Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How the EPA's CAFE Standards May Cost You Thousands

How the EPA's CAFE Standards May Cost You Thousands

Morning Bell: How the EPA May Cost You Thousands

Brace yourself. The cost of a new car in America is set to explode, skyrocketing by thousands of dollars, all thanks to a new regulation proposed by President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Under a new 893-page proposal unveiled last week, automakers must hit a fleet-wide fuel economy average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025–double today’s 27.3 standard. The government says it would cost automakers $8.5 billion per year to comply, which means a spike in sticker prices of at least $2,000 to $2,800, according to official projections. Other estimates peg the added costs at $3,100, and that could go even higher. As The Wall Street Journal writes, “Vehicles that currently cost $15,000 or less will effectively be regulated out of existence.”

Apart from increased costs, the new regulations would have other impacts on consumers as well. In a new paper, Heritage’s Diane Katz warns that another unacceptable consequence is loss of life resulting from smaller vehicles:

In past years, the structure of the regulations induced automakers to dramatically downsize some vehicles to meet the standard, which increased traffic fatalities by the thousands. The new standards would require downsizing to both small and large models, which the government contends will neutralize the risk. However, the NHTSA and the EPA disagree on the extent of the risk, while outside experts say that the danger would be heightened by the extreme stringency of the proposed standards.

While consumers struggle to pay the price of higher cost vehicles, U.S. automakers would likely take a hit as well. They would be forced to change the lineup of vehicles they offer in order to meet their fuel efficiency targets, and they would produce cars and trucks that Americans don’t even want. The Wall Street Journal explains:

The only way Detroit can hit these averages will be by turning at least 25% of its fleet into hybrids. But hybrid sales peaked in the U.S. two years ago at 3% of the market and are declining. The EPA’s $157 billion price tag includes only the estimate of what manufacturers will have to invest in new technology, not the billions more that will hemorrhage when nobody buys their EPA-approved products.

And all this comes as the former “Detroit Three” are struggling with weak auto sales, projected to be down by 17.9 percent in 2011 from where they stood at the onset of the recession. Ironically, the federal government that bailed out the industry is now imposing regulations that could once again threaten its existence. The Obama Administration is pointing to the supposed benefits of the new standards–including a fuel savings of $1.7 trillion–but as Katz writes, that number is “pure speculation given that actual savings would depend on the price of gasoline,” which can’t be predicted 14 years into the future, much less next summer.

There’s another point to be made, as well: American consumers would face higher-priced vehicles and fewer choices all at the hands of unelected bureaucrats at the EPA who have never been authorized by Congress to set fuel-efficiency standards for any purpose. That, though, is consistent with President Obama’s modus operandi–to regulate where he cannot legislate. There is something Congress can and should do: bar the EPA and the NHTSA from implementing and enforcing the new standards by withholding funds or passing a law prohibiting the regulation.

The EPA should not be in the business of picking and choosing what kind of cars and trucks Americans can drive, and neither should President Obama. But if Congress does not take action, that could certainly be the result.

Desiderata poem

Desiderata poem, max ehrmann, go placidly amid the noise and haste, you are a child of the universe

desiderata - by max ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann c.1920

What You Don't Often Hear About Those 'Greedy' One Percenters - Forbes

What You Don't Often Hear About Those 'Greedy' One Percenters - Forbes

What You Don't Often Hear About Those 'Greedy' One Percenters

The rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement has brought with it a renewed emphasis on the impoverishing notion of envy. To the Occupiers, along with much of the political class, society’s economic rules favor the top 1 percent at the certain expense of the other 99.

Great rhetoric for sure, but also quite a lot of nonsense. People who should know better bemoan the economic means possessed by the 1 percent, but rarely do they consider the gargantuan efforts required by those at the top to get there in the first place.

To show why this is true it’s useful to reference an opinion piece written by Thomas Sowell long, long ago. Having witnessed a caricature artist draw a willing individual, when the artist collected his payment after services rendered he was dismayed to hear the customer complain about the “high” cost of something which took five minutes to draw. But as the artist correctly pointed out, the customer didn’t see the 25 years of hard work and practice that preceded his ability to sketch an individual in five minutes.

The age of Sowell’s op-ed can be measured in decades, his point within concerned the huge upfront investment required by pharmaceutical firms ahead of tiny pills that “cost way too much”, but his reasoning surely applies much the same to successful individuals today. The envious see the success on the way to obnoxious anger and calls for wealth redistribution, but very few see all the work and sacrifice that precedes entrance into the 1 percent club.

Considering the myriad business owners that dot the American landscape, as owners they’re often demonized for their possession of the means of production. What’s left out is the grand deal they’re offering the 99 percenters who work for them.

Basically the owners provide the capital, conceive the business plan, and then if the plan fails, as owners they stand to lose all that they ventured. As for the allegedly exploited laborers, they get paid no matter what. Not a bad deal.

In modern times cable television visionary John Malone is known for his billions, along with landholdings said to be greater than those held by any other American. Not often mentioned is that on the way up, desperate to keep his cable vision afloat, he shared motel rooms with fellow owner Bob Magness.

Of course many of today’s owners began as employees, and even there we perhaps learn that the 1 percent are made of different stuff. Looking for work in an increasingly prosperous Cleveland, OH in 1851, John D. Rockefeller’s biographer Ron Chernow observed that for the future titan of commerce, “prospects were momentarily bleak.” As Rockefeller later described it, “No one wanted a boy, and very few showed any overwhelming anxiety to talk with me on the subject. But as Chernow put it, “When he exhausted his list [of potential employers], he simply started over from the top and visited several firms two or three times. Another boy might have been crestfallen, but Rockefeller was the sort of stubborn person who only grew more determined with rejection.”

Readers of the above doubtless sense a rhyme to Rockefeller’s early history with that of the late Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. As Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson recounts in his book about the man, Jobs arrived at Atari’s offices early in his career and told those willing to see him that he would not leave the premises without a job offer. Having written a major bestseller that was more recently turned into a blockbuster film, Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, is firmly ensconced now inside the top 1 percent. What’s perhaps less well known is how many years it took Stockett to write her book, not to mention the 60+ rejection letters she received from agents before finding one willing to take her vision to publishers.

1 percenters generally have the nerve, drive and self-assurance that the rest of us could only dream of. We see where they are or were, but what the envious among us never consider is what they did to get there.

Former Congressman Richard Gephardt once said that the rich, far from having achieved wealth through hard work, had simply won “life’s lottery.” The story of the Rolling Stones as told by guitarist Keith Richards exposes Gephardt’s musings as patently absurd.

Indeed, as Richards noted about the band’s early days, “Benedictines had nothing on us. Anybody that strayed from the nest to get laid, or try to get laid, was a traitor. You were supposed to spend all your waking hours studying Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson. That was your gig. Every other moment taken away from it was a sin.”

Grant Achatz is the chef/owner of Alinea which is widely considered America’s best restaurant, and surely by now among the demonized 1 percent. But what many don’t know is that he got his start flipping eggs at his parents’ diner in Michigan.

Importantly, it’s not where we start in life that dictates where we end it, and having learned the basics as a child and teenager, Achatz eventually matriculated to the Culinary Institute of America. Once there, not content to rest on the achievement of having gotten in, Achatz skipped the “bars and partying” that animated the experiences of his classmates and instead “hit the gym every day and then spent each night reading cookbooks.” Early sacrifices that others wouldn’t make now have Achatz at the top of the culinary world.

He may not know it, but Achatz would have soulmate in the form of Aaron Rodgers, Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. Those who only know the modern Rodgers story might think of a wildly talented athlete with a brilliant arm who only knows how to throw touchdown passes all the while collecting millions from his employer.

What they don’t know is the different path he took in high school so that he could get where he is today. As Rodgers’ high school friend Ryan Gulbrandsen told Sports Illustrated recently, “We both just decided that we wouldn’t be the kids who would party in high school.” Instead, Rodgers studied hard in school (1310 SATs), and also unrelentingly studied football film.

Despite all the work and sacrifice, as a high school senior Rodgers could claim stature of the 5’10”, 165-pound variety, which was decidedly not the stuff of Division 1 college football. Though he could have played in the Ivy League given his academic prowess, Rodgers went the JC route, impressed the coaches at Cal, eventually starred there, but even then he was forced to agonize on NFL Draft day as 23 teams passed him by in the first round.

Rodgers’ reward for waiting 23 picks with cameras fully trained on him was to be drafted by the Green Bay Packers; Brett Favre’s Packers. When Favre eventually left Green Bay Rodgers had to suffer a fan base very loyal to Favre, and that was none too happy to see him under center. The rest is history now, Rodgers is a few more great seasons away from the Hall of Fame, and his millions put him well into 1 percenter category. What’s unknown is how many of us 99-ers would have done what he did to get there.

It’s said also about Rodgers that during practice as a backup to Favre, that he “took every scout-team possession like it was the last possession of his life.” This rhymes with the stories basketball fans used to hear about Michael Jordan. The Jordan they saw on television possessed staggering talent, but less known was the fact that Jordan, much like Rodgers, approached every practice like it was his final game. Jordan and Rodgers, both one percenters, and both extraordinarily hard workers.

It should be said that right or wrong, much of the angst about the 1 percenters is directed at Wall Street, or the investment bankers and traders who supposedly get paid for “moving money around.” The naivete there is staggering.

As Schumpeter noted, investment bankers are capitalists par excellence for securing the capital that has enabled all the great individuals listed here to accomplish what they have. After that, it would be interesting to know if many in the Occupy crowd have friends in the investment banking world.

It seems they don’t, because if they did they’d understand that these providers of capital have no lives, particularly the ones who make the millions. Without defending the bank bailouts for one second, Wall Streeters are generally paid large sums because they’re engaging in work that very few know how to do, that is highly valued by the marketplace, and that can disappear with one bad deal. In short, we decry the financiers of our economic ascendance at our peril.

It was presumably F. Scott Fitzgerald who once observed that “the rich are different from you and me.” Yes they are. The rich, or as they say today, the 1 percent, generally work a lot harder and smarter than do the rest of us, and for doing so, make all of our lives easier, cheaper, and more entertaining.

What’s not said enough about the 1 percenters is how difficult were their paths, but perhaps even more to the point, how much easier and better our paths will be for what they did ahead of us. Rather than bemoan their wealth, it’s time we start thanking them.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Articles: Obama's Green War Continues

Articles: Obama's Green War Continues

Obama's Green War Continues

By Gary Jason

The Obama Regime has pursued a Green religious crusade on energy policy. Part of this crusade --the soft option, so to say--has been to lavishly subsidize every kind of so-called "green energy" business (such as solar power, wind power, and ethanol), no matter how inefficient it might be.

The preferred tool the Green Regime employs is the covert subsidy -- that is, taxpayer-backed loan guarantees. The company that gets these loan guarantees can borrow freely from the private sector large sums, no matter how financially weak the company is, to capitalize its operations, and until it actually hits the wall and the taxpayer gets hosed (as in the notorious Solyndra case), nobody sees what is going on.

The flip-side of the Green jihad -- the hard option -- is a sustained regulatory attack on fossil fuel industries (oil, natural gas, and coal). The hard option is needed to complement the soft, for even with enormous subsidies, the green energy sources are so inefficient that they are still market losers. The Regime figures that it must destroy the competition to get people to switch to these costly forms of energy.

Two recent stories highlight the hard option in action. The first is the news that the Regime has "put on hold" approval of the Keystone XL pipeline until after the next election (when presumably -- if he is reelected -- Obama will just kill it off altogether).

The Keystone pipeline would have connected the oil sands in Canada -- which contain proven oil reserves of 170 billion barrels, third in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela -- with Port Arthur, Texas, on the Gulf Coast. (The reason that the pipeline was to terminate in Texas was to circumvent the refining bottlenecks now prevalent in the Midwest). The pipeline would have brought 700,000 to a million barrels of oil a day to U.S. refiners on the Gulf of Mexico. It would have created 20,000 new construction jobs in a country suffering from chronic 9% unemployment -- not to mention all the ancillary jobs in creating the steel pipe and transporting it to the middle of the country, along with housing and feeding all those pipeline workers. Unlike the bogus "shovel ready" jobs Obama promised and later laughed about with his stimulus bill, these jobs really were shovel-ready.

Never mind that the project had passed prior extensive environmental reviews, and was supported by the State Department after being held up for three years in these studies. Never mind that it would have been built to standards exceeding all prior pipeline standards (such as utilizing computerized leak-detectors beaming information real-time to monitoring stations via satellite, as well as state-of-the-art puncture-resistant piping). Never mind that these same hysterical environmentalists who predicted ecological Armageddon from the Alaskan pipeline decades ago were proven wrong by history -- no, there weren't massive spills, and no, the caribou didn't die (in fact, the warm pipeline proved a boon to the beasts during the long, cold winters). Never mind that there are already 25,000 miles of pipeline in this region of the country, functioning without any massive mishaps. Never mind that this oil would have been refined in Texas, creating even more jobs. Never mind that this oil would eliminate virtually all our current imports from Saudi Arabia. Never mind that Canada has been a longstanding and loyal ally of the U.S., so importing oil from it -- rather than the likes of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela -- is greatly in our national security interests. And never mind that Canada already is our biggest supplier of oil.

The environmentalist extremists pulling the strings of this Green Regime care nothing for the goals of inexpensive energy, American jobs, or American national security. In fact, they oppose them profoundly. In their loony worldview, allowing China access to plentiful, cheap Canadian oil is better than allowing America access to it. They of course never explain why it is better -- certainly not to stop global warming, since whether China or America burns it, burned it will be, with precisely the same impact on the planet.

Speaking of the Chinese getting the oil, it is no surprise that the immediate reaction of the Canadians is to look to Asia to export that valuable oil. China has eyed Canadian oil for some time and has invested heavily in it in the past. After getting kicked in the teeth by Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper quickly announced that Canada will export more oil to China. Harper sagely noted of the Green Regime's insulting decision that "[t]his does underscore the necessity of Canada making sure that we will be able to access Asian markets for our energy products. ... I indicated that yesterday to President Hu of China." The theory now is that Canada will probably build its own pipeline West to British Colombia, so that the Chinese can easily ship it across the Pacific.

Parenthetically, this affair is quite typical of Obama's foreign policy in general and his policy towards Canada in particular.

His general policy is comprehensively described in one pithy sentence: punish your friends (Canada, Israel, Poland, Mexico, etc.) and reward your enemies (Russia, Iran, Venezuela, etc.).

And Obama seems to have a special disdain for the Canada. You will recall that one of his first acts in office was to start a virtual trade war with her.

The second major news in the Green Regime's jihad against fossil fuels is Obama's action in Ohio. Not content with nixing the Canadian oil project, the Regime has struck another major blow to America's energy independence by canceling a major mineral lease in the Wayne National Forest, thus halting the expansion of shale gas drilling in the state. This cancelation will last at least half a year -- although given this environmentalist-controlled Regime, it may go on indefinitely. The action was taken by the Department of Agriculture, but the motivation was stated by Green jihadist Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar: fear of fracking. This technology puts anger in the heart of environmentalists everywhere.

Again, never mind that the administration's decision will put off another 200,000 high-paying jobs. And never mind that the Wayne National Forest already has something like 1,300 oil and natural gas wells already.

One suspects that Obama took this action not merely out of a desire to fire up the extremist environmentalists, who will furnish him with tens of billions of bucks for his upcoming campaign, but out of a real anger at Ohio. After all, this ban comes just days after the brave citizens of Ohio voted in a referendum to have their state refuse to enact the key provisions of Obamacare.

Philosopher Gary Jason is a senior editor of Liberty Unbound and the author of the new book Dangerous Thoughts.

Articles: Scientists in Revolt against Global Warming

Articles: Scientists in Revolt against Global Warming

Scientists in Revolt against Global Warming

By Karin McQuillan

Global warming became a cause to save life on earth before it had a chance to become good science. The belief that fossil fuel use is an emergency destroying our planet by CO2 emissions took over the media and political arena by storm. The issue was politicized so quickly that the normal scientific process was stunted. We have never had a full, honest national debate on either the science or government policy issues.

Everyone "knows" that global warming is true. The public has no idea of the number of scientists -- precisely one thousand at last count of a congressional committee -- who believe that global warming is benign and natural, and that it ended in 1998. We have not been informed of the costs to our economy of discouraging fossil fuel development and promoting alternatives. The public need to know the choices being made on their behalf, and to have a say in the matter. We are constantly told that the scientific and policy debate on global warming is over. It has just begun.

What is never discussed is this: the theory of global warming has catastrophic implications for our economy and national security. Case in point: Obama's recent decision to block the Keystone pipeline in order to placate global warming advocates. Key Democrat supporters fear the use of oil more than they care about losing jobs or our dangerous dependence on the Mideast for oil. The president delayed the pipeline by fiat, and the general public has had no say. (For the impact on our economy, see my article, "The Whole Country Can Be Rich.")

President Obama has spoken out passionately on the danger of developing oil and gas because of man-made global warming. "What we can be scientifically certain of is that our continued use of fossil fuels is pushing us to a point of no return. And unless we free ourselves from a dependence on these fossil fuels and chart a new course on energy in this country, we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe."

Obama calls for the debate to end. He cites hurricanes as proof: "dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real -- it's here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster."

Happily, our president is wrong. The worst hurricanes were in 1926, the second-worst in 1900. The world's top hurricane experts say that there is no evidence that global warming affects storms. There is no such thing as a man-made hurricane. Storm cycles and long patterns of bad weather are entirely natural. Yet this good news is suppressed by our politicized media. We hear only one side.

More and more scientists are revolting against the global warming consensus enforced by government funding, the academic establishment, and media misrepresentation. They are saying that solar cycles and the complex systems of cloud formation have much more influence on our climate, and account for historical periods of warming and cooling much more accurately that a straight line graph of industrialization, CO2, and rising temperatures. They also point out that the rising temperatures that set off the global warming panic ended in 1998.

It takes a lot of courage. Scientists who report findings that contradict man-made global warming find their sources of funding cut, their jobs terminated, their careers stunted, and their reports blocked from important journals, and they are victimized by personal attacks. This is a consensus one associates with a Stalinist system, not science in the free world.

Here is how it has worked. The theory that entirely natural sun cycles best explain warming patterns emerged years ago, but the Danish scientists "soon found themselves vilified, marginalized and starved of funding, despite their impeccable scientific credentials." Physicists at Europe's most prestigious CERN laboratory tried to test the solar theory in 1996, and they, too, found their project blocked. This fall, the top scientific journal Nature published the first experimental proof -- by a team of 63 scientists at CERN -- that the largest factor in global warming is the sun, not humans. But the director of CERN forbade the implications of the experiment to be explained to the public: "I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them. That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate."

As more and more scientific evidence is published that debunks global warming, the enforced consensus is ending. The Royal Society, Britain's premier scientific institution -- whose previous president declared that "the debate on climate change is over" -- "is being forced to review its statements on climate change after a rebellion by members who question mankind's contribution to rising temperatures. ... The society has been accused by 43 of its Fellows of refusing to accept dissenting views on climate change and exaggerating the degree of certainty that man-made emissions are the main cause." Most of the rebels were retired, as one of them explained, "One of the reasons people like myself are willing to put our heads above the parapet is that our careers are not at risk from being labeled a denier or flat-Earther because we say the science is not settled. The bullying of people into silence has unfortunately been effective."

In America, Dr. Ivar Giaever, a Nobel Prize-winner in physics, resigned in protest from the American Physical Society this fall because of the Society's policy statement: "The evidence is incontrovertible: global warming is occurring." Dr. Giaver:

Incontrovertible is not a scientific word. Nothing is incontrovertible in science.

In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?

The claim (how can you measure the average temperature of the whole earth for a whole year?) is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me is that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this "warming" period.

In 2008, Prof. Giaever endorsed Barack Obama's candidacy, but he has since joined 100 scientists who wrote an open letter to Obama, declaring: "We maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated."

Do a Google search: you will find this letter reported in Britain and even India, but not in America.

Fifty-one thousand Canadian engineers, geologists, and geophysicists were recently polled by their professional organization. Sixty-eight percent of them disagree with the statement that "the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled." Only 26% attributed global warming to "human activity like burning fossil fuels." APEGGA's executive director Neil Windsor said, "We're not surprised at all. There is no clear consensus of scientists that we know of."

Dr. Joanne Simpson, one of the world's top weather scientists, expressed relief upon her retirement that she was finally free to speak "frankly" on global warming and announce that "as a scientist I remain skeptical." She says she remained silent for fear of personal attacks. Dr. Simpson was a pioneer in computer modeling and points out the obvious: computer models are not yet good enough to predict weather -- we cannot scientifically predict global climate trends.

Dr. Fred Singer, first director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service, and physicist Dr. Seitz, past president of the APS, of Rockefeller University and of the National Academy of Science, argue that the computer models are fed questionable data and assumptions that determine the answers on global warming that the scientists expect to see.

Recently we've had a perfect example of the enforced global warming consensus falling apart. Berkeley Professor Muller did a media blitz with the findings of the latest analysis of all land temperature data, the BEST study, that he claimed once and for all proved that the planet is warming. Predictably, the Washington Post proclaimed that the BEST study had "settled the climate change debate" and showed that anyone who remained a skeptic was committing a "cynical fraud."

But within a week, Muller's lead co-author, Professor Curry, was interviewed in the British press (not reported in America), saying that the BEST data did the opposite: the global "temperature trend of the last decade is absolutely flat, with no increase at all - though the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have carried on rising relentlessly."

This is nowhere near what the climate models were predicting," Prof Curry said. "Whatever it is that's going on here, it doesn't look like it's being dominated by CO2." In fact, she added, in the wake of the unexpected global warming standstill, many climate scientists who had previously rejected sceptics' arguments were now taking them much more seriously. They were finally addressing questions such as the influence of clouds, natural temperature cycles and solar radiation - as they should have done, she said, a long time ago.

Other scientists jumped in, calling Muller's false claims to the media that BEST proved global warming "highly unethical." Professor Muller, confronted with dissent, caved and admitted that indeed, both ocean and land measurements show that global warming stopped increasing in 1998.

Media coverage on global warming has been criminally one-sided. The public doesn't know where the global warming theory came from in the first place. Answer: the U.N., not a scientific body. The threat of catastrophic warming was launched by the U.N. to promote international climate treaties that would transfer wealth from rich countries to developing countries. It was political from the beginning, with the conclusion assumed: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (U.N. IPCC) was funded to report on how man was changing climate. Its scientific reports have been repeatedly corrected for misrepresentation and outright fraud.

This is important. Global warming theory did not come from a breakthrough in scientific research that enabled us to understand our climate. We still don't understand global climate any more than we understand the human brain or how to cure cancer. The science of global climate is in its infancy.

Yet the U.N. IPCC reports drive American policy. The EPA broke federal law requiring independent analysis and used the U.N. IPCC reports in its "endangerment" finding that justifies extreme regulatory actions. Senator Inhofe is apoplectic:

Global warming regulations imposed by the Obama-EPA under the Clean Air Act will cost American consumers $300 to $400 billion a year, significantly raise energy prices, and destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs. This is not to mention the 'absurd result' that EPA will need to hire 230,000 additional employees and spend an additional $21 billion to implement its [greenhouse gas] regime.

Former top scientists at the U.N. IPCC are protesting publicly against falsification of global warming data and misleading media reports. Dr. John Everett, for example, was the lead researcher on Fisheries, Polar Regions, Oceans and Coastal Zones at the IPCC and a former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) senior manager, and he received an award while at NOAA for "accomplishments in assessing the impacts of climate change on global oceans and fisheries." Here is what he has to say on global warming:

It is time for a reality check. Warming is not a big deal and is not a bad thing. The oceans and coastal zones have been far warmer and colder than is projected in the present scenarios ... I would much rather have the present warm climate, and even further warming...No one knows whether the Earth is going to keep warming, or since reaching a peak in 1998, we are at the start of a cooling cycle that will last several decades or more.

That is why we must hear from all the best scientists, not only those who say fossil fuel use is dangerous. It is very important that we honestly discuss whether this theory is true and, if so, what reasonable steps we can afford to take to mitigate warming. If the theory is not based on solid science, we are free to develop our fossil fuel wealth responsibly and swiftly.

Instead, federal policies are based on global warming fears. Obama has adopted the California model. The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 has shed a million jobs in that state. California now has almost 12% unemployment, ranking 50th in the nation.

The country could be following North Dakota, where oil development has led to a 3.5% unemployment rate, or Texas, which has created 40% of the jobs nationwide since the 2009 economic crash thanks to its robust energy sector. These are good jobs. An entry-level job on an oil rig pays $70,000 a year. A roughneck with a high school diploma earns $100,000 a year in Wyoming's Jonah Fields. Brazil's new offshore oil discoveries are predicted to create 2 million jobs there. We have almost three times more oil than Brazil.

When we treat oil and gas companies like pariahs, we threaten America's economic viability. For global warming alarmists who believe that man-made CO2 threatens life on earth, no cost is too high to fight it. They avert their eyes from the human suffering of people without jobs, with diminished life savings, limited future prospects, and looming national bankruptcy.

This is not all about idealism. There are crasser reasons of money and power for wanting to close the debate. Billions of dollars in federal grants and subsidies are spent to fight global warming. The cover of fighting to save the planet gives the government unlimited powers to intrude into private business and our individual homes. The government can reach its long arm right into your shower and control how much hot water you are allowed to use. In the words of MIT atmospheric scientist Dr. Lindzen, "[c]ontrolling carbon is kind of a bureaucrat's dream. If you control carbon, you control life."

Warming advocates persistently argue that we cannot afford to pause for a reality check; we must not ignore the possibility that global warming theory might be true. Limiting fossil fuels and promoting green energy are presented as a benign, a "why not be on the safe side," commonsense approach.

There is a lot of emotion and little common sense in this argument. If a diagnosis is based on a shaky and partly fraudulent theory, ignores much more convincing evidence, and has terrible negative side effects, you don't perform major surgery. We do not have to run around like Chicken Little on the off-chance that the sky may be falling.

There has been a high economic cost to limiting our oil and gas wealth, with much human anguish because of government-imposed economic contraction. Responsible government policy requires honest media coverage, unfettered scientific inquiry, and robust political debate. Our country cannot afford the costs of foolish energy policy based on politicized science and fear.

Articles: We're Not Electing a Messiah

Articles: We're Not Electing a Messiah

We're Not Electing a Messiah

By R. Clayton Strang

No one is perfect. No one. Not a single one of us has led a completely blameless life. We've all said something that we wish we hadn't. We've all lied, cheated, or stolen. We've all done or said hurtful things. Imperfection is a reality of the human condition. We know and accept that we are flawed. We realize that our parents, brothers, sisters, friends, and neighbors are flawed. If we accept this as true, why do we expect more from our potential elected leaders?

Every day, you can turn on the cable news, or go to your favorite news or blog sites, and hear all about the Republican presidential candidates and how imperfect they are. We all know about the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain. Most agree that these charges have probably been completely fabricated. That being the case, we are then subjected to constant criticism of his campaign's handling of these allegations. Now we get to hear all about his flubbing of a question on Libya. The mainstream media has force-fed us clips of Rick Perry having a bit of a brain freeze during a debate. We know all about Newt Gingrich's past marital problems. He appeared in an ad with Nancy Pelosi, and he's criticized Congressman Paul Ryan. We hear these attacks daily from both sides of the aisle. These stories are designed to convince us of something that we should already know: no one is perfect!

The media is setting us up. They're lying to us. The lie is this: we must have a perfect candidate to defeat Barack Obama in 2012. Conservatives more and more seem to buy into the lie. They buy into it and get discouraged. They don't see any of our candidates as perfect, and they see Barack Obama's re-election as inevitable. If the progressives can get enough of us to believe that the defeat of conservatism in 2012 is a foregone conclusion, they can keep us home on November 6. What many American conservatives need is a good, cold splash of reality.

America has a president who was presented to us as perfect. We were told that with his election, the world would respect and love American again. We were told that we would remember even his nomination as the day when "the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." We haven't heard from any of his past girlfriends, classmates, teachers, or co-workers who might tell us about his many flaws. If they have come forward, we've never heard about it. Why? Because we're supposed to believe that Barack Obama is perfect. He is everything that we should want to be. He and he alone can save us. Of course, now we know that none of that is true. Some of us have been saying it for years as Americans raced to follow this "perfect" man. Millions of our fellow citizens swallowed that narrative hook, line, and sinker, and look at the state of our Republic now.

Perfection for mankind in this life is unattainable, and thus is of no value to us. Of course, we cannot have as our nominee someone who is or has been an adulterer, an abuser, a liar, or a racist. Such a person, should any proof of such things be demonstrable, would have such a huge lack of character that he or she would be thoroughly undeserving of the office of president of the United States.

We don't need a new messiah. We don't need perfection. We need vision. We need substance. We need character. These traits are the building blocks of our Great Republic, and anyone wishing to be the Republican nominee for president must possess them in great quantities. We don't need another savior; we simply want a president.

Articles: Obama's Canadian Blunder

Articles: Obama's Canadian Blunder

Obama's Canadian Blunder

By John Donaldson, MD

President Obama and his advisers seriously misread the effect of the delay of the Keystone XL pipeline. The alternative Northern Gateway pipeline is not a dream, but close to a reality which can ship oil to China and expand the use of B.C. Natural Gas.

The Keystone XL proposal would build a pipeline from the tar sands of Northern Alberta through Southern Saskatchewan into Montana and south to the Texas Gulf for end use of the recovered crude oil. Its ultimate capacity would be 900,000 barrels per day and would significantly reduce imports to the USA from OPEC nations, none of which can be considered friendly or stable, making American energy supply and prices hostage to the whims of international politics.

With a major voter support group opposing the construction of Keystone from the Canadian border to refineries on the Gulf Coast, Obama again voted "present" on the issue, delaying any decision on permitting its construction until after the next election. The foremost vocal opponents were the environmentalists, who continue to proclaim that this pipeline poses a threat to an aquifer in Nebraska, that the tar sands oil is "dirty," and that any hydrocarbon-based energy production contributes to global warming and/or climate change.

Currently, the Keystone Phase 1 pipeline is completed and able to deliver crude from the tar sands to Patoka, IL and refineries at Wood River, IL. A side branch delivers crude to Cushing, OK for distribution to refineries in Kansas and Oklahoma via Keystone Phase 3. The line is capable of supplying 435,000 barrels daily. An interactive map can be found here. Note that if all four phases are completed, the USA would receive 1.3 million barrels per day from a stable neighbor.

It is no secret that China is energy-hungry. Anyone who has visited China, particularly in the cooler months, can testify that they have no interest in subscribing to any of the global warming fraud. They are pursuing energy worldwide, including via the tar sands, where they have invested around $15 billion already, mostly through their government arm PetroChina.

To get that oil to their market will require a pipeline to the Canadian West Coast, specifically Kitimat, British Columbia from a terminal near Edmonton. Plans are well underway for Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline to build two parallel lines, an eastbound 20-inch line to bring "condensate" B.C. natural gas to the terminal to dilute the viscosity of the heavy crude, thereby facilitating transmission via the westbound 36-inch line for transshipment via supertanker to China. Around 500,000 barrels per day will be exported and inject roughly $20 billion per year into the Canadian economy.

If the USA is center-right-leaning, Canada would be centrist in nature. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is an Albertan and a Conservative in a country where that means about the same as a RINO in the USA. Harper represents a Calgary West riding, the oil capital of Canada, often referred to as Houston North. An economist professionally, he has been prime minister since 2006, the first five years walking the tightrope of minority government. In 2011, Canadians rewarded him with a majority government in return for turning around the economy by cutting spending and government debt without gutting the social programs. Harper did this in the face of the entire opposition to his left.

Traditionally, Canadians have welcomed politicians who conduct themselves in a nationalistic fashion and who avoid being labeled as lackeys of the USA or accusations of turning Canada into the 51st state (58th for Obama). Pierre Elliot Trudeau was a perfect example of a politician who was essentially anti-American, while Brian Mulroney was considered part of Wall Street.

Harper, on the other hand, has pursued a Canada First policy and has led Canada to be Israel's number-one supporter with absolutely no apologies to Obama. He has pursued policies which strengthen economic ties outside the USA-Canada relationship. He has refused to jump on the global warming bandwagon. Rejecting any "obligatory" sale to the U.S. in favor of China will substantially strengthen Harper politically without public fanfare.

Harper has kept control of the Northern Gateway Pipeline in federal hands. The Liberal British Columbia premier probably welcomed the chance to dodge the issue given the province's California Lite reputation, the need for job creation, and the development of B.C. energy resources the project will bring. The pipeline has the backing of some of the more outspoken members of the environmental lobby.

The tar sands contain about 1.7 trillion barrels of recoverable oil. Obama has again opted out of energy independence, as he did on the Gulf development and all the other energy projects that would make U.S.-recovered hydrocarbons available domestically. His non-decision has demonstrably treated Canada as a client-state while catering to the Green base of his own party.

Politically, the decision defies logic without a presumption of the president and his inner circle as radical leftists. Obama killed the project in the face of support from organized labor that envisioned 20,000 construction jobs and over 100,000 spin-off jobs which are likely to be permanently lost. The environmentalist left have nowhere else to go next November, while labor needs something to offer its unemployed members, who are the most likely voters to stray from the Democratic plantation.

Obama's message to Canada was, "Be good little children and wait until our election is over!" His advisers certainly misread the Canadian mindset. Harper is not going to stand around and wait for a leftist U.S. politician to determine Canadian economic development. Canada has a valuable product to sell and a hungry Chinese economy willing to purchase it. He has a pipeline project that is viable financially and safe environmentally ready to go to the coast.

There is talk about a new route to the USA to the west of the Nebraska aquifer, but at best this is to keep labor at bay, given the huge job loss from shelving the project. By the time that project would be approved, Canada could build the Kitimat route and, if supertanker dock space is available, double the line to 900,000 barrels per day.

Personally, I would love to see Harper build a series of refineries and coal-fired power plants along the American border from Alberta to Ontario and ship the finished products of electricity and refined petroleum products to the USA. That might just prove to be a great "Envirowacko-Free" outlet for the North Dakota oil and gas, as well as additional Canadian production, circumventing the EPA and other radical hindrances to American energy development by reversing the energy flow.

Dr. Donaldson is a dual citizen of Canada and the USA and practices in Florida. He can be contacted at john@donaldson.net.

Articles: Race: The Ultimate Weapon of the Left

Articles: Race: The Ultimate Weapon of the Left

Race: The Ultimate Weapon of the Left

By Victor Volsky

"If only Herman Cain were elected president -- it would put paid to the issue of racism and excise it from our polity for good."

I couldn't believe my ears hearing this wistful nonsense from a good friend of mine. How could an otherwise intelligent and clear-eyed person be so naïve? How could he be so willfully blind to the obvious: that no matter what happens, until the progressive movement gives up its ghost (and I am not holding my breath that it will happen any time soon), race will be an ever-present hobgoblin of the American body politic? Here is why, as the aforementioned Herman Cain likes to say.

No sooner had Richard Nixon abolished the draft than the antiwar movement suddenly lost its steam and collapsed, exposing the true motivation of its participants. It became immediately apparent that the "revolutionaries" actually cared very little about the Vietnamese. The radical verbiage and Ho Chi Minh's portraits brandished by the antiwar protesters served merely to disguise their reluctance to get in harm's way for the sake of "a far-away people of whom we know nothing," as Neville Chamberlain would have put it.

The revolutionary leaders, who had hoped to ride the antiwar movement to power by converting "the imperialist war into a civil war" (in the footsteps of the Russian Bolsheviks), had to go back to the drawing board and rethink strategy. The solution they hit upon had been suggested as far back as the 1930s by a noted Italian communist theoretician named Antonio Gramsci. Finding himself with a lot of time on his hands as he languished in Mussolini's prison, Gramsci pondered deeply the precepts of Marxist theory and came to the conclusion that St. Karl was wrong: the working class was actually a bourgeoisie in the making and could be considered at best a tool of the revolution, but not its agent. Its lack of revolutionary zeal is particularly glaring in America, with its extraordinary economic dynamism and social mobility, where the popular saying "my son will own the factory where I work" reflects the genuine aspirations of the blue-collar segment of society.

According to the Italian communist, cultural hegemony was the only necessary and sufficient prerequisite of drastic social transformations. It followed that the intelligentsia, the sole truly revolutionary class, had to seize control of the leading cultural institutions -- above all schools, academia, and the media. If the left succeeded in indoctrinating the populace and bending it to its will -- if it subverted society from within until it rotted to the core and dropped in their lap like an overripe fruit, the revolutionaries would achieve their goal and seize power without firing a shot. And so the American left embarked upon what it called a Long March through the Institutions.

But if not the proletariat, who was to be the "grave-digger of capitalism"? If not class warfare, what was to be the animating principle of the revolutionary movement? The answer readily suggested itself. Slavery was the Cardinal American Sin, the indelible blot on the national conscience. Hence racial guilt, America's Achilles' heel, was chosen as the stalking horse of the coming revolution, the battering ram of the forces of progress storming the ramparts.

The formidable propaganda machinery of the left geared up for the gigantic task ahead. Racism was proclaimed to be the ultimate of vices and the greatest imaginable crime against humanity, expiation of the sin of racial inequality the only worthy goal of any conscientious human being. All social and economic issues were to be viewed through the racial prism; all societal ills were to be boiled down to the racial ingredient. Black nationalists were recruited as the left's natural allies to keep the racial pot boiling and the racial wounds raw and suppurating.

Over the ensuing decades, the American people were gradually conditioned to view race as the end-all and be-all of the body politic. The tactic was highly successful. Ultimately, it carried an American of partial African descent, Barack Obama, to the White House.

So what happens in the (admittedly unlikely) event that Herman Cain wins the Republican nomination and then goes on to beat Obama in the general election? Would it quench the flames of racial antagonism frantically fanned by the progressives? Forget about it! How can the left be expected to give up its most effective weapon just because a black man of a conservative bent has supplanted their idol in the White House? Surrendering the race issue would mean a crushing defeat for the progressive agenda, centered as it has been on race all these past decades. It would be tantamount to unilateral ideological disarmament -- and liberals are notoriously militant when it comes to their own power, even as they fervently advocate appeasement in foreign policy.

Too many interests are tied up in the politics of race. Would the progressive left meekly walk away from an issue that has been its most potent weapon lo, these many years? Would black politicians who have made a career out of racial grievances suddenly acknowledge that America has achieved spectacular progress in the area of race relations? Would they get down off their high horse to face the wrath of their constituents trained to blame all their misfortunes on racial discrimination and castigate guilt-ridden Whitey? Would race-hustlers like Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharpton, whose livelihoods depend on constantly stirring the racial pot, voluntarily step down from their soapbox and go looking for a more honest way of making a living? Would the race pimps, and above all the vast affirmative action bureaucracy, close shop and go off into the sunset? Yeah, right -- when hell freezes over! They will fight tooth and nail to defend their turf and stop at nothing to preserve the richly rewarding status quo.

The assault on a conservative black president, naturally enough, would be led by the black auxiliary of the progressive army. They would proclaim that far from being a victory for the cause of racial equality, Herman Cain's triumph is actually a setback for race relations; that Cain is not an "authentic" black; that he is a disgrace and a traitor to his race, an "Oreo" (black outside, white inside); that he is a "lawn jockey," a stooge of the reactionaries; that he is "the racist Tea Party" in blackface, a minstrel.

But maybe black voters, entranced by the sight of another one of their own in the White House, will not listen to the voices of their "leaders." If history is any guide, like hell they won't. In 2004, running for the Senate in Illinois against Barack Obama, black Republican Alan Keyes got all of 8 percent of the African-American vote. To be sure, the Marylander Keys was successfully smeared as a carpetbagger (even though a similar accusation had done nothing to dim the prospects of Hillary Clinton running for the Senate in New York four years previously).

But did black Republican Lynn Swan, who has lived in his adopted state of Pennsylvania a lot longer than Barack Obama has in Illinois, do any better in the gubernatorial election in 2006? Running against the Democratic incumbent, Ed "Fast Eddie" Rendell, the highly accomplished Lynn Swan, a genuine Pittsburgh Steelers legend in football-crazy Pennsylvania to boot, managed to garner a paltry 13 percent of the black vote. The most successful African-American Republican politicians in terms of support in the black community, Ken Blackwell from Ohio and Michael Steele from Maryland, got just 20 percent of the black vote in their respective runs for statewide offices. In all cases, ideology handily trumped racial solidarity.

So it's a safe bet that the black community would readily follow the lead of its self-appointed mouthpieces vilifying Herman Cain. The mainstream media would eagerly serve as the echo chamber of the critics, strenuously warning the public that the election of a conservative African-American in no way means that the end of racism is nigh. The evil has not been vanquished, the MSM will scream -- the war goes on; the insidious enemy has merely changed his color, chameleon-like, the better to deceive the gullible. The situation is too dire to let our guard down; we must stay vigilant and redouble our efforts. Onward, progressive soldiers!

Like its feminist, green, and gay-rights counterparts, today's civil rights movement is basically a willing tool of the far left. Once a genuine popular movement pursuing the honorable goal of equality, it has degenerated into an ideological/commercial enterprise designed to keep society in a state of perpetual penitence while paying lip-service to the plight of the black needy as a way of advancing the radical cause and securing enough handouts for the self-anointed "civil rights leaders" to support their opulent lifestyles.

In short, if Herman Cain were elected president of the United States, racial politics, far from waning, would, if anything, gain in intensity -- and so would be the case if any other Republican wins the presidency, or even if Obama is reelected, for that matter. Whatever happens, the hardy perennial of race politics will survive and thrive. It is utterly unreasonable to expect the left to lay down its tools and walk away from a claim it has been mining with such spectacular success for so many years.

Tim Tebow, an athlete dads should be thankful for

Tim Tebow, an athlete dads should be thankful for

byTimothy P. Carney Senior Political Columnist

College football has become an environment in which money and winning squelch basic human responsibility, compassion and morals, as the horror at Penn State has just shown us. The NCAA also cannot keep its student-athletes from being criminals or taking money from boosters, and the rules are a selectively enforced mess.

But even the NCAA draws the line somewhere. After then-Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow sent national television viewers Googling the Gospel verses he cited with markers on his eye-black, the NCAA created the "Tim Tebow Rule": No more in-game evangelizing via Sharpie.

This is one drop in the ocean of insanity surrounding Tebow, now the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Tebow is simultaneously the most hated and most beloved player in the NFL.

Sports fans can debate anything for hours, and Tebow provides plenty of fodder for debate. Most intriguingly, he turns in QB performances that range from unimpressive to awful, but then somehow he wins: The Broncos are 4-1 with Tebow under center, after starting the season 1-4. He prompts endless and often conflicting questions: Did the Broncos waste their first-round draft pick on him? Should he be starting? Is he overhyped by the media? Will he create an alternative model for pro quarterbacks?

But none of these football debates explains why Tebow is so polarizing. The old college eye-black explains it.

Tebow is a Christian who is open about it. His critics harp on the openness. Drew Magary, a writer at the sports website Deadspin, bristled at Tebow's customary touchdown celebration: quietly dropping to one knee and praying to God. "The praying after that Jets TD was too much for me," Magary wrote of Tebow's last-minute 20-yard, game-winning touchdown run last week. "Like that guy doesn't know there will be cameras on him the second he drops to one knee. He's showing off his piety, dammit. If I were a Jesus freak, I'd be pissed at him for rallying all the Jesus haters to a common cause."

Predictably, opposing players have taken to "Tebowing" in mockery -- one Lions defender did the knee bow after sacking the Broncos quarterback. That's part of the game. But the mocking of Tebow is not the issue. It's the sheer hatred shown by opposing fans and especially commenters on sites like ESPN.com. And that hatred has spawned blind loyalty from a different slice of the population.

Pardon the analogy -- and please don't take it too far -- but in recent memory the closest thing to the Tebow effect was the fierce love-hate reaction to Sarah Palin after John McCain picked her as his running mate in 2008.

In the press gallery of the GOP convention, I saw the visceral revulsion of most reporters to Palin. There were and are plenty of valid critiques of Palin, but the initial reaction was deeply personal.

Off-camera, I saw veteran national television anchors seriously posit that Palin's new baby was not really her own. I saw liberals posit that Palin shouldn't abandon her large family to run for VP. Baby Trig and the other four kids were the Rorschach test.

The standard liberal attack on conservatives is to call them hypocrites. But when Palin cradled her baby with Down syndrome, it was an in-your-face-message: She really believes in family values and in the sanctity of life.

Tebow offends for similar reasons. He doesn't just talk about God and Christ -- he actually seems to believe this stuff. There are no stories of his sleeping around at Florida, or on the road as a millionaire superstar. Thanking and praising God seem to come naturally to him.

And similar to Palin's love of Trig, every time Tebow succeeds at football and life, he indicts the institution of abortion. Planned Parenthood scolded CBS ahead of the Super Bowl in 2010 when it was made public that Tim Tebow and his mother would appear in a pro-family commercial. The pro-choice Left feared Mrs. Tebow would discuss how she disregarded doctors' recommendations that she abort baby Tim. The average comment-board troll may not think about this, but it still matters that Tebow's very existence is a pro-life testament.

Like many young fathers, I've just realized an unexpected blessing of having young children: I've begun watching football again on Sundays, an ideal family activity on cold, dark afternoons. But with players' classless (and at times obscene) celebrations, frequent poor sportsmanship, unsavory personal lives, and even criminal records, a parent worries what kids will take away from the game.

But then there's Tim Tebow. Tebow doesn't have the skills that make quarterbacks successful in today's NFL, but he has a preternatural will to win. He profusely thanks his teammates. He also seems to live a life of virtue. He's the kind of guy you hope your sons will become.

Well, not completely: I hope my boys will throw a tighter spiral.

Timothy P.Carney, The Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Monday and Thursday, and his stories and blog posts appear on ExaminerPolitics.com.