Monday, October 16, 2017

Paul Driessen's Comments On Next Article

It’s bad enough that climate alarmists have actively sought to keep those who disagree with the “dangerous manmade climate change” thesis from publishing or speaking on the subject, or having a role in public policy decisions. it’s far worse when they seek to prosecute climate chaos skeptics. Many organizations have been targeted in recent years by US state attorneys general and their environmentalist group allies.
Now, as Tom Harris writes, perversely named Ecojustice is trying to have a Canadian law enforcement agency prosecute the International Climate Science Coalition and other US and Canadian organizations for “misrepresenting the science” on climate change. This truly Orwellian “thoughtcrime” persecution and prosecution bodes ill for the most basic freedoms on which Canada and the United States were founded.
Thank you for posting Tom’s thought-provoking article, quoting from it, and forwarding it to your friends and colleagues.
Best regards,                                                                                                        

Will questioning climate change become illegal in Canada?

Ecojustice wants government “cops” to investigate, punish and silence dissent

Tom Harris


This slogan appeared on posters of the Party leader in the dystopian society of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It was a constant reminder of omnipresent government surveillance for “thoughtcrime” – independent thinking.

In Orwell’s book, Ministry of Truth ‘history re-writer’ Winston Smith quietly rebelled against this oppression, starting a diary expressing forbidden thoughts. But government telescreens were everywhere. Watched constantly, Smith’s every move was monitored. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the consequences of being caught were dire; the stress on individuals enormous.

As head of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), I have been feeling a bit like Smith these days. That’s because ICSC has been under investigation by Canada's Competition Bureau, an independent law enforcement agency that “has a legislated mandate to ensure Canadian consumers and businesses prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.”

Here’s what happened.

In December 2015, while in Paris attending counter conferences to the United Nations’ climate meetings, I learned that the environmental organization Ecojustice had registered a complaint with the Competition Bureau on behalf of six prominent Canadians against the ICSC, Friends of Science, and the Heartland Institute.

Ecojustice claimed we presented “climate science misrepresentations” which “promote the denier groups’ own business interests,” and “promote the business interests of deep-pocketed individuals and corporations that appear to fund the denier groups.”

Our own core principles – which summarize our position on climate science and which we provide on our website – were actually presented as evidence against us.

Two of our allies assembled a 37-page response to the attack in which they presented peer-reviewed research in support of our positions. They suggested I counterattack with this impressive rebuttal.

Others cautioned me to keep my powder dry since the complaint made no sense. We were simply exercising our rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to express our opinions. That is what science is all about – opinions of experts based on their interpretations of observations. And, especially in climate science, different experts have different opinions.

Further, the complainants had no idea who helps the ICSC financially. With the exception of the late Dr. Gerry G. Hatch, an Order of Canada recipient who openly supported us, the identities of our donors have been confidential since 2008. Some of our scientists have been harassed and even had death threats for contesting climate alarmism. We do not want to risk exposing our donors to such abuse.

So I did nothing, hoping the Competition Bureau would dismiss the complaint as unfounded.

Yet, five months later, it did launch an investigation, referencing a complaint that we make “representations to the public in promotion of a business interest that are false or misleading in a material respect regarding climate change.”

The Bureau warned us, “If the results of an investigation disclose evidence that, in the opinion of the Commissioner, provides the basis for a criminal prosecution, the matter may be referred to the Attorney General of Canada, who determines whether a prosecution should be undertaken.”

Although I asked the Bureau where they suspected the ICSC may have made false or misleading statements, it refused to say, citing Competition Act Subsection 10(3), which requires that inquiries be conducted privately.

Aside from a letter in November 2016 informing me that the investigation was “ongoing,” I heard essentially nothing until the beginning of July 2017 when I received a letter from the Bureau informing me:

“While the Commissioner has discontinued the inquiry, and no further steps are contemplated at this time, be advised that no binding determination has been made respecting the conduct of International Climate Science Coalition. The Commissioner continues to have discretion to investigate and take enforcement action in respect of matters previously inquired into, including where additional information is discovered following the discontinuance of an inquiry.”

The National Observer reported that they received an e-mail from a bureau spokesperson concerning this investigation, stating, “We invite Canadians who believe they may have additional information to contact the Competition Bureau.”

So, after nearly 14 months, the investigation is “discontinued” but revivable at the “discretion” of the Commissioner. Ecojustice criticized the Bureau for “walking away without finishing the job, and asserted: “Now is the time we need our cops on the climate beat to be stepping up.”

In their September 19th press release concerning the affair, Friends of Science stated, “democracy is at stake as there are ever increasing calls to jail those who hold dissenting views on climate science.”

Is this the Canada my father and grandfathers defended against tyranny?

Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cartoon of the Day

Image result for rich kozlovich

Quote of the Day!

There Is No Such Thing as Bravely Pleasing the Crowd - Robert Oscar Lopez

The Obama EPA’s crooked prosecutors

The agency’s carbon dioxide climate “endangerment finding” was a kangaroo court process

Paul Driessen

Suppose a crooked prosecutor framed someone and was determined to get a conviction. So he built an entire case on tainted, circumstantial evidence, and testimony from witnesses who had their reasons for wanting the guy in jail. Suppose the prosecutor ignored or hid exculpatory evidence and colluded with the judge to prevent the defendant from presenting a robust defense or cross-examining adverse witnesses.  

You know what would happen – at least in a fair and just society. The victim would be exonerated and compensated. The prosecutor and judge would be disbarred, fined and jailed.

What you may not know is that the Obama EPA engaged in similar prosecutorial misconduct to convict fossil fuels of causing climate chaos and endangering the health and wellbeing of Americans.

EPA then used its carbon dioxide “Endangerment Finding” to justify anti-fossil fuel regulations, close down coal-fired power plants, block pipeline construction, and exempt wind and solar installations from endangered species rules. It put the agency in control of America’s energy, economy, job creation and living standards. It drove up energy prices, killed numerous jobs, and sent families into energy poverty.

EPA’s egregious misconduct inflicted significant harm on our nation. Having acted to repeal the Obama Clean Power Plan, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt must reverse carbon dioxide’s conviction and scuttle the Endangerment Finding that serves as the foundation and justification for the agency’s war on coal, oil and natural gas. Any harm from fossil fuels or carbon dioxide is minuscule, compared to the extensive damages inflicted by the decision and subsequent regulations.

President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson took office determined to blame carbon dioxide for “dangerous” and “unprecedented” manmade global warming and climate change. They then used that preordained decision to justify closing coal-fired power plants and dramatically restricting fossil fuel use. Mr. Obama had promised to “bankrupt” coal companies. Ms. Browner wasted no time in decreeing that CO2 from oil, natural gas coal burning “endanger” human health and welfare. It was a kangaroo court.

Their Environmental Protection Agency did no research of its own. It simply cherry-picked UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and wrote a Technical Support Document to make its case. The TSD ignored studies that contradicted its predetermined Endangerment Finding – and relied on circumstantial evidence of climate and extreme weather disasters generated by computer models.

The models were programmed on the assumption that rising atmospheric CO2 levels are the primary or sole factor determining climate and weather. They assumed more carbon dioxide meant more planetary warming and worsening climate chaos. The role of the sun, cosmic rays, changing ocean currents and numerous other powerful, interconnected natural forces throughout Earth’s history was simply ignored.

The models predicted steadily increasing global temperatures and more frequent and intense storms. Instead, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continued to rise, except for a noticeable temperature spike during the 2015-2016 super El Niño, there has been no planetary warming since 1998. Harvey finally ended a record 12-year drought in Category 3-5 hurricanes making landfall in the USA.

Tornado deaths are far less frequent than in the 1950s. Floods and droughts differ little from historic trends and cycles. Antarctic land ice is at record highs, and Arctic sea ice is again within its “normal” levels for the past 50 years. Seas are rising at just seven inches per century, the same as 100 years ago.

The models also assumed more warming meant more clouds that trapped more heat. They ignored the fact that low-lying clouds trap heat but also reflect solar heat back into the atmosphere. Humans might be “contributing” to temperature, climate and weather events, at least locally. But there is no real-world evidence that “greenhouse gases” have replaced natural forces to cause climate chaos or extreme weather – and no evidence that humans can control Earth’s fickle climate by controlling emissions.

In fact, with every passing year, climate model temperature forecasts have been increasingly higher than those actually observed over most of the lower atmosphere.

The EPA approach amounted to saying, if reality conflicts with the models, reality must be wrong – or to deciding that real world evidence should be homogenized, adjusted and manipulated to fit model results.

Indeed, that’s exactly what EPA, the IPCC and other alarmist researchers have done. Older historic records were adjusted downward, modern records got bumped upward a bit, and government-paid scientists ignored satellite data and relied increasingly on measurements recorded near (and contaminated by) airport jet exhaust, blacktop parking lots, and urban areas warmed by cars, heating and AC vents.

The IPCC also claimed its referenced studies were all peer-reviewed by experts. In reality, at least 30% were not; many were prepared by graduate students or activist groups; and some of its most attention-getting claims (of rapidly melting Himalayan glaciers, for example) were nothing more than brief email messages noting that these were “possible” outcomes. Moreover, most IPCC peer reviewers were scientists who fervently promote catastrophic manmade climate change perspectives, receive government and other grants for writing reports confirming this thesis, and take turns reviewing one another’s papers.

Despite these inconvenient facts, a steady barrage of Obama EPA press releases and statements from alarmist regulators and “experts” insisted that fossil fuels were causing planetary cataclysms. Anyone who tried to present alternative, realistic data or views was ridiculed, vilified and silenced.

Even one of EPA’s most senior experts was summarily removed from the review team.  “Your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision,” Alan Carlin’s supervisor told him.

Two additional facts dramatically underscore the kangaroo court nature of EPA’s 2009 proceedings.

First, oil, natural gas and coal still provide over 80% of America’s and the world’s energy. The International Energy Agency says they will be at least this important 25 years from now. Indeed, fossil fuels are the foundation for modern industries, transportation, communication, jobs, health and living standards. Emerging economic powerhouses like China and India, developing countries the world over, and even industrialized nations like Germany and Poland are using more of these fuels every year.

The Obama EPA studiously ignored these facts – and the tremendous benefits that fossil fuels bring to every aspect of our lives. Those benefits outweigh any asserted dangers – by orders of magnitude.

Second, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, as defined by the Clean Air Act – and was never listed in any legislation as a pollutant. It was turned into an alleged pollutant by dishonest, ideological EPA prosecutors, who needed to justify their anti-fossil fuel regulatory agenda.

In reality, carbon dioxide is the miracle molecule without which most life on Earth would cease to exist. It enables plants of all kinds to convert soil nutrients and water into the fibers, fruits and seeds that are essential to humans and animals. The more CO2 in the air, the faster and better plants grow, and the more they are able to withstand droughts, disease, and damage from insects and viruses. In the process, crop, forest and grassland plants, and ocean and freshwater phytoplankton, exhale the oxygen we breathe.

In rendering its endangerment decision, EPA ignored these incalculable CO2 benefits. It ignored experts and studies that would have provided vital information about the tremendous value to our planet and people from fossil fuels and carbon dioxide.

Finally, having a slightly warmer planet with more atmospheric CO2 would be hugely beneficial for plants, wildlife and humanity. By contrast, having a colder planet, with less carbon dioxide, would be seriously harmful for arable land extent, growing seasons, crops, people and wildlife habitats.

The EPA Endangerment Finding is the foundation for the Obama era Clean Power Plan and other rules. Reversing it is essential to moving forward with science-based energy and climate policies.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death and other books on public policy.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


"The truth isn't unkind: It's just the truth."

Dear Readers,

My regular readers will have noticed I've not been posting for a few days, and with a few exceptions, this will continue through October and possibly November. I'm working on a project that's become difficult in the research and the volume of information I already have that I need to sift through.

In recent years I've been reading more but reading fewer books. I keep ordering them but I don't get to them nearly as quickly as I like.....some have been there for more than two years. Right now I have 14 books on my shelf I need to read. I just finished four others this last six weeks, and will be working on my reviews. I set a goal to read a book a week, but I'm finding that to be more difficult than I thought. Having a job really interferes with my life.  So that means something has to give.  I've decided doing my web searches and reading all that information to decide what to post is too time consuming and the only thing I can cut out at this time.   

Paradigms and Demographics is meant to be profound and provocative, but I find my posts are more provocative and less profound when I don't have the proper balance between reading articles and commentaries versus reading books. I'm sure that balance is subjective and varies with individuals, but I typically see the world a little differently than most others and find I need to read more books in order to present to you what I firmly believe is reality over spin and propaganda - the truth.  Books give far more depth and substance to any subject, not to mention the insights you acquire allowing for better and expanded research, and for better presentation.   

Thank you for your interest in Paradigms and Demographics. 

Best wishes,


Friday, October 13, 2017

Peter Zeihan on Geopolitics: Special Announcement

The Absent Superpower Audiobook

I am pleased to announce that the audiobook version of The Absent Superpower is now available! As a quick update, you can get a copy of Absent in the following ways:
  • The audiobook can be found here, on Amazon and iTunes.
  • Print copies are available through Amazon or through your favorite local bookseller.
  • eBook versions are available via the Kindle service, and the free Kindle app for your various iDevices, etc.
  • You can also get autographed copies of either Absent or my first book, The Accidental Superpower, direct through my website – I would be remiss not to mention that they make great gifts with the holiday season around the corner!
  • And, of course, Accidental can be found on Amazon in all of these forms and in print at your favorite local bookstore.
Thank you all for supporting my books and for all the great feedback and reviews! I'll let you know when the next book is coming out.


Heartland Institute: Special Announcement

The Heartland Institute is pleased to announce Paul Driessen has joined its highly acclaimed Free-Market Speakers Bureau.
Driessen is a senior policy advisor with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. He is the author of Eco Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death and coeditor of Energy Keepers, Energy Killers.
Book Driessen to speak about energy and environmental policy, climate change, corporate social responsibility, and other topics by contacting The Heartland Institute’s Events Manager Nikki Comerford
During a 25-year career that included staff tenures with the U.S. Senate, Department of the Interior, and an energy trade association, Driessen has spoken and written frequently on a variety of topics, including energy, the environment, economic development, and international affairs.
A former member of the Sierra Club and Zero Population Growth, he abandoned their cause when he recognized the environmental movement had become intolerant in its views, inflexible in its demands, unwilling to recognize the United States’ tremendous strides in protecting the environment, and insensitive to the needs of billions of people who lack food, electricity, safe water, health care, and other basic necessities that are provided in part by fossil-fuel use and industry.
Driessen received his bachelor’s degree in geology and field ecology from Lawrence University, his juris doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law, and is accredited in public relations by the Public Relations Society of America.

The Heartland Institute
3939 North Wilke Road | Arlington Heights | IL | 60004 | 312/377-4000

The mission of The Heartland Institute is to discover, develop, and
promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Big Government: Puerto Rico’s Man-Made Disaster

October 9, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty 

Puerto Rico is getting lots of attention because Hurricane Maria caused a tremendous amount of economic damage.

That leads to an important discussion about the role of government – particularly the federal government – when there is a natural disaster (and a secondary discussion about the silly Keynesian argument that disasters are good for prosperity).

But let’s focus today on a man-made disaster. Puerto Rico is the Greece of America, and it was a fiscal mess well before the hurricane hit. Indeed, there’s already been partial-bailout legislation from Washington.

The Wall Street Journal opined wisely on the topic, starting with the observation that we shouldn’t feel too much sympathy for investors who purchased bonds from the island’s profligate government.
…they knew what they were getting into. Lenders piled into Puerto Rican bonds that paid high yields that are “triple tax-exempt”—they can’t be taxed by federal, state or local governments in the U.S. Yet lenders also knew that the Puerto Rican government was heading toward a debt crisis. The economy has been contracting for a decade, and the commonwealth has $48 billion in unfunded pensions on top of $72 billion in bond debt. Creditors bet that the high yield was worth the political risk, but the music was bound to stop. One lesson of the last decade that creditors don’t want to learn, even after Detroit and Greece, is that sovereign debt to lousy governments is high risk. The abrogation of debt contracts that will now take place is regrettable, but there is a price for betting on politicians.
It would be a nice lesson if investors learned not to trust governments, especially the ones most prone to destructive statist policies.

But that doesn’t address the underlying problem of how to generate growth in Puerto Rico. The answer, needless to say, is free markets and small government.
…the territory will have to grow faster. This is where bankruptcy alone is inadequate. Puerto Rico will have to cut taxes on investment, rationalize welfare programs that deter working, and pare back labor protections that make France look like Hong Kong. If Mr. Rossello won’t do it, then the control board will have to. Puerto Rico will continue to flounder even with reduced debt if labor participation remains stuck at 40% and unemployment is in the double digits.
Unfortunately, the government has been doubling down on bad policy.

Investor’s Business Daily delves deeper into the issue of how big government is strangling prosperity.
The key is to create the correct incentives for the island’s people to encourage — rather than discourage — their policymakers to implement necessary and difficult reforms. This is particularly true with regard to pension reform. …Emphasis should instead be put on the many necessary changes to Puerto Rican labor laws, welfare programs and business and tax regulations which could spur more private sector business and job creation, encourage more people to work, and allow economic growth to resume. …Changes to U.S. laws and regulations discouraging labor force participation in Puerto Rico, such as the high minimum wage and easier eligibility for Social Security disability benefits for Spanish speakers, would also help greatly. And most importantly, Puerto Rico’s lingering pension crisis must be solved, both because of its fiscal significance and because it illustrates the lack of political courage and imagination by the government and the oversight board. …economic activity in Puerto Rico is now so severely depressed by a heavy government presence.
And even the most establishment-leaning Economist noted that government dependency is a major problem.
The island is distinguished by its poverty and joblessness, which are far worse than in any of the 50 states. The territory’s economy, moreover, has fallen further behind the national one over the past three decades. Bad government—not just locally, but also federally—is largely to blame. …Puerto Rico’s annual income per person was around $12,000 in 2004, less than half that of Mississippi, the poorest state. More than 48% of the island’s people live below the federally defined poverty line.
Why is income so low and why is there so much poverty?

Simply stated, idleness is being heavily subsidized. The welfare state reduces labor supply on the mainland. And the same thing happens in Puerto Rico.
Half the working-age men in Puerto Rico do not work. …Many things have gone wrong. Most important, however, is that the United States government assumed too big a role in the Puerto Rican economy, and its largesse enabled the commonwealth’s government to do the same. …the island’s economy is now lost in a thicket of bad incentives…an oversized welfare state…transfers…make up more than 20% of the island’s personal income. These federal handouts…by Puerto Rican economic standards, they are huge. And the more a man or woman earns through paid work, the more they decrease. …federal disability allowances are much higher than the United States average as a share of wages and pension income. Unsurprisingly, therefore, one in six working-age men in Puerto Rico are claiming disability benefits. …For many people, …the money that can be earned through federal transfers and a little informal work is more than the market wage—and requires much less effort.
In other words, Puerto Rico is just another layer of evidence on the well-established link between government and poverty.

And when people do have jobs, all too often they are employed by a bloated and inefficient government bureaucracy.
Puerto Rico’s bloated government… Around 30% of the territory’s jobs are in the public sector. Among other things, a big and coddled bureaucracy undermines Puerto Rico’s educational achievements…nearly half those on the education department’s payroll are not teachers; quality has fallen because of low accountability and mismanagement. …As he walked through Aguadilla’s town hall recently, Mr Méndez…says, is that “All they want to do is find security only. They have no ambition…Everybody wants to work for the government.” Manuel Reyes, of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association, also sees little hope that the government’s role will shrink.
It’s almost as if Puerto Rico is a perfect storm (no pun intended) of bad policy.

The solution is – or should be – obvious. And it’s the same one I suggested for Greece. Allow the government to default on existing debt, but only in exchange for pro-market reforms such as a long-run spending cap, privatization, a freeze on the size and compensation of the island’s bloated bureaucracy, and elimination of destructive regulation.

For all intents and purposes, Puerto Rico should become the Hong Kong of America. The island does have substantial autonomy and local policymakers have demonstrated that they sometimes are willing to do the right thing (they made Puerto Rico a legal tax haven for U.S. citizens). Now it’s time to make a great leap forward.

Rivera Refutes ‘Fake News’ Stories About Trump Admin’s Response To Puerto Rico

By Randy DeSoto on October 4, 2017

Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera, who has been on the ground in Puerto Rico for over a week, refuted media reports that the Trump administration has failed to adequately respond on the island following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.  “Whatever you read in the so-called fake news … I think the president and the first lady were amazingly gracious and graciously receiving by the grateful Puerto Rican people,” Rivera said on Fox News on Wednesday.........Appearing on Hannity on Tuesday night, Rivera said the Trump administration is doing good work under difficult circumstances.  Regarding the 34 dead from the storm, Rivera said, “Blame Hurricane Maria for those deaths. Don’t blame President Trump.”.....To Read More....

US militarizes Puerto Rican relief effort

By Rick Moran October 9, 2017

As recovery efforts for Puerto Rico from hurricane Maria enter its third week, the plight of most residents remains perilous. Food and water deliveries are spotty at best, and government officials are pointing the finger at the incompetence of local mayors who are not following through in getting relief supplies to those who need it most. In response, the U.S. is planning to basically militarize relief efforts, doing the job that local mayors appear incapable of doing..........The efforts to politicize the crisis by the Democratic mayor of San Juan, covering up for her own incompetence, aren't working.........Read more

Trump Not Letting Media Turn Puerto Rico Into His 'Katrina'

Larry Elder Oct 05, 2017

President Donald Trump punched back hard against the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who accused him of insufficient concern about her island. In doing so, Trump shows that he learned from President George W. Bush's mistakes. Bush 43 seemed to expect a certain level of fairness and civility from the media.

When, for example, Sen. Ted Kennedy, about the prewar Iraq intelligence, said, "Before the war, week after week after week after week, we were told lie after lie after lie after lie," the Bush White House did not aggressively push back against that venomous assertion. When critics made the hideous accusations that President George W. Bush was "lying us into war," the White House did little to fight back.

That, at least, is the assessment of both former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld, whom I had the privilege of interviewing. Cheney and Rumsfeld lamented their failure to aggressively and loudly refute the accusation. Why didn't they fight back? Both told me that they considered the charges so incredibly offensive and easily refuted that few would believe it.........To Read More....

Things I Say that Make Some Conservatives Nervous

By Lloyd Marcus October 10, 2017

As a Christian black conservative political activist, I traveled all over America for several years working to elect conservatives in House and Senate races. Fellow conservatives always got nervous when I wrote articles about cultural issues.......Remember those shocking undercover videos exposing that Planned Parenthood was illegally running a dead baby chop-shop selling body parts? A senior PP executive was caught on video laughing about how she wanted to buy a Lamborghini. The executive asked surgeons, if possible, to keep the baby intact during the abortion because intact babies and intact baby heads sell at premium prices......... Ask yourself: why do Leftist activists never approach Muslim businesses to provide cakes, flowers and so on for homosexual weddings? Islam calls for the beheading of homosexuals. And yet, Leftists demand that we respect Islam while they relentlessly attack Christians. Obviously, Leftists have a serious bug up their derrieres against Christianity..........To Read More.....

Kimmel Secretly Adds More Security After Calling for Gun Control… Then James Woods Steps In

In the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, late night host Jimmy Kimmel has taken the mantle as Hollywood’s top gun-grabbing celebrity. Overnight, his teary-eyed rants against Obamacare repeal turned into teary-eyed rants against the Second Amendment — and he became again the darling of the media.  However, as it turns out, his rants have led to confrontations with pro-Trump demonstrators, leading him to secretly increase security at his shows. Because, after all, why should a big shot like Kimmel be forced to interact with anyone who disagrees with him?

Gossip website The Blast reported that “ever since Kimmel re-ignited his campaign against the Republicans’ health care proposals, the comedian has had some issues with protestors at the show.”...........This is the hypocrisy of the elite left, whether it be in Hollywood or Washington. Most of them spend their entirety of their lives secured by people with guns. Yet, they’re utterly convinced everyone who isn’t them should have their right to self-defense severely qualified, if not eliminated completely. James Woods merely pointed out the glaring hypocrisy..........To Read More......

The 3 Massive Lies Jimmy Kimmel Told About Guns After LV Massacre… Everyone Needs to Read This



Once Again, Americans Dominate the 2017 Nobel Prizes

By Alex Berezow — October 4, 2017

When I was in high school, I was part of a community service organization (Key Club) that literally was one of the best in the world. We won international awards, and at the state level, it wasn't uncommon for us to sweep nearly all the awards.

Maybe I was the only one who felt this way, but after a while, it started to get a little uncomfortable. Everybody already knows you're the best, and winning every award year after year feels a little like rubbing it in. Public accolades paradoxically make me feel proud but also a little embarrassed.
It's a good thing that the scientific community in the United States doesn't share my conflicted feelings about the spotlight. Because, once again, Americans have dominated the Nobel Prizes.....To Read More.....

Monday, October 9, 2017

Peter Zeihan on Geopolitics


NAFTA’s Witching Hour

We’re about halfway through the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) talks and things...have taken a turn for the worse.

Let me back up a bit. Wherever you land on the issue of trade and U.S. engagement with the broader world, there are a few key truths:

For the United States, trade has only rarely been about trade. It has instead been about security. The Americans created the global trade order at the end of WWII to bribe up an alliance to fight the Cold War. The Americans subsidized their allies, granting access to the U.S. market and safe sea lanes, and in exchange those allies gave the Americans security deference to battle the Soviets the American way.

The Cold War is long gone, but the Americans never adjusted their strategy, resulting in a steady bleed of political support for a security policy that is now three decades out of date. One result, among many, is a broadscale shift on the American Left (Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) and Right (Donald Trump and Ted Cruz) towards populism, broadly discrediting the very concept of free trade. It’s understandable: why continue subsidizing the allies if the war is long since over?

So that’s the big picture. Let’s look at some of the specifics:

Most of the United States’ Eastern Hemispheric trade is wrapped up in rules run by the (U.S.-designed) World Trade Organization, which among other things provides the legal and structural baselines for trade with the European Union and China. Other pieces of the global trade portfolio are based on bilateral deals with key allies – think South Korea, Australia, Morocco, Jordan, Israel, Singapore. For the most part, economic rationale was not the driving force in any of this. The deals designed to cement strategic alliances, either as incentives to cooperate (the WTO) or as a reward for consistently loyal behavior (Australia).

With the Americans changing their internal weightings on the trade-vs-security question, all such deals are subject to re-evaluation. Since none of these deals were made with economic linkages in mind, the U.S. government never prioritized making such linkages. In percentage terms, the United States remains one of the least internationally-wired economies in the world, so the economic consequences to the United States for walking away from those deals are somewhat limited.


NAFTA has understandably gotten caught up in the anti-trade tirades, but NAFTA is not like America’s other trade deals. It was never part of the global trade-for-security trade-off. Its primary purpose was to deepen and broaden American economic penetration throughout the North American continent. Nearly unique among America’s trade deals, NAFTA wasn’t about security. It was actually about trade. Today, roughly 30% of America’s entire trade portfolio is within NAFTA.

The result has been a complex entanglement of the economic and political fortunes of the three signatories. Manufacturing supply chains now crisscross the two international borders at multiple points in multiple industries with the deepest integration occurring in automotive, aerospace, electronics and agriculture. Regardless of what you think of the balance of such integration or how well/badly NAFTA was negotiated by the George (no W) Bush administration, an outright severing of such links would have horrific results.
The United States and Canada would suffer a deep recession. Texas, the state most dependent upon trade with Mexico, would be worst hit.
  • Mexico would suffer a flat-out depression. The United States is the end-destination for four-fifths of its exports.
  • Economic calamity would uproot millions of Mexicans from their jobs. One of the great NAFTA success stories is the creation of a Mexican middle class where there didn’t used to be one. Throwing these people back into destitution would trigger the greatest migration surge in Mexican history, and there is really only one place for them to go: north.
  • Ending NAFTA would enflame the North American drug war. Part of the reason why the Mexican cartels have expanded so slowly (feel free to read that again) is that NAFTA has bolstered the living standards of tens of millions of Mexicans. Deny those Mexicans the ability to earn a living by trading with the United States and Canada and the cartels will find their recruitment and bribing operations far easier. And not just on the south side of the border…
It isn’t that a NAFTA renegotiation doesn’t makes sense, it does; NAFTA is a quarter-century old. When it was implemented the Internet didn’t even exist. An update is perfectly logical. Necessary even. And since the United States is far better at all things tech-related than either Canada or Mexico, a meaningful update would certainly address things like the trade imbalance that so impassions so many of NAFTA’s US-based detractors.

But simply uprooting NAFTA would be a catastrophic mistake for the American economy. Add in Texas’ reputation as an anything-but-liberal state with 38 electoral votes, and I’ve always assumed that in time cooler heads would prevail and that NAFTA was never in any real danger.

But four things changed recently that have made me far more sanguine.

First, in Mexico the drug war is turning hot at exactly the wrong time. Violence is rising in areas very visible to the Americans, most notably tourist areas such as Cabo and Puerto Vallarta, and the border towns of Tijuana and Juarez. I expect the violence to surge in a few months in what is a quintessential example of bad timing: just as the NAFTA renegotiations are pegged to be completed, just as the new NAFTA documents will be presented to Congress for ratification, and just as the United States’ off-year Congressional elections campaigns kick off.

Populists of all stripes will be railing against free trade in general and Mexico in specific, just as record levels of gratuitous gunfire exchanges, beheadings and kidnappings just across the border populate local newscasts in San Diego, El Paso and Laredo. It will seem very attractive to many Americans to simply walk away from NAFTA altogether.

Second, Trump’s general anti-Mexican mood has put most Mexicans into a general anti-American mood. The United States is hardly the only country with inconvenient elections in 2018; Mexico’s presidential campaign is already heating up, and the full vote occurs next July. While calling an election this far out is silly, a bugaboo from Mexico’s past – one Andrés Manuel López Obrador – is polling disturbingly strongly. Obrador is in essence the Mexican equivalent of a Trump-Sanders mashup when it comes to trade policy and bilateral relations. An Obrador election wouldn’t simply crash NAFTA on the Mexican side of the border, Obrador combined with Trump would sour every piece of the American-Mexican relationship. Everything from cooperation on the drug war to water rights would turn from today’s cold cooperation to pathological hostility.


Third, never forget that while Mexico and Canada are both eager to work with the United States, they view each other as the primary competitors for access to American markets and investment. That competition may well be getting more cut-throat than usual.

There are a pair of issues the Canadians have highlighted as make-or-break: tribunals and government contracting.

NAFTA’s tribunal clause manages disputes within the treaty’s competencies. Should a firm in one country feel it is being treated unfairly, it calls for a bilateral panel to adjudicate the dispute rather than suing in the court of the offending party. This keeps disputes out of often-slow and clogged courts, prevents countries from enacting protectionist measures that can fall back under the protection of their home legal system, and in general speeds and ensures the fairness of the dispute resolution. The government contracting clause is similarly straightforward: it codifies that governments cannot discriminate against non-national companies for contracts.

The Trump administration has very strong opinions on both topics: it wants the tribunals to go and it wants to be able to preference domestic companies for domestic government work (The White House calls the latter the “Buy American” provision.)

The Canadians have diametrically opposite positions. For them, the tribunal issue is a red line – both now and during the initial negotiations. They know that should disputes with the United States be remanded to U.S. courts, they’d either not have a chance or couldn’t stand the years-long appellate process. (Brian Mulroney, the Canadian prime minister during the original NAFTA negotiations, nearly closed off talks altogether over the tribunal issue.) And of course the Canadians would like for their firms to be able to keep taking cracks at servicing the U.S. government.

Which is why Canadian Foreign Minister Cristina Freeland has been playing hardball on both issues, to the point that by most reports the Mexicans are simply standing to the side while the Anglos slug it out. And by some reports it is the Canadians – not the Americans – who have stalled the talks altogether.

Which makes a sort of backwards sort of sense. While NAFTA is the issue for Mexico’s modern political and economic survival, for Canada the issue isn’t so clear. Equal access for both Canadian and Mexican manufactures to the U.S. market has cratered Canadian competitiveness; Mexican manufacturers have moved up the value-added chain quickly this past decade, while Canadian manufacturing – particularly in the Toronto region – has more or less stalled. Add in Mexico’s cheaper wage structure, and NAFTA is far more of a wash economically for the Canadians than it is for the Americans.

Yet, Canada has a separate free trade deal with the United States that pre-dates NAFTA. If NAFTA were to fail, Canada doesn’t simply have a fall-back, a tanked NAFTA would boost Canada in American markets at Mexico’s expense.

Cold. Brutal. Arguably very unCanadian. But damnably effective.

Fourth, back in Washington, NAFTA has lost its loudest cheerleader. There were never a lot of free-traders on the Trump Team, most of what few there were have already left the administration. The most prominent of the Remainers is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The Commerce Department tends to view NAFTA from a data point of view, not a nationalistic one. A few weeks ago, Ross warned that NAFTA has not really deepened economic linkages among the NAFTA signatories, but instead has encouraged countries beyond North America to ship parts to Mexico and Canada, get a few tweaks made so that they qualify for the Made-in-NAFTA stamp, and then get shipped on to the United States. He argues that in all actuality, NAFTA has squeezed out American-made components not in favor of Mexican or Canadian components, but instead Chinese and German components. (His op-ed is here.) 

If there is any truth to Ross’s concerns, then forget gut-nationalism and rabid-populism, the economic case for NAFTA suddenly looks a lot weaker. And even if all the data Ross cited is cherrypicked and/or questionable – and my left eyebrow is fully arched – anything other than full-throated praise from the Commerce Department lands NAFTA with a pretty damning problem.

Ross’s solution is to sharply update NAFTA’s rules-of-origin criteria, and hardwire a 5-year sunset provision into the agreement, forcing all three players to revisit and update NAFTA about once a president. It would be laborious, contentious and make NAFTA a political issue in all three countries All. The. Freaking. Time.

But if the emerging American position on trade is to ensure it doesn’t undermine local economies, and if the future of trade is that it can only occur with strong public support, that may well be the only way forward.


Child Labor, Economic Development, and the Folly of Good Intentions

October 8, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

One of my great frustrations (and there are many) is that the conventional wisdom about economic history oftentimes is wrong. It is very common for students to learn things that simply are not true.
Let’s add to that list by looking at the issue of child labor. The conventional wisdom is that child labor was a regular feature of an oppressive capitalist system and that children were eventually saved from abuse thanks to government intervention.

Hardly. Child labor was – and still is, in some places – a way for desperately poor people to stay alive and perhaps create a stepping stone for a better future. And capitalism-enabled prosperity is the best way to end the unfortunate practice.
I previously cited some World Bank research, in a postscript to a column on bureaucracy, showing that restrictions on child labor had negative long-run effects on income for poor people.
Let’s augment that research. Here are some passages from a very sobering study about the unintended consequences of restricting child labor (h/t: Dev Patel via Tyler Cowen).
While bans against child labor are a common policy tool, there is very little empirical evidence validating their effectiveness. In this paper, we examine the consequences of India’s landmark legislation against child labor, the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986. Using data from employment surveys conducted before and after the ban, and using age restrictions that determined who the ban applied to, we show that child wages decrease and child labor increases after the ban.
Some basic economic analysis shows why this happens.
…families use child labor to reach subsistence constraints and where child wages decrease in response to bans, leading poor families to utilize more child labor.
And it’s worth noting that there are all sorts of harmful secondary effects.
The increase in child labor comes at the expense of reduced school enrollment. We also examine the effects of the ban at the household level. Using linked consumption and expenditure data, we find that along various margins of household expenditure, consumption, calorie intake and asset holdings, households are worse off after the ban.
The bottom line on this issue is that some children are born to very poor families in very poor nations. In those tragic situations, child labor is a matter of survival rather than a lifestyle choice.
I don’t think that the businesses employing children are noble. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them mistreat kids. And even the nice ones probably would seem horrifying to those of us lucky enough to live in rich western nations.

But I also don’t believe in putting good intentions above real-world results. Businesses that employ child labor are offering a better (or, to be more accurate, offering a less-worse) opportunity for people stuck in horrid poverty. Capitalism is the only effective escape from economic misery.
Let’s close with some libertarian satire. It’s focused more on sweatshops, but it also applies to child labor (and “neoliberal” refers to “classical liberal” rather than modern leftism).
For what it’s worth, child labor was ubiquitous in the western world prior to the explosive growth that was unleashed by free markets and limited government.

If we want poor children in poor families from poor nations to have a better life, we should urge the same policies in the developing world. Assuming we prefer good results over good intentions, of course.