Quote of the Day 05/12/12

“If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything … quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States.” – Justice Clarence Thomas U. S. Supreme Court Justice

Time to terminate Big Wind subsidies by Paul Driessen

– and protect environmental values, endangered species, jobs and human welfare

Unprecedented! As bills to extend seemingly perpetual wind energy subsidies were again introduced by industry lobbyists late last year, taxpayers finally decided they’d had enough.

Informed and inspired by a loose but growing national coalition of groups opposed to more giveaways with no scientifically proven net benefits, thousands of citizens called their senators and representatives – and rounded up enough Nay votes to run four different bills aground. For once, democracy worked.

A shocked American Wind Energy Association and its allies began even more aggressive recruiting of well-connected Democrat and Republican political operatives and cosponsors – and introducing more proposals like HR 3307 to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC). Parallel efforts were launched in state legislatures, to maintain mandates, subsidies, feed-in tariffs, renewable energy credits, and other “temporary” ratepayer and taxpayer obligations.

This “emerging industry” is “vitally important” to our energy future, supporters insisted. It provides “clean energy” and “over 37,000” jobs that “states can’t afford to lose.” It helps prevent global warming.

None of these sales pitches holds up under objective scrutiny, and their growing awareness of this basic reality has finally made many in Congress inclined to eliminate this wasteful spending on wind power.

Entitlement advocates are petrified at that possibility. Crony corporatist lobbyists and politicians have built a small army to take on beleaguered taxpayers, rate payers and business owners who say America can no longer afford to spend more borrowed money, to prop up energy policies that drive up electricity costs, damage the environment, and primarily benefit foreign conglomerates and a privileged few.

To confront the growing onslaught of wind industry pressure and propaganda, citizens should understand the fundamental facts about wind energy. Here are some of the top reasons for opposing further handouts.

Energy 101. It is impossible to have wind turbines without fossil fuels, especially natural gas. Turbines average only 30% of their “rated capacity” – and less than 5% on the hottest and coldest days, when electricity is needed most. They produce excessive electricity when it is least needed, and electricity cannot be stored for later use. Hydrocarbon-fired backup generators must run constantly, to fill the gap and avoid brownouts, blackouts, and grid destabilization due to constant surges and falloffs in electricity to the grid. Wind turbines frequently draw electricity from the grid, to keep blades turning when the wind is not blowing, reduce strain on turbine gears, and prevent icing during periods of winter calm.

Energy 201. Despite tens of billions in subsidies, wind turbines still generate less than 3% of US electricity. Thankfully, conventional sources keep our country running – and America still has centuries of hydrocarbon resources. It’s time our government allowed us to develop and use those resources.

Economics 101. It is likewise impossible to have wind turbines without perpetual subsidies – mostly money borrowed from Chinese banks and future generations. Wind has never been able to compete economically with traditional energy, and there is no credible evidence that it will be able to in the foreseeable future, especially with abundant natural gas costing one-fourth what it did just a few years ago. It thus makes far more sense to rely on the plentiful, reliable, affordable electricity sources that have powered our economy for decades, build more gas-fired generators – and recycle wind turbines into useful products (while preserving a few as museum exhibits).

Economics 201. As Spain, Germany, Britain and other countries have learned, wind energy mandates and subsidies drive up the price of electricity – for families, factories, hospitals, schools, offices and shops. They squeeze budgets and cost jobs. Indeed, studies have found that two to four traditional jobs are lost for every wind or other “green” job created. That means the supposed 37,000 jobs (perpetuated by $5 billion to $10 billion in combined annual subsidies, or $135,000 to $270,000 per wind job) are likely costing the United States 74,000 to 158,000 traditional jobs, while diverting billions from far more productive uses.

Environment 101. Industrial wind turbine projects require enormous quantities of rare earth metals, concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and other raw materials, for highly inefficient turbines, multiple backup generators and thousands of miles of high-voltage transmission lines. Extracting and processing these materials, turning them into finished components, and shipping and installing the turbines and power lines involve enormous amounts of fossil fuel and extensive environmental damage. Offshore wind turbine projects are even more expensive, resource intensive and indefensible. Calling wind energy “clean” or “eco-friendly” is an extraordinary distortion of the facts.

Environment 201. Wind turbines, transmission lines and backup generators also require vast amounts of crop, scenic and wildlife habitat land. Where a typical 600-megawatt coal or gas-fired power plant requires 250-750 acres, to generate power 90-95% of the year, a 600-MW wind installation needs 40,000 to 50,000 acres (or more), to deliver 30% performance. And while gas, coal and nuclear plants can be built close to cities, wind installations must go where the wind blows, typically hundreds of miles away – adding thousands of additional acres to every project for transmission lines.

Environment 301. Sometimes referred to as “Cuisinarts of the air,” US wind turbines also slaughter nearly half a million eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures, ducks, geese, bats and other rare, threatened, endangered and otherwise protected flying creatures every year. (Those aren’t song birds killed by house cats, and this may be a conservative number, as coyotes and turbine operator cleanup crews remove much of the evidence.) But while oil companies are prosecuted for the deaths of even a dozen common ducks, turbine operators have been granted a blanket exemption from endangered and migratory species laws and penalties. Now the US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a formal rule to allow repeated “takings” (killings) of bald and golden eagles by wind turbines – in effect granting operators a 007 license to kill.

Environment 401. Scientific support for CO2-driven catastrophic manmade global warming continues to diminish. Even if carbon dioxide does contribute to climate change, there is no evidence that even thousands of US wind turbines will affect future global temperatures by more than a few hundredths of a degree. Not only do CO2 emissions from backup generators (and wind turbine manufacturing) offset any reductions by the turbines, but rapidly increasing emissions from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and other rapidly developing countries dwarf any possible US wind-related CO2 reductions.

Human Health and Welfare 101. Skyrocketing electricity prices due to “renewable portfolio standards” raise heating and air conditioning costs; drive families into fuel poverty; increase food, medical, school and other costs; and force companies to lay off workers, further impairing their families’ health and welfare. The strobe-light effect, annoying audible noise, and inaudible low-frequency sound from whirling blades result in nervous fatigue, headaches, dizziness, irritability, sleep problems, and vibro-acoustic effects on people’s hearts and lungs. Land owners receive royalties for having turbines on their property, but neighbors receive no income and face adverse health effects, decreased property values and difficulty selling their homes. Formerly close-knit communities are torn apart.

Real World Civics 101. Politicians take billions from taxpayers, ratepayers and profitable businesses, to provide subsidies to Big Wind companies, who buy mostly Made Somewhere Else turbines – and then contribute millions to the politicians’ reelection campaigns, to keep the incestuous cycle going.

It is truly government gone wild – GSA on steroids. It is unsustainable. It is a classic SWINDle.

Citizens can contact senators, congressmen, congressional committees and state representatives – to demand science-based energy policies. These reasons could be a good way to start the conversation.
___________
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author or Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

Voters Are Confused on Taxes, And Obama Likes It That Way

Taxes: A new IBD/TIPP poll finds most back President Obama’s soak-the-rich Buffett tax rule. But they also want dividend and capital gains taxes kept low to encourage investment and growth. Problem is, you can’t do both.

The IBD/TIPP survey found that 55% of Americans think investment income should be “taxed at a lower rate than wages.” Even 38% of Democrats believe this. And, not too surprisingly, 65% of investors concur.

They’re right. Investment earnings already get taxed at the corporate level at 35% before they can be distributed as dividends. And capital gains aren’t indexed for inflation. Both tax provisions end up penalizing investments rather than encouraging them.

Obama’s own Economic Recovery Advisory Board pointed to this problem, noting in a 2010 report on tax reform that a number of OECD countries have made changes to their tax code to avoid double-taxing investment income.

The problem is that in the very next breath, the public says it wants to tax the rich more.

In fact, 64% say they support Obama’s so-called Buffett Rule, which would create a new alternative minimum tax for millionaires, forcing them to pay at least 30% of their income in taxes. Incredibly, 42% of Republicans support the Buffet Rule and, even more incredibly, 63% of investors do.

Just one minor hitch. You can’t keep investment taxes low and soak the rich at the same time. The simple truth is that the rich account for most of the investments made in this country, and returns on these investments comprise a far larger share of their incomes. Just ask Warren Buffett himself, or Mitt Romney.

Read more from IBD Editorials

Global Reality: Surplus of Labor, Scarcity of Paid Work by CHARLES HUGH SMITH

The global economy is facing a structural surplus of labor and a scarcity of paid work. Here is the critical backdrop for the global recession that is unfolding and the stated desire of central banks and states everywhere for “economic growth”: most of the so-called “growth” since the 2008 global financial meltdown was funded by sovereign debt and “free money” spun by central banks, not organic growth based on rising earned incomes.

Take away the speculation dependent on “free money” and the global stimulus dependent on massive quantities of fresh debt, and how much “growth” would be left?

What policy makers and pundits dare not admit is that the global economy is entering the “end of paid work” foreseen by Jeremy Rifkin. I have covered this topic in depth many times, starting with End of Work, End of Affluence (December 5, 2008).

The industries that are rapidly increasing productivity and profits are doing so by eliminating jobs and the need for labor. The Web is chewing up industry after industry, wiping out entire sectors that once supported hundreds of thousands of jobs while creating a few thousand new jobs that require high-level skills and mobility.

Read more fromFamily Security Matters

Why They Still Call Him President by JB Williams

Some still call Barack Obama president out of pure ignorance, but others brilliantly call him President with a very specific agenda in mind. It’s all over but the crying now as Article II of the U.S. Constitution is officially dead.

Since the nobody Senator from nowhere rose to DNC fame during the 2004 DNC Convention and was subsequently hustled into the highest office in our land despite his blank résumé and invisible past, people have been desperately searching for an honest forum in which to ask Who is this yahoo, where did he come from and how the hell did he become America’s first openly Marxist White House resident?

Why isn’t there a single honest journalist or court anywhere in the country willing to even entertain the litany of obvious questions which the Marxist-in-Chief has effortlessly dodged since 2004?

For some, ignorance is bliss, until they find out the ultimate price of ignorance. But for others, there is a very clear agenda in play and Obama is indeed the Muslim Messiah who is ushering in real change at breakneck speed. It just isn’t the kind of change people expected when they foolishly voted for the first class traitor in 2008.

Back in June of 2011, I exposed evidence of congressional efforts to alter or eliminate Article II Natural Born requirements for the offices of President and Vice President in the run-up to the Obama Era. Both Democrats and Republicans scrambled to eliminate the limitations on who can and cannot hold the highest offices in our land, failing in at least eight different attempts. So, they are removing it via precedent.

The Clintons had the dirt on Obama but refused to use it to defend against Obama’s assault on Queen Hillary, the expected DNC nominee for 2008.

In return, Hillary became Obamas Secretary of State, helping him take down Middle Eastern allies and raising the Muslim Brotherhood to Middle Eastern leadership.

Read more from Pronline News.com