Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Energy and Environmental Newsletter

Our latest Energy and Environmental Newsletter, is now online. There is some great material there, so please set aside some time to check it out. Below are some highlights.

This is a sample of some interesting energy articles in the current Newsletter —
Here are some examples of worthwhile global warming reports —
Thank you for your continued support!
 
John Droz, Jr. Physicist & Environmental Advocate

As always, please pass this on to open-minded citizens. If there are others who you think would benefit from being on our energy & environmental email list, please let me know. If at any time you'd like to be taken off the list, please let me know that too.

Dr. Roy W. Spencer: 2014 Winner of the Outstanding Evangelical Climate Scientist Award

 
Dr. Roy Spencer was a senior scientist for climate studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where he and Dr. John Christy received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites. He is now a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Dr. Spencer’s work with NASA continues as the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite. His diligent work on tracking the planet’s temperature provided a tamper-proof source of data with which to test predictions of man-made global warming. Spencer received a B.S. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Michigan in 1978 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1980 and 1982…..To Read More……

Dr. Willie Soon: 2014 Winner of the Courage in Defense of Science



Dr. Willie Soon, an astrophysicist and geoscientist, is a leading authority on the relationship between solar phenomena and global climate. His discoveries challenge computer modelers and advocates who consistently underestimate solar influences on cloud formation, ocean currents, and wind that cause climate to change.

Since 1992, Dr. Soon has been an astronomer at the Mount Wilson Observatory. He is also receiving editor in the area of solar and stellar physics for New Astronomy. He writes and lectures both professionally and publicly on important issues related to the sun, other stars, and the Earth, as well as general science topics in astronomy and physics….To Read More…..

Dr. S. Fred Singer: 2014 Winner of the Lifetime Achievement in Climate Science Award



Dr. S. Fred Singer was among the first and is still the most prominent scientist in the world speaking out against global warming alarmism. He is the author, coauthor, and editor of many books, including Climate Change Reconsidered (several volumes), a comprehensive critique of the assessment reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Dr. Singer, an atmospheric and space physicist, founded the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). He continues to serve as chairman of SEPP and as a member of the leadership team of NIPCC.

Dr. Singer has published more than 200 technical papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Energy & Environment, EOS: Transactions of the AGU, Geophysical Research Letters, International Journal of Climatology, Journal of Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, Nature, and Science. His editorial essays and articles have appeared in Cosmos, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New Republic, Newsweek, Journal of Commerce, Washington Times, Washington Post,and many other publications. His accomplishments have been featured in front-cover stories appearing in Time, Life, and U.S. News & World Report...... To Read More....

Most published medical research is FALSE — 85% of research funding WASTED, says Stanford study

Here’s the study.

Most published medical research is false!  In 2005, in a landmark paper viewed well over a million times, John Ioannidis explained in PLOS Medicine why most published research findings are false. To coincide with PLOS Medicine’s 10th anniversary he responds to the challenge of this situation by suggesting how the research enterprise could be improved.

Research, including medical research, is subject to a range of biases which mean that misleading or useless work is sometimes pursued and published while work of value is ignored. The risks and rewards of academic careers, the structures and habits of peer reviewed journals, and the way universities and research institutions are set up and governed all have profound effects on what research scientists undertake, how they choose to do it and, ultimately, how patients are treated. Perverse incentives can lead scientists to waste time producing and publishing results which are wrong or useless. Understanding these incentives and altering them provides a potential way for drastically re-shaping research to improve in medical knowledge.........“The achievements of science are amazing yet the majority of research effort is currently wasted,” asserts Ioannidis. He calls for testing interventions to improve the structure of scientific research, and doing so with the rigor normally reserved for testing drugs or hypotheses......To Read More.....

 

Artificial Science On…Artificial Sweeteners

By Michael D. Shaw

This originally appeared here and I would like to thank Mike for allowing me to publish his work.  RK

artificial sweetenersThis one has it all: Research from a prestigious institute published in a prestige journal; a provocative and contrarian set of findings; topical subject matter, sure to attract mainstream media; and the use of ultra high-tech genome sequencing in the too-cool-for-school realm of the gut biome. Just published online in Nature, the study is entitled “Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota.” [Suez et al.]

At last! We now have a scientific answer to the paradox as described in the official press release: “For years researchers have been puzzling over the fact that non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) do not seem to assist in weight loss, and some studies have suggested they may even have an opposite effect.” Not so fast.

The most significant use of NAS is in diet soft drinks. When first introduced, they were consumed principally by people trying to cut down on their sugar intake, and these people were either overweight, diabetic, or both. Nowadays, although they have gone more mainstream, it is still true that the products are consumed by the overweight/diabetic group. So, let’s first consider human nature.

If you are counting calories, and drink a fair amount of soda, merely by switching to a diet beverage, you could be saving hundreds of calories per day. Given this windfall benefit, might you be inclined to cheat on your diet a wee bit? Could such cheating equal or even surpass the benefits of the diet soda?

Related to this is the inherent difficulty in obtaining accurate data on food consumption. Nearly all diet studies are based on self-reporting, which is not only fudged on a frequent basis, but such falsifications can be glaringly obvious. How many diet studies are full of subjects who are on a 1000 calorie per day regimen, or even less—as documented by their self-reported food logs—but cannot seem to lose a pound?

Could human nature help explain our “paradox”? Nonetheless, if we assume that some dieters don’t cheat, we still have to explain how a non-caloric substance can somehow promote or sustain obesity. A good study might concentrate on the chemistry of a particular NAS, and even focus on how that substance interacts with the intestinal microbiota. Alternatively, a good study could track dietary intake of lean and obese individuals, and subject them to continuous lab tests (students, faculty, and employees of research universities would be convenient participants).

Alas, Suez et al is far from a good study. Indeed, it is fatally flawed right out of the gate. As an aid to readers, the paper highlights its findings in bold type. The very first finding is “Chronic NAS consumption exacerbates glucose intolerance.” And the first sentence of that paragraph betrays the flaw:

To determine the effects of NAS on glucose homeostasis, we added commercial formulations of saccharin, sucralose or aspartame to the drinking water of lean 10-week-old C57Bl/6 mice. Since all three commercial NAS comprise approx. 5% sweetener and approx. 95% glucose, we used as controls mice drinking only water or water supplemented with either glucose or sucrose.”

Here’s the problem. Saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame are vastly different chemicals, even if they are all perceived by human taste receptors as sweet. Yet, these sweeteners were fed—interchangeably—to the subject mice. Note that the researchers are positing some sort of chemical/physiological effect of these NAS with the gut biome, but they are mixing—and are not accounting for—the properties of the three different chemicals. There is no meaning whatsoever to a biochemical evaluation of NAS as a “group.” One wonders why they did not also include lead, notoriously sweet-tasting, and quite sadly consumed in household paint chips by young children in the past.

But, give the researchers their due. They did further work on saccharin, incredibly also putting the mice on a high (60%) fat diet. Surprise! Many of them became glucose intolerant. And that’s a good thing, since otherwise they would have gained weight to beat the band. Basic physiology, anyone?

As almost an afterthought, humans were part of the study, even if they could not be subjected to fecal transplantation, outrageous diets, and bizarre gut biome kill-off, as were the hapless rodents. To be kind, the researchers could have done a better job with the humans, as well.

All told, 381 non-diabetic humans were involved, and evidently some of them were overweight. A number of conclusions were drawn based on questionnaires, and sketchy extrapolation. From this group, seven healthy, non-users of NAS (and presumably normal weight) volunteers became part of a 7-day experimental study, which lacked a control group. Yet, the researchers boldly proclaimed that “most” (4 out of the 7) developed significantly poorer glycemic responses, when given a large amount of saccharin. As before, diet details were based only on questionnaires, and the number of potential confounding factors is massive.

Rest assured that a comprehensive analysis of this work would have yielded dozens more flaws. Do we really need another example of how the post World War II promise of Science has fallen short—unless you happen to be a researcher on the receiving end of bounteous grants?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Paradigms and Demographics Afternoon Edition

----Featured Article --- Who Was the Last President to Have a Great Second Term?  - Calvin Coolidge (1925-1929). Since Coolidge only served part of a first term (after Harding died), his case is unusual. But Coolidge finished his second term with the lowest misery index (unemployment plus inflation) of any president in the last one hundred years. He lowered tax rates, cut federal spending, and had budget surpluses every year of his presidency.   Seven presidents since Coolidge (Obama will be the eighth) had second terms, and these second terms showed mixed success at best and more often disastrous problems.   FDR in his second term tried packing the Supreme Court. And when the Senate shot that down, he then tried ”purging those Democrats who opposed him by campaigning against them for re-election. However, almost all of his Democratic opponents won anyway. The next two-termer was Harry Truman, who fought the Korean War during his second term, and ended his presidency with almost the lowest approval ratings in modern U.S. history. Eisenhower had a recession in his second term, and his party lost 47 seats in the off-year elections during that beleaguered term. Nixon, of course, had to resign during his second term. Reagan’s second term was a mixture of good policies and the problems of Iran Contra. Clinton was impeached during his last years in office. George W. Bush lost control of both the House and the Senate during his second term, and his approval ratings were barely better than Nixon’s and Truman’s….

Obama insiders reap riches at trio of healthcare IT firms -A trio of giant information technology firms that dominate the rapidly growing market for digital medical documents enjoy special insider access to key policymakers as the federal government implements its 2009 mandate that healthcare providers convert to electronic health records. The three firms — Cerner Corp., Epic Systems and Allscripts Healthcare Solutions — accounted for more than $5.6 billion in annual electronic health records sales in 2013. Boosting their revenues are the federal mandate and a $30 billion subsidy program to encourage sales, both of which were strongly backed by President Obama in his healthcare reform agenda. Steering the mandate’s implementation is the Health IT Policy Committee, a federal advisory commission within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the Department of Health and Human Services.

New Record: Federal Tax Revenues Top $3T for 1st Time - Inflation-adjusted federal tax revenues not only hit a record high in fiscal 2014, but marked the first time that tax revenues have ever topped $3 trillion, according to the latest Monthly Treasury Statement. In fiscal year 2014, inflation-adjusted federal tax revenues hit a record $3,020,848,000,000, but the federal government still ran a $483,350,000,000 deficit during that time.  Each month, the Treasury publishes the government’s “total receipts,” including all revenue from individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, social insurance and retirement taxes (including Social Security and Medicare taxes), unemployment insurance taxes, excise taxes, estate and gift taxes, customs duties, and “miscellaneous receipts.”

Federal Debt Now $200,000 Per Full-Time Private-SectorWorker - Which will be greater: the burden of student debt on Americans who went off this fall to their first year of college, or the amount of federal debt per full-time private-sector worker when these students earn their degrees and start looking for jobs?  There is no doubt: It will be the amount of federal debt per full-time private-sector worker. As of last Friday, the total debt of the federal government was $17,858,480,029,490.28, according to the U.S. Treasury. That equaled $200,258.81 for each of the 89,177,000 full-time private-sector workers that, according to the Census Bureau, were in the United States in 2013.

To argue that consumers are not rational is to argue for more state control - A reader directed me to an article in The Atlantic that purported to explain Why Economics Is Dead Wrong About How We Make Choices. Being aware of the anti-market prejudices of so-called journalists I expected the worse: my expectations were not confounded. Derek Thompson, the author of this little masterpiece, tells his readers that [t]he old economic theory of consumers says that “people should relish choice.” Bulldust! Economics has never said any such thing.…… If one is going to argue that consumers are not rational then this will lead to the conclusion that “wise men” in power will have to make the decisions for them, which is basically what the left believes. Under their guidance goods would be produced to satisfy human needs, as defined by them, and not for profit. No wonder it is no accident that these attacks on economics invariably lead to a demand by leftists for more state control…..

Union takes mandatory dues, calls Walmart owners robbers - Accusing Walmart’s owners of “robbing America,” a labor union fueled by workers’ mandatory dues led protests recently demanding full-time hours and $15 hourly wages for the mega-retailer’s employees. Walmart’s corporate headquarters, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., says the company has more than 1.3 million employees and in 2013 promoted 170,000 “to jobs with more responsibility and higher pay.” This summer, The Wall Street Journal reported on a study concluding Walmart store managers are paid an average of $92,462.
 
GOP senator alleges collusion between EPA, progressive policy group in drafting carbon rules  - Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) are accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of inappropriately collaborating with an activist organization to craft the agency’s controversial carbon emissions policy, pushing those affected to the margins in the process. It’s an accusation that rises above impropriety, though. The Daily Signal reports that both Issa and Vitter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, are directing their congressional staff to “look into whether the EPA broke federal law in developing carbon emissions regulations.”  At issue is the EPA’s advisory relationship with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a progressive environmental group that has long been at odds with the business community over the perceived need for stricter regulations.  Vitter claims that emails between EPA staff and the NRDC reveal a tight relationship between the activists and the EPA — a relationship that places the NRDC in a favored status not enjoyed by other parties potentially affected by the new rules.

Center for FoodSafety attacks GMO drought tolerant crops, distorts big picture  - A recent article by Douglas Gurian-Sherman of the Center for Food Safety on the green food website Civil Eats has me scratching my head. The subject was attempts to breed drought tolerant corn and the fact that conventional breeding methods currently outpace biotech attempts in creating commercially viable strains.

Cancer cure? Patients’ blood reprogrammed to destroydiseased cells  - The blood cells of cancer patients, reprogrammed by doctors to attack their leukemia and re-infused back into the patients’ veins, led to complete remissions in 27 of 30 people. That’s especially exciting because those patients had failed all conventional treatments. The report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is an extension of data presented previously at the American Society of Hematology’s annual meeting. Not all of the remissions lasted, the report showed. Nineteen patients in the study remain in remission 2 to 24 months later, and 15 of them didn’t need any additional treatment. Seven patients relapsed between 6 months and 9 months after their infusion; those included three people whose cancers spread beyond the blood cells the new treatment targets. Five patients left the study for alternative therapy.

Vaccination coverage among United States kindergarteners  -  With the new school year well under way, the CDC has some good news to report . Its annual vaccination coverage report documents the vaccination coverage among our nation’s kindergarten children. Although the report found high levels of vaccination coverage overall, it also highlights clusters of unvaccinated children, putting certain communities at risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. The report is based on data from federally funded state, local and territorial immunization programs and includes vaccination coverage for a total of over four million kindergarten children.

According to the report, 94.7 percent of kindergarten children received 2 doses of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR), 95 percent received the diphtheria, tetanus toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP), and 93.3 percent received two doses of the varicella vaccine. Total exemption rate was about 2 percent. The highest rate of exemption was reported in Oregon, and two states, Kansas and Maine, reported increases in percentage of kindergarteners with exemptions. And although the overall numbers are good, 26 states and DC reported vaccination rates below 95 percent for two doses of the MMR vaccine. Colorado’s kindergarteners have the lowest rates of vaccination overall, with only 81 percent of them receiving the MMR, DTaP and/or the varicella vaccine.

Ebolaidiocy and other (de)pressing matters: Part 1 - Since there is hardly a day that goes by without a good dose of mind-numbing idiocy about Ebola, we figured ACSH ought to weigh in now and then. After all, the worst “Ebola science” isn’t a whole lot different from half of the other stuff that poses as science that we dissect daily. Here is our Part 1 challenge: Come up with something dumber than this, and we will all hand wash and wax your car.

 “Fearing Ebola, some US communities take dramatic steps”

 OK, this doesn’t sound too bad, only because the headline does not betray what’s inside. This left us with our mouths hanging open. Today’s “winner” is Portland, ME, which apparently does not grasp the basic fundamentals of epidemiology—that you have to actually be exposed to something before you can catch it. In this case, a teacher who had traveled to Texas for a conference was placed on a three-week paid leave of absence when she returned. Why? Well, it makes perfect sense to those having the intellectual capacity of a box of Froot Loops. After all, the teacher made the reckless decision to stay in a hotel ten miles away from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas—the hospital where Thomas Duncan died. ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom makes several points:…..

After wasting tax dollars, officials at CDC, NIH claim budget cuts hurt Ebola preparedness -  Here’s a lesson about how government works: Public officials think they should always have a larger pot of taxpayer money, no matter how badly they have misspent, misprioritized and misused the taxpayer money they already have.

Biotech crops on the rise— gradually but surelyovercoming phony fears - According to a recent report, since 1996 there have been over 5 billion acres of biotech crops harvested. And not only do these crops provide food for millions, they also reduce the use of pesticides, can add nutritional value to foods, and, according to some studies, reduce the release of greenhouse gases as well. In spite of such benefits, the anti-GMO crowd continues to promote false and misleading ‘disinformation’ about bioengineered crops. They ignore the fact that humans have been modifying the genetics of both food crops and animals ever since agriculture began some 10,000 years ago. Now, thanks to modern biotechnology, we have the ability to more accurately and efficiently make and monitor such changes than ever before. “There has never been any substantiated, scientifically sound evidence that bioengineered crops threaten the health of people or animals consuming them, or that they cause environmental damage.” says ACSH’s Dr. Ruth Kava. “Indeed,” she continues, “such crops have the potential to increase food crop production, while protecting marginal lands from cultivation. As the world population continues to expand, we will increasingly need these crops to meet the growing need.”

For more information about bioengineered crops, read ACSH’s recent publication on agricultural biotechnology here.

More ‘Walker is Hitler’ rhetoric appears from the left -  “WALKERS MOTTO DIVIDE & CONQUER SO WAS HITLERS,” proclaims the grammatically challenged, hand-written sign pinned to posts just off of Mariner Road near Wisconsin Highway 83 in Hartland.

Embattled Veterans Affairs procurement official abruptly resigns - Susan Taylor, the subject of a scathing inspector general's report issued Sept. 26, had been targeted for firing by VA officials.  
 
Congressional probe finds federal regulators targeted legal businesses - A congressional probe found evidence Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation officials forced banks to sever ties to legal businesses with negative public images. Regulators pressured the banks to cut off the accounts of entire industries whose practices they "disfavored" as part of a multi-agency program created in 2013 by the Justice Department and known as Operation Choke Point. Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the panel's subcommittees, said entire industries were being "disfavored" without regard for the performance of individual companies. Issa is a California Republican. Jordan is an Ohio Republican. Justice officials said the purpose of the program is to shut down a variety of businesses they think pose a “reputational risk” to the banks, according to a May congressional report.....
 
Time for Conservative Cultural Surrender? - [On] NBC's "Meet the Press"…newly installed host Chuck Todd stubbornly persisted in the usual Republicans-in-deep-trouble narrative. Based on the judicial failure to take up gay marriage cases, Todd previewed the program by asking, "Is it time for conservatives to surrender in the culture wars?" Later, Todd underlined his point: "Whether it's on abortion, whether it's on same-sex marriage, whether it's on marijuana legalization, the culture wars have shifted to the left. Many Republicans are trying to acknowledge that general public shift. And yet, it's going to cause some heartburn."  We're in the middle of an election cycle where red-state Democrats are running away from President Obama on gun ownership, on border control and on energy and "climate change" crackdowns. So isn't proclaiming a "national shift to the cultural left" a rather desperate spin for the losing side?...... Now flip that script, and imagine Chuck Todd asking Planned Parenthood whether their public stand for "post-birth abortion" is politically smart. The national media hounded Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock about rape exceptions in 2012 Senate races, but this fall they won't whisper the name "Kermit Gosnell" or mention the 2013 hearing in the Florida legislature where a local Planned Parenthood staffer insisted it was a "woman's right to choose" whether a baby born alive can be murdered…… As the Democratic Party skids toward defeat, NBC can only ask, "Is the GOP retreating?"

The Price of Papal Popularity - Normally a synod of Catholic bishops does not provide fireworks rivaling the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, where Mayor Richard Daley's boys in blue ran up the score on the radicals in Grant Park.  But, on Oct. 13, there emanated from the Synod on the Family in Rome a 12-page report from a committee picked by Pope Francis himself — and the secondary explosions have not ceased.  The report recognized the "positive aspects of civil unions and cohabitation" and said "homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community." As for Catholics who divorce and remarry without an annulment, we must avoid "any language or behavior that might make them feel discriminated against." Hailed by gay rights groups, the document stunned traditionalists….
 
Perkins to Olson: ‘If Love is the Only Factor, Where DoYou Draw the Boundary?’ - In a debate on Fox News Sunday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins questioned Ted Olson, an attorney who fought against California’s same-sex marriage ban, about what could define marriage if love is the only consideration. “If love is the factor, what boundaries are there?” Perkins asked Olson, a registered Republican who was on the legal team that successfully fought to have the gay marriage ban in California struck down. “What court after court after court has said, that allowing people of the same sex to marry the person that they love, to be part of the community and to be treated equally, does no damage to heterosexual marriage,” Olsen said ……. “Let me ask you, what are the boundaries, though?” Perkins said. “If it’s just love, what are the boundaries? “Where can we go with marriage?” he asked. Host Chris Wallace then weighed in by suggesting Perkins was insinuating that gay marriage could open the floodgates to polygamy or even bestiality…… “Sadly, when marriage is elastic enough to mean anything, in due time it comes to mean nothing,” Moore said.

Criminalizing Innocent Christian Behavior - Where are all the atheist freedom lovers we always hear about? It's time for them to start standing up for religious liberty. The left and militant gay movement are getting bolder and bolder, and too many Christians are stewing in their apathy.  It seems that with each passing month, this senseless tyranny advances. The latest is that two Christian ministers in Idaho, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, have allegedly been ordered to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies at their chapel or face fines or jail sentences.  This nightmare began Oct. 7, when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated Idaho's marriage laws and legalized same-sex marriage in that state, which allowed Idaho county clerks to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses a week later.
 

Curbing Obama power grabs

The courts and Senate provide no checks and balances. Could a Republican Senate help?

By Paul Driessen

You’ve got to admire the sheer audacity: Democratic Senator Mark Begich telling Alaska voters that he stood up to President Obama and fought for oil drilling and jobs in his state. Maybe he had a few chats.

But he certainly knew his concerns and opinions meant nothing, changed nothing, accomplished nothing. And then he voted 97% of the time with Mr. Obama and Senate Majority Dictator Harry Reid

Reid has kept over 300 bills bottled up, squelched almost all proffered Republican amendments on anything that did move, and used the “nuclear option” to end the longstanding 60-vote rule and wipe out any chance that Republicans could block Obama nominees or prevent the President from packing the vital DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The three new liberal judges on that court can now be counted on to defer to Mr. Obama’s policies and “agency discretion” on future arrogations of power.

Ditto for Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. She bellyached from time to time about offshore drilling and the Keystone XL pipeline. But she also voted with Obama, Reid and their agenda 97% of the time, on everything from ObamaCare to Dodd-Frank to packing the DC Court.

The tally for other Democratic Senators running for reelection is revealing: Hagan (NC) 96% for the Obama agenda, policies and fiats … Merkley (OR) 96% … Pryor (AR) 90% … Shaheen (NH) 99% … Udall (CO) 99% … Warner (VA) 97%

Now they’re telling their constituents, next year will be different. Send me back to Washington, and next year I will stand up to Obama and support letting people keep their doctors and insurance, allowing more domestic drilling and pipelines, promoting economic recovery and fiscal responsibility, curbing the fraud and abuses at the Environmental Protection Agency, tackling Ebola and going after Islamic terrorists.

The IRS, Benghazi, Ebola and Middle East screw-ups and cover-ups seem to have set the tone. These Senators seem willing to say almost anything to get them past the elections. However, their votes have had real consequences for millions of Americans, especially the poor, minority, elderly and working classes they profess to care so much about. They should not escape accountability so easily.

A recent political ad by black Democrat-turned-Republican Louisiana State Senator Elbert Guillory lays it on the line. “While you dig through the couch looking for gas money,” Guillory says, Mary Landrieu “flies around in private jets funded by taxpayer dollars.” To her, “you are just a vote,” every six years.

Nor do liberal stereotypes fit. The four Democratic House and Senate candidates in Northern Virginia are all well-off, middle-age white guys. Republican candidates include one middle-age white dude, plus two working moms and a black man – who’s also Jewish and an 8-year Marine Corps veteran.

Few of us have any personal animosity toward any of these Democrat Senators. They’re all amiable people. But as President Obama himself says, “my policies are on the ballot, every single one of them.” Those policies have been dragging this country down, and as long as Harry Reid maintains his iron grip on the Senate, there can be no checks and balances or budgetary constraints on the Obama policies.

Messrs. Reid and Obama have made it clear that they have no interest in working with Republicans. Indeed, the President prefers Saul Alinsky tactics of community agitation and interest group divide-and-conquer. He disdains democratic processes and bipartisan compromises, and much prefers to simply legislate, regulate and dictate from the White House and Executive Branch – ignoring or rewriting the clear language of laws and our Constitution whenever and however necessary.

The Train of Abuses and Usurpations gets longer by the week. Environmental Protection Agency actions alone could place virtually all our land, air, water, energy and economy under the control of regulatory ideologues, working closely with radical Big Green activists, billionaires and “charitable” foundations.

Climate. As the planet refuses to cooperate with computer models and White House fear mongering, the EPA simply ignores all contradictory studies and evidence – and continues to operate under assumptions that: carbon dioxide levels dictate climate change; natural forces are irrelevant’ America can easily replace the fossil fuels that provide 82% of its energy; skyrocketing energy prices will have no effect on the economy, jobs or human health and welfare; and slashing America’s CO2 emissions will make a difference, even though China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Poland and other nations refuse to do likewise.

Of course, the real goal was never to stop climate change. It was always to control and “fundamentally transform” our nation’s energy, economic, social and legal structure and institutions, regardless of costs.

Water. Proposed rules are so broadly written that they would cover nearly all “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), based on assertions that they would eventually end up in “navigable” waters: rivers, rivulets, lakes, groundwater, stock ponds, occasional puddles and dry creek beds. In the process, they would also control land use activities on farms, forests and other private property. Friendly, collusive lawsuits by radical environmentalists would further expand this EPA jurisdiction.

Ozone. Almost every US county meets current 2008 ozone standards. Proposed regulations would render the vast majority of them “nonattainment” areas, subject to severe restrictions on economic growth. Even EPA says the rules would cost $100 billion a year. The National Association of Manufacturers puts the cost at $270 billion annually. The impact on people’s jobs, incomes, health and welfare would be huge.

Even bigger ambitions. Clearly not satisfied with these unprecedented usurpations of power, EPA has also launched major “sustainable development,” “environmental justice” and “clean power” initiatives. These deliberately vague and infinitely malleable terms would further expand the agency’s mission far beyond anything previously imaginable or contemplated by EPA’s authorizing legislation.

Other agencies are busily writing new regulations governing Christmas lights, automobile and refrigerator coolants, endangered species guidelines that would block ranching, drilling and pipeline projects, while giving bird and bat-killing wind and solar projects carte blanche – and other activities.

Collusion. A recent Senate Minority Staff Report explains in frightening detail how far-left billionaires, foundations and environmentalist groups actively collude with EPA managers and regulators. EPA in turn happily recruits high-level eco-activists, who then help lobby, guide and control agency policies – and channel millions of taxpayer dollars to pressure groups that promote those policies. The agency also engages in frequent friendly lawsuits with activists, to make policies even more extreme.

A Republican Senate will not guarantee the kind of change needed to end these excesses and get the nation’s economy and employment back on track, especially if certain GOP members remain timid or recalcitrant. (Perhaps DePuy or Stryker could donate some spinal implants?) Presidential vetoes could also pose problems, although strong leadership could often craft bipartisan veto-proof majorities.

House and Senate hearings could grill agency heads under oath – and investigate potential fraud in developing regulations, unethical collusion between agencies and activists, improper agency funding of activist groups, sweetheart lawsuits and other activities. These investigations could form the basis for budget reductions and restrictions, legislation to end mission creep or block specific regulations, and laws requiring congressional approval of “major” regulatory actions costing billions of dollars.

Such actions would also help restore our tripartite system of government. Right now, the Executive Branch is riding roughshod over businesses and citizens alike, and the courts merely rubberstamp agency decisions. Meanwhile, the Legislative Branch is little more than an appendix that writes overly broad laws giving unaccountable bureaucrats unfettered discretion to impose an increasingly intrusive, expensive leftist, centralized government agenda. No wonder our nation is foundering on the rocks.

The upcoming elections could help get the USS United States back on course. Let’s hope they do.

I wish to thank Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death for allowing me to publish his work.   

Shouldn't be we fighting a war on terrorism not on fossil fuels?"

By Marita Noon

You are responsible for President Obama's re-election," I told 150 folks from the oil and gas industry --most of whom were conservative Republicans. I spoke to them on October 15 in San Angelo, TX. A reporter covering the event wrote that I "stunned the crowd by telling them they were largely responsible for getting the president re-elected, and asking them if they knew how they had helped." He continued: "The room was very quiet for several moments as Noon waited to see if anyone would volunteer an answer."

We know President Obama has been waging a war on coal--with tens of thousands of jobs lost due to his attacks since he was elected in 2008, but why has the oil and gas industry escaped the harsh regulations that have virtually shut down both coal mining and coal-fueled power plants? After all, we know his environmentalist base--with whom he is philosophically aligned--hates them equally.

The reporter added: "Finally someone suggested it was job creation that Noon was alluding to."

The oil and gas industry has added millions of jobs to the U.S. economy in the past six years and represents the bright spot in the jobs numbers. Imagine where the unemployment numbers would be if the oil and gas industry had been treated as poorly as coal.

While President Obama hasn't had an outright war on oil and gas, he surely hasn't helped--and his surrogates have been out fighting on his behalf.

According to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), oil production on state and private lands is up 61 percent and is down 6 percent on federal lands. The CRS found that it takes 41 percent longer to process an application for permit to drill in 2011 than it did in 2006. Getting a permit on federal lands takes an average of 194 days compared to a few days to a month on state lands. The Obama administration approved the fewest drilling permits since 2002. Additionally, it has sold the lowest amount of oil-and-gas leases since 1988. As a result, U.S. oil production on federal lands has fallen to a five-year low. And, these numbers don't include the tens of thousands of jobs that would have been created if the Keystone pipeline had been approved six years ago.

With an eye always on politics, President Obama can't afford the negative job numbers a war on all fossil fuels would cause. Less concerned about the political fallout, using a death-by-a-thousand-cuts approach, his allies have been fighting oil and gas--as they've done with coal.

Bill Bissett, President of the Kentucky Coal Association, told me: "Make no mistake, the oil and gas industry now finds itself in the same political crosshairs from the Obama Administration and their allies that coal did in the President's first term. From Sierra Club's new-found animosity to natural gas, as evidenced by its Beyond Natural Gas campaign, to the President's inability to take any action related to the Keystone pipeline, the uncertainty and inevitable economic damage caused by an adverse federal government is now striking yet another fossil fuel."

Environmental extremist groups repeatedly oppose the Keystone pipeline and lock themselves to the White House gates to prove their point. They believe fracking should be a crime and want it banned--which would shut down 96 percent of all oil and gas drilling in America.

Because the average American understands that "drill here, drill now" results in lower prices at the pump--as we are seeing right now, I believe they use "fracking" as a canard when the real target is drilling. Capitalizing on the public's lack of awareness about the safe and proven technology of hydraulic fracturing--or "fracking"--anti-fossil fuel activists have been able to give "fracking" their own definition that essentially covers everything from permitting to production to delivery.

A year ago, Environment America released the Fracking by the Numbers report that offers this:

Defining "Fracking"

In this report, when we refer to the impacts of "fracking," we include impacts resulting from all of the activities needed to bring a shale gas or oil well into production using high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracturing operations that use at least 100,000 gallons of water), to operate that well, and to deliver the gas or oil produced from that well to market. The oil and gas industry often uses a more restrictive definition of "fracking" that includes only the actual moment in the extraction process when rock is fractured--a definition that obscures the broad changes to environmental, health and community conditions that result from the use of fracking in oil and gas extraction.

Many cities and counties--mostly liberal communities with little or no drilling potential--have passed anti-fracking legislation, resolutions and/or moratoriums. They then claim success and build momentum as an argument for others to follow suit.

Colorado had two anti-oil-and-gas initiatives on November's ballot, but the supporters agreed to pull them when it became clear the measures would drive Republicans to the polls and hurt troubled re-election chances for Senator Mark Udall and Governor John Hickenlooper.

Mora County, New Mexico has been bold enough to pass a ban on all drilling for hydrocarbons, not just fracking--a move that's resulted in two lawsuits and fiscal liabilities against the little county.

Now, with out of state money pouring in as it did in Mora County, Santa Barbara, California, County residents will be voting on November 4 on Measure P--which is, according to Dr. James Boles, University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) Professor Emeritus, Earth Sciences: "a poorly designed measure that would shut down energy production in Santa Barbara County."

Ballotpedia calls Measure P the "Santa Barbara County Fracking Ban Initiative." Yet, in a letter to the editor (LTE), the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce "urges its members to vote 'no' on Measure P on the November 2014 ballot." The first of five arguments the Chamber presents in support of its "no" position states: "The ballot measure is written in a way that is likely to mislead voters. Its title says that it is a ban on 'fracking.' This is misleading for two reasons: there is no fracking in Santa Barbara County and, in addition, the ballot measure also prohibits many other forms of oil and gas extraction. A voter would have to read the entirety of the lengthy and complicated measure to understand that its impact is far greater than suggested by the title." The LTE continues: "An impartial analysis prepared by Santa Barbara County found that 100 percent of the active oil and gas wells currently use one or more of the production techniques prohibited by Measure P."

A leaked email soliciting UCSB students for "Summer Jobs to Ban Fracking" states: "We're working this summer to convince Governor Jerry Brown to ban fracking before it's too late. ...This summer we are hiring staff to talk to 30,000 Santa Barbara County residents to build the support we need to win. We are hiring for full time positions only (40 hrs/wk), M-F." The email is from Heather Goold, Director for The Fund for Public Interest--a group connected, according to a new U.S. Senate report: The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama's EPA, to Bill McKibben's 350.org and Tom Steyer (who recently met with Santa Barbara activists).

In a recent op-ed published in the Santa Barbara News, Andy Caldwell, Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business executive director and radio talk show host, asks: "Who is funding the hiring of UCSB students to work on an anti-oil campaign as paid staff?" He continues: "What looks and sounds like a movement is actually a coordinate campaign funded and directed in secret by phenomenally rich people with an agenda. It works in the opposite manner of a legitimate grass roots movement. The non-profits are in essence hired to carry out specific tasks as part of an overall campaign strategy. The Senate report indicates that 'the grants awarded specify how the recipients must use the funds. This allows the Billionaire's club to engage in a defined transaction so they know in advance what services to expect for their money. As such, environmental groups that heavily rely on foundation funds to comprise a substantial portion of their budgets begin to look much more like private contractors buying and selling a service rather than benevolent non-profits seeking to carry out charitable acts.'"

"These attacks are no longer about the environment." Ed Hazard, president of the California chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners, says: "They have morphed into an effort to fundamentally change the political, financial, and economic foundations of the United States and other nations. These are anti-private property rights and anti-capitalism efforts."

If Measure P passes on November 4--giving the environmentalists another win and the economy another loss, well-paid jobs in the oil industry will go away and surrounding communities will suffer (similar to the impact felt in coal).

A vote against Measure P sends a signal bigger than Santa Barbara. In the war on fossil fuels, it shows we are fighting back. It supports America's economic potential and energy security while tamping down the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that are the popular tools of Obama's moneyed allies.

Once P is defeated, we have two years to be sure the next White House occupant understands that energy makes America great.

I wish to thank Marita for allowing me to publish her work. (A version of this content was originally published on Breitbart.comThe author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations' combined efforts serve as America's voice for energy