A fuel-economy change that protect freedom and saves lives

by H. Sterling Burnett


If finalized the proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to freeze fuel-economy targets at 2020 levels through 2026 is good news for anyone concerned about consumer choice, vehicle affordability, and highway safety.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s determination freezing fuel-economy standards would benefit the American people should surprise no one, because in April EPA announced it would revoke the Obama-era standards requiring cars and light trucks sold in the United States to achieve an average of more than 50 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025.

President Obama signed off on the 50 mpg standards just before leaving office in December 2016, two years before the previous standards were scheduled to be reviewed. Studies show the 50 mpg standard would substantially increase the price of cars, change the composition of the nation’s automobile and light truck fleet, and put lives at risk.

The “Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks” is a culmination of EPA’s consultation with NHTSA to determine how fuel-economy standards can best balance consumers’ concerns about automobile affordability, vehicle safety, and fuel economy. 

“Our proposal aims to strike the right regulatory balance based on the most recent information and create a 50-state solution that will enable more Americans to afford newer, safer vehicles that pollute less,” Wheeler said. 

“There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026. More realistic standards will promote a healthy economy by bringing newer, safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles to U.S. roads and we look forward to receiving input from the public,” stated Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

EPA calculates freezing fuel-economy standards at 2020 levels through 2026 will save more than 500 billion dollars in societal costs over the next 50 years and reduce highway fatalities by 12,700 lives. 

Fuel standard mandates began in 1975, when Congress established Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to reduce dependence on foreign oil following the 1973–74 Arab oil embargo. The law required car manufacturers to meet mandated fuel-economy targets or else pay a hefty tax on gas-guzzling sedans. What happened? Some people bought smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Others, however, started driving trucks, and new categories of vehicles were born: SUVs and minivans.

Over the years, compact cars have become less popular because of low fuel prices, underpowered engines, and lack of passenger and storage space. Most full-sized cars and trucks can seat five adults, and minivans and many SUVs can seat between seven and nine people. Numerous SUVs, trucks, and minivans offer ample cargo space and are capable of hauling a trailer or boat, which no subcompact can do safely. 

Ironically, the high popularity of trucks, SUVs, and minivans is at least partially a result of environmentalists’ efforts to reduce the appeal of large, powerful cars. EPA’s stringent fuel-economy standards didn’t apply to trucks, SUVs, or minivans, which didn’t then exist. So, to keep the features they liked, millions of people replaced the family sedan or station wagon with an SUV or truck. As fuel efficiency increased and driving became cheaper, people drove more miles — thereby negating the marginal gains of owning more-fuel-efficient vehicles.

CAFE standards did not reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil — it would take the fracking revolution to do that — but they did have deadly unintended consequences. To meet federal fuel-economy guidelines, carmakers reduced vehicle size, weight, and power. By doing so, manufacturers compromised cars’ safety, resulting in tens of thousands of unnecessary injuries and deaths in vehicle crashes. For every 100 pounds shaved off new cars to meet CAFE standards, between 440 and 780 additional people are killed in auto accidents, amounting to 2,200 to 3,900 lives lost per year, according to researchers at Harvard University and the Brookings Institution. As a result, CAFE has resulted in more deaths than all U.S. soldiers lost in the Vietnam War and every U.S. military engagement since then.

The laws of physics will never change. In a vehicle crash, larger and heavier is safer than lighter and smaller. EPA’s fuel-economy freeze will prevent unnecessary deaths while protecting consumer choice.

If fuel economy is the driving force behind your purchasing decisions, nothing changes under EPA’s decision to freeze current fuel-economy standards. You are free to continue buying the electric, hybrid, or clean diesel vehicle of your choice. If, however, comfort, power, vehicle safety, and the ability to haul a boat or ferry a little league team are your goals, EPA’s CAFE freeze ensures you can continue to make that choice as well. 

Ain’t freedom grand!



EPA’s Non-Politicized Science Benefits Americans

by H. Sterling Burnett


A direct challenge to the hardcore enviros who heretofore controlled and corrupted the agency.

President Donald Trump committed to fundamentally transforming the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from an agency producing politicized science to one instilling sound scientific standards for research. By doing so, Americans should expect improved environmental and health outcomes.

Currently, regulatory costs top $1.9 trillion annually, which amounts to $14,842 per U.S. household. That’s nearly $15,000 less for Americans to pay for health insurance, medical bills, education expenses, groceries, gasoline, or entertainment. Because the economic and social implications of regulations are profound, the science they are built upon must be impeccable.

Over the last few decades — under Republican and Democratic administrations — EPA formed a cozy relationship with radical environmental activists and liberal academic researchers. With the support of environmental lobbyists who despise capitalism (expressed by consumers’ free choices in the marketplace) EPA bureaucrats, in pursuit of more power and expanded budgets for the agency, funded researchers who, because they were largely dependent on government grants for the majority of their funding, were only too happy to produce results claiming industry was destroying the earth.

Of course, the only way to prevent environmental collapse was more government control of the economy. However, these reports were produced despite the fact poverty and hunger have steadily declined and people are living longer and more productive lives than ever before.

As Jay Lehr, a colleague and science director at the Heartland Institute told me once, “For decades, EPA has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the environmental left. Together, radical environmentalists and EPA bureaucrats, including the members of all their advisory panels, have used their considerable power to thwart American business at every turn.

Under Trump, EPA changed how it pursues science to pay greater fealty to the scientific method and remove temptations for scientific self-aggrandizement and corruption.

Not surprisingly, researchers, environmentalists, and bureaucrats, seeing their power curtailed and their gravy train ending, are crying foul saying the Trump administration is undermining science. However, in reality this is simply not true.

EPA’s scientific advisory panels are tasked with ensuring the research the agency uses to develop and justify regulations is rigorous, has integrity, and is based on the best available science.

To better ensure this, EPA ceased automatically renewing the terms of board members on various panels. EPA is now filling its scientific panels and boards on a competitive basis as each board member’s term expires.

This should improve the science EPA uses to inform its decisions, by expanding diversity — diversity of interests, diversity of scientific disciplines, and diversity of backgrounds — thus bringing in a wider array of viewpoints to EPA decision-making.

In addition, to reduce opportunities for corruption, EPA ceased allowing members of its federal advisory committees to apply for EPA research grants and instituted policies to ensure advisory panel members and grant recipients have no other conflicts of interest. It was always a foolish practice to allow those recommending, often determining, who gets EPA grants to also be in the running for those grants. However, this was business as usual at EPA, where grant makers awarded themselves, research teams they were members of, or their friends billions of taxpayer dollars over the years.

In April, then EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared “The era of secret science at EPA is coming to an end.” Pruitt proposed requiring the data underlying scientific studies used by EPA to craft regulations be available for public inspection, criticism, and independent verification.

For years, EPA bureaucrats have used the results of studies by researchers who would not disclose the data underlying their results to be examined and retested for confirmation or falsification. Fortunately, EPA is finally ending this unjustifiable practice.

Many scientists have objected to EPA’s new secret science policy because they claim the studies EPA uses have undergone “peer review.” However, the peer review process is often nothing more than other researchers, often hand-picked by the scientists whose research is being reviewed, sitting around in their ivory towers reading the reports and saying, “this looks okay or reasonable to me.”


Unless the reviewers are able examine the underlying data and assumptions, and attempt to replicate the results, peer review is unable to ensure the validity of studies used to underpin regulations. Absent transparency and replicability, peer review is hollow.

Another long overdue EPA regulatory reform was the decision to end exclusive use of the “Linearity No Threshold” (LNT) model when assessing the dangers of radiation, carcinogens, and other toxic substances in the environment. Going forward, EPA will incorporate uncertainty into its risk assessments using a variety of other, more realistic models.

The LNT model assumes there is no safe dose of ionizing radiation or exposure to various other chemicals or toxins. Relying on flawed studies from the effect of ionizing radiation on fruit flies from the 1950s, EPA and other regulatory agencies have used LNT as a basis for regulation of environmental clean-ups, setting safety standards for nuclear plants, and limiting low dose radiation treatments for medical patients, a policy that has cost lives and billions of taxpayer dollars.

Although science has progressed phenomenally since the 1950s, with copious amounts of research showing the LNT model is seriously flawed, EPA and other agencies never questioned the LNT standard. That is, until now.

In fact, adverse effects from low dose exposures to radiation and most other chemicals and potential toxins are often non-existent. Indeed, substances that may be harmful in large quantities can be beneficial in small amounts, a process known as hormesis.

In the commonly paraphrased words of Swiss physician and astronomer Paracelsus, “the dose makes the poison.” Vitamins, which are valuable in small quantities, and even water, which is literally necessary for life, can become deadly if too much of either is taken over a short period of time. Or consider sun exposure. While exposure to too much sunlight can contribute to skin cancer, sunlight is required to catalyze the final synthesis of Vitamin D, which strengthens the bones, helping prevent osteoporosis and rickets. There is also ample evidence sunlight can help fight depression and several skin and inflammatory ailments.

Replacing reliance on the untenable LNT model with other models of exposure and response will result in better safety and health protocols, potentially saving billions of dollars and thousands of lives each year.

In service of the American people and the pursuit of continued American greatness, science practices at EPA are improving under President Trump. One can only hope equivalent changes are adopted at other executive agencies so the regulations they produce are grounded in the best available science, free of political corruption and bureaucratic incentives for agency mission creep and growth.




The article first appeared here.

Climate Alarmists Get Two Strikes In Court — They Should Be Out

by  H. Sterling Burnett


In July, federal Judge John F. Keenan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed New York City's lawsuit against five major oil companies. The lawsuit sought to force the oil companies to help pay NYC's alleged costs associated with climate change.

Keenan's ruling was the second victory against municipal governments seeking to use the judiciary to address problems purportedly caused by climate change. The first triumph came in June, when Judge William H. Alsup of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco threw out a similar lawsuit against the same five companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell — in a case brought by Oakland and San Francisco.

In the 23-page decision dismissing New York City's lawsuit, Keenan wrote climate change must be addressed by the executive branch and Congress, not by the courts. Although climate change "is a fact of life," Keenan wrote, "the serious problems caused thereby are not for the judiciary to ameliorate. Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the two other branches of government."

Keenan ruled New York's state and federal common law claims were prohibited under the Clean Air Act. He stated it would be "illogical" and would violate U.S. Supreme Court precedent to allow the claims under state common law "when courts have found that these matters are areas of federal concern that have been delegated to the executive branch as they require a uniform, national solution … (and) the Clean Air Act displaces the City's claims seeking damages for past and future domestic greenhouse gas emissions brought under federal common law."

In addition, Keenan determined NYC's lawsuit is unjustified because the city contributed carbon dioxide emissions and benefited from fossil-fuel use.

"(I)t is not clear that Defendants' fossil fuel production and the emissions created therefrom have been an 'unlawful invasion' in New York City, as the City benefits from and participates in the use of fossil fuels as a source of power, and has done so for many decades," wrote Keenan.

Climate policy is solely within the domain of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, as two federal judges have amply demonstrated in their written decisions.

However, states and cities seem intent on banging their heads up against this legal brick wall.

On July 2, just a week after Alsup threw out a climate lawsuit brought by Oakland and San Francisco, Rhode Island filed a lawsuit against oil companies to recover the costs from supposed climate change. On July 20, just a day after Keenan dismissed NYC's lawsuit, Baltimore sued oil companies for climate change expenses in Maryland. Furthermore, New York City, Oakland, and San Francisco plan to appeal their cases' dismissals.

Climate Change Lawsuits: A Waste

Apparently, these cities and states have no serious problems — such as crime, budget shortfalls, and education woes — for which the resources devoted to these lawsuits might be better used, or their leaders just don't care if they waste taxpayers' money on frivolous lawsuits. It seems as though the several attorneys general pursuing these pointless lawsuits are so caught up in the grip of climate mania, they just can't let go, the law be damned.

Or perhaps the lawsuits are simply an attempted shakedown of an industry with deep pockets. These cities and states desperately hope oil companies will ultimately settle out of court, agreeing to pay billions of dollars and promising not to fight climate change legislation in the future.

Furthermore, these out-of-touch environmental zealots want to force oil companies to shift their investments from fossil fuels to politically connected, highly subsidized green-energy power sources. Oil companies have not succumbed to these outrageous demands yet, and it seems unlikely they will any time soon, with their continued profitability and their very existence at stake — as well as two legal wins under their belt.

It is long past time to end this game of legal whack-a-mole. Alsup and Keenan should require cities to pay the court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses incurred by oil companies thus warning municipal and state climate zealots seeking big paydays there is a price to pay for wasting courts' time.



Burnett, Ph.D. is a senior fellow on energy and the environment at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

What You Need to Know About EPA’s New Boss Andrew Wheeler

by H Sterling Burnett


Former Administrator Scott Pruitt’s resignation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) marked the end of a productive but tumultuous period for the agency. The good news? Pruitt’s replacement, Andrew Wheeler, will likely continue the needed reforms Pruitt began. In the immortal words of The Who, “Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss.”

However history judges Pruitt’s tenure at EPA, critics and supporters can agree he initiated a series of efforts to fundamentally transform the antiquated agency. He ended sue-and-settle agreements; reshaped its science advisory committees; reduced graft; and rolled back myriad regulatory actions, including the Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, the massive increase in the Corporate Fuel Economy Standard (CAFE), and various energy efficiency mandates for appliances. Thanks to Pruitt, EPA is finally changing how it conducts business.

You might be concerned that Pruitt’s absence could result in a complete change in course, but fear not! President Donald Trump’s energy and environment agenda will not substantively change with Wheeler’s ascension to the agency’s top post.

Sadly, and not surprisingly, environmental zealots treated Wheeler’s appointment as though it is the end of the world. A Huffington Post headline stated, “Scott Pruitt’s Replacement Is Even Worse.” In the article, Frank O’Donnell, president of the left-wing group Clean Air Watch, stated, “This is like rearranging deck chairs on the environmental Titanic.”

The Left’s histrionic response to Wheeler mirrors its response to Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as associate justice to the U.S. Supreme Court. Regardless of an appointee’s qualifications, anyone Trump nominates to lead the EPA will inevitably be tarred and feathered by the Left and braded a climate-change-denying polluter. 

Environmentalists dread Wheeler for the same reason small-government advocates applaud him: Wheeler could be even more effective than Pruitt at rolling back onerous regulations. EPA’s new chief has significant experience working within and outside of the agency. In fact, Wheeler won awards for his work at the agency between 1991 through 1995. Subsequently, Wheeler worked as majority staff director and chief counsel at the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, with EPA oversight. Wheeler will be more than capable to rein in EPA overreach.

The regulatory rollback at EPA started under Pruitt is expected to increase with Wheeler at the helm. EPA is currently working on overhauling CPP, WOTUS, and CAFE to improve transparency and ease compliance with commonsense guidelines.

In his short time as the agency’s acting administrator, there has been no shortage of statements supporting Wheeler as a more disciplined, less scandal prone replacement for Pruitt.

“We have full confidence in Andrew both from his past experience and the job he has done at EPA,” Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at Competitive Enterprise Institute, told the Washington Examiner. “We think he will carry on the Trump reform agenda in a really competent way.”

“For the top people at the EPA, the various Pruitt accusations have been a real challenge and a distraction,” Ebell continued. “Once Pruitt is gone, and Andrew is in charge, people will get back to doing their jobs everyday rather than accusations.”

“With Andy Wheeler stepping in to replace Pruitt, I think we’ll see a change in style but not in substance,” Jeff Holmstead, a former deputy administrator of the EPA in the George W. Bush administration, told the Washington Examiner. “Andy probably is the ideal person to lead EPA at this point.

“Pruitt got a lot of regulatory reforms started, but he’s never worked a regulatory agency and didn’t fully understand the administrative process and what it would take to get them finalized. Andy certainly does,” Holmstead said. “He’s worked on these issues for years and may actually be more effective than Pruitt when it comes to carrying out the reforms that Pruitt started.”

No one knows exactly what Wheeler’s tenure might mean for EPA climate policy. Driven by the endangerment finding, EPA has begun the process of drafting a replacement of CPP. However, if Wheeler’s past statements are any indication of EPA’s future actions, it seems like sound science will replace climate alarmism.

The Huffington Post notes in 2010, while working for the Senate, Wheeler “accused the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of blurring ‘the lines between science and advocacy’ and functioning ‘more as a political body than a scientific body,’ suggesting EPA could ‘reconsider its endangerment finding without almost exclusively relying upon the IPCC.’”

All Trump administration officials operate under an intense (and biased) media spotlight. It is difficult, if not impossible, for any Trump appointee to stay below the radar, but if anyone can remain effective and ethical, Andrew Wheeler certainly can. With his knowledge of the inner-workings of EPA’s regulatory processes and his low-key, non-confrontational style, Wheeler can complete the job Pruitt started and restore the EPA back to its mission:protect human health and the environment.



Trackside - Why the Incadescent Bulb Ban Amounts to Nothing

   by J.  D'Aloia


Elected officials often introduce laws for the sole purpose of having a piñata to bash for the cameras and the folks back home. Congressman Poe in the linked video is certainly making such use of the law banning incandescent light bulbs - I did not research to find out how he voted, but it matters not - he is making the most of it for his time in front of the camera.

My cynical side says the law was applauded by the environmental Luddites not because compact fluorescent light bulbs were reducing the dreaded greenhouse gases, but because the law was a means to further control society. Such is their goal. Demand changes in what society uses and how they use it to satisfy some environmental talking point. When the change has been ordained by a sycophantic legislative body, then raise a new issue and demand that new laws placing further control over society be enacted to counter the threats now spotlighted. More rules, more government, more taxes, less freedom.

Another cynical wonderment - why all the fuss about broken CFLs? Why has it not all played out for fluorescent tubes? They too have mercury in similar amounts. There has not been an avalanche of reports of people suffering from mercury poisoning from broken fluorescent tubes or moon-suited technicians cleaning up the family room after a tube was broken. Could it be that within the grand strategy, the timing was not right to play the poison card? And with LED light bulbs coming on the market, with an even greater energy efficiency (and much higher cost than CFLs), will CFLs be banned next? 

‘Tis a tempest in a teapot. CFLs do have a place in the grand scheme of things, especially for those lights the replacement of which is an all-day project, or if the spectrum you want cannot be obtained with an Edison special, or if your lighting demands are such that the cost vs. energy saved equation comes out to your benefit. Prudent respect for the dangers mitigates the dangers.

Tacitus nailed it in the First Century AD: "Corruptissima republicae, plurimae leges" - The worse the state, the more laws it has.

See you Trackside.


AGW Believers Replace Scientific Method With Dogma Pt. 2: Suppressing Dissent

by H. Sterling Burnett

 

People caught in the grips of the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), the idea that human activities, primarily fossil fuel use, are causing catastrophic change in the world’s climate, seem to live with blinders on, unable to admit evidence to the contrary. 

I don’t begrudge the opinion of scientists who believe their own research shows, or who believe the dominant number of peer-reviewed papers indicates, humans are causing dangerous climate change. But I do disagree with many of the assumptions made by proponents of AGW. So far, evidence shows most of their projections concerning temperatures, ice, hurricanes, species extinction, etc. have failed. As a result, their projections of future climate conditions are not nearly trustworthy enough to make the kind of fundamental, wrenching, and costly changes to our economy and systems of government AGW proponents have proposed to fight climate change. I don’t think climate scientists can foretell the future any better than the average palm reader.

Making matters worse, AGW proponents discount, or ignore entirely, powerful studies that seem to undermine many of their assumptions and refute most of their conclusions.

Admittedly, I start with a position of skepticism, and indeed suspicion, when well-known researchers release a new study purporting to reinforce or provide further evidence AGW is true. This isn’t because I don’t want to hear what those who disagree with my assessment have to say. Rather, it’s based on my understanding of the lengths to which AGW true believers have gone to manipulate temperature data and try to shoehorn or force this and other data to match their dire projections.  It is reasonable, and even expected, for educated people to disagree with one another on this issue. This back-and-forth exchange of points and counterpoints shows the scientific method functioning as it should.

Many AGW believers, however, have seemingly abandoned the scientific method.

Progress is made in science by proposing a hypothesis, and developing a theory, to explain or understand certain phenomena, and then testing the hypothesis against reality. A particular hypothesis is considered superior to others when, through testing, it is shown to have more explanatory power than competing theories or hypotheses and when other scientists running the same testing regime can reproduce the results of the original test. Every theory or hypothesis must be disconfirmable in principle, such that if the theory predicts ‘A’ will occur under certain conditions, but instead sometimes ‘B’ or ‘C’ results, then the theory has problems. The more a hypothesis’ predictions prove inconsistent with results that occur during testing or real-world data, the less likely the hypothesis is to be correct.

AGW theory does not work this way. No matter what the climate phenomenon, if it can in some way be presented as being unusual by AGW proponents, it is argued to be “further evidence of global warming,” even if it contradicts earlier phenomena pointed to by the same people as evidence of global warming. {The same technique evolutionists use to defend their theory. A Theory so inaccurate the courts rule ex cathedra in favor of it - ED}  

What effects AGW will have seem to depend on which scientist one consults and which model they use. In realm of climate change research, different models looking at the same phenomenon applying the same laws of physics with the same inputs produce dramatically varied results.

Another indication AGW advocates have thrown over the scientific method is how they revert to various logical fallacies to manipulate peoples’ emotions in order to have the public dismiss climate realists’ arguments and research. AGW advocates commit the fallacy of ad hominem when they call researchers who disagree with their assessment of the strength of the case for AGW “deniers”—an obvious attempt to link them in the public’s mind with despicable Holocaust deniers. That is not science, it’s rhetoric. I know of no one who denies the fact climate changes, but there are significant uncertainties and legitimate disagreements regarding the extent of humanity’s role in recent climate changes and whether these will be disastrous. Those who refuse to acknowledge highly regarded scientists disagree with AGW are the real “deniers,” and they should suffer the opprobrium rightfully attached to that label.

AGW proponents commit the fallacy of appeal to numbers when they say the case for dangerous human-caused climate change is settled because some high percentage of a subset of scholars agrees humans are causing dangerous climate change. Consensus is a political, not a scientific, term. People once thought Earth was flat. Galileo disagreed, saying he believed it was round—and he was persecuted for saying so. And you know what? Galileo was right, and the consensus of the time was wrong. At one time, people, including the intellectual elite, believed Earth was the center of the universe and the Sun revolved around it. Copernicus said just the opposite. He was right, and everyone else was wrong.

Knowledge acquisition succeeds not through bowing to some purported consensus in thought and opinion, but through questioning previously received wisdom and continuously testing scientific theories against data. “Because the vast majority of us said so,” is not a legitimate scientific response to research raising questions about all or some part of AGW.

AGW researchers commit the fallacy of appeal to motive when they say a particular study or the work of a particular scientist or group of scientists should not be taken seriously because of who funded them. Both sides commit this fallacy, with climate skeptics often arguing AGW research is biased based on the fact it was funded by government, which history shows is predisposed toward finding reasons grow and exert ever more control over people.

Research should be judged based on the validity of its assumptions, whether its premises are true, and whether its conclusions follow from its premises, not on who funded the research. Data, evidence, and logic are the hallmarks of science, not motives.

Beyond the routine data manipulation and logical fallacies, AGW advocates’ own e-mails show they have tried to suppress the publication of research skeptical toward AGW. And they have routinely attempted to interfere with the career advancement of scholars who refuse to completely toe the AGW line, even stooping on occasion to try to get scholars fired for producing research undermining AGW.

AGW fanatics also try to suppress the teaching of a balanced, accurate understanding of the current state of climate science, with all its uncertainties, in the nation’s schools. This is the tool of the propagandist, not the scientist seeking the truth.

All these reflections came to a head in recent years, as AGW true believers have fought in court to prevent the release of the data underpinning their own research, attempted to suppress free speech by accusing those with whom they disagree of committing libel, and even on occasion called for the prosecution and incarceration of climate skeptics for daring to question AGW orthodoxy. Some AGW proponents have openly admired various authoritarian regimes for their ability to “get things done” without the interference of democratic institutions. Real scientists know truths do not bloom under authoritarianism.

When a theory does not comport with the facts, data, and evidence, it is the theory that should be questioned, not the data or the motives of those bringing such evidence to the world’s attention. Consider this my plea for AGW true believers to embrace, once again, the scientific method, to follow the evidence in the field of climate research where it leads even if it proves inconvenient or inconsistent with their earlier beliefs. To the extent I myself have failed to live up to this ideal, I will try and do the same, approaching AGW arguments with an open mind.


Trackside - Malaria cases increase with Ban of DDT

by John D'Aloia


What would you call an action, knowingly taken, that resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people, people who lived in a certain part of the world? Does the word "genocide" come to mind? Consider these grim statistics - 50 million killed since 1972; almost 90 percent of the victims are in sub-Saharan Africa.

The perpetrators are the ecofascists who in 1972 convinced the federal government to ban DDT, a known eradicator of mosquitos, the malaria vector. The unindicted co-conspirators are the American people who, bowing to the ecofascists, have allowed the ban to remain in place in spite of the medical and scientific data that has shown that DDT "used according to the label directions" is not a danger to the environment or humans. (A DDT data synopsis is posted at https://junkscience.com/1999/07/100-things-you-should-know-about-ddt/.)


Socialists are enamored with environmentalism. It provides a rationale for a one-world government - we need a one-world government to be able to control population so as to be able to protect the environment. Think it far-fetched? As cited in "The Creature From Jekyll Island" by G. Edward Griffin, Bertrand Russell expressed it thus: "I do not pretend that birth control is the only way in which population can be kept from increasing…A scientific world society cannot be stable unless there is world government…" In the same book, Jacques Cousteau, interviewed by the United Nations UNESCO Courier in November of 1991, is cited to have said of death by cancer: "Should we eliminate suffering diseases? The idea is beautiful, but perhaps not a benefit in the long term. We should not allow our dread of diseases to endanger the future of our species. This is a terrible thing to say. In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day."


With this mindset, malaria is a useful tool - the millions of deaths resulting from the ban on DDT produces the desired result. The death toll has raised up a new foe for the ecofascists, the civil rights organization Congress for Racial Equality. In a May 2003 press release, announcing a protest against a Greenpeace fund raiser, CORE stated: "Across Africa, malaria kills 2 million people every year, half of them children. Over 250 million more get this horrible disease and are unable to work for weeks or months on end, costing their countries $12 billion annually. Malaria also threatens Asia and Latin America. DDT and other pesticides, used in tiny amounts, can slash malaria rates and deaths by 80% or more. But Greenpeace absolutely opposes this and pressures the European Union to ban fish and agricultural exports (including tobacco!) from any African nation that uses DDT. Even the liberal New York Times says ‘wealthy nations should be helping poor countries with all available means – including DDT.’ But the callous eco-radicals refuse to budge."


CORE’s anti-Greenpeace protest was not a one-shot deal. A petition, in the form of a letter with as many signatories as CORE can muster was prepared to present to President Bush. The letter’s first two sentences set the tone: "There is no more important human right than the right to live. Without life, all other human rights are irrelevant." CORE went on to ask the President to take four actions: ask congressional leadership to schedule hearings and to ensure that taxpayer money funds the use of DDT and other measures that work; abolish the ineffective USAID’s malaria program; instruct government agencies to promote and fund the use of DDT when requested by officials in developing countries; and reduce or eliminate funding of any agency, U.S. or foreign, that obstructs or fails to support the use of DDT or other pesticides. CORE closes by stating "On behalf of hundreds of millions of parents and children in countries where malaria continues to take a terrible, unnecessary and intolerable toll, we thank you for taking a leadership role in helping to make this a humanitarian effort that transcends religious, racial, or political affiliations."


The ban on DDT not your problem? Think again. Malaria is found in the U.S. - and think West Nile, another disease transmitted by mosquitos. (Kansas had 731 confirmed cases of West Nile in 2003, with seven deaths.) These disease agents, and others, exist in this country - and so do the carriers, the zillions of little buzzing critters. A bit of DDT goes a long way towards the drastic reduction of the diseases they carry at a cost that compares not with the death and misery they cause.


See you Trackside.





Republished from the old Eponym site in honor of former Editor John D'Aloia.



Municipal Waste Combustion Management for a Cleaner Environment

by Allen Williams


As government regulations continue to play an increased role in the nation's economy, there is a demand for cheaper energy sources to promote economic growth.  

America is committing vast land resources for the storage of Industrial and residential waste.  Municipalities must contract out or arrange for waste  transportation to landfill sites which amount to vast quantities of energy buried.  

Municipal waste is a growing problem in both rural and urban communities across the United States. Toxins are leached from the materials in the landfill over time that potentially threaten the water supply and many of today's modern components take centuries to decay in the earth. Landfills contain Combustible materials that could provide low cost energy for cities as well as improve the environment.

Photo: Land fill space a growing problem../

The average American now discards approximately 16-20 pounds of solid waste per day per person. This waste has traditionally been disposed of in landfills, which require huge tracts of land and have finite storage capacity.  Many landfills will have to close by 2040, increasing the cost of trash disposal and preventing the land from more productive use.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has noted that the energy content of solid waste in landfills has been steadily rising over the last decade, hitting 11.73 million Btu/ton in 2005. The heat content of interred waste provides the basis for developing an engineered fuel supporting many industrial applications such as the production of hydrocarbons, solvents, motor fuels, and even electric power generation.

A 2010 study(3) has found that emissions from landfills versus municipal waste combustion using EPA's life cycle assessment (LCA) model for the range and scenarios evaluated, that waste combustion outperforms land filling in terms of Green House Gas emissions regardless of landfill gas management techniques.

Innovative technologies can use buried waste as energy to convert bio-waste into needed products.  Recently, Sweden's 144 million Kristianstad biogas plant has successfully converted municipal bio-waste into methane for use in automobiles and heating, saving some $3.5 million per year. Biogas can be further processed to produce organic liquids and even motor grade fuels.

Municipal Waste can be converted into fuel pellets with combustion performance comparable to coal. The solid waste can be processed with an engineered heat content amenable to fluidized bed and other furnace combustion equipment.  Optimally, the pellets could be manufactured to a specific heat content. This is accomplished by feeding shredded rubber from scrap tires into a Cuber machine to produce fuel cubes of very high heating value, approximately 10,000 to 12,000 Btu/lb, suitable for utility power generation.

Developing a plan

The rising level of municipal waste provides incentive to develop alternative fuels but municipal waste contains many non-combustible components, some of which possess considerable recycle value. Recovery of these materials help to defer the cost of producing an engineered heat content fuel.  Figure 1 illustrates the potential economic return based on EPA waste content.

Figure 1 - Salvageable Materials And Byproducts Revenue

Locating a suitable waste transformation plant directly on a Landfill site saves added costs for property and waste transportation to a site as trucks are already servicing the  facility.  In natural gas producing landfills, a cheap supply of methane for hydrocarbon synthesis is readily available.

In cases where a bio-gas facility such as Johnson County Wastewater may be nearby, combustible waste sludge can be transported via pipeline for fueling a suitable fluidized bed boiler. The pipeline can pay for itself quickly as only the installation cost from the wastewater facility to the landfill need be considered.  Additionally, Industrial solvents such as methanol and other light hydrocarbons can be produced from the readily available methane feedstock along with steam and or electricity. 

Waste Site Considerations

An ideal plant site would be an 850-acre landfill of which approximately 770 acres are used for solid waste internment. Road infrastructure would already exist to handle the associated truck waste transport traffic. Only small infrastructure changes would be needed to support an onsite waste processing facility.

Waste transport vehicles would contain an average of 11 tons of municipal trash and make 1 to 3 trips per day to the site depending on weather and other factors. The landfill could receive as much as 5000 tons of trash per day, averaging nearly 19 trucks per hour.

Engineered fuels could be manufactured from this solid refuse on approximately 5 of the remaining 70 plus acres. The solid waste would be screened to remove various metals and other non-combustible materials before processing into specified heat content fuels.

Waste Separation process

Figure two illustrates dual waste handling units separating typical recyclable materials, shredding and blending recovered solids and vehicle tires from the municipal waste to produce a serviceable fuel pellet.  It is a time and motion illustration of the effort required to produce a 24% blend of solid waste and rubber.  The chart was developed from a real waste processing pilot operation by RCR Partners of Colorado during the early 1980's.

Since that time computer model studies have shown that a 50-50 waste blend of solids and scrap tires provided a better heat content fuel at 10,221 Btu/lb suitable for a small industrial boiler consuming approximately 30 tons of fuel pellets per hour.  The 50-50 blend represents only an incremental change in processing times.

The 2010 RCR industries salvageable Materials and Byproducts chart documents recovery revenues that are used to offset the cost of manufacturing an engineered fuel which is the basis of the Figure 2 chart.  From this study, recyclable materials savings, operating and labor costs can be estimated.

Figure 2 - Solids Separation and Fuel Pellet manufacture


RCR Material Flow

Bags enter the breaker machine from the truck where large boxes and bags are opened without damaging the contents. This permits the separation of light and heavy components. Food waste is removed prior to mechanical separation.

The solid waste moves through three mechanical separators upon entering the waste handling facility to remove glass, metal cans and plastic. Separation efficiency is greater than 90%.

Material next enters the first of two identical separators, all components less than 1-½” size pass through the first separator and are collected together with any metals in a common bin. These materials require further processing to segregate glass and metal

Separator No 3 removes all fractions less than 3" x 8”. Plastics fall into a collection bin exiting the 3rd separator.

The remaining material enters the shredder and is now all light fraction material.

The shredder slices the solid waste into approximately a ¾” size. The material passes through a cyclone separator to remove any dust generated by the shredding operation. The material can then be moistened and compressed by a Cuber machine into approximately 1-1/2" x 2" size fuel pellets.

The pellets may then be conveyed to storage vessels.

Photo: Fuel Pellets conveyed to Storage


Economics

Company reports are often good sources of economic cost data. Our fuel processing cost is estimated from an RCR Partners pilot plant study for the year's 1982-'83. The ordinary expense average for these years was $2,308,500 per year and defines the fixed costs. The Jan. '84 - Mar. '11 inflation rate was 146.7%, adjusting the ordinary expenses to present costs gives $5,694,244 per year.

The following utility rates were used in the economic evaluation: Coal at $55.00/ton, electricity at 7.3 cents per kilowatt, plant water for 3.2 cents a gallon and engineered fuel expenses according to the following cost relation.  Fuel Cost/(ton) = X% * fixed cost + (1-X)% * rubber + processing

The base rate is calculated from the total production cost minus the revenue from salvageable materials separated out during the manufacturing process, i.e.  [$Cost - $Salvage]/Total Tons = $Cost/ton

The salvageable material quantities from waste separation that can be re-sold are indicated in figures 1and 2.  Ferrous metal scrap pays a max of $250/ton, Aluminum $0.75/lb and plastics $150/ton.  Salvageable tire steel belt is 2.5 lbs/tire:

Details of computer simulated quantities and expected margins in the production of an organic solvent using engineered fuel pellets may be found in the July 2012 issue of Chemical Engineering, Vol 119, No. 7


Conclusions

One of the most significant features of engineered fuels is the ability to reduce the quantity of sulfur that must be scrubbed out of atmospheric releases during combustion.  In our simulation, the computer model predicted a 20.67% reduction in SO2 emissions..

Mercury is virtually eliminated from stack gas emissions and other airborne contaminants can be significantly reduced through controlled waste blending.

Combusting Municipal waste in a controlled environment not only alleviates the need for further land repositories but may also facilitate recovery of burnable materials from many existing landfills.

Literature Cited:


1. "Methodology for Allocating Municipal Solid Waste to Biogenic and Non-Biogenic Energy", Energy Information Administration, Office of Coal, Nuclear, Electric and Alternate Fuels U.S., May 2007 Report

2. “Evaluating Green Projects – Modeling Improves Economic Benefits”, A. Williams, K. Dunwoody, Chemical Engineering – 119, 7, July 2012

3.   "Life-Cycle Assessment of Waste Management Greenhouse Gas Emissions Using Municipal Waste Combustor Data", J. Envir. Engr. 136, 749 (2010); doi:10.1061/(ASCE)EE.1943-7870.0000189 (7 pages),Brian Bahor, Michael Van Brunt, P.E., Keith Weitz, and Andrew Szurgot

4. "Multisolid Fluidized Bed Combustion", H. Nack, R.D. Litt, B.C. Kim, Chemical Engineering Progress, Jan 1984

5. "Energy Recovery from Fluidized Bed Combustion", Robert J. Sneyd, Chemical Engineering Progress, Jan 1984

6. "Methodology for Allocating Municipal Solid Waste to Biogenic and Non-Biogenic Energy", Energy Information Administration, Office of Coal, Nuclear, Electric and Alternate Fuels, May 2007 Report


Parts - Geek .. not a good choice for automobile parts!”

by Allen Williams


Recently, I had to upgrade my automobile air conditioning system from R12 to R134a. Getting AC parts for a 1991 Nissan is no easy task. After some research on the Net, I happened upon Parts Geek which seemed to have exactly what I needed at reasonable prices.

I did most of the AC work on my own car, flushing the lines, installing a new compressor, o-rings, etc. I ordered a new Filter-Drier from Parts Geek and it arrived promptly, now note their return policy:

"Return Policy - IMPORTANT PLEASE READ
We have a 30 day return policy. We must be contacted within 30 days of receipt for an RMA number. We will not accept any returns after 30 days, no exceptions. All returns including cores require an RMA number. You MUST fill out a support ticket on our website for an RMA number. We will NOT accept return requests via phone. DO NOT send back any parts without first obtaining an RMA number via e-mail, or else your credit will be delayed significantly. Please visit our website and click on Customer Service for further details."
I installed the new filter-drier and pulled down the system to 29 inches of mercury but the AC system began to leak as soon as the vacuum pump shut off. I checked the system for leaks but couldn't identify any even though the system had green dye in the PAG oil and had been run briefly.

I had to put my car in a local Kansas AC shop and they called to tell me the new Filter-Drier was defective, leaking around the sight glass. The shop replaced the filter drier, pumped it down and charged the system with R134a. It then worked fine.

Now instead of being able to repair and upgrade my auto AC system for less than $200, I wound up paying over $500 because of that defective drier not to mention the time and aggravation I experienced getting an approved RMA number to get the defective part returned for credit. And then they wouldn't pay the shipping for me to return their defective part!

You get a confirming email from Parts-Geek on any order which contains the customer order number, if you don't have that number they won't assist you. They have no other way to identify your order. And Parts Geek has no telephone contact number on their website, I had to do a separate search to acquire their 800 number. When you call, you get their automated menu so they can screen customers by the type of part ordered. Parts-Geek customer representatives are rude, not very knowledgeable and like to make you keep repeating the order number as you attempt to resolve a parts issue. Here is their order policy:


"Please do not reply to this message. This e-mail was sent from a notification-only e-mail address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. If you need to contact Customer Service, please open a support ticket on our Customer Service page.

To track your package, please visit the carriers website and simply input the tracking number. All UPS tracking numbers begin with 1Z, (e.g., 1Z69R2R70315956544) All FedEx numbers are 15 digits long and do not include any letters (e.g., 04751198048715). All US MAIL tracking numbers are 20 digits long and do not include any letters (e.g., 0123 4567 8910 1112).

* Please note that ALL tracking information may not be available immediately or at the same time. Please allow 24 hours after recieving the tracking number for the shipping carrier to update their web site.

* As indicated on our website, we do not offer weekend or holiday delivery. Therefore, any overnight or second day orders placed on Friday will not arrive until the following business day.

* If you receive a damaged package, do not accept the package. You can either refuse the package or contact the shipping carrier to refuse the package. You have 24 hours to refuse the package. We will not be responsible for the return of carrier damaged products.

* We have a 30 day return policy. No returns are accepted without a return authorization number. We must be contacted within 30 days of receipt for an RMA number. We will not accept any returns after 30 days, no exceptions."

How would you get an RMA for a carrier damaged package? The answer: You wouldn't and if that carrier turned out to be UPS, you'd likely be out the entire cost of whatever you bought.  I had to get an approved RMA to return the defective filter-drier.  I included an email from my local AC Shop indicating the filter-drier was defective.as I wasn't certain they'd take my word for it. I also had to pay to ship back the defective filter-drier; they refuse to pay any return shipping charges no matter what the circumstances. Here are some further testimonies to Parts Geek's crappy service, there are plenty of other complaints.

I was asked to rate Parts Geek on Trust Pilot: Click here to rate us on Trustpilot  I gave them one star out of five because that was as low as the system would let me go. Here was the Parts-Geek credit response on the defective filter-drier I returned.

"Please DO NOT REPLY to this message. (we will not receive it)

To contact us you MUST open a support ticket on our Customer Service page.

This is to inform you that your credit was processed today.

Invoice Number: 15-xxxxxxxx
Shipping: $9.95
Parts: $12.08
Total Credit: $22.03
"

UPDATE 7/15/2016
Bank ledger entries show the following credits from Parts-Geek..same order..same carrier..same destination


06/29/2016

 

CREDIT 1831 

06/28/16 75785902 PARTS 

GEEK, LLC 800-5419352  

NJ 

 

 

9.95

 

06/28/2016

 

CREDIT 1834 

06/27/16 78773002 PARTS 

GEEK, LLC 800-5419352  

NJ 

 

 

22.03

 
But on the second filter-drier I inadvertently ordered I only received $9.95 credit. When I asked the customer rep why I didn't get the full amount of $12.08, he hung up on me. The next time I called, I asked why is there a difference in shipping charges, i.e. (1st -drier) $22.03 - $12.08 = $9.95  and (2nd Drier) $12.08 - 9.95 = $2.13?  He claims I had to pay return shipping on an order that I refused deleivery on. This makes no sense!  You can also read my complaints on Yelp.

During the 2nd call to Parts-Geek, the customer rep said he needed to put me on hold while he checks into the shipping discrepancy and then after about 10+ minutes on hold, listening to their endless repetitive elevator music, the connection was terminated.  Both of these identical parts traveled via the same carrier to the same location, so the refund should have been the same. The order refund was INTENTIONALLY shorted, there is no other plausible explanation. No doubt, it's how they limit their expenses on damaged or defective items. Parts-Geek also overcharges you on the shipping, I spent $9.02 USPS charges to use the same carrier as Part-Geek to return a defective filter-drier to the same location that I was charged $9.95 to have it shipped to me originally from a commercial business. It's not a lot of money to be out for sure but if this is done on small orders what might you expect on a large one when returning a defective item?

Apparently, Parts Geek doesn't bother checking anything before it ships out, What's quality control? Basically you get whatever is on the shelf in whatever condition it is at the time. Who cares? They already got your money. And, they'll probably put your item right back on the shelf when they receive it and then ship it out to someone else.

Update 7/18/2016  I can see why Parts Geek is not a member of the Better Business Bureau but I went ahead and added my complaint to the New Jersey affiliate anyway, complaint ID 11568737.  I'd say the following complaints pretty much characterize Parts Geek practices, i.e. problems with Product/Service.

This business is not BBB accredited.

Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

628 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 201 closed in last 12 months
 
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 59
Billing/Collection Issues 31
Delivery Issues 104
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 20
Problems with Product/Service 414
Total Closed Complaints 628

Read Complaints | Definitions | BBB Complaint Process | File a Complaint against Parts Geek
See Trends in Complaints on Parts Geek | View Complaints Summary by Resolution Pie Chart on Parts Geek

As long as there are no consequences to their business the customer abuses at Parts Geek will continue.  Firing inept and/or rude representatives will not accomplish anything, Parts-Geek will simply train new inept and rude ones to take their place,  

UPDATE 7/22/2016

07/21/2016
CREDIT 1803 
07/20/16 74948702 PARTS 
GEEK, LLC 800-5419352  
NJ 
 
12.08

After this article posted with its BBB Parts Geek complaint history,  the company finally saw the error of their ways and repaid me for the expenses of returning the defective filter-drier and the shipping costs associated with refusing a second filter-drier.  Now that's properly serving your customers, just as JC Whitney and other great companies do.  I now recant my earlier recommendation: They need to be put out of business.

UPDATE 7/33-2018

This article may also be found on Sitejabber at  https://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/partsgeek.com#402
Note that there are 296 Parts Geek reviews at Sitejabber of which 268 are unfavorable.



Bill and Melinda Gates: Controlling Population and Public Education

by Anne Hendershott

Continuing their commitment to controlling global population growth through artificial contraception, sterilization, and abortion initiatives, Microsoft founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, a self-described “practicing” Catholic, are now attempting to control the curriculum of the nation’s public schools. Subsidizing the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $76 million to support teachers in implementing the Common Core—a standardized national curriculum.  This, on top of the tens of millions they have already awarded to the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to develop the Common Core in the first place.

Working collaboratively with the Obama administration, the Gates Foundation subsidized the creation of a national curriculum for English and mathematics that has now been adopted by 46 states, and the District of Columbia—despite the fact that the General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act all protect states against such an intrusion by the United States Department of Education.

The Common Core Standards were developed by an organization called Achieve, and the National Governors Association—both of which were funded by the Gates Foundation.  The standards have been imposed on the states without any field testing, and little or no input from those involved in implementing the standards.  In a post entitled “Why I Cannot Support the Common Core Standards,” educational policy analyst and New York University Research Professor, Diane Ravitch, wrote that the standards “are being imposed on the children of this nation despite the fact that no one has any idea how they will affect students, teachers or schools…Their creation was neither grassroots nor did it emanate from the states."

Ravitch is especially concerned about the content of the curriculum—what she called the “flap over fiction vs. informational text.”  Rather than giving English teachers the freedom to teach literature, the Common Core mandates that a far greater percentage of classroom time be spent on “fact-based” learning. Ravitch’s concerns are shared by others.  For example, one teacher claimed that she had to give up having her students read Shakespeare in favor of Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point because it was “fact-based” and Shakespeare was not. Of course, Tipping Point has a political agenda.  Parents may be concerned if they were to learn that Gladwell suggests such “facts” as the belief that parents should stop worrying about their children’s “experimentation with drugs,” including cocaine because “it seldom leads to hardcore use.”

“Fact-based” books on climate change are also replacing classic works of literature because they are viewed as offering students an opportunity to learn “science.” Freakonomics—a book that has already been a favorite of public school teachers—is preferable to Poe because students will learn about the positive effects of abortion on reducing crime rates by reducing the population of those more likely to commit crime.

While the adoption of the Common Core was “voluntary” by the 46 states that adopted it, it was well understood by these states that they would not be eligible for Race to the Top funding ($4.35 billion) unless they adopted the Common Core standards.  The Gates Foundation was very much a part of this.  According to Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post (December 2, 2012), “the Gates Foundation invested tens of millions of dollars in the effort…The Obama administration kicked the notion into high gear when it required states to adopt the common core—or an equivalent—in order to compete for Race to the Top grant funds.

Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post recently reported (February 26, 2013) that there is growing resistance. Alabama, for example, withdrew from the two consortia that are working on creating standardized tests aligned with the standards. Indiana, which adopted the Common Core in 2010 under the state education superintendent Tony Bennett, is now talking about a “pause” in the implementation of the curriculum.  Bennett was defeated in the November elections by an educator who opposed Bennett’s support for the Common Core.

Now, there are concerns that the imposition of the Common Core within the public schools could threaten the autonomy of private schools, religious schools and home schools.  An op-ed published in the Orange County Register by Robert Holland, claims that the Common Core could “morph into a national curriculum that will stifle the family-centered creativity that has fostered high rates of achievement and growth for home education…Many private and parochial schools—including those of the 100 Roman Catholic dioceses across the nation, already are adopting the CCSS prescriptions for math and English classes…Their debatable reasoning is that the rush of most state governments to embrace the national standards means publishers of textbooks and tests will fall in line, thereby leaving private schools with no practical alternatives for instructional materials.  According to October 8, 2012 article in Education Week by Erik Robelin, it is not just Catholic schools that are adopting the Common Core, some Lutheran and other denominations of Christian schools are shifting to the common core, including Grand Rapids Christian in Michigan and the Christian Academy School System in Louisville, KY.  According to Robelin, parochial school leaders claim that they must “remain competitive” with public schools and now feel pressured to adopt the Core. These are real concerns.  As Diane Ravitch points out, “Now that David Coleman, the primary architect of the Common Core standards has become president of the College Board, we can expect that SAT will be aligned to the standards.  No one will escape their reach, whether they attend public or private school.”

On February 14, 2013, Missouri legislator Kurt Bahr filed HB616 that prohibits the State Board of Education from implementing the Common Core for public schools developed by the Common Core Initiative or any other statewide education standards without the approval of the General Assembly. An increasing number of parents are voicing their concerns.  For example, Tiffany Mouritsen, a Utah mother, blogged that the American Institutes for Research (AIR), the primary source for Common Core testing is a major concern for her:  “AIR markets its values which includes promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual agenda for teens, and publicizes its client list (including George Soros and Bill and Melinda Gates).”  In a column published in January, political commentator Michelle Malkin calls the Common Core a “stealthy federal takeover of school curriculum and standards across the country.” And, she maintains that the Common Core’s “dubious college and career read standards undermine local control of education, usurp state autonomy over curricular materials, and foist untested, mediocre and incoherent pedagogical theories on America’s schoolchildren."

The Gates Foundation: Buying Control

The promise of federal funds to states in order to “encourage” them to adopt the Common Core is nothing new.  Our government has been doing this both nationally and internationally for decades.  In a 2008 book entitled Fatal Misconception, author Matthew Connelly writes that in the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson leveraged food aid for family planning during crop failures in India, thus creating an incentive for the sterilization program.  India’s Ministry of Health and Family Planning admitted that, “The large number of sterilizations and IUD insertions during 1967-68 was due to drought conditions.”  Eventually, more sophisticated incentives such as bicycles and radios were used to encourage women to accept sterilization.  Connelly writes that under Indira Gandhi in the mid-1970s sterilization became a condition not just for land allotments, but for irrigation water, electricity, ration cards, rickshaw licenses, medical care, pay raises and promotions.  There were sterilization quotas—especially for the Dalits (the untouchable caste) who were targeted for family planning.

While the Gates Foundation has not been involved in anything this coercive, they have indeed been very much involved in giving aid to those countries willing to participate in family planning initiatives.   For nearly two decades, the Gates Foundation has been generous in providing aid to more than 100 countries—often coupled with family planning opportunities.  Such aid is often framed as a way to foster economic growth.  In an article in American Thinker, Andressen Blom and James Bell wrote that Melinda Gates made that connection explicit in a speech at a population gathering that “government leaders are now beginning to understand that providing access to contraceptives is a cost effective way to foster economic growth.”

Bill Gates revealed his own population goals in February, 2010, at the invitation-only Technology, Entertainment and Design Conference in Long Beach, California, when he gave his keynote speech on global warming: “Innovating to Zero!” In a youtube video available here,  Gates stated that CO2 emissions must be reduced to zero by 2050 and advised those in attendance that population had much to do with the increase in CO2.  Claiming that each individual on the planet puts out an average of about five tons of CO2 per year, Gates stated that “Somehow we have to make changes that will bring that down to zero…It has been constantly going up. It’s only various economic changes that have even flattened it at all.”  To illustrate, Gates presented the following equation: CO2 (total population emitted CO2 per year) = P (people) x S (services per person) x E (average energy per service) x C (average CO2 emitted per unit of energy).  Gates told the audience that “probably one of these numbers is going to have to get pretty near to zero.  That’s a fact from high school algebra.”  For Gates, the P (population) portion of the equation is the most important: “If we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”

Gates maintains that improvements in health care—including an expansion of the administration of vaccinations—will encourage families to reduce the number of children they desire to have.  And, in an ongoing attempt to expand the types of birth control, Gates has spent millions of dollars on research and development.  According to Christian Voice, a few years ago the Gates Foundation awarded a grant of $100,000 to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to develop a new type of ultrasound described as a “non-invasive form of birth control for men” which would make a man infertile for up to six months.

Such strategies have been effective.   In fact, the Gates Foundation has been so successful in their family planning initiatives that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) awarded their annual Population Award in 2010 to the Foundation.  According to a June 15, 2010 article in Mercator.net, at the awards ceremony, UNFPA executive director Thoraya Obaid cited the Gates Foundation as a “leader in the fields of global health and global development, particularly in promoting excellence in population assistance, including through the design of innovative, integrated solutions in the areas of reproductive health, family planning, and maternal and neonatal health.”  The International Planned Parenthood Federation is a previous winner of the United Nations Population Fund’s Annual Award.

It is easy to understand why the United Nations Population Fund—a fund which Steven Mosher, the President of the Population Research Institute has exposed as being a direct participant in China’s coercive one-child policy—honored Gates with their prestigious Population Fund award since the Gates Foundation has donated more than one billion dollars to “family-planning” groups including the United Nations Population Fund itself; CARE International—an organization which is lobbying for legalized abortion in several African nations; Save the Children—a major promoter of the population control agenda, the World Health Organizationan organization that forcibly sterilized thousands of women in the 1990s under the pretence of providing tetanus vaccination services in Nicaragua, Mexico and the Philippines; and of course, the major abortion provider, International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Bill and Melinda Gates truly believe that population control is key to the future.  Plans are already in place to track births and vaccinations through cell phone technology to register every birth on the planet.  Gates claims that the GPS technology would enable officials to track and “remind” parents who do not bring their children in for vaccines.   Maintaining that vaccination is key to reducing population growth, Gates predicts that if child mortality can be reduced, parents will have fewer children, following the example of the urbanized West where birth rates have dropped to below replacement levels: “The fact is that within a decade of improving health outcomes, parents decide to have fewer children.”   For Gates, “there is no such thing as a healthy, high population growth country.  If you’re healthy, you’re low-population growth… As the world grows from 6 billion to 9 billion, all of that population growth is in urban slums…It’s a very interesting problem.”

More than a decade ago, on May 17, 2002, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had purchased shares in nine of the largest pharmaceutical companies valued at nearly $205 million.  Acquiring shares in Merck, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson Wyeth, Abbott Labs, and others, the Gates Foundation continues a financial interest in common with the makers of AIDS drugs, diagnostic tools, vaccines, and contraceptives.  But, the commitment to global population control goes well beyond financial interests.  It is likely that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will continue its commitment to global population control, and now, curriculum creation in the nation’s schools because they truly believe that they know better than anyone else how we all should live.

A Product of Poor Catholic Education

It is difficult to believe the claims of Bill and Melinda Gates that they are not involved in the abortion industry when you look at the relationships they have with organizations like the International Planned Parenthood Federation—the largest abortion provider in the world.  According to the National Catholic Register, Melinda Gates represents herself in the media as a practicing Catholic who has a great uncle who was a Jesuit priest and a great aunt who was an Ursuline nun who taught her to read.  She graduated from Ursuline Academy in Dallas, where she claims to have learned “incredible social justice.”  And, this may indeed be where the problem begins.  For so many Catholics, social justice has been so broadly defined that it now includes giving women access to reproductive rights—including the right to abortion—so that they can play an equal role in contributing to the workplace and the economy.  In an article entitled “Why Birth Control is Still a Big Idea” published in Foreign Policy in December, 2012, Melinda Gates writes:

Contraceptives unlock one of the most dormant but potentially powerful assets in development:  women as decision makers.  When women have the power to make choices about their families, they tend to decide precisely what demographers, economists, and development experts recommend.

Most recently, in a January 2, 2013 article published on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website entitled “Profiles in Courage: Philippines Passes Reproductive Health Bill,” the article congratulates all of those who helped bring expanded access to “reproductive health” through the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012—recently signed by President Aquino. This bill states that women and men—living in the most Catholic of Catholic countries—can now “decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.”   What the Gates Foundation website omits is information about the provision within the bill involving “population management” through mandatory counseling of couples seeking marriage licenses.  In this case, social justice involves a demand that couples learn about the government’s views on an ideal family size of two children—coming one step closer to China in its government’s one-child policy.

This commitment to a distorted definition of social justice by Melinda and Bill Gates will likely continue because they have been lead to believe that such control is what is best for people.  The Core Curriculum is really just another component of population control—it is used to help teach children the “facts” about climate change and problems of over-population.  Indeed, the population agenda is a trap that many wealthy, highly intelligent people have fallen into in the past. From the wealthy eugenics supporters of Planned Parenthood’s Founder Margaret Sanger, to the Rockefeller family and their population control initiatives, this work continues today through their heirs—heirs like David Rockefeller—an ally of Bill and Melinda Gates.  And some influential Catholics have been complicit in this.  At one time, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame served as a trustee, and later, Chairman of the Board of the Rockefeller Foundation, a funder of population causes counter to the teachings of the Church.

The population control initiatives promoted by the Gates Foundation will continue to grow nationally and internationally because they have convinced others and themselves that they are saving lives. On their website, they ask: “what is more life affirming than saving one third of mothers from dying in childbirth?”   What they do not seem to acknowledge is how many unborn children have died from their initiatives.

317


Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology at Franciscan University in Steubenville. Previously, she taught for fifteen years as a tenured faculty member at the University of San Diego. She is the author of Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education and The Politics of Abortion.