Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mandated Business Expenses

Here in Texas the Department of Public Safety – Private Security Board (DPS/PSB) has a strangle hold on the Security Industry, which includes the Locksmith industry of which I’ve been an active participant since 1976.   Once the industry became licensed and under the control of the DPS/PSB interesting things started to happen to the once free market system; mandated insurance policies tied to the ability to maintain an active locksmith license, mandated continuing education requirements to maintain the treasured license and other not so minor expenses.

While listening to Pandora Radio on my computer I happened to hear an advertisement for a local security alarm company.  I didn’t mind the intrusions of an advertisement here and there since Pandora is a free application and plays a selection of tunes which, for the most part, fit within the genre I’ve selected. 

But, getting back to the topic of mandated business expenses, this particular advertisement started off with several seconds devoted to expressing the Security Alarm company’s DPS/PSB license number.  While it’s nice to let the public know that your company is reputable, bonded and licensed; is the listening public really interested in the recorded number that’s on file with the State of Texas?

I don’t know how much the company is charged to have their advertisement on Pandora or any other radio station; but you can bet it isn’t free.  Any amount of time spent for air time has to be carefully and strategically plotted to get the most “bang for the buck”; so why would they waste precious air time on a “B” number?

I’ll save you the trouble of figuring it out; the DPS/PSB has mandated that any and all forms of advertising MUST have the security company’s “B” number included.  This mandate applies to work order forms, statements, business cards, service trucks that display the company name and of course, radio or television advertisements. 

When this mandate first came out I had my local printer make a rubber stamp which permitted me to insert my “B” number on all my work orders.  I had to have all new business cards printed anyway so the added expense was already planned for. 

There was a “stutter step” mandate from the DPS/PSB, for lack of a better way of explaining another DPS/PSB mandate which originally stated that ALL service vehicles would be required to display their “B” number on both sides of the service vehicle along with their telephone number.  The mandate was written in such a way as to dictate the size of the numbers and letters.   When I say there was a stutter step; the DPS/PSB issued the mandate and sent it out via the local locksmith association (GHLA and TLA); but then rescinded the mandate almost immediately.

I’d already complied by purchasing two large magnetic signs which would have been placed on the outside panels of my service truck.  I think it cost me about $120; but you do what you have to do to work within the framework provided.  Once the mandate was rescinded I was stuck with two magnetic signs that I didn’t want on the outside of my service truck.  Instead of throwing them in the garage to collect dust I placed them on the inside of the panels so that the only time they’d be visible to the public was when I was stopped and working with the panels opened up.

One reason I don’t like having advertizing on the side of my service vehicle is knowing that there are certain folks who prey on unsuspecting businesses by targeting them for traffic accidents and the related insurance claims for sore backs, whiplash or mental anguish.  The money involved is fairly large and often claims are settled out of court to avoid expensive legal fees.  No thank you, I’ll continue to zip in and out of traffic without placing a target on my service truck.

A fellow locksmith and member of Society of Professional Locksmiths sent me an interesting legal decision regarding the Dental Industry which could easily be applied to the Security or Locksmith Industries.  In essence the 4th Circuit Court ruled that the Board Members of the Dental Industry had created rules and regulations which limited the ability of individual to compete within the industry.  The Federal Trade Commission had filed the brief on behalf of individuals who had been “shut out” of their field of practice through biased board members who also had plenty at stake in cornering the market.

“The FTC focused on the need to assure that such an “entity’s decision-making process was sufficiently independent from the interests of those being regulated.”


‘“We are pleased that the 4th Circuit agreed that a state regulatory board dominated by self-interested private actors cannot shield its anti-competitive conduct from antitrust review using the state-action doctrine,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement.”

If you went back through the history of how the Locksmith Industry got hog tied into being licensed here in Texas you’d find a powerful competitor at the root of it all; the Alarm Services Industry that didn’t want locksmiths cutting in on any of their action.  It was the intent of the Alarm Services Industry to push through a piece of legislation which would place locksmiths under the direct control of the DPS/PSB, which just happened to be controlled entirely by the Alarm Services Industry; imagine that.

To this day there are no locksmiths on the DPS/PSB; but one position has been promised according to the latest legislative news.  The problem with having the DPS/PSB create rules and regulations for any industry is how such rules generally impact the free market system with unintended consequences.  We area being told giving up a little liberty will insure the safety of the buying public; which flies in the face of wisdom shared many years ago.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  Ben Franklin

Government involvement in private industry is Always a mistake.  What’s the term in the military; oh I remember now, SNAFU.  I guess I should get back to enjoying my Sunday afternoon music; a little Gershwin should do the trick.

Fracking brings employment and economic revival

But anti-energy activists promote falsehoods about this vital, safe job-creating technolog.  They inhabit a callous parallel universe and wage war on cheap energy, jobs and the poor  

By Paul Driessen  

Signs of pride and prosperity were evident all over Williamsport and the gorgeous northern Pennsylvania countryside around it. Friendly, happy people greeted us. New cars, trucks, hotels and restaurants sparkled in a clean, bustling downtown. New roofs topped barns and houses, while late model tractors worked the fields. Formerly dirt roads are now paved. 

Men and women again have high-paying jobs, young people are coming back instead of moving away, their salaries are supporting other businesses and jobs, and many are taking college programs in oilfield technical and business specialties, Vince Matteo told me. As president and CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce, he’s witnessed the transformation. 

“98 percent of the change has been positive,” he says. Contributions to United Way are increasing each year, county infrastructure has improved enormously, and environmental impacts are minimal. 

Visits to several Anadarko Petroleum drilling and fracking sites explained why. The operations are far more high-tech than what I had seen previously on rigs in the Rocky Mountains, off the Louisiana and California coasts, and last fall in Alberta’s oil sands region. Hydraulic fracturing was first employed in Kansas in 1947.

But steadily improved fracking technology is now combined with computers, down-hole sensors and microseismic instruments. Drilling equipment, lets crews send a bit 6,000 feet down and 8,000 feet laterally into Marcellus Shale formations – and end up within three feet of their intended target! 

The operations are conducted from atop a multi-layered felt and impermeable plastic pad, surrounded by a berm, to keep unlikely spills from contaminating farm and forest land. Multiple wells are drilled from a single pad and “kicked out” horizontally in various directions. The drilling rig is skidded a short distance to four or five more locations around the pad, the entire array is fractured at high pressure, and short wellheads are installed to collect natural gas, and send it to local and interstate pipeline networks. 

A nearby impoundment is also lined with plastic to hold water for fracturing operations. Topsoil removed to prepare the pad and pond is stored nearby. As operations are finished, the land is reclaimed, topsoil is replaced, and local grasses, flowers and shrubs are planted, to create meadows for deer and wild turkeys – or anything else the landowners prefer. To launch 20-40 years of hydrocarbon production from a 15,000-acre (23-square-mile) area requires barely 2% surface disturbance, most of it for just a few months. 

Once the work is completed, the area quietly and unobtrusively produces decades of energy – and revenue for farmers, wildlife organizations, hunting groups, and local, state and federal treasuries.

Hydraulic fracturing takes place some 5,500 feet (almost four Empire State Buildings) below the water table. To prevent groundwater contamination, pipe penetrating the first seven hundred feet is surrounded by layers of steel casing and specialized cement. During the drilling and fracturing process, even rainwater collected from the drill pad is saved and used. Some of the water used to fracture the shale is also recovered during gas production; this “flowback” water itself is filtered, treated and reused. 

The hydraulic fracturing process requires some 2.0-4.2 million gallons of water per well, but fresh or brackish water works equally well. A 2013 Ceres study concluded that hydraulic fracturing consumed 75 billion gallons of water per year on average nationwide, in 2011 and 2012. EPA says fracking consumes 70-140 billion gallons a year nationally, and the Texas Water Resources Board estimates that Lone Star State oil and natural gas companies used 27 billion gallons of water for fracking statewide in 2011. However, Texas homeowners used 495 billion gallons for lawns and gardens, the TWRB found (18 times what fracking consumed), and household landscape irrigation nationwide consumes nearly 3 trillion gallons of water annually, according to EPA (21-43 times the EPA and Ceres estimates for hydraulic fracturing). 

Even more revealing, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, fracking requires just 0.6 to 5.8 gallons of water per million Btu of energy produced. By comparison, “renewable” and “sustainable” corn-based ethanol requires 2,510 to 29,100 gallons per million Btu of usable energy – and biodiesel from soybeans consumes an astounding and unsustainable 14,000 to 75,000 gallons of water per million Btu! 

As to chemical contamination, fracturing fluids are 99.5% water and sand. Moreover, the 0.5% chemicals portion is increasingly basic, nontoxic household or kitchen stuff. Anadarko’s chemicals today are only “slickeners” (to help the sand get further into cracks created by the pressurized water) and “biocides” that prevent bacterial buildup in the well pipes. Which chemicals are used for any single well in the United States can be determined by going to – and every EPA, DOE and other study conducted to date has concluded that fracking has never contaminated a single US well. 

Hydraulic fracturing has created 1.7 million new direct and indirect jobs in the United States, with the total likely to rise to 3 million jobs over the next seven years, IHS Global Insight reports. It has injected billions into North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and other state economies. It’s added $62 billion to federal and state treasuries, with that total expected to rise to $111 billion by 2020. 
By 2035, U.S. oil and natural gas operations could provide over $5 trillion in cumulative capital expenditures into the economy, while generating over $2.5 trillion in cumulative additional government revenues. 
In the process, fracking has revived America’s petrochemical, steel and other manufacturing industries, and reinvigorated American ingenuity and economic competitiveness. One shudders to think how awful the US unemployment, part-time employment and economic picture would be in its absence.
This game-changing technology has also transformed US, EU and global political equations and power structures. With the United States, Argentina, Britain, China, Israel and many other countries collectively sitting atop centuries’ worth of now economically producible oil and natural gas, OPEC and Russia can no longer control prices and threaten customer nations. For poor developing countries, natural gas from shale provides fuel to generate abundant, affordable electricity that will transform lives. 

Then why do Hollywood and radical greens celebrate misleading films like Gasland and Promised Land – even after Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney’s documentary FrackNation completely demolished Gasland‘s lies and half-truths? Why do outfits like Food and Water Watch and the Sierra Club, and ill-informed activists like Yoko Ono, continue to scream hysterical nonsense about the process? 

Follow the money – and the ideology. Big Eco is big business, and big egos. It seeks ever more power and every greater control over our lives. Fracking threatens all of that. 

“What you get in your mailbox is a never-ending stream of crisis-related shrill material designed to evoke emotions,” former National Audubon Society COO Dan Beard once admitted, “so that you will sit down and write a check” – or click the “Donate Now” button. This multi-billion-dollar-per-year industry would collapse without the crisis du jour it conjures up, with help from the news media, politicians and regulators. 

Deep Ecology adherents view fossil fuels as evil incarnate, and believe fervently in “peak oil” and Climate Armageddon. They are frustrated that fracking guarantees a hydrocarbon renaissance and predominance for decades to come, and helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions without massive economic sacrifice. 

They also tend to be well-off, and clueless about the true sources of modern living standards. They have disturbingly callous attitudes about people who have lost their jobs because of Mr. Obama’s war on coal and cheap energy – and about poor rural New York families that are barely hanging onto their farms, unable to tap the Marcellus Shale riches beneath their land, because Governor Cuomo refuses to lift his moratorium on fracking. Many don’t give a spotted owl hoot about the world’s impoverished billions, whose hope for better lives depends on the reliable, affordable electricity that “frack gas” can help bring. 

These shameful attitudes hurt people and planet. We need to frack for a better, cleaner, happier world! 

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author or Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Delaware’s “future weather”

We’re getting burned by phony science and authoritarian power grabs 

By Paul Driessen and David R. Legates

During this hot, wet summer, a “national climate expert” recently told Delawareans that they can expect even hotter summers – with a climate like Savannah, Georgia’s – by the end of the century.  The culprit, naturally: runaway global warming.
Savannah residents are long accustomed to their climate and, thanks to air conditioning and other modern technologies, are better able to deal with the heat and humidity. Nevertheless, the impact on Delaware will be disastrous, Dr. Katherine Hayhoe claims. Nonsense.
Her forthcoming report promises to be no different than other proclamations that persistently predict dire consequences from climate change – and then present taxpayers with a hefty bill. In this scenario, the State’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) paid $46,000 for her report, presumably to suggest that “independent scholars” support the state’s positions.
The preliminary release of her report reads like the script from a bad disaster movie – think The Day After Tomorrow and An Inconvenient Truth. Like them, it also plays fast and loose with the facts.
It fails to mention the extreme cold that many places around the globe experienced recently.  Europe and Russia in particular suffered through bitter cold the past two winters. The report likewise ignores the fact that average global temperatures have not risen at all over the last sixteen years; in fact, Earth has actually cooled slightly during the past decade.
For its really scary worst-case scenario, Dr. Hayhoe says Delaware’s temperatures will rise astronomically in coming decades: with more than two full months of endless days above 95°F and a hundred-fold increase in days with temperatures at or above 100°F by 2100.  “Trends to more extreme highs and fewer extreme lows already are apparent,” Dr. Hayhoe asserts. Except they are not. 
Data from 970 weather stations across the United States reveal that more record daily maximum air temperatures were set in the 1930s than in any recent decade, and no increase in frequency of higher temperatures has been observed since 1955. The Delaware State Climatologist examined New Castle County Airport records in Wilmington and found no long-term trend in either the total number of days or the number of consecutive days with maximum air temperature above 90°F.
The same can be said for days where temperatures remain below freezing.
Globally, daytime high temperatures do not show significant warming – and most of the warming that has been observed is confined to nighttime low temperatures. Nighttime lows are driven by turbulence (or lack thereof) near the surface, not by the accumulation of energy related to CO2 warming of the deep atmosphere.
By contrast, maximum daily temperature is a measure of the energy content of the deep atmosphere, and is thus a much better measure of the warming due to greenhouse gases. The lack of a signal in maximum temperature suggests that the rate of warming due to CO2 is relatively small – and certainly much smaller than climate models suggest.
As for precipitation, Dr. Hayhoe claims that both floods and droughts will increase, with “more rain arriving as heavy downpours, and more dry periods in between.”  This assertion was dispelled in a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on extreme events, released last summer. 
The IPCC report concluded that “in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense or shorter; for example in central North America.” Similarly, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has produced plots that show which parts of the United States are classified as moderate to extreme for dryness and wetness. While both conditions show considerable variability, neither exhibits a significant trend. NOAA also concludes that snowfall records show no long-term trend, and recent record snowfalls are the result of natural variability.
Why should Delaware’s or the nation’s future be any different than the past fifty years of increasing carbon dioxide concentrations?  Dr. Hayhoe’s bases her extreme scenarios on climate models – the same models that have predicted major temperature trends that have not materialized; greatly exaggerated short-term trends in rainfall, droughts and violent storms; and failed to predict the lack of warming since 1998.  So why should we believe them now?
The real reason behind this report is to provide the State with the justification to enact draconian measures to control Delawareans’ energy use and provide major subsidies for “alternative” and “renewable” energy projects.  Delaware Secretary of the Environment and Energy Collin O’Mara says, “We need to make sure we have good science driving our decision-making in the years to come.” Apparently, $46,000 has bought the State precisely the “science” he wanted to hear.
O’Mara came to Delaware in 2009, as part of Governor Markell’s administration.  Billed as “the youngest state cabinet official in the nation,” O’Mara is a self-proclaimed climate-change and energy “entrepreneur.” During his tenure in Delaware, he has spearheaded the administration’s efforts on “climate change mitigation,” renewable energy subsidies and “sustainable development.”
During the last 4-1/2 years, the Markell Administration has “invested” in Fisker Automotive, leaving the State’s citizens on the hook to pay for an automobile assembly plant that has created zero new jobs and produced zero cars. 
Bloom Energy, which hails from the same town as O’Mara (San Jose, CA), has also been the happy beneficiary of enormous State subsidies and exceptions from environmental regulations. Delaware now labels natural gas as a renewable resource, for example – but only if it is burned in a Bloom fuel cell. This enables the State to funnel taxpayer and ratepayer money from renewable energy credits to Bloom. To top it off, if the State ever decides to renege on the deal, the legislation requires that the State immediately pay Bloom twenty years worth of profits.
O’Mara has also been busy with rule-making by executive fiat. Without any public discussion or debate, and without any vote by the State legislature, O’Mara signed into law new “green” energy standards that make the First State’s emission rules even more stringent than Federal regulations, via a clever process known as prospective incorporation. Through this, all provisions from the California Code of Regulations are automatically “updated,” to ensure that Delaware’s Code is consistent with California’s.
That means any changes to the California Code implemented by the most environmentally dogmatic, job-killing and bankrupt state in the Union are immediately and completely binding via Delaware regulations.  With no presentation to the people, no discussion or vote by the General Assembly, and not even any case-by-case intervention by Delaware’s executive branch, California regulations are automatically the law in Delaware. With the stroke of the pen, Delaware has surrendered its sovereignty to California.
Armed with this new “scientific” report, what draconian measures might Mr. O’Mara and the Markell Administration have in store for the citizens of Delaware? Time alone will tell. However, given their track record thus far, Delawareans are going to get burned – and not by global warming.
Even worse, the same sneaky shenanigans are being played out in other states, in Washington, and all over the world, through the UN, EU and environmentalist pressure groups – in the name of saving the planet from computer model and horror movie disasters. These are bigger power grabs than anything King George III tried. We the People need to take notice, and take action. 

The multiple light colored lines track projections of mean global temperature for the lower Troposphere by 44 climate models. The dark black line is the 44-computer-model average, which is what the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) uses as its best estimate of predicted “catastrophic manmade global warming.” The two brightly colored lines represent the actual satellite temperature records measured by the University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH – blue) and Remote Sensing System (RSS – red). These two lines demonstrate that actual planetary temperatures are far below what IPCC models predict.  

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power, black death (Merril Press, 2012).  

David Legates is a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware and has studied climate change for thirty years.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Justice System Let Trayvon Martin Down

While listening to angry mobs chanting, “No Justice, No Peace”, on the radio a while ago it dawned on me that the justice system had let Trayvon Martin down; just not in the way these angry hot heads were depicting this whole ugly mess.  Trayvon Martin might have been spared his life had the justice system done their job and put him in jail for the crimes he “allegedly” committed long before he “allegedly” assaulted George Zimmerman on the night he was shot dead.

The major news media outlets are still portraying this young hoodlum as some kind of angelic representative of the Black community when in fact he should have been an embarrassment to them.  Rather than display recent photographs of Trayvon, the media continues to release pictures that are several years old from a time when Trayvon really was young and innocent.

We were led to believe Trayvon was a good kid, a victim of racial prejudice; but those assertions fell apart upon further examination.

“Sanford Police Department (SPD) investigator Chris Serino, for instance, said publicly of Martin, “This child has no criminal record whatsoever.” He called Martin “a good kid, a mild-mannered kid.” The media almost universally sustained this tragically false narrative.”

‘“Oh, God, oh, my God, oh, God,” one major reportedly said when first looking at Martin’s data. He realized that Martin had been suspended twice already that school year for offenses that should have gotten him arrested – once for getting caught with a burglary tool and a dozen items of female jewelry, the second time for getting caught with marijuana and a marijuana pipe.

In each case, the case file on Martin was fudged to make the crime less serious than it was. As one detective told IA, the arrest statistics coming out of Martin’s school, Michael Krop Senior, had been “quite high,” and the detectives “needed to find some way to lower the stats.” This directive allegedly came from Hurley.” 

It appears the school district, in an attempt to look better than it was, did everything they could to marginalize criminal behavior on the part of Trayvon Martin to improve their overall statistics.  They let a criminal go in favor of their ratings; it’s that simple.

There was no mention of Trayvon’s punching a bus driver by the media; that sweet little boy could never have done anything like that.  Anyway, it never happened because the bus driver who “allegedly” got punched was instructed to forget about it; at least that’s the story that was put out on the radio.

“Here’s another nice image for all the idiots bleating about this poor, innocent black ‘child’. This image is of somebody’s post to Travyon Martin’s/NO_LIMIT_NIGGA twitter account. Notice how they’re saying that Martin hadn’t told them about swinging/punching at a Bus driver!!! Well, if he punched a bus driver, it’s quite possible that he punched the neighbourhood watch captain who stopped him…” 

It’s a shame Trayvon Martin died before he could learn self discipline, before he could become a productive member of society.  The way he was progressing he would have made spectacular license plates while incarcerated in one of Florida’s prisons, a real gangsta’ with lots of entries on his rap sheet to prove it.  

Had Trayvon been held accountable for his “alleged” criminal behavior he would, in all probability, have been in jail instead of continuing to walk about freely.  He never would have been in a confrontational situation with George Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman trying to keep his neighborhood safe from thugs and gangstas’.

If the state had done its job properly he probably would have died in prison while serving out a burglary or aggravated assault conviction.  Instead he’s become an icon for civil disobedience, inspiring vandalism, assault and looting throughout the low information community, go figure.  

Yes; the justice system let Trayvon Martin down by ignoring his “alleged” criminal behavior. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Skechers Customer Satisfaction Policy

I’ve been wearing a pair of Skechers Shape-Ups that were purchased at Academy Sports quite some time back.  These are very comfortable and came in 10 ½ wide, something that many sports type shoes don’t do. 

They had a blow out, for lack of a better term, when the stitching broke loose and part of the upper portion of the shoe split.  The folks at Academy no longer carried the same style of shoe I was enjoying; however, while driving down FM 1960 on the way to a job I found a Skecher’s Warehouse Store so after the job was completed that’s where I headed.

I showed the lady at the cash register my blown out, well used shoe and explained how this pair had been purchased at Academy and was no longer available.  She looked over the blow out as I explained that it would do no good to use Shoe Goo in an attempt to repair them because of the location of the split.  I also explained how much I enjoyed the way the shoes fit my feet and did they have a pair that would take the place of the blown out pair.

I was directed to the work shoe area where a comparable pair was found, slightly different and almost twice the price I’d paid for the pair I was wearing.  When I went to the register to pay I was given a credit of almost forty dollars under the heading “Customer Satisfaction” so I only ended up paying $20.00 plus tax for a replacement pair.

She said they’d send the defective shoes back as part of the refund policy so they’d be reimbursed and let the company know just exactly what the defect had been.  How about that; a company that really does take it to heart when they say they want you to be satisfied with their product. 

Skechers, you have a customer for life.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Trial by Media or the Great Show

In this day of instant gratification in all things is it any wonder our news media can’t wait for a criminal trial to be completed before they ask their adoring public to come in with a verdict.  This morning’s question of the day on Fox was, “Who’s presented the strongest case so far in the Zimmerman trial?”  Three possible answers are listed, “defense, prosecution or too soon to tell”.

On one side of our society folks are lighting torches and shouting,the cracker’s guilty”, while looking around to see which tree is sturdy enough to use for the lynching.  “That looks like a good strong limb, toss me a rope”.

Of course NBC’s only comment on the editing of material in such a way as to enflame racial tensions was to say it was an error, just a simple error. 

“Under growing public pressure to explain the incident, NBC News President Steve Capus provided Reuters with the fullest explanation to date of how the edited call made it on air and what the network is doing to prevent such a consequential error from happening again.

Capus confirmed a previous Reuters report that an internal network investigation had determined that a producer made the editing error, and that the network's editorial controls - including senior broadcast producer oversight, script editors and often legal and standards department reviews of sensitive material to be broadcast - simply missed the selective editing of the phone call.”

If you believe that pile of male bovine excrement then perhaps it explains why you’re holding one of the torches and would have had a son who would have looked just like Treyvon; but with no hint of drugs in his system, burglary and theft or assault to commit murder, none of that’s important anyway.  “Damn cracker’s gonna git whu he ga’ comin’”

On the other hand many have wondered how criminal charges were filed for Second Degree Murder against Zimmerman in the first place.  Some more reasoned individuals, like Alan Dershowitz, lawyer, professor and political commentator, are perplexed about the omission of facts in the original affidavit to the filing of charges by Special Prosecutor Angela Corey

“This affidavit,” he said, “submitted by the prosecutor in the Florida case is a crime. It’s a crime. If she in fact knew about ABC News’ pictures of the bloody head of Zimmerman and failed to include that in the affidavit, this affidavit is not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Unfortunately the Zimmerman “trial”, if you can call it that, is nothing more than a mockery of our ‘fair and impartial’ judicial system, a media show put on for the masses in order to create further racial division and unrest; but why?

Hillary “What difference does it make” Clinton could care less what happens as long as the media continues to ignore her part in the Benghazi cover up in which she’s a key player in the deaths of four Americans, Americans who’d pleaded for more security and never got any.  Sadly, there are enough torch bearers who’d vote for Hillary at the drop of a match.  Who ever said character was the most important trait for anyone aspiring to lead this nation must have been talking about days gone by; the folks we have in power now couldn’t get a job requiring a lie detector, that’s for sure.

Not to let Obama off the hook; why wasn’t assistance sent when they screamed for help while under attack.  It’s amazing how much the media has permitted important stories to remain hidden in the shadows.  The president is the only person with the authority to issue a “stand down” order on military issues like the one in Benghazi.  So why isn’t the news media hounding Obama for answers; I forgot, they’re covering the Zimmerman trail.

The list of important stories not being kept front and center is nearly endless, stories which place the Obama administration in a bad light.  The IRS scandal, EPA, Obamacare train wreck in progress, a hundred million dollar tax payer funded vacation to Africa, promising amnesty to illegal aliens without securing the borders ; oh, and don’t forget the economy headed for the toilet. 

None of these stories are nearly as important to folks looking for social justice, a way to even the score for all those years of discrimination.  This is their chance to get even, the reality of America; stacking the deck against Zimmerman in order to placate the ignorant angry mobs awaiting social justice.  It must be the half light from those torches, mobs on their way to a lynching; that’s what’s casting a bad light on things.  The great show must go on.

Monday, July 08, 2013

A nasty organic hepatitis outbreak

Despite what apologist and promoters say, organic foods are not safer, and can be deadly
By Mischa Popoff

A recent hepatitis outbreak in USDA “certified-organic” frozen berry mix has people worrying and wondering what steps are being taken to ensure that organic food is safe. Unfortunately, not many.

A remarkably similar case occurred in Germany three years ago. Forty-four people died and 3,700 fell ill after eating E. coli-contaminated certified-organic bean sprouts. Hundreds of survivors will require kidney dialysis the rest of their lives. The cause was never definitively determined, although a nearby cattle operation was suspected of contaminating water used to sprout the organic sprouts.

All this raises critical questions. What measures were taken to ensure that water used on this organic sprouting operation was safe? Was there any testing? Is there any organic field testing now in response to that German tragedy? What about numerous other outbreaks in certified-organic food – like outbreaks of listeria, E. coli and salmonella in organic spinach for instance?

Have such incidents provided incentives for organic industry leaders to recognize the need to test crops in the field, to ensure that they’re safe? Have they prodded government safety inspectors to require such tests? Are organic crops already tested to ensure that these kinds of things don’t happen again?

Sadly, the answer to all these questions is no or nothing. Instead, with steady media help, incidents that should spur the organic industry to take action invariably become mere bumps along the road toward expanding a food system that organic promoters hope will eventually replace conventional farming.

Meanwhile, the organic industry and news media promote regular stories about speculative (and even ludicrous) claims that genetically-modified (GM) crops might pose risks to human health. Recent articles about minute traces of GM wheat getting into a Japan-bound shipment represent just one example. 

Reuters and Washington Post stories might make you think people in Japan had died from consuming this wheat, or at least fell ill. But no one did. Nor did anyone even get a headache when minute traces of unregistered GM flax got into Canadian shipments to Europe. And yet, Europe closed its market to all flax shipments from Canada in response to finding as little as one GM seed in a million

In fact, no one has ever gotten sick from GM foods. And yet, when consumers get seriously sick or even die from eating certified-organic food, both the outbreaks and their probable causes are largely ignored.

Every “mainstream” media outlet is reporting that hepatitis might have gotten into certified-organic berries due to a person-to-person cause; perhaps a field or production line employee with hepatitis didn’t wash his hands. But then why wasn’t this person found? With 131 people infected (and 59 hospitalized) across eight states, how could one person possibly cause so much harm?

Far more likely is the feces-to-person route – which is exactly what analysts are finally saying. When thousands of pounds of improperly-composted manure are spread on a field, thousands of pounds of crops get contaminated. If not by animal feces, how about human? Organic farmers in many developing countries – such as Turkey, the apparent origin of this outbreak – still use raw human sewage to fertilize crops! In many people’s opinion, that practice qualifies as “organic” – whereas using safe modern fertilizers and insecticides does not! Even worse, feces contamination cannot be washed off. It’s embedded in the plant. 

Moreover, in any modern nation, a person known to have hepatitis is not even allowed to work near food. This makes it even more likely that this contamination resulted from improperly-composted feces – and that the US Agriculture Department’s “organic-certification” system failed again, for lack of field testing.

And yet, organic activists continue to attack modern agriculture, while demanding that the organic industry get what many consider a “free pass.” After a quarter century on the market and trillions of servings containing biotech products, GM crops are still vilified for posing some sort of risk to human health – even as known risks from natural pathogens on organic crops are routinely brushed aside, even when they cause hepatitis, listeria, E. coli, salmonella, deaths and lifelong health problems. 

Most people are shocked that record-keeping, record-checking, and “certified as organic are” all that “ensures” feces don’t get into organic food. Meanwhile, safe synthetic ammonium nitrate is banned in organic production, forcing organic farmers to rely on composted manure. Of course, manure is safe too, as long as it’s composted properly. But when it isn’t, people get sick or even die.
“Organic” with manure is how we farmed for millennia, before the brilliant German scientist Fritz Haber discovered in 1917 how to extract limitless nitrogen from the Earth’s atmosphere to make nitrate, the key ingredient in fertilizers that spur plant root, stem and food growth. However, organic farming tautology rejects ammonium nitrate fertilizer and insists on old-fashioned manure.

This was a minor problem when the organic movement consisted of a few Berkeley drop-outs who ran communal farms. But with sales in the billions of dollars annually, the global organic-industrial-complex must take steps to ensure that improperly composted fecal matter (animal or human) does not get into our food chain. Instead, there is a complete absence of field testing and other true safety measures.

It’s ironic that environmentalists think everything “industrial” should be thoroughly, routinely and repeatedly tested, including in the modern agricultural sector. But when their preferred “organic” food production system is involved, they want us to rely on the proverbial wing and a prayer. There’s no need to test organic crops, to ensure they’re safe, since they’re “certified” organic – say those who promote or profit from this multibillion-dollar business.

I grew up on an organic farm, worked as an organic inspector, wrote a book on how to improve the organic industry, by making it less political and more scientific, and have given countless lectures promoting science-based organic food production. Unlike critics who attack the industry, I still support the philosophy of organic food production. However, I believe fervently that organic crops should always be tested before going to market – before leaving farmers’ fields, in fact, since that’s where the USDA’s highly lucrative organic label is officially applied. That is the only way to prevent food-borne illnesses.

Yes, finally, there are plans to begin testing some organic crops under the USDA’s National Organic Program – but only some. Due to industry pressure, a recently rewritten standard on organic testing will apply only to a small fraction of farms (less than 5%) and rarely, if ever, to foreign farms that make up the vast majority of the $33-billion in organic crops that the USDA certifies every year. Considering that the recent organic hepatitis outbreak has now been traced to Turkey, this new organic testing initiative will likely do nothing to prevent future problems.

Organic field testing must be implemented immediately, on all organic farms, every day, wherever the USDA’s good name is applied to organic food. This would likely cost about one-tenth what the current paper-based system costs. It’s been more than ten years since the USDA took control of the American organic industry. What are officials waiting for? Yet another fecal-borne outbreak? 

Meanwhile, anyone purchasing organic fruits and vegetables should soak them several minutes in a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water, to kill bacteria that may be present due to improperly composted human or animal manure. Anyone buying frozen organic berries should boil or irradiate them. Failure to do so could result in severe illness or even death. 

Indeed, warning labels to this effect should be required on all organic products. As organic activists argue, when they demand labels on GMO products, people have a right to know that the foods they eat are safe – and a right to know how to ensure that potentially dangerous foods can be made safe to eat. 

Mischa Popoff is a former organic farmer and USDA Advanced Organic Farm and Process Inspector. He’s the author of Is it Organic? and a policy analyst the Heartland Institute, Frontier Centre for Public Policy, and Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow.

Friday, July 05, 2013

In America All Men are Equal Under the Law

Our Independence Day has come and gone; children waving sparklers in their front yards with parents standing close by to supervise the use of pyrotechnics, bottle rockets and firecrackers going off randomly while dogs and cats scurry to find safe shelter from the onslaught and the aroma of spent gunpowder drifting lazily through the darkened canopy of tree lined neighborhoods.  A reminder of bombs bursting in air as recorded by Francis Scott Key in his poem which eventually became our National Anthem…as I pray silently to myself, Oh! Thus be it ever…

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

There’s a segment of our society which seems to grow from year to year, a group of folks who would prefer there be no reference to God, at least as His having anything at all to do with the establishment of our country or individual liberties.  Personally I’d have to say these folks were showing their ingratitude to our Creator; but that is their choice.  We are permitted our individual agency to either obey God’s laws or come out in open rebellion to His commandments.  The consequences for such behavior falls into an eternal order of things rather than a court of law unless such failures to comply happen to be criminal or civil laws established by the consent of the people.  

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, we have a list of stated beliefs we call the Articles of Faith.  These were written down by Joseph Smith in a letter to a fellow named Wentworth who’d asked what we believe in order that he might have a better understanding.  A more concise explanation would be difficult and so that original list stands to this day; a means of explaining our basic tenants.

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.     11th Article of Faith – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Among our ‘standard scriptures’ we include the Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price and The Doctrine and Covenants.  Along with the 11th Article of Faith is a companion found in Doctrine and Covenants 134:4.

“We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.”

The Church adopted and approved that section on August 17, 1835; but in ancient days, as recorded in the Book of Mormon there was a similar law of the land.  It should be noted that the land referred to in the Book of Mormon is the same land upon which the United States of America was established.  

“Now there was no law against a man’s belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds.”   Alma30:7 

That verse was recorded somewhere between 76-74 BC if you’re looking to find consistency in the manner in which the Lord works with His children.  The Lord has provided a means whereby non-believers might engage equally in society even when that society has been established by the Lord.  

Stephen D. Foster Jr. wrote a piece, 35 Founding Father Quotes Conservative Christians Will Hate, in which he lists excerpts from letters written which tend to back up his opening statement. 
“The separation of church and state is one of the cornerstones of America’s foundation. Conservative Christian fundamentalists have sought to crush this cornerstone in the hopes of establishing Christianity as the state religion, an action that would threaten the rest of the foundation that makes up the Constitution. These conservatives contend that the Founding Fathers dreamed of making America a Christian state at the expense of those who practice other religions or none at all.” 

Within the quotes which Foster claims conservative Christians will hate, there was one that jumped off the page, a line from Thomas Jefferson when he addressed Virginia Baptists in 1808.  I had to ask myself, do I hate this particular quote or does it restate something which I approve of.  You should recognize this one:

“Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual.  State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society. We have solved … the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.”

Thomas Jefferson pointed out State Churches, a specific reference to the Church of England which was tied directly to the government from which we had gained independence.  The Church of England received support through taxation and redistribution of wealth from all subjects of the state regardless of their personal beliefs or acceptance of the teachings of the Church of England.  Jefferson’s remarks warned of having a specific sect as the official church of the land as it would control power and wealth through legislative action; exactly the situation which brought about our separation. 
This is not a denial of God’s hand in government; only a means of acknowledging the need to keep church government and civil government separated in order to facilitate a free society, one in which believers and non-believers have equal footing. 

Hummm… sounds like Jefferson might have been inspired much as the Prophet Alma over two thousand years earlier; but Jefferson expressed this thought long before the Book of Mormon had been translated, much less published. 

In keeping with the idea that there is a separation of church and state, as applied to governance of the people; it should also be observed that the separation did not remove consequences of individual action from laws which were directly associated with God’s  basic commandments, laws which in present day are based upon the Ten Commandments.  Theft, assault, murder and all other established incidents are covered by criminal and civil laws which just happen to be tied to eternal laws which have existed since before the earth was created. 

The Bible recorded that the Israelites were a stiff necked people slow to obey God’s words, that Moses deliver the Ten Commandments unto them.  But; as weve found throughout all of history, His laws having been etched in stone haven’t forced individuals to obey; only reminded them of their wayward path.

Robert Beaudine wrote an article, Cultural Marxism: The Doom of Language, which explains much of what is essential to this discussion.

“Our founders envisioned a commonwealth of freedom extending from coast to coast. Commonwealths, by definition, are established for the “common good,” which our founders defined as freedom from tyranny and the protection of unalienable rights – bestowed by God – those of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This meant there were natural limits because of natural law. The pursuit of the fruits of labor was limited when it infringed upon other’s unalienable rights.”
“Multiculturalism requires a new definition of “common good,” one for a godless society where rights are granted by governments. The left think tank, Center for American Progress, claims that government is essential when people pursue their dreams. They redefined the common good as governmental policies that benefit everyone while balancing self-interest with the needs of the entire society. Perhaps that explains why Texas removed “the common good” from their public education’s textbooks. The common good has become a progressive term that refers to entitlements for the disadvantaged, but also includes big bailouts for our megacorporations.”

There has always been a segment of society which would prefer to do away with mankind’s relationship and dependence on God.  It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about folks who walked on this land before Christ made himself manifest in flesh at the meridian of times or in our present day; some folks refuse to acknowledge the Author of Liberty.  Beyond that, these same folks have it in their agenda to destroy the faith of anyone they come across, as if by doing so their faulty line of thought is some how strengthened; how sad. 

As a Christian I am continually amazed at the wisdom and patience God has shown in His dealings with mankind.  It should be a source of gratitude for anyone living in these United States of America, a land specifically set aside as a place where individuals could live in full compliance with God’s laws without oppression from despots or tyrants as found in the established governments from which our ancestors fled.  

Some have insisted that we, here in America, recognize Sharia Law and incorporate this form of society within our constitutional republic.  Not wishing to get into the complexities of such requests, or demands as they seem to be; let it be stated that Sharia Law is not compatible with our constitutional republic.  By its very definition, Shiria Law imposes radical beliefs and actions on others regardless of the beliefs or desires of those being imposed upon.  This is in direct opposition to anything reasonable or sound and most definitely against any process set forth by our founders.

It is reassuring that our founders recognized the dangers of having a state supported religion and made it a point to separate the functions of government from any one religion.  This acknowledgement in no way diminishes the historical fact that our founders were deeply spiritual men who were committed to establishing our nation on sound principles which just happen to be in accordance with Christian doctrine and under divine guidance of His Holy Spirit.