Tag Archives: HR

Counting the cost of the Waxman-Markey energy tax

Update from the Heritage Foundation.

What happened:

The Waxman Markey Cap and Trade bill passed by a narrow margin tonight, 219 to 212 with 8 Republicans supporting and 44 Democrats voting against, hardly overwhelming support.

What it means:

The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis found that by 2035 gasoline prices would increase 58 percent, natural gas prices would increase 55 percent, home heating oil would increase 56 percent, and worst of all, electricity prices would jump 90 percent.

But the direct tax on household energy use is just the beginning. The energy tax also hits producers. As the higher production costs ripple through the economy, the household pocketbooks get hit again and again. When all the tax impacts have been added up, the average per-family-of-four costs rise by $2,979 per year. In the year 2035 alone, the cost is $4,609. And the costs per family for the whole energy tax aggregated from 2012 to 2035 are $71,493.

The eight Republicans who voted for it. (From Green Hell)

ECM sent me the findings of two more studies from The Beacon Hill Institute, at Suffolk University in Boston. The studies were linked by the American Spectator.

Excerpt:

“Contrary to the claims made in these studies, we found that the green job initiatives reviewed in each actually causes greater harm than good to the American economy and will cause growth to slow,” reported Paul Bachman, Director of Research at the Beacon Hill Institute, one of the report’s authors….

And:

If the United States were to cut emissions alone, with no cutbacks (relative to trend) by other countries, it would bear the full cost of abatement (PV = $3.85 trillion) while reaping only about $0.27 trillion in benefits. This represents a net cost, relative to doing nothing, of $3.42 trillion. It would cost the United States $154 billion by 2020 and $1.318 trillion by 2050.

Green Hell linked to a must-see video of Rep. John Boehner filibustering the bill in the House. No one has even read the 1200-page bill, or the 300-page amendment.

Gateway Pundit has a video of  Rep. Paul Broun trying to tell the House that global warming is junk science:

Gateway Pundit has a video of Rep. Tom Price requesting a moment of silence to recognize the 2 million plus who will lose their jobs for the sake of junk science and inflated egos.

The Western Experience talks about the experiences of other countries who have tried to enact similar laws.

What is totally sad in the bill’s passing is, like socialism, it has been a total failure wherever it has been tried. Across Europe and even down to Australia, this nonsense has been scrapped. The economist in Spain blamed their own version of a climate change bill on their tragically high unemployment rate of 18 percent. The government reports that for every “green job” created equaled two losses in other private sector jobs. Energy prices have skyrocketed and businesses find it too expensive to produce. Therefore, they pass on the costs by cutting back production, which are driving prices higher, and laying off employees, which are driving unemployment numbers higher. Sounds like a recipe for contraction.

Why can’t we learn from the mistakes of other countries?

Hot Air says that the bill will almost certainly die in the Senate.

Further study

Recently, I posted about the economic effects of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, including how it would impact individual families. I wrote about the true effects of Obama’s green jobs initiative, which will actually decrease employment instead of increasing it.

I also posted before about scientific dissent from global warming, the alleged melting polar ice caps, Obama’s planned tax hikes on oil and gas, deceptive alarmism to procure research funding, the alleged warming of the oceans, and the use of made-up crises in order to impose socialism. You can also read the testimony of a Princeton University physicist who is against global warming alarmism.

The relationship between science, faith and academic freedom

I blogged recently about atheist philosophers Thomas Nagel and Bradley Monton, informed atheists, who both support the idea that intelligent design could potentially be researched using ordinary scientific methods. I thought it was interesting especially in the case of Nagel, who has this famous quote about his reasons for adopting atheism:

“In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper–namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.
(”The Last Word” by Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)

The thing is, Thomas Nagel has written a paper supporting ID as science, and now I’ve learned that he is rejecting Darwinism as a full explanation of human origins. (H/T Denyse O’Leary’s related post at the Post-Darwinist). Nagel contrasts the idea that natural selection is responsible for our mental capacity, or whether some other explanation is needed.

Nagel writes:

I see no reason to believe that the truth lies in the first alternative. The only reason so many people believe it is that advanced intellectual capacities clearly exist, and this is the only available candidate for a Darwinian explanation of their existence. So it all rests on the assumption that every noteworthy characteristic of human beings, or of any other organism, must have a Darwinian explanation. But what is the reason to believe this? Even if natural selection explains all adaptive evolution, there may be developments in the history of species that are not specifically adaptive and can’t be explained in terms of natural selection. Why not take the development of the human intellect as a probable counterexample to the law that natural selection explains everything, instead of forcing it under the law with improbable speculations unsupported by evidence? We have here one of those powerful reductionist dogmas which seem to be part of the intellectual atmosphere we breath.

It’s interesting that Nagel is breaking from the pack, because my post about A. N. Wilson’s return to faith highlighted the peer-pressure that atheists feel with regards to the need to project intelligence to their peers. It’s almost as they feel the need prove themselves as better than other people, perhaps to make up for some past rejection that gave them a deep sense of being unworthy.

Wilson said:

If I bumped into Richard Dawkins (an old colleague from Oxford days) or had dinner in Washington with Christopher Hitchens (as I did either on that trip to interview Billy Graham or another), I did not have to feel out on a limb. Hitchens was excited to greet a new convert to his non-creed and put me through a catechism before uncorking some stupendous claret. “So – absolutely no God?” “Nope,” I was able to say with Moonie-zeal. “No future life, nothing ‘out there’?” “No,” I obediently replied. At last! I could join in the creed shared by so many (most?) of my intelligent contemporaries in the western world – that men and women are purely material beings (whatever that is supposed to mean), that “this is all there is” (ditto), that God, Jesus and religion are a load of baloney: and worse than that, the cause of much (no, come on, let yourself go), most (why stint yourself – go for it, man), all the trouble in the world, from Jerusalem to Belfast, from Washington to Islamabad.

Anyway, Denyse O’Leary also talks about some research done by Jeffrey Schwartz on her blog the Mindful Hack. I saw Schwartz present this research before in a live debate with Michael Shermer, another atheist I like somewhat. (I own, and have watched dozens of debates and hundreds of academic lectures – and I sponsor them, too! I love civil, fact-based disagreements!)

Denyse cites from a forthcoming paper of hers, as follows:

UCLA psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz, a practitioner of Buddhist mindfulness, saw OCD as a good candidate for a non- pharmaceutical—essentially non-materialist—approach to treatment….

Schwartz used neuroscience techniques to identify the cause of the disorder. Specifically, the cause is most likely a defect in the neural circuitry connecting the orbitofrontal cortex, cingulate gyrus, and basal ganglia, from which panic and compulsion are generated. When this “worry circuit” is working properly, we worry about genuine risks and feel the urge to reduce them. But, Schwartz found, when that modulation is faulty, as it is when OCD acts up, the error detector can be overactivated. It becomes locked into a pattern of repetitive firing. The firing triggers an overpowering feeling that something is wrong, accompanied by compulsive attempts to somehow make it right.

He then developed a four-step program (Relabel, Reattribute, Reassign, and Revalue) to help patients identify and reassign OCD thoughts, until they felt that they were diminishing in severity. Schwartz was not simply getting patients to change their opinions, but to change their brains. Subsequent brain imaging showed that the change in focus of attention substituted a useful neural circuit for a useless one. For example, it substituted “go work in the garden” for “wash hands seven more times.” By the time the neuronal traffic from the many different activities associated with gardening began to exceed the traffic from washing the hands, the patient could control the disorder without drugs. The mind was changing the brain.

Schwartz called this “mental effort” in the debate, and he used the treatment successfully on people like Leonardo DiCaprio.

The issue of mind as a non-material cause is an area of specialty for Denyse. She recently wrote a book on it for Harper-Collins called “The Spiritual Brain”. I bought 7 copies of that book and gave them to 6 of my friends for their Christmas presents. (One was for me!) Check it out. I hate (but use) philosophical arguments for substance dualism. Her book provides lots of hard scientific evidence that I prefer to use instead.

Atheism, science and free speech

As Denyse O’Leary notes in her post on Colliding Universes, Christian researchers in the sciences have to jump through hoops to keep their jobs and get tenure, in an establishment dominated by activist atheists. She links to this story in Science, regarding a Christian professor who is brilliant, but who has to watch his step in secular-leftist-dominated academia.

Szilágyi sees his religious faith and his research efforts as two complementary aspects of his life. Within the scientific environment, “I have some options where I can express my faith,” Szilágyi says. He directly referred to God both in the acknowledgements of his master’s and doctoral dissertations and while receiving his awards. He runs a Bible-study group for young adults, and together with a friend he founded a Christian scientific group.

But although Szilágyi’s views often lie far outside the scientific mainstream, he expresses those views only off-campus and in his personal time. For him, “the debate over evolution, design, creation, supernatural intelligence, etc., is not a scientific question in the first place but the collision of worldviews, the confrontation of materialism and idealism,” he says. He takes the Bible literally, but when he lectures on the subject–outside of work–he presents what he calls “the options” and indicates which one “to me … seems to be more probable.” But he insists that it is up to “everybody to make his or her own decision.”

“As a Christian who works in the field of science, I find it quite important to deal with the relation of Christianity and science,” Szilágyi says. But “I know that it is a minefield in today’s scientific life and can be quite dangerous for one’s scientific career. … Therefore, I do these activities absolutely separately from my university work. … I am very cautious and careful that whenever I am talking [about these issues] I do not represent my university.

“My belief is very important for my career because this is the first thing that gives me my motivations so that I could work hard and I could achieve the best I can,” Szilágyi says.

Denyse, who sees the battlefield better than anyone I know, comments:

It is sad when talented people must grovel and cringe just to keep their jobs. The thing is, in the end, that never works.

“Theistic evolution” is just a way of adjusting to a world run by atheists.

Practical questions like “Does the world show evidence of design” are scientific if the answer appears to be no, but unscientific if it appears to be yes.

Denyse also wrote about this comment on the Post-Darwinist, which emerged during the recent Texas School Board hearings.

“If our students do not feel the freedom to simply raise their hand and ask a question in science class, then we are no longer living in the United States of America.”

Common sense, combined with the pressure of at least 14,000 constituent communications in favor of allowing students to discuss all sides of science theories, finally prevailed.

You may also remember the case of Guillermo Gonzalez, who, despite outperforming virtually everyone in his department, was denied tenure thanks to a crusade by an activist atheist professor of religious studies, Hector Avalos. Persecution of outspoken Christians by secularists goes on all the time in academia. If you come out as a Christian, the secularists will be offended, and then you have to suffer the consequences.

And don’t forget, as public Christianity declines in the face of persecution by secularists, so has the right to free speech. The Democrats have recently tabled bills to enact hate crime laws and to imprison bloggers who are critical of the government.

Democrats vote to protect pedophiles in H.R. 1913 hate crime bill

UPDATE: Welcome readers from But as For Me! Thanks for the link!

UPDATE: If you are looking for the story about bloggers facing jail terms for “harassing” public figures, see here.

The indomitable Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs has the full story on the hate crime here. (H/T Stop the ACLU)

She links to this video of Democrats voting for protection for pedophiles, and against protections for military veterans.

And then writes this summary about the left (Democrats), and their inevitable drive towards fascism:

Hate crime — hate is in the eye of the beholder, eh? And if you are a Democrat – you protect child rapists, but G-d forbid you protect the military.

Hate crime legislation will be used as a tool against the right. Period. A crime is a crime. WTF is the “hate” bias? Will those screaming for the death to Jews at those demonstrations in January be prosecuted under these laws?

Who are these people?  Good is evil and evil is good. Good luck with that super majority, America.

Yes, remember the speeches by Evan Sayet at the Heritage Foundation. Good is evil, and evil is good. That is the essence of the left.

I’m going to steal some comments from RedState that Pamela cites.

Over at Red State:

This is really kind of mind numbing and demonstrates what is wrong with Congress.

During a House Judiciary Committee meeting, Congressman Steve King (R-IA) offered up an amendment to the hate crimes bill to exclude pedophiles from being a protected category under the hate crimes legislation.

Every single Democrat voted it down.

In the same meeting, Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL) offered an amendment to include veterans as a class protected under the hate crimes bill. Not only did the Democrats vote it down, but Cogresswoman Debbie Waasserman Schultz attacked the Republicans for even thinking veterans might need protection under hate crimes legislation. After all, who but Democrats in Congress hate veterans?

Pamela cites Congress Louis Gohmert to explain what does this hate crime bill does.

If a mother hears that their child has been raped and she slaps the assailant with her purse, she is now gone after as a hate criminal because this is a protected class. There are other protected classes in here. I mean simple exhibitionism. I have female friends who have told me over the years that some guy flashed them, and their immediate reaction was to hit them with their purse. Well now, he’s committed a misdemeanor, she has committed a federal hate crime because the exhibitionism is protected under sexual orientation.

The Democrat bill says that Americans can’t make moral judgments on others, because that makes those poor victims feel bad. If moral people make moral judgments against these victims, it’s a federal crime. Democrats are the party of moral relativism and moral equivalence. And Christians voted for Democrats in record numbers because we were too lazy to inform ourselves about them before the election.

And one more quote from Pamela’s post:

Similar state laws have resulted in persecution for Christians. In Philadelphia several years ago, a 73-year-old grandmother was jailed for trying to share Christian tracts with people at a homosexual festival.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., said H.R. 1913 will create “thought crimes,” and U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., said it will end equality in the U.S.

Gohmert warned the law will be used against pastors – or anyone else – who speaks against homosexuality or other alternative sexual lifestyle choices. He said it provides that anyone who through speech “induces” commission of a violent hate crime “will be tried as a principal” alongside the active offender.

Critics say that would allow for prosecutions against pastors who preach a biblical ban on homosexuality if someone who hears such a message later is accused of any crime.

Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, said, “A pastor’s sermon could be considered ‘hate speech’ under this legislation if heard by an individual who then acts aggressively against persons based on ‘sexual orientation.’ The pastor could be prosecuted for ‘conspiracy to commit a hate crime'” she said.

On the other side of the religious liberty aisle, there’s Republican Senator James Inhofe’s recognition of the National Day of Prayer, which Obama refused to recognize publicly.

The New Testament’s Book of James states, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” I wholeheartedly agree and personally rely on prayer in every aspect of my life. Today, we honor the “National Day of Prayer,” a day that has been officially recognized since 1952 by the President of the United States, who issues an annual proclamation in its honor.

“Across the country, people from different walks of faith and different walks of life gather together to pray for our nation.  In 2008, over two million people attended 40,000 locally organized events nationwide, and the governors from all 50 states signed similar proclamations.

“The National Day of Prayer is a traditional and fundamental part of our history. In 1775, while forming a nation, the Continental Congress invited the colonies to pray for wisdom. This first call to prayer has since become a tradition and has not ceased from reoccurring in the years that followed. In 1789, President George Washington issued the first presidential proclamation for prayer as he stated, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and to humbly implore His protection and favor…” And in 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer.”

“Prayer is as important today as it was when our Founding Fathers first formed our nation. Today, may God continue to bless you all in a special way.

Michele Malkin talks about Obama’s refusal to hold a public prayer event, which Bush did for all 8 of his years, in this Fox News video clip. He talked so much about the importance of prayer during his campaigns, but I guess the mask is off now.

I know fundamentalist Christians who voted for Barack Obama based on his skin color, (which is the same color as my skin, by the way). Unbelievable! Their votes undermined the free expression of Christian beliefs in the public square. Newsflash! Barack Obama shows no evidence of being a Christian in his policies. On the contrary, his policies are deeply anti-Christian, anti-capitalism and anti-liberty. His skin color should have been irrelevant to the decision of who to vote for, for Christians.

UPDATE: The Maritime Sentry has a relevant video with Steve King and Sean Hannity.

The Family Research Center evaluates Barack Obama’s first 100 days

Has Obama been a good President for Christians? Should Christians have voted for him? How well has he done at fulfilling his campaign promises to pro-life and pro-marriage social conservatives?

Watch this 7-minute video and see for yourself how prudent it was for Christians to put their faith in Obama’s promises. (H/T Gateway Pundit)

The Cloak Room lists the decisions of interest to Christians and social conservatives from the first 100 days of Obama’s regime.

I think we should judge presidential candidates on their record, not on their speeches or their appearance. How did Obama vote before his campaign started? Did the Christians who voted for Obama take the time to find out?

This video follows the story of the Democrats’ Hate Crime bill, which allows the government to imprison bloggers and Christians, (much like Iran’s theocratic government). My original post on Obama’s attempts to intimidate Chrysler’s creditors, thereby undermining the Constitution and the rule of law, is here. And it has now been corroborated over at Hot Air, here.

Regarding the intimidation of Chrysler’s creditors, Hot Air has a follow-up story from the Business Insider:

Creditors to Chrysler describe negotiations with the company and the Obama administration as “a farce,” saying the administration was bent on forcing their hands using hardball tactics and threats.

Conversations with administration officials left them expecting that they would be politically targeted, two participants in the negotiations said. …

The sources, who represent creditors to Chrysler, say were taken aback by the hardball tactics that the Obama administration employed to cajole them into acquiescing to plans to restructure Chrysler. One person said described the administration as the most shocking “end justifies the means” group they have ever encountered.  Another characterized Obama was “the most dangerous smooth talker on the planet- and I knew Kissinger.” Both were voters for Obama in the last election.

One participant in negotiations said that the administration’s tactic was to present what one described as a  “madman theory of the presidency” in which the President is someone to be feared because he was willing to do anything to get his way. The person said this threat was taken very seriously by his firm.

Hot Air comments:

Well, that’s certainly reassuring.  The man at the helm during one of the biggest economic crises in decades is a madman who will act in an unpredictable and irrational manner if he doesn’t get his way.  It sounds like they paint Obama as either a lunatic or a petulant child.

The “madman theory” of the Presidency? Is that what uninformed Christians who voted for Obama expected?

UPDATE: Ace has more here and here. (H/T Commenter ECM) And Hot Air (Ed Morrissey) has more here.

Bill H.R. 1966 would make blogging a crime, punishable by up to two years in prison

UPDATE: Welcome readers from Small Dead Animals! Thanks for the link, Kate! Canadian readers, this post that I wrote is an index to most of my recent posts on your free speech troubles with the Human Rights Commissions. I hope and pray that you guys can get your civil liberties restored, and be the True North Strong and Free, again!

UPDATE: If you are looking for the story on the hate crime bill that adds pedophiles to the list of “protected” groups, see here.

Wow, check out this story from OpenMarket blog.

Excerpt:

Under a recently-introduced bill, H.R. 1966, bloggers would face up to two years in prison if they “harass” public figures by criticizing them in a “severe, repeated, and hostile” manner, and thereby cause them “substantial emotional distress.”

I guess fascism is coming along faster than I thought.

U.C.L.A. Law Professor Eugene Volokh, the author of a First Amendment treatise, has concluded that the bill is unconstitutional. I agree, as I explain here. As a federal appeals court noted in DeJohn v. Temple University (2008), “there is no harassment exception to the First Amendment’s free speech clause.” Speech that causes emotional distress can be protected,as the Supreme Court made clear in barring a lawsuit by Jerry Falwell over an offensive parody.

Wow, it’s like the left is doing everything they accused Bush of doing, which he never did. The fascist policies they imagined were all projections onto Bush of what they intended to do themselves! Now I get it. It wasn’t conservatives who were in favor of government control of private lives, it was the progressive left.

The bill is a telling example of how the American Left has turned against free speech and civil liberties. The bill’s sponsor, Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and nearly all of her 14 co-sponsors are liberals. All of them backed the federal hate-crimes bill passed by the House yesterday, which is designed to allow people who have been found innocent in state court to be reprosecuted in federal court. (That bill has been criticized by four members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, including law professor Gail Heriot, and by civil libertarian Wendy Kaminer. Advocates of the federal hate-crimes bill once cited the defendants in the Duke Lacrosse case, who were innocent, as an example of people who should be prosecuted in federal court).

And don’t forget about the hate crimes bill: I wrote previously about the two ways in which that bill is unconstitutional.