Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Buckeye Institute Press Release: Kasich Vetoes Energy Mandate Reform

Contact: Greg Lawson, Senior Policy Analyst
(614) 224-4422 or Greg@BuckeyeInstitute.org 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE      December 27, 2016

Governor Kasich Thwarts Legislature's Commonsense 

Reform to Energy Mandates

COLUMBUS, OHIO--On Tuesday, Governor Kasich vetoed a bill that would have implemented extremely modest and positive reforms to state energy mandates for renewable energy and energy efficiency.  As The Buckeye Institute's research and reports have shown time and again, these mandates that specify how much of our energy must come from renewable or green sources are costly, harm job creation, and make it difficult on families that are already struggling to pay the bills.
 
Robert Murray of Murray Energy cited Buckeye's "excellent" testimony to the Energy Mandates Study Committee from July 2015 in his own statement to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on December 8 in making the case against the energy mandates.
 
In his remarks, Murray included a compelling story from earlier this year, when he was forced to close his oldest mine and lay off hundreds of employees:
 
"One of these thirty (30) year employees, age 52, that I was forced to lay off, came into my office bawling. I could not get this big, burly, red-faced man out of my office. The renewable energy industries and our Federal leaders have no idea regarding the destruction that they have caused to the families of Ohioans who have only wanted to work in honor and dignity."
 
Buckeye's latest white paper, which uses a dynamic economic model to analyze precisely how the energy mandates affect the labor market, shows that these mandates Kasich supports actually reduce job growth. You can read more about the results in our lighter, more condensed Policy Brief.
 
And it is not just coal miner jobs that Ohio loses as a result of these mandates, although those are especially important--particularly for the struggling region of Appalachian Ohio that is desperate for jobs. Buckeye's "Power to the People" report analyzes why it is likely that large manufacturers, which make up almost one-fifth of Ohio's economy and use lots of electricity, are adversely impacted by the mandates and are also likely to reduce hiring.
 
Finally, Ohio's low-income families are hurt the most by rising utility bills because it leaves them with less disposable income to spend on things like groceries or books for their kids.
 
Given all of this evidence of the economic harm from energy mandates, it is unfortunate that politics got in the way of the right policy for Ohio.
 
The story is not over yet, however. The General Assembly could try to override Governor Kasich's veto with a supermajority of votes in both houses in order to make a positive difference for Ohio.  While we at Buckeye ultimately want an outright elimination of these burdensome energy mandates that are of dubious environmental value at best, the legislature's modest reform is better than nothing. Perhaps the best Christmas gift of all would be to trade in the lump of coal Kasich's veto of this legislation offered Ohioans and instead have jobs for coal miners as well as cheaper (and locally-produced) energy for Ohio families and businesses.
 
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BACKGROUND:  Founded in 1989, The Buckeye Institute is an independent research and educational institution--a think tank--whose mission is to advance free-market public policy in the states.

The Buckeye Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit, and tax-exempt organization, as defined by section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code.  As such, it relies on support from individuals, corporations, and foundations that share a commitment to individual liberty, free enterprise, personal responsibility, and limited government.  The Buckeye Institute does not seek or accept government funding.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Hiatus

Dear Readers,

Shall Every Knee Bow?  will be my last post for 2016, on Paradigms and Demographics.  I've projects I'm trying to work on and and can't seem to focus on them when I post on P&D.     See you after the first, and my very best wishes to you and your loved ones.

Rich K

Shall Every Knee Bow?

By Rich Kozlovich

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas it is presumed our thoughts turn to issues of faith, so for the last few years between Thanksgiving and Christmas I have published this article, and will continue to do so most years, with additions expanding on the logic and factual foundation.  RK

Recently I read an article where a science commentator stated - with great confidence - the Theory of Evolution was now bullet proof.  Really?  My personal motto is De Omnibus Dubitandum - Question Everything, and I think this is worth questioning.  So, let's do that together!

There was an article I came across entitled, “Many atheist scientists take their kids to church”! The article went on to say; “about one in five atheist scientists with children involve their families with religious institutions even if they do not agree with the teachings, according to a study done by Rice University and the University at Buffalo.” The article pointed out “The findings surrounding atheists shouldn't be too surprising, since the Pew Forum Religious Survey taken back in 2008 that showed 21 percent of self-described atheists responded that they believe in God.”

Does everyone really find this to be all that extraordinary? Anthropologists have noted that in every culture in the world, and in all of human history, religion has played an important role in people’s lives. There was one prominent atheist, Antony Flew, who claimed at the end of his life he was now a believer. Why? Is it true "there are no atheists in foxholes"? Of course the explanation was that he had lost his mind - yet even Albert Einstein, who was not a religious person in any sense and absolutely rejected the idea of a personal God, also rejected the idea of atheism.

For the believers among my readers the explanation is simple; we are designed to believe. For the unbelievers among my readers the explanation is simple also. There is no other logical explanation!

The other thing that triggered this effort was a political debate on television where the moderator asked the Republican candidate, running for some office or other, if he believed in the Theory of Evolution. The candidate looked foolish because he was obviously flustered by the question, which clearly was the moderator’s goal. The first thought from everyone should have been; why can’t any reasonably intelligent person answer this question intelligently? Yet many of those who profess to be believers would be equally flustered to provide a rational intellectual response in that situation. So let me help everyone! Here is the answer and the correct response.

“I wish to state categorically that I believe in the Theory of Evolution because that theory presents clear and incontrovertible scientific evidence there must be an Intelligent Designer!”

Wow! I’m willing to bet that’s a shocker for many – on either side of the aisle -so let’s explore this?

For years I’ve been saying; “everything is the basics”. What's that mean? It means in order to understand anything we must explore the foundational thinking of what it is we’re trying to understand. If the foundation is flawed, then the entire structure of thinking that it’s built on is a false premise, and will collapse under scrutiny from its own weight - that is if we wish to really see the truth. And that is the crux of the matter isn’t it?

Believing takes on many forms. For some it has to do with a higher power. For others it can take on the worship of oneself, for others it can take on the worship of some philosophy or other; but humanity has the desire to look to some higher explanation for existence, and human existence in particular. But one thing seems clear -‘believing’ is inherent to our genetic code. Otherwise how can anyone explain why so many have believed so much over so long a time of human history, and in so many different cultures?

Of course, the problem for the unbelievers among my readers with this explanation is that they would then have to explain how that genetic code was designed in that manner - or designed at all for that matter - if there is no higher power.

I do find it fascinating how some can believe that Intelligent Design is “a pig that won’t fly”! The design is so complicated that it defies explanation as to how infinitely small mutations over millions of years could bring us (and all else in the universe) to what now exists. Whether one disagrees or agrees with evolution, I question how anyone can say that there is no designer. Some feel that an intelligent designer used evolution. Some feel evolution is a mistake constantly making more mistakes and changing everything all the time all by accident. I wonder how anyone can explain how this can happen by accident and develop successful organisms since "geneticists estimate that 99 out of 100 mutations are harmful, and about 20 out of the 99 are lethal."

Then there are those who [chap. 14] state there is so much “statistical data that they were at last able to confirm what they had suspected all along: Mutations were not 99 percent harmful to the DNA and the organism; they were 100 percent harmful! It was discovered that in EVERY instance, mutations caused some kind of damage—always! Out of it all, the researchers learned that DNA coding in the genes simply will not tolerate much change. More than just the slightest amount will ruin the code and the organism will be greatly weakened.”

According to the Theory of Evolution life started when electricity, in some form such as lightening, charged some molecules existing in a chemical rich ocean soup and thus became cellular life.  Of course no one can explain where these mythical molecules came from or the chemical rich ocean.  In point of fact - there is absolutely no evidence that this ever occurred, and there is no evidence that it can occur since no one has been able to duplicate this mythical event in a lab - ever.

They've been able to get molecules to group together, but it isn’t life!  Especially since no one has ever been able to generate more than four of the twenty amino acids needed for life. These “cells” are all lacking in all the things that make life possible, including a DNA molecule which can’t form without a preexisting protein. Protein molecules are amazingly complex, and are absolutely necessary for life. Furthermore, in order for a cell to function it takes 2000 protein enzymes. If life started in the ocean in some chemical rich soup, through some accidental electrical discharge then how did that cell, or group of cells, survive long enough to replicate themselves? That's foundational!

Evolutionary thought would require millions of years of mutations before the next step to propagation would come into being. If that’s so - how did they replicate? If we are to believe what proponents of evolutionary theory claim, then we have to recognize that these mythical cells would have died within seconds, minutes or days, but they would have ceased to exist long before they could have reproduced. How do I know that?

Let's go back to the foundational question once again!

If life could only advance from active cells in the ocean in some chemical rich soup, which came into being as a result of some accidental electrical discharge; how did that cell, or group of cells, replicate themselves to become what we are all now through a series of mutations occurring over millions of years?

As we explore this we must realize there is a very serious crack in the foundation of their theory - and logic. When you think this out correctly the very foundation for the explanation propounded by scientists gets even more complicated and incomprehensible. If such an event really did take place, the first order of business would not be propagation - the first order of business would be survival!

Survival means that this mythical cell, or cells, would have already had an advanced biological system in place allowing them to recognize the need for nutrition. In order for any of this to occur the cells would have to be self aware to some extent, no matter to how small a degree, which in itself would require some sort of advanced design. Which leads to the next obvious question - “How does matter become conscious of itself?”

Then it would not only have to be able recognize the need for nutrition, it would also have to be able to recognize what was nutritional and what was not. These mythical cells would then need a system for absorption, i.e., some way to eat! That would then require a digestive system, which would require an internal biological mechanism allowing the organism to recognize and separate that which was nutritional from what would become waste during the absorption process. Then the cells would require an energy storage and utilization system, and the ability to recognize what was food, where it was and a form of locomotion to get to it - and finally - after all of that, this mythical organism would require a system for waste elimination.

Then and only then would propagation come into play!
 
That's a definition of a complex organism with advanced biological systems completely in tack and functioning together harmoniously from the very first second of it's existance. What organism could possibly survive long enough without these advanced fundamental functions that would allow it to live long enough to propagate?   But then we come to the next crack in the "science" and logic of Evolution:  How many millions of years of mutations would it take to allow for enough development to allow for propagation?  Millions of years and millions of small mutations, all of which would have to be beneficial mutations.  So what happened in those millions of years between origin and propagation? 

Does it seem rational this could possibly occur if it takes millions of years of tiny mutations to create a next step in the developmental process as scientists claim? And - once again - we are expected to believe this came about as an accident after an electrical discharge of some sort?

Okay, let’s say, for the sake of argument, it did happen - it still means the organism had to have some seriously advanced biological functions to survive past a very short time. If that’s the case, and it clearly must be, then doesn’t that imply planning and design? Doesn’t planning and design require intelligence? Do we really think these advanced systems could come into existence at once without some predetermined design?

Which brings me back to the beginning!

Evolutionally thought requires millions of years of mutations before any of these absolutely necessary biological systems would come into being before the organism could advance to the next step of propagation. So assuming these organism’s survived, we have to wonder how any organism could know which tiny mutations were beneficial, or even needed, over a million years or so, and decide to save them for a next step, which presumably was another accidentally mutation. The complexity of that kind of design would require some kind of organizational planning and implementation. With the rate of detrimental versus beneficial mutations it could not be accidental and still be beneficial!

Now let’s take a look at propagation!

Take a woman’s monthly cycle. It is amazingly complex! The right amount of chemicals, hormones and enzymes would have to come into play in exactly the right sequence of time in order to begin the cycle and finish the cycle. However, if a woman becomes pregnant during the cycle another whole set of chemical conditions would come into play. How could any organism know how to plan for two diametrically opposing end results?

Remembering that there are untold numbers of species in the world that have cycles unique unto themselves, that means that this would have to be done an incalculable number of times in an incalculable number of organisms and all be beneficial. One negative mutation would seemingly doom the organism. Yet, we are to believe that this happens through a series of positive accidents that would overcome all of these deadly accidents! Isn't that a form of belief, i.e. faith? It does seem to defy logic...or science as it were!

How would any organism know what chemicals to develop over millions of years? How did the organism know that hormones and enzymes were needed along with other chemicals? How would the organism know how to organize them? How did the organism know which chemicals would work harmoniously together and in conjunction with enzymes and hormones? How would these organisms know how to ‘create’ them? And finally, how did the organism know what end result would follow without some sort of plan?

However, even with a design - how could incredibly small mutations be of value during the whole process of millions of years? In point of fact, it seems reasonable that these mutations would hinder continued existence, not enhance it. But even if you accept the idea of small changes over millions of years the question still remains; how could all of that come into being without intelligence behind it?

How could so many complex systems come into being all at once without some sort of design and an application of the design? Wouldn’t the presumption be that these cells already had an amazingly complex chemical make-up that would create an end result? If so; doesn’t that imply planning and design? Doesn’t planning and design require intelligence? And if these events actually did happen, and cells came into existence with all these complicated biological systems in place; what would you call it? Creation?

Dennis Prager wrote an article on June 18, 2013 titled, “Why Some Scientists Embrace the'Multiverse'”, where-in he cites views held by prominent scientists regarding this universal complexity and just how fragile it is.

He quotes:
  • “Michael Turner, astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab: "The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side."
  • "The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge and would be total chaos if any of the natural 'constants' were off even slightly." Paul Davies, professor of theoretical physics at Adelaide University
  • Steven Weinberg, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, and an anti-religious agnostic, notes that "the existence of life of any kind seems to require a cancellation between different contributions to the vacuum energy, accurate to about 120 decimal places. This means that if the energies of the Big Bang were, in arbitrary units, not: 1 followed by 118 zeros…but instead: 1 followed by 118 zeros and a 1, there would be no life of any sort in the entire universe."
 
Dennis goes on to say: Unless one is a closed-minded atheist (there are open-minded atheists), it is not valid on a purely scientific basis to deny that the universe is improbably fine-tuned to create life, let alone intelligent life. Additionally, it is atheistic dogma, not science, to dismiss design as unscientific. The argument that science cannot suggest that intelligence comes from intelligence or design from an intelligent designer is simply a tautology. It is dogma masquerading as science.”

The universe is far more massive and complex than previously thought.  The observable universe boasts at least 10 times as many galaxies as originally estimated......This means that the cosmic census of galaxies, which has been conventionally pegged at around 100 to 200 billion, may be closer to a whopping two trillion individual galactic systems."....... “It boggles the mind that over 90 percent of the galaxies in the universe have yet to be studied". 

Are we to believe all that massive complexity is also an accident? 

I can understand anyone’s reason for not subscribing to any religious group. The sanguinary history of the world’s religions has not done much to inspire confidence over the course of human history. So I can understand someone being un-religious, and I can understand why someone would believe that there may be a higher power that doesn’t interfere in the lives of humanity. I can understand why people might not be sure and proclaim to be agnostic - although I consider that to be pragmatic atheism.

What I can’t understand is how anyone cannot believe that there must be a planner behind this phenomenally complex reality we call - existence! And that's why I say I believe in the Theory of Evolution because it scientifically proves that there must be an Intelligent Designer! A Creator!

I will leave it to you to decide for yourself if there is a benevolent God. But there must be a creator. That’s foundational!

That’s “the basics”!

 

Friday, December 23, 2016

P&D For December 23, 2016


Economics
Energy, Global Warming and Geopolitics
Election
EPA
Fourth Branch of Government
Retirement
Islam
Media
Unions

Wonderful Things Happen When the Private Sector Has Breathing Room to Function

December 22, 2016 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

In the spirit of the Christmas season, I’m going to be uncharacteristically happy and upbeat today by pointing out that we don’t need perfection to have more prosperity. We don’t even need very good policy to enjoy growth.

All that’s really necessary is adequate policy. Just allow the private sector a bit of freedom (I’ve referred to this as giving the economy breathing room) and living standards will improve.

 
We should still strive for perfection, of course, and at least hope for good or very good policy. After all, there’s a big difference in the long run between an economy that grows 5 percent per year versus an economy that grows 3 percent annually, just as there is a big difference over time between an economy 3 percent each year compared to one that grows 1 percent annually.
 
But my main point is that lives all over the world have dramatically improved over time because, on average, we’ve had decent-enough policy.

Just consider the United States. We’ve never been a laissez-faire paradise. But there’s been enough economic freedom that, over time, we’ve enjoyed amazing improvements in living standards.

And the same is true for the world.

I’ve previously shared powerful videos from Deirdre McCloskey and Don Boudreaux that show the world has become much richer over time, and my colleague Marian Tupy has a website, Human Progress, that provides a wealth of data (including a calculator that allows you to see how things have improved since the year you were born).

Today, I want to share some very upbeat data from Our World in Data. Here’s Max Roser’s cheerful assessment of how life has gotten better over the past 200 years.



The reduction is extreme poverty is probably the most important chart, and presumably helps to drive the big improvements in other factors such as literacy, education, and child mortality.

And what’s driven the drop in extreme poverty, I would argue, is economic liberty. Not the full explanation, to be sure, but people all over the world generally have more freedom than ever before to engage in voluntary exchange.

Yes, the state’s footprint is still far too large. Yes, all nations could grow faster with better policy. But let’s be happy about the fact that even weak growth, over time, can make a meaningful difference in the lives of ordinary people. So cheer up.

P.S. I can’t resist adding a depressing footnote. The traditional cost of bad policy is weak growth, which means living standards increase at a much slower pace. But there’s something else happening in the world that we have to add to the mix. The global change in demographics, combined with the tax-and-transfer welfare states that exist in most nations, are a very dangerous recipe. My fear is that we may move from a world where the “traditional cost” of “weak growth” may be replaced by a world with a “new cost” of “macro instability.” In other words, in the absence of reform, more and more countries are going to face Greek-style fiscal and economic chaos. Moreover, the magnitude of the mess will be so large that the International Monetary Fund and other entities won’t be able to provide bailouts (which is how Greece is being propped up).

Association of Pension Funds Blacklists Reform Organizations

By On December 20, 2016 · 4 Comments 
 
In a press release from the National Conference On Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) dated December 19, 2016, the California Policy Center, and its spinoff online publication, UnionWatch, were both chosen, for the 2nd year in a row, as one of only 28 “policy and research organizations” that NCPERS has deemed to be “Think Tanks that Undercut […]
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Backlash Against Merkel Grows

December 22, 2016 at 11:35 am 0

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is endangering her citizens with open borders and lax immigration system in a time of terror, with the Islamic State openly encouraging “soldiers of the caliphate” to exploit porous refugee flows and slaughter infidels......Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton............ told me yesterday:
“Chancellor Merkel’s unilateral decision to admit 800,000 Syrian refugees without any vetting whatever could be pivotal in next year’s German election. The tragedy in Berlin only underlines the unease many Germans — and many other Europeans — feel that they have lost control of their borders. "
There is no way that German officials can vet the 800,000-plus refugees they have permitted into their country. And even if a refugee produces a documentation or a passport it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been stolen, doctored or outright fabricated — ISIS has a demonstrated track record of forging passports.........It’s not racist or politically incorrect to want to walk down one’s city street without bombs going off. Or to shop at a Christmas market without trucks mauling shoppers. Donald Trump and his supporters get this. Lefty, politically correct globalists do not......To Read More......

The Fake Hijab Hate Crimes Witch Hunt

Posted by Daniel Greenfield 8 Comments

They struck at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Two white males ran out of a car, tore off her hijab, hit her and stole her wallet. One of these mysterious muggers was wearing a Trump hat.

The president of the Muslim Students Association claimed that the attack had rattled the campus. The ACLU was “outraged” and was as eager as the “victim” to connect the attack to Trump. It was even more outraged that the imaginary attackers had, “shouted slurs and wore Donald Trump clothing.”

It was only hours after the election and the media eagerly jumped on the story. But the 18-year-old Middle Eastern student had made it all up and police charged her with filing a false report.

A month later they stuck again. Yasmin Seweid, an 18-year-old Baruch College student in New York City, claimed that “three white racists” tried to tear off her hijab, shouted Trump’s name, along with, "Look it's a fucking terrorist", "go back to your country" and "take that rag off your head".

“The president-elect just promotes this stuff and is very anti-Muslim, very Islamophobic, and he’s just condoning it,” she whined. CAIR got into the game. A hate crimes investigation was launched.

And the NYPD found that she had made it all up. Yasmin now faces charges for her deception. But her lies potentially endangered the “brown-eyed and brown-haired” man whom police had begun to suspect. A man who might have been arrested and charged for a crime that never happened. What caused two 18-year-old Muslim women 1,400 miles apart to invent the same very specific attack?

On yet another November, a year before the nameless Muslim in Louisiana faked her hate crime, an 18-year-old Muslim woman in the UK claimed that she had been assaulted because of her hijab. The supposed victim, a Miss Choudhury, turned out to be a liar and was fined for wasting police time.

Despite their geographical separation the three cases have a great deal in common. All three of the perpetrators were 18-year-old Muslim women. All associated the fake attacks with their wearing of the hijab. And their lies were calculated to exploit recent events, the Muslim terror attacks in Paris and Trump’s election, which the media had played up as being traumatic to Muslims.

The rash of hijab attacks after Trump’s election was an especially extraordinary phenomenon.

At nearly the same time as the Louisiana Muslim hoax, a Muslim student at San Diego State University claimed that her attackers ripped off her hijab and invoked the dreaded name of Trump before stealing her purse and backpack. Like the UK hoaxer, one of her attackers was wearing a gray hoodie. The perps, a white and Latino man, who love Trump and hate Muslims, have apparently yet to be found.

Meanwhile at the University of New Mexico, a Muslim freshman, likely the same age as the other claimants, charged that a man in a Trump shirt had tried to tear off her hijab and accused her of being a terrorist. She insisted however that she did not want him to be charged for his attack and UNM’s Office of Equal Opportunity refused to confirm or deny the existence of the case.

Some versions of the post-Trump hijab attack escalated the real or threatened violence.

A day or so later, a University of Michigan student claimed that she was forced to remove her hijab by a drunk white man who threatened to set her on fire. Police determined that it was a hoax.

Nasro Hassan, an 18-year-old Muslim student at the University of Washington, claimed that a man in a black hoodie attacked her with a bottle likely because of her hijab. Esra Altun, a 19-year-old Muslim student at San Jose State University, claimed that she was choked with her hijab a day after Trump's win. Her alleged attacker was a "fair-skinned male" wearing a "dark-colored hoodie".

The attack was initially reported to have happened on Election Day, but Altun insisted that it really took place on the next day after Trump had officially won. “It is a weird coincidence that it happened after Donald Trump was elected.” Like so many of these cases, it was important to link the attack to Trump.

It certainly is a weird coincidence that a rash of these attacks by white men on Muslim women happened right then. Or that these attackers, when they aren’t wearing Trump hats and shirts on college campuses where that alone is nearly enough to trigger a hate crime investigation, favor the hoodie.

The stories follow a similar pattern. A burst of media coverage, a campus rally by activists from the local Muslim Students Association, followed by a fearful condemnation from the university president.

But then the stories die down and fade away. There is no big climax. Just dead air.

The women at the center of these stories are college freshmen and sophomores getting their first taste of campus life. They are away from their families, perhaps for the first time in their lives, in a different environment and tempted to relax their religiosity. And then the hijab-haters strike allowing them to show off their religiosity, to impress their families, and their victimhood, to wow their progressive peers. They often tell their stories on social media and urge their friends to pass their tales along.

“Trump America is real and I witnessed it first hand last night!” Yasmin Seweid, the woman at the center of the latest hijab hoax, posted on Facebook. “I want to show people this is real,” the University of Mexico Muslim claimed. There are loud assertions of Muslim patriotism and condemnations of hate.

But what is the truth?

Did a coordinated gang of Trump marauders suddenly assail a single Muslim woman one campus at a time across the country? Or was there an outbreak of hysteria fed by Islamist agendas and media noise?

It is curious that so many of the incidents occurred on campuses, where many Muslim teenagers dip their toes into political activism for the first time, and that so many of the supposed victims are teenagers who haven’t even reached their twenties. Are there really gangs of Trump supporters targeting 18-year old Muslim women on college campuses? Or is something else going on.

In Salem, the popular wisdom that witchcraft was a threat opened the door for teenage girls to offer up hysterical accusations. The accusations led to a mass hysteria of other accusers, collective panic and political persecution. Similar “witch hunts” have haunted us before. The Islamophobia witch hunt is only the latest manifestation of an obsession with an imaginary crisis exploding into mass hysteria.

There is no way to know which of the unsolved cases is true. But mass hysteria is the dangerous symptom of a deeper conflict. And those who promote it ought to contemplate the consequences.

The obsession with an imaginary Islamophobia crisis has been called a witch hunt before. But the hijab hate crimes hysteria eerily resembles the mass hysteria of Salem with teenage girls, some of whom like Yasmin are clearly emotionally unstable, coming forward to tell fantastic psychosexual stories of being attacked for their hijabs by Trump supporters, and then being lavished with attention and praise.

The tales of roving Trump gangs tearing off the hijabs of Muslim teenage girls caters to the parochial xenophobia of Muslims convinced that their daughters are at risk of being dishonored by Americans, to the Islamist agendas of CAIR and the MSA who use victimhood to build a political empire of theocracy, and to the media which is desperate to attribute racist violence to Trump any way that it can.

The hijab witch hunts are as twisted as anything in Salem. And just as malignant and dangerous.

 

The Trump Nail in the Media Coffin

President-elect Donald Trump probably will not often communicate with the nation via traditional press conferences. Nor will Trump likely field many questions from New York/Washington journalists.   What we know as "the media" never imagined a Trump victory. It has become unhinged at the reality of a Trump presidency.   No wonder the fading establishment media is now distrusted by a majority of the public, according to Gallup -- and becoming irrelevant even among progressives.

Once upon a time in the 1960s, all the iconic news anchors, from Walter Cronkite to David Brinkley, were liberal. But they at least hid their inherent biases behind a professional veneer that allowed them to filter stories through left-wing lenses without much pushback.........All of those assumptions are no longer true. News outlets such as The New York Times and NBC have no more credibility than most websites or the National Enquirer.  Is it any surprise that we are witnessing the funeral for traditional journalism as we once knew it?......To Read More.....





Ohio Democrats Meet to Gripe and Complain about Presidential Loss

December 21, 2016 at 11:55 am 47

 

A lack of messaging and yard signs contributed to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in Ohio, local Democrats said in a gripe session with the state Democratic chairman Monday night.
State Chairman David Pepper led the discussion involving about 70 people from Lucas County and surrounding counties at Lucas County headquarters, 1917 Madison Ave.

“There was no message. There were so many issues in the Democratic Party that were not addressed,” said Sam Golden, of Toledo. “The Democrats cannot articulate what’s going on in this country.”

Others said Republican Donald Trump stole the issue of good working-class jobs from the Democrats, promising to bring jobs back to the United States......To Read More....

My Take - Hmmmmm, I wonder if Kasich was there?

Imperious progressives: Shameless sore losers


There’s very little that epitomizes the subversive deportment of powerful progressives – as well as their elitist, narcissistic perspective – more than Barack Hussein Obama’s description of the Electoral College as “a vestige” and “a carryover from an earlier vision of how our federal government was going to work.”

This sage wisdom came in support of a campaign that was on at the time to convince Republican electors to disregard the outcome of our recent general election and deny Donald Trump the presidency when they cast their official ballots.  Also last week, a host of Hollywood celebrities, no doubt at the behest of losing Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton and the White House, voiced their support for the move to confound the Electoral College certification via a truly embarrassing public service announcement........Read more

E-mails expose EPA’s corrupt process for selecting science adviser

By Steve Milloy @ JunkScience.com

Last October, the EPA selected Donna Kenski to fill an open slot on its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC).

We just received 450 pages of e-mails from the EPA via the Freedom of Information Act covering Kenski’s selection.

They illustrate the need to #DrainTheSwamp.

JunkScience first reported last October on the EPA’s dubious process for selecting Kenski.

The The 450 pages of e-mails basically include the nominations for the open CASAC slot, miscellaneous questions/answers about the process, recommendations for nominees, and the final selection and acceptance of Kenski.

As reported in October, EPA received 83 recommendations for the relatively short list of nominees. While Michael Honeycutt, Director of the Toxicology Division of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, received 60 of the recommendations Kenski only received one — or rather part of one. And here it is (note highlighted text).
screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-11-56-32-am
So Kenski was recommended as a “good choice” amid three other “good choices.” The recommendation came from a Bachelor’s-degreed Vermont state official, Rich Poirot, who is affiliated with the EPA Science Advisory Board as a consultant on air quality and climate. Nothing too special about Poirot or his recommendation of Kenski.
In contrast, just some of Honeycutt’s recommendations include:
  • Scott Thompson, Executive Director, Oklahoma Dept. of Environmental Quality: Honeycutt is ‘a respected toxicologust and risk assessor with a wide breadth of experience in both environmental science and public policy.’
  • Ciriaco Valdez-Flores, PhD, PE, Processor, Texas A&M University: ‘Dr. Honeycutt has always worked in the interest of human health.’
  • Ivan Rusyn, MD, PhD, Professor, Texas A&M University: ‘I highly recommend that Dr. Honeycutt be appointed to CASAC… I have an utmost respect for Dr. Honeycutt even when I have disagreed with him on several occasions.’
  • Todd Anderson, PhD, Texas Tech University: Dr. Honeycutt ‘is an effective and level headed decision-maker who is able to balance scientific issues with economic and social concerns.’
  • Lucy Frasier, PhD, DABT, Principal, Zephyr Environmental Corporation: ‘I do not know of any state agency representative that is able to better provide unbiased strategic advice to the EPA.’
  • Seyed Sadredin, Executive Director, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District: Dr. Honeycutt ‘is well-versed in the literature dealing with the health effects of air pollution and has a proven record of applying risk assessment principles to regulatory decisions that are health protective yet economically and technially feasible.’
There are many more — 54 to be exact — expressing similar sentiments about Honeycutt from knowledgable people.

And while no commenter spoke ill of Dr. Honeycutt, the same cannot be said for Kenski.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) pointed out that Kenski is not impartial. In 2008, Kenski participated in a letter ridiculing then-EPA administrator Stephen Johnson for not following CASAC’s recommendation for the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone. This action was partisan and overstepped the statutory authority of CASAC.

Nevertheless on October 7, 2016, the following e-mail was sent to Kenski:
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This is the original Freedom of Information Act Request submitted to EPA by JunkScience:
I am requesting all the EPA staff e-mail (incoming and outgoing) and documents relating to the nomination and selection of Donna Kenski to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. E-mails and documents should include all those that mention/discuss any of the nominees. The period for this request is April 4, 2016 through October 7, 2016.
Despite the request for all e-mails/docuemnts, EPA provided nothing indicating any deliberative process for the nominees occurred at all — not even redacted documents. It’s hard to believe there is not more of a paper trail.

So EPA clearly withheld relevant documents/emails improperly. This failure supports the notion that its selection process is a rigged system. In any event, it is time to #DrainTheSwamp.

Federal Permits Will Allow Wind Farms to Kill More Bald Eagles

By Barbara Hollingsworth | December 21, 2016 | 12:45 PM EST

New 30-year permits that will be issued next month by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) will quadruple the number of bald eagles that wind farms will collectively be allowed to kill per year and avoid prosecution under the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Under the new $36,000 “incidental take permits” - which are to be reviewed every five years by an independent third party – the number of bald eagles that can be killed by permit holders will increase from 1,100 currently allowed under 2009 regulations to 4,200 when the Final Rule goes into effect on Jan. 17, 2017, according to the Associated Press.

 “The Service’s emphasis on eagle incidental take permits for wind facilities reflects [Obama] Administration priorities for expanded wind energy development and a desire to minimize the impacts of that growth on eagles,” FWS noted. “It does not reflect a belief that wind development poses a disproportionate risk compared to other activities that may incidentally take eagles.”......To Read More......


 


Peter Zeihan on Geopolitics: Gasoline on the Trade War Fire



Gasoline on the Trade War Fire


Something happened yesterday with the Trump transition that worried me. By “worry” I mean it is great for me personally, but as I’m a bit of a purveyor of doom and gloom, everyone else should perhaps be a bit concerned.

It is probably not what most of you are thinking.

Many assert that Trump’s push for a deep bench of billionaires in his cabinet is generating the most serious conflicts of interest in modern history. (I find it adorable that some folks think self-interest is new to Washington.) Just look at it in context. Obama’s first cabinet had a combined 122 years in government experience and only five in the private sector. Un-shockingly, the Obama administration proved rather inept when it came to having conversations with people, while proving a champ at enacting regulations. Trump is simply the inverse. We’ve had a change in rulership, which will mean a change in policy and a change in approach. No biggie from my point of view.

No, I’m more concerned about something that was almost glossed over. President-elect Donald Trump announced Peter Navarro, a professor at the University of California (Irvine), would be in charge of trade policy. Specifically Navarro will run a new office called the National Trade Council.

Now I don’t have major concerns about Navarro in general. To put him in what I hope is not an unfair nutshell, Navarro is an anti-China agitator whose most notable book is “Death by China.” He advocates, among other things, a broad-scale economic, strategic, and political confrontation to sever exploitive economic exposure to China completely and, if need be, forcibly break the entire Chinese political and economic system. (Like I said, doom and gloom = good for Peter.)

My concern isn’t so much about his views as his likely style.
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Putting an academic in a policy position bears risks. Unlike bureaucrats, they don’t know how systems work. Unlike military officers, they think “chain of command” simply means everyone does what they say. Unlike business people, they have no practical experience in making decisions or compromises or making things happen with limited resources. What sounds great in the classroom sometimes shatters upon contact with hard realities, and it is far from unheard of for academics to then look for what’s wrong with the world rather than reevaluate their theories. As such academics’ record in government service is unsurprisingly patchy. A couple of examples:

Robert McNamara brought in a bunch of quantitative analysis professors to put numbers into the planning of the Vietnam war. The idea was to be able to have metrics for assessing how pacification was progressing, and how hearts and minds could be won. Unfortunately, the methods of the “whiz kids” couldn’t be reconciled with the facts in the jungle, and the profs were unwilling to admit that their formulas were unworkable. The war ended up being far more brutal and bloodier than it needed to be.

More recently, President Barack Obama put Stanford professor Michael McFaul in charge of Russia policy. McFaul's views of Russian society and governance offended everyone in the Kremlin with breathtaking efficiency, effectively walling off the entire American diplomatic apparatus from Russia.  The result was the fastest, deepest slide in any two countries’ relations in recent history that did not end in war, contributing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Russia’s participation in the Syria war. Geopolitics may all but dictate Russia’s efforts, but (bad) diplomacy certainly sets the course and timing. Reset indeed.

My goal here isn’t to crap on academics. Lord knows I know plenty of academics who are utterly essential to many in and out of government, myself included. I’m simply pointing out that the culture of academia often does not necessarily mesh well with the culture of governance … and we now have a vehemently anti-China academic overseeing America’s primary interface with the rest of the global system. Combine that with
Trump’s statements on Taiwan and I think it is pretty clear that a broad-scale competition with the Chinese is now not just baked into the system, but that on the American side it will be incredibly visceral, aggressive and fueled by personal vitriol. And thats before one considers the President-elect’s personality. Things are about to get decidedly lively (again, good for Peter).

If I’m right on this, an uber tradewar with the Chinese is just around the corner. I’ve dealt with many of the likely futures for China in previous newsletters and in The Accidental Superpower so I’ll just hit the highlights here and spend most of my typing on follow-on effects:
  • China faces an internal political crisis. Southern China is far more economically viable than the rest of China, far more exposed to foreign trade, and far more culturally willing to work with foreigners. The portions of China that will suffer the most also are the most likely to not look to Beijing for leadership. Traditionally, secession threats are a very big deal in China. They are about to be once again.
  • Foreign investors in China -- especially U.S. investors or investors in interior China -- stand to lose everything. The rough translation of “joint venture” in Mandarin is “you pay for everything and we’ll steal all your tech.” Anyone who still has any trade secrets left is about to lose them all, and the Chinese will confiscate your entire physical plant in the name of national security. Time to work on those exit contingencies and shareholder explanations. Might want to start with plans for any key employees of Chinese ethnicity as Beijing doesn’t consider foreign citizenship a barrier to arrest on charges of sedition.
  • Northeast Asia faces massive upsets. Fully half of the world’s manufacturing supply chain steps are in the region, with most of those dependent upon Chinese links. Any meaningful Chinese-American trade conflict breaks many (if not most) of them. The country likely to get the worst of it is Taiwan, since the country’s companies are on the small side (most sell into a single supply chain) and the local market is but 23 million people.
  • The inverse is true for North America’s I35 corridor -- in particular from Mexico City to Oklahoma City -- which is the piece of the world most likely to pick up manufacturing capacity that will need to relocate. Easy regulation, the large Texas population, good infrastructure, cheap land, underpriced but high-skilled labor, and cheap and reliable energy all add up to short- and long-term manufacturing booms. (Navarro is not known to have particularly blistering opinions on Mexico.)
  • The biggest loser beyond the immediate region likely will be Australia. The Aussies have bet the farm on the Chinese industrialization process and their raw materials exports will flatly collapse. This is hardly the end of Australia, but their golden generation of economic growth is about to go into screeching reverse -- and they have a lot of fat to cut.
  • The oil exporters of the Persian Gulf are also about to get hit hard. Anything that crimps Northeast Asian economic activity is going to prove crushing to them, since Northeast Asia takes more than half of the Persian Gulf’s collective oil exports.
  • It is unthinkable that the Americans will take the Chinese to task in a spat of statism, protectionism, and populism; and the far more statist, protectionist, and populist Europeans will not pile on. Expect France and Italy to lead the charge for broad-scale European trade sanctions on China.
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