Archive | Politics

Video: Why You Should Love Fossil Fuels

“Every year on Earth Day we learn how bad humanity’s economic development is for the health of the planet. But maybe this is the wrong message. Maybe we should instead reflect on how human progress, even use of fossil fuels, has made our environment cleaner and healthier. Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress explains.”

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Vote For Bosch Fawstin in the Mohammad Cartoon Contest

From Bosch Fawstin: Vote For Me in the Mohammad Cartoon Contest:

Over at Breitbart, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer unveiled the contenders for the People’s Choice award in their Muhammad Cartoon Contest and I made the cut. I sent in 6 Mohammad drawings, and the one below can be voted on by you for the People’s Choice Award in the comments section of the following posts atBreitbart, Jihad WatchandPamela Geller. For some reason, my drawing is not being shown in large format on at least two of the sites, so I’m displaying it here so you can get a better look. I really appreciate your support.
 
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Judicial Watch Accuses Obama Administration of Misleading Court on Hillary Clinton Email Scandal

[Press] Judicial Watch accused the Obama administration of stalling and withholding information from a federal court in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top aide’s emails.  Last week, Judicial Watch attorneys sought a status conference over the issue of the Hillary Clinton’s and other secret email accounts in order to “avoid further undue delays, prejudice and potential spoliation.” In response, the Justice Department, on behalf of the State Department, told the federal court handling the matter (U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth) that there was no need for a hearing until at least late April and that, contrary to statements by Mrs. Clinton and various administration spokesmen, it was not aware of the secret email issue until recently.  In its response (Reply in Support of a Motion for a Status Conference), Judicial Watch cited Mrs. Clinton’s press statement:

Secretary Clinton was the head of the agency and the State Department cannot claim it was unaware of the State Department’s failure to records-manage agency emails from the Office of the Secretary. In fact, the “Statement from the Office of Former Secretary Clinton” states that “[h]er usage [of non-“state.gov” email for State Department business] was widely known to the over 100 Department and U.S. government colleagues she emailed.”

Judicial Watch also accused the Obama administration of continuing to thwart the FOIA:

The State Department has yet to demonstrate how it is satisfying its obligations under FOIA in light of recent revelations that Secretary Clinton’s emails were not being properly managed, retained and produced. This also applies to emails received or sent by other officials or employees within the Secretary’s office to conduct government business who used non-“state.gov” email addresses. To determine the adequacy of the State Department’s search, both Judicial Watch and the Court should be informed by the Department directly of the details surrounding the retention of agency emails within the Office of the Secretary and the extent of the Department’s ability to search, request and retrieve those records …

Had Judicial Watch not challenged the State Department’s search, this case would most likely have been dismissed before any public revelations were made about the unlawful arrangement relating to the State Department’s handling of agency emails during Secretary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department …

[T]he State Department has still not responded to Judicial Watch’s request to confirm whether its supplemental search includes all non-“state.gov” email addresses used by other officials or employees within the Secretary’s office for government business …

To the extent that Secretary Clinton used her non-“state.gov” email address to communicate with State Department employees outside her office who used “state.gov” email addresses, the State Department would also have to conduct agency wide searches to respond properly to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.

Judicial Watch also is concerned that documents might be lost because of the State Department’s misconduct:

Time is of the essence in this case. The statement by former Secretary Clinton during a press conference that she did not preserve approximately 30,000 emails she sent or received through her non-“state.gov” email address she used exclusively to conduct government business is a matter of public record – not [as the State Department alleged] “conjecture.” Only last week, the State Department publically disclosed that it was unable to automatically archive the emails of most of its senior officials until last month. This is also a matter of public record – not conjecture. The State Department has still not informed the Court or Judicial Watch whether it has undertaken any efforts to retrieve agency emails from non-“state.gov” email addresses used by other officials or employees within the Office of the Secretary during the relevant time period or from other employees within the agency. The State Department needs to request these agency records immediately in light of the Department’s history of poor records-management and preservation of agency records.

Judicial Watch also shoots down the contention that Hillary Clinton’s alleged removal of the records would prevent them from being subject to FOIA.  There is no precedent for the head of an agency “purposefully rout[ing] a document out of agency possession in order to circumvent a FOIA request.”  In fact, there is precedent for a court allowing discovery into the circumventing of FOIA, as happened in Judicial Watch’s historic FOIA lawsuit against the Clinton Commerce Department.  In that case, Judge Lamberth “already found that discovery was appropriate where it was ‘designed to explore the extent to which [the Department of Commerce (“DOC”)]…illegally destroyed and discarded responsive information, and possible methods for recovering whatever responsive information still exists outside of the DOC’s possession.’”

“The Obama administration’s fraud, misconduct and misrepresentation on the Hillary Clinton email scandal continues in federal court,” stated Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton.  “Our independent litigation exposed the email scandal and just forced, for the first time, the Obama administration to admit accountability for at least some of the records Hillary Clinton concealed from the American people.”

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The Political Assault on Climate Skeptics

From Richard S. Lindzen: The Political Assault on Climate Skeptics – WSJ:

Research in recent years has encouraged those of us who question the popular alarm over allegedly man-made global warming. Actually, the move from “global warming” to “climate change” indicated the silliness of this issue. The climate has been changing since the Earth was formed. This normal course is now taken to be evidence of doom.

Individuals and organizations highly vested in disaster scenarios have relentlessly attacked scientists and others who do not share their beliefs. The attacks have taken a threatening turn.

[…]

Billions of dollars have been poured into studies supporting climate alarm, and trillions of dollars have been involved in overthrowing the energy economy. So it is unsurprising that great efforts have been made to ramp up hysteria, even as the case for climate alarm is disintegrating.

[…]

Mr. Grijalva’s letters convey an unstated but perfectly clear threat: Research disputing alarm over the climate should cease lest universities that employ such individuals incur massive inconvenience and expense—and scientists holding such views should not offer testimony to Congress.

So much for the myth that research by private funds is tainted by influence and corrupted, and by research paid for by politicians, non-profit groups and climate hysteria organizations is “neutral” and objective.

Facts are facts no matter who paid to research them. To quote blogger, H. Larson:

“Science requires freedom. Government intimidation has no place in science–nor does the unfounded assumption that private funding corrupts, while public funding guarantees objectivity.”

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Matt Ridley: Fossil Fuels Save The World

From Fossil Fuels Will Save the World (Really) – WSJ:

The more energy you have, the more intricate, powerful and complex you can make a system. Just as human bodies need energy to be ordered and functional, so do societies. In that sense, fossil fuels were a unique advance because they allowed human beings to create extraordinary patterns of order and complexity—machines and buildings—with which to improve their lives.

The result of this great boost in energy is what the economic historian and philosopher Deirdre McCloskey calls the Great Enrichment. In the case of the U.S., there has been a roughly 9,000% increase in the value of goods and services available to the average American since 1800, almost all of which are made with, made of, powered by or propelled by fossil fuels.

Still, more than a billion people on the planet have yet to get access to electricity and to experience the leap in living standards that abundant energy brings. This is not just an inconvenience for them: Indoor air pollution from wood fires kills four million people a year. The next time that somebody at a rally against fossil fuels lectures you about her concern for the fate of her grandchildren, show her a picture of an African child dying today from inhaling the dense muck of a smoky fire.

Notice, too, the ways in which fossil fuels have contributed to preserving the planet. As the American author and fossil-fuels advocate Alex Epstein points out in a bravely unfashionable book, “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” the use of coal halted and then reversed the deforestation of Europe and North America. The turn to oil halted the slaughter of the world’s whales and seals for their blubber. Fertilizer manufactured with gas halved the amount of land needed to produce a given amount of food, thus feeding a growing population while sparing land for wild nature.

To throw away these immense economic, environmental and moral benefits, you would have to have a very good reason. The one most often invoked today is that we are wrecking the planet’s climate. But are we?

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Lobbyist Remorse: Netflix Recants on Obamanet

From Benton Foundation:

David Wells, chief financial officer of Netflix, disclosed that Netflix, one of the few companies that advocated the most extreme form of Internet regulation, had lobbyist’s remorse after the Federal Communications Commission voted to replace the open Internet with Obamanet. Netflix PR handlers claimed that Wells was just “trying to convey how our position had evolved.” But the company’s actions support Wells’s words.

Netflix violated a core tenet of network neutrality when it launched its service in Australia as part of a “zero rating” offering by broadband providers, which excludes its video from data caps. Net neutrality advocates want to outlaw such deals. Netflix shrugged off this objection: “We won’t put our service or our members at a disadvantage.” Ironically, Netflix could end up the biggest loser with a regulated Internet. The FCC did not stop at claiming power to regulate broadband providers. It will also review the interconnection agreements and network tools that allow the smooth functioning of the Internet — including delivery of Netflix videos, which take up one-third of broadband nationwide at peak times.

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Obamacare for the Internet

Writes L. Gordon Crovitz on From Internet to Obamanet – WSJ:

The permissionless Internet, which allows anyone to introduce a website, app or device without government review, ends this week. On Thursday the three Democrats among the five commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission will vote to regulate the Internet under rules written for monopoly utilities.  […] The more than 300 pages of new regulations are secret, but Mr. Wheeler says they will subject the Internet to the key provisions of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, under which the FCC oversaw Ma Bell.

It easier for three dictators — I mean regulators — to pass regulations that no one has read apparently.

Title II authorizes the commission to decide what “charges” and “practices” are “just and reasonable”—an enormous amount of discretion. Former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell has found 290 federal appeals court opinions on this section and more than 1,700 FCC administrative interpretations.

“Discretion” of a regulator as opposed to protection under a rule of law is the mark of fascism and dictatorship.

Defenders of the Obama plan claim that there will be regulatory “forbearance,” though not from the just-and-reasonable test. They also promise not to regulate prices, a pledge that Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has called “flat-out false.” He added: “The only limit on the FCC’s discretion to regulate rates is its own determination of whether rates are ‘just and reasonable,’ which isn’t much of a restriction at all.”

How will such a ‘just an reasonable’ test apply in practice?

Bureaucrats can review the fairness of Google [1] ’s search results, Facebook [2] ’s news feeds and news sites’ links to one another and to advertisers. BlackBerry [3] is already lobbying the FCC to force Apple and Netflix [4] to offer apps for BlackBerry’s unpopular phones.

The FCC takeover is a naked violation of property rights of those who own the hardware and software behind the internet.

Returning to Mr. Crovitz:

Supporters of Obamanet describe it as a counter to the broadband duopoly of cable and telecom companies. In reality, it gives duopolists another tool to block competition. Utility regulations let dominant companies complain that innovations from upstarts fail the “just and reasonable” test—as truly disruptive innovations often do.

AT&T [5] has decades of experience leveraging FCC regulations to stop competition. Last week AT&T announced a high-speed broadband plan that charges an extra $29 a month to people who don’t want to be tracked for online advertising. New competitor Google Fiber can offer low-cost broadband only because it also earns revenues from online advertising. In other words, AT&T has already built a case against Google Fiber that Google’s cross-subsidization from advertising is not “just and reasonable.”

Utility regulation was designed to maintain the status quo, and it succeeds. This is why the railroads, Ma Bell and the local water monopoly were never known for innovation. The Internet was different because its technologies, business models and creativity were permissionless.

Don’t let it go.

Keep the Internet free.

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Justice For Zimmerman

cap mag slider trayvon zimmerman

From DOJ won’t charge George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin killing | WashingtonExaminer.com:

George Zimmerman will not face federal charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, nearly three years after the killing. The Department of Justice said Tuesday it has closed its investigation into the death of 17-year-old Martin, who was shot dead by Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012.

[…]

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “Though a comprehensive investigation found that the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution cannot be met under the circumstances here, this young man’s premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface.”

Apparently he would be guilty under no or low standards?

“We, as a nation, must take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.”

One step would be to tell the future Trayvon’s of the world that before you violently punch and assault someone you make sure they are not armed.

Federal prosecutors would have had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman intended to kill Martin because he was black in order to bring federal hate crime charges against him.

[…]

“Our decision not to pursue federal charges does not condone the shooting that resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin and is based solely on the high legal standard applicable to these cases.”

Proof is a terrible thing for the Zimmerman lynch mob.

Considering Zimmerman’s heritage is part black this is a good call. Considering that Zimmerman — whatever you think of him and the many poor decisions he made — he is not racist.

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Why Children Died From Measles: “Jesus was my doctor”

From What Would Jesus Do About Measles? – NYTimes.com:

Two fundamentalist Christian churches — Faith Tabernacle Congregation and First Century Gospel Church — were at the heart of the outbreak. Children had not been vaccinated, and when they became ill, their parents prayed instead of taking them to the hospital to receive the intravenous fluids or oxygen that could have saved their lives of those with the worst cases. “If I go to God and ask him to heal my body,” said a church member, Gordon Korn, “I can’t go to a doctor for medicine. You either trust God or you trust man.”

Public health officials turned to the courts to intervene. First, they got a court order to examine the churches’ children in their homes, then to admit children to the hospital for medical care. Finally, they did something that had never been done before or since: They got a court order to vaccinate children against their parents’ will. Children were briefly made wards of the state, vaccinated and returned to their parents. At the time, a religious exemption to vaccination had been on the books in Pennsylvania for about a decade.

To prevent doctors from violating his church’s beliefs against vaccination, the pastor of the Faith Tabernacle Church asked the American Civil Liberties Union to represent him. It refused. “There is certainly a free exercise of religion claim by the parents,” said Deborah Levy, of the Philadelphia chapter of the A.C.L.U., “but there is also a competing claim that parents don’t have the right to martyr their children.

When spring came and the epidemic faded, C.D.C. officials published the results of their investigation. Over a third of those infected — 486 of 1,424 — belonged to one of those two churches, as did six of the nine dead children.

At the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, we saw more than 200 children in our emergency department and admitted about 40. Children would come in, covered in rashes, squinting in the bright light (a side effect caused by eye irritation), struggling to breathe and often extremely dehydrated. It was like being in a war zone. When I asked their parents why they had done what they had done, they all had the same answer: “Jesus was my doctor.”

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Obama’s Agenda

From Don Watkins at Voices for Reason | The Ayn Rand Institute:

For Obama, the government’s role is to set our goals, determine our priorities, and centrally plan our lives so that we achieve these priorities. […] Obama’s agenda comes down to taking a bunch of money from us, directing it to purposes he thinks we should value, and using the power of government to coerce individuals and businesses to act in the way he thinks they should act. […] Is that really a worldview consistent with the founding ideals? [Sorry Obama, We Aren’t Family]

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Obama, Communism and Cuba

From As a Cuban exile, I feel betrayed by President Obama – The Washington Post:

While much attention has been paid to President Obama’s Cuba policy speech, hardly any has been paid to dictator Raúl Castro’s shorter speech, broadcast in Cuba at exactly the same time.

In his spiteful address, the unelected ruler of Cuba said that he would accept President Obama’s gesture of good will “without renouncing a single one of our principles.”

What, exactly, are those principles?

Like his brother Fidel, whose name he invoked, and like King Louis XIV of France, whose name he dared not mention, Raúl speaks of himself as the embodiment of the state he rules, as evidenced by his mention of “our principles,” which assumes that all Cubans share his mindset. Raúl claims that he is defending his nation’s “self-determination,” “sovereignty,” and “independence,” and also dares to boast that his total control of the Cuban economy should be admired as “social justice.”

In reality, he is defending is his role as absolute monarch.

Cubans have no freedom of speech or assembly. The press is tightly controlled, and there is no freedom to establish political parties or labor unions. Travel is strictly controlled, as is access to the Internet. There is no economic freedom and no elections. According to the Associated Press, at least 8,410 dissidents were detained in 2014.

These are the principles that Raúl Castro is unwilling to renounce, which have driven nearly 20 percent of Cuba’s population into exile.

Unfortunately, these are also the very principles that President Obama ratified as acceptable, which will govern Cuba for years to come.

Although President Obama did acknowledge the lack of “freedom and openness” in Cuba, and also hinted that Raúl Castro should  loosen his grip on the Cuban people, his rhetoric was as hollow as Raúl’s. He didn’t make any demands for immediate, genuine reforms in Cuba. Equally hollow was his reference to Cuba’s “civil society.” He made no mention of the constant abuse heaped on Cuba’s non-violent dissidents, or of the fact that the vast majority of them have pleaded with him to tighten rather than ease existing sanctions on the Castro regime.

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Searchable Index to Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s Podcasts

“The title for each episode is a link to the full episode page for that podcast on Dr. Peikoff’s website. The time marks, with a few exceptions, link to the single question pages on Dr. Peikoff’s website.Credit goes to John Shepard for creating the original idea, the original list, and helping to maintain updates. Neither Dr. Brook, nor Yaron Brook are involved in the creation of this list.”

http://peikoffquestfinder.metaofphysics.com/

 

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