For every dollar gained in tax revenue, Colorado taxpayers paid $4.50 to mitigate the effects of marijuana legalization

A comprehensive new report by the Centennial Institute analyzes what marijuana legalization costs Colorado taxpayers. A few highlights:

  • The highest costs are connected to marijuana-related ER admissions, hospitalizations, and school dropouts.
  • There is a connection between marijuana use and the use of alcohol and other drugs.
  • Calls to Poison Control increased dramatically after legalization for medical use in 2000 and recreational use in 2014.
  • Adult marijuana users generally have lower educational attainment than nonusers.
  • Some 69 percent of marijuana users say they have driven at least once under the influence of marijuana.
  • Some 27 percent do so on a daily basis.
  • In 2016, the marijuana industry used enough electricity to power 32,355 homes.
  • That year, the industry was responsible for 393,053 pounds of CO2 emissions.

Read full Centennial Institute report here.

RELATED ARTICLE: Denver City Council Thinks Helping Heroin Addicts Shoot Up Will Stop Them Shooting Up 


Greater risk for frequent marijuana use and problems among young adult marijuana users with a medical marijuana card

With funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, researchers conducted a multi-year study of southern California children from middle school through high school.

At age 19, 28 percent (188) of 671 young adult marijuana users possessed a medical marijuana card.

  • Card holders showed steeper increases in frequent marijuana use (20 to 30 days in the past month) from ages 13 to 19 than those who did not have a card.
  • They also reported more problems in young adulthood than non-card holders, including negative consequences, selling marijuana/hashish, and driving under the influence of marijuana.
  • In addition, they were more likely to have tried to cut down or quit using marijuana in the last three months than those who did not possess a medical marijuana card.

The researchers conclude that given expanding state legalization of marijuana for medical use, this issue warrants further attention.

Read Science Direct summary of Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal article here.


FullMeasure takes a look at Colorado’s marijuana legalization

This 8-minute video and transcript presents a picture of the results of marijuana legalization in Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. We hear a lot about the up side of legalization, not so much about the down side. This reporting team set out to examine both.

The biggest surprise has been the expansion – rather than the demise promised by legalization advocates – of the black market. Cartels rent homes in upscale neighborhoods, rip up carpeting, tear down walls, and push up wooden floors to turn them into grow houses, totally destroying half-million-dollar homes in the process. And those are rented homes.

There has also been a spike in crime. In 2016, Colorado’s increase in its crime rate was eleven times more than the average 30 biggest US cities. Homicides are up by almost 10 percent.

Read and see FullMeasure story here.


Cannabis use and suicide attempts among 86,254 adolescents aged 12-15 years from 21 low- and middle-income countries.

Researchers analyzed data from the Global school-based Student Health Survey taken by 86,254 adolescents from 21 countries to assess whether suicide attempts in the past year might be associated with lifetime and past-month marijuana use.

Overall prevalence of past-month marijuana use was 2.8 percent (varying from 0.5 percent in Laos to 37.6 percent in Samoa).

Overall prevalence of lifetime marijuana use was 3.9 percent, while overall prevalence of suicide attempts was 10.5 percent.

The researchers found that past-month marijuana use was significantly associated with suicide attempts. Lifetime marijuana use was also independently associated with suicide attempts.

They call for the causality of this association to be confirmed or refuted in prospective studies to further inform policies for suicide prevention.

Read European Psychiatry abstract here.


Mount Sinai researchers conduct study of second-hand marijuana smoke in children

Researchers found that nearly half of children whose parents smoked marijuana showed evidence of second-hand smoke exposure.

Their study was a secondary analysis of data and samples collected in a larger study evaluating the effectiveness of a tobacco cessation program for parents whose children were hospitalized in Colorado. Some of the parents also reported that they smoked marijuana.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested urinary biomarkers in the collected samples. They found that 46 percent of the children had detectable levels of a THC metabolite; 11 percent had detectable levels of THC itself.

“There are worrisome results, suggesting nearly half of the children of parents who smoke marijuana are getting exposed and 11 percent are exposed to a much greater degree,” says lead researcher Karen Wilson, MD, MPH of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The parents of one-third of the marijuana-exposed children said they had stepped outside to smoke pot, but the children still were exposed, suggesting that their exposure may have come from third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke is smoke that lingers in hair, clothes, even on skin and results in biological exposure that can be detected.

Read Mount Sinai press release of Pediatrics article here.

Abortion in US Reaches Lowest Level on Record, Report Finds

The pro-life movement had a good year in 2015: Fewer American women reported having abortions than at any other time since abortion was legalized in the U.S., according to a new government report.

Using the most recent data available, the abortion surveillance report published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 638,169 abortions were reported in 2015, a 2 percent drop from the 652,639 abortions reported in 2014.

“This is welcome news. Medicine and technology continue to shape how we view children in the womb and underscores their undeniable humanity,” Melanie Israel, a research associate in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

The abortion rate also dropped 0.3 points during the same time period, dipping from 12.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 2014 to 11.8 for the same age group in 2015.

CDC began surveillance of legal induced abortions in 1969 and compiles voluntarily reported state data to produce national estimates every year since 1988, according to the agency’s website.

The number of legal abortions skyrocketed in the years following the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across the country. This trend reached its climax in the 1980s. Since then, the annual number of abortions has been decreasing slowly, rising only slightly between 2006 and 2008 but continuing its downward trend to today.

The CDC report did not indicate a reason for the decline in abortions, but Heritage’s Israel said improved access to pregnancy resource centers and new legislation at the state level likely contributed.

“Thousands of pregnancy resource centers across the country provide services, education, supplies, counseling, and compassionate options—including adoption—to women experiencing tough pregnancies who may feel that abortion is their only choice,”  Israel said in an email to The Daily Signal. “Pro-life legislators across the country are elected to office and pass legislation that protects the health and safety of women and their unborn children.”

The report did not contain data from California, Maryland, or New Hampshire, which opted not to participate.

The report also did not present information about deaths from complications arising from legal abortion in 2015; officials reportedly are analyzing that information.

Six women died as a result of undergoing legal, induced abortion in 2014, according to that year’s surveillance report.

COLUMN BY

Troy Worden

Troy Worden is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Photo: Willie Deutsch/CrowdSpark/Newscom.

Twitter Bans Misgendering Individuals as ‘Hateful,’ but Porn Accounts Tweet Freely

Twitter banned the use of biological pronouns to refer to transgender persons, adding a clause prohibiting the practice to its policy regarding hateful conduct.

The social media platform updated its policies on hateful conduct in October, but the move wasn’t largely noticed until Friday and Saturday when users began commenting on the change, Pink News reported.

“Targeted harassment or expressing hate towards a person, group, or protected category” is banned, according to Twitter’s Hateful Conduct Policy.

The media platform also writes it is “committed to combating abuse motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance.”

” … targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals” is also banned, according to the updated policy rules.

Misgendering refers to using biological pronouns for a transgender person as opposed to pronouns that accord with their new gender identity. Deadnaming refers to using the “dead name,” the name they used before transitioning, to describe or address a transgender person.

Conservative speaker Ben Shapiro commented on the change.

Swedish journalist Peter Imanuelsen also condemned the policy.

Twitter prohibits hateful imagery, references to mass murders or violent events, comments meant to incite fear in a certain group of people, calling for harm to a certain person or group of people, and violent threats made against an identifiable target.

Graphic accounts like PornHub Cams, however, are not banned on Twitter.

Its tagline reads, “Hey daddy, what do you want me to do on cam for you? I’m all yours..hit that follow button to get to know me!”

Scrolling through PornHub Cams’ Twitter page reveals sexually explicit material, including hardcore pornography.

Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat prohibit hardcore porn.

Conversely, Twitter does not ban Daily Porn or Porn Extra Hub, which both contain hardcore pornography.

Twitter also does not heavily censor or ban Daily Porn Supply, whose page is cluttered with graphic sexual content.

Twitter does ban “the promotion of adult sexual content” for its paid advertising products, but the ban has failed to prevent large amounts of pornographic content from circulating on the social media platform.

Pornography has long been viewed as harmful by many notable scientists and doctors.

Dr. Patrick F. Fagan reported that habitual use of pornography fosters “a higher tolerance for abnormal sexual behaviors, sexual aggression, promiscuity, and even rape,” in a 2009 paper.

The American Bar Association maintains pornography is harmful to children and promotes aggression and negative behaviors toward women.

Twitter does have rules, however, against sharing “intimate media” without the subject’s consent.

Its policy also states, “Media containing adult content is not permitted within live video, profile or header images. All other instances of adult content should be marked as sensitive media.”

Twitter did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

COLUMN BY

Grace Carr

Grace Carr is a reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation. Twitter: @gbcarr24

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters/Newscom. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Military Clash Causes Massive Power Outage

When the framers drafted the Constitution, they didn’t put a committee in charge of the military. They wanted a civilian leader who could make quick decisions with the trust of the people. After some debate, they settled on the president. And for 228 years, that was just fine with liberals. Now suddenly, things have changed. With the election of Donald Trump, the Left doesn’t want the commander-in-chief running the military. They want the courts to.

In a world that was made even more dangerous and volatile by the failed foreign policy of the Obama administration, the worst thing we could do as a nation is make it harder for the military to do its job. And yet, that’s exactly what some people are attempting in this attack on the president’s authority as commander-in-chief. As the head of our armed forces, the president has to be able to act and lead on the information he has. Imagine the absurdity of telling this president — or any president — that he can’t respond to a threat or solve a defense problem without checking with the courts first.

That’s what this commander-in-chief tried to do more than a year ago by rolling back transgender extremism in the ranks. After eight years of social experimentation, President Trump saw that damage Barack Obama’s policies were doing to the military. Political correctness, he knew, couldn’t win wars. Only a unified force — free from distractions like this one — would. So, in July of 2017, President Trump announced that, after consulting military leaders, he was reverting the military’s policy back to what it had always been.

It should have been a simple, straight-forward decision. After all, the same executive power that gave Obama the authority to change the policy gives President Trump the ability to change it back. People could disagree – and some did – about the wisdom of keeping people who identify as transgender from the ranks. But in the end, the buck (including the $3.7 billion bucks Obama’s agenda would have cost) stopped with Trump. Precedent was on Trump’s side, along with research and active-duty troop support. Most importantly, the Constitution was on his side.

LGBT activists disagreed and filed suit. Now, a full year and a half later, the policy still hasn’t taken effect — which, as anyone with a basic knowledge of Article II will tell you, is inexcusable. The president doesn’t need a permission slip from the courts to command the military — a point the Justice Department made quite clear last Friday. Frustrated by judges who think they have more of a say in our military than the president leading it, Solicitor General Noel Francisco is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to do something quite rare: intervene. Instead of waiting on appellate judges (which could take years), the DOJ is hoping the justices will agree to bypass the circuit courts and decide the issue themselves.

Breitbart’s Ken Klukowski explains that the request is unusual but not unprecedented. “Federal law and Supreme Court rule 11 give the justices jurisdiction over a case at any point after it is first docketed with the appellate court.” At this point, the other side has already spent more months fighting Trump’s policy than Obama’s was officially in effect. Why waste more taxpayer time and money on an issue of presidential power that’s been settled since 1789? In DOJ’s petition, Francisco points out, “‘the military has been forced to maintain that prior policy for nearly a year’ despite a determination by Mattis and a panel of experts that the ‘prior policy, adopted by [Defense Secretary Ash Carter], posed too great a risk to military effectiveness and lethality.'”

“To assemble a military of qualified, effective, and able-bodied persons, the Department of Defense [DOD] has traditionally set demanding standards for military service,” the DOJ explains. “Given the unique mental and emotional stresses of military service, a history of most mental health conditions and disorders is automatically disqualifying.”

The situation is even more frustrating, Ken points out, since liberal judges have been unusually harsh with their injunctions. “Historically,” he writes, “district courts would render relief only for the parties in the case before them, or at minimum would often stay broad decisions while the government takes the case up on appeal.” Instead, the courts’ activists are using this as an excuse to put the brakes on entire federal policies, nationwide.

House Speaker-hopeful Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), meanwhile, called the president’s decision to try to fast-track the case “cowardly.” As usual, she’s wrong. Few things take more guts than standing up to liberal extremists and doing what’s in the best interest of America’s security and our men and women in uniform. We should all applaud the Trump administration for pursuing the kind of justice that keeps our military strong and our country safe.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Family Research Council column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is by geralt on Pixabay.

Welcome To The Future of Display Technology: MicroLED

Over the years, many high-tech screen technologies have come and gone. From traditional tube televisions to projectors, plasma screens to LCD and now oLEDs, the consumer market has seen all manner of screen formats, definitions, and materials.

As the smartphone, tablet, and high-def TV markets have exploded, there is a non-stop arms race between manufacturers to make screens that are thinner, smaller, brighter, and higher-definition than the competition.

Usually, these factors are measured as single percentage point differences–until now. The advent of MicroLED technology promises to radically redefine how screens are made, what specs can be packed into screens of all different sizes, and the level of resolution LED screens are capable of.

What is MicroLED?

What is MicroLED?

MicroLED technology is, at least in name, relatively straightforward. Engineers have created dramatically smaller Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and crammed more of them onto the same surface area than previous generations of LED screens. Millions more.

LEDs are the miniature ‘bulbs’ that create light in screens, as well as in more traditional applications like flashlights, car head and tail lights, and traditional light bulbs. The difference between LEDs and filament bulbs is as dramatic as the difference between the first telegraph and today’s smartphones, but in both cases, they aim to achieve the same function.

So, microLEDs are a multifaceted improvement in the technology that links LEDs and images produced on a screen. MicroLEDs shrink the size of LEDs by a lot, which means more of them can fill the same space previously occupied by one diode.

This increases resolving power and ability to render detail, but comes at the expense of brightness. That has historically been the sticking point for shrinking LEDs in screen applications. Making microLEDs as bright as their traditional counterparts requires more power, greater diode efficiency, or both. Cranking more energy into more, smaller LEDs means more heat, greater battery drain, and more manufacturing complexity.

All of these drawbacks have been enough to prevent manufacturers from pursuing and implementing microLED technology in consumer products–until now.

The Time is Right to Shrink LEDs

The Time is Right to Shrink LEDs

To-date, there’s been a limit to how small manufacturers could make LED boards, not only because of the size of diodes, but because of the ‘pitch’ size, which is the space between each LED and what that spacing means for the screen’s resolution.

Hardware technology and manufacturing processes are often limiting factors, because LEDs could only be made so small and mounted to circuitry of a certain size and efficiency. Instead of the few dozen yellow-blue traditional LEDs in today’s LED screens, microLED screens contain millions of LEDs, or one for each pixel.

This number is then tripled, because microLED screens utilize red, green, and blue LEDs. Each RGB trio delivers one ‘pixel,’ which you can imagine adds up quickly on a TV-sized 1080p screen. Thousands of pixels comprise individual modules, and multiple modules make up a given screen.

Shrinking LEDs provides resolving power, but it entails hardware complexity. Only recently have hardware and manufacturing technology advanced to a point that LED screens can feasibly make the shift towards microLED.

Manufacturers Ready to Launch MicroLED Tech

Manufacturers Ready to Launch MicroLED Tech

The first MicroLED TV to debut is Samsung’s ‘The Wall,’ a frameless, modular screen that offers industry-leading resolution and an industry-first modular capability that could allow end users to expand their TVs as applications change.

At CES 2018, Jonghee Han, President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics, said, “At Samsung, we are dedicated to providing consumers with a wide range of cutting-edge screen experiences. As the world’s first consumer modular MicroLED television, ‘The Wall’ represents another breakthrough. It can transform into any size, and delivers incredible brightness, color gamut, color volume and black levels. We’re excited about this next step along our roadmap to the future of screen technology, and the remarkable viewing experience it offers to consumers.”

These points highlight many of the promising breakthroughs and benefits of microLED technology, from the ability to deliver brightness and resolution and clearly defined black levels, all issues with generations of plasma and LED HD TVs.

Even most of today’s LED screens are actually hybrid LCD/LED screens that use one element (Liquid Crystal Diodes) to create the picture and another (the LEDs behind them) to backlight the screen.

In essence, this is an extremely high-tech take on old projector TV screens, and they come with their own set of problems, including image distortion or blackout from wide viewing angles, light bleed in dark sections of the screen, thick screens that require two different layers, and limitations on maximum brightness due to the pass-through nature of the screen element.

The Samsung Wall is a massive screen, making its debut in 120-inch format. It’s easy to think that this was simply a case of wanting to make a splash with a large-scale screen at a major trade show, but there is a more complicated backstory.

The manufacturer has not mastered microLED technology at smaller screen sizes. The complications surrounding scale of LEDs, power and heat generation, and cost and complexity mean that for now microLED is only being presented as a solution for massive, high-end screens. However, like many other technologies, what starts as a premium niche product may soon become the norm.

It has been widely reported that Apple is working on its own microLED display research, and on the opposite end of the spectrum. Apple believes that microLEDs could make future iPhones even thinner and brighter than the latest-generation organic LED (OLED) displays that recently replaced LCD screens. MicroLEDs are currently regarded as the sort of futuristic technology that OLEDs were considered three to five years ago.

OLED vs. MicroLED and the Future of Screen Technology

OLEDs are behind today’s cutting-edge screen technology for smartphones and tablets; their materials make them somewhat more cost-effective to produce than microLEDs given today’s manufacturing constraints.

However, OLEDs suffer from one major drawback that will continue to create manufacturing demand for microLEDs; the O, which stands for ‘organic,’ means that OLEDs are manufactured using organic compounds. That means they are expensive to make and the cost likely will not subside due to raw material costs.

It also means they are limited in maximum brightness as materials cannot be pushed further; similarly, extreme applications like always-on displays suffer from burn-in similar to early plasma screens.

Welcome To The Future

Welcome To The Future

The future of screen technology is almost certainly MicroLEDs. As with every cutting-edge technology, there is a learning curve for manufacturers as materials science and manufacturing processes struggle to catch up to the theoretical potential of this technology.

Once manufacturing potential catches up to the rendering benefits of microLEDs, the leap from OLED to microLED could be rapid, leaving OLEDs behind as a single-generation technology that served as an interesting bridge to a new standard for screens from smartphones to televisions.

Samsung has stated it plans to release consumer-facing microLED TVs sometime in 2019, while Apple has hinted that it believes the technology could appear in its phones within three years.

As with all technological advances, if the first few products are successful, the floodgates will soon open. Combined with more efficient batteries, microLEDs will soon power all screen-dominated devices, bringing stunning resolution and brightness from the palm of your hand to filling an entire wall in your home.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

VIDEO: Three Facts Those Promoting Transgenderism Ignore

The rush to embrace the transgender agenda is based on ideology, not science, and children struggling with gender dysphoria may be the most vulnerable victims.

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DEA REPORTS RECORD DEATHS FROM DRUG OVERDOSES: How a broken southern border allows narcotics to flood America.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) just published the 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment that provides an extensive analysis of the drug crisis in the United States.

Here are a few quick “takeaways” published in the report that paint a disconcerting picture:

  • In 1999 drug poisoning in the U.S. accounted for 16,849 deaths, while deaths from suicide, homicide, firearms and motor vehicles accounted for more deaths than did drug poisoning.
  • In 2009 deaths attributed to drug poisoning moved into first place with 37,004 such fatalities.
  • Since 2009 drug poisoning has accounted for more deaths than did the other causes of death, with a sharp upward trend in the number of such fatalities.  In 2013, 43,982 deaths were attributed to drug poisoning, in 2014 that number increased to 47,055, in 2015 the number jumped to 52,404 and in 2016 that number had skyrocketed to 63, 632 deaths.

Here are excerpts from the report that are of extreme importance:

Heroin: Heroin use and availability continue to increase in the United States. The occurrence of heroin mixed with fentanyl is also increasing. Mexico remains the primary source of heroin available in the United States according to all available sources of intelligence, including law enforcement investigations and scientific data. Further, significant increases in opium poppy cultivation and heroin production in Mexico allow Mexican TCOs to supply high-purity, low-cost heroin, even as U.S. demand has continued to increase.

Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids: Illicit fentanyl and other synthetic opioids — primarily sourced from China and Mexico—are now the most lethal category of opioids used in the United States. Traffickers— wittingly or unwittingly— are increasingly selling fentanyl to users without mixing it with any other controlled substances and are also increasingly selling fentanyl in the form of counterfeit prescription pills. Fentanyl suppliers will continue to experiment with new fentanyl-related substances and adjust supplies in attempts to circumvent new regulations imposed by the United States, China, and Mexico.

Cocaine: Cocaine availability and use in the United States have rebounded, in large part due to the significant increases in coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia. As a result, past-year cocaine initiates and cocaine-involved overdose deaths are exceeding 2007 benchmark levels. Simultaneously, the increasing presence of fentanyl in the cocaine supply, likely related to the ongoing opioid crisis, is exacerbating the re-merging cocaine threat.

Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine remains prevalent and widely available, with most of the methamphetamine available in the United States being produced in Mexico and smuggled across the Southwest Border (SWB). Domestic production occurs at much lower levels than in Mexico, and seizures of domestic methamphetamine laboratories have declined steadily for many years.

Gangs: National and neighborhood-based street gangs and prison gangs continue to dominate the market for the street-sales and distribution of illicit drugs in their respective territories throughout the country. Struggle for control of these lucrative drug trafficking territories continues to be the largest factor fueling the street-gang violence facing local communities. Meanwhile, some street gangs are working in conjunction with rival gangs in order to increase their drug revenues, while individual members of assorted street gangs have profited by forming relationships with friends and family associated with Mexican cartels.

Clearly our porous borders, particularly the U.S./Mexican border, enable narcotics to flood into America with disastrous results including violent crimes, loss of life, lives ruined by drug addiction, and the impact on families and especially children, and money that finances criminal organizations and terror organizations. As I noted in my recent article Trump Connects the Dots on Dangers of Illegal Immigration, terror organizations such as Iran-sponsored Hezbollah increasingly have been working in close coordination with Latin American drug trafficking organizations to move drugs and aliens, including terrorist sleeper agents, into the United States.

Although I was an INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) officer for my entire federal career, I spent roughly half of my career assigned to work with other law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations into narcotics-related crimes. Consequently my 30-year career with the former INS, the forerunner to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), provided me with an intimate view of the multifaceted immigration system. It also provided me with an insider’s understanding of the drug crisis in the United States.

Back in 1988 I became the first INS agent to be assigned to the Unified Intelligence Division (UID) of the DEA in New York City. For nearly four years I worked in close cooperation with the DEA and numerous other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. I also worked closely with foreign law enforcement agencies of countries such as Israel, Canada, Great Britain and Japan.

While I was assigned to UID I conducted a study of arrest statistics and was startled to find that back then, approximately 60% of the individuals arrested by the DEA Task Force in NYC were identified as “foreign born.”

In 1991, I was promoted to the position of INS Senior Special Agent and was assigned, for the final ten years of my career, to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) where I continue to work with diverse law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations into large-scale drug trafficking organizations from around the world.

The issue of border security has been one of the key issues frequently discussed by the media and by a succession of administrations. For decades efforts to determine border security have been linked to the number of arrests made by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Of course those statistics are not as effective a metric to determine border security as many believe. Arrest statistics generally act as sort of Rorschach test where you could say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

If the Border Patrol arrests more illegal aliens, does it mean that more illegal aliens are attempting to run our borders or that the Border Patrol is becoming more effective at finding and arresting illegal aliens, perhaps because new technology has been brought to bear?

If the Border Patrol arrests fewer illegal aliens, does it mean that fewer aliens have been running our borders or that the smugglers have gotten better at evading the Border Patrol?

Several years ago when I was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on his program at Fox News he attempted to draw conclusions about the level of illegal immigration based on Border Patrol arrests. I told Neil that attempting to use arrest statistics to accurately gauge the number of illegal aliens present in the United States is a bit like taking attendance by asking those not present to raise their hands!

I told Neil that the best and most reliable metric to determine border security is the price and availability of cocaine and heroin since those narcotics are illegal and are not produced in the United States. In point of fact, every gram of those and other such substances are smuggled into the United States and provide graphic and incontrovertible evidence of a failure of border security.

The fact that heroin is as available and as inexpensive as it is provides clear evidence that our borders are as porous as a sieve.

Furthermore, because those substances are smuggled into the United States from foreign countries, the leaders of most of the drug trafficking organizations are foreign nationals who send their workers to the United States to set up shop.

These aliens are often long-time associates they have come to trust and, because their family members remain in their home countries, if they commit transgressions, their relatives will pay a heavy price indeed.

Finally, as drug use has skyrocketed and as the Drug Trafficking Organizations have become more sophisticated and violents and have gained ever more control over the smuggling routes, human trafficking is now often linked to the drug smugglers who often use the aliens they smuggle as “mules”– beasts of burden who carry drugs on their person when they cross our borders.

Those involved in the drug trade not only violate drug, finance and weapons laws; they violate immigration laws.

Meanwhile politicians from both parties have refused to fund the vital border wall to help protect America and Americans from the influx of illegal aliens and narcotics.

The Democrats have created “Sanctuary Cities” and have unbelievably called for the disbanding of ICE altogether. However, neither political party has ever sought to actually hire enough ICE agents to deter illegal immigration or contribute the sort of resources to such multi-agency task forces as OCDETF or the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), where the unique authorities and tools that our immigration laws can uniquely provide to help investigate and dismantle transnational gangs and international terror organizations.

I addressed the nexus between sanctuary policies and the drug trade in my article, New York City: Hub For The Deadly Drug Trade.

This willful failure of our political elite to bring our immigration laws to bear to protect America and Americans, and to combat transnational gangs and international terrorist organizations, was the focus of my recent article, Sanctuary Country – Immigration failures by design.

It is time for Americans to find true sanctuary in their towns and cities.

RELATED ARTICLE: Bolivia: The Next Explosion After Venezuela and Nicaragua

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine. It is republished with permission.

Democrat Socialism and Sodomy: Two Social Poisoned Pills

I became interested in links between democrat socialism and sodomy. During my research I found, to my surprise, that today they are inextricably linked.

Socialism and sodomy have the same goals, the destruction of heterosexuality and the traditional nuclear family.

The targets are straight males and fathers who are married with children. But why is this the goal? Isn’t this a poisoned pill for every society?

Sodomy predates Christianity

Many look at sodomy from a biblical perspective citing the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19:1-30. However, sodomy predates Christianity. It was a political issue for centuries that ancient nations dealt with in different ways both socially and in law. In her 2014 column “Did Spartan Warriors Embrace Homosexuality?” Kayla Jameth wrote:

Crete, Athens, Corinth and Thebes practiced classic pederasty. A homosocial institute that encouraged love in a myriad of forms between an older man (erastês) and a youth (erômenos). The terms carry certain connotations that directly or indirectly influence modern views on this relationship.

The mentor, or erastês, is intended to be an older man who guides the youth through the upper echelons of society. This was an ancient form of social networking. Erastês means “lover”. This has been taken to imply a sexual relationship. Especially as erômenos means “beloved”. These are not so much descriptions of the individuals as titles for their place in the relationship.

Were all pederastic relationships sexual? I doubt that was the case, as the majority of men now, and likely then, identify as straight/heterosexual. That’s nothing more than statistics. Were there bisexuals and bi-curious individuals? Without a doubt, but once again not to the exclusion of straight individuals.

The article “Before Homosexuality: Sodomy” notes:

Same-sex sexual acts have a history; today they are called homosexuality. Before homosexuality they were called sodomy. In England during the reign of King Henry VIII sodomy became a civil offense with the passage of the buggery Act of 1533. In Germany in the late 1860s the transition from a religious model to a medical model for same-sex sexual acts begin. It was at this time the term homosexual came about. [Emphasis added]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports:

Gay and bisexual men are the population most affected by HIV in the United States. In 2016, gay and bisexual men accounted for 67% of the 40,324 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and 6 dependent areas. Approximately 492,000 sexually active gay and bisexual men are at high risk for HIV; however, we have more tools to prevent HIV than ever before.

Download the Fact Sheet

Where does Socialism fit in?

Thomas Harrison, co-director of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and a member of the editorial board of New Politics, in his 2009 column “Socialism and Homosexuality” wrote:

MARX AND ENGELS NEVER SUBJECTED homophobia to the sort of historical materialist criticism that they, especially Engels, applied to the family and the oppression of women. Indeed, Engels in particular evinced all the prejudices of high Victorianism when it came to homosexuality. 

[ … ]

Engels’ pioneering analysis, published in 1884 as The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State, tried to show that the family and the oppression of women were not embedded in “human nature,” but arose historically in conjunction with the emergence of class societies2; the abolition of class society, therefore, could be expected to free women and abolish the family, at least as a site of gender inequality. At the same time, Engels presents heterosexuality as unproblematically “natural.” Homosexuality is briefly mentioned, disparagingly, in connection with ancient Greece as nothing but a product of misogyny.

Harrison then outlines the new Democrat Socialist view on sodomy stating, “Without excusing Engels’ ugly homophobia, and that of Marx, it seems short sighted to simply equate them with the standard-issue bigots of their time. Marxism, as a method of historical analysis and a theory of democratic revolution from below, created the tools for understanding the relation of gay oppression to misogyny and compulsory heterosexuality, and for pointing the way toward liberation.”

The neo-Marxist must embrace gays as victims of oppression. In the United States, gays are not oppressed and are subject to equal protection under the law. The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. Overt oppression of gays is seen in predominantly Muslim countries such as Iran.

Anyone who criticizes sodomy is labeled homophobic, unless they are Muslims. The great oxymoron is the political joining at the hip of Democrat Socialists with Islamists. In the end one will win politically. If the Islamists win then sodomy will be outlawed. If the Democrat Socialists win then heterosexual males and families will be outlawed. These are two poisoned pills that will kill any society.

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘Good Morning America’ promotes child drag queen

EDITORS NOTE: The edited featured photo is by Marc Schäfer on Unsplash.

Climate skeptic uncovers major scientific error, upends media hyped ocean warming study

“The findings of the … paper were peer-reviewed and published in the world’s premier scientific journal and were given wide coverage in the English-speaking media,” Lewis wrote. “Despite this, a quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results.” Co-author Ralph Keeling, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, took full blame and thanked Lewis for alerting him to the mistake. “When we were confronted with his insight it became immediately clear there was an issue there,” he said. “We’re grateful to have it be pointed out quickly so that we could correct it quickly.” …

“Our error margins are too big now to really weigh in on the precise amount of warming that’s going on in the ocean,” Keeling said. “We really muffed the error margins.” A correction has been submitted to the journal Nature.
‘Biased and sloppy peer review’ – Climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer on ‘The Sorry State of Climate Science Peer Review, and Kudos to Nic Lewis’

Dr. Roy Spencer: ‘For decades now those of us trying to publish papers which depart from the climate doom-and-gloom narrative have noticed a trend toward both biased and sloppy peer review of research submitted for publication in scientific journals.’

‘If the conclusions of the paper support a more alarmist narrative on the seriousness of anthropogenic global warming, the less thorough will be the peer review. I am now totally convinced of that. If the paper is skeptical in tone, it endures levels of criticism that alarmist papers do not experience. I have had at least one paper rejected based upon a single reviewer who obviously didn’t read the paper…he criticized claims not even made in the paper.’

The peer review process, presumably involving credentialed climate scientists, should have caught the error before publication.’

‘WE REALLY MUFFED’ IT – MATH ERROR: SCIENTISTS ADMIT ‘MISTAKES’ LED TO ALARMING RESULTS IN MAJOR ‘GLOBAL WARMING’ STUDY

  • Scientists behind a headline-grabbing climate study admitted they “really muffed” their paper.
  • Their study claimed to find 60 percent more warming in the oceans, but that was based on math errors.
  • The errors were initially spotted by scientist Nic Lewis, who called them “serious (but surely inadvertent) errors.”

Ocean warming paper found to have ‘major error’ – Uncritical News Media Gave Blanket Coverage To Flawed Climate Paper

A major problem in new media hyped ocean heat uptake paper: Serious ‘errors in the underlying calculations’

The findings of the Resplandy et al paper were peer-reviewed and published in the world’s premier scientific journal and were given wide coverage in the English-speaking media. Despite this, a quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results. Just a few hours of analysis and calculations, based only on published information, was sufficient to uncover apparently serious (but surely inadvertent) errors in the underlying calculations. Moreover, even if the paper’s results had been correct, they would not have justified its findings regarding an increase to 2.0°C in the lower bound of the equilibrium climate sensitivity range and a 25% reduction in the carbon budget for 2°C global warming.  Because of the wide dissemination of the paper’s results, it is extremely important that these errors are acknowledged by the authors without delay and then corrected. Of course, it is also very important that the media outlets that unquestioningly trumpeted the paper’s findings now correct the record too.

Media touts study of ocean heat claiming ‘global warming’ at ‘worst-case scenarios’ – But claims not based on actual thermometer data

RELATED ARTICLE: Don’t Tell Anyone, But We Just Had Two Years Of Record-Breaking Global Cooling

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Dan Stark on Unsplash.

FLORIDA: School Punishes Teacher Who Refused To Watch Girl Change In Boys’ Locker Room

Another Florida school district is cutting parents out of the loop on transgender school kids and gagging teachers, but this time going after a male P.E. teacher who refused to observe a middle school girl who was claiming to feel like a boy and using the boys’ locker room.

Pasco County schools, a suburban county just north of Tampa, allowed a self-determined transgender female student daily access to the boys’ locker room, without providing any advanced warning to the boys’ parents or to the boys themselves.

This resulted in an embarrassing shock the first time the obvious girl entered the locker room and there were naked boys.

When the male P.E. teacher refused to watch the minor girl change clothes, a school administrator threatened the teacher with placing him on administrative leave. According to Liberty Counsel attorney Richard Mast, whose organization is involved in the situation, the threatening email said that refusing to supervise the girl would “not be tolerated.”

The Liberty Counsel is a pro-bono national law firm that protects individuals’ rights from a traditional, constitutional viewpoint.

Interestingly, a female P.E. teacher also objected to the situation, but was ignored by school administrators. She has not yet been threatened, and given the publicity now surrounding the school, probably will not be. Those are usually done quietly.

The first time the girl entered the boys’ locker room, she caught “boys (literally) with their pants down, causing them embarrassment and concern by the fact that they had been observed changing by an obvious girl,” according to the complaint letter sent to the Pasco County School District from the Liberty Counsel. Remember, these are 13- and 14-year-old boys just discovering their awkward transition into manhood.

Teachers at Chasco Middle School are banned from discussing the change in policy — not the specifics of the case, which would make sense, but the policy itself. There is no other reasonable term for that than “gag order.”

So the Liberty Counsel letter goes on to explain that the teacher refused to “knowingly place himself in a position to observe a minor female in the nude or otherwise in a state of undress.” That actually is a both moral and legally sensible move on the part of the teacher. However, school administrators shifted from the threat of administrative leave to a threat to having him “transferred to another school as discipline for ‘not doing your job in the locker room.’”

The situation arose in September, yet the Pasco County parents of 70,000 students in the district have still not been informed of the new policy by the school district, even though the female student still has full access to the male changing facilities. The Pasco School Board also is aware of it and has done nothing.

The reason is not hard to see. LGBTQI activists are organized, well-financed, powerful and intimidating. Very few politicians or even regular people want to be even perceived as going counter to their agenda.

The Pasco controversy mirrors similar transgender secrecy and heavy-handed intimidation on the part of school district officials in Sarasota County, just south of Tampa. (Both Sarasota and Pasco counties are politically red counties. Their School Boards do not seem to be reflecting that.)

At the recommendation of the Sarasota County School District’s LGBTQI Task Force, the superintendent issued “guidelines” to govern how the district’s 50 public schools handle transgender and gender questioning students — starting as young as kindergarten.

The Sarasota County school policy guidelines implement a full-blown transgender protocol allowing students to use whichever bathroom and locker room corresponds with the gender with which they “identify;” and forces everyone else to use the pronoun of the students’ choice. This sounds identical to Pasco’s policy — or perhaps guidelines is the technical terms as the Board did not take action on it.

But maybe the biggest affront is that the Sarasota guidelines also say that parents can not be informed of their child’s decision to identify as a different gender, because some trans activists claim the schools are a “safer” environment than the home. This again seems to be in line with what is going on in Pasco, which suggests that the administrative guidelines are being heavily influenced or even written by trans activists.

In Sarasota, the secrecy along with the general egregiousness of the policy, attracted a lot of controversy. A 31-year-old Sarasota father of a young child not yet in the school system, sent the superintendent a brief email criticizing the guidelines and keeping transgenderism secret from parents.

That parent found officers from the school district’s brand new police force at his door the next day. Nothing came of the officers’ visit, because they realized the letter was harmless. Nonetheless more showed up at the father’s parent’s home and neighbors’ home.

This is a shocking level of intimidation for a local school district, and certainly at least some parents must have got the message: Shut up, sit down and let us handle your children. Or else we may come knocking.

In Pasco, the message sent is similar, but directly to teachers. Shut up and do what you’re told. Or else.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

Why This California College Student Is Choosing to Stand Up for Her Beliefs on Gender

A 20-year-old student senator at the University of California Berkeley says she didn’t expect the intense opposition she received for voicing her Christian beliefs on sexual identity and gender.

Although Isabella Chow, a junior, has the support of the school’s College Republicans chapter, her own student party cut ties with her and other students and organizations are demanding that she resign from the Senate or face a recall.

“I didn’t expect it at all, I’ll just put it that way,” Chow told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Tuesday.

“I expected there to be opposition, I expected there to be disagreement,” she said, “but I didn’t expect that a place that claimed to be so inclusive and tolerant would turn its back on me so quickly.”

Her offense? Chow chose not to vote Oct. 31 on a measure decrying consideration by the Trump administration of a legal definition that says a person’s gender is what his or her sex was at birth. She was the only one of 20 senators to abstain on the measure, which also backed organizations that promote the LGBT agenda.

Student-run CalTV and school publications Chow represented also abandoned or “disaffiliated with” her, she said.

In a statement on Facebook explaining why she abstained, Chow first said discrimination “is never, ever OK.”

But, she said, “where this bill crosses the line for me is that I am asked to promote a choice of identities that I do not agree with to be right or best for an individual, and to promote certain organizations that uphold values contrary to those of my community.”

Chow, who is from Gilroy, California, about two hours outside of San Francisco, told The Daily Signal that she fears funding for Christian groups on campus is threatened. A piano recital where she was supposed to play was cancelled because professors said, “You can’t perform when we are all afraid of protesters showing up at the door.”

At a protest Wednesday, Chow said, people yelled at her for three hours, swearing and demanding that she resign.

Through that experience, she told The Daily Signal, “a big part of me was reminded that as a Christian, I needed to stand by what I said.”

That means not only standing by her beliefs about gender and sexuality, she said, but “loving the LGBTQ community and accepting all of them as valid and significant and loved.”

Chow was elected to the student Senate as a candidate running with the party Associated Students of the University of California. She had support from fellow Christian students and the “publications and media” crowd involved in journals, magazines, and CalTV, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Over 1,000 persons have signed a petition demanding that Chow resign from student government or face a recall. She also has faced pushback on social media.

Matt Ronnau, president of the Berkeley College Republicans, told The Daily Signal in an interview that his organization stands by Chow.

“We support Isabella 100 percent,” Ronnau said, calling her treatment “incredibly unfair.”

“She expressed very clearly … and decided to abstain, and then the Queer Alliance Resource Center [an LGBT rights organization] came out and basically said she was attacking them and really muddied what she said up,” he said.

The group “painted her to be this huge evil person when really she’s not,” Ronnau said.

Harini Shyamsundar, editor-in-chief and president of The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s student newspaper, told The Daily Signal in an email that the paper declined to publish an op-ed by Chow explaining her decision to abstain because it “did not meet the paper’s editorial standards.”

“We could not publish it in our opinion section, even opposite our own editorial,” Shyamsundar said.

Shyamsundar did not explain further, including what she meant by failure to meet editorial standards.

Manu Meel, CEO of BridgeUSA, a nonpartisan student club at UC Berkeley, told The Daily Signal in an email that while he and the organization did not support Chow’s stance, her opinions should still be respected.

“Millions of Americans share Senator Chow’s perspective,” Meel told The Daily Signal, adding:

Rather than silencing her perspective, we must constructively engage her perspective and create the necessary spaces for those discussions to occur on campus. A democracy cannot thrive if we silence individuals that we disagree with, even if those disagreements are based on identity. In a democracy, progress is achieved when consensus can be forged because ultimately, we are one people united by a common commitment to advancing and protecting the rights of all citizens.

Meel also said students should focus on having a productive discussion about differing viewpoints.

“As students on a campus that has a legacy of strengthening democracy, we can set an example for how difficult issues like the one being discussed here should be resolved,” Meel said. “We must take the opportunity to resolve our differences at a time when polarization and partisanship define the political landscape.”

Ryan T. Anderson, a senior research fellow in American principles and public policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that opinions based on scientific fact should not be seen as hateful or bigoted.

“The best biology, psychology, and philosophy all support an understanding of sex as a bodily reality and of gender as a social manifestation of bodily sex. Biology isn’t bigotry,” said Anderson, author of the book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.”

“How absurd that a student has become a social outcast simply because she declined to support the manifest falsehoods of transgender ideology,” he said.

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Photo courtesy of Isabella Chow.

The Space Force Is Coming. Here’s Why the U.S. Needs It.

One of the issues that will face the new Congress is the creation of a new military service: the U.S. Space Force.

Recently, Vice President Mike Pence chaired the fourth meeting of the National Space Council. The council is comprised of key elements of the U.S. government that are involved with space, and includes not only the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretaries of state and defense, but also the secretaries of commerce, transportation, and homeland security, as well as the director of national intelligence, the director of the Office of Budget and Management, the head of NASA, and the national security and homeland security advisers.

The venue was significant—Roosevelt Hall at the National War College. Established in 1946, the National War College seeks to train the next generation of senior officers and national security civilians in the ways of grand strategy, including how to balance resources available against requirements. Thus, the announcement that the National Space Council would unanimously endorse the creation of the new Space Force was intended to send a strategic signal.

To this end, the vice president in his remarks specifically noted the six recommendations that would be made to President Donald Trump:

  1. Creation of a new unified combatant command: the United States Space Command. This would elevate command of space operations to the level of U.S. Special Operations Command.
  2. Creation of a new organization, the Space Development Agency. This new agency will accelerate the development of new space capabilities.
  3. Reorganizing the resulting bureaucracy, and laying out a path for rapid fielding of that new space technology.
  4. Altering the current rules of engagement for space to allow more effective responses to potential space threats.
  5. Reviewing and revising the legal authorities associated with the employment of space forces. While this appears to simply be more legalese, in reality, establishing which organizations have what legal authorities is a massive part of how the U.S. military operates. Because of the need for U.S. forces to operate within the law—international laws and treaties as well as domestic laws and regulations—laying out the authorities is vital to ensure that military responses are smooth and unencumbered by legal challenges.
  6. All this is to lay the foundations for the creation of a new service, the United States Space Force, which the vice president made clear would be proposed in the next National Defense Authorization Act.

While late-night comedians found the whole idea of the Space Force hilarious, the reality is that the United States faces growing threats from space. These include not only anti-satellite missiles that can shatter satellites into thousands of pieces of debris, but lasers capable of “dazzling” and blinding satellite systems, as well as cyber and jammer threats. The range of potential space adversaries includes not only Russia and China, but, as the vice president noted, also Iran and North Korea.

Nor is the U.S. the first nation to create a service dedicated to space operations. In 2015, the Russians established the Russian Aerospace Forces, merging the Russian air force and the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces. This entity has control over Russia’s air force, Russian missile defense forces, and key parts of the Russian space infrastructure, such as the Plesetsk Cosmodrome (launch facility).

Meanwhile, at the end of 2015, the People’s Republic of China established the People’s Liberation Army Strategic Support Force. This new force marks a very different path than the Russian Aerospace Forces.

Under the People’s Liberation Army Strategic Support Force, the Chinese have brought together their electronic warfare, network (cyber) warfare, and space warfare forces. Thus, where the Russians see space as an extension of the air, the Chinese see space as an extension of information space. This difference explains why the Russians created a single aerospace force, while the Chinese created a single information warfare force.

Since such massive reorganizations take time, this means that both China and Russia were undertaking significant analyses and preparations long before the announcement in 2015. Thus, the United States, far from militarizing space, is in fact likely to be years behind our Russian and Chinese counterparts.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Dean Cheng

Dean Cheng

Dean Cheng brings detailed knowledge of China’s military and space capabilities to bear as The Heritage Foundation’s research fellow on Chinese political and security affairs. Read his research.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images is republished with permission. The featured image by WikiImages on Pixabay.

Environmentalist Policies Are Exacerbating Wildfires. It’s Time to Rethink Forest Management.

Massive wildfires continue to rage out of control in Northern California, causing historic loss of life and billions of dollars in damage.

The images coming out of California towns, which look like bombed-out cities from World War II, are a sobering reminder of man’s occasional futility in the face of nature unleashed.

Stopping these huge blazes is, of course, a priority. The firefighters who have been battling these infernos have at times done a miraculous job under extremely difficult circumstances.

However, policymakers should also look at ways to curtail the long-term trend of growing numbers of major wildfires. While some argue that climate change is to blame for the uptick in fires, it’s also worth grappling with the drastic alterations in forest management that have occurred over the last four decades.

Many have argued that this is driving the surge in huge fires.

As a Reason Foundation study noted, the U.S. Forest Service, which is tasked with managing public wildland, once had success in minimizing widespread fires in the early 20th century.

But many of these successful methods were abandoned in large part because of efforts by environmental activists.

The Forest Service became more costly and less effective as it increasingly “rewarded forest managers for losing money on environmentally questionable practices,” wrote Randal O’Toole, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

Spending on the Forest Service has risen drastically, but these additional resources have been misused and haven’t solved the underlying issues.

“Fire expenditures have grown from less than 15 percent of the Forest Service budget in [the] early 1990s to about 50 percent today. Forest Service fire expenditures have increased from less than $1 billion in the late 1990s to $3.5 billion in 2016,” O’Toole wrote.

Perhaps now, Americans will begin to re-evaluate forest management policies.

In a May congressional hearing, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., said, “Forty-five years ago, we began imposing laws that have made the management of our forests all but impossible.”

He went on to say that federal authorities have done a poor job of implementing methods to reduce the number of deadly fires, and that this has been devastating for America’s wildlands.

“Time and again, we see vivid boundaries between the young, healthy, growing forests managed by state, local, and private landholders, and the choked, dying, or burned federal forests,” McClintock said. “The laws of the past 45 years have not only failed to protect the forest environment—they have done immeasurable harm to our forests.”

In a recent House address, McClintock pinned the blame of poor forest management on bad 1970s laws, like the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. He said these laws “have resulted in endlessly time-consuming and cost-prohibitive restrictions and requirements that have made the scientific management of our forests virtually impossible.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has promoted a change to forest management policies, calling for a more aggressive approach to reduce the excess vegetation that has made the fires worse.

Congress is also moving to address the problem.

Members of the Western Caucus have proposed legislation to dramatically change the way forests are managed. If passed, this bill would give power back to local authorities and allow for more aggressive forest thinning without subjecting them to the most onerous of environmental reviews.

While state and federal governments can take measures to enhance forest and wilderness management, private management can also get involved to improve conditions.

One idea is to adopt a policy popularized by the school choice movement: create charter forests that are publicly owned, but privately managed. This would allow forest management to move away from top-down, bureaucratic control to a decentralized and varied system that may better conform with local realities.

As professor Robert H. Nelson wrote for The Wall Street Journal, the charter forest “would be exempt from current requirements for public land-use planning and the writing of environmental impact statements. These requirements long ago ceased to perform their ostensible function of improving public land decision making.”

Similar privatizing efforts have succeeded in the past.

No measure can truly prevent all fires, but reasonable steps can be taken to reduce the incidence of huge blazes like the ones currently engulfing California.

It’s time for lawmakers to redouble their efforts to protect American lives and property from nature’s most devastating ravages.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Jarrett Stepman

Jarrett Stepman is an editor and commentary writer for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Jarrett. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLES:

Trump Is Right: Poor Land Management Is Leading to Bigger California Fires

23 Photos of the Wildfires Burning Through California

House Lawmakers Push Legislation to ‘Stop the Spread of Catastrophic Wildfires’


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images and video is republished with permission. Photo: Barbara Munker/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom.

California Wildfires are NOT due to ‘climate change’

Gov. Brown blames climate ‘deniers’ for worsening wildfires – Scientific evidence refutes him: ‘Less fire today than centuries ago’ – Wildfires are NOT due to ‘climate change’ – Book Excerpt

California Governor Jerry Brown is blaming “climate deniers” for more California’s devastating wildfires despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that wildfires are not historically worse or caused by “global warming.” See:

Jerry Brown: Climate-Change Deniers ‘Definitely Contributing’ to the ‘New Abnormal’ of Wildfires– California Gov. Jerry Brown said all climate-change deniers are “definitely contributing” to the fatal wind-whipped wildfires that have pummeled northern and southern parts of the state over the past few days, as well as blazes “in the coming years.”

JERRY BROWN BLAMES ‘THOSE WHO DENY’ GLOBAL WARMING FOR DEADLY WILDFIRES

Gov. Brown joins other high profile climate activists in blaming bad weather on “climate deniers.” Most recently, Sen. Chuck Schumer actually said on the Senate floor, “If we would do more on climate change, we’d have fewer of these hurricanes and other types of storms.” See: Sen Schumer goes full witchcraft: ‘If We Would Do More on Climate Change, We’d Have Fewer of These Hurricanes’

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from author Marc Morano’s new 2018 best-selling book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change.

(Move over Rachel Carson! – Morano’s Politically Incorrect Climate Book outselling ‘Silent Spring’ at Earth Day – Order Your Book Copy Now! ‘The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change’ By Marc Morano)

Book Excerpt:

Wildfires

The mainstream media seems to be very sure that wildfires are getting worse because of man-made global warming. ABC World News Tonight warned in 2014 that “here in America, more wildfires, intense burns” have arrived courtesy of climate change. CBS This Morning featured climate fear promoter Michio Kaku, predicting “hundred-year droughts, hundred-year
forest fires” and claiming that “something is very dangerously happening with the weather.”

Al Gore also thinks he knows all about wildfires. “All over the West we’re seeing these fires get much, much worse,” Gore said in 2017, adding, “the underlying cause is the heat.”

But the science tells a very different story. A 2016 study published by the Royal Society reported, “There is less fire in the global landscape today than centuries ago” and the “global area burned” has seen a “slight decline over past decades.” The study, by Stefan Doerr and Cristina Santín of Swansea University in Wales, noted that “many consider wildfire as an accelerating problem, with widely held perceptions both in the media and scientific papers of increasing fire occurrence, severity and resulting losses. However, important exceptions aside, the quantitative evidence available does not support these perceived overall trends.”

The study also found that the data for the western U.S. indicates “little change overall, and also that area burned at high severity has overall declined compared to pre-European settlement. Direct fatalities from fire and economic losses also show no clear trends over the past three decades.” The researchers concluded, “The data available to date do not support a general increase in area burned or in fire severity for many regions of the world. Indeed there is increasing evidence that there is overall less fire in the landscape today than there has been centuries ago, although the magnitude of this reduction still needs to be examined in more detail.”

According to the study, “fire is a fundamental natural ecological agent in many of our ecosystems and only a ‘problem’ where we choose to inhabit these fire-prone regions or we humans introduce it to non-fire-adapted ecosystems.

The ‘wildfire problem’ is essentially more a social than a natural one.” Researchers from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid found that “climate change” is not to blame for increased forest fires in the Mediterranean basin. “The change in the occurrence of fires that are recorded in the historical research cannot be explained by the gradual change in climate.” The fires instead “correspond to changes in the availability of fuel, the use of sources of energy, and the continuity of the landscape.”

In the United States, wildfires are also due in part to a failure to thin forests or remove dead and diseased trees. In 2014, forestry professor David B. South of Auburn University testified to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that “data suggest that extremely large megafires were four-times more common before 1940,” adding that “we cannot reasonably say that anthropogenic global warming causes extremely large wildfires.”

As he explained, “To attribute this human-caused increase in fire risk to carbon dioxide emissions is simply unscientific.” The evidence is so strong that even the Los Angeles Times featured an article rebuking Governor Jerry Brown for his claims that California’s 2015 wildfires were “a real wake-up call” to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which he claimed were “in many respects driving all of this.” The Times article noted, “But scientists who study climate change and fire behavior say their work does not show a link between this year’s wildfires and global warming, or support Brown’s assertion that fires are now unpredictable and unprecedented. There is not enough evidence, they say.”

Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist at the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon, has conducted research on fires in the western United States and found them declining. “If we use the historical baseline as a point in time for comparison, then we have not seen a measurable increase in the size or the severity of fires,” DellaSala said. “In fact, what we have seen is actually a deficit in forest fires compared to what early settlers were dealing with when they came through this area.”

A 2014 study found that Colorado wildfires have not become more severe since the 1900s. “The severity of recent fires is not unprecedented when we look at fire records going back before the 1900s,” said research scientist Tania Schoennagel. The study, “one of the largest of its kind ever undertaken in the western United States,” was published in the journal PLOS ONE and funded by the National Science Foundation.

Related Links:

Wildfires are not worse — despite media hype about ‘global warming’

A Geological Perspective of Wildfires: ‘Global biomass burning during past century has been lower than at any time in past 2000 years’

Wildfires are not worse — despite media hype about ‘global warming’

Plummeting Forest Fire Burn Acreage – Down 80% since 1930’s – And forest fires are down 90% since CO2 was at pre-industrial levels – when an area larger than the state of California burned every year.

California’s ‘new normal’ of winter wildfires doused by climate scientists – Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, compiled data from 1926-2017 showing that the acreage burned by U.S. wildfires has dropped fourfold since peaking in the 1930s, which was posted on the skeptics’ website Climate Depot. “The destructive fires in California are not unexpected given the wet winter last year and resultant plant growth, followed by hot and dry weather since then in which the vegetation dried out,” University of Colorado Boulder meteorologist Roger A. Pielke Sr. said. “An important issue is an extent humans have deliberately or inadvertently started the fires,” Mr. Pielke said. “If these were not started by people (including sparks from power lines), how many fires would there have been naturally? Probably none.” “As to whether this is a ‘new normal,’ it is easy (and inaccurate) to blame climate change just from added CO₂,” said Mr. Pielke, “when in reality the reasons for the fires and the damage they are causing are more complex.”

Peer-Reviewed studies, historical data reject claims California wildfires are due to man-made climate change

Fires far worse last century: Claim global warming causing wildfires goes up in — flames

Prominent forestry scientist goes from environmentalist hero to victim after his research reverses ‘old growth’ logging concepts – “Against the Grain” by Warren Cornwall in Science, 6 October 2017.

Trump Blames CA Wildfires On Forest Mismanagement, Threatens To Cut Off Federal Funding

BLAMING GLOBAL WARMING FOR NORTHWEST’S WILDFIRES IS ‘SERIOUSLY MISINFORMED,’ SAYS CLIMATE SCIENTIST

Report: Poor Management of Forests, Not Global Warming, To Blame for Widespread Wildfires

Climatologist Dr. John Christy rebuts wildfire and heatwave claims: ‘Our most serious heatwaves were in the 1930’s. We have not matched those at all’

STUDY: HUMANS, NOT GLOBAL WARMING, SPARKED ALMOST ALL OF CALIFORNIA’S WILDFIRES – Ninety-five percent of wildfires that ravaged California in the past 100 years were caused by humans, according to a forthcoming study in the International Journal of Wildland Fire. “In most of California, if we could stop ignition during extremely high winds and drought and heat spells, like now, that will be an effective approach,” lead author and U.S. Geological Survey wildfire expert Jon Keeley told The San Jose Mercury News of his soon-to-be-published study. While the public debate largely rages around global warming’s role in wildfires, Keeley’s study shows that human interaction with the landscape, no matter the climate, is causing most fires.

Environmentalists’ Plan To Solve California’s Wildfire Problem — Ban Fossil Fuels

Climate Scientist Calls Out Media (and Mann) ‘Misinformation’ On Wildfires And Global Warming

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by luke flynt on Unsplash.

Why We Need More Climate Change Skeptics

Instead of demonizing such skeptics, we need to encourage and respect such people who work hard to identify where biases have interfered with the pursuit of truth.


Climate scientists are not prophets. Those who believe them on faith provide no good service to the pursuit of truth.

Those who blame climate change for every storm or forest fire are silly. Equally silly are those who claim that a particularly cold day proves that climate change is a farce.

Fear of environmental calamity has caused human destruction before, such as when Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, led to the banning of the pesticide DDT. As a result of the “success” of the environmentalist movement in banning DDT, an estimated 30-50 million people in Africa—mostly children—died from malaria carried by the renewed growth in the mosquito population. Malaria deaths increased from tens of thousands per year pre-ban to millions per year post-ban. The story was similar in India. These were preventable deaths that resulted from stoked fears.

Now the target is carbon dioxide. We are told that 97 percent of climate scientists agree with their own scientific consensus. But that’s a misleading statement in an important way. The actual figure refers to “97 percent of climate scientists actively publishing in scientific journals.” To understand the relevance of this 97 percent figure, we need to know: what are the determiners of “actively publishing?”

Could the selection process for entry and success (“actively publishing”) in the climate profession create a bias that compromises the information we rely on to make our critical decisions about climate?

Let’s ask the question, calmly and rationally, and see where it takes us.

1. It is reasonable to consider that children raised in climate-conscious families are more likely to become interested in the environment than those raised by families who either don’t care or who deny. The climate-conscious children are more likely to undertake science fair projects and write papers about climate change. Climate work is rewarded in school, so it shouldn’t be any surprise if such children, more than others, later consider environmental science as a college major. If this occurs, which seems likely, this childhood process would be Distillation Step 1 in creating a future climate scientist. More speculatively, if sufficiently reinforced, some of these youths might even develop some neuronally hardwired (unchangeable) biases as the brain matures.

2. As is true in all fields, college climatology professors encourage the most dedicated students in introductory environmental studies classes to pursue climate science as a major. Other students—such as those who are skeptical—may never again see the inside of a climate science classroom. The selection of academic major is Distillation Step 2.

3. When students pursue their master’s degrees, the crop of future climate scientists is further distilled. Those who don’t align with their professors’ views are less successful getting into PhD programs. Then, success within a PhD program relies (in any field) on abiding by one’s dissertation committee’s wishes so as to get their PhD in as few years as possible and finally make some money. During this phase, those who best comply will be more likely to obtain their doctorate and get set up in post-doc positions working for experienced senior scientists. Distillation Step 3 has occurred, along with further psychological reinforcement to agree with those more senior. The climate liquor is getting more concentrated.

4. To succeed in academia, the newly minted PhD must apply for grants, mostly from government agencies or his own university. He chooses hypotheses and writes his grant application with care, knowing he’ll need the approval of committees populated with scientists who are invested in promoting their previously published papers and who make their living from government-funded studies of climate change. If he fails to craft his project to appeal to the needs of the reviewers on the committee, he won’t get funded. Funding failure increases the likelihood that he will wash out of academia. This selection of research grants to write is Distillation Step 4.

The process of nurturing and selection of the climate scientist starts in kindergarten and proceeds through high school and college, then to grant funding, manuscript preparation, and publication. His research is then only seen through the lens of the media’s selective presentation. The many reinforcing layers of bias create a distillate of pure concentrated climate orthodoxy, and this liquor is what we are offered to drink.

5. Successfully obtaining funding allows the young academic to perform a research project that will buttress the beliefs of the grant committee that channeled funding to him. Research studies are these days (improperly) designed to accomplish the affirmation of the hypothesized outcome as opposed to examining the truth of a hypothesis. If his project (done well or done poorly) appears to prove his hypothesis, then he tries to publish a paper to join the ranks of the “actively publishing.” He will craft the conclusion and abstract to promote his bias (again, this is true in any field). By the way, we should not underestimate the pressured academic’s skill at justifying to himself the removal of any data from his dataset that adversely affect his ability to get a publishable p value of “less than 0.05” (an arbitrary cut off in statistics that is needed for publication).

Note that if the project fails to prove his hypothesis, the young scientist probably will never write a manuscript about it, and therefore he won’t yet be “actively publishing.” Oh, and often there are multiple hypotheses in a project, and if only one of them is proven, it will be the only one written up and submitted for publication. The disproven hypotheses will not be written up and will never be seen by us. This is all part of Distillation Step 5.

6. Even if a scientist goes to the effort to write a manuscript that fails to support climate change concerns (which would be called a “negative manuscript” as it negates the hypothesis), it will be harder to get it published. Such “negative manuscripts” are, in any field, commonly rejected by the editor before going to peer review.

If a negative manuscript does get to peer review, the reviewers will be more critical because the manuscript will conflict with their prior publications. Then the scientist will have to go to the considerable effort of resubmitting the manuscript elsewhere or have to respond to the reviewers’ critiques by getting more grant money and doing more studies, which will prove difficult. And it just isn’t worth it because publishing such a paper could only hurt his career. So the young academic understandably sticks the rejected manuscript and its data in a desk drawer, never to be seen again. This is Distillation Step #6.

Selective manuscript writing, editorial bias, peer-review bias, and selective re-submission are four important biases in any field. This could be a reason—completely unrelated to scientific facts—as to why climate literature slants the way it does.

After these multiple distillation steps, almost all impurities have been distilled away. Perhaps only 3 percent remains. It should be no more surprising that 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists agree with the climate change consensus than that 97 percent of actively preaching seminary graduates believe in their religion.

7. Those who make it onto the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), are the most highly distilled, fully vetted climate scientists of all. Pure 200 proof. For this reason and others, consensus at the level of the IPCC is even less useful than “expert opinion.”

In response to climatologists’ complaints that the IPCC is biased against nuclear power, Jonathan Lynn, an IPCC spokesman, rejected the accusation, telling Axios: “We completely reject the idea we are biased about nuclear power or anything else.”

I would call Mr. Lynn’s statement psychological denial. Of course the IPCC is biased. Everyone who cares, one way or the other, is biased. To say otherwise is poppycock.

8. Now, if it bleeds it leads. The lay world only hears the most dramatic climate stories. What self-disrespecting mainstream click-baiting journalist will bother to read anything beyond a research abstract or would waste their editor’s time with anything positive (or even innocuous) regarding climate change? Answer: none. Furthermore, journalists now manage to stick a scary line about climate change in any article they can. Bees, birds, ticks, human migration… it’s all climate change. This continual exposure to unsubstantiated statements from journalists will bamboozle many readers.

What we in the lay world get to read and hear is a highly distilled climate change liquor and the most catastrophic fears of what climate change may cause. The climate-concerned lay reader is unlikely to be presented with, or click on, a climate story that opposes his worldview. Those with defensive personalities will reflexively lash out with vitriol at an author of such an article, as if the author were an infidel, often without reading past the title.

We need to get our heads around the climate in an intellectually comprehensive way. We need science to do that. Unfortunately, the politicized climate field has many reinforcing biases entrenched within it. This must lead to the dissemination of biased or incomplete facts and biased conclusions.

Yet it is important we don’t get this wrong because people suffer and die when science becomes unquestioned dogma.

We need private watchdogs who go to the effort to examine the research that the climatologists produce, looking for flaws, biases, misrepresentations, malincentives, and even manipulations. Instead of demonizing such skeptics, we need to encourage and respect such people who work hard to identify where biases have interfered with the pursuit of truth.

I recognize the importance of a healthy climate. I am not ignoring facts, and I respect the scientific method. I’m not brainwashed by oil companies nor in psychological denial. To the contrary, any skepticism I have arises because I do not deny the weaknesses of the academic process that create a scientist and the research he produces. Reinforcing layers of bias can occur in any field, but politicization exaggerates it.

Let’s remember what saved the whales. It wasn’t Greenpeace. It was, rather, the successful distillation of petroleum that replaced the demand for the renewable fuel known as whale oil. That distillation made petroleum purer and more flammable. The distillation of climate science makes it purer, too—and more incendiary.

Policymakers, teachers, journalists, environmentalists…all of us…really know nothing about climate change other than what trickles down from the climate scientists’ desks. Are the many reinforcing layered biases of the climate field sufficient to have relevant effects on the research results that are presented to us? Are the climate scientists getting some of it wrong, or maybe exaggerating it?

It has happened before—with DDT—with horrific consequences.

And the climate change field is even more politicized.

This article was reprinted from International Man.

COLUMN BY

Doug Casey

Doug Casey

Douglas R. Casey is an American writer, speculator, and the founder and chairman of Casey Research. Casey is a real estate investor, as well as an advisor on how to profit from market distortions and periods of economic turmoil.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.