The Fifteen Charts Obama Doesn’t Want You to See

Amy Payne from The Foundry writes, “Talking about Obamacare’s effects is one thing; seeing hard data is another. Heritage’s newly updated Obamacare in Pictures has 15 charts that show the law’s effects on Americans—from canceled insurance policies to new taxes, Medicare cuts, reduced choice for plans, and more.”

The Methane Hoax Cranks Up

Having spent decades trying to convince everyone that carbon dioxide (CO2) was a “greenhouse gas” that was going to cause the Earth to heat up, the same environmental charlatans are now embarking on a campaign to do the same with methane. In the U.S. the first move was announced by the White House in late March.

The carbon dioxide hoax fell apart in the wake of a cooling cycle affecting the Earth that began around 1997 and continues to this day. Warming and cooling cycles are natural events and both are tied to the activity or lack of it of the Sun. Humans have nothing to do with the climate other to enjoy or endure it.

Why methane? It has a lot to do with the development of hydraulic fracturing, commonly called “fracking”, and the way it unlocks natural gas, aka methane, all of which portends an America that is energy independent, along with its huge reserves of coal and oil. If, of course, the government permits this to occur.

As we know, the Obama administration does not want that. It would mean more jobs, greater prosperity, and the ability to pay down the national debt, not to mention drive down the cost of electricity, gasoline, and everything else that depends on energy.

Despite the cooling cycle that is likely to last for many more years, Steve Hamburg, chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, was quoted by the Washington Post saying that “ounce for ounce, methane is 84 times as potent as a greenhouse gas over 20 years” compared to carbon dioxide. “More than a third of the warming that we’ll see as a result of today’s emissions over the next couple of decades comes from, essentially, methane. We need to remain focused on carbon dioxide emissions, but doing so is not enough.”

Excuse me, but the Environmental Defense Fund and countless other Green advocacy groups have been focused on carbon dioxide for decades and the Earth is cooling, not warming. What part of this does Hamburg not understand?

James M. Taylor, the managing editor of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly published by The Heartland Institute, reported in January that “Natural gas fracking is not causing a spike in the U.S. methane emissions”, citing Environmental Protection Agency data. “Methane emissions specific to natural gas are in a long-term decline, down ten percent since 1990 and down seven percent since 2007 when the fracking boom began.”

The Washington Post, however, asserted that emission levels “are set to rise by 2030 as shale oil and shale gas production expands in the United States.” Do you remember all those predictions about the increase of carbon dioxide emissions and how, in ten, twenty, fifty or a hundred years, the Earth would heat up?

This is not about methane, it is about finding a way to shut down fracking and the extraction of natural gas and oil in the same way the Obama administration’s “war on coal” has caused the loss of over 150 coal-fired plants that until it began, were providing electricity. Reducing sources of electricity drives up its cost to everyone. As more natural gas came on line by 2013 it had become the second greatest source of U.S. electricity, but overall the amount of electricity produced was less than in 2007 before the war on coal began.

A natural component of the Earth, it has a number of sources, but one that has also caught the eye of government regulators involves cow flatulence and belching.

cow-farts-costa-ricaThe White House has proposed cutting methane emissions from the dairy industry by 25% by 2020. The Environmental Protection Agency has been tracking cow farts since 2012 and now the dairy industry has to worry along with the oil and gas industry. In addition to the EPA, the Bureau of Land Management will be announcing “new standards this fall to reduce venting and flaring from oil and gas production on public lands.”

It’s often best just to let the Greens speak for themselves, revealing their never-ending efforts to attack the energy industry that keeps our lights on, heats and cools our homes, and fuels our cars and trucks. “President Obama’s plan to reduce climate-disrupting methane pollution is an important step in reining in an out of control industry exempt from too many public health protections,” said Deborah Nardone, the director of the Sierra Club’s Keeping Dirty Fuels in the Ground campaign.

“However,” said Ms. Nardone, “even with the most rigorous methane controls in place, we will still fall short of what is needed to fight climate disruption if we do not reduce our reliance on these dirty fossil fuels.”

What the heck is a climate disruption? A blizzard, a hurricane, a flood, tornadoes? None of these phenomena have anything to do with using fossil fuels. This is the kind of utter drivel we have all been hearing for decades.

It has nothing to do with the climate and everything to do with denying access and use of the greatest reserves of coal, oil and natural gas that exist in the greatest nation on Earth, the United States of America.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Higher Ed: Bubble, Toil and Trouble by SANDY IKEDA

Interest rates have been in the news again so for this week’s column I thought I’d do a little back-of-the-envelope economic analysis.

What Does this Sound Like to You?

The government artificially lowers interest rates for borrowers who want to invest in a particular sector of the economy. Other things equal, that will increase the demand for assets in that sector as borrowers are misled into believing they will be worth more in the future than they actually will be. The current price of those assets will climb as will the quantity supplied (i.e., the demand curve slides up the supply curve). Borrowers will then clamor to keep borrowing rates low (or even lower) so they can afford to complete their investments, although that would also attract new borrowers. So pressure on demand continues and investment costs soar as asset prices and output keep rising.

Now, because government has kept interest rates artificially low—below the rate that would accurately reflect the actual supply and demand in the loan market—there is too much investment in those assets in relation to the actual demand for it. That means when investors try to sell their assets they will find no market for them. At that point the bubble bursts, bringing complementary sectors down with it.

If the Shoe Fits

If you think this describes the housing market from 2001 to 2006, you’d be right. Just substitute housing/houses for asset/assets and “financial sector” for “complementary sectors” in the above narrative and you would get an accurate (though incomplete) summary of the recent housing boom and bust. (For an excellent discussion of this episode, see Peter Boettke and Steven Horwitz’s essay.)

But you could substitute “higher education” into the story as well.

As an author of the Economix blog over at The New York Times reports, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that “college tuition and fees today are 559 percent of their cost in 1985. In other words, they have nearly sextupled (while consumer prices have roughly doubled).” There’s a nice diagram in the post illustrating this. Tuition has been far outpacing price increases over time for consumer items, medical care, and gasoline.

Author Catherine Rampell argues, however, that “the main cause of tuition growth has been huge state funding cuts.” As an employee of a state university I can confirm that these cutbacks have indeed been taking place over the past couple of decades. The author offers some evidence to support her claim, but if you look closely, the dramatic rise in tuition still seems to outstrip the relative fall in state subsidies.

More importantly, if what she argues is true, why is it that college enrollment over the same period has been rising?

In basic economic terms, she is arguing that because the colleges are bearing more of the actual costs, the supply curve for college education has been shifting upward and to the left—causing tuition to rise and enrollment to fall. But the evidence points to a rightward shifting demand curve (like the narrative I sketched at the outset), which accounts for both the higher tuition and higher enrollment.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics,

Enrollment in degree-granting institutions increased by 11 percent between 1990 and 2000. Between 2000 and 2010, enrollment increased 37 percent, from 15.3 million to 21.0 million.

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of 18- to 24-year-olds increased from 27.3 million to 30.7 million, an increase of 12 percent, and the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college rose from 35 percent in 2000 to 41 percent in 2010.

The Stafford loan program, which subsidizes student loans, began in 1988.

If Rampell is right, then shouldn’t enrollment be falling? Instead it is rising disproportionately. Just as the housing bust left tracts of houses unused, a higher-education bust would create a small army of unemployed young people.

An Act of Independence?

But just as overbuilt housing can be used for some lower-valued purpose than it was intended for, investment in education—which is sometimes more accurately described as “spending on a credential”—often goes “underemployed.”  So growing underemployment of college grads is something we should keep an eye out for.

According to The Huffington Post, “half of recent grads are working jobs that don’t require a degree, according to research from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, released in January.”

The same article notes, “In 2000, before the economy fell into a recession, the share of recent college graduates who were either jobless or underemployed hit an 11 year low of 41 percent, according to the Associated Press.”

Now, as an article from The Washington Post makes clear, that’s not necessarily a bad thing: Some jobs don’t require a specific degree. Also, it’s unrealistic in a dynamic economy to expect the major you choose when you’re 20 to match what your comparative advantage will be later in life.

Still, it’s probably true that many young people who would otherwise get the training they need for productive jobs from trade schools and community colleges are applying to and getting into four-year colleges, as the lower rates tend to offer a higher subsidy to the latter. (Example: The savings from a lower rate on a $50,000 liberal arts college loan is greater than the savings on a $10,000 loan for community college.)

This week Congress takes a holiday to celebrate Independence Day. One of the things they’re leaving undone is negotiating a measure to keep the rates on Stafford loans from rising from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Given the very real possibility of a bubble in higher education, that may actually be a blessing.

The first step to avoiding a huge bust, though some kind of correction seems to be inevitable, would be to let the Stafford-loan rates rise to reflect the realities of the loan market. That could mean a significant break in the vicious boom-bust cycle in higher education.  The question is, does Congress have the will to do nothing?

ABOUT SANDY IKEDA

Sandy Ikeda is an associate professor of economics at Purchase College, SUNY, and the author of The Dynamics of the Mixed Economy: Toward a Theory of Interventionism. He will be speaking at the FEE summer seminars “People Aren’t Pawns” and “Are Markets Just?

The Individualist – Part 2: An Interview with Anne Wortham

The first part of our interview with Anne Wortham made waves. In this second part, we go deeper into her experiences in higher education. Wortham is an associate professor of sociology at Illinois State University. She wrote her first piece for The Freeman in 1966.

The FreemanIn higher education, you are something of a pariah. Would you care to talk about why you think that might be?

Wortham: Although I am certainly not highly regarded in the academic world, I don’t think I am currently viewed as a pariah, at least not among most of my colleagues in the sociology department at Illinois State University. I am simply off the radar screen of mainstream academia. At ISU my presence is noted by the courses I teach and membership in campus governance committees. This is largely a consequence of my lack of active participation in professional organizations, political groups, or civic activities. Although I am a member of the Sociology of Culture section of American Sociological Association, I am not actively involved. While my book, The Other Side of Racism, was published by a university press, most of my articles, though based on my scholarship, are published in opinion journals that are not read by sociologists. The reason is that I know that what I have to say will be rejected by the peer-reviewed professional academic journals. Fortunately the World & I Journal exists and publishes the kind of in-depth articles that I write.

My most recent work has appeared online at the Mises.org website. Other essays have been published at LewRockwell.com. On November 6, 2008, my letter to Americans that criticized their election of Obama to the presidency was published on the Rockwell website. Editors of the site gave the essay the title, “No He Can’t!” which did not reflect my judgment at all. I was certain that he could move the country further down the road to serfdom, and indeed he has done precisely that. It was among the 10 best-read on LRC for February 2009. And for five weeks it was among the top five of most read articles on the site. It went viral on the Internet and was reprinted in newspapers and various blogs. I was swamped with hundreds of emails, phone calls, letters, interview requests, and speaking opportunities. It was read by various radio talk show hosts. Emails have continued to arrive as late as this year. I would guess that over 90 percent of the responses were positive. I turned down all the requests for interviews and speaking engagements, as I didn’t want additional publicity to complicate my relations with students and faculty at ISU, and I didn’t want to be exposed to possible assault at a public event.

I am fairly certain that the essay is disapproved of by faculty who are aware of it, but no one has spoken to me about it. I did receive a message from the ISU president’s office asking whether I was the author of the article. The question came as a result of inquiries the office was receiving from college administrators around the country.

The Obama essay was but an episode of public visibility. I remain essentially invisible in the academic world. Yet there is a record of academic criticism of my ideas. It all began with the denunciation of me by Molefi Kete Asante of Temple University in his review of my book, The Other Side of Racism. Asante condemned the work as “neoracist” and a “complete mastery” of “Eurocentric individualistic ideologies.” He accused me of being totally ignorant of “African concepts” and of failing to see the “antagonism between European individuality and African collectivity.” He found it abominable that someone who was both female and black defended the tenets of individualism as persistently as I did.

The FreemanHas that been all?

Wortham: No. The next major blow to my reputation came in 1983 upon my joining the faculty at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In a letter to the dean of the KSG, which was shared among Harvard’s black faculty and beyond, Martin Kilson, a black professor in Harvard’s government department, objected to the KSG’s appointment of a “disciple of Ayn Rand’s ‘Objectivism’.” According to Kilson I was unqualified to teach the course on Ethnicity and Public Policy because “Wortham doesn’t believe ethnic realities should figure into public policy, especially not for Black folks, though maybe for some kinds of White folks. And anyway, any good student of ethnicity in modern society . . . can tell you that The Other Side of Racism is a bad book and bad social science.” In another communication he denounced what he called the book’s “militant and polemical ideological thrust” as “tantamount to a right-wing moral slam-in-the-face of Blacks’ century-old strivings for equality in American society.”

Although I am not a conservative, my presence in the wider academic world is basically as a subject of critical analyses of works on black conservatives.

In 2002, 20 years after Kilson’s denunciation, he was still on my case, and included me in a group of black intellectuals whom he denigrated as “‘conservative true believers’ . . . convinced that problem areas in the modern development of African Americans . . . in our racist American democracy could be resolved by fervent application of classical capitalist processes.” He accused us of believing “that racism was merely an aberration on the face of an otherwise perfect American Republic, not, as I and other progressive Black intellectuals believe, a deep-rooted pathology at the core of the American Republic that must be activistically challenged in order to uproot.”

In a collection of essays on Dimensions of Black Conservatism in the United States, author Sheri Smith criticized my “individual ethos” and characterized my defense of the contemptible Lester Maddox’s right to refuse to serve Blacks in his restaurant as being “against the collective sentiment of the African American community, and in this case, the larger American community.” In her view the flaw in my argument is in asserting my own “individual reasoning” (read: subjectivism) over the collective sentiment of the general population. The fact that I was insisting on the universal protection of the right to property was overlooked. So we are left with the impression of Wortham as a defender of a white racist.

In Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Now?: Multicultural Conservatism in America, Angela D. Dillard includes me in a group of minority conservatives whom she describes as having “participated in delegitimizing the idea of demanding collective redress from the state for historical and contemporary wrongs, an idea that has traditionally guided the struggles of women and minority groups for inclusion and parity; . . . shifted the focus to individuals and away from social forces in a far-too-simple story of success and failure, one that demands no redistributive justice for a large segment of American society; have allowed their conservative allies to ignore the criticisms and in some cases the very existence of non conservative women, homosexuals, and people of color.”

As far as I know, my colleagues in the sociology department are unaware of the journal articles and books that examine my ideas. But I am certain that they would agree with many of the negative assessments. Yet, I don’t think they despise me as a pariah. They simply view my defense of reason and individual rights as objectionable and irrelevant to the sociological enterprise. My response is to resist internalizing their judgment or taking responsibility for their ill-informed and flawed conclusions.

The FreemanWhat do your students make of you, by and large? Are they shocked? Inspired? Challenged?

Wortham: My students generally know only one side of me—as the transmitter of knowledge from the canon of sociology and from my experiences. Although what I teach is consistent with my sociological perspective, I try not to place myself between my students and the scholarship in the field. However, in the context of examining a particular topic I will introduce students to ideas they are not likely to encounter in other courses. I use aspects of my philosophy, intellectual resources, and biography to illustrate the theories and concepts we study.

For instance, as an illustration of the application of the methodology that Max Weber called “ideal types,” I introduce students to the typology of major ideologies in American politics identified by William S. Maddox and Stuart A. Lilie in Beyond Liberal and Conservative: Reassessing the Political Spectrum. We discuss other typologies, but in this case I want them to know that when American politics is analyzed in terms of its two major dimensions—government intervention in economic affairs and expansion of personal freedom—four ideological categories can be identified: liberal, conservative, populist, and libertarian.

In our examination of the theories of Karl Marx, students learn that the slave trade was an enterprise of mercantilism, not capitalism, as capitalism is characterized by free labor; that in 1848 Karl Marx was witnessing mercantilism alongside early capitalism; that most of the policies Marx believed were necessary to carry out the socialist agenda are now part of the government’s regulation of the American economy; that the U.S. economy is best characterized as a mixed economy of capitalism and socialism that is referred to as “regulated capitalism” or “welfare state capitalism,” in which there is the practice of “crony capitalism” by business and the government. I refer them to Ian Bremmer’s 2009 Foreign Affairs article, “State Capitalism Comes of Age,” in which he defines state capitalism as “a system in which the state functions as the leading economic actor and uses markets primarily for political gain.” They also learn that Marx incorrectly found the value of products in the labor that produced them rather than in the price buyers are willing to pay for them

They are shocked when I tell them that I am an example of someone whom Marx would say is in a state of false consciousness. The reasons: As a black female wage earner, I do not think according to the oppressed groups of which I am a member. I do not support affirmative action; I do not view men as oppressors by definition, or as incapable of understanding me as a woman; I do not envy the rich for their wealth, or believe I have less because they have more. I tell them how, in the 1970s, people like me were told that we needed our consciousness raised.

I know that my self-presentation is disturbing to some students, but I also know that it is the first time most of them have ever heard a black person describe him or herself in this way. For some it is a welcomed perspective that challenges their perception of the ideologies guiding blacks and women, while confirming their own views. For others it not only challenges what they believe most blacks think, but they conclude that I am indeed in a state of false consciousness, and I see the light go out of their eyes. On rare occasion a student has dropped the course. And just as rarely a student has asked to meet to learn more about my views.

During fall 1989, I gave two talks at Smith College. In the first, I spoke on individualism in the black community. My basic argument was that whites do not have a monopoly on individualism, that blacks can be individualists, too. Suddenly, in the middle of my talk, a black student ran out of the room crying. I knew I was speaking in a language that was offensive to her. Students told me of the offensiveness of my views during the question period after the talk I gave the next night. They told me, in effect, that I spoke in a language that should not come from someone who is black and female. They had been taught that my ideas were the same as those used by racists to justify their exploitation of the disadvantaged. One young lady, a white student, condemned me and said I should not have been permitted to speak there.

I could understand why the students were offended by what I said. Collectivism is now taken for granted and taught to students under the guise of diversity, civic engagement, and social change leadership. It is a key element of the American Democracy Project (ADP) initiated in 2003 as a multicampus program by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in partnership with The New York Times. When today’s students hear the principles of individualism articulated, they think they are hearing an opposing brand of collectivism that they call Eurocentrism, or they believe are hearing a philosophy that is hostile to the poor, the needy, and the brotherhood of man. While I do not profess individualism in the classroom, when appropriate I do teach the difference between individualism and collectivism, and what is at stake in the conflict between those opposing worldviews. My approach is not that of a proselytizer, but of a teacher. My aim is to enlighten them, not to convert them to my side.

Recently, I was invited to be an advisor to the Black Sociology Students organization. In my refusal of their invitation, I wrote to them that although I have nothing against students forming an informal group of those who have the same interests or identity background, I do not join groups that emphasize racial, ethnic, gender, or religious perspectives, whether in scholarship or cultural and political interests. I also told them, that while I am very interested in sociological scholarship on black Americans, I question the validity of distinguishing the practice of sociology by racial and other ascribed attributes of those who teach and practice the science. In my view sociology should not be taught or practiced in terms of “whose side are you on.” Lastly, I advised them not to engage in self-segregation; instead, for the sake of their scholarship and careers, they should join the department’s Sociology Club or Alpha Kappa Delta, the international sociology honor society.

So far, only one student has approached me about my statement, but I expect that some black students who are aware of it and are also in my courses may respond with negative course evaluations.

The Freeman: Anne Wortham, it’s been an honor and a pleasure.

ABOUT THE FREEMAN

The Shame of Brandeis: Caving to the lynch mob

Dr. Phyllis Chesler, noted feminist  author has written this News.Max.com  opinion piece on la’affaire Ayyan Hirsi Ali at Brandeis University, “The Shame of Brandeis“.  We draw your particular attention to identification of Brandeis faculty member Jytte Klausen, author of the redacted Yale Press book  that eliminated all of the Jyllands Posten  Danish Mohammed cartoons.

Klausen, herself the subject of censorship by her publisher, is cited by Chesler as a signatory of the Brandeis faculty letter requesting President Lawrence to withdraw Ali’s honorary degree at next month’s Commencement. We are sure that Lars Hedegaard executive editor of Dispatch International in Copenhagen will have choice comments about Ms. Klausen’s participation in this dastardly act against free speech.

Note these comments from Chesler’s essay:

Yale University drove the first nail into the coffin of academic freedom, freedom of thought, and critical inquiry, when Yale’s University Press refused to publish the Danish “Mohammed” cartoons to accompany Jytte Klausen’s 2009 book on the subject: “The Cartoons That Shook The World.”

Ironically, none other than Brandeis Professor, Jytte Klausen, the author of “The Cartoons That Shook the World,” published her views in the Brandeis student newspaper The Justice. In her (Stockholm-syndrome?) view, giving Hirsi Ali a degree “undermines years of careful work to show that Brandeis University promotes the ideals of shared learning, religious toleration and coexistence, irrespective of religion.”

Danish Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard visited  Yale amidst protests by Muslim student in  October 2009. That visit  coincided with  Klausen’s talk at the Yale  Initiative for Interdisciplinary Study  of  Antisemitism,  a subsequent victim of  denial of academic free speech. Westergaard and Lars Hedegaard had caught up with Brandeis University professor Jytte Klausen, author of “The Cartoons that Shook the World”,  for a discussion before the event began.  Apparently she had met Westergaard during her research for the book. We noted Klausen’s comments on that occasion in an Iconoclast post about Rabbi Jonathan Hausman encounter with Westergaard at a Branford College Master’s Tea presentation:

“I want to stress that, of course, the argument can be made that the cartoons are offensive,” Klausen said. “It is very problematic in my view because it assumes that Muslims really did respond to the cartoons based on the notion that they are taboo or bad and lack the self-control to deal with that. My book contradicts that argument.”

See our interview with Dr. Chesler, An American Feminist Fighting Sharia: an Interview with Dr. Phyllis Chesler.

The Shame of Brandeis

by Phyllis Chesler

By now, we all know that Brandeis University was about to bestow an honor on the elegant and distinguished author and activist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, best known for her critique of Islam, her decision to leave Islam, and her championship of Muslim women’s rights.

One might understand why an apostate intellectual might be in danger in Somalia, the country of her birth, or in Saudi Arabia, where she once lived.

However, she has just been dishonored by Brandeis University, which withdrew its offer of a Distinguished Professorship because the Muslim Brotherhood in America, known to us as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its national student group, the Muslim Students Association, which is also allied with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) mounted a successful campaign against the award. Both CAIR and ISNA are unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing case.

CAIR provided the Muslim Student Association (MSU) at Brandeis with outdated, out-of-context, and highly inflammatory quotes from Hirsi Ali. They did not provide her thought-provoking, stirring, moving passages of which there are many. Brandeis simply caved to the lynch mob.

This is a terrible moment for academic freedom and critical inquiry on the American campus.

Yale University drove the first nail into the coffin of academic freedom, freedom of thought, and critical inquiry, when Yale’s University Press refused to publish the Danish “Mohammed” cartoons to accompany Jytte Klausen’s 2009 book on the subject: “The Cartoons That Shook The World.”

Yale drove a second nail into that coffin when it ousted Dr. Charles Small, who dared to focus on the victims of contemporary anti-Semitism, not merely on safely dead Jews. Dr. Small’s major international conference on this subject in 2010 had more than 100 speakers and 600 in attendance. The conference did not demonize the Jewish or American states and it did look at Jew-hatred and the persecution of Christians in Islamic countries today.

However, official Palestinian and student Palestinians insisted this was an “Islamophobic” conference. A campaign was mounted and Yale administrators and professors dismissed Dr. Small’s Institute although it was independently funded.

Brandeis University, the “Jewish” university, (in terms of liberal values), has now driven the a nail into the coffin of academic freedom and intellectual diversity, when it bowed to student and faculty pressure and rescinded their offer to Hirsi Ali.

I am outraged, saddened, and frightened all at the same time. I have sentimental ties to Brandeis and I am suffering their betrayal of their own stellar values.

I understand that perfectly peaceful Muslim students at Brandeis may not wish to be associated with the hate propaganda and terrorist atrocities being committed in Islam’s name. They should be standing outside the mosque that indoctrinated the Boston bomber with signs reading “ Not in my Name,” and listing the gender and religious apartheid that characterize Islam today, and the Muslim-on-Muslim and Muslim-on-infidel violence being committed in the name of a religion that is dear to them. They should be holding teach-ins at mosques and within Muslim communities about human rights in Islam and wrestling with the question of whether radical Islam is compatible with modern Western values.

Hirsi Ali is a consummate intellectual. Students should hear what she has to say. Instead, Brandeis and the Muslim Student Association have taken a Sharia-like position about apostates and the anti-Islamist position she has adopted. The Brandeis MSA student Facebook page is filled with an attitude of offended Islamist supremacism and rage over alleged “Islamophobia.”

Ironically, none other than Brandeis Professor, Jytte Klausen, the author of “The Cartoons That Shook the World,” published her views in the Brandeis student newspaper The Justice. In her (Stockholm-syndrome?) view, giving Hirsi Ali a degree “undermines years of careful work to show that Brandeis University promotes the ideals of shared learning, religious toleration and coexistence, irrespective of religion.”

Klausen was joined by Brandeis Professors Mary Baine Campbell and Susan Lanser of the English Department. Campbell told Justice that “Hirsi Ali represents values that Brandeis, in naming itself after Justice [Louis] Brandeis, … was founded in noble opposition to.” Professor Susan Lanser said that Hirsi Ali’s (outspoken views on Islam) foment an intolerance that is wholly antithetical to Brandeisian values.”

Women’s and Gender Studies Professor Mitra Shavarini, told the Justice that offering this award to Hirsi Ali is not in line with the University’s mission, unless it wishes to “incite hate, mistrust and division among its community.” She further stated that Hirsi Ali’s approach to discourse “collapses thought in obscure, non-contextualized allegations that have no intellectual merit.” Alas, this is the language being used these days by professors on American campuses.

I have been told that more than forty professors signed a petition against honoring Hirsi Ali.

American campuses have long welcomed critiques of Judaism, Christianity, Mormonism etc. on the grounds of misogyny and Biblical-era atrocities. Secularists, atheists, anti-religionists have been lionized. Great thinkers have, historically, condemned religion—all religion. Think of Voltaire, or Bernard Russell.

Over the years, Brandeis has awarded Distinguished Professorships to a wide variety of worthy people. The awards are wide-ranging, balanced and reasonable.

In 1987, the award was given to Adrienne Rich who said “With initial hesitation but finally strong conviction I endorse the Call for a U.S. Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel.” Although I am an admirer of her poetry, I believe that some of her awards, perhaps not this one, were given in recognition of the presumably “bold” stand she took on boycotting the Jewish state. In 2000, Brandeis also gave this award to Desmond M. Tutu, who has been quoted as saying that the “Jewish lobby” is too “powerful and scary.” In 2006, Brandeis gave this award to Tony Kushner who is on record saying that he can “unambivalently say that I think it’s a terrible historical problem that modern Israel came into existence.”

One can openly criticize the Jewish state and be lionized. There was no groundswell of protest against these awards; if there were, they were not successful.

The conclusion: One can criticize Judaism, the Jewish state, America, real apartheid in South Africa, but one cannot criticize Islam, Islamic Jihad, Islamic supremacism, and Islamic gender and religious apartheid without being attacked and silenced.

ABOUT PHYLLIS CHESLER

Phyllis Chesler is professor emerita at the City University of New York. She has lived in Kabul,  Jerusalem, and New York City. The latest of her 15 books is “An American Bride in Kabul.”

RELATED STORIES:

No Honor at Brandeis University
Michael Coren: Brandeis cancellation of Hirsi Ali “yet another example of liberal cowardice and hypocrisy”
Audio: Robert Spencer on the Peter Boyles Show on Brandeis, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and free speech

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Louisiana: Foreign Operated Charter School State Legislation Introduced

Kenilworth Science and Technology School(1)

Gulen Science Academy Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Turkey’s Sunni Muslim Brotherhood Islamist leader, Premier Erdogan, this June could become the country’s first elected Executive President modeled on the US and France. It would give him enormous powers furthering his goal of creating a neo-Ottoman Caliphate.  Erdogan’s former ally, Sufi Sheik Muhammed Fethullah Gülen launched a major split in December 2013, after Erdogan banned non-state run preparatory school. This was, aimed squarely at the Gulen academies, a major source of the multi-billion dollar Gulen Movement (GM) global empire. The GM supplies Turkish nonimmigrant foreign workers to more than 1,000 private preparatory schools in over 100 countries, including more than 135 Charter schools in 20 states here in the US.

The expat Sheik Gulen, a resident alien, occupies a fortified compound in the Poconos Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania. In retaliation, GM followers in Turkey’s public prosecutors and judiciary launched a series of investigations against Erdogan.  The investigations revealed extensive family involvement with funneling funds via Saudi global terrorist financier for Al Qaeda –backed militias in Syria, bribery payments on major construction projects, illicit gold for gas trades with Iran and muzzling free speech with shutdown of Twitter and You Tube.  Recent municipal election victories in Turkey in late March have paved the way for changes in the country’s basic Constitutional law enabling Erdogan to seek the new form of Presidency. That could have his AK party extend its power a decade beyond the current 11 year tenure of the Islamist party in Ankara’s parliament.

What we have in Turkey today is a contest between two Islamists. Erdogan, seeking to convert the country into a Caliphate with a one time election to an executive Presidency, versus, Gulen “the world’s most dangerous Islamist” slowly perfects the same goal.

The GM connection here in the US is of interest, because of the controversy over the movement’s control of dozens of Math and Science academies operating with US taxpayer funding as charter schools. According to one source there are more than 135 Gulen charter schools with an enrollment of 45,000 students in over 20 states in the US. The staffs of these US charter schools are manned by Turkish Gulenists who enter the US under the H-1B visa program. There have been expose’s on the US Gulen science academies in Texas and elsewhere published by the New York Times. The Gulen  Harmony Schools in Texas received  $30 million in  grants  from the US Department of Education “Race to the Top” program.

We posted on an FBI raid of a Gulen science academy in Louisiana. Because of the problems with the Gulen charter schools, many states have either passed or are considering legislation that would control the proportion of H-1B Visa staff employed at Gulen-sponsored charter schools. The Gulen movement charter school program has been supported by the Gates and Walton Family Foundations.  The Walton Family Foundation contributed more than $1 million for Gulen schools in California, alone. Former President Bill Clinton has gone on record supporting the GM interfaith dialogue and educational development program in 2008. GM members were alleged to have contributed to Hillary Clinton’s failed Presidential Campaign in 2008.

Gulen’s immigration status came into question in the same year, 2008, in actions brought by the US Department of Homeland Security. Note what the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) reported:

In 2008, negative U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service decisions threatened to deny Gulen’s application for permanent residency. A federal court reversed the rulings after receiving 29 letters on Gulen’s behalf. One of those letters came from [Prof. John] Esposito [of Georgetown University]… after his Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding received donations from the [GM] and sponsored a conference in [Gulen’s] honor.

We noted in a December 2013  Iconoclast post a report by Christopher Holton on the FBI investigations into Gulen  Louisiana charter schools and the efforts by a Texas-based GM charity to stop legislation controlling the influx of Turkish adherents under the H-1B visa program:

The story broke in Baton Rouge media that the Kenilworth Science & Technology School had been raided by the FBI.

The FBI indicated that the raid, which evidently was conducted to gather material evidence in the form of documents and computers, was not a matter of public safety. As a result, it probably was not related to a report earlier this year that a teacher at the school was accused of having inappropriate pictures of children on his cell phone.

Had those charges stuck, that would have been the second scandal of a sexual nature involving a Gulenist school in Louisiana. Abramson Science & Technology Charter School in New Orleans was shut down back in 2011 in the wake of a scandal that started as an investigation into sexual activity involving students at the school and evolved into a possible public bribery investigation. Abramson operated under the same charter organization that Kenilworth operates under: Pelican Educational Foundation.

During the course of the investigation into Abramson, Pelican’s ties to the Gulenist movement were revealed.

[ . . . ]

State Representative Cameron Henry in the 2013 legislative session … filed a bill that would have limited the number of employees hired by Louisiana state-funded charter schools who were in the country on H-1B visas. Henry’s legislation would have gotten right to the heart of the matter – with a very reasonable restriction that no more than 3.5 percent of the school’s employees be H-1B visa recipients (or 1 in 29), and that the people or groups submitting requests to start charter schools be American citizens.

Unfortunately, Henry’s bill hit hard where it hurt for some powerful, politically connected people in Louisiana. It seems that the number one donor to the Louisiana Republican Party in 2012 was none other than a Gulenist organization out of Texas. Kemal Oksuz, president of the Turquoise Council, a Texas-based group closely related to the Gulenist movement and the Harmony charter schools in that state, donated $83,000 to the state GOP, making him its largest donor during 2012.

Fast forward to the current 2014 legislative session in Baton Rouge and the re-introduction of restrictive legislation aimed at employment of nonimmigrant Turkish workers in Louisiana charter schools.

HB 1243 was introduced by Reps.  Hodges and Pope, in the Louisiana legislature in late March 2014. The bill’s purposes are to establish conditions for “approval of certain charter school proposals and provides relative to prohibitions on the employment of nonimmigrant foreign workers in charter schools, with exceptions.”  The bill denies” approval of charter school applications if  staff  positions  with  nonimmigrant  foreign  workers  unless the  charter  school  plans  to  take  affirmative  action  to  recruit,  select,  employ,  and  train nonimmigrant  foreign  workers  regardless  of race, color, religion, sex, national ancestry,  or  national  origin.”   The legislation defines a non immigrant foreign worker as ” as an individual  who  has  a  visa  pursuant  to  certain provisions  of  the  federal Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965’. Further it states that “non-immigrant foreign worker” shall not mean a teacher who spends more than half of his time providing instruction in or teaching a foreign language.”

Similar legislation was introduced in the 2014 Mississippi legislature.  HB510 contains similar bars against employment of nonimmigrant foreign workers.  Section 37-28-47 1. (b) of the, Mississippi Code of 1972, would be amended as follows:

 A charter school may not staff positions for teachers, administrators, ancillary support personnel or other employees by utilizing or otherwise relying on non-immigrant foreign worker visa programs.  However, a charter school may submit a request to the authorizer for an exception allowing the employment of a non-immigrant foreign worker before the worker is employed.  The authorizer may grant permission for the employment of the non-immigrant foreign worker only if the charter school makes a satisfactory showing of efforts to recruit lawful permanent residents of the United States to fill the position and a lack of qualified applicants to fill the position.

In May  2011, we were asked to prepare a presentation to brief the Tennessee House Speaker about the GM charter schools investigations at that time and the purported abuses of the H-1B visa program for nonimmigrant foreign workers, see here.  In May 2012, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam allowed the law restricting the employment of nonimmigrant foreign workers for Charter schools approved by the state despite his misgiving and those of the State’s attorney general in an October 2012 opinion indicated  that the provisions might be unlawful under the equal protection provisions of the US Fourteenth Amendment.   A  Knoxville News .com report on the 2012 Tennessee legislation noted its provisions vis vis foreign interests, including funding as well as restriction on employment of nonimmigrant foreign workers:

The governor announced on May 2, 2012, that the bill restricting foreign interests in charter schools would go into law without his signature.

Under the act, which takes effect July 1, 2012, a chartering authority may not approve an application if a school plans to rely on “non-immigrant foreign worker H-1B or J1 visa programs in excess of 3.5 percent of the total number of positions,”  if operators of the proposed school have been affiliated with other schools that have been “subjects of investigation by any government agencies for questionable use of non-immigrant foreign worker visa programs,” or if  the school is controlled by foreign nationals. Certain provisions of the law do not apply if the chartering authority is a local education agency and the agency itself uses foreign worker visa programs to fill more than 3.5 percent of its staff.

The law also states that charter school applications and renewals shall disclose all sources of private funds and all funds from foreign sources.

The emergence of restrictive employment of non-immigrant foreign workers will take a long time to be adopted by Louisiana and Mississippi, notwithstanding the relatively quick adoption in Tennessee.  Given the battles in Turkey between the AK party of Premier Erdogan and former ally Sheik Gulen there will doubtless be intense pressure to place GM Turkish adherents through its global private academy and charter school network.

There is a further compounding factor that should be considered. The attractiveness of investment in private run charter schools to so-called entrepreneurial immigrants under the EB-5 Visa system. In exchange for a $500,000 private investment, the investor receives an immediate green card.  Note this Reuters article, “The new US visa rush: Build a charter school, get a green card”:

Wealthy individuals from as far away as China, Nigeria, Russia and Australia are spending tens of millions of dollars to build classrooms, libraries, basketball courts and science labs for American charter schools.

In Buffalo, New York, foreign funds paid for the Health Sciences Charter School to renovate a 19th-century orphanage into modern classrooms and computer labs. In Florence, Arizona, overseas investment is expected to finance a sixth campus for the booming chain of American Leadership Academy charter schools.

And in Florida, state business development officials say foreign investment in charter schools is poised to triple next year, to $90 million.

The reason? Under a federal program known as EB-5, wealthy foreigners can in effect buy U.S. immigration visas for themselves and their families by investing at least $500,000 in certain development projects.

The GM has latched on to a good thing in the Charter School system here in the US. It provides a platform for indoctrinating American children in its form of Turkish Islamism supplying employment for GM adherents. The EB-5 system would bolster investment in Charter Schools not only by the GM but also by the Muslim Brotherhood perfecting its form of Da’wah to Somali émigré children. That occurred in Minneapolis with the Muslim American Society control of the Tarek Ibn Zayed Academy subjected to a suit by the Minnesota branch of the ACLU in violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.  Let’s see if these bills can make it through the Louisiana and Mississippi legislatures in the waning days of the 2014 sessions. Those legislative bills  and the Tennessee law are a work in process that other states with GM charter school problems might consider investigating as remedies.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

White House Doesn’t Live Up to Its Equal Pay Rhetoric

You’ve seen the statistic in the news that women are paid 77 cents for every dollar men are paid for doing the same work. It is part of the White House’s election year-inspired push for the Paycheck Fairness Act being debated in the Senate this week. However, this backfired when McClatchy found that the White House isn’t living up to the standard it holds other employers:

A McClatchy review of White House salaries in January found that when the same calculations that produced the 77 cents was applied to the White House, the average female pay at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is less than the average male pay. When counted the same way that produced the 77-cent figure, the analysis found, women overall at the White House make 91 cents for every dollar men make. That’s an average salary of $84,082 for men and $76,516 for women.

CNN’s John King called this a “textbook case” of “Do as I say, not as I do.”

CBS News’ Major Garrett looked at the White House’s explanation for pay differences [emphasis mine]:

Now the White House said its gender pay gap is tied to job experience, education, and hours worked among other factors. This matters because those explanations, according to the Labor Department, explain a good deal of the gender pay gap nationally. The big difference in these stories: When President Obama discusses this issue nationally, he doesn’t mention those other work variables, only the broad figure, that 77 cents for every dollar is what women earn compared to me….

When the factors that the White House used to defend its gender pay gap are used nationally, the Labor Department says the difference in median wages between men and women shrinks to about 5 cents to 7 cents on the dollar.

Things got more awkward for Betsey Stevenson, member of the White House Council of Economic Advisors. As Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner points out, when challenged on the 77-cent talking point, she had to back away from the categorical declaration and got more nuanced [emphasis mine]:

“If I said 77 cents was equal pay for equal work, then I completely misspoke,” Stevenson said. “So let me just apologize and say that I certainly wouldn’t have meant to say that.”

[…]

“Seventy-seven cents captures the annual earnings of full-time, full-year women divided by the annual earnings of full-time, full-year men,” Stevenson clarified. “There are a lot of things that go into that 77-cents figure, there are a lot of things that contribute and no one’s trying to say that it’s all about discrimination, but I don’t think there’s a better figure.”

The reasons for pay differences are more complicated than talking points. In the Wall Street Journal, Mark Perry and Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute, examine the research behind the wage gap:

While the BLS reports that full-time female workers earned 81% of full-time males, that is very different than saying that women earned 81% of what men earned for doing the same jobs, while working the same hours, with the same level of risk, with the same educational background and the same years of continuous, uninterrupted work experience, and assuming no gender differences in family roles like child care. In a more comprehensive study that controlled for most of these relevant variables simultaneously—such as that from economists June and Dave O’Neill for the American Enterprise Institute in 2012—nearly all of the 23% raw gender pay gap cited by Mr. Obama can be attributed to factors other than discrimination.

Workforce discrimination still exists, and those who engage in it should be held accountable. However, the Equal Pay Act, signed into law in 1963, and other federal and state laws are in place to outlaw paying women lower wages for the same job.

The Paycheck Fairness Act being debated in the Senate will only empower plaintiff lawyers and get courts involved in setting salaries. Camille Olson, labor lawyer at Seyfarth Shaw, testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee that the Paycheck Fairness Act

essentially invites employees and employers to dispute in court whether certain qualifications, including education, training, or experience, are justifications for disparities in compensation. In that sense, the Act represents an unprecedented intrusion of government into the independent business decisions of private enterprises by eroding the fundamental purpose of compensation; in reality, compensation functions not only as a means to remunerate employees for work performed, but also to enable employers to attract the skills and experience likely to promote the competitiveness of the enterprise.

The bill would take compensation decisions away from employers and place “judges and juries in the human resources offices of American businesses.”

If that happened, they could look at the White House first.

Arne Duncan Plays the Common Core Distancing Game

On April 2, 2014, Louisiana has witnessed the lame demonstration of “Common Core distancing” from the governor (Bobby Jindal) who signed the state onto “the standards” (CCSS) in 2009– before they were written.

In 2010, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan accepted Louisiana’s CCSS MOU (memorandum of understanding) despite the majority of Louisiana school districts rejecting the idea.

Like Jindal, Duncan has begun playing the CCSS Distancing Game. He first did so when when Indiana appeared to be the first state to drop CCSS, in March 2014.

On March 15, 2014, Duncan publicly stated that “states are free to completely discard Common Core.”

This is the same Duncan who told newspaper editors in June 2013 how to favorably report on CCSS.

This is the same Duncan who insulted “White suburban mothers” and blamed them for CCSS resistance in November 2013, then offered no apology.

Now, on April 8, 2014, Duncan has told the House Appropriations Subcommittee that he “just likes high standards”:

“I’m just a big proponent of high standards. Whether they’re common or not is secondary,” he told members of the House appropriations subcommittee that works on health, education, and other related issues. [Emphasis added.]

And at this point, Duncan falls back on the “or other common standards” clause included in the Race to the Top (RTTT) application. You see, the House Appropriations Committee questioned Duncan on the apparent requirement that states agree to CCSS in order to compete for RTTT money.

Duncan states that “zero” federal grant money is contingent upon CCSS since states could have chosen to form their own “common standards.”

Duncan is drawing on a clause in the 2010 Blueprint for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization:

States may either choose to upgrade their existing standards, working with their 4-year public university system to certify that mastery of the standards ensures that a student will not need to take remedial coursework upon admission to a postsecondary institution in the system, or work with other states to create state-developed common standards that build toward college- and career-readiness. 

Never mind that the federal government would still be controlling state standards by ultimately deciding if the evidence offered is “good enough” for state receipt of federal money.

The author of the April 8, 2014, EdWeek article, Michele McNeil, isn’t convinced of Duncan’s “zero” response:

But when it comes to competitive grants, the answer is more complicated than “zero.”The administration’s original $4 billion Race to the Top program awarded 40 points to states for developing and adopting common standards. All 12 of those winners have adopted the standards, and have not backed off. What’s more, a separate, $360 million Race to the Top contest to fund common tests was based on the premise that states needed help developing such assessments based on the common standards. But technically, aligning to the common core wasn’t required (you just probably weren’t going to win without it).

Duncan’s testimony, which didn’t contain such nuances, illustrates the fine line the department continues to walk between supporting states as they implement the common core, and not giving critics ammunition to cry “federal overreach.” [Emphasis added.]

Duncan (and Obama) will be crossing that “fine line” should they make CCSS a definitive component of the FY2015 ESEA reauthorization blueprint, a direction that the Cato Institute believes the Obama administration plans to follow.

Proponents of CCSS are fond of saying that “federal overreach” is an unsubstantiated complaint.

Not so, according to ESEA Subpart Two,Section 9527(c)(1):

(c) PROHIBITION ON REQUIRING FEDERAL APPROVAL OR CERTIFICATION OF STANDARDS-

(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, no State shall be required to have academic content or student academic achievement standards approved or certified by the Federal Government, in order to receive assistance under this Act. [Emphasis added.]

However, given the Obama/Duncan love of education privatization, I don’t think the ultimate goal is federal control of American “common,” public education.

I think the ultimate Obama/Duncan goal is for-profit education company control of American education– but no longer public.

For-profit control of American education can only lead to the end game of not educating all American children– just the “common” ones who might be exploited for profit.

The children of privilege– Obama’s children and Duncan’s children– will be exempt from “common” privatization betrayal.

Is Lying About Climate Change Okay?

Those of us who have chronicled the global warming hoax, now called “climate change”, know that it is based on decades of lies about carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gas” with predictions that the Earth will heat up and cause massive problems unless those emissions are drastically reduced by not using coal, oil and natural gas.

Two American think tanks, The Heartland Institute and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) have been among those exposing those lies for years. The lies have been generated and led by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Despite the panel’s insistence that the Earth is getting hotter, five different datasets show that there have been no observable warming for 17 and a half years even as carbon dioxide levels have risen 12%,” notes Christopher Monckton, a science advisor to Britain’s former Prime Minister Thatcher. “The discrepancy between prediction and observation continues to grow.”

Recently, two Chinese assistant professors of economics, Fuhai Hong and Xiaojian Zhao, were published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Their paper, “Information Manipulation and Climate Agreements”, openly advocated lying about global warming/climate change in order to get nations to sign on to the International Environmental Agreement.

“It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations,” they noted, “have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change. This article provides a rationale for this tendency.”

Craig Rucker, CFACT’s Executive Director, responded to the Chinese authors saying “They’re shameless.” Theirs and others ends-justify-the-means tactics reflects the attitudes and actions of environmental organizations and serves as a warning to never accept anything they say on any aspect of this huge hoax.

CFACT’s President and co-founder, David Rothbard, noted that “Global warming skeptics have long charged that alarmists are over-hyping the dangers of climate change.” How long? Back in 1989, the late Stanford University professor, Stephen Schneider, said, “So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ which we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance between being effective and being honest.”

There is no “right balance” between telling lies and telling the truth when it comes to science or any other aspect of our lives. Suffice to say that thousands of scientists who participated in the IPCC reports over the years supported the lies, but many have since left and some have openly denounced the reports.

As the latest IPCC summary of its report has garnered the usual verbatim media coverage of its outlandish predictions, The Heartland Institute has released its own 1,062 page report from the “Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) called “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts. An 18-page summary is available at http://ClimateChangeReconsidered.org.

Among its findings:

  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.
  • There is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels.
  • Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels do not pose a significant threat to aquatic life.
  • A modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperature-related events.

Based on hundreds of peer-reviewed studies, the NIPCC report is free of the lies that are found in the IPCC report whose studies have been, at best, dubious, and at worst, deliberately deceptive.

In light of the natural cooling cycle the Earth has been in that is good news and it will be even better news when the planet emerges from the cycle that reflects the lower levels of radiation from the Sun.

On March 31, CNS News reported that “The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report estimates it will cost developed nations an additional $100 billion each year to help poorer nations adapt to the devastating effects of ‘unequivocal’ global warming, including food shortages, infrastructure breakdown, and civil violence. But that figure was deleted from the report’s executive summary after industrial nations, including the United States, objected to the high price tag.”

The price tag reveals the IPCC’s real agenda, the transfer of funds from industrial nations to those less developed. It’s about the money and always has been. It’s not global warming the planet needs to survive, it is the costly lies about it.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Could a baby born to aliens from Mars become President?

Suppose a spaceship from Mars developed power problems and landed somewhere in the United States. On the spaceship is a pregnant Martian who gives birth and officials rush to give the baby citizenship papers, passport, food stamps and other welfare goodies.

Under the current misinterpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment clause “Subject to the Jurisdiction thereof” the baby would be a dual citizen of the United States and Mars. Fourteenth Amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I’m sure Jack Maskell, the intellectually challenged legislative attorney for the Congressional Research Service who has not a clue who Vattel is, would find the alien from Mars, if it hung around, eligible to be President when it turned 35 which is no more bizarre than Maskell saying Obama and Cruz are eligible although only one of their parents were citizens, so they, like the Martians, were born dual citizens.

I have no doubt Maskell would say Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley would be eligible even though neither of their parents were citizens when they were born so they too were born dual citizens. Indeed, every anchor baby in Maskell’s mind is probably eligible to be president.

The current misinterpretation of the law says locational birth trumps citizenship of the parents. How many degrees of stupid are we talking here?

For years there has been legislation gathering dust to clarify and amend the Immigration & Naturalization Act to require one parent for a child to be a U.S. citizen but the brainiacs in Washington ignore it though they number 30-40,000 births at taxpayer cost every month plus the birth tourism junkets arriving on a regular basis.

Amend the Immigration and Naturalization Act to require one parent to be a citizen for the baby to also be a citizen so we won’t be passing out citizenship to Martians, not a Natural Born Citizen, which requires both parents to be citizens.

Brandeis University Capitulates to CAIR

Brandeis University has become the latest entity to capitulate to the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) campaign to silence critics of Islam.

In an open letter to Brandeis University, CAIR, using their typical ploy to silence critics, personally attacked Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was to receive an honorary degree from Brandeis for her “work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls.”  In their letter, CAIR refers to Hirsi Ali as a “notorious Islamophobe” and compares honoring her with “promoting the work of a white supremacist.”

Somali-born Hirsi Ali was raised in a strict Muslim family and after surviving a civil war, genital mutilation, and beatings, fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape a forced marriage. As a member of the Dutch Parliament from 2003-2006, she fought to raise awareness to the plight of Muslim women especially within Muslim immigrant populations. Hirsi Ali’s criticism of Islam and efforts to raise awareness to Islam sanctioned violence has resulted in death threats both abroad and in the United States.

For over a decade, Hirsi Ali has spoken out against such practices as female genital mutilation, “honor killings,” and applications of Sharia Law that justify beatings and rape. Her outspoken criticism of Islam was dubbed by CAIR as “anti-Muslim hate” and led Brandeis University President, Frederick Lawrence, to comment in an online statement that her criticisms were “inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.”

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) commented, “Last week the University of Michigan capitulated to CAIR, and this week it’s Brandeis.  Sadly, too many groups lack the moral courage to say “No” to CAIR.  And as long as CAIR’s bullying tactics work on some weak-kneed Americans, they will continue their efforts to silence the truth about Islam.”

Earlier this month, CAIR sent a similar letter laced with accusations of Islamophobia to the Greater Oakland County Republican Club in an effort to silence a speech by Thompson regarding the internal threat posed to America by Radical Islam. The Club, however, refused to cave-in to the ploy and the speech went on as planned.

CAIR’s targeting of Thompson stems from the fact that as a public interest law firm, TMLC, has led the fight against the internal threat posed by Radical Islam and Stealth Jihad in America.

In addition to their campaign to stifle free speech, CAIR was also an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial where the supposed charity and five of its organizers were found guilty by a federal jury of illegally funneling more than $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.  The FBI’s former chief of counterterrorism was quoted as saying, “CAIR, its leaders and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups.”

In support of Hirsi Ali Thompson said, “Brandeis may have caved-in to CAIR, but they will never be able to silence Ayaan’s message.”

Hirsi Ali released a statement regarding the decision to withdraw the honor saying, “What was initially intended as an honor has now devolved into a moment of shaming. Yet the slur on my reputation is not the worst aspect of this episode. More deplorable is that an institution set up on the basis of religious freedom should today so deeply betray its own founding principles. The ‘spirit of free expression’ referred to in the Brandeis statement has been stifled here, as my critics have achieved their objective of preventing me from addressing the graduating Class of 2014. Neither Brandeis nor my critics knew or even inquired as to what I might say. They simply wanted me to be silenced. I regret that very much.”

RELATED VIDEO: Brandeis Univ Pulling Honor For Women’s Advocate – ‘The Kelly File’

[youtube]http://youtu.be/684u2WyNIQg[/youtube]

African Diplomats Shun Black Business Owners

Last week I attended a very nice reception hosted by two of my friends, Rosa Whitaker and Bernadette Paolo. Rosa is CEO and President of the Whitaker Group, a Washington, D.C.- based consultancy specializing in trade and investment in Africa. She previously served as the first Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa in the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In 2010, Whitaker was named one of Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers.

Paolo succeeded the former president and Founder of The Africa Society, Leonard H. Robinson, Jr., in 2006, after his untimely death. Prior to assuming her new position, Paolo served as Vice President of The Africa Society and Vice President of The National Summit on Africa.

AmbMulamula2

Liberata Mulamula of Tanzania

At the event promoted as “Reception, Tribute and Discussion for East Africa’s Four New Female Ambassadors to the U.S.” The ambassadors honored were Mathilde Mukantabana of Rwanda [pictured above], Liberata Mulamula of Tanzania, Oliver Wonekha of Uganda, and Jean Kamau of Kenya.

Each of these women has a fascinating background and sterling accomplishments.

Oliver Wonekha of Uganda

Oliver Wonekha of Uganda

For those who are not followers of Africa, it’s important to remember that the continent of Africa is extremely patriarchal. Women are barely beginning to be welcomed into decision making positions in government, business, and politics, etc. In many African countries, women’s roles in society are clearly defined, with most of their roles being relegated to motherhood and the raising of the children.

In foreign affairs, to be posted as ambassador to the U.S. is like winning the Super Bowl; it is a crowning achievement for any diplomat. So, to have these four women from East Africa posted in the U.S. is a historic development in diplomatic circles.

Therefore, I want to use this column, to speak directly to these four distinguished ambassadors:

I have spoken to many of your male predecessors about the role of an ambassador in a foreign country. The main objective of an ambassador is to be the voice and the face of their home country’s foreign policy towards the U.S. They should be the head cheerleader for their country and engage with as many Americans as possible.

Jean Kamau of Kenya

Jean Kamau of Kenya

I am very optimistic about the long term future of Africa. I have travelled and done work in many countries on the continent. But, I am and have been very critical of Africa and many of their ambassadors for their lack of engagement with Blacks in the U.S. Since women claim to be better listeners than men, let’s put this theory to the test.

Madam Ambassadors, each of you stated that you wanted Americans, especially Blacks, to invest in your respective countries. Why should we? What is the business case for such an investment? Most African ambassadors have little engagement with the Black community, especially the businessman. People all over the world tend to do business with people they know.

There are Black businessmen who have created and run multi-billion dollar companies and have never had an African ambassador come to meet with them. Businessmen are not just going to magically show up in your country and want to invest millions of dollars in your country and you have never found the need to establish a relationship with these successful businessmen.

When your presidents come to the U.S., they always meet with the same group of White organizations: the Corporate Council on Africa, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, or the U.S. Institute for Peace, etc.

Madame Ambassadors, why is it that your presidents refuse to meet with these successful Black entrepreneurs when they are in the U.S.?
These same presidents would miss their own mother’s funeral to meet with Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or Mark Zuckerberg, but when it comes to meeting the Black owner of a $ 6 billion IT firm, they can’t find time.

Madame Ambassadors, how many of you know that there are more than 200 Black newspapers in the U.S.? When you are allocating money to promote tourism to your country, why do you never consider partnering with these Black media outlets? Do you think Blacks can’t afford to travel or have no discretionary income?

Madame Ambassadors, how many of you have made yourself available to be interviewed by those who own Black newspapers, magazines, or websites? Do you not believe that Blacks read or care about the motherland?

Before there can be an investment of money; there first has to be an investment of time.

Madam Ambassadors, remember, when all is said and done; there is more said than done.

The EPA’s Taking of Nevada 1-2-3

The Freedoms guaranteed individuals by the US Constitution continues to be eroded by the Obama administration.  When the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) took possession of millions of dollars in private property and cattle herds in violation of the provisions of the Bill of Rights and the Tenth Amendment, the Federal Government violated Nevada’s State Sovereignty, Nevada’s State Law and the Clark County Sheriff’s Law Enforcement authority.  The Environmental Protection Agency pushed for the confiscation of the land and confiscation of the ranch owner’s herd of 908 cattle, in order to protect the food source for the desert tortoise; yet there has always been plenty of food available to feed the grazing cattle and the desert tortoise for 144 years.

VIDEO: Protesters at the Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada take on the Feds and stand their ground. Bundy Ranch Protesters were tasered by federal agents and attacked by K9’s. WARNING STRONG LANGUAGE:

4-540x335The Bureau of Land Management, in support of the Environmental Protection Agency, imposed fines of $1 million on a rancher for allowing his cattle to graze on the open range, which is public land. The family owned ranch has had cattle grazing rights on the public land which is the open range, since 1870, for a period of 144 years.  Although the US Government’s action was opposed by the Governor of Nevada and the County Sheriff in whose jurisdiction the land grab occurred, 200 heavily armed federal agents ignored the State and County’s opposition and moved in on the rancher.

While the federal agents were taking possession of the ranch owner’s herd of 908 cattle, they were threatening the rancher’s family members, in order to prevent them from taking photos of the land and cattle grab (his son was arrested for taking photos). The federal agents also arrested the rancher and one of the federal agents ground the rancher’s head into the dirt with his boot on the rancher’s head.

2-e1396998819209Over the last 5 years, the Obama administration has had a great deal of experience oppressing American citizens, in the US Armed Forces, who did not have the freedom to object; the above action against the rancher seems to be a shift in the oppression of freedoms from military personnel to civilians. In the US Armed Forces, Chaplain’s Freedom of Speech in the pulpit has been curbed, Religious Freedom of military personnel who oppose homosexuality on religious grounds is restricted, refusal of the resident of the Oval Office to send a rescue force to save the lives of 4 Americans murdered in Benghazi has resulted in a loss in faith by military personnel of their leaders, the failure of the resident of the Oval Office to protect 14,000 straight military males from sexual assaults by new gay members entering the military has been covered up, and forcing new and dangerous Rules of Engagement (ROE) on military personnel in combat has resulted in an increase casualty rate of 358%.

The oppressive actions by the Obama administration over the last 5 years, toward personnel in the US Armed Forces, is negatively affecting “Combat Effectiveness” and/or has been in violation of the US Constitution; those restrictions of freedom in the military personnel, seems to be migrating toward civilians in the US as well, and if nothing is done to oppose the action in Nevada by the Obama administration, the restrictions of freedoms of American citizens, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights will continue to increase.

IMG_3144-e1396998660335The Obama administration has been employing government agencies to apply pressure on Obama’s political opponents, and those government agencies have been restricting the freedoms of Americans citizens in the Republic. Examples of how the Obama administration has been employing government agencies to oppress Obama’s opponents are as follows: the IRS scandal prevented hundreds of conservatives organization from participating in the 2012 Presidential election, the Fast & Furious gun running scandal executed by DOJ was designed to restrict gun rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, the Socialist Obamacare Law was passed to take control of one-sixth of the US economy and replace The Free Enterprise System with a Socialist system.

Cancellation of the stockholders ownership of General Motors that they paid for, and giving control of General Motors to unions was unlawful. Directing the NSA to gather information on organizations and individuals that are opposed to the Obama administration has been opposed by conservative organizations, Obama’s refusal to enforce Federal Immigration Laws designed to protect American citizens from dangerous Illegal Criminal Immigrant resulted in Obama freeing 68,000 Illegal Criminal Immigrants into the general public, and the current assault on the rancher in Nevada by the BLM is in violation of Nevada State Laws, the Tenth Amendment and The Bill of Rights; if the BLM and the Environmental protection agency is allowed to get away with the illegal confiscation of personal property, more of those actions in violation of the US Constitution will be perpetrated by the Obama administration.

Will the Republican leadership in the House take action to protect the individual Freedoms of American citizens guaranteed by the US Constitution—they have the power of the purse to put pressure on all government agencies?

RELATED STORIES:

Last Man Standing: 20 Year Conflict Between Rancher and Bureau of Land Management Comes Down to Armed Feds Surrounding His Ranch
STANDOFF AT NEVADA RANCH…
200 Armed Federal Agents Surround Farm…
Snipers…
‘Range War’…
Cattle Seized…
Governor Calls Roundup ‘Intimidation’…
Blasts ‘First Amendment Area’…

Senator: ‘Overreaching’…
Family: ‘Wake up America…they are taking everything from us’…

Climate Consensus: Do Little for Now by DANIEL SUTTER

The 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that continued emission of greenhouse gasses (GHG) will raise the earth’s temperature by 1.8°C (3.2°F) and sea level by one foot by 2100. Projected climate changes, if they come to pass, will have a number of effects on society, though not all of those effects will be negative.

Although debate over the IPCC’s projections continues, less attention has been focused on the ultimately more important result: Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) implies we should do very little to prevent climate change. Instead, we should create wealth. Expanding the productive capacity of the economy will compensate future generations better than reductions in GHG will. A richer world in 2100, after all, will be able to afford to do things like relocating people affected by rising sea levels and constructing new port facilities and seawalls.

report by the liberal Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University observes, “Economists frequently . . . calculate the optimal policy response [to climate change]. This calculation often leads to the conclusion that relatively little should be done for now.”

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Businesses operate under the discipline of profit and loss based on market prices. Profit signals that an action generates benefits for the economy. Government does not face the discipline of profit and loss, but CBA, performed honestly, offers guidance about whether government actions benefit society.

Measures to reduce GHG emissions today typically fail a cost-benefit test due to the discounting of benefits. Discounting refers to applying a real interest rate to future values. Two arguments support discounting in CBA. The first is impatience, or what economists call time preference: $100 is worth more today than it is one year from now, even without inflation. The second is the return on savings and investment, or the opportunity cost of capital. Money spent now to reduce GHG could be saved and invested instead. The interest rate equates impatience and the return on investment on the margin, as investors must be compensated for delaying consumption.

Discounting

The mathematics of discounting makes values more than about 50 years in the future worth little today. The federal government makes cost-benefit calculations using 3 percent and 7 percent annual real (or adjusted for inflation) interest rates, approximating the historical risk-free interest rate and the annual real return on stocks. The present value of $1 million 100 years from now is $52,000 at a 3 percent discount rate, and $1,150 at a 7 percent discount rate. To see how this affects climate change economics, suppose that spending $100 billion annually—starting right now—we could prevent $1 trillion in annual damage, beginning in 100 years. The ratio of $10 in benefits to every $1 in costs appears favorable, but this fails a benefit-cost test at either a 7 percent or 3 percent real discount rate.

Some observers respond to this math by arguing against discounting in climate change economics. Time preference is a questionable argument in intergenerational settings because future beneficiaries will not have to wait 100 years to realize climate benefits. But the opportunity cost argument remains. The Stern Commission in the U.K. applied an implausibly low discount rate to its calculations. Others imagine current benefits from GHG reductions rendering discounting irrelevant. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) included private benefits in a CBA of higher fuel economy standards to reduce GHG emissions, arguing that making people purchase higher-mileage cars than they prefer makes car buyers better off. Creating benefits today effectively makes reducing GHG a free lunch.

Wealthier is Healthier

Resources put into reducing GHG can’t be invested elsewhere, so the opportunity cost of GHG reduction amounts to the returns that could have been expected, based on historical rates. Maintaining opportunities to invest and create wealth for future generations requires the institutions of a market economy, or a high level of economic freedom, as the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Annual Report demonstrates. Bequeathing a higher standard of living to future generations also requires preserving economic freedom. Discounting mathematics ultimately tells us that economic freedom addresses climate change more effectively than energy central planning through carbon taxes or cap-and-trade.

Compensating the “victims” of climate change with extra wealth does have a potential limit. Extra resources provide inadequate compensation if climate change dramatically alters the world. Money will not typically fully compensate for a catastrophic injury; a quadriplegic is unlikely to enjoy the same level of utility or satisfaction after his injury, even if his medical bills and care needs are paid. Wealth accumulation would not adequately compensate future generations if climate change produced a world like those depicted in Waterworld and The Day After Tomorrow. Future generations would not be adequately compensated if climate change destroyed the economy’s ability to produce goods and services. Fortunately Waterworld is the stuff of Hollywood fiction; the largest of the upper range of sea level rise in any 2007 IPCC climate scenario is about 2 feet. That will have serious consequences, but it will hardly flood the entire world. It can be offset by wealth accumulation.

A Hundred-Year Plan?

Property rights and prices lead basically self-interested people to worry about the future. For example, property rights and markets for existing homes provide owners with incentives to keep their houses livable long after they plan to own them. And yet the mathematics of discounting implies that events too far in the future should not affect decisions much today. Growth, progress, and creative destruction limit the horizon for detailed planning in a market economy. Imagine a business in 1900 trying to plan its operations in 2000. The plan could not have included automobiles, planes, television and radio, satellites, computers, and many other conveniences of modern life.

Now let’s project ahead and consider planning for climate change. A number of fundamental innovations could substantially reduce if not eliminate the threat from climate change, such as effective, low-cost carbon sequestration or effective weather modification to smooth out precipitation patterns. And the development of a radical new clean energy source like nuclear fusion could render remaining stocks of fossil fuels uneconomic at any price.

Conclusion

A dynamic market economy will feature too much creative destruction to allow detailed planning for the distant future. Nothing is sure in a market economy 10 years from now, much less 100 years, and discounting in cost-benefit analysis simply reflects this reality. The economic future becomes more predictable when government controls economic activity, but then stagnation results. Discounting in climate change economics tells us to create wealth to protect future generations. Economic freedom and the institutions of the market economy, not central planning of energy use, are the prudent policy approaches to a changing climate.

ABOUT DANIEL SUTTER

Daniel Sutter is the Charles Koch Professor of Economics at the Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University.

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

If the goal is “energy independence,” what issues should be a priority in America? by Marita Noon

Surely NOT the ones listed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee!

Recently the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) sent out a “2014 Priority Issues Survey.” In addition to the obligatory Tea Party bashing: “help the Democrats protect the progress we have made from Tea Party radicals, deliver the positive changes America needs and help Democrats win a Majority in the U.S. House of Representatives!” and the fundraising requests to “help protect House Democrats against Republican attacks”—there is a section on energy.

Section VII, asks: “Which of the following will help America achieve energy independence?” It offers five options that do little to move America toward energy independence—which isn’t even a realistic goal given the fungible nature of liquid fuels. Additionally, most of the choices given on the DCCC survey actually increase energy costs for all Americans—serving as a hidden tax—but hurt those on the lower end of the socio-economic scale the most. The proposals hurt the very people the party purports to champion.

The survey asks respondents to “check all that apply.”

Raising gas mileage standards for all new cars and trucks

This choice presumes that making a law requiring something will make it happen. Sorry, not even the Democrats have that kind of power. Even the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standard of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025—finalized on August 28, 2012, and called “the largest mandatory fuel economy increase in history”—will be tough to hit.

The CAFE standards mean that a carmaker’s passenger vehicle fleet average must achieve 54.5 mpg. To meet that, and produce the big pickup trucks and SUVs Americans like to drive, the manufacturers must also produce the little itty-bitty cars with mpg above 60 and the more expensive hybrids (not one of which was on the top ten best-seller list for 2013)—or have a loss leader like the Chevy Volt to help bring down the average.

Suggesting a forced raising of gas mileage standards implies that auto manufacturers are in collusion with oil companies and are intentionally producing gas guzzlers to force Americans into buying lots of gasoline.

With the price of gasoline wavering between $3.00 and $4.00 a gallon, most people are very conscious of their fuel expenditures. If it were technologically possible to build a cost-effective truck or SUV that had the size and safety Americans want and that got 50 mpg, that manufacturer would have the car-buying public beating a path to its door. Every car company would love to be the one to corner that market—but it is not easy, it probably won’t be possible, and it surely won’t be cheap.

When the new standards were introduced in November 2011, Edmunds.com did an analysis of the potential impact: 6 Ways New CAFE Standards Could Affect You. The six points include cost and safety and highlights some concerns that are not obvious at first glance.

Achieving the higher mileage will require new technologies that include, according to Edmunds, “turbochargers and new generations of multi speed automatic transmissions to battery-electric powertrains.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have estimated that the average new car will cost $2,000 extra by 2025 because of the proposed new fuel-efficiency standards.

Additionally, new materials will have to be used, such as the proposed new Ford F-150 made with aluminum, which is predicted to add $1,500 over steel to the cost of a new truck. Aluminum also complicates both the manufacturing and repair processes. Edmunds reports: “Insurance costs could rise, both because of the increased cost of cars and the anticipated hike in collision repair costs associated with the greater use of the plastics, lightweight alloys, and aluminum necessary for lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. (Plastics, lightweight alloys, and aluminum are all more difficult than steel to repair.)”

smartmessAnother concern is safety. “The use of weight-saving materials will not only affect repair costs but could make newer vehicles more susceptible to damage in collisions with older, heavier vehicles, especially SUVs and pickups. Their occupants could be at a safety disadvantage.”

One of the subtle consequences of high-mileage vehicles is the probable increase in taxes. Edmunds points out that lower driving cost may increase wear-and-tear on the nation’s highway system as consumers drive more freely. “Declining gas sales mean a further decrease in already inadequate fuel-tax revenue used to pay for road and infrastructure repair and improvement. … As more untaxed alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas and electricity are used for transportation, fuel tax revenue falls even farther. All of this is likely to lead to calls for a road tax based on miles driven and not the type of fuel used.”

Instead of increasing costs by forcing a higher mpg, a free-market encourages manufacturers to produce the cars the customers want. The Wall Street Journal story on the Ford F-150s points out: “In 2004, as the auto market soared, Ford sold a record 939,511 F-series pickups. That amounted to 5.5% of the entire U.S. vehicle market. But four years later, gas prices rose above $4 a gallon, sales of pickups began tumbling.” Then, consumers wanted small cars with better mileage. I often quote an ad for Hyundai I once saw. As I recall, it said: “It’s not that complicated. If gas costs a lot of money, we’ll produce cars that use less of it.”

In response to an article in US News on the 54.5-mpg CAFE standard, a reader commented: “ALL CAFE regulations should be repealed. Let the market and fuel prices decide what vehicles are purchased. The federal government should not be forcing mileage standards down the throats of the automaker or the consumers. This is still America, right?”

Develop Renewable Energy Sources

There is nothing inherently wrong with the idea renewable energy. However, the cost factor is one of the biggest problems. When I do radio interviews, people often call in and point out Germany’s renewable energy success story: “The share of renewable electricity in Germany rose from 6% to nearly 25% in only 10 years.” While that may be true, it doesn’t address the results: “Rising energy costs are becoming a problem for more and more citizens in Germany. Just from 2008 to 2011 the share of energy-poor households in the Federal Republic jumped from 13.8% to 17%.”

Germany has been faced with a potential exodus of industry as a result of its high energy costs. For example, in February, BASF, the world’s biggest germanynaturalgasplantchemical maker by sales, announced that for the first time, it “will make the most of its capital investments outside Europe.” According to the Financial TimesKurt Bock, BASF chief executive, explained: “In Europe we have the most expensive energy and we are not prepared to exploit the energy resources we have, such as shale gas.”

Throughout America people are beginning to feel the escalating costs of the forced renewable energy utility companies are required to add as a result of Renewable Portfolio Standards that more than half of the states passed nearly a decade ago.

But the cost is not where I take issue with the DCCC’s inclusion of “Developing renewable energy sources” in its survey. The survey question is about achieving “energy independence.”

In preparation for writing this column, I posted this question on my Facebook page: If the goal is “energy independence,” what issues should be a priority in America? The first answer posted was: “Smart grid and fast ramp natural gas turbines.” Another offered: “High efficiency appliances and lights. I am a LED FAN!” Yet, another: “Solar, tidal, water.” Bzzzzzzt, all wrong answers.

All of the above suggestions are about electricity. The U.S. is already electricity independent. We have enough coal and uranium under our soil to provide for our electrical needs for the next several centuries. Add to that America’s newfound abundance of natural gas and we are set indefinitely. By the time we might run out of fuel for electricity, new technologies will have been developed based on something totally different, and, I believe, something that no one is even thinking about today.

Developing more “solar, tidal, water,” or wind energy won’t “help America achieve energy independence.” Nor will a smart grid or natural gas turbines. High efficiency appliances or LED light bulbs won’t either.

Encouraging consumer and industrial conservation

Consumers are already feeling the pinch of higher energy costs—both electricity and liquid fuels. When possible, people are restricting driving by taking a stay-cation rather than a traditional vacation. Many people who can afford the option are switching to more energy-efficient light bulbs.

F150As the BASF story above makes clear, most industry is energy intensive. In the story about the Ford F-150’s use of aluminum, the WSJ says that the new manufacturing process requires “powerful and electricity-hungry vacuums.” Industry cannot stay in business without profit. Therefore, in interest of preservation,  energy conservation is virtually an instinct.

The cost of energy drives conservation.

Including this question in the survey is a red herring that would lead the respondent to think conservation is a big issue.

Investing in energy efficient technology

When the word “investing” is used in reference to a government document or program, it always means spending taxpayer dollars. In a time of ongoing economic stress, we don’t need to borrow more money to spend it on something of questionable impact on energy independence.

Remember, much of the “efficiency” numbers bandied about refer to electricity, which has nothing to do with energy independence. Energy.gov states: “Every year, much of the energy the U.S. consumes is wasted through transmission, heat loss, and inefficient technology…Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to … improve the competitiveness of our businesses and reduce energy costs for consumers. The Department of Energy is working with universities, businesses, and the National Labs to develop new, energy-efficient technologies while boosting the efficiency of current technologies on the market.” Among the “solutions” presented on the page are “developing a more efficient air conditioner” and “a new smart sensor developed by NREL researchers that could help commercial buildings save on lighting and ventilation costs.” Nothing is offered that will actually impact energy independence.

Increasing offshore drilling and oil exploration in wilderness areas

Respondents are discouraged from selecting the one item on the list that could actually lead to “energy independence” by the inclusion of the words “offshore” and “wilderness areas”—as if those are the only places drilling could take place.

Yes, we should increase exploration and drilling—and, while there are risks, it can be, and has been, done safely in offshore and wilderness areas. But there are vast resources available on federal lands that are either locked up or are under a de facto ban due to the slow-walking of drilling permits.

Instead of phrasing the choice “Increasing offshore drilling and oil exploration in wilderness areas,” if the goal is energy independence, the option should have read: “Release America’s vast energy resources by expediting permitting on federal lands.

While the options on the DCCC survey, even if a respondent checked them all, will do little to “help America achieve energy independence,” the survey didn’t include any choices that could really make a difference in America’s reliance on oil from hostile sources.

Some selections that would indicate a true desire to see America freed from OPEC’s grip should include:

  • Approving the Keystone pipeline;
  • Revising the Endangered Species Act so that it isn’t used to block American energy development;
  • Encouraging the use of compressed natural gas as a transportation fuel in passenger vehicles and commercial trucks;
  • Expediting permitting for exploration and drilling on federal lands;
  • Opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and
  • Cutting red tape and duplicative regulations to encourage development.

The fact that not one of these options that would truly make a difference was included in the DCCC survey belies the ideology of the Democratic Party. Its goals do not include energy independence. Instead, it wants to continue the crony corruption that has become the hallmark of the Obama Administration as evidenced by Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz’s April 2 announcement that: “[T]he department would probably throw open the door for new applications for renewable energy project loan guarantees during the second quarter of this year.”

Like the Ukraine, until there is a change at the top, the U.S. will likely remain dependent on the whims of countries who want to use energy as a weapon of control. The goal should be energy freedom.

About Marita Noon

Marita Noon

The author of Energy FreedomMarita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.