Saturday, August 31, 2013

Keynes, Orwell, and Multi-Culturalism

Keynes, Orwell, and Multi-Culturalism

Keynes, Orwell, and Multi-Culturalism

By Nelson Hultberg (Bio and Archives)  Friday, August 30, 2013

I spent an afternoon the other day strolling through the Valley View Shopping Center in Dallas. Its once fine stores are slowly closing one by one. In their place, quaint Mexican vendors with amateurishly painted signs and sparse stores now hawk their wares as they would in a seedy swap meet.

Valley View was never upscale like ritzy Highland Park, but 18 years ago when I arrived in town, Valley View was a place where one could wander among big name stores and professional marketers. Clothes were always top fashion. The restaurants were havens of delectable eating. One could spend a day there and feel like he was immersed in value. It was an uplifting experience. Today it is Death Valley. Today it is tamales and rap music, velvet paintings of Christ and plump Latina women chattering like magpies. South of the border culture is slowly snaking its way into Dallas. How long will it be before it is encroaching on Yankee environs?
Sure, there are still many pockets of high class and taste throughout Dallas and the country. But the writing is on the wall. A lower culture has invaded a higher culture, and all the pitiful political correctness of our establishment mentalities is not going to be able to cover it up if our Republican quislings in Washington grant amnesty to the silent 15 million illegals lurking in back of the invasion. With amnesty will come the next wave, which will be 30 million, then 60 million, then death of the America that the Founders envisioned.
Keynesian economics and liberal multi-culturalism have done this to us, and not one in a hundred of our pundits grasps the connection these two ideological perversions have to the death throes such as Valley View. These death throes maculate America like a cultural psoriasis, yet our statist intelligentsia repeatedly conjure up embarrassing justifications for continuation of the economic and social policies that spawn them.
But this is a given. When intellectuals have spent their adult lives espousing the dogmas of fiat money printing and open border multi-culturalism as “rational policies” to pursue for America, they will not be eager to face up to the actual denouement of such policies 40 years later when such a denouement is the transformation of a great nation into a rash of Death Valleys. They are much more prone to fleeing from the resultant realities into the house of mirrors sophistry that makes up statist apologetics today. Unfortunately there is no lack of herd mentalities among our pundit class who are more than willing to corroborate liberal academia’s interpretation as a true accounting. Where patriots see amateurishly painted signs and an illiterate dumbing down swallowing us up, liberal pundits see “democratic culture” and “egalitarian justice.” The squalid decadence and economic tumult of life with open borders and fiat money malfeasance escape them.

Big Brother Obama

Our puppet President chimes in with his contribution to all the tumult and depression by making George Orwell look amazingly prescient. “Perpetual war for perpetual peace” is a major theme of Nineteen Eighty-Four in which its three regional governments of Oceania, Eurasia, and East Asia are constantly at war while claiming peace to be their goal. Have not our real world wars of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq I, Bosnia, Iraq II, Afghanistan, The Libyan and threatening Syrian interventions validated Orwell’s prescience? Have not Big Brother’s ruthless spy agencies in the novel manifested in our own NSA and IRS to further validate that prescience?
Obama and Bush have turned out to be criminal brothers; but then savvy patriots knew that was coming before the Community Organizer took office. Insidious authoritarianism has guided both of their administrations, like it guided the smarmy Clintons and Senior Bush before them. Like it guided the obsequious Carter, the palooka Ford, the Machiavellian Nixon, the psychopathic LBJ, the commoner Truman, and the imperious Roosevelt. Only Reagan avoided capitulation to Orwellian artifice; but even he was more promise than performance. His eloquence covered the tracks of his statism.
What our pundits (and as a result our people) don’t see is that Keynesianism is one of the primary sources of Orwell’s “perpetual war for perpetual peace.” Ever since 1936, war has been used by American presidents as a means to escape the down cycle of the Keynesian boom-bust economy, or at least mollify its intensity. Why? Because war does three things for a president that is suffering a serious economic downturn, and thus in danger of losing the next election to the opposition and his reputation to the historians.
1) It diverts the people’s attention from their economic misery. 2) It unites the unthinking masses behind the president who pack a powerful lot of votes. And 3) it allows his administration to inflate the money supply in spendable currency that circulates easily from war manufacturers to wage earners, to supermarkets, clothing stores, gas stations, bars, and movie houses. It creates a resurgence of the boom, temporary and false though it may be.
Just as the drug addict resorts to more injections of “heroin” in his down cycle to reignite the high he experienced previously (temporary and false though it may be), so also do modern presidents and politicians resort to injections of “liquidity,” i.e., money printing, to bring about an attempt at recovery. One is physiological stimulation of the individual’s body, and the other is financial stimulation of the nation’s economy. But they are both the same in principle and governed by the same natural laws. Keynesians are merely “liquidity junkies” instead of “drug junkies.” When Lawrence Kudlow bellows out on his nightly show that the Fed needs to do its job and inject more liquidity, he’s playing the pusher to Wall Street and Main street junkies.

The Fabian Source

So Keynes and Orwell were ideological brothers, both Fabian socialists in England during the early twentieth century. Keynes preceded Orwell by 20 years, but each were powerfully swayed by the Communist Revolution and its aftermath, and fell victim to the Marxist misunderstanding of capitalism. Both realized the totalitarian nature of the Marxist-Leninist paradigm and wrote in opposition to it, but did not write in defense of freedom. They wrote in defense of the Fabian form of socialism that was to replace freedom and capitalism with gradual collectivist statism.
Their ideological works have materialized to saturate all modern societies. Keynesianism dominates mega-state economic policies, and Orwellianism dominates mega-state political structures. Tyrannical collectivism has taken over the world via Keynes’ monetary counterfeiting and Orwell’s ruthless thought police.

Nelson Hultberg is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas and serves as the Director of Americans for a Free Republic,, an educational organization founded to promote sound money and fair taxation. Mr. Hultberg’s articles have appeared in publications such as The Dallas Morning News, The American Conservative, The Freeman, Liberty, and on numerous Internet sites such as The Daily Bell, Financial Sense Online, and Safe Haven. He is the author of a soon to be released book, The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values.

Friday, August 30, 2013

One Million Comments on Fracking Rule Includes Fake Form Letters | The Colorado Observer

One Million Comments on Fracking Rule Includes Fake Form Letters

One Million Comments on Fracking Rule Includes Fake Form Letters

August 30, 2013
LAMBORN:  "The reality is these burdensome and duplicative regulations could significantly inhibit hydraulic fracturing on federal land"
Lamborn says the new regulations are a “big government solution” to problems that do not exist
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration was flooded with one million comments on its proposed rules to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands with environmentalists supporting the actions but opponents projecting it would cost billions of dollars.
Bloomberg reports that the majority of the comments supporting the government’s new rules were actually mass mailings of form letters written by environmental groups – an activity known as “AstroTurf lobbying” because the letters are manufactured as opposed to being part of a “grassroots” effort.
The scheme used by special interest groups to affect public policy is to manufacture a handful of form letters, sign individual names on thousands of copies — most often without the person’s knowledge — and then flood a federal agency’s mailbox with the forms to indicate support or opposition to new regulations.
In past cases involving proposed federal regulations, the names signed on form letters were dead people.
In the case of the fracking rule now under consideration, environmentalists told the Interior Department (DOI) that the regulations are needed to prevent development from occurring miles away from national parks, to disclose chemicals used in the process, and restrict some uses of water.
Opponents of the rules, including the Western Energy Alliance and Independent Petroleum Association of America, says it duplicates regulation powers already used by states where the activity occurs.
Industry officials predict the new bureaucracy and the multitude of rules it creates would cost as much as $2.7 billion a year for them to comply, extravagantly higher than the government’s projection that the new duties would cost $12 million to $20 million a year.
However, since the process began last year to revamp industry rules, the Interior Department in charge of the effort has failed to enumerate the benefits of any of the proposed rules. The government is only required to conduct an economic assessment if the cost to implement the rules exceeds $100 million.
“The Interior Department cannot point to a single instance of an environmental problem from hydraulic fracturing,” said Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs for the Western Energy Alliance. “DOI cannot demonstrate that states are not adequately regulating or that federal regulation is more effective.”
“DOI already struggles to meet its current obligations, and has neither the resources nor the expertise to implement this very prescriptive, complex rule,” Sgamma said. “The rule will further disadvantage the West, as development, jobs, and economic activity will continue to migrate to areas without federal lands.”
Colorado Republican lawmakers have been vocal about their opposition to the rules during several hearings on Capitol Hill, and say the federal rules would not take into account each state’s unique geology and hydrology.
Rep. Doug Lamborn chaired a hearing last month and said the new regulations are a “big government solution” to problems that do no exist and would weaken the energy industry.
“While the administration claims these regulations are meant as a baseline, the reality is these burdensome and duplicative regulations could significantly inhibit hydraulic fracturing on federal land, thereby inhibiting energy production, American job creation, and continuing our dependence on foreign energy imports,” Lamborn said.

The truth about Obama's new executive orders targeting guns

The truth about Obama's new executive orders targeting guns

The truth about Obama's new executive orders targeting guns

Published August 29, 2013
It sure sounds scary. "Military weapons" being reimported back into the United States. Or people getting guns without background checks. But the reception being given President Obama's two new executive orders on guns largely relies on ignorance of how the current rules work.
The president's executive order banning the reimportation of &quotmilitary weapons&quot really only affects old M-1 Garand 30-06 rifles. These rifles have been used in the Civilian Marksmanship Program program and are mainly purchased by collectors. At one time they were &quotmilitary weapons,&quot but they were used in World War II and the Korean War.
No other US-made military rifles are being imported. And, more importantly, this semi-automatic rifle is functionally no different than any semi-automatic deer hunting. They fire the same bullets at the same rapidity and do the same damage as other deer hunting rifles.
The only difference is that these old Garands tend to be relatively heavy -- in the past 60 years, manufacturers have learned how to make lighter versions of these guns.
Despite the scary rhetoric, the White House is leaving out one important point: it isn't pointing to any cases where imported U.S.-made military weapons have been used in a crime. And the reason is obvious: there probably aren't any.
Regarding the second executive order, the only &quotcorporate&quot registration is for Class III (machine guns) weapons. Again, the Obama administration doesn't provide examples of people using a corporation to register handguns or semi-automatic rifles as a way to bypass criminal background checks.
More importantly, it fails to point to any cases where such guns have been used in crimes. Corporations are used (primarily) to obtain fully-automatic machine guns, as they are usually out of the price range of most citizens (running at least about $20,000 each).
Yes, when registered to a corporation any officer is allowed to posses the machine gun, but the point that the transfer occurs still requires a NICS check for the person actually picking up the gun.
What happens under current law is that if a gun is registered to a corporation, then anyone who is an officer in the corporation would be allowed to use the gun.
As with many actions these days by the Obama administration, the president doesn't have the authority to rewrite the current rules. Changing these rules for corporations requires congressional action.
Of course, all this is typical for our president, with Obama in the past making such completely false claims as “as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases take place without a background check.&quot
But how many times can the president cry wolf without losing all credibility?

Why the Left Really is against Voter ID Laws

Why the Left Really is against Voter ID Laws

Why the Left Really is against Voter ID Laws

By Eugene Slaven

The crusade against voter ID laws is the new front in the Left's perennial campaign to convince Americans that Jim Crow is lurking just around the corner.

Left-wing activists and Democrat politicians argue that these laws disproportionately disqualify minorities. They further contend that voter ID laws are pushed by Republicans for the explicit purpose of suppressing the minority vote. Ergo, they insist, the intent of voter ID laws is racist.

It is of little concern to the Left and their allies in the "news" media that a supermajority of white and non-white Americans supports these laws, that jurisdictions with these laws in place saw an increase in black and Hispanic voter turnout in 2012, or that the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that voter ID laws are constitutional.

The Left is just as unmoved by the argument that there are virtually no barriers to acquiring a state issued ID, that an ID is required to drive a car, get a job, and rent an apartment, or that the assumption that black people are not as capable of getting an ID as white people is itself inherently racist.

No. When it comes to the issue of voter IDs, facts, logic, empirical evidence, and common sense cannot get in the way of leveling the libelous charge that racist Republicans are committed to stopping minorities from voting.

We can chalk the Left's position on voter IDs to opportunism: they know that voter IDs can, at least in theory, mitigate election fraud and potentially lower Democrat turnout. But this explanation overlooks the larger point: the Left's opposition to voter IDs is rooted in its ambivalence to representative democracy.

For the far left, elections are a means to an end. So long as elections lead to liberal Democrats implementing a leftist agenda, they are desirable. But if Americans elect conservatives who implement an agenda antithetical to the Left's world view, then elections are impediments to utopia. In other words, the Left does not place intrinsic value on elections. Above all, the Left values an intrusive federal government equipped with the power to manage (or micromanage) all sectors of society for the supposed betterment of humanity.

This is in stark contrast to conservatives and libertarians, who do place intrinsic value on elections. Not because elections always yield desirable results (we know they don't) but because representative democracy is necessary to a free and just society. It's not sufficient; there must be the rule of law inscribed in a Constitution that limits the power of elected officials and protects individual rights form majoritarian abuse. And as we saw in Nazi Germany and more recently in Egypt during the short reign of the Muslim Brotherhood, it is possible for despots to come to power democratically.

Yet democracy is the only means for holding the State accountable. As such, for conservatives, and specifically for constitutionalists, representative democracy is inherently good, regardless of electoral outcomes.  As Winston Churchill quipped, democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried.

And because conservatives value representative democracy as a good in itself, we value the integrity of the electoral process. If elections are fraught with fraud and corruption, then representative democracy is a farce. (Saddam Hussein was technically democratically re-elected every seven years with 100% of the vote.)

Voter ID laws help preserve the integrity of elections and limit electoral fraud by simply ensuring that the person voting is who he says he is and that he is legally registered to vote. It's not a perfect system -- there is no such thing -- but it's a perfectly rational one.

For the Left, voter ID laws are tantamount to the poll tax and other discriminatory measures that have been obsolete for decades. For all the reasons listed above, this is a nonsensical position.             

But because the Left does not inherently value representative democracy and sees it only as a means to Big Government, neither do leftists care about the integrity of the system. If voter ID laws make it more difficult for homeless people, dead people, felons, and other illegitimate voters to vote Democrat, then voter ID laws are barriers to leftist utopia.

The Bolsheviks (or Social Democrats as they liked to be called) held one election after seizing power in Russia. When to their shock they did not win the majority of the seats in Russia's parliament, they swiftly nullified the results, murdered in cold blood thousands of Russians protesting the injustice, and never held elections again.

I am not equating the American Left to the Russian Communist Party. My point is that the far left is a friend of democracy only when democracy serves to advance the left's agenda. If elections can be rigged to advance that agenda, then the means justify the end.

For most conservatives, the Left's visceral opposition to voter ID laws is a ploy to increase illegitimate Democratic turnout. For most Americans who are not political, the opposition is bizarre and nonsensical.  The underlying logic of the far left is against common sense measures that preserve the integrity of elections because they pursue utopia, not a system of checks and balances.

The Myth of a Runaway Amendments Convention

The Myth of a Runaway Amendments Convention

The Myth of a Runaway Amendments Convention

By Rob Natelson 
The Founders bequeathed Americans a method to bypass the federal government and amend the Constitution, empowering two thirds of the states to call an Amendments Convention. In the wake of Mark Levin's bestselling book, The Liberty Amendments, proposing just such a convention, entirely unnecessary alarms have been raised by even some of the leading lights of conservatism, based on an incomplete reading of history and judicial case law.
Phyllis Schlafly is a great American and a great leader, but her speculations about the nature of the Constitution's"convention for proposing amendments" are nearly as quaint as Dante's speculations about the solar system. Thse speculations simply overlook the last two decades of research into the background and subsequent history of the Constitution's amendment process. They also ignore how that process actually has worked, and how the courts elucidate it.

The Founders provided, in Article V of the Constitution, for a "convention for proposing amendments." They did this to enable the people, acting through their state legislatures, to rein in an abusive or runaway federal government. In other words, the Founders created the convention for precisely the kind of situation we face now.

Mrs. Schlafly doesn't think we know much else about the process. She writes, "Everything else about how an Article V Convention would function, including its agenda, is anybody's guess."

But she's wrong. There is no need to guess. We now know that:

The "convention for proposing amendments" was consciously modeled on federal conventions held during the century leading up to the Constitutional Convention, when states or colonies met together on average about every 40 months. These were meetings of separate governments, and their protocols were based on international practice. Those protocols were well-established and are inherent in Article V.

Each federal convention has been called to address one or more discrete, prescribed problems. A convention "call" cannot determine how many delegates ("commissioners") each state sends or how they are chosen. That is a matter for each state legislature to decide.

A convention for proposing amendments is a meeting of sovereignties or semi-sovereignties, and each state has one vote. Each state commissioner is empowered and instructed by his or her state legislature or its designee.

As was true of earlier interstate gatherings, the convention for proposing amendments is called to propose solutions to discrete, pre-assigned problems. There is no record of any federal convention significantly exceeding its pre-assigned mandate -- not even the Constitutional Convention, despite erroneous claims to the contrary.

The state legislatures' applications fix the subject-matter for a convention for proposing amendments. When two-thirds of the states apply on a given subject, Congress must call the convention. However, the congressional call is limited to the time and place of meeting, and to reciting the state-determined subject.

In the unlikely event that the convention strays from its prescribed agenda (and the commissioners escape recall), any "proposal" they issue is ultra vires ("beyond powers") and void. Congress may not choose a "mode of ratification," and the necessary three-quarters of the states would not ratify it in any event.

Contrary to Mrs. Schlafly's claim that "Article V doesn't give any power to the courts to correct what does or does not happen," the courts can and do adjudicate Article V cases. There has been a long line of those cases from 1798 into the 21st century.

 "But," you might ask, "Will the prescribed convention procedures actually work?"

They already have. In 1861, in an effort to prevent the Civil War, a convention of the states was called to propose a constitutional amendment to Congress. Congress subsequently deadlocked over the amendment, but the convention did everything right: It followed all the protocols listed above, and it produced a compromise amendment. Although the convention met in a time of enormous stress, this "dry run" came off well, with none of Mrs. Schlafy's speculative "horribles."

In any political procedure, there are always uncertainties, but in this case they are far fewer than predicted by anti-convention alarmists. And they must be balanced against a certainty: Unless we use the procedure the Founders gave us to rein in a "runaway" Congress, then Congress will surely continue to run away.
Rob Natelson, Professor of Law (ret.), The University of Montana, taught constitutional law and constitutional history, and currently serves as Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independence Institute. He is a widely-published scholar on the Constitution and on the amendment procedure, and several Supreme Court opinions have relied on his work. For his biography and bibliography, see

Thursday, August 29, 2013 | This Essay Breaks the Law | This Essay Breaks the Law

Why Politicized Science is Dangerous
(Excerpted from State of Fear)

Imagine that there is a new scientific theory that warns of an impending crisis, and points to a way out.

This theory quickly draws support from leading scientists, politicians and celebrities around the world. Research is funded by distinguished philanthropies, and carried out at prestigious universities. The crisis is reported frequently in the media. The science is taught in college and high school classrooms.

I don't mean global warming. I'm talking about another theory, which rose to prominence a century ago.

Its supporters included Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Winston Churchill. It was approved by Supreme Court justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis Brandeis, who ruled in its favor. The famous names who supported it included Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone; activist Margaret Sanger; botanist Luther Burbank; Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University; the novelist H. G. Wells; the playwright George Bernard Shaw; and hundreds of others. Nobel Prize winners gave support. Research was backed by the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations. The Cold Springs Harbor Institute was built to carry out this research, but important work was also done at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Johns Hopkins. Legislation to address the crisis was passed in states from New York to California.

These efforts had the support of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the National Research Council. It was said that if Jesus were alive, he would have supported this effort.

All in all, the research, legislation and molding of public opinion surrounding the theory went on for almost half a century. Those who opposed the theory were shouted down and called reactionary, blind to reality, or just plain ignorant. But in hindsight, what is surprising is that so few people objected.

Today, we know that this famous theory that gained so much support was actually pseudoscience. The crisis it claimed was nonexistent. And the actions taken in the name of theory were morally and criminally wrong. Ultimately, they led to the deaths of millions of people.

The theory was eugenics, and its history is so dreadful --- and, to those who were caught up in it, so embarrassing --- that it is now rarely discussed. But it is a story that should be well know to every citizen, so that its horrors are not repeated.

The theory of eugenics postulated a crisis of the gene pool leading to the deterioration of the human race. The best human beings were not breeding as rapidly as the inferior ones --- the foreigners, immigrants, Jews, degenerates, the unfit, and the "feeble minded." Francis Galton, a respected British scientist, first speculated about this area, but his ideas were taken far beyond anything he intended. They were adopted by science-minded Americans, as well as those who had no interest in science but who were worried about the immigration of inferior races early in the twentieth century --- "dangerous human pests" who represented "the rising tide of imbeciles" and who were polluting the best of the human race.

The eugenicists and the immigrationists joined forces to put a stop to this. The plan was to identify individuals who were feeble-minded --- Jews were agreed to be largely feeble-minded, but so were many foreigners, as well as blacks --- and stop them from breeding by isolation in institutions or by sterilization.

As Margaret Sanger said, "Fostering the good-for-nothing at the expense of the good is an extreme cruelty ... there is not greater curse to posterity than that of bequeathing them an increasing population of imbeciles." She spoke of the burden of caring for "this dead weight of human waste."

Such views were widely shared. H.G. Wells spoke against "ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens." Theodore Roosevelt said that "Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind." Luther Burbank" "Stop permitting criminals and weaklings to reproduce." George Bernard Shaw said that only eugenics could save mankind.

There was overt racism in this movement, exemplified by texts such as "The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy" by American author Lothrop Stoddard. But, at the time, racism was considered an unremarkable aspect of the effort to attain a marvelous goal --- the improvement of humankind in the future. It was this avant-garde notion that attracted the most liberal and progressive minds of a generation. California was one of twenty-nine American states to pass laws allowing sterilization, but it proved the most-forward-looking and enthusiastic --- more sterilizations were carried out in California than anywhere else in America.

Eugenics research was funded by the Carnegie Foundation, and later by the Rockefeller Foundation. The latter was so enthusiastic that even after the center of the eugenics effort moved to Germany, and involved the gassing of individuals from mental institutions, the Rockefeller Foundation continued to finance German researchers at a very high level. (The foundation was quiet about it, but they were still funding research in 1939, only months before the onset of World War II.)

Since the 1920s, American eugenicists had been jealous because the Germans had taken leadership of the movement away from them. The Germans were admirably progressive. They set up ordinary-looking houses where "mental defectives" were brought and interviewed one at a time, before being led into a back room, which was, in fact, a gas chamber. There, they were gassed with carbon monoxide, and their bodies disposed of in a crematorium located on the property.

Eventually, this program was expanded into a vast network of concentration camps located near railroad lines, enabling the efficient transport and of killing ten million undesirables.

After World War II, nobody was a eugenicist, and nobody had ever been a eugenicist. Biographers of the celebrated and the powerful did not dwell on the attractions of this philosophy to their subjects, and sometimes did not mention it at all. Eugenics ceased to be a subject for college classrooms, although some argue that its ideas continue to have currency in disguised form.

But in retrospect, three points stand out. First, despite the construction of Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory, despite the efforts of universities and the pleadings of lawyers, there was no scientific basis for eugenics. In fact, nobody at that time knew what a gene really was. The movement was able to proceed because it employed vague terms never rigorously defined. "Feeble-mindedness" could mean anything from poverty to illiteracy to epilepsy. Similarly, there was no clear definition of "degenerate" or "unfit."

Second, the eugenics movement was really a social program masquerading as a scientific one. What drove it was concern about immigration and racism and undesirable people moving into one's neighborhood or country. Once again, vague terminology helped conceal what was really going on.

Third, and most distressing, the scientific establishment in both the United States and Germany did not mount any sustained protest. Quite the contrary. In Germany scientists quickly fell into line with the program. Modern German researchers have gone back to review Nazi documents from the 1930s. They expected to find directives telling scientists what research should be done. But none were necessary. In the words of Ute Deichman, "Scientists, including those who were not members of the [Nazi] party, helped to get funding for their work through their modified behavior and direct cooperation with the state." Deichman speaks of the "active role of scientists themselves in regard to Nazi race policy ... where [research] was aimed at confirming the racial doctrine ... no external pressure can be documented." German scientists adjusted their research interests to the new policies. And those few who did not adjust disappeared.

A second example of politicized science is quite different in character, but it exemplifies the hazard of government ideology controlling the work of science, and of uncritical media promoting false concepts. Trofim Denisovich Lysenko was a self-promoting peasant who, it was said, "solved the problem of fertilizing the fields without fertilizers and minerals." In 1928 he claimed to have invented a procedure called vernalization, by which seeds were moistened and chilled to enhance the later growth of crops.

Lysenko's methods never faced a rigorous test, but his claim that his treated seeds passed on their characteristics to the next generation represented a revival of Lamarckian ideas at a time when the rest of the world was embracing Mendelian genetics. Josef Stalin was drawn to Lamarckian ideas, which implied a future unbounded by hereditary constraints; he also wanted improved agricultural production. Lysenko promised both, and became the darling of a Soviet media that was on the lookout for stories about clever peasants who had developed revolutionary procedures.

Lysenko was portrayed as a genius, and he milked his celebrity for all it was worth. He was especially skillful at denouncing this opponents. He used questionnaires from farmers to prove that vernalization increased crop yields, and thus avoided any direct tests. Carried on a wave of state-sponsored enthusiasm, his rise was rapid. By 1937, he was a member of the Supreme Soviet.

By then, Lysenko and his theories dominated Russian biology. The result was famines that killed millions, and purges that sent hundreds of dissenting Soviet scientists to the gulags or the firing squads. Lysenko was aggressive in attacking genetics, which was finally banned as "bourgeois pseudoscience" in 1948. There was never any basis for Lysenko's ideas, yet he controlled Soviet research for thirty years. Lysenkoism ended in the 1960s, but Russian biology still has not entirely recovered from that era.

Now we are engaged in a great new theory that once again has drawn the support of politicians, scientists, and celebrities around the world. Once again, the theory is promoted by major foundations. Once again, the research is carried out at prestigious universities. Once again, legislation is passed and social programs are urged in its name. Once again, critics are few and harshly dealt with.

Once again, the measures being urged have little basis in fact or science. Once again, groups with other agendas are hiding behind a movement that appears high-minded. Once again, claims of moral superiority are used to justify extreme actions. Once again, the fact that some people are hurt is shrugged off because an abstract cause is said to be greater than any human consequences. Once again, vague terms like sustainability and generational justice --- terms that have no agreed definition --- are employed in the service of a new crisis.

I am not arguing that global warming is the same as eugenics. But the similarities are not superficial. And I do claim that open and frank discussion of the data, and of the issues, is being suppressed. Leading scientific journals have taken strong editorial positions of the side of global warming, which, I argue, they have no business doing. Under the circumstances, any scientist who has doubts understands clearly that they will be wise to mute their expression.

One proof of this suppression is the fact that so many of the outspoken critics of global warming are retired professors. These individuals are not longer seeking grants, and no longer have to face colleagues whose grant applications and career advancement may be jeopardized by their criticisms.

In science, the old men are usually wrong. But in politics, the old men are wise, counsel caution, and in the end are often right.

The past history of human belief is a cautionary tale. We have killed thousands of our fellow human beings because we believed they had signed a contract with the devil, and had become witches. We still kill more than a thousand people each year for witchcraft. In my view, there is only one hope for humankind to emerge from what Carl Sagan called "the demon-haunted world" of our past. That hope is science.

But as Alston Chase put it, "when the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power."

That is the danger we now face. And this is why the intermixing of science and politics is a bad combination, with a bad history. We must remember the history, and be certain that what we present to the world as knowledge is disinterested and honest. 

Cooler Pacific Ocean May Explain Climate Change Paradox

Cooler Pacific Ocean May Explain Climate Change Paradox 

Cooler Pacific Ocean May Explain Climate Change Paradox
Cooling sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean — a phase that is part of a natural warm and cold cycle — may explain why global average temperatures have stabilized in recent years, even as greenhouse gas emissions have been warming the planet, according to new research.
The findings suggest that the flattening in the rise of global temperatures recorded over the past 15 years are not signs of a "hiatus" in global warming, but are tied to cooling temperatures in the tropical or equatorial Pacific Ocean. When the tropical Pacific naturally switches back into a warm phase, the long-term trends in global warming, including more steeply rising global temperatures, will likely increase, said study co-author Shang-Ping Xie, a climate scientist at the University of California, San Diego.
"The engine driving atmospheric circulation on global scales resides in the tropical Pacific," Xie told LiveScience. "When the natural cycle shifts the next time to a warmer state, we're going to see more extreme warming on the global scale." [The Reality of Climate Change: 10 Myths Busted]
A climate paradox
In early May, a carbon dioxide monitor in Hawaii recorded the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as being more than 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history, breaking a 3-million-year-old record. (Parts per million means that, in this example, for every million molecules of air, 400 of them are carbon dioxide.) But, over the past 15 years, global average temperatures have stabilized rather than sharply increased, as previous predictions suggested they should have, mystifying climate scientists and adding fuel to the fire for climate change skeptics.
"We had this puzzle — the concentration of carbon dioxide was over 400 ppm, last year we had record summer heat waves in the U.S., record retreat of Arctic sea ice. All of these things are consistent with the general warming of the climate," Xie said. "Yet, if you plot the global temperature, you see a flattening average over the last 15 years. On the one hand, scientists are saying carbon dioxide is causing the general rise of global temperatures, but on the other hand, in recent years there is no warming, so something very strange is going on."
Xie and his colleagues set out to solve this mystery using climate models to reproduce the long- and short-term trends based on global climate records from the past 130 years. The researchers found that sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, in spite of anthropogenic or manmade effects of global warming, were key ingredients in creating the flattening global temperatures seen in the past 15 years.
"In our model, we were able to show two forces: anthropogenic forces to raise global average temperature, and equatorial Pacific cooling, which tries to pull the temperature curve down, almost like in equilibrium," Xie said.
The effect is similar to the El Niño and La Niña cycles, which are parts of a natural oscillation in the ocean-atmosphere system that occur every three to four years, and can impact global weather and climate conditions, Xie explained. El Niño is characterized by warmer-than-average temperatures in the waters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, while La Niña typically features colder-than-average waters.
The warm and cool phases in the Pacific Ocean studied by Xie and his colleagues appear to last much longer than the El Niño and La Niña cycles. Previously, the Earth experienced cooling in the tropical Pacific from the 1940s to the 1970s, before oscillating into a warm state from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Current scientific models are unable to predict when the current cooling period will end, Xie said, but when the ocean swings back into a warm phase, parts of the planet may experience warmer temperatures.
"The equatorial Pacific Ocean is associated with distinct regional patterns, like the Pacific coast of North America," Xie said. "Because of equatorial cooling, this area has not been warming as rapidly as before, but when the equatorial Pacific shifts into a warm state, those regions might expect rapid warming, on the order of 2 degrees Celsius [3.6 degrees Fahrenheit] over 15 years."
Implications for a warming planet
Scientists have known that the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean takes in a significant amount of heat from the atmosphere, but this new study suggests this small portion of the world's oceans could have a big influence on global climate, said James Moum, a professor of physical oceanography at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore., who was not involved with the new study.
While the models used in the study rely on some assumptions (for instance, the researchers set the sea-surface temperature to what is observed, rather than computing the temperatures, as would be done in a numerical model), Moum called the research "a brave experiment."
"It provides a physical basis for the current global mean temperature leveling off, while at the same time, points to this equatorial cold tongue as being the major driver for that," Moum told LiveScience.
There are still many unknowns about how this warming and cooling in the Pacific Ocean interacts with man-made greenhouse gas emissions to change the Earth's climate.
"We had El Niñolong before we had anthropogenic forcing — they occur independently of man-made forcing, certainly," Moum said. "Whether they're amplified by it is another question. The flip side of the story is that if this part of the ocean has an outside influence when it cools, it's going to have an outside influence when it warms. It's definitely suggested in the paper that this is a cause for concern."
The detailed findings of the study were published online today (Aug. 28) in the journal Nature.
Follow Denise Chow on Twitter @denisechow. Follow LiveScience @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

President Obama: Troops 'fighting on my behalf' - Spokane Conservative |

President Obama: Troops 'fighting on my behalf' - Spokane Conservative |

President Obama: Troops 'fighting on my behalf'

May 10, 2012
Members of the United States military may be surprised to learn that they now serve on President Obama's behalf, instead of protecting the Constitution.
On Wednesday, Obama reverted to his 1996 position supporting gay marriage, but said something that caught the ear of many conservatives.
"[W]hen I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," Obama said.
"Slip of the tongue, to be sure, but can one think of another president who’d have made it?" Elliot Abrams asked at the Weekly Standard.
Ben Shapiro weighed in on the statement at
The members of the US military fight on behalf of all Americans, not Obama personally. Now, it’s possible that President Obama meant just that – he was expressing individual gratitude for a collective benefit we all receive from the military.
"Or," he wrote, "it’s possible that Obama thinks that the troops are out there carrying out his work."
Shapiro reminded readers that in 2009, Obama said the troops made a “pretty good photo-op” during a visit to South Korea.
"Obama seems to see the troops as his personal plaything," Shapiro added, recalling a statement last week where the President appeared to suggest he would transform the country on their behalf.
He went on to say that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines "are a prop for Obama."
"They are fighting on behalf of the United States of America of which Obama is, like all his predecessors have been and all his successors will be, temporarily president and commander-in-chief," Michael Barone wrote at the Washington Examiner, adding that Obama could have said they were fighting "at my command," which would have been true.
"But that would conflict with his campaign message that he ends wars rather than wages them," Barone added.
Obama also seems to not understand that U.S. military personnel do not swear allegiance to one man, but rather promise to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution "from all enemies, foreign and domestic."
If the United States were a monarchy, as Barone wrote, or a dictatorship, then the President could say they are fighting on his behalf.
"But we're not a monarchy and he's not royal," Barone added. Nor is the United States a dictatorship.
"FDR, for all his ego, would never have said that soldiers in World War II were fighting on his behalf. Neither would Truman, Ike, JFK, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or even Carter and Clinton (although Clinton might have thought it)," wrote Newsbusters' Tom Blumer, who added that he doesn't "expect to see a lot of TV air time devoted to this telling, egotistical slip."
"Others have noted that in his spike-the-ball statements on the dispatch of Osama bin Laden, Obama has used first person pronouns in a way that presidents like George W. Bush, Dwight Eisenhower and Franklin Roosevelt were careful to avoid," Barone wrote.
"With Obama, it’s always all about him," he added.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Democrats Try Backdoor Disarmament -

Democrats Try Backdoor Disarmament -

Democrats Try Backdoor Disarmament

Democrats hate guns and love taxes. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) have paired the two things together in the Gun Violence Prevention And Safe Communities Act. They must be feeling as giddy as the Reese’s guys when they stumbled upon the winning combination of chocolate and peanut butter. I imagine they bumped into each other in the halls of the Capitol building.
Davis: You got your tax hike on my gun ban.
Pascrell: You got your gun ban all over my tax hike.
Together (smiling): We might have something here.
So what does the proposed bill do to prevent gun violence and make communities safer? Well, it raises the tax on handgun purchases from 11% to 20%. It jacks up the tax on ammo from 11% to a whopping 50% and increases firearms transfer fees from five dollars to one hundred bucks. They claim it could generate 600,000,000 in taxes to be used for law enforcement and violence prevention.
The Congressmen liken their brilliant idea to a tobacco tax in that if it costs more for people to buy they will use it less. Interesting idea, I reckon, if you can forget the fact that the Constitution guarantees the right to gun ownership. I don’t remember any amendments that protect your right to spark up a Marlboro.
This would be another huge load for the already overburdened American gun owner. Davis and Pascrell are correct. It would make people use guns less. If a box of handgun ammo cost 60 or 70 bucks, people would go to the rage much less frequently. They would get less time perfecting their marksmanship and learning safe handling of their firearms. A 50% tax would be devastating to the average law-abiding citizen.
On the other, criminals would be unaffected. Nobody ever cancelled a drive-by because the cost of 9mm was too gosh darn high. No bank robber would turn away from a life of crime because he couldn’t afford to feed his gat. The only people hurt by excessive ammo prices and low availability are you and I. The great ammo drought of 2013 has kept me from going to the range as much as I like, but it didn’t put a dent in violent crime.
The handgun tax might keep a working stiff from making a new purchase, but it won’t hinder the criminals at all. They don’t buy their guns legally. If for some crazy reason a 20% tax on the law-abiding had an effect on the street-level price of a pistol, it still wouldn’t make a difference. Sure, a gang-banger might have to hustle a little more to afford it, but that’s the price of being a thug.
The silliest of all the measures is the transfer fee. How do you make street scum pay a transfer fee? Is there paperwork involved when you buy a gun out of the trunk of an Impala? Someone that wants a weapon for evil purposes is not going to be turned off of the purchase by an additional $95.
The Gun Violence Prevention and Safety Act is nothing more than a liberal backdoor attempt at civilian disarmament. The democrats are still reeling from the resounding defeat of their earlier gun grabbing attempts. They underestimated the American resolve to protect the 2nd Amendment. But voters be damned, say Davis and Pascrell. They care not for the will of the people. If they can’t ram gun control down our throats, they’ll find another opening to shove it in.

Colorado's Grassroots Revolt Against Gun-Grabbers | RealClearPolitics

Colorado's Grassroots Revolt Against Gun-Grabbers | RealClearPolitics

Colorado's Grassroots Revolt Against Gun-Grabbers

By Michelle Malkin - August 28, 2013
COLORADO SPRINGS -- While most Americans will be chillin' out, maxin' and relaxin' this Labor Day weekend, dedicated patriots in Colorado are hard at work preparing for a groundbreaking special election day with nationwide repercussions. George Washington would be proud.
On September 10, Democratic legislator and state Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs faces a citizen recall for his sellout to New York anti-gun special interests, for his betrayal of transparency and accountability to constituents, and for his destructive economic policies that are driving thousands of jobs away. Also up for recall: Democratic legislator Angela Giron of Pueblo.
In March, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed his left-wing colleagues' sweeping package of gun- and ammo-control measures -- pushed not by Coloradans, but by gun-grabbing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the anti-Second Amendment Brady bunch and the White House. Vice President Joe Biden inserted himself into my adopted home state's legislative process, phoning up swing Democratic legislators to lobby for the bills personally.
These radically expanded background checks on every individual gun sale and ammunitions restrictions banning the purchase or transfer of magazines with more than 15 cartridges will do little to nothing to prevent the next Newtown or Aurora or Columbine. "Moderate" Hickenlooper publicly admitted their ineffectiveness before surrendering to the gun-control zealots.
Morse and Giron also posed as middle-of-the-roaders. But there's nothing moderate about gun-control laws that demonize law-abiding gun owners. While Morse brags of his time as a police officer in Colorado Springs, his brethren in the Colorado Springs Police Protective Association have condemned him and support his recall. One of Morse's extremist proposals, backed by Bloomberg and company, would have made firearms owners, sellers and manufacturers legally liable for any crimes committed with guns. He was forced to back down on that one.
There's also nothing moderate about marginalizing tax-paying, job-creating gun and ammo manufacturers.
The Morse-Hickenlooper-Bloomberg-Biden laws have already forced Colorado-based Magpul Industries and other manufacturers to abandon the state -- and take thousands of related jobs with them. As I reported earlier this year, Magpul alone fueled 600 jobs and an estimated $85 million in spending in the state.
Overall, as the National Shooting Sports Foundation found, "The firearms and ammunition industry was responsible for as much as $31.84 billion in total economic activity in the country ... (and) the industry and its employees pay over $2.07 billion in taxes including property, income and sales based levies."
At a local fundraiser in Colorado Springs (which I supported and spoke at), Morse's GOP challenger and Air Force veteran Bernie Herpin hammered the incumbent over his economic destruction and contempt for the will of the people. "I'm running to defend our Constitutional rights and promote an environment where small businesses are free to create jobs and improve our local community," Herpin says, while Morse's agenda is "doing the bidding of big-government interests in Denver and Washington."
And New York City. On Tuesday, insatiable control freak Bloomberg tossed in $350,000 to a pass-through committee established less than a month ago to fund the anti-gun Democratic recall targets.
Recall leader Rob Harris, a Colorado Springs resident in Morse's Senate District 11, explains that he was just an ordinary citizen "fed up" with the overlords in Denver. No outside groups contacted him. He had no ties to Republican groups or strategists. Harris was incensed that his representative refused to respond to his emails and to the concerns of his neighbors (an arrogant move that Morse even bragged about on far-left MSNBC host Rachel Maddow's show).
Through hard work and local activism, the grassroots campaign gathered 16,000 signatures in three months to qualify the recall for the ballot. Morse "changed state Senate committee rules, which effectively silenced the voices of hundreds of Colorado citizens from testifying on legislation" affecting them, Harris points out. While Democrats made room for out-of-state astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of former Arizona congresswoman and Tucson shooting survivor Gabby Giffords, to testify before the legislature, the majority Dems manipulated the process so that untold numbers of Colorado residents who support the Second Amendment were frozen out.
In his new No. 1 New York Times bestseller, "The Liberty Amendments," Mark Levin calls for citizen activists to use the tools and principles the Founding Fathers bestowed upon us to restore the balance of power back to "we, the people." The spirit of George Washington animates the important battle here in Colorado. As Washington wrote to his nephew in 1787:
"The power under the Constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own choosing; and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can, and undoubtedly will, be recalled."
The recalls are a historic David and anti-gun Goliath showdown -- and my fellow Colorado Springs citizens know the stakes are high. This isn't a "single issue" election about guns. It's about electoral accountability, economic prosperity, personal security and self-government. The single issue encompassing them all: freedom. 

UN Official, Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Nerve Gas, Not Assad’s Army | Live Trading News

UN Official, Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Nerve Gas, Not Assad’s Army | Live Trading News

UN Official, Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Nerve Gas, Not Assad’s Army

Posted by: Paul EbelingPosted on: August 27, 2013 UN Official, Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Nerve Gas, Not Assad’s Army
Testimony from victims now strongly suggests it was the rebels, not the Syrian  government, that used Sarin Nerve Gas during a recent incident in the revolution-wracked nation, a senior UN diplomat said Monday.
Carla del Ponte, a member of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete  suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels seeking to oust  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used  the nerve agent.
But she said her panel had not yet seen any evidence of Syrian government forces using chemical weapons (CW), according to the BBC, she added that more investigation was needed.
Damascus is facing growing Western accusations that its forces used  such weapons, which US President Obama has described as crossing a Red Line. But Ms. del Ponte’s remarks may serve to shift  the focus of international concern.
Ms. del Ponte, who in Y 1999 was  appointed to head the UN was crimes tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, has sometimes been a controversial figure. She was removed from her Rwanda post by the UN Security Council in Y 2003, but she continued as the Chief prosecutor for the Yugoslav tribunal until  Y 2008.
Rebel Free Syrian Army spokesman Louay Almokdad denied that rebels had use chemical weapons (CW).

Evidence: Syria gas attack work of U.S. allies

Evidence: Syria gas attack work of U.S. allies

Evidence: Syria Gas Attack Work Of U.S. Allies

Islam symbol SC Evidence: Syria gas attack work of U.S. allies
NEW YORK – As the U.S. considers a response to what it calls a chemical weapon attack by Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime that killed hundreds of civilians, reliable Middle Eastern sources say they have evidence the culprits actually were the rebel forces trying to take over the government.
Secretary of State John Kerry accused the Assad government Monday of covering up the use of chemical weapons in “a cowardly crime” and a “moral obscenity” that shocked the world’s conscience. Kerry claimed the Obama administration had “undeniable” evidence “that the Assad government was culpable in the use of chemical weapons on civilians” in the Aug. 21 attack in Damascus suburbs.
Reports that the Obama administration is considering a military strike against the Assad government continued to circulate Monday. Meanwhile, U.N. weapon inspectors in Syria were fired upon by snipers as they attempted to investigate the site of the Aug. 21 attack.
Assad has rejected charges that his government forces used chemical weapons as “preposterous” and “completely politicized,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
He argues Syrian forces were in the targeted area.

A truly great phony

A truly great phony

A truly great phony

A truly great phony
Thomas Sowell

Many years ago, I was a member of a committee that was recommending to whom grant money should be awarded. Since I knew one of the applicants, I asked if this meant that I should recuse myself from voting on his application.
“No,” the chairman said. “I know him too — and he is one of the truly great phonies of our time.”
The man was indeed a very talented phony. He could convince almost anybody of almost anything — provided that they were not already knowledgeable about the subject.
He had once spoken to me very authoritatively about Marxian economics, apparently unaware that I was one of the few people who had read all three volumes of Marx’s “Capital,” and had published articles on Marxian economics in scholarly journals.
What our glib talker was saying might have seemed impressive to someone who had never read “Capital,” as most people have not. But it was complete nonsense to me.
Incidentally, he did not get the grant he applied for.
This episode came back to me recently, as I read an incisive column by Charles Krauthammer, citing some of the many gaffes in public statements by the President of the United States.
One presidential gaffe in particular gives the flavor, and suggests the reason, for many others. It involved the Falkland Islands.
Argentina has recently been demanding that Britain return the Falkland Islands, which have been occupied by Britons for nearly two centuries. In 1982, Argentina seized these islands by force, only to have British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher take the islands back by force.
With Argentina today beset by domestic problems, demanding the return of the Falklands is once again a way for Argentina’s government to distract the Argentine public’s attention from the country’s economic and other woes.
Because the Argentines call these islands “the Malvinas,” rather than “the Falklands,” Barack Obama decided to use the Argentine term. But he referred to them as “the Maldives.”
It so happens that the Maldives are thousands of miles away from the Malvinas. The former are in the Indian Ocean, while the latter are in the South Atlantic.
Nor is this the only gross misstatement that President Obama has gotten away with, thanks to the mainstream media, which sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil when it comes to Obama.
The presidential gaffe that struck me when I heard it was Barack Obama’s reference to a military corps as a military “corpse.” He is obviously a man who is used to sounding off about things he has paid little or no attention to in the past. His mispronunciation of a common military term was especially revealing to someone who was once in the Marine Corps, not Marine “corpse.”
Like other truly talented phonies, Barack Obama concentrates his skills on the effect of his words on other people — most of whom do not have the time to become knowledgeable about the things he is talking about. Whether what he says bears any relationship to the facts is politically irrelevant.
A talented con man, or a slick politician, does not waste his time trying to convince knowledgeable skeptics. His job is to keep the true believers believing. He is not going to convince the others anyway.
Back during Barack Obama’s first year in office, he kept repeating, with great apparent earnestness, that there were “shovel-ready” projects that would quickly provide many much-needed jobs, if only his spending plans were approved by Congress.
He seemed very convincing — if you didn’t know how long it can take for any construction project to get started, after going through a bureaucratic maze of environmental impact studies, zoning commission rulings and other procedures that can delay even the smallest and simplest project for years.
Only about a year or so after his big spending programs were approved by Congress, Barack Obama himself laughed at how slowly everything was going on his supposedly “shovel-ready” projects.
One wonders how he will laugh when all his golden promises about ObamaCare turn out to be false and a medical disaster. Or when his foreign policy fiascoes in the Middle East are climaxed by a nuclear Iran.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The unsurprising failure of Denver’s ‘affordable housing’ ordinance | Complete Colorado - Page Two

The unsurprising failure of Denver’s ‘affordable housing’ ordinance | Complete Colorado

The unsurprising failure of Denver’s ‘affordable housing’ ordinance

The unsurprising failure of Denver’s ‘affordable housing’ ordinance

By Randal O'Toole
Denver’s urban-growth boundary has made housing expensive. More than a decade ago, the city blamed “failure by the private market to produce enough affordable housing” (see p. 5). To fix this “failure,” the city required developers to build “affordable housing.” Now, the city admits that this ordinance is a failure.
Data from the 2011 American Community Survey indicates that the median value of owner-occupied homes in Denver is nearly four times median family incomes. It should be just two times, which is typical for cities that don’t have urban-growth boundaries or other restrictive land-use laws. So housing prices are nearly twice as high as they ought to be.
As this city document explains, Denver’s “inclusionary zoning” ordinance requires developers who build 30 or more homes or condos at one time to sell at least 10 percent of those homes at “affordable” prices. Typically, this means an average of about $40,000 less than market prices, which is likely below the actual cost of constructing the homes. To make up for the losses, developers have to sell the remaining 90 percent for more than they would otherwise.
The people who buy these homes don’t really get a windfall. They are required to live in the houses themselves (i.e., they can’t rent them out at market rates) and, if they sell them within 15 to 30 years after buying them, they can’t sell them for more than they paid for them plus inflation. None of the buyers are really poor; anyone who earns up to 80 percent of the city’s median income is eligible. It is likely that many of the buyers are young people whose lifetime earnings are likely to be well above median incomes.
The number of “affordable” homes that were built under this ordinance is pathetic. About 55 units were build in 2007, but the average for every other year since 2005 has only been about five units per year. That’s a total of about 100.
The city claims that more than 1,100 units were built under the ordinance, but it is counting 1,056 units built as a part of city-subsidized developments such as Stapleton and Lowry (former airports converted, at city expense, to “New Urbanist” housing projects). Most were built in Green Valley Ranch, a development east of Denver on land annexed into the city. Developers received incentives to make about 650 homes “affordable.”
Where did the city get the money to offer these incentives to Green Valley developers? From other developers who paid the city millions to opt out of the inclusionary zoning program. Ultimately, of course, those millions were paid by new homebuyers, which means the inclusionary zoning ordinance actually increased the cost of new housing. Since the prices of used homes follow new home prices, the affordable housing ordinance made Denver housing less affordable.
This is not surprising: economists at San Jose State University proved this is what happened to cities that adopted inclusionary zoning ordinances in California. They noted that not only did such ordinances drive up the cost of new homes, they led developers to build fewer new homes than they would otherwise.
Although the city admits that the ordinance has failed, it uses the wrong measure for success. Instead of counting the number of “affordable” units built, it should look at the overall affordability of the city’s housing. The 2010 census found that Denver has more than 263,000 occupied housing units, so adding a few hundred “affordable” units to the mix is really not going to make any difference. The real problem is that the ordinance makes all the rest of the housing even less affordable.
Denver’s likely solution is to make the ordinance even stronger by increasing the percentage of affordable homes that must be built, reducing the minimum number of homes that triggers the ordinance to less than 30, or taking away developers’ ability to opt out by paying the city money. This will simply make the problem worse. Instead, Denver should tell the Denver Regional Council of Governments to abandon the region’s urban-growth boundary and let people live where they like.
Randal O’Toole is director of transportation policy at the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in Denver, and a senior fellow at the Washington, DC-based Cato Institute. This op-ed originally appeared in the Antiplanner blog.

Bloomberg gives $350K to Morse, Giron recall defense |

Bloomberg gives $350K to Morse, Giron recall defense |

Bloomberg gives $350K to Morse, Giron recall defense

Posted on: 2:47 pm, August 27, 2013, by , updated on: 03:57pm, August 27, 2013
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony in 2012. (Credit: CNN)
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony in 2012. (Credit: CNN)
DENVER — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote a personal check for $350,000 to Taxpayers for Responsible Democracy, the 527 group fighting the recalls targeting Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron.
FOX31 Denver is first to report the group’s contributions report, filed Tuesday with the Secretary of State.
Bloomberg’s contribution reportedly came just last week, according to multiple sources close to the campaign.
Billionaire Eli Broad also wrote a $250,000 check to the organization, which raised a total of $708,000 in contributions between April and Aug. 22.
With exactly two weeks remaining until the Sept. 10 recall elections that will determine the fate of Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, both of whom irked some constituents by supporting tougher gun control laws this year, the organization has $286,745 cash on hand.
Overall, more than 17,000 individuals contributed to the campaign to help the lawmakers survive these recalls, the first of state lawmakers in Colorado history.
“We want to thank every single one of those supporters, from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the people who gave 5 or 10 dollars,” said Jennie Peek-Dunstone, with Pueblo United for Angela. “They all play a role in fighting back against the ‘wave of fear’ that the recall proponents want to send across the country.”
Additional contributors to the group include Conservation Colorado, which has chipped in $75,000 to date; and Miami philanthropist Barbara Stiefel, who wrote a check for $20,000.
The money trail doesn’t end there.
Pueblo United for Angela, the issues committee supporting Giron, raised an additional $586,187 since April, according to its own report also filed Tuesday.
That group has $44,673 cash on hand.