By Michelle Malkin
Good news: The Waldo Canyon fire, which forced 32,000 residents (including our family) to flee, claimed two lives and destroyed 347 homes, is now 100 percent contained. Bad news: Radical environmentalists won’t stop blowing hot air about this year’s infernal season across the West.
Al Gore slithered out of the political morgue to bemoan nationwide heat records and pimp his new “Climate Reality Project,” which blames global warming for the wildfire outbreak. NBC meteorologist Doug Kammerer asserted: “If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.” Agriculture Department Undersecretary Harris Sherman, who oversees the Forest Service, claimed to the Washington Post: “The climate is changing, and these fires are a very strong indicator of that.”
And the Associated Press (or rather, the Activist Press) lit the fear-mongering torch with an eco-propaganda piece titled “U.S. summer is what ‘global warming will look like.'”
The problem is that the actual conclusions of scientists included in AP’s screed don’t back up the apocalyptic headline. As the reporter acknowledges under that panicky banner:
“Scientifically linking individual weather events to climate change takes intensive study, complicated mathematics, computer models and lots of time. Sometimes it isn’t caused by global warming. Weather is always variable; freak things happen.”
So, this U.S. summer may or may not really look like “what global warming looks like.” Kinda. Sorta. Possibly. Possibly not.
Furthermore, the AP reporter concedes, the “global” nature of the warming and its supposed catastrophic events have “been local. Europe, Asia and Africa aren’t having similar disasters now, although they’ve had their own extreme events in recent years.”
A more hedging headline would have been journalistically responsible, but Chicken Little-ism better serves the global warming blame-ologists’ agenda.
More inconvenient truths: As The Washington Times noted, the National Climatic Data Center shows that “Colorado has actually seen its average temperature drop slightly from 1998 to 2011, when data is collected only from rural stations and not those that have been urbanized since 1900.”
Radical green efforts to block logging and timber sales in national forests since the 1990s are the real culprits. Wildlife mitigation experts point to incompetent forest management and militant opposition to thinning the timber fuel supply.
Another symptom of green obstructionism: widespread bark beetle infestations. The U.S. Forest Service itself reported last year:
“During the last part of the 20th century, widespread treatments in lodgepole pine stands that would have created age class diversity, enhanced the vigor of remaining trees, and improved stand resiliency to drought or insect attack — such as timber harvest and thinning — lacked public acceptance. Proposals for such practices were routinely appealed and litigated, constraining the ability of the Forest Service to manage what had become large expanses of even-aged stands susceptible to a bark beetle outbreak.”
Capitulation to lawsuit-happy green thugs, in others, undermined “public acceptance” of common sense, biodiversity-preserving and lifesaving timber harvest and thinning practices.
Local, state and federal officials offered effusive praise for my fellow Colorado Springs residents who engaged in preventive mitigation efforts in their neighborhoods. The government flacks said it made a life-and-death difference. Yet, litigious environmental groups have sabotaged such mitigation efforts at the national level — in effect, creating an explosive tinderbox out of the West.
Stoking global warming alarms may make for titillating headlines and posh Al Gore confabs. But it’s a human blame avoidance strategy rooted in ideological extremism and flaming idiocy.
Huge numbers of genetically modified mosquitoes are to be breed by scientists in Brazil to help stop the spread of dengue fever, an illness that has already struck nearly 500,000 people this year nationwide.
Dengue effects between 50 and 100 million people in the tropics and subtropics each year, causing fever, muscle and joint ache as well as potentially fatal dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.
The disease is caused by four strains of virus that are spread by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. There is no vaccine, which is why scientists are focusing so intensely on mosquito control.
The initiative in Brazil will produce large quantities of genetically modified male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which will be released into nature to mate with females, the health ministry said.
The new mosquitoes will be produced in a factory inaugurated on Saturday in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Four million insects will be churned out per week.
The experiment has already been attempted in two mosquito-infested towns in Bahia, each with about 3,000 inhabitants.
“Using this technique, we reduced the mosquito population by 90 per cent in six months,” the ministry said.
Attribution: UK Telegraph
by: the Common Constitutionalist
I was watching Fox News over the weekend. The host was interviewing the governors of both Iowa and Florida. Rick Scott is the republican governor of Florida and Iowa’s Terry Branstad, also a republican.
Both are considered to be fairly conservative and pro-growth republicans.
They discussed the employment situation in their states as well as the other states that most recently elected republican governors. I believe 7 in all.
They each gave fairly good, straight forward answers as to why, in all seven states that republicans were elected, the unemployment rate actually went down. The answers weren’t as direct as I’d like but they both did a fair job.
Then the topic turned to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion as it pertains to the states. States would have the opportunity to greatly expand their Medicaid roles, ostensibly paid for, in part or whole, by the feds.
More than a few states, run by republicans say they will refuse the expansion, knowing full-well that, after a few years and just like virtually every other federal program, the states would be left holding the bag, as it were.
In other words the feds would cease to fund the program and the states would therefore be financially responsible for the increased membership. Neat trick. The feds do it all the time. After all, they’re just looking for the sound bite.
Anywho, the host asked both of them, one at a time, if reports were true that they would refuse the expansion of the Medicaid program.
I watched anxiously, or should I say, with great anxiety, for what seemed like a painfully long time, just hoping for a straight answer. Neither provided one.
They both, Branstad more than Scott, pontificated and bloviated about jobs, Obamacare and who knows what else.
I found myself leaning ever forward, on the edge of my chair, straining to keep my composure. It was a losing battle.
I finally just began to yell at the TV. “Why can’t either of you just answer the question?! It’s a simple question, requiring a simple answer! All of these politicians are the same! They just won’t answer a question!”
We don’t curse in our house, but I’ll tell you, I sure wanted to.
Evidently I was so loud, I woke my sons up, whom I allowed to sleep in that morning. They were not appreciative.
This just demonstrated, once again, why politicians don’t appear to be trustworthy.
Is there some sort of class or school they attend to learn how to just talk out their collective butts until the clock runs out? That is how it always ends, does it not? The host will finally say, “ Ok, we’re out of time, thanks for coming on”.
Thanks for what? We didn’t learn a dang thing! I still have no idea whether either Florida or Iowa will or won’t sign on to the expansion. (Florida evidently will not participate. Why couldn’t he just say so?)
Through experience, I know this is not a good sign. More often than not, when a supposedly conservative politician won’t give a straight answer, it means they will be voting or siding against the folks that put them in office.
I’ve heard it many times when calling a politician to see how they will vote on an issue or bill. When it’s 12 hours before the vote and their aids say they haven’t decided yet, you can bet it ain’t gonna be good.
For this reason, despite their lack of conservative bona fides, people love “The Donald” (Trump) and also Chris Christie of New Jersey. They tell it as it is and pull no punches and are all the more popular for it. Why is it that other politicians can’t see this?
I can’t be the only one that feels this way!
Just stop lying, hedging, dodging and generally irritating your constituency and you’ll be loved for it.
I thought I might feel better after that, but I don’t.
by: the Common Constitutionalist
Practically everyone knows of the “Boston Tea Party”, that occurred in 1773. It is recognized as the action which began America’s revolution.
There was an event that predates it, although few have heard the tale.
When the first shipment of masts from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to England occurred, in 1634, England had already suffered deforestation. In order to dominate the high seas, new sources of abundant timber for shipbuilding were needed. No ships, after all, could set sail without as many as twenty-three masts, yards, and spars varying in length and diameter from the bulky mainmast to its subordinate parts.
Although New Hampshire’s white pine was not as hard as Europe’s, its height and diameter were superior. It also weighed less and retained resin longer, giving the ships a sea life as long as two decades.
When granting lands in America in 1690, King William prohibited the cutting of white pine over two feet in diameter. In 1722, under the reign of George I, parliament passed a law that reduced the diameter to one foot, required a license to cut white pine, and established fines for infractions.
This law was basically ignored until John Wentworth became governor in 1767. Appointed Surveyor of the King’s Woods, he recognized the revenue potential and appointed deputies to carry out the law. He conducted his own inspections of mill yards in the Piscataquog valley by having a servant drive him around in his coach.
Before settlers could clear the land or build cabins, barns, or meetinghouses, the king’s sanction, a broad arrow mark, was required on trees reserved for the Royal Navy. The deputies charged them a “good, round sum” to mark the trees and for the license required to cut the rest. Small wonder the law was unpopular. The consequences involved arrest and fines. Contraband white pine already sawed into logs could be seized and a large settlement required; if not paid, authorities sold them at public auction.
In the winter of 1771-72, a deputy Surveyor of the King’s Woods found and marked for seizure 270 mast-worthy logs at Clement’s mill in Oil Mill (now called Riverdale), in South Weare, New Hampshire. He fined the log-cutters from Weare and those from nearby towns where illegal logs were also found. Men from other towns paid the fines, but those from Weare refused. Consequently, the Weare men were labeled “notorious offenders.”
The county sheriff, Benjamin Whiting, Esq., of Hollis, N.H., and his deputy, John Quigley, Esq., of Francestown, N.H. were charged with delivering warrants and making arrests in the king’s name. On April 13, 1772, the sheriff and his deputy galloped into Weare and found “Major Offender” Ebenezer Mudgett, who promised to pay his fine the next day. The officials then retired to nearby Quimby’s Inn for an overnight stay.
News that they had come for Mudgett flew through town, and a plan was hatched. The following morning more than twenty men with blackened faces and switches in hand rushed into Whiting’s room led by Mudgett:
Whiting seized his pistols and would have shot some of them, but they caught him, took away his small guns, held him by his arms and legs up from the floor, his face down, two men on each side, and with their rods beat him to their hearts’ content. They crossed out the account against them of all logs cut, drawn and forfeited, on his bare back….They made him wish he had never heard of pine trees fit for masting the royal navy. Whiting said: “They almost killed me.”
As for Deputy Quigley, the Weare men wrested the floorboards from the room above his, and proceeded to beat him with long poles. With “jeers, jokes and shouts ringing in their ears” the sheriff and deputy rode toward Goffstown and Mast Road (about a mile from my office, I might add), named for the logs that were moved overland to the sea and off to England for the king’s ships.
The Weare men were ultimately arraigned and paid a light fine, but their rebellion against the crown, which preceded the Boston Tea Party (1773), helped set the stage for the Revolution.
And thus the event became known as the Pine Tree Riot, April 14, 1772.
Attribution: Weare Historical Society, William Little’s History of Weare, New Hampshire 1735-1888 (Lowell, MA: published by the town, 1888), 185-191.
Information about the masting trade came from New Hampshire Crosscurrents in Its Development by Nancy Coffey Heffernan and Ann Page Stecker
(Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 1996), 32-36
Last year I wrote an article regarding the defense of marriage. How marriage is between one man and one woman. You may call a homosexual relationship anything you like, except for a marriage. I, for one, will never accept turning thousands of years of tradition on its head just to placate a miniscule portion of our society.
I refuse to even play the rename game, calling a homosexual, gay. Not because I’m homophobic. I couldn’t care less what you do with your life, but don’t go changing the correct terminology, homosexual, to gay just because it sounds more palatable. It’s like calling a black an African American, when their family has been here for a hundred years. I won’t do that either. Okay, enough ranting.
In my defense of marriage, I stated that homosexual marrige is just the beginning. It would never stop there. I claimed that sooner or later someone would suggest marrying their child, or 5 people or their pet peguin. This is what always happens when the door is cracked open. Someone sticks their foot in, then their leg and finally the door becomes useless. This is why it is so important to stop these things before they even start.
Welcome to the open door!
Legalizing Polygamy Doesn’t Go Far Enough, ASU Professor claims
by: Kevin Craig
Arizona State University philosopher Elizabeth Brake doesn’t scare easily. An advocate of same-sex unions, she doesn’t flinch when conservatives argue that if two men are granted the right to marry, why not three? Brake boldly declares that marriage should not be restricted to opposite-sex couples, or indeed to couples at all. Her book, Minimizing Marriage, hot off the prestigious Oxford University Press, pushes traditional logic by claiming that “liberal reasons for recognizing same-sex marriage also require recognition of groups, polyamorists, polygamists, friends, urban tribes, and adult care networks.”
And not only does Brake support “loving” same-sex couples or groups, but she claims “loving” relationships — which she calls “amatonormative” relationships (from amor, the Latin word for “love”), should not be the standard by which we judge a “marriage.” She fearlessly claims, “amatonormative judgments are false, and … discrimination on their basis is morally wrong.”
In short, you don’t even have to like someone to have sex with him. Or her. Or them. Or be “married.”
Before terminating his campaign, Rick Santorum was criticized for attempting to frighten us with the prospect of “man on child” and “man on dog” unions should the State recognize same-sex unions. And here is where Brake’s bravery breaks down. Brake assures us that her theory “complies with criminal law.”
Ah, yes; that enduring paragon of morality, “the State” and its “criminal law.”
Of course Brake knows that in generations past, “the criminal law” punished straightforward adultery, to say of nothing deviant perversion or an anonymous hip-hop club orgy. Brake knows that today’s fears are tomorrow’s “progressive public policy,” thanks to daring lawyers and squishy Republican judges. For now, she assures us that “children and nonhuman animals … are not legally competent to consent.”
“Legally competent to consent.” For now. Until the law is changed and children are granted the “right” to “consent” to whatever deviants can dish out.
In 1913, the Texas Supreme Court reflected the views of a Christian worldview when it declared:
Marriage was not originated by human law. When God created Eve, she was a wife to Adam; they then and there occupied the status of husband to wife and wife to husband. . . . When Noah was selected for salvation from the flood, he and his wife and his three sons and their wives were placed in the Ark; and, when the flood waters had subsided and the families came forth, it was Noah and his wife and each son and his wife . . . . The truth is that civil government has grown out of marriage . . . which created homes, and population, and society, from which government became necessary [sic] . . . . [Marriages] will produce a home and family that will contribute to good society, to free and just government, and to the support of Christianity. . . . It would be sacrilegious to apply the designation “a civil contract” to such a marriage. It is that and more; a status ordained by God.
Grigsby v Reib, 153 S.W. 1124, 1129-30 (TxSupCt 1913)
Brake knows that Courts don’t speak in these terms anymore. And parents who sit their children at the feet of professors like Brake in secular universities like ASU are planting the seeds of an impersonal world which substitutes anonymous “urban tribes” for a man and a woman who “love and cherish” “till death do us part.”
A Short History of Congress’s Power to Tax
The Supreme Court has long distinguished the regulatory from the taxing power.
By PAUL MORENO
In 1935, Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins was fretting about finding a constitutional basis for the Social Security Act. Supreme Court Justice Harlan Fiske Stone advised her, “The taxing power, my dear, the taxing power. You can do anything under the taxing power.”
In his ObamaCare opinion, NFIB v. Sebelius, Chief Justice John Roberts gave Congress the same advice—just enact regulatory legislation and tack on a financial penalty, as in failure to comply with the individual insurance mandate. So how did the power to tax under the Constitution become unbounded?
The first enumerated power that the Constitution grants to Congress is the “power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.” The text indicates that the taxing power is not plenary (full & complete in every respect), but can be used only for defined ends and objects—since a comma, not a semicolon, separated the clauses on means (taxes) and ends (debts, defense, welfare)
Editorial board member Joe Rago on how Chief Justice John Roberts’s rewrite of ObamaCare weakens the Constitution’s federalist structure.
This punctuation was no small matter. In 1798, Pennsylvania Rep. Albert Gallatin said that fellow Pennsylvania Rep. Gouverneur Morris, chairman of the Committee on Style at the Constitutional Convention, had smuggled in the semicolon in order to make Congress’s taxing power limitless, but that the alert Roger Sherman had the comma restored. The altered punctuation, Gallatin said, would have turned “words [that] had originally been inserted in the Constitution as a limitation to the power of levying taxes” into “a distinct power.” Thirty years later, Virginia Rep. Mark Alexander accused Secretary of State John Quincy Adams of doing the same thing after Congress instructed the administration to print copies of the Constitution.
The punctuation debate simply reinforced James Madison’s point in Federalist No. 41 that Congress could tax and spend only for those objects enumerated, primarily in Article I, Section 8.
Congress enacted very few taxes up to the end of the Civil War, and none that was a pretext for regulating things that the Constitution gave it no power to regulate. True, the purpose of tariffs was to protect domestic industry from foreign competition, not raise revenue. But the Constitution grants Congress a plenary power to regulate commerce with other nations.
Congress also enacted a tax to destroy state bank notes in 1866, but this could be seen as a “necessary and proper” means to stop the states from usurping Congress’s monetary or currency power. It was upheld in Veazie Bank v. Fenno (1869).
The first unabashed use of the taxing power for regulatory purposes came when Congress enacted a tax on “oleomargarine” in 1886. Dairy farmers tried to drive this cheaper butter substitute from the market but could only get Congress to adopt a mild tax, based on the claim that margarine was often artificially colored and fraudulently sold as butter. President Grover Cleveland reluctantly signed the bill, saying that if he were convinced the revenue aspect was simply a pretext “to destroy . . . one industry of our people for the protection and benefit of another,” he would have vetoed it.
Congress imposed another tax on margarine in 1902, which the Supreme Court upheld (U.S. v. McCray, 1904). Three justices dissented, but without writing an opinion.
Then, in 1914, Congress imposed taxes on druggists’ sales of opiates as a way to regulate their use. Five years later, in U.S. v. Doremus , the Supreme Court upheld the levy under Congress’s express power to impose excise taxes.
Then, in 1922, the court rejected Congress’s attempt to prohibit child labor by imposing a tax on companies that employed children. An earlier attempt to accomplish this, by prohibiting the interstate shipment of goods made by child labor, was struck down as unconstitutional—since it was understood since the earliest days of the republic that Congress had the power to regulate commerce but not manufacturing. “A Court must be blind not to see that the so-called tax is imposed to stop the employment of children within the age limits prescribed,” Chief Justice William Howard Taft wrote in Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co. “Its prohibitory and regulatory effect and purpose are palpable.” Even liberal justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis D. Brandeis concurred in Taft’s opinion.
Things came to a head in the New Deal, when Congress imposed a tax on food and fiber processors and used those tax dollars to provide benefits to farmers. Though in U.S. v. Butler (1936) the court adopted a more expansive view of the taxing power—allowing Congress to tax and spend for the “general welfare” beyond the powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution—it still held the ends had to be “general” and not transfer payments from one group to another. After President Franklin D. Roosevelt threatened to “pack” the Supreme Court in 1937, it accepted such transfer payments in Mulford v. Smith (1939), so long as the taxes were paid into the general treasury and not earmarked for farmers.
And now, in 2012, Justice Roberts has confirmed that there are no limits to regulatory taxation as long as the revenue is deposited in the U.S. Treasury.
Are there any other limits? Article I, Section 2 says that “direct taxes shall be apportioned among the states” according to population. This is repeated in Article I, Section 9, which says that “no capitation, or other direct tax, shall be laid,” unless apportioned.
The Supreme Court struck down income taxes in 1895 (Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co.), on the ground that they were “direct” taxes but not apportioned by population. Apportioning an income tax would defeat the purpose of the relatively poorer Southern and Western states, who wanted the relatively richer states of the Northeast to pay the bulk of the tax. The 16th Amendment gave Congress the power to tax incomes without apportionment.
Other direct taxes should presumably have to be apportioned according to the Constitution. Justice Roberts quickly dismissed the notion that the individual mandate penalty-tax is not a direct tax “under this Court’s precedents.” To any sentient adult, it looks like a “capitation” or head tax, imposed upon individuals directly. Unfortunately, having plenty of other reasons to object to ObamaCare, the four dissenting justices in NFIB v. Sebelius did not explore this point.
Some conservatives have cheered that part of Justice Roberts’s decision that limits Congress’s Commerce Clause power. But an unlimited taxing power is equally dangerous to constitutional government.
Mr. Moreno is a professor of history at Hillsdale College and the author of “The American State from the Civil War to the New Deal,” forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.