March 1, 2015
The following is a letter from a Moab, Utah conservative to elected officials regarding the takeover of the Grand County, Utah Council by radical environmentalist interests.
by Brian Ballard
To Whom It May Concern,
The Grand County Council is not representing the needs of Grand County citizens. Instead, they are listening only to the views of national non-profits like Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Sierra Club and Grand Canyon Trust.
Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz have personally invited each of these environmental groups, and others, to share their views with them as they develop the public lands initiative. The county’s role is to seek the input of Grand County’s citizens, NOT national non-profits.
The newly elected county council has chosen to hear from The Nature Conservancy, Public Land Solutions, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Grand Canyon Trust Utah, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association – all national entities. Most of the presenters are paid representatives of these environmental organizations. The newly elected county council does not want to listen to its citizens that are dependent upon public lands for their livelihood and recreation.
Many of our citizens are unaware that the county council is choosing to lock-up land that is now designated as multi-use. These people work hard each day to support their families, and have little time to write letters and attend workshops or public meetings.
These citizens live here and enjoy the outdoors. They hunt, hike, gather firewood, and 4-wheel to places their families have visited for generations. Many are dependent upon public lands to support their families, either through natural resource extraction or recreation.
Their voices are not being heard on this issue. Our current county council is not representing their interests.
Our county council should be seeking input from miners, oil field workers, ranchers, recreation business owners and more who are directly dependent upon public lands that are now designated for multiple use. The choice to lock-up additional lands then affects our local economy and those who are working to support these families – farmers, builders, teachers, hospital workers and service workers.
Tourism brought in $7.5 billion during 2013, with the majority of that – $6.4 billion – coming from people who live outside of Utah, according to a report recently released by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Instead of locking up the land, we should be creating more access to increase tourism revenue.
Our mining and oil industry should not be blocked from responsible resource extraction that provides well-paying, year-round jobs that will support families.
Oil, gas and mineral extraction also contributes millions of dollars to county government through mineral lease funds and bonuses that offset property taxes. These monies allowed us to build the extended care center, senior center and recreation center; maintain roads and provide recreational programs within the county; and pay for the continued operation of the extended care center.
Reposted with the permission of the author by Reagangirl.com 3/1/15
February 28, 2015
How To Solve The Water Crisis: Use More Fossil Fuels
by Alex Epstein–as originally published on Forbes
It’s cliché to say we have a water crisis. It’s certainly cliché to blame it on “climate change,” i.e. fossil fuels.
But if we look at the big-picture data, as against fixating on the most dramatic headlines about the places that happen to be in a state of drought (such as southern California, where I live), a different story emerges: thanks in part to increasing fossil fuel use, we are bringing about a world where our bodies and our crops have more of the water they need, not less.
The Water Opportunity: Ending Drought as We Know It
Let’s look at droughts. To read the headlines about “megadroughts” you would think that drought is a worse problem than ever. And that would be a big, big problem.
Droughts are historically the most common form of climate-related death; a lack of rainfall can affect the supply of the two most basic essentials of life, food and water. Drought is also supposed to be one of the most devastating consequences of CO2 emissions, so let’s see how they match up.
Sources: Boden, Marland, Andres (2010); EM-DAT International Disaster Database; World Bank, World Development Indicators (WDI) Online Data, April 2014. Graph originally appeared in The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.Clearly, CO2 emissions have not had a significant effect on droughts, but expanded human ability to fight drought, powered by fossil fuels, has: from better agriculture (more crops for more people), to rapid transportation to drought-affected areas, to modern irrigation that makes farmers less dependent on rainfall. Shouldn’t fossil fuel energy get some credit here?
To give you one particularly astonishing data point, the International Disaster Database reports that the United States has had zero deaths from drought in the last eight years. This doesn’t mean there are actually zero, as the database only covers incidents involving ten or more deaths, but it means pretty near zero. Historically, drought is the number-one climate-related cause of death. Worldwide it has gone down by 99.98% in the last eighty years, for many energy-related reasons: oil-powered drought-relief convoys, more food in general because of more prolific, fossil fuel-based agriculture, and irrigation systems. And yet we constantly hear reports that fossil fuels are making droughts worse. These reports give credibility to climate-prediction models that can’t predict climate, but no credibility to the plain facts about how important more energy is to countering drought.
Reposted by Reagangirl.com 2/28/15
Rebuttal of UCS’s ridiculous tirade against nuclear weapons
Posted by Zbigniew Mazurak on February 10, 2015
One of the latest examples of this propaganda campaign is the Feb. 1st piece published in DefenseOne (a leftist website) by Stephen Young of the “Union of Concerned Scientists”, a far-left pacifist group that adamantly opposes (and has always opposed) a strong national defense, and in particular, America’s nuclear deterrent and missile defense system.
The Left has long (and wrongly) claimed that American nuclear weapons provide little security and cost much (both of which are blatant lies – see below). But Young goes even further and ridiculously claims that America’s nuclear deterrent actually makes her less safe and that disarming the US unilaterally would make the nation safer!
“Not only would reducing our bloated arsenal save U.S. taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars, it would make us safer. Nuclear weapons are the only threat to the survival of the United States. (…) Again, not only is this an unnecessary expense, it undermines national security. (…) Rather than an asset that increases national security, nuclear weapons are now our greatest security liability.”
Needless to say, this is utter garbage. It is military strength – including, and especially, nuclear strength – that guarantees a nation’s security, and it is military weakness – such as an inadequate nuclear umbrella, or the complete lack of one – that puts a nation at risk, as more and more countries are recognizing.
Young claims that America’s nuclear weapons undermine her security because, allegedly, they undermine efforts to stop nuclear weapon proliferation. But that is also a blatant lie (like everything else he claims). The US nuclear arsenal actually HELPS global nonproliferation efforts by a) posing a huge obstacle to any nuclear challenger not named Russia or China; and b) reassuring over 30 of America’s allies and partners around the world who rely on the US nuclear umbrella for their security and their very survival.
Should the US reduce its umbrella further, however, many of America’s allies will acquire atomic weapons of their own – and thus, the proliferation problem will become much worse. Already, 66% of South Koreans want their country to be a nuclear power, and former Polish President Lech Walesa wants the same for his country. Saudi Arabia has already acquired DF-21 ballistic missiles from China and will arm them with nuclear warheads if it ever judges the American nuclear umbrella insufficient.
Young falsely claims that unilateral reductions in the US nuclear arsenal:
“enhance our efforts to eliminate North Korea’s limited arsenal, head off potential increases in China’s stockpile and limit Iran’s potential program. As they have in the past, U.S. cuts could prompt Russia to reduce its stockpile, particularly as the tumbling price of oil wreaks havoc on its economy. Even Putin’s decision to end cooperative programs to lock down Russian nuclear material and U.S.statements that Russia has violated the Intermediate Forces Treaty do not rule out such an outcome.”
Again, this is a blatant lie. Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US has cut its nuclear arsenal by 75% – but that has utterly failed to prevent Pakistan and North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons, Iran from undertaking to build them, or China from greatly increasing its nuclear arsenal (which credible experts, such as Professor Philip Karber and General Viktor Yesin, estimate at between 1,600 and 3,000 warheads). Cutting the US nuclear arsenal over the last 24 years has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER to slow down global nuclear proliferation.
Any claim that cutting the US nuclear arsenal further would somehow entice other countries to cut or scrap their own nuclear stockpiles is utterly false – not just because of past experience, but also because of the nature of the nuclear-armed regimes the US faces. They won’t be impressed by such unilateral disarmament gestures; on the contrary, they will only consider them (and rightly so) as signs of weakness, to be exploited against the US. This would only jeopardize US national security. And no one should be deluded to think that Russia’s temporary economic problems will slow down, let alone stop, Putin’s nuclear buildup. They haven’t, and they won’t – and major European countries, such as Germany and Greece, are already talking about loosening the EU’s sanctions on Russia. The EU scrapping these sanctions is only a question of when, not if.
(Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who wants to retake the Presidency in 2017, wants the EU to go even further and officially recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimea and is parroting Russian propaganda.)
Young also falsely claims that
“But spending money on new types of warheads undermines efforts to stop additional countries from pursuing these weapons.”
Which is also a blatant lie, because other countries’ (Russia’s, China’s, North Korea’s, Iran’s) nuclear programs are caused NOT by America’s nuclear arsenal, but by these countries’ aggressive designs against the US and against their neighbors (and in Iran’s case, by its declared desire to wipe Israel off the map).
Pakistan’s and India’s nuclear programmes are due to their hostility towards each other and have nothing to do with the US. The nuclear weapon programmes of some of America’s allies are due to these allies’ uncertainty about whether the US will continue to provide a reliable, credible nuclear umbrella to them. Cutting the US nuclear arsenal further will only prove their doubts correct and prod them to acquire their own atomic weapons.
Young also falsely claims that nuclear weapons add very little to America’s national security:
“Nuclear weapons do precious little to address the real threats we and our allies face today, and do nothing to address the threat of terrorism. Nothing to counter Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria. Nothing to counteract the growing risk of cyber attack.”
And again, this is a blatant lie. In fact, nuclear weapons are PIVOTAL to America’s national security. That’s because by far the biggest threats to US and allied security – and to world peace – are posed by the nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals of Russia, China, and North Korea, and by Iran’s nuclear program.
Not terrorism. Not Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Not cyber attacks. Not Ebola. It is Russia’s, China’s, and North Korea’s nuclear arsenals and their delivery systems – and their willingness to use these weapons – that pose by far the biggest threat to the security of the US, all of its allies, and the world.
Nothing else comes even close.
Al Qaeda can blow up a few buses or trains, but it can’t wipe out any US cities or even repeat anything on the scale of 9/11. The Islamic State is the Middle East’s and Europe’s problem (which could’ve been easily avoided by not importing Muslim immigrants en masse). But Russia and China could both potentially wipe all major US cities off the map. North Korea could wipe at least one major US city out. Moreover, China’s regime-controlled media has openly written about attacking the US with nuclear weapons, while Russia has, in recent months, repeatedly flown nuclear-armed bombers very close to US airspace to “practice attacking the enemy”, as the Russians themselves have said. One such practice bombing run occurred on the Fourth of July in 2012.
Furthermore, the US has to provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself, but also to over 30 allies and partners – from Canada to European allies to Persian Gulf partners to allies in East Asia – who rely on it for their very survival. They cannot afford to bet their security and survival on Young’s and UCS’s “disarming unilaterally will make us more secure” fantasy.
Therefore, addressing the Russian, Chinese, and North Korean nuclear threat must be America’s highest defense priority and merits any investment necessary.
But Young disagrees, and falsely claims this about the Obama administration’s nuclear arsenal modernization programme:
“This is an expensive and profound mistake, and one that ignores the limited contribution that nuclear weapons make to U.S. security.
The administration’s costly plan proposes to rebuild the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal, including the warheads, and the missiles, planes and submarines that carry them. These plans will cost $348 billion over the next 10 years, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate released last week. The National Defense Panel, appointed by Congress, found that the price tag over 30 years could be as much as a $1 trillion.”
Again, this is dead wrong. Firstly, the $1 trillion figure comes from the Monterey Institute for International Studies, a far-left, anti-nuclear group, NOT from the National Defense Panel, and is therefore certain to be wildly exaggerated. Secondly, even if it were true (which it isn’t and likely never will be), it will only be a drop in the bucket compared to total planned defense spending over the next 30 years (in the pessimistic scenario, 30 * ca. 500 bn, i.e. about $15 trillion). Thirdly, 1 trillion is just 33.3 bn per year. And fourthly, even if that $1 trillion figure were true (which, again, it isn’t), such investment would’ve been fully justified, because the objective is the modernization of America’s nuclear arsenal – by far the most important part of America’s defenses.
Young also falsely claims that:
“And, while recognizing the very problematic behavior of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the truth is U.S. nuclear forces did not stop the Russian military from invading Ukraine either. Spending more money on nuclear weapons would not turn them back.”
Firstly, to say that Vladimir Putin’s behavior is “very problematic” is like saying that the Holocaust was “very problematic.” No, Mr Young, Putin’s behavior is not merely “very problematic” – it is a huge threat to US, allied, and world security. Putin’s aggressive behavior constitutes a string of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against peace – in Chechnya, in Georgia, and Ukraine.
If the world’s leaders had even a shred of decency and integrity, Putin would’ve already been tried and executed as a war criminal.
Putin’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine was not an isolated incident, but merely one of the many examples of Putin’s aggressive, Soviet-style, neo-imperialist behavior towards his neighbors, towards Europe at large, and towards the US itself – as exemplified also by the Russian Air Force’s frequent simulations of nuclear strikes on the US and its allies, his nuclear buildup, his coddling of North Korea and Iran, and his support of America’s enemies worldwide.
Finally, Young falsely claims that the US could unilaterally cut its nuclear arsenal down to the low hundreds and still be secure:
“In fact, the United States could maintain a fully capable deterrent without the unnecessary and redundant weapons or spending. No current or conceivable future threat requires the United States to maintain more than a few hundred survivable warheads. As a first step in this direction, the Obama administration should limit its total nuclear arsenal to 1,000 weapons, including both long- and short-range weapons, deployed and reserve.”
Again, like the rest of his screed, it’s a blatant lie. An arsenal of just a few hundred warheads would be woefully inadequate to protect America, let alone her allies. This is for two reasons. Firstly, a small nuclear arsenal, consisting of just a few hundred warheads, would be way too easy for a potential adversary – like Russia or China – to destroy in a first strike, leaving the US with no nuclear weapons to retaliate with against the aggressor. Secondly, even if some of these few hundred atomic weapons survived a first strike, they would be woefully inadequate to execute a truly painful retaliatory strike against the aggressor.
To do be able to do that, the US needs thousands of nuclear weapons – not a mere few hundred. This is because both Russia and China have thousands of military assets which the US needs to be able to credibly threaten to destroy – e.g. ICBM siloes, airbases, naval bases, weapon production plants, command centers, etc. Short of that, the US will NOT be able to threaten a credible retaliation against Russia or China for major aggression they may commit against the US or its allies.
In short, Stephen Young’s screed is a litany of blatant lies. Not a single claim he makes therein is true. Not a single one.
Reposted with permission of the author on Reagangirl.com 2/26/15
And why would Bullock support the feds instead of Montana? Don’t forget the power wielded by the far left environmental movement, which has copious amounts of money to fund elections for those that support them. Contrary to Bullock’s mantra, Montanans can do a much better job managing our land than the feds. We can make certain we have access, support jobs, promote and maintain a healthy ecosystem, take care of our wildlife and hunting and create wealth for our schools, our communities and our citizens. But to do such we need elected officials who support Montana not the federal government. We will remember Bullock turning his back on Montana in the next election.
Reposted by Reagangirl.com 2/24/15
February 24, 2015
Doctors say Obamacare’s electronic health record mandate is too costly, results in worse care
By Karen Beseth | Watchdog Arena
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Obamacare’s electronic health record mandate would “reduce paperwork and administrative burdens, cut costs, reduce medical errors and most importantly, improve the quality of care.” Now that the law has been implemented, it doesn’t appear that any of those goals have been met, at least not as far as a majority of American physicians are concerned.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act was approved by Congress in 2009, and mandated that all medical providers digitize medical records. The mandate was strengthened by the passage of Obamacare in 2010.
In theory, electronic medical records systems are supposed to streamline patient care by allowing multiple health care providers access at once to patient records. But the reality is that many of the systems were poorly designed, are vulnerable to hacking, are extremely costly and lead to billing errors.
Earlier this month, industry group Medical Economics released the results of a survey of doctors on the functionality and cost of electronic health record (EHR) systems. Despite subsidies from the federal government, physicians reported that the EHR systems were not worth the cost, which includes licensing fees, training, hardware and increases in staffing. Doctors also reported that they have become less productive.
One survey respondent was quite blunt in his assessment:
We used to see 32 patients a day with one tech, and now we struggle to see 24 patients a day with four techs. And we provide worse care.
That respondent is not alone. Forty-five percent said that patient care has gotten worse since implementing EHRs. More than 70 percent of large practices, 66 percent of internal medicine specialists, and 60 percent of family practice physicians would not purchase their current EHR system again if they could do it over. Sixty-seven percent do not like the functionality of their systems, and more than 50 percent say the EHRs are too expensive. A majority of respondents reported financial losses related to EHRs, and 69 percent said that coordination of care with hospitals hasn’t improved.
Dr. Jeffrey Singer provided more insight into the problem in a Wall Street Journal editorial. Singer reports that doctors who fail to comply with the EHR mandate will be penalized by Medicare through cuts in reimbursement rates. He noted that compliance is too costly for many small practices, so hospitals and large health clinics will acquire even more independent medical practices. Practices that are able to incur the high price tag will still pass the costs along to patients, so the cost of medical care will rise for everybody. But the biggest drawback is the impediment to quality care due to the rigidity of the new system:
The EHR system assumes that the patient in front of me is the “average patient.” When I’m in the treatment room, I must fill out a template to demonstrate to the federal government that I made “meaningful use” of the system. This rigidity inhibits my ability to tailor my questions and treatment to my patient’s actual medical needs. It promotes tunnel vision in which physicians become so focused on complying with the EHR work sheet that they surrender a degree of critical thinking and medical investigation.
Singer went on to note another study that found EHRs encourage errors and decrease the quality of care. He cited the “real life example” of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient whose diagnosis was missed the first time he visited a Dallas emergency room. In cases of infectious diseases those sorts of errors put the safety of the entire public in jeopardy.
Unfortunately, the EHR debacle is just one more example of how Obamacare not only fails to deliver on its promises, but actually makes things worse.
This article was written by a contributor of Watchdog Arena, Franklin Center’s network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.
February 17, 2015
Every bill is bad because, unless it is a bill repealing a bad law, it is somehow growing government while simultaneously contracting individual liberty. The Colorado Kill Blog is the good news of the Limited Government Gospel. Here, we chronicle, with gratuitous glee, the deaths of bad bills.
Colorado Kill Blog 2015 Edition II
SB15-009 The Woody Biomass Fuel for Public Buildings Bill–Sponsor Jones (D) of Louisville
This bill would attempt to promote the use of “woody biomass” materials by creating a $1 million grant program. General fund monies would be awarded to any public entity which used “woody biomass” as a source of fuel for public buildings. The program funding would be taken from the General Fund for 5 fiscal years. This weirdly retrograde bill fails to take into account that we live in the 21st Century, in which natural gas, electricity, and solar power are the norms for public building fuel sources. The bill also fails to address the pollution caused by the burning of woody biomass products or the fact that public buildings heated by pellet stoves are exceedingly rare, even in Colorado.
SB15-009 was killed by the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy Committee which saved Colorado $1,000,000.00 in new spending.
SB15-034 The Finance Charge on Credit Cards Bill–Sponsor Ulibarri (D) of Commerce City
A breech of free market banking principles, this bill would force credit card companies to cap their finance charges on unpaid balances at 12.5% per year. This bill would apply to consumer loans and consumer credit accounts. In Colorado, credit card companies may currently assess finances charges of up to 21%. This bill would impose an additional layer of state regulations upon private credit card transactions, and would allow the government to set arbitrary limits on fees that are currently dictated by market conditions within the industry. Government price controls are never a good thing.
SB15-034 was declined by the Senate Business, Labor & Technology Committee.
SB15-048 The Mandatory Background Checks for Youth Sports Organizations Bill–Sponsor Heath (D) of Boulder
Background checks for adults volunteering for youth sports organizations are already a standard practice in most cases. The potential for liability dictates this as a matter of practicality and, as youth sports organizations compete for members, background checks add an appealing sense of security and professionalism. This bill, regulating and creating a mandate for something that is already a common practice, is an example of government trying to fix what ain’t broken. Think about it; parents who go to the effort to get their kids involved in organized sports are already engaged with their kids, and naturally, become the watchdogs of the youth sports community. This bill would take from TABOR resources to impose a new “mandate” on organizations that are already employing the practice.
SB15-048 was knocked out in the first round by the Senate Judiciary Committee and save $438,733 in state appropriations.
SB15-054 The Fifth Day of Free School Lunches Bill–Sponsor Donovan (D) Vail
Another “let’s throw money at poor people” effort crafted by the wealthy Democrat from Vail, Kerry Donovan, this bill would force Colorado schools to make box lunches for students to take home and eat the next day. This bill, and others like it, fails to address the root causes of authentic childhood hunger, which have more to do with parental neglect than a lack of resources. This bill would have done nothing to help the kids who aren’t getting proper nutrition at home, and it would have grown the nanny state, which has for decades proven ineffective in helping people to prosperity and well-being.
SB15-048 died of starvation in the Senate State Affairs Committee which saved the state $1,587,562.00 in new spending.
SB15-068 The Cap on Student Loan Interest Bill–Sponsors Jones (D) of Louisville and Todd (D) of Aurora
This bill would reduce student loan repayments by exercising government price controls on the rates of interest charged on such loans. Private financial institutions which loan money to students would be forced to cap their interest rates at not more than 2 percentage points above what the Federal Government charges for an unsubsidized loan. This bill would also create an incentive with a tax deduction for repayment of student loans. Price controls and tax incentives are factors which interfere with free market dynamics and would, in the case of SB15-068, increase the problematic nature of student loan debt in America.
SB15-068 lost its fight for survival in the Senate State Affairs Committee, saving the state $420,663.00 over the next 3 fiscal years.
SB15-095 The Manufactured Home Communities Bill–Sponsor Kefalas (D) of Fort Collins
This lengthy and convoluted bill, which was once called the “Mobile Home Parks Act,” requires that the Division of Housing (DOH) collect data on mobile home parks such as vacancies, rental rates and resident disputes. The DOH would then create and administer a dispute resolution program for landlords and homeowners, create a website directing people to non-profit agencies which mediate property disputes, and create the “Manufactured Home Communities Fund” to assist those living in mobile home communities. Finally, SB15-095, advances “affordable housing policy” which could mean anything from price controls to deregulation. This weird bill ran long on micromanaging human nature, but short on specifics and common sense.
SB15-095 fell apart in the Senate Finance Committee, saving the state $170,432.00 in new spending, and a lot of drama.
And…last but not least, lest you perceive that Democrat bills are the sole targets of the Colorado Kill Blog…
SB15-042 The Mandatory Reporting of Animal Abuse Bill–Sponsor Sonnenberg (R) of Sterling
This well-intentioned bill, crafted by a legislator who is also a farmer, would essentially make everyone in Colorado mandatory reporters of actual or suspected cases of animal abuse. Animal abuse, in this case, is defined as any animal that is “alleged to be abandoned, mistreated or neglected.” The mandatory reporter would be any person that “witnesses or has knowledge of abandonment, mistreatment or neglect of an animal…” The problem with this bill is that it fails to clearly and specifically define, “abandonment, mistreatment and neglect.” This leaves open the potential for misreporting by parties which might arbitrarily define unremarkable treatment of livestock and pets, such as the branding of cattle or the leashing of dogs, as “mistreatment.” The Pandora’s Box of litigation potentially spewing forth by so-called animal rights organizations, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the ASPCA, or various humane societies, could cripple livestock operations, pet stores, and even ordinary citizens whose interactions with animals may be deemed “abusive.”
SB15-042 was quietly euthanized in the Senate Judicial Committee, whence, because of its positive Karma, it may be reincarnated in some future form.
This round of executions saved the State of Colorado a total of $3,617,390.00.
Posted by Reagangirl.com 2/19/15
February 19, 2015
From the website UndueInfluence.com
|Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
1471 S 1100 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84105
Phone: (801) 486-3161
Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Exempt since: July 1984Description: Regional anti-resource organization pushing for the eradication of natural resource extraction and production and against private property rights. Began in 1983 as local grassroots wilderness group, taken over in 1988 by moneyed out-of-state interests for a highly-politicized national Democratic Party agenda. Now dominated by absentee multimillionaires who use local artists, writers, politicians and academicians for public relations. After these charges were first made, SUWA has decorated its board of directors with more locals, but the absentee rich men remain — in fact, SUWA’s current chairman of the board is also chairman of a multinational corporation based in Switzerland. They want the locals out of the desert and nobody gets to use its resources, which include the richest clean coal bed in the world. SUWA is rich guys doing a little rural cleansing to make the desert safe for rich guys.
Hansjorg Wyss, chairman and multimillionaire.
Profiles of other SUWA directors:
Grants to Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance:
1 Aquarius Plateau Foundation 1998 assets: $235,572. Original donor and current top officer: David Mock, investor. To SUWA 1995 $11,000.
2 Beldon Fund 1997 revenue: $203,989. Original donor and current top officer: John R. Hunting, founder of Steelcase, office furniture manufacturer. Beldon II Fund 1998 assets:106,998,330. Original donors: William Upjohn and John R. Hunting. Current top officer: John R. Hunting. To SUWA, $15,000 1998; $12,500.
3 Compton Foundation 1998 assets: $108,764,621. Original donor: William H. Danforth, Purina Mills (now Ralston Purina) feed empire. Current top officer: James R. Compton, Danforth heir. SUWA 1997 $20,000
4 Educational Foundation of America 1998 assets: $240,888,907. Original donor: Richard Prentice Ettinger and family, Prentice-Hall publishing fortune. Current top officer: Barbara Ettinger, chair; SUWA 1998 $100,000 2-yr grant.
6 General Service Foundation 1998 assets: $61,466,035. Original donor: Clifton R. Musser and Margaret K. Musser; Clifton was a director of Weyerhauser Company and Potlatch Lumber Company. Current top officer: Robert Musser, a SUWA trustee and an Environmental Defense Fund trustee. SUWA 1997 $5,000.
7 Gerhard Family Foundation 1997 assets: $5,147,483. Original donor and current top officer: Lang Gerhard, senior partner West Highland Capital. SUWA $10,000
8 Harder Foundation 1998 assets: $22,363,089. Original donor: Delmar S. Harder, General Motors executive, Current top officer: Del Langbauer, Harder heir. SUWA 1998 $18,500.
9 Homeland Foundation 1998 assets: $36,105,841. Original donor and current top officer: Anne Getty Earhart, granddaughter of J. Paul Getty; she received $400 million when Getty Oil sold to Texaco in 1988, now worth $740 million. SUWA 1998 $10,000.
10 W. Alton Jones Foundation 1998 assets: $414,449,814. Original donor: W. Alton “Pete” Jones, Citgo Oil Company chief. Current top officer: Patricia Jane Edgerton, daughter of Jones. Current executive, John Peterson “Pete” Myers, formerly National Audubon Society. SUWA 1993 $30,000.
11 Kenney Watershed Protection Foundation 1998 assets: $4,361,826. Original donor: William C. Kenney Administrative Trust, funds partly from gift by Horace Kenney, Massachusetts industrialist in car thermostat business. Current top officer: Mary Peterson. SUWA 1998 $1,000.
12 New-Land Foundation 1998 assets: $36,320,323. Original donor: Dr. Muriel Gardiner Buttinger, heiress to two Chicago meat packing fortunes, Morris and Swift. SUWA 1995 $15,000; 1992: $15,000; 1990 $10,000.
13 Peradam Foundation 1998 assets: $1,095,479. Original donors and current sole officers: Robert and Anita Spertus. SUWA 1995, $20,000.
14 Pew Charitable Trusts 1998 assets: $4.9 billion. Original donor: Joseph Newton Pew, founder of Sun Oil Company. Current executive officer: Rebecca Rimel; current environment program director: Joshua Reichert. SUWA 1996 $100,000, 1999 $875,000.
15 Rockefeller Family Fund 1998 assets: $58,513,574. Original donors: Nelson, Laurance, David, John D. III, and Martha Rockefeller. Current top officer: Anne Bartley, president, a Rockefeller, investor. SUWA 1989 $25,000.
16 Schumann Foundation 1998 assets: $90,976,760. Original donors: John and Florence Schumann. John Schumann was a Florida newspaperman, appointed postmaster in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt and served for 10 years, founded WTTB, first radio station in Indian River County, was a leader in the emerging citrus industry, a member of the Florida Citrus Commission, a founding director of several local banks and a credit union, and a charter member of many service and social organizations. Current top officer, William D. (Bill) Moyers, president. Moyers is an award winning television personality, editor-in-chief of PBS’s Bill Moyers’ Journal. He earlier served as Press Secretary to President Lyndon Johnson, after serving on Johnson’s Senate staff. SUWA 1992, $60,000.
17 Benjamin Spencer Fund 1998 assets: $13,841,724. Original funder and current top officer: Hope Aldrich, a Rockefeller, New Mexico newspaper publisher and the richest person in New Mexico. SUWA 1998 $20,000
18 Tortuga Foundation 1998 assets: $17,225,467. Original Donors: William S. Breed III, Joan L. Tweedy, 3M heir. Both she and her husband, Richard Tweedy ’41, ’48 LL.B, have strong individual and family ties to Yale. Joan Tweedy is the sister of Gilman Ordway, a 1947 Yale College graduate who operates a ranch in Wyoming, is a director of the Wilderness Society, and has been a generous supporter of the university. Joan’s father, Samuel G. Ordway, a 3M heir, was a 1908 Yale College graduate. Yale graduates in Richard Tweedy’s family include his father, Class of 1897, and sons David B. Tweedy ’73, Richard B. Tweedy, Jr. ’74, and Jonathan W. Tweedy ’79. Current top officer: Mildred Siceloff, president. SUWA $25,000.
19 Town Creek Foundation 1998 assets: $60,575,167. Original donor and current top officer: Edmund A. Stanley, former president and CEO of Bowne & Co., Inc., a corporate and financial printer, former Wilderness Society board member. 1998 $25,000 for Phantom Road project. SUWA 1997 $15,000; 1993 $10,000; 1992 $10,000; 1988 $5,000.
20 Underhill Foundation 1998 assets: $15,595,802. Original donor: Gladys R. Underhill, a Rockefeller heiress. Current top officer, David Elliman, nuclear power investor, grandson of Avery Rockefeller. SUWA $5,000.
21 Walton Family Foundation 1998 assets: $547,887,222. Original donors: Walton family members and the Helen R. Walton Nonqualified Charitable Trust. Current top officer: Helen R. Walton, widow of Sam Walton. They were co-founders of Wal-Mart Stores. SUWA 1998 $10,000.
22 Weeden Foundation 1997 assets: $25,341,788. Original donor: Frank Weeden, other Weeden family members. Weeden & Co., is a pre-eminent securities company. Current top officer: Alan N. Weeden, president, one of 4 sons of Frank Weeden and a principal of Weeden & Company. SUWA 1990 $10,000; 1992 $10,000; 1993 $10,000.
23 Wild Wings Foundation 1996 assets: $6,017,497. Original donor: Rockefeller Charitable Trust, Anna M. Rockefeller Charitable Trust. Current top officer: Christopher Elliman, grandson of Avery Rockefeller. SUWA $8,000.
24 Winslow Foundation 1998 assets: $24,593,350. Original donor: Julia D. Winslow. Current top officer: Wren Winslow Wirth, wife of Timothy Wirth (former Colorado Senator, former Clinton administration State Department environment officer, currently of Ted Turner’s United Nations Foundation). SUWA $10,000.
25 Wyss Foundation 1998 assets: $36,075,964. Original funder and current top officer: Hansjorg Wyss, Director, President and Chief Executive 1989 1996 Officer of Synthes (U.S.A.), Ltd., manufacturers and distributors of orthopedic implants and instruments; currently a director of Applied Extrusion Technologies, Inc., and a director of BE Aerospace. Bert Fingerhut is a trustee. SUWA 1998 $50,000.
Reposted by Reagangirl.com 2/19/15
DRBC e-mails and an article from a philanthropy journal show just who is funding the fracking opposition and what they’re all about – power to the elites.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 7, 2014: Google is now the second most valuable company in the world, eclipsing ExxonMobil. Announced just today, this development puts things further into perspective, demonstrating just how ridiculous is the notion that fractivist foundations have difficulty matching the efforts of the “rich” oil and gas industry. Bear this mind as you read the rest of this post!
The role of wealthy special interest foundations in funding the opposition to fracking is is starting to become known as the work we’ve done here, at Energy at Depth and by folks such as Kevin Mooney has finally seeped out into the press.
Mike Soraghan was one of the first writers to offer the big picture story on how the Park Foundation and friends have their grubby green hands on every aspect of the fracking battle, from creating the controversy to reporting on it, topped off by financing others to give themselves rewards for their work. They know how to throw money around, all the while screaming about the industry running a few positive ads on natural gas, as if promoting one’s own product was somehow inappropriate.
The Soul of the Fracking Opposition
Rare it is that we get a window into the soul of elitist special interests involved in the fracking battle. An article that appeared on a website called Chronicles of Philanthropy offers such a view. It normally requires a subscription to read ($77 per year) but, when the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance (NWPOA)filed a Freedom of Information request with the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) for records relating to its association with the William Penn Foundation and the Pinchot Institute, back came a copy of the article, which was discussed among all these collaborating groups. The article and the discussion provide wonderful insights on how it all works–how fractivists get financed and what’s behind all that screaming and the silliness.
The article appeared on Chronicles of Philanthropy in October. It was accompanied by a piece written the same day by the same author on the subject of a spoiled trust-funder named Farhad Ebrahimi, who helped finance this.
The Tangled Web of Fracking Opposition
The main piece authored that day by Michael Anft was titled Foundations Split on Their Response to Fracking. It was passed along by Ken Klipstein, the Director of Watershed Protection Programs for the New Jersey Water Supply Authority, to a fellow named V. Alaric Sample, Phd, President of the Pinchot Institute, and Nels C. Johnson, from The Nature Conservancy, who shared it with Carol Collier, the Executive Director of the DRBC. All are involved with the Pinchot Institute, which readers will recall has been engaged in a low-level sort of fractivism under the cover of a program called Common Waters, financed by the William Penn Foundation, which also funds the high-level fractivism of the Delaware Riverkeeper and the regulatory activities of the DRBC. What a tangled web!
Anyway, here is some of what we learn from what was shared, starting with some excerpts from the article (emphasis added):
Last fall when Michael Bloomberg’s private foundation made a $6-million grant to promote stronger regulation of natural-gas drilling, he won applause from several environmental groups. But the New York mayor also lit a few flames among activists and grant makers who believe that fracking, the intensive energy-extraction method also called hydraulic fracturing, will never be safe, no matter how it is regulated.
A second camp, which includes the family fund created by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and the Chorus Fund, a new grant maker pouring $40-million into fracking issues, is concerned about environmental and health effects of the practice. That faction supports nonprofits that rally the public against the technique.
Fracking, developed a decade ago, is now practiced in more than 30 states. Because fracking is lightly regulated, if at all, it’s bringing energy politics right into people’s neighborhoods,” says Kathy Sessions, director of the Health and Environmental Funders Network, a grant makers’ group. “Many foundations are worried that communities might see this extreme form of extraction spread too quickly for people to get a handle on.”
A survey done last year by the group found that its member foundations made a total of $18-million in grants to groups working to stop fracking, to step up research into its effects, or to inform the public and policy makers about it. “The actual dollar figure is probably higher than that,” says Ms. Sessions. “The starting place for many foundations is to get local communities to understand the issue better. There is growing support to programs that increase communication or support research.”
Some anti-fracking activists applaud efforts to strengthen regulations. But others say that isn’t enough and that the Environmental Defense Fund’s approach will do more harm than good. They argue that methane leaks from fracking will poison freshwater aquifers, cause air pollution, and speed climate change. They want the practice banned.
Change.org and other groups have organized petition drives to dissuade Mr. Bloomberg from supporting fracking and the Environmental Defense Fund. “EDF is filling a role that’s closer to what industry’s interests are in hopes their strategy will lead to regulatory reform,” says Lauren Davis, a program associate at the 11th Hour Project, a program of the Schmidt Family Foundation that advocates for renewable energy. “It’s especially challenging for those of us fighting fracking when a big voice like theirs is out there.”
Leaders at the Environmental Defense Fund counter that now is the time to negotiate with industry and governments, before fracking overruns states ill-equipped to deal with its possible health and environmental side effects. “I’ve certainly heard that criticism, but I’m not buying it,” says Mark Brownstein, chief counsel of the energy program at the Environmental Defense Fund. “We’ve been very clear about the need for strong regulation, clean air and water, and the need to understand and deal with methane leaks. I’m very comfortable that we’re doing all we can to bring about a low-carbon energy future. Despite what some people say, fracking isn’t going anywhere.”
But other grant makers are working to make fracking disappear. The 11th Hour Project, which makes about $3-million in grants annually to grass-roots groups nationwide to fight fracking, has focused its efforts in states such as California, Maryland, and New York, where moratoriums have been issued or court battles against energy companies are being waged.
Support for local groups has also come from the Heinz Endowments, the New York Community Trust, and the Park Foundation, a grant maker in Ithaca, N.Y., that has spent $5-million on anti-fracking work since 2008. Activists have worked to get more information on fracking to the public, through either the news media or documentaries like “Gasland” and its new sequel, which was supported by the 11th Hour Project and Park.
Foundation leaders, including those at the Heinz Endowments and Park, say they have faced well-financed and nationwide campaigns from the oil and gas industries that portray them as anti-energy and as environmental fanatics. Some say they have been attacked on blogs run by people and groups supported by the oil and gas industry. “They want to find a large institution to vilify and to create a conspiracy around this,” says Jon Jensen, the leader at Park. Blog posts have questioned whether the grant maker’s founder, the late media mogul Roy Park, would have backed groups opposed to fracking. “I’ve been worried that this kind of thing might have a chilling effect on foundations,” says Mr. Jensen. Foundations haven’t often been able to muster much resistance to industry claims about fracking’s ecological impact, some say, because foundations lack the resources to fight against a rich industry.
Grant makers also lack a unified force to counteract what the industry publishes. In part because the effects of fracking are not fully known, Heinz has found itself working on several sides of the issue. It has handed out $12-million in the past four years to groups in western Pennsylvania that have opposed fracking as well as to efforts involving citizen surveillance of fracking operations, academic research into effects on the environment and health, and a clinic to treat people who may be suffering headaches, nosebleeds, and rashes connected to gas drilling.
The Heinz Endowments supports both tighter regulation and anti-fracking advocacy.
The notions that fracking is only a decade old and the industry is “lightly regulated” are laughable to anyone knowledgeable with what is involved. Even more laughable is the howling from the head of a $315 million foundation about being up against a “rich industry” as she and her allies throw around tens of millions of dollars that dwarf industry spending in combatting their misinformation.
Rich Vindictive Fracking Opponents Cry Poverty While Funding Everything Anti-Fracking
Those allies include Google’s Eric Schmidt (pictured below with wife Wendy at NRDC event), with an estimated wealth of $8.3 billion making him the 138th-richest person in the world and 49th-richest person in the USA, not to mention the Heinz and Rockefeller families. These foundations’ idea of fairness is apparently for them to spend those tens of millions attacking the industry using the vilest falsehoods, with the industry unable to respond in any way. Crying about the influence of the oil and gas industry and my little blog or Energy In Depth’s is more than a little disingenuous when you have Google, the third most valuable company in the world, on your side.
This portion of the article reposted by Reagangirl.com 2/16/15
February 14, 2015
Colorado coal production — hobbled by mine closures and a weak market — slipped to a 20-year low in 2014, according to state data. The state’s eight mines produced just under 23 million tons of coal in 2014, a 5 percent drop from 2013.
Colorado coal production is down 39 percent in the last 10 years.
There was also a nearly 20 percent cut in mining jobs to 1,512 in 2014, according to the state Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety.
The loss of 345 mining jobs in 2014 followed a cut of more than 150 jobs in 2013.
“For the state, it doesn’t amount to much. But for Western Slope communities, it is big,” said Martin Shields, director of the Regional Economic Institute at Colorado State University. “These are well-paying jobs — an average of $80,000 — in places where good jobs are scarce.”
The losses will ripple across the local economies in Routt, Delta and Gunnison counties — to restaurants, car dealerships and stores, Shields said.
The key driver in a nationwide decline in coal production is low natural gas prices, said Brandon Blossman, a managing director at the energy investment bank Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.
This has led utility companies, the major consumers of coal, to switch to natural gas-fired turbines, Blossman said.
“It is pure economics, pure pricing,” he said.
Still, regulatory changes may also make coal less attractive, said Harrison Fell, a Colorado School of Mines economist.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has issued new regulations to limit the amount of mercury — a dangerous heavy metal — that power plants can emit.
The EPA is also drafting rules requiring power plants to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas linked to global climate change. Burning coal creates almost twice as much carbon dioxide as natural gas, according to federal figures.
“Coal is getting squeezed by the market and by regulation,” Fell said.
Part of the Colorado decline is due to operating problems. The Elk Creek Mine in Somerset was closed in December 2013, after underground fires made the mine too dangerous for miners.
Reposted on 2/14/2015 by Reagangirl.com
February 13, 2015
From contributor and Internet politico, Jody Crown. @JODYCROWN
Finding the Difficult Common Groun: the LDS Church offers Statement on Gay Rights
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka: the Mormons or LDS Church) recently held a press conference, paneled by Elder Dallan H. Oaks, Jeffery R. Holland, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Latter-day saint Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Sister Neill Marriott of the LDS Church’s Young Women’s program; to discuss a political and religious hot-button debate of legislation bills that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. The representatives of the LDS church support bills that protect LGBT individuals in various life areas such as housing or employment; however, the leaders expressed so long as this legislation and open dialogue didn’t interfere with other religious freedoms (Boorstein and Ohlheiser).
Despite the LDS church making this announcement, there were several organizations that found the statements were not helpful enough, didn’t say enough, or satisfy their particular satisfaction. In fact, many organizations such as the ACLU, the Utah Eagle Forum, and the Human Rights Campaign did feel it went far enough. The HRC stated, the statement was “deeply flawed” (Winslow and Edwards). And the ACLU added, “The ACLU of Utah does express some concern over the limited scope of public accommodation protection supported by the LDS Church, namely only restaurants, hotels and transportation. Equality means that gay and transgender people should have full protection in public accommodations on par with race, gender, religion and other categories” (Winslow and Edwards). 
Additionally, Gayle Ruzicka, the president from Utah’s Eagle Forum, mentioned that the wording of anti-discrimination bills are not written well enough to be clear to offer accurate leadership, guidance, or interpretation. She said, “They’ve got to come up with the right language that does not violate other people’s rights [and] it’ can’t be the language they’re using right now” (Winslow and Edwards). Therefore, it is the opinion of some that the wording be clearly laid out to understand; however, being mindful of any articulation could be easily misinterpreted.
Elder Oaks of the LDS Church remarked, “those who seek the protection of religious conscience and expression and for the use of their religion look with alarm at the steady erosion of treasured freedoms that are guaranteed in the United States Constitution” (Mormon Leaders). Additionally, Elder Holland of the LDS Church firmly added, “Nothing is achieved if either side resorts to bullying, political-point scoring or accusations of bigotry. These are serious issues, and they require serious minds engaged in thoughtful, courteous discourse” (Mormon Leaders).
Because of the recent statement, several governmental employees spoke and offered their opinions. Both Utah state Governor Gary Herbert and Senator Steve Urquhart (R-St. George) offered their thoughts of the church’s statement. Governor Herbert remarked, that this statement was an “important step to help us find common ground on these important issues” (Winslow and Edwards). And Senator Urquhart, who is supporting the LGBT non-discrimination bill again this year said, “a major stake holder just jumped into this debate today” (Windslow and Edwards). Although both had differing opinions, both felt, that law makers and community’s could come together to reach a compromise to safeguard rights and freedoms.
Despite the lack of support from some pro-gay allies, several other persons supported the bill such as Senator Jim Dabakis (D-Salt Lake), who is openly gay, and he remarked, “I am proud that the LDS Church has seen fit to lead the way in non-discrimination” (Winslow and Edwards).
The church maintains that there current doctrinal stance that marriage is between one man and one woman and sex outside of marriage is still against current practice and theology, and could result in church discipline.
Law makers and pro-gay organizations seemed to be committed to dialogue, but the support for this statement was limited; however, it is clear that the Mormon church is at least opening the dialogue with the LGBT population, and according to Jim Dabakis, a gay married Utah state senator, remarked that breaking down the blocks of communication with the Mormon church “was one of the greatest experiences” (Boorstein and Ohlheiser) of his life.
America has had a long history of freedom of religion, not necessarily freedom from religion and this element has caused different debates throughout America’s history; nevertheless, our country is based on a climate of freedom of religion, and equality for all, not just a select few; and one of the modern pro-rights movements has been the rights of LGBT individuals. Even though there can be civil discourse and compromise, which both sides should adhere to, the consequence of freedom on this issue is we as a nation have to tolerate persons of faith, and there seems to be a vocal voice that is speaking louder then the latter. It is the author’s opinion that the debate and issue is far from over, and that the christian views and theology will oppose the LGBT views, thus having more interaction and discussion, both positive and negative; more over, the coming future will be interesting to see unfold, and view how both sides respond and resolve or if one side has a recalcitrant attitude.
- The reader should note that according to the ALCU statement in the article, it didn’t specify what other categories meant.
Boorsten, Michelle and Ohlheiser, Abby. “Mormon Church Announces Support for Legal Protections for Gay People” Washingtonpost.com. Washington Post. 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2015
“Mormon Leaders Call for Laws That Protect Religious Freedom.” Mormonnewsroom.org. Mormon Newsroom. 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2015.
Winslow, Ben and Edwards, Ashton. “LDS Church Backs LGBT Non-discrimination and Religious Freedom Bills.” Fox13now.com. Fox News. 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2015.
Jody Crown is a Social Work major who, when not following Regangirl or The Druge Rpeort, is actively song writing for his first heavy metal album to be released sometime in 2015. Much like his colleague Reagangirl, he also likes cats and supports the movement against the fundamental transformation of America into a Socialist hell hole. Jody is a Christian Conservative living in modern-day Babylon.
Reposted with permission of the author by Reagangirl.com 2/13/15
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Reagangirl.com.