What Will Legal Marijuana Cost Employers?

What effect will legalized marijuana have on employers?  National Families in Action, a drug policy and education organization, is releasing a White Paper that examines problems employers are facing in states that have legalized marijuana for medical or retail use. 

The paper addresses how marijuana laws are changing, how these laws will affect employers’ ability to conduct business, and what employers can do to protect that ability. It was written by Sue Rusche, president and CEO of National Families in Action and Kevin Sabet, Ph.D., president and co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. Guided by an advisory group of experts representing diverse fields, from employment law to occupational nursing to company executives to drug policy, the White Paper asks tough questions informed by events transpiring in legal marijuana states.

The paper addresses issues such as:

    •    Will employers be able to maintain a drug-free workplace?
    •    How will employers accommodate employees who use medical marijuana?
    •    How can employers with employees in multiple states comply with drug laws that differ from state to state?  
    •    Will employers be able to shift employees who use marijuana to other jobs?
    •    Will employers have an adequate supply of qualified workers?

Lawsuits have already begun in states with legalized marijuana as employees try to establish various rights that clash with employers’ commitments to maintain drug-free workplaces mandated by federal funding and federal contracts, to conduct business with conflicting laws from state to state, and to protect employees and the public from the consequences of increased marijuana use and related problems.

The White Paper examines some of these lawsuits and provides a scientific evaluation of the consequences of marijuana use to alert employers about what lies ahead if marijuana is fully legalized. It also suggests steps employers can take to protect safety, productivity, and the bottom line. 

What Will Legal Marijuana Cost Employers can be found on National Families in Action’s website here.

The Real Reason a Republican Congress Can’t Undo Obama’s Damage

Washington politicians have sold out and America is going down. This is Bible prophecy which also shows God’s plan—something you wouldn’t imagine!

When this author visited U.S. Senators with medical literature to show adverse drug reactions were the leading cause of death before age 75, one senator said, “You are wasting your time—they own us,” speaking of drug company donations to their reelection campaigns.

Congress votes as drug companies want, like Obamacare and other “healthcare” bills, falsely so called. This means millions in taxes to subsidize lying, greedy drug companies that enjoy positive media coverage because of their ads. Doctors like the system—they don’t have time to question the patient about what might be causing the symptoms—in most cases they can just write a prescription and say, “See me in a couple weeks.” But sooner or later, the patient reacts to the drug and then there are two problems instead of one.

If members of congress will sell out on one issue, they will sell out on other issues. Washington is sold out and so goes the nation. Probably every president since JFK has been threatened with the similar fate, so they all go along with shadow government plans for a New World Order. President Reagan was much loved, but he did more than most towards NWO by appointing an ambassador to the Vatican, approving REX 84. (Google)

We’ve been going down for 40+ years since a “Supreme Court” approved the murder of the unborn. God judged Egypt for murdering boy babies, but 57 million abortions make U.S. worse in spite of an empty profession of a “Godly nation.” Amid a drunken feast in Babylon, handwriting appeared on the wall to say, Weighed in the balances and found wanting, Daniel 5. That very night, Medes and Persians conquered Babylon as they are conquering the U.S. now.

The Medes and Persians are geographically Iraq and Iran and a pro-Muslim White House has approved U.S. taxes to fund mosques and bring their refugees here with the “benefits” that citizens who pay taxes get: Obamacare, education, welfare, compliments of the U.S. tax-payer, when they can’t get along over there.

God foresaw the nature of Islam. Speaking of Ishmael and his descendents, ”he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him,” Genesis 16:12.  This is not to say all Arabs or Muslims are that way, but Nazi Germany or Communist Russia were the result of a small militant minority. There is no reason to open the gates to militants who want Sharia Law and an Islamic America.

So what is God’s plan? He says He “declares the end from the beginning,” Isaiah 46:10. In Genesis 15:18, God covenanted to give Abraham land for his “seed.” The apostle Paul reminds us that “If you are Christ’s, you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according ot the promise [of land].” Galatians 3:29.

That land is the only provision God has for Christians or anyone who does not want to be part of the New World Order that will involve compulsion to false worship. Those who are willing to be part of the New World Order will suffer the plagues of Revelation 16 as the Bible says:

“ If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.” Rev 14:9,10.

Early Americans believed that “beast” (first political cartoon in Revelation 13) was the papacy which they had fled. They risked everything on the high seas for a new untamed world. The “image” beast is the New World Order that the U.S. [lamb-like beast in Rev 13:11] has made, and it is called an image because it will look like the Old World Order (papal beast) from God’s perspective when it forces false worship on everyone as Rev 13:14-17 shows.

Someone said, When everyone is tearing out their apricot trees to plant cherries, then is the time to plant apricots! The same is true here. When everyone wants to come to America for its prosperity, now’s the time to see God’s plan as reflected by the apostle Paul when he spoke of the Exodus and said, “All these things happened to them for examples…ends of the world.” 1Corinthians 10:1,11.

God took Israel to a covenant relationship and a wilderness experience to prove what was in their hearts. It didn’t turn out so well, but if we’ve learned anything from Scripture, God can do what He says and the good news for end-times is the New Covenant Promise for God to write His laws in our hearts. Ezekiel 36:24-28.

This is not an option. We must have this experience before Christ comes in the sky. If not, we would start trouble all over again in heaven because we would be unchanged and God won’t be forcing us there anymore than here. Israel didn’t know what was in their hearts till they had the wilderness experience, and we don’t either! Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” (God knows!)

In spite of our failings, God has an amazing promise:”the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.” Jeremiah 30:3. The chapter ends, “in the latter days you will consider it.” Then consider the next chapter–

“I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the ends of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child…a great throng shall return there…they shall come back from the land of the enemy.” Jeremiah 31:8,16 is the context for the New Covenant Promise in verses 31-33.

In the New World Order, we might expect Jerusalem to be a cosmopolitan area that will have tolerance for Arabs, Jews and Christians, so the likelihood of compulsion to false worship should be minimal until Antichrist comes as suggested in 2 Thessalonians 2, and that will be years away in contrast to martial law and FEMA camps that are impending now.

Christians should be prepared to flee the cities when we see martial law being set up. Christ warned us to flee when we see what the early believers understood as military and fled Jerusalem, Mark 13:14.

For more information, I recommend reading Apocalypse 2015 on Amazon.  You can get a PDF of Apocalypse at http://TheBridegroomComes.com (lower right column).

Florida: Keeping Perverts out of Public Bathrooms Bill Advances

A public safety bill has been introduced in the Florida legislature. CS/CS/HB 583 – Single-Sex Public Facilities states:

Provides purpose & legislative findings; requires that use of single-sex public facilities be restricted to persons of sex for which facility is designated; prohibits knowingly & willfully entering single-sex public facility designated for or restricted to persons of other sex; provides criminal penalties; provides private cause of action against violators; provides exemptions; provides applicability with respect to other laws; provides for preemption.

This bill has got transgenders, homosexuals, bisexuals, Equality Florida and the ACLU  in an uproar.

Frank Artiles

Republican Sate Representative, District 118, Frank Artiles

Chris Justice from the Broward/Palm Beach New Times reports:

[Republican Representative, District 118] Frank Artiles’ restroom bill that is being criticized as an antitransgender ordinance has passed its second hurdle in 12 days. On Tuesday, the House Government Operations Subcommittee voted to approve the bill 7-4. Back on March 5, the House Civil Justice Subcommittee approved it with a 9-5 vote.

The bill (HB 583) proposes a measure that would have a person thrown in jail for a least a year for using a public restroom that doesn’t match his or her gender. Artiles says the measure is about public safety and says it’s meant to deter potential predators from going into a restroom and doing harm to someone.

Anti transgender? Isn’t protecting the public from perverts a good thing? Who wants someone entering any public bathroom, like in one of Florida’s K-12 schools, of the opposite sex? Why the ACLU and Equality Florida.

Making that a crime and allowing those subjected to such behavior is acting in the public’s interest. The bill has been through two committees, one more is needed to get it to the floor.

Restoring Liberty’s Joe Miller reports, “Texas Republican state Rep. James White has said that the state’s unconstitutional ban on same-sex sodomy should not be repealed for ‘public health’ reasons and to stop bestiality… Even though the Supreme Court struck down the sodomy law in its 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, White insisted that it should be kept on the books. The law specifically bans ‘deviant sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex.’”

Public safety, especially for underage children, is the focus of the Florida bill. It is a fact that all pederasts (older men/women who pray on little boys/girls) are homosexuals. Keeping them out of public bathrooms is an imperative, along with pedophiles.

Can someone say common sense?

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Parents Pull Child from School over Transgender Bathroom Choice [+video]

Republican Lawmaker: Sodomy Law Needed for Public Health

Racism in the LGBT movement

Religious Freedom Is Under Attack in D.C.

RELATED VIDEO: Cross-Dressing at Planet Fitness

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Sam Howzit via Flickr.

Can the IRS Rewrite Obamacare?

The latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act might let them by EVAN BERNICK.

Does the law mean what it says, or whatever government officials want it to mean? That is the fundamental question confronting the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell, the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act. While the answer would be uncontroversial in an ordinary case, nothing involving Obamacare is uncontroversial. It will take a Court committed to the principle of judicial engagement to say what the law is, rather than what the executive branch thinks it ought to be.

King concerns the IRS’s interpretation of a section of the ACA concerning tax credits for buying health insurance from government-operated insurance exchanges. Wishing states to set up their own exchanges but lacking constitutional authority to force them to do so, Congress used a carrot-and-stick approach, authorizing tax credits to help qualifying individuals purchase health insurance “through an Exchange established by the State.”

As a failsafe, the ACA required the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create federally operated exchanges in states that declined to set up their own. When 34 states declined to establish their own exchanges, the IRS decided that it would issue tax credits through federal exchanges, despite a lack of explicit authorization in the ACA’s text. It has been doing so since January 1st, 2014. The question is whether the ACA actually permits it to do so.

Why did the IRS think that it had such authority? In finalizing its rule, the IRS stated that its interpretation of the ACA was “consistent with the language, purpose, and structure of section 36B [of the ACA] and the Affordable Care Act as a whole.” The IRS invoked “statutory language” and “legislative history” as supporting its position without specifying what statutory language or legislative history supported its position. Thus, the IRS did not provide a reasoned explanation for its actions–it acted arbitrarily.

Despite the government’s efforts to paint the relevant text of the ACA as ambiguous, the meaning of the text is in fact clear. The law says the tax credits go only to people to purchase insurance on an “Exchange established by the State.” The ACA expressly provides that “‘State’ means each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia.” Congress knew how to provide that non-state entities be treated as states–in fact, it did so elsewhere in the ACA, providing that a federal territory that establishes an exchange “shall be treated as a state.” It did not do so in this context. As Justice Alito put it at oral argument on Wednesday, “If Congress did not want the phrase ‘established by the State’ to mean what that would normally be taken to mean, why did they use that language?” Seeking to defend the IRS’s rule, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli bobbed and weaved but could not give a satisfactory answer, leading Justice Kennedy to observe that his arguments “seem(ed)… to go in the wrong direction.”

The Supreme Court has consistently held that agencies cannot rewrite congressionally enacted statutes under the pretense of implementing them. Last year, in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, the Court refused to engage in a “holistic” interpretation of the Indian Gaming Regulations Act to allow the state of Michigan to enjoin illegal gambling that did not take place on Indian lands. As Justice Kagan put it, writing for the Court, “This Court has no roving license, in even ordinary cases of statutory interpretation, to disregard clear language.” The language at issue in King, considered in context, is clear, and that meaning should prevail.

Why does it matter that the ACA be taken to mean what it says? What is at stake? Nothing less than the rule of law–the existence of a legal order characterized by a clear, non-contradictory, and stable rules that are general in scope and bind government officials no less than ordinary citizens.

If written laws can be revised after the fact by unelected bureaucrats who do not treat them as imposing any genuine constraints, we do not have the rule of law; instead, government officials can simply employ whatever reasoning they like (or none at all, as the IRS appears to have done here) in order to further whatever ends they think desirable. To allow the current administration to transform “X” into “not X” is to move us closer to that precipice. The “victors” today will be victims of unchecked government power tomorrow.

In order to defend the rule of law, the Supreme Court must engage with the law as written. It must seek the truth concerning the political choices and tradeoffs manifested in the ACA itself. As Thomas Paine once put it, “In America, the law is king.” In King, the Court must make plain where the authority lies.

ABOUT EVAN BERNICK

Evan is the Assistant Director of the Center for Judicial Engagement at the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm.

EDITORS NOTE: This article originally appeared on The Huffington PostThe featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Why Socialism Causes Pollution by THOMAS J. DILORENZO

Corporations are often accused of despoiling the environment in their quest for profit. Free enterprise is supposedly incompatible with environmental preservation, so that government regulation is required.

Such thinking is the basis for current proposals to expand environmental regulation greatly. So many new controls have been proposed and enacted that the late economic journalist Warren Brookes once forecast that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could well become “the most powerful government agency on earth, involved in massive levels of economic, social, scientific, and political spending and interference.

But if the profit motive is the primary cause of pollution, one would not expect to find much pollution in socialist countries, such as the former Soviet Union, China, and in the former Communist countries of Eastern and Central Europe. That is, in theory. In reality exactly the opposite is true: The socialist world suffers from the worst pollution on earth. Could it be that free enterprise is not so incompatible with environmental protection after all?

I. Socialist Pollution

The Soviet Union

In the Soviet Union there was a vast body of environmental law and regulation that purportedly protected the public interest, but these constraints have had no perceivable benefit. The Soviet Union, like all socialist countries, suffered from a massive “tragedy of the commons,” to borrow the term used by biologist Garrett Hardin in his classic 1968 article. Where property is communally or governmentally owned and treated as a free resource, resources will inevitably be overused with little regard for future consequences.

The Soviet government’s imperatives for economic growth, combined with communal ownership of virtually all property and resources, caused tremendous environmental damage. According to economist Marshall Goldman, who studied and traveled extensively in the Soviet Union, “The attitude that nature is there to be exploited by man is the very essence of the Soviet production ethic.”

A typical example of the environmental damage caused by the Soviet economic system is the exploitation of the Black Sea. To comply with five-year plans for housing and building construction, gravel, sand, and trees around the beaches were used for decades as construction materials. Because there is no private property, “no value is attached to the gravel along the seashore. Since, in effect, it is free, the contractors haul it away. This practice caused massive beach erosion which reduced the Black Sea coast by 50 percent between 1920 and 1960. Eventually, hotels, hospitals, and of all things, a military sanitarium collapsed into the sea as the shoreline gave way. Frequent landslides–as many as 300 per year–have been reported.

Water pollution is catastrophic. Effluent from a chemical plant killed almost all the fish in the Oka River in 1965, and similar fish kills have occurred in the Volga, Ob, Yenesei, Ural, and Northern Dvina rivers. Most Russian factories discharge their waste without cleaning it at all. Mines, oil wells, and ships freely dump waste and ballast into any available body of water, since it is all one big (and tragic) “commons.”

Only six of the 20 main cities in Moldavia had a sewer system by the late 1960s, and only two of those cities made any effort to treat the sewage. Conditions are far more primitive in the countryside.

The Aral and Caspian seas have been gradually disappearing as large quantities of their water have been diverted for irrigation. And since untreated sewage flows into feeder rivers, they are also heavily polluted.

Some Soviet authorities expressed fears that by the turn of the century the Aral Sea will be nothing but a salt marsh. One paper reported that because of the rising salt content of the Aral the remaining fish will rapidly disappear. It was recently revealed that the Aral Sea has shrunk by about a third. Its shore line “is arid desert and the wind blows dry deposits of salt thousands of miles away. The infant mortality rate [in that region] is four to five times the national average.”

The declining water level in the Caspian Sea has been catastrophic for its fish population as spawning areas have turned into dry land. The sturgeon population has been so decimated that the Soviets have experimented with producing artificial caviar. Hundreds of factories and refineries along the Caspian Sea dump untreated waste into the sea, and major cities routinely dump raw sewage. It has been estimated that one-half of all the discharged effluent is carried in the Volga River, which flows into the Caspian Sea. The concentration of oil in the Volga is so great that steamboats are equipped with signs forbidding passengers to toss cigarettes overboard. As might be expected, fish kills along the Volga are a “common calamity.”

Lake Baikal, which is believed to be the oldest freshwater lake in the world, is also one of the largest and deepest. It is five times as deep as Lake Superior and contains twice the volume of water. According to Marshall Goldman, it was also “the best known example of the misuse of water resources in the USSR.”

Factories and pulp mills have been dumping hundreds of millions of gallons of effluent into Lake Baikal each year for decades. As a result, animal life in the lake has been cut by more than 50 percent over the past half century. Untreated sewage is dumped into virtually all tributaries to the lake.

Islands of alkaline sewage have been observed floating on the lake, including one that was 18 miles long and three miles wide. These “islands” have polluted the air around the lake as well as the water in it. Thousands of acres of forest surrounding the lake have been denuded, causing such erosion that dust storms have been reported. So much forest land in the Lake Baikal region has been destroyed that some observers reported shifting sands that link up with the Gobi Desert; there are fears that the desert may sweep into Siberia and destroy the lake.

In other regions the fact that no compensation has to be paid for land that is flooded by water projects has made it easy for government engineers to submerge large areas of land. “As much land has been lost through flooding and salination as has been added through irrigation and drainage in the Soviet Union.”

These examples of environment degradation in the Soviet Union are not meant to be exhaustive but to illustrate the phenomenon of Communist pollution. As Goldman has observed, the great pollution problems in Russia stem from the fact that the government determined that economic growth was to be pursued at any cost. “Government officials in the USSR generally have a greater willingness to sacrifice their environment than government officials in a society with private enterprise where there is a degree of public accountability. There is virtually a political as well as an economic imperative to devour idle resources in the USSR.”

China

In China, as in Russia, putting the government in charge of resource allocation has not had desirable environmental consequences. Information on the state of China’s environment is not encouraging.

According to the Worldwatch Institute, more than 90 percent of the trees in the pine forests in China’s Sichuan province have died because of air pollution. In Chungking, the biggest city in southwest China, a 4, 500-acre forest has been reduced by half. Acid rain has reportedly caused massive crop losses.

There also have been reports of waterworks and landfill projects severely hampering fish migration. Fish breeding was so seriously neglected that fish has largely vanished from the national diet. Depletion of government-owned forests has turned them into deserts, and millions of acres of grazing and farm land in the northern Chinese plains were made alkaline and unproductive during the “Great Leap Forward.”

Central and Eastern Europe

With Communism’s collapse, word has begun to seep out about Eastern Europe’s environmental disasters. According to the United Nations Global Environment Monitoring Program, “pollution in that region is among the worst on the Earth’s surface.” Jeffrey Leonard of the World Wildlife Fund concluded that “pollution was part and parcel of the system that molested the people [of Eastern Europe] in their daily lives.” Evidence is mounting of “an environmental nightmare,” the legacy of “decades of industrial development with little or no environmental control.”

Poland

According to the Polish Academy of Sciences, “a third of the nation’s 38 million people live in areas of ecological disaster.” In the heavily industrialized Katowice region of Poland, the people suffer 15 percent more circulatory disease, 30 percent more tumors, and 47 percent more respiratory disease than other Poles. Physicians and scientists believe pollution is a major contributor to these health problems.

Acid rain has so corroded railroad tracks that trains are not allowed to exceed 24 miles an hour. The air is so polluted in Katowice that there are underground “clinics” in uranium mines where the chronically ill can go to breathe clean air.

Continuous pumping of water from coal mines has caused so much land to subside that over 300,000 apartments were destroyed as buildings collapsed. The mine sludge has been pumped into rivers and streams along with untreated sewage which has made 95 percent of the water unfit for human consumption. More than 65 percent of the nation’s water is even unfit for industrial use because it is so toxic that it would destroy heavy metals used by industry. In Cracow, Poland’s ancient capital, acid rain “dissolved so much of the gold roof of the 16th century Sigismund Chapel that it recently hd to be replaced.”

Industrial dust rains down on towns, depositing cadmium, lead, zinc, and iron. The dust is so heavy that huge trucks drive through city streets daily spraying water to reduce it. By some accounts eight tons of dust fall on each square mile in and around Cracow each year. The mayor of Cracow recently stated that the Vistula River — the largest river in Poland — is “nothing but a sewage canal.” The river has mercury levels that are three times what researchers say is safe, while lead levels are 25 times higher than deemed safe.

Half of Poland’s cities, including Warsaw, don’t even treat their wastes, and 41 animal species have reportedly become extinct in Poland in recent years. While health statistics are spotty — they were not a priority of the Communist government–available data are alarming. A recent study of the Katowice region found that 21 percent of the children up to 4 years old are sick almost constantly, while 41 percent of the children under 6 have serious health problems.

Life expectancy for men is lower than it was 20 years ago. In Upper Silesia, which is considered one of the most heavily industrialized regions in the world, circulatory disease levels are 15 percent higher, respiratory disease is 47 percent higher, and there has been “an appalling increase in the number of retarded children,” according to the Polish Academy of Sciences. Although pollution cannot be blamed for all these health problems, physicians and scientists attach much of the blame to this source.

Czechoslovakia

In a speech given on New Year’s Day of 1990, Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel said, “We have laid waste to our soil and the rivers and the forests…and we have the worst environment in the whole of Europe today.” He was not exaggerating, although the competition for the title of “worst environment” is clearly fierce. Sulfur dioxide concentrations in Czechoslovakia are eight times higher than in the United Sates, and “half the forests are dead or dying.”

Because of the overuse of fertilizers, farmland in some areas of Czechoslovakia is toxic to more than one foot in depth. In Bohemia, in northwestern Czechoslovakia, hills stand bare because their vegetation has died in air so foul it can be tasted. One report describes the Czech countryside as a place where “barren plateaus stretch for miles, studded with the stumps and skeletons of pine trees. Under the snow lie thousands of acres of poisoned ground, where for centuries thick forests had grown.” There is a stretch of over 350 miles where more than 300,000 acres of forest have disappeared and the remaining trees are dying. A thick, brown haze hangs over much of northern Czechoslovakia for about eight months of the year. Sometimes it takes on the sting of tear gas, according to local officials. There are environmental laws, but they aren’t enforced. Sulfur in the air has been reported at 20 times the permissible level. Soil in some regions is so acidic that aluminum trapped in the clay is released. Scientists discovered that the aluminum has poisoned groundwater, killing tree and plant roots and filtering into the drinking water.

Severe erosion in the decimated forests has caused spring floods in which all the melted snow cascades down mountainsides in a few weeks, causing further erosion and leading to water shortages in the summer.

In its search for coal, the Communist government has used bulldozers on such a massive scale that they have “turned towns, farms and woodlands into coarse brown deserts and gaping hollows. Because open-pit mining is cheaper than underground mining, and has been practiced extensively, in some areas of Czechoslovakia “you have total devastation of the land.”

East Germany

The new German government has claimed that nearly 40 percent of the East German populace suffers ill effects from pollutants in the air. In Leipzig, half the children are treated each year for illnesses believed to be associated with air pollution. Eighty percent of eastern Germany’s surface waters are classified as unsuitable for fishing, sports, or drinking, and one out of three lakes has been declared biologically dead because of decades of untreated dumping of chemical waste.

Much of the East German landscape has been devastated. Fifteen to 20 percent of its forests are dead, and another 40 percent are said to be dying. Between 1960 and 1980 at least 70 villages were destroyed and their inhabitants uprooted by the government, which wanted to mine high-sulfur brown coal. The countryside is now “pitted with moon-like craters” and “laced with the remains of what were once spruce and pine trees, nestled amid clouds of rancid smog.” The air in some cities is so polluted that residents use their car headlights during the day, and visitors have been known to vomit from breathing the air.

Nearly identical problems exist in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia.

Visiting scientists have concluded that pollution in Central and Eastern Europe “is more dangerous and widespread than anything they have seen in the Western industrial nations.”

II. United States: Public Sector Pollution

The last refuge of those who advocate socialistic solutions to environmental pollution is the claim that it is the lack of democratic processes that prevents the Communist nations from truly serving the public interest. If this theory is correct, then the public sector of an established democracy such as the United States should be one of the best examples of environmental responsibility. But U.S. government agencies are among the most cavalier when it comes to environmental stewardship.

There is much evidence to dispute the theory that only private businesses pollute. In the United States, we need look no further than our own government agencies. These public sector institutions, such as the Department of Defense (DOD), are among the worst offenders. DOD now generates more than 400,000 tons of hazardous waste a year — more than is produced by the five largest chemical companies combined. To make matters worse, the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the enforcement power over the public sector that it possesses over the private sector.

The lax situation uncovered by the General Accounting Office (GAO) at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma is typical of the way in which many Federal agencies respond to the EPA’s directives. “Although DOD policy calls for the military services to … implement EPA’s hazardous waste management regulations, we found that Tinker has been selling…waste oil, fuels, and solvents rather than recycling,” reported the GAO.

One of the world’s most poisonous spots lies about 10 miles northeast of Denver in the Army’s Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Nerve gas, mustard shells, the anti-crop spray TX, and incendiary devices have been dumped into pits there over the past 40 years. Dealing with only one “basin” of this dump cost $40 million. Six hundred thousand cubic yards of contaminated soil and sludge had to be scraped and entombed in a 16-acre, double-lined waste pile.

There are plenty of other examples of Defense Department facilities that need major cleanup. In fact, total costs of along-term Pentagon cleanup are hard to get a handle on. Some officials have conceded that the price tag could eventually exceed $20 billion.

Government-owned power plants are another example of public-sector pollution. These plants are a large source of sulfur dioxide emissions. The federal government’s Tennessee Valley Authority operates 59 coal-fired power plants in the Southeast, where it has had major legal confrontations with state governments who want the Federal agency to comply with state governments who want the Federal agency to comply with state environmental regulations. The TVA has fought the state governments for years over compliance with their clean air standards. It won a major Supreme Court victory when the Court ruled that, as a federal government enterprise, it could be exempt from environmental regulations with which private sector and local government power plants must comply.

Federal agricultural policy also has been a large source of pollution, in the past encouraging over utilization of land subject to erosion. Powerful farm lobbies have protected “non-point” sources of pollution from the heavy hand of regulation places on other private industries.

III. Policy Implications

These examples of environmental degradation throughout the world suggest some valuable lessons. First, it is not free enterprise per se that causes environmental harm; if so, the socialist world would be environmentally pristine.

The heart of the problem lies with the failure of our legal institutions, not the free enterprise system. Specifically, American laws were weakened more than a century ago by Progressive Era courts that believed economic progress was in the public interest and should therefore supersede individual rights.

The English common law tradition of the protection of private property rights — including the right to be free from pollution — was slowly overturned. In other words, many environmental problems are not caused by “market failure” but by government’s failure to enforce property rights. It is a travesty of justice when downstream residents, for example, cannot hold an upstream polluter responsible for damaging their properties. The common law tradition must be revived if we are to enjoy a healthy market economy and a cleaner environment. Potential polluters must know in advance that they will be held responsible for their actions.

The second lesson is that the plundering of the environment in the socialist world is a grand example of the tragedy of the commons. Under communal property ownership, where no one owns or is responsible for a natural resource, the inclination is for each individual to abuse or deplete the resource before someone else does. Common examples of this “tragedy” are how people litter public streets and parks much more than their own yards; private housing is much better maintained than public lands but maintain lush pastures on their own property; the national forests are carelessly over-logged, but private forests are carefully managed and reforested by lumber companies with “super trees”; and game fish are habitually overfished in public waterways but thrive in private lakes and streams. The tragedy of the commons is a lesson for those who believe that further nationalization and governmental control of natural resources is a solution to our environmental problems.

These two pillars of free enterprise — sound liability laws that hold people responsible for actions and the enforcement of private property rights — are important stepping stones to environmental protection.

ABOUT THOMAS J. DILORENZO

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

VIDEOS: The Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Summit

Dawn Hawkins discusses the need and plan for strong, united efforts among the many involved in these issues through the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation.

2014 CESE Summit Video: Dawn Hawkins, “The Coalition: Uniting to Advocate for Change” from Center On Sexual Exploitation on Vimeo.

Mrs. Hawkins is the Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (endsexualexploitation.org) where she has developed a national strategy uniting conservative, women’s rights, child advocacy and religious groups, including a bipartisan political leadership, to work together raising awareness of the pandemic of harm from pornography. Through her leadership, NCSE has grown a network reaching hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. Mrs. Hawkins has appeared on many local and national television programs, regularly authors articles and speaks around the country addressing the harms of pornography and what can be done to curb the growing pornification of our culture.

The Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation (CESE) is focused on bringing a diverse spectrum of people together to solve and end the complex social issue of sexual exploitation. Members of the coalition create a unified front when faced with these seemingly insurmountable issues. As of September 2014, there are 280 national, state and local organizations in the Coalition.

CESE combines child advocacy, Internet safety, pro-family, prevention, education, women’s rights and feminist activists, recovery groups, law enforcement, anti-trafficking groups, state policy, and technology groups together, as well as health and science experts and religious leaders.

To learn more and view all of the videos of the 2014 End Sexual Exploitation Summit click here.

The 2015 End Sexual Exploitation Summit will be held in Orlando, Florida from September 10th to September 12th, 2015 at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld.

Take Away My Steak, Tax My Apple Pie Because DHHS Panel Thinks I Might Die?

Just when Americans are reeling from ObamaCare and a plethora of government regulations at work and at home, the Obama Administration has come up with a plan to ‘make us all healthier.’ The U.S. Health and Human Services Dept. recently released a report from ‘The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee,’ (DGAC), which didn’t receive much attention from the press, but should have every American fuming and wondering when the line will be drawn for government encroachment into our lives. In this panel’s 571 page report are recommendations to tax sodas, desserts, (or anything sweet for that matter), promoting a plant-based diet, because meat consumption causes too many ‘greenhouse gas emissions.’ The DGAC has given the American public 45 days to offer their comments on this draconian, far-fetched ‘Big Brother’ plan. Here is my response.

The DGAG has suggested having ‘trained obesity interventionists’ at worksites and ‘electronic monitoring’ of our teenagers to determine how sedentary our population is because there could be a problem with too much TV viewing or computer overload. Can you imagine these ACORN type personas coming to your workplace, measuring your body fat and instructing your employer to get you off your swivel chair or he’ll be fined? What parent in his right mind would allow a government-type electronic monitoring of children in the home while they watch TV? Are they serious? Let’s not forget that electronic monitoring of our children has been tested in the school system and has received mass resistance.

Now many of us remember the Bureau of Land Management’s dislike for ranchers when the showdown occurred on the Bundy Ranch, and now we are witnessing another government agency advising us that we must cut back on meat because of ‘greenhouse gases’ and ‘carbon footprints.’ Perhaps these out-of-touch bureaucrats don’t even know that the struggling American Middle Class has already cut back on meat consumption because of high unemployment and rising food prices. Does anyone believe that the same government bureaucrats will stop eating their steaks or fillet mignons? Haven’t we learned from ObamaCare that regulations for the masses don’t necessarily apply to the bureaucrats who pass the laws?

Now concerning American’s love affair with sweets…how will the USG tax desserts and micro-manage our sweet tooth? Could first on the list to tax be Apple Pie, because…well…it’s too…. American? (Now if the government begins to tax tiramisu or baklava it could be considered very discriminatory; we don’t want to insult the Italians or Greeks!) Will restaurants be forced double tax for the apple pie a la mode; and what about the extremely decadent, caloric chocolate flourless cake? (Shouldn’t the bureaucrats reduce this tax because, after all, the flour has been taken out?)

Obama supporter, billionaire Warren Buffet, recently confessed that he ‘eats like a six year old’ and has a big bowl of chocolate chip ice cream for breakfast, and drinks at least five coca colas a day with canned potato stix. He has just broken the government narrative. Does anyone believe that the USG ‘interventionists’ will march into HIS executive suite and measure his body fat or monitor him at home while he salivates on his ice cream while HE’S watching TV?

The American public needs to stop this maniacal behavior of overreaching government bureaucrats who have nothing better to do that to sit around and plan ways to tax the Middle Class and micro-manage our eating habits. Do we really want the government in our workplace, in our kitchen and living room monitoring our behavior because it’s for our own good and wants us to be healthy, so that we can live longer and not die?

SOURCE ARTICLES:

Federal panel wants tax on sodas, desserts

Feds: America Should Adopt ‘Plant-Based’ Diet

Illegal Aliens Linked to U.S. Resurgence of Formerly Eradicated Infectious Diseases

Immigration reform “starts” with securing the wide open southern border and while at the same time to finally enforcing Federal Immigration Laws.  The 9/11 Commission recommended, in order to prevent terrorists from viciously attacking the Republic in the future, as the illegal aliens who were terrorist hiding in plain sight throughout America did on September 11, 2001, that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, Ice, and the Border Patrol should enforce Federal Immigration Laws and control the borders of the United States like every other nation in the world does.  Fifteen years after 9/11 Congress and Obama have refused to secure the borders. Obama has issued orders to the U.S. Border Patrol and ICE Agents to cease apprehending and deporting Illegal Aliens and has cancelled the Secure Communities Program that automatically checked state and local incarcerated inmates against the list of Illegal Aliens listed in the Federal Databases to see .if certain inmates should be picked up by ICE for deportation.

Because of the wide open southern border, the current outbreak of measles is the worst measles epidemic in 60 years and is spreading throughout the US.  WND reviewed the history of measles outbreaks in the US since 1980, and after careful evaluation, determined that almost all of the outbreaks came from overseas, and that California had some of the largest concentrations of measles, as well as the largest influx of Illegal Aliens from across the wide open southern border.  For 6 years the Obama administration has refused to follow the required medical testing and examining procedures required to determine if any Illegal Alien crossing the wide open border had infectious diseases.

The Obama administration blamed the current worst measles epidemic in 60 years on Disneyland, instead of on its flagrant violation of Federal Immigration Quarantine Laws.  Measles did not spread to 27 states from Disneyland, it is another of the many lies promulgated by the Obama administration that is being reported by the left of center liberal media establishment (illegal alien children from Central American may have been taken to Disneyland for recreation, and may have infected some Americans children visiting there),  Most of the Illegal Alien children from Central America who flooded across the wide open southern border were released by Border Patrol Agents “unscreened” to travel to over 27 states within 72 hours of their apprehension at the southern border.  Some of those infected Illegal Alien children even passed infectious diseases on to Border Patrol Agents.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that they have seen an alarming spike in measles since 2014, with a record of 644+ cases in 27 states (that is a very old number, but the updated numbers of cases are being covered up by CDC).  Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC told reporters, “We don’t know exactly how this measles outbreak started, but we think it was likely people infected with measles overseas.”  Obama appointees at CDC have refused to pinpoint the origin of the reported uptick of 644+ cases of measles in 27 states.  Hundreds of thousands of Illegal Alien children from Central America walked across the wide open southern border and are still doing so.  Those Illegal Alien were never processed thru an Immigration Detention Center, as required by Federal Immigration Laws, so they could be tested and examined by Medical Professionals to determine if they were carrying infectious diseases.  If that were done and they tested positive, they should have been quarantined as required by Federal Immigration Laws instead of being released to the general public.  Even US Astronauts are quarantined when they return from outer space.

Popular radio talk show host Michael Savage who holds a Ph.D. degree in nutritional ethnomedicine said:

The Socialist Government, media, academia, medical apparatchiks have looked the other way or changed the origin of numerous illnesses which were once eradicated in our once-first world nation.”  Since the massive influx of Illegal Alien children from Central America, who were not being medically screened, the United States has had outbreaks of numerous illnesses that were once eradicated such as dangerous strains of Flu, Scalia, TB, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Smallpox, Leprosy, and even Malaria—their outbreaks have been covered up by the Obama appointees at CDC.  Every day, the Obama administration continues to violate Federal Immigration Quarantine Laws, infectious diseases will continue to infect the general population and children who are required to go to grammar schools along with Illegal Alien children from Central America.

Numerous epidemics sweep Central America, and an aggressive mosquito transmits the deadly enterovirus (EV-D68) and yellow fever, and some infectious diseases are transmitted by insects, including the spread dengue fever.  EV-D68 has been responsible for at least 14 deaths in the US over the last 12 months.  Please read the below listed article about Illegal Aliens bringing many infectious diseases into the U.S. like measles, enterovirus (EV-D68), dengue fever, dangerous strains of Flu, Scalia, TB, Mumps, Rubella, Smallpox, Leprosy, and even Malaria.  Some Illegal Alien children transport mosquitos that are carrying very dangerous infectious diseases, in their clothing.  The Obama administration’s continues to violate Quarantine Laws, in order to facilitate the massive illegal entry of Illegal Aliens, thru the southern border of the United States.  That practice has created a public health hazard for children enrolled in grammar schools and for the general public in communities throughout the United States.

Any member of Congress or any candidate for President in 2016, who doesn’t support closure of the Southern Border, doesn’t support enforcement all Federal Immigration Laws & Regulations, and those who support Obama’s Executive Orders to issue Work Permits and Social Security Numbers for 5 million Illegal Aliens and for 1.5 million Dreamers, should be defeated at the polls in November 2016.

For 6 years, Obama has proclaimed how much he cares about American union workers, low income Americans, and middle income taxpayers, yet he is doing all he can to issue 6.5 million Work Permits and Social Security Numbers for Illegal Aliens and Dreamers, despite the fact that Obama has been restricted by U.S. Federal Court from issuing Work Permits and Social Security Numbers.  If that occurs those 6.5 million Illegal Aliens will take jobs away from the 100 million unemployed low income Americans, union workers, and middle income taxpayers.  Those 6.5 million Illegal Aliens will seek to obtain drivers licenses, in violation of Federal Laws, so they can illegally register to vote in 2016.


EXCLUSIVE

LINKED! ILLEGALS AND RESURGENT DISEASES

‘So these problems are going to be coming to your town’

AARON KLEIN

Is there more to the measles outbreak than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have acknowledged?

A close look at the history of measles outbreaks in the U.S. over the last 15 years evidences two significant themes – the vast majority of all cases were imported from outside the country, and many of the disease clusters were located in California, a state known for its large concentration of illegal aliens.

Still, while diseases such as enterovirus are rampant in the countries where most illegal aliens originate, there does not appear to be strong evidence that current or past measles outbreak originated with illegal aliens.

The medical debate has entered the political arena. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., and radio host Rush Limbaugh have suggested a connection between illegals and the spread of disease, including measles.

Brooks stated last week: “I don’t think there is any health-care professional who has examined the facts who could honestly say that Americans have not died because the diseases brought into America by illegal aliens who are not properly health care screened, as lawful immigrants are.”

Brooks said it “might be the enterovirus that has a heavy presence in Central and South America that has caused deaths of American children over the past six to nine months, it might be this measles outbreak – there are any number of things.”

That same day, Limbaugh told his audience: “We have a vaccination problem for one reason: Barack Hussein Obama and his open-borders immigration policy, which opened the southern borders to children sick, healthy, you name it, poor, ill-educated, just tens of thousands of kids flooded the southern border all of last year.

“They were never examined before they got here,” Limbaugh said. “They were never examined after they got here and quarantined if they had a disease. They were just sent out across the country. Many of them had measles.”

In a conversation on CNN that focused on measles and other diseases, presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson spoke generally about illegal aliens bringing in illnesses while not directly attributing the measles current outbreak specifically to them.

Illegals ‘slipping through cracks’ with diseases

PolitiFact points out the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s protocol calls for it to provide “vaccinations to all children who do not have documentation of previous valid doses of vaccine.”

However, PolitiFact misses the fact that the Refugee Resettlement, a program of the Department of Health and Human Services, mostly deals with legal immigrants who obtain the status of refugee and who are seeking safe haven within the U.S.

The HHS’s Administration for Children and Families does oversee the health of illegal aliens caught at the border and brought to detention centers.

Speaking to NBC News last year, a spokesman for the HHS said those who pass through their program are provided missing childhood vaccinations.

Even doctors are worried about Obamacare. Here’s the advice from one top expert, on “Surviving the Medical Meltdown.”

“When children come into the Department of Health and Human Services program, they are given a well-child exam and given all needed childhood vaccinations to protect against communicable diseases,” said the spokesman.

Unaccounted for, however, are illegals who are not caught, do not enter detention centers or who are released by border agents within 72 hours of their capture.

Thirteen-year Border Patrol veteran Chris Cabrera is vice president of the Local 3307 chapter of the National Border Patrol Council, the exclusive representative of approximately 17,000 agents and support personnel assigned to the U.S. Border Patrol.

He recently said in a radio interview the Border Patrol is being overwhelmed by illegals, with many slipping through the cracks possibly carrying disease.

“It’s not always the ideal medical care,” Cabrera confessed, “and a lot of it is slipping through the cracks. I read now one of the publications this morning that [reported] they had a bunch of people go in there in at a detention facility [that] had to be shut down due to chicken pox.

“It’s kind of alarming, seeing as we toured that facility less than a month ago and they assured us that they had everything in order, that something like this wouldn’t happen. And sure enough, it fell through the cracks.”

“We’re not set up for this, and we’re inviting more problems,” he said.

Asked specifically whether he was referring to diseases slipping through the cracks, Cabrera said, “Medical problems, gang members that we’re releasing; they’re going to these cities, they’re not staying down here.

“So these problems are going to be coming to your town,” he said.

California: Ground zero for measles

From Jan. 1 to Feb. 6, 2015, 121 people from 17 states are reported to have had measles.

The CDC’s website stated, “Most of these cases are part of a large, ongoing multi-state outbreak linked to an amusement park in California.”

Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, explained the “genotype of the virus that’s associated with the Disneyland outbreak is causing outbreaks in 14 different countries around the world.”

She fingered Indonesia, India and Dubai as possible sources under investigation but made clear her agency is still unsure of the exact origins of the outbreak.

“We assume that someone got infected overseas, visited the parks and spread the disease to others,” she said.

While medical literature backs up the argument that Latin America is currently safely immunized against measles, a WND review of the history of outbreaks in the U.S. since the 1980s shows two major themes: Almost all of the outbreaks came from overseas, and California saw some of the largest concentrations of the disease.

Since the current outbreak began in December, more than 100 people have been reported infected with the measles in California, data from California’s Department of Public Health shows. Such a concentration is unsurprising since the outbreak this year was said to have originated in the state.

A CDC graph of measles outbreaks since 2001 shows an alarming spike since 2014, when the U.S. experienced a record number of 644 cases from 27 states, with another major concentration in California.

From Jan. 1-April 18, 2014, the California Department of Public Health reportedly received 58 confirmed measles cases, the largest number the state has seen since 1995. The nationwide outbreak during that period was 129 reported cases.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly reported that in the vast majority of all 58 cases in 2005, 54 were classified as “importation-associated,” including “13 importations, 13 cases epidemiologically linked to importations, 18 with virologic evidence suggesting recent importation and 10 linked to cases with virologic evidence of recent importation.”

The year 2011 saw another measles outbreak concentrated in California. On Aug. 26, 2011, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health investigated a suspected measles outbreak originating in a refugee from Burma who had arrived on a flight bound for the city.

In May, 2011, Dr. Gilberto Chavez, deputy director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the California Department of Public Health, announced, “California, like the rest of the nation and, indeed, the world, is experiencing an increase in measles cases that is entirely preventable with immunization.”

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report documented in 2008 that of the 64 measles cases between January and April of that year, “54 were associated with importation of measles from other countries into the United States.” That year saw another major confrontation in California, including one outbreak attributed to an unvaccinated boy from San Diego.

Outbreaks in 2006 were associated with a measles case in a Missouri resident who had recently traveled to China and a California woman returning from a trip.

In 2005, there were 66 confirmed cases of measles, with 34 of them said to have originated with a single outbreak in Indiana from an infected traveler returning to the U.S. An outbreak one year before was said to have originated with a University of California-Santa Cruz student who met a newly adopted toddler from China.

In 2005, three states accounted for 49 percent of cases: Washington, California and New York.

Data shows that during 2001-2003, a full 6 percent of the 216 reported measles cases were imported, and 120 were indigenous.

In 2000, Japan, Korea and Ethiopia amounted for the largest numbers of imported cases, with New York, California, Hawaii and Vermont the states with the most outbreaks.

Enterovirus

While Latin America has implemented a successful measles immunization program, the region is home to numerous epidemics currently sweeping America, including enterovirus, which has been responsible for at least 14 deaths since last year.

There has been speculation the polio-like enterovirus, which mostly targets children, could have been carried into the U.S. by illegal-alien minors from Central America.

The World Health Organization last September issued a global alert for the enterovirus 68, or EV-D68, in the U.S.

A global WHO alert for the virus is exceptionally rare and is the first of its kind associated with an outbreak in the U.S.

The last global alert for enterovirus was issued in 2008 in China. The only other enterovirus alert came 10 years earlier, in 1998, again in China.

As with measles, the enterovirus outbreak has taken on a political tone, with some suggesting the virus may have been carried to the U.S. by illegal aliens, especially the so-called unaccompanied alien children, or UACs, who have been streaming across the southern border.

Most UACs originate in Central American countries, some of which have seen recent spates of EV-68 virus outbreaks.

A study published Oct. 11, 2013, in Virology Journal collected nasopharyngeal swabs from eight Latin American countries from 3,375 subjects aged 25 years or younger who presented with influenza-like illness.

The study found human enteroviruses were identified in a staggering 3 percent of all subjects.

Former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, writing at her personal website, surmised “the origin could be entirely unrelated,” but because the “CDC hasn’t suggested reasons for the current uptick or its origin,” some are questioning “whether the disease is being spread by the presence of tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children from Central America admitted to the U.S. in the past year.”

Talk-show host Michael Savage said the EV-D68 could have been brought to the U.S. by illegal aliens.

Savage, who earned a doctorate in epidemiology at the University of California at Berkeley, declared on his show last November: “For 20 years, I’ve been trying to warn America about the unscreened immigrants being brought in. Now, of course, it’s coming home to roost and the American people are being lied to by the Centers for Disease Transmission. They used to be the CDC; they’re now the CDT.”

The progressive activist organization Media Matters for America has weighed in on matter.

In a blog posting titled “Conservatives Falsely Blame Undocumented Children For Deadly Enterovirus,” Media Matters cites a statement it obtained from CDC spokeswoman Jeanette St. Pierre saying: “Currently, there is no evidence from testing at CDC that EV-D68 infections in the U.S. are a result of unaccompanied minors moving into the country.”

Illegals brought aggressive mosquito?

Did illegal aliens from Central America bring with them an aggressive mosquito discovered in recent months in California that is a known transmitter of debilitating and possibly deadly viruses?

Both the mosquito itself and many of the viruses that can be transmitted by the insect are endemic to Central America and have been found in Mexico.

The yellow fever mosquitoes were found Oct. 7 and 8 in the Los Angeles counties of Commerce and Pico Rivera. The next month, the same mosquito was found in San Francisco.

The mosquito, also known by its scientific name, Aedes aegypti, is an insect capable of spreading dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever viruses and other diseases.

Susanne Kluh, director of scientific-technical services for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, told the Times that while the “debilitating viruses, so far, aren’t locally transmitted in L.A. County, the mosquitoes that can transmit them are now here.”

“Infected travelers can bring these viruses to Los Angeles County,” Kluh warned.

The Times reported that determining how the Aedes species were introduced to California has been difficult. Officials, the paper said, blame imported tires and plants, but it also can travel via planes, ships and other vehicles.

Like scores of other establishment media outlets covering the story, the L.A. Times failed to note the yellow fever mosquitoes, which are thought to have originated in Africa, are now present in tropical areas such as Central and South America and the northeast coast of Mexico.

The insects’ presence in Latin America means the mosquitoes or their eggs could just as easily have been transported into the U.S. in baggage, clothing, food, or liquids carried by illegal aliens crossing the border.

The female mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs at a time, with the future progeny usually deposited in clusters. Eggs are usually laid on the surface of stagnant water and can hatch in as little as an inch of standing water.

Further, many of the viruses that can be transmitted by the mosquito, such as chikungunya, which brings paralyzing joint pain, and yellow fever have been ravaging not only Africa but also Latin America and Central America.

The World Health Organization’s global alert on yellow fever, for example, documents the disease is “endemic in 10 South and Central American countries and in several Caribbean islands.”

“The disease was originally imported into the Americas from Africa, but became widely established there,” the alert adds.

8 Goofs in Jonathan Gruber’s Health Care Reform Book

This Obamacare architect’s propaganda piece is a comic of errors by MATT PALUMBO:

In one of life’s bitter ironies, I recently found a book by Jonathan Gruber in the bin of a bookstore’s going-out-of-business sale. It’s called Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works. Interestingly, the book is a comic, which made it a quick read. It’s just the sort of thing that omniscient academics write to persuade ordinary people that their big plans are worth pursuing.

Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works

In case you’ve forgotten — and to compound the irony — Gruber is the Obamacare architect who received negative media attention recently for some controversial comments about the stupidity of the average American voter. In Health Care Reform, Gruber focuses mainly on two topics: an attempted diagnosis of the American health care system, and how the Affordable Care Act (the ACA, or Obamacare) will solve them. I could write a PhD thesis on the myriad fallacies, half-truths, and myths propounded throughout the book. But instead, let’s explore eight of Gruber’s major errors.

Error 1: The mandate forcing individuals to buy health insurance is just like forcing people to buy car insurance, which nobody questions.

This is a disanalogy — and an important one. A person has to purchase car insurance only if he or she gets a car. The individual health insurance mandate forces one to purchase health insurance no matter what. Moreover, what all states but three require for cars is liability insurance, which covers accidents that cause property damage and/or bodily injury. Technically speaking, you’re only required to have insurance to cover damages you might impose on others. If an accident is my fault, liability insurance covers the other individual’s expenses, not my own, and vice versa.

By contrast, if the other driver and I each had collision insurance, we would both be covered for vehicle damage regardless of who was at fault. If collision insurance were mandated, the comparison to health insurance might be apt, because, as with health insurance, collision covers damage to oneself. But no states require collision insurance.

Gruber wants to compare health insurance to car insurance primarily because (1) he wants you to find the mandate unobjectionable, and (2) he wants you to think of the young uninsured (those out of the risk pool) as being sort of like uninsured drivers — people who impose costs on others due to accidents.

But not only is the comparison inapt, Gruber’s real goal is to transfer resources from those least likely to need care (younger, poorer people) to those most likely to need care (older, richer people). The only way mandating health insurance could be like mandating liability car insurance is in preventing the uninsured from shifting the costs of emergent care thanks to federal law. We’ll discuss that as a separate error, next.

Error 2: The emergency room loophole is responsible for increases in health insurance premiums.

In 1986, Reagan passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, one provision of which was that hospitals couldn’t reject emergency care to anyone regardless of their ability to pay. This act created the “emergency room loophole,” which allows many uninsured individuals to receive care without paying.

The emergency room loophole does, indeed, increase premiums. There is no free lunch. The uninsured who use emergency rooms can’t pay the bills, and the costs are thus passed on to the insured. So why do I consider this point an error? Because Gruber overstates its role in increasing premiums. “Ever wonder why your insurance premiums keep going up?” he asks rhetorically, as if this loophole is among the primary reasons for premium inflation.

The reality is, spending on emergency rooms (for both the uninsured and the insured) only accounts forroughly 2 percent of all health care spending. Claiming that health insurance premiums keep rising due to something that accounts for 2 percent of health care expenses is like attributing the high price of Starbucks drinks to the cost of their paper cups.

Error 3: Medical bills are the No.1 cause of individual bankruptcies.

Gruber doesn’t include a single reference in the book, so it’s hard to know where he’s getting his information. Those lamenting the problem of medical bankruptcy almost always rely on a 2007 studyconducted by David Himmelstein, Elizabeth Warren, and two other researchers. The authors offered the shocking conclusion that 62 percent of all bankruptcies are due to medical costs.

But in the same study, the authors also claimed that 78 percent of those who went bankrupt actually had insurance, so it would be strange for Gruber to claim the ACA would solve this problem. While it would be unfair to conclude definitively that Gruber relied on this study for his uncited claims, it is one of the only studies I am aware of that could support his claim.

More troublingly, perhaps, a bankruptcy study by the Department of Justice — which had a sample size five times larger than Himmelstein and Warren’s study — found that 54 percent of bankruptcies have no medical debt, and 90 percent have debt under $5,000. A handful of studies that contradict Himmelstein and Warren’s findings include studies by Aparna Mathur at the American Enterprise Institute; David Dranove and Michael Millenson of Northwestern University; Scott Fay, Erik Hurst, and Michelle White (at the universities of Florida, Chicago, and San Diego, respectively); and David Gross of Compass Lexecon and Nicholas Souleles of the University of Pennsylvania.

Why are Himmelstein and Warren’s findings so radically different? Aside from the fact that their study was funded by an organization called Physicians for a National Health Program, the study was incredibly liberal about what it defined as a medical bankruptcy. The study considered any bankruptcy with any amount of medical debt as a medical bankruptcy. Declare bankruptcy with $100,000 in credit card debt and $5 in medical debt? That’s a medical bankruptcy, of course. In fact, only 27 percent of those surveyed in the study had unreimbursed medical debt exceeding $1,000 in the two years prior to declaring bankruptcy.

David Dranove and Michael L. Millenson at the Kellogg School of Management reexamined the Himmelstein and Warren study and could only find a causal relationship between medical bills and bankruptcy in 17 percent of the cases surveyed. By contrast, in Canada’s socialized medical system, the percentage of bankruptcies due to medical expenses is estimated at between 7.1 percent and 14.3 percent. One wonders if the Himmelstein and Warren study was designed to generate a narrative that self-insurance (going uninsured) causes widespread bankruptcy.

Error 4: 20,000 people die each year because they don’t have the insurance to pay for treatment.

If the study this estimate was based on were a person, it could legally buy a beer at a bar. Twenty-one years ago, the American Medical Association released a study estimating the mortality rate of the uninsured to be 25 percent higher than that of the insured. Thus, calculating how many die each year due to a lack of insurance is determined by the number of insured and extrapolating from there how many would die in a given year with the knowledge that they’re 25 percent more likely to die than an insured person.

Even assuming that the 25 percent statistic holds true today, not all insurance is equal. As Gruber notes on page 74 of his book, the ACA is the biggest expansion of public insurance since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, as 11 million Americans will be added to Medicaid because of the ACA. So how does the health of the uninsured compare with those on Medicaid? Quite similarly. As indicated by the results from a two-year study in Oregon that looked at the health outcomes of previously uninsured individuals who gained access to Medicaid, Medicaid “generated no significant improvement in measured physical health outcomes.” Medicaid is more of a financial cushion than anything else.

So with our faith in the AMA study intact, all that would happen is a shift in deaths from the “uninsured” to the “publicly insured.” But the figure is still dubious at best. Those who are uninsured could also suffer from various mortality-increasing traits that the insured lack. As Megan McArdle elaborates on these lurking third variables,

Some of the differences we know about: the uninsured are poorer, more likely to be unemployed or marginally employed, and to be single, and to be immigrants, and so forth. And being poor, and unemployed, and from another country, are all themselves correlated with dying sooner.

Error 5: The largest uninsured group is the working poor.

Before Obamacare, had you ever heard that there are 45 million uninsured Americans? It’s baloney. In 2006, 17 million of the uninsured had incomes above $50,000 a year, and eight million of those earned more than $75,000 a year. According to one estimate from 2009, between 12 million and 14 million were eligible for government assistance but simply hadn’t signed up. Another estimate from the same source notes that between 9 million and 10 million of the uninsured are not American citizens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, slightly fewer than 8 million of the uninsured are aged 18–24, the group that requires the least amount of medical care and has an average annual income of slightly more than $30,000.

Thus, the largest group of uninsured is not the working poor. It’s the middle class, upper middle class, illegal immigrants, and the young. The working poor who are uninsured are often eligible for assistance but don’t take advantage of it. I recognize that some of these numbers may seem somewhat outdated (the sources for all of them can be found here), but remember: we’re taking account of the erroneous ways Gruber and Obamacare advocates sold the ACA to “stupid” Americans.

Error 6: The ACA will have no impact on premiums in the short term, according to the CBO.

Interesting that there’s no mention of what will happen in the long run. Regardless, not only have there already been premium increases, one widely reported consequence of the ACA has been increases in deductibles. If I told you that I could offer you an insurance plan for a dollar a year, it would seem like a great deal. If I offered you a plan for a dollar a year with a $1 million deductible, you might not think it’s such a great deal.

A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute found that the average cost of a plan sold on the ACA’s exchanges was 4 percent less than the average for an employer-provided plan with similar benefits ($5,844 vs. $6,119), but the deductibles for the ACA plans were 42 percent higher ($5,081 vs. $3,589). The ACA is thus able to swap one form of sticker shock (high premiums) for another (high deductibles). Let us not forget that the ACA exchanges receive federal subsidies. Someone has to pay for those, too.

Error 7: A pay-for-performance model in health care would increase quality and reduce costs.

This proposal seems like common sense in theory, but it’s questionable in reality. Many conservatives and libertarians want a similar model for education, so some might be sympathetic to this aspect of Gruber’s proposal. But there is enormous difficulty in determining how we are to rank doctors.

People respond to incentives, but sometimes these incentives are perverse. Take the example of New York, which introduced a system of “scorecards” to rank cardiologists by the mortality rates of their patients who received coronary angioplasty, a procedure to treat heart disease. Doctors paid attention to their scorecards, and they obviously could increase their ratings by performing more effective surgeries. But as Charles Wheelan noted in his book Naked Statistics, there was another way to improve your scorecard: refuse surgeries on the sickest patients, or in other words, those most likely to die even with care. Wheelan cites a survey of cardiologists regarding the scorecards, where 83 percent stated that due to public mortality statistics, “some patients who might benefit from angioplasty might not receive the procedure.”

Error 8: The ACA “allows you to keep your current policy if you like it… even if it doesn’t meet minimum standards.”

What, does this guy think we’re stupid or something?

The Obama vs. Obama Debates

While listening to a local talk-radio show recently, I heard a self-declared liberal caller tell the host, “You guys will go after Obama for anything.” I thought this was an interesting comment considering that devoted liberals will rarely challenge President Obama on anything!

Any reader of this website, or consumer of the variety of conservative and libertarian media outlets, will quickly realize that there are no sacred cows amongst true conservatives and libertarians. Conservative Review® dedicates a significant amount of its limited website space, its contributor’s time, and its financial resources to challenging not only President Obama, but Republicans as well. A simple search through Conservative Review’s archive will provide all of the evidence you need.

When will that “Road to Damascus” moment happen for the media/liberal establishment class? How many times are they going to be misled by President Obama before they mimic the conservative movement and wake up, realizing that they’re being manipulated for the gain of the political class? I recorded a podcast recently, which uses audio from President Obama to drive home this point. I called the episode the “Obama vs. Obama” debates. In it, I ask the question “If you are a supporter of President Obama, then which President Obama do you support?”

It’s stupefying how many times President Obama has publicly taken the exact opposite stance on an issue important to millions of Americans, yet retains unquestioned support on that issue from the same millions.

Although the list is long, here are just a few:

On Marriage

2004 President Obama said, “marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”

2012 President Obama said, “For me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

On Immigration

2013 President Obama said, an Executive Action bypassing the Congress would be “violating our laws” and would be “very difficult to defend legally.”

2014 President Obama said about an Executive Action bypassing the Congress “Today, I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress,”

On the Debt Ceiling

2006 Senator Obama said, “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. … I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

2013 President Obama said, “I think if you look at the history, getting votes for the debt ceiling is always difficult, and budgets in this town are always difficult.”

On Executive Orders

2008 Candidate Obama said, “I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with [the president] trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.”

2013 President Obama said, “America does not stand still, and neither will I,” He continued. “So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do,”

And, the coup de grace, on Obamacare

2009 President Obama said, “No matter how we reform health care, I intend to keep this promise:  If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor; if you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.”

2013 President Obama said, “What we said was, you can keep (your plan) if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”

Clearly there is a level of serial dishonesty here and the dishonesty is not about largely inconsequential issues. These are significant issues affecting your life such as your healthcare, the breakdown of our Constitutional system of separated powers, who enters the country and how, and the financial health of the country. If you uncritically accept this dishonesty what else are you willing to accept?

Whenever I point out these dramatic inconsistencies to Obama supporters and I ask them which President Obama they support, they typically respond by redirecting the question as they say “Well; all presidents lie.” So, that’s it? Is this where we are as a country? Have we “evolved” to where President Obama has set a new standard of dishonesty to the point where we should no longer pay mind to being consistently lied to by the most powerful man in the world?

Nassim Nicholas Taleb points out in his book, The Black Swan, the risks of contagion in an information-rich society. Bad information spreads quickly in our new information environment but, when we ignore that information, and blindly accept what is told to us by the insider political class purely because of the partisan label they choose, we become what the founding fathers feared most, subjects.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review.

Florida ranked as the ‘Freest State in the Union’ — But…

What state is the freest? According to the John Locke Foundation, the answer is Florida. However, in some categories Florida is far from being ranked first. The John Locke Foundation ranked the states using four metrics: fiscal policy, education freedom, regulatory freedom and healthcare freedom. All of these metrics focus on government intervention into personal freedom.

The social issues, such as religious freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom to petition elected officials, were not measured. While this ranking is useful it is not complete. When the John Locke Foundation includes social freedoms then the index may have greater validity.

The George Mason University’s Mercatus Center “Freedom in the 50 States” gives a more complete analysis of freedom in each state. The Mercatus Center ranks Florida at 23rd on its freedom index. While Florida ranks first in the John Locke Foundation index it falls short in several areas. Florida ranks 45th in regulatory freedom and 30th in healthcare freedom according to the John Locke Foundation index. Mercatus Center ranks Florida as 36th in personal freedom and 32nd in regulatory freedom.

Michael Hausman from IJReview in a column titled “What States are the Freest? This Map Shows Americans Where to Go If They Crave Liberty” writes:

The John Locke Foundation just published its First In Freedom Index, a report that compares and ranks the relative freedom of all fifty states.

The North Carolina-based think tank says it has an institutional commitment to “individual liberty and limited, constitutional government,” weighed four different variables to compile the rankings.

The most significant consideration was fiscal policy, which measures taxes and budgetary measures. This aspect generated 50 percent of each state’s score, with 20 percent given each to education and regulatory policies, and the final 10 percent to health care policy.

[ … ]

The overall results from the report show:

  1. The ‘freest’ state is Florida, followed by Arizona, Indiana, South Dakota, and Georgia.
  2. The ‘least free’ state is New York, followed by New Jersey, California, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

Read more.

The map below shows the overall index ranking of each state:

freest states in the union

For a larger view click on the image.

Hausam includes in his column the George Mason University’s Mercatus Center “Freedom in the 50 States” map, which includes more than 200 economic and personal variables in their calculations.

RELATED ARTICLES:

You Might Be Surprised By Which State Grabbed the Top Spot for “Well-Being”

Freedom of Press Across the World, “Dramatically Worse,” U.S. Slips Further Behind

The 10 Best (and Worst) States to Find a Job

The Marijuana Report: If we can see the difference, why can’t we speak the difference?

The green tubes in the picture above contain a cannabinoid, one of more than 100 components scientists have identified in the marijuana plant. This particular cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD), or Epidiolex, which GW Pharmaceuticals extracts from the marijuana plant, purifies, and mixes in oil to treat children with rare forms of epilepsy. Some 98% of this medicine is CBD with trace amounts of other cannabinoids, including less than 0.2% of THC, the cannabinoid that produces a “high.” Epidiolex is in FDA clinical trials in the US and is expected to be approved soon. If it is, doctors will be able to prescribe it for children who suffer intractable seizures. No laws will need to be changed.

Pictured below Epidiolex is a marijuana plant. Add another 400 chemical components to the cannabinoids it contains. Few have been studied. Legalization advocates, and marijuana growers, processors, and distributors who stand to make fortunes, have convinced most Americans that this whole plant is medicine, or “medical marijuana.”

marijuana plant
But the promise for medicine lies in the plant’s cannabinoids, not the whole plant itself. That promise is being investigated by scientists who are studying cannabinoids in test tubes or in animals but, with rare exceptions, not yet in humans. That hasn’t stopped legalization advocates from claiming that the whole marijuana plant itself can produce a result in humans that a specific cannabinoid has produced in a test tube. But a test tube result is not a fact; it’s an indication that a scientist should take the next step in the research process. And a finding that a single cannabinoid has a specific effect in a test tube cannot be applied to the whole marijuana plant consumed by a human.
 
At the 2015 annual meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Science (NAAS) last Saturday, researchers conducted a symposium titled “Cannabis and Medicine: A New Frontier in Therapeutics.” According to materials promoting the symposium and press accounts of it, the researchers used the terms “medical marijuana” and cannabinoids interchangeably, an odd thing for scientists, for whom precision matters, to do.
 
One, Dr. Igor Grant of the University of California, San Diego, asserted, “‘There is no evidence for long-term damaging effects [of marijuana use] in adults,’” according to an account of the symposium written for Science Magazine, the publication of the NAAS. “Preliminary data linking marijuana use to an increased risk of schizophrenia have not been supported by further studies.”
 
That was Saturday. Yesterday, The Lancet published a study by 23 scientists who found that daily use of high-potency marijuana (about 16% THC and no CBD) quintupled the risk of developing a schizophrenic-like psychosis and weekend use tripled the risk among people ages 18 to 65. A major finding of the study is that potency and frequency of use are critical to determining the effect of marijuana on mental health, factors, according to one report, that are often overlooked by doctors.
 
Ironically underscoring the need to be precise in our language is a dispute reported today in Oregon where medical marijuana growers have asked a legislator for a bill that will ban the growing of hemp in counties with large medical-marijuana grows. They fear hemp will pollinate their high-THC marijuana and turn it into low-grade, 60s pot. “It basically makes the medicine worthless,” one grower said.
 
Click here to read an account of the NAAS marijuana symposium.
Click here to read an account of The Lancet study.
Click here to read The Lancet study itself.
Click here to read the Oregon story.

ABOUT THE MARIJUANA REPORT:

The Marijuana Report.Org is published by the Marijuana Studies Program, a project of National Families in Action and its partners. The report is a news aggregator website that links browsers to daily news coverage of the marijuana issue. A one-page e-newsletter highlights key issues for subscribers each week. We are grateful to Monte Stiles, Derek Franklin, the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention, and others who contribute stories to this website.

Hating Humanity by Opposing Science

They don’t want to admit it, but we know it’s true. There are countless organizations that hate humanity enough to do everything in their power to put a stop to anything that might benefit it. Their focus is on the use of science to improve and protect our lives.

A recent example is the discussion over the need to ensure youngsters are vaccinated against measles. When I was a child, the great fear parents had was polio and, when the vaccine was created against it, it ceased within my lifetime to be a major health threat. Measles, too, went from being a common disease in my youth to where it occurred rarely.

Even so, some idiots keep spreading the lie that vaccinations can cause autism. That was enough for some parents to fail to vaccinate their child. In other cases, children brought here from foreign nations where vaccination is not as widespread as here can and do cause outbreaks like the one at a California amusement park. It is occurring in other states as well. A disease like measles exists with a life force of its own to spread as widely and rapidly as possible.

FOE (2)On February 14, the Wall Street Journal carried an article, “First Genetically Modified Apple Approved for Sale in U.S.” The previous day I received an email from Friends of the Earth (FOE) citing the apple and bewailing the fact that “Like other GMO’s, this apple won’t be labeled and regulators are relying on assurance from the company that made the apple that it’s safe for human consumption and the environment.”

Why won’t it be labeled? Because it poses no harm to anyone’s health.

What FOE wants to do is create obstacles to genetically modified foods, but the World Health Organization is on record saying that “GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved.”

Listen to what a farmer has to say about GMOs. Larry Cochran is the president of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers. “Most people don’t even know what GMO stands for, but for me as a farmer it’s just another way of speeding up the breeding process. I have a boss, Mother Nature, who does her own form of GMO breeding, whether it’s new races of disease or insects that have evolved. She’s always changing the rules. If we in agriculture want to be able to feed the world’s population, we have to be able to grow more food on less land, and I believe GMOs can help me do that.”

In a December 31, 2014 commentary posted on the Daily Caller, Mischa Popoff, an expert on the organic food sector, the author of “Is it Organic?” and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute, pointed out that “GMOs meanwhile have NEVER caused any health problem at any level.”

Popoff’s book reveals what a scam organic farming is and, if you have had a choice between organic or not in the supermarket, you will instantly realize organic is much more expensive. Why? Because it does not use GMOs or other means to protect their crops against drought, weeds, or insect predation.

“The real goal for organic activists,” says Popoff, “is to ban GMOs outright the way DDT was banned in 1972, a terrible move by these very same activists which resulted in more deaths from mosquito-borne malaria in the Third World than were cause by both world wars.”

Fear of GMOs is spread monthly by countless articles condemning genetic modification. As Amy Paturel notes in an article on WebMD.com, “The World Health Organization, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association all say these crops are safe as, and often safer than, foods changed the old-fashioned way, such as when a new plant is bred from two different types.”

The irony of all the efforts to scare people in the fashion that the Friends of the Earth and comparable groups are trying to do—calling for labeling of GMO foods—is that the new apple has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The producer has voluntarily asked the Food and Drug Administration to likewise determine its safe consumption. What’s new about it? It does not turn brown after you cut it into slices by shutting off the enzyme that initiates the browning process. It also resists bruising. All good news for consumers.

It is essential that companies that purchase large quantities of food products not fall prey to the anti-GMO lies. A biotech potato, Simplot, is also less susceptible to black spots from bruising and has lower levels of sugar and asparagine. Despite DOA approval, McDonald’s decided not to use it and it is a company that buys 3.4 billion pounds of potatoes a year.

If farmers and ranchers are going to be able to feed the Earth’s human population of seven billion and growing, GMOs hold the key to avoiding widespread hunger while at the same time offering products like Golden Rice that would prevent a half million kids from going blind and dying every year due to Vitamin-A deficiency in the Third World.

As Patrick Moore, a Greenpeace co-founder who left the organization when he realized it was operating from an anti-science, anti-capitalism agenda, warns, “There is now an anti-intellectual element that doesn’t care about people. There is no logic or science involved—only ideology and ignorance.”

People live longer, healthier lives these days because of the discoveries of science. Genetic modification is just one of them. Vaccines are another. The Friends of the Earth and others who oppose such advances want you to die because they believe humans are a plague on the Earth.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Powerhouse Texan says there’ll be no messin’ with Texas

DALLASFeb. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Texas native Monica Simmons has taken up the war cry of 25 House Republicans with a message for Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) who called the Lone Star State “a crazy state” at last week’s meeting of the House Rules Committee.

These and countless other Texans won’t “Let It Go” and won’t “Shake It Off.” Hastings said “hell would freeze over” before he apologizes for blasting the state’s failure to participate in the Affordable Care Act.

Ms. Simmons’ North Texas neighbor Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX) took strong exception to the disparaging remarks, and Rep. Pete SessionsDallas Republican and House Rules Committee Chair, launched into a floor speech on “Don’t Mess with Texas.”

But advertising executive Simmons is taking the high road to remedying the besmirching of her great state. “I’m shouting ‘Smile. You’re in Texas!’ to the world,” she declared.  “From Austin, to Dallas, to Houston, to El Paso—this campaign is about reminding each other how fortunate we are to be in this great state.”

Simmons wasted no time trademarking her big-hearted slogan.  “I want it to put a smile on everyone’s face across the state of Texas,” she said. And that’s not all. She believes it’s a fine companion to “Don’t Mess withTexas,” created more than 25 years ago as an anti-litter campaign slogan.  She’s in good company. Even eclectic singer Lyle Lovett sings, “That’s right, you’re not from Texas but Texas loves you anyway.”

What’s next for the “Smile” movement?  Simmons has just launched a new website, www.smileyoureintexas.com, where she’s encouraging supporters of the Lone Star State to share their Texas stories and pictures. They’ll also have the opportunity to browse from a selection of items featuring the motto to help spread the word and the smiles.

For more information visit www.smileyoureintexas.com.

Food Fight in Sarasota County Public Schools

The Sarasota County School Board some time ago voted to have Meatless Mondays, much to the chagrin of parents and students. At the February 3rd, 2015 school board meeting one school board member, after listening to parents and students, offered the board the opportunity to rethink its decision to dictate what students should and should not eat, making a motion to end Meatless Mondays (see video below). Three members of the school board rejected that motion. Why?

Wendy McElroy in her column “Eating Right: Your freedom to choose your food is sacred” writes:

Political correctness now drives the civics of food with bountiful nations attempting to dictate what people can eat and how much. Why? For their own good.

The public debate revolves around whether a particular food choice is healthy or not. The real debate is, “Who should choose: you or someone else?” The defense of food freedom needs to turn on the right of people to express themselves through dietary choices that reflect not only their preferences but also their judgment. Food is self-expression as much as music or literature is. If the government can control the flavors of life you choose to swallow, then it can control everything else.

The three school board members who believe that “government can control the flavors of life you choose to swallow” are Caroline Zucker, Jane Goodwin and Shirley Brown. Because of this food freedom died in Sarasota County’s public schools.

VIDEO: Sarasota County School Board Votes Against Student (Lunch) Choice:

But why is food freedom important to our children and parents? Because food is much more than a health matter.

McElroy notes, “The State uses two basic arguments to justify the micromanagement of what people eat. First, laws are necessary to force people to make healthy choices. This argument assumes that politically motivated bureaucrats know what is best for people better than they do themselves. Second, people’s unhealthy choices make them tax burdens on the socialized medical system. Having “relieved” or deprived people of the responsibility for their own medical maintenance, the State uses their dependence as an excuse to impose social control. It is important to counter both arguments, but doing so often ignores an equally essential point.”

“Food is not merely a matter of health or sustaining life. It is one of the main ways people express themselves in terms of culture, ethnicity, religion, psychology, family history, and pure preference. Food choices are personal; they define our identity as surely as choices in attire or music do,” writes McElroy.

The government’s increasing interference in food choice is often viewed as benevolent, because it is discussed in terms of health benefits. Food regulation is anything but benevolent. The government is not only trying to define who and what you are; it is, at the same time, trying to convince you that the denial of freedom is “for your own good.”

If you are what you eat, then food laws are an attempt to control your identity.

Meatless Monday is “local control of your child’s identity” courtesy of Sarasota County School Board members Zucker, Goodwin and Brown, nothing more and nothing less.

ABOUT WENDY MCELROY

Wendy McElroy (wendy@wendymcelroy.com) is an author, editor of iFeminists.com, and Research Fellow at The Independent Institute (Independent.org)