Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Supreme Court flips the switch to the Dark Ages

I hope all you greenies enjoy the coming Spring and Summer, because come Fall and Winter you may all be freezing in the dark.

Somehow God-King Obma and his minions have brain-washed the Supremes into allowing the shutdown of power plants in the event that a bit of smog floats across state lines. 

Combine this with the administrative prohibition of nuclear power, tearing down of hydro power plants, and the dismal failure of wind and solar power to do anything but fritter away tax dollars, the only electricity to be found will be the spark between your fingertips and the doorknob while you are shuffling around trying to keep warm.

I wonder how all these eco-tards are planning to recharge their government subsidized Telsas without a place to plug them in?

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Stampede to the Precipice: Federal Grazing Program, Taxpayers, and Cliven Bundy.

Federal Grazing Program in Bundy Dispute Rips-Off Taxpayers, Wild Horses


Sean Hannity defended Cliven Bundy as a patriot. Harry Reid called Bundy a terrorist. Jon Stewart called him a “welfare rancher trying to pull of the world’s largest dine and dash.”

Before his stand-off last week with the Federal Government—staged, aptly, during tax time—Bundy was a Nevada rancher who illegally grazed his cattle for 20 years on thousands of acres of public land, owing $1 million in unpaid grazing fees.

But when The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which oversees the land, showed up to remove his 900 cattle, a modern day whiskey rebellion broke out. Dozens of mounted Bundy supporters advanced on a handful of BLM agents in SUVs, guns at the ready, carrying banners. The BLM retreated and returned Bundy’s cattle, minus several killed during the round-up.

Dramatic as this was, the Bundy-BLM dustup shouldn’t obscure the underlying issue that’s at stake here for taxpayers: the huge costs of the grazing program into which Bundy refused to pay.

Across the west, the BLM and U.S. Forest Service manage 13.3 million AUMs (Animal Unit Months) on 250 million acres of public land. One month of grazing one cow/calf combination or five sheep (the definition of an AUM) costs $1.35—a fee that’s 92% below the present-day cost of $16.80 per month to graze livestock on private land. The direct loss to taxpayers, by contrast, is huge: at least $123 million a year. Indirect but related costs push the total to as much as $1 billion. All to produce less than three percent of the nation’s beef supply.

The ultimate losers in this equation are wild horses and the increasingly shrinking western lands they roam that belong to the public. To create space for this taxpayer-funded cattle program, the BLM deploys helicopters, rounding up 8,255 wild equines in 2012 and 4,288 in 2013. The roundups cost an average of $750 per head. Some equines are adopted out for $125; the others are warehoused at a cost of $1.35 a day. Total cost for last year’s Wild Horses and Burros program: $71.8 million.

The BLM undertakes this removal based on the claim—advanced by ranchers—that horses degrade the land upon which the cattle graze.

But nothing could be further from the truth. The BLM’s count of 33,780 free-roaming wild horses and 6,825 burros still pales in comparison to the millions of cattle and sheep that graze at the public’s expense. Furthermore, horses graze on a fraction of the land that cattle and sheep do (18% vs. 82%).

The rangeland is certainly suffering. But the reason is a historically devastating drought exacerbated by the overgrazing of cows and sheep. The only thing horses are harming is the ranchers’ boondoggle.

In fact, horses could be used to ameliorate the damage caused by welfare ranchers. Wild horses are flight animals that exist in family bands, ranging widely from diverse riparian areas, where they drink before moving on to forage in areas sometimes as many as 15 miles away, avoiding precisely the trampling that ranchers say causes so much damage in sensitive areas. There’s a reason helicopters are needed to round them up.

In addition to their environmentally efficient migratory patterns, wild horses repair western ecosystems by not lingering in riparian areas, consuming dry forage that would otherwise ignite destructive brush fires, and distributing undigested seeds through their manure, which reseeds grassy plains, deserts and mountains. Additionally, their feces add significant humus to the soil, making it more nutrient rich and water absorptive.

Cattle, by contrast, are far less suited to this form of natural restoration. As ruminants, they tend to hydrate and forage in the same space, thus defecating and urinating in sensitive riparian zones. Whereas horses nip grass with clean cuts, cattle wrap their tongues around it and yank grass into their mouths, destroying root systems. Cattle also digest their food more thoroughly, breaking down the seeds of plant species to the point where they become non-viable. Add in the methane released through cow manure and flatulence, which contributes overwhelmingly to global warming. And let’s not forget about sheep, which are also ruminants and can graze in large groups of 500-1,000 animals, causing even greater damage.

Still, ranchers, including the commissioners of Iron County in Utah are pushing the BLM to round up what they term “an excess of wild horses” competing with their cattle for forage and even threatened to do the job themselves if the BLM refuses to step in. The reason for doing so? A request from the government agency that cattle ranchers in the area voluntarily cut back on their livestock grazing for $1.35 per AUM to minimize damage exacerbated by cattle during the drought.

And why do they focus on removing horses instead of grazing cows and sheep? Easy: taxpayers pick up the tab for removing wild horses—just as they did the estimated half-million dollar tab for rounding up Cliven Bundy’s cattle.

Given this scenario, it’s clear which animals should have access to western land—if repairing it is in fact what we really care about.

So as Bundy and his posse exploit the symbolism of the American West to become heroes on FOX News, they might remember that the spirit of expansion that animated the Wild West was embodied in the very beasts ranchers want to destroy.

If there is an invasive species, here, it’s cattle and sheep. Wild horses, as early fossils show, originated here—and they’re a lot better suited to restoring the landscape than the cowboys and federal grazing program that’s looking to get rid of them—with the help of unwitting but fleeced taxpayers.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Freedom of Speech on the Internet - only if you can pay the price

Freedom of speech for all . . . but some will be afforded more freedom than others. 

Regulations from the FCC become the law of the land, they will close the open bar that has allowed digital information to flow freely over the Internet.

They will effectively kill the concept of net neutrality. They will end the Internet boom, threaten free speech and stifle innovations from streaming media services to self-driving cars.

Net neutrality is essentially the situation under which the Internet and World Wide Web began. All traffic – video, text, email, whatever – was treated as equal digital packets. Essentially, no packet received better treatment than any other; there was no discrimination.
Paying for faster access will effectively kill off companies that can’t pay. It's a decision whose repercussions could ripple across the economy.

But now the FCC is proposing to end that equality, and with it the equal access currently granted to consumers.

Under the proposed new rules, which will be open for public comment on May 15, the FCC will allow Internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon to charge websites and online services, from Sony to Netflix, additional fees to get better, faster access to their Internet pipes. It would create a tiered system in which some sites could reach consumers more easily than others.

The FCC tried to stop such arrangements – deals in which fees and charges are hidden from the public – but lost when a federal appeals court said it does not have the authority to make such regulations because the Internet is not considered a utility under federal law.

Paying for faster access will effectively kill off companies that can’t pay. Consumers will naturally chose to use, say, an Internet search engine that takes just a few seconds to deliver a result over one that takes half a minute. The same goes for just about every other conceivable site. It's a decision whose repercussions could ripple across the economy:

It will end consumer choice
You will not be able to select which services you want to receive more quickly. You will not, for example, be able to choose to have a better connection to streaming video from Amazon over Netflix, or vice versa. No matter how much more you are willing to pay each month for a faster Internet connection, it will not change the fact that some services work well while others wallow with balky connections and tardy speeds.

It will stifle innovation
Small companies have been leveraging the Internet for years because they were treated equally and could attract customers and grow rapidly. All that was needed was a good idea and some sweat equity. Now, they will also need a lot of money to pay Internet service providers. Consequently, there will be fewer startups and fewer opportunities for new businesses.

It threatens the First Amendment
If a company can pay more to get better, faster, more reliable access to consumers and citizens, it will squeeze out smaller, impecunious sources of information and speech. There will be fewer dissenting voices online, fewer chances for an open discussion of important issues.

It threatens religious freedom
Discrimination will be effectively codified by the FCC proposal. Any ISP could decide not to allow a legal website or organization from gaining faster access to its service. One spiritual organization could get preference over another, enabling it to reach more people and drown out opposing spiritual views.

It will increase bills to consumers
Netflix has made clear that it will pass on the increased fees it pays to consumers. You can expect other companies, from music services to gigantic online retailers like Amazon, to be forced to pass along these expenses as well (indeed, Amazon has already raised its annual fee for Prime to $99). Bills could rise exponentially as each service charges more. How much more is difficult to say, because the financial terms of these deals are kept secret.

It will lead to a monopolistic Internet
Merged firms, such as the proposed marriage of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, will exert greater control over what goes over their cables and fiber, allowing them to dominate with their own content (although the new FCC rules dictate that when they favor their own sites, they must say so publicly). In other words, the Golf Channel may come in clearly on your TV, while the Tennis Channel is blurry and sputters.

Ostensibly, the FCC's excuse for this about-face is lethargy. The agency says it's pinioned by the courts, and it's just too difficult to craft new rules that might protect network neutrality.

But they need to try harder.

The obvious solution is to change the law, something Congress must do. The idea that the pipes – wired or wireless – that deliver the Internet to hundreds of millions of Americans and provide the supporting infrastructure for so much technology do not constitute a utility is antiquated at best, idiotic at worst.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Two Rules for Success

These are the two Rules for Success . . .
  • 1.  Never reveal everything you know.
  • 2.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Bill of Rights, not the Bill of Justifiable Needs.

“Americans are not required to justify their need to exercise a fundamental right.
If the government can force you to provide a reason to exercise your right, then it’s no longer a right.” Alan Gura

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Global Warming For Beginners, or Ten Thousand Pennies

A Guest Post by Leonard Jones

I was inspired by Anthony Watts, who used stadium seats to show the quantity of the gases that make up our atmosphere. I thought it was a good effort, but that it could be made simpler for the benefit of low-information types.
I later came across an article on another blog that became the basis for my project. This line comes from Veeshir at DoubleplusUndead:

"A trace gas (less than .04, or under 4 parts in 10,000) is driving the climate more than that great glowing orb of nukular fire whose effects (noon in a desert), or lack thereof (northern cold areas), can kill you in a matter of hours from 93,000,000 miles."

That caused me to consider a simple means of pointing out what 3.5 vs 9,996.5 looks like. But first, here's a pie chart I found on the Internet showing how much of what gases are in the atmosphere:

You will note that, at less than 1 percent, Argon dwarfs CO2. In fact, CO2 doesn't even register as a thin line, hence the second pie chart showing the lesser gases. CO2 represents .035 percent of the atmosphere, which adds up to 350 parts per million, or as Veeshir put it, less than 4 parts in 10,000.
Here's what that looks like in pennies:

There are only three types of people in this debate. First are the ignorant people in this world who are scientifically illiterate and will believe anything the media tells them. Secondly, there are the honest scientists and people like me who were actually paying attention in high school science classes. Lastly are the people who are becoming wealthy selling bogus "carbon credits," like Al Gore and any scientists prostituting themselves for government research grants.

No honest scientist will ever claim that a trace-level gas, at 350 parts per million, can have any effect whatsoever on global climate. The promoters of this fraud are not only wrong, they know they are wrong.

For anyone not convinced, it gets even better. Of the CO2 represented by those 3 1/2 pennies, 96 percent is contributed by nature. So just 4 percent of that is from human activity.

(Editorial aside: Since "Weepy" Bill McKibben urges his Thermageddon acolytes to "do the math," here you go: .04 x .0035 = .00014, or 14 parts per million.) It would be like calculating the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin. In other words, it is meaningless.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Creativity and non-conformity now listed as a mental illness by psychiatrists

 This newly defined  mental illness has a very interesting moniker - "oppositional defiant disorder" or ODD.

No, this is not a joke.  

Everyone must conform, except those who decide what it is you are to conform to.

"You Are Not Of The Body. You Will Be Absorbed."

What happens to a society when thinking outside of the box or being righteously enraged about your government going in the wrong direction becomes an excuse to be sedated and re-educated? It seems we don't have to go too far back in history to find out.

The Soviet Union used new mental illness for political repression.

People who didn't accept the beliefs of the Communist Party developed a new type of schizophrenia.

They suffered from the delusion of believing communism was wrong. They were isolated, forcefully medicated, and put through repressive "therapy" to bring them back to sanity.

Now thanks to thought policing by the American Psychiatric Association the latest addition of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is setting up the dominoes for arbitrary diagnosis of any dissenting individuals.

Listed as new mental illnesses are above-average creativity and cynicism. The manual goes on to identify a mental illness called "oppositional defiant disorder" or ODD.

Defined as an "ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior," symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed.

A Washington Post article observed that, if Mozart were born today, he would be diagnosed with ADD and "medicated into barren normality." What used to be known as personality traits are now diseases, and of course there are treatments available.

When the last edition of the DSM-IV was published, identifying the symptoms of various illness in children, there was a jump in the medication for children. Some states even have laws that allow protectives agencies to forcibly medicate, and even make it a punishable crime to withhold a prescribed medication.

Beware people with a strong sense of individuality! Though the authors of the manual claim no ulterior motives, labeling freethinking and nonconformity as a mental illness has a lot of potential for abuse. As a weapon in the arsenal for a repressive state, it seems societal reality is morphing into a playbook for autocrats borrowed from a Phillip K. Dick novel.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Guns everywhere? Absolutely.

Fort Hood Was A Warning of [Much Worse] Things to Come

Fort Hood shooting 2014 (courtesy

Americans are laboring under the false impression spree killings are committed by lone, drug-addled psychopaths who kill themselves the moment they face armed opposition. The most recent Fort Hood shooting fits “safely” into the latter category. Spec. Ivan Lopez was alone. He was mentally ill. He “only” killed three people. Police responded quickly enough (unless you happen to be one of the 19 people shot). So there’s nothing to see here folks, save the usual missed opportunities to forestall the firearms frenzy and individual tales of tragedy and heroism. Oh sure . . .

There have been plenty of calls to eliminate the Bush/Clinton law that transformed military bases into “gun-free zones.” Calls to roll back gun-free zones in general. But Spec. Lopez’s shooting spree is too familiar, too “small.” It doesn’t have enough “juice” to trigger any significant change in America’s self-defense strategy against terrorists or psychopaths, either on-base or off.

That’s an enormous mistake that will cost hundreds of lives. Let’s talk about terrorism . . .

9/11 was an outlier. Most terrorist attacks aren’t as involved or inventive (for lack of a better term) as Osama Bin Laden’s airliner-based plot. While the public mind is understandably fascinated by the possibility of another complicated and devastating attack, we need only look outside our territorial borders to see that the reality is more prosaic – and even more deadly. Specifically, Afghanistan.

Back in 2012, reported that IEDs (improvised explosive devices or bombs) “killed more than 600 American troops since 2001 and wounded roughly 7,000. They will continue to be a major threat in Afghanistan ‘because they are cheap, readily available, largely off-the-shelf, easy to construct, lethal and accurate,’ Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Barbero told a congressional panel in September.

“Despite a strenuous and costly U.S. effort, the Taliban managed last year [2011] to deploy 16,000 IEDs, the main killer of Americans, and are on track to exceed that record this year.” So why not here, on American soil? Lots of reasons, from the efforts of our anti-terrorist agencies to the vigilance of our citizens to pure, dumb luck. The main thing to keep in mind: it’s only a matter of time before terrorists launch another strike in the American “homeland.”

I repeat: expecting these future terrorist attacks to be Hassan-like “lone wolf” assaults involving firearms alone, or huge catastrophes like 9/11, is unrealistic. Chances are innocent Americans will face a carefully planned, “low tech,” multi-pronged atrocity launched by a group of terrorists.

Consider the four-day bombing and shooting attack in Mumbai in 2008 and last year’s Kenya mall assault. These horrific incidents were hardly “lone gunman” affairs. And those are only the headliners. There are so many terrorist incidents per year – many of which involved multiple attackers, all of which involve planning and coordination – breaks them up into bi-yearly section (e.g., January – June and July – September).

Spree killers are less common but more apparent. At least in the U.S. But again, it’s a mistake to put these monsters in a box labeled “lone wolf.” Lest we forget, two teenagers committed the atrocities at Columbine High School. Their plan involved multiple bombs: one designed to distract local firefighters and two propane bombs that would have killed hundreds of children in the school cafeteria had they functioned properly.

Which brings me to The Mother of All Warnings for Americans: the Belsan School Massacre. It’s the best (i.e. worst) example of a recent coordinated terrorist attack on a soft target that recent history provides. During three days of terror, several dozen Chechen terrorists, many carrying explosives, took 1,100 people hostage, including 777 children. At the end, over 380 people had been slaughtered, including 186 children.

Last week’s Fort Hood shooting pales in comparison. But it highlights – again, still – the unconscionable weakness of our security against terrorists and spree killers. Spec. Lopez roamed Fort Hood – an army base – unopposed for 10 to 15 minutes. If Lopez had anything remotely resembling a plan of attack he would have killed dozens of soldiers. If he’d been part of a larger conspiracy, hundreds or even thousands of soldiers could have died. For nothing.

Yes, there is that. It’s perfectly clear that armed soldiers can withstand (i.e. counter and eliminate) both spree killers and terrorists. At the Battle of Camp Bastion, 19 Taliban infiltrated one of the largest air bases in Afghanistan. [Click here to read GQ's account of the fighting.] Brave Marines inside the base repelled the attack - despite the fact that many of them were non-combat troops and the terrorists were dressed as American soldiers.

Yes there is that.

Earlier this week, retired Army General Jack Keane told Fox News that soldiers shouldn’t be armed on base because first responders wouldn’t be able to separate the good guys from the bad guys during an attack. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the Battle of Bastion would know General Keane is wrong. As a soldier assured me in an email to TTAG HQ, “I have no doubt that if we are allowed to be armed on base, we are capable of executing the same defensive capacity in the homeland, without inflicting massive friendly fire casualties.”

Is this true off-base as well? Of course it is. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the person or persons killing innocent people need to die, and die quickly. Nor is much cognitive power required to understand that a firearm is the best way to accomplish that task. Conclusion? The more armed Americans on-scene when terrorists or spree killers attack, the greater the chances of limiting the loss of life – whether the attack involves one killer or several, bombs or guns, or airplanes.

Will America be ready to defend the homeland during the next lethal terrorist or spree killer attack? In places where citizens exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, yes, they’re ready as much as they can be. In places where gun rights go to die – schools, hospitals, airplanes, military bases, etc. – no. Anything we can do to restore, defend and extend our gun rights is a step towards a society safer from these killers.

Guns everywhere? Absolutely.