Monthly Archives: January 2018

Sacrificing National Security and Energy Affordability to Global Warming Beliefs

Two diverse challenges, the high price of fuel and the excessive growth of Russian energy aggression, can be significantly addressed if the United States makes effective use of its own natural assets.  Doing so will require a reversal of Obama-era policies as well as a repudiation of practices tied to theories that are politically popular within progressive circles, despite being scientifically unsubstantiated.

This winter, the U.S. has faced near-record cold.  In addition to the human misery, remarkable scenes of sharks dying off the coast of New England and Iguanas falling off trees in Florida have been noted.  Advocates of global warming, of course, have alleged that this is all part of the cycle of human-made global warming. That’s consistent with their denial of the relevance of contrary evidence, including solar studies which indicate that temperatures may cool over the next several decades, as well as historic and geologic records that the planet was warmer in past periods, including examples such as the medieval warming period  which extended roughly from 900 to 1300 A.D., and the warmer climate during the era of the Roman Empire.

That denial, and a religious-like adherence to the practices demanded by the global warming faithful, threatens the ability of America to utilize its natural resources to affordably heat homes, address other energy needs, and deter Putin.

Limiting U.S. energy production boosts Moscow’s influence over energy-dependent European nations. The Spanish think tank, Group of Strategic Studies has noted that Russia is quite willing to use its significant natural resources to achieve strategic geopolitical goals.  That jeopardizes the diplomatic independence of European Union countries, and especially their potential support for U.S. policies. Bloomberg reports that “Europe has wanted to wean itself from Russian natural gas ever since supplies from its eastern neighbor dropped during freezing weather in 2009. Almost a decade later, the region has never been more dependent. Gazprom PJSC, Russia’s state-run export monopoly, shipped a record amount of gas to the European Union last year and accounts for about 34 percent of the trading bloc’s use of the fuel. Russia will remain the biggest source of supply through 2035…”

High energy prices finance Moscow’s dramatic military buildup, which began at a time when the U.S. was reducing its own defense outlays. NATO  notes that Russia has engaged in  “…a major ten-year State Armaments Program,  which foresees the procurement of large amounts of new or upgraded weapons systems and other military hardware, across all services of its armed forces, over the period 2011-2020. The program initially foresaw a total expenditure, for the armed forces, of 19 trillion roubles, or 647 billion US dollars at the average nominal exchange rate of 2011. This comes in addition to expenditures on personnel, exercises and operations.”

An appropriate and nonviolent response to Moscow’s military buildup, as well as its invasion of Ukraine, would have been an increase in American energy production, in order to inhibit Putin’s ability to finance his armaments program and provide a diplomatic punishment for his attack on a neighboring state.  Obama ignored the tactic and moved in an opposite direction.

Forbes noted that “President Obama has been called one of the most anti-energy presidents in U.S. history.” The Congressional Research Service noted that energy production on federal lands diminished under his administration. The Obama White House issued regulations designed to shut down the coal industry. It moved to oppose the Dakota pipeline, which would efficiently move crude oil. It also imposed strict regulations on fracking. It also acted to restrict offshore drilling. Although President Obama, in his support for nuclear energy, contradicted candidate Obama’s position on that issue, numerous states enacted restrictions on this power source, and the former White House was not helpful in resolving the issue of how to deal with spent fuel.  Obama’s support for wind and solar energy played well with public opinion, (and should be part of any energy equation.)  The reality, however, is that those sources will not be able to replace fossil fuels in a significant way, and do nothing to either decrease costs for U.S. citizens or deter Russia’s use of energy to fund its military or influence European nations.

Immediate, needed, and practical benefits have been sacrificed in obedience to the demands of those adhering to an unsubstantiated theory, to the financial and national security detriment of the United States and its allies.

The Pentagon’s Plan to Keep America Safe, Part 3

The Department of Defense has released its new National Defense Strategy. In Part 3 of our presentation of key excerpts from the document, the military’s strategic approach to protecting the U.S. and its allies is outlined.

Build a More Lethal Force: The surest way to prevent war is to be prepared to win one. Doing so requires a competitive approach to force development and a consistent, multiyear investment to restore warfighting readiness and field a lethal force. The size of our force matters. The Nation must field sufficient, capable forces to defeat enemies and achieve sustainable outcomes that protect the American people and our vital interests.

Prioritize preparedness for war: Achieving peace through strength requires the Joint Force to deter conflict through preparedness for war. During normal day-to-day operations, the Joint Force will sustainably compete to: deter aggression in three key regions—the Indo-Pacific, Europe, and Middle East; degrade terrorist and WMD threats; and defend U.S. interests from challenges below the level of armed conflict. In wartime, the fully mobilized Joint Force will be capable of: defeating aggression by a major power; deterring opportunistic aggression elsewhere; and disrupting imminent terrorist and WMD threats. During peace or in war, the Joint Force will deter nuclear and non-nuclear strategic attacks and defend the homeland. To support these missions, the Joint Force must gain and maintain information superiority; and develop, strengthen, and sustain U.S. security relationships.

Modernize key capabilities: We must invest in modernization of key capabilities through sustained, predictable budgets. Our backlog of deferred readiness, procurement, and modernization requirements has grown in the last decade and a half and can no longer be ignored. We will make targeted, disciplined increases in personnel and platforms to meet key capability and capacity needs.

Nuclear forces. The Department will modernize the nuclear triad—including nuclear command, control, and communications, and supporting infrastructure. Modernization of the nuclear force includes developing options to counter competitors’ coercive strategies, predicated on the threatened use of nuclear or strategic non-nuclear attacks.

Space and cyberspace as warfighting domains. The Department will prioritize investments in resilience, reconstitution, and operations to assure our space capabilities. We will also invest in cyber defense, resilience, and the continued integration of cyber capabilities into the full spectrum of military operations.

Command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR). Investments will prioritize developing resilient, survivable, federated networks and information ecosystems from the tactical level up to strategic planning. Investments will also prioritize capabilities to gain and exploit information, deny competitors those same advantages, and enable us to provide attribution while defending against and holding accountable state or non-state actors during cyberattacks.

Missile defense. Investments will focus on layered missile defenses and disruptive capabilities for both theater missile threats and North Korean ballistic missile threats.

Joint lethality in contested environments. The Joint Force must be able to strike diverse targets inside adversary air and missile defense networks to destroy mobile power-projection platforms. This will include capabilities to enhance close combat lethality in complex terrain.

Forward force maneuver and posture resilience. Investments will prioritize ground, air, sea, and space forces that can deploy, survive, operate, maneuver, and regenerate in all domains while under attack. Transitioning from large, centralized, unhardened infrastructure to smaller, dispersed, resilient, adaptive basing that include active and passive defenses will also be prioritized.

Advanced autonomous systems. The Department will invest broadly in military application of autonomy, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, including rapid application of commercial breakthroughs, to gain competitive military advantages.

Resilient and agile logistics. Investments will prioritize prepositioned forward stocks and munitions, strategic mobility assets, partner and allied support, as well as non-commercially dependent distributed logistics and maintenance to ensure logistics sustainment while under persistent multi-domain attack.

Evolve innovative operational concepts. We must anticipate the implications of new technologies on the battlefield, rigorously define the military problems anticipated in future conflict, and foster a culture of experimentation and calculated risk-taking. We must anticipate how competitors and adversaries will employ new operational concepts and technologies to attempt to defeat us, while developing operational concepts to sharpen our competitive advantages and enhance our lethality.

Develop a lethal, agile, and resilient force posture and employment. Force posture and employment must be adaptable to account for the uncertainty that exists in the changing global strategic environment. Much of our force employment models and posture date to the immediate post-Cold War era, when our military advantage was unchallenged and the primary threats were rogue regimes.

Cultivate workforce talent. Recruiting, developing, and retaining a high-quality military and civilian workforce is essential for warfighting success. Cultivating a lethal, agile force requires more than just new technologies and posture changes; it depends on the ability of our warfighters and the Department workforce to integrate new capabilities, adapt warfighting approaches, and change business practices to achieve mission success. The creativity and talent of the American warfighter is our greatest enduring strength, and one we do not take for granted.

Strengthen Alliances and Attract New Partners

Mutually beneficial alliances and partnerships are crucial to our strategy, providing a durable, asymmetric strategic advantage that no competitor or rival can match. This approach has served the United States well, in peace and war, for the past 75 years. Our allies and partners came to our aid after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and have contributed to every major U.S.-led military engagement since. Every day, our allies and partners join us in defending freedom, deterring war, and maintaining the rules which underwrite a free and open international order.

Reform the [Defense] Department for Greater Performance and Affordability

We must transition to a culture of performance where results and accountability matter. We will put in place a management system where leadership can harness opportunities and ensure effective stewardship of taxpayer resources. We have a responsibility to gain full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense, thereby earning the trust of Congress and the American people.

 

The Pentagon’s Plan to Keep America Safe, Part 2

The Department of Defense has released its new National Defense Strategy. In Part 2 of our presentation of key excerpts from the document, the Pentagon’s objectives are outlined.

It is now undeniable that the homeland is no longer a sanctuary. America is a target, whether from terrorists seeking to attack our citizens; malicious cyber activity against personal, commercial, or government infrastructure; or political and information subversion. New threats to commercial and military uses of space are emerging, while increasing digital connectivity of all aspects of life, business, government, and military creates significant vulnerabilities. During conflict, attacks against our critical defense, government, and economic infrastructure must be anticipated. Rogue regimes, such as North Korea, continue to seek out or develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD) – nuclear, chemical, and biological – as well as long range missile capabilities and, in some cases, proliferate these capabilities to malign actors as demonstrated by Iranian ballistic missile exports. Terrorists likewise continue to pursue WMD, while the spread of nuclear weapon technology and advanced manufacturing technology remains a persistent problem. Recent advances in bioengineering raise another concern, increasing the potential, variety, and ease of access to biological weapons.

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE OBJECTIVES

Defending the homeland from attack;

Sustaining Joint Force military advantages, both globally and in key regions;

Deterring adversaries from aggression against our vital interests;

Enabling U.S. interagency counterparts to advance U.S. influence and interests;

Maintaining favorable regional balances of power in the Indo-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and the Western Hemisphere;

Defending allies from military aggression and bolstering partners against coercion, and fairly sharing responsibilities for common defense;

Dissuading, preventing, or deterring state adversaries and non-state actors from acquiring, proliferating, or using weapons of mass destruction;

Preventing terrorists from directing or supporting external operations against the United States homeland and our citizens, allies, and partners overseas;

Ensuring common domains remain open and free;

Continuously delivering performance with affordability and speed as we change Departmental mindset, culture, and management systems; and

Establishing an unmatched twenty-first century National Security Innovation Base that effectively supports Department operations and sustains security and solvency.

STRATEGIC APPROACH

A long-term strategic competition requires the seamless integration of multiple elements of national power—diplomacy, information, economics, finance, intelligence, law enforcement, and military. More than any other nation, America can expand the competitive space, seizing the initiative to challenge our competitors where we possess advantages and they lack strength. A more lethal force, strong alliances and partnerships, American technological innovation, and a culture of performance will generate decisive and sustained U.S. military advantages.

Be strategically predictable, but operationally unpredictable. Deterring or defeating long-term strategic competitors is a fundamentally different challenge than the regional adversaries that were the focus of previous strategies. Our strength and integrated actions with allies will demonstrate our commitment to deterring aggression, but our dynamic force employment, military posture, and operations must introduce unpredictability to adversary decision-makers. With our allies and partners, we will challenge competitors by maneuvering them into unfavorable positions, frustrating their efforts, precluding their options while expanding our own, and forcing them to confront conflict under adverse conditions.

Integrate with U.S. interagency. Effectively expanding the competitive space requires combined actions with the U.S. interagency to employ all dimensions of national power. We will assist the efforts of the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Energy, Homeland Security, Commerce, USAID, as well as the Intelligence Community, law enforcement, and others to identify and build partnerships to address areas of economic, technological, and informational vulnerabilities.

Counter coercion and subversion. In competition short of armed conflict, revisionist powers and rogue regimes are using corruption, predatory economic practices, propaganda, political subversion, proxies, and the threat or use of military force to change facts on the ground. Some are particularly adept at exploiting their economic relationships with many of our security partners. We will support U.S. interagency approaches and work by, with, and through our allies and partners to secure our interests and counteract this coercion.

Foster a competitive mindset. To succeed in the emerging security environment, our Department and Joint Force will have to out-think, out-maneuver, out-partner, and out-innovate revisionist powers, rogue regimes, terrorists, and other threat actors.

We will expand the competitive space while pursuing three distinct lines of effort:

First, rebuilding military readiness as we build a more lethal Joint Force;

Second, strengthening alliances as we attract new partners; and

Third, reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance and affordability.

The Report Concludes Tomorrow

The Pentagon’s Plan to Keep America Safe

The Department of Defense has released its new National Defense Strategy. The New York Analysis of Policy and Government has reviewed the document, and presents, without editorial comment, key excerpts.

Today, we are emerging from a period of strategic atrophy, aware that our competitive military advantage has been eroding. We are facing increased global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order—creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory. Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.

China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea.

Russia has violated the borders of nearby nations and pursues veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbors.

As well, North Korea’s outlaw actions and reckless rhetoric continue despite United Nation’s censure and sanctions.

Iran continues to sow violence and remains the most significant challenge to Middle East stability. Despite the defeat of ISIS’s physical caliphate, threats to stability remain as terrorist groups with long reach continue to murder the innocent and threaten peace more broadly.

This increasingly complex security environment is defined by rapid technological change, challenges from adversaries in every operating domain, and the impact on current readiness from the longest continuous stretch of armed conflict in our Nation’s history. In this environment, there can be no complacency—we must make difficult choices and prioritize what is most important to field a lethal, resilient, and rapidly adapting Joint Force. America’s military has no preordained right to victory on the battlefield.

The costs of not implementing this strategy are clear. Failure to meet our defense objectives will result in decreasing U.S. global influence, eroding cohesion among allies and partners, and reduced access to markets that will contribute to a decline in our prosperity and standard of living. Without sustained and predictable investment to restore readiness and modernize our military to make it fit for our time, we will rapidly lose our military advantage, resulting in a Joint Force that has legacy systems irrelevant to the defense of our people.

STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENT

The National Defense Strategy acknowledges an increasingly complex global security environment, characterized by overt challenges to the free and open international order and the re-emergence of long-term, strategic competition between nations. These changes require a clear-eyed appraisal of the threats we face, acknowledgement of the changing character of warfare, and a transformation of how the Department [of Defense]  conducts business.

The central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition by what the National Security Strategy classifies as revisionist powers. It is increasingly clear that China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model—gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions.

China is leveraging military modernization, influence operations, and predatory economics to coerce neighboring countries to reorder the Indo-Pacific region to their advantage. As China continues its economic and military ascendance, asserting power through an all-of-nation long-term strategy, it will continue to pursue a military modernization program that seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global preeminence in the future. The most far-reaching objective of this defense strategy is to set the military relationship between our two countries on a path of transparency and non-aggression.

Concurrently, Russia seeks veto authority over nations on its periphery in terms of their governmental, economic, and diplomatic decisions, to shatter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and change European and Middle East security and economic structures to its favor. The use of emerging technologies to discredit and subvert democratic processes in Georgia, Crimea, and eastern Ukraine is concern enough, but when coupled with its expanding and modernizing nuclear arsenal the challenge is clear.

Another change to the strategic environment is a resilient, but weakening, post-WWII international order. In the decades after fascism’s defeat in World War II, the United States and its allies and partners constructed a free and open international order to better safeguard their liberty and people from aggression and coercion. Although this system has evolved since the end of the Cold War, our network of alliances and partnerships remain the backbone of global security. China and Russia are now undermining the international order from within the system by exploiting its benefits while simultaneously undercutting its principles and “rules of the road.”

Rogue regimes such as North Korea and Iran are destabilizing regions through their pursuit of nuclear weapons or sponsorship of terrorism. North Korea seeks to guarantee regime survival and increased leverage by seeking a mixture of nuclear, biological, chemical, conventional, and unconventional weapons and a growing ballistic missile capability to gain coercive influence over South Korea, Japan, and the United States. In the Middle East, Iran is competing with its neighbors, asserting an arc of influence and instability while vying for regional hegemony, using state-sponsored terrorist activities, a growing network of proxies, and its missile program to achieve its objectives.

Challenges to the U.S. military advantage represent another shift in the global security environment. For decades the United States has enjoyed uncontested or dominant superiority in every operating domain. We could generally deploy our forces when we wanted, assemble them where we wanted, and operate how we wanted. Today, every domain is contested—air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace.

The security environment is also affected by rapid technological advancements and the changing character of war. The drive to develop new technologies is relentless, expanding to more actors with lower barriers of entry, and moving at accelerating speed. New technologies include advanced computing, “big data” analytics, artificial intelligence, autonomy, robotics, directed energy, hypersonics, and biotechnology— the very technologies that ensure we will be able to fight and win the wars of the future.

New commercial technology will change society and, ultimately, the character of war. The fact that many technological developments will come from the commercial sector means that state competitors and non-state actors will also have access to them, a fact that risks eroding the conventional overmatch to which our Nation has grown accustomed. Maintaining the Department’s technological advantage will require changes to industry culture, investment sources, and protection across the National Security Innovation Base.

States are the principal actors on the global stage, but non-state actors also threaten the security environment with increasingly sophisticated capabilities. Terrorists, trans-national criminal organizations, cyber hackers and other malicious non-state actors have transformed global affairs with increased capabilities of mass disruption. There is a positive side to this as well, as our partners in sustaining security are also more than just nation-states: multilateral organizations, non-governmental organizations, corporations, and strategic influencers provide opportunities for collaboration and partnership. Terrorism remains a persistent condition driven by ideology and unstable political and economic structures, despite the defeat of ISIS’s physical caliphate.

The Report Continues Monday

Punishing Official Misdeeds

Far too little of the news coverage of what Obama and the Clinton campaign did during the election of 2016, and to the incoming Trump government, employs the correct language necessary to precisely and accurately describe what occurred.

What should be said is this:

The nation’s intelligence services and the Justice Department were used to attack the GOP campaign and subsequently the newly elected Administration, using as an excuse a false document developed and paid for by the Democrat campaign. This activity began when the perpetrators were convinced that a Clinton victory would shield them from any legal repercussions, and with the confidence that a biased media would neither research nor criticize these activities. This was a continuation of practices utilized during the Obama Administration, when federal agencies such as the IRS were used for partisan purposes.

The evidence has become overwhelming, and, if legal action is not taken, a dangerous legal precedent will be established that government officials are above the law. Key figures from both of the nation’s main intelligence services, the CIA and the FBI, have unlawfully used their positions to interfere with constitutional order and the electoral process.
Former FBI Director Comey, fired by Trump, has worked with organizations allied with the Clinton Foundation, a questionable background for an individual charged with running an extremely sensitive nonpartisan federal law enforcement agency.  former CIA Director John Brennan, who advised the Obama campaign, has urged federal officials to disobey the duly elected president if Mueller is dismissed. Daniel Disalvo, writing for Commentary  reports that “…parts of the U.S. intelligence community are knee-deep in political activity that should be off-limits to them…”

PJ Media’s Debra Heine reports that an FBI ‘Secret Society’ met the day after the 2016 election, as referenced by disgraced FBI officials Peter Strzok (who was also involved in covering up Hillary Clinton’s email scandal) and Lisa Page, to map out a strategy to attack the newly elected White House.

The reason for the unprecedented and desperate assault on a new administration is evident. The Justice Department, and the nation’s intelligence services, failed to take any action when a clear national security threat developed as Hillary Clinton and her foundation profited from the sale of the basic ingredient of nuclear weapons to the Russians. Further, no action was taken by the Justice Department when the Obama Administration gave a pass to the terrorist organization Hezbollah when it raised funds by selling drugs in the United States, because the President wanted to protect his negotiations with Iran on the nuclear deal, which fails to permanently restrain Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

These failures, and the fear of legal repercussions resulting from them, explains the ardor and passion with which the Clinton campaign and Obama’s appointees and allies have fought so vigorously, using tactics that are illegal, against the Trump campaign and subsequent Administration. Serious misdeeds, from giving Hezbollah a pass to sell drugs, to the profiting from the sale of nuclear bomb ingredients to the Russians, have been exposed to investigation and prosecution by the unexpected victory of the GOP campaign.

And there is more. A coverup of the sale of weapons to Jihadists fighting the Syrian regime, an incident which probably provoked the Benghazi attack, could also be exposed. A Global Research analysis of a study by Aaron Klein explains:

The U.S. special mission in Benghazi and the nearby CIA annex were utilized in part to coordinate arms shipments to the jihadist rebels fighting the Syrian regime. The activities, which included a separate, unprecedented multi-million-dollar weapons collection effort from Libyan militias who did not want to give up their weapons, may have prompted the Sept. 11, 2012, attack.”

Providing weapons to Jihadists, who are terrorists, is a violation of federal law, (18 U.S. Code § 2339A – Providing material support to terrorists)  which could lead to criminal liability, including a 15 year prison term, for members of the former administration, including both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida)   has called for the  release of a memo and other information  from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, including a memo held in the Congressional Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility that contained previously-undisclosed information involving the FBI and  the Department of Justice. Gaetz states: “The House must immediately make public the memo prepared by the Intelligence Committee regarding the FBI and the Department of Justice. The facts contained in this memo are jaw-dropping and demand full transparency. There is no higher priority than the release of this information to preserve our democracy.”

The danger to the nation is both from the breaking down of the rule of law by exempting senior government officials, both elected and appointed, from legal liability for their misdeeds, and to the physical safety of the nation itself. The desperation by partisan officials to distract and discredit the Trump Administration, or to at least develop a “bargaining chip” to trade if prosecution finally begins, is evident.

 

Winning States, Losing States Part 2

Malia Blom, writing in The Hill, notes that the recently passed tax reform legislation may bring the disparity between the states to a head.

Many State governors have recently delivered their “State of the State” addresses. According to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)   “a number of different trends and priorities regarding economic policy were apparent after a full review of these addresses. Following a similar trend observed in the majority of 2016 State of the State addresses, many governors focused a considerable portion of their addresses on the issue of tax relief. Aside from tax proposals, governors discussed a number of different policy topics which, while less directly related, can still significantly affect state economies. Some of the most important of these issues included pension reform, expanding or shrinking Medicaid, changes to the state’s minimum wage and government efficiency…Overall, most governors conveyed an understanding that lower tax rates and limited government give citizens and businesses a greater incentive to reside and operate in their states relative to others with higher tax rates and more regulations… Generally, states with lower tax rates, fewer regulations and responsible spending habits outperform other states in terms of economic growth. Based on the observations made in reviewing the 2017 State of the State addresses, many governors are following these policies to help their states better compete for residents, jobs and capital.”

The concept of low-tax states succeeding in keeping and attracting population while their opposite numbers lose out is not new.  A 2015 Heritage analysis by Joel Griffith outlined the issue:

“The competition among the states is becoming more intense as businesses become more mobile…In recent years, governors have generally divided into two competing camps, which we call the “red state model” and the “blue state model,” raising the stakes in this interstate competition. The conservative red state model is predicated on low tax rates, right-to-work laws, light regulation, and pro-energy development policies. This policy strategy is now common in most of the Southern states and the more rural and mountain states. [the same states that, for the most part, are gaining population.] Meanwhile, the blue state model is predominantly found in the Northeast, California, Illinois, Minnesota, and, until recently, Michigan and Ohio. The blue states have doubled down on policies that include high levels of government spending, high income tax rates on the rich, generous welfare benefits, forced-union requirements, super-minimum-wage laws, and restrictions on oil and gas drilling…

“The answer is that the states’ policy choices on taxes, regulation, energy policy, labor laws, educational choice, and so forth have a large and in most cases a statistically significant impact on the prosperity of states over each 10-year time frame examined on a rolling basis from 1970 to 2012. There are always exceptions to the rule, but in most cases the red state model is substantially outperforming the blue state model. We find in particular that two policies matter most. Right-to-work states substantially outperform non–right-to-work states, and states with no or low income taxes have a much better economic record than high-income-tax states.

  • Americans are voting with their feet to keep more of their income. The nine zero-income-tax states gained an average of 3.7 percent of their population from domestic in-migration from 2003 to 2013, while the highest-income-tax states lost an average of 2.0 percent of their population during the same period. Overall, population growth on an equally weighted basis from 2003 to 2013 was twice as high in the low-income-tax states.[8] In terms of raw population, the nine zero-income-tax states in total gained an average of 830 people per day from domestic migration throughout 2004–2013; meanwhile, the nine highest personal income tax states in total lost an average of 944 people per day from domestic migration.[9] The flow of families from high-tax to low-tax states is unmistakable.
  • The jobs growth rate was more than double in the zero-income-tax states than in the high-income-tax states, on an equally weighted basis.[10] Businesses such as Toyota are more likely to set up operations in low-tax states. This kind of business relocation to low-tax states is happening routinely and even accelerating.[11] Of the four largest states, from 1990 to June 2014, the jobs growth rate in red states Florida (46 percent) and Texas (65 percent) has been almost triple the jobs growth of blue states California (24 percent) and New York (9 percent).
  • Interstate migration has resulted in the zero-income-tax states gaining more than 14 percent of their 2009/2010 adjusted gross income from the rest of the nation between the tax filing years 1992/1993 and 2009/2010.[12] Meanwhile, the nine highest income tax states lost 8.8 percent of their 2009/2010 adjusted gross income over the same period.[13]

“Right-to-Work Laws. On the effect of right-to-work laws, the same picture comes into sharp focus. A right-to-work law does not prohibit a union, but empowers individual workers to choose whether to join the union (and pay dues for political purposes). As of January 1, 2013, 23 states were right to work and 27 were forced union.[14] Comparing these states’ economic performance, we find:

  • People are moving to right-to-work states. Population growth as an equal-weighted average from 2002 to 2012 was 12.6 percent over the past decade in RTW states and only 6.5 percent in non-RTW states.[15] Over the same decade, the equal-weighted average net domestic in-migration to RTW states was 3 percent, while forced-unionization states realized an equal-weighted loss of 0.9 percent.[16] No doubt much of this population transfer occurred as people moved to where jobs are.
  • The right-to-work states enjoyed a jobs growth rate more than three times that of the forced-union states. Job growth was up 6.8 percent in RTW states and only 1.9 percent in non-RTW states.[17]

“We have examined this same data set for the past four decades, and regardless of the time period measured, the results show the same directional change in favor of right-to-work and no-income-tax states with only some variation in the magnitude of the change.”

How is your state doing?  Check out ALEC’s ratings https://www.alec.org/publication/rich-states-poor-states-10th-edition/

Winning States, Losing States

In 1932, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called the individual states “Laboratories of Democracy.” He might well have added that they, and many cities as well, also serve as testing grounds for contrasting approaches to economics and taxation.

Traditional high tax, high regulation states continue to be places that citizens flee. According to a United Van Lines report  “The Northeast continues to experience a moving deficit with New Jersey (63 percent outbound), New York (61 percent) and Connecticut (57 percent) making the list of top outbound states for the third consecutive year. Massachusetts (56 percent) also joined the top outbound list….”

Regionally, the Mountain West and the South continue to attract movers.  Alabama, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, South Carolina, North Carolina, Colorado, and Vermont all gained.

California, once a great attractor of Americans on the move, now joins the cold Northeast for outmigration. A Redfin study notes that “The San Francisco Bay Area topped the list of places with the largest net outflow, followed by New York and Los Angeles…At the state level, California had the largest net outflow of users last quarter.4 As the Bay Area residents of Northern California looked north to the booming tech hubs of Seattle and Portland, Southern Californians went east to the more affordable places in the Southwest, like Las Vegas and Phoenix—which saw their populations grow immensely in 2016. These and other southern metros took in large inflows of people from the East Coast as well.”

The Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index rates state tax systems. Its ranks, in order, the ten best states: Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, Montana, New Hampshire, Indiana, Utah, and  Oregon. “The absence of a major tax is a common factor among many of the top ten states. Property taxes and unemployment insurance taxes are levied in every state, but there are several states that do without one or more of the major taxes: the corporate income tax, the individual income tax, or the sales tax. Wyoming, Nevada, and South Dakota have no corporate or individual income tax (though Nevada imposes gross receipts taxes); Alaska has no individual income or state-level sales tax; Florida has no individual income tax; and New Hampshire, Montana, and Oregon have no sales tax. This does not mean, however, that a state cannot rank in the top ten while still levying all the major taxes. Indiana and Utah, for example, levy all of the major tax types, but do so with low rates on broad bases.”

The Tax Foundation ranked these as the 10 lowest ranked, or worst, states: Louisiana, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Ohio, Minnesota, Vermont, California, New York, and New Jersey. “The states in the bottom 10 tend to have a number of shortcomings in common: complex, non-neutral taxes with comparatively high rates. New Jersey, for example, is hampered by some of the highest property tax burdens in the country, is one of just two states to levy both an inheritance tax and an estate tax, and maintains some of the worst-structured individual income taxes in the country.”

An Investors.com report by John Merline was quite blunt in its assessment, noting that the “Best run states are low-tax Republican,” while the “Worst run are high tax Democratic.” The assessment was based on its analysis of the Mercatus Center’s State Fiscal Rankings.

The Mercatus study states that the twelve top-rated states for fiscal condition are Florida, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Idaho, and Montana., Missouri, and Alabama. The twelve worst were New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, California, West Virginia, New Mexico, Vermont, New York and Rhode Island. The Mercatus study cited factors such as higher levels of cash, low unfunded pensions, and strong operating positions as reasons for success, while low amounts of cash, large debt obligations, and long-term drivers of debt are indications of failure.

In a Washington Times article, Stephen Moore noted that California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut lost domestic population (excluding immigration) in the ten year period from 2004-14. “Nearly 2.75 million more Americans left California and New York than entered these states…They are all progressive. High taxes rates. High welfare benefits. Heavy regulation. Environmental extremism. Super minimum wages. Most outlaw energy drilling.”

The Report Concludes Tomorrow.

Hollywood’s Hypocrisy

The Hollywood award season is upon us, even as evidence mounts that the industry has endured one of its worse years in a long time.  Those choosing, for reasons that remain unclear, to subject themselves to the orgies of self-congratulations and holier-than-thou speeches that denote these spectacles will wind up being lectured by the denizens of one of America’s most amoral industries on how terrible our society is.

“Amoral” isn’t restricted to casting-couch sex scandals, although that is certainly the headline this year. Finally, those who had been subjected to the bitter choice of submitting to the sexual predations of tinsel town moguls or remaining unemployed have garnered the courage to speak out. That’s good, but even worse offenses against females remains a taboo topic, not just with those in that profession but throughout the entire women’s movement.

The movie industry overwhelmingly supported politicians such as Barack Obama, who kowtowed to and negotiated with Islamic groups even as they engaged in the most horrific assaults on females conceivable.  He broke precedent by negotiating with the Taliban, who systematically shot and disfigured girls who merely sought to go to school, and women who merely attempted to get necessary medical assistance from male physicians. It remained supportive of him even as he clearly demonstrated reluctance to take the necessary steps to wipe out ISIS, which may have been the most misogynist entity to have ever existed on earth. It remained enthralled to Hillary Clinton, who served as an enabler to her husbands’ extensive list of sex crimes.

In its support of all things leftist, it has failed to use its bully pulpit to chastise those like the late Senator Ted Kennedy, whose callous disregard for the women he exploited even led to the death of one in the waters of Chappaquiddick.  (Recently, decades after the fact, a film was finally made about that incident.)

Hollywood’s moral issues extend far beyond sex. There is astoundingly little comment about how this most quintessential American art form is falling under the sway of Beijing. Business Insider notes that “Chinese outbound capital has begun to have substantial influence in Hollywood. Hollywood is increasingly a destination for media investment by Chinese companies in individual projects, in US-based offices, and even entire studios. Alibaba reportedly invested in the 2015 Hollywood film “Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation.” The China Film Group has been linked as an investor to the record-breaking “Furious 7” movie. Chinese entertainment and technology firm LeTV established its US offices in Los Angeles in 2015. In April 2015, Chinese film studio Huayi Bros. made an agreement with American motion picture company STX entertainment to co-produce and co-distribute 12 to 15 films. In January 2016, the Dalian Wanda Group acquired American studio Legendary Pictures, making it the first Chinese firm to own a Hollywood studio. Rather than made in China, Hollywood studio productions will also increasingly be made by China—or rather, by Chinese companies investing in Hollywood.”

Tilting towards dictators, whether by preference or in return for a fat paycheck, is nothing new for the movie industry. There a stunningly large list of entertainment performers and moguls who have shared their talent with horrible regimes, and others who have vocally supported repressive governments.

Hollywood may pontificate against bias, but fails to recognize it within its own ranks. After half a century, Hollywood continues to complain about the actions of another Senator, Joe McCarthy, who rather harshly went after its figures who were in anyway suspected of supporting Communism.  But today, movie moguls are copying McCarthy’s example by roughly discriminating against those who disagree with its hard-left bias. Jordon Kalinowski, writing in Odyssey  noted that “Being a conservative in Hollywood is kind of like being a foreign spy in America. You can probably get in if you conceal your identity, but if anyone finds out who you really are… Game over…” There are also many notable Hollywood movie stars who have felt the cold hand of abandonment after expressing conservative viewpoints. Ben Stein, writing for Fox News, notes: “Hollywood insiders routinely discriminate against conservatives, believing them to be untalented hacks and political barbarians undeserving of a paycheck. I spoke with top executives, writers, and producers in the industry who agreed that discrimination is common – and some even celebrated it.”

Media Bias Worsens, Part 2

Dr. Tim Groseclose, a UCLA professor of political science and economics at UCLA, developed a quantitative measure of media bias. He concluded that mainstream media outlets clearly have a leftist bias, and that “while some supposedly conservative outlets―such the Washington Times or Fox News’ Special Report―do lean right, their conservative bias is less than the liberal bias of most mainstream outlets.”

A 2015 Fortune study confirms his analysis. “Back in 1971, Edith Efron outlined the pervasive bias of liberalism in the news media in her book The News Twisters. In the nearly 45 years since then, not much has changed. Yes, we have seen the rise of Fox News, America’s most watched cable news network. And there has been a proliferation of small conservative websites. But most Americans still get their news from television, and the ratings of network news broadcasts—the same organizations that conservatives claim have been biased for decades—triple the ratings of even Fox’s most popular programs.”

Bloomberg’s Megan McCardle explains why the journalists themselves don’t acknowledge their bias: “News media organizations are overwhelmingly liberal. The tend to mirror the left-to-center-left spectrum of the social class from which most journalists are drawn…Yes, liberal journalists, I’m saying that the news media are biased, and I know you don’t see any evidence of that, because that’s how bias works: You don’t notice it when you share the bias…As long as there is liberal hegemony over the media — and there is — news coverage will read as liberal to someone with a different worldview…Big mainstream outlets hire a fair number of reporters from little left-wing political magazines; when I asked the conservative journalists I know for a similar list from right-wing outlets, the number of people we could come up with could be counted on the fingers of one hand. And we didn’t need all the fingers, either.”

Dan Backer, writing in Political. Law points out that “…the overwhelming majority of journalists are liberal. Less than 10 percent of journalists are registered Republicans. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with editorializing liberal or conservative viewpoints — open debate is a social good — unless you portray yourself as an objective reporter of the news and not on the opinion pages. Politically vocal journalists have increasingly become overtly biased faux-journalists shredding their own credibility. This was best articulated in last December’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” segment featuring Liz Spayd, the New York Times’ public editor, who acknowledged many of her colleagues ‘go over the line’ covering Trump. Editorial bias is even more overt. A recent glance at the New York Times’ opinion page found an editorial smearing Trump as ‘foolish’ and an op-ed column calling him ‘hateful.’ Another accused the president of ‘betray(ing) historic U.S. values.’ In 2016, more than 240 editorial boards endorsed Hillary Clinton, compared to Trump’s 19 endorsements. This covert framing goes even further: The rampant inclusion of unverified facts and sources and the exclusion of verified ones. Just consider CNN’s retracted story falsely connecting former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci to the Senate’s Russia investigations. Three journalists involved lost their jobs. Many Russia-related stories have relied exclusively on unverified documents or anonymous sources, while others have omitted key evidence to support Trump’s position. Countless 2016 coverage failed to include Hillary Clinton’s ties to Russia, including her husband’s $500,000 speech in Moscow paid for by an investment bank ‘with links to the Kremlin.’”

According to a study by the Hoover Institution’s Bruce Thornton, the progressive bias of the mainstream media entered a whole new level under the presidency of Barack Obama. “For many conservatives, the mainstream media’s reluctant coverage of the death of four Americans, including an ambassador, in Benghazi, Libya last September 11 [was] merely the latest expression of the media’s political bias. The testimony in the House Oversight Committee’s…hearings on the attack has made it obvious that both before and after the presidential election, the media showed no interest in challenging the administration’s swiftly exploded claim that an obscure internet video caused the attack rather than a terrorist affiliate of the same al Qaeda the president on the campaign trail was bragging had been ‘decimated’ and ‘rocked back on its heels.’

Thornton describes the change during the Obama era, mutating from liberal preferences and biases with at least a thin veneer of objectivity, to “blatant advocacy, double standards, and explicit partisan hatred.” Historically, Thornton found, “Once reporters started coming out of colleges and universities…they were shaped by the leftist perspective of those institutions. These perspectives, once marginal in American public discourse, became increasingly prominent in the press and television news shows. Now the old progressive view that the press should not just report facts, but mold public opinion to achieve certain political ends, served an ideology fundamentally adverse to the free-market, liberal-democratic foundations of the American Republic.”

Media Bias Worsens

Intentional misstatements are frequently rendered and repeated by many progressive elected officials, academics, pundits and entertainers. Mistakes and misdeeds attributable to left wing elected officials are effectively swept under the rug.

This is done with confidence that a media biased in favor of progressive ideology will neither disclose these errors, nor criticize the often intentional disregard for the truth. That effort is compounded by moves to forcibly silence those with opposing views.

Major scandals, such as IRS harassment of the Tea Party, the intimidation of those not believing in global warming, the sale of American uranium to the Russians, the decline of the middle class, the rise of anti-Semitism in progressive circles, the weakened U.S. military and others have been largely ignored, while artificial outrage over disproven, and never proven, incidents (Russian Dossier, Trump’s mental health, etc.) gain headlines.

The issue began to garner an even greater degree of note last year, when, as reported by Lifesite “Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai scolded Twitter…for censoring conservative users of its platform…’ The company has a viewpoint…and uses that viewpoint to discriminate…to say the least, the company appears to have a double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users’ accounts as opposed to those of liberal users…’ Free speech continues to be a significant concern as big tech and social media companies attempt to squelch speech for pro-life supporters, social conservatives, Christians, and other traditionally-minded parties.”

It is deeply concerning that many media outlets, organizations that should be stalwart defenders of the First Amendment, are actually pushing censorship. Breitbart notes that “Left-wing media is up in arms, demanding to know why the President of the United States has not been banned from Twitter. Op-eds in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Canada’s second-largest newspaper, the Globe and Mail, have all published op-eds and analyses over the past 24 hours, all tackling the same question of President Trump’s continued presence on the social media platform.”

Social media censorship of non-leftists is not accidental.  In 2016, writes Robby Soave in the New York Post, “Twitter…formed the Orwellian-named ‘Trust and Safety Council’ to propose changes to the company’s use policies… practically none of the 40 people chosen to be part of the council are all that concerned about free speech…”

Twitter’s example is not isolated on social media.

Cathy Young, writing in The Hill recently reported “…Canadian conservative activist Lauren Southern was slapped with a 30-day Facebook suspension over — ironically enough — a post complaining about Facebook censorship of conservatives. (The ban was later reversed and blamed on an error.)…Meanwhile, whatever one thinks of Breitbart News, its writers have made a pretty strong case that Twitter management tends to ignore serious harassment by left-wing posters toward conservatives — including a black Breitbart reporter being repeatedly attacked as a “coon” by rapper Talib Kweli and his followers…after Palmer Luckey, the multimillionaire co-founder of the Oculus Rift virtual reality company, was outed as the backer of a pro-Trump political organization, his girlfriend Nicole Edelmann (formerly Nikki Moxxi on Twitter) was also “exposed”  as a Trump supporter and soon deleted her Twitter account due to harassment. No one intervened, and the abuse directed at her was shrugged off by some progressive Twitter users. Left-wing provocateurs on Twitter certainly seem to fare better than their right-wing counterparts.”

In January, an example of on-air intolerance for opposing views could be observed in an exchange between CNN’s Jake Tapper and a White House senior adviser, Stephen Miller.  Miller, defending the Administration he works for, angered the CNN host in a discussion over the rather scurrilous comments made about the President’s mental health by refuting the wholly unsubstantiated comments, and pointing out the “the toxic environment that you’ve created here and CNN and cable news, which is a real crisis of legitimacy for your network.” (Observers old enough to recall the Reagan Administration remember how leftist media outlets frequently implied that he was suffering from a deteriorating mental condition, as well.) Tapper refused to allow the discussion to proceed, shutting it down by stating “…I think I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time. Thank you, Stephen.”

The Report Concludes Tomorrow