Radical environmentalists are mounting a two-pronged attack on free markets and human enterprise. The first is “nature rights,” which would allow anyone to sue to stop any significant use of the land or extraction of resources as violating “nature’s” supposed “right” to “exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.” Think of “nature rights” as a “shield” against large scale enterprise.
Lesser known, but even more potentially dangerous to human thriving, is the “ecocide” movement. Ecocide would criminalize enterprise that extracts natural resources or makes widespread use of the land, as a “crime against peace,” deemed an equivalent evil to genocide and ethnic cleansing. Think of “ecocide” as a “spear” that punishes large scale enterprise.
Here’s the general definition of ecocide:
Ecocide is the extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.
Note that “peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants” is a very broad term, intended to include everything from grass, fish, and insects to mice, snakes, and people. And diminishment of “peaceful enjoyment” would not require actual pollution, but could mean a declining supply of forage or a loss of foliage caused by almost any use of the land, perhaps even simple urban or suburban growth.
Advocacy for ecocide has now gone mainstream, making the august pages of the New York Times. Using the fires in the Amazon as pretext, the Times’ Brazil bureau chief Ernesto Londoño, pushes the idea that Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, should be hauled before The Hague to stand trial for ecocide. From the analysis piece:
There is no international crime today that can be used to neatly hold world leaders or corporate chief executives criminally responsible in peacetime for ecological catastrophes that result in the type of mass displacements and population wipeouts more commonly associated with war crimes. But environmentalists say the world should treat ecocide as a crime against humanity — like genocide — now that the imminent and long-term threats posed by a warming planet are coming into sharper focus.
In Mr. Bolsonaro they have come to see something of an ideal villain tailor-made for a legal test case.
It is worth noting that there are no voices in Londoño’s piece critical of ecocide advocacy.
It is my understanding that the Amazon fires do not mostly involve old growth forest, but rather, lands that have already been converted to farming. Whether that is true or not, should a duly elected president of a sovereign nation be hauled before the Hague and face criminal charges because environmentalists disagree with his country’s environmental and development policies legally enacted by that president or country?
If so, China’s leader Xi Jinping had better watch his back. I mean, have you ever breathed the air in Beijing?
Oh, Wesley, who are you kidding? Communists aren’t about to be targeted by radical environmentalists.
Besides, ecocide isn’t about punishing potential environmental catastrophes such as the Amazon fires. That is just a pretext. The actual goal is thwarting enterprise and opposing capitalism.
Want evidence? Ecocide campaigners’ chief villains heretofore have been corporate CEOs, whose supposed crimes have been to extract oil from Alberta’s tar sands. Indeed, in a mock trial held in the chambers of the English Supreme Court, hypothetical corporate tar sand CEOs were imprisoned for extracting oil from the fields.
Further demonstrating the real game this is afoot, Londoño foresees President Trump as a splendid candidate for ecocide imprisonment because he has thwarted mainstream environmentalist policies:
Mr. Bolsonaro is by no means the only world leader reviled by environmentalists. President Trump has been assailed for rolling back environmental regulations and pulling out of the Paris climate accord.
See what I mean about the Amazon fires being a pretext?
Radical environmentalists intend to thwart human thriving in order to “save the planet.” As “nature rights” advances — four rivers have now been granted human-type rights — look for campaigners to push hard to make “ecocide” an international crime. If they succeed, the world will face a substantially less prosperous future.
Reporters have a responsibility to challenge the assumptions and exaggerations of activists.
Last weekend, the former chairman of psychiatry at Duke University, Dr. Allen Frances, claimed that Donald Trump “may be responsible for many more million deaths” than Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong combined. Frances, author of the fittingly titled “Twilight of American Sanity,” would later clarify by tweeting that he was talking about the “[t]errible damage Trump is doing to world climate at this global warming tipping point may be irreversable/could kill hundreds of millions of people in the coming decades.”
That’s quite the bold statement, considering the hefty death toll the Big Three extracted. But, really, it isn’t that shocking to hear. Frances’ pseudohistoric twaddle comports well with the pseudoscientific twaddle that’s been normalized in political discourse. Every year Democrats ratchet up the doomsday scenarios, so we should expect related political rhetoric to become correspondingly unhinged.
All of this is a manifestation of 50 years of scaremongering on climate change. Paul Ehrlich famously promised that “hundreds of millions of people” would “starve to death,” while in the real world we saw hunger precipitously drop, and the world become increasingly cleaner. Yet, neo-Malthusians keep coming back with fresh iterations of the same hysteria, ignoring mankind’s ability to adapt.
At a 2005 London conference of “concerned climate scientists and politicians” that helped launch contemporary climate rhetoric, attendees warned that the world had as little as 10 years before the Earth reached “the point of no return on global warming.” Humans, they claimed, would soon be grappling with “widespread agricultural failure,” “major droughts,” “increased disease,” “the death of forests,” and the “switching-off of the North Atlantic Gulf Stream,” among many other calamities.
Since then, the Earth has gotten greener. This year, for the first time since we began logging data in 2000, there were no “extreme” or “exceptional” droughts across the contiguous United States—although we’ve come close to zero on numerous occasions over the past decade. Every time there’s a drought anywhere in the world, climate change will be blamed. But world crop yields continue to ensure that fewer people are hungry than ever. I’m not a scientist, but I assume the North Atlantic Gulf Stream is still with us.
It doesn’t matter. Four years after the last point of no return was reached, the noted naturalist David Attenborough warned the world at a United Nations climate change summit that “collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”
Climate change is always an extinction-level event. When the Democratic National Committee rejected counterproductive single-issue debates this week (climate change being the most notable), a member complained, “If an asteroid was coming to Earth, there would be no question about having a debate about it, but with this existential crisis facing the world, we all sit and wring our hands.” This is how a lot of Democrats speak. They are never challenged.
And if you truly believe a slight variation in climate is comparable to an asteroid barreling towards the Earth—and if we trust their rhetoric, every Democrat presidential candidate does—why wouldn’t you support the authoritarian policy proposals of the Green New Deal?
And why wouldn’t you accuse those who oppose more solar panel subsidies and tax hikes of being mass murderers? Why wouldn’t you celebrate the death of philanthropists like David Koch? These people are literally “spinning us all toward environmental doom.”
On climate change, you can say virtually anything, and no one will challenge your zealotry.
Recently I noticed that CNN, where Frances accused the president of being the worst mass murderer in history without any pushback, refers to “climate change” as the “climate crisis” in news stories—which is editorializing, not reporting.
If journalists did their jobs, they would contest some of the assumptions and exaggerations that have now congealed as “crisis” in their newsrooms. Not necessarily the science, but the predictive abilities of scientists or the hyperbolic statements of politicians. But how can any reporter be skeptical of anyone when news organizations have already conceded that what they’re covering is a “crisis?” It would be an apostasy. Chuck Todd won’t give any airtime to “deniers,” but he’ll open his show any Chicken Little who can get elected.
Not long ago, candidates and mainstream media outlets like CNN were acting as if floods in the Midwest were an unprecedented environmental disaster. In reality, deaths from extreme weather have dropped somewhere around 99.9 percent since the 1920s. Tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and extreme temperatures can still be killers, but thanks to increasingly affordable fossil-fueled heating and air-conditioning systems, safer buildings, and better warning systems—among other technological advances—the vast majority of Americans will never have to fear weather in any genuine way.
Put it this way: Since 1980, death caused by all natural disasters and heat and cold is well under 0.5 percent of the total.
Yet, never, to my recollection, has a mainstream reporter asked an environmental activist why, if the world is headed towards Armageddon, humans are better off now than they were 50 years ago, or 20 years ago or 10 years ago? Climate change is supposedly in full swing, yet fewer people are hungry, fewer people are displaced, and we have to fight fewer wars over resources. Extreme poverty has steeply dropped over the past 30 years. There is no evidence that this trajectory is about to change.
Worse, instead of conveying this good news, the media keeps cherrypicking problems without any context. They’ve convinced large swaths of young Americans that everything is getting worse, when the opposite is true.
Nearly every day, I read some new chilling climate change story. “Climate Change Is Driving An Increase In A Deadly Flesh-Eating Bacteria And Spreading It To New Areas,” says BuzzFeed. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of reported cases of the “Vibrio” illness has more than tripled since 1997, from 386 to 1,256 in 201. The same day I read about the Deadly Flesh-Eating Bacteria, I read, in far less dramatic terms, about a new pill that researchers believe might be able to prevent a third of all heart attacks and strokes, potentially saving millions of lives.
Or take The Washington Post, which recently offered a beautifully packaged article written by a long-time environmental activist turned “reporter.” It cobbled together stories of suffering under climate change. What it failed to point out is that the vast majority of Americans rely on cheap energy and will never have to alter our lifestyles because of the climate—other than perhaps using air conditioning a few extra days.
We’re going to have to learn to deal with Deadly Flesh-Eating Bacteria, because the billions of people who once lived (and live) in disease-ridden areas in the developing world will want heart pills and cars and air conditioners. No sane nation is going to run its economy on expensive and unproductive energy sources.
Some people will argue that the failure of previous scares to materialize doesn’t mean this one isn’t real. Some people will argue human adaptation doesn’t mean that climate change isn’t happening. Of course not. But adaptation is the point.
The story of humankind is one of acclimatization. We use technological advances and efficiencies to deal with change. We will adapt to organic and anthropogenic changes, as we always do, because it’s a lot cheaper than dismantling modernity. That’s the reality, no matter how hysterical activists get on TV.
We have been witnessing unprecedented innovations in medical treatments. In the coming years new drug therapies promise to provide solutions for some of the most pressing diseases — diabetes, cancer, heart disease, strokes, Alzheimer’s, retinal diseases — to name only a few. But if People for the “Ethical” Treatment of Animals (PETA) gets their way, most of the research that feeds the amazing future cures that we read about will be shut down or severely curtailed.
For the past few years PETA has undertaken a pressure campaign designed to intimidate airlines from transporting medical research animals. Even though it is illegal for the airlines to refuse to perform service, the campaign is proving successful in certain cases and a widespread adoption of this policy would likely stymie medical innovation.
PETA opposes all forms of animal testing despite the fact that the National Institutes of Health views such research as required by ethics and essential to finding cures. Scientists and researchers do as much research as possible with computer modeling and peer reviewed science, but at some point they must test the most promising medicines on living organisms. For example, pigs were used to develop both the ability to transplant a heart and the drugs that stop the body from rejecting the new heart. It was done ethically, with rigorous standards and oversight, and with anesthetics so as to eliminate pain for the animals involved. But PETA ignores all of this and labels these critical experiments the same as torture.
There are places were there is no animal testing. For example, in China, they test procedures and new products on humans who are prisoners of the state. So effectively, humans become the lab rats. That isn’t an improvement in ethics.
PETA’s real agenda is profoundly anti-human. PETA president and co-founder, Ingrid Newkirk admitted as much stating that: “Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS [or cancer or other horrible diseases], we’d be against it.”
When Hamas terrorists used flaming falcons and exploding donkeys to kill Israeli civilians, PETA under political pressure denounced Hamas — but only for harming and killing the animals — not for endangering or harming the school children in the way of these living weapons. This lack of concern for people is truly disturbing.
PETA’s supporters have filed comments with the Department of Transportation hoping to shut down any medical research with animals. One comment simply said: “Stop experimenting on animals. Experiment on your children and mothers instead.” Then with absolutely no sense of irony, this commenter also accused those who reject the idea of using children and mothers in medical research of being “a bunch of barbarians.” Let that sink in.
But PETA’s track record on animals isn’t so great either. For example, in Virginia, PETA activists were charged for criminal animal abuse. Then there is the PETA animal shelter kill rate from 2007-2017 — a full decade — which averaged 95.3 percent. Simply stated animals that were intended for adoptions were abused and then killed in 95% of the cases by an organization supposedly promoting the ethical treatment of animals. A PETA spokesperson quipped, “there are fates worse than euthanasia.”
The ends to which this organization will go to supposedly defend the interests of animals knows no bounds. PETA led the move to change the packaging of animal crackers that used to show cartoon circus animals in carton railcar cages. Thanks to PETA, the carton animals now roam free on the African Savannah. I’m sure we can all feel better than cartoon lions and elephants now roam a cartoon grassland.
Sadly, as silly as that effort was, far more serious is the mounting public relations campaign PETA is waging to pressure airlines to refuse to transport animals (below deck in climate controlled areas of the plane) that will be used in medical research. To date, United Airlines has caved to PETA’s pressure campaign. What’s so strange is that United’s CEO, Carlos Munoz, is alive today because he had a heart transplant that was made possible because of medical animal research.
Here’s some context — airlines often allow passengers to bring comfort pets to travel by their side — dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, peacocks, ducks, roosters, turkeys, and even kangaroos and miniature horses. This inconveniences other passengers and in some cases causes severe health problems for other passengers. On the other hand airlines are caving to PETA’s pressure campaign and refusing to transport animals used in ethical, humane & government mandated testing of new cures. These animals will not inconvenience or endanger any passengers. But this is the weird world you get when the lunatics run the asylum.
Airlines win kudos for donating flights to children in need of cancer treatment at specialized medical centers far from their home. At the same time, some airlines refuse to transport research animals and make it more difficult to develop the very cures and medicines needed to cure these sick children.
It is illegal for the airlines to discriminate against transportation of animals for research purposes. Public carriers have long been prohibited from discriminating when it comes to transportation. Non-discrimination laws for airlines do not simply prevent racial discrimination. The law also prevents an airline from transporting animals for zoos, or vacationing passengers, or as comfort animals, and then refusing to transport similar animals to be used in lawful and ethical medical research.
The law is clear — if the airline is willing to ship one woman’s dog or cat, it must also ship other similar animals being transported even if for different purposes — including medical research. Airlines have no real basis for objecting because they are paid to transport them, and these animals actually have no impact on their passengers as they would be shipped below the passenger compartment.
But because they are fearful of the bad press of PETA’s false claims of animal torture, Airlines give in. We all love pets and animals. But who wants to be slimmed by PETA as the equivalent of a war criminal for trying develop heart translate procedures and medicines or for curing cancer?
We need the Department of Transportation to enforce the law. We wouldn’t tolerate an airline discriminating against a racial or ethnic group and we shouldn’t tolerate this form of discrimination either. The lives of countless millions depend on the cures and medicines that are being developed in careful, thoughtful and ethical ways.
Global Hot Air: Here’s a United Nations climate report that environmentalists probably don’t want anybody to read. It says that even if every country abides by the grand promises they made last year in Paris to reduce greenhouse gases, the planet would still be “doomed.”
When President Obama hitched America to the Paris accords in 2016, he declared that it was “the moment that we finally decided to save our planet.” And when Trump pulled out of the deal this year, he was berated by legions of environmentalists for killing it.
But it turns out that the Paris accord was little more than a sham that will do nothing to “save the planet.”
According to the latest annual UN report on the “emissions gap,” the Paris agreement will provide only a third of the cuts in greenhouse gas that environmentalists claim is needed to prevent catastrophic warming. If every country involved in those accords abides by their pledges between now and 2030 — which is a dubious proposition — temperatures will still rise by 3 degrees Celsius by 2100. The goal of the Paris agreement was to keep the global temperature increase to under 2 degrees.
Eric Solheim, head of the U.N. Environment Program, which produces the annual report, said this week that “One year after the Paris Agreement entered into force, we still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future. Governments, the private sector and civil society must bridge this catastrophic climate gap.”
The report says unless global greenhouse gas emissions peak before 2020, the CO2 levels will be way above the goal set for 2030, which, it goes on, will make it “extremely unlikely that the goal of holding global warming to well below 2 degrees C can still be reached.”
Not to worry. The UN claims that closing this gap will be easy enough, if nations set their collective minds to it.
But this is a fantasy. The list of what would need to be done by 2020 — a little over two years from now — includes: Boosting renewable energy’s share to 30%. Pushing electric cars to 15% of new car sales, up from less than 1% today. Doubling mass transit use. Cutting air travel CO2 emissions by 20%. And coming up with $1 trillion for “climate action.”
Oh, and coal-fired power plants would have to be phased out worldwide, starting now.
According to the report, “phasing out coal consumption … is an indispensable condition for achieving international climate change targets.” That means putting a halt to any new coal plants while starting to phase out the ones currently in use.
Good luck with that. There are currently 273 gigawatts of coal capacity under construction around the world, and another 570 gigawatts in the pipeline, the UN says. That would represent a 42% increase in global energy production from coal. Does anyone really think developing countries who need coal as a cheap source of fuel to grow their economies will suddenly call it quits?
So, does this mean the planet is doomed? Hardly. As we have noted in this space many times, all those forecasts of global catastrophe are based on computer models that have been unreliable predictors of warming. And all of the horror stories assume the worst.
What the report does make clear, however, is that all the posturing by government leaders in Paris was just that. Posturing. None of these countries intended to take the drastic and economically catastrophic steps environmentalist claim are needed to prevent a climate change doomsday. As such, Trump was right to stop pretending.
Whether you believe in climate change or not, the Paris climate accord amounted to nothing, or pretty close to it. Even the UN admits that now.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing has opened a wide-ranging conversation about America’s space exploration program. I remember being a young boy and watching with fascination as rockets in the Apollo program lifted off from Cape Canaveral and as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made that giant leap for mankind on the surface of the moon. President John F. Kennedy never got to see the lunar landing, but he set the nation’s sights on the moon and helped establish America’s preeminence in space.
Sadly, by the end of the George W. Bush Administration and during the entirety of Barack Obama’s Administration, America’s space exploration program was all but shut down. Something like that can escape notice for a while, but eventually, the impact will become obvious. Imagine if the Soviets had won the space race! A great deal more than national pride is at risk.
It is high time America reassert its leadership in space. Leaving the cosmos to China would be a catastrophic mistake. The technological, economic, and national security implications are important and very real. To simply cede these matters to China would harm not only the United States, but the rest of the world. The communist Chinese intend to dominate militarily and would love for us to cede this arena to them.
Fortunately, President Donald Trump sees space as an important frontier. Early in our nation’s history, President Thomas Jefferson launched a major exploration of the western half of the North American continent. President Kennedy set in motion America’s successful Apollo 11 lunar landing. Now, President Trump is pushing America towards Mars.
On July 4, earlier this year, President Trump said, “I want you to know that we are going to be back on the moon very soon, and someday soon we will plant the American flag on Mars.” That is a worthy objective and a worthwhile goal!
Landing on Mars and returning safely home again will happen as we reestablish the capability to safely return to the moon. A round trip to Mars is about 18 months. The safety issues are exponentially more complicated than a lunar landing. There is no returning half way once headed to the Red Planet. But once we conquer these challenges, we will again be the clear and undisputed leader in technology and space exploration. That will include valuable economic benefits, obvious technological advancements, and significant national security advantages.
This is a mission worthy of a new generation of American children who dream of becoming astronauts, scientists, and engineers. But there are those who hope to demote NASA into a space agency with small dreams and mundane goals.
For example, Lori Garver, Obama’s NASA Deputy Administrator from 2009 to 2013, has recently wrote an article in the Washington Post arguing that NASA should nix plans to go to Mars and instead make its budget available for more climate science research — something that nearly every other federal agency puts plenty of money towards. According to OMB, the federal government has 19 agencies that funded climate change research to the tune of $13.2 billion in 2017 alone. But Garver sees NASA’s budget and she covets its less than 1/2 of one percent of federal spending. She wants to raid NASA’s budget to fund her own priorities — even more climate change research.
We should all be glad that Garver and her ilk were not around in the 1960’s when President Kennedy was inspiring America to aim for the moon. America needs, and will benefit from, a serious space exploration program.
But people like Ms. Garver are not the only impediment to America’s resurgence into deep space exploration. Newt Gingrich, while supportive of President Trump’s plans to go to Mars, has been advocating for policies that run counter to that goal.
Over the last few years the former Speaker of the House has repeatedly boosted Elon Musk and SpaceX as the future of space travel. From a flurry of tweets lauding the company and its founder, to a series of op-eds, including one where he encourages the government to take on “the role of an investor” in SpaceX, the policies he advocates for in the opinion pages and on social media appear to align with the company’s agenda.
Unfortunately the SpaceX agenda is mostly about getting special concessions and huge subsidies even when it fails to meet contractual benchmarks. While Musk’s prowess in space is questionable, he is a master at public relations campaigns designed to portray him as a forward thinking innovator. But the truth is, Musk is a creature of the D.C. swamp who has succeeded — far less by innovating — than by getting billions in government handouts and subsidies.
Musk’s and SpaceX’s track record on accomplishment and safety are spotty at best. Their delays and failures are commonplace. Yet, they managed to play the Washington swamp game adeptly. As a result, Musk got huge taxpayer provided subsidies for each Tesla he sold and got even larger government provided benefits and subsidies for SpaceX. Musk even managed to get the Obama Administration to pay for contract work that SpaceX failed to deliver on.
I admire Gingrich — I’ve got a photo with him hanging in my office and I signed the Contract with America. But I disagree on his proposed path to Mars that favors Musk’s legacy of failure, delay, and rent seeking. By pinning our deep space exploration hopes on Musk, Gingrich — who has a reputation as being an innovative policy mind — risks miring our space program in the swamp slime and muck that has allowed Musk to make his fortune on the backs of the U.S. taxpayer.
Going to Mars is exponentially more difficult than landing on the moon. It presents a great deal more safety challenges. Musk has proven over the past decade that safety is not his concern. In fact, he seems to view safety as a bother. Our policy makers should take this into consideration when deciding how we will take our astronauts back to the moon and beyond.
The truth is, America already has a capable new rocket that dwarfs the capabilities of the Saturn V rockets that took our astronauts to the moon. The Space Launch System will be online and ready later this year. As with any attempt to design and build something that has never been done before, the Space Launch System had some challenges. Guess what? The Apollo program had many challenges too. Even Lewis and Clark’s mission had challenges and cost overruns. When something has never been done before, developing it isn’t like buying a Betty Crocker cake mix and baking it in the oven.
Real and robust competition pushes all participants to perform their best. But SpaceX has so far been able to avoid real competition. Without any real requirement that it ultimately succeed, SpaceX has been a technological failure, even while Musk has managed a public relations success and gotten paid based on his public relations campaign, more than actual accomplishment. To make it to Mars we must encourage real competition, not Elon Musk’s fake version of competition where he gets paid regardless of what he produces.
Returning to the moon and then going on to Mars is a worthy goal and the right objective! But it won’t happen if NASA becomes just another federal agency studying climate change. And it won’t happen if Elon Musk is able to co-opt the process as he did during the Obama years. Musk’s life goal appears to be famous and rich. But America needs to make it our goal to go to Mars and bring our astronauts safely home again.
Frontiers of Freedom released this statement on importation of drugs:
“Safe” importation is an oxymoron. It may sound good, but it’s very risky. The reality is that many drugs labeled as “Canadian” and thus assumed to be safe, are usually counterfeit or tainted medications that come from third world countries.
For years, healthcare policy analysts and health safety experts have produced a cacophony of powerful objections to importation based on worries about safety and pricing. Even many government reports make it clear that drug importation is a risky business and that there are better ways to keep costs in check. The health, legal and economic dangers posed by drug importation makes it dangerous public policy.
Additionally, drug “importation” would actually import Canada’s price-controlled, government- run healthcare system and kill off the incentives to develop new medicines. If we hope to find the next generation of cures and treatments to many of the terrible diseases that have plagued mankind for millennia, then we need to encourage innovation, investment and research — not stifle it.
Simply stated, the new @HHSGov proposal may have a certain rhetorical appeal, but when the shiny stylistic glitter is wiped away, it becomes clear that the proposal is dangerous and potentially deadly for American patients. Plus it will hamstring future innovation and development of new medications. None of that is a good idea, and none of that will help American’s stay healthy or end up reducing healthcare costs.
By Red State•
It’s bad enough when politicians rob from future generations by piling on debt to the nation’s ruinous finances. Now the Administration and Senate Republicans are considering paying for Nancy Pelosi’s exorbitant spending demands by decimating medical innovation.
But don’t worry, kids: sure it’ll kill future life-saving medicines from ever coming to market, but when you’re done paying for this Pelosi-scale largess, I’m not sure you’ll be able to afford anything nice, anyway.
The deal reportedly under discussion in the Senate would be to meet almost all of Pelosi’s spending demands — did I mention that Republicans control the Senate and President Trump is our chief executive? — and “paying” for it in part by installing crudely designed price controls on the drug industry.
This bright idea is the brain child of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the chairman, er, ranking member, of the Senate Finance Committee. (Sorry – it’s easy to get confused about who is running things over there).
The headline at Politico tells you everything you need to know: “Senate Republicans pray Trump will take budget deal.”
Imagine how that’s going to go:
“So you’re meeting Pelosi’s spending levels?”
“Yes, sir, Mr. President.”
“And raising the debt ceiling?”
“How the hell are you going to pay for it?”
“Price controls, sir.”
It’s a complete disgrace, and I expect Trump will not take kindly to an outcome where he gets taken for a ride by Nancy Pelosi.
The price controls under discussion are a “Squad”-caliber idea, the “Squad” being the quartet of Socialist Democrats led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who spent last week attacking Pelosi as a racist for not being left-wing enough (you can’t make this up!).
I describe it that way because the proposal is the same combination of Che Guevera-t-shirt-wearing ideological zealotry and breathtaking economic illiteracy responsible for such gems as AOC’s comically melodramatic pronouncement that “the world is going to end in 12 years” because of global warming.
Price controls are already the economic equivalent of a child demanding a pony: they demand an outcome without any regard or awareness of the reality of making it so. We want lower prices, so we’ll order them lower! Except, the cost of production remained just the same, or even increased once the people putting nation-state-level amounts of capital on the line just noticed the infantile children bickering in Congress are about to make a big mess.
The cost of producing one new drug is typically $2.5 billion. Private companies have to pay that up front, without knowing if the effort will succeed or fail, or in this case whether Wyden and Pelosi will decide they need some of that moolah to pay for women’s studies departments, free abortions and sex changes, and only Heaven knows what other insanities they can dream up.
But, you know, some children at least know something about ponies. Some demand a Shetland, for example. The Wyden child doesn’t even know what a pony is, he’s just throwing a tantrum. That’s my best attempt at explaining how stupidly designed these particular price controls are.
First, the proposal punishes price increases of individual drugs compared to inflation. Not only does this ignore any particular circumstances (sudden spike in supply cost for a particular compound, for example), it creates a giant incentive to pad price increases across the entire product line, untethering the price of any individual drug from actual production costs.
Second, the vehicle for delivering these price controls is the Medicare Part D, otherwise known as the one part of the entire federal health care system that shows any sanity and cost-effectiveness — thanks to its use of market principles.
Part D is the only large government program in the history of humanity to come in 40% under budget, which is practically on par with feeding the crowd of 5000 from a basket when you think of the endless list of failed health care “reforms” that cost an eye-watering amount above their price tag.
Why did Part D work? Because it managed to install some semblance of a market, which consumer choice, and real competition, in the form of the plans that compete for patients. Exactly the opposite of the price controls we may be on the verge of adopting to “pay for” Pelosi’s world domination tour — sorry, the obscene spending she demanded and the Senate Republicans appear all too happy to accept.
It’s shameful. Something deep inside the chests of Senate Republicans should cause them to reject a bad Pelosi proposal — simply as a matter of self-respect! But if you believe that most politicians have anything more than trace amounts of self-respect, boy have I got some wonderful price controls to sell you!
Sorry, guys. It looks like the Apollo 11 moon landing is canceled.
Sure, it is neat that humanity in 1969 left Earth to set foot on an astronomical body not its own, marking man’s greatest achievement to date, but did you know the Apollo 11 space program was also overwhelmingly white and male?
This is a real complaint being raised on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing by real people in real newsrooms.
The first of such arguments come from the Washington Post, which published a tweet on July 16, that read: “The culture that put men on the moon was intense, fun, family-unfriendly, and mostly white and male.”
The report itself, authored by style writer Karen Heller, reads, “As NASA worked relentlessly to fulfill John F. Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the moon by decade’s end, it turned to the nation’s engineers. Many of them were fresh out of school, running the gamut from mechanical to electrical engineers, because that’s mostly what was taught in universities, and almost exclusively to white men.”
“In archival Apollo 11 photos and footage, it’s a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ exercise to spot a woman or person of color,” the report adds.
The article is a fairly interesting long-read about life for the men and women who worked at Cape Canaveral in the late 1960s. The problem is: The most fascinating details are buried almost immediately under the identify politics hyped in the story’s opening as well as in its accompanying tweet.
Then there is the New York Times, which on July 17 published an op-ed written by author Mary Robinette Kowal, headlined “To Make It to the Moon, Women Have to Escape Earth’s Gender Bias.”
“The Apollo program was designed by men, for men. But NASA can learn from its failures as it aims to send women to the moon and beyond,” the subhead reads.
“If we do not acknowledge the gender bias of the early space program, it becomes difficult to move past it,” the article reads, concluding with these lines, “As we look back at the Apollo mission … it is important to examine the gender biases of the early space program for lessons learned. If we want to land the first woman on the moon, let’s make sure she has tools designed with her in mind. Eliminating the legacy of gender bias is just one small step.”
None of this compares to what the New York Times published next.
“America may have put the first man on the moon, but the Soviet Union sent the first woman, the first Asian man, and the first black man into orbit — all years before the U.S. would follow suit,” read a July 18 tweet published by the New York Times (reminder: The United States won the space race).
The accompanying article, titled “How the Soviets Won the Space Race for Equality,” is every bit as ridiculous as it sounds, especially the kicker, which reads, “Cosmonaut diversity was key for the Soviet message to the rest of the globe: Under socialism, a person of even the humblest origins could make it all the way up.”
This is pro-Soviet Union agitprop.
The real question here is this: For whom are these article being written? It is worth noting that both the Washington Post and the New York Times have also published several articles celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. But what is the purpose of these “actually, the moon landing was bad” counterpoints?
What audience does this serve? Does such an audience even exist or are these articles merely a cynical manipulation of the hate-click economy?
By Fox News•
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Tuesday compared the push to combat climate change to the response to the attack on Pearl Harbor as he unveiled legislation that would declare a “climate emergency” and demand a massive-scale mobilization to tackle it.
“In some ways…I’m reminded today in terms of the crisis that we face in climate change about where the United States was in 1941 when it was attacked at Pearl Harbor, and what happened at that point, having to fight a war on two fronts in the East and in Europe, the United States came together and within three years it had created the type of armaments program that was necessary to, in fact, win the war,” he said in a conference call with reporters.
He went on to argue that fighting climate change was do-able, but it needed greater political will in Washington D.C. — particularly from President Trump, whom he called ignorant on the issue.
“So I don’t think the issue here isn’t that we can’t address this problem, i think we can, I think we know exactly what has to be done, and that is massive investment in sustainable energy, massive investments in energy efficiency, transform our transportation system, we know what has to be done, but the problem is the lack of political will,” he said.
He made his remarks as he, along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., was set to introduce a non-binding resolution in Congress to declare a “climate emergency” that calls for a “massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address its consequences and causes.”
Ocasio-Cortez said that the U.S. has fewer than 12 years to act to combat the crisis, and echoed Sanders’ sentiment that it was a question of political will, rather than how to act.
“We know that the scientific consensus is here, the solutions are right in front of us but…this is not just a scientific crisis, not just an environmental crisis, a climate crisis but this is a political crisis of inaction, and it’s going to take political will, political courage in order for us to treat us this issue with the urgency that the next generation needs in order for us to preserve our way of life and preserve our planet as much as we possibly can,” she said.
The resolution calls for a wide-scale mobilization to combat the emergency and restore the climate “for future generations.”
“The global warming caused by human activities,” claims the draft resolution, according to the Mother Jones magazine, “has resulted in a climate emergency that … demands a national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States at a massive-scale.”
Ocasio-Cortez and Blumenauer, meanwhile, also wrote to fellow members of Congress urging them to declare climate change an emergency in a bid to “swiftly mobilize federal resources in response.”
The resolution, according to the outlet, details how climate change impacts public health and the national security of the U.S., though it doesn’t make any exact recommendations for how to address the so-called emergency.
The latest declaration comes after Ocasio-Cortez’s signature Green New Deal, a sweeping Democratic proposal for dealing with climate change, failed a test vote in the U.S. Senate in March, with 42 Democrats and Sanders voting “present.”
Both the New York Democrat and her colleagues decried Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s move to bring the Green New Deal up for a vote, saying the Republicans purposely rushed the vote while McConnell said he only wanted Democrats to go on record to support the sweeping proposal that he himself called “a radical, top-down, socialist makeover of the entire U.S. economy.”
The Green New Deal calls for the U.S. to shift away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal and replace them with renewable sources such as wind and solar power. It calls for virtual elimination by 2030 of greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming. Republicans have railed against the proposal, saying it would devastate the economy and trigger massive tax increases.
By Fox News•
I’m not quite old enough to remember the “global cooling” scare of the 1970s and the media’s drumbeat of the coming ice age that would end mankind. But I have been told many times the end is near by doomsday prophets who have frightened people into green orthodoxy better than any cult leader.
As an 8-year-old kid I was particularly jarred by an episode of the TV show “Diff’rent Strokes” in which acid rain caused Kimberley’s hair to turn green. I lived in New York City just like the TV character, I believed my rain was poison.
Throughout high school I was told that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and aerosols were tearing a hole in the ozone layer, and that it could never be repaired. Deadly UV rays would give us all cancer because I used spray deodorant. I switched to roll-on.
Then came the mother of all doomsday scenarios: global warming. It blew away other environmental issues like candles on a cake. Deadly heat and floods. Ice caps melting. Polar bears dying. Alligators and sharks invading. TV shows. Movies. Books.
Former Vice President Al Gore warned we were all going to die from global warming.
Thirty years ago this week, the United Nations issued a global warming report that I distinctly remember. It predicted worldwide disaster.
According to the report, the Great Plains of America would return to the Dust Bowl. The oceans would rise by several feet, causing low-lying countries like the Maldive Islands and Bangladesh to be underwater.
The report said North Africa would bake into wastelands. Rainforests would be gone, as would much animal life. And it was all because of fossil fuels. American greed. Us. Me. Switching deodorant did nothing to stop it.
Tough lessons for a 15-year-old high school sophomore.
And here we are 30 years later, and I look back at that 1989 report, I think only this: What happened?
The predictions in the report were not just a bit “off” – like my calculations in my high school math class, my understanding of Shakespeare, or my failed attempt to high jump. The U.N. report was flat-out wrong. It was 100 percent, complete opposite, 180-degree wrong.
Can I get an explanation, please?
The report claimed “even the most conservative scientists” said there was nothing we could do to stop the Earth from warming three degrees. But Earth didn’t warm that much.
The report claimed we had a 10-year window to fix this or it would be irreversible. It wasn’t.
The report claimed the Soviet Union would have a bumper crop harvest because of shifting weather patterns. The Soviet Union collapsed months later.
I’d be OK if this were a one-time mistake, but the U.N. continues to issue such hyperbolic reports. It’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued the latest one last December, and it, too, triggered a countdown clock.
The phrase “we have 12 years to fix this” is parroted by almost every 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and their party’s de facto leader, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
On the bright side, we were told we had 10 years in 1989, so at least the prognosis is better this time.
Why issue another report without correcting the first one? That’s not the scientific method. Can we ask for a correction? Here’s a simple question: What did the U.N. report get wrong in 1989?
After all, this is “science,” and one is expected to believe in science. So let’s lay out the facts dispassionately and objectively, as any unbiased scientist would. Please identify the error and methodological change or formula or data point that has been corrected. Show your work.
Otherwise, why should we believe you got it right 30 years later?
Surely the IPCC has the means to do an after-action review. Since the report was issued the IPCC has raked in over $150 million.
Looks like there’s a prophet making a profit.
No presidential candidate, and practically no politician, would ever say he or she is skeptical of these U.N. predictions. “Climate denier” is an accusation akin to “war criminal,” and with a leftist movement that is growing more violent and assaulting and doxing journalists, it’s almost imprudent to voice an alternative view.
But the U.N. has a 30-year track record of being wrong on this issue, so I take its reports on climate change and “we have 12 years left” with a grain of salt the size of the Maldives.
In 30 more years, I’ll be 75. I can’t wait to read the U.N. report.
The climate change lobby has been assuring us for years – decades, really – that we are all on the brink of certain death because of global warming or cooling or climate change or whatever the term du jour is at the time. In the ’80s actor Ted Danson campaigned against global cooling, saying we had 20 years to shift course or succumb to the new ice age. Al Gore told us the inconvenient truth of our impending death way back in 2006. In California, former Governor Jerry Brown told his residents that the summer fire season was only going to get worse and worse thanks to global warming. And of course who can forget Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ constant, dire warnings that we only have a mere dozen years left on this planet?
Glacier National Park in M0ntana has been warning about the coming apocalypse by posting signs around the park that say “Gone by 2020”, referring to fears that the glaciers were receding more rapidly than normal and would eventually melt completely, leading to other natural disasters.
However, nature has a way of surprising us. In recent years the glaciers have actually begun expanding again, and park officials have been subtly removing the grim signage and language from their brochures, say visitors from Lysander Spooner University who regularly visit the park.
Officials at Glacier National Park (GNP) have begun quietly removing and altering signs and government literature which told visitors that the Park’s glaciers were all expected to disappear by either 2020 or 2030.
In recent years the National Park Service prominently featured brochures, signs and films which boldly proclaimed that all glaciers at GNP were melting away rapidly. But now officials at GNP seem to be scrambling to hide or replace their previous hysterical claims while avoiding any notice to the public that the claims were inaccurate. Teams from Lysander Spooner University visiting the Park each September have noted that GNP’s most famous glaciers such as the Grinnell Glacier and the Jackson Glacier appear to have been growing—not shrinking—since about 2010. (The Jackson Glacier—easily seen from the Going-To-The-Sun Highway—may have grown as much as 25% or more over the past decade.)
Visitor Roger Roots detailed the changes, noting that they hadn’t completely scrapped the signage but rather subtly changed the language from saying the glaciers would disappear by 2020 to saying they would be gone in “future generations”.
Independent blog Wattsupwiththat.com claims that national parks often use deceptive marketing to make it appear as though certain areas of the park are deteriorating due to climate change, but it isn’t always necessarily true.
Almost everywhere, the Park’s specific claims of impending glacier disappearance have been replaced with more nuanced messaging indicating that everyone agrees that the glaciers are melting. Some signs indicate that glacial melt is “accelerating.”
A common trick used by the National Park Service at GNP is to display old black-and-white photos of glaciers from bygone years (say, “1922”) next to photos of the same glaciers taken in more recent years showing the glaciers much diminished (say, “2006”). Anyone familiar with glaciers in the northern Rockies knows that glaciers tend to grow for nine months each winter and melt for three months each summer. Thus, such photo displays without precise calendar dates may be highly deceptive.
Last year the Park Service quietly removed its two large steel trash cans at the Many Glacier Hotel which depicted “before and after” engravings of the Grinnell Glacier in 1910 and 2009. The steel carvings indicated that the Glacier had shrunk significantly between the two dates. But a viral video published on Wattsupwiththat.com showed that the Grinnell Glacier appears to be slightly larger than in 2009.
The ‘gone by 2020’ claims were repeated in the New York Times, National Geographic, and other international news sources. But no mainstream news outlet has done any meaningful reporting regarding the apparent stabilization and recovery of the glaciers in GNP over the past decade. Even local Montana news sources such as The Missoulian, Billings Gazette and Bozeman Daily Chronicle have remained utterly silent regarding this story.
Perhaps the lesson here is that while we should always be good and grateful stewards of our environment, we are really very small compared to nature. We have very little control over our planet and certainly not enough to be rolling back the rights of freedoms of individuals to “fix” a problem that we don’t even really understand.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering a monumental change to Medicare — and believes that President Donald Trump might support her plan.
Her big idea? Binding arbitration — a method that empowers government-appointed “arbitrators” to dictate the price of new medications and treatments. She hopes it’ll lower drug spending.
That would represent an enormous change from the status quo. Right now, drug makers negotiate directly with private insurers and healthcare providers.
Arbitration is just a fig leaf for government price controls. Arbitrators are supposed to be unbiased. But they’d likely always side with the government officials who appointed them — and set prices well below fair-market value. Like all price controls, arbitration would discourage medical innovation.
Under Medicare, drug coverage is broken into two parts. Medicare Part B covers potent medicines, like chemo- and immunotherapies, that physicians administer in hospitals and doctor’s offices. Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs that patients can pick up at the pharmacy.
For both programs, drug prices are determined through negotiations between drug makers and private payers, like hospitals or insurers.
In a binding arbitration system, if Medicare officials aren’t satisfied with those negotiated prices, they could appoint an arbitrator to do their bidding. Medicare officials would explain to arbitrators why they feel a lower price is justified. Pharmaceutical companies would justify their own suggested price.
Arbitrators would then choose a legally binding price. And their decision wouldn’t be limited to the two proposals on offer.
This type of dispute resolution is also called “baseball arbitration.” Baseball teams are well known for bringing in neutral arbitrators to resolve contract disputes. But Pelosi’s arbitration plan shouldn’t be compared to the big leagues, as the government would run the entire show. Government officials would get to pick the arbitrators — and would almost certainly choose ideologues who agree with them. So the “negotiation” would function identically to price controls.
Price controls always stifle innovation and harm patients in the long run.
Drug development is a risky business. It takes about $2.6 billion and between 10 and 12 years, on average, to create just one new drug. Around 90 percent of medicines never make it past clinical trials.
Investors are willing to take such financial risks on the off chance their drug succeeds and is profitable. Price controls eliminate that potential by making it harder for companies to recoup their R&D expenses. No investor would risk her capital knowing the government could undervalue her discoveries.
Just look at what price controls did to Europe. In the 1970s, European companies made more than half of the world’s new drugs. Then governments across Europe began to implement various price control schemes over the next 10 years. European countries develop less than 33 percent of new drugs today.
The United States, on the other hand, is the global leader in drug development — and has done so for over three decades. Because our healthcare system values drugs fairly, drug innovators are eager to research and develop drugs stateside. In fact, America’s biopharmaceutical industry dedicated close to $90 billion in R&D efforts in 2016.
All that investment has paid off, too. In the United States, researchers are developing roughly 4,000 new medicines targeting a range of diseases — including potential cures to Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes.
If binding arbitration takes off, Americans may never benefit from these potential treatments. Instead, patients would be left at the mercy of diseases for which there are currently no cures.
Binding arbitration doesn’t deserve President Trump’s support — or the support of Democrats. Letting the government set drug prices would hinder future medical advances.
Environmentalism: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has declared herself “boss” of the “Green New Deal.” Maybe she can explain were the money will come from to pay its $93 trillion cost. Because taxing the rich won’t even scratch the surface.
At an event on Friday, Ocasio-Cortez complained about criticism of the Green New Deal — much of it coming from her own party — that it’s a pipe dream. Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, for example, said that “there are things that are great goals, but are unrealistic.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s response: “Some people are like, ‘Oh, it’s unrealistic, oh it’s fake, oh it doesn’t address this little minute thing. And I’m like, ‘You try! You do it.’ ‘Cause you’re not. ‘Cause you’re not. So, until you do it, I’m the boss. How ’bout that?”
Try to do what? Come up with an equally unrealistic plan that would bankrupt the nation? Because that’s precisely what the Green New Deal would do.
Green New Deal’s Gargantuan Price Tag
A new analysis from the American Action Forum finds that the Green New Deal, as laid out by New York Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, would cost up to $93 trillion in the first ten years.
Remember, the GND isn’t just about converting the entire U.S. energy supply to renewable energy in a decade and establishing a “zero emissions transportation system.”
The plan also includes things like “guaranteed” federal jobs, “universal health care,” and “food security.”
Beyond the bumper-sticker labels, the grandiose plan is vague on any of the details. Still, the AAF, which is headed up by former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, was able to rough out the 10-year costs for each of the proposals.
A zero-carbon electricity grid would cost $5.4 trillion, the AAF calculates. A “zero-emissions transportation system,” an additional $1.3-$2.7 trillion. “Guaranteed green housing” will cost anywhere from $1.6 trillion to $4.2 trillion.
Despite the GND’s name, it’s the proposals that have nothing to do with climate change that cost the most. The price tag for a federal guaranteed jobs program could run as much as $44.6 trillion over the next decade. The “universal health care” plan? $36 trillion.
Cost Will Likely Be Higher
If anything, these are lowball estimates.
To calculate the cost of converting to 100% renewable energy, for example, the authors simply assume that no new transmission lines would be needed, and that much of the renewable energy would come from nuclear power. Neither is realistic.
The price tag for a nationwide high-speed rail system that could replace airplanes doesn’t factor in the massive cost overruns endemic to every other government infrastructure project — and which are wrecking California’s attempt to build its own bullet train.
The $36 trillion cost for “universal health care” is in line with other estimates for “Medicare for all.” And as we’ve noted in this space, those are lowball figures.
All told, the cost of the “green” part of the Green New Deal would run from $8.3 trillion to $12.3 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the AAF report. The rest of it would cost an additional $42.8 trillion to $80.6 trillion.
Let’s put this in perspective. At the low end, the GND would more than double the size of the federal government.
At the high end — roughly $9 trillion a year — even taking every single penny earned by tax filers with adjusted gross incomes over $50,000 would not be enough money to pay the costs.
Looked at another way, economists expect the entire U.S. gross domestic product over the next decade to total $266 trillion.
More Than A Third Of GDP
That means the Green New Deal would account for up to 35% of the nation’s economy from 2020 to 2029. That’s on top of existing federal government programs, which already consume more than 20% of GDP each year.
To call this “unrealistic” is the understatement of the year. It would be cataclysmic.
What’s most shocking about the Green New Deal, however, isn’t the unprecedented economic destruction it would cause. Nor is the fact that it will do nothing to prevent “climate change” from happening. Nor the fact that a 29-year-old socialist and her legions of followers think this would be neat.
What’s most shocking about the Green New Deal is that so many leading Democrats, many of whom very much hope one day to be president, are blindly embracing it.
By Marc Sheppard • American Thinker
It’s hard to believe that we’re just shy of ten years since contents of the so-called “Climategate” folder revealed the fraudulence of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) scare. Yet, somehow, Climate Alarmists continue to behave as though it was all an innocent misunderstanding; that all evidence of lying, cheating, and exaggeration aside, anyone who doubts the self-serving drivel alarmists have been pushing is a “denier.”
And yet it is they, the climate hucksters, who continue to refuse any honest debate on the subject, resorting instead to the same worn out tactics of the pre-Climategate era: false claims of a “consensus” and demonization of dissenting opinions and facts. Those of you who have been paying attention know that you can fertilize your lawn with claims of “consensus.” Continue reading