Saturday, August 31, 2013

Something to dream about

This past week we got what appears to be a serious contract on our rental house we’ve had up for sale since January.  With any luck we’ll close on that sometime in October or early November.  The money we clear after all closing costs and taxes will be used toward finishing the inside of our house up in Buffalo, Texas. 

Right now it’s only a shell with a lot of work yet to be done.  It has the electrical wiring all ready to hook up; but no plumbing or fixtures, no kitchen cabinets or bathrooms.  We had the electric company hook up to the service box so work can be moved forward and next week we’ll have the city water turned on as well. 

Lucy and I show a great deal of restraint while waiting for progress toward completion of this house in the country; but inside we are both ‘chompin’ at the bit’, just a couple of fairly old kids working at making our dreams come true.

Here’s a satellite view of the property showing the fence lines and the private road that gets us there.  The house sits far enough back from the road so dust won’t be drifting into the house anytime a vehicle passes, which won’t happen all that often anyway since there are only a couple of neighbors at the end of the road past us. 

The trailer is parked under a metal canopy pole barn so it keeps the sun and elements from directly impacting the inside of the trailer.  
It makes for an inexpensive motel room for when we go up there and work on the property.

It's so close we can almost taste it, something to work hard for; but more importantly, something to dream about.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Locksmith Licensing Dilemma

A fellow locksmith from California, Robert Frantz, wrote a letter to the Society of Professional Locksmiths requesting membership and asking for help regarding unqualified individuals posing as locksmiths.  Tom Lynch sent me a copy of his letter and thought I’d want to read it, perhaps even toss in my two cents worth.

“…I see no real reason other than to abide by CA laws to obtain a CA Locksmith License for the protection of any consumer and believe it only an avenue to monetary gain for our state and lazy bureaucrats offering a false sense of security and trust for the public at the legit locksmiths expense.”

It appears as though Robert Franz has figured it out, or at least is onto the larger scam; states using locksmiths as a revenue tool via licensing.  Locksmith licensing was initiated under the false assumption that such licensing would protect consumers and elevate the public’s respect for the industry.  The Associated locksmiths of America (ALOA) pushed hard to get locksmiths on board while they vigorously lobbied legislators in various states with their idea of the perfect locksmith licensing legislation package. 

I wrote an article several years ago which explained my concerns regarding locksmith licensing in Texas, concerns which have been ignored on a regular basis even though tentacles of government bureaucracy grow and consume the free market system at an alarming rate.  I’ll cut and paste one paragraph from that article in order to explain why none of the goals of locksmith licensing are valid.

“I will start off with the stated mission of the Agency which is the “protection of the public through fair and impartial regulation of the Private Investigations and Private Security Industry”. It goes further and states its job as Agency in the State of Texas for “ensuring citizens and consumers of investigations and security services, that these industries provide reliable services, employ qualified and trustworthy personnel, and are free from misrepresentation and fraud”. With a mission statement as broad as all that; who could complain that they don’t have everyone’s interests at heart? The last line in the Agencies mission statement is, “It is not the goal of the License Section to speed up or slow down the processing of applications, but to ensure the qualifications of all applicants prior to issue”.”

The Agency, the Department of Public Safety/Private Security Board (DPS/PSB), can no more “ensure” citizens and consumers that a licensed locksmith will do a better job than an unlicensed locksmith than it can “ensure” that the weatherman’s forecast will be accurate; take your umbrella just in case.  The best it can do is hope that honest hard working individuals will do the best he/she can while serving the public; having a license does not “ensure” quality of work. 

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”  Ben Franklin circa 1755

If you wanted to examine ulterior motives for bringing about locksmith licensing then perhaps the misrepresentation and fraud mentioned by the Agency’s mission statement could be referring to the alarm services industry and established locksmiths, folks who have a vested interest in making it more difficult for competitors to enter or exist in the market place.  What better way to limit competition than to legislate them out of the market place via Lilliputian locksmith licensing, rules and regulations; that’s not a question.

The Federal Trade Commission recently took the dental industry to court, and won, for anti-trust violations when the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners attempted to limit who could or could not provide teeth whitening products or services through licensing restrictions.

After reading through the legal mumbo-jumbo most folks would come to the same conclusion; government is deeply embedded within the fabric of what used to be the free market system as to make it impossible to separate or nullify damage done by well meaning “do gooders” from any possible gains derived from such over sight. 

Each time government attempts to aid one segment of society it generally does so at the expense of others and each layer adds to the problem.  Individual liberty is an illusion in our day, sad but true, when nearly everyone is required to obtain a license to do that which was perfectly legal prior to government intervention.

There’s an old book I like to reference when talking about the inappropriate use of government by industry to procure a monopoly at the expense of free enterprise,  H. Verlan Andersen’s, Many are Called, But Few are Chosen.  Chapter 7 titled, Acts of Government Which Constitute an Exercise of Unrighteous Dominion, explains that a free society stands in opposition to licensing and includes a section called, Government Enforced Monopolies

 “If we desire for ourselves the freedom to enter a trade or occupation when and where we choose, we should allow our fellow men this same right. If we believe we should be left free to purchase goods or services from any person who offers them for sale, how can we forcibly restrict the freedom of other members of the buying public and still live the Golden Rule?”

American citizens who value individual liberties intended to be available equally for all other citizens should consider the foundations of any argument in favor of licensed industries. “But I’m a professional and have the necessary experience while scammers are unqualified to be called locksmiths”, I’ve heard it all as justification for licensing.

“… open competition in their field should be prohibited because, if this were not done, the unlearned, the unskilled, and the inexperienced would be serving the public. But this argument assumes it is possible to classify men into two groups—the qualified and the unqualified”

Andersen goes on to destroy the supposed justification for overseers or governing boards which limit competition via licensing restrictions and which dictate who is qualified and who isn’t, “…there are not two groups of men—the qualified and the unqualified; there is only one group and every member of it is unqualified to some extent.”  Rather than quote the entire book, go read it on your own as the information is free to anyone with an internet connection.

Getting back to Robert Frantz’ request for help, he pointed out that scammers were able to continue ripping off the public without licensing and how the state of California was not enforcing laws intended to protect consumers and those who were properly licensed in the locksmith industry.  He then wrote:

“In my opinion licensing fees in this state seems similar to taxation without representation and this Govt. needs a tea party or be forced to enforce the laws that will protect industry and consumer.”

I’m sorry to point out the flawed connection brought out; but folks who sustain fundamental tea party issues usually don’t support licensing of trades and industry for the reasons already pointed out above.  Government mandates, regardless of their intent, only add to the complexities and cost of doing business.  They cannot ensure the quality of work through licensing; the best they can do is hope honest hard working individuals will do the best they can while serving the public. 

“Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own…the harm done by ordinary criminals, murderers, gangsters, and thieves is negligible in comparison with the agony inflicted upon human beings by the professional ‘do-gooders,’ who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others.” (Henry Grady Weaver, The Mainspring of Human Progress pg 40-41)  

When a case can be made by an unhappy consumer that a business has not performed work properly or has violated the trust of an individual there are already laws on the books and courts in place to adjudicate those issues, either civil courts or criminal courts.  Why penalize everyone with mandated licensing?  We shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that anyone who doesn’t wish to be licensed has inferior skills or worse, intends to scam the public by pretending to be something he/she is not? 

Wouldn’t society be better off if we reversed the trend of having government involved in nearly every aspect of our lives?  Let’s begin the healing process by deconstructing the multiple levels of government starting with the locksmith industry.  We need to do away with the bureaucracy which micro manages everyone with mandated licenses, mandated continuing education, mandated forms, mandated uniforms or any other great idea that someone had that he/she thinks everyone else should do.

The ALOA and many other ‘prim and proper’ licensed locksmiths won’t appreciate the information presented here.  I was a member of ALOA for over thirty years until I could no longer justify the fact that they were working against everything I stood for.  Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness do not require a license.  I maintain my membership in the Greater Houston Locksmith Association as a matter of necessity; but I value my membership in the Society of Professional Locksmiths and Fiercely Independent Locksmiths of America; folks who aren’t afraid to call a spade a spade.

Perhaps some day America will return to the once commonly held understanding that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights from our Creator and are not to be to be licensed by any government entity.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Sky’s the Limit

I grew up being told the human mind is capable of anything, that the sky’s the limit.  Maybe that’s why Sci-fi novels became so popular, the sky’s the limit; only with Sci-fi there are no limits, none.

While listening to music via Pandora an advertisement caught my attention, a product called Livescribe was on sale just in time for the back to school rush for the latest gadgets and gizmos.  It sounded like something Robert Heilein might have had in, The Past Through Tomorrow - Future History Stories

It’s nice to have the internet where almost any question can be answered; what’s Wikipedia got to say?

“A Livescribe smartpen is about the size and weight of a large pen (5/8" x 6 1/8"), and is equipped with a removable ball-point ink cartridge, a microphone to record audio, a speaker for playback, a small OLED display, an infra-red camera, and internal flash memory that captures handwritten notes, audio and drawings.”

The more I read the more I knew how little I knew about our brave new world. 

“Livescribe’s special paper that allows the recording of notes uses a patented dot-positioning system licensed from Anoto.”


“As with all Anoto pattern-based pens, the smartpen can only determine its position on the page when used with paper pre-printed with the dot pattern. Livescribe sells notebooks in several styles, and users can also print their own dot paper with a color laser printer capable of at least 600 dpi.”

I knew I was in over my head with that lead in, “As with all Anoto pattern-based pens”; what the heck is an Anoto pattern-based pen, like it was common knowledge.

Not too many years ago I enjoyed the movie K-Pax about a fellow named prot (uncapitalized and rhyming with “goat”) who claims to have travelled to Earth on a beam of light from the planet K-Pax.  Naturally, his sanity was questioned and he quickly ended up under the care of the State; being placed in a mental institution, ostensibly to save him from himself.

While under the care of clinical psychologists, being analyzed and questioned regarding his claims, the answers he comes up seem to support his far fetched alternative reality.  He’s permitted an opportunity to meet with the top scientist in the field of astronomy at a planetarium where the night sky comes to life on the overhead viewing dome.

He’s asked to use the light pad to produce the orbital patterns of K-Pax along with the binary star system from whence he came.  The main character, prot, immediately sets to task, plotting the information as requested to such an extent that when his drawing is superimposed on the data collected from the Hubble telescope it matched up almost perfectly.

One of the scientists asked, “How could you know this?” 

Then prot answered, “Common knowledge, just like every child on Earth knows that your planet revolves around the Sun, common knowledge.”    

So you see, the idea of having a magic writing instrument, one which is capable of plotting and recording information electronically isn’t Sci-fi at all, it’s been around for quite some time.   

Will students of this generation appreciate the efforts taken by the ancients, those who took a sharp knife to fashion a crude writing instrument and pen words of inspiration which have lasted hundreds of years?  Perhaps, then again isn’t the information recorded more important than the means by which it was recorded?

Shouldn’t we honor the founding principles, the ink dried on parchment for all the world to see?  How much easier it would have been for Thomas Jefferson to whip out his Livescribe tablet and touch it with a Sky instrument, each word immediately played back when establishing our independence and the formation of our most basic principles:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Our nation was founded on great ideas, something along the lines, ‘the sky’s the limit’.  Isn’t it time we lived up to the promise and more especially, we hold our elected officials feet to the fire whenever they think they can get around constitutional restraints, constitutional restraints that preserve us a nation?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Carbon dioxide: The “gas of life”

Tiny amounts of this miracle molecule make life on Earth possible 

By Paul Driessen 

It’s amazing that minuscule bacteria can cause life-threatening diseases and infections – and miraculous that tiny doses of vaccines and antibiotics can safeguard us against these deadly scourges. It is equally incredible that, at the planetary level, carbon dioxide is a miracle molecule for plants – and the “gas of life” for most living creatures on Earth. 

In units of volume, CO2’s concentration is typically presented as 400 parts per million (400 ppm). Translated, that’s just 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere – the equivalent of 40 cents out of one thousand dollars, or 1.4 inches on a football field. Even atmospheric argon is 23 times more abundant: 9,300 ppm. Moreover, the 400 ppm in 2013 is 120 ppm more than the 280 ppm carbon dioxide level of 1800, and that two-century increase is equivalent to a mere 12 cents out of $1,000, or one half-inch on a football field.

Eliminate carbon dioxide, and terrestrial plants would die, as would lake and ocean phytoplankton, grasses, kelp and other water plants. After that, animal and human life would disappear. Even reducing CO2 levels too much – back to pre-industrial levels, for example – would have terrible consequences. 

Over the past two centuries, our planet finally began to emerge from the Little Ice Age that had cooled the Earth and driven Viking settlers out of Greenland. Warming oceans slowly released some of the carbon dioxide stored in their waters. Industrial Revolution factories and growing human populations burned more wood and fossil fuels, baked more bread, and brewed more beer, adding still more CO2 to the atmosphere. Much more of the miracle molecule came from volcanoes and subsea vents, forest fires, biofuel use, decaying plants and animals, and “exhaust” from living, breathing animals and humans. 

What a difference that extra 120 ppm has made for plants, and for animals and humans that depend on them. The more carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the more it is absorbed by plants of every description – and the faster and better they grow, even under adverse conditions like limited water, extremely hot air temperatures, or infestations of insects, weeds and other pests. As trees, grasses, algae and crops grow more rapidly and become healthier and more robust, animals and humans enjoy better nutrition on a planet that is greener and greener.

Efforts to feed seven billion people, and improve nutrition for more than a billion who are malnourished, are steadily increasing the tension between our need for land to feed humans – and the need to keep land in its natural state to support plants and wildlife. How well we are able to increase crop production from the same or less acreage may mean the difference between global food sufficiency and rampant human starvation in coming decades – and between the survival and extinction of many plant and animal species.

Modern agricultural methods steadily and dramatically improved crop yields per acre between 1930 and today. That is especially important if we continue to divert millions of acres of farmland from food crops, and convert millions of acres of rainforest and other wildlife habitat to cropland, for biofuel production to replace fossil fuels that we again have in abundance. Carbon dioxide will play a vital role in these efforts. 

Increased CO2 levels in greenhouses dramatically improve plant growth, especially when temperatures are also elevated; rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have likewise had astounding positive impacts on outdoor plant growth and survival. Lentils and other legumes grown in hothouses with 700 ppm CO2 improved their total biomass by 91%, their edible parts yield by 150 % and their fodder yield by 67%, compared to similar crops grown at 370 ppm carbon dioxide, Indian researchers found.

Rice grown at 600 ppm CO2 increased its grain yield by 28% with low applications of nitrogen fertilizer, Chinese scientists calculated. U.S. researchers discovered that sugarcane grown in sunlit greenhouses at 720 ppm CO2 and 11 degrees F (6 degrees C) higher than outside ambient air produced stem juice an amazing 124% higher in volume than sugarcane grown at ambient temperature and 360 ppm carbon dioxide. Non-food crops like cotton also fare much better when carbon dioxide levels are higher. 

Research into natural forest and crop growth during recent periods of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, between 1900 and 2010, found significant improvements under “real-world” conditions, as well. 

An analysis of Scots pines in Catalonia, Spain showed that tree diameter and cross-sectional area expanded by 84% between 1900 and 2000, in response to rising CO2 levels. The growth of young Wisconsin trees increased by 60%, and tree ring width expanded by almost 53%, as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increased from 316 ppm in 1958 to 376 ppm in 2003, researchers calculated. 

University of Minnesota scientists compared the growth of trees and other plants during the first half of the twentieth century (which included the terrible Dust Bowl years), when CO2 levels rose only 10 ppm – to the period 1950-2000, when CO2 increased by 57 ppm. They found that carbon dioxide lowered plant sensitivity to severe drought and improved their survival rates by almost 50%. Swiss researchers concluded that, because of rising carbon dioxide levels, “alpine plant life is proliferating, biodiversity is on the rise, and the mountain world appears more productive and inviting than ever.” 

Other researchers used historical (real-world) data for land use, atmospheric CO2 concentration, nitrogen deposition, fertilization, ozone levels, rainfall and climate, to develop a computer model that simulates plant growth responses for southern US habitats from 1895 to 2007.  They determined that “net primary productivity” improved by an average of 27% during this 112-year period, with most of the increased growth occurring after 1950, when CO2 levels rose the most, from 310 ppm in 1950 to 395 ppm in 2007. 

How does all this happen? Plants use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide from the air, and water and minerals from the soil, into the carbohydrates and other molecules that form plant biomass. More CO2 means more and larger flowers; higher seed mass and germination success; and improved plant resistance to droughts, diseases, viruses, pathogenic infections, air pollutants, and salt or nitrogen accumulation in soils. Higher CO2 levels also improve plants’ water use efficiency – ensuring faster and greater carbon uptake by plant tissues, with less water lost through transpiration. 

More airborne CO2 lets plants reduce the size of their stomata, little holes in leaves that plants use to inhale carbon dioxide building blocks. When CO2 is scarce, the openings increase in size, to capture sufficient supplies of this “gas of life.” But increasing stomata size means more water molecules escape, and the water loss places increasing stress on the plants, eventually threatening their growth and survival. 

When the air’s carbon dioxide levels rise – to 400, 600 or 800 ppm – the stomata shrink in size, causing them to lose less water from transpiration, while still absorbing ample CO2 molecules. That enables them to survive extended dry spells much better. 

(The 2009 and 2011 volumes of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change report, Climate Change Reconsidered, especially this section, and Dr. Craig Idso’s website summarize hundreds of similar studies of crops, forests, grasslands, alpine areas and deserts enriched by carbon dioxide. CO2 Science’s Plant Growth Database lets people search for more studies.) 

One of the worst things that could happen to our planet and its people, animals and plants would be for carbon dioxide levels to plunge back to levels last seen before the Industrial Revolution.

Decreasing CO2 levels would be especially problematical if Earth cools, in response to the sun entering another “quiet phase,” as happened during the Little Ice Age. If Earth cools again, growing seasons would shorten and arable cropland would decrease in the northern temperate zones. We would then need every possible molecule of carbon dioxide – just to keep agricultural production high enough to stave off mass human starvation … and save wildlife habitats from being plowed under to replace that lost cropland. 

However, even under current Modern Warm Era conditions, crops, other plants, animals and people will benefit from more carbon dioxide. The “gas of life” is a miracle plant fertilizer that helps plants grow and prosper – greening the planet, nourishing wildlife habitats, feeding people who crave larger amounts of more nutritious food, preventing species loss, and even warming the Earth a little. 

That is an amazing fete for a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that comprises just 0.04 percent of our atmosphere! We should praise carbon dioxide – not vilify, ban or bury it.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. His full report on the magic and mystery of carbon dioxide can be found at

Putting bicycles ahead of people

Pressure groups and government officials are seizing property – with no accountability
By Tom DeWeese
This is a story of raw power, collusion and government corruption. A story that is taking place in countless towns all over America. A story of “reinvented” government, where self-proclaimed private “stakeholders” and pressure groups set the rules, local elected officials rubber stamp them, and non-elected regional governments enforce them, sometimes with an iron fist – all with no input from citizens, and apparently no rights for private citizens and property owners to stop them or even have a say.
It’s the story of the destruction of private property rights in America. Of injustice and tyranny. Of unaccountable government run amok. We need to take action! (See below, in blue, for what you can do.)
Jennie Granato is a tax-paying citizen of Montgomery County, Ohio. She and her family own a 165-year-old historic house and farm just outside of Dayton. They’ve lived there forty years. On July 31, Jennie’s front yard was demolished – thanks to local, county and planning commission bureaucrats!
The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) has begun seizing people’s private property for its latest “essential” project – a $5-million bike path extension! It has seized almost all of Jennie’s front lawn. The bike path will come within just a few feet of her front door!
Jennie and her family tried for over a year to negotiate and reason with this unelected planning commission. 
 Unfortunately, their neighbors were advised by lawyers not to say anything publicly about the pending land grab, so the media viewed it as a non-story. The county and its appraisers kept stalling, saying they wanted a meeting with Jennie, even as they ignored her pleas and offered a pittance for taking her front yard, and likely driving the value of her home down by tens of thousands of dollars.
The meeting never came – and officials didn’t even allow Jennie’s uncle to speak at a hearing. But the bulldozers certainly came! Last week, with no warning, they just started demolishing trees. Jennie and her family still own the property – BUT the county has barged in, torn out their trees and destroyed their front yard! They will never be able to walk out their front door again, without worrying that they will be run over by bicyclists roaring by at 10 or 20 miles per hour, just inches from their bottom step.

The government trucks and bulldozers also precipitated an even worse tragedy. Jennie’s 85 year old mother became so upset over seeing the government’s heavy machinery destroying her yard and favorite trees that she suffered a heart attack and died.
Of course the government refuses to accept any responsibility for this tragedy. It was just promoting the “public welfare” of the private “stakeholders” and pressure groups it works with.
That too has become far too common. The government and these groups want more and more control over our lives, more power to tell us what we can and cannot do with our property and lives. But they accept no transparency and no accountability, responsibility or liability when their actions hurt … or even kill … someone – or when they destroy the property values, peace and integrity of a home.
The MVRPC is an unelected regional government force driven by federal Sustainable Development grant money. It never faces voters over its actions or positions of seemingly unbridled power. It simply deals with other government agencies – local, state and federal – and with private groups like the American Planning Association, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, and a hoard of other organizations that represent faux “conservation and environmental” interests whose real motivation is money, and the power to control our lives.
They are “stakeholders” only in the sense that they want something – and are holding the stakes that their government friends are driving through the heart of our constitutional rights.
With the assistance of Federal and State grant programs and willing politicians, who see another way to build their own power and get elected over and over, they rule over us like unaccountable dictators. It’s the same story in nearly every community in our nation.
Neither Jennie nor any of her neighbors voted to institute the agency or its policies.
* There was no vote for this bike path.
* There was no referendum on the ballot to approve this project or the spending of their tax dollars.
Yet the MVRPC imposed itself on privately owned property, giving the owner no say in the matter and giving her a pittance in exchange for the land it is taking away. Soon, strangers on bikes will be crossing her land, passing within seven feet of her front door. And she fears there is nothing she can do about it.
How does she secure her home? How can she ever hope to sell it? Who will compensate her for the loss of value, now that her once lovely and private front lawn is gone? Certainly not the MVRPC.    
My American Policy Center has warned Americans over and over about the dangers of this fraud called “Sustainable Development” – and the enforcement of top-down control through non-elected boards and regional governments. Here is that reality, in all of its outrageous raw power.
Jennie’s neighbors, property rights activists and Tea Party leaders are joining forces to support her fight to stop this outrage. They have gathered at the property, to protest and take the issue to the news media – and will do so again. To its credit, the media are finally starting to notice what is happening. But if that is the extent of it, you know full well that these government officials will simply laugh, ignore the protests and news stories, wait for the attention to go away, and then grab someone else’s property.
That’s why concerned citizens across the nation need to join this fight and put power behind this effort to stop these bureaucrats from taking Jennie’s property. Freedom fighters need to build a huge protest fire and turn this into a national property rights issue.
Corrupt government officials use taxpayers as doormats, pawns, bank accounts and land holders for their agendas and power plays. If we continue doing nothing to stem the rising tide of government tyranny and corruption, we will watch our rights and property disappear, one by one.
Here’s what you can do to help
As the local Dayton area residents do all they can with sign waving, demonstrations and protests to call attention to this blatant property theft, outraged Americans from across the country can bring an avalanche of phone calls and emails on the perpetrators – the scoundrels who think they can prey on any citizen without consequences. Make them feel heat for their actions!!
Click Here for the names, phone numbers and emails of the Montgomery County, Ohio Commissioners, the Washington Township Board, and the members of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission. Then call them and let them know what you think!
Americans concerned for their own liberties need to bury these officials in calls and emails of protest. We need to make these dictators and thieves aware that what they are doing is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We need to inform them that We the People have rights, and will fight for them.
Let them know they have overstepped their bounds. Destroying a family’s home, property, civil rights, peace of mind, and a woman’s life – for something as unnecessary as a bike path – is an outrage.
But, as you make these calls – BE RESPECTFUL. There is still a hope that some official or judge will listen and take the proper action to stop this theft and destruction of Jennie’s land.
If we can win this fight for Jennie in Ohio, we will have the strength and momentum to help the next victims of government overreach. And make no mistake, there will be one. So don’t wait. Call them now.

Tom DeWeese is president of the American Policy Center and author of the book “Now Tell Me I Was Wrong.”  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not so bright lights

By Craig Rucker

So-called “renewable energy” is not clean, renewable, reliable, affordable or sustainable.  
“Renewable energy” is a sexy term used to drive public policies and spending  The Obama Administration and like-minded Green zealots have said repeatedly that they are waging a “war on coal,” intend to bankrupt coal-based power plants, and delay or block oil, natural gas and nuclear projects – while fast-tracking and subsidizing ethanol, wind and solar programs
Another apostle of the renewable energy, anti-hydrocarbon movement is Senator Harry Reid. The chief organizer of and keynote speaker at this week’s falsely named National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, Reid is a true believer in destroying conventional energy through subsidies, regulations and strong-arm tactics. He even wants to shut down every coal-fired power plant in Nevada.
Senator Reid may believe that compelling and subsidizing increased renewable energy use, while undermining and even outlawing conventional energy, is the way to economic growth and energy independence. In reality, this reckless scheme could easily cause the collapse of our energy grid, job creation, economy and living standards, just as it is already doing in Europe.
Unfortunately, Reid and his allies could get away with it, because “renewable” confers an almost Holy Grail status that ensures widespread political, media, public and corporate support (for a lot of wrong reasons). That lofty status, however, ignores two fundamental facts:
1) Wind, solar and biofuel energy are not renewable, eco-friendly, reliable, affordable or sustainable.
2) Renewable energy schemes can no longer be justified by claims that we are rapidly running out of fossil fuels or causing dangerous manmade global warming. Oil sands and hydraulic fracturing have obliterated the depletion myth, while climate change fears are belied by a 16-year hiatus from planetary warming, historic lows in hurricane and tornado activity, and the abject failure of CO2-focused climate computer models.
In other words, the craze for “renewables” is driven by religious zeal, not science or economics.
Capturing, converting and transmitting energy from any source requires an infrastructure – which involves construction, maintenance and eventual replacement, all of which require land disturbance, raw materials extraction and processing, energy and investment. There is no pure fountain from which to drink – only limited options, each with its own upsides and downsides.
To compare energy sources honestly and rationally for specific purposes (heating, lighting, transportation or manufacturing, for instance), we need to apply the same standards and analytical methods for each alternative. However, those who champion “renewables” have consistently misrepresented the human, environmental, capital, manufacturing and maintenance costs of providing reliable, affordable energy in sufficient quantities to power a modern economy and maintain desired living standards.
For example, the subsidies needed for wind and solar projects are many times higher per unit of energy actually produced than is the case for oil, natural gas, coal or nuclear power. And yet, even with those subsidies, electricity delivered by “renewable” sources is far more expensive than is power from conventional alternatives. That means families and businesses pay much higher bills for lighting, heating,   air conditioning and machinery power, when renewable mandates are imposed – and higher costs for all consumer goods, since higher energy and manufacturing costs are passed along to consumers.
When we factor in the natural gas, coal or nuclear power plants needed as backup for intermittent, unreliable wind and solar facilities, supposedly environment friendly renewable options also require more land, raw materials, energy and money than alternative, conventional energy sources. Solar arrays also impact vast areas of wildlife habitat, while wind turbines slaughter millions of birds and bats annually – necessitating broad, long-term exemptions from endangered species and other environmental laws.
The high cost of taxpayer subsidies and consumer electricity rates also results in two to four jobs being lost in traditional industries for every wind and solar job created via government manipulation of the marketplace. Blue-collar, poor and middle class families feel the worst impacts from this enormous wealth transfer to lobbyists, pressure groups, bureaucrats, and “green energy” companies and investors.
These subsidies are not sustainable; nor are the birds and bats and wildlife habitat being sacrificed on the altar of politically correct energy. Even worse, President Obama’s determination to slash hydrocarbon use by 80% – to stave off manmade global warming catastrophes that exist only in computer models, White House statements and Hollywood movies – will require a 25-fold increase in wind and solar electricity generation, resulting in the annihilation of numerous species in regions all across the Lower 48 States.
Renewable energy hucksters ignore all of this, as they seek more grants, tax credits, production mandates, feed-in tariffs, production tax credits, and guaranteed annual returns on investments. They seek to claim the high moral ground, by chanting “renewable” while ignoring the environmental, economic and human costs of capturing and delivering energy from their preferred sources.
A recent BBC News article notes that, while wind turbines are typically permitted for up to 25 years, developers anticipate upgrading or replacing them after as few as 10 years in many locations.  Offshore life spans are even shorter. A new Scottish Natural Heritage report says, by 2034, the industry will need to recycle or dispose of some 225,000 metric tons of turbine rotor blade material per year. This means 225,000 metric tons of new rotor blades will have to be manufactured, using materials extracted from the Earth via mining, drilling and other processes that use energy and generate mountains of waste.
A 2009 article in MacLife magazine acknowledges that, while “solar-powered gadgets have become de rigueur in our attempts to shrink our carbon footprint,” there is a rarely discussed “dark side” to solar energy. Many solar panels are made with cadmium, a highly toxic carcinogen, and when these panels are decommissioned after about 20 years there will be a huge accumulation of “e-waste.” Manufacturing polysilicon (a key component in sun-capturing wafers) generates four tons of toxic silicon tetrachloride for every ton of product – and Chinese firms that produce the bulk of this material and rare earth metals for solar panels and wind turbines have been dumping their wastes on farmlands and wildlife habitats.
Electric cars are likewise “environment friendly” only in the minds of renewable zealots.  They require multiple large batteries that typically last up to three years and cost about $8,000 apiece, not including disposal costs, Diane Bacher points out in eHow. Battery disposal involves putting their hazardous metal wastes in special landfills, and the mass production of electric car batteries will create large volumes of hazardous wastes, while placing as much demand on the power grid as traditional vehicle equipment manufacturing, Bacher notes. Increased use of electric vehicles would put enormous strain on power grids that rely increasingly on intermittent wind and solar energy and less on coal, natural gas and nuclear.
Meanwhile, Europe’s obsession with climate change and fossil fuel eradication has caused it to spend $882 billion on wind and solar power since 2005. Over 800,000 Germans have had their electricity cut off, because they could not afford to pay their soaring electricity bills; millions of British families have been driven into fuel poverty; and millions remain jobless in a stagnant EU economy.
“Renewable energy” is a deliberate false labeling strategy, designed to curry favor with trendy urbanites who are ignorant about energy and economic reality. The real cost to U.S. economic growth, jobs and living standards from following the Green Brick Road to ecological paradise is equally beyond their ken.
This is energy policy by and for not-so-bright lights, who let their religious fervor for anything not hydrocarbon get in the way of common sense and fact-based analysis. Their policies will result in dim bulbs in our future light fixtures – and expensive, job-killing energy for other needs. We cannot afford to continue going down this suicidal path.

Craig Rucker is executive director of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Ozone, Mo’Zone and NoZone

Killing our economy, jobs and welfare – for phony health and environmental reasons 

By Paul Driessen 

The Environmental Protection Agency’s war on economic growth, jobs, poor families, modern living standards, and people’s health and welfare is about to get a lot more damaging.. 

The Clean Air Act says EPA must set standards for ozone and other pollutants – and periodically review existing standards, to determine whether they are adequately protecting public health, or need to be tightened further. In 1997, the agency reduced the permissible ambient ozone level to 84 parts per billion (equivalent to 8.4 cents out of $1,000,000). In 2008, it lowered the standard again, to 75 ppb. 

However, due to public outcry and because EPA’s own clean air science advisory committee said the reduction wasn’t necessary, in 2009 the agency suspended the 75 ppb rule’s implementation, pending “further study.” Shortly thereafter, though, Lisa Jackson’s EPA decided to slash allowable ozone levels to 60 ppb – without doing any further analysis. Sensing how politically volatile the issue could become, President Obama told EPA to postpone the hyper-restrictive rule until after the 2012 elections.

Meanwhile, state and industry lawsuits challenged even the 75 ppb level as unnecessary and harmful, and self-proclaimed “public health advocates” (hardcore environmentalist groups) sued for immediate implementation, claiming ozone’s role in smog means 60 ppb levels are needed now. However, no recent study has shown negative (much less toxic) effects on people, even at levels far higher than in America’s ambient air; even people engaged in vigorous exercise displayed only minor transient effects. 

Right now, according to the Business Roundtable, only 66 out of 736 monitored US counties do not meet the 75 ppb ozone standard. (Virtually all counties meet the 84 ppb standard.) The Obama EPA’s 60 ppb rule would put 96% of those counties – 707 of 736out of compliance, according to EPA! Other analysts say the new standard would turn “only” 85-88% of the counties into non-attainment areas. Maps depicting the 60 ppb rule’s impact show massive swaths of the United States blasted into noncompliance. 

This insanity is underscored by the fact that even parts of Yellowstone Park would be out of compliance, if the 60 ppb rule is imposed. That’s because the volatile organic compounds that are precursors to ozone don’t come just from fuels, plastics and other hydrocarbons. They also come from volcanoes, hot springs and trees: deciduous trees emit VOCs on hot, sunny days; conifers emit them day and night.

The regulatory derangement is further accentuated by its outrageous cost. EPA itself says the 60 ppb rule will carry a $52–90 billion annual price tag. The Manufacturers Alliance (MAPI) says the actual cost could be $1 trillion per year! Even worse, that is on top of the current cost of $353 billion per year to comply just with EPA rules – and the $1.8 trillion annual cost for US businesses and families to comply with all federal regulations – according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

EPA’s new ozone standards will send America into a regulatory Mo’Zone, NoZone and Twilight Zone.  

EPA’s Mo’Zone will impose still mo’ government, mo’ rules, mo’ intrusions in our lives, more obstacles to economic development, job creation, and modern health and living standards. EPA rules are already killing off coal-fired power plants, affordable electricity, and coal-mining jobs and communities, based on questionable to fraudulent claims about mercury and particulates. Its imminent CO2/global warming regime will put EPA in charge of everything Americans make, ship, drive, eat and do. 

The EPA NoZone means no economic growth, no employment opportunities, no civil rights progress, no concern about our lives, livelihoods, or real health and welfare. These ozone rules will not be issued in a vacuum. Over 40 million Americans are still unemployed, under-employed or have given up on finding a job. 

Over 47 million are on food stamps. Then there’s Obamacare, Dodd-Frank … and federal agencies primed to impose 4,000 more new regulations – on top of the 81,883 rules they have issued over the past two decades! EPA’s ozone rules would perpetuate this disaster and our abysmal 1.8% economic growth.

EPA’s Twilight Zone is not just bizarre. It’s criminal. America’s air quality has improved dramatically since 1970, and continues to get even better as technologies and fuel efficiencies advance. But instead of recognizing this, EPA (and the pressure groups it pays to promote scary pollution fantasies) constantly demand more costly and restrictive regulations. The rules do not just provide few or no actual benefits; by imposing needless costs and killing jobs, they actually harm human health and welfare, and kill people. 

Anemic growth and declining economic status mean millions of families cannot heat and cool their homes properly, pay their rent, mortgage or other bills, take vacations, or save for retirement. The stress of being unemployed – or holding several low-paying part-time jobs – means sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, more commuting, higher incidences of depression and alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse, lower life expectancies and higher suicide rates. EPA ignores all of this, making its regulatory “benefits” fraudulent.

Its claims that economy-crushing ozone rules will prevent asthma and “save the children” are equally deceitful. US asthma rates have been rising, even as pollution levels are declining. By EPA “logic,” we should increase pollution to decrease asthma rates. In reality, asthma is an allergic disease; air pollution can aggravate asthma to some degree, but doesn’t cause it, and hospital data show no correlation between pollution levels and asthma admissions. The reasons more kids have asthma attacks, toxicologists explain, is that they live in tightly insulated homes, spend less time outdoors in the dirt, and don’t get exposed to enough allergens during their early years to reduce immune hyperactivity and allergic hypersensitivity.  
An honest, socially responsible EPA or American Lung Association would clarify all this. But EPA has an agenda – and it pays the ALA (and other activist groups) millions of dollars annually to help it frighten people about “worsening” air quality and “dangerous” pollution levels, to advance that agenda. 

The Heritage Foundation estimates that EPA gave these organizations $3.8 billion between 2000 and 2010. The ALA alone received over $20 million – which it used to conduct opinion polls carefully devised to support agency regulations on soot from power plants; produce sleazy TV attack ads that equate challenges to its runaway regulatory regime to killing babies; and buy billboard space accusing legislators of hurting children for trying to prevent EPA from regulating carbon dioxide until Congress explicitly authorizes it to do so. EPA has also given millions in taxpayer money to student activist groups and “environmental justice” organizations, to vilify and stifle any criticism of its programs, assertions, methodologies, or damage to people’s health and welfare.

In one particularly outrageous example, EPA gave millions of dollars to researchers who intentionally and illegally exposed thousands of people to air pollutants, including soot from diesel exhaust – at high levels that EPA itself insists (but did not tell its experimental subjects) are dangerous and even deadly. EPA is using the studies to bolster its bogus claim that we need even stricter limits for these pollutants. Almost as incredible, even though these “lethal” pollution levels did not sicken test subjects, the agency still demands emission levels at a tiny percentage of what the test subjects were exposed to.

Either EPA is guilty of attempted manslaughter for exposing people to lethal doses – or it is lying to Congress and the American people, and trying to impose more job-killing rules that have no medical or scientific basis. In fact, it claims 65% of the phony “benefits” from its 60 ppb ozone rules will come from “incidental reductions” in the “fine particulate matter” (soot) that its test subjects were illegally exposed to. 

This secretive, tyrannical, abusive, ideologically driven rogue agency’s budget needs to be trimmed, as several congressmen have proposed. That would help force EPA to focus on real environmental problems, as required by law and honest science. EPA should not be allowed to fund illegal experiments, hire surrogates to scare and propagandize us, or impose excessive, fraudulent rules that kill jobs and harm human health and welfare. Nor should it be allowed to waste our money on useless, unethical programs. 

It’s high time for our Congress, courts and state legislatures to exercise some responsible adult supervision. 

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.