Taxation Without Representation – An Egregious Double Standard

Taxation Without Representation – An Egregious Double Standard

 

    Corporate and governmental bureaucracies combined with unbridled capitalism pursue the attack on America. Invoking the cronyism rampant in the unjust political arena, politicians and bureaucrats have sacrificed Americans loyal to the original intention of the Constitution to political power and ambition. Taxed without representation, the enemies of liberty and justice for all enlist the false propaganda of the liberal media to spew a smokescreen of lies and deceptions. The unjustly rich become richer, and the poor, enslaved by a welfare state instituted by the unchecked and unbalanced political power of the parasites feeding on their just labors, become poorer.

    Politicians at every level, in every jurisdiction; corporate heads and governing boards have established a double standard displayed in the malignant cronyism, reeking of injustice, infecting our land. This is a swamp so contaminated that it must be drained to protect the public health.

CftC

 

Tom Price Resigns as HHS Secretary

Fred Lucas / September 29, 2017

    President Donald Trump accepted the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced late Friday afternoon.

    Price had been under fire for his use of private charter flights.

    “Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the president accepted,” Sanders said in a statement released just after 4:30 p.m.

     “The president intends to designate Don J. Wright of Virginia to serve as acting secretary, effective at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2017. Mr. Wright currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for Health and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.”

    Earlier Friday, Trump had said of Price, “He’s a very fine man,” but had added, “I certainly don’t like the optics. I’m not happy, I can tell you that. I’m not happy.”

    He came under fire for many domestic private chartered flights, such as from Washington to nearby locations like Philadelphia and New Hampshire.

    Some of Price’s controversial flights were used for travels to Africa to review progress on Ebola, and to participate in global health meetings in Europe.

    In his resignation letter, Price wrote, “I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first. I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives.”

    Because of the controversy Price had said he would pay more than $51,887.31 back to the U.S. treasury, a portion of the total transportation cost, which would exceed $400,000 for the private charter domestic flights. However, Politico also reported that the administration approved another $500,000 in costs for traveling on military planes for health conferences in Africa, Asia and Europe.

    During the period from Jan. 20 to Sept. 19, the Trump administration authorized 77 military flights, while the Obama administration allowed 94 flights during the same time in 2009, Fox News reported Friday. Trump also noted this before boarding Marine One in the White House South Lawn.

     “We put in an order that no more planes – if you look at past administrations, for instance, if you look at the Obama administration and take a look at the amount of time they spent in the air, they spent a lot of time in the air. But I felt very badly because Secretary Price is a good man. But we are looking into it and we are looking into it very seriously.”

    In his resignation letter, released by the White House, Price wrote:

    It is an honor and privilege to serve you as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Under your leadership, the Department is working aggressively to improve the health and well-being of all Americans. This includes working to reform a broken health care system, empower patients, reduce regulatory burdens, ensure global health security, and tackle clinical priorities such as the opioids epidemic, serious mental illness and childhood obesity.

    I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first. I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives.

    Success on these issues is more important than any one person. In order for you to move forward without further disruption, I am officially tendering my resignation as the Secretary of Health and Human Services effective 11:59 PM on Friday, September 29, 2017.

    You may rest assured that I will continue to support your critical priorities going ahead because failure is not an option for the American people.

    In a statement, House Speaker Paul Ryan called Price “a good man.”

    “Price has spent his entire adult life fighting for others, first as a physician and then as a legislator and public servant. He was a leader in the House and a superb health secretary. His vision and hard work were vital to the House’s success passing our health care legislation.”

    During the Obama administration, a 2013 Government Accountability Office report found a similar problem, in this case, by the Justice Department. Two luxury jets the FBI had said were needed for security against global terrorism were used instead by Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller. Holder’s predecessors in the George W. Bush administration, Attorneys General Michael Mukasey and Alberto Gonzales, also used the jets. It came at a total cost of $11.4 million, the GAO found.

    The HHS secretary isn’t required to use non-commercial flights as some national security officials are.

    Fox reported that Holder, in 2014, also took at government-owned Gulfstream and flew to the Belmont Stakes thoroughbred race in New York with family members and two security offices. The trip reportedly cost the government $14,440. Holder reimbursed the government $955. The Washington Times reported that while serving as CIA director, Leon Panetta refunded the government $630 for flights on luxury jets that cost about $32,000 per trip.

    Price’s international travels had involved significant work on health issues. On May 17 and 18, Price traveled to Liberia to meet with the country’s leaders and health officials regarding the Ebola outbreak the ravaged the country in 2014. He met Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other top officials where he talked about the partnership with Liberia and United States government.

    “Ebola survivors who met with the secretary described the significant stigma associated with the virus and continuing discrimination they face. Secretary Price shook hands with survivors, an important public gesture,” as said in a description by the Department of Health and Human Services.

    He next traveled to Berlin to attend the G20 Health Ministerial Meeting, held on May 19 and 20. He met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Topics at the meeting included preparations to combat influenza and viruses with pandemic potential, antimicrobial resistance work with World Health Organization, or WHO. His next stop was the 70th annual World Health Assembly in Geneva, the 194-member government body of the WHO, where he spoke on May 22. The next major travel came Aug. 20-26, where he visited China, Vietnam, and Japan.

    On Aug. 23, Price delivered the keynote address at the 7th High Level Meeting on Health and the Economy of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

 

Here’s How Much Money the NFL Rakes in From Taxpayers

Jarrett Stepman / September 26, 2017

 

    The National Football League is now plunged into politics as players throughout the sport kneel for the national anthem and President Donald Trump continues to rebuke them publicly.

    Undoubtedly, the situation has left many fans and non-fans of the league conflicted or angry. This fiasco may, however, open the eyes of the public to a serious and generally unchecked issue: billionaire NFL owners sponging enormous amounts of money from taxpayers through crony capitalist schemes. The fact is that a business that raked in $14 billion in revenue in 2016 is heavily subsidized by local, state, and federal money based on dubious claims about stimulating the economy.

    The problem is rampant.

    One report on Watchdog.org said that over the past two decades, the NFL has raked in about $7 billion of taxpayer money to spend on stadium renovation and building. Another study from the Brookings Institution showed that federal taxpayers have subsidized the construction of 36 stadiums at a cost of over $3.2 billion since 2000.

    Michael Sargent, an infrastructure expert at The Heritage Foundation, wrote about how sports teams use specially crafted tax breaks to get the public to finance their massive projects.

“Tax-exempt municipal bonds are typically reserved for public-use projects such as bridges, water systems, and other infrastructure, yet because of a loophole in the tax code, private-use stadiums can take advantage of this tax break, and have done so prolifically.”

In fact, only a handful of NFL and other major league teams use privately-financed venues to host their games.

    It would seem after sinking enormous investments into sports franchises, cities would reap serious financial benefits in return. But this isn’t the case at all. Research from George Mason University has shown that not only do communities gain almost no economic benefits from subsidized sports teams, but some findings “indicate harmful effects of sports on per capita income, wage and salary disbursements, and wages per job.”

    Recently released polls show national anthem protests are deeply unpopular with the American people, but polls also show that the taxpayer funding of sports is also widely disliked. When likely voters in Nevada were asked if they favored or opposed using $500 million in taxpayer dollars to fund a stadium for the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas, they overwhelmingly said “no.” According to the KTNV-TV 13 Action News/Rasmussen Reports poll, 60 percent of Nevada voters opposed the funding, and only 28 percent supported it.

    Given the massive discontent over national anthem kneeling and rampant politicization of the once unifying sport of football, perhaps now Americans will turn a more skeptical eye toward how their sports teams rely on public money and actually do something about it.

 

Kaepernick Foundation donates $25K to group formed to honor convicted cop killer

            Colin Kaepernick started out taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality, but his activism has since expanded to encompass a wide range of leftist causes, including a group named after a convicted cop-killer.

The Colin Kaepernick Foundation donated in April $25,000 to Assata’s Daughters, a Chicago “direct action” resistance organization honoring Assata Shakur, who escaped prison and fled to Cuba after being found guilty in the 1973 murder of Officer Werner Foerster.

The grant includes $2,500 for CopWatch, a program that trains volunteers to follow and video police, and $15,000 for teen training, part of the group’s commitment to “develop and train young people, ages 4-19, in the Black queer feminist tradition and in the spirit of Assata.”

Apparently Mr. Kaepernick is also a fan: He retweeted a July 16 message wishing Shakur a happy birthday.

The contribution came as part of Mr. Kaepernick’s pledge last year to donate $1 million over 10 months to “organizations working in oppressed communities.”

So far he has given $900,000 in grants to 31 organizations, including apolitical services like Meals on Wheels as well as advocacy groups pushing a left-of-center agenda on issues like abortion, climate change, criminal-justice reform and immigration.

Contributions include $25,000 for 350.org, a climate-change group dedicated to fighting fossil fuels, and $25,000 for the Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-choice advocacy organization.

The foundation gave $50,000 in December for a “health clinic partnership” at the now-defunct Dakota Access pipeline protest, and $25,000 to United We Dream in order to “keep DACA in force,” referring to President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback also has close ties to the Women’s March, including organizers Tamika D. Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour.

The Kaepernick Foundation donated in June $25,000 to the Gathering for Justice NYC, headed by Ms. Perez, while Ms. Mallory and Ms. Sarsour appeared at the Aug. 24 pro-Kaepernick rally outside NFL headquarters.

Part of the Kaepernick Foundation’s $33,000 donation for the Lower East Side Girls Club was designated for travel and lodging for the Women’s March convention in October.

The Women’s March returned the favor with a shoutout Sunday on Facebook with a post saying, “#TaketheKnee [is] on the right side of history today — not just NFL players, but all of YOU. Show your support for the athletes siding with justice.”

The Women’s March has its own Shakur connection: The group came under fire in July for a tweet celebrating the birthday of Shakur. Shakur was placed on the FBI’s most-wanted list as a “domestic terrorist” who belonged to an “extremist group,” the Black Revolutionary Army.

The backlash included a tweet from Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, who said, “Unbelievable that anyone would idolize a cop killer.”

Assata’s Daughters has been upfront about its admiration for Shakur, saying on its website that it “carries on the tradition of radical liberatory activism encompassed by Assata Shakur.”

“Basically our organization is a part of a much larger movement that is fighting for the abolition of prisons, police and anti-blackness itself,” said Assata’s Daughters adult coordinator in a video.

Shakur, who was wounded in the 1977 shootout on the New Jersey turnpike that left two dead, including the officer, has argued that her murder conviction and life sentence were part of a “political prosecution” at the hands of a “racist legal system.”

Formerly Joanne Chesimard, she has since become a martyr on the left, drawing support from high-profile activists, like Angela Davis.

In 2015, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called on the Obama administration to extradite her after normalizing relations with Cuba.

Assata’s Daughters described its role as “one of helping to escalate, deepen and sustain the Black Lives Matter movement.” “We believe it is our duty to fight for our freedom,” the group says on its website. “We come together in struggle as radical Black feminists and organizers, under the shared respect, love and study of Assata Shakur.”

Kaepernick wears socks depicting cops as pigs. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

During the 2016 NFL season, Mr. Kaepernick touched off a political uproar over his refusal to stand for the national anthem, citing high-profile shootings of black men by police and what he called “systematic oppression” of U.S. minorities.

Mr. Kaepernick later faced criticism for his defense of former Cuban strongman Fidel Castro and wearing a T-shirt showing a 1960 meeting between Castro with Malcolm X.

The Myth That Climate Change Created Harvey, Irma

    The disasters of Harvey and Irma drew the liberal elite, pundits, and politicians out of their holes. Spewing the continuous lies and deceptions promoting their liberal agenda, they again ignore real science and valid history. Moving from the bankrupt imagination that CO2 is even the primary cause of global warming, they ridiculously suggest that mankind has any ability to control global warming.

     Then, they put forth the more ludicrous suggestion that global warming caused Harvey and Irma, specifically where it hit. All true scientists acknowledge various climatic condition’s effects on such factors as intensity, etc.

CftC

The Myth That Climate Change Created Harvey, Irma

Nicolas Loris / September 08, 2017

    Climatologists Roger Pielke Jr.’s and Jessica Weinkle’s graph from from a 2012 article in the Journal of Climate showed no trends in global tropical cyclone landfalls over the past 46 years.

    Statistician and Danish author Bjorn Lomborg also tweeted a graph showing major hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. trending downward for well over a century.

    Before anyone starts claiming that Pielke and Lomborg’s charts rely on denier data, mainstream science published similar findings.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in its most recent scientific assessment that “[n]o robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes … have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin; … there are “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency”; and further, “… confidence in large-scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones [such as ‘Superstorm’ Sandy] since 1900 is low.”.

Other media outlets tying Harvey to climate change took a more measured approach. For instance, Vox wrote that man-made global warming did not actually cause Harvey, but simply exacerbated the natural disaster by creating heavier rainfalls.

But this claim is discredited by University of Washington climatologist Cliff Mass, who after examining precipitation levels in the Gulf found that “[t]here is no evidence that global warming is influencing Texas coastal precipitation in the long term and little evidence that warmer than normal temperatures had any real impact on the precipitation intensity from this storm.”

Mass went on to explicitly refute those who attribute Hurricane Harvey to climate change:

    “The bottom line in this analysis is that both observations of the past decades and models looking forward to the future do not suggest that one can explain the heavy rains of Harvey by global warming, and folks that are suggesting it are poorly informing the public and decision makers.”

    Further, these policies will destroy economic wealth, meaning fewer resources would be available to strengthen infrastructure to contain the future effects of natural disasters and to afterward.

Instead of blaming man-made greenhouse gas emissions, climate catastrophists should see natural disasters for what they really are: natural.

If policymakers want to take a page out of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “never let a crisis go to waste” playbook, they should worry less about costly nonsolutions to climate change and focus on natural disaster response, resilience, and preparedness.

Global Warming and Hurricane Harvey

Cliff Mass

Thursday, August 31, 2017

It is more than a little disturbing.

Before the rains had ended, dozens of media outlets had published stories suggesting that global warming forced by humans (mainly by emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere) played a significant role in producing the heavy rainfall and resulting flooding associated with Hurricane Harvey.

Most of the stories were not based on data or any kind of quantitative analysis, but a hand-waving argument that a warming earth will put more water vapor into the atmosphere and thus precipitation will increase.  A few suggesting that a warming atmosphere will cause hurricanes to move more slowly.

This blog will provide a careful analysis of the possible impacts of global warming on Hurricane Harvey.  And the results are clear:  human-induced global warming played an inconsequential role in this disaster. 

Why did Houston Get So Much Rain?

The proximate cause of the disaster is clear: the extreme rainfall was the result of a hurricane/tropical storm that pulled in huge amounts of water vapor off the Gulf of Mexico (and beyond), and which came into the Texas coast and then stalled for days.   All tropical storms/hurricanes bring large amounts of rain during landfall.  What was different here was the stalling and sitting over the same region for days.

So if you want to explain why this event was so unusual, you must shed light on the lack of motion after landfall of this strong hurricane/tropical storm.

    And how much rain?  Here are the 7-day totals around Houston and the general area.   Over 20 inches in the region surrounding Houston (gray color), with the central areas getting 30-50 inches.  An amazing event.

The Global Warming Analysis

Let’s analyze the two key questions:

  • Did global warming juice up Hurricane Harvey, producing unusually heavy precipitation?
  • Did global warming cause the storm to stagnate for days?

First, let us examine what we call the thermodynamic effects:  increasing temperatures and moisture.

As air warms it can “hold” more water vapor, which can lead to heavier precipitation as the air enters a storm and rises.  In fact, more water vapor can also help rev up a storm as well, since when it condense it releases “latent” heat.

There is a well known relationship between temperature and the maximum amount of moisture air can hold, the Clausius Clapeyron (CC) relationship, which says that air can hold about 7% more water vapor for every 1°C increase in temperature.

It turns out that there is a lot of theoretical and modeling work that suggests that extreme precipitation in storms might increase at roughly the same rate.  So increase the temperature of the air 1C and extreme precipitation might increase as much as 7%.  Keep this number in your head…it will be important.

    For the Texas coast, the temperature of the Gulf of Mexico will be critical, because the air that reaches the Texas coast will have passed over the water.

So how much has surface water or air temperature warmed up during the past decades?  One can go to the NASA GISS website and get the surface temperature change over the past 50 years during August.  The Gulf warmed by .5-1 °C between 1967 and 2016.  Pretty modest. Some of this was natural and some of it was forced by mankind.

But what was the SST anomaly (difference from normal) during the period that really counted here: the week before the hurricane. The NOAA sea surface temperature anomaly for August 20 to 26th showed .5 to 1 C warming above normal in the sea surface temperature for the northern Gulf of Mexico.  Less for the southern coast and right off Texas.

What about the air temperatures over the region in the previous days?  Were temperatures warmer than normal?  No…close to normal (white color)

So Hurricane Harvey developed in an environment in which temperatures were near normal in the atmosphere and slightly above normal in the Gulf.   The clear implication: global warming could not have contributed very much to the storm.

    OK, let me go out on a limb. Let us assume that all of the .5C warming of the Gulf was due to human-caused global warming.  That NONE of it was natural.  And that the air was warmed by the same amount. Using the scaling described above implies an increase of 3.5% in the extreme precipitation of this storm.  So for places that received 30 inches, perhaps 1 inch resulted from global warming. Not much.  Immaterial regarding impacts or anything else.

Well, some of you might ask.  Is there any evidence of global warming producing heavier precipitation along the Texas coast?   Surely, if warming was evident and it was significant, precipitation would be increasing over time!

Well, here is the July to October (hurricane season) precipitation for the coast around Houston for the past 50 years.    Lots of ups and down but no trend.  In fact, if there is any trend it might be down.

    I could show you a lot more, but bottom line in all this is:

    There is no evidence that global warming is influencing Texas coastal precipitation in the long term and little evidence that warmer than normal temperatures had any real impact on the precipitation intensity from this storm.

Now, lets examine the second question.  Is there any evidence that global warming caused the storm to slow down?   Some of the media stories had all kinds of hand-waving speculations.  Such as the jet stream would be weakened and become “lazy” due to global warming.

Quite honestly, none of this is supported by observations or models.

The wind pattern that produced the stagnation is shown in the figure below, which shows the zonal (east-west) wind anomaly (difference from normal) at mid-levels in the troposphere (500 hPa) for August 18-25th.  A reasonable level to evaluate the steering flow for the storm.  Note that the zonal winds are more negative than normal (blue colors) over the Gulf, which implies stronger flow from the east (the convention is that winds going west to east are positive).   In contrast, there are greens and yellows over central Texas and to the west, implying more westerly (from the west winds), which would tend to slow the storm down.  So the large scale flow might accelerate the storm towards the coast and then slow it down.

But do we expect global warming to produce such a pattern of anomalous winds wind over the Gulf?  Are some of the media and “activist” scientists correct in saying that winds over the Gulf will slow down under global warming?   Let’s find out.

First, let me show you the change in zonal winds over the Gulf of Mexico for the past 50 years at 500 hPa.  No real trend.   Other levels showed the same thing.

Tom Hamill, a scientist at NOAA ESRL, plotted the average hurricane speed in the region (20-30N, 50-100W), which I show below.  He also shows  (wisely) the number of samples (hurricanes) each year, since the reliability of the average declines when there are few samples.  It is clear that there is little trend, particularly when one only considers the years with decent samples.

Let me stress that it is the trend over the entire period that would suggest an impact of global warming, NOT some transient change over a few years.

    What about the future?   Atmospheric scientists run global climate models driven by increasing CO2, with a large collection of runs being available (the CMIP5 effort with around two dozen models). I did a paper with Matt Brewer analyzing these models (published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Climate) and below is figure from it, which shows the difference in the zonal (east-west) wind  at 500 hPa between the late 20th and 21st centuries for July and August.   Little change over the Gulf and that is AT THE END of the 21st century.  Little would change now.

    The bottom line in this analysis is that both observations of the past decades and models looking forward to the future do not suggest that one can explain the heavy rains of Harvey by global warming, and folks that are suggesting it are poorly informing the public and decision makers.

They are using hand-waving arguments to push an agenda, which observations, theory, and modeling show to be incorrect.  Global warming is a serious issue and mankind must deal with it, but hype and exaggeration of the current effects is counterproductive in the long term.

By the end of the century, increasing atmospheric moisture will increase the intensity of heavy rain in many locations, including the Northwest.   Although there is no evidence of increased hurricane frequency during the past several decades, some studies suggest enhancement of the number of the strongest hurricanes by the end of the century.

One does not need global warming to explain extreme weather–sometimes the factors come together to produce an unusual event… think of it as a meteorological royal flush.

What the media SHOULD be discussing is the lack of resilience of our infrastructure to CURRENT extreme weather.   Houston has had multiple floods the past few years and poor planning is a major issue.  When you put massive amounts of concrete and buildings over an historical swamp, water problems will occur if drainage and water storage is not engineered from the start.

China may be ahead of us in such planning, with a huge investment in their sponge cities program in which they are investing hundreds of billions of dollars.  Blaming global warming makes it easier to neglect the infrastructure investments that are required to protect our cites.

    Can you imagine if President Trump announced an infrastructure program to make our nation more resilient to CURRENT extreme weather?   A bipartisan effort to deal with extreme winds, flooding, rain, drought, and other severe weather?