Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty


It’s the Sun. Shhhh!! by maliab
September 7, 2011, 7:41 pm
Filed under: World | Tags: , ,

In some of his last works, the author Michael Crichton made an effort to point out that environmental non-profits are a business.  And not a struggling one either.  That fact–that non-profits must still behave as businesses, raising money on the strength of their ideas (or scare tactics)–is one that seems to be lost on a good portion of the media.  And the more left-wing the goals of the non-profit, the more people seem to miss the fact that there’s more than altruism behind the activist organizations pushing a “green” agenda.  There are reputations at stake, and money and influence to be pedaled.  And let’s not even get into the whole topic of grants.  Former Vice President Gore has practically made an industry out of environmental hysteria.  And I’m not just talking about the profits inherent in boring people senseless through books and lectures.  (I dunno, I guess some people like to be bored, or are willing to do anything to cure insomnia . . . or something.)  There’s also the millions he’s made investing in green companies that have then been awarded generous government grants  To be clear–I’m not suggesting that Mr. Gore is less than sincere in his beliefs.  I’m just pointing out that his beliefs very conveniently line up with the interests of his wallet.

But I shouldn’t only pick on the former VP.  Back in 2008, the Sierra Club’s 501(c)(4) listed an annual income of $84,438,083 and assets of $61,407,872.  Their COO earned $235,414 in compensation that year.  That may not reach the levels of the biggest corporations, but it’s still nothing to sneeze at.  (And for the record, Grassroot’s annual income doesn’t even come close.  Our entire yearly budget could probably be covered by their paper clips and printer cartridge allocations.)

My point (and there is one, if you’ll just bear with me) is that the picture painted by the environmental lobby where they are portrayed as the caring, future-oriented types backed-up by pure science, and anyone who disagrees is a troglodyte “denier” is as false and biased as anything else you can hear from an activist political group.  With so much money and political capital in play, we shouldn’t be surprised when such groups avoid, bury, or denounce anything that questions their worldview (and money stream).  Like the new report that we human may be just a tad vain and self-centered in taking all the credit for global warming:

The results from an experiment to mimic Earth’s atmosphere by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, tell researchers that the sun has a significant effect on our planet’s temperature. Its magnetic field acts as a gateway for cosmic rays, which play a large role in cloud formation.

Consequently, when the sun’s magnetic field allows cosmic rays to seed cloud cover, temperatures are cooler. When it restricts cloud formation by deflecting cosmic rays away from Earth, temperatures go up.

Or, as the London Telegraph’s James Delingpole delicately put it:

“It’s the sun, stupid.”

This new finding of 63 scientists from 17 European and U.S. institutes from an experiment that’s been ongoing since 2009 is, if we may paraphrase Vice President Joe Biden, a big deal. Which is exactly why the mainstream media, with so much invested in global warming hysteria, is letting last week’s announcement from CERN pass like a brief summer shower, ignoring it.

Even CERN’s own director general, Rolf-Dieter Heuer, is trying to avoid the meaning of the findings.

He told Germany’s Die Welt Online that he’s “asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them. That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate.”

But, as British science writer Nigel Calder points out, Heuer would have no reservations about entering “‘the highly political arena of the climate change debate’ provided” his results endorsed man-made warming.

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American resources – for American jobs, revenue and prosperity by grassroothawaii
August 9, 2011, 6:34 pm
Filed under: Economy, Hawaii Sunshine, World | Tags: ,

A vital part of the solution to our economic and employment crisis is right under our feet

By Paul Driessen

A frequent refrain during budget and debt ceiling debates is that we need revenue enhancement: higher tax rates, reduced deductions, eliminated credits. But doing this, especially amid today’s massively expanding regulations, will kill more jobs and further reduce government revenues.

There is a better way. Huge revenue sources are literally under our noses, or more precisely our feet.

America is blessed with vast oil, gas, coal, uranium, rare earth and other natural resource riches – to compliment our ultimate resource: the creative, competitive, innovative spirit of our people.

Finding and developing these resources would generate millions of jobs and billions, even trillions, in new government revenue and societal wealth. It would prevent default and downgraded credit ratings, reduce the need to cut government programs, shrink unemployment and welfare payments, avoid having to send hundreds of billions of dollars overseas each year for foreign energy and minerals, and reduce the need to borrow $120 billion out of every $300 billion the United States is now spending every month.

Many of these untapped resources are on federal public lands in our western states, Alaska and Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Many more are on private land and onshore and offshore state-owned lands.

Leasing, exploration, extraction, transportation, processing, utilization and exports unleash economic activities and revenues on extraordinary scales: business activity, investment and profits, along with lease bonus and rental payments, permit fees, royalties and severance taxes for each
unit produced, direct and secondary jobs, taxes on corporate profits and workers’ income, property taxes on equipment and facilities.

These activities also generate billions of dollars in purchases of equipment, food, supplies, raw materials, hotel lodging, special services and myriad other items. All this means still more employment, newly enabled consumer spending, more local, county, state and federal revenue, and other
economic benefits.

Newly developed horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) techniques have enabled companies to unlock previously unavailable natural gas riches in conventional and shale gas deposits. That increased production, in turn, has reduced industry’s cost for energy and raw material
feed stocks.

The American Chemical Council says this is reopening idled plants and creating jobs. In 2010 it helped increase chemical and plastics exports by 17% and 10% respectively, turning a $100 million industry balance of trade deficit into a $3.7 billion surplus. Other industries could soon see similar
benefits.

America’s OCS generates over $19 billion annually in bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenue, IHS Global Insight has calculated. Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay oil field alone has generated hundreds of billions in government revenues since 1978, and the state of Alaska has collected a whopping $157 billion (in
2010) dollars from statewide oil and gas development since 1959. Millions of jobs were created and sustained.

In the Lower 48 States, Marcellus Shale deposits stretch across 95,000 square miles of New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, western Maryland and eastern Ohio. In Pennsylvania, say the state Labor and Revenue Departments, Marcellus fracking activities created 72,000 jobs (with an average $73,000
salary) between October 2009 and March 2011. Workers and royalty recipients paid $214 million in personal income taxes attributable to Marcellus development, while Marcellus drillers paid $1 billion in state taxes 2006-2010 (and another $238 million just during first quarter 2011).

The shale gas economic success story is being repeated in West Virginia, Louisiana, Texas and other states: thousands of jobs created, billions in royalties and taxes collected. New York should take note.

Taken together, America’s oil industry sustains 9.2 million direct and secondary jobs (5.3% of all US employment), generates $533 billion in total annual payrolls, contributes $1.1 trillion to US gross domestic product (7.5%), invested $2 trillion in capital improvements since 2000, and
accounted for $190 billion in 2010 oil production. The largest integrated oil companies alone paid $1.95 trillion in corporate income, severance, property, excise and sales taxes, between 1981 and 2008, says the Tax Foundation.

We have it in our power to put many of our 20 million unemployed and involuntary part-timers back to work, generate trillions in revenue, and slash our chronic indebtedness. We just need to take action.

* End the leasing moratorium and “green flu” backlog on drilling permits in formerly accessible areas of the Gulf of Mexico. By the end of 2012 America could create 230,000 jobs in Gulf Coast and dozens of manufacturing states, produce 150,000,000 barrels of oil (worth $15 billion), reduce oil imports
by a like amount, and generate $12 billion in tax and royalty payments, says IHS Global Insight.

(Right now, we are losing over $1 billion annually in Gulf royalty payments, because Gulf oil and gas production is down 220,000 barrels a day, thanks to DOI, EPA and White House foot dragging.)

* End leasing and drilling bans in the East Coast, West Coast, Western Gulf and Alaskan OCS, Rocky Mountains and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  America could produce up to 40 billion barrels of oil (worth $4 trillion at $100 a barrel) . create 114,000 to 160,000 jobs . and generate $547 billion
to $1.7 trillion in new government revenues over the next few decades, according to ICF International.

* Open up some of the nearly 500 million acres of public lands that are now closed to mineral exploration (nearly 70% of all public lands). We could repeat these petroleum-related gains, and end our near-total dependence on China for rare earth metals that are essential for smart phones, smart
bombs, night vision goggles, hybrid and electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels and a host of other modern technologies.

Unfortunately, Congress and the EPA, Interior Department and White House are doing just the opposite.

EPA denied Shell Oil permits to drill in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, after Shell had spent $5 billion acquiring and exploring leases. EPA also blocked construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur, Texas. During construction, the project would generate 130,000 US
jobs, plus $600 million in state and local tax revenues – plus $5 billion in property tax and other government revenues during the pipeline’s life. EPA’s excuse? The projects would contribute to global warming!

EPA is also imposing thousands of pages of new rules on coal-fired power plants that provide 48-98% of the electricity in 26 states, including our most important manufacturing centers. Experts say the actions will raise electricity rates 20-60 percent, shutter up to 60,000 megawatts of
electricity generation, kill 3.5 million jobs in six Midwestern states, and cost those six states $42-82 billion in lost annual GDP.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar continues to stall OCS leasing and drilling, and keep Western States oil, natural gas, oil shale, shale gas, coal, uranium and metals deposits off limits.

Meanwhile, our state and federal governments are spending over $10 billion annually, subsidizing wind and solar energy, and bankrolling radical environmental activism on energy, climate and public land issues.

Americans deserve a complete and honest accounting of how much revenue and how many jobs have been lost to environmental excesses. We have a right, and a duty, to develop our resources – rather than depleting other countries’ energy and minerals, while saddling our children with more joblessness and
debt. It’s a perfect time for bipartisanship and true leadership.

Committee hearings and briefings could discuss and evaluate industry, government and independent analyses of our vast energy, mineral, job and revenue opportunities. They would go a long way toward revealing the enormity of our self-inflicted wounds – and charting a responsible path forward.

___________

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



Driving Up Our Costs by maliab
July 28, 2011, 6:56 pm
Filed under: Limited Government | Tags: , , ,

I just bought a new car.  Well . . . new to me, anyway.  It was about as fun as a root canal and took much longer.  And if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to walk onto a car lot and pick something out without regard to price, room for car seats, gas mileage, probable maintenance costs, or any of the other hundred things that make a car purchase a difficult and stressful process for us ordinary folks, then you probably don’t have much to worry about with regard to the Obama Administration’s new federal regulations on fuel efficiency standards.  Unless you’re also concerned about the economic future of our country and automobile safety.  As the Heritage Foundation’s Mike Brownfield explains:

The Washington Post reports that the Obama Administration and the auto industry have reached agreement on new federal regulations that would raise fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, hitting an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025—a 40 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared to today.

Those new standards, though designed to reduce greenhouse gases, bring with them significant costs. Fourteen of Michigan’s 15 representatives in Congress—including Democrat Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin—wrote a letter to the President warning him of the consequences that draconian fuel efficiency standards could have for their state, the home of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, citing a report by The Center for Automotive Research which warned that overly stringent standards could add $10,000 to the cost of a new car. Heritage’s Nicolas Loris explains how those higher costs can lead to job loss:

Higher prices reduce demand and force people to hold onto their older vehicles longer. Reduced demand means fewer cars produced, which means automakers have to shed jobs. The Michigan-based consulting firm Defour Group projected that a 56 mpg standard would destroy 220,000 jobs.

In addition to lost jobs and costlier cars, forcing automakers to achieve those standards could result in a loss of life. In order to make cars more fuel-efficient, automakers reduce the weight of vehicles. As Reason reports, “a 2002 National Academy of Sciences study concluded that CAFE’s downsizing effect contributed to between 1,300 and 2,600 deaths in a single representative year, and to 10 times that many serious injuries.”

All the costs of the new CAFE standards aside, can the auto industry even achieve the high-mileage goals? Not without massive government subsidies. Reason‘s Shikha Dalmia explains:

[E]ven the Environmental Protection Agency admits that the market share made up by hybrids and electric plug-ins will have to touch 49 percent if the industry is to come anywhere near compliance. Given that these vehicles now occupy only 3 percent of the market despite hefty subsidies, it is a foregone conclusion that expanding their presence will mean massively expanding subsidies to them.

And, as always, these kind of increased costs always hit Hawaii a little harder.  After all, we already pay a little more for everything except leis and aloha spirit.

Is the Autoworker’s Union involved in this change?  Does the sun rise in the east?  Is the Pope Catholic? Does Donald Trump buy his hair in bulk?  The UAW actually reversed its earlier position on such regulations (previously based on the fear that the damage to SUV and truck production would cost jobs), teaming up with environmental groups to lobby for regulations that (not coincidentally) will require major retooling of the industry and major subsidies from the federal government.  Brownfield concludes:

And there you have it. The Obama Administration is issuing rules—without congressional approval—to significantly change the way the auto industry is doing business, forcing it to make vehicles that few are buying today (only 2,745 Chevy Volts have been sold this year). And in order to achieve that compliance, the Administration will likely have to fund the retooling plants and subsidize consumers’ purchase of the high-mileage cars. Meanwhile, the cost of gasoline is going up, yet the President has restricted drilling in the Gulf, leaving the United States unable to tap its domestic oil reserves.

The President’s environmental and energy policy is driving in circles. The costs are high, and the American people and businesses will pay the price.



Gary Palmer on Cap and Trade by maliab
July 11, 2011, 6:01 pm
Filed under: Economy | Tags: , ,

The environmental lobby has doubled down on selling us the notion that human activity is the enemy, and, as such, deserves to be punished.  Through economic sanctions, loss of jobs, high gas prices, and the legislative tools of the environmental groups . . . essentially policies such as Cap and Trade have resulted in our declaring war on ourselves, to potentially devastating results.  As Gary Palmer of the Alabama Policy Institute explains, we are exacting a high price for being the enemy:

The evidence is undeniable – global warming is now a major problem for practically every person in America, including the people of Alabama. If you don’t believe it, check your monthly utility bill or the price of gasoline to see that global warming is a big problem in terms of what it costs you.

Technically, the problem is not global warming. It began with cooked up statistics that leftist politicians and environmentalists used to push an agenda that will devastate our economy and do nearly nothing to impact the global temperature. A formidable array of politicians and scientists have bought into the proposition that human activity is bad for the planet.

. . . .

Needless to say, that would not go over well with most Americans who are opposed to such schemes as Cap and Trade. Even though the Cap and Trade bill died in the U.S. Senate last year (after passing in the House), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with the full support of the Obama Administration, is in the process of implementing it anyway. If the EPA succeeds in this effort, the impact on the American economy will be devastating.

A Heritage Foundation analysis of the Cap and Trade bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives projected that the GDP for the United States would decline by a cumulative $9.4 trillion between 2012 and 2035. Heritage also projected that net job losses would approach 1.9 million by 2012 and could approach 2.5 million by 2035. The irony of the job losses is that they will hit manufacturing and mining particularly hard, eliminating thousands of union jobs.

Read the whole article on the Grassroot Institute website . . .




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