America • Big Media • China • Congress • Democrats • Donald Trump • Economy • Energy • Environment • Post • The Culture • The Media • Trade

Actually, 2018 Was a Pretty Good Year

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The year 2018 will be deplored by pundits as a bad year of more unpredictable Donald Trump, headlined by wild stock market gyrations, the melodramas of the Robert Mueller investigation, and the musical-chair tenures of officials in the Trump Administration.

The government is still shut down. Talk of impeachment by the newly Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is in the air. Seemingly every day there are sensational breakthroughs, scandals, and bombshells that race through social media and the Internet—only to be forgotten by the next day.

In truth, aside from the Washington hysterias, 2018 was a most successful year for Americans.

In December, the United States reached a staggering level of oil production, pumping some 11.6 million barrels per day. For the first time since 1973, America is now the world’s largest oil producer

Since Trump took office, the United States has increased its oil production by nearly 3 million barrels per day, largely as the result of fewer regulations, more federal leasing, and the continuing brilliance of American frackers and horizontal drillers.

It appears that there is still far more oil beneath U.S. soil than has ever been taken out. American production could even soar higher in the months ahead.

In addition, the United States remains the largest producer of natural gas and the second-greatest producer of coal. The scary old energy-related phraseology of the last half-century—”energy crisis,” “peak oil,” “oil embargo”—no longer exists.

Near-total energy self-sufficiency means the United States is no longer strategically leveraged by the Middle East, forced to pay exorbitant political prices to guarantee access to imported oil, or threatened by gasoline prices of $4 to $5 a gallon.

The American economy grew by 4.2 percent in the second quarter of 2018, and by 3.4 percent in the third quarter. American GDP is nearly $1.7 trillion larger than in January 2017, and nearly $8 trillion larger than the GDP of China. For all the talk of the Chinese juggernaut, three Chinese workers produce about 60 percent of the goods and services produced by one American worker.

In 2018, unemployment fell to a near-record peacetime low of 3.7 percent. That’s the lowest U.S. unemployment rate since 1969. Black unemployment hit an all-time low in 2018. For the first time in memory, employers are seeking out entry-level workers rather than vice versa.

The poverty rate is also near a historic low, and household income increased. There are about 8 million fewer Americans living below the poverty line than there were eight years ago. Since January 2017, more than 3 million Americans have gone off so-called food stamps.

Abroad, lots of bad things that were supposed to happen simply did not.

After withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, the United States exceeded the annual percentage of carbon reductions of most countries that are part of the agreement.

North Korea and the United States did not go to war. Instead, North Korea has stopped its provocative nuclear testing and its launching of ballistic missiles over the territory of its neighbors.

Despite all the Trump bluster, NATO and NAFTA did not quite implode. Rather, allies and partners agreed to renegotiate past commitments and agreements on terms more favorable to the U.S.

The United States—and increasingly most of the world—is at last addressing the systematic commercial cheating, technological appropriation, overt espionage, intellectual-property theft, cyber intrusions, and mercantilism of the Chinese government.

The Middle East is still chaotic, but it is a mess that is now far less important to us for a variety of reasons. Energy-wise, America is not dependent on oil imports from corrupt Gulf monarchies or hostile Islamic states. Strategy-wise, the new fault lines are not Arab and Islamic cultures versus Israel or the United States. Instead, it is internecine strife within the Islamic world, mostly with Iran and its Shiite satellites opposing the Sunni Arab monarchies and more moderate Middle Eastern regimes.

For all the pro- and anti-Trump invective and media hysteria, the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation circus, and the bitter midterm elections, the United States was relatively calm in 2018 compared with the rest of the world. There was none of the mass rioting, demonstrations and street violence that occurred recently in France, and none of the existential and unsolvable divides over globalization and Brexit that we saw in Europe

Europe’s three most powerful leaders—Angela Merkel of Germany, Emmanuel Macron of France, and Theresa May of the United Kingdom—have worse approval ratings than the embattled Donald Trump.

In sum, the more media pundits claimed that America was on the brink of disaster in 2018, the more Americans became prosperous and secure.

(C) 2019 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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Energy • Environment • Post • The Left

The Great Green Wave Hits the American Petri Dish

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The Great Green Wave is cresting again. In October, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a terrifying special report predicting widespread and imminent climate catastrophe. In November, legacy bureaucrats at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an equally terrifying “Fourth National Climate Assessment.” In both cases, news reports in establishment media included the usual cataclysmic images; starving children, dying cattle with their ribs poking through their emaciated flesh, monstrous masses of ice cascading into the ocean, and raging wildfire infernos.

Needless to say, none of these media reports bothered to explore for possible examples of exaggerated findings, or selective use of data, or political bias, much less any hidden agendas at work. In terms of providing more moderate interpretations of the data, notwithstanding the dismissive coverage of the Trump Administration’s skeptical reaction, consumers of establishment media got nothing. The BBC has now gone so far as to ban any coverage of climate skepticism; the major search engines and social media merely relegate it to the algorithmic backwaters.

Worse, however, is the establishment media’s complete inability to fathom—and report—just how utterly impossible it is to accomplish the goals supposedly required if we are to avoid climate catastrophe. One economic estimate—outlandish but at least as credible as the temperature forecasts—puts the cost of the U.N.’s climate recommendations at over $100 trillion for a reduction of 0.5 degrees centigrade.

But the experts who craft these alarming reports and temperature forecasts aren’t stupid. So what are they really up to?

Economic Development and Governance in the 21st Century
Anyone who hopes to see all the nations of the world achieve the good life enjoyed by developed nations will not have to dig very deep to recognize how hard it’s going to be to meet that challenge. Economic development requires access to affordable energy. And if everyone in the world consumed just half as much energy as the average citizen in the U.S. consumes, worldwide energy production would have to double. This is an undertaking fraught with danger. What kind of energy? Where?

It is easy to imagine dozens of epic disasters as the nations of the world rush headlong towards producing twice as much energy. Toxic air in Beijing. Oil-soaked death zones in the Niger Delta. Deforestation of thousands of square miles of Indonesian rainforest to grow palms to harvest the diesel oil. Wind turbine blades slicing endangered raptors out of the skies, while on the ground their low frequency sound drives humans mad. A generation of children enslaved and slowly poisoned, as they grub their way through filthy open pit mines looking for veins of cobalt in the rocks. Mountains removed to extract the coal. Fukushima. Deepwater Horizon. Three Gorges. Shall we double the size of this growing list? And yet we have to.

Less imaginable at first glance, but equally dystopian, are efforts rolling out especially in the developed nations to conserve energy. In every primary category of resource consumption, access to affordable abundance—which used to be a defining characteristic of a developed nation—is disappearing. But how can this relentless quest for efficiency be in dispute? Shall Americans continue to consume nearly 20 times as much energy per capita as Africans? Shall we quadruple or quintuple energy production worldwide, instead of merely doubling it, so that everyone can live more like Americans, and so Americans don’t have to sacrifice anything?

This is the charitable explanation for what’s going on. Many of the smartest climate activists know of the fundamental uncertainty in the climate theories they parrot to the masses. For them, climate alarmism is the Noble Lie. It is the best way to scare nations into cleaning up their ecosystems, developing cleaner sources of new energy, and to adopt technologies to more efficiently exploit scarce resources.

The Green New Deal
No analysis of climate alarmism, however, would be complete without the uncharitable explanation for its strength and momentum.

One honest presentation of the broader leftist agenda behind climate alarmism would be the Green New Deal, a product of the U.S. Green Party. Among other things, this sweeping political platform relies on a carbon tax to eliminate unemployment by guaranteeing government jobs to anyone, and going to “100% clean energy by 2030.”

While America’s far-left Green party may have come up with the idea of a Green New Deal, the Democrats are running with it. Led by the far-Left media darling, incoming congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and encouraged by returning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), what is certain to generate excitement is the carbon tax. But what will fund all of these government jobs and investment in renewables after 2030, when use of fossil fuel will supposedly be eliminated?

The prospect of increasing taxes in the name of environmental protection is nothing new. But the notion that energy production on the planet can double without significant reliance on fossil fuel is ludicrous. There’s nothing wrong with developing cost-effective renewable alternatives to fossil fuel. There’s nothing wrong with adopting innovations that enable more efficient energy use. But why is it being taken to an extreme? Why are the establishment elites encouraging draconian restrictions on resource production and consumption of all sorts—energy, water, land—in a nation like the United States, where there are ample reserves of all three?

Put simply, how does one explain the paradox whereby the most successful capitalists in the history of the world are promoting what appears to be socialism, complete with rationing and redistribution?

One way to make sense out of this is to imagine Western elites—wealthy individuals, multinational corporations and international investors—as engaging in capitalism on a global scale, while at the same time promoting socialism for the populations under them. Whether or not this socialism is desirable depends on individual expectations. If one is accustomed to working and earning a middle class lifestyle in a developed nation, socialism imposes a crippling burden of high taxes and a high cost-of-living. If one is a destitute immigrant who has recently arrived from a nation where political violence, extreme poverty, and rampant corruption are a way of life, socialism in a developed nation is paradise.

The New American Experiment
The Great Green Wave that’s back at the top of the leftist agenda is part of a larger movement to transform America.

The Green New Deal, complete with carbon taxes and a “wealth tax” on fossil-fuel corporations, as a way to deliver guaranteed jobs and other redistributionist benefits, can be sold to voters by joining together several grassroots factions. Leftists, socialists, thoroughly indoctrinated environmentalist zealots, along with millions of immigrants, are all likely to support the Green New Deal.

The power of this new coalition, despite 50 years of nurturing, is only now poised to become the dominant voting coalition in America. A generation of indoctrinated K-12 students have now reached voting age, having spent their entire childhood enduring ghastly accounts of the earth being destroyed by profit mongering oil companies. Two generations of immigrants, most of them lacking advanced job skills and coming from dirt-poor nations, are also now voting by the millions. These cohorts are joining traditional liberals and turning battleground states blue, one at a time.

The burdens of green socialism will fall onto the shoulders of an American middle class that already faces extinction. American taxpayers already support a military that provides security and the rule of law in nearly every corner of the world. American consumers already pay inflated prices for prescription drugs, in order to fund pharmaceutical research and development that translates into these same drugs being profitably sold at a fraction of that price in the rest of the world. The American middle class subsidizes an overbuilt financial sector, a grossly overpriced system of higher education, and a grossly overpriced unionized public sector. Now, they will pay more for every resource—gas, electricity, water, housing, land—in order to stop climate change.

The opportunities presented by taxing and regulating carbon dioxide in all of its direct and indirect forms of utilization might actually mitigate its sheer oppressiveness. But this money isn’t going to be used to create abundance. It isn’t going to be used to build nuclear power plants all over the world to deliver cheap electricity. It isn’t going to be used for dams, aqueducts, and desalination plants, to refill Lake Chad and the Aral Sea, or to irrigate the Sahel and the Deccan Plateau.

No, it’s going to be used to monitor and micromanage the energy and resource consumption of every individual on earth, expressly starting with what will be an increasingly restive multicultural American populace. And what works in the American petri dish will be rolled out around the world.

From the enabling high-tech multinationals, to compliant mega-corporations in the anointed industries, to international financial firms and wealthy global investors, the Green New Deal and its equivalent across other Western nations will be a gold mine. Meanwhile, grassroots beneficiaries will include public sector workers, transnational bureaucrats, the lucky few who work in the correct industries, and those who had nothing before immigrating to the West. The American middle class—exploited, villainized and voiceless— will descend to the global mean.

What Is Worth Fighting For?
Two questions are worth fighting over. First, is the radical curtailment of fossil fuels really the proper course of action?

What if fossil fuels were cleaned up, so, for example, you could breathe healthy air again in Beijing, but not banned? What if the private sector were simply allowed to develop big new infrastructure around the world, sometimes in partnership with governments, sometimes on their own? What if desalination, water reuse and potable recycling, and other new water infrastructure delivered water abundance, all over the world? What if these supposedly forbidden projects were the best way, and maybe the only way, for human civilization to adapt to climate change by creating wealth and freedom?

Second—and more pertinent, since social cohesion is a prerequisite for having sufficient wealth to even consider how to direct it—to what degree do Americans and other citizens of Western nations deserve to have a higher standard of living than people in the developing world?

To hear the leftist argument, they have no right to a better standard of living, and in fact they should do nothing but atone for the misery they’ve inflicted on the world throughout the centuries. But is this accurate? Is this fair? Isn’t environmentalism a product of Western culture, along with republican democracy, capitalist innovation, nearly all advances in technology, and Christian values of charity and tolerance? Should Americans sacrifice their privileges, if they’ve earned them? Cede their national identity? Become hated strangers in their own land?

Here then, is where an uncharitable explanation for the Great Green Wave is called for.

Why aren’t environmentalists focusing on saving the oceans from overfishing, or wildlife in Africa from poachers, or forests in Indonesia from biofuel plantations? Why aren’t they replanting the mangrove forests that used to protect tropical coasts from storm surges? These are existential threats that are based on facts, not theories that are most definitely not beyond serious debate. Why is climate the prevailing yet futile obsession of our time, if not to thwart the aspirations of emerging nations and the mobility of aspiring individuals? Why shouldn’t we use private sector wealth to invest around the world in practical, cost effective, clean energy solutions including fossil fuel, and accelerate the ascendance of all nations into greater freedom and prosperity?

Why?

The reason is power and profit, justified by comforting and virtuous sounding rhetoric. Sold by international elites to whom all that power and profit will accrue, supported by a voting coalition stacked with the duped, the fanatical, the frightened, and the resentful, and swung to ballot victory by manipulable foreign imports.

Photo Credit: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

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Energy • Environment • EU • Europe • Post

Je Suis, Gilet Jaune

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Good intentions are expensive. But seldom is the bill footed by the well-intentioned.

I forked out $1,100 this week to an auto-mechanic to fix a “problem” non-existent just six months ago.

My Volkswagen, you see, is no longer fashionable. It’s a dirty diesel. That trusty lump of German steel failed its annual roadworthiness test. To the delight of the auto-mechanic.

“New laws, mate,” he said with a muted glee, my floppy hairdo somehow thickening his joy.

“Pumps out black smoke—polluter,” went the decree.

My oil-sodden tormentor teasingly revealed that new emissions laws passed earlier this year had condemned the steed to leper status. That it was literally killing the planet. That polar bears, given the chance, would quite happily and justifiably crunch through my ribcage.

The cost for being such a disgusting threat to the planet was $1,100 for a device I couldn’t pronounce, but would, he assured me, keep another polar bear on solid ice.

“Less black smoke, then, you see? Problem solved.” Right.

What did I do about such an injustice? Bar an aborted, though eruditely composed and deftly balanced Facebook status—nothing. I’m British.

And sadly, not French. Our cousins across the Channel wouldn’t fathom such trifles. As we can see.

Paris, and large swathes of France, currently are roiling in a fantastic bonfire of every vanity President Emmanuel Macron has slicked upon his citizens since taking office last year.

What started as a humble protest against a fuel tax, has warped into the worst French riots since the 1960s. French citizens, garbed in symbolic hi-visibility vests, are swarming the streets, burning and smashing and screaming and, well, doing what the French tend to do whenever the urge visits them.

What do the gilets jaunes want? Well, they’ve got what commentators assumed was their aim. Macron has cancelled the new tax. For now. But the French, over 80 percent of whom support the gilets jaunes, continue their de facto national sport.

Never mind the insistence of the market fundies at the Wall Street Journal; the French are not rebelling merely against the highest tax bill in Europe. Neither are they protesting a climate change “hoax.” The birth pangs of a new small-state anti-tax republic? Non!

The French are out to destroy the pretender in the palace.

Indeed. The man Time christened the next leader of Europe isn’t too popular in France. To determine why is not too taxing.

After all, his election bucked an irresistible European trend towards populist governments. He only won because the other option was the historically toxic Marine Le Pen. A record number—9 percent, the highest since the Fifth Republic’s founding in 1958—of French voters cast a ballot-blanc.

The man fancying himself a Jupiter perhaps didn’t realize his appointment came ribboned with reluctance.

Heralded among global villagers as the antidote to populist venom, Macron has ruled in every way that description suggests.

He quickly set out to wean the French from fossil fuels. The pesky 65 million living outside of the glossiest Parisian arrondissements would have to deal with it—rendering diesel the enemy of the effete. That was after imploring citizens to buy the then-apparently cleaner diesel cars. Which they did, with misguided faith.

And it is little more than a misguided faith that animates Macron. As la République blazed, little Jupiter busily lectured President Trump, in the company of his tony pals. Perhaps he should consider that more French citizens approve of Donald Trump than of their own AWOL president.

Le Figaro found 65 percent of the French disapproved of Trump. Macron’s disapproval rating recently climbed to 73 percent.

But that matters little. Macron is out to save the world from climate catastrophe. Those fuel taxes are the omelette, those paying them are the eggs.

Saving us lesser souls means jetting around the globe and dishing out sermons to folks similarly and completely severed from the people over whom they rule, and the medicine they prescribe.

It’s free-bet politics. Macron and his ilk lay down a wager—the plebes pay the bill—Macron and his cronies win heady congratulations among themselves.

Because such policies are footed by the poorest. That’s the beauty of neoliberalism and its insatiable pursuit of utopia. The elite engorges itself, while lecturing the proles to tighten their fraying belts.

Those charges, as we can see, don’t fancy their roles in this latest bit of elitist kabuki theater. Macron is serving mung bean stew to those stretching their paltry budgets to the occasional climate-killing Ribeye.

What do the gilets jaunes want? Well, brief on-street interviews have found a range of political opinions. Some are on the Left, many on the Right. All are thoroughly pissed off. Like Brexit, and Trump, they feel left behind in a world which has little to offer them except and apparent and inevitable decline, and a job driving for Uber.

Unlike Brexiteers, however, the gilets jaunes seem determined actually to do something to right their wrong.

And that hellbroth is about to thicken for little Jupiter. French farmers are said to be joining the tumult next week. That’s after a promised escalation of riots penned in for this weekend which will see 89,000 security personnel take to the streets. Some are calling it a coup.

Eric Drouet, a leader within the gilets jaunes, told French media: “Saturday will be the final outcome. Saturday is the Elysee. We all would like to go to the Elysee.”

If I still had that $1,100, I’d don a yellow vest, and join them.

Photo Credit: Estelle Ruiz/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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Center for American Greatness • Cultural Marxism • Environment • Post • The Left

The Left’s Civil Religion, Part Two: Heretics

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As discussed when last we chatted, per Jean Jacques Rousseau, the regressive Left has been dragging humanity back to an allegedly pristine state of nature to escape corrupting civilization. Integral to the Left’s aims is foisting upon us soon-to-be noble savages a civil religion, the tenets of which must be believed over and above any others. Moreover, these can never be contradicted. If a heretic disbelieves or denies the civil religion, he will be branded as such by whatever “ism” is convenient; and reeducated, imprisoned, and sometimes even tortured or even killed.

Of course, in America today, heretics to the civil religion are not yet imprisoned, tortured, or killed by the Left. Nevertheless, one of the most painful lessons of the 20th century is how the demonization and dehumanization of one’s real or imagined opponents can lead to horrors once thought unimaginable. And the danger escalates in proportion to how casually and cavalierly the would-be oppressors cast their epithets and calumnies upon their would-be victims.

This is not to say that all who employ such tactics hope to imprison or otherwise physically harm those they perceive as heretics to their imposed civil religion. No, the vast majority would settle for the heretics to be silenced, shunned, and unemployed. But that is precisely the first step leading to the ultimate abyss of totalitarianism.

Right now, one need only look at how the Left demands everyone grovel before the climate change cult. From the moment Al Gore said the “science is settled,” the Left would brook no opposition on their apocalyptic call to have the world’s government control the weather by controlling you.

Next, for those heretics still unconvinced or attempting to refute it, they were branded as “climate change deniers”—unreasonable, irrational, ignorant and/or self-interested people who were anti-science and didn’t give a rat’s ass about the planet or the people who live on it.

Now, in addition to sacred relics, the Left has added indulgences to their religion. Patagonia’s CEO, Rose Marcario, denounced the Trump tax cuts and claims to have donated all of her company’s “windfall” to climate change and environmental organizations. Forgiving environmental sins evidently has a simple matter of equation for capitalists and would-be climate change heretics.

Not content to virtue signal by sending “our urgent gift to the planet,” because “our home planet needs it more than we do,” Marcario drove her point home: “Far too many have suffered the consequences of global warming in recent months, and the political response has so far been woefully inadequate—and the denial is just evil.” Emphasis mine.

These are the sentiments of a CEO of a company that sells outdoor clothing to the general public. These remarks were drafted and posted to a public website for widespread consumption with no worries that branding people of different political views as “evil” might adversely affect sales and the company, let alone the civil discourse in the country.

But who knows? Perhaps some environmental activist will buy a superfluous set of mittens so they can boast they bought them from Patagonia, the scourge of the climate change heretics.

This is no isolated incident. It is an escalation, typifying the regressives’ disquieting certitude in their civil religion; and their puritanical zeal to impose it upon “evil” heretics.

By any means necessary?

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Photo Credit: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

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Environment • Immigration • Post • Progressivism • Weekend Long Read

Alternatives to the Nihilistic Futility of Mass Immigration

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In 1968, Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. Ehrlich predicted mass-starvation by the mid-1970s due to an exploding human population outstripping agricultural capacity. Global population in 1968 was 3.5 billion. Today there are 7.6 billion people living on planet earth. Clearly, Ehrlich’s dire predictions were wrong, but the book was a huge bestseller.

In 1987, author and commentator Ben Wattenberg published The Birth Dearth: What Happens When People in Free Countries Don’t Have Enough Babies? In this prescient book, Wattenberg correctly identified the early signs of what is now widely understood—in every developed nation on earth, birthrates are well below replacement levels. Wattenberg’s book didn’t sell nearly as well as Erlich’s.

The truth is, Ehrlich wasn’t entirely wrong. Throughout most of the so-called “developing world,” birth rates remain well above replacement levels.

To illustrate his point, Ehrlich made frequent reference to the “doubling time” of a population. It’s an apt concept because it refutes the argument that human innovation and enterprise can accommodate limitless population growth. In a public lecture at Stanford in the 1970s, Ehrlich drew a grim laugh when he explained that eventually unchecked human population growth would result in a solid sphere of human flesh expanding into the universe at the speed of light.

The fact that population growth rates vary among nations, with extremes at both ends, is not sufficiently acknowledged. It is central to discussions of immigration and refugee policies, environmental health, economic models, and the fate of nations and cultures. Yet despite its centrality, exploring practical solutions on this topic invites accusations of racism, ethno-nationalism, even neo-colonialism.

Studies in Contrast: Somalia and Japan
To explain why this discussion cannot be avoided, Ehrlich’s concepts are useful. And alongside exploring the implications of a population’s doubling time, the implications of a population’s “halving time” shall also be included. To provide an example from each extreme, the following cases use data from Somalia for the high-growth scenario, and Japan for the negative growth scenario.

Somalia currently has a population of 11.3 million. On average, women have 6.2 children. Infant mortality is 8 percent. Life expectancy is 55. Their population is projected to increase to 27 million by 2050, a doubling time of under 30 years. At this rate, in just 800 years there would be a Somali standing on every square foot of land area on Earth including Antarctica. In other words, there would be 1.5 trillion Somalis. Can human innovation accommodate this? Perhaps. With high-rise cities and colonies throughout the solar system, why not? But where does this end?

It has to end somewhere. Using Ehrlich’s approach, to visualize what a doubling time of 30 years means, and taking into account the average human body consumes two-cubic feet, within 3,000 years, there would be a solid ball of Somali flesh extending to just beyond the orbit of Jupiter, nearly a billion miles in diameter. In 5,000 years this cosmic flesh ball would exceed the diameter of the Milky Way Galaxy. And within 10,000 years—a span of time that is neatly symmetric with recorded human history—there would be a solid ball of human protoplasm expanding at the speed of light in all directions, on track to absorb the entire known universe.

Japan’s shrinking population trends yield a sharp contrast. Japan currently has a population of 126.2 million. On average, women have 1.4 children. Infant mortality is 0.2 percent. Life expectancy is 84, the highest in the world. Japan’s population is projected to decline to 104 million by 2050.

Based on Japan’s projected population pyramid in 2050, where the population of Japanese aged 75-79 is expected to be more than twice as numerous as those under the age of five, Japan’s population will drop by 50 percent every 70 years. This means that in less than 2,000 years there will be only one Japanese person left in the world. And to extend the metaphor, in less than 5,000 years, what is left of the Japanese people will occupy the volume of one human ovum. The Japanese will disappear into nothingness.

How Japan Copes With Population Decline
These comparisons, while mathematically accurate, are hypothetical to the point of absurdity. But the consequences of these trends are relevant now. How these demographic realities are dealt with in the coming decades will, perhaps more than anything else, define the type of global civilization we leave our children and grandchildren. Examining the policy response by the Japanese to their population decline is useful since Japan is the only nation on earth with both a homogenous population and a strict policy against mass immigration.

The Japanese have countered their population decline by becoming world leaders in robotics. Their economy, while superficially considered weak due to the country’s debt and monetary deflation, is actually quite robust by other standards. Despite recent setbacks, the Japanese have a history of trade surpluses, meaning their debt is primarily held internally. And because their population is in slow decline, their housing and infrastructure spending is limited to maintenance and upgrades. Their productivity and innovation remain among the highest in the world.

Japan is pioneering an economic model that adapts to a stable, declining population. While this is not necessarily something all nations must accept, it offers important tips for the future. Moderate population growth probably can continue indefinitely, as humanity continues to urbanize and begins to harvest resources elsewhere in the solar system. What is unsustainable and unacceptable, however, is for human populations, anywhere, to continue to double every 30 years.

Somalia’s Population Continues to Explode
How Somalia’s population continues to increase at its current rate is instructive, since it applies more generally to dozens of much larger developing nations across mostly Africa and the Middle East. In the context of a GDP of $7.1 billion, Somalia has an annual trade deficit of $2.1 billion. They receive foreign aid equivalent to 27 percent of GDP, along with remittances sent from Somalis living overseas equivalent to 22 percent of GDP. Nearly half of all Somalis, 46 percent of the population, are “food insecure.”

According to the CIA, “Somalia scores very low for most humanitarian indicators, suffering from poor governance, protracted internal conflict, underdevelopment, economic decline, poverty, social and gender inequality, and environmental degradation. Despite civil war and famine raising its mortality rate, Somalia’s high fertility rate and large proportion of people of reproductive age maintain rapid population growth, with each generation being larger than the prior one. More than 60 percent of Somalia’s population is younger than 25, and the fertility rate is among the world’s highest at almost 6 children per woman—a rate that has decreased little since the 1970s.”

With rare exceptions, Somalia’s situation is mirrored across the continent. Africa’s population has exploded as a result of foreign aid in the form of medicine and food, without commensurate advancements in governance, infrastructure, the rule of law, advanced literacy, technical capacity, individual freedom and internal stability, or any of the other hallmarks of developed nations.

Africa is a welfare continent. In 1960, when most African nations achieved independence, the population of the entire continent was a mere 285 million. Today there are 1.3 billion Africans, and by 2050 Africa’s population is estimated to exceed 2.5 billion.

How Cultures are Altered by Foreign Aid and Welfare
Why the Japanese choose to reduce their population, and why the Somalis choose to increase their population so rapidly, cuts to the heart of cultural issues as much as economic ones. As median income rises, birth rates fall. In a nutshell, that explains the declining populations of developed nations.

But what if instead of affluence, guaranteed subsistence is offered? This describes the impact of foreign aid in Africa, and the result is a sustained population explosion. And as aid falters or is interrupted by war and instability, as the efficacy of aid becomes precarious in direct proportion to the additional hundreds of millions each decade who depend on it, the inevitable result is mass migrations. Which is equally problematic.

In developed nations, a comprehensive system of welfare awaits the migrant. This is completely unlike the challenge of indentured servitude, or at the least, freedom devoid of government assistance, which greeted immigrants to America prior to the 1960s. The result is predictable; a population explosion enabled by welfare, and an immigrant culture where entrepreneurial talent makes the logical choice to work in the informal economy to avoid losing the welfare benefits.

Without indulging in conspiratorial fantasies, the incentives to perpetuate mass migrations are obvious. Immigrant communities that depend on government benefits will vote for Democrats. Somali immigrant Ilhan Omar, recently elected to represent Minnesota’s 5th district, adds to the far-left wing of congressional Democrats. Omar, along with far-left Democrat Keith Ellison who narrowly won election as Minnesota’s new attorney general, were elected with overwhelming support from Minnesota’s burgeoning Somali population. Similar patterns are observable from California to Texas to Florida, and everywhere in between. In America, immigrants from developing countries are turning red states blue, and they are turning blue states bluer.

Current Welfare and Foreign Aid policies are Unsustainable
None of this is sustainable. Socialism, whether through foreign aid to developing nations, or through more government benefits approved with the swing voters coming from developed nations, eventually collapses. Productive citizens, outvoted, overtaxed, and disenfranchised in their own nations, lose their incentives to work hard. This leads to several inevitable conclusions.

First, it is beyond the capacity of developed nations to accommodate ongoing migrations from the developing world. Just the increase in Africa’s population each decade exceeds the entire current population of the United States or Western Europe.

Second, current foreign aid policies are completely unsustainable, because they facilitate this population increase without improving any of the other “humanitarian indicators” that might lead to a cultural shift towards lower birth rates.

Third, while it is possible to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, the more people there are, the harder that gets. The environmental impact of Africa’s population quadrupling in the last 60 years, and doubling yet again in the next 30 years, is nothing short of catastrophic.

Solutions Exist, But They Won’t Be Easy
French President Emmanuel Macron has been refreshingly blunt about Africa’s challenges. Speaking in Lagos earlier this year, he said, “I am sorry; if you have seven or eight children per woman, even when economic growth is 5 percent, you will never end the fight against poverty. In Europe, centuries ago we had such large families, but ask the women today. If it is their free choice then I am fine but when this situation is due to forced marriage and no education, it is crazy.”

Paul Ehrlich devoted chapters of The Population Bomb to his ideas for how to lower population growth. None of them anticipated the fact that in developed nations, it turned out that affluence was all it took for birth rates to fall voluntarily. Ehrlich’s prescription for the developing world was harsh. He suggested “triage” where nations on a clear path to self-sufficiency would continue to receive food aid, and nations failing this test would have food aid eliminated. But despite its progressive brutality, Ehrlich was recognizing that foreign aid, just like welfare, is unsustainable when the ratio of payers to recipients is relentlessly narrowing.

What can be done?

One controversial idea that deserves development and discussion is the concept of international charter cities. This would involve a nation or coalition of nations being invited into, say, Mogadishu, to set up a zone administered by the visiting nations, subject to their laws and law enforcement. The resulting stability would encourage foreign investment. Over time, these charter cities could become charter regions, where it is conceivable that migrations could be reversed. For example, Somali expatriates, from St. Paul to Sweden, might welcome the chance to return to their homelands to live and work in an area where economic growth and political stability offer them a return to the land and culture they cherish, without sacrificing the safety they found abroad.

Another idea, equally controversial, would be to use foreign aid funds to instead co-invest with private partners in big infrastructure in Africa. For example, within the security of charter regions, constructing nuclear power plants. Or throughout Africa, to invest in economically beneficial infrastructure projects that violate some environmentalist wishes while fulfilling others. An example of such a tradeoff would be an aqueduct to divert water from the Ubangi River to Lake Chad. Just a small percentage of runoff from the mighty Ubangi would restore Lake Chad, enriching the economy and the ecosystems across the Sahel.

Industrializing Africa might actually save the environment, because with economic development, not only are smaller families a welcome consequence so is a cleaner environment. Another demonstrated result of prosperity is the voluntary migration of people from rural areas into cities. With urbanization, economic growth can reduce the footprint of humanity on Africa’s great wildernesses.

The course currently plotted for humanity is alarming. Mass migrations from the developing world will eventually turn developed nations into socialist police states with diminished economies and shattered dreams. Meanwhile, unchecked population growth in the developing world will create political, economic and environmental havoc. It is time for new approaches and clear thinking.

Photo Credit: Sosthene Kambibi/AFP/Getty Images

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California • Environment • Post • Progressivism • The Left

California Burning: How the Greens Turned the Golden State Brown

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In October 2016, in a coordinated act of terrorism that received fleeting attention from the press, environmentalist activists broke into remote flow stations and turned off the valves on pipelines carrying crude oil from Canada into the United States. Working simultaneously in Washington, Montana, Minnesota, and North Dakota, the eco-terrorists disrupted pipelines that together transport 2.8 million barrels of oil per day, approximately 15 percent of U.S. consumption. The pretext for this action was to protest the alleged “catastrophe” of global warming.

These are the foot soldiers of environmental extremism. These are the minions whose militancy receives nods and winks from opportunistic politicians and “green” investors who make climate alarmism the currency of their political and commercial success.

More recently, and far more tragic, are the latest round of California wildfires that have consumed nearly a quarter million acres, killed at least 87 people, and caused damages estimated in excess of $10 billion.

Opinions vary regarding how much of this disaster could have been avoided, but nobody disputes that more could have been done. Everyone agrees, for example, that overall, aggressive fire suppression has been a mistake. Most everyone agrees that good prevention measures include forest thinning (especially around power lines), selective logging, controlled burns, and power line upgrades. And everyone agrees that residents in fire prone areas need to create defensible space and fire-harden their homes.

Opinions also vary as to whether or not environmentalists stood in the way of these prevention measures. In a blistering critique published earlier this week on the California-focused Flash Report, investigative journalist Katy Grimes cataloged the negligence resulting from environmentalist overreach.

“For decades,” Grimes notes, “traditional forest management was scientific and successful—that is until ideological, preservationist zealots wormed their way into government and began the overhaul of sound federal forest management through abuse of the Endangered Species Act and the ‘re-wilding, no-use movement.’”

U.S. Representative Tom McClintock, whose Northern California district includes the Yosemite Valley and the Tahoe National Forest, told Grimes that the U.S. Forest Service 40 years ago departed from “well-established and time-tested forest management practices.”

“We replaced these sound management practices with what can only be described as a doctrine of benign neglect,” McClintock explained. “Ponderous, byzantine laws and regulations administered by a growing cadre of ideological zealots in our land management agencies promised to ‘save the environment.’ The advocates of this doctrine have dominated our law, our policies, our courts and our federal agencies ever since.”

Grimes goes on to outline the specific missteps at the federal level that led to America’s forests turning into tinderboxes, starting in the Clinton Administration and made worse, thanks to activist judges, by thwarting reforms attempted by the Bush Administration, and accelerating during the complicit Obama presidency.

All of this lends credence to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s fresh allegations of forest mismanagement. But what really matters is what happens next.

Institutionalized Environmental Extremism
California’s 2018 wildfires have been unusually severe, but they were not historic firsts. This year’s unprecedented level of destruction and deaths are the result of home building in fire prone areas, and not because of wildfires of unprecedented scope. And while the four-year drought that ended in 2016 left a legacy of dead trees and brush, it was forest mismanagement that left those forests overly vulnerable to droughts in the first place.

Based on these facts, smart policy responses would be first to reform forest management regulations to expedite public and privately funded projects to reduce the severity of future wildfires, and second, to streamline the permit process to allow the quick reconstruction of new, fire-hardened homes.

But neither outcome is likely, and the reason should come as no surprise—we are asked to believe that it’s not observable failures in policy and leadership that caused all this destruction and death, it’s “man-made climate change.”

Governor Jerry Brown is a convenient boogeyman for climate realists, since his climate alarmism is as unrelenting as it is hyperbolic. But Brown is just one of the stars in an out-of-control environmental movement that is institutionalized in California’s legislature, courts, mass media, schools, and corporations.

Fighting climate change is the imperative, beyond debate, that justified the Golden State passing laws and regulations such as California Environmental Quality Act, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, and numerous others at the state and local level. They make it nearly impossible to build affordable homes, develop energy, or construct reservoirs, aqueducts, desalination plants, nuclear power plants, pipelines, freeways, or any other essential infrastructure that requires so much as a scratch in the ground.

Expect tepid progress on new preventive measures, in a state so mired in regulations and litigation that for every dollar spent paying heavy equipment operators and loggers to do real work, twice that much or more will go to pay consultants, attorneys, and public bureaucrats. Expect “climate change” to be used as a pretext for more “smart growth,” which translates into “stack and pack,” whereby people will be herded out of rural areas through punishing financial disincentives and forced into densely populated urban areas, where they can join the scores of thousands of refugees that California is welcoming from all over the world.

Ruling Class Hypocrisy
Never forget, according to the conventional wisdom as prescribed by California’s elites, if you don’t like it, you are a climate change “denier,” a “xenophobe,” and a “racist.”

California’s elites enjoy their gated communities, while the migrants who cut their grass and clean their floors go home to subsidized accessory dwelling units in the backyards of the so-called middle class whose taxes pay for it all. They are hypocrites.

But it is these elites who are the real deniers.

They pretend that natural disasters are “man-made,” so they can drive up the cost of living and reap the profits when the companies they invest in sell fewer products and services for more money in a rationed, anti-competitive environment.

They pretend this is sustainable; that wind farms and solar batteries can supply adequate power to teeming masses crammed into power-sipping, “smart growth” high rises. But they’re tragically wrong.

Here the militant environmentalists offer a reality check. Cutting through their predictable, authoritarian, psychotically intolerant rants that incorporate every leftist shibboleth imaginable, the “Deep Green Resistance” website offers a remarkably lucid and fact-based debunking of “green technology and renewable energy.” Their solution, is to “create a life-centered resistance movement that will dismantle industrial civilization by any means necessary.”

These deep green militants want to “destroy industrial civilization.” At their core, they are misanthropic nihilists—but at least they’re honest. By contrast, California’s stylish elites are driving humanity in slow motion towards this same dire future, cloaked in denial, veiled coercion, and utopian fantasies.

This is the issue that underlies the California wildfires, what causes them and what to do about them. What is a “sustainable” civilization? One that embraces human settlements, has faith in human ingenuity, and aspires to make all humans prosperous enough to care about the environment, everywhere? Or one that demands Draconian limits on human settlement, with no expectation that innovation can provide solutions we can’t currently imagine, and condemns humans to police-state rationing of everything we produce and consume?

That is the stark choice that underlies the current consensus of California’s elites, backed up by dangerous and growing cadres of fanatical militants.

Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

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Congress • Economy • Environment • GOPe • Government Reform • Post • Republicans

Rent-Seeking Run Amok

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President Trump announced last month that his administration will take actions to allow the year-round sale of fuel containing 15 percent ethanol, which is currently banned during summer months. The rent-seeking justification for this expansion of a flawed policy revved up immediately, in the form of a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Iowa U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst. They lauded the decision, as well as the existing federal mandate to blend ethanol with transportation fuels, citing the contributions to the nation’s job growth, GDP, and tax revenues.

The same arguments could be made for a federal law mandating that all the alcohol in hard liquor and mouthwash be derived from corn. Would that be sound public policy?

Politics aside, any defense of U.S. ethanol policy must embrace a series of fallacies which include:

  • ethanol produced from corn makes the U.S. less dependent on fossil fuels,
  • ethanol lowers the price of gasoline,
  • an increase in the percentage of ethanol blended into gasoline boosts the overall supply of gasoline, and
  • ethanol is environmentally friendly and lowers global carbon dioxide emissions.

Although none of these claims is true, the ethanol lobby continues to promote them, and many politicians—particularly in the major corn-producing states—seem intoxicated by them.

Politicians like to say that ethanol is environmentally friendly, but these claims are misleading. Although corn is a renewable resource, it has a far lower yield relative to the energy used to produce it than ethanol from sugar cane. Moreover, ethanol yields about 33 percent less energy per gallon than gasoline, so mileage drops off significantly. Fuel costs for Americans are often artificially inflated due to the low energy content of ethanol (in spite of a possible octane boost) and the high costs faced by fuel companies trying to comply with ill-conceived fuel regulations. In a 2014 study, the Congressional Budget Office found that raising the mandated use of corn ethanol raises motor fuel prices.

The truth is that the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—which mandates the ethanol blends—has failed miserably in achieving any of its stated goals.

Lower-cost biomass ethanol—for example, from rice straw (a byproduct of harvesting rice) or switchgrass—would make far more environmental sense, but large volumes of ethanol from biomass will not be commercially viable for many years. (And production will be delayed by government policies that specifically encourage corn-based ethanol by employing subsidies.)

U.S. legislators and policymakers seem oblivious to the scientific and economic realities of corn-ethanol production. Brazil and other major sugarcane-producing nations enjoy significant advantages over the United States in producing ethanol, including ample agricultural land, warm climates amenable to vast plantations, and on-site distilleries that can process cane immediately after harvest.

Thus, in the absence of cost-effective, domestically available sources for producing ethanol, rather than using corn, it would make far more sense to import ethanol from Brazil and other countries that can produce it efficiently.

But none of those actions would be a sop to Midwestern farmers, so rent-seeking justifications, as exemplified by the Grassley-Ernst op-ed, have to be mobilized.

Politicians may be drunk with the prospect of corn-derived ethanol, but it is consumers who will ultimately suffer the hangover.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Center for American Greatness • Donald Trump • Energy • Environment • Post • The Left

Climate Change’s Ever-Shifting Goalposts

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A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change offers a timely reminder that much of the Left’s doomsday hysteria can be traced to the modern-day environmental movement. Like Democrats’ dire warnings that everything from tax cuts to net neutrality will result in mass casualties, the climate cabal’s Grim Reaper estimates are not just wrong and constantly changing—they defy reality.

Ever since Donald Trump wisely scuttled the meaningless Paris Climate Accord last year, climate alarmists have been desperate to revive the public’s interest in this once-dominant political issue. As concern about climate change has waned, the activists who are determined to use it as leverage to exert more state control over our lives have downgraded the planet’s prognosis once again.

The IPCC now warns that if the rise in global temperatures is not limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial estimates, millions of humans will suffer a horrific fate beginning in 2040. Most scientific agencies that track climate change insist the Earth’s temperature has already increased just shy of 1 degree C since the late 1800s and blame human activity for most of the rise.

That means, according to the IPCC, we only have another half a degree Celsius to go before we all fry, drown, or starve.

Urgent action is needed immediately, according to this international group of experts, to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate “the risks to health, livelihoods, food, water, and economic growth, especially in rural landscapes and urban areas” around the world. Never mind that this will require personal sacrifice, social and economic upheaval on a global scale and—of course—trillions of dollars:

Pathways limiting global warming to [1.5 C] would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure and industrial systems. These transitions are unprecedented in terms of scale and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors, a wide portfolio of mitigation options and a significant upscaling of investments in those options.

Eliminating the use of coal, boosting the use of capricious sources of renewable energy, and actually removing carbon from the atmosphere are a few of the solutions they propose. (The group, however, continues its unscientific and fearmongering objection to the cleanest form of energy, nuclear power.)

Now before you doze off at the latest Malthusian threat by global eco-warriors, it’s important to take note of the 1.5 C number because it is much lower than the previous scare number of 2 C, which was the targeted limit in the Paris pact. This represents a significant change from what the public previously had been told about the danger of rising temperatures.

As one Greenpeace activist told the Washington Post, “1.5 degrees is the new 2 degrees.” The media tipped us off earlier this year that the pivot was in the works, and scientists were poised to insist the 2 degree threshold was too high.

Coral Davenport, a dutiful climate scribe for the New York Times, justified the scientific sleight-of-hand. “Previous work had focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by a larger number, 2 degrees Celsius, because that was the threshold scientists previously considered for the most severe effects of climate change. The new report, however, shows that many of those effects will come much sooner.”

Davenport talked to scientists who’ve worked on this issue for years; they are allegedly stunned at the news. (This is a familiar tactic by climate change peddlers. They always pretend to be alarmed at their latest prediction just so we know how really, really serious it is.) “It is quite a shock, and quite concerning. We were not aware of this just a few years ago,” one former IPCC scientist told Davenport.

So much for “settled science.”

But the climate cabal’s latest prediction isn’t shocking or scientific at all: It’s political. The reason the doomsday number has been lowered is not that the threat suddenly became more acute or that their understanding of the threat suddenly became more accurate; it’s because the rapid global warming we’ve been promised over the last three decades has not occurred. A new story was needed.

In the very first IPCC report published in 1990, scientists warned that global average temperatures would rise by 0.3 degrees C a decade beginning that year: “This will result in a likely increase in global mean temperature of about [1 C] above the present value by 2025.”

In reality, according to NASA, global temperatures have increased by less than half that between 1991 to 2017. During that time period, as worldwide carbon emissions continued to spike, temperatures basically were unmoved for about 15 years, an event called the “warming hiatus.”

Is it possible that the Earth’s temperature could go up by another 0.5 C in the next seven years? Or by 2030, which is the IPCC’s newest deadline? Climate activists might say yes, but recent data suggest the trend may be the opposite. Here is one fact you won’t read splashed across the front page of the Times: Between 2016 and 2017, global temperatures dropped almost a full tenth of a degree Celsius. In other words, global warming is going in the wrong direction.

There are other indicators that 2018 will not surpass 2016 as the “hottest year on record,” either. (A claim widely disputed by climate change skeptics.) According to NOAA, “the 2018 year-to-date value was [0.52 degrees Fahrenheit] [.17 C] lower than the record high set in 2016.” Another Trump victory!

So the new IPCC report is another example of what author Marc Morano called, “the ever-receding tipping point.” In his book about the trillion-dollar farce that is the international climate change movement, Morano detailed the shifting goalposts, data manipulation, and dystopian threats that are all part of the strategy deployed by climate activists trying to influence public opinion and policy.

“What the media is not telling the public is these climate reports are self-serving reports that have predetermined outcomes,” Morano told me via email. “The U.N. hypes the climate ‘problem’ then puts itself in charge of the ‘solution.’ And the mainstream media goes along with such unmitigated nonsense.”

Indeed they did. The usual suspects—the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN—all ran breathless articles and editorials touting the new findings. “The Trump administration rejects the science of climate change and actively favors dirty energy sources over clean ones. Humanity has no time for such foolishness,” wrote Post columnist Eugene Robinson. Some even questioned whether or not to bring children into such a doomed world. (Here, let me help you with that question: Please don’t.)

But the origins of this panic have little do with actual threats to the environment or humanity, and everything to do with the Left’s crusade to impose higher taxes and crushing government regulations while cherry-picking favored industries that enrich their donors and friends. The lowering of the doomsday number is just another attempt to hasten a massive restructuring of the global economy. Nonetheless, climate activists will try to convince you that paying $240 for a gallon of gas really would be in your best interest if only you understood your interests properly: it’s all for the children and for the planet, of course.

Just remember: When taking the advice of climate change prophets of doom, never pay close attention to the details or to the changing nature of their predicted doom and destruction. You’ll feel better about it that way.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Environment • Post • Progressivism

We’re All Gonna Die! Vote Democrat!

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Around 1994, R. J. Rummel offered the term “democide” to define the “intentional killing of an unarmed or disarmed person by government agents acting in their authoritative capacity and pursuant to government policy or high command.”

Victims of democide include: “forced labor and concentration camp victims; killings by ‘unofficial’ private groups; extrajudicial summary killings; and mass deaths due to the governmental acts of criminal omission and neglect, such as in deliberate famines, as well as killings by de facto governments, i.e. civil war killings.”

In sum, this is governmentally sanctioned murder that is not based upon race or nationality (“genocide”) or political beliefs (“politicide”), but rather it is equal opportunity oppression for the purpose of advancing a “public policy” whereby members of said public are to be killed “for the common good” (as defined by rulers who never believe their deaths should be part of the policy).

Rummel believed that “democide surpassed war as the leading cause of non-natural death in the 20th century”; and its heinous practitioners names have been recorded in the annals of infamy—Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and others of their murderous and sadistic ilk.

Now, the seers in the media warn that the 21st century may well surpass the 20th century’s horrors, for there is arisen a new democidal maniac—Donald John Trump.

On the heels of instigating lethal governmental policies including the repeal of net neutrality, the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, and the untethering of a “wild west” capitalist economy, President Trump has now loosed the very heavens against Americans of all parties and persuasions. Per the Washington Post:

Yet when it comes to extreme weather, Mr. Trump is complicit. He plays down humans’ role in increasing the risks, and he continues to dismantle efforts to address those risks. It is hard to attribute any single weather event to climate change. But there is no reasonable doubt that humans are priming the Earth’s systems to produce disasters.

True, as the Post concedes, it is impossible to attribute any instance of weather to climate change; but, what the hell, it is true that every change in weather constitutes climate change. Therefore, by the paper’s logic, denying that government can control the weather by yanking America out of the Paris Agreement, President Trump has ensured there will continue to be weather—like Hurricane Florence.

How President Trump has co-opted Goddess Gaia into being the Bonnie to his climate change denying Clyde is unknown (though perhaps knowledge of this plot this will be part of a cooperation agreement cut between convicted felon Paul Manafort and Special Counsel Robert Mueller).

Nor does the editorial explain why Trump wants to kill his own deplorable supporters along with his opponents. Perhaps they ascribe it to those “darker impulses” pundits and armchair psychoanalysts have diagnosed as churning around inside of Trump. After having been called “Hitler,” does Trump’s alleged narcissism compel him to surpass all the combined tyrants who committed democides? After all, he likes to be number one. Evidently, we’ll have to wait for the next Washington Post editorial or Weather Channel update to know for sure.

But there is one thing we can be sure of from this op-ed: Trump Derangement Syndrome is now passe; what’s all the rage is “Trump Death Syndrome,” namely the ability to claim the ultimate victim status at the president’s hands and warn other they will share the same fate.

In terms of messaging the American people, “We’re all gonna die! Vote Democrat!” may work in the midterms. But it lacks the compelling urgency of “Death Before Disco!” And it is a sad devolution into despair for the party that once told America, “the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Now fear is all the Democrats have to offer. Well, actually, they offer fear and loathing—an even less auspicious foundation upon which to pursue one’s happiness; let alone with which to preserve and promote American exceptionalism.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Anda Chu/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

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Democrats • Donald Trump • Energy • Environment • Post

Climate Yo-Yos Yammer and Yell About Trump

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Perhaps, in the Headline Hall of Fame, alongside “Headless body in topless bar,” we can add a new entry to display for generations to come. This week a Washington Post editorial declared: “Another hurricane is about to batter our coast. Trump is complicit.”

The point was that hurricanes are caused or intensified by the man-made climate change that we’ve experienced in recent decades, and that Trump ignores that supposedly obvious fact, bringing about destruction. Never mind that, between Wilma in 2005 and Harvey in 2017, no major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) made landfall in the continental United States. That’s the longest such hiatus ever recorded.

Never mind that, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, 40 major hurricanes hit the United States in the 55-year period between 1906 and 1960. In the following 55 years, during the era of global warming, the number was 26. The number in the worst categories, Categories 4 and 5, fell from 12 to 5.

This week, California Governor Jerry Brown is hosting a conference of people involved in what’s called the Climate Resistance. As noted by the Washington Times, “The massive three-day bash hosted by Mr. Brown will feature top Democrats, liberal megadonors, Obama administration figures, international leaders, green energy, Silicon Valley, Hollywood celebrities, and Al Gore.”

This follows state legislation signed by Brown requiring utilities to get all their electricity from “zero-carbon” sources by 2045. Massive expansions of hydropower and nuclear power are off the table, so that means relying mainly on intermittent sources like wind (which works only when the wind blows) and solar (which works only when the sun shines).

California officials claim the state currently gets about a third of its electricity from “renewable” sources. In June, the price of electricity in California was 65.3 percent higher than the national average. The difference would be greater except for the fact that some 41 other states have their own, smaller scams driving up electricity prices by requiring electricity consumers to buy expensive, unreliable wind and solar power.

Jerry Brown just wants to do to America and the world what he and his fellow environmentalists have already done to California.

This isn’t the first time that experts have sounded the alarm about climate change.

In the 17th century, witches in Europe were burned for their role in the climate change that caused crop failures.

An 1895 New York Times article titled, “Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again” envisioned an Earth encased in “perennial frost and snow.”

In 1932, the Times warned: “NEXT GREAT DELUGE FORECAST BY SCIENCE/Melting Polar Ice Caps to Raise the Level of Seas and Flood the Continent.” The following year, leaders in Syria blamed Western influences for climate change, so they banned the yoyo. Really.

Then it was back to global cooling. Betty Friedan, the future feminist icon, wrote a 1958 Harper’s article, “The Coming Ice Age,” subtitled, “How a rising of the ocean waters may flood most of our port cities within the foreseeable future—and why it will be followed by the growth of a vast glacier which may eventually cover much of Europe and North America.”

Then the fear turned back to warming, as White House aide Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned in a September 17, 1969 memo. Moynihan, the future Democratic Senator from New York, wrote of the fear that increased levels of carbon dioxide would raise temperatures. He noted:

Over the years the hypothesis has been refined, and more evidence has come along to support it. It is now pretty clearly agreed that the C02 content will rise 25% by 2000.  This could increase the average temperature near the earth’s surface by 7 degrees Fahrenheit. This in turn could raise the level of the sea by 10 feet. Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter.

Back to cooling: “Scientist predicts a new ice age by 21st century,” said the Boston Globe (1970). “Ice Age, worse food crisis seen,” declared the Chicago Tribune (1974). “Pollution Could Spur Ice Age, NASA Says,” reported the Beaver County Times (1974). “Oil Spill Could Cause New Ice Age,” asserted the Milwaukee Journal (1975).

Time magazine in 1974: “Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age. Telltale signs are everywhere—from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest.”

Always, whether the problem is warming or cooling, the solution is greater control of the economy, and of all human activity, by politicians and bureaucrats. They’re the only ones smart enough to save us.

Today, in the time of the Climate Resistance, “addressing climate change” is a euphemism for denying billions of people access to affordable energy—with victims ranging from working-class Americans to the world’s poorest in sub-Saharan Africa. And while the vulnerable suffer, wealth and power is transferred to the likes of biofuel processors and the bureaucrats of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Union.

Real people pay a real price when policies are based on ignorance of history and a half-understanding of science, on irrational fear and sensationalism, and on the latest kookery from the media and political class that stands to benefit when people freak out.

Robert Frost wrote, “Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice.” For the panic-mongers, either scenario will do.

Photo Credit: Anda Chu/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

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America • Environment • Post • Pro-Life • Progressivism

In Praise of Straws and Freedom

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I plan to increase my giant stash of colorful plastic straws. I want to stock up with a greater variety and quantity than ever before. It’s kind of important here in the heat wave of Dallas; do you know that we once endured 40 consecutive days of temperatures in excess of 100 degrees? We need those plastic straws for our frozen Margaritas, especially if we’re walking the Margarita Mile.

I trust that here in the Great State of Texas there will be an ample supply of plastic straws in every grocery and big-box store. Some residents of the People’s Republic of Austin might be planning anti-straw rallies and will protest outside of their favorite frozen beverage haunts, but most Texans are instead concerned about threats on our shores much more serious than plastic straws—such as the Mexican poachers in the Texas Gulf, and the dangerous illegal immigrant border crossings on the Rio Grande.

But since the trigger du jour is a plastic straw, I have to say that the alternatives badly suck. Paper straws are worthless and taste like gluey pulp; I doubt anyone likes the flavor of paper-mache cherry-limeade. Stainless steel and glass straws are simply ridiculous, (“Hey baby, is that a metal straw in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?”) and can even be dangerous to humans: Your children will be one misdirected slurp away from a broken incisor, or a few chomped shards could result in unplanned tongue and frenulum piercings.

How will California fit all the warnings onto the side of each multi-use straw? “WARNING: Do not use while walking, driving, operating heavy machinery, or while under the influence of alcohol.” “Metal is conductive: Do not use during lightning storms.” “Known to harbor lethal bacteria when not properly cleaned and sterilized.” “Intended for oral use only.” Just think of the little pictogram instructing how safely to place the straw in one’s mouth; and I can only imagine all those warnings with a big red X.

So yeah, just to make a point, I’m going to use plastic straws more than ever—I want all the colors and all the stripes. I want a supply of everything from the fat bendies for shakes to the skinny stirrers for cocktails. This week I plan to buy out the Ikea bulk supply before they stop selling all those gorgeous colorful 100-count packages. And after I’m finished with my single use, I’ll just toss it into the recycle bin like I’ve always done. It’s not that hard folks.

Why don’t lefties worry more about the used hypodermic litter on the sidewalks and beaches and in the oceans? The city of San Francisco alone hands out 4.5 million free hypodermic needles every year, and I guarantee those aren’t properly discarded by the junkies who use them. I guess sea-life is smart enough to know never to swallow a used hypodermic, yet somehow are in danger of injury and death solely from ingesting improperly discarded drinking straws.

Except plastic straws aren’t the problem—idiocy and lazy people are the problem, and leftist legislation normally increases idiocy and laziness. When would-be socialist politicians try to govern our decisions about something as basic as how we drink our beverages, people simply no longer need to worry about personal responsibility because every little decision is already made for them. No doubt in my mind—the Left is everyone’s nightmare Helicopter Parent.

But not for me. Nope. I’m the Cool Mom with the plastic straw supply, and I’ll share them in abundance. As neighborhood children walk home from school I’ll be in my front yard, exposing them to the plastic straw in my glass of lemonade. When my son has his friends over, I’ll indoctrinate them with all kinds of straw activities: they’re not just for slurping, but great for art and science projects, and for classic double-barrel blow-gun battles of shooting spit wads.

I’ll carry a supply of freebies in my purse to hand out to kids who don’t have a Cool Mom. Trick-or-Treat at my house will be an opportunity to corrupt the little goblins by handing out giant Pixie Sticks. I’ll tell other people’s kids that their personal freedoms are being curtailed. It would be easy to lurk around teenagers buying strawless slushies at Sonic, or 7-Eleven Slurpees without its famed spoon straw, and whisper to them that the government is curtailing their pleasure. I’ll tell them it’s their body and nobody should tell them how to get their beverage into it.

When our neighborhood has its block parties for National Night Out, I’ll provide cold drinks with patriotic red, white, and Back-the-Blue straws and the village will ponder how, without plastic straws, a tradition in wholesome American culture has been diluted. Every time I see someone struggle with a shake or a smoothie by tipping and tapping it into their mouth, enduring a freezing zing to sensitive teeth and the embarrassment of a mess on face and front, I’ll ask how they like being physically oppressed by the left.

Remember the New York ban on sodas larger than 16 ounces? No government should legislate and criminalize how we choose to drink our sodas and Margaritas. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Left tries to ban ice cubes, because, you know, it’s insensitive to enjoy something that triggers terrifying thoughts about how global warming causes glacier melt.

This manic straw ban plan is something so ridiculously narrow-minded, yet it illustrates something much more profound: Government infringement of liberty. And then there’s the irony of a frenzied demand to ban innocuous bits of plastic that might harm the dolphins, while demanding to lift the ban on illegal border crossings, an idea that if implemented actually would increase both drug and human trafficking. These are people who are more horrified and deeply bothered by a photo of a turtle with a straw in its nostril than they are by the graphic photographs of infants being aborted by having saline injected into their tiny brains and their fully formed limbs mutilated and torn off. What is more dangerous to life: plastic straws, or the instruments of abortion? It’s time to decide who has his priorities straight.

We can hold protests, demand more legislation, increase bureaucracy, put warnings on everything, and enforce petty laws all while ignoring those things that are more important—you know, the things for which we actually devised government. Or, we can teach the importance of personal responsibility and its relationship to personal freedom; how liberating!

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

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Administrative State • America • Congress • Environment • Government Reform • Post

From Saving Species to Empowering Bureaucrats

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In 1973, the Endangered Species Act passed the U.S. Senate with at vote of 92-0 and the House by a vote of 394-4. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Now, 45 years on, we know that, regardless of the good intentions of the act’s sponsors, the law can be abused by bureaucrats and their extreme environmentalist allies.

The ESA was born out of legitimate concern over occasional disappearances of lineages of living things. No one anticipated the ESA would play a major role in American life, destroying countless jobs and giving federal bureaucrats control over large swaths of the economy. It never occurred to politicians and activists that the law could be used to prevent activities that might indirectly harm obscure groups of plants and animals, even those that don’t qualify as species or even subspecies.

In the era in which the ESA was born, people were aware of the extinction of the passenger pigeon and the dodo and the near-extinction of the American buffalo, and threats to iconic animals such as American alligators and bald eagles. Activists and the media presented these cases as cautionary tales, magnifying extinction fears into threats to wide categories of life.

For example, to obtain a ban on DDTa ban that, by promoting the spread of malaria, has killed tens of millions of people worldwideenvironmentalists pushed the idea that the continued use of this pesticide would extinguish many bird species and result in the “Silent Spring” referenced in the title of Rachel Carson’s classic book. Critical to the debate was an Agriculture Department study seeming to show that DDT caused thin eggshells. The scientist behind the study later admitted that the birds had been fed a low-calcium diet.

Carson’s argument was one of a series of hoaxes that launched the modern environmental extremist movement. At the first Earth Day in 1970, participants complained that corporations poisoned people with sweeteners containing sodium cyclamate (which, in fact, is safe), that a U.S. Army nerve gas experiment had killed thousands of sheep in Utah in 1968 (it didn’t), and that pollution was rapidly pushing the world into a new Ice Age, as future feminist icon Betty Friedan had warned in Harper’s magazine.

Real environmental threats existed but were insufficient to spur the political actions environmentalists wanted. So they made stuff up.

Today, the deception is often rooted in what magicians call misdirection: Look here, don’t look over there. Opponents of ESA reform usually focus on perceived threats to animals that people care about.

People care mainly about megafauna, that is, relatively large animals. People care mainly about birds and mammals. They care about icons like the bald eagle, and about game animals; the National Rifle Association, in fact, supported passing the ESA to protect game. People care especially about animals with large, forward-facing eyes and other characteristics associated with being cute. It’s thought that humans are biologically programmed to feel empathy toward creatures that, in certain ways, resemble human children. That’s why Disney animators made Mickey Mouse’s head and eyes bigger as he evolved from a mischievous troublemaker to a cuddly lead character.

When told that most supposedly endangered species are insects and plants“bugs and weeds,” as one congressman put itpeople often react with incredulity. From a scientific standpoint, there is no reason to fear the extinction of cute animals more than that of plants and ugly animals, but politics focuses on emotion.

Consider the focus on the polar bear. It’s a vicious killer, arguably an animal that, given the opportunity, is most likely to hunt a human as food. (When sharks eat humans, it’s because they mistake them for their usual prey.) Yet people see polar bears as cute; they star in Coke commercials and are models for toddlers’ bedmates.

When bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency were looking for an excuse to classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant and subject it to regulation, thereby controlling much of the U.S. economy, they claimed that the polar bear was threatened at some point in the future by global warming, which they claimed was caused by carbon dioxide emissions. One environmentalist called the polar bear “the species that saved the world” because it helped expand the power of the EPA. (Polar bears, by the way, are doing fine.)

It was an up-by-the-bootstraps argument: Polar bears are endangered by global warming, which we know to be true because global warming endangers polar bears. It worked and proves we can’t trust bureaucrats.

No accepted definition of “species” exists, so bureaucrats have wide leeway to classify animals, plants, and other living things as objects of federal protection. That’s how the bureaucratic system works. Bureaucrats’ most powerful weapon is the power to define things. They decide what “races” people are put into, affecting college admissions and scholarships, job opportunities, and the distribution of political representation. They define what makes a person “poor,” a necessarily arbitrary designation that sets eligibility for all manner of government programs. Bureaucrats decide how we measure unemployment, inflation, and economic growth, and what medicines we are allowed to take.

And it is unelected, mostly unaccountable, usually anonymous bureaucrats, allied with environmentalists and friendly judges, who decide what’s a species and what species are threatened or endangered. That gives them great power. Bureaucrats may be indispensable to the operation of a government as large as ours, but, when it comes to endangered species, we need to watch them like a hawk.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

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2016 Election • America • American Conservatism • Americanism • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Energy • Environment • Greatness Agenda • Post

Trump and the Low, Dishonest Decades

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I have to admit, I get most of my news and opinion from within the #MAGA bubble. From where I sit, given the healthy economy, the marvelously successful foreign policy, and the obvious derangement and hatred spewed by President Trump’s opponents, the smart money is not on a Blue Wave in the 2018 midterms but on a pro-administration surge such as the one America experienced in 2002 and 1932.

But this week I emerged from my bubble and entered another one at  an establishment conservative D.C. think tank for a mini-conference on “A Liberal Republic, If You Can Keep it.”  The presentations were live cast and the recordings will probably be up on YouTube soon. I commend to your attention the first panel on “American Liberalism in Theory” and Harvey Mansfield’s keynote dry martini introduction to the political science of The Federalist.

But sitting in the second panel on “American Liberalism in Practice” and listening to Ronald Brownstein recycle his punditry of the past 20 months, I realized perhaps the greatest promise and threat of a Trump presidency: Trump’s election marks the expiration of the “clever hopes” of two low, dishonest decades.

Brownstein at Hoover, perhaps without intending it, brought two of these “hopes” of the best and the brightest to our attention: the hope that “low-carbon industries” could serve as the basis of American prosperity, and the hope that the United States could import unchecked low-skilled immigration without importing the crime and disorder that made those immigrants flee in the first place.

Brownstein claimed in December 2016 and again this week that Trump’s coalition rested in great part on states and industries that are high carbon emitters. And it is surely true that, say, Apple’s design and marketing headquarters in Cupertino has a carbon footprint much lower than a coal mine or an automobile plant. But Apple is “low carbon” in California because it outsources the manufacturing of its devices to China and the power generation to keep them running not just to the O’Shaughnessy Dam that wrecked the picturesque Hetch Hetchy Valley but to coal- and gas-fired plants throughout the world.

Since 1970, and with much greater force since 1991, the United States and progressive states like California have chosen the reverse protectionist policy of taxing and regulating polluting industries, thus driving them to countries that offer lower-cost manufacturing not just because they offer cheap labor but because their elites still think dirty jobs for burly men (and stressed-out young women working 12-hour days in polypropylene coveralls) are better than no jobs at all. The progressive classes get their iPhones, their high-paying jobs for today’s Stanford graduates (precious few great mining engineers in the Class of 2018, it is safe to wager), and their clean air, as well as the clean conscience that comes from unlimited indulgence in virtue-signalling. The emissions, and the deplorable working classes, are elsewhere.

Brownstein gave, skillfully warmed-over, the conventional wisdom that Trump’s coalition represents the victory of the nostalgic white rural and exurban America over the “diverse” and immigrant-friendly metropolises, as if a city like San Francisco where one cannot wear a certain hat offers more valuable diversity than a red state that includes deep blue capitols and college towns like Madison or Austin.

On immigration, Trump’s election means that Americans are finally having the debate that will legitimate or check the scofflaw enforcement and chain-migration policies that have brought not only a Quinceañera Expo to Chicago but also MS-13 to the D.C. suburbs. As Victor Davis Hanson has argued, special interests have won policies that have made them richer and flattered their humanitarian impulses. Those table grapes are cheap at the store, Hanson shows, because Whole Foods’ sticker does not include what taxpayers pay for them in disability and welfare for 50-year-old former grape-pickers who can’t find work because they have neither education nor legal status.

Perhaps the self-flattering lies that our elites have told us and are telling themselves will work on enough Millennials and single women to swing the House and the Senate to the Democrats. But until the results are in, this Deplorable will continue to have faith that enough people have the love of country and honesty to look clearly at how America got where it was in 2016. Better to have faith that enough people will give their votes in 2018 to those candidates who are not afraid to deal with our economic, environmental, and immigration problems—even if Brownstein and his readers will call them the names they usually save for us.

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Administrative State • America • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Deep State • Environment • Government Reform • Political Parties • Post • Progressivism • The Left • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House

The Press Will Stop at Nothing to Get Scott Pruitt

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When reporters work too hard to earn a Pulitzer Prize for orchestrating the political assassination of one of the president’s most effective cabinet members, sometimes, in their zeal, they can make a big mistake.

That is exactly what happened over the weekend when the New York Times was forced to post a lengthy correction to its latest hit piece on Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s EPA administrator. While the correction itself reveals a major blunder, it obfuscates the real outrage about the original story: The reporters went after Pruitt’s daughter.

The June 15 front-page article documented a laundry list of imaginary crimes at the EPA, such as staffers trying to score coveted sports tickets for the boss and arranging his meetings with former donors or industry pals—otherwise known as standard operating procedure in D.C. and every political power center in the nation. The Times reporters raged that Pruitt “had no hesitation in leveraging his stature as a cabinet member to solicit favors himself.” Last July, Pruitt allegedly asked an aide to negotiate “access” for him to attend the Washington Nationals’ batting practice. Oh, the horror! The piece was another installment in the paper’s relentless campaign against Pruitt, a top-tier target of the anti-Trump mob.

But in their eagerness to inflict another bruise on the much-abused EPA administrator, they hit his daughter, McKenna, a graduate student at the University of Virginia.

The Times accused Pruitt of using his post at the top of the EPA to obtain a letter of recommendation from a former Virginia lawmaker to help his daughter get into the prestigious UVA law school. To support its claim, the paper reported that the lawmaker even appeared on Pruitt’s official EPA calendar.

The lawmaker, William Howell, a friend of Pruitt’s for 20 years, did indeed write a letter for McKenna: In November 2016, when Pruitt was Oklahoma attorney general, more than three months before he was sworn in as Trump’s EPA chief.

In its correction, the Times admitted:

The law school, which had declined to comment for the article because of privacy concerns, issued a statement on Saturday saying Ms. Pruitt had given the school permission to confirm that she had been offered early admission in late November 2016 and that the “application was evaluated according to our usual admissions procedures.” The material about Ms. Pruitt’s application has been removed from the article.

The original article did not mention Pruitt had been offered early admission, either.

Set aside for a moment the absurdity of criticizing a parent for asking an influential friend to write a college recommendation letter for his child: The reporters never saw the letter they referenced. And Howell’s name appearing on Pruitt’s official schedule had nothing to do with McKenna, even though the reporters tried to imply otherwise.

But the damage was already done. Media outlets quickly regurgitated the Times storyline about McKenna Pruitt. Vanity Fair writer Bess Levin falsely claimed that Pruitt used his “perk” as a cabinet member to “get his daughter into law school.” Reason cited the UVA letter in an online piece contemplating whether Pruitt will lose his job. Kathryn Rubino, an editor at Above the Law, went full-on Mean Girl, questioning whether McKenna really had the grades to get into UVA law school (”we’ll never know,” she sneered) then quickly consoled herself by writing that “at least with the blind grading in law schools, whatever grades McKenna receives—good, bad or indifferent—she’ll get all on her own.”

The Hill, Daily Beast, and lots of journos on Twitter also weighed in.

Of course, the Washington press corps offered no speculation about parental political influence when the Times reported Malia Obama was accepted into Harvard, the alma mater of both her parents. No article in the Times that questioned whether former Vice President Joe Biden helped his granddaughter get into the University of Pennsylvania, where he has set up shop since leaving office. Or if former National Security Advisor Susan Rice had someone important, say, perhaps the president, write a letter to help get her son into Stanford.

The Times published zero articles over the course of Obama’s eight years to expose whether a cabinet member or administration official had asked a political pal to write a recommendation letter for their kid to get into college. You know why? Because it would have been a stupid, pointless article, and the piece would have been scorned for unfairly attacking the child of a public official.

But we know those rules don’t apply in the Trump era—particularly for Scott Pruitt—who has been under almost daily assault by the Times.

There is another shady twist in the McKenna Pruitt hit piece. The Times relied on information from Kevin Chmielewski, a disgruntled former aide to Pruitt, who is described as having had “a falling out” with his ex-boss. (The paper even printed a nice photo of him.) But that isn’t the whole story. Chmielewski is a bit of an odd fellow; he has threatened EPA staff and at least one female reporter. After he was asked to resign earlier this year, Chmielewski pledged to “retaliate.” He told Washington Free Beacon reporter Susan Crabtree that he would “spend the rest of his career” going after her for asking questions about his inflated résumé and run-ins with law enforcement: He called Crabtree “ridiculous and idiotic.” The former advance man for John McCain and Mitt Romney has other issues, too, as documented by Michael Bastasch at the Daily Caller.

None of this was included in the Times article that presented Chmielewski as a legitimate source.

Since the day after Trump was elected, the Times has published 526 articles about—or mentioning—Scott Pruitt. The paper’s obsession with the EPA chief is not professional or even political; it’s personal. And in its desperate attempt to take him out, the Times again relied on unverified hearsay that the paper ultimately had to correct—and yet without having to pay any sort of price. Only McKenna Pruitt will. Just as they hoped.

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SAN JUAN COUNTY, CO - AUGUST 13: A woman from Weston Solutions walks next to one of the retention ponds at the bottom of Gold King Mine on August 13, 2015 at Gladstone townsite. Members of the EPA, Environmental Restoration, Weston Solutions and the U.S. Coast Guard are working on cleaning up the water in the four retention ponds and helping with the creation of the fifth. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Administrative State • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Environment • Obama • Political Parties • Post • The Left • The Media

Obama Amnesia and the EPA

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The Obama Amnesia afflicting our friends on the Left is particularly acute when it comes to the Environmental Protection Agency. It is as if lead-contamination oozed into our water supply; toxic chemicals that were deemed safe for eight years randomly started killing unsuspecting Americans; and algae blooms from agricultural run-off began popping up in the Great Lakes the very moment Donald Trump took the oath of office on January 20, 2017.

Notoriously profligate Democratic lawmakers who are now suffering from Obama Amnesia are suddenly distraught over allegedly inappropriate expenditures at the EPA. The use of tax dollars to boost the salaries of top staffers or to upgrade official vehicles now keeps these newly frugal stewards of public funds awake at night.

Obama Amnesia was on full display last week during two congressional hearings featuring EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. When the former Oklahoma attorney general took the helm of the EPA last year, he inherited a bloated, political, secretive, and unaccountable agency whose previous administrators’ misconduct was regularly overlooked by the media.

Nobody Cared About Gina McCarthy
Despite a number of scandals, there were no calls by the
New York Times editorial board for Obama EPA chief Gina McCarthy to resign, even after her agency caused the Gold King Mine spill (pictured above), an environmental catastrophe for which she refused to take responsibility.

When her agency was caught breaking the law for its illicit use of social media, or as Congress threatened to impeach her for perjury, no major newspaper demanded that McCarthy step down. While Obama’s EPA refused to ban allegedly dangerous chemicals such as methylene chloride or chlorpyrifos for years, the media and Democratic lawmakers refrained from accusing his administrators of poisoning children or killing people. After EPA employees were caught downloading porn, including child pornography, and McCarthy ignored or excused other egregious misconduct on her watch, it was crickets from our newfound EPA watchdogs in the elite media.

No such niceties have been extended to Pruitt, however. Quite the opposite, in fact. News reporters and editorial boards are partnering with environmental activists, the scientific establishment, and Democratic lawmakers to undertake a nonstop assault against Pruitt, from raising legitimate concerns about travel costs (although even these are completely  in line with those of his predecessors) to reporting on the inane, such as what type of house he owned in Oklahoma in 2004.

As of April 28, the Times has posted 122 articles about—or at least mentioning—Pruitt since the first of the month. That’s 122 articles in 28 days. It’s very likely that within a 30-day window, the paper will exceed the number of articles it published about Gina McCarthy—125—over a three-and-a-half year period. The Washington Post has run more than 300 articles, columns, and editorials about Pruitt in the past two months.

From SOP to Scandal
Pruitt is the subject of 
several investigations—initiated by Democrats—for what has long been standard operating procedure in Washington: Juicing raises for loyal aides, overspending on office perks, and favoring special interests tied to a common political agenda. All of these are now sources of outrage for Obama Amnesiacs.

Pruitt has been Trump’s most effective cabinet member and is applauded by the Republican base for reforming one of Washington’s most despised bureaucracies. He has dismantled Obama’s costly, burdensome, and unscientific climate change agenda; cut regulations; and exposed the politically-motivated scientists and bureaucrats who long controlled the agency. For this, and not because they actually care about any of the alleged fluffing of budgets, the Left wants his scalp.

On Capitol Hill last Thursday, several Democratic lawmakers demanded that Pruitt resign or be fired by the president. Without any sense of irony, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) told Pruitt he “has brought secrecy, conflicts of interest, and scandal to the EPA. In any other administration, Republican or Democrat, you’d be long gone by now. You are unfit to hold public office and undeserving of the public trust. Every indication we have is that you really should resign.” He further called Pruitt “an embarrassment to President Trump” and said if he were president, “I wouldn’t want your help, I would just get rid of you.” (Everyone clap that there is no President Pallone.)

But those were mere pleasantries compared with what came next. Pallone suggested Pruitt was responsible for the deaths of two men who used paint strippers containing methylene chloride. Although the chemical has been blamed for allegedly killing dozens of people before Trump became president, Pallone despicably labeled Pruitt a killer for not yet banning the substance. Pallone recognized a man in attendance at the hearing whose brother died after using paint stripper: “Mr. Pruitt, your deregulatory agenda costs lives. Real people with names, with mothers, with brothers. You have the power to finalize the ban on methylene chloride now and prevent more deaths, but you haven’t done it. Do you have anything to say to these families?”

Gee, and people wonder why Pruitt needs a heavy security detail.

Eleventh-Hour Rules Run Amok
But here’s a little backstory on how the Obama Administration set-up Trump’s incoming EPA. On January 19, 2017—the day before Trump was sworn in—McCarthy issued a 
proposed rule to ban nearly all uses of methylene chloride. Despite having eight years to prohibit the manufacture, distribution or importation of this purportedly deadly chemical, Obama’s EPA waited until its final hours to act. (Just one among dozens of costly rules and regulations Obama imposed during the waning months of his presidency.) Although the EPA is still currently considering whether to ban methylene chloride, Pruitt’s foes continue to misrepresent his agency’s handling of the review process so they can call him a murderer.

The same political chicanery was applied to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide commonly used in agriculture. After years of ignoring—then fighting in court—a petition filed by environmental groups to ban chlorpyrifos, Obama’s EPA was forced to act in 2015 after a federal court ruled the agency’s delay was “egregious and warrants mandamus relief.” The agency then issued a proposed rule to prohibit chlorpyrifos residue on food, but continued fighting a final ban due to unconvincing research that the pesticide posed a threat to human health.

That magically changed on November 10, 2016, when the EPA “modified” its scientific mooring for the 2015 rule. The revised analysis suddenly raised concerns about chlorpyrifos in drinking water and food crops, setting the stage for the full ban it had fought for nearly eight years. In March 2017, Pruitt denied the original petition seeking to ban the pesticide and accused the previous administration of cherry-picking data. “The public record lays out serious scientific concerns and substantive process gaps in the proposal. Reliable data, overwhelming in both quantity and quality, contradicts the reliance on—and misapplication of—studies to establish the end points and conclusions used to rationalize the proposal.”

That move helped the media portray Pruitt as a monster who wants to poison children. New York Times columnist Nick Kristof—always an easy mark for anti-industry pseudoscience—cited shoddy research tying the pesticide to lower IQs in children, then accused Trump and Pruitt of damaging kids’ brains by not banning it. Kristof wrote that the pair has been “tragically effective at dismantling environmental and health regulations, so that Trump’s most enduring legacy may be cancer, infertility and diminished I.Q.s for decades to come.” (Just think of how many brains Obama and McCarthy damaged in eight years!)

But it wasn’t just dangerous chemicals that had Obama Amnesiacs in a huff last week. Democrats were outraged at Pruitt’s spending habits, even before he became EPA chief. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) lamented Pruitt’s “lack of respect for American taxpayers.” (Tonko earned an “F” from the National Taxpayer Union in 2016 and just a 5 percent score from Club for Growth.) Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), whose husband went to jail in 2006 for bank fraud, blasted Pruitt for purchasing a new vehicle with tax dollars. “Isn’t it true that you upgraded from a Chevy Tahoe to a Chevy Suburban with leather interior and other luxury features?” (Schakowsky also has a 5 percent rating from the Club for Growth and an F” from NTU. ) The congresswoman then asked Pruitt why he upgraded from a sedan to a “big, black luxury SUV” when he was Oklahoma attorney general.

Fortunately, it looks like Pruitt’s job is safe for now and the president won’t bend to the Pruitt Lynch Mob. But no doubt the Obama Amnesiacs will keep trying and hope those of us who paid attention to the EPA before November 2016 succumb to amnesia, too.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images

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America • Energy • Environment • Post • Progressivism • Technology • The Culture

Earth Day: More About Hurling Tomatoes Than Planting Them

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Earth Day has changed a lot since its inception in 1970, and not for the better. In the spirit of the time, it started as a touchy-feely, consciousness-raising, idealistic experience. Attendees were prototypic tree-huggers.

In recent years, Earth Day has evolved into an occasion for environmental Cassandras to prophesy apocalypse, dish anti-technology dirt, and proselytize.

Now there’s more heaving tomatoes than planting them.

Instead of focusing on how to preserve and protect nature, many of those stumping for Earth Day on Sunday expressed opposition to environment-friendly advances in science and technology, such as agricultural biotechnology and nuclear power. Another pervasive sentiment was disdain for the capitalist system that provides the resources to expend on environmental protection and conservation. (It’s no coincidence that poor countries tend to be the most polluted.)

Rachel Carson, Earth Day’s Patron Saint
School kids are increasingly involved in Earth Day activities, and many are assigned to read Rachel Carson’s best-selling 1962 book Silent Spring, an emotionally charged but deeply flawed excoriation of the widespread spraying of chemical pesticides for the control of insects. As described by Roger Meiners and Andy Morriss in their scholarly yet eminently readable analysis, “Silent Spring at 50: Reflections on an Environmental Classic,” Carson exploited her reputation as a well-known nature writer to advocate and legitimize “positions linked to a darker tradition in American environmental thinking: neo-Malthusian population control and anti-technology efforts.”

Carson’s proselytizing and advocacy led to the virtual banning of DDT and to restrictions on other chemical pesticides even though Silent Spring was replete with gross misrepresentations and scholarship so atrocious that if Carson were an academic, she would be guilty of misconduct.

Carson’s observations about DDT were meticulously rebutted point by point by Dr. J. Gordon Edwards, a professor of entomology at San Jose State University, a longtime member of the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society, and a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.

In his stunning 1992 essay, “The Lies of Rachel Carson,” Edwards demolished her arguments and assertions and called attention to critical omissions, faulty assumptions, and outright fabrications. Consider this from Edwards:

This implication that DDT is horribly deadly is completely false. Human volunteers have ingested as much as 35 milligrams of it a day for nearly two years and suffered no adverse effects. Millions of people have lived with DDT intimately during the mosquito spray programs and nobody even got sick as a result. The National Academy of Sciences concluded in 1965 that “in a little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million [human] deaths that would otherwise have been inevitable.” The World Health Organization stated that DDT had “killed more insects and saved more people than any other substance.”

Meiners and Morriss conclude correctly that the influence of Silent Spring “encourages some of the most destructive strains within environmentalism: alarmism, technophobia, failure to consider the costs and benefits of alternatives, and the discounting of human well-being around the world.”

Eco-Fundamentalism
One of the United Kingdom’s great thinkers, Dick Taverne, (a.k.a., Lord Taverne of Pimlico), discusses the shortcomings of New Age philosophy in his book, The March of Unreason. Taverne deplores the “new kind of fundamentalism” that has infiltrated many environmentalist campaigns—an undiscriminating back-to-nature movement that views science and technology as the enemy and as a manifestation of an exploitative, rapacious, and reductionist attitude toward nature. It is no coincidence, he believes, that eco-fundamentalists are strongly represented in anti-globalization and anti-capitalism demonstrations worldwide.

Taverne’s views echo those of the late physician and novelist Michael Crichton, who argued in his much-acclaimed novel State of Fear that eco-fundamentalists have reinterpreted traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths and made a religion of environmentalism. This religion has its own Eden and paradise, where mankind lived in a state of grace and unity with nature until mankind’s fall, which came not after eating a forbidden fruit, but after partaking of the forbidden tree of knowledge—that is, science. This religion also has a judgment day to come for us in this polluted world—all of us, that is, except for true environmentalists, who will be saved by achieving salvation, in the form of “sustainability.”

Environmental Alarmism as a Philosophy
One of Crichton’s characters argues that since the end of the Cold War, environmental alarmism in Western nations has filled the void left by the disappearance of the terror of Communism and nuclear holocaust, and that social control is now maintained by highly exaggerated fears about pollution, global warming, chemicals, genetic engineering and the like.

This year’s officially designated, exaggerated fear is plastics, and pursuant to the Earth Day theme, “End Plastic Pollution,” the Earth Day organizers have produced a “Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit,” which enumerates all the scary warnings that activists should use to “empower journalists” to frighten the public and spur politicians to drastic regulatory action.

How dire is the plastics threat? According to the Earth Day website, it’s off the charts: “From poisoning and injuring marine life to the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our food to disrupting human hormones and causing major life-threatening diseases and early puberty, the exponential growth of plastics is threatening our planet’s survival.” (Except that naturally-occurring bacteria have been discovered that rapidly degrade plastics, and genetic engineering will likely boost their efficiency.)

The eco-fundamentalists often peddle fear in the guise of promoting safety. French writer and philosopher Pascal Bruckner captured their view of the world nicely:

You’ll get what you’ve got coming! That is the death wish that our misanthropes address to us. These are not great souls who alert us to troubles but tiny minds who wish us suffering if we have the presumption to refuse to listen to them. Catastrophe is not their fear but their joy.

The tiny-minded misanthropes have enjoyed some of what they would consider “successes.” They have effectively banished agricultural biotechnology from Europe and Africa, have the chemical industry on the run, and have the pharmaceutical industry in their crosshairs. Should we be surprised that plastics are next?

Lord Taverne believes these are ominous trends that conflict with the principles of the Enlightenment, returning us to an era in which inherited dogma and superstition took precedence over experimental data. Not only does eco-fundamentalism retard technologies and the availability of products which, used responsibly, could dramatically improve and extend many lives and protect the environment, but they also strangle scientific creativity and technological innovation.

Defending Science, Reason, and Democracy
With Congress, the administration, and many Americans now firmly on the side of more sensible, more limited regulation, it behooves activists to collaborate in good faith and to support advances in environment-friendly technologies and business models. Among these, we would include ridesharing services, Airbnb, modern genetic engineering applied to agriculture, state-of-the-art agricultural chemicals, and nuclear power, all of which enable us to do more with less but which are regularly vilified by activists.

We are not sufficiently naïve to expect that to happen. Rather, we suspect that activists’ eco-fundamentalism will continue to undermine the health and wealth of civilized society.

Lord Taverne observed that when you defend science and reason, you defend democracy itself. Well said, sir, and happy belated Earth Day to you.

Photo credit: Jamie Grill/iStock/Getty Images

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America • Energy • Environment • Post • Technology • The Left • The Resistance (Snicker)

Alight With Good Intentions

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I guess “Lit” is the new “Woke.”

On April 14, David S. Buckel, a prominent attorney renowned for championing gay rights and environmental causes, doused himself with gasoline and burned himself alive in what he called a “protest suicide” to bring attention to our lack of action on the environment. His suicide note, appropriately found in a garbage bag next to the carbon refuse of his charred remains, read:

I am David Buckel and I just killed myself by fire as a protest suicide. I apologize to you for the mess.

An attention-grabber to be sure, but Buckel didn’t stop there. In a longer epistle marked “left for police,” which Buckel also emailed to various news outlets he continued:

Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather . . . Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result—my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.

I suppose he forgot about all the fossil fuels that help produce and provide the ability to create efficient supply chains for the medicines and medical devices responsible for saving millions of lives, or the music and art that make our lives meaningful. Most good people, on either side of the political divide, have the desire to alleviate human suffering. The differences and disagreements between us arise in our proposed solutions to the question of how best to alleviate that suffering.

David Buckel, however, in his zealotry didn’t seem interested in seeing how human suffering over the past century has been alleviated, in no small part, thanks to the very technological advances and fossil fuels he killed himself protesting. That, overall, human beings are living longer, and existential human misery and fear of an early death is at its lowest point in human history.

Since the use of fossil fuels exploded during the Industrial Revolution, infant mortality has plunged while the average lifespan has increased tremendously. Further, countries that use the most fossil fuels, that have the easiest access to cheap, efficient energy, have longer life spans and happier populations than those without.

But never mind all that. The attorney’s missive continued :

My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves. A lifetime of service may best be preserved by giving a life . . . Honorable purpose in life invites honorable purchase in death. I hope it is an honorable death that might serve others.

Buckel’s suicide is thus the apotheosis of a hardly new idea—human beings are a virus. Academics, the media, and intelligentsia for years have been peddling the notion  that humanity itself is a vermin on the earth and that salvation can only come about by extreme action: privation on the part of the poor, indulgences on the part of the rich via carbon taxes or credits, and acts of extreme physical repentance by people like Buckel.

The activist’s suicide might easily be dismissed as the last acts of a crazy person, but because he was such a prominent public figure in the progressive community, his death certainly widens the Overton window for environmental activism. Now that it’s been done by someone so prominent, it’s no longer merely theoretical. Suicides like this one will happen again, and with increasing frequency.

In his letter, Buckel humbly compares himself to the Tibetan monks who self-immolated in protest of China’s continued occupation of their country. Setting aside possible issues of cultural appropriation, his suicide is already being lionized and its mythos framed in this light on Twitter. What’s even more disturbing is that it’s only a small skip to move from the zealotry of self-destruction to the externalization of that impulse. Pray that the next evolution of this type of thinking—destroying sinners against the environment—doesn’t develop too quickly; because it’s really only a matter of time.

The difference, of course, is that the Tibetan monks were protesting oppression of people by a tyrannical regime. They were protesting the diminution of the people’s rights by actual oppressors. They were protesting man’s inhumanity to man. Buckel’s protest, on the other hand, is designed to convince people to live lives of privation and to pressure governments to create more restrictions. Unlike those who sacrificed themselves to draw attention to tyranny and oppression, David Buckel killed himself because he apparently thought governments aren’t oppressing people enough. He immolated himself because you and I have too many rights and luxuries that, to his thinking, are harmful to the planet. Ultimately, he was a martyr for tyranny, not against it.

Ironically, there are more environmental regulations both domestically and internationally now than at any other time in history.

Buckel’s suicide does not appear to be a result of losing any documented struggle with mental illness or depression. When asked by The New Yorker whether Buckel was suffering from depression, his husband Terry Kaelber answered with a resounding no. Buckel was “distressed more than depressed,” Kaelber said. “He was also trying to figure out what’s next—what someone can do.”

Evidently, the suicide was what he thought he could do. The suicide was one of passion for a cause he increasingly identified with and found meaning in fighting for and not a result of mental illness. As such, compassion isn’t warranted . . . at all. As a matter of fact, it is our natural inclination to feel compassion that Buckel hoped to use against us.

The suicide should, however, serve as a warning as we move forward in increasingly divided and insular waters where digital media amplifies our insecurities and inflames our passions. As our society continues to move away from the intimacies and civility that arise due to the nature and requirements of physical proximity and instead gives primacy to the virtual, social media-created echo chambers, as well as the symbolic and tribally political, we shouldn’t be surprised as people begin to fetishize and even worship the symbols with which they become increasingly connected.

As people move toward defining themselves as the sum of their likes and sloganeering on Facebook, do not be surprised by an increased incidence of seemingly crazy behavior. In Buckel’s case, this was environmentalism.

Let’s not mince words. David Buckel burned himself alive to protest our success as a species. His suicide note is nothing short of guilt-laden jeremiad from death’s pulpit that takes aim at humanity’s amazing and steadily improving ability to thwart, or at least make less severe, nature’s unstoppable, seemingly malevolent, impulse to kill us at every turn. His screed condemns our capacity to find comfort in an environment that is, ultimately, hostile.

Buckel’s note attempts to paint as abhorrent the mechanisms by which life in our times has been made longer, better, and easier for billions of people around the globe. Ultimately, his suicide was a cheap, puritanical and cynically nihilistic scold made visceral. David Buckel’s suicide deserves nothing but scorn, condemnation, and mockery and it should be held up as evidence of the increasingly religious and dangerous nature of the environmentalist movement he sought to advance by weaponizing guilt and our capacity for compassion.

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Administrative State • America • Congress • Democrats • Economy • Energy • Environment • Government Reform • Post • Progressivism • separation of powers • The Constitution

Federal Rulemaking: Some Are More Equal Than Others

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Contrary to myth, frogs don’t swim around, unaware of danger, as the water around them gradually heats to a boil. Only humans are that stupid.

One degree at a time, with Americans little aware, our constitutional republic has morphed into a regime largely controlled by bureaucrats, who propagate far more rules than Congress passes laws. In 2015 alone, federal agencies made 3,554 new rules versus 224 new laws passed by Congress.

In making each rule, the bureaucracy uses a process that shuts out most Americans.

First, an agency consults with “stakeholders,” those with a special interest in an issue, as it cobbles together a proposed rule. Regular people aren’t included.

Consider the rules on dishwashing machines. Beginning in the 1980s, federal regulations dramatically increased the price of dishwashers while slowing them down. (It used to take an hour on average to wash and dry dishes. Now it takes two and a half hours.) Dishwasher manufacturers, “greens,” and other well-organized groups were consulted during the rulemaking process, but not typical American consumers. Today, most people with dishwashers know that the machines work poorly—manufacturers get piles of complaints—but few people have any idea that their own government is the reason for this irritating change.

“Public Comment” is a Joke
After an agency proposes a rule, there is a period, usually 30 to 180 days, when members of the public may comment. Comments are supposed to represent the voice of the people, but they’re really the voice of a small segment, those with Washington lobbyists or with staffers who pore through the
Federal Register (the government’s journal) looking for proposals that threaten or promote their interests.

In August, I testified at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires that gasoline be blended with “renewable” fuels such as ethanol. Within limits, EPA bureaucrats set the level of that requirement.

The hearing was held at the Hyatt Regency near the U.S. Capitol. Some 150 other people also testified, representing the American Coalition for Ethanol, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, the National Biodiesel Board, the American Petroleum Institute, and the like, along with environmentalist groups. Those of us who attempted to represent consumers, who are forced to buy this stuff, could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

During my testimony, I noted that the fuel rule obliges “members of the federal bureaucracy—who are neither elected nor accountable to the voters—to do the job that the Constitution gives to Congress. In place of republican democracy, we get hearings, and we get the gathering of comments from those who are well-organized enough to follow the course of proposed regulations and to provide written or oral remarks.” I pointed to row after row of special-interest representatives seated behind me at the hearing. “Not exactly grassroots America,” I said.

“Testing the Limits” of Lobbying Law
When the comments don’t go their way, bureaucrats cheat.

That happened with the Waters of the United States, one of the few proposed sets of rules to which millions of Americans paid attention. The federal government is supposed to make the rules for waters that carry people and goods between countries or between the various states of our nation, but the EPA wanted to expand its power, giving itself control of virtually every stream, creek, pond, and ditch in the country.

The New York Times exposed the EPA’s attempt to manufacture the appearance of public support for the rule. “In a campaign that tests the limits of federal lobbying law, the agency orchestrated a drive to counter political opposition from Republicans and enlist public support in concert with liberal environmental groups and a grass-roots organization aligned with President Obama.”

The EPA “sponsored a drive on Facebook and Twitter to promote its proposed clean water rule in conjunction with the Sierra Club. At the same time, Organizing for Action, a grass-roots group with deep ties to Mr. Obama, was also pushing the rule. They urged the public to flood the agency with positive comments to counter opposition from farming and industry groups.” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy pointed to the favorable response. “We have received over one million comments, and 87.1 percent of those comments we have counted so far . . . are supportive of this rule,” she told a Senate committee.

Meanwhile, they threw away comments they didn’t like. The Washington Times reported that, when Ken Kopocis, head of the EPA’s Office of Water, was pressed by a member of Congress “to divulge the ratio of positive comments to negative comments on the rule, Kopocis demurred. He said many of the comments both pro and con were part of mass mailing campaigns, and the EPA discarded them.”

This is What Democracy Looks Like?
Normal people, upon learning details of the “public comment” process, quickly recognize it as a fraud, as a way of subverting the democratic, constitutional system that is supposed to be the foundation for government in this country.

Bureaucrats see the “public comment” process as “real” democracy.

A bureaucrat friend explained to me her thinking and that of her colleagues: American democracy is broken, with billionaires like the Koch brothers electing Republicans to Congress and state legislatures even though Republicans are awful people. Real democracy, she said, is represented in the rulemaking process, in which “everyone has a say,” and all interests can be weighed fairly before the final rule takes effect. Those rules, she said, are written by knowledgeable people who have Americans’ best interests at heart.

To the bureaucrats, it’s like the leftist chant: “This is what democracy looks like!”

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

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America • Defense of the West • Economy • Education • Energy • Environment • feminists • First Amendment • Free Speech • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post • race • The Culture • The Left • The Resistance (Snicker)

How Do We Say the Things We Cannot Say?

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Society becomes polarized and impoverished when obvious truths are denied. To address the ensuing malaise, government expands. When government expands, government unions flourish. And there are few things generally less understood yet more consequential than the symbiosis between expanding government and government unions.

On nearly every controversial issue of significance, certain perspectives of vital importance disappear. Purveyors of these perspectives, critical to informed debate, are marginalized. Conventional wisdom as defined and enforced by a supermajority of influencers in politics, academia, entertainment, mainstream media and social media, deny these voices access to critical avenues of logic and reason. The price of transgression is oblivion.

On the issues of ethnicity, sex, culture, immigration, and environmentalism, there are powerful counterarguments to the conventional wisdom. They are motivated by a desire to offer the most happiness to the most people, all over the world. These counterarguments rest on premises that form the foundations for broad policy agendas. Without accepting these foundations as at least as credible as the conventional wisdom they are challenging, honest and fair debate is impossible.

Here are three forbidden premises:

Because individual qualifications and aptitudes are not evenly distributed across all ethnicities and genders, ethnic and gender quotas are a bad idea. How can anyone make this assertion in a convincing and compassionate way? How does a caring person explain that when less qualified applicants are institutionally preferred for jobs, promotions, housing, loans, college admissions, political candidacies, corporate boards, etc., the negative consequences eventually outweigh the positive ones?

How do we convey with charity that quotas foster tribalism, corruption, hypocrisy, and mediocrity? How might anyone appeal to members of so-called disadvantaged and disempowered communities to accept uniform standards for achievement? How can they be convinced the system isn’t rigged in favor of the privileged, if they are persistently underrepresented?

Conformist thinkers, of course, are well-intentioned. Yet they search diligently for statistical evidence of disparate group outcomes so they can encourage resentment then rescue the resentful. For them, historical depredations and contemporary discrimination can only be countered by mandatory quotas. Those who object are trying to hang on to unwarranted, unearned privilege. And leading the charge? Public sector unions, funded with billions per year in mandatory public sector employee dues, relentlessly pursuing equality of outcome regardless of qualifications or effort, because wherever meritocracy is banned, new armies of unionized government bureaucrats step in as referees.

All cultures are not equally successful in nurturing prosperity, scientific achievement, and individual rights. Here again, making a statement like this invites withering criticism. But absent this premise, there is no foundation to promote our values abroad or protect them internally. There is no moral basis to resist mass immigration of millions of destitute, unskilled people who are resolved not to adopt our values, but to instead transform our own society to accommodate their values. There is no moral basis to resist the liberal agenda in public education, which seeks to indict Western Civilization instead of inspiring students with the hard-won virtues our society offers them.

And from California onward across America, what organization works the hardest to undermine America’s splendid culture—one that has evolved from its luminous founding principles to become, now more than ever, the most inclusive, tolerant, prosperous society on earth? Public sector unions, the teachers union in particular, that advocate for curricula from kindergarten through the university steeped in negativity towards American culture. Public schools in America are increasingly oriented to training students, immigrant and native-born alike, to believe they live in an irredeemably racist and sexist nation.

Fossil fuel and nuclear power are essential preconditions for prosperity and peace. For the mainstream conformist, this is heresy. Making a statement like this, despite it being utterly, inescapably true, stamps one as dangerously delusional. Yet the moral argument for scaling up worldwide production of cost-effective, clean and abundant conventional energy is compelling. For global per-capita energy consumption to reach just half the level of per-capita energy consumption in the United States, global energy production would need to more than double. Currently, renewable power accounts for less than 3 percent of global energy production. Only an aggressive “all of the above” energy strategy can hope to extend to all nations the opportunities Americans have had, and the sooner the better.

Here again, forming the vanguard of the anti-energy coalition are public sector unions. When enforced scarcity in the name of fighting “climate change” leads to soaring home prices, government unions enjoy higher property tax revenue. When policy-driven asset inflation creates investment bubbles, government unions can more easily pretend their pension funds are solvent. And, of course, policing a society where energy use is strictly rationed requires thousands of new unionized government bureaucrats.

The Things We Cannot Say Are True
These things we cannot say are not only true, they are essential to the vitality of our nation, for our own prosperity and freedom, and also for our ability to be a role model for the rest of the world.

In that context, they are not misanthropic according to any reasonable understanding of misanthropy. On the contrary, they are empathetic. They are compassionate. They point the way for people here and abroad to aspire to a better future, an achievable future grounded in reality. A future that is based on dreams backed up by hard work and faith instead of resentment and delusion. Conformists and contrarians alike should proclaim these things we cannot say as loudly and as often as they possibly can.

If some groups of people don’t achieve as much as other groups of people, then reform the public schools that denied them the education they deserved. That can start by getting rid of the teachers’ unions in public schools.

If some cultures don’t want to embrace individual rights and emancipate women, and some of them really don’t, then stop pretending American values are no better. Stop teaching children to find more bad than good in American culture. That too can start by getting rid of teachers’ union in public schools.

And if you care about global prosperity and all the benefits that come with that—female emancipation, public health, public education, population stabilization, and the wealth required to protect wildlife and wilderness—then stop pretending that “global warming” justifies shutting down the expansion of production of clean conventional energy. And that includes exposing how public sector unions profit when development is curtailed.

The things we cannot say must be said, because they are good things to say, by people who care about people.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

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America • American Conservatism • California • Center for American Greatness • civic culture/friendship • Democrats • Economy • Elections • Energy • Environment • Free Speech • GOPe • Government Reform • Political Parties • Post • Progressivism • Republicans • self-government • The Left

Twitter’s Jack Likes Article Vowing War on Republicans. Bring It

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When two California progressives write a sophomoric think piece about how to dispense with the country’s ruling political party, most sensible people don’t take it too seriously. But Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, apparently thought this idea had merit. Jack—as he’s known on the social media platform he helped to create—caused a bit of an uproar last week with this:

The “great read” was a Medium article published in January by Peter Leyden and Ruy Teixeira. It’s hard to see exactly what made Jack swoon, except that it calls for the demise of Donald Trump’s presidency and the entire Republican Party across the country, which must have some appeal to the guy whose platform is under fire for its Left-wing bias. The pair correctly claims we are engaged in a “new Civil War” and insists the Left can win by following the California model of economic dynamism, fair governance (ha!), ethnic diversity, and a renewable energy grid.

The piece is more of a climate-change screed than a legitimate political playbook, but it is also one in a series of posts bragging about California and offering “an in-depth look at how the blue state today is inventing the political future that will come to all America in the next 15 years.” But to clear the way for the Californication of America, according to Leyden and Teixeira, Republicans in ass-backward “red states” must be vanquished:

America finally needs to take the Republican Party down for a generation or two. Not just the presidency. Not just clear out the U.S. House. Not just tip back the Senate. But fundamentally beat the Republicans on all levels at once, including clearing out governorships and statehouses across the land. The Republican Party over the past 40 years has maneuvered itself into a position where they are the bad guys on the wrong side of history.

Leyden makes a mistake common among the smug techno-aristocracy: they believe, unfortunately, their ability to design digital platforms or social media outlets or online shopping websites also confers upon them the wisdom needed to dispense political advice to roughly half of the population who thinks their ideology is complete bullshit. (See movie stars and late night comedy hosts for more examples.) They view themselves as conquerors of the lower castes just because they understand how algorithms work.

A farmer in Peoria or small business owner in Des Moines wouldn’t make it past the first few paragraphs of the Medium article because they have actual work to do. Further, suggesting to folks who live in “red states” that they should follow the example of one of the country’s biggest basketcases would make them guffaw so hard that they wouldn’t be able to read the ludicrous idea through their tears of laughter. Keep in mind, this is the same state that’s shuttering nuclear plants, banning plastic straws, and labeling coffee as carcinogenic.

While the authors boast about the “economic powerhouses of the coasts,” New York and California lost nearly 330,000 residents combined in one year alone. Those two states are number one and number three in the country for out-migration. And, sorry, dudes, but the red state of Iowa was just ranked the best overall state by U.S. News & World Report based on the aggregate score of 75 economic and lifestyle factors.

Plus, when liberals claim they can win a “war,” they don’t mean a real war with weapons and ammo and flak jackets and trenches because, ew gross. Most of these “Big Bang Theory” combatants want a war they can wage from Lyfe Kitchen, firing off 280-character grenades from their iPhone and posting 4,000 words of verbal vomit on a left-wing website while eating a $15 Red Thai Curry bowl.

But the Medium piece is useful in that it lays out the modern-day, unabashed thuggery of the tyrannical Left where no dissent is permitted, no middle-class virtue is respected, no opposing view is tolerated. Republicans are no longer fellow countrymen who merely choose to live in areas where the Left doesn’t want to live and do work the Left doesn’t want to do.

Instead, the authors argue—echoing the totalitarian agenda advocated by so many of their class—this is “a fundamental conflict between two worldviews that must be resolved in short order.”

OK. Game on.

While we await incoming Twitter missiles and Vox columns from Berkeley and Manhattan, I think the folks on this side should get busy planning our counterattack. Here are a few skirmishes we can start:

Stop providing fossil-fuel energy to blue states: Leyden and Teixeira blame “incompatible energy systems” for part of the country’s political divide: “The red states held by the Republicans are deeply entrenched in carbon-based energy systems like coal. The blue states held by the Democrats are increasingly shifting to clean energy like solar and installing policies that wean the energy system off carbon. In the era of climate change, with the mounting pressure of increased natural disasters, something must give.”

Terrific! Let us help.

Climate change-denying red states will no longer export fossil fuels to blue states. Since 15 of the 20 top energy-producing states voted for Trump, this should be a cinch. I mean, the Union Army didn’t sell guns to the Confederate Army, right? If we are such planet-killing, scientifically illiterate rubes, we’ll sell our oil and natural gas elsewhere and you geniuses come up with another way to power jet planes and electrify major cities like New York and Los Angeles. Good luck.

Stop sending food to blue states: Farmers overwhelmingly voted for Trump and, as with the energy-producing states, 15 of 20 biggest food-producing states voted for Trump. (With California, obviously, being a big exception.) And all that corn from Trump Country? It’s not just used to make animal feed and foodstuffs; corn is also used to make cosmetics, disposable diapers, degradable plastics, soap, and wallpaper just to name a few items. Oh, and don’t forget about beer and whiskey. (A new whiskey rebellion!). Enjoy your lousy pinot grigio, blue staters.

Stop paying federal taxes: Democrats historically have insisted that Republicans are the party of “the one percent.” Leyden and Teixeira howl about the “differences between two economic systems or two classes that are fundamentally at odds” and the need for “big system overhauls that will create new winners and losers.”

Again, let us help.

Since Republicans are so venal, why accept our blood money into federal coffers? If you want to block us from being represented at every level of government—from the White House to Congress to state legislative bodies—we will take our money with us, starting at the federal treasury. Feel free to create your own new winners and losers without our financial help.

The superiority complex of the Left, in combination with its goonish tactics and authoritarian predilections, deserves more mockery than sincere consideration. But it never hurts to have a backup plan: Taking away their electricity, their food, and their scotch might wipe that condescending smirk right off their collective face.

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