From the archives: Effort to block new technology defies scientific evidence

An editorial from the annals of history to illustrate a problem:

Federal scientists have rewritten the conclusion of a report in order to cast doubt on the safety of alternating current electricity in residential and commercial dwellings.

Last week the federal Agency of Scientific Enquiry issued the final version of a five-year study evaluating the safety of electricity. The draft report released last year for public comment concluded that electricity has not “led to widespread, systemic impact.” The agency’s research findings haven’t changed, but its conclusion has.

After being barraged by plaintiff attorneys and various naysayers, including Broadway actors, the agency in its final report substituted its determination of no “widespread, systemic impact” with the hypothetical that electricity “can impact the potential for residential hazards of fire and electrocution under some circumstances” and that “impacts can range in frequency and severity” depending on the circumstances.

Hazards of electricity

Hazards of electricity

Any technology has the potential to inflict some damage — even smelly and noisy gasoline-powered automobiles. The feds explain that electricity can cause danger if incorrectly handled, which happened in a Wyoming test in which wiring was not properly shielded and grounded.
Yet after reviewing more than 1,000 studies, the agency couldn’t find more than limited evidence — mostly alleged by plaintiff attorneys — of operational failures causing fires and shocks to humans. The fact that the agency uncovered only a few instances of problems among a million some installations reinforces its prior conclusion that electricity doesn’t pose a threat.

The agency now asserts that “significant data gaps and uncertainties” prevent it from “calculating or estimating the national frequency of impacts.” For instance, safety data was not collected everywhere prior to the introduction of electricity, which has allowed plaintiff attorneys to ascribe any damage or injury to alternating current itself.

So after spending $30 million and five years to produce a risk assessment, the scientist have found no evidence that electricity causes widespread threats to safety. Two years ago, the New York governor used the pretext of scientific “uncertainties” to ban electricity, and the new agency revised report will give him cover for depriving residents of its economic benefits. Progressives are using the report as ammunition in their media campaign against electricity, and plaintiff attorneys will use it in lawsuits.

Liberals denounce anyone who cites uncertainties about science. So it’s ironic that they are now justifying their opposition to electricity based on scientific uncertainties. As for the agency’s science, bending to public comment from litigants and Broadway celebrities does not instill confidence in the agency’s integrity.

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The above is a blatant rip-off and rewrite of a Wall Street Journal editorial meant to illustrate satirically the nature of the pre-determined agenda of federal bureaucrats. The original editorial highlighted the EPA’s twisting of its own investigation into the effects, or lack thereof, of fracking on drinking water to better fit its preconception and desired outcome.

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Heck joins call for Trump to exit race for president

Donald Trump Friday. (AP photo via WSJ)

Donald Trump Friday. (AP photo via WSJ)

Friday afternoon, Republican Senate candidate Joe Heck’s campaign sent out an email strongly condemning the misogynistic language used by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that was caught on tape 11 years ago. (Here is a link to the tape, but the language is too foul to post.)

Today, Heck joined others in the party calling for Trump to step aside as a candidate and said he will no longer support him or vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“I believe our only option is to formally ask Mr. Trump to step down and allow Republicans the opportunity to elect someone who will provide us with the strong leadership so desperately needed and one that Americans deserve,” his campaign email quoted him as saying.

But Trump, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, said he will not quit.

WSJ reports former GOP presidential contender Carly Fiorina has called on Trump to quit the campaign, as have Sens. Mike Crapo of Idaho and Mike Lee of Utah. Others are withdrawing endorsements.

Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota today tweeted that Trump “should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately.”

Fox reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have chastised Trump for his lewd comments.

Even Pence slapped Trump. “As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the eleven-year-old video released yesterday,” he said in a statement. “I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them.”

The 70-year-old Trump apologized, but could not unring the bell.

After Heck criticized Trump’s taped language, his Democratic opponent, Catherine Cortez Masto, former state attorney general, was quoted by the AP as saying condemnations ring hollow if Heck is still voting for Trump.

The AP quoted Danny Tarkanian, who is running for Congress against Democrat Jacky Rosen, as saying, “As the father of three girls, I find these comments disgusting. No man should ever talk about women like that.”

Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy, seeking re-election to Congress, said “no woman should ever be treated or described this way. There is no place for this kind of rhetoric in our society.”

Here is the full comment from Heck today:

“I’ve spent much of my life serving in the military where I stood beside some of the bravest men and women this country has to offer — willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect the freedoms upon which this country was founded. They live by a code of honor, of decency and of respect. 

“As a husband and a father, I strive to bring that same code of honor into my personal life.

“I believe any candidate for President of the United States should campaign with common ethical and moral values and decency. I accept that none of us are perfect. However, I can no longer look past this pattern of behavior and inappropriate comments from Donald Trump. Therefore, I cannot, in good conscience, continue to support him nor can I vote for Hillary Clinton.

“My wife, my daughters, my mother, my sister and all women deserve better. The American people deserve better.

“Our campaign will move forward, and continue to be based on the core principles of the Republican Party, the need for conservative leadership and the requirement that all people be treated with respect and dignity.

“My hope is that this will not divide us and that we can unite behind Republican principles. We deserve a candidate who can ask him or herself at the end of the day, ‘Did I live my life with honor and do I deserve to be elected president of the United States.’

“I believe our only option is to formally ask Mr. Trump to step down and allow Republicans the opportunity to elect someone who will provide us with the strong leadership so desperately needed and one that Americans deserve.

“Today, I stand here disappointed in our choices for president but more committed than ever to bringing that same code of honor, decency and respect to the United States Senate.”

The Republican Party never should have nominated this reprobate in the first place. His track record was well known. He is not now nor has he ever been a Republican.

 

How well are the mainstream media covering questions about Hillary’s health?

Clinton coughing during a recent speech. (AP photo via WSJ)

Clinton coughing during a recent speech. (AP photo via WSJ)

She is trying to have it both ways.

Hillary Clinton told the FBI she could not recall briefings about classified information due to a concussion she had in 2012.

The FBI report said, “However, in December of 2012, Clinton suffered a concussion and then around the New Year had a blood clot (in her head). Based on her doctor’s advice, she could only work at State for a few hours a day and could not recall every briefing she received.”

But now Clinton’s surrogates are attacking the news media for deigning to question her health after she experienced a four-minute coughing spasm at a recent speech and another aboard an airplane while being questioned by reporters.

“They’re trying to work the refs a little bit as they try to push back on the mainstream media’s willingness to pick up on some of this stuff that’s usually left to the fringes,” Clinton surrogate and former Harry Reid mouthpiece Jim Manley said of the efforts.

The Hill said the campaign intends to counterattack news media who even dare to take seriously questions about her health.

A number of conservative outlets have raised the issue of her health, but Manley said the campaign fears the issue is “bleeding to the mainstream media.”

Which is funny, since The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto just pointed out that media are trying to tamp down the story.

“Hillary Clinton is in excellent health, so shut up: That’s a summary of the media narrative that emerged last month after Donald Trump questioned whether Mrs. Clinton has ‘mental and physical stamina.’ A Puffington Host headline proposed: ‘Let’s Call The Conspiracy Theories About Hillary’s Health What They Are.’ What are they? You guessed it: ‘The subtext of the rumors spouted by Trump and his crew of armchair doctors is clear: [Mrs.] Clinton is biologically unfit to lead,’ asserted senior reporter Melissa Jeltsen,” Taranto writes. ‘She’s a woman, after all.’”

A Huffington Post contributor who posted comments questioning Clinton’s health was immediately terminated.

The WSJ columnist reports mainstream media headlines have included the Washington Post’s “Armed With Junk Science and Old Photos, Critics Question #HillarysHealth,” The New Yorker’s “The Far Right’s Obsession With Hillary’s Health” and the Atlantic’s “Questions About Hillary’s Health: The Birtherism of 2016.”

But a former Clinton aide told The Hill, “I think that the fact that any mainstream publications would do anything but make this is a story about Donald Trump is completely out of the mainstream and why these claims have gotten worse. …

“The fact of the matter is there is no truth or factual evidence to debunk,” the former aide continued. “She is perfectly healthy. The only way is to challenge him to a pushup contest at the first debate.”

The website WND, admittedly not mainstream, has tracked down a number of doctors willing to diagnose Hillary from afar and call for her to release health records.

Typical were the comments of Dr. Gerard Gianoli of Tulane University:

“What do we know about Mrs. Clinton’s health? We know that she has suffered two deep vein thromboses and an episode of cerebral venous thrombosis. Blood spontaneously clotting within one’s veins on three separate occasions is not a good thing. In fact, it is life-threatening. This tells us that she has a hypercoagulable state requiring the use of Coumadin (a ‘blood thinner’) for the rest of her life to try to prevent this from happening again. While Coumadin may prevent future blood clots, it can also lead to life-threatening hemorrhage if she has any future trauma.

“We also know that she suffered a concussion and, according to her husband, she took 6 months to recover. How do we know she recovered? If she was a high school athlete, she would have had mandatory neuropsychological testing before being allowed to participate in sports again. Given that being the leader of the free world is more important than playing goalie for the local high school, why is the mainstream media not demanding to see Mrs. Clinton’s post-concussion testing?”

 

 

Obama making secret deals with Iran

Obama’s secret dealings with the terrorist state of Iran keep leaking out.

Now we learn that — what a coincidence! — the first $400 million, supposedly of a $1.7 billion settlement that dates to 1979, was secretly airlifted in the form of cash on wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies at precisely the same time in mid-January when four Americans were released by Iran, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Obama announced the release of the prisoners without any mention of the secret cash shipment.

“Iranian press reports have quoted senior Iranian defense officials describing the cash as a ransom payment,” WSJ relates.

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian after being released by Iran following a secret $400 million cash airlift. (Reuters photo via WSJ)

The U.S. has a longstanding policy against paying ransom for the release of hostages/prisoners, lest it encourage the taking of more hostages. Since January the Iranians have arrested two more Iranian-Americans as well as several others with dual European citizenships.

Two years ago the family of a murdered American journalist was threatened with arrest if they had tried to pay ransom for his release. They said a military officer working for Obama’s National Security Council warned they could be charged with supporting terrorism if they paid a ransom to his Islamist captors.

 

Just a couple of weeks ago The Associated Press reported that a secret codicil to the Iranian nuclear deal will let the imams start building nukes years earlier than previously reported.

 

“The confidential document is the only text linked to last year’s deal between Iran and six foreign powers that hasn’t been made public, although U.S. officials say members of Congress who expressed interest were briefed on its substance,” AP reported. “It was given to the AP by a diplomat whose work has focused on Iran’s nuclear program for more than a decade, and its authenticity was confirmed by another diplomat who possesses the same document.”

Of the latest secret deal, Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton accused Obama of paying “a $1.7 billion ransom to the ayatollahs for U.S. hostages. … This break with longstanding U.S. policy put a price on the head of Americans, and has led Iran to continue its illegal seizures” of Americans.

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford added, “President Obama’s … payment to Iran in January, which we now know will fund Iran’s military expansion, is an appalling example of executive branch governance. … Subsidizing Iran’s military is perhaps the worst use of taxpayer dollars ever by an American president.”

Congress is working on legislation to prevent the Obama administration from making further cash payments to Iran.

The story did not warrant mention in today’s Las Vegas newspaper.

OK, before the defenders of Obama start coming to his defense with the excuse that others did it, too. Yes, Reagan did it, too.

 

The crusade against ‘biased cops’ is based on a false premise

By now you’ve read about the police officers killing armed black men in Louisiana and Minnesota and the the black sniper killing five cops and wounding more in Dallas during a Black Lives Matter protest.

And you’ve heard Obama say the shootings of blacks by cops “are not isolated incidents. They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.”

 

Perhaps you recall Hillary Clinton saying earlier in the year that “too many encounters with law enforcement end tragically,” later adding that there is “systemic racism.”

Perhaps you’ve even read the stats compiled by the Washington Post showing that 26 percent of those killed by police officers in 2015 were black, though blacks are only 13 percent of the population. Then there are the FBI crime stats that reveal 51 percent of those charged with murder and 56 percent of those charged with robbery are black.

But perhaps you missed The Wall Street Journal op-ed from February that was reposted this weekend. Reporter Heather Mac Donald, whose book “The War on Cops” came out June 21, “Over the past decade, according to FBI data, 40% of cop killers have been black. Officers are killed by blacks at a rate 2.5 times higher than the rate at which blacks are killed by police.”

Mac Donald also reports that studies refute claim by the Black Lives Matter and certain politicians, that white cops are more likely to shoot blacks. One study of the Philadelphia Police Department found black and Hispanic officers were much more likely than white officers to shoot blacks upon the mistaken belief the person is armed. A study of New York City police found that at a crime scene where gunfire occurs black cops were 3.3 times more likely fire than other cops at the scene.

 

Never let the facts get in the way of your presumptions of racism and fatal bias.

The following is an excerpt from Mac Donald’s book posted on Fox News:

In the summer of 2014 a lie overtook significant parts of the country and grew into a kind of mass hysteria.

That lie holds that the police pose a mortal threat to black Americans—indeed, that the police are the greatest threat facing black Americans today.

Several subsidiary untruths buttress that central myth: that the criminal-justice system is biased against blacks; that there is no such thing as a black underclass; and that crime rates are comparable between blacks and whites, so that disproportionate police action in minority neighborhoods cannot be explained without reference to racism.

The poisonous effect of these lies manifested itself in the cold-blooded assassination of two NYPD officers in December that year.

The highest reaches of American society promulgated those untruths and participated in the mass hysteria.

President Barack Obama, speaking after a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, declared that blacks were right to believe that the criminal-justice system was often stacked against them. Obama repeated that message as he traveled around the country subsequently.

Eric Holder escalated a long-running theme of his tenure as U.S. attorney general: that the police routinely engaged in racial profiling and needed federal intervention to police properly.

University presidents rushed to show their fealty to the lie. Harvard’s Drew Gilpin Faust announced that “injustice” toward black lives “still thrives so many years after we hoped we could at last overcome the troubled legacy of race in America. . . . Harvard and . . . the nation have embraced [an] imperative to refuse silence, to reject injustice.” Smith College’s president abjectly flagellated herself for saying that “all lives matter,” instead of the current mantra, “black lives matter.” Her ignorant mistake, she confessed, drew attention away from “institutional violence against Black people.”

The New York Times ratcheted up its already-stratospheric level of anti-cop polemics. In an editorial justifying the Ferguson riots  the Times claimed that “the killing of young black men by police is a common feature of African-American life and a source of dread for black parents from coast to coast.”

In reality, however, police killings of blacks are an extremely rare feature of black life and a minute fraction of black homicide deaths.

Blacks are killed by police at a lower rate than their threat to officers would predict. To cite more data on this point: in 2013, blacks made up 42 percent of all cop killers whose race was known, even though blacks are only about 13 percent of the nation’s population.

The question of climate change ‘fraud’ cuts both ways

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, center, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, right, and other U.S. state attorneys general announced a state-based effort to investigate companies over climate fraud. (Reuters photo via Huffington Post)

Two can play this game.

First a group of state attorneys general called for investigation and potential prosecution of several oil companies for perpetrating fraud by underplaying the threat of climate change in the public statements over the years.

Now a group of Republican state attorneys general — including Nevada’s Adam Laxalt — are pointing out in a letter that this street goes two ways:

“If it is possible to minimize the risks of climate change, then the same goes for exaggeration. If minimization is fraud, exaggeration is fraud. Some have indicated that Exxon Mobil’s securities disclosures regarding climate change may be inadequate. We do not know the accuracy of these charges. We do know that Exxon Mobil discloses climate change and its possible implications as a business risk. … If Exxon’s disclosure is deficient, what of the failure of renewable energy companies to list climate change as a risk? … If climate change is perceived to be slowing or becoming less of a risk, many ‘clean energy’ companies may become less valuable and some may be altogether worthless. Therefore, any fraud theory requiring more disclosure of Exxon would surely require more disclosure by ‘clean energy’ companies.”

They also note the threats against fossil fuel companies raises serious First Amendment implications when one side of the debate can be subject to expense investigations the debate is serious chilled. “As expressed by Justice Brandeis, it has been a foundational principle that when faced with ‘danger flowing from speech … the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence,’” the letter says.

The letter concludes by telling the other attorneys general: “Stop policing viewpoints.”

A Wall Street Journal editorial also weighs in on this topic.

 

In iPhone/GPS era, FAA still flying by passing out slips of paper

Here is still another example of a bureaucracy mired in incompetence.

The Wall Street Journal reports in an editorial today that the Federal Aviation Administration runs an air-traffic control system with the best technology World War II could offer, while its efforts to upgrade are overbudget and overdue. The FAA is expected to miss its 2025 completion date by a decade.

The Associated Press recently reported that new air control towers at McCarran International in Las Vegas and San Francisco International can’t open and will have to be remodeled because they are built for new technology that keeps crashing. Work spaces will have to be expanded so controllers can handle slips of paper for tracking flights.

Both the AP account and the WSJ editorial report that a bill sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation Committee, would take air traffic control operations away from the FAA and hand it to a nonprofit company run by the aviation industry.

WSJ says it works in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and a Government Accountability Office report found safety either improved or remained unchanged.

Sounds like a better alternative.

New McCarran tower in the foreground and old tower to the left. (R-J photo)