Thursday, November 30, 2017

"Environmentalism as Religion"

"Environmentalism as Religion"

by Michael Crichton
Commonwealth Club
San Francisco, CA
September 15, 2003

I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we're told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears.

As an example of this challenge, I want to talk today about environmentalism. And in order not to be misunderstood, I want it perfectly clear that I believe it is incumbent on us to conduct our lives in a way that takes into account all the consequences of our actions, including the consequences to other people, and the consequences to the environment. I believe it is important to act in ways that are sympathetic to the environment, and I believe this will always be a need, carrying into the future. I believe the world has genuine problems and I believe it can and should be improved. But I also think that deciding what constitutes responsible action is immensely difficult, and the consequences of our actions are often difficult to know in advance. I think our past record of environmental action is discouraging, to put it mildly, because even our best intended efforts often go awry. But I think we do not recognize our past failures, and face them squarely. And I think I know why.

I studied anthropology in college, and one of the things I learned was that certain human social structures always reappear. They can't be eliminated from society. One of those structures is religion. Today it is said we live in a secular society in which many people---the best people, the most enlightened people---do not believe in any religion. But I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form. You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.

There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday---these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don't want to talk anybody out of them, as I don't want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who rose from the dead. But the reason I don't want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can't talk anybody out of them. These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.

And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them.

Am I exaggerating to make a point? I am afraid not. Because we know a lot more about the world than we did forty or fifty years ago. And what we know now is not so supportive of certain core environmental myths, yet the myths do not die. Let's examine some of those beliefs.

There is no Eden. There never was. What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago. When plagues swept across the planet, killing millions in a stroke. Was it when millions starved to death? Is that when it was Eden?

And what about indigenous peoples, living in a state of harmony with the Eden-like environment? Well, they never did. On this continent, the newly arrived people who crossed the land bridge almost immediately set about wiping out hundreds of species of large animals, and they did this several thousand years before the white man showed up, to accelerate the process. And what was the condition of life? Loving, peaceful, harmonious? Hardly: the early peoples of the New World lived in a state of constant warfare. Generations of hatred, tribal hatreds, constant battles. The warlike tribes of this continent are famous: the Comanche, Sioux, Apache, Mohawk, Aztecs, Toltec, Incas. Some of them practiced infanticide, and human sacrifice. And those tribes that were not fiercely warlike were exterminated, or learned to build their villages high in the cliffs to attain some measure of safety.

How about the human condition in the rest of the world? The Maori of New Zealand committed massacres regularly. The dyaks of Borneo were headhunters. The Polynesians, living in an environment as close to paradise as one can imagine, fought constantly, and created a society so hideously restrictive that you could lose your life if you stepped in the footprint of a chief. It was the Polynesians who gave us the very concept of taboo, as well as the word itself. The noble savage is a fantasy, and it was never true. That anyone still believes it, 200 years after Rousseau, shows the tenacity of religious myths, their ability to hang on in the face of centuries of factual contradiction.

There was even an academic movement, during the latter 20th century, that claimed that cannibalism was a white man's invention to demonize the indigenous peoples. (Only academics could fight such a battle.) It was some thirty years before professors finally agreed that yes, cannibalism does indeed occur among human beings. Meanwhile, all during this time New Guinea highlanders in the 20th century continued to eat the brains of their enemies until they were finally made to understand that they risked kuru, a fatal neurological disease, when they did so.

More recently still the gentle Tasaday of the Philippines turned out to be a publicity stunt, a nonexistent tribe. And African pygmies have one of the highest murder rates on the planet.

In short, the romantic view of the natural world as a blissful Eden is only held by people who have no actual experience of nature. People who live in nature are not romantic about it at all. They may hold spiritual beliefs about the world around them, they may have a sense of the unity of nature or the aliveness of all things, but they still kill the animals and uproot the plants in order to eat, to live. If they don't, they will die.

And if you, even now, put yourself in nature even for a matter of days, you will quickly be disabused of all your romantic fantasies. Take a trek through the jungles of Borneo, and in short order you will have festering sores on your skin, you'll have bugs all over your body, biting in your hair, crawling up your nose and into your ears, you'll have infections and sickness and if you're not with somebody who knows what they're doing, you'll quickly starve to death. But chances are that even in the jungles of Borneo you won't experience nature so directly, because you will have covered your entire body with DEET and you will be doing everything you can to keep those bugs off you.

The truth is, almost nobody wants to experience real nature. What people want is to spend a week or two in a cabin in the woods, with screens on the windows. They want a simplified life for a while, without all their stuff. Or a nice river rafting trip for a few days, with somebody else doing the cooking. Nobody wants to go back to nature in any real way, and nobody does. It's all talk-and as the years go on, and the world population grows increasingly urban, it's uninformed talk. Farmers know what they're talking about. City people don't. It's all fantasy.

One way to measure the prevalence of fantasy is to note the number of people who die because they haven't the least knowledge of how nature really is. They stand beside wild animals, like buffalo, for a picture and get trampled to death; they climb a mountain in dicey weather without proper gear, and freeze to death. They drown in the surf on holiday because they can't conceive the real power of what we blithely call "the force of nature." They have seen the ocean. But they haven't been in it.

The television generation expects nature to act the way they want it to be. They think all life experiences can be tivo-ed. The notion that the natural world obeys its own rules and doesn't give a damn about your expectations comes as a massive shock. Well-to-do, educated people in an urban environment experience the ability to fashion their daily lives as they wish. They buy clothes that suit their taste, and decorate their apartments as they wish. Within limits, they can contrive a daily urban world that pleases them.

But the natural world is not so malleable. On the contrary, it will demand that you adapt to it-and if you don't, you die. It is a harsh, powerful, and unforgiving world, that most urban westerners have never experienced.

Many years ago I was trekking in the Karakorum mountains of northern Pakistan, when my group came to a river that we had to cross. It was a glacial river, freezing cold, and it was running very fast, but it wasn't deep---maybe three feet at most. My guide set out ropes for people to hold as they crossed the river, and everybody proceeded, one at a time, with extreme care. I asked the guide what was the big deal about crossing a three-foot river. He said, well, supposing you fell and suffered a compound fracture. We were now four days trek from the last big town, where there was a radio. Even if the guide went back double time to get help, it'd still be at least three days before he could return with a helicopter. If a helicopter were available at all. And in three days, I'd probably be dead from my injuries. So that was why everybody was crossing carefully. Because out in nature a little slip could be deadly.

But let's return to religion. If Eden is a fantasy that never existed, and mankind wasn't ever noble and kind and loving, if we didn't fall from grace, then what about the rest of the religious tenets? What about salvation, sustainability, and judgment day? What about the coming environmental doom from fossil fuels and global warming, if we all don't get down on our knees and conserve every day?

Well, it's interesting. You may have noticed that something has been left off the doomsday list, lately. Although the preachers of environmentalism have been yelling about population for fifty years, over the last decade world population seems to be taking an unexpected turn. Fertility rates are falling almost everywhere. As a result, over the course of my lifetime the thoughtful predictions for total world population have gone from a high of 20 billion, to 15 billion, to 11 billion (which was the UN estimate around 1990) to now 9 billion, and soon, perhaps less. There are some who think that world population will peak in 2050 and then start to decline. There are some who predict we will have fewer people in 2100 than we do today. Is this a reason to rejoice, to say halleluiah? Certainly not. Without a pause, we now hear about the coming crisis of world economy from a shrinking population. We hear about the impending crisis of an aging population. Nobody anywhere will say that the core fears expressed for most of my life have turned out not to be true. As we have moved into the future, these doomsday visions vanished, like a mirage in the desert. They were never there---though they still appear, in the future. As mirages do.

Okay, so, the preachers made a mistake. They got one prediction wrong; they're human. So what. Unfortunately, it's not just one prediction. It's a whole slew of them. We are running out of oil. We are running out of all natural resources. Paul Ehrlich: 60 million Americans will die of starvation in the 1980s. Forty thousand species become extinct every year. Half of all species on the planet will be extinct by 2000. And on and on and on.

With so many past failures, you might think that environmental predictions would become more cautious. But not if it's a religion. Remember, the nut on the sidewalk carrying the placard that predicts the end of the world doesn't quit when the world doesn't end on the day he expects. He just changes his placard, sets a new doomsday date, and goes back to walking the streets. One of the defining features of religion is that your beliefs are not troubled by facts, because they have nothing to do with facts.

So I can tell you some facts. I know you haven't read any of what I am about to tell you in the newspaper, because newspapers literally don't report them. I can tell you that DDT is not a carcinogen and did not cause birds to die and should never have been banned. I can tell you that the people who banned it knew that it wasn't carcinogenic and banned it anyway. I can tell you that the DDT ban has caused the deaths of tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, whose deaths are directly attributable to a callous, technologically advanced western society that promoted the new cause of environmentalism by pushing a fantasy about a pesticide, and thus irrevocably harmed the third world. Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the twentieth century history of America. We knew better, and we did it anyway, and we let people around the world die and didn't give a damn.

I can tell you that second hand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was, and the EPA has always known it. I can tell you that the evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents would ever admit. I can tell you the percentage the US land area that is taken by urbanization, including cities and roads, is 5%. I can tell you that the Sahara desert is shrinking, and the total ice of Antarctica is increasing. I can tell you that a blue-ribbon panel in Science magazine concluded that there is no known technology that will enable us to halt the rise of carbon dioxide in the 21st century. Not wind, not solar, not even nuclear. The panel concluded a totally new technology-like nuclear fusion-was necessary, otherwise nothing could be done and in the meantime all efforts would be a waste of time. They said that when the UN IPCC reports stated alternative technologies existed that could control greenhouse gases, the UN was wrong.

I can, with a lot of time, give you the factual basis for these views, and I can cite the appropriate journal articles not in whacko magazines, but in the most prestigious science journals, such as Science and Nature. But such references probably won't impact more than a handful of you, because the beliefs of a religion are not dependent on facts, but rather are matters of faith. Unshakeable belief.

Most of us have had some experience interacting with religious fundamentalists, and we understand that one of the problems with fundamentalists is that they have no perspective on themselves. They never recognize that their way of thinking is just one of many other possible ways of thinking, which may be equally useful or good. On the contrary, they believe their way is the right way, everyone else is wrong; they are in the business of salvation, and they want to help you to see things the right way. They want to help you be saved. They are totally rigid and totally uninterested in opposing points of view. In our modern complex world, fundamentalism is dangerous because of its rigidity and its imperviousness to other ideas.

I want to argue that it is now time for us to make a major shift in our thinking about the environment, similar to the shift that occurred around the first Earth Day in 1970, when this awareness was first heightened. But this time around, we need to get environmentalism out of the sphere of religion. We need to stop the mythic fantasies, and we need to stop the doomsday predictions. We need to start doing hard science instead.

There are two reasons why I think we all need to get rid of the religion of environmentalism.

First, we need an environmental movement, and such a movement is not very effective if it is conducted as a religion. We know from history that religions tend to kill people, and environmentalism has already killed somewhere between 10-30 million people since the 1970s. It's not a good record. Environmentalism needs to be absolutely based in objective and verifiable science, it needs to be rational, and it needs to be flexible. And it needs to be apolitical. To mix environmental concerns with the frantic fantasies that people have about one political party or another is to miss the cold truth---that there is very little difference between the parties, except a difference in pandering rhetoric. The effort to promote effective legislation for the environment is not helped by thinking that the Democrats will save us and the Republicans won't. Political history is more complicated than that. Never forget which president started the EPA: Richard Nixon. And never forget which president sold federal oil leases, allowing oil drilling in Santa Barbara: Lyndon Johnson. So get politics out of your thinking about the environment.

The second reason to abandon environmental religion is more pressing. Religions think they know it all, but the unhappy truth of the environment is that we are dealing with incredibly complex, evolving systems, and we usually are not certain how best to proceed. Those who are certain are demonstrating their personality type, or their belief system, not the state of their knowledge. Our record in the past, for example managing national parks, is humiliating. Our fifty-year effort at forest-fire suppression is a well-intentioned disaster from which our forests will never recover. We need to be humble, deeply humble, in the face of what we are trying to accomplish. We need to be trying various methods of accomplishing things. We need to be open-minded about assessing results of our efforts, and we need to be flexible about balancing needs. Religions are good at none of these things.

How will we manage to get environmentalism out of the clutches of religion, and back to a scientific discipline? There's a simple answer: we must institute far more stringent requirements for what constitutes knowledge in the environmental realm. I am thoroughly sick of politicized so-called facts that simply aren't true. It isn't that these "facts" are exaggerations of an underlying truth. Nor is it that certain organizations are spinning their case to present it in the strongest way. Not at all---what more and more groups are doing is putting out is lies, pure and simple. Falsehoods that they know to be false.

This trend began with the DDT campaign, and it persists to this day. At this moment, the EPA is hopelessly politicized. In the wake of Carol Browner, it is probably better to shut it down and start over. What we need is a new organization much closer to the FDA. We need an organization that will be ruthless about acquiring verifiable results, that will fund identical research projects to more than one group, and that will make everybody in this field get honest fast.

Because in the end, science offers us the only way out of politics. And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don't know any better. That's not a good future for the human race. That's our past. So it's time to abandon the religion of environmentalism, and return to the science of environmentalism, and base our public policy decisions firmly on that.

Thank you very much.

Trump: The art of the insult

Trump: The art of the insult

The question most everyone had on the morning of  November 9, 2016 was, "How in the world did Trump win?"
Joel Gilbert entertainingly answers that question in his new film, Trump: The Art of the Insult.
The short answer is, Trump stood head and shoulders above his competition.
By condensing Trump's long campaign into a film that could be titled Trump's Greatest Hits, Gilbert clearly shows Trump to be a master verbal swordsman.  Those who crossed swords with him wound up like Monty Python's Black Knight: no arms, no legs, and wondering what just happened.
The film starts with the infamous Megyn Kelly gotcha question about Trump and women: "You've called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals..."  Trump with perfect timing interrupted to say, "Only Rosie O'Donnell."  It brought the house down and ended any hope Megyn had of inflicting a serious wound.
The device Gilbert uses throughout most of the film is an actor portraying Trump issuing tweets.  Each tweet opens a new chapter showing Trump destroying an opponent.  They're all there: "Low-energy Jeb," "Lyin' Ted," "Little Marco," Pocahontas," "Crooked Hillary," and more.
My favorite example of how inept supposedly seasoned politicians were around Trump is a comeback from Jeb Bush: "The problem with Mr. Trump's language is that it's divisive, it's ugly, it's mean-spirited."
After watching Gilbert's documentary, it dawned on me that the closest comparison to Trump might be Groucho Marx.  If you're a fan of Marx's caustic, deadpan humor, as I am, do yourself a favor and get Trump: The Art of the Insult.  It's a riot, and free people love to laugh!
Watch the trailer here.

Trump a racist?

Trump a racist?

Shout out to G Mamba Bennett : Back in the day when the most famous BUCK DANCERS hung out with Trump, black folks didn't have a problem. Soon as he decided to run as a Republican, all of a sudden he's racist. The same VICTIMIZATION card LOONEYS been using to get power for decades.

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Bombshell Study Finds No Change In Global Warming Rate For 23 Years

Bombshell Study Finds No Change In Global Warming Rate For 23 Years

Global warming has not accelerated temperature rise in the bulk atmosphere in more than two decades, according to a new study funded by the Department of Energy.
University of Alabama-Huntsville climate scientists John Christy and Richard McNider found that by removing the climate effects of volcanic eruptions early on in the satellite temperature record showed virtually no change in the rate of warming since the early 1990s.
“We indicated 23 years ago — in our 1994 Nature article — that climate models had the atmosphere’s sensitivity to CO2 much too high,” Christy said in a statement. “This recent paper bolsters that conclusion.”
Christy and McNider found the rate of warming has been 0.096 degrees Celsius per decade after “the removal of volcanic cooling in the early part of the record,” which “is essentially the same value we determined in 1994 … using only 15 years of data.”
The study is sure to be contentious. Christy has argued for years that climate models exaggerate global warming in the bulk atmosphere, which satellites have monitored since the late 1970s.
Christy, a noted skeptic of catastrophic man-made global warming, said his results reinforce his claim that climate models predict too much warming in the troposphere, the lowest five miles of the atmosphere. Models are too sensitive to increases in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, he said.
“From our observations we calculated that value as 1.1 C (almost 2° Fahrenheit), while climate models estimate that value as 2.3 C (about 4.1° F),” Christy said.
While many scientists have acknowledged the mismatch between model predictions and actual temperature observations, few have really challenged the validity of the models themselves.
A recent study led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory climate scientist Ben Santer found that while the models ran hot, the “overestimation” was “partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations.”
Christy’s removal of volcanic-driven cooling from satellite temperature data could also draw scrutiny. The study also removed El Nino and La Nina cycles, which are particularly pronounced in satellite records, but those cycles largely canceled each other out, the co-authors said.
Christy said his works shows the “climate models need to be retooled to better reflect conditions in the actual climate, while policies based on previous climate model output and predictions might need to be reconsidered.”
Two major volcanoes — El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991 — caused global average temperature to dip as a result of volcanic ash, soot and debris reflecting sunlight back into space.
Those eruptions meant there was more subsequent warming in the following years, making the rate of warming appear to be rising as a result of man-made emissions or other factors, Christy said.
“Those eruptions happened relatively early in our study period, which pushed down temperatures in the first part of the dataset, which caused the overall record to show an exaggerated warming trend,” Christy said.
“While volcanic eruptions are natural events, it was the timing of these that had such a noticeable effect on the trend. If the same eruptions had happened near the more recent end of the dataset, they could have pushed the overall trend into negative numbers, or a long-term cooling,” Christy said.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Nightmare of Obamacare, part XXVII: Hospitals imploding

Nightmare of Obamacare, part XXVII: Hospitals imploding

So Obamacare is "popular," health care coverage will now extend to millions more, and suddenly...we have a hospital shortage.

Via Tyler Durden, Bloomberg reports:
A wave of hospitals and other medical companies are likely to restructure their debt or file for bankruptcy in the coming year, following the recent spate of failing retailers and energy drillers, according to restructuring professionals. Regulatory changes, technological advances and the rise of urgent-care centers have created a "perfect storm" for health-care companies, said David Neier, a partner in the New York office of law firm Winston & Strawn LLC.
Some signs are already there: Health-care bankruptcy filings have more than tripled this year according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and an index of Chapter 11 filings by companies with more than $1 million of assets has reached record highs in four of the last six quarters, according to law firm Polsinelli PC.
The reasons cited include a cutoff of subsidy payments for hospitals that had to cover massive costs of uninsured using emergency rooms as their primary health care and unpaid medical bills from customers caught up with high-deductible Obamacare plans and unable to cough up the $7,000 or so in costs upfront.  Hurricanes and storms have damaged infrastructure, too.
Small and rural hospitals in particular are being hit, and many have less than a day's operating cash, Bloomberg reports.
As Durden notes, Obamacare was supposed to bring us plenty.  Instead, we are getting boarded up hospitals and the signature shortages of socialism, even as Obama himself repeatedly claimed that his health insurance "reform" was not socialist.  Like so much of what he said about Obamacare, it was a lie.
Because no doubt about it, socialism is about central planning, and central planning is about allocation of resources.  Resources that went one place now go to another.  Winners are in the Beltway and in the rich enclaves of the Bay Area; losers are in the rural hospitals.
Of course, there is no letup in the use of emergency rooms for primary care in these distressed places.  These emergency rooms are primarily used by millions of illegal aliens, who are forbidden to purchase Obamacare and, in any case, would get subsidies and likely not pay a dime if they did.  So to protect that pot of subsidy money from being drained by illegals, the hospitals are asked to foot the bill for the illegals using the emergency rooms instead.
See how misallocation of resources by central-planning socialists works?
Now, as Obamacare provides insurance coverage for millions more, as Obamacare advocates claim, somehow there is less and less to go around.  Fewer hospitals and fewer getting actual care due to the skyrocketing costs of deductibles.  Durden notes that health care premiums under the Nightmare of Obamacare have doubled in four years, asking how it is that consumers can swallow that.  Not in a market economy, they can't.  Only in a highly oppressive tax-socialism regime that has no accountability whatsoever for the ever increasing political forces dipping into the money troughs and giving those who pay less and less and less.
It's another reason to just throw Obamacare out.  Keep trying, Congress.

Don’t Believe the Left’s CFPB Narrative

Don’t Believe the Left’s CFPB Narrative 
by Ben Shapiro
November 29, 2017 4:00 AM

It was always a partisan organization set up for partisan ends.

There are two narratives about the latest hijinks at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Narrative number one comes courtesy of the mainstream media and Democrats. It goes something like this. 
 Once upon a time, businesses roamed the land preying on the foolish and the poor. They sought to exploit holes in the free market to stack the deck against unwitting innocents, and were backed in this effort by a corrupt Congress chock-full of beneficiaries of big banks and deep-pocketed donors. 
 It was a dark time. And those dark times culminated in the economic apocalypse of 2007–2008.
Then, a Daughter of the Plains arrived. Elizabeth Warren, a Native-American professor from Harvard Law School, climbed down from her horse, carrying a plate of cold omelets with crab meat—a dish long favored among Cherokees of Oklahoma —and told the rich white males that their time was over: now she would cleanse the system of such rot. Her chosen tool: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She lobbied Democrats to include the CFPB in their Dodd-Frank Act. It would be completely independent from both Congress and the executive branch, funded by Federal Reserve profits (so its budget could not be cut by Congress), and its director would be appointed for a non-revocable five-year term. This independent agency would make the world safe again for the little guy.
Warren would not be appointed to lead the agency. Instead, Richard Cordray got the job; Warren instead won a Senate seat in Massachusetts. Cordray, so the legend goes, used the CFPB to clean up the markets and set them on a new footing, to protect the consumer.
But then came disaster: President Trump was elected. In a last, heroic move, Cordray stepped down from his position before his term could expire, leaving his chosen deputy Leandra English in his place to guard the agency from the predations of those cruel, defiled politicians until the senate confirmed a new head,ly to hav one Trump illegally appoint Mick Mulvaney acting director instead.
That’s the media’s story.
Then there’s the real story.
The CFPB was always a misbegotten enterprise. The CFPB was always a misbegotten enterprise. It was specifically designed to act as an agency free of constitutional restraints. There’s a reason the D.C. Court of Appeals described its set-up as ridiculously unconstitutional, stating, “when measured in terms of unilateral power, the Director of the CFPB is the single most powerful official in the entire US Government, other than the president. Indeed, within his jurisdiction, the Director of the CFPB can be considered even more powerful than the President.”
And Cordray didn’t use the CFPB to protect consumers as much as to set up a protection racket. The CFPB would shake down companies into million-dollar settlements to continue funding the organization. The CFPB would then redirect millions of dollars into the pockets of firms connected with top-tier Democrats. As Ronald Rubin, former CFPB lawyer, wrote in National Review last December:

Targets were almost certain to write a check, especially if they were accused of subjective “unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices.” Even the size of the checks didn’t depend on actual wrongdoing — during investigations, Enforcement demanded targets’ financial statements to calculate the maximum fines they could afford to pay.

Meanwhile, the CFPB tried to crack down on legitimate businesses such as payday lenders. This was all about public relations, not consumer protection: the vast majority of people who interact with payday lenders need the money, and are willing to undertake the interest rates. 
Even the supposed “big wins” for the CFPB, such as the $185 million Wells Fargo fine levied against the bank for opening millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts, were exaggerated; the CFPB failed to identify Wells Fargo’s abuses for years until a Los Angeles Times story awoke them from their stupor.
So, in short, the CFPB was a partisan organization set up for partisan purposes, but operating under a popular name; now Democrats want to claim that any attempt to bring the organization under bipartisan control represents a rollback of its central mission. That’s a lie, and an obvious one. No wonder a court dismissed Cordray’s and English’s claims this week and allowed Mulvaney to fill the directorship. As usual, the Democrats and media claimed that the rule of law was secondary to an agenda item. They were wrong. We still live in a nation of laws, even if Democrats wish we lived in a nation of bureaucratic rule from above.

Read more at:

CFPB smackdown

CFPB smackdown

A federal judge has slapped down the Democrats' pretender to the throne, Laura English, and her lawsuit claim to the acting director's job at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Her claim was so banana-republic that it led to two acting directors coming to work on Monday, each claiming the job and only one of them rightfully appointed. It wasn't her.
It's enough to restore one's faith in the judicial system, at least a little bit.
The monster we were seeing was of a powerful and self-perpetuating swamp bureaucracy, accountable to no one, employing the highest-paid bureaucrats in the land, existing solely to shake down banks and businesses with the aim of redistributing the harvest to left-wing NGOs and activist groups.
Ben Shapiro, writing in National Review (a great piece, by the way), notes that the CFPB was an exceptionally powerful agency:
The CFPB was always a misbegotten enterprise. It was specifically designed to act as an agency free of constitutional restraints. There's a reason the D.C. Court of Appeals described its set-up as ridiculously unconstitutional, stating, "when measured in terms of unilateral power, the Director of the CFPB is the single most powerful official in the entire US Government, other than the president. Indeed, within his jurisdiction, the Director of the CFPB can be considered even more powerful than the President."
The court ruling shows two things:
That CFPB was an unaccountable partisan shakedown racket, given the left's insane desire to cling to the power of it, even in a case that failed miserably.
And the left doesn't care about rule of law – neither in the gamy setup of this overly powerful agency with no accountability nor in its belief that all it would take was one left-wing judge to ensure its perpetual grip on power.  The left doesn't care about law.  It cares about shakedowns and coercive government with its boot on the private sector.  The law thought otherwise, and America is a country all about rule of law.
The court's ruling lays it out for all to see.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Breaking: Trump’s FBI Director & Solicitor General Preparing Indictments Of The ‘Untouchables’… & They Said It Would Never Happen

Breaking: Trump’s FBI Director & Solicitor General Preparing Indictments Of The ‘Untouchables’… & They Said It Would Never Happen

Elder Patriot – Very soon the names Christopher Wray and Noel Francisco will be the stars of 24/7-cable news programming.  Both are Trump appointees who have compiled enough evidence to begin the prosecution of the Clintons and those in the highest offices of the FBI who protected them.  And, neither man can be bought.
Politics will determine whether their investigations will be allowed to make the case for prosecuting Obama’s cabinet members who made the call to squash the evidence in multiple incriminating cases and who violated FISA court rules of evidence to obtain warrants in order to spy on the man who threatens to expose their criminally treasonous syndicate, President Trump.
Wray was Trump’s choice to replace Comey to lead the FBI after Trump became aware of how severely Comey, and his predecessor Robert Mueller, had corrupted the agency and its mission when it chose to protect the Clintons. 
Wray is highly respected lawman and passed Senate confirmation by a 92-5 vote.
The vote to confirm Francisco as Solicitor General was 50-47, along party lines.  That should come as no surprise because as the Solicitor General of the United States, Francisco would be responsible for conducting and supervising the government’s litigation at the Supreme Court. 
In other words, Francisco will be prosecuting the case against those who corrupted the FBI and his reputation says that he will do it thoroughly and professionally to the best of his considerable legal abilities. 
The Solicitor General is the last firewall the American people have against the government corruption of the past administration.
Francisco has built a reputation for his steadfast commitment to the rule of law and his staunch defense of the Constitution.  To say Francisco’s appointment has Democrats worried cannot be overstated.
And now FBI Director Christopher Wray has seen enough evidence against those who are attempting to remove our duly elected president on trumped up charges that he’s preparing to clean house at the FBI and to present the case for prosecution to Francisco.
In the next six months expect indictments against former FBI directors Robert Mueller and James Comey along with current Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former U.S. attorney and current Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein.
Whether Wray and Francisco’s investigation will ensnare former AGs Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch will be a political call that would then signal Wray and Francisco’s willingness to go after the big fish, ex-President Obama and other members of his cabinet including former National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
One of the triggers for Wray’s decision to move forward is reported to be the ironclad proof that Deputy Director Andrew McCabe essentially accepted a $500,000 bribe from the Clintons’ in the form of a campaign donation to his wife who was convinced to run for the Virginia Senate by Clinton bagman Terry McAuliffe.
The fact that McCabe was deeply involved in what amounted to covering up Hillary’s email “scandal” has left Wray with no choice but to remove McCabe by whatever means necessary if he is to restore the FBI’s integrity.
The recent revelation that neither Comey nor McCabe saw fit to notify the vast majority of the 500-plus U.S. officials that Russian hackers had targeted their personal Gmail accounts was also indefensible in Wray’s view.  Wray found trying to defend the agency’s lack of action in this matter to be embarrassing.  Wray now wants to know who, inside our government, they were protecting by their silence besides the Russian hackers.
In addition to the embarrassment involved, Wray sees it as one more example of the FBI conspiring with the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton to hide their collusion to advance Russian interests.
Under Mueller, the FBI buried overwhelming evidence of Russian bribery, extortion, kickbacks and money laundering as the nuclear power sought to gain control of the world’s uranium supply. 
Mueller also saw no reason to investigate when Hillary, with the approval of then president Obama, helped Russia make a major technological leap after they authorized sharing information technologies to help build the Russian equivalent of Silicon Valley in Skolkovo.
Wray also has enough evidence to convict his predecessor, Jim Comey, on conspiracy charges for his involvement in refusing to prosecute Hillary, Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, and a number of her other associates on violations of the Espionage Act.  Wray has likely determined that those 33,000 deleted emails weren’t just mishandled accidently – alone that is a violation of the act – but were deliberately exposed to foreign agents and contained at least 2,100 highly secret transmissions.
All of this has left Wray with little choice in this matter.  While every president, and every president’s administration, makes decisions that can be deemed questionable and even illegal by future administrations, they have always left town after their term’s were completed and left the field clear for the new president to carve their trail.  Not so with Obama and Clinton.
Obama and Clinton committed to running a resistance in exile relying on their administration’s holdovers scattered everywhere throughout the federal bureaucracy, their judicial appointments, the Washington political establishment that they corrupted long ago, and their control over the mainstream media to destroy their successor.
The depths of their criminality and their treasonous actions apparently left Obama and Clinton with little choice but to try to destroy President Trump.  Now, in the interest of defending our American republic Christopher Wray has no choice but to take them all down.
When the indictments come they will likely encompass everyone who served at a high level in the Obama administration.  There is no other way.  As Jim Malone asked famed FBI agent Eliot Ness:  
“What are you prepared to do? If you open ball on these people Mr. Ness, you must be prepared to go all the way because they won’t give up the fight till one of you is dead.’’

Supreme Court refuses to label Confederate flag emblem unconstitutional

Supreme Court refuses to label Confederate flag emblem unconstitutional

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case involving the constitutionality of the Confederate flag emblem on Mississippi's state flag.  A black lawyer argued that the emblem should be banned because it represented white supremacy.
But a lower court refused to hear the suit because the lawyer did not have standing to sue.  The Supreme Court issued its ruling without comment.
In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Moore argued that the lower court interpreted the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause too narrowly.
He called for the Supreme Court to declare Mississippi statutes on how the flag should be designed and displayed as unconstitutional. He also wanted the justices to deem unconstitutional a statute that called for schoolchildren in the state – such as his own daughter – to be taught "proper respect" for the flag and for the " 'official pledge of the State of Mississippi,' which reads: I salute the flag of Mississippi and the sovereign state for which it stands with pride in her history and achievements and with confidence in her future under the guidance of Almighty God."
"The message in Mississippi's flag has always been one of racial hostility and insult and it is pervasive and unavoidable by both children and adults," Moore's appeal reads. "The state's continued expression of its message of racial disparagement sends a message to African-American citizens of Mississippi that they are second class citizens."
Moore said in court documents that for him, exposure to the flag is "painful, threatening, and offensive." He added that seeing the flag at courthouses creates a "hostile work and business environment."
In a Facebook post shared by his law firm on Monday, Moore praised his lawyers for "a valiant fight." He wrote: "If the state flag is to change it will be up to the people or the elected representatives. The public sentiment continues to change and I trust the flag will change in due season."
He told The Associated Press that he has received five death threats because of the lawsuit.
Moore's case was listed as one of dozens of cases that the Supreme Court decided not to take up, as is standard for the top court.
Moore's novel approach to banning the Confederate flag failed largely because the Supreme Court hates novelty.  His suit was based on talking points, not the law, and certainly not on any recognizable 14th Amendment claim.
Activists will claim that the Supreme Court "endorsed" the use of the Confederate flag as an emblem of the state, but that's simply not the case.  If a state wants to ban the Confederate flag from its own standard – as several Southern states have done – that's their business.  But the court's decision not to hear Moore's suit reinforces the idea that there are some limits on federal power, and the state's decision to recognize its problematic heritage by including the controversial flag is well within its rights.
I think more than anything else, whether or not an individual or a state decides to display the Confederate flag, it is a matter of freedom of expression and up to either the individual or the people of a sovereign state.  Does it offend people to display the flag?  No doubt.  But being offended by a symbol is no reason to ban it.  No one, as far as I know, has ever sued to ban the Black Power flag or any other offensive sign indicating black separatism or nationalism.  So why should the Confederate flag be singled out for special treatment?

Repealing Obama's Net Neutrality a Blow for Freedom

Repealing Obama's Net Neutrality a Blow for Freedom

The FCC is expected to vote and approve on December 14 Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to end the so-called “net neutrality” rules imposed by President Obama’s FCC in 2015. This has provoked howls from liberals and tech giants that this is a blow for Internet freedom and another boon for big business. It is exactly the opposite. It is in fact a boon for economic and political freedom as are all the other Obama-era regulations rescinded by the Trump administration that have promoted economic growth and lessened our dependency on big government. As the Washington Examiner notes:
Sometimes you have to wonder how sincere people are when they gnash their teeth and pull out their hair over President Trump blocking or reversing an Obama-era regulation.
The latest cries of distress about anarchy and market apocalypse can be heard about an announcement by the Federal Communications Commission that it will roll back “net neutrality.”
Net neutrality’s dubious value is made obvious by the misleading way Democrats and many news outlets reported the decision. “F.C.C. plans net neutrality repeal in a victory for telecoms,” wrote the New York Times. Missing from the headline or lede was that the decision was a loss for Netflix, Amazon, Google, and other corporate giants that provide content.
Liberals oppose the free flow of information they can’t control and in the name of providing equal access to all they sought to regulate the access of everybody. They., in effect, sought to put toll booths and speed bumps on the information superhighway. As the Daily Signal reported:
On Wednesday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai revealed his most important change yet: eliminating the spectacularly nonsensical “net neutrality” rules imposed by President Barack Obama’s FCC in 2015.
The 2015 rules deemed internet service providers such as Verizon and Comcast to be “common carriers” under the 80-year-old Communications Act.
This allowed the FCC to subject those companies to meticulous FCC control over how they provide service --specifically, net neutrality rules requiring providers to treat all internet transmissions equally, even if the sender or consumer would prefer customized service.
Not surprisingly, investment in broadband networks subsequently declined, and innovation -- such as certain free data service plans -- was threatened.
But Wednesday, the FCC chairman revealed plans to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order and return to what he described as “the light-touch regulatory framework that served our nation so well.”
President Obama feared the free flow of information as a threat to his power grabs and attempt to fundamentally transform the United States. Just as cable news eliminated the old guard network’s role as gatekeepers of what we saw and heard, the Internet freed information consumers to seek the truth and speak their minds in an unfettered environment.
Under net neutrality, the FCC took for itself the power to regulate how Internet providers manage their networks and how they serve their customers. The FCC would decide how and what information could flow through the Internet, all in the name of providing access to the alleged victims of corporate greed.
The Internet, perhaps as much as the first printing press, has freed the minds of men from the tyranny of those gatekeepers who know that if you can control what people say and know, you can control the people themselves. And that is what President Obama feared. In a May 2010 commencement speech to graduates at Hampton University in Virginia, President Obama complained that too much information is actually a threat to democracy.
Obama’s fear of Internet freedom and the free flow of information was noted by Investor’s Business Daily when it editorialized in 2014:
We would suggest that it is because Obama has long opposed the free flow of information as a hindrance to his ambitious big-government agenda, an animus that started with diatribes against cable outlets such as Fox News and conservative talk radio.
In a 2010 speech to graduates at Hampton University in Virginia, Obama complained that too much information is a threat to democracy.
“With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a means of emancipation,” he opined.
“All of this is not only putting new pressures on you, it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy.”
We said at the time that we disagreed with his views. Dissent, we argued, doesn’t threaten our republic. But free speech restrains the tyrants and socialists who would steal our freedoms. The Internet is the direct descendant of the pamphleteers who energized the American Revolution. This time it’s not the British coming as tyrants, but Obama and the FCC.
In George Orwell’s classic 1984, the control of information and its flow was critical to “Big Brother” maintaining is control over the people and in manipulating their passions. Authoritarian governments and dictators worldwide know that lesson well. Now the Obama administration wants globalists to be the “Big Brother” of the Internet.
The ability to see how others live and the ability to exchange ideas is a catalyst to dissent and unrest. It is the preserver of freedom. The ability to choke off that flow is a necessity for authoritarian governments. That is why the Obama administration so hated outlets like Fox News and talk radio. The Internet and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have helped fuel democratic movements from our own Tea Party to the Iranian dissidents.
It used to be three networks controlled the information we saw and heard. Thanks to the Internet, talk radio, and cable news, we have access to formerly unheard and suppressed voices. News and commentary no longer has to get past the gatekeepers at CBS, ABC, NBC, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.
The Founding Fathers wisely provided for freedom of speech and of the press as a means of guaranteeing our freedom and our democracy. The Internet is the new free press and an outlet for or free speech.
As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized in January 2011, an unfettered Internet is exactly what the Founders had in mind and what tyrants fear most:
Al Gore didn't invent the Internet, but if Thomas Jefferson could have he would have. The Internet, with its Facebooks and Twitters, is the perfect venue for and example of the free speech the Founding Fathers enshrined in the Constitution's First Amendment….
The issue is not access, but control. In February 2008, FCC Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd, an admirer of what Venezuela's Hugo Chavez did to silence his country's media, wrote about net neutrality in an article, "Net Neutrality Is A Civil Rights Issue," published by
"Unfortunately, the powerful cable and telecom industry doesn't value the Internet for its public interest benefits," Lloyd wrote. "Instead, these companies too often believe that to safeguard their profits, they must control what content you see and how you get it." Lloyd feels government should be the voice controlling what you see and hear.
Like the “control voice” on the old Outer Limits series, Obama and the liberals wanted to control everything you say and hear. Senator Ted Cruz, who opposed giving away U.S. control of the Internet to the United Nations or any foreign regulatory body, in 2014 rightly compared net neutrality to ObamaCare:
Cruz, who is mulling a run for president in 2016, compared the entire concept of "net neutrality" -- which posits that internet companies should not be allowed to speed or slow down their services for certain users -- to Obama's much-maligned healthcare reform.'"Net Neutrality' is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government," Cruz wrote on Twitter. Cruz's spokeswoman, Amanda Carpenter, added that net neutrality would place the government "in charge of determining pricing, terms of service, and what products can be delivered. Sound like Obamacare much?"
Net neutrality was not designed to liberate but to suppress. It is the Fairness Doctrine of the Internet that like Obama’s war on Fox News and conservative talk radio is designed to marginalize and silence those who disagree with those in power.