate task of selecting its second-ever president."

For those who've read about how the Middle East functions, and these ex-Soviet countries are an extended part of the Middle East,  simply because they share the same problems with religion, politics and cultural paradigms. In short - they're all Mediaeval tribal societies with modern weapons, communications and transportation. But they're still Mediaeval tribal societies culturally.

The author notes, since President Islam Karimov died this "nation" will have to pick - for the first time in modern history - a new leader. Karimov was a Soviet puppet and has ruled these people for all of these years just like the dictator he was, and now - how do they decide who's in charge since there's no legitimate electoral process? It's all about clans - or if you will - tribes.

The author goes on to say:
Uzbek society, like the societies of most countries in Central Asia, is divided sharply along clan lines. The most prominent Uzbek clans are the Tashkent, the Samarkand and the Fergana, though four smaller clans — Jizzakh, Kashkadarya, Khorezm and Karakalpak — have a notable presence in the country. In recent years, members of the Fergana clan have been systematically removed from positions of power, leaving members of the Tashkent and the Samarkand to compete for power.

One tribe is completely left out of the process, which is normal and typical of these societies. We need to understand there's no parallel in the world - and I include much of Europe - that is equal to American concepts of self government.

We foolishly believe if we just explain how we do it they will all see the value of our system, become enlightened, and jump right into it. It can't be done. A society develops a cultural history and pattern of life that's not capable of being unhinged by mere explanations. For any change to occur in these Muslim dominated societies it must be imposed by force, just as was done by the Soviet Union and the Ottoman Empire.

And when those two empires were dumped on the ash heap of history - all those tribes and clans reverted right back to their cultural foundations - Mediaeval tribal societies with modern weapons, communication and transportation. It's been said the habits of a lifetime are as strong as life itself, and that's true of the cultural habits of societies covering the habits of centuries.

Furthermore, as long as these societies are followers of Islam they can't be educated, or 'enlightened' to western values. Sharia is antithetical to everything the West stands for and represents. For them to become 'enlightened' would require them to abandon Islam, and that's not possible in these nations since the Koran requires all converts be put to death.

Occam's Razor states the simplest explanation is probably the correct one. I find that's usually right!  And the answer as to what's wrong with the Middle East?  Everything!

So, unless someone is willing to destroy Islam - the only hope in dealing with these people is to keep them poor, isolated and unarmed. We really need to get past our delusions and see things foundationally and with a seriously self interested eye.




State Dept. to foreigners: Here's where free money is

Campaign guides Guatemalans on labor, health-care 'rights' in U.S.

Steve Peacock About | Email | Archive

The poorest and least literate segments of Guatemala are about to get an education on labor and health-care entitlements they can pursue in the U.S., thanks to a media bombardment that the Obama administration is planning in the Central American nation.
 
Among the chief aims of the campaign is to alert potential immigrants about their “rights and recourses with respect to labor conditions and access to health care in the United States,” according to a Request for Quotations, or RFQ, that WND discovered via routine database research.

The U.S. Department of State is currently reviewing vendor bids to develop and disseminate radio, television and print advertisements across Guatemala, where the U.S. Embassy’s Fraud Prevention Unit seeks to curtail local exploitation of U.S. visa applicants........Read more

 

Constitution.com

Knick-Safe-600-LI-a
 

Cosmic Rays Intensity Increasing

New Study Suggests Sun More Important Than Thought On Earth’s Climate
 
Cosmic rays have been steadily increasing in recent months during historically weak solar cycle 24 

This colorized picture of the sun is a mosaic of ultraviolet images from the orbiting TRACE satellite sensitive to light emitted by highly charged iron atoms. Growing in number, the intricate structures visible are the Sun's hot active regions with temperatures over a million degrees Fahrenheit and their associated magnetic loops (courtesy NASA) 

We happen to be in a weak solar cycle (24) which is actually on pace to be the weakest cycle in more than one hundred years. Therefore, it would not be surprising to have relatively high cosmic ray penetration into the Earth’s atmosphere; especially, since we are now heading towards the next solar minimum phase when solar activity is generally even quieter. In fact, for the past year, neutron monitors around the Arctic Circle have sensed an increasing intensity of cosmic rays. Polar latitudes are a good place to make such measurements, because Earth’s magnetic field funnels and concentrates cosmic radiation there. As it turns out, Earth’s poles aren’t the only place cosmic rays are intensifying. “Spaceweather.com " has led an effort in the launching of helium balloons to the stratosphere to measure radiation, and they find the same trend increasing intensity of cosmic rays over California. -- Paul Dorian, Vencore Weather, 29 August 2016

A team of scientists from the National Space Institute at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Space) and the Racah Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has linked large solar eruptions to changes in Earth’s cloud cover in a study based on over 25 years of satellite observations. The new study, published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, shows that the global cloud cover is simultaneously reduced, supporting the idea that cosmic rays are important for cloud formation. The eruptions cause a reduction in cloud fraction of about 2 percent corresponding to roughly a billion tonnes of liquid water disappearing from the atmosphere. The Suns contribution to past and future climate change may thus be larger than merely the direct changes in radiation, concludes the scientists behind the new study. --Technical University of Denmark, 24 August 2016

computer models suggest that if the Sun really is heading for a new Maunder Minimum, there will be a cooling effect, but it won’t be big enough to halt global warming. As for a new mini ice age, that seems highly unlikely. On the face of it, this is good news all round. While there’s no need to panic about a big freeze any time soon, the Sun may at least be giving us more time to deal with global warming. Yet that’s not how some scientists see it. They seem to regard this new twist to the climate change debate as a threat, opening the door to “denialists” who dismiss global warming as scaremongering. The experiences of one solar physicist suggest these academic guardians of the faith are keen to stop the idea of a less active Sun getting any traction. Evidence is the most powerful guide we have in the science of climate change. But if that evidence is censored or twisted, the science becomes mere sound and fury, signifying nothing. -- Robert Matthews, The National, 28 August 2016

The habit of some scientists of predicting when the ice will disappear completely keeps getting them into trouble. A Nasa climate scientist, Jay Zwally, told the Associated Press in 2007: “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012.” Two years later Al Gore quoted another scientist that “there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years” — that is, by now. This year Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University has a new book out called Farewell to Ice, which gives a “greater than even chance” that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free next month. Not likely. He added: “Next year or the year after that, I think it will be free of ice in summer . . . You will be able to cross over the North Pole by ship.” The temptation to predict a total melt of the Arctic ice cap, and thereby get a headline, has been counterproductive, according to other scientists. Crying wolf does not help the cause of global warming; it only gives amusement to sceptics. --Matt Ridley, The Times, 29 August 2016

The Daily Signal

 

I'm an African-American Woman. Here's My Advice to Conservatives Wooing My Community.


There's a method to the media's madness, of course. Call someone a racist and they'll no longer be heard.
Read More
News

Gun Ownership, Concealed-Carry Permits Up Among Women and Minorities


"In eight states where we have data by gender, since 2012 the number of permits has increased by 161 percent for women and by 85 percent for men," a new report says.
Read More
Commentary

The Dumbing Down of College Curriculums


In their book "Academically Adrift," Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa concluded that 45 percent of students "did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning" during their first two years of college.
Read More
News

Should Police Be Able to Take Property Without Charging Owners With a Crime? One Sheriff Race Shows Split on Issue


According to a 2015 report, law enforcement in Canadian County seized $2.7 million in 44 cases using civil forfeiture.
Read More
Commentary

Unlike the NFL's Colin Kaepernick, Frederick Douglass Loved 'The Star-Spangled Banner'


Frederick Douglass was known to frequently play "The Star-Spangled Banner" on his violin for his grandchildren in the years after the Civil War.
Read More

A Left-Wing Tax Victory that Is Actually a Triumph for Supply-Side Economics

August 30, 2016 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

Our statist friends like high taxes for many reasons. They want to finance bigger government, and they also seem to resent successful people, so high tax rates are a win-win policy from their perspective.

They also like high tax rates to micromanage people’s behavior. They urge higher taxes on tobacco because they don’t like smoking. They want higher taxes on sugary products because they don’t like overweight people. They impose higher taxes on “adult entertainment” because…umm…let’s simply say they don’t like capitalist acts between consenting adults. And they impose higher taxes on tanning beds because…well, I’m not sure. Maybe they don’t like artificial sun.

Give their compulsion to control other people’s behavior, these leftists are very happy about what’s happened in Berkeley, California. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, a new tax on sugary beverages has led to a significant reduction in consumption.

Here are some excerpts from a release issued by the press shop at the University of California Berkeley.
…a new UC Berkeley study shows a 21 percent drop in the drinking of soda and other sugary beverages in Berkeley’s low-income neighborhoods after the city levied a penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. …The “Berkeley vs. Big Soda” campaign, also known as Measure D, won in 2014 by a landslide 76 percent, and was implemented in March 2015. …The excise tax is paid by distributors of sugary beverages and is reflected in shelf prices, as a previous UC Berkeley study showed, which can influence consumers’ decisions. …Berkeley’s 21 percent decrease in sugary beverage consumption compares favorably to that of Mexico, which saw a 17 percent decline among low-income households after the first year of its one-peso-per-liter soda tax that its congress passed in 2013.
I’m a wee bit suspicious that we’re only getting data on consumption by poor people.
Why aren’t we seeing data on overall soda purchases?

And isn’t it a bit odd that leftists are happy that poor people are bearing a heavy burden?
I’m also amused by the following passage. The politicians want to discourage people from consuming sugary beverages. But if they are too successful, then they won’t collect all the money they want to finance bigger government.
In Berkeley, the tax is intended to support municipal health and nutrition programs. To that end, the city has created a panel of experts in child nutrition, health care and education to make recommendations to the City Council about funding programs that improve children’s health across Berkeley.
In other words, one of the lessons of the Berkeley sugar tax and the 21-percent drop in consumption is that the Laffer Curve applies to so-called sin taxes just like it applies to income taxes.
But the biggest lesson to learn from this episode is that it confirms the essential insight of supply-side economics. Simply stated, when you tax something, you get less of it.

Which is something that statists seem to understand when they urge higher “sin taxes,” but they deny when the debate shifts to taxes on work, saving, entrepreneurship, and investment.

I’m not joking. I debate leftists all the time and they will unabashedly argue that it’s okay to have higher tax rates on labor income and more double taxation on capital income because taxpayers supposedly don’t care about taxes.

Oh, and the same statists who say that high tax burdens don’t matter because people don’t change their behavior get all upset about “tax havens” and “tax competition” because…well, because people will change their behavior by shifting their economic activity where tax rates are lower.

It must be nice not to be burdened by a need for intellectual consistency.

Speaking of which, Mark Perry used the Berkeley soda tax as an excuse to add to his great collection of Venn Diagrams.


P.S. On the issue of sin taxes, a brothel in Austria came up with an amusing form of tax avoidance. The folks in Nevada, by contrast, believe in sin loopholes. And the Germans have displayed Teutonic ingenuity and efficiency.

Homeland eyes special declaration to take charge of elections

By (@SecretsBedard)

Even before the FBI identified new cyber attacks on two separate state election boards, the Department of Homeland Security began considering declaring the election a "critical infrastructure," giving it the same control over security it has over Wall Street and and the electric power grid. The latest admissions of attacks could speed up that effort possibly including the upcoming presidential election, according to officials. "We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure like the financial sector, like the power grid," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said......To Read More....

My Take - So the man in charge of Homeland Security - who is "The Man Behind Obama’s Amnesty, Human Trafficking and Border Destruction", and who feels taking guns away from honest hardworking Americans constitutes legitimate national security will be in charge of making sure there's no corruption of the nation's voting system.  Okay.....let's see a show of hands....how many think this is a good idea?  How many think this unilateral action by a government department is legal?  How many think this passes Constitutional muster?  And what's his big concern about America's election process?  It isn't totally under control of the federal government. 

Now the final question.  How many think Jeh Johnson should be impeached along with and the head of the IRS, the Director of the FBI, the Attorney General and his boss? 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

ABC, CBS Blackout FBI Warning of Election System Hackings

How US States Can Pave the Way for Greater Use of Sound Money



Recognizing that the departure from gold and silver backing to our money has led to crushing debt and great financial instability, a few freedom-minded state legislatures have begun to consider how to defend themselves and their citizens. In particular, Utah has charted a path towards a widespread acceptance of gold and silver, declaring any gold and silver coins issued by the US government as legal tender in the state — and free from any taxation.

Even though laws such as Utah’s are just a small step in the right direction, they serve an important purpose because they encourage greater use of gold and silver as circulating media of exchange.  And such measures start a conversation with the public about the useful role that gold and silver can play in protecting one’s purchasing power, while hedging against the abuses of Washington politicians and Wall Street bankers.

Utah has a modest population of almost 3 million. However, Oklahoma followed with its own legal tender law, bringing the total people impacted to almost 7 million. The more people are exposed to gold and silver, the more they are likely to recognize their superiority as media of exchange and stores of value......To Read More.....

Rewards and Risks of a Federal Regulatory Budget (Part 1)

Clyde Wayne Crews

Our case for capping and “budgeting” regulatory costs across federal agencies opens by asserting that that, perhaps apart from certain raw compliance and paperwork burdens, tabulating the subjective and indirect costs of regulations experienced at the individual level and economy-wide is impossible. As Nobel laureate economist James M. Buchanan counseled, there are no “objectively identifiable magnitudes” available to the third‑party regulator: “Cost cannot be measured by someone other than the decision-maker because there is no way that subjective experience can be directly observed.”

Still, let’s acknowledge what we have. Recent verdicts include: a few tens of billions annually for a non-representative few dozen rules that the federal government reluctantly acknowledges impose costs; a $2.028 trillion estimate from the National Association of Manufacturers; this author’s own $1.9 trillion placeholder; and a study concluding the economy weighs some $4 trillion less annually than it otherwise would had regulatory burdens remained constant since 1980......To Read More....

American Council on Science and Health

Latest IARC Report Connects Fatness with More Cancers - We've known for a while that excess body fat (as in overweight and obesity) can raise the risk not only of chronic diseases like diabetes, but also some types of cancer. A new report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer indicates that the number of types of cancer may be more than we have thought. 

Good News: Teen Pregnancy Is Down 46% Since 2007 - With the heartbreaking photo of a Syrian child rescued from a bombed house making its way around the internet -- as well as our nonstop election circus -- it's time for some good news for a change. The CDC reports that pregnancy in teens aged 15-19 has fallen by 46 percent from 2007 to 2015.

Fauci: Don’t Make Policy Based on Animal Studies - Our founder, Elizabeth Whelan, liked to remind us that "mice are not little men," and that we ought to stop banning chemicals "at the drop of a rat." Apparently, the head of the NIAID, Dr. Anthony Fauci, agrees.
Dr. Fauci concluded his answer with a statement that really ought be carved in wood and hung above the doors of all health regulatory agencies:
"When people do studies in animals, you pay attention to them, but you don't make any policy or any other conclusions related to that until you do good epidemiological observation in the human system."
That, in a nutshell, is the entire philosophy of the American Council on Science and Health. Of course, our late founder, Elizabeth Whelan, was saying that long before it was cool to say that, and she was pithier about it, too. She liked to remind us that "mice are not little people," and that we ought to stop banning chemicals "at the drop of a rat." Compare that logical, evidence-based approach to public health policy to the shenanigans of, say, anti-GMOers like Gilles-Éric Séralini. He is the "researcher" who unethically grew gigantic tumors in rats and spuriously blamed them on GMOs.

Even if his research methodology was legitimate (it's wasn't), there is still no evidence that GMOs harm humans. Thus, according to the head of the NIAID, there would be insufficient evidence to make a change in public health policy. We understand that this conservative (as in "cautious," not politically) approach to policymaking makes some people mad.

There is a lot of money to be made in scaring people about GMOs, food, BPA, vaccines, nuclear power, natural gas, nanoparticles, and any other technology. But, we ought not stifle innovation with premature bans and overregulation.

May the legacy of Beth Whelan live on.

E-Cigarette Flavors, Biotech Courts And More Media Links - Some of the top health stories making news over the last 48 hours. 

Precision Medicine Stands On Imprecise Infrastructure - Precision medicine stands to be the future of healthcare. This future has been painted as one that delivers personalized medicine and targeted therapies, one that does away with the one-size-fits-all approach and one that seeks to exploit the root cause of a disease to find curative/therapeutic options. It's a beautiful and grandiose concept -- but one that is not achievable.  (My Take - As with anything that's new and innovative - it's expensive!  However, as these innovations become ubiquitous new ways of utilizing them become common place and less expensive.  Gene mapping will become common place, inexpensive, life saving and regular medical practice in the future.  How?  Who knows, but that's the way it's always been with everything humanity has discovered - because that's the way the human mind works.  Find it - utilize it - incorporate it.  There's only one thing that really necessary for this to happen.  Capitalism!  If there's a profit to be made it will be done.  That may not be perfection, but it's the best imperfection available.)

Ron Arnold: Tracking Green

Center for Food Safety
linked with International Center for Technology Assessment
linked with Turning Point Project / Foundation for Deep Ecology
660 PENNSYLVANIA AVE SE SUITE 302
WASHINGTON, DC 20003
phone: 202-547-9359
fax: 202-547-9429
Email: office@centerforfoodsafety.org
Websites: www.centerforfoodsafety.org 
www.FoodSafetyNow.org
www.GEfish.org 
www.icta.org 
www.OrganicAndBeyond.org

Description: The Center for Food Safety (CFS) is an anti-technology organization fighting against industrial agriculture and food technology including. CFS behaves as a project of the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA), even though it has been separately incorporated since 1999. ICTA still solicits contributions on behalf of CFS. CFS cooperates in food scare projects managed by Fenton Communications, Washington, D.C.'s premiere anti-capitalist public relations firm. CFS is linked by shared directors with ICTA, and with the Turning Point Project.

Revenue and Expenses: Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2000......To Read More....

The Troubling Science

John Reid, Editor

Michael Hart is a Canadian academic with an impressive list of credentials. He has just put out a book – Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change

This article covers many of the topics that have been raised here at Blackjay over the last couple of years. It is must-read for anyone with lingering doubts about the supposed urgent need for action on climate change.

For example:
Alarm over a changing climate leading to malign results is in many ways the product of the hunger for stability and direction in a post-Christian world. Humans have a deep, innate need for a transcendent authority. Having rejected the precepts of Christianity, people in the advanced economies of the West are turning to other forms of authority. Putting aside those who cynically exploit the issue for their own gain – from scientists and politicians to UN leaders and green businesses – most activists are deeply committed to a secular, statist, anti-human, earth-centric set of beliefs which drives their claims of a planet in imminent danger from human activity.  
To them, a planet with fewer people is the ultimate goal, achievable only through centralized direction and control. As philosopher of science Jeffrey Foss points out, “Environmental science conceives and expresses humankind’s relationship to nature in a manner that is – as a matter of observable fact – religious.” It “prophesies an environmental apocalypse. It tells us that the reason we confront apocalypse is our own environmental sinfulness. Our sin is one of impurity. We have fouled a pure, ‘pristine’ nature with our dirty household and industrial wastes. The apocalypse will take the form of an environmental backlash, a payback for our sins. … environmental scientists tell people what they must do to be blameless before nature.”
The interview concludes:
it will take a determined effort by people of faith and conscience to convince our political leaders that they have been gulled by a political movement exploiting fear of climate change to push a utopian, humanist agenda that most people would find abhorrent. As it now stands, politicians are throwing money that they do not have at a problem that does not exist in order to finance solutions that make no difference. The time has come to call a halt to this nonsense and focus on real issues that pose real dangers. In a world beset by war, terrorism, and continuing third-world poverty, there are far more important things on which political leaders need to focus.
It may be nitpicking but the one thing I disagree with is his use of the term “humanist” in the final paragraph. Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence over acceptance of dogma or superstition. The utopian agenda is certainly not humanist. Any philosophy in which wilderness has greater value than community, in which humans are seen as a “scourge on the planet” a la Attenborough and which supports the dogma and pseudo-science of climate change is certainly not humanist.

But I agree with him about the rest of it.  SOURCE

August most violent month in Chicago in nearly 20 years

 
In the weeks since he was shot in the back, 10-year-old Tavon Tanner has undergone several operations to repair the damage from the bullet that tore through his small body and remains lodged between his shoulder and his chest.   The fifth-grader is still in the hospital and still in pain, according to his mother Mellanie Washington.  He doesn't talk as much and cries more often.  Sometimes he'll ask if police have arrested the person who shot him.
"I tell him they will soon," Washington said. "They will."  No one was in custody as of Monday......To Read More....

My Take - Let me think.....Chicago is another city turning disastrous that's been controlled forever by what political group?  And then there's this city - Baltimore reaches 200 homicides with man's fatal stabbing - and that city has been controlled by what political entity? Must be the KKK.   Right?  Saaaayyyy.....that reminds me.  Who was the KKK's Exalted Cyclops who served in the Senate for 57 years?  And who was it he was seen kissing Amazing!   

CEI's Fight Against Government Intimidation

When did it become a crime to disagree with a government official?

Kent Lassman

Both major-party platforms have significant problems (see here, here, and here), but one provision in the 2016 Democratic Party platform in particular hits home for CEI. It represents a very troubling trend in politicization of science and government suppression of free speech.
In a section titled “Securing Environmental and Climate Justice,” the platform states:
“Democrats also respectfully request the Department of Justice to investigate allegations of corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies accused of misleading shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change.”
Does this sound familiar? It does to CEI. On April 7, CEI received a subpoena from U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker as a part of a similar-sounding investigation of ExxonMobil. Seemingly unaware of the Constitution or the role of competing ideas in a free society, Attorney General Walker leveraged his government authority to attack CEI’s free speech rights. Walker’s subpoena demanded that CEI hand over everything from emails to op-eds to private donor information—anything that had to do with our policy work on climate change—from 1997-2006. His objectives were to shut us up and scare our supporters.......To Read More.....

Clinton Would Import 1 Million Muslims in First Term

By Tad Cronn

Projections from the Center for Immigration Studies suggest that a Hillary Clinton Administration would allow as many as 10 million new immigrants into the country in her first term alone.  The center’s Steve Camarota pointed out to Breitbart that those millions would be on top of the currently present 11 million illegal aliens Clinton would immediately grant amnesty to, should she win.  Current legal immigration levels allows for about 1 million new permanent residents per year, so the projections of what would happen under Clinton would represent up to a 150 percent increase, not accounting for amnesty......To Read More....

Nation Building or Islam Building

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ The Sultan Knish Blog

Nation-building has become a very controversial term. And with good reason. Our conviction that we can reconstruct any society into another America is unrealistic. It ignores our own exceptionalism and overlooks the cultural causes of many conflicts. It assumes that a change of government and open elections can transform a tribal Islamic society into America. They can’t and won’t.

But it’s also important to recognize that what we have been doing isn’t nation-building, but Islam-
building.

Nation-building in Germany and Japan meant identifying a totalitarian ideology, isolating its proponents from political power and recreating a formerly totalitarian state as an open society. That is the opposite of what we did in Afghanistan and Iraq, never mind Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen and all the rest.

We did temporarily pursue de-Baathification in Iraq. But the Baathists were just Saddam’s cult of personality. Saddam was a problem in Iraq. But he wasn’t the problem in Iraq. His rule was a symptom of the real problem which was the divide between Sunnis and Shiites. The real problem was Islam.

Because we failed to recognize that, de-Baathification failed. The Baathists just folded themselves into ISIS. The Sunni-Shiite war went on even without Saddam. Today Sunnis and Shiites are still killing each other in Iraq much as they had for a long time. We have boiled this war down to ISIS, but ISIS, like Saddam is just another symptom of the political violence and divisiveness inherent in Islam.

Instead of secularizing Iraq, our efforts at democracy only heightened divisions along religious lines. The “Lebanon” model for Iraq with power sharing arrangements between Sunnis and Shiites was doomed.

Iraq’s first election was dominated by the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. If that name rings a bell, it should. It came out of Iran. You know, the original Islamic Revolution. The “free” election had given a boost to an Islamic terror group whose goal was the creation of an Islamic State in Iraq.

The bloodiest days of the Iraq War actually came when two sets of Islamic terror groups fighting to create an Islamic State began killing each other… and us. We know one of those groups today as ISIS. The other group is the Iraqi government. And a decade later, they’re still killing each other.

Instead of nation-building in Iraq, we practiced Islam-building. Iraq’s constitution made Islam the official religion and the fundamental source of legislation. Its first real law was that, “No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.” The new Iraq we had built was an Islamic State.

We did no better in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan whose constitution declared much the same thing. Its first parliamentary elections saw victories for the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan and the Islamic Society. As in Iraq and Syria, the distinctions between the bad Islamists and the good Islamists were often fuzzy at best. We had replaced the bad Islamist warlords who raped and murdered their enemies with the good Islamist warlords who raped and murdered their enemies.

Our nation-building had created an Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and an Islamic State in Iraq. It was no wonder that the fighting never stopped.

Matters grew much worse with the Arab Spring when Obama and Hillary’s Islam-building project flipped countries that had been democratic and secular in the loosest sense into the tar pit of political Islam.

Coptic Christians were massacred and churches were burned in Egypt. The Christian communities in Iraq and Syria were threatened with annihilation. The Jewish community in Yemen may be close to disappearing entirely. The Yazidis were raped and murdered on a genocidal scale by the Islamic State.

But in many cases they were just collateral damage from fighting between Sunni and Shiite Islamists, and among Sunni Islamists battling each other for dominance.

The ugliest part of Islam-building was that the resulting conflicts between Islamists and secularists in Egypt and Tunisia highlighted starkly just how wrong our policy was. Instead of backing secular and democratic forces, Obama had thrown in with Islamists. And even after the Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown in Egypt, his administration continued advocating on behalf of its Islamic reign of terror.

If we had practiced actual nation-building, then we would have identified Islamic tribalism as the central corrosive force in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Islamic political movements as the totalitarian threat in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Our efforts would have been directed at isolating them and keeping them out of power while working to democratize and secularize these countries on the old Turkish model. It might not have worked, but at least it would have been nation-building, not Islam-building.

Nation-building might very well have failed. America doesn’t have infinite resources and the lives of our soldiers are precious. Assuming that we can upend radically different societies is excessively optimistic.

But we didn’t even try.

What we have been doing in this century isn’t nation building. Instead we’ve been empowering our enemies. We’ve been sticking our hands into Islamist snake pits and playing, “Find the Muslim moderate” and refusing to learn any better no matter how many times we get bitten.

We have been perfectly happy to help the Islamic terrorists that our soldiers were shooting at last week so long as their leader signed some sort of accord paying lip service to equality yesterday. We didn’t just get into bed with the Muslim Brotherhood, but with former affiliates of Al Qaeda and current proxies of Iran. We allied with the Sunni and Shiite Islamist murderers of American soldiers in Iraq.

And all we got for it was more violence, chaos and death.

Even without Islam, ethnic and tribal divisions would have made nation-building into a difficult challenge. But Islam-building didn't just leave wrecked societies, but terror threats. Tensions between Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds wouldn’t have led to massacres in Paris and Nice. Only Islam could do that.

Islam takes local conflicts and makes them global. That’s why disputes over the authority of the House of Saud led to the mass murder of thousands of people in New York or why Arab attacks on Israel became a burning international issue. Or why Sunni and Shiite feuds in Iraq and Syria led to a massacre of attendees at a rock concert in Paris.

That is also why the combination of Islam and politics in any form is an existential threat to us.

Not only should we not be subsidizing it in any way, shape or form, but we should be doing our best to stamp it out. If we must have any form of nation-building, it should be the building of secular nations in which Islam is isolated and detached from any political involvement.

We have two options for preventing the spread of Islamic political violence into our countries. The first is a ban on Muslim immigration. The second is a ban on Muslim politics. The former has been dubbed isolationism and the latter nation-building. Neither term is truly accurate, but they capture the essence of the choice.

We however have chosen a choice that is far worse than either. We have opened our doors to Muslim migration while opening Muslim countries to further Islamic political involvement. We have Islamized terror states and ourselves. Is it any wonder that we suffer from a severe Islamic terror threat?

Open borders for Islamic terror and Islam-building have led to our current state of national insecurity. We have made the world more dangerous by backing Islamic politics and we have made our countries more dangerous by welcoming in Muslim migrants to be indoctrinated into terror by Islamist organizations. The more we build up Islam, the more we destroy ourselves.

Vermont’s Pride Goeth Before Its Self-Destruction

North Carolina may not survive this slap in the face.

John Calvin

In the early part of my professional career I worked for a minor league sports team in Vermont, and recently had the opportunity to pass through Vermont for the first time in two decades. What struck me is that Vermont, then and now, is blessed with beautiful geography and picturesque small towns. On the surface it would appear that Vermont, cold winters and all, would be a great place to live and raise a family. Young Vermonters, however, feel otherwise as they are fleeing the state like it was on fire, and the older generation is dying out quicker than the next generation can be born.

If you’re asking yourself what in the name of Bernie Sanders is going on, and struggle to understand why the state can’t keep residents, look no further than an incident involving the University of Vermont women’s basketball team as a clue. It is illustrative of how liberalism is slowly strangling the vitality and hope out of its residents............As it is, the University of Vermont is struggling to get students from Vermont to attend. Last year the University reported that only 20 percent of incoming freshmen are state residents, which is down from 35% just a decade earlier.

 Part of the reason locals don’t want to attend UVM is that they have witnessed throughout their lives the University’s extreme leftwing antics and don’t want their time and money wasted or be subjected to nonsense like the three-day event UVM sponsored last fall called “Examining White Privilege: A Retreat for Undergraduate Students Who Self-Identify as White.”

I mean, why would a college-age Vermonter want to go out of state and maybe actually learn something and pass up the opportunity to discuss, as the brochure assures, such stimulating topics as “What does it mean to be white? How does whiteness impact you?”.......Between political correctness and tax and spend policies, Vermont is self-destructing.......To Read More

My Take - I've always wondered how a loon like Bernie Sanders could be re-elected so many times.  Now I know.  The state is an insane asylum. 

There Is No Arc, and There Is No Hero

To thy own selfie be true, the pervert proclaims. Debra J. Saunders  Some people do not learn from their mistakes. Anthony Weiner is one. The husband of Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin resigned from Congress in 2011 when he was caught sending shots of his tumescent privates to a number of women not his wife. His first instinct was to lie about the messages and claim someone had hacked his Twitter account. Over the three weeks between the story’s breaking and the seven-term Democrat’s resignation from his House seat, Weiner tried but failed to make light of his colossally bad judgment. Yet his pronouncements only made him look worse, as when, for example, Weiner said of his female correspondents, “To the best of my knowledge, they were all adults.” Observers figured that Weiner must have cleaned up his act when he ran for mayor of New York in 2013 — because, well, surely he would not risk putting his wife and young son through a second-time-around sexting scandal. Also, surely Abedin would not participate in the campaign unless she were convinced Weiner would not self-destruct. Weiner noodled to the press about “the arc of the hero” as he prepared for his big comeback.......To Read More....


Forgettable, Regrettable Republican Turncoats

David Hunter

"I want my chance to fail as miserably as the Mitt Romney campaign failed. Romney lost eight of nine swing states, won 6 percent of the black vote and only 27 percent of Hispanics. I want my chance to do as poorly." - Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump's new campaign manager, making light of establishment Republicans humiliating losses in the past two presidential elections.........This absolute tone deafness to the people’s suffering (under the disastrous Obama years) neatly explains the Trump phenomenon. So, their quiet support of Mrs. Clinton is no mystery.

To a person, these entrenched RINOs have forgotten their purpose as representative voices for average citizens. The Bushes, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan (and their entitled ilk) have been at the pinnacle of American political power. Unfortunately, by their collective behavior they are ingrates, demonstrating no honor or patriotism to our country when power is not within their greedy mitts. Instead, they nurse petty, personal beefs with Donald Trump rather than standing with the change-demanding electorate.

Thus, these “public servants” do only what’s good for them: America’s future be damned. And if Hillary Clinton is elected, it will be.  Full Story

Federal Flipper Regulators

David Hunter

Not content with their big government role micromanaging virtually every aspect of human existence, federal regulators are attempting to expand their influence to the lower animal kingdom, specifically spinner dolphins. If successful, the feds purview would include not only the landmasses of the United States, but also their adjoining oceans. Specifically, these rule-makers are trying to prohibit the human leisure activity of swimming with dolphins. Their reasoning is that these nocturnal sea dwellers are fatigued by daytime frolicking...........Full Story

A new international example for bad energy policy

 @ OILPRO - See original for links.

If a country’s goal is to decrease carbon emissions by increasing reliance on renewable energy, it only makes sense to install the new equipment in the location with the best potential—both in geography and government.

For Australia, which has a national Renewable Energy Target (RET) of 33,000 gigawatt hours of electricity generated by defined renewable sources by 2020, South Australia (SA) is that place. According to SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis, who is also the Energy Minister, the federal government had determined that SA is where “the best conditions for wind farms” could be found. The state government was amenable, with SA Premier Jay Wetherill promising to make Adelaide, its capitol city, “the first ‘carbon neutral’ city by 2050.” The state’s RET is for 50 percent renewable energy by 2025. Wetherall, in 2014, claimed: “This new target of half of the state’s power to be generated by renewable sources will create jobs and drive capital investment and advanced manufacturing industries.”

In reality, SA has now found that talk is cheap, but renewable energy isn’t. The decision to set a 50 percent renewable target is now being called “foolish,” by Tony Wood, an analyst at think-tank Grattan Institute, and “complete naivety and foolishness” according to Lindsay Partridge, chief executive at Brickworks, one of the nation’s leading providers of building products.

Now the largest producer of wind power, SA has enough installed capacity that, under ideal conditions, it could meet 100 percent of the current electricity demand. “However, wind generation tends to be lower at times of maximum demand,” according to the Australian Energy Regulator. “In South Australia, wind typically contributes 10 percent of its registered capacity during peaks in summer demand.” In fact, on some days, Jo Nova explains, they actually “suck electricity instead of generating it.”

Last month, SA experienced an energy crisis that The Australian, the country’s largest newspaper, blamed on “an over-reliance of untrustworthy and expensive wind and solar.” The paper warned that the federal RET “will force other states down the path taken by South Australia, which has the highest and most variable energy prices in the national electricity grid.” Nova adds: “South Australia has more ‘renewable’ wind power than anywhere else in Australia. They also have the highest electricity bills, the highest unemployment, the largest number of ‘failures to pay’ and disconnections. Coincidence?”

In July, the confluence of several factors resulted in a huge spike in electricity prices—as much as 100 times the norm.

In May, pushed out of the market by subsidized wind, SA’s last coal-fueled power plant was closed. Even before then, The Australian reported electricity prices were “at least 50 percent higher than in any other state.” According to the Australian Energy Market Operator, the average daily spot price in SA was $46.82 per megawatt hour. After the power plant was turned off: $80.47. In June: $123.10—more than double the previous year. In July: $262.97.

Fred Moore, CEO of SA components manufacturer Alfon Engineering, addressing the electricity price hikes that are smashing small and medium business, says his latest electricity contract had increased by almost 50 percent. Until the end of May, his businesses electricity bill was about $3,000 a month and is now about $4,500 a month. He says: “I don’t know how long the company is going to be able to afford it.”

As a result of the loss of coal, when there’s no wind or sun, SA is now reliant on natural gas generation and from coal-fueled electricity being imported through a single connector from neighboring Victoria.

In part, due to a calm, cold winter (weather that is not favorable to wind farms), natural gas demand is high and so are prices. Additionally, the Heywood interconnector was in the midst of being upgraded—which lowered capacity for the coal-fueled electricity on which SA relies. Because of SA’s abandoning coal-fueled electricity generation and its increased reliance on wind, The Australian reports: “The national energy market regulator has warned that South Australia is likely to face continued price volatility and ‘significantly lower’ electricity availability.”

Then came the brutal cold snap, which caused more folks to turn on their electric heaters—thus driving up demand. The left-leaning, Labour state officials were prompted to plead for more reliable fossil-fuel-generated power. With the connector constrained, the only option was to turn on a mothballed gas-fueled power station—a very expensive exercise. The gas plant had been shut down because of what amounts to dispatch priority policies—meaning if renewable energy is available, it must get used, pushing natural gas into a back-up power source. This, combined with the subsidized wind power, made the plant unprofitable. The Australian Financial Review (AFR) explains: “Energy experts say South Australia’s heavy reliance on wind energy is compounding its problems in two ways, first by forcing the remaining baseload generators to earn more revenue in shorter periods of time when the wind isn’t blowing, and secondly by forcing baseload coal and gas generators out of the market altogether.”

Big industrial users, who are the most affected by the power crisis, are “furious about the spike in higher power prices.” According to AFR, Adelaide Brighton Cement, one of the few energy-intensive manufacturing industries still operating in South Australia, said the fluctuating price was hurting business. “As a competitor in a global market, it is essential for us to have access to the availability of uninterrupted economically competitive power.” In The Australian, Jacqui McGill, BHP’s Olympic Dam asset manager, agrees: “We operate in a global market…to be competitive globally, we need globally competitive pricing for inputs, of which energy is one.” The report adds that some major businesses in SA warn of possible shutdowns due to higher power prices—the result of a rushed transition to increased renewable energy. The Adelaide Advertiser reported: “some of the state’s biggest employers were close to temporarily closing due to surging SA electricity prices making business too expensive.” Not the job creation promised by Wetherall.

“Of course, if you were some sort of contrarian eccentric,” writes Judith Sloan, Contributing Economics Editor for The Australian, “you could argue that escalating electricity prices, at both the wholesale and retail level, have made manufacturing in Australia increasingly uncompetitive and so the RET has indirectly contributed to the meeting of the emissions reduction target—but not in a good way.”

The SA energy crisis serves as a wake-up call and a warning to the other states, as the problem is, according to Koutsantonis, “coming to New South Wales and Victoria very soon.” But it should also, as the Financial Times reports: “provide lessons to nations rapidly increasing investment in renewables.”

Malcolm Roberts, CEO at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, called the situation in SA a “test case” for integrating large scale renewable energy generation into the electricity grid. According to Keith Orchison, former managing director of the Electricity Supply Association of Australia (from 1991 to 2003), now retired and working as a consultant and as the publisher of Coolibah Commentary newsletter and “This is Power” blog, current policy is driven by “ideology, politicking and populism.”

Roberts added: “No technology is perfect. Coal is great for base-load power, but it’s not so great for peak demand but gas is well suited for meeting peak demand. You need gas as an insurance policy for more renewables.” Even the Clean Energy Council’s chief executive, Kane Thornton, in the AFR, “conceded conventional power generation such as gas would most likely be needed as a back-up.”

Perhaps the best explanation for SA’s energy crisis came from the Australian Energy Council, formerly the Electricity Supply Association of Australia, which called it an: “accidental experiment in how far you can push technologies such as wind and solar power in to an electricity grid before something breaks.” According to Orchison: “The council says that intermittent renewables at scale reduces carbon emissions but ultimately increases end-user prices and system reliability risks.”

On August 13, The Economist, in an article titled It’s not easy being green, addressed the three goals of Germany’s energy transformation: “to keep energy supply reliable; to make it affordable; and to clean it up to save the environment, with a target of cutting emissions by 95% between 1990 and 2050.” All three of which, Clemens Fuest, of the Munich-based Ifo Institute think tank, says, “will be missed.” He calls Germany “an international example for bad energy policy.” Now we can add South Australia, and, perhaps, most of Australia, as another.

This is the result, Orchison says, of “pursuing a purist view at the political expense of power reliability.”

The question remains: will America learn from these bad examples, or will we continue down the path President Obama has pushed us onto—spending billions, achieving little environmental benefit, and raising rates on households and industry? The result of November’s election will provide the answer.
The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column. Follow her @EnergyRabbit

Another Grim Reminder that Obamacare Has Made Healthcare More Expensive

August 29, 2016 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

Way back in 2009, some folks on the left shared a chart showing that national expenditures on healthcare compared to life expectancy.

This comparison was not favorable to the United States, which easily spent the most money but didn’t have concomitantly impressive life expectancy.
At the very least, people looking at the chart were supposed to conclude that other nations had better healthcare systems.

And since the chart circulated while Obamacare was being debated, supporters of that initiative clearly wanted people to believe that the U.S. somehow could get better results at lower cost if the government played a bigger role in the healthcare sector.

There were all sorts of reasons to think that chart was misleading (higher average incomes in the United States, more obesity in the United States, different demographics in the United States, etc), but my main gripe was that the chart was being used to advance the cause of bigger government when it actually showed – at least in part – the consequences of government intervention.

The real problem, I argued, was third-party payer. Thanks to programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, government already was paying for nearly 50 percent of all heath spending in the United States (indeed, the U.S. has more government spending for health programs than some nations with single-payer systems!).

But that’s just party of the story. Thanks to a loophole in the tax code for fringe benefits (a.k.a., the healthcare exclusion), there’s a huge incentive for both employers and employees to provide compensation in the form of very generous health insurance policies. And this means a big chunk of health spending is paid by insurance companies.

The combination of these direct and indirect government policies is that consumers pay very little for their healthcare. Or, to be more precise, they may pay a lot in terms of taxes and foregone cash compensation, but their direct out-of-pocket expenditures are relatively modest.

And this is why I said the national health spending vs life expectancy chart was far less important than a chart I put together showing the relentless expansion of third-party payer. And the reason this chart is so important is that it helps to explain why healthcare costs are so high and why there’s so much inefficiency in the health sector.

Simply stated, doctors, hospitals, and other providers have very little market-based incentive to control costs and be efficient because they know that the overwhelming majority of consumers won’t care because they are buying care with other people’s money.

To get this point across, I sometimes ask audiences how their behavior would change if I told them I would pay 89 percent of their dinner bill on Friday night. Would they be more likely to eat at McDonald’s or a fancy steakhouse? The answer is obvious (or should be obvious) since they are in box 2 of Milton Friedman’s matrix.

So why, then, would anybody think that Obamacare – a program that was designed to expand third-party payer – was going to control costs?

Though I guess it doesn’t matter what anybody thought at the time. The sad reality is that Obamacare was enacted. The President famously promised healthcare would be more affordable under his new system, both for consumers and for taxpayers.

So what happened?

Well, the law’s clearly been bad news for taxpayers.

But let’s focus today on households, which have borne the brunt of the President’s bad policies. The Wall Street Journal had a report a few days ago about what’s been happening to the spending patterns of middle-class households.

The numbers are rather grim, at least for those who thought Obamacare would control health costs.
A June Brookings Institution study found middle-income households now devote the largest share of their spending to health care, 8.9%… By 2014, middle-income households’ health-care spending was 25% higher than what they were spending before the recession that began in 2007, even as spending fell for other “basic needs” such as food, housing, clothing and transportation, according to an analysis for The Wall Street Journal by Brookings senior fellow Diane Schanzenbach. …Workers aren’t the only ones feeling the pain of rising health-care costs. Employers still typically pay roughly 80% of individual health-insurance premiums… In 2015, 8% of Americans’ household spending went toward health care, up from 5.8% in 2007, according to the Labor Department.
Here’s a chart from the story. It looks at data from 2007-2014, so it surely wouldn’t be fair to say Obamacare caused all the increase. But it would be fair to say that the law hasn’t delivered on the empty promise of lower costs.


Let’s close with a few important observations.

First, there’s a very strong case to repeal Obamacare, but nobody should be under the illusion that this will solve the myriad problems in the health sector. It would be a good start, but never forget that the third-party payer problem existed before Obamacare.
 
Second, undoing third-party payer will be like putting toothpaste back in a tube. Even though there are some powerful examples of how healthcare costs are constrained when genuine market forces are allowed to operate, consumers will be very worried about shifting to a system where they pay directly for a greater share of their healthcare costs.
 
Third, there’s one part of Obamacare that shouldn’t be repealed. The so-called Cadillac Tax may not be the right way to deal with the distorting impact of the healthcare exclusion, but it’s better than nothing.
 
Actually, we could add one final observation since the Obama era will soon be ending. When historians write about his presidency, will his main legacy be the Obamacare failure? Or will they focus more on the failed stimulus? Or maybe the economic stagnation that was caused by his policies?