You Just Got To Read This ! Hypocrisy Unbound!

Obama Denounces “Special Interests” At The University of Chicago . . . And Then Quietly Accepts $400,000 For First Speech From Wall Street Special Interests

April 25, 2017 jonathanturley

President Barack Obama was at my alma mater yesterday and used his first public statements to decry how “special interests dominate the debates in Washington.” Then will now be setting off for his first speech . . . to Wall Street special interests at Cantor Fitzgerald, which will pay him $400,000. This is the same politician who called such banks “fat cats” who exercise undue influence over our leaders.

Cantor Fitzgerald, a bank, has been touting how it is making a killing on health care investments. Now, the man who created the health care program will be receiving almost half a million dollars for a single brief speech. It raises visions of Hillary Clinton who cashed in on Wall Street speeches while denouncing the influence of Wall Street (and later refused to disclose the content of those speeches to the public).

One distinction is that Hillary pulled in only half of what Obama is demanding from Wall Street and powerful interests.

Of course, Obama was criticized for the level of influence of both Wall Street investors and powerful lobbies like the pharmaceutical industry on his policies. He was accused of packing his administration with lobbyists and breaking his promises on limiting the power of lobbies.

What is hilarious about our current system is that we have all of these bribery and influence peddling laws in place. However, if Wall Street or lobbyists give a former president half a million dollars for less than one hour of speaking soon after leaving office, it is entirely acceptable from a legal standpoint. So long as there is no quid pro quo, there is nothing legal wrong with absurd amounts of money going to a president as soon as he leaves office. At this rate, just 100 hours of work will put Obama near the $100 million goal surpassed by the Clintons, who virtually walked around with credit card swipers on their belt to facilitate payments from special interests.

In his speech, Obama encouraged people to work on the community level to influence change. He appears to be starting with the small Wall Street community of influence peddlers in his own quest for social justice.

Two Bungling Canadian Provinces

Two Bungling Canadian Provinces–Far East and Far West

The two provincial bookends of the Canadian Federation , Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia are cozy bedfellows when it comes to sanctioning billion dollar hydro projects without due process. .

Both have embarked on theses projects; Muskrat Falls in Newfoundland and Labrador and Site C in British Columbia even though the Joint( Federal / Provincial ) Environment Reviews of both projects recommended further independent review.

And in both cases the Provinces deliberately exempted the projects from their already established Public Utilities Review process .

This boggles the mind and calls into question the very nature very of our governance system in this country.

The Muskrat Falls Project on the Churchill River in Labrador is now well underway . The power to be generated is 824 Mega Watts . It was to cost in 2010, (The Joint Review Report) according to NALCOR, the Provincial Crown Corporation, the Corporation developing the project , around $4 billion ( $2.9 billion on site and $1.6 billion transmission lines) for a total of $4.5 billion. . It is now estimated by NALCOR that that cost is almost $12 billion . Some will argue the price quoted at that time was $6.4 billion. But that number included an extra project , Gull Island .

The Site C project is on the Peace River in North Eastern British Columbia. The project is underway but is not as far advanced as Muskrat. Its cost , according to BC Hydro, the Crown Corporation developing the project , is $8.3 billion .

Here is what the Joint Review Panel for the Newfoundland and Labrador Project said:

‘August , 2011

4.1

The Panel concludes that, in light of the uncertainties associated with transmission for export markets from Gull Island, Nalcor has not demonstrated the justification of the Project as a whole in energy and economic terms.

The Panel further concludes that there are outstanding questions for each of Muskrat Falls and Gull Island regarding their ability to deliver the projected long-term financial benefits to the Province, even if other sanctioning requirements were met. ‘

It went on to say :

‘RECOMMENDATION 4.1 Government confirmation of projected long-term returns

The Panel recommends that, if the Project is approved, before making the sanction decision for each of Muskrat Falls and Gull Island, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador undertake a separate and formal review of the projected cash flow of the Project component being considered for sanctioning (either Muskrat Falls or Gull Island) to confirm whether that component would in fact provide significant long-term financial returns to Government for the benefit of the people of the Province. Such financial returns must be over and above revenues required to cover operating costs, expenditures for monitoring, mitigation and adaptive management, and financial obligations to Innu Nation. The Panel further recommends that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador base these reviews on information on energy sales, costs and market returns that have been updated at the time of sanction decision, and make the results of the reviews public at that time. The financial reviews should also take into account the results of the independent alternatives assessment recommended in Recommendation 4.2.’

Here is what the Joint Review Panel said for Site C:

‘Page 337 –of the Joint Review Report

The Panel cannot conclude on the likely accuracy of Project cost estimates because it does not have the information, time, or resources. This affects all further calculations of unit costs, revenue requirements, and rates.
RECOMMENDATION 46

If it is decided that the Project should proceed, a first step should be the referral of Project costs and hence unit energy costs and revenue requirements to the BC Utilities Commission for detailed examination. ‘

These recommendations from both reports come from panels that were set up by the Governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia and the Federal Government .’

What did both Provincial Governments do after these independent reports were released ?

Ignored them!

Both Governments sanctioned the projects without an independent review requested by both reports .

Now , since the Muskrat Project has begun it has run into all sorts of cost overruns and is now hovering around $12 billion according to NALCOR .

In the case of Site C , the final cost is unknown . But!

A new study by the University of British Columbia , just released calls
for the project to be stopped and a full independent review undertaken . It says , contrary to BC Hydro claims, that it is not the cheapest or cleanest alternative for the Province and that proper First Nation involvement was not done especially given First Nation legal action is underway yet the project was given sanction.

‘UBC Report

The merits of the business case and infringement on Treaty rights should have been assessed before Site C was approved. This is simple common sense.

Our research indicates that proceeding with Site C may result in hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars of unnecessary costs, for a project that will have an unprecedented environmental impact. It is imperative that the Site C Project be referred to the BC Utilities Commission, so that we can take a sober second look.’

Unfortunately , in Newfoundland and Labrador’s case , just a small band of commentators have taken up the obvious bungling . And although their comments and analysis have all been public , little traction has resulted.

In British Columbia’s case , it seems out of sight , out of mind with little substantial investigative analysis—-until now with the UBC report.

The manner in which these projects have been handled by the respective Provincial Governments should cause the public to rise up and demand accountability .

Saudi Arabia on UN Commission For the Status of Women ? You are Kidding! No I am Not!

As UN Watch says:

“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “It’s absurd — and morally reprehensible.”

“This is a black day for women’s rights, and for all human rights,” said Neuer.

“Saudi discrimination against women is gross and systematic in law and in practice. Every Saudi woman,” said Neuer, “must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death. Saudi Arabia bans women from driving cars. Why did the U.N. choose the world’s leading promoter of gender inequality to sit on its gender equality commission?”

How can any one have faith in our so called elites and other ‘leaders’ when this is allowed to happen to an agency that is suppose to fight for human rights.

So the ordinary person, looks at his or her television and sees and hears that one of the great anti women regimes in the world gets elected to a Commission of the Staus of Women , charged with the responsibility to support equality for women .

And then theses elites ask why so many are fearful of globalization ?

Ask, no more !

This is exibit A.

American Political Constipation

The Republicans have put themselves in a real bind, haven’t they?

Here we are a week away from a probable shut down of Government operations, a stumbling Congress on Heathcare and Tax Reform and a Wall that most of Congress apparently does not want. The approval rating of the President is at record lows.

The golden opportunity that this presents to the Democrats is something that they could only dream about a few short months ago. But , of course, they have their own problems; many still clinging to the corrupt Clinton legacy , while many others are dogmatic on taking the party further to the left, Sanders like, than most Americans do not want to go.

And then a lot of Academia have become so far removed from what is happening on Main Street that political correctness has taken the cherished open discourse of Universities down the road of stifling free speech and acting child like when things do not go their way. Then, the so-called scientists among them , seeing their cherished projects threatened , begin to march on the streets of the country. Too bad they did not participate just as vigorously when the election was on. Add then the media to the mix , who no longer can recognize a fact when they see one and you have a sad state of affairs.

Rent Control and Thomas Sowell

Vancouver and Toronto are into to this silly business of rent control . Why not some basic economics!

I thought it might be worthwhile to read what one of my economic heroes had to say about it not that long ago.

by THOMAS SOWELL November 2, 2016

Politicians spread economic hokum in their attempts to get elected, and citizens ought to hold them accountable.

It is especially painful for me, as an economist, to see that two small cities in northern California — San Mateo and Burlingame — have rent-control proposals on the ballot this election year. There are various other campaigns, in other places around the country, for and against minimum-wage laws, which likewise make me wonder if the economics profession has failed to educate the public in the most elementary economic lessons.

Neither rent-control nor minimum-wage laws — nor price-control laws in general — are new. Price-control laws go back as far as ancient Egypt and Babylon, and they have been imposed at one time or other on every inhabited continent.

History alone should be able to tell us what the actual consequences of such laws have been, since they have been around for thousands of years.

Anyone who has taken a course in Economics 1 should understand why those consequences have been so different from what their advocates expected. It is not rocket science. Nevertheless, advocates of a rent-control law are saying things like “this will prevent some landlords from gouging tenants and making a ton of money off the housing crisis.”

The reason there is a housing crisis in the first place is that existing laws in much of California prevent enough housing from being built to supply the apartments and homes that people want. If landlords were all sweethearts, and never raised rents, that would still not get one new building built.

Rising rents are a symptom of the problem.

The actual cause of the problem is a refusal of many California officials to allow enough housing to be built for all the people who want to rent an apartment.

Supply and demand is one of the first things taught in introductory economics textbooks.

Why it should be a mystery to people living in an upscale community — people who have probably graduated from an expensive college — is the real puzzle.

Supply and demand is not a breakthrough on the frontiers of knowledge. A century ago, virtually any economist could have explained why preventing housing from being built would lead to higher rents, and why rent control would further widen the gap between the amount of housing supplied and the amount demanded. Not to mention such other consequences as a faster deterioration of existing housing, since upkeep gets neglected when there is a housing shortage.

Today’s economists have advanced to far more complicated problems. It is as if we had the world’s greatest mathematicians but most college graduates couldn’t do arithmetic.

Part of the problem is that even our most prestigious colleges seldom have any real curriculum requirements that would ensure that their graduates had at least a basic understanding of economics, history, mathematics, science, or other fundamental subjects. Many students and their parents spend great amounts of money, and go into debt, for an education that too often leaves them illiterate in economics and ignorant of many other subjects.

Part of the problem is that many college graduates do not take a single course in economics. Another part of the problem is that many economics departments leave the teaching of introductory economics in the hands of some junior or transient faculty member, or even graduate students who get stuck with the job.

One of the things that made me proud of the economics department at UCLA when I taught there, decades ago, was that teaching the introductory economics course was the job of a full professor, even if not the same professor every year.

In all too many subjects today, the introductory course is taught by junior faculty, transient faculty, or graduate students, while the full professors teach only upper-level courses or postgraduate courses. That may save a department the expense of staffing the introductory course with their more highly paid members. But, it is extravagantly expensive from the standpoint of society as a whole, when it means sending graduates out into the world unable to see through the wasteful economic hokum spread by politicians.

That is how you get ill-informed voters who support price controls of many kinds, without understanding that prices convey economic realities that do not change just because the government changes the prices.

It is as if someone’s fever was treated by putting the thermometer in cold water to bring the temperature reading down. You don’t get more housing with rent control. —

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His website is tsowell.com. © 2016 Creators Syndicate Inc.

We don’t Know Any Better

From WSJ

By Ray Jayawardhana
April 21, 2017 5:35 p.m. ET

We live in a “me, me, me” world. Interest in the self, and its assorted extensions, appears to trump all else. Smug politicians and overhyped celebrities are not the only ones to suffer from this common affliction. Astronomers, who might be expected to develop a broader—humbler?—perspective on account of their majestic subject matter, tend to be self-centered in their own way.

I am speaking here of our predilection to judge all other worlds by how closely they resemble ours.

Over the past quarter-century, scientists have identified thousands of planets orbiting stars other than the sun, confirming that our solar system is merely one among tens of billions or more in the Milky Way galaxy alone. The diversity of planets and planetary systems they have uncovered is truly astounding: speedy gas giants in star-hugging orbits, Tatooine-like worlds with double sunsets, rocky globes both scorched and frozen.

Yet we continue to obsess over finding an identical twin of our planet circling an identical twin of our sun. The reasoning is that such a setting would offer the best odds of harboring life. Some have called this idealized world Earth 2.0; others have dubbed it Mirror Earth.

Last August, when evidence of a planet around Proxima Centauri, the sun’s nearest stellar neighbor, came to light, both the researchers themselves and the media reports emphasized its “Earthlike” characteristics. Some glossed over glaring differences between that world and ours. Proxima b, as the planet was dubbed, orbits an active red dwarf star, much less massive than the sun and much more prone to releasing hazardous flares. With a year that is only 11 Earth-days long, Proxima b is almost certainly tidally locked, with one hemisphere baked in constant heat while the other remains in eternal darkness. What’s more, the planet may have lost much of its water and other volatile substances long ago.

In February, when astronomers reported the discovery of a remarkable retinue of seven planets around the nearby star Trappist-1, again the headlines highlighted that they are “Earth-size,” roughly speaking, and that at least three may possess “temperate” climates, like that of the Earth. Trappist-1 is so puny that it barely qualifies as a star, though it may emit lethal doses of ultraviolet radiation. Its planetary orbits are so squashed that all seven would fit well inside Mercury’s orbit around the sun. Does that sound remotely like a replica of our solar system? Obviously not.

But I would argue that we have more to learn from the Trappist-1 planetary system precisely because it is so starkly different from ours. Its mere existence—a prosaic star with a rich entourage of potentially rocky planets—speaks to the ubiquity of such worlds in the galaxy.

It is tempting to believe that there is something extraordinary, or special, about our cosmic circumstances. In fact, some have argued that complex life on Earth emerged through a series of improbable events that are unlikely to be repeated elsewhere, despite the vastness of space and the immensity of cosmic time.

But the real reason for our preoccupation with finding a carbon copy of the Earth is that we don’t know any better. So far, we are aware of only one planet with life—ours—so we are inclined to believe that it must represent the platonic ideal, just as Gottfried Leibniz argued three centuries ago.

In fact, there are good reasons to think that in some cases planets somewhat bigger than ours, so called super-Earths, would provide more-stable conditions. What’s more, planets around red dwarfs, with lifetimes much longer than the sun’s, would offer much more time for the emergence and evolution of life. As a practical matter, it is easier to search for signs of life from afar on a super-Earth around a red dwarf than on a smaller, Earth-size world orbiting a bigger, sun-like star. That’s why the exoplanet announced this week will be a prime target for the James Webb Space Telescope, to be launched next year.

If the plethora of exoplanet discoveries to date has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. Thus, focusing narrowly on “Earthlike” planets in our search for habitable abodes seems unwise. Five centuries after Copernicus, it is about time that we cast aside our geocentric perspective of other worlds and life in the universe.

Mr. Jayawardhana, an astrophysicist and the dean of science at York University in Toronto, is author of “Strange New Worlds” (Princeton University Press, 2011).

Scientists Protesting?

Begun in the US, scientists in many cities around the world are ‘protesting’ the fact that they may not be receiving the funds from Governments to which they have become accustomed .

This comes as a shock to me , and I am sure other Canadians , who thought with the elevation of our dear Princeling, scientists would be out on the streets not protesting lack of funds but kneeling in the public square thanking the Liberal Government for their largess and commitment to scientific research. Seems this did not happen . Rather, Junior Trudeau and his minions , true to Government procrastination , frequently highlighted especially in Liberal Party Governance, set up a committee to look at overall research in Canada. That Committee has now reported and highlights that Canada is falling behind in the level of Government sponsored research as compared to many of its peers. The report is titled:

‘INVESTING IN CANADA’S FUTURE
Strengthening the Foundations of Canadian Research’

Its a good read .

What , of course, is not mentioned by this Committee of ‘Learned’ Canadians, is the fact that in very short order the Trudeau Government has spent money like druken sailors and we are now in permanent deficit for the foreseeable future. So , pray tell, where is the extra money to come from for the billions extra that the scientists say they legitimately need in order to stay competitive in the international research world? If these scientists say we mustdo our part on helping mankind , don’t you think that this would also apply to ensuring that we do not leave a legacy of debt to out grandchildren? Or does this suddenly become beyond their realm of expertise–a little addition and subtraction? Methinks their world is narrow , the antithesis of what they are suppose to be about.

The other problem today’s scientists have is that thay have allowed their ‘ profession’ to become inhabited by pseudo scientists who sole aim is to sputter catastrophe with flawed research . The Climate area is one in particular that has showed itself to be unscientific and has allowed itself to be bamboozled by ideologues who have tried to shut down legitimate criticism , going so far in Bjorn Lomborg’s case, as to try and have him essentially barred , which of course, failed miserably. The fake hockey stick theory that was destroyed by Canadian researches is another case in point , and the shaky models used by the IPCC.

Unless and until scientists face their problem of the lack of scientific rigour and allowing science to become political , as we all know it has , they will remain on the sidelines of government budget allocation.

The CBC report on this , this morning talks of the scientists being afraid to use the word protest thinking they then will get linked with all those lesser mortals seeking Government money . As if they have not already crossed that Rubicon in their many catastrophic protestations on climate .