Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Adminstrative State - The EPA sending us to jail

We are seeing our government become out of touch and responsible for nothing. The elected officials give power to the bureaucracy, but don’t hold it responsible when it is ineffective or causes harm.

Scott Johnson of PowerLine Blog reviewed a book on this - Is Administrative Law Unconstitutional? by Prof. Philip Hamburger in National Review in 2014.
… The practice of rule by decree is of dubious constitutionality, to say the least, and Obama is extending it to the breaking point. While of dubious constitutionality, the practice is not without precedent. The precedent, however, is the prerogative power claimed in the past by the British king. It is the power against which the British revolted in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and against which we revolted in 1776. 
Now comes Professor Philip Hamburger with a serious work of legal scholarship on the return of the prerogative power to our government. The power returns in the dry-as-dust form of “administrative law,” reflecting the agency form of government. Administrative law has not been a matter of substantial intellectual controversy for a long time. Professor Hamburger comes not to bring peace, but rather a sword of understanding and ultimately of action. He means for us to understand what we have lost or are losing. ...
Johnson briefly revisits it this week at PowerLine.

An in-your-face example. This summer the EPA caused the horrible toxic spill in the XYZ river near Durango, Colorado, affecting New Mexico and Utah also. See Daily Caller. Did any individual lose his/her job over it? No. But the EPA is sending people like you and me to jail - to jail - over much smaller violations. 185 people in 2015 for an average sentence of eight months. Daily Caller
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcers helped convict 185 Americans of environmental crimes this year, with each of these eco-convicts getting sentenced to eight months in prison on average for crimes ranging from biofuel fraud to illegally removing asbestos. 
EPA enforcement data for 2015 shows the agency opened 213 environmental cases which resulted in 185 people convicted and sentenced to 129 years in prison. EPA has been opening fewer cases in recent years to focus more on “high impact” cases. 
...Every year, EPA agents help put dozens of Americans in prison for breaking U.S. environmental laws. Environmental crimes range from spilling coal ash into public waterways, to pretending to produce biofuels, to illegally cleaning up asbestos in buildings.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Three unreported global warming news stories

Here are three global warming, that is, climate change, stories that were reported on in the UK, but not in the US, or hardly reported, according to my source.

1. NASA has "found the Earth has cooled in areas of heavy industrialization where more trees have been lost and more fossil fuel burning takes place."
This is, of course, the opposite of what we've been told for decades.

2. Polar bears are increasing.

3. Scientists are collecting bad weather data from compromised sites. This one is not new, but seldom reported.

Graphic: Find the cat by Hungarian artist Gergely Dudas.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Poverty-related diseases and malnutrition increased in UK

The United Kingdom has recently seen increases in the diseases associated with 19th Century poverty plus malnutrition. NHS statistics show that 7,366 people were admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary diagnosis of malnutrition between August 2014 and July this year, compared with 4,883 cases in the same period from 2010 to 2011 – a rise of more than 50 per cent in just four years. Independent UK

Cases of other diseases rife in the Victorian era including scurvy, scarlet fever, cholera and whooping cough have also increased since 2010, though other diseases are decreasing.

What is happening? The Fabian Society blames the government.

Eric Worrall at WattsUpWithThat looks further and finds large increases in energy costs. Those costs, of course, hit the lower-income people much harder.
… The article in the Independent carefully avoids mentioning the cost of energy, but you don’t have to look far for evidence that electricity prices are placing a lot of stress on British household budgets. Quite apart from devastating job losses which occur when energy intensive industries are forced to close, because they can’t compete with lower energy costs in other countries, Eurostat reports that electricity costs have surged from £0.121 / kWh in 2010, to £0.155 / kWh in 2015 (USD $0.23 / kWh), a rise of 28%. 
A lot of British homes rely on gas for heating, this isn’t always the case, especially in isolated rural regions. In any case, the price of gas has also surged, from £0.035 / kWh, to £0.046 / kWh. Thanks to British hostility to fracking, British gas supplies and prices are vulnerable, to political instability in Russia, and to sudden cold snaps – Britain is on the end of a long supply chain of countries which quite reasonably place the needs of their citizens first. 
What evidence is there that green policies are exacerbating this price spike? Willis did a compelling analysis in 2014, which shows a strong relationship between installed renewable capacity, and domestic energy prices. [See the link for graphic.] 
British people are slowly waking up to the cost of green energy. For the British middle class energy costs are a serious annoyance. For the poor, rising energy prices are an unmitigated disaster. Adding to this burden, in the name of saving the environment, must be contributing to the ongoing surge in poverty related illnesses.

Friday, December 25, 2015

South America socialists run out of money and ...

South America’s socialist leaders are running out of money. And corruption is catching up with several leaders.

Brazil is in a great recession. Fausta’s Blog

Argentina is a mess; defaulted on sovereign debt again last year.

Venezuela despite having among the largest oil reserves in the world, has gone hugely into debt and destroyed its own economy. It memorably could not afford to import toilet paper; and blamed unknown capitalists. And the government calls out the national guard if the long lines at stores get unruly.

But… In Argentina a non-Peronist was recently elected president. In Venezuela the opposition won control of the national assembly. But Chavist President Maduro says the revolution will continue. 

Also Guatemala. In September President Ottto Perez Molina resigned, then was jailed on customs corruption charges. NY Times

But no good news yet In Ecuador President Correa is changing the constitution so he can stay in office beyond the legal limit. Groups are rising up against him. Wall Street Journal

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Poverty for everyone (almost) is the normal condition

Robert Heinlein (science fiction writer) quote on poverty:

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. 

Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as "bad luck.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Worldwide poverty has dropped and dropped

Around the world deep poverty is dropping and dropping and is now below 10%. This is huge: until 1860 it was over 90%! Everyone! This is very good news. 

The term means per person income of less than $1.90 per day, indexed for inflation and adjusted for different countrys’ cost levels. 

Glen Reynolds explains at USA Today
… For most of human history, of course, extreme poverty was the norm. People worked hard to get — if they were lucky — three meals a day and clothes on their backs. Money was scarce, possessions were few, leisure existed only when all the work was done, which was seldom, and capital for investment was scarce — as were things to invest in.
Deaths from sickness and violence were common: As Steven Pinker has noted, human beings back in the era before nation states developed had a 15% chance of dying by violence; numbers today are vastly lower. This is true, he notes, despite the number of deaths from wars and civil wars.

Charles Kenny even wrote in The Atlantic that 2015 was the best year ever in the history of humanity. Wars have become less common and less deadly (though better publicized), while vaccines and medicines have reduced sickness and death. Kenny writes: “The UN reported this year that global child mortality from all causes has more than halved since 1990. That means 6.7 million fewer kids under the age of five are dying each year compared to 1990. Nearly 7 million families avoided the pain of burying their child in 2015 who would have gone through it if the world hadn’t seen two and a half decades of historically unprecedented progress against childhood illness.”
Graphic: At Instapundit.